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UFO Activities from Biblical Times



 
 
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Old December 25th 03, 06:21 AM
Kazmer Ujvarosy
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Default UFO Activities from Biblical Times

C H A R I O T S
OF
L I G H T

Reports of Special Activities
From Biblical Times

Selected and Edited by

Kazmer Ujvarosy

Copyright 1994 by Kazmer Ujvarosy.

All rights reserved under International and Pan-American
Copyright Conventions.

This book may not be reproduced in whole or in part,
by any means, without permission in writing from the publisher.

CONTENTS

Preface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

a.. PART ONE -- CHARIOTS OF LIGHT BEFORE CHRIST

1. Chariots of Light in the Lives of the Patriarchs . . . . . . . . . . . .

2. The Coming of the Messiah Revealed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

3. The Assyrian Captivity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

4. The Babylonian Captivity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

5. The Visions of Daniel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

6. The Prediction of Zaradosht . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

a.. PART TWO -- CHARIOTS OF LIGHT IN THE CHRISTIAN ERA

7. The Star of Bethlehem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

8. Clouds of Light in the Lives of the Apostles . . . . . . . . . . .

9. The Ascension of Mary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

10. Clouds of Light in the Lives of the Saints . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Illustration Credits and Sources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

PREFACE

The Bible consists of a collection of books, which were recognized or
accepted as canonical, i.e. of divine inspiration. The "Chronicles of the
Kings of Israel," containing the story of Elijah, were selected for
inclusion in that collection. There we find that "a chariot of fire and
horses of fire" took the prophet Elijah up to heaven (2 Kings 2:11-12).
However other books, deemed spiritually unworthy for inclusion in the Bible,
record even more striking and detailed descriptions of fiery chariots and
clouds of light. From the rejected literature we may learn a lot more about
the nature and purpose of the mystery visitors than from any of the books
which the authorities considered inspired or sacred.

In this book you will find, among others, the following information:

a.. People coming in a chariot of light contacted Adam and Eve.
b.. A fiery chariot drawn by fiery chargers took Enoch up to heaven.
c.. Abraham was taken to the air on a chariot of the cherubim.
d.. The Virgin Mary, the child Jesus and his nurse were taken for a ride
on a cloud of light.
e.. A chariot of light carried Jesus up to heaven.
f.. An army of angels was present on the Mount of Olives with flaming
chariots of fire and horses of light.
g.. The angels burned up with tongues of fire some of the people of
Jerusalem who wished to go up to the mountain.

In this book, in short, I gathered a mass of reports which indicate that
some of the angels--coming in chariots of light--played an intimate part in
the formation of the people of Israel, moreover in their transformation into
Christians.

Since most of the reports come from saints and other trustworthy characters,
the integrity of these witnesses and the antiquity of the reports make it
practically impossible to explain away the sightings of chariots of light
and clouds of light as satellites, helicopters, or simply fabrications
engineered by publicity-seeking cranks.

The excerpted texts that make up this book correspond exactly with the
original texts, with certain exceptions. In most cases the original titles
were not used. Words written in foreign characters were edited out. Remarks
in footnotes or brackets were also edited out, or were incorporated into the
texts. Words or passages italicized or written in capital letters were
changed. Finally, the omission of a paragraph or more--required to give only
the essential information--is not indicated by a full line of ellipsis
marks, only by a terminal period at the end of the quotation, with three
ellipsis marks following.

These changes were needed to make the book more readable. Care was taken,
however, not to change the original meaning of the texts in any way.

In order to give continuity to the book, in some places it was necessary to
insert a few connecting or explanatory sentences between the texts. These
connecting lines are printed with a different typeface, and/or between three
stars, so they are easily distinguishable from the original texts.

Kazmer Ujvarosy

INTRODUCTION

When we are faced with the subject of visitations from space, we are also
faced with the question of the purpose of these visitations: Why is our
planet being visited by people from other worlds?

I searched the records of mankind to find an answer to that enigma and
studied a mass of relevant information. The conclusion I reached is
striking. Based on the available information I have found that the primary
purpose of the visits has been the improvement of the human race.

The ancient records I studied, in other words, indicate that from the
remotest times cultivators of the human race have paid visits to our planet
to breed desirable human types, similarly as we breed plants and animals on
this planet.

As a first step the breeders of the human race, referred to as "good
shepherds" or "angels of humanity," selected Adam for the creation of a
genetically desirable line of families. From this artificially improved line
Abraham was selected for an intensive breeding program that involved
selection and inbreeding for many generations.

Sarah, the half-sister of Abraham, was given in marriage to Abraham. Abraham
confirms this fact by saying, "indeed she is my sister; she is the daughter
of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife."
(Genesis 20:12).

Abraham's chosen line was subject to further inbreeding. His son, Isaac,
married an Aramean relative, "Rebekah, who was born to Bethuel, the son of
Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham's brother." (Genesis 24:15).

Rebekah conceived and gave birth to twins named Esau and Jacob. Then Isaac
called Jacob, blessed him and charged him: "You shall not marry one of the
Canaanite women. Arise, go to ... the house of Bethuel your mother's father;
and take as wife from there one of the daughters of Laban your mother's
brother." (Genesis 28:1-2).

So Jacob went to Laban's house. There he fell in love with Rachel, but had
to marry Leah first. When finally he married Rachel, she bore two sons to
Jacob, namely Joseph and Benjamin.

Although Genesis 41:45 states that Joseph married Asenath, the daughter of
an Egyptian priest, we know from other sources that Asenath was only the
foster-daughter of Potipherah, who was high priest of the city of On. When
Joseph introduced Asenath to his father, Jacob recognized her as the
daughter of his own daughter Dinah. So actually Joseph married the daughter
of his own sister. All in all Jacob's wives bore twelve sons to Jacob who
became the progenitors of the Twelve Tribes of Israel.

We know from breeding experiments that properly conducted selection and
inbreeding--i.e. the mating of genetically closely related individuals--is a
useful technique where a line of individuals is required to have certain
fixed standards or a special uniformity of genetic traits. But while
inbreeding has many advantages, it also must be recognized that it may
result in certain undesirable effects. It may thus be said that no matter
how good an inbred stock may be, great improvement can be brought about when
two pure breeds are crossed to produce hybrid offspring of superior
excellence. The way the cultivators of the human race transformed the inbred
people of Israel into crossbred people or Christians is discernible from the
early Christian records.

It is nowhere explicitly stated, but may be inferred, that when the people
of Israel reached a plateau of genetic perfection beyond which the
continuation of inbreeding became undesirable, Gabriel, the chief of the
angels, artificially inseminated the Virgin Mary with his own seed. That act
of crossbreeding produced a cross or hybrid seed in the person of Jesus
Christ, which seed initiated the development of Christians.

In summary, from the information we have we may infer that when the
inhabitants of a planet reach full development by mastering space travel,
they search the universe for other inhabited planets that might furnish
persons with valuable genetic characters for the production of superior
hybrid individuals. In other words apparently their intention is to find or
to build up by selection and inbreeding pure-line families of superior
genetic qualities, and to crossbreed that pure-line stock with their own
seed or hereditary resources in order to produce offspring with exceptional
genetic characters. As Pierre Grimal observed in his Larousse World
Mythology: "It was as if the gods had attempted to create an increasingly
perfect human race, and undergone the same evolution themselves." (Second
impression 1969, p. 472.)

In many cases our visitors from space are characterized as "invaders" or
"intruders," suggesting that they interfere in our internal affairs without
invitation, and force their presence on us without permission. But as the
sacred writings indicate, these highly advanced extraterrestrial visitors
played an intimate role in the civilization and improvement of mankind, and
entered into agreements or compacts with the rulers of the people of Israel.
Thus it appears that they established not merely a legal right but a duty on
their part to intervene in the affairs of mankind.

As a matter of fact King David's prayers suggest that he was conscious of
the fact that the people of Israel were the product of an extraterrestrial
power. He calls the Lord his shepherd (Psalm 23), that makes him and his
people the Lord's sheep. This analogy suggests that just as a good shepherd
keeps a close watch over the sheep, and intervenes on their behalf in times
of danger, so the civilizing spacemen keep a close watch over their "crop"
of humans till the time of the human "harvest."

We might add that in Psalm 24:1 David declares that "The earth is the
Lord's,
and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein."

Regarding the activities of the civilizing spacemen it appears that in many
respects their mode of operation is comparable to the activities of the
Central Intelligence Agency. Similarly to the CIA, they carry out overt and
covert intervention in foreign territories; they execute both intelligence
and special operational missions; they engage in overt and covert collection
of intelligence within enemy territory and conduct clandestine activities;
they develop and recruit foreign agents and work with resistance forces;
they produce and disseminate propaganda; they operate according to a
strategic and secret plan.

These and other similarities definitely indicate that our visitors from
space are the intelligence agents of a heavenly power. As the texts in this
book shall make it evident, ultimately their mission is to secure the
progress and final victory of Christianity through the manipulation of
terrestrial affairs. In this light their discretion is understandable: just
as the agents of the terrestrial intelligence organizations desire to keep
their identity, plans, methods and activities secret, so desire to remain
under deep cover the agents of God.

Although the evidence is overwhelming that visitors from space come to earth
since ancient times, in 1966 the Secretary of the Air Force, Harold Brown,
testified before the House Armed Services Committee of the United States
Congress that there was no evidence that the earth ever had been visited by
strangers from outer space. Dr. Brown assured the nation's lawmakers that
the over 10,000 unidentified flying object reports on record with the Air
Force were "easily explained." He and other government officials attributed
the sightings of strange flying objects in the airspace of the United States
to marsh gases, pranks, planets, balloons, satellites, comets, meteors,
secret weapons, fireballs, aurora streamers and you name it.

Not long after this official attempt to calm the concerned citizens,
Chariots of the Gods? hit the market. The book became an instant success and
an international bestseller. Its Swiss author, Erich von Daniken, startled
the world by claiming that extraterrestrial astronauts had visited our
planet in prehistoric times. He directed his readers' attention to numerous
strange markings, drawings, artifacts, ruins and other mysteries of the past
which, in his opinion, constitute evidence that eons ago there was an "Era
of the Gods" on earth.

Similarly to Chariots of the Gods?, the purpose of this book is to give
credibility to the idea that individuals from space played a role in the
formation and civilization of the human race. But in this work, in contrast
with von Daniken's book, the supporting evidence is not provided by
reference to archaeological findings, but by a roundup of reports describing
special operations from outer space.

Part One

CHARIOTS OF LIGHT BEFORE CHRIST

The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels....
--Psalm 68:17

1 CHARIOTS OF LIGHT IN OLD TESTAMENT TIMES

* * *

It is generally believed that the first sightings of flying saucers or
unidentified flying objects (UFOs) took place in June 1947, when Kenneth
Arnold, a private pilot, observed and reported nine disk-shaped objects
flying over Mount Rainier in the State of Washington. Ancient records,
however, credit the first sightings of strange flying objects to Adam and
Eve.

The records tell us that when Moses received the tablets of the law of the
covenant from the hand of the Lord on Mount Sinai, he also received the
narrative of the Life of Adam and Eve. In that narrative Adam reveals that
on one occasion, when he and Eve were at prayer, suddenly Michael the
archangel, a messenger from heaven, appeared before them.

* * *

And I [Adam] saw a chariot like the wind and its wheels were fiery and I was
caught up into the Paradise of righteousness, and I saw the Lord sitting and
his face was flaming fire that could not be endured. And many thousands of
angels were on the right and the left of that chariot.

* * *

Also in the same record we find that at Adam's death the angel of humanity
came to Eve, saying: "Raise thyself from the things of earth."

* * *

And Eve gazed up into heaven, and saw a chariot of light coming, under four
shining eagles-and it was not possible for anyone born [into this world] to
tell the glory of them, or to see the face of them-and the angels going
before the chariot. And when they came to the place where Adam was lying,
the chariot stood still, and the seraphim were between Adam and the
chariot.... After all these things ... God commanded that all the angels
should gather before His presence, each according to his rank. And all the
angels came together, some with censers, some with trumpets. And the Lord of
Hosts mounted His chariot and the winds drew Him, and cherubim riding upon
the winds, and the angels of heaven went before Him; and they came to where
the body of Adam was, and took it. And they came into paradise....

* * *

Adam's family increased over the face of the earth, and one of his
descendants, Enoch, had found favor with God. He became the father of
Methuselah, and lived on this planet for three hundred and sixty-five years.

* * *

On a certain day, while Enoch was giving audience to his followers, an angel
appeared and made known unto him that God had resolved to install him as
king over the angels in heaven, as until then he had reigned over men. He
called together all the inhabitants of the earth, and addressed them thus:
"I have been summoned to ascend into heaven, and I know not on what day I
shall go thither. Therefore I will teach you wisdom and righteousness before
I go hence." A few days yet Enoch spent among men, and all the time left to
him he gave instruction in wisdom, knowledge, God-fearing conduct, and
piety, and established law and order, for the regulation of the affairs of
men. Then those gathered near him saw a gigantic steed descend from the
skies, and they told Enoch of it, who said, "The steed is for me, for the
time has come and the day when I leave you, never to be seen again." So it
was. The steed approached Enoch, and he mounted upon its back, all the time
instructing the people, exhorting them, enjoining them to serve God and walk
in His ways. Eight hundred thousand of the people followed a day's journey
after him. But on the second day Enoch urged his retinue to turn back:

"Go ye home, lest death overtake you, if you follow me farther." Most of
them heeded his words and went back, but a number remained with him for six
days, though he admonished them daily to return and not bring death down
upon themselves. On the sixth day of the journey, he said to those still
accompanying him, "Go ye home, for on the morrow I shall ascend to heaven,
and whoever will then be near me, he will die." Nevertheless, some of his
companions remained with him, saying: "Whatever place you go, we will go. By
the living God, death alone shall part us."

On the seventh day Enoch was carried into the heavens in a fiery chariot
drawn by fiery chargers. The day thereafter, the kings who had turned back
in good time sent messengers to inquire into the fate of the men who had
refused to separate themselves from Enoch, for they had noted the number of
them. They found snow and great hailstones upon the spot whence Enoch had
risen, and, when they searched beneath, they discovered the bodies of all
who had remained behind with Enoch. He alone was not among them; he was on
high in heaven.

* * *

It happened after Enoch's departure to heaven that his son, Methuselah, took
a wife for his son Lamech, and she became pregnant by him and bore a son.

* * *

And his body was white as snow and red as the blooming of a rose, and the
hair of his head and his long locks were white as wool, and his eyes
beautiful. And when he opened his eyes, he lighted up the whole house like
the sun, and the whole house was very bright. And thereupon he arose in the
hands of the midwife, opened his mouth, and conversed with the Lord of
righteousness. And his father Lamech was afraid of him and fled, and came to
his father Methuselah. And he said unto him: "I have begotten a strange son,
diverse from and unlike man, and resembling the sons of the God of heaven;
and his nature is different, and he is not like us, and his eyes are as the
rays of the sun, and his countenance is glorious. And it seems to me that he
is not sprung from me but from the angels, and I fear that in his days a
wonder may be wrought on the earth. And now, my father, I am here to
petition you and implore you that you may go to Enoch, our father, and learn
from him the truth, for his dwelling-place is amongst the angels." And when
Methuselah heard the words of his son, he came to me to the ends of the
earth; for he had heard that I was there, and he cried aloud, and I heard
his voice and I came to him. And I said unto him: "Behold, here am I, my
son, wherefore have you come to me?" And he answered and said: "Because of a
great cause of anxiety have I come to you, and because of a disturbing
vision have I approached. And now, my father, hear me: unto Lamech my son
there has been born a son, the like of whom there is none, and his nature is
not like man's nature, and the color of his body is whiter than snow and
redder than the bloom of rose, and the hair of his head is whiter than white
wool, and his eyes are like the rays of the sun, and he opened his eyes and
thereupon lighted up the whole house. And he arose in the hands of the
midwife, and opened his mouth and blessed the Lord of heaven. And his father
Lamech became afraid and fled to me, and did not believe that he was sprung
from him, but that he was in the likeness of the angels of heaven; and
behold I have come to you that you may make known to me the truth." And I,
Enoch, answered and said unto him: "The Lord will do a new thing on the
earth, and this I have already seen in a vision, and make known to thee that
in the generation of my father Jared some of the angels of heaven
transgressed the word of the Lord. And behold they commit sin and transgress
the law, and have united themselves with women and commit sin with them, and
have married some of them, and have begotten children by them. And they
shall produce on the earth giants not according to the spirit, but according
to the flesh, and there shall be a great punishment on the earth, and the
earth shall be cleansed from all impurity. Yea, there shall come a great
destruction over the whole earth, and there shall be a deluge and a great
destruction for one year. And this son who has been born unto you shall be
left on the earth, and his three children shall be saved with him: when all
mankind that are on the earth shall die he and his sons shall be saved. And
now make known to thy son Lamech that he who has been born is in truth his
son, and call his name Noah; for he shall be left to you, and he and his
sons shall be saved from the destruction, which shall come upon the earth on
account of all the sin and all the unrighteousness, which shall be
consummated on the earth in his days. And after that there shall be still
more unrighteousness than that which was first consummated on the earth; for
I know the mysteries of the holy ones; for He, the Lord, has showed me and
informed me, and I have read them in the heavenly tablets.

And I saw written on them that generation upon generation shall transgress,
till a generation of righteousness arises, and transgression is destroyed
and sin passes away from the earth, and all manner of good comes upon it.
And now, my son, go and make known to thy son Lamech that this son, which
has been born, is in truth his son, and that this is no lie." And when
Methuselah had heard the words of his father Enoch-for he had shown to him
everything in secret-he returned and showed them to him and called the name
of that son Noah; for he will comfort the earth after all the
destruction....

And in those days the word of God came unto me, and He said unto me: "Noah,
thy lot has come up before Me, a lot without blame, a lot of love and
uprightness. And now the angels are making a wooden building, and when they
have completed that task I will place My hand upon it and preserve it, and
there shall come forth from it the seed of life, and a change shall set in
so that the earth will not remain without inhabitant. And I will make fast
thy seed before me for ever and ever, and I will spread abroad those who
dwell with thee: it shall not be unfruitful on the face of the earth, but it
shall be blessed and multiply on the earth in the name of the Lord."

* * *

Many generations later the Lord brought Abraham from Ur of the Chaldeans to
the land of Canaan, to give him and his descendants all the land around
them. When Abraham lived all the years of his life, the Lord God called his
archangel Michael and said to him: "Michael, chief-captain, go down to
Abraham and tell him about his death, so that he may arrange for the
disposition of his possessions." The chief-captain departed, went down to
Abraham's house, and tactfully conveyed the message to Abraham that he was
destined to leave the world.

* * *

Then the holy and just Abraham stood up and with many tears he fell at the
feet of the archangel Michael, and besought him saying: "I beg thee,
chief-captain of the powers above, ... to be the medium of my word ... unto
the Most High, and thou shalt say unto Him: 'Thus saith Abraham, thy
servant: "O Lord God, in every deed and word which I have asked of thee thou
hast heard me, and hast fulfilled every desire of mine. Now, O Lord, I
resist not thy might, for I also know that I am not immortal but mortal.
Even so, to thy command, all things yield, and shudder, and quake at the
presence of thy might, so I too. Yet one boon ask I of thee. Now, Lord God,
hear my request; while I am yet in this body, I wish to see all the world
and all created things which thou established, through one word; and when I
have seen these things, then cheerfully will I depart from life."'" So the
chief-captain departed ..., and stood before God and told him all, saying:
"Thus saith thy friend Abraham: 'I wish to behold all the world in my life,
before I die.'" When the Most High heard this request, he again commanded
the archangel Michael, and said unto him: "Take a cloud of light and those
angels that bear command over the chariots, and go down, and take the just
man Abraham on a chariot of the cherubim and exalt him into the air of
heaven so that he may see all the world."

Then went down the archangel Michael, and took Abraham upon a chariot of
cherubim, and exalted him into the air of heaven, and led him with sixty
angels on the cloud. And Abraham went up on the chariot over all the earth.

[When Abraham saw all that was going on in the world,] ... the chief-captain
turned back the chariot and the cloud, and brought Abraham to his house. And
departing to his chamber he sat him down upon his couch. And Sarah his wife
came and embraced the feet of the spirit, and spake as a supplicant, saying:
"I give thee thanks, my lord, that thou hast brought back my lord Abraham;
for behold we thought he had been taken up from us.

* * *

In due time it came to pass that Isaac knew his wife, Rebekah. She conceived
two sons, Esau and Jacob. Jacob became the progenitor of twelve sons and the
Lord changed his name to Israel. Israel's favorite son, Joseph, was sold
into slavery by his jealous brothers. The merchantmen carried Joseph to
Egypt, where he won a name for himself.

* * *

[In those days there lived] ... a great man named Potipherah, who was high
priest of the city of On in Egypt; and he and his wife had no children. One
day he went into the temple to offer sacrifice, as was his custom. He went
alone, and when he entered the great courtyard of the temple, in the middle
of which stood the altar, he was astonished to see a little child lying upon
the altar. Without waiting to offer his sacrifice, he hurried back to his
wife. "What is the matter," said she, "that you come back so hastily?" "I
have seen a wonderful thing," he said; "the gods have given us a child. The
gates of the temple were locked, so that no one could get into the court;
yet there is a child there, lying on the altar!" "What say you?" said his
wife; "what can be the meaning of it?" So they both hastened to the temple,
and when Potipherah opened the door of the courtyard, they saw, partly at
least, how the wonder had happened; for now there was an eagle perched upon
the altar with its wings spread out over the child-it was a little girl,
quite newly born-to protect it. They guessed that it was the eagle that had
brought the child, but, of course, they could not tell whose it was. It was
wrapped in swaddling-clothes, and these Potipherah's wife kept carefully by
her; for she thought the time might come when they might be recognised by
the parents of the little child; and indeed, years afterwards, this proved
to be the case.

In the meantime Potipherah and his wife kept the child and brought her up,
and treated her as their daughter; and they called her Asenath.

She grew up to be very beautiful; she was quite unlike an Egyptian girl, and
might have been taken for a Hebrew maiden: tall as Sarah and lovely as
Rebekah or Rachel; so beautiful, in fact, that all the sons of the princes
and nobles of Egypt were in love with her, and even the son of King Pharaoh
himself said to his father, "Give me Asenath, the daughter of Potipherah, to
wife." But Pharaoh said, "Nay, my son, she is not your rank; you must marry
a queen; remember, the daughter of the King of Moab is affianced to you."

But besides being very beautiful, Asenath was exceedingly proud. There was
not a man of all the young nobles whom she would hear of, much less look at.
Indeed, hardly any man in Egypt except her own father had ever seen her
face; for she lived apart with the maidens who waited on her, in a lofty
tower which her father had built specially for her. It was really a noble
palace, with ten great rooms, one over the other. The first room was paved
with porphyry and lined with slabs of coloured marbles, and the roof was of
gold: and it was a kind of chapel for Asenath. It had golden and silver
images of all the gods of Egypt, and Asenath worshipped them and burnt
incense to them every day. The second chamber was Asenath's own. In it were
all her jewels and rich robes and fine linen. In the third were stored the
provisions of the house and every delicious fruit or sweetmeat that could be
got from any part of the world. The other seven chambers belonged to the
seven maidens who lived with Asenath and tended her. They were all of one
age, and as fair as the stars of heaven, and Asenath loved them dearly.

But to come back to Asenath's own chamber, which was the most splendid of
all. It had three windows, one looking out upon the garden of the tower
towards the east, and another towards the south, and the third towards the
high-road. Opposite the eastern window stood a golden bed, with a coverlet
woven of gold and purple and fine linen. And no one but Asenath herself had
ever even sat upon that bed, so magnificent and so sacred was it.

Besides all this, the tower had all around it a garden with a high wall of
squared blocks of stone. The gates (there were four of them) were of iron,
and each was guarded by eighteen stalwart men in armour. The garden itself
was full of shady trees, bearing splendid fruit; and there was a springing
fountain at one side of it, whose water ran first into a marble trough, and
then out of that into a stream which watered all the garden and kept it
fresh and green.

Here Asenath lived until she was eighteen years old, beautiful and proud and
caring for no one except her father and mother and her seven maidens. Now
the year in which she became eighteen was the first of the seven years of
plenty, of which King Pharaoh had dreamt in the dream of the seven cows and
the seven ears of corn, which is written in the Bible. And Joseph was now
travelling over all the land of Egypt to gather together corn to store up
against the seven years of famine which were to follow the seven of plenty.
And upon a certain day in harvest-time, Potipherah and his wife, who had
been away at an estate which they possessed in the country, returned to the
city of On; and no sooner had they done so than they received a message from
Joseph, saying, "Let me come and rest at your house during the heat of the
day." Whereupon Potipherah was greatly rejoiced, and thanked the gods for
the honour which Joseph did him by visiting him, and ordered a great banquet
to be prepared.

Just at this time, Asenath, who had heard that her father and mother were
returned, came to meet them. She had put on her most beautiful robe, of
linen woven with gold, and a golden girdle, and necklace and bracelets of
precious stones upon which were engraved the names of the gods of Egypt. And
she had a golden diadem on her head, and over it a delicate veil. She
hastened to meet her father and mother, and they rejoiced at her wonderful
beauty, and made her sit by them, and showed her the gifts they had brought
to her from the country-grapes and figs, pomegranates and fresh dates, and
young doves and quails for her to tame, to her great delight. Then her
father said to her, "My child, sit here with us: I want to speak to you." So
she sat down between her father and mother, and her father took her hand and
kissed her, and said, "My darling child, do you know that Joseph, the lord
of all this land, the man who is going to save the country from the famine
that is coming, the man whom Pharaoh trusts and honours above all others, is
coming to this house to-day? What would you say if I were to offer to give
you in marriage to him, to live happily with him for the rest of your life?"

Then Asenath was very angry; she blushed as red as fire, and darted an ugly
glance at her father sideways, and said, "How can you talk to me so, father?
Would you give me to a creature like that, the son of a Canaanitish
labourer, who has been in prison-yes, and sold as a slave-and only got out
of prison because he contrived to explain a dream of Pharaoh's, for all the
world like the old women? Certainly not! If I marry any one it will be
Pharaoh's eldest son." So Potipherah, disappointed as he was, said no more;
and Asenath hurried away to her own chamber. But she looked out of the
window.

As she went out, there ran in a young man, one of Potipherah's servants, and
said, "My lord, Joseph is just stopping before our gates." So Potipherah and
his wife and all their retinue rose and went forth to meet Joseph; and the
gates of the court towards the east were thrown open, and the chariot drove
in, drawn by four milk-white horses with harness of gold; and in the chariot
stood Joseph, clad in a tunic of white linen and a blood-red mantle shot
with gold. On his head was a crown with twelve great gems, and above each
gem was a ray of gold; in his hand was an olive branch with leaves and
fruit. But fairer than all his equipment was his face, for he was more
beautiful than any of the sons of men. And just as all the young nobles of
Egypt were mad about Asenath, so all the ladies of Egypt were in love with
Joseph; but he had not a word to say to any of them, for they were all
worshippers of idols, and Joseph worshipped the true God-the God of Abraham,
Isaac, and Jacob.

So the chariot entered the courtyard of Potipherah's palace, and the gates
were shut. Now Asenath stood at her window, and when she saw Joseph and the
beauty of his countenance, she was smitten to the heart, her knees trembled,
and she almost swooned. A great fear came upon her, and she heaved a deep
sigh and said, "Alas, alas, what have I said? what have I done? Pity me, O
God of Joseph, for it was in ignorance that I spoke against him. Did I not
call him a Canaanitish labourer's son? and lo, now he has come into our
house like the sun out of heaven. Fool that I was to rail against him as I
did! If only my father would give me to him as his slave and drudge, I would
serve him till I dropped dead at his feet."

Meanwhile Joseph, who had caught sight of Asenath standing at her window,
had come into the house, and they had washed his feet and set a table for
him by himself (for Joseph would not eat with the Egyptians). And he said to
Potipherah, "Who was the woman whom I saw looking out of the window when I
came in? Some stranger? If so, she must leave this house." "Nay, my lord,"
said Potipherah, "she is our daughter." And he went on to tell how Asenath
disliked the company of men, and indeed had hardly seen a strange man before
that day; and Joseph was glad to hear that she hated strange men, and said,
"If she be your daughter, I will love her from this day forth as a sister."

Accordingly, Asenath's mother went and fetched Asenath, and she greeted
Joseph, and he her. Then said Potipherah, "Come near, my child, and kiss
your brother." But when she drew near, Joseph put out his hand and thrust
her away, and spoke thus: "It is not right for one who worships the living
God, and eats the bread of life and drinks the cup of immortality, to kiss
one that praises with her lips dead idols, and eats the bread of death from
their tables and drinks the cup of deceit." At these harsh words Asenath was
bitterly grieved: she shrank back and looked piteously at Joseph, and her
eyes filled with tears; and when he saw how hurt she was, Joseph, who was
full of kindness, raised his hand over her head and blessed her, praying
that God, who gives life to all and brings us out of darkness into light,
might give life and light to her soul, and number her among His chosen
people, and bring her into the everlasting rest which He has promised to
them. So Asenath went back to her chamber, full of mingled joy and sorrow;
and she cast herself down on her bed and wept. And that same evening Joseph
left the house of Potipherah and set forth on his journey again. "But," said
he, "I will come back to you in eight days' time." Potipherah also and his
wife and their servants went back to their country house; and Asenath and
her seven maidens were left alone. And the sun went down and all was quiet.

When everyone else in the tower was asleep, Asenath, who had remained
weeping on her bed, rose up stealthily and crept downstairs to the gate of
the tower, where the woman who kept the door was asleep with her children;
and as quietly as she could she unhooked the heavy leather curtain that hung
in the doorway, and spreading it out on the floor, heaped up upon it all the
cinders and ashes out of the hearth, folded the corners together, dragged it
upstairs and threw it down on the floor. Then she barred the door of her
room securely, and burst into bitter weeping. It so happened that the maiden
whom Asenath loved the best of all her seven companions was awake, and heard
the sounds of crying. She was alarmed, and flew to wake up the other
attendants, and all of them came to the door of Asenath's chamber, which was
locked and barred. They called to her, "What is the matter, dear mistress?
Open to us and let us come in and comfort you." But Asenath answered from
within, "It is nothing but a violent headache. I am in bed, and too tired
and ill to get up and open the door. Go back all of you to your beds. I
shall be well to-morrow." So they dispersed to their rooms.

And when they were safely gone, Asenath got up and opened the door of the
room in which she kept her dresses and jewels, taking care to make no noise;
and from among all her robes she chose out a black one ... And she cast off
her royal robe and her diadem and veil and girdle, and put on the black robe
and girded it with a rope. Next she went to the shrine wherein stood all the
golden and silver images of her gods, and took them and threw them out of
the window for the wayfarers to pick up; and she took the supper that had
been laid out for her of all manner of delicate meats, and threw that into
the highway for the dogs to eat. And she emptied the ashes out of the
leather curtain upon the floor; she let down her hair and cast some of the
ashes upon her head; she smote her breast and wept; and thus she sat in
silence and misery till seven days and nights were accomplished.

And on the morning of the eighth day, when it was just dawning, and the
birds had begun to twitter in the trees of the garden, and the dogs to bark
at the passers-by, Asenath raised herself a little from her crouching
posture among the ashes and turned herself to the window that looked towards
the east. She was faint and ill and weary from her long fasting and
watching; her tongue was dry as horn, her eyes were glazed, and her fair
face was haggard. She bent her head down and clasped her hands together, and
crouched down again among the ashes, and said to herself, "It is all over. I
have no one to turn to now. My father and mother will cast me off, for I
have dishonoured their gods; they will say, 'Asenath is no daughter of ours.
' My kindred will hate me, and all the youths whom I have despised and
rejected will rejoice at my humiliation; and Joseph will have nothing to say
to me because I am a foul worshipper of idols. Yet," she went on to say, "I
have heard that the God of the Hebrews is a merciful God, long-suffering and
compassionate, not hard upon those that have sinned ignorantly, if they are
sorry for what they have done. Why should I not turn to Him? Who knows if He
will not have pity upon my loneliness and protect me? For they say He is the
Father of the fatherless, and cares for those who are in trouble." So she
rose and knelt upon her knees, with her face turned towards the east, and
looked up into heaven and prayed ....

And, when Asenath had ceased making confession to the Lord, lo! the
morning-star also arose out of the heaven in the east; and Asenath saw it
and rejoiced and said: "Hath the Lord God then heard my prayer? for that
this star is a messenger and herald of the light of the great day." And lo!
hard by the morning-star the heaven was rent and a great and ineffable light
appeared. And when she saw it Asenath fell upon her face upon the cinders,
and straightway there came to her a man from heaven, sending forth rays of
light, and stood above her head. And, as she lay on her face, the divine
angel said to her, "Asenath, stand up." And she said: "Who is he that called
me? for that the door of my chamber is shut and the tower is high, and how
then hath he come into my chamber?" And he called her again a second time,
saying, "Asenath, Asenath." And she said, "Here am I, lord, tell me who thou
art." And he said: "I am the chief captain of the Lord God and commander of
all the host of the Most High: stand up and stand upon thy feet, that I may
speak to thee my words." And she lifted up her face and saw, and lo! a man
in all things like unto Joseph, in robe and wreath and royal staff, save
that his face was as lightning, and his eyes as the light of the sun, and
the hairs of his head as the flame of fire of a burning torch, and his hands
and his feet like iron shining from fire, for as it were sparks proceeded
both from his hands and from his feet. Seeing these things Asenath feared
and fell on her face, unable even to stand upon her feet, for she became
greatly afraid and all her limbs trembled. And the man said to her: "Be of
good cheer, Asenath, and fear not; but stand up and stand upon thy feet,
that I may speak to thee my words." Then Asenath stood up and stood upon her
feet, and the angel said to her: "Go without impediment into thy second
chamber and lay aside the black tunic wherein thou art clad, and cast off
the sackcloth from thy loins, and shake out the cinders from thine head, and
wash thy face and thine hands with pure water and put on a white untouched
robe and gird thy loins with the bright girdle of virginity, the double one,
and come again to me, and I will speak to thee the words that are sent to
thee from the Lord." Then Asenath hastened and went into her second chamber,
wherein were the chests of her adorning, and opened her coffer and took a
white, fine, untouched robe and put it on, having first put off the black
robe, and ungirded also the rope and the sackcloth from her loins and girded
herself in a bright, double girdle of her virginity, one girdle about her
loins and another girdle about her breast. And she shook out also the
cinders from her head and washed her hands and face with pure water, and she
took a mantle most beautiful and fine and veiled her head.

And thereupon she came to the divine chief captain and stood before him, and
the angel of the Lord saith to her: "Take now the mantle from thine head,
for that thou art to-day a pure virgin, and thine head is as of a young
man." And Asenath took it from her head. And again the divine angel saith to
her: "Be of good cheer, Asenath, the virgin and pure, for lo! the Lord God
heard all the words of thy confession and thy prayer, and he hath seen also
the humiliation and affliction of the seven days of thine abstinence, for
that from thy tears much clay hath been formed before thy face upon these
cinders. Accordingly, be of good cheer, Asenath, the virgin and pure, for
lo! thy name hath been written in the book of life and shall not be blotted
out for ever; but from this day thou shalt be renewed and refashioned and
re-quickened, and thou shalt eat the blessed bread of life and drink a cup
filled with immortality and be anointed with the blessed unction of
incorruption. Be of good cheer, Asenath, the virgin and pure, lo! the Lord
God hath given thee to-day to Joseph for a bride, and he himself shall be
thy bridegroom for ever. And no more henceforth shalt thou be called
Asenath, but thy name shall be 'City of Refuge,' for that in thee many
nations shall seek refuge and they shall lodge under thy wings, and many
nations shall find shelter by thy means, and upon thy walls they who cleave
unto God Most High through penitence shall be kept secure .... And lo! for
my part I go to Joseph and will speak to him all these words concerning
thee, and he will come to thee to-day and see thee and rejoice over thee and
love thee and be thy bridegroom, and thou shalt be his beloved bride for
ever. Accordingly hear me, Asenath, and put on a wedding robe, the ancient
and first robe that is yet laid up in thy chamber from of old, and put all
thy choice adorning also about thee, and adorn thyself as a good bride and
make thyself ready to meet him; for lo! he himself cometh to thee to-day and
will see thee and rejoice." And, when the angel of the Lord in the shape of
a man had finished speaking these words to Asenath, she rejoiced with great
joy over all the things that were spoken by him, and fell upon her face upon
the earth, and made obeisance before his feet and said to him: "Blessed is
the Lord thy God who sent thee to deliver me from the darkness and to bring
me from the foundations of the abyss itself into the light, and blessed is
thy name for ever. If then I have found grace, my lord, in thy sight and
shall know that thou wilt perform all the words which thou hast said to me
so that they be accomplished, let thine handmaid speak to thee." And the
angel saith to her, "Say on." And she said: "I pray thee, lord, sit down a
little time upon this bed, because this bed is pure and undefiled, for that
another man or other woman never sat upon it, and I will set before thee a
table and bread, and thou shalt eat, and I will bring thee also wine old and
good, the odour whereof shall reach unto heaven, and thou shalt drink
thereof and thereafter shalt depart upon thy way." And he saith to her:
"Haste and bring it quickly."

And Asenath hasted and set an empty table before him; and, as she was
starting to fetch bread, the divine angel saith to her: "Bring me also an
honeycomb." And she stood still and was perplexed and grieved for that she
had not a bee's comb in her storehouse. And the divine angel saith to her:
"Wherefore standest thou still?" And she said: "My lord, I will send a boy
to the suburb, because the possession of our inheritance is near, and he
will come and bring one quickly thence, and I will set it before thee." The
divine angel saith to her: "Enter thy storehouse and thou wilt find a bee's
comb lying upon the table; take it up and bring it hither." And she said,
"Lord, there is no bee's comb in my storehouse." And he said, "Go and thou
wilt find." And Asenath entered her storehouse and found an honeycomb lying
upon the table; and the comb was great and white like snow and full of
honey, and that honey was as the dew of heaven, and the odour thereof as the
odour of life. Then Asenath wondered and said in herself: "Is this comb from
the mouth of this man himself?" And Asenath took that comb and brought it
and set it forth upon the table, and the angel said to her: "Why is it that
thou saidst, 'There is no honeycomb in mine house,' and lo! thou hast
brought it me?" And she said: "Lord, I have never put an honeycomb in mine
house, but as thou saidst so it hath been made. Came this forth from thy
mouth? for that the odour thereof is as the odour of ointment." And the man
smiled at the woman's understanding. Then he calleth her to himself, and,
when she came, he stretched out his right hand and took hold of her head,
and, when he shook her head with his right hand, Asenath feared the angel's
hand greatly, for that sparks proceeded from his hands after the manner of
red-hot iron, and accordingly she was all the time gazing with much fear and
trembling at the angel's hand. And he smiled and said: "Blessed art thou,
Asenath, because the ineffable mysteries of God have been revealed to thee;
and blessed are all who cleave to the Lord God in penitence, because they
shall eat of this comb, for that this comb is the spirit of life, and this
the bees of the paradise of delight have made from the dew of the roses of
life that are in the paradise of God and every flower, and of it eat the
angels and all the elect of God and all the sons of the Most High, and
whosoever shall eat of it shall not die for ever." Then the divine angel
stretched out his right hand and took a small piece from the comb and ate,
and with his own hand placed what was left in Asenath's mouth and said to
her, "Eat," and she ate. And the angel said to her: "Lo! now thou hast eaten
the bread of life and hast drunk the cup of immortality and been anointed
with the unction of incorruption; lo! now to-day thy flesh produceth flowers
of life from the fountain of the Most High, and thy bones shall be made fat
like the cedars of the paradise of delight of God and unwearing powers shall
maintain thee; accordingly thy youth shall not see old age, nor shall thy
beauty fail for ever, but thou shalt be as a walled mother-city of all." And
the angel incited the comb, and many bees arose from the cells of that comb,
and the cells were numberless, tens of thousands of tens of thousands and
thousands of thousands. And the bees also were white like snow, and their
wings as purple and crimson stuff and as scarlet; and they had also sharp
stings and injured no man. Then all those bees encircled Asenath from feet
to head, and other great bees like their queens arose from the cells, and
they circled round upon her face and upon her lips, and made a comb upon her
mouth and upon her lips like the comb that lay before the angel; and all
those bees ate from the comb that was upon Asenath's mouth. And the angel
said to the bees, "Go now to your place." Then all the bees rose and flew
and departed to heaven; but as many as wished to injure Asenath fell upon
the earth and died. And thereupon the angel stretched his staff over the
dead bees and said to them: "Rise and depart ye also into your place." Then
all the dead bees rose and departed into the court that adjoined Asenath's
house and took up their lodging upon the fruit-bearing trees.

And the angel saith to Asenath, "Hast thou seen this thing?" And she said,
"Yea, my lord, I have seen all these things." The divine angel saith to her:
"So shall be all my words as many as I have spoken to thee to-day." Then the
angel of the Lord for the third time stretched forth his right hand and
touched the side of the comb, and straightway fire came up from the table
and devoured the comb, but the table it injured not a whit. And, when much
fragrance had come forth from the burning of the comb and filled the
chamber, Asenath said to the divine angel: "Lord, I have seven virgins who
were brought up with me from my youth and were born on one night with me,
who wait upon me, and I love them all as my sisters. I will call them and
thou shalt bless them too, even as thou blessedst me." And the angel said to
her: "Call them." Then Asenath called the seven virgins and set them before
the angel, and the angel said to them: "The Lord God Most High shall bless
you, and ye shall be pillars of refuge of seven cities, and all the elect of
that city who dwell together shall upon you rest for ever." And after these
things the divine angel saith to Asenath: "Take away this table." And, when
Asenath turned to remove the table, straightway he departed from her eyes,
and Asenath saw as it were a chariot with four horses that were going
eastward to heaven, and the chariot was as a flame of fire, and the horses
as lightning, and the angel was standing above that chariot. Then Asenath
said: "Silly and foolish am I, the lowly one, for that I have spoken as that
a man came into my chamber from heaven, and I knew not that God came into
it; and lo! now he goeth back to heaven to his place." And she said in
herself: "Be gracious, Lord, to thy bondmaid, and spare thine handmaid,
because, for my part, I have in ignorance spoken rash things before thee."

And, while Asenath was yet speaking these words to herself, lo! a young man,
one of the servants of Joseph, saying: "Joseph, the mighty man of God,
cometh to you to-day." And straightway Asenath called the overseer of her
house and said to him: "Haste and prepare mine house and make a good dinner
ready, for that Joseph, the mighty man of God, cometh to us to-day." And the
overseer of the house when he saw her (for her face had shrunk from the
seven days' affliction and weeping and abstinence) sorrowed and wept; and he
took hold of her right hand and kissed it tenderly and said: "What aileth
thee, my lady, that thy face is thus shrunken?" And she said: "I have had
great pain about mine head, and sleep departed from mine eyes." Then the
overseer of the house went away and prepared the house and the dinner. And
Asenath remembered the angel's words and his injunctions, and hasted and
entered her second chamber, where the chests of her adorning were, and
opened her great coffer and brought out her first robe like lightning to
behold and put it on; and she girded herself also with a girdle bright and
royal that was of gold and precious stones, and on her hands she put golden
bracelets, and upon her feet golden buskins, and a precious ornament about
her neck, and a golden wreath she put about her head; and on the wreath as
upon its front was a great sapphire stone, and round the great stone six
stones of great price, and with a very marvellous mantle she veiled her
head. And, when Asenath remembered the words of the overseer of her house,
for that he said to her that her face had shrunk, she sorrowed exceedingly,
and groaned and said: "Woe is me, the lowly one, since my face is shrunken.
Joseph will see me thus and I shall be set at naught by him." And she saith
to her handmaid, "Bring me pure water from the fountain." And, when she had
brought it, she poured it out into the basin, and, bending down to wash her
face, she seeth her own face shining like the sun, and her eyes as the
morning-star when it riseth, and her cheeks as a star of heaven, and her
lips as red roses, the hairs of her head were as the vine that bloometh
among his fruits in the paradise of God, her neck as an all-variegated
cypress. And Asenath, when she saw these things, marvelled in herself at the
sight and rejoiced with exceeding great joy and washed not her face, for she
said, "Lest I wash off this great and comely beauty." The overseer of her
house then came back to tell her, "All things are done that thou
commandedst"; and, when he beheld her, he feared greatly and was seized with
trembling for a long time, and he fell at her feet and began to say: "What
is this, my mistress? What is this beauty that surroundeth thee that is
great and marvellous? Hath the Lord God of Heaven chosen thee as bride for
his son Joseph?"

And, while they were yet speaking these things, a boy came saying to
Asenath: "Lo! Joseph standeth before the doors of our court." Then Asenath
hasted and went down the stairs from her loft with the seven virgins to meet
Joseph and stood in the porch of her house. And, Joseph having come into the
court, the gates were shut and all strangers remained outside. And Asenath
came out from the porch to meet Joseph, and when he saw her he marvelled at
her beauty, and said to her: "Who art thou, damsel? Quickly tell me." And
she saith to him: "I, lord, am thine handmaid Asenath; all the idols I have
cast away from me and they perished. And a man came to me to-day from heaven
and hath given me bread of life and I ate, and I drank a blessed cup, and he
said to me: 'I have given thee for a bride to Joseph, and he himself shall
be thy bridegroom for ever; and thy name shall not be called Asenath, but it
shall be called "City of Refuge," and the Lord God shall reign over many
nations, and through thee shall they seek refuge with God Most High.' And
the man said: 'I will go also to Joseph that I may speak into his ears these
words concerning thee.' And now thou knowest, lord, if that man hath come to
thee and if he hath spoken to thee concerning me." Then Joseph saith to
Asenath: "Blessed art thou, woman, of God Most High, and blessed is thy name
for ever, for that the Lord God hath laid the foundation of thy walls, and
the sons of the living God shall dwell in thy city of refuge, and the Lord
God shall reign over them for ever. For that man came from heaven to me
to-day and said these words to me concerning thee. And now come hither to
me, thou virgin and pure, and wherefore standest thou afar off?" Then Joseph
stretched out his hands and embraced Asenath, and Asenath Joseph, and they
kissed one another for a long time, and both lived again in their spirit....

And as they were talking together, Potipherah and his wife and their
household entered the palace, having returned from the country; and they
were amazed, and rejoiced at the sight of Joseph and Asenath. And when they
learnt all that had happened, they rejoiced yet more; and Potipherah said,
"To-morrow I will call together all my kinsfolk and prepare your marriage
feast." But Joseph said, "Nay, but I will first go to Pharaoh and speak to
him concerning Asenath, that I may take her to wife; for he is to me as a
father."

So on the next day Joseph departed to see Pharaoh, and forthwith Pharaoh
sent for Potipherah and his wife and Asenath; and in their presence he
blessed Asenath, and joined her hand with the hand of Joseph, and crowned
them with golden crowns, and made a great feast for them lasting seven days;
and all the land of Egypt rejoiced. So Joseph and Asenath were married; and
after that two sons were born to them, even Ephraim and Manasseh, in the
house of Joseph.

Now when the seven years of plenty were over, the years of famine began, and
Jacob and his sons came to dwell in Egypt in the land of Goshen, as it is
told in the Bible. Then Asenath said to Joseph, "Let me go and see your
father and greet him." So Joseph brought her to Jacob, and his brethren met
him and did him obeisance at the door of the house, and they entered in. And
when they saw Jacob, who was sitting upon his bed, Asenath was struck with
amazement at the sight of him, for he was noble to look upon. His head was
white as snow, his beard was long, flowing over his bosom, his eyes were
bright and flashing, and his muscles and limbs were those of a giant. And
Asenath fell on her face before him; and Israel said, "Is this thy wife, my
son Joseph? Blessed shall she be of the Most High God." Then he called her
to him, and she fell on his breast and he kissed her, and they rejoiced
together. After that he inquired of her concerning her parents; and Asenath
told him how an eagle had brought her and laid her upon the altar of the
temple of On; and she showed him the swaddling-clothes in which she had been
wrapped. And Jacob knew that they belonged to his own daughter Dinah; and
thus it was made known to him that Asenath was of his own race, and he was
the more glad.

* * *

In due time Joseph died, and Moses took the bones of Joseph with him when he
led the Israelites out of Egypt.

* * *

And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along
the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light...."

When they camped before Mt. Sinai, and Moses went up to God, the Lord said
to Moses:

"You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles'
wings and brought you to myself."

On the day when Moses was to vanish out of the sight of the people of
Israel, he went to Mt. Abarim, which is a high mountain overlooking Jericho.
As he was going to embrace those who accompanied him, "a cloud stood over
him on the sudden, and he disappeared...." According to another account "at
Moses' death a bright cloud so dazzled the eyes of the bystanders that they
saw neither when he died nor where he was buried."

* * *

Now when the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven, Elijah and Elisha
were on their way to the Jordan river.

* * *

When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, "Ask what I shall do for you,
before I am taken from you." And Elisha said, "I pray you, let me inherit a
double share of your spirit." And he said, "You have asked a hard thing;
yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it shall be so for you; but
if you do not see me, it shall not be so." And as they still went on and
talked, behold, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of
them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it and
cried, "My father, my father! the chariots of Israel and its horsemen!" And
he saw him no more.

* * *

It came to pass that Elisha spied on the king of Syria, and the king sent a
great army to capture Elisha.

* * *

When the servant of Elisha rose early in the morning and went out, behold,
an army with horses and chariots was round about the city. And the servant
said, "Alas, my master! What shall we do?" He said, "Fear not, for those who
are with us are more than those who are with them." Then Elisha prayed, and
said, "O Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes that he may see." So the Lord
opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw; and behold, the mountain was
full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha. And when the Syrians
came down against him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, and said, "Strike this
people, I pray thee, with blindness." So he struck them with blindness in
accordance with the prayer of Elisha.... And the Syrians came no more on
raids into the land of Israel.

* * *

One day when Job, the ruler of Uz, felt that his end was near, he called
together his seven sons and his three daughters to divided his wealth among
them.

* * *

And I, Nahor, the brother of Job, who wrote this testament, sat by and heard
them; and that which I could I wrote down in a book, to be for them that
come after, that they might know something of the wonders of the Lord.

Now after three days wherein Job kept his bed-yet without pain or sickness,
for no disease had power over him since the day when he put on that heavenly
girdle [which the angel of the Lord gave him]--after three days, I say, he
was aware of those that were coming to bear away his soul. And he arose, and
gave to his eldest daughter a harp, and to the second a censor, and to the
third an instrument of music, that they might welcome those that were on
their way. And even as they took them into their hands they saw the chariots
of light approaching; and they uttered hymns of praise and thanksgiving,
each one in the language of them that dwell in the holy places. Then He that
sat in the great chariot came near and took the soul of Job, embracing it in
His arms in the sight of his daughters; but no man else saw that sight. And
He took it into the chariot and departed towards the sunrising.

And after three days we made ready the body of Job to the burial.... And we
laid him in the tomb as it were sleeping a fair sleep; and verily he left
after him a name that shall be famous and renowned in all generations.

2 THE COMING OF THE MESSIAH REVEALED

* * *

So the Israelites were dwelling in the land which the Lord promised to
Moses. But when the men of Judah and the tribes of Israel anointed David
king over all the children of Israel, the Lord promised a more desirable
land for the chosen people, moreover an everlasting kingdom for David's
offspring. It came to pass one night, when the king was in his house, that
the Lord came to Nathan the prophet saying:

* * *

"Go and tell my servant David, ... 'Thus says the Lord of hosts, I took you
from the pasture, from following the sheep, that you should be prince over
my people Israel; and I have been with you wherever you went, and have cut
off all your enemies from before you; and I will make for you a great name,
like the name of the great ones of the earth. And I will appoint a place for
my people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in their own
place, and be disturbed no more; ... and I will give you rest from all your
enemies. Moreover the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a
house. When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I
will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come forth from your body,
and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I
will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever. I will be his father, and
he shall be my son.... And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure
for ever before me; your throne shall be established for ever.'"

[Note that this prediction must refer to Jesus. When he was baptized in the
Jordan, the heavens opened and a voice came from heaven, "Thou art my
beloved Son; with thee I am well pleased."]

3 THE ASSYRIAN CAPTIVITY

* * *

When David's time to die drew near, he made his son, Solomon, king over
Israel. The time that David reigned over Israel was forty years. King
Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel also for forty years.

It came to pass during those years that Solomon did what was evil in the
sight of the Lord. And the Lord, through the prophet Ahijah, promised to
tear the kingdom from the hand of Solomon and give Jeroboam, a servant of
Solomon, ten tribes (or nine and a half, if Manasseh is counted as a half
tribe). Nevertheless, for David's sake, the kingdom remained undivided until
Solomon lived. After his death Rehoboam his son reigned in his stead.
Rehoboam refused to lighten the burden that Solomon put upon the people of
Israel. As a result ten tribes rebelled against the house of David and
elected Jeroboam king over the ten tribes of Israel. Only the house of Judah
and the tribe of Benjamin followed Rehoboam and remained loyal to the house
of David. Jerusalem in the south stayed as the capital city for the
two-tribed kingdom of Judah. For the ten-tribed kingdom of Israel the
capital became the northern city of Samaria.

Many years later it came to pass that the kings who reigned over Israel in
Samaria did many evil things in the sight of God and did not depart from the
sin of Jeroboam, the first king of the ten tribes of Israel. Therefore the
Lord was very angry with Israel. He stirred up the kings of Assyria and sent
them against Israel.

First the two and a half tribes on the east of Jordan, the Reubenites,
Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh, suffered defeat from the hand of the
Assyrians. In 734 BC the most able members of these tribes were carried away
captive to Assyria. Twelve years later, in 722 BC, Assyria annexed the
entire kingdom of Israel and carried away the whole population. The captives
were settled mostly into depopulated areas in northern Mesopotamia.

In 701 BC a portion of Judah suffered at the hand of Sennacherib. No less
than 200,150 men, women and children were carried away captives. The King of
Judah himself became one of the vassals of Assyria. The captives of Judah
were also transplanted into the northern provinces of Assyria.

* * *

But they took this counsel among themselves, that they would leave the
multitude of the heathen, and go forth into a further country, where never
mankind dwelt, that they might there keep their statutes, which they never
kept in their own land. And they entered into Euphrates by the narrow
passages of the river. For the most High then shewed signs for them, and
held still the flood, till they were passed over. For through that country
there was a great way to go, namely, of a year and a half: and the same
region is called Ar-Saret. Then dwelt they there until the latter time.

[The Ar-Saret region is probably the territory along the Sereth or Szeret
(i.e. "Love") river. The Sereth flows for about 340 miles from its
Transylvanian source through Moldavia and meets the Danube near Galatz or
Galati, not far from the Black Sea.]

4 THE BABYLONIAN CAPTIVITY

* * *

It came to pass that in about 626 BC the tribes, coming from the regions
north and north-east of the Black Sea, swept over Asia. They threatened
Egypt and Judah, exacted fines from Pharaoh and eventually returned to their
own land.

Soon thereafter the Assyrian Empire rapidly declined. A new empire emerged,
the Neo-Babylonian or Chaldean Empire. It completed the downfall of the
kingdom of Judah. Nebuchadnezzar besieged and captured Jerusalem. He carried
away to Babylon the king of Judah, his family, all the nobles and the most
capable inhabitants of the land. The objective of the deportation was not
only to weaken the conquered country, but also to strengthen that of the
conquerors.

The deportation took place in three stages, in the years 606, 598 and 587
BC. Among the captives were youths from the royal seed and family of David.
They were to be educated for three years at Nebuchadnezzar's court.

* * *

And the chief of the eunuchs gave them names: Daniel he called Belteshazzar,
Hananiah he called Shadrach, Mishael he called Meshach, and Azariah he
called Abednego....

As for these four youths, God gave them learning and skill in all letters
and wisdom; and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. At the
end of the time, when the king had commanded that they should be brought in,
the chief of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. And the king
spoke with them, and among them all none was found like Daniel, Hananiah,
Mishael, and Azariah; therefore they stood before the king. And in every
matter of wisdom and understanding concerning which the king enquired of
them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers
that were in all his kingdom....

Then the king gave Daniel high honors and many great gifts, and made him
ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief prefect over all the
wise men of Babylon. [As the chief magistrate over the magi, Daniel acquired
the title of Zarathustra, Zaradosht, or Zardusht, i.e. "Head of the Magi"
(Old Persian sar, head + dastur, priest)]. Daniel made request of the king,
and he appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego over the affairs of the
province of Babylon; but Daniel remained at the king's court.

5 THE VISIONS OF DANIEL

* * *

The exiles prospered in Babylonia. It came to pass during the reigns of
Darius (538 BC) and Cyrus (536 BC) that Daniel experienced strange visions.

* * *

Daniel said, "... As I looked, thrones were placed and one that was ancient
of days took his seat; his raiment was white as snow, and the hair of his
head like pure wool; his throne was fiery flames, its wheels were burning
fire. A stream of fire issued and came forth from before him.... I saw in
the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like
a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before
him. And to him was given dominion and glory and kingdom, that all peoples,
nations, and languages, should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting
dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be
destroyed.

"As for me, Daniel, my spirit within me was anxious and the visions of my
head alarmed me. I approached one of those who stood there and asked him the
truth concerning all this. So he told me, and made known to me the
interpretation of the things...."

In the third year of the reign of King Belshazzar a vision appeared to me,
Daniel, after that which appeared to me at the first. And I saw in the
vision; and when I saw, I was in Susa the capital, which is in the province
of Elam; and I saw in the vision, and I was at the river Ulai....

When I, Daniel, had seen the vision, I sought to understand it; and behold,
there stood before me one having the appearance of a man. And I heard a man'
s voice between the banks of the Ulai, and it called, "Gabriel, make this
man understand the vision." So he came near where I stood; and when he came,
I was frightened and fell upon my face. But he said to me, "Understand, O
son of man, that the vision is for the time of the end."...

And I, Daniel, was overcome and lay sick for some days; then I rose and went
about the king's business; but I was appalled by the vision and did not
understand it.

In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, by birth a Mede, who
became king over the realm of the Chaldeans-in the first year of his reign,
I, Daniel, perceived in the books the number of years which, according to
the word of the Lord to Jeremiah the prophet, must pass before the end of
the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years.

Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and
supplications with fasting and sackcloth and ashes. I prayed to the Lord my
God and made confession, saying, ... "To thee, O Lord, belongs
righteousness, but to us confusion of face, as at this day, to the men of
Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to all Israel, those that are
near and those that are far away, in all the lands to which thou hast driven
them, because of the treachery which they have committed against thee....
Yea, all Israel has transgressed thy law and turned aside, refusing to obey
thy voice....

While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people
Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God for the holy
hill of my God; while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had
seen in the vision at the first, came to me in swift flight at the time of
the evening sacrifice. He came and said to me, "O Daniel, I have now come
forth to give you wisdom and understanding.

"... Know therefore and understand that from the going forth of the word to
restore and build Jerusalem to the coming of the Messiah the Prince there
shall be seven weeks, and sixty-two weeks.... And after sixty-two weeks the
Messiah shall be cut off, and shall have nothing; and the people of the
prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.... But you,
Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, until the time of the end...."

6 THE PREDICTION OF ZARADOSHT

* * *

In due time Daniel-who in this text is referred to as Zaradosht (i.e. Head
of the Magi)--called for a meeting his three companions from the royal seed
of Judah to instruct them in the hidden mysteries concerning the coming of
the King of Light. Seated near the source of a fountain of water, where the
royal bath had been erected, he said to his trusted companions:

* * *

"Listen, that I may reveal to you the prodigious mystery concerning the
great King who must come into the world. At the end of times, and at the
final dissolution, a child shall be conceived in the womb of a virgin, and
shall be formed in her members, without any man approaching her. And he
shall be like a tree with beautiful foliage and laden with fruit, standing
in a parched land; and the inhabitants of that land shall be gathered
together to uproot it from the earth, but shall not be able. Then they will
take him and crucify him upon a tree, and heaven and earth shall sit in
mourning for his sake; and all the families of nations shall be in grief for
him. He will begin to go down to the depths of the earth, and from the depth
he will be exalted to the height; then he will come with the armies of
light, and be borne aloft upon white clouds; for he is a child conceived by
the Word [i.e. by the Logos spermatikos or Cosmic Seed] which engenders all
things.... He shall descend from my family [i.e. from the seed and family of
king David]; I am he, and he is I; he is in me, and I am in him. At the
manifest commencement of his coming great prodigies will appear in the sky.
A star will be seen shining in the midst of the sky: its light will outshine
that of the sun. So then, my sons, you who are the Seed of Life issuing from
the Treasury of the Light and of the Spirit, who have been sown in the soil
of fire and of water, you must be on your guard and watch ... for you will
know beforehand of the coming of the great king for whom the captives [of
Israel] are waiting to be freed. Now, my sons, guard this secret which I
have revealed to you, and let it be kept in the treasure-houses of your
souls. And when that star rises of which I have spoken, let ambassadors
bearing offerings be sent by you, and let them offer worship to him. Watch,
and take heed, and despise him not, that he destroy you not with the sword;
for he is the king of kings, and all kings receive their crowns from him. He
and I are one."...

In accord with Zaradosht's instructions, twelve Magi were selected to take
their place on a high tower, where they watched constantly for the
appearance of the star that had been foretold. When one of the twelve Magi
died, another was chosen to take his place, so that their number was never
diminished.

Generations passed like the links of a chain going down the hold of a ship,
but twelve Magi ceaselessly watched for the sign given them by the master
Zaradosht.


Part Two

CHARIOTS OF LIGHT IN THE CHRISTIAN ERA

Woe to the unbelievers when Christ shall come as judge, with angels, a fiery
chariot, a mighty wind: the stars shall fall, the heavens open, the books be
brought forward.
--The Revelation of Stephen

7 THE STAR OF BETHLEHEM


* * *

When Herod the Great ruled in Judea with an iron hand, there lived in the
city of Nazareth Mary, a sixteen-year-old temple virgin. She sprung from the
royal stock and family of David. In due time she was betrothed to Joseph, a
man of great age. One day it came to pass that the angel Gabriel appeared to
the virgin and she miraculously conceived. As Mary herself relates:

* * *

"When I lived in the temple of God and received my food from the hand of an
angel, one day there appeared to me one in the form of an angel; but his
face was indescribable and in his hand he had neither bread nor cup, as had
the angel who came to me before. And immediately the veil of the temple was
rent and there was a violent earthquake, and I fell to the earth, for I
could not bear the sight of him. But he took me with his hand and raised me
up. And I looked toward heaven; and there came a cloud of dew on my face and
sprinkled me from head to foot, and he wiped me with his robe. Then he said
to me: 'Hail, you who are highly favoured, the chosen vessel.' And then he
struck the right side of his garment and there came forth an exceedingly
large loaf, and he placed it upon the altar of the temple, and first ate of
it himself and then gave to me also. And again he struck his garment, on the
left side, and I looked and saw a cup full of wine. And he placed it upon
the altar of the temple, and drank from it first himself and gave it also to
me. And I looked and saw that the bread did not diminish and the cup was
full as before. Then he said: 'Three years more, and I will send my word
[i.e. his Logos spermatikos or seed] and you shall conceive my son, and
through him the whole world shall be saved. But you will bring salvation to
the world. Peace be with you, favoured one, and my peace shall be with you
for ever.' And when he had said this, he vanished from my eyes and the
temple was as before."...

Now when Mary was in her sixth month, behold, Joseph came from his house and
found her with child. And he smote his face, threw himself down on
sackcloth, and wept bitterly, saying: "With what countenance shall I look
towards the Lord my God? What prayer shall I offer for this maiden? For I
received her as a virgin out of the temple of the Lord my God and have not
protected her. Who has deceived me? ..." And Joseph arose from the sackcloth
and called Mary and said to her: "You who are cared for by God, why have you
done this and forgotten the Lord your God? Why have you humiliated your
soul, you who were brought up in the Holy of Holies and received food from
the hand of an angel?" But she wept bitterly, saying: "I am pure, and know
not a man." And Joseph said to her: "Whence then is this in your womb?" And
she said: "As the Lord my God lives, I do not know whence it has come to
me."

And Joseph feared greatly and parted from her, pondering what he should do
with her. And Joseph said: "If I conceal her sin, I shall be found opposing
the law of the Lord. If I expose her to the children of Israel, I fear lest
that which is in her may have sprung from the angels and I should be found
delivering up innocent blood to the judgment of death. What then shall I do
with her? I will put her away secretly." And the night came upon him. And
behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying: "Do not
fear because of this child. For that which is in her is of the Holy Spirit
[i.e. from Gabriel's seed]. She shall bear a son, and you shall call his
name Jesus; for he shall save his people from their sins." And Joseph arose
from sleep and glorified the God of Israel who had bestowed his grace upon
him, and he watched over her....

And it came to pass some little time after, that an enrollment was made
according to the edict of Caesar Augustus, that all the world was to be
enrolled, each man in his native place. This enrollment was made by Cyrinus,
the governor of Syria. It was necessary, therefore, that Joseph should
enroll with the blessed Mary in Bethlehem, because to it they belonged,
being of the tribe of Judah, and of the house and family of David. [And
Joseph saddled his ass and sat Mary on it.] When, therefore, Joseph and the
blessed Mary were going along the road which leads to Bethlehem, Mary said
to Joseph: "I see two peoples before me, the one weeping, and the other
rejoicing." And Joseph answered: "Sit still on thy beast, and do not speak
superfluous words." Then there appeared before them a beautiful youth,
clothed in white raiment, who said to Joseph: "Why didst thou say that the
words which Mary spoke about the two peoples were superfluous? For she saw
the people of the Jews weeping, because they have departed from their God;
and the people of the Gentiles rejoicing, because they have now been added
and made near to the Lord, according to that which He promised to our
fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: for the time is at hand when in the seed
of Abraham all nations shall be blessed."

And when he had thus said, the angel ordered the beast to stand, for the
time when she should bring forth was at hand; and he commanded the blessed
Mary to come down off the animal, and go into a recess under a cavern, in
which there never was light, but always darkness, because the light of day
could not reach it. And when the blessed Mary had gone into it, it began to
shine with as much brightness as if it were the sixth hour of the day. The
light from God so shone in the cave, that neither by day nor night was light
wanting as long as the blessed Mary was there. And there she brought forth a
son, and the angels surrounded Him, when He was being born. And as soon as
He was born, He stood upon His feet, and the angels adored Him, saying:
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of good pleasure."
Now, when the birth of the Lord was at hand, Joseph had gone away to seek
midwives. And when he had found them, he returned to the cave, and found
with Mary the infant which she had brought forth....

As Joseph, Zelomi and Salome approached the cave, they saw a luminous cloud
hanging like a shining curtain over the entrance.

Zelomi was awed by the sight. She closed her eyes and prayed: "My soul has
been magnified this day, and mine eyes have seen strange things. Surely the
Lord has brought forth salvation for the Children of Israel."

When she opened her eyes the cloud was gone, and she could see a great light
glowing within the cave, more splendid than the light of the sun.... But the
light gradually decreased, until the infant appeared, and sucked the breast
of his mother Mary....

And Joseph said to the blessed Mary: "I have brought thee two
midwives-Zelomi and Salome; and they are standing outside before the
entrance to the cave, not daring to come in hither, because of the exceeding
brightness." And when the blessed Mary heard this, she smiled; and Joseph
said to her: "Do not smile; but prudently allow them to visit thee, in case
thou shouldst require them for thy cure." Then she ordered them to enter.
And when Zelomi had come in, Salome having stayed without, Zelomi said to
Mary: "Allow me to touch thee." And when she had permitted her to make an
examination, the midwife cried out with a loud voice, and said: "Lord, Lord
Almighty, mercy on us! It has never been heard or thought of, that any one
should have her breasts full of milk, and that the birth of a son should
show his mother to be a virgin. But there has been no spilling of blood in
his birth, no pain in bringing him forth. A virgin has conceived, a virgin
has brought forth, and a virgin she remains." And hearing these words,
Salome said: "Allow me to handle thee, and prove whether Zelomi has spoken
the truth." And the blessed Mary allowed her to handle her. And when she had
withdrawn her hand from handling her, it dried up, and through excess of
pain she began to weep bitterly, and to be in great distress, crying out,
and saying: "O Lord God, Thou knowest that I have always feared Thee, and
that without recompense I have cared for all the poor; I have taken nothing
from the widow and the orphan, and the needy have I not sent empty away.
And, behold, I am made wretched because of mine unbelief, since without a
cause I wished to try Thy virgin."

And while she was thus speaking, there stood by her a young man in shining
garments, saying: "Go to the child, and adore Him, and touch Him with thy
hand, and He will heal thee, because He is the Saviour of the world, and of
all that hope in Him." And she went to the child with haste, and adored Him,
and touched the fringe of the cloths in which He was wrapped, and instantly
her hand was cured. And going forth, she began to cry aloud, and to tell the
wonderful things which she had seen, and which she had suffered, and how she
had been cured; so that many through her statements believed.

And some shepherds also affirmed that they had seen angels singing a hymn at
midnight, praising and blessing the God of heaven, and saying: "There has
been born the Saviour of all, who is Christ the Lord, in whom salvation
shall be brought back to Israel."

Moreover, a great star, larger than any that had been seen since the
beginning of the world, shone over the cave from the evening till the
morning. And the prophets who were in Jerusalem said that this star pointed
out the birth of Christ, who should restore the promise not only to Israel,
but to all nations.

And on the third day after the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, the most
blessed Mary went forth out of the cave, and entering a stable, placed the
child in the stall, and the ox and the ass adored Him. Then was fulfilled
that which was said by Isaiah the prophet, saying: "The ox knoweth his
owner, and the ass his master's crib ...." In the same place Joseph remained
with Mary three days.

And on the sixth day they entered Bethlehem, where they spent the seventh
day. And on the eighth day they circumcised the child, and called His name
Jesus; for so He was called by the angel before He was conceived in the
womb....

And behold there came wise men from the country of the East, and they came
into Jerusalem, saying, "Where is He Who is born King of the Jews? for we
have seen His star, and have come to worship Him." Now these wise men were
.... diviners, and astrologers, and they watched the stars, and held converse
with them.

And it was written in their books ... that Christ, the King of the Jews, was
to be born.... And God in the operation of His wisdom made these diviners to
understand, and he made those who were astrologers to believe in Him. And He
shewed them this star, and when they saw it they rejoiced, for its
appearance was different in many respects from that of the other stars. Now
its appearance was this: That star had the form of a virgin embracing a
child in her bosom, and it travelled from left to right, and it travelled by
day, and disappeared by night. When the wise men travelled, the star
travelled; and when they stood still it stood still. And it was visible to
them in one place, and was hidden from them in another. When they came into
Jerusalem it became hidden, and when it was hidden from them they were
exceedingly sorry, and did not know what to do. And then they came into
Jerusalem and asked for Him that had been born. And the number of those
diviners was three thousand, and their kings were three, and each of them
had one thousand and seventy horses. And when Herod heard about the diviners
who had come to Jerusalem on account of the King Who had been born, he was
dismayed and was afraid for his kingdom, for he heard from the Jews about
him, that the Messiah would be born in the flesh. And he gathered together
all the chief priests, and the scribes of the people, and he said unto them,
"Where is the Messiah to be born?" And they said unto him, "In Bethlehem of
Judea, for even thus is it written in the prophet: 'And thou Bethlehem, in
the land of Ephratah, thou shalt not be for ever the least important and
smallest of the principalities of Judah, for in thee shall be born and go
forth a king and a governor who shall supervise My people Israel.'" Then
Herod summoned unto him the diviners by themselves in secret ....

And he questioned the wise men and said to them: "What sign did you see
concerning the new-born king?" And the wise men said: "We saw how an
indescribably greater star shone among these stars and dimmed them, so that
they no longer shone; and so we knew that a king was born for Israel. And we
came to worship him."...

[And Herod sent the Magi] ... to Bethlehem, saying, "When ye have departed
enquire carefully about the Child and where He is born, and when ye have
found Him come back to me, and tell me so that I may come and worship Him."
Now these words came from him with deceit, for when the wise men had found
Him, he determined to kill Him. And when the wise men heard these words from
the king, they departed, and that star which they had seen in the East
guided them until it brought them to the cave and it stood over the cave
where the Child was....

As touching the nature of that star, whether it was a star in its nature, or
in appearance only, it is right to know that it was not of the other stars,

but a secret power which appeared like a star; for all the other stars that
are in the firmament, and the sun and the moon, perform their course from
east to west. This one, however, made its course from north to south, for
Palestine lies thus, over against Persia. This star was not seen by them at
night only, but also during the day, and at noon; and it was seen at the
time when the sun is particularly strong, because it was not one of the
stars. Now the moon is stronger in its light than all the stars, but it is
immediately quenched and its light dissipated by one small ray of the sun.
But this star overcame even the beams of the sun by the intensity of its
light. Sometimes it appeared, and sometimes it was hidden entirely. It
guided the Magi as far as Palestine. When they drew near to Jerusalem, it
was hidden; and when they went forth from Herod, and began to journey along
the road, it appeared and shewed itself. This was not an ordinary movement
of the stars, but a rational power. Moreover, it had no fixed path. It did
not remain always in the height of heaven, but sometimes it came down, and
sometimes it mounted up; and it also stood over the head of the Child....

And it was two years after He was born when the diviners came to Him....

And by the Will of God Joseph and Mary and the Child our Lord Jesus, went
out that day to the cave....

When Joseph looked out with his eyes, he saw a crowd of pilgrims who were
coming in company to the cave, and he said: "I will arise and go out to meet
them." And when Joseph went out, he said ... : "It seems to me as if those
coming were soothsayers, for lo, every moment they look up to heaven and
confer one with another. But they seem also to be strangers, for their
appearance differs from ours; for their dress is very rich and their
complexion quite dark; they have caps on their heads and their garments seem
to me to be silky, and they have breeches on their legs. And lo, they have
halted and are looking at me, and lo, they have again set themselves in
motion and are coming here."...

[So] ... at length the diviners found them; ... and when they entered the
cave they found the Child with Mary His mother, and they fell down and
worshipped Him, and they embraced Him, and they opened their treasures and
brought and gave Him the gold which was His tribute, for He was a king, and
incense because He was God, and myrrh, which was a symbol of His life-giving
death. And the angel appeared unto them again and told them in a dream not
to go back to Herod, but to depart by another road and journey to their own
country. And they departed and became preachers and announcers of the
appearance of God in the flesh....

Now when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to
Joseph in a dream, saying, "Arise, and take the young child and his mother,
and flee into Egypt, and remain thou there until I bring thee word: for
Herod will seek the young child, to destroy him." And he arose and took the
young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: and remained
there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled what the prophet
had spoken of the Lord, "Out of Egypt have I called my son."...

And when Herod saw that he had been made sport of by the Magi, his heart
swelled with rage, and he sent through all the roads, wishing to seize them
and put them to death. But when he could not find them at all, he sent anew
to Bethlehem and all its borders, and slew all the male children whom he
found of two years old and under, according to the time that he had
ascertained from the Magi....

* * *

While the child Jesus is living with his parents in Egypt, the child
John-knowing that Herod is also searching for him-wanders through the desert
with his mother Elizabeth.

* * *

After five years the pious and blessed old mother Elizabeth passed away, and
the holy John sat weeping over her, as he did not know how to shroud her and
bury her, because on the day of her death he was only seven years and six
months old. And Herod also died the same day as the blessed Elizabeth.

The Lord Jesus Christ who with his eyes sees heaven and earth saw his
kinsman John sitting and weeping near his mother, and he also began to weep
for a long time, without anyone knowing the cause of his weeping. When the
mother of Jesus saw him weeping, she said to him: "Why are you weeping? Did
the old man Joseph or any other one chide you?" And the mouth that was full
of life answered: "No, O my mother, the real reason is that your kinswoman,
the old Elizabeth, has left my beloved John an orphan. He is now weeping
over her body which is lying in the mountain."

When the Virgin heard this she began to weep over her kinswoman, and Jesus
said to her: "Do not weep, O my Virgin mother, you will see her in this very
hour." And while he was still speaking with his mother, behold a luminous
cloud came down and placed itself between them. And Jesus said: "Call Salome
and let us take her with us." And they mounted the cloud which flew with
them to the wilderness of Ain Karim and to the spot where lay the body of
the blessed Elizabeth, and where the holy John was sitting.

The Saviour said then to the cloud: "Leave us here at this side of the
spot." And it immediately went, reached that spot, and departed. Its noise,
however, reached the ears of Mar John, who, seized with fear, left the body
of his mother. A voice reached him immediately and said to him: "Do not be
afraid, O John.... I am your kinsman Jesus, and I came to you with my
beloved mother in order to attend to the business of the burial of the
blessed Elizabeth, your happy mother, because she is my mother's kinswoman."
When the blessed and holy John heard this, he turned back, and Christ the
Lord and his virgin mother embraced him. Then the Saviour said to his virgin
mother: "Arise, you and Salome, and wash the body." And they washed the body
of the blessed Elizabeth in the spring from which she used to draw water for
herself and her son. Then the holy virgin Mart Mary got hold of the blessed
John and wept over him, and cursed Herod on account of the numerous crimes
which he had committed. Then Michael and Gabriel came down from heaven and
dug a grave ... in order that they may ... bury the body....

And Jesus Christ and his mother stayed near the blessed and the holy John
seven days, and condoled with him at the death of his mother, and taught him
how to live in the desert. And the day of the death of the blessed Elizabeth
was the 15th of February.

Then Jesus Christ said to his mother: "Let us now go to the place where I
may proceed with my work." The Virgin Mary wept immediately over the
loneliness of John, who was very young, and said: "We will take him with us,
since he is an orphan without anyone." But Jesus said to her: "This is not
the will of my Father who is in the heavens. He shall remain in the
wilderness till the day of his showing unto Israel. Instead of a desert full
of wild beasts, he will walk in a desert full of angels and prophets, as if
they were multitudes of people. Here is also Gabriel, the head of the
angels, whom I have appointed to protect him and to grant to him power from
heaven...."

These words the Christ our Lord spoke to his mother, while John was in the
desert. And they mounted the cloud, and John looked at them and wept, and
Mart Mary wept also bitterly over him, saying: "Woe is me, O John, because
you are alone in the desert without anyone. Where is Zacharias, your father,
and where is Elizabeth, your mother? Let them come and weep with me today."

And Jesus Christ said to her: "Do not weep over this child, O my mother. I
shall not forget him." And while he was uttering these words, behold the
clouds lifted them up and brought them to Nazareth....

[Years later] John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, preaching a
baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And there went out unto
him all the country of Judea, and all the people of Jerusalem; and they were
baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was
clothed with camel's hair, and had a leather girdle around his waist, and
ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying, "After me comes he who
is mightier than I, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down
and untie. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the
Holy Spirit."

It came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and
was baptized by John in the Jordan. And when he came up out of the water,
straightway he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit descending upon him
like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, "Thou art my beloved Son; with
thee I am well pleased."...

And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned ... to Nazareth, where he had
been brought up; and he went to the synagogue, as his custom was, on the
Sabbath day. And he stood up to read; and there was given to him the book of
the prophet Isaiah. He opened the book and found the place where it was
written, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to
preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the
captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who
are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord." And he closed
the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down; and the eyes of
all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, "Today
this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."...

Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, preaching and
bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve [disciples]
were with him, and also some women who had been healed....

And when a great crowd came together and people from town after town came to
him, he said in a parable: ... "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a
man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men were sleeping, his enemy
came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. So when the plants came
up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. And the servants of the
householder came and said to him, 'Sir, did you not sow good seed in your
field? How then has it weeds?' He said to them, 'An enemy has done this.'
The servants said to him, 'Then do you want us to go and gather them?' But
he said, 'No; lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with
them. Let both grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will
tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be
burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.'"...

Then Jesus left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples came
to him, saying, "Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field." He
answered, "He who sows the good seed is the Son of man; the field is the
world, and the good seed means the sons of the kingdom; the weeds are the
sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest
is the close of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are
gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the close of the age. The
Son of man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all
causes of sin and all evildoers, and throw them into the furnace of fire;
there men will weep and gnash their teeth. Then the righteous will shine
like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him
hear."...

At that time Herod the tetrarch [the son of Herod the Great] heard about the
fame of Jesus; and he said to his servants, "This is John the Baptist, he
has been raised from the dead; that is why these powers are at work in him."
For Herod had seized John and bound him and put him in prison, for the sake
of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife; because John said to him, "It is not
lawful for you to have her." And though he wanted to put him to death, he
feared the people, because they held him to be a prophet. But when Herod's
birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before the company, and
pleased Herod, so that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she
might ask. Prompted by her mother, she said, "Give me the head of John the
Baptist on a platter." And the king was sorry; but because of his oaths and
his guests, he commanded it to be given; he sent and had John beheaded in
the prison, and his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and
she brought it to her mother. And his disciples came and took the body and
buried it; and they went and told Jesus.

Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a lonely
place apart. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from
the towns. As he went ashore he saw a great throng; and he had compassion on
them, and healed their sick....

Then Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and
Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and cried,
"Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely possessed
by a demon." But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and
begged him, saying, "Send her away, for she is crying after us." He
answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." But
she came and knelt before him, saying, "Lord, help me." And he answered, "It
is not fair to take the children's bread, and throw it to the dogs." She
said, "Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their
master's table." Then Jesus answered her, "O woman, great is your faith! Be
it done for you as you desire." And her daughter was healed instantly....

[Soon afterward] ... my Lord Jesus Christ our king said unto me [Peter]:
"Let us go unto the holy mountain." And his disciples went with him,
praying. And behold there were two men there [talking with Jesus concerning
his departure, which he was to accomplish at Jerusalem], and we could not
look upon their faces, for a light came from them, shining more than the
sun, and their raiment also was shining, and cannot be described, and
nothing is sufficient to be compared unto them in this world ... , for their

aspect was astonishing and wonderful. And ... their head was a marvel. And
upon their ... foreheads was a crown of nard woven of fair flowers. As the
rainbow in the time of rain, so was their hair. And such was the comeliness
of their countenance, adorned with all manner of ornament. And when we saw
them on a sudden, we marvelled. And I drew near unto the Lord God Jesus
Christ and said unto him: "O my Lord, who are these?" And he said unto me:
"They are Moses and Elias."... He was still speaking, when lo, a bright
cloud overshadowed us, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my beloved
Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him." ... And then came a great
and exceeding white cloud over our heads and bare away our Lord and Moses
and Elias. And I trembled and was afraid: and we looked up; and the heaven
opened and we beheld men in the flesh, and they came and greeted our Lord
and Moses and Elias and went into another heaven....

* * *

Note that when Moses vanished, "a bright cloud so dazzled the eyes of the
bystanders that they saw neither when he died nor where he was buried."
Similarly, when the Lord was about to take up Elijah into heaven, "behold,
there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, ... and Elijah went up
by a whirlwind into heaven."

* * *

And the disciples followed Jesus with their eyes, and none of them spoke,
until he reached the heaven, but they were all in great silence. This now
came to pass on the 15th of the moon, on the day on which it becomes full in
the month Tybi.

Now it came to pass, when Jesus went up into heaven, after three hours, all
the powers of heaven were troubled, and they all trembled together ..., and
the whole earth was moved, and all that dwell upon it. And all men in the
world were troubled, and the disciples also, and all thought: Perhaps the
world will be rolled up. And all the powers that are in the heaven ceased
not from their agitation, they and the whole world, and they were all moved
one against the other from the third hour of the 15th of the moon in the
month Tybi until the ninth hour of the following day....

But the disciples sat together, in fear, and they were exceedingly troubled;
but they were afraid because of the great earthquake which took place, and
wept with one another, saying: What then will happen? Perhaps the Saviour
will destroy all places.

While they now said this and wept to one another, then the heavens opened,
about the ninth hour of the following day, and they saw Jesus descend,
shining very bright, and the light in which he was was beyond measure. For
he shone more than at the hour when he ascended up to the heavens, so that
the men in the world could not describe the light that was upon him, and it
sent forth many beams of light, and its beams were beyond number, and its
light was not like one to the other, but it was of different kind and of
different form, since some beams surpassed the others countless times; and
the whole light was together, it was of three different kinds, and one
surpassed the others countless times; the second, which was in the midst,
was superior to the first, which was beneath; and the third, which was above
them all, was superior to both those which were beneath; and the first beam,
which was beneath them all, was like the light which came upon Jesus before
he ascended into the heavens, and was like only to itself in its light. And
the three lights were of different kinds of light, and they were of
different form, whereby some surpassed others countless times.

But it came to pass, when the disciples saw this, they were exceedingly
afraid, and were troubled. Jesus now, the merciful and kind-hearted, when he
saw that his disciples were greatly troubled, spoke to them, saying: "Be of
good cheer; it is I, be not afraid."

Now it came to pass, when the disciples heard these words, they said: "O
Lord, if it be thou, draw to thyself thy glorious light, that we may be able
to stand, else are our eyes darkened and we are troubled, and also the whole
world is troubled because of the great light that is in thee."

Then Jesus drew to himself the splendour of his light; and when this had
come to pass all the disciples took courage, stood before Jesus, and all
fell down together and worshipped him, rejoicing with great joy; they said
to him: "Rabbi, whither didst thou go, or what is thy service to which thou
didst go, or why rather were all these upheavals and earthquakes which have
taken place?"

Then spoke Jesus, the merciful, to them: "Rejoice and be glad from this hour
on, for I went to the places out of which I came. From henceforth will I
speak with you openly from the beginning of the truth unto its completion,
and I will speak with you face to face without parable; I will not hide from
you from this hour anything of the things of the height and of the things of
the place of the truth. For to me is given by the Ineffable and first
Mystery of all mysteries the power, to speak with you from the beginning to
the fulfilment."...

And as they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying,
"Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man is raised from the dead."
And his disciples asked him, saying, "Then why say the scribes that first
Elias must come?" Jesus answered, "Truly, first Elias comes, and he is to
restore all things. But I say unto you, that Elias has already come, and
they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they pleased. Likewise
shall also the Son of man suffer at their hands." Then the disciples
understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist....

Now the feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called the Passover.
And the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might kill Jesus; for
they feared the people.

Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, who was of the number of
the twelve. And he went his way, and conferred with the chief priests and
captains, how he might betray him unto them. And they were glad, and
covenanted to give him money. So he agreed, and sought an opportunity to
betray him unto them in the absence of the multitude....

And Jesus came out, and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives; and
his disciples followed him. And when he came to the place, he said unto
them, "Pray that ye enter not into temptation." And he withdrew from them
about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, saying, "Father, if thou
be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be
done." And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening
him.... And when he rose up from prayer, and came to his disciples, he found
them sleeping for sorrow, and said unto them, "Why sleep ye? rise and pray,
lest ye enter into temptation." While he yet spake, behold there came a
crowd, and the man called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them, and
drew near unto Jesus to kiss him. But Jesus said unto him, "Judas, betrayest
thou the Son of man with a kiss?" When they who were about him saw what
would follow, they said unto him, "Lord, shall we smite with the sword?" And
one of them smote the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear.
But Jesus said, "No more of this!" And he touched his ear, and healed him.
Then Jesus said unto the chief priests and captains of the temple, and the
elders, who came to him, "Come ye out, as against a thief, with swords and
clubs? When I was daily with you in the temple, ye stretched forth no hands
against me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness."

Then they seized him, and led him away, and brought him into the high
priest's house....

And as soon as it was day, the elders of the people and the chief priests
and the scribes came together, and led Jesus into their council, and said,
"Art thou the Christ? tell us." But he said unto them, "If I tell you, ye
will not believe: and if I also ask you, ye will not answer me, nor let me
go. But from now on the Son of man shall sit on the right hand of the power
of God." Then they all said, "Art thou then the Son of God?" And he said
unto them, "Ye say that I am." And they said, "What need we any further
testimony? For we have heard it ourselves from his own mouth." Then the
whole multitude of them arose, and led him before Pilate....

The Jews said to Pilate: "We beseech your excellency to place him before
your judgment-seat and to try him."... And Pilate called Jesus to him and
said to him: "What do these men testify against you? Do you say nothing?"
Jesus answered: "If they had no power, they would say nothing; for each man
has power over his own mouth, to speak good and evil. They shall see to it."

Then the elders of the Jews answered and said to Jesus: "What should we see?
Firstly, that you were born of fornication; secondly, that your birth meant
the death of the children in Bethlehem; thirdly, that your father Joseph and
your mother Mary fled into Egypt because they counted for nothing among the
people." Then declared some of the Jews that stood by, devout men: "We deny
that he came of fornication, for we know that Joseph was betrothed to Mary,
and he was not born of fornication." Pilate then said to the Jews who said
that he came of fornication: "Your statement is not true; for there was a
betrothal, as your own fellow-countrymen say."...

And Pilate called to him these twelve men who denied that he was born of
fornication, and said to them: "I put you on your oath, by the safety of
Caesar, that your statement is true, that he was not born of fornication."
They said to Pilate: "We have a law, not to swear, because it is a sin. But
let them swear by the safety of Caesar that it is not as we have said, and
we will be worthy of death." Pilate said to Annas and Caiaphas: "Do you not
answer these things?" And Annas and Caiaphas said to Pilate: "These twelve
men are believed who say that he was not born of fornication. But we, the
whole multitude, cry out that he was born of fornication, and is a sorcerer,
and claims to be the Son of God and a king, and we are not believed." And
Pilate sent out the whole multitude, except the twelve men who denied that
he was born of fornication, and commanded Jesus to be set apart. And he
asked them: "For what cause do they wish to kill him?" They answered Pilate:
"They are incensed because he heals on the Sabbath." Pilate said: "For a
good work do they wish to kill him?" They answered him: "Yes."

And Pilate was filled with anger and went out of the praetorium and said to
them: "I call the sun to witness that I find no fault in this man." The Jews
answered and said to the governor: "If this man were not an evildoer, we
would not have handed him over to you." And Pilate said: "Take him
yourselves and judge him by your own law." The Jews said to Pilate: "It is
not lawful for us to put any man to death." Pilate said: "Has God forbidden
you to slay, but allowed me?"... "I am innocent of the blood of this
righteous man; see to it yourselves." The Jews replied: "His blood be on us
and on our children." And Pilate called to him the elders and the priests
and the Levites and said to them secretly: "Do not act thus; for nothing of
which you have accused him deserves death. For your accusation concerns
healing and profanation of the Sabbath." The elders and the priests and the
Levites answered: "If a man blasphemes against Caesar, is he worthy of death
or not?" Pilate said: "He is worthy of death." The Jews said to Pilate: "If
a man blasphemes against Caesar, he is worthy of death, but this man has
blasphemed against God."...

Now Nicodemus, a Jew, stood before the governor, and said: "I beseech you,
honourable governor, to allow me a few words." Pilate said: "Speak."
Nicodemus said: "I said to the elders and the priests and the Levites and to
all the multitude in the synagogue: 'What do you intend to do with this man?
This man does many signs and wonders, which no one has done nor will do. Let
him alone and contrive no evil against him. If the signs which he does are
from God, they will stand; if they are from men, they will come to nothing.
For Moses also, when he was sent by God into Egypt, did many signs which God
commanded him to do before Pharaoh, king of Egypt. And there were there
servants of Pharaoh, Jannes and Jambres, and they also did signs not a few
which Moses did, and the Egyptians held them as gods, Jannes and Jambres.
And since the signs which they did were not from God, they perished
themselves and those who believed them. And now let this man go, for he does
not deserve death.'"

The Jews said to Nicodemus: "You became his disciple and speak on his
behalf." Nicodemus answered them: "Has the governor also become his
disciple, and speak on his behalf? Did not Caesar appoint him to this high
office?" Then the Jews raged and gnashed their teeth against Nicodemus.
Pilate said to them: "Why do you gnash your teeth against him, when you hear
the truth?" The Jews said to Nicodemus: "Receive his truth and his portion."
Nicodemus said: "Amen, may it be as you have said."...

And others, a multitude of men and women, cried out: "This man is a prophet,
and the demons are subject to him." Pilate said to those who said the demons
were subject to him: "Why are your teachers also not subject to him?" They
said to Pilate: "We do not know." Others said: "Lazarus who was dead he
raised up out of the tomb after four days." Then the governor began to
tremble and said to all the multitude of the Jews: "Why do you wish to shed
innocent blood?"

And he called to him Nicodemus and the twelve men who said he was not born
of fornication and said to them: "What shall I do? The people are becoming
rebellious." They answered him: "We do not know. Let them see to it." Again
Pilate called all the multitude of the Jews and said: "You know the custom
that at the feast of unleavened bread a prisoner is released to you. I have
in the prison one condemned for murder, called Barabbas, and this Jesus who
stands before you, in whom I found no fault. Whom do you wish me to release
to you?" But they cried out: "Barabbas." Pilate said: "Then what shall I do
with Jesus who is called Christ?" The Jews cried out: "Let him be
crucified." But some of the Jews answered: "You are not Caesar's friend if
you release this man, for he called himself the Son of God and a king. You
wish him therefore to be king and not Caesar."

And Pilate was angry and said to the Jews: "Your nation is always seditious
and in rebellion against your benefactors." The Jews asked: "What
benefactors?" Pilate answered: "As I have heard, your God brought you out of
hard slavery, and led you safe through the sea as if it had been dry land,
and in the wilderness nourished you and gave you manna and quails, and gave
you water to drink from a rock, and gave you the law. And despite this you
provoked the anger of your God: you wanted a molten calf and angered your
God, and he wished to destroy you; and Moses made supplication for you, and
you were not put to death. And now you accuse me of hating the emperor." And
he rose up from the judgment-seat and sought to go out. And the Jews cried
out: "We know as king Caesar alone and not Jesus. For indeed the wise men
brought him gifts from the east, as if he were a king. And when Herod heard
from the wise men that a king was born, he sought to slay him. But when his
father Joseph knew that, he took him and his mother, and they fled into
Egypt. And when Herod heard it, he destroyed the children of the Hebrews who
were born in Bethlehem."

When Pilate heard these words, he was afraid. And he silenced the
multitudes, because they were crying out, and said to them: "So this is he
whom Herod sought?" The Jews replied: "Yes, this is he." And Pilate took
water and washed his hands before the sun and said: "I am innocent of the
blood of this righteous man. You see to it." Again the Jews cried out: "His
blood be on our children." Then Pilate commanded the curtain to be drawn
before the judgment-seat on which he sat, and said to Jesus: "Your nation
has convicted you of claiming to be a king. Therefore I have decreed that
you should first be scourged according to the law of the pious emperors, and
then hanged on the cross in the garden where you were seized. And let Dysmas
and Gestas, the two malefactors, be crucified with you."

And Jesus went out from the praetorium, and the two malefactors with him.
And when they came to the place, they stripped him and girded him with linen
cloth and put a crown of thorns on his head. Likewise they hanged up also
the two malefactors....

Now it was midday and a darkness covered all Judaea. And the Jews became
anxious and uneasy lest the sun had already set, since Jesus was still
alive. For it stands written for them: the sun should not set on one that
has been put to death. And one of them said, "Give him drink gall with
vinegar." And they mixed it and gave him to drink. And they fulfilled all
things and completed the measure of their sins on their head....

And then the Jews drew the nails from the hands of the Lord and laid him on
the earth. And the whole earth shook and there came a great fear. Then the
sun shone again, and it was found to be the ninth hour. And the Jews
rejoiced and gave his body to Joseph [of Arimathaea] that he might bury it,
since he had seen all the good that he had done. And he took the Lord,
washed him, wrapped him in linen and brought him into his own sepulchre,
called Joseph's Garden. Then the Jews and the elders and the priests,
perceiving what great evil they had done to themselves, ... were afraid and
came to Pilate, entreating him and saying, "Give us soldiers that we may
watch his sepulchre for three days, lest his disciples come and steal him
away and the people suppose that he is risen from the dead, and do us harm."
And Pilate gave them Petronius the centurion to watch the sepulchre. And
with them there came elders and scribes to the sepulchre. And all who were
there, together with the centurion and the soldiers, rolled thither a great
stone and laid it against the entrance to the sepulchre and put on it seven
seals, pitched a tent and kept watch. Early in the morning, when the Sabbath
dawned, there came a crowd from Jerusalem and the country road about to see
the sepulchre that had been sealed.

Now in the night in which the Lord's day dawned, when the soldiers, two by
two in every watch, were keeping guard, there rang out a loud voice in
heaven, and they saw the heavens opened and two men come down from there in
a great brightness and draw nigh to the sepulchre. That stone which had been
laid against the entrance to the sepulchre started of itself to roll and
gave way to the side, and the sepulchre was opened, and both the young men
entered in. When now those soldiers saw this, they awakened the centurion
and the elders-for they also were there to assist at the watch. And whilst
they were relating what they had seen, they saw again three men come out
from the sepulchre, and two of them sustaining the other, and a cross
following them.... And they heard a voice out of the heavens crying, "Thou
hast preached to them that sleep," and from the cross there was heard the
answer, "Yea." Those men therefore took counsel with one another to go and
report this to Pilate. And whilst they were still deliberating, the heavens
were again seen to open, and a man descended and entered into the sepulchre.
When those who were of the centurion's company saw this, they hastened by
night to Pilate, abandoning the sepulchre which they were guarding, and
reported everything that they had seen, being full of disquietude and
saying, "In truth he was the Son of God." Pilate answered and said, "I am
clean from the blood of the Son of God, upon such a thing have you decided."
Then all came to him, beseeching him and urgently calling upon him to
command the centurion and the soldiers to tell no one what they had seen.
"For it is better for us," they said, "to make ourselves guilty of the
greatest sin before God than to fall into the hands of the people of the
Jews and be stoned." Pilate therefore commanded the centurion and the
soldiers to say nothing.

Early in the morning of the Lord's day Mary Magdalene, a woman disciple of
the Lord-for fear of the Jews, since they were inflamed with wrath, she had
not done at the sepulchre of the Lord what women are wont to do for those
beloved of them who die-took with her women friends and came to the
sepulchre where he was laid. And they feared lest the Jews should see them,
and said, "Although we could not weep and lament on that day when he was
crucified, yet let us now do so at his sepulchre. But who will roll away for
us the stone also that is set on the entrance to the sepulchre, that we may
go in and sit beside him and do what is due? -- For the stone was great, --
and we fear lest any one see us. And if we cannot do so, let us at least put
down at the entrance what we bring for a memorial of him and let us weep and
lament until we have again gone home."

So they went and found the sepulchre opened. And they came near, stooped
down and saw there a young man sitting in the midst of the sepulchre, comely
and clothed with a brightly shining robe, who said to them, "Wherefore are
ye come? Whom seek ye? Not him that was crucified? He is risen and gone. But
if ye believe not, stoop this way and see the place where he lay, for he is
not here.... Then go quickly, and tell his disciples that he has risen from
the dead; and, behold, he is going before you into Galilee; there shall ye
see him. Lo, I have told you." So they departed quickly from the sepulchre
with fear and great joy, and ran to bring his disciples word. And as they
went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, and said, "All Hail!"
And they came up and took hold of his feet, and worshipped him. Then said
Jesus unto them, "Be not afraid: go and tell my brethren to go into Galilee,
and there they shall see me."

While they were going, behold, some of the guard came into the city, and
told unto the chief priests all the things that took place. And when they
had assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave a large sum
of money unto the soldiers, saying, "Say ye, 'His disciples came by night,
and stole him away while we slept.' And if this comes to the governor's
ears, we will persuade him, and keep you out of trouble." So they took the
money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported
among the Jews until this day....

And Joseph the Jews bound fast in prison, and they wanted to kill him,
because he had buried our Lord. And although the door of the prison was
sealed with the seal of Pilate, and with the seals of the high priests, our
Lord Jesus came to the place where Joseph was, and He was mounted on the
chariot of the Cherubim, and with Him there were ... angels and Surafel
[Seraphim] standing round about Him, and burning incense before Him. And the
thief who was [crucified] on His right hand stood on the right of Him
wearing shining raiment, and he was making intercession for sinners, because
he had found favour before Him; and the keepers of the house were terrified,
and trembling seized them. And then our Lord cried out to Joseph and said
unto him, "Be not afraid of the terrors of the Jews. Behold I have come to
unloose thy bonds. I am that Jesus, the Nazarene, in Whose suffering thou
didst participate. Look at the nail marks in My hands and feet, and the mark
of the spear in My side, so that thou mayest know that of a truth I am He."
Then He caught up Joseph from that place, and took him to the city of
Armatyas [Arimathaea]....

Now the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain to which
Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but
some doubted. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, "All power is
given unto me in heaven and on earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all
nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of
the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe al things whatsoever I have
commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the close of the
age."... And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from
them, and carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him, and returned to
Jerusalem with great joy: and were continually in the temple, praising and
blessing God....

Now Phinees a priest and Adas a teacher and Angaeus a Levite came from
Galilee to Jerusalem, and told the rulers of the synagogue and the priests
and the Levites: "We saw Jesus and his disciples sitting upon the mountain
which is called Mamilch. And he said to his disciples: 'Go into all the
world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. He who believes and is
baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And
these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out
demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents; if they
drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them, they will lay their hands on
the sick, and they will recover.' And while Jesus was still speaking to his
disciples, we saw him taken up into heaven."

Then the elders and the priests and the Levites said: "Give glory to the God
of Israel, and confess before him if you indeed heard and saw what you have
described." Those who told them said: "As the Lord God of our fathers
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob lives, we heard these things and saw him taken up
to heaven." The elders and the priests and the Levites said to them: "Did
you come to tell us this, or did you come to offer prayer to God?" They
answered: "To offer prayer to God." The elders and the chief priests and the
Levites said to them: "If you come to offer prayer to God, to what purpose
is this idle tale which you have babbled before all the people?" Phinees the
priest and Adas the teacher and Angaeus the Levite said to the rulers of the
synagogue and priests and Levites: "If the words which we spoke concerning
what we heard and saw are sin, see, we stand before you. Do with us as it
seems good in your eyes." And they took the law and adjured them to tell
this no more to any one. And they gave them to eat and drink, and sent them
out of the city, having given them to depart as far as Galilee; and they
went in peace.

But when those men had departed to Galilee, the chief priests and the rulers
of the synagogue and the elders assembled in the synagogue, and shut the
gate, and raised a great lamentation, saying: "Why has this sign happened in
Israel?" But Annas and Caiaphas said: "Why are you troubled? Why do you
weep? Do you not know that his disciples gave much money to the guards of
the tomb, took away his body and taught them to say that an angel descended
from heaven and rolled away the stone from the door of the tomb?" But the
priests and the elders replied: "Let it be that his disciples stole his
body. But how did the soul enter again into the body, so that Jesus now
waits in Galilee?" But they, unable to give an answer, came with difficulty
to say: "It is not lawful for us to believe the uncircumcised [Roman
soldiers]."

And Nicodemus stood up and stood before the council and said: "What you say
is right. You know, people of the Lord, that the men who came from Galilee
fear God and are men of substance, that they hate covetousness, and are men
of peace. And they have declared on oath: 'We saw Jesus on the mountain
Mamilch with his disciples.' He taught them what you have heard from them.
And we saw him (they said) taken up into heaven. And no one asked them in
what manner he was taken up. Just as the holy scriptures tell us that Elijah
also was taken up into heaven, and Elisha cried with a loud voice, and
Elijah cast his sheepskin cloak upon Elisha, and Elisha cast his cloak upon
the Jordan, and crossed over and went to Jericho. And the sons of the
prophets met him and said: 'Elisha, where is your master Elijah?' And he
said that he was taken up into heaven. But they said to Elisha: 'Has perhaps
a spirit caught him up and cast him on one of the mountains? But let us take
our servants with us and search for him.' And they persuaded Elisha, and he
went with them. And they searched for him for three days and did not find
him, and they knew that he had been taken up. And now listen to me, and let
us send to every mountain of Israel and see whether the Christ was taken up
by a spirit and cast upon a mountain." And this proposal pleased them all.
And they sent to every mountain of Israel, and searched for Jesus and did
not find him. But they found Joseph in Arimathaea and no one dared to seize
him.

And they told the elders and the priests and the Levites: "We went about to
every mountain of Israel, and did not find Jesus. But Joseph we found in
Arimathaea." And when they heard about Joseph, they rejoiced and gave glory
to the God of Israel. And the rulers of the synagogue and the priests and
the Levites took councel how they should meet with Joseph, and they took a
roll of papyrus and wrote to Joseph these words. "Peace be with you. We know
that we have sinned against God and against you, and we have prayed to the
God of Israel that you should condescend to come to your fathers and your
children, because we are all troubled. For when we opened the door [of your
prison] we did not find you. We know that we devised an evil plan against
you; but the Lord helped you, and the Lord himself has brought to nothing
our plan against you, honoured father Joseph."

And they chose from all Israel seven men who were friends of Joseph, whom
also Joseph himself acknowledged as friends, and the rulers of the synagogue
and the priests and the Levites said to them: "See! If he receives our
letter and reads it, know that he will come with you to us. But if he does
not read it, know that he is angry with us, and salute him in peace and
return to us." And they blessed the men and dismissed them. And the men came
to Joseph and greeted him with reverence, and said to him: "Peace be with
you!" He replied: "Peace be with you and all Israel!" And they gave him the
roll of the letter. Joseph took it and read it and kissed the letter, and
blessed God and said: "Blessed be God, who has delivered the Israelites from
shedding innocent blood. And blessed be the Lord, who sent his angel and
sheltered me under his wings." And he set a table before them, and they ate
and drank and lay down there. And they rose up early in the morning and
prayed. And Joseph saddled his she-ass and went with the men, and they came
to the holy city Jerusalem. And all the people met Joseph and cried: "Peace
be to your entering in!" And he said to all the people: "Peace be with you!"
And all kissed him, and prayed with Joseph, and were beside themselves with
joy seeing him. And Nicodemus received him into his house and made a great
feast, and called the elders and the priests and the Levites to his house,
and they made merry, eating and drinking with Joseph. And after singing a
hymn each one went to his house; but Joseph remained in the house of
Nicodemus.

And on the next day, which was the preparation, the rulers of the synagogue
and the priests and the Levites rose up early and came to the house of
Nicodemus. Nicodemus met them and said: "Peace be with you!" They answered:
"Peace be with you and with Joseph and with all your house and with all the
house of Joseph!" And he brought them into his house. And the whole council
sat down, and Joseph sat between Annas and Caiaphas. And no one dared to
speak a word to him. And Joseph said: "Why have you called me?" And they
beckoned to Nicodemus to speak to Joseph. Nicodemus opened his mouth and
said to Joseph: "Father, you know that the honourable teachers and the
priests and the Levites wish information from you." Joseph answered: "Ask
me." And Annas and Caiaphas took the law and adjured Joseph, saying: "Give
glory to the God of Israel and make confession to him. For Achan, also, when
adjured by the prophet Joshua, did not commit perjury, but told him
everything and concealed nothing from him. So do you also not conceal from
us a single word." Joseph answered: "I will not conceal anything from you."
And they said to him: "We were very angry because you asked for the body of
Jesus, and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in a tomb. And
for this reason we secured you in a house with no window, and locked and
sealed the door, and guards watched where you were shut up. And on the first
day of the week we opened it, and did not find you, and were much troubled,
and the people of God were amazed until yesterday. And now tell us what
happened to you."

And Joseph said: "On the day of preparation about the tenth hour you shut me
in, and I remained the whole Sabbath. And at midnight as I stood and prayed,
the house where you shut me in was raised up by the four corners, and I saw
as it were a lightning flash in my eyes. Full of fear I fell to the ground.
And someone took me by the hand and raised me up from the place where I had
fallen, and something moist like water flowed from my head to my feet, and
the smell of fragrant oil reached my nostrils. And he wiped my face and
kissed me and said to me: 'Do not fear, Joseph. Open your eyes and see who
it is who speaks with you.' I looked up and saw Jesus. Trembling, I thought
it was a phantom, and I said the commandments. And he said them with me. Now
as you well know, a phantom immediately flees if it meets anyone and hears
the commandments. And when I saw that he said them with me, I said to him:
'Rabbi Elijah!' He said: 'I am not Elijah.' And I said to him: 'Who are you,
Lord?' He replied: 'I am Jesus whose body you asked from Pilate, whom you
clothed in clean linen, on whose face you placed a cloth, and whom you
placed in your new cave, and you rolled a great stone to the door of the
cave.' And I asked him who spoke to me: 'Show me the place where I laid
you.'

And he took me and showed me the place where I laid him. And the linen
cloth lay there, and the cloth that was upon his face. Then I recognized
that it was Jesus. And he took me by the hand and placed me in the middle of
my house, with the doors shut, and led me to my bed and said to me: 'Peace
be with you!' Then he kissed me and said to me: 'Do not go out of your house
for forty days. For see, I go to my brethren in Galilee.'"

And when the rulers of the synagogue and the priests and the Levites heard
these words from Joseph, they became as dead men and fell to the ground and
fasted until the ninth hour. And Nicodemus and Joseph comforted Annas and
Caiaphas and the priests and Levites, saying: "Get up and stand on your
feet, and taste bread and strengthen your souls. For tomorrow is the Sabbath
of the Lord." And they rose up and prayed to God, and ate and drank, and
went each to his own house. And on the Sabbath our teachers and the priests
and the Levites ... said among themselves: "Come, let us send to Galilee to
the three men who came and told us of Jesus' teaching and of his being taken
up, and let them tell us how they saw him taken up." And this word pleased
them all. And they sent the three men who before had gone to Galilee with
them, and said to them: "Say to Rabbi Adas and Rabbi Phinees and Rabbi
Angaeus: 'Peace be with you and all who are with you. Since an important
inquiry is taking place in the council, we were sent to you to call you to
this holy place Jerusalem.'" And the men went to Galilee and found them
sitting and studying the law, and greeted them in peace. And the men who
were in Galilee said to those who had come to them: "Peace be to all
Israel." They answered: "Peace be with you." And again they said to them:
"Why have you come?" Those who had been sent replied: "The council calls you
to the holy city Jerusalem." When the men heard they were sought by the
council, they prayed to God and sat down at the table with the men and ate
and drank, and then arose and came in peace to Jerusalem.

And on the next day the council sat in the synagogue and questioned them,
saying: "Did you indeed see Jesus sitting on the mountain Mamilch, teaching
his eleven disciples? And did you see him taken up?" And the men answered
them and said: "As we saw him taken up, so we have told you." Annas said:
"Separate them from one another, and let us see if their accounts agree."
And they separated them from one another. And they called Adas first and
asked him: "How did you see Jesus taken up?" Adas answered: "As he sat on
the mountain Mamilch and taught his disciples, we saw that a cloud
overshadowed him and his disciples. And the cloud carried him up to heaven,
and his disciples lay on their faces on the ground." Then they called
Phinees the priest and asked him also: "How did you see Jesus taken up?" And
he said the same thing. And again they asked Angaeus, and he said the same
thing. Then the members of the council said: "At the mouth of two or three
witnesses shall every matter be established." Abuthem the teacher said: "It
is written in the law: 'Enoch walked with God, and was not, for God took
him.'" Jairus the teacher said: "Also we have heard of the death of the holy
Moses, and we do not know how he died. For it is written in the law of the
Lord: 'And Moses died as the mouth of the Lord determined, and no man knew
of his sepulchre to this day.'" And Rabbi Levi said: "Why did Rabbi Symeon
say, when he saw Jesus: 'Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising
of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against?'" And Rabbi Isaac
said: "It is written in the law: 'Behold, I send my messenger before your
face. He will go before you to guard you in every good way. In him my name
is named.'"

Then Annas and Caiaphas said: "You have rightly said what is written in the
law of Moses, that no one knows the death of Enoch and no one has named the
death of Moses. But Jesus had to give account before Pilate; we saw how he
received blows and spitting on his face, that the soldiers put a crown of
thorns upon him, that he was scourged and condemned by Pilate and then was
crucified at the place of skull; he was given vinegar and gall to drink, and
Longinus the soldier pierced his side with a spear. Our honourable father
Joseph asked for his body; and, he says, he rose again. And the three
teachers decla 'We saw him taken up into heaven.' And Rabbi Levi spoke
and testified to the words of Rabbi Symeon: 'Behold, this child is set for
the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken
against.'" And all the teachers said to all the people of the Lord: "If this
is from the Lord, and it is marvellous in your eyes, you shall surely know,
O house of Jacob, that it is written: 'Cursed is every one who hangs on a
tree.' And another passage of scripture teaches: 'The gods who did not make
the heaven and the earth shall perish.'" And the priests and the Levites
said to one another: "If Jesus is remembered after fifty years, he will
reign for ever and create for himself a new people." Then the rulers of the
synagogue and the priests and the Levites admonished all Israel: "Cursed is
the man who shall worship the work of man's hand, and cursed is the man who
shall worship created things alongside the creator." And the people
answered: "Amen, amen."

[Now it came to pass that] ... Our Lord Jesus Christ was on the Mount of
Olives, and I [Peter] was with Him after He had spoken unto me and commanded
me concerning all the Law. And again He said unto me, "O Peter, go thou unto
thy brethren, and call them unto Me here." So I went down from the Mount of
Olives, and I left our Lord standing there; and I cried out to my brethren,
that is to say, to James, and John, and Andrew, and they cried out to the
rest of the Twelve Apostles and to the Seventy-two Disciples, and we all
came into the mountain, and we stood upon it facing towards the east, with
Jerusalem lying below us. Then a white and shining cloud, which was like
unto a flame of fire, surrounded us, and all the people of Jerusalem saw the
splendour thereof and were dismayed. And we were standing in the midst of
the cloud, and we saw the doors of heaven opened, and the angels of light
ascending and descending upon a ladder of light. And we saw our Lord
standing at the foot of the ladder, and He was wishing to ascend unto His
throne of radiant glory, and He stretched out His holy right hand, and
blessed us .... And again, we saw a chariot of light descend from heaven
upon the wings of the Cherubim, and with it there were thousands and tens of
thousands of thousands of angels, and the Seraphim, each of whom had six
wings; and they all in their various grades were singing praises, and crying
out joyfully, and were ascribing holiness and thanks unto Him to the strains
of beautiful music, and clear and sweet voices. Now all the Apostles, and
the company of the Seventy-two Disciples rejoiced, even as we rejoiced at
the time of the Resurrection. And we heard the sounds of trumpets and of
horns, and the angels in their various companies cried out with loud cries
of glory and with praisings and glorifyings. And certain companies of the
angels ascribed glory unto God, and said, "Blessed be God Who is from the
beginning, and Who shall endure for ever! Amen."...

And again we heard above a great and awful voice which was like unto
thunder, and it said, "Open ye the gates, O princes, and let the doors which
were from the Creation be opened, and the King of glory and honour shall
come in." And again we heard the voices of the celestial companies who were
standing by the throne, saying, "Who is this king of glory and honour?" And
the voice, which we heard before, answered and said unto them, "It is God,
the Strong and Mighty."... And again we saw the angels waving fans of light,
and some of them bore vessels wherefrom there went out scents which for
sweetness exceeded those of all the flowers in the world....

And when we saw all this we all wept with a sore weeping, and we made
lamentation, and said, "O our Lord and God, forgive us, for we have believed
in Thee; leave us not orphans." And the head of me, Peter, was bowed down to
the earth through fear of what I had seen, and my heart was moved. Then my
Lord and God looked at me, and He said unto me, "O Peter, be not sorrowful;"


and He stretched out His right hand to me, and said unto me, "Rise up, be
strong, and make thy brethren to be strong, and keep in your hearts what ye
have seen." And we all rose up from the ground, and stood upon our feet, and
my Lord and God gave unto me a book studded with precious stones and pearls,
and in it was written the rest of the knowledge which my Lord wished to
declare unto me with His lips; now the book was written by His holy and
mighty hand, and there went forth therefrom a light of beauty, the splendour
of which exceeded that of the brilliance of the sun when shining. And
moreover, He gave me also seven books studded with loadstone, which had been
written by His own hands. And again He said unto me, "O Peter, behold, there
are written in this book the mysteries which thou didst desire to know, and
thou shalt not reveal them except unto those who are in the right faith,
even as water is in iron." Now my brethren did not know that my God had
given unto me this book. And my Lord and God said unto me, "Know, O Peter,
that I never gave this book unto any man before, and I shall never again
give what I have now given unto thee to anyone except Mary, My mother, by
whom I became incarnate. Know, O Peter, that I will help thee by means of
another Apostle, who shall be with thee, and who shall help thee in all the
cities whereunto thou shalt preach the preaching of the Gospel therein, and
the people of which thou shalt teach. Do you everything which I have
commanded thee, and preach in My Name in all the world." And when I had
received into my hand the eight books which our Lord had written with His
own hand, wherein were written the mysteries which the tongues of the
children of men are neither able to utter, nor to understand with their
hearts, except those whose hearts are arrayed in the strength of the
gracious gift of baptism, I rejoiced. And I, Peter, saw the race of the
angels, and their apparel, and their appearance, and their names. And I saw,
moreover, a gathering together of the armies of the angels with flaming
chariots of fire, and they were mounted upon horses of light; and when the
children of men looked upon them, their eyes were carried away by the sight
thereof. And I heard a voice which said, "O Peter, this book is not meet for
anyone of the Apostles except thyself alone." And I saw the angels in their
assemblies bowing down in homage before my Lord and God. Certain of them had
their loins girt about with broad girdles of light, and certain of them had
girded themselves with bands of light, without fringes, over their apparel;
and certain of them wore over their left shoulders long, narrow scarves,
with fringes; and in three places in each scarf, that is, in the middle, and
where it touched the shoulders, and in the part which hung down over the
back were written the words, "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and
of the Holy Ghost, One God." And certain of the angels wore upon their
shoulders a broad scarf, which in breadth was as wide as a kerchief, and
upon each were written at the four corners, and in the middle, the words,
"We are the good shepherds, and we believe in the Name of the Father, and of
the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." And some of the angels had round their
shoulders girdles, each of which was of the width of two fingers, and at
nine places in each one of them was written, "Serve ye God with fear," and
the faces of all of them were like unto fire and unto the lightning which
flasheth and is gone. And the heavens, and the earth, and the air were
filled with the angels, and with the multitudes thereof. And, moreover,
great numbers of the people of Jerusalem at that time saw things which I was
seeing, and there were with them many of the Jews who had transgressed
against righteousness, and who did not believe in our Lord Jesus Christ. And
they stood at that time at the place where they could readily see these
things, and fear and dismay came upon them all, and they glorified God. Then
some of them who were doubtful concerning what they had seen wished to go up
into the Mount of Olives, and there came upon them tongues of fire and
burned up many of them.

And again, I saw a cloud in the form of a bow which appeared among the
clouds, and upon it was a tabernacle of light, and in the innermost part
thereof sat the holy Virgin Mary, who gave birth to our Lord in the flesh.
And angels surrounded her, and in their hands were swords and spears of
fire, and they said, "Blessed art thou, O fair vine-branch, wherefrom sprang
the grape-clusters of salvation. Blessed art thou, O chamber, whose womb
bore God, the Lord of Lords;" and when I had seen this, my body burned with
fire, and my bowels were greatly moved, and my heart was dismayed.... And
the Virgin Mary went and stood before the throne of God, the Lord of Hosts,
and all the hosts said unto her, "Rejoice, O Lady of all living beings." And
when the angels and those who were with them had finished saluting the
Virgin our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God, my God, appeared
unto her, and all the spiritual beings, and all the beings of light bowed
down in homage before Him. Then the Mother of the Light entered into the
tabernacle of light wherein our Lord sat upon his throne of glory, and she
sat down with Him for a space of three hours, and none knew what He said
unto her except herself, and then she came forth from His tabernacle of
light. And when she came forth the earth quaked, and I saw the angels crying
out in their companies, and frequent shouts of joy went out from the mouths
of them all, and much praise, and the whole universe was filled with their
glorifyings; and I heard voices in the earth, the like of which I had never
heard before. And again, I saw a cloud over the Mount of Olives, and I heard
the voice of my Lord and God, saying thereunto, "Stand still in thy place, O
Mount, that thou mayest be a witness for me to My ascent from thee into the
heavens; and know, O mountain, that no one shall ascend from thee except
Myself into heaven until My second coming." And after this my Lord and God
took me by the hand, and raised me up from my knees, and I stood up in great
power; and He said unto me, "Awake, O Peter, and look upon these mysteries,
for thou wast the first to become a witness that I am the Son of the Living
God, Who was, and Who is; and thy heart shall then become the means of
ascent unto heaven. And now, behold, thy soul and thy heart are strong in
thy body, and thy brethren are with thee; be thou a witness to that which
thou hast seen, and be strong to conceal everything." And again I saw the
Cherubim come, and with them were chariots of light, and when I had seen the
angels I was dismayed. Then our Lord ascended upon a chariot of the
Cherubim, and the clouds bore Him away, and I heard the sounds of trumpets
sounding. And I saw the keys of light laid out, and censers filled with
incense, not that which is of the earth, but which is of heaven; and I heard
on all sides hymns of praise and psalms.... And I Peter and my brethren the
disciples watched the chariot whereon Christ our God had mounted until it
entered into the first heaven, and then I saw the gates of heaven close.

And as for us, we remained upon the Mount of Olives until the time of
evening, and we prayed on the spot wherefrom we saw our Lord ascend into
heaven, and we also prayed upon the place where the chariot rested, and upon
the place whereon stood the tabernacle in which we had seen our Lord. Then
we the Apostles came down from the holy mountain, and entered into the city
of Jerusalem, and we came unto our Lady Mary and entered into her house, and
saluted her; and we made known to her concerning the Ascension of her
beloved Son, Who is our Lord and God Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living
God, Who hath existed for ever. And every day we the Apostles used to go up
into the Mount of Olives at morn and at eve and pray there.

Now three days after the Ascension of our Lord into heaven, James, whom our
Lord called His "brother in the flesh," consecrated the Offering, and we all
drew nigh to partake thereof; and when ten days had passed after the
Ascension of our Lord, we all assembled in the holy fortress of Zion, and we
stood up to say the prayer of sanctification, and we made supplication unto
God and besought Him with humility, and James also entreated Him concerning
the descent of the Holy Ghost upon the Offering. And as we were standing
thus, we saw tongues of fire coming down from heaven, and they rested upon
and every one of us, and we spake in the tongues of all countries, each man
in the tongue of the country to which the lot had fallen to him to go; and
straightway I Peter stood up among those who were assembled. Then the
Hebrews who saw us looked carefully at us whilst we were speaking the
tongues of the various countries, and they said concerning us, "Behold,
these men are mad." Others also said concerning us, "They have drunk new
wine, and are drunk;" and they disputed among themselves, but I had no
knowledge of what they spoke or said. And I Peter spake from the Prophets,
and the others spake concerning the descent of the Holy Spirit upon us, even
according to the power which the Holy Spirit gave unto us before the angel
of the Lord, who was with us at the time; and there was perturbation, and
dismay, and great fear over Jerusalem, and over all Judaea. Then many of the
men who were in Jerusalem spake with us in divers tongues, and we also
conversed with them in these tongues, and they marvelled thereat, and these
folk said unto the Jews who were in Jerusalem, "O foolish men, these men are
not drunk, neither are they mad, but unto them hath been given the grace of
God. And behold, we have seen the miracles of the tongues of fire which came
down upon them from heaven when they were gathered together in the fortress
of Zion. Now we have known them before this day, and we know that not one
among them was able to speak any tongue except the tongue of the Hebrews,
and behold, we have this day seen them speaking in the tongues of the
Greeks, and Romans, and Syrians, and Palestinians, and in the tongues of all
countries." And the people, who saw the miracles of the tongues which came
upon us that day, were more in number than seven hundred men, and they
belonged to all nations and peoples; and the men of the Hebrews were more in
number than five hundred. And they wished to fight among themselves in
Jerusalem, and angry strife rose up concerning us, but, by the mercy of God,
God shewed them a vision of the night, and by these means He pacified them
and restrained them from fighting and tumult.

And after this the angel of the Lord came and said unto me, "Rise up, O
Peter, and get thee up by thyself into the Mount of Olives, and acquaint
thyself with what is written in the books which I have given unto thee, and
understand what is therein." So I went up into the Mount of Olives on the
second day of the week, on the day following the festival of the fifty days
[Pentecost], and a cloud covered me up, and I saw the angel who had appeared
unto me in my dream; and he said unto me, ... "I am he who appeared unto
Mary Magdalena at the grave of Him Who giveth life, and there were with her
many Hebrews, both men and women; and there was with me my companion Uriel
the angel, and we were together guarding the grave. And we closed the place
of burial, and we were those who rolled away the stone which was laid upon
the doors of the grave, and we were those who told Joseph, the carpenter, to
depart into the land of Egypt, and we also commanded him to return from the
land of Egypt unto the land of Galilee." And moreover, this angel said unto
me, "O Peter, reveal the contents of this book which was given unto thee at
the time of the Ascension of our Lord and God into the heavens above, and
unto the place where His habitation hath been continually;" and I uncovered
the eight books which were before me, and the city of Jerusalem became
bright with the light of the same.

Now as I stood reading the book, behold, there came unto me a voice from
heaven which said, "O Peter, read and understand, for thou art the
storehouse of My mysteries, and thou art the rock whereon I will build My
church; keep thou then the mysteries which are written in these eight books
which I Myself have given unto thee, for this service is meet for thee.
First of all preach the Gospel in Jerusalem, and on the sea shore, and in
all cities, for I will reveal unto thee many miracles, and I will make thee
to perceive what shall come through the Law and the Judgment upon My people
who believe in me. And I will give them ordinances out of the Law which I
shall command them to keep, and which they shall not withdraw from, either
to the right hand or to the left. And know that in these books which I have
written for thee with Mine own hand it is declared in what manner it is meet
that their faith in Me should be, and what is seemly for every man
whatsoever among the people, and therein are they ordered to turn away from
the service of idols unto the service of Me. And, O Peter, go thou unto the
city of Antioch, and preach therein the preaching of the Holy Gospel, for
from this time forth I will send thee whithersoever I please. And seal thou
the eight books which I have given unto thee, and hide their fastenings, and
let no man whatsoever see them except him that hath been chosen and him that
shall be of advantage unto the service of the holy things which are Mine;
for the cloud which covered Me over shall not leave thee until the day of My
second coming."

And after He had said these things unto me, I Peter came down from the Mount
of Olives unto Jerusalem, and I hid the eight books according as my Lord had
commanded me, and I made known to my brethren how my God had revealed unto
me the names of these two angels whom I had seen upon the earth; then we all
ascribed praise unto God Who had bestowed upon us the gift of His mercy. And
we preached the preaching of the Gospel in the city, and we departed to the
sea-coast, and we called the people into the true faith. Now the first city
into which we entered on the sea-coast was called Joppa, and we also arrived
at Imahus [Emmaus], and at Lydda, and we laid a ban upon those who believed
that they might not eat of food which was declared to be unclean in the Law.
And I gave them commandments concerning circumcision according to the Law of
Moses, and God appeared unto me in the form of the angel Uriel, and
commanded me to do away the old Law, and to bring in the new. And after
these things, when I was praying one day in the city of Joppa, a cloud of
light enveloped me, and there descended upon me a sheet which stretched from

heaven to earth; and in it were similitudes of every kind of four-footed
beasts which are eaten for food, and every kind of bird, and in that sheet
there was a beast in the form of a pig. And a voice cried out unto me from
heaven, and said unto me, "Rise, Peter, kill, and eat;" and I saw a finger
pointing from heaven to the beast which was in the form of a pig. Then I
said unto Him, "Lord, I cannot kill and eat that which is unclean;" and
again a voice cried unto me, saying, "That which God hath cleansed man shall
not pronounce unclean." Now I heard the voice three times, and each time it
called me the finger pointed to the beast which was in the form of a pig;
and then the sheet went up and was received into heaven. And I sat down in a
state of amazement, and I marvelled at what I had seen, and I made known
unto my brethren what I had seen and heard. And I made the people to hear
the faith according to what was written in the first of these eight books
which our Lord had given unto me, and I baptized all the people who believed
and who had turned away from the service of idols; and I wished to
strengthen them in the true faith through the Law in the Name of the Father,
and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Then I commanded them to fast, and to
pray, and to sell their fields and estates, and their goods, and to bring
their possessions into the house of the community, and I Peter received
their riches and divided them among the poor and needy of the children of
the faith who had been baptized. And I also entered into the two cities of
Tyre and Sidon, and preached therein, and through me many people believed in
the preaching of the Holy Gospel, ... to Whom be glory for ever and ever!
Amen.

8 CLOUDS OF LIGHT IN THE LIVES OF THE APOSTLES


Saint Paul belonged to a noble and chosen family, and he was of the seed of
Abraham, and of the children of Israel; he was of the tribe of Benjamin the
Hebrew, and he was learned in the Scriptures, and in the doctrine of the Law
of Moses. He was born of Tarsus of Cilicia, and there he grew up; he was a
vigorous man of fine, upright stature, and his countenance was ruddy with
the ruddiness of the skin of the pomegranate, his complexion was clear, his
nose was high and large, his eyes were dark, and his cheeks were full, and
bearded, and of the colour of a rose. He was educated with the greatest care
and strictness by Gamaliel, the high-priest and Pharisee, the teacher of the
Law, who admonished the Jews and made them to act cunningly towards the
Apostles, until at length they meditated their slaughter. Now the kinsfolk
of Paul called his name "Saul," which is a Hebrew name, and the
interpretation of which is "given."... Now the name "Paul is interpreted as
meaning "guide to the faith." Before Saul's conversion to the Christian
faith he was a priest of the Law of Moses, and he lived, according to the
ordinances, a life of righteousness, in perfect blamelessness and beyond all
reproof, and he kept the Law of his fathers. He was a zealous observer of
the Law of Moses, and an adversary of the churches of God, and an opponent
of the Name of Jesus in his early manhood, and he inflicted severe
affliction upon the men who held the Christian faith....

And this Saul received power from the chief priests in Jerusalem, to
persecute those who believed in Christ, from Jerusalem even unto the cities
which were afar off, and he cast many of the saints into prison, and he
bound them in chains, both men and women alike, and threw them into prison.
And he went to the chief priests of Jerusalem and asked them for a letter of
authority to the men of the city of Damascus and of the synagogues thereof,
and for power to bind in chains any men or women he might find on the way
and to bring them to Jerusalem. One day as he was journeying along the road
about the time of noon, now he was nigh unto the city of Damascus, behold,
there fell upon him suddenly a flash of lightning, and a light from heaven
rose upon him; and he fell upon his face on the ground by reason of his
exceedingly great fear. And he heard a voice from heaven which spake unto
him in the Hebrew tongue, saying, "Saul, Saul, why prosecutest thou Me? It
is ill for thee to kick and to smite thyself against the goad which is as
sharp as a nail." And Saul answered and said, "Who art Thou, my Lord?" And
our Lord said unto him, "I am Jesus the Nazarene, Whom thou persecutest; but
rise up, and stand upon thy feet, and go into the city, and it shall be told
thee what it is meet for thee to do." Now the men who were with Saul on the
road stood still and held their peace, but they heard only a voice and saw
nothing whatsoever. Then Jesus said unto him, "I have appeared unto thee
that I may choose thee to be a minister unto Me, and a witness of what thou
hast seen of Me. Know, moreover, that I will appear unto thee, and will
deliver thee from among the nations and peoples unto whom I shall send thee
to open their eyes, and to turn them from the darkness into the light, and
from the works of Satan unto the knowledge of God, so that they may find
forgiveness of their sins, and a portion with the saints, if they believe in
Me. And now, rise up, and go into the city, and there shalt thou learn what
it is meet for thee to do." Then Saul rose up from the ground, and although
his eyes were open he could not see, and the men who were with him held him
by his hands, and led him along, and brought him into Damascus; and he
remained there for three days without eating, and without drinking, and
without sight. Now there was in the city of Damascus a certain disciple
among the Apostles whose name was Ananias, and he was a God-fearing man
according to that which is written in the Law. And our Lord appeared, and
said unto him, "Ananias," and Ananias said, "Here am I, Lord." And the Lord
said unto him, "Rise up, and depart, and pass through the street which is
called Straight," now its name at this present is Market-place, "and seek
for a man of Tarsus, of the house of Judah, whose name is Saul, who
prayeth." And behold, whilst Saul was praying, there appeared unto him in a
dream a man whose name was Ananias, who came to him and prayed over him, and
he laid his hand upon him so that he might receive his sight. And Ananias
answered and said, "O Lord, behold I have heard concerning this man from
many, and of all the evil which he hath wrought on Thy saints in Jerusalem,
and having obtained power from the chief priests he hath come hither also
that he may bind in fetters all those who call upon Thy Name." Then our Lord
said unto him, "Rise up, get thee out, and go unto him, for behold, I have
made this man to be a chosen vessel for Me that he may go and bear My Name
before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel, and I will tell
him how great suffering shall come upon him for My Name's sake." So Ananias
departed unto him straightway, and he entered into the house and laid his
hand upon Saul, and said unto him, "O Saul, my brother, our Lord Jesus
Christ, who appeared unto thee on the road, hath sent me unto thee that
thine eyes may be opened, and that thou mayest see as thou comest along, and
that the Holy Spirit may be fulfilled in thee." And straightway, at that
very moment, a skin which was as fine as the web of a spider was torn
asunder and fell from his eyes, and they were opened, and he saw forthwith.
Then Ananias said unto Saul, "Behold, thou must know that the Lord God of
our fathers hath chosen thee, and that thou mightest know His will appeared
unto thee in the form of a lightning flash, and made thee to hear the voice
of His mouth; and thou shalt be unto Him a witness before all men concerning
what thou hast seen and heard. Rise up now, and be baptized, and wash away
thy sins, and know His Name." Then straightway was Saul baptized, and he
took food and ate, and grew in strength, and he dwelt in Damascus for a few
days with the Apostles; and immediately he began to preach in the synagogues
of the Jews, and he taught in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, saying,
"This Christ is the Son of God;" and all those who heard him marvelled and
were astonished in their hearts. And they said concerning him, "Is not this
the man who slew those who believed on this Name in Jerusalem and here? And
did he not come hither for the purpose of putting them in chains, and
carrying them to the high priests?" Nevertheless Saul prevailed over and
vanquished the Jews who dwelt in Damascus, and brought them to the belief
that Jesus was the Christ. And after a few days the Jews took counsel
together how they might kill him, and certain men told Saul what the Jews
had planned, now they were watching the doors of the house by day and by
night, and they kept a strict watch upon him also that they might kill him.
Then his disciples took him by night and let him down in a basket from the
top of the fortress, and he departed ... to Thessalonica, and the Apostle
Paul entered into a church wherein there were Jews. And he spake unto them
from out of the Scriptures for three Sabbaths, and some of them believed,
and other people joined themselves unto them; and many men among the Greeks
believed, and of the noble women also not a few. Then ... having gone ... to
the city of Beroea in Macedonia many of the Jews and Greeks who lived in
that city believed, both well-known men and women. Now when the Jews of
Thessalonica knew that the Apostle Paul was declaring and preaching the word
of God in the city of Beroea they came thereunto and stirred up the people
against him.

Now after these things Paul went out from among them, and he departed....
And it came to pass that as he was journeying along the road, our Lord Jesus
Christ appeared unto him, and said unto him, "Peace be unto thee, O My
chosen one, Paul, thou shepherd of My Father's sheep, who seekest those
[children of Israel] which are lost that thou mayest bring them back into
the great fold in the speech of the true preacher, which is the kingdom of
My Father, and the holy and ancient church over which I have set thee, thee
and thy brethren, to be the head...." And having said these things unto him,
our Lord ascended into the heavens as he was looking up after Him....

And at that time our Lord Jesus Christ appeared unto Saint Philip when he
was in Caesarea, and said unto him, "Rise up, and go unto the cities of
Lystra and Iconium, and behold, I send thee unto My servant Paul, that he
may go with thee thither; and preach ye therein in My Name, for until this
present the glad tidings of faith in My Name have not been heard in these
two cities." And Saint Philip rose up and went to Saint Paul, and told him
how our Lord had appeared unto him, and straightway their hearts gained
strength, and they rose up, and stretched out their hands in the form of the
cross, and they made supplication unto God....

And it came to pass that ..., behold, our Lord Jesus Christ appeared unto
them, and filled them with His glory and power, and He made strong their
hearts, and He spake unto them, saying, "Behold, ... I will be with you, and
I will help you, so that all the men of the city may believe in My Name,
through the mighty deeds and miracles which I shall perform by your hands,
until the people of these cities shall say, 'These two men are gods in the
form of men who have come unto us.'" And when the Redeemer had said these
words unto them He gave them the salutation of peace, and ascended into
heaven with great glory while they were looking at Him. Then straightway a
cloud of light came, and carried the two of them away, and set them down on
the river bank at Lystra.... And the two blessed Apostles dwelt in that city
for three months, and they admonished the people and taught them the way of
faith and the divinity of God ....

And after those things the two Apostles departed from the city of Lystra by
night, and ... returned to Jerusalem....

After this Paul is carried into the third heaven. The angel who is with him
changes in appearance and bursts into flames of fire, and a voice forbids
Paul to reveal what he has seen.... The conclusion runs thus (in substance):

The angel of the Lord took me up and brought me to the Mount of Olives. I
found the apostles assembled and told them all I had seen. They praised God
and commanded us, that is me, Mark, and Timothy, to write the revelation.
And while they were talking, Christ appeared from the chariot of the
cherubim and spoke greetings to Peter, John, and especially Paul....

And after this Saint Paul went forth from Jerusalem to go and preach unto
the Gentiles of the country into which he had entered, and as he was on his
way, behold, our Lord Jesus Christ appeared unto him, and said, ... "Thy
brethren the Apostles shall sit upon twelve thrones, and shall judge the
Twelve Tribes of Israel; and thou shalt be added unto their number, and thou
shalt be the thirteenth Apostle...." And having said these words our Lord
saluted his mouth and ascended into the heavens in great glory. Then Saint
Paul ... travelled into every city ( or country) seeking after the sheep
that were lost, so that he might bring them back into the pasture of God....

[Peter said:] Now at the time of my return from Laodicea, as I was sleeping
in the fortress of Zion, there appeared unto me the angel who had often
appeared unto me, and he said unto me, "Rise up, and go unto the city of
Antioch, and take with thee the beloved John, so that ye may preach therein
the preaching of the Gospel, and may call people unto the true faith." And I
said unto the angel, "I am an infirm old man, and the road to Antioch is
exceedingly long; why didst thou not give me this command when I was in
Laodicea, where the road would have been shorter for me?" And the angel was
hidden from me, and sleep fell heavily upon John, but when we awoke we found
ourselves outside the city of Antioch, under the sky. Then I said unto John,
"My beloved, were we not sleeping in the Fortress of Zion, wherein we
dwelt?" And he said unto me, "Yea." And I said unto him, "Where are we now?
Behold, we are sitting outside the city without an abode. Have we come
hither of our own accord, or hath some wile of Satan brought us hither, for
his wiles are many, or is what I am telling thee now a dream?" Now whilst
Peter was thus conversing with John, behold, two woodcutters came out of the
city and they were talking together in the Greek language, and I said unto
my brother John, "Thou knowest the language of these men, inasmuch as the
knowledge thereof was given unto thee by the Holy Ghost. Go then, and
enquire of these woodcutters concerning this country, and ask them what this
city is;" so John went unto these men, and he returned, weeping tears and
filled with wrath. And I said unto him, "O beloved one, what hath happened
unto thee, and why weepest thou?" Then John said unto me, "I enquired of
these men concerning this city, and they said unto me, 'Canst thou not see
the walls of Antioch before thee?'" Now the woodcutters had doubts
concerning John. "And I told them concerning Christ, the Son of God, and I
said unto them, 'Is what ye say unto me true?' Then they rose up against me,

and were filled with wrath against me, and said, 'Who is Christ, the Son of
God? And who art thou? And whence comest thou?' Then they debated the matter
one with the other, and said, 'Surely this is one of the disciples of Him
Who was crucified in Jerusalem, Whose blood shall judge us.' And the
woodcutters, who were well versed in the knowledge of heathen gods, said,
'Since this young man hath no love for his life, let us slay him; but
perhaps it is better that he should die by the hands of others;' and I did
not believe that I should escape from their evil deeds. This was my
discourse with them. Now if the wickedness of such debased and inferior men
as these be so great, what can we possibly do before the princes and
governors of this city if we enter therein and preach in the Name of our
Lord and God Jesus Christ? And how can we teach the right faith?" Then I
Peter said unto him, "O beloved, be not dismayed at the words of these men,
and be not sorrow-stricken, for He Who hath brought us in a single night
from Jerusalem to this city, a distance of twenty-days' journey on horses,
will prosper our work according to the covenant which He made with us."

And after a season we rose up, and came into the city, and we preached
therein in the name of our God, and we told them the story of the Gospel,
that peradventure they might believe in the kingdom of heaven. Then the
people of the city gathered themselves together against us, and scourged us
with many stripes, and they haled us before the priests of idols, and told
them our story; and the priests ordered them to shave off one half of the
hair of our heads, and they derided us and cast us into prison until the
magistrates could take counsel concerning us. Then they carried us to the
guard-house which was in the walls of the city, and imprisoned us, and shut
the doors upon us, and set a seal upon them. And it came to pass that when
they had departed and left us alone, we rose up in prayer, and besought help
from our Lord Jesus Christ. Now when the night had come a shining cloud
overshadowed us, and we saw our Lord and Redeemer sitting upon it, and the
Cherubim and the Seraphim were surrounding Him and glorifying Him. And He
held converse with us, and said unto us, "O Peter and John, be not dismayed,
and fear ye not, and be not sorrowful, for I will be with you even unto the
end of the world...." And He also said unto me, "Peter, on the morrow I will
send unto thee Saul, whom I have named in baptism Paul, that he may help
thee in everything which thou wouldst do;" and after our Lord had spoken
these things unto me He was hidden from my sight.

And it came to pass that when the morning was come I saw in the courtyard of
the gates a man journeying along, and I said unto John my beloved, "Come,
and look at this man who is passing by; surely it must be Paul himself. Call
him that he may come unto us." And John called him, and he came, and behold,
it was Paul himself. Now when Paul had come unto us, and had seen how they
had shaved the crown of John's head, he said unto him, "What is this which
they have done unto thee in this city?" And John said unto him, "Marvel not
concerning me, for the chief of the Apostles hath also been treated in the
same manner." Then Paul opened the gates of the prison-house, and entered in
to us, and he embraced me, and was blessed by me....

After these things a cloud carried me Peter, and brought me back unto the
city of Carthage, and I found myself with the brethren and the disciples who
were there, and I made known unto them the things which I had seen after I
left them. And after this we dwelt in Carthage a few days, and then we went
unto the city of Philippi, and from thence we went to the city of Rome, and
we did as we had done formerly, and called the people thereof unto the true
faith, and the numbers of those who believed were added unto daily.

[Concerning Carthage Peter said:] "As I was standing in the harbour of
Carthage a cloud overshadowed me, and there were upon it Uriel and Raphael,
the two angels who used to appear unto me and reveal hidden things; and they
said unto me, 'Ascend, O Peter;' and I said unto them, 'Whither shall I
ascend?' And they said unto me, 'Above this cloud;' and I ascended upon the
cloud, and found that it was spread out before me like the couch of a
bridegroom's chamber; and it mounted upwards in the air, and I thought
within myself that they were going to carry me to the city of Rome, and I
asked the angels concerning the matter. And they said unto me, 'This is the
city of Warikon, to the men of which Saint Paul taught the true faith, and
which thou thyself didst desire to see.' And I heard therein a loud outcry,
and many voices, saying, 'Come ye, and let us go forth and receive the
foundation of the Church and the chief of the Apostles, the master Peter.'
Then the cloud let me descend by the gates of the city wherein I saw
multitudes of men who came forth to receive me; and in the hands of the
priests were censers which were full of incense, and great numbers of lamps
which were burning, and they drew nigh unto me, and they did homage unto me,
and they besought me to pray over them, and I did even as they desired...."

And after this Saint Peter blessed them, and he departed from them and went
upon that cloud whereon he had arrived; and when the people saw this they
gave thanks unto our Lord Jesus Christ....

And it came to pass that Peter and Andrew returned from the country of
Greece where they had strengthened the people in the faith, and taught them
the Law of belief; now as they were journeying along the road Matthew met
them and they embraced each other in a spiritual embrace. Then Matthew said
unto them, "Whence have ye come?" And they said unto him, "From Greece." And
Matthew said unto them, "And I have come from the country of Perakomnos,
which is, being interpreted, 'Those who rejoice;'" and they each described
unto the others all the sufferings which had befallen them. Then Matthew
said unto them, "In the city where I have been our Lord Jesus Christ doth
dwell always, and He doth keep the feast with them, and He hath stablished
His seat in their church, in the east thereof, and He teacheth them His
commandment. And it came to pass that when I entered into their city, I
preached unto them, and I told them the story of the Gospel in His Name. And
they said unto me, 'We know this Name.' And I said unto them, 'Who hath told
it unto you?' And they said unto me, 'Have patience until to-morrow, and
thou shalt see Him of Whom thou hast told us.' And it came to pass that,
when the morrow had come, our Lord Jesus Christ arrived, and He was seated
upon a shining cloud, and all the powers of heaven were blessing Him. Now
when I had seen Him, by reason of the greatness of my gladness-for I
rejoiced in the Holy Spirit-I cried out, saying, 'Ascribe praise and glory
unto the king, and exalt ye His Sublimity unto all eternity.' For three days
we blessed Him in the church, and when the three days were ended He blessed
us, and then ascended into heaven with great glory.

"And I said unto them, 'How did ye make yourselves worthy of the great
honour of our Lord Jesus Christ keeping the festival with you?' And they
said unto me, 'Hast thou not heard the story concerning the nine tribes and
the half tribe whom God Almighty brought into the land of inheritance? We
are they!... No word of lying hear we in our land, and no man knoweth
another who speaketh that which is false. No man taketh to wife two women in
our country, and the son dieth not before his father, and the young man
speaketh not in the presence of the aged, the lions dwell with us, but they
do no harm unto us, and we do no harm unto them ... and in our country there
is neither spring, nor cold, nor ice; but there are winds and they are
always pleasant.' And it came to pass that when I heard these words I wished
that my dwelling-place had been with them, until mine eyes were weary with
the sight of them, and mine ears with listening unto the sweet sound of
their voice."

And after these things Peter and Andrew blessed God Almighty, and they
entreated Him to reveal unto them the place whither they should go. Then our
Lord Jesus Christ appeared unto them standing in their midst, and He said
unto them, "Peace be unto you, O My holy disciples, whom My Father hath
chosen out of all creation; be strong and believe that I will be with you
always, and I will never be remote from you whatever may be the place to
which ye have journeyed." And the Apostles bowed low before Him even to the
ground, and they said unto Him, "We bless Thy Name, O Lord, and we give
thanks unto Thee always. Command us and declare unto us the way wherein we
should go." Then our Lord spake unto Peter, and commanded him to go to the
city of Mesya, and Matthew unto the City of Kahenat. And Matthew said unto
our Lord, "Nay, but I know not Kahenat, and I have never entered into the
city of its people." And our Lord said unto him, "Hitherto thou hast been of
little faith. But set thou out on the road, and it shall bring thee unto two
roads; of these journey thou upon that which is on thy right hand, and it
shall bring thee unto their city." And as they were talking together in this
wise a cloud made its appearance, and it bore Peter and Andrew away and
brought them unto their places wherein our Lord had commanded them to
preach.

And Matthew journeyed along a little way, and he lifted up his eyes into
heaven, and he prayed and said, "O Thou Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who
didst converse with Abraham; and didst make perfect his progeny in Isaac;
and didst keep Thy people in the desert for forty years, and didst
overshadow them by day with a cloud, and didst give them light by night by a
pillar of fire; and didst blot out for them their enemies under their feet;
.... be Thou unto me a guide on this road." And straightway a cloud came and
bore away Matthew and brought him unto the City of Kahenat; and it came to
pass that when he had seen the city he rejoiced and desired to enter
therein....

And on the morrow Andrew and his two disciples ... went forth from the city
wherein they dwelt, and they wished to go to Bartholomew in the city of
Azreyanos, so that they all might depart unto the cities of Bartos and
Mekos, to preach the story of the Holy Gospel, even as God had commanded
them. And it came to pass that, when they had arrived at the sea, they found
no ship wherein they could embark .... So they ... prayed a prayer in the
Hebrew language; and when they had ended their prayer they sat down upon the
sea-shore under a tree, and slumber came upon them and they slept. And God
commanded a whale to go forth out of the sea, and he did so, and opened his
mouth and swallowed up Andrew and his two disciples, who knew nothing
whatsoever about it, for they were asleep, and they remained in the belly of
the whale three days and three nights. Then, by the good pleasure of God
Almighty, the whale cast them forth on the sea-shore of the country of
Azreyanos, on the road which leadeth unto the city, at the break of day, on
the fourth day of the week; and they tarried there. Now the distance of the
city of Azreyanos from where they had been was forty days' journey....

And it came to pass that, when the Apostles divided among them the countries
of the world, ... the lot fell upon James to go to the country of India, and
John his brother was to go to the country of Dacia. And James said unto
Peter, "O my father Peter, go forth with me until thou hast brought me into
my country;" and Peter said unto him, "Not thyself only, but each of you
will I bring unto his country, even as God hath commanded me." So Peter and
James set out for that country (i.e., India), and as they were going on
their way they were speaking of the glory of God, and their souls were
rejoicing because our Lord had told them of the great reward which they
should have in the kingdom of heaven. And they said, "It is meet for us not
to be slouthful, but to hasten to continue our journey, and to declare Him
and to preach Him in the world, that we may be worthy to find our hope and
our deliverance from the tribulation of fire;" and Peter and James spake
thus as they were going on their way, and they were strengthening each other
for the strife. And as they were conversing in this wise, our Lord appeared
unto them in the form of a young man of beautiful appearance, and He was
rejoicing in their words, and He laughed before their faces, and said unto
them, "Come unto Me, O ye devoted and chosen ones, and I will teach you, and
will give you your reward. Know, O ye My disciples, that all the sufferings
which ye endure in this world are not to be compared with one hour of the
rest which ye shall enjoy in the kingdom of heaven...." And being radiant
and brilliant with light and arrayed in the apparel of bright light, He drew
nigh unto them, and embraced them with a spiritual embrace; and then He
disappeared from them in peace.

And when His two blessed disciples had seen this spiritual vision, their
hearts were strengthened, and they rejoiced and were glad, and they cast
themselves upon the ground, and worshipped, saying, "We give thanks unto
Thee, O God, our Lord Jesus Christ, because Thou hast dealt graciously with
us." Then our Lord lifted them up and gave them the salutation of peace, and
said unto James, "Be strong and fulfil thy ministration with an upright
heart, and preach thou in the world in the Name of our Lord, Who hath
created men in His image and in His likeness, for thereby shalt thou gain
great reward." And the Apostles rose up, and their faces were shining like
the sun, and our Lord departed from their presence, and went up into heaven
with great glory. Then Peter said unto James, "It is meet for us to contend
in this glorious matter so that we may gather together all the sheep of the
race of Israel which are scattered abroad, and also that this great reward
may be ours;" then they set out together....

And it came to pass in those days that the ... lot ... fell upon the blessed
Matthias to go to the City of the Cannibals....

Now when Matthias had come into the gate of the city, the people thereof
laid hold upon him, and put out his eyes, and made him to drink enchanted
medicines, and they put him into the prison-house, and brought him grass to
eat, but Matthias would not eat thereof; and although he had drunk their
medicine his understanding remained unchanged, and his mind was in no wise
altered. And Matthias began to weep, and said, "O my Lord Jesus Christ, ...
look and see what they have done unto Matthias Thy servant, and how they
have treated me like a beast of the field; but Thou knowest everything.
Since Thou didst command me to come into this city, if the sinful men
thereof wish to devour my flesh let them do so, and I shall not flee from
Thy command; but give only light unto mine eyes so that I may see what the
sinful men of this city will do unto me. Be not deaf unto my petition, O my
Lord Jesus Christ, and deliver Thou me not over unto a cruel death." And
saying these words Matthias wept and groaned aloud. Then straightway there
came a great light which illumined the inside of the prison-house, and a
Voice went forth from that light which said, "O Matthias, My beloved, look
with thine eyes;" and Matthias looked, and he was able to see, and he
rejoiced with an exceedingly great joy, and he fell upon his face and
worshipped that light. Then again a Voice went forth from that light which
said, "Be strong, O Matthias, and fear not, for I will not forsake thee, and
I, even I, will deliver thee; and ... I will send unto thee thy brother
Andrew, and he shall bring thee out from this place, and not thyself only
but all those who are with thee here."...

Then our Lord appeared unto Andrew and his disciples in the country wherein
they were teaching, and He said unto Andrew, "Andrew." And Andrew answered
and said unto Him, "What is it, Lord?" Then the Lord said unto him, "Rise up
and depart unto the City of the Cannibals, unto the place which I will shew
thee, and bring out Matthias from thence. Three days are still left unto
him, but after that time sinful men will lay hold upon him, so that they may
perform the work of wickedness and kill him." Then Andrew answered and said
unto Him, "Lord, how can I perform the journey, and arrive there, and find h
im in three days? And besides, I know not the road, for I have never
travelled thereon. Send an angel endowed with power to bring him forth
thence, for I am only a being of flesh, and Thou knowest what the flesh of
man is, and I am afraid to go thither."...

And Jesus ... ceased to talk with Andrew, and having laid down his head he
also fell asleep. Now when Jesus knew that Andrew [and his disciples were]
asleep, He said unto His angels, "Make flat your hands, and lift up Andrew
and his disciples, and depart, and set them down outside the City of the
Cannibals, and when ye have set them down, then come back to Me." Then they
laid flat their hands, as Jesus had commanded them, and they lifted up
Andrew and his disciples, and they flew up into the air with them, and laid
them down outside the City of the Cannibals; then Jesus went back into
heaven, together with His angels. And when the morning had come Andrew
awoke, and opened his eyes, and he saw that he was ... at the gates of the
city; and turning round he saw that his disciples were still sleeping. Then
he woke them up, and said unto them, "Rise up, O my children, and learn ye
concerning the work of mercy which the Lord wrought for us...." And Andrew's
disciples answered and said unto him, "We know that whilst thou wast talking
with Him we fell asleep, and three eagles swooped down and snatched away our
souls into heaven. And we saw a great marvel, for we saw our Lord Jesus
Christ sitting on the throne of His glory, and all His angels were round
about Him...."

Then Andrew rose up and came into the city, together with his disciples, and
there was none who saw them. And when they arrived at the prison-house,
Andrew saw seven men standing by and guarding the door of the prison-house,
and he prayed a prayer, and these men fell down upon the ground, and died;
and the Apostles drew nigh unto the doors, and by the might of Christ they
opened wide of themselves. Then Andrew went into the prison-house with his
disciples, and they saw Matthias sitting and singing psalms; and when
Matthias saw him, he rose up, and they embraced each other.... Then Andrew
turned and saw men and women naked, and they were all eating hay like
animals. And Andrew smote his breast, and said, "Look and see how they treat
these people who are like unto ourselves, for they treat them like
beasts."...

Then Andrew and Matthias prayed, and after they had prayed, Andrew laid his
hands on the faces of those who were in the prison-house, both men and
women, and straightway they were able to see; and then, again, he laid his
hand upon their livers, and their hearts turned again into those of men....
Now those people who were in the prison-house were both men and women, and
the number of the men was one thousand and forty-nine, and that of the women
was forty-nine, and all these Andrew made to go forth from the prison-house.
And Matthias and his disciples set out to go towards the eastern part of the
city. Then Andrew said, "Let a cloud descend and take up Matthias and the
disciples of Andrew, and carry them unto the place where Peter sitteth and
teacheth the people;" and the cloud brought them unto him....

And it came to pass that when James, the son of Zebedee, had gone forth unto
the Twelve Tribes which were scattered abroad, he preached unto them in the
Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who is God in truth. Now all these tribes did
not worship the One God, but belonging unto every tribe were idols which
they had chosen for themselves as gods, and each tribe had graven images of
false gods which led them into error.... Now when James came unto them he
preached unto the people of each tribe in the tongue of their native land,
for our Lord had given unto the Apostle the knowledge of every tongue, and
by the help of the Holy Spirit the Apostle James understood the languages
not only of men, but also those of the beasts, and of the animals of the
wilderness, and of the birds of heaven when they conversed in their own
speech. And James preached among them and admonished them to forsake their
evil works, and to believe in the Living God, and in His Only Son Jesus
Christ, and in the Holy and Vivifying Spirit, Who giveth life unto all
created beings ....

And the story of the Gospel was preached in all their countries, and at the
word of James the Apostle the people believed in God, and their faith was
strengthened in our Lord Jesus Christ, the King of heaven and of earth, Who
rejecteth not those who seek Him and who turn unto Him with a right mind.
Then they cast aside all the idols which they had worshipped, and their evil
deeds which they were wont to do, and they turned unto God with a true mind,
and received the words which James had declared unto them. And James loved
them exceedingly because they had hastened to receive his preaching, and
because they had forsaken the evil deeds which they had done in their error.
Then James the Apostle made haste and built churches for them in all their
countries; and when he saw the beauty of their faith he baptized them in the
Name of the Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; and they rejoiced
and were glad together. And he gave unto them the commandments of the Gospel
and of the Law of faith, and he said unto them, "Hearken, O ye my blessed
children, who have turned from error unto the knowledge of righteousness,
.... behold, I give unto you the righteousness of God which God hath
entrusted to me, and He hath commanded me to give it unto all the peoples
who will receive it with joy, so that at His second Coming they may be
prepared for the Garden (i.e., Paradise) of God, which He hath made ready
for you and for each tribe of the Church. I beseech you, O each tribe, to
give of your income unto the church, of the firstfruits of your crops, and
of your vineyards, and of your fields, and of your cattle, so that through
God they may become the food of the poor and needy among you." And the
people answered and said unto him, "We wish to do whatsoever thou commandest
us to do, for we believe on the Name of the Lord thy God with all our
hearts, both those who are the greatest among us and those who are the
least;" and each tribe brought of the firstfruits of their riches unto the
church.

9 THE ASCENSION OF MARY

As the all-holy glorious mother of God and ever-virgin Mary, as was her
wont, was going to the holy tomb of our Lord to burn incense, and bending
her holy knees, she was importunate that Christ our God who had been born of
her should return to her. And the Jews, seeing her lingering by the divine
sepulchre, came to the chief priests, saying: "Mary goes every day to the
tomb." And the chief priests, having summoned the guards set by them not to
allow any one to pray at the holy sepulchre, inquired about her, whether in
truth it were so. And the guards answered and said that they had seen no
such thing, God having not allowed them to see her when there. And on one of
the days, it being the preparation, the holy Mary, as was her wont, came to
the sepulchre; and while she was praying, it came to pass that the heavens
were opened, and the archangel Gabriel came down to her, and said: "Hail,
thou that didst bring forth Christ our God! Thy prayer having come through
to the heavens to Him who was born of thee, has been accepted; and from this
time, according to thy request, thou having left the world, shalt go to the
heavenly places to thy Son, into the true and everlasting life."

And having heard this from the holy archangel, she returned to holy
Bethlehem, having along with her three virgins who ministered unto her. And
after having rested a short time, she sat up and said to the virgins: "Bring
me a censer, that I may pray." And they brought it, as they had been
commanded. And she prayed, saying: "My Lord Jesus Christ, who didst deign
through Thy supreme goodness to be born of me, hear my voice, and send me
Thy apostle John in order that, seeing him, I may partake of joy; and send
me also the rest of Thy apostles, both those who have already gone to Thee,
and those in the world that now is, in whatever country they may be, through
Thy holy commandment, in order that, having beheld them, I may bless Thy
name much to be praised; for I am confident that Thou hearest Thy servant in
everything."

And while she was praying, I John came, the Holy Spirit having snatched me
up by a cloud from Ephesus, and set me in the place where the mother of my
Lord was lying. And having gone in beside her, and glorified her, and
glorified Him who had been born of her, I said: "Hail, mother of my Lord,
who didst bring forth Christ our God, rejoice that in great glory thou art
going out of this life."... And the holy mother of God answered and said to
me: "The Jews have sworn that after I have died they will burn my body." And
I answered and said to her: "Thy holy and precious body will by no means see
corruption." And she answered and said to me: "Bring a censer, and cast
incense, and pray." And there came a voice out of the heavens saying the
Amen. And I John heard this voice; and the Holy Spirit said to me: "John,
hast thou heard this voice that spoke in the heaven after the prayer was
ended?" And I answered and said: "Yes, I heard." And the Holy Spirit said to
me: "This voice which thou didst hear denotes that the appearance of thy
brethren the apostles is at hand, and of the holy powers that they are
coming hither to-day."

And at this I John prayed.

And the Holy Spirit said to the apostles: "Let all of you together, having
come by the clouds from the ends of the world, be assembled to holy
Bethlehem by a whirlwind, on account of the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ;
Peter from Rome, Paul from Tiberia, Thomas from Hither India, James from
Jerusalem." Andrew, Peter's brother, and Philip, Luke, and Simon the
Cananean, and Thaddeus who fallen asleep, were raised by the Holy Spirit out
of their tombs; to whom the Holy Spirit said: "Do not think that it is now
the resurrection; but on this account you have risen out of your tombs, that
you may go to give greeting to the honour and wonder-working of the mother
of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, because the day of her departure is at
hand, of her going up into the heavens." And Mark likewise coming round, was
present from Alexandria; he also with the rest, as has been said before,
from each country. And Peter being lifted up by a cloud, stood between
heaven and earth, the Holy Spirit keeping him steady. And at the same time,
the rest of the apostles also, having been snatched up in clouds, were found
along with Peter. And thus by the Holy Spirit, as has been said, they all
came together.

And having gone in beside the mother of our Lord and God, and having adored,
we said: "Fear not, nor grieve; God the Lord, who was born of thee, will
take thee out of this world with glory." And rejoicing in God her Saviour,
she sat up in the bed, and says to the apostles: "Now have I believed that
our Master and God is coming from heaven, and I shall behold Him, and thus
depart from this life, as I have seen that you have come. And I wish you to
tell me how you knew that I was departing and came to me, and from what
countries and through what distance you have come hither, that you have thus
made haste to visit me. For neither has He who was born of me, our Lord
Jesus Christ, the God of the universe, concealed it; for I am persuaded even
now that He is the Son of the Most High."

And Peter answered and said to the apostles: "Let us each, according to what
the Holy Spirit announced and commanded us, give full information to the
mother of our Lord." And I John answered and said: "Just as I was going in
to the holy altar in Ephesus to perform divine service, the Holy Spirit says
to me, 'The time of the departure of the mother of thy Lord is at hand; go
to Bethlehem to salute her.' And a cloud of light snatched me up, and set me
down in the door where thou art lying." Peter also answered: "And I, living
in Rome, about dawn heard a voice through the Holy Spirit saying to me, 'The
mother of thy Lord is to depart, as the time is at hand; go to Bethlehem to
salute her.' And, behold, a cloud of light snatched me up; and I beheld also
the other apostles coming to me on clouds, and a voice saying to me, 'Go all
to Bethlehem.'" And Paul also answered and said: "And I, living in a city at
no great distance from Rome, called the country of Tiberia, heard the Holy
Spirit saying to me, 'The mother of thy Lord, having left this world, is
making her course to the celestial regions through her departure; but go
thou also to Bethlehem to salute her.' And, behold, a cloud of light having
snatched me up, set me down in the same place as you." And Thomas also
answered and said: "And I, traversing the country of the Indians, when the
preaching was prevailing by the grace of Christ, and the king's sister's
son, Labdanus by name, was about to be sealed by me in the palace, on a
sudden the Holy Spirit says to me, 'Do thou also, Thomas, go to Bethlehem to
salute the mother of thy Lord, because she is taking her departure to the
heavens.' And a cloud of light having snatched me up, set me down beside
you." And Mark also answered and said: "And when I was finishing the canon
of the third day in the city of Alexandria, just as I was praying, the Holy
Spirit snatched me up, and brought me to you." And James also answered and
said: "While I was in Jerusalem, the Holy Spirit commanded me, saying, 'Go
to Bethlehem, because the mother of thy Lord is taking her departure.' And,
behold, a cloud of light having snatched me up, set me beside you." And
Matthew also answered and said: "I have glorified and do glorify God,
because when I was in a boat and overtaken by a storm, the sea raging with
its waves, on a sudden a cloud of light overshadowing the stormy billow,
changed it to calm, and having snatched me up, set me down beside you." And
those who had come before likewise answered, and gave an account of how they
had come. And Bartholomew said: "I was in the Thebais proclaiming the word,
and behold the Holy Spirit says to me, 'The mother of thy Lord is taking her
departure; go, then, to salute her in Bethlehem.' And, behold, a cloud of
light having snatched me up, brought me to you."

The apostles said all these things to the holy mother of God, why they had
come, and in what way; and she stretched her hands to heaven, and prayed....
And after the prayer she said to the apostles: "Cast incense, and pray." And
when they had prayed, there was thunder from heaven, and there came a
fearful voice, as if of chariots; and, behold, a multitude of a host of
angels and powers, and a voice, as if of the Son of man, was heard, and the
seraphim in a circle round the house where the holy, spotless mother of God
and virgin was lying, so that all who were in Bethlehem beheld all the
wonderful things, and came to Jerusalem and reported all the wonderful
things that had come to pass. And it came to pass, when the voice was heard,
that the sun and the moon suddenly appeared about the house; and an assembly
of the first-born saints stood beside the house where the mother of the Lord
was lying, for her honour and glory. And I beheld also that many signs came
to pass, the blind seeing, the deaf hearing, the lame walking, lepers
cleansed, and those possessed by unclean spirits cured; and every one who
was under disease and sickness, touching the outside of the wall of the
house where she was lying, cried out: "Holy Mary, who didst bring forth
Christ our God, have mercy upon us." And they were straightway cured. And
great multitudes out of every country living in Jerusalem for the sake of
prayer, having heard of the signs that had come to pass in Bethlehem through
the mother of the Lord, came to the place seeking the cure of various
diseases, which also they obtained. And there was joy unspeakable on that
day among the multitude of those who had been cured, as well as of those who
looked on, glorifying Christ our God and His mother. And all Jerusalem from
Bethlehem kept festival with psalms and spiritual songs.

And the priests of the Jews, along with their people, were astonished at the
things which had come to pass; and being moved with the heaviest hatred, and
again with frivolous reasoning, having made an assembly, they determine to
send against the holy mother of God and the holy apostles who were there in
Bethlehem. And accordingly the multitude of the Jews, having directed their
course to Bethlehem, when at the distance of one mile it came to pass that
they beheld a frightful vision, and their feet were held fast; and after
this they returned to their fellow-countrymen, and reported all the
frightful vision to the chief priests. And they, still more boiling with
rage, go to the procurator, crying out and saying: "The nation of the Jews
has been ruined by this woman; chase her from Bethlehem and the province of
Jerusalem." And the procurator, astonished at the wonderful things, said to
them: "I will chase her neither from Bethlehem nor from any other place."
And the Jews continued crying out, and adjuring him by the health of
Tiberius Caesar to bring the apostles out of Bethlehem. "And if you do not
do so, we shall report it to Caesar." Accordingly, being compelled, he sends
a tribune of the soldiers against the apostles to Bethlehem. And the Holy
Spirit says to the apostles and the mother of the Lord: "Behold, the
procurator has sent a tribune against you, the Jews having made an uproar.
Go forth therefore from Bethlehem, and fear not: for, behold, by a cloud I
shall bring you to Jerusalem; for the power of the Father, and the Son, and
the Holy Spirit is with you." The apostles therefore rose up immediately,
and went forth from the house, carrying the bed of the Lady the mother of
God, and directed their course to Jerusalem; and immediately, as the Holy
Spirit had said, being lifted up by a cloud, they were found in Jerusalem in
the house of the Lady. And they stood up, and for five days made an
unceasing singing of praise. And when the tribune came to Bethlehem, and
found there neither the mother of the Lord nor the apostles, he laid hold of
the Bethlehemites, saying to them: "Did you not come telling the procurator
and the priests all the signs and wonders that had come to pass, and how the
apostles had come out of every country? Where are they, then? Come, go to
the procurator at Jerusalem." For the tribune did not know of the departure
of the apostles and the Lord's mother to Jerusalem. The tribune then, having
taken the Bethlehemites, went in to the procurator, saying that he had found
no one. And after five days it was known to the procurator, and the priests,
and all the city, that the Lord's mother was in her own house in Jerusalem,
along with the apostles, from the signs and wonders that came to pass there.
And a multitude of men and women and virgins came together, and cried out:
"Holy virgin, that didst bring forth Christ our God, do not forget the
generation of men." And when these things came to pass, the people of the
Jews, with the priests also, being the more moved with hatred, took wood and
fire, and came up, wishing to burn the house where the Lord's mother was
living with the apostles. And the procurator stood looking at the sight from
afar off. And when the people of the Jews came to the door of the house,
behold, suddenly a power of fire coming forth from within, by means of an
angel, burnt up a great multitude of the Jews. And there was great fear
throughout all the city; and they glorified God, who had been born of her.
And when the procurator saw what had come to pass, he cried out to all the
people, saying: "Truly he who was born of the virgin, whom you thought of
driving away, is the Son of God; for these signs are those of the true God."
And there was a division among the Jews; and many believed in the name of
our Lord Jesus Christ, in consequence of the signs that had come to pass.

And after all these wonderful things had come to pass through the mother of
God, and ever-virgin Mary the mother of the Lord, while we the apostles were
with her in Jerusalem, the Holy Spirit said to us: "... Cast incense,
because Christ is coming with a host of angels; and, behold, Christ is at
hand, sitting on a throne of cherubim." And while we were all praying, there
appeared innumerable multitudes of angels, and the Lord mounted upon
cherubim in great power; and, behold, a stream of light coming to the holy
virgin, because of the presence of her only-begotten Son, and all the powers
of heaven fell down and adored Him. And the Lord, speaking to His mother,
said: "Mary." And she answered and said: "Here am I, Lord." And the Lord
said to her: "Grieve not, but let thy heart rejoice and be glad; for thou
hast found grace to behold the glory given to me by my Father." And the holy
mother of God looked up, and saw in Him a glory which it is impossible for
the mouth of man to speak of, or to apprehend. And the Lord remained beside
her, saying: "Behold, from the present time thy precious body will be
transferred to paradise, and thy holy soul to the heavens to the treasures
of my Father in exceeding brightness, where there is peace and joy of the
holy angels, --and other things besides." And the mother of the Lord
answered and said to Him: "Lay Thy right hand upon me, O Lord, and bless
me." And the Lord stretched forth His undefiled right hand, and blessed her.
And she laid hold of His undefiled right hand, and kissed it, saying: "I
adore this right hand, which created the heaven and the earth ...." And
while she is saying this, the apostles, having gone up to her feet and
adored, say: "O mother of the Lord, leave a blessing to the world, since
thou art going away from it. For thou hast blessed it, and raised it up when
it was ruined, by bringing forth the Light of the world." And the mother of
the Lord prayed, and in her prayer spoke thus: "O God, ... have mercy upon
the world, and every soul that calls upon Thy name ...." And when she had
thus prayed, the Lord said to His mother: "Let thy heart rejoice and be
glad; for every favour and every gift has been given to thee from my Father
in heaven, and from me, and from the Holy Spirit ...." And the Lord turned
and said to Peter: "The time has come to begin the singing of the hymn." And
Peter having begun the singing of the hymn, all the powers of the heavens
responded with the Alleluiah. And then the face of the mother of the Lord
shone brighter than the light, and she rose up and blessed each of the
apostles with her own hand, and all gave glory to God; and the Lord
stretched forth His undefiled hands, and received her holy and blameless
soul. And with the departure of her blameless soul the place was filled with
perfume and ineffable light; and, behold, a voice out of the heaven was
heard, saying: "Blessed art thou among women." And Peter, and I John, and
Paul, and Thomas, ran and wrapped up her precious feet for the consecration;
and the twelve apostles put her precious and holy body upon a couch, and
carried it....

And, behold, a new miracle. There appeared above the bier a cloud exceeding
great, like a great circle which is wont to appear beside the splendour of
the moon; and there was in the clouds an army of angels sending forth a
sweet song, and from the sound of the great sweetness the earth resounded.
Then the people, having gone forth from the city, about fifteen thousand,
wondered, saying: "What is the sound of so great sweetness?" Then there
stood up one who said to them: "Mary has departed from the body, and the
disciples of Jesus are singing praises around her." And looking, they saw
the couch crowned with great glory, and the apostles singing with a loud
voice....

And, behold, while they were carrying her, a certain well-born Hebrew,
Jephonias by name, running against the body [to throw it down to the
ground], put his hands upon the couch; and, behold, an angel of the Lord by
invisible power, with a sword of fire, cut off his two hands from his
shoulders, and made them hang about the couch, lifted up in the air....

And when the apostles raised the bier, part of him hung, and part of him
adhered to the couch; and he was vehemently tormented with pain, while the
apostles were walking and singing. And the angels who were in the clouds
smote the people with blindness....

And at this miracle which had come to pass all the people of the Jews who
beheld it cried out: "Verily, He that was brought forth by thee is the true
God, O mother of God, ever-virgin Mary." And Jephonias himself, when Peter
ordered him, that the wonderful things of God might be showed forth, stood
up behind the couch, and cried out: "Holy Mary, who broughtest forth Christ
who is God, have mercy upon me." And Peter turned and said to him: "In the
name of Him who was born of her, thy hands which have been taken away from
thee, will be fixed on again." And immediately, at the word of Peter, the
hands hanging by the couch of the Lady came, and were fixed on Jephonias.
And he believed, and glorified Christ, God who had been born of her.

And when this miracle had been done, the apostles carried the couch, and
laid down her precious body in Gethsemane in a new tomb. And, behold, a
perfume of sweet savour came forth out of the holy sepulchre of our lady the
mother of God; and for three days the voices of invisible angels were heard
glorifying Christ our God, who had been born of her....

At mid-day on the fourth day all [the apostles] were gathered at the tomb. A
great voice came, saying: "Go every one to his place till the seventh month:
for I have hardened the heart of the Jews, and they will not be able to find
the tomb or the body till I take it up to heaven. Return on the 16th of
Mesore." We returned to the house.

In the seventh month after the death, i.e. on 15th of Mesore, we reassembled
at the tomb and spent the night in watching and singing....

It came to pass after that we reached the 16th of Mesore, and were gathered
.... at the tomb. We saw lightnings and were afraid. There was a sweet odour
and a sound of trumpets. The door of the tomb opened: there was a great
light within. A chariot descended in fi Jesus was in it; he greeted us.

He called into the tomb: "Mary, my mother, arise!" And we saw her in the
body, as if she had never died. Jesus took her into the chariot. The angels
went before them. A voice called, "Peace be to you, my brethren."...

And the apostles being taken up in the clouds, returned each into the place
allotted for his preaching, telling the great things of God, and praising
our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with the Father and the Holy
Spirit, in perfect unity, and in one substance of Godhead, for ever and
ever. Amen.

10 CLOUDS OF LIGHT IN THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS

[Saint Anthony, the first Christian monk, born in Egypt about 250,] ...
determined in his heart to go to Upper Egypt, and live in a place where none
knew him; and he took a little bread from the brethren, and he sat down by
the side of a stream of water to wait for a ship on which to embark and
depart. And whilst he was thinking thus, a voice came to him from heaven,
saying, "Anthony, whither wilt thou go? What dost thou wish for here?" And
he answered and said, "Many people come here, and they prevent me from
living in solitude, and therefore I wish to go to Upper Egypt." And the
voice answered and said unto him, "If thou wishest to go to Upper Egypt, go,
and thou wilt find that thy annoyance will be doubled. But if thou dost
indeed wish to live alone, go a journey of three days into the Inner
Desert." And having seen certain Arabs who themselves wanted to travel that
road, Anthony went to them, and asked them that he might go with them into
the desert, and they welcomed him with joy. And he journeyed with them for
three days, until they came to a very high mountain, where there was clear,
sweet, and very cold water, and palms, and date-palms, and fruit trees in
abundance; and Anthony loved the place which God had prepared for him, and
to which He had called him from the sea-shore. And he dwelt in that place,
and the Arabs used to bring him bread. And there were in that place many
noxious beasts, but through the prayer of Anthony God drove them away, and
they returned again to that desert. And he used to go to his mountain which
was beyond the sea-shore from time to time and visit the brethren who were
there, and comfort them, and then he would return to his mountain in the
desert. And the report of Anthony was heard of by Constantine [306-337] the
righteous emperor, and he wrote to him a letter praising him, and asking him
to remember him at the time of prayer; and the brethren rejoiced at the
emperor's letter. Now Saint Anthony did not send back a written answer to
the emperor's letter, but he said unto the brethren, "Behold, the letter of
the King of kings is read to us every day, but we neither submit to its
commands nor hearken to it." And the brethren answered and said unto him,
"This righteous emperor is a lover of the Church, and it is meet for thee to
comfort him." And he wrote a letter to him, and comforted him, and his
kingdom, and all his soldiers. And the report of Anthony was also heard by a
Frankish king, namely the King of the country of Barkinon [Burgundy], which
is situated at a distance of seven months' journey from the country of
Egypt. And the Frankish king sent unto Saint Abba Anthony, saying, "I
beseech and entreat thee, by the Passion of our Lord Christ, to come to us,
and bless us, and all our city, and our army." When Anthony heard these
words he was exceedingly sorry because the king said, "by the Passion of our
Lord Christ." And Anthony stood up and prayed, saying, "I beseech Thee, O my
Lord Jesus Christ, to do Thy Will in me. If Thou wishest me to go to the
Frankish country of Barkinon, give me a sign of Thy Will." Whilst he was
saying these words, behold a cloud of light appeared, and it carried him and
brought him during the night to the Frankish country. And the king rejoiced
in him with a great joy, and all his soldiers and people likewise rejoiced,
and they brought to him those who were sick and the blind and the lame, and
he healed them by his prayer forthwith. And he dwelt with them for seven
months, teaching them the way of righteousness and life, and he arrayed many
thousands in the garb of the monastic life. And each Sunday the cloud of
light bore him away and brought him to his monastery, and he went among his
sons and comforted them, for on the following day that cloud would bear him
away, and take him back to the Frankish land. After this, by the Will of
God, he returned to his monastery, riding upon the cloud.

One day laziness came upon him and there came unto him a voice which said,
"Get thee outside the city so that thou mayest see." And he went outside the
city and he found there the similitude of an angel who wore the garb of the
monastic life, and the girdle, and the cord of the cross, and on his head
was a skull-cap like a helmet; and he was sitting down plaiting palm leaves.
Then he rose up and prayed and sat down again, and continued to plait palm
leaves. And a voice came unto Anthony, saying, "O Anthony, act in this wise,
and thou shalt have rest from war against Satans." And Anthony took the
angel who was dressed as a monk as an example, and from that day neither
inertness, nor the war of the Satans attacked him. And our Lord Christ
appeared unto him many times, and comforted him and strengthened him.

* * *

Saint Theodore's father was a Christian Jew, but his mother worshipped
idols. When during the reign of Diocletian (284-305) he was sixteen years
old, he went to a priest to get baptized.

* * *

And it happened after this that the fame of St. Theodore filled the whole
east, that he was mighty in strength and like Theodore the Eastern in his
warfare.

And on a sudden the king took him and made him general, setting him over 500
soldiers. And he was enrolled and appointed to the wards at the foot of the
mountain. And it came to pass one day St. Theodore was upon the mountains
with his army of soldiers: and behold, the devil, who was cast out from his
mother's idol, saw St. Theodore standing upon the mountain, and plotted
against him to lead him astray, and bring him to distant paths, and give him
into the hands of the barbarians that they might slay him. But he took the
form of a herd of camels with young, whose young were in the desert, wishing
to deceive the Saint. And St. Theodore saw the herd of camels and hastened
after them with his soldiers, and did not catch them but approached them.
Then his band of soldiers and their beasts were parched with thirst and
neither they nor their horses could move. Then after this he stood upon the
mountain looking for them, and behold, a voice came to him from heaven,
saying: "Theodore, son of John the Egyptian, cease from advancing in this
desert with thy soldiers, for the tempter is tempting thee." And the Saint
hearing this was astonished, especially at hearing the name of his father,
and he said: "Who is it who called the name of my father?" Straightway, lo,
a stag appeared to him like the orb of the sun when it rises on its basis.
And when St. Theodore saw the young stag in this form he was astonished, and
again he looked at the shining car that was above the horns of the stag.
Straightway the lamb that was in the midst of the car spake to him, saying:
"Theodore, I am the lamb of God who taketh the sin of the whole world. I am
Adonai, the lord Sabaoth, the God of John thy father."

When St. Theodore heard this he turned his horse and went back in fear to
his band of soldiers. He found them and their beasts lying like the dead
through their thirst. And St. Theodore got down from his horse and offered a
prayer saying: "Lord God, who raised up those that fell on the way to
Babylon, and gave thy people strength in the desert forty years without
suffering, raise up for me these who have fallen through my undertaking.
Thine is the glory for ever, amen."

Straightway, behold, a cloud of light shed dew over them, so that their
hearts were strengthened like men who have drunk their fill of water cool
and sweet; and not one of them or their beasts died. And they prostrated
themselves and worshipped St. Theodore and kissed his head saying: "Blessed
be the hour when you took us, our lord Theodore." And he said to them: "My
brethren, it is the gift of God, that has raised you. Now come and see this
beast, which I saw on the top of the mountain. I never saw one like it: most
wonderful was the young stag which I saw." Straightway he went with them and
took them and shewed them the stag he had seen. And they marvelled saying:
"We have never seen one like unto this in its graceful form." Nor did St.
Theodore know the meaning of the lamb which spake with him. Then he said to
his band of soldiers: "Let half of us get behind this beast and guard it
that it escape not: and look ye, strike it not with warlike weapons." Then
the army formed two companies and left the stag in their midst, if haply
they might catch it. And the Saint raised his eyes aloft to the sky and
prayed to the Lord for the young stag. Straightway he saw the Lord Christ in
the form in which he had seen him above the stag: he took the form of the
lamb. And St. Theodore marvelled at the wonder he saw in the sky and that
which he saw above the young stag, because the form was the same. Again he
heard a voice in heaven saying: "Theodore, Theodore, my beloved, thou wilt
not take me, but I shall take thee in the nets of my godhead. Now look at
this sign in the heaven and this above the horns of the stag. I am he that
is above this stag, I am he that is in the sky, I am the lamb of God, I am
he that taketh the sin of the world, I am he that was baptized of John.
Behold I have taught thee the glory of my form. Look at the stag: look too
at my incarnation in the womb of the holy Virgin Mary and the way in which
they crucified me on the cross, and thou wilt know that I am Jesus Christ,
the son of the living God, the God of thy father John. For thou must see the
face of John, thy father, before thou fulfillest thy martyrdom. I am he who
saved thee when thou wert following after the heard of camels which were
devils that wished to take thee to the barbarians, that they might kill
thee. I am the stag which thou sawest upon the top of the rock. Now be thou
valiant and suffer martyrdom for my holy name, and behold I will grant thee
and thy comrade the Eastern the grace of my great Archangel Michael that
your souls shall be on his right hand in heaven: and every war into which ye
enter to fight, I will send the Archangel Michael to crush and scatter the
armies before ye, till your name is famous over the face of the whole earth
to all generations. Because thou hast believed in me, I will save thee; thou
hast called unto me and I will hear thee. Now, my chosen Theodore, behold
the beauty of this stag and what like he is in his form." And St. Theodore
looked towards the stag and saw the fiery car above its horns, in the form
of a cross. And St. Theodore answered and said: "Lord my God, thine is the
form I see in the sky and thine too is the form that is above the horns of
this stag. Now I beg thee let thy gift be with thy servant." The Lord said
to him: "Theodore, I have chosen thee like a rose flourishing among the
thorns of thy mother. And now I have given thee a name of fame in heaven and
upon the earth. My strength shall be with thee. Return to thy band of
soldiers and tell them to cease from pursuing after this stag." So he went
to his army and said to them: "My brethren, trouble yourselves no more in
pursuing after this stag: for we shall not take it, but it will take us in
the nets of its goodness." And he told them all that he had seen and heard
from the Lord. And St. Theodore came down from the mountain with his
soldiers and let the stag go.

[Abba Pachomius (292-346), Egyptian monk, the founder of Christian
cenobitical life,] ... having prolonged his prayer from the tenth hour until
the time when the brethren beat the boards to summon the brethren to the
service of the night, for he was praying until midnight, there suddenly
appeared unto him a vision which made known to him ... the things which were
going to happen to the brethren in later times, and the absolute supineness
which was to exist in those times, and the blindness of error, and the
removal of the shepherds which was about to happen to them, and he knew that
the wicked were to have dominion over the good, whom they were to vanquish
through their great numbers, and that those who were to come afterwards
would be mere imitations of monks. Now we set down in writing the memorial
of these things lest the wicked shall be governors over the brethren, and
those who are without knowledge shall have authority over the monasteries,
and shall strive for the mastery, and the good shall be persecuted by the
wicked, and they shall not have freedom of speech in the monasteries, and
the divine things which have been said shall be turned to the things of men.

Now therefore, when the blessed man knew these things, he cried out to God
with tears, and said, "O Lord God, Who dost maintain the universe, if it is
indeed to be thus why didst Thou permit these monasteries to come into
being? And if in those times those who are to be governors over the brethren
be wicked men, what is to become of those who are to be governed by them?
For when the blind leadeth the blind both fall into the ditch. I have toiled
absolutely in vain! Remember, O Lord, my works, and those of these brethren,
who submit to be governed with all their souls. Remember that Thou didst
promise me, saying, 'Until the end of the world I will allow this spiritual
seed to exist.' Thou knowest, O my Lord, that from the time when I put on
the garb of the monks, I have never satisfied myself with whatsoever groweth
upon the earth, not even water."

And it came to pass that when he had said these things, Abba Pachomius heard
a voice saying, "Thou boastest thyself, O Pachomius. Thou art a man. Ask
mercy for thyself, because everything standeth by compassion." Now when the
blessed man heard these things, he straightway threw himself on his face
upon the ground, and he asked God for mercy, saying, "O Lord, ... send Thy
mercies to me, and take Thou them never away from me, for I know that
without Thy mercy nothing can possibly exist." And having said these words
straightway there stood by his side two angels of God, and there was with
them a Young Man, Who had a face which is unspeakable, and an appearance
which cannot be described, and on His head was a crown of thorns. Then the
angels made Pachomius to stand up, and they said unto him, "Because thou
hast asked God to send thee His mercy, behold, this is His mercy, the Lord
of glory, Jesus Christ, the Only One, His Son, Who He sent into the world,
and Whom ye crucified; and ye set a crown of thorns upon His head." And
Pachomius said unto the Young Man, "I entreat Thee, O my Lord, and Thy holy
nature, to remember that I did not crucify Thee." Then the Young Man relaxed
His face a little in a smile, and said unto him, "I know that thou didst not
crucify Me, but thy fathers did; be of good courage, however, for the root
of thy seed shall never come to an end, and thy seed shall be preserved upon
the earth even unto the end of the world. And the seeds which shall burst
into life in those times, through the abundance of darkness shall be found
to be more excellent than those of this present time, and they shall be more
completely subject to rule; for at this present, because thou art unto them
as a light which is before the eyes, they lead lives of great excellence and
according to rule, and they lean upon thy light. But those who shall come
after them, and who shall live in a region of darkness, if with a good
intent and from the mind voluntarily they run towards the truth, even though
no man directeth them, they shall from out of the darkness draw nigh unto
the truth; verily, I say unto thee, that they shall be free and shall be
with those who now lead a blameless life of the highest character, and they
shall be held to be worthy of forgiveness."

Then having said these things straightway the Young Man went up into the
heavens, and the heavens were opened, and the air shone so brightly that it
is impossible for us to describe with human words the splendour of that
light. And when Rabba had marvelled at the things which he had heard,
straightway they beat the board to summon the brethren to the service of the
night.

[After living in sinful love with a certain widow for seven months,] Abba
Timothy ... came into the desert, and God the Most High guided him to a
little oasis in the desert, wherein there were a tree and a spring of sweet
running water. And he went into it and found a date-palm there, and he dwelt
in that place for many days. And then Satan ... brought upon him a serious
disease in his belly, and by reason of the intensity of his pain he had
fallen face downwards on the earth. And as he lay there he prayed, and he
said unto his soul, "This pain is the fruit of the sin which thou hast
committed, O soul. Thou must endure the tribulation of this pain in order to
become healed of thy sickness;" and he continued to suffer the pain for four
years. And after this God looked upon him, and he sent to him an angel who
rubbed the belly of Timothy with his hand, and he was healed of the pain
which was in his belly. And then the angel made a slit in his side with his
fingers and took out his liver and cleansed it and restored it to its place
in his bowels, and he fastened it to his body and Timothy recovered and
became as he was before his sickness. And the angel said unto him, "Behold
thou art sound: take good heed not to offend a second time lest worse befall
thee." He lived in the desert fighting the fight and was a strict ascetic
for forty years, and before this he lived in a monastery seventeen years,
and he also lived in a cave for ten years.

Whilst Saint Victor was in the prison our Redeemer appeared in a chariot of
light, and made a covenant with him. And from that day the saint performed
many signs and miracles, and healed the sick.

Now in the reign of Julian [361-363], the blessed Apollo heard that a
certain brother, who had been seized for military service, had been thrown
into prison, and he took brethren, and went to visit him, and to comfort
him; and having gone to him, he told that brother to endure the suffering,
and to despise the tribulations which were surging in upon him, for the sake
of the hope which is to come. Now that time was a season of strife, and the
believing mind was sorely tried by the temptations which came upon it. And
when he had strengthened the soul of the brother by such words as these, one
of those who had been appointed by the Chiliarch [i.e., commander of a
thousand] to guard him came and said unto the Chiliarch, "The brethren wish
to get that man out of the prison." Now when the Chiliarch heard this, he
rose up, and came in an evil fury, and shut the doors of the prison, and set
seals upon them, and appointed stricter guards, and thus confined the
blessed man, and all the brethren who were with him, in the prison, saying,
"These men also are useful for military service," and then he departed to
his house without listening to the petition they made to him. But in the
middle of the night the angel of the Lord, who held a lamp in his hand, lit
up with his light the whole prison-house so brightly that all the watchmen
were astonished, and they entreated the brethren who were therein to go away
from them, and the doors were opened before them; and they said, "It is
better for us to die for them, than to neglect the freedom which hath been
sent from God to men who have been imprisoned in an unseemly manner." And
the Chiliarch and the noblemen who were with him came in the morning to the
prison-house, and pressed the brethren to depart from the city, for his
house had fallen down through an earthquake, and had buried the noble folk
of his house; and when they heard this they went forth, and glorified God
with a loud voice, and they departed to the desert with rejoicings.

Everyone loved Saint Severianus, and Theodosius II, Emperor of
Constantinople [408-450] heard of his fame. And when Severianus saw that
everyone honoured him, he was afraid that his labour would be wasted, and he
wanted to leave that place secretly. And the angel of the Lord appeared unto
him and commanded him to go to Dabra Gabla and to become the father of the
monastery and of many souls. And having put on the monkish garb he went
forth by night, and with him was his disciple Theodore. And God sent forth a
light like unto a wheel which went before him until he came to Dabra Gabla.
And there was there a certain righteous man who was the abbot of that
monastery, and he learned in a vision concerning the coming of Saint
Severianus. And he went out to him, and welcomed him and embraced him, and
told him how a vision concerning him had appeared unto him, and he marvelled
greatly. And his fame arrived in every region, and all the people came to
him, and the number of the men who thronged to him could not be counted. And
the Emperor Theodosius sent forth from him men of position to build
monasteries for Saint Severianus. And the angel of the Lord marked out for
them the places wherein they were to build monasteries for him.

One day the Emperor Theodosius commanded his governor and the soldiers to
kill the men of Asyut and to plunder their city because of the great work of
foulness which they had done. Now the angel of God made Abba John to know
this before the governor arrived. When the men of the city heard of the
emperor's command they went up the mountain to Abba John and he said unto
them, "Be not sad, for God will save you." When the governor arrived, he
came into the cell of this holy man John in order to be blessed by him, and
Abba John told the governor everything which the emperor had commanded; and
when the governor heard this he was amazed and he prostrated himself before
his holiness. And the governor had a son who was eighteen years old and who
was possessed by the spirit of a devil, and he asked the holy man to heal
him. And the holy man prayed over some oil and water, and having anointed
him therewith he was healed straightway. Then the saint asked the governor
to write to the emperor, and to abandon the slaughter of the men of Asyut,
and the governor wrote a letter to him and gave it to Abba John. And having
taken the letter and gone into his cell, he prayed, and a cloud of light
came and it took up Abba John and brought him to the emperor, and when the
emperor had a table prepared Saint John threw the letter upon it. And the
emperor took it and read it, and he found that it was the letter which the
governor had written for Father John. And having lifted up his eyes he saw a
cloud of light above him, and he was terrified. Then he wrote a letter to
the governor in his own handwriting and under his own secret sign, telling
him to abandon the destruction of the city through the prayer of Abba John.
And the emperor threw his letter on the cloud, and those who were assembled
there saw a hand receive it, and it went inside the cloud; and during that
night the saint returned to the mountain; and on the following day he gave
the letter with the emperor's seal upon it to the governor. When the
governor saw it he was amazed, and he praised God for the saving of the
city, and he departed to his own country.

* * *
One day as Prince Geza of Hungary and his brother, Saint Laszlo (c.
1040-1095), were discussing a war plan at a strategic location just outside
the city of Vac, the Lord made known to them in a vision that Geza was
destined to receive the crown of Hungary. In return Geza made a pledge to
build a cathedral for the Blessed Virgin Mother of Christ. In 1074, after
his coronation, King Geza returned with Saint Laszlo to that place where the
heavenly vision took place and they were pondering where the cathedral
should stand.

* * *
Standing there, suddenly a stag made his appearance before them, with horns
full with burning candles. As he began to run away from them towards the
forest, he stopped short on that very spot where the present monastery
stands. When the knights shot arrows at the stag, he lept into the Danube,
and they saw him no more. Seeing this Saint Laszlo said: "Surely, this was
not a stag, but God's angel." King Geza asked: "What all those burning
candles could be, which we saw on the horns of the stag?" Laszlo answered:
"Those are not horns, but wings, not burning candles, but glittering
feathers. And where the stag stopped, there he marked the spot, that we
build the cathedral for the Blessed Virgin there and at no other place!"

Coming to the ... seraphic vision, and of the imprinting of the sacred,
hallowed stigmas, be it known that the feast of the Most Holy Cross in the
month of September drawing nigh, Friar Leo went one night at the wonted hour
to the wonted place, in order to say matins with St. Francis [1181-1226],
and having cried from the foot of the bridge, Domine labia mia aperies, as
he was used to do, St. Francis did not answer. And Friar Leo turned not
back, as St. Francis had bidden him, but passed over the bridge, with good
and holy intent, and entered softly into his cell, and finding him not,
thought he might be somewhere in the wood at prayer. Whereat he comes forth
and goes about the wood in search of him by the light of the moon. And at
last he heard the voice of St. Francis, and drawing nigh, beheld him on his
knees in prayer with face and hands lifted up to heaven, saying in fervour
of spirit, "Who art Thou, my God most sweet? What am I, Thy unprofitable
servant and vilest of worms?" And these selfsame words he again repeated and
said naught besides. Whereat Friar Leo, marvelling greatly, lifted up his
eyes and looked heavenward; and as he looked, he beheld a flaming torch
coming down from heaven, most beautiful and resplendent, which descended and
rested on the head of St. Francis; and from the said flame he heard a voice
come forth which spake with St. Francis, but the words thereof this Friar
Leo understood not. Hearing this, and deeming himself unworthy to remain so
near the holy place where that wondrous vision was seen, and fearing
likewise to offend St. Francis, or disturb him in his meditation if he were
heard of him, he stole softly back, and standing afar off, waited to see the
end. And as he gazed steadfastly, he beheld St. Francis stretch forth his
hands thrice towards the flame; and at last, after a great space of time, he
saw the flaming torch return to heaven. Whereupon he bestirred himself and
returned secretly to his cell, glad in heart at the vision. And as he was
going confidently away, St. Francis heard him by the rustling of the leaves
under his feet, and bade him stay his steps and await him. Then Friar Leo,
obedient, stood still and awaited him, with such great fear that, as he
afterwards told his companions, at that moment he would rather the earth had
swallowed him up than await St. Francis, who he thought would be displeased
with him; for he guarded himself with the greatest diligence against
offending his father, lest through his own fault St. Francis should deprive
him of his companionship. Then St. Francis, as he came up to him, asked,
"Who art thou?" And Friar Leo, all trembling, answered, "I am Friar Leo, my
father." And St. Francis said to him, "Wherefore camest thou hither, friar,
little sheep? Have I not told thee not to go spying on me? Tell me, by holy
obedience, if thou didst see or hear aught?" Friar Leo answered, "Father, I
heard thee speak and say many times, 'Who art Thou, my God most sweet? What
am I, thy unprofitable servant and vilest of worms?'" And then Friar Leo
knelt down before St. Francis and confessed his sin of disobedience, for
that he had done contrary to his commands, craving forgiveness of him with
many tears. And thereafter he entreated him devoutly to interpret to him
those words he had heard, and tell him those he had not understood. Then St.
Francis, seeing that God had revealed to his lowly friar, because of his
purity and simplicity, or in sooth had suffered him to hear and behold
certain things, deigned to reveal to him and interpret to him all those
things he asked of him. And he spake thus, "Know thou, friar, little sheep
of Jesus Christ, that ... God was in that flame thou sawest, who spake to me
in that vision even as of old He had spoken to Moses. And among other things
He said, He asked of me to make Him three gifts .... And straightway it was
given me to know that those three offers signified holy obedience, most
exalted poverty, and most resplendent chastity, which God had vouchsafed to
me by His grace to observe so perfectly that my conscience reproved me of
naught...." And from that time forth St. Francis began to taste and feel
more bounteously the sweetness of divine contemplation and of divine
visitations. Among which, he had one, immediate and preparatory to the
imprinting of the divine stigmas, in this form. The day that goeth before
the feast of the Most Holy Cross in the month of September, as St. Francis
was praying in secret in his cell, the angel of God appeared to him and
spake thus to him in God's name, "I am come to comfort and admonish thee
that thou humbly prepare thee and make thee ready, with all patience, to
receive that which God willeth to give thee and to work in thee." St.
Francis answered, "I am ready to endure patiently all things that my Lord
would do with me." This said, the angel departed. The day following, to wit,
the day of the Most Holy Cross, St. Francis, on the morn before daybreak,
knelt down betimes in prayer before the door of his cell; and turning his
face eastwards, prayed .... And remaining a long time thus praying, ... he
beheld, that same morning, a seraph with six resplendent and flaming wings
come down from heaven; which seraph, with swift flight, drew nigh to St.
Francis so that he could discern him, and he knew clearly that he had the
form of a man crucified; and thus were his wings disposed: two wings were
extended over his head; two were spread out in flight; and the other two
covered the whole of the body. St. Francis, beholding this, was sore afraid,
and yet was he filled with sweetness and sorrow mingled with wonder. Joy had
he, exceeding great, at the gracious aspect of Christ that appeared to him
thus familiarly and looked on him so graciously; but, on the other hand,
seeing him nailed upon the cross, he suffered unspeakable grief and
compassion. Thereafter, he marvelled greatly at so stupendous and unwonted a
vision, well knowing that the infirmity of the Passion doth not accord with
the immortality of the seraphic spirit. And being in this wonderment, it was
revealed by the seraph who appeared to him, that that vision had been shown
to him in such form, by divine providence, in order that he might understand
he was to be changed into the express similitude of the crucified Christ in
this wondrous vision, not by bodily martyrdom but by spiritual fire. Then
the whole mount of La Verna seemed to flame forth with dazzling splendour,
that shone and illumined all the mountains and the valleys round about, as
were the sun shining on the earth. Wherefore when the shepherds that were
watching in that country saw the mountain aflame and so much brightness
round about, they were sore afraid, according as they afterwards told the
friars, and affirmed that that flame had endured over the mount of La Verna
for the space of an hour and more. Likewise, certain muleteers that were
going to Romagna, arose up at the brightness of this light which shone
through the windows of the inns of that country, and thinking the sun had
risen, saddled and loaded their beasts. And as they went their way, they saw
the said light wane and the real sun rise. Now Christ appeared in that same
seraphic vision, and revealed to St. Francis certain secret and high things
that St. Francis would never, during his life, disclose to any man; but,
after his death, he revealed them.... This wondrous vision having vanished,
.... the marks of the nails began anon to be seen on the hands and on the
feet of St. Francis, in the same manner as he had seen them in the body of
Jesus Christ crucified that had appeared to him in the form of a seraph: and
thus his hands and feet seemed nailed through the middle with nails, the
heads whereof were in the palms of his hands and in the soles of his feet,
outside the flesh; and the points came out through the backs of the hands
and the feet, so far, that they were bent back and clinched in such wise
that one might easily have put a finger of the hand through the bent and
clinched ends outside the flesh, even as through a ring: and the heads of
the nails were round and black. In like fashion, the image of a lance-wound,
unhealed, inflamed, and bleeding, was seen in his right side, whence
thereafter blood came out many times from the holy breast of St. Francis and
stained his tunic and his under garments with blood.... And albeit those
most holy wounds, in so far as they were imprinted by Christ, gave him great
joy in his heart, nevertheless to his flesh and to his bodily senses they
gave unbearable pain. Wherefore, being constrained by necessity, he chose
Friar Leo, simplest and purest among the friars, and to him revealed all
things; and he suffered him to see and touch those holy wounds and bind them
with bandages to ease the pain and staunch the blood that issued and ran
therefrom .... And finally, ... St. Francis having completed the forty days'
fast of St. Michael the Archangel, made ready by divine revelation to return
to St. Mary of the Angels. Wherefore he called Friar Masseo and Friar Angelo
to him, and after many words and many holy admonitions, commanded the holy
mountain to them with all the zeal in his power, saying that it behoved him,
together with Friar Leo, to return to St. Mary of the Angels. This said, he
took leave of them and blessed them in the name of the crucified Jesus; and
deigned, in answer to their prayers, to stretch forth to them his most holy


hands, adorned with those glorious and sacred and hallowed stigmas, that
they might see them and touch them and kiss them, and leaving the friars
thus comforted he departed from them and descended the holy mountain.... On
the morrow, they journeyed on and came to St. Mary of the Angels; and when
they were nigh thereto Friar Leo lifted up his eyes and looked towards the
said friary of St. Mary of the Angels; and he beheld a cross, exceeding
beautiful, whereon was the figure of the Crucified, going before St.
Francis, who was riding in front of him; and so closely did that cross
conform to the movements of St. Francis, that when he stopped, it stopped;
and when he went on, it went on: and that cross shone with such exceeding
brightness that not only did the face of St. Francis shine resplendent, but
likewise the whole way around him was illumined. And that brightness endured
even up to the time that St. Francis entered the friary of St. Mary of the
Angels. St. Francis then being come with Friar Leo, they were received with
the greatest joy and charity, and from that hour St. Francis abode the most
of his time in the friary of St. Mary of the Angels, even until his death.

At another time, Servandus, the Deacon, and Abbot of that monastery, which
in times past was founded by the noble man Liberius in the country of
Campania, used ordinarily to come and visit [father Bennet,] the man of God:
and the reason why he came so often was, because himself also was a man full
of heavenly doctrine: and so they two had often together spiritual
conference, to the end that, albeit they could not perfectly feed upon the
celestial food of heaven, yet, by means of such sweet discourses, they might
at least, with longing and fervent desire, taste of those joys and divine
delights. When it was time to go to rest, the venerable father Bennet
reposed himself in the top of a tower, at the foot whereof Servandus the
Deacon was lodged, so that one pair of stairs went to them both: before the
tower there was a certain large room in which both their disciples did lie.
The man of God, Bennet, being diligent in watching, rose early up before the
time of matins (his monks being yet at rest) and came to the window of his
chamber, where he offered up his prayers to almighty God. Standing there,
all on a sudden in the dead of the night, as he looked forth, he saw a
light, which banished away the darkness of the night, and glittered with
such brightness, that the light which did shine in the midst of darkness was
far more clear than the light of the day. Upon this sight a marvellous
strange thing followed, for, as himself did afterward report, the whole
world, gathered as it were together under one beam of the sun, was presented
before his eyes, and whiles the venerable father stood attentively beholding
the brightness of that glittering light, he saw the soul of Germanus, Bishop
of Capua, in a fiery globe to be carried up by Angels into heaven. Then,
desirous to have some witness of this so notable a miracle, he called with a
very loud voice Servandus the Deacon twice or thrice by his name, who,
troubled at such an unusual crying out of the man of God, went up in all
haste, and looking forth saw not anything else, but a little remnant of the
light, but wondering at so great a miracle, the man of God told him all in
order what he had seen, and sending by and by to the town of Cassino, he
commanded the religious man Theoprobus to dispatch one that night to the
city of Capua, to learn what was become of Germanus their Bishop: which
being done, the messenger found that reverent Prelate departed this life,
and enquiring curiously the time, he understood that he died at that very
instant, in which the man of God beheld him ascending up to heaven.

End











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