(from conclusion)


...The way into the Kingdom of Heaven opened to us by Jesus Christ is only one, and there never has been and there is no other way except the one that has been shown to us by Jesus Christ. And, of course, this way is difficult and heavy, but it directly and faithfully leads to true and eternal blessedness. The way into the kingdom of heaven is difficult. However, not only on the way but even at the beginning is it possible to find such comfort and delight that you can never find in the way of worldly life. The way into the Kingdom of Heaven is difficult, but the help of the Lord is always available to us: the Lord Jesus Christ is ready to help us on this path. He gives us the Holy Spirit, He sends His angels to protect us, He provides instructors and leaders, and even He Himself is ready to take us by the hand and support us. The way into the Kingdom of Heaven is difficult and the labors on it are bitter, but the one who has not experienced the bitter cannot know the value of sweetness. The way into the Kingdom of Heaven is difficult, but in our suffering here on Earth we can always pray and find solace and support in prayer, and God always hears our prayer; but when we die as non-Christians, even if we were able to pray there, God does not hear us. The way into the Kingdom of Heaven is difficult, but eternal suffering is incomparably greater and more severe than suffering on Earth. The present suffering, even the most severe, in comparison to the suffering of hell prepared for the devil and his angels, is just as small as a drop of water in comparison with the whole sea. The way to heavenly blessedness is difficult, but are the paths to earthly happiness easier? Look at how those who are gathering riches and seeking earthly honor and glory toil and sweat, and how often we willingly and with pleasure accept labor and cares for some empty pleasure. But what is the result? Instead of getting pleasure, we only lose time, spend money, ruin our health, and destroy our soul. Because if we consider ourselves more closely, we see that we are not going to the Kingdom of Heaven not because the way into it is difficult but because we do not have a sincere desire and disposition and do not want to concern ourselves with this. The one who sincerely desires something will always seek it, regardless of all the labor and obstacles. Of course, there is no one among us who does not want to be in the Kingdom of Heaven; but this desire is weak and there is only one innate desire for prosperity. And the truth is that there are those among us who are laboring for the Kingdom of Heaven; but there are so few that labor with all their faith and devotion to God and self-sacrifice! But how many there are of us who think that no matter how they live on this earth that they can only repent at the end of life and will be in the Kingdom of Heaven.

   O, how terribly mistaken are those who think so! Of course, the grace of the Lord is great and unlimited; Jesus Christ even brought the robber into paradise who repented just before death itself. However, did the robber enter without suffering and without tribulation? No! He hung on the cross, he was tried before that, was imprisoned in a dungeon, and maybe even beaten. It is true that he suffered as a villain and a criminal, but who among us is not a criminal of the law of God and the laws of humanity? If we do not kill people as do robbers, how many do we kill with our words, our hard-heartedness, and our neglect of their welfare and salvation? Of course, this same great and unspeakable mercy of the Lord may be towards us. The Lord can even change our final deathbed suffering into cleansing, a certain podvig on the way into the Kingdom of Heaven, particularly when we, just as the robber, also repent of our sins and receive with faith our final communion. But who can assure us that we, when dying, will suffer, and that suffering, will have time to repent? How many people die suddenly and without suffering! How many die without repentance and communion!

   Thus, brethren, if you do not desire eternal death, then it is necessary to pay attention to your soul, to take care about one's future fate. We know that beyond the coffin one thing or the other awaits for all people and there is no middle; that is, either the Kingdom of heaven or hell—eternal bliss or torment—is awaiting us. There are only two different states there, beyond the grave, and there are also only two paths here on Earth. One way is wide, smooth, and light and there are a lot of people  walking on it; the other way is narrow, thorny, and difficult. And happy, a hundredfold happy is the one who goes along the narrow path, because it leads into the Kingdom of Heaven. But so few are those who go along this way! Brethren, if we have not gone and do not go along the difficult way, and if we die without any purification and repentance, then what will happen to us? To whom will we run? To the Lord? But we do not want to listen to Him here and He will not then listen to us. Here presently, He is a most-merciful Father, but there he is a righteous Judge. And who will protect us from His righteous wrath? O, brethren! It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Thus, brethren, take care for salvation when you still have the opportune time; labor for your salvation while there is another day, but the night will come, and then no one can labor. Go ahead, do not wait from day to day and hurry into the Kingdom of Heaven, while you still can; but death will come, and then you can no longer go. Go at least a little bit, but go into the Kingdom of heaven: and then, albeit slowly, but all will be closer to Him, just as a man going somewhere will make a step and becomes closer to his goal. 

   The one who wants to follow after Jesus Christ can also use the following advice:

   (1) Do not look at other sinful people, how they live, do not justify yourself by their example, and do not say, as do many: "what am I to do?  I am not the only one that lives this way, I am not the only one who does not obey the commandments of Christ, almost everybody lives like this." Though even if you truly knew that all who live around you, and, what is more, those same ones that should be an example of virtue and piety, do not live in a Christian way, what would you benefit from it? Their destruction will not save you. On the Day of Judgment, the fact that you are not the only one that lived badly on earth will not protect you. And, therefore, you do not have any concern with others, whether they are on the way to the Kingdom or not—it is not your business; know and take care of yourself and for those whom God has given to you for instruction. Besides, we can see a man sinning, but almost never can we see them repenting and cleansing themselves from their sins; this is why we very often can be wrong about who among our neighbors is going along the path of Christ and who is not.

   (2) When you are going along this path, a lot of people, and perhaps those most close to you and your household, will mock you, but do not pay attention to this and do not worry. Remember that Jesus Christ was also laughed at, but He did not argue, was silent and prayed for them; you do the same.

   (3) There are many learned men who consider that the way into the Kingdom of Heaven as shown to us by Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is not necessary; they say that without this way you can reach the Kingdom of Heaven, that this path is not for everyone, but for few, and so on. But if you meet any one of those people and they want to stop you or dissuade you, then do not listen to them. Even if an angel comes down from heaven and begins to tell you that it is not necessary to go according to the way that Jesus Christ went, do not listen to them. But do not argue with such seducers and enemies; it is better to pity them and pray for them.

   (4) When you decidedly follow after Jesus Christ, then you may meet such people who will revile you for the words of the Lord, or slander, insult, and neglect: be patient and endure. Rejoice and be glad in that day when you are insulted in any way for the name of Christ, because your reward is great heaven.

   (5) When you truly go according to this way, the devil himself will rise up against you and will tempt you with different temptations; he will suggest to you thoughts or doubts about the faith itself and obvious truths or even blasphemy against holy things, and so on. But do not be afraid of him, because the devil cannot do anything without God's allowance, and you should only pray to the Lord, and the devil will fly away from you as an arrow.

   (6) It must be noted that the true Christian is not hindered by what is considered truly useful and fair, and in fact there are such things. That is, firstly, diligence, which does not hinder the saving of the soul but even helps it. It is known that idleness is the mother of all vices; thus, for example, why do people become drunkards? From idleness. Who is a thief and a robber? An idler, and so on. And you can even say affirmitively that one who does not do anything and does not occupy himself with anything, no matter how good, is a bad Christian and a bad citizen, and it is God's special providence if he is not a great sinner. And, therefore, be diligent, become accustomed to work, labor, and do all that is useful and what you need to around your household and do your duty to the Emperor and the Fatherland. If idleness is the mother of vices, then diligence can be called the father of virtues. Firstly, because someone who is diligent probably has less sins because he has no time, not only to do evil but even to think of the evil, because he is either working, is busy with his duties, or is working for his salvation and busy with the responsibilities of a Christian. Secondly, because someone who is accustomed to being diligent would more likely agree to go on the way to the Kingdom of Heaven than the one who leads an idle life; it is easier for a diligent person to follow the path into the Kingdom of Heaven than an idle person. Thus, being diligent is useful always and everywhere. However, in order to be diligent, one must train themselves and get accustomed to work from childhood.

   (7) There is another, as equally useful as hard work, virtue to which one must train oneself and get accustomed to, you could say, even before diligence. This is patience. Patience is always and everywhere useful, but, for someone who wants to go into the Kingdom of Heaven, patience is the most necessary perfection: without patience, one cannot even take one step on this path, because one meets cruelty, roughness, and prickliness at every step. Thus, train yourself in and get accustomed to patience; first physical and then spiritual, and then you find it easier to be a diligent member of society, a good friend, a good head of a household, a good citizen, and a good Christian. So, my brethren, that is all I can tell you about the way to the Kingdom of Heaven. I will only add that the person who diligently follows the path to the Kingdom of Heaven, for any labor, for any sorrow, for any victory over oneself, for any act of self-discipline, for each deed, and even for any good intention and desire will seventy times seven be rewarded even in this life, while one cannot say nor imagine what awaits him there. Therefore, brethren, be not afraid nor dismayed to follow Jesus Christ: He is a strong Helper, follow Him, make haste and do not delay; go before the doors of the Kingdom of Heaven are shut for you, and your heavenly Father will meet you yet far out along this way, will kiss you, will clothe you in the finest clothes, will adorn you with a ring, and lead you to His palace, where He Himself dwells along with all the holy prophets, apostles, saints and the martyrs, and all the righteous, and where you will rejoice in eternal and true gladness. But when the doors of the Kingdom of Heaven will be shut to you, that is, if you die without repentance and good works, then no matter how you desired it and no matter how hard you try to go there, you will not be permitted. You will start to push the doors and say, "Lord, open to me! I know You, I am baptized in Your name, I am called by your name, and even performed miracles in Your name." But Jesus Christ will say to you, "I do not know you, you are not mine, depart from me...into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels"; "There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth" (Matt. 25:11-12, 30, 41).