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Chapter 1 Bishop Martin

THE END OF OLD BISHOP MARTIN'S TEMPORAL EXISTENCE, AND HIS ARRIVAL IN THE BEYOND.

1. A bishop who had always been very conscious of his dignity as well as his dogma fell ill for the last time.

2. He, who even still as an assistant priest, had been wont to paint the joys of heaven in the oddest colors and to describe the delights and bliss in the realm of the angels with great enthusiasm, not forgetting to mention hell and purgatory, did not yet desire, even as an old man of almost eighty, to take possession of his much praised heaven. He would have preferred another thousand years on this earth to a future heaven with all its delights and bliss.

3. Therefore, our sick bishop did everything in his power to restore his health. He had to be surrounded by the best physicians. Powerful masses had to be celebrated in all the churches of his diocese; all the sheep of his flock were asked to pray for his life. In his sick-room an altar had been erected at which mass had to be celebrated three times every morning to help restore his health, whereas, in the afternoon, three of the most pious monks had to keep praying the breviary in front of the consecrated host.

4. He himself kept uttering: "Oh, Lord, have mercy upon me! Holy Mary, beloved mother, help me! Have mercy upon my dignity and grace as prince-bishop for your Son's glory! Oh, do not forsake your most faithful servant, you helper in need, you sole support of the afflicted."

5. But all this did not help. Our man fell into a coma from which he did not awaken again in this world.

6. You know of the "highly important" ceremonial for a deceased bishop, and we need not waste any time with its description. Instead, let us look around in the spirit world to see what our man will be doing there.

7. Look, here we are - and there our man can be seen still lying on his bed; while the heart is still warm the angel does not sever the soul from the body. This warmth constitutes the nerve spirit which has to be wholly absorbed by the soul before complete severance can be undertaken.

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