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Jesus rejoiced when he heard this, and said: 'See now how good a thing it is to die! Lazarus hath died once only, and hath learned such doctrine as is not known to the wisest men in the world that have grown old among books! Would to God that every man might die once only and return to the world, like Lazarus, in order that men might learn to live.

John answered: 'O master, is it permitted to me to speak a word?'

'Speak a thousand,' answered Jesus, 'for just as a man is bound to dispense his goods in the service of God, so also is he bound to dispense doctrine: and so much the more is he bound so to do inasmuch as the word hath power to raise up a soul to penitence, whereas goods cannot bring back life to the dead. Wherefore he is a murderer who hath power to help a poor man and when he helpeth him not the poor man dieth of hunger; but a more grievous murderer is he who could by the word of God convert the sinner to penitence, and converteth him not, but standeth, as saith God, "like a dumb dog." Against such saith God: "The soul of the sinner that shall perish because thou hast hidden my word, I will require it at thy hands, O unfaithful servant."

'In what condition, then, are now the scribes and Pharisees who have the key and will not enter, nay hinder them who would fain enter, into eternal life?

'Thou askest me, O John, permission to speak one word, having listened to an hundred thousands words of mine. Verily I say unto thee, I am bound to listen to thee ten times for every one that thou hast listened to me. And he who will not listen to another, every time that he shall speak he shall sin; seeing that we ought to do to others that which we desire for ourselves, and not do to others that which we do not desire to receive.'

Then said John: 'O master, why hath not God granted this to men, that they should die once and return as Lazarus hath done, in order that they might learn to know themselves and their creator?'