The Life of Saint Issa
Best of the Sons of Men
Translation by Notovitch
1 Issa, whom the Creator had elected to remind a depraved humanity
of the true God, had reached his twenty-ninth year when he returned
to the land of Israel.
2 Since his departure the pagans had inflicted still more atrocious
sufferings on the Israelites, who were a prey to the deepest despondency.
3 Many among them had already begun to abandon the laws of their
God and those of Mossa in the hope of appeasing their savage conquerors.
4 In the face of this evil, Issa exhorted his compatriots not
to despair because the day of the redemption of sins was at hand,
and he confirmed them in the belief which they had in the God
of their fathers.
5 "Children, do not give yourselves up to despair,"
said the Heavenly Father by the mouth of Issa, "for I have
heard your voice, and your cries have reached me.
6 "Do not weep, O my beloved ones! For your grief has touched
the heart of your Father, and he has forgiven you, even as he
forgave your forefathers.
7 "Do not abandon your families to plunge yourselves into
debauchery, do not lose the nobility of your feelings, and do
not worship idols who will remain deaf to your voices.
8 "Fill my temple with your hope and with your patience and
abjure not the religion of your fathers; for I alone have guided
them and have heaped them with benefits.
9 "You shall lift up those who have fallen, you shall give
food to the hungry, and you shall come to the aid of the sick,
so as to be all pure and just at the day of the last judgment
which I prepare for you."
10 The Israelites came in crowds at the word of Issa, asking him
where they should praise the Heavenly Father, seeing that the
enemy had razed their temples to the ground and laid low their
11 And Issa made answer to them that God had not in view temples
erected by the hands of man, but he meant that the human heart
was the true temple of God.
12 "Enter into your temple, into your heart. Illumine it
with good thoughts and the patience and immovable confidence which
you should have in your Father.
13 "And your sacred vessels, they are your hands and your
eyes. See and do that which is agreeable to God, for in doing
good to your neighbor you accomplish a rite which embellishes
the temple wherein dwells he who gave you life.
14 "For God has created you in his own likeness-innocent,
with pure souls and hearts filled with goodness, destined not
for the conception of evil schemes but made to be sanctuaries
of love and justice.
15 "Wherefore I say unto you, sully not your hearts, for
the Supreme Being dwells therein eternally.
16 "If you wish to accomplish works marked with love or piety,
do them with an open heart and let not your actions be governed
by calculations or the hope of gain.
17 "For such actions would not help to your salvation, and
you would fall into that state of moral degradation where theft,
lying, and murder pass for generous deeds."
1 Saint Issa went from one town to another, strengthening by the
word of God the courage of the Israelites, who were ready to succumb
to the weight of their despair; and thousands of men followed
him to hear him preach.
2 But the chiefs of the towns became afraid of him, and they made
known to the principal governor who dwelt at Jerusalem that a
man named Issa had arrived in the country; that he was stirring
up by his discourses the people against the authorities; that
the crowd listened to him with assiduity, neglected the works
of the state, and affirmed that before long it would be rid of
its intrusive governors.
3 Then Pilate, governor of Jerusalem, ordered that they should
seize the person of the preacher Issa, that they should bring
him into the town and lead him before the judges. But in order
not to excite the anger of the populace, Pilate charged the priests
and the learned Hebrew elders to judge him in the temple.
4 Meanwhile Issa, continuing his preachings, arrived at Jerusalem;
and, having learnt of his arrival, all the inhabitants, knowing
him already by reputation, went out to meet him.
5 They greeted him respectfully and opened to him the gates of
their temple in order to hear from his mouth what he had said
in the other cities of Israel.
6 And Issa said unto them: "The human race perishes because
of its lack of faith, for the darkness and the tempest have scattered
the flocks of humanity and they have lost their shepherds.
7 "But the tempest will not last forever, and the darkness
will not always obscure the light. The sky will become once more
serene, the heavenly light will spread itself over the earth,
and the flocks gone astray will gather around their shepherd.
8 "Do not strive to find straight paths in the darkness,
lest ye fall into a pit; but gather together your remaining strength,
support one another, place your confidence in your God, and wait
till light appears.
9 "He who sustains his neighbor, sustains himself; and whosoever
protects his family, protects the people and the state.
10 "For be sure that the day is at hand when you shall be
delivered from the darkness; you shall be gathered together as
one family; and your enemy, who ignores what the favor of God
is, shall tremble with fear."
11 The priests and the elders who were listening to him, filled
with admiration at his discourse, asked him if it were true that
he had tried to stir up the people against the authorities of
the country, as had been reported to the governor Pilate.
12 "Can one excite to insurrection men gone astray, from
whom the obscurity has hidden their door and their path?"
replied Issa. "I have only warned the unfortunate, as I do
here in this temple, that they may not further advance along the
darkened way, for an abyss is open under their feet.
13 "Earthly power is not of long duration, and it is subject
to many changes. Of what use that man should revolt against it,
seeing that one power always succeeds to another power? And thus
it will come to pass until the extinction of humanity.
14 "Against which, see you not that the mighty and the rich
sow among the sons of Israel a spirit of rebellion against the
eternal power of heaven?"
15 The elders then asked: "Who art thou, and from what country
cost thou come? We have not heard speak of thee before, and we
know not even thy name."
16 "I am an Israelite," replied Issa. "From the
day of my birth I saw the walls of Jerusalem, and I heard the
weeping of my brothers reduced to slavery and the lamentations
of my sisters who were carried away by the pagans.
17 "And my soul was filled with sadness when I saw that my
brethren had forgotten the true God. As a child, I left my father's
house and went to dwell among other peoples.
18 "But having heard that my brethren were suffering still
greater tortures, I have come back to the country where my parents
dwell to remind my brothers of the faith of their forefathers,
which teaches us patience on earth to obtain perfect and sublime
happiness in heaven."
19 And the learned elders put him this question: "It is said
that thou deniest the laws of Mossa and that thou teaches"
the people to forsake the temple of God?"
20 And Issa replied: "One cannot demolish that which has
been given by our Heavenly Father, neither that which has been
destroyed by sinners; but I have enjoined the purification of
the heart from all blemish, for it is the true temple of God.
21 "As to the laws of Mossa, I have endeavored to establish
them in the hearts of men. And I say unto you that you do not
understand their real meaning, for it is not vengeance but mercy
that they teach; only the sense of these laws has been perverted."
1 Having hearkened unto Issa, the priests and the wise elders
decided among themselves not to judge him, for he did harm to
no one. And presenting themselves before Pilate, appointed governor
of Jerusalem by the pagan king of the country of Romeles, they
addressed him thus:
2 "We have seen the man whom thou accusest of inciting our
people to rebellion; we have heard his discourses, and we know
him to be our compatriot.
3 "But the chiefs of the cities have made thee false reports,
for this is a just man who teaches the people the word of God.
After having interrogated him, we dismissed him, that he might
go in peace."
4 The governor then became enraged and sent near to Issa his servants
in disguise, so that they might watch all his actions and report
to the authorities the least word that he should address to the
5 In the meantime, Saint Issa continued to visit the neighboring
towns, preaching the true ways of the Creator, exhorting the Hebrews
to patience, and promising them a speedy deliverance.
6 And during all this time, many people followed him wherever
he went, several never leaving him but becoming his servitors.
7 And Issa said: "Do not believe in miracles wrought by the
hand of man, for he who dominates over nature is alone capable
of doing that which is supernatural, whilst man is powerless to
stay the anger of the winds or to spread the rain.
8 "Nevertheless, there is one miracle which it is possible
for man to accomplish. It is when, full of a sincere belief, he
decides to root out from his heart all evil thoughts, and when
to attain his end he forsakes the paths of iniquity.
9 "And all the things that are done without God are but errors,
seductions, and enchantments, which only demonstrate to what an
extent the soul of him who practices this art is full of shamelessness,
falsehood, and impurity.
10 "Put not your faith in oracles; God alone knows the future:
he who has recourse to diviners profanes the temple which is in
his heart and gives a proof of distrust towards his Creator.
11 "Faith in diviners and in their oracles destroys the innate
simplicity of man and his childlike purity. An infernal power
takes possession of him, forcing him to commit all sorts of crimes
and to worship idols;
12 "Whereas the Lord our God, who has no equal, is one, all-mighty,
omniscient, and omnipresent. It is he who possesses all wisdom
and all light.
13 "It is to him you must address yourselves to be consoled
in your sorrows, helped in your works, and cured in your sickness.
Whosoever shall have recourse to him shall not be denied.
14 "The secret of nature is in the hands of God. For the
world, before it appeared, existed in the depth of the divine
thought; it became material and visible by the will of the Most
15 "When you address yourselves to him, become again as children;
for you know neither the past, the present, nor the future, and
God is the Master of all time."