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

6. 1  
AS I was sitting at home, and praising God for all the things which I had seen; and was thinking concerning the commands, that they were exceeding good, and great, and honest, and pleasant; and such as were able to bring a man to salvation; I said thus within myself; I shall be happy if I shall walk according to these commands, and whosoever shall walk in them shall live unto God.
6. 2  
Whilst I was speaking on this wise within myself, I saw him whom I had before been wont to see, sitting by me; and he spake thus unto me:
6. 3  
What doubtest thou concerning my commands which I have delivered unto thee? They are good, doubt not, but trust in the Lord, and thou shalt walk in them. For I will give thee strength [*236:1] to fulfil them.
6. 4  
These commands are profitable to those who shall repent of those sins which they have formerly committed; if for the time to come they shall not continue in them.
6. 5  
Whosoever therefore ye be that repent, cast away from you the naughtiness of the present world; and put on all virtue, and righteousness, and so shall ye be able to keep these commands; and not sin from henceforth any more.
6. 6  
For if ye shall keep yourselves from sin from the time to come, ye shall cut off a great deal of your former sins. Walk in my commands, and ye shall live unto God: These things have I spoken unto you.
6. 7  
And when he had said this, he added; let us go into the field, and I will show thee shepherds of sheep. I replied, sir, let us go.
6. 8  
And we came into a certain field, and there he showed me a young shepherd, [*236:2] finely arrayed, with his garments of a purple colour. And he fed large flocks; and his sheep were full of pleasure, and in much delight and cheerfulness; and they skipping, ran here and there.
6. 9  
And the shepherd took very great satisfaction in his flock; and the countenance of that shepherd was cheerful, running up and down among his flock.
6. 10  
Then the angel said unto me, Seest thou this shepherd? I answered, sir, I see him. He said unto me, this is the [*236:3] messenger of delight and pleasure. He therefore corrupts the minds of the servants of God, and turns them from the truth, delighting them with many pleasures, and they perish.
6. 11  
For they forget the commands of the living God, and live in luxury and in vain pleasures, and are corrupted by the evil angel, some of them even unto death; and others to [*237:1] a falling away;
6. 12  
I replied; I understand not what you mean, by saying unto death, and to a falling away. Hear, says he; all these sheep which thou sawest exceeding [*237:2] joyful, are such as have for ever departed from God, and given themselves up to the [*237:3] lusts of this present time.
6. 13  
To these therefore there is no return, by repentance unto life; because that to their other sins they have added this, that they have blasphemed the name of the Lord. These kind of men are ordained unto death.
6. 14  
But those sheep which thou sawest not leaping, but feeding in one place, are such as have in deed given themselves up to pleasures and delights; but have not spoken anything wickedly against the Lord.
6. 15  
These therefore are only fallen off from the truth, and so have yet hope laid up for them in repentance. For such a falling off hath some hope still left of a renewal; but they that are dead, are utterly gone forever.
6. 16  
Again we went a little farther forward; and he showed me a great [*237:4] shepherd, who had as it were a rustic figure, clad with a white goat's skin, having his bag upon his shoulder, and in his hand a stick full of knots, and very hard, and a whip in his other hand; and his countenance was stern and sour; enough to affright a man; such was his look.
6. 17  
He took from that young shepherd such sheep as lived in pleasures, but did not skip up and down; and drove them into a certain steep craggy place full of thorns and briars, insomuch that they could not get themselves free from them.
6. 18  
But being entangled in them, fed upon thorns and briars, and were grievously tormented with his whipping. For he still drove them on, and afforded them not any place or time to stand still.
6. 19  
When therefore I saw them so cruelly whipped and afflicted, I was grieved for them; because they were greatly tormented, nor had they any rest afforded them.
6. 20  
And I said unto the shepherd that was with me; Sir, who is this cruel and implacable shepherd, who is moved with no compassion towards these sheep? He answered, [*237:5] This shepherd is indeed one of the [*237:6] holy angels, but is appointed for the punishment of sinners.
6. 21  
To him therefore are delivered those who have erred from God, and served the lusts and pleasures of this world. For this cause he punishes them every one according to their deserts, with cruel and various kinds of pains.
6. 22  
Sir, said I, I would know, what kind of pains they are which every one undergoes? Hearken, said he; The several pains and torments are those which men every day undergo in their present lives. For some suffer losses; others poverty; others divers sicknesses. Some are unsettled; others suffer injuries from those that are unworthy; others fall under many other trials and inconveniences.
6. 23  
For many with an unsettled design aim at many things, and it profiteth them not; and they say that they have not success in their undertakings.
6. 24  
[*238:1] They do not call to their mind what they have done amiss, and they complain of the Lord. When therefore they shall have undergone all kind of vexation and inconvenience; then they are delivered over to me for good instruction, and are confirmed in the faith of the Lord, and serve the Lord all the rest of their days with a pure mind.
6. 25  
And when they begin to repent of their sins, then they call to mind their works which they have done amiss, and give honour to God, saying, That he is a just Judge, and they have deservedly suffered all things according to their deeds.
6. 26  
Then for what remains of their lives, they serve God with a pure mind; and have success in all their undertakings, and receive from the Lord whatever they desire.
6. 27  
And then they give thanks unto the Lord that they were delivered unto me; nor do they suffer any more cruelty.
6. 28  
I said unto him; Sir, I entreat you still to show me now one thing. What, said he, dost thou [*238:2] ask? I said unto him; Are they who depart from the fear of God, tormented for the same time that they enjoyed their false delight and pleasures? He answered me: They are tormented for the same time.
6. 29  
And I said unto him; They are then tormented but little; whereas they who enjoy their pleasures so as to forget God, ought to endure seven times as much punishment.
6. 30  
He answered me; Thou art foolish, neither understandest thou the efficacy of this punishment. I said unto him; Sir, if I understood it, I would not desire you to tell me.
6. 31  
Hearken, said he, and learn what the force of both is, both of the pleasure and of the punishment. An hour of pleasure is terminated within its own space; but one hour of punishment has the efficacy of thirty days. [*238:3] Whosoever therefore enjoys his false pleasure for one day, and is one day tormented; that one day of punishment is equivalent to a whole year's space.
6. 32  
Thus look how many days any one pursues his pleasures, so many years is he punished for it. You see therefore how that the time of worldly enjoyments is but short; but that of pain and torments a great deal more.
6. 33  
I replied; Sir, forasmuch as I do not understand [*238:4] at all these times of pleasure and pain; I entreat you that you would explain yourself more clearly concerning them. He answered me, saying; Thy foolishness still sticks unto thee.
6. 34  
Shouldst thou not rather purify thy mind, and serve God? Take heed, lest when thy time is fulfilled, thou be found still unwise. Hear then, as thou desirest, that thou mayest the more easily understand.
6. 35  
He that gives himself up one day to his pleasures and delights, and does whatsoever his soul desires, is full of great folly, nor understands what he does, but the day following forgets what he did the day before.
6. 36  
For delight and worldly pleasure are not kept in memory, by reason of the folly that is rooted in them. But when pain and torment befal a man a day, he is in effect troubled the whole year after; because his punishment continues firm in his memory.
6. 37  
Wherefore he remembers it with sorrow the whole year; and then calls to mind his vain pleasure and delight, and perceives that for the sake of that he was punished.
6. 38  
Whosoever therefore have delivered themselves over to such pleasures, are thus punished; because that when they had life, they rendered themselves liable to death.
6. 39  
I said unto him; Sir, what pleasures are hurtful? He answered; That is pleasure to every man which he doth willingly.
6. 40  
For the angry man, gratifying his passion, perceives pleasure in it; and so the adulterer and drunkard; the slanderer and liar; the covetous man and the defrauder; and whosoever commits anything like unto these, because he [*239:1] followeth his evil disposition, he receives a satisfaction in the doing of it.
6. 41  
All these pleasures and delights are hurtful to the servants of God. For these therefore they are tormented and suffer punishment.
6. 42  
There are also pleasures that bring salvation unto men. For many, when they do what is good, find pleasure in it, and are attracted by the delights of it.
6. 43  
Now this pleasure is profitable to the servants of God, and brings life to such men; but those hurtful pleasures, which were before mentioned, bring torments and punishment.
6. 44  
And whosoever shall continue in them, and shall not repent of what they have done, shall bring death upon themselves.

^236:1 In them. ^236:2 Vid. Annot. Coteler. in loc. ^236:3 Angel. ^237:1 Ad. defectionem. Lat. ^237:2 Exultantia. Lat. ^237:3 In Gr. epithymiais toy Aiunos toytoy. ^237:4 Agrestem Lat. ^237:5 Vid. Origen. in Ps. xxxvi. Hom. 1. ^237:6 Righteous. In Gr. Athanas. ek tun Aggelun tun dikaiun esti, &c. et sic MS. Lamb. ^238:1 MS. Lamb. Succurritiis: Gr. Athanas, on ginuskoysi. ^238:2 MS. Lamb. Inquiris. ^238:3 Origen. in Num. Hom. viii. ^238:4 MS. Lamb. Omnino. ^239:1 Obeyeth his disease.

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Chapter 6
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