azar spoke up and asked: "But tell me, radiant citizen of the heavenly kingdom, how will my choosing the heavenly kingdom benefit my people?"
To this the citizen of heaven replied: "Choosing the heavenly kingdom will truly bring ineffable benefit to your people. It will purify their mind, heart, and will. It will thus make their entire soul a shining mirror, in which our immortal world and life will be reflected. The kingdom of heaven will enter into them, and they will be made worthy to enter the kingdom of heaven.
"First, as I said, it will purify their mind. As the head is to the body for you mortals, so the mind is to the soul. And just as one watches over his body with his head, so does one keep watch over his soul with his mind. And even though the seat of the mind is in the heart, its principle sentries are, according to the visible world, in the head. The mind receives through the senses, and then sifts and evaluates. How a man will sift and form a judgment about external impressions, depends ultimately on the spirit, with which his entire soul is inspired, as well as the mind.
"If the heavenly Spirit of God is within a man, then his mind will be pure and strengthened, and will be able to evaluate and judge everything according to its Creator and through its Creator, just as it was said through the mouth of the prophet: "In Thy light shall we see light." Illuminated by the heavenly Spirit of God, the mind of man becomes also deified itself, and thereby becomes radiant, pure, and alert. With the help of heavenly light in itself, it observes and watches all matter and all events; that is, it reads all these clearly and recognizes their meaning and significance. Such a mind, saturated with the Spirit of heaven, does not permit itself to be led astray by any shadow or darkness, hurled by the spirit below, which would sway one into opposition to God or separate him from God.
"Such was the original, pure, and alert mind that the Maker created in man's soul, and He illuminated it with the Spirit from Himself. But as soon as the mind was defiled, it also became lazy, and ceased to be the lord over external impressions. The sentries were worn out, and outsiders have stormed into the city of the mind of man. The mind has lost its heavenly light and along with it its power. It can neither distinguish nor repulse. It bows down before every sensory impression. Furthermore it chases and seeks them and draws them within, without evaluation or common sense.
"With such a darkened and enfeebled mind, man has above all lost his peace. Bereft of peace of soul, he scurries this way and that throughout the world and searches for anything new, without himself being aware that he is not even searching for something new. In actual fact, he is searching for the God he has lost. Through Him he used to be lord of all the creatures around him. Now, he rushes to all his former servants and slaves and asks questions of them as of a lord.
Only the actual meaning of creatures, the light of creatures, no longer enters into him as before. Instead, only their shadows do, and even this only to the extent that physical eyes see them, physical ears hear them, the tongue tastes them, the nose smells them, and the skin touches them. The wheels of the natural universe thunder over the souls of such people as though they were rolling over corpses. The spirits of hell support this trampling and annihilation of man with wicked revelry, while we, the guardians of men's souls, stand aside, according to the command of the Most High; and sorrowfully we watch those, who are losing themselves and perishing with regard to both worlds.
"We spirits see what sort the mind of a man is in reality and totality. But you, being covered with flesh, are not in a position to see so clearly. You evaluate a mind on the basis of its thoughts. Consequently you also are often mistaken. For a perverted mind is often disguised by attractive thoughts, just as an ugly face is with a white veil. But a correct and pure mind again often dissembles itself with foolishness. Therefore I shall now show you the difference between a man who chooses the kingdom of the world and a man who chooses the kingdom of heaven.
"Whatever a man who chooses the earthly kingdom perceives in the world, he accepts as reality and evaluates it in relation to his own benefit. If he looks at a nugget of gold, he does not think of the gold as an object created by God, nor does he seek out the symbolic significance of gold; instead, he thinks only of all the satisfying pleasures he could procure with that gold. If he sees the field of another, he does not think of the miraculousness of the crop that is growing out of the earth; instead, he thinks about how much profit he could make from this field or from another one like it. If he observes a white lamb in a green meadow, he does not think of the lamb as a lamb; instead, he thinks of the lamb as his dinner. If he encounters the wife of another, he does not think of her as a mother nor even as the artistic creation of the immortal Artist; instead, he thinks insulting and shameful thoughts. If he is the ruler of a nation, he does not think with trepidation of his obligation to God and to his people, nor does he ask God for wisdom, so that he can worthily guide his nation. Instead, he only thinks about what the people owe him. Concerning neighboring rulers, however, he thinks only about how he will humble them, topple their governments, and annex their countries. Consequently all the thoughts of the man who chooses the earthly kingdom are corporeal, worldly, and animalistic. His mind is totally darkened to the truth, completely covered with cobwebs. And he spreads the cobwebs of his mind all over himself and these cobwebs are the foolish, darkened, and fallacious thoughts of his mind.
"The man, on the other hand, who chooses the everlasting and immortal kingdom of heaven, thinks about everything through the Creator of all. When he sees gold, he thinks about the One, who created this beautiful metal and hid it beneath the earth. He moreover thinks of the immutable radiance of truth, which that metal signifies from a spiritual perspective, and the virtues of the soul, which it signifies from a moral perspective. When he sees his neighbor's field, he thinks about it first of all as God's property, a field in which God himself is the first and principal worker. Accordingly he praises in his thoughts the labor of the field's master, who has cleared it, fenced it, plowed it, and sown it. And within himself he prays to the Master of the universe to bless the great effort of that man, and to grant fertility to his field so that the man's children can be nourished and will glorify the One who is their Maker. If he sees a lamb in a meadow, he thinks of the all-wise Provider, who so marvelously clothes the lamb, while nourishing and shielding it. If he meets the wife of another, he thinks about her respectfully as about a mother, to whom his and her Father has ordained a special task and way of salvation during this brief exile on earth. If he is the ruler of a nation, he thinks with trepidation of his obligation to God and to his people; He asks God for wisdom, so that he can worthily guide his nation to the glory of the Lord. Within himself he blesses neighboring rulers, and prays to God for them and for their nations as for his own brothers.
"Rejoice, therefore, O chosen one of God, for you have made a righteous choice and have bequeathed a salvific testament to your people. By choosing the heavenly kingdom you have brought God near to your people and your people near to God. Thereby you have entrusted your people to the care of the greatest Physician and Healer, who sees the most hidden wounds of men's souls, and who alone can and knows how to heal them. With bitter remedies He will cleanse the mind of the people, imbue them with the breath of the Holy Spirit, and make them once again radiant and mighty. He will return to them the heavenly mind, with which one thinks like the Bestower of minds. And your people will be liberated from the spirit of earth and hell, and will be qualified to think with the profound, lofty, lucid, spiritual thoughts of angels. With their mind they will surpass both their ancestors from the time of freedom and their conquering masters. The works, which your people will manifest during the centuries of bondage, will be the radiant expression of their radiant mind and will be to the astonishment of distant generations in freedom.
"Thus will the mind of your people be cleansed, healed, deified and elevated to heaven. In their thoughts will be reflected the infinite mind of the One, who is all Mind, in which a wrongful thought can neither be conceived nor enter from anywhere. The light of the sun is darkness compared to the light of this eternal Mind. And crystal is like opaque granite compared to the lucidity and brilliance of His thoughts. All the heavenly powers are mindful of the pre-eternal Mind of their Creator. This Mind is of Him and in Him. In Him it is eternally being born, and from Him it is illuminating with wisdom every creature in heaven and beneath heaven. He knows everything without inquiring. He sees everything in an instant without looking with His eyes. He moves and guides everything without moving from place to place. Without Him there is no true mind. Nowhere are there any correct thoughts in opposition to His thoughts."