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."
"In tune therewith saith also another prophet, `The great day of the Lord is near, and hasteth greatly. The bitter and austere voice of the day of the Lord hath been appointed. A mighty day of wrath is that day, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of blackness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of the trumpet and alarm. And I will bring distress upon the wicked, and they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the Lord. Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the Lord's wrath; for the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy, for he shall make a riddance of all them that dwell in the land.' Moreover David, the king and prophet, crieth thus, `God shall come visibly, even our God, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall be kindled before him, and a mighty tempest round about him. He shall call the heaven from above, and the earth, that he may judge his people.' And again he saith, `Arise, O God, judge thou the earth, because "the fierceness of man shall turn to thy praise." And thou shalt "reward every man according to his works."' And many other such things have been spoken by the Psalmist, and all the Prophets inspired by the Holy Ghost, concerning the judgement and the recompense to come. Their words also have been most surely confirmed by the Saviour who hath taught us to believe the resurrection of the dead, and the recompense of the deeds done in the flesh, and the unending life of the world to come."
But Ioasaph was filled hereby with deep compunction, and was melted into tears; and he said to the elder, "Thou hast told me everything plainly, and hast completed unerringly thy terrible and marvellous tale. With such truths set before us, what must we do to escape the punishments in store for sinners, and to gain the joy of the righteous?"
Barlaam answered: "It is written of Peter, who was also called chief of the Apostles, that once when he was preaching the people were pricked in their heart, like thyself to-day: and when they asked, `What shall we do?', Peter said unto them, `Repent, and be baptized every one of you for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For to you is the promise, and to your children, and to all that are afar off even as many as the Lord our God shall call.' Behold therefore upon thee also hath he poured forth the riches of his mercy, and hath called thee that wert afar off from him in heart, and didst serve others, not Gods, but pernicious devils and dumb and senseless wooden images. Wherefore before all things approach thou him who hath called thee, and from him shalt thou receive the true knowledge of things visible and invisible. But if, after thy calling, thou be loth or slack, thou shalt be disherited by the just judgement of God, and by thy rejection of him thou shalt be rejected. For thus too spake the same Apostle Peter to a certain disciple. But I believe that thou hast heard the call, and that, when thou hast heard it more plainly, thou wilt take up thy Cross, and follow that God and Master that calleth thee, calleth thee to himself from death unto life, and from darkness unto light. For, soothly, ignorance of God is darkness and death of the soul; and to serve idols, to the destruction of all nature, is to my thinking the extreme of all senselessness.
"But idolaters -- to whom shall I compare them, and to what likeness shall I liken their silliness? Well, I will set before thee an example which I heard from the lips of one most wise.
"'Idol worshippers,' said he, `are like a fowler who caught a tiny bird, called nightingale. He took a knife, for to kill and eat her; but the nightingale, being given the power of articulate speech, said to the fowler, `Man, what advantageth it thee to slay me? for thou shalt not be able by my means to fill thy belly. Now free me of my fetters, and I will give thee three precepts, by the keeping of which thou shalt be greatly benefited all thy life long.' He, astonied at her speech, promised that, if he heard anything new from her, he would quickly free her from her captivity. The nightingale turned towards our friend and said, `Never try to attain to the unattainable: never regret the thing past and gone: and never believe the word that passeth belief. Keep these three precepts, and may it be well with thee.' The man, admiring the lucidity and sense of her words, freed the bird from her captivity, and sent her forth aloft. She, therefore, desirous to know whether the man had understood the force of her words, and whether he had gleaned any profit therefrom, said, as she flew aloft, `Shame, sir, on thy fecklessness! What a treasure that hast lost to-day! For I have inside me a pearl larger than an ostrich-egg.' When the fowler heard thereof, he was distraught with grief, regretting that the bird had escaped out of his hands. And he would fain have taken her again. `Come hither,' said he, `into my house: I will make thee right welcome, and send thee forth with honour.' But the nightingale said unto him, `Now I know thee to be a mighty fool. Though thou didst receive my words readily and gladly, thou hast gained no profit thereby. I bade thee never regret the thing past and gone; and behold thou art distraught with grief because I have escaped out of thy hands there thou regrettest a thing past and gone. I charged thee not to try to attain to the unattainable, and thou triest to catch me, though thou canst not attain to my path. Besides which, I bade thee never believe a word past belief, and behold thou hast believed that I had inside me a pearl exceeding the measure of my size, and hadst not the sense to see that my whole body doth not attain to the bulk of ostrich eggs. How then could I contain such a pearl?"'
"Thus senseless, then, are also they that trust in idols: for these be their handiwork, and they worship that which their fingers made, saying, `These be our creators.' How then deem they their creators those which have been formed and fashioned by themselves? Nay more, they safeguard their gods, lest they be stolen by thieves, and yet they call them guardians of their safety. And yet what folly not to know that they, which be unable to guard and aid themselves, can in no wise guard and save others! `For' saith he, `why, on behalf of the living, should they seek unto the dead?' They expend wealth, for to raise statues and images to devils, and vainly boast that these give them good gifts, and crave to receive of their hands things which those idols never possessed, nor ever shall possess. Wherefore it is written, `May they that make them be like unto them, and so be all such as put their trust in them, who,' he saith, `hire a goldsmith, and make them gods, and they fall down, yea, they worship them. They bear them upon the shoulders, and go forward. And if they set them in their place, they stand therein: they shall not remove. Yea, one shall cry unto them, yet call they not answer him, nor save him out of his trouble.' `Wherefore be ye ashamed with everlasting shame, ye that trust in graven images, that say to the molten images, Ye are our gods.' `For they sacrificed,' he saith, `unto devils, and not to God; to gods whom their fathers knew not. There came new and fresh gods; because it is a froward generation, and there is no faith in them.'