s he listened to these exalted words, Lazar felt his heart burning with love for the wondrous Creator of men. After a rather long silence and reflection, there came to his mind yet another perplexity, whose resolution he could not find within himself. Thus he decided to pose this question to the heavenly herald: "But explain to me, O herald of God, will not the activity of my people be stifled by slavery? Will not their will for great deeds be dwarfed by the banner of the enemy? And will not the artistic gift given to them by God be snuffed out within them, like the talent buried in the ground?" (Mt. 25:14-30).
     "You are worrying about your people even in your mortal wounds like a father about his children, O lighthouse of your nation. Truly I tell you: such goodness will not be forgotten either by God or by the people. However, what you ask me now bears witness to the fact that you are still in the cage of the body and that you have not been completely freed of earthly delusions. Know, therefore, that in the holy heavens no human deeds are evaluated in and of themselves, but only in the light of the sort of motives and quality of the will with which these deeds are performed. Countries, laws, books, palaces and cities, towers and roads, machines and inventions, devices and gadgets — by themselves all this is an empty nothingness, like an abandoned antheap, like a vacant nest, out of which the swallows have flown away. The greatest cities of men, when viewed from the nearest cloud, are united by the dust of roads, and do not differ from that dust. The tiny bees and the homeless cranes could laugh at your most highly developed empires and say: 'There is better order among ourselves!' If a puny cricket were to stand along side your most loudly acclaimed gadget, he would represent an incomparably greater miracle than that gadget. Or do you think that we in the kingdom of heaven marvel at what you on earth marvel? How could any such works of men stir up envy within us in the spiritual kingdom, who see things unimagined by you and undreamed-of worlds of intransitory nations and creatures of God. O valiant Prince, how difficult it is for a free bird from the mountains to explain things to a bird in a cage! Nevertheless through all their deeds men reveal their will as being either good or evil, and this is what is sensed, weighed, and judged in the spiritual kingdom. A deed is not evaluated according to the deed, but according to the willful motive for that deed.
     "Those who have chosen the kingdom of this world are infinitely different from those who have chosen the kingdom of heaven also in their will, just as they are in both their thoughts and feelings. They have either a mixed or a purely evil will, according to the influence of the natural spirit or the demonic spirit. Consequently their deeds are also either a mixture of good and evil or only evil. Self-will is an evil will. Not even the heavenly angels know what they will do until they inhale God's desire. Every will outside the sphere of God's will is an evil will. If a man wants to do what he wants, he wants to do evil. Through their self-will many people think that they are exhibiting their individuality. By doing this they are in reality only emphasizing the evidence of the absence of individuality and of the tyranny of the world or of hell over them. Just as there is no water in Egypt except for the water from the Nile, so there is no kind of goodness in the souls of men, nor even a good will, outside the eternal and fresh Fountainhead of everything good.
     "However, this truth has vanished from the memory of those who, with their whole soul, drag themselves through the dust. Having fallen away from God's will, the will both meek and almighty, they arrogantly follow their own will. Is this their own will, as they think, or the will of some elements and worlds unknown to them? Nevertheless they think so — that they are following their own will! And as they walk lengthily and swiftly over all those steps, they maintain that they have gone far away; and they call this 'progress.' But when they fall from exhaustion, they realize that they are situated in the very spot from which they initially set out, at the starting point of their forefathers. They deify the works of their hands, as the vain are wont to do, so that they may love only gods lower than themselves.
     "However, when they begin to look for happiness from their handmade deities, these idols impudently direct them to suicide as the only deliverance. For death is the bottomless abyss into which all human philosophies, all human feelings, and all human deeds irretrievably and irredeemably plunge, when they are outside the living and life-creating Sustainer of all. Every day self-deception after self-deception slaps those who have chosen the kingdom of this world, yet in spite of this they tirelessly build themselves a tower of happiness out of earthen bricks until they plunge into the abyss of death without ever even having glimpsed the face of happiness. They proclaim their ancestors mad, because they have vainly been seeking happiness in their own ways and not in the ways of their forefathers. By proclaiming their ancestors mad, they have testified that they are the children of lunatics. And in the end, after they have accomplished nothing and attained nothing of what was desired, they bequeath a testament to their offspring — to seek happiness on the same roads where they found none.
     "Know, O marvelous founder of Lazarica Church, that this day is a turning point for your people, not for evil but for good. Being the forgetfulness of God's will, mindless self-will had pulled the nation's soul to the abyss of eternal death. From now on your people must obey a foreign will, so that they may learn to obey the will of God. They must be subjugated to the self—will of their tyrants, so that thereby they may come to despise their own tyranny over themselves. Through the labors and toils of the centuries to come, they will thus learn to hate two bad wills, two self-wills, their own and that of their masters. Constricted and under pressure from every direction, your people will be able to grow only skyward, like a tree in a dense forest, and will therefore seek light only in the skies. In the skies they will seek out the radiant will of their Creator, and they will find it easily, because they will have nothing but the third will to seek, since they will have come to despise both their own will and the foreigners' will. Easily they will find it, like an old acquaintance, whom they once knew but then forgot. Once they find it and recognize it, they will rejoice over it like an orphan who has been kidnapped and then returned to his father. The will of the Creator will be sweeter than milk and honey to them, and the more they drink of it, the sweeter it will become. Bareheaded and barefooted they will bow down before the will of the Most High, and yet they will feel more blessed than their unruly lords and their ancestors adorned with gold. Their artistic talent, given in greater or lesser quantity to every living being by the Artist, to whom art and all artists belong, will for them be neither lost nor hindered. Have no fear. True, they will no longer be able to manifest it by constructing towers and cities; nevertheless they will sufficiently display it in their intimate circle, in their domestic handicrafts. These handicrafts will be touching in keeping with the spirit and love, with which they were fashioned; and they will be so exalted in beauty and modesty, that the whole world will be amazed. In all their handiworks will be reflected the mysterious hand of heaven, as well as heavenly harmony and compassion, because everything will express the harmony of the will of man with the will of God. All the works of your enslaved people will be dedicated to God, all will be subjugated to His unerring will, and consequently all will be inspired by the Spirit of sanctity, truth, and beauty. Nevertheless, all these works will in and of themselves be worth nothing in the eyes of the holy heavens, just as any kind of human works are in themselves worth nothing in the eyes of eternity. But their deified will, of which these works are an expression, will inherit eternity.
     "For this reason, O royal soul in frail dust, arise and bow down before the will of the Immortal and Eternal one, the will before which all the nations of heaven bow down day and night. Do not worry about your people, now that you have entrusted them to the will of the Most High. For His will shall be sweeter for your people in slavery than self-will was in frothy worldly lordliness. By choosing the heavenly kingdom you have included your people among the immortal and angelic nations of heaven. As a man and as a prince you were not able to bequeath a greater inheritance to your people than to make such a choice and to confirm it with the red seal of your own blood. Therefore now on this field, as in your own Gethsemane, repeat those salvific words: "Father, let Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven!" Be prepared to pass over at the hour of two from this earthly battlefield to the place of eternal rest. There you will recognize how majestic the will of God is, and how pleasurable obedience to that will is. In it there is not even a drop of malice, not even an instant of weakness, not even a shadow of fatigue. It has created countless worlds, visible and invisible, so that they may taste its goodness and sweetness. From its bounty it pours itself through the spiritual worlds into the forms and embroideries and afflictions of the physical world. That will has accomplished what it alone could accomplish, and has drowned everything in the ocean of its intoxicating joy and gladness. And all that it demands of its children is that they immerse themselves deeply into its immortal and life-creating water."