The Third Decree

     [A very short story for you today. It has been said – by me, among others – that if you must have a government, the ideal would be a monarch absolutely committed to justice. For the only legitimate use of force against others is to effect the maintenance or restoration of justice. That’s why the Left has made a point of perverting the term justice by grafting all those irrelevant modifiers to it. But where would we find a man whose commitment to justice is absolute and perfect? – FWP]


     Though he spoke softly, such was the king’s majesty that the word rang throughout his realm. Its innate command would have summoned his designated recorder from anywhere, no matter how distant. The scribe sped to the king’s audience room and prostrated himself before the throne.
     “Are you prepared to record an issuance?”
     “Always, my liege. What is your will?”
     The king rose. “A decree,” he said. “Perhaps it will put to rest the squabbling that has disturbed the peace of Our realm.”
     The scribe nodded. “I await your words, Sire.”
     The king assumed the posture in which he announced his will, paused briefly, and began.
     “Let it be proclaimed to all,” he said, “that We are troubled by the disharmony among Our people. There is no possible excuse for it. We wish it to end at once. We have twice articulated the prescriptions and proscriptions required for general peace and flourishing. They are immutable and perfect. Yet they are widely dismissed, always for absurd reasons. Thus is progress disrupted and its substance squandered in futile strife.
     “But it has occurred to Us that it is possible that some of Our people have not heard those prescriptions and proscriptions. Furthermore, it is possible that not all those who have heard them are aware that We are their source. And so We have decided on a third proclamation thereof, which is to be Our last word to you.
     “You shall do no murder, nor any other harm to an innocent.
     “You shall not commit adultery, nor break any other word you have sworn.
     “You shall not steal the rightful property of another, whether through force or fraud.
     “You shall not give false testimony against another.
     “You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his goods.
     “You shall honor and protect those who gave you life.
     “You shall do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
     The king’s demeanor became supremely commanding. The scribe, who had been inscribing his decree meticulously upon a parchment of sheepskin, gazed up at him in awe.
     “These,” the king said, “are the laws. There are no others. Be ever mindful of them…and be vigilant against those who claim otherwise, whether to add to or subtract from Our word. For We are growing weary of you, and Our day of reckoning, when all accounts shall be settled, draws ever nearer. We make this decree for the third and last time, on the twenty-sixth day in Our year of two thousand twenty-three.”
     The king resumed his throne, relaxed, and emitted a thunderous sigh. With a gesture he imprinted the scribe’s parchment with his seal. “Print enough copies that everyone will get one.”
     “As you command, Sire,” The scribe rose from his knees, checked his work carefully, and faced his liege. “Do you think they will all hear it this time?”
     “It is to be hoped,” said the king. “Yet We are prepared to be disappointed, for they are a fractious bunch. Those who hear don’t always obey.” He shook his head. “We are growing mortally weary of their crap.”
     “Mortally, Sire?”
     “Mortally for them, at least. But We gave them free will, and We have chosen not to retract nor to diminish it. The consequences will be what they will be. We will not diminish those, either.”
     “Of course, Sire.” The scribe bowed and turned to do as he had been commanded, but paused. “Sire?”
     “Yes, Our good and faithful scribe?”
     “This pluralism…”
     The king frowned. “On Earth or in Our realm?”
     “Your practice of speaking of yourself in plurals, Sire.”
     “Ah. What of it?”
     “It seems to have…caught on beneath the veil of Time. Others have adopted it as their own idiom.”
     The king nodded. “We are aware, of course. It is an affectation among those who fancy themselves chosen by Us to rule others. It gives them no warrant for their presumptions. They will learn that in due course.”
     “Of course, Sire.” The scribe pondered. “Yet surely they can see that it makes no sense.”
     “They could…but they must choose to see. Which among them are three Persons and yet one as well? Is not such a feat infinitely beyond them? Perhaps some of them will learn better before they must stand before Us.” The king smiled grimly. “They should hope so. Now be about Our business.”
     “As you command, Sire.” The recording angel bowed once more and made away to do his king’s bidding.


     Copyright © 2023 Francis W. Porretto. All rights reserved worldwide.


     [For the feast of Christ the King, of course! – FWP]


    • John M Wareham on November 26, 2023 at 10:17 AM

    OUTSTANDING!!! Thank you sir!

    • Evil Franklin on November 28, 2023 at 9:34 AM

    What happened to the first Four?

    Not that it matters, but, the first Four never did make any sense to me

    Evil Franklin

    1. The first four (or three, in the Catholic enumeration) are about worship and gratitude. They’re important, doubt it not, but they’re for personal spiritual growth. The ones cited here are the ethical requirements for peace and flourishing.

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