Black Books

Man is never his best. Therefore I say unto man:

Be blessed in your poverty, be gentle, meek and merciful, bear vilification and persecution, since a light shines before you, that will not leave you secrecy in darkness.

If you are angry, do not say, we are not angry, but be mindful of your poverty and reconcile yourself quickly.

Be no enemy no one’s enemy, otherwise you will set yourself against yourself.

But your poverty is too great that it could be at odds with yourself. Do not say: we love our enemy.

This lie would be an extravagance in view of your poverty. leave your enemy alone, so that his hostility may devour itself.

Do not wish to be perfect like the Gods, but attend to your poverty and nakedness, so that the imperfect and weak in you does not completely perish.

Your perfection would be obnoxious and an unfair burden for your neighbor.

Consider bearing your poverty yourself rather than burdening your neighbor with the sham of your perfection. Do not forget to give alms to your poverty.

But when you pray, do not beg the Gods, but wish that the glory of God perfects itself, that his law which is laid up in you fulfils itself, that you are able to bear your poverty in modesty, so that the light that illumines the darkness of your path may stream brighter.

Wish, when you pray, that what is necessary will be fulfilled, not what you take to be necessary, but what is inherently unavoidable. Your poverty does not bear wishing for more.

No one can serve a master, but each serves himself, since he needs help for the sake of his poverty.

The rich need no help.

Therefore I say unto you: care for your life, what you eat and drink, and also for your body and what you put on. Isn’t the dish as important as life?

And doesn’t your body also need clothing?

Shouldn’t your body also be healthy and your life secured, so that you don’t become a burden to your brothers?

Aren’t they also as poor as you?

Look at the birds of the sky don’t they carry plumage for their protection?

Don’t they build warm nests? Don’t they seek their nourishment with luck and hard work?

Have you ever seen a raven feed others?

Therefore serve your body, the patient servant, so that it remains healthy.

Help your soul, the arrogant daimon, so that all false godliness and higher humanity fall from her, so that you may look at God.

Nothing will come to you that you have not earned with honest effort.

Do penance for every unearned gift that heaven has sent you, so that you don’t contaminate yourself with godliness.

Take thought for the morrow, since tomorrow will have enough plagues.

You hypocrites, first pull out the beam from your eye and wait till your brother asks you to free him from the splinter in his eye.

If however your brother loves the splinter in his eye, why should you get mixed up with it?

You should certainly not give that which is holy unto the dogs, nor cast pearls before swine, but are then your brothers and sisters dogs and swine?

Ask, but do not lay on, knock, but don’t be pushy; it is not certain whether you will be received, since your brothers are poor and you should not provoke them to extravagance.

But stinginess consumes itself, and the inheritance does not pass to you.

Go the way of your inner law while observing the outer law of love.

This middle way is sometimes narrow and sometimes wide.

He who does not go on this way has damnation in his heart.

You may recognize the fertile by their fruits, but thank the infertile for having spared the world a monstrosity.

He who fulfils the law of inner necessity has the kingdom of the heavens in his heart,30 since he experienced the day of happiness.

Do not act out of disunity with yourself, but from the fulfilment of your poverty.”

But after that Philemon stooped, and touched the earth with his hands and asked it for forgiveness since he had uttered a teaching.

Then he walked back into the hall to a pool of water and purified himself from the presumption of teaching.

He exchanged his white cloak for a brown coat and walked across the bridge to the land of men. He entered there into a way-side chapel.

A crucifix hung above the altar.

Phil. bowed and said to him: My brother, forgive me my error, I have sinned against your word. I taught otherwise than you have.

But if I err in this way, teach me to recognize the truth.”

But the crucified remained silent, since he had completed and sealed his truth with his death and in such a way left room for the truth of his brother. Philemon, The Black Books, Vol. VII, Pages 159-161