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Chapter XV

1. AT six years of age, the children were entered in the school of oratory, and also given the signs and graces of unspoken words by means of gestures. And, now, they began to take part in theatricals and operatic performances.

2. For such purposes these two houses were provided with angel chambers adjoining the stages, and during the performances the angels came in sar'gis, also taking parts in the operas, ascending and descending before the audiences, singing and speaking audibly, so all could hear them.

3. Many of the plays and operas were composed and prepared by the angels, who also gave directions how to put the pieces on the stage. And in some of the pieces there were, of the children and angels combined, more than three hundred performers on the stage at one time.

4. Instead of the crude and loud-sounding horns and hideous instruments, as used by the Uzians for their operas, the opera here was provided with an organ of full power, and with instruments of delicacy and sweetness, so that the most refined ear should not be shocked or pained by any crude or disgusting noise, so common in the Uzian orchestras.

5. Now, as to the plays, whether in the opera or in the theatre, they varied on different nights, as to being adapted to young children, or to older ones, or to adults. But, for the most part, the plays and operas pertained to illustrations embracing a life on earth and an entrance into the lower heavens, showing also the part in real life which angels of purity take in guarding and advising mortals, by inspiration, to righteousness, and also showing how drujas inspire mortals to sensual things and to wickedness.

6. So, that the plays required the presence of angels, to illustrate their p. 822 parts in the affairs of mortal; and every play was made a lesson and sermon on life, so simple a child could understand them and apply the instructions to its own soul.

7. Herein, then, was the difference betwixt the plays and operas in Shalam, as compared with plays and operas with the Uzians: With the latter, they apply to the lives and adventures of mortals, and to histories of mortal affairs and occurrences wrapt up in inexplicable causes; but the plays and operas with the Faithists, in Shalam, illustrated the same things by showing the causes that govern and control mortals by spirit-presence.

8. So that (for example), were it necessary to exhibit a drunkard on the stage, it was also shown how the drunkard was surrounded by dark spirits (drujas), who inspired him to his course; and also was exhibited the struggle of his guardian angels to save him, showing thus how the choice lay with himself as to who he would serve, satan or Jehovih.

9. In the simple plays, where the children took their parts at first, they were taught without books, by repeating after their teachers.

10. And here was a new school, not known amongst the Uzians; which was, to learn by hearing words spoken, to repeat them. First, they practiced with half a dozen words, then with a dozen words, then with two dozen, then four dozen, and so on. And it came to pass, in a little while, many of the children could repeat whole chapters, by simply hearing the words spoken once.

11. Tae said: Here, first of all, began to manifest that clearness of mind resulting from an herbivorous diet which was and is wholly unknown amongst the Uzians.

12. Tae said: And Jehovih further blessed our children in su'is, so that many of them who had not yet been taught to read, could lay a hand on a printed page, and repeat it word for word.

13. Tae said: And their little playmates, hearing them, could repeat the same things. And some of them would hold a sealed letter in their hands, and read it word by word; so that dissemblance and secrecy were become as a farce before Jehovih's children.

Next: Chapter XVI