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Sixth Floor - Man shows his weaknesses In the state of fear
39,1. You say: Dear friend and brother! On this very strongly transparent circular staircase, it is a little awkward to climb upwards, for it seems to us as if one is going to rise up into the open air, and then look down onto the ever-deepening ground; it is something rather dizzying! And if the ascent is so strange, the return will surely be even stranger. Yes, yes, my dear brethren and friends, the matter certainly seems so and seem to justify your concern; but you will instead in the end find out that all the circumstances you now worry about, will work out as such, that you will not at all notice how easily and gracefully we will return.
39,2. I also have to mention that the heights are only dizzying for those who stay in the depth of the plain; but for permanent inhabitants of the heights, and for those who have much to do with the heights, they are not at all; in either a more natural and civil state. So does the mountain-dwellers, and many other friends of heights, climb up and over the cliffs and crests, whose sight makes a permanent inhabitant of the plains almost feverish, while the inhabitant of the mountain and heights gazes jubilantly over the most terrible abysses with his journeying and climbing apparatus.
39,3. Thus, even if a man of low rank is in a situation, where he has to appear before his sovereign, and in fact in his splendid court, with what fear and awe does he approach the face of his sovereign. His feet becomes heavier with every step, the closer he come to the chamber, in which the prince of the country usually keeps his counsel.
39,4. If, on the other hand, we consider a minister or a high commander-in-chief, especially if he is still a prominent favorite of the sovereign, and therefore also the insignificant court servants. These certainly approaches the country's prince without the slightest oppression, and the latter, who are accustomed to this position as if inborn, often mischievously frolics over the steps which seemed so dizzying and threatening to our simple countryman.
39,5. Yes, even from a citizen point of view there are no lack of examples; let us assume a simple, well-educated young man, whose life circumstances and conscience permits him to take an dear wife. He knows a house, and the daughter of the house pleases him very well; but the circumstances of this house surpass the earthly advantages of his own significantly. He knows that the family father of this house is a very respectable and honored, good man; but the superiority of his position gives so many dizzying doubts to our bridegroom that he can hardly dare, even with the aid of reliable guides and signposts, to overcome the difference of class with his chosen house.
39,6. But since he cannot eradicate it, he have to take the risk; but how does he fare when he enters the doorway of this fateful house from which he expects his happiness? His pulse is quicker than when he would climb a high mountain; he becomes short of breath, and his whole body begins to shake as he approaches the door behind which the housefather, father of his bride lives; Fear, faith, hope, and love are all intermingled.
39,7. At first he barely utters a word, or he measures every syllable before he pronounces it, in an attempt to show no signs of weakness, of which every man is secretly so very conscious. But why? For man shows his weaknesses, his vulnerabilities, even his faults, more easily than when he is in the state of fear.
39,8. Take for instance a virtuoso, even if he is ever so capable, but is still aware of a few places in his plays to be performed, which have sometimes failed him somewhat under two ears and eyes, he develops a dread for these places which he struggles to master, and therefore keep making these mistakes at these very doubtful places. Fear was therefore the condition in which our virtuoso showed its weaknesses.
39,9. A good walker on a flat country does not know of any weakness in his walking. But if someone would tell him: Friend, you must go with me to the top of that mountain; will he do this? So our good walker would probably say: What do you think of me? That I shall not dare to go to the top of the mountain? I who have already walked several hundred miles in the field. But then it becomes reality. Our good walker is facing a great height for the first time in his life.
39,10. When climbing a very steep part, his feet begin to tremble; after every step, he begins to doubt the next one, and begins to seriously reconsider whether he should continue or not. But if his friend shows him the crescent, our good pedestrian will begin to tremble all over, and let himself be tied together with the others with the safety rope.
39,11. What is to be deduced from this? The fear of height has revealed the weakness in the feet of our good walker, so he lets himself be tied with the safety rope, still considering every step very carefully, and yet is still afraid, avoiding with all the effort in the world to make the slightest misstep. So it is with our bridegroom; he was quite confident in his daily walk of life; but on this serious height, where the safety of every step is important, one has to weigh every step, every syllable, on a very accurate scale, as you are used to say: to make no tallow from the pastry.
39,12. However, as is the case with these three examples of earthly presented human viewpoints, it certainly corresponds with the spiritual.
39,13. The fraud of the fruit of fear does not end: the higher you go, the more fearful and timid you become in your mind, and thus also correspondingly weaker in faith.
39,14. If I wish to speak to you in the fashion of highest heavenly wisdom, you would begin to despair and lose heart, and if none of you would be able to write down even three lines, even with the most courageous attempt.
39,15. But I will therefore speak with you according to your nature, and I will or I will walk on your habitable ground and terrain, and will elevate you barely noticeable, little by little. But even with this scarcely perceptible elevation, you begin to feel a little dizzy on the ascent to our sixth floor or the seventh gallery on this rather strongly transparent staircase.
39,16. But if our countryman, who visits the sovereign of the country, will spend some time in discussion with the very condescending prince, he will get over the stately vertigo and all fear, and he will have a much more pleasant return journey over the named steps of the palace than before, towards the palace of the sovereign.
39,17. The high-altitude climber will be bolder and less dizzy on the top of the mountain, and the way back will, as you say, be a real pleasure.
39,18. Thus, even our bridegroom, when he has come to know that he has found firm ground in his beloved house than he expected, will surely have a more cheerful return, than he had going there.
39,19. And behold, it shall be the same for us; we shall still experience some vertigo to reach the height of this building; but the summit will then balance everything, and we shall experience a cheerful return journey.
39,20. On this occasion of our instructive conversation, we have also ascended our very transparent staircase, as you may notice, quite comfortably, and in this way we take advantage of each step.
39,21. Now, however, we are already on the seventh gallery, or on the sixth floor, and thus I say to you: Look at everything here at your leisure and attentively; for what you will find here will be of much greater interest than anything we have ever seen and then discuss it in the manner of the wisdom of these inhabitants. So, as I said, on this sixth floor or on the seventh gallery, actively take your eyes in your hands, look at everything well, and then relate to me what you have seen; and we shall surely not miss the meaning.
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