For I speak now in parables
As it has been written: he who has ears, let him hear.
There was once a merchant who always dealt justly with others, which is to say he never forced another man in any way. For he feared God, and he knew a fair agreement required only that he and the other decided peacefully between themselves alone. The Lord saw this and caused him to prosper mightily in the sight of heaven and men.
Fearing God, this merchant gave of his substance to aid the poor and the aged, never forgetting to bless the name of the Lord for the bounty through which he could help others.
One day, his neighbors came unto him saying that a certain widow was in difficulty, for she was bent and could no no longer labor, and her children that season did not give her as much of their harvest. The merchant, made wise by God, said unto them, Ye do well not to judge whether her children cannot honor her or willingly do not, for it is not for us to say: they may have reason, which God alone shall judge, and meanwhile I shall indeed help her.
Another day, his neighbors came unto him and said that a certain bridge needed repair, asking him if he could assist, since God had seen fit to make him prosper more than any other. The merchant said in his heart, Indeed the Lord given me much, and as no other man hath wealth sufficient for this task, so it shall be good for me to do this. And the merchant said unto his neighbors, I shall help.
Through the years did the merchant give willingly to others, and as he blessed the name of the Lord in each instance, so the Lord blessed him all the more, that he might help others even more. Then his neighbors, who had greed in their hearts and only pretended to fear God, said among themselves, Let us seek even more from him. In their evil they decided to obtain more from the merchant, although none of them were in need, but because they coveted his greater possessions.
One day they appeared at his door, saying, Give us this amount, for one of us hath need. The merchant pointed to that man among them and said, He hath no true need, for he toils not and instead makes his wife labor for him so he can waste his days away in drink. Then his neighbors left, grumbling to each other, for they knew the merchant had great wisdom and could not be deceived.
The next day did they appear at his door, saying, A certain woman hath need for herself and her children. The merchant said unto them, Nay, I shall not support her sloth, for she refuses to work, though she has five children and no husband. Again his neighbors left, grumbling to each other, for the merchant had now seen into their hearts and knew they also meant to seek excess for themselves.
Then the neighbors asked each other, What shall we do that we may obtain our neighbor's wealth? Dare we seize it, knowing we have no right to aught of his possessions?
The next day, they appeared again at the merchant's door, demanding only that he give them money, and stating no purpose for it.
The merchant replied, Nay, for this time ye have given no reason why I should give you any, and I know ye have no true need.
Give us what we demand, cried out the multitude, lest we seize it by force.
And the merchant replied, Depart in peace while ye yet can, for ye have no right to my possessions save with my consent, and as I have done no wrong to any man, none of ye have any authority to seize any of my possessions.
Behold, cried out his neighbors with one voice, that we have declared ourselves a government, and as such we have given ourselves the authority.
The merchant replied, Ye have no authority, for one cannot give authority unto oneself.
That matters not, they replied and began to grumble, for we are a greater number than thee and thy family, and because of our greater numbers, we have decided that thou shalt pay us tribute.
Then did his neighbors, armed with swords and staves, seize a goodly portion of the merchant's possessions. The merchant did not consent in his heart, but for the sake of his wife and children, he did not resist in his actions.
Little children, I pray ye know that those neighbors have no promise of eternal life, but instead a special place in hell, prepared for them alongside the devil and his angels. For inasmuch as a man does it unto one of the least of my brethren, whether righteous or unrighteous action, he has done the same unto the King.
He who has ears, let him hear. For if a man can hear, it shall be demanded of him on the day of judgment, Wherefore then didst thou not heed?