“Stations on the Way to Freedom Discipline
If you set out to seek freedom, then you must learn above all things
discipline of your soul and your senses, lest your desires
and then your limbs perchance should lead you now hither, now yon.
Chaste be your spirit and body, subject to yourself completely,
in obedience seeking the goal that is set for your spirit.
Only through discipline does one learn the secret of freedom.
Not always doing and daring what’s random, but seeking the right thing,
Hover not over the possible, but boldly reach for the real.
Not in escaping to thought, in action alone is found freedom.
Dare to quit anxious faltering and enter the storm of events,
carried alone by your faith and by God’s good commandments,
then true freedom will come and embrace your spirit, rejoicing.
Wondrous transformation. Your hands, strong and active, are fettered.
Powerless, alone, you see that an end is put to your action.
Yet now you breathe a sigh of relief and lay what is righteous
calmly and fearlessly into a mightier hand, contented.
Just for one blissful moment you could feel the sweet touch of freedom,
Then you gave it to God, that God might perfect it in glory.
Come now, highest of feasts on the way to freedom eternal,
Death, lay down your ponderous chains and earthen enclosures
walls that deceive our souls and fetter our mortal bodies,
that we might at last behold what here we are hindered from seeing.
Freedom, long have we sought you through discipline, action, and suffering.
Dying, now we discern in the countenance of God your own face.
Dear Eberhard! I wrote these lines in a few hours tonight. They are quite rough, yet they will perhaps give you some pleasure, being something of my own as a birthday gift!