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From Hell to Heaven
Chapter 142 - The stranger’s sermon on fault-finding and reproachfulness. The Franciscan’s interjection. The stranger’s hints on heart order.
1. Says the stranger: “My dear friends, I don’t seek your requests, but only a compliant, gentle heart; everything else shall come of its own, whereupon you shall lack nothing, eternally. But you must not alienate one another with divergent opinions, nor accuse one another of many a sin, as if you had the right to judge and condemn one another!
2. “Since all of you seem to be well-versed in Scripture, you would know that whosoever says to his brother ‘you fool’ shall be deserving eternal fire in hell. Knowing this, how can you wrangle among yourselves? Each of you is full of faults and afflictions and has enough to sweep before his own door! Hence let no one carry on about his brother’s faults, because this is the greatest abomination before God.
3. “I am well aware of how upon Earth, brethren crusade against brethren out of sheer arrogance and the most blatant greed. Everyone pretends to be without fault before his brothers, often sketching his brother with all the colours of hell. The poorer upon Earth especially are lampooned by the well-to-do, of which the mean spirit of the leisured class is often the culprit. Since the rich however usually is the more powerful, the poorer has to seek service and bread with him, not gladly but from want. It often depresses him deeply that he is subject to his brother when in fact he would rather domineer his better-off brother in every possible way. It is sad enough that such conditions between brethren can persist alongside the purest word of God.
4. “But over here in the kingdom of spirits, where there can be no talk of poverty or precedence, such terrestrial hostilities must not come to the fore. For I make no secret of the fact that whoever hates his brother for whatever reason, has not God’s grace within him! His soul is a devil full of arrogance and irreconcilable spirit. And his constant desire is to se every tribulation and a kind of punishing humiliation to come over his brethren, for some imagined injustice they are supposed to have inflicted on him.
5. “Your mutual counseling could be ever-so good and appropriate; but of what use if there is status seeking, domineering, self-interest and greed? Whoever wants to instruct his brother must first effectively remove the beam form his own eye, only thereafter saying lovingly: ‘dearest brother, I note that your sight is dulled by a tiny splinter in the eye. Let me come over to gently remove it from your eye.’ Behold, in this way, all mutual instruction between brethren will be of splendid effect. But when, through often unsolicited instruction, brethren want to appear the wiser and better ones, then the best instruction is useless, making things worse.
6. “Behold, I am a proper teacher, for I ask of you no more than what is to your best advantage. You have to be like that among yourselves, whereupon your words shall be blessed!
7. “That is the way brother Miklosch proceeded towards you, and his word gained immediate entry to your hearts. Had Cyprianos and Bathianyi spoken like that, this company would have been many steps further ahead. But these two wanted to evangelically demonstrate their superior excellencee, and so their words contained no blessings.
8. “Put off now whatever has the appearance of hankering after superiority, otherwise you cannot become children of one and the same Father in Heaven. What would you gain, if one would win an entire world from the other, but suffered supreme harm to his soul! With what shall he be able to save his own soul from the mire of his ruin?
9. “Do you not know the Lord’s Prayer? Behold, there it says among other things: ‘forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them who trespass against us!’ If however you stipulate all sorts of stiff conditions for reconciliation, which can hardly be fulfilled by the opponent – on what then do you base your request to God?
10. “In Scripture it also says: ‘Bless those who curse you and do good to those who hate you and cause you harm!’ If however you would get into each other’s hair when you are in misfortune, what would you then do to your enemies? And yet I say unto you that none of you shall enter the kingdom of God, unless, like Christ upon the cross, he calls out from the depth of his heart: ‘forgive them Father, for they know not what they do!’
11. “If you all agree with me now, then come with me into yonder house. If not, then remain and go looking for an inn, for your will is free everlastingly!”
12. Says Bathianyi: “Friend, notwithstanding that your words are like sharp arrows, they injure no heart. For they are eminently true, and accord with that kind of system without which no society can persist. I and hopefully everyone else accept them with gratitude. In line with these your words I also forgive all my earthly enemies from the depth of my heart. For they in truth acted only from a blind desire to conquer us – their greatest imagined enemies. May God the Lord forgive them; on my part they are without guilt!
13. “But I would pray the Lord of heaven and Earth that He would so guide my wife and children and their thoughts that they will once hit upon a better path to God than it was the case with me!”
14. Says the stranger: “Concern yourself no more about what is happening down below on Earth! For the Lord who is much closer to you all over here than you think, takes care of all that. Concerning your wife and children, these are in need of much earthly humbling, without which they hardly shall get to where you already find yourself. But through such humbling, they learn to recognise the nothingness of all worldly goods, even secretly abhorring them. In this way it shall, after the casting off of their bodies, be easier for them to enter upon the kingdom of light. Do not on your part concern yourself with anything other than love for God and your brethren; everything else shall be added unto you!”
15. Says the Franciscan: “I am in agreement with where it concerns my partner in adversity here. But regarding the merciless devils upon Earth, there I am not easy like my friend Bathianyi. For the wisest Deity surely must realise that it is no small thing to be executed like a common street robber upon Earth. For such heinous deed I call upon God to inflict expiation, through proper punishment, upon our executioners, or my heart shall not lightly find peace.”
16. Says the stranger: “Friend, those who executed you are as much of the Lord as yourself. But let us take the case of your inadvertently injuring your feet through your hands, so that you curse your hands for pain. But someone then said to you: ‘friend, it was your own hands that inflicted this, take revenge and have them chopped off, for they are no longer worthy of being part of your body!’ – Tell me whether you would pay heed to the suggestion?”
17. Says the Franciscan: “Oh, dear God is sure to save man from such stupidity! That would be just the thing – to add tenfold pain to the first!”
18. Says the stranger: “Ah, there I have you where I wanted you! If a second pain due to a punishing chopping off does not agree with you – would it suit the Deity to chop off its limbs if they behaved carelessly towards the others? How would you ask God to do upon Himself what you would never do to yourself? Just as you yourself stand there as one integral being with all your limbs, just so the Deity is one integral aggregate of its created beings, always endeavouring in the best way to heal all its sick parts and make them suitable for their eternal destination. – If however God the Lord knows how to heal your wounds with a different and better method, will you still hanker after revenge upon your earthly foes?”
19. Says the Franciscan, a shade embarrassed: “Well, then of course never! I also maintain, in God’s name: whatever well pleases God the Lord, shall also henceforth be so with me. But I hope that the Deity will not hold my attitude – brought about by sad circumstances, against me.”
20. Says the stranger: “If you are properly adjusted within your heart, then you are so also with God. And once you have forgiven all your enemies from the innermost foundation of your heart, then all your debts before God are wiped out! You can then pray to God with a reassured heart and conscience: ‘Father, forgive me all my trespasses, as I have forgiven all those who have trespassed against me!’ And the Father shall forgive you everything and has already done so, before you have even prayed Him for it.”
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