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THE WRETCHED OBTAIN REFRESHMENT. - THEIR GRATITUDE AND LAMENT ABOUT THEIR EXPERIENCES. - SPEECH OF A SAVED SPIRIT, AND MARTIN'S ANSWER.
57,1. Bishop Martin now opens the door of the cupboard, and to his astonishment finds it full to capacity with bread and wine. "God be thanked," he says to himself, "I was already afraid I could be fooled, since everything here keeps changing." (Then, aloud, to the party): "There, help yourselves - eat and drink to your hearts' content!"
57,2. And they all help themselves. They eat and drink their fill but this does not diminish the stock - on the contrary, it visibly increases! Those who have eaten their fill praise the host with great enthusiasm and their features become much brighter and more handsome; only their clothes still look most pitiful.
57,3. When all have eaten and praised their host, Bishop Martin closes the door to the cupboard, and says: "Listen, all you dear brothers and sisters, do not shower your praises upon me, who is quite an insignificant person. I cannot enjoy your praises as I am not the real giver, only a bad distributor of what the Lord Jesus Himself has given me, although I do not deserve it.
57,4. So, if you must praise someone, let it be Jesus, the Lord, provided that you have heard of Him. I do not really expect that all of you have, because from what you have told me, you must have been in the spirit world for an inconceivably long time. In that case, you will have to learn about the only God and Lord Jesus!"
57,5. (Says one of the party): "Friend, you wouldn't be speaking of the Jew Jesus who died a disgraceful death on the cross, together with two robbers and murderers, would you?"
57,6. (Bishop Martin): "That is exactly the One I mean! He is truly God, and man at the same time. He is the primal source of all things. There is no other God in the whole of infinity - only He!
57,7. Believe me, it cost me an unspeakable effort to comprehend this. All the archangels would have failed to convince me of this with words. But the Lord Jesus Himself came to me and taught me through acts God alone could have performed - that it was He, the One Lord of Infinity! And now I am as strong in this conviction as I previously was weak in the understanding of this truth.
57,8. In view of this, I do not think you would find it too difficult to share everything with me: the house, the bread and wine, as well as my convictions."
57,9. (Say several of the party): "How right you are! Of course we would want to be like you in everything! Not that we had much faith in Jesus during our lives, and even less here in the spirit world, because our lot was hard and there was no trace of clemency. There has not been any mention of a Jesus until now, except that He, too, might waste away somewhere, the same as we, as a poor, deceived devil, deploring that He ever lived and taught on earth.
57,10. However, if things are the way as you, dear friend, have just told us, it is all right with us! Whoever God may be and whatever His name is, is of no importance to us as long as there is one on whom we can rely.
57,11. There is but one thing we cannot understand: How could your good Jesus chase us poor devils around without food and drink for such a long time? Really, friend, that is not exactly evidence of love and compassion! Of course, everything is all right now, but we must not think of all the suffering we have been through or we could not possibly love the eternal chaser of souls!
57,12. It is true that in the world all of us just followed our desires without bothering about His religion. But otherwise we were honest people from the best families. We had a gentleman's education and lived accordingly. A wise God should understand that no man is able to create and educate himself the way he wants it. However, the chasing around has come to an end and, therefore, Jesus shall be forgiven for what He has done to all of us."
57,13. (Another one steps forward and says): "Basically you are right, for it is better to forgive than to seek vengeance. However, I shall not be in a hurry to forgive completely, for you know how it was during that thousand years. I was jammed between two glowing rocks and my prayers and curses were more numerous than there is sand in the sea. And if you had not made a great effort to save us, I would still be in that unspeakably painful position. An almighty Lord Jesus would not have alleviated this hellish torture in the least.
57,14. Such a thing is no joke, and you cannot ever forget it. I am not exactly a vengeful spirit, for it would be utter foolishness if a limited spirit rebelled against an almighty God. But you do not forget such a thing. You will understand what I mean by not forgetting."
57,15. (Bishop Martin): "Yes, of course, you are right. I, too, had such things on my mind, and still do - things which prick me quite considerably. However, the truth is that the Lord Jesus has nothing whatsoever to do with it; it is only he whom it concerns, and probably more likely it is the Lord's celestial officials, who sometimes act in most arbitrary ways.
57,16. Actually, all this is in the long run justified through wisdom, but woe betide him on whom such wisdom takes effect! Therefore, the Lord must always be excused and highly praised if He interferes with arbitrary actions of such spirits, shaming them in their wisdom.
57,17. Oh, you wouldn't believe how pig-headed these celestial angels can be when they are on their own! But when the Lord comes, they immediately draw in their horns and act so sweetly and modestly, making a great show of their meekness.
57,18. All this I know, and I love the Lord Jesus all the more because of it. If you would do the same, we would get on wonderfully with each other through all eternity. Your motto should be: 'The Lord Jesus alone is loving and kind!' Everything else is simply trash; even Peter and Paul aren't worth a whiff of powder.
57,19. But one thing you must tell me: When did you leave earth? I can see from our talk that you did not live before Christ, since you seem to know some details about Him, as well as about the Roman church. So it is obvious that you lived in the world after Christ. Therefore, if you don't mind, will you tell me when you lived there? The concept of time as we experience it here in the world of spirits is so unreliable, for one hour can feel like a million years to a poor sinner, as I myself have experienced only too clearly."
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