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The Paradise Of The Holy Fathers Volumes 1 and 2 by Saint Athanasius Of Alexandria

AND that same brother [who hath been mentioned above] took away from the shoemaker to sell a large number of shoes (or sandals) and other kinds of objects, and having received as their price a larger sum of money than the shoemaker had mentioned brought to him the oboli; and when the shoemaker had received the oboli, he reckoned up the price of the leather and of the labour of his hands, and the value of the work of the days wherein he had made the various kinds of [leather] objects, and found that it amounted to fifty oboli, whilst the money [which he had received] was three times that amount. Then straightway the shoemaker went to Rabbâ, and said unto him, “Verily, O father, this brother will never prosper by such acts as these, for he still hath in him a worldly mind.” And when Rabbâ said, “What is this matter in which he hath behaved so badly?” the shoemaker answered and said, “I gave him sandals and other kinds of [leather] things to sell, and I said unto him, ‘Their prices are so much,’ but he hath sold them for a great deal more, and he hath brought unto me a price which is three times as large as that which I mentioned to him.” When Rabbâ had heard these things, he called the brother and said unto him, “Why hast thou done thus?” And the brother said unto him, “Father, I told to the people who bought the sandals and the other things the price which this shoemaker told me to take, but they said to me, ‘Brother, if these things had been stolen they would be worth a far higher price than what thou askest’; and I, feeling ashamed, said to them, ‘They have not been stolen, and I have been commanded to sell them at the price which I have named; but whatsoever ye wish to give [me] for them, that give’; and they gave me what it pleased them to give me, and I never counted the oboli which were given unto me by them.” When Rabbâ had heard [these things] he said, “Thou hast sinned greatly in loving excess, but run quickly, and give back the excess in price to those who gave it to thee, and come and repent because of this offence, and sit in the monastery and perform the work of thy hands, for it is not good that thou, O my son, shouldst do again work of this kind”; and the brother did even as the old man had said unto him. Then Rabbâ appointed the holy man Zakkai, a good man, who overcame all the praises of the children of men by the manifestation of good deeds, and he administered all the affairs of the monastery.








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