The Ethical Religion of Zoroaster

By Miles Menander Dawson | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XVII RIGHTS OF ORDINARY MEN

NATURALLY, a religion which placed so much stress upon righteous and generous conduct would not tolerate despoiling others. Not only were robbery and theft condemned, but also forms of wronging others which are viewed by some peoples of ancient and of modern times who claim much for themselves respecting virtuous conduct, as venial and unimportant.

Thus the Vendidad ( Fargard IV, c. 1) says of him who defaults in his promise to return what he has borrowed:

"He that doth not restore a loan unto him that hath lent it, stealeth the thing and robbeth the man. This he doeth every day, every night, so long as he keepeth in this possession the property of his neighbor, as if it were his own."

The reputation of the Parsis in India for fulfilling contracts is superior and excellent; and this good name has attached to the followers of Zoroaster since ancient times.

The fame of "the laws of the Medes and Persians" for strictness and severity, which was celebrated by the Hebrews upon their return from captivity, was in large part owing to the insistence of those laws upon performance of every obligation, promptly and in full, and the recognition of all sorts of fraud as heinous crimes, disgracing the perpetrators almost beyond redemption.

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