AGAIN, OF HIS NEGLECT IN
CHASTISING HIS TALKATIVE WIFE AND HIS LUSTFUL SONS, AND OF HIS
As I was going to the
country about the same time as on the previous year, in my walk I
recalled to memory the vision of that year. And again the Spirit carried
me away, and took me to the same place where I had been the year before.
On coming to that place, I bowed my knees and began to pray to the Lord,
and to glorify His name, because He had deemed me worthy, and had made
known to me my former sins. On rising from prayer, I see opposite me
that old woman, whom I had seen the year before, walking and reading
some book. And she says to me, "Can you carry a report of these
things to the elect of God?" I say to her, "Lady, so much I
cannot retain in my memory, but give me the book and I shall transcribe
it." "Take it," says she, "and you will give it back
to me." Thereupon I took it, and going away into a certain part of
the country, I transcribed the whole of it letter by letter; but the
syllables of it I did not catch. No sooner, however, had I finished the
writing of the book, than all of a sudden it was snatched from my hands;
but who the person was that snatched it, I saw not.
Fifteen days after, when I
had fasted and prayed much to the Lord, the knowledge of the writing was
revealed to me. Now the writing was to this effect: "Your seed, O
Hermas, has sinned against God, and they have blasphemed against the
Lord, and in their great wickedness they have betrayed their parents.
And they passed as traitors of their parents, and by their treachery did
they not reap profit. And even now they have added to their sins lusts
and iniquitous pollutions, and thus their iniquities have, been filled
up. But make known these words to all your children, and to your wife,
who is to be your sister. For she does not restrain her tongue, with
which she commits iniquity; but, on hearing these words, she will
control herself, and will obtain mercy. For after you have made known to
them these words which my Lord has commanded me to reveal to you, then
shall they be forgiven all the sins which in former times they
committed, and forgiveness will be granted to all the saints who have
sinned even to the present day, if they repent with all their heart, and
drive all doubts from their minds. For the Lord has sworn by His glory,
in regard to His elect, that if any one of them sin after a certain day
which has been fixed, he shall not be saved. For the repentance of the
righteous has limits. Filled up are the days of repentance to all the
saints; but to the heathen, repentance will be possible even to the last
day. You will tell, therefore, those who preside over the Church, to
direct their ways in righteousness, that they may receive in full the
promises with great glory. Stand stedfast, therefore, ye who work
righteous, ness, and doubt not, that your passage may be with the holy
angels. Happy ye who endure the great tribulation that is coming on, and
happy they who shall not deny their own life. For the Lord hath sworn by
His Son, that those who denied their Lord have abandoned their life in
despair, for even now these are to deny Him in the days that are coming.
To those who denied in earlier times, God became gracious, on account of
His exceeding tender mercy.
"But as for you,
Hermas, remember not the wrongs done to you by your children, nor
neglect your sister, that they may be cleansed from their former sins.
For they will be instructed with righteous instruction, if you remember
not the wrongs they have done you. For the re 12
membrance of wrongs
worketh death. And you, Henna, have endured great personal tribulations
on account of the transgressions of your house, because you did not
attend to them, but were careless and engaged in your wicked
transactions. But you are saved, because you did not depart from the
living God, and on account of your simplicity and great self-control.
These have saved you, if you remain stedfast. And they will save all who
act in the same manner, and walk in guilelessness and simplicity. Those
who possess such virtues will wax strong against every form of
wickedness, and will abide unto eternal life. Blessed are all they who
practise righteousness, for they shall never be destroyed. Now you will
tell Maximus: Lo! tribulation cometh on. If it seemeth good to thee,
deny again. The Lord is near to them who return unto Him, as it is
written in Eldad and Modat, who prophesied to the people in the
Now a revelation was given
to me, my brethren, while I slept, by a young man of comely appearance,
who said to me, "Who do you think that old woman is from whom you
received the book?" And I said, "The Sibyl." "You
are in a mistake," says he; "it is not the Sibyl."
"Who is it then?" say I. And he said, "It is the
Church." And I said to him, "Why then is she an old woman?
"Because," said he, "she was created first of all. On
this account is she old. And for her sake was the world made."
After that I saw a vision in my house, and that old woman came and asked
me, if I had yet given the book to the presbyters. And I said that I had
not. And then she said, "You have done well for I have some words
to add. But when I finish all the words, all the elect will then become
acquainted with them through you. You will write therefore two books,
and you will send the one to Clemens and the other to Grapte. And
Clemens will send his to foreign countries, for permission has been
granted to him to do so. And Grapte will admonish the widows and the
orphans. But you will read the words in this city, along with the
presbyters who preside over the Church.
copyright © 1997 by New Advent, Inc.