Endless Horizons
a social romantic fiction novel by Rolf A. F. Witzsche
Volume 6A of the 12-volume series, The Lodging for the Rose

Page 71
Chapter 7 - Rivers of Life

      "Turn back!" the gatekeeper demanded for the third time.

      I knew deep in my heart that I had no choice, but to comply. Crashing the gate wasn't an option. If I did, I felt, I would be expelled by a higher power whose force I wouldn't be able to resist.

      As I turned to go back, sadly, despondent over my inadequacy, I found myself in the temple again, bewildered and puzzled by what I had seen.

      I was alone once more as before. All the gates were still closed around me. I looked towards the East, and as I did, the thought of the East frightened me now. I saw in my mind the image of the cradle of Jesus, the dawning of the Christ idea, the spiritual idea of God. I saw in it an immense challenge, facing the power of God and its imperatives. What if I came to stand in the way of this power? The way marker for the gate said that the gate leads into the land of human freedom, the freedom rooted in the highest idea of good, the universal welfare of mankind, socially, civilly, and morally. I shook my head in frustration. The challenge seemed too large. Indeed, the challenge made no sense, suddenly. "Am I my brother's keeper?" I said to myself as I hesitated.

      "Do you want to travel the river?" I heard a voice within.. "The name of the river is Gihon." Uncertain, I took hold of the gate, and immediately I found myself in a barge that was adorned like a pleasure boat, filled with laughter and music. Fine wine was served. But the shores of the river were scenes of chaos, lined with walls of smoke. The smell of burning flesh was in the air. This time there were human voices heard from the land, but they were cries of agony, slavery, hunger, war, oppression, and violence. I shook my head again. I said, "I don't want to be here."

      A voice spoke from within; "This is the scene that mankind lives in. It is its home, its treasury, the center and circumference of its being in a small life."

      "Does mankind see nothing else?" I asked. "Does it know nothing else? Is there nothing brighter that has an impact on its life and its world? Are its eyes blinded by the fire of its rage, and its ears deafened by the thunder of its tumults, and the choruses of crying?"

      The voice didn't answer me. Perhaps it had no answer for what I saw.

      As before, far down the river I came upon a draw gate strung across the water. Its inscription, to my great surprise, read; "The rights of woman acknowledged morally, civilly, and socially."

      As I approached the gate, the keeper of the gate came out and welcomed me.

      I asked him, "what is the meaning of woman?"

      "It signifies mankind's humanity, the highest form of man," he said, "but I cannot let you pass," he explained. "I can tell by your question that you are too blind for this land. You can't see your own humanity. This land is too demanding. The baggage that you carry will break your heart. Turn back! Also, you would be too dangerous for the people of the land beyond, whose culture you would not understand and would attempt to damage like an elephant in a china shop." The gate keeper began to laugh. He opened his ledger and entered my name as if it were for a traffic citation. "The law of this land states that only complete individuals may pass beyond this point. I perceive that you are not fully alive. Your name isn't registered in the book of the living. You're are registered as one who is dead in mindless obedience and subservience to myths. The land beyond is to complex for you, it would destroy you, and you would be causing damage to it. Therefore you cannot pass! Turn back!"

      Obediently, I nodded. But before turning back I observed the inhabitants of the land. They were like people who had shed their chains, but not through tribulation. They had their ears and eyes open to the bounty of their own creating. It was like a land of Kings and Priests to a higher image of humanity than I had ever seen. They were clothed with the sun, and had on their head a crown that was a ring of stars. Nor were they any longer divided by sex. They appeared as if they rejoiced, and for good reason, celebrating in their sparkling bright humanity. The people I saw there appeared to have been exalted by their embrace of a reality I had never seen. This time I did see Veronica among them, but too far for me to reach.

      "Turn back!" the gatekeeper demanded for the third time.

      I drew away from the gate, and as before, immediately, I found myself back in the temple. But the temple looked different now. It had all the appearance of a church that was also an institution for trials and healing and education. "No idleness here!" read a tablet on one its pillars. However, the four gates still remained. I looked at the gate to the North. I shied away from it. Likewise I shied away from the gate to the East. Also their color didn't match the color of the church as if they belonged to a different world, the world of the temple.

      I looked towards the South, now. The color of its gate matched the color of the church.  A feeling of serenity came over me. I thought of the warmth of a tropical paradise. I could see the Southern Star in my mind, traversing a sunlit sky. The name of the river that the gate of the South has inscribed into it, was Hiddekel. Eagerly I touched the gate. As I did, I suddenly remembered that the genial tropics were overlaid with the image of the cross, the cross of Calvary, the cross that binds all humanity into solemn union. The river took me through a land of cathedrals, gallows, and high priestly thrones littered with swords. "What am I doing here?" I said to myself as there was no one with me. "That's not a tropical paradise," I protested, but there was no one to speak to who would hear my protests.

      I traveled upstream again. I traveled in a stately royal barge, decorated with flowers. I also saw great tablets of stone erected on the shore, some cut of white marble with holy inscriptions that should remain for all ages. But the golden lettering had faded. Only the blood beneath them was still fresh. And there were other tablets, tablets of alabaster that carried the inscriptions of all the abominations of history. The images with the inscriptions had become blurred through the years. One was of the Whore of Babylon riding her scarlet colored beast that was, and is not, and yet is. And at her feet, the kings that worshiped her, who had no kingdom of their own, but received power as kings with the beast from her; and beside her where the merchants who had waxed rich by the abundance of her 'delicacies.'

      "No!" I cried. "I don't want to be here!" but the barge went on and I remained in it.

      There were still other tablets of stone that I saw. Some were still under construction. A lone workman carved the title of one: "The Thousand Year Anniversary of the Christianization of Russia," it read. Beneath it was the scene of an orgy of prostitution.

      Next went by a huge tablet of black granite. It carried no picture, only an inscription in gigantic letters carved very deep into the stone and filled with no coloring, except the shine of black pitch: "IMF=death," it read.

      Behind the tablet lay the ruins of ancient temples, and the ruins of cities of featureless glass towers surrounded by barbed wire fences that had kept humanity in.

      Emotionally exhausted I came to the draw gate, almost relieved, as it promised the journey's end, according to my previous experiences. However, I was puzzled by the inscription on the draw gate. It read: "Divine Science understood and acknowledged."

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