Childhood and Early Education of John the Harbinger.
Elizabeth in Engedi. Teaches her son. John becomes the pupil of Matheno, who reveals to him the meaning of sin and the law of forgiveness.
ELIZABETH was blest; she spent her time with John, and gave to him the lessons that Elihu and Salome had given her.
2 And John delighted in the wilderness of his home and in the lessons that he learned.
3 Now in the hills were many caves. The cave of David was a-near in which the Hermit of Engedi lived.
4 This hermit was Matheno, priest of Egypt, master from the temple of Sakara.
5 When John was seven years of age Matheno took him to the wilderness and in the cave of David they abode.
6 Matheno taught, and John was thrilled with what the master said, and day by day Matheno opened up to him the mysteries of life.
7 John loved the wilderness; he loved his master and his simple fare. Their food was fruits, and nuts, wild honey and the carob bread.
8 Matheno was an Isrealite, and he attended all the Jewish feasts.
9 When John was nine years old Matheno took him to a great feast in Jerusalem.
10 The wicked Archelaus had been deposed and exiled to a distant land because of selfishness and cruelty, and John was not afraid.
11 John was delighted with his visit to Jerusalem. Matheno told him all about the service of the Jews; the meaning of their rites.
12 John could not understand how sin could be forgiven by killing animals and birds and burning them before the Lord.
13 Matheno said, The God of heaven and earth does not require sacrifice. This custom with its cruel rites was borrowed from the idol worshippers of other lands.
14 No sin was ever blotted out by sacrifice of animal, of bird, or man.
15 Sin is the rushing forth of man into fens of wickedness. If one would get away from sin he must retrace his steps, and find his way out of the fens of wickedness.
16 Return and purify your hearts by love and righteousness and you shall be forgiven.
17 This is the burden of the message that the harbinger shall bring to men.
18 What is forgiveness? John inquired.
19 Matheno said, It is the paying up of debts. A man who wrongs another man can never be forgiven until he rights the wrong.
20 The Vedas says that none can right the wrong but him who does the wrong.
21 John said, If this be true where is the power to forgive except the power that rests in man himself? Can man forgive himself?
22 Matheno said, The door is wide ajar; you see the way of man's return to right, and the forgiveness of his sins.