NPS 50

On the teachings of Icbravitus

Now Icbravitus, the so-called prophet of the Icbravites, though he lived long before the days of Travancus and Claretta, and yet in their day though he was long dead his followers could still be found, though in our day they have disappeared entirely; and Icbravitus said unto his followers: Whoever abstains from an evil deed, on account of the fear of punishment, their abstention counts for naught, it is as if they had done twice that act from which they abstained, and they will be punished twice as severely as those who abstained not! And whoever does a good deed, in hope of reward, will receive not any reward whatsoever. Now Dongonalesh, a preacher of the Icbravites came unto Travancus and Claretta, and recounted that such had Icbravitus said. And Travancus said unto him, What a pleasing thing have you told me. When Dongonalesh had left them, Claretta said: O prophet, why did you say such a thing, for surely what he spoke was a falsehood – for those who abstain from wrongdoing will be punished not, neither those who do wrongdoing – as you have clearly and truthfully taught, the heavenly chamber is not a punishment due to those of wrongdoing, but a means that they may be brought to love and to be loved by those whom they have injured – for the one who knows not first-hand the suffering they have caused regrets not that suffering – yet the perfect justice of heaven, dispenses not a new and like suffering, as is done by the false and fraudulent justice of the earth, but exactly the same suffering – none of which is properly described as punishment. And the holy Travancus responded: Dearest Claretta, wise are you indeed! I said as such, not that those words were innocent of error, for without doubt they were words of error and falsehood – yet not purely of falsehood, but of falsehood mixed with truth – but while the falsehood contained in them, which you have adequately described, was commonplace, yet the truth in them was exquisite in its rarity. For that Icbravitus had rightly taught the worthlessness of all acts done out of fear of punishment or longing for reward – such cannot be truly called good, but is merely evil masquerading as goodness. Know that among prophets there are three kinds: the first being the true prophets, and concerning every substantial matter which they address they speak the truth, even if they speak some error in matters that are trifling; the second being the false prophets, and concerning every substantial matter which they address they speak falsehood, and if they speak the truth at all, it is truths that are trifling and commonplace, truth as a mere prelude and enticement to error; and the third kind, that is those who speak profound truth, yet are also afflicted by profound errors, and we rightly call such ones neither true prophets nor false prophets, but they are prophets of an intermediate degree; such a one would this Icbravitus be, if indeed his followers have recounted his teaching correctly.