The Shepherd of Hermas

translated by Graydon F. Snyder

This translation of the Shepherd of Hermas is taken from The Apostolic Fathers: A New Translation and Commentary, Volume 6: The Shepherd of Hermas, originally published in 1968. The translation and commentary are by Graydon F. Snyder. This file contains only the translation and not the commentary that originally accompanied it.

Graydon Snyder’s family has released this translation into the public domain. It may be freely used without restriction.

This file has been digitized for the Early Christian Sources project. To find more information on this translation, a reproduction of the original commentary and notes that accompanied it or more information on the early Christian writings, visit


The Visions

1. The Vision of Rhoda (1:1-9)
The First Vision of the Church: Concerning the Sin of Hermas (2:1-4:3)
2. The Second Vision of the Church: Revelation of a Book (5:1-4)
The Contents of the Book (6:1-7:4)
Two Instructional Revelations (8:1-3)
3. The Third Vision of the Church: The Building of the Tower (9:1-10:9)
The Meaning of the Tower (11:1-17:10)
A Revelation Concerning the Forms of the Church (18:1-21:4)
4. The Fourth Vision of the Church: The Tribulation to Come (22:1-24:7)
5. The Shepherd Introduces the Mandates and Similitudes (25:1-7)

The Mandates

1. Believe in God (26:1-2)
2. Be Simple and Innocent (27:1-7)
3. Love Truth (28:1-5)
4. Guard Chastity (29:1-11)
Further Repentance Is Possible (30:1-31:7)
Chastity in Widowhood (32:1-4)
5. Be Patient (33:1-7)
The Power of Ill Temper (34:1-8)
6. The Power of Faith (35:1-5)
The Two Angels in Man (36:1-10)
7. Fear the Lord (37:1-5)
8. Concerning Self-Control (38:1-12)
9. Cast Off Double-mindedness (39:1-12)
10. Cast Off Grief (40:1-41:6)
Put on Cheerfulness (42:1-4)
11. On Testing Prophets (43:1-21)
12. Cast Off Evil Desire (44:1-45:5)
An Exhortation on the Commandments (46:1-49:5)

The Similitudes

1. The Parable of the Two Cities (50:1-11)
2. The Parable of the Elm and the Vine (51:1-9)
3. The Parable of the Trees in Wintertime (52:1-3)
4. The Parable of the Trees in Summertime (53:1-8)
5. On Fasting (54:1-5)
The Parable of the Vineyard (55:1-11)
True Fasting (56:1-9)
The Meaning of the Vineyard (57:1-59:8)
An Exhortation on Purity (60:1-4)
6. The Parable of the Two Shepherds (61:1-65:7)
7. Concerning Repentance and Torment (66:1-7)
8. The Parable of the Willow Tree (67:1-68:9)
The Meaning of the Willow and the Sticks (69:1-8)
Examination of the Sticks (70:1-71:6)
The Meaning of the Sticks (72:1-76:4)
An Exhortation on Repentance (77:1-5)
9. The Twelve Mountains of Arcadia (78:1-10)
The Building of the Tower (79:1-82:7)
Inspection by the Lord of the Tower (83:1-84:7)
Examination of Those Stones Not Used (85:1-7)
The Disposition of the Stones (86:1-7)
Hermas Is Entrusted to the Virgins (87:1-88:9)
The Meaning of the Tower (89:1-93:7)
The Meaning of the Twelve Mountains (94:1-106:4)
The Meaning of Certain Stones (107:1-108:6)
The Analogy of a Damaged Garment (109:1-5)
The Meaning of the Marks on the Stones (110:1-3)
10. Final Exhortations (111:1-114:5)

The Visions

Vision 1

The vision of Rhoda (1:1-9)

Vision 1, Chapter 1

1.1. The one who brought me up sold me to a certain Rhoda in Rome. Many years later I met her again, and I began to love her as a sister. 2. Sometime later I saw her bathing in the river Tiber, and I gave her my hand and led her out of the river. When I saw her beauty I thought to myself and said, “I would be happy if I had a wife of such beauty and manner.” That was the only thing I thought, nothing more. 3. Sometime later, as I was going to Cumae and praising the creatures of God, as they are so great and remarkable and powerful, while I was walking along I fell asleep and a spirit took me and carried me through a certain pathless region, through which a man could not walk. The place was precipitous and broken up by the waters. When I had crossed the river, I came into level ground and I knelt down and began to pray to God and to confess my sins. 4. While I was praying heaven opened, and I saw that woman, whom I had desired, greeting me from heaven, saying, “How do you do, Hermas?” 5. And I looked at her and said to her, “Madam, what are you doing here?” And she answered me, “I have been taken up in order that I might make known your sins before the Lord.” 6. I said to her, “Are you now accusing me?” “No,” she said, “but listen to the words which I am about to tell you. God who dwells in heaven [cf. Pss. 2:4; 122:1] and created the things that are from that which is not, and has increased and multiplied them [cf. Gen. 1:28; 8:17, etc.] for the sake of his holy church, is angry with you because you sinned against me.” 7. I answered her and said, “Have I sinned against you? Where or when have I spoken an indecent word to you? Have I not always regarded you as a goddess? Have I not always respected you as a sister? Why do you charge me falsely, O Madam, with these evil and unclean things?” 8. She laughed and said to me, “The desire for evil rose up in your heart. Or do you suppose that it is not an evil thing for a righteous man if an evil desire arises in his heart? It is indeed a sin, and a great one,” she said, “for the righteous man wishes righteous things. So when he desires righteous things, his reputation in heaven is set safe, and he finds the Lord favorable in everything he does. But those who in their hearts desire evil things bring death and captivity upon themselves, especially those who gain this world for themselves and pride themselves on their wealth and do not hold fast to the good things that are to come. 9. Their souls will repent: they who have no hope, but have despaired of themselves and their life. But you pray to God and he will heal your sins [cf. Deut. 30:3 LXX; Jer. 3:22], your entire house, and all the saints.”

The first vision of the church: concerning the sin of Hermas (2:1—4:3)

Vision 1, Chapter 2

2.1. After she said these words the heavens were closed, and I was shuddering all over and was distressed. I said to myself, “If this sin is recorded against me, how can I be saved? Or how can I propitiate God for the full measure of my sin? Or with what words shall I ask the Lord to be merciful to me?” 2. While I was considering and deliberating on these things in my heart, I saw before me a great white chair made of snow-white wool; and an elderly woman in a brightly shining garment came up with a book in her hand, and sat down alone and greeted me, “How do you do, Hermas?” And distressed and weeping I said, “How do you do, Madam?” 3. And she said to me, “Why are you sad, Hermas? You who are so patient, so good-natured, always laughing, why so downcast in appearance and so unhappy?” And I said to her, “Because of a very good woman who says that I have sinned against her.” 4. Then she said, “By no means should this thing happen to the servant of God. But certainly a thought arose in your heart concerning her. For the servant of God, it is such a wish as this which brings sin. For it is an evil and shocking wish for a revered and already approved spirit if it desires an evil deed, and especially Hermas, the self-disciplined, who refrains from every evil desire and is full of all sincerity and great innocence.”

Vision 1, Chapter 3

3.1. “But it is not because of this that God is angry with you, but so that you might convert your children who have sinned against the Lord and against you, their parents. But being fond of children you have not admonished your family, but you have allowed it to become terribly corrupt. It is for this reason the Lord is angry with you. But he will heal all of your evil deeds which originated in your family, for because of their sins and iniquities you have been corrupted by the concerns of this life. 2. But the great compassion of the Lord has been merciful to you and to your family and will make you strong and will establish you in his glory. Only do not be remiss, but have courage and strengthen your family. For just as a smith, beating his work with a hammer, becomes master of the skill which he wishes, so also the righteous word daily repeated becomes master of all evil. So do not cease instructing your children. For I know that if they repent with all their heart, they will be inscribed in the books of life with the saints.” 3. After these words of hers had ceased she said to me, “Do you wish to hear me read aloud?” And I said, “Yes I do, Madam.” She said to me, “Pay attention and hear the glories of God.” I heard of great and wonderful things, which I was not able to remember, for all the words were frightening, such as a man is unable to bear. So I remembered the last words, for they were beneficial to us and mild: 4. “Behold, the God of hosts [cf. Pss. 58:6; 79:5; 83:9, etc.], who has by his invisible and mighty power and by his great understanding created the world, and by his glorious will clothed his creation with beauty, and by his mighty word fixed the heaven and established the earth upon the waters [cf. Ps. 135:6], and by his own wisdom and providence created his holy church which also he blessed; behold, he is removing all the heavens and the mountains and the hills and the seas, and everything is becoming level for his elect in order that he might keep for them the promise which he made with great glory and joy, if they keep the commandments of God which they received in great faith.”

Vision 1, Chapter 4

4.1. So when she had finished reading and had risen from the chair, four young men came and took the chair and went away toward the east. 2. And she called to me and she touched my breast and said to me, “Did my reading please you?” And I said to her, “These latter words are pleasing to me, but the former were hard and difficult.” Then she answered me, “These latter words are for the righteous, and the former for the heathen and the apostate.” 3. As she was speaking with me, two men appeared and took her by the arms and departed toward the east, where the chair was. And she departed cheerfully, and as she was going away she said to me, “Be a man, Hermas.”

Vision 2

The second vision of the church: revelation of a book (5:1-4)

Vision 2, Chapter 1

5.1. While I was going to Cumae, about the same time as the year before, as I was walking along I recalled the vision of the year before, and again a spirit took me and bore me to the same place as last year. 2. So when I reached the place I knelt down and began to pray to the Lord and to glorify his name [cf. Ps. 85:9, 12; Isa. 24:15; 2 Thess. 1: 12], because he had considered me worthy and had made known to me my previous sins. 3. And after I had risen from the prayer I saw before me the elderly lady whom I had seen the year before, walking about and reading a little book aloud. And she said to me, “Are you able to disclose these things to the elect of God?” I said to her, “Madam, I cannot remember so much, but give me the document so that I can copy it.” “Take it,” she said, “and give it back to me.” 4. I took it, and having gone to another part of the field I copied it all, letter by letter, for I could not distinguish the syllables. After I had finished the letters of the document, the document was suddenly snatched from my hand, but by whom I did not see.

The contents of the book (6:1-7:4)

Vision 2, Chapter 2

6.1. Fifteen days later, after I fasted and earnestly asked the Lord, the meaning of the writing was revealed to me. And this is what was written: 2. “Your offspring, Hermas, have rejected God and blasphemed the Lord, and by their great evil have betrayed their parents, and are called betrayers of parents, and their betrayal has not profited them, but still they add to their sin debaucheries and orgies of evil, and so their iniquities have reached the limit. 3. But make these words known to all your children and to your wife, who is about to be your sister. For she does not control her tongue, with which she sins. But when she hears these words she will control herself and will obtain mercy. 4. After you have made known to them these words which the Master commanded me should be revealed to you, then all sins which they have previously committed will be forgiven both them and all the saints who have sinned up to this day, if they repent with all their heart and put away double-mindedness from their hearts. 5. For the Master swore by his glory concerning his elect, that if, after this day has been fixed, there is yet sin they will not obtain salvation. For repentance for the just has an end; for the saints the days of repentance are finished, but for the heathen there is repentance until the last day. 6. So speak to the officials of the church so that they will set straight their ways in righteousness, that they may receive the promises in full with great glory. 7. So you who do righteousness [cf. Ps. 14:2; Acts 10:35; Heb. 11:33] be steadfast and be not double-minded, so that your way will be with the holy angels. Blessed are you who endure the great tribulation which is coming and who will not deny their life. 8. For the Lord has sworn by his Son that they who deny their Lord have been rejected from their life, who now are about to deny him in the coming days; but for those who denied him before, he has been merciful because of his great compassion.”

Vision 2, Chapter 3

7.1. “But you, Hermas, do not any longer bear a grudge against your children nor leave your sister to herself, so that they may be cleansed of their former sins. For they will be disciplined with a just discipline if you do not bear a grudge against them. Bearing a grudge produces death. But you, Hermas, have undergone great trials of your own because of the transgressions of your family, because you did not care for them; but you neglected them and became entangled in your own evil affairs. 2. But the thing that saves you is that you have not fallen away from the living God [cf. Heb. 3:12], as well as your sincerity and great self-control. These things have saved you, if you stand fast, and save all who do such things and walk in innocence and sincerity. These will be victorious over all and will endure to everlasting life. 3. Blessed are all those who do righteousness [cf. Pss. 14:2; 105:3]. They will never be destroyed. 4. But say to Maximus, ‘Behold, persecution is coming; if it seems good to you, deny again.’ “The Lord is near to those who turn to him,’ as it is written in the book of Eldad and Modat, who prophesied to the people in the desert.”

Two instructional revelations (8:1-3)

Vision 2, Chapter 4

8.1. As I was sleeping, brethren, a revelation was given to me by a handsome young man who said to me, “That elderly lady, from whom you received the document, who do you think she is?” I said, “The Sibyl.” “You are mistaken,” said he, “she is not.” “Who then is she?” I said. “The Church,” he said. I said to him, “Why then is she elderly?” “Because,” said he, “she was created first of all; that is why she is elderly; and for her the world was made.” 2. Afterward I saw a vision in my house. The elderly lady came and asked me if I had already given the book to the elders. I admitted I had not. “You have done well,” she said, “for I have words to add. So when I finish all the words they will be made known through you to all the elect. 3. So you shall write two little books and you shall send one to Clement and one to Grapte. Then Clement will send one to the other cities, for that has been entrusted to him. And Grapte will instruct the widows and the orphans. But in this city you yourself shall read it aloud with the elders who stand at the head of the church.”

Vision 3

The third vision of the church: the building of the tower (9:1-10:9)

Vision 3, Chapter 1

9.1. Brethren, what I saw was this. 2. I had fasted many times and I prayed to the Lord that he make known to me the revelation which he promised to show me through that elderly lady; and on that very night the elderly lady appeared to me and said to me, “Since you are so needy and eager to know everything, go to the field where you raise grain, and about the fifth hour I will appear to you and I will show you that which you ought to see.” 3. I asked her saying, “Madam, to what part of the field?” “Wherever you please,” said she. I chose a lovely secluded place. But before I could speak to her and tell her which place, she said to me, “I will go wherever you wish.” 4. So, brethren, I went to the field and I noted the hour and I went to the place where I had arranged for her to come, and I saw an ivory couch placed there, and on the couch there was a linen cushion and spread out over it a fine linen cloth. 5. When I saw these things standing there, and no one at the place, I was utterly astonished, and a sort of trembling seized me and my hair stood on end; and a sort of shuddering came over me, because I was alone. Then when I came to myself and remembered the glory of God and took courage, kneeling down I confessed to the Lord again my sins, as previously. 6. And she came with six young men, whom I had seen before, and she stood beside me and listened attentively while I prayed and confessed to the Lord my sins. And she touched me and said, “Hermas, stop asking all of these things concerning your sins; ask also concerning righteousness, so that you may take some part of it to your family.” 7. And she raised me up by the hand and led me to the couch and said to the young men, “Go and build.” 8. And after the young men departed and we were alone, she said to me, “Sit here.” I said to her, “Madam, let the elders sit first.” “Do as I say,” she said, “sit down.” 9. Then when I wished to sit on the right side she would not let me, but indicated to me with her hand that I should sit on the left side. Then as I was musing and grieving because she did not allow me to sit on the right side, she said to me, “Are you distressed, Hermas? The place of the right side belongs to others, who have already pleased God and suffered for the name. But you lack much to be able to sit with them. But if you stand fast in your simplicity, as you are doing, you also shall sit with them, and whoever does what they have done and bears what they have borne.”

Vision 3, Chapter 2

10.1. “What,” said I, “have they borne?” “Listen,” she said. “Whips, prisons, great persecutions, crosses, wild beasts, for the sake of the name. That is why the right side of the holy place is for them and whoever suffers for the name. But for the remainder there is the left side. But to both, those who sit on the right and those who sit on the left, are the same gifts and the same promises; except the former sit on the right and have a certain glory. 2. And you are very eager to sit on the right with them, but your shortcomings are many. But you will be cleansed of your shortcomings; and all those who are not double minded will be cleansed of all their sins to this day.” 3. When she had said these things she intended to depart, but I fell at her feet and beseeched her by the Lord to show me the vision which she had promised. 4. And again she took me by the hand and raised me up and had me sit on the couch at the left. And she sat down at the right. And lifting a shining staff she said to me, “Do you see something great?” I said to her, “Madam, I see nothing.” She said to me, “Look! Do you not see right before you a great tower being built of lustrous square stones upon the water?” 5. And the tower was being built in a square by the six young men who had come with her; but myriads of other men were bringing stones, some from the deep, and some from the land, and were handing them to the six young men. They were taking them and building. 6. All the stones that were dragged from the deep were set in the building just as they were, for they were prepared and fit with the other stones at the joints. And they were joined so closely to each other that their joints did not show. And the structure of the tower looked as if it were built of one stone. 7. And of the other stones which were brought from the dry land, some they rejected, and some they placed in the building; others they broke up and threw far from the tower. 8. And many other stones were lying in a circle around the tower, and they did not use them for the tower. For some of them were rough, others had cracks, some were damaged by cutting, and some were white and round, so that they would not fit into the building. 9. And I saw other stones thrown far from the tower and going to the road and not staying on the road, but rolling off the road into the rough ground; and others were falling into fire and being burned; and others were falling near the water and were not able to roll into the water, although they wished to roll and go into the water.

The meaning of the tower (11:1-17:10)

Vision 3, Chapter 3

11.1. After showing me these things she wished to hurry away. I said to her, “Madam, what good is it for me to see these things and not know what is happening?” She answered and said to me, “You are a sly one, wishing to know about the tower.” “Yes, Madam,” I said, “so that I may report to my brethren, and that they may be cheered, and having heard these things may know God in much glory.” 2. And she said, “Many will hear, but having heard, some of them will rejoice and others will weep; but even these, if they hear and repent, also shall rejoice. Hear, then, the parable of the tower, for I will reveal everything to you. And do not trouble me any more about a revelation, for these revelations have come to an end, for they have been completed. But you will not stop asking for revelations, for you are so bold. 3. The tower which you see being built is I, the church which appeared to you now and previously. So ask whatever you wish about the tower and I will reveal it to you, so that you may rejoice with the saints.” 4. I said to her, “Madam, since once you considered me worthy enough to reveal everything to me, reveal it.” And she said to me, “Whatever is possible to be revealed to you will be revealed. Only let your heart return to God and do not be double minded concerning whatever you see.” 5. I asked her, “Why is the tower built on water, Madam?” “As I said to you before,” she said, “you are a sly one concerning the Scriptures and you seek diligently. Well, if you seek, you will find the truth. Hear then why the tower is built on water: because your life has been and will be saved through water. And the tower has been established by the word of the almighty and glorious name, and is supported by the unseen power of the Master.”

Vision 3, Chapter 4

12.1. I answered her and said, “Madam, this thing is great and wonderful. But the six young men who are building, who are they, Madam?” “These are the holy angels of God who were created first, to whom the Lord committed all his creation to develop and to build up and to govern the entire creation. So through them the building of the tower will be completed.” 2. “But who are the others who are bringing the stones?” “They are also angels of God, but the first six are superior to them. So the building of the tower will be completed, and they will all rejoice together around the tower and glorify God because the building of the tower has been completed.” 3. I asked her saying, “Madam, I wish to know the destination of the stones and what sort of meaning they have.” She answered me and said, “It is not because you are more worthy than all the others that a revelation is given to you, for others were before you and better than you, to whom these visions ought to have been revealed. But in order that the name of God may be glorified [cf. Ps. 85:9, 12; Isa. 24:15; 66:5], a revelation has been and will be given to you because of the double-minded ones who debate in their hearts whether these things are so or not. Tell them that all these things are true and nothing is apart from the truth, but everything is secure and reliable and well founded.

Vision 3, Chapter 5

13.1. “Hear now about the stones that go into the building. The stones that are square and white and fit their joints are the apostles and bishops and teachers and deacons who have walked according to the holiness of God, and who have sincerely and reverently served the elect of God as bishops and teachers and deacons. Some have fallen asleep while others are still living. And they always agreed with one another and had peace with one another and listened to each other. That is why their joints fit together in the building of the tower.” 2. “And the ones that were dragged from the deep and placed in the building and whose joints fit with the other stones that were already laid, who are they?” “They are the ones who have suffered for the name of God.” 3. “And I wish to know who are the other stones which were brought from the dry land, Madam.” She said, “Those that go into the building and are not hewn out are they whom the Lord approved because they walked in the uprightness of the Lord and carried out his commands.” 4. “Who are the ones that are brought and placed in the building?” “They are the new in the faith and are faithful. They have been admonished by the angels to do good, therefore evil has not been found in them.” 5. “Who are the ones they were rejecting and throwing away?” “They are the ones who have sinned and wish to repent. For this reason they were not thrown far from the tower, because they will be useful in the building if they repent. So the ones who are about to repent, if they do repent, shall be secure in the faith, if they repent now while the tower is being built. But if the building is completed they will no longer have a place, but will be excluded. And they have only this—that they lie close to the tower.”

Vision 3, Chapter 6

14.1. “Would you like to know who they are that are broken up and thrown far from the tower? They are the sons of iniquity; their faith was in hypocrisy, and no evil escaped them. For this reason they do not have salvation, because they are of no use in the building on account of their evil. That is why they were broken to pieces and thrown far away, because of the wrath of the Lord, for they provoked him to wrath. 2. And the others which did not go into the building, many of which you have seen lying around, the rough ones are those who have known the truth but do not abide in it and do not fit with the saints, therefore are worthless.” 3. “Who are the ones that have cracks?” “They are those who oppose each other in their hearts and do not have peace among themselves [1 Thess. 5:13; cf. Mark 9:50], but have only the appearance of peace, so whenever they depart from each other, their evil thoughts remain in their hearts. These are the cracks which the stones have. 4. The ones that are damaged by cutting are those who have believed and live for the most part in righteousness and have a certain measure of iniquity. That is why they are damaged and mutilated.” 5. “Who are those that are white and round and do not fit into the building, Madam?” She answered and said to me, “How long will you be foolish and senseless, and ask about everything and understand nothing? They are the ones that have faith, but have also the riches of this world. Whenever tribulation comes, because of the riches and their business affairs they deny their Lord.” 6. And I answered her and said, “Madam, when then will they be useful for the building?” “Whenever,” said she, “their riches which beguile them are hewn off, then they will be useful to God. For just as the round stone, if nothing is hewn off and cast from it, is unable to become square, so also the wealthy in this world, unless their wealth is hewn off, are unable to be used by the Lord. 7. Learn first from your own situation. When you were rich, you were not useful. Now you are useful and beneficial in life. Be useful to God, for you yourself have been used as one of the same stones.”

Vision 3, Chapter 7

15.1. “And the other stones which you saw thrown far from the tower and which reached the road and rolled from the road into the wasteland, they are the ones who have believed, but because of their double-mindedness left their true road. So thinking they can find a better way, they go astray and walk in misery through the wasteland. 2. The ones that fell into the fire and were burned, they are the ones who oppose the living God to the end [cf. Heb. 3:12], and it no longer enters their heart to repent because of their licentious desires and the evil things which they have done. 3. Do you wish to know who are the others who have fallen near the water and are unable to fall into the water? They are the ones who have heard the word [cf. Mark 4:18] and wish to be baptized in the name of the Lord [Acts 19:5; cf. Acts 2:38; 10:48]. Then when the purity of the truth comes to their remembrance, they change their minds and again follow after their evil desires” [cf. Sir. 18:30]. 4. So she ended the explanation of the tower. 5. Still unabashed, I asked her if all the stones that were rejected and did not fit into the structure of the tower could repent and have a place in this tower. “They can repent,” she said, “but they cannot fit in this tower. 6. But they will fit in another much inferior place, and that only when they are tormented and fill out the days of their sins. And for this reason they will be changed, because they receive the righteous word. And then it will happen that they are changed from their torments, if the evil deeds which they have done come to their hearts. But if they do not come to their hearts, they will not be saved because of their hardness of heart.”

Vision 3, Chapter 8

16.1. When I had stopped asking her concerning these things, she said to me, “Would you like to see something else?” Being very eager to see more, I was very glad to look. 2. She looked at me with a slight smile and said to me, “Do you see seven women around the tower?” “Yes, Madam,” I said. “This tower is borne by them by command of the Lord. 3. Now hear about their functions. The first of them, who governs [the others] by gestures, is called Faith. Through her the elect of God are saved. 4. The second, who is girded and appears manly, is called Self-control. She is the daughter of Faith. So whoever will follow her will be blessed in his life, because he will refrain from all evil works, believing that if he will refrain from every evil desire he will inherit eternal life.” 5. “Who are the others, Madam?” “They are daughters of one another, and they are called Sincerity, Knowledge, Innocence, Reverence, and Love. So whenever you do all the works of their mother, you can live.” 6. “I wish to know, Madam,” I said, “what sort of power they have.” “Listen,” she said, “to what powers they have. 7. Their powers are governed by one another, and they follow one another in the order which each is born. From Faith is born Self-control, from Self-control, Sincerity, from Sincerity, Innocence, from Innocence, Reverence, from Reverence, Knowledge, from Knowledge, Love. So their works are pure and reverent and divine. 8. So whoever serves these and has the strength to hold fast to their works will have a dwelling in the tower with the saints of God.” 9. I asked her concerning the times, if it were already ended. And she cried out with a loud voice and said, “Oh, foolish man! Do you not see the tower is still being built? So whenever the building of the tower is finished, that is the end. But it will be built up quickly. Do not ask me anything more. Let this reminder and the renewal of your spirits be sufficient for you and the saints. 10. But these things have been revealed not to you alone, but in order that you might show them to everyone—after three days, 11. for you need to understand first of all. I command you first, Hermas, to speak all these things which I am about to say into the ears of the saints in order that they may hear these things and do them and be cleansed of their evil, and you with them.”

Vision 3, Chapter 9

17.1. “Listen to me, children, by the mercy of the Lord, who fed you righteousness drop by drop, I nourished you in great sincerity and innocence and reverence in order that you might be righteous and purified from all evil and perversity. But you do not wish to cease from your evil. 2. Now then listen to me and be at peace among yourselves [1 Thess. 5:13], and be concerned for one another and help one another [cf. Acts 20:35], and do not take the creation of God for yourselves alone, but share the gravy of life with those also who are in need. 3. For by eating too much some are bringing on themselves illness in the flesh and are injuring their flesh; and the flesh of those who do not have food to eat is injured because there is not sufficient food and their body is wasting away. 4. So this lack of community spirit is harmful to you who have and do not share with the needy. 5. Consider the judgment which is to come. So let those who have more seek out those who are hungry until such a time as the tower is finished. For after the tower is finished you will wish to do good, but you will not have the opportunity. 6. So you who rejoice in your riches see to it that the needy never groan and their groaning go up to the Lord [cf. Jas. 5:4], and you be shut outside the door of the tower with your goods. 7. Now, then, I say to you officials of the church and those who have the seats of honor [cf. Matt. 23:6; Mark 12:39; Luke 11:43; 20:46]: do not become like the poisoners. For while the poisoners carry their drugs in bottles, you carry your drug and poison in your heart. 8. You have become callous and do not wish to cleanse your heart and mix your wisdom together in a clean heart in order that you may have mercy from the great king [cf. Ps. 46:3; Mal. 1:14]. 9. See to it then, children, that these dissensions of yours do not turn you away from your life. 10. How do you expect to teach the elect of the Lord if you yourselves do not have training? So teach one another and have peace among yourselves [1 Thess. 5:13] so that I too may stand joyfully before the father and give account for all of you to your Lord.”

A revelation concerning the forms of the church (18:1-21:4)

Vision 3, Chapter 10

18.1. So when she finished speaking with me, the six young men who were building came and took her to the tower, and four others picked up the couch and carried it also to the tower. I did not see their faces because they were turned away. 2. But as she was going away I asked her to give me a revelation about the three forms in which she had appeared to me. She answered me and said, “Concerning these things, it is necessary for you to ask someone else to reveal it to you.” 3. Now, brethren, last year in the first vision she appeared to me as quite elderly and she was sitting in a chair. 4. But in the second vision she had a younger face, though her body and hair were elderly, and she stood as she talked to me. And she was more cheerful than before. 5. In the third vision she was completely young and remarkable for her beauty, except that her hair was that of an elderly woman. She was cheerful in every respect and sat on a couch. 6. Concerning these things I was deeply grieved, for I wanted to know this revelation, and in a vision of the night I saw the elderly lady who said to me, “Every request requires humility. So fast, and you will receive what you ask from the Lord.” 7. So I fasted one day, and that night a young man appeared to me and said to me, “Why do you continually ask for revelations in your prayer? Be careful, lest by your many requests you injure your body. 8. These revelations are enough for you. Are you able to look at revelations mightier than what you have already seen?” 9. I answered and said to him, “Sir, this is the only thing I ask, that the revelation about the three forms of the elderly lady be completed.” He answered me and said, “How long will you people be without understanding? Your double-mindedness makes you unable to understand and you do not turn your heart to the Lord.” 10. And again I answered him and said, “But from you, sir, we will know these things more accurately.”

Vision 3, Chapter 11

19.1. “Hear,” he said, “about the forms concerning which you inquired. 2. Why did she appear to you in the first vision as elderly and sitting on a chair? Because your spirit is old and already faded and you lack power because of your softness and double-mindedness. 3. For just as old men, who no longer have any hope of becoming young again, look forward to nothing but their falling asleep, so also you who are softened by the cares of life, have given yourselves over to indifference and do not cast your burdens on the Lord [Ps. 54:23; cf. 1 Pet. 5:7]. But your disposition was broken and you became old with your griefs.” 4. “Why, then, I would like to know, did she sit in a chair, sir?” “Because everyone who is weak sits on a chair on account of his weakness, in order that the weakness of his body might find support. You have the meaning of the first vision.”

Vision 3, Chapter 12

20.1. “In the second vision you saw her standing and she had a younger face and was more cheerful than before, but the body and hair were those of an elderly lady. Listen,” he said, “to this parable also. 2. Whenever someone is old and has already given up hope for himself because of his weakness and poverty, and waits for nothing but the last day of his life, then unexpectedly an inheritance is left to him, and when he hears of it he arises, and being very glad he is clothed with strength. And he does not recline, but stands up, and his spirit, which previously was broken by his former concerns, is renewed and he no longer sits down, but acts like a man. So also are you who have heard the revelation which the Lord revealed to you. 3. For he had compassion on you and renewed your spirits, and you put aside your weakness, and strength came to you and you were made powerful in the faith; when the Lord saw you were being made strong he rejoiced. And for this reason he showed you the building of the tower, and he will show you other things if with all your heart you remain at peace with one another” [1 Thess. 5:13].

Vision 3, Chapter 13

21.1. “And in the third vision you saw her younger and beautiful and cheerful and her form was lovely. 2. So just as, if some good news comes to someone who is grieving, immediately he forgets the former grief and thinks of nothing but the news which he has heard, and from then on is strengthened to do good and his spirit is renewed because of the joy which he received, so also you have received renewal of your spirits because you have seen these good things. 3. And since you saw her sitting on a couch, the position is secure because the couch has four legs and stands secure, for even the world is supported by four elements. 4. So the ones who fully repent will be young and made secure—the ones who repent with all their heart. You have received the revelation in full, so do not ask anything else concerning the revelation. But if anything is needed, it will be revealed to you.”

Vision 4

The fourth vision of the church: the tribulation to come (22:1-24:7)

Vision 4, Chapter 1

22.1. That which I saw, brethren, twenty days after the previous vision had occurred, was as a foreshadowing of the tribulation to come. 2. I was going into the country by the Via Campana. The place is about 6,000 feet from the public thoroughfare, and is easily reached. 3. So as I was walking along by myself I asked the Lord that the revelation and vision which he had shown me through his holy church might be completed, so that he might strengthen me and give repentance to his servants who had been lead astray, in order that his great and glorious name might be glorified [cf. Pss. 85:9, 12; 98:3], because he regarded me worthy to show me his wonders. 4. And as I was glorifying him and giving him thanks, something like the sound of a voice answered me, “Be not double minded, Hermas.” And I began to reason with myself and to say, “How can I be double minded, when I have been made so secure by the Lord and have seen such glorious things?” 5. And I walked on a little, brethren, and behold, I saw a cloud of dust reaching as it were up to heaven, and I began to say to myself, “Are there not cattle coming and raising a cloud of dust?” And it was about 600 feet away from me. 6. When the dust cloud became greater and greater, I suspected it was something divine. The sun shone more brightly for a moment and behold, I saw a huge beast, something like a sea monster, and out of its mouth were coming fiery locusts. And the beast was about one hundred feet in length, and it had a head like a jar. 7. And I began to cry and to beseech the Lord to save me from it, and I remembered the word which I had heard, “Do not be double minded, Hermas.” 8. So, brethren, being clothed in the faith of God and remembering the great things he had taught me, taking courage, I entrusted myself to the beast. And the beast came on with a rush as if it could destroy a city. 9. I drew near to it and the sea monster, great as it was, stretched itself out on the ground and did nothing but thrust out its tongue and did not move at all until I had gone by it. 10. And the beast had four colors on its head: black, then the color of fire and blood, then gold, then white.

Vision 4, Chapter 2

23.1. After I had passed by the beast and had gone on about thirty feet, behold, a young lady met me, adorned as if coming from a bridal chamber [cf. Rev. 21:2], all in white and with white sandals, veiled up to the forehead, and her head covering was a snood, but she had white hair. 2. I knew from my previous visions that she was the church, and I became more cheerful. She greeted me saying, “How do you do, friend?” And I greeted her in return, “How do you do, Madam?” 3. She answered me and said, “Did nothing meet you?” I said to her, “Madam, a beast so great as could destroy entire peoples, but by the power of the Lord and by his great compassion I escaped it.” 4. “It is only right that you escape,” she said, “because you cast your burden upon God [Ps. 54:23; 1 Pet. 5:7] and you opened your heart to the Lord [cf. Ps. 61:9], believing that you could not be saved by anything but the great and glorious name. Therefore the Lord sent his angel who has authority over the beasts, whose name is Thegri, and he shut its mouth [cf. Dan. 6:23; Heb. 11:33] so that it might not hurt you. You escaped a great tribulation because of your faith and because when you saw so great a beast you did not become double minded. 5. Go then and tell the elect of the Lord about his great deeds, and say to them that this beast is a foreshadowing of the great tribulation about to come. If then you prepare yourselves in advance and repent with all your heart before the Lord, you will be able to excape it, if your heart becomes pure and blameless and you serve the Lord blamelessly the rest of the days of your life. Cast your burdens upon the Lord [Ps. 54:23; 1 Pet. 5:7] and he will set them straight. 6. Have faith in the Lord, you who are double minded, because he can do all things and turn his wrath from you and send out plagues to you who are double minded. Woe to those who hear these words and disobey; it would have been better for them not to have been born” [cf. Matt. 26:24; Mark 14:21].

Vision 4, Chapter 3

24.1. I asked her about the four colors that the beast had on its head. She answered me and said, “Again you are inquisitive about such things.” “Yes, Madam,” I said, “make known to me what they are.” 2. “Listen,” said she, “the black is this world in which you live. 3. The color of fire and blood means it is necessary for this world to be destroyed by blood and fire. 4. And the gold part is you who have fled this world [cf. 2 Pet. 2:20]. For just as gold is tested by fire [1 Pet. 1:7; Sir. 2:5] and becomes useful, so also you who live among those people are being tested. Those then who endure and are made red hot by them will be purified. For just as gold casts off its dross, so also you will cast off all grief and distress, and you will be purified and be useful in the construction of the tower. 5. And the white part is the age which is to come, in which the elect of God will live, because those who have been chosen by God for eternal life will be spotless and pure. 6. So speak constantly in the hearing of the saints. You have also the foreshadowing of the great tribulation which is to come. And if you so wish, it will be nothing. Remember those things which have already been written.” 7. After she had said these things she departed, and I did not see where she went, for there came a cloud and I turned back in fear, supposing that the beast was coming.

Revelation 5

The shepherd introduces the Mandates and Similitudes (25:1-7)

25.1. After I had prayed in my house and had sat down on the bed, there came in a man glorious in appearance, in the manner of a shepherd, wearing a white goatskin and with a bag on his shoulders and a staff in his hand. And he greeted me, and I returned his greeting. 2. And he sat down beside me at once and said to me, “I have been sent by the most reverend angel to dwell with you the rest of the days of your life.” 3. I thought that he came to test me and I said to him, “But who are you? For I know,” I said, “to whom I have been entrusted.” He said to me, “Do you not recognize me?” “No,” said I. “I,” he said, “am the shepherd to whom you have been entrusted.” 4. While he still spoke his appearance was changed and I recognized him as that one to whom I had been entrusted, and at once I was confused and fear seized me, and I was completely overcome by grief because I had answered him so wickedly and foolishly. 5. And he answered and said to me, “Do not be confused, but be strengthened in my commandments which I am about to give you. For I was sent,” he said, “so that I might show you again everything which you saw before, the main points, those which are beneficial to you. So then, first of all, you write down my commandments and parables; but the other things you shall write just as I show them to you. Therefore,” he said, “I am commanding you to write first the commandments and the parables, so that you may read them immediately and be able to keep them.” 6. So then I wrote down the commandments and parables just as he had commanded me. 7. If when you hear these things you keep them and live by them and do them with a clean heart, you will receive from the Lord whatever he has promised you. But if you hear and do not repent, but still add to your sins, you will receive from the Lord the opposite. The shepherd, the angel of repentance, has commanded me to write all these things in this way.

The Mandates

Mandate 1

Believe in God (26:1-2)

26.1. “First of all, believe that God is one, who created and completed all things [cf. Eph. 3:9] and made all that is from that which is not [cf. 2 Macc. 7:28] and contains all things, and who alone is uncontained. 2. So have faith in him and fear him, and fearing him be self-controlled. Keep these things and you will cast away all evil from yourself, and you will put on every virtue of righteousness and you will live to God, if you keep this commandment.”

Mandate 2

Be simple and innocent (27:1-7)

27.1. He said to me, “Have simplicity and become innocent, and you will be as little children who do not know the evil that destroys the life of men. 2. First, do not defame anyone nor listen gladly to one who does defame [cf. Jas. 4:11]. Otherwise you who listen will also be guilty of the sin of the one who defames, if you believe the defamation which you have heard; for by believing it, you yourself will have something against your brother. So in that way you will be guilty of the sin of the one who defames. 3. Defamation is evil; it is a restless demon, never at peace, but always dwells in dissension. So refrain from it and you will always be at peace with everyone. 4. And put on reverence, in which there is no evil reason for offense, but all is smooth and cheerful. Do good, and from your labors which God has given you give generously to all who are in need, not considering to whom you should give or to whom you should not give. Give to all, for God wishes that from his own gifts there be a giving to all. 5. So those who receive will give account to God as to why they took it and for what purpose; for those who are in distress when they receive something will not be condemned, while those who receive something in hypocrisy will be punished. 6. So the one who gives is guiltless, for as he received from the Lord a service to fulfill, he fulfilled it sincerely, not trying to distinguish to whom he should give or not give. So this service, sincerely fulfilled, becomes glorious before God. So the one who serves sincerely will live to God. 7. So keep this commandment, as I have told you, so that the repentance of you and your family may be found sincere and pure and innocent and undefiled.”

Mandate 3

Love truth (28:1-5)

28.1. Again he said to me, “Love truth, and let nothing but truth proceed from your mouth, so that the spirit which God caused to dwell in this flesh will be found truthful by all men, and in that way the Lord who dwells in you will be glorified because the Lord is truthful in every word and there is nothing false in him. 2. So those who falsify reject the Lord and become defrauders of the Lord, not returning to him the deposit which they received. For they received from him a spirit free of falseness. If they give this back as a false one, they have defiled the commandment of the Lord and have become defrauders.” 3. So when I heard these things I cried a great deal. And when he saw me crying, he said, “Why are you crying?” “Sir,” I said, “because I do not know whether I can be saved.” “Why?” said he. “Because, sir,” I said, “I have never yet in my life spoken a true word, but I have always lived deceitfully with everyone and I have represented my falseness as truth to all men, and no one ever contradicted me, but believed my word. Sir,” said I, “having done these things, how then can I live?” 4. “Your judgment,” he said, “is right and true, for you ought as God’s servant to live in truth, and an evil conscience ought not to dwell with the spirit of truth, nor bring grief to a spirit which is reverent and true.” “Never before, sir,” I said, “have I heard such words so precisely.” 5. “Well now,” he said, “you do hear. Keep them so that even the former falsifications which you told in your business, when they are found truthful, will become trustworthy. For they also can become trustworthy. If you keep these things and from now on speak only the truth, you will be able to gain for yourself life, and whoever hears this commandment and refrains from the evilness of lying, will live to God.”

Mandate 4

Guard chastity (29:1-11)

Mandate 4, Chapter 1

29.1. “I command you,” he said, “to guard chastity, and do not let anything occur in your heart about another man’s wife or about some immorality or about any such evil things even similar to these. For if you do this, you commit a great sin. But if you always keep your mind on your own wife, you will never go wrong. 2. For if this desire arises up in your heart, you will sin, and if other things just as evil rise up, you commit sin. For to a servant of God this desire is a great sin, and if anyone commits this evil act, he brings death upon himself. 3. So watch out; refrain from this desire; for where reverence dwells, there iniquity ought not to rise up in the heart of a righteous man.” 4. I said to him, “Sir, let me ask you a few questions.” “Speak up,” he said. “Sir,” I said, “if a man has a wife who is faithful in the Lord and he discovers her in some adultery, does the man then sin if he continues to live with her?” 5. “As long as he knows nothing of it,” said he, “he does not sin, but if the husband knows of her sin and the wife does not repent, but persists in her evil, and the husband continues to live with her, he becomes guilty of her sin and a partner in her adultery.” 6. “What then, sir,” I said, “should the husband do if the wife persists in this passion?” “Let him divorce her,” he said, “and let the husband live by himself; but if when he has divorced her he marries another woman, he also commits adultery” [cf. Mark 10:11; Matt. 5:32; 19:9]. 7. “So, sir,” said I, “after the woman has been divorced, if she repents and wishes to be returned to her own husband, will she not be taken back?” 8. “Yes indeed,” he said, “if the husband does not take her back, he sins and brings upon himself a great sin. At least it is necessary to take back the one who has sinned and repented, but not often, for there is one repentance for the servants of God. So in case of repentance, the husband ought not to marry. This course of action is valid for both wife and husband. 9. Not only,” said he, “is it adultery if anyone defiles his flesh, but also whoever does anything similar to what the heathen do commits adultery. So if anyone persists in such deeds and does not repent, avoid him and do not live with him, lest you also share in his sin. 10. That is why I order you to live by yourselves, whether husband or wife. For in such cases repentance is possible. 11. So I,” said he, “am not giving a pretext for this matter to end in this way, but in order that the one who has sinned will sin no longer. Concerning his former sin there is one who is able to heal, for it is he who has power over all things.”

Further repentance is possible (30:1-31:7)

Mandate 4, Chapter 2

30.1. I asked him again saying, “Since the Lord considers me worthy enough for you to live with me always, endure yet a few more words from me, since I do not understand anything and my heart has been hardened [cf. Mark 6:52; 8:17] by my former deeds. Make me understand, because I am very foolish and I understand absolutely nothing.” 2. He answered me and said, “I,” he said, “am in charge of repentance and I give understanding to everyone who repents. Or does it not seem to you,” he said, “that this repentance is itself understanding? To repent,” he said, “is great understanding. For the one who sins understands that he has done evil before the Lord [Judg. 2:11; 3:12, etc.], and the deed which he has done rises up in his heart, and he repents and no longer commits the evil deed, but does good deeds all the more and humbles and torments his own soul because he sinned. So you see repentance is great understanding.” 3. “So that is why, sir,” I said, “I inquire so precisely from you into everything; first, because I am a sinner, that I might know what things to do in order to live, for my sins are many and diverse.” 4. “You will live,” he said, “if you keep my commandments and walk in them. And whoever hears these commandments and keeps them will live to God.”

Mandate 4, Chapter 3

31.1. “Sir,” I said, “I would like to question you still further.” “Speak,” he said. “Sir,” I said, “I have heard from certain teachers. that there is no other repentance except that one when we went down into water and received forgiveness of our former sins.” 2. He said to me, “You have heard correctly, for that is so. For the one who has received forgiveness of sins ought never to sin again, but live in purity. 3. But since you inquire so precisely into everything, I will show this to you also, but not for giving a pretext for those who are about to believe or to those who just now believe in the Lord. For those who just now believe, or are about to believe, do not have repentance of sins, but they have forgiveness of their former sins. 4. So for those who were called before these days the Lord established repentance; for since the Lord knows the heart and knows everything beforehand, he knew the weakness of men and the cunning of the devil, that he would do something evil to the servants of God and act wickedly toward them. 5. So being full of compassion, the Lord had mercy on what he had made and established this repentance, and authority over this repentance was given to me. 6. But I tell you,” he said, “after that great and holy calling, if anyone sins who has been tempted by the devil, he has one repentance. But if he continually sins and repents, it is of no advantage to such a man, for he will hardly live.” 7. I said to him, “I was given new life when I heard these things so precisely from you; for I know that if I no longer continue in my sin, I will be saved.” “You will be saved,” he said, “and everyone else who does these things.”

Chastity in widowhood (32:1-4)

Mandate 4, Chapter 4

32.1. I asked him again saying, “Sir, since you endured me once before, make this clear to me also.” “Speak,” he said. “Sir, if a wife,” I said, “or, on the other hand, a husband falls asleep, and one of them marries, the one who marries does not sin, does he?” 2. “He does not sin,” he said, “but if he lives by himself, he gains greater honor for himself and great glory with the Lord [cf. 1 Cor. 7:35-40]; but even if he marries he does not sin. 3. So preserve chastity and reverence and you will live to God. From now on, from the day you were entrusted to me, keep these things which I tell you and I am going to tell you, and I will dwell in your house. 4. And there will be forgiveness for your former trespasses if you keep my commandments; and there will also be forgiveness for everyone who keeps these commandments of mine and lives in this purity.”

Mandate 5

Be patient (33:1-7)

Mandate 5, Chapter 1

33.1. “Be patient,” he said, “and understanding, and you will overcome all evil deeds and do great righteousness. 2. For if you are patient, the holy Spirit that dwells in you will be pure, not hindered by another spirit which is evil, but dwelling in a spacious room will rejoice and be glad with the vessel in which it dwells and will serve God with great cheerfulness, having peace with itself. 3. But if any ill temper enters, the holy Spirit, which is delicate, is discomforted immediately, and since it does not have a clean place, it seeks to leave the place. For it is choked by the evil spirit and it does not have room, since it was defiled by ill temper, to serve the Lord as it wishes. For the Lord dwells in patience, but the devil in ill temper. 4. So when both spirits dwell in the same place, it is of no advantage and bad for that man in whom they dwell. 5. For if you take a very little bit of wormwood and pour it into a jar of honey, is not all of the honey spoiled, and is not so much honey ruined by the very least amount of wormwood, and does it not destroy the sweetness of the honey, and it no longer has the same favor with its owner because it has been made bitter and it has lost its usefulness? But if wormwood is not put into the honey, the honey is found sweet and becomes useful to its owner. 6. You see that patience is very sweet, even more than the honey, and is useful to the Lord, and he dwells in it. But ill temper is bitter and useless. If then ill temper is mixed with patience, patience is defiled, and its prayer is no longer useful to God.” 7. “Sir,” I said, “I wish to know the power of ill temper so that I may guard against it.” “Indeed,” he said, “if you and your family do not guard against it, you have destroyed all hope. But guard against it, for I am with you and all who repent with all their heart will refrain from it; for I will be with them and I will protect them, for they have all been made righteous by the most revered angel.”

The power of ill temper (34:1-8)

Mandate 5, Chapter 2

34.1. “Now hear,” said he, “about the power of ill temper, how evil it is, and how it misleads the servants of God by its power, and how it makes them stray from righteousness. But it does not lead astray those who are filled with faith nor is it able to do anything to them, for my power is with them; but it does lead the empty headed and double minded astray. 2. For whenever it sees such men leading a quiet life, it maneuvers itself into the heart of that man, and for no reason at all the man or the woman becomes bitter, because of business matters, or concerning food or some trifle, or concerning a certain friend, or concerning giving or receiving, or some such foolish matters, for all these things are foolish and empty and senseless and harmful to the servants of God. 3. But patience is great and firm and possesses power that is strong and sturdy and thrives in a great expanse, is cheerful, glad, free from care, glorifying the Lord at all times [Ps. 33:2; cf. Tob. 4:19], having no bitterness in itself, remaining always meek and quiet. So this patience dwells with those who have a faith that is whole. 4. But ill temper is first of all foolish, impetuous and senseless. Then from foolishness comes bitterness, from bitterness anger, from anger wrath, and from wrath implacable fury; so this fury, consisting as it does of such evil things, becomes a great and incurable sin. 5. For whenever all these spirits dwell in one vessel, where also dwells the holy Spirit, that vessel does not hold them, but overflows. 6. So the delicate spirit, which does not customarily dwell with an evil spirit, nor with harshness, leaves such a man and seeks to dwell with gentleness and quiet. 7. Thus whenever it departed from that man, where it was dwelling, that man became devoid of the spirit of righteousness and from then on, since he has been filled with evil spirits, he vacillates in everything he does, being pulled here and there by the evil spirits, and totally blinded to a good disposition. So it goes then with all those who are ill tempered. 8. So refrain then from ill temper, the most evil spirit; but put on patience and resist ill temper and bitterness, and you will be found with a reverence that is beloved by the Lord. See to it then that you never neglect this commandment; for if you master this commandment, you will be able also to keep the remaining commandments which I am going to give you. Be strong and made powerful by these, and all who wish to live by them will be made powerful.”

Mandate 6

The power of faith (35:1-5)

Mandate 6, Chapter 1

35.1. “I commanded you,” he said, “in the first commandment to keep faith and fear and self-control.” “Yes, sir,” said I. “But now,” he said, “I wish to show you their force also, in order that you might know what force and power each of them possesses, for their powers are twofold. They relate then to righteousness and unrighteousness. 2. So trust righteousness, but do not trust unrighteousness, for righteousness has a straight road, but unrighteousness a crooked one. But you follow the straight and level road, and avoid the crooked. 3. For the crooked road has not been established by use, but is pathless and has many obstacles and is rough and thorny. So it is harmful to those who travel on it. 4. Let those who travel on the straight road walk on level ground and do not stumble, for it is neither rough nor thorny. So you see that it is better to travel on this road.” 5. “It pleases me, sir,” I said, “to travel on this road.” “Go on,” he said, “and whoever turns to the Lord with his whole heart [Jer. 24:7; Joel 2:12] will travel on it.”

The two angels in man (36:1-10)

Mandate 6, Chapter 2

36.1. “Now hear,” he said, “about faith. There are two angels with man, one of righteousness and one of evil.” 2. “How then, sir,” I said, “will I know their powers, since both angels live with me?” 3. “Listen,” he said, “and understand. The angel of righteousness is delicate and modest and meek and quiet. So whenever this one rises up in your heart, he speaks with you at once concerning righteousness, sincerity, reverence, contentment, and every righteous deed, and every glorious virtue. Whenever all these things come up in your heart, know that the angel of righteousness is with you. So these are the works of the angel of righteousness. So trust this one and his works. 4. Now observe the works of the evil angel. First of all, he is ill tempered and bitter and foolish, and his works are evil, destroying the servants of God. So whenever this one comes into your heart, know him by his works” [cf. Matt. 7:16]. 5. “Sir,” I said, “I do not understand how I will recognize him.” “Listen,” he said. “Whenever ill temper or bitterness comes over you, know that he is in you; then comes the desire for many affairs and the extravagance of many kinds of foods and intoxicating drinks, much carousing and various and unnecessary indulgences and desires for women, and covetousness and great arrogance and pretention and whatever things resemble and are similar to them. So whenever these things come to your heart, know that the angel of evil is in you. 6. So when you recognize his works, shun him and do not trust him, for his works are evil and harmful to the servants of God. Here you have the powers of both angels; understand them and trust the angel of righteousness. 7. But shun the angel of evil, because his teaching is evil in every case. For if any man is faithful and the thought of that angel comes to his heart, that man or woman will surely commit a sin. 8. But again, even if a man or a woman is very wicked, and there comes to his heart the deeds of the angel of righteousness, of a necessity he will surely do something good. 9. So you see,” he said, “that it is good to follow the angel of righteousness, to bid farewell to the angel of evil. 10. This commandment shows things concerning faith, so that you might believe the works of the angel of righteousness, and by doing them live to God, but believe that the works of the angel of evil are bad, so by not doing them you will live to God.”

Mandate 7

Fear the Lord (37:1-5)

37.1. “Fear the Lord,” he said, “and keep his commandments. So if you keep the commandments of God [Eccles. 12:13], you will be powerful in every action and your activity will be incomparable. For if you fear the Lord, you will do everything well. And this is the fear which you must have, and you will be saved. 2. Do not fear the devil, for if you fear the Lord you will overcome the devil, for there is no power in him. Where there is no power, neither is there fear; but where there is glorious power, there is also fear. For everyone who has power invokes fear, but the one who does not have power is scorned by all. 3. Fear the works of the devil because they are evil. So if you fear the Lord, you will fear the works of the devil and not do them, but avoid them. 4. So there are two sorts of fear. For if you want to do evil, fear the Lord and you will not do it; but, on the other hand, if you want to do good, fear the Lord and you will do it. So the fear of the Lord is strong and great and glorious. So fear the Lord and you will live to him; and whoever fears him and keeps his commandments will live to God.” 5. “Why, sir,” I said, “did you say concerning those who keep his commandments, ‘They will live to God’?” “Because,” he said, “all creation fears the Lord, but does not keep his commandments. So life with God belongs to those who fear him and keep his commandments. But those who do not keep his commandments have no life in them either.”

Mandate 8

Concerning self-control (38:1-12)

38.1. “I told you,” he said, “that the creatures of God are twofold, for self-control is also twofold. For in some things it is necessary to exercise self-control, in others it is not.” 2. “Let me know, sir,” I said, “in what it is necessary to exercise self-control, and in what it is not.” “Listen,” he said. “Exercise self-control over what is evil, and do not do it; but do not be self-controlled in what is good, but do it. For if you exercise self-control with the good, so as not to do it, you do a great sin. But if you exercise self-control with evil, so as not to do it, you practice great righteousness. So exercise self-control over all evil and do that which is good.” 3. “What, sir,” I said, “are the evils over which it is necessary for us to exercise self-control?” “Listen,” he said, “from adultery and immorality, from lawless carousing, from evil luxury, from many foods and extravagance of wealth, and boasting and haughtiness and arrogance, and from lying and defamation and hypocrisy, holding grudges and all blasphemy. 4. These actions are the most evil of all in the life of men. So over these works it is necessary for the servant of God to exercise self-control. For the one who does not exercise self-control over them is not able to live to God. Listen then also to what follows from them.” 5. “Sir,” I said, “are there still other evil deeds?” “Yes indeed,” he said, “there are many over which it is necessary for the servant of God to exercise self-control: theft, lying, robbery, false witness, covetousness, evil desire, deceit, vainglory, ostentation, and whatever else is like these. 6. Does it not seem to you these are evil things?” “For the servants of God,” I said, “they also are very evil.” “For the one who is serving God, it is necessary to exercise self-control over all these things. So exercise self-control over all these things so that you will live to God and be enrolled with those who practice self-control in them. These then are the things over which it is necessary to be self-controlled. 7. But listen,” he said, “to those things which do not require self-control, but which you do. Do not practice self-control in relation to good, but do it.” 8. “Show me the power also of the good things,” I said, “so that I might live by them and serve them in order that by doing them I may be saved.” “Listen,” he said, “to the works that are good, which are necessary for you to do and not be restrained. 9. First of all is faith, fear of the Lord [Ps. 110:10; Prov. 1:7], love, harmony, words of righteousness, truth, patience; there is nothing in the life of men better than these. For if anyone keeps these things and does not practice self-control over them, he will be blessed in his life. 10. Then hear what follows these things; serving the widows, looking after orphans and those who are needy, delivering the servants of God from distress, being hospitable (for doing good is found in hospitality), resisting no one, being quiet, being more needy than all other men, revering the aged, practicing righteousness, protecting brotherhood, enduring insults, being patient, not bearing a grudge, encouraging those who are tired of life, not casting aside those who have stumbled from the faith, but converting and encouraging them, admonishing those who sin, not oppressing those who are in debt and in need, and whatever is like these things. 11. Does it seem to you,” he said, “that these things are good?” “What, sir,” I said, “is better than these things?” “Then live by them,” he said, “and do not be restrained in relation to them, and you will live to God. 12. So keep this commandment; if you do good and do not exercise self-control over it, you will live to God, and all who do so will live to God. And again, if you do not evil and exercise self-control over it, you will live to God, and all who keep these commandments and live by them will live to God.”

Mandate 9

Cast off double-mindedness (39:1-12)

39.1. He said to me, “Cast off from yourself double-mindedness and be not at all double minded about asking anything from God, by saying to yourself, ‘How am I able to ask anything from the Lord and receive it, since I have sinned so much against him?’ 2. Do not consider these things, but turn to the Lord with all your heart [Jer. 24:7; Joel 2:12] and without hesitating ask of him, and you will know his great compassion, because he will not forsake you, but will fulfill the request of your soul. 3. For God is not as men, who hold grudges, but he seeks not vengeance and has compassion on what he has made. 4. So cleanse your heart of all the worthless things of this age and of all the words which were spoken to you before, and ask of the Lord, and you will receive everything and all your requests will be granted, if you ask of the Lord without hesitating. 5. If you hesitate in your heart, you will not receive any of your requests. For those who hesitate before God, they are double minded, and they do not obtain any of their requests [cf. Jas. 1:7 f.]. 6. But the ones who are complete in the faith ask for everything, since they have trusted the Lord [Ps. 2:12], and they receive it because they ask without hesitating, not being double minded. For every man who is double minded, if he does not repent, will be saved with diffculty. 7. So cleanse your heart of double-mindedness, and put on faith, because it is strong, and trust God so that you will receive all requests for which you ask. Whenever you ask something from the Lord and you receive the request rather slowly, do not be double minded because you did not receive the request of your soul speedily, for in every case it is because of some temptation or transgression, of which you are ignorant, that you receive your request so slowly. 8. So do not cease asking for the request of your soul, and you will receive it; but if you lose heart and become double minded in your asking, blame yourself and not the one who gives to you. 9. Watch out for this double-mindedness, for it is evil and foolish and it uproots many from the faith, even those who are very faithful and strong, for this double-mindedness is also the daughter of the devil and does much evil among the servants of God. 10. So despise double-mindedness and overcome it in every case, putting on a faith that is strong and powerful, for faith promises all things, perfects all things. But double-mindedness, which does not trust itself, fails in all that it does. 11. So you see,” he said, “that faith is from above, from the Lord, and has great power; but double-mindedness is an earthly spirit from the devil, which has no power. 12. So serve faith, which has power, and refrain from double-mindedness, which has no power, and you will live to God and all who are so disposed will live to God.”

Mandate 10

Cast off grief (40:1-41:6)

Mandate 10, Chapter 1

40.1. “Cast off grief from yourself,” he said, “for she is the sister of double-mindedness and ill temper.” 2. “How, sir,” said I, “is she their sister? For it seems to me that ill temper is one thing, double-mindedness another, and grief another.” “You are a foolish man,” he said. “Do you not understand that grief is the most evil of all the spirits and very bad for the servants of God, and it ruins man more than all the spirits and wears out the holy Spirit, and saves again?” [Cf. 2 Cor. 7:10.] 3. “Sir,” I said, “I am foolish and I do not understand these parables. For I do not understand how it is able to wear out and save again.” 4. “Listen,” he said, “those who have never sought after the truth nor inquired concerning divinity but have simply believed, being mixed up in affairs of business and in wealth and in heathen friendships and many other affairs of this age—those who are absorbed in these things do not understand parables about divinity. For they are darkened by these affairs and are ruined and become barren. 5. Just as fine vineyards, whenever they are neglected, are made barren by thorns and various weeds, so men who believe and engage in these many affairs, as mentioned before, stray from their purpose and understand nothing at all of righteousness, but when they hear about divinity and truth, their mind is busy with their own affairs and they understand nothing at all. 6. But the ones who have a fear of God and seek after divinity and truth, and whose hearts are turned to the Lord, perceive and understand quickly everything that is said to them, because they have the fear of the Lord in them [Ps. 110:10; Prov. 1:7]. For where the Lord dwells, there is also great understanding. So hold fast to the Lord [cf. Sir. 2:3] and you will perceive and understand all things.”

Mandate 10, Chapter 2

41.1. “Hear then, foolish man,” he said, “how grief wears out the holy Spirit and saves again [cf. 2 Cor. 7:10]. 2. Whenever the double-minded man undertakes any enterprise and fails in it because of his double-mindedness, this grief enters into the man and it grieves the holy Spirit and wears it out. 3. Then again, when ill temper clings to a man concerning some matter, and he becomes very bitter, again grief enters into the heart of the man who is ill-tempered, and he is grieved about what he has done and repents, because he has done evil. 4. So this grief seems to possess salvation because he repented his evil deed. So both things grieve the Spirit: double-mindedness, because he did not succeed in his action, and ill temper grieves the Spirit because he did evil. So both double-mindedness and ill temper are a grief to the holy Spirit. 5. So cast off grief from yourself and do not distress the holy Spirit [cf. Eph. 4:30] which dwells in you, lest it make petition to God against you and depart from you. 6. For the spirit of God given for this flesh submits to neither grief nor distress.”

Put on cheerfulness (42:1-4)

Mandate 10, Chapter 3

42.1. “So put on cheerfulness [cf. Sir. 26:4], which always finds favor with God and is pleasant to him, and delight in it. For every cheerful man does good things and thinks good things and despises grief. 2. But the sorrowful man always does evil; first he does evil because he grieves the holy Spirit that was cheerful when given to man; second, after he has grieved the holy Spirit, he does wrong by not praying or confessing to God. For the prayer of a grieving man never has the power to go up to the altar of God.” 3. “Why,” I said, “does not the prayer of one who is grieving go up to the altar of God?” “Because,” he said, “grief sits in his heart, so when mixed with prayer, grief does not allow the prayer to go up in purity to the altar, for just as vinegar and wine mixed together do not have the same pleasant taste, so also grief mixed with the holy Spirit does not have the same appeal. 4. So cleanse yourself of this evil grief and you will live to God; and all will live to God who cast off from themselves grief and put on only cheerfulness.”

Mandate 11

On testing prophets (43:1-21)

43.1. He showed me men sitting on a bench, and another man sitting in a chair, and he said to me, “Do you see those who are sitting on the bench?” “I see, sir,” I said. “They are believers,” he said, “and the one sitting in the chair is a false prophet who is destroying the understanding of the servants of God. But he destroys that of the double minded, not of the believers. 2. Those who are double minded go to him as to a soothsayer and ask him what will happen to them. And that false prophet, having no power of a divine spirit in himself, talks to them in response to their questions and their evil desires, and fills their souls just as they themselves wish. 3. For since he is empty himself, he gives empty answers to empty people. For whatever is asked, he answers according to the emptiness of the man who asked. But he says some things that are true, for the devil fills him with his spirit to see if he will be able to break some of the righteous. 4. So those who are strong in the faith of the Lord, having put on truth, do not associate with such spirits, but refrain from them. But those who are double minded and repent often, practice soothsaying like the heathen, and by their idolatry bring upon themselves greater sin. For the one who asks a false prophet about any concern is an idolater and is void of truth and is foolish. 5. For no spirit given by God need be asked, but it has the power of deity in itself to say all things, because it is from above [cf. Jas. 3:15], from the power of the divine Spirit. 6. But the spirit that needs to be asked and speaks according to the desires of men is earthly and fickle and has no power; and it does not speak at all unless asked.” 7. “Sir,” I said, “how then will a man know which of them is a prophet and which is a false prophet?” “Hear,” he said, “about both prophets, and in the manner that I am going to tell you, you can test the prophet and the false prophet. By his life you test the man that has the divine Spirit. 8. First, then, the one who has the spirit from above is gentle and quiet and humble, and refrains from all evil and worthless desires of this age, and makes himself more needy than all other men, and when asked, gives no answer to anyone. Neither does he speak by himself, nor does the holy Spirit speak whenever a man wishes to speak, but he speaks when God wishes him to speak. 9. So whenever the man who has the divine Spirit comes into an assembly of righteous men who have faith in the divine Spirit, and a prayer is made to God by the assembly of those men, then the angel of the prophetic spirit which is assigned to him fills the man, and that man, having been filled by the holy Spirit, speaks to the group as the Lord wills. 10. So in this way the divine Spirit is known. So whatever power pertains to the spirit of diety is of the Lord. 11. Hear now,” he said, “about the spirit which is earthly and empty and has no power, but is foolish. 12. In the first place, that man who thinks he has the spirit elevates himself and wishes to have a seat of honor, and right away he is bold and shameless and talkative, and lives in great luxury and in many other pleasures, and accepts pay for his prophesying. And if he does not receive, he does not prophesy. Is it possible, then, for a divine Spirit to accept a salary for prophesying? It is not possible for a prophet of God to do this, but the spirit of such prophets is earthly. 13. Next, he never comes near an assembly of righteous men, but shuns them. But he associates with the double minded and the empty, and prophesies to them in a corner, and he deceives them by saying everything in an empty manner, according to their desires, for he is answering those who are empty. For that empty vessel which is placed with others that are empty is not broken, but they harmonize with one another. 14. But whenever he comes into an assembly full of righteous men who have the divine Spirit and prayer is offered by them, that man is emptied, and the earthly spirit flees from him in fear, and that man is rendered speechless and is completely shattered, being unable to say a thing. 15. For if you store wine or oil in a storeroom and place an empty jar among them, and again you wish to empty the storeroom, that jar which you place there empty you will find still empty. So also the prophets who are empty, whenever they come among the spirits of righteous men, are found to be just as they were when they came. 16. You have before you the life of both kinds of prophets. By his deeds and life test, then, the man who says he is inspired. 17. And you yourself trust the spirit which comes from God and has power, but in no wise trust that spirit which is earthly and empty, because in it there is no power, for it comes from the devil. 18. Listen, then, to the parable that I am about to tell you. Take a stone and throw it up to heaven; see if you are able to touch it. Or again, take a water pump and squirt up to heaven; see if you are able to penetrate heaven.” 19. “How, sir,” I said, “can these things be? For the things you have spoken of are both impossible.” “Just as these things are impossible,” he said, “so also are the earthly spirits powerless and weak. 20. Take now the power which comes from above. The hailstone is a very small pellet, but when it falls on a man’s head, what a pain it causes! Or again, take a drop that falls on the ground from the roof and makes a hole in stone. 21. You see then that when they fall on the earth, even the smallest things from above have great power. So the divine spirit which also comes from above is powerful. Trust, then, this spirit, but avoid the other.”

Mandate 12

Cast off evil desire (44:1—45:5)

Mandate 12, Chapter 1

44.1. He said to me, “Cast from yourself every evil desire, and put on that desire which is good and reverent, for by clothing yourself with this desire you will hate evil desire and control it as you wish. 2. For evil desire is wild and hard to tame. For it is terrifying and utterly destroys men by its wildness, especially if a servant of God falls into it and lacks understanding, he will be terribly destroyed by it; for it destroys such as have not the clothes of good desire, but are mixed up with this world; these men, then, it delivers to death.” 3. “What, sir,” said I, “are the works of evil desire which deliver men to death? Make it known to me so that I may refrain from them.” “Hear,” he said, “by what works evil desire puts to death the servants of God.

Mandate 12, Chapter 2

45.1. “Above all is the desire for the wife or husband of someone else, and for the extravagance of wealth, and for much needless food and drink, and many other foolish luxuries. For every luxury is foolish and vain for the servants of God. 2. So these desires are evil, putting to death the slaves of God, for this evil desire is a daughter of the devil. It is necessary, then, to refrain from evil desires, so that by refraining you will live to God. 3. But as many as are overcome by them, and do not resist them, will finally perish, for these desires are deadly. 4. So put on the desire of righteousness, and being armed with the fear of the Lord, resist them [Eph. 6:13], for the fear of God dwells in good desire. If the evil desire sees that you are armed with the fear of God and are resisting it, it will flee far from you [Jas. 4:7], and, fearing your weapons, it will no longer be seen by you. 5. So when you are the victor and triumph over it, come to the desire of righteousness, and deliver to it the victory which you won, and serve it as it desires. For if you serve the good desire and submit to it, you will be able to overcome the evil desire and control it as you please.”

An exhortation on the commandments (46:1-49:5)

Mandate 12, Chapter 3

46.1. “I would like to know, sir,” I said, “in what ways it is necessary for me to serve good desire.” “Listen,” he said. “Do works of righteousness [cf. Ps. 14:2; Acts 10:35] and virtue, truthfulness and fear of the Lord, faith and gentleness, and whatever good things are like these. By doing these things you will be a well-pleasing servant of God and will live to him and everyone who serves the good desire will live to God.” 2. So he finished the twelve commandments and said to me, “You have these commandments; live by them and exhort the ones who hear, so that their repentance might be pure the rest of the days of their lives. 3. Perform carefully this ministry which I have given to you, and you will do much, for you will find favor with those who are about to repent, and they will obey your words, for I will be with you and I will compel them to obey you.” 4. I said to him, “Sir, these commandments are great and good and glorious and are able to gladden the heart of a man [Ps. 103:15; cf. Ps. 18:9] who is able to keep them. But I do not know, sir, if these commandments can be observed by man, for they are very hard.” 5. He answered and said to me, “If you propose to yourself that they can be observed, you will observe them easily, and they will not be hard. But if it has come up in your heart already that they cannot be observed by man, you will not observe them. 6. Now I say to you, if you do not observe them, but neglect them, you will not have salvation, nor will your children, nor your family, since you have already decided for yourself that these commandments cannot be observed by man.”

Mandate 12, Chapter 4

47.1. He said these things to me very angrily, so that I was confused and very much afraid of him, for his form was changed so that a man could not endure his anger. 2. But when he saw that I was completely terrified and confused, he began to speak to me more gently and cheerfully, and he said, “Foolish man, without understanding and double minded, do you not understand how great and strong and wonderful is the glory of God [cf. Ps. 20:6], because he created the world for the sake of man and made subject to man all his creation [cf. Ps. 8:7], and gave to him all authority to rule over everything under the heaven? 3. If then,” he said, “man is lord of everything created by God and rules over them, is he not able also to master these commandments? That man who has the Lord in his heart,” he said, “is able to master everything and all these commandments. 4. Those who have the Lord on their lips, but their heart is hardened and they are far from God, for them these commandments are hard and difficult to follow. 5. So you who are empty and vacillating in the faith, place the Lord in your heart, and know that nothing is easier or sweeter or milder than these commandments. 6. You who walk in the commandments of the devil, which are hard and bitter and wild and licentious, be converted and do not fear the devil, for he has no power over you. 7. For I, the angel of repentance, who can control him, will be with you. The devil only causes fear, but his fear has no force. So do not fear him, and he will flee from you.”

Mandate 12, Chapter 5

48.1. I said to him, “Sir, hear a few words from me.” “Speak as you please,” he said. “Sir,” I said, “man is eager to observe the commandments of God, and there is no one who does not ask of the Lord to be strengthened in his commandments and obey them. But the devil is hard and dominates them.” 2. “He cannot,” he said, “dominate the servants of God who hope in him with all their hearts. The devil can wrestle, but he cannot pin. If, then, you resist him, he will flee defeated from you [Jas. 4:7] in disgrace. But,” said he, “those who are quite empty fear the devil as though he had power. 3. When a man fills a large number of jars with good wine and among the jars are a few not full, he comes to the jars and does not take notice of the full ones, for he knows that they are full. He does take note of those not full, for fear that they may have turned sour. For jars that are not full soon sour, and the pleasant taste of the wine is destroyed. 4. So also the devil comes to all the servants of God to tempt them. All those who are filled in the faith stoutly withstand him, and he goes away from them, for he can find no place to enter in. Then he goes to those who are not full and, since he finds a place, he goes into them, and does as he wishes with them, and they become his slaves.”

Mandate 12, Chapter 6

49.1. “But I, the angel of repentance, say to you, do not fear the devil. For I was sent,” said he, “to be with you who repent with all your heart, and to strengthen you in the faith. 2. So believe in God, you who because of your sins have despaired of your life, and have added to your sins and have made your life hard, because, if you turn to the Lord with all your heart [Jer. 24:7; Joel 2:12], and do deeds of righteousness [Ps. 14:2; Acts 10:35; Heb. 11:33] the rest of the days of your life, and serve him rightly according to his will, he will cure your former sins and you will have power to conquer the works of the devil. Do not fear the threat of the devil at all, for he is as powerless as the sinews of a corpse. 3. So listen to me and fear him who has all power, to save and to destroy [Jas. 4:12; cf. Matt. 10:28; Luke 6:9], and keep these commandments, and you will live to God.” 4. And I said to him, “Sir, now I am strengthened in all the requirements of the Lord; because you are with me, and I know that you will destroy all the power of the devil and we will rule over him and gain a victory over all his works. And I hope, sir, that, given power by the Lord, I am able to observe these commandments which you have commanded.” 5. “You will observe them,” he said, “if your heart is pure toward the Lord, and all who purify their hearts of the vain desires of this world will observe them and will live to God.”

The Similitudes

The Similitudes Which He Told Me [Similitude 1]

The parable of the two cities (50:1-11)

50.1. He said to me, “You know,” said he, “that you servants of God live in a foreign country, for your city is far from this city. If, then, you know,” he said, “your city in which you are going to live, why do you prepare lands and expensive possessions and buildings and useless rooms here? 2. So the one who prepares these things for this city does not expect to return to his own city. 3. Foolish and double minded and miserable man, do you not understand that all these things are another’s and are under the authority of someone else? For the lord of this city will say, ‘I do not want you to live in my city, but depart from this city for you do not live in accordance with my laws.’ 4. So you who have fields and dwellings and many other possessions, what will you do with the field and the dwelling and the other things which you have prepared for yourself, when you are cast out by him? For the lord of this country has the right to say to you, ‘Either live according to my rules or get out of my country.’ 5. What are you going to do if there is a law in your own city? For the sake of your fields and other possessions will you renounce your law altogether and live according to the law of this city? Beware lest it be disadvantageous for you to deny your law, for if you wish to return to your city, you will not be received because you have denied the law of your city, and you will be excluded from it. 6. So beware. As one living in a foreign country, do not prepare for yourself more than is necessary to be self-sufficient, and be prepared so that whenever the ruler of this city wishes to cast you out for disobeying his law, you can leave his city and go to your city and joyfully live according to your law with decorum. 7. So beware, you who serve the Lord and have him in your hearts. Do the deeds of God, remembering his commandments [Ps. 102:18] and the promises which he promised, and trust him, for he will do them if his commandments are observed. 8. So instead of fields, purchase souls that are in distress, as each is able, and care for the widows and orphans [Jas. 1:27], and do not overlook them, and spend your wealth and all your possessions on such fields and houses which you received from God. 9. For this is the reason the master made you rich, so that you might fulfill these ministries for him. It is much better for you to purchase such fields and possessions and houses as you will find in your city when you go home to it. 10. This wealth is beautiful and cheerful, for it brings neither grief nor fear, but brings joy. Do not strive for the wealth of the heathen, for it has no advantage to you who are servants of God. 11. But strive for your own wealth, in which you are able to rejoice, and do not counterfeit or touch that of another, nor desire it. For it is wicked to desire that which belongs to someone else. Do your own work and you will be saved.”

Another Similitude [Similitude 2]

The parable of the elm and the vine (51:1-9)

51.1. While I was walking in the country, and was observing an elm and a vine, and contrasting them and their fruits, the shepherd appeared to me and said, “What are your thoughts concerning the elm and the vine?” “I think, sir,” I said, “that they are very well suited to each other.” 2. “These two trees,” he said, “appear as a type for the servants of God.” “I would like to know,” I said, “the type of these trees of which you speak.” “Do you see,” he said, “the elm and the vine?” “I see them, sir,” I said. 3. “This vine,” he said, “bears fruit, but the elm is a fruitless tree. But if it does not climb up on the elm, this vine is not able to bear much fruit, since it is spread on the ground, and what fruit it does bear is rotten, because it is not hanging on the elm. So whenever the vine is attached to the elm, it bears fruit both from itself and from the elm. 4. So you see, then, that the elm gives much fruit, not less than the vine, but, instead, even more.” “How, sir,” I said, “does it bear more?” “Because,” he said, “the vine which is attached to the elm gives fruit which is plentiful and good, while that which is lying on the ground bears little fruit, which is rotten at that. So this parable applies to the servants of God, to poor and rich.” 5. “How, sir?” I said. “Make it known to me.” “Listen,” he said, “the rich man has wealth, but he is poor in things concerning the Lord, being overburdened concerning his wealth, and his prayer and confession to the Lord are insignificant, and what he has is feeble and small and without authority. So whenever the rich man rests upon the poor man and supplies him his needs, he believes that what he does for the poor man will be able to find a reward with God, because the poor man is rich in his prayer and in confession, and his prayer has much power with God. Therefore the rich man provides everything for the poor man without hesitating. 6. Since he is supported by the rich man, the poor man, when he gives thanks to God, pleads with him on behalf of the one who shared with him, and that one is all the more zealous on behalf of the poor man, in order that he might not lack anything in his life, for he knows that the prayer of the poor man is acceptable and rich before the Lord. 7. So both complete their work. The poor man works with prayer, in which he is rich, which he received from the Lord; this he gives back to the Lord who supplies it to him. And the rich man likewise without hesitating shares with the poor man the wealth which he received from the Lord. And this work is great and acceptable with God, because he understands about his wealth and works for the poor man out of the gifts of the Lord, and rightly fulfills his ministry. 8. So to men the elm appears not to bear fruit, and they do not know or understand that whenever there is a drought, the elm, which has water, nourishes the vine, and the vine, which has a constant supply of water, gives double the amount of fruit, both for itself and for the elm. So also those who are poor, by appealing to the Lord on the behalf of the rich, complement their wealth, and again those who are rich, by supplying the necessities of life to the poor, complement their prayers. 9. So they both become partners in righteous work. So the one who does these things will not be deserted by God, but will be inscribed in the books of the living. 10. Blessed are those who have and understand that their wealth comes from the Lord, for the one who understands this will also be able to do some good service.

Another Similitude [Similitude 3]

The parable of the trees in wintertime (52:1-3)

52.1. He showed me many trees which had no leaves, but appeared to me to be as if dried up; for they were all alike. And he said to me, “Do you see,” he said, “these trees?” “I see, sir,” I said, “that they are alike and dried up.” He answered me and said, “These trees which you see are the ones who dwell in this world.” 2. “Why, then, sir,” I said, “are they as if dry and all alike?” “Because,” said he, “neither the righteous nor the sinners are apparent in this world, but are all alike. For this world is winter for the righteous, and they are not apparent even though they are living with sinners. 3. For just as in the winter, the trees, having shed their leaves, are alike, and it is not apparent which are the dried up or which are the living, so also in this world neither the righteous nor the sinners are apparent, but all are alike.”

Another Similitude [Similitude 4]

The parable of the trees in summertime (53:1-8)

53.1. Again he showed me many trees, some of which were budding, and some dried up, and he said to me, “Do you see,” he said, “these trees?” “I see, sir,” I said, “some budding and some dried up.” 2. “These trees which are budding,” he said, “are the righteous who are about to dwell in the world to come, for the world to come is summer for the righteous, but winter for the sinners. So when the mercy of the Lord shines forth, then those who serve God will be made known to all. 3. For just as the fruit of every single tree appears by summer and it is known what kind they are, so also the fruit of the righteous will be apparent and, since they are flourishing, they will all be known in that world. 4. But the heathen and the sinners, the dried-up trees which you saw, such will be found dried up and fruitless in that age and will be burned as dry wood and will be distinguishable because their conduct was evil in their life. For the sinners will be burned because they sinned and did not repent, and the heathen will be burned because they did not know the one who created them. 5. So bear fruit in yourself, so that in that summer your fruit will be known. Refrain from many affairs and you will in no wise sin. For those who engage in many affairs also sin much since they are overburdened by their affairs and do not serve their Lord. 6. How, then,” he said, “can such a man ask anything of the Lord and receive it, when he does not serve the Lord? The ones who serve him, those will receive their requests. But the ones who do not serve the Lord will receive nothing. 7. If anyone is occupied with one concern, he is also able to serve the Lord, for his mind is not corrupted away from the Lord, but he will serve him with a pure mind. 8. So if you do these things, you will be able to bear fruit for the world to come; and whoever does these things will bear fruit.”

Similitude 5

On fasting (54:1-5)

Similitude 5, Chapter 1

54.1. While I was fasting, and sitting on a certain mountain, and thanking the Lord for all he had done for me, I saw the shepherd sitting beside me and saying these things to me, “Why have you come here so early?” “Because, sir,” I said, “I am on guard duty.” 2. “What,” said he, “is the guard?” “I am fasting, sir,” I said. “But what,” said he, “is this fast that you are keeping?” “Sir,” I said, “I am fasting just as I have been accustomed to do.” 3. “You do not know how to fast to God,” he said, “and this useless fast you are keeping for him is not a fast.” “Why, sir,” I said, “do you say this?” “I am telling you,” he said, “that this is not a fast which you think you are keeping, but I will teach you what an acceptable and complete fast to the Lord is.” “Yes, sir,” said I, “you will make me happy if I may know that fast acceptable to God.” “Listen,” said he. 4. “God does not wish such a futile fast as this, for by fasting in this way you do nothing for righteousness. But fast to God in this way: 5. Do nothing evil in your life, but serve the Lord with a clean heart, keeping his commandments [Matt. 19:17] and following his orders, and let no evil desire arise in your heart. Believe in God, because, if you do these things and fear him and abstain from every evil deed, you will live to God. And if you do these things, you will complete a fast that is great and acceptable to the Lord.”

The parable of the vineyard (55:1-11)

Similitude 5, Chapter 2

55.1. “Listen to the parable which I am going to tell you concerning fasting. 2. A certain man had a field and many slaves, and in a certain part of the field he planted a vineyard. As he was going away on a journey, he selected a certain slave who was reliable and pleasing and called him and said to him, “Take this vineyard which I have planted and fence it, until I come, and do nothing more to the vineyard. Keep this commandment of mine and you will be a freedman with me.’ And the master of the slave went away on a journey. 3. After he departed, the slave took and fenced the vineyard. And when he had finished fencing the vineyard, he saw that the vineyard was full of weeds. 4. So he thought to himself, saying, ‘I have completed the commandment of the Lord; in addition, I will cultivate this vineyard, and it will look better after it is cultivated, and with no weeds it will yield more fruit, because it is not choked by the weeds.’ He took and cultivated the vineyard and he pulled out all the weeds that were in the vineyard. And that vineyard became very attractive and thriving, for it had no weeds to choke it. 5. After some time the master of the field and the slave came and went into the vineyard. And when he saw the vineyard was attractively fenced and, moreover, was cultivated, and all the weeds were pulled up and the vines were thriving, he rejoiced greatly at the efforts of the slave. 6. So he called his beloved son, who was his heir, and his friends, who were his advisers. He told them what he had commanded his servant to do and what he had found accomplished. And they congratulated the slave on the testimony which the master gave for him. 7. And he said to them, ‘I promised freedom to this slave, if he kept my commandment which I gave him. He kept my commandment and added to it good work in the vineyard, and he pleased me greatly. So in return for this work which he has done, I wish to make him a joint heir with my son, because, when he had a good thought he did not neglect it, but carried it out.’ 8. The son of the master approved of this decision that the slave should become joint heir with the son. 9. A few days later the master of his house gave a dinner and sent him considerable food from the dinner. When the slave received the food sent him by his master, he took enough for himself and distributed the rest to his fellow slaves. 10. When his fellow slaves received the food they rejoiced, and began to pray for him, that he might find even greater favor with his master, because he treated them in this way. 11. His master heard of all these things which had happened and again was greatly pleased with his conduct. ‘Again the master called together his friends and his son and told them what the slave had done with the food which he had received. They were even more pleased that the slave would be made a joint heir with his son.”

True fasting (56:1-9)

Similitude 5, Chapter 3

56.1. I said to him, “Sir, I do not understand these parables nor can I comprehend them unless you interpret them to me.” 2. “I will interpret everything to you,” he said, “and whatever I tell you I will explain. Keep the commandments [Matt. 19:17] of the Lord and you will be pleasing to him and be enrolled in the number of those who keep his commandments. 3. If you do something good beyond the commandment of God, you will gain greater glory for yourself and you will be more honored before God than you would have been. If then, while keeping the commandments of God, you add also these services, you will rejoice, if you keep them according to my commandment.” 4. I said to him, “Sir, whatever you command me, I will follow it, for I know that you are with me.” “I will be with you,” he said, “because you have such zeal for doing good, and I will be with all,” said he, “who have the same zeal. 5. This fast,” he said, “is very good, if you keep the commandments of the Lord. So observe this fast which you are going to keep in this way: 6. First of all, guard against every evil word and every evil desire, and cleanse your heart of all the vanities of this world. If you observe these things, this fast will be complete. 7. And here is what you will do: when you have finished the above-mentioned, on that day when you are fasting, you will taste nothing except bread and water, and you will be aware of the amount of the cost of your food you would have eaten on that day which you are going to keep. Having set it aside, you will give it to a widow or an orphan or someone else in need, and in this way you will be humble minded, so that from your humility the one who receives may fill his soul and pray to the Lord for you. 8. If, then, you complete the fast in this way, as I command you, your sacrifice will be acceptable before God [cf. Phil. 4:18; Isa. 56:7; 1 Pet. 2:5], and this fast will be recorded, and the service done in this way is good and joyous and acceptable to the Lord. 9. This is the way you shall observe these things, with your children and all your house; if you observe them, you will be blessed and as many as hear them and keep them will be blessed, and whatever they ask from the Lord they will receive.”

The meaning of the vineyard (57:1-59:8)

Similitude 5, Chapter 4

57.1. I besought him much to explain to me the parable of the field and the master and the vineyard and the slave who fenced the vineyard, and the fences, and the weeds that were pulled up out of the vineyard, and the son, and the friends who were advisers, for I understood that all these things were a parable. 2. He answered me and said, “You are very arrogant in asking questions. You ought not,” said he, “to ask any questions at all, for if it is necessary to have it explained to you, it will be explained.” I said to him, “Sir, whatever you show me and do not explain, I will have seen in vain and will not understand what it is. And likewise, if you tell me a parable and do not interpret it to me, I will have heard something from you in vain.” 3. Again he answered me and said, “Whoever,” he said, “is a servant of God and has his Lord in his heart may ask for understanding from him and receive it [cf. Jas. 1:5f.; 1 Kings 3:11-12], and interpret every parable, and with the help of the Lord those things spoken through parables are made known to him. But as many as,” said he, “are weak and careless in prayer, those hesitate to ask of the Lord. 4. But the Lord is very compassionate and gives without hesitating to everyone who asks of him. But since you have been empowered by the glorious angel, and have received from him such a power of intercession and are not careless, why do you not ask for understanding from the Lord and receive it from him?” 5. I said to him, “Sir, since I have you with me, I will, of necessity, ask you and question you, for you show me everything and talk with me. But if I had seen or heard these things without you, I would ask the Lord that it might be explained to me.”

Similitude 5, Chapter 5

58.1. “I told you just now,” he said, “that you were sly and arrogant in asking for the explanations of the parables. But since you are so stubborn, I will explain to you the parable of the field and the rest of all that followed it, so that you can make them known to everyone. Listen now,” he said, “and understand them. 2. The field is this world [Matt. 13:38] and the Lord of the field is he who created all things [Eph. 3:9; Rev. 4:11; cf. Heb. 3:4] and completed them and gave them power [cf. Ps. 67:29]. The son is the holy Spirit. The slave is the Son of God, and the vines are this people which he himself planted. 3. The fences are the holy angels of the Lord who hold his people together. The weeds which were pulled up out of the vineyard are the iniquities of the servants of God. The foods which he sent him from the table are the commandments which he gave to his people through his Son. The friends and advisers are the holy angels who were created first. The absence of the master is the time remaining until his coming.” 4. I said to him, “Sir, it is all great and wonderful and it is glorious. So, how,” I said, “could I have understood these things? Nor could any other man, even if he were very intelligent, understand these things. Furthermore, sir,” I said, “explain to me what I am about to ask you.” 5. “Speak,” he said, “if you wish anything.” “Why, sir,” said I, “does the Son of God appear in the guise of a slave in the parable?”

Similitude 5, Chapter 6

59.1. “Listen,” he said, “the Son of God does not appear in the guise of a slave, but appears with great power and authority.” “How, sir?” I said, “I do not understand.” 2. “Because God planted the vineyard,” he said, “that is, created the people, and he turned it over to his Son. And the Son appointed the angels to protect every one of them, and having worked much and endured many labors, he himself cleansed their sins. For no one is able to cultivate a vineyard without labor and hardship. 3. So when he had cleansed the sins of the people, he showed them the paths of life [Ps. 15:11] and gave them the law which he received from his Father [John 10:18]. You see, then,” said he, “that, since he received all power from his Father, he is Lord of the people. 4. But hear why the Lord took, as a counselor concerning the inheritance of the slave, his Son, and the glorious angels. 5. The pre-existent holy Spirit, which created all creation, God caused to dwell in that flesh which he wished. So this flesh, in which the Holy Spirit dwelled, served the Spirit well, living in reverence and purity, and did not defile the Spirit in any way. 6. So because it conducted itself appropriately and purely and worked with the Spirit and collaborated in every deed, acting with strength and courage, he chose it as partner with the holy Spirit, for the conduct of this flesh pleased God because it was not defiled while it possessed the holy Spirit on earth. 7. So he took the Son as a counselor, and the glorious angels, that this flesh also, after it served the Spirit blamelessly, should have some place to dwell and not seem to have lost the reward of its servitude. For all flesh in which the holy Spirit has dwelled, when found undefiled and spotless, will receive a reward. 8. You have the explanation of this parable also.”

An exhortation on purity (60:1-4)

Similitude 5, Chapter 7

60.1. “I am glad, sir,” I said, “to hear this explanation.” “Listen, now”, he said, “keep this flesh of yours pure and undefiled, so that the Spirit that dwells in it may bear witness to it and your flesh may be justified. 2. Beware, lest it enter your heart that this flesh of yours is mortal and you misuse it in some defilement. If you defile your flesh, you defile also the holy Spirit; and if you defile your flesh, you will not live.” 3. “But if, sir,” I said, “there was any previous ignorance, before these words were heard, how will the man who has defiled his flesh be saved?” “Concerning former sins committed in ignorance,” he said, “it is possible for God alone to give healing, for all power is his. 4. But now keep these things, and the Lord who is very compassionate will heal them, if henceforth you defile neither your flesh nor the Spirit. For both belong together and neither can be defiled without the other. So keep both clean and you will live to God.”

Similitude 6

The parable of the two shepherds (61:1-65:7)

Similitude 6, Chapter 1

61.1. While I was sitting in my house and glorifying the Lord for all that I had seen, and reflecting on the commandments because they were fine and powerful and joyous and glorious and able to save the soul of man [cf. Jas. 1:21], I said to myself, “I will be blessed if I walk in these commandments, and whoever walks in them will be blessed” [Ps. 118:1]. 2. While I was saying this to myself, I unexpectedly saw him sitting beside me and saying these things, “Why are you double minded about the commandments which I have commanded you? They are fine. Be not double minded at all, but put on the faith of the Lord, and walk in them, for I will strengthen you in them. 3. These commandments are beneficial for those who are going to repent, for if they do not walk in them, their repentance is in vain. 4. So you who repent must put aside the evils of this world which destroy you, and by putting on every virtue of righteousness you will be able to keep these commandments and add no longer to your sins. So by adding nothing you will cut off much of your former sins. So walk in my commandments and you will live to God. All these things have been spoken to you by me.” 5. After he had spoken of these things with me, he said to me, “Let us go into the country, and I will show you the shepherds of the sheep.” “Let us go, sir,” I said. We came to some plain, and he showed me a young shepherd wearing a suit of clothes yellow in color. 6. He was tending very many sheep and these sheep seemed as if they were living luxuriously and indulgently [cf. Jas. 5:5] and were joyous as they skipped here and there. And the shepherd himself was most joyful over his flock, and even the appearance of the shepherd was very joyful, and he ran about among the sheep. And I saw in one place other sheep living indulgently and luxuriously, but they were not skipping about.

Similitude 6, Chapter 2

62.1. He said to me, “Do you see this shepherd?” he said. “I see, sir,” I said. “This,” said he, “is the angel of luxury and deception. He destroys the souls of the servants of God who are empty, and turns them away from the truth by deceiving them with evil desires in which they are destroyed. 2. For they forgot the commandments of the living God and walk in deception and vain luxury and are destroyed by this angel, some to death and some to corruption.” 3. I said to him, “Sir, I do not know what ‘to death’ and ‘to corruption’ mean.” “Listen,” he said, “the sheep which you see that are very joyful and are skipping about are the ones who have completely withdrawn from God and have given themselves over to the desires of this world. For these, then, there is no repentance unto life, for, in addition, they have blasphemed against the name of the Lord. For such, then, there is death. 4. But the ones that you saw not skipping about, but feeding in one place, are those who have given themselves over to luxury and deceit, but have not blasphemed against the Lord. So these are corrupted from the truth. For them, then, there is hope of repentance, by which they are able to live. So corruption has some hope of renewal, but death has eternal destruction.” 5. Again we went on a little farther, and he showed me a large shepherd who seemed wild in appearance, wearing a white goatskin, and he had a bag on his shoulder, and a very hard and knotted staff in his hand, and a great whip. And he had a very bitter look, so that I was afraid of him; such a look had he. 6. This shepherd, then, was receiving from the young shepherd the sheep, those that were living indulgently and luxuriously but not skipping about, and he set them in a certain precipitous place, full of thorns and thistles, so that the sheep were unable to disentangle themselves from the thorns and thistles, but were caught in the thorns and thistles. 7. So they were feeding while entangled in thorns and thistles and, being beaten by him, they were very miserable. And he was driving them about here and there, and he gave them no rest at all, and those sheep had no peace at all.

Similitude 6, Chapter 3

63.1. So when I saw them so flogged and so miserable, I was distressed on their account because they were so tormented and had no relief at all. 2. I said to the shepherd who was speaking with me, “Sir, who is this shepherd who is so merciless and bitter and has no compassion at all for these sheep?” “This,” said he, “is the angel of punishment. He belongs to the righteous angels, but he is in charge of punishment. 3. He receives, then, those who have strayed from God and walked in the desires and deceptions of this world, and he punishes them, as is fitting, with various terrible punishments.” 4. “I would like to know, sir,” I said, “what these various punishments are like.” “Listen,” said he, “to the various torments and punishments. The torments befall one during his earthly life, for some are punished with losses, some with deprivations, some with various illnesses, some with total disturbance, some are abused by unworthy persons and suffer many other things. 5. For since many are unsettled in their decisions, they try many things, and nothing at all succeeds for them. And they say that they do not prosper in their affairs, and it does not enter their hearts that they have done evil deeds, but they blame the Lord. 6. So whenever they suffer every kind of affliction, they are turned over to me for good instruction and are strengthened in the faith of the Lord and serve the Lord with pure hearts the rest of the days of their lives. Then whenever they repent, the evil deeds which they did come to their hearts, and then they glorify God because he is a righteous judge [Ps. 7:12; 2 Tim. 4:8] and because each one rightly suffered everything for what he had done [cf. Matt. 16:27; Rev. 2:23]. From then on they will serve the Lord with their hearts pure, and prosper in all that they do, receiving from the Lord all that they ask [cf. Matt. 21:22; 1 John 3:22]. And then they glorify the Lord because they were turned over to me and no longer suffer any evil.”

Similitude 6, Chapter 4

64.1. I said to him, “Sir,” said I, “explain something else to me.” “What do you want to know?” he said. “Whether, sir,” said I, “those who live luxuriously and in self-deception are tormented for the same time as they lived in luxury and self-deception?” He said to me, “They are tormented for the same time.” 2. “Sir,” said I, “they are tormented too little, for those who live in luxury and forget God ought to be tormented sevenfold.” 3. He said to me, “You are foolish and you do not understand the power of torment.” “Well, sir,” I said, “if I had understood, I would not have asked you to explain it to me.” “Listen,” said he, “to the power of both. 4. The time of luxury and deception is one hour, but an — hour of torment has the power of thirty days. So if anyone lives in luxury and self-deception for one day, and is tormented for one day, the day of torment has the impact of a whole year. So a man is tormented for as many years as days he lives in luxury. You see, then,” he said, “that the time of luxury and deception is very short, while that of punishment and torment is great.”

Similitude 6, Chapter 5

65.1. “Sir,” I said, “since I do not understand at all about the times of deception and luxury and of torment, explain it more clearly to me.” 2. He answered and said, “Your foolishness is persistent, and you do not wish to purify your heart and serve God. Be careful,” he said, “lest the time be fulfilled and you still be found foolish. Listen then,” said he, “so that you understand these things, just as you wish. 3. The one who lives in luxury and self-deception for one day, and does as he pleases, has put on considerable foolishness, and does not know what he is doing. For on the next day he forgets what he has done the day before. For luxury and deception have no memory because of the foolishness in which they are clothed. But when punishment and torment cling to a man for one day, he is punished and tormented for a year, for punishment and torment have long memories. 4. So when a man is tormented and punished for a whole year, then he remembers the luxury and deception, and he knows that he suffers evil because of them. So every man who lives in luxury and self-deception is tormented in this way, for even though they have life, they have given themselves over to death.” 5. “Sir,” said I, “what sorts of luxury are harmful?” “Everything,” he said, “which a man likes to do is a luxury for him. For even the man who is ill-tempered lives in luxury when he satisfies his passion. And the adulterer and the drunkard and the slanderer and the liar and the one who covets and the robber and the one who does such things as these satisfies his own sickness. So he lives in luxury by his own action. 6. All these luxuries are harmful to the servant of God. So because of these deceptions, those who are punished and tormented are suffering. 7. But there are also luxuries which save men. For many live in luxury because they are moved to do good by their own pleasure. So this luxury is advantageous for the servants of God and brings life to such a man. But the harmful luxuries mentioned before bring torments and punishments, and if they persist and do not repent, they bring death on themselves.”

Similitude 7

Concerning repentance and torment (66:1-7)

66.1. A few days later I saw him in the same plain where I had also seen the shepherds, and he said to me, “What do you want to know?” “I am here to ask you, sir,” said I, “to command the punishing shepherd to leave my house, for he troubles me very much.” “It is necessary for you to be troubled,” he said, “for so has the glorious angel given orders concerning you. For he wants you to be tested.” “Why, what have I done so evil, sir,” said I, “that I should be given over to this angel?” 2. “Listen,” he said. “Your sins are many, but not such that you ought to be given over to this angel. But your house has done great sins and iniquities, and the glorious angel has become embittered by their deeds, and for this reason he ordered you to be troubled for a while, that they also might repent and cleanse themselves of all the desires of this world. So whenever they repent and are cleansed, then the angel of punishment will leave you.” 3. I said to him, “Sir, even if they have done such things that the glorious angel has become embittered, what have I done?” “There is no other way they can be troubled,” said he, “than if you, the head of the house, be troubled. For when you are troubled, they of necessity will also be troubled, but while you prosper, they can have no trouble.” 4. “But look, sir,” I said, “they have repented with all their hearts.” “I also know,” he said, “that they have repented with all their hearts. Do you think,” he said, “the sins of those who repent are immediately forgiven? By no means! But the one who repents must torment his own soul and be extremely humble in everything he does and be troubled with all kinds of tribulations. And if he endures the tribulations that come to him, surely the one who created and enabled all things [cf. Eph. 3:9] will have compassion and give them some healing, 5. and this, certainly, if he sees that the heart of the one who repented is clean of every evil deed. But it is beneficial for you and your house to be troubled at this time. But why do I tell you so many things? You must be troubled, just as that angel of the Lord who gave you over to me has ordered. And give thanks to the Lord for this, that he considered you worthy to show you the tribulation beforehand, so that, knowing of it in advance, you may bear it bravely.” 6. I said to him, “Sir, you stay with me, and I will be able to endure every tribulation.” “I will be with you,” he said, “and I will ask the punishing angel to trouble you more lightly. But you will be troubled for a little while and you will be restored again to your place. Only continue to be humble minded and serve the Lord with a pure heart, both your children and your household, and walk in my commandments which I give you, and your repentance can be strong and pure. 7. And if you, with your family, keep these things, all trouble will leave you, and trouble will leave all,” he said, “who walk in these my commandments.”

Similitude 8

The parable of the willow tree (67:1-68:9)

Similitude 8, Chapter 1

67.1. He showed me a willow tree that covered plains and mountains, and all who were called by the name of the Lord came under the shade of the willow. 2. And an angel of the Lord, glorious and very tall, stood beside the willow, with a huge pruning hook, and he was cutting branches from the willow, and he was giving them to the people who were in the shade of the willow. He gave to them small sticks, about eighteen inches long. 3. After they had all received the sticks, the angel put the pruning hook down, and the tree was as sound as I had seen it before. 4. And I wondered and said to myself, “How is the tree sound after so many branches have been cut off?” The shepherd said to me, “Do not wonder that the tree has remained sound after so many branches have been cut off; now look at everything,” he said, “and what it means will be explained to you.” 5. The angel who had given the sticks to the people asked for them back again. And they were called back to him in the same order as they had received them, and each of them returned the sticks. And the angel of the Lord took them and examined them. 6. From some he received the sticks dry and eaten, apparently by worms. The angel ordered the ones who had returned such sticks to stand off by themselves. 7. And others returned them dry, but they were not worm-eaten. He also ordered them to stand off by themselves. 8. Others returned them half dry, and these stood off by themselves. 9. Others returned their sticks half dry and cracked, and these stood off by themselves. 10. Others returned their sticks green and cracked, and these stood off by themselves. 11. Others returned the sticks half dry and the other half green, and these stood off by themselves. 12. Others presented their sticks two-thirds of the stick green and one-third dry, and these stood off by themselves. 13. Others returned them two-thirds dry and one-third green, and these stood off by themselves. 14. Others returned their sticks almost totally green, but only a bit of their sticks was dry, just the tip, and they had cracks in them. And these stood off by themselves. 15. Those of others had only a little green and the rest of the stick was dry. And these stood off by themselves. 16. Others came bearing their sticks green as they had received them from the angel. The greater part of the crowd returned such sticks, and the angel was very glad for them, and they stood off by themselves. 17. Others returned their sticks green and with shoots, and these stood off by themselves. And the angel was very glad for them. 18. Others returned their sticks green and with shoots and their shoots seemed to have some fruit. And those people whose sticks were found like that were very glad. And the angel rejoiced for them and the shepherd also was very glad for them.

Similitude 8, Chapter 2

68.1. And the angel of the Lord ordered that crowns be brought. And crowns were brought, apparently made of palm leaves, and he crowned the people who had returned their sticks with shoots and some fruit, and he sent them off into the tower. 2. And he sent into the tower the others who had returned their sticks with shoots, but without fruit, and he gave to them seals. 3. And all who went into the tower had the same clothes, white as snow. 4. He also sent off those who returned the sticks green, as they had received them, and gave them white clothes and seals. 5. After the angel had finished this he said to the shepherd, “I am going away, but as for you, send these people inside the walls, in so far as any are worthy of dwelling there. But examine their sticks carefully and send them off accordingly—but examine carefully. See to it that no one goes by you unnoticed,” he said, “but if any do get by you unnoticed, I will test them at the altar.” After saying this to the shepherd he departed. 6. After the angel departed the shepherd said to me, “Let us take the sticks from all of them and plant them; perhaps some of them are able to live.” I said to him, “Sir, how can these dry things live?” 7. He answered me and said, “This tree is a willow and hardy species, so if these sticks are planted and receive a little moisture, many of them will live, and so next I will try to pour water on them. If any of them can live, I will rejoice with them; but if none will live, I will not have been found negligent.” 8. And the shepherd ordered me to call them in the order that each of them stood. They came group by group and returned the sticks to the shepherd. And the shepherd received the sticks and planted them by groups. After they were planted he poured out considerable water on them, so that the sticks were no longer visible because of the water. 9. And after he had watered the sticks he said to me, “Let us go, and after a few days come back and examine all these sticks, for the one who created this tree wishes all who received branches from it to live. And I also hope that, since these roots have received moisture and been watered, the greater part of them will live.”

The meaning of the willow and the sticks (69:1-8)

Similitude 8, Chapter 3

69.1. I said to him, “Sir, let me know what this tree is, for I am at a loss concerning it, that, although so many branches were cut off, the tree is sound and nothing at all appears to have been cut from it. So I am confused by this.” 2. “Listen,” said he, “this great tree which covers plains and mountains and all the earth is the law of God which was given to all the world. And this law is the Son of God, who has been preached to the ends of the earth. And the people in the shade are those who have heard the preaching and believed it. 3. And the great and glorious angel is Michael, who has authority over this people and guides them, for it is he who puts the law into the hearts of those who believe. So he examines those to whom he has given the law to see if they have kept it. 4. But you see the sticks of each one, for the sticks are the law. So you see many of the sticks made useless, and you will know that they are all those who have not kept the law. And you will see the dwelling of each one.” 5. I said to him, “Sir, why did he send some off to the tower and leave others with you?” “For the sake of repentance,” said he, “he left under my authority those who transgressed the law which they had received from him. But he keeps under his own authority those who were pleased with the law and kept it.” 6. “Who, then, sir,” I said, “are those who were crowned and went into the tower?” He answered me and said, “Those who were crowned are the ones who wrestled with the devil and conquered him. They are the ones who suffered for the sake of the law. 7. And the others who also returned their sticks green and with shoots, but without fruit, are those who were persecuted for the sake of law, but did not suffer, or deny their law. 8. And those who returned them green, just as they had received them, are reverent and righteous and walk with an exceedingly pure heart, and have kept the commandments of the Lord. And you will know the rest whenever I examine these sticks which have been planted and watered.”

Examination of the sticks (70:1-71:6)

Similitude 8, Chapter 4

70.1. After a few days we went to the spot, and the shepherd sat in the place of the great angel and I stood beside him. And he said to me, “Gird yourself with a towel and assist me.” I girded myself with a clean towel made of sackcloth. 2. When he saw me girded and prepared to assist him, he said, “Call by groups the men whose sticks have been planted in the order that each of them returned their sticks.” I went off into the plain and called them all and they all stood in their groups. 3. And he said to them, “Let each one pull out his own stick and bring it to me.” 4. The first to return theirs were those who had them dry and marred, and, as in like manner they were found dry and marred, he ordered them to stand off by themselves. 5. Next those who had them dry and not marred returned their sticks; some of them returned their sticks green, and some dry and marred, apparently by worms. Those who returned theirs green he ordered to stand off by themselves, and those who returned theirs dry and marred he ordered to stand with the first ones. 6. Next those who had them half dry and cracked returned theirs; many of them returned theirs green and without cracks, and some green and with shoots and with fruit on the shoots, such as those had had who were crowned and went into the tower. But some returned theirs dry and eaten, and some dry and not eaten, and some were as before, half dry and cracked. He ordered each of them to stand off by themselves, some to their own group and others by themselves.

Similitude 8, Chapter 5

71.1. Next, those whose sticks were green but cracked returned them. They all returned theirs green and they stood in their own group. The shepherd was glad for them because they all were changed and had lost their cracks. 2. And those also who had them half green and half dry returned theirs. The sticks of some were completely green, of some half dry, of some dry and eaten, of some green and with shoots. All these were sent off each to his own group. 3. Next, those who had them two-thirds green and one-third dry returned theirs. Many of them returned theirs green, but many half dry, and others dry and eaten. All these were sent off, each to his own group. 4. Others had returned their sticks two-thirds dry and one-third green; many of them returned theirs half dry, some of them dry and eaten, some of them half dry and with cracks, and a few returned theirs green. All these stood in their own group. 5. And those who had sticks which were green, but only a bit dry and cracked, returned theirs. Of them, some returned theirs green, some green and with shoots. These also went off to their group. 6. Next, the ones who had them only a little green and the rest dry returned theirs. The sticks of these were found for the most part green, and with shoots and fruit among the shoots, and others wholly green. The shepherd rejoiced greatly on account of these sticks because they were found like this. And they went off, each to his own group.

The meaning of the sticks (72:1-76:4)

Similitude 8, Chapter 6

72.1. After the shepherd had examined the sticks of them all, he said to me, “I told you that this tree was hardy. Do you see,” he said, “how many have repented and were saved?” “I see, sir,” I said. “So that you might see,” he said, “the great compassion of the Lord, that it is grand and glorious, he also gave the spirit to those who were worthy of repentance.” 2. “Why, then, sir,” I said, “did not all repent?” “He gave repentance,” he said, “to those whose hearts he saw would be pure and who would serve him with all their heart. But to those whose deceit and evil he saw, and who would repent in hypocrisy, he did not give repentance, lest they again blaspheme his name.” 3. I said to him, “Sir, now interpret for me what sort of person these are who have returned their sticks and where they live, so that, when they hear it, those who have believed and received the seal and have broken it and have not kept it sound will recognize their own deeds and repent, receive a seal from you, and glorify the Lord because he has been merciful to them and sent you to renew their spirits.” 4. “Listen,” said he, “those whose sticks were found dry and worm-eaten are the apostates and betrayers of the church, and by their sins they blasphemed the Lord, and besides, they were ashamed of the Lord’s name by which they were called [cf. Gen. 48:16; Amos 9:12; Jas. 2:7]. So these finally died to God. And you see that not a one of them repented, though they heard the words you had spoken to them, which I had commanded you. From such, life has departed. 5. And they who returned theirs dry and undecayed are near to them, for they were hypocrites and brought in divergent teachings and perverted the servants of God, especially those who had sinned, by not allowing them to repent, but persuading them with their foolish teachings. These, then, have hope of repentance. 6. And you see that many of them have repented since you told them my commandments; and more will repent. But those who will not repent have lost their lives. Those of them that have repented have become good, and they have come to dwell within the first walls. And some even went up into the tower. “You see, then,” he said, “that the repentance of sinners means life, but not to repent means death.”

Similitude 8, Chapter 7

73.1. “And those who returned theirs half dry and with cracks in them, hear about them. Those among them whose sticks were half dry are double minded, for they are neither alive nor dead. 2. And those who had them half dry and with cracks in them are also double minded and slanderers, and never at peace among themselves [cf. 1 Thess. 5:13], but always factious. Even for them,” said he, “repentance still exists. You see,” said he, “that some of them have already repented. And hope of repentance is still in them. 3. So those of them,” said he, “who have repented will have their dwelling in the tower. Those of them that repent slowly will dwell within the walls. But those who do not repent and persist in their present practices will die a certain death. 4. Those who returned their sticks green and with cracks were always faithful and good, but there was some jealousy among them over questions of priority and a particular status. But they are all foolish to be jealous of one another over priority. 5. But since they are good, upon hearing my commandments, they, too, quickly purified themselves and repented. So they came to dwell in the tower. But if any of them turns again to factionalism, he will be cast out of the tower and will lose his life. 6. Life is for all those who keep the commandments of the Lord, and in the commandments there is nothing about questions of priority or particular status, but about the patience and humility of a man. So in such as these is the life of the Lord, but in those who are factious and lawless there is death.”

Similitude 8, Chapter 8

74.1. “Those who returned their sticks half green, half dry, are those who are involved in their own affairs and do not associate with the saints; that is why for them one half lives and one half has died. 2. When they heard my commandments, then, many repented. For those who repented, their dwelling is in the tower, but some of them finally fell away. These, then, have no repentance, for because of their affairs they blasphemed the Lord and denied him. So they lost their lives because of the evil which they did. 3. And many of them were double minded. These still have repentance, if they repent quickly, and their dwelling will be in the tower. But if they repent slowly, they will dwell within the walls. If they do not repent, they too will lose their lives. 4. Those who returned theirs two-thirds green and one-third dry have denied in many different ways. 5. Many of them have repented, then, and have gone off to dwell in the tower. But many finally fell away from God; these ultimately lost their lives. Some of them were double minded and factious. For these, then, there is still repentance, if they repent quickly and do not persist in their pleasures. But if they continue in their practices, they too create death for themselves.”

Similitude 8, Chapter 9

75.1. “Those who returned their sticks two-thirds dry and one-third green had been faithful, but they became rich and acquired more renown among the heathen. They put on great arrogance and became haughty and abandoned the truth and did not associate with the righteous, but lived with the heathen and this way has become more pleasing to them. They did not fall away from God, but remained in the faith without doing the works of faith. 2. Many of them repented, then, and then came to dwell in the tower. 3. But others lived completely with the heathen and, driven by the vanities of the heathen, they fell away from God and did as the heathen did. These, then, will be counted among the heathen. 4. Others of them were double minded, without hope of being saved because of the deeds they had done. Others were double minded and made schisms among themselves. For these, then, that became double minded because of their deeds, there is yet repentance. But their repentance needs to be quick for them to have a dwelling in the tower. For those who do not repent, but persist in their pleasures, death is near.”

Similitude 8, Chapter 10

76.1. “Those who returned their sticks green, but with the very tips dry and cracked have always been good and faithful and glorious before God, but they sinned just a little because of small desires and certain little things they held against each other. But when they heard my words, the greatest part of them repented quickly, and they came to dwell in the tower. 2. Some of them were double minded, and some, being double minded, created considerable factionalism. For them, then, there is still hope of repentance because they were always good; none of them will die easily. 3. Those who returned their sticks dry and only a little green are the ones who believed only, but did works of iniquity. They have never fallen away from God and bear the name gladly and have welcomed the servants of God into their houses with pleasure. So when they heard of this repentance, they repented without hesitating and are practicing every virtue of righteousness. 4. Some of them are even suffering, and they endure gladly for they know the things they did. So all of these will dwell in the tower.”

An exhortation on repentance (77:1-5)

Similitude 8, Chapter 11

77.1. And after he had finished the explanations of all the sticks, he said to me, “Go and tell all men to repent and live to God, because the Lord was compassionate and sent me to give repentance to all, though some were not worthy of being saved because of their deeds. But being patient, the Lord wants those who were called through his Son to be saved.” 2. I said to him, “Sir, I hope that all who hear them will repent. For I am persuaded that each one, when he recognizes what he has done and fears God, will repent.” 3. He answered me and said, “Those,” he said, “who repent with all their heart and cleanse themselves of all their aforementioned evils, and add nothing more to their sins, will receive healing from the Lord for their previous sins, if they are not double minded about these commandments; and they will live to God. But those,” he said, “who add to their sins and walk in the desires of this world, will condemn themselves to death. 4. But you walk in my commandments, and you will live to God. And whoever walks in them and does rightly will live to God.” 5. When he had shown these things to me and told me everything, he said to me, “I will show you the rest after a few days.”

Similitude 9

The twelve mountains of Arcadia (78:1-10)

Similitude 9, Chapter 1

78.1. After I had written the commandments and parables of the shepherd, the angel of repentance, he came to me and said to me, “I want to show you what the holy Spirit, which spoke with you in the form of the Church, showed you; for that Spirit is the Son of God. 2. For since you were too weak in the flesh, it was not shown to you by an angel. So when you had gained power through the Spirit and were strengthened in your health, so that you were also able to see an angel, then the building of the tower was shown to you by the Church. And you saw all things well and reverently, as if from a virgin. But now you see it from an angel through the same Spirit. 3. You must see everything more exactly with me. For this is why I was sent by the glorious angel to live in your house, so that you might see everything as clearly as possible, without fearing as you did before. 4. And he led me away to Arcadia, to a mountain rounded like a breast, and he seated me on top of the mountain, and showed me a great plain, and around the plain twelve mountains, each with a different appearance. 5. The first was black as soot, and the second was bare, without any vegetation. The third was full of thorns and thistles. 6. The fourth had vegetation that was half dry, green at the top, but dry toward the roots, and some plants were turning dry whenever the sun scorched them. 7. The fifth mountain was very rough and had green vegetation. The sixth mountain was completely full of ravines, some large and some small; and the ravines had vegetation, but the plants were not very flourishing, but appeared withered instead. 8. The seventh mountain had bright vegetation and the whole mountain was flourishing, and all kinds of cattle and birds were feeding on that mountain. And the more the cattle and birds ate, the more the vegetation of the mountain flourished. The eighth mountain was full of springs, and every species of the Lord’s creation watered from the springs of that mountain. 9. But the ninth mountain had no water at all and was all desert. But it had on it wild animals and deadly reptiles that destroyed men. The tenth mountain had huge trees and was completely in the shade, and under the shade of the trees sheep lay resting and ruminating. 10. The eleventh mountain was literally covered with trees and those trees were very fruitful, each decorated with a different fruit, so that everyone who saw them desired to eat of their fruit. The twelfth mountain was completely white, and its appearance was very bright, and the mountain was beautiful by itself.

The building of the tower (79:1-82:7)

Similitude 9, Chapter 2

79.1. In the middle of the plain he showed me a great white rock which had risen up out of the plain. And the rock was higher than the mountains and square, so as to contain the entire world. 2. And that rock was old, with a portico carved out of it, but it seemed to me the carving of the portico was recent. And the portico was more radiant than the sun, so that I marveled at the brightness of the portico. 3. And around the portico stood twelve virgins. The four that stood at the corners seemed to me more glorious (though the others were glorious too) and they stood at the four sides of the portico, each with two virgins between them. 4. And they were dressed in linen clothes and properly girded, their right shoulders bare as though about to carry some load. So they were ready, for they were very cheerful and eager. 5. After I had seen these things, I wondered to myself, for I was seeing great and glorious things. And again I was at a loss concerning the virgins, because even though exquisite, they stood in so masculine a stance as if about to carry the whole heaven. 6. And the shepherd said to me, “Why do you ponder this in your own mind and become perplexed and trouble yourself? You should not try, as though you were already intelligent, to understand that which you cannot, but ask the Lord to receive the intelligence to understand them. 7. You are not able to see what is behind you, but you see what is before you. So do not trouble yourself about what you cannot see, but what you see; master that and do not busy yourself unnecessarily with the rest. I will explain everything to you that I show you. So look then at the rest.”

Similitude 9, Chapter 3

80.1. I saw that six men had arrived, tall and glorious and alike in appearance, and they called forth a multitude of men. And those who came were also tall men and very handsome and strong. And the six men ordered them to build a particular tower over the rock. And there was a great clamor of those men who had come to build the tower, as they ran here and there around the portico. 2. And the virgins standing around the portico told the men to hasten their construction of the lower, and the virgins held out their hands as if about to receive something from the men. 3. And the six men ordered certain stones to come up from a deep place and to go into the structure of the tower. And ten square stones came up, gleaming and unhewn. 4. And the six men called the virgins and ordered them to take up all the stones that were to go into the structure of the tower and to pass through the portico and give them to the men who were going to build the tower. 5. And the virgins placed on one another the ten stones which first came up out of the deep, and they carried them together, one stone after another.

Similitude 9, Chapter 4

81.1. And just as they had stood together around the portico, so those who seemed the strongest took up the stone and took their place under its corners. And the others got under the stone along its sides, and in that way they carried all the stones. And they brought them through the portico as they had been ordered, and gave them to the men for the tower. And as they received the stones they built. 2. And the tower was built on the great rock and above the portico. So those ten stones were fitted together and they covered the whole rock, and they formed the foundation for the construction of the tower. And the rock and the portico supported the whole tower. 3. And after the ten stones twenty-five other stones came up from the deep place, and these were fitted into the structure of the tower, brought by the virgins like the previous stones. And after these thirty-five came up, and these likewise were fitted into the tower. And after these forty stones came up, and these all were placed in the structure of the tower. So there were four courses in the foundation of the tower. 4. And they ceased coming up from the deep place, and the builders also stopped for a little while. And again the six men gave orders for the multitude of people to bring from the mountains stones for the building of the tower. 5. So they were brought from all the mountains [stones] of various colors, quarried by the men and they were given to the virgins. And the virgins took them through the portico and delivered them for the building of the tower. And when the various stones were put in the building, they became all alike and changed their previous colors to white. 6. But some of the stones were delivered by the men for the construction and they did not become bright, but remained as they were when placed. For they had not been delivered by the virgins, nor had they been brought through the portico. So these stones were inappropriate for the building of the tower. 7. The six men saw that these stones were inappropriate for the building of the tower and they ordered them to be removed and taken down to their own place, whence they had been taken. 8. And they said to the men who bore the stones, “You absolutely must not deliver stones in the building, but place them beside the tower so that the virgins who take them through the portico may deliver them into the building. For if,” they said, “they are not brought by the hands of these virgins through the portico, they cannot change their colors. So do not labor in vain,” they said.

Similitude 9, Chapter 5

82.1. And the construction was ended on that day, but the tower was not completed, for the building of it was to be continued, but there was somewhat of a pause in the construction. And the six men ordered all the builders to back off a little way and, so to speak, take a rest. But they gave orders for the virgins not to leave the tower. And it seemed to me the virgins were left to guard the tower. 2. After they had all backed off and were resting, I said to the shepherd, “Why, sir,” said I, “was the building of the tower not completed?” “The tower cannot yet be completed,” said he, “unless its lord come and test this building so that if some of the stones are found defective he may replace them, for the tower is being built to meet his specifications.” 3. “I would like to know, sir,” I said, “what the building of this tower means, and about the rock and the portico and the mountains and the virgins and the stones which came up from the deep place and were unhewn, but went into the building as they were, 4. and why first ten stones were laid for the foundation, then twenty-five, then thirty-five, then forty, and about the stones that were put into the building and taken out again and put back in their own place. Put my mind at ease in regard to all these things, sir, and make them known to me.” 5. “If you are not found,” he said, “concerning yourself with worthless things, you will know them. For after a few days we will come here, and you will see the rest of the things that happen to this tower and you will know all the parables accurately.” 6. After a few days we went to the place where we had been seated, and he said to me, “Let us go to the tower, for the owner of the tower is coming to examine it.” And we went to the tower, and no one at all was near it, except the virgins alone. 7. And the shepherd asked the virgins whether the master of the tower had come. And they said he was about to come to examine the building.

Inspection by the lord of the tower (83:1-84:7)

Similitude 9, Chapter 6

83.1. And behold, a little later I saw a procession of many men coming. And in their midst was a man so tall that he rose above the tower. 2. And the six men who had supervised the construction walked with him at his right and at his left, and all the ones who had worked on the building were with him and many other glorious beings were around him. And the virgins who watched the tower ran up to him and kissed him and began to walk around the tower at his side. 3. And that man examined the building carefully, so that he handled each stone. And he held a baton in his hand and he struck each stone used in the construction. 4. And when he struck them, some of them became black as soot, some rough, some cracked, some too short, some neither black nor white, some uneven and did not fit properly with the other stones, and some with many blemishes. And these were the various kinds of defective stones found in the building. 5. So he ordered all these to be removed from the tower and put beside the tower, and other stones brought and put in their place. 6. And the builders asked him from which mountain he wanted the stones brought and put in their place. And he did not order them to be brought from the mountains, but he ordered them brought from a certain plain nearby. 7. And the plain was quarried, and splendid square stones were found, but some were also round, Then all the stones that were found in that plain were brought and carried through the portico by the virgins. 8. And the square stones were hewn and put in the place of those taken out. But the round ones were not put in the building because they were hard and it took a long time to hew them out. And they were placed beside the tower, as though about to be hewn and placed in the building, for they were very splendid.

Similitude 9, Chapter 7

84.1. So when the glorious man, and lord of the entire tower, had finished these things, he called the shepherd and turned over to him all the stones which were lying beside the tower, the ones that had been removed from the building, and he said to him, 2. “Clean these stones carefully and use in the construction of the tower those that can fit with the others. And throw far from the tower those that do not fit.” 3. After he had given these orders to the shepherd, he left the tower, along with all those with whom he had come. But the virgins stood in a circle around the tower to guard it. 4. I said to the shepherd, “How can these stones go back into the structure of the tower after they have been rejected?” He answered me and said, “Do you see,” said he, “these stones?” “I see, sir,” said I. “I will hew out,” said he, “the greater part of these stones and put them in the building, and they will fit with the rest of the stones.” 5. “How, sir,” I said, “can they fill the same place after they have been hewn all around?” He answered me and said. “Those that are found small will be placed inside the structure, and those that are large will be placed exteriorly and will hold them together.” 6. After telling me these things, he said to me, “Let us go, and after two days let us come and clean these stones and put them in the building. For everything around the tower must be cleaned, lest the master come unexpectedly and find it dirty around the tower and be provoked. And these stones will not get into the structure of the tower, and I will appear careless to the master.” 7. And two days later we went to the tower and he said to me, “Let us examine all the stones and let us see which ones can go into the bulding.” I said to him, “Sir, let us examine them.”

Examination of those stones not used (85:1-7)

Similitude 9, Chapter 8

85.1. And we examined the stones, beginning first with the black ones. And these were found just the same as when they were taken from the building. And the shepherd ordered them carried from the building and taken away. 2. Then he examined the rough ones, and he took and hewed many of them and he ordered the virgins to take them and put them in the building. And the virgins took them and put them in the building, inside the tower. And he ordered the rest to be put with the black ones, for they too were found black. 3. Then he examined those with cracks, and he hewed out many of them and ordered them to be carried into the building by the virgins. And they were placed on the exterior because they were found to be so strong. But because of so many cracks the rest could not be hewn out. So for this reason they were removed from the structure of the tower. 4. Then he examined the short ones, and found many among them to be black, and some had developed huge cracks, and he ordered them also to be put with the ones that were discarded. And when he had cleaned and hewed out those that remained, he ordered them put in the building. And the virgins took them and fitted them into the interior of the tower’s structure, for they were so weak. 5. Then he examined those that were half white and half black, and many of them were found black, and he ordered them also to be taken away with those that were discarded. And all the rest were taken by the virgins, for since they were white they were fitted by the virgins themselves into the building. And, because they were found strong, they were placed on the exterior, so that they could support the ones put on the inside, for not a one of them was too short. 6. Then he examined the uneven and hard ones, and a few of them were discarded because they could not be hewed, for they were found to be very hard. But the rest of them were hewed out and were carried by the virgins and were fitted into the interior of the tower’s structure, for they were so weak. 7. Then he examined those with blemishes, and a very few of them had turned black and were discarded with the rest. But the remainder were gleaming and were found strong. And these were fitted by the virgins into the building, and they were put on the exterior because of their strength.

The disposition of the stones (86:1-7)

Similitude 9, Chapter 9

86.1. Then he went to examine the stones that were white and round and he said to me, “What are we to do with these stones?” “How should I know, sir?” I said. “So you notice nothing about them?” 2. “Sir,” I said, “I do not possess this skill, nor am I a stonecutter, nor am I able to understand it.” “Do you not see,” said he, “that they are very round? And if I wish to make them square, considerable must be cut off them. But some of them must, by necessity, be put in the building.” 3. “If, then, sir,” I said, “it is necessary, why do you torment yourself, and not select the ones you want for the building, and fit them into it?” He selected from the largest and brightest and hewed them out, and the virgins took them and fitted them into the exterior part of the building. 4. And the rest of those that remained were taken and put back in the plain from which they had been brought. But they were not rejected, “Because,” said he, “there still remains a little of the tower to be constructed. And the master of the tower certainly wants these stones to be fitted into the building, for they are very bright.” 5. And twelve women were called, very beautiful in outward appearance, clothed in black, properly girded, with shoulders bare and hair loosened. And these women seemed to me to be wild. But the shepherd ordered them to take the stones which had been rejected from the building and carry them back to the mountains from which they had been brought. 6. And cheerfully they took and carried away all the stones and put them whence they had been taken. And after all the stones had been taken and not a stone lay around the tower any longer, the shepherd said to me, “Let us go around the tower and see whether there is any defect in it.” And I went around with him. 7. And when the shepherd saw that the tower was beautiful in its structure, he was overjoyed; for the tower was so built that I envied its structure when I saw it. For it was built as if of one stone, without a single joint in it. And the stone looked as if it had been cut out of the rock, for it seemed to me to be a monolith.

Hermas is entrusted to the virgins (87:1-88:9)

Similitude 9, Chapter 10

87.1. And as I walked with him I was glad to see such good things. And the shepherd said to me, “Go and bring some unslaked lime and a light piece of broken pottery, so that I can fill in the marks of the stones that were taken and put in the building. For everything around the tower must be made smooth.” 2. And I did as he ordered, and I brought them to him. “Help me,” said he, “and the work will soon be finished.” So he filled all the marks of the stones that had gone into the building and ordered the area around the tower swept and cleaned. 3. And the virgins took brooms and swept and took all the rubbish from the tower and sprinkled water, and the site of the tower became gay and lovely. 4. The shepherd said to me, “Everything,” said he, “has been made clean. If the lord comes to look at the tower, he has nothing for which to blame us.” Having said this he wished to leave. 5. But I grabbed his pouch and began to implore him, for the Lord’s sake, to explain to me what he had shown me. He said to me, “I am busy for a little while; nevertheless I will explain everything to you. Wait for me here until I come.” 6. I said to him, “Sir, what shall I do here all alone?” “You are not alone,” said he, “for these virgins are with you.” “So commend me to them,” I said. The shepherd called them and said to them, “I entrust this man to you until I come.” And he departed. 7. And I was alone with the virgins. And they were most cheerful and were gracious to me, especially the four who were the most glorious of them.

Similitude 9, Chapter 11

88.1. The virgins said to me, “The shepherd is not coming here today.” “So what shall I do?” said I. “Wait for him until evening,” they said, “and if he comes he will talk with you, and if he does not come, stay with us here until he does come.” 2. I said to them, “I will wait for him until evening; and if he does not come, I will go home and return in the morning.” But they answered and said to me, “You were entrusted to us; you cannot leave us.” 3. “Where, then,” said I, “shall I stay?” “You shall sleep with us,” they said, “as a brother and not as a husband, for you are our brother and from now on we are going to live with you, for we love you very much.” But I was ashamed to stay with them. 4. And she who seemed to be foremost among them began to kiss me and embrace me. And when the others saw her embrace me, they also began to kiss me and take me around the tower and to play with me. 5. And I, so to speak, became young again and began to play with them myself; for some did choral dances, and some danced, and some sang; and I walked with them in silence around the tower, and I was glad to be with them. 6. But when evening came I wished to go home; but they would not allow it, and they kept me from going away. And I spent the night with them and slept near the tower. 7. For the virgins spread out their linen clothes on the ground and they had me lie down in their midst, and they did nothing at all but pray. And I prayed unceasingly with them—and no less than they. And the virgins rejoiced when I prayed like that. And I stayed there with the virgins until the second hour the next morning. 8. Then the shepherd came and he said to the virgins, “You have not done anything shameful to him, have you?” “Ask him,” they said. I said to him, “Sir, I was delighted to stay with them.” “On what,” said he, “did you dine?” “I dined the whole night, sir,” said I, “on the words of the Lord.” “Did they treat you well?” said he. “Yes, sir,” I said. 9. “Now,” said he, “what do you want to hear first?” “Just as you have shown me from the beginning, sir,” I said, “I ask you, sir, to explain them to me as I ask you about them.” “Just as you wish,” said he, “so will I explain them to you, and I will hide nothing at all from you.”

The meaning of the tower (89:1-93:7)

Similitude 9, Chapter 12

89.1. “First of all, sir,” I said, “explain this to me: who is the rock and the portico?” “This rock,” said he, “and the portico are the Son of God.” “How is it, sir,” said I, “that the rock is old and the portico is new?” “Listen,” said he, “and understand, foolish man. 2. The Son of God is older than all of his creation, so that he was counselor to his Father in his creation. That is why the rock is old.” “And why is the portico new, sir?” said I. 3. “Because,” said he, “he became manifest at the last days of the consummation; that is why the portico is new, so that those about to be saved may enter through it into the kingdom of God [John 3:5; cf. Mark 9:47, etc.]. 4. Did you see,” said he, “that the stones which entered through the portico were placed in the structure of the tower, but the ones that did not so enter were returned to their own place?” “I saw it, sir,” I said. “So,” said he, “no one will enter the kingdom of God [John 3:5] unless he takes his holy name. 5. For if you want to enter a city and that particular city has been walled around and has one entrance, could you possibly enter that city except by the gateway it has?” “Why, how, sir,” said I, “could it be otherwise?” “If, then, you cannot enter the city except through its gateway, so,” said he, “a man cannot enter the kingdom of God [John 3:5] other than by the name of his Son, who was beloved by him. 6. Did you see,” said he, “the crowd that was building the tower?” “I did, sir,” said I. “Those,” said he, “are all glorious angels; by them the Lord has been enclosed by a wall. But the portico is the Son of God; this is the only entrance to the Lord. So no one can come to him other than by his Son [John 14:6]. 7. Did you see,” said he, “the six men and in their midst the glorious and enormous man who walked around the tower and rejected the stones from the building?” “I did, sir,” I said. 8. “The glorious man,” said he, “is the Son of God, and those are the six glorious angels that surround him on the right and on the left. None,” said he, “of these glorious angels come before God without him. Whoever does not receive his name cannot enter into the kingdom of God” [John 3:5].

Similitude 9, Chapter 13

90.1. “But who is the tower?” said I. “This tower,” said he, “is the Church.” 2. “And who are these virgins?” “They,” said he, “are holy spirits. And a man cannot have come into the kingdom of God any other way than that they clothe him with their clothes. For if you take the name only and do not receive clothing from them, you will benefit nothing, for these virgins are the powers of the Son of God. If you bear the name but do not bear his power, you will be bearing his name in vain. 3. And the stones,” said he, “which you saw rejected are those who bore the name, but were not clothed with the garments of the virgins.” “What sort of garment do they have, sir?” said I. “Their names themselves,” said he, “are their garments. Whoever bears the name of the Son of God also ought to bear their names; for even the Son himself bears the names of these virgins. 4. All the stones,” said he, “which you saw go into the structure of the tower, delivered by their hands and remaining in the building, are clothed with the power of these virgins. 5. That is why you see that the tower has become a monolith with the rock. So also those who believe in the Lord through his Son and dress themselves in these spirits will become one spirit, one body [Eph. 4:4], and one color for their garments. And the dwelling of such as bear the names of the virgins is in the tower.” 6. “So as for the rejected stones, sir,” said I, “why were they rejected? For they passed through the portico and were placed in the structure of the building by the hands of the virgins.” “Since everything is a concern for you,” he said, “and you make inquiries carefully, hear about the rejected stones. 7. These,” said he, “all took the name of the Son of God, and they also received the power of these virgins. So having received these spirits, they were strengthened and were with the servants of God, and they had one spirit and one body [Eph. 4:4] and one clothing. For they were of the same mind [cf. Rom. 12:16; 15:5; 2 Cor. 13:11; Phil. 2:2] and did what was right [Acts 10:35; Heb. 11:33]. 8. So after some time they were seduced by the women you saw dressed in black clothing, with shoulders bare and hair loosened and lovely form. When they saw them, they desired them and put on their power and took off the clothing and power of the virgins. 9. So these have been rejected from the house of God and handed over to those women. But those who were not deceived by the beauty of these women remained in the house of God. That,” said he, “is the interpretation of those who were rejected.”

Similitude 9, Chapter 14

91.1. “So then, sir,” said I, “what if these men, being what they are, repent and throw off their desires for these women and return to the virgins and live by their power and their works? Will they not enter the house of God?” 2. “They will,” said he, “if they disavow the works of these women and take back the power of the virgins and live by their works. For because of this, too, there was a pause in the construction, so that if these would repent, they might go back into the structure of the tower. And if they do not repent, then others will enter, and ultimately they will be cast out.” 3. I gave thanks to the Lord for all these things, because he had mercy on all who called upon his name [cf. Isa. 43:7 LXX] and sent the angel of repentance to us who had sinned against him, and renewed our spirit; and though we were already ruined and had no hope of living, he made our lives like new. 4. “Now, sir,” said I, “explain to me why the tower was not built on the ground, but on the rock and on the portico.” “Are you still foolish and senseless?” he said. “I need to ask you everything, sir,” said I, “because I am completely incapable of understanding anything. All things great and glorious are hard for men to understand.” 5. “Listen,” said he, “the name of the Son of God is great and incomprehensible and supports the whole world. If, then, all creation is sustained by the Son of God, what do you suppose about those who have been called by him and bear the name of the Son of God and live by his commandments? 6. Do you see, then, what sort he supports? Those who bear his name wholeheartedly. So he has become a foundation for them and he supports them gladly, because they were not ashamed to bear his name.”

Similitude 9, Chapter 15

92.1. “Tell me, sir,” said I, “the names of the virgins and the women clothed in black garments.” “Hear the names,” said he, “of the stronger virgins who stood at the corners. 2. The first is Faith, the second is Self-control, the third is Strength, and the fourth is Patience. And the others who stand between them have these names: Sincerity, Innocence, Purity, Cheerfulness, Truth, Understanding, Unanimity, Love. The one who bears these names and the name of the Son of God will be able to enter into the kingdom of God [John 3:5]. 3. Hear also,” said he, “the names of the women with the black garments. There are also four of them that are more powerful. The first is Unbelief, the second is Self-indulgence, the third is Disobedience, and the fourth is Deceit. And the ones that follow them are called Grief, Evil, Debauchery, Ill Temper, Falsification, Foolishness, Defamation, Hate. The servant of God who bears these names will see the kingdom of God, but not enter into it” [cf. Deut. 34:4]. 4. “But, sir,” said I, “who are the stones that from out of the deep place were fitted into the building?” “The first ones,” said he, “the ten that were placed in the foundation, are the first generation, and the twenty-five are the second generation of righteous men, and the thirty-five are the prophets of God and his helpers, and the forty are the apostles and teachers of the proclamation of the Son of God.” 5. “Why, then, sir,” said I, “did the virgins also deliver these stones for the building of the tower, after they carried them through the portico?” 6. “Because,” said he, “they are the first who bore these spirits, and they did not fall away from each other at all, neither the spirits from the men nor the men from the spirits, but the spirits remained with them until they fell asleep. And if they had not had these spirits with them, they would not have been useful for the building of this tower.”

Similitude 9, Chapter 16

93.1. “Explain something else to me, sir,” said I. “What do you want to know?” he said. “Why, sir,” said I, “did the stones come up out of the deep place and, since they bore these spirits, find a place in the structure of the tower?” 2. “They needed,” said he, “to come up through the water in order to be made alive, for otherwise they could not enter the kingdom of God [John 3:5] unless they set aside the deadness of their former life. 3. So even those who had fallen asleep received the seal of the Son of God and entered into the kingdom of God [John 3:5]. For,” said he, “before he bears the name of the Son of God, the man is dead, and whenever he receives the seal he sets aside the deadness and receives life. 4. So the water is the seal. Therefore they go down into the water dead and they come up alive. So this seal was proclaimed to them also and they used it to enter into the kingdom of God.” 5. “Why, sir,” said I, “did the forty stones, though they already had the seal, come up with them from the deep place?” “Because,” said he, “when they fell asleep in the power and faith of the Son of God, the apostles and teachers, who proclaimed the name of the Son of God, preached also to those who had previously fallen asleep and themselves gave to them the seal of the proclamation. 6. So they went down with them into the water and came up again, but these went down alive and came up alive, while those who had previously fallen asleep went down dead and came up alive. 7. So through them they were made alive and came to know the name of the Son of God. For this reason they also came up together with them and were fitted together into the structure of the tower and were joined together in the construction without being hewed. For they had fallen asleep in righteousness and in great purity, only they did not have this seal. You have, then, the explanation of these things too.” “Yes, I have it, sir,” I said.

The meaning of the twelve mountains (94:1-106:4)

Similitude 9, Chapter 17

94.1. “Now, then, sir, tell me about the mountains. Why is their appearance different and variegated?” “Listen,” said he, “these twelve mountains are the twelve tribes which inhabit the entire world. So the Son of God was proclaimed among them by the apostles.” 2. “But, sir, tell me why the mountains are variegated and different in appearance.” “Listen,” said he, “these twelve tribes that inhabit the entire world are twelve nations, and they are diverse in mind and way of thinking. So just as you saw the mountains were variegated, so there are also diversities of mind and way of thinking among these nations. And I will explain to you the way of each one.” 3. “Sir,” said I, “first tell me this: Why is it that even though the mountains are variegated, whenever the stones from them were placed in the building they gleamed with one color, like the stones which had come up from the deep?” 4. “Because,” said he, “all the nations that dwell under heaven, when they have heard and believed, are called by the name of the Son of God. So when they have received the seal they are of one mind and one way of thinking, and their faith and love comes to be one [cf. Eph. 4:4], and with the name they bear the spirits of the virgins. For this reason, the structure of the tower gleams with one color like the sun. 5. But after they went in together and became one body, some of them defiled themselves and were rejected from the righteous people and became again as they were before, or, instead, even worse.”

Similitude 9, Chapter 18

95.1. “Since they had come to know God, sir,” I said, “how did they become worse?” “The one who does not know God,” said he, “and does evil, receives some punishment for his evil, but the one who has come to know God ought not to do evil, but do good. 2. So if the one who ought to do good does evil, does it not appear that he has done more evil than the one who knows not God? That is why those who have not known God and do evil are condemned to death, but the ones who have known God and have seen his mighty deeds, and do evil, will be punished doubly and will die forever. So in this way the church of God will be cleansed. 3.But just as you saw the stones taken from the tower and delivered over to the evil spirits and cast out of there, and there will be one body of those cleansed, just as the tower became as made of one stone after it was cleansed, so will the church of God be after it has been cleansed, and the wicked and hypocrites and blasphemers and double minded and those who do various kinds of evil will have been rejected. 4. After these have been cast out the church of God will be one body [Eph. 4:4], one mind, one way of thinking, one faith [Eph. 4:5], one love, and then, when the Son of God has received his people cleansed, he will rejoice and be glad in them.” “It is all great and glorious, sir,” said I. 5. “Tell me more, sir,” said I, “about the power and ways of each of the mountains, so that every person who has believed on the Lord and hears will glorify his great and wonderful and glorious name” [cf. Ps. 85:9, 12; Isa. 24:15; 66:5]. “Hear,” said he, “about the variety of mountains and the twelve nations.”

Similitude 9, Chapter 19

96.1. “From the first mountain, the black one, are such believers as these: apostates and blasphemers against the Lord and betrayers of the servants of God. For them there is no repentance, but there is death, and that is why they are black, for their kind is lawless. 2. And from the second mountain, the bare one, are such believers as these: hypocrites and teachers of evil. These, then, are also like the preceding: they have no fruit of righteousness [Prov. 11:30; Phil. 1:11; Heb. 12:11; Jas. 3:18]. For as their mountain is barren, so also such men as these have the name, but are devoid of faith, and there is among them no fruit of truth. For them, then, there is repentance, if they repent quickly; but if they delay, their death will be with the preceding ones.” 3. “Why, sir,” said I, “is there repentance for them and not for the preceding? For their conduct is about the same.” “This is why,” said he, “there is repentance for them: because they have not blasphemed their Lord nor become betrayers of the servants of God. But because of desire of gain they acted hypocritically, and each one taught according to the desires of sinful men. And they will receive some punishment, but there will also be repentance for them because they did not become blasphemers or betrayers.”

Similitude 9, Chapter 20

97.1. “And from the third mountain, the one with thorns and thistles, are such believers as these: some of them are rich; and some are involved in many affairs of business. The thorns are the rich, and the thistles are the ones involved in various affairs of business [cf. Matt. 13:22; Mark 4:18 f.; Luke 8:14]. 2. So these that are involved in many and various business affairs do not associate with the servants of God, but are choked by their affairs and are led astray. And the rich associate with the servants of God with difficulty, fearing they will be asked for something by them. Such, then, will enter into the kingdom of God with difficulty [cf. Matt. 19:23; Mark 10:23 f.; Luke 18:24]. 3. For just as it is difficult to walk in thorns with bare feet, so is it difficult for such as these to enter into the kingdom of God [Mark 10:23 f]. 4. But for all these there is repentance, but it must be soon, so that now they can rerun those days when, in former years they did nothing, and do something good. If, then, they repent and do some good, they will live to God. But if they continue in their ways, they will be delivered over to those women, who will put them to death.”

Similitude 9, Chapter 21

98.1. “And from the fourth mountain, the one with considerable vegetation which was green at the top and dry toward the roots, and some of it dried up by the sun, are believers such as these: some are double minded, and some have the Lord upon their lips and do not have him in their hearts. 2. That is why their substructures are dried up and have no power, and only their words are alive, but their works are dead. Such people are neither alive nor dead. So they are like the double minded; for the double minded are not green or dry either, for they are neither alive nor dead. 3. For just as these plants were dried up when they saw the sun, so also the double minded, whenever they hear of a persecution, worship idols because of their cowardice and are ashamed of the name of their Lord. 4. So such people are neither alive nor dead. But these, too, will be able to live if they repent quickly. But if they do not repent, they have already been delivered over to the women who take away their lives.”

Similitude 9, Chapter 22

99.1. “And from the fifth mountain, the one with green vegetation and was rough, are such believers as these: they are faithful, but slow to learn and self-determined and pleasing themselves, wanting to know everything and yet they know nothing at all. 2. Because of this self-determination of theirs, understanding has left them and foolish stupidity has come into them. But they praise themselves for having understanding and wish to be teachers on an unofficial basis, though foolish as they are. 3. So because of this haughtiness many, by exalting themselves, have been ruined, for self-determination and overconfidence are a great demon. So many of them were rejected, but some repented and believed and subordinated themselves to those who had understanding, perceiving their own foolishness. 4. And for the rest of such people there is repentance, for they were not evil, but instead, foolish and without understanding. So if these repent, they will live to God. If they do not repent, they will dwell with the women who do them evil.”

Similitude 9, Chapter 23

100.1. “And from the sixth mountain, the one with large and small ravines and withered vegetation in the ravines, are such believers as these: 2. those that have small ravines are the ones who have something against one another and have been withered in the faith by their own defamations. But many of them repented. And the rest will repent when they hear my commandments, for their defamations are small, and they will repent quickly. 3. But those who have large ravines are the ones who persist in their defamations, and by raging against one another have become vengeful. These, then, were cast down from the tower and rejected from its structure. So such people find it difficult to live. 4. If God and our Lord, who rules all things and has authority over all his creation, is not vengeful toward those who confess their sins, but is merciful, should man, being mortal and full of sin, be vengeful toward man, as though he could destroy or save him? [Cf. Jas. 4:12.] 5. But I, the angel of repentance, tell you: those of you who hold this opinion must put it aside and repent, and the Lord will heal your previous sins, if you cleanse yourselves of this demon. But if not, you will be delivered over to him for death.”

Similitude 9, Chapter 24

101.1. “And from the seventh mountain, on which was green, bright vegetation, and the whole mountain was flourishing, and all kinds of cattle and birds of the sky were feeding on the plants on this mountain, and the plants on which they fed flourished all the more, are such believers as these: 2. they were always sincere and innocent and happy, holding nothing against one another, but always rejoicing in the servants of God and clothed in the holy spirit of these virgins, and always with compassion for every man, and from their labors they provided for every man without reproach or hesitation. 3. So when the Lord saw their sincerity and perfect childlikeness, he prospered them in the labors of their hands and favored them in everything they did. 4. And I, the angel of repentance, say to you who are such people: continue to be such, and your seed will never be blotted out. For the Lord has tested you and has recorded you among our number, and all your seed will dwell with the Son of God, for you have received of his spirit.”

Similitude 9, Chapter 25

102.1. “And from the eighth mountain, where there were many springs and all the Lord’s creation watered from the springs, are such believers as these: 2. apostles and teachers who preached in the whole world and who taught the word of the Lord reverently and sincerely, and misappropriated nothing at all for the sake of evil desire, but always walked in righteousness and in truth, just as they had received the holy Spirit. The way of such men, then, is with angels.”

Similitude 9, Chapter 26

103.1. “And from the ninth mountain, the desert which had reptiles and wild animals that destroyed men on it, are believers such as these: 2. the ones with blemishes are deacons who served badly and stole the livelihood of widows and orphans and profited for themselves from the service which they received to perform. If, then, they persist in the same desire, they are dead and there is no hope of life for them. But if they turn and sincerely complete their service, they will be able to live. 3. Those that are rough are the ones who have denied and have not returned to their Lord, but have become barren and desertlike; by not associating with the servants of God, but living alone, they destroy their own souls [cf. Matt 10:39, etc.]. 4. For just as a vine left along the fence and neglected is ruined and wasted by weeds, and in time becomes wild, and is no longer useful to its owner, so also such men have despaired of themselves and, turning wild, have become useless to their Lord. 5. For these, then, there is repentance, unless they are found to have denied from the heart. But if anyone be found denying from the heart, I do not know whether he could live. 6. And I do not say this for these days, so that anyone who denies may receive repentance. For it is impossible for him to be saved who is going to deny his Lord now. But it seems there is repentance for those who denied in time past. So if anyone is about to repent, let him do so quickly before the tower is finished, or else he will be put to death by the women. 7. Those that are short are the ones who are treacherous and slanderers, and the wild beasts you saw on the mountain are these. For just as wild beasts destroy and kill a man with their poison, so also the words of such men destroy and kill a man. 8. These, then, are short of faith because of their conduct toward one another; but some repented and were saved. And the rest of such people can be saved, if they repent. But if they do not repent, they will be killed by those women whose power they have.”

Similitude 9, Chapter 27

104.1. “And from the tenth mountain, where trees were giving shade for some sheep, are believers such as these: 2. bishops and hospitable persons who were always glad to entertain, without hypocrisy, the servants of God in their homes. And the bishops, in their service, always sheltered the destitute and widows without ceasing and always conducted themselves with purity. 3. All these, then, will always be sheltered by the Lord. So those who have done these things are glorious before God, and their place is already with the angels, if they continue serving the Lord to the end.”

Similitude 9, Chapter 28

105.1. “And from the eleventh mountain, where trees were full of fruit, each decorated with a different fruit, are believers such as these: 2. those who have suffered for the name of the Son of God, who also have suffered readily with all their heart and have given up their lives” [cf. Acts 15:26]. 3. “Why, then, sir,” said I, “do all the trees have fruit, but the fruit of some of them is more beautiful?” “Listen,” said he, “as many as ever have suffered because of the name are glorious before God, and the sins of all these have been taken away because they suffered for the name of the Son of God. But hear why their fruits are varied, and some are more excellent. 4. As many as,” said he, “were questioned when arrested by the authorities and did not deny, but suffered readily, these are most glorious before God. Their fruit is the more excellent. But as many as were cowardly and became doubtful and considered in their hearts whether they should deny or confess, and suffered, their fruit is inferior because this thought rose up in their hearts. For this is an evil thought, that a servant should deny his own master. 5. So be careful, you who think such things, lest this thought persist in your heart and you die to God. And you who suffer for the sake of the name ought to glorify God [1 Pet. 4:13-16] because God has considered you worthy of bearing this name and that all your sins are healed. 6. Therefore consider yourself blessed, but think of it as a great work if anyone of you suffers for the sake of God [cf. Matt. 5:11; Luke 6:22; 1 Pet. 4:14]. The Lord is granting you life, but you do not understand it; for your sins weighed you down, and unless you suffered for the sake of the Lord’s name, you would have died to God because of your sins. 7. I say these things to you who are in doubt about denying or confessing. Confess that you have a Lord, lest by denying you are thrown into prison. 8. For if the heathen punish their servants, if one denies his master, what do you think the Lord, who has authority over all things, will do to you? Put these thoughts from your hearts, so you may live to God always.”

Similitude 9, Chapter 29

106.1. “And from the twelfth mountain, the white one, are such believers as these: they are as innocent babes, for whom nothing wicked has arisen in the heart and they do not even know what evil is, but they have remained constantly childlike. 2. People like this will undoubtedly dwell in the kingdom of God, because they have in no way defiled the commandments of God, but with childlikeness they remained in the same state of mind all the days of their lives. 3. As many of you as so remain,” said he, “and will be as babes [Matt. 18:3], with no wickedness, will be more glorious than all those previously mentioned. For all babes are glorious before God and foremost with him. So blessed are you who cast off evil from yourselves and put on innocence; you will be the first of all to live to God.” 4. After he finished the parables of the mountains I said to him, “Sir, now tell me about the stones that were taken out of the plain and put in the building in the place of those stones taken out of the tower, and about the round stones that were put in the building and about the ones that are still round.”

The meaning of certain stones (107:1-108:6)

Similitude 9, Chapter 30

107.1. “Hear also,” said he, “about all these. The stones which were taken from the plain and put in the structure of the tower, in the place of those rejected, are the roots of this white mountain 2. So since those who believed from the white mountain were all found innocent, the lord of the tower ordered them to be taken from the roots of this mountain for the building of the tower. For he knew that if these stones went into the structure of the tower, they would remain gleaming and not a one of them would turn black. 3. But if he put in those from the other mountains, he would need to visit the tower again and clean it. But all these that have been found white are ones who believe or are about to believe, for they are of the same kind. Blessed is this kind, because it is innocent. 4. Hear now about the stones that are round and gleaming. They also are all from the white mountain. But hear why they were found round. Their riches concealed them a little from the truth and darkened them, but they were never far from God, nor has any evil word gone out from their mouths [cf. Eph. 4:29], but all was just and true. 5. So when the Lord saw that their minds could be inclined toward the truth and remain good, he ordered their wealth to be cut down, though not to be taken completely away from them, so that they might be able to do some good with that which was left them, and they will live to God, because they are of a good kind. So that is why they were hewed a little and put in the structure of this tower.”

Similitude 9, Chapter 31

108.1. “But the rest, which still remained round and were not fitted into the building, because they had not received the seal, were returned to their place, for they were found to be exceedingly round. 2. So it is necessary to cut off from them this world and the vanities of their wealth, and then they will be suitable for the kingdom of God. For they must enter the kingdom of God [John 3:5], for the Lord has blessed this innocent kind. So none of this kind will perish. For even though one of them, tempted by the most wicked devil, does some wrong, he will quickly return to his Lord. 3. I, the angel of repentance, consider all of you blessed who are as innocent as babes, because your part is innocent and honorable before God. 4. So I say to all of you who have received the seal: be sincere, and do not be vengeful, and remain not in your hatred or in the bitter memory of offenses. Be also of one spirit and mediate these evil divisions and put them away from you, so that the lord of the sheep may rejoice in them. 5. And he will rejoice, if all are found safe, and none of them is missing. But if some of them are found missing, woe be to the shepherds. 6. But if the shepherds themselves are found missing, what will they say to the owner of the flock? That they are missing because of the sheep? They will not be believed, for it is incredible that a shepherd could suffer at the hands of the sheep. Instead, they will be punished for their lie. I, too, am a shepherd, and it is exceedingly necessary for me to give account for you.”

The analogy of a damaged garment (109:1-5)

Similitude 9, Chapter 32

109.1. “So cure yourselves while the tower is still being constructed. 2. The Lord lives with men who love peace, for peace is truly dear to him, but he keeps his distance from those who are quarrelsome and wasted by hatred. So give back to him your spirit whole, just as you received it. 3. For if you gave a new, undamaged garment to a cleaner and wanted to get it back undamaged, but the cleaner returned it to you torn, would you take it? Will you not become angry at once and go after him with loud reproach, saying, ‘I gave you an undamaged garment. Why did you tear it and render it useless? And because of the tear you have made in it, it cannot be used.’ So will you not say all this to the cleaner, just about a tear which he has made in your garment? 4. If, then, you grieve so over your garment and complain because you did not receive it back undamaged, what do you think the Lord will do to you, who gave you the spirit whole, and you return it completely useless, so that it can be of no use to its Lord? For its use began to be unproductive after it was corrupted by you. So because of what you have done, will not the Lord of that spirit punish you with death?” 5. “Certainly,” said I, “he will punish all those whom he finds persisting in vengefulness.” “Do not trample on his mercy,” said he, “but honor him instead, because he is so patient with your transgressions and is not as you are. So repent in a way that is useful to you.”

The meaning of the marks on the stones (110:1-3)

Similitude 9, Chapter 33

110.1. “I, the shepherd, the angel of repentance, have shown and have told the servants of God all these things which have been written above. If, then, you believe, and hear my words, and walk in them, and rectify your ways, you will be able to live. If, however, you continue in hatred and vengefulness, none of that kind will live to God. All the things that I had to tell you have been said.” 2. The shepherd himself said to me, “Have you asked me everything?” “Yes, sir,” said I. “Then why did you not ask me about the marks of the stones that were put in the building, why we filled up the marks?” And I said, “I forgot, sir.” 3. “Hear now, said he, “about them. They are those who heard my commandments and repented with all their hearts. And when the Lord saw their repentance was good and pure and that they could continue in it, he ordered their former sins to be eradicated. For these marks were their sins, and they were leveled off, so that they would not be visible.”

Similitude 10

Final exhortations (111:1-114:5)

Similitude 10, Chapter 1

111.1. After I had written this book, that angel who had turned me over to the shepherd came to the house where I was and sat on the bed, and the shepherd stood at his right hand. Then he called me and said to me, 2. “I have turned you”, said he, “and your house over to this shepherd, so that you may be protected by him.” “Yes, sir,” said I. “So if you want to be protected,” he said, “from all trouble and violence, and to be successful in every good deed and word, and have every virtue of righteousness, walk in these commandments which I have given you, and you will be able to overcome every evil. 3. For if these commandments are kept by you, every desire and delight of this world will be subject to you, but in every good concern success will follow you. Take for yourself his maturity and moderation and tell everyone that he has great honor and esteem before the Lord and has charge of great power and has authority in his office. To him alone throughout the whole world has been given authority over repentance. Does he not seem powerful to you? Yet you look askance at his maturity and moderation which he has for you.

Similitude 10, Chapter 2

112.1. I said to him, “Ask [the shepherd] himself, sir, whether, since he has been in my house I have done anything contrary to his orders which would offend him.” 2. “I know,” said he, “that you would not do anything and have not done anything contrary to his orders. And I speak this way with you so that you will continue steadfast. For he has given me a good recommendation for you. But you will tell others these things so that they, too, who have repented or are going to repent, may think the same as you, and that he can give a good account of them to me, and I to the Lord.” 3. “Sir,” said I, “I myself declare the mighty acts of the Lord to all men [cf. Acts 2:11], but I hope that all who have sinned previously, if they hear these things, will freely repent and regain life.” 4. “Then continue,” said he, “in this ministry and complete it. So all who do his commandments will have life, and such will have great honor before the Lord. But those who do not keep his commandments are fleeing from their own lives and disparage him. Such, however, have their own honor before God. So those who disparage him and do not keep his commandments are turning themselves over to death, and every one of them is guilty of his own blood. But I tell you to keep his commandments and you will get a cure for your sins.”

Similitude 10, Chapter 3

113.1. “But I sent these virgins to you to dwell with you, for I saw they were friendly to you. You have them, then, as helpers, so that you might be able better to keep his commandments, for it is not possible to keep these commandments without these virgins. And I see they are with you willingly, but I will order them not to leave your house at all. 2. Only keep your house clean, for they dwell willingly in a clean house, for they are clean and chaste and industrious and they all have found favor with the Lord. Therefore, if they find your house pure, they will remain with you. But if any little impurity comes along, they will leave your home immediately, for these virgins do not love impurity at all.” 3. I said to him, “I hope, sir, that I will please them so that they will always dwell willingly in my house. And just as he, to whom you turned me over, found no fault with me, neither will they find any fault with me.” 4. He said to the shepherd, “I know that the servant of God wishes to live and he will keep these commandments, and will provide for the virgins in purity.” 5. After he said these things he once again turned me over to the shepherd, and calling the virgins he said to them, “Since I see that you like to dwell in this house, I commit him and his house to your care, so that you must not leave his house at all.” And they were pleased to hear these words.

Similitude 10, Chapter 4

114.1. Then he said to me, “Conduct yourself in this ministry with virility, declare the mighty acts of the Lord to all men, and you will find favor in this ministry. For whoever walks in these commandments will live and be happy in his life. But whoever neglects them will not live and will not be happy in his life. 2. Tell every one who is able to do good not to cease; to engage in good works is profitable for them. So I say that all men ought to be rescued from misfortune. For he who is needy and suffers misfortune in his daily life is in great anguish and want. 3. So the one who rescues such a person from want acquires great joy for himself. For he who is troubled by such misfortune is tormented by the same anguish as the one who is tortured in chains. For many, because of such miseries, bring death on themselves, when they cannot bear them. Therefore the one who knows the misery of such a man and does not rescue him commits a great sin and is guilty of his own blood. 4. So do good works, you who have received from the Lord, lest while you delay action the building of the tower is completed. For because of you there was a pause in the work of constructing. So unless you hasten to do right, the tower will be completed, and you will be excluded.” 5. And after he had talked with me he rose from the bed, and taking the shepherd and the virgins he departed, but he told me he would send the shepherd and the virgins back to my house.