The Forbidden Gospels and Epistles, Complete by Archbishop Wake - HTML preview
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3 The Jews answered him, But how durst thou enter into the synagogue, who wast a confederate with Christ? Let thy lot be along with him in the other world.4 Nicodemus answered, Amen; so may it be, that I may have my lot with him in his kingdom.
5 In like manner Joseph, when he came to the Jews, said to them, Why are ye angry with me for desiring the body of Jesus of Pilate? Behold, I have put him in my tomb, and wrapped him up in clean linen, and put a stone at the door of the sepulchre:
6 I have acted rightly towards him; but ye have acted unjustly against that just person, in
crucifying him, giving him vinegar to drink, crowning him with thorns, tearing his body with whips, and praying down the guilt of his blood upon you.
7 The Jews at the hearing of
this were disquieted and troubled; and they seized Joseph, and
commanded him to be put in custody before the Sabbath, and kept there till the Sabbath was over.
8 And they said to him, Make confession; for at this time it is not lawful to do thee any harm, till the first day of the week come. But we know that thou wilt not be thought worthy of a burial; but we will give thy flesh to the birds of the air, and the beasts of the earth.
9 Joseph answered, That speech is like the speech of proud Goliath, who reproached the living God in speaking against David. But ye scribes and doctors know that God saith by the prophet, Vengeance is mine, and I will repay to you evil equal to that which ye have
threatened to me.
10 The God whom you have hanged upon the cross, is able to deliver me out of your hands. All your wickedness will return upon you.
11 For the governor, when he washed his hands, said, I am clear from the blood of this just person. But ye answered and cried out, His blood be upon us and our children. According as ye have said, may ye perish for ever.
12 The elders of the Jews hearing these words, were exceedingly enraged; and seizing Joseph, they put him into a chamber where there was no window; they fastened the door, and put a seal upon the lock;
13 And Annas and Caiaphas placed a guard upon it, and took counsel with the priests and Levites,
that they should all meet after
the Sabbath, and they contrived to what death they should put Joseph.
14 When they had done this, the rulers, Annas and Caiaphas, ordered Joseph to be brought forth.
(In this place there is a portion of the Gospel lost or omitted.
which cannot be supplied. It
may, nevertheless, be surmised from the occurrence related in
the next chapter, that the order of Annas and Caiaphas were rendered unnecessary by Joseph's miraculous escape, and which was announced to an assembly of people.)
1 Joseph's escape.
2 The soldiers relate Christ's resurrection.
18 Christ is seen preaching in Galilee.
21 The Jews repent of their cruelty to him. WHEN all the assembly heard this (about Joseph's escape), they admired and were astonished, because they found the same seal upon the lock of the chamber, and could not find Joseph.
2 Then Annas and Caiaphas went forth, and while they were all admiring at Joseph's being gone, behold one of the soldiers, who kept the sepulchre of Jesus, spake in the assembly,
3 That while they were guarding the sepulchre of Jesus, there was an earthquake; and we saw an angel of God roll away the stone of the sepulchre and sit upon it;
4 And his countenance was like lightning and his garment like snow; and we became through fear like persons dead.
5 And we heard an angel saying to the women at the sepulchre of Jesus, Do not fear; I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified; he is risen as he foretold;
6 Come and see the place where he was laid; and go presently, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and he will go before you into Galilee; there ye shall see him as he told you.
7 Then the Jews called together all the soldiers who kept the sepulchre of Jesus, and said to them, Who are those women, to whom the angel spoke? Why did ye not seize them.
8 The soldiers answered and said, We know not who the women were; besides we became as dead persons through fear, and how could we seize those women?
9 The Jews said to them, As the Lord liveth, we do not believe you;
10 The soldiers answering said to the Jews, when ye saw and heard Jesus working so many miracles, and did not believe him, how should ye believe us? Ye well said,
As the Lord liveth, for the Lord truly does live.
11 We have heard that ye shut up Joseph, who buried the body of Jesus, in a chamber, under a lock which was sealed; and when ye opened it, found him not there.
12 Do ye then produce Joseph whom ye put under guard in the chamber, and we will produce Jesus whom we guarded in the sepulchre.
13 The Jews answered and said, We will produce Joseph, do ye produce Jesus. But Joseph is in his own city of Arimathaea.
14 The soldiers replied,
If Joseph be in Arimathaea, and Jesus in Galilee, we heard the angel inform the women.
15 The Jews hearing this, were afraid, and said among themselves, If by any means these things should become public, then
everybody will believe in Jesus.
16 Then they gathered a large sum of money, and gave it to the soldiers, saying, Do ye tell the people that the disciples of Jesus came in the night when ye were asleep, and stole away the body of Jesus; and if Pilate the governor should hear of this, we will satisfy him and secure you.
17 The soldiers accordingly took the money, and said as they were instructed by the Jews; and their report was spread abroad among all the people.
18 But a certain priest Phinees, Ada a schoolmaster, and a Levite, named Ageus, they three came from Galilee to Jerusalem, and told the chief priests and all who
were in the synagogues, saying,
19 We have seen Jesus, whom ye crucified, talking with his eleven disciples, and sitting in the midst of them in Mount Olivet, and saying to them,
20 Go forth into the whole world, preach the Gospel to all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and whosoever shall believe and be baptized, shall be saved.
21 And when he had said these things to his disciples, we saw him ascending up to heaven.
22 When the chief priests and elders, and Levites heard these things, they said to these three men, Give glory to the God of
Israel, and make confession to him, whether those things are true, which ye say ye have seen and heard.
23 They answering said, As the Lord of our fathers liveth, the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob,
according as we heard Jesus talking with his disciples, and according as we saw him ascending up to heaven, so we have related the truth to you.
24 And the three men farther answered, and said, adding these words, If we should not own the words which we heard Jesus speak, and that we saw him ascending into heaven, we should be guilty of sin.
25 Then the chief priests
immediately rose up, and holding the book of the law in their hands, conjured these men, saying, Ye shall no more hereafter declare those things which ye have spoken concerning Jesus.
26 And they gave them a large sum of money, and sent other persons along with them, who should conduct them to their own country, that they might not by any means make any stay at Jerusalem.
27 Then the Jews did assemble all together, and having expressed the most lamentable concern said, What is this extraordinary thing which is come to pass in Jerusalem?
28 But Annas and Caiaphas comforted them, saying, Why should we believe the soldiers who guarded the sepulchre of Jesus, in telling us, that an angel rolled away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?
29 Perhaps his own disciples told them this, and gave them money that they should say so, and they themselves took away the body of Jesus.
30 Besides, consider this, that there is no credit to be given to foreigners, because they also took a large sum of us, and they have declared to us according to the instructions which we gave them. They must either be faithful to us or to the disciples of Jesus. CHAPTER XI.
1 Nicodemus counsels the Jews.
6 Joseph found.
11 Invited by the Jews to return.
19 Relates the manner of his miraculous escape.
THEN Nicodemus arose, and said, Ye say right, O sons of Israel; ye have heard what those three men have sworn by the Law of God, who said, We have seen Jesus speaking with his disciples upon mount Olivet, and we saw him ascending up to heaven.
2 And the scripture teacheth
us that the blessed prophet Elijah was taken up to heaven, and Elisha being asked by the sons of the prophets, Where is our father Elijah? He said to them, that he is taken up to heaven.
3 And the sons of the prophets said to him, Perhaps the spirit hath carried him into one of the mountains of Israel, there perhaps we shall find him. And they besought Elisha, and he walked about with them three days, and they could not find him.
4 And now hear me, O sons of Israel, and let us send men into the mountains of Israel, lest perhaps the spirit hath carried away Jesus, and there perhaps we shall find him, and be satisfied.
5 And the counsel of Nicodemus pleased all the people; and they sent forth men who sought for Jesus, but could not find him; and they returning, said, We went all about, but could not find Jesus, but we have found Joseph in his city of Arimathaea.
6 The rulers hearing this, and all the people, were glad, and praised the God of Israel, because Joseph was found, whom they had shut up in a chamber, and could not find.
7 And when they had formed a large assembly, the chief priests said, By what means shall we bring Joseph to us to speak with him?
8 And taking a piece of paper, they wrote to him, and said, Peace be with thee, and all thy family, We know that we have offended against God and thee. Be pleased to give a visit to us, your fathers, for we were perfectly surprised at your escape from prison.
9 We know that it was malicious counsel which we took against thee, and that the Lord took care of thee, and the Lord himself delivered thee from our designs. Peace be unto thee, Joseph, who art honourable among all the people.
10 And they chose seven of
Joseph's friends, and said to them, When ye come to Joseph, salute him in peace, and give him this letter.
11 Accordingly, when the men came to Joseph, they did salute him in peace, and gave him the letter.
12 And when Joseph had read it, he said, Blessed be the Lord God, who didst deliver me from the Israelites, that they could not shed my blood. Blessed be God, who hast protected me under thy wings.
13 And Joseph kissed them, and took them into his house. And on the morrow, Joseph mounted his ass, and went along with them to Jerusalem.
14 And when all the Jews heard these things, they went out to meet him, and cried out, saying, Peace attend thy coming hither, father Joseph.
15 To which he answered, Prosperity from the Lord attend all the people.
13 And they all kissed him; and Nicodemus took him to his house, having prepared a large
17 But on the morrow, being a preparation-day, Annas, and Caiaphas, and Nicodemus, said to Joseph, Make confession to the God of Israel, and answer to us all those questions which we shall ask thee;
18 For we have been very much troubled, that thou didst bury the body of Jesus; and that when we had locked thee in a chamber, we could not find thee; and we have been afraid ever since, till this time of thy appearing among us. Tell us therefore before God, all that came to pass.
19 Then Joseph answering, said Ye did indeed put me under confinement, on the day of preparation, till the morning.
20 But while I was standing at prayer in the middle of the night, the house was surrounded with four angels; and I saw Jesus as the brightness of the sun, and fell down upon the earth for fear.
21 But Jesus laying hold on my hand, lifted me from the ground, and the dew was then sprinkled upon me; but he, wiping my face, kissed me, and said unto me, Fear not, Joseph; look upon me for it is I.
22 Then I looked upon him, and said, Rabboni Elias! He answered me, I am not Elias, but Jesus of Nazareth, whose body thou didst bury.23 I said to him, show me the tomb in which I laid thee.
24 Then Jesus, taking me by the hand, led me unto the place where I laid him, and showed me the linen clothes, and napkin which I put round his head. Then I knew that it was Jesus, and worshipped him, and said; Blessed be he who cometh in the name of the Lord.
25 Jesus again taking me by the hand, led me to Arimathaea, to my own house, and said to me, Peace be to thee; but go not out of thy house till the fortieth day; but I must go to my disciples.CHAPTER XII.
1 The Jews astonished and confounded.
16 Simeon's two sons, Charinus and Lenthius, rise from the dead at Christ's crucifixion.
19 Joseph proposes to get them to relate the mysteries of their resurrection.
21 They are sought and found,
22 brought to the synagogue,
23 privately sworn to secrecy,
25 and undertake to write what they had seen.
WHEN the chief priests and Levites heard all these
things, they were astonished, and fell down with their faces on the ground as dead men, and crying out to one another, said, What is this extraordinary sign which is come to pass in Jerusalem? We know the father and mother of Jesus.
2 And a certain Levite said, I know many of his relations, religions persons, who are wont to offer sacrifices and burnt-offerings to the God of Israel, in the temple, with prayers.
3 And when the high-priest Simeon took him up in his arms, he said to him, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word; for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which then halt prepared before the face of all people; a light to enlighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.
4 Simeon in like manner blessed Mary the Mother of Jesus, and said to her, I declare to thee concerning that child; He is appointed for the fall and rising again of many, and for a sign which shall be spoken against;
5 Yea, a sword shall pierce through thine own soul also, and the thoughts of many hearts shall be revealed.
6 Then said all the Jews, Let us send to those three men, who said they saw him talking with his disciples in mount Olivet.
7 After this, they asked them what they had seen; who answered with one accord, In the presence of the God of Israel we affirm, that we plainly saw Jesus talking with his disciples in Mount Olivet, and ascending up to heaven. 8 Then Annas and Caiaphas took them into separate places, and examined them separately; who unanimously confessed the truth, and said, they had seen Jesus.
9 Then Annas and Caiaphas said "Our law saith, By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established."
10 But what have we said? The blessed Enoch pleased God, and was translated by the word of God; and the burying-place of the blessed Moses is known.
11 But Jesus was delivered to Pilate, whipped, crowned with thorns, spit upon, pierced with a spear, crucified, died upon the cross, and was buried, and his body the honourable Joseph buried in a new sepulchre, and he testifies that he saw him alive.
12 And besides, these men have declared, that they saw him talking with his disciples in Mount Olivet, and ascending up to heaven.
13 Then Joseph rising up, said to Annas and Caiaphas, Ye may be justly under a great surprise, that you have been told, that Jesus is alive, and gone up to heaven.
14 It is indeed a thing really surprising, that he should not only himself arise from the dead, but also raise others from their graves, who have been seen by many in Jerusalem.
15 And now hear me a little We all knew the blessed Simeon, the high-priest, who took Jesus when an infant into his arms in the temple.
16 This same Simeon had two sons of his own, and we were all present at their death and funeral.
17 Go therefore and see their tombs, for these are open, and they are risen: and behold, they are in the city of Arimathaea, spending their time together in offices of devotion.
18 Some, indeed, have heard the sound of their voices in prayer, but they will not discourse with anyone, but they continue as mute as dead men.
19 But come, let us go to them, and behave ourselves towards them with all due respect and caution. And if we can bring them to swear, perhaps they will tell us some of the mysteries of their resurrection.20 When the Jews heard this they were exceedingly rejoiced.
21 Then Annas and Caiaphas, Nicodemus, Joseph, and Gamaliel, went to Arimathaea, but did not find them in their graves; but walking about the city, they found them on their bended knees at their devotions:
22 Then saluting them with all respect and deference to God, they brought them to the synagogue at Jerusalem; and having shut the gates, they took the book of the law of the Lord,
23 And putting it in their hands, swore them by God Adonai, and the God of Israel, who spake to our fathers by the law and the prophets, saying, If ye believe him who raised you from the dead, to be Jesus, tell us what ye have seen, and how ye were raised from the dead.
24 Charinus and Lenthius, the two sons of Simeon, trembled when they heard these things, and were disturbed, and groaned; and at the same time looking up to heaven, they made the sign of the cross with their fingers on their tongues,
25 And immediately they spake, and said, Give each of us some paper, and we will write down for you all those things which we have seen. And they each sat down and wrote, saying:--CHAPTER XIII.
1 The narrative of Charinus and Lenthius commences.
3 A great light in hell.
7 Simeon arrives, and announces the coming of Christ.
O LORD Jesus and Father, who art God, also the resurrection and life of the dead, give us
leave to declare thy mysteries, which we saw after death, belonging to thy cross; for we are sworn by thy name.
2 For thou hast forbidden thy servants to declare the secret things, which were wrought by thy divine power in hell.
3 When we were Placed with our fathers in the dept of hell, in the blackness of darkness, on a sudden there appeared the colour of the sun like gold,
and a substantial purple-coloured light enlightening the place.
4 Presently upon this, Adam, the father of all mankind, with all the patriarchs and prophets, rejoiced and said, That light is the author of everlasting light, who hath promised to translate us to everlasting light.
5 Then Isaiah the prophet cried out and said, This is the light of the Father, and the Son of God, according to my prophecy, when I was alive upon earth.
6 The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, beyond Jordan, a people who walked in darkness, saw a great light; and to them who dwelled in the region of the shadow of death, light is arisen. And now he is come, and hath enlightened us who sat in death.
7 And while we were all rejoicing in the light which shone upon us, our father Simeon came among us, and congratulating all the company, said, Glorify the Lord Jesus Christ the Son of God.
8 Whom I took up in my arms when an infant in the temple, and
being moved by the Holy Ghost, said to him, and acknowledged, That now mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to enlighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.
9 All the saints who were in the depth of hell, hearing this, rejoiced the more.
10 Afterwards there came forth one like a little hermit, and was asked by every one, Who art thou?
11 To which he replied, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, John the Baptist, and the prophet of the Most High, who went before his coming to prepare his way, to give the knowledge of salvation to his people for the forgiveness of sins.
12 And I, John, when I saw Jesus coming to me, being moved by the Holy Ghost, I said, Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who takes away the sins of the world.
13 And I baptized him in the river Jordan, and saw the Holy Ghost descending upon him in the form of a dove, and heard a voice from heaven saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
14 And now while I was going before him, I came down hither to acquaint you, that the Son of God will next visit us, and, as the
day-spring from on high, will come to us, who are in darkness and the shadow of death.
1 Adam causes Seth to relate what he heard from Michael the archangel, when he sent him to Paradise to entreat God to anoint his head in his sickness.
BUT when the first man our father Adam heard these things, that Jesus was baptized in Jordan, he called out to his son Seth, and said,
2 Declare to your sons, the patriarchs and prophets, all those things, which thou didst hear from Michael, the archangel, when I sent thee to the gates of Paradise, to entreat God that he would anoint my head when I was sick. 3 Then Seth, coming near to the patriarchs and prophets, said, I, Seth, when I was praying to God at the gates of Paradise, beheld the angel of the Lord, Michael, appear unto me, saying, I am sent unto thee from the Lord; I am appointed to preside over human bodies.
4 I tell thee, Seth, do not pray to God in tears, and entreat him for the oil of the tree of mercy wherewith to anoint thy father Adam for his head-ache;
5 Because thou canst not by any means obtain it till the last day and times, namely, till five thousand and five hundred years be past.
6 Then will Christ, the most merciful Son of God, come on earth to raise again the human body of Adam, and at the same time to raise the bodies of the dead, and when he cometh he will be baptized in Jordan;
7 Then with the oil of his
mercy he will anoint all those who believe in him; and the oil of his mercy will continue to future generations, for those who shall be born of the water and the Holy Ghost unto eternal life.
8 And when at that time the most merciful Son of God, Christ Jesus, shall come down on earth, he will introduce our father Adam into Paradise, to the tree of mercy.
9 When all the patriarchs and prophets heard all these things from Seth, they rejoiced more. CHAPTER XV.1 Quarrel between Satan and the prince of hell, concerning the expected arrival of Christ in hell.
WHILE all the saints were
rejoicing, behold Satan, the prince and captain of death, said to the prince of hell,
2 Prepare to receive Jesus of Nazareth himself, who boasted that he was the Son of God, and yet was a man afraid of death, and said, My soul is sorrowful even to death.
3 Besides he did many injuries to me and to many others; for those whom I made blind and lame and those also whom I tormented with several devils, he cured by his word; yea, and those whom I brought dead to thee, he by force takes away from thee.
4 To this the prince of hell
replied to Satan, Who is that so powerful prince, and yet a man who is afraid of death?
5 For all the potentates of the earth are subject to my power, whom thou broughtest to subjection by thy power.
6 But if he be so powerful in his human nature, I affirm to thee for truth, that he is almighty in his divine nature, and no man can resist his power:
7 When therefore he said he was afraid of death, he designed to ensnare thee, and unhappy it will be to thee for everlasting ages,
8 Then Satan replying, said to the prince of hell, Why didst thou express a doubt, and wast afraid to receive that Jesus of Nazareth, both thy adversary and mine?
9 As for me, I tempted him and stirred up my old people the Jews with zeal and anger against him;
10 I sharpened the spear for his suffering; I mixed the gall and vinegar, and commanded that he should drink it; I prepared the cross to crucify him, and the nails to pierce through his hands and feet; and now his death is near at hand, I will bring him hither, subject both to thee and me.
11 Then the prince of hell
answering, said, Thou saidst to me just now, that he took away the dead from me by force.
12 They who have been kept here till they should live again upon earth, were taken away hence, not by their own power, but by prayers made to God, and their almighty God took them from me.
13 Who then is that Jesus of Nazareth that by his word hath taken away the dead from me without prayer to God?
14 Perhaps it is the same who took away from me Lazarus, after he had been four days dead, and did both stink and was rotten, and of whom I had possession as a dead person, yet he brought him to life again by his power.
15 Satan answering, replied to the prince of hell, It is the very same person, Jesus of Nazareth.
16 Which when the prince of hell heard, he said to him, I adjure thee by the powers which belong to thee and me, that thou bring him not to me.
17 For when I heard of the power of his word, I trembled for fear, and all my impious company were at the same disturbed;
18 And we were not able to detain Lazarus, but he gave himself a shake, and with all the signs of malice he immediately went away from us; and the very earth, in which the dead body of Lazarus was lodged, presently turned him out alive.
19 And I know now that he is Almighty God who could perform such things, who is mighty in his dominion, and mighty in his human nature, who is the Saviour of
20 Bring not therefore this person hither, for he will set at liberty all those whom I hold in prison under unbelief, and bound with the fetters of their sins, and will conduct them to everlasting life.CHAPTER XVI.
1 Christ's arrival at hell-gates; the confusion thereupon.
19 He descends into hell.
AND while Satan and the Prince of hell were discoursing thus to each other, on a sudden there was a voice as of thunder, and the rushing of winds, saying, Lift up your gates, O ye princes; and be ye lift up, O everlasting gates, and the King of Glory shall come in.
2 When the prince of hell heard this, he said to Satan, Depart from me, and begone out of my habitations; if thou art a powerful warrior,
fight with the King of Glory.
But what hast thou to do with
4 And the prince said to his
impious officers, Shut the brass gates of cruelty, and make them fast with iron bars, and fight courageously, lest we be taken captives.
5 But when all the company of the saints heard this they spake with a loud voice of anger to the prince of hell,6 Open thy gates, that the King of Glory may come in.
7 And the divine prophet David cried out, saying, Did not I, when on earth, truly prophesy and say, O that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!
8 For he hath broken the gates of brass, and cut the bars of iron in sunder. He hath taken them because of their iniquity, and because of their unrighteousness they are afflicted.
9 After this, another prophet, namely, holy Isaiah, spake in like manner to all the saints, Did not I rightly prophesy to you when I was alive on earth?
10 The dead men shall live, and they shall rise again who are in their graves, and they shall rejoice who are in the earth; for the dew which is from the Lord, shall bring deliverance to them.
11 And I said in another place, O grave, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?
12 When all the saints heard these things spoken by Isaiah, they said to the prince of hell, Open now thy gates, and take away thine iron bars; for thou wilt now be bound, and have no power.
13 Then was there a great voice, as of the sound of thunder, saying, Lift up your gates, O princes; and be ye lifted up, ye gates of hell, and the King of Glory will enter in.
14 The prince of hell perceiving the same voice repeated, cried out, as though he had been ignorant, Who is that King of Glory?
15 David replied to the prince of hell, and said, I understand the words of that voice, because I spake them in his spirit. And now, as I have before said, I say unto thee, the Lord strong and powerful, the Lord mighty in battle: he is the King of Glory, and he is the Lord in heaven and in earth.
16 He hath looked down to hear the groans of the prisoners, and to set loose those that are appointed to death.
17 And now, thou filthy and stinking prince of hell, open thy gates, that the King of Glory may enter in; for he is the Lord of heaven and earth.
18 While David was saying this, the mighty Lord appeared in the form of a man, and enlightened those places which had ever before been in darkness.
19 And broke asunder the fetters which before could not be broken; and with his invincible power
visited those who sate in the deep darkness by iniquity, and the shadow of death by sin.
1 Death and the devils in great horror at Christ's coming.
13 He tramples on death, seizes the prince of hell, and takes Adam with him to Heaven.
IMPIOUS death and her cruel officers hearing these things, were seized with fear in their several kingdoms, when they saw the clearness of the light,
2 And Christ himself on a sudden appearing in their habitations, they cried out therefore, and said, We are bound by thee; thou seemest to intend our confusion before the Lord.
3 Who art thou, who has no signs of corruption, but that bright appearance which is a full proof of thy greatness, of which yet thou seemest to take no notice?
4 Who art thou, so powerful, and so weak, so great and so little; mean, and yet a soldier of the first rank, who can command in the form of a servant and a common soldier?
5 The king of Glory, dead and alive, though once slain upon the cross?
6 Who layest dead in the grave, and art come down alive to us, and in thy death all the creatures trembled, and all the stars were moved; and now hast thy liberty among the dead, and givest disturbance to our legions?
7 Who art thou, who dost release the captives that were held in chains by original sin, and bringest them into their former liberty?
8 Who art thou, who dost spread so glorious and divine a light over those who were made blind by the darkness of sin?
9 In like manner all the legions of devils were seized with the like horror, and with the most submissive fear cried out, and said,
10 Whence comes it, O thou Jesus Christ, that thou art a man so powerful and glorious in majesty so bright as to have no spot, and so pure as to have no crime? For that lower world of earth, which was ever till now subject to us, and from whence we received tribute, never sent us such a dead man before, never sent such presents as these to the princes of hell.
11 Who therefore art thou, who with such courage enterest among our abodes, and art not only not afraid to threaten us with the greatest punishments, but also endeavourest to rescue all others from the chains in which we hold them?
12 Perhaps thou art that Jesus, of whom Satan just now spoke to our prince, that by the death of the cross thou wert about to receive the power of death.
13 Then the King of Glory trampling upon death, seized the prince of hell, deprived him of all his power, and took our earthly father Adam with him to his glory.CHAPTER XVIII.
1 Beelzebub, prince of hell, vehemently upbraids Satan for persecuting Christ and bringing him to hell.
14 Christ gives Beelzebub dominion over Satan forever, as a recompence for taking away Adam and his sons.
THEN the prince of hell took Satan, and with great indignation said to him, O thou prince of destruction, author of Beelzebub's defeat and banishment, the scorn of God's angels and loathed by all righteous persons! What inclined thee to act thus?
2 Thou wouldst crucify the King of Glory, and by his destruction, hast made us promises of very large advantages, but as a fool wert ignorant of what thou wast about.
3 For behold now that Jesus of Nazareth, with the brightness of his glorious divinity, puts to flight all the horrid powers of darkness and death;
4 He has broke down our prisons from top to bottom, dismissed all the captives, released all who were bound, and all who were wont formerly to groan under the weight of their torments, have now insulted us, and we are like to be defeated by their prayers.
5 Our impious dominions are subdued, and no part of mankind is now left in our subjection, but on the other hand, they all boldly defy us;
6 Though, before, the dead never durst behave themselves insolently towards us, nor being prisoners, could ever on any occasion be merry.
7 O Satan, thou prince of all the wicked, father of the impious and abandoned, why wouldest thou attempt this exploit, seeing our prisoners were hitherto always without the least hope of
salvation and life?
8 But now there is not one of them does ever groan, nor is there the least appearance of a tear in any of their faces.
9 O prince Satan, thou great keeper of the infernal regions, all thy advantages which thou didst acquire by the forbidden tree, and the loss of Paradise, thou hast now lost by the wood of the
10 And thy happiness all then expired, when thou didst crucify Jesus Christ the King of Glory.
11 Thou hast acted against thine own interest and mine, as thou wilt presently perceive by those large torments and infinite
punishments which thou art about to suffer.
12 O Satan, prince of all evil, author of death, and source of all pride, thou shouldest first have inquired into the evil crimes of Jesus of Nazareth, and then thou wouldest have found that he was guilty of no fault worthy of death.
13 Why didst thou venture, without either reason or justice, to crucify him, and hast brought down to our regions a person innocent and righteous, and thereby hast lost all the sinners, impious and unrighteous persons in the whole world?
14 While the prince of hell was thus speaking to Satan, the King of Glory said to Beelzebub the prince of hell, Satan the prince shall be subject to thy dominions for ever, in the room of Adam and his righteous sons, who are mine,CHAPTER XIX.
1 Christ takes Adam by the hand, the rest of the saints join hands,
and they all ascend with him to Paradise.
THEN Jesus stretched forth his hand, and said, Come to me, all ye my saints, who were created in my image, who were condemned by the tree of the forbidden fruit, and by the devil and death;
2 Live now by the wood of my cross; the devil, the prince of this world, is overcome, and death is conquered,
3 Then presently all the saints were joined together under the hand of the most high God; and the Lord Jesus laid hold on Adam's hand, and said to him, Peace be to thee, and all thy righteous posterity, which is mine.
4 Then Adam, casting himself at the feet of Jesus, addressed himself to him with tears, in humble language, and a loud voice, saying,
5 "I will extol thee, O Lord, for thou halt lifted me up, and hast not made my foes to rejoice over me. O Lord my God, I cried unto thee, and thou hast healed me."
6 "O Lord thou hast brought up my soul from the grave; thou hast kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit."
7 "Sing unto the Lord, all ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness, for his anger endureth but for a moment; in his favour is life."
8 In like manner all the saints, prostrate at the feet of Jesus, said with one voice, Thou art come, O Redeemer of the world, and hast actually accomplished all things, which thou didst foretell by the law and thy holy prophets.
9 Thou hast redeemed the living by thy cross, and art come down to us, that by the death of the cross thou mightest deliver us from hell, and by thy power from death.
10 O Lord, as thou hast put the ensigns of thy glory in heaven, and hast set up the sign of thy redemption, even thy cross on earth; so, Lord, set the sign of the victory of thy cross in hell, that death may have dominion no longer.
11 Then the Lord stretching forth his hand, made the sign of the cross upon Adam, and upon all his saints.
12 And taking hold of Adam by his right hand, he ascended from hell, and all the saints of God followed him.
13 Then the royal prophet, David, boldly cried, and said, O sing unto the Lord a new song, for he hath done marvellous things; his right hand and his holy arm have gotten him the victory.
14 The Lord hath made known his salvation, his righteousness hath he openly shewn in the sight of the heathen.
15 And the whole multitude of saints answered, saying, This honour have all his saints, Amen, Praise ye the Lord.
16 Afterwards, the prophet
Habbakuk cried out, and said, Thou wentest forth for the salvation of thy people, even for salvation with thine anointed.
17 And all the saints said, Blessed is he who cometh in the name of the Lord; for the Lord hath enlightened us. This is our God for ever and ever; he shall reign over us to everlasting ages. Amen.
18 In like manner all the prophets spake the sacred things of his praise, and followed the Lord.CHAPTER XX.
1 Christ delivers Adam to Michael the archangel.
3 They meet Enoch and Elijah in heaven,
5 and also the blessed thief, who relates how he came to Paradise.
THEN the Lord, holding Adam by the hand, delivered him to Michael the archangel; and he led them into Paradise, filled with mercy and glory;
2 And two very ancient men met them, and were asked by the saints, Who are ye, who have not yet been with us in hell, and have had your bodies placed in Paradise?
3 One of them answering, said, I am Enoch, who was translated by the word of God: and this man who is with me, is Elijah the Tishbite, who was translated in a fiery chariot.
4 Here we have hitherto been, and have not tasted death, but are now about to return at the coming of Antichrist, being armed with divine signs and miracles, to engage with him in battle, and to be slain by him at Jerusalem, and to be taken up alive again into the clouds, after three days and a half.
5 And while the holy Enoch
and Elias were relating this,
behold there came another man in a miserable figure, carrying the sign of the cross upon his shoulders.
6 And when all the saints saw him, they said to him, Who art thou? For thy countenance is like a thief's; and why dost thou carry a cross upon thy shoulders?
7 To which he answering, said, Ye say right, for I was a thief,
who committed all sorts of wickedness upon earth.
8 And the Jews crucified me with Jesus; and I observed the surprising things which happened in the creation at the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus.
9 And I believed him to be the Creator of all things, and the Almighty King; and I prayed to him, saying, Lord remember me, when thou comest into thy kingdom.
10 He presently regarded my supplication, and said to me, Verily I say unto thee, this day thou shalt be with me in Paradise.
11 And he gave me this sign of the cross, saying, Carry this, and go to Paradise; and if the angel who is the guard of Paradise will not admit thee, show him the sign of the cross, and say unto him Jesus Christ who is now crucified, hath sent me hither to thee.
12 When I did this and told the angel who is the guard of Paradise all these things, and he heard them, he presently opened the gates, introduced me, and placed me on the right hand in Paradise,
13 Saying, Stay here a little time, till Adam, the father of all mankind, shall enter in, with all his sons, who are the holy and righteous servants of Jesus Christ, who was crucified.
14 When they heard all this
account from the thief, all the
patriarchs said with one voice, Blessed be thou, O Almighty God, the Father of everlasting goodness, and the Father of mercies, who hast shown such favour to those who were sinners against him, and hast brought them to the mercy of
Paradise, and hast placed them amidst thy large and spiritual
provisions, in a spiritual and
holy life. Amen.
1 Charinus and Lenthius being only allowed three days to remain on earth,
7 deliver in their narratives, which miraculously correspond; they vanish,
13 and Pilate records these transactions.
THESE are the divine and
sacred mysteries which we saw and heard. We, Charinus and Lenthius are not allowed to declare the other mysteries of God, as the archangel Michael ordered us,
2 Saying, ye shall go with my brethren to Jerusalem, and shall continue in prayers, declaring and glorifying the resurrection of Jesus Christ, seeing he hath raised you from the dead at the same time with himself.
3 And ye shall not talk with any man, but sit as dumb persons till the time come when the Lord will allow you to relate the
mysteries of his divinity.
4 The archangel Michael farther commanded us to go beyond Jordan, to an excellent and fat country, where there are many who rose from the dead along with us
for the proof of the resurrection of Christ.
5 For we have only three days allowed us from the dead, who arose to celebrate the passover of our Lord with our parents, and to bear our testimony for Christ the Lord, and we have been baptized in the holy river of Jordan. And now they are not seen by any one.
6 This is as much as God allowed us to relate to you; give ye
therefore praise and honour to him, and repent, and he will have mercy upon you. Peace be to you from the Lord God Jesus Christ, and the Saviour of us all. Amen, Amen, Amen.
7 And after they had made an end of writing, and had written on two distinct pieces of paper, Charinus gave what he wrote into the hands of Annas, and Caiaphas, and Gamaliel.
8 Lenthius likewise gave what he wrote into the hands of Nicodemus and Joseph; and immediately they were changed into exceeding white forms and were seen no more.
9 But what they had written was found perfectly to agree, the one not containing one letter more or less than the other.
10 When all the assembly of the Jews heard all these surprising relations of Charinus and Lenthius, they said to each other, Truly all these things were wrought by God, and blessed be the Lord Jesus for ever and ever, Amen.
11 And they went all out with great concern, and fear, and trembling, and smote upon their breasts and went away every one to his home.
12 But immediately all these
things which were related by the Jews in their synagogues concerning Jesus, were presently told by Joseph and Nicodemus to the governor.
13 And Pilate wrote down all these transactions, and placed all these accounts in the public records of his hall.CHAPTER XXII.
1 Pilate goes to the temple; calls together the rulers, and scribes, and doctors.
2 Commands the gates to be shut;
orders the book of the Scriptures; and causes the Jews to relate what they really knew concerning Christ.
14 They declare that they crucified Christ in ignorance, and that they now know him to be the Son of God, according to the testimony of the Scriptures; which, after they put him to death, were examined.
AFTER these things Pilate went to the temple of the Jews,
and called together all the rulers and scribes, and doctors of the law, and went with them into a chapel of the temple.
2 And commanding that all the gates should be shut, said to them, I have heard that ye have a certain large book in this temple; I desire you, therefore, that it may be brought before me.
3 And when the great book,
carried by four ministers of the
temple, and adorned with gold and precious stones, was brought,
Pilate said to them all, I adjure
you by the God of your Fathers,
who made and commanded this temple to be built, that ye conceal not the truth from me.
4 Ye know all the things which are written in that book; tell me therefore now, if ye in the
Scriptures have found any thing of that Jesus whom ye crucified, and at what time of the world he, ought to have come: show it me.
5 Then having sworn Annas and Caiaphas, they commanded all the rest who were with them to go out of the chapel.
6 And they shut the gates of the temple and of the chapel, and said to Pilate, Thou hast made us to swear, O judge, by the building of this temple, to declare to thee that which is true and right.
7 After we had crucified Jesus, not knowing that he was the Son of God, but supposing he wrought his miracles by some magical arts, we summoned a large assembly in this temple.
8 And when we were deliberating among one another about the miracles which Jesus had wrought, we found many witnesses of our own country, who declared that they had seen him alive after his death, and that they heard him discoursing with his disciples, and saw him ascending into the height of the heavens, and entering into them;
9 And we saw two witnesses, whose bodies Jesus raised from the dead, who told us of many strange things which Jesus did among the dead, of which we have a written account in our hands.
10 And it is our custom annually to open this holy book before an assembly, and to search there for the counsel of God.
11 And we found in the first of the seventy books, where Michael the archangel is speaking to the third son of Adam the first man, an account that after five thousand five hundred years, Christ the most beloved son of God was to come on earth,
12 And we further considered, that perhaps he was the very God of Israel who spoke to Moses, Thou shalt make the ark of the testimony; two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof.
13 By these five cubits and a half for the building of the ark of the Old Testament, we perceived and knew that in five thousand years and half (one thousand) years, Jesus Christ was to come in the ark or tabernacle of a body;
14 And so our Scriptures testify that he is the Son of God, and the Lord and King of Israel.
15 And because after his suffering, our chief priests were surprised at the signs which were wrought by his means, we opened that book to search all the generations down to the generation of Joseph and Mary the mother of Jesus,
supposing him to be of the
seed of David;
16 And we found the account of the creation, and at what time he made the heaven and the earth, and the first man Adam, and that from thence to the flood, were two thousand seven hundred and forty- eight years.
17 And from the flood to Abraham, nine hundred and twelve.
And from Abraham to Moses, four hundred and thirty. And from Moses to David the King, five hundred and ten.
18 And from David to the Babylonish captivity five hundred years.
And from the Babylonish captivity to the incarnation of Christ, four hundred years.
19 The sum of all which amounts to five thousand and half (a thousand.)
20 And so it appears, that Jesus whom we crucified, is Jesus Christ the Son of God, and true Almighty God. Amen.
(In the name of the Holy Trinity, thus end the acts of our Saviour Jesus Christ, which the Emperor Theodosius the Great found at
Jerusalem, in the hall of Pontius Pilate, among the public records; the things were acted in the
nineteenth year of Tiberius Caesar, Emperor of the Romans, and in the seventeenth year of the
government of Herod, the son of Herod and of Galilee, on the
eighth of the calends of April,
which is the twenty-third day of the month of March, in the CCIId Olympiad, when Joseph and Caiaphas were rulers of the Jews; being a History written in Hebrew by
Nicodemus, of what happened after our Saviour's crucifixion.)
[Although this Gospel is, by some among the learned, supposed to have been really written by Nicodemus, who became a disciple of Jesus Christ, and conversed with him; others conjecture that it was a forgery towards the close of the third century by some zealous believer, who, observing that there had been appeals made by the Christians of the former age, to the acts of Pilate, but that such acts could not be produced, imagined it would be of service to Christianity to fabricate and publish this Gospel; as it would both confirm the Christians under persecution, and convince the Heathens of the truth of the Christian religion. The Rev. Jeremiah Jones says, that such pious frauds were very common among Christians even in the first three centuries; and that a forgery of this nature, with the view above-mentioned, seems natural and probable. The same author, in noticing that Eusebius in his Ecclesiastical History, charges the Pagans with having forged and published a book, called "The Acts of Pilate," takes occasion to observe that the internal evidence of this Gospel shows it was not the work of any Heathen, but that if in the latter end of the third century we find it in use among Christians (as it was then certainly in some churches), and about the same time find a forgery of the Heathens under the same title, it seems exceedingly probable that some Christians, at that time, should publish such a piece as this, in order partly to confront the spurious one of the Pagans, and partly to support those appeals which had been made by former Christians to the Acts of Pilate; and Mr. Jones says, he thinks so more particularly as we have innumerable instances of forgeries by the faithful in the primitive ages, grounded on less plausible reasons. Whether it be canonical or not, it is of very great antiquity, and is appealed to by several of the ancient Christians. The present translation is made from the Gospel, published by Grynaeus in the Orthodoxographa, vol. i, tom, ii, p. 613.]
Notwithstanding the diversity of opinions here alluded to, the majority of the learned believe that the internal evidence of the authenticity of this Gospel is manifested in the correct details of that period of Christ's life on which it treats, while it far excels the canonical Evangelists narrative of the trial of our Saviour before Pilate, with more minute particulars of persons, evidence, circumstance, &c.THE EPISTLES OF JESUS CHRIST & ABGARUS KING OF EDESSA. CHAPTER I.
A copy of a letter written by King Abgarus to Jesus; and sent to him by Ananius, his footman, to Jerusalem, 5 inviting him to Edessa.
ABGARUS, king of Edessa, to Jesus the good Saviour, who appears at Jerusalem, greeting.
2 I have been informed concerning you and your cures, which are performed without the use of medicines and herbs.
3 For it is reported, that you
cause the blind to see, the lame to walk, do both cleanse lepers, and cast out unclean spirits and devils, and restore them to health who have been long diseased; and raiseth up the dead;
4 All which when I heard, I was persuaded of one of these two, namely, either that you are God himself descended from heaven; who do these things, or the Son of God.
5 On this account therefore I have written to you, earnestly to desire you would take the trouble of a journey hither, and cure a disease which I am under.6 For I hear the Jews ridicule you and, intend you mischief.
7 My city is indeed small, but neat, and large enough for us both.CHAPTER II.
The answer of Jesus by Ananias the footman to Abgarus the king,
3 declining to visit Edessa.
ABGARUS, you are happy, forasmuch as you have believed on me, whom you have not seen.
2 For it is written concerning me, that those who have seen me should not believe on me, that they who have not seen might believe and live.
3 As to that part of your letter, which relates to my giving you a visit, I must inform you, that I must fulfil all the ends of my mission in this country, and after that be received up again to him who sent me.
4 But after my ascension I will send one of my disciples, who will cure your disease, and give life to you, and all that are with you. REFERENCES TO THE EPISTLES OF JESUS CHRIST ANDABGARUS KING OF EDESSA.
[The first writer who makes any mention of the Epistles that passed between Jesus Christ and Abgarus, is Eusebius, Bishop of Caesarea, in Palestine, who flourished in the early part of the fourth century. For their genuineness, he appeals to the public registers and records of the City of Edessa in Mesopotamia, where Abgarus reigned, and where he affirms that he found them written in the Syriac language. He published a Greek translation of them, in his Ecclesiastical History. The learned world has been much divided on this subject; but, notwithstanding the erudite Grabe, with Archbishop Cave, Dr, Parker, and other divines, have strenuously contended for their admission into the canon of Scripture, they are deemed apocryphal. The Rev. Jeremiah Jones observes, that the common people in England have this Epistle in their houses in many places, fixed in a frame, with the picture of Christ before it; and that they generally, with much honesty and devotion, regard it as the word of God, and the genuine Epistle of Christ.]THE EPISTLE OF ST. PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE LAODICEANS.
1 He salutes the brethren;
3 exhorts them to persevere in good works,
4 and not to be moved by vain speaking.
6 Rejoices in his bonds,
10 desires them to live in the fear of the Lord.
PAUL an Apostle, not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, to the brethren which are at Laodicea.
2 Grace be to you, and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.
3 I thank Christ in every prayer of mine, that ye may continue and persevere in good works, looking for that which is promised in the day of judgment.
4 Let not the vain speeches of any trouble you, who pervert the truth, that they may draw you aside from the truth of the Gospel which I have preached.
5 And now may God grant, that my converts may attain to a perfect knowledge of the truth of the Gospel, be beneficent, and doing good works which accompany salvation.
6 And now my bonds, which I suffer in Christ, are manifest, in which I rejoice and am glad. For I know that this shall turn to my salvation for ever, which shall be through your prayer, and the supply of the Holy Spirit.
8 Whether I live or die, to live shall be a life to Christ, to die will be joy.
9 And our Lord will grant us his mercy, that ye may have the same love, and be like-minded.
10 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have heard of the coming of the Lord, so think and act in fear, and it shall be to you life eternal;11 For it is God, who worketh in you: 12 And do all things without sin.
13 And what is best, my beloved rejoice in the Lord Jesus Christ and avoid all filthy lucre.
14 Let all your requests be made known to God, and be steady in the doctrine of Christ.
15 And whatsoever things are sound and true, and of good report, and chaste, and just, and lovely, these things do.
16 Those things which ye have heard, and received, think on these things, and peace shall be with you.17 All the saints salute you. 18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.
19 Cause this Epistle to be read to the Colossians, and the Epistle of the Colossians to be read among you.REFERENCES TO THE EPISTLE OF ST. PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE LAODICEANS.
[This Epistle has been highly esteemed by several learned men of the church of Rome and others. The Quakers have printed a translation, and plead for it, as the reader may see, by consulting Poole's Annotation on Col. vi. 16. Sixtus Senensis mentions two MSS., the one in the Sorbonne Library at Paris, which is a very ancient copy, and the other in the Library of Joannes a Viridario, at Padua, which he transcribed and published; and which is the authority for the following translation. There is a very old translation of this Epistle in the British Museum, among the Harleian MSS., Cod. 1212.]THE EPISTLES OF ST. PAUL THE APOSTLE TO SENECA, WITH SENECA'S TO PAUL. CHAPTER I. ANNAEUS SENECA to PAUL Greeting.
I SUPPOSE, Paul, you have been informed of that conversation, which passed yesterday between me and my Lucilius, concerning hypocrisy and other subjects; for there were some of your disciples in company with us;
2 For when we were retired into the Sallustian gardens, through which they were also passing, and would have gone another way, by our persuasion they joined
company with us.
4 We were much delighted with your book of many Epistles, which you have written to some cities and chief towns of provinces, and contain wonderful instructions for moral conduct:
5 Such sentiments, as I suppose you were not the author of, but only the instrument of conveying, though sometimes both the author and the instrument,
6 For such is the sublimity of
those, doctrines, and their grandeur, that I suppose the age of a man is scarce sufficient to be instructed and perfected in the knowledge of them. I wish your welfare, my brother. Farewell.
I RECEIVED your letter yesterday with pleasure, to which I could immediately have written an answer, had the young man been at home, whom I intended to have sent to you: 2 For you know when, and by whom, at what seasons, and to whom I must deliver everything which I send.
3 I desire therefore you would not charge me with negligence, if I wait for a proper person.
4 I reckon myself very happy in having the judgment of so valuable a person, that you are delighted with my Epistles:
5 For you would not be esteemed a censor, a philosopher, or be the tutor of so great a prince, and a master of everything, if you were not sincere. I wish you a lasting prosperity.CHAPTER III. ANNAEUS SENECA to PAUL Greeting.
I HAVE completed some volumes and divided them into their proper parts.
2 I am determined to read them to Caesar, and if any favourable opportunity happens, you also shall be present, when they are read;
3 But if that cannot be, I will appoint and give you notice of a day, when we will together read over the performance.
4 I had determined, if I could with safety, first to have your opinion of it, before I published it to Caesar, that you might be convinced of my affection to you. Farewell, dearest Paul.
PAUL to SENECA Greeting.
AS often as I read your letters, I imagine you present with me; nor indeed do I think any other, than that you are always with us.
2 As soon therefore as you begin to come, we shall presently see each other. I wish you all
WE are very much concerned at your too long absence from us.2 What is it, or what affairs are they, which obstructs your coming?
3 If you fear the anger of
Caesar because you have abandoned your former religion, and made proselytes also of others, you
have this to plead, that your
acting thus proceeded not from inconstancy, but judgment.
CONCERNING those things, about which ye wrote to me, it is not proper for me to mention anything in writing with pen and ink: the one of which leaves marks, and the other evidently declares things.
2 Especially since I know that there are near you, as well as me, those who will understand my meaning.
3 Deference is to be paid to all men, and so much the more, as they are more likely to take occasions of quarrelling.
4 And if we show a submissive temper, we shall overcome
effectually in all points, if so
be they are, who are capable of seeing and acknowledging themselves to have been in the wrong. Farewell.
I PROFESS myself extremely pleased with the reading your letters to the Galatians,
Corinthians, and people of Achaia.
2 For the Holy Ghost has in them by you delivered those sentiments which are very lofty, sublime, deserving of all respect, and beyond your own invention.
3 I could wish therefore, that when you are writing things so extraordinary, there might not be wanting an elegancy of speech agreeable to their majesty.
4 And I must own, my brother, that I may not at once dishonestly conceal anything from you, and be unfaithful to my own conscience, that the emperor is extremely pleased with the sentiments of your Epistles;
5 For when he heard the beginning of them read, he declared, that he was surprised to find such notions in a person, who had not had a regular education.
6 To which I replied, That the Gods sometimes made use of mean (innocent) persons to speak by, and gave him an instance of this in a mean countryman named Vatienus, who, when he was in the country of Reate, had two men appeared to him, called Castor and Pollux, and received a revelation from the gods. Farewell.CHAPTER VIII. PAUL to SENECA Greeting.
ALTHOUGH I know the emperor is both an admirer and favourer of our religion, yet give me leave to advise you against your suffering any injury (by showing favour to us).
2 I think indeed you ventured upon a very dangerous attempt, when you would declare (to the emperor) that which is so very contrary to his religion, and way of worship; seeing he is a
worshipper of the heathen gods.
3 I know not what you particularly had in view, when you told him of this; but I suppose you did it out of too great respect for me.
4 But I desire that for the future you would not do so; for you had need be careful, lest by showing your affection for me, you should offend your master:
5 His anger indeed will do us no harm, if he continue a heathen; nor will his not being angry be of any service to us:
6 And if the empress act worthy of her character, she will not be angry; but if she act as a woman, she will be affronted. Farewell.CHAPTER IX. ANNEUS SENECA to PAUL Greeting.
KNOW that my letter, wherein I acquainted you, that I had read to the Emperor your Epistles, does not so much affect you as the nature of the things (contained in them.)
2 Which do so powerfully divert men's minds from their former manners and practices, that I have always been surprised, and have been fully convinced of it by many arguments heretofore.
3 Let us therefore begin afresh; and if any thing heretofore has been imprudently acted, do you forgive.4 I have sent you a book decopia verborum. Farewell, dearest Paul. CHAPTER X. PAUL to SENECA Greeting.
AS often as I write to you,
and place my name before yours, I do a thing both disagreeable to myself, and contrary to our religion:
2 For I ought, as I have often declared, to become all things to all men, and to have that regard to your quality, which the Roman law has honoured all senators with; namely, to put my name last in the (inscription of the) Epistle, that I may not at length with uneasiness and shame be obliged to do that which it was always my inclination to do. Farewell, most respected master. Dated the fifth of the calends of July, in the fourth Consulship of Nero, and Messala.CHAPTER XI. ANNAEUS SENECA to PAUL Greeting. ALL happiness to you, my dearest Paul.
2 If a person so great, and every way agreeable as you are, become not only a common, but a most intimate friend to me, how happy will be the case of Seneca!
3 You therefore, who are so eminent, and so far exalted above all, even the greatest, do not think yourself unfit to be first named in the inscription of an Epistle;
4 Lest I should suspect you intend not so much to try me, as to banter me; for you know yourself to be a Roman citizen.
5 And I could wish to be in that circumstance or station which you are, and that you were in the same that I am. Farewell, dearest Paul. Dated the tenth of the calends of April, in the Consulship of Aprianus and Capito.CHAPTER XII. ANNAEUS SENECA to PAUL Greeting.
ALL happiness to you, my dearest Paul. Do you not suppose I am extremely concerned and grieved that your innocence should bring you into sufferings?
2 And that all the people should suppose you (Christians) so criminal, and imagine all the misfortunes that happen to the city, to be
caused by you?
3 But let us bear the charge
with a patient temper, appealing for our innocence to the court above, which is the only one our hard fortune will allow us to address to, till at length our misfortunes shall end in unalterable happiness.
4 Former ages have produced (tyrants) Alexander the son of Philip, and Dionysius; ours also has produced Caius Caesar; whose inclinations were their only laws.
5 As to the frequent burnings
of the city of Rome, the cause is manifest; and if a person in my mean circumstances might be allowed to speak, and one might declare these dark things without danger, every one should see the whole of the matter.
6 The Christians and Jews are indeed commonly punished for the crime of burning the city; but that impious miscreant, who delights in murders and butcheries, and disguises his villainies with lies, is appointed to, or reserved till, his proper time.
7 And as the life of every
excellent person is now sacrificed instead of that one person (who is the author of the mischief), so this one shall be sacrificed for many, and he shall be devoted to be burnt with fire instead of all.
8 One hundred and thirty-two houses, and four whole squares (or islands) were burnt down in six days: the seventh put an end to the burning. I wish you all happiness.
9 Dated the fifth of the calends of April, in the Consulship of Frigius and Bassus.CHAPTER XIII. ANNAEUS SENECA to PAUL Greeting. ALL happiness to you, my dearest Paul.
2 You have written many volumes in an allegorical and mystical style, and therefore such mighty matters and business being committed to you, require not to be set off with any rhetorical flourishes of speech, but only with some proper elegance.
3 I remember you often said, that many by affecting such a style do injury to their subjects, and lose the force of the matters they treat of.
4 But in this I desire you to
regard me, namely, to have respect to true Latin, and to choose just words, that so you may the better manage the noble trust which is reposed in you.
5 Farewell. Dated the fifth of the nones of July, Leo and Savinus Consuls.
YOUR serious consideration is requited with those discoveries, which the Divine Being has granted but to few;
2 I am thereby assured that I sow the most strong seed in a fertile soil, not anything material, which is subject to corruption, but the durable word of God, which shall increase and bring forth fruit to eternity.
3 That which by your wisdom you have attained to, shall abide without decay for ever.
4 Believe that you ought to avoid the superstitions of Jews and Gentiles.
5 The things which you have in some measure arrived to, prudently make known to the emperor, his family, and to faithful friends;
6 And though your sentiments will seem disagreeable, and not be comprehended by them, seeing most of them will not regard your discourses, yet the Word of God once infused into them, will at length make them become new men, aspiring towards God.
7 Farewell Seneca, who art most dear to us. Dated on the calends of August, in the
Consulship of Leo and Savinus.
REFERENCES TO THE EPISTLES OF ST. PAUL THE APOSTLE TO SENECA, WITH SENECA'S TO PAUL.
[Several very learned writers have entertained a favourable opinion of these Epistles. They are undoubtedly of high antiquity. Salmeron cites them to prove that Seneca was one of Caesar's household, referred to by Paul, Philip iv. 22, as saluting the brethren at Philippi. In Jerome's enumeration of illustrious men, he places Seneca, on account of these Epistles, amongst the ecclesiastical and holy writers of the Christian Church. Sixtus Senensis has published them in his Bibliotheque, p 89, 90; and it is from thence that the present translation is made. Baronius, Bellarmine, Dr. Cave, Spanheim, and others, contend that they are not genuine.]
1 Demas and Hermogenes become Paul's companions.
4 Paul visits Onesiphorus.
8 Invited by Demos and Hermogenes.
11 Preaches to the household of Onesiphorus.
12 His sermon.
WHEN Paul went up to Iconium, after his flight from Antioch, Demas and Hermogenes became his companions, who were then full of hypocrisy.
2 But Paul looking only at the goodness of God, did them no harm, but loved them greatly.
3 Accordingly he endeavoured to make agreeable to them all the oracles and doctrines of Christ, and the design of the Gospel of God's well-beloved son; instructing them in the knowledge of Christ, as it was revealed to him.
4 And a certain man named Onesiphorus, hearing that Paul was come to Iconium, went out speedily to meet him, together with his wife Lectra, and his sons Simmia and Zeno, to invite him to their house.
5 For Titus had given them a description of Paul's personage, they as yet not knowing him in person, but only being acquainted with his character.
6 They went in the king's highway to Lystra, and stood there waiting for him, comparing all who passed by with that description which Titus had given them.
7 At length they saw a man coming (namely Paul), of a low stature,
bald on the head; with crooked thighs, handsome legs, hollow-eyes; and a crooked nose; full of grace, for
sometimes he appeared as a man, sometimes he had the countenance of an angel. And Paul saw Onesiphorus, and was glad.
8 And Onesiphorus said:
Hail, thou servant of the blessed God. Paul replied, The grace of God be with thee and thy family.
9 But Denies and Hermogenes were moved with envy, and, under a show of great religion, Demas said, And are not we also servants of the blessed God? Why didst thou not salute us?
10 Onesiphorus replied, Because I have not perceived in you the fruits of righteousness; nevertheless, if ye are of that sort, ye shall be welcome to my house also.
11 Then Paul went into the house of Onesiphorus, and there was great joy among the family on that account: and they employed themselves in prayer, breaking of bread, and hearing Paul preach the word of God concerning temperance and the resurrection, in the following manner:12 Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God.
13 Blessed are they who keep their flesh undefiled (or pure); for they shall be the temple of God.
14 Blessed are the temperate (or chaste); for God will reveal himself to them.
15 Blessed are they who abandon their worldly enjoyments; for they shall be accepted of God.
16 Blessed are they who have wives, as though they had them not; for they shall be made angels of God.
17 Blessed are they who tremble at the word of God; for they shall be comforted.
18 Blessed are they who keep their baptism pure; for they shall find peace with the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
19 Blessed are they who pursue the wisdom or doctrine of Jesus Christ; for they shall be called the sons of the Most High.
20 Blessed are they who observe the instructions of Jesus Christ; for they shall dwell in eternal light.
21 Blessed are they, who for the love of Christ abandon the glories of the world, for they shall judge angels, and be placed at the right hand of Christ, and shall not suffer the bitterness of the last judgment.
22 Blessed are the bodies and souls of virgins; for they are acceptable to God, and shall not lose the reward of their virginity; for the word of their (heavenly) Father shall prove effectual to their salvation in the day of his Son, and they shall enjoy rest for evermore.CHAPTER II.
1 Thecla listens anxiously to Paul's preaching.
5 Thamyris, her admirer, concerts with Theoclia her mother to dissuade her,
12 in vain.
14 Demas and Hermogenes vilify Paul to Thamyris.
WHILE Paul was preaching
this sermon in the church
which was in the house of
Onesiphorus, a certain virgin
named Thecla (whose mother's name was Theoclia, and who was betrothed to a man named Thamyris) sat at a certain window in her house.
2 From whence, by the advantage of a window in the house where Paul was, she both night and day heard Paul's sermons concerning God, concerning charity, concerning faith in Christ, and concerning prayer;
3 Nor would she depart from the window, till with exceeding joy she was subdued to the doctrines of faith.
4 At length, when she saw many women and virgins going into Paul, she earnestly desired that she might be thought worthy to appear in his presence, and hear the word of Christ; for she had not yet seen Paul's person, but only heard his sermons, and that alone.
5 But when she would not be
prevailed upon to depart from the window, her mother sent to Thamyris, who came with the greatest pleasure, as hoping now, to marry her.
Accordingly he said to Theoclia, Where is my Thecla?
6 Theoclia replied, Thamyris, I have something very strange to tell you; for Thecla, for the space of three days, will not move from the window, not so much as to eat or drink, but is so intent in
hearing the artful and delusive discourses of a certain foreigner, that I perfectly wonder Thamyris, that a young woman of her known modesty, will suffer herself to be so prevailed upon.
7 For that man has disturbed the whole city of Iconium, and even your Thecla, among others. All the women and young men flock to him to receive his
doctrine; who, besides all the rest, tells them that there is but one God, who alone is to be worshipped, and that we ought to live in chastity.
8 Notwithstanding this, my
daughter Thecla, like a spider's web fastened to the window, is captivated, by the discourses of Paul, and attends' upon them with prodigious eagerness, and vast delight; and thus, by attending on what he says, the young woman is seduced. Now then do you go, and speak to her, for she is
betrothed to you.
9 Accordingly Thamyris went, and having saluted her, and taking care not to surprise her, he said, Thecla, my spouse, why sittest thou in this melancholy posture? What strange impressions are made upon thee? Turn to Thamyris, and blush.
10 Her mother also spake to her after the same manner, and said, Child, why dost thou sit so
melancholy, and, like one
astonished, makest no reply?
11 Then they wept exceedingly, Thamyris, that he had lost his spouse; Theoclia, that she had lost her daughter; and the maids, that they had lost their mistress; and there was an universal mourning in the family.
12 But all these things made no impression upon Thecla, so as to incline her so much as to turn to them, and take notice of them; for she still regarded the
discourses of Paul.
13 Then Thamyris ran forth into the street to observe who they were that went in to Paul, and came out from him; and he saw two men engaged in a very warm dispute, and said to them;
14 Sirs, what business have you here? and who is that man within, belonging to you, who deludes the minds of men, both young men and virgins, persuading them, that they ought not to marry, but continue as they are?
15 I promise to give you a
considerable sum, if ye will give me a just account of him; for I am the chief person of this city.
16 Demas and Hermogenes replied, We cannot so exactly tell who he is; but this we know, that he deprives young men of their
(intended) wives, and virgins of their (intended) husbands, by teaching, There can be no future resurrection, unless ye continue in chastity, and do not defile your flesh.
THEN said Thamyris, Come along with me to my house, and refresh yourselves. So they went to a very splendid entertainment, where there was wine in abundance, and very rich provision.
2 They were brought to a table richly spread, and made to drink plentifully by Thamyris, on account of the love he had for Thecla and his desire to marry her.
3 Then Thamyris said, I desire ye would inform me what the
doctrines of this Paul are, that I may understand them; for I am under no small concern about Thecla, seeing she so delights in that
stranger's discourses, that I am in danger of losing my intended wife.
4 Then Demas and Hermogenes answered both together, and said, Let him be brought before the governor Castellius, as one who endeavours to persuade the people into the new religion of the
Christians, and he, according to the order of Caesar, will put him to death, by which means you will obtain your wife;
5 While we at the same time will teach her, that the resurrection which he speaks of is already come, and consists in our having children; and that we then arose again,
when we came to the knowledge of God.
6 Thamyris having this account from them, was filled with hot resentment:
7 And rising early in the morning he went to the house of Onesiphorus, attended by the magistrates, the Jailor, and a great multitude of people with staves, and said to Paul;
8 Thou hast perverted the city of Iconium, and among the rest, Thecla, who is betrothed to me, so that now she will not marry me. Thou shalt therefore go with us to the governor Castellius.
9 And all the multitude cried out, Away with this imposter, for he has perverted the minds of our wives, and all the people hearken to him.CHAPTER IV.
1 Paul accused before the governor by Thamyris.
5 Defends himself.
9 Is committed to prison,
10 and visited by Thecla.
THEN Thamyris standing before the governor's judgment-seat, spake with a loud voice in the following manner.
2 O governor, I know not whence this man cometh; but he is one who teaches that matrimony is unlawful. Command him therefore to declare before you for what reason he publishes such doctrines.3 While he was saying thus,
Demas and Hermogenes (whispered to Thamyris, and) said; Say that he is a Christian, and he will
presently be put to death.
4 But the governor was more deliberate, and calling to Paul, he said, Who art thou? What dost thou teach? They seem to lay gross crimes to thy charge.
5 Paul then spake with a loud voice, saying, As I am now called to give an account, O governor, of my doctrines, I desire your audience.
6 That God, who is a God of
vengeance, and who strands in need of nothing but the salvation of his creatures, has sent me to reclaim them from their wickedness, and corruptions; from all (sinful)
pleasures, and from death; and to persuade them to sin no more.
7 On this account, God sent his Son Jesus Christ, whom I preach, and in whom I instruct men to place their hopes, as that person who only had such compassion on the deluded world, that it might not, O governor, be condemned, but have faith, the fear of God, the knowledge of religion, and the love of truth.
8 So that if I only teach those things which I have received by revelation from God, where is my crime?
9 When the governor heard this, he ordered Paul to be bound, and to be put in prison, till he should be more at leisure to hear him more fully.
10 But in the night, Thecla taking off her ear-rings, gave them to the turnkey of the prison, who then opened the door to her, and let her in;
11 And when she made a present of a silver looking-glass to the jailor, was allowed to go into the room where Paul was; then she set down at his feet, and heard from him the great things of God.
12 And as she perceived Paul not to be afraid of suffering, but that by divine assistance he behaved himself with courage, her faith so far increased that she kissed his chains.CHAPTER V.
1 Thecla sought and found by her relations.
4 Brought with Paul before the governor.
9 Ordered to be burnt, and Paul to be whipt.
15 Thecla miraculously saved.
AT length Thecla was missed and sought for by the family and by Thamyris in every street, as though she had been lost; till one of the porter's fellow-servants told them, that she had gone out in the night-time.
2 Then they examined the porter, and he told them, that she was gone to the prison to the strange man.
3 They went therefore according to his direction, and there found her; and when they came out, they got a mob together, and went and told the governor all that had happened.
4 Upon which he ordered Paul to be brought before his judgment seat.
5 Thecla in the mean time lay wallowing on the ground in the prison, in that same place where Paul had sat to teach her; upon which the governor also ordered her to be brought before his
judgment-seat; which summons she received with joy, and went.
6 When Paul was brought thither, the mob with more vehemence cried out, He is a magician, let him die.
7 Nevertheless the governor attended with pleasure upon Paul's discourses of the holy works of Christ; and, after a council called, he summoned Thecla, and said to her, Why do you not, according to the law of the Iconians, marry Thamyris?
8 She stood still, with her eyes fixed upon Paul; and finding she made no reply, Theoclia, her
mother cried out saying, Let the unjust creature be burnt; let her be burnt in the midst of the theatre, for refusing Thamyris, that all women may learn from her to avoid such practices.
9 Then the governor was exceedingly concerned, and ordered Paul to be whipt out of the city, and Thecla to be burnt.
10 So the governor arose, and went immediately into the theatre; and all the people went forth to see the dismal sight.
11 But Thecla, just as a lamb in the wilderness looks every way to see his shepherd, looked around for Paul;
12 And as she was looking upon the multitude, she saw the Lord Jesus in the likeness of Paul, and said to herself, Paul is come to see me in my distressed circumstances. And she fixed her eyes upon him; but he instantly ascended up to heaven, while she looked on him.
13 Then the young men and women brought wood and straw for the burning of Thecla; who being brought naked to the stake, extorted tears from the governor, with surprise beholding the greatness of her beauty.
14 And when they had placed the wood in order, the people
commanded her to go upon it; which she did, first making the sign of the cross.
15 Then the people set fire to the pile; though the flame was exceeding large, it did not touch her; for God took compassion on her, and caused a great eruption from the earth beneath, and a cloud from above to pour down great quantities of rain and hail;
16 Insomuch that by the rupture of the earth, very many were in great danger, and some were killed, the fire was extinguished, and Thecla preserved.CHAPTER VI.
1 Paul with Onesiphorus in a cave.
7 Thecla discovers Paul;
12 proffers to follow him:
13 he exhorts her not for fear of fornication.
IN the mean time Paul, together with Onesiphorus, his wife and children, was keeping a fast in a certain cave, which was in the road from Iconium to Daphne.
2 And when they had fasted for several days, the children said to Paul, Father, we are hungry, and have not wherewithal to buy bread; for Onesiphorus had left all his substance to follow Paul with his family.
3 Then Paul, taking off his coat, said to the boy, Go, child, and buy bread, and bring it hither.
4 But while the boy was buying the bread, he saw his neighbour Thecla, and was surprised, and said to her, Thecla, where are you going?
5 She replied, I am in pursuit of Paul, having been delivered from the flames.
6 The boy then said, I will bring you to him, for he is under great concern on your account, and has been in prayer and fasting these six days.
7 When Thecla came to the cave, she found Paul upon his knees praying and saying, O holy Father, O Lord Jesus Christ, grant that the fire may not touch Thecla; but be her helper, for she is thy servant.
8 Thecla then standing behind him, cried out in the following words: O sovereign Lord Creator of heaven and earth, the Father of thy beloved and holy Son, I praise thee that thou hast preserved me from the fire, to see Paul again.
9 Paul then arose, and when he saw her, said, O God, who searchest the heart, Father of my Lord Jesus Christ, I praise thee that thou hast answered my prayer.
10 And there prevailed among them in the cave an entire affection to each other; Paul, Onesiphorus, and all that were with them being filled with joy.
11 They had five loaves, some herbs and water, and they solaced each other in reflections upon the holy works of Christ.
12 Then said Thecla to Paul, If you be pleased with it, I will follow you whithersoever you go.
13 He replied to her, Persons are now much given to fornication, and you being handsome, I am afraid lest you should meet with greater temptation than the former, and should Not withstand, but be overcome by it.
14 Thecla replied, Grant me only the seal of Christ, and no temptation shall affect me.
15 Paul answered, Thecla, wait with patience, and you shall receive the gift of Christ.CHAPTER VII.
1 Paul and Thecla go to Antioch.
2 Alexander, a magistrate, falls in love with Thecla:
4 kisses her by force:
5 she resists him:
6 is carried before the governor, and condemned to be thrown to wild beasts.
THEN Paul sent back Onesiphorus and his family to their own home, and taking Thecla along with him, went for Antioch;
2 And as soon as they came in. to the city, a certain Syrian, named Alexander, a magistrate in the city, who had done many considerable services for the city during his magistracy, saw Thecla, and fell in love with her, and endeavoured by many rich presents to engage Paul in his interest.
3 But Paul told him, I know not the woman of whom you speak, nor does she belong to me.
4 But he being a person of great power in, Antioch, seized her in the street and kissed her: which Thecla would not bear, but looking about for Paul, cried out in a distressed loud tone, Force me not, who am a stranger; force me not, who am a servant of God; I am one of the principal persons of Iconium, and was obliged to leave that city because I would not be married to Thamyris.
5 Then she laid hold on Alexander, tore his coat, and took his crown off his head, and made him appear ridiculous before all the people.
6 But Alexander, partly as he
loved her, and partly being ashamed of what had been done, led her to the governor, and upon her confession of what she had done, he condemned her to be thrown among the beasts.
2 Thecla entertained by Trifina;
3 brought out to the wild beasts;
a she-lion licks her feet.
5 Trifina upon a vision of her deceased daughter, adopts Thecla,
11 who is taken to the amphitheatre again.
WHICH when the people saw, they said: The judgments passed in this city are unjust. But Thecla desired the favour of the governor, that her chastity might not be attacked, but preserved till she should be cast to the beasts.
2 The governor then inquired, Who would entertain her; upon which a certain very rich widow, named Trifina, whose daughter was lately dead, desired that she might have the keeping of her; and she began to treat her in her house as her own daughter.
3 At length a day came, when the beasts were to be brought forth to be seen; and Thecla was brought to the amphitheatre, and put into a den in which was an exceeding fierce she-lion, in the presence of a multitude of spectators.
4 Trifina; without any surprise, accompanied Thecla, and the she-lion licked the feet of Thecla. The title written which denoted her crime, was Sacrilege. Then the women cried out, O God, the judgments of this city are
5 After the beasts had been shown, Trifina took Thecla home with her, and they went to bed; and behold, the daughter of Trifina, who was dead, appeared to her mother, and said; Mother, let the young woman, Thecla, be reputed by you as your daughter in my stead; and desire her that she should pray for me, that I may be translated to a state of happiness.
6 Upon which Trifina, with a
mournful air, said, My daughter Falconilla has appeared to me, and ordered me to receive you in her room; wherefore I desire, Thecla, that you would pray for my daughter, that she may be translated into a state of happiness, and to life eternal.
7 When Thecla heard this, she immediately prayed to the Lord, and said: O Lord God of heaven and earth, Jesus Christ, thou Son of the Most High, grant that her daughter Falconilla may live forever. Trifina hearing this, groaned again, and said: O unrighteous judgments! O unreasonable wickedness! that such a creature should (again) be cast to the beasts!
8 On the morrow, at break of day, Alexander came to Trifina's house, and said: The governor and the people are waiting; bring the criminal forth.
9 But Trifina ran in so violently upon him, that he was affrighted, and ran away. Trifina was one of the royal family; and she thus expressed her sorrow, and said; Alas! I have trouble in my house on two accounts, and there is no one who will relieve me, either under the loss of my daughter, or my being unable to save Thecla. But now, O Lord God, be thou the helper of Thecla thy servant.
10 While she was thus engaged. the governor sent one of his own officers to bring Thecla. Trifina took her by the hand, and, going with her, said: I went with
Falconilla to her grave, and now must go with Thecla to the beasts.
11 When Thecla heard this, she weeping prayed, and said: O Lord God, whom I have made my confidence and refuge, reward Trifina for her compassion to me, and preserving my chastity.
12 Upon this there was a great noise in the amphitheatre; the beasts roared, and the people cried out, Bring in the criminal.
13 But the women cried out, and said: Let the whole city
suffer for such crimes; and
order all of us, O governor,
to the same punishment. O unjust judgment! O cruel sight!
14 Others said, Let the whole city be destroyed for this vile action. Kill us all, O governor. O cruel sight! O unrighteous judgment.CHAPTER IX.
1 Thecla thrown naked to the wild beasts;
2 but they all refuse to attack her.
8 She baptizes herself in a pit of water.
10 Other wild beasts refuse to injure her.
11 Tied to wild bulls.
13 Miraculously saved.
24 Entertained by Trifina,
THEN Thecla was taken out of the hand of Trifina, stripped naked, had a girdle put on, and thrown into the place appointed for fighting with the beasts: and the lions and the bears were let loose upon her.
2 But a she-lion, which was of all the most fierce, ran to Thecla, and fell down at her feet. Upon which the multitude of women shouted aloud.
3 Then a she-bear ran fiercely towards her, but the she lion met the bear, and tore it in pieces.
4 Again a he-lion, who had been wont to devour men, and which belonged to Alexander, ran towards her; but the she-lion encountered the he-lion, and they killed each other.
5 Then the women were under a greater concern, because the she-lion, which had helped Thecla, was dead.
6 Afterwards they brought out many other wild beasts; but Thecla stood with her hands stretched towards heaven, and prayed; and when she had done praying, she turned about, and saw a pit of water, and said, Now it is a proper time for me to be baptized.
7 Accordingly she threw herself into the water, and said, In thy name, O my Lord Jesus Christ, I am this last day baptized. The women and the people seeing this, cried out and said, Do not throw yourself into the water. And the governor himself cried out, to think that the fish (sea-calves) were like to devour so much beauty.
8 Notwithstanding all this,
Thecla threw herself into the water, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
9 But the fish (sea-calves) when they saw the lightning and fire, were killed, and swam dead upon the surface of the water, and a cloud of fire surrounded Thecla; so that as the beasts could not come near her, so the people could not see her nakedness.
10 Yet they turned other wild beasts upon her; upon which they made a very mournful outcry; and some of them scattered spikenard, others cassia, others amomus (a sort of spikenard, or the herb of Jerusalem, or ladies rose), others ointment; so that the quantity of ointment was large, in proportion to the number of people; and upon this all the beasts lay as though they had been fast asleep, and did not touch Thecla.
11 Whereupon Alexander said to the governor, I have some very terrible bulls; let us bind her to them. To which the governor, with concern, replied, You may do what you think fit.
12 Then they put a cord round Thecla's waist, which bound also her feet, and with it tied her to the bulls, to whose privy-parts they applied red-hot irons, that so they being the more tormented, might more violently drag Thecla about, till they had killed her.
13 The bulls accordingly tore
about, making a most hideous noise; but the flame which was about Thecla, burnt off the cords which were
fastened to the members of the bulls, and she stood in the middle of the stage, as unconcerned as if she had not been bound.
14 But in the mean time Trifina, who sat upon one of the benches, fainted away and died; upon which the whole city was under a very great concern.
15 And Alexander himself was afraid, and desired the governor, saying: I entreat you, take
compassion on me and the city, and release this woman, who has fought with the beasts; lest both you and I, and the whole city, be destroyed;
16 For if Caesar should have any account of what has passed now, he will certainly immediately destroy the city, because Trifina, a person of royal extract, and a relation of his, is dead upon her seat.
17 Upon this the governor called Thecla from among the beasts to him, and said to her, Who art thou? and what are thy circumstances, that not one of the beasts will touch thee?
18 Thecla replied to him; I am a servant of the living God; and as to my state, I am a believer on Jesus Christ his Son, in whom God is well pleased; and for that reason none of the beasts could touch me.
19 He alone is the way to eternal salvation, and the foundation of eternal life. He is a refuge to
those who are in distress; a support to the afflicted, hope and defence to those who are hopeless; and in a word, all those who do not
believe on him, shall not live, but suffer eternal death.
20 When the governor heard these things, he ordered her clothes to be brought, and said to her, Put on your clothes.
21 Thecla replied: May that God who clothed me when I was naked among the beasts, in the day of judgment clothe your soul with the robe of salvation. Then she took her clothes, and put them on; and the governor immediately published an order in these words: I release to you Thecla the servant of God.
22 Upon which the women cried out together with a loud voice, and with one accord gave praise unto God, and said; There is but one God, who is the God of Thecla; the one God who hath delivered Thecla.
23 So loud were their voices,
that the whole city seemed to be shaken; and Trifina herself heard the glad tidings, and arose again, and ran with the multitude to
meet Thecla; and embracing her, said: Now I believe there shall
be a resurrection of the dead;
now I am persuaded that my daughter is alive. Come therefore home
with me, my daughter Thecla, and I will make all over that I have to you.
24 So Thecla went with Trifina, and was entertained there a few days, teaching her the word of the Lord, whereby many young women were converted; and there was great joy in the family of Trifina.
25 But Thecla longed to see Paul, and inquired and sent every where to find him; and when at length she was informed that he was at Myra, in Lycia, she took with her many young men and women; and putting on a girdle, and dressing herself in the habit of a man, she went to him to Myra in Lycia, and there found Paul preaching the word of God; and she stood by him among the throng.CHAPTER X.
1 Thecla visits Paul;
6 visits Onesiphorus;
8 and visits her Mother
9 who repulses her.
14 Is tempted by the devil.
16 Works miracles.
BUT it was no small surprise to Paul when he saw her and the people with her; for he imagined
some fresh trial was coming upon them;
2 Which when Thecla perceived, she said to him: I have been baptized, O Paul; for he who assists you in preaching, has assisted me to baptize.
3 Then Paul took her, and led her to the house of Hermes; and Thecla related to Paul all that had
befallen her in Antioch, insomuch that Paul exceedingly wondered, and all who heard were confirmed in the faith, and prayed for
4 Then Thecla arose, and said to Paul, I am going to Iconium. Paul replied to her: Go and teach the word of the Lord.
5 But Trifina had sent large sums of money to Paul, and also clothing by the hands of Thecla, for the relief of the poor.
6 So Thecla went to Iconium. And when she came to the house of Onesiphorus, she fell down upon the floor where Paul had sat and preached, and, mixing tears with her prayers, she praised and glorified God in the following words:
7 O Lord the God of this house, in which I was first enlightened by thee; O Jesus, son of the living God, who wast my helper before the governor, my helper in the fire, and my helper among the beasts; thou alone art God for ever and ever, Amen.
8 Thecla now (on her return) found Thamyris dead, but her mother living. So calling her mother, she said to her: Theoclia, my mother, is it possible for you to be brought to a belief, that there is but one Lord God, who dwells in the heavens? If you desire great riches, God will give them to you by me; if you want your daughter again, here I am.
9 These and many other things she represented to her mother, (endeavouring) to persuade her (to her own opinion). But her mother Theoclia gave no credit to the things which were said by the martyr Thecla.
10 So that Thecla perceiving, she discoursed to no purpose, signing her whole body with the sign (of the cross), left the house and went to Daphne; and when she came there, she went to the cave, where she had found Paul with Onesiphorus, and fell down upon the ground; and wept before God.
11 When she departed thence, she went to Seleucia, and
enlightened many in the knowledge of Christ.
13 And after she had arrived at Seleucia she went-to a place out of the city, about the distance of a furlong, being afraid of the inhabitants, because they were worshippers of idols.
14 And she was lead (by the
cloud) into a mountain called
Calamon, or Rodeon. There she abode many years, and underwent a great many grievous temptations of the devil, which she bore in a becoming manner, by the assistance which she had from Christ.
15 At length certain gentle-women hearing of the virgin Thecla, went to her, and were instructed by her in the oracles of God, and many of them abandoned this world, and led a monastic life with her.
16 Hereby a good report was spread everywhere of Thecla, and she wrought several (miraculous) cures, so that all the city and adjacent countries brought their sick to that mountain, and before they came as far as the door of the cave, they were instantly cured of whatsoever distemper they had.
17 The unclean spirits were cast out, making a noise; all received their sick made whole, and glorified God, who had bestowed such power on the virgin Thecla;
18 Insomuch that the physicians of Seleucia were now of no more account, and lost all the profit of their trade, because no one regarded them; upon which they were filled with envy, and began to contrive what methods to take with this servant of Christ.CHAPTER XI.
1 Thecla is attempted to be ravished,
12 escapes by a rock opening,
17 and closing miraculously.
THE devil then suggested bad advice to their minds; and
being on a certain day met together to consult, they reasoned among each other thus: The virgin is a priestess of the great goddess Diana, and whatsoever she requests from her, is granted, because she is a virgin, and so is beloved
by all the gods.
2 Now then let us procure some rakish fellows, and after we have made them sufficiently drunk, and given them a good sum of money, let us order them to go and debauch this virgin, promising them, if they do it, a larger reward.
3 (For they thus concluded among themselves, that if they be able to debauch her, the gods will no more regard her nor Diana cure the sick for her).
4 They proceeded according to this resolution, and the fellows went to the mountain, and as fierce as lions to the cave, knocking at the door.
5 The holy martyr Thecla relying upon the God in whom she believed, opened the door, although she was before apprised of their design, and said to them, Young men, what is your business?
6 They replied, Is there any one within, whose name is Thecla? She answered, What would you have with her? They said, We have a mind to lie with her.
7 The blessed Thecla answered, Though I am a mean old woman, I am the servant of my Lord Jesus Christ; and though you have a vile design against me, ye shall not be able to accomplish it. They replied, Is it impossible? but we must be able to do with you what we have a mind,
8 And while they were saying this, they laid hold on her by main force, and would have ravished her. Then she with the (greatest)
mildness said to them: Young men have patience, and see the glory of the Lord.
9 And while they held her, she looked up to heaven and said: O God most reverend, to whom none can be likened; who makest thyself glorious over thine enemies; who didst deliver me from the fire, didst not give me up to Thamyris, and didst not give me up to
Alexander: who deliveredst me from the wild beasts; who didst preserve me in the deep waters; who hast everywhere been my helper, and hast glorified thy name in me;
10 Now also deliver me from the hands of these wicked and unreasonable men nor suffer them to debauch my chastity which I have hitherto preserved for thy honour; for I love thee, and long for thee, and worship thee,
O Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, for evermore. Amen.
11 Then came a voice from
heaven, saying, Fear not Thecla, my faithful servant, for I am with thee. Look and see the place which is opened for thee; there thy eternal abode shall be; there thou shalt receive the (beatific) vision.
12 The blessed Thecla observing, saw the rock opened to as large a degree as that a man might enter in; she did as she was commanded, bravely fled from the vile crew, and went into the rock, which instantly so closed, that there was not any crack visible where it had opened.
13 The men stood perfectly
astonished at so prodigious a miracle, and had no power to detain the servant of God; but only
catching hold of her veil (or hood), they tore off a piece of it;
14 And even that was by the
permission of God, for the
confirmation of their faith,
who should come to see this
venerable place; and to convey blessings to those in succeeding ages, who should believe on our Lord Jesus Christ from a pure heart.
15 Thus suffered that first
martyr and apostle of God, and virgin, Thecla, who came from Iconium at eighteen years of age; afterwards, partly in journeys and travels, and partly in a monastic life in the cave, she lived seventy- two years; so that she was ninety years old when the Lord translated her.
17 The day which is kept sacred to her memory, is the twenty-fourth of September, to the glory of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost, now and for evermore. Amen.REFERENCES TO THE ACTS OF ST. PAUL AND THECLA.
[Tertullian says that this piece was forged by a Presbyter of Asia, who being convicted, "confessed that he did it out of respect to Paul," and Pope Gelasius, in his Decree against apocryphal books, inserted it among them. Notwithstanding this, a large part of the history was credited and looked upon as genuine among the primitive Christians. Cyprian, Eusebius, Epiphanius, Austin, Gregory, Nagianzen. Chrysostom, and Severus Sulpitius, who all lived within the fourth century mention Thecla or refer to her history. Basil of Seleucia wrote her acts, sufferings and victories, in verse; and Euagrius Scholasticus an ecclesiastical historian, about 590, relates that "after the Emperor Zeno, had abdicated his empire, and Basilik had taken possession of it, he had a vision of the holy and excellent martyr Thecla, who promised him the restoration of his empire; for which, when it was brought about, he erected and dedicated a most noble and sumptuous temple to this famous martyr, Thecla, at Seleucia, a city of Isauria, and bestowed upon it very noble endowments, which (says the author) are preserved even till this day." Hist. Ecel. lib. 3 cap. 8.--Cardinal Barenius, Locrinus, Archbishop Wake, and others; and also the learned Grabe, who edited the Septuagint, and revived the Acts of Paul and Thecla, consider them as having been written in the Apostolic age; as containing nothing superstitious, or disagreeing from the opinions and belief of those times; and, in short, as a genuine and authentic history. Again, it is said, that this is not the original book of the early Christians; but however that may be, it is published from the Greek MS. in the Bodleian Library at Oxford, which Dr. Mills copied and transmitted to Dr. Grabe.]THE FIRST EPISTLE OF CLEMENT TO THE CORINTHIANS. CHAPTER I. Clement commends them for their excellent order and piety in Christ, before their schism broke out.
THE Church of God which is at Rome, to the Church of God which is at Corinth, elect,
sanctified by the will of God, through Jesus Christ our Lord: grace and peace from the Almighty God, by Jesus Christ, be multiplied unto you.
2 Brethren, the sudden and unexpected dangers and calamities that have fallen upon us, have, we fear, made us the more slow in our consideration of those things which you inquired of us:
3 As also of that wicked and detestable sedition, so unbecoming the elect of God, which a few headstrong and self-willed men have fomented to such a degree of madness, that your venerable and renowned name, so worthy of all men to be beloved, is greatly blasphemed thereby.
4 For who that has ever been among you has not experienced the firmness of your faith, and its fruitfulness in all good works; and admired the temper and moderation of your religion in Christ; and published abroad the magnificence of your hospitality; and thought you happy in your perfect and certain knowledge of the Gospel?
5 For ye did all things without respect of persons, and walked according to the laws of God; being subject to those who had the rule over you, and giving the honour that was fitting to the aged among you.
6 Ye commanded the young men to think those things that were modest and grave.
7 The women ye exhorted to do all things with an unblameable, and seemly, and pure conscience; loving their own husbands, as was fitting: and that keeping themselves within the bounds of a due obedience, they should order their houses gravely, with all discretion.
8 Ye were all of you humble- minded, not boasting of anything desiring rather to be subject than to govern; to give than to receive; being a content with the portion God hath dispensed to you:
9 And hearkening diligently to his word, ye were enlarged in your bowels, having his sufferings always before your eyes.
10 Thus a firm, and blessed, and profitable peace was given unto you: and an unsatiable desire of doing good; and a plentiful effusion of the Holy Ghost was upon all of you.
11 And being full of good
designs, ye did with, great
readiness of mind, and with a religious confidence stretch forth your hands to God Almighty; beseeching him to be merciful unto you, if in anything ye had unwillingly sinned against him.
12 Ye contended day and night for the whole brotherhood; that with compassion and a good conscience, the number of his elect might be saved.
13 Ye were sincere, and without offence towards each other; not mindful of injuries; all sedition and schism was an abomination unto you.
14 Ye bewailed every one his neighbours' sins, esteeming their defects your own.
15 Ye were kind one to another without grudging; being ready to every good work. And being
adorned with a conversation altogether virtuous and religious, ye did all things in the fear of God; whose I commandments were written upon the tables of your heart.
ALL honour and enlargement was given unto you; and so was fulfilled that which is written, my beloved did eat and drink, he was enlarged and waxed fat, and he kicked.
2 From hence came emulation, and envy, and strife, and sedition; persecution and disorder, war and captivity.
3 So they who were of no renown, lifted up themselves against the honourable; those of no
reputation against those who were in respect; the foolish against the wise; the young men against the aged.
4 Therefore righteousness and peace are departed from you, because every one hath forsaken the fear of God; and is grown blind in his faith; nor walketh by the rule of God's commandments nor liveth as is fitting in Christ:
5 But every one follows his own wicked lusts: having taken up an unjust and wicked envy, by which death first entered into the world.CHAPTER III.
Envy and emulation the original of all strife and disorder. Examples of the mischiefs they have occasioned.
FOR thus it is written,
And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock,
and of the fat thereof:
2 And the Lord had respect unto Abel, and to his offering. But
unto Cain and unto his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very sorrowful, and his countenance fell.
3 And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou sorrowful? And why is thy countenance fallen? If thou shalt offer aright, but not divide aright, hast thou not sinned? Hold thy peace: unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.
4 And Cain said unto Abel his brother, Let us go down into the field. And it came to pass, as they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.
5 Ye see, brethren, how envy and emulation wrought the death of a brother. For this, our father Jacob fled from the face of his brother Esau.
6 It was this that caused Joseph to be persecuted even unto death, and to come into bondage. Envy forced Moses to flee from the
face of Pharoah king of Egypt, when he heard his own countryman ask him, "Who made thee a Judge, and a ruler over us? Wilt thou kill me as thou didst the
7 Through envy Aaron and Miriam were shut out of the camp, from the rest of the congregation
8 Emulation's sent Dathan and Abiram quick into the grave because they raised up a sedition against Moses the servant of God.
9 For this, David was not
only hated of strangers, but was persecuted even by Saul the king of Israel.
10 But not to insist upon ancient examples, let us come to those worthies that have been nearest to us; and take the brave
examples of our own age.
11 Through zeal and envy, the most faithful and righteous pillars of the church have been persecuted even to the most grievous deaths.
12 Let us set before our eyes, the holy Apostles; Peter by unjust envy underwent not one or two, but many sufferings; till at last being martyred, he went to the place of glory that was due unto him.
13 For the same cause did
Paul in like manner receive the reward of his patience. Seven times he was in bonds; he was whipped, was stoned; he preached both in the East and in the West; leaving behind him the glorious report of his faith:
14 And so having taught the whole world righteousness, and for that end travelled even to the utmost bounds of the West; he at last suffered martyrdom by the command of the governors,
15 And departed out of the world, and went unto his holy place; having become a most eminent pattern of patience unto all ages.
16 To these Holy Apostles were joined a very great number of others, who having through envy undergone in like manner many pains and torments, have left a glorious example to us.
17 For this, not only men but women have been persecuted; and having suffered very grievous and cruel punishments, have finished the course of their faith with firmness; and though weak in body, yet received a glorious reward.
18 This has alienated the
minds even of women from their husbands; and changed what was once said by our father Adam; This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh.
19 In a word, envy and strife, have overturned whole cities, and rooted out great nations from off the earth.CHAPTER IV. 4 He exhorts them to live by holy rules, and repent of their divisions, and they shall be forgiven.
THESE things, beloved, we write unto you, not only for your instruction, but also for our own remembrance.
2 For we are all in the same lists, and the same combat is prepared for us all.
3 Wherefore let us lay aside all vain and empty cares; and let us come up to the glorious and venerable rule of our holy calling.
4 Let us consider what is good, and acceptable and well-pleasing in the sight of him that made us.
5 Let us look steadfastly to the blood of Christ, and see how precious his blood is in the sight of God: which being shed for our salvation, has obtained the grace of repentance for all the world. 6 Let us search into all the
ages that have gone before us; and learn that our Lord has in every one of them still given place for repentance to all such as would turn to him.
7 Noah preached repentance; and as many as hearkened to him were saved. Jonah denounced destruction against the Ninevites.
8 Howbeit they repenting of
their sins, appeased God by their prayers: and were saved, though they were strangers to the covenant of God.
9 Hence we find how all the ministers of the grace of God have spoken by the Holy Spirit of repentance. And even the Lord of all, has himself declared with an oath concerning it;
10 As I live, saith the Lord, I desire not the death of a sinner, but that he should repent. Adding farther this good sentence, saying Turn from your iniquity, O house of Israel.
11 Say unto the children of
my people, though your sins should reach from earth to heaven; and though they shall be redder than scarlet, and blacker than sackcloth yet if ye shall turn to me with all your heart, and shall call me father, I will hearken to you, as to a holy people.
12 And in another place he saith on this wise: wash ye, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the
oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.
13 Come now and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be as red as crimson, they shall be as wool.
14 If ye be willing and obedient ye shall eat the good of the land but, if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword; for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.
15 These things has God
established by his Almighty will, desiring that all his beloved should come to repentance.
WHEREFORE let us obey his excellent and glorious will;
and imploring his mercy and goodness, let us fall down upon our faces before him, and cast ourselves upon his mercy; laying aside all vanity, and contention, and envy which leads unto death.
2 Let us look up to those who have the most perfectly ministered to his excellent glory. Let us
take Enoch for our example; who being found righteous in obedience, was translated, and his death was not known.
3 Noah being proved to be
faithful, did by his ministry, preach regeneration to the world; and the Lord saved by him all the living creatures, that went with one accord into the ark.
4 Abraham, who was called God's friend, was in like manner found faithful; inasmuch as he obeyed the commands of God.
5 By obedience he went out of his own country, and from his own kindred, and from his father's house; that so forsaking a small country, and a weak affinity, and a little house, he might inherit the promises of God.
6 For thus God said unto him; "get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will show thee."
7 "And, I will make thee a great nation, and will bless thee, and make thy name great, and thou shalt be blessed. And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curse thee; and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed,"
8 And again when he separated himself from Lot, God said unto him; I Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward, for all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever.
9 And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth, so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered.
10 And again he saith: and God brought forth Abraham, and said unto him; look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: so shall thy seed be.
11 And Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness.
12 Through faith and hospitality he had a son given him in his old age; and through obedience he offered him up in sacrifice to God, upon one of the mountains which God showed into him.CHAPTER VI. 1 Redemption for such as have been eminent for their faith, kindness, and charity to their neighbours.
BY hospitality and goodliness was Lot saved out of Sodom,
when all the country round about was destroyed by fire and brimstone.
2 The Lord thereby making it manifest, that he will not forsake those that trust in him; but will bring the disobedient to punishment and correction.
3 For his wife who went out
with him, being of a different
mind, and not continuing in the same obedience, was for that reason set forth for an example, being turned into a pillar of salt
unto this day.
4 That so all men may know, that those who are double minded, and distrustful of the power of God, are prepared for condemnation, and to be a sign to all succeeding ages.
5 By faith and hospitality was Rahab the harlot saved. For when the spies were sent by Joshua the son of Nun to search out Jericho, and the king of Jericho knew that they were come to spy out his country, he sent men to take them, so that they might be put to
6 Rahab therefore, being hospitable, received them, and hid them under the stalks of flax, on the top of her house.
7 And when the messengers that were sent by the king came unto her, and asked her, saying,
There came men unto thee to spy out the land, bring them forth, for so hath the king commanded: She answered, The two men whom ye seek came unto me, but presently they departed, and are gone: Not discovering them unto them.
8 Then she said to the spies, I know that the Lord your God has given this city into your hands; for the fear of you is fallen upon all that dwell therein. When, therefore, ye shall have taken it, ye shall save me and my father's house.
9 And they answered her, saying, It shall be as thou hast spoken unto us, Therefore, when thou shalt know that we are near, thou shalt gather all thy family together, upon the house-top and they shall be saved: but all that shall be found without thy house shall be destroyed.
10 And they gave her moreover a sign, that she should hang out of her house a scarlet rope, showing thereby, that by the blood of our Lord, there should be redemption to all that believe and hope in God. Ye see, beloved, how there was not only faith, but prophesy too in this woman. CHAPTER VII.1 What rules are given for leading a holy life.
LET us, therefore, humble ourselves, brethren, laying aside all pride, and boasting, and foolishness, and anger: And let us do as it
2 For thus saith the Holy Spirit; Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, nor the strong man in his strength, nor the rich man in his riches; but let him that glorieth, glory in the Lord, to seek him, and to do judgment and justice.
3 Above all, remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, which he spake concerning equity and long suffering, saying,
4 Be ye merciful, and ye shall obtain mercy; forgive, and ye shall be forgiven; as ye do, so shall it be done unto you; as ye give, so shall it be given unto you; as ye judge, so shall ye be judged; as ye are kind to others, so shall God be kind to you; with what measure ye mete, with the same shall it be measured to you again.
5 By this command, and by these rules, let us establish ourselves, that so we may always walk obediently to his holy words; being humble minded:
6 For so says the Holy Scripture; upon whom shall I look, even upon him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and that trembles at my word.
7 It is, therefore, just and righteous, men and brethren, that we should become obedient unto God, rather than follow such as through pride and sedition, have made
themselves the ring-leaders of
a detestable emulation.
8 For it is not an ordinary harm that we shall do ourselves, but rather a very great danger that we shall run, if we shall rashly give up ourselves to the wills of men, who promote strife and seditions, to turn us aside from that which is fitting.
9 But let us be kind to one
another, according to the compassion and sweetness of him that made us.
10 For it is written, The merciful shall inherit the earth; and they that are without evil shall be left upon it: but the transgressors shall perish from off the face of it.
11 And again he saith, I have seen the wicked in great power and spreading himself like the cedar of Libanus. I passed by, and lo! he was not; I sought his place, but it could not be found.
12 Keep innocently, and do the thing that is right, for there shall be a remnant to the peaceable man.
13 Let us, therefore, hold fast to those who religiously follow peace; and not to such as only pretend to desire.
14 For he saith in a certain place, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.15 And again, They bless with their mouths, but curse in their hearts.
16 And again he saith, They loved him with their mouths, and with their tongues they lied to him. For their heart was not right with him, neither were they faithful in his covenant.
17 Let all deceitful lips become dumb, and the tongue that speaketh proud things. Who have said, with our tongue will we prevail; our lips are our own, who is Lord over us?
18 For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now will I arise saith the Lord; I will set him in safety, I will deal confidently with him.CHAPTER VIII. He advises then, to be humble, and, follow the examples of Jesus, and of holy men in all ages.
FOR Christ is theirs who are humble, and not who exalt
themselves over his flock. The sceptre of the majesty of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, came not in the show of pride and arrogance, though he could have done so; but with humility as the Holy Ghost had before spoken
2 For thus he saith, Lord, who hath believed our report, and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed; For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground;
3 He hath no form or comeliness, and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
4 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
5 And we hid, as it were, our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
6 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
7 But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
8 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
9 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter; and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
10 He was taken from prison and from judgment; and who shall declare this generation? For he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
11 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
12 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
13 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
14 Therefore will I divide him
a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the
strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death; and he was numbered with the transgressors, and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the
15 And again he himself saith, I am a worm and no man, a reproach of men, and despised of the people. All they that see me laugh me to scorn; they shoot out their lips, they shake their heads, saying; He trusted in the Lord that he would deliver him, let him
deliver him seeing he delighted in him.
16 Ye see, beloved, what the pattern is that has been given to us. For if the Lord thus humbled himself, what should we do who are brought by him under the yoke of his grace?
17 Let us be followers of those who went about in goat-skins, and sheep-skins; preaching the coming of Christ.
18 Such were Elias, and Eliaxus, and Ezekiel, the prophets,
And let us add to these, such others as have received the like testimony.
19 Abraham has been greatly witnessed of; having been called the friend of God. And yet he steadfastly beholding the glory of God, says with all humility, I am dust and ashes.
20 Again of Job, it is thus
written, That he was just, and without blame, true; one that served God, and abstained from all evil. Yet he accusing himself, said, No man is free from pollution, no, not though he should live but one day.
21 Moses was called faithful in all God's House; and by his conduct the Lord punished Israel by stripes and plagues.
22 And even this man, though thus greatly honoured, spake not greatly of himself; but when the oracle of God was delivered to him out of the bush, he said, Who am I, that thou dost send me? I am of a slender voice, and a slow tongue.23 And again he saith, I am as the smoke of the pot.
24 And what shall we say of
David, so highly testified of in the Holy Scriptures? To whom God said, I have found a man after my own heart, David the son of Jesse, with my holy oil have I anointed him.
25 But yet he himself saith unto God, Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving kindness; according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies, blot out my transgressions.
26 Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.
27 Against Thee only have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight; that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest; and be clear when thou judgest.
28 Behold I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.
29 Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts; and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.
30 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
31 Make me to hear joy and gladness, that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.
32 Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart O God; and renew a right spirit
34 Cast me not away from thy presence, and take not thy holy spirit from me.
35 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me with thy free spirit.
36 Then will I teach transgressors thy ways, and sinners shall be converted unto thee.
37 Deliver me from blood-guiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation; and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.38 O Lord open thou my lips, and my mouth shall show forth thy praise.
39 For thou desirest not sacrifice, else would I give it; thou
delightest not in burnt-offerings.
40 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.CHAPTER IX. He again persuades them to compose their divisions.
THUS has the humility and
godly fear of these great
and excellent men recorded in the Scriptures, through obedience, made not only us, but also the generations before us better; even as many as have received his holy oracles with fear and truth.
2 Having therefore so many, and such great and glorious examples, let us return to that peace which was the mark that from the beginning was set before us;
3 Let us look up to the Father and Creator of the whole world; and let us hold fast to his glorious and exceeding gifts and benefits of peace.
4 Let us consider and behold with the eyes of our understanding his long suffering will; and think how gentle and patient he is towards his whole creation.
5 The heavens moving by his appointment, are subject to him in peace.
6 Day and night accomplish the courses that he has allotted unto them, not disturbing one another.
7 The sun and moon, and all the several companies and constellations of the stars, run the courses that he has appointed to them in concord, without departing in the least from them.
8 The fruitful earth yields its
food plentifully in due season both to man and beast, and to all animals that are upon it, according to his will; not disputing, nor altering any thing of what was ordered by him.
9 So also the unfathomable and unsearchable floods of the deep, are kept in by his command;
10 And the conflux of the vast sea, being brought together by his order into its several collections, passes not the bounds that he has set to it;
11 But as he appointed it, so it remains. For he said, Hitherto shalt then come, and thy floods shall be broken within thee.
12 The ocean impassable to mankind, and the worlds that are beyond it are governed by the same commands of their great master.
13 Spring and summer, autumn and winter, give place peaceably to each other.
14 The several quarters of the winds fulfil their work in their seasons, without offending one another.
15 The ever-flowing fountains, made both for pleasure and health, never fail to reach out their breasts to support the life of men.
16 Even the smallest creatures live together in peace and concord with each other.
17 All these has the Great Creator and Lord of all, commanded to observe peace and concord; being good to all.
18 But especially to us who flee to his mercy through our Lord Jesus Christ; to whom be glory and majesty for ever and ever. Amen.CHAPTER X. He exhorts them to obedience, from the consideration of the goodness of God, and of his presence in every place.
TAKE heed, beloved, that his many blessings be not to our condemnation; except we shall walk worthy of him, doing with one consent what is good and pleasing in his sight.
2 The spirit of the Lord is a candle, searching out the inward parts of the belly.
3 Let us therefore consider how near he is to us; and how that none of our thoughts, or reasonings which we frame within ourselves, are hid from him,
4 It is therefore just that we should not forsake our rank, by doing contrary to his will.
5 Let us choose to offend a few foolish and inconsiderate men, lifted up and glorying in their own pride, rather than God. 6 Let us reverence our Lord Jesus Christ whose blood was given for us.
7 Let us honour those who are set over us; let us respect the aged that are amongst us; and let us instruct the younger men, in the discipline and fear of the LORD.8 Our wives let us direct, to do that which is good.
9 Let them show forth a lovely habit of purity, in all their conversation; with a sincere affection of meekness.
10 Let the government of their tongues be made manifest by their silence.
11 Let their charity be without respect of persons, alike towards all such as religiously fear God.12 Let your children be bred up in the instruction of Christ:
13 And especially let them learn how great a power humility has with God; how much a pure and holy charity avails with him; how excellent and great his fear is; and how it will save all such as turn to him with holiness in a pure mind.
14 For he is the searcher of the thoughts and counsels of the heart; whose breath is in us, and when he pleases he can take it from us.
CHAP. XI. Of faith: and particularly what we are to believe as to the Resurrection.
BUT all these things must be confirmed by the faith which is in Christ; for so He himself bespeaks us by the Holy Ghost;
2 Come ye children and hearken unto me, and I will teach you the fear of the Lord. What man is there that desireth life, and loveth to see good days?
3 Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips that they speak no guile.4 Depart from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.
5 The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers.
6 But the face of the Lord is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.
7 The righteous cried, and the Lord heard him, and delivered him out of all his troubles.
8 Many are the troubles of the wicked; but they that trust in the Lord mercy shall encompass them about.
9 Our all-merciful and beneficent Father hath bowels of compassion towards them that fear him: and kindly and lovingly bestows his graces upon all such as come to him with a simple mind.
10 Wherefore let us not waver, neither let us have any doubt in our hearts, of his excellent and glorious gifts.
11 Let that be far from us
which is written, Miserable are the double-minded, and those who are doubtful in their hearts;
12 Who say these things have we heard, and our fathers have told us these things. But behold we are grown old, and none of them has happened unto us.
13 O ye fools consider the trees: take the vine for an example. First it sheds its leaves; then it buds; after that it spreads its leaves; then it flowers; then come the sour grapes; and after them follows the ripe fruit. See how in a little time the fruit of the trees comes to maturity.
14 Of a truth yet a little while and his will shall suddenly be accomplished.
15 The Holy Scripture itself
bearing witness, that He shall quickly come and not tardy, and that the Lord shall suddenly come to his temple, even the 3 holy ones whom ye look for.
16 Let us consider, beloved, how the Lord does continually show us, that there shall be a future resurrection; of which he has made our Lord Jesus Christ the first fruits, raising him from the dead.
17 Let us contemplate, beloved, the resurrection that is continually made before our eyes.
18 Day and night manifest a resurrection to us. The night lies down, and the day arises: again the day departs and the night comes on.
19 Let us behold the fruits of the earth. Every one sees how the seed is sown. The sower goes forth, and casts it upon the earth; and the seed which when it was sown fell upon the earth dry and naked, in time dissolves.
20 And from the dissolution, the great power of the providence of the Lord rises it again; and of one seed many arise, and bring forth fruit.CHAPTER XII. The Resurrection further proved.
LET us consider that wonderful type of the resurrection which is seen in the Eastern countries: that is to say, in Arabia.
2 There is a certain bird called a Phoenix; of this there is never but one at a time: and that lives five hundred years. And when the time of its dissolution draws near, that it must die, it makes itself a nest of frankincense, and myrrh, and other spices into which when its time is fulfilled it enters and dies.
3 But its flesh putrefying, breeds a certain worm, which being nourished with the juice of the dead bird
brings forth feathers; and when it is grown to a perfect state,
it takes up the nest in which
the bones of its parent lie, and
carries it from Arabia into Egypt, to a city called Heliopolis:
4 And flying in open day in the sight of all men, lays it upon the altar of the sun, and so returns from whence it came.
5 The priests then search into the records of the time: and find that it returned precisely at the end of five hundred years.
6 And shall we then think it to be any very great and strange thing for the Lord of all to raise up those that religiously serve him in the assurance of a good faith, when even by a bird he shows us the greatness of his power to fulfil his promise?
7 For he says in a certain place, Thou shalt raise me up and I shall confess unto thee.
8 And again, I laid me down and slept, and awaked, because thou art with me.
9 And again, Job says, Thou shalt raise up this flesh of mine, that has suffered all these things.
10 Having therefore this hope, let us hold fast to him who is faithful in all his promises, and righteous in all his judgments; who has commanded us not to lie, how much more will he not
12 Let his faith then be stirred up again in us; and let us consider that all things are nigh unto him.
13 By the word of his power he made all things: and by the same word he is able, (whenever he will,) to destroy them.
14 Who shall say unto him, what dost thou? or who shall resist the power of his strength?
15 When, and as he pleased, he will do all things; and nothing shall pass away of all that has been determined by him.
16 All things are open before him; nor can anything be hid from his counsel.
17 The heavens declare the
glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handy work. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth
knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard.
SEEING then all things are seen and heard by God, let us fear him, and let us lay aside our wicked works which proceed from ill desires; that through his mercy we may be delivered from the condemnation to come.
2 For whither can any of us flee from his mighty hand? Or what world shall receive any of those who run away from him?
3 For thus saith the Scripture in a certain place. Whither shall I flee from thy spirit, or where shall I hide myself from thy presence?
4 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there; if I shall go to the uttermost parts of the earth, there is thy right hand: if I shall make my bed in the deep, thy Spirit is there.
5 Whither then shall any one go; or whither shall he run from him that comprehends all things?
6 Let us therefore come to him with holiness of heart, lifting up chaste and undefiled hands unto him; loving our gracious and merciful Father, who has made us to partake of his election.
7 For so it is written, When the Most High divided the nations; when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the nations, according to the number of his angels; his people Jacob became the portion of the Lord, and Israel the lot of his
8 And in another place he saith, Behold the Lord taketh unto himself a nation, out of the midst of the nations, as a man taketh the first- fruits of his flour; and the Most Holy shall come out of that nation.CHAPTER XIV. How we must live that we may please God.
WHEREFORE we being apart of the Holy One: let us do
all those things that pertain unto holiness:
2 Fleeing all evil-speaking
against one another; all filthy and impure embraces, together with all drunkenness, youthful lusts, abominable concupiscences,
detestable adultery, and
3 For God saith, he resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble.
4 Let us therefore hold fast to those to whom God has given his grace.
5 And let us put on concord, being humble, temperate; free from all whispering and detraction; and justified by our actions, not our words.
6 For he saith, Doth he that speaketh and heareth many things, and is of a ready tongue, suppose that he is righteous? Blessed is he that is born of a woman, that liveth but a few days: use not therefore much speech.
7 Let our praise be of God, not of ourselves; for God hateth those that commend themselves.
8 Let the witness of our good actions be given to us by others, as it was given to the holy men that went before us.
9 Rashness, and arrogance, and confidence, belong to them who are accursed of God: but equity, and humility, and mildness, to such as are blessed by him.
10 Let us then lay hold of his blessing, and let as consider what are the ways by which we may attain unto it.
11 Let us look back upon those things that have happened from the beginning.12 For what was our Father
Abraham blessed? Was it not because that through faith he wrought righteousness and truth?
13 Isaac being fully persuaded of what he knew was to come, cheerfully yielded himself up for a sacrifice. Jacob with humility departed out of his own country, fleeing from his brother, and went unto Laban and served him; and so the sceptre of the twelve tribes of Israel was given unto him.
14 Now what the greatness of this gift was, will plainly appear, if we shall take the pains distinctly to consider all the parts of it.
15 For, from him came the priests and Levites; who all ministered at the altar of God.
16 From him came our Lord Jesus Christ, according to the flesh.17 From him came the kings, and princes, and rulers in Judah.
18 Nor were the rest of his tribes in any little glory: God having promised that their seed shall be as the stars of heaven.
19 They were all therefore greatly glorified, not for their own sake, or for their own works, or for the righteousness that they themselves wrought, but through his will.
20 And we also being called by the same will in Christ Jesus, are not justified by ourselves, neither by our own wisdom, or knowledge, or piety, or the works which we have done in the holiness of our hearts.
21 But by that faith, by which God Almighty has justified all men from the beginning; to whom be glory for ever and ever, Amen.CHAPTER XV.
We are justified by faith; yet this must not lessen our care to live a virtuous life, nor our pleasure in it.
WHAT shall we do therefore, brethren? Shall we be slothful in well-doing, and lay aside our charity? God forbid that any such thing should be done by us.
2 But rather let us hasten with all earnestness and readiness of mind, to perfect every good work. For even the Creator and Lord of all things himself rejoices in his own works.
3 By his Almighty power he fixed the heavens, and by his incomprehensible wisdom he adorned them.
4 He also divided the earth from the water, with which it is encompassed: and fixed it as a secure tower, upon the foundation of his own will.
5 He also by his appointment, commanded all the living creatures that are upon it, to exist.
6 So likewise the sea, and all the creatures that are in it;
having first created them, he
enclosed them therein by his power.
7 And above all, he with his holy and pure hands, formed man, the most excellent; and, as to his understanding, truly the greatest of all other creatures; the character of his own image.
8 For thus God says; Let us make man in our image, after our own likeness; so God created man, male and female created he them.
9 And having thus finished all these things, he commended all that he had made, and blessed them, and said, increase and multiply.
10 We see how all righteous men have been adorned with good works Wherefore even the Lord himself, having adorned himself with his works, rejoiced.
11 Having therefore such an example, let us without delay, fulfil his will; and with all our strength, work the work of righteousness.CHAPTER XVI.
A virtuous life enforced from the examples
of the holy angels, and from the exceeding
greatness of that reward which God has prepared for us.
THE good workman with
confidence receives the bread of his labour; but the sluggish and lazy cannot look him in the face that set him on work.
2 We must therefore be ready and forward in well-doing: for from him are all things.
3 And thus he foretells us,
behold the Lord cometh, and his reward is with him, even before his face, to render to everyone according to his work.
4 He warns us therefore beforehand, with all his heart to this end, that we should not be slothful and negligent in well-doing.
5 Let our boasting, therefore, and our confidence be in God let us submit ourselves to his will, Let us consider the whole multitude of his angels, how ready they stand to minister unto his will.
6 As saith the Scripture,
thousands of thousands stood before him and ten thousand times ten thousand ministered unto him. And they cried, saying, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; The whole earth is full of his glory.
7 Wherefore let us also, being conscientiously gathered together in concord with one another; as it were with one mouth, cry, earnestly unto him, that he would make us partakers of his great and glorious promises.
8 For he saith, a Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that wait for him,CHAPTER XVII.
1 We must attain the gifts of God by faith and obedience, which we must carry on in an orderly pursuing of the duties of our several stations, without envy or contention. 24 The necessity of different orders among men.
33 We have none of us anything but what we received of God: whom therefore we ought in every condition thankfully to obey.
2 Life in immortality! brightness in righteousness! truth in full assurance! faith in confidence! temperance in holiness!3 And all this has God subjected to our understandings:
4 What therefore shall those things be which he has prepared for them that wait for him?
5 The Creator and Father of spirits, the Most Holy; he only knows both the greatness and beauty of them,
6 Let us therefore strive with all earnestness, that we may be found in the number of those that wait for him, that so we may receive the reward which he has promised.
7 But how, beloved, shall we do this? We must fix our minds by faith towards God, and seek those things that are pleasing and acceptable unto him.
8 We must act conformably to his holy will; and follow the way of truth, casting off from us all unrighteousness and iniquity, together with all covetousness, strife, evil manners, deceit,
whispering, detractions; all
hatred of God, pride and boasting; vain-glory and ambition;
9 For they that do these things are odious to God; and not only they that do them, but also all such as approve of those that do them.
10 For thus saith the Scripture, But unto the wicked, God said, What hast thou to do to declare my statute, or that thou shouldst take my covenant in thy mouth? Seeing that thou hatest instruction, and castest my words behind thee.
11 When thou sawest a thief, then thou consentedst with him; thou hast been partaker with adulterers, Thou givest thy mouth to evil, and thy tongue frameth deceit. Thou sittest and speakest against thy brother; thou slanderest thine own mother's son.
12 These things hast thou done and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such a one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes.
13 Now consider this ye that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver.
14 Whose offereth praise, glorifieth me; And to him that disposeth his way aright, will I show the salvation of God.
15 This is the way, beloved, in which we may find our Saviour, even Jesus Christ, the high-priest of all our offerings, the defender and helper of our weakness.
16 By him we look up to the highest heavens; and behold, as in a glass, his spotless and most excellent visage.
17 By him are the eyes of our hearts opened; by him our foolish and darkened understanding rejoiceth to behold his wonderful light.
18 By him would God have us to taste the knowledge of
immortality: who being the
brightness of his glory, is by so much greater than the angels, as he has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
19 For so it is written, who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire:
20 But to his son, thus saith the Lord, Thou art my Son, to-day have I begotten thee.
21 Ask of me and I will give
thee the heathen for thy inheritance, and the utmost parts of the earth for thy possession.
22 And again he saith unto him, Sit thou on my right hand until I make thine enemies thy
23 But who are his enemies? even the wicked, and such who oppose their own wills to the will of God.
24 Let us therefore march-on, men and brethren, with all earnestness in his holy laws.
25 Let us consider those who fight under our, earthly governors How orderly, how readily, and with what exact obedience they perform those things that are commanded them.
26 All are not generals, nor colonels, nor captains, nor inferior officers:
27 But everyone in his respective rank does what is commanded him by the king, and those who have the authority over him.
28 They who are great, cannot subsist without those that are little; nor the little without the great;
29 But there must be a mixture in all things, and then there will be use and profit too.
30 Let us, for example, take our body: the head without the feet is nothing, neither the feet without the head.
31 And even the smallest members of our body are yet both necessary and useful to the whole body.
32 But all conspire together, and are subject to one common use, namely, the preservation of the whole body.
33 Let therefore our whole body by saved in Christ Jesus; and let everyone be subject to his neighbour, according to the order in which he is placed by the gift of God.
34 Let not the strong man despise the weak; and let the weak see that he reverence the strong.
35 Let the rich man distribute to the necessity of the poor; and let the poor bless God, that he has given one unto him, by whom his want may be supplied.
36 Let the wise man show forth his wisdom, not in words, but in good works.
37 Let him that is humble, not bear witness to himself, but let him leave it to another to bear witness of him.
38 Let him that is pure in the flesh, not grow proud of it, knowing that it was from another that he received the gift of continence.
39 Let us consider therefore, brethren, whereof we are made; who, and what kind of men we came into the world, as it were out of a sepulchre, and from outer darkness.
40 He hath made us, and formed us, brought us into his own world; having presented us with his benefits, even before we were born.
41 Wherefore, having received all these things from him, we ought in everything to give thanks unto him, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.CHAPTER XVIII. Clement therefore exhorts them to do everything orderly in the Church, as the only way to please God.
FOOLISH and unwise men, who have neither prudence, nor learning, may mock and deride us; being willing to set up
themselves in their own conceits.
2 But what can a mortal man do? Or what strength is there in him that is made out of the dust?
3 For it is written, there was no shape before mine eyes; only I heard a sound and a voice.
4 For what? Shall man be pure before the Lord? Shall he be blameless in his works?
5 Behold, he trusteth not in his servants; and his angels he chargeth with folly.
6 Yes, the heaven is not clean in his sight, how much less they that dwell in houses of clay; of which also we ourselves were made?
7 He smote them as a moth: and from morning even unto the evening they endure not. Because they were not able to help
themselves, they perished;
he breathed upon them and they died, because they had no wisdom.
8 Call now if there be any that will answer thee; and to which of the angels wilt thou look?
9 For wrath killeth the foolish man, and envy slayeth him that is in error.
10 I have seen the foolish taking root, but lo, their habitation was presently consumed.
11 Their children were far from safety, they perished at the gates of those who were lesser than themselves: and there was no man to help them.
12 For what was prepared for them, the righteous did eat; and they shall not be delivered from evil.
13 Seeing then these things are manifest unto us, it will behove us to take care that looking into the depths of the divine knowledge, we do all things in order,
whatsoever our Lord has commanded us to do.
14 And particularly that we
perform our offerings and service to God, at their appointed seasons for these he has commanded to be done, not rashly and disorderly, but at certain determinate times and hours.
15 And therefore he has ordained by his supreme will and authority, both where, and by what persons, they are to be performed; that so all things being piously done unto all well-pleasing, they may be acceptable unto him.
16 They therefore who make their offerings at the appointed seasons, are happy and accepted; because through obeying the commandments of the Lord, they are free from sin.
17 And the same care must be had of the persons that minister unto him.
18 For the chief-priest has his proper services; and to the priest their proper place is appointed; and to the Levites appertain their proper ministries; and the layman is confined within the bounds of what is commanded to laymen.
19 Let every one of you therefore, brethren, bless God in his proper station, with a good conscience, and with all gravity, not exceeding the rule of his service that is appointed to him.
20 The daily sacrifices are not offered everywhere; nor the peace- offerings, nor the sacrifices
appointed for sins and transgressions; but only at Jerusalem: nor in any place there, but only at the altar before the temple; that which is offered being first diligently
examined by the high-priest and the other minister we before
21 They therefore who do any thing which is not agreeable to his will, are punished with death.
22 Consider, brethren, that by how much the better knowledge God has vouchsafed unto us, by so much the greater danger are we exposed to.CHAPTER XIX.
The orders of Ministers in Christ's Church established by the Apostles, according to Christ's command, 7 after the example of Moses.
16 Therefore they who have been duly placed in the ministry according to their order, cannot without great sin be put out of it.
THE Apostles have preached to us from the Lord Jesus Christ Jesus Christ from God.
2 Christ therefore was sent by God, the Apostles by Christ; so both were orderly sent, according to the will of God.
3 For having received their command, and being thoroughly assured by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, and convinced by the word of God, with the fulness of the Holy Spirit, they went abroad, publishing, That the kingdom of God was at hand.
4 And thus preaching through countries and cities, they appointed the first fruits of their conversion to be bishops and ministers over such as should afterwards believe, having first proved them by the Spirit.
5 Nor was this any new thing; seeing that long before it was written concerning bishops and deacons.
6 For thus saith the Scripture, in a certain place; I will appoint their overseers in righteousness, and their ministers in faith. 7 And what wonder if they, to whom such a work was committed by God in Christ, established such officers as we before mentioned; when even that blessed and faithful servant in all his house, Moses, set down in the Holy Scriptures all things that were commanded him.
8 Whom also all the rest of the prophets followed, bearing witness with one consent to those things that were appointed by him.
9 For he, perceiving an emulation to arise among the tribes concerning the priesthood, and that there was a strife about it, which of them
should be adorned with that glorious name; commanded their twelve captains to bring to him twelve rods; every tribe being written upon its rod,
according to its name,
10 And he took them and bound them together, and sealed them with the seals of the twelve princes of the tribes: and laid them up in the tabernacle of witness, upon the table of God.
11 And when he had shut the door of the tabernacle, he sealed up the keys of it, in like manner as he had done the rods; and said unto them, Men and brethren, whichsoever tribe shall have its rod blossom, that tribe has God chosen to perform the office of a priest, and to minister unto him in holy things.
12 And when the morning was come, he called together all Israel, six hundred thousand men; and showed to the princes their seals and opened the tabernacle of witness; and brought forth the rods.
13 And the rod of Aaron was found not only to have blossomed, but also to have fruit upon it.
14 What think you, beloved? Did not Moses before know what should happen?
15 Yes verily: but to the end there might be no division, nor tumult in Israel, he did in this manner, that the name of the true and only God might be glorified; to whom be honour for ever and ever, Amen.
16 So likewise our Apostles
knew by our Lord Jesus Christ, that there should contentions arise, upon account of the ministry.
17 And therefore having a perfect fore-knowledge of this, they
appointed persons, as we have before said, and then a gave
direction, how, when they should die, other chosen and approved men should succeed in their ministry.
18 Wherefore we cannot think that those may justly be thrown out of their ministry, who were either appointed by them, or
afterwards chosen by other eminent men, with the consent of the whole church; and who have with all lowliness and innocency ministered to the flock of Church, in peace, and without self-interest, and were for a long time commended by all.
19 For it would be no small sin in us, should we cast off those from their ministry, who holily and without blame fulfil the duties of it.
20 Blessed are those priests, who having finished their course before these times, have obtained a fruitful and perfect dissolution for they have no fear, lest any one should turn them out of the place which is now appointed for them.
21 But we see how you have put out some, who lived reputably among you, from the ministry, which by their innocence they had adorned.CHAPTER XX.
He exerts them to peace from examples out of the Holy Scriptures,
20 particularly from St. Paul's exhortation to them.
YE are contentious, brethren, and zealous for things that pertain not unto salvation.
2 Look into the Holy Scriptures, which are the true words of the Holy Ghost. Ye know that there is nothing unjust or counterfeit written in them.
3 There you shall not find that righteous men were ever cast off by such as were good themselves.4 They were persecuted, but it was by the wicked and unjust.
5 They were cast into prison, but they were cast in by those that were unholy.6 They were stoned, but it was by transgressors.
7 They were killed, but by accursed men, and such as had taken up an unjust envy against them.8 And all these things they underwent gloriously.
9 For what shall we say,
brethren? Was Daniel cast into the den of lions, by men fearing God? Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, were they cast into the fiery furnace by men, professing the excellent and glorious worship of the Most High? God forbid.
10 What kind of persons then were they that did these things? They were men abominable, full of all wickedness; who were incensed; to so great a degree, as to bring those into sufferings, who with a holy and unblameable purpose of mind worshipped God: not knowing that the Most High is the protector and defender of all such as with a pure conscience serve his holy name: to whom be glory for ever and ever, Amen.
11 But they who with a full persuasion have endured these things, are made partakers of glory and honour: and are exalted and lifted up by God for a memorial throughout all ages, Amen.
12 Wherefore it will behove us also, brethren, to follow such examples as these; for it is written, Hold fast to such as are holy; for they that do so shall be sanctified.
13 And again in another place he saith, With the pure, thou shalt be pure (and with the elect thou shalt be elect,) but with, the
perverse man thou shalt be perverse.
14 Let us therefore join ourselves to the innocent and righteous; for such are the elect of God.
15 Wherefore are there strifes, and anger, and divisions, and schisms, and wars, among us?
16 Have we not all one God, and one Christ? Is not one spirit of grace poured out upon us all? Have we not one calling in Christ.
17 Why then do we rent and
tear in pieces the members of
Christ; and raise seditious against our own body? And are come to such a height of madness, as to forget that we were members one of another?
18 Remember the words of our Lord Jesus, (how he said, Woe to that man by whom offences come). It, were better for him that he had never been born, than that he should have offended one of my elect. It were better for him, that a mill-stone should be tied about his neck, and he should be cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of my
19 Your schism has perverted many, has discouraged many: it has caused diffidence in many, and grief in us all. And yet your
sedition continues still.
20 Take the Epistle of the
blessed Paul the Apostle into your hands; What was It that he wrote to you at his first preaching the Gospel among you?
21 Verily he did by the spirit admonish you concerning himself, and Cephas, and Apollos, because that even then ye had begun to fall into parties and factions among yourselves.
22 Nevertheless your partiality then led you into a much less sin forasmuch as ye placed your affections upon Apostles, men of eminent reputation in the church; and upon another, who was greatly tried and approved of by them.
23 But consider, we pray you, who are they that have now led you astray; and lessened the reputation of that brotherly love that was so eminent among you;
24 It is a shame, my beloved, yea, a very great shame, and unworthy of your Christian profession, to hear that the most firm and ancient church of the Corinthians should, by one or two persons, be led into a sedition against its priests.
25 And this report is come not only to us, but to those also that differ from us.
26 Insomuch that the name of the Lord is blasphemed through your folly; and even ye yourselves are brought into danger by it.
27 Let us therefore with all haste put an end to this sedition; and let us fall down before the Lord, and beseech him with tears that he would be favourably reconciled to us, and restore us again to a seemly and holy course of brotherly love.
28 For this is the gate of
righteousness, opening unto life: As it is written, I Open unto me the gates of righteousness; I will go into them and will praise the Lord. This is the gate of the Lord, the righteous shall enter into it.
29 Although therefore many gates are opened, yet this gate of righteousness is that gate in Christ at which blessed are they that enter in, and direct their way in holiness and righteousness; doing all things without disorder.
30 Let a man be faithful, let him be powerful in the utterance of knowledge; let him be wise in making an exact judgment of words; let him be pure in all his actions.
31 But still by how much the more he seems to be above others, by reason of these things, by so much the more will it behove him to be humble-minded; and to seek what is profitable to all men, and not his own advantage.CHAPTER XXI.
1 The value which God, puts upon love and
unity: the effects of a true charity,
8 which is the gift of God, and must be obtained by prayer.
HE that has the love that is in Christ, let him keep the
commandments of Christ.
2 For who is able to express the obligation of the love of God? What man is sufficient to declare, and is fitting, the excellency of its beauty?3 The height to which charity leads, is inexpressible.
4 Charity unites us to God; charity covers the multitude of sins: charity endures all things; is long-suffering in all things.
5 There is nothing base and sordid in charity: charity lifts not itself up above others; admits of no divisions; is not seditious; but does all things in peace and concord.
6 By charity were all the elect of God made perfect: Without it nothing is pleasing and acceptable in the sight of God.
7 Through charity did the Lord join us into himself; whilst for the love that he bore towards us, our Lord Jesus Christ gave his own blood for us, by the will of God; his flesh for our flesh; his soul for our souls.
8 Ye see, beloved, how great and wonderful a thing charity is; and how that no expressions are sufficient to declare its perfection.
9 But who is fit to be found in it? Even such only as God shall vouchsafe to make so.
10 Let us therefore pray to him, and beseech him, that we may be worthy of it; that so we may live in charity; being unblameable, without human propensities, without respect of persons.
11 All the ages of the world, from Adam, even unto this day, are passed away; but they who have been made perfect in love, have by the grace of God obtained a place among the righteous; and shall be made manifest in the judgment of the kingdom of Christ.
12 For it is written, Enter into thy chambers for a little space, till my anger and indignation shall pass away: And I will remember the good day, and, will raise you up out of your graves.
13 Happy then shall we be, beloved, if we shall have fulfilled the commandments of God, in the unity of love; that so, through love, our sins may be forgiven us.
14 For so it is written, Blessed are they whose iniquities are
forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord imputeth no sin, and in whose mouth there is no guile.
15 Now this blessing is fulfilled in those who are chosen by God through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom be glory for ever and ever, Amen.CHAPTER XXII.
1 He exhorts such as have been concerned in these divisions to repent, and return to their unity, confessing their sin to God,
7 which he enforces from the example of Moses,
10 and of many among the heathen,
23 and of Judith and Esther among the Jews.
LET us therefore, as many as have transgressed by any of the suggestions of the adversary, beg God's forgiveness.
2 And as for those who have been the heads of the sedition and faction among you, let them look to the common end of our hope.
3 For as many as are endued with fear and charity, would rather they themselves should fall into trials than their neighbours: And choose to be themselves condemned, rather than that the good and just charity delivered to us, should suffer.
4 For it is seemly for a man to confess wherein he has transgressed.
5 And not to harden his heart, as the hearts of those were hardened, who raised up sedition against Moses the servant of God whose punishment was manifest unto all men, for they went down alive into the grave; death
swallowed them up.