Chapter 2 Bishop Martin


1. After having stood in the same spot for some hours without anything happening, time (also in the natural sphere of the spirit world there exists something like our notion of time) seems to be dragging, and our man once more starts a monologue:

2. "How odd, now I've been standing here for half an eternity and nothing has changed. Nothing is moving - neither the moss nor a hair on my head or my robe! Whatever is going to happen?

3. Could it be possible that I am condemned to remain here forever? No, no, that just couldn't be! It would be hell! And if this were the case, the ghastly clock of hell would be visible with its terrifying pendulum calling with every swing - 'ever' and then again, 'never.' Oh, how terrible!

4. Thank God that I do not see this awful thing! Or, maybe it appears only after Doomsday. I wonder whether the sign of the Son of Man will be appearing on the horizon? How many millions of years have I been standing here, and how much longer will I have to stand waiting for Doomsday?

5. In the world nothing was pointing to the approach of Doomsday, and here in the spirit world there is even less evidence! If my faith were not so firm, I might begin to doubt the coming of Doomsday and, altogether, the truth of the whole Gospel!

6. Isn't it odd that all the old prophets seemed to be saying very much the same as the Oracle of Delphi, that is, that these prophecies can be understood one way or another, and interpreted as required. And the Holy Ghost of the Gospel must be a rare bird, for it hasn't been seen since the time of the disciples!

7. My faith is still very firm, but whether it will remains so under the present circumstances, I honestly can't say.

8. There even seems to be something wrong with the much praised Mary of my Church, as well as the saints! Otherwise, Mary would have answered my prayers. I have the feeling as if some millions of years have passed since my physical death, and there is not a trace of the Mother of God, nor of her Son or any of the saints. Fine helpers in need they are!

9. If I didn't have such a strong faith I wouldn't be still standing here in this forsaken spot; only my faith is keeping me here. But not for much longer! I would be a fool if I kept standing here for another million years. Sufficient that I've been a fool on earth, and it is time I made an end to this fruitless comedy!

10. On earth I was at least well paid, and it was worth my while to play the fool there. However, as my experience of millions of years has now revealed, there is nothing to the whole thing, and I will renounce all this nonsense."

11. Look, now he is going to leave this spot, after the angel has given him the feeling as if the few hours spent here have been millions of years. He is still standing firmly in the one spot, looking around timidly as if to choose the best way. Looking towards the west, it appears to him as if something were moving in the distance, and he says to himself:

12. "What is it that I'm seeing there in the distance for the first time since my being here for several millions of years? This is most alarming, for maybe some sort of judgment is in preparation.

13. Should I risk walking in that direction? It might be the end of me! But then, it could also be my salvation!

14. However, for one like myself, who has spent millions of years rooted to a spot, it doesn't really matter what happens now. Nothing worse could happen to an honest man having been rooted to a spot like a statue for millions of years - a true damnation.

15. Therefore, I'll now say to myself, good luck, and risk it! The result couldn't be worse than eternal death, which I would only welcome. An eternal non-existence is much preferable to an existence like my present one.

16. No more hesitating! Let happen what will! No! This is still unknown territory for me. I shall not say any more until I know what my feet are standing on.

17. The thing out there seems to be moving more now; almost like a little tree in the wind. Courage, my long disused feet! Let's see whether we can still walk.

18. I have been told on earth once that a spirit has only to think and finds himself already in the place where he wanted to go. But there does seem to be something wrong with the spirituality of my person for I do have feet, hands, a head, eyes, nose, mouth - in short, everything I had on earth - even a stomach which has had a fast worthy of a cardinal. If there hadn't been plenty of moss all around me, with a lot of dew, I might already have shrunk to the size of an atom. Maybe I'll even find something better for my stomach over there?

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