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Chapter IV

1. MAN said: What, then, shall I believe? If great learning have not proven anything real; if science is based on falsehood, and if there be no natural laws, shall I not give up my judgment? Whatever is at variance with my judgment, shall I not turn away from it?

2. It hath been said: The soul of man never dieth. No one can know this, save Jehovih.

3. It hath been said: Jehovih is a person. No one can know this, for His magnitude is incomprehensible.

4. Is the soul of man made of oxygen or hydrogen? Give me light that is real. I can say of what man's mortal body is made.

5. Jehovih said: My divisions are not as man's divisions. Behold, I create one thing within another. Neither space, nor place, nor time, nor eternity standeth in My way. The soul is es.

6. Man inquired: If the dwelling-place for the spirits of the dead be up in the firmament, how is it created? What resteth it upon?

7. And how dwelleth the soul of man in heaven? If the es-man hath feet and legs, how doth he walk?

8. Hath his arms changed into wings? Or rideth he on the lightnings?

9. God said: Already goeth thy soul thitherward, but it can not take thy body with it. Thy corporeal judgment can not cope with spiritual things.

10. As thought traveleth, so is it with the spirit of the dead. When thou hast quit thy corporeal body, behold thy spirit will be free; whithersoever thou desirest to go thou shalt go.

11. Nevertheless thou shalt go only as thought goeth. And when thou hast arrived at the place, thou shalt fashion, from the surroundings, thine own form, hands and arms, and feet and legs, perfectly.

12. The Gods build not only themselves, but plateaux for the inhabitation of millions and millions of other souls risen from the earth.

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13. Man said: Alas, me! Why was I born in darkness?

14. Why was I not created knowing all things from my youth up?

15. Why did not the Creator send His angels with me every day, to satisfy my craving for light from the Almighty?

16. Kosmon answered: Hadst thou not craved for light, thou hadst not been delighted to receive light. Hadst thou been created with knowledge, thou couldst not be an acquirer of knowledge.

17. Had the Creator given thee angels to be forever giving thee light, then they would be slaves.

18. Liberty is the boon of men and angels; the desire for liberty causeth the soul of man to come out of darkness.

19. Whoso feeleth that he hath no need of exertion, groweth not in spirit. He hath no honor on the earth or in the heavens thereof.

20. Man said: This is my comfort. Man nowadays is not so foolish as the ancients.

21. They worshipped before idols of stone and wood.

22. They built temples and pyramids so costly that they ruined themselves.

23. Seffas said: O vain man! In the day thou abusest the ancients, thou sendest thy son to college, and enforcest him to study the ancients.

24. Thy standing armies hold the nations of the earth in misery greater than did the temples and pyramids. And as for drunkenness and dissolute habits, and for selfishness, thou art worse than the ancients.

25. God said: O man, turn thou from the dead past; learn from the Ever Living Present!

26. What is thy wisdom for the raising up of the poor and the distressed, more than was that of the ancients?

27. Is it better for thee to hold up a book and say: Behold a most sacred and holy book! than for the ancients to say: Behold a sacred and holy temple!

28. Seffas said: Consider the established things; in one age one thing; in another age another thing.

29. To make man break away from all the past, and live by the Light of the Ever Present, is this not the wisest labor?

Next: Chapter V