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Lightfoot's Apostolic Fathers In English - J. B. Lightfoot, D. D., D.C. L., LL. D.

1. I was on the way to Cumæ at the same season as last year, and I called to mind my last year’s vision as I walked; and again a Spirit taketh me, and carrieth me away to the same place as last year. 2When then I arrived at the place, I fell upon my knees, and began to pray to the Lord, and to glorify His name, for that he counted me worthy, and made known unto me my former sins. 3But after I had risen up from prayer, I behold before me the aged lady, whom also I had seen last year, walking and reading a little book. And she saith to me, ‘Canst thou report these things to the elect of God?’ I say unto her, ‘Lady I cannot recollect so much; but give me the little book, that I may copy it.’ ‘Take it’, saith she, ‘and be sure and return it to me.’ 4I took it, and retiring to a certain spot in the country I copied it letter: for I could not make out the syllables. When then I had finished the letters of the book, suddenly the book was snatched out of my hand; but by whom I did not see.

2. Now after fifteen days, when I had fasted and entreated the Lord earnestly, the knowledge of the writing was revealed to me. And this is what was written:—

2‘Thy seed, Hermas, have sinned against God, and have blasphemed the Lord, and have betrayed their parents through great wickedness, yea, they have got the name of betrayers of parents, and yet they did not profit by their betrayal; and they still further added to their sins wanton deeds and reckless wickedness; and so the measure of their transgressions was filled up. 3But make these words known to all thy children, and to thy wife who shall be as thy sister; for she too refraineth not from using her tongue, wherewith she doeth evil. But, when she hears these words, she will refrain, and will find mercy. 4After that thou hast made known unto them all these words, which the Master commanded me that they should be revealed unto thee, then all their sins which they sinned aforetime are forgiven to them; yea, and to all the saints that have sinned unto this day, if they repent with their whole heart, and remove double-mindedness from their heart. 5For the Master sware by His own glory, as concerning His elect; that if, now that this day has been set as a limit, sin shall hereafter be committed, they shall not find salvation; for repentance for the righteous hath an end; the days of repentance are accomplished for all the saints; whereas for the Gentiles there is repentance until the last day. 6Thou shalt therefore say unto the rulers of the Church, that they direct their paths in righteousness, that they may receive in full the promises with abundant glory. 7Ye therefore that work righteousness be stedfast, and be not double-minded, that ye may have admission with the holy angels. Blessed are ye, as many as endure patiently the great tribulation that cometh, and as many as shall not deny their life. 8For the Lord sware concerning His Son, that those who denied their Lord should be rejected from their life, even they that are now about to deny Him in the coming days; but to those who denied Him aforetime, to them mercy was given of His great lovingkindness.

3. ‘But do thou, Hermas, no longer bear a grudge against thy children, neither suffer thy sister to have her way, so that they may be purified from their former sins. For they shall be chastised with a righteous chastisement, unless thou bear a grudge against them thyself. The bearing of a grudge worketh death. But thou, Hermas, hast had great tribulations of thine own, by reason of the transgressions of thy family, because thou hadst no care for them. For thou wast neglectful of them, and wast mixed up with thine evil transactions. 2But herein is thy salvation, in that thou didst not depart from the living God, and in thy simplicity and thy great continence. These have saved thee, if thou abidest therein; and they save all who do such things, and walk in guilelessness and simplicity. These men prevail over all wickedness, and continue unto life eternal. 3Blessed are all they that work righteousness. They shall never be destroyed. 4But thou shalt say to Maximus, “Behold tribulation cometh (upon thee), if thou think fit to deny a second time. The Lord is nigh unto them that turn unto Him, as it is written in Eldad and Modat, who prophesied to the people in the wilderness.” ’

4. Now, brethren, a revelation was made unto me in my sleep by a youth of exceeding fair form, who said to me, ‘Whom thinkest thou the aged woman, from whom thou receivedst the book, to be?’ I say, ‘The Sibyl’. ‘Thou art wrong,’ saith he, ‘she is not.’ ‘Who then is she?’ I say. ‘The Church,’ saith he. I said unto him, ‘Wherefore then is she aged?’ ‘Because,’ saith he, ‘she was created before all things; therefore is she aged; and for her sake the world was framed.’ 2And afterwards I saw a vision in my house. The aged woman came, and asked me, if I had already given the book to the elders. I said that I had not given it. ‘Thou hast done well,’ she said, ‘for I have words to add. When then I shall have finished all the words, it shall be made known by thy means to all the elect. 3Thou shalt therefore write two little books, and shalt send to the foreign cities, for this is his duty; while Grapte shall instruct the widows and the orphans. But thou shalt read (the book) to this city along with the elders that preside over the Church.








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