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'Tell me now; the Pharisees of to-day—are they Pharisees? Are they servants of God? Assuredly not. Yea, and I say unto you verily, that there is no worse thing here upon earth than this, that a man cover himself with profession and garb of religion to cover his wickedness. I will tell you one single example of the Pharisees of old time, in order that ye may know the present ones. After the departure of Elijah, by reason of the great persecution by idolaters, that holy congregation of Pharisees was dispersed. For in that same time of Elijah there were slain in one year more than ten thousand prophets that were true Pharisees.

'Two Pharisees went into the mountains to dwell there; and the one abode fifteen years knowing nought of his neighbour, although they were but one hour's journey apart. See, then, if they were inquisitive! It came to pass that there arose a drought on those mountains, and thereupon both set themselves to search for water, and so they found each other. Whereupon the more aged said (for it was their custom that the eldest should speak before every other, and they held it a great sin for a young man to speak before an old one)—the elder, therefore, said: "Where dwellest thou, brother?"

'He answered, pointing out the dwelling with his finger: "Here dwell"; for they were nigh to the dwelling of the younger.

'Said the elder: "How long is it, brother, that thou hast dwelt here?"

'The younger answered: "Fifteen years."

'Said the elder: "Perchance thou camest when Ahab slew the servants of God?"

'"Even so," replied the younger.

'Said the elder: "O brother, knowest thou who is now king of Israel?"

'The younger answered: "It is God that is King of Israel, for the idolaters are not kings but persecutors of Israel."

'"It is true," said the elder, "but I meant to say, who is it that now persecuteth Israel?"

'The younger answered: "The sins of Israel persecute Israel, because, if they had not sinned, [God] would not have raised up against Israel the idolatrous princes."

'Then said the elder: "Who is that infidel prince whom God hath sent for the chastisement of Israel?"

'The younger answered: "Now how should I know, seeing these fifteen years I have seen no man save thee, and I know not how to read, wherefore no letters be sent unto me?"

'Said the elder: "Now, how new thy sheepskin be! Who hath given them to thee, if thou hast not seen any man?"