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

He shewed me men seated on a couch, and another man seated on a chair. And he saith to me, ‘Seest thou those that are seated on the couch?’ ‘I see them, Sir,’ say I. ‘These,’ saith he, ‘are faithful, but he that sitteth on the chair is a false prophet who destroyeth the mind of the servants of God—I mean, of the doubtful-minded, not of the faithful. 2These doubtful-minded ones then come to him as to a sooth-sayer and enquire of him what shall befall them. And he, the false prophet, having no power of a divine Spirit in himself, speaketh with them according to their enquiries [and according to the lusts of their wickedness], and filleth their souls as they themselves wish. 3For being empty himself he giveth empty answers to empty enquirers; for what-ever enquiry may be made of him, he answereth according to the emptiness of the man. But he speaketh also some true words; for the devil filleth him with his own spirit, if so be he shall be able to break down some of the righteous. 4So many therefore as are strong in the faith of the Lord, clothed with the truth, cleave not to such spirits, but hold aloof from them; but as many as are doubters and frequently change their minds, practise soothsaying like the Gentiles, and bring upon themselves greater sin by their idolaters. For he that consulteth a false prophet on any matter is an idolater and emptied of the truth, and senseless. 5For no Spirit given of God needeth to be consulted; but, having the power of deity, speaketh all things of itself, because it is from above, even from the power of the divine Spirit. 6But the spirit which is consulted, and speaketh according to the desires of men, is earthly and fickle, having no power; and it speaketh not at all, unless it be consulted.’ 7‘How then, Sir,’ say I, ‘shall a man know who of them is a prophet, and who a false prophet?’ ‘Hear,’ saith he, ‘concerning both the prophets; and, as I shall tell thee, so shalt thou test the prophet and the false prophet. By his life test the man that hath the divine Spirit. 8In the first place, he that hath the [divine] Spirit, which is from above, is gentle and tranquil and humble-minded, and abstaineth from all wickedness and vain desire of this present world, and holdeth himself inferior to all men, and giveth no answer to any man when enquired of, nor speaketh in solitude (for neither doth the Holy Spirit speak when a man wisheth Him to speak); but the man speaketh then when God wisheth him to speak. 9When then the man who hath the divine Spirit cometh into an assembly of righteous men, who have faith in a divine Spirit, and intercession is made to God by the gathering of those men, then the angel of the prophetic spirit, who is attached to him, filleth the man, and the man, being filled with the Holy Spirit, speaketh to the multitude, according as the Lord willeth. 10In this way then the Spirit of the deity shall be manifest. This then is the greatness of the power as touching the Spirit of the deity of the Lord. 11Hear now,’ saith he, ‘concerning the earthly and vain spirit, which hath no power but is foolish. 12In the first place, that man who seemeth to have a spirit exalteth himself, and desireth to have a chief place, and straightway he is impudent and shameless and talkative and conversant in many luxuries and in many other deceits, and receiveth money for his prophesying, and if he receiveth not, he prophesieth not. Now can a divine Spirit receive money and prophesy? It is not possible for a prophet of God to do this, but the spirit of such prophets is earthly. 13In the next place, it never approacheth an assembly of righteous men; but avoideth them, and cleaveth to the doubtful-minded and empty, and prophesieth to them in corners, and deceiveth them, speaking all things in emptiness to gratify their desires; for they too are empty whom it answereth. For the empty vessel placed together with the empty is not broken, but they agree one with the other. 14But when he comes into an assembly full of righteous men who have a Spirit of deity, and intercession is made from them, that man is emptied, and the earthly spirit fleeth from him in fear, and that man is struck dumb and is altogether broken in pieces, being unable to utter a word. 15For, if you pack wine or oil into a closet, and place an empty vessel among them, and again desire to unpack the closet, the vessel which you placed there empty, empty in like manner you will find it. Thus also the empty prophets, whenever they come unto the spirits of righteous men, are found just such as they came. 16I have given thee the life of both kinds of prophets. Therefore test, by his life and his works, the man who says that he is moved by the Spirit. 17But do thou trust the Spirit that cometh from God, and hath power; but in the earthly and empty spirit put no trust at all; for in it there is no power, for it cometh from the devil. 18Listen [then] to the parable which I shall tell thee. Take a stone, and throw it up to heaven—see if thou canst reach it; or again, take a squirt of water, and squirt it up to heaven—see if thou canst bore through the heaven.’ 19‘How, Sir,’ say I, ‘can these things be? For both these things which thou hast mentioned are beyond our power.’ ‘Well then,’ saith he, ‘just as these things are beyond our power, so likewise the earthly spirits have no power and are feeble. 20Now take the power which cometh from above. The hail is a very small grain, and yet, when it falleth on a man’s head, what pain it causeth! Or again, take a drop which falls on the ground from the tiles, and bores through the stone. 21Thou seest then that the smallest things from above falling on the earth have great power. So likewise the divine Spirit coming from above is powerful. This Spirit therefore trust, but from the other hold aloof.’








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