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Twelfth floor - Higher development of the spirit
54,1. You ask and say here: "We are coming to the actual roof of this building, where you spoke of a large, free place. That would be all right, dear friend and brother. In this open space we would be on the eleventh floor or on the twelfth gallery? But since the roof cannot be regarded as either a gallery or a storey, we can not explain that we have actually seen twelve floors from the distance from the well-known mountains. Were these twelve floors merely an optical illusion, or did it have a different explanation? We have mentioned this disagreement in the course of the ascent of this wonderful edifice, but at that time you told us to wait for a more appropriate opportunity, and said that concerning the explanation, we shall be told in the right place and at the right spot. And so we would like to know from you a little in advance, whether there will be such a right place and spot in this free place, since we want to know this?
54,2. My dear friends and brothers! I tell you,ascend cheerfully, and up there in glorious freedom, you will anyway see what you will experience.
54,3. The matter which is so dear to you is not so important as you imagine it, but is of such a nature that it will anyway explain itself at first sight in the upper freedom. We will, however, in this freedom, encounter quite different things, which will be of much greater importance and higher spiritual interest to you than the still missing twelfth floor. And so go up now cheerfully and swiftly, so that we can reach our freedom as soon as possible.
54,4. See, if you speed up your steps, you reach your destination quicker than when you are sluggish. This is true and correct and does not need mathematical proof; but the spirit is also capable of progress, and far more than the formal body. But how can the spirit accelerate and slows its steps? See, that cannot be understood so quickly; therefore it will be necessary to say a few words about it, even before entering the upper free place, and so listen to me!
54,5. You know that the progress of the Spirit does not consist in an increase of wisdom, but only in increasing filling with love for the Lord, out of whichever greater love-fulfillment anyway gives rise to all the other perfections and abilities of the spirit. But if this is clear and evident, the question arises: how then shall it be possible for man to attain the love unto the Lord? For it is well known how so many men can be very deeply concerned with the Lord. But if on enquire after their spiritual perfection, they say:
54,6. As for our spiritual perfection, the dear God will know what it has to be done with it. We keep His commandments as much as we can; we observe all the other rules, we keep the daily Sabbath rest, and pray much to God the Lord, and also ask him at any time for the soonest possible completion of our spirit. But still we have but little noticeable progress, and if we do not pay much attention to ourselves, it seems to us as if our spirits have not only made no progress, but rather a step backwards; making us sometimes very quietly doubt, and secretly thinking: Either we are not called for such an spiritual advance, or the whole assertion of the perfection of the spirit is, at least in earthly life, nothing more than a pious fable, or at least a hypothesis.
54,7. Now, my dear brethren and friends, this is the usual answer to the question of the hesitant progress of the spirit, which is probably the most common among men on earth.
54,8. Should there be no true acceleration in such progress? Should there be no more Corneliuses, over which the Spirit of God comes even before they gets baptized by Peter? This is a very different question, and its answer is certainly of the greatest practical importance. But how will we answer such a question of such great importance in the most satisfactory way for all to clearly understand? This is not going to be so difficult for us; for, if there are enough examples for something, one only have to go to the gospels, and the answer will be self-evident. We shall therefore no longer be concerned with introductions, but will immediately resort to the next best example.
54,9. Let us suppose that there are a thousand musical students in some great city. Among these thousands, at least a few hundred are gifted with truly excellent musical talents; how many of them will emerge as true artists and virtuosos from all these pupils? Perhaps one, but perhaps none; and a city will be congratulated at the end, if over a time of ten years, one or at most two of the ten artists will emerge, who have made the titles 'artist' and 'virtuoso' their own. But is not this a barbarous disgrace for mankind, that every man can say: "I have an immortal spirit in me, an image of God." But how is it with such images of supreme perfection, as few can hardly work themselves up above the mediocrity? The greatest number, however, remains under freezing-point anyway, although they also contain the image of God. Why this is so, we will immediately see in the study rooms of our music students.
54,10. Look, there is an lane, having a hundred houses, where at least a thousand students of music live. Let's go into No. 1, Behold, the student is still soundly asleep, and still far from his instrument; will he become an artist? I do not think you learn art in your sleep. Let's go into house no. 2; see, the student have just decided to profit from the beautiful day and make a little country outing, of which he is a great friend. Will he become an artist? I think art is not learned in the streets, in the fields, or in the woods. - Let's go into house no. 3; see, there sits a student at his instrument and yawns at his task. Will he become an artist? I think a yawning zeal is too inadequate for art.
54,11. But let's go on to the next house. Look, we do not meet any student, and the music, which seems to be quite well preserved, gives us sufficient proof of the zeal of our student. Will an artist grow out of this? I think the whole instrument could become gold instead of the student becoming an artist. Let's go to the next house; perhaps we will find a developing artist. Listen, someone is indeed busy practicing; but look at him, his eyes are full of tears, for his father who are paying much for his studies, have just admonished him to study with a hiding. Will he become an artist? Then you say: Ex trunco non fit Mercurius; which is just as much to say as: Out of the beaten love of art, not very much artistry will come to light. Shall we go into more houses to visit similar art-disciples? I do not consider it necessary.
54,12. But see, at the very end of the lane, in a quite unsightly tavern, lives a poor family; we want to go there and see how the arts are practiced there, because even a child of this poor father learns music. Behold, the boy has at that time already studied his eight hours; but in the evening the father of the boy wants to take him with him for a little walk. But look at the boy as he presses his instrument to his heart and caresses it as if it were his life's greatest friend! Only with a great deal of effort and a great eloquence on the part of the father, does our artistic youth, with tears in his eyes, separate from his darling, and say, "My dearest treasure! In a short time, yes, in a very short time, I will be back with you again! I ask now: Will this student become an artist? Go, listen to his tones, which he has learned to draw from his instrument in a short time, and you will say: Oh, this is miraculous! One wants to believe them to descend from outer spaces. Yes, yes, my dear friends and brothers, this disciple will certainly become a great artist; for the latter has already the right teacher in his breast, and this master teaches him to sacrifice everything for art, and makes him feel and find no greater pleasure than to learn his art.
54,13. All the previous were probably also disciples of art, but they had no love for it, and therefore they would never carry it out without this master. But why did they not have love? Because they were more inclined to vain worldly pleasure than to self-denial and a full earnest of the love of art. For this reason, however, they will reap only the fruits of their worldly vanity, but never those of splendid art.
54,14. Now, this example gives us a sufficient account of the foundation of the acceleration of spiritual progress.
54,15. Will one arrive at the inner perfection on walks, in theaters, or with sociable circles of friends, or with secular shops of other kinds of art? Oh no; from all this worldly vanity, no Cornelius ever grow, as the Lord Himself has distinctly stated through the parable, when someone invited several friends to a banquet in a parable, and the friends excused themselves with all sorts of reasons, so they would not accept the invitation. One has something to do with a pair of oxen; another is about to marry; a third bought a field, and so no one can come. - Look, these are worldly vanity, which certainly does not accelerate the progress of the spirit. They are indeed very respectable friends of the Lord, otherwise He would not have invited them; but they lacked the time to come.
54,16. And the Lord said to the rich youth: Give up all things, and follow Me, and you shall prepare a treasure in heaven, or in other words, you shall pass over into the perfection of your spirit.
54,17. He who does not follow this call, as you know from my brethren, the apostles, who have followed the Lord at the very first call, must also be content with the Lord's response to the called ones who tried to bargain with the Lord. From this however, we can draw the following very brief rule:
54,18. The more worldly folly, the less spiritual progress; the less worldly folly, the quicker the progress of the spirit. But with no worldly folly, a Cornelius can grow in every human being. You need nothing more; therefore open the little gate and ascend into the bright, free space!
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