29. “Listen to another parable: There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and went away on a journey. When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit. “The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way. Last of all, he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said. “But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance.’ So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. “Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” “He will bring those wretches to a wretched end,” they replied, “and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time.” (Matthew, 21: 33 to 41)
30. The Father is God; the vine which he has planted is the law which he has established; the tenants, to whom he has rented his vine, are the men who must teach and practice his law; the servants, whom he sent to them, are the prophets whom they have killed; his son, whom he has at length sent, is Jesus whom they have in like manner destroyed. How, then, will the Lord treat the prevaricating attorneys of his law? He will treat them as they have acted towards his ambassadors; he will fill their places with others, who will render better account of his goodness, and of the conduct of his flock.
Thus has it been with the scribes, with the princes, priests, and Pharisees; thus will it be when he will come again to ask an account of each one of that which he has made of his doctrine. He will take away authority from him who may have abused it; for he desires that justice be administered in his vineyard according to his law.
After nineteen centuries of growth, humanity, arrived at the virile age, is ripe to comprehend that which Christ has only touched upon, because, as he says himself, it could then not have been comprehended. What has been effected by those who during this long period have been charged with its religious education? To see indifference be supplanted by faith in it, and incredulity, or unbelief in God, erect a faith upon it. At no other epoch, indeed, has skepticism and disbelief in God been more manifested than today.
If a few of the sayings of Christ have been veiled in allegory, in respect to all that which concerns the rule of conduct, the connection of man with man, the moral principles of whom he makes the express condition of salvation, it is clear, explicit, and without ambiguity. (“The Gospel According to Spiritism,” chap. 15)
What have men done with his maxims of charity, of love, and of tolerance? With the exhortations he has given his disciples to convert men by gentleness and persuasion, by simplicity, humility, by unselfishness, and all the virtues of which he has been the example? The anathema and malediction have been cast at men for acknowledging him as their Master. They have been slain in the name of him who has said: “All men are brothers.” They have made a jealous, cruel, vindictive, and partial God of him whom he has proclaimed infinitely just, good, and merciful. They have sacrificed to this God of peace and of truth thousands more of victims at the stake, by tortures and persecutions, than the pagans have ever sacrificed to false gods. They have sold prayers and favors from heaven in the name of him who has chased those who sold from the Temple, and who has said to his disciples: “Freely you have received, freely give.”
What would Christ say to all this if he lived among us today? If he saw his representatives ambitious for the honors, the riches, the power and pomp of the princes of this world, whilst he, more kingly than the kings of the Earth, made his entrance into Jerusalem seated upon a donkey? Would he not do right if he said to them, “What have you made of my teachings, you who worship the golden calf, and address the greater part of your prayers to the rich, and the meager part to the poor? As I have said to you: the last shall be first, and the first last, in the kingdom of heaven.” If it is not so carnally, it is so spiritually; and, as the master of the parable, he will come to demand an account of his tenants of the product of the vine when the harvest shall come.