'The elder answered: "O brother, say not so, for you despise knowledge, which our God wills to be prized." The younger replied: "Now, how shall I speak now so as not to fall into sin: for your word is true, and mine also. I say, then, that they who know the commandments of God written in the Law ought to observe those [first] if they would afterwards learn more. And all that a man learns, let it be observe it, and not [merely] to know it." Said the elder: "O brother, tell me, with whom have you spoken, that you know you have not learned all that I said?"
'The younger answered: "O brother, I speak with myself. Every day I place myself before the judgment of God, to give account of myself. And ever do I feel within myself one that excuses my faults." 'Said the elder: "O brother, what faults have you, who are perfect ? The younger answered: "O brother, say not so, for that I stand between two great faults: the one is that I do not know myself to be the greatest of sinners, the other that I do not desire to do penance for it more than other men." 'The elder answered: "Now, how shouldst you know yourself to be the greatest of sinners, if you are the most perfect [of men]?"
'The younger replied: "The first word that my master said to me when I took the habit of a Pharisee was this: that I ought to consider the goodness of others and my own iniquity for if I should do so I should perceive myself to be the greatest of sinners. 'Said the elder: "O brother, whose goodness or whose faults consider you on these mountains, seeing there are no men here?" The younger answered: "I ought to consider the obedience of the sun and the planets, for they serve their Creator better than I. But them I condemn, either because they give not light as I desire, or because their heat is too great, or there is too much or too little rain upon the ground."
'Whereupon, hearing this, the elder said: "Brother, where have you learned this doctrine, for I am now ninety years old, for seventy-five years whereof I have been a Pharisee?" The younger answered: "O brother, you say this in humility, for you are a holy one of God. Yet I answer you that God our creator looks not on time, but looks on the heart: wherefore David, being fifteen years; old, younger than six other his brethren, was chosen king of Israel, and became a prophet of God our Lord."
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