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Chapter 31 - Hebram's and Risa's self-reflections.
31,1. Risa enshrines these words in his heart and goes to his colleagues, who begin to congratulate him on his good fortune but he begins to speak and tells them word for word what he had understood from Raphael.
31,2. When he finished, Hebram said to him: “That is a very impressive speech which sounded as if it came from the mouth of God. Yet some comment is called for, not about the speech itself, but with regard to the man who made the speech. It contained many true words, some of which were even memorable, and they were spoken in a logical sequence but the speaker nevertheless spoke first rather than acted! Nevertheless, I find this to be quite in order; since every good action must certainly always be preceded by good teaching, otherwise it is impossible for the instigator to receive any positive or negative guidance for his actions.
31,3. However, at the bottom of it all Raphael is still right since man soon knows what is good and correct. Simple laws teach him that! He only requires to direct his mind to it properly, and a good deed can not stop in mid air. But knowledge on its own appears to me to be an inadequate driving force for good, especially with very material people, who are only too easily deflected towards a bad deed by some selfish material advantage. In that case the preparatory teaching must be expanded to such an extent that it provides the disciple with clear, tangible and irrefutable evidence to motivate his good deeds. It must appear to the disciple to be almost impossible to act in a contrary way, just as it is impossible to cross the sea without a boat.
31,4. Once the disciple has been brought thus far, the completion of a good deed is an easy matter; but without the addition of tangible and irrefutable proof, it will always remain a problem, in that its validity may be well recognized, but since performance is nevertheless beset with so many difficulties and self-denial, inertia and tiresome self-interest take over and good meaningful action is left for another day. A man naturally follows his animal instincts and after thirty years he is still the same animal person as he was in fact in the cradle. Therefore according to my inexpert opinion, it is also important that the evidence mentioned above is additional to the lessons in positive action and this requires considerably more than just saying: ‘This and that you should do, because they are good, and this and that you should not do, because they are bad and evil!’”
31,5. Says Risa: “You are quite right, but basically you are saying nothing more than was clearly and tangibly described by Raphael, namely, that the only ones who should teach and speak are those who are called by the Lord in spirit. A teacher thus appointed will give the lessons to his pupils together with the evidence necessary to motivate them to action, just as the angel Raphael unfailingly convinced me to act. But if the two of us were to perform as teachers, we would certainly say many stupid things, so that if an accomplished and well prepared speaker were to come along and begin to put some really convincing counter arguments to us, he would in the end confuse us, and we would perhaps even have to dance to his tune! But if our actions are good, he will not, even if he uses all the justifications in the world, be able to find the slightest objection or contradiction. Therefore, for many of us action is better than teaching. Is this still not quite clear to you?”
31,6. Hebram says: “O yes, it is now absolutely clear as it was in fact before, and it is a good point! People are strange, - I notice this about myself! Just think of it, when we were frequently reading and studying the scriptures, how inconceivably sublime the wonderful stories, events and occasional teachings appeared to us to be, filling us with the deepest reverence! Finally, because the sincerity of our great reverence blinded us, we did not dare to pronounce the name of the spirit of God when here and there it actively appeared! When we have read about a vision of an angel, we were touched to the marrow by it! Moses appeared so mighty, that nearly all the mountains seemed to bow before his name!
31,7. We now stand before the same God who thundered out his laws on Sinai! The same angel who guided the young Tobias walks among us like an ordinary person and sweetly teaches us to recognize the will of God! In addition miracle after miracle of the most incredible type and nature constantly occur and yet everything appears to us to be quite ordinary, as if we had been used to it from childhood. Tell me, what might be the reason!
31,8. We are supposed to be completely out of our minds with surprise and adoration, but instead of that we are as dull as the rusted old sword blade of an ancient warrior! What can be the reason for it? When I think of it, I could tear off my own head from my body with annoyance!”
31,9. Risa says: “Be calm, my friend! The Lord wanted it like that for if we were to remain with our minds in a state of extreme excitement - which would be understandable - we would miss much of what is happening and being said here. As the Lord knows how to keep our minds within sober limits we can therefore listen in cold blood, observe everything that occurs and is said here – however incomparably sublime it may be - and engrave it even more deeply in our souls. When this is all over, our minds will begin to become excited to the most colossal degree! Oh, we will not escape it! However, for now it is much better as it is! – Or are you of a different opinion?”
31,10. Says Hebram: “Not at all, your opinion is again perfectly correct, and it is most certainly as you say! But it does no harm to remind oneself, that in the presence of these sublime events occurring for the first time, the feeling of exultation is much too easy and too unimpressive, while our readings of the extraordinary events of the past touched us so deeply and made us so excited. If this spiritual insensitivity were to be attributable to us alone, I would have to regard it as a major and very lamentable sin in my life but if it is your opinion that the Lord causes this reaction in us through His almighty will, we must be grateful to Him. We must more seriously and more deeply weigh up everything He says and does, and consider closely how best we can fully convert His word into action. However the fact that Zinka is such a deeply spiritual man - he was and still is only one of Herod’s senior servants -, is a puzzle to me! Where did he develop his overwhelming wisdom and experience to such an extent?”
31,11. Risa says: “That I do not know; but a noble lord like Herod, surely would have checked on his subject very thoroughly before promoting him as one of his first and most senior servants. In addition, Zinka was according to his own testimony a special friend of the prophet John and would certainly have learned a great deal regarding the important matters in life. It is therefore no wonder that he is wiser than us. He will probably talk about something which I am very anxious to hear. However it now it appears as if the Lord is preparing to speak, and we should be silent for a change as our talk does not produce much that is sensible anyway!”
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