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Acts of Thomas: Chapters 4-7

Chapter 4

Concerning the devil that took up his abode in the woman

1 The apostle entered into the city and all the multitudes followed him. He thought to go to the parents of the young man whom he had made alive when he was slain by the serpent, for they earnestly besought him to come to them and enter into their house.

2 But a very beautiful woman all of a sudden uttered an exceeding loud cry, saying: ‘O Apostle of the new God that have come into India, and servant of that holy and only good God; for by you is he preached, the Saviour of the souls that come to him, and by you are healed the bodies of them that are tormented by the enemy, and you are he that is an occasion of life to all that turn to him.

3 Command me to be brought before you that I may tell you what have befallen me, and perhaps of you I may have hope, and these that stand by you may be more confident in the God whom you preach. I am much tormented by the adversary, now this past five years.

4 As a woman I was sitting in quiet, and peace was around me on every side and I had no care for anything, for I took no thought for any other. Then it happened one day that as I came out from the bath, there met me a man troubled and disturbed, and his voice and speech seemed to me exceeding faint and dim, and he stood before me and said: “I and you will be in one love and we will have intercourse together as a man with his wife.”

5 I answered and said to him: “I never did such, even with my betrothed, for I refused to marry, now how shall I allow that to you who would have intercourse with me in adulterous way?”

6 And having so said, I passed on. I said to my handmaid that was with me: “You saw that youth and his shamelessness, how boldly he spake with me, and had no shame?” But she said to me: “I saw an old man speaking to you.”

7 When I was in my house and had dined, my spirit suggested to me some suspicion and especially because he was seen in two forms - and having this in my mind I fell asleep. He came, therefore, in that night and was joined to me in his foul intercourse.

8 When it was day I saw him and fled from him, and on the night following that he came and abused me - and now as you see me I have spent five years being troubled by him, and he has not departed from me. But I know and am persuaded that both devils and spirits and destroyers are subject to you and are filled with trembling at your prayers: pray you therefore for me, and drive away from me the devil that ever troubled me, that I also may be set free and be gathered to the nature that is mine from the beginning, and receive the grace that has been given to my kindred.’

9 The apostle replied: ‘O evil that cannot be restrained! O shamelessness of the enemy! O envious one that are never at rest! O hideous one that subdues the comely! O you of many forms! As he will he appear to, but his essence cannot be changed. O the crafty and faithless one! O the bitter tree whose fruits are like to him! O the devil that overcome them that are alien to him! O the deceit that use impudence! O the wickedness that creeps like a serpent, and that is of his kindred!’

10 When the apostle said this, the malicious one came and stood before him, no man seeing him save the woman and the apostle, and with an exceeding loud voice said in the hearing of all:

11 ‘What have we to do with you, you apostle of the Most High! What have we to do with you, you servant of Yesu Christ?  What have we to do with you, you counsellor of the holy son of God? Why would you destroy us, whereas our time is not yet come? Why would you take away our power?

12 For to this hour we had hope and time remaining to us. What have we to do with you? You have power over your own, and we over ours. Why would you act tyrannously against us, when you yourself teach others not to act tyrannously? Why do you crave other men’s goods and not suffice yourself with your own?

13 Why are you made in the likeness of that son of God which have done us wrong? For you resemble him altogether as if you were born of him. For we thought to have brought him under the yoke like as we have the rest, but he turned and made us subject to him. For we knew him not, but he deceived us with his form of all uncomeliness and his poverty and his neediness: for seeing him to be such, we thought that he was a man wearing flesh, and knew not that in him is that which give life to humans.

14 He gave us power over our own, and that we should not in this present time leave them but have our walk in them, but you would get more than your due and that which was given you, and afflict us altogether.’

15 Having said this the devil wept, saying: ‘I leave you, my fairest consort, whom long since I found and rested in you, I forsake you, my sure sister, my beloved in whom I was well pleased. What I shall do I know not, or on whom I shall call that he may hear me and help me. I know what I will do: I will depart to some place where the report of this man have not been heard, and perhaps I shall call you, my beloved by another name.’

16 He lifted up his voice and said: ‘Abide in peace for you have taken refuge with one greater than I. I will depart and seek for one like you, and if I find her not, I will return to you again: for I know that whilst you are near to this man you have a refuge in him, but when he departs you will be such as you were before he appeared, and him you will forget, and I shall have opportunity and confidence – but now I fear the name of him that have saved you.’

17 Having so said the devil vanished out of sight. When he departed, only fire and smoke were seen there, and all that stood there were astonished.

18 Seeing it, the apostle said to them: ‘This devil have shown nothing that is alien or strange to him, but his own nature, wherein also he shall be consumed, for truly the fire shall destroy him utterly and the smoke of it shall be scattered abroad.’

19 He began to say: ‘Yesu, the hidden mystery that have been revealed to us, you are he that have shown to us many mysteries. Yesu, you that called me apart from all my fellows and spoke to me the words wherewith I am inflamed, and am not able to speak them to others. Yesu, man that was slain, dead and buried! Yesu, god of God, Saviour that quicken the dead, and heal the sick! Yesu, that were in need, and saves as one that have no need, that caught the fish for the morning meal and the supper and made all satisfied with a little bread. Yesu, that rested from the weariness of wayfaring like a man, and walked on the waves like a god.’

20 ‘Yesu, most high, voice arising from perfect mercy, Saviour of all, the right hand of the Light, overthrowing the evil one in his own nature, and gathering all his nature into one place; you of many forms, that are only begotten, first-born of many brethren, god of the Most High God, man despised until now. Yesu Christ that forgets us not when we call upon you, that have become an occasion of life to all humankind, that for us were judged and shut up in prison, and liberates all that are in bonds; that was called a deceiver, and redeems his own from error. I beseech you for these that stand here and believe in you, for they entreat to obtain your gifts, having good hope in your help, and having their refuge in your greatness; they hold their hearing ready to listen to the words that are spoken by us. Let your peace come and tent in them and renew them from their former deeds, and let them take off the old persons with their deeds, and put on the new that now is proclaimed to them by me.’

21 He laid his hands on them and blessed them, saying: ‘The grace of our Lord Yesu Christ shall be upon you for ever.’ They said, ‘Amen.’

The woman receives the Seal

22 The woman besought him, saying: ‘O apostle of the Most High, give me the seal, so that enemy return not again to me.’ Then he called her to come near to him, and laid his hands upon her and sealed her in the name of the Father, Mother and the Christ, and many others also were sealed with her.

23 The apostle bade his deacon to set forth a table; and he set forth a stool which they found there, and spread a linen doth upon it and set on the bread of blessing; and the apostle stood by it and said: ‘Yesu, you have accounted us worthy to partake of the mystery of your holy body and blood. Yes, we are bold to draw near to your mystery and to call upon your holy name: come O Christ and commune with us.’

The Great Invocation

24 The apostle began to say: ‘Come, O perfect compassion; come, O communion of the male; come, she that knows the mysteries of him that is chosen; come, she that have part in all the combats of the noble athlete; come, the silence that reveals the great things of the whole greatness; come, she that manifests the hidden things and makes the unspeakable things plain, the holy dove that bears the twin young; come, the hidden mother; come, she that is manifest in her deeds and gives joy and rest to then that are joined to her - come and communicate with us in this mystery which we celebrate in your name and in the love-feast wherein we are gathered together at your calling.’

25 Having so said, the apostle marked out the cross upon the bread, and broke it, and began to distribute it. First he gave to the woman, saying: ‘This shall be to you for remission of sins and eternal transgressions.’

26 After giving to her, he gave to all the others who also have received the seal and said to them: ‘Let this gift be to you for renewed life and inner silence, and not for judgement and pride.’

They said, ‘Amen.’

Chapter 5

Of the youth that murdered the woman

1 Now there was a certain youth who had worked an abominable deed, and he came near and received of the Mystery with his mouth; but his two hands withered up, so that he could no more put them to his own mouth.

2 They that were there saw him and told the apostle what had befallen the youth; and the apostle called him and said to him: ‘Tell me, my child, and be not ashamed, what was it that you did, and came here for? For the Mystery of the Lord have convicted you. For this gift which pass among many, healed them that with faith and love drew near, but you it have withered away; and that which happened, did not befall on you without some effectual cause.’

3 The youth, being convicted by the Mystery Meal of the Lord, came to tell at the apostle’s feet and appealed to him, saying: ‘I have done an evil deed, yet I thought to do good. I was enamoured of a woman that dwell at an inn outside the city, and she also loved me.

4 When I heard of you and believed, that you proclaim a living God, I came and received of you the seal with the rest, for you said: “Whoever shall partake in the polluted union, and especially in adultery, he shall not have life with the God whom I preach.”

5 Whereas therefore I loved her much, I entreated her and would have persuaded her to become my consort in chastity and pure conversation, which you also teach, but she would not. When, therefore, she consented not, I took a sword and slew her, for I could not endure to see her commit adultery with another man.’

6 When the apostle heard this he said: ‘O insane union, how you are reduced to shamelessness! O unrestrained lust, how have you stirred up this man to do this! O work of the serpent, how are you enraged against your own!’

7 The apostle asked for water to be brought to him in a basin, and when the water was brought, he said: ‘Come, you waters from the living waters, that were sent to us, the true from the true, the rest that was sent to us from the rest, the power of salvation that comes from that power which conquers all things and subdues them to its own will – come and dwell in these waters, that the gift of the Father the Holy Spirit may be perfectly consummated in them.’

8 He said to the youth: ‘Go, wash your hands in these waters.’ When he had washed, his hands were restored; and the apostle said to him: ‘Do you believe in our Lord Yesu Christ and that he is able to do all things?’

9 The youth replied: ‘Though I am the least, yes, I believe. But I committed this deed thinking that I was doing good, for I pleaded with her to keep herself chaste, as I told you, but she would not obey me.’

10 The apostle said to him: ‘Come, let us go to the inn where you committed this deed.’ The youth went before the apostle in the way, and when they came to the inn they found her lying dead.

Raising of the slain woman

11 The apostle, when he saw her, was sorry for the comely girl. He then commanded her to be brought into the midst of the inn. They laid her on a bed and brought her forth and set her down in the midst of the court of the inn.

12 Then the apostle laid his hand upon her and began to say: ‘Yesu, who always show yourself to us, for this is your will, that we should at all times seek you; and you yourself have given us this power, to ask and to receive, and have not only permitted this, but have taught us to pray. Yesu, who are not seen of our bodily eyes, but are never hidden from the eyes of our spirit; and in this aspect you are concealed, but in your works are manifested to us. Yesu, in your many acts we have known you so far as we are able, and yourself have given us your gifts without measure, saying: “Ask and it shall be given to you, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened to you”. We beseech you, therefore, having suspicion of our own sins, and we ask of you, not riches, not gold, not silver, not possessions, not anything else of the things which come of the earth and return again to the earth; but this we ask of you and entreat, that in your holy name you would raise up the woman that lies here, by your power, to the glory and faith of them that stand by.’

13 He said to the youth: ‘Stretch your mind towards our Lord,’ and he signed him with the cross, having sealed him he said: ‘Go and take her hand and say to her: I with my hands killed you with iron, and with my hands in the faith of Yesu I raise you up.’

14 So the youth went to her and stood by her, saying: ‘I believe in you, Christ Yesu.’ He then looked to Judas Thomas the apostle and said to him: ‘Pray for me that my Lord may come to my help, whom I also call upon.’

15 And he laid his hand upon her hand and said: ‘Come, Lord Yesu Christ, to her grant life and to me the absolute of faith in you.’

16 Straightway as he drew her hand she lived and sat up, looking upon the great company that stood by. She saw the apostle also standing over against her, and leaving the bed she leapt forward and fell at his feet and caught hold on his garment, saying: ’I beseech you, my lord where is that other that was with you, who left me not to remain in that fearful and cruel place, but delivered me to you, saying: “Take you this woman, that she may be made perfect, and hereafter be gathered into her place?”’

17 The apostle told her: ‘Relate to us where you have been.’ She answered: ‘Do you who were with me and to whom I was delivered desire to hear?’

18 She began to say: ‘I was taken by a man who was hateful, to look upon absolute in darkness, and his clothing exceedingly foul, and took me away to a place wherein were many pits, and a great stench and hateful odour came from it. He caused me to look into every pit, and I saw in the pit flaming fire, and wheels of fire ran round there, and souls were hanged upon those wheels, and were broken against each other: and very great crying and howling was there, and there was none to deliver them.

19 And that man said to me: “These souls are of your tribe, and when the number of their days were over they were delivered to the torment of reflection, and then are others brought in their place, and likewise those into another place. These are they that have revered the intercourse of male and female.” I looked and saw infants heaped one upon another and struggling with each other as they lay on them. He saw me looking and said to me: “These are the offspring of those who worship their passions.”’

20 ‘Then he took me to another pit, and I stooped and looked and saw worms eating up, and souls wallowing there, and a great gnashing of teeth was heard from them. That man said to me: “These are the souls who may not look away from the mirror of themselves and their pleading is to be devoured and delivered from this eternal torment.”’

21 ‘Again he took me and showed me a cave exceedingly dark, breathing out a great stench, and many souls were looking out desiring to get some of the air, but their keepers suffered them not to look out. And he that was with me said: “This is the prison of those souls which you saw, for when they have fulfilled their understanding for that which each did, thereafter do others succeed them; and there be some that are wholly consumed and others that are delivered over to other torments.”

22 They that kept the souls which were in the dark cave said to the man that had taken me: “Give her to us that we may bring her in to the rest until the time come for her to be delivered to her torment.” But he answered them: “I give her not to you, but I take her back with me until I shall receive order concerning her.”

23 Then he that was like to you took me and delivered me to you, saying: “Take her, for she is one of the sheep that have gone astray.” I was taken by you, and now am I before you. I beseech you, therefore, and supplicate that I may not depart to those places of punishment which I have seen.’

24 The apostle said: ‘You have heard what this woman have related. There are not these torments only, but others also, worse than these; and you, if you turn not to this God whom I preach, and abstain from your former works and the deeds which you committed without knowledge, you shall have your end in those torments.

25 Believe therefore in Christ Yesu, and he will forgive you the sins you have committed to this day, and will cleanse you from all your bodily lusts that abide on the earth, and will heal you of all your trespasses which follow you and depart with you and are found upon you.

26 Put off therefore every one of you the old person, and put on the new, and forsake your former walk and conversation - and let them that stole steal no more, but live by labouring and working; and let the adulterous no more fornicate, for they will deliver themselves to eternal torment, for adultery is before God exceeding evil beyond other sins; and put away from you covetousness and lying and drunkenness and slandering, and render not evil for evil - for all these things are strange and alien to the God who is preached by me.

27 Rather walk in faith and meekness and holiness and hope, wherein God delights, that you may become his own, expecting of him the gifts which some few only do receive.’

28 All the people therefore believed and gave their souls obediently to the living God and Christ Yesu, rejoicing in the blessed works of the Most High and in his holy service. They brought much money for the service of the widows: for the apostle had them gathered together in the cities, and to all of them he sent provision by his own deacons, both clothes and nourishment.

29 And he himself ceased not preaching, and speaking to them and showing that this is Yesu Christ whom the scriptures proclaimed, who came and was crucified, and raised on the third day from the dead, and that he ministers unto this time.

30 Next he showed them plainly, beginning from the prophets, the things concerning the Christ, that it was necessary that he came, and that in him was accomplished all things that were wanted of him from God.

31 And the fame of the apostle went ahead into all the cities and countries - and all, that had sick or them that were oppressed by unclean spirits, brought them, and some they laid in the way whereby he should pass, and he healed them all by the power of the Lord.

32 Then all that were healed by him said with one accord: “Glory be to you, Yesu, who have granted us all alike healing through your servant and apostle Thomas. Now being whole and rejoicing, we beseech you that we may be of your flock, and be numbered among your sheep – receive us therefore, Lord, and charge not to us our transgressions and our former faults which we committed being in ignorance.”

33 The apostle said: ‘Glory be to the first-born of many brethren! Glory be to you, the defender and helper of them that come to your refuge! Glory be to you, that sleep not, and awake them that are asleep, that live and give life to them that lie in death! O god Yesu Christ, son of the living God, redeemer and helper, refuge and rest of all that labour in your work, giver of healing to them that for your name’s sake bear the burden and heat of the day; we give thanks to the gifts that are given to us of you and granted to us by your help and your dispensation that come to us from you.’

34 ‘Perfect therefore these things in us to the end that we may have the boldness that is in you. Look upon us, Lord, because for your sake have we forsaken our homes and our parents, and for your sake have we gladly and willingly become strangers.

35 Look upon us, Lord, for we have forsaken our own possessions for your sake, that we might gain you, the possession that cannot be taken away. Look upon us, Lord, for we have forsaken them that belong to us by race, that we might be joined to your kinship.

36 Look upon us, Lord, we that have forsaken our fathers and mothers and guardians, that we might behold your Father, and Mother and be satisfied with this divine food. Look upon us, Lord, as for your sake have we forsaken our bodily consorts and our earthly fruits, that we might be partakers in that enduring and true fellowship, and bring forth true fruits, whose nature is from above, which no human can take from us, with whom we shall abide and who shall abide with us.’

Chapter 6

Of the captain

1 Now while the apostle Thomas was proclaiming throughout all India the word of God, a certain captain of the king Misdeas came to him and said to him: ‘I have heard of you that you take no reward of any man, but even what you have you give to them that need.

2 For if you did receive rewards, I would have sent you a great sum, and would not have come myself, for the king does nothing without me - for I have much substance and am rich, even one of the richest men of India.

3 I have never done wrong to any, but the contrary have befallen me. I have a wife, and of her I had a daughter, and I am well affectioned toward my wife, as also nature requires and have never made trial after another wife.

4 It so happened that there was a wedding in our city, and they that made the marriage feast were well beloved of me; they came and asked me to it, also my wife and her daughter.

5 Since then as they were my good friends I could not refuse - I sent her therefore, though she desired not to go, and with them I sent also many servants – so they departed, adorned with ornaments, both she and her daughter.’

6 ‘When it was evening and the time came to depart from the wedding I sent lamps and torches to meet them, and I stood in the street to watch when she should come and I should see her with my daughter.

7 As I stood I heard a sound of lamentation. “Woe for her!” was heard out of every mouth. Then my servants with their clothes torn came to me and told me what was done. “We saw,” said they, “a man and a boy with him. The man laid his hand upon your wife, and the boy upon your daughter, and they fled from them. We wounded them with our swords, but our swords fell to the ground.

8 And the same hour the women fell down, gnashing their teeth and beating their heads upon the earth, and seeing this we came to tell it you.”

9 When I heard this of my servants I tore my clothes and smote my face with my hands, and becoming like one mad I ran along the street, and came and found them cast in the market-place. I took them and brought them to my house, and after a long space they awoke and stood up, and sat down.’

10 ‘I began therefore to inquire of my wife: “What is it that have befallen you?” She replied: “Do you not know what you have done to me? I begged of you that I might not go to the wedding, because I was not of even health in my body.

11 As I went on the way and came near to the aqueduct wherein the water flows, I saw a dark man standing over there nodding at me with his head, and a boy like to him standing by him. I said to my daughter: ”Look at those two hideous men, whose teeth are like milk and their lips like soot."

12 We left them and went towards the aqueduct to the wedding. When it was sunset, we departed from the wedding, as we passed by with the young servants and drew near the aqueduct, my daughter saw them first, and was frightened and fled towards me, and I also saw them coming towards us. The servants that were with us fled from them and they struck us, and cast down both me and my daughter."

13 As she had told me these things, the devils came upon them again and threw them down – and from that hour they are not able to come out, but are shut up in a room with another.

14 On their account I suffer much, and am distressed: for the devils throw them down, where ever they find them, and strip them naked.

15 I beseech and supplicate you before God, help me and have pity on me, for it is now three years that a table have not been set in my house, and my wife and my daughter have not sat at a table, and especially for my unhappy daughter, which have not seen any good at all in this world.’

16 The apostle, hearing these things from the captain, was greatly grieved for him, and said to him: ‘Do you believe that Yesu will heal them?’

17 The captain said: ‘Yes.’ The apostle then said: ‘Commit yourself then to Yesu, and he will heal them and find them strength.’

18 The captain said: ‘Show me him, that I may entreat him and believe in him.’ The apostle answered: ‘He appears not to these bodily eyes, but is found by the eyes of the mind.’

19 The captain therefore lifted up his voice and said: ‘I believe you, Yesu, and entreat and supplicate you, help my little faith which I have in you.’

Ordination of Xenophon

20 Where after the apostle commanded Xenophon the deacon to assemble all the brothers and sisters; and when the whole multitude was gathered, the apostle stood in the midst and said:

21 ‘Children and brothers and sisters that have believed in the Lord, abide in this faith, preaching Yesu who was proclaimed to you by me, to bring you hope in him; and forsake him not, and he will not forsake you. While you sleep in this slumber that weighs down the sleepers, he, sleeping not, keeps watch over you. When you sail and are in peril and none can help, he, walking upon the waters supports and helps.

22 For I am now departing from you, and it appears not if I shall again see you according to the flesh. Be you not therefore like the people of Israel, who losing sight of their pastors for an hour, stumbled.

23 But I leave to you Xenophon, the deacon, in my place; for he also, like myself, proclaims Yesu. Know that neither am I to be regarded, nor he, but Yesu only; for I also am a man clothed with a body, a son of man like one of you. Neither have I riches as it is found with some, which also convict them that possess them, being wholly useless, and left behind upon the earth, from where also they came, and they carry away with them the transgressions and blemishes of sins which befall humans by their means. And scarcely are rich people found in almsgiving, but the merciful and lowly in heart, these shall inherit the kingdom of God.

24 It is not beauty that endures with humans, for they that trust in it, when age comes upon them, shall suddenly be put to shame: all things therefore have their time - in their season are they loved and hated.

25 Let your hope then be in Yesu Christ the son of God, which is always loved, and always desired. Be mindful of us, as we are of you; for we too, if we fulfil not the burden of the commandments are not worthy to be preachers of this name, and hereafter shall we pay the punishment of our own head.’

26 The apostle prayed with them and continued with them a long time in prayer and supplication, and committing them to the Lord, he said: ‘O Lord that rule over every spirit that is in the body, God, Father of the souls that have their hope in you and expect your mercies; that redeem from error the men that are your own, and set free from bondage and corruption your subjects that come to your refuge; be you in the flock of Xenophon and anoint  it with holy  oil, and heal it of sores, and preserve it from the ravening wolves.’ He laid his hand on them and said: ‘The peace of the Lord shall be upon you and shall journey with us.’

Chapter 7

Of the wild asses

1 The apostle therefore prepared to depart on the way, and they all escorted him, weeping and adjuring him to make remembrance of them in his prayers and not to forget them.

2 He went up then and sat upon the chariot, leaving all the brothers and sisters, and the captain came and woke the driver, saying: ‘I entreat and pray that I may become worthy to sit beneath his feet, and I will be his driver upon this way, that he also may become my guide in that way whereby few go.’

3 When they had journeyed about two miles, the apostle begged of the captain and made him arise and sit by him, asking the driver to sit in his own place. As they went along the road, it came to pass that the beasts were tired with the great heat and could not be stirred at all.

4 The captain was greatly troubled and depressed, and thought to run on his own feet and bring other beasts for the use of the chariot, but the apostle said: ‘Let not your heart be troubled nor frighted, but believe in Yesu Christ whom I have proclaimed to you, and you shall see great wonders.’

5 He looked and saw a herd of wild asses feeding by the wayside, and said to the captain: ‘If you have believe in Christ Yesu, go to that herd of wild asses and say: Judas Thomas the apostle of Christ the new god say to you: Let four of you come, of whom we have use.’

6 The captain went in fear, for they were many, and as he went, they came to meet him, and when they were near, he said to them: ‘Judas Thomas the apostle of the new god command to you: Let four of you come, of whom I have need.’ When the wild asses heard it, they ran with one accord and came to him, and when they came they did him reverence.

7 Judas Thomas the apostle of our Lord lifted up his voice in praise and said: ‘Glorious are you, God of truth and Lord of all natures, for you willed with your will, and make all your works and finish all your creatures, and bring them to the rule of their nature, and lay upon them all your fear that they might be subject to your command. Your will trod the path from your secrecy to manifestation, and was caring for every soul that you made, and was spoken of by the mouth of all the prophets, in all visions and sounds and voices; but Israel did not obey because of their evil inclination. You, because you are Lord of all, have a care for the creatures, so that you spread over us your mercy in him who came by your will and put on the body, your creature, which you willed and formed according to your glorious Wisdom. He whom you appoint in your secrecy and establish in your manifestation, to him you give the name of Son, he who becomes your will, the power of your thought; so that you are by various names, the Father and Wisdom and the Spirit, for the sake of the government of your creatures, for the nourishing of all natures, and you are one in glory and power and will; and you are divided without being separated, and all subsists in you and is subject to you, because all is yours. I rely upon you, Lord, and by your command have subjected these dumb beasts, that you may show your ministering power upon us and upon them because it is needful, and that your name might be glorified in us and in the beasts that cannot speak.

8 The apostle said to them: ‘Peace be to you. Yoke four of you in the place of these beasts that have come to a stand.’ Every one of them came and pressed to be yoked, there were then four stronger than the rest, which also were yoked. And the rest, some went before and some followed. When they had journeyed a little way he dismissed the colts, saying: ‘I say to you inhabitants of the desert, depart to your pastures, for if I had need of all, you would all have gone with me, but now go to your place where you dwell.’ They departed quietly until they were no more seen.

9 Now as the apostle and the captain and the driver went on, the wild asses drew the chariot quietly and evenly. When they came near to the city gate they turned aside and stood still before the doors of the captain’s house.

10 The captain said: ‘It is not possible for me to relate what have happened, but when I see the end I will tell it.’ The whole city came to see the wild asses under the yoke, and they had heard also the report of the apostle that he was to come and visit them.

11 The apostle asked the captain: ‘Where is your dwelling, and where do you bring us?’ He said to him: ‘You yourself know that we stand before the doors, and these which by your commandment have come with you know it better than I.’

12 Having so said he came down from the chariot. The apostle therefore began to say: ‘Yesu Christ, that are blasphemed by the ignorance of you in this country; Yesu, the report of whom is strange in this city; Yesu, that receives all send on before the apostles in every country and in every city, and all yours that are worthy are glorified in you; Christ, that took a form and become as a man, and was seen by all of us, that you might not separate us from your own love. You, Lord, are he that gave yourself for us, and with your blood have purchased us and gained us as a possession of great price: and what have we to give you, Lord, in exchange for your life which you gave for us? For that which we would give, you gave us, and this is, that we should entreat of you and live.’

13 When he had so said, many assembled from every quarter to see the apostle of the new God. Again the apostle said: ‘Why do we stand idle? Yesu, Lord, the hour has come, what will you have done? Command therefore what should be fulfilled and what needs to be done.’

14 Now the captain’s wife and her daughter were sick and worn down by the devils, so that they of the house thought they would rise up no more, for they allowed them not to partake of anything, but threw them down upon their beds recognizing no man until that day when the apostle came.

15 The apostle said to one of the wild asses that were yoked on the right hand: ‘Enter you within the gate, and stand there and call the devils and say to them: Judas Thomas the apostle and disciple of Yesu Christ say to you: Come here, for on your account am I sent and to them that are like you by race, to destroy you and chase you to your place, until the time of the end come and you go down into your own deep of darkness.’

16 And that wild ass went in, a great multitude being with him, and said: ‘Unto you I speak, the enemies, of Yesu that is called Christ; to you I speak, that shut your eyes lest you see the light; to you I speak, children of the pit of destruction, of him that cease not from evil until now, that always renews his workings and the things that befit his being; to you I speak, most shameless, that shall perish by your own hands.

17 What I shall say of your destruction and end, and what I shall tell, I know not. For there are many things and innumerable to the hearing, and greater are your doings than the torment that is reserved for you. But to you I speak, devil, and to your son that follows with you, for now am I set against you.

18 Why should I make many words about your nature and root, which yourselves know and are not ashamed? But, Judas Thomas the apostle of Christ Yesu say to you, he that by much love and affection is sent here: Before all this multitude that stand here, come forward and tell me of what race you are.’

19 Straightaway the woman came forward with her daughter, both like dead persons and dishonoured in how they looked, and the apostle beholding them was grieved, especially for the girl, and said to the devils: ‘God forbid that for you there should be sparing or propitiation, for you know not to spare nor to have pity, in the name of Yesu, depart from them and stand by their side.’

20 When the apostle had so said, the women fell down and became as dead, for they neither had breath nor uttered speech.

21 But the devil answered with a loud voice and said: ‘Have you come here again, you that make a mockery of our nature and race? Have you come again, you that blot out our devices? And, as I take it, you do not even like being upon earth at all - but this at this time you can not accomplish.’ The apostle guessed that this devil was the one that had been driven out from that other woman.

22 The devil said: ‘I beseech you, give me leave to depart even wherever you want, and I will stay there and take commandment from you, and I will not fear the ruler that have authority over me. For as you come to preach good tidings, so I also am come to destroy; and like you, if you fulfil not the will of him that sent you, he will bring punishment upon your head, so I also if I do not the will of him that sent me, before the season and time appointed, I shall be sent to my own nature; and as your Christ helps you in what you do, so also my father helps me in what I do; and as for you he prepares vessels worthy of your inhabiting, so also for me he seeks out vessels whereby I may accomplish his deeds; and like as he nourishes and provides for his subjects, so also for me he prepares chastisements and torments, with them that become my dwelling places; and as for a reward of your working he gives you eternal life, so also to me he gives for a reward of my works eternal destruction; and like you are refreshed by prayer and good works and spiritual thanksgivings, so I also am refreshed by murders and adulteries and sacrifices made with wine upon altars; and like you convert human beings to eternal life, so I also pervert them that obey me to eternal destruction and torment - and you receive your own and I mine.’

23 When the devil had said these things and yet more the apostle said: ‘Through me, Yesu commands you and your son to enter no more into the habitation of humans, but go away and depart and dwell totally apart from the habitation of humans.’

Idol worship

24 The devils said to him: ‘You have laid on us a harsh commandment, but what will you do to them that now are concealed from you? Since they that have made all the idols rejoice in them more than you, and many of them worship those even more than you worship God, and they do what they want, sacrificing to them and bringing them food, by oils and by wine and water and offering with praises.’

25 The apostle said: ‘They also shall now be abolished, with their works.’ Suddenly the devils vanished away, but the women lay upon the earth as if they were dead, and without speech.

The ass’ sermon

26 The wild asses stood together and parted not one from another. But he to whom speech was given by the power of the Lord, while all men kept silence, and looked to see what they would do, the wild ass said to the apostle: ‘Why do you stand and do nothing, O apostle of Christ the Most High, who looks that you should ask of him the best of learning? Why do you wait then, for see, your teacher desires to show by your hands his mighty works? Why do you stand still, O herald of the hidden one, for your Lord wants to manifest through you his unspeakable things, which he reserves for them that are worthy of him, to hear them. Why do you rest, O doer of mighty works in the name of the Lord, for your Lord encourages you and engenders boldness in you. Fear not, for he will not forsake the soul that belongs to you by birth. Begin to call upon him and he will listen to you! Why do you stand amazed at all his acts and his workings, for these are small things which he has shown by your means. What will you tell concerning his great gifts, for you will not be sufficient to declare them? And why are you amazed at his cures of the body which he works even though it comes to an end, especially when you know that healing of his which is secure and lasting, which he brings by his own nature. Why do you look to this passing life, and have no thought of that which is eternal?’

27 ‘But to you, the multitudes that stand by and look to see these that are cast down raised up, I say; believe in the apostle of Yesu Christ, believe the teacher of truth, believe him that show you the truth; believe Yesu, believe in the Christ that was born, that the born may live by his life, who also was raised up through infancy, that perfection might appear by his humanhood.

28 He taught his own disciples, for he is the teacher of the truth and makes wise men wise. He who went to school that through him perfect wisdom might be known, he taught his teachers because he was the teacher of exactness and the master of the wise.

29 He who also offered the gift in the temple that he might show that even that offering can be sanctified. This is his apostle, the shower of truth, this is he that performs the will of him that sent him.

30 But there shall come false apostles and prophets of lawlessness, whose end shall be according to their deeds: preaching and ordaining to flee from ungodliness, but themselves at all times detected in sins; covered with sheep’s clothing, but within, ravening wolves; who take for themselves not one wife but corrupt many women; who, saying that they despise children, destroy many children, for whom they will pay the penalty; that content not themselves with their own possessions, but desire that all useless things should minister to them only; professing to be his disciples, and with their mouth they utter one thing, but in their mind they think another; charging other men to beware of evil, but they themselves perform nothing that is good; who are said to be even tempered, and charge other men to abstain from fornication, theft, and lust, but in all these things do they themselves walk secretly, teaching other men not to do them.’

The Confession of Faith

31 When the wild ass had declared all these things, all the people gazed upon him. When he ceased the apostle said: ‘What I shall think concerning your beauty, O Yesu, and what I shall tell of you, I know not, or rather I am not able, for I have no power to declare it; O Christ that are in rest, and ever wise to know the inward of the heart and understand the thought. Glory be to you, merciful and tranquil one. Glory to you, wise word. Glory to your compassion that was born to us. Glory to your mercy that was spread out over us. Glory to your greatness that was made small for us. Glory to your most high kingship that was humbled for us. Glory to your might which was made small for us. Glory to your Godliness that for us was seen in the likeness of a man. Glory to your humanhood that died for us that it might make us live. Glory to your resurrection from the dead; for thereby rising again and rest come to our souls. Glory and praise to your ascending into the heavens; for thereby you have showed us the high Way, and promised that we shall sit with you on your right hand and with you judge the twelve tribes of Israel.27 You are the heavenly word of the Father, you are the hidden light of Wisdom, shower of the Way of truth, driver-away of darkness, and destroyer of sin and its effects.

32 Having thus spoken, the apostle stood over the women, saying: ‘My Lord, and my God, I am not divided from you, nor as one unbelieving do I call upon you who are always our helper and strength and raiser-up; who breathes your own power into us and encourages us and gives confidence in love to your own servants. I beseech you, let these souls be healed and rise up and become such as they were before they were smitten of the devils.’ When he thus spoke the women turned and sat up.

33 The apostle then showed the captain that his servants should take them and bring them within. When they had gone in, the apostle said to the wild asses, ‘Follow me.’ Obediently they went after him until he had brought them without the gate, and when they had gone out, he said to them: ‘Depart in peace to your pastures.’

34 The wild asses therefore went away willingly; and the apostle stood and watched over them that they should not be hurt by any one, until they had gone afar off and were no more seen. Thereafter the apostle returned with the multitude into the house of the captain.28