CONCERNING THE TRIAL AND
TRIBULATION THAT ARE TO COME UPON MEN.
Twenty days after the
former vision I saw another vision, brethren --a representation of the
tribulation that is to come. I was going to a country house along the
Campanian road. Now the house lay about ten furlongs from the public
road. The district is one rarely traversed. And as I walked alone, I
prayed the Lord to complete the revelations which He had made to me
through His holy Church, that He might strengthen me, and give
repentance to all His servants who were going astray, that His great and
glorious name might be glorified because He vouchsafed to show me His
marvels. And while I was glorifying Him and giving Him thanks, a voice,
as it were, answered me, "Doubt not, Hermas;" and I began to
think with myself, and to say, "What reason have I to doubt--I who
have been established by the Lord, and who have seen such glorious
sights?" I advanced a little, brethren, and, lo! I see dust rising
even to the heavens. I began to say to myself, "Are cattle
approaching and raising the dust?" It was about a furlong's
distance from me. And, 18
lo! I see the dust rising
more and more, so that I imagined that it was something sent from God.
But the sun now shone out a little, and, lo! I see a mighty beast like a
whale, and out of its mouth fiery locusts proceeded. But the size of
that beast was about a hundred feet, and it had a head like an urn. I
began to weep, and to call on the Lord to rescue me from it. Then I
remembered the word which I had heard, "Doubt not, O Hermas."
Clothed, therefore, my brethren, with faith in the Lord? and remembering
the great things which He had taught me, I boldly faced the beast. Now
that beast came on with such noise and force, that it could itself have
destroyed a city. I came near it, and the monstrous beast stretched
itself out on the ground, and showed nothing but its tongue, and did not
stir at all until I had passed by it. Now the beast had four colours on
its head-black, then fiery and bloody, then golden, and lastly white.
Now after I had passed by
the wild beast, and had moved forward about thirty feet, lo! a virgin
meets me, adorned as if she were proceeding from the bridal chamber,
clothed entirely in white, and with white sandals, and veiled up to her
forehead, and her head was covered by a hood.s And she had white hair. I
knew from my former visions that this was the Church, and I became more
joyful. She saluted me, and said, "Hail, O man!" And I
returned her salutation, and said, "Lady, hail!" And she
answered. and said to me, "Has nothing crossed your path?" I
say, "I was met by a beast of such a size that it could destroy
peoples, but through the power of the Lord and His great mercy I escaped
from it." "Well did you escape from it," says she,
"because you cast your care on God, and opened your heart to the
Lord, believing that you can be saved by no other than by His great and
glorious name. On this account the Lord has sent His angel, who has rule
over the beasts, and whose name is Thegri, and has shut up its mouth, so
that it cannot tear you. You have escaped from great tribulation on
account of your faith, and because you did not doubt in the presence of
such a beast. Go, therefore, and tell the elect of the Lord His mighty
deeds, and say to them that this beast is a type of the great
tribulation that is coming. If then ye prepare yourselves, and repent
with all your heart, and turn to the Lord, it will be possible for you
to escape it, if your heart be pure and spotless, and ye spend the rest
of the days of your life in serving the Lord blamelessly. Cast your
cares upon the Lord, and He will direct them. Trust the Lord, ye who
doubt, for He is all-powerful, and can turn His anger away from you, and
send scourges" on the doubters. Woe to those who hear these words,
and despise them: better were it for them not to have been born."
I asked her about the four
colours which the beast had on his head. And she answered, and said to
me, "Again you are inquisitive in regard to such matters."
"Yea, Lady, said I, "make known to me what they are."
said she: "the black
is the world in which we dwell: but the fiery and bloody points out that
the world must perish through blood and fire: but the golden part are
you who have escaped from this world. For as gold is tested by fire, and
thus becomes useful, so are you tested who dwell in it. Those,
therefore, who continue stedfast, and are put through the fire, will be
purified by means of it. For as gold casts away its dross, so also will
ye cast away all sadness and straitness, and will be made pure so as to
fit into the building of the tower. But the white part is the age that
is to come, in which the elect of God will dwell, since those elected by
God to eternal life will be spotless and pure. Wherefore cease not
speaking these things into the ears of the saints. This then is the type
of the great tribulation that is to come. If ye wish it, it will be
nothing. Remember those things which were written down before." And
saying this, she departed. But I saw not into what place she retired.
There was a noise, however, and I turned round in alarm, thinking that
that beast was coming.
copyright © 1997 by New Advent, Inc.