Dearest men, we must remember not to love too much that which
we ought to give up, nor yet to give up too easily what we ought
to hold everlastingly.
us consider too very attentively that no man in the world hath
so much weal, or such magnificent riches here in the world, but
that he shall in a brief interval come to an end; and he shall
give up all that here, previously, in the world was pleasant and
dear to him to possess and to hold; and be the man ever so dear
to his kinsmen and world's friends and let any of them love him
ever so much, nevertheless he shall soon afterwards shun him when
that the body and the spirit shall be separated, and he shall
esteem his fellowship loathsome and foul.
is no marvel; for, behold! what else is the flesh after the eternal
portion, that is the soul, goes away,-lo! what else is the remnant,
but the food of worms? Where shall be then his riches and his
feasts? Where shall be then his pride and his arrogance? Where
shall be then his vain garments? Where shall be then the ornaments
and the expensive attire with which he previously decked his body?
Where shall be then his will and his lusts that he followed here
in the world? Behold, then must he with his soul alone atone to
God Almighty for all that he here in this world wickedly committed.
may now hear related a story of a certain rich and influential
man, who possessed in this world great wealth and very splendid
and manifold treasures, and lived a pleasant life.
it happened that he died, and there came to him a sudden end of
this transitory life. There was then one of his kinsmen and earthly
friends that loved him more than any other man; and on account
of longing (grief) and the sorrow caused by the other's death
he could no longer stay in the country, but with a sorrowful mind
departed from his native land and from his dwelling-place, and
in that [foreign] land dwelt many years; and this longing of his
never diminished, but much oppressed and afflicted him.
after a time he began to long for his native land again, for he
wished to behold again the tomb and to see what he were like whom
formerly he had often seen beautiful in face and stature…. Then
the bones of the dead man called to him, and thus said, 'Why hast
thou come hither to see us?
mayest thou see here a portion of dust, and the relict of worms,
where thou previously didst see a purple garment interwoven with
gold. Behold now dust and dry bones, where thou before didst see
limbs, after flesh's kind, fair to look upon. O my friend and
kinsman, be mindful of this, and convince thyself that thou art
now what I was formerly, and after a time thou shalt be what I
now am. Remember this, and know that my riches that I had of yore
are all vanished and come to nought, and my dwellings are decayed
and perished. But turn thee to thyself and incline thy heart to
counsel [i.e. listen to good advice], and merit that thy prayers
be acceptable to God Almighty.'
then, so sad and sorrowful, departed from the 'dust-spectacle'
(contemplation of the dust), and turned himself away from all
the affairs of this world; and he began to learn to teach the
praise of God, and to love spiritual virtues, and thereby earned
for himself the grace of the Holy Spirit; and he delivered also
the other's soul from punishment and released him from torments.
we then, dearest men, have this for our mementoes and set fast
this example in our hearts, so that we love not worldly splendour,
nor this world itself, too much; for this world is altogether
decrepit, troublous, corruptible, and unstable. And this world
is altogether transitory.
us, then, diligently consider and know in regard to this world's
commencement, that when it was first formed it was full of all
beauty, and was blooming in itself with manifold pleasures; and
in that time it was pleasant and healthful to men upon earth,
and there was upon the earth entire serenity, unbounded concord,
and splendid progeny; and this world was so fair and so delightful
that it drew men to it by its beauty and pleasantness, from Almighty
God. And when it (world) was thus fair and winsome, it withered
away in the hearts, as is fit.
there is lamentation and weeping on all sides; now is mourning
everywhere, and breach of peace; now is everywhere evil, and slaughter;
and everywhere this world fleeth from us with great bitterness,
and we follow it, as it flies from us, and love it although it
is passing away.
we may hereby perceive that this world is illusiory and transitory.
us then be mindful of this while we may, so that we may diligently
press on to what is good;
us obey our Lord diligently, and for all his gifts and for all
his mercies, and for all his kindness and benefits that he hath
ever showed to us let us give thanks to Him - the heavenly King
that liveth and reigneth everlastingly, for ever without end,
in eternity. Amen.