The Life of Saint Issa
Best of the Sons of Men
Translation by Notovitch
1 The people of Israel, who dwelt on a
fertile soil giving forth two crops a year and who possessed large flocks,
excited by their sins the anger of God
2 Who inflicted upon them a terrible
chastisement in taking from them their land, their cattle, and their
possessions. Israel was reduced to slavery by the powerful and rich pharaohs who
then reigned in Egypt.
3 These treated the Israelites worse
than animals, burdening them with difficult tasks and loading them with chains.
They covered their bodies with weals and wounds, without giving them food or
permitting them to dwell beneath a roof,
4 To keep them in a state of continual
terror and to deprive them of all human resemblance.
5 And in their great calamity, the
people of Israel remembered their heavenly protector and, addressing themselves
to him, implored his grace and mercy.
6 An illustrious pharaoh then reigned
in Egypt who had rendered himself famous by his numerous victories, the riches
he had heaped up, and the vast palaces which his slaves had erected for him with
their own hands.
7 This pharaoh had two sons, of whom
the younger was called Mossa. Learned Israelites taught him diverse sciences.
8 And they loved Mossa in Egypt for his
goodness and the compassion which he showed to all those who suffered.
9 Seeing that the Israelites would not,
in spite of the intolerable sufferings they were enduring, abandon their God to
worship those made by the hand of man, which were gods of the Egyptian nation,
10 Mossa believed in their invisible
God, who did not let their failing strength give way.
11 And the Israelitish preceptors
excited the ardor of Mossa and had recourse to him, praying him to intercede
with the pharaoh his father in favor of their co-religionists.
12 Wherefore the Prince Mossa went to
his father, begging him to ameliorate the fate of these unfortunates. But the
pharaoh became angered against him and only augmented the torments endured by
13 It happened that a short time after,
a great evil visited Egypt. The pestilence came to decimate there both the young
and the old, the weak and the strong; and the pharaoh believed in the resentment
of his own gods against him.
14 But the Prince Mossa told his father
that it was the God of his slaves who was interceding in favor of these
unfortunates in punishing the Egyptians.
15 The pharaoh then gave to Mossa his
son an order to take all the slaves of the Jewish race, to conduct them outside
the town, and to found at a great distance from the capital another city where
he should dwell with them.
16 Mossa then made known to the Hebrew
slaves that he had set them free in the name of their God, the God of Israel,
and he went out with them from the city and from the land of Egypt.
17 He led them into the land they had
lost by their many sins, he gave unto them laws, and enjoined them to pray
always to the invisible Creator whose goodness is infinite.
18 On the death of Prince Mossa, the
Israelites rigorously observed his laws, wherefore God recompensed them for the
ills to which he had exposed them in Egypt.
19 Their kingdom became the most
powerful of all the earth, their kings made themselves famous for their
treasures, and a long peace reigned among the people of Israel.
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