(Part 1, here; Part 2, here)

If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?

I pray thee, dear reader, think me not dark nor morbid as your eyes drink from the chalice of my mind – the midst of my woundedness; my story is not one of merriment, or happy frivolities, tis one of blood, and daily death. Yet in the sorrow of a thousand daily deaths springs forth the power of a thousand resurrections; death has lost its victory, and hope and joy spring forth even as honey from the carcass of a lion. Never lose hope, for the Gospel principle is this: in Christ death leads to the victory of resurrection, and the cross to the power of salvation. These writings before, and those to come are no fictions, they are true, every word of them – as true as a frail mortal can make them, so to the narrative:

I had thus finally righted myself as I sat within the vale of Truth; the lands about were his, and they spread them even like as a spider’s web – yet this not to trap them as victims, but to allow them free passage on his terrain. For the man called Truth is no miser, and greed is far from his heart, so he spreads his net broad across the earth. Those who take delight in his lands may come to find, and to know him, and this is the greatest treasure hid in these fields, and many have known that it is well worth the buying of the whole field that Truth may be found; for those who know him will be made free. And so I admonish you: Buy the truth, and sell it not.

I had discovered the man named Truth, he looked upon me and spoke, planting his seed in my heart; and so it seems a great beginning to life (and thus it surely is for I had, indeed, in this planting was suddenly freed from a thousand unseen shackles; in the light of this truth many deceptions simply fell off – others would require further enlightenment), yet the truth, though being simple is of intensely great depth and immensity. And were it not righteousness I now sought after, perhaps Truth alone had been sufficient for me. But salvation is not made of Truth only (though it is as the backbone for necessity, and perpetually present – as declared: it [truth] is that part that actually makes one free), but Love too for Truth and Love are inseparable.

Yet many there’ve been through the ages who have sought to cleave them asunder, and this is their measure – Love without Truth is both ignorant and blind. Far from helping, or saving any, she will bludgeoned and abused by those who despise Truth and seek only the comfort of compassion – these are on their way to hell, yet seek to be consoled all the while for they dread ever meeting Truth face to face. Yes, some have accomplished the feat of separating Love from Truth for I have seen her wandering the streets – a pitiable wench, groping about with no eyes and clinging to what, or whomever she finds; so needy and desperate is she without Truth that she sells herself for nothing as a lonely whore. She also will be trampled in the streets, and eaten by dogs like Jezebel who set her affections on wickedness, not having the truth.

So also, Truth without Love is a merciless rod of iron – an unfeeling, uncaring machine; he will root out and pull down, and destroy, and throw down, but has no heart to build and to plant – for knowledge puffeth up, but love builds up.

In the Gospel – these lands of – Truth, and Love were married long ago, and have become so intimately entwined in their affectionate embrace that it is impossible to find the end of the one, and the beginning of the other. Truth was the man in the vale… Love was that he once took notice of me, and harmed me enough to reveal himself thus freeing me from the realm of death from whence I came. Telling the truth is compassion, and revealing Eternal knowledge is Love:

Open rebuke is better than secret love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

When Truth wounds you, it can surely be trusted, only be sure that you have found him, for many pretenders there are, not only in our world, but even in his own land. This one calls out, another glorifies his appearance to draw attention unto themselves. Yet Truth would rather show you his hard and ugly side that you may choose to receive or reject him with no pretense or flattery.

I gazed again into the seed of Truth that was planted within me; surely, this seed held in its husk the potential for miraculous new life; all things green and lush were concealed therein; within it were worlds, dimensions, every conceivable expansion and growth. I saw life, itself, churning, and roiling within the crystal perfect case of this seed; and it all, in thriving embryonic form could not be harmed for the hard case about it – it could only be plucked from me, and that of my own volition. Surely now that I had received it neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature could ever remove that deposit from me. I, alone could eject it, and pluck it forth from me.

As the time had passed, I gave up the present comfort of my flesh and became fully prepared, and desirous for the New Creation – the life of this seed – to spring forth, and hoped for it even as an expectant mother. But just as a mother bears, what must come first before the new life?

Water, and blood, labor, pain, and tearing flesh –

Are you ready to be born again?

If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

And so gazing down into the seed within me I saw blood running down through the ages; age after age of blood.

Blood was spilled to clothe man of his nakedness when he sinned; Cain spilled his brother’s innocent blood into the earth and that blood cries to God from the ground. Blood – for it must be taken from lambs and strake upon the posts of the doorway that those within may be saved; blood – for it must be poured from the arteries of goats and bullocks with the sign of the beast laid by the hands of sinners into their foreheads; blood – for sin is as vile as death and the whole human race is corrupted with it – blood, for it is the life of all creatures bearing a soul.

Blood because the chastened messengers have been calling people back to God from the days of Seth, the righteous. Blood because Moses passed the people under it in the land of Egypt, led them through the waters of the sea and under the Cloud of Presence, establishing a law in Israel; blood because Elijah had to repair the altar of the Lord, soaking it with blood and water till the fire fell; blood because I am among the prophets of Baal who must be slain by Eijah over the winding brook.

It was blood the wife of Moses despised until she relented to spare his life.  At the offence of the blood did many of the disciples of Christ also forsake Him.  Will the offence of the blood drive you away also?

Doth this offend you?

…Will you also go away?

Truth is unchanging.

Then I saw, as it were, a dove white and pure. And a great hand clasped her neck, and quite wrung off her head. And her blood flowed out into a clay pot and water, too, was poured into the pot. At once, then I saw another dove; her large round eyes first appearing oblivious, she was tied to a branch of wood, and now did those great eyes of hers appear to fill with worried apprehension as she was thrust into the blood of her companion with the water.

And so a great mystery appeared to me as the call of earth to the heavens – for all a man can muster for justification is his own flesh and blood, water to cleanse, and the spirit within him.

But when the seed was planted, the water and the blood were applied to me by Melchizidek, the Eternal Priest of the New Jerusalem, who then did shake the blood stained fowl at me, flecking me with blood and water from the dove. Just as one day in the land of the living, a wild eyed man with a wooly garment, and a tongue afire plunged the spotless Lamb beneath the filthy waters of Jordan. Yet only when the blood flowed over the running water was I invited into the sacrifice, and when the latter dove came was I sprinkled, and made clean for I believed the testimony of the Dove concerning the Son of God who poured out His own blood.

For I am Naaman the Syrian, and I despised the running waters, yet at the voice of Truth did forsake myself and plunge me in unto completion, that I may be as pure as the Dove.
The Spirit, the water, and the blood cry out from the earth, and the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost answer from heaven. Will you call on him? He has prepared the sacrifice, and will answer with the threefold testimony.

Have you eyes to see? I admonish you: DIE WITH CHRIST THAT YOU MAY LIVE.

And so now, with the blood applied – that perfect blood – a little sprout began to break forth from the seed, and I had come to grips enough with Truth to stand, and consider moving slightly closer.

Part IV