1.  Saint Issa thus taught the people of Israel for three years in every city, in every village, on the roadways, and in the fields, and all that he had predicted had come to pass.

2.  During all this time, the disguised servants of the Governor Pilate observed him closely, but without hearing anything that resembled the reports hitherto sent by the rulers of the cities concerning Issa.

3.  But the Governor Pilate, becoming alarmed at the too great popularity of Saint Issa, who, according to his enemies, wanted to incite the people and be made king, ordered one of his spies to accuse him.

4.  Soldiers were the sent to arrest him, and he was cast into a dungeon where he was made to suffer various torture that he might be forced to accuse himself, which would permit them to put him to death.

5.  Thinking of the perfect beatitude of his brothers only, the saint endured these sufferings in the name of his Creator.

6.  The servants of Pilate continued to torture him and reduced him to a state of extreme weakness; but God was with him and did not suffer him to die.

7.  Hearing of the sufferings and tortures inflicted on their saint, the principal priests and learned elders begged the Governor to liberate Issa on the occasion of an approaching great feast.

8.  But the Governor met them with a decided refusal.  They then begged him to bring Issa before the tribunal of the Ancients, that he might be condemned or acquitted before the feast, to which Pilate consented.

9.  On the morrow the Governor called together the chief rulers, priests, elders and law-givers, with the object of making them pass judgment on Issa.

10.  The saint was brought from his prison, and he was seated before the Governor between two thieves that were to be tried with him, to show the people that he was not the only one to be condemned.

11.  And Pilate, addressing Issa, said: "O, man! is it true that thou hast incited the people to rebel against the authorities that thou mayest become king of Israel?"

12.  "None can become king by his own will," replied Issa, "and they that have said that I incited the people have spoken falsely.  I have never spoken but of the King of Heaven, whom I taught the people to adore.

13.  "For the sons of Israel have lost their original purity, and if they have not recourse to the true God, they shall be sacrificed and their temple shall fall in ruins.

14.  "Temporal power maintains order in a country; I therefore taught them not to forget it; I said to them: 'Live in conformity to your position and fortune, that you may not disturb public order;' and I exhorted them also to remember that disorder reigned in their hearts and minds.

15.  "Therefore, the King of Heaven has punished them and suppressed their national kings; nevertheless, I said to them, if you resign yourself to your fate, the Kingdom of Heaven shall be reserved for you as a reward."

16.  At this moment, witnesses were introduced; one of them testified as follows: "Thou hast said to the people that temporal power was nothing to that of the King that shall free the Israelites from the pagan yoke."

17.  "Blessed be thou," said Issa, "for having spoken the truth; the King of Heaven is more powerful and great than terrestrial laws, and His kingdom surpasses all the kingdoms here below.

18.  "And the time is not far when, in conformity with the Divine Will, the people of Israel will purify themselves of the sins; for it is said that a precursor shall come to announce the deliverance of the nation and unite it in one family."

19.  And addressing himself to the judges, the Governor said: "Hear you this? The Israelite Issa admits the crime of which he is accused.  Judge him according to you laws and sentence him to capital punishment."

20.  "We cannot condemn him," replied the priests and the ancients; "thou hast thyself heard that he made allusion to the King of Heaven, and that he has preached nothing to the people which constitutes insubordination against the law."

21.  The Governor then summoned the witness who, at the instigation of his master, Pilate, had betrayed Issa; and when this man came he addressed Issa thus: "Didst thou not claim to be the king of Israel in saying that the Lord of Heaven had sent thee to prepare His people?"

22.  And Issa having blessed him, said: "Thou shalt be forgiven, for what thou sayest cometh not of thee!"  Then turning to the Governor, he continued: "Why lower thy dignity and teach thy inferiors to live in falsehood, since, even without this, thou hast the power to condemn an innocent man?"

23.  At these words, the Governor became violently enraged and ordered the death of Issa.

24.  The judges, having deliberated among themselves, said to Pilate: "We will not take upon our heads the great sin of condemning an innocent man and of acquitting two thieves, a thing contrary to our laws.

25.  "Do therefore as thou please."  Having thus spoken, the priests and wise men went out and washed their hands in a sacred vessel, saying: "We are innocent of the death of a just man."


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