The ACTS of PAUL and THECLA.
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The Martyrdom of the holy and glorious first Martyr and Apostle Thecla. [Tertullian says that this piece was forged by a Presbyter of Asia, who being convicted, "confessed that he did it out of respect of Paul," and Pope Gelasius, in his Decree against apocryphal books, inserted it among them. Notwithstanding this, a large part of the history was credited, and looked upon as genuine among the primitive Christians. Cyprian, Eusebius, Epiphanius, Austin, Gregory Nazianzen, Chrysostom, and Severus Sulpitius, who all lived within the fourth century, mention Thecla, or refer to her history. Basil of Seleucia wrote her acts, sufferings, and victories, in verse; and Euagrius Scholasticus, an ecclesiastical historian, about 590, relates that "after the Emperor Zeno had abdicated his empire, and Basilik had taken possession of it, he had a vision of the holy and excellent martyr Thecla, who promised him the restoration of his empire; for which, when it was brought about, he erected and dedicated a most noble and sumptuous temple to this famous martyr Thecla, at Seleucia, a city of Isauria, and bestowed upon it very noble endowments, which (says the author) are preserved even till this day." Hist. Eccl., lib. 3, cap. 8.--Cardinal Baronius, Locrinus, Archbishop Wake, and others; and also the learned Grabe, who edited the Septuagint, and revived the Acts of Paul and Thecla, consider them as having been written in the Apostolic age; as containing nothing superstitious, or disagreeing from the opinions and belief of those times; and, in short, as a genuine and authentic history. Again, it is said, that this is not the original book of the early Christians; but however that may be, it is published from the Greek MS. in the Bodleian Library at Oxford, which Dr. Mills copied and transmitted to Dr. Grabe.]


(William Wake and Solomon Caesar Malan version)



1. 1  
WHEN Paul went up to Iconium, after his flight from Antioch, Demas and Hermogenes became his companions, who were then full of hypocrisy.
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But Paul looking only at the goodness of God, did them no harm, but loved them greatly.
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Accordingly he endeavoured to make agreeable to them, all the oracles and doctrines of Christ, and the design of the Gospel of God's well-beloved Son, instructing them in the knowledge of Christ, as it was revealed to him.
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And a certain man named Onesiphorus, hearing that Paul was come to Iconium, went out speedily to meet him, together with his wife Lectra, and his sons Simmia and Zeno, to invite him to their house.
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For Titus had given them a description of Paul's personage, they as yet not knowing him in person, but only being acquainted with his character.
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They went in the king's highway to Lystra, and stood there waiting for him, comparing all who passed by, with that description which Titus had given them.
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At length they saw a man coming (namely Paul), of a low stature, bald (or shaved) on the head, crooked thighs, handsome legs, hollow-eyed; had a crooked nose; full of grace; for sometimes he appeared as a man, sometimes he had the countenance of an angel. And Paul saw Onesiphorus, and was glad.
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And Onesiphorus said: Hail, thou servant of the blessed God. Paul replied, The grace of God be with thee and thy family.
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But Demos and Hermogenes were moved with envy, and, under a show of great religion, Demas said, And are not we also servants of the blessed God? Why didst thou not salute us?
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Onesiphorus replied, Because I have not perceived in, you the fruits of righteousness; nevertheless, if ye are of that sort, ye shall be welcome to my house also.
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Then Paul went into the house of Onesiphorus, and there was great joy among the family on that account: and they employed themselves in prayer, breaking of bread, and hearing Paul preach the word of God concerning temperance and the resurrection, in the following manner:
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Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God.
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Blessed are they who keep their flesh undefiled (or pure); for they shall be the temple of God.
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Blessed are the temperate (or chaste); for God will reveal himself to them.
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Blessed are they who abandon their secular enjoyments; for they shall be accepted of God.
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Blessed are they who have wives, as though they had them not; for they shall be made angels of God.
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Blessed are they who tremble at the word of God; for they shall be comforted.
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Blessed are they who keep their baptism pure; for they shall find peace with the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
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Blessed are they who pursue the wisdom (or doctrine) of Jesus Christ; for they shall be called the sons of the Most High.
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Blessed are they who observe the instructions of Jesus Christ; for they shall dwell in eternal light.
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Blessed are they, who for the love of Christ abandon the glories of the world; for they shall judge angels, and be placed at the right hand of Christ, and shall not suffer the bitterness of the last judgment.
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Blessed are the bodies and souls of virgins; for they are acceptable to God, and shall not lose the reward of their virginity; for the word of their (heavenly) Father shall prove effectual to their salvation in the day of his Son, and they shall enjoy rest for evermore.


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