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Chapter 146 - The character of the High Pharisee.
146,1. After a while of deep contemplation the high Pharisee says, “But how can you prove to me before the whole world that I think differently in my heart to how I speak with my mouth and that I don’t believe what I am teaching the nation?! If my ancestors attacked the prophets, what I cannot and will not deny, which guilt can then be given to me for the fact that I have always honored all the holy seers of God to the highest degree?! If thousands of my colleagues in any case have no belief in what they teach, where is the proof that I should not believe such a thing?!”
146,2. Cyrenius says, “The tangible proof lays in the fact that you, to judge by your speech, are much too clever a man to be able to accept the greatest nonsense as a truth that comes from God! You understand the high art of mathematics, and mathematicians do not so easily mistake a fly for an elephant, which you will never be able to deny in any retort!”
146,3. The high Pharisee says, “But where is the nonsense then that I could impossibly believe as a mathematician?!”
146,4. Cyrenius says, “Do you believe in your heart, for example, in the wonderful fertilizing effect of the temple dung that you, as far as I know, have promoted so highly in the rule for all these years?! Do you believe in the healing effect of the regular new moon?! Do you really believe that Jehovah still lives in the newly-created Ark of the Covenant like He lived in the old one of Moses now long rejected?! Do you believe in the correspondence of the naphtha flame on your shelf with that strange holy column of fire or smoke over the Ark of the Covenant which illuminated Moses out of Egypt?! Do you really believe that it is of more use to the people to make sacrifices in the temple than to love their parents according to God’s commandments and to be obedient to them in all things?!
146,5. Tell me openly whether you believe your religion besides a thousand similar statutes completely devoid of human sense! For if you really believe in it – which seems impossible to me – then you are seriously more foolish than a camel and are more suitable for anything other than a teacher of the people; but if you don’t believe it and nonetheless you teach the poor people with murder, fire and sword such an evil nonsense which you as a man of otherwise much knowledge and science can never believe, then you are a very most despicable deceiver of the people and deserve for political reasons to be eternally in a prison as a criminal than to be a teacher of the people!
146,6. You see, that is obviously the end of your Scylla and Charybdis! I will decorate you with an imperial medal of honor if you can bring me any middle road as an excuse!”
146,7. At this the high Pharisee begins to scratch himself quite actively behind the ears and now no longer knows what to say.
146,8. Herme, the singer, or previously the messenger from Caesarea Philippi, says to Cyrenius, “High ruler! Only now one is quite sewn in and cannot find the way out of this weave! Oh, that happens perfectly just to this brute against everything good and true! If I didn’t know him as well as I do, then I could even pity him, for I feel sorry for such an evil sinner if he comes into great embarrassment; but I could see this fellow burn alive and it would even be a pleasure for me! It is not the time and the place here to speak of what this high Pharisee has said confidentially; but you can be sure that there is not one good hair on all his body!
146,9. Many will be sentenced to crucifixion by your laws who are much better people than this most unscrupulous rogue over there! I am no judge and therefore I have no-one to sentence; but I nonetheless have a great joy that this lad has become so entangled!”
146,10. Mathael says smiling, “But we still must pay very good attention that he does not tear the net and in the end laugh into all our faces! Until now he remained on the fence with his language; but if he is once driven into a corner, Cyrenius, you will soon see how he begins to parry! I only now know him fully, although I knew him from the temple! You see, it is he who thirty years ago laid hands on the high priest Zachariah and murdered him between the sacrificial altar and the holiest of holies separated by a curtain![Matthew 23:35] But now nothing further about that!”
146,11. Herme says full of joy, “Oh, I know a lot of such facts about him; but they are not strictly provable enough and so there is little or nothing that can be done!”
146,12. Cyrenius says, quite amazed at Mathael’s statement, “Ah, what are you telling me now?! So this fellow extinguished the light of life of that high priest, according to every person’s witness a highly pious and wise man? Well it is good that I now have a hint about it; I will sort everything else out then!”
146,13. Here Cyrenius gave Captain Julius a sign to set up patrols so that none of the arch-Pharisees could get away from him.
146,14. Julius immediately gave the secret order, and what Cyrenius had commanded happened immediately; but the high Pharisee nonetheless noticed something of it and asked Cyrenius, “For who is all this movement?”
146,15. Cyrenius answers, “Neither you nor any of your companions have the right to inquire after this; for Cyrenius does not answer monsters such as yourself any longer! For you are not only a most pitiful deceiver of the people, but also a spiritual and physical murderer of the people. I am now waiting for the report by the governor from the city and for the arrival of Cornelius, Faustus and Jonah from Kis; then I will tell you why I have had the guards set up now!”
146,16. The leader says, “Good, but then I will tell you only then why I am actually here!”
146,17. At this the leader takes a roll of parchment out of his tunic, shows it to Cyrenius and says, “Do you know this ensign and this signature?!”
146,18. At this Cyrenius starts, saying, “That is the emperor’s seal and his signature! What is that supposed to do with this?”
146,19. The leader says, “If it is necessary, you shall get to know the content! I therefore advise you to hold back from every further investigation against me, otherwise this role will present very significant trouble for you! I still honor you as an honest man; but mark me well, do not take things too far, otherwise I could make very unpleasant use of this role which you have to respect as highly as anyone else!
146,20. Truly, I would not have taken this fearful weapon out of my tunic pocket if you had not forced me to; but you began to step on me like a worm and it is therefore the right time to show you that you are not the only lord in this sovereign territory by any means! I now think that it would be better to withdraw the guards because otherwise I could be forced to place mine beside yours despite the Sabbath!
146,21. Come on, does my now very altered language embarrass you a little?! But you truly cannot be helped; for yours also embarrassed me somewhat! Briefly, I know you now, and you now know me! Now do what seems clever and good to you, and I will do the same! Have you understood me well?!”
146,22. At these words the high Pharisee turns his back on Cyrenius like a ruler, moves to the shore of the sea with his colleagues and behaves there as if he were a man who was granted great power in an emergency by the emperor; but Cyrenius finds himself now in great embarrassment and now does not know what he should do.
146,23. Now Mathael says, “Do you see, dearest, how such a fellow is best equipped with everything which is necessary for his safety, physically and morally, and like a fortress?! Therefore it is highly difficult and actually completely fruitless to act as judge, because these people – the Lord knows in which illicit ways – knew how to create the very highest secret privileges, against which it is now extremely difficult to act!”
146,24. Cyrenius says, “But do tell me, dear, wise Mathael, how this human hydra possibly came upon a document of safety from the hand of the emperor without my knowledge and permission?! Yes, nothing else can be done except to put on a good face at this evil game! I am very curious to see what the Lord will have to say to this!”
146,25. Mathael says, “He will now not like to give a correct speech and answer; for He has already known in advance why He gave you this club as a test, and seems to have paid very little attention to the whole affair!”
146,26. Cyrenius says, “But we must now ask for advice!”
146,27. Mathael says, “In any case; there is now the greatest necessity for this!”
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