Acts of Thomas: Chapters 11 - 16
Mygdonia receives baptism
1 While Mygdonia thought this, Judas came and stood over her, she saw him and was afraid, she fell down and became lifeless with terror.
2 But he stood by her and took her by the hand and said to her: ‘Fear not, Mygdonia, Yesu will not leave you, neither will the Lord to whom you have committed your soul overlook you. His compassionate rest will not forsake you, he that is kind will not forsake you.’
3 ‘Rise up then from the earth, you that have become wholly above it; look at the light, for the Lord leaves not them that love him to walk in darkness; see him that travel with his servants, he is to them a defender in times of danger.’
4 Mygdonia arose and looked on him and said: ‘Where did you go to my lord, and who is he that brought you out of prison to see the sun?’ Judas Thomas replied: ‘My Lord Yesu is mightier than all powers and all kings and rulers.’
5 Mygdonia said: ‘Give me the seal of Yesu Christ and let me receive the gift at your hands before you depart out of life.’
6 She took him with her, entered into the court and woke her nurse, saying to her: ‘Narcia, my mother and nurse, all your service and nourishment you have given me from my childhood until my present age are boastful, and for them I owe you thanks which are temporary; do for me now also a favour, that you may for ever receive a recompense from him that gives great gifts.’
7 Narcia in answer said: ‘What do you need, my daughter Mygdonia, and what is to be done for your pleasure? The honours which you did promise me, that is before the stranger, you have not allowed yourself to accomplish, therefore you have made me a scandal among all the nation. Now, what is this new thing that you command from me?’
8 Mygdonia said: ‘Become a partaker with me in eternal life, that I may receive of perfect nursing: take bread and bring it to me, and wine mingled with water, and pity me a free-born woman.’
9 The nurse said: ‘I will bring you many loaves, and much water and of wine enough to fulfil your desire.’ But she said to the nurse: ‘Gallons is not what I desire nor the many loaves; but this only, bring wine mingled with water and one loaf, and oil.’
10 When Narcia had brought these things, Mygdonia stood before the apostle with her head bare; and he took the oil and poured it on her head, saying: ‘You, holy oil given to us for sanctification, secret mystery whereby we know the cross, you are the straightener of the crooked limbs, you are the softener of hard things, you are it that shows the hidden treasures, you are the sprout of goodness; let your power come, let it be established upon your servant Mygdonia, and her by this freedom.’
11 When the oil was poured upon her he called her nurse, unclothed her and wrapped a linen cloth about her; and there was a fountain of water upon which the apostle went up, and baptised Mygdonia in the name of God the Holy Father, Holy Mother and Holy Son.
12 When she was baptised and clothed, he broke bread and took a cup of water and made her a partaker in the body of Christ and the cup of the Son of God, and said: ‘You have received your seal, get for yourself eternal life.’ Immediately there was heard from above a voice saying: ‘Yes, Amen.’
Narcia receives the seal
13 When Narcia heard that voice, she was amazed, and asked the apostle that she also might receive the seal; the apostle gave it to her and said: ‘Let the care of the Lord be about you as about the rest.’
14 Having done these things, the apostle returned to the prison, there he found the doors open and the guards still sleeping. Thomas said: ‘Who is like you, O God, who does not withhold your loving affection and care from any who is like you, the merciful, who have delivered your creatures out of evil? Life that have subdued death, rest that have ended toil. Glory be to the one begotten of the Father. Glory to the compassionate that was sent forth of his heart.’
15 After he had said this, the guards woke up, saw all the doors open and the prisoners asleep, they said to themselves: ‘Did we not fasten the doors, and how are they now open, and the prisoners within?’
Charisius opposes Yesu
16 At dawn, Charisius went to Mygdonia, and found them praying and saying: ‘O new God, that by the stranger have come here to us, hidden God of the people of India; God, that have shown your glory by your apostle Thomas; God, whose report we have heard and believed; God, to whom we come to be saved; God, who for love of man and for pity came down to our littleness; God, who sought us out when we did not know you; God, that contemplates in the heights and from whom the depths are not hidden: turn away from us the madness of Charisius.’
17 Charisius hearing them said to Mygdonia: ‘Rightly you call me evil and mad and foul, for if I had not been patient with your disobedience, and given you liberty, you would not have called on God against me, and made mention of your name before God. Believe me, Mygdonia, that in that sorcerer there is no profit, and what he promises to perform he cannot; but I will perform before your sight all that I promise, that you may believe; bear with my words and you will be to me as you were before.’
18 He then came near to hear, and asked her again: ‘If you will be persuaded by me, I shall have no further grief; remember that day when you first saw me, tell the truth, was I not more beautiful to you at that time, than Yesu is at this time?’
19 Mygdonia replied: ‘That time required its own, and this time also; that was the time of the beginning, but this of the end; that was the time of temporal life, this of eternal; that of pleasure that pass away, but this of pleasure that lasts for ever; that of day and night, this of day without night; you saw the marriage that was passing, here and only now, but this marriage continues for ever; that was a partnership of corruption, but this is of eternal life; those groomsmen and maids were men and women of time, but these stay to the end.’ The marriage on earth is set on dropping dew from the love of humans, that bed-chamber is taken down again, but this one remains for ever and is set on holy dew from the Spirit; that bed was strewn with covers that grow old, but this with love and faith; you are a bridegroom that pass away and are dissolved, but Yesu is a true bridegroom, enduring for ever immortal; that bride-price was of money and robes that grow old, but this is of living words which never pass away.’
20 Charisius heard these things and went to the king to tell him all; the king then commanded Judas to be brought before him so that he might judge him and destroy him.’
21 Charisius said: ‘Have a little patience, O king, first persuade the man by making him afraid, that he may convince Mygdonia to be to me as before.’
22 Misdaeus sent for the apostle of Christ, and when he was fetched from the prison, all the prisoners were grieved because the apostle departed from them; they yearned after him, saying: ‘Even the comfort which we had, have they taken away from us.’
23 King Misdaeus asked Judas: ‘Why do you teach this new doctrine, which both gods and men hate, and which have nothing of profit?’
24 Judas answered: ‘What evil do I teach?’ Misdaeus said: ‘You teach, saying that it is not possible for humans to have a life with the God you preach if they do not keep themselves pure as gods.’
25 Judas said: ‘You say true, O king, thus do I teach. Do tell me, are you not angry with your soldiers if they wait on you in filthy garments? If then you, being a king of earth, and returning to earth, request your subjects to be reverend in their doings ... why then are you angry and say that I teach ill, when I say that they who serve my king, must be reverend and pure; free from all grief and care of children; and free from unprofitable aches and vain trouble?’ For indeed, you want your subjects to follow your conversation and your manners, and you punish them if they despise your commandments! How much more must they that believe in Yesu Christ serve God? They must serve God with much reverence and cleanness and firmness, and be rid of all pleasures of the body, adultery and prodigality and theft and drunkenness and belly-service and foul deeds.’
26 Misdaeus hearing these things said: ‘See, I let you go. Now, go and persuade Mygdonia, the wife of Charisius, not to want to depart from him.’
27 Judas said to him: ‘Do not delay anything you have to do. As for her, if she have rightly received what she have learned, neither iron, nor fire, nor anything else stronger than these, will hurt her or uproot him that is held in her soul.’
28 Misdaeus said to Judas: ‘Some poisons do dissolve other poisons, theriacs cure the bite of the viper: and you, if you want to, you can give a solvent of those diseases, and make peace and concord between this couple; for by so doing you will spare yourself, for not yet are you fulfilled with life; and you should know that if you do not persuade her, I will pluck you away out of this life which is desirable to all men.’
29 Judas said: ‘This life have been given as a loan, and this time is one that changes, but that life of which I teach is incorruptible; and beauty and youth that are seen shall in a soon cease to be.’ The king said to him: ‘I have counselled you for the best, but you know your own affairs.’
30 As the apostle went from before the king, Charisius came to him and appealed him and said: ‘I beseech you, O man, I have not sinned against you or any other person at any time, nor against the gods, why then have you stirred up this great disaster against me? For what cause have you brought such disturbance upon my house and what do you profit from it? If you think to gain from this, tell me what the gain is and I will procure it for you without labour. To what end do you want to make me mad, and cast yourself into destruction? If you persuade her not, I will dispatch you both and finally take myself out of life! But if, as you say, after our departing from this place of life and death, and condemnation and victory, that there is a place of judgement, then I will also go in there to be judged with you: and if that God whom you preach is just and awards punishment justly, I know that I shall win my case against you; for you have injured me, you who suffered no wrong at my hands; for indeed even here I am able to avenge myself on you and bring upon you all that you have done to me. Therefore be persuaded, and come home with me and persuade Mygdonia to be with me as she was at first, before she saw you.’
31 Judas said to him: ‘Believe me, my child, that if men loved God as much as they love one another, they would ask of him all things and receive them, and none would do them violence.’
32 As Thomas said this, they came to the house of Charisius and found Mygdonia sitting and Narcia standing by her, her hand supporting her cheek as she was saying: ‘Let the remainder of the days of my life, O mother, be cut off from me, and all the hours become as one hour, and let me depart out of life that I may go sooner and see that beautiful one, who I have heard of. Yes, that living one and giver of life to them that believe in him, where there is neither day and night, nor light and darkness, nor good and evil, nor poor and rich, nor male and female, nor free and bond, nor proud that subjects the humble.’
33 As she spoke these words, the apostle stood by her, and she rose up and did him reverence. Then Charisius said to him: ‘See how she fears and honours you. All that you shall ask her she will do willingly!’
34 And as he spoke, Judas said to Mygdonia: ‘My daughter Mygdonia, obey that which your brother Charisius say.’
35 Mygdonia said: ‘If you are not able to even describe the deed in word, will you compel me to endure the act? I have heard of you that this life is of no profit, and this relief is for a time, and these possessions are transitory. You said that whoever renounces this life shall receive the life eternal, and whoever has the light of day and night shall see a light that is not overcome, that whoever despises this money shall find other and eternal money. But, now because you are in fear you speak differently. Who that have done a great work and is praised for it, changes it, and straightaway overthrows it from the foundation? Who digs a spring for water in a thirsty land, and straightaway fill it in again? Who finds a treasure and uses it not?’
36 Charisius heard it and said: ‘I will not imitate you, neither will I rush to destroy you, nor, even though I may still do so, will I put bonds about you. But you, Mygdonia, I will not allow to speak again with this sorcerer; if you obey me, then it is well, but if not, I know what I must do.’
Siphor requests the seal
37 Judas went out of Charisius’ house and departed to the house of Siphor and lodged there with him. Siphor said: ‘I will prepare for Judas a clinic wherein he may teach.’
38 And he did so, and Siphor said: ‘I and my wife and daughter will live in holiness, and in chastity, and in one mind. I beseech you that we may receive of you the seal, and become worshippers of the true God and be numbered among his sheep and lambs.’ Judas said: ‘I am afraid to speak that which I think, yet I know something, and what I know, it is not possible for me to speak.’
Thomas speaks on baptism
39 He began to say concerning baptism: ‘This baptism is for repentance of sins and the turning about of your due load 33: this brings forth again light that is shed about us; this brings to birth the new person; this mingles holiness with the spirit, the soul and the body; and raises up in threefold-wise a new person and partaker of the remission of dues from sin. Glory be to you, hidden one, that are communicated in baptism. Glory to you the unseen power that is in baptism. Glory to you, renewal, whereby are renewed they that are baptised and with affection take hold upon you.’
40 Having said this he poured oil over their heads and said: ‘Glory be to you the love of the heart. Glory to you name of Christ. Glory to you, power established in Christ.’
41 He then commanded a vessel to be brought, and baptised them in the name of the Male the Female and the Son.’
42 When they were baptised and dressed, he placed bread on the table and blessed it, and said: ‘Bread of life, of which whoever eats remains incorruptible. Bread that fills the hungry souls with the blessing thereof, you are he that concede to receive a gift, that you may become to us remission of sins, and that they who eat you may become immortal. We invoke upon you the name of the Mother, of the unspeakable Mystery of the hidden powers and authorities of the Father; we invoke upon you the name of your Yesu.’
41 He continued: ‘Let the powers of blessing come, and be established in this bread, that all the souls which partake of it may be washed from their sins.’ He broke the bread and gave to Siphor and his wife and daughter.
The wife of Misdaeus
1 Misdaeus the king, when he had let Judas go, dined and went home. He told his wife what trouble fell on Charisius their kinsman, saying: ‘See what have come to pass to that unhappy man, and you yourself know, my sister Tertia, that a man has nothing better than his own wife on whom he rests. It accidentally happened that his wife went to that sorcerer, of whom you have heard that came to the land of the Indians, and fell into his charms and is parted from her own husband; and he knows not what he should do. I would have destroyed the malefactor, but Charisius would not have it. Perhaps you would go and counsel her to give in to her husband, and to forsake the vain words of the sorcerer.’
2 As soon as she arose Tertia went to the house of Charisius. She found Mygdonia lying upon the earth in humiliation, ashes and sackcloth were spread under her; she was praying that God would forgive her her former sins and that she might soon depart out of life.
3 Tertia said to her: ‘Mygdonia, my dear sister and companion, what is this disease that have overtaken you? Why do you act like a mad person? Find yourself and come back to your own way. Come close to your family, and spare your good husband Charisius – so stop doing things unbefitting a free-woman.’
4 Mygdonia said to her: ‘O Tertia, you have not yet heard the preacher of life, not yet has he touched your ears, not yet have you tasted the medicine of life, nor are you freed from corruptible mourning. You stand in the life of time, everlasting life and salvation you do not know of, and you do not yet see the incorruptible fellowship. You stand dressed in robes that grow old and you do not desire those that are eternal, you are proud of this beauty which vanish and have no thought of the holiness of your soul. You are rich in a multitude of servants, but your own soul is enslaved. You are proud, since you believe that the glory that comes from having much will redeem you, but you do not redeem yourself from the condemnation of death.’
5 When Tertia heard this of Mygdonia she said: ‘I pray you, sister, take me to that stranger that teaches these great things, that I also may go and hear him, and be taught to worship the God whom he preaches, and become partaker of his prayers, and a sharer in all that you have told me of.’
6 Mygdonia told her: ‘He is in the house of Siphor the captain. Furthermore, he has become the occasion of life to all of them that are being saved in India.’
7 Hearing that, Tertia went quickly to Siphor’s house, that she might see the new apostle. When she entered the house, Judas said to her: ‘What have you come to see? A man that is a stranger and poor, contemptible and needy, having neither riches nor substance? Yet, there is one thing I possess, which neither kings nor rulers can take away, that neither perishes nor ceases; that is Yesu, the Saviour of all humankind, the son of the living God, who have given life to all that believe in him and take refuge with him and are known to be of the number of his servants.’
8 Tertia asked of him: ‘How may I become a partaker of this life, which you promise, that all who come together to the assembly of God shall receive?’
9 The apostle replied: ‘The treasury of the holy king is opened wide, and they who worthily partake of the good things that are therein do rest, and resting do reign;34 but first, no one comes to him that is unclean and vile, for he knows our inmost hearts and the depths of our thought, and it is not possible for any to escape him. You, then, if you really believe in him, shall be made worthy of his mysteries, and he will magnify you and enrich you, and make you to be an heir of his kingdom.’
10 Tertia, having heard this, returned home rejoicing. She found her husband awaiting her, not having dined, and when Misdaeus saw her he asked: ‘Why is it that your entering into this room to-day is more beautiful? And, why do you come walking, it is not proper, not for a free-born women like you?’
11 Tertia said to him: ‘I owe you the greatest of thanks because you sent me to Mygdonia – I went and heard of a new life! I saw the new apostle of the God that gives life to them that believe in him and fulfil his commandments. I should therefore repay you for this favour and admonition with good advice; for you shall be a great king in heaven if you obey me and fear the God that is preached by the stranger, and keep yourself holy to the living God. For this kingdom passes away, and your comfort will be turned into affliction, but go to that man, and believe him, and you shall live to the end.’
12 When Misdaeus heard these things of his wife, he slapped his face with his hands and tore his clothes, saying: ‘May the soul of Charisius find no rest, for he has hurt me to the soul; and may he have no hope, for he has taken away my hope.’ Misdaeus went out greatly displeased.
13 Misdaeus found Charisius his friend in the market-place. He grabbed Charisius and said to him: ‘Why have you cast me into hell to be another companion to yourself? Why have you emptied and defrauded me to gain nothing? Why have you hurt me, and profited yourself not at all? Why have you slain me, and yourself you have not lived? Why have you wronged me, and yourself you gained no justice? Why did you not allow me to destroy that sorcerer before he corrupted my house with his wickedness?’
14 Charisius asked: ‘Why, what have befallen you?’ Misdaeus replied: ‘He bewitched Tertia!’
Misdaeus hits Thomas with a chair
15 Both the men went to the house of Siphor the captain, and found Judas sitting and teaching. All they that were there rose up before the king, but he arose not.
16 Misdaeus saw that it was Judas Thomas – and took hold of a seat and sat over it, then took up the seat with both his hands and hit his head so that he wounded it.
17 He delivered Thomas to his soldiers, ordering: ‘Take him away, take him with violence and not gently, that his shame may be shown to all.’
18 They took him to the place where Misdaeus ordered, and he stood there, held by the soldiers of Misdaeus.
Luzanes the son of Misdaeus
1 But, Luzanes the son of Misdaeus came to the soldiers and said: ‘Give me him, that I may speak with him until the king comes.’ They gave Thomas up, and he took him to where the king gives judgement.
2 Luzanes then said: ‘Know you not that I am the son of Misdaeus the king; I have the power to say to the king what I will, and he will allow you to live? Tell me then, who is your God? What power do you claim and what glory in it? If it be that this power is of magic, tell me, and teach me, and I will let you go.’
3 Judas replied: ‘You are the son of Misdaeus the king, who is king for a time, but I am the servant of Yesu Christ, the eternal king. You have power to say to your father to save whom you want, in this temporal life wherein humans continue not, and you and your father grant these things here; but, I beseech my Lord and intercede for all, and he gives them a new life which is altogether enduring.’
4 ‘You boast yourself of possessions and servants, robes and luxury, and unclean chambers; whereas I boast myself of poverty and philosophy, humility and fasting, prayer and the fellowship of the Holy Father and Mother of my brothers and sisters that are worthy of God - I boast myself of eternal life. You rely on a man like yourself, not able to save his own soul from judgement and death; and I, I rely upon the living God, upon the saviour of kings and princes, who is the judge of all.’
5 ‘True, you indeed to-day may accidentally be, and tomorrow accidentally you may be no more; but I have taken refuge with him that remains for ever and knows all our seasons and times. If you would become the servant of this God, you shall also soon do as I do. But, you will have to show that you will be a servant worthy of him hereby: First, by holy purity, which is the head of all good things; then by fellowship with this God whom I preach; and philosophy and simplicity; and love and faith in him; and unity with pure and simple food.’
6 The young man was persuaded by the Lord and was looking for a way to let Judas escape, but while he thought about it the king came, and the soldiers took Judas and led him forth, and Luzanes went forth with him and stood beside him.
7 When the king sat down, he called for Judas to be brought in, with his hands bound behind him, and he was brought into the middle and stood there.
8 The king said: ‘Tell me who you are and by what power you do these things?’
9 Judas replied: ‘I am a man like you, and by the power of Yesu Christ I do these things.’
Miracles save the Apostle
10 Misdaeus said: ‘Tell me the truth, before I destroy you!’ Judas answered: ‘You have no power against me, as you suppose, and you will not hurt me at all.’
11 The king was angry at his words, and commanded his soldiers to heat iron plates and set him upon them barefoot. As the soldiers took off his shoes Judas said: ‘The wisdom of God is better than the wisdom of humans. My Lord and King, take council with these men and let your goodness resist this man’s anger.’
12 They brought the plates which were like fire, and set the apostle upon them, straightaway water sprang up abundantly from the earth, so that the plates were swallowed up in it, and they that held him let him go, and withdrew themselves.
13 The king seeing the abundance of water said to Judas: ‘Ask your God that he deliver me from this death, that I perish not in the flood.’
14 The apostle prayed: ‘You that did bind this element of nature and gathered it into one place, and send it forth into many lands; that did bring disorder into order; that grant mighty works and great wonders by the hands of Judas your servant; that have mercy on my soul, that I may always receive your brightness; that give wages to them that have laboured; you, saviour of my soul, restoring it to its own nature that it may have no fellowship with hurtful things; that have always been the occasion of life - restrain this element that it lift not itself up to destroy, for there are some of them that stand here who shall believe in you and live.’
15 After he had prayed, the water was swallowed up little by little, and the place became dry. When Misdaeus saw it, he commanded him to be taken to the prison: ‘Until I shall consider how he must be used.’
16 As Judas was led away to the prison, they all followed him, Luzanes the king’s son walked at his right hand and Siphor at the left.
17 He entered into the prison and sat down, and with Luzanes and Siphor. And Siphor persuaded his wife and his daughter to sit down, for they also went into the prison to hear the word of life. They knew that Misdaeus would slay Judas Thomas because of the excess of his anger.
Luzanes requests ordination
18 And Luzanes the youth besought the apostle, saying: ‘I plead with you, O man, apostle of God, allow me to go, and I will persuade the jailer to permit you to come home with me, that by you I may receive the seal, and become your minister and a keeper of the commandments of the God whom you preach. For indeed, formerly I walked in those things which you teach, until my father forced me and joined me to a wife by name Mnesara. I am in my twenty first year, and have now been married for seven years. Before I was joined in marriage I knew no other woman, and for that I was accounted useless by my father. I have no son or daughter of this wife, as my wife herself have lived with me in chastity all this time. Today, if she had been in health, and had listened to you, I know well that I would have been at rest and she would have received eternal life, but she is in pain and afflicted with much illness. I will therefore persuade the keeper that he promise for you to come with me, for I live by myself, and you shall also heal that unhappy one.’
19 Judas the apostle of the Most High, hearing this, said to Luzanes: ‘If you believe, you shall see the marvels of God, and how he saves his servants.’
20 As they spoke, Tertia and Mygdonia and Narcia stood at the door of the prison; they gave the jailer silver money and entered the jail to see Judas. They found Luzanes and Siphor and his wife and daughter, and all the prisoners sitting and hearing the word.
21 When they stood by him he said to them: ‘Who allowed you to come to us? And, who opened to you the sealed door that you came through?’
22 Tertia replied: ‘Did not you open the door for us, and told us to come into the prison that we might take our brothers that were there, and then should the Lord show forth his glory on us? When we came near the door, I know not how, you were parted from us and hid yourself and came here before us, where also we heard the noise of the door, when you shut us out. We gave money therefore to the keepers and came in, and see, we are here praying you that we may persuade you and let you escape until the king’s anger against you shall cease.’
Unto whom Judas said: ‘Tell us first of all how you were shut up.’
23 Tertia said to him: ‘You were with us, and did never leave us for one hour, and now you ask how we were shut up?
24 But, if you desire to hear, hear. The king Misdaeus sent for me and said to me: ‘Not yet have that sorcerer prayed over you, for, as I hear, he bewitches women with oil and water and bread, and have not yet bewitched you. But obey me now, for if not, I will imprison you and wear you out, and him I will destroy. I know that if he has not yet given you oil and water and bread, he has not prevailed to get power over you.’
25 I said to him: ‘Over my body you have authority and do you whatever you will; but my soul I will not let perish with you!’ Hearing that he shut me up in a chamber, and Charisius brought Mygdonia and shut her up with me. But then, you let us out and brought us here, therefore give us the seal quickly, that the hope of Misdaeus who counsels us may be cut off.’
26 When the apostle heard this, he said: ‘Glory be to you, O Yesu of many forms, glory to you that appear in the guise of our poor human state. Glory to you that encourage us, and make us strong, and give grace, and console us, and stand by us in all perils, and strengthen our weakness.’
27 As he spoke, the jailer came and said: ‘Put out the lamps, before someone reports you to the king.’ They extinguished the lamps, and turned to sleep; but the apostle spoke to the Lord: ‘It is the time now, O Yesu, for you to make haste; see, the children of darkness make us sit in their own darkness – will you therefore enlighten us with the light of your nature?’
28 Suddenly the whole prison was light as the day, and while all that were in the prison slept a deep sleep, only they that had believed in the Lord woke up.
29 Judas then said to Luzanes: ‘Go ahead and make ready the things for our need.’ Luzanes asked: ‘And who will open the doors of the prison? The jailers shut them and are asleep.’ Judas said: ‘Believe in Yesu, and you shall find the doors open.’
Mnesara is healed
1 When he went forth and departed from them, all the rest followed after him. And as Luzanes left, Mnesara his wife met him as she was going to the prison. She recognised him and said: ‘Bother Luzanes, is it you?’ He replied: ‘Yes, and are you Mnesara?’ She said: ‘Yes.’ Luzanes asked her: ‘Where are you walking to, especially at so untimely an hour? Also, how were you able to rise up?’
2 She answered: ‘This youth laid his hand on me and raised me up, and, in a dream he said that I should go to where the stranger sits, and become perfectly whole.’ Luzanes asked: ‘What youth is with you?’ She said: ‘Do you not see him here on my right hand, leading me by the hand?’
3 While they spoke together, Judas, with Siphor and his wife and daughter, and Tertia and Mygdonia and Narcia, came to Luzanes’ house. Mnesara, the wife of Luzanes, seeing Judas Thomas did reverence and said: ‘Have you come, the one that saves us from the terrible disease? You are he, whom I saw in the night, delivering to me this youth to take me to the prison, and your goodness allowed me not to grow weary, but you yourself came to me.’
4 So saying, she turned about and saw the youth no more, and finding him not, she said to the apostle: ‘I am not able to walk alone, for the youth whom you gave me is not here.’
5 Judas said: ‘Yesu will lead you from now on.’ Thereafter she came running to him. And when they entered into the house of Luzanes, the son of Misdaeus the king, though it was still night, a great light shined about them.’
6 Judas then began to pray and to speak: ‘O companion and battle partner35; hope of the weak and confidence of the poor; refuge and lodging of the weary; voice that came forth from the height; comforter dwelling in the within; port and harbour of them that pass through the regions of the powers; physician that heal without payment; who among humans were crucified for many; who went down into hell with great might; the sight of whom the princes of death endured not. You came up with great glory, and by gathering all them that fled to you, you prepared a Way; and in your footsteps they journeyed and those you redeemed; and you brought them into your own fold and joined them with your sheep.’
7 ‘Son of mercy, the son that for love of humankind were sent to us from the perfect country that is above; the Lord of all possessions, that serves your servants that they may live: that fills creation with your own riches; you feed the poor, that were in need and hungered forty days; that satisfies thirsty souls with your own good things – be you with Luzanes the son of Misdaeus and with Tertia and Mnesara. Gather them into your fold and mingle them with your children; be to them a guide in the land of error; be to them a physician in the land of sickness; be to them a rest in the land of the weary; sanctify them in a polluted land; be their physician both of bodies and souls; make them holy temples of you, and let your holy spirit dwell in them.’
St Thomas performs his last Initiation
8 Having thus prayed over them, the apostle said to Mygdonia: ‘Unclothe your sisters.’
9 She took off their clothes and wrapped them in sheets and brought them. Luzanes went first, and they came after him - the apostle took oil in a cup of silver, and spoke this over the oil: ‘Fruit more beautiful than all other fruits, to which none other whatsoever may be compared: altogether merciful; fervent with the force of the Word; power of the tree which if taken on by humans they overcome their adversaries; crowner of the conquerors; mandala and joy of the sick; that announced to humans their salvation; that showed light to them that are in darkness; whose leaf is bitter, but in your most sweet fruit you are fair; that are rough to the sight, but soft to the taste; seeming to be weak, but in the greatness of your strength able to bear the power that beholds all things.’
10 Having said this blessing, he prayed: ‘Yesu, let your victorious night come and be established in this oil, as it was established in the tree that was its stock, without which might they that crucified you could not endure the Word; let the gift also come whereby breathing upon your enemies you caused them to retreat and fall headlong, and let it rest in this oil, whereupon we invoke your holy name.’
11 Having thus said, he poured it first upon the head of Luzanes and then upon the women’s heads, saying: ‘In your name, O Yesu Christ, let it be unto these souls for remission of sins, and for turning back from the adversary, and for salvation of their souls.’
12 He then commanded Mygdonia to anoint the women, but he himself anointed Luzanes. Having anointed them, he led them down into the water in the name of Holy Father and Holy Mother and Holy Son.
13 When they came up, he took bread and a cup, and blessed it and said: ‘Your holy body which was crucified for us do we eat, and your blood that was shed for us to salvation do we drink; let therefore your body be to us salvation and your blood for remission of sins. For the gall which you drank for our sakes, let the gall of the devil be removed from us; for the bitter potion which you drank for us, let our weakness be made strong; for the spitting which you received for us, let us receive the dew of your goodness; by the reed wherewith they smote you for us, let us receive the perfect house; and whereas you received a crown of thorns for our sake, let us that have loved you put on a crown that fade not away; for the linen cloth wherein you were wrapped, let us also be wrapped about with your power that is not conquered; for the new tomb and the burial, let us receive renewing of soul and body; and because you raised up and revived your body, let all revive and live and stand before you in righteous judgement.’
14 The apostle broke and gave the Mystery of thanksgiving to Luzanes and Tertia and Mnesara and the wife and daughter of Siphor and said: ‘Let this thanksgiving Mystery be to you for salvation and joy and health of your souls.’ They said: ‘Amen.’ And a voice was heard, saying: ‘Amen. Fear not, but only believe.’
The martyrdom of the Apostle
1 After these things Judas departed to be imprisoned. Tertia with Mygdonia and Narcia also went to be imprisoned.
2 The apostle Thomas said to the multitude of them that had believed and that were present: ‘Daughters and sisters and fellow-servants which have believed in our Lord and God, ministers of my Yesu, listen to me this day - for I deliver my word to you, and I shall no more speak with you in the flesh or in this world; for I go up to my Lord and to my God. Yesu Christ, to him that sold me, to that Lord that humbled himself even to me the little, and brought me up to eternal greatness, that granted to me to become his servant in truth and steadfastness; to him do I depart, knowing that the time is fulfilled, and the day appointed have drawn near for me to go and receive my reward;
3 for my rewarder is righteous, the Saviour knows me, how I ought to receive my reward, for he is not grudging nor envious, but is rich in his gifts; he is not a lover of craft things and that which he gives is crafted by his Father and Mother, for he has confidence in possessions which cannot fail.’
4 ‘I am not Yesu, but I am his servant; I am not Christ, but I am his minister; I am not the Son of God, but I pray to become worthy of it. Continue in the faith of Christ; continue in the hope of the Son of God; faint not at affliction, neither be divided in mind if you see me mocked or that I am shut up in prison, for I accomplish his will. For if I had willed not to die, I know in Christ that I am able to conquer that;36 but this which is called death is not death,37 but a setting free from the body.’
5 ‘Why, I receive gladly this setting free from the body, that I may depart and see him that is beautiful and full of mercy, him that is to be loved; for I have endured much toil in his service, and have laboured for his grace that has come upon me, which departs not from me. Let not Satan, then, enter you by stealth and snatch away your thoughts; let there be in you no place for him; for he is mighty whom you have received. Watch and wait for the coming of Christ, for he shall come and receive you, and it is he whom you shall see when he comes for you.’
6 When the apostle had ended these sayings, they went into the house, and the apostle Thomas said: ‘Saviour that suffered many things for us, let these doors be as they were and let seals be set on them.’ He left them and went to be imprisoned, but they wept and were in heaviness, for they knew in their minds that Misdaeus would slay him.
7 The apostle found the keepers at argument, saying: ‘Wherein have we sinned against this wizard? By his magic he has opened the doors and would have had all the prisoners escape, so let us go and report it to the king, and tell him concerning his wife and his son.’
8 As they disputed this, Thomas held his peace. They rose up early, therefore, and went to the king and said to him: ‘Our lord and king, do take away that sorcerer and cause him to be shut up elsewhere, for we are not able to keep him. Fortunately by your good fortune the prison was saved, for all the condemned persons could have escaped, because now this was the second time we have found the doors open. Also your wife, O king, and your son and the rest did not depart from him.’
9 The king, hearing what they said, went and found the seals that were set on the doors whole, he also took note of the doors, then he said to the keepers: ‘Why do you lie, for the seals are whole? How can you say that Tertia and Mygdonia went to him at the prison?’ The keepers answered: ‘We have told you the truth.’
10 Misdaeus went to the prison and took his seat and sent for the apostle Thomas. He stripped him, tied him up and had him seated before him, then he said to him: ‘Are you a slave or a free person?’
11 Thomas replied: ‘I am the slave of one only, over whom you have no authority.’ Misdaeus asked: ‘How did you run away and come into this country?’ Thomas said: ‘I was sold here by my master, that I might save many, and by your hands depart out of this world.’
12 Misdaeus asked: ‘Who is your lord? What is his name? Of what country is he?’ Thomas said: ‘My Lord is your master and he is Lord of heaven and earth.’ Misdaeus asked: ‘What is his name?’ Thomas answered: ‘You can not hear his true name at this time, but the name that was given to him is Yesu Christ.’
13 Then Misdaeus said to him: ‘I have not made haste to destroy you, but have had long patience with you: but you have added to your evil deeds, and your sorceries are dispersed abroad and heard of throughout all the country: but this I do that your sorceries may depart with you, and our land be cleansed from them.’
14 Thomas said to him: ‘These sorceries depart with me when I depart from here, but you know that I shall never forsake them that are here.’
15 When the apostle had said these things, Misdaeus considered how he should put him to death; for he was afraid because of the many people that were subject to him, also many of the nobles and of them that were in authority believed in him. He took him therefore and went out of the city, armed soldiers went with him. The people supposed that the king desired to learn somewhat of him, and they stood still and gave heed. When they had walked one mile, Misdaeus delivered the apostle to four soldiers and an officer, and commanded them to take him into the mountain and there pierce him with spears and put an end to him, and return again to the city. After saying this to the soldiers, he himself also returned to the city.
16 But many men ran after Thomas, desiring to deliver him from death. Then two soldiers went at the right hand of the apostle and two on his left, holding spears, and the officer held his hand and supported him. The apostle Thomas said: ‘O the hidden mysteries which even until our departure are accomplished in us! O riches of his glory, who will not suffer us to be swallowed up in this passion of the body! Four are they that cast me down, for of four am I made; and one is he that draws me, for one I am become, and to the One I go. This I now understand, that my Lord Yesu Christ being of one was pierced by one, but I, which am of four, am pierced by four.’38
17 They went up into the mountain, and when they reached the place where he was to be slain, he said to them that held him, and to the rest who followed: ‘Brothers, listen to me now at the last, for I am came to my departure out of the body. Let not then the eyes of your heart be blinded, nor your ears be made deaf. Believe in the God whom I preach, and be not guides to yourselves in the hardness of your heart, but walk in all your liberty, and in the glory that is toward men, and the life that is toward God.’
St. Thomas’ last sermon
18 He said to Luzanes: ‘You, son of the earthly king Misdaeus and minister of our Lord Yesu Christ, give to the servants of Misdaeus their price that they may allow me to go and pray.’ Luzanes persuaded the soldiers to let him pray.
19 Judas set his hands in the air and began to say: ‘O, liberator of my soul from the bondage of the many! Because I gave myself to be sold, behold, I rejoice and exult, knowing that the times are fulfilled for me to enter in and receive. See, I am to be set free from the cares that are on the earth; yes, I fulfil my hope and receive truth; oh yes, I am set free from sorrow and I put on joy alone; yes, I become careless and without grief and walk in rest; yes, I am set free from bondage and am called to liberty; see, I have served times and seasons, and I am lifted up above times and seasons; see, I receive my wages from my master, who gives without calculations because his wealth is greater than the gift; and I shall not put the body on again39; yes, I sleep and awake, and I shall no more go to sleep; see, I die and live again, and I shall no more taste of death; yes, they rejoice and expect me, that I may come and be with their family and be set as a flower in their crown; see, I reign in the kingdom whereon I set my hope, even from here; yes, the rebellious fall before me, for I have escaped them; yes, the prince have come, whereunto all are gathered.’
20 As the apostle spoke, all that were there heard, and understood that in that hour he would depart out to another life.
22 Again he said: ‘Believe in the physician of all, both seen and unseen, and in the saviour of the souls that need help from him. This is the free-born of kings; this the physician of his creatures; this is he that was criticised by his own slaves; this is the Lord of human nature and the Judge of the holy ones of the Father.’
23 ‘He came from the Absolute, the only born son of the deep mysteries; he was manifested through Mary the virgin, and was called the son of Yusaf the carpenter. He whose littleness we beheld with the eyes of our body, but his greatness we received by truth, and saw it in his works whose human body we felt also with our hands; his human aspect we saw transfigured with our eyes, but his heavenly semblance on the mount40 we were not able to see; he that made the rulers stumble and did violence to death.41’
24 ‘He, the truth that lies not, that at the last paid the tribute for himself and his disciples; whom the prince of the world when beholding feared, and the powers that were with him were troubled.’
25 ‘And the prince of the world witnessed who he was and from where, for he knew not the truth, because he is alien from truth. He, that have authority over those in the world, and the pleasures therein, and the possessions and the comfort, all these things he uses as a substitute to turn away his subjects, that they should not use the true holy things which he hates.’
The Lord’s Prayer
26 Having fulfilled these sayings, he kneeled in prayer, saying thus: ‘Our Father, which are in heaven, praised be your name so Your kingdom come as Your will be done, as in heaven so it is on earth. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. My Lord and God, hope and confidence and teacher, you have taught me to pray thus, behold, I pray this prayer and fulfil your commandment.’
27 ‘Be you with me to the end; you that from childhood have sown life in me and kept me from corruption; you that have brought me to the poverty of this world, and exhorted me to the true riches; you that have made me known to myself and showed me that I am yours.’
28 ‘I have kept myself pure from that which you require from us, for temples of the Holy Spirit are not to be found in defilement.’
29 ‘My words are not sufficient to praise you, neither am I able to conceive the care and carefulness with which you nurtured me. For I desired to gain riches, but you, by a vision, showed me that it is full of loss and interrogation to them that gain them. I believed your showing, and continued in the poverty of the world until you, the true riches were revealed to me, who filled both me and the rest that were worthy of you with your own riches, and set us free from care and anxiety.’
30 ‘I have therefore fulfilled your commandments, O Lord, and accomplished your will: I became poor and needy; a stranger and a bondsman42, having nothing; I have been a prisoner; I have been hungry and thirsty, and without shoes; and fasting from the world; I have worked for your sake - that my confidence might not perish, that my hope that is in you might not be confounded, that my hard labour might not be in vain, and my weakness not be counted for nothing.’
Living according to the parables of the Kingdom
31 ‘Let not my prayers and my continual fasting perish, and my great zeal toward you perish; let not my seed of wheat be changed for tares43 out of your land, let not the enemy carry it away and mingle his own tares therewith; for your land truly receives not his tares, and neither can they be stored up in your houses.’44
32 ‘I have planted your vine in the earth; it sent down its roots into the depth, its growth is spread out in the height, the fruits of it are stretching forth upon the earth, and they that are worthy of you are made happy by them, whom also you have gained.’
33 ‘The money which you have from me I placed in safekeeping with you; this, when you require for me to have it, you will restore to me with interest as you have promised. With your one mind45 have I traded and have made tenfold more, you have added more to me besides that which I had, as you promised. I have forgiven my debtors as you require.’46
34 ‘I was called to the supper and I came. I refused the burden of land, the yoke of oxen, and a household – that I might not be divided in my walk.’47
35 ‘I was called to the wedding, and I put on white garments,48 that I might be worthy of it and not be bound hand and foot and cast into the outer darkness. My lamp with its bright light expects the master coming from the marriage, that it may receive him, and he may not see it dimmed because the oil is spent.’
36 ‘My eyes, O Christ, look upon thee, and my heart exults with joy because I have fulfilled your will and perfected your commandments; that I may be likened to that watchful and careful servant who in his eagerness neglects not to keep watch for the moment of your arrival, neither in the first sleep, or the midnight watch, or at cockcrow. All the night have I laboured to keep my house from robbers, lest it be broken through.’
37 ‘My loins have I wrapped closed with truth and I bound the shoes on my feet, that I may never see them opened or to rest my shoes next to the bed of error. My hands have I put to the yoked way (yoga) of the plough and have not turned to look backward, lest my furrows go crooked. The plough-land has become white and the harvest is ready, that I may receive my wages.’
38 ‘My garment that grows old I have worn out, and the labour that have brought me to rest have I accomplished. I have kept the first watch and the second and the third, that I may behold your face and adore your holy brightness. I have rooted out the worst of my earthly treasures and left them desolate upon earth, that my treasury may be filled full from your treasures - everything I owned have I sold, that I may gain you the Pearl.’
39 ‘The moist spring that was in me have I dried up, that I may live and rest beside your inexhaustible spring. The captive whom you committed to me I have slain, that he which is set free in me may not fall from his confidence. Him that was inward have I made outward, and the outward I have slain, and all your fullness have been fulfilled in me.49 The dead man have I made alive, and the living one have I overcome, and that which was lacking have I filled up, that I may receive the crown of victory, and the power of Christ may be accomplished in me.’
40 ‘I have received reproach upon earth, but you will give me the return and the reward in the heavens. I have not returned to the things that are behind, but have gone forward to the things that are before, that I become not a reproach and bad example.’
41 ‘Let not the officials and the officers regard me, and let them not have any thought concerning me; let not the publicans and tax collectors ply their vocation upon me; let not the weak and the evil cry out against me that I am valiant and humble, and when I am taken upward let them not rise up to stand before me, by your power, O Yesu, which surrounds me as a crown. For they do flee and hide themselves from you, they cannot look on you; because they quickly trample them that are subject to them, and their division of the sons of the evil one cries out loudly and convict itself, and the evil one is not hidden from them, and their true nature is not made manifest in them; the children of the evil one are separated off.’50
42 ‘Do you then grant me, Lord, that I may pass by in quietness and joy and peace, and pass over and stand before the judge? Let not the slanderer look upon me, let his eyes be blinded by your light which you have made to dwell in me, close up his mouth, for he has found nothing against me.’
43 And he said to them that were around him: ‘Believe in the Saviour of those that have laboured in his service, for my soul already flourishes because my time is near to receive him; for he, being beautiful draws me on to always speak concerning his beauty - what it is though I am not able to, or equipped to speak of it worthily. You that are the light of my poverty, and the supplier of my knowledge of my defects, and nurturer of my needs, be with me until I come and receive you for evermore.’
44 And the blessed Thomas turned and walked to stand before the soldiers and stretched forth his hands to heaven, and he said this prayer:
45 ‘My Lord and my God, and hope and redeemer and leader and guide in all countries, be with all them that serve you, and guide me this day as I come to you. Do therefore give me this and perfect me; and this I say, not for that I doubt, but that they may hear for whom it is needful to hear.’
46 When he had prayed this, he said to the soldiers: ‘Come here and accomplish the commandments of him that you serve.’ The four soldiers came and pierced him with their spears, and he fell down and died. All the brothers wept, and they brought beautiful robes and medicines and fair linen, and buried him in a royal grave-chamber wherein the first kings were laid.
47 But Siphor and Luzanes would not go down to the city, but continued sitting by him all the day. And the apostle Thomas appeared to them and said: ‘Why do you sit here and keep watch over me? I am not here, but I have ascended and received all that I was promised. But rise up and go down from here, for after a little time you also shall be gathered to me.’
48 And the brothers gathered together and rejoiced in the grace of the Holy Father’s Spirit. Now the apostle Thomas when he went up into the mountain to die, when he departed out of the world, made Siphor a presbyter and Luzanes a deacon. The Lord worked with them, and many were added to the faith.
Misdaeus comes to faith
1 Misdaeus and Charisius took away Mygdonia and Tertia and afflicted them severely, after which they gave in to them but not by will. And the apostle appeared to them and said: ‘Be not deceived, Yesu the holy, the living one, shall quickly send help to you. Misdaeus and Charisius, when they saw that Mygdonia and Tertia did not perceive them and obeyed them not, allowed them to live according to their own desire.
2 Now it came to pass after a long time that one of the children of Misdaeus the king was felled by a devil, and no man could cure him, for the devil was exceedingly fierce. Then Misdaeus the king thought and said: ‘I will go and open the grave-chamber, and take a bone of the apostle of God and hang it upon my son, and he shall be healed.’
3 But while Misdaeus thought this, the apostle Thomas appeared to him and said to him: ‘You believed not in a living man, now will you believe in the dead? Yet, fear not, for my Lord Yesu Christ has compassion on you and pity you out of his goodness.’
4 Misdaeus went and opened the grave-chamber, but found not the apostle there, for one of the brethren had stolen him away and taken him to Mesopotamia. But, from that place where the bones of the apostle had lain, Misdaeus took dust and put it about his son’s neck, saying: ‘I believe in you, Yesu Christ. Now that he has left me which troubled us and opposed us, or else they should not see you.’ And when he had hung it upon his son, the young man became whole.
5 Misdaeus the king therefore was also gathered among brothers, and bowed his head under the hands of Siphor the priest.
6 Siphor said to the brothers: ‘Pray for Misdaeus the king, that he may obtain mercy of Yesu Christ, and that he may no more remember evil against him.’ They all therefore, with one accord rejoicing, made prayer for him: and the Lord that loves humanity, the King of kings and Lord of lords, granted Misdaeus also to have hope in him; and he was gathered with the multitude of them that had believed in Christ , glorifying the Holy Father and Holy Mother and the Holy Son, whose is power and adoration, now and for ever and world without end. Amen.
The acts of Judas Thomas the apostle are completed, which he did in India, fulfilling the commandment of Him that sent him: Unto whom be glory, world without end. Amen.
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