I was standing near the window and I knew that once in
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"The king, endowed with understanding worthy of the purple, said unto him, `What hath hindered thee until now from doing me to wit of these things? For they appear to me too good to be put off or passed over, if they indeed be true; and, if they be doubtful, I must search diligently, until I find the truth without shadow of doubt.'
"The chief counsellor said, `It was not from negligence or indifference that I delayed to make this known unto thee, for it is true and beyond question, but `twas because I reverenced the excellency of thy majesty, lest thou mightest think me a meddler. If therefore thou bid thy servant put thee in mind of these things for the future, I shall obey thy behest.' `Yea,' said the king, `not every day only, but every hour, renew in me the remembrance thereof: for it behoveth us not to turn our mind inattentively to these things, but with very fervent zeal.'
"We have heard," said Barlaam, "that this king lived, for the time to come, a godly life, and, having brought his days without tempest to an end, failed not to gain the felicity of the world to come. If then at a convenient season one shall call these things to thy father's mind also, peradventure he shall understand and know the dire evil in which he is held, and turn therefrom and choose the good; since, for the present at least, 'he is blind and cannot see afar off,' having deprived himself of the true light and being a deserter of his own accord to the darkness of ungodliness."
Ioasaph said unto him, "The Lord undertake my father's matters, as he ordereth! For, even as thou sayest, the things that are impossible with men, are possible with him. But for myself, thanks to thine unsurpassable speech, I renounce the vanity of things present, and am resolved to withdraw from them altogether, and to spend the rest of my life with thee, lest, by means of these transitory and fleeting things, I lose the enjoyment of the eternal and incorruptible."
The elder answered him, "This do, and thou shalt be like unto a youth of great understanding of whom I have heard tell, that was born of rich and distinguished parents. For him his father sought in marriage the exceeding fair young daughter of a man of high rank and wealth. But when he communed with his son concerning the espousals, and informed him of his plans, the son thought it strange and ill-sounding, and cast it off, and left his father and went into exile. On his journey he found entertainment in the house of a poor old man, where he rested awhile during the heat of the day.
"Now this poor man's daughter, his only child, a virgin, was sitting before the door, and, while she wrought with her hands, with her lips she loudly sang the praises of God with thanksgiving from the ground of her heart. The young man heard her hymn of praise and said, `Damsel, what is thine employment? and wherefore, poor and needy as thou art, givest thou thanks as though for great blessings, singing praise to the Giver?' She answered, `Knowest thou not that, as a little medicine often times delivereth a man from great ailments, even so the giving of thanks to God for small mercies winneth great ones? Therefore I, the daughter of a poor old man, thank and bless God for these small mercies, knowing that the Giver thereof is able to give even greater gifts. And this applieth but to those external things that are not our own from whence there accrueth no gain to those who possess much (not to mention the loss that often ariseth), nor cometh there harm to those who have less; for both sorts journey along the same road, and hasten to the same end. But, in things most necessary and vital, many and great the blessings I have enjoyed of my Lord, though indeed they are without number and beyond compare. I have been made in the image of God, and have gained the knowledge of him, and have been endowed with reason beyond all the beasts, and have been called again from death unto life, through the tender mercy of our God, and have received power to share in his mysteries; and the gate of Paradise hath been opened to me, allowing me to enter without hindrance, if I will. Wherefore for gifts so many and so fine, shared alike by rich and poor, I can indeed in no wise praise him as I ought, yet if I fail to render to the Giver this little hymn of praise, what excuse shall I have?'
"The youth, astonished at her wit, called to her father, and said unto him, `Give me thy daughter: for I love her wisdom and piety.' But the elder said, `It is not possible for thee, the son of wealthy parents, to take this a beggar's daughter.' Again the young man said, `Yea, but I will take her, unless thou forbid: for a daughter of noble and wealthy family hath been betrothed unto me in marriage, and her I have cast off and taken to flight. But I have fallen in love with thy daughter because of her righteousness to God-ward, and her discreet wisdom, and I heartily desire to wed-her.' But the old man said unto him, `I cannot give her unto thee, to carry away to thy father's house, and depart her from mine arms, for she is mine only child.' 'But,' said the youth, `I will abide here with your folk and adopt your manner of life.' Thereupon he stripped him of his own goodly raiment, and asked for the old man's clothes and put them on. When the father had much tried his purpose, and proved him in manifold ways, and knew that his intent was fixed, and that it was no light passion that led him to ask for his daughter, but love of godliness that constrained him to embrace a life of poverty, preferring it to his own glory and noble birth, he took him by the hand, and brought him into his treasure-house, where he showed him much riches laid up, and a vast heap of money, such as the young man had never beheld. And he said unto him, `Son, all these things give I unto thee, forasmuch as thou hast chosen to become the husband to my daughter, and also thereby the heir of all my substance.' So the young man acquired the inheritance, and surpassed all the famous and wealthy men of the land."
Said Ioasaph unto Barlaam, "This story also fitly setteth forth mine own estate. Whence also me thinketh that thou hadst me in mind when thou spakest it. But what is the proof whereby thou seekest to know the steadfastness of my purpose?"