Ante-nicene fathers



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February 21, 1871.

The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs

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I.—The Testament of Reuben Concerning Thoughts

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1. The copy of the Testament of Reuben, what things he charged his sons before he died in the hundred and twenty-fifth year of his life. When he was sick two years after the death of Joseph, his sons and his sons’ sons were gathered together to visit him. And he said to them, My children, I am dying, and go the way of my fathers. And when he saw there Judah and Gad and Asher, his brethren, he said to them, Raise me up, my brethren, that I may tell to my brethren and to my children what things I have hidden in my heart, for from henceforth my strength faileth me. And he arose and kissed them, and said, weeping: Hear, my brethren, give ear to Reuben your father, what things I command you. And, behold, I call to witness against you this day the God of heaven, that ye walk not in the ignorance of youth and fornication wherein I ran greedily, and I defiled the bed of Jacob my father. For I tell you that He smote me with a sore plague in my loins for seven months; and had not Jacob our father prayed for me to the Lord, surely the Lord would have destroyed me. For I was thirty years old when I did this evil in the sight of the Lord, and for seven months I was sick even unto death; and I repented for seven years in the set purpose of my soul before the Lord. Wine and strong drink I drank not, and flesh entered not into my mouth, and I tasted not pleasant food,1 mourning over my sin, for it was great. And it shall not so be done in Israel.

2. And now hear me, my children, what things I saw in my repentance concerning the seven spirits of error. Seven spirits are given against man from Beliar, and they are chief of the works of youth; and seven spirits are given to him at his creation, that in them should be done every work of man.2 The first (1) spirit is of life, with which man’s whole being is created. The second (2) spirit is of sight, with which ariseth desire. The third (3) spirit is of hearing, with which cometh teaching. The fourth (4) spirit is of smelling, with which taste is given to draw air and breath. The fifth (5) spirit is of speech, with which cometh knowledge. The sixth (6) spirit is of taste, with which cometh the eating of meats and drinks; and by them strength is produced, for in food is the foundation of strength. The seventh (7) spirit is of begetting and sexual intercourse, with which through love of pleasure sin also entereth in: wherefore it is the last in order of creation, and the first of youth, because it is filled with ignorance, which leadeth the young as a blind man to a pit, and as cattle to a precipice.

3. Besides all these, there is an eighth (8) spirit of sleep, with which is created entrancement of man’s nature, and the image of death. With these spirits are mingled the spirits of error. The first (1), the spirit of fornication, dwelleth in the nature and in the senses; the second (2) spirit of insatiateness in the belly; the third (3) spirit of fighting in the liver and the gall. The fourth (4) is the spirit of fawning and trickery, that through over-officiousness a man may be fair in seeming. The fifth (5) is the spirit of arrogance, that a man may be stirred up and become high-minded. The sixth (6) is the spirit of lying, in perdition and in jealousy to feign words, and to conceal3 words from kindred and friends. The seventh (7) is the spirit of injustice, with which are theft and pilferings, that a man may work the desire of his heart; for injustice worketh together with the other spirits by means of craft. Besides all these, the spirit of sleep, the eighth (8) spirit, is conjoined with error and fantasy. And so perisheth every young man, darkening his mind from the truth, and not understanding the law of God, nor obeying the admonitions of his fathers, as befell me also in my youth.

And now, children, love the truth, and it shall preserve you. I counsel you, hear ye Reuben your father. Pay no heed to the sight of a woman, nor yet associate privately with a female under the authority of a husband, nor meddle with affairs of womankind. For had I not seen Bilhah bathing in a covered place, I had not fallen into this great iniquity.4 For my mind, dwelling on the woman’s nakedness, suffered me not to sleep until I had done the abominable deed. For while Jacob our father was absent with Isaac his father, when we were in Gader, near to Ephratha in Bethlehem, Bilhah was drunk, and lay asleep uncovered in her chamber; and when I went in and beheld her nakedness, I wrought that impiety, and leaving her sleeping I departed. And forthwith an angel of God revealed to my father Jacob concerning my impiety, and he came and mourned over me, and touched her no more.5

4. Pay no heed, therefore, to the beauty of women, and muse not upon their doings; but walk in singleness of heart in the fear of the Lord, and be labouring in works, and roaming in study and among your flocks, until the Lord give to you a wife whom He will, that ye suffer not as I did. Until my father’s death I had not boldness to look stedfastly into the face of Jacob, or to speak to any of my brethren, because of my reproach; and even until now my conscience afflicteth me by reason of my sin. And my father comforted me; for he prayed for me unto the Lord, that the anger of the Lord might pass away from me, even as the Lord showed me. From henceforth, then, I was protected, and I sinned not. Therefore, my children, observe all things whatsoever I command you, and ye shall not sin. For fornication is the destruction of the soul, separating it from God, and bringing it near to idols, because it deceiveth the mind and understanding, and bringeth down young men into hell before their time. For many hath fornication destroyed; because, though a man be old or noble, it maketh him a reproach and a laughing-stock with Beliar and the sons of men. For in that Joseph kept himself from every woman, and purged his thoughts from all fornication, he found favour before the Lord and men. For the Egyptian woman did many things unto him, and called for magicians, and offered him love potions, and the purpose of his soul admitted no evil desire. Therefore the God of my fathers delivered him from every visible and hidden death. For if fornication overcome not the mind, neither shall Beliar overcome you.

5. Hurtful are women, my children; because, since they have no power or strength over the man, they act subtilly through outward guise how they may draw him to themselves; and whom they cannot overcome by strength, him they overcome by craft. For moreover the angel of God told me concerning them, and taught me that women are overcome by the spirit of fornication more than men, and they devise in their heart against men; and by means of their adornment they deceive first their minds, and instil the poison by the glance of their eye, and then they take them captive by their doings, for a woman cannot overcome a man by force.

Therefore flee fornication, my children, and command your wives and your daughters that they adorn not their heads and their faces; because every woman who acteth deceitfully in these things hath been reserved to everlasting punishment. For thus they allured the Watchers6 before the flood; and as these continually beheld them, they fell into desire each of the other, and they conceived the act in their mind, and changed themselves into the shape of men, and appeared to them in their congress with their husbands; and the women, having in their minds desire toward their apparitions, gave birth to giants, for the Watchers appeared to them as reaching even unto heaven.7

6. Beware, therefore, of fornication; and if you wish to be pure in your mind, guard your senses against every woman. And command them likewise not to company with men, that they also be pure in their mind. For constant meetings, even though the ungodly deed be not wrought, are to them an irremediable disease, and to us an everlasting reproach of Beliar; for fornication hath neither understanding nor godliness in itself, and all jealousy dwelleth in the desire thereof. Therefore ye will be jealous against the sons of Levi, and will seek to be exalted over them; but ye shall not be able, for God will work their avenging, and ye shall die by an evil death. For to Levi the Lord gave the sovereignty, and to Judah,8 and to me also with them,9 and to Dan and Joseph, that we should be for rulers. Therefore I command you to hearken to Levi, because he shall know the law of the Lord, and shall give ordinances for judgment and sacrifice for all Israel until the completion of the times of Christ, the High Priest whom the Lord hath declared. I adjure you by the God of heaven to work truth each one with his neighbour; and draw ye near to Levi in humbleness of heart, that ye may receive a blessing from his mouth. For he shall bless Israel; and specially Judah, because him hath the Lord chosen to rule over all the peoples. And worship we his Seed, because He shall die for us in wars visible and invisible, and shall be among you an everlasting king.

7. And Reuben died after that he had given command to his sons; and they placed him in a coffin until they bore him up from Egypt, and buried him in Hebron in the double10 cave where his fathers were.

II.—The Testament of Simeon Concerning Envy.

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1. The copy of the words of Simeon, what things he spake to his sons before he died, in the hundred and twentieth year of his life, in the year in which Joseph died. For they came to visit him when he was sick, and he strengthened himself and sat up and kissed them, and said to them:—

2. Hear, O my children, hear Simeon your father, what things I have in my heart. I was born of Jacob my father, his second son; and my mother Leah called me Simeon, because the Lord heard her prayer.1 I became strong exceedingly; I shrank from no deed, nor was I afraid of anything. For my heart was hard, and my mind was unmoveable, and my bowels unfeeling: because valour also has been given from the Most High to men in soul and in body. And at that time I was jealous of Joseph because our father loved him;2 and I set my mind against him to destroy him, because the prince of deceit sent forth the spirit of jealousy and blinded my mind, that I regarded him not as a brother, and spared not Jacob my father. But his God and the God of his fathers sent forth His angel, and delivered him out of my hands. For when I went into Shechem to bring ointment for the flocks, and Reuben to Dotham, where were our necessaries and all our stores, Judah our brother sold him to the Ishmaelites. And when Reuben came he was grieved, for he wished to have restored him safe to his father.3 But I was wroth against Judah in that he let him go away alive, and for five months I continued wrathful against him; but God restrained me, and withheld from me all working of my hands, for my right hand was half withered for seven days. And I knew, my children, that because of Joseph this happened to me, and I repented and wept; and I besought the Lord that He would restore my hand unto me, and that I might be kept from all pollution and envy, and from all folly. For I knew that I had devised an evil deed before the Lord and Jacob my father, on account of Joseph my brother, in that I envied him.

3. And now, children, take heed of the spirit of deceit and of envy. For envy ruleth over the whole mind of a man, and suffereth him neither to eat, nor to drink, nor to do any good thing: it ever suggesteth to him to destroy him that he envieth; and he that is envied ever flourisheth, but he that envieth fades away. Two years of days I afflicted my soul with fasting in the fear of the Lord, and I learnt that deliverance from envy cometh by the fear of God. If a man flee to the Lord, the evil spirit runneth away from him, and his mind becometh easy. And henceforward he sympathizeth with him whom he envied, and condemneth not those who love him, and so ceaseth from his envy.

4. And my father asked concerning me, because he saw that I was sad; and I said, I am pained in my liver. For I mourned more than they all, because I was guilty of the selling of Joseph. And when we went down into Egypt, and he bound the as a spy, I knew that I was suffering justly, and I grieved not. Now Joseph was a good man, and had the Spirit of God within him: compassionate and pitiful, he bore not malice against me; nay, he loved me even as the rest of his brothers. Take heed, therefore, my children, of all jealousy and envy, and walk in singleness of soul and with good heart, keeping in mind the brother of your father, that God may give to you also grace and glory, and blessing upon your heads, even as ye saw in him. All his days he reproached us not concerning this thing, but loved us as his own soul, and beyond his own sons; and he glorified us, and gave riches, and cattle, and fruits freely to us all. Do ye then also, my beloved children, love each one his brother with a good heart, and remove from you the spirit of envy, for this maketh savage the soul and destroyeth the body; it turneth his purposes into anger and war, and stirreth up unto blood, and leadeth the mind into frenzy, and suffereth not prudence to act in men: moreover, it taketh away sleep, and causeth tumult to the soul and trembling to the body. For even in sleep some malicious jealousy, deluding him, gnaweth at his soul, and with wicked spirits disturbeth it, and causeth the body to be troubled, and the mind to awake from sleep in confusion; and as though having a wicked and poisonous spirit, so appeareth it to men.

5. Therefore was Joseph fair in appearance, and goodly to look upon, because there dwelt not in him any wickedness; for in trouble of the spirit the face declareth it. And now, my children, make your hearts good before the Lord, and your ways straight before men, and ye shall find grace before God and men. And take heed not to commit fornication, for fornication is mother of all evils, separating from God, and bringing near to Beliar. For I have seen it inscribed in the writing of Enoch4 that your sons shall with you be corrupted in fornication, and shall do wrong against Levi with the sword. But they shall not prevail against Levi, for he shall wage the war of the Lord, and shall conquer all your hosts; and there shall be a few divided in Levi and Judah, and there shall be none5 of you for sovereignty, even as also my father Jacob prophesied in his blessings.

6. Behold, I have foretold you all things, that I may be clear from the sin of your souls. Now, if ye remove from you your envy, and all your stiffneckedness, as a rose shall my bones flourish in Israel, and as a lily my flesh in Jacob, and my odour shall be as the odour of Libanus; and as cedars shall holy ones be multiplied from me for ever, and their branches shall stretch afar off. Then shall perish the seed of Canaan, and a remnant shall not be to Amalek, and all the Cappadocians6 shall perish, and all the Hittites7 shall be utterly destroyed. Then shall fail the land of Ham, and every people shall perish. Then shall all the earth rest from trouble, and all the world under heaven from war. Then shall Shem be glorified, because the Lord God, the Mighty One of Israel, shall appear upon earth as man,8 and saved by Him Adam.9 Then shall all the spirits of deceit be given to be trampled under foot, and men shall rule over the wicked spirits. Then will I arise in joy, and will bless the Most High because of His marvellous works, because God hath taken a body and eaten with men and saved men.

7. And now, my children, obey Levi, and in Judah shall ye be redeemed:10 and be not lifted up against these two tribes, for from them shall arise to you the salvation of God. For the Lord shall raise up from Levi as it were a Priest,11 and from Judah as it were a King, God and man.12 So shall He save all the Gentiles and the race of Israel. Therefore I command you all things, in order that ye also may command your children, that they may observe them throughout their generations.

8. And Simeon made an end of commanding his sons, and slept with his fathers, being an hundred and twenty years old. And they laid him in a coffin of incorruptible wood, to take up his bones to Hebron. And they carried them up in a war of the Egyptians secretly: for the bones of Joseph the Egyptians guarded in the treasure-house of the palace; for the sorcerers told them that at the departure of the bones of Joseph there should be throughout the whole of Egypt darkness and gloom, and an exceeding great plague to the Egyptians, so that even with a lamp a man should not recognise his brother.

9. And the sons of Simeon bewailed their father according to the law of mourning, and they were in Egypt until the day of their departure from Egypt by the hand of Moses.

III.—The Testament of Levi Concerning the Priesthood and Arrogance.

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1. The copy of the words of Levi, what things he appointed to his sons, according to all that they should do, and what things should befall them until the day of judgment. He was in sound health when he called them to him, for it had been shown to him that he should die. And when they were gathered together be said to them :—

2. I Levi was conceived in Haran and born there, and after that I came with my father to Shechem. And I was young, about twenty years of age, when with Simeon I wrought the vengeance on Hamor for our sister Dinah. And when we were feeding our flocks in Abel-Maul, a spirit of understanding of the Lord came upon me,1 and I saw all men corrupting their way, and that unrighteousness had built to itself walls, and iniquity sat upon towers; and I grieved for the race of men, and I prayed to the Lord that I might be saved. Then there fell upon me a sleep, and I beheld a high mountain: this is the mountain of Aspis2 in Abel-Maul. And behold, the heavens were opened, and an angel of God said to me, Levi, enter. And I entered from the first heaven into the second, and I saw there water hanging between the one and the other. And I saw a third heaven far brighter than those two, for there was in it a height without bounds. And I said to the angel, Wherefore is this? And the angel said to me, Marvel not at these, for thou shall see four other heavens brighter than these, and without comparison, when thou shall have ascended thither: because thou shalt stand near the Lord, and shalt be His minister, and shall declare His mysteries to men, and shalt proclaim concerning Him who shall redeem Israel;3 and by thee and Judah shall the Lord appear among men, saving in them every race of men; and of the portion of the Lord shall be thy life, and He shall be thy field and vineyard, fruits, gold, silver.

3. Hear, then, concerning the seven4 heavens. The lowest is for this cause more gloomy, in that it is near all the iniquities of men. The second hath fire, snow, ice, ready for the day of the ordinance of the Lord, in the righteous judgment of God: in it are all the spirits of the retributions for vengeance on the wicked. In the third are the hosts of the armies which are ordained for the day of judgment, to work vengeance on the spirits of deceit and of Beliar. And the heavens up to the fourth above these are holy, for in the highest of all dwelleth the Great Glory, in the holy of holies, far above all holiness. In the heaven next to it are the angels of the presence of the Lord, who minister and make propitiation to the Lord for all the ignorances of the righteous; and they offer to the Lord a reasonable sweet-smelling savour, and a bloodless offering. And in the heaven below this are the angels who bear the answers to the angels of the presence of the Lord. And in the heaven next to this are thrones, dominions, in which hymns are ever offered to God. Therefore, whenever the Lord looketh upon us, all of us are shaken; yea, the heavens, and the earth, and the abysses, are shaken at the presence of His majesty; but the sons of men, regarding not these things, sin, and provoke the Most High.

4. Now, therefore, know that the Lord will execute judgment upon the sons of men; because when the rocks are rent,5 and the sun quenched, and the waters dried up, and the fire trembling, and all creation troubled, and the invisible spirits melting away, and the grave6 spoiled in the suffering of the Most High,7 men unbelieving will abide in their iniquity, therefore with punishment shall they be judged. Therefore the Most High hath heard thy prayer, to separate thee from iniquity, and that thou shouldest become to Him a son, and a servant, and a minister of His presence. A shining light of knowledge shalt thou shine in Jacob, and as the sun shalt thou be to all the seed of Israel. And a blessing shall be given to thee, and to all thy seed, until the Lord shall visit all the heathen in the tender mercies of His Son, even for ever. Nevertheless thy sons shall lay hands upon Him to crucify Him; and therefore have counsel and understanding been given thee, that thou mightest instruct thy sons concerning Him, because he that blesseth Him shall be blessed, but they that curse Him shall perish.

5. And the angel opened to me the gates of heaven, and I saw the holy temple, and the Most High upon a throne of glory. And He said to me, Levi, I have given thee the blessings of the priesthood until that I shall come and sojourn in the midst of Israel. Then the angel brought me to the earth, and gave me a shield and a sword, and said, Work vengeance on Shechem because of Dinah, and I will be with thee, because the Lord hath sent me. And I destroyed at that time the sons of Hamor, as it is written in the heavenly tablets.8 And I said to Him, I pray Thee, O Lord, tell me Thy name, that I may call upon Thee in a day of tribulation. And He said, I am the angel who intercedeth for the race of Israel, that He smite them not utterly, because every evil spirit attacketh it. And after these things I was as it were awaked, and blessed the Most High, and the angel that intercedeth for the race of Israel, and for all the righteous.9

6. And when I came to my father I found a brazen shield;10 wherefore also the name of the mountain is Aspis, which is near Gebal, on the right side of Abila; and I kept these words in my heart. I took counsel with my father, and with Reuben my brother, that he should bid the sons of Hamor that they should be circumcised; for I was jealous because of the abomination which they had wrought in Israel. And I slew Shechem at the first, and Simeon slew Hamor. And after this our brethren came and smote the city with the edge of the sword; and our father heard it and was wroth, and he was grieved in that they had received the circumcision, and after that had been put to death, and in his blessings he dealt otherwise with us. For we sinned because we had done this thing against his will, and he was sick upon that day. But I knew that the sentence of God was for evil upon Shechem; for they sought to do to Sarah as they did to Dinah our sister, and the Lord hindered them. And so they persecuted Abraham our father when he was a stranger, and they harried his flocks when they were multiplied upon him; and Jeblae his servant, born in his house, they shamefully handled. And thus they did to all strangers, taking away their wives by force, and the men themselves driving into exile. But the wrath of the Lord came suddenly upon them to the uttermost.11

7. And I said to my father, Be not angry, sir, because by thee will the Lord bring to nought the Canaanites, and will give their land to thee, and to thy seed after thee. For from this day forward shall Shechem be called a city of them that are without understanding; for as a man mocketh at a fool, so did we mock them, because they wrought folly in Israel to defile our sister. And we took our sister from thence, and departed, and came to Bethel.

8. And there I saw a thing again even as the former, after we had passed seventy days. And I saw seven men in white raiment saying to me, Arise, put on the robe of the priesthood, and the crown of righteousness, and the breastplate of understanding, and the garment of truth, and the diadem of faith, and the tiara of miracle, and the ephod of prophecy.12 And each one of them bearing each of these things put them on me, and said, From henceforth become a priest of the Lord, thou and thy seed for ever. And the first anointed me with holy oil, and gave to me the rod of judgment. The second washed me with pure water, and fed me with bread and wine, the most holy things,13 and clad me with a holy and glorious robe. The third clothed me with a linen vestment like to an ephod. The fourth put round me a girdle like unto purple. The fifth gave to me a branch of rich olive. The sixth placed a crown on my head. The seventh placed on my head a diadem of priesthood, and filled my hands with incense, so that I served as a priest to the Lord. And they said to me, Levi, thy seed shall be divided into three branches,14 for a sign of the glory of the Lord who is to come; and first shall he be that hath been faithful; no portion shall be greater than his. The second shall be in the priesthood. The third—a new name shall be called over Him, because He shall arise as King from Judah, and shall establish a new priesthood, after the fashion of the Gentiles, to all the Gentiles.15 And His appearing shall be unutterable, as of an exalted16 prophet of the seed of Abraham our father. Every desirable thing in Israel shall be for thee and for thy seed, and everything fair to look upon shall ye eat, and the table of the Lord shall thy seed apportion, and some of them shall be high priests, and judges, and scribes; for by their mouth shall the holy place be guarded. And when I awoke, I understood that this thing was like unto the former. And I hid this also in my heart, and told it not to any man upon the earth.

9. And after two days I and Judah went up to Isaac after17 our father; and the father of my father blessed me according to all the words of the visions which I had seen: and he would not come with us to Bethel. And when we came to Bethel, my father Jacob saw in a vision concerning me, that I should be to them for a priest unto the Lord; and he rose up early in the morning, and paid tithes of all to the Lord through me. And we came to Hebron to dwell there, and Isaac called me continually to put me in remembrance of the law of the Lord, even as the angel of God showed to me. And he taught me the law of the priesthood, of sacrifices, whole burnt-offerings, first-fruits, free-will offerings, thank-offerings. And each day he was instructing me, and was busied for me before the Lord. And he said to me, Take heed, my child, of the spirit of fornication; for this shall continue, and shall by thy seed pollute the holy things. Take therefore to thyself, while yet thou art young, a wife, not having blemish, nor yet polluted, nor of the race of the Philistines or Gentiles. And before entering into the holy place, bathe;18 and when thou offerest the sacrifice, wash; and again when thou finishest the sacrifice, wash. Of twelve trees ever having leaves, offer up the fruits to the Lord, as also Abraham taught me; and of every clean beast and clean bird offer a sacrifice to the Lord, and of every firstling and of wine offer first-fruits; and every sacrifice thou shalt salt with salt.19

10. Now, therefore, observe whatsoever I command you, children; for whatsoever things I have heard from my fathers I have made known to you. I am clear from all your ungodliness and transgression which ye will do in the end of the ages against the Saviour of the world, acting ungodly, deceiving Israel, and raising up against it great evils from the Lord.20 And ye will deal lawlessly with Israel, so that Jerusalem shall not endure your wickedness; but the veil of the temple shall be rent, so as not to cover your shame. And ye shall be scattered as captives among the heathen, and shall be for a reproach and for a curse, and for a trampling under foot. For the house which the Lord shall choose shall be called Jerusalem, as is contained in the book of Enoch the righteous.21

11. Therefore, when I took a wife I was twenty-eight years old, and her name was Melcha. And she conceived and bare a son, and she called his name Gersham, for we were sojourners in our land: for Gersham is interpreted sojourning. And I saw concerning him that he would not be in the first rank. And Kohath was born in my thirty-fifth year, towards the east. And I saw in a vision that he was standing on high in the midst of all the congregation. Therefore I called his name Kohath, which meaneth, beginning of majesty and instruction. And thirdly, she bare to me Merari, in the fortieth year of my life; and since his mother bare him with difficulty, she called him Merari, which meaneth my bitterness, because he also died. And Jochebed was born in my sixty-fourth year, in Egypt, for I was renowned then in the midst of my brethren.

12. And Gersham took a wife, and she bare to him Lomni and Semei. And the sons of Kohath, Ambram, Isaar, Chebro, and Ozel. And the sons of Merari, Mooli and Homusi. And in my ninety-fourth year Ambram took Jochebed my daughter to him to wife, for they were born in one day, he and my daughter. Eight years old was I when I went into the land of Canaan, and eighteen years when I slew Shechem, and at nineteen years I became priest, and at twenty-eight years I took a wife, and at forty years I went into Egypt. And behold, ye are my children, my children even of a third generation. In my hundred and eighteenth year Joseph died.

13. And now, my children, I command you that ye fear our Lord with your whole heart, and walk in simplicity according to all His22 law. And do ye also teach your children learning, that they may have understanding in all their life, reading unceasingly the law of God; for every one who shall know the law of God shall be honoured, and shall not be a stranger wheresoever he goeth. Yea, many friends shall he gain more than his forefathers; and many men shall desire to serve him, and to hear the law from his mouth. Work righteousness, my children, upon the earth, that ye may find treasure in the heavens, and sow good things in your souls, that ye may find them in your life. For if ye sow evil things, ye shall reap all trouble and affliction. Get wisdom in the fear of God with diligence; for though there shall be a leading into captivity, and cities be destroyed, and lands and gold and silver and every possession shall perish, the wisdom of the wise none can take away, save the blindness of ungodliness and the palsy of sin: for even among his enemies shall it be to him glorious, and in a strange country a home, and in the midst of foes shall it be found a friend. If a man teach these things and do them, he shall be enthroned with kings, as was also Joseph our brother.

14. And now, my children, I have learnt from the writing of Enoch that at the last ye will deal ungodly, laying your hands upon the Lord in all malice; and your brethren shall be ashamed because of you, and to all the Gentiles shall it become a mocking. For our father Israel shall be pure from the ungodliness of the chief priests who shall lay their hands upon the Saviour of the world. Pure is the heaven above the earth, and ye are the lights of the heaven as the sun and the moon. What shall all the Gentiles do if ye be darkened in ungodliness? So shall ye bring a curse upon our race for whom came the light of the world, which was given among you for the lighting up of every man.23 Him will ye desire to slay, teaching commandments contrary to the ordinances of God. The offerings of the Lord will ye rob, and from His portion will ye steal; and before ye sacrifice to the Lord, ye will take the choicest parts, in despitefulness eating them with harlots. Amid excesses24 will ye teach the commandments of the Lord, the women that have husbands will ye pollute, and the virgins of Jerusalem will ye defile; and with harlots and adulteresses will ye be joined. The daughters of the Gentiles will ye take for wives, purifying them with an unlawful purification; and your union shall be like unto Sodom and Gomorrah in ungodliness. And ye will be puffed up because of the priesthood lifting yourselves up against men. And not only so, but being puffed up also against the commands of God, ye will scoff at the holy things, mocking in despitefulness.

15. Therefore the temple which the Lord shall choose shall be desolate in uncleanness, and ye shall be captives throughout all nations, and ye shall be an abomination among them, and ye shall receive reproach and everlasting shame from the righteous judgment of God; and all who see you shall flee from you. And were it not for Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob our fathers, not one from my seed should be left upon the earth.

16. And now I have learnt in the book of Enoch that for seventy weeks will ye go astray, and will profane the priesthood, and pollute the sacrifices, and corrupt the law, and set at nought the words of the prophets. In perverseness ye will persecute righteous men, and hate the godly; the words of the faithful will ye abhor, and the man who reneweth the law in the power of the Most High will ye call a deceiver;25 and at last, as ye suppose, ye will slay Him, not understanding His resurrection, wickedly taking upon your own heads the innocent blood.26 Because of Him shall your holy places be desolate, polluted even to the ground, and ye shall have no place that is clean; but ye shall be among the Gentiles a curse and a dispersion, until He shall again look upon you, and in pity shall take you to Himself through faith and water.27

17. And because ye have heard concerning the seventy weeks, hear also concerning the priesthood; for in each jubilee there shall be a priesthood. In the first jubilee, the first who is anointed into the priesthood shall be great, and shall speak to God as to a Father; and his priesthood shall be filled with the fear of the Lord, and in the day of his gladness shall he arise for the salvation of the world. In the second jubilee, he that is anointed shall be conceived in the sorrow of beloved ones; and his priesthood shall be honoured, and shall be glorified among all. And the third priest shall be held fast in sorrow; and the fourth shall be in grief, because unrighteousness shall be laid upon him exceedingly, and all Israel shall hate each one his neighbour. The fifth shall be held fast in darkness, likewise also the sixth and the seventh. And in the seventh there shall be such pollution as I am not able to express, before the Lord and men, for they shall know it who do these things. Therefore shall they be in captivity and for a prey, and their land and their substance shall be destroyed. And in the fifth week they shall return into their desolate country, and shall renew the house of the Lord. And in the seventh week shall come the priests, worshippers of idols, contentious, lovers of money, proud, lawless, lascivious, abusers of children and beasts.

18. And after their punishment shall have come from the Lord, then will the Lord raise up to the priesthood a new Priest, to whom all the words of the Lord shall be revealed; and He shall execute a judgment of truth upon the earth,28 in the fulness of days. And His star shall arise in heaven,29 as a king shedding forth the light of knowledge in the sunshine of day, and He shall be magnified in the world until His ascension. He shall shine forth as the sun in the earth, and shall drive away all darkness from the world under heaven, and there shall be peace in all the earth. The heavens shall rejoice in His days, and the earth shall be glad, and the clouds shall be joyful, and the knowledge of the Lord shall be poured forth upon the earth, as the water of seas; and the angels of the glory of the presence of the Lord shall be glad in Him. The heavens shall be opened, and from the temple of glory shall the sanctification come upon Him with the Father’s voice, as from Abraham the father of Isaac. And the glory of the Most High shall be uttered over Him, and the spirit of understanding and of sanctification shall rest upon Him in the water. He shall give the majesty of the Lord to His sons in truth for evermore; and there shall none succeed Him for all generations, even for ever.30 And in His priesthood shall all sin come to an end, and the lawless shall rest from evil, and the just shall rest in Him. And He shall open the gates of paradise, and shall remove31 the threatening sword against Adam; and He shall give to His saints to eat from the tree of life,32 and the spirit of holiness shall be on them. And Beliar shall be bound by Him, and He shall give power to His children to tread upon the evil spirits.33 And the Lord shall rejoice in His children, and the Lord shall be well pleased in His beloved for ever. Then shall Abraham and Isaac and Jacob be joyful, and I will be glad, and all the saints shall put on gladness.

19. And now, my children, ye have heard all; choose therefore for yourselves either the darkness or the light, either the law of the Lord or the works of Beliar. And we answered our father, saying, Before the Lord will we walk according to His law. And our father said, The Lord is witness, and His angels are witnesses, and I am witness, and ye are witnesses, concerning the word of your mouth. And we said, We are witnesses. And thus Levi ceased giving charge to his sons; and he stretched out his feet, and was gathered to his fathers, after he had lived a hundred and thirty-seven years. And they laid him in a coffin, and afterwards they buried him in Hebron, by the side of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob.

IV.—The Testament of Judah Concerning Fortitude, and Love of Money, and Fornication.

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1. The copy of the words of Judah, what things he spake to his sons before he died. They gathered themselves together, and came to him, and he said to them: I was the fourth son born to my father, and my mother called me Judah, saying, I give thanks to the Lord, because He hath given to me even a fourth son.1 I was swift and active in my youth, and obedient to my father in everything. And I honoured my mother and my mother’s sister. And it came to pass, when I became a man, that my father Jacob prayed over me, saying, Thou shall be a king, and prosperous in all things.

2. And the Lord showed me favour in all my works both in the field and at home. When I saw that I could run with the hind, then I caught it, and prepared meat for my father. I seized upon the roes in the chase, and all that was in the plains I outran. A wild mare I outran, and I caught it and tamed it; and I slew a lion, and plucked a kid out of its mouth. I took a bear by its paw, and rolled it over a cliff; and if any beast turned upon me, I rent it like a dog. I encountered the wild boar, and overtaking it in the chase, I tore it. A leopard in Hebron leaped upon the dog, and I caught it by the tail, and flung it from me, and it was dashed to pieces in the coasts of Gaza. A wild ox feeding in the field I seized by the horns; and whirling it round and stunning it, I cast it from me, and slew it.

3. And when the two kings of the Canaanites came in warlike array against our flocks, and much people with them, I by myself rustled upon King Sur and seized him; and I beat him upon the legs, and dragged him down, and so I slew him. And the other king, Taphue,2 I slew as he sat upon his horse, and so I scattered all the people. Achor the king, a man of giant stature, hurling darts before and behind as he sat on horseback, I slew; for I hurled a stone of sixty pounds weight, and cast it upon his horse, and killed him. And I fought with Achor for two hours, and I killed him; and I clave his shield into two parts, and I chopped off his feet. And as I stripped off his breastplate, behold, eight men his companions began to fight with me. I wound round therefore my garment in my hand; and I slang stones at them, and killed four of them, and the rest fled. And Jacob my father slew Beelisa, king of all the kings, a giant in strength, twelve cubits high; and fear fell upon them, and they ceased from making war with us. Therefore my father had no care in the wars when I was among my brethren. For he saw in a vision concerning me, that an angel of might followed me everywhere, that I should not be overcome.

4. And in the south there befell us a greater war than that in Shechem; and I joined in battle array with my brethren, and pursued a thousand men, and slew of them two hundred men and four kings. And I went up against them upon the wall, and two other kings I slew; and so we freed Hebron, and took all the captives of the kings.

5. On the next day we departed to Areta,3 a city strong and walled and inaccessible, threatening us with death. Therefore I and Gad approached on the east side of the city, and Reuben and Levi on the west and south. And they that were upon the wall, thinking that we were alone, charged down upon us; and so our brethren secretly climbed up the wall on both sides by ladders, and entered into the city, while the men knew it not. And we took it with the edge of the sword; and those who had taken refuge in the tower,—we set fire to the tower, and took both it and them. And as we were departing the men of Thaffu set upon our captives, and we took it with our sons, and fought with them even to Thaffu; and we slew them, and burnt their city, and spoiled all the things that were therein.

6. And when I was at the waters of Chuzeba,4 the men of Jobel came against us to battle, and we fought with them; and their allies from Selom5 we slew, and we allowed them no means of escaping, and of coming against us. And the men of Machir6 came upon us on the fifth day, to carry away our captives; and we attacked them, and overcame them in fierce battle: for they were a host and mighty in themselves, and we slew them before they had gone up the ascent of the hill. And when we came to their city, their women rolled upon us stones from the brow of the hill on which the city stood. And I and Simeon hid ourselves behind the town, and seized upon the heights, and utterly destroyed the whole city.

7. And the next day it was told us that the cities7 of the two kings with a great host were coming against us. I therefore and Dan reigned ourselves to be Amorites, and went as allies into their city. And in the depth of night our brethren came, and we opened to them the gates; and we destroyed all the men and their substance, and we took for a prey all that was theirs, and their three walls we cast down. And we drew near to Thamna,8 where was all the refuge of the hostile kings. Then having received hurt I was wroth, and charged upon them to the brow of the hill; and they slang at me with stones and darts; and had not Dan my brother aided me, they would have been able to slay me. We came upon them therefore with wrath, and they all fled; and passing by another way, they besought my father, and he made peace with them, and we did to them no hurt, but made a truce with them, and restored to them all the captives. And I built Thamna, and my father built Rhambael.9 I was twenty years old when this war befell, and the Canaanites feared me and my brethren.

8. Moreover, I had much cattle, and I had for the chief of my herdsmen Iran10 the Adullamite. And when I went to him I saw Barsan, king of Adullam, and he made us a feast; and he entreated me, and gave me his daughter Bathshua to wife. She bare me Er, and Onan, and Shelah; and the two of them the Lord smote that they died childless: for Shelah lived, and his children are ye.

9. Eighteen years we abode at peace, our father and we, with his brother Esau, and his sons with us, after that we came from Mesopotamia, from Laban. And when eighteen years were fulfilled, in the fortieth year of my life, Esau, the brother of my father, came upon us with much people and strong; and he fell by the bow of Jacob, and was taken up dead in Mount Seir: even as he went above Iramna11 was he slain. And we pursued after the sons of Esau. Now they had a city with walls of iron and gates of brass; and we could not enter into it, and we encamped around, and besieged them. And when they opened not to us after twenty days, I set up a ladder in the sight of all, and with my shield upon my head I climbed up, assailed with stones of three talents’ weight; and I climbed up, and slew four who were mighty among them. And the next day Reuben and Gad entered in and slew sixty others. Then they asked from us terms of peace; and being aware of our father’s purpose, we received them as tributaries. And they gave us two hundred cors of wheat, five hundred baths of oil, fifteen hundred measures of wine, until we went down into Egypt.

10. After these things, my son Er took to wife Tamar, from Mesopotamia, a daughter of Aram.12 Now Er was wicked, and he doubted concerning Tamar, because she was not of the land of Canaan. And on the third day an angel of the Lord smote him in the night, and he had not known her, according to the evil craftiness of his mother, for he did not wish to have children from her. In the days of the wedding-feast I espoused Onan to her; and he also in wickedness knew her not, though he lived with her a year. And when I threatened him, he lay with her,13 …according to the command of his mother, and he also died in his wickedness. And I wished to give Shelah also to her, but my wife Bathshua suffered it not; for she bore a spite against Tamar, because she was not of the daughters of Canaan, as she herself was.

11. And I knew that the race of Canaan was wicked, but the thoughts of youth blinded my heart. And when I saw her pouring out wine, in the drunkenness of wine was I deceived, and I fell before her. And while I was away, she went and took for Shelah a wife from the land of Caanan. And when I knew what she had done, I cursed her in the anguish of my soul, and she also died in the wickedness of her sons.

12. And after these things, while Tamar was a widow, she heard after two years that I was going up to shear my sheep; then she decked herself in bridal array, and sat over against the city by the gate. For it is a law of the Amorites, that she who is about to marry sit in fornication seven days by the gate.14 I therefore, being drunk at the waters of Chozeb, recognised her not by reason of wine; and her beauty deceived me, through the fashion of her adorning. And I turned aside to her, and said, I would enter in to thee. And she said to me, What wilt thou give me? And I gave her my staff, and my girdle, and my royal crown; and I lay with her, and she conceived. I then, not knowing what she had done, wished to slay her; but she privily sent my pledges, and put me to shame. And when I called her, I heard also the secret words which I spoke when lying with her in my drunkenness; and I could not slay her, because it was from the Lord. For I said, Lest haply she did it in subtlety, and received the pledge from another woman: but I came near her no more till my death, because I had done this abomination in all Israel. Moreover, they who were in the city said that there was no bride in the city, because she came from another place, and sat for awhile in the gate, and she thought that no one knew that I had gone in to her.15 And after this we came into Egypt to Joseph, because of the famine. Forty and six years old was I, and seventy and three years lived I there.

13. And now, my children, in what things so ever I command you hearken to your father, and keep all my sayings to perform the ordinances of the Lord, and to obey the command of the Lord God. And walk not after your lusts, nor in the thoughts of your imaginations in the haughtiness of your heart; and glory not in the works of the strength of youth, for this also is evil in the eyes of the Lord. For since I also gloried that in wars the face of no woman of goodly form ever deceived me, and upbraided Reuben my brother concerning Bilhah, the wife of my father, the spirits of jealousy and of fornication arrayed themselves within me, until I fell before Bathshua the Canaanite, and Tamar who was espoused to my sons, And I said to my father-in-law, I will counsel with my father, and so will I take thy daughter. And he showed me a boundless store of gold in his daughter’s behalf, for he was a king. And he decked her with gold and pearls, and caused her to pour out wine for us at the feast in womanly beauty. And the wine led my eyes astray, and pleasure blinded my heart; and I loved her, and I fell, and transgressed the commandment of the Lord and the commandment of my fathers, and I took her to wife. And the Lord rewarded me according to the thought of my heart, insomuch that I had no joy in her children.

14. And now, my children, be not drunk with wine; for wine turneth the mind away from the truth, and kindleth in it the passion of lust, and leadeth the eyes into error. For the spirit of fornication hath wine as a minister to give pleasures to the mind; for these two take away the power from a man. For if a man drink wine to drunkenness, he disturbeth his mind with filthy thoughts to fornication, and exciteth his body to carnal union; and if the cause of the desire be present, he worketh the sin, and is not ashamed. Such is wine, my children; for he who is drunken reverenceth no man. For, lo, it made me also to err, so that I was not ashamed of the multitude in the city, because before the eyes of all I turned aside unto Tamar, and I worked a great sin, and I uncovered the covering of the shame of my sons. After that I drank wine I reverenced not the commandment of God, and I took a woman of Canaan to wife. Wherefore, my children, he who drinketh wine needeth discretion; and herein is discretion in drinking wine, that a man should drink as long as he keepeth decency; but if he go beyond this bound, the spirit of deceit attacketh his mind and worketh his will; and it maketh the drunkard to talk filthily, and to transgress and not to be ashamed, but even to exult in his dishonour, accounting himself to do well.

15. He that committeth fornication, and16 uncovereth his nakedness, hath become the servant of fornication, and escapeth not17 from the power thereof, even as I also was uncovered. For I gave my staff, that is, the stay of my tribe; and my girdle, that is, my power; and my diadem, that is, the glory of my kingdom. Then I repented for these things, and took no wine or flesh until my old age, nor did I behold any joy. And the angel of God showed me that for ever do women bear rule over king and beggar alike; and from the king they take away his glory, and from the valiant man his strength, and from the beggar even that little which is the stay of his poverty.

16. Observe therefore, my children, moderation in wine; for there are in it four evil spirits—of (1) lust, of (2) wrath, of (3) riot, of (4) filthy lucre. If ye drink wine in gladness, with shamefacedness, with the fear of God, ye shall live. For if ye drink not with shamefacedness, and the fear of God departeth from you, then cometh drunkenness, and shamelessness stealeth in. But18 even if ye drink not at all, take heed lest ye sin in words of outrage, and fighting, and slander, and transgression of the commandments of God; so shall ye perish before your time. Moreover, wine revealeth the mysteries of God and men to aliens, even as I also revealed the commandments of God and the mysteries of Jacob my father to the Canaanitish Bathshua, to whom God forbade to declare them. And wine also is a cause of war and confusion.

17. I charge you, therefore, my children, not to love money, nor to gaze upon the beauty of women; because for the sake of money and beauty I was led astray to Bathshua the Canaanite. For I know that because of these two things shall ye who are my race fall into wickedness; for even wise men among my sons shall they mar, and shall cause the kingdom of Judah to be diminished, which the Lord gave me because of my obedience to my father.19 For I never disobeyed a word of Jacob my father, for all things whatsoever he commanded I did. And Abraham, the father of my father, blessed me that I should be king in Israel, and Isaac further blessed me in like manner. And I know that from me shall the kingdom be established.

18. For I have read also in the books of Enoch the righteous what evils ye shall do in the last days. Take heed, therefore, my children, of fornication and the love of money; hearken to Judah your father, for these things do withdraw you from the law of God, and blind the understanding of the soul, and teach arrogance, and suffer not a man to have compassion upon his neighbour: they rob his soul of all goodness, and bind him in toils and troubles, and take away his sleep and devour his flesh, and hinder the sacrifices of God; and he remembereth not blessing, and he hearkeneth not to a prophet when he speaketh, and is vexed at the word of godliness. For one who serveth two passions contrary to the commandments of God cannot obey God, because they have blinded his soul, and he walketh in the day-time as in the night.

19. My children, the love of money leadeth to idols; because, when led astray through money, men make mention of those who are no gods, and it causeth him who hath it to fall into madness. For the sake of money I lost my children, and but for the repentance of my flesh, and the humbling of my soul, and the prayers of Jacob my father, I should have died childless. But the God of my fathers, who is pitiful and merciful, pardoned me, because I did it in ignorance.20 For the prince of deceit blinded me, and I was ignorant as a man and as flesh, being corrupted in sins; and I learnt my own weakness while thinking myself unconquerable.21

20.22 Learn therefore, my children, that two spirits wait upon man—the spirit of truth and the spirit of error; and in the midst is the spirit of the understanding of the mind, to which it belongeth to turn whithersoever it will. And the works of truth and the works of error are written upon the breast of men, and each one of them the Lord knoweth. And there is no time at which the works of men can be hid from Him; for on the bones of his breast hath he been written down before the Lord. And the spirit of truth testifieth all things, and accuseth all; and he who sinneth is burnt up by his own heart, and cannot raise his face unto the Judge.

21. And now, my children, love Levi, that ye may abide, and exalt not yourselves against him, lest ye be utterly destroyed. For to me the Lord gave the kingdom, and to him the priesthood, and He set the kingdom beneath the priesthood. To me He gave the things upon the earth; to him the things in the heavens. As the heaven is higher than the earth, so is the priesthood of God higher than the kingdom upon the earth. For the Lord chose him above thee, to draw near to Him, and to eat of His table and first-fruits, even the choice things of the sons of Israel, and thou shall be to them as a sea. For as, on the sea, just and unjust are tossed about, some taken into captivity while others are enriched, so also shall every race of men be in thee, some are in jeopardy and taken captive, and others shall grow rich by means of plunder. For they who rule will be as great sea-monsters, swallowing up men like fishes: free sons and daughters do they enslave; houses, lands, flocks, money, will they plunder; and with the flesh of many will they wrongfully feed the ravens and the cranes; and they will go on further in evil, advancing on still in covetousness. And there shall be false prophets like tempests, and they shall persecute all righteous men.

22. And the Lord shall bring upon them divisions one against another, and there shall be continual wars in Israel; and among men of other race shall my kingdom be brought to an end, until the salvation of Israel shall come, until the appearing of the God of righteousness, that Jacob and all the Gentiles may rest in peace.23 And he shall guard the might of my kingdom for ever: for the Lord sware to me with an oath that the kingdom should never fail from me, and from my seed for all days, even for ever.

23. Now I have much grief, my children, because of your lewdness, and witchcrafts, and idolatries, which ye will work against the kingdom, following them that have familiar spirits ye24 will make your daughters singing girls25 and harlots for divinations and demons of error, and ye will be mingled in the pollutions of the Gentiles: for which things’ sake the Lord shall bring upon you famine and pestilence, death and the sword, avenging siege, and dogs for the rending in pieces of enemies, and revilings of friends, destruction and blighting of eyes, children slaughtered, wives carried off, possessions plundered, temple of God in flames, your land desolated, your own selves enslaved among the Gentiles, and they shall make some of you eunuchs for their wives; and whenever ye will return to the Lord with humility of heart, repenting and walking in all the commandments of God, then will the Lord visit you in mercy and in love, bringing you from out of the bondage of your enemies.

24. And after these things shall a Star arise to you from Jacob in peace, and a Man shall rise from my seed, like the Sun of righteousness, walking with the sons of men26 in meekness and righteousness, and no sin shall be found in Him. And the heavens shall be opened above Him, to shed forth the blessing of the Spirit from the Holy Father; and He shall shed forth a spirit of grace upon you, and ye shall be unto Him sons in truth, and ye shall walk in His commandments, the first and the last. This is the Branch of God Most High, and this the Well-spring unto life for all flesh.27 Then shall the sceptre of my kingdom shine forth, and from your root shall arise a stem; and in it shall arise a rod of righteousness to the Gentiles, to judge and to save all that call upon the Lord.

25. And after these things shall Abraham and Isaac and Jacob arise unto life, and I and my brethren will be chiefs, even your sceptre in Israel: Levi first, I the second, Joseph third, Benjamin fourth, Simeon fifth, Issachar sixth, and so all in order. And the Lord blessed Levi; the Angel of the Presence, me; the powers of glory,28 Simeon; the heaven, Reuben; the earth, Issachar; the sea, Zebulun; the mountains, Joseph; the tabernacle, Benjamin; the lights of heaven, Dan; the fatness of earth, Naphtali; the sun, Gad; the olive, Asher: and there shall be one people of the Lord, and one tongue; and there shall no more be a spirit of deceit of Beliar, for he shall be cast into the fire for ever. And they who have died in grief shall arise in joy, and they who have lived in poverty for the Lord’s sake shall be made rich, and they who have been in want shall be filled, and they who have been weak shall be made strong, and they who have been put to death for the Lord’s sake shall awake in life.29 And the harts of Jacob shall run in joyfulness, and the eagles of Israel shall fly in gladness; but the ungodly shall lament, and sinners all weep, and all the people shall glorify the Lord for ever.

26. Observe, therefore, my children, all the law of the Lord, for there is hope for all them who follow His way aright. And he said to them: I die before your eyes this day, a hundred and nineteen years old. Let no one bury me in costly apparel, nor tear open my bowels,30 for this shall they who are kings do: and carry me up to Hebron with you. And Judah, when he had said these things, fell asleep; and his sons did according to all whatsoever he commanded them, and they buried him in Hebron with his fathers.

V.—The Testament of Issachar Concerning Simplicity.

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1. The record of the words of Issachar. He called his sons, and said to them: Hearken, my children, to Issachar your father; give ear to my words, ye who are beloved of the Lord. I was the fifth son born to Jacob, even the hire of the mandrakes.1 For Reuben2 brought in mandrakes from the field, and Rachel met him and took them. And Reuben wept, and at his voice Leah my mother came forth. Now these mandrakes were sweet-smelling apples which the land of Aram produced on high ground below a ravine of water. And Rachel said, I will not give them to thee, for they shall be to me instead of children. Now there were two apples; and Leaf said, Let it suffice thee that thou hast taken the husband of my virginity: wilt thou also take these? And she said, Behold, let Jacob be to thee this night instead of the mandrakes of thy son. And Leah said to her, Boast not, and vaunt not thyself; for Jacob is mine, and I am the wife of his youth. But Rachel said, How so? for to me was he first espoused, and for my sake he served our father fourteen years. What shall I do to thee, because the craft and the subtlety of men are increased, and craft prospereth upon the earth? And were it not so, thou wouldest not now see the face of Jacob. For thou art not his wife, but in craft wert taken to him in my stead. And my father deceived me, and removed me on that night, and suffered me not to see him; for had I been there, it had not happened thus. And Rachel said, Take one mandrake, and for the other thou shalt hire him from me for one night. And Jacob knew Leah, and she conceived and bare me, and on account of the hire3 I was called Issachar.

2. Then appeared to Jacob an angel of the Lord, saying, Two children shall Rachel bear; for she hath refused company with her husband, and hath chosen continency. And had not Leah my mother given up the two apples for the sake of his company, she would have borne eight sons; and for this thing she bare six, and Rachel two: because on account of the mandrakes the Lord visited her. For He knew that for the sake of children she wished to company with Jacob, and not for lust of pleasure.4 For she went further, and on the morrow too gave up Jacob that she might receive also the other mandrake. Therefore the Lord hearkened to Rachel because of the mandrakes: for though she desired them, she ate them not, but brought them to the priest of the Most High who was at that time, and offered them up in the house of the Lord.

3. When, therefore, I grew up, my children, I walked in uprightness of heart, and I became a husbandman for my parents and my brethren, and I brought in fruits from the field according to their season; and my father blessed me, for he saw that I walked in simplicity. And I was not a busybody in my doings, nor malicious and slanderous against my neighbour. I never spoke against any one, nor did I censure the life of any man, but walked in the simplicity of my eyes. Therefore when I was thirty years old I took to myself a wife, for my labour wore away my strength, and I never thought upon pleasure with women; but through my labour my sleep sufficed me, and my father always rejoiced in my simplicity. For on whatever I laboured I offered first to the Lord, by the hands of the priests, of all my produce and all first-fruits; then to my father, and then took for myself. And the Lord increased twofold His benefits in my hands; and Jacob also knew that God aided my simplicity, for on every poor man and every one in distress I bestowed the good things of the earth in simplicity of heart.

4. And now hearken to me, my children, and walk in simplicity of heart, for I have seen in it all that is well-pleasing to the Lord. The simple coveteth not gold, defraudeth not his neighbour, longeth not after manifold dainties, delighteth not in varied apparel, doth not picture to himself to live a long life, but only waiteth for the will of God, and the spirits of error have no power against him. For he cannot allow within his mind a thought of female beauty, that he should not pollute his mind in corruption. No envy can enter into his thoughts, no jealousy melteth away his soul, nor doth he brood over gain with insatiate desire; for he walketh in uprightness of life, and beholdeth all things in simplicity, not admitting in his eyes malice from the error of the world, lest he should see the perversion of any of the commandments of the Lord.

5. Keep therefore the law of God, my children, and get simplicity, and walk in guilelessness, not prying over-curiously into the commands of God and the business of your neighbour; but love the Lord and your neighbour, have compassion on the poor and weak. Bow down your back unto husbandry, and labour in tillage of the ground in all manner of husbandry, offering gifts unto the Lord with thanksgiving; for with the first-fruits of the earth did the Lord bless me, even as He blessed all the saints from Abel even until now. For no other portion is given to thee than of the fatness of the earth, whose fruits are raised by toil; for our father Jacob blessed me with blessings of the earth and of first-fruits. And Levi and Judah were glorified by the Lord among the sons of Jacob; for the Lord made choice of them, and to the one He gave the priesthood, to the other the kingdom. Them therefore obey, and walk in the simplicity of your father; for unto Gad hath it been given to destroy the temptations that are coming upon Israel.

6. I know, my children, that in the last times your sons will forsake simplicity, and will cleave unto avarice, and leaving guilelessness will draw near to malice, and forsaking the commandments of the Lord will cleave unto Beliar, and leaving husbandry will follow after their wicked devices, and shall be dispersed among the Gentiles, and shall serve their enemies. And do you therefore command these things to your children, that if they sin they may the more quickly return to the Lord; for He is merciful, and will deliver them even to bring them back into their land.

7. I am a hundred and twenty-two years old, and I know not against myself a sin unto death. Except my wife, I have not known any woman. I never committed fornication in the haughtiness of my eyes; I drank not wine, to be led astray thereby; I coveted not any desirable thing that was my neighbour’s; guile never entered in my heart; a lie never passed through my lips; if any man grieved, I wept with him, and I shared my bread with the poor. I never ate alone; I moved no landmark; in all my days I wrought godliness and truth. I loved the Lord with all my strength; likewise also did I love every man even as my own children. So ye also do these things, my children, and every spirit of Beliar shall flee from you, and no deed of malicious men shall rule over you; and every wild beast shall ye subdue, having with yourselves the God of heaven walking with men in simplicity of heart.

And he commanded them that they should carry him up to Hebron, and bury him there in the cave with his fathers. And he stretched out his feet and died, the fifth son of Jacob, in a good old age; and with every limb sound, and with strength unabated, he slept the eternal sleep.5

VI.—The Testament of Zebulun Concerning Compassion and Mercy.

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1. The record of Zebulun, which he enjoined his children in the hundred1 and fourteenth year of his life, thirty-two years after the death of Joseph. And he said to them: Hearken to me sons of Zebulun, attend to the words of your father. I am Zebulun, a good gift2 to my parents. For when I was born our father was increased very exceedingly, both in flocks and herds, when with the streaked rods he had his portion. I know not, my children, that in all my days I have sinned, save only in thought. Nor do I remember that I have done any iniquity, except the sin of ignorance which I committed against Joseph; for I screened my brethren, not telling to my father what had been done. And I wept sore in secret, for I feared my brethren, because they had all agreed together, that if any one should declare the secret, he should be slain with the sword. But when they wished to kill him, I adjured them much with tears not to be guilty of this iniquity.

2. For Simeon and Gad came against Joseph to kill him. And Joseph fell upon his face, and said unto them, Pity me, my brethren, have compassion upon the bowels of Jacob our father lay not upon me your hands to shed innocent blood, for I have not sinned against you; yea, if I have sinned, with chastening chastise me, but lay not upon me your hand, for the sake of Jacob our father. And as he spoke these words, I pitied him and began to weep, and my heart melted within me, and all the substance of my bowels was loosened within my soul. And Joseph also wept, and I too wept with him; and my heart throbbed fast, and the joints of my body trembled, and I was not able to stand. And when he saw me weeping with him, and them coming against him to slay him, he fled behind me, beseeching them. And Reuben rose and said, My brethren, let us not slay him, but let us cast him into one of these dry pits which our fathers digged and found no water. For for this cause the Lord forbade that water should rise up in them, in order that Joseph might be preserved; and the Lord appointed it so, until they sold him to the Ishmaelites.

3. For in the price of Joseph, my children, I had no share; but Simeon and Gad and six other of our brethren took the price of Joseph, and bought sandals3 for themselves, their wives, and their children, saying, We will not eat of it, for it is the price of our brother’s blood, but will tread it down under foot, because he said that he was king over us, and so let us see what his dreams mean. Therefore is it written in the writing of the law of Enoch, that whosoever will not raise up seed to his brother, his sandal shall be unloosed, and they shall spit into his face.4 And the brethren of Joseph wished not that their brother should live, and the Lord loosed unto them the sandal of Joseph. For when they came into Egypt they were unloosed by the servants of Joseph before the gate, and so made obeisance to Joseph after the fashion of Pharaoh. And not only did they make obeisance to him, but were spit upon also, falling down before him forthwith, and so they were put to shame before the Egyptians; for after this the Egyptians heard all the evils which we had done to Joseph.

4. After these things they brought forth food; for I through two days and two nights tasted nothing, through pity for Joseph. And Judah ate not with them, but watched the pit; for he feared lest Simeon and Gad should run back and slay him. And when they saw that I also ate not, they set me to watch him until he was sold. And he remained in the pit three days and three nights, and so was sold famishing. And when Reuben heard that while he was away Joseph had been sold, he rent his clothes about him, and mourned, saying, How shall I look in the face of Jacob my father? And he took the money, and ran after the merchants, and found no one; for they had left the main road, and journeyed hastily through rugged byways.5 And Reuben ate no food on that day, Dan therefore came to him, and said, Weep not, neither grieve for I have found what we can say to our father Jacob. Let us slay a kid of the goats, and dip in it the coat of Joseph; and we will say, Look, if this is the coat of thy son: for they stripped off from Joseph the coat of our father when they were about to sell him, and put upon him an old garment of a slave. Now Simeon had the coat, and would not give it up, wishing to rend it with his sword; for he was angry that Joseph lived, and that he had not slain him. Them we all rose up together against him, and said, If thou give it not up, we will say that thou alone didst this wickedness in Israel; and so he gave it up, and they did even as Dan had said.

5. And now, my children, I bid you to keep the commands of the Lord, and to show mercy upon your neighbour, and to have compassion towards all, not towards men only, but also towards beasts. For for this thing’s sake the Lord blessed me; and when all my brethren were sick I escaped without sickness, for the Lord knoweth the purposes of each. Have therefore compassion in your hearts, my children, because even as a man doeth to his neighbour, even so also will the Lord do to him. For the sons of my brethren were sickening, were dying on account of Joseph, because they showed not mercy in their hearts; but my sons were preserved without sickness, as ye know. And when I was in Canaan, by the sea-coast, I caught spoil of fish for Jacob my father; and when many were choked in the sea, I abode unhurt.

6. I was the first who made a boat to sail upon the sea, for the Lord gave me understanding and wisdom therein; and I let down a rudder behind it, and I stretched a sail on an upright mast in the midst; and sailing therein along the shores, I caught fish for the house of my father until we went into Egypt; and through compassion, I gave of my fish to every stranger. And if any man were a stranger, or sick, or aged, I boiled the fish and dressed them well, and offered them to all men as every man had need, bringing them together and having compassion upon them. Wherefore also the Lord granted me to take much fish: for he that imparteth unto his neighbour, receiveth manifold more from the Lord. For five years I caught fish, and gave thereof to every man whom I saw, and brought sufficient for all the house of my father. In the summer I caught fish, and in the winter I kept sheep with my brethren.

7. Now I will declare unto you what I did, I saw a man in distress and nakedness in wintertime, and had compassion upon him, and stole away6 a garment secretly from my house, and gave it to him who was in distress. Do you therefore, my children, from that which God bestoweth upon you, show compassion and mercy impartially to all men, and give to every man with a good heart. And if ye have not at the time wherewith to give to him that asketh you, have compassion for him in bowels of mercy. I know that my hand found not at the time wherewith to give to him that asked me, and I walked with him weeping for more than seven furlongs, and my bowels yearned towards him unto compassion.

8. Have therefore yourselves also, my children, compassion towards every man with mercy, that the Lord also may have compassion upon you, and have mercy upon you; because also in the last days God sendeth His compassion on the earth, and wheresoever He findeth bowels of mercy, He dwelleth in him. For how much compassion a man hath upon his neighbours, so much also hath the Lord upon him. For when we went down into Egypt, Joseph bore no malice against us, and when he saw me he was filled with compassion. And looking towards him, do ye also, my children, approve yourselves without malice, and love one another; and reckon not each one the evil of his brother, for this breaketh unity, and divideth all kindred, and troubleth the soul: for he who beareth malice hath not bowels of mercy.

9. Mark the waters, that they flow together, and sweep along stones, trees, sand; but if they are divided into many streams, the earth sucketh them up, and they become of no account. So also shall ye be if ye be divided. Divide not yourselves into two heads, for everything which the Lord made hath but one head; He gave two shoulders, hands, feet, but all the members are subject unto the one head. I have learnt by the writing of my fathers, that in the last days ye will depart from the Lord, and be divided in Israel, and ye will follow two kings, and will work every abomination, and every idol will ye worship, and your enemies shall lead you captive, and ye shall dwell among the nations with all infirmities and tribulations and anguish of soul. And after these things ye will remember the Lord, and will repent, and He will lead you back; for He is merciful and full of compassion, not imputing evil to the sons of men, because they are flesh, and the spirits of error deceive them in all their doings, And after these things shall the Lord Himself arise to you,7 the Light of righteousness, and healing8 and compassion shall be upon His wings. He shall redeem all captivity of the sons of men from Beliar, and every spirit of error shall be trodden down. And He shall bring back all the nations to zeal for Him, and ye shall see God in the fashion of a man9 whom the Lord shall choose, Jerusalem is His name. And again with the wickedness of your words will ye provoke Him to anger, and ye shall be cast away, even unto the time of consummation.

10. And now, my children, grieve not that I am dying, nor be troubled in that I am passing away from you. For I shall arise once more in the midst of you, as a ruler in the midst of his sons; and I will rejoice in the midst of my tribe, as many as have kept the law of the Lord, and the commandments of Zebulun their father.10 But upon the ungodly shall the Lord bring everlasting fire, and will destroy them throughout all generations. I am hastening away unto my rest, as did my fathers; but do ye fear the Lord your God with all your strength all the days of your life. And when he had said these things he fell calmly asleep, and his sons laid him in a coffin; and afterwards they carried him up to Hebron, and buried him with his fathers.

VII.—The Testament of Dan Concerning Anger and Lying.

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1. The record of the words of Dan, which he spake to his sons in his last days. In the hundred and twenty-fifth year of his life he called together his family, and said: Hearken to my words, ye sons of Dan; give heed to the words of the mouth of your father. I have proved in my heart, and in my whole life, that truth with just dealing is good and well-pleasing to God, and that lying and anger are evil, because they teach man all wickedness. I confess this day to you, my children, that in my heart I rejoiced concerning the death of Joseph, a true and good man; and I rejoiced at the selling of Joseph, because his father loved him more than us. For the spirit of jealousy and of vainglory said to me, Thou also art his son. And one of the spirits of Beliar wrought with me, saying, Take this sword, and with it slay Joseph; so shall thy father love thee when he is slain. This is the spirit of anger that counselled me, that even as a leopard devoureth a kid, so should I devour Joseph. But the God of Jacob our father gave him not over into my hands that I should find him alone, nor suffered me to work this iniquity, that two tribes should be destroyed in Israel.1

2. And now, my children, I am dying, and I tell you of a truth, that unless ye keep yourselves from the spirit of lying and of anger, and love truth and long-suffering, ye shall perish. There is blindness in anger, my children, and no wrathful man regardeth any, person with truth: for though it be a father or a mother, he behaveth towards them as enemies; though it be a brother, he knoweth him not; though it be a prophet of the Lord, he disobeyeth him; though a righteous man, he regardeth him not; a friend he doth not acknowledge. For the spirit of anger encompasseth him with the nets of deceit, and blindeth his natural eyes, and through lying darkeneth his mind, and giveth him a sight of his own making. And wherewith encompasseth he his eyes? In hatred of heart; and he giveth him a heart of his own against his brother unto envy.

3. My children, mischievous is anger, for it becometh as a soul to the soul itself; and the body of the angry man it maketh its own, and over his soul it getteth the mastery, and it bestoweth upon the body its own power, that it may work all iniquity; and whenever the soul doeth aught, it justifieth what has been done, since it seeth not. Therefore he who is wrathful, if he be a mighty man, hath a treble might in his anger; one by the might and aid of his servants, and a second by his wrath, whereby he persuadeth and overcometh in injustice: and having a third of the nature of his own body, and of his own self working the evil. And though the wrathful man be weak, yet hath he a might twofold of that which is by nature; for wrath ever aideth such in mischief. This spirit goeth always with lying at the right hand of Satan, that his works may be wrought with cruelty and lying.

4. Understand ye therefore the might of wrath, that it is vain. For it first of all stingeth him in word: then by deeds it strengtheneth him who is angry, and with bitter punishments disturbeth his mind, and so stirreth up with great wrath his soul. Therefore, when any one speaketh against you, be not2 ye moved unto anger, And if any man praiseth you as good, be not lifted up nor elated, either to the feeling or showing of pleasure.3 For first it pleaseth the hearing, and so stirreth up the understanding to understand the grounds for anger; and then, being wrathful, he thinketh that he is justly angry. If ye fall into any loss or ruin, my children, be hot troubled; for this very spirit maketh men desire that which hath perished, in order that they may he inflamed by the desire. If ye suffer loss willingly, be not vexed, for from vexation he raiseth up wrath with lying. And wrath with lying is a twofold mischief;4 and they speak one with another that they may disturb the mind; and when the soul is continually, disturbed, the Lord departeth from it, and Beliar ruleth over it.

5. Observe, therefore, my children, the commandments of the Lord, and keep His law; and depart from wrath, and hate lying, that the Lord may dwell among you, and Beliar may flee from you. Speak truth each one with his neighbour, so shall ye not fall into lust and confusion; but ye shall be in peace, having the God of peace, so5 shall no war prevail over yon. Love the Lord through all your life, unit one another with a true heart. For I know that in the last days ye will depart from the Lord, and will provoke Levi unto anger, and will fight against Judah; but ye shall not prevail against them. For an angel of the Lord shall guide them both; for by them shall Israel stand. And whensoever ye depart from the Lord, ye will walk in all evil, working the abominations of the Gentiles, going6 astray with women of them that are ungodly; and the spirits of error shall work in you with all malice. For I have read in the book of Enoch the righteous, that your prince is Satan, and that all the spirits of fornication and pride shall be subject unto Levi, to lay a snare for the sons of Levi, to came them to sin before the Lord. And my sons will draw near unto Levi, and sin with them in all things; and the sons of Judah will be covetous, plundering other men’s goods like lions. Therefore shall ye be led away with them in captivity, and there shall ye receive all the plagues of Egypt, and all the malice of the Gentiles: and so, when ye return to the Lord, ye shall obtain mercy, and He shall bring you into His sanctuary, calling peace upon you; and there shall arise unto you from the tribe of Judah and of Levi the salvation of the Lord;7 and He shall make war against Beliar, and He shall give the vengeance of victory to our coasts. And the captivity shall He take from Beliar, even the souls of the saints, and shall turn disobedient hearts unto the Lord, and shall give to them who call upon Him everlasting peace; and the saints shall rest in Eden, and the righteous shall rejoice in the new Jerusalem, which shall be unto the glory of God for ever and ever. And no longer shall Jerusalem endure desolation, nor Israel be led captive; for the Lord shall be in the midst of her, dwelling among men,8 even the Holy One of Israel reigning over them9 in humility and in poverty;10 and he who believeth on Him shall reign in truth in the heavens.

6. And now, my children, fear the Lord, and take heed unto yourselves of Satan and his spirits; and draw near unto God, and to the Angel11 that intercedeth for you, for He is a Mediator between God and man for the peace of Israel. He shall stand up against the kingdom of the enemy; therefore is the enemy eager to destroy all that call upon the Lord. For he knoweth that in the day on which Israel shall believe,12 the kingdom of the enemy shall be brought to an end; and the very angel of peace shall strengthen Israel, that it fall not into the extremity of evil. And it shall be in the time of the iniquity of Israel, that the Lord will depart from them, and will go after him that doeth His will, for unto none of His angels shall it be as unto him. And His name shall be in every place of Israel, and among the Gentiles—Saviour. Keep therefore yourselves, my children. from every evil work, and cast away wrath and all lying, and love truth and long-suffering; and the things which ye have heard from your father, do ye also impart to your children, that the Father of the Gentiles may receive you: for He is true and long-suffering, meek and lowly, and teacheth by His works the law of God. Depart, therefore, from all unrighteousness, and cleave unto, the righteousness of the law of the Lord: and bury me near my fathers.

7. And when he had said these things he kissed them, and slept the long sleep.13 And his sons buried him, and after that they carried up his bones to the side of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob. Nevertheless, as Dan had prophesied unto them that they should forget the law of their God, and should be alienated from the land of their inheritance, and from the race of Israel, and from their kindred, so also it came to pass.

VIII.—The Testament of Naphtali Concerning Natural Goodness.

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1. The record of the testament of Naphtali, what things he ordained at the time of his death in the hundred and thirty-second year of his life. When his sons were gathered together in the seventh month, the fourth day of the month, he, being yet in good health, made them a feast and good cheer. And after he was awake in the morning, he said to them, I am dying; and they believed him not. And he blessed the Lord; and affirmed that after yesterday’s feast he should die. He began then to say to his sons: Hear, my children; ye sons of Naphtali, hear the words of your father. I was born from Bilhah; and because Rachel dealt craftily, and gave Bilhah in place of herself to Jacob, and she bore me upon Rachel’s lap, therefore was I called Naphtali.1 And Rachel loved me because I was born upon her lap; and when I was of young and tender form, she was wont to kiss me, and say, Would that I might see a brother of thine from my own womb, like unto thee: whence also Joseph was like unto me in all things, according to the prayers of Rachel. Now my mother was Bilhah, daughter of Rotheus the brother of Deborah, Rebecca’s nurse, and she was born on one and the self-same day with Rachel. And Rotheus was of the family of Abraham, a Chaldean, fearing God, free-born and noble; and he was taken captive, and was bought by Laban; and he gave him Aena his handmaid to wife, and she bore a daughter, and called her Zilpah, after the name of the village in which he had been taken captive. And next she bore Bilhah, saying, My daughter is eager after what is new, for immediately that she was born she was eager for the breast.

2. And since I was swift on my feet like a deer, my father Jacob appointed me for all errands and messages, and as a deer2 did he give me his blessing. For as the potter knoweth the vessel, what it containeth, and bringeth clay thereto, so also doth the Lord make the body in accordance with the spirit, and according to the capacity of the body doth He implant the spirit, and the one is not deficient from the other by a third part of a hair; for by weight, and measure, and rule is every creature of the Most High.3 And as the potter knoweth the use of each vessel, whereto it sufficeth, so also doth the Lord know the body, how far it is capable for goodness, and when it beginneth in evil; for there is no created thing and no thought which the Lord knoweth not, for He created every man after His own image. As man’s strength, so also is his work; and as his mind, so also is his work; and as his purpose, so also is his doing; as his heart, so also is his mouth; as his eye, so also is his sleep; as his soul, so also is his word, either in the law of the Lord or in the law of Beliar. And as there is a division between light and darkness, between seeing and hearing, so also is there a division between man and man, and between woman and woman; neither is it to be said that there is any superiority in anything, either of the face or of other like things.4 For God made all things good in their order, the five senses in the head, and He joineth on the neck to the head, the hair also for comeliness, the heart moreover for understanding, the belly for the dividing of the stomach, the calamus5 for health, the liver for wrath, the gall for bitterness. the spleen for laughter, the reins for craftiness, the loins for power, the ribs for containing, the back for strength, and so forth. So then, my children, be ye orderly unto good things in the fear of God, and do nothing disorderly in scorn or out of its due season. For if thou bid the eye to hear, it cannot; so neither in darkness can ye do the works of light.

3. Be ye not therefore eager to corrupt your doings through excess, or with empty words to deceive your souls; because if ye keep silence in purity of heart, ye shall be able to hold fast the will of God, and to cast away the will of the devil. Sun and moon and stars change not their order; so also ye shall not change the law of God in the disorderliness of your doings. Nations went astray, and forsook the Lord, and changed their order, and followed stones and stocks, following after spirits of error. But ye shall not be so, my children, recognising in the firmament, in the earth, and in the sea, and in all created things, the Lord who made them all, that ye become not as Sodom, which changed the order of its nature. in like manner also the Watchers6 changed the order of their nature, whom also the Lord cursed at the flood, and for their sakes made desolate the earth, that it should be uninhabited and fruitless.

4. These things I say, my children, for I have read in the holy writing of Enoch that ye yourselves also will depart from the Lord, walking according to all wickedness of the Gentiles, and ye will do according to all the iniquity of Sodom. And the Lord will bring captivity upon you, and there shall ye serve your enemies, and ye shall be covered with all affliction and tribulation, until the Lord shall have consumed you all. And after that ye shall have been diminished and made few, ye will return and acknowledge the Lord your God; and He will bring you back into your own land, according to His abundant mercy. And it shall be, after that they shall come into the land of their fathers, they will again forget the Lord and deal wickedly; and the Lord shall scatter them upon the face of all the earth, until the compassion of the Lord shall come, a Man working righteousness and showing mercy unto all them that are afar off, and them that are near.

5. For in the fortieth year of my life, I saw in a vision that the sun and the moon were standing still on the Mount of Olives, at the east of Jerusalem. And behold Isaac, the father of my father, saith to us, Run and lay hold of them, each one according to his strength; and he that seizeth them, his shall be the sun and the moon. And we all of us ran together, and Levi laid hold of the sun, and Judah outstripped the others and seized the moon, and they were both of them lifted up with them. And when Levi became as a sun, a certain young man gave to him twelve branches of palm; and Judah was bright as the moon, and under his feet were twelve rays. And Levi and Judah ran, and laid hold each of the other. And, lo, a bull upon the earth, having two great horns, and an eagle’s wings upon his back; and we wished to seize him, but could not. For Joseph outstripped us, and took him, and ascended up with him on high. And I saw, for I was there, and behold a holy writing appeared to us saying: Assyrians, Medes, Persians, Elamites, Gelachaeans, Chaldeans, Syrians, shall possess in captivity the twelve tribes of Israel.

6. And again, after seven months, I saw our father Jacob standing by the sea of Jamnia, and we his sons were with him. And, behold, there came a ship sailing by, full of dried flesh, without sailors or pilot: and there was written upon the ship, Jacob. And our father saith to us, Let us embark on our ship. And when we had gone on board, there arose a vehement storm, and a tempest of mighty wind; and our father, who was holding the helm, flew away from us. And we, being tost with the tempest, were borne along over the: sea; and the ship was filled with water and beaten about with a mighty wave, so that it was well-nigh broken in pieces. And Joseph fled away upon a little boat, and we all were divided upon twelve boards, and Levi and Judah were together. We therefore all were scattered even unto afar off. Then Levi, girt about with sackcloth, prayed for us all unto the Lord. And when the storm ceased, immediately the ship reached the land, as though in peace. And, lo, Jacob our father came, and we rejoiced with one accord.

7. These two dreams I told to my father; and he said to me, These things must be fulfilled in their season, after that Israel hath endured many things. Then my father saith unto me, I believe that Joseph liveth, for I see always that the Lord numbereth him with you. And he said, weeping, Thou livest, Joseph, my child, and I behold thee not, and thou seest not Jacob that begat thee. And he caused us also to weep at these words of his, and I burned in my heart to declare that he had been sold, but I feared my brethren.

8. Behold, my children, I have shown unto you the last times, that all shall come to pass in Israel. Do ye also therefore charge your children that they be united to Levi and to Judah. For through Judah shall salvation arise unto Israel, and in Him shall Jacob be blessed. For through his tribe shall God be seen dwelling among men on the earth, to save the race of Israel, and He shall gather together the righteous from the Gentiles. If ye work that which is good, my children, both men and angels will bless you; and God will be glorified through you among the Gentiles, and the devil will flee from you, and the wild beasts will fear you, and the angels will cleave to you. For as if a man rear up a child well, he hath a kindly remembrance thereof; so also for a good work there is a good remembrance with God. But him who doeth not that which is good, men and angels shall curse and God will be dishonoured among the heathen through him, and the devil maketh him his own as his peculiar instrument, and every wild beast shall master him, and the Lord will hate him. For the commandments of the law are twofold, and through prudence must they be fulfilled. For there is a season for a man to embrace his wife, and a season to abstain therefrom7 for his prayer. So then there are two commandments; and unless they be done in due order, they bring about sin. So also is it with the other commandments. Be ye therefore wise in God, and prudent, understanding the order of the commandments. and the laws of every work, that the Lord may love you.

9. And when he had charged them with many such words, he exhorted them that they should remove his bones to Hebron, and should bury him with his fathers. And when he had eaten and drunken with a merry heart, he covered his face and died. And his sons did according to all things whatsoever Napthtali their father had charged them.

IX.—The Testament of Gad Concerning Hatred.

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1. The record of the testament of Gad, what things he spake unto his sons, in the hundred and twenty-seventh year of his life, saying: I was the seventh son born to Jacob, and I was valiant in keeping the flocks. I guarded at night the flock; and whenever the lion came, or wolf, or leopard, or bear, or any wild beast against the fold, I pursued it, and with my hand seizing its foot, and whirling it round, I stunned it, and hurled it over two furlongs, and so killed it. Now Joseph was feeding the flock with us for about thirty days, and being tender, he fell sick by reason of the heat. And he returned to Hebron to his father, who made him lie down near him, because he loved him. And Joseph told our father that the sons of Zilpah and Bilhah were slaying the best of the beasts,1 and devouring them without the knowledge of Judah and Reuben. For he saw that I delivered a lamb out of the mouth of the bear, and I put the bear to death; and the lamb I slew, being grieved concerning it that it could not live, and we ate it, and he told our father. And I was wroth with Joseph for that thing until the day that he was sold into Egypt. And the spirit of hatred was in me, and I wished not either to see Joseph or to hear him. And he rebuked us to our faces for having eaten of the flock without Judah. And whatsoever things he told our father, he believed him.

2. I confess now my sin, my children, that oftentimes I wished to kill him, because I hated him to the death, and there were in no wise in me bowels of mercy towards him. Moreover, I hated him yet more because of his dreams; and I would have devoured him out of the land of the living, even as a calf devoureth the grass from the earth. Therefore I and Judah sold him to the Ishmaelites for thirty2 pieces of gold, and ten of them we hid, and showed the twenty to our brethren: and so through my covetousness I was fully bent on his destruction. And the God of my fathers delivered him from my hands, that I should not work iniquity in Israel.

3. And now, my children, hearken to the words of truth to work righteousness, and all the law of the Most High, and not go astray through the spirit of hatred, for it is evil in all the doings of men. Whatsoever a man doeth, that doth the hater abhor: though he worketh the law of the Lord, he praiseth him not; though he feareth the Lord, and taketh pleasure in that which is righteous, he loveth him not: he dispraiseth the truth, he envieth him that ordereth his way aright, he delighteth in evil-speaking, he loveth arrogance, for hatred hath blinded his soul; even as I also looked on Joseph.

4. Take heed therefore, my children, of hatred; for it worketh iniquity against the Lord Himself: for it will not hear the words of His commandments concerning the loving of one’s neighbour, and it sinneth against God. For if a brother stumble, immediately it wisheth to proclaim it to all men, and is urgent that he should be judged for it, and be punished and slain. And if it be a servant, it accuseth him to his master, and with all affliction it deviseth against him, if it be possible to slay him. For hatred worketh in envy, and it ever sickeneth with envy against them that prosper in well-doing, when it seeth or heareth thereof. For as love would even restore to life the dead, and would call back them that are condemned to die, so hatred would slay the living, and those that have offended in a small matter it would not suffer to live. For the spirit of hatred worketh together with Satan through hastiness3 of spirit in all things unto men’s death; but the spirit of love worketh together with the law of God in long-suffering unto the salvation of men.4

5. Hatred is evil, because it continually abideth with lying, speaking against the truth; and it maketh small things to be great, and giveth heed to darkness as to light, and calleth the sweet bitter, and teacheth slander, and war, and violence, and every excess of evil; and it filleth the heart with devilish poison. And these things I say to you from experience, my children, that ye may flee hatred, and cleave to the love of the Lord. Righteousness casteth out hatred, humility destroyeth hatred. For he that is just and humble is ashamed to do wrong, being reproved not of another, but of his own heart, because the Lord vieweth his intent: he speaketh not against any man, because the fear of the Most High overcometh hatred. For, fearing lest he should offend the Lord, he will not do any wrong to any man, no, not even in thought. These things I learnt at last, after that I had repented concerning Joseph. For true repentance after a godly sort destroyeth unbelief, and driveth away the darkness, and enlighteneth the eyes, and giveth knowledge to the soul, and guideth the mind to salvation; and those things which it hath not learnt from man, it knoweth through repentance. For God brought upon me a disease of the heart; and had not the prayers of Jacob my father intervened, it had hardly failed that my spirit had departed. For by what things a man transgresseth, by the same also is he punished.5 For in that my heart was set mercilessly against Joseph, in my heart too I suffered mercilessly, and was judged for eleven months, for so long a thee as I had been envious against Joseph until he was sold.

6. And now, my children, love ye each one his brother, and put away hatred from your hearts, loving one another in deed, and in word, and in thought of the soul. For in the presence of our father I spake peaceably with Joseph; and when I had gone out, the spirit of hatred darkened my mind, and moved my soul to slay him.6 Love ye therefore one another from your hearts; and if a man sin against thee, tell him of it gently, and drive out the poison of hatred, and foster not guile in thy soul. And if he confess and repent, forgive him; and if he deny it, strive not with him, lest he swear, and thou sin doubly. Let not a stranger hear your secrets amid your striving, lest he hate and become thy enemy, and work great sin against thee; for ofttimes he will talk guilefully7 with thee, or evilly overreach thee, taking his poison from himself. Therefore, if he deny it, and is convicted and put to shame, and is silenced, do not tempt him on. For he who denieth repenteth, so that he no more doeth wrong against thee; yea also, he will honour thee, and fear thee, and be at peace with thee. But if he be shameless, and abideth in his wrongdoing, even then forgive him from the heart, and give the vengeance to God.

7. If a man prospereth more than you, be not grieved, but pray also for him, that he may have perfect prosperity. For perchance it is expedient for you thus; and if he be further exalted, be not envious, remembering that all flesh shall die: and offer praise to God, who giveth things good and profitable to all men. Seek out the judgments of the Lord, and so shall thy mind rest and he at peace. And though a man become rich by evil means, even as Esau the brother of my father, be not jealous; but wait for the end of the Lord. For either He taketh His benefits away from the wicked, or leaveth them still to the repentant, or to the unrepentant reserveth punishment for ever. For the poor man who is free from envy, giving thanks to the Lord in all things, is rich among all men, because he hath not evil jealousy of men. Put away, therefore, hatred from your souls, and love one another with uprightness of heart.

8. And do ye also tell these things to your children, that they honour Judah and Levi, for from them shall the Lord raise up a Saviour to Israel.8 For I know that at the last your children shall depart from them, and shall walk in all wickedness, and mischief, and corruption before the Lord. And when he had rested for a little while, he said again to them, My children, obey your father, and bury me near to my fathers. And he drew up his feet, and fell asleep in peace. And after five years they carried him up, and laid him in Hebron with his fathers.

X.—The Testament of Asher Concerning Two Faces of Vice and Virtue.

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1. The record of the testament of Asher, what things he spake to his sons in the hundred and twentieth year of his life. While he was still in health, he said to them: Hearken, ye children of Asher, to your father, and I will declare to you all that is right in the sight of God. Two ways1 hath God given to the sons of men, and two minds, and two doings, and two places, and two ends. Therefore all things are by twos, one corresponding to the other. There are two ways of good and evil, with which are the two minds in our breasts distinguishing them. Therefore if the soul take pleasure in good, all its actions are in righteousness; and though it sin, it straightway repenteth. For, having his mind set upon righteousness, and casting away maliciousness, he straightway overthroweth the evil, and uprooteth the sin. But if his mind turn aside in evil, all his doings are in maliciousness, and he driveth away the good, and taketh unto him the evil, and is ruled by Beliar; and even though he work what is good, he perverteth it in evil. For whenever he beginneth as though to do good, he bringeth the end of his doing to work evil, seeing that the treasure of the devil is filled with the poison of an evil spirit.

2. There is then, he saith, a soul which speaketh the good for the sake of the evil, and the end of the doing leadeth to mischief.2 There is a man who showeth no compassion upon him who serveth his turn in evil; and this thing hath two aspects, but the whole is evil, And there is a man that loveth him that worketh evil; he likewise dwelleth in evil, because he chooseth even to die in an evil cause for his sake: and concerning this it is clear that it hath two aspects, but the whole is an evil work. And though there is love, it is but wickedness concealing the evil, even as it beareth a name that seemeth good, but the end of the doing tendeth unto evil. Another stealeth, worketh unjustly, plundereth, defraudeth, and withal pitieth the poor: this, too, hath a twofold aspect, but the whole is evil. Defrauding his neighbour he provoketh God, and sweareth falsely against the Most High, and yet pitieth the poor: the Lord who commandeth the law he setteth at nought and provoketh, and refresheth the poor; he defileth the soul, and maketh gay the body; he killeth many, and he pitieth a few: and this, too, hath a twofold aspect. Another committeth adultery and fornication, and abstaineth from meats; yet in his fasting he worketh evil, and by his power and his wealth perverteth many, and out of his excessive wickedness worketh the commandments: this, too, hath a twofold aspect, but the whole is evil. Such men are as swine or hares;3 for they are half clean, but in very deed are unclean. For God in the Heavenly4 Tablets hath thus declared.

3. Do not ye therefore, my children, wear two faces like unto them, of goodness and of wickedness; but cleave unto goodness only, for in goodness doth God rest, and men desire it. From wickedness flee away, destroying the devil by your good works; for they that are double-faced serve not God, but their own lusts, so that they may please Beliar and men like unto themselves.

4. For good men, even they that are single of face, though they be thought by them that are double-faced to err, arc just before God. For many in killing the wicked do two works, an evil by a good; but the whole is good, because he hath uprooted and destroyed that which is evil. One man hateth him that showeth mercy, and doeth wrong to the adulterer and the thief: this, too, is double-faced, but the whole work is good, because he followeth the Lord’s example, in that he receiveth not that which seemeth good with that which is really bad.5 Another desireth not to see good days with them that riot, lest he defile his mouth and pollute his soul: this, too, is double-faced, but the whole is good, for such men are like to stags and to hinds, because in a wild condition they seem to be unclean, but they are altogether clean; because they walk in a zeal for God, and abstain from what God also hateth and forbiddeth by His commandments, and they ward off the evil from the good.

5. Ye see therefore, my children, how that there are two in all things, one against the other, and the one is hidden by the other.6 Death succeedeth to life, dishonour to glory, night to day, and darkness to light; and all things are under the day, and just things trader life: wherefore also everlasting life awaiteth death. Nor may it be said that truth is a lie, nor right wrong; for all truth is under the light, even as all things are under God. All these things I proved in my life, and I wandered not from the truth of the Lord, and I searched out the commandments of the Most High, walking with singleness of face according to all my strength unto that which is good.

6. Take heed therefore ye also, my children, to the commandments of the Lord, following the truth with singleness of face, for they that are double-faced receive twofold punishment. Hate the spirits of error, which strive against men. Keep the law of the Lord, and give not heed unto evil as unto good; but look unto the thing that is good indeed, and keep it in all commandments of the Lord, having your conversation unto Him, and resting in Him: for the ends at which men aim do show their righteousness, and know the angels of the Lord from the angels of Satan. For if the soul depart troubled, it is tormented by the evil spirit which also it served in lusts and evil works; but if quietly and with joy it hath known the angel of peace, it shall comfort him in life.

7. Become not, my children, as Sodom, which knew not the angels of the Lord, and perished for ever, For I know that ye will sin, and ye shall be delivered into the hands of your enemies, and your land shall be made desolate, and ye shall be scattered unto the four corners of the earth. And ye shall be set at nought in the Dispersion as useless water, until the Most High shall visit the earth; and He shall come as man, with men eating and drinking, and in peace breaking the head of the dragon through water. He shall save Israel and all nations, God speaking in the person of man. Therefore tell ye these things to your children, that they disobey Him not. For I have read in the Heavenly Tablets that in very deed ye will disobey Him, and act ungodly against Him, not giving heed to the law of God, but to the commandments of men. Therefore shall ye be scattered as Gad and as Dan my brethren, who shall know not their own lands, tribe, and tongue. But the Lord will gather you together in faith through the hope of His tender mercy, for the sake of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob.7

8. And when he had said these things unto them, he charged them, saying: Bury me in Hebron. And he fell into a peaceful sleep, and died; and after this his sons did as he had charged them, and they carried him up and buried him with his fathers.

XI.—The Testament of Joseph Concerning Sobriety.

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1. The record of the testament of Joseph. When he was about to die he called his sons and his brethren together, and said to them: My children and brethren, hearken to Joseph the beloved of Israel; give ear, my sons, unto your father. I have seen in my life envy and death, and I wandered not in the truth of the Lord. These my brethren hated me, and the Lord loved me: they wished to slay me, and the God of my fathers guarded me: they let me down into a pit, and the Most High brought me up again: I was sold for a slave, and the Lord made me free: I was taken into captivity, and His strong hand succoured me: I was kept in hunger, and the Lord Himself nourished me: I was alone, and God comforted me: I was sick, and the Most High visited me: I was in prison, and the Saviour showed favour unto me; in bonds, and He released me; amid slanders, and He pleaded my cause; amid bitter words of the Egyptians, and He rescued me; amid envy and guile, and He exalted me.

2. And thus Potiphar1 the chief cook2 of Pharaoh entrusted to me his house, and I struggled against a shameless woman, urging me to transgress with her; but the God of Israel my father guarded me from the burning flame. I was cast into prison, I was beaten, I was mocked; and the Lord granted me to find pity in the sight of the keeper of the prison. For He will in no wise forsake them that fear Him, neither in darkness, nor in bonds, nor in tribulations, nor in necessities. For not as man is God ashamed, nor as the son of man is He afraid, nor as one that is earth-born is He weak, or can He be thrust aside; but in all places is He at hand, and in divers ways doth He comfort, departing for a little to try the purpose of the soul. In ten temptations He showed me approved, and in all of them I endured; for endurance is a mighty charm, and patience giveth many good things.

3. How often did the Egyptian threaten me with death! How often did she give me over to punishment, and then call me back, and threaten me when I would not company with her! And she said to me, Thou shalt be lord of me, and all that is mine, if thou wilt give thyself unto me, and thou shall be as our master. Therefore I remembered the words of the fathers of my father Jacob, and I entered into my chamber3 and prayed unto the Lord; and I fasted in those seven years, and I appeared to my master as one living delicately, for they that fast for God’s sake receive beauty of face.4 And if one gave me wine, I drank it not; and I fasted for three days, and took my food and gave it to the poor and sick. And I sought the Lord early, and wept for the Egyptian woman of Memphis, for very unceasingly did she trouble me, and at night she came to me under the pretence of visiting me; and at first, because she had no male child, she feigned to count me as a son. And I prayed unto the Lord, and she bare a male child; therefore for a thee she embraced me as a son, and I knew it not. Last of all, she sought to draw me into fornication. And when I perceived it, I sorrowed even unto death; and when she had gone out I came to myself, and I lamented for her many days, because I saw her guile and her deceit. And I declared unto her the words of the Most High, if haply she would turn from her evil lust.

4. How often has she fawned upon me with words as a holy man, with guile in her talk, praising my chastity before her husband, while desiring to destroy me when we were alone. She lauded me openly as chaste, and in secret she said unto me, Fear not my husband; for he is persuaded concerning thy chastity, so that even should one tell him concerning us he would in no wise believe. For all these things I lay upon the ground in sackcloth, and I besought God that the Lord would deliver me from the Egyptian. And when she prevailed nothing, she came again to me under the plea of instruction, that she might know the word of the Lord. And she said unto me, If thou wiliest that I should leave my idols, be persuaded by me, and I will persuade my husband to depart from his idols, and we will walk in the law of thy Lord. And I said unto her, The Lord willeth not that those who reverence Him should be in uncleanness, nor doth He take pleasure in them that commit adultery. And she held her peace, longing to accomplish her evil desire. And I gave myself yet more to fasting and prayer, that the Lord should deliver me from her.

5. And again at another time she said unto me, If thou wilt not commit adultery, I will kill my husband, and so will I lawfully take thee to be my husband. I therefore, when I heard this, rent my garment, and said, Woman, reverence the Lord, and do not this evil deed, lest thou be utterly destroyed; for I will declare thy ungodly thought unto all men. She therefore, being afraid, besought that I would declare to no one her wickedness. And she departed, soothing me with gifts, and sending to me every delight of the sons of men.

6. And she sendeth to me food sprinkled with enchantments. And when the eunuch who brought it came, I looked up and beheld a terrible man giving me with the dish a sword, and I perceived that her scheme was for the deception of my soul. And when he had gone out I wept, nor did I taste that or any other of her food. So then after one day she came to me and observed the food, and said unto me, What is this; that thou hast not eaten of the food? And I said unto her, It is because thou filledst it with death; and how saidst thou, I come not near to idols but to the Lord alone? Now therefore know that the God of my father hath revealed unto me by an angel thy wickedness, and I have kept it to convict thee, if haply thou mayest see it and repent. But that thou mayest learn that the wickedness of the ungodly hath no power over them that reverence God in chastity, I took it and ate it before her, saying, The God of my fathers and the Angel of Abraham shall be with me. And she fell upon her face at my feet, and wept; and I raised her up and admonished her, and she promised to do this iniquity no more.

7. But because her heart was set upon me to commit lewdness, she sighed, and her countenance fell. And when her husband saw her, he said unto her, Why is thy countenance fallen? And she said, I have a pain at my heart, and the groanings of my spirit do oppress me; and so he comforted her who was not sick. Then she rushed in to me while her husband was yet without, and said unto me, I will hang myself, or cast myself into a well or over a cliff, if thou wilt not consent unto me. And when I saw the spirit of Beliar was troubling her, I prayed unto the Lord, and said unto her, Why art thou troubled and disturbed, blinded in sins? Remember that if thou killest thyself, Sethon, the concubine of thy husband, thy rival, will beat thy children, and will destroy thy memorial from off the earth. And she said unto me, Lo then thou lovest me; this alone is sufficient for me, that thou carest for my life and my children: I have expectation that I shall enjoy my desire. And she knew not that because of my God I spake thus, and not because of her. For if a man hath fallen before the passion of a wicked desire, then by that hath he become enslaved, even as also was she. And if he hear any good thing with regard to the passion whereby he is vanquished, he receiveth it unto his wicked desire.

8. I declare unto you, my children, that it was about the sixth hour when she departed from me; and I knelt before the Lord all that day, and continued all the night; and about dawn I rose up weeping, and praying for a release from the Egyptian. At last, then, she laid hold of my garments, forcibly dragging me to have connection with her. When, therefore, I saw that in her madness she was forcibly holding my garments, I fled away naked. And she falsely accused me to her husband, and the Egyptian cast me into the prison in his house; and on the morrow, having scourged me, the Egyptian5 sent me into the prison in his house. When, therefore, I was in fetters, the Egyptian woman fell sick from her vexation, and listened to me how I sang praises unto the Lord while I was in the abode of darkness, and with glad voice rejoiced and glorified my God only because by a pretext I had been rid of the Egyptian woman.

9. How often hath she sent unto me, saying, Consent to fulfil my desire, and I will release thee from thy bonds, and I will free time from the darkness! And not even in thoughts did I incline unto her. For God loveth him who in a den of darkness fasteth with chastity, rather than him who in secret chambers liveth delicately without restraint. And whosoever liveth in chastity, and desireth also glory, and if the Most High knoweth that it is expedient for him, He bestoweth this also upon him, even as upon me. How often, though she were sick, did she come down to me at unlooked-for times, and listened to my voice as I prayed! And when I heard her groanings I held my peace. For when I was in her house she was wont to bare her arms, and breasts, and legs, that I might fall before her; for she was very beautiful, splendidly adorned for my deception. And the Lord guarded me from her devices.6

10. Ye see therefore, my children, how great things patience worketh, and prayer with fasting. And if ye therefore follow after sobriety and purity in patience and humility of heart, the Lord will dwell among you, because He loveth sobriety. And wheresoever the Most High dwelleth, even though a man fall into envy, or slavery, or slander, the Lord who dwelleth in him, for his sobriety’s sake not only delivereth him from evil, but also exalteth and glorifieth him, even as me. For in every way the man is guarded, whether in deed, or in word, or in thought. My brethren know how my father loved me, and I was not exalted in my heart; although I was a child, I had the fear of God in my thoughts. For I knew that all things should pass away, and I kept myself within bounds, and I honoured my brethren; and through fear of them I held my peace when I was sold, and revealed not my family to the Ishmaelites, that I was the son of Jacob, a great man and a mighty.

11. Do ye also, therefore, have the fear of God in your works, and honour your brethren. For every one who worketh the law of the Lord shall be loved by Him. And when I came to the Indocolpitae with the Ishmaelites, they asked me, and I said that I was a slave from their house, that I might not put my brethren to shame. And the eldest of them said unto me, Thou art not a slave, for even thy appearance doth make it manifest concerning thee. And he threatened me even unto death. But I said that I was their slave. Now when we came into Egypt, they strove concerning me. which of them should buy me and take me. Therefore it secured good to all that I should remain in Egypt with a merchant of their trade, until they should return bringing merchandise. And the Lord gave me favour in the eyes of the merchant, and he entrusted unto me his house. And the Lord blessed him by my means, and increased him in silver and gold, and I was with him three months and five days.

12. About that time the Memphian wife of Potiphar passed by with great pomp, and cast her eyes upon me, because her eunuchs told her concerning me. And she told her husband concerning the merchant, that he had become rich by means of a young Hebrew, saying, And they say that men have indeed stolen him out of the land of Canaan. Now therefore execute judgment with him, and take away the youth to be thy steward; so shall the God of the Hebrews bless thee, for grace from heaven is upon him.

13. And Potiphar was persuaded by her words, and commanded the merchant to be brought, and said unto him, What is this that I hear, that thou stealest souls out of the land of the Hebrews, and sellest them for slaves? The merchant therefore fell upon his face, and besought him, saying, I beseech thee, my lord, I know not what thou sayest. And he said, Whence then is thy Hebrew servant? And he said, The Ishmaelites entrusted him to me until they should return. And he believed him not, but commanded him to be stripped and beaten. And when he persisted, Potiphar said, Let the youth be brought. And when I was brought in, I did obeisance to the chief of the eunuchs—for he was third in rank with Pharaoh, being chief of all the eunuchs, and having wives and children and concubines. And he took me apart from him, and said unto me, Art thou a slave or free? And I said, A slave. And he said unto me, Whose slave art thou? And I said unto him, The Ishmaelites’ And again he said unto me, How becamest thou their slave? And I said, They bought me out of the land of Canaan. And he believed me not, and said, Thou liest: and he commanded me to be stripped and beaten.

14. Now the Memphian woman was looking through a window while I was being beaten, and she sent unto her husband, saying, Thy judgment is unjust; for thou dost even punish a free man who hath been stolen, as though he were a transgressor. And when I gave no other answer though I was beaten, he commanded that we should be kept in guard, until, said he, the owners of the boy shall come. And his wife said unto him, Wherefore dost thou detain in captivity this noble child, who ought rather to be set at liberty, and wait upon thee? For she wished to see me in desire of sin, and I was ignorant concerning all these things. Then said he to his wife, It is not the custom of the Egyptians to take away that which belongeth to others before proof is given. This he said concerning the merchant, and concerning me, that I must be imprisoned.

15. Now, after four and twenty days came the Ishmaelites; and having heard that Jacob my father was mourning because of me, they said unto me, How is it that thou saidst that thou wept a slave? and lo, we have learnt that thou art the son of a mighty man in the land of Canaan, and thy father grieveth for thee in sackcloth. And again I would have wept, but I restrained myself, that I should not put my brethren to shame. And I said, I know not, I am a slave. Then they take counsel to sell me, that I should not be found in their hands. For they feared Jacob, lest he should work upon them a deadly vengeance. For it had been heard that he was mighty with the Lord and with men. Then said the merchant unto them, Release me from the judgment of Potiphar. They therefore came and asked for me, saying, He was bought by us with money, And he sent us away.

16. Now the Memphian woman pointed me out to her husband, that he should buy me; for I hear, said she, that they are selling him. And she sent a eunuch to the Ishmaelites, and asked them to sell me; and since he was not willing to traffic with them, he returned. So when the eunuch had made trial of them, he made known to his mistress that they asked a large price for their slave. And she sent another eunuch, saying, Even though they demand two minae of gold, take heed not to spare the gold; only buy the boy, and bring him hither. And he gave them eighty pieces of gold for me, and told his mistress that a hundred had been given for me. And when I saw it I held my peace, that the eunuch should not be punished.

17. Ye see, my children, what great things I endured that I should not put my brethren to shame. Do ye also love one another, and with long-suffering hide ye one another’s faults. For God delighteth in the unity of brethren, and in the purpose of a heart approved unto love. And when my brethren came into Egypt, and learnt that I returned their money unto them, and upbraided them not, yea, that I even comforted them, and after the death of Jacob I loved them more abundantly, and all things whatsoever he commanded I did very abundantly, then they marvelled. For I suffered them not to be afflicted even unto the smallest matter; and all that was in my hand I gave unto them. Their children were my children, and my children were as their servants; their life was my life, and all their suffering was my suffering, and all their sickness was my infirmity. My land was their land, my counsel their counsel, and I exalted not myself among them in arrogance because of my worldly glory, but I was among them as one of the least.

18. If ye also therefore walk in the commandments of the Lord, my children, He will exalt you there, and will bless you with good things for ever and ever. And if any one seeketh to do evil unto you, do ye by well-doing pray for him, and ye shall be redeemed of the Lord from all evil. For, behold, ye see that through long-suffering I took unto wife even the daughter of my7 master. And a hundred talents of gold were given me with her; for the Lord made them to serve me. And He gave me also beauty as a flower above the beautiful ones of Israel; and He preserved me unto old age in strength and in beauty, because I was like in all things to Jacob.

19. Hear ye also, my children, the visions which I saw. There were twelve deer feeding, and the nine were divided and scattered in the land, likewise also the three. And I saw that from Judah was born a virgin wearing a linen8 garment, and from her went forth a Lamb, without spot, and on His left hand there was as it were a lion; and all the beasts rushed against Him, and the lamb overcame them, and destroyed them, and trod them under foot. And because of Him the angels rejoiced, and men, and all the earth. And these things shall take place in their season, in the last days. Do ye therefore, my children, observe the commandments of the Lord, and honour Judah and Levi; for from them shall arise unto you the Lamb of God, by grace saving all the Gentiles and Israel. For His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, which shall not be shaken; but my kingdom among yogi shall come to an end as a watcher’s9 hammock, which after the summer will not appear.

20. I know that after my death the Egyptians will afflict you, but God will undertake your cause, and will bring you into that which He promised to your fathers. But carry ye up my bones with you;10 for when my bones are taken up, the Lord will be with you in light, and Beliar shall be in darkness with the Egyptians. And carry ye up Zilpah your mother, and lay her near Bilhah, by the hippodrome, by the side of Rachel.11 And when he had said these things, he stretched out his feet, and slept the long sleep. And all Israel bewailed him, and all Egypt, with a great lamentation. For he felt even for the Egyptians even as his own members, and showed them kindness, aiding them in every work, and counsel, and matter.

XII.—The Testament of Benjamin Concerning a Pure Mind.

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1. The record of the words of Benjamin, which he set forth to his sons, after he had lived a hundred and twenty years. And he kissed them, and said: As Isaac was born to Abraham in his hundredth year, so also was I to Jacob. Now since Rachel died in giving me birth, I had no milk; therefore I was suckled by Bilhah her handmaid. For Rachel remained barren for twelve years after that she had borne Joseph: and she prayed the Lord with fasting twelve days, and she conceived and bare me. For our father loved Rachel dearly, and prayed that he might see two sons born from her: therefore was I called the son of days, which is Benjamin.1

2. When therefore I went into Egypt, and Joseph my brother recognised me, he said unto me, What did they tell my father in that they sold me? And I said unto him, They dabbled thy coat with blood and sent it, and said, Look if this is the coat of thy son. And he said to me, Even so, brother; for when the Ishmaelites took me, one of them stripped off my coat, and gave me a girdle, and scourged me, and bade me run. And as he went away to hide my garment, a lion met him, and slew him; and so his fellows were afraid, and sold me to their companions.

3. Do ye also therefore, my children, love the Lord God of heaven, and keep His commandments, and be followers of the good and holy man Joseph; and let your mind be unto good, even as ye know me. He that hath his mind good seeth all things rightly. Fear ye the Lord, and love your neighbour; and even though the spirits of Beliar allure you into all troublous wickedness, yet shall no troublous wickedness have dominion over you, even as it bad not over Joseph my brother. How many men wished to slay him, and God shielded him! For he that feareth God and loveth his neighbour cannot be smitten by Beliar’s spirit of the air, being shielded by the fear of God; nor can he be ruled over by the device of men or of beasts, for he is aided by the love of the Lord which he hath towards his neighbour. For he even besought our father Jacob that he would pray for our brethren, that the Lord would not impute to them the evil that they devised concerning Joseph. And thus Jacob cried out, My child Joseph, thou hast prevailed over the bowels of thy father Jacob. And he embraced him, and kissed him for two hours, saying, In thee shall be fulfilled the prophecy of heaven concerning the Lamb of God, even the Saviour of the world, that spotless shall He be delivered up for transgressors, and sinless2 shall He be put to death for ungodly men in the blood of the covenant, for the salvation3 of the Gentiles and of Israel, and shall destroy Beliar, and them that serve him.

4. Know ye, my children, the end of the good man? Be followers of his compassion in a good mind, that ye also may wear crowns of glory. The good man hath not a dark eye; for he showeth mercy to all men, even though they be sinners, even though they devise evil concerning him. So he that doeth good overcometh the evil, being shielded by Him that is good; and he loveth the righteous as his own soul. If any one is glorified, he envieth him not; if any one is enriched, he is not jealous; if any one is valiant, he praiseth him; he trusteth and laudeth him that is sober-minded; he showeth mercy to the poor; he is kindly disposed toward the weak; he singeth the praises of God; as for him who hath the fear of God, he protecteth him as with a shield; him that loveth God he aideth; him that rejecteth the Most High he admonisheth and turneth back; and him that hath the grace of a good spirit, he loveth even as his own soul.

5. If ye have a good mind, my children, then will both wicked men be at peace with you, and the profligate will reverence you and turn unto good; and the covetous shall not only cease from their inordinate desire, but shall even give the fruits of their covetousness to them that are afflicted. If ye do well, even the unclean spirits shall flee from you; yea, the very beasts shall flee from you in dread. For where the reverence for good works is present unto the mind, darkness fleeth away from him. For if any one is injurious to a holy man, he repenteth; for the holy man showeth pity on his reviler, and holdeth his peace. And if any one betray a righteous soul, and the righteous man, though praying, be humbled for a little while, yet not long after he appeareth far more glorious, even as was Joseph my brother.

6. The mind of the good man is not in the power of the deceit of the spirit of Beliar, for the angel of peace guideth his soul. He gazeth not passionately on corruptible things, nor gathereth together riches unto desire of pleasure; he delighteth not in pleasure, he hurteth not his neighbour, be pampereth not himself with food, he erreth not in the pride of his eyes, for the Lord is his portion. The good mind admitted not the glory and dishonour of men, neither knoweth it any guile or lie, fighting or reviling; for the Lord dwelleth in him and lighteth up his soul, and he rejoiceth towards all men at every time. The good mind hath not two tongues, of blessing and of cursing, of insult and of honour, of sorrow and of joy, of quietness and of trouble, of hypocrisy and of truth, of poverty and of wealth; but it hath one disposition, pure and un-corrupt, concerning all men. It hath no double sight,4 nor double hearing; for in everything which he doeth, or speaketh, or seeth, he knoweth that the Lord watcheth his soul, and he cleanseth his mind that he be not condemned by God and men. But of Beliar every work is twofold, and hath no singleness.

7. Flee ye therefore, my children, the evil-doing of Beliar; for it giveth a sword to them that obeyeth, and the sword is the mother of seven evils. First the mind conceiveth through Beliar, and first there is envy; secondly, desperation; thirdly, tribulation; fourthly, captivity; fifthly, neediness; sixthly, trouble; seventhly, desolation. Therefore also Cain is delivered over to seven vengeances by God, for in every hundred years the Lord brought one plague upon him. Two hundred years he suffered, and in the nine hundredth year he was brought to desolation at the flood, for Abel his righteous brother’s sake. In seven5 hundred years was Cain judged, and Lamech in seventy times seven; because for ever those who are likened unto Cain in envy unto hatred of brethren shall be judged with the same punishment.

8. Do ye also therefore, my children, flee ill-doing, envy, and hatred of brethren, and cleave to goodness and love. He that hath a pure mind in love, looketh not after a woman unto fornication; for he hath no defilement in his heart, because the Spirit of God resteth in him. For as the sun is not defiled by shining over dung and mire, but rather drieth up both and driveth away the ill smell: so also the pure mind, constrained among the defilements of the earth, rather edifieth, and itself suffereth no defilement.

9. Now I suppose, from the words of the righteous Enoch, that there will be also evil-doings among you: for ye will commit fornication with the fornication of Sodom, and shall perish all save a few, and will multiply inordinate lusts with women; and the kingdom of the Lord shall not be among you, for forthwith He will take it away. Nevertheless the temple of God shall be built in your portion, and shall be glorious among you. For He shall take it, and the twelve tribes shall be gathered together there, and all the Gentiles, until the Most High shall send forth His salvation in the visitation of His only-begotten one. And He shall enter into the front6 of the temple, and there shall the Lord be treated with outrage, and He shall be lifted up upon a tree. And the veil of the temple shall be rent, and the Spirit of God shall descend upon the Gentiles as fire poured forth. And He shall arise from the grave, and shall ascend from earth into heaven: and I know how lowly He all be upon the earth, and how glorious in the heaven.

10. Now when Joseph was in Egypt, I longed to see his visage and the form of his countenance; and through the prayers of Jacob my father I saw him, while awake in the daytime, in his full and perfect shape. Know ye therefore, my children, that I am dying. Work therefore truth and righteousness each one with his neighbour, and judgment unto faithful doing, and keep the law of the Lord and His commandments; for these things do I teach you instead of all inheritance. Do ye also therefore give them to your children for an everlasting possession; for so did both Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob. All these things they gave us for an inheritance, saying, Keep the commandments of God until the Lord shall reveal His salvation to all nations. Then shall ye see Enoch, Noah, and Shem, and Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, arising on the right hand in gladness. Then shall we also arise, each one over our tribe, worshipping the King of heaven, who appeared upon the earth in the form of a man of humility. And as many as believed on Him on the earth shall rejoice with Him;7 and then shall all men arise, some unto glory and some unto shame. And the Lord shall judge Israel first, even for the wrong they did unto Him; for when He appeared as a deliverer, God in the flesh, they believed Him not. And then shall He judge all the Gentiles, as many as believed Him not when He appeared upon earth. And He shall reprove Israel among the chosen ones of the Gentiles, even as He reproved Esau among the Midianites, who deceived their brethren, so that they fell into fornication and idolatry; and they were alienated from God, and became as they that were no children in the portion of them that fear the Lord. But if ye walk in holiness in the presence of the Lord, ye shall dwell in hope again in me, and all Israel shall be gathered unto the Lord.

11. And I shall no longer be called a ravening wolf8 on account of your ravages, but a worker of the Lord, distributing food to them that work what is good. And one9 shall rise up from my seed in the latter times, beloved of the Lord, hearing upon the earth His voice, enlightening with new knowledge all the Gentiles, bursting in upon Israel for salvation with the light of knowledge, and tearing it away from it like a wolf, and giving it to the synagogue of the Gentiles. And until the consummation of the ages shall he be in the synagogues of the Gentiles, and among their rulers, as a strain of music in the mouth of all;10 and he shall be inscribed in the holy books, both his work and his word, and he shall be a chosen one of God for ever; and because of him my father Jacob instructed me, saying, He shall fill up that which lacketh of thy tribe.

12. And when he finished his words, he said: I charge you, my children, carry up my bones out of Egypt, and bury me at Hebron, near my fathers. So Benjamin died a hundred and twenty-five years old, in a good old age, and they placed him in a coffin. And in the ninety-first year of the departure of the children of Israel from Egypt, they and their brethren brought up the bones of their fathers secretly in a place which is called Canaan; and they buried them in Hebron, by the feet of their fathers. And they returned from the land of Canaan, and dwelt in Egypt until the day of their departing from the land of Egypt.

Note by the American Editor.

I Had prepared annotations for these pages which I find will require more space than this overloaded volume can afford. Let me indicate some sources of information which the student may find convenient. Thus, in Liddon’s Bampton Lecture (4th ed., London, 1869), consult p. 71 for remarks on Philo and Alexandrian Jews; see also p. 91. Concerning the “Book of Enoch,” pp. 7 and 302; see Westcott, Study of the Gospels (London, 1867), p. 109, a reference to the Book of Jubilees, and its lack of reference to Messiah. See Jewish doctrine of the Messiah, pp. 86, 143, 151; the “Book of Henoch,” pp. 69, 93, 101; apocryphal words of Jews, p. 428. He places the “Book of Henoch” earlier than the “Book of Jubilees,” and the Twelve Patriarchs after that. Compare Westcott’s Historic Faith (London, 1883), a quotation from Gold-win Smith, on “the blood of Christ,” note 8, p. 237.

I cannot forbear to note, among useful suggestions in these Testaments, that (on p. 11) of the share of Simeon in the persecution of Joseph. It explains the real purpose of Joseph in selecting Simeon as the hostage to be left in Egypt (Genesis 43:21–24.) Joseph heard the mutual reproaches of his brothers, and foresaw that Simeon would be made to suffer as most guilty: so he was withdrawn. Again, a like anxiety (Genesis 45:2) appears when Simeon was sent back with them to his father. Other suggestions may be noted as substantially illustrating the sacred narrative.



Theodotus

Introductory Notice to Excerpts of Theodotus Or, Selections from the Prophetic Scriptures.

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We may thank Mr. Wilson, the translator, for separating this collection, absolutely, from the works of Clement of Alexandria, to which it has been made an appendix. The reference to “our Pantaenus” gives the only colour for such a collocation with so great a name. It is the work of a Montanist, perhaps, who may have had some relations with the Alexandrian school; but it is hard to say precisely who of three or four named Theodotus (all heretics), may have made the compilation, more especially because disjointed and contradictory fragments seem mixed up in it as it is commonly edited. Dupin (perhaps too readily copying Valesius) appears to think Clement may have been the compiler, but that, like the Hypotyposes, the work was the product of days when he was imperfectly educated in Christian truth. It seems to me more reasonable to conclude that these excerpts, and what goes by the name of Fragments from the Hypotyposes, are alike corrupt or forged documents, for which Clement’s name has been borrowed, to give them some credit; and I can desire no better authority for this opinion than that of Jeremiah Jones, with the arguments to be found in his learned work on the Canon.1

The wretched performance, therefore, is valuable chiefly as illustrating certain heresies of the second century; but, incidentally, it is of considerable importance as confirming the orthodox writers in those books and doctrines to which it bears witness in coincidence with them.

I regret that the Edinburgh editors give us not a line of information as to their estimate of these extracts, or concerning authorship and like matters of interest and natural curiosity.

Excerpts of Theodotus1

Or, Selections from the Prophetic Scriptures2

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I. Those around Sedrach, Misak, and Abednago in the furnace of fire say as they praise God, “Bless, ye heavens, the Lord; praise and exalt Him for ever; ”then, “Bless, ye angels, the Lord; ”then, “Bless the Lord, all ye waters that are above heaven.” So the Scriptures assign the heavens and the waters to the class of pure powers3 as is shown in Genesis. Suitably, then, inasmuch as “power” is used with a variety of meaning, Daniel adds, “Let every power bless the Lord; ”then, further, “Bless the Lord, sun and moon; ”and, “Bless the Lord, ye stars of heaven. Bless the Lord, all ye that worship Him; praise and confess the God of gods, for His mercy is for ever.” It is written in Daniel, on the occasion of the three children praising in the furnace.

II. “Blessed art Thou, who lookest on the abysses as Thou sittest on the cherubim,” says Daniel, in agreement with Enoch,4 who said, “And I saw all sorts of matter.” For the abyss, which is in its essence boundless, is bounded by the power of God. These material essences then, from which the separate genera and their species are produced, are called abysses; since you would not call the water alone the abyss, although matter is allegorically called water, the abyss.

III. “In the beginning God made the heaven and the earth,”5 both terrestrial and celestial things. And that this is true, the Lord said to Osee, “Go, take to thyself a wife of fornication, and children of fornication: because the land committing fornication, shall commit fornication, departing from the Lord.”6 For it is not the element of earth that he speaks of, but those that dwell in the element, those who have an earthly disposition.

IV. And that the Son is the beginning7 or head, Hosea teaches clearly: “And it shall be, that in the place in which it was said to them, Ye are not my people, they shall be called the children of the living God: and the children of Judah and the children of Israel shall be gathered to the same place, and they shall place over them one head,8 and they shall come up out of the land; for great is the day of Jezreel.”9 For whom one believes, him He chooses. But one believes the Son, who is the head; wherefore also he said in addition: “But I will have mercy on the sons of Judah, and will save them by the Lord their God.”10 Now the Saviour who saves is the Son of God. He is then the head.11

V. The Spirit by Osee says, “I am your Instructor; ”12 “Blow ye13 the trumpet upon the hills of the Lord; sound upon the high places.”14 And is not baptism itself, which is the sign of regeneration, an escape from matter, by the teaching of the Saviour, a great impetuous stream, ever rushing on and bearing us along? The Lord accordingly, leading us out of disorder, illumines us by bringing us into the light, which is shadowless and is material no longer.

VI. This river and sea of matter two prophets15 cut asunder and divided by the power of the Lord, the matter being bounded, through both divisions of the water. Famous leaders both, by whom the signs were believed, they complied with the will of God, so that the righteous man may proceed from matter, having journeyed through it first. On the one of these commanders also was imposed the name of our Saviour.16

VII. Now, regeneration is by water and spirit, as was all creation: “For the Spirit of God moved on the abyss.”17 And for this reason the Saviour was baptized, though not Himself needing18 to be so, in order that He might consecrate the whole water for those who were being regenerated. Thus it is not the body only, but the soul, that we cleanse. It is accordingly a sign of the sanctifying of our invisible part, and of the straining off from the new and spiritual creation of the unclean spirits that have got mixed up with the soul.

VIII. “The water above the heaven.” Since baptism is performed by water and the Spirit as a protection against the twofold fire,—that which lays hold of what is visible, and that which lays hold of what is invisible; and of necessity, there being an immaterial element of water and a material, is it a protection against the twofold19 fire. And the earthly water cleanses the body; but the heavenly water, by reason of its being immaterial and invisible, is an emblem of the Holy Spirit, who is the purifier of what is invisible, as the water of the Spirit, as the other of the body.

IX. God, out of goodness, hath mingled fear with goodness. For what is beneficial for each one, that He also supplies, as a physician to a sick man, as a father to his insubordinate child: “For he that spareth his rod hateth his son.”20 And the Lord and His apostles walked in the midst of fear and labours. When, then, the affliction is sent in the person of a righteous man,21 it is either from the Lord rebuking him for a sin committed before, or guarding him on account of the future, or not preventing by the exercise of His power an assault from without,22 —for some good end to him and to those near, for the sake of example.

X. Now those that dwell in a corrupt body, like those who sail in an old ship, do not lie on their back, but are ever praying, stretching their hands to God.

XI. The ancients were exceedingly distressed, unless they had always some suffering in the body. For they were afraid, that if they received not in this world the punishment of the sins which, in numbers through ignorance, accompany those that are in the flesh, they would in the other world suffer the penalty all at once. So that they preferred curative treatment here. What is to be dreaded is, then, not external disease, but sins, for which disease comes, and disease of the soul, not of the body: “For all flesh is grass,”23 and corporeal and external good things are temporary; “but the things which are unseen are eternal.”24

XII. As to knowledge, some elements of it we already possess; others, by what we do possess, we firmly hope to attain. For neither have we attained all, nor do we lack all. But we have received, as it were, an earnest of the eternal blessings, and of the ancestral riches. The provisions for the Lord’s way are the Lord’s beatitudes. For He said: “Seek,” and anxiously seek, “the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you: for the Father knoweth what things ye have need of.”25 Thus He limits not only our occupations, but our cares. For He says: “Ye cannot, by taking thought, add aught to your stature.”26 For God knows well what it is good for us to have and what to want. He wishes, therefore, that we, emptying ourselves of worldly cares, should be filled with that which is directed towards God. “For we groan, desiring to be clothed upon with that which is incorruptible, before putting off corruption.” For when faith is shed abroad, unbelief is nonplussed. Similarly also with knowledge and righteousness. We must therefore not only empty the soul, but fill it with God. For no longer is there evil in it, since that has been made to cease; nor yet is there good, since it has not yet received good. But what is neither good nor evil is nothing. “For to the swept and empty house return,”27 if none of the blessings of salvation has been put in, the unclean spirit that dwelt there before, taking with him seven other unclean spirits. Wherefore, after emptying the soul of what is evil, we must fill with the good God that which is His chosen dwelling-place. For when the empty rooms are filled, then follows the seal, that the sanctuary may be guarded for God.

XIII. “By two and three witnesses every word is established.”28 By Father, and Son, and Holy Spirit, by whose witness and help the prescribed commandments ought to be kept.29

XIV. Fasting, according to the signification of the word, is abstinence from food. Now food makes us neither more righteous nor less. But mystically it shows that, as life is maintained in individuals by sustenance, and want of sustenance is the token of death; so also ought we to fast from worldly things, that we may die to the world, and after that, by partaking of divine sustenance, live to God. Especially does fasting empty the soul of matter, and make it, along with the body, pure and light for the divine words. Worldly food is, then, the former life and sins; but the divine food is faith, hope, love, patience, knowledge, peace, temperance. For “blessed are they that hunger and thirst after” God’s “righteousness; for they shall be filled.”30 The soul, but not the body, it is which is susceptible of this craving.

XV. The Saviour showed to the believing apostles prayer to be stronger than faith in the case of a demoniac, whom they could not cleanse, when He said, Such things are accomplished by prayer. He who has believed has obtained forgiveness of sins from the Lord; but he who has attained knowledge, inasmuch as he no longer sins, obtains from himself the forgiveness of the rest.

XVI. For as cures, and prophecies, and signs are performed by the agency of men, God working in them, so also is Gnostic teaching. For God shows His power through men. And the prophecy rightly says, “I will send to them a man who will save them.”31 Accordingly He sends forth at one time prophets, at another apostles, to be saviours of men. Thus God does good by the agency of men. For it is not that God can do some things, and cannot do others: He is never powerless in anything. No more are some things done with, and some things against His will; and some things by Him, and some things by another. But He even brought us into being by means of men, and trained us by means of men.

XVII. God made us, having previously no existence. For if we had a previous existence, we must have known where we were, and how and why we came hither. But if we had no pre-existence, then God is the sole author of our creation. As, then, He made us who had no existence; so also, now that we are made, He saves us by His own grace, if we show ourselves worthy and susceptible; if not, He32 will let us pass to our proper end. For He is Lord both of the living and the dead.

XVIII. But see the power of God, not only in the case of men, in bringing to existence out of non-existence, and making them when brought into being grow up according to the progress of the time of life, but also in saving those who believe, in a way suitable to each individual. And now He changes both hours, and times, and fruits, and elements. For this is the one God, who has measured both the beginning and the end of events suitably to each one.

XIX. Advancing from faith and fear to knowledge, man knows how to say Lord, Lord; but not as His slave, he has learned to say, Our Father.33 Having set free the spirit of bondage, which produces fear, and advanced by love to adoption, he now reverences from love Him whom he feared before. For he no longer abstains from what he ought to abstain from out of fear, but out of love clings to the commandments. “The Spirit itself,” it is said, “beareth witness when we cry, Abba,34 Father.”35

XX. Now the Lord with His precious blood redeems us, freeing us from our old bitter masters, that is, our sins, on account of which the spiritual powers of wickedness ruled over us. Accordingly He leads us into the liberty of the Father,—sons that are co-heirs and friends. “For,” says the Lord, “they that do the will of my Father are my brethren and fellow-heirs.”36 “Call no man, therefore, father to yourselves on earth.”37 For it is masters that are on earth. But in heaven is the Father, of whom is the whole family, both in heaven and on earth.38 For love rules willing hearts, but fear the unwilling. One kind of fear is base; but the other, leading us as a pedagogue to good, brings us to Christ, and is saving.

XXI. Now if one has a conception of God, it by no means corresponds with His worthiness. For what can the worthiness of God be? But let him, as far as is possible, conceive of a great and incomprehensible and most beautiful light; inaccessible, comprehending all good power, all comely virtue; caring for all, compassionate, passionless, good; knowing all things, foreknowing all things, pure, sweet, shining, stainless.

XXII. Since the movement of the soul is self-originated, the grace of God demands from it what the soul possesses, willingness as its contribution to salvation. For the soul wishes to be its own good; which the Lord, however, gives it. For it is not devoid of sensation so as to be carried along like a body. Having is the result of taking, and taking of willing and desiring; and keeping hold of what one has received, of the exercise of care and of ability. Wherefore God has endowed the soul with free choice, that He may show it its duty, and that it choosing, may receive and retain.

XXIII. As through the body the Lord spake and healed, so also formerly by the prophets, and now by the apostles and teachers. For the Church is the minister of the Lord’s power. Thence He then assumed humanity,39 that by it He might minister to the Father’s will. And at all times, the God who loves humanity40 invests Himself with man for the salvation of men,—in former tithes with the prophets, and now with the Church. For it is fitting that like should minister to like, in order to a like salvation.

XXIV. For we are of the earth.… Caesar is the prince, for the thee being, whose earthly image is the old man, to which he has returned. To him, then, we are to render the earthly things, which we bore in the image of the earthly, and the things of God to God. For each one of the passions is on us as a letter, and stamp, and sign. Now the Lord marks us with another stamp, and with other names and letters, faith instead of unbelief, and so forth. Thus we are translated from what is material to what is spiritual, “having borne the image of the heavenly.”41

XXV. John says: “I indeed baptize you with water, but there cometh after me He that baptizeth with the Spirit and fire.”42 But He baptized no one with fire. But some, as Heraclius says, marked with fire the ears of those who were sealed; understanding so the apostolic saying, “For His fan is in His hand, to purge His floor: and He will gather the wheat into the garner; but the chaff He will burn with fire un-quenchable.”43 There is joined, then, the expression “by fire” to that” by the Spirit; ”since He separates the wheat from the chaff, that is, from the material husk, by the Spirit; and the chaff is separated, being fanned by the wind :44 so also the Spirit possesses a power of separating material forces. Since, then, some things are produced from what is unproduced and indestructible,—that is, the germs of life,—the wheat also is stored, and the material part, as long as it is conjoined with the superior part, remains; when separated from it, it is destroyed; for it had its existence in another thing. This separating element, then, is the Spirit, and the destroying element is the fire: and material fire is to be understood. But since that which is saved is like wheat, and that which grows in the soul like chaff, and the one is incorporeal, and that which is separated is material; to the incorporeal He opposes spirit, which is rarefied and pure—almost more so than mind; and to the material He opposes fire, not as being evil or bad, but as strong and capable of cleansing away evil. For fire is conceived as a good force and powerful, destructive of what is baser, and conservative of what is better. Wherefore this fire is by the prophets called wise.

XXVI. Thus also, then, when God is called “a consuming fire,” it is because a name and sign, not of wickedness, but of power, is to be selected. For as fire is the most potent of the elements, and masters all things; so also God is all-powerful and almighty, who is able to hold, to create, to make, to nourish, to make grow, to save, having power of body and soul. As, then, fire is superior to the elements, so is the Almighty Ruler to gods, and powers, and principalities. The power of fire is twofold: one power conduces to the production and maturing of fruits and of animals, of which the sun is the image; and the other to consumption and destruction, as terrestrial fire. When, then, God is called a consuming fire, He is called a mighty and resist-less power, to which nothing is impossible, but which is able to destroy.

Respecting such a power, also, the Saviour says, “I came to send fire upon the earth,”45 indicating a power to purify what is holy, but destructive, as they say, of what is material; and, as we should say, disciplinary. Now fear pertains to fire, and diffusion to light.

XXVII. Now the more ancient men46 did not write, as they neither wished to encroach on the time devoted to attention bestowed on what they handed down, in the way of teaching, by the additional attention bestowed on writing, nor spent the time for considering what was to be said on writing. And, perhaps convinced that the function of composition and the department of teaching did not belong to the same cast of mind, they gave way to those who had a natural turn for it. For in the case of a speaker, the stream of speech flows unchecked and impetuous, and you may catch it up hastily. But that which is always tested by readers, meeting with strict47 examination, is thought worthy of the utmost pains, and is, so to speak, the written confirmation of oral instruction, and of the voice so wafted along to posterity by written composition. For that which was committed in trust to the elders, speaking in writing, uses the writer’s help to hand itself down to those who are to read it. As, then, the magnet, repelling other matter, attracts iron alone by reason of affinity; so also books, though many read them, attract those alone who are capable of comprehending them. For the word of truth is to some “foolishness,”48 and to others a “stumbling-block; ”49 but to a few “wisdom.”50 So also is the power of God found to be. But far from the Gnostic be envy. For it is for this reason also that he asks whether it be worse to give to the unworthy, or not commit to the worthy; and runs the risk, from his abundant love of communicating, not only to every one who is qualified, but sometimes also to one unworthy, who asks importunately; not on account of his entreaty (for he loves not glory), but on account of the persistency of the petitioner who bends his mind towards faith with copious entreaty.

XXVIII. There are those calling themselves Gnostics who are envious of those in their own house more than strangers. And, as the sea is open to all, but one swims, another sails, and a third catches fish; and as the land is common, but one walks, another ploughs, another hunts,—somebody else searches the mines, and another builds a house: so also, when the Scripture is read, one is helped to faith, another to morality, and a third is freed from superstition by the knowledge of things. The athlete, who knows the Olympic stadium, strips for training, contends, and becomes victor, tripping up his antagonists who contend against his scientific method, and fighting out the contest. For scientific knowledge51 is necessary both for the training of the soul and for gravity of conduct; making the faithful more active and keen observers of things. For as there is no believing without elementary instruction, so neither is there comprehension without science.52

XXIX. For what is useful and necessary to salvation, such as the knowledge of the Father, and Son, and Holy Spirit, and also of our own soul, are wholly requisite; and it is at once beneficial and necessary to attain to the scientific account of them. And to those who have assumed the lead in doing good, lunch experience is advantageous; so that none of the things which appear to be known necessarily and eruditely by others may escape their notice. The exposition, too, of heterodox teaching affords another exercise of the inquiring soul, and keeps the disciple froth being seduced from the truth, by his having already had practice beforehand in sounding all round on warlike instruments of music.53

XXX. The life of the Gnostic rule, (as they say that Crete was barren of deadly animals, ) is pure from every evil deed, and thought, and word; not only hating no one, but beyond envy and hatred, and all evil-speaking and slander.

XXXI. In length of days, it is not on account of his having lived long that the man is to be regarded happy, to whose lot it has also fallen, through his having lived, to be worthy of living for ever. He has pained no one, except in instructing by the word the wounded in heart, as it were by a salutary honey, which is at once sweet and pungent. So that, above all, the Gnostic preserves the decorous along with that which is in accordance with reason. For passion being cut away and stript off from the whole soul, he henceforth consorts and lives with what is noblest, which has now become pure, and emancipated to adoption.

XXXII. Pythagoras thought that he who gave things their names, ought to be regarded not only the most intelligent, but the oldest of the wise men. We must, then, search the Scriptures accurately, since they are admitted to be expressed in parables, and from the names hunt out the thoughts which the Holy Spirit, pro-pounding respecting things, teaches by imprinting His mind, so to speak, on the expressions; that the names used with various meanings, being made the subject of accurate investigation, may be explained, and that that which is hidden trader many integuments may, being handled and learned, come to light and gleam forth. For so also lead turns white as you rub it; white lead being produced from black. So also scientific knowledge (gnosis), shedding its light and brightness on things, shows itself to be in truth the divine wisdom, the pure light, which illumines the men whose eyeball is clear, unto the sure vision and comprehension of truth.

XXXIII. Lighting, then, our torch54 at the source of that light, by the passionate desire which has it for its object, and striving as much as possible to be assimilated to it, we become men55 full of light,56 Israelites indeed. For He called those friends and brethren who by desire and pursuit aimed after likeness to the Divinity.

XXXIV. Pure places and meadows have received voices and visions of holy phantasms.57 But every man who has been perfectly purified, shall be thought worthy of divine teaching and of power.

XXXV. Now I know that the mysteries of science (gnosis) are a laughing-stock to many, especially when not patched up with sophistical figurative language. And the few are at first startled at them; as when light is suddenly brought into a convivial party in the dark. Subsequently, on getting used and accustomed, and trained to reasoning, as if gladdened and exulting for delight, they praise the Lord.… For as pleasure has for its essence release from pain; so also has knowledge the removal of ignorance. For as those that are most asleep think they are most awake, being under the power of dream-visions very vivid and fixed; so those that are most ignorant think that they know most. But blessed are they who rouse themselves from this sleep and derangement, and raise their eyes to the light and the truth.

XXXVI. It is, therefore, equally requisite for him who wishes to have a pupil who is docile, and has blended faith with aspiration, to exercise himself and constantly to study by himself, investigating the truth of his speculations; and when he thinks himself right, to descend to questions regarding things contiguous. For the young birds make attempts to fly in the nest, exercising their wings.

XXXVII. For Gnostic virtue everywhere makes man good, and meek, and harmless,58 and painless, and blessed, and ready to associate in the best way with all that is divine, in the best way with men, at once a contemplative and active divine image, and turns him into a lover of what is good by love. For what is good,59 as there it is contemplated and comprehended by wisdom, is here by self-control and righteousness carried into effect through faith: practising in the flesh an angelic ministry; hallowing the soul in the body, as in a place clear and stainless.

XXXVIII. Against Tatian,60 who says that the words, “Let there be light,”61 are supplicatory. If, then, He is supplicating the supreme God, how does He say, “I am God, and beside me there is none else? ”62 We have said that there are punishments for blasphemies, for nonsense, for outrageous expressions; which are punished and chastised by reason.

XXXIX. And he said, too, that on account of their hair and finery, women are punished by the Power that is set over these matters; which also gave to Samson strength in his hair; which punishes the women who allure to fornication through the adornment of their hair.

XL. As by the effluence of good, people are made good; in like manner are they made bad. Good is the judgment of God, and the discrimination of the believing from the unbelieving, and the judgment beforehand, so as not to fall into greater judgment—this judgment being correction.

XLI. Scripture says that infants which are exposed are delivered to a guardian angel, and that by him they are trained and reared. “And they shall be,” it says, “as the faithful in this world of a hundred years of age.” Wherefore also Peter, in the Revelation,63 says: “And a flash of fire, leaping from those infants, and striking the eyes of the women.” For the just shines: forth as a spark in a reed, and will judge the nations.64

XLII. “With the holy Thou wilt be holy.”65 “According to thy praise is thy name glorified; ”God being glorified through our knowledge, and through the inheritance. Thus also it is said, “The Lord liveth,” and “The Lord hath risen.”66

XLIII. “A people whom I knew not hath served me; ”67 —by covenant I knew them not, alien sons, who desired what pertained to another.

XLIV. “Magnifying the salvations of His king.”68 All the faithful are called kings, brought to royalty through inheritance.

XLV. Long-suffering is sweetness above honey; not because it is long-suffering, but in consequence of the fruit of long-suffering. Since, then, the man of self-control is devoid of passion, inasmuch as he restrains the passions, not without toil; but when habit is formed, he is no longer a man of self-control, the man having come trader the influence of one habit and of the Holy Spirit.

XLVI. The passions that are in the soul are called spirits,—not spirits of power, since in that case the man under the influence of passion would be a legion of demons; but they are so called in consequence of the impulse they communicate. For the soul itself, through modifications, taking on this and that other sort of qualities of wickedness, is said to receive spirits.

XLVII. The Word does not bid us renounce property;69 but to manage property without inordinate affection; and on anything happening, not to be vexed or grieved; and not to desire to acquire. Divine Providence bids keep away from possession accompanied with passion, and from all inordinate affection, and from this turns back those still remaining70 in the flesh.

XLVIII. For instance, Peter says in the Apocalypse,71 that abortive infants shall share the better fate;72 that these are committed to a guardian angel, so that, on receiving knowledge, they may obtain the better abode, having had the same experiences which they would have had had they been in the body. But the others shall obtain salvation merely, as being injured and pitied, and remain without punishment, receiving this reward.

XLIX. The milk of women, flowing from the breasts and thickening, says Peter in the Apocalypse,73 will produce minute beasts, that prey on flesh, and running back into them will consume them: teaching that punishments arise for sins. He says that they are produced from sins; as it was for their sins that the people were sold. And for their want of faith in Christ, as the apostle says, they were bitten by serpents.

L. An ancient said that the embryo is a living thing; for that the soul entering into the womb after it has been by cleansing prepared for conception, and introduced by one of the angels who preside over generation, and who knows the time for conception, moves the woman to intercourse; and that, on the seed being deposited, the spirit, which is in the seed, is, so to speak, appropriated, and is thus assumed into conjunction in the process of formation. He cited as a proof to all, how, when the angels give glad tidings to the barren, they introduce souls before conception. And in the Gospel “the babe leapt”74 as a living thing. And the barren are barren for this reason, that the soul, which unites for the deposit of the seed, is not introduced so as to secure conception and generation.

LI. “The heavens declare the glory of God.”75 The heavens are taken in various meanings, both those defined by space and revolution, and those by covenant,—the immediate operation of the first-created angels. For the covenants caused a more especial appearance of angels,—that76 in the case of Adam, that in the case of Noah, that in the case of Abraham, that in the case of Moses. For, moved by the Lord, the first-created angels exercised their influence on the angels attached to the prophets, considering the covenants the glory of God. Furthermore, the things done on earth by angels were done by the first-created angels to the glory of God.

LII. It is the Lord that is principally denominated the Heavens, and then the First-created; and after these also the holy men before the Law, as the patriarchs, and Moses, and the prophets; then also the apostles. “And the firmament showeth His handiwork.” He applies the term “firmament”77 to God, the passionless and immoveable, as also elsewhere the same David says, “I will love Thee, O Lord, my strength78 and my refuge.”79 Accordingly, the firmament itself shows forth the work of His hands,—that is, shows and manifests the work of His angels. For He shows forth and manifests those whom He hath made.

LIII. “Day unto day uttereth speech.” As the heavens have various meanings, so also has day. Now speech is the Lord; and He is also frequently called day. “And night unto night showeth forth knowledge.” The devil knew that the Lord was to come. But he did not believe that He was God; wherefore also he tempted Him, in order to know if He were powerful. It is said, “he left80 Him, and departed from Him for a season; ”that is, he postponed the discovery till the resurrection. For he knew that He who was to rise was the Lord. Likewise also the demons; since also they suspected that Solomon was the Lord, and they knew that he was not so, on his sinning. “Night to night.” All the demons knew that He who rose after the passion was the Lord. And already Enoch81 had said, that the angels who transgressed taught men astronomy and divination, and the rest of the arts.

LIV. “There are no speeches or words whose voices are not heard,” neither of days nor nights. “Their sound is gone forth unto all the earth.” He has transferred the discourse to the saints alone, whom he calls both heavens and days.

LV. The stars, spiritual bodies, that have communications with the angels set over them, and are governed by them, are not the cause of the production of things, but are signs of what is taking place, and will take place, and have taken place in the case of atmospheric changes, of fruitfulness and barrenness, of pestilence and fevers, and in the case of men. The stars do not in the least degree exert influences, but indicate what is, and will be, and has been.

LVI. “And in the sun hath He set His tabernacle.” There is a transposition here. For it is of the second coming that the discourse is. So, then, we must read what is transposed in its due sequence: “And he, as a bridegroom issuing from his chamber, will rejoice as a giant to run his way. From heaven’s end is his going forth; and there is no one who shall hide himself from his heat; ”and then, “He hath set His tabernacle in the sun.”

Some say that He deposited the Lord’s body in the sun, as Hermogenes. And “His tabernacle,” some say, is His body, others the Church of the faithful.

Our Pantaenus82 used to say, that prophecy utters its expressions indefinitely for the most part, and uses the present for the future, and again the present for the past. Which is also seen here.83 For “He hath set” is put both for the past and the future. For the future, because, on the completion of this period, which is to run according to its present84 constitution, the Lord will come to restore the righteous, the faithful, in whom He rests, as in a tent, to one and the same unity; for all are one body, of the same race, and have chosen the same faith and righteousness. But some as head, some as eyes, some as ears, some as hands, some as breasts, some as feet, shall be set, resplendent, in the sun. “Shine forth as the sun,”85 or in the sun; since an angel high in command is in the sun. For he is appointed for rule over days; as the moon is for ruling over night.86 Now angels are called days. Along with the angels in87 the sun, it is said, they shall have assigned to them one abode, to be for some time and in some respects the sun, as it were the head of the body which is one. And, besides, they also are the rulers of the days, as that angel in the sun, for the greater purpose for which he before them88 migrated to the same place. And again destined to ascend progressively, they reach the first abode, in accordance with the past “He hath set: ”so that the first-created angels shall no longer, according to providence, exercise a definite ministry, but may be in repose, and devoted to the contemplation of God alone; while those next to them shall be promoted to the post which they have left; and so those beneath them similarly.

LVII. There are then, according to the apostle, those on the summit,89 the first-created. And they are thrones, although Powers, being the first-created, inasmuch as God rests in them, as also in those who believe. For each one, according to his own stage of advancement possesses the knowledge of God in a way special to himself; and in this knowledge God reposes, those who possess knowledge being made immortal by knowledge. And is not “He set His tabernacle in the sun” to be understood thus? God “set in the sun,” that is, in the God who is beside Him, as in the Gospel, Eli, Eli,90 instead of my God, my God. And what is above all rule, and authority, and power, and every name that is named,” are those from among men that are made perfect as angels and archangels, so as to rise to the nature of the angels first-created. For those who are changed from men to angels are instructed for a thousand years by the angels after they are brought to perfection. Then those who have taught are translated to archangelic authority; and those who have learned instruct those again who from men are changed to angels. Thus afterwards, in the prescribed periods, they are brought to the proper angelic state of the body.

LVIII. “The law of God is perfect, converting souls.”91 The Saviour Himself is called Law and Word, as Peter in “the Preaching,” and the prophet: “Out of Zion shall go forth the Law, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem.”92

LIX. “The testimony of the Lord is sure, making children wise.” The covenant of the Lord is true, making wise children; those free from evil, both the apostles, and then also us. Besides, the testimony of the Lord, according to which He rose again after His passion, having been verified by fact, led the Church to confirmation in faith.

LX. “The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring for ever.” He says that those who have been turned from fear to faith and righteousness endure for ever.

“The judgments of the Lord are true,”—sure, and incapable of being overturned; and giving rewards according to what is right, bringing the righteous to the unity of the faith. For this is shown in the words, “justified for the same.”93 “Such desires94 are above gold and precious stone.”

LXI. “For also Thy servant keeps them.” Not that David alone is called servant; but the whole people saved is called the servant of God, in virtue of obedience to the command.

LXII. “Cleanse me from my secret faults; ”—thoughts contrary to right reason—defects. For He calls this foreign to the righteous man.

LXIII. “If they have not dominion over me, then shall I be innocent.” If those who persecute me as they did the Lord, do not have dominion over me, I shall not be innocent. For no one becomes a martyr unless he is persecuted; nor appears righteous, unless, being wronged, he takes no revenge; nor forbearing …

Clement of Rome

Introductory Notice to Two Epistles Concerning Virginity

By Professor M. B. Riddle, D.D.

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Among the “Pseudo-Clementina” the Two Epistles concerning Virginity must properly be placed. The evidence against the genuineness seems conclusive; yet, with the exception of the homily usually styled the Second Epistle of Clement,1 no spurious writings attributed to the great Roman Father can be assigned an earlier date than these two letters. Uhlhorn, in view of the reference to the sub-introductae thinks they were written shortly before the time of Cyprian;2 and this seems very probable. Jerome was acquainted with the writings (Ad Jovinum, i. 12), and possibly Epiphanius (Haer., xxx. 15). Hence we may safely allow an early date Yet these evidences of age tell against the genuineness.

I. Early works of this character would not have disappeared from notice to such an extent, had they been authenticated as writings of Clement. Supporting, as they do, the ascetic tendency prevalent in the Western Church at and after the date when they are first noticed by Christian writers, they would have been carefully preserved and frequently cited, had they been genuine. The name of the great Roman Father would have been so weighty, that the advocates of celibacy would have kept the documents in greater prominence. The silence of Eusebius respecting the letters is an important fact in this discussion.

2. A second argument against the genuineness is derived from the ascetic tone itself. Such pronounced statements are not, we must firmly hold, to be found in the Christian literature of the sub-apostolic age. This historical argument is further sustained by other indications in the epistles. They point to a stage of ecclesiastical development which belongs to a much later period than that of Clement.

3. The use of Scripture in these letters seems to be conclusive against the Clementine authorship. A comparison with the citations in the genuine Epistle of Clement shows that these writings make much greater use of the Pauline (particularly the Pastoral) Epistles; that the Old Testament is less frequently cited, and that the mode of handling proof-texts is that of a later age.

4. The judgment of the most candid patristic scholars is against the genuineness. Of Protestants, Wetstein stands alone in supporting the Clementine authorship; and his position is readily explained by the fact that he discovered the Syriac version which restored the writings to modern scholars (see below). The genuineness is defended by Villecourt and Beelen (see below), also by Möhler, Champagny, and Brück. But such experts as Mansi, Hefele, Alzog, and Funk, among Roman Catholics, unite with Protestant scholars in assigning a later date, and consequently in denying the Clementine authorship.

Translator’s Introductory Notice.



While the great mass of early Christian literature bearing the name of Clement of Rome is undoubtedly spurious, the case is somewhat different with regard to the two following epistles. Not only have Roman Catholic writers maintained their genuineness with great ingenuity and learning, but Wetstein, who first edited them, argued powerfully for their being received as the authentic productions of Clement; and even Neander has admitted that they may possibly have been written by that friend and fellow-labourer of the apostles.

Their literary history in modern times is somewhat curious. Wetstein unexpectedly discovered them appended to a copy of the Syriac Peschito version of the New Testament furnished to him by Sir James Porter, then British ambassador at Constantinople. He soon afterwards (1752) published them in Syriac, accompanied by a Latin version of his own, with Prolegomena, in which he upheld their genuineness. This speedily called forth two works, one by Lardner (1753), and a second by Venema (1754), in both of which their authenticity was disputed. To these writings Wetstein himself, and, after his death, Gallandius, published rejoinders; but the question remained as far from positive settlement as ever, and continues sub-judice even at the present day

It is generally admitted (and, of course, asserted by those that maintain their truly Clementine origin) that Greek was the original language of these epistles. Many have argued that they contain plain references to the sub-introductae spoken of in the literature of the third century, and that therefore they were probably composed in the Oriental Church about that period.

These epistles have been very carefully edited in recent times by the Roman Catholic scholars Villecourt (1853) and Beelen (1856). Both have argued strenuously for the genuineness of the letters, but it may be doubted if they have succeeded in repelling all the objections of Lardner and Venema. Beelen’s work is a highly scholarly production, and his Prolegomena are marked by great fulness and perspicuity.

A German translation of these epistles was published by Zingerle (1821). They are now for the first time translated into the English language.

The translation is made from the text of Beelen.

The division into chapters is due to Wetstein.

Two Epistles Concerning Virginity

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The First Epistle of the Blessed Clement

The Disciple of Peter the Apostle.

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Chapter I.—The Salutation.

To all those who love and cherish their life which is in Christ through God the Father, and obey the truth of God in hope of eternal life; to those who bear affection towards their brethren and towards their neighbours in the love of God; to the blessed brother virgins,1 who devote themselves to preserve virginity “for the sake of the kingdom of heaven; ”2 and to the holy sister virgins: the peace which is in God.3

Chapter II.—For True Virginity Perfect Virtue is Necessary.

Of all virgins of either sex who have truly resolved to preserve virginity for the sake of the kingdom of heaven—of each and every one of them it is required that he be worthy of the kingdom of heaven in every thing. For not by eloquence4 or renown,5 by station6 and descent, or by beauty or strength, or by length of life,7 is the kingdom of heaven obtained; but it is obtained by the power of faith, when a man exhibits the works of faith. For whosoever is truly righteous, his works testify concerning his faith, that he is truly a believer, with a faith which is great, a faith which is perfect, a faith which is in God, a faith which shines in good works, that the Father of all may be glorified through Christ. Now, those who are truly virgins for the sake of God give heed to Him who hath said, “Let not righteousness and faith fail thee; bind them on thy neck, and thou shall find favour for thyself; and devise thou good things before God and before men.”8 “The paths,” therefore, “of the righteous shine as the light, and the light of them advances until the day is perfect.”9 For the beams of their light illumine the whole creation even now by good works, as those who are truly “the light of the world,”10 giving light to “those who sit in darkness,”11 that they may arise and go forth from the darkness by the light of the good works of the fear of God, “that they may see our good works and glorify our Father who is in heaven.”12 For it is required of the man of God, that in all his words and works he be perfect, and that in his life he be adorned with all exemplary and well-ordered behaviour,13 and do all his deeds in righteousness, as a man of God.

Chapter III.—True Virgins Prove Themselves Such by Self-Denial, as Does the True Believer by Good Works.

For virgins are a beautiful pattern to believers, and to those who shall believe. The name alone, indeed, without works, does not introduce into the kingdom of heaven; but, if a man be truly a believer, such an one can be saved. For, if a person be only called a believer in name, whilst he is not such in works, he cannot possibly be a believer. “Let no one,” therefore, “lead you astray with the empty words of error.”14 For, merely because a person is called a virgin, if he be destitute of works excellent and comely, and suitable to virginity, he cannot possibly be saved. For our Lord called such virginity as that “foolish,” as He said in the Gospel;15 and because it had neither oil nor light, it was left outside of the kingdom of heaven, and was shut out from the joy of the bridegroom, and was reckoned with His enemies. For such persons as these “have the appearance only of the fear of God, but the power of it they deny.”16 For they “think with themselves that they are something, whilst they are nothing, and are deceived. But let every one constantly try17 his works,”18 and know himself; for empty worship does he offer, whosoever he be that makes profession of virginity and sanctity, “and denies its power.” For virginity of such a kind is impure, and disowned by all good works. For “every tree whatsoever is known from its fruits.”19 “See that thou understand20 what I say: God will give thee understanding.”21 For whosoever engages before God to preserve sanctity must be girded with all the holy power of God. And, if with true fear22 he crucify his body, he for the sake of the fear of God excuses himself from that word in which the Scripture23 has said: “Be fruitful, and multiply,”24 and shuns all the display, and care, and sensuality,25 and fascination of this world, and its revelries and its drunkenness, and all its luxury and ease, and withdraws from the entire life of26 this world, and from its snares, and nets, and hindrances; and, whilst thou walkest27 upon the earth, be zealous that thy work and thy business be in heaven.

Chapter IV.—Continuation of the Remarks on Self-Denial; Object and Reward of True Virgins.

For he who covets for himself these things so great and excellent, withdraws and severs himself on this account from all the world, that he may go and live a life divine and heavenly, like the holy angels, in work pure and holy, and “in the holiness28 of the Spirit of God,”29 and that he may serve God Almighty through Jesus Christ for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. On this account he severs himself from all the appetites of the body. And not only does he excuse himself from this command, “Be fruitful, and multiply,” but he longs for the “hope promised” and prepared “and laid up in heaven”30 by God, who has declared with His mouth, and He does not lie, that it is “better than sons and daughters,”31 and that He will give to virgins a notable place in the house of God, which is something “better than sons and daughters,” and better than the place of those who have passed a wedded life in sanctity, and whose “bed has not been defiled.”32 For God will give to virgins the kingdom of heaven, as to the holy angels, by reason of this great and noble profession.

Chapter V.—The Irksomeness and the Enemies of Virginity.

Thou desirest, then, to be a virgin? Knowest thou what hardship and irksomeness there is in true virginity—that which stands constantly at all seasons before God, and does not withdraw from His service, and “is anxious how it may please its Lord with a holy body, and with its spirit? ”33 Knowest thou what great glory pertains to virginity, and is it for this that thou dost set thyself to practise it? Dost thou really know and understand what it is thou art eager to do? Art thou acquainted with the noble task of holy virginity? Dost thou know how, like a man, to enter “lawfully” upon34 this contest and “strive,”35 that, in the might of the Holy Spirit,36 thou choosest this for thyself, that thou mayest be crowned with a crown of light, and that they may lead thee about in triumph through “the Jerusalem above”?37 If so be, then, that thou longest for all these things, conquer the body; conquer the appetites of the flesh; conquer the world in the Spirit of God; conquer these vain things of time, which pass away and grow old, and decay, and come to an end; conquer the dragon;38 conquer the lion;39 conquer the serpent;40 conquer Satan;—through Jesus Christ, who doth strengthen thee by the hearing of His words and the divine Eucharist.41 “Take up thy cross and follow”42 Him who makes thee clean, Jesus Christ thy Lord. Strive to run straight forward and boldly, not with fear, but with courage, relying on the promise of thy Lord, that thou shalt obtain the victor-crown43 of thy “calling on high”44 through Jesus Christ. For whosoever walks perfect in faith, and not fearing, doth in very deed receive the crown of virginity, which is great in its toil and great in its reward. Dost thou understand and know how honourable a thing is sanctity?45 Dost thou understand how great and exalted and excellent is the glory of virginity?46

Chapter VI.—Divinity of Virginity.

The womb of a holy virgin47 carried our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God; and the body which our Lord wore, and in which He carried on the conflict in this world, He put on from a holy virgin. From this, therefore, understand the greatness and dignity of virginity. Dost thou wish to be a Christian? Imitate Christ in everything. John, the ambassador, he who came before our Lord, he “than whom there was not a greater among those born of women,”48 the holy messenger of our Lord, was a virgin. Imitate, therefore, the ambassador of our Lord, and be his follower49 in every thing. That John, again, who “reclined on the bosom of our Lord, and whom He greatly loved,”50 —he, too, was a holy person.51 For it was not without reason that our Lord loved him. Paul, also, and Barnabas, and Timothy, with all the others, “whose names are written in the book of life,”52 —these, I say, all cherished and loved sanctity,53 and ran in the contest, and finished their course without blemish, as imitators of Christ, and as sons of the living God. Moreover, also, Elijah and Elisha, and many other holy men, we find to have lived a holy54 and spotless life. If, therefore, thou desirest to be like these, imitate them with all thy power. For the Scripture has said, “The elders who are among you, honour; and, seeing their manner of life and conduct, imitate their faith.”55 And again it saith, “Imitate me, my brethren, as I imitate Christ.”56

Chapter VII.—The True Virgin.

Those, therefore, who imitate Christ, imitate Him earnestly. For those who have “put on Christ”57 in truth, express His likeness in their thoughts, and in their whole life, and in all their behaviour: in word, and in deeds, and in patience, and in fortitude, and in knowledge, and in chastity, and in long-suffering, and in a pure heart, and in faith, and in hope, and in full and perfect love towards God. No virgin, therefore, unless they be in everything as Christ, and as those “who are Christs,”58 can be saved. For every virgin who is in God is holy in her body and in her spirit, and is constant in the service of her Lord, not turning away from it any whither, but waiting upon Him always in purity and holiness in the Spirit of God, being “solicitous how she may please her Lord,”59 by living purely and without stain, and solicitous to be pleasing before Him in every thing. She who is such does not withdraw from our Lord, but in spirit is ever with her Lord: as it is written, “Be ye holy, as I am holy, saith the Lord.”60

Chapter VIII.—Virgins, by the Laying Aside of All Carnal Affection, are Imitators of God.

For, if a man be only in name called holy, he is not holy; but he must be holy in everything: in his body and in his spirit. And those who are virgins rejoice at all times in becoming like God and His Christ, and are imitators of them. For in those that are such there is not “the mind61 of the flesh.” In those who are truly believers, and “in whom the Spirit of Christ dwells”62 —in them “the mind of the flesh” cannot be: which is fornication, uncleanness, wantonness; idolatry,63 sorcery; enmity, jealousy, rivalry, wrath, disputes, dissensions, ill-will; drunkenness, revelry; buffoonery, foolish talking, boisterous laughter; backbiting, insinuations; bitterness, rage; clamour, abuse, insolence of speech; malice, inventing of evil, falsehood; talkativeness,64 babbling;65 threatenings, gnashing of teeth, readiness to accuse,66 jarring,67 disdainings, blows; perversions of the right,68 laxness in judgment; haughtiness, arrogance, ostentation, pompousness, boasting of family, of beauty, of position, of wealth, of an arm of flesh;69 quarrelsomeness, injustice,70 eagerness for victory; hatred, anger, envy, perfidy, retaliation;71 debauchery, gluttony, “overreaching (which is idolatry),”72 “the love of money (which is the root of all evils); ”73 love of display, vainglory, love of rule, assumption, pride (which is called death, and which “God fights against”).74 Every man with whom are these and such like things—every such man is of the flesh. For, “he that is born of the flesh is flesh; and he that is of the earth speaketh of the earth,”75 and his thoughts are of the earth. And “the mind of the flesh is enmity towards God. For it does not submit itself to the law of God; for it cannot do so,”76 because it is in the flesh, “in which dwells no good,”77 because the Spirit of God is not in it. For this cause justly does the Scripture say regarding such a generation as this: “My Spirit shall not dwell in men for ever, because they are flesh.”78 “Whosoever, therefore, has not the Spirit of God in him, is none of His: “79 as it is written, “The Spirit of God departed from Saul, and an evil spirit troubled him, which was sent upon him from God.”80

Chapter IX.—Continuation of the Subject of Mortification; Dignity of Persons Consecrated to God.

He in whomsoever the Spirit of God is, is in accord with the will of the Spirit of God; and, because he is in accord with the Spirit of God, therefore does he mortify, the deeds of the body and live unto God, “treading down and subjugating the body and keeping it under; so that, while preaching to others,” he may be a beautiful example and pattern to believers, and may spend his life in works which are worthy of the Holy Spirit, so that tie may “not be cast away,”81 but may be approved before God and before men. For in “the man who is of God,”82 with him I say there is nothing of the mind of the flesh; and especially in virgins of either sex; but the fruits of all of them are “the fruits of the Spirit “83 and of life, and they are truly the city of God, and the houses and temples in which God abides and dwells, and among which He walks, as in the holy city of heaven. For in this “do ye appear to the world as lights, in that ye give heed to the Word of life,”84 and thus ye are in truth the praise, and the boast, and the crown of rejoicing, and the delight of good servants in our Lord Jesus Christ. For all who see you will “acknowledge that ye are the seed which the Lord hath blessed; ”85 in very deed a seed honourable and holy, and “a priestly kingdom, a holy people, the people of the inheritance,”86 the heirs of the promises of God; of things which do not decay, nor wither; of “that which eye hath not seen, and car hath not heard, and which hath not come up into the heart of man; of that which God hath prepared for those who love Him and keep His commandments.”87

Chapter X.—Denunciation of Dangerous and Scandalous Association with Maidens.

Now, we are persuaded of you, my brethren, that your thoughts are occupied about those things which are requisite for your salvation.88 But we speak thus89 in consequence of the evil rumours and reports concerning shameless men, who, under pretext of the fear of God, have their dwelling with maidens, and so, expose themselves to danger, and walk with them along the road and in solitary places90 alone—a course which is full of dangers, and full of stumbling-blocks and snares and pitfalls; nor is it in any respect right for Christians and those who fear God so to conduct themselves. Others, too, eat and drink with them at entertainments allowing themselves in loose behaviour and much uncleanness—such as ought not to be among believers, and especially among those who have chosen for themselves a life of holiness.91 Others, again, meet together for vain and trifling conversation and merriment, and that they may speak evil of one another; and they hunt up tales against one another, and are idle: persons with whom we do not allow you even to eat bread. Then, others gad about among the houses of virgin brethren or sisters, on pretence of visiting them, or reading the Scriptures to them, or exorcising them. Forasmuch as they are idle and do no work, they pry into those things which ought not to be inquired into, and by means of plausible words make merchandise of the name of Christ. These are men from whom the divine apostle kept aloof, because of the multitude of their evil deeds; as it is written: “Thorns sprout in the hands of the idle; ”92 and, “The ways of the idle are full of thorns.”93

Chapter XI.—Perniciousness of Idleness; Warning Against the Empty Longing to Be Teachers; Advice About Teaching and the Use of Divine Gifts.



Such are the ways of all those who do not work, but go hunting for tales, and think to themselves that this is profitable and right.94 For such persons are like those idle and prating widows “who go wandering about95 among houses”96 with their prating, and hunt for idle tales, and carry them from house to house with much exaggeration, without fear of God. And besides all this, barefaced men as they are,97 under pretence of teaching, they set forth a variety of doctrines. And would that they taught the doctrines of truth! But it is this which is so disquieting, that they understand not what they mean, and assert that which is not true : because they wish to be teachers, and to display themselves as skilful in speaking; because they traffic in iniquity in the name of Christ—which it is not right for the servants of God to do. And they hearken not to that which the Scripture has said: “Let not many be teachers among you, my brethren, and be not all of you prophets.”98 For “he who does not transgress in word is a perfect man, able to keep down and subjugate his whole body.”99 And, “If a man speak, let him speak in the words100 of God.”101 And, “If there is in thee understanding, give an answer to thy brother but if not, put thy hand on thy mouth.”102 For, “at one time it is proper to keep silence, and at another thee to speak.”103 And again it says “When a man speaks in season, it is honourable104 to him.”105 And again it says: “Let your speech be seasoned with grace. For it is required of a man to know how to give an answer to every one in season.”106 For “he that utters whatsoever comes to his mouth, that man produces strife; and he that utters a superfluity of words increases vexation; and he that is hasty with his lips falls into evil. For because of the unruliness of the tongue cometh anger; but the perfect man keeps watch over his tongue, and loves his soul’s life.”107 For these are they “who by good words and fair speeches lead astray the hearts of the simple, and, while offering them blessings, lead them astray.”108 Let us, therefore, fear the judgment which awaits teachers. For a severe judgment will those teachers receive “who teach, but do not,”109 and those who take upon them the name of Christ falsely, and say: We teach the truth, and yet go wandering about idly, and exalt themselves, and make their boast” in the mind of the flesh.”110 These, moreover, are like “the blind man who leads the blind man, and they both fall into the ditch.”111 And they will receive judgment, because in their talkativeness and their frivolous teaching they teach natural112 wisdom and the “frivolous error of the plausible words of the wisdom of men,”113 “according to the will of the prince of the dominion of the air, and of the spirit which works in those men who will not obey, according to the training of this world, and not according to the doctrine of Christ.”114 But if thou hast received “the word of knowledge, or the word of instruction, or of prophecy,”115 blessed be God, “who helps every man without grudging—that God who gives to every man and does not upbraid him.”116 With the gift, therefore, which thou hast received from our Lord, serve thy spiritual brethren, the prophets who know that the words which thou speakest are those of our Lord; and declare the gift which thou hast received in the Church for the edification of the brethren in Christ (for good and excellent are those things which help the men of God), if so be that they are truly with thee.117

Chapter XII.—Rules for Visits, Exorcisms, and How People are to Assist the Sick, and to Walk in All Things Without Offence.



Moreover, also, this is comely and useful, that a man “visit orphans and widows,”118 and especially those poor persons who have many children. These things are, without controversy, required of the servants of God, and comely and suitable for them. This also, again, is suitable and right and comely for those who are brethren in Christ, that they should visit those who are harassed by evil spirits, and pray and pronounce adjurations119 over them, intelligently, offering such prayer as is acceptable before God; not with a multitude of fine words,120 well prepared and arranged, so that they may appear to men eloquent and of a good memory. Such men are “like a sounding pipe, or a tinkling cymbal; “121 and they bring no help to those over whom they make their adjurations; but they speak with terrible words, and affright people, but do not act with true faith, according to the teaching of our Lord, who hath said: “This kind goeth not out but by fasting and prayer,”122 offered unceasingly and with earnest mind. And let them holily ask and beg of God, with cheerfulness and all circumspection and purity, without hatred and without malice. In this way let us approach a brother or a sister who is sick, and visit them in a way that is right, without guile, and without covetousness, and without noise, and without talkativeness, and without such behaviour as is alien from the fear of God, and without haughtiness, but with the meek and lowly spirit of Christ. Let them, therefore, with fasting and with prayer make their adjurations, and not with the elegant and wall-arranged and fitly-ordered words of learning, but as men who have received the gift of healing from God, confidently, to the glory of God. By123 your fastings and prayers and perpetual watching, together with your other good works, mortify the works of the flesh by the power of the Holy Spirit. He who acts thus “is a temple of the Holy Spirit of God.”124 Let this man cast out demons, and God will help him. For it is good that a man help those that are sick. Our Lord hath said: “Cast out demons,” at the same thee commanding many other acts of healing; and, “Freely ye have received, freely give.”125 For such persons as these a goodly recompense is laid up by God, because they serve their brethren with the gifts which have been given them by the Lord. This is also comely and helpful to the servants of God, because they act according to the injunctions of our Lord, who hath said: “I was sick, and ye visited Me, and so on.”126 And this is comely and right and just, that we visit our neighbours for the sake of God with all seemliness of manner and purity of behaviour; as the Apostle hath said: “Who is sick, and I am not sick? who is offended, and I am not offended? ”127 But all these things are spoken in reference to the love with which a man should love his neighbour. And in these things let us occupy ourselves,128 without giving offence, and let us not do anything with partiality or for the shaming of others, but let us love the poor as the servants of God, and especially let us visit them. For this is comely before God and before men, that we should remember the poor, and be lovers of the brethren and of strangers, for the sake of God and for the sake of those who believe in God, as we have learnt from the law and from the prophets, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, concerning the love of the brotherhood and the love of strangers: for ye know the words which have been spoken concerning the love of the brotherhood and the love of strangers;129 powerfully are the words spoken to all those who do them.

Chapter XIII.—What Priests Should Be and Should Not Be.

Beloved brethren! that a man should build up and establish the brethren on the faith in one God, this also is manifest and well-known. This too, again, is comely, that a man should not be envious of his neighbour. And moreover, again, it is suitable and comely that all those who work the works of the Lord should work the works of the Lord in the fear of God. Thus is it required of them to conduct themselves. That “the harvest is great, but the workmen are few,” this also is well-known and manifest. Let us, therefore, “ask of the Lord of the harvest” that He would send forth workmen into the harvest;130 such workmen as “shall skilfully dispense the word of truth; ”workmen “who shall not be ashamed; ”131 faithful workmen; workmen who shall be “the light of the world; ”132 workmen who “work not for the food that perisheth, but for that food which abideth unto life eternal; ”133 workmen who shall be such as the apostles; workmen who imitate the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit; who are concerned for the salvation of men; not “hireling”134 workmen; not workmen to whom the fear of God and righteousness appear to be gain; not workmen who “serve their belly; ”not workmen who “with fair speeches and pleasant words mislead the hearts of the innocent; ”135 not workmen who imitate the children of light, while they are not light but darkness—“men whose end is destruction; ”136 not workmen who practise iniquity and wickedness and fraud; not “crafty workmen; ”137 not workmen “drunken” and “faithless; ”138 nor workmen who traffic in Christ;139 not misleaders; not “lovers of money; not malevolent.”140

Let us, therefore, contemplate and imitate the faithful who have conducted themselves well in the Lord, as is becoming and suitable to our calling and profession. Thus let us do service before God in justice and righteousness, and without blemish, “occupying ourselves with things good and comely before God and also before men.”141 For this is comely, that God be glorified in us in all things.Here endeth the first Epistle of Clement.

The Second Epistle of the Same Clement.

————————————

Chapter I.—He Describes the Circumspectness of His Intercourse with the Other Sex, and Tells How in His Journeys He Acts at Places Where There are Brethren Only.

I Would, moreover, have you know, my brethren, of what sort is our conduct in Christ, as well as that of all our brethren, in the various places in which we are. And if so be that you approve it, do ye also conduct yourselves in like manner in the Lord. Now we, if God help us, conduct ourselves thus: with maidens we do not dwell, nor have we anything in common with them; with maidens we do not eat, nor drink; and, where a maiden sleeps, we do not sleep; neither do women wash our feet, nor anoint us; and on no account do we sleep where a maiden sleeps who is unmarried or has taken the vow:1 even though she be in some other place if she be alone, we do not pass the night there.2 Moreover, if it chance that the time for rest overtake us in a place, whether in the country, or in a village, or in a town, or in a hamlet,3 or wheresoever we happen to be, and there are found brethren in that place, we turn in to one who is a brother, and call together there all the brethren, and speak to them words of encouragement and exhortation.4 And those among us who are gifted in speaking will speak such words as are earnest, and serious, and chaste, in the fear of God, and exhort them to please God in everything, and abound and go forward in good works, and “be free from5 anxious care in everything,”6 as is fit and right for the people of God.

Chapter II.—His Behaviour in Places Where There Were Christians of Both Sexes.

And if, moreover, it chance that we are distant from our homes and from our neighbours, and the day decline and the eventide overtake us, and the brethren press us, through love of the brotherhood and by reason of their affection for strangers, to stay with them, so that we may watch with them, and they may hear the holy word of God and do it, and be fed with the words of the Lord, so that they may be mindful of them, and they set before us bread and water and that which God provides, and we be willing and consent to stay through the night with them; if there be there a holy man,7 with him we turn in and lodge, and that same brother will provide and prepare whatever is necessary for us; and he himself waits upon us, and he himself washes our feet for us and anoints us with ointment, and he himself gets ready a bed for us, that we may sleep in reliance on God. All these things will that consecrated brother, who is in the place in which we tarry, do in his own person. He will himself serve the brethren, and each one of the brethren who are in the same place will join with him in rendering all those services8 which are requisite for the brethren. But with us may no female, whether young maiden or married woman, be there at that thee;9 nor she that is aged.10 nor she that has taken the vow; not even a maid-servant, whether Christian or heathen; but there shall only be men with men. And, if we see it to be requisite to stand and pray for the sake of the women, and to speak words of exhortation and edification, we call together the brethren and all the holy sisters and maidens, and likewise all the other women who are there, inviting them with all modesty and becoming behaviour to come and feast on the truth.11 And those among us who are skilled in speaking speak to them, and exhort them in those words which God has given us. And then we pray, and salute12 one another, the men the men. But the women and the maidens will wrap their hands in their garments; and we also, with circumspection and with all purity, our eyes looking upwards, shall wrap our right hand in our garments; and then they will come and give us the salutation on our right hand wrapped in our garments. Then we go where God permits us.

Chapter III.—Rules for the Conduct of Celibate Brethren in Places Where There are Only Married Christians.

And if again we chance to come into a place where there is no consecrated brother, but all are married, all those who are there will receive the brother who comes to them, and minister to him, and care for his wants13 in everything, assiduously, with good-will. And the brother shall be ministered to by them in the way that is suitable . And the brother will say to the married persons who are in that place: We holy men do not eat or drink with women, nor are we waited on by women or by maidens, nor do women wash our feet for us, nor do women anoint us, nor do women prepare our bed for us, nor do we sleep where women sleep, so that we may be without reproach in everything, lest any one should be offended or stumble at us. And, whilst we observe all these things, “we are without offence to every man.”14 As persons, therefore, “who know the fear of the Lord, we persuade men, and to God we are made manifest.”15

Chapter IV.—Conduct of the Holy Man Where There are Women Only.

But if we chance to come into a place where there are no Christian men, but all the believers are women and maidens,16 and they press us to pass the night there in that place, we call them all together to some suitable place,17 and ask them how they do; and according to that which we learn from them, and what we see to be their state of mind, we address them in a suitable man-Her, as men fearing God. And when they have all assembled and come together, and we see that they are in peace,18 we address to them words of exhortation in the fear of God, and read the Scripture to them, with purity and in the concise19 and weighty words of the fear of God. We do everything as for their edification. And as to those who are married, we speak to them in the Lord in a manner suited to them. And if, moreover, the day decline and the eventide draw on, we select, in order to pass the night there, a woman who is aged and the most exemplary20 of them all; and we speak to her to give us a place all to ourselves, where no woman enters, nor maiden. And this old woman herself will bring us a lamp, and whatever is requisite for us she will herself bring us. From love to the brethren, she will bring whatever is requisite for the service of stranger brethren. And she herself, when the time for sleep is come, will depart and go to her house in peace.

Chapter V.—Where There is Only One Woman, the Father Does Not Make a Stay; How Carefully Stumbling-Blocks Must Be Avoided.

But if, moreover, we chance upon a place, and find there one believing woman only, and no other person be there but she only, we do not stop there, nor pray there, nor read the Scriptures there, but we flee as from before the face of a serpent, and as from before the face of sin. Not that we disdain the believing woman—far be it from us to be so minded towards our brethren in Christ!—but, because she is alone, we are afraid lest any one should make insinuations against us in words of falsehood. For the hearts of men are firmly set21 on evil. And, that we may not give a pretext to those who desire to get a pretext against us and to speak evil of us, and that we may not be a stumbling-block to any one, on this account we cut off the pretext of those who desire to get a pretext against us; on this account we must be “on our guard that we be to no one a stumbling-block, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor yet to the Church of God; and we must not seek that which is profitable to ourselves only, but that which is for the profit of many, so that they may be saved.”22 For this does not profit us, that another stumble because of us. Let us, therefore, be studiously on our guard at all times, that we do not smite our brethren and give them to drink of a disquieting conscience through our being to them a stumbling-block. For “if for the sake of meat our brother be made sad, or shocked, or made weak, or caused to stumble, we are not walking in the love of God. For the sake of meat thou causest him to perish for whose sake Christ died.”23 For, in “thus sinning against your brethren and wounding their sickly consciences, ye sin against Christ Himself. For, if for the sake of meat my brother is made to stumble,” let us who are believers say, “Never will we eat flesh, that we may not make our brother to stumble.”24 These things, moreover, does ever one who truly loves God, who truly takes up his cross, and puts on Christ, and loves his neighbour; the man who watches over himself that he be not a stumbling-block to any one, that no one be caused to stumble because of him and die because he is constantly with maidens and lives in the same house with them—a thing which is not right—to the overthrow of those who see and hear. Evil conduct like this is fraught with stumbling and peril, and is akin25 to death. But blessed is that man who is circumspect and fearful in everything for the sake of purity!

Chapter VI.—How Christians Should Behave Themselves Among Heathens.

If, moreover, it chance that we go to a place in which there are no Christians, and it be important for us to stay there a few days, let us be “wise as serpents, and harmless as doves; ”26 and let us “not be as the foolish, but as the wise,”27 in all the self-restraint of the fear of God, that God may be glorified in everything through our Lord Jesus Christ, through our chaste and holy behaviour. For, “whether we eat, or drink, or do anything else, let us do it as for the glory of God.”28 Let “all those who see us acknowledge that we are a blessed seed,”29 “sons of the living God,”30 in everything—in all our words in shamefastness, in purity, in humility, forasmuch as we do not copy the heathen in anything, nor are as believers like other men, but in everything are estranged from the wicked. And we “do not cast that which is holy before dogs, nor pearls before swine; ”31 but with all possible self-restraint, and with all discretion, and with all fear of God, and with earnestness of mind we praise God. For we do not minister where heathens are drinking and blaspheming in their feasts with words of impurity, because of their wickedness.32 Therefore do we not sing psalms to the heathens, nor do we read to them the Scriptures, that we may not be like common singers, either those who play on the lyre,33 or those who sing with the voice, or like soothsayers, as many are, who follow these practices and do these things, that they may sate themselves with a paltry mouthful of bread, and who, for the sake of a sorry cup of wine, go about “singing the songs of the Lord in the strange land”34 of the heathen, and doing what is not right. Do not so, my brethren; we beseech you, my brethren, let not these deeds be done among you; but put away those who choose thus to behave themselves with infamy and disgrace. It is not proper, my brethren, that these things should be so. But we beseech you, brethren in righteousness, that these things be so done with you as with us, as for a pattern of believers, and of those who shall believe. Let us be of the flock of Christ, in all righteousness, and in all holy and unblemished conduct, behaving ourselves with uprightness and sanctity, as is right for believers, and observing those things which are praiseworthy, and pure, and holy, and honourable, and noble; and do ye promote35 all those things which are profitable. For ye are “our joy, and our crown,” and our hope, and our life, “if so be that ye stand in the Lord.”36 So be it!37

Chapter VII.—Uses of Considering Admonitory Examples, as Well as Instructive Patterns.

Let us consider, therefore, my brethren, and see how all the righteous fathers conducted themselves during the whole time of their sojourn in this life, and let us search and examine from the law down to the New Testament. For this is both becoming and profitable, that we should know how many men there have been, and who they were, that have perished through women; and who and how many have been the women that have perished through men, by reason of the constancy with which they have associated with one another. And further, also, for the same reason, I will show how many have been the men, and who they were, that lived all their lifetime, and continued even to the close, with one another in the performance of chaste works without blemish. And it is manifest and well-known that this is so.38

Chapter VIII.—Joseph and Potiphar’s Wife; Of What Kind Love to Females Ought to Be.





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