38th Sermon of the Lord… The Parable of the Good Samaritan
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(April 10, 1872)
“And behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the law? How readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour? And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.”
These verses tell you the parable of the Good Samaritan. With this very obvious illustration I wanted to answer the Pharisee’s question: “Who is my neighbour?”, showing him who his neighbour was and how the second commandment of love: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself!” has to be interpreted in the spiritual sense.
At all times men have considerably distinguished between love of one’s fellowman, brotherly love and love of one’s neighbour, all of which fuse into one love.
In those times, when I gave this parable, due to the differences in caste and position as well as to public opinion, people were still very far from what I wanted them to understand in My commandment: “Love your neighbour as yourself!” This fact becomes obvious in the Pharisee’s question as to who actually his neighbour was. Therefore, I had to show by an example who every person’s neighbour is. Thus there is no longer any doubt at all about the concept of “neighbour” and the practising of love on one’s neighbour, for from benevolence or good wishes alone neither the neighbour nor mankind nor, least of all, I can benefit in any way.
Although a great deal has been written and said about this second commandment of love, few people really understand the love of their neighbour, or who their neighbour actually is.
Generally they draw the conclusion: “All mankind is my neighbour, and the law that I should love my neighbour as myself, also determines the measure of love.”
Quite right, say I, but the important question is: In what way is all mankind or everyone my neighbour, and what does it mean to love oneself – but mind this – to the right extent?
In these two concepts there is the key to My Kingdom and, therefore, out of all imaginable commandments, I made this commandment of love of one’s neighbour the second chief commandment – and not only for your earth, but for all worlds, even for the great spirit realm.
It is, above all, the commandment of love, because without love there is no warmth, without warmth no life, without life no creation. Love is the foremost driving force that spurs to activity, and activity accordingly produces warmth. Warmth -the expression of motion, vibration – manifests as life, and life is “coming into being”, “existing” and “passing” as the visible sign of life or creation in its entirety.
Love exalts all beings who feel it and practise it towards others. Without love there would not exist any spiritual yardstick for actions; without love I would not exist nor would any created thing that could gain permanence.
Just as love within Me created My spirits, all living beings, and even matter, all of which it embraces with the same ardour, nourishes, supports and guides to the supreme spiritual goal, the quintessence of supreme love, – thus also man should embrace the world in which he has to live with the same love. Everything created, – produced out of love and through My divine love – is to be a constant proof that I am a loving Father only when My created beings, My neighbours, perform their duty, their mission, as intended by Me and as I want it performed, namely, of their own free will and not under compulsion. The free will exalts the created being, contrary to that being which is guided by instinct and compelled to act in a certain way.
This love that embraces everything is to be the standard for the love that should dwell in every man’s heart and as a permanent memorial of a higher origin should also rule all thoughts, words and actions. This love, as does Mine, should know no other purpose than acting for the benefit of its fel-lowmen and fellow beings. Naturally, one cannot grant all one’s neighbour’s requests, but must refuse some if their granting would be more damaging than useful.
Look at Me! I love all of you with a love which you can neither comprehend nor return, but I still do not say ‘Yes’ to your numerous requests, – more often ‘No’. Why? Because you often desire things that would be detrimental to you. And even if this refusal brings upon you suffering and struggles, misfortune or the loss of dear ones, it is still he result of love, of your heavenly Father’s love, Who has created everything for you, has suffered much for your sake, and keeps repaying ingratitude, mockery and disavowal with blessings.
This shows you how love must be understood if it is to lead to good instead of evil. This is how the love of your neighbour is to be understood. As a human father does not grant his immature children everything they desire in their lack of judgment, but always keeps in mind the higher purpose of education, thus you should also only do a good turn to your neighbour if you are convinced that, as far as you can judge, this would not promote some vice or encourage laziness in your neighbour instead of diligence.
This is the type of love with which I rule the world out of My wisdom. Thus you, too, should restrain and control with your intellectual power your urge to help, so that your noblest intentions may not have an adverse effect.
The second point that must be considered is: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself!”
This, too, can be interpreted in as many ways as there are spiritual stages in human nature, beginning with self-abnegation right to extreme egoism. And here arises the question: “When is my self-love justified, useful to me and others?”
Only after this question has been answered, does it become clear which love is to be practised and how. You can see that, strictly speaking, the words “love” and “yourself” have quite different meanings than if looked at only superficially.
The meaning of self-love must first be quite clear to you; you must know what you are supposed to love in yourself and how.
Only then can you transfer your love onto others, or be able to judge with what love you have to treat others.
The instinct of self-preservation, of prolonging one’s life and arranging it as pleasantly as possible, has been planted in every human being. This necessary instinct for the preservation of the external hull or casing for the spiritual man had to be planted deep within man, so that he would not, whenever he was in trouble during the course of his life, try to suppress this instinct and discard his body before the inner man had matured.
This instinct of self-preservation is so mighty and necessary that only people who disregard everything spiritual, have no faith and no religion in the true sense of the word or have been weakened through a false philosophy of life or spiritual disorders in their life-organism, can come to a state where they would destroy their deep-rooted love for life and end their existence earlier than destined in the plan of My divine, universally valid laws.
The souls of such suicides will have a much harder road to perfection in the beyond because they were not mature when they left this world and entered the world beyond.
The second type of self-love is a higher one. It is the instinct to preserve and perfect the spiritual. Man seeks to adapt his spiritual self as much as possible to Him Who planted the spark of divine consciousness in him, thus raising him high above matter and placing him on the border of two worlds, so that with his physical body he belongs to matter and with his spirit to the spiritual world.
A lack or excess of self-love may be present in the material as well as in the spiritual nature of man.
The lack of material self-love expresses itself when a person is sick of life. Then the physical instinct of self-preservation weakens to such an extent that such a person often destroys his physical body when his earthly life presents some minor difficulties. This state is often called forth through the wrong upbringing, through non-belief in a God or a life of the soul after death, or through some mental disturbance.
The other extreme is an excess of self-love. Regarding his physical well-being as the most important factor in life, a man indulges only in the basest egoism. He makes use of all available means to achieve his purpose. For him nothing exists but his own ego and, denying any bond of neighbourly love, he is always only his own neighbour. Such people are on the lowest spiritual level, for they evade all struggles and sacrifices. They want only pleasures for themselves and use all means -whether they be permitted or prohibited, lawful or unlawful, divine or satanic – to achieve their end. Such self-love completely excludes all love of one’s neighbour.
It can also be self-love if a person strives to educate and perfect his inner man only for his own sake, so that even his body becomes a burden to him and he would like to get rid of it as soon as possible.
Here you have the two extremes: Lack and excess of self-love, in the material as well as in the spiritual nature of man. If, however, a middle course is to be steered where one is not allowed to come too close to either of the extremes, the question arises how this affects the love of one’s neighbour which should be guided by the self-love.
Here, too, the same applies which I explained at the beginning; moderate love, governed by reason, which keeps in mind the actual spiritual destination of man and the goal of his earthly life, is to steer self-love into such a course that the body may not suffer, or even become stunted under the influence of the spirit or the spirit under the influence of the body. Man should always keep in mind that his body has been entrusted to him, and just as he once will have to answer for his soul, he will also be asked: “Did you always use your body for what it was meant, or did you misuse it?” Thus man will not only be made responsible for his spirit and the talents entrusted to him, but simultaneously also for his material life.
Both spirit and body should be used, educated and controlled in such a way that I, the Giver, am considered in every action, thus branding it with the stamp of the divine. This way of thinking, acting and working shall also be the standard for the way you practise love towards your neighbour. This love shall grant the fellowman all that is good as far as it is in accordance with My own moral principles.
First of all, man must recognize in himself what he is capable of doing in order to be able to judge the capability of others. He must learn to distinguish in himself what is good and bad. He must learn what is of benefit or damaging to the spirit and what to the body, before he grants others out of blind love what could only ruin them instead of helping them to attain the higher goal. Therefore, first of all, regulate your self-love! If you keep it in a proper measure, your self-love will best lead you to the love of your neighbour. Only where clear notions are ruling can fully valid actions result; otherwise you will grope in the dark and misunderstand or misuse your love for the detriment of others. Everywhere in the world extremes are detrimental and lead to nothing, be it in love or hate, in giving or refusing, in speaking or remaining silent.
Therefore, whatever you do, keep in mind your higher destination and do not forget that you are men and not gods and that too much as well as too little love for oneself may lead to just as bad results as would too high or too low concepts of the love of one’s neighbour be detrimental to one’s fellowman rather than beneficial.
First, recognize your own weaknesses in order to be tolerant towards others. Test whether the granting of a request would have a good or bad effect on you yourself, and then handle your charities, your sacrifices for your fellowman accordingly. Nowhere else can as much damage be done as when the concept of the love of one’s neighbour is taken literally.
Behold, I am your neighbour and I do everything to make you My neighbours, My brothers and sisters, even My children.
However, notwithstanding all My love and wisdom, I am not prepared to give men all they ask of Me in their immaturity, since I, as a spirit, as the Supreme Spirit, know best what is good for My children, My spiritual brothers and sisters, because I want to educate and not spoil them.
Therefore, learn from Me how I am keeping together My entire creation, guiding all its parts together to the great goal of redemption from matter. Then, you will be sure to find the right way between giving and taking, granting and refusing. Then, the second great commandment of love will find its proper spiritual expression not only in the word but also in the deed, if you do to your neighbour what you – if you were in the same situation as your fellowman – as spiritual beings would consider best for yourselves.
Respecting the spiritual always more than anything else, you must seek therein the starting-point of all your actions that they, being in accordance with My great thoughts of creation, may ennoble and exalt you so that, more and more enlighthened, you may recognize Me, your most loving Father, as that which I want to be to all, namely, your spiritual Guide, Leader and Father. Amen.
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