The Labyrinth of the World and the Paradise of the Heart (1901)/Chapter 37




(The First Conversion is the Work of God.)

Now, when I cease speaking, and am still shaking with fear, I hear above me a mysterious voice that said "Return!" And I lift my head to see who was calling; but I see nothing, not even my guide Searchall; for he, too, had now forsaken me.

2. And lo! now a voice again resounded "Return!" Then knowing not how to turn back, nor whither to go out of this darkness, I began to sorrow, when lo! the voice again called: "Return whence thou camest to the house of the heart, and then close the doors behind thee."

(The Second Conversion requires our own Endeavours also.)

3. This counsel I obeyed as well as I could, and it was well with me that I thus obeyed God, who had counselled me; but this was yet a gift from Him. Then collecting my thoughts as best I could, I closed my eyes, ears, mouth, nostrils, and abandoned all contact with external things. Then I entered into the innermost of my heart, and behold! everything therein was darkness. But when, with blinking eyes, I gaze a little around me, I behold a weak light that penetrated through the crevices; and I see above me, in the vaulting of this my little chamber, what appeared to me a large, round, glassy window; but it had been so much soiled and bedaubed that scarce any light came through it.

(Description of Corrupt Nature.)

4. Then, looking around me by means of this dim, scant light, I see on the walls certain small pictures of, as it seemed, sometime pretty work; but the colours had faded, and some portions of the pictures had been hewn off, or broken off. Approaching them more closely, I see on them inscriptions such as Prudence, Meekness, Justice, Chastity, Temperance, and so forth. Then in the middle of the chamber I see divers broken and damaged ladders, and pincers and ropes, that had been damaged and scattered about; item, large wings with plucked plumes; lastly, clock-works with broken or bent cylinders, dents, and little columns; and all this was scattered about at random, here and there.

(Corrupt Nature cannot be mended by Worldly Wisdom.)

5. And I wondered what was the purpose of these implements, how and by whom they had been injured, and how they could be repaired. Now thinking of this and considering it, I could devise naught; but hope arose in me that He who by His call had led me to this chamber, whoever He might be, would again address me, and further instruct me. For that of which I had here seen but the beginning pleased me well, both because my little chamber had not the evil smell of the other places, through which I had passed in the world, and also because I found not here rustle and rush, noise and crash, unrest and reeling to and fro, tussling and violence (things of which the world is full). Here everything was quiet.

  1. As I have already mentioned, Komensky has not indicated the division of his book into two parts by any external signs; the numbering of the chapters and pages continues uninterrupted throughout the whole work.