Ioasaph said, "But whence cometh this garment that thou wearest?" The elder answered,"I received it as a loan from one of our faithful brethren, when about to make my journey unto thee; for it behoved me not to arrive in mine ordinary dress. If one had a beloved kinsman carried captive into a foreign land, and wished to recover him thence, one would lay aside one's own clothing, and put on the guise of the enemy, and pass into their country and by divers crafts deliver one's friend from that cruel tyranny. Even so I also, having been made aware of thine estate, clad myself in this dress, and came to sow the seed of the divine message in thine heart, and ransom thee from the slavery of the dread ruler of this world. And now behold by the power of God, as far as in me lay, I have accomplished my ministry, announcing to thee the knowledge of him, and making known unto thee the preaching of the Prophets and Apostles, and teaching thee unerringly and soothly the vanity of the present life, and the evils with which this world teems, which cruelly deceiveth them that trust therein, and taketh them in many a gin. Now must I return thither whence I came, and thereupon doff this robe belonging to another, and don mine own again."
Ioasaph therefore begged the elder to shew himself in his wonted apparel. Then did Barlaam strip off the mantle that he wore, and lo, a terrible sight met Ioasaph's eyes: for all the fashion of his flesh was wasted away, and his skin blackened by the scorching sun, and drawn tight over his bones like an hide stretched over thin canes. And he wore an hair shirt, stiff and rough, from his loins to his knees, and over his shoulders there hung a coat of like sort.
But Ioasaph, being sore amazed at the hardship of his austere life, and astonished at his excess of endurance, burst into tears, and said to the elder, "Since thou art come to deliver me from the slavery of the devil, crown thy good service to me, and 'bring my soul out of prison,' and take me with thee, and let us go hence, that I may be fully ransomed from this deceitful world and then receive the seal of saving Baptism, and share with thee this thy marvellous philosophy, and this more than human discipline"
But Barlaam said unto him, "A certain rich man once reared the fawn of a gazelle; which, when grown up, was impelled by natural desire to long for the desert. So on a day she went out and found an herd of gazelles browsing; and, joining them, she would roam through the glades of the forest, returning at evenfall, but issuing forth at dawn, through the heedlessness of her keepers, to herd with her wild companions. When these removed, to graze further afield, she followed them. But the rich man's servants, when they learned thereof, mounted on horseback, and gave chase, and caught the pet fawn, and brought her home again, and set her in captivity for the time to come. But of the residue of the herd, some they killed, and roughly handled others. Even so I fear that it may happen unto us also if thou follow me; that I may be deprived of thy fellowship, and bring many ills to my comrades, and everlasting damnation to thy father. But this is the will of the Lord concerning time; thou now indeed must be signed with the seal of holy Baptism, and abide in this country, cleaving to all righteousness, and the fulfilling of the commandments of Christ; but when the Giver of all good things shall give thee opportunity, then shalt thou come to us, and for the remainder of this present life we shall dwell together; and I trust in the Lord also that in the world to come we shall not be parted asunder."
Again Ioasaph, in tears, said unto him, "If this be the Lord's pleasure, his will be done! For the rest, perfect me in holy Baptism. Then receive at my hands money and garments for the support and clothing both of thyself and thy companions, and depart to the place of thy monastic life, and the peace of God be thy guard! But cease not to make supplications on my behalf, that I may not fall away from my hope, but may soon be able to reach thee, and in peace profound may enjoy thy ministration."
Barlaam answered, "Nought forbiddeth thee to receive the seal of Christ. Make thee ready now; and, the Lord working with thee, thou shalt be perfected. But as concerning the money that thou didst promise to bestow on my companions, how shall this be, that thou, a poor man, shouldest give alms to the rich? The rich always help the poor, not the needy the wealthy. And the least of all my comrades is incomparably richer than thou. But I trust in the mercies of God that thou too shalt soon be passing rich as never afore: and then thou wilt not be ready to distribute."
Ioasaph said unto him, "Make plain to me this saying; how the least of all thy companions surpasseth me in riches -- thou saidest but now that they lived in utter penury, and were pinched by extreme poverty and why thou callest me a poor man, but sayest that, when I shall be passing rich, I, who am ready to distribute, shall be ready to distribute no more."
Barlaam answered, "I said not that these men were pinched by poverty, but that they plume themselves on their inexhaustible wealth. For to be ever adding money to money, and never to curb the passion for it, but insatiably to covet more and more, betokeneth the extreme of poverty. But those who despise the present for love of the eternal and count it but dung, if only they win Christ, who have laid aside all care for meat and raiment and cast that care on the Lord, and rejoice in penury as no lover of the world could rejoice, were he rolling in riches, who have laid up for themselves plenteously the riches of virtue, and are fed by the hope of good things without end, may more fitly be termed rich than thou, or any other earthly kingdom. But, God working with thee, thou shalt lay hold on such spiritual abundance that, if thou keep it in safety and ever rightfully desire more, thou shalt never wish to dispend any part of it. This is true abundance: but the mass of material riches will damage rather than benefit its friends. Meetly therefore called I it the extreme of poverty, which the lovers of heavenly blessings utterly renounce and eschew, and flee from it, as a man fleeth from an adder. But if I take from thee and so bring back to life that foe, whom my comrades in discipline and battle have slain and trampled under foot, and carry him back to them, and so be the occasion of wars and lusts, then shall I verily be unto them an evil angel, which heaven forfend!