Church Fathers: Ante-Nicene Fathers Volume 8: 8.05.25 Apocrypha - Acts of Thomas - Part 1

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Church Fathers: Ante-Nicene Fathers Volume 8: 8.05.25 Apocrypha - Acts of Thomas - Part 1



TOPIC: Ante-Nicene Fathers Volume 8 (Other Topics in this Collection)
SUBJECT: 8.05.25 Apocrypha - Acts of Thomas - Part 1

Other Subjects in this Topic:

Apocrypha of the New Testament (Cont.)

Acts of the Holy Apostle Thomas.

At that time we the apostles were all in Jerusalem - Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the tax-gatherer; James of Alphæus and Simon the Cananæan; and Judas of James;1 - and we portioned out the regions of the world, in order that each one of us might go into the region that fell to him, and to the nation to which the Lord sent him. By lot, then, India fell to Judas Thomas,2 also called Didymus. And he did not wish to go, saying that he was not able to go on account of the weakness of the flesh; and how can I, being an Hebrew man, go among the Indians to proclaim the truth? And while he was thus reasoning and speaking, the Saviour appeared to him through the night, and said to him: Fear not, Thomas; go away to India, and proclaim the word; for my grace shall be with thee. But he did not obey, saying: Wherever Thou wishest to send me, send me elsewhere; for to the Indians I am not going.

And as he was thus speaking and growing angry, there happened to be there a certain merchant come from India, by name Abbanes, sent from the king Gundaphoros, and having received an order from him to buy a carpenter and bring him to him. And the Lord, having seen him walking about in the market at noon, said to him: Dost thou wish to buy a carpenter? And he said to Him: Yes. And the Lord said to him: I have a slave a carpenter, and I wish to sell him. And having said this, He showed him Thomas at a distance, and agreed with him for three pounds of uncoined silver; and He wrote a bill of sale, saying: I Jesus, the son of Joseph the carpenter, declare that I have sold my slave, Judas by name, to thee Abbanes, a merchant of Gundaphoros, the king of the Indians. And the purchase3 being completed, the Saviour taking Judas, who also is Thomas, led him to Abbanes the merchant; and Abbanes seeing him, said to him: Is this thy master? And the apostle answered and said: Yes, He is my Lord. And he says: I have bought thee from him. And the apostle held his peace.

And at dawn of the following day, the apostle having prayed and entreated the Lord, said: I go wherever Thou wishest, O Lord Jesus; Thy will be done. And he went to Abbanes the merchant, carrying nothing at all with him, but only his price. For the Lord had given it to him, saying: Let thy worth also be with thee along with my grace, wherever thou mayst go. And the apostle came up with Abbanes, who was carrying his effects into the boat. He began therefore also to carry them along with him. And when they had gone on board and sat down, Abbanes questioned the apostle, saying: What kind of work dost thou know? And he said: In wood, ploughs, and yokes, and balances,4 and boats, and boats’ oars, and masts, and blocks; in stone, slabs,5 and temples, and royal palaces. And Abbanes the merchant said to him: Of such a workman, to be sure, we have need. They began, therefore, to sail away. And they had a fair wind, and they sailed fist until they came to Andrapolis, a royal city.

And having gone out of the boat, they went into the city. And, behold, the voices of flute-players, and of water-organs, and trumpets, sounding round them; and the apostle inquired, saying: What festival is this in this city? And those who were there said to him: The gods have brought thee also, that thou mayst be feasted in this city. For the king has an only-begotten daughter, and he is now giving her to a husband in marriage: this festival, then, which thou seest to-day, is the rejoicing and public assembly for the marriage. And the king has sent forth heralds to proclaim everywhere that all are to come to the marriage, rich and poor, bond and free, strangers and citizens. And if any one shall refuse and not come to the marriage, he will be answerable to the king. (Comp. Mat_22:3-14) And Abbanes having heard, said to the apostle: Let us also go, then, that we may not offend the king, and especially as we are strangers. And he said: Let us go. And having turned into the inn, and 536 rested a little, they went to the marriage. And the apostle seeing them all reclining, reclined he also in the midst. And they all looked at him as a stranger, and coming from a foreign land. And Abbanes the merchant, as being a lord, reclined in another place.

And when they had dined and drunk, the apostle tasted nothing. Those, then, about him said to him: Why hast thou come hither, neither eating nor drinking? And he answered and said to them: For something greater than food or even drink have I come hither, even that I might accomplish the will of the King. For the heralds proclaim the wishes of the King, and whoever will not hear the heralds will be liable to the judgment of the King. When, therefore, they had dined and drunk, and crowns and perfumes had been brought, each took perfume, and one anointed his face, another his cheek,6 and one one part of his body, and another another. And the apostle anointed the crown of his head, and put a little of the ointment in his nostrils, and dropped it also into his ears, and applied it also to his teeth, and carefully anointed the parts round about his heart; and having taken the crown that was brought to him wreathed of myrtle and other flowers, he put it on his head, and took a branch of reed in his hand, and held it.

And the flute-girl, holding the flutes in her hand, went round them all; and when she came to the place where the apostle was, she stood over him, playing the flute over his head a long time. And that flute-girl was Hebrew by race.

And as the apostle looked away to the ground, a certain one of the wine-pourers7 stretched forth his hand and struck him. And the apostle, having raised his eyes, and regarded him who had struck him, said: My God will forgive thee this wrong in the world to come, but in this world He will show His wonders, and I shall soon see that hand that struck me dragged along by a dog. And having thus spoken, he began to sing and to repeat this song: -

Maiden, daughter of the light, in whom there exists and abides the majestic splendour of kings; and delightsome is the sight of her, resplendent with brilliant beauty. Her garments are like spring flowers, and the odour of a sweet smell is given forth from them; and on the crown of her head the king is seated, feeding with his own ambrosia those who are seated beside him; and truth rests upon her head, and she shows forth joy with her feet; and becomingly does she open her mouth; thirty-and-two are they who sing her praises, and their tongue is like a curtain of the door which is drawn for them who go in; and her neck is made in the likeness of the stairs which the first Creator created; and her two hands signify and represent the choral dance of the blessed ages, proclaiming it; and her fingers represent the gates of the city. Her chamber lighted up breathes forth scent from balsam and every perfume, and gives forth a sweet odour of myrrh and savoury herbs; and within are strewn myrtles and sweet-smelling flowers of all kinds; and the bridal chambers are adorned with calamus. (Exo_30:23; Son_4:14; Eze_27:29) And her groomsmen, of whom the number is seven, whom she has chosen for herself, surround her like a wall; and her bridesmaids are seven, who dance before her; and twelve are they in number who minister before her and are at her bidding, having their gaze and their sight upon the bridegroom, that through the sight of him they may be enlightened. And they shall be with him to everlasting in that everlasting joy, and they shall sit down in that wedding to which the great ones are gathered together, and they shall abide in the festivities of which the eternals are deemed worthy; and they shall be arrayed in royal raiment, and shall put on shining robes; and in joy and exultation both of them shall be, and they shall glorify the Father of the universe, whose majestic light they have received, and they have been enlightened by the sight of Him their Lord, whose ambrosial food they have received, of which there is no failing at all; and they have drunk also of the wine which brings to them no thirst, neither desire of the flesh; and they have with the living spirit glorified and praised the father of truth and the mother of wisdom.

And when he had sung and finished this song, all who were there present looked upon him and kept silence, and they also saw his form changed; and what had been said by him they did not understand, since he was a Hebrew, and what had been said by him had been said in Hebrew. But the flute-girl alone heard all, for she was Hebrew by race, and standing off from him she played the flute to the others; but at him she mostly turned her eyes and looked, for she altogether loved him as a man of the same nation with herself, and he was also beautiful in appearance above all who were there. And when the flute-girl had come to the end of all her flute-playing, she sat down opposite him, and looked and gazed upon him. But he looked at no one at all, neither did he regard any one, but only kept his eyes on the ground, waiting until he should depart thence. And that wine-pourer that struck him came down to the fountain to draw water; and there happened to be a lion 537 there, and it came forth and killed him, and left him lying in the place, after tearing up his limbs; and dogs immediately seized his limbs, among which also one black dog, laying hold of his right hand in his mouth, brought it to the place of the banquet.

And all seeing were terror-struck, inquiring which of them had been taken off. And when it was clear that it was the hand of the wine-pourer who had struck the apostle, the flute-girl broke her flutes in pieces, and threw them away, and went and sat down at the feet of the apostle, saying: This man is either God or God’s apostle; for I heard him saying in Hebrew to the wine-pourer, I shall soon see the hand that struck me dragged about by dogs, which also you have now seen; for as he said, so also it has come to pass. And some believed her, and some not. And the king, having heard, came up and said to him: Rise up, and go with me, and pray for my daughter; for she is my only child, and today I give her away. And the apostle would not go with him; for his Lord had not at all been revealed to him there. And the king took him away against his will to the bridal-chamber, that he might pray for them.

And the apostle stood, and began to pray and speak thus: My Lord and my God, who accompanies His servants on their way, guiding and directing those who trust in Him, the refuge and the repose of the afflicted, the hope of the mourners, and the deliverer of the captives, the physician of the souls that are lying under disease, and Saviour of every creature, who gives life to the world, and invigorates our souls! Thou knowest what will come to pass, who also for our sakes makest these things perfect: Thou, Lord, who revealest hidden mysteries, and declarest unspeakable words; Thou, Lord, the planter of the good tree, also through the tree makest words to spring up; Thou, Lord, who art in all, and camest through all, and existest in all Thy works, and makest Thyself manifest through the working of them all; Jesus Christ, the Son of compassion, and perfect Saviour; Christ, Son of the living God, the undaunted Power which has overthrown the enemy; and the voice heard by the rulers, (Comp. Psa_24:7, according to the LXX.) which shook all their powers; the ambassador who was sent to them from on high, and who wentest down even to Hades; who also, having opened the doors, didst bring out thence those that had been shut in for many ages by the controller of the world, and didst show them the way up that leads up on high: I beseech Thee, Lord Jesus Christ, I offer Thee supplication for these young persons, that Thou mayst make what happens and befalls them to be for their good. And having laid his hands on them, and said, The Lord will be with you, he left them in the place, and went away.8

And the king requested the groomsmen to go out of the bridal-chamber; and all having gone forth, and the doors having been shut, the bridegroom raised the curtain of the bridal-chamber, that he might bring the bride to himself. And he saw the Lord Jesus talking with the bride, and having the appearance of Judas Thomas, who shortly before had blessed them, and gone out from them; and he says to him: Didst thou not go out before them all? And how art thou found here? And the Lord said to him: I am not Judas, who also is Thomas; I am his brother. And the Lord sat down on the bed, and ordered them also to sit down on the seats;9 and He began to say to them: -

Keep in mind, my children, what my brother said to you, and to whom he commended you; and this know, that if you refrain from this filthy intercourse, you become temples holy and pure, being released from afflictions and troubles, known and unknown, and you will not be involved in the cares of life, and of children, whose end is destruction; but if you get many children, for their sakes you become grasping and avaricious, plundering orphans, coveting the property of widows, and by doing this you subject yourselves to most grievous punishments. For many children become unprofitable, being harassed by demons, some openly and others secretly: for they become either lunatics, or half-withered, or lame, or deaf, or dumb, or paralytics, or idiots; and even if they be in good health, they will be again good-for-nothing, doing unprofitable and abominable works: for they will be detected either in adultery, or in murder, or in theft, or in fornication, and by all these you will be afflicted. But if you will be persuaded, and preserve your souls pure to God, there will be born to you living children, whom these hurtful things do not touch; and you will be without care, spending an untroubled life, free from grief and care, looking forward to receive that marriage incorruptible and true; and you will be in it companions of the bridegroom, going in along with Him into that bridal-chamber full of immortality and light.10

And when the young people heard this, they believed the Lord, and gave themselves over into His keeping, and refrained from filthy lust, and remained thus spending the night in the place. And the Lord went out from before them, having spoken thus to them: The grace of the Lord shall be with you. And the dawn having come on, the king arrived, and having 538 supplied the table, brought it in before the bridegroom and the bride; and he found them sitting opposite each other, and he found the face of the bride uncovered, and the bridegroom was quite cheerful. And the mother having come to the bride, said: Wherefore dost thou sit thus, child, and art not ashamed, but thus as if thou hadst for a long time lived with thine own husband? And her father said: Is it because of thy great love to thy husband that thou art uncovered?

And the bride answered and said: Truly, father, I am in great love, and I pray to my Lord to continue to me the love which I have experienced this night, and I shall beg for myself this husband whom I have experienced today. For this reason, then, I am no longer covered, since the mirror11 of shame has been taken away from me, and I am no longer ashamed nor abashed, since the work of shame and bashfulness has been removed far from me; and because I am not under any violent emotion, since violent emotion does not abide in me; and because I am in cheerfulness and joy, since the day of joy has not been disturbed; and because I hold of no account this husband, and these nuptials that have passed away from before mine eyes, since I have been joined in a different marriage; and because I have had no intercourse with a temporary husband, whose end is with lewdness and bitterness of soul, since I have been united to a true Husband.

And when the bride is saying yet more, the bridegroom answers and says: I thank Thee, Lord, who hast been proclaimed by the stranger and found by us;12 who hast put corruption far from me, and hast sown life in me; who hast delivered me from this disease, hard to heal, and hard to cure, and abiding for ever, and established in me sound health; who hast shown Thyself to me, and hast revealed to me all that concerns me, in which I am; who hast redeemed me from falling, and hast led me to something better, and who hast released me from things temporary, and hast deemed me worthy of things immortal and ever existing; who hast brought Thyself down even to me and to my littleness, in order that, having placed me beside Thy greatness, Thou mightest unite me to Thyself; who hast not withheld Thine own compassion from me lost, but hast shown me how to search myself, and to know what13 I was and what13 and how I am now, in order that I may again become as I was; whom I indeed did not know, but Thou Thyself whom I knew not hast sought me out and taken me to Thyself; whom I have experienced, and am not now able to forget, whose love is fervent in me; and speak indeed as I ought I cannot. But what I have time to say about Him is short, and altogether little, and not in proportion to His glory; but He does not find fault with me for not being ashamed to say to Him even what I do not know; because it is through the love of Him that I say even this.

And the king, having heard these things from the bridegroom and the bride, rent his garments, and said to those standing near him: Go out quickly, and go round the whole city, and seize and bring me that man, the sorcerer, who has come for evil into this city: for I led him with my own hands into my house, and I told him to play for my most unfortunate daughter; and whoever shall find him and bring him to me, whatever service be shall ask of me, I give him. They went away, therefore, and went round seeking him, and found him not; for he had sailed. They went, therefore, also into the inn where he had stayed, and found there the flute-girl weeping and in distress, because he had not taken her with him. And they having recounted what had happened in the case of the young people, she was altogether glad when she heard it, and dismissed her grief, and said: Now have I found, even I, repose here. And she arose and went to them, and was with them a long time, until they had instructed the king also. And many also of the brethren were gathered together there, until they heard word of the apostle, that he had gone down to the cities of India, and was teaching there. And they went away, and joined him.





When He Came into India, and Built the Palace in the Heavens.

And when the apostle came into the cities of India, with Abbanes the merchant, Abbanes went away to salute Gundaphoros the king, and reported to him about the carpenter whom he had brought with him; and the king was glad, and ordered him to come in to himself. And when he had come in, the king said to him: What trade knowest thou? The apostle says to him: The carpenter’s and house builder’s. The king says to him: What work in wood knowest thou, 539 then, and what in stone? The apostle says: In wood, ploughs, yokes, balances, pulleys, and boats, and oars, and masts; and in stone, monuments, temples, royal palaces. And the king said: Wilt thou build me a palace? And he answered: Yes, I shall build it, and finish it; for because of this I came, to build houses, and to do carpenter’s work.

And the king having taken him, went forth out of the gates of the city, and began to talk with him on the way about the building of the palace, and about the foundations, how they should be laid, until they came to that place in which he wished the building to be. And he said: Here I wish the building to be. And the apostle says: Yes; for assuredly this place is convenient for the building. For the place was well wooded, and there was much water there. The king therefore says: Begin to build. And he said: I cannot begin to build at this time.

And the king says: When wilt thou be able? And he says: I shall begin in Dius and end in Xanthicus.14 And the king wondering, said: Every building is built in summer; but canst thou build and make a palace in winter itself? And the apostle said: Thus it must be, and otherwise it is impossible. And the king said: If, therefore, this be thy opinion, mark out for me how the work is to be, since I shall come here after some time. And the apostle, having taken a reed, measured the place, and marked it out; and he set the doors towards the rising of the sun, to look to the light, and the windows towards its setting, to the winds; and he made the bakehouse to be towards the south, and the water-tank, for abundance, towards the north. And the king seeing this, said to the apostle: Thou art a craftsman indeed, and it is fitting that thou shouldst serve kings. And having left many things for him, he went away.

And from time to time he also sent the money that was necessary, for the living both of him and the other workmen. And he taking it, dispenses it all, going about the cities and the places round, distributing and doing kindnesses to the poor and the afflicted, and gave them rest,15 saying: The king knows how to obtain royal recompense, and it is necessary for the poor to have repose for the present.

And after this, the king sent a messenger to the apostle, having written to him as follows: Show me what thou hast done, or what I am to send thee, or what thou needest. The apostle sends to him, saying: The palace is built, and only the roof remains to be done. And the king, having heard, sent him again gold and silver uncoined, and wrote to him: Let the palace, if it be done, be roofed. And the apostle said to the Lord: I thank Thee, Lord, as to all things, that Thou didst die for a short time, that I might live in Thee for ever; and hast sold me, so that Thou mayst deliver many through me. And he did not cease to teach and refresh the afflicted, saying: These things the Lord hath dispensed to us, and He gives to each his food; for He is the support of the orphans, and the provider of the widows, and to all that are afflicted He is rest and repose.

And when the king came into the city, he inquired of his friends about the palace which Judas, who also is Thomas, had built; and they said to him: He has neither built a palace, nor done anything else of what he promised to do; but he goes round the cities and the districts, and if he has anything he gives all to the poor, and teaches one new God,16 and heals the diseased, and drives out demons, and does many other extraordinary things; and we think that he is a magician. But his acts of compassion, and the cures done by him as a free gift, and still more, his single-mindedness, and gentleness, and fidelity, show that he is a just man, or an apostle of the new God whom he preaches; for he continually fasts and prays, and eats only bread with salt, and his drink is water, and he carries one coat, whether in warm weather or in cold, and he takes nothing from any one, but gives to others even what he has. The king having heard this, stroked his face with his hands, shaking his head for a long time.

And he sent for the merchant that had brought him, and for the apostle, and said to him: Hast thou built me the palace? And he said: Yes, I have built it. And the king said: When, then, are we to go and see it? And he answered and said: Now thou canst not see it; but when thou hast departed this life, thou shalt see it. And the king, quite enraged, ordered both the merchant, and Judas who also is Thomas, to be put in chains, and to be cast into prison, until he should examine, and learn to whom he had given the king’s property. And thus I shall destroy him along with the merchant. And the apostle went to prison rejoicing, and said to the merchant: Fear nothing at all, but only believe in the God proclaimed by me, and thou shalt be freed from this world, and thou shall obtain life in the world to come.

And the king considered by what death he should kill them; and when it seemed good to him to flay them, and burn them with fire, on that very night Gad the king’s brother fell ill, 540 and through the grief and imposition which the king suffered he was grievously depressed; and having sent for the king, he said to him: My brother the king, I commend to thee my house and my children; for I, on account of the insult that has befallen thee, have been grieved, and am dying; and if thou do not come down with vengeance upon the head of that magician, thou wilt give my soul no rest in Hades. And the king said to his brother: During the whole night I have considered this, how I shall put him to death; and this has seemed good to me - to flay him and burn him up with fire, both him and with him the merchant that brought him.

And as they were talking together, the soul of Gad his brother departed. And the king mourned for Gad exceedingly, for he altogether loved him. And he ordered him to be prepared for burial in a royal and costly robe. And as this was being done, angels received the soul of Gad the king’s brother, and took it up into heaven, showing him the places and dwellings there, asking him: In what sort of a place dost thou wish to dwell? And when they came near the edifice of Thomas the apostle, which he had built for the king, Gad, seeing it, said to the angels, I entreat you, my lords, permit me to dwell in one of the underground chambers of this palace. And they said to him: Thou canst not dwell in this building.17 And he said: Wherefore? They say to him: This palace is the one which that Christian built for thy brother. And he said: I entreat you, my lords, permit me to go to thy brother, that I may buy this palace from him; for my brother does not know what it is like, and he will sell it to me.

Then the angels let the soul of Gad go. And as they were putting on him the burial robe, his soul came into him. And he said to those standing round him: Call my brother to me, that I may beg of him one request. Straightway, therefore, they sent the good news to their king, saying: Thy brother has come alive again. And the king started up, and along with a great multitude went to his brother, and went in and stood beside his bed as if thunderstruck, not being able to speak to him. And his brother said: I know and am persuaded, brother, that if any one asked of thee the haft of thy kingdom, thou wouldst give it for my sake; wherefore I entreat thee to grant me one favour, which I beg of thee to do me. And the king answered and said: And what is it that thou askest me to do for thee? And he said: Assure me by an oath that thou wilt grant it me. And the king swore to him: Of what belongs to me, whatever thou shalt ask, I will give thee. And he says to him: Sell me that palace which thou hast in the heavens. And the king said: Whence does a palace in the heavens belong to me? And he said: That which the Christian who is now in the prison, whom the merchant bought forth a certain Jesus, and brought to thee, built for thee. And as he was at a loss, he says to him again: I speak of that Hebrew slave whom thou didst wish to punish, as having suffered some imposition from him, on account of whom I also was grieved and died, and now have come alive again.

Then the king, having come to know, understood about the eternal benefits that were conferred upon him and destined for him, and said: That palace I cannot sell thee, but I pray thee to go into it, and dwell there, and become worthy to be of its inhabitants; but if thou really wishest to buy such a palace, behold, the man is alive, and will build thee a better than that.18 And having sent immediately, he brought out of the prison the apostle, and the merchant who had been shut up along with him, saying: I entreat thee, as a man entreating the servant of God, that thou wilt pray for me, and entreat him whose servant thou art, to pardon me, and overlook what I have done to thee, or even what I meant to do, and that I may be worthy to be an inhabitant of that house for which indeed I have laboured nothing, but which thou labouring alone hast built for me, the grace of thy God working with thee; and that I may become a servant, I also, and slave of this God whom thou proclaimest. And his brother, falling down before the apostle, said: I entreat thee, and supplicate before thy God, that I may become worthy of this ministry and service, and may be allotted to become worthy of those things which were shown me by his angels.

And the apostle, seized with joy, said: I make full confession19 to Thee, Lord Jesus, that Thou hast revealed Thy truth in these men: for Thou alone art a God of truth, and not another; and Thou art He who knowest all things that are unknown to many: Thou art He, Lord, who in all things showest compassion and mercy to men; for men, through the error that is in them, have overlooked Thee, but Thou hast not overlooked them. And now, when I am entreating and supplicating Thee, accept the king and his brother, and unite them into Thy fold, having 541 cleansed them by Thy purification, and anointed them with Thy oil, from the error which encompasseth them; and protect them also from the wolves, bringing them into Thy meadows; and give them to drink of Thy ambrosial fountain, that is never muddy and never faileth: for they entreat Thee, and supplicate, and wish to become Thy ministers and servants; and on account of this they are well pleased even to be persecuted by Thine enemies, and for Thy sake to be hated by them, and insulted, and to die; as Thou also for our sakes didst suffer all these things, that Thou mightst gain us to Thyself, as being Lord, and truly a good shepherd. And do Thou grant them that they may have confidence in Thee alone, and aid from Thee, and hope of their salvation, which they obtain from Thee alone, and that they may be confirmed in Thy mysteries; and they shall receive the perfect benefits of Thy graces and gifts, and flourish in Thy service, and bear fruit to perfection in Thy Father.

King Gundaphoros, therefore, and Gad, having been altogether set apart by the apostle, followed him, not at all going back, they also providing for those that begged of them, giving to all, and relieving all. And they entreated him that they might also then receive the seal of baptism; and they said to him: As our souls are at ease, and as we are earnest about God, give us the seal; for we have heard thee saying that the God whom thou proclaimest recognises through his seal his own sheep. And the apostle said to them: And I am glad, and entreat you to receive this seal, and to communicate with me in this thanksgiving20 and blessing of God, and to be made perfect in it;21 for this Jesus Christ whom I proclaim is Lord and God of all, and He is the Father of truth, in whom I have taught you to believe. And he ordered to bring them oil, in order that through the oil they might receive the seal. They brought the oil, therefore, and lighted many lamps, for it was night.22

And the apostle arose, and sealed them; and the Lord was revealed to them, through a voice saying, Peace to you, brethren! And they heard His voice only, but His form they saw not; for they had not yet received the ratification23 of the seal. And the apostle, having taken oil, and poured it over their head, and salved and anointed them, began to say: Come, holy name of Christ, which is above every name; come, power of the Most High, and perfect compassion; come, grace most high; come, compassionate mother; come, thou that hast charge24 of the male child; come, thou who revealest secret mysteries; come, mother of the seven houses, that there may be rest for thee in the eighth house; come, thou presbyter of the five members - intelligence, thought, purpose, reflection, reasoning - communicate with these young persons; come, Holy Spirit, and purify their reins and heart, and seal them in the name of Father, and Son, and Holy Spirit. And when they had been sealed, there appeared to them a young man holding a burning torch, so that their lamps were even darkened by the approach25 of its light. And he went out, and disappeared from their sight. And the apostle said to the Lord: Thy light, Lord, is too great for us, and we cannot bear it; for it is too much for our sight. And when light came, and it was dawn, having broken bread, he made them partakers of the thanksgiving26 of Christ. And they rejoiced and exulted; and many others also believed, and were added, and came to the refuge of the Saviour.

And the apostle ceased not proclaiming, and saying to them: Men and women, boys and girls, young men and maidens, vigorous and aged, both bond and free, withhold yourselves from fornication, and covetousness, and the service of the belly; for under these three heads all wickedness comes. For fornication maims the mind, and darkens the eyes of the soul, and becomes a hindrance of the due regulation of the body, changing the whole man into feebleness, and throwing the whole body into disease. And insatiableness puts the soul into fear and shame, existing by what pertains to the body,27 and forcibly seizing what belongs to another; ... and the service of the belly throws the soul into cares and troubles and griefs... Since, therefore, you have been set free from these, you are without care, and without grief, and without fear; and there remains to you that which was said by the Saviour: Take no care for the morrow, for the morrow will take care of itself. (Comp. Mat_6:34) Keep in mind also that saying before mentioned: Look upon the ravens, and behold the fowls of the heaven, that they neither sow nor reap, nor gather into barns, and God takes care of them; bow much more you, O ye of little faith! (Luk_12:24) But look for His appearing, and have your hopes in Him, and believe in His 542 name: for He is the Judge of living and dead, and He requites to each one according to his deeds; and at His coming and appearance at last no one will have as a ground of excuse, when he comes to be judged by Him, that he has not heard. For His heralds are proclaiming in the four quarters of the world. Repent, therefore, and believe the message,28 and accept the yoke of gentleness and the light burden, (Mat_11:30) that you may live and not die. These things lay hold of, these things keep; come forth from the darkness, that the light may receive yen; come to Him who is truly good, that from Him you may receive grace, and place His sign upon your souls.

When he had thus said, some of the bystanders said to him: It is time for this debtor to receive his debt. And he said to them: The creditor,29 indeed, always wishes to receive more; but let us give him what is proper. And having blessed them, he took bread and oil, and herbs and salt, and gave them to eat. But he continued in his fasting, for the Lord’s day was about to dawn. And on the night following, while he was asleep, the Lord came and stood by his head, saying: Thomas, rise up early and bless them all; and after the prayer and service go along the eastern road two miles, and there I shall show in thee my glory. For because thou goest away, many shall flee to me for refuge, and thou shalt reprove the nature and the power of the enemy. And having risen up from sleep, he said to the brethren who were with him: Children and brethren, the Lord wishes to do something or other to-day through me; but let us pray and entreat Him that nothing may be a hindrance to us towards Him, but as at all times let it now also be done unto us according to His purpose and will. And having thus spoken, he laid his hands upon them and blessed them. And having broken the bread of the Eucharist, he gave it to them, saying: This Eucharist shall be30 to you for compassion, and mercy, and recompense, and not for judgment. And they said: Amen.







FOOTNOTES







1 This list is a transcript of Mat_10:2-4, except in the last name.

2 This double name is in accordance with a tradition preserved by Eusebius (H. E., i. 13), that the true name of Thomas was Judas.

3 Or, bill of sale.

4 Or, scales.

5 i.e., monuments.

6 Or, chin.

7 Or, cup-bearers.

8 Three of the five mss. either omit the prayer altogether, or give it very briefly.

9 Or, couches.

10 The text of this exhortation also varies much in the four mss. which give it.

11 Or, look.

12 Or, in us.

13 Or, who.

14 Dius was the first, and Xanthicus the sixth, of the twelve lunar months of the Macedonian calendar, which after the time of Alexander was adopted by the Greek cities of Asia generally. Dius fell partly in October and partly in November; Xanthicus answered generally to April. - Smith’s Dictionary of Antiquities, s. v. Mensis.

Another reading is: I shall begin in Hyperberetæus - the twelfth month.

15 Or, remission.

16 One of the mss. has: that there is one God, namely Jesus.

17 One ms. has: But if thou buy it, thou shalt live in it. And he said to them: Can I buy it? And they said to him: See that thou obtain one like this which thou seest, or better if thou wilt, that when thou comest hither again, thou mayst not be driven into the darkness.

18 One of the mss. here ends the history in these words: - And he sent, and brought out Thomas, and said to him: Pardon us if we have in ignorance been in any way harsh to thee; and make us to be partakers of him whom thou preachest. And the apostle says: I too rejoice with you, that you are made partakers of His kingdom. And he took and enlightened them, having given them the washing of grace in the name of Father, and Son, and Holy Spirit, to whom is due all glory and kingdom without end. And when they had gone up straightway out of the water, the Saviour appeared to them, so that the apostle wondered, and a great light shone brighter than the rays of the sun. And having confirmed their faith, he went out, going on his way in the Lord.

19 i.e., give thanks, as in Mat_11:25, Luk_10:21, etc.

20 Or, Eucharist.

21 i.e., by it.

22 One ms. for this whole section has: The two brothers having been set apart by the apostle, said to him, Give us the seal in Christ. And he ordered them to bring him oil. And ends the history thus: And he arose, and sealed them in the name of Father, and Son, and Holy Spirit, and baptized them. And the Lord was revealed to them, through a voice saying to them, Peace unto you! And the apostle sealed also all that were with them. And they all believed in our Lord Jesus Christ: and the whole of India became believing.

The last sentence in the text seems to be an interpolation. The oil was not for the lamps, but for the ceremony of baptism. The practice of baptizing with oil instead of water - one of the “notable and execrable” heresies of the Manichæans - is said to have been founded on this passage.

23 Lit., the sealing up.

24 Lit., the administration.

25 Perhaps for προσβολῇ; we should read προβολῇ, projection or emanation.

26 Or, communicants of the Eucharist.

27 Or, arising from the things of the body.

28 Or, announcement.

29 Lit., master of the debt.

30 i.e., be.