|Chapter 1||Explanation of Scriptures|
A good rule for useful reading of the Old and New Words (20.12.1843)
1. My dear children! With these following 'explanation of Scriptures' (following the 2 volumes of the 'Spiritual Sun'), I want to give you an important and useful rule, without which you can gain no benefit from the reading of whatever spiritually good books. You may read the Holy Scripture a thousand times in succession, as you will, but without this rule you will always remain in the old place!
2. By your frequent reading of it, you have filled your memory so completely to the brim; but ask your spirit what he has gained from it, and his blunt answer will be:
3. I am no doubt chaotically surrounded by all sorts of building materials, and the beams and stones lays in a disorderly heap; but out of all these building materials, not even a bad chaste (hut, Austrian expression) is built, in which I could freely live! Although I pile up the building material constantly - all kinds of gems and the most beautiful cedar wood lies in a clumsy pile before me - and (but) I cannot arrange it! And although I have occasionally begun to create a little order, I am again adding a colossal amount of new material, so that I must tire in my activity and at the end shudder at the sight of the amount of material to be arranged and I do sadly wonder when all this material shall be organized into a house!"
4. See, that is a very thorough response of the spirit, that every person who has read a great deal, must find in himself in the very clearest terms!
5. If such a person has been reading through a few thousand books throughout his life, what a mess he has in his memory in the end! And if it goes well, he will produce so much after such an extensive reading, that he realizes that he knows nothing.
6. But what is this confession? It is nothing but one and the same melancholy lamentation of the spirit, who wants to say by this that he did not even come up with an extremely bad chaste (hut) for free living out of this huge amount of building material!
7. So are there people who can memorize the Old and New Testaments word for word; but if you would ask for the inner meaning of only one verse, they will know just as much as those who cannot memorize a single verse, and often scarcely know that there does exist a holy scripture! - What use is this beautiful material for you?
8. The spirit lives only in the spiritual; if not even a bad hut can be built from this material in the inner spirit of truth, where should he live then, where does his bill go to, and from what point should he begin to arrange the material?!
9. Is it not better to have less material, but to be able to at once build from it a small, yet respectable dwelling for the spirit, for the spirit to have a firm and free place from which to make his next plans, and add the incoming new material to?!
10. What kind of value would a field have, even though it is the best soil, if you sow thousands of different kinds of seeds mingled among each other simultaneously? The seeds will germinate properly; but to what use for the sower? In truth, the yield of this field will scarcely be usable as a poor feed for cattle! The stronger plants will suffocate the weaker ones, the weeds will proliferate, and the wheat grain will only here and there grow very sparsely and meagerly!
11. From this, however, it appears that wherever you would want to have some benefit, an order must be accomplished, without the thorns, thistles, herbage, and turnips among it, which can no longer be of any use to you.
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