Deathbed scenes

- Scene 8 -
A minister


12 August 1847

ince also the great lords of the world have to die, against which utterly disagreeable peculiarity of their lives they have still not been able to establish an insurance company, having failed to achieve it despite all their politicking and diplomacy, also our minister had to finally make up his mind to exchange the temporal with the eternal.
For such people dying is the most unpleasant event in the world, but it is of little concern to the angel of death. With whomsoever he finds the well-calibrated measure full, him he takes without grace and pardon.
Our minister, a man revered by all the world on account of his worldly intellect, was in his later years thrown onto his sickbed by a catarrhal fever with gout, which tormented him for half a month, and that the more, the more medicines he took in order to remedy this evil. Towards the end he became angry and threatened the physicians with arrest, unless they would or could restore him to health soon.
However, instead of carrying out his threat, he sank on the sixteenth day of his illness into a coma from which he did not awaken in this world, except one hour shortly before his death. In this hour he made a brief last will as to what should be done with his considerable property, whereby the poor, as usual with such people, were only considered in a beggarly mariner, for what are a few thousand guilders compared to several millions bequeathed?
Thus also the Church was favored pro forma with a bequest, however, not out of some blind faith - for such a person has seldom any faith or none at all and all he ever does is pure politics - but only, as aforementioned, because policy demands it.
Having made this last will, he sank back on his bed and was dead, without taking confession and Communion, of which act he anyway - as far as he was concerned - did not think much. This meant for him the end forever for this world; and so we will not stay any longer with his corpse, but will at once proceed to the "beyond" to find out how our very proud and aristocratic man behaves there.
You see, we are already there, and our man is standing in his complete official robe before us and four veiled angel spirits, where he only sees the latter. The locality is represented by his very state cabinet, where he had intended to attend to some important business.
Now he sees the four clearly in his secret cabinet and can hardly contain his anger over the extreme audacity of these four "rascals", as he thinks. Jumping up and reaching for the bell he tries to ring it, but the bell gives no sound.
"Treason! High treason!" He shouts as loudly as he can. "How did you I miserable scoundrels manage to enter this cabinet, which is accessible only to me and where the most secret and holy mysteria of the state are worked at and kept? Do you know that such high treason is punishable by death? Which of you has tampered with this bell that now, in this decisive moment, it cannot utter a sound? Confess, you villains, which of you was the ringleader?"
The first angel speaks: "Listen patiently and attentively to what I shall now tell you! I am well acquainted with the wise rule according to which no man on earth, except the king, can enter this cabinet. If you were still on earth, you would not have beheld us in this spot. But you see, you have now died in your physical body and are now in the spirit world, where there is only one Lord, whereas all other spirits are brothers, good and bad ones, depending on how they have acted on the earth, in a good or evil manner. Thus we have been given the loving right and duty by the Lord to visit everyone offering him our services, provided he is still, like you, accessible to us.
The commission to you through us of the one Lord is therefore, to inform and reveal to you that here in this eternal world all worldly honor and status, including all politics have ceased to exist; and this cabinet, your robe and all your presumed important state documents are only a deception and have sprung from your fantasy, which is still clinging excessively to the world and will disappear as soon as you will follow us. If you follow us, you will have an easy path to the true, eternal realm of life, where there is immeasurable, uncountable bliss; if, however, you refuse to follow us, you will find it extremely difficult to attain to the living Kingdom of God. For you see, with God's permission you were a great man in the world and had great power. However, through this power the lust for power has awakened mightily in you and this has led you into many a thing not grounded in the divine order. Besides, this worldly power, as lust for power, has also robbed you in many cases of the love for your neighbor and has rendered you totally unsuitable for the Kingdom of God.
But you see, the Lord knows what a heavy burden you had to carry and is feeling great pity for you. So He sent us to you, so that you might be saved and lifted up and not perish under your great worldly burden, which you brought along. Do not think here about a judgment; for in the realm of the freedom of spirit there is no judgment and no judge, except the innate free will of every human being! Do not think of hell either. It is nowhere, except in every person, if that person creates it within himself through his own evil. At the same time, do not think of a heaven as the promised reward for good works. Let the Word of the Lord Jesus be your will, seek Him alone through it! Once you have Him, you have all the heavens and a totally different might out of love than you used to have in the world on account of your worldly cleverness and high position. Now you know everything; do what your free will allows you in the name of the Lord Jesus. Amen."
The minister says: "Truly, your speech is wise and is my token that everything is as you say. It is now also completely clear to me that I have died physically. But I cannot grasp that the certain Jew Jesus should be the sole God and Lord! What then is the "Father" and the "Holy Spirit"? You see, this is not in agreement with the teaching of Jesus, Who was the first to teach everywhere a divine trinity! Therefore, forgive me if I cannot follow you as fast as you desire, unless you quickly convince me of it!"
Says the angel: "Brother, this does not happen as fast as you think. First of all, discard your state robe and put on another one of humility and complete self-denial, and you will soon become fully convinced of that which until now appears inconceivable to you."
The minister replies: "Well then, so take me and show me the right way and carefully scrape everything worldly off my soul, and we will see where you stand with your statement."
Now the other three angels step up, divest the man of the state robe, replacing it with ashen-gray, dirty rags. And the second angel now speaks to him: "Now you are dressed in the dress of humility. But this alone is insufficient, for you must be humble in fact. And so follow us!"
The man follows and look, they arrive at a farm and tell him: "You see, here lives a harsh man who owns great herds of swine. You shall serve him and be contented with anything he will offer you; and if he is harsh and unjust towards you, you shall bear everything with patience and shall only get satisfaction in the Lord's grace and mercy."
"If he strikes you, do not strike back; offer him your back, like a slave, as you have often seen - for the sake of military subordination - a poor soldier lie down against his will on the bench and endure the harsh, often utterly unjust punishment. If you will bear all this with the right patience, a better lot will be your share."
Thereupon says the man: "Many thanks for this guidance! Just give me back my state robe, you imposters, I shall certainly find my own way! Look at the rascals! Out of one like me, who counts at least twenty ancestors, they want to make a swineherd without ado! Oh, if only I were still in the world, I would pay you for this so that you would remember! These vagabonds even pose as God's messengers! No, just wait, being messengers of God will cost you dearly!"
You see, the angels return his state robe to him and say: "As you like. There is your earthly garment! If you refuse to walk the roads of life, walk your own; our service with you is finished."
You see into what sort of "water" our man is moving; there he will have to swim until he reaches the Father by turning back like the Prodigal Son.
Let everyone beware of the lust for power, for it always has the same consequences. Next time a different example!