after themselves and come home by themselves to be milked at night?
Again the crowd laughed and shouted various replies,
some of them very amusing and witty.
– you are protected by the Father if you are sheep,
and you are not protected by the Father if you are goats,
because you are obstinately following your own desires every day
and possibly leaving a trail of destruction behind you.
3.41 Tell me – can the Father protect the people who are goats?
The crowd was silent but listening intently.3.42 Will you say then, that the Father is angry with the goats and will not protect them,
or will you rather say that just as the shepherd cares for his sheep
and would care for the goats if they would allow it,
the Father loves sheep and goats equally but is powerless to protect equally
because of the goats natural behaviour?
3.42.1 Also, consider the feeding habits of sheep and goats.
Sheep are content to eat grass only, for which their stomachs are perfectly designed,
but the goat will eat anything he comes across,
having no respect whatever for his constitution.
3.42.2 So is it with people who have no regard for what they will feed their minds with, since they have no fixed goal or clear purpose.
3.42.3 Like goats, they do not recognise when mental food is harmful
or is taking them in the direction they should not go in their daily lives
or whether it will lead them into harmful myth or dangerous fallacy.
3.42.4 They roam, picking up the mental equivalent of brambles, old shoes,
bits of cloth, leaves, thistles, weeds, for they lack good sense.”
A man called out to me:3.43 “Master, what if a person who is a sheep, makes a mistake,
and gets himself into trouble, will the Father then abandon him?”
3.44 I asked him a question by way of answering him:3.44.1 “What does the shepherd do when one of his sheepfalls into a pit,
or tumbles over a cliff, or gets caught in brambles? I will tell you.
3.44.2 The shepherd leaves his flock and swiftly seeks out the missing sheep
and will not leave it until he has brought it to safety.
3.44.3 So is it with the Father – not even a sheep can avoid doing wrong
in one way or another, but rest assured that the Father immediately
responds to its bleating and rescues it.