|Chapter 2||Explanation of Scriptures|
An objection and its refutation (21.12.1843)
1. Someone here will say, "This is quite true, that only by active reading (acting on) can one reap the true fruit of reading; but if someone is given so much material, can one put it aside for the sake of doing and read only so much of what one is convinced that one can actively implement?
2. Consider only the great mass of what is given in the Scriptures of the Old and the New Testament, and then besides that, the vast mass of truly spiritual-exegetical (explanatory) books! If one were to read all this, only according to the degree of activity, indeed, one would probably never be able to cope with only a few chapters throughout his life;
3. But I say: Considered from this point of view, the objector is certainly right; because if you only want to read so much and no more than how much you are actually going to cumbersomely put into practice, then of course a few chapters would be too much! But, with a different attitude, this will never become too much material, and the reader can immediately put everything he has read, into activity!
4. For one could also say, for example, that if any farmer were in possession of a large piece of good agricultural land, which yields him a hundredfold crop, why does he then sow the whole field?! One-tenth of it carries as much as what is necessary for the farmer's needs!
5. But I ask: If this countryman sows the whole field with a good grain, and the field brings him a hundredfold crop, of which one tenth is sufficient for his subsistence, will the superfluous nine tenths injure him? - Oh, sure not! For half of the excess can be distributed to the needy, who will be greatly grateful to him, and the other half of the abundance he can bring to the market; and as it is a good crop, he will find many buyers who will take it away from him at advantageous prices, and he can then use the money gained, to order the rest of his household, and thereby become a respectable and rich fellow countryman.
6. Now see, it is clear from this example, that if one has a good field in himself, and has plenty of good seed in abundance, then he should not be sparing in sowing! For he who sows abundantly will also reap abundantly; but if you sow sparingly, you will reap sparingly! And what does it need for that? If only the soil of the field is well worked, you may sow so much good corn on it, and yet no grain will perish in the good soil, but every grain will shoot its abundant stem!
7. Likewise it is also in this matter that concerns the spiritual sowing of the Word through reading!
8. For the cultivation of the spiritual ground, man needs no more than the two commandments of love; With these he works his spiritual field easily. If this is worked on, then everyone can sow so much in the same soil, as he only ever can and likes; or he can read as much of the good given, as he can procure of any one of them in fair amount - the whole sacred scripture and all explanations relating to the same, and he will take in nothing of all that which does not give him a rich harvest.
9. For the difference between infertile and fruitful reading consists in:
10. Would someone for instance like to adjust and awaken by reading alone, he would be like one who would sow the seed on an unplowed, unfertilized field. Will not the birds soon come from the air and consume most of the seed in a short time?! And will a small part, which fell among the weeds of the field, not be suffocated by it at once, so that in the end, at the time of the harvest, not even a grain shot into a stalk will be seen anywhere?!
11. But when the sower or the reader sees no harvest for his trouble, does he not then become discouraged, and finally curses the field, and all the seed that was sown, which did not yield a harvest for him?!
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