153: Miracle Wrought on Soldiers

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The priests and Pharisees murmured among themselves and said: "He has the wisdom of Baal and Ashtaroth, and so in the power of Satan has he done this." Jesus opened his mouth and said: "Our God commanded that we should not steal our neighbour's goods. But this single precept has been so violated and abused that it has filled the world with sin, and such [ sin] as shall never be remitted as other sins are remitted: seeing that for every other sin, if a man bewail it and commit it no more, and fast with prayer and almsgiving, our God, mighty and merciful, forgives. But this sin is of such a kind that it shall never be remitted,, except that which is wrongly taken be restored.

Then said a scribe: 'O master, how has robbery filled all the world with sin? Assuredly now, by the grace of God, there are but few robbers, and they cannot show themselves but they are immediately hanged by the soldiery.' Jesus answered: 'Whoso knows not the goods, they (sic) cannot know the robbers;. No, I say to you truly that many rob who know not what they do, and therefore their sin is greater than that of the others, for the disease that is not known is not healed.' Then the Pharisees drew near to Jesus and said: 'O master, since you alone in Israel know the truth, teach you us.'

 Jesus answered: 'I say not that I alone in Israel know the truth, for this word "alone" appertains to God alone and not to others. For he is the truth, who alone knows the truth. Wherefore, I should say so I should be a greater robber, for I should be stealing the honour of God. And in saying that I alone knew God I should be falling into greater ignorance than all. You, therefore, committed a grievous sin in saying that I alone know the truth. And I tell you that, if you said this to tempt me, your sin is greater still.'

Then Jesus, seeing that all held their peace, said again: 'Though I be not alone in Israel knowing the truth, I alone will speak; wherefore hearken to me, since you have asked me. All things created belong to the Creator, in such wise that nothing can lay claim to anything. Thus soul, sense, flesh, time, goods, and honour, all are God's possessions, so that if a man receive them not as God wills he becomes a robber. And in like manner, if he spend them contrary to that which God wills, he is likewise a robber. I say, therefore, to you that, as God lives, in whose presence my soul stands, when you take time, saying: "Tomorrow I will do thus, I will say such a thing, I will go to such a place," and not saying: "If God will," you are robbers: And you are greater robbers when you spend the better part of your time in pleasing yourselves and not in pleasing God, and spend the worse part in God's service: then are you robbers indeed. Whoever commits sin, be he of what fashion he will, is a robber; for he steals time and the soul and his own life, which ought to serve God, and gives it to Satan, the enemy of God.'

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