In the two chapters I read, Jeremiah 9 and John 18, you saw two men who have experienced great disappointments. Jeremiah was a great patriot and a man of the Old Testament. He wept for his people at the same time that he passed on to them the Word of God. He predicted what would happen to his people and what his nation would go through. That which the prophet said in his time is related to and refers to the present epoch also.
Jesus was the second person who experienced great disappointments. John spoke about him: He came into the world and gave the truth to mankind, but not only did they not accept Him, they also exposed Him to the blows of the Roman soldiers. They told Him that they had no need of such a man. So we see that everything Jeremiah predicted to the Israelite nation came to pass; everything Christ preached to the Jews was fulfilled. He said to them: Henceforth, ye will not see me until you say: Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord! And we see that for two thousand years the Jews have been bearing the consequences of their mistake.
You will probably say that the Jews were great sinners since they did not recognize Christ and thus crucified Him. But which man is not crucifying Christ even to this day? The young and the old, the educated and the ignorant are crucifying Christ even to this day. People often act like Peter; they draw out the sword to defend the truth. Truth cannot be defended by a sword. Peter, moreover, did not attack with his sword one of the leading men, but struck a soldier and cut off his ear. What sort of a war is this in which men cut off their ears, heads, hands, feet, etc.? Christ said to Peter: "Put up again the sword in its place: for all that take the sword shall perish by the sword." Actually, war cannot be carried on with one or even many swords. Maiming people is not war. Moreover, when Peter put up his sword, he denied Christ thrice.
Today, all people know how to fight with arms, but they can not fight with love. All men can fight with the ancient sword - the tongue - but no one can fight with the new sword -love. You prick everyone with your tongue, right and left, cutting off one man's ear, another man's nose, hand, foot, etc. If you are told to hold your tongue, you draw up your sword and run away. You wonder what you will do when you stop thrusting your sword and pricking other people with your tongue. This is what the good, not the evil people are wondering about. As far as evil men are concerned, we can say nothing about them now. Good people are very wayward. There are no people more willful than they. Even upright men are wayward.
What does "willfullness" mean to you? What sort of a man is the wayward man? You meet a man clad in a pure white silk suit. Out of carelessness you spot his suit with ink. When he notices the spot, he throws a glance at you and immediately his heart throbs. He is discontented because his suit is spotted.
He may appear calm on the outside, pretending that he is not disturbed, but his heart has already throbbed. The throb of the heart speaks of human waywardness. What should that man have done in this given case? Upon looking at his spotted suit, he should have thought of the numerous times he has spotted the garment of the upright man, or of the saint. Since that fact applies to him, based on the same law, his suit should also be spotted. Why, then, should he worry? He worries because he is afraid of what other people will think of him, whether they will label him as an unclean and careless person. Such is the character of waywardness. Therefore, guard yourselves against the evil and criminal men, but also guard yourselves against wayward men whose hearts are ready to throb in discontent for a mere spot on their clothes.
As I speak in this way, many people will feel concerned and offended. But I neither condemn anyone nor have anyone in mind; I am speaking in principle. When Christ addressed the crowd: "Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites," He did not have any particular persons in mind. He was speaking in principle. We are not interested in the mistakes of people. It is of no benefit to us to bring out the mistakes of people. We do not gain anything by their mistakes. Pointing out people's mistakes is like performing a surgical operation on them. In such an operation the surgeon can not avoid staining his hands. If you are a surgeon, at least you will receive four or five thousand leva for an operation and they will thank you for helping the sick person. If you as a saint make an operation on some sinner, not only will you receive neither money nor thanks from people, but also you will be insulted for not knowing how to operate. These are, according to me, the wayward saints in the world. The present day saints whom men serve are the wayward people in the world.
There are two kinds of saints: one type is wayward, the other is not. The formers have a high opinion of themselves and want to be considered by other people as pure and saintly men. They constantly talk about their troubles and sufferings. The second kind of saints are those of love. They are plainly clad and pass for ordinary people; no one suspects what wealth they possess. They help everyone they meet on their way. These saints may be mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, servants, masters, teachers or students. You can meet these saints everywhere. They are ideal workers in the Divine field. They are a worthy example to follow; they work incessantly without speaking about what they are doing.
Contemporary men experience great disappointments since they consider themselves to be unfortunate in not having attained what they have desired. Study the history of great men and see which of them attained what he expected., While still alive he was persecuted, insulted and ignored, but after his death a monument was placed on his grave with the inscription: "Here rests such and such a great man!" When people find his works, they begin to publish them and earn money by his name. While Botev was on earth he was persecuted, and finally, in his youth, he was killed. After his death, people began to write hooks about his service to Bulgaria, and to this day his memory is honored. How can Botev's heroism help Bulgaria? Or, of what benefit were the prophecies of Jeremiah to the Israelites? They were of no benefit. The prophet addressed the Jewish nation with the words: "The way you walk is not the right way, and no good is awaiting you. If you want to save yourselves from the evil which is following you, you must forsake your sinful paths and lead a good life." Christ also said to the Jews: You must leave your father and mother, deny yourselves and then come and follow me. This means: You must leave your old life and start living a new, Divine way. In order to reach this state, you must change your old conceptions and humanity must radically alter its entire philosophical thought.
Christ said that the man must leave his wife; the wife must leave her husband; the son must leave his mother; the daughter must leave her father; the servant must leave his master; the rich man must give up his riches; the judge must leave his service and the professor his lectern. What greater contradiction could possibly exist than that - to leave everything, deny yourself and then follow Christ? Suppose that some people would take these truths literally. What would they do then? Everyone would put a wooden cross on his back and start out for some place. He himself would not know where he was going. Many heroes of war wear one or more crosses as symbols of heroism. Many Christians wear crosses on their necks. Of what benefit are these crosses to people today? People pick up their crosses and look like workmen who carry crosses on their backs, but they do not know in what direction to head. Christ said: "Take up your cross and follow me." However, by these words he meant something entirely different. By the word "cross" Christ meant bearing life's burdens with patience, for the cross is the symbol of patience. He who consciously bears his cross locks calmly and patiently on all things which take place in the world.
Should you cry that an eggshell is broken and that a chicken has come out of it? Should you cry that a precious stone has sacrificed itself for man? Why should you cry for a daughter who is saving her father? Why should you cry for the son who is saving his mother? Why should you cry for the servant who is sacrificing himself for his master? Why should you cry for the professor who is sacrificing himself for his science? All that men cry about is transitory. Nothing of the present order and life will remain. The present life is a preface to the new life which is coming. Life today is similar to that of the egg. Men will not remain forever in baskets. One day they will be taken out of the baskets and placed under the hen. After a while they will be hatched, and out of them will come little chickens which will enter the new conditions of life. If the hen, does not hatch them, the prince of this world will come, he will break them and fry them in his pan with a little bit of butter. Life is serious and beautiful. Do not take a superficial attitude toward it. All men before you have passed through trials; you also will pass through them. There is no man on earth who has not, or shall not, suffer. Everyone will pass through specific trials at the appointed time.
Men are afraid of leaving the earth, because they do not know what will become of them. What will become of a cow which leaves its environment and enters that of human beings? Will it lose anything? Yes, it will lose its horns and its hoofs, but in place of that, it will receive something better and more valuable. What will a man lose if he leaves his environment and enters that of the angels? He will lose his bad tongue, but he will gain something valuable and good. Christ said of such a tongue: "Put up your sword!" You can do nothing with such a tongue. You will embitter rather than correct men with such a tongue. Christ also had a sword, but He did not draw it against the Roman soldiers, as Peter did. He asked them: Whom are you seeking? If you seek me, here I am! I shall give you what you want, but leave the others alone.
When I speak about Christ, his best quality - patience -stands out in my mind. Men speak about the great sufferings of Christ, but I do not dwell upon these sufferings for long. For me his sufferings have a secondary importance. Of prime importance, however, is the patience with which he bore all the revilings, insults, and mockeries which an entire regiment of Roman soldiers hurled at him. In the face of all that, Christ stood calm and undisturbed, as if nothing were happening. His eyes did not shed one tear. Those who saw that marveled at his great patience, self-control and love. This is what it means to be a rock which can not be shaken. When Christ was entering Jerusalem, he shed some tears, but when he was tortured by the Roman soldiers he did not shed one tear) he remained calm and quiet. However, these soldiers consequently became the best workers for Christ's Teaching.
Now let us leave aside the question of the sufferings of Christ. The important thing is to know what patience represents. If, during the greatest trials and sufferings, one cannot show full self-control and cool-headedness, and bear everything with patience, one has no character. Christ carried his cross himself up to a certain place and then he was nailed to it. He had the strength to turn to his mother and tell her that there was someone who would care for her. Then he turned to one of his disciples and asked him to take care of his mother, as he himself would have done. What greater man could you find than the one nailed to the cross two thousand years ago, who looked calmly at all that was done to him? During the whole time he kept quiet, but when he had to do good, he asked the men to release his hands to perform the good and then to nail them again. Finally, Christ turned to God with the words: "Lord, why hast Thou forsaken me?" He was in a great conflict. He was sent by God to preach to people the great science of life, but they did not accept him. Not only did they reject him, they exposed him to the greatest insults and revilings, after which they crucified him. Finally, Christ understood that only Love has the power to set the world right. When he understood that, he sighed and commended his spirit into the hands of his father.
If Christ was reviled, persecuted and crucified, do you think that the present Christians will pass through another way? They think that they will live well, because Christ came to save people and sacrificed himself for them. Men can live well only under the condition that they fulfill the will of God. Christ also said: "I did not come to do my own will, but the will of Him that sent me." We say that love will correct the world and set it right. However, the law of Moses will precede the coming of love. Men will pass first through such great trials, they will suffer and experience such tortures as they have-never even thought about. There will be no suffering which they will not experience, after which God's blessing will come upon then through the law of love. First, the plowman will plow the ground. All useless grasses and weeds will be uprooted, the wild trees will be grafted and the whole old culture reformed. When all that has passed, the sower will come to sow the new seed upon the plowed, cultivated ground. He will level the soil over the seed and wait for the seed to sprout up, to blossom forth and give abundant fruit.
People today are afraid when they hear that the old will be destroyed. The old must be destroyed! If it is not destroyed, the new cannot come. The wheat cannot grow unless you pluck out the weeds in the field. The weeds must be plucked out; otherwise they will choke the wheat. As soon as the weeds are plucked out, the new wheat will sprout up and give some thirty, others sixty, and still others one hundred. Apply the same law to yourselves. Yoke three pairs of oxen in your plow in order to plow your uncultivated land. As soon as your land is plowed and the weeds are plucked out, sow the new seed. Patience is required for this work. You all expect the world to be set right, but you do not know whence this rectification will come. The world will be rectified by silence. You will keep silent and bear everything patiently as Christ did on the cross. They will beat and insult you, but you will bear it patiently. After you have passed your test successfully, love will come and prove to you that it is the only means by which the world can be corrected.
Therefore, he who wants to attain love must pass through the greatest trials and sufferings. If he can not endure the great sufferings, he can not experience love either. No one can taste love until he has tasted suffering. Suffering precedes love. When a son says he loves his father, he is deceiving himself. The son loves the father truly only after the father has gone to the other world. Some woman says she loves her husband. That woman will know how much she has loved her husband only after he has gone to the other world. Then she will remember his goodness, point out his good qualities and think of him. The same can be said about the man. While his wife is living, he does not appreciate her, nor does he want to know anything about her. But as soon as she enters the other world, he begins to value her and to be aware of his great loss. As long as people are in a family or society, they do not love one another. As soon as one of them leaves, they begin to love him. When Christ was on earth, men did not love him; they wanted to become free of him. As soon as he left the earth, they began to love him and to follow his path.
When I speak about the man and the woman, I consider them as principles and not as external forms. If you regard them as external forms, you will be misled. Many say that men must not marry. This question stands differently. If one says that he must not marry, then he must not be born either; but man must be born to taste of suffering. Birth is a limitation of the human soul. After dying, one tastes joy. Every soul is an angel who leaves heaven and conies to be incarnated on the earth, in order to live a limited human life. Within these limitations men pass through sufferings. Since they pass through sufferings, they will pass through love also. Only then will the soul return to heaven to taste the full joy. You cannot taste love if you have not tasted suffering.
As men experience great suffering, they fall into a conflict and ask why the world is made this way. Can we not live without suffering? I never ask myself this question, because I know that suffering precedes love. Behind every suffering love stands as a rear guard. However, the contrary can not be said. We cannot by any means say that suffering stands behind love. There is love behind suffering, but there is no suffering behind love. When you first experience love and then suffering, that is not love. He who experiences love first and suffering afterward is not on the right path. He has made some mistake in his judgment of things; as a result he has mistaken suffering for love. When a man experiences first suffering and then love as a result, he is on the right path. He who has not experienced any suffering can not find love. He who has passed through suffering will find love - the greatest wealth in the world. It pays to pass through suffering, in order to find the greatest wealth in the world. The power of man is hidden in this wealth. When man acquires love, he becomes so powerful and mighty that he is in a condition to resist all storms, all trials and all hindrances. If such a man takes out his sword, he does not put it up as Peter did.
When Peter drew his sword, Christ said to him: "Put your sword back in its place." Peter had not yet passed through suffering and had not attained love, yet he hurried to draw his sword against his enemy. Only he who has attained love can draw his sword. When such a man draws his sword, all his enemies flee. Today Christ has drawn his biggest sword and is waving it right and left, striking everyone who does not obey him. Do not think that Christ is weak and soft. He stops everyone he meets and asks him: Will you walk in the way of God? - I will not. - If you will not walk in it, you will see what will become of you. He hits him with his sword and continues on. He meets a second man and asks him: Will you walk in the way of God? - I will. - Take out your sword and follow me. You also should take out your swords and strike everyone you meet. However, do not strike men with your tongue, but rather with your love. When you hit someone with your new sword - the sword of love -see that you make him fall down without maiming him. The Important thing is to disarm your enemy, not to maim him. This is the way to fight with the sword of love. This is what it means to pass from death into life.
What do people do today? When they want revenge, they maim and kill one another, commit suicide, etc. We recognize only one kind of suicide - with the sword of love. When one commits suicide with that sword, he falls on the earth and passes from death into life. When love hits man, he falls on the ground as does the grain of wheat in the field, and enters a new life. Christ said to Peter: "Put your sword back in its place! The cup that the Father gave me, shall I not drink it?" It was because of this cup that Christ found love. Therefore, all men must find this cup, in order to enter into the law of love. As soon as they find love, each one will conquer his own world. When everyone has conquered his own world, the external world will also be conquered, i.e., set
As you listen to me speak about suffering as a precursor of love, some say: This is an old philosophy and we have tested it. - No, you do not know this philosophy yet. Why? Because you have tasted suffering only to a certain extent, but none of you has tasted love yet. You do not know what love is. When you pass through suffering you will hear the first word of love. As soon as you hear the voice of love, you will rise, revive and resurrect. Thus you must all pass through suffering so that you may enter into joy, or the life of love. You say: Is there not some side-road? Is there no condescension for us? Since Christ has suffered for the redemption of humanity, is it not possible for us to avoid suffering? Can the law not be made leas strict for us? No. No condescension, no softening of the law is possible. All men without exception will experience suffering. We are glad that the cup of suffering is already given to contemporary humanity. They must drink it, for in back of it is love. If they do not drink the cup, love will not come. When the torrent of suffering ends, love will come and open up the gates of the new life.
How you will understand the new life is up to you. When the Spirit of Truth comes, he will instruct you in all things. You ask in which direction to pray - east or west. Men can pray in every direction. If someone comes to beat you and twist your head toward the east, in which direction will you pray? You will pray toward the east. If he turns your head west, south or north, you will pray in the direction in which your head is turned. You will pray in the direction of the suffering. Be grateful that the suffering has come. It is the first sign that the hand of benediction works on man to correct him. Suffering is a great blessing for him who understands the laws. Suffering lasts a short time in comparison to what love brings. It is said that the apostle Paul was raised to the seventh heaven and after seeing it, he said: "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard that which God has prepared for them who love Him." This means: Eye has not seen, nor ear heard that which is prepared for those who have passed through suffering and are entering love.
Many people complain about suffering and become discouraged and faint in spirit. Why? Because they have expected something else. The disciples of Christ expected that Christ would become king and that they would acquire a high social position, but it did not turn out as they had expected. When they realized that suffering comes before the blessing, many of then departed. Today the world is in need of strong men. Two thousand years ago the disciples of Christ were scattered, but it would be a shameful thing if they also ran away today. It is dangerous to run away now. He who runs away will be shot in the back. He who walks ahead will be shot in the chest. If you are wounded in the cheat, you are a hero. If you are wounded in the back, you are a coward. Where was Christ wounded, in the back or in the chest? He was wounded in the chest» because he was going forward. Christ was a hero. The Roman soldiers pierced his side with a spear and blood flowed out. Many Christians today are wounded in the back and they still wear a badge of heroism. He who is wounded in the back is not a hero. The true hero must be wounded with a spear in the front part of his body, in the middle part below the ribs. I do not wish to meet heroes wounded in the back. They are not heroes. Praise is due to him who is wounded in the chest. If I see you wounded in the back, I shall say to you: There is no sorrow back of love, but there is no love either. Therefore, if you want to be heroes, you must be wounded in the chest, not in the back. Your hearts and not your bodies must be wounded. He who exposes his body to suffering but guards his heart, does not understand life. He who exposes his heart to suffering, but guards his body, has understood life and the Divine way. This is heroism - to expose your heart, but to guard your body.
Thus the hearts of all people must be wounded. Why? Because sin is in the hearts. If someone does not come to pierce the hearts of men, the evil cannot be released. The evil will escape through the wound in the heart and man will be free of it. Ministers, scientists, writers - all say that evil is hidden in the human heart. Today man is fighting to liberate his heart from the evil, which has planted itself there. But he must pass through great trials and sufferings in order to liberate it. Suffering is a way of liberation. Every man, inevitably, must pass the boundary of sufferings in order to enter the world of love and understand the Great life. Since you know this, do not be afraid of suffering. Suffering is the hand of the Supreme One, Which is directing man. This idea is expressed in the verse: "Seek me in the day of sorrow." To seek God in your grief does not mean that you are a weak man. Strong or weak, man must suffer. He who suffers is a real man; he who does not suffer is not a man. The distinguishing quality of man is suffering. Only man is capable of suffering. The animal feels torment, but man suffers. The opposite pole of suffering is joy. When someone suffers, another man is happy; when someone is happy, another man suffers. The suffering of one is the joy of another and the joy of one is the suffering of another.
How long will men suffer? Until they come to the real joy which proceeds from love. No matter how you may imagine or expect joy, you must know that in order to attain it, you must first pass through suffering. There is no other way. Suffering is the way to joy. Christ was the first to take the path of suffering. Many good people have taken and are taking the same path. You will say that this path is bad and uncomfortable. No, this way is difficult only at the beginning. The farther you go, the more beautiful and light it becomes.
"Put away your sword! The cup that the Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?" In other words: Put the fear of suffering aside! Do not let this fear cause you to stumble, since through suffering you will find the true way of life and realize what it is to serve the Great Love which sets all things right in the world. This concerns the whole of humanity as well as the separate individual.
Great and powerful is the man of love both on heaven and on earth. Christ performed miracles with the love of God. When he found himself in the midst of his greatest sufferings, Christ said: "Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit." This shows that in the most fearful moment of his life, he did not lose faith in love. After that, God raised him up. Christ attained love, which he expressed in the verse: "All power is given to me both in heaven and on earth." Me attained that power after he drank the bitter cup.
Any man can say: "All power is given to me." When can he say this? Only after he has drunk the bitter cup which the Father has given him. When you are given such power, what can you be afraid of? In order not to fear, you must pass through great troubles and trials. Only then will salvation come. Then the resurrection of the human soul will come as well.
Now let each one of you ask himself what he has been in the time of Christ, a disciple or a mere observer? It has been said only of the disciple that he has taken out his sword. What were the others doing at that time? All the disciples of Christ, however, were told to go and preach the great teaching of love in the world. Love will show men the new path, which all good people have taken and are taking, in order to enter the kingdom of God. Then the words: "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all things will be added unto you," acquire a new meaning.
I shall give you the following three sentences:
The only way which leads to life is Love.
The only way which leads to knowledge is Wisdom.
The only way which leads to freedom is Truth.
You will attain love on the path of life. You will attain wisdom on the path of knowledge. On the path of freedom you will attain truth.
These are the three paths on which you must walk, in order to attain love, wisdom and truth.
Now I say to you: "Take out your swords! Whatever sword or knife you have, take it out and be armed." How many swords did Christ's disciples take with them? They took two swords, but used only one. Let everyone take his sword and start fighting. With whom? Of course, not with himself, but with his enemy. Everyone has enemies whom he must fight against. Be heroes, do not show yourselves to be weaklings! Many people want others to fight for them, to receive the badge of heroism at last. No, everyone will fight alone.
Apply whatever you have heard and understood today with regard to your strength and possibilities.
The words: "I shall be with you to the end of the world" must not remain vague for you. Have faith in the August One, in His Love. Know that it is not you who are fighting, but rather God Who lives in you.
August 18, 5 A.M.