INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOKS OF  HERMAS

These books were composed by a man named Hermas, brother to Pius who was bishop at Rome.  The Shepherd is the angel of the Lord appointed over who has His command from the great Archangel Michael appointed over the souls of the righteous, who answers to our Lord and God Jesus, the Son of the Almighty Father and Creator of all things.

It is of course irrelevant to me what man may have said or not said concerning these books, for I was not taught of our Creator to judge according to the precepts of men.  But rather I speak with the mighty angel Michael, and with the angel herein called the Shepherd, that; 

Whosoever shall read and keep these commands to walk in them, the same shall be written in the kingdom of heaven.  For the faith and redemption in Christ Jesus, is not an empty vessel so as many like to conceive, but it is with repentance, and with the works of faith, which these commands are.  

It is said that the way to the Father is by Christ Jesus, and this being correct, many will look no further, and consequently have both worlds at once, to keep their evil world along with salvation in Christ.  But again it is a truth that the way to Christ is by only a single door, which is Aseneth, meaning the city of refuge, meaning repentance, meaning faith, meaning to from then on keep the commandments.  

For what good is faith if one repents not of those things that destroys faith?  Will he purchase an automobile, and immediately drive it over a cliff?  For how then can he say to have an automobile?  Will he show me the sales receipt as proof that he has the vehicle?  Hear then this O man, for God shall not ask you for the receipt but look for the actual vehicle.

Do not pay attention to those who are of evil, you who truly search for everlasting life, for they have a neat way of discarding the sentiments of these books on the presumption that these specify law, while man is saved by faith.  They even presume to contend that Israel in all their time since mount Horeb had a covenant of the law, to live by the justification of the law.  

And yes that justification did exist with them, but for only a single person, namely Christ Jesus, that no law could convict Him.  While as for the Israelites themselves, the whole nation of them, that justification never applied as is evident from the sacrifices and the offering which were commanded them.   

For is it not obvious that if Israel at any time depended on the law for justification, the sacrifices would have been senseless and contradictory.  For if a man had broken the law he was to bring a sacrifice so he might be forgiven of his sin, the sacrifice taking the punishment for him.  Was then Israel justified in the law, or not rather in the Sacrifice, namely in the blood of Jesus who took their sins on Him to satisfy the demand of the law? 

The sacrifice, to be cleansed in the blood of it, was with Israel from the beginning and simultaneously with it was the justification, the circumcision of the law that had to be carried.  For the "One Person" in Israel who did in fact keep the whole law, and was justified by it, and came to save all other men.  

And why then was Paul so set on abandoning circumcision in favor of baptism, while that circumcision, for the people themselves other than Christ, had no real effect?  

It was to draw them away from any reliance on the law or their works after the law, which very thing Moses already taught them when he gave them the law and spoke to them regarding sacrifices.  

For to speak to them regarding sacrifices, is also to tell of their debt to the law.  The gesture of full obedience was fine, but of the whole race descending from Adam only "One" was found to have saved Himself by it, namely Christ Jesus. 

If then, as some wish to have it, that faith invalidates the law, then why was the law given along with the faith?  For the law is, was, and always into for everlasting will be the demand of God on men.  This will not ever change, but since we once transgressed it, we can no longer rely on being justified by it, but rather only in the grace of God to forgive us in His Son.  

And whosoever believes this, will with pleasure apply himself to the law.  In light of these things therefore, he who disregards, or despises, or thinks nothing good of these things written here, the same has not learned faith, or law, nor has he known God, or the Son of God.

COMMANDS

A BOOK OF HERMAS.  

     Chapter 1                  TO INDEX

     Introduction

1.  When I was sitting on my bed, having prayed, it happened that a certain man came to me with a reverend look in the form of a shepherd clothed with a white cloak, having a bag on his back, and a staff in his hand.

2.  And I returned his salute, and he sat down by me and said to me; "I am sent by that honorable messenger that I should dwell with you all the remaining days of your life."

3.  I however thought he came to try me, and I said; "Who art Thou?  For I know to whom I am committed".  He then said to me; "Do you not know me?  I am the shepherd to whose care you are delivered."

4.  And while he was speaking - his appearance changed, and I knew that it was Him to whom I was committed, and I was ashamed and overcome with sadness, for having spoken so foolishly to Him.

5.  But He said to me "Be not ashamed, but receive strength in your mind through the commands which I am about to deliver to you, for I am sent to show you all such things as you have seen before, emphasizing those which are of most use to you.

6.  First therefore write My commands and similitude's, and the rest you shall write as I show them to you.  The reason that I bid you to write them is that by reading My commands and similitude's often you shall more easily keep them in memory."

7.  And so I wrote His commands and similitude's as He bade me.  And He said to me; "In hearing these things you shall observe them, walking according to them, and exercise yourself in them with a pure mind, you shall receive those things from the Lord, which He has promised you.

8.  But if having heard them you shall not repent, but go on to add to your sins, you shall be punished by Him."

9.  All these things the Shepherd, the angel of repentance commanded me to write. 

        Of believing in one God.

10.  First of all believe that there is one God who created and framed all things from nothing into being.

11.  He comprehends all things, and is immeasurable, nor is He able to be comprehended by anyone who cannot be defined by any words, nor conceived by the mind.

12. Therefore believe in Him and fear Him, and fearing Him abstain from all evil.

13.  Keep these things and cast all lust and iniquity far from you, and put on righteousness, and you shall live to God if you shall keep His commandments.

 

      Chapter 2

      Of innocence and charity.

1.  And He said; "Be innocent and without disguise, so shall you be like an infant who knows no malice - which destroys the life of a man.

2.  And above all see to it that you speak no evil of anyone, nor willingly hear anyone speak evil of any.

3.  For if you do not observe this, then, since you are giving him ear, you will be a partaker of his sin in speaking evil, for by believing slander you also sin.

4.  To slander a person is a destructive thing, it is an inconstant evil spirit that never continues in peace but always is discord, refrain yourself therefore from it, and keep peace with your brother.

5.  Put on a holy fast in which there is no sin, in which everything is full of joy, and do good with your labors.

6.  Give without distinction to all that are in want, having no mind to whom your charity is, but give to all.

7.  For God will that we give to all of all His gifts, they therefore that receive shall give account to God, both for what reason and to what end they received it.

8.  And they that receive without any real need - shall have to account for it, but he that gave shall in that case be innocent, for he fulfilled his duty as he received it of God not making any choice to whom he should give.

9.  This service he does with simplicity and to the glory of God, keep therefore this commandment as I delivered it to you, that your repentance may be found sincere, and that goodness may come to your house, and have a pure heart. 

 

     Chapter 3 

     Of always speaking truth.

1.  Love truth, and let all your speech be truth, that the Spirit which the Lord gave to dwell in you may be found true towards all men.

2.  And thus the Lord who gave you such a Spirit - may be glorified, for God is true in all His words, in Him there is no lie.

3.  They therefore that lie - deny the Lord, and have become robbers of the Lord, not rendering to Him what they received of Him.

4.  For they received the Spirit free from lying, if therefore they make that a liar - they defile what was committed to them by the Lord and became deceivers."

5.  And hearing this - I wept bitterly, and He seeing me so weeping said to me.  "Why do you cry?"  And I said.  "Because Sir, I doubt if I can be saved".

6.  He then asked me "Why?"  And I replied; "Because Sir, I did not always speak true words in my life but lived in dissimulation, and affirmed a lie for truth to all men, and no man contradicted me, but all gave credit to my words, how then can I live seeing I have done thus?"

7.  And He said to me; "You think well and truly, for as the servant of God you ought to have walked in the truth, and not have joined an evil conscience with the Spirit of truth, nor have grieved the Holy and true Spirit of God".

8.  And I replied to Him; "Sir, I have never before listened so diligently to these things."  He then answered; "Now that you have heard them, from henceforth take care that the things which you formerly for your business sake spoke falsely, that they for your present truth may receive credit.

9.  For these sins may be credited if from now on you speak the truth, for by so doing you may attain to life.

10.  Whosoever then shall listen to this command to perform it, and depart from all lying he shall live to God." 

 

      Chapter 4 

      Of adultery and repentance.

1.  Furthermore I command you that you shall keep yourself chaste, and suffer no thoughts of fornication to enter into your heart, or of any other marriage, for such thoughts produce great sin.

2.  But at all times be mindful of the Lord, and you shall never sin, for if such evil thoughts arise in your heart - you are guilty of a great sin, they who do such things follow the way of death.

3.  Look to yourself therefore, and keep yourself from such thoughts, for where chastity remains in the heart of a righteous man - there ought never arise an evil thought."

4.  And I said to Him; "Sir suffer me to speak a little to you, for if a man faithful in the Lord has a wife and he catches her in adultery, does a man sin to still continue to live with her?"

5.  And He said to me.  "As long as he is ignorant of her sin he commits no fault in living with her.  But if a man knows that his wife has offended, and she shall not repent of her sin, but go on in her fornication, then the man if he continues to live with her shall become guilty of her sin, being a partaker of her adultery."

6.  And I said; "What therefore is to be done if the woman continues in her sin?"  And He replied.  "Let her husband put her away, and let him continue by himself, but if he in putting away his wife marries another, he also commits adultery."

7.   And I said; "What if the woman that is so put away shall repent and be willing to return to her husband, shall she not be received by him?  He said unto me; "Yes, and if her husband shall not receive her he will sin and commit a great offence against himself, but he ought to receive the offender if she repents.

8.  But not often, for to the servants of God there is but one repentance and for this cause a man that puts away his wife ought not to take another - because she may repent.

9.  This act is alike for both man and woman, and not only they commit adultery that pollute their flesh, but also those who make an image.  If a woman therefore is perverse in these things, and does not repent, depart from her, live not with her, otherwise you shall be a partaker of her sin.

10.  For this reason it said not to re-marry, for such persons may repent, the point is that once an offense is made - that no more offenses be added, for as to the previous sins - God has power to heal, and will provide a remedy."

11.  I asked Him again; "Seeing the Lord has thought me worthy that you should dwell with me continually, speak more to me for I understand little, and my heart is hard through my former conversation, open therefore my understanding."

12.  And He said to me; I am the minister of repentance, and give understanding to all that repent.  Does repentance not seem a good thing to you to perform?  He then that does so obtains great understanding.

13.  For such a one is indeed sensible, he who has sinned in the sight of the Lord - and that recalls wherein he has offended, and repents, no longer doing wickedly but instead does that which is good, and humbles his soul, and afflicts it, for he had offended.

14.  So you see therefore that repentance is great wisdom."  And I said; "For this cause Sir I inquired diligently into all things, for I am a sinner that I may know what I must do that I may live, for my sins are many."

15.  He then said; "You shall live if you shall keep these commandments, and whosoever shall hear and do these commands shall live unto God."

16.  And I said; "I have heard from other teachers that there is no other repentance beside that of baptism, when we go down into the water and receive the forgiveness of our sins, and that afterwards we must sin no more, but live in purity."

17.  He said; "You have been rightly informed, and seeing how you inquire diligently into all things - I will manifest this also to you.

18.  Those that have been called to the faith and have fallen into sin - for these the Lord has appointed repentance.  For God knows the thoughts of all hearts and their infirmities, and the manifold wickedness of the devil who is always contriving something against the servants of God, and maliciously lays snares for them.

19.  Therefore had our merciful Lord compassion towards His creature and appointed repentance and gave Me the power thereof, therefore I say to you; anyone after that great and holy calling shall be tempted by the devil and sin, he has one repentance.

20.  But if he shall often sin and repent of it, it shall profit him nothing, for such a one shall hardly live unto God.

21.  And I said; "Sir, I am restored to life since I have thus diligently listened to these commands, for I perceive that if I shall not hereafter add more to my sins - I shall be saved."

22.  And He said; "You shall indeed be saved, and so shall all others, as many as shall observe these commandments".

 

      Chapter 5 

      Of anger and forbearance.

1.  Be patient and long-suffering, so shall you have dominion over all wicked works, and you shall fulfill all righteousness.

2.  For if you shall be patient, then the Holy Spirit, which dwells in you, shall be pure and not be darkened by any evil spirit.  But being full of joy be enlarged in you, and feast in the body in which it dwells, and serve the Lord with joy and great peace.

3.  But if anger overtake you, then the Holy Spirit which is in you, will be blocked, and immediately seek to depart from you.

4.  For He is choked by the evil spirit not having the liberty to serve the Lord as He would, for by anger He is grieved, when thus a man wills both these spirits it is destructive to him.

5.  It is as when a little wormwood is put into a jar of honey - wherein the whole jar of honey is spoiled.  Thus a very little wormwood spoils the great quantity; it loses its sweetness and is no longer acceptable to its Lord, the whole honey being made bitter and useless.

6.  While if no wormwood is put in the honey, it is sweet and profitable to the Lord, forbearance therefore is sweeter than honey, and profitable to the Lord who dwells in it.

7.  But anger is unprofitable, if therefore anger is mixed with forbearance the soul is distressed, and its prayer is not profitable with God.

8.  And I said to Him; "Sir, I would like to know the sinfulness of anger so that I may keep from it."  And He said; "You shall know it, and if you do not keep from it - you shall lose your hope with all your house, therefore I say to depart from it.

9.  For I the messenger of righteousness is with you, and all that depart from anger and repent with all their heart - shall live to God, and I will be with them, and keep them all.

10.  For all that repented have been justified by the Most Holy Messenger who is a minister of salvation.

11.  And now hear the wickedness of anger, how evil and hurtful it is, and how it overthrows the servants of God, it cannot hurt those that are full of faith because the power of God is with them, but it overthrows the doubtful, and them that are without faith.

12.  For as often as it sees those persons it comes into their hearts, and so one is in bitterness for nothing, for nothing more than a vain word, or for sustenance, or for reason of a friend, or a debt, or any other trivial thing of like nature.

13.  For these things are foolish and trivial, and vain to the servants of God, but a just temper is strong and forceful, of great power, and enjoys much room, is cheerful, rejoicing in peace, and glorifies God at all times with meekness.

14.  This long-suffering dwells with those that are full of faith, but anger is foolish and light-hearted and empty.

15.  Bitterness then is bred through folly, and anger from bitterness, and fury from anger, and this fury arising from so many evil principles works a great and incurable sin.

16.  For when all these things are in the same man in which the Holy Spirit will dwell, the vessel cannot contain them, for the Holy Spirit being tender cannot tarry with the evil one, and thus departs, but dwells with him that is meek.

17.  When therefore He is departed from that man, the man becomes destitute and is afterwards filled with wicked spirits, and blinded with evil thoughts, so does it happen to all angry men.

18.  Take heed therefore, and if you shall obey this command, you shall be able to observe the other commandments which I shall command you."

 

      Chapter 6

     The virtue of the fear of God.

1.  In my first commandment I commanded you that you should keep faith and fear and repentance, but now I will show you the virtues of these commands that you may know their effects, how they are prescribed alike to the just and unjust.

2.  Believe therefore the righteous, but give no credit to the unrighteous, for righteousness keeps the right way, but unrighteousness the wicked way.

3.  Leave that which is evil, for the way of evil has no good end, but has many stumbling-blocks, it is rugged, full of thorns, and leads to destruction, being hurtful to all who walk on it.

4.  But they who go in the right way walk with evenness and without offense, it not being rough or thorny.

5.  You see therefore that it is best to walk in this way, and you shall go that way, and as many as believe in God with all their heart.

6.  Understand then what belongs to faith.  There are two angels with man, one of righteousness the other of iniquity.

7.  And I said' "Sir, how shall I know that there are two such angels with man?"  "Hear, said He, and understand.

8.  The angel of righteousness is mild, modest, gentle, and quiet, when he therefore comes in his heart, he immediately talks to you of righteousness modesty, chastity, bountifulness, forgiveness, charity, and of piety.

9.  When all these things thus come into your heart know that the angel of righteousness is with you, listen therefore to this angel, and do his works.

10.  But know also the works of the angel of iniquity, for he is first of all bitter, and angry and foolish, and his works are destructive, that overthrows the servants of God.

11.  When these things thus come in your heart, you know by his works that he is the angel of iniquity."  And I said; "Sir, How shall I understand these things?"

12.  He replied; "Listen and understand, when anger or bitterness overtakes you - know that he is in you, and also with the desire of many things, and of the best foods, and of drunkenness.

13.  And also with covetness, the love of what belongs to others, and pride, and much speaking, and ambition, and other like things.

14.  Seeing thus you know his works depart from them all, and give no credit to him, for his works are evil and not becoming of the servants of God.

15.  Here you have the works of both these angels, understand, and believe then the angel of righteousness, for his instructions are good.

16.  For be a man ever so happy, yet if the thoughts of the angel of iniquity arise in his heart - he must needs sin.

17.  But let a man or woman be ever so wicked; if the work of the angel of righteousness comes into his heart, that man or woman must needs do some good.

18.  So you see how good it is to follow the angel of righteousness, and if you shall thus follow him, and submit to his works, you shall live unto God, and as many as do shall live unto God."

 

      Chapter 7

     To fear God only.

1.  He said; "Fear God and keep His commandments, for if you keep His commandments you shall be powerful in every work, and all your works shall be excellent, for by fearing God you shall do everything well.

2.  This is the fear with which you must be affected that you may be saved, but fear not the devil, for if you fear the Lord you shall have dominion over him, there not then being any power in him.

3.  If thus there is no power in him, he is neither to be feared, but He in whom is excellent power is to be feared, for everyone having power is to be feared, while he who has no power is despised by everyone.

4.  Fear the works of the devil since they are evil, and by fearing the Lord you will not do the works of the devil, but keep yourself from them.

5.  There is therefore twofold fear, if you will do no evil - fear the Lord, and if you wish to do well - the fear of the Lord is strong, great, and glorious.

6.  Fear therefore God and you shall live, for whosoever fear Him and keep His commandments - their life is with the Lord, while in them that do not keep them is neither life.

 

     Chapter 8 

     Do good, and flee from evil.

1.  I have thus told you that there are two kinds of creatures of the Lord, and that there is a twofold abstinence, for from some things you must abstain, and not from others."

2.  I then said "Sir, declare me from what I must abstain, and from what not."  "Listen, so he said; Keep yourself from evil, but not from the good, for to abstain from what is good you might sin, if thus you abstain from evil you shall know all righteousness."

3.  I said; "What evil things must I abstain from?"  He said; "From adultery, drunkenness, riots, excess of eating, daintiness, dishonesty, pride, fraud, lying, detraction, hypocrisy, and from remembering of injuries, and from all evil speaking, for these are the works of iniquity.

4.  But hear also what follows of good things, for there are indeed many more things of which the servant of God must abstain, such as theft, cheating, false witness, coveting, boasting, and all other of like nature.

5.  Do not these things seem evil to you?  For indeed they are very evil to the servants of God.  Thus I have shown you what things you must avoid, and now hear from which you must not abstain, and hear also the virtue of them.

6.  First there is faith, the fear of the Lord, love, agreement, equity, truth, patience, and chastity.

7.  There is nothing better than these things in the life of a man that perform these things in their life.

8.  And what follows are; to minister to widows, not to despise the fatherless, and the poor, and to redeem the servants of God from necessity, to be hospitable, and not to be contentious.

9.  To be humble above all men, to reverence the aged, to labor to the righteous, to respect the brotherhood, to be long-suffering, to forebear, not to cast away those that have fallen from the faith.

10.  But to convert them and make them to be of good cheer, to admonish sinners, and not to oppress debtors, and all other things of like nature.

11.  Do these things seem good to you?"  And I answered; "What can be better than these words?"  "Live then, so he said, in these commandments and depart not from them.

12.  For if you shall keep all these, you shall live unto God, and everyone who does so shall live unto God."

 

     Chapter 9 

     Faith and doubt.

1.  Again He said to me; "Remove all doubt from you, and question nothing at all when you ask anything of the Lord - saying within yourself; how shall I be able to ask anything of the Lord and receive since I have sinned so greatly against Him.

2.  Do not think thus, but turn to the Lord with all your heart, and ask of Him without any doubt - and you shall know the mercy of the Lord how He will not forsake you, but fulfill the request of your soul.

3.  For God is not as man mindful of the injuries He has received, but He forgets injuries and has compassion on His creature.

4.  Purify your heart therefore from all the vices of this present world.  And observe the commandments that I have delivered to you of God, and you shall receive whatsoever good things you shall ask.  And nothing shall be wanting to you of all your petition, if you shall ask without doubt.

5.  But they who do not so - shall obtain nothing of the things for which they ask, for they that are full of faith ask all things with confidence and receive, but that doubt shall hardly live to God lest he repents.

6.  And if you should ask, and not immediately receive it, yet do not therefore doubt, for it may be to some trial, or else for some sin of which you are unaware.

7.  Do not therefore leave off to ask, and you will receive, for if you cease to ask, you have only to complain of yourself and not of God, that He has not given you what you desired.

8.  Consider thus how cruel and destructive doubt is, and how it utterly roots out many from the faith who were faithful and firm, for doubt is the daughter of the devil, and deals very wickedly with the servants of God.

9.  On every occasion despise to doubt, and you shall rule over it, put on a firm and powerful; faith, for faith promises all things, and perfects all things, but doubt will not believe that it shall obtain anything for all that it can do.

10.  You see thus how faith comes from above, from God, and has great power, but doubt is an earthly spirit proceeding from the devil and has no strength.

11.  Keep therefore the virtue of faith, and depart from doubt in which is no virtue, and you and as many as will shall live unto God."

 

      Chapter 10

     Sadness and doubt.

1.  Put all sadness far from you, for it is a sister of doubt and of anger."  And I said; "How sir, is it the sister of these, for sadness, anger, and doubt seems to me to be very different of one another?"

2.  And He answered; "Are you then without sense that you do not understand it?  For sadness is the most mischievous of all spirits, and the worst to the servants of God.  It destroys the spirits of all men, and torments the Holy Spirit, and yet also it saves."

3.  I said; "Sir, I am very foolish and understand not these things, I do not comprehend how it can torment, and yet save."  So He said; "Listen and understand, they who never sought out the truth, not inquired concerning the majesty of God, but only believed, are involved in the affairs of the heathen.

4.  And there is another lying spirit that destroys the mind of the servants of God, of those that are doubtful.  These doubtful persons then come to him as were he a divine spirit, and inquire of him what shall befall them.

5.  And this lying prophet having no power in him of the Divine Spirit - answers him according to their desires, and fills their souls with promises, as they desire.

6.  That prophet however is vain, answering vain things to those that are vain.  And whatever is asked of him by vain men he answers them vainly.  Yet he will speak some truth, because the devil fills him with his spirit to the intend that he may overthrow some of the righteous.

7.  Whosoever therefore are strong in the faith of the Lord and have put on the truth, they are not joined to such spirits, but the doubtful repent often like the heathens do, and consults them heaping up great sin to themselves, serving idols.

8.  As many then as there are of such they inquire on every occasion, and worship idols, being foolish and void of the truth.

9.  For every spirit that is given of God need not be asked, but having the power of divinity speaks all things of itself, for he comes from above, from the power of God.

10.  But that one of men speaks according to man's desires and concerning many other affairs of the present world, such understand not the things which relate to God, for these spirits are darkened through such affairs and corrupted and broken.

11.  Like as good vines when neglected are oppressed with weeds and thorns, and at last killed by them, so are the men who believe such spirits.

12.  They fall into many actions and businesses and are devoid of sense, and when they think of things pertaining to God, they understand nothing at all, and if at any time they chance to hear anything concerning the Lord, their thoughts are upon their business.

13.  But they that have the fear of the Lord, and search out the truth concerning God, having all their thoughts towards the Lord perceive whatsoever is said to them, and forthwith understand it, for they have the fear of the Lord in them.

14.  For where the Spirit of the Lord dwells there is also much understanding added, join yourself therefore to the Lord, and you shall understand all things.

15.  Learn now O you unwise man how sadness troubles the Holy Spirit, and how it saves.  When a doubtful man is engaged in any affair and does not accomplish it because of his doubt, sadness enters him, and grieves the Holy Spirit, making Him sad.

16.  Then if anger overtakes the man for any business, but again he is greatly moved with remorse sadness entering his heart, being troubled for what he has done, and repents.

17.  This sadness leads to salvation for he repents of his evil deed, while again in the previous both doubt and sadness vexes the spirit with doubt since the work did not succeed, and so angered the Holy Spirit.

18.  Remove sadness therefore, and afflict not the Holy Spirit which dwells in you, lest He entreats God, and departs from you, for the Spirit of the Lord which is given to dwell in the flesh endures no such sadness.

19.  Clothe yourself therefore with cheerfulness which always has favor with God, and you shall rejoice in it, for every cheerful man does well and relishes those things that are good and despises sadness.

20.  But the sad person does always wickedly, first because he grieves the Holy Spirit, which is of a cheerful nature.

21.  And secondly he prays with sadness to the Lord, and does not first make a thankful acknowledgment to Him for His former mercies.

22.  And so he obtains not of God what he asks, for the prayer of a sad person has not always the effect of coming up to the altar of God."

23.  And I said to Him; "Sir, Why has the prayer of a sad person no virtue to come up to the altar of God?"  He replied.  "Because sadness remained in his heart.  (wrong sadness)

24.  When a man prays with sadness his request will not ascend pure, for as wine mixed with vinegar has lost its sweetness, so sadness mixed with the Holy Spirit suffers not a man's prayer to be the same as it would otherwise.

25.  Cleanse yourself therefore from sadness which is evil, and you shall live unto God, and all who lay aside sadness and put on cheerfulness shall live to God."

 

     Chapter 11 

     Empty and full vessels do not mix.

1.  He showed me certain men sitting on benches, and one sitting on a chair.  He said to me; "Do you see who sit on the benches, they are the faithful, and he who sits in the chair is an earthly spirit.

2.  For he does not come into the assembly of the faithful, but avoids it, instead he joins himself to the doubtful and empty prophesying to them in corners and hidden places, pleasing them by speaking according to the desires of their hearts.

3.  For he placing himself among many empty vessels is not broken, so the one fits the other.  But when he comes into the company of just men who are full of the Spirit of God, and they pray to the Lord, then that man is emptied because that earthly spirit flees from him, and he is dumb and cannot speak anything.

4.  As if in a storehouse you store wine and oil, and among these vessels you place an empty jar, and coming later to open them you shall find it still empty as you placed it.  So these empty prophets when they come among the spirits of the just are found to be such as they are."

5.  I said; "How then shall a man be able to discern them?"  He replied; "Consider what I am going to say, consider the two kinds of men as I speak to you which is the prophet of God, and which is false.

6.  For He who has the Spirit of God, for the Spirit of above is humble and quiet and departs from all wickedness, and from the vain desires of this present world.

7.  And accordingly makes himself more humble than all men and answers to none when he is asked, not to everyone singularly, for the Spirit of God does not speak to a man when he wills, but when it pleases God.

8.  When a man who has the Spirit of God comes into the church of the righteous, who have the faith of God and pray to the Lord, then the holy angel of God fills that man with the blessed Spirit and he speaks in the congregation as the Lord will.

9.  There then is the Spirit of God known, for whosoever speaks by the Spirit of God speaks, as the Lord will.

10.  And now hear concerning the empty spirit which is foolish and without virtue, he then that is supposed to have the Spirit, exalts himself and desires to have the first seat, and is wicked and full of words.

11.  And he spends his time in pleasure and in all manner of foul desires, and looks for the reward of his divination which if he does not receive it, he will not divine.

12.  And now I ask you, it is proper that the Spirit of God divine's and receives reward?  No it does not become a prophet of God to do so.

13.  Thus you see the life of each of these kind of prophets, test therefore that man by his life and works.  He that says he has the Spirit, and that he believes the Spirit that comes of God - but in fact has not.  Or that says he believes not the earthly spirit, which is from the devil in whom is no faith and virtue, but he in fact practices, its desire.

14.  And now hear the similitude, which I am about to speak to you.  Take a stone and throw it up to heaven, or take a spout of water and shoot it upward to see if you can reach into heaven."

15.  I said; "Sir, this cannot be done, neither of these are possible".  And He answered; "Just as these things cannot be done, so also is the earthly spirit (down to earth) without virtue and effect.

16.  In the next similitude then understand yet further the power that comes from above; The grains of hail that drop down are exceedingly small, and yet when they fall on the head of a man how do they cause pain?

17.  And again consider the rain how the little drops falling on the earth work a hollow in the stone, so in like manner the least which comes from above that falls on the earth have great force.

18.  Join yourself therefore to this spirit which has the power, and depart from the other which is empty."

 

     Chapter 12 

     Of twofold desire.

1.  Again He said to me; "Remove all evil desire from you, and put on good and holy desires, for having put on a good desire you shall hate that which is evil, and bridle it as you will.

2.  But an evil desire is dreadful and hard to be tamed, it is very horrible wild, and by its wildness consumes men, and especially if a servant of the Lord chances to fall into it, for except he be very wise he shall be ruined in it.

3.  For it destroys those who have not the garment of good desire, and which are engaged in the affairs of this present world, delivering them to death."

4.  I said; "Sir, what are the works of an evil desire that brings a man to death?"  And He said; "First it is to covet a man's wife, or for a woman to covet another woman's husband, and to desire dainties of riches, and the score of superfluous meats and drunkenness, and many such delights.

5.  For in much delicacy there is folly, and many pleasures are needless to the servants of God, such lusting thus is evil and destructive which bring the servants of God to death, for all such lusting is from the devil.

6.  Whosoever thus departs from all evil desires shall live to God, but that are subject to it shall die, for evil lusting is deadly.

7.  You therefore put on the desire of righteousness, and armed with the fear of the Lord resist all wicked lusting.

8.  For this fear dwells in good desires, and when evil coveting sees you armed with the fear of God and resisting it, it will fly far from you, and not appear to you being afraid of your armor.

9.  And you shall have the victory and be crowned for it, and attain to that desire which is good, and grant the victory you have obtained to God serving Him in doing what you yourself would do.

10.  For if you shall serve good desires and be subject to them, you shall be able to obtain dominion over your wicked lusting, and they shall be subject to you as you desire."

11.  And I said; "Sir, I like to know how to serve that good desire."  He said; "Listen, Fear God and put your trust in Him and love truth and righteousness, and perform what is good.

12.  If you do these things, you shall be an approved servant of God, and you shall serve Him, and all others who in like manner shall serve a good desire shall live unto God."

 

      Chapter 13 

      Ending words.

1.  And having fulfilled these twelve commands He said to me; "You now have these commands, walk in them and exhort them that hear them and do repent, that they may keep their repentance pure all the days of their life.

2.  And fulfill this ministry that I committed to you, and you shall receive great advantage by it and favor with all such as repent and believe your words, for I am with you and will coerce them to believe."

3.  And I said to Him "Sir, these commands are great and excellent, able to cheer the heart of that man which shall be able to keep them, but Sir, I cannot tell if they can be observed by any man."

4.  He answered "You shall easily keep these commands, and they shall not be hard, but if you shall suffer it in your heart that they cannot be kept by anyone, then you shall neither fulfill them.

5.  And so I say to you u now; that if you do not observe these commands but neglect them - you shall not be saved because you judged that these commands cannot be kept by any man."

6.  These things He spoke very angrily to me, so much so that He greatly frightened me, for He changed His countenance so that a man could not bear His anger.

7.  And He seeing me altogether troubled and confounded, He began to speak more moderately and cheerfully saying; "O foolish and without understanding, inconstant and not knowing the Majesty of God, how great and wonderful He is.

8.  Who created the world for man, and has made every creature subject to him, and who gave him all the power required that he should be able to fulfill all these commands.

9.  He is indeed able to fulfill all these commands, he who has the Lord in his heart, but they who do not have the Lord in their mouth, and whose heart is hardened, being far from the Lord, to such persons these commands are hard and difficult.

10.  You therefore that are empty and light in the faith, put the Lord your God in your heart, and you shall perceive how nothing is more easy nor more pleasant, gentle, and holy than these commands.

11.  Turn yourself to the Lord, and forsake the devil and his pleasures, for they are bitter and impure, and fear not the devil for he has no power over you. 

12.  For I am with you, the messenger of repentance who has the dominion over the devil does indeed frighten men, but his terror is in vain, wherefore fear him not and he will flee from you."

13.  And I said to Him.  "Sir, Hear me to speak a few words to you.  A man indeed desires to keep the commandments of God, and everyone that prays asks that he may keep the commandments of God, but the devil is hard, and by his power rules over the servants of God."

14.  And He said No!  He cannot rule over the servants of God who trust in God with all their hearts, the devil may strive - but he cannot overcome them.

15.  For if you resist him he will flee away with confusion, but they that are not full of faith fear the devil as if he had some great power for the devil tries the servants of God, and if he finds them empty, he destroys them.

16.  For just as man when he fills up vessels with good wine and among them he places a few half-full vessels.  And coming to try the taste of the vessels, he does not try those that are full, for he knows that they are good, but he tastes those that are half full - if they have grown sour.  For vessels half full soon grow sour, losing the taste of wine, so also the devil comes to the servants of God to try them.

17. They that are full of faith resist him stoutly, and he departs from them, for he finds no place where to enter into them.  Then he goes to those who are not full of faith, and because he finds a place of entrance he goes into them and does what he will with them, and they become his servants.

18.  But I the messenger of repentance say to you; fear not the devil, for I am sent to you that I may be with you, and with as many as repent with their whole heart that I may confirm them in the faith.

19.  Believe therefore you who by reason of your transgressions have forgotten God and your own salvation and adding to your sins have made your life very heavy.

20.  That if you shall turn to the Lord with your whole heart and shall serve Him according to His will, He will heal you of your former sins and you shall have dominion over all the works of the devil.

21.  Be then not in the least afraid of the threatening for they are without force, even as the nerves of a dead man are, but listen to Me, and fear the Almighty who is able to save or to destroy you.

22.  And I said to Him; "Sir, I now am confirmed in all the commands of the Lord as long as Thou art with me, for I know that Thou wilt break all the power of the devil.

23.  And we also shall overcome him in the help of the Lord to keep these commands which Thou has commanded."

24.  He then said; "You shall keep them if you purify your heart towards the Lord, and all who shall cleanse their heart from the vain desires of this present world shall live unto God."

End.