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Chapter 38 - Julius interrogates the criminals.
38,1. As Julius heard this from Mathael, his heart became easier and he turned immediately to the political criminals still lying on the earth, saying, “Stand up without fear and hesitance; for men like you must be able to look naked death in the face without fear and trembling! For us Romans are not tigers and not leopards, but people who rather seek to lessen the misfortune of people than to spread it! But this should be said to you: we do not tend to punish criminals as hard as we punish a lie! Death is placed on those who bear false witness and an unashamed lie! Therefore give me truth to every one of my questions and I as God’s judge will try to save you from evils if you come to me with proven truth, than to bring damage to you! Thus stand now and speak openly to me!”
38,2. At Julius’ words the political criminals rise from the ground with a miserable appearance and I say secretly in the Roman tongue, “Free them first from their bonds; for the bound hands and feet have also a bound tongue!”
38,3. At My words Julius commanded the soldiers to take off the shackles from the bound men.
38,4. This happened immediately and when the total of twelve stood quite free of all shackles, Julius asked them, “Who are you, where were you born?”
38,5. One of them said in the name of the others, “Lord, we have no document with us! But if you will believe my words we are accursed templars through the temple as well as through the terribly pious sense of our foolish parents are children of Jerusalem. The Law of Moses, as far as the relationship of the children towards their parents is concerned, should as a consequence of the pure human sense go through a change, so that through coincidence and contact with truly wise people sensible children should not remain subservient to their parents; for many children of spiritual and physical misfortune come from indescribably foolish, proud parents smeared with all bad ointments!
38,6. Truly, no high and wise God can have given this law to Moses for the poor humanity! Truly, this law, without exception, is too bad for the animal kingdom, not to mention for the kingdom of man! Through the strict obedience of this foolish law, the giver of which was hardly God, instead Moses alone or some follower of Moses, we now stand as criminals before you, id est before the judge over life and death! A very pleasant reward for our constantly faithful obedience to our more than foolish elders! At this very pleasant reward either the honorable cross or the lowest ship’s service in eternal chains will follow! For if we must give the full truth about our freely triply forced action, no god will save us from the most merciless strictness of your law! And yet it says in Moses’ law, “Honor your father and mother that it may go well for you and your days may be long on the Earth!” Lovely! Here we are now! How good it is for us poor devils, anyone can see, and how long we have yet to live depends on you alone! The divine calling to the fourth commandment of God has been so beautifully fulfilled that truly all devils are laughing at us and in the end they will piss on us!”
38,7. Julius says, “But my dears, that is irrelevant, instead you have only to answer what is asked!”
38,8. Suetal (so the speaker was called) answered at this in the name of the twelve, “Lord, if certain death sits on your neck, everything is relevant! We cannot possibly deny that we are obvious criminals against Rome, and what follows you will hopefully not be able to dispute; for you wear your sharp sword and have the law and power – things against which the poor worm in the dust can do nothing!
38,9. But because the lords of Rome by strength of their laws are still more human than the black lords in the temple, according to whose whistle even the dear Lord God must dance, we think to present you strict, but still somewhat more human lords not only our crime ANTI ROMAM (against Rome) but also the reason for it; perhaps you will act more humanly with us poor devils, for we are no longer people since the time that we exchanged the devil’s water for the contract against you Romans.”
38,10. Julius now asks, “Why did you have to drink the accursed devil’s water? How have you made yourselves punishable by the temple and its laws?”
38,11. Suetal says, “Quite the reverse, when we made ourselves punishable against you! We were betrayed as secret friends of you Romans, and thus the devil’s water was threatened! But as young people to escape the devil’s water we had to become your enemies and our foolish elders had to pay a heavy fee of several hundred pounds of silver to the temple and deliver a thousand fat sacrificial goats, of which probably none has tried to swim in the Jordan, instead they have, like Joseph, travelled under good cover to Egypt for a hefty sum of silver, where they have been eaten.
38,12. There you have the reason which prepared the devil’s water for us in the temple and your enmity on the way to receiving the pardon of the temple! The difference is this: If we had taken the devil’s water we would have gone to father Abraham long ago; but since we found mercy in the temple we will probably only now have to pay the dear father Abraham an eternal visit. Soon we will hear from your fine mouth the familiar I LICTOR (go, executioner!) and we will have reaped the forbidden fruit for the exact observance of the fourth commandment of God under the title: Good and long life on Earth! If we should really go to the cross, we ask you to put this title above our crosses.”
38,13. Julius says, inwardly quite cheerful, but outwardly playing the strict judge, “You push, as it seems to me, all guilt onto the fourth commandment of Moses; but I notice that you either really or possibly superficially don’t understand this commandment or don’t want to understand. For it says in the Law that one should honor ones parents, but not that one should obey them in everything like a dictator; for if I become, as a child and then as a man, an experienced and wise person, I will see that a correct love to my still living parents is the actual correct honor which God ordered through Moses.
38,14. Thus if some weak parents demand something from their children whereby they plus their children could be disadvantaged, it is the duty of the children to show their parents as clearly as possible the danger of their desire with all love and patience and the parents will surely stop; but if they continue, disobedience out of true love for the parents is truly no sin, neither before the highest wise God nor before all logically thinking people.
38,15. In addition even Moses himself added an explanation concerning the obedience of children towards their parents in his theocratic (god ruling) scriptures, a clear explanation in which children have to obey their parents in everything which does not contradict the Law!
38,16. With that the Law of Moses is more than justified, and the guilt lies, if it is as you have told me, either truly in the foolishness of your elders and in the misunderstanding of the law by the same, as well as your misunderstanding of the divine law through Moses!
38,17. Or the guilt can lie in your thickest mischievousness which will certainly come to light here. For you see, you have shown your sharpness not very carefully through your humorous apology and seem to possess many evil jokes; and we Romans never accept apologies of such Proteuses [‘shape changer’, an old man of the sea in Greek mythology who could change into different forms, ed.] as the complete truth! Therefore you will have to bring me more serious and more truthful looking apologies, otherwise you cannot expect any good judgment from me!”
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