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The outer darkness... Where there is wailing and gnashing of teeth
31,1. Look there, rather far away from us, where the soft reddish grey light can be seen, is a company of about thirty people of both genders. Let us go there with renewed courage, then we will soon catch up with them. Well, can you discern something? You say: O yes, it looks like a motley riff-raff; it seems as if the company is engaged in physical strife. I tell you: you have not seen wrongly, but this is just an apparent reality. A spiritual dispute will look, at any distance, as if it is a physical fight. Let us go a bit closer still, then the situation will take on quite a different look. See, the closer we get to the company, the quieter their hands become; but instead, we begin to hear from all sides a kind of gnashing, like with a grain mill on earth. Now and then you also hear a voice, not unlike weeping.
31,2. You say: It seems as if what the Master had told the children of the light is being fulfilled here, regarding those who would be pushed out into utter darkness: there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth! Yes, yes, best friends, that is also meant by this and has the same meaning. What is meant spiritually with the weeping and gnashing of teeth and with being pushed out into the outer darkness, you will experience with your own ears and eyes. Only a few more steps, and look, we are where we want to be.
31,3. What do you see here? You say: This scene does not look that bad; despite the very much emaciated faces, to which we are already accustomed, the company seemed to be quite tolerable. They stand around a speaker, who is just getting ready to give a speech.
31,4. Dear friends, you are right. Exactly for this speech have I brought you here. Yet, you say: Since this whole kingdom of the night seems to be an endless plain of sand and there is nowhere a stage to be found, we would like to know how it will be possible for this speaker to elevate himself a bit above his audience. It is good of you to ask this, for the most insignificant things here have the most important meaning. This speaker has made a little heap from sand and compressed it a bit, but just like the composition of his podium, so will be his speech. As long as the speaker stays calm on top of his sand podium, it will carry him. If he should search for more support, the sand heap will collapse, and he will come off his height to the same level as his audience. He has now indicated that he is going to speak; we will listen to him in secret.
31,5. Look, he begins; listen then. “Esteemed friends and ladies, I have heard from each of you personally how you, everyone on his own terrain, have lived and acted as completely righteous and honest citizens on earth. (Agreement from all sides). As 'good Christians' you all were, to the correct measure, benefactors for the suffering mankind. At all disasters, your names were listed among the greatest donors with big letters in all newspapers. It also was nothing more than right, for even the blind and the deaf should understand that regarding support, nothing exists that is more laudable and praiseworthy than the acknowledgment of those people who always practiced charity. Firstly, poor mankind knows by such public notice to whom they should turn themselves at times of distress, and secondly are others clearly being encouraged to join the pleasant, humanitarian circles of the known big benefactors of mankind (Loud approval from all sides).
31,6. Yes, you were always present at the foundation of charity institutions and I can say with deep emotion in my heart that you were, in the true sense of the word, true, noble and honorable citizens of the world (Exceptional approval from all sides and one can hear the audience say with emotion: Glorious, Godly speaker, Godly man!).
31,7. You have always supported the arts and the sciences, you faithfully served the state as exemplary citizens; yes, man can say that you have lived completely according to the character of the gospel, for you have, as all would know, always given unto God what is God's and to Caesar what is Caesar's. Honor and lust for praise were never the motivation for your noble deeds, but the absolute necessity was always the incentive for all the great and beautiful things you brought about. (Again, the special approval mixed with tears, sighing and weeping!) As such were your lives inscrutable, like the sun in the clearest heaven, esteemed listeners, as it were on the earth upon which we lived; for here is nothing to be seen of a sun. But, esteemed listeners, allow me to pose a very important question:
31,8. What is now your reward for such excellent and honorable deeds? Where is the highly-praised heaven which was promised to those who made themselves true and exemplary Christians? (Great concurrence from all sides and many voices add plaintively: Yes, where is the deceptive heaven for which we offered so many sacrifices to gain it!)
31,9. Esteemed listeners, this sandy ground here, this more than 'Egyptian darkness' and our meager 'mossy food' is the reward and the heaven which was so extremely magnificently painted to us by the priests! (Again, great concurrence)
31,10. Where is the righteous God for whom you have done so many noble deeds? For it is indeed written in the gospel: what you have done unto the poor, you have done unto Me and you will be richly rewarded in heaven for it. Furthermore is written: with the measure you measure, you will be measured with in abundance as well. Now, honored listeners, you have done it all; you have supported thousands of the poor and were always particularly righteous regarding measure and weight.
31,11. But where is now the treasure in heaven and where the richly returned measure of all charitable deeds, which you have done as true Christians? (Another: Yes, where is it all? Sounds)
31,12. Here we have it: The heavenly treasure is this darkness and the highly-lauded reward which would have been showered upon us in the heavens consists of the scarce moss which is eaten on earth by the Eland in stooping fashion, yet we must satisfy ourselves with it as the highly lauded heavenly reward.
31,13. How often have we upon earth, at various occasions, stroke up the 'Te Deum laudamus' [composition by Antoine Charpenter (1690)] and the priests have loudly called out: There, in the radiating kingdom of the heavens, you will, once again, strike up the great and eternal 'Te Deum laudamus'. Honored listeners, allow me to ask a question at this point, it goes as follows:
31,14. How is it now with you in this beautiful heavenly realm and with this so highly lauded 'Te Deum laudamus'? You pull up your shoulders; truly, I would not only want to protest with my shoulders alone but with my whole body, if I did not have to fear that my tottering podium would let me fall from my high position. I think, without wanting to violate anyone's possibly good opinion, that our voices would barely be able to produce a bearable sound to sing this exalted song, due to this exceptionally fatty food; now, another weighty question is presenting itself in this brightly shining heaven, namely:
31,15. Does some or the other God truly exist? And the 'sit together with Abraham and Isaac at a heavenly table, laden with heavenly foods', does not seem to be the norm here! If I had been on earth right now, I would be able to praise myself that I would be able to present one of the most watertight exegeses about such promising scriptural texts. I would present 'Abraham and Isaac' to be darkness and sand and the well-provided table as Icelandic moss, a truly worthy food for reindeer and land! To anyone wanting to tell us that we are doing better than these miserable animals in the ice-covered north, I would immediately surrender my tottering podium. I do think though that we, to understand this, only must feel our stomachs to find out how this difficult-to-digest food is still fermenting like dry straw. If we would also just have a look at this brightly shining sand, then the proof has been given for our Eland and reindeer status.
31,16. The good savior of the world, Christ, probably did not quite know what the heavenly kingdom, about which He preached, looked like, for if He knew, He would not have let Himself be nailed to the cross for it. If His praised Father God would have let Him see, just like us, after the crucifixion, what we see, then this truly honorable Man would stand truly surprised when He saw the holy communion, which was introduced by Him, represented by this pretty, mossy plain. To see this, we should probably not exert less effort than the pearl harvesters, to see the pearls on the bottom of the sea. That this is so, we do not need any more proof. But now, dear listeners, I am presenting you yet another important question, and it goes as follows:
31,17. We are here, this is how it is, like a stick standing in water; but for how long do we have to stay in this sober kingdom? Will it be well with our existence? Or shall we have the most blissful privilege to wander about here, forever, in these blessing-flooded fields? Look, this is an exceptionally important question, but exactly this important question calls out for someone to answer it. Honored listeners, concerning this, you can be assured that you would rather get an answer from a stone than from me. Yet, I do think that, at this exceptional illumination of our great scene, someone can barely bring something into 'daylight', for to bring something into bright light, light is needed, and for light a sun is needed.
31,18. To bring something properly into the light here means nothing other than to declare himself a fool before the others. It is also true that the great learned ones of the earth will find much time to think here. Happy are they if they would bring along much material, for with these three elements: darkness, sand, and moss, they will soon be done. They can leave microscopes and other instruments of investigation on earth, for they would be able to see, with the bare eye, a scanty and mossy field on this sandy surface. Also, for the astronomers is very poor provision made. The learned and well-read librarians will be utterly bored, for they will find nothing here . Also, the virtuoso and artists will do bad business here, for they will literally not bite in the grass, but in the moss! Here I understand the idiom: 'to bite in the grass' for the first time fully and see that it had a much older origin than many authors and historians ever could have imagined. This idiom must have its origin from the primordial Egyptian sages, who would have known of the glorious fate waiting upon the mortals here.
31,19. My honored listeners, that the same fate is awaiting the people still living upon earth, I do not doubt; I am also of the opinion that the honest Moses and very honest Christ have, in this respect of their law-giving, tread upon a very wavering and senseless road. Should they, and especially Moses with his wondrous staff, instead have hit the earth and said: Sun, become dark, and we have, for our foolishness, enough starlight, and you, earth, should become a sandy desert and nothing but scarce Icelandic moss will grow, then would all the strict law of thunder and lightning be left behind. But under these circumstances, sins should automatically become something rarer than diamonds in Greenland, Spitsbergen or Nova Zembla [Novya Zemlya]. I would first like to see who would be able to rob or steal here and who would still be able to have lust with this fatty food and our charming, skeleton-like looks. I would also pay a liar here with gold, if I would have any; and would anyone be able to commit murder here? It would be far more difficult for us, with all our treasures and wealth, to get behind this than would the discovery of planets and other suns be for the astronomers, with their optical instruments. In short, we can do and talk as much as we want, I am convinced that our fate will not improve one bit! I have already undertaken journeys here, farther than that of Christopher Columbus, and have crossed this sea of sand and darkness in all directions, but the fortune has not yet befallen me to call out: Land, land! but only: Night, moss and sand! Therefore, I will close my speech with the following opinion:
31,20. Among all people who have ever trodden upon the earth, I hold Christ for the most glorious. He abolished the extensive laws of Moses, which had a strong, tyrannical character in a certain sense and taught, in the place of it, the only law which preaches neighborly love. Because under this law, man can look at it as you will, intelligent beings, in no matter what circumstance, can live the happiest lives, I am for the notion that we too, for the sake of the good, stay true to this law here, keep in mind Christ as the true, honorable Man and then, under these circumstances, be as content as possible with our truly dire fate. I think that we will be able to make our fate as tolerable as possible for as long as it would take.
31,21. Yet, I do ask you, esteemed listeners, to not regard my wish as a set law without consideration, for as I have said, my closing words should only be taken as a well-meant wish. If we should act increasingly more socially, I think that we would, exactly through this, with combined power, endure our fate much more easily than when everyone would do only for himself. I will, from my side, always be willing, as far as it is within my abilities, to support you intensively with my words. With this wish and assurance, I close my speech.” (General loud approval from all sides)
31,22. As you can see, the speaker descends his tottering podium with great caution and is entertained very amiably by the whole company. Many are shaking his hand, saying: It is always good to stay in the company of a man whose heart sits in the right place. Therefore we are very happy to have found you, dear and loving friend, and we want to follow you in everything, whatever happens.
31,23. Look now, how it becomes lighter above the company and how the speaker and the whole company is surprised about it and how the speaker is making himself heard for one more time, saying: Yes, yes, as I am of the opinion: if the very true Christ, with His humane teaching, would not bring us any light, then we would forever stay guests of the night!
31,24. Look, it again becomes considerably lighter; and look around, how two messengers sent by the Master from the morning-side are rushing closer to bring much more light to the company. We will, therefore, stay a while longer to see what will happen next.
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