The Man in the Grey Suit
( English translation of Der graue Mann )
Johann Heinrich Jung
( Jung-Stilling )
Daniel H. Shubin
INTRODUCTION BY THE TRANSLATOR
Jung-Stilling was born Johann Heinrich Jung on September 12, 1740 in Florenburgh, Westphalia, Germany. His parents were Wilhelm and Doris. His mother passed away while in his youth and he was raised by his father who was a tailor. He was raised in poverty but showed an exceptional ability to grasp information and was able to become a schoolteacher at age 14. After great difficulty and deprivation he was able to study medicine at Strasbourg to become a doctor. In 1772 he settled as a physician at Elberfeld and became prominent in the field of cataract eye surgery, also writing many books in the area of ophthalmology. Later he became a professor at the universities at both Heidelburg and Marburg. Stilling considered himself a German pietist and member of the Moravian Brethren and identified himself with the community at Herrnhut.
On June 17, 1771, Stilling married Christina Friedenberg; he was 30 and she was about 21. Christina was ill most of her life and semi-invalid. When they were married she was in bed, unable to remove herself for a formal ceremony; but Stilling loved her regardless. She passed away after 10 years of marriage. Jung-Stilling married twice after, but for professional reasons rather than that of love.
Stilling died April 2, 1817, at Karlsruhe, Germany, at the age of 76.
Among the writings of Stilling are 4 prominent mystical compositions. The first is Das Heimweh, or Homesickness, a massive narrative of several thousand pages written over the period 1794-1797. The second is this volume, Der graue Mann, or The Man in the Grey Suit, written over the period 1795-1800. The third is Die Siegeageschichte der christlichen religion, or The Triumph of the Christian Faith, also known as Victory’s Narrative, a commentary on the Bible book of Revelation, published 1799. The final is his Theorie de Geister Kunde, or Theory of Pneumatology, written 1808; it was translated by Samuel Jackson into English and subsequently published in 1851. Some of the content of Grey Man was transferred over to the more thorough Theory. The initial 3 books noted above were translated into Russian by Aleksandr Feodorovich Labsin in the years 1805-1818 and published in St. Petersburg. The books became very popular among Evangelical denominations in Russia.
The title of The Man in the Grey Suit, selected by the translator is due to the fact that the lowest classes in Germany during this era wore gray clothes, hence the German title, the Grey Man. The main character of the book is Menace Eastern-Light, and which was also the title of the book in its Russian translation, Ugroz Sveto-Vostokov. Stilling composed Der Graue Mann during the era of the worst of upheavals that devastated Germany society, economy and land, in the years 1795-1800. This period of social, economic and material devastation progressed from 1792 to 1801 as a result of the war with France.
On April 20, 1792, King Louis XIV proposed war on Austria and the French Assembly overwhelmingly approved the proposition. Prussia subsequently entered the war with the initial invasion. The French army numbered 140,000 at the time it invaded Belgium with 3 armies. Two of the armies were defeated and the third retreated. Both sides regrouped their forces, and the French army further penetrated into Germany, Austria and Prussia. On September 20, 1792, the Prussian army faltered and retreated. France’s army pushed further toward the Rhine River. By the end of 1792, the French gained considerable advance into foreign territory. By 1795, French armies occupied Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, south Germany and north Italy. Prussia concluded a peace treaty with France in 1795, recognizing the Rhine River as the eastern boundary of France. Austrian forces continued to struggle against French forces, but were finally defeated by the military genius of Napoleon Bonaparte. Peace was concluded between Austria and France in 1797, but the wars against the Hapsburg Empire did not cease until peace was concluded with the Treaty of Luneville in 1801. France gained 25,000 square miles of new territory and 3.5 million new inhabitants. The land west of the Rhine River became France, while the land east languished in economic, social and moral decay. It was during these years that Stilling, living in Germany, composed Homesickness and Grey Man.
War against France was renewed by Germany and Prussia in 1805, but the victory was gained shortly after by Napoleon Bonaparte. In 1806, the French-occupied land east of the Rhine River was organized into the Confederation of the Rhine under Napoleonic control, and which so remained until the defeat of Napoleon in 1813, and the subsequent reorganization of the national boundaries of Prussia, Austria, Germany and Poland at the Congress of Vienna in 1815.
The person of Menace Eastern-Light is the alter-ego of Stilling. Menace was originally the main character in Stilling’s book Homesickness, and who always wore grey clothing. Even though Stilling is a character in his own book, his is distinct from Menace, and Stilling becomes the secretary or recorder of the thoughts and opinions of Menace. Only toward the conclusion of Book 8 is any autobiographical information provided.
The book is composed of 8 sections, each of them written during the time span 1795-1800. Part of the book is the direct expression of Menace. The balance of the book is designed as a round-table discussion, a question-answer format, with Menace as moderator, preceptor and supreme authority. There are a total of 6 characters involved: Menace, Stilling, Evsevi, Philomist, Policarp, and Evfronim, all of them fictitious characters acting as a channel for the thoughts and convictions of Stilling.
Menace, as alter-ego of Stilling, considers himself a demi-god, an angelic entity who descended from heaven and became incarnated; he is commissioned to rectify the corruption of the Christian religion in Germany and to prepare the people for the arrival of Christ. Stilling was convinced that Jesus would arrive in 1836 in accord with the predictions of Johann Albrecht Bengel, who is mentioned in the text (although Stilling never saw it, having died in 1817).
Stilling considered himself a member of the Moravian Brethren, which he mentions as an autobiographical note in Book VIII. The Moravian Brethren was pietist, it was based on teachings originally compiled by John Huss and later materializing as the Bohemian Unity of Brethren in 1457. The Brethren was established in 1727 as an independent denomination at the community of Herrnhut, founded by Count Zinzendorf, a great promoter of German Pietism. Their leadership was taken over by Augustus Spangenber in 1762 after the death of Zinzendorf.
One of the struggles of Stilling in his work for the establishment of a pietistic Christianity was against both the Enlightenment movement and secular clericalism. The precepts and philosophy of the Enlightenment were promulgated in France after the revolution by Robespierre, who was an enthusiastic supporter of the French philosopher Rousseau. The efforts of the new generation of Enlightenment philosophers materialized in the de-christianization of France, with many churches and cathedrals closing for lack of attraction, and some being replaced by short-lived Temples of Reason. The dogmas of the Enlightenment especially migrated to the east into Germany.
The French Revolution equally affected religion as it did politics and economics. The intention of the new Assembly was to secularize religion, making it a branch of the state. This included primarily the secularization of church property and schools. A document drafted by one of the committees assigned by the Assembly was titled the Civil Constitution of the Clergy. It was passed by the Assembly on July 12, 1790, and reduced the Christian religion in France to the Department of Religion, and pertained to Protestantism and Catholicism alike. Bishops, priests and clergy were required to take an oath of loyalty to the new constitution and were now to be elected by popular vote, much like a political position.
This new attitude caused a schism among both the Protestant and Catholic clergy. The assembly attempted to support the clergy who took the oath of loyalty, while the general population tended to favor the clergy who held to the ancient traditions, rites and teachings of their respective denominations. The new order of secular clergy now advocated the gospel of the Enlightenment, whose god was a nebulous supreme being materialized in the concept of Reason, which was now the rule and conscience of the people.
Stilling’s conservative evangelical upbringing and association lead him to denounce the validity of a secular clergy, claiming it inconsistent with the truth of the Bible, and to reprimand them at every occasion for corrupting Christian truth by bringing it in line with the philosophy of the Enlightenment. The modern priests or preachers mentioned in the text are this new order of secular clergy. Stilling also reprimanded hypocrisy that he noticed within his own denomination of the Brethren or Pietists, viewing it as a stumbling to others seeking a community possessing the truth of the Christian teaching. The translator will not further deal with the role or opinions of Stilling, but will leave this up to the reader to ascertain as you study the character of Menace Eastern-Light.
I first extend gratitude toward the late elder Isaiah Ivanovich Dalmatov, who in 1972 lent me his copy of Menace in Russian (Ugroz Sveto-Vostokov) to read. Shortly after I returned the book to him he passed away and his copy also passed into history. I thank Eliot Fred Nikitin and Allen David Samaduroff who both were able to acquire a copy of Menace for me in 1997.
The word processing of my manuscript was accomplished by my old friend Jack Wolf, who also assisted in editing and review.
The translation is faithful to the original text; and the only emendations added by the author are those to clarify areas and are placed in (parenthesis) or in [brackets].
( Der graue Mann )
Now learn this lesson from the fig tree:
When its twigs are tender and its leaves appear,
You know that summer is near.
Even so, when you see these events occurring,
Know that it is near, right at the door.
Menace explains about himself, who he is.
My friend Stilling, in his book Homesickness, burdened me with many matters, and since I often do not enjoy dealing with mischievous persons, he nicknamed me Menace. Although it is not proper to apply such a nickname to an honorable person, I am not angered at Stilling for this. He named me Menace because when I appear in the presence of people, I quite often send shivers up their spine and a cold sweat breaks out on them; while the hair of long-haired criminals stands on end. No doubt there are many who have little concern for me, and these I will leave off until another time when the Lord, who has sent me, arrives in victory with many crowns upon his head to judge all the descendents of Adam. Then I also will appear and those who have had no concern for me during this life will worry over me more than all else.
My full name is Menace God-given Eastern-Light. I am called Menace because I possess a menacing appearance and am seldom joyful due to the crimes of humanity. God-given I am called because I evolved from God; and Eastern-Light because my fatherland, my native country, is the eternal East. In my land the eternal morning reigns, there the sun never sets and I always have an endeavor toward that direction, or a homesickness, as my friend Stilling wrote. And I would want all to be homesick for that place and would want them all to allow me to lead them there. The Lord who sent me to you desires that all of you would travel there. He invites us through his word, Come to me you who labor and are burdened, and especially at the present when these external catastrophes make our path and passage difficult, and more difficulties can be foreseen in the future. I walk throughout solitary places, through forests, mountains, and wild steppes and fertile fields. I travel in the darkness because pseudo-enlighteners are on guard for me, and a multitude of them have darted out of the shadow of death. They throw mud at me, and like juvenile delinquents chase after me with rocks. Although none of this bothers me in the least but I stand on guard for them for your sake, so that those who know me little would not err in understanding me and would not count me a vagrant.
But in order that you would know what my affairs among you consist of, this will clearly disclose that I am a messenger of the King of Kings who is at present armed for the final battle with the power of darkness, and will certainly defeat all of his enemies and conquer them in the end with the sword of his lips which is the word of God. I have been entrusted with the commission to gather good and courageous soldiers for the service of our great and all-benevolent king. His wages are the joy of a good conscience and the inner peace of God. After the war, every one who courageously and valiantly fought and was faithful even unto death will receive as a reward the glistening crown of victory and endless goodness in my fatherland.
But whoever remains neither here nor there, or will not join either the one side or the other, or else will cross over the lines to the enemy, to them I must declare that my King, at the conclusion of the battle and defeat, will execute a stern judgment upon all the negligent and upon all his enemies, and he will incarcerate them in eternal captivity and in a gloomy dungeon where not even one ray of consolation will penetrate, and they will be punished with a continuous dying but not able to ever actually die. From the powerful breath of the eternal spirit the smoldering lamp of the pseudo-enlighteners will be extinguished; they will stumble and fall, never to rise again. Heed this you blind, the blind leaders of the blind! Then I will encompass all of them, scare away the negligent, comfort those suffering and snatch from the flames those blackened by the smoke, and I will continue to do so to the arrival of the Lord. Whoever does not love the Lord Jesus let him be anathema, maranatha; that is, let him be exiled until the arrival of the Lord.
In order to better fulfill my obligation, I will unveil the command of my King not only orally but also in letters, and will regularly send them to you via my friend Stilling, my friend Rabbah in Nuremberg will be [printing them]. You will gain an advantage by reading them. You live at present in dangerous times: everywhere is war, everywhere is dissatisfaction, and nowhere is there a community effort for the person in need. For this reason it is necessary to motivate you on occasion. Although there is hope that the kind-hearted God will gift you peace and freedom from the burden of the intolerable war, but do not be assured by this, for as long as seditious laws are taught against Christ and the authorities, so will the danger continue and increase, but the judgment of God draws near. Heed this, it is the truth. Sorrowful experience will confirm this to you.
Menace disputes with a Pastor, who recedes into numbness as a result of his word and leaves him.
Not long ago I traveled in Bavaria to visit some unfortunate persons suffering from the effects of the war. I possessed the type of passport that allowed me to venture anywhere and no one could hinder me. First, I went along the mountainous shore of the Rhine to discover the type of changes that occurred in the convictions of the residents as a result of the war in their vicinity, and who daily heard the thunder of cannon fire. Seldom did I meet a person who felt that times would return to the way they were earlier, and the number of those that did was comparatively small. So it is said, You punish them, but they do not sense it. I began to investigate: For what reason are people so insensitive, careless, cold and lifeless toward every benevolent activity. And I saw that the reason was this: Their preachers do not fulfill their obligation. They should have explained to the people that the actual reason for all the Divine judgments and the present war is due to the fact that when people are not motivated to repentance by the goodness of God their hard hearts must be tested.
The preachers should have been able to turn the attention of their audience to the extreme corruption of every human soul; should have taught them to review closely and diligently their life, to recount the amount - at the same time or at leisure – that they had sinned and how little good they have accomplished. Such a retrospect of yourself would inevitably have created the following results, that they would realize the dangerous state they were in. It is apparent to every person that they can die at any minute. Whoever dies as a sinner cannot be saved, but will absolutely perish. But whoever will recognize that he is in a dangerous state, he will not be lax but will begin to seek means to attain a salvation, one presented to him by faith and which he will utilize.
You will recognize how these preachers think and act based on a conversation which I had with a young priest. He had attained such a high level of enlightenment that he had no religious convictions and he believed in almost nothing at all. He was inflated from his scholarship and knew everything better than the Bible did, accepting only those parts which were conducive to him. The balance of it he considered as the concoctions of men or that it was by some mistaken writer, or that it was bombastic rhetoric and oriental poetic syllabus. But the principal truth of the Christian teaching, regarding the corruption of human nature, regarding the salvation of souls through the Lord our Jesus Christ, regarding the forgiveness of sins through the suffering and death of Christ, he did not believe at all or reinterpreted in his own personal manner. But it is better for me to repeat the more important points of my conversation with him.
From the mountainous portion of Bavaria I turned to the meadows of the sector of the Palatinate, and it seemed to me that I walked as through the fields of the Promised Land before the destruction of Jerusalem. All nature surrounding me was motionless, as before an impending storm. To the west along the opposite side of the Rhine, I saw mountains that were blue in the distance, and then warm tears flowed out of my eyes as I imagined all the terror and destruction violently waging there in the cities and villages from the French armies. Meanwhile as I was walking alone, thinking about the suffering population, the sun, as a fiery balloon, set behind the thundering mountain. I said to myself, “Will the golden sun shine for a long while with its radiant rays upon all of this destruction? When will your Lord and mine command you to set and then arise on peaceful fields and then shine only upon the benevolent, and not upon evil people?” I listened; it was as if some type of invisible essence wanted to answer me regarding the question, but then I heard someone behind me speedily moving. Then I turned to look behind me -- and not accustomed to standing, gaping in the air -- and looked ahead and behind, I allowed a traveler to run past me, who did not look at me. Then, I noticed that he was as handsome young man of about 26 or 28 years. Based on his attire, he appeared to be a clerk from some county seat. His eyes opened widely at me, which people often do when they state directly at my face. He then bows, and as if scared he wanted to run again but could not move forward, and so was forced to walk alongside me for a while.
There are people with whom I will not be the first to strike up a conversation -- so it was with this person. Since I was silent he likewise could not strike up a conversation. Finally, he gained some courage and said, “Can I ask you dear gentleman, are you from afar?”
I: For those who seek me and love me, I am from nearby. But for those who flee from me and hate me, I am from afar.
He: I do not understand this. Are you an immigrant or a displaced person?
I: No, I am not an immigrant, but a migrant.
The young man inspected me from head to foot and could not understand.
He: So you live here in the Palatinate?
I: Here, and there also. Everywhere and nowhere. Whoever loves me, I will reside with them. Whoever hates me, I will abandon.
He: You are an odd fellow. No doubt, you are educated.
I: Yes I am educated in the knowledge of God.
He: Oh, so the two of us are friends, and we have the same calling. Where were you taught?
I: I am the teacher of all teachers.
He: And not in a university? But I was educated in a secondary school.
I: Don’t you know of the even higher school, the one I was taught in?
He: Oh, this is the question. Is your school really of the type that you describe?
I: How can I prove to you that my school is better and superior that the others?
He: The superior and best school is where genuine truth is taught in all its completeness.
I: Well said. But what is the true and complete truth?
He: According to theology, pure and complete truth consists in the fullest and accurate recognition of all our responsibilities to God, to ourselves, and to our associates.
I: What person is the most evil of all?
He: The one who does not fulfill his obligations to God, to himself, and to associates.
I: Mister Pastor! So are children the most evil of all?
He: Well, children still are not aware nor understand these obligations.
I: So then you ought to say: The most evil of all is the one who knows and understands his obligations to God, to themselves, and to associates, but does not fulfill them.
He: A person should recognize this on their own.
I: Do all people observe their obligations to the extent they know and understand them?
He: Certainly. People possess such strengths, it is only necessary to teach them how to utilize them.
I: Is that how it is? Tell me, Mister Pastor, when people possess such strengths, why do they not utilize them? Do they not know that they possess such strengths?
He: Without doubt, they know. For this reason, when someone wants to do evil but coincidentally senses that he has the strength not to do it - that people only need to not want to do evil - then he will not do it.
I: Marvelous. But why would a person even want to do evil, when he has the strength not to do it?
He: The strength of his carnal senses does not permit him to utilize that strength which he possesses for some benevolence.
I: Tell me in better terms, is the strength to do evil stronger than the strength to do good?
He: Of course. This has always been a basic fact.
I: But can the weaker strength defeat the stronger?
He: No! But the weaker strength for benevolence can gradually strengthen and become finally stronger than the strength to do evil.
I: Well said. But through what means can the weaker strength for benevolence be strengthened, and the stronger for evil be weakened?
He: When a person will present more clearly to themselves, little by little, their obligations to God, to themselves and to associates, little by little he will be convinced in the absolute obligation to observe it. And if bliss be subsequently added to this teaching, which accompanies the life of philanthropy, the strength toward benevolence will increase, while the strength to evil will decease.
I: Mister Pastor, Mister Pastor. If your suppositions are correct, then evil spirits should be the most prone since they are aware of all of this. But perhaps you still do not believe that evil spirits exist, and so we will focus only on people. Do you not know of any learned and lauded people who wrote magnificently about the obligations of a person, and who knew without doubt that evil deeds are accompanied by misfortune, and so while all this was occurring they were wicked and corrupt. In general, Mr. Pastor, I must say that you do not agree with yourself. First you agreed with me, that a person conducts themselves criminally when he does not fulfill his obligations, which they know well. You likewise admitted that no one fulfills their obligations to the extent that they know them. You even affirmed that people know they have the strength for benevolence but do not utilize them. Now you say that it is only necessary to show people their obligations and explain to them the consequences that accompany both crimes and benevolence. You know that people knowing their obligations and the subsequent consequences do not fulfill them. How do you now affirm that it is sufficient for them to know of them in order for them to fulfill them?
Pastor blushes and after a quiet moment sincerely spoke.
He: I see that you want to see strength in benevolence in the supernatural activity of the holy Spirit in the soul of a person. But I must dismiss myself from this teaching because it is contrary to sound discernment.
I: Mister Pastor! The truth is not all that you don’t understand. And everything contrary to sound discernment is not beyond your intellect.
He: This I will not state. There is much in nature which no person of any type can understand. But the teaching of the activities of grace in the soul of a person contradicts truth and the divine nature, and for this reason it is incorrect.
I: Please show me this contradiction.
He: It is very unwise to disclose it. If a person himself does not have strength for benevolence, and God nevertheless requires it of him, for him to be a good person, then this is contrary to the justice of God. But if a person does not have the strength for benevolence it can be bestowed on him from God by the holy Spirit. A person is not guilty if he remains evil when God does not bestow on him the gifts of the holy Spirit. And when God begins to punish him for his crimes, then this also contradicts the justice of God. For this very reason pious individuals cannot earn any type of remuneration in the future life, because God himself has made them pious, while they have done nothing of themselves. And finally, when the gift of the holy Spirit consists in perceptions unknown previous to that person, then another question remains, “Were they unveiled to him in the Bible or not?” If they were then there is no need for the holy Spirit to open them in his soul a second time. He only needs to read the Bible. If these perceptions were not unveiled to him in the Bible then it is impossible to know whether they came from the holy Spirit or was it the inspiration of a fervent imagination. If the graceful activity of the holy Spirit exists only to motivate the will of a person so that an increase in his desire to do good occurs, instead of doing evil, then this person has not earned anything as a result of becoming a better person, and what right does he have in eternal bliss?
I: A person does not posses the strength for benevolence, but the strength in him to do evil is considerably stronger, and as a result does not utilize the former. But since he is gifted with intellect and can discern that his obligation requires him to constantly exercise this for benevolence, and incessantly weaken the strength for evil, and beyond all of this God generously gives to every person the means to strengthen themselves in goodness, in order to little by little defeat evil. God is not the reason why the greater tendency in the human race is toward evil rather than good. You cannot in any manner blame the justice of God. On the contrary, this more convincingly evidences His full and complete justice, beliefs and love. Meanwhile, God does not conduct Himself such, to give to a few select the gifts of the holy Spirit and not to others. He does not force them to accept them, nor does He deprive any of them of them, but presents them to all persons in His word or in the government of his province, and likewise He indicates the means by which a person is a participant of these activities of grace, and how to utilize them. Whoever does not utilize them, whoever does not follow these precepts becomes himself guilty of his own misfortune, but not God. And God conducts himself correctly punishing the disobedient and rewarding the obedient.
And that which pertains, Mister Pastor, to what you said in closing, I cannot be surprised at it enough, since you, having learned theology, do not recognize the Christian teaching regarding salvation. The usual activity of grace and the enlightenment of a person is from the holy Spirit, which our conversation has dealt with, and does not consist of new precepts, or truths, but occurs in the following manner. When a person from this entire heart desires to become pious and holy and fully accepts to proceed without doubt to battle all the evil powers of his soul, to genuinely strive continuously to declare evil and do the good, then from day to day he will gradually notice that the evil in him is greater then the good and that he cannot on his own defect it. At this time, more evil and more crime will begin little by little to surface in him and to a level which he earlier did not imagine, that he is so corrupt and so great a sinner. This revelation derives from having to attend to yourself as you try to oppose the evil, and then only now he begins to correctly understand himself. Through this cognizance and exercise the law of God little by little becomes more clearer for him, which are the obligations which God wants for a person to fulfill. As a result of this, there finally surfaces a detailed and convincing review of the condition of undesirable poverty to which his sins have led him and even led him to death. In this condition of melancholy and illness over his immeasurable corruption the contrite and broken spirit having the most sincere endeavor and uninterrupted prayer will turn finally to the Redeemer Jesus Christ. This state of events is called the draw of the Father to the son, as Christ said, “No one can come into me unless the Father draws him.” When a person constantly runs to Christ and resides in faith in him, that person finally feels in himself a profound tranquility and inner peace, transcending every sensual gratification. From the one side he will receive a massive paralysis toward everything evil within a heartfelt drive toward all goodness. This is called the activity of the grace of holy Spirit. From this time the strength toward fulfillment and accomplishment and kindness increases considerably, while the strength toward evil on the other hand decreases. Subsequently the Christian gradually grows into holiness and enters the path to come near to God, to his beginning, and truly travels along it further and consumes indescribable bliss. Since now this very Spirit which composed the Holy Scripture now reigns in him, it makes him educated. All that truth consists of is deeply impressed upon him, it strengthens him and educates him in his new life. Daily he participates in many discussions regarding the form and expression of the Bible, food for his soul, which the unenlightened know not and sense not.
Tell me, gentleman Pastor, are there any contradictions or nonsense? And does not experience prove that people who follow this path become truly good, noble, and become better day by day? Are they not better citizens? Are they not better husbands, fathers, and providers?
The pastor answered with a derisive laugh.
He: This is mysticism, these are your pietists who walk with their leads drooping. You want to talk about them.
I: Gentlemen Pastor, using derision as a cover only proves that you cannot contradict me. Those who do not want to search for truth always act in that manner, or have you not yet grown to its adult maturity? Because of their jokes and discredit they are easily separated.
He: Well then please tell me, why do so few want to continually struggle against all the evil powers, to do good and flee from evil? According to your rules, God must give the desire and fulfillment. Why not to blame God that people are not saved, because to some he does not grant the desire?
I: Gentleman Pastor, you do not understand the Scripture and only distort the words of the Apostle: God gives to every person a desire through an initial confidence in the truth of the Gospel, if only they really want to have this desire. To desire is the effort of a person, but to possess this - this is from God. Tell me now, Gentleman Pastor, upon what depends confidence in the truth of the gospel? Is it not upon teachers of religion who are ordained in this important obligation? You think you will likewise smother the voice of the righteous judge with your derision on the great day of judgment?
Here I arose and stood directly opposite the Pastor and focused my menacing stare on him. After a brief silence, I said to him.
I: I am a messenger of this righteous Judge, sent to the people. If you do not want to believe this about me, then look at my face. Here is my letter of credit which every person can read. Now, I will triumphantly reveal to you in this hour of dusk of the approaching night, under the light of stars which view us from heaven, before the eyes of he who sets upon the throne of all the world, who heard my words and sees us, that I will never cease to be a reliable witness against you before his righteous and strict judgment unless you repent, and in place of the teaching by which you walk in the credit of your scholarship rise to preach the true faith for the salvation of sinners.
Here I turned off to side toward the field, while the Pastor, shaking in his feet like a drunk, went along his own road.
Menace alone turns the furious soldier to flight; he is present during a conversation of a pious family in a village; he visits a sick person; again teaches a lesson to the modern pastor; and assists a dying person during his final moments.
Inasmuch as I fear no one, but every person whose conscience is unclean fears me. So I pass the night as my Lord and Teacher passed them, under the open heaven. I pray for the salvation of my people, there I am vigilant and take rest. Food and drink I obtain there because my food is to do the will of him who sent me.
Having taught the pastor, I went to a forest through which flowed a clean stream. I sat under a bush on its shore and fixed my gaze on its clean flowing water, and the bright stars reflected so clearly in it. I began to meditate on humanity, and the thought came to me that the human soul is similar to this stream. When it flows at its beginning from its fountain, the amount of water in it is so little that it hardly covers the rocks at its bottom and waters nothing. There is little reflection of the sun, moon and stars in it. It drips and gargles among the rocks and bushes. So it occurs with the spirit of a person: during his childhood he cannot find sufficient quiet time, does not have sufficient strength for the sun of eternal truth, and the moon and stars to reflect in him as though in a mirror. All of it only sparkles and shines, but there is insufficient water and strength in him to fill others with drink and to produce fruits. But this small stream, flowing further, meets with other streams, and accepts them and joins with them and becomes larger. And if the good master here builds a dam, gathering rocks from its bottom, then it will flow quietly and then the sun, moon and stars will clearly be reflected in it, and can be seen in it, and a person can look into it as in a mirror.
So it is with children when they are raised properly, and especially if their independence is restrained and caprices are curbed. Then the childish mind attains more knowledge, and when it attains this quiet state, then in it is reflected the light of the Lord as though in a mirror.
The stream, calmly and quietly flowing between the dams, begins to serve in watering fields, to providing water to people and animals; and if there occurs on occasion a storm or heavy rains and stirs up the water then as a result it becomes fruitful, flowing into the meadows, nourishing them, and wherever it flows, all becomes green. So occurs with the human mind. When it quietly acts within its boundaries, it is a benefit for all who surround it, and his light shines before men, so they see his benevolent works and glorify the Father who is in the heavens. But when crusading storms and sorrows cleanse it, then it becomes the more fruitful and beneficial.
The streams, becoming large enough for a ship to travel on, produce a great advantage, especially if there are no rocks under the surface or limestone or rapids. The river is then deep and flows quietly, and God sends through it abundance and an earthly blessing into the cities, towns and villages; much more than if it just ran into the sea. Even then wares from distant lands can travel along it. So with people in a spiritual and secular condition; they can bring great blessing to entire nations if they were to draw water from the sea of Divine fullness. Just as all streams are not assigned to become large rivers, so not all individuals are destined to become great enlighteners. But if every one would bring a blessing to people based on his capability, then he would receive his compensation, like the river entering another large river assists it in bringing a benefit and then flows into the sea from which it was taken.
In this manner I passed the night at the stream under a bush, and at daybreak I continued my journey. Passing through the forest along the path overgrown with grass, I finally saw for myself the bank of the Rhine. Here I turned to the left and reached a certain village where Caesar’s guards stood, guarding the shore from the French. Seeing my passport, without further restriction they gave me a boat with which to travel to the other side. But,… my God, what a spectacle was presented to me on the opposite side. The further I traveled west, the more I saw destruction. There the French everywhere extended their freedom and equality, and every free person was under subjection to the legal authority: meaning that he was enslaved to the unconscionable and haughty French Commissars. All that I saw were equal, because with every one of them, nothing remained, and all became slaves and prisoners of the French. I thought, “If only the decapitated heads of the Germans - who so wanted the arrival of the French - were here so they could view all of this destruction. Truly, whoever would desire this does not deserve any pity; and if I was Sovereign, then I would force every person who would participate in such insanity to sell their house and all their possessions and with only a sack of provisions on their back be banished from my jurisdiction to their beloved French.”
Continuing my path with sorrow over the misfortune of humanity, I arrived at a village lying in a valley at the foot of a mountain. Here everything was so despondent that I could hardly find a joyful face. Here I stumbled upon a man whose poverty and destitution left an indelible impression on his face. On occasion the French with their ragged clothes and ugly moustaches would run through the streets. Inasmuch as I do not fear any one, the French likewise did not scare me, but my soul was filled with a sincere pity for the destitute French people, who, deceived by evil apostates and rejecting the authorities installed by God, killed their benevolent king. God shall requite them for this terrible atrocity which is worse than murder; He shall strike them and their confederates here and for eternity and shall deliver them to execution. It is possible to sit at home and yet reside in Babylon: France is the spiritual Babylon.
Secretly I made my way through the houses and up to a Catholic church and entered into it. True, God and Christ were here discredited and atheists reigned in all their strength; but there were also true worshippers, who worshipped the Father in Spirit and truth, and many humble souls sought to acquire here strength in prayer to endure their suffering. At some earlier date the gospel of Jesus Christ was preached in this decrepit cathedral. At one time the demolished organs aroused sacred feelings of humility in the simple soul and comforted them in their sufferings. But now, what despondency, what an abomination of desolation now prevailed in this sanctuary. In tears I walked through the demolished cathedral.
Quickly there entered here 2 French soldiers, singing some Marseilles march and discrediting all the sacred articles. Out of habit of blasphemy they cried at the portrait of Jesus, “How is life, Jesus?” And then they laughed with all their might and so loud that in the emptiness of the building it echoed. I, not enduring this blasphemy, ran out from behind a column and with my awesome appearance and in loud voice shouted at them, “Jesus lives, and because you have exceeded every boundary of abomination, he will come against you as fast as lighting, and throw you into the eternal abyss, from which there is no return!” My unexpected appearance and recited words produced such fear in both soldiers that they, crying, ran away as fast as they could.
After this I went further, and near evening I entered one village. The war did not cause as much damage here as occurred along the Rhine, or in the areas where battles were fought, because this village was in a distant isolated area. However the poor peasants were exhausted of their supplies of provisions and military equipment, and likewise were destitute, but no French were here. Passing alongside the houses in the dusk, I heard in one of them several voices speaking aloud. Coming closer to that house I saw sitting under a tree at table the master with his wife, children and workers. These happy people were having dinner. I came yet closer, but so they would not see me I hid behind a nearby hedge, and overheard the following conversation:
The Master [was speaking], “I said what I heard about the French, that it will be worse for us when they arrive here. But they did not believe me then, and rather rejoiced when the guests arrived. It is painful for me for remember all from that time, what the Pastor said to us. I will not forget it to the end of time, when we were at the prayer service at the home of neighbor Petra, and were sitting around the Pastor, listening to him with our mouths open. But he only lied to us, saying, ‘So good people, your judges torture you, and your priests steal your money. But when the French come, this will no longer occur, but we will have a republic and we will be free.’ These babblers only upset the soul of the neighbor, but they did not care for me at all. ‘But what is a republic?’ asked Feodor Bosoy. ‘I will explain it to you,’ said the Pastor, ‘when this land becomes a republic, then you will neither longer have a prince, nor peasant, nor judges, except for those whom you will select yourselves. Every city and every village will select one of their own as officials, and these officials will gather together in one place and be your rulers.’ I thought to myself, When my brother peasant is selected as a judge, and it was I who did not vote in favor of him, then he will oppress me, and I will hardly find a way not to fall into his clutches. No. This did not suit me at all. I am not about to prostrate myself before my brother peasant, and I am not about to dictate to him either. I should ask the Pastor himself about this in detail, I thought to myself. And then I asked him, ‘’Gentleman Pastor. When we acquire this republic, then why can’t we also select for ourselves also a pastor. And if he will not watch over us, then why can’t we drive him out?’ This did not suit him at all, and he muttered through his teeth, ‘You can choose one, but once you choose him you cannot drive him out.’ ‘But why not?’ I asked, ‘When we peasants become masters, who should dictate to us?’ ‘Oh,’ he continued, ‘The very officials which you will place over yourselves.’ ‘Then they should punish him,’ I answered. ‘But the pastor we will drive out and such officials we will not obey.’ ‘Then they will send to you a company of soldiers,’ said the Pastor, ‘and they will station them with you until you finally do what you have been dictated to do.’ Here I again asked, ‘You speak about soldiers. But are soldiers necessary in a republic during times of peace.’ ‘Absolutely,’ said the Pastor, ‘In all countries there must always be soldiers to retain order and calm, and in order to restrain thieves and so criminals would not kill us or rob us.’ ‘Well said, gentleman Pastor,’ I replied, ‘But who is to command these soldiers in the republic?’ ‘Officers,’ replied the Pastor. ‘And the officers?’ I asked. ‘The authorities whom you will select,’ said the Pastor. ‘What order?’ I answered, ‘First we will choose officials. So let it be. Then these officials will choose officers. The officers will choose soldiers, and the soldiers will begin to train us to subject ourselves to those we have elected. Listen here, gentleman Pastor. All of these devises are foolish. In this republic of ours we must be both masters and peasants. Where is the order? How can we then drive out these officials and officers and soldiers with whatever authority we claim we have? How am I to understand all of this?’ ‘Well,’ said the Pastor, ‘Why don’t you drive out your officials right now? Or is it because you can’t do it because of internal disagreements?’ ‘No, gentleman Pastor,’ I replied, ‘This is not the reason we do not presently drive out our present masters. But because we recognize that they are selected on our behalf by God, and not to listen to the will of God is sinful. It is sin to rebel against authority. The earlier pastors were pious and benevolent people; may their memory be eternal. They did not babble such nonsense and did not teach such atheistic plots which now progress through not only the schools, but is preached in churches. They taught us to subject ourselves to the authorities, and to honor our rulers, even though they may be severe. This is righteous, just as is said in the Holy Scripture. And so gentleman Pastor, be pleased to know that we do not drive out our officials because we are afraid of sin. But if we were to ourselves select others, then we would have the freedom to exchange them and drive them out. Don’t be angry, you are still an infant. You still have much to learn.’”
The others sitting at table began to laugh. “Yes, father,” said the older son, “You spoke correctly. This pastor never did suit me. The pastor we had previously, whenever we would play gamble, he would come and watch us. And if anyone became annoyed or complained, then he would stop us and lecture us. But when someone wins, then he would begin such a conversation that the winner was willing to give all his winnings to the poor. But when this new pastor came he would gamble with us. And when he wins he becomes happy, and then grabs his money and puts them right into his pocket. With this one, in church when he begins his sermon, I have the feeling he only wants to go bowling with us.”
“You are right, Ivan,” his mother interrupted him. “Not long ago I was on my way from the garden and saw the Pastor in church and how he taught the children catechism, wearing his red caftan with steel buttons. ‘But he is a mature adult,’ I thought, May the Lord forgive him that he would dress so gaudily. He even goes to visit the sick in this attire. And if you did not know who he was, you would never think that this was the pastor.”
“Rightly said,” replied the father. “But he is not a pastor, but only calls himself one.”
Ivan, “Now he rejoiced when the French arrived here. But they also separated him, just as they did us. Forgive me Lord. I have never rejoiced at anybody’s distress, but this person sinned when he rejoiced.”
Mother, “Enough of this. Why be joyful over something not yours. But it is time for bed, tomorrow we must be up earlier for work. Did you hear children, if anyone is at the home of destitute Nicholai. Has he had anything to eat today? Run, Katerina, and take them some bread and cheese.”
Ivan, “Oh, mama. This is all dry. And they could need something to drink. Send to them a small bottle of milk.”
Mother, “Yes, and I do have some. I was saving it for tomorrow to make rice putting with.”
Here they all became silent and began to meditate. “Well,” said the old man at the end. “Tomorrow make for us hasty pudding, and the milk send to Nicholai” All of the voices cried, “Send it to them, mama.”
Katerina ran for the milk while I quietly went to find who this Nicholai was. Not asking anybody, I immediately recognized his cottage.
In the cottage his floor was partially decayed and part of it was burnt, and the 2 small windows were taped over with paper. A log set into a hole in the wall burned. In the corner on a broken bench covered with straw and pieces of torn cloth, laid the warrior of Christ, the destitute Nicholai. He was emaciated, and I noticed that his demise was not so far away. His wife sat at his bedside and mended old rags. Along the wall sat 3 children on straw whom the mother laid down to sleep. But they squirmed and quietly whined, not able to fall asleep from hunger since they had nothing to eat.
I introduced myself to these good people, hiding my tears. I sat along the wall on a broken chair having 3 legs and said to them, “Fear not, friends. I have come to comfort you in your suffering.”
As soon as I had seated myself, Katerina ran in with bread, cheese and a small jar of milk. O what joy. The children jumped out from their blankets and cried out, “Bread and cheese, mama, for us; and milk for father.”
Then I, rising, took Katerina by the hand and said to her, “You are a fortunate and benevolent girl. Know that in this destitute family you have given food to Christ himself to eat. When you arrive at that place, where they weary the body and soul, and where the entire world is too poor be give consolation, there you will remember this night, and it will be for you as cool dew in the fiery heat. Be God-fearing and meek, and rejoice when you are able to help the destitute.” Tears were seen flowing out of the eyes of the girl. She said nothing and went on her way home.
The beloved poverty-stricken family received from the food heartfelt consolation, even that the sick person himself was able to smile before his death. O when will the hardened hearts, desiring to share their bread with the hungry, see this smile of gratitude, this smile of entreaty. But they are unworthy to see it.
I began a conversation with the mistress, and asked her. “What caused this poverty you are in?”
She despondently and amiably answered me, “You won’t live your time without distress, father. We, mister, I and my husband, were born in the same year. Both of us were 24 years old when we married, and this was 12 years ago. My husband possessed a cottage and a parcel of land, while I brought into the marriage as dowry 200 pieces of money. My husband’s land was mortgaged, and we used this [dowry] money to pay the debt, and we entered into the farming business. During the winter my husband weaved linen, while during the summer we both worked in the field. But it is necessary for every Christian to carry many crosses if he wants to save his soul. Soon God visited us with various sorrows; first occurred the death of our cattle, and we had to go into debt in order to begin anew. The second occasion was a fire at our neighbor’s: I was expecting and became scared. My legs gave out from under me. There appeared sores on them and I was bedridden for 6 months. I could not help my husband at work, and the children were still small. Our debts increased and then the war began, which finally ruined us in the end. The French stole all the wheat and bread we earlier had and then all our cattle. All we had left was one bull with a cow, and this bull then caused us even more disaster. My husband was forced to carry on him fodder for the army; there a French soldier struck him with the butt-end of a gun in the chest and injured several blood veins; he later contracted tuberculosis. Then Caesar’s officials seized from us the bull and cow, and if the neighbors did not feed us then would have died from hunger. Of all the benevolent families, the Pavlov family helps us the most. So did it occur today as you have seen, their daughter brought us some dinner.
I: Truly God will repay them for this effort. But did you love God during all this time, and depend on Him in your greatest of misfortunes?
The wife looked at the husband, and he smiled and with difficulty mumbled in his hoarse voice, “We would have come to despair as a result of our poverty a long time ago if it were not for the word of God and prayer as our daily bread. I know in Whom I believe, and am firmly confident that He also remembers us.
These good people were my fellow countrymen and spoke the same language, and so it was pleasant for me to sit on a broken chair with them, rather than with a wealthy sensualist on a soft sofa. However, not wanting to deprive them of their sleep, I said, “Good night,” to them and promised to pay them another visit the next day.
It is not necessary for me to say where I spent the night; I will only state that I did not go to the pastor’s. Now I knew him and wanted to shorten my acquaintance with him.
In the morning I went again to my poor fellow countrymen, who rejoiced at my arrival. It is nothing to relate to you that I made all the arrangements so that they would not endure hunger or thirst that day. I was only with them a little time when an elderly man entered the cottage. This was likewise a pastor from another village. His wife was a servant girl for several years, and the pastor, hearing about this condition of poverty came to visit them. As soon as he entered the cottage the mistress began to wail and cast herself at him to meet with him and grabbed his hand, and cried, “O father, I can no longer speak from the oppression of my heart. The sick person likewise frowned and wanted to cry, but the fountain of tears dried in his breasts and he only choked.
Bitter tears washed the cheeks of the pastor; he was silent a long while, holding firmly the mistress’ hand. Finally he broke his silence and in a trembling voice said, “My God, and why did you, Maria, not come to me much earlier to tell me of your need. Although I am poor, although I myself have many children, but we would have found something to give you, so you would not have to endure hunger. Do you remember Maria, how in the past we used to sing with you:
It is only faith that gains the victory
When that person stands beneath the banner of the cross.
Hope is confirmed in him.
Unto death to endure for Christ.
The Shepherd will not abandon him,
He leads his sheep through the gate;
He receives them, shelters them, accepts them,
And the victory is his in the end.
So it was. Faith would have overcome, you would not have endured hunger, and I would not have come as a result of this. Love overcomes all. But have you been faithful to the Lord in all your sufferings?”
From her tears Maria was unable to utter a word, but finally said. “I was unable, father, to trouble you. Our conscience, we are already indebted to you.”
The faithful warrior of Christ, it seems, gathered the last of his strength and moaned with his hoarse throat, “Although we stumbled and fell, but we again arose, and have remained faithful to our Lord. Yes, mister pastor, we remain faithful. We have endured much, but kept the faith. He has never abandoned us, never. He is a faithful God.”
“Have you any needs at present?” the pastor asked.
Maria, “No, father. This unfamiliar benefactor has anticipated all our needs.”
At this point the pastor looked at me with a penetrating gaze, grabbed me by the hand and said, “May the Lord bless you for this.”
I, “Mister pastor. Whoever is a genuine priest of the Lord, he can bless. I am blessed from the eternal hills and return to you your blessing. May my blessing descend upon your head like the fruitful dew from the morning twilight upon your head, a servant of my Lord.
The priest it seems guessed who I was. He lowered his head before the blessing of the Lord and was silent for a while. Then he looked at the children and blessed them. The elder daughter was a girl of about 10 years; after her was a son of about 8 years; while the third was a youngster only 5 years old. Their clothing was all in patches, but all of it was clean.
Finally the mother said, “If both of our guests will permit it, then Lizanka will sing a song, which mister pastor composed some time ago for a certain ill and poor person. My husband loves this song, and every day has her sing it for him.” We asked the girl, and she began to sing.
Song of the Ill and Poor Person
Toward Your throne, our helper in our sorrows.
My sorrowful soul vaporizes and is prostrate in the dust.
Humble with the prodigal son,
He prays for his only one,
At the time of death, menacing for him,
You will not abandon him.
Behold how I suffer, I, the marvelous and wondrous martyr.
Behold, how my spirit groans in such a serious and difficult illness.
Where is all my consolation?
Unto you do I call:
According to your example.
Yes I will preserve faith.
My soul is humbled beneath the burden of the cross.
To the glory of the generous mediator, Christ.
And this I truly know:
The more that I now suffer.
The more do I praise him
During the day of my suffering.
But the waves do not attain to my soul,
The gazes do not offer me any hope
Toward my salvation.
The hours of my suffering
Number in the thousands,
And what is help? I do not know.
The martyrs and leaders speak to us, “Who believes and will take
With love their cross, such a soul will find it.”
I believe, and not to be shaken.
I am surrounded by confusion.
He calls it a light cross,
While mine gives birth to groans.
I am not strong enough to carry this benevolent burden
And the light yoke, given to me for some short time.
Not strong enough but I want,
I will receive according to my strength
Invisibly and beyond measure.
The will is in us – the firmness of faith.
Now I do not fear any suffering.
With you I can bear all, just as You bore them yourself.
With You I suffer and die,
With the criminal I attain paradise,
And having endured to the end,
O will attain the glorious crown.
The poor ill man groaned while listening to this song, grasped his hands and felt every word in the depth of his soul. “I thank you mister pastor, I thank you for this song,” he muttered, “it is as though it was written just for me.”
I likewise could not hide my feelings of piety toward this priest, and said to him, “At the gates of eternity you will feel a double portion of that consolation which this song has poured into the soul of my martyrs.” He bowed to me and became silent. Meanwhile, while we were discussing various matters, the local pastor entered the cottage. Seeing us there his eyes popped out, and after the usual greetings the elder pastor said to him, “Be not angered, beloved brother, because I visited your ill parishioner. I came here not as a pastor, but out of friendship; his benevolent wife worked for me for several years, and I, hearing of the urgent condition of theirs, came to visit and comfort them.”
“Nothing, nothing, beloved brother,” answered the young pastor. “You can even as pastor visit them, our ordination is the same.”
The elder pastor grasped his hand and said, “This is true, and as the proverb states: Do not enter another’s flock with your own dictates.”
Then the young pastor turned to the ill person and asked him, “So how are you doing?”
Nicholai: My demise has come, mister pastor. I feel I do not have much longer to suffer.
Young Pastor: It seems this way: Place your hope on the mercy of God. He will give you eternal bliss and will not abandon your orphans.
Nicholai: I am not worried about them, they were entrusted to my by the heavenly Father. And I myself rely upon God, that He will pardon me a sinful person, for the sake of suffering and death of Christ.
Young Pastor: Of course he will pardon and because you were charitable. But if you did not always live as a Christian should, then the suffering and death of Christ would not be of help to you.
The ill man began to meditate on these words and became silent. His face began to blush and although he was week from his previous conversation, he could not be silent at this time. “Mister pastor,” he replied in a stuttering voice, “If salvation was to be dependent on this, for a person to conduct his entire life as required from a true Christian, then not even one person would be saved, and I the least of them. I know myself better than them all, and recognize what a great sinner I am.
Young Pastor: This is a vain anxiety and results from your illness. Leave behind the sorrow, God is merciful. He understands the weakness of humanity and does not require from you what is beyond your strength.
Nicholai was agitated in spirit and, not able to continue speaking, gazed with his eyes on the elder pastor, and said, “Recite, father, you on my behalf, because I cannot. I have such sorrow.”
Here the elder pastor, turning to the younger one, said, “You are completely right, beloved brother, that a person should not sin [deliberately] depending on the merits of Christ, and that there is little help for an ill person when he, having led his life in sin, wants to be comforted on his death bed with the fact that Christ has redeemed us, departing otherwise with an unrepentant heart. But it is necessary to realize a difference between the unrepentant sinner and the person who recognizes the depraved condition of his nature who turns to Christ with all his heart, just as our ill person. The unrepentant person has never had a just will and intentions to serve God; and if he did acquire such a thought, he only remained with it some short while giving sin with its lusts the opportunity to reign in his mortal body. And if such a person on his deathbed begins to dream that he will be saved by the suffering and death of Christ, then this reliance is a futile one and his salvation is doubtful. However if and when he should turn, if he should really recognize his total depravity and repent from the heart, and accepts firm intentions to become a different person, and after regaining his health places his reliance on the merits of Christ, then we must not cause such a person to doubt regarding his salvation, if his conversion was sincere and firm. When a great sinner turns to mercy and must stand before an unmerciful judge, then this is better than if he were to remain rebellious or in complete despair.
“It is a completely different matter with the converted and pardoned sinner, as our ill person. The true Christian endeavors with all his effort to flee every sin in thought, word and action, and to do what is proper, to the extent his strength allows him. But he is still a person and he will on occasion due to weakness and lack of personal attention, or on occasion due to absent-mindedness and thoughtlessness, or on occasion due to negligence and aversion to prayer, sin likewise. And on occasion evil itself will agitate him if he is not completely firm and strong, and will rotate around a person just like a whirlwind, and then he will sin due to weakness. But when the conviction that no person having evil in his heart can attain salvation resides within him, and he, standing at the gates of eternity, knows that nothing will change, that he himself cannot repair anything damaged, and does not find another consolation and reliance, except in the joyous thoughts of the satisfactory merits of the Savior, then beloved brother, it is not needful to deprive him this sole comfort and bring him into doubt.”
The young pastor listened to all of this with apparent contempt, and said, “If from childhood they inculcated us with the thought of the eternal love of God toward humanity and assured us that the justice of God cannot require from a person more than what our nature can bear, then we would not incur such distress which futilely torments many on their deathbed and interferes with their convalescence.”
“But what would then evolve from humanity with such a teaching?” said the elder pastor. “There is nothing more harmful for success in the path of sanctification as the assurance that God will not require of a person anything above his strength. Every criminal will use [your argument] as a basis for himself, and the crimes committed as a result of his personal choice he will attribute to human weakness. If every person was assured of the endless justice and holiness of God and realized that nothing unclean can ascend to heaven and attain the view of His person, and that the endless love of God consists in this, that God will absolutely require in all severity the premeditated evil performed against an associate, this endless love of God united with His justice makes the condemnation of the sinner unavoidable. I speak when a person is totally assured of this; this impresses on him initially an indentured fear of God, and He will restrain him from much sin and vice. If he should unite with this teaching of Christ regarding salvation and the reconciliation of the sinner with God through Christ, and if this comes alive in the soul of a person, then will love unite with fear and fear will become subservient, arousing a gratitude to the endless kind-heartedness of the Redeemer, while gratitude will arouse him to the accomplishment of benevolence. Do you see, beloved brother, how dangerous your teaching is? Let us suppose that my [theory] is not correct – although it is fully based on Holy Scripture. It is nevertheless safe and useful for people. But thank God that it is true and for ever will reside as truth. And may God grant that you, beloved brother, would experience for yourself the activity of such a salvation unto the time of your own demise.”
The young pastor was put to shame by the answer of the elder [pastor], and brought to a state of disconcert he hurried to a political evasion. “This is not the place,” he said, “to make these objections one to another. But if you would do me the honor, please come to my home and there I can attend to this matter with you.”
The ill Nicholai, gathering his strength, muttered something of importance to the young pastor, “You need say no more, father, this is true. May God deliver my children and the children of my neighbors, so that you can contend for this. They shall perish as a result of your teaching.” At this time the young pastor arose from his chair and departed.
Then it was my turn. I left following after him and stealthily entered his cabinet, and presented myself before him with a menacing and important appearance. I looked at him in the face not saying a word, from which he turned pale like a corpse. Finally I said to him, “Listen you, son of death, the word of the Lord of lords to you. You made a commitment to preach the pure and undistorted interpretation of the word of God, but you have not done so. In place of it you preach your own personal convictions; you sow weeds and thorns in the field. Because of this you will neither take part in nor inherit the Kingdom of God. You will remember your sins as you lay on your deathbed. I will then appear before you, will rebuke you, and will assign your soul to the tormentors. On that day I will stand upon your grave and then your immortal [soul] will appear. Then I will lead you to judgment and read to you in your book of life all of your violations. Then not one Angel will draw near to you to say, ‘I have acquired for him eternal redemption,’ because you have rejected this redemption and had no desire for it. All of this will occur with you truthfully so, just as the Lord lives, who has eyes like a flame of fire, unless you right now repent and acknowledge your sins before him and carry out a deep repentance and then return to the truth with all your heart.”
The pastor became numb and fell into his chair without consciousness, while I hurried to the ill Nicholai where I hoped to perform the duties of a priest.
I found the soul of the ill person difficult and burdened. The young pastor with his replies had placed upon him a new burden which was so difficult that his soul was unable to carry it and neither could he unload it. The elder pastor sat with his head bowed and his hands clasped; he was unable to comfort the ill person. Meanwhile I noticed that he was struggling with death and would not last even another hour. And so I came up to him having the appearance I had used before when comforting others that were near death, my facing possessing the radiance of Divine truth and by which every doubt vanishes. This appearance I presented to him and I placed my hand on his chest and said, “I absolve from you all your sins and they will never be brought to mind again. Jesus Christ is God, the Redeemer of the pardoned sinner. You are now pardoned. Endeavor to your end with the good struggle and preserve faith. Soon, soon you will see your Savior face to face and you will receive the crown of faith from the hands of the Judge. You will see the Inscrutable in his glory and will rejoice in a joy that is indescribable. Those that pierced him and those who now pierce him will see him, including those who nailed his hands and feet and he who pierced his side. A flame shall proceed out of his lips; he will expel them and they will descend into eternal perdition, fleeing from the presence of the Lord and from the power of his glory. But you, my son, take courage. Your sins are pardoned and today you will be with our Lord in paradise.”
A smile appeared on the face of the ill person and with a deep sign he said, “Amen. I believe, release me, You who have trampled upon death.” Then he began to pass away. His wife and children sobbed; the elder pastor stood on his knees at his bed and prayed.
I sat on the bed together with the nearly deceased, embraced him and spoke to him into his ear, “Exit from your prison, O redeemed soul. Take courage, do not remove from your mind Jesus Christ crucified. He is your intercessor; he is your redeemer. The time of death is short. Direct your vision beyond the valley of darkness to where the morning dawn shines. Your wife and children will not remain without a concern for there welfare; I will lead them into paradise to you.” The dying person once more sighed and uttered, “I live and you will live. Amen. He comes and his recompense is with him. Hallelujah.” He momentarily shuddered and passed away.
The 2 of us, the pastor and I, took upon ourselves the responsibility to provide for the future sustenance of the wife and their children. After saying good-bye to the elder pastor and telling him, “When the time arrives for you to pass away, I will come and bid you farewell just as I today bid farewell to the deceased Nicholai,” I departed on my way.
The elder pastor began to weep like a child and replied, “O if I could only request something of the Lord.”
I answered, “You have requested it of him and this mercy will be given you in the presence of the ark of the covenant. Take care you do not lose it.”
He grasped my hands and said, “God, have mercy on me.” Then we separated: the pastor went his way, and I continued on my journey.
Menace relates to certain people his opinions or important topics and bids farewell to them for a short time.
With many people I wished to speak of many things, if there was an advantage from this. There will come a time when my conversation will definitely be useful, but not in a manner that they may imagine. Nonetheless, the matter does not depend on me at this time, I must fulfill my obligation. Whoever at this does not want to listen to this, he will still come to terms with it in the future.
Listen, Gentleman Writers and you Readers and Evaluators and Judges of books. All of you belong to the same category, the French Revolution unveiled the minds and attitudes of many. I willingly broke bread with these people earlier, but they have now become the evil opponents and enemies of Christ, even to the point it is terrifying to listen to their conversations. And even more ferocious are the women who left their assigned responsibilities of a domestic life and now meddle in the disputes of political matters. I came to know Germans, who, if they had the opportunity, would have turned into French. These men and women have shown what was hidden in their heart. I also became familiar with such men and women who were previously on the path of unbelief, but due to the progress of events of the present era they became wise and turned to he path of truth. And so at present the flail of the Lord is in His hand with which he rakes his threshing floor to this day. Whoever will take notice of this, take care. Angels travel about individually and seal the worthy on their forehead. Wherever they find the sign of the beast, they circumvent them and do not seal these. And woe to those who are circumvented. Woe unto them at the time of He who comes. The Lord will protect the sealed; He will somehow lead them to a country of safety and peace, somehow will gather them in his presence and remove them from the evil; He will somehow utilize them in the struggle as they have gained courage and strength. Then it will be well for him who fought faithfully unto death.
But you, Gentleman Writers and Judges of books, how will you flee from the wrath to come when you yourselves do not hurry to this, but also lead others after you using your deceptions. I will not say a word to the mockers who preach in their compositions visions of unbelief, leading astray the pilgrim from the path.
No matter what I say, it will be of no use to them.
But among you there are truly many benevolent souls who genuinely worry about the welfare of a person, but who deceived others in their ignorance, being themselves deceived, and are firmly convinced that natural religion, or Deism, is the goal of Christian faith. May God help them to gain understanding. Descend from the heights of your pride and view yourselves without partiality. You will see that you stand on the dangerous path of disillusion. Your religion, for which you want to prepare humanity, would definitely be the sole truth if the human did not fall. And on this particular point we agree, but you do not recognize that the human has actually fallen, but confirm that all moral evil evolves only from his limitations. Ascertain for yourselves, from limitations can evolve shortcomings in knowledge, delusion and weakness of the will. This is followed by repulsive evil due to weakness; not decisive, but malicious. And it only requires eyes to see this based on experience that all the thoughts of a person are evil from his youth. Is it proper that you should preach to such people a religion of simple reason, and one that is distorted? Is it sufficient for a crippled and weak person lying on a bed to listen to an interpretation of how they should arise and walk on both feet? Will not this crippled and weak person say, “My Lord! You are out of your mind. First heal my legs and give strength to my bones, and I will walk on my own.” The human has fallen into the condition unnatural to him, and as a result of this supernatural means are required to deliver him.
All of us are participants in the same lottery, where the winnings are paid in eternal life and bliss, while the loss is eternal condemnation. Christians can in no manner lose. And if their beliefs are apostate they will lose, just as you will. But if they do not go astray and their conduct correlates with their beliefs, they will win first prize, having the winning ticket. If you do not err, nothing remains but bliss for the Christians, only a certain higher state after this life, of which you know completely nothing about. But if you err, which is mostly likely to occur - then your fate is eternal condemnation, because you knew the path of salvation and rejected it. Say now yourselves, whom of the two are the more intelligent. At this time I now bid farewell to you. May God grant that my words be accepted by every reader and listener. In time I again will appear to you and if all goes according to my expectations, then I will narrate to you what has occurred to me during my travels, to which I was ordained, Farewell.
Heaven and earth will pass away,
But my words will never pass away.
No one knows that day or hour,
Not even the Angels in heaven,
Not the Son, but only the Father.
Beloved Fellow Countrymen
Sometime ago I (Stilling) said nothing to you about our honorable Eastern-Light, and I am unable to do so now. War is a terrifying monster and closely roared from beneath me to the point that I, sitting at my desk, hear its horrible roar and the floor shake under my feet. Every minute I imagined thousands of my brethren being swallowed by this monster every time it opened its jaws, and the devastated fields of poverty-stricken peasants made damp by their blood. I was unable to write as I vividly pictured the sorrowful destiny of those fleeing the charred remains of their destitute villages envious of the fate of the bones of relatives and friends left behind, those whom death delivered from these evils. When will that blessed era arise when this beast, war, will be shackled in iron chains? The Lord knows when. Meanwhile, taking advantage of the calm granted me by the goodness of the Lord, I will relate to you the conversation I recently had with Menace, and hope that it will bring you some consolation and instruction. It is always sad for me when I see people joyful at the present time. I don’t forbid them their joy. Fortunate is the person who can be happy at the present, as much as he can. But I cannot rejoice when my neighbors will be savagely affected by war, plague, famine, and economic ruin. I will then be melancholy and sorrowful over their plight. They say, “But this seldom occurs. Every century has had its war and plague and famine and economic ruin. At the present the circumstances are the same, this era is not unlike those earlier.” My heart is saddened as a result of such an attitude. “Why should this bother you? Is not all of this an indication of our soon deliverance from all calamity? Should we not rejoice as a result of this, because out salvation draws near?” Yes, if we endure the menacing era of temptation which comes upon the entire world. And because I speak and sorrow in this manner, they call me morose, unpredictable and unsociable. Let them talk in this manner. My [friend] Menace does not say the same, because he knows better.
Not long ago during a comfortable autumn evening, I went for a walk, and while on the road I mediated on the turbulence of the present era. While deep in thought, I wandered into unfamiliar territory. Here between two high mountains, toward the east, a narrow valley extended out. On the mountains was a forest. On my right side was a cliff and an ancient castle in ruins at the top, while below it was a large pond which reflected the beautiful evening dusk. On the left side at the foot of the mountain stood an old fashioned church with a cemetery along side it. In front of the church was an old oak tree, having nests built by the cranes at the top. The birds flew away and the nests became empty. The onset of winter scared them and they left. I thought, “Only if we were able to fly away from the impending doom and acquire somewhere a safe refuge. Our nest can also then be emptied.”
Deep in my mediation, with the fading light of the evening dusk, I glance at the cemetery lying opposite me and the verse came to my mind, Precious unto the Lord are the death of his Saints. Tears then began to flow out of my eyes. Standing on the mountain and looking around I saw a person making his way through the cemetery hedge beside the graves. It seemed to me that this was Menace, and indeed it was; I descended from the hill and went from the cemetery to him. He sorrowfully greeted me. We sat upon one of the graves and had the following conversation between us.
I: Where have you been this long while, honorable father. Not having seen me?
He: I have walked far, to gather the last of the grapes in the garden of the Lord and the last of the grain in this field.
I: Have you found much that was quality for the silo of our Lord?
He: I found a few ripe clusters and full ears, but in general all was in a pitiful condition. Those living in the land bring me little comfort. This is why I am more willing to stroll through desolate cemeteries and rejoice more over those who there rest from their labors in hope of a resurrection. In this very grave upon which we sit decays a grain of wheat which at some future time will blossom into glory.
I: Tell me my father, something about him.
He: With pleasure, and even more will I tell you so you will communicate this to your friends who read about your Menace. The person, upon whose grave we sit, served 50 years in the magistrate and was a Burgomaster of one city at this time when the French entered it the first time. His friends rejoiced over this and one of them, who sat together in the city hall with the Burgomaster, was selected to be the representative of the region to the new arrangement of the city Duma. The French general commanded him to gather all the citizens and for them to pledge allegiance to the French republic liberty and equality. When everybody was ready for this and all the citizens were gathered with their elder Burgomaster, the new representative began his speech about the good fortune awaiting them from unification with the French republic, and he concluded his speech with an invitation to give it their pledge of allegiance. At this time the former Burgomaster, a respected elder of about 70, arose and said. “Gentleman Representative and you beloved citizens, all of us have pledged our allegiance to God, to the Emperor and to the fatherland, and have lived prosperously under our own laws. We are all equal and have liberty without all this, and so there is not any necessity for us to accept this new institution without violating the pledge to our emperor, and so we cannot accept this. Gentlemen Representative and you beloved citizens, I will not pledge allegiance. My Savior in whom I believe died for humanity, for his brethren, and I can also do the same and remain a true Christian. My beloved citizens, if I can redeem myself from this pledge with my grey head, then here it is. I offer it.
I: Excellent, what a charitable man. And then what happens.
He: All the citizens responded with a firm voice and decisively, “We will not take the oath.” The Representative left from embarrassment while the general, thinking, released the people from the pledge. But the second time the city was taken, during the violent rule of Robespierre, this same representative assembled a guillotine and erected it at the city gate. The elder Burgomaster was then forced to flee from the city. Even though he would have given up his head on behalf of his citizens, but they were forced into the oath of allegiance. The honored elder, worried by sorrow, decrepitude and bad weather, here in the first village collapsed from exhaustion and died. And under his very mount the one we sit on, he rests. I shook his hand before his death and said, “Sleep deeply, witness to the truth, and when you awake I will be a witness on your behalf, and because of my witness you will not stand before judgment.” He passed away, rejoicing over his salvation.
I: It would have been proper to erect a memorial over the grave of his honorable elder.
He: This old oak tree with its branches giving shade to his grave with its nests is a better tombstone for him. It will endure time as long as there are people to take notice of such tombstones.
I: I will carve the name of his hero into the oak and will come here as an incentive for myself to remember him.
He: You can do this. Few are found that are like him who have not been blinded by the new enlightenment and have not drunk of the intellect of rebellion. Before the flood, before the destruction of Jerusalem, before the fall of the Roman Empire when the Turks defeated Constantinople, and before every great judgment of God there reigned carelessness, luxury and extravagance to the utmost extreme and vice increased to the maximum extent, but at no time, except before the flood and in our own era, did they reject the revelations of religion. The Jews through the collapse of the kingdom were even more confirmed in the teaching of their faith, but the Greek Christians did not extend their reasoning to that point of altering their faith. Subsequently, they can still find their salvation and blessing as soon as they run to it. But before the flood people did not want to be governed by the Holy Spirit, just as at present people refuse. And they decided that they needed not any revelation, but to be governed only by the experience of intellect. The present situation is dangerous and more terrifying than that earlier, because at the present God has done all that he could for people, without violating their freedom. He gave them a savior and they rejected him. And so nothing more now remains except for the verdict and sentence.
I: Right you are. During this extreme degree of sensuality, during this extreme inclination towards sin, we want to become benevolent using our own personal strength, and arbitrarily reject every divine assistance which God so generously sends us through Christ.
He: It is exactly so. I will bring up one example. God promised solemnly in his word that he will listen to the prayer of the righteous. In olden times this was believed, and so when there occurred some nationwide disaster, they instituted days of fasting and prayer, and at the assigned time the gospel preached by the church summoned the people into the temple, while those who remained at home turned in prayer, to the extent that each was able. This custom no longer exists at present and some have even come to consider it hypocrisy and superstition. Suppose that in these prayer services there occurred at some time or another something improper, but what is truth will reside in him who is pleasing unto God, he who prays, rather than him who does not pray at all.
I: An essential truth. Who prays, he relies upon God and even if improper opinions may enter, this occurs out of ignorance and truly God mercifully views those who rely on him and run to him.
He: Disregarding all the unbelief, God even at present confirms his promise regarding listening to prayer consisting of many experiences. As proof of this, I will related to you one very significant event. Last year, when the French entered Swabia (south-west Germany), and marched against the city Wittenberg, the residents in great fear ran to the church. The pious priest came there and the entire population began to ask him to pray together with him. The priest unlocked the church and all rushed into it and prayed more sincerely and fervently than they ever did before. What then happened? The army turned in another direction and they did not see even one soldier in their city. After several days, the French again appeared about a quarter-hour away from the city, and the population again ran to the church, the priest again prayed having all hope. And when the people in their fear cried and prostrated themselves, praying that the French would not enter the city to be among them, the priest related the words of Isaiah prophet in a loud voice, “You will not see the nation whose language you do not understand.” And the French at the entrance of the city turned to the left, and not one of them was to be seen in the city
I: This event is a glorious witness to the truth which can establish a person in faith and hope. From the many experiences which occurred with me personally, I want to bring up one especially memorable. In 1792, when one duke was in France with his armies, when the French general Kustin possessed Mainz and Frankford and stood with his army near our border, they gathered contributions, and arrested and deported the hostages. Then we were in great fear and awaited the certain arrival of the French, and especially because our nation was at war with France. Every minute we received frightening news regarding the approach of the enemy. On one Sunday in the morning, the people became alarmed more than previously. Every person sought a salvation by fleeing, but since I possessed at the time an obligation beyond my vocation, which did not allow me to flee with the others, I went into my room and locked the door and began to pray with fervent zeal and many tears for a deliverance. Although I at the present warn every person about harmful habits to satisfy their impatience and curiosity to open the Bible and consider the words that you view there as a divine answer to your petition or question, I myself felt within myself and inner motivation to do this. As I stood before the very shelf containing many spiritual books, I took the first one that I could reach, opened it, and found these comforting words, “I lifted my eyes to the hills from where my help comes. My help comes from the Lord, creator of heaven and earth. As mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds His people now and forever.” These revealed words comforted me so much that I became very encouraged and they definitely fulfilled: Not one Frenchman crossed the border to our side and in the end peace concluded all disasters.
He: Every prayer with firm faith in God produces indescribable benefit. And if it is not fulfilling exactly according to the request of the petitioner, God will still reward him double or triple the amount in another fashion. Often the exact fulfillment occurs in such an obvious manner that even the unbelievers have to be convinced by it. For example, when the French army under general Zhurdan hurriedly retreated to the Rhine after their defeat by Prussian forces, the army committed such atrocities that they will never be forgotten by Germany, which the just heavily Judge will not forgive them. Then one rebellious band of criminals attacked the house of a benevolent and pious villager, who, living far from the city, was unable to flee and deliver himself. On fear of himself and his family, he turned with fervent prayer to his heavenly Father and said to him in his soul, “And now when all appears to be lost you can still achieve more, heavenly Father. Help us, help us, and deliver us.” At that very moment the French general with his troops ran into his yard and chased the brigands outs of his house before they were able to do any damage or harm to homeowner and his household. With lively gratitude to God and to the general the master of the house with his family rushed to thank him. But this honorable general would not accept his gratitude, and as if knowing the circumstances answered, “Do not thank me, but God, who through inscrutable destiny led me to your home to save you. Likewise kindly remember me also.” I could relate to you many such examples.
I: Whoever will withstand and endure the temptations during the present circumstances in France will definitely be the purest gold. The surviving tower standing there on the mountain between the ruins will be for me a memorial for the honorable general, and on it I will place an altar for the pious supplicant who was able to pray in such a manner.
He: You said earlier that people respect all means granted them by God to attain benevolence and piety, and that they want to do everything with their own personal strength. But this is not surprising because the modern preachers do not teach them otherwise. Right now, they do not lead people to a knowledge of personal immeasurable depravity, they do not tell them that in their natural condition they can in no way be saved, and that they must completely be changed. Repentance and rebirth become comical words, not having any meaning, and a matter not realizable. In place of this they present a salvation that is very easily attainable and babble to them about virtue, while they will not help them lifting even a finger as the earlier Pharisees. How can a person not realize that he is helpless and thinking that it is in his authority to become virtuous, who can help such a person believe and pray?
I: It seems that war, this brutal plague, and other general catastrophes, could cause them to reason this way.
He: Some are awakened and as a result of this begin to come to their senses. But in general these means serve little to motivate a repentance and conviction of their life, because a pseudo-enlightenment here barricades the path. Not long ago, I heard that one popular Protestant preacher confirmed that this war is not the instrument of God for the conversion and correction of people, but an evil similar to other misfortunes of the life of humanity which evolves from the imperfection of humanity and from which something good may result in time. According to his option, war is not the punishment of God for the sins of the people, but is a natural evil which is necessary to bear magnanimously. Because, says he, if it was a punishment, then it would affect only sinners. But this, he says, never occurs; but it affects the good and the evil alike, and it even occurs that the very pious and upright people endure even more than others who are immersed in all types of vices. And so if war is the punishment of God, then God acts unjustly by using it. One elderly peasant who sat here in the corner behind everybody and heard this reasoning shook his head and laughed and said, “With your permission gentleman Pastor, I do not agree with your opinion. I believe that every evil, just as with this war, evolves from human depravity. I believe this because, that although all Divine punishments have a natural cause, however they are still punishments. It is also true that always something good will result from it. But do not be angry because it seems to me that it would be much better if even more good would result from these catastrophes.” “Correct you are,” said the Pastor. The peasant continued, “But if we were to now consider war as the punishment of God for our sins, and not some incidental event, that does not concern us, how soon we would repent and utilize all means which has opened to us through the Holy Scripture in order to reform ourselves. If God did have intentions to punish us using such national catastrophes, then all of this would not be repulsive to him, that we take advantage of them and utilize them to our reform. Even then we should not say that the elder tree was created only to make the person who tries to chop it apart sweat. But it is not objectionable to God in deed that it should do exactly that. But what you did say about war, ‘It is not punishment, because not only are the evil affected but also the pious.’ Then I ask of you not to be angry at me, I taught children in Catechism to believe in this matter in this manner: When a Christian becomes cold and negligent, then national calamities motivate him and cause him to become zealous in virtue and prayer, and so the pious person is purified through such calamities, and strengthened and protects himself from evil. But on the contrary, they serve as punishment for the sinner. To others they served as instruction and admonishment that the person be converted and so that nothing else worse should affect them. This is how I believe, gentleman Pastor, that the preacher who teaches in this manner will accomplish more good than him who reasons as you do.” The Pastor did not reply to any of this, while I shook the hand of the benevolent peasant and joyfully gazed at him.
I: I thank you my father, because you have gladly viewed their benevolent peasant and this is no trifling matter. For a joyful gaze upon this destitute person is just as the beautiful sun shining on sentry duty during cold autumn days.
He: I am especially comforted with these peasants. God-fearing people are still among them, and the greater portion of those who enter the heavenly Kingdom are from the peasants and tradesmen. Not long ago I found in Veteray one peasant, a genuine patriarch who reasoned about war more intellectually then a professor and pastor. He spoke to his neighbors who stood in a circle around him and complained about the plague, “Listen Brethren. The Lord our God showed us an example in Bavaria and in other regions on the opposite (east) side of the Rhine, and awaits out conversion. Not seeing this in us He first draws closer to us and allows the death of our cattle. If we do not fathom this then He has in store famine and pestilence, until He spares us from war.”
I: These words brought much more benefit then 100 sermons preached without spirit and life.
He: Yes, but let me tell you even more about my beloved peasant. This summer, when all began to migrate from the local regions, about 30 persons, men, women, and children, the greater part of them from noble families, came as evening was setting to one peasant home which stood at a distant from the village. All of them were tired and could not travel any further. The affectionate peasant woman invited them in, showed them into the hut, them to the best she could, caressed the small children, taking care of them, giving the poor mothers a chance to rest from their exhaustion. Her husband likewise sincerely helped them all he could. And as these travelers left in the morning on their way, the benevolent could only have them pay for their food, and only because their land was mortgaged and they could not afford to be too hospitable for free.
I: Such Christian characteristics are worth more than a generous contribution of money to charity or to save a friend from calamity because it reveals the benevolent status of the heart.
He: True! At times a person will be charitable with the intention of appeasing God, so that he would not require from us some favorite sin of ours. You do really notice that at present we hear more judged acts of magnanimity [than in earlier times].
I: Yes, but this is partly because they have begun to publicize in newspapers and magazines charitable activities. For this reason, they have become public, but I fear that this publicity may become the reason for some benevolent act, just to have it printed in the newspaper.
He: This can easily occur. But this type of charity usually occurs, as I said, in order to appease or gain the approval of the holy and righteous God. And it seems because they think that the essence of Christianity consists only in charity and not in the complete reformation of the heart which must be the basis and reason of all benevolence.
I: I ask you, my father, teach me to understand the present eras, so I can better instruct my brethren and fellow countrymen.
He: Willingly. The significant and apparent sign of this era is the excessive arbitrary attitude toward religion, united with such a carelessness that did not exist before the flood. Think: Should this occur, that the clergy themselves should laugh at the truths of religion. Not long ago one pious priest related to me, how another priest asked him to take his place at the liturgy on Ascension Day (Holy Thursday) and to preach the seminar. He after preparing for this with the fear of God, went to the parish priest’s house, planning at the right time to go to church from there. The parish priest greeted him politely at the gates with the following words, “Welcome. Well did you bring with yourself a well built carriage for us to take Christ on a ride to heaven?”
I: This is horrible. It is painful to listen to such words.
He: I am not at all happy as a result of this. But why should I be surprised that such preachers exist when the university teachers provide to their students a poor example in their own liberal and bold sermons? One glorious professor not long ago in a pompous and verbose speech stated that Christ was nothing more than human and he concluded his lecture with the following words, “Tomorrow, gentleman, we will clop the wings of the Holy Spirit.” This expression so enamored another professor that he began to imitate him, saying the same in as many words, that he will ‘extinguish the flame of the Holy Spirit’. It is easy to understand the type of foundation that is being laid for these students with such a teaching, those who later become preachers. This type of abomination was unheard of, even from the foundation of the world. It is necessary for these people to think on what will happen to them on that day if the teaching of the Sacred Scripture regarding the divinity of Christ and the Holy Spirit is correct and true and likewise indubitable.
I: Terrible, terrible. Fear and trembling will envelop every soul--now that you think about it--of those who must await the consequences, if such people who graduate from the university become preachers and instructors of children.
He: It is easy to understand why people who place for themselves as a rule this insane attitude, to revere nothing as truth except what they can touch with their hands or prove with their minds, and so cannot accept the teaching of the Christian faith. This does not evolve from the human soul, but ascends from hell itself. This is a deeply rooted hatred of Christ and his teaching of salvation.
I: Allow me to remind you of something, my father. You said, “It is easy to understand that such people cannot accept the teaching of faith, because they do not consider anything as truth except what they can comprehend with their minds.” Such people, instead of making themselves teachers in the upper classes, should be sent to the lower classes to learn. If they do not consider anything as truth except what they can prove and explain with their intellect, then they should be able to believe in much and all that they see with their eyes and hear with their ears. Leonard Euler himself with all of his treatises regarding light never attained to the point that there did not remain terrible contradictions in explanation of the manner that people see or hear. When these highly educated men finally see and hear, even thought they know not now, they would have to believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ, not needing evidence based on their own intellect.
He: What they do not want to believe will not be any advantage to them later, because it said, “It will be unto you according to your faith.” Truly there will not be for them neither Christ not Redeemer, but they will reap the fruits of what they have sown at present. Lucian [Bonaparte] cannot endure the judgment seat of the honorable, good, and human heart because he was so bold regarding his activities -- which for many thousands of people is sacred – even though his activities were tainted and unworthy of the deity. Then how will those endure when they stand before the strict judgment of God, who consider the gospel of Jesus Christ foolishness and discredit the Bible which has nothing to say improper about the deity if a person will only understand which is written correctly and not arbitrarily interpret it? At the present time articles are being published against the Bible, and they are so bold that Lucian would probably not have dared to write them. And these articles are read by so many that the printers cannot keep up with the demand.
I: I know well about these articles. But tell me, most-honorable father, is there no help for this calamity.
He: Help now? These books are already distributed among people and are having their effects. It is impossible to stop them from writing new ones. Even if the Sovereign himself were to forbid them, then others will come along and print more. And if all of them were to publicly agree, then they will begin to clandestinely reprint and rewrite them and distribute even more of them.
I: And so there is nothing else to be done except to allow the weeds to grow together with the wheat until the harvest.
He: Of course, nothing else can be done except for a person to himself indefatigably abide in sowing the seed. Let them sow weeds, but we will continue to sow good seed. The rest we will leave to the wise arrangements of the great house of our Sovereign.
I: We need to think about this. Our sermon educators take example from the French. But now they have before their eyes terrible examples as a result of the revolution. They well know how many thousands, and even millions were executed and died there in a most horrible manner, the massive disorder that exists there and to the present.
He: None of this is any help. They think that they will do much better than the French, to more intelligently arrange their affairs, if they should have the opportunity to take the rule into their hands, because all of their efforts are directed toward gaining rule over the entire world.
I: Protect us Lord, from such rule. How bad it will be for those true worshipers of God and members of his religion.
He: Exactly, but God will save his elect in the near future, for their sake these days will be shortened.
I: This is the only comfort that can strengthen us during these frightening times. But would it not be better if at the present time to have greater evidence of the truth of religion? Other good people still doubt although themselves they would like to believe, but the arguments against the narratives of the gospel seem to them indisputable. Not long ago another friend asked me to write in a tract my experience that Christ actually rose from the dead.
He: This is similar to the situation where Jews asked for another sign from Christ, although they saw themselves how he made the blind to see, made the deaf to hear and even resurrected the dead. Believe me, if Christ now lives among us and accomplished such miracles and sins and even resurrected one from among ourselves, this would still not remedy the situation. The human intellect and doubt would find even them something for them to doubt. Who does not want to believe will not be helped by any type of evidence. Likewise he who does want but can not, this will assist him little.
I: Are miracles then useless and unnecessary?
H: O, not at all. They become a strong support of faith for the person who wants to and can believe, indicating what Jesus Christ can do when he desires to help. The resurrection is not supposed to be as much a proof his embassy and deity as much as confirmation that he eternally lives, reigns, and hear our prayers.
I: This is correct. But a person must be totally convinced that he actually resurrected, and this very confirmation is what I intend to present in my tracts.
He: Tell me, please, my friend Stilling, what do you think? Is it necessary for your friend to fully believe in that.
I: I think that he will be satisfied when I prove to him the resurrection of Christ so truthfully, just as Christ lived on the earth.
He: But what if he should want proof also that Christ actually lived on the earth? Whoever doubts and wavers in faith will not believe in anything, unless he sees it and hears it himself. But of what you yourself see and hear, you no longer have a need to believe, because you know this as a fact. If your friend wants to know whether Christ manifestly lived on earth, died and resurrected, then he should have lived at the time of Christ and conversed with him.
I: This he does not require, because he has no doubt in this.
He: Then why does he not doubt in [Christ’s] earthly existence, but doubts in the reality of his resurrection? These very witnesses which narrate his life and death, and there are many, also narrate this resurrection. When we believe in one event, why not believe in the other also?
I: Because the resurrection of Christ is a supernatural event and difficult to fathom.
He: I shall relate to you the primary proof, the only one to establish the resurrection of Christ. There is no doubt that there are items which for people are supernatural and incredible, however, they do occur. The birth of a person and every animal is likewise an activity of light and sound, and other items although labeled as natural the more they are examined and researched the more they become not understandable and supernatural. How much in nature is miraculous, so that for the accurate and valid examiner of the nature of the resurrection from death and in the immortality of the resurrected person is no more unbelievable as are many other items. When the type of people whose witness contains all the necessary qualities of reliability in unison affirm that they have often seen Christ during the night and during the day, spoke with him, heard him and touched him with their hands, in order for them not to believe it is necessary to prove that they decided themselves or else that they were atheistic deceivers. But can 10, 20, or even 500 people be deceived when they are all suddenly and often see hear and feel the same and when this continues for 40 days? Not much intelligence is necessary in order to understand that it is impossible for all the apostles and the contemporaries to have been deceived. Subsequently, the resurrection of Christ along with all his miracles preached did exist and were true, or else the evangelists and apostles were massive frauds. But without terrible blaspheming it is impossible to even consider fraud when you read their epistles and find in them the great spirit of an excellence virtue and holiness. When you consider that all of these men knew that there was nothing to be gained with their narratives of their Lord and teacher, except contempt, persecution and a terrible death, I say that all of them knew this and regardless continued to preach and joyfully sealed their testimony with their sufferings and death. Who will calmly and impartially mediate on all of this and still is unable to believe, he is sick in soul, because it is impossible to provide any more of a historical proof than this.
I: All of this I know. But how can this sick spirit be remedied.
He: With diligent exercise in watchfulness and prayer and in all Christian obligations. Whoever continuously conducts himself in a relationship with the omnipresent God in Christ, and restrain themselves from all empty thoughts, he gradually is strengthened in faith, and finally discovers the intentions that are so suitable and so trustworthy that he can with this basis say, “I know in whom I have believed.”
I: I think that my friend will be satisfied with this evidence regarding the resurrection of Christ.
He: I rejoice. It would be sad for me if he was to remain dissatisfied. This proof is completely adequate as a confirmation: a person must believe also and not just know. The promise of salvation is founded upon faith.
I: You my father, I sense, have taken notice that among the offspring of God everywhere is apparent a certain motivation and movement, as if they already have a secret premonition of the approaching final battle and victory. Does not all of this serve as an indication of this era.
He: Absolutely. They already begin to raise their heads and look to see if their deliverance draws near. But if these good people who especially have this strong premonition would only be more careful.
I: What for?
He: Certain good people having good intentions have dared to positively foretell that specifically in the approaching years this will occur. You know that the late prelate Bengel wrote an interpretation on the Book of Revelations by the Apostle John. This just man did not err in the primary points. It has come true in detail and especially is confirmed by the fact that 50 years ago he foretold of the start of the great battle during the final decade of this century. For this reason his chronology seems correct, but he was unnecessarily bold in his attempt to interpret the obscure parts of Revelation, interpreting Asia as the land and Egypt as the river, and so on, and his further conclusions have the same basis. The land can refer to the promised land and in particular is a prototype of European Christianity, and specifically Germany and France with the neighboring countries, while river can indicate science and enlightenment, because rivers and streams fill the land and cause it to become productive. When these and other interpretations of mine are recognized as correct, then the predictions of Bengel that these events must occur in Rome and Jerusalem will appear not only futile but also damaging, because they led away true Christians from the goal and subjected then to a deception. Those who are weak in faith as a result of this become unbelievers, while the unbelievers find more reasons and occurrences to mock. Christ specifically said that this day will arrive suddenly and unexpectedly. And no one can know exactly when this is to occur before the time. For this reason, predictions are always dubious, they serve only for the purpose of the Christians to note that the time is near so that he would plan his conduct. And then if the prediction occurs they are strengthened in faith. But if they are explained in detail ahead of time and then later fail to fulfill, then there occurs the opposite effect. They lead into deception those who believed in them and the result of a look of fulfillment of these predictions causes them to weaken in faith. However, Bengel was very careful, because he does not state that his statements are trustworthy, but that they are only believable guesses. At the present people have risen who dictate as irrefutable truth that which he considered only trustworthy. How negligent of them! Won’t they later discredit the spirit of prophecy if much of what was stated never occurs? And will not the Lord himself vent His anger as a result of this? A preacher [named] Tube in Meklehberg printed several pamphlets where he stated specifically what was to occur in the coming 40 years, and with such detail, that as through the books of the judgments of God were opened to him.
I: I have heard something about this man. Please tell me how he got to this point?
He: About 25 years ago, that is, in 1775, Tube was supposed to deliver a sermon before the Duke of Meklenberg in Ludvigslust. The Sunday gospel reading was John 15:26-27 and 16:1-4, where Christ promises his disciples a comforter, foretells to them of many persecutions and sufferings, and then says, “But this I say to you, yes, when this time arrives, you will remember this which I said to you. I did not tell you of this from the start when I was with you first.” There is a doubt that Tube sensibly and soundly meditated on this important text, and as a result of this [meditation] his spirit attained a certain ecstasy. When he read these quoted words as he stood at the altar, a great awe enveloped him, which increased as time went on. However, he went into the cathedral and where this awe which enveloped him increased to such a degree that he could no longer recite his sermon, although someone else was telling him to continue. At the conclusion of the choir singing a certain verse, he contritely turned to God and fervently prayed for strength, fortitude and help from above, and within a moment, this awe left him. He finished relating his sermon very calmly and then in detailed words, with great conviction, relayed that in 15 years, namely in 1790 there was to begin a massive change in political and religious matters.
If this good man had stopped at this point and printed only his sermon with a note regarding the prediction which occurred, then he would have become a benefit and confirmed faith in prophecy. But because he [later] imagined that he knew all of it in detail ahead of time, he will surely be put to shame. This also occurred with a certain Tsegin, although Tsegin depended not on the Bible but astrology and the Kabbalah. But many, and also those who were founded on the Bible, made a mistake and so gave reason to discredit the spirit of prophecy. We can accept as an indubitable rule that all interpretation of prophesy which is defined in detail and definitely included names, months, people, years and days, time and hour, is erroneous. It is contrary to the plan of God to unveil the future complete in detail since this is an obstacle to his intentions, and then the enemy would be able to implement his own plan.
I: There comes to mind something significant. From the beginning of the world the less prophecy that was believed the closer they were to their fulfillment. Before the flood people laughed at the preaching of Noah and his ark. As convincing as the prophets of Israel were in warning the people of the captivity by Babylon, of what benefit was it? Who believed them? These very prophets left behind so many signs pertaining to the arrival of the Messiah; and in general they awaited him during that very era when Christ was born. But they did not accept him as the Christ. Why is this?
He: Because the ways of God are not the ways of humans. The intellect devises his own plans and assigns to God the manner by which He should govern the world. But these plans are always opposite to the plan of God, for the intellect produces its own conclusions from tangible and not moral principles. Then it can be easy to understand why sensual people do not believe prophecy.
I: But tell me my father, how can I apply the predictions of the Bible to the present era?
He: The late Kraft in Frankfurt gave a sermon on the prophecies of Daniel. It is located in the first volume of his sermons, published in Frankfurt by Johann Jacob Vertz. There you will uncover a sample of the manner a person should interpret prophetic narratives. But in order that you could be a benefit to your readers, even without delivering a sermon, I will explain to you the principle items in prophecy which concerns our era.
I: By way of this you will bring to me true joy.
He: Christ himself esteemed Daniel and his predictions by referring to them, as it is indicated in the gospel of Matthew 24:15. Subsequently, we must acknowledge this prophet in the 2nd chapter of his prophecies explains the dream and Nebuchadnezzar. This king saw a massive body whose head was gold, chest and arms silver, waist and stomach brass, while the legs were iron mixed with clay. According to further explanation of the prophet, the head signifies the Assyrian and Babylonian monarchy; the chest and the arms the Persian; the stomach and waist the Greek, while the feet the Roman.
I: There were also in the world powerful kingdoms. Why did the spirit of prophecy select only these four?
He: Because these had the primary effect on organized religion and the nations that profess it, and the Israelite nation had much involvement with the Babylonian, Persian, Greek, and finally Roman [Empire]. And all of Christianity, or the greater part of it, had eventual its residence in the Roman Empire. For Constantinople, which the Turks possess, once belonged to the Roman Empire, and even the balance of Europe resided in close relations with the empire.
I: But can it be proven that both feet signify the Roman Empire now as it did then?
He: Absolutely. Because the nature of both feet with 10 toes exactly corresponds to this empire. The primary proof especially consists in the scene where the massive rocks torn from the mountain without hands shatter the entire body and its feet, and in this manner terminate the kingdom of the feet. And after then this rock established the foundation for the Kingdom of God which forever will flourish in complete prosperity and will never be destroyed. Since this Kingdom of God has in reality not yet started, the kingdom of the feet must still yet continue and exist as the Roman Empire, which still continues at present.
I: The evidence is solid. Up to this time the Kingdom of God has not yet acquired the reign in the world, while the Roman monarchy with its fingers, or 10 electorates, yet stands.
He: In this dream of Nebuchadnezzar, as explained by Daniel, we discover a general reflection of the entire history of the struggling and suffering church of God up to the complete victory and beginning of the Kingdom of Christ. But this general prophecy is explained by new revelation that is more definitive and clear, which Daniel himself possessed and which he related beginning from the 7th chapter to the conclusion of his book. Daniel saw just the former monarchy appearing as 4 different beasts arising from the sea. For us the most remarkable of them all is the final beast who is described in the 7th chapter, beginning from the 7th verse, and who definitely must signify the Roman Empire on the following basis. Here, the Kingdom of Christ follows without interruption after the kingdom of the beast. But in as much as the Kingdom of God has not yet appeared, then the sovereignty of this beast must still continue.
I: This is correct. In particular, the sign where the 10 horns of the scarlet beast here agrees with the 10 toes of the feet of his body.
He: Exactly so. But for our era a particular observation worth noting is the small horn between the other 10; verses 8, 24 and 25. Because there is related that he will arise among the other 10 kings or kingdoms, and will be stronger than any of those before him. This king will destroy 3 kings or 3 kingdoms; he will pronounce blasphemy against God; he will persecute, torture, kill and destroy his saints; he will dare to change the times and laws. The believers will fall into his hands for a period, 2 periods, and half a period. Then the kingdom of God will destroy this adversary in a great victory and triumph and will continue forever.
I: We saw a minor prototype of this adversary in Robespierre in France, and considering all things it seems it will soon reach the actual matter. In France, they have changed the times, as indicated in their [new] calendar, and I think that the laws will likewise change.
He: This is all correct. But this is not the actual matter, but only a prototype of it, as you well said. All that is occurring at present is only preparative. France always presented itself a prototype of all the sovereignties and was always first in fashion, science, and luxury. All the other countries imitated it and continue to imitate it now.
I: Unfortunately it is exactly so. But I ask you my father, educate me more.
He: Christ himself in his final words makes some indication that not long before his final arrival these destitute times shall arise, to such an extent which has not yet occurred from the time the world began. His apostles unveil the circumstance under which these times shall arise, and in particular: a general apostasy from faith and through the person of sin. 2 Thess 2; and that this person of sin is the same as the one mentioned by Daniel or the small horn can be easily ascertained from the entirety of the description of the apostle. John in detail indicates the nature of this person-devil in this manner, that this adversary of Christ, or Antichrist, will deny Christ and his Father. Note this: here is an indubitable indication by which a person can definitely recognize that the beginning of birth pains is at the doors. The entire French realm, with the exception of a few faithful and elect, has once already rejected the Christian faith and by command of the government has rejected God and Christ. Germany is following the same path. Other Christian nations and realms also are heading in the same direction. The beginning is truly already established, but we must not specify what shall now occur year after year, although Bengel guesses only tolerably the beginning, however, he rather badly conducted himself confirming that the battle begins in 1806 in particular and will continue to 1836. If this does not fulfill then the mockers will begin to laugh; the simple-mind will become apathetic, while the weak will be led stray. If this does fulfill, is this the indication ahead of time that the day, era and hour really in agreement with the will of God? Bengel definitely was a pious and educated man, and wrote with considerable caution and humility, however in this situation he sinned beyond question. But his followers sin more and worse, disseminating his opinions as incontestable and thereby allowing the spirit of prophecy to be discredited, and along with him the entire religion itself.
I: All of this I remember, and I see that a person must be cautious as much as he can. But what will you tell me, my father, even if cautiously, what from the Revelation to John does concern the present era.
He: I will not willingly. It seems there is no doubt that this important book, overflowing with visions, contains such a prediction whose fulfillment begins with the demolition of the Jewish Kingdom and concludes with the final arrival of Christ. But the principle matter consists in this, to be able to recognize the 2 authorities which war to gain worldwide sovereignty over all humanity.
The present topic of prophecy is Christ and Satan. The first is portrayed as a lamb with seven horns and seven eyes, while the other [is portrayed] as a snake. Both portrayals have a basis in the Holy Scripture. The Passover lamb was a sacrament, the deliverance of the nation of Israel from servitude to the Egyptians, for this reason the Redeemer of all the human race is portrayed as the Passover lamb, executed for the sake of people. But since the temptation of the first person to disobedience to God evolved from the snake so the principle deceiver possesses a likeness of a large flying snake, or dragon. This snake reigned during the eras of idolatry, because he--except for the nation of Israel--was venerated in idols by them all as long as polytheism had the dominion. But as soon as the Christian church began to reign as it is portrayed in Rev. 12:7 and elsewhere, after that battle and defeat of the snake by the archangel Michael, the snake was thrown from heaven, that is, the worship or veneration of him ceased. Now he utilizes other means, since he is now on the earth and no longer in heaven. And so he utilizes people to accomplish his intentions and incites them to establish a monarchy conforming to his spirit and consisting of his own personal kingdom. The spirit of the snake is self-will independence of God, complete selfishness, pride, and a drive toward domination of the entire world with the ruin and destruction of the balance, and a fierce despot, or in one word, the self. This human monarchy in which the snake is the true and genuine director and king is described further in the 18th chapter of Revelations portrayed as an awesome beast with seven heads and 10 horns, arising from the sea. According to the description it is apparent that this beast is very close in comparison with the 4th beast of Daniel, which he also saw ascending from the sea, and which had the small horn. The beast described by Daniel is the Roman Empire while the one seen by John was in the Roman Empire because he portrays the kingdom of the snake in this monarchy. The 10 horns can be understood as the Roman Kingdom, but the 7 heads are the kingdom of the snake. The essence of this kingdom essentially consists in this, that the spirit of the snake crawls and slithers into religion and introduces politics into it and strives to gain the sovereignty over all humanity. It seems that there is no reason to doubt that this beast is the image of the Roman papacy.
I: And this is an indication the kingdom of the snake is considered attempting to gain worldwide sovereignty?
He: No doubt. But to this we must include the sovereignty over the consciences of the people. Because this properly consists of the kingdom of darkness: the snake wants to be venerated. Among the pagans, this veneration occurred in idolatry, while in the other religions in their many superstitions. Now note this! The sovereignty of this beast of the sea prolonged 42 months, and at the end of this time this very beast must again arise from the abyss. Look in Revelations 11:7 and 18:8. This ascension from the abyss signifies nothing else but arming the beast with every type of infernal weapon, recognizing his hypocritical religion and the appearance in it of the spirit of the snake, and along with this the start of the final principle battle with Christ and his Kingdom. Seeing that the authority of the beast which ascends from the sea decreased to a point after the reformation that today there hardly exists an appearance of a monarchy, we can conclude that the exit of the beast from the abyss cannot be postponed any longer.
I: This seems to be true, and becomes even more true when we glance at the events occurring in our days.
He: It is worth noting that about this very time during this century, when the papacy viewed that fatal blow, there began a new false enlightenment whose founders were Voltaire and Rousseau. This very new enlightenment is the dominating spirit of the snake, the stench of the beast from the abyss. When you finally smell the stench of something, is it not very near?
I: Can it be proven that this new pseudo-enlightenment is definitely the spirit of the snake and the beast from the abyss?
He: There is nothing easier. Just ascertain only the following conditions. Are you not completely convinced that human intellect does not produce in the world any type of knowledge, but acquires it gradually?
I: I am convinced of this just as I trust 2 and 2 are 4.
He: Where does a person gradually acquire such knowledge?
I: From nature and from Sacred Scripture.
He: Why from the Sacred Scripture? Is not the superficial nature sufficient as a source of knowledge?
I: If the human did not fall then there would have been sufficient revelation of God in only nature. But after the fall it became necessary for him to have a higher source of knowledge.
He: Exactly so. The fall of the human evidences the horrible moral depravity which is dominating everywhere. Although nature does show a person what he must be like, according to his own preference, but it does not deliver him the strength to do so, because [nature] has not this ability, because its strength is directed more towards evil rather than good. All the nations have already recognized this, even blind idolaters believe the moral depravity of the human race, believe divine revelation, believe that they must be reconciled with a wrathful deity and for which sacrifices were implemented, believe in bliss or judgment after death. Although superstitious and insufficient that all of this may be, however it serves them as a means to preserving calm and order, and for some it served as an example to promote charity. But now imagine a great nation has reached such an extreme degree in all arts and sciences, to such a refined luxury and sensuality, to vices of every sort, and in summary, to extreme depravity or morals. Imagine what this nation accepts as their foundation: That although human science is incomplete and limited, but the human race follows the present path to its assigned place; that first it must travel by the road and reject every positive religion as through it was superstition, establish that its intellect all on its own is the source of all knowledge, and as a result of which does not need any divine revelation. And beyond all of this, it adapts for itself rights of the population, appropriate only using these total moral elements: liberty, where every person utilizes this strength to satisfy solely his immeasurable, endless and insatiable sensuality; and equality, where every person wants to be primary and dictatorial.
I: This is true. If we were to take all of this together and view it in the light of the truth a horrible monster will arise from it. The present beast from the sea is the sovereignty of all sensual desires and wants, and the reduction of all strength for charity, while the rejection of all this, which can restrain this sovereignty, can bestow strength for benevolence. And all of this is approved and protected by the self-same government through the legislature, and if this is not the image of the kingdom of hell, or the kingdom of the snake, then I do not know what it is, or that it could possible be anything else.
He: Without doubt. Meanwhile, think about the extreme hate toward Christ and his faith, which they have made satanic, progressing in this false enlightenment to an extreme extent. And then add to this the persecution of the most humble and benevolent of the followers of Christ. This nature and inscription of the beast from the abyss will become clearer. When the fall of Adam and deity of Christ are rejected, then no type of strength can restrain the drive of the human spirit to complete naturalism, if it were only left to itself.
I: Experience demonstrates the correction of this situation. But when was the enlightenment first conceived? Where is it now? And where will it soon be? My father, give to me a resolution on the other beast which is in the Revelation to John 13:11-18, also called the false prophet.
He: This beast does not arise out of the sea, as did the former beast, and not from the abyss, as the latter, but arises from the ground. And it is a human Christian beast because it possesses a lamb-like facade, but its tongue betrays it because it speaks like a snake. Now here the beast in general signifies an entire power and not some special person. This earthly monster must be understood in this manner. Viewing in detail what its activity in particular consists of, we will see that it, using its teaching, gathers followers or adherents for the principle beast. In short it is some great weapon by which the monarch of the snake is reinforced and massively increases. Can you not now guess who this beast would be in the kingdom of the monster from the sea?
I: I think that this must be a spiritual power through which the papacy retained the general monarchy: the clerical orders and especially the Jesuits which are identical in all respects to the description of the beast.
He: But this false prophet continues his activity even after the ascension of the beast from the abyss, because in the end he will be thrown into the lake of fire, Rev 19:20, while the Jesuit order will be abolished.
I: It will not be abolished but will only change its clothing. The beast will remain as he is.
He: So it is. The false prophet assisted the beast ascending from the sea, meaning that he reinforced the Roman clerical monarchy. Now he erects a throne for the beast from the abyss. Earlier, he wore the facade of Christianity, portraying himself as if he brings people to Christ, while in reality he only gathers subjects for the Roman throne, and worries little about the religion. And now with the beast from the abyss clearly announcing war against Christ and his religion, the false prophet strives along with him toward the same goal. The Jacobists in France are the busiest of all his plants, and the general union of enlightenment, or as it is called, the Order of the Illuminati of which the Jacobists are members, truly and reliably are the false prophet which causes all of these mechanisms to work and is active following their new rulers, just as the Jesuits earlier. As a result of all of this we have this very beast whose appearance is like a lamb, but whose voice is serpentine.
I: This large union of enlightenment is very angry at you, because you have exposed it as the beast and false prophet of Revelation.
He: The newest articles of this union speak terribly of the Christian faith. My work speaks the truth, and even there where they want to listen to it the least. In short, the lust for personal authority and independence from God is a sign of the ancient snake, and no person with a mind can doubt that this sign represents the revolutionary spirit. This very spirit of revolution is the stench of the beast beginning to ascend from the abyss which is now not very far away and his one horn is breaking through the surface in France. And as the false prophet is power, by which it gathers followers for the beast using its teaching, it is very obvious that the great union of enlightenment, this false prophet, is the beast arising from the earth.
I: It seems to me that all of this is irrefutable. But tell me more, my father, who is this small horn which Daniel saw: chap.7, verse 8? Is it not the beast that arises from the sea or the beast from the abyss?
He: It is impossible to know this exactly, but what is known is that this small horn signifies a king or kingdom which will proceed in fierce battle against Christ or his Kingdom. But because the beast from the sea does not do this, because the Roman Court at the present reinforces the worship of Christ, so the small horn must arise still in the future and designate the beast from the abyss. But the following is most reliable that the beast from the abyss represents the kingdom, while the small horn will be its final governor who is presently the person of sin, or the very architect, of whom the apostle Paul very clearly predicted in his 2nd letter to the Thessalonians. At this time, the termination of the authority of the snake and his beast will occur, and in their place will begin the Kingdom of Christ which will progress for ever. Blessed and even more blessed is the person who will courageously prevail in this extreme and awesome struggle.
I: So it is. But if the blessed Bengel guessed right, then this era is very near. You know he said that the preparation will begin towards the conclusion of this century, while the battle of the beast against the Kingdom of Christ will start in 1806 and conclude in 1836.
He: Bengel does not conform this in exactly that manner, but presents it only as reliable, but it seems that this opinion of it is very unlikely to go unfulfilled. And it is the more prudent and more proper for the Christian to remain along with the general goal, and not to delve into any of this in too much detail. Now, it is enough to know that the beast from the abyss is ascending and the false prophet is maneuvering. The Christian knows enough of the sign of both these beasts in order to beware of them. To ascertain their arrival it is enough to know that the gathering of true Christians is to be preceded by great persecution, but that they, after their assigned temptation and trial, will be delivered by a strong hand, just as the nation of Israel was in the past [from Egypt]. And the beast with his false prophet will be terribly punished, just as was the Pharaoh. To the measure that we further continue our progress in time will the visions of John find their resolution one after another. It will not be too late even then to take note of these things and so be reinforced in faith. Of course, it is easy to reflect on the past once the future is fulfilled.
I: All of this is so correct. But we people are so curious that we want to know everything, what will occur to us, but not realizing that this information could be extremely harmful to us. But I have one more point, my father, of which I want to ask you for instruction. The Revelation of John is filled with many visions, and they are so difficult to understand, that many of them, people having good intentions, feel that all of it was fulfilled with the destruction of Jerusalem; others, likewise pious people, affirm that nothing at all has yet started, and only toward the conclusion of the world will it be all accomplished; while still others feel that the fulfillment of the revelations continues from the destruction of Jerusalem to the end of the world. In this situation one interpretation is so interwoven with the other that even Bengel, and although his explanation is the best of all, is still insufficient for me. Tell me, my father, what should the good disposition of the orthodox Christian be toward these conclusions?
He: The progress of foreknowledge of Divine destinies always on its own conforms in the whole, for this reason the Revelation of John can be directed toward all events and situations. And so if someone says that it has fulfilled during the destruction of Jerusalem, then that person is able to defend his option, because he finds there wild and terrible beasts. Who affirms that this will only begin towards the conclusion of the world, that person can likewise be correct, because the most important events are due to occur in the future. But when all of this is taken together and then compared with the entirety of the sense of the prophecy of Daniel, the predictions of Christ and the apostles, then the most reliable is that the Revelation begins at the destruction of Jerusalem and concludes with the founding of the glorious Kingdom of Christ. But because there is still much obscure among all the other predictions which have fulfilled, this is due to much in history that is not sufficiently well known and that the principal topics of prophecy are not at the presently adequately known. There is no real need to pursue this any further because if we make use of the present era then the goal, for which the Revelation was delivered, will thereby be fulfilled. For the true Christian this is always possible.
I: Can I ask of you instruction as to how the Revelation should be applied to the New Testament, so I can likewise instruct my readers.
He: Most willingly! The seven churches, to which John wrote at the beginning of letters, although Bengel considers them existing churches at that time and not as predictions of any in the future, however, taking all into consideration they signify the future, and many enlightened men from long ago considered them such and especially because during the early period there were many famous churches which would have been more worthy of this Revelation then some of the seven. But Christ selected these for the following reason that they agree exactly with the conditional seven principles of the church of the New Testament. And for this reason he arranged them in a manner of the seven excellent letters would follow one after another, likewise as in history these conditions follow one after another. For the letter to Ephesus describes exactly the condition of the Christian of the 1st century. The letter to Smyrna pertains to the believers during the era of persecution by idolaters. To Pergamus signifies the era from the conversion of Constantine to Pope Gregory VII. The letter to Sardis describes the Christian under the authority of the Papacy until the Reformation. The letter to Philadelphia portrays the elect after the Reformation and up to the middle of the [18th] century. While to Laodicea presents the Christian church from the middle of this century to the end. And for this reason Christ dictates these 7 letters to John to portray the conditions of the churches of the New Testament, and so Christ wrote the letter to the angel of the church of Laodicea to us. It will be well for him who will make use of all of this in a proper manner. And for this reason these 7 letters serve as a beautiful introduction to the entirety of the Revelations.
Now I will relate to you more and other of its primary points. The initial 6 seals pertain to the collapse and fall of the heathen Roman Empire and to related important events following after with the Jews and Christians. The great judgment of the 6th seal signifies especially the judgment on idolaters, the 7th seal includes everything from Constantine the Great, or from the secular sovereignty of the Christian, to the end of the world. This narrative is divided into seven trumpets, of which the initial depict the various judgments over Christians who has corrupted themselves, and up to the conclusion of the Hellenic Empire. The 7th trumpet is for us the most important because it contains a narration, and not of some type of secular monarch, as do the other 6 [trumpets], but regarding the battle between the lamb and the snake. And for this reason there will then begin the triumph of the Christian religion or the defeat of idolatry and will conclude with a victory over the beast from the abyss and false-prophet. For this very important reason a distinction is made in the Revelation in the 10th chapter from the previous chapters, because here conclude the visions which pertain to the secular Roman monarchy and begin the majestic visions which pertain to this great struggle. First the great messenger and angel proclaims the prolonged era of the battle beginning at this time and swears by them who lives for ever and ever, that initially, and in particular after the 7th trumpet, there will be no more delay, but with the sound of this trumpet there will be completely fulfilled the entire plan of God just as he had proclaimed earlier through the prophet. Then the great seer John prepares for a new prediction regarding the era of voice the 7th trumpet by eating a certain book. The contents of this book John sees and describes from the 12th chapter through the end of Revelations, and which includes the history of the battle and the victory of the lamb over the snake and his beasts.
Here I must remind you of something worth remembering. In chapter 10, verses 3 and 4 are written that, when the 7 thunders spoke, John was just about to write, but at this time was said to him that he should seal what was proclaimed by the 7 thunders, because their speech was exceptionally clear. But it is not possible to seal that which was not yet written; subsequently it was necessary for John to write what was said by the thunders but only in clandestine and enigmatic terms which were dictated to him, and certainly this pertains to what is written in chapter 11. The measure of the temple and secret of the 2 witnesses, in truth are sealed so that only the lamb can remove the seal in order to comprehend it. Then in chapter 12 begins the prediction of the great battle and so continues without interruption to the end of the book. I have told you all that can be applied to our present era.
I: I thank you my father for such important instruction. What you said about the 7 thunders is especially significant for me. Without this I could in no way have known how to even begin to interpret chapter 11, where as it appears, verse 2 pertains to the beginning, verse 3 to the progress, and verses 7 to the end to the great battle. Without doubt all of this will be unveiled by the person who will break open the 7 seals.
He: Also remember what was said to Daniel, chapter 12, verses 4 and 9 regarding the matters sealed until the end of time. But now the moon has risen high in the clear and cloudless sky and its reflection is seen in the quiet pond. It is time for me to leave to go where necessity demands my presence.
I: Do you see my father that the cranes have not yet flown away even though I thought they did? They both returned to their nests.
He: This will not continue long. The long nights and cold will drive them away. Farewell, we will see each other again soon.
I: The sooner the better. Your conversations and instruction are very much needed in our era.
Whomever entrusts himself to the Lord
And honors this law with his heart
Shall receive with every step
His strength from grace.
Having firm faith he will gain
Ability to perform wondrous miracles.
In what ever he undertakes, he will succeed,
Because in him resides the creator God himself.
Beloved Fellow Countrymen
Some scamp from among the Enlightenment threw mud on our Menace. True, he will disregard it, because the sovereign will be required to bear it until some insect stings him. But many good people have been led astray as a result and want me (Stilling) to calm this base attacker. I however do not have the same opinion. What use is there on this, beloved brethren and friends? “We must,” so they say, “defend ourselves, so the public would not think that we are unable to provide an answer.” I think that defense is only necessary in doubtful circumstances and not in situations as this one, because no doubt exists. I strive to be a Christian exactly according to the sense of the teachings of Christ and his apostles. All of my writings witness that this is true. I hope that all who have the opportunity to observe and experience my life will also witness the same. The manner I live is the manner I conduct myself, the manner I write is the same manner I will die. And because, if the entirety of the army of Belial was to rise against me, when can it do to me more than what my Lord and all my predecessors have done? The Lord would not have defended me if he noticed that the defense would be of no benefit to him. And so I am convinced that his attitude would be the same toward me, so I continue my travel without worry not giving a second glance to those throwing mud at me and those who made wisecracks and discredit me. What occurred in the passed with the offspring of Papal Rome is also occurring with the offspring of the new enlightenment. Pride, greed, and luxury, and their heads twirling in circles does not permit them to recognize or accept the plain truth. What use is it to fight them. If someone wants to know me better, let him take my writings and review them and then he can evaluate me.
I am so assured of my work that I am joyfully prepared to seal this truth with my own blood. So what if my castigator asks himself in his heart, “Is he really ready for this also?” So let me be in error, but I summon as a judge of myself all those in all the world who have sound senses. Let them compare my compositions with the compositions of people on the other side, for example, with the pale monsters, with the political zodiacs, with the behemoths and with the shield-possessors and so on. And let them discern whose of these 2 systems is the more reasonable and more moral and beneficial to the property of the citizens, individuals and community, and in general the entirety of humanity. For this reason, I demand this right which is utilized without restraint by my opposition: liberty. Nonetheless, I abandon all of my critics and anti-critics, and want to become involved in something useful and acceptable.
At this time I will share with you some of the letters of my Menace which I have received from him. At the present he is very involved with Jews. Note that the predictions are being fulfilled and will soon. There is a very noticeable massive upheaval and excitement among Jews in all 4 corners of the world. They are beginning to incline to the side of Christ and are gathering at the promised land. I cannot relate to you all of what I know of it; I must wait just for a while, and then all of it will be disclosed on its own. We might just think that all of these events will attribute some respect for the Bible, because they were foretold in it some 2˝ thousand years ago. But all of this will not help. They will say, “So it has happened. Woe, woe.” But with you certain events have also occurred, but it will be already too late to make a decision.
Menace writes nothing to me about this. He relates to me only those affairs which have already started, which you also shall know about. Here is his first letter.
Peace is concluded. Europe can send heartfelt gratitude to God because the terrible bloodshed has ceased. But it seems to me that the Messenger of execution has still not departed but drives forward with his fiery presence, blood thirsty sword and spear built for battle and cries out, “Why peace?” Why should peace prevail as long as the sorceries and immortality of your mother Jezebel continues to increase? With such opinions that dominate all of Christianity at present, there cannot be calm. All of France is reputed to have a form of bliss, to which the pseudo-enlightenment strives. France has only preceded the other Christian nations. Nonetheless, all of them likewise are moving in the same direction although the circumstances and means create a certain variation in each of them. This prediction does not demand Divine inspiration, but only the sound mind of a person. It is so certain, just like a premonition of thunder after a hot summer’s day, or of the rain after prolonged west winds, as long as other inclinations and another spirit did not ascend among the nations. But what real disaster is it if we resemble France, and especially if all the people [of Germany] agreed with them? God, do protect every nation from participation in and from the constitution of France. There is not even one assembly, or coffee houses or taverns where the blasphemous teaching is not preached. Crowds of idle people greedily listen to these speeches. They rejoice [hearing] that after death there is no life. They find satisfaction in the thought that they will completely rot in the grave and that worms will devour them, and then there is nothing more to them. And they joyfully return home to communicate their enlightenment to their wife, children, and all close associates, that after death there is no other life, no punishment, and no reward; and that the conscience is a fabricated fear only for children, the foolish thinking of uneducated people. And entire families zealously strive to enrich themselves with such enlightenment in order not to appear as people who are uneducated.
Think about this my friend, what now must occur with such a country that publicly disseminates such terrible rules. I have absolutely nothing to do here, and so I stealthily move about and only at night, secretly in the darkness, to comfort the few remaining benevolent souls, to reinforce them and prepare them for many sufferings.
This is not progressing among the Protestants any better. When in Alsace it was again permitted to have public church services, then in the Lutheran villages, they began to look for a pastor who would be somewhat cheaper, and many areas would only contract them to serve a year, just like shepherds over a herd of swine, under the condition that if he did not like the position, they would terminate him after a year. Ascertain this, beloved Stilling, what type of teaching and care for the souls that such preachers must have, who are afraid to anger the crowds of people and so lose the bread they need to survive on. As a result of this few young people learn theology. In Strassburg where earlier there were 24 students of theology, at the present there are only 2: and even then all you hear is the modern enlightenment. This lack of competent educators will cause sorrowful results. Fortunate are the dead and those who will not live to these days.
Discerning the revolting boldness of these blasphemous and persecutors of religion, we are surprised how the just and holy God so long tolerates this opposition to heaven. In the Duchy of Epstein, between Mainge and Kenigstine, peasants in fear relate how the French continuously preach such blasphemous sermons, especially when there occurred violent thunderstorms, loud thunder and lightning. They ran into the streets castigating the Lord for creating all this; they swore at them and in their fury shoot [with guns] into the sky, attempting, to as though kill the King of heaven, if it was so possible, just as they killed their king.
But the just judge and Lord on occasion displays examples of the execution of the wicked. Especially worthy of remembering are 2 incidences which I will relate to you.
On August 4, 1796, at about mid-day between 11 and 12 o’clock in Mimpelgard there occurred a violent thunderstorm with loud thunder, lightning, and a torrential rain. At about 4 o’clock outside the city was a military camp of about 900 French soldiers. Five of them at the time helped a peasant gather his gain from the field. When the thunderstorm began these soldiers went with the peasant to shelter under a tree and immediately began to curse God and swear, making a loud noise and interfering with people trying to work. The boldest of them, who possessed a gun, leaving these words spoken against heaven, says, “Wait, I will shoot this bullet into the forehead of this noise-maker.” Terrified the peasant ran away, and no sooner was he 10 steps away that lightening struck at these soldiers and 4 of them immediately died, while the 5th, although he remained alive, was in such a condition that he was never able to regain his health. When the doctor came to inspect the dead, he found the brains of one of them splattered on the tree, while the heart of another was shredded into 4 parts. Although this incident was an act of nature, it clearly displayed the judgment of God on these evil men.
In Swabia, one French solider, discrediting the crucifixion began to break a cross into small pieces. At this very minute a bullet from a gun flew at him and wounded him. He almost died a horrible death.
In one city, an innkeeper, whose tavern was a school for censurers of Christ, daily preached a natural religion, and so he had the heads of many weak people spinning. He publicly affirmed that the French brought into the world the genuine light and led people out of frightful darkness, that it is insanity to believe in God, to possess the Son and Holy Spirit. When the French entered Tubinger, then he loudly exclaimed, “I want many of them to arrive, as many as there are branches on the grapevines. Here are my believers.” And he discredited and mocked those who feared them. His deliverers arrived July 25, 1776. He in his joy got drunk and ran to the suburbs to his brother to protect him from plunder, thinking, that as soon as he says to the French, “I am your brother,” then they will comply with him. With a few other citizens whom he cared for at his brother’s house, he waited for them in this manner, as if for guests. Then came 6 Frenchmen who began to break into the house. He first started to tell them of himself, and then started to negotiate with them. But since they were not listening to him, the matter erupted into a fight. The French shot at the citizens and the first bullet struck the innkeeper, passing through his neck and tearing out his tongue, and so he died in great pain. The entire crowd was glad at his death. On occasion the Omnipotent does reveal His judgment in this manner and through ordinary incidences, when the punishment of blasphemers becomes a necessity as an example to others.
Superficial church services, as little as the common people understand it, nonetheless leave an impression on their soul, useful at least for civil subjection and order. Out of this expands a calm and tranquility in all souls, and which immense value is not earlier recognized until such time that [church services] are deprived them. Then there finally occurs a motivated drive toward a superficial liturgy, and a satisfaction of this need often causes the best results. Everyone knows about the general complaint that at the present the number of those who attend church has considerably diminished and is continuing to diminish. Without doubt the blame for this lies in part on the dissemination of this enlightenment, but the majority is due to the apathy toward everything that seems to dominate, and which then applies to religion. They teach them from childhood to be bored with [liturgical] maneuvers, but when they reach that degree, as it occurred in France, when the entire superficial liturgy was completely abolished, then they realized how important and necessary it really is. The Paris newspaper serves as proof of this, and from which I have an excerpt. Here it writes:
“Today, on Easter Sunday, the people crowded around the churches to celebrate this holiday which is festive for all Christians. We must recognize to the credit of the French people, that disregarding all of their efforts the past 6 years to eradicate from the heads and hearts everything that would remind them of the presence of God and His benevolence, disregarding the division of the republic calendar unto 10 day weeks, and disregarding all inventions of futile philosophies, the progress in honor of the Supreme Being, and similar matters, nothing could possibly bring to oblivion among them the religion of their forefathers. This year, when worship of God is no longer prohibited, and when at least permission was granted for an unrestrained flow of pious thinking and feeling, this great holiday for all Christians comprises a true festivity for the entirety of Paris. Joy shines on all the faces; the priests are now again wearing elegant vestments and the churches are richly decorated. Although it seems, after such terrible destruction and plundering endured by the churches, and likewise by the clergy, this would have been improbable to expect.
“What is happening to the temples of Reason and the churches of Kamus and Greguar? They are empty and none of them attract any parishioners. These magnificent buildings which were earlier the finest churches in Paris are now like the Egyptian pyramids which cast a shadow as nothing more than empty sepulchers.
“The unfortunate person is always the friend of religion, because only in it can he find accessible consolation, says the glorious Mikal in his immortal experiences of moral instruction. If this statement of his is true, then Paris must have an immense number of unfortunate people, because during the entire previous week, and especially yesterday on Easter Sunday, the churches were so full, that in some areas the parishioners stood on their knees in front of the church doors in the streets. Their reverent and humble gaze brought humility to many passers by. Never have the French been so religious, as from the time when Hebertists declared war on religion.”
The tradesman, commoners and peasants are direct members of the government. They are also the actual nation and this specific group is the least corrupt of them. The royalty is definitely in their luxury and extravagance. The rabble not having anything, like the violent, turbulent sea, is tossed about by every wind. The peasants and tradesmen have remained orderly longer than any of the rest. For this reason, the better Christians are found among them. And as long as this class of people does not become corrupt, this land and this nation, disregarding the entire revolution, they will remain firm. Here is my fields upon which I sow, plant, harvest, and gather the fruit. And you beloved friend, can also be active here and with great benefit. Farewell.
This was the first letter of Menace.
Not long ago, I (Stilling) read [the letter] to a small circle of my acquaintances, among whom was one modern enlightened, with whom I had the following conversation.
He: This letter is the type that would have been written at the beginning of this (18th) century, by some type of odd believer.
I: Yes, and I think that since this ascension of Christ the true Christian of any of the centuries would have written the same.
He: Perhaps, but true Christians during all these centuries have gone astray.
I: We will discuss this matter with you. The true Christian in the possession of all of which you call delusion were always charitable and meek, while the enlightened of all the ages always learned and could never attain a true intellect, knew nothing genuinely, never found the truth, and often conducted themselves immorally and depraved.
He: You always sing the same tune about us, but let us get back to the letter. So you really want to print this into a booklet.
He: Isn’t it embarrassing for you to propose such obsolete absurdity, reinforced obviously by superstition to the present enlightened public?
I: Be kind enough to show me what in this letter is obsolete, absurd and superstitious.
He: This is easiest of all. Is not this a laughing matter to grieve and sorrow over France? Doesn’t your Menace know that for something to become better at first must become worse? This is naturally so. Wait until the end then you will see what will evolve out of France.
I: So did the prophets grieve and sorrow over the nation of Israel. My friend Menace is of this same spirit of love toward God and humanity, just as they were. And they did not know worse than us that in the end all will result in something better. And they knew that all evil has as its basis the deprived nature from its beginning. And they complained about this depraved nature becoming their foundation, and then wept. And now we regret and weep over the shedding of human blood, which seems to be necessary to improve the situation. Do you call this absurdity and superstition? This is one more piece of evidence to add to the thousands of others that you lords of the Enlightenment worry little about the moral standards of the people. But you continue to state that this letter contains absurd, obsolete religious and superstitious material.
He: Is not this an indication of superstitious ignorance that Menace complains about the liberty which heaven has given France? Is this bad, that every person can now believe and think as he wishes? It is better to a person to be subject to his conscience and blindly believe and think the way the popes dictate? The examples provided by Menace, about coffee houses and innkeepers, do not prove anything more than only this, that people at present speak aloud in public what they earlier only thought about. Subsequently, this matter is not new and no worse than that occurring presently in society. What pertains to the village in Alsace this only indicates that these people still have not learned to utilize their liberty. But little by little they will learn and all will arrive at an expedient order. So, is it not old fables that your Menace is relating to us?
I: Tell me please, is it all the same to believe and think as you want, or to speak as you want, publicly and freely? Please discern this impartially. For example, whether Menace and we believe and think one way or another way should not matter to you. But when I print this, isn’t it true then it will become another matter? And so although there were always people who would think something harmful and dangerous for morality, for the general tranquility, but yet no one knew of this, it was as if it never existed. But if they begin to publicly speak it, this evil will expand and like an infectious plague will infect at some time the entire nation. Is not this why authorities are necessary, who would prohibit someone to say or write this and that? Do you permit this, you Lords of Enlightenment, for any person to speak and write as he so desires? Your critiques prove the opposite.
He: I do not want to argue with you, because it will not get us anywhere. We will not convince one another, but I will only say to you; Does not this signify a reinforcement of superstition, to teach the people that the 5 Frenchmen at Mimpelgard were killed by lightening because they castigated the Creator of Nature; that the innkeeper in Swabia was executed by the French for this reason; that the bullet landed in the soldier because he discredited he who was crucified? Are you not all assured yourselves, by all the rules of nature and by the natural progress of things, that the 5 Frenchmen could have been killed had they been good Christians, and in place of castigating rhetoric could have been praying to God? Yes! Should you not recognize this having respect for truth, that the innkeeper was executed by the French not because he was not a Christian and adhered to their rules, but because he opposed them and struggled with them? And finally, how many good people and how many criminals were killed by stray bullets, although they never discredited he who was crucified? Is not this the most absurd superstition?
I: I could have answered you as Christ answered the enlightened of his own era, “You have gone astray, and know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God.” The endless wisdom of God you will recognize in this that even nature serves as a reward to the good and as a punishment of the evil. I ask of you, think on this, is it all the same that the lightening would have killed in Mimpelgard 5 good people or 5 criminals? The natural conclusion for any person is interpreting it to serve their own purpose, but the proper application of the incident is taught by religion and the Bible. We have already said much about this, but to no benefit, whoever will not listen at this time will sense it later.
The Second Letter:
I will relate to you beloved Stilling, an instructive narration which you can communicate to your readers.
Not long ago I entered one city where I have many friends. I visited them all one after another, comforted them and reinforced their faith. Among them there was one religious elderly man who was extremely sorrowful and melancholy. I asked him for the reason, and this is what I found out from him.
He had two sons who in their adolescence showed much intellect and sincerity. The father and mother were happy over this and registered them soon for school, which was in general the same as all the rest. The teacher was a plain person who endeavored to only quickly educate the children, and the students had to learn everything by memory. They would whip anyone of them who did not learn the lesson, and these beatings especially affected those [not learning] catechism.
At home the father, due to his religious nature, required them to attend in the morning and at evening the morning and evening liturgies, which he personally conducted himself and which the entire family was required to attend. On Sundays and church holidays they were required to attend church and stand during the entire service, not moving and not looking about. And if they should even mutter one word, or laugh, then they were again severely punished. After dinner they were again supposed to recite some sermon or life of one of the saints. And while they were always involved in religion, meanwhile, their friends, the children of other fathers, would stroll and play under their windows in the street. And all of this, the catechism education and church services and the same liturgy, only caused then to become repugnant at it, and as soon as they became adults they abandoned all of it. And they saw in their father nothing other than a tyrant and torturer, and sought a way to quickly separate from him. And since they endured all this [depravation] on behalf of the religion and teaching of Christ so then they began to hate the religion and Christianity.
When they went to work in an office for a wealthy merchant in a large commercial city, and it seemed to them that they finally saw the light, and so they began to enjoy the light. The more that they had to endure earlier depressions, the more did they then accept this freedom. Theaters, dances, joyful company and modern books now comprised all their exercises. They rejoiced, discovering from the books, that religion is superstition, that Christianity is foolishness, and amused themselves on account of their stupid father, who as an illiterate person became involved with such nonsense.
When a person abandons Christianity and becomes a Deist, or even an atheist, then there is nothing closer or beloved to him than his “me.” The God of Deism hardly exists, being solely an imagination of the mind, not having any type of effect on the heart. Among the atheists there is no God at all, and so the springboard of all the efforts of such people remains solely “me,” and for this reason they offer to them all their passions. Then the French revolution arrived right on time, a fire of temptation for so many souls. Both brothers became inflamed with the fire of artillery, abandoned their good supervision and traveled to France; they played their role and placed their heads under the guillotine during the era of Robespierre. The elderly man, their father, went insane, but not because they died, but because they were executed for their deeds and not for Christ.
I also now remember the history of one humble girl, who likewise grieved over her father, and during the first week after his death prayed day and night for the salvation of his soul. Once at night, while she lay in bed crying and sobbing, asking for assurance of the salvation of her father, suddenly she heard a totally unfamiliar voice which softly said to her, “Elizabeth, if you had a son who was to often embitter you in different ways, but after ran to your mercy and began to ask of you your forgiveness, just as your father asked of this of God, would you have forgiven him and accepted him again with your mercy?” “Yes, I would forgive him, Lord.” “Know then”, continued the voice, “That it is easier for a mother to forget about her children than it is for the Lord [to forget] those who called to Him in heartfelt prayer.” The humble petitioner jumped from her bed, repeated a sincere gratitude to the Lord God, was comforted, and ceased sobbing.
I repeated this history to two elderly men saying to him, that if his sons, who for a long while languished in prison, certainly returned to their religion, whose value they only actually realized at the time; that he must rely on the fatherly love of God that He had pardoned them, if they only did sincerely call upon Him. This somewhat comforted the poor elder, but not completely.
Meanwhile, I would like to offer you instruction, beloved friend, which you can communicate to your readers, to discern the error of the father in raising his children. Many religious parents, as a result of their religiosity, error much by wanting to coercively impose their religiosity on their children, and so by doing this they cause more harm than benefit.
The initial primary obligation of a Christian father is this, for him to himself conduct an exemplary life. He should be more of a practicing, rather than confessing, Christian. O, how important of a necessity this is for unconverted people, or for those who do not know the merit and value of the religion, as though they were all children. Conversations regarding religion, prayer, song, and study that are especially frequent and long are only exhausting and boring. Whoever thinks to use coercion to teach his children this will only ruin his own efforts. On the contrary, children notice the conduct of their parent and accept it as valid. It is better to have them produce the desired results in this manner rather than forcing them to involuntarily study and pray when they are not yet ready for it. And children seeing the example and piety of the parents little by little will instruct them to willingly want to become the same type of good people At least the religion will not be hated by them, since they see how much the father and mother love it. Following the teaching of Christ and disclosing your light through actions rather than words will gain love and respect from even the most evil enemy of Christ. Matt 5:16. Many meek and motivated souls have sinned in the matter that they talk and boast much about Christianity, only deceiving themselves, that as though they do this for the benefit of their close associate. While in reality they only feed the secret feelings of their ego and superiority, and want only to display themselves and brag. The example of the true Christian life is much more an education and admonishment than long lectures and verbosity. The Pharisees knew how to speak and instruct; this was easy for them, although they should have taught themselves.
The other primary obligation of Christian parents consists in not beating into the heads of children true religion, but to turn their hearts to it. Winning over their hearts, you will not have any difficulty in raising them. This ability is preserved in the Brethren Herrnhut church, not only in raising children but also in converting non-believers. How are children to be converted to Christ? The answer: at every opportune occasion when the child is not bored, but happy, to relate to them examples of the great love of the Savior for humanity and especially to present this to them in a lively manner, that we can await our salvation only from Jesus Christ alone. Nothing will impress upon a child more than if you were to vividly present to him what torments and sufferings Christ endured for the salvation of us, the poor humanity, and if he did not suffer for us then all sinful people would perish. If at occasions both opportune and incidental this would be related to children, then the goal of this introduction would definitely be achieved. Christ would become so beloved unto them and this love will lead them further, and taking root in their hearts and when they enter into society it will protect them from corruption. Under these conditions there is no need to explain to them the mystery of redemption; and if they were to begin to ask about it, then answer them that when they acquire a mature intelligence, and will live in a manner pleasing to God, they will learn all they need on their own.
The third primary obligation of Christian child-raising, which fulfillment is the basis of all piety and Christianity, consists in having a person at least realize the depravity of human nature. At every occasion a child must be shown how they are to conduct themselves and how they are not to. If they actually sin, then you must gently, although with importance, portray to them the vileness of sin and fear of the punishment they now subject themselves to. And when they do some charitable act, then approve of it, allow them to rejoice over it, but at the same time show them how incomplete the work is, and how little will then remain that is actually beneficial if they were to deduct from it the opportune time and appropriate circumstances which God provided through His providence. Preserving this rule will prevent the children from appropriating to themselves the honor that belongs to God as a result of some harmful selfishness; this will little by little lead them to humility, the true place of the rest of the Christian. Especially young hearts are comfortably led along this path to complete assurance in their absolute necessity of redemption through Christ; this motivates their heart to pray regarding partaking of this redemption.
Finally the fourth [obligation] is where you must observe prudence in the pious responsibilities of the home, so that harm is not caused, but rather benefit. Christ commands prayer in a closed cell and forbids verbosity. It is very praiseworthy when the father, in the morning and evening and at opportune times, prays or is involved in some type of religious exercise. But because this is not an absolute necessity for a Christian, then he must not compel any in his household or convince them to do this. Because until they find satisfaction in religion, these type of exercises are only burdensome for him and cause the religion to be repulsive. These exercises should especially not be very long; it is sufficient to read a couple of verses during a short heartfelt prayer and one short verse from the Psalms or some type of spiritual song selected at the time and circumstances. Nonetheless, an exemplary and sinless life, gentle attitude toward everybody, without having great austerity toward recreation, which is on its own innocent, is more effective than all strict rules, prayers and recitations. Spiritual freedom requires that a person, especially children, would not be compelled to complete these exercises.
This is the end of the 2nd letter.
Beloved friends who consider recitation, prayer and song an important matter, listen to the advice of our honorable father Eastern-Light. Accept from him instruction; he speaks the absolute truth. I witness before God that I have no intentions to discredit liturgies at home or recitations, or to deprive them of their dignity, but they must not be over emphasized. It is appropriate to release from these exercises children or servants who are not inclined toward them, because that person must still undergo many changes for him to participate and gain benefit from these sacred activities.
Let us look impartially with the light of heavenly truth at the most well-intentioned household prayers and responsibilities. Let us review their purpose and goal: the spirit of truth will reveal their actual worth directly to us. I will not speak about those people who are without a reformation of their heart and without a true conversion, who place religion as solely recitation, prayer, attendance of church, partaking of communion, etc. Because all of us agree on this, that all of this without heartfelt conversion has no value whatsoever before God. But then [Menace’s] sermon is directed toward those souls who are truly converted and the pious-exercises they conduct in their household. Their basis is that their will has turned to Christ, and they have decided to continue faithful to him to death. This person, during study of the word of God, during prayer and similar pious exercises, releases within himself something pleasant and consoling. That person feels within himself reinforcement and tranquility. This feeling on its own is good and beneficial. But when these exercises are unacceptable to them, then this is better. Consistent vigilance for a person’s own thoughts, words and deeds, incessant conversion to God, which is inner prayer - or in other words, the walk in the presence of God - this is what the true Christian teaching consists of.
But as [mental] dispersion and vocation and obligations often interrupt this inner prayer and walk in the presence of God, then for this purpose reinforcement is needed for a return to the inner person through study, prayer and song, and it is very beneficial to participate in this having such intentions. But this accurate observation obviously shows that the unconverted person is not in the state of utilizing these means to return to the inner person. They will soon bore him, especially if they exercise them too often which will more annoy him rather than benefit true conversion. But even if these [exercises] do not motivate repulsion in people, they remain unproductive if no changes occur in their hearts. I know many children of God-fearing fathers who only possessed a superficial appearance of piety while the inner person was not at all Christian. This occurs when their parents are satisfied with only a superficial fulfillment of their religious exercises, not striving to first act on their hearts, to turn them into temples of their religion.
Based on the above, the following rule can be deduced. Every Christian who is the head of household, must himself utilize those means which he considers necessary and useful for others and which are not compelling. In reasoning with children he must utilize those methods which were indicated in the above letter of Menace, and if he wants to implement household liturgies, then they must be short, firm and edifying for heart. Primarily he must strive to show his household a good example of a gentle, believed, sincere and humble attitude and incessant preservation of all the obligations of charity and philanthropy. Using such means he will better and more quickly turn then to Christ, rather than will all the religious admonitions and liturgies. Whoever does not want to be pious, that person will not remain in the household, since he will find the flavor of this to be repulsive.
(The following is a request of Menace by Stilling:)
Many good people have complained about you, beloved friend, because you called the final adventure in your book, Adventures After Death, Pietist. For all truly humble Christians who consider themselves Pietist, this is painful, and I would have desired it myself that you not utilize this word in this manner. I understand what you meant referring to this appellation, and no doubt no one else deserves such agony as do the pseudo-pietists, because they discredit piety and are to be blamed also for placing religious people place under one roof and considering them hypocrites. It would have been proper to rather name pseudo-pietists, then no one and I likewise would be offended. And so I ask of you, Menace, in your next book, explain this more clearly for the benefit of all Pietists.
The Third Letter:
Submissive to the order of my dignified friend, I will explain this in more detail.
I promise before the presence of God to never again utilize this appellation in a demeaning sense, but will affixed to it the prefix pseudo- if I am to refute the shortcomings and vices of these people. And I sincerely ask forgiveness from every humble and good Christian who was insulted by my use of this appellation, just as I with the same sincerity beseech the Savior regarding the forgiveness of all my sins.
But as sincere as my petition is, so do I sincerely take the liberty to remind all who consider themselves to be Pietists to be on guard against all the vices which I have reprimanded the pseudo-pietists of and not in vain. But even among the true [Pietists] are good people, I have noticed errors which I desire that they would see in themselves, because outsiders, first of all, notice them in them, and from this point have cause to blaspheme piety. I cannot keep silent over this and because nothing will cause so much damage to the Kingdom of our Lord as those who publicly declare themselves belonging to it while living inconsistently with the laws of this Kingdom and the commandments of their king. I here speak not regarding the vices of these pseudo-pietists, because they are hypocrites and do not actually belong to their number, but I will indicate those points in which the true Pietists error.
The first error which easily causes even the best of secular people to go astray is their superficial and artificial religious appearance which is apparent in their dress, appearance, and body movements. Even the best and God-fearing Christian easily becomes accustomed to such hypocrisy while not even realizing it. Especially when they were introduced to some person of high rank who himself is a very humble person, they not only change their words, speech and manners in their presence, but also their facial expressions, and as a result of this all of their piety becomes subject to suspicion as hypocrisy. Since no one looks into the heart but every one guides based on superficial appearance. For a long time, the Herrnhut brotherhood caused damage to itself by imitating the deceased Count Zinzendorf of all his superficial mannerisms. This also occurs in all the other communities. O brethren, do not accept as an example any person and do not imitate anybody other than Christ, and as much as you can, beware of distinguishing yourselves from other people by anything other than a holy Christian life. Whether a garment is sewn according to the fashion of the past century or the latest fashion, it does not mean anything on its own. And if someone does not want to wear it, accept it for some outdated style, he apparently possesses in his heart a proud obstinacy which he probably does not even notice himself, since he does not pay attention to himself enough. Those against this [old fashion] always pursue after the latest fashions, and he also shows that he does not know and is not capable of valuing the true worth of a person, which is attained through the true fear of God. Dress must be tidy, modest, as becoming to the person, in order that the superficial appearance would immediately indicate that we are not seeking in any manner to be distinct from others or to gain any attention towards us.
Second, to this class belongs the custom of utilizing certain words and phrases in order that any person could quickly recognize that such a person is a Pietist. For example, in place of the word God, they prefer to say Savior. On its own this is all the same, but how soon a person distinguishes himself from others, and then he becomes antagonistic and so the name of God is blasphemed. At the beginning of the establishment of the Brethren Herrnhut church, its members utilized the words Savior and Lord, without any preference, and so often that these significant words of holy Scripture became ludicrous, and even to the point that outsiders almost could not learn them without contempt, and they were able to recognize [a member of] Herrnhut due to their frequent use of these words.
To this also belongs the custom of wanting to display to others at every occasion and at any place that they are true Christians. They are often deceived thinking they are giving an example to their associates by doing this, when actually they use this as a pretense to hide their secret desire not to acknowledge themselves as Christian. Such edification of their associates is always an untimely zeal. The world sufficiently knows that it is easier to speak, than act, like a Christian, and when he hears incessant statements regarding Christianity, then he has suspicions of hypocrisy. And so beloved brethren, let us prove our Christianity with a holy, meek, and benevolent life, which no one can voice opposition to. We will speak only when the necessity arises, when we are asked about something or when someone discredits God, Christ, or this religion, and if it is not the place or time, we will leave it go.
Third, I must also mention to you, that special assemblies and prayers of motivated or pious people likewise can be a means to errors. Assembly for mutual edification is praiseworthy, useful, and complements the spirit of Christianity, but as soon as it is considered the principle matter of Christianity, those who do not attend or who leave the assembly are recognized as not such good Christians. But if the government, because of certain suspicions, forbids these assemblies, but they continue anyway, this is a completely different matter. Christ and his apostles did not command or counsel to have assembly if it only caused desertion or religious pride or civil disobedience.
Forth, in conclusion I must warn you of an important error, which occurs regularly and serves as an obstacle to the necessary unity of spirit for the Christians, namely condemnation. This error is so reprehensible and contrary to both divine and human love, it is so easy to fall into and not even be suspicious of anything wrong in it. I shall explain in more detail. Who experiences a long-term strong contact with grace, or is thereby motivated, and senses in himself the desire and a compulsion directly toward God and His word, this person considers himself born again, or at least feels that he is in the path to it. Now the subtle snake crawls in, this is selfishness. The person rejoices that he has found the right path, and considers beneath himself all those whom he thinks are not motivated as he is, and if he does not recite the prayer of the Pharisee, then it simply nests in his soul and is disclosed before the radiant eyes of the Lord. Others proceed even further. They, actually having underwent repentance and having been justified by the merits of Jesus Christ, actually walk by the path of sanctification, but they do not escape the reef against which it is so easy to destroy the salvation of the soul, specifically, they imperceptibly turn with a pleasant impression toward this familiar part of the path, by which they have entered Christianity, and secretly in the depth of their soul are comforted by the fact that they have surpassed many thousands of people. I say secretly, since they do not suspect it in themselves. Suddenly here appears the devil, selfishness, in the appearance of a radiant angel, and condemns an associate, who perhaps washes his worst of sins with a profound meekness and heartfelt repentance.
Beloved brethren who consider yourselves true Pietists and portray yourselves as such. Remember the words of our Lord that in the heavens there is greater joy over one repentant sinner, than over 99 righteous who do not need repentance. I cannot say to you anything except the following. We view ourselves in 2 points of view: we either see the good, which we notice in ourselves, or the evil, which rests within us. We can perish by only reviewing our goodness and our success in holiness, but not watching out for ourselves with great care, because if we compare ourselves with others we enter that path upon which Lucifer descended into the abyss. When we continuously turn our attention toward our disparity, on our shortcomings, on our daily and regular sins, then this review turns us toward God and Christ, to constant prayer and utilization of strength in order to route his Holy Spirit into our heart, just like an exhausted person, although with difficulty, forces himself to breathe air. Ah! Then there will not be any time for us to notice the faults of our associate. And we often seem to ourselves worst than any criminal, inwardly convinced that we retain this impulse toward all vices, and that we are dependent only on protection by the kind-hearted Providence, in order that this impulse not grow within us.
Look, beloved brethren, my heart overflows with blood while I write this. I know that the Pietists are the people of God, the salt of the earth, the spiritual Israel. I was myself raised in Pietism and belong to you even to now, but listen to me so that God would listen to you. Know that you are converted, motivated, that you are the spiritual seed of Abraham, the salt of the earth. Do not conduct yourselves as Israel according to the flesh did in former times. Believe that there are excellent and precious souls beloved of God among them, those whom you number with the world and whom you call worldly people. These souls do not even themselves know that they have already passed by the true path of repentance, faith and self-denial, and because no one has ever introduced it to them. It is exactly in the manner of a very intelligent but not educated person who properly discerns, although he does not know the rules of logic by which he reasons. Such souls do not develop their conscience through books, and not with edifying sermons, or instruction from spiritual leaders, but by the pure word of God which the holy Spirit has created in them - the living spoken word.
This indisputable and sorrowful truth I wanted to disclose in my book, allotting the appellation Pietist to their experience. God is aware of this and to the one who sees the heart I disclose myself, how often and terribly the best of us err in this. Do not sorrow beloved brethren, for what I here present to you publicly, The Bible itself clearly narrates to us regarding the faults of even the most holy of the people of God. Let us arise to be constantly vigilant and pray, removing such faults, so we may find mercy on the day of judgment before the eyes of the judge of the world. To love, fear, and ignore the faults of strangers - this is our obligation. Another just might think that it was not necessary for me to promulgate these admonitions to pious and motivated children of God, but do not fret over this my beloved. Our faults are known and obvious before the eyes of the world, for this reason, we must just as obviously confuse them and abandon them. Read the writing of all the people of God from the beginning of the world to the present, you will see that they likewise exposed the faults of their friends. And is it not in the Bible that the faults of the elect of God are most sincerely and clearly portrayed? For this reason, do forgive me for my boldness. You are the salt of the earth, but watch out that the salt is preserved.
Now follows another important letter from Menace, but not written to me, but written to all true Christians. It is very worthy of consideration, and I ask that you very diligently mediate on it.
Manifesto of Menace Eastern-Light to all of the offspring of God.
Menace Eastern-Light desires for all and everyone, one peace and the grace of God.
To all and everyone who sincerely and zealously strive to turn from the darkness to light and save their soul. I have traversed the Christian land and everywhere have seen signs of maturity. So my beloved, the harvest is near. Blessed is he who is worthy to be taken in the gather of the ripe sheaves, and does not belong to the rejected weeds. Time hurries, it flies by, and sooner than we think it will reach its goal. Here lies before you important responsibilities to fulfill, such responsibilities, the neglect of which will cause eternal sorrow for you and endless calamity. For faithful fulfillment of them, there is prepared eternal blessing and endless joy, and it is so certain, just as certain as the morning follows the evening, and as spring follows the winter. The subject of this letter is to impress these responsibilities on your heart and deeply root them in your soul, and this will be a constant goal of my residence among you until the Lord should call me and until Christianity has no more need in the warning of my voice, or else will not be any more worthy to hear it.
The true sign of Antichrist by which it is possible to recognize him faultlessly is that he rejects Christ, does not recognize him as the son of God and Savior of the human race. But as many nations still do not believe in Christ, for example, Jews, Islam and gentiles, then it is not a false conclusion that Antichrist will appear from the Christian world, and subsequently will first apostatize from Christ and then will become his fierce enemy. And just as the actual Antichrist will be one person, an omnipotent king, who will strive with all his strength to destroy the faith in Christ and His Kingdom, of which clearly Daniel the prophet predicted and the apostles, and especially John, that this king must have a kingdom, that this kingdom must be established, or at least be prepared yet before his appearance, before he begins the reign, and who will utilize all of his omnipotence against Christ and His Kingdom. It is already known that at the present they labor with great strength on the foundation of the kingdom of the Antichrist, and they have succeeded much in their effort. For this reason, we can await it with a sound basis, because it is not very far away. Perhaps he is already born; but where he will appear only time will tell. And so your first obligation consists in delinquently being on guard for the deceivers, the servants of the Antichrist. But because this caution is not an easy matter, since deception occurs very subtly, unnoticeable and under a guise of good, that even as Christ said, that even the elect could be lead astray if it were possible. But I also want to indicate in detail all the signs by which you can recognize who it is that is gathering servants for the service of Antichrist, often not realizing it himself and feeling he has good intentions.
All of those who teach that Christ is only a teacher of people and that the entire matter of redemption is solely based on his moral instruction, all of these gather servants for the kingdom of the Antichrist, whether this is their goal or not. All of those who seek absolution of sin outside the suffering and death of Christ solely in only the fulfillment of his moral instruction, they reject the power of the cross of the death of Christ, namely of the holy Spirit and the activity of His grace, and teach contrary to this, all such belong to the gatherers of the kingdom of the Antichrist, whether they know it or not. All of those who teach that the worship of Jesus Christ is idolatry, that he does not sit on the right side of God and does not govern this Christianity on earth, all of these lead their servants straight to the kingdom of the Antichrist, although they may have the best of intentions. Finally, all those who teach not to be obedient to the rules of the authorities, but in place of this they want to establish a national liberty and equality, all of these through the errors noted above have departed a great distance that they have become genuine servants of the kingdom of the Antichrist. Flee from them as from the plague because they will make you to be unfortunate in a short time and for all eternity.
Behold, beloved brethren, these most certain signs by which you can faultlessly recognize the opponent of God and Christ, whom we must beware. These people can so cleverly distort the Bible, so convincingly talk that often the well-intentioned soul can be lead astray and fall into dissolution.
How cautious must you be toward such teachers and such books if your eternal bliss is valuable to you. Be cautious also of indifference so you do not hate or persecute such people, because they have on occasion good intentions and do not know better. On the contrary, show love to them and be patient with them. And should you have to witness to your faith, then fulfill this with humility and meekness. The Lord, Jesus Christ, the victorious King of Kings, will battle against them and defeat them with the word of his lips. This is his matter and not yours. Yours is to struggle against concepts and not against people, to war against deception, and to gain the victory through love, patience and suffering, and not through hate, disagreement and persecution.
From the other side do not allow yourselves to be corrupted by pastors whom the Lord has not sent. When they say to you, “Behold, Christ is here or there,” or “His sole true church is here or there,” or, “Flee here or there, or to America, or to another part of the world,” in order to escape the future wrath of God, then do not believe them. Every person is to remain in their place and fulfill their obligation with all fidelity. Obtain the bliss of your souls through feat and trembling, vigilance and prayer. Await the time assigned by the Lord for your salvation, he cares for you and will not abandon you to calamity.
With such vigilance against all deception from the one and the other side, and with calm reliance on the assistance of the Lord connect the second point - the unity of spirit, the inner unity with all the offspring of God. This is the primary matter at the present time. Those who oppose the Kingdom of God reside in all Christianity and in all the countries of the world and possess one heart, one soul. Their agreement in false teaching and their opinions is worthy of astonishment. But you, having such a pure, true and clear foundation of faith, Jesus Christ and his gospel, seem to divide into innumerable interpretations, as a result of which you discredit and condemn one another. Do you really think that the Lord will approve of this at his coming? What will happen if the enemy attacks every group individually? Will he not quickly defeat them all? My God! Remove this conceited selfishness. Every person thinks that he is on the right path, never considering that he can go astray, but with so many variations it is impossible for all to be right. Whoever recognizes and deeply feels a congenital moral ruin affecting him and then runs to Christ allows sanctification of his own spirit and awaits the forgiveness of sins solely from the consummate merits of the Redeemer who is honored and worshiped as the eternal king and only-born son of God, he is now your brother, although in the past believed differently than you.
Think! Is it right to repulse a brother only because he does not belong to your denomination? There is less of a reason to love a Herrnhuter because he is a Herrnhuter; a Separatist because he is a Separatist, and a Pietist because he is a Pietist, solely because of the appellation. I know so many excellent men among Catholics and Protestants, among Quakers and Mennonites; but you consider yourselves better than any of them.
The entire dispersion and entire division of the offspring of God must now unite into one flock of the sole true Pastor. For this reason remove every passion you have for superficial garments, and do not consider yours as better only because it is yours. From this point, we do not want to establish a new Christian sect and convince you to join this new sect. May the Lord protect us from this. We likewise do not require that you abandon the appellation by which your denomination is identified from others. It is even less important for a Herrnhuter to become a Pietist, or Pietist to become a Herrnhuter, or Catholic become a Protestant, or Protestant become Catholic. But we require only that you would value one another based on his true inner dignity, and love him relative to this measure, regardless of what he may call himself.
The Moravian Brethren Church evolved directly from the ancient apostles. The late dignified prelate Bengel, this deep-thinking man learned in the Sacred Scripture, accepts the Church of the Moravian Brethren as the wife clothed in the sun fleeing from the serpent into the wilderness.
To the extent that perhaps certain errors have entered into it in the course of many centuries, to the same extent it is indisputably true that there is much slander against it due to malice from their opposition. Further, to the extent that that this church reduced the true basis of evangelical faith from its very beginning with excessive tangible precepts, to the same extent their basis of faith was and is evangelical. This verifies the amazing success of their missionaries in all the countries of the world. In the same manner it is also true that of all institutions this church has discovered a firm foundation toward constant cleansing and perfection, such that it absolutely must little by little become purer and more pleasing to God.
Especially worthy of note is the institution of their [Herrnhut] civil community or their ecclesiastical and civil police. There is nothing comparable to it. It also retains an indisputable embryo and basis for the future Kingdom of Jesus Christ. For if the entire state consisted of sole true Christians then there would not be a better police that existing in the Herrnhuter villages. For this reason, beloved brethren of all denominations, ascertain this Brethren community. Investigate it impartially and in detail, and do not judge them solely on a few members that may live among you, because not all of them have attained what they should be and some may be an embarrassment to their community. But ascertain them soundly and without hurry in their own villages, then you will discover that there is established a foundation for the future flock of the Lord. There is no necessity to join their church; but only love, honor and value it as your first-born sister. It is the tribe of Judah among the 12 tribes of the spiritual Israel. When this tribe begins its movement then be attentive to them. At that time, all of us should join them. Farewell. Be vigilant and pray.
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits if they are from God, because many false-prophets enter into the world.
1 John 4:1
Who will correctly understand this skill? The entire matter consists in whether fire or water will serve as the means of trial. The baptism by fire and water, or a true baptism by spirit, will make a person capable of this. Light and warmth, truth and love are the elements of the spiritual world and assist in the capability to test spirits. Envelope us Lord, with light and warmth in faith and love, so that we are in a position to be able to test. Amen.
One person, from among my chief correspondents not long ago disclosed to me her distress that my Menace will not find many readers, because it is not written in a new style and he does not discern by the rules of the spirit of the present age. I (Stilling) must realize that I am also afraid of the same, because the fashion is very unpredictable and flattering and expands its authority even to religion and the truth of the Christian faith. Out of the fashion evolved writing in the old evangelical vocabulary. There is no fashion when speaking about religion; it has become shameful to mention in a prepared sermon the high name of Jesus Christ. But God will also become ashamed of us when our turn arrives, when the time arises for Him to establish His fashion with all of his saints. It seems so foolish to many to defend the religion of Jesus based on the biblical sense and to publicly profess it. It seems so absurd to them that they cannot understand how an organized person can become involved in this. Many also feel sorry for me, for my weak head and say, “How pathetic.” But they do not say a word when others find satisfaction in Greek or Roman mythology. Beloved citizens, I beseech you with the same condescension, liberty, and toleration. Allow my friends and I to take consolation with the hope of the future world and allow us to daydream, since you consider all of this just day dreams. We do not envy you, and do not argue with you over your own plans and desires. Are we not all children of the same father? Let us begin to love one another and leave it to God to judge. Which of us is right and who is to blame? He knows better than we do.
I enjoy seeing that there are no shortcomings in the encouragement in continuing Menace. He has sufficient readers, but not as many as he had antipodes. But because of this he has such a preeminence, which modern books cannot boast of, and namely, whoever reads him with satisfaction, due to indignation and violation, he is a good person, or is in the process of becoming one. Can the same be said of other periodical compositions?
Who ever looks at snow through red glasses, to him the snow seems to be red. Another who looks at himself in a green mirror will be assured that he is green; while a third who looks at another through a soot stained black window will say he looks like iron burnt in a fire. Who is right? I feel it is the one who looks with his eyes directly at the light of the sun without glasses. All systems of perspective are only flashes.
The plan for my publication, beloved readers, changes. And I present to you a company of six persons, who are the following:
1. Our dignified Menace Eastern-Light, whom you already know.
2. Policarp, a very pious Christian who has succeeded in much who has become distinguished due to his philanthropy and benevolence.
3. Philomist, also a very good and God-fearing man whose principle vocation consists in study and deep research in matters that are natural and spiritual.
4. Evfronim, who is in constant vigilance and prayer.
5. Evsevi, a genuine knight journeying along the path of faith and reliance on God, and finally:
6. Myself (Stilling)
During my last meeting with Menace, we decided that he should visit me at some time, and that I would be permitted to invite my above mentioned 4 friends to our conversation, which would completely deal with the Kingdom of God, while during the conversations I would record all of it to communicate to my readers. And now I will share what occurred at our first meeting.
When we gathered and sat, then Philomist began the conversation in the following manner. “Dignified father Eastern-Light,” he said, “I have something important which I went to ask you, and so accept from you your instruction on this matter.”
Menace: So what is it?
Philomist: You know what is occurring in the world. The Bible, the foundation of out religion, has fallen under suspicion, while we over the past 17 centuries know nothing more about Christ except for that which is there written. The miracles and wonders by which the Lord and his apostles confirmed and sealed their teaching is no longer heard or known about, and even if they are mentioned, then after much investigation they are denounced as false. For this reason in many places the believing offspring of God impatiently await the revelation of our Lord, and recite regarding it fervent prayer. In a childlike manner, they remind him of the promise to reside with them to the end of the world. They remember this promise that where 2 or 3 are gathered in his name, he is there among them. But disregarding all the promises of his to listen to them, whenever they should ask for something in his name, the fulfillment of all their requests remains as before. All of it seems a deception and false and they must utilize all their strength so as not to be lead astray by the arguments of the Deists and Naturalists. True, in a noticeably apparent manner is the participation of Providence on-high in the affairs of humanity; but this participation does not directly serve as proof of the truth of the Christian faith. And every other, as intelligent as that religion may be, accepts the same arguments as its defense. I remain calm, but many contrite pious and righteous souls can be easily shaken, and many who could be saved by such detail evidences and the revelation of out Lord will perish.
This proposition of Philomist wakened in all of us an especial attention. No other question required such sound research as did this one, and no one could give him a better explanation than the one to whom he proposed it.
Menace: Well tell me, my friend Philomist, what namely do you require for the protection of your soul from ruin and for the salvation of those who can be saved?
Philomist: It seems to me that if he (Jesus) would actually in some manner manifest his presence, especially if he would very clearly fulfill the prayers of his faithful, that it would be impossible for doubt in his rule and authority given him in heaven and on earth, or if he would create through his humble followers true and incontestable miracles on occasion, the believers would be confirmed in faith and many who now perish would be drawn to Him.
Menace: And so you think that if Christ would prove his incontestable existence and sovereignty over the world to a few, or if he would fulfill exactly the prayers of his faithful followers, would heal the sick through them, and would resurrect the dead and create similar such miracles, then the weak in faith would be strengthened and many who have gone astray would be saved, is this so?
Philomist: This is exactly my thoughts.
Menace: Now we will analyze all of these demands of yours, point for point. I know a few very pious and just men who see somewhere something that is totally unusual, which based on nature is impossible to explain at this time. These people pray and ask for absolution of their ignorance and receive through a few indubitable indications replies for their petitions and requests. They definitely believe that what they see is a type of the revelation of Christ, the Tabernacle, Light and Justice or the Urim and Thummin, by which he guides them and give them counsel in important situations., And so these men have that which we desire and of which many souls pray, as a result your desire and their prayer is heard.
Philomist: Of course, this is very important, but not completely sufficient. Because, first, these men may be deceived, accepting a manifestation of nature for a Divine revelation, or deceived by others; second, the most intelligent people out of good intentions may exhibit such revelations, in order to attribute more importance and validity to their plans, for which there are sufficient examples. No, I would have to myself receive the revelation and verify it in detail myself.
Menace: And when you would receive it and verify it in detail and would discover that it evolved from Christ and that this is he himself, then you would be confident. Is this correct?
Philomist: Of course.
Menace: But is this sufficient? Should not all who desire this and pray for this be just as confident in this just as you?
Philomist: Of course they must.
Menace: Now, we see that according to this persuasion, Christ must reign on earth and divinely act in a miraculous fashion, just as does any other governor.
Philomist: Without doubt, this results from the following. It seems to me that if he would actually appear per the request of the believers, then there would be no need for his tangible presence as an earthy governor, whom we can see and be convinced of his existence, in order for us to have a conviction and faith in him.
Menace: Beloved Philomist! Speaking as you do we conclude that he must fulfill every prayer of every person.
Philomist: No, most-dignified father. Such a thought would be imprudent, because if 2 people were to pray for contrary items, then only one of them would have to be heard. I only feel that the Lord should indicate his immediate presence to the believers in some type of tangible manner, so they would be fully assured in his continuous presence with him and in his rule over the world.
Menace: If he was to only manifest himself to only his believers in a tangible manner, then this would not be any advantage to those who are not his, but who could still yet become his. But let us advance further to examining your proposition. Christ could manifest himself to his believers in any tangible manner, affecting our outer senses in such a manner that indeed we would see, hear, and touch him. Or is there any advantage to whether we imagine [his presence], for example, receiving instruction in dreams, in premonitions, or visions, whether spiritual, that is through an inner enlightenment of the mind and intellect? Is there some other means?
Philomist: There is no greater. But cannot these means of the revelation of Christ to his believers be united together?
Menace: Do you consider this a necessity, beloved friend, that everything I am relating to you orally should be also expressed in writing?
Philomist: No, most-dignified father. Such a need from my side would be foolish and superfluous. But I do not understand why you would say this.
Menace: For this, that although your intellect and thought are independently assured of the divine omnipresence of our Lord, Jesus Christ, and his rule of the world, and you already are enlightened to a high decree, but you still require tangible evidence. And this is such a foolish and superfluous demand just as my suggestion to write on paper everything I have recited orally to you.
Philomist: You are totally correct. And so this is now resolved, that Christ must either enlighten all his believers to such a degree for them to no longer doubt in any true religion which may deal with him, or else to manifest himself in some tangible manner to me and all who would possibly be saved.
Menace: Well said. We will analyze in more detail these points. If someone has to be enlightened to such a high degree so that he will have no doubt at all that Jesus Christ, the Savior, crucified 18 centuries ago, on the 3rd after his death actually resurrected, and then for 40 days actually ascended into heaven, and then after 10 days sent upon his disciples in a tangible manner the holy Spirit according to his promise, that this very Jesus Christ at the present actually governs the world in place of his Father, and indeed is the true God who hears the prayers of his believers, who shall arrive as the judge, and etc., when I say that someone has to be enlightened to such a degree, is it not required that he research the evidence regarding all of this in a prompt and serious manner, as only a high degree of assurance would require?
Philomist: Incontestably, because that consolation which so many weak souls seek for consists in this.
Menace: Well said. And so when someone would consecrate himself to the teaching, would ascertain the Bible and holy fathers in a diligent and meticulous manner, and would impartially research all the basis and evidence of truth of Jesus Christ, then would he attain assurance?
Philomist: If this was sufficient, then this desire would have fulfilled long ago. But as many objections exist that suffocate the intellect it is even difficult especially at the present time for even a very scholarly person and prudent instructor to withstand them.
Menace: You are absolutely right. Now do you see what this shortcoming properly consists of?
Philomist: I fathom some it. Activities of faith of a practical Christianity are insufficient. However, most-dignified father, the matter does not depend only on this, because many and very pious Christians are tormented by doubt.
Menace: You speak the truth! However, even these pious Christians do not possess that degree of holiness which such a high enlightenment requires. Whoever inwardly profoundly and promptly senses the assurance of the forgiveness of his sins by the suffering and death of Christ, whoever tests for many years the inner guidance of souls along the path of sanctification and external rule and routing of all the most menial incidences in life toward the high goal as true and faithful as much as he can test this, he will finally be assured in this matter, and even doubt will seem to him a weak and childish argument. You really will no longer need for Christ to communicate suddenly in full measure such enlightenment to every prudent person or strayed person who can still be saved. And this would also pertain to requiring from God that He communicate to a child in a miraculous manner all the experiences of an adult, or to reveal inwardly to a person born blind the cognizance of the visible world.
Philomist: I must admit that this would be absurd. Such enlightenment only assures the person who already possesses it. It is of no use to others.
Menace: So it is. But those who are so enlightened, using examples and their instruction, can provide ability for others on the path of life.
Philomist: So does experience teach us this and from distant into the past, but I must return to my previous question. Since at present the population of holy souls little by little decreases, and it seems that zeal for the true religion diminishes, rather than increases, then I would think that the fatherly love of God and Redeemer, who has accomplished so much for people, would demand an increase of people [dedicated] to Him in order that He, as their God and Savior, would appear in some manner, perceptible to the senses.
Menace: This would be the 2nd point which we just resolved. And so you think that because of the parental love of God and Christ, he should feel it appropriate to manifest himself to his believers and to those who could be saved in the future, either in an external tangible form, so that they could see, hear and feel him, or in reflections, premonitions, visions and dreams?
Philomist: Yes, in some type of tangible form.
Menace: Suppose that there appeared to you a form of a person in a radiant glorious appearance, having a body transformed into light, and proclaimed to you that he was Christ, would you immediately believe him.
Philomist: No, I would have to examine him, because even an evil spirit can be transformed into an angel of light.
Menace: Do you know, beloved Philomist, how to examine him? Do you know how far the powers of such an entity, a citizen of the Kingdom of spirits, appearing to you can transverse? Can you assign a figure where the activities of the Omnipotent begin, which no type of restrained spirit can imitate?
Philomist: Of course I cannot assign one. But the apostles saw Christ after his resurrection, while Paul and John saw him after his ascension and recognized that this was he.
Menace: But they knew him on earth, and the figure of his face was familiar to them. At least we know this about John whom you mentioned above, but you have not seen [Jesus].
Philomist: Not at all. Suppose that the person appearing to you would resurrect a dead person, but a doubt can still remain: was this person really dead? But if he heard your prayer, or would foretell to you the future, someone can still say, “Did it really occur that way.” In short, it is still possible to state a sound argument to contradict such a miracle. Who really knows the secret powers of nature to accomplish anything?
Philomist: No way, it seems to me, most dignified father. Based on this it is possible to doubt even the miracles of Christ and the Apostles.
Menace: Absolutely not, because among such manifestations, of which we speak, and those of Christ and his apostles, there is a distance of that between heaven and earth. The apostles lived as we do, in a civil society. Their entire life was known: all found it to be holy and full of charity. None of their friends, except for some criminals, could say about them anything discrediting or improper. And their credibility as just and upright people was well known among all those who associated with them to the point that it was impossible to blame them in any pre-mediated deception. When such people performed miracles before the eyes of many, and often many were repeated in various circumstances, it occurred such that every one could impartially examine and investigate these miracles. During them, when the apostles witnessed to the power by which they performed the miracles and which truth they confirmed through them, these miracles of theirs acquired for their evangelism a needed respect and which increased their following. But at the present enlightened era, where doubt is a common modern disease, the very miracles of Christ could not acquire faith, much less the manifestations of which we speak.
Philomist: I see that you speak correctly.
Menace: Accept the following in discernment, that at the time of Christ all believed in miracles and even demanded that the implementer of the new religion confirm it with miracles. For this reason the Savior was supposed to conform to the general spirit in order to attain his benevolent intention. Nevertheless, he based the tangible evidence of his deity and divine ambassadorship not only on these signs and miracles which he created, but even more affirmed himself on the prophetic predictions of the Old Testament. In the gospels the term “That the Scripture be fulfilled.” is always mentioned, and actually many of these predictions served as more convincing evidence then did the miracles, which the Pharisees, according to the rules of their philosophy, often disputed. But in discerning predictions their lips were restrained and they could not make any argument against them.
Philomist: Now allow me to return to the discussion regarding manifestations. And so you affirm that the [manifestation] you cannot affirm in any other manner, except for me to be indisputably assured that this is Christ himself in the very item which is manifested?
Menace: This I did not affirm, only if what was manifested brought with itself evidence that he is in general the ruler of the world, and especially over men, and has the authority of legislature, this manifestation would genuinely be divine, and it would be necessary to believe it unconditionally. Glance for the example at all the manifestations of Jehovah in the Old Testament, beginning from the burning bush on mount Horeb to the loss of the ark during the captivity at Babylon, everywhere you will find sketches of the omnipotent and omniscient Almighty of the world and source of holiness. If you were to discover all of this likewise in your manifestation, and likewise a meticulous agreement of this with the teaching of Jesus Christ and his apostles, then you can believe this and you are obligated to obey it.
Philomist: You have granted me a beautiful thought, most dignified Father. Ah, only if the Lord would be kindhearted toward us and select us to have here the same type of place as Jehovah had in Jerusalem, where they could tangibly find Him and on occasion see His glory. This would serve as a great reinforcement for His faithful followers and for the instruction of those astray and doubtful, to lead them to the true path.
Menace: And you want the same along with many good and humble souls, good and beloved Philomist? And you really think that our Christians are more benevolent in heart, more hungry for faith, or more obedient, than the former nation of the Israelites?
Philomist: No, I cannot think this. On the contrary our enlightenment causes us bitterness, doubtful and inclined to independence, more than the Israelites were. They attached themselves to every superstition and are shaken by every wind; for this reason nothing benefited them, not even the tangible manifestations of Jehovah. For they thought that the gods of the gentiles likewise manifested themselves in their temples, and their majority felt only that their Jehovah was the highest, greatest and most powerful God. But even then they often doubted, especially when they saw that the gentile nations defeated them and forced them under their authority. Beyond this, their Jehovah demanded a strict charity and holiness from them as much was possible. The gentile gods patronized and approved the beloved prophets and tangible leaders, so this motivated them to regular apostasy and finally the massive calamity of collapse. But there is no reason for us to fear this. Such a residence of the Lord among us would produce a benefit, because it is not superstition which possesses us, but unbelief, against which this [residence] would serve as the sole and most faithful medicine.
Menace: But don’t you notice that you are fiercely discrediting our Lord and Savior, the king of humanity, and blame him for aversion, as though he cares less than you do for the salvation of his nation? If it really was the way that you think, he would have long ago utilized these means which you have disclosed.
Philomist: Forgive me, my father, I did not think about this. You speak the truth, but it seems the fervent desire for that which our soul loves can excuse such mistakes.
Menace: He will forgive your statements, as though they were childlike, spoken out of ignorance. But I will demonstrate to you that which you refer to as a residence, the very tabernacle which at one time existed in Jerusalem, will not benefit in the least. Suppose that Christ would appear again in Jerusalem with the same type of magnificent signs, just as Jehovah in the past, what would be the result? They will begin to laugh at this and say, “This is a superstitious tale of the eastern Christians.” But when the many witnesses of travelers and credible people are added to this, then it will enter their head to investigate this manifestation of nature, they will travel there, scholarly communities will send their members there, and what will finally arise out of all of this? They will consider this a superlative manifestation of nature, or an electrifying incident, or some other hidden power of natural substance. If they finally become convinced that Christ himself resides there, they would not be surprised at this and say, “And so it is true what is written in the gospels.” But the doubt would not be eradicated from them all because the unconverted, the sensual and unbelievers would still abide in doubt just as at present, I assure you.
Philomist: Likewise unbelievers, just as at present? I cannot fathom this.
Menace: Did Jews believe who were witnesses of all the great miracles and acts of the apostles? You will say to me, “He was then a plain person, but at the present occurrence he would appear as the Supreme Entity. But I assure you, they would finally adjust to this manifestation, and as enlightenment would increase, a thousand new doubts would be born regarding the divinity of this entity, and finally they would no longer respect this, just as at present they do not respect the Bible. Should I tell you, Philomist, what can totally assure the entire human race of the deity of Christ?
Philomist: I very much ask and wish this of you.
Menace: There is one second advent in his glorious Kingdom and especially for the judgment of the living and dead. When he manifestly arrives to reign on the earth and will utilize Divine authority to defeat his enemies, then no one will doubt.
Philomist: This is absolutely true. But won’t Christ install his Kingdom on earth before the awesome judgment?
Menace: First, it seems, all of this must occur according to the predictions of Sacred Scripture. Second, this is certainly based on reason alone. It is impossible to believe that he, allowing his principle enemy to possess the earth, will leave this fatherland of humanity in his [enemy’s] authority. No, we can be quick to think that before the awesome judgment, during the present life of humanity, he will gain for his teaching the victory over the beast and false-prophet. This is predicted in detail in the Revelation to John.
Philomist: But it is strange that Christ himself did not say one word about this. Everywhere he speaks only regarding his advent for judgment.
Menace: This is true. However, it seems that one place does allude to this, namely at Matt 26:29, Mark 14:25, and Luke 22:16, when he speaks regarding his drink and food in the Kingdom of his Father. These words, judging by the environment they were spoken, it seems cannot be understood otherwise except in tangible terms, and so do not pertain to the Kingdom of God in heaven. Beyond this it was useless to speak of this any earlier to the disciples, because even without this they were attached to an earthly kingdom. Nevertheless, Christ said and accomplished much that was not recorded.
Philomist: And so we have resolved that Christ improperly assured his believing followers, and those astray who could yet be saved, regarding his presence and rule of the world, using some other manner other than inner enlightenment or his final advent?
Menace: No, beloved Philomist. You have crossed form one extreme to the other. Our conversation is whether it was necessary for Christ to manifest himself in some type of tangible form to his believers and those who could yet be saved. I wanted to prove that this was not necessary, but whether it was proper we must not and can not ascertain, because he knows for himself what is proper for him. It depends on his own good will when and how to manifest himself. We must not demand it. And since we are so little capable to examining supernatural items, then it is his affair as to how to assure us, whether this manifestation will evolve from him. However, we must examine with all credibility as much as we are able, and he will definitely defend us from being led astray, which is so easy and so dangerous in this situation. Listen beloved friends, I will disclose to you regarding this, the unadulterated and indubitable truth by which you cannot err or be led astray. Do not in any way require from Christ that he again manifest himself in a tangible form after he left behind for us on earth many experiences of his divinity and ambassadorship during the days of his humiliation. How easy it is for cunning deceivers and evil spirits to take advantage of your desire in order to captivate you. The Lord has accomplished enough for us and to the present he always manifests himself with great strength, with his spirit, to all those who surrender themselves to his guidance with firm hope. Truly insolence that is worth suspecting is when a person requires of him even more than what he has already done. Remember those Jews who, disregarding all the witnesses which they saw and heard from him, demanded another sign from heaven? You know what he replied to them, “The unbelieving and adulterous generation seeks a sign, but none will be granted it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.” Likewise will he answer us, “No other sign will be granted you except my advent, my return from my journey to heaven, where I have prepared for you residences.” And so it is very unfounded and absurd to demand more signs from him.
Philomist: Permit me most respected father to present to you a little more. He promised unfeignly to be with us all the days even to the end of the age. In many places in the history of the gospel these beloved and precious promises of our Savior are repeated, which can easily elicit another desire for its fulfillment. Under the circumstances according to the word of the Lord himself, the gift of miracles is not appropriated only to him and to his apostles.
Menace: You propose here 2 items, which require still additional explanation. Read the entire gospel history in this sense, you will find there even more assurance that he was departing from his disciples in order to prepare for them a residence, that he will be absent from them a long time, and finally return. Everywhere his arrival is spoken about, and his apostles were likewise occupied with it, which they still then awaited. After the ascension of the Lord, angels said to his disciples, “This Jesus who departed from you into heaven will return in the same manner that you saw his ascent into heaven.” All of this clearly sufficiently indicates that he does not want to be [presently] perceived as a tangible image. Beyond this he warns his disciples about deception, which will affect some of them prior to his advent, saying, “Then if anyone says to you -- and this also pertains to us-- behold Christ is over here or over there, do not believe them. If they say, He is in the desert do not search for him; if he is in a hidden place, do not believe it, because just as the lightening to travel from the east and is apparent in the west, in this manner will occur the coming of the son of mankind.” Do you see, my beloved Philomist that he very clearly and meticulously speaks of the tangible presence? True, this does not exclude special manifestations and occasional revelations. However, it allows us to include the premise that such extraordinary manifestations are not absolutely necessary for our faith. Taking into consideration all of those places where Christ promises to sent in place of himself the holy Spirit to the earth, which he genuinely accomplished 10 days after his ascension in a visual and tangible manner, and this holy Spirit to this time manifested its presence and activity through the sanctification of all who are truly believers and through the guidance of the entire Christian generation toward its goal; you can become assured that everywhere where Christ speaks of residing with us we must understand as the comforting and indescribable close inner presence of the holy Spirit in us, which is considerably more comforting than any tangible presence. This is so clear, just as the sun. And so every person should maintain a constant vigil and prayer for the inner spiritual presence of the Savior, who is found by all who seeks him in Spirit and truth. All other tangible manifestations are not as reliable and credible.
Philomist: O thank you, most respected father, you have comforted me. But may I dare to ask of you a similar type of explanation now pertaining to the gift of miracles?
Menace: Do you believe that from the time of the apostles to the present true miracles are performed?
Philomist: A person cannot know this, but what is known is that at present such miracles do not occur, as Christ and his apostles performed them, that is, there are no longer that type of people who with one word and an invocation of the name of Christ will heal the sick, give vision to the blind, have the cripple move around, and resurrect the dead.
Menace: Based on this we can conclude that if Christ promised the gift of miracles to every Christian having strong faith, then from the era of the apostles to the present there have not been any Christians having such strong faith, or there are none at the present.
Philomist: To confirm this is dangerous. However, the following can be indisputably concluded, that whether Christ promised the gift of miracles only to solely the apostles, or to all these believing in him from all their heart and who proceed in faith to some determined degree. And since at the present time such miracles do not occur then we can conclude the following, that either this gift was promised only to the apostles and to men of the same vocation, or that at present there are no longer such mature Christians.
Menace: Which of these 2 conclusions would you prefer to believe?
Philomist: Naturally, that the gift of miracles was promised only to the apostles.
Menace: Although this is right, however I must explain more regarding this question. The miracles which the heroic faith of Christians of that era created must be examined in 2 ways. First, as demonstration of the true Christian faith. Second, as the means to reinforce in faith and to sanctify in particular some of the Christians, and that the working of miracles was an act of charity, and so was utilized by them as a talent given to them for their growth. In order that the miracles would serve to accomplish the first goal it was necessary for the people, among whom they were created, to accept them as reliable evidence for their intended purpose, otherwise they would be futile. I said already that the eastern residents required miracles to demonstrate the truth of the new religion, but among us this is not the case, and miracles would have been of little use, just as would some extravagant manifestation or revelation of Christ somewhere, which we discussed previously. But what is incontestable is that faith does cause true miracles to occur, and greater would occur if there was no argument, which only adds to the detriment of the great influence of Christianity. Every person should strive toward this heroic faith, but not to repeat the miracle; this would be rude and repulsive to the Divine rule, but strive only for the following reason, in order to draw closer to the Lord and to grow in holiness. And so in such circumstances where natural strength no longer has any effect and the spirit inwardly motivates a childlike prayer for deliverance and help, it is proper to pray with hope and the abandonment of yourself to the will of God. And if your prayer will be heard, and help is noticeably given to you from above, and not naturally, then it is necessary to humbly give gratitude for this mercy. Such mercy immensely motivates a person to witness to his gratitude through benevolence, and his strength becomes strong and stronger. But if your prayer is not heard, you still must not feel insulted or become doubtful. Perhaps the fulfillment of this prayer would not be useful to you; and usually they sooner or later will determine how it was better for God not to then hear our prayer. Such domestic miracles do not mean anything for the unbelievers, and they consider those who believe them to be dreamers. So it is better not to relate them to anybody, except to those whom the miracle world seem to reinforce faith. For all the others, this would only serve as a reason to joke.
Evsevi: I thank you, must-respected father, for your explanation of this topic. To confirm what was said, I will provide an example: I knew such a hero of the faith, although little. He had a great gift of prayer. And when he prayed in the presence of others then those present followed his example and were to pray in the same manner. And since he was a preacher and in all of his sermons fire and spirit emanated out of him and into the hearts of his listeners, he brought great benefit to his parishioners. Especially for the dying he was an angel of help and consolation. To many sick he asked for healing on their behalf, and saved many with prayer. For children he was the best instructor and teacher and a genuine friend after the example of the Savior. When he taught catechism, even the adults, as many as did small children, gathered to listen to him, in order to light their own lamps with the charity of his lamp and hear new narratives of wisdom.
This worthy charitable man had a good, meek, and beloved wife and 3 children. She conceived with a 4th and then began to feel her demise. She could not find any reason for this experience, except for a gloomy feeling vehemently overwhelmed her that she would die during childbirth. Her good husband reinforced and encouraged her and fervently prayed for the preservation of her life. For 3/4 of a year, he prayed daily on his knees, but he could not pray her into life and could not retain faith in his wife and shortly after childbirth she became weak and then after 8 weeks died. This priest then began to waver in faith because this blow was too immense for him, one that he never had to endure to that time. He would have completely stumbled against the rocks if it was not his own child who led him out of this danger. Once when he sat in the garden, during a discussion, melancholy, in bitter sorrow, his head bent down, casting his gaze to the ground, his 4 year son ran to him and started to ask for him to allow him to go with his teacher’s son for an outing. The teacher’s son was a smart boy, 12 years old, and the priest’s children often went on walks with him. The father had no doubts in allowing his son to go with him, but at the very moment when the child started to strongly ask, he felt an inner fear which forced him to deny the request of his son. But the more he would ask the more the son would beg, and so the father’s concern increased with his rejection of the request. The son became so stubborn at this point that he threw himself on the ground, kicked with his feet, wept and cried so he would be allowed to go. The first intended move of the father was to punish him, but suddenly a thought flashed like lightening through his mind, “Are you only better than this child?” And so he, bending down, picked up the child, started to pray and said to him, “I cannot allow you to go. Stop asking.” Then his sister came to him and was able to cheer up the child with children’s toys which she brought.
Meanwhile, the poor teacher’s son went to gather wild strawberries. Along the road a rabid dog met with him and bit him. He went into convulsions and died in this pitiful manner. The pastor, hearing of this incident was struck by it, humbled himself before God, and from the depths of his heart brought gratitude unto God and asked forgiveness for his complaints that his prayer was not heard. “God himself,” he discerned, “warned me, so I would not permit my son, and so He still cares for me. And I like a child became angry when He did not want to listen to me, and I felt contempt toward God. But he disregarding this had the good will to save my son for me. And so perhaps he also saved me from some disastrous calamity with the death of my wife.” These thoughts like a swift stream flowed through the soul of the good pastor and comforted him.
To this was also added conversation of his pious sister, saying, that when he told her of this incident with the child, she said to him, “I came exactly for this reason, to speak with you about the circumstances at home. You know how much I loved my late sister-in-law, and how assured I was that she was a pious woman, but even among the saints there is nobody perfect. Now I must turn your attention to 2 subjects by which you will clearly observe how merciful God is to you because he took her away from you. You saw the type of upbringing your son has, and how he became rude and angry because you denied his request. I hope you can see in this incident that your late wife was very weak toward the children, she was unable to decline anything to them and their rudeness grew as they aged. You were occupied with your own work and could not occupy yourself with raising your own children. Think what would have occurred with them if they would have grown up under their mother’s care? Meanwhile, I will also tell you, you are charitable and willingly disperse charity; your late wife did the same. But after some time frugality entered her heart which would later have turned into miserliness, and what type of effect would this have on a clergyman? You know this better than I do, and so you see that God took your good wife at that time while she was still not corrupted and so preserved you ahead of time from great sorrow. So you must not doubt that He has for you a fatherly concern, if you were to discern all of this and give yourself over to God in child-like simplicity.”
From this time, the good pastor was totally consoled and comforted. He lived several years more and was useful to his flock. But he died at such an age when it seemed that he would live longer. His death also brought doubt to many supplicants, because when he weakened and the doctors already despaired regarding his recovery, then all of his parishioners utilized all means in preserving the life of this preceptor so beloved to them. Perhaps there is no example in history that so many so fervently at some time for the salvation of someone’s life as his. Other than his domestic help, 300 young people from his parish agreed to pray in unison for one hour during the evening, each in their own home, for the preservation of his life, but nothing helped. The pastor died and could not understand why God retired such a blessed and charitable man from his vocation so early. But soon it was disclosed that a strong group was arming themselves in secret which would have, under the circumstances of the era, completely destroyed him if God did not retire him from his life.
Menace: This history is worth nothing and very instructive. A person can find many similar to it if people will take note of such experiences. It is also necessary to note that many pious people in such circumstances go astray from the true path if they are not careful. It often occurs that the good Christian having faith and childlike simplicity prays regarding some matter and does not receive it makes the following conclusion: God alone knows what is beneficial for me, which I do not know; it is better for me not to pray but to abandon my destiny to God, just as apostle Paul said, “We know not how to pray, but the very Spirit intercedes for us in unpronounceable sighs.” This condition is true, but it is dangerous to utilize it. A person must pray for all things in childlike simplicity, and if something should fulfill, then this means his prayer was heard. If not then this means it was not of a benefit to him. When a person prays under the cover of a pseudo-abandonment to the will of God, then little by little he strays from the light, becoming neglectful and finally loses all strength in faith. The intercession of the spirit in unpronounceable sighs does not occur in the soul without our knowledge. We felt it in ourselves like a secret motivation to pray. Then we pray without abandonment unto the will of God and agree with the unpronounceable sighs of the spirit praying for us. This is called praying in the spirit and truth, and such prayers are heard faster than all.
Polycarp: As we have now started discussing prayer and its audience, so I likewise will relate one occurrence which, pertaining to this matter, merits attention. I knew one family among the villagers which consisted of an elderly father, elderly mother and 2 adult daughters. The father was meek while the mother was simple, calm, having a childlike temperament, and she was a faithful wife. Her intelligence did not extend further than what was necessary for her domestic affairs. But the older daughter was filled with spirit and life, light and grace. It was obvious that she possessed the talent of faith, and it was apparent that she could yield the enlightenment of the holy Spirit. She was so fluent in Sacred Scripture, and especially in the letters of the Apostles, that the pastor often questioned her about many places that were obscure to him and he returned from her quite satisfied. In her expression shined an angelic countenance, her life and activity enlightened all the neighbors as an excellent example. The younger sister possessed lesser gifts, but likewise strived to attain the same goal, to which the elder sister was closer.
Their father became dangerously weak and the older sister succumbed to bitterness. Her penetrating stare reveled something to her about her father whom she loved in an indescribable way, which she could not correlate with her understanding of Christianity. She ran to one humble priest living an hour away from their village, with whom she was very familiar, and ask him for his help with his prayers, for God to completely recover her beloved father prior to his death. The priest endeavored to console her using every possible means, and finally they agreed to pray together at a predetermined time for the recovery of the sick person. He (the father) thereafter quickly died, and the daughter did not notice any change in him. She became immersed in a great sorrow and become very weak as a result of it. And the Father of Humanity, having a kind heart toward her, comforted her in an extraordinary manner. About 3 weeks after her father’s death, as he went to bed in the evening, she prayed with fervent tears for the salvation of the soul of her father and then started to fall asleep. She heard a voice, which said to her, “If you had a son who angered you, and then began to eagerly ask you for forgiveness, just as your father beseeched God for his pardon, would you forgive him, and accept him again in your love?” “Yes, I would forgive Lord,” this humble soul cried out in amazement. Then the voice continued, “When you cannot forget your offspring, then can the Lord forget the person He redeems and who cries to Him for his pardon?” At this minute the humble daughter was fully comforted.
Menace: I know this humble soul and I was that voice which proclaimed to her these words. She died and I presented her soul to the Lord.
Evfronim: I will share with you one thought, which I took from the experiences of pious souls, but you, our father, can tell us if you can find anything in it incorrect or corrupt. The further a soul succeeds in the path of sanctification, the closer it draws to the supreme image, Christ. The closer it draws to Christ, the more it becomes similar to him, and the more it acquires a divine nature. The more it acquires a divine nature, the more agreeable it becomes to the will of God and his providence. The more agreeable it is to the will of God, the less it prays for matters of personal intent and selfish purpose, but rather more in love towards God and associate, and for the glory of the Kingdom of God. The more it prays from a motivation to love God and humanity, the more that its prayers are fulfilled. Finally, the more its prayers are fulfilled, the more it will pray for wisdom in order to be able to better pray. And the more it prays for light and wisdom, the more it will receive them, such that it can finally attain such a degree of faith that it can also create miracles, if this be pleasing to the Omniscient.
Menace: This is totally correct. The souls that attain to this degree acquire such a sharp sense which allows them to know whether or not to pray for something. In the first incident, they felt an inner profound hope which emanated from the unpronounceable sighs of the Spirit; where in the latter, they entice a contradiction. Even when they prayed, they together felt that their prayer would not be heard. It was the same with the gift of miracles with the apostles. When the Omniscient determined it necessary and advantageous to show such power, then it awakened faith in the soul of the sick person or sufferer to accomplish the miracle, without which even Christ himself could not work any [miracles]. Then in the spirit of the miracle worker himself was born an obvious and firm conviction in its accomplishment, and then he said, “In the name of Jesus Christ, let this or that happen,” and it happened. And so full faith and firm hope from the side of the sufferer, and an inner conviction in its success from the side of the miracle worker are absolutely necessary for the accomplishment of any miracle. Where any of this is lacking, there will definitely occur failure and the shame of the religion. And it is clear that the accomplishment of miracles does not depend on the will of even the holiest person, but solely on the will of God. Subsequently no one must accept this for granted until the above mentioned indications are confirmed in detail in the will of God.
This instruction and conversation of Eastern-Light was for all of us instructive. Then the conversation turned in another direction but of no less importance. The words spoken by him, that at present there exist such pious men to whom God gives exact answers to their questions, motivated Evsevi to the following question.
Evsevi: You mentioned, my father, certain men who saw manifestations which resolved their questions and their lack of understanding. They say that certain souls appear even after death, while some people affirm that they have found even the ability to communicate with the spiritual Kingdom and also the language with which they can converse with good spirits and learn from them. There are also such people who foretell the future and can relate other similar miracles. That such stories in olden times, when superstition everywhere reigned, were ordinary, this is not difficult to understand; but it is strange that at the present when reason sits on the throne of majesty and superstition is cast into the dust, people still see and hear such manifestations which are impossible to relate as either a deception or superstition. Many histories are known to me indisputably proving the manifestation of the souls of people who died a 100 and even 300 years ago. And what is strangest of all is their conversations with living people which in all aspects is similar with the circumstances of their eras. From this it is evident that they reside in such a place where they do not acquire any new knowledge. Teach us, most respectable father, how must the Christian conduct himself in such incidences?
Menace: Your question is very important and demands special attention for 2 reasons. First for this, that the general turbulence among living people extends even to the Kingdom of the dead or spirits, because all people who die transfer to that other world all of their rules, opinions, and dominating passions such that it is absolutely necessary for there to also be great convulsion. And if it is possible for these departed spirits to have an effect on this world in whatever manner they desire, then they would cause us much trouble, but this capability was deprived them. Second, during the present extraordinary important circumstances, the minds are so extended that they notice all that occurs significantly earlier. Especially the wait for the future was motivating in them the utilization of means more or less permitted them, for the examination of future destinies, in place of leaving all of this to the fatherly love of God and subjecting themselves to His providence. Now considering these 2 forces, the tension from the local side and the disorder in the other side, it becomes easy to understand that true manifestations which occurred earlier were very seldom but at present will occur more often.
Philomist: I am very happy that the conversation turned to this matter. In my life there occurred to me such experiences which I could not explain to myself in any manner. For example, I knew simple workers at cemeteries, whose work was to dig graves, and who faultlessly foretold funerals with all of their circumstances. And because they were neither atheist nor religious, but on the other hand people who for the most part were drunkards and of poor conduct. This I could not understand in any manner, how such superstitions and amoral people could know the future. There are such people who are affected with bodily and psychological illness who see spirits where no one else can see them. Why is this?
Menace: For all of this I will provide you with a satisfactory resolution. We will name ghost-seers all of those who say of themselves that they see the departed, or ghosts, or in some other manner have dealings with the spiritual world. They can be divided into 3 classes.
1. They imagine that they see something, not being touched neither inwardly nor outwardly by any type of objective item, and so these deceive themselves and have not seen anything.
2. Others definitely see something and have the ability to tangibly sense the object of the other world, while other people do not sense anything at all.
3. The third are selected and utilized for this purpose by God himself for special goals, to whom He especially manifests Himself.
These ghost-seers are for the majority named Prophets. We can’t have a discussion about them here, because they belong to those of whom we have previously spoken. Regarding the other class of people who think they saw something, but who in reality did not see anything, they are not worth the effort to discuss. It is well known how our imagination can easily decide us. And so we will begin with the 2nd class of people because a great enigma is confined in them, which even the most perspicacious philosopher cannot resolve with all of his wisdom if he will not be taught by the true teacher. The entire matter consists in this, that every person possesses in his soul the ability of acute reason or premonition, and every one can remember that there have occurred with them such incidents which they ahead of time felt what later occurred, These presentiments often surfaces through the imagination, such that a person asleep or aware sees and hears something according to which he comprehends something that recently happened or which is yet to occur in the distant, whether there comes to mind some type of thought assuring it of the premonition so truthfully as if though someone said it to him. Both of these scenarios I present to you as examples. One pastor whom I knew had a brother in America, of whom he heard nothing good. But one morning, sitting in his cabinet involved in writing a letter, not thinking anything about his brother, suddenly he saw his brother walking up to him entering his cabinet. He left his work to embrace him but then he disappeared; and suddenly there came the thought to him that his brother had died. He recorded the day and time when this occurred. And after some time the received news that his brother died at exactly that day and time, and when he in his fatal fervency and sorrow remembered him. As an example of a similar manifestation in a dream I will provide for you the following incident.
One very pious preacher became seriously weak and his friends agreed to pray for the preservation of his life, without ceasing day and night and taking turns so that at least one of them was always in prayer. The turn came for one pious woman who fell asleep while in prayer, and she saw in a dream this pious pastor in a radiant appearance ascending to heaven. He smiled at her and said, “Watch as I depart from you.” She awoke and at that very minute they came to tell her that the pastor passed away.
Another history which is very worthy of mention which will further explain this obscure matter can be acknowledged as reliable. About midway through this century their lived one pious and educated professor of mathematics in a certain popular university in Germany He was a person of superior intelligence and character and not at all superstitious. Once after dinner finding himself in conversation with friends, he was very satisfied and happy but suddenly felt melancholy and an inner compulsion to go home. At first he wanted to overcome it, feeling the motivation had no basis for it. But he was not able to resist it for long and felt he had to depart. As soon as he came home then this same sensation moved him to enter the bedroom. Entering it seemed to him that the blanket was not in place and he moved the bed to another location. As soon as he did this he became calm and happy and then returned to his guests where he stayed until midnight. Arriving home he calmly went to sleep. During the night a sudden loud voice awoke him. Waking up from it he noticed that the roof collapsed and fell at the very place where his bed earlier stood. And so without this secret premonition he would have been killed. This premonition belongs to those where nothing tangible was seen or heard, but was transmitted inwardly as if speaking with some type of voice.
Not considering the many indisputable experiences of similar presentiments, the proud spirit of reason of our eras judges them very contemptuously and calls them superstition and daydreams, just like all which they cannot understand. But this can be explained in the following manner: In the soul of every person is hidden the capability of acute sensation, which, by the laws of our nature, cannot be completely disclosed in any manner except by our death, when the soul departs from the bonds of the body and is freer to act. This very sensation serves as an organ for conversation with other spirits. Here this cannot be disclosed, and in many situations would be harmful. But since illnesses do occur, disregarding that they are against the laws of nature, so there is disclosed in us likewise this sensation which is even more forceful then illness, and faster than all else can be manifested in these people who have very irascible nerves, likewise in many illnesses of the nervous system, such as hysteria or hypochondria. Likewise, when people possess a vivid imagination, believe superstitious opinions and tales of predictions and sorcery and long involve themselves with such thoughts; or else lead that type of life which brings them to such thoughts, as for example cemetery caretakers and night watchmen. Finally, consuming liquor can also have a massive effect on the brain to quickly open these senses. And so whatever the condition of a person or the condition of his soul so is the type of sensation that occurs in him, and there manifests in him either something through his imagination in visions or dreams, or either one in the mind through a spiritual voice.
In such a manner all premonitions are irrational, although they are not actually miraculous and are based on nature, but the same must also be said of them just as with illness. Subsequently, we must conclude this about them and not approve of them in the least, but on the contrary restrain ourselves from them. But nevertheless they do not serve for us in this any means of instruction, and we must not utilize any means to revealing the power of premonition. Because this disclosure has a spirit of divination, against which the Sacred Scripture strongly warns us, and which the apostles exorcized, to which Balaam was attracted when he wanted to foretell, and by means of which so many oracles and pseudo-miracles have occurred among the idolatrous nations, which can all be subscribed to satan. The disclosure of this feeling becomes much easier for the Eastern residents who have a more vivid and fervent imagination than we have.
The true and inevitable conclusion of all that was said is this: Do not consider a premonition a miracle and a divine means of education, although they quite often serve to some beneficial goal, just as does any illness. What is most dangerous is the evil intent of this capability [of premonitions]. We will explain it in the following manner.
The souls of the decreased can be in this situation divided into 3 classes. 1. The souls of people who died in the faith and hope of their redeemer: true, sanctified and justified Christians, who are soon dispatched to the place where no evil will affect them. 2. The souls of people who died unrepentant and un-sanctified and who are soon sent to the place appropriate for them. 3. Those that have much goodness but are still possessed by strong passion which will not allow them to rest. Such souls are many and they wander in an obscure place of silence, in the dungeons of the dead, until that time until they completely mature to one or the other assignment. The state of these souls is similar to the state of those who sleep in the deep sleep. Since these souls are not clothed with bodies up to the resurrection and as a result do not have the organs for sensation, then their entire sensation consists only in imagination, which there is more vivid than here because there is nothing to restrain it. And so they occupy themselves there with their favorite thoughts with which they died. Naturally, in this state they cannot increase their knowledge, and as a result any intercourse with them is not of any service at all. What is said by them is unreliable because they themselves still require instruction and are unable to teach one another. Many of these souls, especially those which are tormented by some type of massive attachment to something earthly which they did not finish or did not conclude, are drawn to the earth by their strong desire and are occupied by of these favorite topics of theirs, worry about them and seek someone to disclose their desires and so receive some relief. Since they do not have a body, and subsequently tangible members, they are not able to completely unveil themselves to living people, but only in other forms, but they are unable to speak or communicate with anyone except for those in whom is manifested the capability of acute sense. These who have a true means of communication with such spirits can become informed by them and can inform them also, and because these people can see these spirits which are invisible to others. It is easy to understand what type of joy overwhelms these destitute lonesome night vagrants -- and they are genuine lunatics -- when they find such people. Meanwhile, it is contrary to the order of God and is a serious sin to seek communication with these spirits, even out of curiosity to acquire knowledge, because there is nothing to be learned from them but only to acquire from them a massive deception.
The following conclusions can be drawn from all of this:
1. Every time the conversation is directed toward the manifestation of spirits, it is necessary to examine the matter very intensely, “Are these stories true?” Because out of a thousand, there is hardly one that is actually true.
2. If it actually occurs, that a spirit from the other world manifests itself, then that person, with whom he began to communicate, must courteously admonish him and show him that his desire is contrary to the order of God. Nevertheless, if the spirit will demand friendly services, then an accommodation can be made him. If he requires such items that are superstitious or pertain to a fulfillment of some earthly matter, than do not listen to him, but admonish him where he can seek and find rest. If this is to no avail, then order him not to appear any more and command him in the name of God and Jesus Christ to return to his place, to no longer be upset, but seek help from the true Helper of us all.
Philomist: I thank you, most-respected father, for this instruction. If it were not so late I would ask you more about this matter, but we will leave it to another time.
With this there ended this first meeting and Menace departed on his charitable journey.
This theory regarding premonitions and visions proposed by Menace I could soundly prove using many original and trustworthy experiences if the obligation to spare certain respectable individuals did not restrain me, at least for some time. Although I myself have not seen anything of this type and have not sensed it, except for 2 occasions of clear premonition, but the kindhearted Providence taught me from a young age to recognize this through various circumstances, from basic elements to the clarity and validity of this important theory, so that I could transmit this information also to others. For this reason, I consider it an obligation not to hide these revelations, especially at the present where 2 contradictive extremes meet it. One rejects every manifestation and recognizes them without review as a deception and daydreams, while others strive to attain some communication with the spiritual world thinking to find there true healing from all their doubts. It is impossible to deny that there has occurred true premonitions, and it is just as true that the dead also manifest themselves, although this occurs very seldom. It is also true that there can be found a ground between these 2 extremes. But as these spirits know much less than us, because they, first, are found not in a complete state of their entity and are genuine lunatics or night vagrants. Second, after their death they do not proceed further but wander in the dungeons of the dead. Rev 20:13. And as a result of this have not gained anymore than we have. So we are unable to learn or gain more from them except that the soul proceeds to exist after death. But testimony is not required to evidence this.
Who is the image of the invisible God, first born of all creation.
Jesus Christ is the incarnated accessible invisible God. In him resides bodily the entirety of the fullness of deity. But meanwhile he is also a person, and so he is a God-person, the inaccessible light, the path to God, the Divine truth, the life in God. Unto us people he is all of whatever it is we desire of God and can expect. As first born of all creation, he could say, not only, “Before Abraham was, I was,” but also, “Before Adam and the angels were, I already was. Glorify me father and with the very glory you possessed, before the existence of the world.” Who is like you, my Savior?
During our era, as much as they say, as much as they cry regarding the dignity and power of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, it is demeaning when the human intellect alone is deified. God, deliver us from the deification. I would have wanted to know exactly which intellect I must worship, when every person possess his own special one, and subsequently every one worships his beloved “I”, venerating his personal intellect. Great God! What type of demise is to be imposed upon them if you are the Omnipotent! Will you not install barricades in front of this dissolution? As soon as intellect is recognized as the supreme entity, then it is very natural for every person to deify his person intellect, because another is either not known to him, or else is not as enlightening or as credible. When finally every one will consider himself deity, then the land will revert into a hell and the person into the devil, which is already beginning to appear in places.
But will complaints here help? “It is necessary for all of this to occur, until the words of the prophets be accomplished.” As the end draws near who is right and who is guilty will then be indicated; where is truth and where is deceit. There is no means of helping all of them; but many still stand along the crossroads, and to them we can still cry, “Come here brother, guard your soul.” I ask all of my readers, who are capable of meditation, to carefully research the propositions presented further down, because in my eyes they are not subject to any type of refutation. If they are truly authentic, then what is the obstacle to the venerator of reason becoming a Christian? I could only desire that the most articulate logic would ascertain whether these propositions would be subject to some type of refutation or not. Here they are:
1. Reason is the sole instrument of a person to recognize truth.
2. Reason has or possesses the source of all truths, or must it acquire it from other sources.
3. If a person from childhood was deprived of the use of his 5 senses, then would he still be able to receive an understanding of truth or fiction, virtue or vice, justice or injustice?
4. Based on this it indisputably follows that reason does not personally posses the source of truth, but only has the ability to examine concepts received by it from another source of truth; whether it is correct or false or virtuous or base or just or unjust.
5. Reason can acquire the concepts of virtue and vice, justice and injustice in no other manner except either through experience or through Divine revelation.
6. If a person from childhood is to be abandoned alone, and not be taught any type of religion, then when attaining adulthood, he will be led solely by sensation, tangible passions and imaginations, and then the superior strengths of the soul, intellect and reason will be under the authority of his senses. In this state there are formed alone in him selfish and sensuous virtues, and even during periods of fraternity, but which on their own for the greater part are immense vices. It is almost impossible, or seldom can be, that through experience there can be acquired knowledge of God, of His qualities, of His attitude toward people, and assignment of people to the likeness of God, and in this event any education of the soul is extremely incomplete.
7. Just as a person in all his capabilities is created with this goal in mind, because every person attaining it becomes better, and so he is assigned to a supreme moral perfection which can definitely be attained, but he cannot attain this goal through reason and experience, it is absolutely necessary for him to have Divine Revelation.
8. If Divine Revelation exists for people, then this revelation must be the Bible, because all the others are neither affirmed by history nor by experience as such. And the person who lives according to the dictates of Holy Scripture can attain that to which he was assigned.
9. When the Bible is the Divine Revelation, then it is not subject to criticism by the reason of humans according to their rules of philosophy, but rather according to the rules of those which [the Bible] proposes.
Whoever can dispute this, let him try it. They often think that to refute this is very unwise, but in this they very much error. Here reason will have to be recognized against the personal will that it is not only not God, but even is nothing else then the slave of sensuality, the servant of lust. And for something good to ascend out of him, he must without excuse believe in Christ. A diamond does not glitter on its own, but when the sun shines on it with its rays.
Polycarp: We are very happy, our father, that you have again visited us. What have you to say that is new or fitting?
Menace: What is fitting? What is new? Little. Nevertheless we will set aside the new of the newspaper, and at our meetings we will speak only about those subjects which pertain to the Kingdom of God.
Polycarp: I am in very much agreement with this.
Menace: Since our previous meeting, I especially had many affairs with the preachers of morals.
Evfronim: I am very happy that our conversation begins on this matter. Here we are met with 2 extremes: First: When according to the old system, or the teaching of Luther, the entire matter of salvation was attributed only to conversion, repentance, faith and rebirth without the participation of works. Second: When all of this is abandoned, then they learn on solely the moral teaching of Christ and say, “Act this way and you will be saved.” How can we find the middle road between these 2 extremes? It is very necessary to point this out at the present time.
Menace: You are right. And some will investigate this in its proper view. Not long ago I was in northern Germany, and in that area where the enlightenment especially is expanding its radiance I heard quite a bit about this one young preacher. They overwhelmingly praised him, and the parish which he was part of they called fortunate. On one Sunday I went to church to listen to this rare person. He was reciting a sermon based on the passage, “Be perfect as your father in heaven is perfect.” From this point he took the opportunity to speak about love to God and to associate all that science, art, effort and good will could possibly produce, all of this was transmitted in his sermon to his listeners, and it was painful for me to see such a person having such a beautiful gift, receive such an incorrect understanding at the university. The reason for our obligation to love God he exemplified using the superficial benevolence of God that God daily feeds us. It never dawned on him that to one listener the thought would surface that evil and godless people often take advantage of such benevolence even more than honorable and charitable. For this reason the latter do not have a special reason to love God. What pertains to love toward associate he based on the obligations of community life and on the understanding that all people are children of the one and same father, and so brother should help brother. Finally we do this out of the pleasant sensation which we feel when we are charitable to another. All of this was sufficiently pleasant to the ears, but it all remained cold in the hearts of the listeners and this was not strange. After the sermon I went to the priest and began with him the following conversation.
I: Tell me Mister Preacher, your opinion on the following incident, one wealthy gentleman had much land and many laborers, but all of them served him very poorly and negligently, although he always fed them quite well. The laziness of the few became the burden of others, because only these would work while the others played. And when time came to receive wages, there was no difference made between them, and all received the equal amount. The foreman, in order to motivate the workers to loyalty and diligence utilized all efforts available to explain to them the benevolence of their master, thinking that through this motivate them to have a love for him, from which, be imagined, loyalty would surface in them on its own. But subsequently his expectations never materialized. Some complaining said, “We do not see in this any special love that we must be tormented every God-given day, while others do nothing and still receive wages.” Others who did not hear the words of the foreman replied, “What a savage. He must pay for work done.” And so the foreman would not succeed in his intentions, and the master, seeing that his business little by little because worse, fired him and in his place hired another.
The second foreman took a completely different path. “Listen friends”, he told them, “You must love one another and in your work help one another, then the business will progress orderly. And for this the master will love you and will not leave your zeal without reward. For many of the workers, these words went into one ear and out of the other. But those and the others remembered them only when they saw that they were being watched. Then every one of them hurried to help his comrade, while the other helped only because they also needed the same help from others. In this manner, the business attained an order, but still did not become better.
The master likewise fired this foreman, and hired a third one to take his place, who likewise took a completely different path. First, he surveyed the entire business and recorded all the shortcomings he noticed. Then he gathered all the workers and said to them, “Listen friends, this enterprise you have operates poorly. The fields are not plowed, the meadows are overgrown with moss; some areas are flooded; some places have turned into marshes; the trees are overgrown; and we only have a third of the cattle that we are capable of raising. Our master knows all this. Up to this time he has allowed this and has forgiven you your carelessness. But think of what will now happen with you when he sees that you have not corrected the matter during his patience and accommodation., Remember, what conditions he made with you. You will be the most unfortunate of people if you do not change. On the other hand, realize that prosperity awaits you if you become loyal, diligent and cause the business to be successful.
Here the foreman presented to them that they spend considerably more on running the business then they have income, and proved to them the state of the business and their neglect of it so clearly and convincingly that many began to weep and promised to reform themselves. After this the foreman related to them the amount of benevolence the master shows them on a daily basis and how inconsiderate they are for this. By this means he quickly brought them to recognize their guilt and firmly resolved to improve themselves. And only then they began to love their master, who had forgiven them of so much and who disregarded their carelessness, but continued to show them benevolence.
This method provided success for the foreman, and he succeeded far more than any of his predecessors. What thoughts do you have regarding these 3 foremen, Pastor?
Pastor: I will understand you. You were in church and this is a commentary on my sermon. But permit me to say to you this in just a few words. The teacher of faith must strive with the sole purpose of impressing upon his listeners their obligation to God, associate and themselves. What remains is left to Providence. If they will fulfill these obligations, they will be fortunate people. If not, then they will themselves feel what their conduct will earn them.
Menace: It seems to me that you understand people sufficiently, and so you will no doubt agree that solely recognition of an obligation very seldom can motivate a person to actual fulfilled.
Pastor: This is correct. But who of them can do any more than that? There remains only for us to intently remind them regarding obligations and to reinforce this using actual examples.
Menace: This we will see about later. But right now I want you to notice that if someone would fulfill these obligations which you proposed to them, which however would never occur and can never occur, then what would have been produced by such a person? Nothing else other than a proud imaginary pious-hypocrite who daily would number all of his charitable deeds before God, just as the Pharisees did. Place yourself opposite to this person attaining an accurate knowledge of his dangerous moral depravity, deeply having sensed how little he fulfills these obligations, and how difficult it is for him to observe these in the presence of such a massive preponderance of sensuality, will not such a person always strive with meekness and humility to fulfill the will of God at every occasion? These souls belong to the citizenship of heaven, and not the others. And so our debt, Gentleman Pastor, consists in this, to bring your listeners first to an awareness of their own self; and when their hearts are softened and become conducive to counsel then is the time to guide them into the path that leads to eternal life.
Here I wanted to continue our conversation and guide the priest further, but he was not inclined toward it. My old-fashioned rules overwhelmed him and made him nauseous and so I with my usual admonition bade him farewell and went on my way.
Evfronim: If people of this vocation will not just bring themselves to the knowledge of their own depravity then their words will be ineffective.
Menace: True you are, and this was my goal: I wanted to guide the preacher to recognize this, but he could not endure it. But what self-realization can cause in a preacher I will narrate to you in an example. In one popular city in Germany there was a young preacher who with his appropriate style of life and good sermons acquired the love and the respect of the community. He had a happy disposition and his conversation was always interjected with witty thoughts, but all of this however did not produce any tangible advantage. And he as usual did not worry about it, but left it all up to the authority of God. He had a dear and believing wife, but they had no children. Returning home on one occasion after visiting guests and walking through the kitchen he bumped into the servant girl and fondled her and flirted with her. At that moment, he heard a strong inner voice which resounded through all his members like thunder, “What are you doing? What type of sensation are you arousing in this servant girl? What thoughts have you placed in her soul? What is now to happen to you and to her?” The inner judge of hearts and thoughts began to severely reprove him, and now he saw that all the charity he had done to that time he did solely for his own gratification, that he did nothing out of a pure motivation of love toward God and associate, that in the secret recesses of his heart was hidden a full herd of improper impulses, and that it was not the fear of God but only the fear of losing his respect and reputation which restrained him up to that time and did not allow his passions to be made public. Sorrow overwhelmed him, and for several days he lay with his face to the ground, pleading for a pardon. And one day despondency overcame him, so bad that if they had not intervened to help him, he would have taken his life.
This struggle in him continued for almost the entirety of half a year. Both of his comrades offered him all the help they could, attending to him during the night, admonishing him and comforting him. Finally after this long struggle the rays of a kind heart began to shine in his soul. The thought that Jesus Christ spilled his blood also for the greatest of sinners allowed new growth in his heart, and his entire person was clothed in assurance, and he was reconciled into God by Christ and was pardoned.
An entire year he struggled with the thought that he was not worthy to supervise the cathedral; but finally he gained the boldness to again enter it. The church was filled with a massive crowd and he began the sermon with the words of Isaiah 38:14, 15, 16 and 17: “I cried like a swallow or thrush. I moaned like a dove. My eyes grew weak as I looked to the heavens. I am troubled. O Lord, come to my aid. But what can I say? He has spoken to me and he himself has done this. I will walk humbly all my years because of this anguish of my soul. Lord, by such things men live and my spirit finds life in them too. You restored me to health and let me live. Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish. You preserved my life from the pit of ruin; you have put all my sins behind your back.”
His sermon caused strong reverberations in all their hearts. Tears, wailing and sighs were so strong that it was hardly able to hear the preacher. And from this time he became one of the most blessed instruments of the church. His instruction became so credible and genuine for every one of his hearers that all that remained was for them to repeat after him in their soul, “Yes and Amen.” The personal experience taught him that just the realization of a person’s frightening depravity will give the soul strength for restoration, and only then can a person sense his own weakness. This feeling will give birth to a search for help and reinforcement, and this search is this magnet by which the Holy Spirit attracts us. And so all of his sermons were now based on recognizing a person’s own depravity, directing them to the source of help in Jesus Christ, and a motivation to prayer and vigilance, and then their efforts will be blessed.
Evsevi: It is amazing that our preachers do not foresee that they must choose better methods for preaching than those which were used by the Apostles. Their preaching always had as their content the cross and redemption through the suffering and death of Christ. So it must me, because what advantage is there having convictions to fulfill Christian obligations, when not even one person has the will and does not sense the need to fulfill them? But when people are presented with their profound depravity and unavoidable eternal condemnation, which they subject themselves to if they are not fully restored and when they continue to reside in such convictions, then with greater advantage and greater success the path to salvation can be directed to them. The Brethren, also called the Herrnhut Community, realized this from experience. The method of their preaching, which is very similar to the Apostles, in just a few years accomplished more than all the missionaries from Constantine the Great to our era. They forced entire nations to accept the appellation of Christianity using fire and the sword, but what did all of this mean, except that they did not allow the means for a true conversion.
Philomist: This is totally correct. But here we meet with a difficulty, which I ask you to resolve, my father. When is it indisputable that the knowledge of our depravity motivates us toward a deep repentance and divine sorrow? This sorrow indicates a fervent, even fiery desire for the redemption through Christ. This seems to me that the subsequent conclusion will likewise be indisputable. All those who desire to have participation in the redemption through Christ must sincerely desire it. In order to sincerely desire it is necessary to sense the absolute need for redemption. But in order to sense this absolute need, it is necessary to possess a complete recognition of a person’s own depravity. And so a heartfelt sorrow and tears of repentance are unavoidable results of this self-examination. But if someone has not sorrowed over his sins, we can inherently state that he has not yet begun a new life.
Menace: This question has often been proposed to me. I will relate to you first the manner the preacher resolved it, I of whom I spoke with your earlier, and then I will continue our conversation. This preacher on one occasion admonished one sick child, whose parents were good and wholesome Christians. Speaking about various matters of faith, the father of the sick child proposed to the preacher his doubt, saying, “I can no longer be assured that I was a true Christian, because I cannot remember that I at some time sorrowed over my sins with all my heart, and that I at some time cried over them, and this is causing for me exceptional grief.” The preacher replied to him, “My sir. I will tell you of one incident. There was a certain wealthy landowner who possessed various villages, where all the peasants were either lazy or alcoholic, as a result of which he accumulated many debts every year. I must however say that some of them drank away, lost in gambling and squandered the last of what they had, while others would work the entire day. And although their work was not very industrious, as he had expected from them, nevertheless their master showed them some condescension reminding them only of their obligation. On occasion, he would threaten them that he would deal with them severely if they would not improve themselves. And when the occasion arose that they caused him to lose patience due to their brawling, then he punished them. As a result of them many were led to repentance; in tears they acknowledged their guilt and became better caretakers. The landowner then treated them kinder and cheerfully. Among the number of these peasants was one who would always sufficiently and adequately complete his work and for this reason was always in the master’s favor. The person began to suddenly complain to his neighbors and even to his master regarding his dilemma, saying, that he doubted whether the master actually liked him, because he was never yet beaten with a stick. The good master laughed at his complaint and the peasant was then assured of the mercy of his master.”
Evsevi: The comparison is very obvious.
Menace: This preacher was excellently gifted with the ability to prove his teaching with comparisons. I will relate to you another example. One good woman lied sick for a long time, and did not have either inner or outer comfort. Everything in her home was in disorder, which only caused her to become more bitter since there was no hope in sight for improvement. This good woman often worried about everything; she would lose patience and would complain that God was severely testing her, not allowing even meager consolation. On one occasion, this preacher visited her and gave her the opportunity to vent all her complaints regarding her sufferings, and so settle her heart. Then he told here, “Listen miss. If you were to have 2 sons were not very obedient, who were always dissatisfied with the clothing which you gave them and the food which you gave them to eat. If you had to abandon them for some interval of time and allow them to walk about in tatters and barefooted to lead them to repentance, the children would begin to grieve over this, but this grief surfaces in various forms. One of them would begin to complain to everybody how cruel you are dealing with him; the other on the contrary would have come to you and thrown himself at your feet and said, “Mother, I sense that in all justice I have earned walking about in tattered clothing and bare-footed, but I assure you that I will improve myself. Be merciful to me. Give me shoes, and I will be satisfied with whatever you give me.” Tell me, which of the 2 sons would you greet cheerfully, and to which would you give what he asks for? She began to laugh and replied, “Of course, the latter.” “And so”, continued the preacher, “shouldn’t you also in the same manner approach your heavenly father?”
Evfronim: Excellent. This type of teacher without doubt would produce much fruit.
Menace: He was especially a blessed man. But I want to relate to you something about the sorrowful feeling of sins. People, leading their long life in sin, do not think about God or about eternity. They are people of loose morals, and for whom a forceful strike is necessary in order to convert them. They must endure a cruel struggle of repentance before attaining grace. Other are cleansed as a result of various sufferings and in an unnoticeable manner are led to their goal.
Policarp: But how can such a person who cannot remember his conversion, discover that he is on the proper path?
Menace: According to the following signs:
1. When with a certain assurance he recognizes and feels that according to his nature he is held under the authority of sensual lusts, and that in this condition he cannot inherit the Kingdom of God.
2. When with certain assurance he recognizes and feels that such lust does not entirely rule over him, but he struggles with them and he would be conducive to sacrifice all of the delights permitted him in order to fulfill even his most minute obligation to God and associate.
3. When with certain assurance he recognizes and feels that his will is completely given up in favor of the will of God, even and when they should cost him the greatest of sacrifices.
4. When with certain assurance he recognizes and feels that Jesus Christ is for him all in all, and that he in no other manner can become blessed except through grace acquired through his redemption.
5. When he deeply feels that every goodness that resides in him did not evolve from himself, but is the gift of God and that the heart is subdued through this.
6. When he feels in himself the presence of the holy Spirit. This he can discover because in him operates incessantly the desire to draw near to God and an incessant vigilance of all his thoughts, words and deeds, and,
7. When he has true love toward God and associate, and when he is guided by it in all his conduct.
Whoever should posses these signs should not worry that there are no others.
Philomist: I wanted, my father, during this present meeting of ours, to propose to you a question, but which has already been answered in part by the previous address. This is what my question consists of: What is the actual reason that people doubt in the deity of Christ, and many are not assured in detail that their prayers must be directed to Christ? At present, I clearly see that the principle reason for this doubt evolves from this, that they, abandoning the true path of conversion, want to justify themselves before God and become blessed only through the observance of moral law. From this follows their knowledge of Christ based solely on the historical witness of the New Testament. On this sole witness the deity of Christ is not entirely confirmed, but when a person on his own experiences the act of the redemption of Christ, that is, when he recognizes his total depravity and acquires grace through the Redeemer, then every doubt vanishes.
Menace: Although this is true, however historical proof is necessary in order that faith in the deity of Christ be complete. In addition to this, the acceptance of the Revelation to John as a canonical book would be of much service, because in it the deity of Christ is undoubtedly demonstrated. It is true that his deity is confirmed in the gospel of John and in other places, such that it seems no further witness is needed. But since scholars have evoked doubt regarding these passages, for the weakness of people even more proof is required.
The name Jehovah, without any doubt, signifies true God. Who rejects this, that person rejects all Biblical truth. The word Jehovah in a wide sense signifies: I was, am, and will be; or, I live forever from the beginning of time to the end of time. But as Christ in several passages of Revelations ascribes to himself this name, then for this reason he is called Jehovah, as the son having the Father’s nature and Father’s name. In general in this book the Lord Jesus is presented as the supreme light, and every person who considers it (the Book of Revelation) as divine, can no longer doubt in the deity of Christ.
Philomist: Few think about this, but the sense in this case can offer actual comfort. But as we have a triune of understanding of God, that He is Father, Son and holy Spirit. How much better should be Christian act in prayer?
Menace: Outside of Christ, God is inaccessible. Christ is the mediator between God and humans. Through Him, God wants us to call upon Him as ours, and so the Christian must call to God, “Father in Jesus Christ,” or, “God who discloses Himself in Christ; Eternal Pardoner in Jesus Christ,” and so on. The entire matter consists in a sincere heartfelt sensation that you must turn to God in simplicity and not think twice.
Philomist: And I am of the same opinion. But I know of many charitable people who in this case stopped at this point because they did not know to whom to direct their prayer, and for such your instruction will be very useful.
Menace: And I also know many such who turn toward Christ always just as the ancient pious Israelites turned to Jehovah who resided above the ark of the covenant, and who always directed their view to Jerusalem, which is still at the present observed among Hebrews. As long as a person remains in the local life he needs something tangible, viable, to which he can direct his prayer.
Philomist: Correctly said! And so it is that Mohammed in the Koran requires the petitions to turn their face to Mecca, the location of the cathedral mosque of all Islam. I am acquainted with certain intelligent people who likewise possess a doubt on this account. Is it proper during prayer to direct yourself specifically to some country of the world? What strange thoughts enter into the mind of humans.
Menace: I often meet with such people myself. But such thinking is not so completely strange, as it may seem to you. The Jews turned always to a well-known country of the world. Mohammedans also hold to this custom. Only Christians do not follow this pattern because they consider God’s presence to be everywhere. But just as there actually is on earth a certain place where the glorified God-man placed his throne, then this place is supposed to be the country to which we must direct our view during prayer. And if this should be difficult for someone, then let him turn toward the east during prayer.
Philomist: On what do you base your answer, my father?
Menace: It can be this way and not possess any great importance. But of itself it is arbitrary and a person can turn his sights to the east where the act of redemption occurred and where the Lord at his second advent will appear, but it is much better for every person to analyze this on his own.
Evfronim: Why is it my Father that among Christians exist people who with all the expansion of the word hate Christ? Not having seen such people it is impossible for me to think that someone could act actually against Christ. For to accept him as a ordinary person, then in this case he appears in his entire life as worthy of so much love, and that toward him a person should feel a great respect without excuse, even if not love him. However one French general during the recent revolutionary war so terribly armed himself against Christ that he demolished and destroyed every thing that possessed an image of the Savior or anything pertaining to him.
Menace: Such a phenomenon in human nature requires additional investigation, and the example you provided does not serve as demonstration that this general was a genuine hater of Christ, because his hate just may be directed solely against images and rituals of the Catholic church. And this could have evolved due to that his superstitious parents compelled him to pray as a young man 4 times a day, or in front of crucifixes and images. And if the spirit of Voltaire unites to this attitude which throughout the land has the attitude of hating Christ, such is the genuine Satan in human form. And this Voltairic spirit possesses an enigma which we must explain: this devil is enrooted into a heart and soon there is born in him a hatred toward Christ. I knew one popular Protestant scholar who in an assembly of several persons, among whom sat a Reformist graduate, when he said something to the credit of the Savior, he bellowed out these horrible words, “What nonsense this is. He was rightfully condemned; he was a rebel and opponent of authority. My redeemer is Marcus Aurelius. Saying this his face frightfully changed and burned with infernal fire so much that all those present shook and one after another left. We must notice that this person as a young man was immeasurable imitated by a coerced study of the Bible, prayer and song, long before his heart was prepared and was familiar with the Christian religion. Once expected to deal with his own destiny and falling into the hands of misfortune, he read the works of Voltaire and became an evil latitudinarian.
Philomist: I am very glad that we discussed this matter. It seems to me that hate toward Christ begins back when a person begins to be ashamed of him. I had an opportunity to see people’s faces turn red when in their presence something was said about Christ.
Menace: These may be another reason for this, for example, imagine that you are in the company of some of those who are enemies of one of your best friends. In this situation, when hearing the name of your friend, will you not become embarrassed and your face turn red, worrying, hoping no one will say anything inappropriate on the account of your friend which would be painful for you or offensive? The same can also pertain to Christ.
Philomist: Correct you are. And would it not be proper to extract from this the precautionary rule which many good people observe, and which others, who are also good people, on the contrary do not embrace, namely, that in assemblies with people of various backgrounds, and not all of them informed, to not speak about Christ and His religion?
Menace: This depends on the circumstances. However, in general you can be guided by the following rule: Never must you speak about Christ and this religion at an assembly of doubters, but rather as much as you can reason anything in the manner that Christ would teach, but as soon as his glory and truth require you to speak of him, then do this with importance and reverence. Ancient Israelites out of respect did not pronounce the name Jehovah. Christians, when reciting the name of the Redeemer, should also conduct themselves prudently.
Philomist: Absolutely correct, and the rule you propose is based on truth. But would it be bold of me to ask you to explain in more detail to me as to why there are such people who hate Christ in the personal sense, and who would likewise crucify him again, if this was in their authority?
Menace: Willingly! But it is necessary to first investigate! Do such people actually exist?
Philomist: Of course. You yourself presented as an example one popular scholar.
Menace: So I did. But here we must make certain differentiations, for example, hypochondria, depression, denial, and similar maladies, can on occasion motivate a person which during calm periods he would be ashamed of and which indeed he would not be inclined to do. And so I do recognize people who constantly hate Christ and this little by little is enrooted in them and finally is transformed into satanic malice. And so we have another question: Are there actually such people having such a horrible condition of the soul?
Philomist: This is a very important question, and I ask you on behalf of us all to explain it.
Menace: Willingly. First I will demonstrate that such people actually exist. Second, I will explain how this condition of their soul evolves; and finally we will investigate what those people are and what they signify. You will immediately agree with me when I direct you to Voltaire and his friends that genuine Christ-haters exist, those people who know about Christ and hate him with their heart,.
Philomist: Did Voltaire know about Christ? There are many scholars, especially among the French, who do not know about Christ at all.
Menace: Your observation is correct, but Voltaire did know of Christ as a good person, because his compositions prove that he rather diligently read the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, but he read it only to present it as dubious. And so whoever knows of Christ only as a person, and has knowledge of his life and activity according to the narratives in the Gospels, such a person can still hate him; he confirms with events the situation of which we speak, and this type was Voltaire. Remember that among the Protestants there were very educated people, friends of Voltaire, who found a satisfaction in laughing and joking at Christ and his religion whenever the occasion would arise. You will not tolerate the fact that these were genuine haters of Christ. I could present to you many more examples, but we are better off not to think about such people, so we do not fall into a condemnation which does not pertain to us. Voltaire in an obvious manner armed himself against Christ. He and his friends called the all-Holy infamous names unfit for print and with all workable measures strove to destroy his religion in the land. Is not this hatred toward Christ? Whoever publicly discloses his thoughts will also publicly speak in the same manner.
Evfronim: This is horrible. May God save humanity from this, so this infernal spirit will be driven away.
Menace: It has only expanded, and much more than you think. He (Voltaire) serves as the basis for the present enlightenment and this is a true predecessor of the actual antichrist who is yet to come.
Polycarp: Explain to us, our father, how this spirit makes a residence in the human soul.
Menace: Every person possesses 2 primary endeavors. One is toward the unlimited freedom to do all that you want; the other is toward unlimited gratification in all that you want. As a basis for this, these endeavors are nothing other than mood, impulse, motivation toward perfection and bliss. Freedom of activity belongs to perfection while freedom of gratification consists of bliss, but both of them must be organized according to the divine law of love toward God and associate. And when they are founded on this law, then bliss will evolve. If these motivations are governed by the senses of a depraved human, that is, if sensual selfishness will be their leader, then little by little this will transform the person into the likeness of Satan and draw him into condemnation.
Evsevi: This sensation is natural to the human soul and you cannot argue against it.
Menace: In the present fallen condition of the human, sensuality acts in him stronger than conscience. Selfishness strives incessantly to gratification, and in this manner it grows even more, and if its expansion does not incur obstacles, then it leads the person to extreme luxury and voluptuousness, or to unrestrained immorality. As a result of this, there occurs the following: for the nations which several centuries resided in enlightened state, more is needed to maintain them in this state, such that finances are not adequate enough in these nations to maintain themselves and everywhere expenses are overwhelming. The usual consequences of this are complete dissolution of the family and entire nation itself. Here, we must also add the vices which evolve from luxury: every type of immorality, and even what is unnatural; gluttony; alcoholism, passion for theatrical shows, for gambling, to incessant gaiety. Now a person, having an inclination toward gaiety and who has also the means will fall prey to such people whose example he wants to follow. So he more and more will strive to satiate themselves and perfect these sensual gratifications. Is not this tied together with the pseudo-enlightenment? Do they not consider the person who begins his enlightenment the same as the one who begins a dissolute life? Here, philosophy and science and art begin to have access, respect and strength, and all of this is directed only to inundate and refine sensual gratification. It is very natural that people, entire families and governments and brought to complete collapse and dissolution as a result of this. To this is added religion, which under the circumstances also gives it direction. In paganism where deity was portrayed by the personal fantasy of priests and poets, and their religious services changed arbitrarily, and religion and philosophy were depicted in luxury, there was never any obstacle. Among the Hebrews, Pharisees and Sadduces connived to the point that they changed the religion of the true God into solely ceremonies and incantations, allowing luxury an unimpeded progress with all its results.
Finally, Christ appeared and began to preach a teaching completely opposite to all of what sensuality led them. What he taught he fulfilled himself. Apostles followed his teaching and life and in this manner Christianity was founded. But now almost the same has occurred as that with the Hebrews. Often in place of the essence there remains solely ceremony and ritual, by which they now had to reach the purest and holiest God, deceiving their conscience, allowing this as a clock for their sensual delights.
In the Protestant church, carnal sagacity concocted other means. Convinced that all ceremonies are unnecessary and that God must be worshiped in spirit and truth, of all the codified obligations of the religion, except for faith in Christ and reconciliation of sinners with God, they began to rationalize in the following manner: Who believes in Christ and his redemption will be saved; and so if I believe in one and the other then I definitely will be saved. But this type of belief presented them with every convenience for gratification of every type.
Meanwhile, there surfaced a purer philosophy; the willingness to study became common and they began to realize that only virtue makes a person kind and dignified. They saw that Christ not only taught, but also conducted himself according to rules of superior virtue. But the means presented by him to attain this were poison and death for the natural depraved sensuality. A complete rejection of all sensual temptations and an unconditional submission to the voice of conscience, the impossibility for a person to find in himself alone strength for a pure-hearted cognizance of his own weakness and deep repentance for his congenital depravity, the adherence to solely the kindheartedness of God in the Redeemer Jesus Christ, and then growth in charity, or sanctification through the spirit of God - all of this annoyed the proud reason led by the senses, and he (Voltaire) derived doubts toward all of this. His [philosophy] kindled a fiery spirit of luxury, and in this manner there evolved this noxious air which Christianity breathes.
The enlightenment was based on the following: They determined that a person must be virtuous, but having seen that with the observance of laws virtue was not successful, they concluded that a person unnoticeably little by little becomes better, and that God, knowing the weakness of humans -- being himself eternal love -- will not require this of them severely. But they forgot that for this very reason this eternal love revealed for humans the most excellent and able manner toward attainment of this supreme degree of virtue, which by their own strengths it is impossible for them to attain it. And so if they see charitable conduct of a true Christian, then they attribute his charity and virtue either to his upbringing, or character, or circumstances, which affected them in their life. But meanwhile they pity them as fanatics, because according to contemporary enlightenment every practicing Christian is a fanatic. If something should occur at this time, so they can find fault, then all of his virtue they now consider as only hypocrisy. In the presence of all this, luxury increases, grows, and gains more strength, and with its growth human strength for action becomes weaker, and the hunger for sensual gratification increases, and the person becomes more incapable of charity. There is even less to be said of holiness. Little by little, the person, having become soiled in the stain of luxury, forgets all. Marital fidelity has now become rare. The bachelor’s life without commitment is now customary. Nobody wants to marry so they can freely take delight in everything at their own will. This high level of luxury, the wide range of amusement with all the obvious lures, and the help of the high degree of philosophic and artificial enlightenment, has made every impulse irresistible. The spirit thirsts solely for independence in order to have unimpeded gratification and to utilize their associates as instruments of their luxury, to expend their possessions and make new acquisitions in order to increase and double the various means toward immeasurable luxury. Imagine for yourself an entire nation where the greater part has ascended to such degree, and judge, what will occur as a result of this?
In the midst of all of these circumstances the pure and holy religion of Jesus remains firm and steadfast among its professors. Not one person that is even somewhat intelligent cannot but recognize its divinity and truth. There is a witness in every soul crying, “It is the sole path for the dignity of a person.” This voice is intolerable for the person accustomed to luxury and so Christ and his religion leads him to insanity. The sound of the bell calling him to the Divine Services becomes repulsive to his ears, and the person would like to put a total silence on all proclamation of God. In this manner, the person becomes a genuine hater of Christ. Imagine for yourself a depraved person hiding in the darkness to cover his shame, and an honorable person, charitable, following after him with a lamp not letting him out of view in whatever corner he may hide. Will not the former go insane at the latter, and especially if he is not strong enough to chase him away or extinguish his lamp?
Evsevi: This is very clear and convincing. And out of this we can conclude that hate toward Christ is the final goal which the reigning spirit of enlightenment and passion strives to at present, where it will receive its horrible demise.
Menace: This is without doubt, and this horrible end can be already seen from a distance. But there is still something that remains which I want to explain, namely, what does this hate toward Christ signify and what is its essence? When a person with all of his zeal practices prayer and vigilance and walks according to the laws of God; when he routes all his strengths to a true cognizance of himself, and through this learns that the best of his activities are all still interwoven with selfishness and self-gratification or sycophancy; when he in this manner does not ascribe to himself any merit, but that all charity which he may have accomplished he considers solely due to the grace of God sent to him through Christ, and awaits eternal bliss based on this hope, then in him grows and matures the following nature. Through the cognizance of his personal imperfection and indignity, he becomes somewhat more humble, more compliant, more modest, and more friendly toward others; he bears injustices he incurs more tolerantly, and strives that all people, even criminals, would deal with him meekly and charitably; and he continuously is involved in charitable activities, because he knows that he is not accomplishing anything superfluous by this and will never be able to satisfy all of his obligations which he is obligated to fulfill for the contribution of the general welfare. All of this he fulfills because there is no other means to earn the immeasurable kindheartedness of God and Christ, who have mercy on him even in his corruption and depravity. Such a person, indisputably, is a useful citizen, a comfortable conversationalist and the best neighbor, serving as a dedicated, faithful and beloved husband, good father and master, and a reliable friend. All of this is so true and so natural that the most depraved criminal senses a dedication in his soul and to his will must admit that the Christian religion is the sole means toward restoration of people, although superficially he rejects it. It is also indisputable that such a person has somewhat greater similarities to the supreme image of the perfection of all humanity, Jesus Christ, and through this draws closer to the Divine nature. And if all the residents were found to be of this type, then heaven would appear on earth. Now we will investigate the contrary.
When a person from childhood gives himself up to sensuous enjoyments, and these enjoyments become the incessant object of this efforts, when he distances himself in disgust from all teaching in faith, and utilizes all his strengths to satisfy his passions, then these passions become infinite and selfishness along with them, then his personal “I” becomes for him the supreme benefit and his deity which he worships. He values himself above all else and would even sacrifice God and all creation, if it were in his authority, in order to continue to increase his sensual enjoyments. Likewise, he bases his value of another person on the extent he can, take advantage of him to gratify his own passion, and if he cannot he would be glad to destroy him if the fear of punishment did not restrain him. It is very natural why a person of this type can not voluntarily subject himself to authority and obedience to laws. He endeavors in every possible manner to acquire more strength and domination, to use it in order to acquire more means of enjoyment. He wants respect in order to gain control over his associates, and as soon as he can free himself from all civil obligations, then immediately he fulfills them. In this condition of his spirit he somewhat gains more of a similarity to the supreme image of evil and the nature of Satan, and subsequently becomes more malicious toward God and Christ. He still does not recognize the state he is in because he is ashamed to state directly that he hates Christ, although he demonstrates this through his deeds, and according to the measure of his progress in luxury and sensuous enjoyments and the measure of his defiance to the authority of religion. This latter item increases in him the more he is coerced into fulfilling religious rites, before his heart learns to love Christ.
When the majority of the nation ascends to this degree of depravity, then monarchial rule becomes intolerable for him. Every person wants to dictate but no one wants to obey. And because this cannot continue very long then anarchy begins, where every person wants to be master and not servant. But since this is impossible, because a person cannot be master if there are no servants, then every person utilizes subtlety, both publicly and clandestinely, to the extent they can to grab for themselves supreme authority, while subjecting others to his yoke. And as every person does this then anarchy occurs, the complete image of hell. Such disorder cannot last long and is curbed only with an inversion of a neighboring country, by the subtlety of a person who by using politics, criminal activities, strength and authority, will transcend all the others and subject them under his yoke, then woe to the neighbors. He is a man of sin or the very Antichrist. And so beloved friends, here is what actually is hatred towards Christ and what it signifies.
Philomist: Terrible. I remember that in the book, “Travel of Sophia from Memel to Saxony,” and if I do not err, at the beginning of the 6th section, where pastor Grosse narrates to his mother his experiences, he excellently describes hatred toward Christ. The author feels the same way and proceeds to demonstrate that this incomprehensible enmity does not really belong to the human nature, but is a spiritual influence of Satan and his actual presence. What do you think about this, our father?
Menace: Hate toward Christ cannot serve as evidence of the existence of Satan, as in the example I presented above about the man with a lamp, which sufficiently shows that this hatred can easily enter the depraved nature of a person. Whoever sincerely believes the Bible without any preconceptions will also have little doubt regarding the existence of Satan, just as with the existence of God and Christ. And that he acts in evil people and through evil people, this also is not subject to any doubt. According to the testimony of the Bible the snake was cast upon the earth, where he now resides. A short period of time has been allotted him, which has not yet passed. The modern enlightenment derives his existence and his influence; this is his deception, with which he strives to conceal himself, in order to more expediently act. These 2 circumstances try to evidence hatred toward Christ, but these 2 means are utilized by him for a revolutionary plan to destroy Christ and His Kingdom in the land.
Philomist: My God, to hate worthy love. This is completely incomprehensible. I remember that once I read a book which overwhelmed me and led me to doubt in Christ, and which caused in me deep depression. And I was ready to give away all I had in the world in order to again be assured that he is true God and will hear my prayer.
Menace: There is nothing to fear once you have a soul of such disposition, only that the person abide faithful in prayer and vigilance, and zealously ask for comfort and assurance. Breathing the air of the Antichrist is what is they are doing at present. They should really ascend the mountain of God where the air is cleaner. But how did you overcome these doubts.
Philomist: I consoled my intellect with the thought that if Christ was not true God, then he was the greatest of criminals and deceivers, since he witnessed regarding himself. But as his entire life and death demonstrate contrary to this, since he was the most holy, most virtuous and most charitable man, that ever lived, then that which he assured us regarding himself must be doubtlessly true, and subsequently he must be true God. And this assurance would have been sufficient for me, if I did not feel in my heart the strength of His redemption. It alone convinces the heart. Having felt the burden of sins in its entirety, and knowing from experience that all the best of my efforts were blemished due to sin, and that all of my strengths were insufficient to attain this perfection - just as the heavenly father is perfect - a person will not find anywhere a better and more reliable help than Christ. Then the following conclusions surfaced, which placed an end to all doubt:
I feel that I am earning curse and condemnation; and what I feel is what I firmly know. I clearly saw that my very best efforts will not withstand the judgment seat of the justice of God, because all of them do not evolve from the pure source of love toward God and people. And I know this by experience, so what doubt should subsequently exist? By my many and various experiences I knew that all of my efforts to become perfect - just as the heavenly Father is perfect - were futile, and my strengths to attain this were weak and insufficient. But what I do know based on my many experiences, is that it is impossible for me to doubt. Finally, I also realize that I must become perfect, to the extent that my nature permits me, because otherwise I will never be blessed.
Now the Christian religion shows me the means to attain this. It says to me that I must run to the endless kindheartedness of God in Christ to find consolation in the death and suffering of Christ, and through their efficacy became a son of God. And if I will fulfill all that is depended on me to fulfill, and if I reside faithful in prayer and vigilance, then the godly Spirit will help me and restore to me my lost strengths. It is true that my reason is not of a state to understand this, but there is much that is unfathomable for it which is nevertheless true. My many and repeated experiences that occurred with true Christians teach me that this method is unfeigned if only it is utilized correctly and justly. Subsequently, it irrevocably must be the sole and most reliable means for the salvation of people.
Menace: Right you are, brother Philomist. This is true path to true faith. I remember now the history of the conversion of one German price, which is worth repeating, which occurred not too long ago. And I would have wanted to know how a young preacher of morality would have conducted himself in this situation.
This prince was always a very honorable person, as they said of him. In his good nature the opportunity never arose for him to doubt in religion. On the contrary, he fulfilled in detail all the superficial obligations of the Christian: attended church, fasted and took communion, and did not do anything wrong. And even when he did violate some rule of his austere morality, out of zeal for example, then he always tried to absolve his violation. As a landowner, he did all that was depended on him to do and did it at his best. But to his misfortune his employees had coarse morals and were not to be trusted by their master, such that when he instituted something for their benefit they considered it a violation of their rights and complained about him to the imperial court. This annoyed him and on occasion caused him to go outside the limited of his tolerance. But nonetheless he was still honorable, still condescending, friendly and kind. And according to their high opinion of him they felt he would pass away blessed, but before death something occurred with him that totally adverse.
He was 56 years old, but very healthy. His physique was in no way weakened by vices, and with his strong build he was unusually strong. Toward the end of his life, there appeared signs of incurable dropsy along with tuberculosis. Even though the disease spread and even though he lost his strength, he was still firmly assured that he would regain his health. But 4 weeks prior to his death he realized that he would not recover from his illness. This fear of the unknown began to frighteningly torment his heart and he fell into despair.
The court preacher, who several times daily visited him, who up to this time had nothing else to do, all of a sudden realized a very difficult matter he had to deal with. Entering the home of the sick, the sick person cried out with a terrifying appearance, “You have now come, now when nothing remains to help me. I die and I must go to hell. There is no salvation for me. You were unconcerned for my salvation, and now neither you, nor anybody in the world can help me. Go away.” The preacher wanted to say something but he was not permitted and was asked to leave. He left and went home. There he locked the door and fell upon his knees before the heavenly Father, and began to ask for deliverance for the sick person, while asking for strength for himself and enlightenment and wisdom. He prayed fervently with tears and did not desist from his petition. After an hour’s time, a personal attendant of the prince came running to him with his face full of tears, saying, that the prince wants to see him and speak with him.
The preacher ran to him and found him sitting on the floor in sorrow, dejection and extremely humble. “Can I still hope for pardon and salvation?” he asked the preacher.
“You can” he answered in a firm voice, “You can still become blessed. But if you had earlier, of course, began to be concerned with your eternal bliss, then you would have attained a higher degree that at present. However, you can now will full assurance depend on the grace of God in Christ.”
Here this true pastor of souls cast himself before the Lord near the prince and began to pray for the pardon of the repentant and for grace of God toward him. The dying, humbled, and devastated sinner likewise fervently prayed, and their common prayer was heard. The sick person soon felt in his soul a great consolation and assurances that his sins were absolved. He became happy and tasted of the supreme peace which transcends all comprehension. At this small house there was likewise no deficiency in either great or mediocre propagators of the enlightenment. They began a conversation and the master went out of control and started to rave, while the [modern] state preacher in his hypocrisy began to cause him more harm, [saying,] “What use is conversion while on your deathbed?” and similar type sayings. But no one paid attention to his words.
The fruits of the conversation of the sick person quickly appeared. He ordered that his deputies be gathered from his small estate, and asked forgiveness of them, just in case he had poorly dealt with them as landowner. Out of mutual respect they also asked forgiveness of him for all the bitterness they caused him. He turned to his son, his heir, and begged him to rule over his subjects as best he could, admonishing also them to be obedient to the law and to the legal authority. In this manner he bid farewell to the world, entrusting them all to the kind heart of God. He took communion together with his entire household, made several testaments and instruction and died with full hope in the Redeemer with a joyous and encouraged spirit.
Now I want to ask you, how should the modern preacher have conducted himself in such circumstances? As he did? Will the morality of such a person help a person at the gates of eternity, as shamefully as he led his life, as much evil as he did, and as many opportunities he failed at doing what is good? Will moral instruction help when there is time remaining for his restoration?
Philomist: I also would have liked to propose this question. Who does not himself believe redemption, will not be able to assure another of it. And so there remains nothing else except to lead the sick person toward a firm intention to austerely observe virtue and become entirely another person, when he should recover.
Menace: But the above mentioned prince should have said, “What use is your proposition when I inescapably must die, and am in no condition to utilize your advice? Go away from me. If you do not know of other means to restore what I have ruined, then you are useless to poor sinners.”
Philomist: Having said this, he would have been completely right. Because at this minute it was wrong to rebuke that which the soul considers dark, and who will survive if God will not be merciful to us? It is necessary for believers to fulfill their obligations from childhood to death in order to earn the mercy of God. And if it did not occur this way, then punishment would naturally follow, and the acute mind cannot reorient or reinterpret this. And so what remains for us?
Menace: You discern this correctly. A stone of stumbling is what this matter consists of, and the greatest of minds have stumbled over this while on their death bed. They silence this voice in order not to embarrass themselves in the presence of those attending, showing a feigned consolation of spirit while despair eats away at them. Here is one example of a horrible satanic deception of this generation. About 15 years ago in one small German town lived a Protestant preacher who was a member of a group of great criminals, which only the world could produce. He, for discrediting one of his friends in a certain vice, which the good person would not even think of committing, died from beatings and torture. He would laugh at the sacraments when among his close friends. In sort, he was not only an easy going person but a sinner as a rule, doing this deliberately. His sermons however were recited excellently and very edifying, and with such feeling and worth that the brethren, not knowing him, poured out tears and honored him as though an apostle, although he was of a very dissolute conduct and a complete free-thinker in his mind.
Disregarding all of his pretensions and his carefulness, finally they realized what he really was. He was excommunicated, and more than once could have been sent to the gallows. Then it became worse from him and in his old age he was to be taken care of by his children. He was often hungry and no one had pity for him. In this situation, at a very old age, he wrote a very humble and repentant letter to 2 neighboring pastors, asking them for the sake of God not to abandon him in this state of despair. He admitted his sins and accomplished true repentance and had desire to be adopted by God as a son; and he asked that they visit him, saying, that because he himself was ill he could not himself visit them. These people felt that their obligations required them to give assistance to this inherent sinner due to pity for his condition, and so they went to him, walking through deep snow 1˝ hours over hills and through the local pine forests with great difficulty. Finally, they arrived at the town and entered his home. They led them into a cold, damp unheated room. They waited there for over an hour and became so cold that they could not even keep their teeth warm. Finally, he appeared wearing a sheep skin coat with his head covered. He apologized for his having a toothache and for making them wait so long. Then he began to tell them some very cold-blooded anecdotes, how once someone had deceived one good person and made him fall in an ice hole, and so on. Finally, the guests which had recently arrived became impatient with him. They severely reprimanded him and left, gifting one of his 2 daughters 2 pieces of money in silver for them to the bread. The malicious apostate laughed at them as they left, happy for being able to torment both pastors in that manner. Soon after this horrible person died, but even in his bitterness and having a consolation as though he was a righteous person.
Polycarp: This is horrible. We have seen as a result of this how little we must place on the comfort of the dying.
Menace: Of course, we cannot depend on this, nonetheless such examples are rare. But we must add them to the high degree of satanic perfection, the hypocrisy and pretensions at this time when judgment is so close to its consummation, and forever. Most normal of all is that such people then come to despair, or else die in amnesia, depending on the type of illness.
Evsevi: Occupying at this time the dignity of our divine Savior, I ask of you, our father, to tell is, what evidence in the gospel history most of all confirms the deity of Christ, such that there is no manner of rejection of this concept.
Menace: This depends on the mood of the human spirit. To one person, there is one passage in Sacred Scripture is proof, to another, another passage. To one imminent English scholar the attitude of Paul was the most assuring evidence. But for others, some other place entirely. But in the entire Scripture, there is nothing more superior than the high priestly prayer of Christ noted in John 17. In it Christ in the presence of his disciples speaks directly to his heavenly Father, than he is the son and speaks not in the manner of a person, but as deity assured in his dignity. “Father the hour has come, glorify your son, yes and your son will glorify You.” He affirms that he has authority over all flesh, and can give people eternal life. He asks of the Father that He glorify him with that glory which he had before the foundation of the world and by way of this indicates that he has existed from eternity into the past. He publicly stated that all that he has beings to God, and all that is God’s belongs to him. Is there anything more than this to say? He spoke assured he was deity; “Holy Father, preserve them in my name, those whom you gave to me, that they may be one as we are. Yes let them be united, as you Father are in me, and I in you, and they be one in Us. Yes, that the world may believe that You sent me, for You have loved me before the creation of the world.” And so forth. Mediate on all these expressions impartially and remember that this was spoken while he awaited the imminent shameful death, and knew that it was because of their recognition of him as son of God that he was to die.
Philomist: Can I be permitted to bring up an objection, which might be presented to others?
Menace: Please do.
Philomist: There were some insane and mentally ill who considered themselves sons of God. I knew one of them, an especially intelligent person, who was firmly assured that he was son of God, and that he must also be crucified in exactly the same manner as Christ was. But because they did not crucify him, then he decided to bring himself as a sacrifice for the sins of the world and have his throat cut, but they prevented him from doing this. I present this objection not on my own behalf, because this will not lead me astray, but there are naive people, who can be lead astray by someone like this.
Menace: The insane or mentally ill cannot resurrect the centurions or Lazarus. Great and kindhearted is God. To what extent has humanity gone, having so much imaginary wisdom and knowledge, it is hardly possible to demonstrate the supreme truth, on which depends life and bliss. Many thousands of witnesses with their blood have sealed the truth, just as their supreme example sacrificed his life for it. Millions of people by means of it attained a supreme degree of human dignity. The religion of Jesus, although completely repulsive to the depraved nature of a person, has held to this point the victory over all of its enemies and has endured steadfast 18 centuries. Even then many still doubt in the authenticity of its truth and in the divinity of its founder. Soon all doubt will banish. The eyes of all shall see him, and especially those who have discredited him.
While he sat on the mount of the Olives, his disciples came to him alone saying, “Tell us, when this will occur? And what is the sign of your arrival and the end of the age?”
This question of the disciples of Jesus has been repeated an innumerable amount of times in every way possible since his ascension to heaven, but there has never been such a necessity as now to repeat it and for many reasons, because the reply of the Lord is of utmost importance. Who has ears, let him hear.
The preceding signs of the arrival of the Lord are the following:
1. Deception of the faith by many dreamers and psychologically delusioned. Let them read the history of the church of the second half of the previous (17th) century and the first half of this (18th) century, and they will see that this has occurred.
2. Wars or struggles and rumors of wars, famines and plagues and earthquakes are everywhere, precarious is the state of our possessions, migration and resettlement. This is the beginning of labor pains, and we find ourselves at this beginning.
The immediate signs are:
3. Hate and persecution of true Christians, deceit and betrayal, deception by false-teachers, the increase of injustice and decline of love. All of this is in full progress. Finally,
4. The preaching of the gospel throughout the world. Then will occur the coming of the Lord. Beloved readers, accept what is written in Book VI into your hearts. Matt 24:4-14.
Father Eastern-Light had not visited us for a long time, and we had not heard any words of comfort from him for a long time. The five of us gathered regularly: Polycarp, Philomist, Evfronim, Evsevi, and myself (Stilling), and we would ask each other if any of us had heard anything about him. But we all replied with the identical nod of our head and a sorrowful sigh. Since the time of our previous meeting, many important questions came to me and which no one other than Eastern-Light could answer, and for this reason we very much wanted to hear his resolutions and directly from his lips.
On one gloomy winter evening when we 5 were all gathered and sitting sorrowful in a locked room, discussing the signs of the times, some one knocked at the window and we immediately discovered that it was our father Eastern-Light, and with joy we greeted him. He hugged us in a friendly manner, and we noticed in him an important change. He was affectionate, frank, and unusually courteous; his majestic appearance possessed a certain brotherly trait which was very apparent.
When he sat and we seated ourselves around him, then he began to speak:
Menace: Friends, having returned from a long journey and having completed a very important assignment, I have again arrived in your presence, to converse with you and rest among you a while. The rise of a great day approaches, and the dawn in the east is no longer a glimmering ray. Whoever has eyes can see that the great and final disclosure of the secret of redemption has actually initiated its beginning.
Evfronim: Before your arrival, we were discussing the signs of out times. It is the most important topic that a Christian can discuss at present. Many questions have come to us during your absence, which require your resolution and the majority of them very important. A strong desire has been awakened in us to learn from you, our father, if the circumstances are actually indisputable that the actual time has drawn near for the arrival of the Lord; not the awesome judgment, but the installation of his glorious Kingdom on earth. Shouldn’t it occur even perhaps within 100 years?
Evsevi: Permit me, beloved friends, to add a little more to this. I want for father Eastern-Light to just demonstrate that there will actual be such a glorious Kingdom of Christ on earth.
Menace: I cannot deny you one more question and will answer you based on the essence of the truth, and then we will begin with the latter. The spirit of prophecy throughout the entire Holy Scripture clearly indicates that the entire battle between the Kingdom of light and kingdom of darkness will finally terminate forever with the chief decisive victory of the former over the latter. This testimony is repeated in all the Bible and in all the ages and finally printed in the Revelation of John, and it is so firmly established and so indisputable that no one who accepts the Bible as the true word of God to humanity can doubt it at all. Now a book is being published by our friend in Nuremberg, written under my auspices, which is titled, the Victorious History of Christian Faith, which contains an interpretation of the Apocalypse of Saint John the Divine, useful for all. This book contains all that which I can now explain to you.
Polycarp: Permit me to say something, our father. The 1000 year Kingdom has been disputed by many and many doubt even in the authenticity of the apocalypse.
Menace: There is no reason to debate the authenticity of it, because all of it is occurring before our very eyes, and the above-mentioned book records that it is exactly so. Since all has occurred up to this point, then what is yet to occur cannot be at all doubted. The millennial Kingdom of Christ on earth in the 20th chapter [of Revelation] is defined in detail and foretold without any ambiguity. For this reason, you can firmly be assured that it will materialize on earth in its time.
Polycarp: It is strange that Christ himself said nothing definitively about this kingdom.
Menace: There were basic reasons for this. His disciples and all the believers were filled with preconceptions that he came to institute a secular monarchy in the land for the Jewish people. He circumvented every occasion that would confirm this in their minds. Jesus wanted to first found the kingdom of God within a person, because without this principle it is impossible to follow the reality of his Kingdom. The time for this was also still at a distance and there were many obligations yet to be taken care of. The step into the millennial Kingdom was very large and dangerous. When John wrote the Revelation, then the circumstances from every direction became obvious, that as if the end had come for Christ and his religion. The gentile Roman Monarchy suppressed it on every side and all the Christians together waited impatiently for the darkness over the paths of God to be illuminated and disclosed. Then there appeared this disclosure of divine secret government. This revelation, uniting in itself into the whole all that was foretold from the beginning of the world, and what still must be fulfilled at its close, disregarding all errors, governed with great expectations the invisible church of the Lord.
Philomist: From my own point of view I must admit that even without predictions or divine revelation, I would indubitable believe in the approaching glorious Kingdom of God on earth, because no king of any sort will reframe from leaving even the smallest portion of his property in the authority of his fierce and evil enemy unnecessarily. No way! Every king wants to free his subject from this slavery of his [enemy]; even if the people should be the most poor and insignificant they will await this from the Omnipotent eternally-loving Father of humanity. He truly will not allow the land, containing so many millions of intelligent creatures, to always moan and sigh under the authority of the Prince of darkness. He will triumph here when the snake and his confederates are confined in fetters. Then he will reign to the ends of the world.
Menace: You discern this quite right. Read the above mentioned book about the Apocalypse of St. John; you will find there an interpretation regarding every matter you need of. Now that we have confirmed the premise that Christ will come, and that before the awesome judgment he will here upon earth establish the foundation of the Kingdom his faith will have sovereignty, along with peace and justice. I will now reply to the other question proposed by you, which you desire to know. Is there genuinely indisputable evidence that the time of the coming of the Lord -- and not the awesome judgment -- to install his glorious Kingdom on earth, is actually so close, for example, within a 100 years away?
Evsevi: We very much want to hear your opinion of this matter.
Menace: Pay attention. First, I will present to you clearly those signs which Christ and his disciples disclosed, which will precede his arrival; than I will prove that all of these signs have already occurred, and that the very last of them is already in progress. This will indisputably prove that Christ and his apostles foretold these events, which were to occur after 1800 years, because only the sole God or to him whom He discloses this matter can do this. And what He foretells or commands to foretell, it will truly occur.
Polycarp: This is so clear that no one who doubts can dispute it.
Menace: Now listen further. The disciples of the Lord and their contemporaries who believed in him were of the opinion that he soon after the devastation of the Jewish Kingdom, or at that very time, would arrive and construct his eternal Kingdom, which for the most part consisted of those from Israel. Christ did not want to deprive them of this premise completely, but wanted to bring them to a true change of heart and thought, which was the primary purpose of his embassy, because he knew that to the extent of the measure of success in their sanctification, all would be unveiled to them on its own. However, when the disciples not long before his suffering asked him which specific signs were to precede his arrival, then he revealed the following items to them as signs of the time, the destruction of the Jewish Kingdom and portents prior to his arrival; and they had such opinions based on this, believing that one item was the follow after the other. This manner of explanation was very useful and wise. The Lord always wanted for them to feel his arrival was imminent, rather than knowing that it would actually occur after some long course of time, in this manner he could motivate the believers to more vigilance and prayer, finally the course of time would expire and their expectations would be fulfilled. And so when the disciples questioned him, then he answered, “Deception by false-teachers of every type, wars, upheaval among the nations and kingdoms, plagues, famines, earthquakes, increase of crime in every place. The cooling of love, and then finally and immediately prior to my arrival will be a preaching of he gospel to the entire world.” These are the signs which will proceed that great day, and all of this you can read in the gospel of Matthew, Chapter 24, and in parallel places in the other gospels.
All of these signs are such a type that it was possible to identify them every time there occurred some major event, for example, before the destruction of the Jewish Kingdom (70 AD), before the collapse of the pagan Roman Empire (410 AD), and before the termination of the Greek Kingdom (1452), and due to which at each occasion they awaited the soon arrival of the Lord. This error was very beneficial, because such opinions turned people toward vigilance. Nevertheless, this error evolved not from the spirit of prophecy, but from the inattention of people because the principal decisive sign is still lacking, which is immediately to occur preceding the day of the Lord, which Christ himself gave us to await, which is namely the preaching of the gospel to all the world which has not yet occurred, and for which no real preparation has been made as at the present. Another determining sign which Paul the Apostle proclaimed to us in exact and unambiguous words are in 2 Thess 2, that the day of Jesus Christ, that is, his arrival will occur after the apostasy, and after the person of lawlessness appears, who is the son of perdition. This apostasy has been strongly progressing already for a long time. First, they began to venerate Christ on an equal dignity with God his Father, then they began to completely deny his divinity and recognize him only as an entity evolving from people, and then they began to demean him as nothing more than a great person whom Providence selected and sent to be an instrument of great intent to better the life of the human race. On this point both Protestant churches now actually stand, they have reached such a degree of apostasy. Finally, there are also people who present the Savior as a contrite, well-intentioned fanatic, which is none other than the establisher of a sect, just as did Muhammad and others establish a new sect. On this rung of the ladder which leads into the abyss do the crowds and enlighteners stand: great minds of every type and every category, and the modern philosophers who are all laying the road for the person of sin, the son of perdition. Finally, there appeared the entire state which in a legal manner confirmed the apostasy from Christ and denied the Christian religion by its very constitution. And so now the only item lacking is this, for some Sovereign to take the sword and declare war directly against the followers and true adherents of Christ. And he, surely, will not hesitate to appear, to unite in himself all strength, deceit and the malice of hell, and he is the very person of sin, Satan incarnate, the actual Antichrist, in short, the beast ascending from the abyss. How much time will pass before the appearance of this enemy of God and humanity cannot he exactly ascertained. But only a short time remains to wait; his preparation for this appearance progresses successfully, and equally the preaching of the gospel throughout all the world which precedes the arrival of Christ also increases and so demonstrates that the time is not far away. Pay attention friends. These signs in the Bible are exactly foretold as those final prior to the arrival of the day of the Lord.
Evfronim: This is apparent; apostasy from faith, the exodus of the beast from the abyss, and the preaching of the gospel to all the world, are reliable signs of the near arrival of the Lord. Day by day disbelief grows. The spirit of the beast from the abyss is beginning to rule and it is impossible to err in his ascension, because the fall of the beast from the sea which must precede the above, is immediately occurring, and finally the great preparation made present in England for the expansion of the faith also confirms all of this. We have heard much about these preparations in England, but we are not quite sure of their basis. We ask you our father, explain this to us.
Menace: Very willingly. But first I will explain to you all the responsibilities of the true Christian in our days and then I will proceed to answer the question. The future Kingdom of God on earth, just as the one existing in heaven, is dependent on the existence of the inscrutable condition that its citizen can only be the person who already possesses the Kingdom of God within himself. The inner Kingdom of God consists in the boundless sovereignty of the spirit of Jesus over souls, those who have been able to subdue all the passions and desires of the body. So will the ostensive Kingdom of God consist in this, that the spirit of Jesus Christ will direct all external politics, police and judge, meaning, he will be the unlimited legislator, and every citizen who is possessed inwardly by this spirit, will subject himself to that legislation with joy and willingly and without even minor enforcement or compulsion, and his true bliss consists not in superficial prosperity, not in sensual amusements and luxury, but in this, that the eternal inviolate peace and total justice will reign and reside in it. And out of this will naturally evolve this, that under such a rule, where every citizen is honest, diligent, considerate and benevolent, then the superficial prosperity will expand even more than in another nation. But this is not the principle topic but only the results of it.
The entire life of the Christian on earth in solely designated for the purpose of installing, founding, and confirming in souls the Kingdom of God, in order to become themselves in heaven a glorious citizen of the same. This subject of life has now attained such a supreme degree of importance, because.
1. Due to the predominance of luxury and sensual lust, and the decrease of moral strength as a result of this, and due to the expansion of disbelief and apostasy, it has become very difficult to curb and subject all desires and passions to the religion and spirit of Christ and subsequently difficult to install, found, and confirm the Kingdom of God in souls.
2. This difficulty increases because the strength of the Antichrist and darkness from the outside is arming itself against all who correctly and continually profess Christ and strive to establish his Kingdom within themselves.
3. Since the final eras are genuinely approaching, even as young people will be able to live to this great day, and so it is all the more necessary to have vigils and prayer services and the trimming of our lamps, because the parable of Christ about the 10 virgins shows us that half of those who genuinely profess him will not enter his chamber due to their negligence and sleeplessness.
4. Paul apostle in I Cor 15, and I Thess 4:16, and especially John in the Apocalypse, clearly and definitively affirm that there are 2 resurrections. One precedes the millennium Kingdom, the other follows it. Truly it is of great importance to be part of the first resurrection and subsequently part of the Kingdom of our Lord on earth. For this reason Christians must train themselves in strict observance of their obligations and be faithful unto death.
5. That the final great battle, at which beginning we are already living in, will evolve from the side of the true worshipers and followers of Christ, but not in physical resistance, not with a sword in hand, but through suffering, patience, constant obedience until death, continual inner adherence, vigilance, prayer and struggle. The Lord himself will defeat his principal enemy using the sword of his lips and not using earthly forces, weapons or armaments. No! The victor wearing on his head many crowns does not battle in this manner. But this great battle will evolve in the following fashion: the enemy forces with the unspeakable wrath will arm themselves one against the other and begin to destroy one another. But the very nature [of God] will not stand by idle, but will utilize its punishments of every type, i.e., earthquakes, storms, plagues, floods, and etc. These awesome occurrences, disregarding all the sophistication of the present enlightenment of the human mind, will have an effect on many, those still having the capability to be brought to their senses, and whose mind has not yet become an irreconcilable enemy of Christ and his teaching. Let us note their principle effect over especially those who, after all the terrible calamities of war, famine, and plague, still remain; their misfortune will cause them all to become conducive to accepting the gospel. Due to the sorrow and misery over their blindness they will prostrate themselves before their Father, and just like the prodigal son they will say with bitter tears and difficult sighs from the depths of their heart, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.” This is the victory by the sword which proceeds from the lips of the Lord, the victory of light and truth over darkness and lies. The total triumph will consist of the arrival, the appearance of our Lord himself, Jesus Christ. He will arrive in glory with the armies of his saints. Those participating in the first resurrection will resurrect and now brightened they will gather around him, and he will be tangibly visible to every resident on earth. How and where will this occur? This is not our business at the present.
As a result of all the above, it is easy to develop all the obligations of the present-day Christian.
1. With most assurance and a pure soul, in whatever state a person resides in, direct your attention, beware meanwhile of every superfluous luxury, unnecessary expenditures and useless sensual habits, because during this time of calamity, there will be a need for provisions for your own subsistence and likewise for the assistance of many poor brethren who are on the verge of poverty. Do not become lazy in your vocation because of the approach of this day because time will continue in the millennial Kingdom.
2. Every person should remain in the place where Providence has located him. No one should flee from their area until the dangers of life, destruction of his business, suppression of his faith, or other similar circumstances, obviously and tangibly convince him that Providence calls him away from this place. Then He will show him the refuge from storm and terror.
3. Those employed in civil and political vocations must with unceasing vigilance, prayer, and forgiveness be on guard and strive to ease sorrows, preserve peace and calm, and keep the people subject to authority, and not to backslide under any event, but to only defend themselves when circumstances promise good success. In general, they must be faithful and obedient to the government as long as they do not demand anything contrary to true Christianity. In the worst case, leave your employment and depend on Providence.
4. Soldiers must serve faithfully, firmly standing for the religion and fatherland.
5. Teachers of the church and school teachers must not mess in political matters nor speak of them and not criticize. They are to conduct themselves calmly and to live in solitude, striving to use their complete faith in prayer, vigilance, and Christian life to inculcate in themselves and others the true inner Kingdom of God, and not to teach anything else except for unadulterated Christian truth, striving meanwhile to curb the spirit of rebellion, revolt, upheaval and the teachings and convictions of Antichrist.
All of this I will conclude with the following. During all your experiences, every minute of your life, turn towards the faithful walk in the presence of God, having austere vigilance over all your thoughts, words and actions, having unceasing prayer unto the heavenly Father and faith in our crucified Redeemer, or to say in brief, having the foundation of the Kingdom of God in you, let your light shine before people in your holy life. Meanwhile, subject yourselves to all things that do not hinder the establishment of the Kingdom of God in and what will not lead you away from Christ. Many good Swiss Waldensians have sinned in this matter.
Polycarp: What did their error consist of?
Menace: You are aware that Switzerland before the revolution was divided into 30 cantors or regions except for a few pieces of land which they considered under their subjection. Every canton had its own private government, but all of them were interwoven, so that in case one was attacked, they would all mutually enter in to help one another. Unterwalden was one of the smaller cantons. This region was mountainous, its residents for the most part were sustained by cattle-raising. They lived entire ages in calm and quiet not seeing any enemy, and no one bothered them in their exercise of the Catholic religion, with which they were affiliated. When the French the previous summer forced the Swiss into a revolution, the Waldensian pastoral people at the end accepted the new constitution, but when they were to pledge allegiance to the new law, they were not allowed to pledge before an image of God and the saints. Then they decided it was better to fight for their religion and fatherland and die with their weapon in their hands, rather than pledge before some other image. They were admonished to subject themselves, but they persisted in their stubbornness and declared that if they were not allowed to pledge according to their own faith then they would prefer to die. The French attacked them, but they, firm in their mind that the Lord would help them, began to defend themselves. The battles shed much blood, men and women fought with such valor that the French lost many men. So finally, this small number who were supposed to concede to the greater power, only cruelly suffered for their stubbornness. Small children were thrown down from the mountains. One hundred girls fled through impassable snow filled mountains to the canton Uri, to save themselves from the terror. Leaving the destruction, seven hundred homes were burned down, the balance was pillaged; others died in a horrible manner. The miserable remnant of these people so deserving of compassion live at the present in destitution, and the fierce snowstorms of winter brought them suffering to the most extreme degree of poverty. Whoever can provide assistance for these poor in their need will do a good deed and they are worth helping.
Policarp: My heart aches when I think what a small impression that indescribable atrocities of large countries on their neighbors make, those living in peace. They dance, they play, they feast, they cannot be satiated with amusements, but they do not consider that a similar fate awaits them.
Evfronim: But tell us, our father, what exactly was the error of the Waldensians?
Menace: You are a teacher in Israel and cannot determine this? They tempted Providence, thinking that a few hundred men can defeat many thousand, just because their matter seemed to them righteous. Never must a person subject himself to danger awaiting a miracle, and this is what they did. Because they refused to pledge in a manner other than before God was the right thing to do, it was courageous, it was noble, but they still should have accepted their fate, and subjected themselves. This error of theirs will not be held against them on the day of worldwide judgment.
Evfronim: Having now discussed the initial evidence of the soon arrival of the Lord, and about the general apostasy from faith, and the preparation of the ascension of the beast out of the abyss, I also ask of you my father, explain to us about the second evidence which deals with the preaching of the gospel to all the world, for which in England especially great and important preparations are being made.
Menace: From all my heart.
Regarding the English Society for the Preaching of the Gospel
At the present time, when for every good Christian comfort is so needed there is no discussion so consoling than that of the news regarding the expansion of the gospel to all the countries of the world. Especially in England, important institutions are being formed for this. This news is a joyous glance at the morning dawn of that great day on which the Lord will arrive.
First, I must briefly describe the condition of the English church, in order that the following narrative be more understandable to you. The prevailing religion in England is divided into many parties, and they have the same attitude amongst themselves as do the religions of the Catholics, Lutheran and Reform in Germany, that is, animosity and internal strife. Among these groups, the primary is the Episcopal, which the Crown affiliates itself with, and which wrested control of the church away from the Catholics, accepting for the most part the doctrines of the Reformed church. Along with it from its very beginning there appeared another important group, which wanted to destroy this root of Papal authority. This group is called the Puritans, the cleansers, and in the 17th century during Cromwell, it acquired so much strength that it overthrew the Episcopal Church together with the crown Charles I. But to the extent that at the beginning the Puritans appeared meek and pious, to the same extent, once they acquired in their hands power, they became great hypocrites and were likewise themselves overthrown when the family of the unfortunate crown Charles I again ascended the throne and the Episcopal Church again acquired the rule.
The hypocrisy and the outcry of the injustice of the Puritans caused them to be suspicious of true Christian religion, and some of them no longer accepted the fundamental points of the teaching of Christ. Others among them took advantage of the situation to blend into Christianity. In this manner there surfaced other popular preachers of atheism and deism who produced a considerable progeny.
The Puritans then divided into 2 groups; one wanted to retain church rule, but not the Episcopal type, but a republican, similar to the German Protestants, and for this reason they were called Presbyterians. The other group felt that every church in matters of religion must be free and independent, and so they were called Independents. The other classes of believers and non-believers, such as the Quakers, Mennonites, Socinians, Deists, Atheists, and Naturalists, are not mentioned here, because the matter of which we will now speak does not pertain to them. In general, the place of fanaticism was taken by a countrywide indifference toward religion. With the exception of a small number living in secret in various places no one spoke regarding the practical aspects of Christianity. The Bible and Gospel became rare in England, and little was heard about them. But at the end of the first third of the previous century (1730’s) there occurred a great change according to the following event:
Three young people; 2 brothers [John and Charles] Wesley, and a third, [George] Whitefield, all ordained ministers, sought to become good Christians through austere religious exercises, making this the goal of their life. But with all their effort they could not attain this until they became familiar with the pious bishop of the Moravian Brethren Church, Peter Beler, from whom they heard the first time in their life that true belief in the Lord Jesus Christ is the sole means by which a person can grow in true holiness. They began to study the New Testament and saw this truly on almost every page, not ambiguously, but absolutely stated, so that not the least doubt remained in them regarding this. Then they wanted to test this concept: Will this teaching produce the desired effect? For this reason, John Wesley departed for Germany, to the principle center of the Moravian Brethren Church, Herrnhut, to see in actual practice this important and all-encompassing concept. This occurred in 1738, and as he found what he sought, then, returning to England, he became the most zealous preacher of this ancient teaching, although for England it was new. The other Wesley and Whitefield joined him and they created the great and numerous denomination of Methodists, which perhaps, of all the posterity of the Pietists, has preserved itself undefiled and at present increases, strengthens and matures.
Nevertheless, whoever wants to know the evolution of the Methodist church with all of its significant events in the belief of its 3 founders, let him read the Complete History of the Methodists, by doctor Burkgard.
This was the condition of affairs when the providence of God in 1794 established a basis in a simple fashion for missionary work to all countries of the world. Certain pious preachers in England began to publish a monthly publication under the title, “Evangelical Magazine”. In September of that year (1794), one Presbyterian, pastor Boge in Glasport, placed in one issue a very strong admonishment for all the lovers of the gospel regarding the uncircumventable need for the conversion of the non-believers, and invited them to participate. As a result of this article on November 4th of that year there was created a friendly and harmonious circle of preachers of various denominations, which became the basis for the Missionary Society. From this time, the number of participants increased, and at the beginning of 1795 a decision was made to discover the opinion of all the evangelical preachers in London and request their assistance. As a result of this a letter was sent out on February 7 to all of them, and immediately a considerable number of preachers and other persons appeared, who wanted to be members of this society as well as be part of the missionary work itself. Similar type letters were circulated to all the clergy living in the provinces, and replies were received from them all, wishing them great success. But the work did not stop here, but the entire English nation was invited to participate in this important undertaking. The founders of the society were not satisfied with this and wanted to actually proceed with the work, and subsequently all those participating in the entire country were invited to come to London to discuss the general measures to fulfill this great plan. The time for this important assembly was set for September of 1795.
London often saw councils with many attending, but never saw one so majestic and inspiring as the one on the evening of September 2nd. The crowded assembly of Christians, among whom was more than 200 priests, conjointly discussed the means to preach the gospel to all the non-believers in all the countries of the world, to those who had not yet heard it. This honorable society composed its own constitution. Laws were legislated, and a board of directors was formed of honorable men; a secretary and treasurer were assigned, and they decided that the first missionary was to depart to the island of Tahiti and its surrounding regions. All of this can be read about in detail under the chapter heading, ‘Peter Mortimer and the Missionary Society in England,’ published in Barbie, and every good-natured Christian with humility and surprise will recognize here the finger of God. Here is also found speeches recited during these occasions which are very edifying.
Especially important is the goal and contribution of this excellent society which promotes the true unification of the hearts and minds of all true Christians, those divided into many denominations, and with all possible means strives for the conversation of non-believers in all the world, and to likewise bring all the respecters of Jesus to him as sole pastor and unite them into one fold. This is not some dream. No, they have already succeeded to the extent that many religious organizations no longer worry about which denominations the preacher beings to, but ask only what it is he preaches, the Gospel, or solely morality. England will now progress to the state that there will only exist two groups, namely, the one pertaining to and acknowledging the true faith in Jesus Christ according to the words of Sacred Scripture, and the other preaching on the basis of philosophy or solely morality. Subsequently, the [former] will become Old Believers, while the others New Believers. The entirety of Christianity must progress to this state, and especially in Germany. But regarding this I will later make further comments.
This English Missionary Society at its first meeting was such a success that there was gathered over 100,000 guldins, which was used to purchaser a well-built and reliable ship named Duff. Then began the effort to gather from all parts of England pious and experienced Christians who would be capable in this important work of the conversion of non-believers, and who would agree to undertake such a long journey. The Society succeeded in finding 30 willing individuals, some single and some married, who agreed to sail to this island of the south sea to preach the gospel to barbarian peoples. And as the Herrnhut Brethren Society was especially blessed in Missionary efforts and many experiences as a result of this, the Missionary Society made a list of various questions, asked a preacher of this Brethren Society in London, named Ley Trob, to answer them, which he, with love and to the satisfaction and edification of all, accomplished. The answers to these questions were utilized is a guide for the departing missionaries.
On the following month of May, the Society gathered a second time, and the primary topic was the departure of the ship Duff with 30 missionaries to Tahiti. The captain selected was a 70 year old elder, the honorable Captain Wilson, a trusted servant of God. His selection at such an advanced age he accepted with humility and a devotion to the will of God, and he took upon himself the responsibility of the recruitment of sailors and other ship workers. The directors of the Society wanted the missionaries to be consecrated for this work publicly at a church council, and depart triumphantly. For this event they selected the date, July 28, 1796.
It is impossible to imagine the festivity of a holiday as was the departure of the preachers of the Lord. For this event, there was selected a huge church in London called the Temple of Zion, which long before the beginning of the ceremony was already filled with people, about 7,000 or 8,000 filling the church, while the others had to either return home, or stand outside the church and look through the windows. The church services in every respect conformed to the matter at hand. The sermon recited by Dr. Bunter, a Presbyterian preacher, was based on the text Luke 10:1-16 and 20, and surpassed all their expectations. It was a mastery of Christian sermon eloquence and impressed then all deeply.
After this excellent sermon, some verses were sung. Then the 29 missionaries -- the 30th joined them later -- walked up to the altar and Doctor Davis, a preacher of the Episcopal church in a heartfelt prayer, entrusted them to the great Archbishop for His oversee and guidance. On the altar was placed 29 Bibles in sturdy binding. Five selected preachers, at the conclusion of this prayer, took each a book. The missionaries stood in the front of them on their knees and the preachers commissioned each one of them using this Bible, with the following words, “Journey beloved brother. Walk according to this blessed word and proclaim to non-believers the gospel according to your election, according to your gift, and your capability. In response every missionary said, “I am ready to fulfill this will the help of the Lord.” And in this manner they were all consecrated for this service. The silence in the church was intense, tears flows abundantly from the eyes of the humble spectators and warm prayers ascended to the Lord. Then the entire church sang, “Lord, strengthen and establish them.” And in conclusion Dr. Williams, an Episcopal preacher, concluded the consecration services with an excellent speech for the consecrated missionaries and with a song of praise from the choir. All departed in joy and hope with good wishes and prayers for the travelers. After a few days the missionaries departed accompanied by Dr. Davis to Portsmouth. They boarded the ship Duff and on September 21, 1796, departed to Tahiti.
What an ecstatic spectacle to see the entire ship filled solely with believing Christians, carrying the gospel of salvation of Jesus Christ to the furthermost edge of the world; to see the temple of the Lord sailing upon the ocean, over which hovered the blessing of God and which was to accompany it to their designated place. Such a ship with such a cargo seldom existed from the time the world began.
This event in England turned general attention upon itself and served as a means toward a great and general revival, such that daily was heard on the streets of London, under the open sky, the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the crowds. This motivated spirit of love for God and for associate had firm foundation. At first in Rotterdam an organization similar to the Missionary Society was formed, which consists likewise from religious and civil persons and is as active as the present state of Netherlands allows it. In Lauzatz, this was encouraged by the gentleman Justice Schernding, who also prompted the conversion of the pagans. He drew upon a beautiful plan which consisted primarily of the conversion to Christianity of African Negroes. For this goal he intended to create a colony in the West Indies, and to select capable Negroes who were already converted by the Brethren Society to the Christian faith, to buy their freedom, and after preparing them to send them as missionaries back to their homeland to proclaim the gospel to their countrymen. May the Lord God bless such intentions with this blessing.
The initial start of Schernding to execute his plan was to have the famous preacher Dizant from Dammendorf travel to London for a meeting with the local director of the Missionary Society. Dizant departed in July of 1798, and was presented to the directory by the local pious preacher Dr. Burkard on August 7. He was accepted with brotherly love. The plan of Mr. Schirnding was approved and reliable measures were put into effect for its fulfillment. Extremely joyful and important for the entire Missionary Society, and especially for the preacher Dizant, was that the honorable Captain Wilson with his ship and all of its cargo, not losing even one man, and in general, better condition then when they left, returned on July 10 to London prosperously at the same time that Dizant arrived there.
The entire journey was concluded with extraordinary success. The ship departed, as mentioned above, on September 21, 1796 and arrived at Tahiti the beginning of March 1797. The entire summer was utilized to familiarize themselves with the island and the neighboring ones, and in autumn Wilson departed. In November, they stayed at Macao, in December at Canton and China, from where he sent a letter to England and continued his return journey to Europe, where he arrived the following summer. As a result, he traveled 1 year 9 months and 20 days, and journeyed 17,750 miles, and was very fortunate that neither the ship nor the passengers were the least harmed and that no unfortunate incidences occurred. It is impossible to read the letter of Captain Wilson without shedding tears, which he wrote from Canton, and it is impossible not to be convinced that the Lord prospered this undertaking. In all their experiences they greeted the protection of God and everywhere the welcome of the people. The ruler of Tahiti received them joyfully and granted them his fertile land, upon which over 20,000 people can live and subsist. On the day after their arrived, the wife of one of the travelers delivered a child. The ruler himself visited them and held the child, rejoiced over his birth and called him a child of Tahiti. Even the pagan priest, almost deaf and blind from old age, visited the missionaries and complained that he was unable to hear the new teaching.
The Lord visibly strengthened this organization. He wants especially to bless this final proclamation of his before his glorious arrival, in all the ends of the world, and at the 11th hour workers were found for the final effort in the garden of the Lord. The seed sown in England also planted roots in Germany. The popular German Society for the Advancement of Pure Teaching, having its center in Basel, united with the English. The president of this, Professor Gertsov and Mr. Schirnding, with the directors began to gather money to cover expenditures for the journey of preachers traveling to the pagans, and this undertaking was not in vain. In Wittenberg, so many zealous supporters appeared that many common people and servants donated charity for this purpose. Blessed and blessed is the person who supported this holy work out of their means. Such willing donors gathered this sum and sent it to Frankfurt-on-the-Maine, and some was sent to the directory in London.
At present time there is another Missionary Society being organized in East Friesland, and is likewise being blessed. There, 20 pious pastors united with the primary English society, and which invited Germany to participate the previous summer (1798). This event is so worthy of significance in the Kingdom of light that it serves as an assurance of the soon arrival of the Lord.
Evfronim: You have made us very happy, our father, with this history. Truly here is seen the finger of God who has completed the work begun, but you said earlier that the true worshipers of Jesus in Germany must unite, and you promised to explain this in more detail This we ask of you, to tell us, what do you propose to accomplish this and what must happen to complete this important work.
Since the response of Menace to this question deals with a very important matter, then I ask my readers, to study the following with deliberation, and if you find this to be worthy importance, then do the best from your end to fulfill His plan.
Menace: Initially you must know that the conversation here does not deal about superficial political reform or improvements in the church, and not about any dissention or unification of one church with another. All of this will remain as it is. When the matter reaches that point that every person must declare whom he wants to serve: Christ or Antichrist; when he reaches the point of accepting the mark of the beast and the worship of his image, then every superficial division will cease on its own, and only 2 sides will remain: Christian and anti-Christian. Then a definite unification will begin on its own and the offspring of God, scattered in all the denominations, will rejoice over this when they discover the preliminary preparations for the Kingdom of the Lord. They will embrace each other and will together arise to await his glorious arrival. Meanwhile, it is very necessary while time is opportune to prepare for this in order not to be driven away from the goal by the general flood.
The principal and most important danger threatening inescapable destruction is the expansion of the spirit of apostasy among clergymen and especially in Protestant churches. If you were to measure how much closer they have moved to the abyss in the past 30 years, terror would overcome you. Seeing yourselves that the olden, plain, true Christianity, promoting sanctification and improvement of morality in the living faith in Christ and his redemption through his suffering and death, causes people to become better, excellent. But [the modern churches] who are against this have not improved the morality of even one person, except for the person who is already good as a result of his nature, and even then his conversion is doubtful; and their teaching leaves peoples the lowest of criminals. Seeing daily the extreme insanity their intellect has led them, each one is left to themselves, even educated heads, almost always arguing and disagreeing regarding their goals. Seeing all this, they like blind and deranged individuals continued to walk along the path and laugh at every advice and admonishment. They should be abandoned to personally experience that which they at present proudly reject. It is sad for the poor people who are led by these blind guides into the abyss; but what is more pitiful is the effect on the innocent young generation who are led into delusion by the instruction of such people, and is taught adverse conduct from a young age. The good father -- I will not speak about the bad father -- consecrates his son to the vocation of a pastor; he prepares him, raising him according to the Christian fashion. Then he goes to university and hears all this philosophical pseudo-knowledge, all the brilliant doubts about the Bible, and those things against Christ and his religion. And he is ruined if he does not pray everyday with fervency to be taught by the holy Spirit and if he does not arm himself against all the powers of deception. Then he is supposed to become a Christian preacher and he learns hypocrisy, he hides the commands and pretends that he believes. There is no reason for him to fear examinations, because those who examine him believe as little as he does. And then he becomes a preacher, that is, he admonishes his parishioners to be virtuous. But where to acquire it he does not say a word and he never goes into details. This virtue is supposed to develop in them little by little on its own. And the good father? At first he is deluded and impressed; but once realizing what has occurred he becomes terrified. This is the degree we have reached! Meanwhile, the poor uneducated masses are unknowingly led away from the source of truth, and the subsequent generation will not know about Christ as a divine man and redeemer, as interest and reconciler. No doubt the Lord is sad over the condition of Christianity and will utilize new strong and intelligent means for the salvation of those who will be saved.
The following method could perhaps help out. The English and the missionary societies associates with them must in the fear of God unite in the one spirit of Christ and accept and establish what is essential in the Christian religion, necessary for salvation, and not doubting on becoming involved in argument, and to consistently observe this in their life and unto death. On this basis, they should organize a higher educational institution, a seminary, where the pure evangelical teaching could be taught based on the record of Jesus Christ and his apostles and where young people could acquire a strong foundation. This school must especially be organized such that the uneducated though humble and considerate men, as well as the educated young people, could receive the necessary instruction. If a certain pious father wants to consecrate his well-raised and highly-moral son to some religious order, according to the original gospel teaching, he should be able to send him to this school. And if he fears that perhaps he will not find a position after such an education, and he will remain without an income, he should only place his hopes on the Lord, and know that He will not abandon His own. He will always grant work in His vineyard to trustworthy workers.
In order that such an institution would be supported by the government, after gathering capital for necessary expenditures, it is proper to ask the sovereign for permission to start such a school in his realm and to accept it in his jurisdiction and security. In order to communicate with England in all circumstances, the most opportune place for this institution is Denmark, the area of Holstier; there is a quiet and serene town not far from Alton which is very suitable for this purpose. I would propose Anton itself if I were not afraid that the luxury and worldly pleasures would be harmful to young people. In consideration of the judicial and political aspects and in general all that concerns the obligations of the subjects to the state, this seminary should have the same attitude which the universities in Kil and Copenhagen have toward the Danish crown, his ministry and all the colleges, with only the necessary separation that neither the religious authorities nor any other theology faculty would interfere in the teaching and means of instruction in this seminary. They should depend solely on the Missionary Society and its directors.
One difficulty in this institution consists in that young people unwillingly agree to enroll, hot having in view any future direction, nor any vocation for income. I mentioned regarding this anxiety but now I will explain the circumstances in detail: The Protestant churches cannot always remain in the same condition they are at present. For it is very natural and entirely more reliable that a large number of people hoping to be saved by the true faith in Jesus Christ and his covenants of reconciliation and redemption cannot be satisfied by the present teaching of the Protestants, their ceremonies, sacraments and especially their teaching. They have the right to demand a freedom of worship not in according with the present new enlightenment but according to the old teaching is Germany in earlier ages.
We presently find ourselves having to discern unbelief in the same manner as our ancestors had to discern superstition, with only the following difference, that in the past reformation was required in order to promulgate anew the gospel teaching, but at present this is not necessary, but what is only required is friendly, free and voluntary inner unity in the spirit of believers in the one flock under one shepherd. Meanwhile, I conclusively admonish and remind you that no one dare, deceived by spiritual provide, dreams, or foolish zeal, compete with others in this intent, but would journey following Providence who precedes us as a pillar of fire and cloud. God will preserve every person with His grace. And so let every person reside firm in faith and constant in vigilance and prayer. The Lord himself will arrange the conversion of unbelievers and unification of believers, and will prepare everything so that every person will find before him an open door and will be compelled to enter it under the circumstances. He who has ears will hear this voice at the proper time, “Come out my people.” Rev 18:4. This important era cannot be far away, because revolution on the one hand occurs without interruption; and on the other hand Providence in the Kingdom of light is beginning to prepare its glorious triumph and the foundation of the Kingdom of Christ on earth. For this reason, it is unavoidable that there should occur a separation of the sheep from the goats and an assembly of all people of God. And so there will be a great need of the older seminaries to put into effect the separation and assembly, to instruct the people of God and young adults in the eternal gospel, and to prepare the civilian population for the glorious Kingdom of Christ. And so the meek who are devoted with all their heart and the young men ordained to a religious order, must not worry about their income. As long as the above-mentioned seminary remains, and as long as they attend it to learn the ministry of God, they will find sufficient work among Christians and pagans.
It is apparent on its own that during selection of teachers for this seminary, they should not consider their denomination or sect. By whatever name they are called, he can be a teacher if he is Christian gifted by grace, know only what is needed without adding into it his own favorite and superfluous rules and opinions, and if he holds to the essence of the truth and is taught a firm foundation having a gift of clear explanation. It is very necessary and important to have at this seminary a pious an benevolent teacher, with a profound philosophic education and with the ability to debate and refute new philosophic sophisms and preserve the young and tender minds from the audacity of egoism. Also 2 persons are needed to teach logic, metaphysics, natural theology, and morality, and also a teacher fluent in eastern languages. In general, there is much more that I must relate about this institution, but this can be postponed to its actual start. The seminary of the Herrnhut Brethren church in many aspects can serve as an example. This ancient church must continue its special purpose until the Lord institutes the other and the 2 unite.
Now, beloved brethren, the time has come for me to depart to other obligations. In the future we will see each other again. Farewell.
This proposition of Menace Eastern-Light, regarding founding this school seems to me (Stilling) a very necessary and agreeable intention. I have long thought about it myself and once communicated my thoughts in an article in a periodical, but it was ineffective. Now, when Providence institutes such great preparations worthy of note, compatible to this proposition, I will again unveil my plan and leave it up to the authority of God. He will build and create what is pleasing to Him. It is worthy of note that one pious, educated and popular Protestant theologian, who is foremost among the clergy in one country, not long ago communicated to me this same thought and the same plan, not knowing that I had already thought on it some time ago. Likewise, one reigning prince required from me some details, and other various requests from dignitaries forced me to promulgate this first attempt to fulfill my plan.
I should also recommend some useful books, but time and place does not permit. We will discuss this in Book 7.
You say, I am rich, I have acquired wealth and do not need anything. But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear so you can cover your nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes so you can see.
Our Lord commanded John to write this for the spirit of our era. The gold of our Lord is his teaching, which they permit but do not live by. While the white garments and eye salve they completely reject considering them unnecessary because this clothing is old fashioned, not cut from the garment of French fashion, while the salve is not purchased from the philosophic pharmacist. But we will not rationalize it in this manner, beloved. We will abandon ourselves to him for his gold, for his white clothing and for his eye salve. Then we will be equally fortunate and blessed. Amen.
Will there be peace in Germany? In Europe? In Christianity? This was the impatient question which greeted Menace Eastern-Light, our honorable father, as he entered the grievous room of our company.
Menace: You can answer this yourselves beloved. I ask you: Were previous punishments of the Lord effective? Have Christians turned to the Lord? Have they sought his presence, and have they sought his presence, and have they pledged themselves to rectify their hearts?
Evsevi: Unfortunately, few show indication of this. And on the other hand, everything became worse. Apostasy from the faith is increasing, along with luxury and abundance. Here, the hospitals are filled with the maimed and suffering while there they feast and dance. Here, entire families languish due to famine and hardly have strength to beg for food, while there piles of gold are squandered on magnificent apparel, gambling and amusements, and they find no reason to think about peace and serenity.
Menace: Without doubt, there will be several interludes until the end of the great battle, but we must await the eternal constant peace when our many-crowned king will triumph with his victory.
Policarp: You spoke about sensual enjoyment, brother.
Evsevi: Many err in this matter, including those reborn, people adhering to Christ and wanting to be true Christians, I know many of them, amateurs who go from social to social, feast and drink; they attend theaters and consider it nothing to gratify the lust of their flesh. During all this they think they are disciples of Christ. How can this be? Either these passions must be subjected to the reign of the spirit, or else will be gratified and completely fail.
Menace: You are right, Polycarp, I am sorry that some have each quoted Stilling’s articles, saying that he does not consider dances and theaters sin.
Stilling: I unfortunately know this and wish I had never written them. I wanted to repel the hate among the brethren and strive to have them understand that not at the present should we condemn him who dances or still attends the theater, as I had often heard. The correct movement of the feet in itself is not sin, and an active presentation of some moral content is not against Christianity, but because it is impossible to know the reasons why he does certain things, why he is now dancing, or attending the theatre, or gambling, we must not judge them for this premeditatively. My father, my explanations must be viewed in this light. Often another good soul struggles to the point of tears of blood against such sensual passion, and even then often he is defeated; seeing him in this condition, who is bold enough to throw the first stone? Only he who is without sin, but he did not do this, but said to the prostitute, “Go and sin no more.” Yes, he died for such faithful champions in order to acquire for them strength to overcome. But we boasting that we are his followers, and remaining as sinners, have the boldness to judge sinners, but when the inclination toward dancing, theatre, or gambling or drunkenness becomes even somewhat a commander of the will, such that the intellect approves of it, and when the penalizing grace admonishes a person in his soul, we do not submit to it; in short, when it is difficult to bear not satisfying the desires, as amends are able to do, do not boast that such a person is Christian, because such a person is still far from citizenship of the Kingdom of God. Regarding alcoholism and gluttony there is nothing to be said. The true Christian must never drink to excess; and if he did have this vice, then he must struggle against it; pray and fast until he defeats this infernal enemy. The infernal life is eternal alcoholism, and the association of alcoholism is in miniature an image of hell. There it is only worse and more horrible for the tavern owner and bartender. Having been a physician, I saw a horrible situation similar to this: one pious and benevolent person was supposed to leave his house early in the morning, and he made it a custom to drink an entire jug of vodka before leaving. Due to his negligence, he reached the point that he was half-drunk, and then completely drunk, by the time he left, and he never sobered up the entire day. It is easy to imagine that under such circumstances the higher light in his soul was completely extinguished. Finally, his soul was motivated and began to severely reprimand him. The voice of punishment of grace penetrated his soul and the benevolent person saw the crevasse at which edge he was standing and suddenly was converted. From this minute, he no longer drank even a drop of any type of strong drink. His nature was unable to endure the depravation. He became sorely afflicted with a fever and grew delirious, and drew close to death. They called me and since his illness was known to me, I wrote a prescription for him of the strongest vodka, and myself gave him the first dose. As soon as he had drunk it he was strengthened and regained his senses. He soon thereafter stood up and regained his health. Then I myself began to ask him, for the benefit of his wife and children, to daily drink a little vodka to strengthen his nature, but only as much as he needed, and then little by little wean himself off of it. But he did not obey me, and was firm in his habit. His nature could not endure the struggle and so he died that year.
Philomist: This benevolent person poorly acted by becoming addicted to alcohol. But he also acted poorly by not following your advice.
Menace: Do you know this for sure? Are you a diviner? And can you ascertain the hidden sources in his soul which moved him to accomplish such a heroic feat? Stilling had a reason to advise him such, but you have no reason to judge him in this matter.
Philomist: I acknowledge my errors, but the inclination to criticize is so deeply enrooted in us that true is the saying, “Do not judge lest you also be judged,” which words should be written on all walls in gold letters so that we would remember them.
Menace: Correct you are. However, who from his entire heart wants to fulfill them will quickly grasp them.
Evfronim: Now tell me, my father, in what manner will luxury terminate in the Kingdom of God on earth? You know better than all of us that [luxury] up to now has ruined all the governments right to their foundation. When I consider that all the subjects of the glorious Kingdom of Christ will still be the fallen and mortal offspring of Adam, who are still likewise subject to the impulse of lust and inclined toward sensual enjoyment, then I cannot understand how the Kingdom can exist for 1000 years, and be thereby the glorious peaceful Kingdom of Jesus Christ, a kingdom where solely justice and true piety will reign. And if we add to this, that a person in fortunate circumstances is worse off than in unfortunate [circumstances], then it seems that it is impossible for anything else, except that God in the Kingdom will install totally special institutions to preserve people from negligence, pride and greed.
Menace: Your description has much basis to it, but it will immediately vanish as soon as I remind you of all that the spirit of prophecy long ago predicted about the institution of the Kingdom. Imagine a form of rule, where from the sovereign to the last peasant elder, all the citizens and religious clergy, ecclesiastical teachers and school teachers, will be totally holy. Add to this the most perfect and just laws you can imagine. Then it will not be difficult for yourself to understand that not only luxury and splendor will dissipate, but that a universal enlightenment and sanctity will gradually grow and increase. In the community of the Moravian Brethren we can only notice a weak resemblance or the dawn of such a rule. Add to this that there will not at all be any examples of luxury or squander, because the ruling body will be the most humble, or the most humble will be the rulers. You know that luxury and squander increases solely due to examples of rulers and rich. But where there is no example, there is no imitation. The important matter of which you, beloved Evsevi, have not thought of consists in this, that the ruler will then be Christ himself and all his servants. From the first minister to the servant in both the religious and civil ranks will consist of those participants of the first resurrection, subsequently, of solely the perfected, enlightened and immortal righteous. Read the 20th chapter of Revelation; there is also an explanation of this in Victory’s Narrative, another book authored by Jung-Stilling.
Evsevi: Great God, what an ecstatic idea! It is so novel but so archaic. If we sincerely concerned ourselves with our future; if Christians held firmly to this supreme concept and would profoundly impress it on themselves then it would become their guardian angel and would lead them through all the impending sorrows and calamities. But forgive me my father for my curiosity. Will these resurrected saints live with people on earth in a visible form and exercise their vocation?
Menace: You can find an explanation regarding this in the Bible. The glorified resurrected righteous will be similar to the Lord Christ as he was after the resurrection. And just as he dealt with his disciples, so will these deal with the mortal citizens of the Kingdom of God. And so when it is necessary, they will appear in a tangible form. Otherwise, they will act, and guide them and govern them in some spiritual form.
Philomist: How sublime! Imagine that the participants in the first resurrection are the perfected righteous from all nations and all eras, and that living people will deal with them, makes it understandable to me how all generations of useful vocations and sciences must then flourish. But, honorable Father, permit me to present another question. I do not doubt in the least that the gracious during that life will know one another, but I would like to have evidence of this, without which I cannot assure another that he, during that life, will be able to again find his acquaintances and friends and socialize with them.
Menace: Do you see that the person awakened toward eternal life will remember his earlier life, and all those with whom he was acquainted, and in general all that occurred with him from childhood to his very death.
Philomist: I believe this, and it necessarily must be so, because if we did not remember our earlier life, then we would have to begin with the ABC’s of our education and knowledge, the holy and blessed would not be able to fathom the sublime grace and love of God, while the condemned would not understand the supreme justice of the just judge, and finally the teaching regarding the immortality of the soul would be to them an empty and futile theory, because complete oblivion of the earlier life and the death of the soul is essentially the same.
Menace: Well said! But do you believe that the blessed can associate between themselves and communicate their thoughts to each other?
Philomist: Indisputably! After all what would bliss be if the blessed could not associate with each other.
Menace: And so here is the proof which you wanted. Suppose that you at some time in this life met somebody, you would not recognize him, because the resurrected do not have that physiology (physique) which they had here. But you would want to become acquainted with him, and so you would begin to talk with him and then you will find out who he is. Imagine that you return from a journey after several years, those you left behind as small children in time have grown and changed. You would not recognize them, but you would have to ask who they are and they would tell you. So it is with children who have died in childhood, then during eternity they would not recognize the face of their reverent parents, but only by asking and searching. But there this is very easy, because there they speak in a spiritual language, which is easier and more intelligible than our present [language]. And so the remembrance and communication with others in conversation will confirm the friendship of our present life.
Philomist: This is very clear, and there are no arguments against it, but you have again motivated to an extreme degree my curiosity with 2 expressions, namely: You said at first regarding the change in appearance in the future life, and second, you mentioned he spiritual language. Explain this and instruct us.
Menace: Willingly! Here strong passions are impressed on a person, such that experienced people can recognize the relationship of a person unknown to them based on the superficial appearance. Miserliness, greed, hate, sorrow, joy, and others, leave deep impressions on the person. LaFater in his “Physiognomy,” wrote much about this, how the strength of the soul can impress this upon the meat and bones of a coarsely created body. Then what can it express through a subtle body of light which will entirely be a seal of the inclination of mind and heart, and the outward form and beauty of the body will be the detailed composition with a gradual inner beauty and perfection? The blessed and holy will be together with the beautiful. By way of this you can also conclude the opposite, how horribly the residents of the infernal kingdom will appear. For this reason, the blessed will no longer accept association with their godless relatives. This horrible and repulsive appearance will destroy the final vestiges of physical love, while the moral spiritual love cannot exist there [in hell] because of their repulsive inclinations.
Philomist: This is very understandable, and it seems to me that Sacred Scripture contains indications of this, because there the authority of darkness is presented in the terrible appearance of beasts. Now we want to hear what you have to say about languages in the future, which you call the language of spirits.
Menace: I will explain this to you. You know how the vast number of earthly languages are so different one from another, and how difficult it is to learn any one of them thoroughly, other than your own native language. If we were to suppose that one of these languages, for example, the Hebrew or Greek, will be the heavenly language, then it would be necessary to learn it, so that all of us could converse in it in the future life. But for this type of penetrating spiritual body, a developed language as ours is insufficient to express our intrinsic feelings, and so it is necessary to develop communication in a different manner. The language of the blessed or spirits in general is the language of light. All of our thoughts and inclinations, even the innermost, will be expressed in this manner. And so there, when two should meet each other, they penetrate each other totally like light does and without interference, and each one knows and sees the thoughts of the other. And in this manner they communicate with each other without aural sounds, because each one sees in the other, as through looking at a living picture all that is occurring in their soul, all the surfacing thoughts, inclinations and feelings. And when one wants to say something to the other, then the other sees all in the twinkling of an eye, and he can also respond to what was said. Based on this you can imagine what indescribable items every person will there see and sense. If you think about this in solitude, a holy agitation will penetrate you, and this supreme thought will arouse you to give yourselves over to the Spirit of Jesus Christ in order for him to cleanse you of all your secret sinful abominations, because if any of this remains in your soul, then this will be very obvious and apparent to the eyes of all the righteous. Then you will also understand what it means to be washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb, because these garments are the refined body which in the superficial form expresses the internal content, and if the internal is clean then this is express in the body. You can fathom this in another manner, that it is impossible to be a hypocrite there and every person is noticed in their actual form, and if any person should want to pretend, immediately his deception will be apparent. Liars will there possess a horrible appearance. The Kingdom of heaven is the Kingdom of truth.
Evfronim: Our honorable father, you said to us what will cause a person’s heart to tremble, and which will cause him to seek bliss in fear and trembling. This is what we must remember most of all, and this should be inscribed with flaming letters in the presence of us all. God! What would happen to us if we did not have the Savior. How vile will be the appearance of some self-proclaimed moralist when the hidden source of all his affairs is unveiled and uncovered before the eyes of the righteous!
Evsevi: The absolute truth! This thought must compel us all to pray and be vigilant. But I must return to the millennial Kingdom: which nations will personally be citizens and subjects of this Kingdom?
Menace: This is clearly discussed in many passages in Sacred Scripture. Not too long before the arrival of Christ the gospel will be preached throughout the world to all the nations, and at the present we can see how active and expansive the preparations for this are. The Christian religion is being preached to many nations unknown to us previously. Subsequent to this the general hour of temptation will arise throughout the entire world to put through trial all old and new Christians, and whoever endures this period will become a citizen of the Kingdom of Christ, in this life and in the next. The citizens of it will be derived from all the nations.
Policarp: There is one item I really want to know, what is it that will compel the world toward the truth of Christ, for people to accept him in mass? It seems to me that this must occur prior to the arrival of Christ, otherwise the foolish will believe that they will see [him] with their own eyes. The present apostasy and unbelief motivates me to especially ask this of you.
Menace: I will answer your question in this manner. Christ in his prayer to his Father said in John 17:20 and 21, “I do not pray only for these,” that is, not only for his disciples, “but for those also who will believe in me as a result of them.” This implies those from the time of his ascension to the arrival of his glorious Kingdom, who do believe and who will believe in the gospel. “That they may be one as You Father are in me and I am in You, and they may be one in us, so that the world will believe that You have sent me.” In these words the Lord presents the true means toward the conviction of the world and toward acceptance of the witness of that gospel which is his embassy. This particular prayer of Jesus Christ without fail will be heard. It will accomplish its purpose, which is for every true Christian to possess one mind, one faith, one common love, and one hope. All denominations will perish and only the church of Philadelphia will survive, which is entirely evangelical, cleansed from every superstition and unbelief. It will be an example for the entire world, and whoever has eyes and want to see, then he must see that God is in Christ and Christ is in God as one, and that this church of Philadelphia is likewise with God in Christ and is united with Christ just as are the members among themselves. The great hour of temptation, whose precedents are at present very noticeably appearing, will be the great and active means by which a high degree of holiness and unity of faith through the unity of spirit will be attained, because this common great sorrow will compel many to draw to God and Christ. Sorrows will teach them to pray, and those suffering will unite one with another; the spirit of sectarianism will disappear with individualism, and the immense demise of the common enemy will cause all the remaining believers in Christ to unite. Likewise secular sages, as a result of their many experiences, will learn that all the means of pseudo-enlightenment, for which they labored unto the sweat of blood, had lead to nowhere else except to temporal and eternal ruin. And this situation will finally compel them to flee to him, outside of whom there is no salvation not in heaven or on earth.
O when will our contemporaries recognize themselves as belonging to Christ, those who are presently led astray by the spirit of sectarianism and have even become unfaithful to their own personal opinions. The truth is not in the matter of anyone one who identifies himself as a Catholic, Lutheran, Reformist, Mennonite, Herrnhut, or Pietist, but whether he in his heart and in accord with the gospel believes in Christ, and wants to be saved by Christ’s merits, and to show his faith by his works. Where this is found unity must also prevail and a sole religion. The members of the English Missionary Society present themselves as an excellent example. While we, Germans, must hasten to unite with them. O brethren, do not wait until the fire of sorrow compels you to do this. Unite voluntarily toward one goal and toward victory in Jesus Christ. Then his spirit will lead you, and you will see how his blessing will spill upon you. But you must understand me. I do not speak here about a superficial unification of churches, but of the unification of hearts through the removal of prejudices and individualism.
Evfronim: You are completely right. This would be a great step forward toward unification if the other Missionary Societies in Germany and Holland would unite into one.
Menace: Without doubt. But this is difficult; the prejudices are great and interfere. The Basel Society, to strengthen the truth of Christ and bliss, has many members in all the German provinces. Its purpose is undefiled, and the spirit of the society is directly evangelical, however the number of its members is small and some of them cannot stand the appellation of “society.” That the Basel Society has united with the English is a great step forward. If at present the Austrian and Belgian Societies would unite with the Basel, then there would be an orderly movement forward. But their minds are still insufficiently cleansed from all prejudices which interfere with the unification of these societies. Whenever this should occur, then my plan, explained in Book 6, can be put into progress.
Evsevi: I think that the Lord will direct hearts to this matter through his Spirit, and will accomplish this unto his glory.
Menace: I hope so. But this will only occur when the evening bell of midnight is everywhere heard. Now I must say something for the instruction of our friend Stilling, so that he would be more careful in his words.
Stilling: You scare me, Most Reverend. What am I guilty of?
Menace: You recorded the words of Evfronim in Book 5, as follows: Here we meet with 2 extremes. The first, according to the old system, or the teaching of Luther, that the entire matter of salvation is attributed solely to conversion, repentance, and temperance without the participation of words. The second is when all of this is set aside, and you depend solely on the morality of Christ, and say, “Do this and this and you will be saved.” Here we must delete the name of Luther, since he did not teach anything other than faith working with love, and this is noticeable throughout his books.
Stilling: True, this was poorly expressed. And I myself am firmly convinced in the same.
Evfronim: I said that Luther often distorts the understanding of the teaching and falsely interprets it.
Stilling: Now I do remember this, but the words, “often distorts the understanding of the teaching and falsely interprets it,” I deleted. In the future I will be more careful.
Menace: You will do well. Care in conversation and in letters is especially necessary at present, so that nobody will attribute more to it that what was actually said. It is unbelievable how quickly the apostasy has spread, the one that Paul clearly foretold in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, as one of the signs of the soon arrival of Christ. Twenty years ago, would a preacher have been bold enough to say in his cathedra, “The worship of Christ is idolatry.”? In some areas at present, people consider this a trifling matter. The university theologians, and even certain church teachers, are bold enough to say and print this. One of them in his compositions was bold enough to even say that it would have been better if Christianity had never known Christ, because then it would have utilized the blessing of his religion, and not be burdened with the evil of his person. Is it possible to separate the religion of Jesus from the worship of his person, when in the New Testament both one and the other are equally commanded? It is possible to believe in the Christian religion and not believe in Christ, when he himself in his New Testament, and likewise in John’s Revelation, declares himself Deity? If we allow what this scholar preaches, then subsequently the entire Bible will be undermined. If these people would only think about the risk they are taking. If they would have thought about this, they would have realized that we were right and that they were in error. And what fate awaits these teachers of faith who taught people an incorrect religion and which leads them to misfortune forever. If these teachers state that they are not in error, who is it that will vouch on their behalf? Perhaps solely their own intellect? Don’t all intellects think this way? My God! We have seen what this type of deified intellect led people to do in France.
Philomist: This terrible apostasy serves as proof of the truth of Sacred Scripture. 2 Thess 2, 1 Tim 3:2, 2 Pet 2 and 3, 1 John 2 and 4. All of this the apostles could never have composed if it were not disclosed to them by the spirit of the Omniscient. But, Most Reverend Father, it would be strange if we did not have indisputable proof of the truth of Christ’s religion, the type that can convince any doubting person of the truth. Less, Nestle, and not long ago Clayker, labored over this, but they still could not satisfy the doubting mind of many honest people. Tell us, is there not additional more reliable evidence?
Menace: There is, and although it is heavy and difficult, it is satisfactory. When many risk their life and with massive expenditures undertake long and difficult journeys to acquire solely knowledge in botany or mineralogy, natural history or archeology, should we also ignore the most important science of psychology? Why does this occur?
Philomist: I think that they are afraid of their discoveries, which will only embarrass them. However such people have existed, who have studied the nature of the human.
Menace: But in a moral sense? And with the intention of discovering which religion will make people better? I do not know of any of this type of traveler. I am the only one, and for no other reason have I encompassed the entire world.
Philomist: Tell us, Father, what discoveries you have made.
Menace: I have discovered that of all the nations of the world, among the Christians art and science -- except for painting, sculpture and architecture -- have attained the highest level of any time or any place. The light of Christian religion has enlightened every field of knowledge. Whoever should try to deny this he either does not know history or does not want to see truth. Philanthropists among Christians are so many and to such an extent as has never been in the past. You will never find this many altruists in other religions, who donate in secret as a result of their love for God and without any intentions of self-seeking credit. You will seek in vain for them. You can take Germany for example, and test the Christians that live there, you will find many simple people and those you would consider insignificant, and Socrates, Epicurius and Seneca are plainly sinful compared to them. The true Christian is separated from the altruists of other religions mainly by the fruits of the spirit of Jesus Christ, namely, love, a calm and pure joy, inner deep peace, patience during all struggles, dedicated friendship toward all, a careful apprehension in all situations, a firm and dedicated faith and reliance on the fatherly love of God, meekness, a contrite attitude toward others, endurance of all offences, inner purity of heart, and a true prudence. No doubt there is found among Jews and Turks individuals that show one or another of these traits or altruism, but the example of the entirety of true holiness is not to be found except among Christians, and they are not so rare as we may think. To contradict what I am saying is like calling a clear day night. And if someone does not believe me, let him prove me wrong. And if you were to ask all the true Christians without bias in all nations and languages, in all the various Christian denominations, “How did you become this way?” Then each one would answer, “By the grace of God in Jesus Christ. I was poverty stricken, condemned as a sinner, not having earned anything except death and the curse. Then I repented and fled to my Savior, and in his suffering and death found forgiveness of all my sins and eternal life. The little goodness that resided in me allowed the spirit of Jesus Christ to flourish in me and through me, because I myself was personally incapable of any benefit.” This cognizance that accompanies the benevolent life and conduct of every true Christian is common to all of them. All of them consider themselves by nature poor sinners, while Christ is true God and true man indivisible in one person. All believe that only through his suffering and death can they attain bliss; that all the goodness in them is solely due to the spirit of Jesus Christ and the activity of his grace in them and working through them. This agreement of all hearts in the true basis of salvation, from the era of Christ, throughout all the 18 centuries, in all places and to the ends of the earth, and to this very day, is the irrefutable proof of the continual and still continuing omnipresence of the comforter the Holy Spirit, from the first day of its descent and to today. It teaches every converting sinner how to conduct himself and instructs all who turn to It with the wisdom that he needs. And it is this Spirit that irrefutably produces the best people in all benevolence and experience, but does not act within any sinner, within any person who has not come to Christ. In all souls and hearts in Christ It witnesses and preaches the established truths of the faith that which Christ and his apostles affirmed in the New Testament. Any person who doubts will no longer. If he does not believe all that is written, then let him more diligently and longer try it. He will likewise find what I have, only with the condition that he choose the one that is genuinely and truly Christian among all the denominations, and not one that is half-Christian or full of hypocrisy.
Philomist: I must admit that if a person was to positively and impartially review this proof then he will conclude it is definitely irrefutable. We can apply what was said by the Savior to this situation, that if a person fulfills the will of God, then he will recognize whether the teaching [of Christ] is of God or of a human. John 7:17.
Menace: Nevertheless, all such proofs will not help the person who does not want to believe. With the amount of luxury that presently exists in Europe, nothing will help, whether spiritual or material. There is no possibility to deliver the entirety, everybody. More or less, everybody’s mind has been distorted by the spirit of this era. Nobody can soundly think, and because of this they are more like to believe absurdities than the sound and benevolent teaching of Jesus Christ.
Evsevi: This is true. Now I want to propose another question. Not long ago I read the Panacea, and was much comforted by it, but there is still much that I do not understand. The publisher of the Panacea, our pious friend Lafater, and other benevolent and Christian thinking people affirm, and they are supported by several positive texts of Sacred Scripture, that the Christian, having attained a high degree of faith in many areas, is always heard when he prays to God. Based on this attitude, if God does not hear the prayer of any one of His offspring, then the person praying does not yet possess true faith. And to add to this, if 2 pious souls can pray about items that are totally contradictory to one another, then how can God listen to the both of them? And especially if each of them claims a living faith in God and the Savior? From another aspect, there are many striking examples of prayers heard, as our friend Stilling knows from experience. Not long ago there occurred some new evidence pertaining to this. One pious Christian woman was very sick for 5 weeks, and none of the doctors could help her. In his heartfelt sorrow her husband went to church to hear something that would comfort him. Entering the church, the priest was giving a sermon from the gospels about the woman of Canaan, and spoke on the strength of faith that this woman possessed. This man was so touched by the example of this woman, that here he cried from the depths of his soul with child-like assurance, “Kind-hearted Father. You know that I am Yours, and You are mine, that You love me and I do You. Show to me that it is so and perform the healing of my wife and at this moment.” He later admitted in a letter to his son that never again could he be so bold to pray in this manner again, but under the circumstances he felt a complete freedom and boldness. And then what occurred? On his return home from church the first think he noticed was his wife standing next to the fireplace and cooking, and who greeted him with the words, “Look, husband, I have suddenly become well.” Tears came from the husband and he answered, “I knew this would happen.” “Were you giving me slowly some type of medicine?” “No, beloved. Let us go and thank the Lord for the medicine He has given you, and then I will tell you what occurred with me at church, and this all came about.” This is clear proof that prayers are heard. The brother of this man was so touched that he was also converted. Now explain to us, Reverend Father, if you agree with this, and in view of so many contradictions, how prayers can still be heard.
Menace: You call yourself pious and still you do not understand. Listen with attention, I will explain this to you. Lafater and the author of Panacea are both correct, but we must understand them both properly. True faith does not pray about something until the spirit of the Omnipotent, who alone can accomplish the request, motivates the prayer in the person. The arbitrary, although well recited, and superficially blessed prayer are only heard when they are in agreement with the plans of Providence. And for this reason, all prayers must contain the condition, “If it be Your will.” Not Lafater, not the author of Panacea, will argue that the person can have a true faith of salvation and his prayer will still be heard; and that person still does not possess the miracle-creating faith, which however the true Christian can obtain and which he is allowed to seek after according to Sacred Scripture. And so it is now necessary to show you that there really exists a miracle-working faith. But how does it work in the prayers of the Christian? To explain this I will utilize your excellent narrative, Evsevi. We have already proven true that the one will of God is good, and that He alone knows what is beneficial for a person in regard to his salvation and perfection. Likewise we know that the human will is almost always unclean as a result of its restraint of the penetration into it of Providence and the continual rise in it of conceit, and this reason it is seldom in agreement with the will of God. So when a person of this character will request something, it will never be heard unless his desire is in accord with the will of God. The primary obligation of the Christian is to continuously and zealously strive for his will to little by little be completely conformed to the will of God. He must be completely satisfied that under these conditions Providence will assign him, having full faith and assurance, what is best for him in every situation. He must with all his strength strive to reside in the will of God and all that he should think, say or act would be in conformance with this. An inner continual prayer must be united with such vigilance, and which will consist of inward prayer for grace and strength with a persistent hunger, one acquired from the source of all strength, the suffering and death of Christ. Words cannot be applied here, but silence, an indescribable desire which turns us to the presence of God at every minute and during all our activities, one which encourages and strengthens us. This is the true prayer of God that is heard and that magnet which gradually draws the spirit toward eternity. When the Christian will be assured in this practice and fluent in it, then he will finally discover deep in his inner person something indescribable, complete, satisfying, which resides not in thoughts or imaginations, but in the inner essence of the soul, and from there it penetrates throughout all his intrinsic faculties. This supremely plain, pure strength often is not a feeling that can be sensed, because it is spiritual. You will not notice in yourself any superficial signs of this, and in your entire essence you will not feel anything except for a child-like calm and completely satisfactory tranquility and a complete commitment to the will of God. You will feel inside of you, within your essence, a condition in agreement with these words, “Even if I should die, I will hope on him.” And at this time, there is indubitable assurance that we of our own strength are unable to accomplish any good, however, we will find our self inclined to all goodness and all will be easy for you to accomplish. The divine love will penetrate your entire soul in such a manner that the person will be prepared to subject himself to even a child or the lowest person, and it will seem to him as if his entire nature is filled with the deity. This great, indescribable something is the Spirit of Jesus Christ, which permits them to receive Its rule in their soul in place of the sensual nature and self-will.
This condition of the Spirit is contrary to every dream just as light and darkness, because night dreams and daydreams reside in the imagination. They create for itself a form which draws a person toward immorality. This state of the Spirit defends a person from all dreams, because it repels from itself calmly and incessantly all enticing images of fantasy. It converts the person to accept all in a humble light, enlightened by the pure simple truth of the evangel, and not by haughty reasoning. He without any doubt recognizes the knowledge of Jesus Christ crucified and his path of life as the best. If this person loved the profound matters of certain branches of knowledge, and in his imagination, mind and memory gathers for himself many ideas and views, then this simple light will illuminate this wealth, and he will clearly and cleanly separate the true from the false, the good from the evil, and all of this becomes dirt or dust under his feet or like flowers along the road. He only utilizes them when they can serve as a utensil for love towards God or towards an associate, but his heart is not tied to it due to partiality. In order to ascertain and test all that is true and good, there is nothing better in all nature than the Bible. This great, unknown something turns the soul into the sole tangible source of all transcendent truths. I call the Spirit of Christ in the soul the obscure something because in all our existence and knowledge, nothing is to be found by which this call be made cognizant. This is imperceptibly none else than his sole residence in his heavenly action; of this we know nothing.
This Spirit lives in every true Christian and begins to act as soon as repentance and conversion is accomplished and the person is born anew unto a new life, but very few will find this in themselves because it resides in the depths of the soul or concentrated in the essence of the human spirit where the sensual qualities of a person seldom penetrate. And so, whoever cannot sense all that is here written should not then doubt that he was not prospered with this Spirit. Ascertain what type of spirit rules within you, the sensual from the world or this holy Spirit. Then you will quickly determine to whom you belong.
However, it is very good if you were to travel by this mystical path of sanctification and perfection that is described here. I said mystical, because the true mystic or mystical theology is nothing else but the science of inner revolution with God and constant journey in His presence. Of all authors who have written of this supreme and divine science, none can compare with the late Gerard Ger-Stegen. During these dark and difficult eras where doubt and unbelief make life difficult for those chosen, there is no more credible a patch toward sanctification and perfection other than true mysticism, because it is unfeigned and makes the gospel of Jesus Christ a tangible and experienced truth and discloses the source of heavenly comfort and which assists us to be able to endure all.
I must make at this point another comment before I explain my actual goal, that is, explain the miracle-working faith. From this time, we must not think that the true mystic Christian is found in constant contemplation or sensing this obscure something. Oh no! A multitude of foreign thoughts and notions rise against him and agitate him and interrupt constantly his soul viewing God, and he likewise becomes forgetful and his mind wanders daily, and then thoughts and images of fantasy likewise always arouse a spirit of lust which then draws the will toward the act of sin. Only after prolonged and long-term intensive exercise can he finally attain the high spiritual feeling of this blessed close proximity, but at various levels.
Now I have prepared your minds for the accurate understanding of the miracle-working faith. In the prospered soul, where the Spirit of Jesus Christ attains a high level of preeminence over the personal spirit, begins indescribable sighs by which the Spirit intercedes unto the Father on behalf of the soul, in which It lives. For some this is more perceptible, and so the prayer of the body’s will, or the prayer for selfish interest, will slowly desist, because it is not necessary in order to ignite the Spirit or motivate piety. In place of this the will of the soul unites with the above indescribable sighs crying incessantly regarding the grace of sanctification, regarding the increase of the strength of the holy Spirit regarding true love toward God and associate as a result of the merits of Christ.
When eternal love is beneficial, whether to strengthen faith or assure the doubtful or to accomplish something of magnitude for the glory of God and as a service for the benefit of humanity, this is all a miracle. But a miracle is only in the eyes of people because it is not a miracle in the eyes of God. Providence prepares for it in advance, just as is apparent in your article, Evsevi. To raise the faith of a pious person on-high, the preacher must explain namely the gospel story about the Canaanite woman and apply to her faith in such a manner as to touch the years of the listeners, in order for the faith of the sufferer to strengthen to such a degree so that he will be able to draw from the treasures of the gifts of divine source the healing power for his sick wife using the magic strength [of faith]. But what specifically was the will of God for this occasion was not known to the benevolent husband, and for this reason the Spirit of Jesus Christ initially assured him solely of this will, and so he received a certain credibility and the courage of faith spoke those words, which would have been out of place under different circumstances or at another time. In the actual text of the prayer, it is already apparent that the spirit of God placed it into his heart to recite, “Father, kindhearted father.” What he cried could only emanate from the Spirit which ordinarily appeals, “Abba Father.” To say, “I am yours and You are mine,” with assurance is a testimony that he has redeemed us through his blood to now become the possession of his heavenly Father, and no one can bestow this except for the spirit of the Redeemer. “I love you, You love me.” No one knows this except the spirit of true love. Prove that it is so. I do want my wife to regain her health immediately.” In no manner could he say this on his own, by only by the spirit of the omnipotent Creator and His son Jesus Christ.
“And my wife was healed at that moment.” This was irrefutable proof that the spirit of Jesus Christ prayed within this person and that this was no dream. O, this was a great and appropriate prayer for the true Christian, but very difficult and especially rare in our era. It would be desirable for contemporary Christians to zealously strive to attain the devotion of such faith, but by no means with the intention to create miracle using faith, because this would only be base sanctimonious boasting whose end results are horrible. They (miracles) are only to be done when Providence wills it. During these frightening times of unbelief the Lord will not at all cease to reveal himself in the manner as described in the narrative you recited regarding the answered prayer. He would reveal Himself if a commensurate faith was available. Do you notice that LaFater and the author of the Panacea were correct?
Evsevi: Yes, they were correct. But it is difficult, very difficult to speak according to ones own convictions, especially at the present time when the miracle working strength of faith is rejected and they even debate the history of Christ and his disciples, when they want at any cost to reject all direct divine influences on the moral and physical nature not having even the slightest knowledge of what the initial strengths are in both natures and by what laws they act. How many miracles are possible and how many are impossible? Or, how many miracles can be considered beneficial and useful? And we, worms of the soil, discern this!
Polycarp: All this is true. And this can also be proven true using philosophic rules accepted by the present day educated world. I want to offer you a problem, which I cannot in any manner resolve. The expanding institutions of mission work in England, Holland, and Germany, have as their goal the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ to alien tribes in the furthermost reaches of the world, but how can this be possible that enlightened and educated people and even clergy view those missionary institutions with hate in their eyes, ridicule and contempt, and even act maliciously toward them and interfere with their effort? If they were only indifferent, I’m sure we could find reason for this, but to hate and discredit, this is horrible! If they think that we are no longer children, and have somewhat matured, that we do not need the fundamental teaching of the religion of Christ -- Lord, forgive me this expression! -- but still the reliable instruction of adolescence, having nurtured and raised them, this would have led them to maturity and applied to them likewise, in order for them to also nurture the poor alien tribes. This they want not but instead persecute those who do. I cannot in any manner understand this.
Evfronim: The author of the book, “Life on the Rising Line,” writes, “How pleasant is the sound of the bell ringing for the departed one, who is capable of death.” The Deist wants not to hear it. Why is this?
Stilling: Once I read this passage to some free-thinkers. Out of spite they crawled out of their skin because the truth poked them right in the eyes. These contemporary Frenchmen likewise cannot tolerate the sound of the bell and for this reason only utilize a bell to sound an alarm.
Philomist: Would it not be proper to here also say what was recently said, that it would be better to not at all know Christ than to deal in a malicious manner against him?
Menace: Quite right! All of this pertains to one article, which I will name later, when I explain it in more detail. Our sages are quick to permit the introduction of every religious novelty among pagan cultures rather than the ancient Christian religion according to the teaching of Christ and his apostles. It seems they prefer the attraction of the imagination of the ancient Greek mythology rather than the gospels and New Testament. And this was implemented by a man, a university professor in Germany. They are not angry at the Hindus because they worship a cow; they forgive the Peruvians worshiping the sun; but as soon as worshiping Jesus is presented, then they just crawl out of their skin. Why is this? It is due to infernal hate, a diabolic hate toward Christ. For this reason, missionary institutions are unacceptable to them, because by way of them Christ acquires from himself new worshipers. So the sound of a bell annoys them because it gathers people for prayer and to worship Christ, and so they want not to hear about Christ because they envy his worship and prefer that people worship their intellect.
Policarp: Unfortunately, it is so. Here is the resolution to the problem: All of this evolves not from hate toward idol worship, but from hate toward Christ, which is proven by their veneration of Greek and Roman deities, whose history and ancient ruins they teach heartily, and they acquire great satisfaction as a result of it. But this hate toward Christ is an indecipherable attitude and it is impossible to understand how it can exist in human nature. Reviewing Christ under all circumstances and situations, in all of his words and activities, you will impartially find that he was the most beloved, virtuous, and irreproachable man that ever lived.
Menace: This is correct. In reality, hate toward Christ from the first glance is unexplainable but when more meticulously investigated, the reason becomes apparent. The supreme perfection and supreme bliss of all created existence, subsequently and the human, consists in unconditional dependence on God and unity with Him. Your will must be completely subjected to the will of God and which is the personal path of perfection and sanctification. Christ not only teaches this but is himself the very way and truth and life. Contrary to this, the basis of all evil and the reason for the infernal government consists in unrestrained independence from God and all higher entities. Wherever this basis exists, there they do not tolerate anything above themselves, and on the contrary want only to rule over everything themselves. This is the true spirit of the snake whose final weapon or final force is the uproot of Christianity and subsequently hate toward Christ. This is the surest indication by which a person can ascertain of what spirit he is. Individuality must hate Christ because he obstructs the path of its hungry ferocity and megalomania. This is the definition of the problem.
Stilling: Now permit me to propose something. One friend wrote to me that certain pious people are not vary satisfied with your explanations regarding the state of the soul after death, presented in the 4th book. You said that the departed souls are divided into 3 categories. 1. Those sanctified and justified by the Spirit of Christ, who at death are transferred to the valley of death, but remain there only a short while and then and soon transferred to the heavenly Kingdom. 2. Those who depart from here completely unrepentant, who are transferred to the valley of death and likewise do not remain there long, but soon are relocated to the infernal kingdom. 3. Those possessing much goodness and likewise much evil, and subsequently are in the middle of both one and the other. Regarding these you said that they in the valley of death must mature either to attain heaven or hell, and that there are the personal spirits which on occasion appear on earth. This final category is not liked by those good people who think that a Catholic purgatory is justified here and of which Sacred Scripture says not one word about.
Menace: These objections evolve from Christian convictions and they are reasonable, and for which I will reply to them in a satisfactory manner. The valley of death is a state in which the soul resides until the time it is capable of expression and cognizance is entirely renovated and brings to its mind all of its previous life. Then, the inner judge, the conscience, can assign the soul to its proper place. This occurs quickly with the souls of the first and second categories, because with them, either good or evil has already enveloped their person, and then this inclination of theirs draws them to reside among the others like them, just like gravity or a magnet. But with the souls of the 3rd category it is unlike this: their development is difficult and prolonged, and more or less because their life was entangled and their activities were in disarray. Nevertheless, the valley of death is not an external place of torment for them, much less a purgatory or a place of purification. On the contrary, it is a place of rest. In short, the valley of death is a totally empty place, a gloomy desert not having any activity with which the soul could evolve itself in order not to distract the soul from its attention to itself. The valley of death is a place of absolute silence. Among the many passages in Sacred Scripture that support my thesis there are 2 notable. The first is Rev. 6:9, where the souls under the throne must wait until their associates join them at the conclusion of the great battle. Although they endured the death for Christ and subsequently are blessed, these souls are still incapable of assuming heavenly citizenship because they yet ask for vengeance. Malice must be completely suppressed at this place of desolate silence.
The other passage is found in I Peter 3:19-20. Here it says, “by which also be went and preached to the spirits in prison who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built.” This passage to be literally interpreted definitely proves:
1. The existence of a valley of death or a purgatory of the decreased as a storehouse of the souls not yet matured neither for bliss nor for condemnation.
2. That souls can reside there for a rather long term, since the souls living at the time of the flood, although they were good, but not wanting to believe the warning of God spoken by Noah during the construction of the ark, resided there some 2300 years until the Redeemer preached his redemption.
3. That the soul of the Savior himself at this time, while his body laid in the sepulcher, passed through the valley of death, because it was likewise a human soul just as any other. However, we must not let enter our mind that it required any purgatory fire or purification.
To this I must also add that there can also occur isolated circumstances where the souls of the first and second classes can also appear to people, if they have some obligation to fulfill on earth, and having disregarded their assignment due to divine circumstances or having been motivated by the higher powers. This, beloved Stilling, is my reply to your proposition.
Every spirit that does not confess Jesus Christ come in the flesh is not of God, and is of the Antichrist. You heard that he is to come and is already in the world.
I John 4:3
They do not deny that 1800 years ago there lived a virtuous person who was called a Nazarean. But that he was Savior, Messiah, God and human in the same hypostasis, that he redeemed sinners though his suffering, this is accepted as the need arises, as poetic license and not as truth. As a result of this and in reality, the time of apostasy is come upon us. The final year of 18 centuries after the birth of Christ has arrived, we already see the awesome glow of the 19th century. The great day is coming, one incomparable since the beginning of the world, from the time the heavens began to preach the glory of God and the offspring of God rejoice together with them. On this day, we will everywhere see, wherever we turn and at every minute, the great acts of God, and we will say to fulfill Scripture, “Give us, give us Lord, eye salve, so we may clearly view your wonders. Provide a sense of pain to the eyes of the poor of Laodicea so they would desire healing and would ask light to be gifted them of you.” In truth, important is the time that arrives. Soon we will reach our goal and then it will be too late to beseech anymore.
I (Stilling) congratulate all of you with the conclusion of the century, you readers beloved to my heart and soul, and I ask forgiveness of all of you whom I have offended in some manner. This is not a complement, not a flower of sweet eloquence, but the true sensation of the heart. After reviewing the great upheaval of all things to precede the subsequent inscrutable important epoch, a person becomes so small and feeble, like a dried leaf of a tree blown by the wind. O creator of the world, reconcile our life, let us live in agreement and brotherly love as brothers and sisters, so that when you arrive, the Supreme, you do not find among us separations, Offspring! Hurry to unite in the unity of brotherhood; now is not the time to argue. Let us forgive one another from all our heart since the Lord has not yet arrived and because the time is near. May there disappear with the night our daily divisions and may agreement begin to glow with the arrival of the morning twilight and may Christ be all in all for us.
The more a person considers himself right, the less he is right, since we all sin and err considerably. Where the Spirit of Christ resides, that is, the holy Spirit, the comfort promised by him, there cannot exist division, but only consensus, love of God and humanity; there resides unity and freedom, and where we acquire the fruits of the holy Spirit, there He truly is. Even if a person who possesses Him should on occasion err, if his opinion is incorrect, but the Spirit will admonish him unto all truth. We cannot initiate this ourselves; we are only permitted to instruct and not to judge. If you should discover errors in my books, then forgive me; do not survey my opinion but survey my heart abandoned to the will of God. Do not blame Menace Eastern-Light in any item, since he is right and always right, although I may not understand him correctly or maybe express him poorly.
Even my friends note many shortcomings in my composition and expressions. I thank them for this and ask all my readers to admonish me where I err, and at the same time condescend to me and be tolerant and there are many items for me to resolve. I teach 8 branches of science divided into categories corresponding to the 2 [school] seasons. Summer: 1. Political economy. 2. Forestry. 3. Village economy. 4. Creating and directing factories. Winter: 1. Commercial Interests. 2. Politics. 3. Finance. 4. Publishing. These lectures consume 4 hours of my time every day, outside of the time I spend to prepare for them. Beyond this, much of my time is taken by the many who come to me with their eye problems. I do surgery for wall-eye on about 50 patients a year, and all the sick that come to me in a year are in the hundreds. I will not speak of other academic efforts which I direct as a result of my vocation. Further, my nerves have become weak and irritable from my many inner and public hardships and difficult spiritual work. My nerves require rest and quiet, which I cannot allot them. Finally, I have immense correspondence, which I however do not consider laborious; I dedicate 2 days in the week for it, every Wednesday and Saturday, and when possible, 2 hours on Sundays. Answering my correspondence consoles and strengthens and comforts me. I am not about to leave it, especially because I know it brings much benefit.
Based on this, it is easy for you, my beloved, to discern that it is impossible for me to think much about embellishing my writing, to make them smooth and to polish or lacquer them. Every word must be weighed on scales. Be satisfied with what you have and be condescending toward their flaws and errors. I will correct them to the extent my condition will permit me, if only my words and expressions possess genuine content, not being ambiguous or obscure. If you would only understand me, then forget about any sycophancy on my part and eloquent verbosity. Imagine the soldier in battle. Does he have time to inspect and think if every button is polished, or if his hair is properly combed? Does he have time to do this? Beloved brethren, I am in the identical situation. I write at odd moments, at various hours and minutes. Subsequently, you cannot expect from me anything of high quality. If searching for credit motivated me to do this, then I would not write what I do and in this manner. But I strongly and assuredly feel in my inner person my vocation as a spiritual writer and to utilize my talent to the benefit approaching Kingdom of God. Although this has caused me to endure much slander and sorrow and may even lead me to die for Christ and his truth.
I have an infantile reason to thank God for his blessing upon my book, Victory’s Narrative, and I do in deep humility. This [book] contains an explanation of the Revelation. I wanted to expand this book even more to interpret the Revelation of apostle John in these very pages, but the material I have gathered is so much that perhaps next summer, if God should permit, I will present all of this in a special book which will be a continuation of my Victory’s Narrative. I possess special important proofs of the accuracy of Bengel’s chronology, which I accept, and which is confirmed by the most accurate of astronomical observations, and all that I said in my Victory’s Narrative, will be confirmed with new proofs in my continuation.
Meanwhile, we will listen to the respectable Eastern-Light.
The 5 of us all gathered as usual, we awaited our Menace, but in his place arrived a messenger with a large and important letter from him. This I will share with my readers.
On this occasion this letter will take my place. I am unable to be in your presence because of many other matters. Humanity is in upheaval like a turbulent sea, but any successes comfort and encourage me. A movement is noticed among the bones in the field; the power of darkness grows but the power of the Spirit increases inwardly and externally. Missionary activities progress with great success. At the furthermost reach of Africa, at the Cape of Good Hope, peaceful evangelic preachers acquire open doors among the Namibians and other wild tribes. They invite [missionaries] into their lands and request instruction in the Christian faith. Good God! Among the Christians, the heavenly truth of Jesus as Christ is suppressed and driven away as far as possible, as though an outdated or ancient teaching, while these wild barbarian tribes accept it with reverence. As it occurred in the past with Jesus, so is it today with Christians, except with the following difference. Jews considered the word of God as their foundation; they held firmly to the law of Moses and observe it steadfastly even to the present, regardless of misfortune that may befall them. This fidelity and adherence to God and the law of their fathers will quickly and undoubtedly route blessing upon this wayward son, even though mixed with superstition and their obstinacy. While Christians, on the contrary began to reject every revelation of religion, and even those who did accept it want to subject it to the discernment of reason and philosophy, so it no longer exists as a Divine religion. This exaltation and demand for superiority of reason over God and his wisdom is an attribute of the adversary, or the Antichrist. All that Providence sends for the salvation of the Christian, all the legislation of the finger of God, and all testimony to the truth, will not be of any advantage to these people.
The greatest of philosophers of our era, Kant and Fiche, proved with mathematical accuracy that the mind, within the confines of the visible bodily world, cannot of its own personal strength discover any type of truth. Paul [Apostle] confirmed this indisputable truth, saying, “The natural man, himself depending on his own reason, knows nothing about spiritual supernatural affairs.” Kant’s critique “Pure Reason,” very clearly proves that no thinking person can dispute this in any manner. And Fiche, who also progressed along the same path, equally irrefutably states that reason in the most abstract, personally knows nothing at all except for itself, its own existence. God or any other entity exists outside the soul of a person. Even with all that the person must have learned in the progress of almost 6,000 years in order to finally learn, he knows nothing at all without divine revelation. Philosophy has nowhere and never yet reached this level, even from the beginning of the world, and it is very noticeable that people have attained this level at the very time when the Prince of Darkness is gathering all of his strength in order to strike the final blow upon the Christian religion which he persecuted violently from the time of his initial poisonous wound in the heel and to the present.
Everyone one of a mediocre intellect must, out of this important and significant event which philosophy presents to us, conclude that this final and most important result of all the investigations and research which Kant and Fiche undertook, should it seems, without failure return the human spirit to the true source of all truth, to the Holy Scripture and to Christ. There are no pretenses for this not to occur, however in reality it is not so. The spirit of our era has banished from the circle of our knowledge all positive truths of religion and faith, and in their place has introduced a moral rule or law, which he says, enlightens the entire circle of knowledge day and night, not discerning that this moral rule or law in the soul of a person is the type of planet which, not absorbing light from the spiritual sun becomes a dangerous and wandering star leading them to their destruction. Independence from every higher authority, even from God and Christ, is their goal, which the spirit of the era strives to reach while laying a path for the beast from the abyss. The trumpet of the Lord blares to all of Christianity, stating, “Faithful venerators of Christ, all, all whoever you are. Be vigilant, struggle and fight for the great goal of perfection. Be vigilant and pray constantly and zealously. And every person who feels even a little strength in themselves, and motivation and the summons of the Lord, help to save souls and wherever you can. Behold, this is the 11th hour when the last of the workers are sent by the Lord to his garden.”
To this I must append one very important admonishment absolutely necessary in our era. The many notes I took during my travels lead me in this direction. Every person who thinks of himself in the manner that he possesses strength, authority and the summons for guidance of souls, is still not yet actually summoned for this. Moses said to the Lord who appeared to him at the burning bush, “I am not eloquent, and I have a poor voice and am tongue-tied. I beseech you Lord, select some other person to send.” and Jeremiah out of fear rejected the important responsibility of being prophet to the nations and said, “O, Lord God, I do not know how to speak, since I am a youth.” Only such feelings make a person a great preacher and witness to the truth of Christ, as he is sent in that state where strength, force and vocation will struggle with the feelings of his weakness. On the contrary, however, are all those who speak before a congregation of excited souls and the words smoothly flows off their tongue; they like to be preachers or writers of the Lord and who sense in themselves something secretive, something they can barely notice themselves, a gratification within themselves when they are complemented for something original. Investigate yourselves well, you men among the excited people who acquire this authority to be preceptors and leaders. Test yourselves: are you indifferent toward those who are more influential than yourselves? Are you indifferent when they try to prove to you that in other Christian communities reside more true meaning of Christian Truth [than yours]? Are you indifferent when others bring to your attention errors in your manner of teaching, or even prove to you that you have not nearly succeeded as you think you have? I say: Test yourselves meticulously, impartially. Isn’t there a secret disdain that then surfaces in you and which is veiled under a curtain of holiness and assures you of your imaginary zeal in the truth? Do not believe this Satan which transforms itself into an angel of light. It is more often than a spiritual pride, which resulted in the expulsion of Lucifer and then our father Adam. Although not always, but quite often, the departure from regular church attendance under the pretext of a better way of passing the time serves as a reliable indication of this spiritual pride. More concisely said, even if the preacher himself is not yet Christian, even if he does not mention the truths of the faith, but if he does not preach against them and if he should present even one simple moral lesson in his instruction, then the Christian must then attend church diligently, and there with all the other parishioners pray in unity, take communion and glorify God. For as long as they preach, sing, and pray what is true, the Christian cannot sever himself from the church he is a member of.
Not long ago one dignified and successful Christian preacher complained to me that in his parish one person is leading away from the church motivated people hungry for the salvation of their soul. He has inaugurated another special assembly at his own home apart [from the church], and as a result of this, these sincere people are perplexed and are being led into delusion. I asked him, if he has shown any evidence in some situation to indicate in his own conduct some doubt or relaxation, or perhaps indicated this in some sermon. He assured me that this has never entered his mind, and that on the contrary he would be happy if spirit and life were to develop and the entire assembly of the Lord would prophesy, but only if this would not interfere with his guidance of souls, since he was ordained as a teacher by God, and preaches the gospel of Jesus Christ purely and unadulterated, zealously striving to conform his own life to this image. I comforted this good person and advised him to observe humility and patience. Then I went to this other leader of souls whom I heard about to question him and whether I could route him through this exam to determine the correctness of his conduct. I found him involved in studying the popular and excellent book, Path of Truth, by the blessed Gerard Ger-Stegen. I said to him, “Beloved brother, I come to you to tell you that you are sorely offending the pastor by having people attend your assemblies, turning them away from attending church.”
He: Father Eastern-Light, forgive me. This pastor does not adequately teach the inner true Christianity. He always teaches the Christ outside of us, but about the Christ in us you will hear little.
I: But do you know, beloved brother, that whoever seeks Christ within himself, not having found him outside himself, will never find him, but in place of this will fall into the stoic piety of the Hindi fakirs. Upon them can be applied the awesome but right sentence stated by Christ in Matt 7:21-23.
He: Excuse me, my father. If someone always only preaches about faith in Christ and about his completed services, and does not lead to the inner divine life, then a total Christianity will not evolve from this.
I: But who always repeats over and over about the inner life and walking in the presence of God not yet having firmly recognized the indescribably massive depravity of the soul and not keeping this constantly before ones eyes, he is a haughty Sadducee, repeating over the over, “Lord, Lord” as they wonder along the hedges of the city of God. Luke 14:23. The Lord will not permit these to enter his feast, because it is the blind and crippled who are assembled for it and who are unable to tolerate the sacrilege. But whoever strongly feels that their great sinfulness is indescribable, but does not seek any place nor finds rest and bliss for their soul, except only in Christ - and outside of us - in his reconciling death, and walks before the Lord as a destitute sinner, as a person by nature attached only to himself, but then at this point developing intentions to firmly and without excuse desire only the will of God, and so, reviewing his own unspeakable indignity and in profound humility, and allows himself to be utilized for the praise of Christ being for us all in all, and then with all his soul will walk in the presence of the crucified savior and reside inwardly converted to him, to be vigilant and pray always seeing God in Christ as the personification of reconciliation - I say whoever is completely and with all his soul thus aligned will eat and drink salvation with the hungry publicans and sinners. Such a person will accept in love Mary Magdalene. Such a person will not condemn the adulterous woman, but will write her condemnation with his finger in the sand in the presence of others, which will soon be erased. John 8. Most of all, he will not condemn such a person as a humble preacher who is faithfully and sincerely attending to his obligation, who was called to this vocation as teacher by God and by the local authorities. Meanwhile, you must also prove if it is the will of God for you to teach others, and I do not speak about superficial authority.
Bewilderment and negation overwhelmed the soul of this person. He was unable to refute this vision of the truth. He was silent a long while and finally said, “I feel however that who receives from God a talent must utilize it for the advantage of His Kingdom.”
I: Sure enough! But note and learn that all of His created entities must through prolonged and difficult trials and suffering be purified as silver in a furnace within the innermost hidden and profound location in order that no slag remain after. But what pertains to the present era especially is that he cannot serve as a blessed instrument in the garden of the Lord. Meanwhile, this person himself cannot know the time to act, but must wait until he receives indubitable assurance that his time has arrived.
He: Permit me to say, few preachers have such a testimony to this vocation.
I: Is it proper for you to judge this matter? Your concern is to investigate whether you have testimony for your vocation. The rank of the priest has not only the one goal of bringing people to true Christianity, but this also, to preserve civil obedience and good public welfare. And so when a person in an orderly manner is installed in this position by the [civil] authority, and is assigned the teacher’s role, his participation is also in this external goal. Although he is not to be spared the judgment of God for negligence of the former, his rank, his person and vocation deserve the respect that pertains to his position. And so a Christian can desire for people to improve, he can participate in improving the lives of others, but not independent of the external order and he must not act contrary to that rule established by the ordained teacher of the people.
With this I left this good person, placing these sparks in his heart. We will see if they ignite.
During my journeys throughout Germany I noticed yet another important error that is an obstacle to the success of the sanctification and assembly in one flock of the scattered offspring of God to their sole leader Jesus Christ and which violates the unity of the Spirit, although day to day it would seem to be unavoidable. This important error consists in the imitation of the instructor by his slave. There are various congregations of motivated souls where the people, not cognizant and not suspicious of this, more strongly attack themselves to the person who is gifted of God with capabilities but utilizes them for their motivation rather than for Christ himself: they very willingly read the books of their leader rather than the Bible and in every manner conform to his example. Out of this evolves the following, they develop less respect for other congregations, those which do not read his books, and in this manner, selfishness, self-gratification and pharisaism enter stealthily into their hearts. But they do not suspect this because they are more involved in the affairs of others than in their own. Not long ago I found a person who was not satisfied with you, beloved Stilling, because you in your Victory’s Narrative recognized the Brethren Church as the wife clothed in the sun. In every way I could I tried to convince him to glance inside his own heart with an impartial eye and to ask himself whether he still would be dissatisfied if Stilling was to recognize the church he associated with as the wife clothed in the sun? Where the fruits of the spirit of Jesus Christ clearly reign: love, joy, peace, patience, kindheartedness, goodness, faith, meekness, and prudence, there also resides Christ, and there also is his Kingdom. Let him drive himself to the village Herrnhut and see for himself, then he will be himself confirmed in this truth.
On another topic, my thoughts on hell and the residence of souls there after death have caused much upheaval. In churches sermons were given opposing my opinions. This motivated one friend of mine to request a more detailed explanation of this matter, which I provide in the following form.
“Beloved brother,” I told him, “First you must not regard this as a dogma of faith, but only as an opinion explaining certain indisputable appearances of the dead along with various dubious passages of Sacred Scripture. However this opinion is not harmful in the least and is advantageous and does not serve as an obstacle to holiness and it seems that the forefathers themselves and prophets of the Old and apostles of the New Testaments believed in this manner. To assure yourself in this, note the following. This residence of souls after death is called in Hebrew sheol, while in Greek as hades. Since in the Roman Catholic Church there were various delusions regarding opinions on purgatory, then Protestant theologies strove to obscure all in the Bible that in one way or another would confirm this interpretation. And for this reason, they arbitrarily translated the words sheol and adis, sometimes as hades and sometimes as grave. But I will prove to you that both one and the other is incorrect. It is always best to hold to the mean because only there will we find truth.
“The ancient Hebrews, when referring to the actual grave where the body of the deceased was placed, always utilized the word keber, and not sheol. The Septuagint translated keber as grave, and not as hades, as the name the Greeks used to pertain to the place of the souls of dead people. Look in the Bible at all the places where it speaks of an actual grave, namely, Gen 23, Ex 14:11, Num 11:34, Job 21;32, Ps 5:10., Jer 8:1, 26:23, Eze 32:23. You will always find in the Hebrew the word keber and not Sheol, and in Greek not adis, but mnimeiuon or mnime or mafi. Now compare again those places of the Old Testament where the Hebrew word sheol and Greek adis is utilized, then you will see that the ancients understood through this nothing other than the grave which contained the dead body. For example, Is 5:14: And hell will open wide to its soul. Pr. Solomon 27:20: Hell and ruin are not to be satisfied. Job 11:8: The heights of heaven; what can you create? Deeper than what exists in sheol, what do you know? These passages obviously indicate that the ancient forefathers and Israelites considered sheol, hades, an expansive open desolation in the nether regions of the earth. Just as heaven is the very highest, so hades is the nether region of all creation. How can this be altered to grave or cemetery? This is the point to be made by apostle Paul when speaking about Christ in Eph 4:9, he says, “He descended first into the furthermost reaches of the earth,” where, according to Verse 8, he “took captivity captive” and according to I Peter 3:19-20, “He preached to the spirits in prison from the time of Noah.” and in I Peter 4:6, “Preached to the dead.” This confirms the words of Ps 15:10, “You will not leave my soul in hell, or allow your holy one to see decay.” Since Peter in Acts 2:27, states that here David prophesized about Christ, making it clear that the soul of Christ, similar to other souls, after death descended into the hades, while his body laid in the grave. He knew assuredly that his soul would not remain in hell or his body in the grave. Finally, I will mention yet another significant passage pertaining to this. In the Hebrew of Job 26:5 is started, “The shades (refaim) are tormented by anguish, under the waters and those living with them. Hades (sheol) is naked in their presence and there is nothing to cover the nakedness.” Here as the shades is certainly understood famous people who lived before the flood, which are referred to in Gen. 4:4, and who perished from the water with the others alive at the time, all of whom migrated to sheol, or hades, where they later with their present and new neighbors awaited their unknown future, which became a torment and anguish for them wondering what will occur, and which they finally learned after 2317 years of painful expectation when Christ announced to them eternal redemption.
“It is clear from various passages in the Bible that the ancient true worshipers of God understood the word hades as a sorrowful place in an large expensive dark desolation within the earth, and so perhaps they united this with the thought of the punishment of certain types of people after the conclusion of their life. That the earth actually contains inside of itself a very vast empty expanse which extends over 1,500 miles in diameter is overwhelmingly proven by the action of rotation at the axis and equator. Based on this accurate proof we have the basis to conclude that from the center of this sorrowful dissolution, which is hades, a shallow glowing light must evolve from its periphery. Perhaps here is the awesome place of punishment to manifest after the resurrection of the death, which Sacred Scripture portrays in horrible terms. Perhaps this is also the place where the fallen angels were exiled.
“Another name was then later acquired to pertain to the place of eternal torment. The Greek Christians named it gehenna. To understand the evolution of the word gehenna, we must know the following: On the south side of Mount Zion and city Jerusalem is a deep, steep and rocky thicket mentioned in the book of Joshua 15:8, called the valley of the son of Hinnon, from which evolved the word gehenna. The manner that this valley or thicket began to signify hades is resolved for us by the Bible and history in the following manner: on Mount Zion, on the other side, in ancient times was located the Jebusite city which was also named Salem, and in later eras, Jerusalem. Josh 18:28. Mount Zion, which was a strong fortress, is where the Jebusites lived to the time of David, who subjected them and built his capital there. These Jebusites, similar to the other residents of Canaan, where abominable idolaters and among them was a horrible similarity, namely, that when parents wanted to bring good fortune to their family, then they burned one of their children to Moloch, and this occurred in the following manner. At some isolated placed they erected a high stage similar to a scaffold. Here, they placed an idol of large proportions having the head of a bull, made of brass but hollow. This statue was fabricated with its hands in the same position as a person would hold a baby. Others had a capacity in the chest into which they placed an animal or even children. Then they would ignite a fire under the lower part of the statue until it became red-hot and the sacrifice had turned into ashes. In order that those present, and especially the mothers, would not hear the cry of the children on fire, they incessantly beat tambourines. For this reason, this place became known as Tofet, meaning, place of drums. Obviously, there was no more terrible a place than Tofet; one reflection of the place caused fear and trembling.
“This place of sacrifice offering to Moloch, Tofet, was located near Jerusalem in the thicket of Ennom, or in Hebrew, Gehenna. And it is easy to surmise that during the apostasy of the Israelites and their subsequent adherence to idolatry, they as a result of their close proximity visited Tofet. For the God-fearing Jews the place was horrifying and repulsive. We find this proof in the prophet Isaiah 30:33, where he discloses to the King of Assyria the following sentence: For Tofet has long been prepared; yes for Moloch it is made ready, its pyre made deep and wise, with fire and wood in abundance, the anger of the Lord like brimstone ignites it. Based on this it is obvious that the prophet announces to the king of Assyria his horrifying and shameful demise. He must perish with his entire army as through he was himself brought as a sacrifice to Moloch. The believing and God-fearing Israelites could not describe it in more horrifying or reproachful terms, and his demise was even more shameful because the pious king Josiah did not destroy Tofet, but turned it into a flaying-house, where every sort of carcass and carrion was disposed of. In order to suppress the odor of decay a fire was kept burning all the while. 2 King 23:10. “And he defied Tofet, which is in the valley of the sons of Hinnom, that no one would burn his son or daughter as an offering to Moloch.” Josiah had a special reason for taking such an action, because one of his brothers was offered as a sacrifice there. 2 King 21:6. Out of all this evolved the name of the place of punishment of the evil after their death, in Hebrew ge-hennon, while the Greek Christians expressed this word as gehenna. Based on this, we see that the portrayal of such a place for the dead, where both the souls of the pious as well as those of the wicked were to reside, is based on Sacred Scripture. The use of this word does not refer to a place of eternal torment. Nevertheless, the humble Christian soul has nothing to fear with hades, because our glorious Redeemer has the keys for it. Rev 1:18. But this passage namely speaks about hades, and not gehenna, which on the contrary is referred to in Mark 9:43-48, and Matt 5:29-30, 18:8-9, that it is better to enter into life without a hand than with both hands to be thrown into gehenna, where, according to the words of Isaiah 66:24, the worm does not die and the fire is not extinguished.”
After this, my friend further questioned me, “Should we pray for the dead?” In response I replied, “When the Christian attains the level where the spirit of Christ continuously resides and acts on him, when the prayer in him will be this spirit speaking using inscrutable sighs in his soul, as a result of which his heart indicates a complete dedication to the will of God, and when he is no longer dependent on the human will and condition as to how or for what or for whom to pray, For we do not know how to properly pray, but the spirit itself intercedes on our behalf with inscrutable sighs. Rom 8:26. Who follows this motivation will always have his prayer heard.”
The fall of Christianity and apostasy from its all-holy founder reaches far. It may be hard to believe, however it is so, that it has become a fashion to mention at the office the name of the Redeemer with little respect as the famous founder of some sect. Other than simple morality they teach nothing else and preach nothing, and think that if only people will recognize this morality according to reason, then neither the Bible nor the Redeemer is necessary. This form of thinking has directed away from the path many young well intentioned preachers, who, soaring between heaven and earth, did not know themselves what to grasp on to. One of these complained to me because of the state he was in, saying, “The new mode of interpreting the Bible has totally thrown me off track. Soon, I will not know what to think about the Bible, if it is the word of God, as it is literally, then I find much that disagrees with this thinking. If it only contains only a few divine revelations, then again I am unable to differentiate the divine from the human, in order to decipher what in it is divine and what is human. Finally, it must be indisputably divine and must contain much that is in disagreement with sound human intelligence. How am I to resolve this?
I: That which you call sound intelligence is actually the sickness of prejudice. Read the book by Keppen, “The Bible as the Work of the Wisdom of God.” There you will unearth sound intelligence. This book is the most important of all those written on religion and only that person who does not possess sound intelligence will read it without any benefit. Philosophy has already determined that reason in supernatural matter knows nothing on its own, but everywhere incurs contradictions, and as a result of this it is necessary to absorb knowledge regarding the future and spiritual significance of the human from divine revelation, that is, the Bible. Otherwise how can the Bible be interpreted using reason? Can a village school student give an examination to a university professor? What gaul! What arrogance! The obscure sections of the Bible must be explained using the Bible itself, that is, by utilizing other passages that are found in it. Any other interpretation will be arbitrary or completely false. Do read the book by Keepen mentioned above.
But complete assurance that the entire Bible evolved from a higher divine identity and of its merit as the reliable revelation of God to humanity, a person will not acquire from just study, but will from that Spirit which gave [the Bible] to humanity.
He: But how am I to receive this Spirit?
Menace: You are a teacher in Israel and you do not know this. The true path of unity with God and acquisition of the holy Spirit is the following: First required is to firmly and soundly decide to become that for which you were created, namely, to become perfect just as your Father in heaven is perfect. Now you will begin with continuously meditation about God, and during this walk in His presence, meditate about nothing else except on that which is holy and benevolent. In the beginning, this exercise will seem difficult, and the person forgets every minute, and on occasion even for hours, however, you must not become exhausted, but return again and continually. This which is called the walk before God and vigilance over yourself is even based on philosophic reason, for every honest person is obligated to beware of sins and vices as much as he can, and as all violations begin initially in the mind, then it is quite natural that escaping them will only occur when you take control over your mind and when you suppress every lust that arises right at its onset. With the help of such control over yourself, the person will gradually notice within himself much that is vile and depraved. This will arouse a desire in him to be delivered from such destitution, and then he will begin with vigilance to be united with the inner prayer of the soul. As the exercise continues, moral feeling and conscience will become slowly more tender and vivid, and then the punishing grace will begin its work in the human soul. This is the activity of the holy Spirit, by which the draw of the Father to the Son is accomplished, and here continuously a clearer understanding of the inscrutably secret profound sinful human heart is acquired. Meanwhile, a person is firmly being assured that in actuality he does not possess the necessary strength to deliver himself from sin and toward control of his own desires., Here, the soul remains for some length of time immersed in the greatest of destitution and bewilderment. From the one side, its sinful nature is an abomination unto it and which it cannot tolerate. On the other side, it is shackled to it hand and foot and cannot free itself on its own. Then it is necessary to run with all your heart to the crucified Savior, and here all philosophizing will fall by the wayside. Here he will not proceed to rationalize and mediate as to how to conciliate the matter of salvation with sound reason. Oh! How comforting is it to then know that salvation is yet available to us, which a person then grabs onto with both hands and finds there is consolation. Now, the matter of rebirth has begun. The person on his own recognizes himself as a sinner, subject to a verdict and condemnation, and this preserves within him a true humility directed towards a constant effort. Along with this he begins to acquire a higher strength for goodness and can clearly distinguish that these strengths are located not in his nature but evolve in an unfathomable manner from his soul. Now, the holy Spirit indivisibly uniting with the human soul now perfected by the suffering and death of Christ has now created for himself a residence in the essence of the new-born Christian, which he must diligently preserve and so not extinguish this Spirit. But now a dangerous confrontation is ahead, the rock over which many stumble. Thinking that they have already reached their goal, they leave behind this strict vigilance over themselves and prayer and are carried away by the dawn of the light. As a result of this, the Spirit awakened in them again hides and its place is replaced by Pharisaic pride, his concentration on natural deterioration vanishes, and a person considers himself prosperous once he no longer sees any more in himself the previous sins which enveloped him, and not noticing that in their place spirits even more evil have taken residence in his heart, among whom spiritual pride is chief and commander. But if this reborn sinner continues his prolonged struggle with these distractions and having constant relationship with God will take control over his thoughts and feelings, then he will become in his own personal eyes more unworthy: Christ will be for him and God will be all in all in Christ. The person will gradually become lesser while God in Christ will become the greater. Ambition will weaken as time progresses and will finally convert into complete love toward God. Then, the person can say; “I live, but it is not I who live but Christ lives in me.” In this manner, the Christian to whom grace was abundantly provided feels in himself the unknown and indefinable something, which no pen can describe and no language can explain. It is not a sensation, but its migration into the soul can be sensed. It appears in the most inner recesses of the soul, and does not have any direct similarity with any sensation, nor with any idea. This indefinable something is the herald of the near presence of the Inscrutable, in whose light we see the true light. It is the peace of God transcending every intellect; and such a person does not verbosely reiterate the truth of Christ and the Bible, but feels in himself the entire truth, just as daytime senses the activity of the sun. In short, he is in state of communion with bliss.
He: Oh beloved. Is this not just some daydream? Is this not a chimera?
I: That is just a trick you always use. If you are unable to provide a response, then you just label it a dream, daydream, chimera. And exactly what in your opinion is a chimera?
He: It is when a natural activity is considered supernatural.
I: And so this is not a dream but superstition. When natural events have a basis in the essence of the soul of a person and then is considered supernatural or inspirational, this is to be called a dream or daydream?
He: True, this explanation is more definitive.
I: But what type of daydreams are these when a person is on exceptional guard of his imaginations and does not allow even one not based on a moral sense or conscience?
He: This of course is not a daydream, but that unknown something of which you spoke and by which the truth of religion and the Bible must be proven to the point it is completely obvious.
I: Do not forget that daydreams or dreams always have an imagination of something as their basis. But this unknown something is not an imagination of something and does not create one, but is a tranquil blessed sensation bringing the soul to a state free from prejudice, and establishing with complete clarity the truth already accepted. This something does not disclose anything [new] but only confirms what was already disclosed to a sound human mind and heart.
The pastor at this point became silent. May God grant that he absorb my words and follow my admonishment.
In Alsace I discovered a great catastrophe, almost nobody there was being taught theology, which is also natural when nobody thinks about religion. The parishioners themselves hire a preacher, acquiring some type of young blabber-box who mutters to them something and they are satisfied with it. But when he starts to bore them then they relieve him of his position and hire another who is less expensive. There is no spiritual authority there which would superintend the order and instruction. They do not even think about having a school, and so 2,000 young people cannot either read or write. Their base set of morals, their audacity and unrestrained conduct is expanding immensely, such that France, and even though it has concluded a peace, has quickly again become a very dangerous neighbor unless the kind heart of God intervenes. Imagine for yourself an entire nation where the most depraved luxury reigns, with the most bestial of barbarity and the most suppressed enlightenment, and based on this you will conclude what the consequences will be having such a neighbor and our involvement with such a nation. There is no reason to think anymore about honor, rectitude and fidelity, we must never release the sword from our hands if want to live in peace and safety.
It would be proper to send missionaries to France to convert them in order to save from the fire the smoldering fire-brand, those that can yet be saved in order to communicate truth to those eager to receive it. But the primary condition that must be established with these missionaries is for them not to meddle in the least in political matters, and to establish as their primary rule subjection to the governing authorities faithfully and sincerely. The Lord still has many who revere Him in France, but they wander arbitrarily through a labyrinth of sophism, and because they do not possess guides that would promote gospel so they could become a great benefit for these who revere Christ.
It is likewise difficult to access Switzerland, but there the number of true Christians is larger and for the benevolent heart it is surprising to see with what tranquility these faithful confessors of Christ bend their necks under those who inflict them with beatings and the loyalty they have as they await the conclusion of their fate.
Along the lower Rhine everywhere is apparent the destitute condition of the residents. In Neivid the Herrnhut church has lost much. It presiding minister, the pious preacher Grigori, left to travel to Astrakhan in order to accept his former position in Sarepta. May the Lord grant him success and bless him. In Mulgeim-on-the-Rhone and in general in the Besgsk duchy there are also many motivated and successful souls. True Christianity is very important there and many preachers promote it. In Holland, there are many thousands who serve God according to the true sense of the Bible. The priests there at present are still in a better condition than those in Switzerland. They calmly take advantage of their wages. The local missionary society is very active here. The news we receive from the Cape of Good Hope is delightful.
In Bremen something new is beginning which the Lord will surely bless. There, they have intentions to found a school or theological seminary, the type which I proposed in Book IV of Menace. Bremen is actually the best place for this. In general in this flourishing commercial city there reigns a spirit of rectitude and piety. There are many educated men and pastors there who preach an unadulterated gospel teaching according to the old style, and they do not have need to hire teachers for such a seminary from other places. The famous doctor Evald, the pastor of the local Stephanov church, will begin this spring to publish a monthly magazine for Christians of all churches and every denomination, which will be published by our friend Rav in Nuremberg. It is desirable that this magazine would find more readers, because it contains worthwhile material and which only pertains to the Kingdom of God. In one of these magazines the plan for this theological seminary will be advertised.
In northern Germany, I discovered one young person who was very fond of knowledge, and who from a young age loved virtue and piety, accustomed to this by the goodness of their parents. But having a passion for learning general history and natural history, he became well read in the type of authors who diligently strive in a clandestine manner to undermine Biblical history and to make doubtful its importance and worth and to even turn in into a joke. I advised him to read an important book worthy of notice which the preacher Letzin in Hanover translated from the English, and namely, “A History of the World and the Human Race according to the account in the Bible compared with Cosmology, Chronology and the Traditions of Ancient Nations,” authored by Philip Govard. Stability and scholarship are united with a love for the truth in this book. But there is only one mistake in it, that in the chronology from the flood to the birth of Abraham time is added as opposed to the Hebrew Bible. Now meditating on this, I feel it would be better for him to have read Keppen, who conclusively demonstrated the divine inspiration of the chronology.
This young person applied to a great extent my advice to his advantage and was overjoyed that this doubt in his mind was finally vanquished, and which made me even twice as beloved by him. He also asked me what I thought about drawing lots. Should the Christian apply these means in doubtful situations?
I replied to his question saying that drawing lots from the side of the petitioner requires such a careful and sincere attitude that I am quickly led to reply rejecting the measure rather than approving it. But because an example of this is found in Sacred Scripture, for a reply approving the measure I find it necessary to propose the following conditions.
1. Whoever wants to know the will of God by means of drawing lots must already and completely possess no will of his own, and must firmly decide to follow the results, so that there would not, as a result of it, occur a rejection of the response indicated by drawing lots leading to a clear disobedience of the will of God from the side of the petitioner indicating a lack of a reason for the request in the first place.
2. Recourse to drawing lots should only be utilized in extreme circumstances, where a person does not know how to resolve a matter and if the soul or body will be placed in danger if a decision is not made.
3. If there is a manner of resolving the matter using other means, through reason or through Sacred Scripture or through counsel with a trustworthy friend, then drawing lots is not permitted and it is best to wait until the final minute.
4. It is best in executing drawing lots to make 3 small paper rolls, writing on one, Yes; on another, No; and to leave the 3rd blank, in order that Providence would be pleased to condescend to answer through drawing lots, indicating through the 3rd lot that it is not His will to reply to you, but that you should wait.
But I will repeat what I said above this; it is very dangerous to draw lots for some ordinary reason and it can turn into sorcery if it falls into the wrong hands.
I continued my journey through southern Germany to Herrnhut, where I arrived on Christmas Eve. This holiday I saw there celebrants with motivated sensations for other Christians. Many famous persons and thousands of people were present for it and I noticed the deep impression that this holiday made upon them remembering this joyous event of the incarnation of the Savior. May God grant this seed to grow into a large tree. At this time, I must recommend to you a beautiful composition by one of the member of Herrnhut, Risler, “Excerpts from the History of the Old Testament of the Bible.” Likewise, I.G. Shener, a deacon of the church of St. Lawrence in Nuremberg, “Teaching of Bible History for Children and other Lovers of Truth from the Simple People.” Both of these books are worth you exerting the effort to acquire many readers.
In lower Saxony, a certain person asked me why I believe in the existence of angels and devils.
I: And you don’t believe?
I: You do not believe that the Bible is the word of God?
He: I believe that the Bible is the word of God, but what it narrates about angels and devils is only an eastern allegory.
I: And if this is so, then all the individuals in the Bible and its entire history can also be accepted as allegory. But tell me, why is that the existence of angels and devils is so unbelievable?
He: On deliberating about the devil, I think that it was inappropriate for God to create such an evil entity, and it is even more inappropriate to permit him to have an influence over humanity. And that which pertains to angels, I do not know what the goal of God was utilizing angels as emissaries to persons for them to become acquainted with people.
I: You must be a great sage since you know for sure what is appropriate for God and inappropriate, what conforms with His goal and what does not. But it seems it is inappropriate for God to tolerate extremely evil entities in the spiritual Kingdom when He tolerates such great criminals and terrifying monsters among humans. If it is inappropriate for God to tolerate spiritual devils, then it is equally inappropriate for him to tolerate bodily [devils]. And when God permits bodily devils to have an effect on humans, then there is likewise nothing contrary for Him to permit spiritual devils to have an effect on them. The Bible clearly says that they actually do have an effect [on people]. But do you know what the most reliable and irrefutable demonstration is of the existence of Satan and his kingdom and also of the continuation of his effect?
He: If I was aware of such proof, it would not be confirmed by anything I would say. But I would like to hear your demonstration.
I: Watch then. Take into consideration that Christ and his apostles did not use metaphors regarding the existence of Satan and his angels and their activities, but testified to it very clearly and directly. Take into consideration that the entire pagan and Christian world, as in antiquity and so in the present does accept and believe in the distance and activity of evil spirits. Take into consideration that no reason of any type, and even the most educated and enlightened person can deny their existence and activity. In short, people can be found who not only do not believe in the existence of Satan and his activity among persons, but even laugh at the concept and also become angry at those who assert it, disregarding all the historical evidence and experiences. This is the greatest demonstration of the existence and activity of the father of lies: It is because he has led people to no longer believe in his existence, or at least not to believe that he has any effect on people. They no longer oppose him when they do not believe that he really exists.
My opinion interrogator initially began to laugh, then he become angry, silent and walked off.
I must also say this to you. The honorable chief justice Shirnding in Laizeitz, concerned about the spread of the Kingdom of God and especially about assistance for missionaries wants to establish in the West Indies a school where Christians among the Negroes would be taught to become preachers for their fatherland, Africa. The plan is very intelligent which the Lord will definitely bless. He purchased many Christian books, translated them into Asiatic languages and strives to distribute them throughout northern and southern Asia among the idolaters, Mohammedans and Christians. May God grant growth to this seed. With stability and wisdom he is very active on behalf of the Kingdom of God in Germany, and here traces of divine blessing surface. Finally, he intends to establish in one city where there are many pious and educated men a seminary for the development of missionaries, where young people can prepare themselves for preaching the gospel among idolaters and barbarian tribes. Beloved brethren, beseech all reverent Christians to the extent they are able, to the extent God has gifted and blessed them with temporal prosperity, to help our beloved Shirnding to attain this glorious goal.
Blessed is he who can make for himself friends of mammon before the arrival of Christ. When the gospel will be preached to all creation then will the end of the age occur and will the Kingdom of God arrive.
It is very worthy of note that the expectancy of the soon arrival of the Lord has become so general that all true Christians sense a lively assurance of it. So it was prior to the initial arrival of Christ, and then everywhere did they await the Messiah. He did arrive, but not at all in the fashion that they awaited him. Will it not be the same at present? I think not, because we do not compose for ourselves any type of pseudo-portrayals regarding his arrival. We leave it up to him to select the manner and means of his appearance, and rejoice only over him and his glorification. Let us demonstrate our zeal! Let us route all our energies to grasp onto the heavenly Kingdom which is so necessary at present. Today, today when you hear His choice, do not harden your hearts. Soon it will already be too late. Struggle against pseudo-enlightenment and the pseudo-enlightened, the deaf and deafening spirit of the era so it does not draw us into its whirlwind, where in the eternal gloom they seek the light of truth and do not find it. They thirst for tranquility and are not gratified; they become ill worrying over their homeland, while their homeland has forever vanished for them like a dream.
So was the letter of Eastern-Light beloved readers. In a subsequent book we will likewise discuss various important matters.
 I Cor 16:22
 Jer 5:3
 John 6:44
 Execution of Louis XIV on January 21, 1793.
 i.e. German
 Ps 116:15
 Is 33:19
 Ps 121:1-2
 Ps 125:2
 His name is attached to formulas in every branch of classical mathematics; Euler made important contributions to several fields of engineering and business. Born April 15, 1707 in Basil, Germany; died September 18, 1783 in St. Petersburg, Russia.
 1775-1840; Lucian was Prince of Canino; brother of Napoleon Bonaparte.
 2 Tim 1:12
 After the French revolution, a new calendar of 30 day months and 10 day weeks was implemented.
 That is, the Enlightenment
 Matt 22:29
 Matt 12:39
 Acts 1:11
 Matt 24:23-28
 Rom 8:26
 John 8:58
 John 17:5
 John 17:1
 John 17:24
 The Triumph of the Christian Faith, written by Stilling himself.
 Luke 15:18
 Matt 13:43
 John 8:11
 Referring to Mohammedans.
 The literal translation of the Greek word Evsevi.
 Exe 37
 1 Cor 2:14
 Ex 4:10
 Jer 1:6