10 Now also deliver me from the hands of these wicked and unreasonable men, nor suffer them to debauch my chastity which I have hitherto preserved for thy honour; for I love thee, and long for thee, and worship thee, O Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, for evermore. Amen.
11 Then came a voice from heaven, saying, Fear not Thecla, my faithful servant, for I am with thee. Look and see the place which is opened for thee; there thy eternal abode shall be; there thou shalt receive the (beatific) vision.
12 The blessed Thecla observing, saw the rock opened to as large a degree as that a man might enter in; she did as she was commanded, bravely fled from the vile crew, and went into the rock, which instantly so closed, that there was not any crack visible where it had opened.
13 The men stood perfectly astonished at so prodigious a miracle, and had no power to detain the servant of God; but only catching hold of her veil (or hood), they tore off a piece of it;
14 And even that was by the permission of God, for the confirmation of their faith, who should come to see this venerable place; and to convey blessings to those in succeeding ages, who should believe on our Lord Jesus Christ from a pure heart.
15 Thus suffered that first martyr and apostle of God, and virgin, Thecla, who came from Iconium at eighteen years of age; afterwards, partly in journeys and travels, and partly in a monastic life in the cave, she lived seventy-two years; so that she was ninety years old when the Lord translated her.
16 Thus ends her life.
17 The day which is kept sacred to her memory, is the twenty-fourth of September, to the glory of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost, now and for evermore. Amen.
REFERENCES TO THE ACTS OF ST. PAUL AND THECLA.
[Tertullian says that this piece was forged by a Presbyter of Asia, who being convicted, "confessed that he did it out of respect to Paul," and Pope Gelasius, in his Decree against apocryphal books, inserted it among them. Notwithstanding this, a large part of the history was credited and looked upon as genuine among the primitive Christians. Cyprian, Eusebius, Epiphanius, Austin, Gregory, Nagianzen. Chrysostom, and Severus Sulpitius, who all lived within the fourth century, mention Thecla or refer to her history. Basil of Seleucia wrote her acts, sufferings and victories, in verse; and Euagrius Scholasticus an ecclesiastical historian, about 590, relates that "after the Emperor Zeno, had abdicated his empire, and Basilik had taken possession of it, he had a vision of the holy and excellent martyr Thecla, who promised him the restoration of his empire; for which, when it was brought about, he erected and dedicated a most noble and sumptuous temple to this famous martyr, Thecla, at Seleucia, a city of Isauria, and bestowed upon it very noble endowments, which (says the author) are preserved even till this day." Hist. Eccl. lib. 3 cap. 8.—Cardinal Baronius, Locrinus, Archbishop Wake, and others; and also the learned Grabe, who edited the Septuagint, and revived the Acts of Paul and Thecla, consider them as having been written in the Apostolic age; as containing nothing superstitious, or disagreeing from the opinions and belief of those times; and, in short, as a genuine and authentic history. Again, it is said, that this is not the original book of the early Christians; but however that may be, it is published from the Greek MS. in the Bodlian Library at Oxford, which Dr. Mills copied and transmitted to Dr. Grabe.]
- ↑ Celestial enjoyment.