part of the spiritual world you see ground that is frozen solid and bodies of water frozen solid, with snowdrifts on them. The people who move to that area are people who had put their intellect to sleep in this world by giving it no energy for spiritual thinking; as a result they had no energy for doing anything useful either. They are called the spirits of the north.

[2] On one occasion a longing came over me to see a region in the frigid zone where the spirits of the north live. Therefore I was led in the spirit to the north all the way to an area where the ground was completely covered in snow and all forms of water were frozen solid.

It was a Sunday. I noticed that the people (meaning spirits) were about as tall as people in the world. Because of the cold, they wore a lion's skin on their head with the lion's mouth over their mouth. They wore leopard skins over their bodies, front and back, down to their thighs. They wore a bearskin on their feet and lower legs.420

I saw many of them riding in carriages. Some were riding in carriages carved in the form of a dragon with horns sticking out in front. The carriages were being drawn by small horses whose tails were cut off. The horses were charging around like terrifying wild animals. The driver, holding the reins in his hands, was constantly goading and forcing the horses on their way.

After a while I saw that the crowds were flocking to a church that I had not noticed because it was buried in snow. The church caretakers were heaving the snow aside, digging out access for the arriving worshipers. The worshipers got out of their carriages and entered the church.

[3] I too was allowed to go in and see the church building from the inside. It was lit with a great many lamps and lanterns. The altar was made out of a hewn stone. Behind it hung a plaque with an inscription: The divine Trinity, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who are essentially one God but personally three.

A priest was standing next to the altar. After kneeling three times before the plaque above it, he eventually ascended the stairs into the pulpit with a book in his hand.

The first topic of his sermon was the divine Trinity. He cried out, "What a great mystery! God most high bore a Son from eternity and through him brought forth the Holy Spirit. The three of them are connected by their essence but separate in their tasks: assigning, redeeming, and putting into effect. But if we let our reason examine these points, our sight will be blinded. We will develop a blind spot like people who stare straight at the naked sun. Therefore, my listeners, on these points we should hold our intellect under obedience to faith."

[4] Then he cried out again and said, "What a great mystery our holy faith is! We believe that God the Father assigns the Son's justice and sends the Holy Spirit, who then uses the assigned justice to work the benefits of justification, which are, briefly, forgiving sins, renewing, regenerating, and saving. Yet of the Holy Spirit's inflowing or action we have no more awareness than did Lot's wife after she turned into a statue of salt.421 About its indwelling or condition we have no more awareness than a fish in the sea. My friends, a treasure lies in our faith, yet it is so well hidden that not a particle of it shows. Therefore in this respect also we should hold our intellect under obedience to faith."

[5] After sighing a few times, he cried out once more and said, "What a great mystery is the process of becoming chosen people! We become chosen when God assigns the faith to us. He assigns that faith with free choice and pure grace to whomever he wants whenever he wants to. We are like a log of wood as he pours it in, but we become like a tree afterward. Pieces of fruit, which are good works, do indeed hang from that tree (which is a symbol for our faith), but they are not integral to it. The value of the tree is not based on its fruit. My brothers and sisters, because this sounds like it contradicts our religion yet is a mystical truth, here again we should hold our intellect under obedience to faith."

[6] Then after quite a delay while he stood as if he were drawing some further point out of his memory, he went on to say, "From a mountain of mysteries I will choose just one more. Spiritually speaking we don't have a speck of free choice. As the top hierarchy and leaders of our order state in their handbooks of theological principles, we are unable to will, think, or understand anything in the arenas of faith and salvation, which are specifically labeled as spiritual. We are even incapable of adapting and applying ourselves to learning about faith and salvation. Therefore I myself would say that on our own we're incapable of drawing on reason to think about faith and salvation, and of drawing on thought to babble about it, except like a parrot, a magpie, or a raven. Spiritually speaking we are actually donkeys. Only physically are we human. But, my colleagues, before your reasoning faculty becomes uncomfortable, let's hold the intellect under obedience to faith as we've done in relation to other issues.

"Our theology, you see, is a bottomless pit. If you let your intellect look into it, you'll be shipwrecked and swallowed up, and you'll perish.

Now hear me well—we are still nonetheless in the very light of the Gospel that shines high above our heads. Watch out for the pain, though, [that the light can cause]! Thankfully, the hairs on our head and the bones in our skull block and prevent that light from penetrating the private space of our intellect."

[7] After he finished his remarks, he came down from the pulpit and offered votive prayers at the altar, and the worship service came to an end.

Afterward I went over to a group of people who were talking together. The priest was there also. The people standing there said to the priest, "We wish to express our undying gratitude to you for a sermon that was both magnificent and rich in wisdom."

I asked them, "Did you understand anything?"

"We took it all in with open ears," they answered. "But why do you ask whether we understood it? Isn't the intellect too stupid to understand these topics?"

To what they had said the priest added, "Because you heard and did not understand, you are blessed, since you have salvation as a result."

[8] Later on I talked to the priest. I asked whether he had a postgraduate degree. He answered, "I have a master's degree."

Then I said, "Sir, I heard you preaching mysteries. If you know of those mysteries but you don't know what they contain, you don't know anything. The mysteries are then just like a treasure chest bolted shut with three locks. Unless you open it up and look inside, which would require your intellect, you don't know whether the things inside are precious, worthless, or toxic. They could be the eggs of a poisonous snake and the webs of spiders, as Isaiah describes in chapter 59, verse 5."

At that, the priest glared at me severely.

The worshipers went out and climbed aboard their carriages, drunk on paradoxes, knocked senseless by meaningless expressions, and wrapped in darkness regarding all aspects of faith and the means of being saved.

The second memorable occurrence. On one occasion I was turning over in my thinking [the question of] what level of our mind theological issues occupy. Because they are spiritual and heavenly I started out thinking they must occupy the highest level in us. (The human mind is differentiated into three levels, like a three-story house. Similarly, the homelands of the angels are differentiated into three heavens.)

Then an angel appeared standing next to me and said, "In those who love the truth because it is true, theological issues rise even to the highest level. The heaven of such people is on that level, and they have the light

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