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

1. After I had written out this book completely, the angel who had delivered me to the shepherd came to the house where I was, and sat upon a couch, and the shepherd stood at his right hand. Then he called me, and spake thus unto me; 2‘I delivered thee,’ said he, ‘and thy house to this shepherd, that thou mightest be protected by him.’ ‘True, Sir,’ I said. ‘If therefore,’ said he, ‘thou desirest to be protected from all annoyance and all cruelty, to have also success in every good work and word, and all the power of righteousness, walk in his commandments, which I have given thee, and thou shalt be able to get the mastery over all wickedness. 3For if thou keep his commandments, all evil desire and the sweetness of this world shall be subject unto thee; moreover success shall attend thee in every good undertaking. Embrace his gravity and self-restraint, and tell it out unto all men that he is held in great honour and dignity with the Lord, and is a ruler of great authority, and powerful in his office. To him alone in the whole world hath authority over repentance been assigned. Seemeth he to thee to be powerful? Yet ye despise the gravity and moderation which he useth towards you.’

2. I say unto him; ‘Ask him, Sir, himself, whether from the time that he hath been in my house, I have done ought out of order, whereby I have offended him.’ 2‘I myself know,’ said he, ‘that thou hast done nothing out of order, nor art about to do so. And so I speak these things unto thee, that thou mayest persevere. For he hath given a good account of thee unto me. Thou therefore shalt speak these words to others, that they too who have practised or shall practise repentance may be of the same mind as thou art; and he may give a good report of them to me, and I unto the Lord.’ 3‘I too, Sir,’ I say, ‘declare to every man the mighty works of the Lord; for I hope that all who have sinned in the past, if they hear these things, will gladly repent and recover life.’ 4‘Continue therefore,’ said he,’ in this ministry, and complete it unto the end. For whosoever fulfil his commandments shall have life; yea such a man (shall have) great honour with the Lord. But whosoever keep not his commandments, fly from their life, and oppose him, and follow not his commandments, but deliver themselves over to death; and each one becometh guilty of his own blood. But I bid thee obey these commandments, and thou shalt have a remedy for thy sins.

3. ‘Moreover, I have sent these virgins unto thee, that they may dwell with thee; for I have seen that they are friendly towards thee. Thou hast them therefore as helpers, that thou mayest be the better able to keep his commandments; for it is impossible that these commandments be kept without the help of these virgins. I see too that they are glad to be with thee. But I will charge them that they depart not at all from thy house. 2Only do thou purify thy house; for in a clean house they willgladly dwell. For they are clean and chaste and industrious, and all have favour in the sight of the Lord. If, therefore, they shall find thy house pure, they will continue with thee; but if the slightest pollution arise, they will depart from thy house at once. For these virgins love not pollution in any form.’ 3I say unto him, ‘I hope, Sir, that I shall please them, so that they may gladly dwell in my house for ever; and just as he to whom thou didst deliver me maketh no complaint against me, so they likewise shall make no complaint.’ 4He saith unto the shepherd, ‘I perceive,’ saith he, ‘that he wishes to live as the servant of God, and that he will keep these commandments, and will place these virgins in a clean habitation.’ 5With these words he again delivered me over to the shepherd, and called the virgins, and said to them; ‘Inasmuch as I see that ye are glad to dwell in this man’s house, I commend to you him and his house, that ye depart not at all from his house.’ But they heard these words gladly.

4. He said then to me, ‘Quit you like a man in this ministry; declare to every man the mighty works of the Lord, and thou shalt have favour in this ministry. Whosoever therefore shall walk in these commandments, shall live and be happy in his life; but whosoever shall neglect them, shall not live, and shall be unhappy in his life. 2Charge all men who are able to do right, that they cease not to practise good works; for it is useful for them. I say moreover that every man ought to be rescued from misfortune; for he that hath need, and suffereth misfortune in his daily life, is in great torment and want. 3Whosoever therefore rescueth from penury a life of this kind, winneth great joy for himself. For he who is harassed by misfortune of this sort is afflicted and tortured with equal torment as one who is in chains. For many men on account of calamities of this kind, because they can bear them no longer, lay violent hands on themselves. He then who knows the calamity of a man of this kind and rescueth him not, committeth great sin, and becometh guilty of the man’s blood. 4Do therefore good works, whoever of you have received (benefits) from the Lord, lest, while ye delay to do them, the building of the tower be completed. For it is on your account that the work of the building has been interrupted. Unless then ye hasten to do right, the tower will be completed, and ye shut out.’

5When then he had finished speaking with me, he rose from the couch and departed, taking with him the shepherd and the virgins. He said however unto me, that he would send the shepherd and the virgins back again to my house.








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