The Third Book of HERMAS, which is called his SIMILITUDES.
> The Third Book of HERMAS, which is called his SIMILITUDES.  >
64 Verses | Page 1 / 2
(William Wake and Solomon Caesar Malan version)

5. 1  
AS I was fasting, and sitting down in a certain mountain, and giving thanks unto God for all the things that he had done [*231:2] unto me; behold I saw the shepherd, who was wont to converse with me, sitting by me, and saying unto me: What has brought thee hither thus early in the morning? I answered, Sir, today I keep a [*231:3] station.
5. 2  
He answered, What is a station? I replied, it is a fast. He said, What is that fast? I answered, I fast, as I have been wont to do. Ye know not, said he, what it is to fast unto God; nor is this afast which ye fast, profiting nothing with God.
5. 3  
Sir, said I, what makes you speak thus? He replied, I speak it, because this is not the true fast which you think that you fast; but I will show you what that is which is a [*231:4] complete fast, and acceptable unto God.
5. 4  
Hearken, said he, The Lord does not desire such a needless fast: for by fasting in this manner, thou advancest nothing in righteousness.
5. 5  
[*231:5] But the true fast is this: Do nothing wickedly in thy life, but serve God with a pure mind; and keep his commandments and walk according to his precepts, nor suffer any wicked desire to enter into the mind.
5. 6  
But trust in the Lord, that if thou dost these things, and fearest him, and abstaineth from every evil work, thou shalt live unto God.
5. 7  
If thou shalt do this, thou shalt perfect a great fast, and an acceptable one unto the Lord.
5. 8  
Hearken unto the similitude which I am about to propose unto thee, as to this matter.
5. 9  
A certain man having a farm, and many servants, planted a vineyard in a certain part of his estate for his posterity:
5. 10  
And taking a journey into a far country, chose one of his servants which he thought the most faithful and approved, and delivered the vineyard into his care; commanding him that he should take up the vines. Which if he did, and fulfilled his command, he promised to give him his liberty. Nor did he command him to do anything more; and so went into a far country.
5. 11  
And after that servant had taken that charge upon him, he did whatsoever his lord commanded him. And when he had staked the vineyard, and found it to be full of weeds, he began to think with himself, saying;
5. 12  
I have done what my lord commanded me, I will now dig this vineyard, and when it is digged, it will be more beautiful; and the weeds being pulled up, it will bring forth more fruit and not be choked by the weeds.
5. 13  
So setting about this work he digged it, and plucked up all the weeds that were in it; and so the vineyard became very beautiful and prosperous, not being choked with weeds.
5. 14  
After some time the lord of the vineyard comes and goes into the vineyard, and when he saw that it was handsomely staked and digged, and the weeds plucked up that were in it, and the vines flourishing, he rejoiced greatly at the care of his servant.
5. 15  
And calling his son whom he loved, and who was to be his heir, and his friends with whom he was wont to consult; he tells them what he had commanded his servant to do, and what his servant had done more; and they immediately congratulated that servant, that he had received so [*1] full a testimony from his lord.
5. 16  
Then he said to them, I indeed promised this servant his liberty, if he observed the command which I gave him; and he observed it, and besides has done a good work to my vineyard, which has exceedingly pleased me.
5. 17  
Wherefore, for this work which he hath done, I will make him my heir together with my son, because that when he saw what was good, he neglected it not, but did it.
5. 18  
This design of the lord both his son and his friends approved, namely, that his servant should be heir together with his son.
5. 19  
Not long after this, the master of the family calling together his friends, sent from his supper several kinds of food to that servant.
5. 20  
Which when he had received, he took so much of them as was sufficient for himself, and divided the rest among his fellow servants.
5. 21  
Which when they had received, they rejoiced; and wished that he might find yet greater favour with his lord, for what he had done to them.
5. 22  
When his lord heard all these things, he was again filled with great joy; and calling again his friends and his son together, he related to them what his servant had done with the meats which he had sent unto them.
5. 23  
They therefore so much the more assented to the master of the household; and he ought to make that servant his heir together with his son.
5. 24  
I said unto him, Sir, I know not these similitudes, neither can I understand them, unless you expound them unto me. I will, says he, expound all things unto thee whatsoever I have talked with thee, or shewn unto thee.
5. 25  
Keep the commandments of the Lord and thou shalt be approved, and shalt be written in the number of those that keep his commandments. But if besides those things which the Lord hath commanded, thou shalt add some good thing; thou shalt purchase to thyself a greater dignity, and be in more favour with the Lord than thou shouldst otherwise have been.
5. 26  
If therefore thou shalt keep the commandments of the Lord, and shalt add to them these stations, thou shalt rejoice; but especially if thou shalt keep them according to my commands.
5. 27  
I said unto him, Sir, whatsoever thou shalt command me, I will observe; for I know that thou wilt be with me. I will, said he, be with thee who hast taken up such a resolution; and I will be with all those who purpose in like manner.
5. 28  
This fast, saith he, whilst thou dost also observe the commandments of the Lord, is exceeding good. Thus shalt there. fore thou keep it.
5. 29  
First of all, take heed to thyself, and keep thyself from every [*233:1] wicked act, and from every filthy word, and from every hurtful desire; and purify thy mind from all the vanity of this present world. If thou shalt observe these things, this fast shall be right.
5. 30  
Thus therefore do. Having performed what is before written, that day on which thou fastest thou shalt taste nothing at all but [*233:2] bread and water; [*233:2] and computing the quantity of food which thou art wont to eat upon other days, thou shalt [*233:2] lay aside the expense which thou shouldest have made that day, and give it unto the widow, the fatherless, and the poor.
5. 31  
[*233:3] And thus thou shalt perfect the humiliation of thy soul; that he who receives of it may satisfy his soul, and his prayer come up to the Lord God for thee.
5. 32  
If therefore thou shalt thus accomplish thy fast, as I command thee, thy sacrifice shall be acceptable unto the Lord, and thy fast shall be written in his book.
5. 33  
This station, thus performed, is good and pleasing, and acceptable unto the Lord. These things if thou shalt observe with thy children and with all thy house, thou shalt be happy.
5. 34  
And whosoever when they hear these things, shall do them, they also shall be happy; and whatsoever they shall ask of the Lord they shall receive it.
5. 35  
And I prayed him that he would expound unto me the similitude of the farm, and the Lord, and of the vineyard, and of the servant that had staked the vineyard; and of the weeds that were plucked out of the vineyard; and of his son and his friends which he took into council with him. For I understand that that was a similitude.
5. 36  
He said unto me, Thou art very bold in asking: for thou oughtest not to ask any thing; because if it be fitting to shew it unto thee, it shall be shewed unto thee.
5. 37  
I answered him; Sir, whatsoever thou shalt shew me, without explaining it unto me, I shall in vain see it, if I do not understand what it is. And if thou shalt propose any similitudes, and not expound them, I shall in vain hear them.
5. 38  
He answered me again, saying: Whosoever is the servant of God, and has the Lord in his heart, he desires understanding of him, and receives it; and he explains every similitude, and understands the words of the Lord which need an inquiry.
5. 39  
But they that are lazy and slow to pray, doubt to seek from the Lord; although the Lord be of such an extraordinary goodness, that without ceasing he giveth all things to them that ask of him.
5. 40  
Thou therefore who art strengthened by that venerable messenger, and hast received such a powerful gift of prayer; seeing thou art not slothful, why dost thou not now ask understanding of the Lord, and receive it?
5. 41  
I said unto him; seeing I have thee present, it is necessary that I should seek it of thee, and ask thee; for thou showest all things unto me, and speakest to me when thou art present.
5. 42  
But if I should see or hear these things when thou wert not present, I would then ask the Lord that he would shew them unto me.
5. 43  
And he replied, I said a little before that thou wert subtle and bold, in that thou asketh the meaning of these similitudes.
5. 44  
But because thou still persistest, I will unfold to thee this parable which thou desirest, that thou mayest make it known unto all men.
5. 45  
Hear therefore, said he, and understand. The farm before mentioned denotes the whole earth. The Lord of the farm is he who created and finished all things, and gave virtue unto them.
5. 46  
His son is the Holy Spirit: the servant is the Son of God: the vineyard is the people whom he saves. The stakes are the [*234:1] messengers which are set over them by the Lord, to support his people. The weeds that are plucked up out of the vineyard, are the sins which the servants of God had committed.
5. 47  
The food which he sent him from his supper, are the commands which he gave to his people by his Son. The friends whom he called to counsel with him, are the holy angels whom he first created. The absence of the master of the household, is the time that remains unto his coming.
5. 48  
I said unto him, Sir, all these things are very excellent, and wonderful, and good. But, continued I, could I or any other man besides though never so wise, have understood these things?
5. 49  
Wherefore now, sir, tell me, what I ask. He replied, ask me what thou wilt. Why, said I, is the Son of God in this parable, put in the place of a servant?
5. 50  
Hearken, he said; the Son of God is not put in the condition of a servant, but in great power and authority. I said unto him 'how, sir? I understand it not.'

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Chapter 5
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