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THE VEXED BISHOP MARTIN. - BOREM'S SHARP WARNING AND DEPARTURE. - THE LONELY MARTIN.
53,1. Following these severe words, Bishop Martin begins to scratch his head, and says at last in an undertone, as if to himself: "There you are! I knew it, even in heaven you cannot and must not rely on anybody! The Lord has already, so to speak, revealed all the treasures of heaven to me and now this one speaks to me as if I could land in hell the next moment. What a nice reward! I probably saved him from a little bit of hellish fire, and now he is trying hard to dispatch me to that nice place! Well, if that isn't an unparalleled friendship!"
53,2. (Bishop Martin, somewhat louder, to Borem): "My dear friend, now you are gradually pulling the mask off your face, showing clearly in what capacity you were sent to me. All right, you do according to your instructions, and I will do what my common sense tells me.
53,3. It is true that I had a stupid and maybe also evil plan, for I seriously intended to defy the Lord a little bit, just in order to see what would happen to me in such a case; but you saw through me admirably and thwarted my plan.
53,4. However, you call me a devil and ready for hell, of which the Lord, Who is evidently more than you are, didn't say a thing to me. I shall rely on the Lord, not on you; and shall do what the Lord tells me to do. Only at the white tablet shall I listen to you, since the Lord mentioned that you will teach me how to use it. In all other matters, I shall listen to you if I want to, just as heretofore.
53,5. And your threats you may keep to yourself, for they don't impress me, as I am not afraid of anything! Even before the Lord, I do not choose my words, but say what I think and feel. Now I am returning to the hall, and you may come too if you want to, or you may please yourself."
53,6. After these words, Bishop Martin quickly walks into the hall and Borem follows him in a friendly manner.
53,7. Back in the hall, Bishop Martin notices right away that there is a lot of writing on the tablet. He approaches it and endeavors to read what is written there; but in vain, for he is not familiar with the script, which looks somewhat like hieroglyphs. He begins to lose his temper again, and says:
53,8. (Bishop Martin): "Why can't the celestial clerks use a script that one can read oneself without having to call for an interpreter? To write to somebody in a script unknown to him is like speaking Chinese to a German. What could this be good for, I wonder?"
53,9. (Here Borem interrupts him): "For the same thing, friend, for which in the world the dogmatic Latin ritual is good for. There, too, nobody understands it except those who have learned this pagan tongue. But to make sure that nobody, not even those who know Latin, can understand what the Latin ritual of so-called worship contains, a lot of noise is made during mass with organ, drums and trombones, whilst the mass itself is only mumbled. Say, is not that absurd too, although it is pontifical?
53,10. How then can you, a man who is used to such absurdities, become annoyed if you cannot read this script at first sight? Look more closely at the tablet, maybe you will notice some Latin phrases mystically intermingled with the twelve signs of the zodiac. Look at the top, where I at least can read quite clearly: 'Dies ilia, dies iraer (That day, the day of wrath)."
53,11. Now, also, Bishop Martin looks more closely at the tablet, notices the same and asks what it means.
53,12. (Borem): "You are a scholar of Latin and should be able to translate it. Just go on reading. There are more such phrases at the top. When you are through with reading them, you may then ask."
53,13. Bishop Martin now concentrates on the tablet and reads the words: 'Requiescant in pace, et lux perpetua luceat eis/'(May they rest in peace and the eternal light shine on them!).Also: 'Requiem aeternam dona eis, domine!' (Lord, give them eternal rest!). And then: 'Memento, homo, quia pulvis es et in pulverem reverterisV (Remember, man, that you are dust and shall return to dust!). And many other similarly absurd phrases. After having read all of them, he turns to Borem, obviously agitated, and says:
53,14. (Bishop Martin): "Well, what about all this stuff? What does it mean, and why is it written here? Is it by any chance meant to be a taunt referring to the high office I held on earth?"
53,15. (Says Borem): "Oh no, friend, not at all! All this was only written on the tablet to point out to you how much foolishness you still have in you. Therefore, you are still in your peasant clothes for which you exchanged your bishop's robe soon after your death. Only your coat is missing, which you voluntarily gave to me when I was naked in the house of the Lord. You remember the occasion. But you can take it back. Look, there it is under the tablet, well cleaned and tidily folded. Take it and put it back on you so that you might find it easier to realize the extent of your folly.
53,16. Even though the Lord showed you His boundless mercy by relieving you of the poison of evil, you still retained your great foolishness. If you continue feeding it, it may turn into outright wickedness and plunge you into a terrible judgment. For know this: Until you are not fully reborn of the spirit, you are in no way safe from hell. But to help you avoid such a calamity, you are to be shown your great folly to which you are still clinging and from which even the Lord Himself cannot free you without placing you under compulsion."
53,17. (Says Bishop Martin, thoughtfully): "All right, if this is the case, I shall put on my coat so that I do not look like a porter, but at least like an honest farmer. And then, you super-wise celestial bookseller, you may show me my so-called follies which I am supposed to recognize in the writing on this tablet. However, I don't see how I could recognize them in view of the earnestness and wisdom of these phrases, the authors of which are the sublime early fathers 'whose shoe's latchet we are not worthy to unloose' nor most likely ever will be."
53,18. (Borem): "Well, then listen! Where and what is the day of wrath or judgment? Who will be full of wrath and hold judgment? Do you believe God is a God of wrath and a God of judgment? Oh, no! God is the purest and highest love personified, and He said of Himself, 'I came not to judge the world, but to save whosoever be-lieveth in Me and loveth Me!'
53,19. The Lord does speak of a Judgment Day, but this commences for everyone on his physical death. On the other hand, about condemnation the Lord says only that everyone had in him what will condemn him, namely His Word. And if this is what the Lord says, where then is your ominous 'Dies irae, dies ilia"? This should really be: 'Oh day of my naked folly and my glaring wickedness!' "
53,20. (Bishop Martin): "If you are conversant with the interpretation of these texts, and in your opinion there is no universal last judgment, how then do you interpret those texts from the Lord's own mouth, which ominously and clearly predict the return of the Lord as a relentless judge? And the Lord Himself names as preceding indications of His coming, great misery, dearth, famine, wars, rebellions, earthquakes, the appearance of the sign of the Son of Man in the sky, the rise and fall of the Antichrist, the darkening of the sun and the moon, and the falling down of all the stars from the sky. After this, He describes the terrible preparations for the Day of Judgment, and finally the latter itself: How the accursed heretics, whoremongers, and adulterers will be dispatched to the devils, accompanied by countless flashes of lightning issuing from the mouths of the chosen and God's angels, as a just curse at all the damnable heretics like yourself.
53,21. Tell me, you boldly-wise bookseller, how do you explain this? If I believe in these words of God, am I again stupid, foolish, and malicious?"
53,22. (Borem): "Hypocrite, how long is it since you reluctantly came to believe in the Deity of Christ, but at the first slight temptation you fall off like dry leaves from a tree? If, during your whole life on earth, you had really believed in these words of Christ, you would now be standing here in quite a different garment! But since you neither believed in the outer, literal meaning of the Gospel, nor in the inner, spiritual meaning, and never tried to practice it, you are standing here in contemplation of all these endless wonders of God and hearing the wisest teaching from His own mouth, but are still the same old, incorrigible fool!
53,23. Who can understand you and who would want to guide you? For if at long last you show some faith and meekness, you turn the next moment into a being in whom hypocrisy stands for faith and only too obvious arrogance and hatred for meekness and love.
53,24. As if my teaching would be of any use to you! I know you too well! What good did the wisdom of the little moon-philosopher do you? Notwithstanding the presence of the Lord, your anger grew the wiser the moon-priest, Piramah, talked to you. If I now answered your question which is only nourishing your pride, it would not make you any better, only angrier and, therefore, worse!
53,25. As long as you continue like this, I shall not teach or instruct you in any way! And in order to avoid vexing you, I shall now leave you in accordance with the Lord's will. You are now free to do whatever you want, but remember this: From here, both paths are open to you - the one to heaven as well as the one to hell, together with the true interpretation of the Gospel's reference to the end of time!"
53,26. After these words, Borem vanishes, and Bishop Martin is left to his own devices. Now it is of the greatest importance what he does and how he applies all the wise teachings he has received.
53,27. Bishop Martin calls anxiously for Borem, but in vain. He also calls to the Lord and to Peter, but there is no answer. He runs back to the door of Mercury, through which he can still see the planet but at a considerable distance. He walks over to the door through which he had earlier seen the flock of lambs, but now there is nothing except the rather desolate field on which he had seen that beautiful flock for the first time, when he had the list of their names.
53,28. He runs from one door to the other, and sees through them the sun, the planets, and the moon, but all at great distances, as they are seen by men on earth. The hall alone is still the same as before - in the center the already familiar tablet and next to it the astronomical mechanism.
53,29. However, these objects are not to the liking of our bishop, so he goes to the exit, intending to hurry over to the Lord's house, but this, too, has become invisible to him. Since he cannot see this, and since the small garden around his house is rather bare and uninviting, he despondently goes back into his house, where nothing has changed.
53,30. There he stands for a while, motionless before the white tablet which is blank on one side and on the other side has still the previously mentioned Latin phrases. When he is beginning to get bored, he moves a few steps forward, toward the astronomical mechanism, and begins once more to study the earth. However, he does not dare say anything for he is now beginning to realize that he is in a rather difficult situation.
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