His disciples drew nigh unto Jesus after the nightly prayer, and said: `O Master, how must we do to escape pride?'
Jesus answered: `Have ye seen a poor man invited to a prince's house to eat bread?'
John answered: `I have eaten bread in Herod's house. For before I knew thee I went to fish, and used to sell the fish to the family of Herod. Whereupon, one day when he was feasting, I have brought thither a fine fish, he made me stay and eat there.'
Then said Jesus: `Now how didst thou eat bread with infidels? God pardon thee, O John! But tell me, how didst thou bear thyself at the board? Didst thou seek to have the most honourable place? Didst thou ask for the most delicate food? Didst thou speak when thou wast not questioned at the table? Didst thou account thyself more wrthy than the others to sit at table?`
John answered: `As God liveth, I did not dare to lift up my eyes, seeing myself, a poor fisherman, ill-cad, sitting among the king's barons. Whereupon, when the king gave me a little piece of flesh, methought that the world had fallen upon my head, for the greatness of the favour that the king did unto me. And verily I say that, if the king had been of our Law, I should have been fain to serve him all the days of my life.
Jesus cried out: `Hold thy peace, John, for I fear lest God should cast us into the abyss, even like Abiram, for our pride!'
The disciples trembled with fear at the words of Jesus; when he said a gain: 'Let us fear God, that he cast us not into the abyss for our pride.
`O brethren, have ye heard of John what is done in the house of a prince? Woe to the men that come into the world, for as they live in pride they shall die in contempt and shall to into confusion.
`For this world is a house where God feasteth men, wherein have eaten all the holy ones and prophets of God. And verily I say to you, everything that a man receiveth, he receiveth it from God. Wherefore man ought to bear himself with deepest humility; knowing his own vileness and the greatness of God, with the great bounty wherewith he nourisheth us. Therefore it is not lawful for mana to say: "Ah, why is this done and this said in the world?" but ra ther to account himnself, as in truth he is, unworthy to stand in the world at God's board. As God liveth, in whose presence my soul standeth, there is nothing so small received here in the world from [the hand of] God, but that in return man ought to spend his life for love of God.
`As God liveth, thou sinnedst not, O John, in eating with Herod, for it was of God's disposition thou didst so, in order that thou mightest be our teacher and [the teacher] of every one that feareth God. So do, said Jesus to his disciples, `that ye may live in the world as John lived in the house of Herod when he ate bread with him, for so shall ye be in truth free from all pride.'
131: John at Herod's table
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