Online Readings for Christian Origins courses



Diversity in Second-Temple Judean Culture: Josephus (c. 37-100 CE) on the “Judean Philosophies”

Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, 18.1.2-6.

2. The Judeans had three philosophies peculiar to themselves for a long time: that of the Essenes, that of the Sadducees, and the third sort of opinions was that of those called Pharisees.  Although I have already spoken about them in the second book of the Judean War, I will nonetheless touch upon them now. 3. The Pharisees live a minimalistic life-style, and despise delicacies in diet.  They follow the conduct of reason and what that prescribes to them as good for them they do.  They also think they ought earnestly to strive to observe reason’s dictates for practice. They also pay a respect to elders, nor are they so bold as to contradict them in any thing which they have introduced.  When they determine that all things are done by fate, they do not take away the freedom from men of acting as they think fit, since their notion is that it pleased God to make a temperament, whereby what he wills is done, but so that the will of man can act virtuously or viciously. They also believe that souls are immortal, and that under the earth there are rewards or punishments in accordance with whether they have lived virtuously or viciously in this life.  The latter are to be detained in an everlasting prison, but the former shall have power to revive and live again.  On account of these doctrines they are able to persuade the body of the people.  Whenever they engaged in worship, prayers, and sacrifices, they perform them according to their direction.  The cities give great attestations to them on account of their entire virtuous conduct, both in the actions of their lives and also their discourses.

4. But the doctrine of the Sadducees is this: That souls die with the bodies.  Nor do they regard the observation of any thing besides what the law enjoins them.  They think it is virtuous to dispute with those teachers of philosophy whom they frequent.  However, this doctrine is held by a few, yet by those still of the greatest dignity.  But they are able to do almost nothing of themselves, for when they become magistrates, as they are unwillingly and by force sometimes obliged to be, they addict themselves to the notions of the Pharisees, because the multitude would not otherwise bear them.

5. The doctrine of the Essenes is this: That all things are best ascribed to God. They teach the immortality of souls, and esteem that the rewards of righteousness are to be earnestly striven for.  When they send what they have dedicated to God into the temple, they do not offer sacrifices (3) because they have more pure lustrations of their own.  For this reason, they are excluded from the common court of the temple, but offer their sacrifices on their own.  Yet their way of life is better than that of other men.  They also dedicate themselves to agricultural work.  It also deserves our admiration how they exceed all other men that focus on virtue, and this in righteousness.  They do this to a degree that has never been seen among any other men, neither Greeks nor barbarians, no, not for a little time, so has it (virtue) endured a long time among them. This is demonstrated by that practice of theirs of having all things in common, so that a rich man enjoys no more of his own wealth than the one with nothing at all. There are about four thousand men that live in this way, and neither marry wives, nor are desirous to keep servants.  They think the latter tempts men to be unjust, and the former leads to domestic quarrels.  But as they live by themselves, they minister one to another. They also appoint certain stewards to receive the incomes of their revenues, and of the fruits of the ground.  These are good men and priests who prepare their corn and their food for them. . .

6. Judas the Galilean was the author  of the fourth of the philosophies. These men agree in all other things with the Pharisaic notions, but they have an inviolable attachment to freedom, and say that God is to be their only Ruler and Lord. They also do not value dying any kinds of death, nor indeed do they heed the deaths of their relations and friends, nor can any such fear make them call any man lord. And since this immovable resolution of theirs is well known to many, I will say nothing more about this matter.  I am not afraid that anything I have said about them would be disbelieved, but rather fear that what I have said is beneath the resolution they show when they undergo pain. And it was in Gessius Florus’s time that the nation began to grow mad with this view, who was our procurator, and who occasioned the Jews to go wild with it by the abuse of his authority, and to make them revolt from the Romans. And these are the Judean philosophies.

Translation adapted from William Whiston, The Works of Josephus [Peabody: Hendrickson, 1987 (1736) (public domain).


Early Jesus-followers Through Greco-Roman Eyes: Tacitus, Pliny and Others

Tacitus, Annals, 15.38-44: On the fire at Rome under Nero c. 64 CE (written c. 109 CE)

15.38 A disaster followed, whether accidental or treacherously contrived by the emperor, is uncertain, as authors have given both accounts, worse, however, and more dreadful than any which have ever happened to this city by the violence of fire. . . 15.44 But all human efforts, all the lavish gifts of the emperor, and the propitiations of the gods, did not banish the sinister belief that the conflagration was the result of an order. Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired. Nero offered his gardens for the spectacle, and was exhibiting a show in the circus, while he mingled with the people in the dress of a charioteer or stood aloft on a car. Hence, even for criminals who deserved extreme and exemplary punishment, there arose a feeling of compassion; for it was not, as it seemed, for the public good, but to glut one man’s cruelty, that they were being destroyed ( trans. by A.J. Church and W.J. Brodribb, The Annals by Tacitus [London, New York: Macmillan, 1877]; public domain).

Suetonius, Lives of the Caesars: Claudius, 25: On disturbances among Jews involving “Chrestus” at Rome under Claudius c. 40s- 50s CE (written in 119 CE)

Since the Jews constantly made disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he [Claudius] expelled them from Rome. . . He utterly abolished the cruel and inhuman religion of the Druids among the Gauls, which under Augustus had merely been prohibited to Roman citizens; on the other hand he even attempted to transfer the Eleusinian rites from Attica to Rome, and had the temple of Venus Erykina in Sicily, which had fallen to ruin through age, restored at the expense of the treasury of the Roman people (Suetonius, Lives of the Caesars: Claudius, 25; trans. by J. C. Rolfe, Suetonius: Lives of the Twelve Caesars [LCL; Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1913-1914]; public domain).

Pliny the Younger, Epistles 10. 96-97: Letter of Pliny the Younger, Roman governor of Bithynia-Pontus, to Emperor Trajan on the Christians brought before him (written c. 112 CE)

(10.96)  Pliny to Trajan:  It is my custom, Sire, to refer to you in all cases where I am in doubt, for who can better clear up difficulties and inform me? I have never been present at any legal examination of the Christians, and I do not know, therefore, what are the usual penalties passed upon them, or the limits of those penalties, or how searching an inquiry should be made. I have hesitated a great deal in considering whether any distinctions should be drawn according to the ages of the accused; whether the weak should be punished as severely as the more robust, or whether the man who has once been a Christian gained anything by recanting? Again, whether the name of being a Christian, even though otherwise innocent of crime, should be punished, or only the crimes that gather around it?

In the meantime, this is the plan which I have adopted in the case of those Christians who have been brought before me. I ask them whether they are Christians, if they say “Yes,” then I repeat the question the second time, and also a third — warning them of the penalties involved; and if they persist, I order them away to prison (or: to execution). For I do not doubt that — be their admitted crime what it may — their pertinacity and inflexible obstinacy surely ought to be punished.

There were others who showed similar mad folly, whom I reserved to be sent to Rome, as they were Roman citizens. Later, as is commonly the case, the mere fact of my entertaining the question led to a multiplying of accusations and a variety of cases were brought before me. An anonymous pamphlet was issued, containing a number of names of alleged Christians. Those who denied that they were or had been Christians and called upon the gods with the usual formula, reciting the words after me, and those who offered incense and wine before your image — which I had ordered to be brought forward for this purpose, along with the regular statues of the gods — all such I considered acquitted — especially as they cursed the name of Christ, which it is said bona fide Christians cannot be induced to do.

Still others there were, whose names were supplied by an informer. These first said they were Christians, then denied it, insisting they had been, “but were so no longer”; some of them having “recanted many years ago,” and more than one “full twenty years back.” These all worshiped your image and the god’s statues and cursed the name of Christ.But they declared their guilt or error was simply this — on a fixed day they used to meet before dawn and recite a hymn among themselves to Christ, as though he were a god. So far from binding themselves by oath to commit any crime, they swore to keep from theft, robbery, adultery, breach of faith, and not to deny any trust money deposited with them when called upon to deliver it. This ceremony over, they used to depart and meet again to take food — but it was of no special character, and entirely harmless. They also had ceased from this practice after the edict I issued — by which, in accord with your orders, I forbade all secret societies.

I then thought it the more needful to get at the facts behind their statements. Therefore I placed two women, called “deaconesses,” under torture, but I found only a debased superstition carried to great lengths, so I postponed my examination, and immediately consulted you. This seems a matter worthy of your prompt consideration, especially as so many people are endangered. Many of all ages and both sexes are put in peril of their lives by their accusers; and the process will go on, for the contagion of this superstition has spread not merely through the free towns, but into the villages and farms. Still I think it can be halted and things set right. Beyond any doubt, the temples — which were nigh deserted — are beginning again to be thronged with worshipers; the sacred rites, which long have lapsed, are now being renewed, and the food for the sacrificial victims is again finding a sale — though up to recently it had almost no market. So one can safely infer how vast numbers could be reclaimed, if only there were a chance given for repentance.

(10.97)  Trajan to Pliny:  You have adopted the right course, my dear Pliny, in examining the cases of those cited before you as Christians; for no hard and fast rule can be laid down covering such a wide question. The Christians are not to be hunted out. If brought before you, and the offense is proved, they are to be punished, but with this reservation — if any one denies he is a Christian, and makes it clear he is not, by offering prayer to our gods, then he is to be pardoned on his recantation, no matter how suspicious his past. As for anonymous pamphlets, they are to be discarded absolutely, whatever crime they may charge, for they are not only a precedent of a very bad type, but they do not accord with the spirit of our age (trans. by W.S. Davis, Readings in Ancient History: Illustrative Extracts from the Sources, 2 Vols. [Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1912-13]; public domain).

“The Acts of Paul and Thecla” from the Acts of Paul (second century CE)

Translation by M.R. James, The Apocryphal New Testament: Translation and Notes (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1924), with adaptations and modernized English.  Public domain.

3 “The Acts of Paul and Thecla”
[I. At Iconium]

(1) When Paul went up to Iconium after he fled from Antioch, there journeyed with him Demas and Hermogenes the coppersmith, which were full of hypocrisy, and flattered Paul as though they loved him. But Paul, looking only on the goodness of Christ, did them no evil, but loved them well, so that he sought to make sweet to them all the oracles of the Lord, and of the teaching and the interpretation (of the gospel) and of the birth and resurrection of the Beloved, and related to them word by word all the great works of Christ, how they were revealed to him.

(2) And a certain man named Onesiphorus, when he heard that Paul had come to Iconium, went out with his children Simmias and Zeno and his wife Lectra to meet him, that he might receive him into his house.  For Titus had told him what manner of man Paul was in appearance; for he had not seen him in the flesh, but only in the spirit. (3) And he went by the king’s highway that leads to Lystra and stood expecting him, and looked upon them that came, according to the description of Titus. And he saw Paul coming, a man little of stature, thinning hair, crooked legs, of good state of body, with eyoubrows joining, and nose somewhat hooked, full of grace.  For sometimes he appeared like a man, and sometimes he had the face of an angel. (4) And when Paul saw Onesiphorus he smiled, and Onesiphorus said: “Greetings, servant of the blessed God.” And he said: “Grace be with you and with your house.” But Demas and Hermogenes were envious, and stirred up their hypocrisy even more, so that Demas said: “Are we not servants of the Blessed, that you did not salute us in the same way?” And Onesiphorus said: “I do not see in you any fruit of righteousness, but if you are such, come also into my house and refresh yourselves.”

(5) And when Paul entered into the house of Onesiphorus, there was great joy, and bowing of knees and breaking of bread, and the word of God concerning abstinence and the resurrection.  For Paul said:

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are those who keep the flesh chaste, for they shall become the temple of God. Blessed are those who abstain, for God shall speak to them. Blessed are those who have renounced this world, for they shall be well-pleasing to God. Blessed are those who possess their wives as though they had them not, for they shall inherit God. Blessed are those who have the fear of God, for they shall become angels of God. (6) Blessed are those who tremble at the oracles of God, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are those who receive the wisdom of Jesus Christ, for they shall be called sons of the Most High. Blessed are those who have kept their baptism pure, for they shall rest with the Father and with the Son. Blessed are those who have compassed the understanding of Jesus Christ, for they shall be in light. Blessed are those who for love of God have departed from the fashion of this world, for they shall judge angels, and shall be blessed at the right hand of the Father. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy and shall not see the bitter day of judgement. Blessed are the bodies of the virgins, for they shall be well-pleasing to God and shall not lose the reward of their chastity, for the word of the Father shall be to them a work of salvation in the day of his Son, and they shall have rest world without end.

(7) And as Paul was saying these things in the midst of the assembly in the house of Onesiphorus, a certain virgin, Thecla – whose mother was Theocleia and who was betrothed to a man named Thamyris – sat at the window intently, and listened night and day to Paul’s teaching concerning chastity.  And she did not move from the window, but was led onward by faith, rejoicing exceedingly.  And further, when she saw many women and virgins entering in to Paul, she also desired earnestly to be accounted worthy to stand before Paul’s face and to hear the word of Christ.  For she had not  seen what Paul looked like, but only heard his speech.

(8) Now as she stayed at the window, her mother sent to Thamyris, and he came with great joy as if he were already to take her to wife. Thamyris therefore said to Theocleia: “Where is my Thecla?” And Theocleia said: “I have a new tale to tell you, Thamyris.  For for three days and three nights Thecla does not arise from the window, neither to eat nor to drink.  But looking earnestly as it were upon a joyful spectacle, she so attends to a stranger who teaches deceitful and various words, that I marvel how the great modesty of the maiden is so deeply troubled.  (9) O Thamyris, this man upsets the whole city of the Iconians, and your Thecla also, for all the women and the young men go in to him and are taught by him. He says that a person must fear only one God and live chastely. And my daughter, too, like a spider at the window, bound by his words, is held by a new desire and a fearful passion.  For she hangs upon his words, and the maiden is captured. But go to her and speak to her; for she is betrothed to you.”

(10) And Thamyris went to her – on account of both his love for her and his fear due to her ecstatic state – and said: “Thecla, my betrothed, why do you sit here like this? And what passion is it that hold you in amazement.  Turn to your Thamyris and be ashamed.” And her mother also said the same: “Thecla, why do you sit here like this, looking downward and answering nothing, but as one stricken?” And they wept bitterly, Thamyris because of the loss of a wife, Theocleia of a child, and the maidservants of a mistress.  There was, therefore, great confusion of mourning in the house. And while all this was so, Thecla turned not away, but listened carefully to the speech of Paul.

(11) But Thamyris leapt up and went forth into the street and watched those who went in to Paul and came out. And he saw two men striving bitterly with one another, and said to them: “You men, tell me who you are, and who is inside with you, who makes the souls of young men and maidens to err, deceiving them that there may be no marriages but they should live as they are. I promise therefore to give you much money if you will tell me of him.  For I am a chief man of the city.”  (12) And Demas and Hermogenes said to him: “Who this man is, we know not; but he defrauds the young men of wives and the maidens of husbands, saying: ‘You have no resurrection unless you continue in chastity, and defile not the flesh but keep it pure.’”  (13) And Thamyris said to them: “Come, you men, into my house and refresh yourselves with me.” And they went to a costly banquet with much wine, great wealth, and a brilliant table. Thamyris made them drink, for he loved Thecla and desired to take her as a wife.  At the dinner Thamyris said: “Tell me, you men, what is his teaching, that I also may know it, for I am considerably afflicted concerning Thecla because she loves the stranger so much, and I am defrauded of my marriage.”

(14) And Demas and Hermogenes said: “Bring him before Castelius the governor as one that persuads the multitudes with the new doctrine of the Christians, and so he will destroy him and you will have your wife Thecla. And we will teach you of that resurrection which he asserts, that it is already come to pass in the children which we have, and we rise again when we have come to the knowledge of the true God.”  (15) But when Thamyris heard this from them, he was filled with envy and wrath.  He rose up early and went to the house of Onesiphorus with the rulers and officers and a great crowd with clubs, saying to Paul: “You have destroyed the city of the Iconians and my betrothed, so that she will not have me.  Let us go unto Castelius the governor.” And all the multitude said: “Away with the wizard, for he has corrupted all our wives.” And the multitude rose up together against him.

16 And Thamyris, standing before the judgement seat, cried aloud and said: “Oh proconsul, this is the man – we know not where he comes from – who forbids maidens to marry.  Let him declare before you why he teaches such things. And Demas and Hermogenes said to Thamyris: “Say that he is a Christian, and so you will destroy him.” But the governor kept his mind steadfast and called Paul, saying to him: “Who are you, and what do you teach?  For it is no light accusation that these men bring against you.” (17) And Paul lifted up his voice and said: “If I am this day examined regarding what I teach, listen, oh proconsul. The living God, the God of vengeance, the jealous God, the God that has need of nothing, but desires the salvation of men, has sent me, that I may sever them from corruption and uncleanness and all pleasure and death, that they may sin no more. For this reason God has sent his own child, whom I preach and teach that men should have hope in him who alone has had compassion upon the world that was in error;  that men may no more be under judgement but have faith and the fear of God and the knowledge of sobriety and the love of truth. If then I teach the things that have been revealed to me by God, what wrong have I done, oh proconsul?” And the governor having heard that, commanded Paul to be bound and taken away to prison until he should have leisure to hear him more carefully.

(18) But at nightime Thecla took off her bracelets and gave them to the doorkeeper, and when the door was opened for her she went into the prison, and gave the jailer a mirror of silver and so went in to Paul and sat by his feet and heard the wonderful works of God. And Paul feared not at all, but walked in the confidence of God.  And her faith also was increased as she kissed his chains.

(19) Now when Thecla was sought by her own people and by Thamyris, she was looked for through the streets as one lost, and one of the fellow-servants of the doorkeeper told that she went out that night. And they examined the doorkeeper and he told them that she was gone to the stranger in the prison.  And they went as he told them and found her as it were bound with him, in affection. And they went forth from there and gathered the multitude to them and showed it to the governor.

(20) And he commanded Paul to be brought to the judgement seat.  But Thecla rolled herself upon the place where Paul taught when he sat in the prison. And the governor commanded her also to be brought to the judgement seat, and she went exulting with joy. And when Paul was brought the second time the people cried out more vehemently: “He is a sorcerer, away with him!” But the governor heard Paul gladly concerning the holy works of Christ.  And he took counsel, and called Thecla and said: “Why won’t you marry Thamyris, according to the law of the Iconians?”  But she stood looking earnestly upon Paul and, when she did not answer, her mother Theocleia cried out, saying: “Burn the lawless one, burn her that is no bride in the midst of the theatre, that all the women which have been taught by this man may be afraid.”

(21) And the governor was greatly moved, and he scourged Paul and sent him out of the city, but Thecla he condemned to be burned. And immediately the governor arose and went to the theatre.  And all the multitude went to the dreadful spectacle. But Thecla, looked for Paul as the lamb in the wilderness looks about for the shepherd.  And she looked upon the multitude and saw the Lord sitting, appearing like Paul, and said: “As if I were not able to endure, Paul is come to look upon me.” And she earnestly paid heed to him, but he departed into the heavens.

(22) Now the boys and the maidens brought wood and hay to burn Thecla, and when she was brought in naked, the governor wept and marvelled at the power that was in her. And they laid the wood, and the executioner told her to climb upon the pyre.  And she, making the sign of the cross, went up upon the wood. And they lighted it, and though a great fire blazed forth, the fire took no hold on her.  For God had compassion on her, and caused a sound under the earth and a cloud overshadowed her above, full of rain and hail.  And its contents poured out so that many were in peril of death, and the fire was quenched, and Thecla was preserved.

(23) Now Paul was fasting with Onesiphorus and his wife and their children in an open sepulchre on the road that leads from Iconium to Daphne. And when many days were past, as they fasted, the boys said to Paul: “We are hungry.” And they had no money to buy bread, for Onesiphorus had left the goods of this world and followed Paul with all his house. But Paul took off his upper garment and said: “Go, child, buy several loaves and bring them.” And as the boy was buying, he saw his neighbour Thecla, and was astonished, and said: “Thecla, where are you going?” And she said: “I seek Paul, for I was preserved from the fire.” And the boy said: “Come, I will bring you to him, for he mourns for you and prays and fasts now for six days.”

(24) And when she came to Paul in the sepulchre, he was bowing his knees and was praying and saying: “O Father of Christ, let not the fire take hold on Thecla, but spare her, for she is yours.”  She, standing behind him, cried out: “O Father that made heaven and earth, the Father of your beloved child Jesus Christ, I bless you because you have preserved me from the fire, that I might see Paul.” And Paul arose and saw her and said: “O God the knower of hearts, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, I bless you that you have speedily accomplished that which I asked of you, and have heard me.”  (25) And there was much love within the sepulchre, for Paul rejoiced along with Onesiphorus and all of them. And they had five loaves, herbs, and water, and they rejoiced for the holy works of Christ. And Thecla said to Paul: “I will cut my hair all the way around and follow you whereever you go.”  But he said: “The time is ill-favoured and you are beautiful.  Beware lest another temptation take you, worse than the first, and you endure it not but play the coward.” And Thecla said: “Only give me the seal in Christ, and temptation shall not touch me. And Paul said: “Have patience, Thecla, and you will receive the water.”

[II. At Antioch]

(26) And Paul sent away Onesiphorus with all his house to Iconium, and so took Thecla and entered into Antioch.  As they entered in, a certain Syriarch [leader of the city], Alexander by name, saw Thecla and was enamoured of her, and would have bribed Paul with money and gifts. But Paul said: “I don’t know the woman you are speaking about, neither is she mine.” But as he was of great power, he himself embraced her on the street.  And she refused his advances, but sought after Paul and cried out bitterly, saying: “Force not the stranger, force not the handmaid of God. I am of the first of the Iconians, and because I would not marry Thamyris, I am cast out of the city.” And she caught at Alexander and ripped his cloak and took the crown from his head and made him a laughing-stock.

(27) But loving her and being ashamed of what had happened to him, he brought her before the governor.  When she confessed that she had done this, he condemned her to the beasts.  But the women were greatly amazed, and cried out at the judgement seat: “An evil judgement, an impious judgement!” And Thecla asked of the governor that she might remain a virgin until she should fight the beasts.  A certain rich queen, Tryphaena by name, whose daughter had died, took her into her keeping, and had her for a consolation.  (28) Now when the beasts were led in procession, they bound her to a fierce lioness, and the queen Tryphaena followed after her.  But the lioness, when Thecla was set upon her, licked her feet, and all the people marvelled. Now the title of her accusation was: “Guilty of sacrilege.” And the women with their children cried out from above: “O God, an impious judgement is happening in this city.”

And after the procession Tryphaena took her again. For her daughter Falconilla, who was dead, had said to her in a dream: “Mother, you shall take in my stead Thecla the stranger that is desolate, that she may pray for me and I be translated into the place of the righteous.”  (29) When therefore Tryphaena received her after the procession, she also bewailed her because she was to fight the beasts the next day.  She loved her closely as her own daughter Falconilla, and said: “Thecla, my second child, come, pray you for my child that she may live for ever, for this have I seen in a dream.” And she without delay lifted up her voice and said: “O my God, Son of the Most High who is in heaven, grant to her according to her desire, that her daughter Faleonilla may live for ever.” And after she had said this, Tryphaena bewailed her, considering that so great beauty was to be cast unto the beasts.

(30) And when it was dawn, Alexander came to take her – for it was he that was giving the games – saying: “The governor is set and the people trouble us.  Give me the one who is to fight the beasts that I may take her away. But Tryphaena cried aloud so that he fled away, saying: “A second mourning for my Falconilla comes about in my house, and there is none to help, neither child, for she is dead, nor kinsman, for I am a widow. O God of Thecla my child, help you Thecla.”

(31) And the governor sent soldiers to fetch Thecla.  And Tryphaena did not leave her, but herself took her hand and led her up, saying: “I did bring my daughter Falconilla to the sepulchre, but you, Thecla, do I bring to fight the beasts.” And Thecla wept bitterly and groaned unto the Lord, saying: “Lord God in whom I believe, with whom I have taken refuge, that saved me from the fire, reward Tryphaena who has had pity on your handmaid, and has kept me pure.”

(32) There was therefore a tumult, a voice of the beasts and shouting of the people and of the women which sat together, some saying: “Bring in the sacrilegious one!” And the women were saying: “Away with the city for this unlawful deed! Away with all us, you proconsul! It is a bitter sight, an evil judgement!”

(38) But Thecla, being taken out of the hand of Tryphaena, was stripped and a girdle put upon her, and she was cast into the stadium.  And lions and bears were set against her. And a fierce lioness running to her lay down at her feet, and the crowd of women cried aloud. And a bear ran upon her, but the lioness ran and met him and tore the bear apart. And again a lion, trained against men, which was Alexander’s, ran upon her, and the lioness wrestled with him and was slain along with him. And the women bewailed even more, seeing that the lioness also that helped her was dead.

(34) Then they put in many beasts while she stood and stretched out her hands and prayed. And when she had ended her prayer, she turned and saw a great tank full of water, and said: “Now it is time that I should wash myself!” And she cast herself in, saying: “In the name of Jesus Christ do I baptize myself on the last day!” And all the women seeing it and all the people wept, saying: “Cast not yourself into the water.”  So that even the governor wept that so great beauty should be devoured by seals. So, then, she cast herself into the water in the name of Jesus Christ, and the seals, seeing the light of a flash of fire, floated dead on the top of the water. And there was about her a cloud of fire, so that neither did the beasts touch her, nor was she seen to be naked.

(35) Now the women, when other more fearful beasts were put in, shrieked aloud, and some cast leaves, others nard, others cassia, and some balsam, so that there was a multitude of odours.  And all the beasts that were struck by it were held as it were in sleep and did not touch her, so that Alexander said to the governor: “I have some bulls exceeding fearful.  Let us bind the criminal to them.” And the governor, frowning, allowed it, saying: “Do what you will.” And they bound her by the feet between the bulls, and put hot irons under their bellies that they might be the more enraged and kill her. They then leaped forward; but the flame that burned about her burned through the ropes, and she was as one not bound.

(36) But Tryphaena, standing by the arena, fainted at the entry, so that her handmaids said: “The queen Tryphaena is dead!” And the governor stopped the games and all the city was frightened and, falling at the governor’s feet, Alexander said: “Have mercy on me and on the city, and let the condemned go, lest the city perish with her.  For if Caesar hears this, he will destroy us and the city, because his kinswoman the queen Tryphaena has died at the entry.”  (37) And the governor called Thecla from among the beasts, and said to her: “Who are you? And why is it that not one of the beasts has touched you? But she said: “I am the handmaid of the living God, and reason is that I have believed in his Son in whom God is well pleased, for whose sake not one of the beasts has touched me. For he alone is the goal of salvation and the substance of life immortal.  For he is a refuge for those that are tossed about, a relief for the oppressed, and a shelter for the despairing.  In a word, whoever does not believe on him shall not live, but die everlastingly.

(38) And when the governor heard this, he commanded garments to be brought and said: “Put on these garments.” And she said: “The one who clothed me when I was naked among the beasts will, in the day of judgement, clothe me with salvation.” And she took the garments and put them on. And the governor immediately issued out an act, saying: “I release to you Thecla the godly, the servant of God.” And all the women cried out with a loud voice and as with one mouth gave praise to God, saying: “One is the God who has preserved Thecla”, so that with their voice all the city shook.

(39) And Tryphaena, when she was told the good news, met her with much people and embraced Thecla and said: “Now do I believe that the dead are raised up.  Now I do believe that my child lives.  Come in, and I will make you heir of all my substance.” Thecla therefore went in with her and rested in her house eight days, teaching her the word of God, so that most of the maid-servants also believed, and there was great joy in the house.

[III. At Myra and beyond]

(40) But Thecla yearned after Paul and sought him, sending about in all places.  And someone told her that he was at Myra. And she took young men and maids.  She clothed herself and sewed her mantle into a cloak after the fashion of a man and departed into Myra.  There she found Paul speaking the word of God, and went to him. But, when he saw her and the people that were with her, he was amazed, thinking in himself: “Has some other temptation come upon her?” But she perceived it, and said to him: “I have received the washing, oh Paul.  For he that has worked together with you in the gospel has worked with me also to the point of my baptizing.”

(41) And Paul took her by the hand and brought her into the house of Hermias, and heard everything from her, with the result that Paul marveled much, and those who heard were confirmed and prayed for Tryphaena. And Thecla arose and said to Paul: “I am going to Iconium.” And Paul said: “Go, and teach the word of God!”  Now Tryphaena had sent her much apparel and gold, which she left with Paul for the ministry of the poor.

(42) But she herself departed to Iconium. And she entered into the house of Onesiphorus, and fell down upon the floor where Paul had sat and taught the oracles of God, and wept, saying: “O God of me and of this house, where the light shone upon me, Jesus Christ the Son of God, my helper in prison, my helper before the governors, my helper in the fire, my helper among the beasts, you are God, and unto you be the glory for ever. Amen.”

(43) And she found Thamyris dead, but her mother living. And she saw her mother and said to her: “Theocleia, my mother, can you believe that the Lord lives in the heavens? For whether you desire money, the Lord will give it you through me, or your child, look, I am here before you.” And when she had so testified, she departed unto Seleucia, and after she had enlightened many with the word of God, she slept a good sleep.

Acts and Ancient History-Writing: Background on the speeches and the preface

Thucycides, History of the Peloponessian War 1.12.1: On writing the speeches for his history

With reference to the speeches in this history, some were delivered before the war began, others while it was going on; some I heard myself, others I got from various quarters; it was in all cases difficult to carry them word for word in one’s memory, so my habit has been to make the speakers say what was in my opinion demanded of them by the various occasions, of course adhering as closely as possible to the general sense of what they really said. And with reference to the narrative of events, far from permitting myself to derive it from the first source that came to hand, I did not even trust my own impressions, but it rests partly on what I saw myself, partly on what others saw for me, the accuracy of the report being always tried by the most severe and detailed tests possible. My conclusions have cost me some labour from the want of coincidence between accounts of the same occurrences by different eye-witnesses, arising sometimes from imperfect memory, sometimes from undue partiality for one side or the other. The absence of romance in my history will, I fear, detract somewhat from its interest; but if it be judged useful by those inquirers who desire an exact knowledge of the past as an aid to the interpretation of the future, which in the course of human things must resemble if it does not reflect it, I shall be content. In fine, I have written my work, not as an essay which is to win the applause of the moment, but as a possession for all time (trans. by Richard Crawley, The History of the Peloponnesian War [New York: E.P. Dutton, 1950]).

 Josephus, War 1.1-13: Preface to His History of the Judean War

Whereas the war which the Jews made with the Romans hath been the greatest of all those, not only that have been in our times, but, in a manner, of those that ever were heard of; both of those wherein cities have fought against cities, or nations against nations; while some men who were not concerned in the affairs themselves have gotten together vain and contradictory stories by hearsay, and have written them down after a sophistical manner; and while those that were there present have given false accounts of things, and this either out of a humor of flattery to the Romans, or of hatred towards the Jews; and while their writings contain sometimes accusations, and sometimes encomiums, but no where the accurate truth of the facts; I have proposed to myself, for the sake of such as live under the government of the Romans, to translate those books into the Greek tongue, which I formerly composed in the language of our country, and sent to the Upper Barbarians; Joseph, the son of Matthias, by birth a Hebrew, a priest also, and one who at first fought against the Romans myself, and was forced to be present at what was done afterwards, am the author of this work.

Now at the time when this great concussion of affairs happened, the affairs of the Romans were themselves in great disorder. Those Jews also who were for innovations, then arose when the times were disturbed; they were also in a flourishing condition for strength and riches, insomuch that the affairs of the East were then exceeding tumultuous, while some hoped for gain, and others were afraid of loss in such troubles; for the Jews hoped that all of their nation which were beyond Euphrates would have raised an insurrection together with them. The Gauls also, in the neighborhood of the Romans, were in motion, and the Geltin were not quiet; but all was in disorder after the death of Nero. And the opportunity now offered induced many to aim at the royal power; and the soldiery affected change, out of the hopes of getting money. I thought it therefore an absurd thing to see the truth falsified in affairs of such great consequence, and to take no notice of it; but to suffer those Greeks and Romans that were not in the wars to be ignorant of these things, and to read either flatteries or fictions, while the Parthians, and the Babylonians, and the remotest Arabians, and those of our nation beyond Euphrates, with the Adiabeni, by my means, knew accurately both whence the war begun, what miseries it brought upon us, and after what manner it ended.

It is true, these writers have the confidence to call their accounts histories; wherein yet they seem to me to fail of their own purpose, as well as to relate nothing that is sound. For they have a mind to demonstrate the greatness of the Romans, while they still diminish and lessen the actions of the Jews, as not discerning how it cannot be that those must appear to be great who have only conquered those that were little. Nor are they ashamed to overlook the length of the war, the multitude of the Roman forces who so greatly suffered in it, or the might of the commanders, whose great labors about Jerusalem will be deemed inglorious, if what they achieved be reckoned but a small matter.

However, I will not go to the other extreme, out of opposition to those men who extol the Romans nor will I determine to raise the actions of my countrymen too high; but I will prosecute the actions of both parties with accuracy. Yet shall I suit my language to the passions I am under, as to the affairs I describe, and must be allowed to indulge some lamentations upon the miseries undergone by my own country. For that it was a seditious temper of our own that destroyed it, and that they were the tyrants among the Jews who brought the Roman power upon us, who unwillingly attacked us, and occasioned the burning of our holy temple, Titus Caesar, who destroyed it, is himself a witness, who, daring the entire war, pitied the people who were kept under by the seditious, and did often voluntarily delay the taking of the city, and allowed time to the siege, in order to let the authors have opportunity for repentance. But if any one makes an unjust accusation against us, when we speak so passionately about the tyrants, or the robbers, or sorely bewail the misfortunes of our country, let him indulge my affections herein, though it be contrary to the rules for writing history; because it had so come to pass, that our city Jerusalem had arrived at a higher degree of felicity than any other city under the Roman government, and yet at last fell into the sorest of calamities again. Accordingly, it appears to me that the misfortunes of all men, from the beginning of the world, if they be compared to these of the Jews are not so considerable as they were; while the authors of them were not foreigners neither. This makes it impossible for me to contain my lamentations. But if any one be inflexible in his censures of me, let him attribute the facts themselves to the historical part, and the lamentations to the writer himself only.

However, I may justly blame the learned men among the Greeks, who, when such great actions have been done in their own times, which, upon the comparison, quite eclipse the old wars, do yet sit as judges of those affairs, and pass bitter censures upon the labors of the best writers of antiquity; which moderns, although they may be superior to the old writers in eloquence, yet are they inferior to them in the execution of what they intended to do. While these also write new histories about the Assyrians and Medes, as if the ancient writers had not described their affairs as they ought to have done; although these be as far inferior to them in abilities as they are different in their notions from them. For of old every one took upon them to write what happened in his own time; where their immediate concern in the actions made their promises of value; and where it must be reproachful to write lies, when they must be known by the readers to be such. But then, an undertaking to preserve the memory Of what hath not been before recorded, and to represent the affairs of one’s own time to those that come afterwards, is really worthy of praise and commendation. Now he is to be esteemed to have taken good pains in earnest, not who does no more than change the disposition and order of other men’s works, but he who not only relates what had not been related before, but composes an entire body of history of his own: accordingly, I have been at great charges, and have taken very great pains about this history, though I be a foreigner; and do dedicate this work, as a memorial of great actions, both to the Greeks and to the Barbarians. But for some of our own principal men, their mouths are wide open, and their tongues loosed presently, for gain and law-suits, but quite muzzled up when they are to write history, where they must speak truth and gather facts together with a great deal of pains; and so they leave the writing such histories to weaker people, and to such as are not acquainted with the actions of princes. Yet shall the real truth of historical facts be preferred by us, how ever much it be neglected among the Greek historians (trans. by William Whiston as cited above on this webpage).

The Epistle of Barnabas

Translation by Kirsopp Lake, The Apostolic Fathers [Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1912], with adaptations and modernization of the English.  Public domain.

1 (Introduction)
1 Hail, sons and daughters, in the name of the Lord who loved us, in peace. 2 Exceedingly and abundantly do I rejoice over your blessed and glorious spirit for the greatness and richness of God’s ordinances towards you; so innate a grace of the gift of the spirit have you received. 3 For this reason I congratulate myself the more in my hope of salvation, because I truly see in you that the Spirit has been poured out upon you from the Lord, who is rich in his bounty; so that the sight of you, for which I longed, amazed me. 4 Being persuaded then of this, and being conscious that since I spoke among you I have much understanding because the Lord has travelled with me in the way of righteousness, I am above all constrained to this, to love you above my own life, because great faith and love dwell in you in the “hope of his life.” 5 I have therefore reckoned that, if I make it my care in your behalf to communicate somewhat of that which I received, it shall bring me the reward of having ministered to such spirits, and I hasten to send you a short letter in order that your knowledge may be perfected along with your faith. 6 There are then three doctrines of the Lord: “the hope of life” is the beginning and end of our faith; and righteousness is the beginning and end of judgment; love of joy and of gladness is the testimony of the works of righteousness. 7 For the Lord made known to us through the prophets things past and things present and has given us the first fruits of the taste of things to come; and when we see these things coming to pass one by one, as he said, we ought to make a richer and deeper offering for fear of him. 8 But I will show you a few things, not as a teacher but as one of yourselves, in which you shall rejoice at this present time.

2 (Jewish sacrifices)
1 Seeing then that the days are evil, and that the worker of evil himself is in power, we ought to give heed to ourselves, and seek out the ordinances of the Lord. 2 Fear then, and patience are the helpers of our faith, and long-suffering and continence are our allies. 3 While then these things remain in holiness towards the Lord, wisdom, prudence, understanding, and knowledge rejoice with them. 4 For he has made plain to us through all the Prophets that he needs neither sacrifices nor burnt-offerings nor oblations, saying in one place, 5 “What is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? says the Lord. I am full of burnt offerings and desire not the fat of lambs and the blood of bulls and goats, not even when you come to appear before me. For who has required these things at your hands? Henceforth shall you tread my court no more. If you bring flour, it is vain. Incense is an abomination to me. I cannot away with your new moons and sabbaths.” 6 These things then he abolished in order that the new law of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is without the yoke of necessity, might have its oblation not made by man. 7 And again he says to them, “Did I command your fathers when they came out of the land of Egypt to offer me burnt offerings and sacrifices? 8 Nay, but rather did I command them this: Let none of you cherish any evil in his heart against his neighbour, and love not a false oath.” 9 We ought then to understand, if we are not foolish, the loving intention of our Father, for he speaks to us, wishing that we should not err like them, but seek how we may make our offering to him. 10 To us then he speaks thus: “Sacrifice for the Lord is a broken heart, a smell of sweet savour to the Lord is a heart that glorifies him that made it.” We ought, therefore, brothers, carefully to enquire concerning our salvation, in order that the evil one may not achieve a deceitful entry into us and hurl us away from our life.

3 (Fasting)
1 To them he says then again concerning these things, “Why do you fast for me, says the Lord, so that your voice is heard this day with a cry! This is not the fast which I chose, says the Lord, not a man humbling his soul; 2 nor though you bend your neck as a hoop, and put on sackcloth, and make your bed of ashes, not even so shall you call it an acceptable fast.” 3 But to us he says, “Behold this is the fast which I chose,” says the Lord, “loose every bond of wickedness, set loose the fastenings of harsh agreements, send away the bruised in forgiveness, and tear up every unjust contract, give to the hungry your bread, and if you see a naked man clothe him, bring the homeless into your house, and if you see a humble man, despise him not, neither you nor any of the household of your seed. 4 Then shall your light break forth as the dawn, and your robes shall rise quickly, and your righteousness shall go before you, and the glory of God shall surround you.” 5 “Then you shall cry and God shall hear you; while you art still speaking He shall say, ‘Lo I am here’; if you put away from you bondage, and violence, and the word of murmuring, and dost give to the poor your bread with a cheerful heart, and dost pity the soul that is abased.” 6 So then, brothers, the long-suffering one foresaw that the people whom He prepared in his beloved should believe in guilelessness, and made all things plain to us beforehand that we should not be shipwrecked by conversion to their law.

4 (Covenant)
1 We ought, then, to enquire earnestly into the things which now are, and to seek out those which are able to save us. Let us then utterly flee from all the works of lawlessness, lest the works of lawlessness overcome us, and let us hate the error of this present time, that we may be loved in that which is to come. 2 Let us give no freedom to our souls to have power to walk with sinners and wicked men, lest we be made like to them. 3 The final stumbling block is at hand of which it was written, as Enoch says, “For to this end the Lord has cut short the times and the days, that his beloved should make haste and come to his inheritance.” 4 And the Prophet also says thus: “Ten kingdoms shall reign upon the earth and there shall rise up after them a little king, who shall subdue three of the kings under one.” 5 Daniel says likewise concerning the same: “And I beheld the fourth Beast, wicked and powerful and fiercer than all the beasts of the sea, and that ten horns sprang from it, and out of them a little excrescent horn, and that it subdued under one three of the great horns.” 6 You ought then to understand. And this also I ask you, as being one of yourselves, and especially as loving you all above my own life; take heed to yourselves now, and be not made like unto some, heaping up your sins and saying that the covenant is both theirs and ours. 7 It is ours: but in this way did they finally lose it when Moses had just received it, for the Scripture says: “And Moses was in the mount fasting forty days and forty nights, and he received the covenant from the Lord, tables of stone written with the finger of the hand of the Lord.” 8 But they turned to idols and lost it. For thus says the Lord: “Moses, Moses, go down quickly, for your people, whom you brought forth out of the land of Egypt, have broken the Law.” And Moses understood and cast the two tables out of his hands, and their covenant was broken, in order that the covenant of Jesus the Beloved should be sealed in our hearts in hope of his faith. 9 (And though I wish to write much, I hasten to write in devotion to you, not as a teacher, but as it becomes one who loves to leave out nothing of that which we have.) For this reason let us pay heed in the last days, for the whole time of our life and faith will profit us nothing, unless we resist, as becomes the sons of God in this present evil time, against the offences which are to come, that the Black One may have no opportunity of entry. 10 Let us flee from all vanity, let us utterly hate the deeds of the path of wickedness. Do not by retiring apart live alone as if you were already made righteous, but come together and seek out the common good. 11 For the Scripture says: “Woe to them who are prudent for themselves and understanding in their own sight.” Let us be spiritual, let us be a temple consecrated to God, so far as in us lies let us “exercise ourselves in the fear” of God, and let us strive to keep his commandments in order that we may rejoice in his ordinances. 12 The Lord will “judge” the world “without respect of persons.” Each will receive according to his deeds. If he be good his righteousness will lead him; if he be evil the reward of iniquity is before him. 13 Let us never rest as though we were ‘called’ and slumber in our sins, lest the wicked ruler gain power over us and thrust us out from the Kingdom of the Lord. 14 And consider this also, my brothers, when you see that after such great signs and wonders were wrought in Israel they were even then finally abandoned; — let us take heed lest as it was written we be found “many called but few chosen.”

5 (Death of Christ)
1 For it was for this reason that the Lord endured to deliver up his flesh to corruption, that we should be sanctified by the remission of sin, that is, by his sprinkled blood. 2 For the scripture concerning him relates partly to Israel, partly to us, and it speaks thus: “He was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities, by his stripes we were healed. He was brought as a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb dumb before its shearer.” 3 Therefore we ought to give great thanks to the Lord that he has given us knowledge of the past, and wisdom for the present, and that we are not without understanding for the future. 4 And the Scripture says, “Not unjustly are the nets spread out for the birds.” This means that a man deserves to perish who has a knowledge of the way of righteousness, but turns aside into the way of darkness. 5 Moreover, my brothers, if the Lord endured to suffer for our life, though he is the Lord of all the world, to whom God said before the foundation of the world, “Let us make man in our image and likeness,” how, then, did he endure to suffer at the hand of man? 6 Learn: — The Prophets who received grace from him prophesied of him, and he, in order that he “might destroy death,” and show forth the Resurrection from the dead, because he needs must be made “manifest in the flesh,” endured 7 in order to fulfil the promise made to the fathers, and himself prepare for himself the new people and show while he was on earth that he himself will raise the dead and judge the risen. 8 Furthermore, while teaching Israel and doing such great signs and wonders he preached to them and loved them greatly; 9 but when he chose out his own Apostles who were to preach his Gospel, he chose those who were iniquitous above all sin to show that “he came not to call the righteous but sinners,” — then he manifested himself as God’s Son. 10 For if he had not come in the flesh men could in no way have been saved by beholding him; seeing that they have not the power when they look at the sun to gaze straight at its rays, though it is destined to perish, and is the work of his hands. 11 So then the Son of God came in the flesh for this reason, that he might complete the total of the sins of those who persecuted his prophets to death. 12 For this cause he endured. For God says of the chastisement of his flesh that it is from them: “When they shall smite their shepherd, then the sheep of the flock shall be destroyed.” 13 And he was willing to suffer thus, for it was necessary that he should suffer on a tree, for the Prophet says of him, “Spare my soul from the sword” and, “Nail my flesh, for the synagogues of the wicked have risen against me.” 14 And again he says: “Lo, I have given my back to scourges, and my cheeks to strokes, and I have set my face as a solid rock.”

6 (Proofs from the Prophets)
1 When therefore he made the commandment what does he say? “Who is he that comes into court with me? Let him oppose me; or, who is he that seeks justice against me? Let him draw near to the Lord’s servant. 2 Woe unto you, for you shall all wax old as a garment and the moth shall eat you up.” And again the Prophet says that he was placed as a strong stone for crushing, “Lo, I will place for the foundations of Zion a precious stone, chosen out, a chief corner stone, honourable.” 3 Then what does he say? “And he that hopes on it shall live for ever.” Is then our hope on a stone? God forbid. But he means that the Lord placed His flesh in strength. For he says, “And he placed me as a solid rock.” 4 And again the Prophet says, “The stone which the builders rejected, this is become the head of the corner,” and again he says, “This is the great and wonderful day which the Lord made.” 5 I write to you more simply that you may understand: I am devoted to your love. 6 What then does the Prophet say again? “The synagogue of the sinners compassed me around, they surrounded me as bees round the honeycomb” and, “They cast lots for my clothing.” 7 Since therefore he was destined to be manifest and to suffer in the flesh his Passion was foretold. For the Prophet says concerning Israel, “Woe unto their soul, for they have plotted an evil plot against themselves, saying, ‘Let us bind the Just one, for he is unprofitable to us.’“ 8 What does the other Prophet, Moses, say to them? “Lo, thus says the Lord God, enter into the good land which the Lord sware that he would give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and inherit it, a land flowing with milk and honey.” 9 But learn what knowledge says. Hope, it says, on that Jesus who will be manifested to you in the flesh. For man is earth which suffers, for the creation of Adam was from the face of the earth. 10 What then is the meaning of “into the good land, a land flowing with milk and honey”? Blessed be our Lord, brothers, who has placed in us wisdom and understanding of his secrets. For the prophet speaks a parable of the Lord: “Who shall understand save he who is wise, and learned, and a lover of his Lord?” 11 Since then he made us new by the remission of sins he made us another type, that we should have the soul of children, as though he were creating us afresh. 12 For it is concerning us that the scripture says that he says to the Son, “Let us make man after our image and likeness, and let them rule the beasts of the earth, and the birds of heaven, and the fishes of the sea.” And the Lord said, when he saw our fair creation, “Increase and multiply and fill the earth”; these things were spoken to the Son. 13 Again I will show you how he speaks to us. In the last days he made a second creation; and the Lord says, “See, I make the last things as the first.” To this then the Prophet referred when he proclaimed, “Enter into a land flowing with milk and honey, and rule over it.” 14 See then, we have been created afresh, as he says again in another Prophet, “See,” says the Lord, “I will take out from them” (that is those whom the Spirit of the Lord foresaw) “the hearts of stone and I will put in hearts of flesh.” Because he himself was going to be manifest in the flesh and to dwell among us. 15 For, my brothers, the habitation of our hearts is a shrine holy to the Lord. 16 For the Lord says again, “And wherewith shall I appear before the Lord my God and be glorified?” He says, “I will confess to you in the assembly of my brothers, and will sing to you in the midst of the assembly of saints.” We then are they whom he brought into the good land. 17 What then is the milk and the honey? Because a child is first nourished with honey, and afterwards with milk. Thus therefore we also, being nourished on the faith of the promise and by the word, shall live and possess the earth. 18 And we have said above, “And let them increase and multiply and rule over the fishes.” Who then is it who is now able to rule over beasts or fishes or the birds of heaven? For we ought to understand that to rule implies authority, so that one may give commandments and have domination. 19 If then this does not happen at present he has told us the time when it will; — when we ourselves also have been made perfect as heirs of the covenant of the Lord.

7 (Fasting; Scapegoat)
1 Understand therefore, children of gladness, that the good Lord made all things plain beforehand to us, that we should know him to whom we ought to give thanks and praise for everything. 2 If then the Son of God, though he was the Lord and was “destined to judge the living and the dead” suffered in order that his wounding might make us alive, let us believe that the Son of God could not suffer except for our sakes. 3 But moreover when he was crucified “he was given to drink vinegar and gall.” Listen how the priests of the Temple foretold this. The commandment was written, “Whosoever does not keep the fast shall die the death,” and the Lord commanded this because he himself was going to offer the vessel of the spirit as a sacrifice for our sins, in order that the type established in Isaac, who was offered upon the altar, might be fulfilled. 4 What then does he say in the Prophet? “And let them eat of the goat which is offered in the fast for all their sins.” Attend carefully, — “and let all the priests alone eat the entrails unwashed with vinegar.” 5 Why? Because you are going “to give to me gall and vinegar to drink” when I am on the point of offering my flesh for my new people, therefore you alone shall eat, while the people fast and mourn in sackcloth and ashes, to show that he must suffer for them. 6 Note what was commanded: “Take two goats, goodly and alike, and offer them, and let the priest take the one as a burnt offering for sins.” 7 But what are they to do with the other? “The other,” he says, “is accursed.” Notice how the type of Jesus is manifested: 8 “And do you all spit on it, and goad it, and bind the scarlet wool about its head, and so let it be cast into the desert.” And when it is so done, he who takes the goat into the wilderness drives it forth, and takes away the wool, and puts it upon a shrub which is called Rachel, of which we are accustomed to eat the shoots when we find them in the country: thus of Rachel alone is the fruit sweet. 9 What does this mean? Listen: “the first goat is for the altar, but the other is accursed,” and note that the one that is accursed is crowned, because then “they will see him” on that day with the long scarlet robe “down to the feet” on his body, and they will say, “Is not this he whom we once crucified and rejected and pierced and spat upon? Of a truth it was he who then said that he was the Son of God.” 10 But how is he like to the goat? For this reason: “the goats shall be alike, beautiful, and a pair,” in order that when they see him come at that time they may be astonished at the likeness of the goat. See then the type of Jesus destined to suffer. 11 But why is it that they put the wool in the middle of the thorns? It is a type of Jesus placed in the Church, because whoever wishes to take away the scarlet wool must suffer much because the thorns are terrible and he can gain it only through pain. Thus he says, “those who will see me, and attain to my kingdom must lay hold of me through pain and suffering.”

1 But what do you think that it typifies, that the commandment has been given to Israel that the men in whom sin is complete offer a heifer and slay it and burn it, and that boys then take the ashes and put them into vessels and bind scarlet wool on sticks (see again the type of the Cross and the scarlet wool) and hyssop, and that the boys all sprinkle the people thus one by one in order that they all be purified from their sins? 2 Observe how plainly he speaks to you. The calf is Jesus; the sinful men offering it are those who brought him to be slain. Then there are no longer men, no longer the glory of sinners. 3 The boys who sprinkle are they who preached to us the forgiveness of sins, and the purification of the heart, to whom he gave the power of the Gospel to preach, and there are twelve as a testimony to the tribes, because there are twelve tribes of Israel. 4 But why are there three boys who sprinkle? As a testimony to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, for these are great before God. 5 And why was the wool put on the wood? Because the kingdom of Jesus is on the wood, and because those who hope on him shall live for ever. 6 But why are the wool and the hyssop together? Because in his kingdom there shall be evil and foul days, in which we shall be saved, for he also who has pain in his flesh is cured by the foulness of the hyssop. 7 And for this reason the things which were thus done are plain to us, but obscure to them, because they did not hear the Lord’s voice.

9 (Circumcision)
1 For he speaks again concerning the ears, how he circumcised our hearts; for the Lord says in the Prophet: “In the hearing of the ear they obey me.” And again he says, “They who are afar off shall hear clearly, they shall know the things that I have done,” and “Circumcise your hearts, says the Lord.” 2 And again he says, “Hear, O Israel, thus says the Lord your God,” and again the Spirit of the Lord prophesies, “Who is he that will live for ever? Let him hear the voice of my servant.” 3 And again he says, “Hear, O heaven, and give ear, O earth, for the Lord hath spoken these things for a testimony.” And again he says, “Hear the word of the Lord, you rulers of this people.” And again he says, “Hear, O children, a voice of one crying in the wilderness.” So then he circumcised our hearing in order that we should hear the word and believe. 4 But moreover the circumcision in which they trusted has been abolished. For he declared that circumcision was not of the flesh, but they erred because an evil angel was misleading them. 5 He says to them, “Thus says the Lord your God” (here I find a commandment), “Sow not among thorns, be circumcised to your Lord.” And what does he say? “Circumcise the hardness of your heart, and stiffen not your neck.” Take it again: “Behold, says the Lord, all the heathen are uncircumcised in the foreskin, but this people is uncircumcised in heart.” 6 But you will say, surely the people has received circumcision as a seal? Yes, but every Syrian and Arab and all priests of the idols have been circumcised; are then these also within their covenant? — indeed even the Egyptians belong to the circumcision. 7 Learn fully then, children of love, concerning all things, for Abraham, who first circumcised, did so looking forward in the spirit to Jesus, and had received the doctrines of three letters. 8 For it says, “And Abraham circumcised from his household eighteen men and three hundred.” What then was the knowledge that was given to him? Notice that he first mentions the eighteen, and after a pause the three hundred. The eighteen is I (=ten) and H (=8) — you have Jesus — and because the cross was destined to have grace in the T he says “and three hundred.” So he indicates Jesus in the two letters and the cross in the other. 9 He knows this who placed the gift of his teaching in our hearts. No one has heard a more excellent lesson from me, but I know that you are worthy.

10 (Food laws)
1 Now, in that Moses said, “You shall not eat swine, nor an eagle, nor a hawk, nor a crow, nor any fish which has no scales on itself,” he included three doctrines in his understanding. 2 Moreover he says to them in Deuteronomy, “And I will make a covenant of my ordinances with this people.” So then the ordinance of God is not abstinence from eating, but Moses spoke in the spirit. 3 He mentioned the swine for this reason: you shall not consort, he means, with men who are like swine, that is to say, when they have plenty they forget the Lord, but when they are in want they recognise the Lord, just as the swine when it eats does not know its master, but when it is hungry it cries out, and after receiving food is again silent. 4 “Neither shall you eat the eagle nor the hawk nor the kite nor the crow.” You shall not, he means, join yourself or make yourself like to such men, as do not know how to gain their food by their labour and sweat, but plunder other people’s property in their iniquity, and lay wait for it, though they seem to walk in innocence, and look round to see whom they may plunder in their covetousness, just as these birds alone provide no food for themselves, but sit idle, and seek how they may devour the flesh of others, and become pestilent in their iniquity. 5 “You shall not eat,” he says, “the lamprey nor the polypus nor the cuttlefish.” You shall not, he means, consort with or become like such men who are utterly ungodly and who are already condemned to death, just as these fish alone are accursed, and float in the deep water, not swimming like the others but living on the ground at the bottom of the sea. 6 Sed nec “leporem manducabis.” Non eris, inquit, corruptor puerorum nec similabis talibus. Quia lepus singulis annis facit ad adsellandum singula foramina; et quotquot annis vivit, totidem foramina facit. 7 Sed “nec beluam, inquit, manducabis”; hoc est non eris moecus aut adulter, nec corruptor, nec similabis talibus. Quia haec bestia alternis annis mutat naturam et fit modo masculus, modo femina. 8 Sed et quod dicit mustelam odibis. Non eris, inquit, talis, qui audit iniquitatem et loquitur immunditiam. Non inquit adhaerebis immundis qui iniquitatem faciunt ore suo. 9 Moses received three doctrines concerning food and thus spoke of them in the Spirit; but they received them as really referring to food, owing to the lust of their flesh. 10 But David received knowledge concerning the same three doctrines, and says: “Blessed is the man who has not gone in the counsel of the ungodly” as the fishes go in darkness in the deep waters, “and has not stood in the way of sinners” like those who seem to fear the Lord, but sin like the swine, “and has not sat in the seat of the scorners” like the birds who sit and wait for their prey. Grasp fully the doctrines concerning food. 11 Moses says again, “Eat of every animal that is cloven hoofed and ruminant.” What does he mean? That he who receives food knows him who feeds him, and rests on him and seems to rejoice. Well did he speak with regard to the commandment. What then does he mean? Consort with those who fear the Lord, with those who meditate in their heart on the meaning of the word which they have received, with those who speak of and observe the ordinances of the Lord, with those who know that meditation is a work of gladness, and who ruminate on the word of the Lord. But what does “the cloven hoofed” mean? That the righteous both walks in this world and looks forward to the holy age. See how well Moses legislated. 12 But how was it possible for them to understand or comprehend these things? But we having a righteous understanding of them announce the commandments as the Lord wished. For this cause he circumcised our hearing and our hearts that we should comprehend these things.

11 (Baptism)
1 But let us enquire if the Lord took pains to foretell the water of baptism and the cross. Concerning the water it has been written with regard to Israel that they will not receive the baptism that brings the remission of sins, but will build for themselves. 2 For the Prophet says, “Be astonished O heaven, and let the earth tremble the more at this, that this people hath committed two evils: they have deserted me, the spring of life, and they have dug for themselves a cistern of death. 3 Is my holy mountain Sinai a desert rock? For you shall be as the fledgling birds, fluttering about when they are taken away from the nest.” 4 And again the Prophet says, “I will go before you and I will make mountains level, and I will break gates of brass, and I will shatter bars of iron, and I will give you treasures of darkness, secret, invisible, that they may know that I am the Lord God.” 5 And, “You shall dwell in a lofty cave of a strong rock.” And, “His water is sure, you shall see the King in his glory, and your soul shall meditate on the fear of the Lord.” 6 And again he says in another Prophet, “And he who does these things shall be as the tree, which is planted at the partings of the waters, which shall give its fruit in its season, and its leaf shall not fade, and all things, whatsoever he doeth, shall prosper. 7 It is not so with the wicked, it is not so; but they are even as the chaff which the wind drives away from the face of the earth. Therefore the wicked shall not rise up in judgment, nor sinners in the counsel of the righteous, for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, and the way of the ungodly shall perish.” 8 Mark how he described the water and the cross together. For he means this: blessed are those who hoped on the cross, and descended into the water. For he speaks of their reward “in his season”; at that time, he says, I will repay. But now when he says, “Their leaves shall not fade,” he means that every word which shall come forth from your mouth in faith and love, shall be for conversion and hope for many. 9 And again another Prophet says, “And the land of Jacob was praised above every land.” He means to say that he is glorifying the vessel of his Spirit. 10 What does he say next? “And there was a river flowing on the right hand, and beautiful trees grew out of it, and whosoever shall eat of them shall live for ever.” 11 He means to say that we go down into the water full of sins and foulness, and we come up bearing the fruit of fear in our hearts, and having hope on Jesus in the Spirit. “And whosoever shall eat of them shall live for ever.” He means that whosoever hears and believes these things spoken shall live for ever.

12 (The Cross)
1 Similarly, again, he describes the cross in another Prophet, who says, “And when shall all these things be accomplished? says the Lord. When the tree shall fall and rise, and when blood shall flow from the tree.” Here again you have a reference to the cross, and to him who should he crucified. 2 And he says again to Moses, when Israel was warred upon by strangers, and in order to remind those who were warred upon that they were delivered unto death by reason of their sins — the Spirit speaks to the heart of Moses to make a representation of the cross, and of him who should suffer, because, he says, unless they put their trust in him, they shall suffer war for ever. Moses therefore placed one shield upon another in the midst of the fight, and standing there raised above them all kept stretching out his hands, and so Israel again began to be victorious: then, whenever he let them drop they began to perish. 3 Why? That they may know that they cannot be saved if they do not hope on him. 4 And again he says in another Prophet, “I stretched out my hands the whole day to a disobedient people and one that refuses my righteous way.” 5 Again Moses makes a representation of Jesus, showing that he must suffer, and shall himself give life, though they will believe that he has been put to death, by the sign given when Israel was falling (for the Lord made every serpent bite them, and they were perishing, for the fall took place in Eve through the serpent), in order to convince them that they will be delivered over to the affliction of death because of their transgression. 6 Moreover, though Moses commanded them: — “You shall have neither graven nor molten image for your God,” yet he makes one himself to show a type of Jesus. Moses therefore makes a graven serpent, and places it in honour and calls the people by a proclamation. 7 So they came together and besought Moses that he would offer prayer on their behalf for their healing. But Moses said to them, “Whenever one of you,” he said, “be bitten, let him come to the serpent that is placed upon the tree, and let him hope, in faith that it though dead is able to give life, and he shall straightway be saved.” And they did so. In this also you have again the glory of Jesus, for all things are in him and for him. 8 Again, why does Moses say to Jesus, the son of Naue, when he gives him, prophet as he is, this name, that the whole people should listen to him alone? Because the Father was revealing everything concerning his Son Jesus. 9 Moses therefore says to Jesus the son of Naue, after giving him this name, when he sent him to spy out the land, “Take a book in your hands and write what the Lord says, that the Son of God shall in the last day tear up by the roots the whole house of Amalek.” 10 See again Jesus, not as son of man, but as Son of God, but manifested in a type in the flesh. Since therefore they are going to say that the Christ is David’s son, David himself prophesies, fearing and understanding the error of the sinners, “The Lord said to my Lord sit you on my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool.” 11 And again Isaiah speaks thus, “The Lord said to Christ my Lord, whose right hand I held, that the nations should obey before him, and I will shatter the strength of Kings.” See how “David calls him Lord” and does not say Son.

13 (Covenant)
1 Now let us see whether this people or the former people is the heir, and whether the covenant is for us or for them. 2 Hear then what the Scripture says concerning the people: “And Isaac prayed concerning Rebecca his wife, because she was barren, and she conceived. Then Rebecca went forth to enquire of the Lord and the Lord said to her: two nations are in your womb, and two peoples in your belly, and one people shall overcome a people, and the greater shall serve the less.” 3 You ought to understand who is Isaac and who is Rebecca, and of whom he has shown that this people is greater than that people. 4 And in another prophecy Jacob speaks more plainly to Joseph his son, saying, “Behold the Lord hath not deprived me of your presence; bring me your sons, that I may bless them.” 5 And he brought Ephraim and Manasses, and wished that Manasses should be blessed, because he was the elder; for Joseph brought him to the right hand of his father Jacob. But Jacob saw in the spirit a type of the people of the future. And what does he say? “And Jacob crossed his hands, and placed his right hand on the head of Ephraim, the second and younger son, and blessed him; and Joseph said to Jacob, Change your right hand on to the head of Manasses, for he is my first-born son. And Jacob said to Joseph, I know it, my child, I know it; but the greater shall serve the less, and this one shall indeed be blessed.” 6 See who it is of whom he ordained that this people is the first and heir of the covenant. 7 If then besides this he remembered it also in the case of Abraham, we reach the perfection of our knowledge. What then does he say to Abraham, when he alone was faithful, and it was counted him for righteousness? “Behold I have made you, Abraham, the father of the Gentiles who believe in God in uncircumcision.”

1 So it is. But let us see whether the covenant which he sware to the fathers to give to the people — whether he has given it. He has given it. But they were not worthy to receive it because of their sins. 2 For the Prophet says, “And Moses was fasting on Mount Sinai, to receive the covenant of the Lord for the people, forty days and forty nights. And Moses received from the Lord the two tables, written by the finger of the hand of the Lord in the Spirit”; and Moses took them, and carried them down to give them to the people. 3 And the Lord said to Moses, “Moses, Moses, go down quickly, for your people whom you didst bring out of the land of Egypt have broken the Law. And Moses perceived that they had made themselves again molten images, and he cast them out of his hands, and the tables of the covenant of the Lord were broken.” 4 Moses received it, but they were not worthy. But learn how we received it. Moses received it when he was a servant, but the Lord himself gave it to us, as the people of the inheritance, by suffering for our sakes. 5 And it was made manifest both that the tale of their sins should be completed in their sins, and that we through Jesus, the Lord who inherits the covenant, should receive it, for he was prepared for this purpose, that when he appeared he might redeem from darkness our hearts which were already paid over to death, and given over to the iniquity of error, and by his word might make a covenant with us. 6 For it is written that the Father enjoins on him that he should redeem us from darkness and prepare a holy people for himself. 7 The Prophet therefore says, “I the Lord your God did call you in righteousness, and I will hold your hands, and I will give you strength, and I have given you for a covenant of the people, for a light to the Gentiles, to open the eyes of the blind, and to bring forth from their fetters those that are bound and those that sit in darkness out of the prison house.” We know then whence we have been redeemed. 8 Again the Prophet says, “Lo, I have made you a light for the Gentiles, to be for salvation unto the ends of the earth, thus says the Lord the God who did redeem you.” 9 And again the Prophet says, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he anointed me to preach the Gospel of grace to the humble, he sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim delivery to the captives, and sight to the blind, to announce a year acceptable to the Lord, and a day of recompense, to comfort all who mourn.”

15 (Sabbath)
1 Furthermore it was written concerning the Sabbath in the ten words which he spoke on Mount Sinai face to face to Moses. “Sanctify also the Sabbath of the Lord with pure hands and a pure heart.” 2 And in another place he says, “If my sons keep the Sabbath, then will I bestow my mercy upon them.” 3 He speaks of the Sabbath at the beginning of the Creation, “And God made in six days the works of his hands and on the seventh day he made an end, and rested in it and sanctified it.” 4 Notice, children, what is the meaning of “Hemade an end in six days”? He means this: that the Lord will make an end of everything in six thousand years, for a day with him means a thousand years. And he himself is my witness when he says, “Lo, the day of the Lord shall be as a thousand years.” So then, children, in six days, that is in six thousand years, everything will be completed. 5 “And he rested on the seventh day.” This means, when his Son comes he will destroy the time of the wicked one, and will judge the godless, and will change the sun and the moon and the stars, and then he will truly rest on the seventh day. 6 Furthermore he says, “You shall sanctify it with clean hands and a pure heart.” If, then, anyone has at present the power to keep holy the day which God made holy, by being pure in heart, we are altogether deceived. 7 See that we shall indeed keep it holy at that time, when we enjoy true rest, when we shall be able to do so because we have been made righteous ourselves and have received the promise, when there is no mores in, but all things have been made new by the Lord: then we shall be able to keep it holy because we ourselves have first been made holy. 8 Furthermore he says to them, “Your new moons and the sabbaths I cannot away with.” Do you see whether means? The present sabbaths are not acceptable tome, but that which I have made, in which I will give rest to all things and make the beginning of an eighth day, that is the beginning of another world. 9 For this reason we also celebrate with gladness the eighth day in which Jesus also rose from the dead, and was made manifest, and ascended into Heaven.

16 (Temple)
1 I will also speak with you concerning the Temple, and show how the wretched men erred by putting their hope on the building, and not on the God who made them, and is the true house of God. 2 For they consecrated him in the Temple almost like the heathen. But learn how the Lord speaks, in bringing it to naught, “Who has measured the heaven with a span, or the earth with his outstretched hand? Have not I? says the Lord. Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool, what house will you build for me, or what is the place of my rest?” You know that their hope was vain. 3 Furthermore he says again, “Lo, they who destroyed this temple shall themselves build it.” 4 That is happening now. For owing to the war it was destroyed by the enemy; at present even the servants of the enemy will build it up again. 5 Again, it was made manifest that the city and the temple and the people of Israel were to be delivered up. For the Scripture says, “And it shall come to pass in the last days that the Lord shall deliver the sheep of his pasture, and the sheep-fold, and their tower to destruction.” And it took place according to what the Lord said. 6 But let us inquire if a temple of God exists. Yes, it exists, where he himself said that he makes and perfects it. For it is written, “And it shall come to pass when the week is ended that a temple of God shall be built gloriously in the name of the Lord.” 7 I find then that a temple exists. Learn then how it will be built in the name of the Lord. Before we believed in God the habitation of our heart was corrupt and weak, like a temple really built with hands, because it was full of idolatry, and was the house of demons through doing things which were contrary to God. 8 “But it shall be built in the name of the Lord.” Now give heed, in order that the temple of the Lord may be built gloriously. Learn in what way. When we received the remission of sins, and put our hope on the Name, we became new, being created again from the beginning; for this reason God truly dwells in us, in the habitation which we are. 9 How? His word of faith, the calling of his promise, the wisdom of the ordinances, the commands of the teaching, himself prophesying in us, himself dwelling in us, by opening the door of the temple (that is the mouth) to us, giving repentance to us, and thus he leads us, who have been enslaved to death into the incorruptible temple. 10 For he who desires to be saved looks not at the man, but at him who dwells and speaks in him, and is amazed at him, for he has never either heard him speak such words with his mouth, nor has he himself ever desired to hear them. This is a spiritual temple being built for the Lord.

1 So far as possibility and simplicity allow an explanation to be given to you my soul hopes that none of the things which are necessary for salvation have been omitted, according to my desire. 2 For if I write to you concerning things present or things to come, you will not understand because they are hid in parables. This then suffices.

18 (Two Ways)
1 Now let us pass on to another lesson and teaching. There are two Ways of teaching and power, one of Light and one of Darkness. And there is a great difference between the two Ways. For over the one are set light-bringing angels of God, but over the other angels of Satan. 2 And the one is Lord from eternity and to eternity, and the other is the ruler of the present time of iniquity.

19 (Way of Light)
1 The Way of Light is this: if any man desire to journey to the appointed place, let him be zealous in his works. Therefore the knowledge given to us of this kind that we may walk in it is as follows: 2 — You shall love your maker, you shall fear your Creator, you shall glorify Him who redeemed you from death, you shall be simple in heart, and rich in spirit; you shall not join yourself to those who walk in the way of death, you shall hate all that is not pleasing to God, you shall hate all hypocrisy; you shall not desert the commandments of the Lord. 3 You shall not exalt yourself, but shall be humble-minded in all things; you shall not take glory to yourself. You shall form no evil plan against your neighbour, you shall not let your soul be disobedient. 4 You shall not commit fornication, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not commit sodomy. You shall not let the word of God depart from you among the impurity of any men. You shall not respect persons in the reproving of transgression. You shall be meek, you shall be quiet, you shall fear the words which you hast heard. You shall not bear malice against your brother. You shall not be in two minds whether it shall be or not. “You shall not take the name of the Lord in vain.” You shall love your neighbour more than your own life. You shall not procure abortion, you shall not commit infanticide. You shall not withhold your hand from your son or from your daughter, but shall teach them the fear of God from their youth up. 6 You shall not covet your neighbour’s goods, you shall not be avaricious. You shall not be joined in soul with the haughty but shall converse with humble and righteous men. You shall receive the trials that befall you as good, knowing that nothing happens without God. 7 You shall not be double-minded or talkative. You shall obey your masters as a type of God in modesty and fear; you shall not command in bitterness your slave or handmaid who hope on the same God, lest they cease to fear the God who is over you both; for he came not to call men with respect of persons, but those whom the Spirit prepared. 8 You shall share all things with your neighbour and shall not say that they are your own property; for if you are sharers in that which is incorruptible, how much more in that which is corruptible? You shall not be forward to speak, for the mouth is a snare of death. So far as you canst, you shall keep your soul pure. 9 Be not one who stretches out the hands to take, and shuts them when it comes to giving. You shall love “as the apple of your eye” all who speak to you the word of the Lord. 10 You shall remember the day of judgment day and night, and you shall seek each day the society of the saints, either labouring by speech, and going out to exhort, and striving to save souls by the word, or working with your hands for the ransom of your sins. 11 You shall not hesitate to give, and when you give you shall not grumble, but you shall know who is the good paymaster of the reward. “You shall keep the precepts” which you hast received, “adding nothing and taking nothing away.” You shall utterly hate evil. “You shall give righteous judgment.” 12 You shall not cause quarrels, but shall bring together and reconcile those that strive. You shall confess your sins. You shall not betake yourself to prayer with an evil conscience. This is the Way of Light.

20 (Way of Darkness)
1 But the Way of the Black One is crooked and full of cursing, for it is the way of death eternal with punishment, and in it are the things that destroy their soul: idolatry, disobedience, arrogance of power, hypocrisy, double-heartedness, adultery, murder, robbery, pride, transgression, fraud, malice, self-sufficiency, enchantments, magic, covetousness, the lack of the fear of God; 2 persecutors of the good, haters of the truth, lovers of lies, knowing not the reward of righteousness, who “adhere not to the good,” nor to righteous judgment, who attend not to the cause of the widow and orphan, spending wakeful nights not in the fear of God, but in the pursuit of vice, from whom meekness and patience are far and distant, “loving vanity, seeking rewards,” without pity for the poor, working not for him who is oppressed with toil, prone to evil speaking, without knowledge of their Maker, murderers of children, corrupters of God’s creation, turning away the needy, oppressing the afflicted, advocates of the rich, unjust judges of the poor, altogether sinful.

1 It is good therefore that he who has learned the ordinances of the Lord as many as have been written should walk in them. For he who does these things shall be glorified in the kingdom of God, and he who chooses the others shall perish with his works. For this reason there is a resurrection, for this reason there is a recompense. 2 I beseech those who are in high positions, if you will receive any counsel of my goodwill, have among yourselves those to whom you may do good; fail not. 3 The day is at hand when all things shall perish with the Evil one; “The Lord and his reward is at hand.” 4 I beseech you again and again be good lawgivers to each other, remain faithful counsellors of each other, remove from yourselves all hypocrisy. 5 Now may God, who is the Lord over all the world, give you wisdom, understanding, prudence, knowledge of his ordinances, patience. 6 And be taught of God, seeking out what the Lord requires from you, and see that you be found faithful in the day of Judgment. 7 If there is any memory of good, meditate on these things and remember me, that my desire and my watchfulness may find some good end. I beseech you asking it of your favour. 8 While the fair vessel is with you fail not in any of them, but seek these things diligently, and fulfil every commandment; for these things are worthy. 9 For this reason I was the more zealous to write to you of my ability, to give you gladness. May you gain salvation, children of love and peace. The Lord of glory and of all grace be with your spirit.

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