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THE APOCALYPSE OF PETER. - A. Cleveland Coxe, Ante-Nicene Fathers. Volume 9: The Gospel of Peter, Apocalypses and Romances, Commentaries of Origen 
Ante-Nicene Fathers. Volume 9: The Gospel of Peter, the Diatessaron of Tatian, the Apocalypse of Peter, the Vision of Paul, the Apocalypse of the Virgin and Sedrach, the Testament of Abraham, the Acts of Xanthippe and Polyxena, the Narrative of Zosimus, the Apology of Aristides, the Epistles of Clement (complete text), Origen’s Commentary of John, Books 1-10, and Commentary on Matthew, Books 1, 2, and 10-14, ed. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. Revised and Chronologically arranged with brief prefaces and occasional notes by A. Cleveland Coxe (New York: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1896-97).
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THE APOCALYPSE OF PETER.
1. . . . many of them will be false prophets,1 and will teach divers ways and doctrines of perdition: but these will become sons of perdition.2 3. And then God will come unto my faithful ones who hunger and thirst and are afflicted and purify their souls in this life; and he will judge the sons of lawlessness.3
4. And furthermore the Lord said: Let us go into the mountain:4 Let us pray. 5. And going with him, we, the twelve disciples, begged that he would show us one of our brethren, the righteous who are gone forth out of the world, in order that we might see of what manner of form they are, and having taken courage, might also encourage5 the men who hear us.
6. And as we prayed, suddenly there appeared two men standing before the Lord towards the East, on whom we were not able to look;6 7, for there came forth from their countenance a ray as of the sun, and their raiment was shining, such as eye of man7 never saw; for no mouth is able to express or heart to conceive the glory with which they were endued, and the beauty of their appearance. 8. And as we looked upon them, we were astounded; for their bodies were whiter than any snow and ruddier than any rose;8 9, and the red thereof was mingled with the white, and I am utterly unable to express their beauty; 10, for their hair was curly and bright and seemly both on their face and shoulders, as it were a wreath9 woven of spikenard and divers-coloured flowers, or like a rainbow in the sky, such was their seemliness.
11. Seeing therefore their beauty we became astounded at them, since they appeared suddenly. 12. And I approached the Lord and said: Who are these? 13. He saith to me: These are your brethren the righteous, whose forms ye desired to see. 14. And I said to him: And where are all the righteous ones and what is the æon in which they are and have this glory?
15. And the Lord showed me10 a very great country outside of this world, exceeding bright with light, and the air there lighted with the rays of the sun, and the earth itself blooming with unfading flowers and full of spices and plants, fair-flowering and incorruptible and bearing blessed fruit. 16. And so great was the perfume that it11 was borne thence even unto us. 17. And the dwellers in that place were clad in the raiment of shining angels and their raiment was like unto their country; and angels hovered about them there. 18. And the glory of the dwellers there was equal, and with one voice they sang praises alternately to the Lord God, rejoicing in that place. 19. The Lord saith to us: This is the place of your high-priests.12 the righteous men.
20. And over against that place I saw another, squalid, and it was the place of punishment; and those who were punished there and the punishing angels had their raiment dark13 like the air of the place.
21. And there were certain there hanging by the tongue: and these were the blasphemers of the way of righteousness; and under them lay fire,14 burning and punishing them.
22. And there was a great lake, full of flaming mire, in which were certain men that pervert righteousness,1 and tormenting angels afflicted them.
23. And there were also others, women, hanged by their hair over that mire that bubbled up: and these were they who adorned themselves for adultery; and the men who mingled with them in the defilement2 of adultery, were hanging by the feet and their heads in that mire. And I said: I did not believe that I should come into this place.
24. And I saw the murderers and those who conspired with them, cast into a certain strait place, full of evil snakes, and smitten by those beasts, and thus turning to and fro in that punishment; and worms,3 as it were clouds of darkness, afflicted them. And the souls of the murdered stood and looked upon the punishment of those murderers and said: O God, thy judgment is just.
25. And near that place I saw another strait place into which the gore and the filth of those who were being punished ran down and became there as it were a lake: and there sat women having the gore up to their necks, and over against them sat many children who were born to them out of due time, crying; and there came forth from them sparks of fire and smote the women in the eyes: and these were the accursed who conceived and caused abortion.
26. And other men and women were burning up to the middle and were cast into a dark place and were beaten by evil spirits, and their inwards were eaten by restless worms:4 and these were they who persecuted the righteous and delivered them up.
27. And near those there were again women and men gnawing their own lips, and being punished and receiving a red-hot iron in their eyes: and these were they who blasphemed and slandered5 the way of righteousness.
28. And over against these again other men and women gnawing their tongues and having flaming fire in their mouths: and these were the false witnesses.6
29. And in a certain other place there were pebbles sharper than swords or any spit, red-hot, and women and men in tattered and filthy raiment rolled about on them in punishment: and these were the rich who trusted in their riches and had no pity for orphans and widows, and despised the commandment7 of God.
30. And in another great lake, full of pitch and blood and mire bubbling up, there stood men and women up to their knees: and these were the usurers and those who take interest on interest.
31. And other men and women were being hurled down from a great cliff and reached the bottom, and again were driven by those who were set over them to climb up upon the cliff, and thence were hurled down again, and had no rest from this punishment: and these were they who defiled8 their bodies acting as women; and the women who were with them were those who lay with one another as a man with a woman.
32. And alongside of that cliff there was a place full of much fire, and there stood men who with their own hands had made for themselves carven images instead of God. And alongside of these were other men and women, having rods and striking each other and never ceasing from such punishment.
33. And others again near them, women and men, burning and turning themselves and roasting: and these were they that leaving the way of God9 . . .
FRAGMENTS OF THE APOCALYPSE OF PETER.
1. Clemens Alexandrinus,Eclog. 48. For instance, Peter in the Apocalypse says that the children who are born out of due time shall be of the better part: and that these are delivered over to a care-taking angel that they may attain a share of knowledge and gain the better abode [after suffering what they would have suffered if they had been in the body: but the others shall merely obtain salvation as injured beings to whom mercy is shown, and remain without punishment, receiving this as a reward].*
2. Clem. Alex.Eclog. 49. But the milk of the women running down from their breasts and congealing shall engender small flesh-eating beasts: and these run up upon them and devour them.1
3. Macarius Magnes,Apocritica iv., 6 cf. 16. The earth, it (sc. the Apoc. of Peter) says. “shall present all men before God at the day of judgment, being itself also to be judged, with the heaven also which encompasses it.”
4. Clem. Alex.Eclog. 41. The scripture says that infants that have been exposed are delivered to a care-taking angel, by whom they are educated and so grow up, and they will be, it says, as the faithful of a hundred years old are here.
5. Methodius,Conviv. ii., 6. Whence also we have received in divinely-inspired scriptures that untimely births are delivered to care-taking angels, even if they are the offspring of adultery.
THE VISION OF PAUL.
here begins the vision of saint paul the apostle.
“But I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord: I know a man in Christ fourteen years ago (whether in the body, I know not; or out of the body, I know not, God knoweth) snatched up in this manner to the third heaven: and I know such a man, whether in the body or out of the body I know not, God knoweth; how that he was snatched up into Paradise and heard secret words which it is not lawful for men to speak; on behalf of such a one will I glory; but on mine own behalf I will not glory, save in my infirmities.”—2 Cor. xii. 1-5.
1. At what time was this revelation made? In the consulship of Theodosius Augustus the Younger and Cynegius,1 a certain nobleman then living in Tharsus, in the house which was that of Saint Paul, an angel appearing in the night revealed to him, saying that he should open the foundations of the house and should publish what he found, but he thought that these things were dreams.
2. But the angel coming for the third time beat him and forced him to open the foundation. And digging he found a marble box, inscribed on the sides; there was the revelation of Saint Paul, and his shoes in which he walked teaching the word of God. But he feared to open that box and brought it to the judge; when he had received it, the judge, because it was sealed with lead, sent it to the Emperor Theodosius, fearing lest it might be something else; which when he had received the emperor opened it, and found the revelation of Saint Paul; a copy of it he sent to Jerusalem, and retained the original himself.
3. While I was in the body in which I was snatched up to the third heaven, the word of the Lord came to me saying: speak to the people: until when will ye transgress, and heap sin upon sin, and tempt the Lord who made you? Ye are the sons of God, doing the works of the devil in the faith of Christ, on account of the impediments of the world. Remember therefore and know that while every creature serves God, the human race alone sins. But it reigns over every creature and sins more than all nature.
4. For indeed the sun, the great light, often addressed the Lord saying: Lord God Almighty, I look out upon the impieties and injustices of men; permit me and I shall do unto them what are my powers, that they may know that thou art God alone. And there came a voice saying to him: I know all these things, for mine eye sees and ear hears, but my patience bears them until they shall be converted and repent. But if they do not return to me I will judge them all.
5. For sometimes the moon and stars addressed the Lord saying: Lord God Almighty, to us thou hast given the power of the night; till when shall we look down upon the impieties and fornications and homicides done by the sons of men? Permit us to do unto them according to our powers, that they may know that thou art God alone. And there came a voice unto them saying: I know all these things, and mine eye looks forth and ear hears, but my patience bears with them until they shall be converted and repent. But if they do not return unto me I will judge them.
6. And frequently also the sea exclaimed saying: Lord God Almighty, men have defiled thy holy name in me; permit me to arise and cover every wood and orchard and the whole world, until I blot out all the sons of men from before thy face, that they may know that thou art God alone. And the voice came again and said: I know all things; mine eye seeth everything, and mine ear heareth, but my patience bears with them until they be converted and repent. But if they do not return, I will judge them. Sometimes the waters2 also spoke against the sins of men saying: Lord God Almighty, all the sons of men have defiled thy holy name. And there came a voice saying: I know all things before they come to pass, for mine eye seeth and mine ear heareth all things, but my patience bears with them until they be converted. But if not I will judge them. Frequently also the earth1 too exclaimed to the Lord against the sons of men saying: Lord God Almighty, I above every other creature of thine am harmed, supporting the fornications, adulteries, homicides, thefts, perjuries and magic and ill-doings of men and all the evil they do, so that the father rises up against the son, and the son upon the father, the alien against the alien, so that each one defiles his neighbour’s wife. The father ascends upon the bed of his own son, and the son likewise ascends the couch of his own father; and in all these evils, they who offer the sacrifice to thy name have defiled thy holy place. Therefore I am injured above every creature, desiring not to shew my power to myself, and my fruits to the sons of men. Permit me and I will destroy the virtue of my fruits. And there came a voice and said: I know all things, and there is none who can hide himself from his sin. Moreover I know their impieties, but my holiness suffers them until they be converted and repent. But if they do not return unto me I will judge them.
7. Behold, ye sons of men, the creature is subject to God, but the human race alone sins. For this cause, therefore, ye sons of men, bless the Lord God unceasingly, every hour and every day: but more especially when the sun has set:2 for at that hour all the angels proceed to the Lord to worship him and to present the works of men, which every man has wrought from the morning till the evening, whether good or evil. And there is a certain angel who proceeds rejoicing concerning the man in whom he dwells. When therefore the sun3 has set in the first hour of night, in the same hour the angel of every people and every man and woman, who protect and preserve them, because man is the image of God: similarly also in the matin hour which is the twelfth of the night, all the angels of men and women, go up to God to worship God, and present every work which each man has wrought, whether good or evil. Moreover every day and night the angels show to God an account4 of all the acts of the human race. To you, therefore, I say, ye sons of men, bless the Lord God without fail all the days of your life.
8. Therefore at the appointed hour all the angels whatever, rejoicing at once together, proceed before God that they may meet to worship at the hour determined. And behold suddenly it became the hour of meeting, and the angels came to worship in the presence of God, and the spirit proceeded to meet them: and there came a voice and said: Whence come ye, our angels, bearing the burdens of tidings?
9. They answered and said: We come from those who have renounced this world for the sake of thy holy name, wandering as pilgrims, and in caves of the rocks, and weeping every hour in which they inhabited the earth, and hungering and thirsting because of thy name, with their loins girded, having in their hands the incense of their hearts, and praying and blessing every hour, and restraining and overcoming themselves, weeping and wailing above the rest that inhabit the earth. And we indeed, their angels, mourn along with them: whither therefore it shall please thee, command us to go and minister, lest others also do it, but the destitute above the rest who are on earth. And there came the voice of God to them saying: Know ye that now henceforward my grace is appointed unto you, and my help, who is my well-beloved Son, shall be present with them, guiding them every hour; ministering also to them, never deserting them, since their place is his habitation.
10. When therefore these angels had retired, behold other angels came to adore in the presence of honour, in the assembly, who wept; and the spirit of God proceeded to meet them, and there came the voice of God and said: Whence come ye, our angels, bearing the burdens of the ministry of the tidings of the world? They answered and said in the presence of God: We have arrived from those who called upon thy name, and the impediments of the world made them wretched, devising many occasions every hour, not even making one pure prayer, nor out of their whole heart, in all the time of their life; what need, therefore, is there to be present with men who are sinners? And there came the voice of God to them: It is necessary that ye should minister to them, until they be converted and repent: but if they do not return to me I will judge them. Know therefore, sons of men, that whatever things are wrought by you, these angels relate to God, whether good or evil.
11. And the angel answered and said unto me: Follow me, and I will show you the place of the just where they are led when they are deceased, and after these things taking thee into the abyss, I will show thee the souls of sinners and what sort of place they are led into when they have deceased. And I proceeded back after the angel, and he led me into heaven, and I looked back upon the firmament, and I saw in the same place power, and there was there oblivion which deceives and draws down to itself the hearts of men, and the spirit of detraction, and the spirit of fornication, and the spirit of madness, and the spirit of insolence, and there were there the princes of vices: these I saw under the firmament of heaven: and again I looked back, and I saw angels without mercy, having no pity, whose countenance was full of madness, and their teeth sticking out beyond the mouth: their eyes shone like the morning star of the east, and from the hairs of their head sparks of fire went out, or from their mouth. And I asked the angel saying: Sir, who are those? And the angel answered and said unto me: These are those who are destined to the souls of the impious in the hour of need, who did not believe that they had the Lord for their helper, nor hoped in him.
12. And I looked on high and I saw other angels whose countenance shone as the sun, their loins girded with golden girdles, having palms in their hands, and the sign of God, clothed with garments in which was written the name of the Son of God, filled moreover with all meekness and pity; and I asked the angels saying: Who are these, Lord, in so great beauty and pity? And the angel answered and said unto me: These are the angels of justice who are sent to lead up the souls of the just, in the hour of need, who believed that they had the Lord for their helper. And I said to him: Do the just and sinners necessarily meet witnesses when they have died? And the angel answered and said to me: There is one way by which all pass over to God, but the just having their helper with them are not confounded when they go to appear in the sight of God.
13. And I said to the angel: I wished to see the souls of the just and of sinners going out of the world. And the angel answered and said unto me: Look down upon the earth. And I looked down from heaven upon the earth, and saw the whole world, and it was nothing in my sight and I saw the sons of men as though they were naught, and a-wanting, and I wondered and said to the angel: Is this the greatness of men? And the angel answered and said unto me: It is, and these are they who do evil from morning till evening. And I looked and saw a great cloud of fire spread over the whole world, and I said to the angel: What is this, my Lord? and he said to me: This is injustice stirred up by the princes of sinners.
14. I indeed when I had heard this sighed and wept, and said to the angel: I wished to see the souls of the just and of sinners, and to see in what manner they go out of the body. And the angel answered and said unto me: Look again upon the earth. And I looked and saw all the world, and men were as naught and a-wanting: and I looked carefully and saw a certain man about to die, and the angel said to me: This one whom thou seest is a just man. And I looked again and saw all his works, whatever he had done for the sake of God’s name, and all his desires, both what he remembered, and what he did not remember; they all stood in his sight in the hour of need; and I saw the just man advance and find refreshment and confidence, and before he went out of the world the holy and the impious angels both attended: and I saw them all, but the impious found no place of habitation in him, but the holy took possession of his soul, guiding it till it went out of the body: and they roused the soul saying: Soul, know thy body whence thou goest out, for it is necessary that thou shouldst return to the same body on the day of the resurrection, that thou mayest receive the things promised to all the just. Receiving therefore the soul from the body, they immediately kissed it as familiarly known to them, saying to it: Do manfully, for thou hast done the will of God while placed in the earth. And there came to meet him the angel who watched him every day, and said to him: Do manfully, soul; for I rejoice in thee, because thou hast done the will of God on earth: for I related to God all thy works, such as they were. Similarly also the spirit proceeded to meet him and said: Soul, fear not, nor be disturbed, until thou comest into a place which thou hast never known, but I will be a helper unto thee: for I found in thee a place of refreshment in the time when I dwelt in thee, while I was on earth. And his spirit strengthened him, and his angel received him, and led him into heaven: and an angel said: Whither runnest thou, O soul, and dost thou dare to enter into heaven? Wait and let us see if there is anything of ours in thee: and behold we find nothing in thee. I see also thy divine helper and angel, and the spirit is rejoicing along with thee, because thou hast done the will of God on earth. And they led him along till he should worship in the sight of God. And when they had ceased, immediately Michael and all the army of angels, with one voice, adored the footstool of his feet, and his doors, saying at the same time to the soul: This is your God of all things, who made you in his own image and likeness. Moreover the angel returns and points him out saying: God, remember his labours: for this is the soul, whose works I related to thee, doing according to thy judgment. And the spirit said likewise: I am the spirit of vivification inspiring him: for I had refreshment in him, in the time when I dwelt in him, doing according to thy judgment. And there came the voice of God and said: In as much as this man did not vex me, neither will I vex him; for according as he had pity, I also will have pity. Let him therefore be handed over to Michael, the angel of the Covenant, and let him lead him into the Paradise of joy, that he himself may become co-heir with all the saints. And after these things I heard the voices of a thousand thousand angels, and archangels, and cherubim, and twenty-four elders saying hymns, and glorifying the Lord and crying: thou art just, O Lord, and just are thy judgments, and there is no acceptance of persons with thee, but thou rewardest unto every man according to thy judgment. And the angel answered and said unto me: Hast thou believed and known, that whatever each man of you has done, he sees in the hour of need? And I said: Yes, sir.
15. And he saith to me: Look again down on the earth, and whatch the soul of an impious man going out of the body, which vexed the Lord day and night, saying: I know nothing else in this world, I eat and drink, and enjoy what is in the world; for who is there who has descended into hell, and ascending has declared to us that there is judgment there! And again I looked carefully, and saw all the scorn of the sinner, and all that he did, and they stood together before him in the hour of need: and it was done to him in that hour, in which he was threatened about his body at the judgment, and I said: It were better for him if he had not been born. And after these things, there came at the same time, the holy angels, and the malign, and the soul of the sinner and the holy angels did not find a place in it. Moreover the malign angels cursed it; and when they had drawn it out of the body, the angels admonished it a third time, saying: O wretched soul, look upon thy flesh, whence thou camest out: for it is necessary that thou shouldst return to thy flesh in the day of resurrection, that thou mayest receive the due for thy sins and thy impieties.
16. And when they had led it forth, the customary angel preceded it, and said to it: O wretched soul, I am the angel belonging to thee, relating daily to the Lord thy malign works, whatever thou didst by night or day: and if it were in my power, not for one day would I minister to thee, but none of these things was I able to do: the judge is pitiful and just, and he himself commanded us that we should not cease to minister to the soul, till you should repent, but thou hast lost the time of repentance. I indeed was strange to thee and thou to me. Let us go on then to the just judge: I will not dismiss thee, before I know from to-day why I was strange to thee. And the spirit confounded him, and the angel troubled him. When, therefore, they had arrived at the power, when he started to enter heaven, a labour was imposed upon him, above all other labour: error and oblivion and murmuring met him, and the spirit of fornication, and the rest of the powers, and said to him: Whither goest thou, wretched soul, and darest thou to rush into heaven? hold, that we may see if we have our qualities in thee, since we do not see that thou hast a holy helper. And after that I heard voices in the height of heaven saying: Present that wretched soul to God, that it may know that it is God that it despised. When, therefore, it had entered heaven, all the angels saw it, a thousand thousand exclaimed with one voice, all saying: Woe to thee, wretched soul, for the sake of thy works which thou didst on earth; what answer art thou about to give to God when thou shalt have approached to adore him? The angel who was with it answered and said: Weep with me, my beloved, for I have not found rest in this soul. And the angels answered him and said: Let such a soul be taken away from the midst of ours, for from the time he entered, the stink of him crosses to us angels. And after these things it was presented, that it might worship in the sight of God, and an angel of God showed him God who made him after his own image and likeness. Moreover his angel ran before him saying: Lord God Almighty, I am the angel of this soul, whose works I presented to thee day and night, not doing according to thy judgment. And the spirit likewise said: I am the spirit who dwelt in it from the time it was made, in itself moreover I know it, and it has not followed my will: judge it, Lord, according to thy judgment. And there came the voice of God to it and said: Where is thy fruit which thou has made worthy of the goods which thou hast received? Have I put a distance of one day between thee and the just man? Did I not make the sun to arise upon thee as upon the just? But the soul was silent, having nothing to answer: and again there came a voice saying: Just is the judgment of God, and there is no acceptance of persons with God, for whoever shall have done mercy, on them shall he have mercy, and whoever shall not have pitied neither shall God pity him. Let him therefore be handed over to the angel Tartaruch, who is set over the punishments, and let him place him in outer darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth, and let him be there till the great day of judgment. And after these things I heard the voice of angels and archangels saying: Thou art just, Lord, and thy judgment is just.
17. And again I saw, and behold a soul which was led forward by two angels, weeping and saying: Have pity on me, just God, God the judge, for to-day is seven days since I went out of my body, and I was handed over to these two angels, and they led me through to those places, which I had never seen. And God, the just judge, saith to him: What hast thou done? for thou never didst mercy, wherefore thou wast handed over to such angels as have no mercy, and because thou didst not do uprightly, so neither did they act piously with thee in the hour of thy need. Confess therefore thy sins which thou didst commit when placed in the world. And he answered and said: Lord, I did not sin. And the Lord, the just Lord, was angered in fury when it said: I did not sin, because it lied; and God said: Dost thou think thou art still in the world? if any one of you, sinning there, conceal and hide his sin from his neighbour, here indeed nothing whatever shall be hid: for when the souls come to adore in sight of the throne, both the good works and the sins of each one are made manifest. And hearing these things the soul was silent, having no answer. And I heard the Lord God, the just judge, again saying: Come, angel of this soul, and stand in the midst. And the angel of the sinful soul came, having in his hands a manuscript, and said: These, Lord, in my hands, are all the sins of this soul from his youth till to-day, from the tenth year of his birth: and if thou command, Lord, I will also relate his acts from the beginning of his fifteenth year. And the Lord God, the just judge, said: I say unto thee, angel, I do not expect of thee an account of him since he began to be fifteen years old, but state his sins for five years before he died and before he came hither. And again God, the just judge, said: For by myself I swear, and by my holy angels, and by my virtue, that if he had repented five years before he died, on account of one year’s life, oblivion would now be thrown over all the evils which he sinned before, and he would have indulgence and remission of sins: now indeed he shall perish. And the angel of the sinful soul answered and said: Lord, command that angel to exhibit those souls.
18. And in that same hour the souls were exhibited in the midst, and the soul of the sinner knew them; and the Lord said to the soul of the sinner: I say unto thee, soul, confess thy work which thou wroughtest in these souls, whom thou seest, when they were in the world. And he answered and said: Lord, it is not yet a full year since I slew this one and poured his blood upon the ground, and with another (a woman) I committed fornication: not this alone, but I also greatly harmed her in taking away her goods. And the Lord God, the just judge, said: Either thou didst not know that he who does violence to another, if he dies first who sustains the violence, is kept in this place until the doer of hurt dies, and then both stand in the presence of the judge, and now each receives according to his deed. And I heard a voice of one saying: Let that soul be delivered into the hands of Tartarus, and led down into hell: he shall lead him into the lower prison and he shall be put in torments, and left there till the great day of judgment. And again I heard a thousand thousand angels saying hymns to the Lord, and crying: Thou art just, O Lord, and just are thy judgments.
19. The angel answered and said unto me: Hast thou perceived all these things? and I said, Yes, sir. And he said to me: Follow me again, and I will take thee, and show thee the places of the just. And I followed the angel, and he raised me to the third heaven, and placed me at the entry of the door: and looking carefully I saw, and the door was of gold, and two columns of gold, full above of golden letters, and the angel turned again to me and said: Blessed wert thou, if thou hadst entered into these doors, for it is not allowed to any to enter except only to those who have goodness and innocence of body in all things. And I asked the angel about everything and said: Sir, tell me on what account these letters are put upon those tables? The angel answered and said unto me: These are the names of the just, serving God with their whole heart, who dwell on the earth. And again I said: Sir, therefore their names and countenance and the likeness of these who serve God are in heaven, and are known to the angels: for they know who are the servants of God with all their heart, before they go out of the world.
20. And when I had entered the interior of the gate of Paradise,1 there came out to meet me an old man whose countenance shone as the sun; and when he had embraced me he said: Hail, Paul, beloved of God. And he kissed me with a cheerful countenance. He wept, and I said to him: Brother, why dost thou weep? And again sighing and lamenting he said: We are hurt by men, and they vex us greatly; for many are the good things which the Lord has prepared, and great is his promise, but many do not perceive them. And I asked the angel, and said: Sir, who is this? And he said to me: This is Enoch, the scribe of righteousness. And I entered into the interior of that place, and immediately I saw the sun,2 and coming it saluted me laughing and rejoicing. And when it had seen (me), it turned away and wept, and said to me: Paul, would that thou shouldst receive thy labours which thou hast done in the human race. For me, indeed, I have seen the great and many good things, which God has prepared for the just, and the promises of God are great, but many do not perceive them; but even by many labours scarcely one or two enters into these places.
21. And the angel answered and said to me,3 Whatever I now show thee here, and whatever thou shalt hear, tell it not to any one in the earth. And he led me and shewed me: and there I heard words which it is not lawful for a man to speak. And again he said, For now follow me, and I will shew thee what thou oughtest to narrate in public and relate.
And he took me down from the third heaven, and led me into the second heaven, and again he led me on to the firmament and from the firmament he led me over the doors of heaven: the beginning of its foundation was on the river which waters all the earth. And I asked the angel and said, Lord, what is this river of water? and he said to me, This is Oceanus! And suddenly I went out of heaven, and I understood that it is the light of heaven which lightens all the earth. For the land there is seven times brighter4 than silver. And I said, Lord, what is this place? And he said to me, This is the land of promise. Hast thou never heard what is written: Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth? The souls therefore of the just, when they have gone out of the body, are meanwhile dismissed to this place. And I said to the angel, Then this land will be manifested before the time? The angel answered and said to me, When Christ, whom thou preachest, shall come to reign, then, by the sentence of God,5 the first earth will be dissolved and this land of promise will then be revealed, and it will be like dew or cloud, and then the Lord Jesus Christ, the King Eternal, will be manifested and will come with all his saints to dwell in it, and he will reign over them a thousand years, and they will eat of the good things which I shall now show unto thee.
22. And I looked around upon that land and I saw a river flowing of milk and honey, and there were trees planted by the bank of that river, full of fruit: moreover each single tree bore twelve fruits in the year, having various and diverse fruits: and I saw the created things which are in that place and all the work of God, and I saw there palms of twenty cubits, but others of ten cubits: and that land was seven times brighter than silver. And there were trees full of fruits from the roots to the highest branches, of ten thousand fruits of palms upon ten thousand fruits. The grape-vines moreover had ten thousand plants.6 Moreover in the single vines there were ten thousand thousand bunches and in each of these a thousand single grapes: moreover these single trees bore a thousand fruits. And I said to the angel, Why does each tree bear a thousand fruits? The angel answered and said unto me, Because the Lord God gives an abounding flood of gifts to the worthy, because they also of their own will afflicted themselves when they were placed in the world doing all things on account of his holy name. And again I said to the angel, Sir, are these the only promises which the Most Holy God makes? And he answered and said to me: No! there are seven times greater than these. But I say unto thee that when the just go out of the body they shall see the promises and the good things which God has prepared for them. Till then, they shall sigh, and lament saying: Have we emitted any word from our mouth to vex our neighbour even on one day? I asked and said again: Are these alone the promises of God? And the angel answered and said unto me: These whom you now see are the souls of the married1 and those who kept the chastity of their nuptials, containing themselves. But to the virgins and those who hunger and thirst after righteousness and those who afflicted themselves for the sake of the name of God, God will give seven times greater than these, which I shall now show thee.
And then he took me up from that place where I saw these things and behold, a river, and its waters were greatly whiter than milk, and I said to the angel, What is this? And he said to me: This is the Acherousian Lake where is the City of Christ, but not every man is permitted to enter that city; for this is the journey which leads to God, and if anyone is a fornicator and impious, and is converted and shall repent and do fruits worthy of repentance, at first indeed when he shall have gone out of the body, he is led and adores God, and thence by command of the Lord he is delivered to the angel Michael and he baptizes him in the Acherousian Lake—thus he leads them into the City of Christ alongside of those who have never sinned. But I wondered and blessed the Lord God for all the things which I saw.
23. And the angel answered and said unto me: Follow me and I will lead thee into the City of Christ. And he was standing on the Acherousian Lake and he put me into a golden ship2 and angels as it were three thousand were saying hymns before me till I arrived at the City of Christ. Moreover those who inhabited the City of Christ greatly rejoiced over me as I went to them, and I entered and saw the City of Christ, and it was all of gold, and twelve walls encircled it, and twelve interior towers, and each wall had between them single stadia in the circuit: And I said to the angel, Sir, how much is a stadium? The angel answered and said to me: As much as there is between the Lord God and the men who are on the earth, for the City of Christ is alone great. And there were twelve gates in the circuit of the city, of great beauty, and four rivers which encircled it. There was, moreover, a river of honey and a river of milk, and a river of wine and a river of oil. And I said to the angel: What are these rivers surrounding that city? And he saith to me: These are the four rivers which flow sufficiently for those who are in this land of promise, of which the names3 are: the river of honey is called Fison, and the river of milk Euphrates, and the river of oil Gion, and the river of wine Tigris, such therefore they are for those who when placed in the world did not use the power of these things, but they hungered for these things and afflicted themselves for the sake of the Lord God: so that when these enter into this city, the Lord will assign them these things on high above all measure.
24. I indeed entering the gates saw trees great and very high before the doors of the city, having no fruit but leaves only, and I saw a few men scattered in the midst of the trees, and they lamented greatly when they saw anyone enter the city. And those trees were sorry for them and humbled themselves and bowed down and again erected themselves. And I saw and wept with them and I asked the angel and said: Sir, who are these who are not admitted to enter into the City of Christ? And he said to me: These are they who zealously abstained day and night in fasts, but they had a proud heart above other men, glorifying and praising themselves and doing nothing for their neighbours. For they gave some friendly greeting, but to others they did not even say hail! and indeed they shewed hospitality to those only whom they wished, and if they did anything whatever for their neighbour they were immoderately puffed up. And I said: What then, Sir? Did their pride prevent them from entering into the City of Christ? And the angel answered and said unto me: Pride is the root of all evils. Are they better than the Son of God who came to the Jews with much humility? And I asked him and said: Why is it that the trees humble themselves and erect themselves again? And the angel answered and said to me: The whole time which these men passed on earth zealously serving God, on account of the confusion and reproaches of men at the time, they blushed and humiliated themselves, but they were not saddened, nor did they repent that they should recede from their pride which was in them. This is why the trees humble themselves, and again are raised up. And I asked and said: For what cause were they admitted to the doors of the city? The angel answered and said unto me: Because of the great goodness of God, and because there is the entry of his holy men entering into this city: for this cause they are left in this place, but when Christ the King Eternal enters with his saints, as he enters just men may pray for these, and then they may enter into the city along with them: but yet none of them is able to have assurance such as they have who humbled themselves, serving the Lord God all their lives.
25. But I went on while the angel instructed me, and he carried me to the river of honey, and I saw there Isaiah and Jeremiah1 and Ezekiel and Amos, and Micah and Zechariah, the minor and major prophets, and they saluted me in the city. I said to the angel: What way is this? And he said to me: This is the way of the prophets, every one who shall have afflicted his soul and not done his own will because of God, when he shall have gone out of the world and have been led to the Lord God and adored him, then by the command of God he is handed over to Michael, and he leads him into the city to this place of the prophets, and they salute him as their friend and neighbour because he did the will of God.
26. Again he led me where there is a river of milk, and I saw in that place all the infants whom Herod slew because of the name of Christ, and they saluted me, and the angel said to me: All who keep their chastity with purity, when they shall have come out of the body, after they adore the Lord God are delivered to Michael and are led to the infants and they salute them, saying that they are our brothers and friends and members; in themselves they shall inherit the promises of God.
27. Again he took me up and carried me to the north of the city and led me where there was a river of wine, and there I saw Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, Lot and Job and other saints,2 and they saluted me: and I asked and said: What is this place, my Lord? The angel answered and said to me: All who are receivers of pilgrims, when they go out of the world, first adore the Lord God, and are delivered to Michael and by this way are led into the city, and all the just salute him as son and brother, and say unto him: Because thou hast observed humanity and the receiving of pilgrims, come, have an inheritance in the city of the Lord our God: every just man shall receive good things of God in the city, according to his own action.
28. And again he carried me near the river of oil on the east of the city. And I saw there men rejoicing and singing psalms, and I said: Who are those, my Lord? And the angel saith to me: Those are they who devoted themselves to God with their whole heart and had no pride in themselves. For all those who rejoice in the Lord God and sing psalms to the Lord with their whole heart are here led into this city.
29. And he carried me into the midst of the city near the twelve walls.3 But there was in this place a higher wall, and I asked and said: Is there in the City of Christ a wall which in honour exceeds this place? And the angel answering said to me: There is a second better than the first, and similarly a third than the second, as each exceeds the other, unto the twelfth wall. And I said: Tell me, Sir, why one exceeds another in glory? And the angel answered and said unto me: All who have in themselves even a little detraction or zeal or pride, something of his glory would be made void even if he were in the city of Christ: look backward!
And turning round I saw golden thrones placed in each gate, and on them men having golden diadems and gems:4 and I looked carefully and I saw inside between the twelve men thrones placed in another rank which appeared of much glory, so that no one is able to recount their praise. And I asked the angel and said: My lord, who is on the throne? And the angel answered and said unto me: Those thrones belong to those who had goodness and understanding of heart and made themselves fools for the sake of the Lord God, nor knew new Scriptures nor psalms, but, mindful of one chapter of the commands of God, and hearing what it contained they wrought thereby in much diligence and had a right zeal before the Lord God, and the admiration of them will seize all the saints in presence of the Lord God, for talking with one another they say, Wait and see the unlearned who know nothing more: by which means they merited so great and such a garment and so great glory on account of their innocence.
And I saw in the midst of this city a great altar, very high, and there was one standing near the altar whose countenance shone as the sun, and he held in his hands a psaltery and harp, and he sang psalms, saying Halleluia! And his voice filled the whole city: at the same time when all they who were on the towers and gates heard him they responded Halleluia! so that the foundations of the city were shaken: and I asked the angel and said, Sir, who is this of so great power? And the angel said to me: This is David: this is the city of Jerusalem, for when Christ the King of Eternity shall come with the assurance of His kingdom, he again shall go before him that he may sing psalms, and all the just at the same time shall sing psalms responding Halleluia! And I said, Sir, how did David alone above the other saints make a beginning of psalm-singing? And the angel answered and said unto me: Because Christ the Son of God sits at the right hand of His Father, and this David sings psalms before him in the seventh heaven, and as is done in the heavens so also below, because the host may not be offered to God without David, but it is necessary that David should sing psalms in the hour of the oblation of the body and blood of Christ: as it is performed in heaven so also on earth.
30. And I said to the angel: Sir, what is Alleluia? And the angel answered and said to me: You ask questions about everything. And he said to me, Alleluia is said in the Hebrew language of God and angels, for the meaning of Alleluia is this: tecel cat. marith macha.1 And I said, Sir, what is tecel cat. marith macha? And the angel answered and said unto me: Tecel cat. marith macha is: Let us all bless him together. I asked the angel and said, Sir, do all who say Alleluia bless the Lord? And the angel answered and said to me: It is so, and again, therefore, if any one sing Alleluia and those who are present do not sing at the same time, they commit sin because they do not sing along with him. And I said: My lord, does he also sin if he be hesitating or very old? The angel answered and said unto me: Not so, but he who is able and does not join in the singing, know such as a despiser of the Word, and it would be proud and unworthy that he should not bless the Lord God his maker.
31. Moreover when he had ceased speaking to me, he led me outside the city through the midst of the trees and far from the places of the land of the good, and put me across the river of milk and honey: and after that he led me over the ocean which supports the foundations of heaven.
The angel answered and said unto me: Dost thou understand why thou goest hence? And I said: Yes, sir. And he said to me Come and follow me, and I will show thee the souls of the impious and sinners, that thou mayest know what manner of place it is. And I proceeded with the angel and he carried me by the setting of the sun, and I saw the beginning of heaven founded on a great river of water, and I asked: What is this river of water? And he said to me: This is Ocean which surrounds all the Earth. And when I was at the outer limit of Ocean I looked, and there was no light in that place, but darkness and sorrow and sadness: and I sighed.
And I saw there a fervent river of fire, and in it a multitude of men and women immersed up to the knees, and other men up to the navel, others even up to the lips, others moreover up to the hair. And I asked the angel and said: Sir, who are those in the fiery river? And the angel answered and said to me: They are neither hot nor cold, because they were found neither in the number of the just nor in the number of the impious.2 For those spent the time of their life on earth passing some days in prayer, but others in sins and fornications, until their death. And I asked him and said: Who are these, Sir, immersed up to their knees in fire? He answered and said to me: These are they who when they have gone out of church throw themselves into strange conversations to dispute. Those indeed who are immersed up to the navel are those who, when they have taken the body and blood of Christ go and fornicate and did not cease from their sins till they died. Those who are immersed up to the lips are the detractors of each other when they assemble in the church of God: those up to the eyebrows are those who nod approval of themselves and plot spite against their neighbour.3
32. And I saw on the north a place of various and diverse punishments full of men and women,4 and a river of fire ran down into it. Moreover I observed and I saw pits great in depth, and in them several souls together, and the depth of that place was as it were three thousand cubits, and I saw them groaning and weeping and saying: Have pity on us, O Lord! and none had pity on them. And I asked the angel and said: Who are these, Sir? And the angel answered and said unto me: These are they who did not hope in the Lord, that they would be able to have him as their helper. And I asked and said: Sir, if these souls remain for thirty or forty generations thus one upon another, if they were sent deeper, the pits I believe would not hold them. And he said to me: The Abyss has no measure, for beyond1 this it stretches down below him who is down in it: and so it is, that if perchance anyone should take a stone and throw it into a very deep well and after many hours it should reach the bottom, such is the abyss. For when the souls are thrown in there, they hardly reach the bottom in fifty years.
33. I, indeed, when I heard this, wept and groaned over the human race. The angel answered and said unto me: Why dost thou weep? Art thou more pitiful than God? For though God is good, He knows also that there are punishments, and He patiently bears with the human race, dismissing each one to work his own will in the time in which he dwells on the earth.
34. I further observed the fiery river and saw there a man being tortured by Tartaruchian angels having in their hands an iron with three hooks with which they pierced the bowels of that old man: and I asked the angel, and said: Sir, who is that old man on whom such torments are imposed? And the angel answered and said to me: He whom you see was a presbyter who did not perform well his ministry: when he had been eating and drinking and committing fornication he offered the host to the Lord at his holy altar.
35. And I saw not far away another old man led on by malign angels running with speed, and they pushed him into the fire up to his knees, and they struck him with stones and wounded his face like a storm, and did not allow him to say: Have pity on me! And I asked the angel and he said to me: He whom you see was a bishop, and did not perform well his episcopate, who indeed accepted the great name but did not enter into the witness of him who gave him the name in all his life, seeing that he did not do just judgment, and did not pity widows and orphans, but now he receives retribution according to his iniquity and his works.
36. And I saw another man in the fiery river up to his knees. Moreover his hands were stretched out and bloody, and worms proceeded from his mouth and nostrils and he was groaning and weeping, and crying he said: Have pity on me! for I am hurt above the rest who are in this punishment. And I asked, Sir, who is this? And he said to me: This man whom thou seest, was a deacon who devoured the oblations and committed fornications and did not right in the sight of God, for this cause he unceasingly pays this penalty.
And I looked closely and saw alongside of him another2 man whom they delivered up with haste and cast into the fiery river, and he was (in it) up to the knees: and there came the angel who was set over the punishments having a great fiery razor, and with it he cut the lips of that man and the tongue likewise. And sighing, I lamented and asked: Who is that, sir. And he said to me, He whom thou seest was a reader and read to the people, but he himself did not keep the precepts of God: now he also pays the proper penalty.
37. And I saw another multitude of pits in the same place, and in the midst of it a river full of a multitude of men and women,3 and worms4 consumed them. But I lamented and sighing asked the angel and said: Sir, who are these? And he said to me: These are those who exacted interest5 on interest and trusted in their riches and did not hope in God that He was their helper.
And after that I looked and saw another place, very narrow, and it was like a wall, and fire round about it. And I saw inside men and women gnawing6 their tongues, and I asked: Sir, who are these. And he said to me: These are they who in church disparage the Word of God, not attending to it, but as it were make naught of God and His angels: for that cause they now likewise pay the proper penalty.
38. And I observed and saw another old man down in a pit and his countenance was like blood, and I asked and said, Sir, what is this place? And he said to me: Into that pit stream all the punishments. And I saw men and women immersed up to the lips and I asked, Sir, who are these? And he said to me: These are the magicians who prepared for men and women evil magic arts and did not find how to stop them till they died.
And again I saw men and women with very black faces in a pit of fire,1 and I sighed and lamented and asked, Sir, who are these? And he said to me: These are fornicators and adulterers who committed adultery having wives of their own: likewise also the women committed adultery having husbands of their own: therefore they unceasingly suffer penalties.
39. And I saw there girls having black2 raiment, and four terrible angels having in their hands burning chains, and they put them on the necks of the girls and led them into darkness: and I, again weeping, asked the angel: Who are these, Sir? And he said to me: These are they who, when they were virgins, defiled their virginity unknown to their parents; for which cause they unceasingly pay the proper penalties.
And again I observed there men and women with hands cut and their feet placed naked in a place of ice and snow, and worms devoured them. But seeing them I lamented and asked: Sir, who are these? And he said to me: These are they who harmed orphans and widows and the poor,3 and did not hope in the Lord, for which cause they unceasingly pay the proper penalties.
And I observed and saw others hanging over a channel of water, and their tongues were very dry, and many fruits were placed in their sight, and they were not permitted to take of them, and I asked: Sir, who are these? And he said to me: These are they who break their fast4 before the appointed hour, for this cause they unceasingly pay these penalties.
And I saw other men and women hanging by their eyebrows and their hair,5 and a fiery river drew them, and I said: Who are these, my Lord? And he said to me:6 These are they who join themselves not to their own husbands and wives but to whores, and therefore they unceasingly pay the proper penalties.
And I saw other men and women covered with dust, and their countenance was like blood, and they were in a pit of pitch and sulphur and running down into a fiery river, and I asked: Sir, who are these?7 And he said to me: These are they who committed the iniquity of Sodom and Gomorrah, the male with the male, for which reason they unceasingly pay the penalties.
40. And8 I observed and saw men and women clothed in bright garments, having their eyes blind, placed in a pit, and I asked: Sir, who are these? And he said to me: These are of the people who did alms, and knew not the Lord God, for which reason they unceasingly pay the proper penalties. And I observed and saw other men and women on an obelisk of fire, and beasts tearing them in pieces, and they were not allowed to say, Lord have pity on us! And I saw the angel9 of penalties putting heavy punishments on them and saying: Acknowledge the Son of God; for this was predicted to you, when the divine Scriptures were read to you, and you did not attend; for which cause God’s judgment is just, for your actions have apprehended you and brought you into these penalties. But I sighed and wept, and I asked and said: Who are these men and women who are strangled in fire and pay their penalties? And he answered me: These are women who defiled the image of God when bringing forth infants out of the womb, and these are the men who lay with them. And their infants addressed the Lord God and the angels who were set over the punishments, saying:10 Cursed be the hour to our parents, for they defiled the image of God, having the name of God but not observing His precepts: they gave us for food to dogs and to be trodden down of swine: others they threw into the river. But their infants11 were handed over to the angels of Tartarus who were set over the punishments, that they might lead them to a wide place of mercy: but their fathers and mothers were tortured in a perpetual punishment.
And after that I saw men and women clothed with rags full of pitch and fiery sulphur, and dragons were coiled about their necks and shoulders and feet, and angels having fiery horns restrained them and smote them, and closed their nostrils, saying to them: Why did ye not know the time in which it was right to repent and serve God, and did not do it? And I asked: Sir, who are these? And he said to me: These are they who seem to give up the world for God,12 putting on our garb, but the impediments of the world made them wretched, not maintaining agapœ, and they did not pity widows and orphans: they did not receive the stranger and the pilgrim, nor did they offer the oblations, and they did not pity their neighbour. Moreover their prayer did not even on one day ascend pure to the Lord God, but many impediments of the world detained them, and they were not able to do right in the sight of God, and the angels enclosed them in the place of punishments. Moreover they saw those who were in punishments and said to them: We indeed when we lived in the world neglected God, and ye also did likewise: as we also truly when we were in the world knew that ye were sinners. But ye said: These are just and servants of God, now we know why ye were called by the name of the Lord: for which cause they also pay their own penalties.
And sighing I wept and said: Woe unto men, woe unto sinners! why were they born? And the angel answered and said unto me: Why dost thou lament?1 Art thou more pitiful than the Lord God who is blessed forever, who established judgment and sent forth every man to choose good and evil in his own will and do what pleases him? Then I lamented again very greatly, and he said to me: Dost thou lament when as yet thou hast not seen greater punishments? Follow me and thou shalt see seven times greater than these.
41. And he carried me south and placed me above a well, and I found it sealed with seven seals: and answering, the angel who was with me said to the angel of that place: Open the mouth of the well that Paul, the well-beloved of God, may see, for authority is given him that he may see all the pains of hell. And the angel said to me: Stand afar off that thou mayest be able to bear the stench of this place. When therefore the well was opened, immediately there arose from it a certain hard and malign stench, which surpasses all punishments: and I looked into the well and I saw fiery masses glowing in every part, and narrow places, and the mouth of the well was narrow so as to admit one man only. And the angel answered and said unto me: If any man shall have been put into this well of the abyss and it shall have been sealed over him, no remembrance of him shall ever be made in the sight of the Father and His Son and the holy angels. And I said: Who are these, Sir, who are put into this well? And he said to me: They are whoever shall not confess that Christ has come in the flesh and that the Virgin Mary brought him forth, and whoever says that the bread and cup of the Eucharist of blessing are not this body and blood of Christ.
42. And I looked to the south in the west and I saw there a2 restless worm and in that place there was gnashing of teeth: moreover the worms were one cubit long, and had two heads, and there I saw men and women in cold and gnashing of teeth. And I asked and said, Sir, who are these in this place? And he said to me: These are they who say that Christ did not rise from the dead and that this flesh will not rise again. And I asked and said: Sir, is there no fire nor heat in this place? And he said to me: In this place there is nothing else but cold and snow:3 and again he said to me: Even if the sun should rise upon them, they do not become warm on account of the superabundant cold of that place and the snow.
But hearing these things I stretched out my hands and wept, and sighing again, I said: It were better for us if we had not been born,4 all of us who are sinners.
43. But when those who were in the same place saw me weeping with the angel, they themselves cried out and wept saying, Lord God have mercy upon us! And after these things I saw the heavens open, and Michael5 the archangel descending from heaven, and with him was the whole army of angels, and they came to those who were placed in punishment and seeing him, again weeping, they cried out and said, Have pity on us! Michael the archangel, have pity on us and on the human race, for on account of thy prayers the earth standeth. We now see the judgment and acknowledge the Son of God! It was impossible for us before these things to pray for this, before we entered into this place: for we heard that there was a judgment before we went out of the world, but impediments and the life of the world did not allow us to repent. And Michael answered and said: Hear Michael speaking! I am he who stands in the sight of God every hour: As the Lord liveth, in whose sight I stand, I do not intermit one day or one night praying incessantly for the human race, and I indeed pray for those who are on the earth: but they do not cease doing iniquity and fornications, and they do not bring to me any good while they are placed on earth: and ye have consumed in vanity the time in which ye ought to have repented. But I have always prayed thus and I now beseech that God may send dew and send forth rains upon the earth, and now I desire until the earth produce its fruits and verily I say, that if any have done but a little good, I will agonise for him, protecting him till he have escaped the judgment of penalties. Where therefore are your prayers? Where are your penances? Ye have lost your time contemptuously. But now weep and I will weep with you and the angels who are with me with the well-beloved Paul, if perchance the merciful God will have pity and give you refreshment. But hearing these words they cried out and wept greatly, and all said with one voice: Have pity on us, Son of God! And I, Paul, sighed and said: O Lord God! have pity on thy creature, have pity on the sons of men, have pity on thine image.
44. And I looked and saw the heaven move like a tree shaken by the wind. Suddenly, moreover, they threw themselves on their faces in the sight of the throne. And I saw twenty-four elders and twenty-four thousand adoring God, and I saw an altar and veil and throne, and all were rejoicing; and the smoke of a good odour was raised near the altar of the throne of God, and I heard the voice of one saying: For the sake of what do ye our angels and ministers intercede? And they cried out saying: We intercede seeing thy many kindnesses to the human race. And after these things I saw the Son of God descending from heaven, and a diadem was on his head. And seeing him those who were placed in punishment exclaimed all with one voice saying: Have pity, Son of the High God! Thou art He who shewest refreshment for all in the heavens and on earth, and on us likewise have pity, for since we have seen Thee, we have refreshment. And a voice went out from the Son of God through all the punishments saying: And what work have ye done that ye demand refreshment from me? My blood was poured out for your sakes, and not even so did ye repent: for your sakes I wore the crown of thorns on my head: for you I received buffets on my cheeks, and not even so did ye repent. I asked water when hanging on the cross and they gave me vinegar mixed with gall, with a spear they opened my right side, for my name’s sake they slew my prophets and just men, and in all these things I gave you a place of repentance and ye would not. Now, however, for the sake of Michael the archangel of my covenant and the angels who are with him, and because of Paul the well-beloved, whom I would not vex, for the sake of your brethren who are in the world and offer oblations, and for the sake of your sons, because my precepts are in them, and more for the sake of mine own kindness, on the day on which I rose from the dead, I give to you all who are in punishment a night and a day of refreshment forever. And they all cried out and said, We bless thee, Son of God, that Thou hast given us a night and a day of respite. For better to us is a refreshment of one day above all the time of our life which we were on earth, and if we had plainly known that this was intended for those who sin, we would have worked no other work, we would have done no business, and we would have done no iniquity: what need had we for pride in the world? For here our pride is crushed which ascended from our mouth against our neighbour: our plagues and excessive straitness and the tears and the worms which are under us, these are much worse to us than the pains which we have left behind us. When they said thus, the malign angels of the penalties were angered with them, saying: How long do ye lament and sigh? for ye had no pity. For this is the judgment of God who had no pity. But ye received this great grace of a day and a night’s refreshment on the Lord’s Day for the sake of Paul the well-beloved of God who descended to you.
45. And after that the angel said to me: Hast thou seen all these things? And I said: Yes, Sir. And he said to me: Follow me and I will lead thee into Paradise, that the just who are there may see thee, for lo! they hope to see thee, and they are ready to come to meet thee in joy and gladness. And I followed the angel by the impulse of the Holy Spirit, and he placed me in Paradise and said to me: This is Paradise in which Adam and his wife erred. Moreover I entered Paradise and saw the beginning of waters, and there was an angel making a sign to me and he said to me: Observe, said he, the waters, for this is the river of Physon which surrounds all the land of Evilla, and the second is Geon which surrounds all the land of Egypt and Ethiopia, and the third is Thigris which is over against the Assyrians, and another is Eufrates which waters all the land of Mesopotamia. And when I had gone inside I saw a tree planted from whose roots water flowed out, and from this beginning there were four rivers. And the spirit of God rested on that tree, and when the Spirit blew, the waters flowed forth. and I said: My Lord, is it this tree itself which makes the waters flow? And he said to me: That from the beginning, before the heavens and earth were manifested, and all things here invisible, the Spirit of God was borne upon the waters, but from the time when the command of God made the heavens and earth to appear, the Spirit rested upon this tree: wherefore whenever the Spirit blows, the waters flow forth from the tree. And he held me by the hand and led me near the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and he said: This is the tree by which death entered into the world, and receiving of it through his wife Adam ate and death entered into the world. And he shewed me another tree in the midst of Paradise, and saith to me: This is the tree of life.
46. While I was yet looking upon the tree, I saw a virgin coming from afar and two hundred angels before her saying hymns, and I asked and said: Sir, who is she who comes in so great glory? And he said to me: This is Mary the Virgin, the Mother of the Lord. And coming near she saluted me and said: Hail, Paul! well-beloved of God and angels and men. For all the saints prayed my Son Jesus who is my Lord that thou mightest come hither in the body that they might see thee before thou goest out of the world. And the Lord said to them: Bear and be patient: yet a little and ye shall see him and he shall be with you for ever: and again they all said to him together: Do not vex us, for we desire to see him in the flesh, for by him Thy name was greatly glorified in the world, and we have seen that he endured all the labours whether of the greater or of the less. This we learn from those who come hither. For when we say: Who is he who directed you in the world? they reply to us: There is one in the world whose name is Paul, he preaches and announces Christ, and we believe that many have entered into the kingdom through the virtue and sweetness of his speeches. Behold all the just men are behind me coming to meet thee, Paul, and I first come for this cause to meet them who did the will of my Son and my Lord Jesus Christ, I first advance to meet them and do not send them away to be as wanderers until they meet in peace.
47. When she had thus spoken, I saw three coming from afar, very beautiful in the likeness of Christ, and their forms were shining, and their angels, and I asked: Sir, who are these? And he said to me: Dost thou not know those? And I said: No, Sir. And he answered: These are the fathers of the people, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And coming near they saluted me, and said: Hail, Paul, well-beloved of God and men; blessed is he who suffers violence for the Lord’s sake. And Abraham answered me and said: This is my son Isaac, and Jacob my well-beloved, and we have known the Lord and followed him; blessed are all they who believed in thy word, that they may be able to inherit the Kingdom of God by labour, by renunciation, and sanctification, and humility, and charity, and meekness, and right faith in the Lord; and we also have had devotion to the Lord whom thou preachest in the testament, that we might assist those who believed in him with their whole soul, and might minister unto them as fathers minister to their children.
When they had thus spoken, I saw other twelve coming from afar in honour, and I asked: Sir, who are these? And he said: These are the patriarchs. And coming near they saluted me and said: Hail, Paul, well-beloved of God and men: the Lord did not vex us, that we might see thee yet in the body, before thou goest out of the world. And each one of them reminded me of his name in order, from Ruben to Benjamin: and Joseph said to me: I am he who was sold; but I say to thee, Paul, that all the things, whatever my brothers did to me, in nothing did I act maliciously with them, nor in all the labour which they imposed on me, nor in any point was I hurt by them on that account from morning till evening: blessed is he who receives some hurt on account of the Lord, and bears it, for the Lord will repay it to him manifold, when he shall have gone out of the world.
48. When he had spoken thus far, I saw another beautiful one coming from afar, and his angels saying hymns, and I asked: Sir, who is this that is beautiful of countenance? And he saith to me: Dost thou not know him? And I said: No, Sir. And he said to me: This is Moses the law-giver, to whom God gave the law. And when he had come near me, he immediately wept, and after that he saluted me: and I said to him: What dost thou lament? for I have heard that thou excellest every man in meekness. And he answered saying: I weep for those whom I planted with toil, because they did not bear fruit, nor did any profit by them; and I saw all the sheep whom I fed, that they were scattered and become as if they had no shepherd, and because all the toils which I endured for the sake of the sons of Israel were accounted as naught, and how greatsoever virtues I did in the midst of them these they did not understand, and I wonder that strangers and uncircumcised and idol-worshippers have been converted and have entered into the promises of God, but Israel has not entered; and now I say unto thee, brother Paul, that in that hour when the people hanged Jesus whom thou preachest, that the Father, the God of all, who gave me the law, and Michael and all the angels and archangels, and Abraham and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the just wept over the Son of God hanging on the cross. In that hour all the saints attended on me looking (upon me) and they said to me: See, Moses, what men of thy people have done to the Son of God. Wherefore thou art blessed, Paul, and blessed the generation and race which believed in thy word.
49. When he had spoken thus far, there came other twelve, and seeing me said: Art thou Paul the glorified in heaven and on earth? And I answered and said: What are ye? The first answered and said: I am Esaias whom Manasses cut asunder with a wooden saw. And the second said likewise: I am Jeremias who was stoned by the children of Israel and slain. And the third said: I am Ezekiel whom the children of Israel dragged by the feet over a rock in a mountain till they knocked out my brains, and we endured all these toils, wishing to save the children of Israel: and I say unto thee that after the toils which they laid upon me, I cast myself on my face in the sight of the Lord praying for them, bending my knees until the second hour of the Lord’s day, till Michael came and lifted me up from the earth. Blessed art thou, Paul, and blessed the nation which believed through thee.
And as these passed by, I saw another, beautiful of countenance, and I asked: Sir, Who is this? Who when he had seen me, rejoiced and said to me: This is Lot1 who was found just in Sodom. And approaching2 he saluted me and said: Blessed art thou, Paul, and blessed the generation to which thou didst minister. And I answered and said to him: Art thou Lot who wast found just in Sodom? And he said: I entertained angels, as travellers, and when they of the city wished to violate them, I offered them my two virgin daughters who had not yet known men, and gave them to them saying: use them as ye will, but only to these men ye shall do no evil; for this cause they entered under the roof of my house. For this cause, therefore, we ought to be confident and know that if anyone shall have done anything, God shall repay him manifold when they shall come to him. Blessed art thou, Paul, and blessed the nation which believed in thy word.
When, therefore, he had ceased talking to me, I saw another coming from a distance, very beautiful of countenance, and smiling, and his angels saying hymns: and I said to the angel who was with me: Has then each of the just an angel for companion? And he said to me: Each one of the saints has his own (angel) assisting him, and saying a hymn, and the one does not depart from the other. And I said: Who is this, Sir? And he said: This is Job. And approaching, he saluted me and said: Brother Paul, thou hast great praise with God and men. And I am Job, who laboured much for a period of thirty years from a plague in the blood; and verily in the beginning, the wounds which went forth from my body were like grains of wheat. But on the third day, they became as the foot of an ass; worms moreover which fell four digits in length: and on the third (day) the devil appeared and said to me: Say something against God and die. I said to him: If such be the will of God that I should remain under a plague all the time of my life till I die, I shall not cease from blessing the Lord, and I shall receive more reward. For I know that the labours of that world are nothing to the refreshment which is afterwards: for which cause blessed art thou, Paul, and blessed the nation which believed through thee.
50. When he had spoken thus far, another came calling from afar and saying: Blessed art thou, Paul, and blessed am I because I saw thee, the beloved of the Lord. And I asked the angel: Sir, who is this? And he answered and said unto me: This is Noe in the time of the deluge. And immediately we saluted each other: and greatly rejoicing he said to me: Thou art Paul the most beloved of God. And I asked him: Who art thou? And he said: I am Noe, who was in the time of the deluge. And I say to thee, Paul, that working for a hundred years, I made the ark, not putting off the tunic with which I was clad, nor did I cut the hair of my head. Till then also I cherished continence, not approaching my own wife: in those hundred years not a hair of my head grew in length, nor did my garments become soiled: and I besought men at all times saying: Repent, for a deluge of waters will come upon you. But they laughed at me, and mocked my words; and again they said to me: But this is the time of those who are able to play and sin freely, desiring her with whom it is possible to commit fornication frequently: for God does not regard this, and does not know what things are done by us men, and there is no flood of waters straightway coming upon this world. And they did not cease from their sins, till God destroyed all flesh which had the breath of life in it. Know then that God loveth one just man more than all the world of the impious. Wherefore, blessed art thou, Paul, and blessed is the nation which believes through thee.
51. And turning round, I saw other just ones coming from afar, and I asked the angel: Sir, who are those? And he answered me: These are Elias and Eliseus.1 And they saluted me: and I said to them: Who are ye? And one of them answered and said: I am Elias, the prophet of God; I am Elias who prayed, and because of my word, the heaven did not rain for three years and six months, on account of the unrighteousness of men. God is just and true, who doeth the will of his servants: for the angels often besought the Lord for rain, and he said: Be patient till my servant Elias shall pray and petition for this and I will send rain on the earth.2
the end of the vision of saint paul.
THE APOCALYPSE OF THE VIRGIN.
The present translation of this Apocalypse1 is made from the text as published by Mr. M. R. James in Texts and Studies, ii., 3, from a ms. in the Bodleian Library, which he assigns to the eleventh century. The original he conjecturally assigns to the ninth century, and regards it as a late and clumsy compilation based on (1) the Assumption Legends and (2) the Apocalypse of Paul. Its main feature, intercession for the lost, it has in common with the Testament of Abraham, the Apocalypse of Paul, 4 Esdras, the Apocalypse of Baruch, the Apocalypse of Esdras and the Apocalypse of Sedrach. Parallels are pointed out in the notes.
THE APOCALYPSE OF THE HOLY MOTHER OF GOD CONCERNING THE CHASTISEMENTS.
I. The all-holy mother of God was about to proceed to the Mount of Olives to pray; and praying to the Lord our God she said: In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit; let the archangel Gabriel descend, that he may tell me concerning the chastisements and concerning things in heaven and on the earth and under the earth. And as she said the word the archangel Michael descended with the angels of the East and the West and angels of the South and the North, and they saluted the highly favoured one and said to her: Hail, reflection of the Father, hail dwelling of the Son, hail command of the Holy Spirit, hail firmament of the seven heavens, hail firmament of the eleven strongholds, hail worship of the angels, hail loftier than the prophets unto the throne of God. And the holy mother of God said to the angel: Hail Michael, commander-in-chief, the minister of the invisible Father, hail Michael, commander-in-chief, associate of my Son, hail Michael, commander-in-chief, most dread of the six-winged, hail Michael, commander-in-chief, who rules through all things and art worthy to stand beside the throne of the Lord, hail Michael, commander-in-chief, who art about to sound the trumpet and awaken those who have been asleep for ages: hail Michael, commander-in-chief, first of all unto the throne of God.
II. And having greeted all the angels in like manner, the highly favoured one prayed the commander-in-chief regarding the chastisements, saying: Tell to me all things on the earth. And the commander-in-chief said to her: If thou askest me, highly favoured one, I will tell thee. And the highly favoured one said to him: How many are the chastisements with which the race of man is chastised? And the archangel said to her: The chastisements are innumerable. And the highly favoured one said to him: Tell me the things in heaven and on the earth.
III. Then the commander-in-chief, Michael, commanded the Western angels that revelation should be made, and Hades opened, and she saw those who were chastised1 in Hades: and there lay there a multitude of men and women, and there was a great lamentation. And the highly favoured one asked the commander-in-chief: Who are these and what is their sin? And the commander-in-chief said: These, all holy, are those who did not worship the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit and for this cause they are thus chastised here.
IV. And she saw in another place2 a great darkness: and the all holy said: What is this darkness and who are they who are being chastised? And the commander-in-chief said: Many souls are lying in this darkness. And the all holy one said: Let this darkness be taken away in order that I may see this chastisement also. And the commander-in-chief said to the highly favoured one: It is not possible, all holy, that thou shouldst see this chastisement also. And the angels guarding them answered and said: We have a command from the invisible Father that they shall not see the light till thy blessed Son shall shine forth. And plunged in grief the all holy lifted up her eyes to the angels touching the undefiled word of the Father, and said: In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit let the darkness be taken away, that I may see this chastisement also. And straightway that darkness was lifted up and covered the seven heavens: and there lay a great multitude of both men and women, and there arose a great lamentation and a great cry began. And seeing them the all holy wept and said to them: What are ye doing, wretched ones? Who are ye? And how are ye found there? and there was no voice or hearkening. And the angels guarding them said: Why do ye not speak to the highly favoured one? And those who were under chastisement said to her: O highly favoured one, from eternity we see not the light, and we are not able to keep off that up there. And splashing pitch flowed down upon them: and seeing them the all holy wept. And again those who were being chastised said to her: How dost thou ask concerning us, holy lady, Mother of God? Thy blessed Son came to the earth and did not make enquiry concerning us, neither Abraham the patriarch, nor John the Baptist, nor Moses the great prophet, nor the Apostle Paul, and unto us their light shone not: and now, all holy Mother of God, the armour of the Christians, the bringer of great comfort on account of the Christians, how dost thou ask concerning us? Then the all holy Mother of God said to Michael, the commander-in-chief: What is their sin? And Michael, the commander-in-chief, said: These are they who did not believe in the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and did not confess thee1 to be the Mother of God, and that the Lord Jesus Christ was born of thee and took flesh, and for this cause they are chastised there. And again weeping, the all holy Mother of God said to them: Why did ye so greatly err, wretched ones? Did ye not hear that the whole creation names my name? And having said these words the darkness fell over them as it was from the beginning.
V. And the commander-in-chief said: Whither wouldst thou go, highly favoured one? to the West or to the South? And the highly favoured answered: Let us go to the South. And immediately there appeared the cherubim and the seraphim and four hundred angels, and led out the highly favoured one to the South, where came out the river of fire,2 and there there lay a multitude of men and women, some up to the girdle, others up to the neck, and others up to the crown of the head: and seeing them the all holy Mother of God cried out with a loud voice to the commander-in-chief and said: Who are these, and what is their sin who stand in the fire up to the girdle? And the commander-in-chief said: These, all holy one, are they who inherited the curse of father and mother, and for this cause they are thus chastised here as accursed.
VI. And the all holy one said: And who are these standing in the fire up to the breasts? And the commander-in-chief said: These are whosoever cast off their wives and defiled them in adultery, and for this cause they are thus chastised here.
VII. And the all holy one said to the commander-in-chief: Who are these standing up to the neck in the flame of the fire? And the commander-in-chief said: These, all holy one, are whosoever ate of the flesh of men. And the all holy one said: And how is it possible for one man to eat of the flesh of another? And the commander-in-chief said: Listen, all holy one, and I will tell thee: These are they whosoever brought down their own children out of their own wombs and cast them out3 as food for dogs, and whosoever gave up their brothers in the presence of kings and governors, these ate the flesh of man, and for this cause they are thus chastised.
VIII. And the all holy one said: Who are these set in the fire up to the crown? And the commander-in-chief said: These, all holy one, are whosoever lay hold of the precious cross and swear to a lie: by the power of the cross of the Lord. The angels tremble and worship with fear, and men lay hold of it and swear to a lie and do not know what they testify: and for this cause they are thus chastised here.
IX. And in another place the all holy one saw a man hung by the feet,4 and worms devoured him. And she asked the commander-in-chief: Who is this and what is his sin? And the commander-in-chief said: This is he who took usury5 for his gold, and for this cause he is thus chastised here.
X. And she saw a woman hanging by her two ears, and all the beasts6 came out of her mouth and gnawed her in pieces: and the highly favoured one asked the commander-in-chief: Who is she, and what is her sin? And the commander-in-chief said: She is she who turned aside into strange houses and those of her neighbours and spoke evil words to make strife, and for that cause she is thus chastised here.
XI. And seeing these things the all holy Mother of God wept and said to the commander-in-chief: It were well for man that he had not been born. And the commander-in-chief said: Verily, all holy one, thou hast not seen the great chastisements. And the all holy one said to the commander-in-chief: Come, Michael, great commander-in-chief, and lead me that I may see all the chastisements. And the commander-in-chief said: Where dost thou wish, all holy one, that we should go? And the highly favoured one answered: To the West: and straightway the cherubim appeared and led the highly favoured to the West.
XII. And she saw a cloud full of fire and in it there was a1 multitude of men and women. And the all holy one said: What was their sin? And the commander-in-chief said: These, all holy one, are they who on the morning of the Lord’s day sleep like the dead, and for that reason they are thus chastised here. And the all holy one said: If anyone cannot rise, what shall he do? And the commander-in-chief said: Listen, all holy one: if anyone’s house is fastened on the four (sides?) and surrounds him and he cannot come out, he has forgiveness.
XIII. And she saw in another place burning benches of fire and on them sat a multitude of men and women and burned on them. And the all holy one asked: Who are these and what is their sin? And the commander-in-chief said: These, all holy one, are they who do not rise up to the presbyter when they enter into the church of God, and for this cause they are thus chastised here.
XIV. And the all holy one saw in another place an iron tree and it had branches of iron, and on it there hung a multitude of men and women by their tongues.2 And seeing them the all holy one wept, and asked the commander-in-chief saying: Who are these and what was their sin? And the commander-in-chief said: These are perjurers, blasphemers, slanderers, whosoever divided brothers from brothers. And the all holy one said: How is it possible to divide brothers from brothers? And the commander-in-chief said: Listen, all holy one, and I will tell thee about this: When some from among the nations desired to be baptised, he would say to them one word: Thou foul-feeding, unbelieving Gentile; because he thus blasphemed, he shall receive ceaseless retribution.
XV. And in another place the all holy one saw a man hanging from his four extremities, and from his nails blood gushed vehemently, and his tongue3 was tied in a flame of fire, and he was unable to groan and say the Kyrie eleïson me. And when she had seen him the all holy one wept and herself said the Kyrie eleïson thrice: and after the saying of the prayer, came the angel who had authority over the scourge and loosed the man’s tongue: and the all holy one asked the commander-in-chief: Who is this wretched one who has this chastisement? And the commander-in-chief said: This, all holy one, is the steward who did not the will of God, but ate the things of the church and said: “He who ministers to the altar shall be nourished from the altar”:4 and for this cause he is thus chastised here. And the all holy one said: Let it be unto him according to his faith. And again he tied his tongue.
XVI. And Michael, the commander-in-chief said: Come hither, all holy one, and I will show unto thee where the priests are chastised. And the all holy one came out and saw presbyters hanging by their twenty nails, and fire came out of their heads. And seeing them the all holy one asked the commander-in-chief: Who are these and what is their sin? And the commander-in-chief said: These, all holy one, are they who stand beside the throne of God, and when they sang of the body of our Lord Jesus Christ, the pearls fell out, and the awful throne of heaven shook and the footstool of our Lord Jesus Christ trembled, and they did not perceive it: and for this cause they are thus chastised here.
XVII. And the all holy one saw a man and a winged beast having three heads like flames of fire: the two heads were towards his eyes and the third head towards his mouth. And seeing him the all holy one asked the commander-in-chief: Who is this, that he cannot save himself from the mouth of the dragon? And the commander-in-chief said to her: This, all holy one, is the reader who does not practise in his own habits according to what is worthy of the holy Gospel: and for this cause he is thus chastised here.
XVIII. And the commander-in-chief said: Come hither, all holy one, and I will show thee where the angelic and archangelic form is chastised. She proceeded and saw5 them lying in the fire and the sleepless worm gnawed them: and the all holy one said: Who are these, and what is their sin? And the commander-in-chief said: These, all holy one, are they who possessed the archangelic and apostolic form: hearken, all holy one, concerning this: on earth they were called patriarchs and bishops, and they were not worthy of their name: on earth they heard ‘Bless (the Lord) ye saints,’ and in heaven they were not called saints, because they did not act as bearers of the archangelic form: and for this cause they are thus chastised here.
XIX. And she saw women hanging by their nails, and a flame of fire came out of their mouth and burned them: and all the beasts1 coming out of the fire gnawed them to pieces, and groaning they cried out: Have pity on us, have pity, for we are chastised worse than all those who are under chastisement. And seeing them the all holy one wept, and asked the commander-in-chief, Michael: Who are these and what is their sin? And the commander-in-chief said: These are the wives of presbyters who did not honour the presbyters, but after the death of the presbyter took husbands, and for this cause they are thus chastised here.
XX. And the all holy one saw after the same manner also a deaconess hanging from a crag and a beast with two heads devoured her breasts. And the all holy one asked: What is her sin? And the commander-in-chief said: She, all holy one, is an archdeaconess who defiled her body in fornication, and for this cause she is thus chastised here.
XXI. And she saw other women hanging over the fire, and all the beasts devoured them. And the all holy one asked the commander-in-chief: Who are these and what is their sin? And he said: These are they who did not do the will of God, lovers of money and those who took interest2 on accounts, and the immodest.
XXII. And when she had heard these things the all holy one wept and said: Woe unto sinners. And the commander-in-chief said: Why dost thou lament, all holy one? Now verily thou hast not seen the great chastisemnts. And the highly favoured one said: Come, Michael, the great commander-in-chief of the powers above, tell me how I may see all the chastisements. And the commander-in-chief said: Where dost thou wish that we should go, all holy one? to the East or towards the left parts of Paradise? And the all holy one said: To the left parts of Paradise.
XXIII. And immediately when she had spoken, the cherubim and seraphim stood beside her and led the highly favoured one out to the left parts of Paradise. And behold, there was a great river, and the appearance of the river was blacker than pitch, and in it there were a multitude3 of men and women: it boiled like a furnace of forges, and its waves were like a wild sea over the sinners: and when the waves rose, they sank the sinners ten thousand cubits and they were unable to keep it off and say: Have mercy on us, thou just judge: for the sleepless worm devoured them, and there was no reckoning of the number of those who devoured them. And seeing the all holy Mother of God the angels4 who chastised them cried out with one voice: Holy is God who has compassion on account of the Mother of God: we give thee thanks, O Son of God, that from eternity we did not see the light, and to-day through the Mother of God we have seen the light: and again they shouted with one voice, saying: Hail, highly favoured Mother of God: Hail, lamp of the inaccessible light: Hail to thee also, Michael, the commander-in-chief, thou that art ambassador from the whole creation: for we, seeing the chastisement of sinners are greatly grieved. And the all holy one, when she saw the angels humbled on account of the sinners, lamented and said: Woe to sinners and their neighbours. And the all holy one said: Let us see the sinners. And the highly favoured one, coming with the archangel Michael and all the armies of the angels lifted up one voice saying: Lord have mercy. And after the making of the prayer earnestly, the wave of the river rested and the fiery waves grew calm, and the sinners appeared as a grain of mustard-seed: and seeing them the all holy one lamented and said: What is this river, and what are its waves? And the commander-in-chief said: This river is the outer fire, and those who are being tortured are the Jews who crucified our Lord Jesus Christ the Son of God, and who refused holy baptism, and those who commit fornication and sin against the sweet and passionless perfume of marriage, and he who debauches mother and daughter, and the poisoners and those who slay with the sword, and the women who strangle their offspring. And the all holy one said: According to their faith so be it unto them. And straightway the waves rose over the sinners and the darkness covered them. And the commander-in-chief said: Hearken, thou highly favoured one: if anyone shall be cast into this darkness,1 his remembrance shall never be in the sight of God. And the all holy Mother of God said: Woe to sinners, because the flame of the fire is everlasting.
XXIV. And the commander-in-chief said: Come hither, all holy one, and I will show unto thee the lake of fire: and see thou where the race of the Christians is chastised.2 And the all holy one proceeded and saw: and some she heard, but others she did not see: and she asked the commander-in-chief: Who are these, and what is their sin? And the commander-in-chief said: These, all holy one, are those who were baptised and arrayed under the oracle of Christ, but worked the works of the devil and wasted the time of their repentance: and for this cause they are thus chastised here.
XXV. And she said: I pray, one request will I make of thee, let me also be chastised with the Christians, because they are the children of my son. And the commander-in-chief said: Rest thou in Paradise, holy lady, Mother of God. And the all holy one said: I pray thee, move the fourteen firmaments and the seven heavens, and let us pray for the Christians that the Lord our God may hearken unto us and have mercy on them.3 And the commander-in-chief said: As the Lord God liveth, the great name, seven times a day and seven times a night, when we lead up the hymn of the Lord, we make remembrance for the sake of sinners, and the Lord accounts us as naught.
XXVI. And the all holy one said: I pray thee, commander-in-chief, command the armies of the angels and let them place me on the height of heaven and let me into the presence of the invisible Father. And immediately the commander-in-chief commanded, and the chariot of the cherubim and seraphim appeared, and they exalted the highly favoured one to the height of heaven and placed her in the presence of the invisible Father: And she stretched forth her hands to the undefiled throne of the Father and said: Have mercy, O Lord, on the Christian sinners, for I saw them being chastised and I cannot bear their complaint. Let me go forth and be chastised myself for the Christians. I do not pray, O Lord, for the unbelieving Jews, but for the Christians I entreat thy compassion. And there came a second voice from the invisible Father saying: How can I have mercy on them, when they did not have mercy on their own brothers?4 And the all holy one said: Lord, have mercy on the sinners: behold the chastisements, for every creature on the earth calls upon my name: and when the soul comes forth out of the body, it cries saying, “Holy Lady, Mother of God.” Then the Lord said to her: Hearken, all holy Mother of God, if anyone names and calls upon thy name, I will not forsake him, either in heaven or on earth.
XXVII. And the all holy one said: Where is Moses? Where are all the prophets and fathers who never sinned? Where art thou, holy Paul of God? where is the holy Lord’s Day, the boast of the Christians? where is the power of the precious and life-giving cross, which delivered Adam and Eve from the ancient curse? Then Michael and all the angels raised one voice saying: Lord, have mercy on the sinners. Then Moses also cried: Have mercy, Lord, on those to whom I gave thy law. Then John also called: Have mercy, Lord, on those to whom I gave thy Gospel. Then Paul cried: Have mercy, Lord, on those to whom I brought thy epistles in the Church. And the Lord God said: Hearken, all ye righteous: if according to the law which Moses gave, and according to the Gospel which John gave, and according to the epistles which Paul carried, they thus be judged. And they had nothing to say except, Have mercy, O just judge.
XXVIII. And the all holy Mother of God said: Have mercy, Lord, on the Christians, because they kept thy law and gave heed to thy gospel, but they were simple ones. Then the Lord said to her: Hearken, all holy one: if anyone did evil to them and they did not requite him the evil, thou sayest well that they attended to both my law and my gospel, but if he did not do them wrong and they requited him evil, how may I say that these are holy men? now they shall be rewarded according to their wrongdoing. Then all hearing the voice of the Lord had nothing to answer; and the all holy one, when she saw that the saints were at a loss, and their Lord did not hear, and his mercy was hidden from them, then the all holy one said: Where is Gabriel, who announced unto me the “Hail, thou that from eternity shalt conceive him who is without beginning like the Father,” and now does not look upon sinners? Where is the great commander-in-chief? come hither, all ye saints whom God justified, and let us fall down in the presence of the invisible Father, in order that the Lord God may hear us, and have mercy on sinners. Then Michael, the commander-in-chief, and all the saints fell on their faces in the presence of the invisible Father, saying: Have mercy, Lord, on the Christian sinners.
XXIX. Then the Lord, seeing the prayer of the saints, had compassion and said: Go down, my beloved son, and because of the prayer of the saints let thy face shine on earth to sinners. Then the Lord came down from his undefiled throne: and when they saw Him, those who were under chastisement raised one voice saying: Have mercy on us, King of ages. Then the Lord of all things said: Hearken, all ye sinners and righteous men: I made paradise and made man after my image: but he transgressed, and for his own sins was delivered to death: but I did not suffer the works of my hands to be tyrannized over by the serpent: wherefore I bowed the heavens and came down and was born of Mary, the holy undefiled Mother of God, that I might set you free: I was baptised in Jordan in order that I might save the creature (nature) which had grown old under sin: I was nailed to the cross1 to free you from the ancient curse: I asked for water and ye gave me vinegar mingled with gall: I was laid in the grave: I trampled on the enemy: I raised up mine elect, and even thus ye would not hear me. But now, because2 of the prayer of my mother Mary, because she has wept much for your sake, and because of Michael my archangel, and because of the multitude of my saints, I grant you to have rest on the day of Pentecost to glorify the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
XXX. Then all the angels and archangels, thrones, lordships, authorities, governments, powers, and the many-eyed cherubim and the six-winged seraphim and all the apostles and prophets and martyrs and all the saints raised one voice, saying: Glory to thee, O Lord: glory to thee, lover of men: glory to thee, King of ages: glory be to thy compassion: glory be to thy long suffering: glory be to thy unspeakable justice of judgment, because thou hast been long-suffering with sinners and impious men: Thine is it to pity and to save. To him be the glory and the power to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit for ever and ever. Amen.
THE APOCALYPSE OF SEDRACH.
The translation is from Mr. M. R. James’s text in Texts and Studies, ii. 3, p. 130ff., published from a fifteenth century ms. in the Bodleian Library. The original, Mr. James conjecturally assigns to the tenth or eleventh century. It is notable for its close resemblance in several passages to 4 Esdras, to the Greek original of which the author seems to have had direct access.
Like the Apocalypse of Esdras it deals with the subject of intercession for sinners and the reluctance of the seer to die. The parallel passages in 4 Esdras and the Apocalypse of Esdras are pointed out in the margin of the translation.
Chapter I. consists of a few lines from the beginning and end of a homily on love which appears in the ms. at the beginning of the Apocalypse, but which Mr. James regards as “quite unimportant and quite irrelevant.”
THE APOCALYPSE OF SEDRACH.
The Word of the holy and blessed Sedrach concerning love and concerning repentance and Orthodox Christians, and concerning the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Lord give thy blessing.
I. Beloved, let us prefer nothing in honour except sincere love: for in many things we stumble every day and night and hour. And for this cause let us gain love, for it covereth a multitude of sins: for what is the profit, my children, if we have all things, and have not saving love . . .
O blessed love, supplier of all good things. Blessed is the man who has gained the true faith and sincere love, according as the Master said, there is no greater love than this that a man should lay down his life for his friend. Cf. John xv. 13.
II. And invisibly he received a voice in his ears: Come hither, Sedrach, since thou wishest and desirest to converse with God and ask of him that he may reveal unto thee whatever thou wishest to ask. And Sedrach said: What, Sir? And the voice said to him: I was sent to thee to raise thee here into heaven. And he said: I desired to speak mouth to mouth with God: I am not fit, Sir, to come into heaven. And stretching out his wings he took him up and he came into heaven to the very flame, and he set him as high as the third heaven, and in it stood the flame of the divinity.
III. And the Lord saith to him: Welcome, my beloved Sedrach: What suit hast thou against God who created thee, that thou saidst, I desired to speak face to face with God? Sedrach saith to him:1 Yea, verily, the son hath a suit with the Father: my Lord, why didst thou make the earth? The Lord saith to him: For man’s sake. Sedrach saith: And why didst Thou make the sea? Why didst Thou scatter every good thing on the earth? The Lord saith to him: For man’s sake. Sedrach saith to him:2 If thou didst these things,3 why wilt Thou destroy him? And the Lord said: Man is my work and the creature of my hands, and I discipline him as I find good.
IV. Sedrach saith to him: Chastisement and fire are thy discipline: they are bitter, my Lord:4 it were well for man if he had not been born: why then didst thou make him, my Lord? Why didst thou weary thine undefiled hands5 and create man, since thou didst not intend to have mercy on him? God saith to him: I made Adam the first creature and placed him in Paradise in the midst of the tree of life and said to him: Eat of all the fruits, but beware of the tree of life: for if thou eat of it, thou shalt die the death. But he transgressed my commandment, and being beguiled by the devil ate of the tree.
V. Sedrach saith to him: Of thy will Adam was beguiled, my Lord: Thou commandest thine6 angels to make approach to Adam, and the first of the angels himself transgressed thy commandment and did not make approach to him, and Thou didst banish him, because he transgressed thy commandment and did not make any approach to the work of thine hands: if thou lovedst man, why didst Thou not slay the devil, the worker of unrighteousness? Who is able to fight an invisible spirit? And he as a smoke enters into the hearts of men and teaches them every sin: he fights against thee, the immortal God, and what can wretched man then do to him? But have mercy, O Lord, and stop the chastisements: but if not, count me also with the sinners: if thou wilt have no mercy on the sinners, where are thy mercies, where is thy7 compassion, O Lord?
VI. God saith to him: Be it known unto thee that I ordered all things to be placable to him: I gave him understanding and made him the heir of heaven and earth, and I subjected all things to him, and every living thing flees from him and from before his face: but he, having received of mine, became alien, adulterous, and sinful: tell me, what father, having given his son his portion, when he takes his substance and leaves his father and goes away and becomes an alien and serves an alien, when the father sees that the son has deserted him, does not darken his heart, and does not the father go and take his substance and banish him from his glory because he deserted his father? And how have I, the wonderful and jealous God, given him everything, and he having received these things has become an adulterer and a sinner?
VII. Sedrach saith to him: Thou, O Lord, didst create man. Thou knewest of what sort of mind he was and of what sort of knowledge we are, and thou makest it a cause for chastisement: but cast him forth; for shall not I alone fill up the heavenly places? But if that is not to be so save man too, O Lord. He failed by thy will, wretched man. Why dost thou waste words on me, Sedrach? I created Adam and his wife and the sun and said: Behold each other how bright he is, and the wife of Adam is brighter in the beauty of the moon and he was the giver of her life.1 Sedrach saith: but of what profit are beauties if they die away into the earth? How didst thou say, O Lord, Thou shalt not return evil for evil? How is it, O Lord? the word of Thy divinity never lies, and why dost Thou retaliate on man? or dost thou not in so doing render evil for evil? I know that among the quadrupeds there is no other so wily and unreasonable as the mule. But we strike it with the bridle when we wish: and thou hast angels: send them forth to guard them, and when man inclines towards sin, to take hold of his foot and not let him go whither he would.
VIII. God saith to him: If I catch him by the foot, he will say, Thou hast given me no joy in the world. But I have left him to his own will because I loved him. Wherefore I sent forth my righteous angels to guard him night and day. Sedrach saith:2 I know, O Lord, that of all thy creatures Thou chiefly lovedst man, of the quadrupeds the sheep, of woods the olive, of fruits the vine, of flying things the bee, of rivers the Jordan, of cities Jerusalem. And all these man also loves, my Lord. God saith to Sedrach: I will ask thee one thing, Sedrach: if thou answerest me, then I may fitly help thee, even though thou hast tempted thy creator. Sedrach saith: Speak.3 The Lord God saith: Since I made all things, how many men were born and how many died, and how many are to die and how many hairs have they? Tell me, Sedrach,4 since the heaven was created and the earth, how many trees grew in the world, and how many fell, and how many are to fall, and how many are to arise, and how many leaves have they? Tell me, Sedrach, since I made the sea, how many waves arose and how many fell, and how many are to arise, and how many winds blow along the margin of the sea? Tell me, Sedrach, from the creation of the world of the æons, when the air rained, how many drops fell upon the world, and how many are to fall? And Sedrach said: Thou alone knowest all these things, O Lord; thou only understandest all these things: only, I pray thee, deliver man from chastisement, and I shall not be separated from our race.
IX. And God said to his only begotten Son: Go,5 take the soul of Sedrach my beloved, and place it in Paradise. The only begotten Son saith to Sedrach: Give me the trust which our Father deposited in the womb of thy mother in the holy tabernacle of thy body from a child. Sedrach saith: I will not give thee my soul. God saith to him: And wherefore was I sent to come hither, and thou pleadest against me? For I was commanded by my Father not to take thy soul with violence; but if not, (then) give me thy most greatly desired soul.
X. And Sedrach saith to God: And whence dost Thou intend to take my soul, and from which limb? And God saith to him: Dost thou not know that it is placed in the midst of thy lungs and thy heart and is dispersed into all thy limbs? It is brought up through the throat and gullet and the mouth and at whatever hour it is predestined to come forth, it is scattered, and brought together from the points of the nails and from all the limbs, and there is a great necessity that it should be separated from the body and parted from the heart. When Sedrach had heard all these things and had considered the memory of death he was greatly astounded, and Sedrach said to God: O Lord, give me a little respite that I may weep, for I have heard that tears are able to do much and much remedy comes to the lowly body of thy creature.
XI. And weeping and bewailing he began to say: O marvellous head of heavenly adornment: O radiant as the sun which shines on heaven and earth: thy hairs are known from Teman, thine eyes from Bosor, thine ears from thunder, thy tongue from a trumpet, and thy brain is a small creation, thy head the energy of the whole body: O friendly and most fair beloved by all, and now falling into the earth it must become forgotten. O hands, mild, fair-fingered, worn with toil by which the body is nourished: O hands, deftest of all, heaping up from all quarters ye made ready houses. O fingers adorned and decked with gold and silver (rings): and great worlds are led by the fingers: the three joints enfold the palms, and heap up beautiful things: and now ye must become aliens to the world. O feet, skilfully walking about, self-running, most swift, unconquerable: O knees, fitted together, because without you the body does not move: the feet run along with the sun and the moon in the night and in the day, heaping up all things, foods and drinks, and nourishing the body: O feet, most swift and fair runners, moving on the face of the earth, getting ready the house with every good thing: O feet which bear up the whole body, that run up to the temples, making repentance and calling on the saints, and now ye are to remain motionless. O head and hands and feet, until now I have kept you. O soul, what sent thee into the humble and wretched body? and now being separated from it, thou art going up where the Lord calleth thee, and the wretched body goes away to judgment. O body well-adorned, hair clothed with stars, head of heavenly adornment and dress: O face well-anointed, light-bringing eyes, voice trumpet-like, tongue placable, chin fairly adorned, hairs like the stars, head high as heaven, body decked out, light-bringing eyes that know all things—and now you shall fall into the earth and under the earth your beauty shall disappear.
XII. Christ saith to him: Stay, Sedrach; how long dost thou weep and groan? Paradise is opened to thee, and, dying, thou shalt live. Sedrach saith to him: Once more I will speak unto thee, O Lord: How long shall I live before I die? and do not disregard my prayer. The Lord saith to him: Speak, O Sedrach. Sedrach saith: If a man shall live eighty or ninety or an hundred years, and live these years in sin, and again shall turn, and the man live in repentance, in how many days dost thou forgive him his sins? God saith to him: If he shall live an hundred or eighty years and shall turn and repent for three years and do the fruit of righteousness, and death shall overtake him, I will not remember all his sins.
XIII. Sedrach saith to him: The three years are a long time, my Lord, lest death overtake him and he fulfil not his repentance: have mercy, Lord, on thine image and have compassion, for the three years are many. God saith to him: If a man live an hundred years and remember his death and confess before men and I find him, after a time I will forgive all his sins. Sedrach saith again: I will again beseech thy compassion for thy creature. The time is long lest death overtake him and snatch him suddenly. The Saviour saith to him: I will ask thee one word, Sedrach, my beloved, then thou shalt ask me in turn: if the man shall repent for forty days I will not remember all his sins which he did.
XIV. And Sedrach saith1 to the archangel Michael: Hearken to me, O powerful chief, and help thou me and be my envoy that God may have mercy on the world. And falling on their faces, they besought the Lord and said: O Lord, teach us how and by what sort of repentance and by what labour man shall be saved. God saith: By repentances, by intercessions, by liturgies, by tears in streams, in hot groanings. Dost thou not know that my prophet David was saved by tears, and the rest were saved in one moment? Thou knowest, Sedrach, that there are nations which have not the law and which do the works of the law: for if they are unbaptized and my divine spirit come unto them and they turn to my baptism, I also receive them with my righteous ones into Abraham’s bosom. And there are some who have been baptized with my baptism and who have shared in my divine part and become reprobate in complete reprobation and will not repent: and I suffer them with much compassion and much pity and wealth2 in order that they may repent, but they do the things which my divinity hates, and did not hearken to the wise man asking (them), saying, we by no means justify a sinner. Dost thou not most certainly know that it is written: And those who repent never see chastisement? And they did not hearken to the Apostles or to my word in the Gospels, and they grieve my angels, and verily they do not attend to my messenger in the assemblies (for communion) and in my services, and they do not stand in my holy churches, but they stand and do not fall down and worship in fear and trembling, but boast things which I do not accept, or my holy angels.
XV. Sedrach saith to God: O Lord, Thou alone art sinless and very compassionate, having compassion and pity for sinners, but thy divinity said: I am not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance. And the Lord said to Sedrach: Dost thou not know, Sedrach, that the thief was saved in one moment to repent? Dost thou not know that my apostle and evangelist was saved in one moment? “Peccatores enim non salvantur,” for their hearts are like rotten stone: these are they who walk in impious ways and who shall be destroyed with Antichrist. Sedrach saith: O my Lord, Thou also saidst: My divine spirit entered into the nations which, not having the law, do the things of the law. So also the thief and the apostle and evangelist and the rest of those who have already got into thy Kingdom. O my Lord; so likewise do Thou pardon those who have sinned to the last: for life is very toilsome and there is no time for repentance.
XVI. The Lord saith to Sedrach: I made man in three stages: when he is young, I overlooked his stumblings as he was young: and again when he was a man I considered his purpose: and again when he grows old, I watch him till he repent. Sedrach saith: O Lord, Thou knowest and understandest all these things: but have sympathy for sinners. The Lord saith to him: Sedrach, my beloved, I promise to have sympathy and bring down the forty days to twenty: and whosoever shall remember thy name shall not see the place of chastisement, but shall be with the just in a place of refreshment and rest: and if anyone shall record this wonderful word his sins shall not be reckoned against him for ever and ever.1 And Sedrach saith: O Lord, and if anyone shall bring enlightenment to thy servant, save him, O Lord, from all evil. And Sedrach, the servant of the Lord, saith: Now take my soul, O Lord. And God took him and placed him in Paradise with all the saints. To whom be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
THE TESTAMENT OF ABRAHAM, THE ACTS OF XANTHIPPE AND POLYXENA, THE NARRATIVE OF ZOSIMUS.