- you shall not commit adultery.
- how shall I sign this to Secundus? I sign everything to him.
- I know this: evil goes with adultery. I will sign it as evil. Secundus is allowed signs because he can't hear. Tertius does not answer me. I am used to hearing silence. That is all my brother has. But he gets held.
You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.
Many years have passed since my sister first tried to explain Moses to me. Now I do not need explanation. I know that an equal love needs no explanation and that life with instruction comes from the Most High.
I have skipped ahead in the story, Beloved, to the beginning of table 6. Uncle Mark did not include most of this in his performance. His work is written on table 9. I try to pretend that I could have heard him - but I am limited to reading now what is written of his work concerning dispensing with various limbs. If you read it aloud - with feeling - you might think of yourself acting it as he did. Now I have heard the actors in the great theatre of Epidaurus, some of them are loud and some soft. When I read this passage, I do not think loud. The one who knows the unquenchable fire does not need noise.
And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched. For every one will be salted with fire. Salt is good; but if the salt has lost its saltness, how will you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.
For so long I was protected from the noise of the world for I could not hear. Did I enter life without two of my limbs? But they were on my head - I had not cut them off. They were simply silent. What troubles did I avoid by having no hearing? Another had to hear for me. I was held. And because I was loved, I did not miss my ears.
Now I am forced to hear what I would prefer not to hear. Brother and sister offend each other with their words. It's not as if they are responding each to their own offense. They pluck each other's limbs off. I had no choice about not hearing. Now I have no choice about hearing. What is it in the fullness of their senses that they see in their brother or sister that causes them to raise such a turmoil?
As soon as you know the truth, Beloved, you will know to wait for the time of judgment and you will not need in the present time to judge anyone else. Rather you will point them to the same place, the mercy seat, where you found your truth. The one who sits there will neither disappoint nor be disappointed. Those who do not sit there are not in a place where the fire and salt that Jesus speaks of can do their work, for they have not entered in to life. You will know the truth by which you are known.
Now hear is a question for your ears: how would you pluck out your own eye or cut off your own limb so that the evil you have imaged can no longer be seen and the desire that you have can no longer be approached or grasped? Shall I give you a hint? There is no violence in the method and none of your blood is shed. We will come to the answer later in the Lord's sermon.