With thunder and heavenly fireworks must one speak to indolent and somnolent senses.
But beautys voice speaketh gently; it appealeth only to the most awakened souls.
Gently vibrated and laughed unto me today my buckler; it was beautys holy laughing and thrilling.
At you, ye virtuous ones, laughed my beauty today. And thus came its voice unto me: They want to be paid besides!
Ye want to be paid besides, ye virtuous ones! Ye want reward for virtue, and heaven for earth, and eternity for your today?
And now ye upbraid me for teaching that there is no rewardgiver, nor paymaster? And verily, I do not even teach that virtue is its own reward.
Ah, this is my sorrow: into the basis of things have reward and punishment been insinuated and now even into the basis of your souls, ye virtuous ones!
But like the snout of the boar shall my word grub up the basis of your souls; a ploughshare will I be called by you.
All the secrets of your heart shall be brought to light; and when ye lie in the sun, grubbed up and broken, then will also your falsehood be separated from your truth.
For this is your truth: ye are too pure for the filth of the words vengeance, punishment, recompense, retribution.
Ye love your virtue as a mother loveth her child; but when did one hear of a mother wanting to be paid for her love?
It is your dearest Self, your virtue. The rings thirst is in you: to reach itself again struggleth every ring, and turneth itself.
And like the star that goeth out, so is every work of your virtue: ever is its light on its way and travelling and when will it cease to be on its way?
Thus is the light of your virtue still on its way, even when its work is done. Be it forgotten and dead, still its ray of light liveth and travelleth.
That your virtue is your Self, and not an outward thing, a skin, or a cloak: that is the truth from the basis of your souls, ye virtuous ones!
But sure enough there are those to whom virtue meaneth writhing under the lash; and ye have hearkened too much unto their crying!
And others are there who call virtue the slothfulness of their vices; and when once their hatred and jealousy relax the limbs, their justice becometh lively and rubbeth its sleepy eyes.
And others are there who are drawn downwards; their devils draw them. But the more they sink, the more ardently gloweth their eye, and the longing for their God.
Ah! their crying also hath reached your ears, ye virtuous ones: What I am not that, that is God to me, and virtue.
And others are there who go along heavily and creakingly, like carts taking stones downhill; they talk much of dignity and virtue their drag they call virtue!
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