THE SHEPHERD OF HERMAS.
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The First Book of HERMAS, which is called his VISIONS. [This book is thus entitled, because it was composed by Hermas, brother to Pius, bishop of Rome; and because the Angel, who bears the principal part in it, is represented in the form and habit of a shepherd. Irenaeus quotes it under the very name of Scripture. Origen thought it a most useful writing and that it was divinely inspired; Eusebius says, that, though it was not esteemed canonical, it was read publicly in the churches, which is corroborated by Jerome; and Athanasius cites it, calls it a most useful work, and observes, that though it was not strictly canonical, the Fathers appointed it to be read for direction and confirmation in faith and piety. Jerome, notwithstanding this, and that he applauded it in his catalogue of writers, in his comments upon it afterwards, terms it apocryphal and foolish. Tertullian praised it when a Catholic, and abused it when a Montanist. Although Gelasius ranks it among the apocryphal books, it is found attached to some of the most ancient MS. of the New Testament; and Archbishop Wake, believing it the genuine work of an apostolic Father, preserves it to the English reader by the following translation, in which he has rendered the books not only more exact, but in greater purity than they had before appeared. The Archbishop procured Dr. Grabe to entirely collate the old Latin version with an ancient MS. in the Lambeth library; and the learned prelate himself still further improved the whole from a multitude of fragments of the original Greek never before used for that purpose.]


(William Wake and Solomon Caesar Malan version)



1. 1  
HE who had bred me up sold a certain young maid at Rome; whom when I saw many years after, I remembered her, and began to love her as a sister. It happened some time afterwards, that I saw her washing in the river Tyber; and I reached out my hand unto her, and brought her out of the river.
1. 2  
And when I saw her I thought with myself, saying, How happy should I be if I had such a wife, both for beauty and manners. This I thought with myself; nor did I think any more. But not long after, as I was walking and musing on these thoughts, I began to honour this creature of God, thinking with myself; how noble and beautiful she was.
1. 3  
And when I had walked a little, I fell asleep. And the spirit caught me away, and carried me through a certain place toward the right-hand, through which no man could pass. It was a place among rocks, very steep, and unpassable for water.
1. 4  
When I was past this place, I came into a plain; and there falling down upon my knees, I began to pray unto the Lord, and to confess my sins.
1. 5  
And as I was praying, the heaven was opened, and I saw the woman which I had coveted, saluting me from heaven, and saying, Hermas, hail! and I looking upon her, answered, Lady, what dost thou do here? She me, [*197:1] I am taken up hither to accuse thee of sin before the Lord.
1. 6  
Lady, said I, wilt thou [*197:2] convince me? No, said she: but hear the words which I am about to speak unto thee. God who dwelleth in heaven, and hath made all things out of nothing, and hath multiplied them for his holy church's sake, is angry with thee because thou hast sinned against me.
1. 7  
And I answering said unto her, Lady, if I have sinned against thee, tell me where, or in what place, or when did I ever speak an unseemly or dishonest word unto thee?
1. 8  
Have I not always esteemed thee as a lady? Have I not always reverenced thee as a sister? Why then dost thou imagine these wicked things against me?
1. 9  
Then she, smiling upon me, said: the desire of naughtiness has risen up in thy heart. Does it not seem to thee to be an ill thing for a righteous man to have an evil desire rise up in his heart?
1. 10  
It is indeed a sin, and that a very great one, to such a one; for a righteous man thinketh that which is righteous. And whilst he does so, and walketh uprightly, he shall have the Lord in heaven favorable unto him in all his business.
1. 11  
But as for those who think wickedly in their hearts, they take to themselves death and captivity; and especially those who love this present world, and glory in their riches, and regard not the good things that are to come; their souls wander up and down, and know not where to fix.
1. 12  
Now this is the case of such as are double-minded, who trust not in the Lord, and despise and neglect their own life.
1. 13  
But do thou pray unto the Lord, and he will heal thy sins, and the sins of thy whole house, and of all his saints.
1. 14  
As soon as she had spoken these words the heavens were shut, and I remained utterly swallowed up with sadness and fear; and said within myself, if this be laid against me for sin, how can I be saved?
1. 15  
Or how shall I ever be able to entreat the Lord for my many and great sins? With what words shall I beseech him to be merciful unto me?
1. 16  
As I was thinking over these things, and meditating in myself upon them, behold a chair was set over against me of the whitest wool, as bright as snow.
1. 17  
And there came an old woman in a bright garment, having a book in her hand, and sat alone, and saluted me, saying, [*198:1] Hermas, hail! and I being full of sorrow, and weeping, answered, Hail, Lady!
1. 18  
And she said unto me, Why art thou sad, Hermas, who wert wont to be patient, and modest, and always cheerful? I answered, and said to her, Lady, a reproach has been laid to my charge by an excellent woman, who tells me, that I have sinned against her.
1. 19  
She replied, Far be any such thing from the servant of God. But it may be the desire of her has risen up in thy heart. For indeed such a thought maketh the servants of God guilty of sin.
1. 20  
Nor ought such a detestable thought to be in the servant of God: nor should he who is approved by the Spirit desire that which is evil; but especially Hermas, who contains himself from all wicked lusts, and is full of all simplicity, and of great innocence.
1. 21  
Nevertheless the Lord is not so much angry with thee for thine own sake, as upon the account of thy house, which has committed wickedness against the Lord, and against their parents.
1. 22  
And for that out of thy fondness towards thy sons, thou hast not admonished thy house, but hast permitted them to live wickedly; for this cause the Lord is angry with thee: but he will heal all the evils that are done in thy house. For through their sins and iniquities, thou art wholly consumed in secular affairs.
1. 23  
But now the mercy of God hath taken compassion upon thee, and upon thine house, and hath [*199:1] greatly comforted thee. Only as for thee, do not wander, but be of an even mind, and comfort thy house.
1. 24  
As the workman bringing forth his work, offers it to whomsoever he pleaseth; so shalt thou by teaching every day what is just cut off a great sin. Wherefore cease not to admonish thy sons, for the Lord knows that they will repent with all their heart, [*199:2] and they shall be written in the book of life.
1. 25  
And when she had said this, she added unto me; Wilt thou hear me read?--I answered her, Lady, I will.
1. 26  
Hear then, said she; and opening the book she read, gloriously, greatly, and wonderfully, such things as I could not keep in my memory. For they were terrible words, such as no man could bear.
1. 27  
Howbeit I committed her last words to my remembrance; for they were but few, and of great use to us.
1. 28  
Behold the mighty Lord, who by his invisible power, and with his excellent wisdom made the world, and by his glorious counsel beautified his creature, and with the word of his strength fixed the heaven, and founded the earth upon the waters; and by this powerful virtue established his Holy Church, which he hath blessed.
1. 29  
Behold he will remove the heavens, and the mountains, the hills, and the seas; and all things shall be made plain for his elect; that he may render unto them the promise which he has promised, with much honour and joy; if so be that they shall keep the commandments of God, which they have received with great faith.
1. 30  
And when she had made an end of reading, she rose out of the chair; and behold four young men came, and carried the chair to the east.
1. 31  
And she called me unto her, and touched my breast, and said unto me, Did my reading please thee? I answered, Lady, these last things please me; but what went before was severe and hard.
1. 32  
She said unto me, these last things are for [*199:3] the righteous, but the foregoing for the revolters and heathen.
1. 33  
And as she was talking with me, two men appeared, and took her upon their shoulders and went to the east where the chair was.
1. 34  
And she went cheerfully away; and as she was going, said unto me, Hermas, be of good cheer.
1.   
Footnotes

^197:1 In MS. Lambeth. Praecepta sum a Domino ut peccata tua arguam: I am commanded of the Lord to reprove thee for thy sins. ^197:2 In MS. Wilt thou accuse me? ^198:1 Vid. Hieron in Hoseam, vii. 9. ^199:1 In Glory. Edit. Oxon. Hath preserved thee in honour. ^199:2 So. MSS. Lamb. Et describentur in libre vitae. ^199:3 Edit. Oxon.


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