Anabaptist Group Dynamics
And God Created Woman
Commands of Jesus
Difference between Anabaptists and Evangelicals
Hutterite Sermon Prefaces
Marriage (Ulrich Stadler)
Living Word (Ulrich Stadler)
Modern views of Anabaptists
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Secret of the Strength
Sermons by Eli Hofer
The Shepherd of Hermas
The Writings of Ulrich Stadler
The Church and
the Narrow Path
To Vote or not to Vote
Way of the Lord
THE SHEPHERD OF HERMAS
(The Shepherd of Hermas was written about 120 AD and was widely read in the
early Christian Church of the second and third centuries.)
As I was praying, there appeared a man
glorious in appearance, in the garb of a shepherd, with a white skin wrapped
about him, and with a pack on his shoulders and a staff in his hand. He greeted
me, and I greeted him in return.
He sat down by my side, and said to me, "I
was sent to dwell with you the remaining days of your life."
I thought he came to tempt me, and I said
to him, "Why, who are you? For I know unto whom I was delivered."
He said to me, "Do you not recognize me?"
"No", I said.
"I", said he, "am the Shepherd, unto whom
you were delivered."
While he was still speaking, his form
changed, and I recognized him as being the same, to whom I was delivered; and
straightway I was confused, and fear seized me, and I was altogether overwhelmed
with distress that I had answered him so wickedly and senselessly.
But he said to me, "Do not be confused, but
strengthen yourself in my commandments which I am about to command you. For I
was sent that I might remind you again of the things which you have already
learned, the important points, those most useful to you. First of all, write
down my commandments and my parables; and the other matters as I shall show them
to you. The reason why I command you to write down the commandments and parables
is that you might remember them and be able to keep them."
So I wrote down the commandments and
parables, as he commanded me. If then, when you hear them, keep them and walk in
them, and do them with a pure heart, you shall receive from the Lord all things
that He promised you. But if, when you hear them, you do not repent, but still
add to your sins, you shall receive from the Lord the opposite.
The following is what the Shepherd, the messenger of repentance, commanded me to
"Above all, believe that God is One, Who
created all things and set them in order, and brought all things from non
existence into being, Who comprehends all things, being alone incomprehensible.
Believe Him therefore, and fear Him, and in fearing Him, exercise self-control.
Keep these things, and you shall cast off all wickedness from yourself, and
shall clothe yourself with every excellence of righteousness, and shall live
unto God, if you keep this commandment."
The Shepherd said to me; "Keep simplicity
and be guileless, and you shall be as little children that do not know the
wickedness which destroys the life of men. First of all, speak evil of no man,
neither take pleasure in listening to a slanderer. Otherwise you that hear too
shall be responsible for the sin of him that speaks the evil, if you believe the
slander, which you hear; for in believing it you yourself also will have a
grudge against your brother. So then shall you be responsible for the sin of him
that speaks the evil. Slander is evil; it is a restless demon, never at peace,
but always having its home among dissension. Refrain from it therefore, and you
shall have success at all times with all men. But clothe yourself in reverence,
wherein is no evil stumbling block, but all things are smooth and joyful."
"Do good works, and from your labors, as
God gives you, give freely to all that are in need, not questioning to whom you
shall give, and to whom you shall not give. Give to all; for to all God desires
that there should be given of His own bounties. They then that receive shall
render an account to God why they received it, and to what end; for they that
receive in distress shall not be judged, but they that receive by false pretense
shall pay the penalty. He then that gives is guiltless; for as he received from
the Lord a ministry to carry out, he has performed it in sincerity, by making no
distinction to whom to give or not to give. This ministry then, when sincerely
performed, becomes glorious in the sight of God. He therefore that ministers
thus sincerely shall live unto God."
"Therefore keep this commandment, as I have
told you, that your own repentance and that of your household may be found to be
sincere, and your heart pure and undefiled."
Again the Shepherd said to me; "Love truth,
and let nothing but truth proceed out of your mouth, that the spirit which God
made to dwell in you, may be found true in the sight of all men; and thus shall
the Lord, Who dwells in you, be glorified; for the Lord is true in every word,
and with Him there is no falsehood. They therefore that speak lies, reject the
Lord, and become robbers of the Lord, for they do not deliver up to Him the
deposit which they received. For they received of Him a spirit free from lies.
This if they shall return a lying spirit, they have defiled the commandment of
the Lord and have become robbers."
"If, henceforth, you speak nothing but
truth, you shall be able to secure life for yourself. And whosoever shall hear
this command, and abstain from falsehood, that most pernicious habit, shall live
"I command you, "said the Shepherd, "to
keep pure, and do not allow a thought enter into your heart concerning another's
wife, or concerning fornication, or concerning any such evil deeds; for in so
doing you commit a great sin. For should this desire enter into your heart, or
other desires as evil as this, you commit sin. For such desire in a servant of
God is a great sin; and if any man does this evil deed, he works out death for
himself. Beware of it therefore. Abstain from this desire; for, where holiness
dwells, there lawlessness ought not to enter into the heart of a righteous man.
Remember your own wife always, and you shall never go wrong."
I said to him, "Permit me to ask you a few
questions. If a man who has a wife that is faithful in the Lord detects her in
adultery, does the husband sin if he continues to live with her?"
"So long as he is ignorant of her
adultery", said he, "he does not sin; but if the husband knows of her sin, and
the wife does not repent, but continues in her fornication, and her husband
lives with her, he makes himself responsible for her sin and an accomplice in
"What then, Sir", said I, "shall the
husband do, if the wife continues in this case?"
"Let him divorce her", said he, "but let
the husband remain single; and if after divorcing his wife, he shall marry
another, he likewise commits adultery."
"If then, Sir", said I, "after the wife is
divorced, she repents and desires to return to her own husband, shall she not be
"Certainly", said he, "if the husband does
not receive her, he sins and brings great sin upon himself; nay, one who has
sinned and repented must be received, yet not often; for there is but one
repentance for the servants of God. For the sake of her repentance therefore the
husband ought not to marry. This is a requirement for both husband and wife."
"Not only", said he, "is it adultery, if a
man pollutes his flesh, but whosoever does sexual sins like the worldly people
do commits adultery. And if a man continues in sexual sin and does not repent,
keep away from him, and do not remain in community with him. Otherwise, you also
are a partaker of his sin."
"And since repentance is possible, you are
not allowed to remarry, whether husband or wife, while repentance is possible."
"I", said he, "am not giving an excuse that
this matter should be concluded thus, but to the end that the sinner should sin
no more. But as concerning his former sin, there is One Who is able to give
healing; it is He Who has authority over all things."
I asked him again, saying, "Seeing that the
Lord held me worthy that you should always dwell with me, allow me still to say
a few words, since I understand so little, and my heart has been made dense by
my former deeds. Make me to understand, for I am very foolish, and I apprehend
He answered and said to me, "I preside over
repentance, and I give understanding to all who repent. Nay, do not think like
that, that this very act of repentance is not understanding. To repent is great
understanding", said he. "For the man that has sinned understands that he has
done evil before the Lord, and the deed which he has done disturbs his heart,
and he repents, and does no more evil, but does good lavishly, and humbles his
own soul in torment because it sinned. So you see then that repentance is great
"It is on this account therefore, Sir",
said I, "that I carefully question you; first, because I am a sinner; secondly,
because I know not what deeds I must do that I may live, for my sins are many
"You shall live", said he, "if you keep my
commandments and walk in them and whosoever shall hear these commandments and
keep them, shall live unto God."
"I will still proceed, Sir", said I, "to
ask a further question."
"Speak on", said he.
"I have heard, Sir", said I, "from certain
teachers, that there is no other repentance, beyond that which took place when
we went down into the water and obtained remission of our former sins."
He said to me; "You have heard correctly;
for so it is. For he that has received remission of sins ought no longer to sin,
but to dwell in purity. But, since you enquired carefully about all things, I
will declare unto you this also, so as to give no excuse to those who shall
hereafter believe, or those who have already believed, on the Lord. For they
that have already believed, or shall hereafter believe, can not go on sinning
and expect forgiveness for their sins, they have only forgiveness of their
former sins committed before they believed. The Lord has allowed forgiveness of
sins committed before they became believers. For the Lord, being a discerner of
hearts and foreknowing all things, perceived the weakness of men and the
manifold wiles of the devil, how that he will be doing some mischief to the
servants of God, and will deal wickedly with them. The Lord then, being very
compassionate, had pity on His handiwork, and appointed this opportunity of
repentance, and to me was given the authority over this repentance."
But I say unto you", said he, "if after
this great and holy calling, any one, being tempted of the devil, shall commit
sin, he has only one opportunity for repentance. But if he sins repeatedly and
repents, repentance is no use for such a man; for he shall scarcely be saved."
I said to him, "I was restored to life
again, when I heard these things from you so precisely. For now I know that if I
shall add no more to my sins, I shall be saved."
"You shall be saved", he said, "and so will
everyone else who does likewise."
I asked him again, saying, "Sir, since once
you did bear with me, explain to me this additional matter also."
"Speak", said he.
"If a wife, Sir", said I, "or, it may be, a
husband dies, and one of them marry, does the one that marries sin?"
"He does not sin", said he, "but if he
remains single, he invests himself with more exceeding honor and with great
glory before the Lord; yet even if he should marry, he does not sin."
"Preserve purity and holiness therefore,
and you shall live unto God. All these things, which I speak and shall hereafter
speak unto you, guard from this time forward, from the day when you were
committed unto me, and I will dwell in your house. But for your former
transgressions there shall be forgiven, if you keep my commandments. Yes, and
all shall have forgiveness, if they keep these commandments, and walk in this
"Be patient and understanding", the
Shepherd said, "and you shall have mastery over evil deeds, and shall work all
righteousness. For if you are patient, the Spirit that lives in you shall be
pure, not being darkened by an evil spirit, but dwelling in a large room, shall
rejoice and be glad with the vessel in which He dwells, and the man shall serve
God with much cheerfulness, having peace with himself."
"But if an angry temper approaches,
immediately the Holy Spirit, being very sensitive, is under distress, as He no
longer has a clean place, and seeks to retire from the place; for He is being
choked by the evil spirit, and has no room to minister unto the Lord, as He
desires, being polluted by an angry temper."
"For the Lord dwells in patience, but the
devil dwells in an angry temper. Thus that both the spirits should be dwelling
together does not work and is evil for that man in whom they dwell."
"For if you take a little wormwood, and
pour it into a jar of honey, is not the whole of the honey spoiled, and all that
honey ruined by a very small quantity of wormwood? For it destroys the sweetness
of the honey, and it no longer has the same attraction for the owner, because it
is rendered bitter and has lost its use. But if the wormwood is not put into the
honey, the honey is found sweet and becomes useful to its owner."
"You see then that patience is very sweet,
beyond the sweetness of honey, and is useful to the Lord for He dwells in it."
"But an angry temper is bitter and useless.
If then an angry temper is mixed with patience, the patience is polluted and the
man's intercession is no longer useful to God."
"I would like to understand, Sir", said I,
"the working of an angry temper, that I may guard myself from it."
"Indeed", said he, "if you do not guard
yourself from it, you and your family, you have lost all your hope. But guard
yourself from it; for I am with you. Yes, and all who have repented with their
whole heart shall protect themselves from it. For I will be with them and will
preserve them; for they all were justified."
"Hear now", said he, "the working of an
angry temper, how evil it is, and how it subverts the servants of God by its
works, and how it leads them astray from righteousness. However, it can not lead
astray them that are full in the faith, nor can it work upon them, because the
power of the Lord is with them."
"But they that are empty and double minded
it leads astray. For when it sees such men doing well, it insinuates itself into
the heart of the man, and for no cause whatever the man or the woman is
embittered on account of worldly matters, either about food, or some triviality,
or about some friend, or about giving or receiving, or such follies of this
kind. For all these things are foolish and vain and senseless and inexpedient
for the servants of God."
"But patience is great and strong, and has
a mighty and vigorous power, and is prosperous in a great area, it is joyful,
exultant, free from care, glorifying the Lord at all times, having no bitterness
in itself, remaining always gentle and tranquil. This patience, therefore,
dwells with those whose faith is perfect."
"But an angry temper is in the first place
foolish, fickle and senseless; and then from foolishness comes bitterness, and
from bitterness comes wrath, and from wrath comes anger, and from anger comes
spite; then spite, being composed of all these evil elements, becomes a great
sin and incurable."
"And when all these spirits would dwell in
the same vessel, where the Holy Spirit also dwells, that vessel cannot contain
them, but overflows. The delicate Spirit therefore, as not being accustomed to
dwell with an evil spirit nor with harshness, departs from a man of that kind,
and seeks to dwell where there is gentleness, patience and tranquillity. Then,
when the Holy Spirit leaves that man, in whom it dwells, that man becomes
emptied of the spirit of righteousness, and henceforward, being filled with the
evil spirits, he is unstable in all his actions, being dragged about here and
there by the evil spirits, and is altogether blinded and bereft of his good
intent. This is what happens to all persons with an angry temper."
"Refrain therefore from an angry temper,
the most evil of evil spirits. But clothe yourself in patience, and resist an
angry temper and bitterness, and you shall be found in company with the holiness
which is beloved of the Lord."
"See then that you never neglect this
commandment; for if you master this commandment, you shall be able likewise to
keep the remaining commandments, which I am about to give you. Be strong in them
and endowed with power; and let all be endowed with power, who would desire to
walk in them."
"I charged you", said the Shepherd, "in my
first commandment to guard faith and fear and self-control. And now I wish to
show you their powers also, that you may understand what is the power and effect
of each one of them. For their effects are two fold: they relate to both
righteousness and unrighteousness."
"Be sure therefore to trust righteousness,
but do not trust unrighteousness; for the way of righteousness is straight, but
the way of unrighteousness is crooked. Walk in the straight and level path, and
leave the crooked one alone. For the crooked way has no tracks, but only
pathlessness and many stumbling stones, and is rough and thorny. So it is
therefore harmful to those who walk in it."
"But those who follow the straight path
walk on smooth ground without stumbling, for it is neither rough nor thorny; you
can see then that it is more expedient to walk in this way."
"I am pleased, Sir", said I, "to walk in
"You shall walk", he said, "yes, and
whosoever shall turn unto the Lord with his whole heart shall walk in it."
"Hear now", said he, "concerning faith.
There are two spirits with a man, one of righteousness and one of wickedness."
"How then, Sir", said I, "shall I recognize
them, seeing that both spirits dwell with me?"
"Hear", said he, "and learn to recognize
them. The spirit of righteousness is sensitive, tender, modest, gentle and
tranquil. When this spirit stirs in your heart, he puts thoughts into your mind
of righteousness, of purity, of holiness, and of contentment, of righteous deeds
and of glorious virtues. When these thoughts enter into your heart, know that
the spirit of righteousness is with you. These are the works of the spirit of
righteousness. Trust him therefore and his works."
"Now see the works of the spirit of
wickedness also. First of all, he is quick tempered and bitter and senseless,
and his works are evil, tearing down the servants of God. Whenever then he stirs
your heart, know him by his works."
"Please tell me how to recognize him, Sir",
I reply, "I know not."
"Listen", said he. "When angry or bitter
thoughts come you, know that he is in you. Or when the desire for much activity,
for extravagant kinds of food, for drinking bouts and for various luxuries, the
desire for women, greed, haughtiness, boastfulness, or other things like these,
when these desires stir in your heart, know that the spirit of wickedness is
"Therefore, recognize his works, and stand
aloof from him, and trust him in nothing, for his works are evil and inexpedient
for the servants of God."
"Here then you have the workings of both
spirits. Learn to recognize them, and trust the spirit of righteousness. But
from the spirit of wickedness stand aloof, for his teaching is evil in every
matter. For even though one be a man of faith, when he allows the desires of
this spirit to enter into his heart, that man, or that woman, must commit some
sin. On the other hand, a man or a woman may be exceedingly wicked, but when the
works of the spirit of righteousness comes into that man's heart, he must of
necessity do something good."
"You see then", said he, "that it is good
to follow the spirit of righteousness, and to bid farewell to the spirit of
"This commandment concerns faith, that you
may trust the thoughts that enter your mind from the spirit of righteousness,
and doing them, you may live unto God. But believe that the thoughts coming to
you from the spirit of wickedness are dangerous; so by not doing them you shall
live unto God."
"Fear the Lord", said the Shepherd, "and
keep His commandments. So keeping the commandments of God you shall be powerful
in every deed, and your works shall be great. For while you fear the Lord, you
shall do all things well in His sight. This is the fear that you must have in
order to be saved."
"But do not fear the devil; for, if you
fear the Lord, you shall be master over the devil, for there is no power in him
and no one needs to fear him. But the One who has glorious power is to be
feared. For every one that has power is to be feared, whereas he that has no
power should be despised by all. But fear the works of the devil, for they are
evil. While you fear the Lord, you will fear the works of the devil, and will
not do them, but abstain from them."
"Fear therefore is of two kinds. If you are
tempted to do evil, fear the Lord, and you shall not do it. If again you desire
to do good, fear the Lord and you shall do it. Therefore the fear of the Lord is
powerful and great and glorious. Fear the Lord then, and you shall live unto
Him; yes, and as many of them that keep His commandments and fear Him, shall
live unto God."
"Why, Sir", said I, "did you say concerning
those that keep His commandments, 'They shall live unto God'?"
"Because", said he, "every creature fears
the Lord, but not every one keeps His commandments. Those that fear Him and keep
His commandments, they have life unto God; but they that do not keep His
commandments have no life in them."
"I told you", said the Shepherd, "that the
creatures of God are twofold; so also is self-control twofold. For in some
things it is right to be temperate, but in other things it is not right."
"Make known unto me, Sir", said I, "in what
things it is right to be temperate, and in what things it is not right."
"Listen", said he. "Be self-controlled
regarding evil, and do it not; but be not temperate as to what is good, but do
it. For if you are temperate in what is good, so as not to do it, you commit a
great sin; but if you are self-controlled regarding evil, so as not to do it,
you do great righteousness. Be self-controlled therefore in abstaining from all
wickedness, and do that which is good."
"What kinds of wickedness, Sir", said I,
"are they from which we must be temperate and abstain?"
"Listen", said he. "You must abstain from
adultery and fornication, from the lawlessness of drunkenness, from wicked
luxury, from many kinds of food, from wealth and boasting, from haughtiness and
pride, from falsehood and evil speaking and hypocrisy, malice and all blasphemy.
These works are very wicked in the life of men. From these works therefore the
servant of God must be self-controlled and abstain; for he that is not temperate
so as to abstain from these cannot live unto God. Listen then to what follows
"Why, are there still other evil deeds,
Sir?" said I.
"Yes", said he, "there are many, from which
the servant of God must be temperate and abstain: theft, falsehood, robbery,
false witness, greed, evil desire, deceit, vain glory, boastfulness, and
whatsoever things are like unto these."
"You know that these things are wrong, yes,
very wrong", said he, "for the servants of God. In all these things he that
serves God must exercise self-control. Be temperate, therefore, and refrain from
all these things, that you may live unto God, and be enrolled among those who
exercise self restraint in them. These then are the things from which you should
"Now hear", said he, "the things, in which
you should not exercise self restraint, but do them. Exercise no self restraint
in doing good works."
"Sir", said I, "teach me the power of good
works also, that I may walk in them and serve them, that doing them it may be
possible for me to be saved."
"Hear", said he, "about the good works,
which you must do, and towards which you must exercise no self restraint. First
of all, there is faith, fear of the Lord, love, harmony, words of righteousness,
truth, patience; nothing is better than these in the life of men. If a man keep
these, and does not exercise self restraint from them, he becomes blessed in his
"Learn now what good works necessarily
develops into: to care for widows, orphans and the needy, to rescue servants of
God from their afflictions, to be hospitable (for in hospitality benevolence
from time to time has a place), to resist no man, to be tranquil, to show
yourself more submissive than all men, to reverence the aged, to practice
righteousness, to build brotherhood, to endure injury, to be long suffering, to
bear no grudge, to exhort those who are sick at soul, not to cast away those
that have stumbled from the faith, but to convert them and to put courage into
them, to reprove sinners, not to oppress debtors and indigent persons, and
whatsoever actions are like these."
"Do these things", said he, "seem to you to
"Why, what, Sir", said I, "can be better
"Then walk in them", said he, "and abstain
not from them, and you shall live unto God."
"Keep this commandment therefore. If you do
good works and abstain not from them, you shall live unto God; yes, and all
shall live unto God who act so. And again if you do not evil, and abstain from
it, you shall live unto God; yes, and all shall live unto God, who shall keep
these commandments, and walk in them."
The Shepherd said to me, "Tear doubt out of
your heart! Never allow doubt to hinder you from praying to God. For you may say
within yourself, 'How can I ask anything of the Lord and receive it, seeing that
I have committed so many sins against Him?' Never think this way. Instead turn
to the Lord with your whole heart, and ask of Him without wavering, and you
shall know His exceeding compassion, that He will surely not abandon you, but
will fulfill the desires of your soul. For God is not as men who bear a grudge,
but He is without malice and has compassion on His creatures. Therefore cleanse
your heart from all the vanities of this life, and from the things mentioned
before; and ask of the Lord, and you shall receive all things, and shall lack
nothing of all your petitions, if you ask of the Lord without wavering."
"But if you waver in your heart, you shall
surely receive none of your petitions. For they that waver towards God, these
are the doubtful minded, and they never obtain any of their petitions. But they
that are complete in the faith make all their petitions trusting in the Lord,
and they receive, because they ask without wavering, not doubting; for every
doubtful minded man, if he does not repent, shall hardly be saved."
"Cleanse therefore your heart from doubtful
mindedness, and put on faith, for it is strong, and trust God that you will
receive all your petitions which you ask; and if after asking anything of the
Lord, you receive your petition somewhat tardily, be not of doubtful mind
because you did not receive the petition of your soul at once. For assuredly it
is by reason of some temptation or some transgression, of which you are
ignorant, that you receive your petition so tardily."
"Therefore do not cease to make known your
soul's request, and you shall receive it. But if you grow weary, and doubt as
you ask, blame yourself and not Him that gives unto you."
"Beware of this doubtful mindedness; for it
is evil and senseless, and uproots many from the faith, yes, even very faithful
and strong men. For indeed this doubtful mindedness is a daughter of the devil,
and works great wickedness against the servants of God."
"Therefore despise doubtful mindedness and
gain mastery over it in everything by clothing yourself with faith which is
strong and powerful. For faith promises all things, accomplishes all things; but
doubtful mindedness, having no confidence in itself, fails in all the works
which it does."
"So you see then", said he, "that faith is
from above, from the Lord, and has great power; but doubtful mindedness is an
earthly spirit from the devil, and has no power. Therefore serve that faith
which has power, and hold aloof from the doubtful mindedness which has no power;
and you shall live unto God; yes, and all those shall live unto God who are so
"Rid yourself of sadness", said the
Shepherd, "for it is the sister of doubtful mindedness and of an angry temper."
"How, Sir", said I, "is it the sister of
these? For an angry temper seems to me to be one thing, doubtful mindedness
another, sadness another."
"You are a foolish fellow", said he, "and
do not understand that sadness is the most evil of all the spirits, and is most
fatal to the servants of God, more than any other spirit, and it crushes out the
Holy Spirit and, but yet again it saves."
"I, Sir", said I, "am without
understanding, and I do not understand not these parables. For how it can crush
out and again save, I do not comprehend."
"Listen", said he. "Those who have never
searched for the truth, nor enquired concerning God, but have merely believed,
and have been mixed up in business affairs and riches and friendships with
worldly people, and many other affairs of this world; as many, I said, as devote
themselves to these things, do not comprehend the parables of God; for they are
darkened by these actions, and are corrupted and become barren."
"Just as good vineyards, when they are
treated with neglect, are made barren by the thorns and weeds of various kinds,
so men who, after they have believed, fall into these many activities which were
mentioned before, lose their understanding and comprehend nothing at all
concerning righteousness; for if they hear concerning God and truth, their mind
is absorbed in their activities, and so they understand nothing at all."
"But they that have the fear of God, and
search for God and the truth, and direct their heart towards the Lord, perceive
and understand everything that is said to them more quickly, because they have
the fear of the Lord in themselves; for where the Lord dwells, there too is
great understanding. Cleave therefore unto the Lord, and you shall understand
and perceive all things."
"Hear now, senseless man", said he, "How
sorrow can crush out the Holy Spirit, and in other cases can bring salvation.
When the man of doubtful mind sets his hand to any action, and fails in it owing
to his doubtful mindedness, sadness at this enters into the man, and grieves the
Holy Spirit, and crushes it out."
"Then again when an angry temper cleaves to
a man concerning any matter, and he is much embittered, again sorrow enters into
the heart of the man that was ill tempered, and he is grieved at the deed which
he has done, and repents that he did evil. This sadness therefore seems to bring
salvation, because he repented at having done evil."
"So both operations sadden the Spirit;
first, the doubtful mind saddens the Spirit, because it did not succeed in its
business, and the angry temper again, because it did what was evil. Thus both
are saddening to the Holy Spirit, the doubtful mind and the angry temper."
"Put away therefore from yourself sadness,
and afflict not the Holy Spirit that dwells in you, lest He intercedes with God
against you, and departs from you. For the Spirit of God, that was given unto
this flesh, does not endure sadness nor distress."
"Therefore clothe yourself in cheerfulness,
which has favor with God always, and is acceptable to Him, and rejoice in it.
For every cheerful man does good works, has good thoughts, and despises sadness;
but the sad man is always committing sin. In the first place he commits sin
because he grieves the Holy Spirit, which was given to the man as a cheerful
Spirit; and in the second place, by grieving the Holy Spirit he does
lawlessness, in that he does not pray nor confess his sins unto God. For the
intercession of a sad man has never at any time power to ascend to the altar of
"Why", said I, "does not the intercession
of him that is saddened ascend to the altar?"
"Because", said he, "sadness is seated in
his heart. Thus sadness mingled with the intercession does not permit the
intercession to ascend pure to the altar. For as vinegar when mingled with wine
in the same vessel has not the same pleasant taste, so likewise sadness mingled
with the Holy Spirit has not the same intercession."
"Therefore cleanse yourself from this
wicked sadness, and you shall live unto God; yes, and all they shall live unto
God, who shall cast away sadness from themselves and clothe themselves in all
The Shepherd showed me men seated on a
couch, and another man seated on a chair. And he said to me, "Do you see those
that are seated on the couch?"
"I see them, Sir", said I.
"These", said he, "are faithful, but he
that sits on the chair is a false prophet who destroys the mind of the servants
of God, I mean of the doubtful minded, not of the faithful. These doubtful
minded ones then come to him as to a prophet and enquire of him what shall
happen to them. And he, the false prophet, having no power of a divine Spirit in
himself, speaks with them according to their enquiries and according to the
lusts of their wickedness, and fills their souls as they themselves wish. For
being empty himself, he gives empty answers to empty enquires; for whatever
enquiry may be made of him, he answers according to the emptiness of the man.
But he speaks also some true words, for the devil fills him with his own spirit,
so that he might be able to overcome some of the righteous men."
"So many therefore as are strong in the
faith of the Lord, clothed with the truth, do not associate with such spirits,
but have nothing to do with them."
"Those who are doubters and frequently
change their minds, practice soothsaying like the pagans, and bring upon
themselves greater sin by their idolatries. For he that consults a false prophet
on any matter is an idolater and is empty of the truth, and is senseless."
"For no Spirit given of God needs to be
consulted; but, having the power of God, speaks all things of its own
initiative, because it is from above, from the power of the divine Spirit."
"But the spirit which is consulted, and
speaks according to the desires of men, is earthly and fickle, having no power;
and it speaks not at all, unless it be consulted."
"How then, Sir", said I, "shall a man know
who is a true prophet, and who is a false prophet?"
"Listen", said he, "concerning both kinds
of prophets; as I shall teach you, so that you can recognize the true prophet
and the false prophet. It is by his lifestyle you can tell which man has the
divine Spirit. For, in the first place, he that has the divine Spirit, which is
from above, is gentle and tranquil and humble minded, and abstains from all
wickedness and vain desires of this present world, and holds himself inferior to
all men, and gives no answer to any man when enquired of, nor prophesies in
private. The Holy Spirit within a man does not speak when the man wishes Him to
speak; but the man with the Spirit of God speaks when God wishes him to speak.
When the man who has the divine Spirit comes into an assembly of righteous men,
who have faith in a divine Spirit, and intercession is made to God by the
gathering of those men, then the Spirit of the prophetic spirit, who is attached
to him, fills the man, and the man, being filled with the Holy Spirit, speaks to
the multitude, accordingly as the Lord wills. In this way then the Spirit of God
shall be manifest. This then is the greatness of the power as touching the
Spirit of the Lord God."
"Hear now", said he, "concerning the
earthly and vain spirit, which has no power but is foolish. In the first place,
that man who claims to have a spirit exalts himself, and desires to have a chief
place, and straightway he is impudent and shameless and talkative and conversant
in many luxuries and in many other deceits and receives money for his
prophesying, and if he does not receive money, he does not prophesy. Now can a
divine Spirit receive money to prophesy? It is not possible for a prophet of God
to do this, but the spirit of such prophets is earthly. In the next place, it
does not want to come to an assembly of righteous men; but avoids them, and
cleaves to the doubtful minded and empty, and prophesies to them in corners, and
deceives them, speaking all things in emptiness to gratify their desires; for
they too are empty whom it answers. For the empty vessel placed together with
the empty is not broken, but they agree one with the other. But when he comes
into an assembly full of righteous men who have the Spirit of God, and
intercession is made from them, that man is emptied, and the earthly spirit
flees from him in fear, and that man is struck dumb and is altogether broken in
pieces, being unable to utter a word. For, if you pack wine or oil into a
closet, and place an empty vessel among them, and again desire to unpack the
closet, the vessel which you place there empty, empty in like manner you will
find it. Thus also the empty prophets, whenever they encounter the spirits of
righteous men, are found just such as they came."
"I have taught you how to recognize both
kinds of prophets by their lifestyle. Therefore test, by his life and his works,
the man who says that he is moved by the Spirit. And trust the Spirit that comes
from God, and has power; but in the earthly and empty spirit put no trust at
all; for in it there is no power, for it comes from the devil."
"Listen then to the parable which I shall
tell you. Take a stone, and throw it up to sky, see if you can reach it; or
again, take a squirt of water, and squirt it up to heaven, see if you can bore
through the clouds."
"How, Sir", said I, "can these things be?
For both these things which you have mentioned are beyond our power."
"Well then", said he, "just as these things
are beyond our power, so likewise the earthly spirits have no power and are
feeble. Now take the power which comes from above. The hail is a very small
pellet, and yet, when it falls on a man's head, what pain it causes! Or again,
take a drop which falls on the ground from the tiles, and eventually wears a
hole in the rock below. You see then that the smallest things from above falling
on the earth have great power. So likewise the divine Spirit coming from above
is powerful. This Spirit therefore trust, but from the other hold aloof."
The Shepherd said to me, "Rid yourself of
all evil desire, and clothe yourself in the desire which is good and holy; for
clothed with this desire you shall hate the evil desire, and shall bridle and
direct it as you will. For the evil desire is wild, and only tamed with
difficulty; for it is terrible, and by its wildness is very costly to men; more
especially if a servant of God gets entangled in it, and has no understanding,
he pays a fearful cost on account of it. But it is only costly to such men as
are not clothed in the good desire, but are mixed up with this life. These men
then it hands over to death."
"Of what sort, Sir", said I, "are the works
of the evil desire, which hand over men to death? Make them known to me, that I
may hold aloof from them."
"Listen", said he, "through what works the
evil desire brings death to the servants of God. Before all is desire for the
wife or husband of another, for extravagance of wealth, for many needless
dainties, for drinks and other luxuries, many and foolish. For luxury is foolish
and vain for the servants of God. These desires then are evil, and bring death
to the servants of God. For this evil desire is a daughter of the devil. You
must, therefore, abstain from evil desires, that so abstaining you may live unto
God. But as many as are mastered by them, and do not resist them, are done to
death utterly; for these desires are deadly."
"But clothe yourself in the desire of
righteousness, and, having armed yourself with the fear of the Lord, resist
them. For the fear of God dwells in the good desire. If the evil desire shall
see you armed with the fear of God and resisting itself, it shall flee far from
you, and shall no more be seen by you, being in fear of your weapons. Therefore,
when you have triumphed over it, come to the desire of righteousness, and
deliver to it the victor's prize which you have received, and serve it. If you
serve the good desire, and are subject to it, you shall have power to master the
"I would like to know, Sir", said I, "in
what ways I ought to serve the good desire."
"Listen", said he, "practice righteousness
and virtue, truth and the fear of the Lord, faith and gentleness, and other good
deeds that are like these. Practicing these you shall be well pleasing as a
servant of God, and shall live unto Him; yes, and every one who shall serve the
good desire shall live unto God."
- - - - - - -
So the Shepherd, the messenger of
repentance, completed the twelve commandments, and he said to me, "Now you have
these commandments; walk in them, and exhort your hearers that their repentance
may become pure for the rest of the days of their lives. Carefully fulfill this
ministry, which I have given you, and you shall accomplish much. For you shall
find favor among those who are about to repent, and they shall obey your words.
For I will be with you, and will help them to obey you."
I said to him; "Sir, these commandments are
great and beautiful and glorious, and are able to gladden the heart of the man
who is able to observe them. But I am not sure that these commandments can be
kept by a man, for they are very hard."
He answered and said unto me; "If you tell
yourself that they can be kept, you will easily keep them, and they will not be
hard; but if it once enters into your heart that they cannot be kept by a man,
you will not keep them. But now I say unto you; if you do not keep them, but
neglect them you shall not have salvation, neither your children nor your
household, since you have already pronounced judgment against yourself that
these commandments cannot be kept by a man."
And these things he said to me very
angrily, so that I was confused, and feared him exceedingly; for his form was
changed, such that a man could not endure his anger.
And when he saw that I was altogether
disturbed and confused, he began to speak more kindly and cheerfully to me, and
he said; "Foolish fellow, void of understanding and of doubtful mind, do you not
perceive the glory of God, how great and mighty and marvelous it is, how that He
created the world for man's sake, and subjected all His creation to man, and
gave all authority to him, that he should be master over all things under the
"If then", he said, "man is lord of all the
creatures of God and masters all things, cannot he also master these
"Yes", said he, "the man that has the Lord
in his heart can master all things and all these commandments. But they that
have the Lord on their lips, while their hearts are hardened, and are far from
the Lord, to them these commandments are hard and inaccessible. Therefore you,
who are empty and fickle in the faith, must allow the Lord into your heart, and
then you shall understand that nothing is easier than these commandments, nor
sweeter, nor more gentle. Be converted, you that walk after the commandments of
the devil, the commandments which are so difficult and bitter and wild and
riotous; and do not fear the devil, for there is no real power in him against
you. For I will be with you, I, the messenger of repentance, who have the
mastery over him. The devil has only fear, but his fear has no force. Do not
fear him therefore; and he will flee from you."
I said to him, "Sir, listen to a few words
from me. Man is eager to keep the commandments of God, and there is no one that
does not ask of the Lord that he may be strengthened in His commandments, and be
subject to them; but the devil is hard and overcomes them."
"He cannot", said he, "overcome the
servants of God, who set their hope on Him with their whole heart. The devil can
wrestle with them, but he cannot overthrow them. If you resist him, he will be
vanquished and will flee from you disgraced."
"But those", said he, "who are utterly
empty fear the devil as if he had power. When a man has filled amply sufficient
jars with good wine, and among these jars a few are nearly empty, he comes to
the jars, and does not examine the full ones, for he knows that they are full;
but he examines the nearly empty ones, fearing that they may have turned sour.
For jars that are not full soon turn sour, and the taste of the wine is spoiled.
So also the devil comes to all the servants of God tempting them. Those that are
complete in the faith, oppose him mightily, and he departs from them, not
finding a place where he can gain an entrance. So he goes to the empty ones, and
finding a opening, goes into them, and then he does what he wills in them, and
they become submissive slaves to him."
"But I, the messenger of repentance, say
unto you; do not fear the devil; for I was sent", said the Shepherd, "to be with
you who repent with your whole heart, and to strengthen you in the faith.
Believe, therefore, on God, you who by reason of your sins have despaired of
your life, and are adding to your sins, and weighing down your life; for if you
turn unto the Lord with your whole heart, and work righteousness the remaining
days of your life, and serve Him rightly according to His will, He will give
healing to your former sins, and you shall have power to master the works of the
devil. But do not fear the threats of the devil at all; for he is unstrung, like
the sinews of a dead man."
"Hear me therefore, and fear Him, Who is
able to do all things, to save and to destroy. Obey these commandments, and you
shall live unto God."
I said to him, "Sir, now I am strengthened
in all the ordinances of the Lord, because you are with me; and I know that you
will crush all the power of the devil, and we shall be masters over him, and
shall prevail over all his works. And I hope, Sir, that I am now able to keep
these commandments which you have commanded, the Lord enabling me."
"You shall keep them", said the Shepherd,
"if your heart be found pure with the Lord; yes, and all shall keep them, as
many as shall purify their hearts from the vain desires of this world, and shall
live unto God."
- - - - - - -