BMAR-4

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Chapter 4

BISHOP MARTIN'S ANNOYANCE AT THE SIGHT OF A LUTHERAN CHURCH, AND THE ANGEL'S COMMENTS. - HIS READINESS TO SERVE AS A SHEPHERD.

4,1. They follow a road in a southerly direction and come upon a farmhouse, in front of which there is a small, obviously Lutheran, church. Noticing this, the bishop stops and begins to cross himself repeatedly, uttering: "Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa."

4,2. But the angel asks him: "Brother, what is it? Is anything worrying you? Why aren't you proceeding?"

4,3. (Says the bishop): "Don't you see the Lutheran church which is of the devil? How can a Christian go near such a d- - I'd rather not say it - place?

4,4. Or, maybe you are a devil in disguise! Oh, oh, if that were true, then clear out, you abominable fiend!"

4,5. (Says the angel): "Would you like to repeat your experience of the five to ten million years, in an even darker and more desolate spot of the spirit world? If you prefer that, just let me know. Look, your old bishop's robe is ready for you! But this time, you might have to wait ten times as long until somebody will come to your aid.

4,6. Don't you see me still walking around in a bishop's robe? And you used to believe that the devil could disguise himself as an angel of light, but could never appear in the disguise of a bishop who is filled with the Holy Ghost. If you do not want to condemn your own belief, how then can you take me for a devil? (The bishop almost collapses, but crosses himself and says: 'God help us!')

4,7. But if you do condemn your dogmatic belief that the rock of St. Peter is invincible to the gates of hell, you repeal all that Rome teaches. And then I couldn't understand how, as an opponent of Rome, this little building which you take for an evangelical church can annoy you. Don't you see that your whole attitude at this moment does not show the least trace of moral or religious consistency?"

4,8. (Says the bishop): "I regret to say you are quite right, but if you are a real bishop, you should know that Rome demands absolute faith and blind obedience of every true believer. And where the mind is kept captive in strong shackles, how can you expect consistency in thought and deed?

4,9. We say, a man should take care not to fathom the essence of religion; to know nothing, but believe blindly and firmly. It is better for him to enter heaven as a simpleton than hell as an enlightened person. God should be feared because of hell and loved because of heaven. If this is the basis of our teaching, how then can you expect consistency on my part?"

4,10. (The angel): "Unfortunately, I am only too well aware as to the state of things with your Babel's teachings, and that they clearly contradict the Gospel, wherein it says, 'Judge not, that ye be not judged!' However, you keep judging and condemning everybody who does not bend under Babel's scepter.

4,11. Tell me, are you really Christ's followers when you do not follow His gentle teaching at all? Does not His teaching comprise the greatest and most sublime order and consistency, as is the case in all creation? Does not every word of the Gospel emanate the Holy Spirit in its fullness? But have you not always opposed the Holy Spirit in word and deed, quite consciously acting contrary to the Lord's purest teaching full of the Holy Spirit, which the latter rendered to the Apostles and disciples forever to remain?

4,12. From this you can see how damnable the ground is on which you are standing, how ripe for hell. But the Lord is willing to show mercy, and that is why He sent me to you to help rescue you from your old Babylonian captivity.

4,13. For this reason, the Lord wants you to make your peace with your greatest cause for vexation, that is, if you do want to take advantage of His mercy. If you, however, prefer to stick by your Babel's teaching, you will drive yourself to hell, from whence you will not have much chance of being rescued by a friend of the Lord Jesus."

4,14. (Says the bishop): "You are right, dearest friend, and for the first time I feel something like consistency emerging! Do have patience with me. I will do what you ask, in God's name, but do not speak to me of that terrible hell! Let us go on!"

4,15. (The angel): "For the time being we have reached our destination. You will serve this Lutheran farmer and bishop, which is I, as a shepherd. Faithful performance of your duties will provide bread for you and gradual advancement. Should you, however, attend to your duties in a morose or judicial way, you will do great harm to yourself and diminish your food and advancement. If you do want to be a faithful servant, forget about your temporal existence, but think that you have to start with the lowest service if you want to get ahead.

4,16. Do not forget one thing: To advance here means to stand back, waiting to be the last and least of all. For no one can come to the Lord before he has abased himself to the lowest possible degree. Now you know what you need for this present situation, so follow me into this house in the right spirit."

4,17. The bishop follows him without protest, convinced that his guide does mean him well.

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