HotFreeBooks.com
Barlaam and Ioasaph
by St. John of Damascus
1  2  3  4  5     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

Barlaam and Ioasaph

by

St. John Damascene (?)

("St. John of Damascus")

c. 676-749 A.D.



It is not known where or when this story was written, but it is believed to have been translated into Greek (possibly from a Georgian original) sometime in the 11th Century A.D. Although the ultimate author is usually referred to as "John the Monk", it has been traditionally ascribed to St. John of Damascus.

The text of this edition is based on that published as ST. JOHN DAMASCENE: BARLAAM AND IOASAPH (Trans: G.R. Woodward and H. Mattingly; Harvard University Press, Cambridge MA, 1914). This text is in the PUBLIC DOMAIN in he United States.

PREPARER'S NOTE: Readers of this work will note some startling similarities between the story of Ioasaph and the traditional Tale of Buddha. The work seems to be a retelling of the Buddha Legend from within a Christian context, with the singular difference that the "Buddha" in this tale reaches enlightenment through the love of Jesus Christ.

The popularity of the Greek version of this story is attested to by the number of translations made of it throughout the Christian world, including versions in Latin, Old Slavonic, Armenian, Christian Arabic, English, Ethiopic, and French. Such was its popularity that both Barlaam and Josaphat (Ioasaph) were eventually recognized by the Roman Catholic Church as Saints, and churches were dedicated in their honor from Portugal to Constantinople. It was only after Europeans began to have increased contacts with India that scholars began to notice the similarities between the two sets of stories. Modern scholars believe that the Buddha story came to Europe from Arabic, Caucasus, and/or Persian sources, all of which were active in trade between the European and Indian worlds.

—DBK

*****************************************************************

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY:

ORIGINAL TEXT—

Woodward, G.R. & H. Mattingly (Ed. & Trans.): "St. John Damascene: Barlaam and Ioasaph" (Harvard University Press, Cambridge MA, 1914). English translation with side-by-side Greek text.

RECOMMENDED READING—

Lang, David Marshall (Trans.): "The Balavariani: A Tale from the Christian East" (California University Press, Los Angeles, 1966). Translation of the Georgian work that probably served as a basis for the Greek text.

*****************************************************************

BARLAAM AND IOASAPH

AN EDIFYING STORY FROM THE INNER LAND OF THE ETHIOPIANS, CALLED THE LAND OF THE INDIANS, THENCE BROUGHT TO THE HOLY CITY, BY JOHN THE MONK (AN HONOURABLE MAN AND A VIRTUOUS, OF THE MONASTERY OF SAINT SABAS); WHEREIN ARE THE LIVES OF THE FAMOUS AND BLESSED BARLAAM AND IOASAPH.



INTRODUCTION

"As many as are led by the Spirit of God they are sons of God" saith the inspired Apostle. Now to have been accounted worthy of the Holy Spirit and to have become sons of God is of all things most to be coveted; and, as it is written, "They that have become his sons find rest from all enquiry." This marvellous, and above all else desirable, blessedness have the Saints from the beginning won by the practice of the virtues, some having striven as Martyrs, and resisted sin unto blood, and others having struggled in self-discipline, and having trodden the narrow way, proving Martyrs in will. Now, that one should hand down to memory the prowess and virtuous deeds of these, both of them that were made perfect by blood, and of them that by self-denial did emulate the conversation of Angels, and should deliver to the generations that follow a pattern of virtue, this hath the Church of Christ received as a tradition from the inspired Apostles, and the blessed Fathers, who did thus enact for the salvation of our race. For the pathway to virtue is rough and steep, especially for such as have not yet wholly turned unto the Lord, but are still at warfare, through the tyranny of their passions. For this reason also we need many encouragements thereto, whether it be exhortations, or the record of the lives of them that have travelled on the road before us; which latter draweth us towards it the less painfully, and doth accustom us not to despair on account of the difficulty of the journey. For even as with a man that would tread a hard and difficult path; by exhortation and encouragement one may scarce win him to essay it, but rather by pointing to the many who have already completed the course, and at the last have arrived safely. So I too, "walking by this rule," and heedful of the danger hanging over that servant who, having received of his lord the talent, buried it in the earth, and hid out of use that which was given him to trade withal, will in no wise pass over in silence the edifying story that hath come to me, the which devout men from the inner land Of the Ethiopians, whom our tale calleth Indians, delivered unto me, translated from trustworthy records. It readeth thus.



I.

The country of the Indians, as it is called, is vast and populous, lying far beyond Egypt. On the side of Egypt it is washed by seas and navigable gulphs, but on the mainland it marcheth with the borders of Persia, a land formerly darkened with the gloom of idolatry, barbarous to the last degree, and wholly given up to unlawful practices. But when "the only-begotten Son of God, which is in the bosom of the Father," being grieved to see his own handiwork in bondage unto sin, was moved with compassion for the same, and shewed himself amongst us without sin, and, without leaving his Father's throne, dwelt for a season in the Virgin's womb for our sakes, that we might dwell in heaven, and be re-claimed from the ancient fall, and freed from sin by receiving again the adoption of sons; when he had fulfilled every stage of his life in the flesh for our sake, and endured the death of the Cross, and marvellously united earth and heaven; when he had risen again from the dead, and had been received up into heaven, and was seated at the right hand of the majesty of the Father, whence, according to his promise, he sent down the Comforter, the Holy Ghost, unto his eyewitnesses and disciples, in the shape of fiery tongues, and despatched them unto all nations, for to give light to them that sat in the darkness of ignorance, and to baptize them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, whereby it fell to the lot of some of the Apostles to travel to the far-off East and to some to journey to the West-ward, while others traversed the regions North and South, fulfilling their appointed tasks then it was, I say, that one of the company of Christ's Twelve Apostles, most holy Thomas, was sent out to the land of the Indians, preaching the Gospel of Salvation. "The Lord working with him and confirming the word with signs following," the darkness of superstition was banished; and men were delivered from idolatrous sacrifices and abominations, and added to the true Faith, and being thus transformed by the hands of the Apostle, were made members of Christ's household by Baptism, and, waxing ever with fresh increase, made advancement in the blameless Faith and built churches in all their lands.

Now when monasteries began to be formed in Egypt, and numbers of monks banded themselves together, and when the fame of their virtues and Angelic conversation "was gone out into all the ends of the world" and came to the Indians, it stirred them up also to the like zeal, insomuch that many of them forsook everything and withdrew to the deserts; and, though but men in mortal bodies, adopted the spiritual life of Angels. While matters were thus prospering and many were soaring upward to heaven on wings of gold, as the saying is, there arose in that country a king named Abenner, mighty in riches and power, and in victory over his enemies, brave in warfare, vain of his splendid stature and comeliness of face, and boastful of all worldly honours, that pass so soon away. But his soul was utterly crushed by poverty, and choked with many vices, for he was of the Greek way, and sore distraught by the superstitious error of his idol-worship. But, although he lived in luxury, and in the enjoyment of the sweet and pleasant things of life, and was never baulked of any of his wishes and desires, yet one thing there was that marred his happiness, and pierced his soul with care, the curse of childlessness. For being without issue, he took ceaseless thought how he might be rid of this hobble, and be called the father of children, a name greatly coveted by most people. Such was the king, and such his mind.

Meanwhile the glorious band of Christians and the companies of monks, paying no regard to the king's majesty, and in no wise terrified by his threats, advanced in the grace of Christ, and grew in number beyond measure, making short account of the king's words, but cleaving closely to everything that led to the service of God. For this reason many, who had adopted the monastic rule, abhorred alike all the sweets of this world, and were enamoured of one thing only, namely godliness, thirsting to lay down their lives for Christ his sake, and yearning for the happiness beyond. Wherefore they preached, not with fear and trembling, but rather even with excess of boldness, the saving Name of God, and naught but Christ was on their lips, as they plainly proclaimed to all men the transitory and fading nature of this present time, and the fixedness and incorruptibility of the life to come, and sowed in men the first seeds, as it were, towards their becoming of the household of God, and winning that life which is hid in Christ. Wherefore many, profiting by this most pleasant teaching, turned away from the bitter darkness of error, and approached the sweet light of Truth; insomuch that certain of their noblemen and senators laid aside all the burthens of life, and thenceforth became monks.

But when the king heard thereof, he was filled with wrath, and, boiling over with indignation, passed a decree forthwith, compelling all Christians to renounce their religion. Thereupon he planned and practised new kinds of torture against them, and threatened new forms of death. So throughout all his dominions he sent letters to his rulers and governors ordering penalties against the righteous, and unlawful massacres. But chiefly was his displeasure turned against the ranks of the monastic orders, and against them he waged a truceless and unrelenting warfare. Hence, of a truth, many of the Faithful were shaken in spirit, and others, unable to endure torture, yielded to his ungodly decrees. But of the chiefs and rulers of the monastic order some in rebuking his wickedness ended their lives by suffering martyrdom, and thus attained to everlasting felicity; while others hid themselves in deserts and mountains, not from dread of the threatened tortures, but by a more divine dispensation.



II.

Now while the land of the Indians lay under the shroud of this moonless night, and while the Faithful were harried on every side, and the champions of ungodliness prospered, the very air reeking with the smell of bloody sacrifices, a certain mall of the royal household, chief satrap in rank, in courage, stature, comeliness, and in all those qualities which mark beauty of body and nobility of soul, far above all his Fellows, hearing of this iniquitous decree, bade farewell to all the grovelling pomps and vanities of the world, joined the ranks of the monks, and retired across the border into the desert. There, by fastings and vigils, and by diligent study of the divine oracles, he throughly purged his senses, and illumined a soul, set free from every passion, with the glorious light of a perfect calm.

But when the king, who loved and esteemed him highly, heard thereof, he was grieved in spirit at the loss of his friend, but his anger was the more hotly kindled against the monks. And so he sent everywhere in search of him, leaving "no stone unturned," as the saying is, to find him. After a long while, they that were sent in quest of him, having learnt that he abode in the desert, after diligent search, apprehended him and brought him before the king's judgement seat. When the king saw him in such vile and coarse raiment who before had been clad in rich apparel,—saw him, who had lived in the lap of luxury, shrunken and wasted by the severe practice of discipline, and bearing about in his body outward and visible signs of his hermit-life, he was filled with mingled grief and fury, and, in speech blended of these two passions, he spake unto him thus:

"O thou dullard and mad man, wherefore hast thou exchanged thine honour for shame, and thy glorious estate for this unseemly show? To what end hath the president of my kingdom, and chief commander of my realm made himself the laughingstock of boys, and not only forgotten utterly our friendship and fellowship, but revolted against nature herself, and had no pity on his own children, and cared naught for riches and all the splendour of the world, and chosen ignominy such as this rather than the glory that men covet? And what shall it profit thee to have chosen above all gods and men him whom they call Jesus, and to have preferred this rough life of sackcloth to the pleasures and delights of a life of bliss."

When the man of God heard these words, he made reply, at once courteous and unruffled: "If it be thy pleasure, O king, to converse with me, remove thine enemies out of mid court; which done, I will answer thee concerning whatsoever thou mayest desire to learn; for while these are here, I cannot speak with thee. But, without speech, torment me, kill me, do as thou wilt, for "the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world,' as saith my divine teacher." The king said, "And who are these enemies whom thou biddest me turn out of court?" The saintly man answered and said, "Anger and Desire. For at the beginning these twain were brought into being by the Creator to be fellow-workers with nature; and such they still are to those 'who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit.' But in you who are altogether carnal, having nothing of the Spirit, they are adversaries, and play the part of enemies and foemen. For Desire, working in you, stirreth up pleasure, but, when made of none effect, Anger. To-day therefore let these be banished from thee, and let Wisdom and Righteousness sit to hear and judge that which we say. For if thou put Anger and Desire out of court, and in their room bring in Wisdom and Righteousness, I will truthfully tell thee all." Then spake the king, "Lo I yield to thy request, and will banish out of the assembly both Desire and Anger, and make Wisdom and Righteousness to sit between us. So now, tell me without fear, how wast thou so greatly taken with this error, to prefer the bird in the bush to the bird already in the hand?"

The hermit answered and said, "O king, if thou askest the cause how I came to despise things temporal, and to devote my whole self to the hope of things eternal, hearken unto me. In former days, when I was still but a stripling, I heard a certain good and wholesome saying, which, by its three took my soul by storm; and the remembrance of it, like some divine seed, being planted in my heart, unmoved, was preserved ever until it took root, blossomed, and bare that fruit which thou seest in me. Now the meaning of that sentence was this: 'It seemed good to the foolish to despise the things that are, as though they were not, and to cleave and cling to the things that are not, as though they were. So he, that hath never tasted the sweetness of the things that are, will not be able to understand the nature of the things that are not. And never having understood them, how shall he despise them?' Now that saying meant by 'things that are' the things eternal and fixed, but by 'things that are not' earthly life, luxury, the prosperity that deceives, whereon, O king, thine heart alas! is fixed amiss. Time was when I also clung thereto myself. But the force of that sentence continually goading my heart, stirred my governing power, my mind, to make the better choice. But 'the law of sin, warring against the law of my mind,' and binding me, as with iron chains, held me captive to the love of things present.

"But 'after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour' was pleased to deliver me from that harsh captivity, he enabled my mind to overcome the law of sin, and opened mine eyes to discern good from evil. Thereupon I perceived and looked, and behold! all things present are vanity and vexation of spirit, as somewhere in his writings saith Solomon the wise. Then was the veil of sin lifted from mine heart, and the dullness, proceeding from the grossness of my body, which pressed upon my soul, was scattered, and I perceived the end for which I was created, and how that it behoved me to move upward to my Creator by the keeping of his Commandments. Wherefore I left all and followed him, and I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord that he delivered me out of the mire, and from the making of bricks, and from the harsh and deadly ruler of the darkness of this world, and that he showed me the short and easy road whereby I shall be able, in this earthen body, eagerly to embrace the Angelic life. Seeking to attain to it the sooner, I chose to walk the strait and narrow way, renouncing the vanity of things present and the unstable changes and chances thereof, and refusing to call anything good except the true good, from which thou, O king, art miserably sundered and alienated. Wherefore also we ourselves were alienated and separated from thee, because thou wert falling into plain and manifest destruction, and wouldst constrain us also to descend into like peril. But as long as we were tried in the warfare of this world, we failed in no point of duty. Thou thyself will bear me witness that we were never charged with sloth or heedlessness.

"But when thou hast endeavoured to rob us of the chiefest of all blessings, our religion, and to deprive us of God, the worst of deprivations, and, in this intent, dost remind us of past honours and preferments, how should I not rightly tax thee with ignorance of good, seeing that thou dost at all compare these two things, righteousness toward God, and human friendship, and glory, that runneth away like water? And how, in such ease, may we have fellowship with thee, and not the rather deny ourselves friendship and honours and love of children, and if there be any other tie greater than these? When we see thee, O king, the rather forgetting thy reverence toward that God, who giveth thee the power to live and breathe, Christ Jesus, the Lord of all; who, being alike without beginning, and coeternal with the Father, and having created the heavens and the earth by his word, made man with his own hands and endowed him with immortality, and set him king of all on earth and assigned him Paradise, the fairest place of all, as his royal dwelling. But man, beguiled by envy, and (wo is me!) caught by the bait of pleasure, miserably fell from all these blessings. So he that once was enviable became a piteous spectacle, and by his misfortune deserving of tears. Wherefore he, that had made and fashioned us, looked again with eyes of compassion upon the work of his own hands. He, not laying aside his God-head, which he had from the beginning, was made man for our sakes, like ourselves, but without sin, and was content to suffer death upon the Cross. He overthrew the foeman that from the beginning had looked with malice on our race; he rescued us from that bitter captivity; he, of his goodness, restored to us our former freedom, and, of his tender love towards mankind, raised us up again to that place from whence by our disobedience we had fallen, granting us even greater honour than at the first.

"Him therefore, who endured such sufferings for our sakes, and again bestowed such blessings upon us, him dost thou reject and scoff at his Cross? And, thyself wholly riveted to carnal delights and deadly passions, dost thou proclaim the idols of shame and dishonour gods? Not only hast thou alienated thyself from the commonwealth of heavenly felicity but thou hast also severed from the same all others who obey thy commands, to the peril of their souls. Know therefore that I will not obey thee, nor join thee in such ingratitude to God-ward; neither will I deny my benefactor and Saviour, though thou slay me by wild beasts, or give me to the fire and sword, as thou hast the power. For I neither fear death, nor desire the present world, having passed judgement on the frailty and vanity thereof. For what is there profitable, abiding or stable therein? Nay, in very existence, great is the misery, great the pain, great and ceaseless the attendant care. Of its gladness and enjoyment the yoke-fellows are dejection and pain. Its riches is poverty; its loftiness die lowest humiliation; and who shall tell the full tale of its miseries, which Saint John the Divine hath shown me in few words? For he saith, 'The whole world lieth in wickedness'; and, 'Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. For all that is in the world is the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof, but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.' Seeking, then, this good will of God, I have forsaken everything, and joined myself to those who possess the same desire, and seek after the same God. Amongst these there is no strife or envy, sorrow or care, but all run the like race that they may obtain those everlasting habitations which the Father of lights hath prepared for them that love him. Them have I gained for my fathers, my brothers, my friends and mine acquaintances. But from my former friends and brethren 'I have got me away far off, and lodged in the wilderness' waiting for the God, who saveth me from faintness of spirit, and from the stormy tempest."

When the man of God had made answer thus gently and in good reason, the king was stirred by anger, and was minded cruelly to torment the saint; but again he hesitated and delayed, regarding his venerable and noble mien. So he answered and said:

"Unhappy man, that hast contrived thine own utter ruin, driven thereto, I ween, by fate, surely thou hast made thy tongue as sharp as thy wits. Hence thou hast uttered these vain and ambiguous babblings. Had I not promised, at the beginning of our converse, to banish Anger from mid court, I had now given thy body to be burned. But since thou hast prevented and tied me down fast by my words, I bear with thine effrontery, by reason of my former friendship with thee. Now, arise, and flee for ever from my sight, lest I see thee again and miserably destroy thee."

So the man of God went out and withdrew to the desert, grieved to have lost the crown of martyrdom, but daily a martyr in his conscience, and 'wrestling against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness'; as saith Blessed Paul. But after his departure, the king waxed yet more wroth, and devised a yet fiercer persecution of the monastic order, while treating with greater honour the ministers and temple-keepers of his idols.

While the king was under this terrible delusion and error, there was born unto him a son, a right goodly child, whose beauty from his very birth was prophetic of his future fortunes. Nowhere in that land, they said, had there ever been seen so charming and lovely a babe. Full of the keenest joy at the birth of the child, the king called him Ioasaph, and in his folly went in person to the temples of his idols, for to do sacrifice and offer hymns of praise to his still more foolish gods, unaware of the real giver of all good things, to whom he should have offered the spiritual sacrifice. He then, ascribing the cause Of his son's birth to things lifeless and dumb, sent out into all quarters to gather the people together to celebrate his son's birth-day: and thou mightest have seen all the folk running together for fear of the king, and bringing their offerings ready for the sacrifice, according to the store at each man's hand, and his favour toward his lord. But chiefly the king stirred them up to emulation. He brought full many oxen, of goodly size, for sacrifice, and thus, making a feast for all his people, he bestowed largesses on all his counsellors and officers, and on all his soldiers, and all the poor, and men of low degree.



III.

Now on his son's birth-day feast there came unto the king some five and fifty chosen men, schooled in the star-lore of the Chaldaeans. These the king called into his presence, and asked them, severally, to tell him the future of the new-born babe. After long counsel held, they said that he should be mighty in riches and power, and should surpass all that had reigned before him. But one of the astrologers, the most learned of all his fellows, spake thus: "From that which I learn from the courses of the stars, O king, the advancement of the child, now born unto thee, will not be in thy kingdom, but in another, a better and a greater one beyond compare. Methinketh also that he will embrace the Christian religion, which thou persecutest, and I trow that he will not be disappointed of his aim and hope." Thus spake the astrologer, like Balaam of old, not that his star-lore told him true, but because God signifieth the truth by the mouth of his enemies, that all excuse may be taken from the ungodly.

But when the king heard thereof, he received the tidings with a heavy heart, and sorrow cut short his joy. Howsoever he built, in a city set apart, an exceeding beautiful palace, with cunningly devised gorgeous chambers, and there set his son to dwell, after he had ended his first infancy; and he forbade any to approach him, appointing, for instructors and servants, youths right seemly to behold. These he charged to reveal to him none of the annoys of life, neither death, nor old age, nor disease, nor poverty, nor anything else grievous that might break his happiness: but to place before him everything pleasant and enjoyable, that his heart, revelling in these delights, might not gain strength to consider the future, nor ever hear the bare mention of the tale of Christ and his doctrines. For he was heedful of the astrologer's warning, and it was this most that he was minded to conceal from his son. And if any of the attendants chanced to fall sick, he commanded to have him speedily removed, and put another plump and well-favoured servant in his place, that the boy's eyes might never once behold anything to disquiet them. Such then was the intent and doing of the king, for, 'seeing, he did not see, and hearing, he did not understand.'

But, learning that some monks still remained, of whom he fondly imagined that not a trace was left, he became angry above measure, and his fury was hotly kindled against them. And he commanded heralds to scour all the city and all the country, proclaiming that after three days no monk whatsoever should be found therein. But and if any were discovered after the set time, they should be delivered to destruction by fire and sword. "For," said he, "these be they that persuade the people to worship the Crucified as God." Meanwhile a thing befell, that made the king still more angry and bitter against the monks.



IV.

There was at court a man pre-eminent among the rulers, of virtuous life and devout in religion. But while working out his own salvation, as best he might, he kept it secret for fear of the king. Wherefore certain men, looking enviously on his free converse with the king, studied how they might slander him; and this was all their thought. On a day, when the king went forth a-hunting with his bodyguard, as was his wont, this good man was of the hunting party. While he was walking alone, by divine providence, as I believe, he found a man in a covert, cast to the ground, his foot grievously crushed by a wild-beast. Seeing him passing by, the wounded man importuned him not to go his way, but to pity his misfortune, and take him to his own home, adding thereto: "I hope that I shall not be found unprofitable, nor altogether useless unto thee." Our nobleman said unto him, "For very charity I will take thee up, and render thee such service as I may. But what is this profit which thou saidest that I should receive of thee?" The poor sick man answered, "I am a physician of words. If ever in speech or converse any wound or damage be found, I will heal it with befitting medicines, that so the evil spread no further." The devout man gave no heed to his word, but on account of the commandment, ordered him to be carried home, and grudged him not that tending which he required. But the aforesaid envious and malignant persons, bringing forth to light that ungodliness with which they had long been in travail, slandered this good man to the king; that not only did he forget his friendship with the king, and neglect the worship of the gods, and incline to Christianity, but more, that he was grievously intriguing against the kingly power, and was turning aside the common people, and stealing all hearts for himself. "But," said they, "if thou wilt prove that our charge is not ungrounded, call him to thee privately; and, to try him, say that thou desirest to leave thy fathers' religion, and the glory of thy kingship, and to become a Christian, and to put on the monkish habit which formerly thou didst persecute, having, thou shalt tell him, found thine old course evil." The authors of this villainous charge against the Christian knew the tenderness of his heart, how that, if he heard such speech from the king, he would advise him, who had made this better choice, not to put off his good determinations, and so they would be found just accusers.

But the king, not forgetful of his friend's great kindness toward him, thought these accusations incredible and false; and because he might not accept them without proof, he resolved to try the fact and the charge. So he called the man apart and said, to prove him, "Friend, thou knowest of all my past dealings with them that are called monks and with all the Christians. But now, I have repented in this matter, and, lightly esteeming the present world, would fain become partaker of those hopes whereof I have heard them speak, of some immortal kingdom in the life to come; for the present is of a surety cut short by death. And in none other way, methinks, can I succeed herein and not miss the mark except I become a Christian, and, bidding farewell to the glory of my kingdom and all the pleasures and joys of life, go seek those hermits and monks, wheresoever they be, whom I have banished, and join myself to their number. Now what sayest thou thereto, and what is thine advice? Say on; I adjure thee in the name of truth; for I know thee to be true and wise above all men."

The worthy man, hearing this, but never guessing the hidden pitfall, was pricked in spirit, and, melting into tears, answered in his simplicity, "O king, live for ever! Good and sound is the determination that thou hast determined; for though the kingdom of heaven be difficult to find, yet must a man seek it with all his might, for it is written, 'He that seeketh shall find it.' The enjoyment of the present life, though in seeming it give delight and sweetness, is well thrust from us. At the very moment of its being it ceaseth to be, and for our joy repayeth us with sorrow sevenfold. Its happiness and its sorrow are more frail than a shadow, and, like the traces of a ship passing over the sea, or of a bird flying through the air, quickly disappear. But the hope of the life to come which the Christians preach is certain, and as surety sure; howbeit in this world it hath tribulation, whereas our pleasures now are short-lived, and in the beyond they only win us correction and everlasting punishment without release. For the pleasures of such life are temporary, but its pains eternal; while the Christians' labours are temporary, but their pleasure and gain immortal. Therefore well befall this good determination of the king! for right good it is to exchange the corruptible for the eternal."

The king heard these words and waxed exceeding wroth: nevertheless he restrained his anger, and for the season let no word fall. But the other, being shrewd and quick of wit, perceived that the king took his word ill, and was craftily sounding him. So, on his coming home, he fell into much grief and distress in his perplexity how to conciliate the king and to escape the peril hanging over his own head. But as he lay awake all the night long, there came to his remembrance the man with the crushed foot; so he had him brought before him, and said, "I remember thy saying that thou weft an healer of injured speech." "Yea," quoth he, "and if thou wilt I will give thee proof of my skill." The senator answered and told him of his aforetime friendship with the king, and of the confidence which he had enjoyed, and of the snare laid for him in his late converse with the king; how he had given a good answer, but the king had taken his words amiss, and by his change of countenance betrayed the anger lurking within his heart.

The sick beggar-man considered and said, "Be it known unto thee, most noble sir, that the king harboureth against thee the suspicion, that thou wouldest usurp his kingdom, and he spake, as he spake, to sound thee. Arise therefore, and crop thy hair. Doff these thy fine garments, and don an hair-shirt, and at daybreak present thyself before the king. And when he asketh thee, 'What meaneth this apparel?' answer him, 'It hath to do with thy communing with me yesterday, O king. Behold, I am ready to follow thee along the road that thou art eager to travel; for though luxury be desirable and passing sweet, God forbid that I embrace it after thou art gone! Though the path of virtue, which thou art about to tread, be difficult and rough, yet in thy company I shall find it easy and pleasant, for as I have shared with thee this thy prosperity so now will I share thy distresses, that in the future, as in the past, I may be thy fellow.'" Our nobleman, approving of the sick man's saying, did as he said. When the king saw and heard him, he was delighted, and beyond measure gratified by his devotion towards him. He saw that the accusations against his senator were false, and promoted him to more honour and to a greater enjoyment of his confidence. But against the monks he again raged above measure, declaring that this was of their teaching, that men should abstain from the pleasures of life, and rock themselves in visionary hopes.

Another day, when he was gone a-hunting, he espied two monks crossing the desert. These he ordered to be apprehended and brought to his chariot. Looking angrily upon them, and breathing fire, as they say, "Ye vagabonds and deceivers," he cried, "have ye not heard the plain proclamation of the heralds, that if any of your execrable religion were found, after three days, in any city or country within my realm, he should be burned with fire?" The monks answered, "Lo! obedient to thine order, we be coming out of thy cities and coasts. But as the journey before us is long, to get us away to our brethren, being in want of victuals, we were making provision for the way, that we perish not with hunger." Said the king, "He that dreadeth menace of death busieth not himself with the purveyante of victuals." "Well spoken, O king," cried the monks. "They that dread death have concern how to escape it. And who are these but such as cling to things temporary and are enamoured of them, who, having no good hopes yonder, find it hard to be wrenched from this present world, and therefore dread death? But we, who have long since hated the world and the things of the world, and are walking along the narrow and strait road, for Christ his sake, neither dread death, nor desire the present world, but only long for the world to come. Therefore, forasmuch the death that thou art bringing upon us proveth but the passage to that everlasting and better life, it is rather to be desired of us than feared."

Hereupon the king, wishing to entrap the monks, as I ween, shrewdly said, "How now? Said ye not but this instant, that ye were withdrawing even as I commanded you? And, if ye fear not death, how came ye to be fleeing? Lo! this is but another of your idle boasts and lies." The monks answered, "Tis not because we dread the death wherewith thou dost threaten us that we flee, but because we pity thee. 'Twas in order that we might not bring on thee greater condemnation, that we were eager to escape. Else for ourselves we are never a whit terrified by thy threats." At this the king waxed wroth and bade burn them with fire. So by fire were these servants of God made perfect, and received the Martyr's crown. And the king published a decree that, should any be found leading a monk's life, he should be put to death without trial. Thus was there left in that country none of the monastic order, save those that had hid them in mountains and caverns and holes of the earth. So much then concerning this matter.



V.

But meanwhile, the king's son, of whom our tale began to tell, never departing from the palace prepared for him, attained to the age of manhood. He had pursued all the learning of the Ethiopians and Persians, and was as fair and well favoured in mind as in body, intelligent and prudent, and shining in all excellencies. To his teachers he would propound such questions of natural history that even they marvelled at the boy's quickness and understanding, while the king was astounded at the charm of his countenance and the disposition of his soul. He charged the attendants of the young prince on no account to make known unto him any of the annoys of life, least of all to tell him that death ensueth on the pleasures of this world. But vain was the hope whereon he stayed, and he was like the archer in the tale that would shoot at the sky. For how could death have remained unknown to any human creature? Nor did it to this boy; for his mind was fertile of wit, and he would reason within himself, why his father had condemned him never to go abroad, and had forbidden access to all. He knew, without hearing it, that this was his father's express command. Nevertheless he feared to ask him; it was not to be believed that his father intended aught but his good; and again, if it were so by his father's will, his father would not reveal the true reason, for all his asking. Wherefore he determined to learn the secret from some other source. There was one of his tutors nearer and dearer to him than the rest, whose devotion he won even further by handsome gifts. To him he put the question what his father might mean by thus enclosing him within those walls, adding, "If thou wilt plainly tell me this, of all thou shalt stand first in my favour, and I will make with thee a covenant of everlasting friendship." The tutor, himself a prudent man, knowing how bright and mature was the boy's wit and that he would not betray him, to his peril, discovered to him the whole matter the persecution of the Christians and especially of the anchorets decreed by the king, and how they were driven forth and banished from the country round about; also the prophecies of the astrologers at his birth. "'Twas in order," said he, "that thou mightest never hear of their teaching, and choose it before our religion, that the king hath thus devised that none but a small company should dwell with thee, and hath commanded us to acquaint thee with none of the woes of life." When the young prince heard this he said never a word more, but the word of salvation took hold of his heart, and the grace of the Comforter began to open wide the eyes of his understanding, leading him by the hand to the true God, as our tale in its course shall tell.

Now the king his father came oftentimes to see his boy, for he loved him passing well. On a day his son said unto him, "There is something that I long to learn from thee, my lord the king, by reason of which continual grief and unceasing care consumeth my soul." His father was grieved at heart at the very word, and said, "Tell me, darling child, what is the sadness that constraineth thee, and straightway I will do my diligence to turn it into gladness." The boy said, "What is the reason of mine imprisonment here? Wily hast thou barred me within walls and doors, never going forth and seen of none?" His father replied, "Because I will not, my son, that thou shouldest behold anything to embitter thy heart or mar thy happiness. I intend that thou shalt spend all thy days in luxury unbroken, and in all manner joy and pleasaunce." "But," said the son unto his father, "know well, Sir, that thus I live not in joy and pleasaunce, but rather in affliction and great straits, so that my very meat and drink seem distasteful unto me and bitter. I yearn to see all that lieth without these gates. If then thou wouldest not have me live in anguish of mind, bid me go abroad as I desire, and let me rejoice my soul with sights hitherto unseen by mine eyes."

Grieved was the king to hear these words, but, perceiving that to deny this request would but increase his boy's pain and grief, he answered, "My son, I will grant thee thy heart's desire." And immediately he ordered that choice steeds, and an escort fit for a king, be made ready, and gave him license to go abroad whensoever he would, charging his companions to suffer nothing unpleasant to come in his way, but to show him all that was beautiful and gladsome. He bade them muster in the way troops of folk intuning melodies in every mode, and presenting divers mimic shows, that these might occupy and delight his mind.

So thus it came to pass that the king's son often went abroad. One day, through the negligence of his attendants, he descried two men, the one maimed, and the other blind. In abhorrence of the sight, he cried to his esquires, "Who are these, and what is this distressing spectacle?" They, unable to conceal what he had with his own eyes seen, answered, "These be human sufferings, which spring from corrupt matter, and from a body full of evil humours." The young prince asked, "Are these the fortune of all men?" They answered, "Not of all, but of those in whom the principle of health is turned away by the badness of the humours." Again the youth asked, "If then this is wont to happen not to all, but only to some, can they be known on whom this terrible calamity shall fall? or is it undefined and unforeseeable?" "What man," said they, "can discern the future, and accurately ascertain it? This is beyond human nature, and is reserved for the immortal gods alone." The young prince ceased from his questioning, but his heart was grieved at the sight that he had witnessed, and the form of his visage was changed by the strangeness of the matter.

Not many days after, as he was again taking his walks abroad, he happened with an old man, well stricken in years, shrivelled in countenance, feeble-kneed, bent double, grey-haired, toothless, and with broken utterance. The prince was seized with astonishment, and, calling the old man near, desired to know the meaning of this strange sight. His companions answered, "This man is now well advanced in years, and his gradual decrease of strength, with increase of weakness, hath brought him to the misery that thou seest." "And," said he, "what will be his end?" They answered, "Naught but death will relieve him." "But," said he, "is this the appointed doom of all mankind? Or doth it happen only to some?" They answered, "Unless death come before hand to remove him, no dweller on earth, but, as life advanceth, must make trial of this lot." Then the young prince asked in how many years this overtook a man, and whether the doom of death was without reprieve, and whether there was no way to escape it, and avoid coming to such misery. They answered him, "In eighty or an hundred years men arrive at this old age, and then they die, since there is none other way; for death is a debt due to nature, laid on man from the beginning, and its approach is inexorable."

When our wise and sagacious young prince saw and heard all this, he sighed from the bottom of his heart. "Bitter is this life," cried he, "and fulfilled of all pain and anguish, if this be so. And how can a body be careless in the expectation of an unknown death, whose approach (ye say) is as uncertain as it is inexorable?" So he went away, restlessly turning over all these things in his mind, pondering without end, and ever calling up remembrances of death. Wherefore trouble and despondency were his companions, and his grief knew no ease; for he said to himself, "And is it true that death shall one day overtake me? And who is he that shall make mention of me after death, when time delivereth all things to forgetfulness? When dead, shall I dissolve into nothingness? Or is there life beyond, and another world?" Ever fretting over these and the like considerations, he waxed pale and wasted away, but in the presence of his father, whenever he chanced to come to him, he made as though he were cheerful and without trouble, unwilling that his cares should come to his father's knowledge. But he longed with an unrestrainable yearning, to meet with the man that might accomplish his heart's desire, and fill his ears with the sound of good tidings.

Again he enquired of the tutor of whom we have spoken, whether he knew of anybody able to help him towards his desire, and to establish a mind, dazed and shuddering at its cogitations, and unable to throw off its burden. He, recollecting their former communications, said, "I have told thee already how thy father hath dealt with the wise men and anchorets who spend their lives in such philosophies. Some hath he slain, and others he hath wrathfully persecuted, and I wot not whether any of this sort be in this country side." Thereat the prince was overwhelmed with woe, and grievously wounded in spirit. He was like unto a man that hath lost a great treasure, whose whole heart is occupied in seeking after it. Thenceforth he lived in perpetual conflict and distress of mind, and all the pleasures and delights of this world were in his eyes an abomination and a curse. While the youth was in this way, and his soul was crying out to discover that which is good, the eye that beholdeth all things looked upon him, and he that willeth that 'all men should be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth,' passed him not by, but showed this man also the tender love that he hath toward mankind, and made known upon him the path whereon he needs must go. Befel it thus.



VI.

There was at that time a certain monk, learned in heavenly things, graced in word and deed, a model follower of every monastic rule. Whence he sprang, and what his race, I cannot say, but he dwelt in a waste howling wilderness in the land of Senaar, and had been perfected through the grace of the priesthood. Barlaam was this elder's name. He, learning by divine revelation the state of the king's son, left the desert and returned to the world. Changing his habit, he put on lay attire, and, embarking on ship board, arrived at the seat of the empire of the Indians. Disguised as a merchant man, he entered the city, where was the palace of the king's son. There he tarried many days, and enquired diligently concerning the prince's affairs, and those that had access to him. Learning that the tutor, of whom we have spoken, was the prince's most familiar friend, he privily approached him, saying,

"I would have thee understand, my lord, that I am a merchant man, come from a far country; and I possess a precious gem, the like of which was never yet found, and hitherto I have shewed it to no man. But now I reveal the secret to thee, seeing thee to be wise and prudent, that thou mayest bring me before the king's son, and I will present it to him. Beyond compare, it surpasseth all beautiful things; for on the blind in heart it hath virtue to bestow the light of wisdom, to open the ears of the deaf, to give speech to the dumb and strength to the ailing. It maketh the foolish wise and driveth away devils, and without stint furnisheth its possessor with everything that is lovely and desirable." The tutor said, "Though, to all seeming, thou art a man of staid and steadfast judgment, yet thy words prove thee to be boastful beyond measure. Time would fail me to tell thee the full tale of the costly and precious gems and pearls that I have seen. But gems, with such power as thou tellest of, I never saw nor heard of yet. Nevertheless shew me the stone; and if it be as thou affirmest, I immediately bear it to the king's son, from whom thou shalt receive most high honours and rewards. But, before I be assured by the certain witness of mine own eyes, I may not carry to my lord and master so swollen a tale about so doubtful a thing." Quoth Barlaam, "Well hast thou said that thou hast never seen or heard of such powers and virtues; for my speech to thee is on no ordinary matter, but on a wondrous and a great. But, as thou desiredst to behold it, listen to my words.

"This exceeding precious gem, amongst these its powers and virtues, possesseth this property besides. It cannot be seen out of hand, save by one whose eyesight is strong and sound, and his body pure and thoroughly undefiled. If any man, lacking in these two good qualities, do rashly gaze upon this precious stone, he shall, I suppose lose even the eyesight that he hath, and his wits as well. Now I, that am initiated in the physician's art, observe that thine eyes are not healthy, and I fear lest I may cause thee to lose even the eyesight that thou hast. But of the king's son, I have heard that he leadeth a sober life, and that his eyes are young and fair, and healthy. Wherefore to him I make bold to display this treasure. Be not thou then negligent herein, nor rob thy master of so wondrous a boon." The other answered, "If this be so, in no wise show me the gem; for my life hath been polluted by many sins, and also, as thou sayest, I am not possest of good eyesight. But I am won by thy words, and will not hesitate to make known these things unto my lord the prince." So saying, he went in, and, word by word, reported everything to the king's son. He, hearing his tutor's words, felt a strange joy and spiritual gladness breathing into his heart, and, like one inspired, bade bring in the man forthwith.

So when Barlaam was come in, and had in due order wished him Peace!, the prince bade him be seated. Then his tutor withdrew, and Ioasaph said unto the elder, "Shew me the precious gem, concerning which, as my tutor hath narrated, thou tellest such great and marvellous tales." Then began Barlaam to discourse with him thus: "It is not fitting, O prince, that I should say anything falsely or unadvisedly to thine excellent majesty. All that hath been signified to thee from me is true and may not be gainsaid. But, except I first make trial of thy mind, it is not lawful to declare to thee this mystery; for my master saith, 'There went out a sower to sow his seed: and, as he sowed, some seeds fell by the wayside, and the fowls of the air came and devoured them up: some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprang up, because they had no deepness of earth: and when the sun was up, they were scorched: and because they had no root, they withered away. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up and choked them: but others fell upon good ground, and brought forth fruit an hundredfold.' Now, if I find in thine heart fruit-bearing ground, and good, I shall not be slow to plant therein the heavenly seed, and manifest to thee the mighty mystery. But and if the ground be stony and thorny, and the wayside trodden down by all who will, it were better never to let fall this seed of salvation, nor to cast it for a prey to fowls and beasts, before which I have been charged not to cast pearls. But I am 'persuaded better things of thee, and things that accompany salvation,'—how that thou shalt see the priceless stone, and it shall be given thee in the light of that stone to become light, and bring forth fruit an hundredfold. Aye, for thy sake I gave diligence and accomplished a long journey, to shew thee things which thou hast never seen, and teach thee things which thou hast never heard."

Ioasaph said unto him, "For myself, reverend elder, I have a longing, all irresistible passion to hear some new and goodly word, and in mine heart there is kindled fire, cruelly burning and urging me to learn the answer to some questions that will not rest. But until now I never happened on one that could satisfy me as touching them. But if I meet with some wise and understanding man, and hear the word of salvation, I shall not deliver it to the fowls of the air, I trow, nor yet to the beasts of the field; nor shall I be found either stony or thorny-hearted, as thou saidest, but I shall receive the word kindly, and guard it wisely. So if thou knowest any such like thing, conceal it not from me, but declare it. When I heard that thou were come from a far country, my spirit rejoiced, and I had good hope of obtaining through thee that which I desire. Wherefore I called thee straightway into my presence, and received thee in friendly wise as one of my companions and peers, if so be that I may not be disappointed of my hope." Barlaam answered, "Fair are thy deeds, and worthy of thy royal majesty; seeing that thou hast paid no heed to my mean show, but hast devoted thyself to the hope that lieth within.

"There was once a great and famous king: and it came to pass, when he was riding on a day in his golden chariot, with his royal guard, that there met him two men, clad in filthy rags, with fallen-in faces, and pale as death. Now the king knew that it was by buffetings of the body and by the sweats of the monastic life that they had thus wasted their miserable flesh. So, seeing them, he leapt anon from his chariot, fell on the ground, and did obeisance. Then rising, he embraced and greeted them tenderly. But his noblemen and counsellors took offence thereat, deeming that their sovran had disgraced his kingly honour. But not daring to reprove him to the face, they bade the king's own brother tell the king not thus to insult the majesty of his crown. When he had told the king thereof, and had upbraided him for his untimely humility, the king gave his brother an answer which he failed to understand.

"It was the custom of that king, whenever he sentenced anyone to death, to send a herald to his door, with a trumpet reserved for that purpose, and at the sound of this trumpet all understood that that man was liable to the penalty of death. So when evening was come, the king sent the death-trumpet to sound at his brother's door; who, when he heard its blast, despaired of his life, and all night long set his house in order. At day-break, robed in black and garments of mourning, with wife and children, he went to the palace gate, weeping and lamenting. The king fetched him in, and seeing him in tears, said, 'O fool, and slow of understanding, how didst thou, who hast had such dread of the herald of thy peer and brother (against whom thy conscience doth not accuse thee of having committed any trespass) blame me for my humility in greeting the heralds of my God, when they warned me, in gentler tones than those of the trumpet, of my death and fearful meeting with that Master against whom I know that I have often grievously offended? Lo! then, it was in reproof of thy folly that I played thee this turn, even as I will shortly convict of vanity those that prompted thy reproof.' Thus he comforted his brother and sent him home with a gift.

"Then he ordered four wooden caskets to be made. Two of these he covered over all with gold, and, placing dead men's mouldering bones therein, secured them with golden clasps. The other two he smeared over with pitch and tar, but filled them with costly stones and precious pearls, and all manner of aromatic sweet perfume. He bound them fast with cords of hair, and called for the noblemen who had blamed him for his manner of accosting the men by the wayside. Before them he set the four caskets, that they might appraise the value of these and those. They decided that the golden ones were of greatest value, for, peradventure, they contained kingly diadems and girdles. But those, that were be-smeared with pitch and tar, were cheap and of paltry worth, said they. Then said the king to them, 'I know that such is your answer, for with the eyes of sense ye judge the objects of sense, but so ought ye not to do, but ye should rather see with the inner eye the hidden worthlessness or value.' Whereupon he ordered the golden chests to be opened. And when they were thrown open, they gave out a loathsome smell and presented a hideous sight.

"Said the king, 'Here is a figure of those who are clothed in glory and honour, and make great display of power and glory, but within is the stink of dead men's bones and works of iniquity.' Next, he commanded the pitched and tarred caskets also to be opened, and delighted the company with the beauty and sweet savour of their stores. And he said unto them, 'Know ye to whom these are like? They are like those lowly men, clad in vile apparel, whose outward form alone ye beheld, and deemed it outrageous that I bowed down to do them obeisance. But through the eyes of my mind I perceived the value and exceeding beauty of their souls, and was glorified by their touch, and I counted them more honourable than any chaplet or royal purple.' Thus he shamed his courtiers, and taught them not to be deceived by outward appearances, but to give heed to the things of the soul. After the example of that devout and wise king hast thou also done, in that thou hast received me in good hope, wherein, as I ween, thou shalt not be disappointed." Ioasaph said unto him, "Fair and fitting hath been all thy speech; but now I fain would learn who is thy Master, who, as thou saidest at the first, spake concerning the Sower."



VII.

Again therefore Barlaam took up his parable and said, "If thou wilt learn who is my Master, it is Jesus Christ the Lord, the only-begotten Son of God, 'the blessed and only potentate, the King of kings, and Lords of lords; who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto'; who with the Father and the Holy Ghost is glorified. I am not one of those who proclaim from the house-top their wild rout of gods, and worship lifeless and dumb idols, but one God do I acknowledge and confess, in three persons glorified, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, but in one nature and substance, in one glory and kingdom undivided. He then is in three persons one God, without beginning, and without end, eternal and everlasting, increate, immutable and incorporeal, invisible, infinite, incomprehensible, alone good and righteous, who created all things out of nothing, whether visible or invisible. First, he made the heavenly and invisible powers, countless multitudes, immaterial and bodiless, ministering spirits of the majesty of God. Afterward he created this visible world, heaven and earth and sea, which also he made glorious with light and richly adorned it; the heavens with the sun, moon and stars, and the earth with all manner of herbs and divers living beasts, and the sea in turn with all kinds of fishes. 'He spake the word and these all were made; he commanded and they were created.' Then with his own hands he created man, taking dust of the ground for the fashioning of his body, but by his own in-breathing giving him a reasonable and intelligent soul, which, as it is written, was made after the image and likeness of God: after his image, because of reason and free will; after his likeness, because of the likeness of virtue, in its degree, to God. Him he endowed with free will and immortality and appointed sovran over everything upon earth; and from man he made woman, to be an helpmeet of like nature for him.

"And he planted a garden eastward in Eden, full of delight and all heart's ease, and set thereto the man whom he had formed, and commanded him freely to eat of all the heavenly trees therein, but forbade him wholly the taste of a certain one which was called the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thus saying, 'In the day that ye eat thereof ye shall surely die.' But one of the aforesaid angel powers, the marshall of one host, though he bore in himself no trace of natural evil from his Maker's hand but had been created for good, yet by his own free and deliberate choice turned aside from good to evil, and was stirred up by madness to the desire to take up arms against his Lord God. Wherefore he was cast out of his rank and dignity, and in the stead of his former blissful glory and angelick name received the name of the 'Devil' and 'Satan' for his title. God banished him as unworthy of the glory above. And together with him there was drawn away and hurled forth a great multitude of the company of angels under him, who were evil of choice, and chose in place of good, to follow in the rebellion of their leader. These were called Devils, as being deluders and deceivers.

"Thus then did the devil utterly renounce the good, and assume an evil nature; and he conceived spite against man, seeing himself hurled from such glory, and man raised to such honour; and he schemed to oust him from that blissful state. So he took the serpent for the workshop of his own guile. Through him he conversed with the woman, and persuaded her to eat of that forbidden tree in the hope of being as God, and through her he deceived Adam also, for that was the first man's name. So Adam ate of the tree of disobedience, and was banished by his maker from that paradise of delight, and, in lieu of those happy days and that immortal life, fell alas! into this life of misery and woe, and at the last received sentence of death. Thenceforth the devil waxed strong and boastful through his victory; and, as the race of man multiplied, he prompted them in all manner of wickedness. So, wishing to cut short the growth of sin, God brought a deluge on the earth, and destroyed every living soul. But one single righteous man did God find in that generation; and him, with wife and children, he saved alive in an Ark, and set him utterly desolate on earth. But, when the human race again began to multiply, they forgat God, and ran into worse excess of wickedness, being in subjection to divers sins and ruined in strange delusions, and wandering apart into many branches of error.

"Some deemed that everything moved by mere chance, and taught that there was no Providence, since there was no master to govern. Others brought in fate, and committed everything to the stars at birth. Others worshipped many evil deities subject to many passions, to the end that they might have them to advocate their own passions and shameful deeds, whose forms they moulded, and whose dumb figures and senseless idols they set up, and enclosed them in temples, and did homage to them, 'serving the creature more than the Creator.' Some worshipped the sun, moon and stars which God fixed, for to give light to our earthly sphere; things without soul or sense, enlightened and sustained by the providence of God, but unable to accomplish anything of themselves. Others again worshipped fire and water, and the other elements, things without soul or sense; and men, possest of soul and reason, were not ashamed to worship the like of these. Others assigned worship to beasts, creeping and four-footed things, proving themselves more beastly than the things that they worshipped. Others made them images of vile and worthless men, and named them gods, some of whom they called males, and some females, and they themselves set them forth as adulterers, murderers, victims of anger, jealousy, wrath, slayers of fathers, slayers of brothers, thieves and robbers, lame and maim, sorcerers and madmen. Others they showed dead, struck by thunderbolts, or beating their breasts, or being mourned over, or in enslavement to mankind, or exiled, or, for foul and shameful unions, taking the forms of animals. Whence men, taking occasion by the gods themselves, took heart to pollute themselves in all manner of uncleanness. So an horrible darkness overspread our race in those times, and 'there was none that did understand and seek after God.'

"Now in that generation one Abraham alone was found strong in his spiritual senses; and by contemplation of Creation he recognized the Creator. When he considered heaven, earth and sea, the sun, moon and the like, he marvelled at their harmonious ordering. Seeing the world, and all that therein is, he could not believe that it had been created, and was upheld, by its own power, nor did he ascribe such a fair ordering to earthly elements or lifeless idols. But therein he recognized the true God, and understood him to be the maker and sustainer of the whole. And God, approving his fair wisdom and right judgement, manifested himself unto him, not as he essentially is (for it is impossible for a created being to see God), but by certain manifestations in material forms, as he alone can, and he planted in Abraham more perfect knowledge; he magnified him and made him his own servant. Which Abraham in turn handed down to his children his own righteousness, and taught them to know the true God. Wherefore also the Lord was pleased to multiply his seed beyond measure, and called them 'a peculiar people,' and brought them forth out of bondage to the Egyptian nation, and to one Pharaoh a tyrant, by strange and terrible signs and wonders wrought by the hand of Moses and Aaron, holy men, honoured with the gift of prophecy; by whom also he punished the Egyptians in fashion worthy of their wickedness, and led the Israelites (for thus the people descended from Abraham were called) through the Red Sea upon dry land, the waters dividing and making a wall on the right hand and a wall on the left. But when Pharaoh and the Egyptians pursued and went in after them, the waters returned and utterly destroyed them. Then with exceeding mighty miracles and divine manifestations by the space of forty years he led the people in the wilderness, and fed them with bread from heaven, and gave the Law divinely written on tables of stone, which he delivered unto Moses on the mount, 'a type and shadow of things to come' leading men away from idols and all manner of wickedness, and teaching them to worship only the one true God, and to cleave to good works. By such wondrous deeds, he brought them into a certain goodly land, the which he had promised aforetime to Abraham the patriarch, that he would give it unto his seed. And the task were long, to tell of all the mighty and marvellous works full of glory and wonder, without number, which he shewed unto them, by which it was his purpose to pluck the human race from all unlawful worship and practice, and to bring men back to their first estate. But even so our nature was in bondage by its freedom to err, and death had dominion over mankind, delivering all to the tyranny of the devil, and to the damnation of hell.

"So when we had sunk to this depth of misfortune and misery, we were not forgotten by him that formed and brought us out of nothing into being, nor did he suffer his own handiwork utterly to perish. By the good pleasure of our God and Father, and the co-operation of the Holy Ghost, the only-begotten Son, even the Word of God, which is in the bosom of the Father, being of one substance with the Father and with the Holy Ghost, he that was before all worlds, without beginning, who was in the beginning, and was with God even the Father, and was God, he, I say, condescended toward his servants with an unspeakable and incomprehensible condescension; and, being perfect God, was made perfect man, of the Holy Ghost, and of Mary the Holy Virgin and Mother of God, not of the seed of man, nor of the will of man, nor by carnal union, being conceived in the Virgin's undefiled womb, of the Holy Ghost; as also, before his conception, one of the Archangels was sent to announce to the Virgin that miraculous conception and ineffable birth. For without seed was the Son of God conceived of the Holy Ghost, and in the Virgin's womb he formed for himself a fleshy body, animate with a reasonable and intelligent soul, and thence came forth in one substance, but in two natures, perfect God and perfect man, and preserved undefiled, even after birth, the virginity of her that bore him. He, being made of like passions with ourselves in all things, yet without sin, took our infirmities and bare our sicknesses. For, since by sin death entered into the world, need was that he, that should redeem the world, should be without sin, and not by sin subject unto death.

"When he had lived thirty years among men, he was baptized in the river Jordan by John, an holy man, and great above all the prophets. And when he was baptized there came a voice from heaven, from God, even the Father, saying, 'This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased,' and the Holy Ghost descended upon him in likeness of a dove. From that time forth he began to do great signs and wonders, raising the dead, giving sight to the blind, casting out devils, healing the lame and maim, cleansing lepers, and everywhere renewing our out-worn nature, instructing men both by word and deed, and teaching the way of virtue, turning men from destruction and guiding their feet toward life eternal. Wherefore also he chose twelve disciples, whom he called Apostles, and commanded them to preach the kingdom of heaven which he came upon earth to declare, and to make heavenly us who are low and earthly, by virtue of his Incarnation.

"But, through envy of his marvellous and divine conversation and endless miracles, the chief priests and rulers of the Jews (amongst whom also he dwelt, on whom he had wrought his aforesaid signs and miracles), in their madness forgetting all, condemned him to death, having seized one of the Twelve to betray him. And, when they had taken him, they delivered him to the Gentiles, him that was the life of the world, he of his free will consenting thereto; for he came for our sakes to suffer all things, that he might free us from sufferings. But when they had done him much despite, at the last they condemned him to the Cross. All this he endured in the nature of that flesh which he took from us, his divine nature remaining free of suffering: for, being of two natures, both the divine and that which he took from us, his human nature suffered, while his Godhead continued free from suffering and death. So our Lord Jesus Christ, being without sin, was crucified in the flesh, for he did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth; and he was not subject unto death, for by sin, as I have said before, came death into the world; but for our sakes he suffered death in the flesh, that he might redeem us from the tyranny of death. He descended into hell, and having harrowed it, he delivered thence souls that had been imprisoned therein for ages long. He was buried, and on the third day he rose again, vanquishing death and granting us the victory over death: and he, the giver of immortality, having made flesh immortal, was seen of his disciples, and bestowed upon them peace, and, through them, peace on the whole human race.

"After forty days he ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of the Father. And he shall come again to judge the quick and the dead, and to reward every man according to his works. After his glorious Ascension into heaven he sent forth upon his disciples the Holy Ghost in likeness of fire, and they began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. From thence by his grace they were scattered abroad among all nations, and preached the true Catholic Faith, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, and teaching them to observe all the commandments of the Saviour. So they gave light to the people that wandered in darkness, and abolished the superstitious error of idolatry. Though the enemy chafeth under his defeat, and even now stirreth up war against us, the faithful, persuading the fools and unwise to cling to the worship of idols, yet is his power grown feeble, and his swords have at last failed him by the power of Christ. Lo, in few words I have made known unto thee my Master, my God, and my Saviour; but thou shalt know him more perfectly, if thou wilt receive his grace into thy soul, and gain the blessing to become his servant."



VIII.

When the king's son had heard these words, there flashed a light upon his soul. Rising from his seat in the fulness of his joy, he embraced Barlaam, saying: "Most honoured sir, methinks this might be that priceless stone which thou dost rightly keep secret, not displaying it to all that would see it, but only to these whose spiritual sense is strong. For lo, as these words dropped upon mine ear, sweetest light entered into my heart, and the heavy veil of sorrow, that hath now this long time enveloped my heart, was in an instant removed. Tell me if my guess be true: or if thou knowest aught better than that which thou hast spoken, delay not to declare it to me."

Again, therefore, Barlaam answered, "Yea, my lord and prince, this is the mighty mystery which hath been hid from ages and generations, but in these last days hath been made known unto mankind; the manifestation whereof, by the grace of the Holy Ghost, was foretold by many prophets and righteous men, instructed at sundry times and in divers manners. In trumpet tones they proclaimed it, and all looked forward to the salvation that should be: this they desired to see, but saw it not. But this latest generation was counted worthy to receive salvation. Wherefore he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."

Said Ioasaph, "All that thou hast told me I believe without question, and him whom thou declarest I glorify as God. Only make all plain to me, and teach me clearly what I must do. But especially go on to tell me what is that Baptism which thou sayest that the Faithful receive."

The other answered him thus, "The root mid sure foundation of this holy and perfect Christian Faith is the grace of heavenly Baptism, fraught with the cleansing from all original sins, and complete purification of all defilements of evil that come after. For thus the Saviour commanded a man to be born again of water and of the spirit, and be restored to his first dignity, to wit, by supplication and by calling on the Saving Name, the Holy Spirit brooding on the water. We are baptized, then, according to the word of the Lord, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, and thus the grace of the Holy Ghost dwelleth in the soul of the baptized, illuminating and making it God-like and renewing that which was made after his own image and likeness. And for the time to come we cast away all the old works of wickedness, and we make covenant with God of a second life and begin a purer conversation, that we may also become fellow-heirs with them that are born again to incorruption and lay hold of everlasting salvation. But without Baptism it is impossible to attain to that good hope, even though a man be more pious than piety itself. For thus spake God, the Word, who was incarnate for the salvation of our race, 'Verily I say unto you, except ye be born of water and of the Spirit, ye shall in no wise enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.' Wherefore before all things I require thee to receive faith within thy soul, and to draw near to Baptism anon with hearty desire, and on no account to delay herein, for delay is parlous, because of the uncertainty of the appointed day of death."

Ioasaph said unto him, "And what is this good hope whereto thou sayest it is impossible without baptism to attain? And what this kingdom which thou callest the kingdom of Heaven? And how cometh it that thou hast heard the words of God incarnate? And what is the uncertain day of death? For on this account much anxiety hath fallen on my heart, and consumeth my flesh in pain and grief, and fasteneth on my very bones. And shall we men, appointed to die, return to nothing, or is there some other life after our departure hence? These and kindred questions I have been longing to resolve."

Thus questioned he; and Barlaam answered thus: "The good hope, whereof I spake, is that of the kingdom of Heaven. But that kingdom is far beyond the utterance of mortal tongue; for the Scripture saith, 'Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.' But when we have shuffled off this gross flesh, and attained to that blessedness, then will that Master, which hath granted to us not to fail of this hope, teach and make known unto us the glory of those good things, whose glory passeth all understanding:—that light ineffable, that life that hath no ending, that converse with Angels. For if it be granted us to hold communion with God, so far as is attainable to human nature, then shall we know all things from his lips which now we know not. This doth my initiation into the teaching of the divine Scriptures teach me to be the real meaning of the kingdom of Heaven; to approach the vision of the blessed and life-giving Trinity, and to be illumined with his unapproachable light, and with clearer and purer sight, and with unveiled face, to behold as in a glass his unspeakable glory. But, if it be impossible to express in language that glory, that light, and those mysterious blessings, what marvel? For they had not been mighty and singular, if they had been comprehended by reason and expressed in words by us who are earthly, and corruptible, and clothed in this heavy garment of sinful flesh. Holding then such knowledge in simple faith, believe thou undoubtingly, that these are no fictions; but by good works be urgent to lay hold on that immortal kingdom, to which when thou hast attained, thou shalt have perfect knowledge.

"As touching thy question, How it is that we have heard the words of the Incarnate God, know thou that we have been taught all that appertaineth to the divine Incarnation by the Holy Gospels, for thus that holy book is called, because it telleth us, who are corruptible and earthly, the 'good spell' of immortality and incorruption, of life eternal, of the remission of sins, and of the kingdom of heaven. This book was written by the eyewitnesses and ministers of the Word, and of these I have already said that our Lord Jesus Christ chose them for disciples and apostles; and they delivered it unto us in writing, after the glorious Ascension of our Master into Heaven, a record of his life on earth, his teachings and miracles, so far as it was possible to commit them to writing. For thus, toward the end of his volume, saith he that is the flower of the holy Evangelists, 'And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.'

"So in this heavenly Gospel, written by the Spirit of God, is recorded the history of his Incarnation, his manifestation, his miracles and acts. Afterward, it telleth of the innocent suffering which the Lord endured for our sake, of his holy Resurrection on the third day, his Ascent into the heavens, and of his glorious and dreadful second coming; for the Son of God shall come again on earth, with unspeakable glory, and with a multitude of the heavenly host to judge our race, and to reward every man according to his works. For, at the beginning, God created man out of earth, as I have already told thee, and breathed into him breath, which is called a reasonable and understanding soul. But since we were sentenced to death, we die all: and it is not possible for this cup to pass any man by. Now death is the separation of the soul from the body. And that body which was formed out of earth, when severed from the soul, returneth to earth from whence also it was taken, and, decaying, perisheth; but the soul, being immortal, fareth whither her Maker calleth, or rather to the place where she, while still in the body, hath prepared for herself lodgement. For as a man hath lived here, so shall he receive reward there.

"Then, after long seasons, Christ our God shall come to judge the world in awful glory, beyond words to tell; and for fear of him the powers of heaven shall be shaken, and all the angel hosts stand beside him in dread. Then, at the voice of the archangel, and at the trump of God, shall the dead arise and stand before his awful throne. Now the Resurrection is the re-uniting of soul and body. So that very body, which decayeth and perisheth, shall arise incorruptible. And concerning this, beware lest the reasoning of unbelief overtake thee; for it is not impossible for him, who at the beginning formed the body out of earth, when according to its Maker's doom it hath returned to earth whence it was taken, to raise the same again. If thou wilt but consider how many things God hath made out of nothing, this proof shall suffice thee. He took earth and made man, though earth was not man before. How then did earth become man? And how was earth, that did not exist, produced? And what foundation hath it? And how were countless kind of things without reason, of seeds and plants, produced out of it! Nay, now also consider the manner of our birth. Is not a little seed thrown into the womb that receiveth it? Whence then cometh such a marvellous fashioning of a living creature?

"So for him, who hath made everything out of nothing, and still doth make, it is not impossible to raise deadened and corrupt bodies from the earth, that every man may be rewarded according to his works; for he saith, 'The present is the time for work, the future for recompense.' Else, where were the justice of God, if there were no Resurrection? Many righteous men in this present life have suffered much ill-usage and torment, and have died violent deaths; and the impious and the law-breaker hath spent his days here in luxury and prosperity. But God, who is good and just, hath appointed a day of resurrection and inquisition, that each soul may receive her own body, and that the wicked, who received his good things here, may there be punished for his misdeeds, and that the good, who was here chastised for his misdeeds, may there inherit his bliss. For, saith the Lord, 'They that are in the graves shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and shall come forth; they that have done good unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of doom.' Then also shall thrones be set, and the Ancient of days and Maker of all things shall sit as Judge, and there shall be opened books with records of the deeds and words and thoughts of all of us, and a fiery stream shall issue, and all hidden things shall be revealed. There can no advocate, no persuasive words, no false excuse, no mightiness of riches, no pomp of rank, no lavishment of bribes, avail to pervert righteous judgement. For he, the uncorrupt and truthful Judge, shall weigh everything in the balance of justice, every act, word and thought. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting, into light unspeakable, rejoicing in the fellowship of the Angels, to enjoy bliss ineffable, standing in purity before the Holy Trinity. But they that have done evil, and all the ungodly and sinners, shall go into everlasting punishment, which is called Gehenna, and outer darkness, and the worm that dieth not, and the gnashing of teeth, and a thousand other names of punishment; which meaneth rather—bitterest of all,—alienation from God, the being cast away from the sweetness of his presence, the being deprived of that glory which baffleth description, the being made a spectacle unto the whole creation, and the being put to shame, and shame that hath no ending. For, after the passing of that terrible sentence, all things shall abide immutable and unchangeable. The blissful life of the righteous shall have no close, neither shall the misery and punishment of sinners find an end: because, after him, there is no higher Judge, and no defence by after-works, no time for amendment, no other way for them that are punished, their vengeance being co-eternal with them.

"Seeing that this is so, what manner of persons ought we to be in all holy conversation and godliness, that we may be counted worthy to escape the wrath to come, and to be ranged on the right hand of the Son of God? For this is the station of the righteous: but to sinners is allotted the station of misery on the left. Then shall the Lord call the righteous 'Blessed,' and shall lead them into his everlasting kingdom. But, as for sinners, with anger and curse he will banish them from his serene and gentle countenance the bitterest and hardest lot of all and will send them away into everlasting punishment."



IX.

Ioasaph said unto him, "Great and marvellous, sir, are the things whereof thou tellest me, fearful and terrible, if indeed these things be so, and, if there be after death and dissolution into dust and ashes, a resurrection and re-birth, and rewards and punishments for the deeds done during life. But what is the proof thereof? And how have ye come to learn that which ye have not seen, that ye have so steadfastly and undoubtingly believed it? As for things that have already been done and made manifest in deed, though ye saw them not, yet have ye heard them from the writers of history. But, when it is of the future that ye preach tidings of such vast import, how have ye made your conviction on these matters sure?"

Quoth Barlaam, "From the past I gain certainty about the future; for they that preached the Gospel, without erring from the truth, but establishing their sayings by signs and wonders and divers miracles, themselves also spake of the future. So, as in the one case they taught us nothing amiss or false, but made all that they said and did to shine clearer than the sun, so also in the other matter they gave us true doctrine, even that which our Lord and Master Jesus Christ himself confirmed both by word and deed. 'Verily,' he spake, 'I say unto you, the hour is coming in the which all that are in the graves shall hear the voice of the Son of God and they that hear shall live:' and again, 'The hour cometh when the dead shall hear his voice, and shall come forth, they that have done good unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation.' And again he said concerning the resurrection of the dead, 'Have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. God is not the God of the dead but of the living.' 'For as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so shall it be in the end of this age. The Son of God shall send forth his Angels, and they shall gather all things that offend, and them which do iniquity, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire; there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their father.' Thus spake he and added this thereto, 'Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.'

"In such words and many more did the Lord make manifest the resurrection of our bodies, and confirm his words in deed, by raising many that were dead. And, toward the end of his life upon earth, he called from the grave one Lazarus his friend, that had already been four days dead and stank, and thus he restored the lifeless to life. Moreover, the Lord himself became the first-fruits of that resurrection which is final and no longer subject unto death, after he had in the flesh tasted of death; and on the third day he rose again, and became the first-born from the dead. For other men also were raised from the dead, but died once more, and might not yet attain to the likeness of the future true resurrection. But he alone was the leader of that resurrection, the first to be raised to the resurrection immortal.

"This was the preaching also of them that from the beginning were eye-witnesses and ministers of the word; for thus saith blessed Paul, whose calling was not of men, but from heaven, 'Brethren, I declare unto you the Gospel which I preached unto you. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures. Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised. And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain, ye are yet in your sins. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead and become the first-fruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.' And after a little while, 'For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?' For then the power of death is utterly annulled and destroyed, no longer working in us, but for the future there is given unto men immortality and incorruption for evermore.

"Beyond all question, therefore, there shall be a resurrection of the dead, and this we believe undoubtingly. Moreover we know that there shall be rewards and punishments for the deeds done in our life-time, on the dreadful day of Christ's coming, 'wherein the heavens shall be dissolved in fire and the elements shall melt with fervent heat,' as saith one of the inspired clerks of God; 'nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth.' For that there shall be rewards and punishments for men's works, and that absolutely nothing, good or bad, shall be overlooked, but that there is reserved a requital for words, deeds and thoughts, is plain. The Lord saith, 'Whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only, in the name of a disciple, he shall in no wise lose his reward.' And again he saith, 'When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy Angels with him, then before him shall be gathered all nations, and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats. And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, 'Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was anhungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.' Wherefore saith he this, except he count the kind acts we do unto the needy as done unto himself? And in another place he saith, 'Whosoever shall confess me before men, him will I also confess before my Father which is in heaven.'

"Lo, by all these examples and many more he proveth that the rewards of good works are certain and sure. Further, that punishments are in store for the bad, he foretold by parables strange and wonderful, which he, the Well of Wisdom most wisely put forth. At one time he brought into his tale a certain rich man which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day, but who was so niggardly and pitiless toward the destitute as to overlook a certain beggar named Lazarus laid at his gate, and not even to give him of the crumbs from his table. So when one and other were dead, the poor man, full of sores, was carried away, he saith, into Abraham's bosom, for thus he describeth the habitation of the righteous—but the rich man was delivered to the fire of bitter torment in hell. To him said Abraham, 'Thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus his evil things, but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented."

"And otherwhere he likeneth the kingdom of heaven to a certain king which made a marriage-feast for his son and thereby he declared future happiness and splendour. For as he was wont to speak to humble and earthly minded men, he would draw his parables from homely and familiar things. Not that he meant that marriages and feasts exist in that world; but in condescension to men's grossness, he employed these names when he would make known to them the future. So, as he telleth, the king with high proclamation called all to come to the marriage to take their fill of his wondrous store of good things. But many of them that were bidden made light of it and came not, and busied themselves: some went to their farms, some to their merchandize, and others to their newly wedded wives, and thus deprived themselves of the splendour of the bride chamber. Now when these had, of their own choice, absented themselves from this joyous merriment, others were bidden thereto, and the wedding was furnished with guests. And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment, and he said unto him, "Friend, how camest thou in hither, not having a wedding garment?" And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, "Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' Now they who made excuses and paid no heed to the call are they that hasten not to the faith of Christ, but continue in idolatry or heresy. But he that had no wedding garment is he that believeth, but hath soiled his spiritual garment with unclean acts, and was rightly cast forth from the joy of the bride chamber.

"And he put forth yet another parable, in harmony with this, in his picture of the Ten Virgins, 'five of whom were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil.' By the oil he signifieth the acquiring of good works. 'And at midnight,' he saith, 'there was a cry made, "Behold the bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet him."' By midnight he denoteth the uncertainty of that time. Then all those virgins arose. 'They that were ready went forth to meet the bridegroom and went in with him to the marriage, and the door was shut.' But they that were un-ready (whom rightly he calleth foolish), seeing that their lamps were going out, went forth to buy oil. Afterward they drew nigh, the door being now shut, and cried, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open to us.' But he answered and said, 'Verily I say unto you, I know you not.' Wherefore from all this it is manifest that there is a requital not only for overt acts, but also for words and even secret thoughts; for the Saviour said, 'I say unto you, that for every idle word that men shall speak they shall give account thereof in the day of judgement.' And again he saith, 'But the very hairs of your head are numbered,' by the hairs meaning the smallest and slightest phantasy or thought. And in harmony herewith is the teaching of blessed Paul, 'For the word of God,' saith he, 'is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and laid bare unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do."

"These things also were proclaimed with wondrous clearness by the prophets of old time, illumined by the grace of the Spirit. For Esay saith, 'I know their works and their thoughts,' and will repay them. 'Behold, I come to gather all nations and all tongues; and they shall come and see my glory. And the heaven shall be new, and the earth, which I make before me. And all flesh shall come to worship before me, saith the Lord. And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcasses of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be a spectacle unto all flesh." And again he saith concerning that day, "And the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll, and all the stars shall fall down as leaves from the vine. For behold, the day of the Lord cometh, cruel with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the whole world desolate and to destroy the sinners out of it. For the stars of heaven and Orion and all the constellations of heaven shall not give their light, and there shall be darkness at the sun's rising, and the moon shall not give her light. And I will cause the arrogancy of the sinners to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the proud.' And again he saith, 'Wo unto them that draw their iniquities as with a long cord, and their sins as with an heifer's cart-rope! Wo unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Wo unto those of you that are mighty, that are princes, that mingle strong drink, which justify the wicked for reward, and take justice from the just, and turn aside the judgement from the needy, and take away the right from the poor, that the widow may be their spoil and the fatherless their prey! And what will they do in the day of visitation, and to whom will they flee for help? And where will they leave their glory, that they fall not into arrest? Like as stubble shall be burnt by live coal of fire, and consumed by kindled flame, so their root shall be as foam, and their blossom shall go up as dust, for they would not the law of the Lord of hosts, and provoked the oracle of the Holy One of Israel."

1  2  3  4  5     Next Part
Home - Random Browse