The suppressed Gospels and Epistles of the original New Testament of Jesus the Christ/Chapter 23
- 1 THE THIRD PART OF THE BOOK OF HERMAS, CALLED HIS SIMILITUDES.
- 2 REFERENCES TO THE BOOK OF HERMAS, THE SHEPHERD.
THE THIRD PART OF THE BOOK OF HERMAS, CALLED HIS SIMILITUDES.
- That seeing we have no abiding city in this world, we ought to look after that which is to come.
AND he said onto me; Ye know that ye who are the servants of the Lord, live here as in a pilgrimage; for your city is far off from this city.
2 If, therefore, ye know your city in which ye are to dwell, why do ye here buy estates, and provide yourselves with delicacies, and stately buildings, and supurfluous houses? For he that provides himself these things in this city, does not think of returning into his own city.
3 O foolish, and doubtful, and wretched man; who understandest not that all these things belong to other men, and are under the power of another. For the Lord of this city saith unto thee; Either obey my laws, or depart out of my city.
4 What therefore shalt thou do who art subject to a law in thine own city? Canst thou for thy estate, or for any of those things which thou hast provided, deny thy law? But if thou shalt deny it, and wilt afterwards return into thy own city, thou shalt not be received, but shall be excluded thence.
5 See therefore, that like a man in another country, thou procure no more to thyself than what is necessary, and sufficient for thee; and be ready, that when the God or Lord of this city shall drive thee out of it thou mayest oppose his law, and go into thine own city; where thou mayest with all cheerfulness live according to thine own law with no wrong.
6 Take heed therefore ye that serve God, and have him in your hearts: work ye the works of God, being mindful both of his commands and of his promises, which he has promised; and be assured that he will make them good unto you; if ye shall keep his commandments.
7 Instead therefore of the possessions that ye would otherwise purchase, redeem those that are in want from their necessities, as every one is able; justify the widows; judge the cause of the fatherless; and spend your riches and your wealth in such works as these.
8 For this end has God enriched you, that ye might fulfil these kind of services. It is much better to do this, than to buy lands or houses; because all such things shall perish with this present time.
9 But what ye shall do for the name of the Lord, ye shall find in your city, and shall have joy without sadness or fear. Wherefore covet not the riches of the heathen; for they are destructive to the servants of God.
10 But trade with your own riches which you possess, by which ye may attain unto everlasting joy.
11 And do not commit adultery, nor touch any other man's wife, nor desire her; but covet that which is thy own business, and thou shalt be saved.
- As the vine is supported by the elm, so is the rich man helped by the prayers of the poor.
AS I was walking into the field, and considered the elm and the vine, and thought with myself of their fruits, an angel appeared unto me, and said unto me; What is it that thou thinkest upon thus long within thyself?
2 And I said unto him, Sir, I think of this vine and this elm because their fruits are fair. And he said unto me; These two trees are set for a pattern to the servants of God.
3 And I said unto him, Sir, I would know in what the pattern of these trees which thou mentionest, does consist. Hearken, saith he; seest thou this vine and this elm? Sir, said I, I see them.
4 This vine, saith he, is fruitful, but the elm is a tree without fruit. Nevertheless this vine unless it were set by this elm, and supported by it, would not bear much fruit; but lying along upon the ground, would bear but ill fruit, because it did not hang upon the elm; whereas, being supported upon the elm, it bears fruit both for itself and for that.
5 See, therefore, how the elm gives no less, but rather more fruit, than the vine. How, Sir, said I, does it bear more fruit than the vine? Because, said he, the vine being supported upon the elm gives both much and good fruit; whereas, if it lay along upon the ground, it would bear but little, and that very ill too.
6 This similitude, therefore, is set forth to the servants of God; and it represents the rich and poor man. I answered, Sir, make this manifest unto me. Hear, said he; the rich man has wealth: howbeit towards the Lord he is poor; for he is taken up about his riches, and prays but little to the Lord; and the prayers which he makes are lazy and without force.
7 When therefore, the rich man reaches out to the poor those things which he wants, the poor man prays unto the Lord for the rich; and God grants unto the rich man all good things, because the poor man is rich in prayer; and his requests have great power with the Lord.
8 Then the rich man ministers all thing to the poor, because he perceives that he is heard by the Lord; and he the more willingly and without doubting, affords him what he wants, and takes care that nothing be lacking to him.
9 And the poor man gives thanks unto the Lord for the rich; because they both do their work from the Lord.
10 With men, therefore, the elm is not thought to give any fruit; and they know not, neither understand that its company being added to the vine, the vine bears a double increase, both for itself and for the elm.
11 Even so the poor praying unto the Lord for the rich, are heard by him; and their riches are increased, because they minister to the poor of their wealth. They are, therefore, both made partakers of each other's good works.
12 Whosoever, therefore, shall do these things, he shall not be forsaken by the Lord, but shall be written in the book of life.
13 Happy are they who are rich, and perceive themselves to be increased: for he that is sensible of this, will be able to minister somewhat to others.
- As the greet trees in the winter cannot be distinguished from the dry; so neither can the righteous from the wicked in this present world.
AGAIN he showed me many trees whose leaves were shed, and which seemed to me to be withered, for they were all alike. And he said unto me, Seest thou these trees? I said, Sir, I see that they look like dry trees.
2 He answering, said unto me; These trees are like unto the men who live in the present world. I replied: Sir, why are they like unto dried trees? Because, said he, neither the righteous, nor unrighteous, are known from one another; but all are alike in this present world.
3 For this world is as the winter to the righteous men, because they are not known, but dwell among sinners.
4 As in the winter all the trees having lost their leaves, are like dry trees; nor can it be discerned which are dry and which are green: so in this present world neither the righteous, nor wicked are discerned from each other; but they are all alike.
- As in the summer the living trees are distinguished from the dry by their fruit and green leaves; so in the world to come the righteous shall be distinguished from the unrighteous by their happiness.
AGAIN he showed me many other trees, of which some had leaves, and others appeared dry and withered. And he said unto me, Seest thou these trees I answered, Sir, I see them; some are dry, and others full of leaves.
2 These trees, saith be, which are green, are the righteous, who shall possess the world to come. For the world to come, is the summer to the righteous; but to sinners it is the winter.
3 When, therefore, the mercy of the Lord shall shine forth, then they who serve God shall be made manifest, and plain unto all. For as in the summer the fruit of every tree is shown and made manifest. so also the works of the righteous shall be declared and made manifest, and they shall all be restored in that world merry and joyful.
4 For the other kind of men, namely the wicked, like the trees which thou rawest dry, shall, as such, be found dry and without fruit in that other world; and like dry wood shall be burnt; and it shall be made manifest that they have done evil all the time of their life;
5 And they shall be burnt because they have sinned and have not repented of their sins. And also all the other nations shall be burnt, because they have not acknowledged God their Creator.
6 Do then, therefore, bring forth good fruit, that in the summer thy fruit may be known; and keep thyself from much business, and thou shalt not offend. For they who are involved in much business, sin much; because they are taken up with their affairs, and serve not God.
7 And how can a man that does not serve God, ask anything of God, and receive it? But they who serve him, ask and receive what they desire.
8 But if a man has only one thing to follow, he may serve God, because his mind is not taken off from God, but he serves him with a pure mind.
9 If, therefore, thou shalt do this, thou mayest have fruit in the world to come; and as many as shall do in like manner, shall bring forth fruit.
- Of a true fast, and the rewards of it: also of the cleanliness of the body.
AS I was fasting, and sitting down in a certain mountain, and giving thanks unto God for all the things that he had done unto me; behold, I saw the Shepherd, who was wont to converse with me, sitting by me, and saying unto me: What has brought thee hither thus early in the morning? I answered, Sir, to-day I keep a station.
2 He answered, What is a station; I replied, it is a fast. He said, What is that fast? I answered, I fast as I have been wont to do. Ye know not, said he, what it is to fast unto God; nor is this a fast which ye keep, profiting nothing with God.
3 Sir, said I, what makes you speak thus? He replied, I speak it, because it is not the true fast which you think that you keep; but I will show you what that is which is a complete fast, and acceptable unto God.
4 Hearken, said he, The Lord does not desire such a needless fast; for by fasting in this manner, thou advancest nothing in righteousness.
5 But the true fast is this: Do nothing wickedly in thy life, but serve God with a pure mind; and keep his commandments, and walk according to his precepts, nor suffer any wicked desire to enter into the mind.
6 But trust in the Lord, that if thou dost these things, any fearest him, and abstaineth from every evil work, thou shall live unto God.
7 If thou shalt do this, thou shall perfect a great fast, and an acceptable one unto the Lord.
8 Hearken unto the similitude which I am about to propose unto thee, as to this matter.
9 A certain man having a farm, and many servants, planted a vineyard in a certain part of his estate for his posterity:
10 And taking a journey into a far country, chose one of his servants which he thought the most faithful and approved, and delivered the vineyard into his care; commanding him that he should stake up the vines. Which if he did, and fulfilled his command, he promised to give him his liberty. Nor did he command him to do any thing more; and so went into a far country.
11 And after that servant had taken that charge upon him, he did whatsoever his lord commanded him. And when he had staked the vineyard, and found it to be full of weeds, he began to think within himself, saying:
12 I have done what my lord commanded me, I will now dig this vineyard, and when it is digged, it will be more beautiful; and the weeds being pulled up, it will bring forth more fruit and not be choked by the weeds.
13 So setting about this work he digged it, and plucked up all the weeds that were in it; and so the vineyard became very beautiful and prosperous, not being choked with weeds.
14 After some time the lord of the vineyard comes and goes into the vineyard, and when he saw that it was handsomely staked and digged, and the weeds plucked up that were in it, and the vines flourishing, he rejoiced greatly at the care of his servant.
15 And calling his son whom he loved, and who was to be his heir, and his friends with whom he was wont to consult; he tells them what he had commanded his servant to do, and what his servant had done more; and they immediately congratulated that servant, that he had received so full a testimony from his lord.
16 Then he said to them, I indeed promised this servant his liberty, if he observed the command which I gave him; and he observed it, and besides has done a good work to my vineyard, which has exceedingly pleased me.
17 Wherefore, for this work which he hath done, I will make him my heir together with my son; because that when he saw what was good, he neglected it not, but did it.
18 This design of the lord both his son and his friends approved, namely, that his servant should be heir together with his son.
19 Not long after this the master of the family calling together, his friends, sent from his supper several kinds of food to that servant.
20 Which when he had received, he took so much of them as was sufficient for himself, and divided the rest among his fellow-servants.
21 Which when they had received, they rejoiced; and wished that he might find yet greater favour with his lord, for what he had done to them.
22 When his lord heard all these things, he was again filled with great joy: and calling again his friends and his son together, he related to them what his servant had done with the meats which he had sent unto him.
23 They therefore so much the more assented to the master of the household; and he ought to make that servant his heir together with his son.
24 I said unto him, sir, I know not these smilitudes, neither can I understand them, unless you expound them unto me. I will, says he, expound, all things unto thee whatsoever I have talked with thee, or shown unto thee.
25 Keep the commandments of the Lord and thou shalt be approved, and shall be written in the number of those that keep his commandments. But if besides those things which the Lord hath commanded, thou shalt add some good thing; thou shall purchase to thyself a greater dignity, and be in more favour with the Lord than thou shouldst otherwise have been.
26 If therefore thou shalt keep the commandments of the Lord, and shalt add to them these stations, thou shall rejoice; but especially if thou shalt keep them according to my commands.
27 I said unto him, sir, whatsoever thou shah command me, I will observe; for I know that thou wilt be with me. I will, said he, be with thee who hast taken up such a resolution; and I will be with all those who purpose in like manner.
28 This fast, saith he, whilst thou dost also observe the commandments of the Lord, is exceeding good; therefore thus shalt thou keep it.
29 First of all, take heed to thyself, and keep thyself from every wicked act, and from every filthy word, and from every hurtful desire; and purify thy mind from all the vanity of this present world. If thou shalt observe these things, this fast shall be right.
30 Thus therefore do. Having performed what is before written, that day on which thou fastest thou shalt taste nothing at all but bread and water; and computing the quantity of food which thou art want to eat upon other days, thou shalt lay aside the expense which thou shouldest have made that day, and give it unto the widow, the fatherless, and the poor.
31 And thus thou shalt perfect the humiliation of thy soul; that he who receives of it may satisfy his soul, and his prayer come up to the Lord God for thee.
32 If therefore thou shalt thus accomplish thy fast, as I command thee, thy sacrifice shall be acceptable unto the Lord, and thy fast shall be written in his book.
33 This station, thus performed, is good and pleasing and acceptable unto the Lord. These things if thou shalt observe with thy children and with all thy house, thou shalt be happy.
34 And whosoever, when they hear these things, shall do them, they also shall be happy; and whatsoever they shall ask of the Lord they shall receive it.
35 And I prayed him that he would expound unto me the similitude of the farm, and the Lord, and of the vineyard, and of the servant that had staked the vineyard; and of the weeds that were plucked out of the vineyard; and of his son and his friends which he took into counsel with him; for I understand that that was a similitude.
36 He said unto me, Thou art very bold in asking; for thou oughtest not to ask any thing; because if it be fitting to show it unto thee, it shall be showed unto thee.
37 I answered him; Sir, whatsoever thou shalt show me, without explaining it unto me, I shall in vain see it, if I do not understand what it is. And if thou shalt propose any similitudes, and not expound them, I shall in vain hear them.
38 He answered me again, saying: Whosoever is the servant of God, and has the Lord in his heart, he desires understanding of him, and receives it; and he explains every similitude, and understands the words of the Lord which need an inquiry.
39 But they that are lazy and slow to pray, doubt to seek from the Lord: although the Lord be of such an extraordinary goodness, that without ceasing he giveth all things to them that ask of him.
40 Thou therefore who art strengthened by that venerable messenger, and hast received such a powerful gift of prayer; seeing thou art not slothful, why dost thou not now ask understanding of the Lord, and receive it?
41 I said unto him; seeing I have thee present, it is necessary that I should seek it of thee, and ask thee; for thou shewest all things unto me, and speakest to me when thou art present.
42 But if I should see or hear these things when thou wert not present, I would then ask the Lord that he would chew them unto me.
43 And he replied, I said a little before that thou wert subtle and bold, in that thou asketh the meaning of these similitudes.
44 But because thou still persistest, I will unfold to thee this parable which then desirest, that thou mayest make it known unto all men.
45 Hear, therefore, said he, and understand. The farm before mentioned denotes the whole earth. The Lord of the farm is he, who created and finished all things; and gave virtue unto them.
46 His son is the Holy Spirit; the servant is the Son of God: the vineyard is the people whom he saves. The stakes are the messengers which are set oven them by the Lord, to support his people. The weeds that are plucked up out of the vineyard, are the sins which the servants of God had committed.
47 The food which he sent him from his supper, are the commands which he gave to his people by his Son. The friends whom he called to counsel with him, are the holy angels whom he first created. The absence of the master of the household, is the time that remains unto his coming.
48 I said unto him, Sir, all these things are very excellent, and wonderful, and good. But, continued I, could I or any other man besides, though never so wise, have understood these things?
49 Wherefore now, sir, tell me, what I ask. He replied, ask me what thou wilt. Why, said I, is the Son of God in this parable, put in the place of a servant.
50 Hearken, he said: the Son of God is not put in the condition of a servant, but in great power and authority. I said unto him, how, sir? I understand it not.
51 Because, said he, the Son set his messengers over those whom the Father delivered unto him, to keep every one of them; but he himself laboured very much, and suffered much, that he might blot out their offences.
52 For no vineyard can be digged without much labour and pains. Wherefore having blotted out the sins of his people, he showed to them the paths of life, giving them the law which he had received of the Father.
53 You see, said he, that he is the Lord of his people, having received all power from his Father. But why the lord did take his son into counsel, about dividing the inheritance, and the good angels, hear now.
54 That Holy Spirit, which was created first of all, he placed in the body in which God should dwell; namely, in a chosen body, as it seemed good to him. This body therefore into which the Holy Spirit was brought, served that Spirit, walking rightly and purely in modesty; nor ever defiled that Spirit.
55 Seeing therefore the body at all times obeyed the Holy Spirit, and laboured rightly and chastely with him, nor faltered at anytime; that body being wearied conversed indeed servilely, but being mightily approved to God with the Holy Spirit, was accepted by him.
56 For such a stout course pleased God, because he was not defiled in the earth, keeping the Holy Spirit. He called therefore to counsel his Son, and the good angels, that there might be some place of standing given to this body which had served the Holy Spirit without blame; lest it should seem to have lost the reward of its service.
57 For every pure body shall receive its reward; that is found without spot, in which the Holy Spirit has been appointed to dwell. And thus you have now the exposition of this parable also.
58 Sir, said I, I now understand your meaning, since I have heard this exposition. Hearken farther, said he: keep this thy body clean and pure, that the Spirit which shall dwell in it may bear witness unto it, and be judged to have been with thee.
59 Also take heed that it be not instilled into thy mind that this body perishes, and thou abuse it to any lust. For if thou shalt defile thy body, thou shalt also at the same time defile the Holy Spirit; and if thou shalt defile the Holy Spirit, thou shall not live.
60 And I said, What if through ignorance this should have been already committed, before a man heard these words; How can he attain into salvation, who has thus defiled his body?
61 He replied, As for men's former actions which through ignorance they have committed, God only can afford a remedy unto them; for all the power belongeth unto him.
62 But now guard thyself; and seeing God is almighty and merciful, he will grant a remedy to what thou hast formerly done amiss, if for the time, to come thou shalt not defile thy body and spirit:
63 For they are companions together, and the one cannot be defiled but the other will be so too. Keep therefore both of them pure, and thou shalt live unto God.
- Of two sorts of voluptuous men, and of their death and defection; and of the continuance of their pains.
AS I was sitting at home, and praising God for all the things which I had seen; and was thinking concerning the commands, that they were exceedingly good, and great, and honest, and pleasant, and such as were able to bring a man to salvation; I said thus within myself, I shall be happy if I walk according to these commands; and whosoever shall walk in them shall live unto God.
2 Whilst I was speaking on this wise within myself, I saw him whom I had before been wont to see, sitting by me; and he spake thus unto me:
3 What doubtest thou concerning my commands which I have delivered unto thee? They are good, doubt not, but trust in the Lord, and thou shalt walk in them; for I will give thee strength to fulfil them.
4 These commands are profitable to those who shall repent of the sins which they have formerly committed; if for the time to come they shall not continue in them.
5 Whosoever therefore ye be that repent, cast away from you the naughtiness of the present world; and put on all virtue, and righteousness, and so shall ye be able to keep these commands; and not sin from henceforth any more.
6 For if ye shall keep yourselves from sin for the time to come, ye shall cut off a great deal of your former sins. Walk in my commands, and ye shall live unto God: These things have I spoken unto you.
7 And when he, had said this, he added; let us go into the field, and I will show thee shepherds of sheep. I replied, sir, let us go.
8 And we came into a certain field, and there he showed me a young shepherd, finely arrayed, with his garments of a purple colour. And he fed large flocks; and his sheep were full of pleasure, and in much delight and cheerfulness; and they skipping, ran here and there.
9 And the shepherd took very great satisfaction in his flock; and the countenance of that shepherd was cheerful, running up and down among his flock.
10 Then the angel said unto me, Seest then this shepherd? I answered, sir, I see him. He said unto me, this is the messenger of delight and pleasure. He therefore corrupts the minds of the servants of God, and turns them from the truth, delighting them with many pleasures, and they perish.
11 For they forget the commands of the living God, and live in luxury and in vain pleasures, and are corrupted by the evil angel, some of them even unto death; and others to a falling away.
12 I replied; I understand not what you mean, by saying unto death, and to a falling away. Hear, says he; all those sheep which thou sawest exceeding joyful, are such as have for ever departed from God, and given selves up to the lusts of this present time.
13 To these therefore there is no return, by repentance, unto life; because, to their other sins they have added this, that they have blasphemed the name of the lord: These kind of men are ordained unto death.
14 But those sheep which thou sawest not leaping, but feeding in one place; are such as have indeed given themselves up to pleasure and delights; but have not spoken anything wickedly against the Lord.
15 These therefore are only fallen off from the truth, and so have yet hope laid up for them in repentance. For such a falling off hath some hope still left of a renewal; but they that are dead, are utterly gone for ever.
16 Again we went a little farther forward, and he showed me a great shepherd, who had as it were a rustic figure; clad with a white goat's skin, having his bag upon his shoulder, and in his hand a stick full of knots, and very hard, and a whip in his other hand; and his countenance was stern and sour, enough to affright a man; such was his look.
17 He took from that young shepherd such sheep as lived in pleasures, but did not skip up and down; and drove them into a certain steep craggy place fall of thorns and briars, insomuch that they could not get themselves free from them:
18 But being entangled in them, fed upon thorns and briars, and were grievously tormented with his whipping. For he still drove them on, and afforded them not any place, or time, to stand still.
19 When therefore I saw them so cruelly whipped and afflicted, I was grieved for them; because they were greatly tormented, nor had they any rest afforded them.
20 And I said unto the shepherd that was with me: Sir, who is this cruel and implacable shepherd, who is moved with no compassion towards these sheep? He answered, This shepherd is indeed one of the holy angels, but is appointed for the punishment of sinners.
21 To him therefore are delivered those who have erred from God, and served the lusts and pleasures of this world. For this cause he punishes them every one according to their deserts, with cruel and various kinds of pains.
22 Sir, said I, I would know what kind of pains they are which every one undergoes? Hearken, said he; The several pains and torments are those which men every day undergo in their present lives. For some suffer losses; others poverty; others divers sicknesses. Some are unsettled; others suffer injuries from those that are unworthy; others fall under many other trials and inconveniences.
23 For many with an unsettled design at many things, and it profiteth them not; and they say that they have not success in their undertakings.
24 They do not call to their mind what they have done amiss, and they complain of the Lord. When therefore they shall have undergone all kind of vexation and inconvenience; then they are delivered over to me for good instruction, and are confirmed in the Faith of the Lord, and serve the Lord all the rest of their days with a pure mind.
25 And when they begin to repent of their sins, then they call to mind their works which they have done amiss, and give honour to God, saying, that he is a just Judge, and they have deservedly suffered all things according to their deeds.
26 Then for what remains of their lives, they serve God with a pure mind; and have success in all their undertakings, and receive from the Lord whatever they desire.
27 And then they give thanks unto the Lord that they were delivered unto me; nor do they suffer any more cruelty.
28 I said unto him; Sir, I entreat you still to show me now one thing. What, said he, dost thou ask? I said unto him; Are they who depart from the fear of God, tormented for the same time that they enjoyed their false delight and pleasures? He answered me; they are tormented for the same time.
29 And I said unto him; They are then tormented but little; whereas they who enjoy their pleasures so as to forget God, ought to endure seven times as much punishment.
30 He answered me; Thou art foolish, neither understandest thou the efficacy of this punishment. I said unto him; Sir, if I understood it, I would not desire you to tell me.
31 Hearken, said he, and learn what the force of both is, both of the pleasure and of the punishment. An hour of pleasure is terminated within its own space: but one hour of punishment has the efficacy of thirty days. a Whosoever therefore enjoys his false pleasure for one day, and is one day, tormented; that one day of punishment is equivalent to a whole year's space.
32 Thus look how many days any one pursues his pleasures, so many years is he punished for it. You see therefore how that the time of worldly enjoyments is but short; but that of pain and torments, a great deal more.
33 I replied; Sir, forasmuch as I do not understand at all these times of pleasure and pain; I entreat you that you would explain yourself more clearly concerning them. He answered me, saying; Thy foolishness still sticks unto thee.
34. Shouldst thou not rather purify thy mind, and serve God? Take heed, lest when thy time is fulfilled, thou be found still unwise. Hear then, as thou desirest, that thou mayest the more easily understand.
35 He that gives himself up one day to his pleasures and delights, and does whatsoever his soul desires, is full of great folly, nor understands what he does, but the day following forgets what he did the day before.
36 For delight and worldly pleasure are not kept in memory, by reason of the folly that is rooted in them. But when pain and torment befal a man a day, he is in effect troubled the whole year after; because his punishment continues firm in his memory.
37 Wherefore he remembers it with sorrow the whole year; and then calls to mind his vain pleasure and delight, and perceives that for the sake of that he was punished.
38 Whosoever therefore have delivered themselves over to such pleasures, are thus punished; because that when they had life, they rendered themselves liable to death.
39 I said unto him; Sir, what pleasures are hurtful? He answered; That is pleasure to every man which he doth willingly.
40 For the angry man, gratifying his passion, perceives pleasure in it; and so the adulterer, and drunkard; the slanderer and liar; the covetous man and the defrauder; and whosoever commits anything like unto these, he followeth his evil disposition, because he receives a satisfaction in the doing of it.
41 All these pleasures and delights are hurtful to the servants of God. For these therefore they are tormented and suffer punishment.
42 There are also pleasures that bring salvation unto men. For many, when they do what is good, find pleasure in it, and are attracted by the delights of it.
43 Now this pleasure is profitable to the servants of God, and brings life to such men; but those hurtful pleasures, which were before mentioned, bring torments and punishment.
44 And whosoever shall continue in them, and shall not repent of what they have done, shall bring death upon themselves.
- That they who repent, must bring forth, fruits worthy of repent once.
AFTER a few days I saw the same person that before talked with me, in the same field, in which I had seen those shepherds, And he said unto me; What seekest thou? Sir, said I, I came to entreat you that You would command the shepherd, who is the minister of punishment, to depart out of my house, because he greatly afflicts me.
3 And he answered, It is necessary for thee to endure inconveniencies and vexations; for so that good angel hath commanded concerning thee, because he would try thee.
4 Sir, said I; What so great offence have I committed, that I should be delivered to this messenger? Hearken, said he: Thou art indeed guilty of many sins, yet not so many that thou shouldest be delivered to this messenger.
5 But thy house hath committed many sins and offences, and therefore that good messenger being grieved at their doings commanded that for some time thou shouldst suffer affliction; that they may both repent of what they have done, and may wash themselves from all the lusts of this present world.
6 When therefore they shall have repented, and be purified, then that messenger which is appointed over thy punishment, shall depart from thee.
7 I said unto him; Sir, if they have behaved themselves so as to anger that good angel, yet what have I done? He answered: They cannot otherwise be afflicted, unless thou, who art the head of the family, suffer.
8 For whatsoever thou shalt suffer, they must needs feel it but as long as thou shalt stand well established, they cannot experience any vexation.
9 I replied; But, sir, behold they also now repent with all their hearts. I know, says he, that they repent with all their hearts; but dost thou therefore think that their offences who repent, are immediately blotted out.
10 No, they are not presently; but he that repents must afflict his soul and show himself humble in all his affairs, and undergo many and divers vexations.
11 And when he shall have suffered all things that were appointed for him; then perhaps HE that made him, and formed all things besides, will be moved with compassion towards him, and afford him some remedy; and especially if HE shall perceive his heart who repents, to be free from every evil work.
12 But at present it is expedient for thee, and for thy house, to be grieved; and it is needful that thou shoudest endure much vexation, as the angel of the Lord who committed thee unto me, has commanded.
13 Rather give thanks unto the Lord, that knowing what was to come he thought thee worthy, to whom he should foretel that trouble was coming upon thee, who art able to bear it.
14 I said unto him; Sir, but be thou also with me, and I shall easily undergo any trouble. I will, said he, be with thee; and I will entreat the messenger who is set over thy punishment, that he would moderate his afflictions towards thee.
15 And moreover thou shalt suffer adversity but for a little time; and then thou shalt again be restored to thy former state; only continue on in the humility of thy mind.
16 Obey the Lord with a pure heart; thou, and thy house, and thy children; and. walk in the commands which I have delivered unto thee; and then thy repentance may be firm and pure.
17 And if thou shalt keep these things with thy house, thy inconveniencies shall depart from thee.
18 And all vexation shall in like manner depart from those, whosoever shall walk according to these commands.
- That there are many kinds of elect, and of repenting sinners: and how all of theca shall receive a reward proportionable to the measure of their repentance and good works.
AGAIN he showed me a willow which covered the fields and the mountains, under whose shadow came all such as were called by the name of the Lord.
2 And by that willow stood an. angel of the Lord very excellent and lofty, and did cut down bows from the willow with a great hook; and reached out to the people that were under the shadow of the willow, little rods, as it were about a foot long.
3 And when all of them had taken them, he laid aside his hook, and the tree continued entire, as I had before seen it; at which I wondered, and mused within myself.
4 Then that shepherd said unto me; Forbear to wonder that the tree continues whole, not-with-standing so many boughs have been cut off from it: but stay a little, for now it shall be shown thee, what that angel means, who gave those rods to the people.
5 So he again demanded the rods of them; and in the same order that every one had received them, was he called to him, and restored his rod; which when he had received, he examined them.
6 From some he received them dry and rotten, and as it were touched with the moth; those he commanded to be separated from the rest, and placed by themselves. Others gave in their rods dry indeed, but not touched with the moth: these also he ordered to be set by themselves.
7 Others gave in their rods half dry; these also were set apart, Others gave in their rods half dry and cleft; these too were set by themselves. Others brought in their rods half dry and half green, and these were in like manner placed by themselves.
8 Others delivered up their rods two parts green, and the third dry; and they too were set apart. Others brought their rods two parts dry, and the third green; and were also placed by themselves.
9 Others delivered up their rods less dry (for there was but a very little, to wit, their tops dry), but they had clefts, and these were set in like manner by themselves. In the rods of others there was but a little green, and the rest dry; and these were set aside by themselves.
10 Others came, and brought their rods green as they had received them, and the greatest part of the people brought their rods thus; and the messenger greatly rejoiced at these, and they also were put apart by themselves.
11 Others brought in their rods not only green, but full of branches; and these were set aside, being also received by the angel with great joy. Others brought their rods green with branches, and those also some fruit upon them.
12 They who had such rods, were very cheerful; and the angel himself took great joy at them; nor was the shepherd that stood with me, less pleased with them.
13 Then the angel of the Lord commanded crowns to be brought, and the crowns were brought made of palms; and the angel crowned those men in whose rods he found the young branches with fruit, and commanded them to go into the tower.
14 He also sent those into the tower, in whose hands he found branches without fruit, giving a seal unto them. For they had the same garment, that is, one white as snow; with which he bade them go into the tower And so he did to those who returned their rods green as they had received them; giving them a white garment, and so sent them away to go into the tower.
15 Having done this, he said to the shepherd that was with me, I go my way; but do thou send these within the walls, every one into the place in which he has deserved to dwell; examining first their rods, but examine them diligently that no one deceive thee; and if any one shall escape thee, I will try them upon the altar. Having said this to the shepherd, he departed.
16 After he was gone, the shepherd said unto me; Let us take the rods from them, and plant them; if perchance they may grow green again. I said unto him; Sir, how can those dry rods ever grow green again?
17 He answered me; That tree. is a willow, and always loves to live. If therefore these rods shall be planted, and receive a little moisture, many of them will recover themselves.
18 Wherefore I will try, and will pour water upon them, and if any of them can live, I will rejoice with them; but if not, at least by this means I shall be found not to have neglected my part.
19 Then he commanded me to call them; and they all came unto him, every one in the rank in which he stood, and gave him their rods; which having received he planted every one of them in their several orders.
20 And after he had planted them all, he poured much water upon them, insomuch that they were covered with water, and did not appear above it. Then when he had watered them, he said unto me; Let us depart, and after a little time we will return and visit them.
21 For he who created this tree, would have all those live that received rods from it. And I hope now that these rods are thus watered, many of them receiving in the moisture, will recover:
22 I said unto him, Sir, tell me what this tree denotes? For I am greatly astonished, that after so many branches have been cut off, it seems still to be whole: nor does there any thing the less of it appear to remain, which greatly amazes me.
23 He answered, Hearken. This great tree which covers the plains and the mountains, and all the earth, is the law of God, published throughout the whole world.
24 Now this law is the Son of God, who is preached to all the ends of the earth. The people that stand under its shadow, are those which have heard his preaching, and believed.
25 The great and venerable angel which you saw, was Michael who had the power over his people, and governs them. For he has planted the law in the hearts of those who have believed: and therefore he visits them to whom lie has given the law, to see if they have kept it.
26 And he examines every one's rod; and of those, many that are weakened: for those rods are the law of the Lord. Then he discerns all those who have not kept the law, knowing the place of every one of them.
27 I said unto him, Sir, why did he send away some to the tower, and left others here to you? He replied, those who have transgressed the law, which they received from him, are left in my power, that they may repent of their sins: but they who fulfilled this law and kept it, are under his power.
28 But who then, said I, are those, who went into the tower crowned? He replied, all such as having striven with the devil, have overcome him, are crowned: and they are those, who have suffered hard things, that they might keep the law.
29 But they who gave up their rods green, and with young branches, but without fruit, have indeed endured trouble for the same law, but have not suffered death; neither have they denied their holy law.
30 They who delivered up their rods green as they received them, are those who were modest and just, and have lived with a very pure mind, and kept the commandments of God.
31 The rest thou shalt know, when I shall have considered those rods which I have planted and watered.
32 After a few days we returned, and in the same place stood that glorious angel, and I stood by him. Then he said unto me; Gird thyself with a towel, and serve me.
33 And I girded myself with a clean towel, which was made of coarse cloth. And when he saw me girded, and ready to minister unto him, he said, Call those men whose rods have been planted, every one in his order as he gave them.
34 And he brought me into the field, and I called them all, and they all stood ready in their several ranks. Then he said unto them; let every one pluck up his rod, and bring it unto me. And first they delivered theirs, whose rods had been dry and rotten.
35 And those whose rods still continued so, he commanded to stand apart. Then they came whose rods had been dry but not rotten. Some of these delivered. in their rods green; others dry and rotten, as if they had been touched by the moth.
36 Those who gave them up green, he commanded to stand apart: but those whose rods were dry and rotten, he caused to stand with the first sort. Then came they whose rods had been half dry, and cleft: many of these gave up their rods green, and uncleft.
37 Others delivered them up green with branches, like unto theirs who went crowned into the tower. Others delivered them up dry, but not rotten; and some gave them up as they were before, all dry, and cleft.
38 Every one of these he ordered to stand apart; some by themselves, others in their respective ranks.
32 Then came they whose rods had been green, but cleft. These delivered their rods altogether green, and stood in their own order. And the shepherd rejoiced at these, because they were all changed, and free from their clefts.
40 Then they gave in their rods, who had them half green and half dry. Of these some were found wholly green, others half dry: others green, with young shoots. And all these were sent away, every one to his proper rank.
41 Then they gave up their rods, who had them before two parts green, and the third dry. Many of those gave in their rods green; many half dry; the rest dry but not rotten. So these were sent away, each to his proper place.
42 Then came they who before had their rods two parts dry and the third green; many of these delivered up their rods half dry, others dry and rotten; others half dry and cleft: but few green. And all these were set every one in his own rank.
43 Then they reached in their rods, in which there was before but a little green, and the rest dry. Their rods were for the most part found green, having little boughs, with fruit upon them; and the rest altogether green.
44 And the shepherd upon sight of these rejoiced exceedingly, because he had found them thus; and they also went to their proper orders.
45 Now after he had examined all their rods, he said unto me, I told thee that this tree loved life thou seest how many have repented, and attained unto salvation. Sir, said I, I see it.
46 That thou mightest know saith he, that the goodness and mercy of the Lord is great, and to be had in honour; who gave his spirit to them that were found worthy of repentance.
47 I answered, Sir, why then did not all of them repent? He replied, Those whose minds the Lords foresaw would be pure, and that they would serve him with all their hearts, to them he gave repentance.
48 But for those whose deceit and wickedness he beheld, and perceived that they would not truly return unto him; to them he denied any return unto repentance, lest they should again blaspheme his law with wicked words.
49 I said unto him; Now, Sir, make known unto me, what is the place of every one of those, who have given up their rods, and what their portion; that when they may have not kept their seal entire, but have wasted the seal which they received, shall hear and believe these thins, and may acknowledge their evil deeds and repent;
50 And receiving again their seal from you, may give glory to God, that he was moved with compassion towards them, and sent you to renew their spirits.
51 Hearken, said he; they whose rods have been found and rotten, and as it were touch with the moth; are the deserters and the betrayers of the church;
52 Who with the rest of their crimes, have also blasphemed the Lord, and denied his name when he had called upon them. Therefore all these are dead unto God and thou seest that none of them have repented, although they have heard my commands which thou bast delivered unto them. From these men therefore life is far distant.
53 They also who have delivered up their rods dry, but not rotten, have not been far from them. For they have been counterfeits, and brought in evil doctrines, and have perverted the servants of God, especially those who had sinned; not suffering them to return unto repentance, but keeping them back by their false doctrines.
54 These therefore have hope; and thou seest that many of them have repented, since the time that thou hast laid my commands before them; and many more will yet repent. But they, that shall not repent; shall lose both repentance and life.
55 But they that have repented, their place is begun to be within the first walls, and some of them are even gone into the tower. Thou seest therefore, said he, that in the repentance of sinners there is life; but for those who repent not, death is prepared.
56 Hear now concerning those who gave in their rods half dry and full of clefts. Those whose rods were only half dry, are the doubtful; for they are neither living nor dead.
57 But they who delivered in their rods, not only half dry but also full of clefts, are both doubtful and evil speakers; who detract from those that are absent, and have never peace among themselves, and who envy one another.
58 Howbeit, to those also repentance is offered; for thou seest that some of these have repented.
59 Now all those of this kind who have quickly repented, shall have a place in the tower; and they who have been more slow in their repentance, shall dwell within the walls: but they that shall not repent, and shall continue on in their wicked doings, shall die the death.
60 As for those who had their rods green, but yet cleft; they are such as were always faithful and good, but they had some envy and strife among themselves concerning dignity and pre-eminence.
61 Now all such as are vain, and without understanding, contend with one another about these things.
62 Nevertheless, seeing they are otherwise good, if when they shall hear these commands they shall amend themselves, and shall at my persuasion suddenly repent; they shall at last dwell in the tower, like those who have truly and worthily repented.
63 But if any one shall again return to his dissension; he shall be shut out from the tower, and shall lose his life. For the life of those who keep the commandments of the Lord, consists in doing what they are commanded; not in principality, or in any other dignity.
64 For by forbearance and humility of mind, men shall attain unto life; but by seditions and contempt of the law, they shall purchase death unto themselves.
65 They who in their rods had half dry and half green, are those who are engaged in many affairs of the world, and are not joined to the saints. For which cause half of them liveth, and half is dead.
66 Wherefore many of these since the time that they have heard my commands, have repented, and begun to dwell in the tower. But some of them have wholly fallen away; to these there is no more place for repentance.
67 For by reason of their present interests, they have blasphemed and denied God: and for this wickedness they have lost life. And of these many are still in doubt, yet these may return; and if they shall quickly repent, they shall have a place in the tower; but if they shall be more slow, they shall dwell within the walls; but if they shall not repent, they shall die.
68 As for those who had two parts of their rods green, and the third dry; they have by manifold ways denied the Lord. Of these many have repented, and found a place in the tower: and many have altogether departed from God. These have utterly lost life.
69 And some being in a doubtful state, have raise up dissensions: these may yet return, if they shall suddenly repent and not continue in their lusts; but if they shall continue in their evil-doing they shall die.
70 They who gave in their rods two parts dry, and the other been, are those who have indeed been faithful, but withal rich and full of good things; and thereupon have desired to be famous among the heathen which are without, and have thereby fallen into great pride, and begun to aim at high matters, and to forsake the truth.
71 Nor were they joined to the saints, but lived with the heathen; and this life seemed the more pleasant to them. Howbeit they have not departed from God, but continued in the faith; only they have not wrought the works of faith.
72 Many therefore of these have repented; and begun to dwell in the tower. Yet others still living among the heathen. people, and being lifted up with their vanities, have utterly fallen away from God, and followed the works and wickedness of the heathen. These kind of men therefore are reckoned among strangers to the Gospel.
73 Others of these began to be doubtful in their minds; despairing by reason of their wicked doings ever to attain unto salvation Others being thus made doubtful, did moreover stir up dissensions.
74 To these therefore, and to those who by reason of their doings are become doubtful, there is still hope of return; but they must repent quickly, that their place may be in the tower. But they that repent not, and continue still in their pleasures, are nigh unto death.
75 As for those who gave in their rods green, excepting their tops, which only were dry, and had clefts; these were always good, and faithful, and upright before God: nevertheless they sinned a little, by reason of their empty pleasures and trifling thoughts which they had within themselves.
76 Wherefore many of them when they heard my words, repented forthwith, and began to dwell in the tower. Nevertheless some grew doubtful, and others to their doubtful minds added dissensions. To these therefore there is still hope of return, because they were always good; but they shall not hardly be moved.
77 As for those, lastly, who gave in their rods dry, their tops only excepted, which alone were green; they are such as have believed indeed in God, but have lived in wickedness; yet without departing from God: having always willingly borne the name of the Lord, and readily received into their houses the servants of God.
78 Wherefore hearing these things they returned, and without delay repented, and lived in all righteousness. And some of them suffered death: others readily underwent many trials, being mindful of their evil doings.
79 If And when he had ended his explications of all the rods, he said unto me, Go, and say unto all men that they repent, and they shall live unto God; because the Lord being moved with great clemency hath sent me to preach repentance unto all:
80 Even unto those who by reason of their evil doings, deserve not to attain unto salvation. But the Lord will by patient, and keep the invitation that was made by his Son.
81 I said unto him, sir, I hope that all when they shall hear these things, will repent. For I trust that everyone acknowledging his crimes, and taking up the fear of the Lord, will return unto repentance.
82 He said unto me, Whosoever shall repent with all their hearts, and cleanse themselves from all the evils that I have before mentioned, and not add anything more to their sins, shall receive from the Lord cure of their former iniquities, if they do not make any doubt of these commands, and shall live unto God.
83 But they that shall continue to add to their transgressions, and still converse with the lusts of the present world, shall condemn themselves unto death. But do thou walk in these commands, and whosoever shall Walk in these, and exercise them rightly, shall live unto God.
84 And having showed me all these things, he said; I will show thee the rest in a few days.
- The greatest mysteries of the militant and triumphant Church which is to be built.
AFTER I had Written the Commands and similitudes of the Shepherd, the Angel of Repentance came unto me, and said to me, I will show thee all those things which the Spirit spake with thee under the figure of the church. For that Spirit is the Son of God.
2 And because thou wert weak in body, it was not declared unto thee by the angel, until thou wert strengthened by the Spirit, and increased in force, that thou mightest also see the angel:
3 For then indeed the building of the tower was very well and gloriously shown unto thee by the church; nevertheless thou sawest all things shown unto thee as it were by a virgin.
4 But now thou art enlightened by the angel, and yet by the same Spirit. But thou must consider all things diligently; for therefore am I sent into thy house by that venerable messenger, that when thou shalt have seen all things powerfully, thou mayest not be afraid as before.
5 And he led me to the height of a mountain in Arcadia, and we sat upon its top. And he showed me a great plain, and about it twelve mountains in different figures.
6 The first was black as soot. The second was smooth, without herbs. The third was full of thorns and thistles. The fourth had herbs half dried; of which the upper part was green, but that next the root was dry; and some of the herbs, when the sun grew hot, were dry.
7 The fifth mountain was very rugged; but yet had green herbs. The sixth mountain was full of clefts, some lesser, and some greater; and in these clefts grew grass, not flourishing, but which seemed to be withering.
8 The seventh mountain had delightful pasture, and was wholly fruitful; and all kinds of cattle, and of the birds of heaven; fed upon it; and the more they fed on it, the more and better did the grass grow.
9 The eighth mountain was full of fountains, and from those fountains were watered all kinds of the creatures of Cod. The ninth mountain had no water at all, but was wholly destitute of it; and nourished deadly serpents, very destructive to men.
10 The tenth mountain was full of tall trees, and altogether shady; and under the shade of them lay cattle resting and chewing the cud.
11 The eleventh mountain was full of the thickest trees, and those trees seemed to be loaded with several sorts of fruits; that whosoever saw them could not choose but desire to eat of their fruit.
12 The twelfth mountain was altogether white, and of a most pleasant aspect, and itself gave a most excellent beauty to itself.
13 In the middle of the plain he showed me a huge white rock, which rose out of the plain, and the rock was higher than those mountains, and was square; so that it seemed capable of supporting the whole world.
14 It looked to me to be old, yet it had in it a new gate, which seemed to have been newly hewn out of it. Now that gate was bright beyond the sun itself; insomuch, that I greatly wondered at its light.
15 About the gate stood twelve virgins; of which four that stood at the corners of the gate, seemed to me to be the chiefest, although the rest were also of worth: and they stood in the four parts of the gate.
16 It added also to the grace of those virgins, that they stood in pairs, clothed with linen garments, and decently girded, their right arms being at liberty, as if they were about to lift up some burthen; for so they were adorned, and were exceeding cheerful and ready.
17 When I saw this, I wondered with myself to see such great and noble things. And again I admired upon the account of those virgins, that they were so handsome and delicate; and stood with such firmness and constancy, as if they would carry the whole heaven.
18 And as I was thinking thus within myself, the shepherd said unto me; What thickest thou within thyself? Why art thou disquieted, and fillest thyself with care?
19 Do not seem to consider, as if thou wert wise, what thou doest not understand, but pray unto the Lord, that thou mayest have ability to understand it. What is to come thou canst not understand, but thou seest that which is before thee.
20 Be not therefore disquieted at those things which thou canst not see; but get the understanding of those which thou seest.
21 Forbear to be curious; and I will show thee all things that I ought to declare unto thee: but first consider what yet remains.
22 And when he had said this unto me I looked up, and behold I saw six tall and venerable men coming; their countenances were all alike, and they called a certain multitude of men; and they who came at their call were also tall and stout.
23 And those six commanded them to build a certain tower over that gate. And immediately there began to be a great noise of those men running here and there about the gate, who were come together to build the tower.
24 But those virgins which stood about the gate perceived that the building of the tower was to be hastened by them. And they stretched out their hands, as if they were to receive somewhat from them to do.
25 Then those six men commanded, that they should lift up stones out of a certain deep place, and prepare them for the building of the tower. And there were lifted up ten white stones, square, and not cut round.
26 Then those six men called the ten virgins to them, and commanded them to carry all the stones that were to be put into the building, and having carried them through the gate to deliver them to those that were about to build the tower.
27 Immediately the virgins began all of them together to lift up those stones, that were before taken out of the deep.
28 And they who also stood about the gate did carry stones in such a manner, that those stones which seemed to be the strongest were laid at the corners, and the rest were put into the sides;
29 And thus they carried all the stones, and bringing them through the gate delivered them to the builders, as they had been commanded: who receiving them at their hands, built with them.
30 But this building was made upon that great rock, and over the gate; and by these the whole tower was supported. But the building of the ten stones filled the whole gate, which began to be made for the foundation of that tower.
31 After those ten stones did five and twenty others rise up out of the deep; and these were placed in the building of the same tower; being lifted up by those virgins, as the others had been before.
32 After these did fire and thirty others rise up; and these were also in like manner fitted into the same work. Then forty other stones were brought up, and all these were added unto the building of that tower.
33 So there began to be four ranks in the foundation of that tower; and the stones ceased to rise out of the deep; and they also which built rested a little.
34 Again, those six men commanded the multitude, that they should bring stones out of those twelve mountains to the building of the same tower.
35 So they cut out of all the mountains stones of divers colours, and brought them and gave them to the virgins; which when they had received they carried them, and delivered them into the building of the tower.
36 In which when they were built they became white, and different from what they were before; for they were all alike, and did change their former colours. And some were reached up by the men themselves, which when they came into the building, continued such is they were put in.
37 These neither became white, nor different from what they were before; because they were not carried by the virgins through the gate. Wherefore these stones were disagreeable in the building; which, when these six men perceived they commanded them to be removed, and put again in the place from which they were brought.
38 And they said to those who brought these stones; Do not ye reach up to us any stones for this building, but lay them down by the tower, that these virgins may carry them and reach them to us.
39 For unless they shall be carried by these virgins through this gate, they cannot change their colours: therefore do not labour in vain.
40 So the building that day was done; howbeit the tower was not finished, for it was afterwards to be built; therefore now also there was some delay made of it.
41 And these six men commanded those that built to depart, and as it were to rest for some time; but they ordered those virgins that they should not depart from the tower; so now they seemed to me to be left for the guarding of it.
42 When all were departed, I said unto the shepherd; Sir, why is not the building of the tower finished? Because it cannot, said he, be finished until its Lord comes, and approves of the building; that if he shall find any stones in it that are not good they may be changed; for this tower is built according to his will.
43 Sir, said I, I would know what the building of this tower signifies; as also I would be informed concerning this rock, and this gate;
44 And concerning the mountains, and the virgins, and the stones that did rise out of the deep, and were not cut, but put into the building just as they came forth; and why the ten stones were first laid in the foundation; then the twenty-five, then thirty- five; then forty?
45 Also concerning those stones that were put into the building, and again taken out, and carried back into their places? Fulfil, I pray, the desire of my soul as to all these things, and manifest all unto me.
46 And he said unto me; If thou shalt not be dull, thou shall know all, and shall see all the other things that are about to happen in this, tower: and shall understand diligently all these similitudes.
47 And after a few days we came into the same place where we had sat before; and he said unto me, Let us go unto the tower; for the Lord of it will come and examine it.
48 So we came thither, and found none but those virgins there. And he asked them whether the Lord of that tower was come thither? And they replied, that he would be there presently to examine the building.
49 After a very little while I saw a great multitude of men coming, and in the middle of them a man so tall, that he surpassed the tower in height.
50 About him were those six, who before commanded in the building, and all the rest of those who had built that tower, and many others of great dignity: and the virgins that kept the tower ran to meet him, and kissed him, and began to walk near unto him.
51 But he examined the building with so much care, that he handled every stone; and struck every one with a rod which he held in his hand:
52 Of which some being so struck turned black as soot; others were rough; some looked as if they had cracks in them; others seemed maimed; some neither black nor white; some looked sharp, and agreed not with the other stones, and others were full of spots.
53 These were the several kinds of those stones which were not found proper in the building; all which the Lord commanded to be taken out of the tower, and laid near it, and other stones to be brought and put in their places.
54 And they that built, asked him from which of the mountains he would have stones brought to put in the place of those that were laid aside. But he forbad them to bring any from the mountains, and commanded that they should take them out of a certain field that was near.
55 So they digged in the field, and found many bright square stones, and some also that were round. Howbeit, all that were found in that field were taken away, and carried through the gate by those virgins; and those of them that were square were fitted and put into the places of those that were pulled out.
56 But the round ones were not put into the building, because they were hard, and it would have required too much time to cut them but they were placed about the tower, as if they should hereafter be cut square, and put into the building; for they were very white.
57 When he who was chief in dignity, and lord of the whole tower saw this, he called to him the shepherd that was with me, and gave him the stones that were rejected and laid about the tower, and said unto him; cleanse these stones with all care, and fit them into the building of the tower, that they may agree with the rest; but those that will not suit with the rest, cast away afar off from the tower.
58 When he had thus commanded him, he departed, with all those that came with him to the tower but those virgins still stood about the tower to keep it.
59 And I said unto that shepherd; How can these stones, seeing they have been rejected, return into the building of this tower? He replied; I will cut off the greatest part from these stones, and will add them to the building, and they will agree with the rest.
60 And I said, Sir, how will they be able to fill the same place, when they shall be so much cut away? He answered; They that shall be found too little shall be put into the middle of the building, and the greater shall be placed without, and keep them in.
61 When he had said thus unto me, he added; Let us go, and after three days we will return, and I will put these stones, being cleansed, into the tower.
62 For all these that are about the tower must be cleansed, lest the master of the house chance to come upon the sudden, and find those which are about the tower unclean; and be so exasperated that these stones should never be put into the building of this tower, and I shall be looked upon to have been unmindful of my master's commands.
63 When therefore we came after three days to the tower, he said unto me; Let us examine all these stones, and let us see which of them may go into the building. I answered, Sir, let us see.
64 And first of all we began to consider those which had been black; for they were found just such as they were when they were pulled out of the tower: wherefore he commanded them to be removed from the tower and put by themselves.
65 Then he examined those which had been rough; and commanded many of those to be cut round, and to be fitted by the virgins into the building of the tower; so they took them, and fitted them into the middle of the building and he commanded the rest to be laid by with the black ones, for they also were become black.
66 Next he considered those which were full of cracks, and many of those also he ordered to be pared away, and so to be added to the rest of the building, by the came virgins.
67 These were placed without because they were found entire; but the residue through the multitude of their cracks could not be reformed, and therefore were cast away from the building of the tower.
68 Then he considered those that had been maimed; many of these had cracks, and were become black; others had large clefts; these he commanded to be placed with those that were reected;
69 But the rest being cleansed and reformed, he commanded to be put into the building. These therefore those virgins took up, and fitted into the middle of the building, because they were but weak.
70 After these he examined those which were found half white and half black, and many of those which were now black; these also he ordered to be laid among those that were cast away.
71 The rest were found altogether white; those were taken up by the virgins, and fitted into the same tower: and they were put in the outside, because they were found entire; that so they might keep in those that were placed in the middle, for nothing was cut off from them.
72 Next he looked upon those which had been hard and sharp; but few of these were made use of, because they could not be cut, for they were found very hard: but the rest were formed, and fitted by the virgins into the middle of the building, because they were more weak.
73 Then he considered those which had spots; of these a few were found black, and they were carried to their fellows. The rest were white and entire; and they were fitted by the virgins into the building, and placed in the outside, by reason of their strength.
74 After this he came to consider those stones which were white and round: and he said unto me, What shall we do with these stones? I answered, Sir, I cannot tell.
75 He replied, Canst thou think of nothing then for these? I answered, Sir, I understand not this art; neither am I a stone-cutter, nor can I tell anything.
76 And he said, seest thou not that they are very round? Now to make them square, I must cut off a great deal from them; howbeit, it is necessary that some of these should go into the building of the tower.
77 I answered; If it be necessary, why do you perplex yourself, and not rather choose, if you have any choice among them, and fit them into the building.
78 Upon this he chose out the largest and brightest, and squared them; which, when he had done the virgins took them up, and fitted them into the building.
79 And the rest that remained were carried back into the same field from which they were taken; howbeit, they were not cast away; because, said he, there is yet a little wanting to this tower, which is to be built; and perhaps the Lord will have these stones fitted into this building, because they are exceeding white.
80 Then there were called twelve very stately women, clothed with a black garment, girded, and their shoulders free, and their hair loose. These seemed to me to be country women.
81 And the shepherd commanded them to take up those stones which were cast out of the building, and carry them back to the mountains out of which they were taken.
82 And they took them all up joyfully, and carried them back to their places from whence they had been taken.
83 When not one stone remained about the tower, he said unto me, Let us go about this tower, and see whether anything be wanting to it.
84 We began therefore to go round about it; and when he saw that it was handsomely built, he began to be very glad; for it was so beautifully framed, that any one that had seen it must have been in love with the building.
85 For it seemed to be all but one stone, nor did a joint any where appear; but it looked as if it had all been cut out of one rock.
86 And when I diligently considered what a tower it was, I was extremely pleased: and he said unto me, Bring hither some lime and little shells, that I may fill up the spaces of those stones that were taken out of the building, and put in again; for all things about the tower must be made even.
87 And I did as he commanded me, and brought them unto him and he said unto me, Be ready to help me, and this work will quickly be finished.
88 He therefore filled up the spaces of those stones, and commanded the place about the tower to be cleansed.
89 Then those virgins took besoms, and cleansed all the place around, and took away all the rubbish, and threw water on; which being done, the palace became delightful, and the tower beauteous.
90 Then he said unto me, All is now clean if the Lord should come to finish the tower, he will find nothing whereby to complain of us.
91 When he had said this he would have departed. But I laid hold on his bag, and began to entreat him for the Lord's sake, that he would explain to me all things that he had shown me.
92 He said unto me, I have at present a little business; but I will suddenly explain all things unto thee. Tarry here for me till I come.
93 I said unto him, Sir, what shall I do here alone? He answered, Thou art not alone, seeing all these virgins are with thee.
94 I said, Sir, deliver me then unto them. Then he called them and said unto them, I commend this man unto you until I shall come;
95 So I remained with those virgins: now they were cheerful and courteous unto me; especially the four, which seemed to be the chieftest among them.
96 Then those virgins said unto me, that shepherd will not return hither to-day. I said unto them, What then shall I do? They answered, Tarry for him till the evening, if perhaps he may come and speak with thee; but if not, yet thou shalt continue with us till he does come.
97 I said unto them, I will tarry for him till evening; but if he comes not by that time, I will go home, and return hither again the next morning.
98 They answered me, As thou art delivered unto us, thou mayest not depart from us. I said, Where shall I tarry?
99 They replied, Thou shalt sleep with us as a brother, not as a husband; for thou art our brother, and we are ready from henceforth to dwell with thee; for thou art very dear to as.
100 Howbeit I was ashamed to continue with them. But she that seemed to be the chieftest amongst them, embraced me, and began to kiss me. And the rest when they saw that I was kissed by her, began also to kiss me as a brother; and led me about the tower, and played with me.
101 Some of them also sung psalms, others made up the chorus with them. But I walked about the tower with them, rejoicing silently, and seeming to myself to be grown young again.
102 When the evening came on, I would forthwith have gone home, but they withheld me, and suffered me not to depart. Wherefore I continued with them that night near the same tower.
103 So they spread their linen garments upon the ground; and placed me in the middle, nor did they anything else, only they prayed.
104 I also prayed with them without ceasing, nor less than they. Who, when they saw me pray in that manner, rejoiced greatly: and I continued there with their till the next day.
105 And when we had worshipped God, then the shepherd came and said unto them: You have done no injury to this man? They answered, Ask him. I said unto him, Sir, I have received a great deal of satisfaction in that I have remained with them.
106 And he said unto me, How didst thou sup? I answered, Sir, I feasted the whole night upon the words of the Lord. They received thee well then, said he? I said, Sir, very well.
107 He answered, Wilt thou now learn what thou didst desire? I replied, Sir, I will: and first I pray thee that thou shouldest show me all things in the order that I asked them.
108 He answered, I will do all as thou wouldst have me, nor will I hide any thing from thee.
109 First of all, Sir, said I, tell me, what this rock and this gate denote? Hearken, said he; this rock, and this gate, are the Son of God. I replied, Sir, how can that be; seeing the rock is old, but the gate new?
110 Hear, said he, O foolish man! and understand. The Son of God is indeed more ancient than any creature; insomuch that he was in council with his Father at the creation oft all things.
111 But the gate is therefore new, because he appeared in the last days in the fullness of time; that they who shall attain unto salvation, may by it enter into the kingdom of God.
112 You have seen, said he, those stones which were carried through the gate, how they were placed in the building of the tower; but that those which were not carried through the gate, were sent away into their own places? 113 I answered, sir, I saw it. Thus, said he, no man shall enter into the kingdom of God, but he who shall take upon him the name of the Son of God.
114 For if you would enter into any city, and that city should he encompassed with a wall, and had only one gate, could you enter into that city except by that gate?
115 I answered, Sir, how could I do otherwise? As therefore, said he, there would be no other way of entering into that city but by its gate, so neither can any one enter into the kingdom of God, but only by the name of his Son, who is most dear unto him.
116 And he said unto me, Didst thou see the multitude of those that built that tower? Sir, said I, I saw it. He answered, All those are the angels, venerable in their dignity,
117 With those is the Lord encompassed as with a wall: but the gate is the Son of God, who is the only way of coming unto God. For no man shall go to God, but by his Son.
118 Thou sawest also, said he, the six men, and in the middle of them that venerable great man, who walked about the tower, and rejected the stones out of the tower?
119 Sir, said I, I saw them. He answered, that tall man was the Son of God; and those six were his angels of most eminent dignity, which stand about him on the right hand and on the left.
120 Of these excellent angels none comes in unto God without him. He added, Whosoever there. fore shall not take upon him his name, he shall nor enter into the kingdom of God.
121 Then I said, What is this tower? This, said he, is the church. And what, Sir, are these virgins? He said unto me, These are the holy spirits, for no man can enter into the kingdom of God, except these clothe him with their garment,
122 For it will avail thee nothing to take up the name of the Son of God, unless thou shalt also receive their garment from them. For these virgins are the powers of the Son of God. So shall a man in vain bear his name, unless he shall be also endued with his powers.
123 And he said unto me, sawest thou those stones that were cast away? They bore indeed the name, but put not on their garment. I said, Sir, what is their garment? Their very names, said he, are their garment.
124 Therefore whosoever beareth the name of the Son of God, ought to bear their names also; for the Son of God also himself beareth their names.
125 As for those stones, continued he, which being delivered by their hands, thou sawest remain in the building, they were clothed with their power; for which cause thou seest the whole tower of the same colour with the rock, and made as it were of one stone.
126 So also those who have believed in God by his Son, have put on his spirit. Behold there shall be one spirit, and one body, and one colour of their garments; and all they shall attain this, who shall bear the names of these virgins.
127 And I said, Sir, why then were those stones cast away which were rejected, seeing they also were carried through the gate, and delivered by the hands of these virgins into the building of this tower?
128 Seeing, said he thou takest care to inquire diligently into all things, hear also concerning those stones which were rejected. All these received the name of the Son of God, and with that the power of these virgins.
129 Having therefore received these spirits, they were perfected, and brought into the number of the servants of God; and they began to be one body, and to have one garment, for they were endued with the same righteousness, which they alike exercised.
130 But after that they beheld those women which thou sawest clothed with a black garment, with their shoulders at liberty and their hair loose; they fixed their desires upon them, being tempted with their beauty; and were clothed with their power, and cast off the clothing of the virgins:
131 Therefore were they cast off from the house of God, and delivered to those women. But they that were not corrupted with their beauty, remained in the house of God. This, said he, is the signification of those stones which were rejected.
132 And I said, sir, what if any of these men shall repent, and cast away their desire of those women, and be converted, and return to these virgins, and put on again their virtue; shall they not enter into the house of God?
133 They shall enter, said he, if they shall lay aside all the works of those women, and shall resume the power of these virgins, and shall walk in their works.
134 And for this cause there is a stop in the building, that if they shall repent, they may be added to the building of this tower; but if they shall not repent, that others may be built in their places, and so they may be utterly cast away.
135 For all these things I gave thanks unto the Lord, that being moved with mercy towards all those upon whom his name is carried, he sent to us the angel of repentance to preside over us who have sinned against him; and that he has refreshed our spirits which were almost gone, and who had no hope of salvation, but are now refreshed to the renewal of life.
136 Then I said, Show me now sir, why this tower is not built upon the ground, but upon a rock, and upon the gate? He replied, Thou art foolish, and without understanding, therefore thou asketh this.
137 And I said, sir, I must needs ask all things of you because I understand nothing at all. For all your answers are great and excellent; and which a man can hardly understand.
138 Hear, said he: The name of the Son of God is great and without bounds, and the whole world is supported by it. If therefore, said I, every creature of God be sustained by his Son, why should he not support those also who have been invited by him, and who carry his name, and walk in his commandments?
139 Seest thou not, said he, that he doth support them, who with all their heart, bear his name? He therefore is their foundation, and gladly supports those who do not deny his name, but willingly bear it.
140 And I said: Sir, tell me the names of these virgins; and of those women that were clothed with the black garment.
141 Hear, said he, the names of those virgins which are the more powerful, and stand at the corners of the gate. These are their names:
142 The first is called Faith; the second Continence; the third Power; the fourth Patience; the rest which stand beneath these are, Simplicity, Innocence, Chastity, Cheerfulness, Truth, Understanding, Concord, Charity.
143 Whosoever therefore bear these names, and the name of the Son of God, shall enter into the kingdom of God.
144 Hear now, said he, the names of those women, which were clothed with the black garment. Of these, four are the principal: the first is Perfidiousness; the second, Incontinence; the third, Infidelity; the fourth, Pleasure.
145 And the rest which follow are called thus, Sadness, Malice, Lust, Anger, Lying, Foolishness, Pride, and Hatred. The servant of God, which carries these spirits, shall see indeed the kingdom of God, but he shall not enter into it.
146 But, sir, what are those stones which were taken out of the deep and fitted into the building? The ten, said he, which were placed at the foundation, are the first age; the following five-and- twenty, are the second, of righteous men.
147 The next thirty-five, are the prophets and ministers of the Lord. And the forty, are the Apostles and doctors of the preaching of the Son of God.
148 And I said, sir, why did the virgins put even those stones into the building after they were carried through the gate? And he said, Because these first carried those spirits, and they departed not one from the other, neither the men from the spirits, nor the spirits from the men:
149 But the spirits were joined to those men even to the day of their death; who if they had not had these spirits with them, they could not have been useful to the building of this tower.
150 And I said, sir, show me this farther. He answered, What dost then ask? Why did these stones come out of the deep, and were placed into the building of this tower, seeing that they long ago carried those holy spirits?
151 It was necessary, said he, for them to ascend by water, that they might be at rest. For they could not otherwise enter into the kingdom of God, but by laying aside the mortality of their former life.
152 They therefore being dead, were nevertheless sealed with the seal of the Son of God, and so entered into the kingdom of God.
153 For before a man receives the name of the Son of God, he is ordained unto death; but when he receives that seal, he is freed from death, and assigned unto life.
154 Now that seal is the water of baptism, into which men go down under the obligation unto death, but come up appointed unto life.
155 Wherefore to those also was this seal preached, and they made use of it, that they might enter into the kingdom of God.
156 And I said, Why then, sir, did these forty stones also ascend with them out of the deep, having already received that seal?
157 He answered, Because these Apostles and teachers, who preached the name of the Son of God, dying after they had received his faith and power, preached to them who were dead before: and they gave this seal to them.
158 They went down therefore into the water with them, and again came up. But these went down whilst they were alive, and came up again alive: whereas those who were before dead, went down dead, but came up alive;
159 Through these therefore they received life, and knew the Son of God: for which cause they came up with them, and were fit to come into the building of the tower; and were not cut, but put in entire; because they died in righteousness, and in great purity; only this seal was wanting to them.
160 Thus you have the explication of these things.
161 I answered: Sir, tell me now what concerns those mountains; why are they so different, some of one form, and some of another?
162 Hear, said he; These twelve mountains which thou seest, are twelve nations, which make up the whole world. Wherefore the Son of God is preached to them, by those whom he sent unto them.
163 But why, said I, are they different, and every one of a figure? He replied, Hearken. Those twelve nations which possess the whole world, are twelve people.
164 And as thou hast beheld these mountains different, so are they. I will therefore open to thee the meaning and actions of every mountain.
165 But first, sir, said I, show me this; Seeing these mountains are so different, how have they agreed in the building of this tower; and been brought to one colour; and are no less bright than those that came out of the deep?
166 Because, replied he, all the nations which are under heaven, have heard and believed in the same one name of the Son of God by whom they are called.
167 Wherefore having received his seal, they have all been made partakers of the same understanding and knowledge; and their faith and charity have been the same; and they have carried the spirits of these virgins together with his name.
168 And therefore the building of this tower appeared to be of the same colour, and did shine like the brightness of the sun.
169 But after that they had thus agreed in one mind, there began to be one body of them all; howbeit some of them polluted themselves, and were cast off from those of the righteous, and again returned to their former state, and became even worse than they were before.
170 How, air, said I, were they worse who knew the Lord? He answered: If he who knows not the Lord liveth wickedly, the punishment of his wickedness attends him;
171 But he who has known the Lord, ought to abstain altogether from all wickedness, and more and more to be the servant of righteousness.
172 And does not he then seem to thee to sin more who ought to follow goodness, if he shall prefer the part of sin; than he who offends without knowing the power of God?
173 Wherefore these are indeed ordained unto death; but they who have known the Lord, and have seen his wonderful works, if they shall live wickedly, they shall be doubly punished, and shall die for ever.
174 As therefore thou hast seen that after the stones were cast out of the tower, which had been rejected, they were delivered to wicked and cruel spirits; and thou beheldest the tower so cleansed, as if it had all been made of one stone:
175 So the church of God, when it shall be purified: (the wicked and counterfeits, the mischievous and doubtful, and all that have behaved themselves wickedly in it, and committed divers kinds of sin, being cast out) shall become one body, and there shall be one understanding, one opinion, one faith, and the same charity.
176 And then shall the Son of God rejoice among them, and shall receive his people with a pure will.
177 And I said; Sir, all these things are great and honourable; but now show unto me the effect and force of every mountain: that every soul which trusteth in the Lord, when it shall hear these things may honour his great, and wonderful, and holy name.
178 Hear, said he, the variety of these mountains, that is, of the twelve nations.
179 They who have believed of the first mountain, which is black, are those who have revolted from the faith, and spoken wicked things against the Lord; and betrayed the servants of God.
180 These are condemned to death; there is no repentance for them: and therefore they are black, because their kind is wicked.
181 Of the second mountain which was smooth, are the hypocrites, who have believed, and the teachers of naughtiness: and these are next to the foregoing, which have not in them the fruit of righteousness.
182 For as their mountain is barren and without fruit so also such kind of men have indeed the name of Christians, but are empty of faith; nor is there any fruit of the truth in them.
183 Nevertheless there is room left to them of repentance, if they shall speedily pursue it; but if they shall delay, they also shall be partakers of death with the foregoing kind.
184 I said, air, why is there room left to those for repentance, and not to the foregoing kind, seeing their sins are well nigh the same?
185 There is therefore, said he, to these a return unto life by repentance, because they have not blasphemed against their Lord, nor betrayed the servants of God: but by their desire of gain have deceived men, leading them according to the lusts of sinners; wherefore they shall suffer for this thing.
186 Howbeit there is still left them room for repentance, because they have not spoken any thing wickedly against the Lord.
187 They who are of the third mountain which had thorns and brambles, are those who believed, but were some of them rich; others taken up with many affairs: the brambles are their riches; the thorns, those affairs in which they were engaged.
188 Now they who are entangled in much business, and in diversity of affairs, join not themselves to the servants of God, but wander, being called away by those affairs with which they are choked.
189 And so they which are rich, with difficulty yield themselves to the conversation of the servants of God; fearing lest any thing should be asked of them. These therefore shall hardly enter the kingdom of God.
190 For as men walk with difficulty bare-foot over thorns, even so these kind of men shall scarcely enter into the kingdom of God.
191 Nevertheless there is afforded to all these a return unto repentance, if they shall quickly return to it; because in their for-mer days they having neglected to work, in the time that is to come they may do some good.
192 If therefore having repented they shall do the works of righteousness, they shall live; but if they shall continue in their evil courses, they shall be delivered to those women who will take away their lives.
193 As for the fourth mountain, which had many herbs, the upper part of which is green, but the roots dry, and some of which being touched with the heat of the sun, are withered;
194 It denotes the doubtful, who have believed, and some others who carry the Lord on their tongues, but have him not in their hearts: therefore their grass is dry, and without root; because they live only in words, but their works are dead.
195 These therefore are neither dead nor living, and withal are doubtful. For the doubtful are neither green nor dry; that is neither dead nor alive.
196 For as the herbs dry away at the sight of the sun, so the doubtful, as soon as they hear of persecution, and fear inconveniencies, return to their idols, and again serve them, and are ashamed to bear the name of their Lord.
197 This kind of men then is neither dead nor alive; nevertheless these also may live, if they shall presently repent; but if not, they shall be delivered to those women, who shall take away their lives.
198 As concerning the fifth mountain that is craggy, and yet has green grass; they are of this kind who have believed, and are faithful indeed, but believe with difficulty, and are bold and self- conceited; and would be thought to know all things, but really know nothing.
199 Wherefore, by reason of this confidence, knowledge is departed from them; and a rash presumption is entered into them.
200 But they carry themselves high, and as prudent men; and though they are fools, yet would seem to be teachers.
201 Now by reason of this folly many of them whilst they magnify themselves, are become vain and empty. For boldness and vain confidence is a very evil spirit.
202 Wherefore many of these are cast away; but others acknowledging their error, have repented, and submitted themselves to those who are knowing.
203 And to all the rest of this kind, there is repentance allowed; forasmuch as they were not so much wicked as foolish, and void of understanding.
204 If these therefore shall repent, they shall live unto God; but if not, they shall dwell with those women, who shall exercise their wickedness upon them.
205 For what concerns the sixth mountain having greater and lesser clefts, they are such as have believed; but those in which were lesser clefts are they who have had controversies among themselves; and by reason of their quarrels languish in the faith:
206 Nevertheless many of these have repented, and so will the rest when they shall hear my commands; for their controversies are but small, and they will easily return unto repentance.
207 But those who have the greater clefts, will be as stiff stones, mindful of grudges and offences, and full of anger among themselves. These therefore are cast from the tower, and refused to be put into its building; for this kind of men shall hardly live.
208 Our God and Lord, who ruleth over all things, and has power over all his creatures, will not remember our offences, but is easily appeased by those who confess their sins: but man being languid, mortal, infirm, and full of sins, perseveres in his anger against man; as if it were in his power to save or destroy him.
209 But I, as the angel who am set over your repentance, admonish you, that whosoever among you has any such purpose he should lay it aside, and return unto repentance; and the Lord will heal your former sins, if you shall purge yourself from this evil spirit; but if you shall not do it, ye shall be delivered to him unto death.
210 As for the seventh mountain in which the grass was green and flourishing, and the whole mountain faithful; and all kind of cattle fed upon the grass of it, and the more the grass was eaten, so much the more it flourished;
211 They are such as believed, and were always good and upright; and without any differences among themselves, but still rejoiced in the servants of God, having put on the spirit of these virgins; and been always forward to show mercy to all men, readily giving to all men of their labours without upbraiding, and without deliberation.
212 Wherefore the Lord seeing their simplicity and innocence, has increased them in the works of their hands, and given them grace in all their works.
213 But I, who am the angel appointed over your repentance, exhort you, that as many as are of this kind would continue in the same purpose, that your seed may not be rooted out for ever.
214 For the Lord hath tried you, and written you into our number; and all your seed shall dwell with the Son of God; for ye are all of his spirit.
215 As concerning the eighth mountain in which were a great many springs, by which every kind of all the creatures of God was watered; they are such as have believed the Apostles which the Lord sent into all the world to preach;
216 And some of them being teachers have preached and taught purely and sincerely, and have not in the least yielded to any evil, desires, but have constantly walked in righteousness and truth.
217 These therefore have their conversations among the angels.
218 Again; as for what concerns the ninth mountain which is a desert, and full of serpents; they are such as have believed, but had many stains:
219 These are such ministers as discharge their ministry amiss; ravishing away the goods of the widows and fatherless; and serve themselves, not others, out of those things which they have received.
220 These, if they continue in this covetousness, have delivered themselves unto death, nor shall there be any hope of life for them. But if they shall be converted, and shall discharge their ministry sincerely, they may live.
221 As for those which were found rough, they are such as have denied the name of the Lord, and not returned again to the Lord, but have become savage and wild; not applying themelves to the servants of God; but being separated from them, have for a little carelessness lost their lives.
222 For as a vine that is forsaken in a hedge, and never dressed, perishes and is choked by the weeds, and in time becomes wild, and ceases to be useful to its lord; so this kind of men despairing of themselves, and being soured, have begun to be unprofitable to their Lord.
223 Howbeit, to these there is, after all, repentance allowed, if they shall not be found from their hearts to have denied Christ; but if any of these shall be found to have denied him from his heart, I cannot tell whether such a one can attain unto life.
224 I say therefore that if any one hath denied, he should in these days return unto repentance; for it cannot be that anyone who now denies the Lord, can afterwards attain unto salvation nevertheless repentance is promised unto them who have formerly denied.
225 But he who will repent must hasten on his repentance, before the building of this tower is finished; otherwise, he shall be delivered by those women unto death.
226 But they that are maimed, are the deceitful; and those who mix with one another, are the serpents that you saw mingled in that mountain.
227 For as the poison of serpents is deadly unto men, so the words of such persons infect and destroy men. They are therefore maimed in their faith, by reason of that kind of life which they lead.
228 Howbeit some of them, having repented, have been saved; and so shall others of the same kind be also saved, if they shall repent; but if not, they shall die by those women who power and force posses,
229 For what concerns the tenth mountain, in which were the trees covering the cattle, they are such as have believed; and some of them have been bishops, that is, governors of the churches.
230 Others, are such stones as have not feignedly, but with a cheerful mind entertained the servants of God.
231 Then, such as have been set over inferior ministries, and have protected the poor and the widows; and have always kept a chaste conversation: therefore they also are protected by the Lord.
232 Whosoever shall do on this wise, are honoured with the Lord; and their place is among the angels, if they shall continue to obey the Lord even unto the end.
233 As to the eleventh mountain in which were trees loaded with several sorts of fruit; they are such as have believed, and suffered death, for the name of the Lord; and have endured with a heavy mind, and have given up their lives with all their hearts.
234 And I said, Why then, sir, have all these fruit indeed, but yet some fairer than others?
235 Hearken, said he: Whosoever have suffered for the name of the Lord are esteemed honourable by the Lord; and all their offences are blotted out, because they have suffered death for the name of the Son of God.
236 Hear now, why their fruits are different, and some of them excel others. They who were brought before magistrates, and being asked, denied not the Lord, but suffered with a ready mind; these are more honourable with the Lord. The fruits therefore that are the most fair are these.
237 But they who were fearful and doubtful, and have deliberated with themselves whether they should confess or deny Christ, and yet have suffered; their fruits are smaller, because that this thought came into their hearts.
238 For it is a wicked and evil thought for a servant to deliberate whether he should deny his master: Take heed therefore ye who have such thoughts, that this mind Pontinrie not in you, and ye die unto God.
239 But ye who suffer death for his name sake, ought to honour the Lord, that he has esteemed you worthy to bear his name; and that you should be delivered from all your sins.
240 And why therefore do you not rather esteem yourselves happy? Ye think verily that if any one among you suffer, he performs a great work! Yet the Lord giveth you life, and ye understand it not. For your offences did oppress you; and if you had not suffered for his name sake, ye would now be dead unto the Lord.
241 Wherefore I speak this unto you who deliberate whether ye should confess or deny him. Confess that ye have the Lord for your God, lest at any time denying him, ye be delivered up into bonds.
242 For if all nations punish their servants which deny their masters; what think you that the Lord will do unto you, who has the power of all things?
243 Remove therefore out of your hearts these doubts, that ye may live for ever unto God.
244 As for the twelfth mountain, which was white, they are such as have believed like sincere children, into whose thoughts there never came any malice, nor have they ever known what sin was, but have always continued in their integrity.
245 Wherefore this kind of men shall without all doubt inherit the kingdom of God; because they have never in any thing defiled the commandments of God, but have continued with sincerity in the same condition all the days of their lives.
246 Whosoever therefore, said he, shall continue as children without malice; shall be more honourable than all those of whom I have yet spoken: for all such children are honoured by the Lord, and esteemed the first of all.
247 Happy therefore are ye who shall remove all malice from you, and put on innocence; be. cause ye shall first see the Lord. 248 And after he had thus ended his explication of all the mountains, I said unto him, Sir, show me now also what concerns the stones that were brought out of the plain, and put into the tower in the room of those that were rejected.
249 As also concerning those round stones which were added into the building of the tower; and also of those who still continued round.
250 Hear now, says he, concerning those stones which were brought out of the plain into the building of the tower, and placed in the room of those that were rejected: they are the roots of that white mountain.
251 Wherefore because those who have believed of that mountain, were very innocent; the lord of this tower commanded that they which were of the roots of this mountain should be placed into the building.
252 For he knew that if they were put into, this building they would continue bright; nor would any of them any more be made black.
253 But if he had added after this manner, from the rest of the mountains, he would almost have needed again to visit the tower, and to cleanse it.
254 Now all these white stones are the young men who have believed, or shall believe; for they are all of the same kind. Happy is this kind, because it is innocent.
255 Hear now also concerning those round and bright stones; all these are of this white mountain. But they are therefore found round, because their riches have a little darkened them from the truth, and dazzled their eyes.
256 Howbeit they have never departed from the Lord, nor has any wicked word proceeded out of their mouths; but all righteousness, and virtue, and truth.
257 When therefore the Lord saw their minds, and that they might adorn the truth; he commanded that they should continue good, and that their riches should be pared away:
258 For he would not have them taken wholly away, to the end they might do some good with that which was left, and live unto God; because they also are of a good kind.
259 Therefore was there little cut off from them, and so they were put into the building of this tower.
260 As for the rest which continued still round, and were not found fit for the building of this tower, because they have not yet received the seal; they were carried back to their place, be. cause they were found very round.
261 But this present world must be cut away from them, and the vanities of their riches; and then they will be fit for the kingdom of God. For they must enter into the kingdom of God, because God has blessed this innocent kind.
262 Of this kind therefore none shall fall away: for though any of them being tempted by the devil should offend, he shall soon return to his Lord God.
263 I the angel of repentance esteem you happy, whosoever are innocent as little children, because your portion is good and honourable with the Lord.
264 And I say unto all you who have received this seal; keep simplicity, and remember not the offences which are committed against you, nor continue in malice, or in bitterness, through the memory of offences.
265 But become one spirit, and provide remedies for these evil rents, and remove them from you; that the lord of the sheep may rejoice at it; for he will rejoice, if he shall find all whole.
266 But if any of these sheep shall be found scattered away, Woe shall be to the shepherds; and if the shepherds themselves shall be scattered; what will they answer to the lord of the sheep-fold? Will they say that they were troubled by the sheep? But they shall not be believed.
267 For it is an incredible thing that the shepherd should suffer by his flock; and he shall be the more punished for his life.
268 Now I am the shepherd; and especially must give an account of you.
269 Wherefore take care of yourselves whilst the tower is, yet building. The Lord dwells in those that love peace, for peace is beloved; but he is far off from the contentious, and those who are full of malice.
270 Wherefore restore unto him the Spirit entire, as ye received it. For if thou shalt give unto a fuller a garment new and whole, thou wilt expect to receive it whole again; if therefore the fuller shall restore it unto thee torn, wouldst thou receive it?
271 Wouldst thou not presently be angry, and reproach him, saying: I gave my garment to thee whole, why halt thou rent it, and made it useless to me? Now it is of no use to me, by reason of the rent which thou hast made in it. Wouldst thou not say all this to a fuller, for the rent which he made in thy garment?
272 If therefore thou wouldst be concerned for thy garment, and complain that thou hadst not received it whole; what thinkest thou that the Lord will do, who gave his Spirit to thee entire, and thou hast rendered him altogether unprofitable, so that he can be of no use unto his Lord? For being corrupted by thee, he is no longer profitable to him.
273 Will not therefore the Lord do the same concerning his Spirit, by reason of thy deed? Undoubtedly, said I, he will do the same to all those whom he shall find to continue in the remembrance of injuries.
274 Tread not then under foot he said, his mercy; but rather honour him, because he is so patient with respect to your offences, and not like one of you; but repent, for it will be profitable for you.
275 All these things which are above written, I the shepherd and angel of repentance, have shown and spoken to the servants of God.
276 If therefore ye shall believe and hearken to these words, and shall walk in them and correct your ways, ye shall live. But if ye shall, continue in malice, and in the remembrance of injuries, no such sinners shall live unto God.
277 All these things which were to be spoken by me, I have thus delivered unto you. Then the shepherd said unto me, Hast thou asked all things of me? I answered, sir, I have.
278 Why then, said he, hast thou not asked concerning the spaces of these stones that were put in the building, that I may explain that also unto thee? I answered, sir, I forgot it. Hear, then, said he, concerning these also.
279 They are those who have now heard these commands, and have repented with all their hearts;
280 And when the Lord saw that their repentance was good and pure, and that they could continue in it, he commanded their former sins to be blotted out. For these spaces were their sins, and they are therefore made even that they might not appear.
- Of Repentance and alms-deeds.
AFTER I had written this book, the angel which had delivered me to that shepherd, came into the house where I was and sat upon the bed, and that shepherd stood at his right hand.
2 Then he called me and said unto me; I delivered thee and thy house to this shepherd, that thou mightest be protected by him. I said, Yes, Lord.
3 If therefore, said he, thou wilt be protected from all vexations and from all cruelty, and have success in every good word and work, and have all virtue and righteousness; walk in those commands which he has given thee, and thou shalt have dominion over all sin.
4 For if thou keepest those commands, all the lust and pleasure of this present world shall be subject to thee; and success shall follow thee in every good undertaking.
5 Take therefore his gravity and modesty towards thee, and say unto all, that he is in great honour and renown with God, and is a prince of great authority, and powerful in his office.
6 To him only is the power of repentance committed throughout the whole world. Does he not seem to thee to be of great authority?
7 But ye despise his goodness, and the modesty which he shows towards you.
8 I said unto him; Sir, ask him since the time that he came into my house whether I have done any thing disorderly, or have offended him in any thing?
9 I know, said he, that thou hast done nothing disorderly, neither wilt thou hereafter do any such thing, and therefore I speak these things with thee that then mayest persevere; for he has given me a good account concerning thee.
10 But thou shalt speak these things to others, that they who either have repented, or shall repent, may be like-minded with thee, and he may give me as good an account of them also; and that I may do the same unto the Lord.
11 I answered; Sir, I declare to all men the wonderful works of God; and I hope that all who love them, and have before sinned, when they shall hear these things, will repent, and recover life.
12 Continue therefore, said he, in this ministry, and fulfil it. And whosoever shall do according to the commands of this shepherd, he shall live; and shall have great honour both here and with the Lord.
13 But they that shall not keep his commands, flee from their life, and are adversaries to it. And they that follow not his commands, shall deliver themselves unto death; and shall be every one guilty of his own blood.
14 But I say unto thee, keep these commandments, and thou shalt find a cure for all thy sins.
15 Moreover, I have sent these virgins to dwell with thee; for I have seen that they are very kind to thee. Thou shalt therefore have them for thy helpers, that thou mayest the better keep the commands which he hath given thee; for these commands cannot be kept without these virgins.
16 And as I see how they are willing to be with thee, I will also command them that they shall not all depart from thy house.
17 Only do thou purify thy house; for they will readily dwell in a clean house. For they are clean and chaste, and industrious; and all of them have grace with the Lord.
18 If therefore thou shalt have thy house pure, they will abide with thee. But, if it shall be never so little polluted, they will immediately depart from thy house; for these virgins cannot endure any manner of pollution.
19 I said unto him; Sir, I hope that I shall so please them, that they shall always delight to dwell in my house. And as be to whom you have committed me, makes no complaint of me; so neither shall they complain.
20 Then he said to that shepherd: I see that the servant of God will live and keep these commandments, and place these virgins in a pure habitation.
21 When he had said this, he delivered me again to that shepherd, and called the virgins, and said unto them; Forasmuch as I see that ye will readily dwell in this man's house, I commend him and his family to you, that ye may not at all depart from his house. And they willingly heard these words.
22 Then he said unto me, Go on manfully in thy ministry; declare to all men the great things of God, and thou shalt find grace in this ministry.
23 And whosover shall walk in these commands, shall live, and be happy in his life. But he that shall neglect them, shall not live, and shall be unhappy in his life.
24 Say unto all that whosoever can do well, cease not to exercise themselves in good works, for it is profitable unto them. For I would that all men should be delivered from the inconveniences they lie under.
25 For he that wants, and suffers inconveniences in his daily life, is in great torment and necessity. Whosoever therefore delivers such a soul from necessity, gets great joy unto himself.
26 For he that is grieved with such inconveniencies is equally tormented, as if he were in chains. And many upon the account of such calamities, being not able to bear them, have chosen even to destroy themselves.
27 He therefore that knows the calamity of such a man, and does not free him from it, commits a great sin, and is guilty of his blood.
28 Wherefore exercise your. selves in good works, as many as have received ability from the Lord; lest whilst ye delay to do them, the building of the tower be finished; because for your sakes the building is stopped.
29 Except therefore ye shall make haste to do well, the tower shall be finished, and ye shall be shut out of it.
30 And after he had thus spoken with me, he rose up from the bed and departed, taking the shepherd and virgins with him.
31 Howbeit he said unto me, that he would send back the shepherd and virgins unto my house. Amen.
REFERENCES TO THE BOOK OF HERMAS, THE SHEPHERD.
[This book, divided into three parts, called his VISIONS, COMMANDS, and SIMILITUDES, is thus entitled, because it was composed by Hermas, brother to Pius, bishop of Rome; and because the Angel, who bears the principal part in it, is represented in the form and habit of a shepherd. Irenxus quotes it under the very name of Scripture. Origen thought it a most useful writing, and that it was divinely inspired; Eusebius says that, though it was not esteemed canonical, it was read publicly in the churches, which is corroborated by Jerome; and Athanasius cites it, calls it a most useful work, and observes, that though it was not strictly canonical, the Fathers appointed it to be read for direction and confirmation in faith and piety. Jerome, notwithstanding this, and that he applauded it in his catalogue of writers, in his comments upon it afterwards, terms it apocryphal and foolish. Turtullian praised it when a Catholic, and abused it when a Montanist. Although Gelasius ranks it among the apocryphal books, it is found attached to some of the most ancient MSS. of the New Testament; and Archbishop Wake, believing it the genuine work of an apostolical Father, preserves it to the English reader by the foregoing translation, in which he has rendered the three parts of it not only more exact, but in greater purity than they had before appeared. The archbishop procured Dr. Grabe to entirely collate the old Latin version with an ancient MS. in the Lambeth library; and the learned prelate himself still further improved the whole from a multitude of fragments of the original Greek never before used for that purpose.]