The Labyrinth of the World and the Paradise of the Heart

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Paulist Press, 1998 - Religion - 250 pages
"The texts are first-rate, and the introductions are informative and reliable. The books will be a welcome...addition to the bookshelf of every literate religious person." Spiritual Life John Comenius: The Labyrinth of the World and The Paradise of the Heart translated and introduced by Howard Louthan and Andrea Sterk preface by Jan Milic Lochman "May the mercy of God be praised, for he opened my eyes also, enabling me to see the manifold vanities of this pompous world and the wretched deceit hiding everywhere under outward brilliance. I have learned to seek peace and security of mind elsewhere." From To the Reader, 4 The study of Protestant spirituality in the early modern period has generally focused on Puritans and Pietists. The tradition of the Slavic Reformation that culminated with John Amos Comenius (1592-1670) has been largely ignored. This volume seeks to redress this imbalance by introducing Comenius's neglected masterpiece, The Labyrinth of the World, to a broader audience. Though a better known as the father of modern education, Comenius was a pastor and spiritual leader of the Bohemian Brethren (Unitas Fratrum), a Czech Protestant group inspired by the Hussite movement of the fifteenth century. The Labyrinth, an allegory of the spiritual journey in the style of Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, represents the culmination of his literary accomplishments. The work was written against the backdrop of the calamitous Thirty Years' War and Comenius's profound personal sufferings. His satirical castigation of the world's false ambitions and values is paralleled by a deep yearning for understanding and experience of life with God. The work comprises two parts. The first introduces a pilgrim in search of a profession. Escorted by a series of guides who lead him through the maze of life's occupations, he visits tradesman, scholars, clergy, rulers and various other classes of society. Disillusioned by the petty rivalries and deception that mark every vocation he explores, the pilgrim ultimately despairs of the vanity and emptiness of human existence. In the second part of the text the pilgrim turns inward, where he finds "the paradise of the heart." After encountering Christ, he is led on a spiritual journey among those who have found the true meaning of life in relationship with God. With the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, Comenius has reemerged as one of this region's most prophetic and relevant figures. Though written three centuries ago, his Labyrinth is a timely critique of the postmodern world and its spiritual plight. +

From inside the book


To the Reader
Notes to Introduction
The Labyrinth of the World and the Paradise of the Heart
On the Reasons for Wandering in the World
Chapter 6
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Solomon with His Great Retinue Comes to the Palace of Wisdom
The Pilgrim Observes the Secret Judgments and Government of the World
Solomon Reveals the Vanities and Deceptions of the World
Chapter 14
Solomons Company Is Dispersed Captured and Put to Hideous Death
The Pilgrim Wants to Flee from the World
The Pilgrim Finds His Way Home
He Receives Christ as His Guest

A General Survey
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
The Pilgrim Observes the Legal Profession
The Pilgrim Observes the Promotion of Masters and Doctors
The Pilgrim Observes the Religious Profession
He Examines the Christian Religion
The Pilgrim Observes the Ruling Class
The Military Profession
The Knightly Order
The Pilgrim Finds Himself Among the Newsmen
First of All the Entrance
The Pilgrim Observes the Lifestyle of the Rich
The Ways of the Hedonists
Life of the Worlds Elites
The Glory of the Famous People in the World
The Pilgrim Begins to Despair and Quarrels with His Guides
The Pilgrim Examines the Castle of Wisdom the Queen of the World
The Pilgrim Is Accused at the Palace of Wisdom
Their Betrothal
How the Pilgrim Was Transformed
The Pilgrim Is Sent to the Invisible Church
The Light of True Christians
The Freedom of Hearts Devoted to God
The Code of True Christians
All Things Are Light and Easy for Hearts Devoted to God
The Saints Have an Abundance of All
The Security of People Committed to God
The Godly Have Complete Peace
The Godly Have Constant Joy in Their Hearts
The Pilgrim Examines Christians According to Their Classes
The Death of Faithful Christians
The Pilgrim Is Received into Gods Household
The Conclusion of All
Notes to Text
Selected Bibliography

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Page 30 - I have seen all the works that are done under the sun ; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.
Page 24 - And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.
Page 238 - A Christian man is the most free lord of all, and subject to none; a Christian man is the most dutiful servant of all, and subject to every one.
Page 22 - And therefore to exercise the senses well about the right perceiving the differences of things, will be to lay the grounds for all wisdom, and all wise discourse, and all discreet actions in one's course of life. Which, because it is commonly neglected in schools, and the things...
Page 47 - Colledge and country, in the quality of a President: But the solicitations of the Swedish Ambassador, diverting him another way, that incomparable Moravian became not an American.
Page 47 - Janua) could carry it, was indeed agreed with all by our Mr. Winthrop in his Travels through the Low Countries, to come over into New England and Illuminate this Colledge and country, in the Quality of a President, which was now become vacant.
Page 14 - I myself maintaining all human knowledge, such as derives from the senses alone and reasonings thereon to be imperfect and defective. We parted in friendly fashion : I begging him to publish the principles of his philosophy (which principles were published the year following), and he similarly urging me to mature my own thoughts, adding this maxim : ' Beyond the things that appertain to philosophy I go not, mine therefore is that only in part, whereof yours is the whole...
Page 22 - Now there is nothing in the understanding, which was not before in the sense. And therefore to exercise the senses well about the right perceiving the differences of things, will be to lay the grounds for all wisdom, and all wise discourse, and all discreet actions in one's course of life.
Page 103 - For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, "He catches the wise in their craftiness," and again, "The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.

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