51. PREFACE - Of all the liberties, the most inviolable is that of thought, which includes the liberty of conscience. To cast a curse against those who do not think as we do is to demand that liberty for ourself but refuse it to others, which is a violation of the first commandment of Jesus, which is that of charity and love towards one's neighbour. To persecute others for the beliefs they profess is to attack the most sacred right of Man, which is to believe whatever he wishes and to worship God as he sees fit. To compel him to practise exterior acts similar to those we ourselves practise is to show that we are more attached to the form than the essence and to appearances rather than conviction. Forced renouncement will never produce faith. It can only make hypocrites. It is an abuse of material power, which does not prove the truth. Truth is sure of itself, it convinces and does not pursue, because there is no need.
Spiritism is an opinion, a belief; even if it were a religion, why should its adepts not have the liberty to call themselves Spiritists, as do the Catholics, the Jews and the Protestants, or the participants of this or that philosophical doctrine, of this or that economic order? A belief is either true or false. If it is false it will fall by itself, seeing that error cannot stand up against truth when intelligences are enlightened; and if it is true then persecution will not make it become false.
Persecution is the baptism of all new ideas that ore great and just. it grows with the development and the importance of the idea. The fury and wrath of its enemies are in direct proportion to the fear it inspires. This is the reason why Christianity was persecuted in the past, and why Spiritism is today, with the difference however that the former was persecuted by the Pagans and the latter by Christians. It is true that the time of bloody persecutions is now past; nevertheless, if today they no longer kill the body, then they torture the soul; attacking it even in its most intimate sentiments, in its most dear affections. Families are divided, exciting mothers against daughters, wives against husbands. Even physical violence is not absent, the body being attacked through the lack of material necessities by taking people away from their means of livelihood, thereby attacking the believer through hunger (See chapter 23, items & subsequent).
Spiritists, do not be upset by the blows that are hurled at you because they are the proof that you have the truth. If this were not so they would leave you in peace and not attack you. It is a test for your faith, since it is through your courage, resignation and perseverance that God will recognise you as being one of His faithful servants, on whom He is counting as from today, to give to each one the part that rests with them according to their works.
Following the example of the first Christians, carry your cross with dignity. Believe in the words of Christ when He said: "Blessed are those who suffer persecution for the love of justice, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Do not be afraid of those who kill the body, for they cannot kill the soul." He also said: "Love your enemies; do good to those who do you evil and pray for those who persecute you." Show yourselves to be true disciples and that your doctrine is good by doing what He said and did.
The persecution will not last for long. Await with patience for the coming of the dawn, since the morning star is already appearing on the horizon (See chapter 24, items 13 & subsequent).