Fragments of an Apocryphal Gospel
Jorge Luis Borges
Translated by Mark D Larsen
April 23, 2008
3. Wretched are the poor in spirit, for under the earth they shall be what they now are upon the earth. 4. Wretched are they that mourn, for they already have the miserable habit of mourning. 5. Fortunate are they that know that suffering is not a crown of glory. 6. It sufficeth not to be the last in order to someday be the first. 7. Happy are they that do not insist they are right, for no man is or all men are. 8. Happy are they that forgive others and they that forgive themselves. 9. Blessed are the meek, for they do not condescend to disagreement. 10. Blessed are they that do not hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they know that our fortune, adverse or merciful, is a matter of chance, which is inscrutable. 11. Blessed are the merciful, for their happiness lies in the exercise of mercy and not in the hope of a reward. 12. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they see God. 13. Blessed are they that suffer persecution for the sake of righteousness, for righteousness matters more to them than their human destiny. 14. Nobody is the salt of the earth; no one, at some moment in life, is not the salt of the earth. 15. Let thy light so shine, even if men cannot see it. God shall see it. 16. There is no commandment which cannot be broken, neither those that I say nor those that the prophets have said. 17. He that kills for a just cause, or for a cause which he believes just, is guiltless. 18. The acts of men deserve neither hell fire nor heaven. 19. Hate not thine enemy, for upon doing so, thou art in some way his slave. Thy hate shall never be better than thy peace. 20. If thy right hand offend thee, forgive it; thou art thy body and thou art thy soul and it is difficult, if not impossible, to determine the boundary that divides them... 24. Exaggerate not the cult of truth; there is no man that at the end of the day has not lied with good reason many times. 25. Swear not, for all swearing is an emphasis. 26. Resist evil, but without awe or anger. To whomsoever smite thee on thy right cheek, thou mayest turn the other also, as long as thou art not moved by fear. 27. I speak not of vengeance nor of forgiveness; to forget is the only vengeance and the only forgiveness. 28. Doing good to thine enemies can be an act of righteousness and it is not difficult; loving them, a task for angels and not for men. 29. Doing good to thine enemies is the best way to placate thy vanity. 30. Lay not up gold upon earth, because gold is the father of idleness, and the latter, of sadness and of boredom. 31. Judge that others are or shall be righteous, and if they are not, it is not thy error. 32. God is more generous than men and shall mete to them with a different measure. 33. Give that which is holy to dogs, cast thy pearls before swine; what is most important is to give. 34. Seek for the pleasure of seeking, not for that of finding... 39. The gate is the one that chooses, not the man. 40. Judge not a tree by its fruits, neither a man by his works; they could be better or worse. 41. Nothing is built upon the rock, everything upon the sand, but our duty is to build as though the sand were rock... 47. Happy are the poor without bitterness or the rich without pride. 48. Happy are the valiant, they that accept with equal spirit failure or applause. 49. Happy are they that retain in their memory the words of Virgil or Christ, for these shall give light to their days. 50. Happy are they that are loved and they that love and they that can do without love. 51. Happy are the happy.