The way of righteousness is known to all people, even to the people who came before Jesus was born, for these people were forced to live without the living example of Godís perfection; but still, these people had the prophetís and the writings of our Lord God to guide them; and some being hard at heart and strong in fleshly will, chose to live their lives without Godís guidance and ignore the warnings of His spirit: to these people I say, it was for you, my friend, that Jesus Christ became a man, lived a life for God, and died like a sinner. Jesus willingly chose his life so that we may know him on a personal level; for he did this in the flesh so that all could know him in their own time and in their own minds; and because Jesus died like a sinner, hanging on the cross of Calvary, nailed through the wrist and feet suffering in your punishment, you can live like a righteous person, which you are not; for, the bible says, no one is righteous, only Jesus; this was the destiny of Godís son and Godís prophecy, which he chose to fulfill.
It is true that people have to answer the call of Salvation with their own tongues and though some have the strength to resist their shepherdís good will, eventually, no matter what people may think, our bodies and spirits becomes the battleground of good and evil, of God and Satan; for it is our soul, which is our eternal life force, that Satan is hard pressed to attack and determined to attain. In our youth, all have spent, at least, some time wondering by what lot we have drawn our fate; for, we have all been ordained to visit the depths of evil and to witness all the pains reside there; and we often, at one time or another, wonder what this life holds for us and what would it achieve to always do good by following Godís commandments; and it is obvious that most are shaken by the size of this task and the life lays in our way may look desolate and bare and full of want; somehow we try to find a short way around to the easier way of living, but this is impossible, because we must all go in search of the good. Now, even though our walk takes us through the darkest levels of misery, which often leads beyond this earth and this realm, into the realms where dark principalities dwell and reign, at the end we all find ourselves face to face with God the Judge; and no matter the path taken, everyone must come to the knowledge that our journey was not without a purpose and that this life is truly an honorable thing and that the rewards we receive have been chosen individually, for each have earned his own; for this challenge, to live for good or for evil, can only be truly understood and realized after death.
This is the same with our journey, for we are on the same path as all of you, and for us to have made it as far as we have: unscathed and whole, is to prove that there is a God in heaven that hears prayers and makes supplication to the faithful; we know, full and well, that the honor of our remarkable achievements is not remotely comparable to Jesusí accomplishment on the Cross and our survival does not belong to us; nay, no matter, if we should succeed in finding the unholy lair of evil and defeat our foe, which, as close as we seem to be, we have yet to see in the flesh; but, being Christians we know that we battle him daily in our minds and with our spirit, for we could do nothing that Jesus Christ has not already done. It was on the cross that Jesus defeated Satan for the world entire, but, because Satanís punishment was to be sent to the earth, along with his fallen angels, we still must, as sons of God and because of our human nature, fight these enemies of righteousness daily; for, even after his ultimate defeat, we yet live on the earth, which is now his home and realm, and must confront him continually without no other protection than the loving hand of God; but we know that eventually, in the end, perhaps at death itself, we will be set free from our task and will rest in the glow of Godís eternal light. This is our task; I should say everyoneís task that is living and present on earth, to fight evil; and God, who is faithful until the end, for His words will never end, has wholly provided our way unto Salvation and our way into this pit which we have already described.
This truth broke on my spirit in such a way that it was impossible not to share it with my brethren and not to write it down as a testimony to our struggle; for, to hold in the emotion that followed my revelation would be to deny Godís holy call upon my spirit; and having placed on again our armor and taken up our weapons, we were all together ready to approach that hole that laid before us and to peer as one upon those dark steps that lead even further down into the earth, to where we knew not; but, as brothers bound to do right, we did not immediately descend the steps. Instead stopping to show our affection towards one another, we hugged and remembered our Lord; and, for a moment, with tears in our eyes, we stood quietly thanking God for hearing our prayers and showing us His great power. This also provided a moment for me to describe all that you have just read, for if I did not do it know, I did not know if I ever should get the chance.
We had considered the steps, marking their steepness, just as the ones before and making note of their composition, which was just as the steps that lead us to this pit; the only difference being they were darker and steeper than any we had yet seen; then knowing it was time to descend them as a group and feeling fear once again try to grasp our hearts, we studied them like we had every level until now. I held the papers before us, which was provided by the temple, and showed my brothers our crude map, which marked levels and stairs and caves and such as all the things we had encountered, for we kept detailed notes, so that the evil nature of this place could not deceive us and lead us in circles; everyone should know, by now, that getting lost is a terrible thing and serves as a great ally to Satan; so here, with our charcoal pencil, we wrote a series of words on the paper acknowledging this place as both, ďthe fourth pit,Ē followed by, ďa dark set of steps leading down into the fifth level.Ē So far, we have meticulously marked every level and every detail in this manner because, if my counting was right, this was the fourth and deepest place we had ascended; but these steps, like the ones before us provided a new set of challenges and a new set of fears that we must face with courage.
Just as life, this place was no different in the respect that it has grown more treacherous with every step; and, if I may elaborate, for I have yet to describe the beasts and monsters we have battled, nor have I said anything about the atmosphere in which were forced to defended ourselves; but, I shall come to that when it the opportunity presents itself and I do not want to get ahead of myself; so for now it is imperative that I show you the every challenge that faces us. Our battles have grown greater in strength and longer length with every encounter and we do not know what this hole or these steps hold for us. In a time like this, fear is a friend, but it is nothing like the friendship that God provides.
These stairs, as dark and full of gloom as they were, had just started to spout forth plumes of white smoke, and the air was getting harder to breath and this made us cover our mouths with our tunics and tie them there with a piece of leather. But to think that this was a sign that we were finally getting close to the end of our quest, made us walk toward the hole; but knowing no man could survive in a place like this for long, I stopped my bothers and held close to them the map; even we knew that we would have to breath. My eldest brother, laying his sword down, took the maps from my hand and shifted the papers until he found a page of words I had written days or maybe weeks before, for they had gotten mixed up; finally finding the page he wanted, he pointed to a passage which I had written in bold letters. The words were: God is faithful.
At first I didnít know what he was saying because to go down the steps in this smoke and heat, for my eyes were already watering and burning something fierce, was nothing but certain death; but because I seen nothing else that he could have been suggesting, I tapped my helmet and pointed to the smoke spouting hole, showing that I would follow him, but immediately, he stopped me and started shaking his head, for it was impossible to speak in the choking air, and pointed to a corner with I hadnít seen. I did what I thought he meant and walked to the corner followed by my younger brother, we took refuge in there.
In the refuge, which provided a small bit of comfort, we conversed by hand signals and resolved to admit that the lair in which we were searching was perhaps farther than we had first thought and were but another challenge we were going to have to face with patience. We knew that there was no going back, not for us or any soul that lives, and because our path was plain, just as with every person, we had our own cross to bear; and this journey into the depths and down the stairs, as dire as it was, was our path. So once more we had been faced, just like everyone person that had faith in God, with a future that we knew not what route to take; so with the knowledge that God was with us, we sat silently and watched as the smoke continued to pour from the hole and ascend upward toward the ceiling and escape slowly up the stairway which we had before precariously climbed down. It was in this small corner that we took time to unpack some sweet meat, some partially moldy bread, and a bottle of cordial water, which the temple provided and gave thanks, and had a much needed meal.