Page:LostApocryphaOfTheOldTestamentMRJames.djvu/123

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105
THE OLD TESTAMENT

of heaven. The clouds make a shadow for them that they be not vexed by the sun, and lest they grow weary the very mountains lay themselves flat." He goes on to describe their irresistible might and rapid conquest of the impious Antichrist.

The Ethiopic Acts of St. Matthew (tr. Budge, Contendings of the Apostles, ii. 112) tell how Peter and Andrew met Matthew, and he told them that he had lately been in the land called Prokumenos, which being interpreted is "Those who rejoice," and had found the people Christian: in fact the Lord Himself constantly visited them. He asked them how this came about. Their answer was, "Hast thou not heard the story concerning the nine tribes and the half tribe whom God Almighty brought into the land of inheritance? We are they. . . . As for gold and silver, we desire it not in our country: we eat not flesh and we drink not wine in our country, for our food is honey and our drink is the dew. We do not look upon the face of woman with sinful desire: our firstborn children we offer as a gift to God, that they may minister in . . .the sanctuary . . . until they be thirty years of age. The water we drink floweth not from cisterns hewn by the hand of man but . . . floweth from Paradise. Our raiment is of the leaves of trees. No word of lying hear we in our land, and no man knoweth another who speaketh that which is false. No man taketh to wife two women in our land, and the son dieth not before his father, and the young man speaketh not in the presence of the aged. The lions dwell with us, but they do no harm to us nor we to them. When the winds rise we smell the scent of Paradise, and in our country there is neither spring nor cold nor ice, but there are winds, and they are always pleasant."

That Commodian and the Acts of Matthew draw ultimately from a common source seems clear. That it was apocalyptic and Jewish is a safe conjecture: but further than that I do not feel warranted in going.

An elaboration of the theme of the Utopian community may be read in the Narrative of Zosimas, a hermit who