BARLAAM AND IOASAPH
PARTS XXI - XXV
Online Medieval and Classical Library Release #20
With such moral words did the reverend elder exhort the king's son, and then withdrew to his own hospice. But the young prince's servants and tutors marvelled to see the frequency of Barlaam's visits to the palace; and one of the chiefest among them, whom, for his fidelity and prudence, the king had set over his son's palace, named Zardan, said to the prince, "Thou knowest well, sir, how much I dread thy father, and how great is my faith toward him: wherefore he ordered me, for my faithfulness, to wait upon thee. Now, when I see this stranger constantly conversing with thee, I fear he may be of the Christian religion, toward which thy father hath a deadly hate; and I shall be found subject to the penalty of death. Either then make known to thy father this man's business, or in future cease to converse with him. Else cast me forth from thy presence, that I be not blameable, and ask thy father to appoint another in my room.
The king's son said unto him, "This do, Zardan, first of all. Sit thou down behind the curtain, and hear his communication with me: and then thus will I tell thee what thou oughtest to do."
So when Barlaam was about to enter into his presence, Ioasaph hid Zardan within the curtain, and said to the elder, "Sum me up the matter of thy divine teaching, that it may the more firmly be implanted in my heart." Barlaam took up his parable and uttered many sayings touching God, and righteousness toward him, and how we must love him alone with all our heart, and with all our soul, and with all our mind, and keep his commandments with fear and love-and how he is the Maker of all things visible and invisible. Thereon he called to remembrance the creation of the first man, the command given unto him, and his transgression thereof, and the sentence pronounced by the Creator for this transgression. Then he reckoned up in order the good things wherefrom we excluded ourselves by the disannulling of his commandment. Again he made mention of the many grievous misfortunes that unhappily overtook man, after the loss of the blessings. Besides this he brought forward God's love toward mankind; how our Maker, heedful of our salvation, sent forth teachers and prophets proclaiming the Incarnation of the Only-begotten. Then he spake of the Son, his dwelling among men, his deeds of kindness, his miracles, his sufferings for us thankless creatures, his Cross, his spear, his voluntary death; finally, of our recovery and recall, our return to our first good estate; after this, of the kingdom of heaven awaiting such as are worthy thereof; of the torment in store for the wicked; the fire that is not quenched, the never ending darkness, the undying worm, and all the other tortures which the slaves of sin have laid up in store for themselves. When he had fully related these matters, he ended his speech with moral instruction, and dwelt much upon purity of life, and utterly condemned the vanity of things present, and proved the utter misery of such as cleave thereto, and finally made an end with prayer. And therewith he prayed for the prince, that he might hold fast the profession of the Catholick Faith without turning and without wavering, and keep his life blameless and his conversation pure, and so ending with prayer again withdrew to his hospice.
But the king's son called Zardan forth, and, to try his disposition, said unto him, "Thou hast heard what sort of discourses this babbler maketh me, endeavouring to be-jape me with his specious follies, and rob me of this pleasing happiness and enjoyment, to worship a strange God." Zardan answered, "Why hath it pleased thee, O prince, to prove me that am thy servant? I wot that the words of that man have sunk deep into thine heart; for, otherwise, thou hadst not listened gladly and unceasingly to his words. Yea, and we also are not ignorant of this preaching. But from the time when thy father stirred up truceless warfare against the Christians, the men have been banished hence, and their teaching is silenced. But if now their doctrine commend itself unto thee, and if thou have the strength to accept its austerity, may thy wishes be guided straight toward the good! But for myself, what shall I do, that am unable to bear the very sight of such austerity, and through fear of the King am divided in soul with pain and anguish? What excuse shall I make, for neglecting his orders, and giving this fellow access unto thee?"
The King's son said unto him, "I knew full well that in none other wise could I requite thee worthily for thy much kindness, and therefore have I tasked myself to make known unto thee this more than human good, which doth even exceed the worth of thy good service, that thou mightest know to what end thou wast born, and acknowledge thy Creator, and, leaving darkness, run to the light. And I hoped that when thou heardest thereof thou wouldst follow it with irresistible desire. But, as I perceive, I am disappointed of my hope, seeing that thou art listless to that which hath been spoken. But if thou reveal these secrets to the king my father, thou shalt but distress his mind with sorrows and griefs. If thou be well disposed to him, on no account reveal this matter to him until a convenient season." Speaking thus, he seemed to be only casting seed upon the water; for wisdom shall not enter into a soul void of understanding.
Upon the morrow came Barlaam and spake of his departure: but Ioasaph, unable to bear the separation, was distressed at heart, and his eyes filled with tears. The elder made a long discourse, and adjured him to continue unshaken in good works, and with words of exhortation established his heart, and begged him to send him cheerfully on his way; and at the same time he foretold that they should shortly be at one, never to be parted more. But Ioasaph, unable to impose fresh labours on the elder, and to restrain his desire to be on his way, and suspecting moreover that the man Zardan might make known his case to the King and subject him to punishment, said unto Barlaam, "Since it seemeth thee good, my spiritual father, best of teachers and minister of all good to me, to leave me to live in the vanity of the world, while thou journeyest to thy place of spiritual rest, I dare no longer let and hinder thee. Depart therefore, with the peace of God for thy guardian, and ever in thy worthy prayers, for the Lord's sake, think upon my misery, that I may be enabled to overtake thee, and behold thine honoured face for ever. But fulfil this my one request; since thou couldest not receive aught for thy fellow monks, yet for thyself accept a little money for sustenance, and a cloak to cover thee." But Barlaam answered and said unto him, "Seeing that I would not receive aught for my brethren (for they need not grasp at the world's chattels which they have chosen to forsake), how shall I acquire for myself that which I have denied them? If the possession of money were a good thing, I should have let them share it before me. But, as I understand that the possession thereof is deadly, I will hazard neither them nor myself in such snares."
But when Ioasaph had failed once again to persuade Barlaam, `twas but a sign for a second petition, and he made yet another request, that Barlaam should not altogether overlook his prayer, nor plunge him in utter despair, but should leave him that stiff shirt and rough mantle, both to remind him of his teacher's austerities and to safe-guard him from all the workings of Satan, and should take from him another cloak instead, in order that "When thou seest my gift," said he, "thou mayest bear my lowliness in remembrance."
But the elder said, "It is not lawful for me to give thee my old and worn out vestment, and take one that is new, lest I be condemned to receive here the recompense of my slight labour. But, not to thwart thy willing mind, let the garments given me by thee be old ones, nothing different from mine own." So the king's son sought for old shirts of hair, which he gave the aged man, rejoicing to receive his in exchange, deeming them beyond compare more precious than any regal purple.
Now saintly Barlaam, all but ready for to start, spake concerning his journey, and delivered Ioasaph his last lesson, saying, "Brother beloved, and dearest son, whom I have begotten through the Gospel, thou knowest of what King thou art the soldier, and with whom thou hast made thy covenant. This thou must keep steadfastly, and readily perform the duties of thy service, even as thou didst promise the Lord of all in the script of thy covenant, with the whole heavenly host present to attest it, and record the terms; which if thou keep, thou shalt be blessed. Esteem therefore nought in the present world above God and his blessings. For what terror of this life can be so terrible as the Gehenna of eternal fire, that burneth and yet hath no light, that punisheth and never ceaseth? And which of the goodly things of this world can give such gladness as that which the great God giveth to those that love him? Whose beauty is unspeakable, and power invincible, and glory everlasting; whose good things, prepared for his friends, exceed beyond comparison all that is seen; which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man: whereof mayest thou be shown an inheritor, preserved by the mighty hand of God!"
Here the king's son burst into tears of pain and vexation, unable to bear the parting from a loving father and excellent teacher. "And who," quoth he, "shall fill thy place, O my father? And whom like unto thee shall I find to be shepherd and guide of my soul's salvation? What consolation may I find in my loss of thee? Behold thou hast brought me, the wicked and rebellious servant, back to God, and set me in the place of son and heir! Thou hast sought me that was lost and astray on the mountain, a prey for every evil beast, and folded me amongst the sheep that had never wandered. Thou hast shown me the direct road to truth, bringing me out of darkness and the shadow of death, and, changing the course of my feet from the slippery, deadly, crooked and winding pathway, hast ministered to me great and marvellous blessings, whereof speech would fail to recount the exceeding excellence. Great be the gifts that thou receivest at God's hand, on account of me who am small! And may the Lord, who in the rewards of his gifts alone overpasseth them that love him, supply that which is lacking to my gratitude!"
Here Barlaam cut short his lamentation, and rose and stood up to pray, lifting up his either hand, and saying, "O God and Father of our Lord Jesu Christ, which didst illuminate the things that once were darkened, and bring this visible and invisible creation out of nothing, and didst turn again this thine handiwork, and sufferedst us not to walk after our foolishness, we give thanks to thee and to thy Wisdom and Might, our Lord Jesu Christ, by whom thou didst make the worlds, didst raise us from our fall, didst forgive us our trespasses, didst restore us from wandering, didst ransom us from captivity, didst quicken us from death by the precious blood of thy Son our Lord. Upon thee I call, and upon thine only begotten Son, and upon the Holy Ghost. Look upon this thy spiritual sheep that hath come to be a sacrifice unto thee through me thine unworthy servant, and do thou sanctify his soul with thy might and grace. Visit this vine, which was planted by thy Holy Spirit, and grant it to bear fruit, the fruit of righteousness. Strengthen him, and confirm in him thy covenant, and rescue him from the deceit of the devil. With the wisdom of thy good Spirit teach him to do thy will, and take not thy succour from him, but grant unto him, with me thine unprofitable servant, to become an inheritor of thine everlasting bliss, because thou art blessed and glorified for ever, Amen."
When that he had ended his prayer, he turned him round and embraced Ioasaph, now a son of his heavenly father, wishing him eternal peace and salvation, and he departed out of the palace, and went his way, rejoicing and giving thanks to God, who had well ordered his steps for good.
After Barlaam was gone forth, Ioasaph gave himself unto prayer and bitter tears, and said, "O God, haste thee to help me: O Lord, make speed to help me, because the poor hath committed himself unto thee; thou art the helper of the orphan. Look upon me, and have mercy upon me; thou who willest have all men to be saved and to come unto the knowledge of the truth, save me, and strengthen me, unworthy though I be, to walk the way of thy holy commandments, for I am weak and miserable, and not able to do the thing that is good. But thou art mighty to save me, who sustainest and holdest together all things visible and invisible. Suffer me not to walk after the evil will of the flesh, but teach me to do thy will, and preserve me unto thine eternal and blissful life. O Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, the consubstantial and undivided Godhead, I call upon thee and glorify thee. Thou art praised by all creation; thou art glorified by the intelligent powers of the Angels for ever and ever. Amen."
From that time forth he kept himself with all vigilance, seeking to attain purity of soul and body, and living in continency and prayers and intercessions all night long. In the day-time he was often interrupted by the company of his fellows, and at times by a visit from the king, or a call to the king's presence, but the night would then make good the shortcomings of the day, whilst he stood, in prayer and weeping until daybreak, calling upon God. Whence in him was fulfilled the saying of the prophet, "In nights raise your hands unto holy things; and bless ye the Lord."
But Zardan observed Ioasaph's way of life, and was full of sorrow, and his soul was pierced with grievous anxieties; and he knew not what to do. At the last, worn down with pain, he withdrew to his own home, feigning sickness. When this had come to the knowledge of the king he appointed in his place another of his trusty men to minister unto his son, while he himself, being concerned for Zardan's health, sent a physician of reputation, and took great pains that he should be healed.
The physician, seeing that Zardan was in favour with the king, attended him diligently, and, having right well judged his ease, soon made this report to the king; "I have been unable to discover any root of disease in the man: wherefore I suppose that this weakness is to be ascribed to distress of spirit." But, on hearing his words, the king suspected that his son had been wroth with Zardan, and that this slight had caused his retirement. So, wishing to search the matter, he sent Zardan word, saying "To-morrow I shall come to see thee, and judge of the malady that hath befallen thee."
But Zardan, on hearing this message, at daybreak wrapt his cloak around him and went to the king, and entered and fell in obeisance on the ground. The king spake unto him, "Why hast thou forced thyself to appear? I was minded to visit thee myself, and so make known to all my friendship for thee." He answered, "My sickness, O king, is no malady common to man; but pain of heart, arising from an anxious and careful mind, hath caused my body to suffer in sympathy. It had been folly in me, being as I am, not to attend as a slave before thy might, but to wait for thy Majesty to be troubled to come to me thy servant." Then the king enquired after the cause of his despondency; Zardan answered and said, "Mighty is my peril, and mighty are the penalties that I deserve, and many deaths do I merit, for that I have been guilty of neglect of thy behests, and have brought on thee such sorrow as never before."
Again said the king, "And of what neglect hast thou been guilty? And what is the dread that encompasseth thee?" "I have been guilty," said he, "of negligence in my close care of my lord thy son. There came an evil man and a sorcerer, and communicated to him the precepts of the Christian religion." Then he related to the king, point by point, the words which the old man spake with his son, and how gladly Ioasaph received his word, and how he had altogether become Christ's. Moreover he gave the old man's name, saying that it was Barlaam. Even before then the king had heard tell of Barlaam's ways and his extreme severity of life; but, when this came to the ears of the king, he was straightway astonied by the dismay that fell on him, and was filled with anger, and his blood well-nigh curdled at the tidings. Immediately he bade call one Araches, who held the second rank after the king, and was the chief in all his private councils: besides which the man was learned in star-lore. When he was come, with much despondency and dejection the king told him of that which had happened. He, seeing the king's trouble and confusion of mind, said, "O king, trouble and distress thyself no more. We are not without hope that the prince will yet change for the better: nay, I know for very certain that he will speedily renounce the teaching of this deceiver, and conform to thy will."
By these words then did Araches set the king in happier frame of mind; and they turned their thoughts to the thorough sifting of the matter. "This, O king," said Araches, "do we first of all. Make we haste to apprehend that infamous Barlaam. If we take him, I am assured that we shall not miss the mark, nor be cheated of our hope. Barlaam himself shall be persuaded, either by persuasion or by divers engines of torture, against his will to confess that he hath been talking falsely and at random, and shall persuade my lord, thy son, to cleave to his father's creed. But if we fail to take Barlaam, I know of an eremite, Nachor by name, in every way like unto him: it is impossible to distinguish the one from the other. He is of our opinion, and was my teacher in studies. I will give him the hint, and go by night, and tell him the full tale. Then will we blazon it abroad that Barlaam hath been caught; but we shall exhibit Nachor, who, calling himself Barlaam, shall feign that he is pleading the cause of the Christians and standing forth as their champion. Then, after much disputation, he shall be worsted and utterly discomfited. The prince, seeing Barlaam worsted, and our side victorious, will doubtless join the victors; the more so that he counteth it a great duty to reverence thy majesty, and do thy pleasure. Also the man who hath played the part of Barlaam shall be converted, and stoutly proclaim that he hath been in error."
Tim king was delighted with his words, and rocked himself on idle hopes, and thought it excellent counsel. Thereupon, learning that Barlaam was but lately departed, he was zealous to take him prisoner. He therefore occupied most of the passes with troops and captains, and, himself, mounting his chariot, gave furious chase along the one road of which he was especially suspicious, being minded to surprise Barlaam at all costs. But though he toiled by the space of six full days, his labour was but spent in vain. Then he himself remained behind in one of his palaces situate in the country, but sent forward Araches, with horsemen not a few, as far as the wilderness of Senaar, in quest of Barlaam. When Araches arrived in that place, he threw all the neighbour folk into commotion: and when they constantly affirmed that they had never seen the man, he went forth into the desert places, for to hunt out the Faithful. When he had gone through a great tract of desert, and made the circuit of the fells around, and journeyed a-foot over untrodden and pathless ravines, he and his hosts arrived at a plateau. Standing thereon, he descried at the foot of the mountain a company of hermits a-walking. Straightway at their governor's word of command all his men ran upon them in breathless haste, vying one with another, who should arrive first. When they arrived, they came about the monks like so many dogs, or evil beasts that plague mankind. And they seized these men of reverend mien and mind, that bore on their faces the hall-mark of their hermit life, and haled them before the governor; but the monks showed no sign of alarm, no sign of meanness or sullenness, and spake never a word. Their leader and captain bore a wallet of hair, charged with the relics of some holy Fathers departed this life.
When Araches beheld them, but saw no Barlaam -- for he knew him by sight -- he was overwhelmed with grief, and said unto them, "Where is that deceiver who hath led the king's son astray?" The bearer of the wallet answered, "He is not amongst us, God forbid! For, driven forth by the grace of Christ, he avoideth us; but amongst you he hath his dwelling." The governor said, "Thou knowest him then?" "Yea," said the hermit, "I know him that is called the deceiver, which is the devil, who dwelleth in your midst and is worshipped and served by you." The governor said, "It is for Barlaam that I make search, and I asked thee of him, to learn where he is." The monk answered, "And wherefore then spakest thou in this ambiguous manner, asking about him that had deceived the king's son? If thou wast seeking Barlaam, thou shouldest certainly have said, `Where is he that hath turned from error and saved the king's son?' Barlaam is our brother and fellow-monk. But now for many days past we have not seen his face." Said Araches, "Show me his abode." The monk answered, "Had he wished to see you, he would have come forth to meet you. As for us, it is not lawful to make known to you his hermitage."
Thereupon the governor waxed full of indignation, and, casting a haughty and savage glance upon him, said, "Ye shall die no ordinary death, except ye immediately bring Barlaam before me." "What," said the monk, "seest thou in our case that should by its attractions cause us to cling to life, and be afraid of death at thy hands? Whereas we should the rather feel grateful to thee for removing us from life in the close adherence to virtue. For we dread, not a little, the uncertainty of the end, knowing not in what state death shall overtake us, lest perchance a slip of the inclination, or some despiteful dealing of the devil, may alter the constancy of our choice, and mis-persuade us to think or do contrary to our covenants with God. Wherefore abandon all hope of gaining the knowledge that ye desire, and shrink not to work your will. We shall neither reveal the dwelling-place of our brother, whom God loveth, although we know it, nor shall we betray any other monasteries unbeknown to ye. We will not endure to escape death by such cowardice. Nay, liefer would we die honourably, and offer unto God, after the sweats of virtue, the life-blood of courage."
That man of sin could not brook this boldness of speech, and was moved to the keenest passion against this high and noble spirit, and afflicted the monks with many stripes and tortures. Their courage and nobility won admiration even from that tyrant. But, when after many punishments he failed to persuade them, and none of them consented to discover Barlaam, he took and ordered them to be led to the king, bearing with them the wallet with the relics, and to be beaten and shamefully entreated as they went.
After many days Araches brought them to the king, and declared their case. Then he set them before the bitterly incensed king: and he, when he saw them, boiled over with fury and was like to one mad. He ordered them to be beaten without mercy, and, when he saw them cruelly mangled with scourges, could scarcely restrain his madness, and order the tormentors to cease. Then said he unto them, "Why bear ye about these dead men's bones? If ye carry these bones through affection for those men to whom they belong, this very hour I will set you in their company, that ye may meet your lost friends and be duly grateful to me." The captain and leader of that godly band, setting at naught the king's threats, showing no sign of the torment that he had undergone, with free voice and radiant countenance that signified the grace that dwelt in his soul, cried out, "We carry about these clean and holy bones, O king, because we attest in due form our love of those marvellous men to whom they belong: and because we would bring ourselves to remember their wrestlings and lovely conversation, to rouse up ourselves to the like zeal; and because we would catch some vision of the rest and felicity wherein they now live, and thus, as we call them blessed, and provoke one another to emulate them, strive to follow in their footsteps: because moreover, we find thereby that the thought of death, which is right profitable, lendeth wings of zeal to our religious exercises; and lastly, because we derive sanctification from their touch."
Again said the king, "If the thought of death be profitable, as ye say, why should ye not reach that thought of death by the bones of the bodies that are now your own, and are soon to perish, rather than by the bones of other men which have already perished?"
The monk said, "Five reasons I gave thee, why we carry about these relics; and thou, making answer to one only, art like to be mocking us. But know thou well that the bones of them, that have already departed this life, bring the thought of death more vividly before us than do the bones of the living. But since thou judgest otherwise, and since the bones of thine own body are to thee a type of death, why dost thou not recollect thy latter end so shortly to come, and set thine house in order, instead of giving up thy soul to all kinds of iniquities, and violently and unmercifully murdering the servants of God and lovers of righteousness, who have done thee no wrong, and seek not to share with thee in present goods, nor are ambitious to rob thee of them?"
Said the king, "I do well to punish you, ye clever misleaders of the folk, because ye deceive all men, counselling them to abstain from the enjoyments of life; and because, instead of the sweets of life and the allures of appetite and pleasure, ye constrain them to choose the rough, filthy and squalid way, and preach that they should render to Jesus the honour due unto the gods. Accordingly, in order that the people may not follow your deceits and leave the land desolate, and, forsaking the gods of their fathers, serve another, I think it just to subject you to punishment and death."
The monk answered, "If thou art eager that all should partake of the good things of life, why dost thou not distribute dainties and riches equally amongst all? And why is it that the common herd are pinched with poverty, while thou addest ever to thy store by seizing for thyself the goods of others? Nay, thou carest not for the weal of the many, but fattenest thine own flesh, to be meat for the worms to feed on. Wherefore also thou hast denied the God of all, and called them gods that are not, the inventors of all wickedness, in order that, by wantonness and wickedness after their example, thou mayest gain the title of imitator of the gods. For, as your gods have done, why should not also the men that follow them do? Great then is the error that thou hast erred, O king. Thou fearest that we should persuade certain of the people to join with us, and revolt from thy hand, and place themselves in that hand that holdeth all things, for thou willest the ministers of thy covetousness to be many, that they may be miserable while thou reapest profit from their toil; just as a man, who keepeth hounds or falcons tamed for hunting, before the hunt may be seen to pet them, but, when they have once seized the quarry, taketh the game with violence out of their mouths. So also thou, willing that there should be many to pay thee tribute and toll from land and water, pretendest to care for their welfare, but in truth bringest on them and above all on thyself eternal ruin; and simply to pile up gold, more worthless than dung or rottenness, thou hast been deluded into taking darkness for light. But recover thy wits from this earthly sleep: open thy sealed eyes, and behold the glory of God that shineth round about us all; and come at length to thyself. For saith the prophet, `Take heed, ye unwise among the people, and, O ye fools, understand at last.' Understand thou that there is no God except our God, and no salvation except in him."
But the king said, "Cease this foolish babbling, and anon discover to me Barlaam: else shalt thou taste instruments of torture such as thou hast never tasted before." That noble- minded, great-hearted monk, that lover of the heavenly philosophy, was not moved by the king's threats, but stood unflinching, and said, "We are not commanded to fulfil thy hest, O king, but the orders of our Lord and God who teacheth us temperance, that we should be lords over all pleasures and passions, and practise fortitude, so as to endure all toil and all ill-treatment for righteousness' sake. The more perils that thou subjectest us to for the sake of our religion, the more shalt thou be our benefactor. Do therefore as thou wilt: for we shall not consent to do aught outside our duty, nor shall we surrender ourselves to sin. Deem not that it is a slight sin to betray a fellow-combatant and fellow-soldier into thy hands. Nay, but thou shalt not have that scoff to make at us; no, not if thou put us to ten thousand deaths. We be not such cowards as to betray our religion through dread of thy torments, or to disgrace the law divine. So then, if such be thy purpose, make ready every weapon to defend thy claim; for to us to live is Christ, and to die for him is the best gain."
Incensed with anger thereat, the monarch ordered the tongues of these Confessors to be rooted out, and their eyes digged out, and likewise their hands and feet lopped off. Sentence passed, the henchmen and guards surrounded and mutilated them, without pity and without ruth. And they plucked out their tongues from their mouths with prongs, and severed them with brutal severity, and they digged out their eyes with iron claws, and stretched their arms and legs on the rack, and lopped them off. But those blessed, shamefast, noble-hearted men went bravely to torture like guests to a banquet, exhorting one another to meet death for Christ his sake undaunted.
In such divers tortures did these holy monks lay down their lives for the Lord. They were in all seventeen. By common consent, the pious mind is superior to sufferings, as hath been said by one, but not of us, when narrating the martydom of the aged priest, and of the seven sons with their equally brave mother when contending for the law of their fathers: whose bravery and lofty spirit, however, was equalled by these marvellous fathers and citizens and heirs of Hierusalem that is above.
After the monks had made this godly end, the king bade Araches, his chief councillor, now that they had failed of their first plan, to look to the second and summon the man Nachor. At dead of night Araches repaired to his cave (he dwelt in the desert practising the arts of divination), and told him of their plans, and returned to the king at day-break. Again he demanded horsemen, and made as though he went in quest of Barlaam. When he was gone forth, and was walking the desert, a man was seen to issue from a ravine. Araches gave command to his men to pursue him. They took and brought him before their master. When asked who he was, what his religion and what his name, the man declared himself a Christian and gave his name as Barlaam, even as he had been instructed. Araches made great show of joy, apprehended him and returned quickly to the king, and told his tale and produced his man. Then said the king in the hearing of all present, "Art thou the devil's workman, Barlaam?" But he denied it, saying, "I am God's workman, not the devil's. Revile me not; for I am thy debtor to render me much thanks, because I have taught thy son to serve God, and have turned him from error to the true God, and have schooled him in all manner of virtue." Feigning anger, again spake the king, "Though I ought to allow thee never a word, and give thee no room for defence, but rather do thee to death without question, yet such is my humanity that I will bear with thine effrontery until on a set day I try thy cause. If thou be persuaded by me, thou shalt receive pardon: if not, thou shalt die the death." With these words he delivered him to Araches, commanding that he should be most strictly guarded.
On the morrow the king removed thence, and came back to his own palace, and it was blazoned abroad that Barlaam was captured, so that the king's son heard thereof and was exceeding sad at heart, and could in no wise refrain from weeping. With groans and lamentations he importuned God, and called upon him to succour the aged man. Nor did the good God despise his complaint, for he is loving with them that abide him in the day of trouble, and knoweth them that fear him. Wherefore in a night-vision he made known the whole plot to the young prince, and strengthened and cheered him for the trial of his righteousness. So, when the prince awoke from sleep, he found that his heart, erstwhile so sore and heavy, was now full of joyaunce, courage and pleasant light. But the king rejoiced at that which he had done and planned, imagining that he was well advised, and showering thanks on Araches. But wickedness lied to itself, to use the words of holy David, and righteousness overcame iniquity, completely overthrowing it, and causing the memorial thereof to perish with sound, as our tale in its sequel shall show.
After two days the king visited his son's palace. When his son came forth for to meet him, instead of kissing him, as was his wont, the father put on a show of distress and anger, and entered the royal chamber, and there sat down frowning. Then calling to his son, he said, "Child, what is this report that soundeth in mine ears, and weareth away my soul with despondency? Never, I ween, was man more filled with gladness of heart at the birth of a son than was I at thine; and, I trow, never was man so distressed and cruelly treated by child as I have now been by thee. Thou hast dishonoured my grey hairs, and taken away the light of mine eyes, and loosed the strength of my sinews; `for the thing which I greatly feared concerning thee is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of hath come unto me.' Thou art become a joy to mine enemies, and a laughing~stock to mine adversaries. With untutored mind and childish judgement thou hast followed the teaching of the deceivers and esteemed the counsel of the malicious above mine; thou hast forsaken the worship of our gods and become the servant of a strange God. Child, wherefore hast thou done this? I hoped to bring thee up in all safety, and have thee for the staff and support of mine old age, and leave thee, as is most meet, to succeed me in my kingdom, but thou wast not ashamed to play against me the part of a relentless foe. And shouldst thou not rather have listened to me, and followed my injunctions, than have obeyed the idle and foolish pratings of that crafty old knave, who taught thee to choose a sour life instead of a sweet, and abandon the charms of dalliance, to tread the hard and rough road, which the Son of Mary ordereth men to go? Dost thou not fear the displeasure of the most puissant gods, lest they strike thee with lightning, or quell thee with thunderbolt, or overwhelm thee in the yawning earth, because thou hast rejected and scorned those deities that have so richly blessed us, and adorned our brow with the kingly diadem, and made populous nations to be our servants, that, beyond my hope, in answer to my prayer and supplication, allowed thee to be born, and see the sweet life of day, and hast joined thyself unto the Crucified, duped by the hopes of his servants who tell thee fables of worlds to come, and drivel about the resurrection of dead bodies, and bring in a thousand more absurdities to catch fools? But now, dearest son, if thou hast any regard for me thy father, bid a long farewell to these longwinded follies, and come sacrifice to the gracious gods, and let us propitiate them with hecatombs and drink-offerings, that they may grant thee pardon for thy fall; for they be able and strong to bless and to punish. And wouldst thou have an example of that which I say? Behold us, who by them have been advanced to this honour, repaying them for their kindness by honouring their worshippers and chastising the runagates."
Now when the king had ended all this idle parleying, gainsaying and slandering of our religion, and belauding and praising of his idolatry, the saintly young prince saw that the matter needed no further to be hid in a corner, but to be lighted and made plain to the eyes of all; and, full of boldness and courage, he said:
"That which I have done, sir, I will not deny. I have fled from darkness and run to the light: I have left error and joined the household of truth: I have deserted the service of devils, and joined the service of Christ, the Son and Word of God the Father, at whose decree the world was brought out of nothing; who, after forming man out of clay, breathed into him the breath of life, and set him to live in a paradise of delight, and, when he had broken his commandment and was become subject unto death, and had fallen into the power of the dread ruler of this world, did not fail him, but wrought diligently to bring him back to his former honour. Wherefore he, the framer of all Creation and maker of our race, became man for our sake, and, coming from a holy Virgin's womb; on earth conversed with men: for us ungrateful servants did the master endure death, even the death of the Cross, that the tyranny of sin might be destroyed, that the former condemnation might be abolished, that the gates of heaven might be open to us again. Thither he hath exalted our nature, and set it on the throne of glory, and granted to them that love him an everlasting kingdom and joys beyond all that tongue can tell, or ear can hear. He is the mighty and only potentate, King of kings and Lord of lords, whose might is invincible, and whose lordship is beyond compare, who only is holy and dwelleth in holiness, who with the Father and with the Holy Ghost is glorified; into this faith I have been baptized. And I acknowledge and glorify and worship One God in Three persons, of one substance, and not to be confounded, increate and immortal, eternal, infinite, boundless, without body, without passions, immutable, unchangeable, undefinable, the fountain of goodness, righteousness and everlasting light, maker of all things visible and invisible, containing and sustaining all things, provident for all, ruler and King of all. Without him was there nothing made, nor without his providence can aught subsist. He is the life of all, the support of all, the light of all, being wholly sweetness and insatiable desire, the summit of aspiration. To leave God, then, who is so good, so wise, so mighty, and to serve impure devils, makers of all sinful lusts, and to assign worship to deaf and dumb images, that are not, and never shall be, were not that the extreme of folly and madness? When was there ever heard utterance or language from their lips? When have they given even the smallest answer to their bedesmen? When have they walked, or received any impression of sense? Those of them that stand have never thought of sitting down; and those that sit have never been seen to rise. From an holy man have I learned the ugliness, ill savour and insensibility of these idols, and, moreover, the rottenness and weakness of the devils that operate in them and by them deceive you; and I loathe their wickednesses and, hating them with a perfect hatred, have joined myself to the living and true God, and him will I serve until my latest breath, that my spirit also may return into his hands. When these unspeakable blessings came in my path I rejoiced to be freed from the bondage of evil devils, and to be reclaimed from dire captivity and to be illumined with the light of the countenance of the Lord. But my soul was distressed and divided asunder, that thou, my lord and father, didst not share in my blessings. Yet I feared the stubbornness of thy mind, and kept my grief to myself, not wishing to anger thee; but, without ceasing, I prayed God to draw thee to himself, and call thee back from the long exile that thou hast imposed upon thyself, a runagate alas! from righteousness, and a servant of all sin and wickedness. But sith thou thyself, O my father, hast brought mine affairs to light, hear the sum of my resolve: I will not be false to my covenant with Christ; no, I swear it by him that bought me out of slavery with his own precious blood; even if I must needs die a thousand deaths for his sake, die I will. Knowing then how matters now stand with me, prithee, no longer trouble thyself in endeavouring to persuade me to change my good confession. For as it were a thankless and never ending task for thee to try to grasp the heavens with thy hand, or to dry up the waters of the sea, so hard were it for thee to change me. Either then now listen to my counsel, and join the household of Christ, and so thou shalt gain blessings past man's understanding, and we shall be fellows with one another by faith, even as by nature; or else, be well assured, I shall depart thy sonship, and serve my God with a clear conscience."
Now when the king heard all these words, he was furiously enraged: and, seized with ungovernable anger, he cried out wrathfully against him, and gnashed his teeth fiercely, like any madman. "And who," said he, "is blameable for all my misfortunes but myself, who have dealt with thee so kindly, and cared for thee as no father before? Hence the perversity and contrariness of thy mind, gathering strength by the licence that I gave thee, hath made thy madness to fall upon mine own pate. Rightly prophesied the astrologers in thy nativity that thou shouldest prove a knave and villain, an impostor and rebellious son. But now, if thou wilt make void my counsel, and cease to be my son, I will become thine enemy, and entreat thee worse than ever man yet entreated his foes."
Again said Ioasaph, "Why, O king, hast thou been kindled to wrath? Art thou grieved that I have gained such bliss? Why, what father was ever seen to be sorrowful in the prosperity of his son? Would not such an one be called an enemy rather than a father? Therefore will I no more call thee my father, but will withdraw from thee, as a man fleeth from a snake, if I know that thou grudgest me my salvation, and with violent hand forcest me to destruction. If thou wilt force me, and play the tyrant, as thou hast threatened, be assured that thou shalt gain nought thereby save to exchange the name of father for that of tyrant and murderer. It were easier for thee to attain to the ways Of the eagle, and, like him, cleave the air, than to alter my loyalty to Christ, and that good confession that I have confessed in him. But be wise, O my father, and shake off the rheum and mist from the eyes of thy mind, lift them aloft and look upward to view the light of my God that enlighteneth all around, and be thyself, at last, enlightened with this light most sweet. Why art thou wholly given up to the passions and desires of the flesh, and why is there no looking upward? Know thou that all flesh is grass and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away; but the word of my Lord, which by the gospel is preached unto all, shall endure for ever. Why then dost thou thus madly cling to and embrace that glory, which, like spring flowers, fadeth and perisheth, and to beastly unsavoury wantonness, and to the abominable passions of the belly and the members thereunder, which for a season please the senses of fools, but afterwards make returns more bitter than gall, when the shadows and dreams of this vain life are passed away, and the lovers thereof, and workers of iniquity are imprisoned in the perpetual pain of dark and unquenchable fire, where the worm that sleepeth not gnaweth for ever, and where the fire burneth without ceasing and without quenching through endless ages? And with these sinners alas! thou too shalt be imprisoned and grievously tormented, and shalt bitterly rue thy wicked counsels, and bitterly regret thy days that now are, and think upon my words, but there shall be no advantage in repentance; for in death there is no confession and repentance. But the present is the set time for work: the future for reward. Even if the pleasures of the present world were not evanescent and fleeting, but were to endure for ever with their owners, not even thus should any man choose them before the gifts of Christ, and the good things that pass man's understanding. Soothly, as the sun surpasseth in radiance and brightness the dead of night, even so, and much more so, doth the happiness promised to those that love God excel in glory and magnificence all earthly kinship and glory; and there is utter need for a man to choose the more excellent before the more worthless. And forasmuch as everything here is fleeting and subject to decay, and passeth and vanisheth as a dream, and as a shadow and vision of sleep; and as one may sooner trust the unstable breezes, or the tracks of a ship passing over the waves, than the prosperity of men, what simplicity, nay, what folly and madness it is to choose the corruptible and perishable, the weak things of no worth, rather than the incorruptible and everlasting, the imperishable and endless, and, by the temporal enjoyment of these things, to forfeit the eternal fruition of the happiness to come! Wilt thou not understand this, my father? Wilt thou not haste past the things which haste pass thee, and attach thyself to that which endureth? Wilt thou not prefer a home land to a foreign land, light to darkness, the spirit to the flesh, eternal life to the shadow of death, the indestructible to the fleeting? Wilt thou not escape from the grievous bondage of the cruel prince of this world, I mean the evil one, the devil, and become the servant of the good, tenderhearted, and all merciful Lord? Wilt thou not break away from serving thy many gods, falsely so called, and serve the one, true and living God? Though thou hast sinned against him often times by blaspheming him, and often times by slaying his servants with dread torments, yet, I know well, that if thou turn again, he shall in his kindness receive thee, and no more remember thine offences: because he willeth not the death of a sinner but rather that he may turn and live -- he, who came down from the unspeakable heights, to seek us that had gone astray: who endured for us Cross, scourge and death: who bought with his precious blood us who had been sold in bondage under sin. Unto him be glory and praise for ever and ever! Amen."
The king was overwhelmed with astonishment and anger; with astonishment, at his son's wisdom and unanswerable words; with anger, at the persistence with which he denounced his father's gods, and mocked and ridiculed the whole tenour of his life. He could not admit the glory of his discourse because of the grossness of the darkness within, but natural affection forbad him to punish his son, or evilly to entreat him, and he utterly despaired of moving him by threats. Fearing then that, if he argued further with him, his son's boldness and bitter satire of the gods might kindle him to hotter anger, and lead him to do him a mischief, he arose in wrath and withdrew. "Would that thou hadst never been born," he cried, "nor hadst come to the light of day, destined as thou weft to be such an one, a blasphemer of the gods, and a renegade from thy father's love and admonition" But thou shalt not alway mock the invincible gods, nor shall their enemies rejoice for long, nor shall these knavish sorceries prevail. For except thou become obedient unto me, and right- minded toward the gods, I will first deliver time to sundry tortures, and then put thee to the cruellest death, dealing with thee not as with a son, but as with an enemy and rebel."
In such wise did the father threaten and wrathfully retire. But the son entered his own bedchamber, and lifted up his eyes to the proper judge of his cause, and cried out of the depth of his heart, "O Lord my God, my sweet hope and unerring promise, the sure refuge of them that are wholly given up to thee, with gracious and kindly eye look upon the contrition of my heart, and leave me not, neither forsake me. But, according to thine unerring pledge, be thou with me, thine unworthy and sorry servant. Thee I acknowledge and confess, the maker and provider of all creation. Therefore do thou thyself enable me to continue in this good confession, until my dying breath: look upon me, and pity me; and stand by and keep me unhurt by any working of Satan. Look upon me, O King: for my heart is enkindled with longing after thee, and is parched as with burning thirst in the desert, desiring thee, the well of immortality. Deliver not to the wild beasts my soul that confesseth thee: forget not the soul of the poor for ever; but grant me that am a sinner throughout my length of days to suffer all things for thy name's sake and in the confession of thee, and to sacrifice my whole self unto thee. For, with thy might working in them, even the feeble shall wax exceeding strong; for thou only art the unconquerable ally and merciful God, whom all creation blesseth, glorified for ever and ever. Amen."
When he had thus prayed, he felt divine comfort stealing over his heart, and, fulfilled with courage, he spent the whole night in prayer. Meanwhile the king communed with Araches, his friend, as touching his son's matters, and signified to him his son's sheer audacity and unchangeable resolution. Araches gave counsel that he should, in his dealings with him, show the utmost kindness and courtesy, in the hope, perchance, of alluring him by flattering attentions. The day following, the king came to his son, and sat down, and called him to his side. He embraced and kissed him affectionately, coaxing him gently and tenderly, and said, "O my darling and well-beloved son, honour thou thy father's grey hairs: listen to my entreaty, and come, do sacrifice to the gods; thus shalt thou win their favour, and receive at their hands length of days, and the enjoyment of all glory and of an undisputed kingdom, and happiness of every sort. Thus shalt thou be well pleasing to me thy father throughout life and be honoured and lauded of all men. It is a great count in the score of praise to be obedient to thy father, especially in a good cause, and to gain the goodwill of the gods. What thinkest thou, my son? Is it that I have willingly declined from the right, and chosen to travel on the wrong road: or that, from ignorance and inexperience of the good, I have given myself to destruction? Well, if thou thinkest that I willingly prefer the evil to the profitable, and choose death before life, thou seemest to me, son, completely to have missed the goal in judging. Dost thou not see to what discomfort and trouble I often expose myself in mine expeditions against my foes, or when I am engaged in divers other business for the public good, not sparing myself even hunger and thirst, if need be, the march on foot, or the couch on the ground? As for riches and money, such is my contempt and scorn thereof, that I have at times ungrudgingly lavished all the stores of my palace, to build mighty temples for the gods, and to adorn them with all manner of splendour, or else to distribute liberal largess to my soldiers. Possessing then, as I also do, this contempt of pleasure and this courage in danger, what zeal would I not have devoted to contemning all else, and winning my salvation, had I only found that the religion of the Galileans were better than mine own? But, if thou condemnest me for ignorance and inexperience of the good, consider how many sleepless nights I have spent, with some problem before me, oft- times no very important one, giving myself no rest until I had found the clear and most apt solution.
Seeing then that I reckon that not even the least of these temporal concerns is unworthy of thought until all be fitly completed for the advantage of all and seeing that all (I ween) bear me witness that no man under the sun can search out secrets with more diligence than I, how then could I have considered divine things, that call for worship and serious consideration, unworthy of thought, and not rather have devoted all my zeal and might, all my mind and soul to the investigation thereof, to find out the right and the true? Aye, and I have laboriously sought thereafter. Many nights and days have I spent thus: many wise and learned men have I called to my council; and with many of them that are called Christians have I conversed. By untiring enquiry and ardent search I have discovered the pathway of truth, witnessed by wise men honoured for their intelligence and wit, -- that there is none other faith than ours. This is the path that we tread to-day, worshipping the most puissant gods, and holding fast to that sweet and delightsome life, given by them to all men, fulfilled with all manner of pleasure and gladness of heart, which the leaders and priests of the Galileans have in their folly rejected; so that, in hope of some other uncertain life, they have readily cast away this sweet light, and all those pleasures which the gods have bestowed on us for enjoyment, and all the while know not what they say, nor whereof they confidently affirm.
"But thou, dearest son, obey thy father, who, by diligent and honest search, hath found the real good. Lo, I have shown thee that, neither willingly, I no, nor by way of ignorance, have I failed of the good, but rather that I have found and laid hold thereon. And I earnestly desire that thou too shouldest not wander as a fool, but shouldest follow me. Have respect then unto thy father. Dost thou not know how lovely a thing it is to obey one's father, and please him in all ways? Contrariwise, how deadly and cursed a thing it is to provoke a father and despise his commands? As many as have done so, have come to a miserable end. But be not thou, my son, one of their number. Rather do that which is well pleasing to thy sire, and so mayest thou obtain all happiness and inherit my blessing and my kingdom!"
The high-minded and noble youth listened to his father's windy discourse and foolish opposition, and recognized therein the devices of the crooked serpent, and how standing at his right hand he had prepared a snare for his feet, and was scheming how to overthrow his righteous soul, and hinder him of the prize laid up in store. Therefore the prince set before his eyes the commandment of the Lord, which saith, "I came not to send peace, but strife and a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and so forth; and "He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me"; and "Whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven." When he had considered these things, and fettered his soul with divine fear, and strengthened it with longing desire and love, right opportunely he remembered the saying of Solomon, "There is a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace." First of all he prayed in silence, and said, "Have mercy of me, Lord God, have mercy of me; for my soul trusteth in thee; and under the shadow of thy wings I shall hope till wickedness overpass. I shall cry to the highest God; to God that did well to me," and the rest of the psalm.
Then said Ioasaph to the king, "To honour one's father, and to obey his commands, and to serve him with good will and affection is taught us by the Lord of us all, who hath implanted in our hearts this natural affection. But, when loving devotion to our parents bringeth our soul into peril, and separateth her from her Maker, then we are commanded, at all costs, to cut it out, and, on no account, to yield to them that would depart us from God, but to hate and avoid them, even if it be our father that issueth the abominable command, or our mother, or our king, or the master of our very life. Wherefore it is impossible for me, out of devotion to my father, to forfeit God. So, prithee, trouble not thyself, nor me: but be persuaded, and let us both serve the true and living God, for the objects of thy present worship are idols, the works of men's hands, devoid of breath, and deaf, and give nought but destruction and eternal punishment to their worshippers.
"But if this be not thy pleasure, deal with me even as thou wilt: for I am a servant of Christ, and neither flatteries nor torments shall separate me from his love, as I told thee yesterday, swearing it by my Master's name, and confirming the word with surest oath. But, whereas thou saidest that thou didst neither wilfully do wrong, nor didst fail of the mark through ignorance, but after much laborious enquiry hadst ascertained that it was truly a good thing to worship idols and to be riveted to the pleasures of the passions -- that thou art wilfully a wrong doer, I may not say. But this I know full well, and would have thee know, O my father, that thou art surrounded with a dense mist of ignorance, and, walking in darkness that may be felt, seest not even one small glimmer of light. Wherefore thou hast lost the right pathway, and wanderest over terrible cliffs and chasms. Holding darkness for light, and clinging to death as it were life, thou deemest that thou art well advised, and hast reflected to good effect: but it is not so, not so. The objects of thy veneration are not gods but statues of devils, charged with all their filthy power; nor is the life, which thou pronouncest sweet and pleasant, and thinkest to be full of delight and gladness of heart, such in kind: but the same is abominable, according to the word of truth, and to be abhorred. For for a time it sweeteneth and tickleth the gullet, but afterwards it maketh the risings more bitter than gall (as said my teacher), and is sharper than any two-edged sword.
"How shall I describe to thee the evils of this life? I will tell them, and they shall be more in number than the sand. For such life is the fishhook of the devil, baited with beastly pleasure, whereby he deceiveth and draggeth his prey into the depth of hell. Whereas the good things, promised by my Master, which thou callest `the hope of some other uncertain life,' are true and unchangeable; they know no end, and are not subject to decay. There is no language that can declare the greatness of yonder glory and delight, of the joy unspeakable, and the everlasting gladness. As thou thyself seest, we all die; and there is no man that shall live and not see death. But one day we shall all rise again, when our Lord Jesus Christ shall come, the Son of God, in unspeakable glory and dread power, the only King of kings, and Lord of lords; to whom every knee shall bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth. Such terror shall he then inspire that the very powers of heaven shall be shaken: and before him there shall stand in fear thousand thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand of Angels and Archangels, and the whole world shall be full of fear and terror. For one of the Archangels shall sound with the trump of God, and immediately the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll; and the earth shall be rent, and shall give up the dead bodies of all men that ever were since the first man Adam until that day. And then shall all men that have died since the beginning of the world in the twinkling of an eye stand alive before the judgement seat of the immortal Lord, and every man shall give account of his deeds. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun; they that believed in the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, and ended this present life in good works. And how can I describe to thee the glory that shall receive them at that day? For though I compare their brightness and beauty to the light of the sun or to the brightest lightning flash, yet should I fail to do justice to their brightness. 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, in the kingdom of heaven, in the light which no man can approach unto, in his unspeakable and unending glory.
"Such joys and such bliss shall the righteous obtain, but they that have denied the only true God and not known their Maker and Creator, but have worshipped foul devils, and rendered homage to dumb idols, and loved the pleasures of this vain world, and, like swine, wallowed in the mire of sinful lusts, and made their lives a headquarters for all wickedness, shall stand naked and laid bare, downright ashamed and downcast, pitiable in appearance and in fact, set forth for a reproach to all creation. All their life in word, deed and thought shall come before their faces. Then, after this bitter disgrace and unbearable reproach, shall they be sentenced to the unquenchable and light-less fire of Gehenna, unto the outer darkness, the gnashing of teeth and the venomous worm. This is their portion, this their lot, in the which they shall dwell together in punishment for endless ages, because they rejected the good things offered them in promise, and, for the sake of the pleasure of sin for a season, made choice of eternal punishment. For these reasons -- to obtain that unspeakable bliss, to enjoy that ineffable glory, to equal the Angels in splendour, and to stand with boldness before the good and most sweetest Lord, to escape those bitter and unending punishments and that galling shame -- time after time, were it not worth men's while to sacrifice their riches and bodies, nay, even their very lives? Who is so cowardly, who so foolish, as not to endure a thousand temporal deaths, to escape eternal and everlasting death, and to inherit life, blissful and imperishable, and to shine in the light of the blessed and life- giving Trinity?"
Go to Parts XXVI - XXX