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The first commandment in the first classroom - explanation
73,1. We do not need a long and wide voyage from here, for the next garden is before our very eyes. Look, at a moderate distance we are already greeted with endlessly stretched rows of trees, behind which we see an exceedingly large and equally splendid palace. This is already the garden in which we have to be, in which you will even meet those children whom the Lord has taken from you on the earth.
73,2. But if you would recognize them at once, is certainly another question; for in the spirit, the children no longer resembles the physical traits of their earthly parents, but they only resemble the Lord to the extent of their receptive capacity for the loving-goodness and faithfulness from the Lord. Nevertheless, on certain occasions, they can also accept the earthly similarities which are bound in their souls, and thus make themselves known in form to those who have come here from the earth, and are not yet too much acquainted with the spiritual conditions.
73,3. We shall not, however, spend any more time speaking about this, but rather to go straight into the garden, to convince ourselves of all that with our own spiritual eyes, which we would otherwise have to attain with the mouth here.
73,4. We are already in the tree-rows or avenues, in which you have discovered the most beautiful flowery lanes, and also here and there children, walking gaily on it. Let us go in deeper, and we shall find ourselves, as soon as we are there, at the palace we have first seen.
73,5. See, it is already standing in front of us, with a nearly indefinitely stretched length. Thousands times thousand windows are set in rows. Every one measures seven klafter high. Above the height of the windows, we find a smaller row of windows, which are placed exactly above each of the lower large windows.
73,6. You say and ask, "But for the sake of the Lord, is this whole building, this immensely long palace, but a single hall? I say unto you, It is not, but is divided into twelve divisions. At the height where you see the second row of small windows, a splendid and wide gallery runs along the whole hall, from which gallery one can, without disturbing the students on the floor at all, overlook the twelve sections one by one, and convince oneself of what is in them. Now let us go in, that everything may be clear to you.
73,7. Look, here we are at the entrance. But we do not need to go up to the gallery because we are to remain largely invisible to these little children. Only the teachers will be aware of us; but these are already told why we are here.
73,8. Well, here we are already in the first room. What do you see in the middle of this great hall written on a white tablet placed on a column standing upright? you say: At the very top, the number 1, which is known to us, and which will surely be the number of the hall, and below: the path to the freedom of the spirit! That is, I tell you, not the number of the hall, but the first law of God by Moses.
73,9. You ask, "What are the many children, whom are already looking quite mature, to do with the earthly law of Moses, which is considered to be for mortal, disbelieving people, but certainly not for children, who as pure spirits have long been convinced of the existence of the one God; since, as we have seen, this is shown to them at the very beginning of the first elementary lecture, as a vivid illustration, at every possible opportunity?
73,10. My dear friends and brothers, the matter is quite different from what you think. But you also find something similar on the earth, where you can ask the children wherever you want, and you will find everywhere with them a truly living faith in a God. For none is more believing than a child, and yet there is surely no such mean parental couple to be found who would deny their children, at least in the beginning of their lives, to acknowledge a God, since every religion prescribes it, and the parents have to, at least from the moral point of view, allow their children to learn about and recognise it.
73,11. Would not it also be believed that such children, taught by God, do not need any further instruction about God by this time? You must confess, and say: yes, every human do require such teaching till the end of his life; for it is only too easy for the first impressions of childhood to become blurred, and then are these people who have outgrown their children's shoes, as if they had never heard of God. I tell you: such a blurring is, of course, not easily possible here; but you must understand that these children, because of their early arrival, had no opportunity on earth to react on the freedom of their spirit, which is the actual motive for life. Therefore, this most important action for the life of the spirit, must be put into the fullest action here. So far, these children's spirits have been, to a certain extent, spiritual living machines. Here, however, they are concerned with becoming alive out of themselves, and therefore they must also learn allthe commandments, and then test them in their own right, and learn how they themselves are living spiritual beings under a given law.
73,12. And so here is the first commandment given, which is, "Thou shalt believe in one God, and never think that there is either no God, nor that there are two, three, or several gods."
73,13. Here, of course, we ask ourselves again: how can one command a believing of a God who believes in God anyway, and has no doubt about it? This is indeed a good remark; but the children are here subjected to all sorts of doctrines and customs by their teachers, in which they are afflicted by all sorts of doubts about the existence of God; this mode of instruction is called the desolation of one's own spirit.
73,14. But in order to do this with these children, the teachers not infrequently make the most remarkable things happen as if coincidental before the students' eyes, let them have a look at it, and then ask them whether God was needed for this, since they have not seen Him acting. If the children say that God can do this only through His will, without necessarily have to be present, then the teachers let their students themselves think of different things, and whatever is thought by the children, would appear immediately before them. Then the teachers would again ask the children: who has done this?
73,15. Thereby several are brought into the twilight. Some say that they themselves have done this, others think that the teachers have done it according to the recognition of the thoughts in the students. But some say that they have thought of such things, but the one omnipotent God must have admitted it, so that the thought appeared as a finished work before them.
73,16. If the students still remain faithful to the one God, then the teachers would ask them how then do they know that there is a God? The students then usually reply to them: The first wise teachers have taught us this. Now, however, these teachers probe further, saying, What then would you say, if we, as equally wise teachers would say and teach that there is no God, and that all that you see is made and built by us? And what will you say when we say of ourselves that we are the actual true gods?
73,17. Behold, here the children really hesitates, and then ask the teachers what they should do in this case?
73,18. But these teachers say to them, "Seek in you what you must do; if there is a God, then you must find him in you, and if there be none, you will never find any.
73,19. When the children ask how they should make such a search in themselves, the teachers say, "Try to love the God which you believe that he exists, in your hearts, as if He really exists. Let this love grow, and if there is a God, He will answer you in your love, but if there is none, you will not receive an answer in your hearts.
73,20. See, here the pupils begin to go into their inner being and begin to love the God whom they only previously believed in, in a childlike fashion. But then it happens that God, the Lord does not report as soon as expected, and our children are in no small doubt. But how they are brought to conquer this doubt, from these, the persecution will show.
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