APOCALYPSE OF PAUL
From "The Apocryphal New Testament"
M.R. James-Translation and Notes
Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1924
Epiphanius tells us that the Caianites or Cainites had forged a book full of unspeakable matter in the name of Paul, which was also used by those who are called Gnostics, which they call the Anabaticon of Paul, Basing it on the words of the apostle -that he was taken up into the third heaven. This has left no trace (Heresy, 38. 2).
St. Augustine laughs at the folly of some who had forged an Apocalypse of Paul, full of fables, and pretending to contain the unutterable things which the apostle had heard. This is, I doubt not, our book. (Aug. on John, Tract 98.) Sozomen, in his Ecclesiastical History (vii. 19), says: The book now circulated as the Apocalypse of Paul the apostle, which none of the ancients ever saw, is commended by most monks; but some contend that this book was found in the reign we write of (of Theodosius). For they say that by a Divine manifestation there was found underground at Tarsus of Cilicia, in Paul's house a marble chest, and that in it was this book. However, when I inquired about this, a Cilician, a priest of the church of Tarsus, told me it was a lie. He was a man whose grey hairs showed him to be of considerable age and he said that no such thing had happened in their city, and that he wondered whether the tale (or, the book) had not been made up by heretics.
Sozomen's story is that which appears in our book; and we need not doubt that this Apocalypse made its appearance in the last years of the fourth century.
It is condemned in the Gelasian Decree, and is mentioned with disapproval by various late church writers.
Though not an early book, it is made up very largely of early matter; and it had an immense vogue, especially in the West. Greek copies of it are rare, and the texts they contain are disfigured by many omissions. Of the Eastern versions -Syriac, Coptic, Ethiopic- the Syriac is the best. But possibly the full Latin version is superior to all other authorities. There are several abridged Latin texts, and from these were made the many versions which were current in almost every European language.
In an early canto of the Inferno (ii. 28) Dante mentions the visit of the 'Chosen Vessel' to Hell -an undoubted allusion to the Apocalypse. And both in the Divine Comedy and in the hundreds of earlier medieval visions of the next world the influence of this book is perceptible, sometimes faintly, often very plainly indeed.
The reader will soon see for himself that Paul is a direct descendant of Peter, especially in his description of Hell-torments. He will also see that the book is very badly put together; and that whole episodes, e.g. visit to Paradise, are repeated. This means that the author is combining different sources in a very unintelligent way.
In the Greek, Latin, and Syriac the book is incomplete: it ends abruptly in a speech of Elijah. The Coptic version -only recently published- has a long continuation; part of this is, I think, original but it tails off into matter which cannot be. This conclusion has even a third visit to Paradise! I give some particulars of it later.
The plan of the book is briefly this:
1, 2. Discovery of the revelation.
3-6. Appeal of creation to God against man
7-10. The report of the angels to God about men.
11-18. Deaths and judgements of the righteous and the wicked.
19-30. First vision of Paradise.
31-44. Hell. Paul obtains rest on Sunday for the lost.
45-51. Second vision of Paradise.
The full Latin version is the basis of my translation: the Greek, Syriac, and Coptic are used where the Latin is corrupt.
Here beginneth the Vision of Saint Paul the Apostle.
But I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. I knew a man in Christ fourteen years ago, whether in the body I know not or whether out of the body I know not -God knoweth- that such an one was caught up unto the third heaven: and I knew such a man, whether in the body or out of the body I know not -God knoweth- that he was caught up into paradise and heard secret words which it is not lawful for men to utter. For such an one will I boast, but for myself I will boast nothing, save of mine infirmities.
1 At what time was it made manifest? In the consulate of Theodosius Augustus the younger and Cynegius, a certain honourable man then dwelling at Tarsus, in the house which had been the house of Saint Paul, an angel appeared unto him by night and gave him a revelation, saying that he should break up the foundation of the house and publish that which he found; but he thought this to be a lying vision.
2 But a third time the angel came, and scourged him and compelled him to break up the foundation. And he dug, and found a box of marble inscribed upon the sides: therein was the revelation of Saint Paul, and his shoes wherein he walked when he taught the word of God. But he feared to open that box, and brought it to the judge; and the judge took it, sealed as it was with lead, and sent it to the emperor Theodosius fearing that it might be somewhat strange; and the emperor when he received it, opened it and found the revelation of Saint Paul. A copy thereof he sent to Jerusalem and the original he kept with him. (Gr. reverses this: he kept the copy and sent away the original. It adds: And there was written therein as followeth.)
3 Now while I was in the body, wherein I was caught up unto the third heaven, the word of the Lord came unto me, saying: Speak unto this people: How long will ye transgress, and add sin upon sin, and tempt the Lord that made you? Saying that ye are Abraham's children but doing the works of Satan (so Gr.; Lat. Ye are the sons of God, doing the work of the devil), walking in the confidence of God, boasting in your name only, but being poor because of the matter of sin. Remember therefore and know that the whole creation is subject unto God, but mankind only sinneth. It hath dominion over the whole creation, and sinneth more than the whole of nature.
4 For oftentimes hath the sun, the great light, appealed unto the Lord, saying: O Lord God Almighty, I look forth upon the ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. Suffer me, and I will do unto them according to my power, that they may know that thou art God alone. And there came a voice unto it, saying: All these things do I know, for mine eye seeth and mine ear heareth, but my long-suffering beareth with them until they turn and repent. But if they return not unto me, I will judge them all.
5 And sometimes the moon and the stars have appealed unto the Lord, saying: O Lord God Almighty, unto us hast thou given rule over the night; how long shall we look upon the ungodliness and fornications and murders which the children of men commit? suffer us to do unto them according unto our powers, that they may know that thou art God alone. And there came a voice unto them, saying: I know all these things, and mine eye looketh upon them and mine ear heareth, but my long-suffering beareth with them until they turn and repent. But if they return not unto me, I will judge them.
6 Oftentimes also the sea hath cried out, saying: O Lord God Almighty, men have polluted thine holy name in me: suffer me and I will arise and cover every wood and tree and all the world, till I blot out all the children of men from before thy face, that they may know that thou art God alone. And again a voice came, saying: I know all, for mine eye seeth all things, and mine ear heareth, but my long-suffering beareth with them until they turn and repent. But if they return not I will judge them.
Sometimes also the waters have appealed against the children of men, saying: O Lord God Almighty, the children of men have all defiled thine holy name. And there came a voice, saying: I know all things before they come to pass, for mine eye seeth and mine ear heareth all things: but my long-suffering beareth with them until they turn. And if not, I will judge. Often also hath the earth cried out unto the Lord against the children of men, saying: O Lord God Almighty, I suffer hurt more than all thy creation, bearing the fornications, adulteries, murders, thefts forswearings, sorceries, and witchcrafts of men, and all the evils that they do, so that the father riseth up against the son, and the son against the father, the stranger against the stranger, every one to defile his neighbour's wife. The father goeth up upon his son's bed, and the son likewise goeth up upon the couch of his father; and with all these evils have they that offer a sacrifice unto thy name polluted thine holy place. Therefore do I suffer hurt more than the whole creation, and I would not yield mine excellence and my fruits unto the children of men. Suffer me and I will destroy the excellence of my fruits. And there came a voice and said: I know all things, and there is none that can hide himself from his sin. And their ungodliness do I know, but my holiness suffereth them until they turn and repent. But if they return not unto me, I will judge them.
7 Behold then ye children of men. The creature is subject unto God, but mankind alone sinneth. Therefore, ye children of men, bless ye the Lord God without ceasing at all hours and on all days; but especially when the sun setteth. For in that hour do all the angels go unto the Lord to worship him and to present the deeds of men which every man doeth from morning until evening, whether they be good or evil. And there is an angel that goeth forth rejoicing from the man in whom he dwelleth
When therefore the sun is set, at the first hour of the night, in the same hour goeth the angel of every people and of every man and woman, which protect and keep them, because man is the image of God: and likewise at the hour of morning, which is the twelfth hour of the night, do all the angels of men and women go to meet God and present all the work which every man hath wrought, whether good or evil. And every day and night do the angels present unto God the account of all the deeds of mankind. Unto you, therefore, I say, O children of men, bless ye the Lord God without ceasing all the days of your life.
8 At the hour appointed, therefore, all the angels, every one rejoicing, come forth before God together to meet him and worship him at the hour that is set; and lo, suddenly at the set time there was a meeting, and the angels came to worship in the presence of God, and the spirit came forth to meet them, and there was a voice, saying: Thence could ye, our angels, bringing burdens of news?
9 They answered and said: We are come from them that have renounced the world for thy holy name's sake, wandering as strangers and in the caves of the rocks, and weeping every hour that they dwell on the earth and hungering and thirsting for thy name's sake; with their loins girt, holding in their hands the incense of their heart, and praying and blessing at every hour, suffering anguish and subduing themselves, weeping and lamenting more than all that dwell on the earth. And we that are their angels do mourn with them, whither therefore it pleaseth thee, command us to go and minister lest they do otherwise, but the poor more than all that dwell on the earth. (The sense required as shown by Gr. is that the angels ask that these good men may continue in goodness.) And the voice of God came unto them, saying: Know ye that from henceforth my grace shall be established with you, and mine help which is my dear]y beloved Son, shall be with them, ruling them at all times; and he shall minister unto them and never forsake them, for their place is his habitation.
10 When, then, these angels departed, lo, there came other angels to worship in the presence of the majesty, to meet therewith, and they were weeping. And the spirit of God went forth to meet them, and the voice of God came, saying: Whence are ye come, our angels bearing burdens, ministers of the news of the world? They answered and said in the presence of God: We are come from them which have called upon thy name, and the snares of the world have made them wretched, devising many excuses at all times, and not making so much as one pure prayer out of their whole heart all the time of their life. Wherefore then must we be with men that are sinners? And the voice of God came unto them: Ye must minister unto them until they turn and repent; but if they return not unto me, I will judge them.
Know therefore, O children of men, that whatsoever is wrought by you, the angels tell it unto God, whether it be good or evil.
11 [Syr. Again, after these things, I saw one of the spiritual ones coming unto me, and he caught me up in the spirit, and carried me to the third heaven.]
And the angel answered and said unto me: Follow me, and I will show thee the place of the righteous where they are taken when they are dead. And there after will I take thee to the bottomless pit and show thee the souls of the sinners, into what manner of place they are taken when they are dead.
And I went after the angel, and he took me into heaven, and I looked upon the firmament, and saw there the powers; and there was forgetfulness which deceiveth and draweth unto itself the hearts of men, and the spirit of slander and the spirit of fornication and the spirit of wrath and the spirit of insolence and there were the princes of wickedness. These things saw I beneath the firmament of the heaven.
And again I looked and saw angels without mercy, having no pity, whose countenances were full of fury, and their teeth sticking forth out of their mouth: their eyes shone like the morning star of the cast, and out of the hairs of their head and out of their mouth went forth sparks of fire. And I asked the angel,saying: Who are these, Lord? And the angel answered and said unto me: These are they which are appointed unto the souls of sinners in the hour of necessity, even of them that have not believed that they had the Lord for their helper and have not trusted in him.
[Apocalypse of Zephaniah (Steindorff's 'anonymous Apocalypse;): I went with the angel of the Lord and looked before me and saw a place through which passed thousand thousands and myriads of myriads of angels, whose faces were as of panthers, and their teeth stuck forth out of their mouth, and their eyes were bloodshot, and their hair loose like woman's hair, and burning scourges were in their hands. (I feared and asked: Who are these? The angel answered:) These are the ministers of the whole creation, which come unto the souls of the ungodly and take them and lay them down here: they fly three days with them in the air before they take them and cast them into their everlasting torment.]
12 And I looked into the height and beheld other angels whose faces shone like the sun, and their loins were girt with golden girdles, holding palms in their hands, and the sign of God, clad in raiment whereon was written the name of the Son of God, full of all gentleness and mercy. And I asked the angel and said: Who are these, Lord, that are of so great beauty and compassion? And the angel answered and said unto me: These are the angels of righteousness that are sent to bring the souls of the righteous in the hour of necessity, even them that have believed that they had the Lord for their helper. And I said unto him: Do the righteous and the sinners of necessity meet [witnesses] when they are dead? And the angel answered and said unto me: The way whereby all pass unto God is one: but the righteous having an holy helper with them are not troubled when they go to appear in the presence of God.
13 And I said unto the angel: I would see the souls of the righteous and of the sinners as they depart out of the world. And the angel answered and said unto me: Look down upon the earth. And I looked down from heaven upon the earth and beheld the whole world, and it was as nothing in my sight; and I saw the children of men as though they were nought, and failing utterly; and I marvelled, and said unto the angel: Is this the greatness of men? And the angel answered and said unto me: This it is, and these are they that do hurt from morning until evening. And I looked, and saw a great cloud of fire spread over the whole world, and said unto the angel: What is this, Lord? And he said to me: This is the unrighteousness that is mingled by the princes of sinners (Gr. mingled with the destruction of sinners; Syr. mingled with the prayers of the sons of men).
14 And I when I heard that sighed and wept, and said unto the angel: I would wait for the souls of the righteous and of the sinners, and see in what fashion they depart out of the body. And the angel answered and said unto me: Look again upon the earth. And I looked and saw the whole world: and men were as nought, and failing utterly; and I looked and saw a certain man about to die; and the angel said to me: He whom thou seest is righteous.
And again I looked and saw all his works that he had done for the name of God, and all his desires which he remembered and which he remembered not, all of them stood before his face in the hour of necessity. And I saw that the righteous man had grown in righteousness, and found rest and confidence: and before he departed out of the world there stood by him holy angels, and also evil ones: and I saw them all; but the evil ones found no abode in him, but the holy ones had power over his soul and ruled it until it went out of the body. And they stirred up the soul, saying: O soul, take knowledge of thy body whence thou art come out; for thou must needs return into the same body at the day of resurrection, to receive that which is promised unto all the righteous. They received therefore the soul out of the body, and straightway kissed it as one daily known of them, saying unto it: Be of good courage, for thou hast done the will of God while thou abodest on the earth. And there came to meet it the angel that watched it day by day, and he said unto it: Be of good courage, O soul: for I rejoice in thee because thou bast done the will of God on the earth; for I told unto God all thy works, how they stood.
Likewise also the spirit came forth to meet it and said: O soul, fear not, neither be troubled, until thou come unto a place which thou never knewest; but I will be thine helper, for I have found in thee a place of refreshment in the time when I dwelt in thee, when I was (thou wast ?) on the earth. And the spirit [thereof] strengthened it, and the angel thereof took it up and carried it into the heaven. And the angel said (Syr. And there went out to meet it wicked powers, those that are under heaven. And there reached it the spirit of error, and said): Whither runnest thou, O soul, and presumest to enter heaven? stay and let us see if there be aught of ours in thee. And lo! we have found nothing in thee. I behold also the help of God, and thine angel; and the spirit rejoiceth with thee because thou didst the will of God upon earth. (Syr. has more here. There is a conflict between the good and evil angels.
The spirit of error first laments. Then the spirit of the tempter and of fornication meet it and it escapes, and they lament. All the principalities and evil spirits come to meet it and find nothing, and gnash their teeth. The guardian angel bids them go back, 'Ye tempted this soul and it would not listen to you.' And the voice of many angels is heard rejoicing over the soul. Probably this is original matter.) And they brought it until it did worship in the presence of God. And when they (it?) had ceased, forthwith Michael and all the host of the angels fell and worshipped the footstool of his feet and his gates, and said together unto the soul: This is the God of all, which made thee in his image and likeness.
And the angel returned and declared, saying: Lord, remember his works; for this is the soul whereof I did report the works unto thee, Lord, doing according to thy judgement. And likewise the spirit said: I am the spirit of quickening that breathed upon it; for I had refreshment in it in the time when I dwelt therein, doing according to thy judgement. And the voice of God came, saying: Like as this soul hath not grieved me neither will I grieve it, for like as it hath had mercy, I also will have mercy. Let it be delivered therefore unto Michael the angel of the covenant, and let him lead it into the paradise of rejoicing that it become fellow-heir with all the saints. And thereafter I heard the voices of thousands of thousands of angels and archangels and the cherubim and the four-and-twenty elders uttering hymns and glorifying the Lord and crying: Righteous art thou, O Lord, and just are thy judgements, and there is no respect of persons with thee, but thou rewardest every man according to thy judgement. And the angel answered and said unto me: Hast thou believed and known that whatsoever every one of you hath done, he beholdeth it at the hour of his necessity? And I said: Yea, Lord.
15 And he said unto me: Look down again upon the earth and wait for the soul of a wicked man going forth of the body, one that hath provoked the Lord day and night, saying: I know nought else in this world, I will eat and drink and enjoy the things that are in the world. For who is he that hath gone down into hell and come up and told us that there is a judgement there? And again I looked and saw all the despising of the sinner, and all that he did, and they stood together before him in the hour of necessity: and it came to pass in that hour when he was led out of his body to the judgement, that he (MS. I) said: It were better for me (MS. him) that I (he) had not been born. And after that the holy angels and the evil and the soul of the sinner came together, and the holy angels found no place in it.
But the evil angels threatened (had power over) it, and when they brought it forth out of the body, the angels admonished it thrice, saying: O wretched sou], look upon thy flesh whence thou art come out; for thou must needs return into thy flesh at the day of resurrection to receive the due reward for thy sins and for thy wickedness;
16 And when they had brought it forth, the accustomed (i.e. guardian) angel went before it and said unto it: O miserable soul, I am the angel that clave unto thee and day by day reported unto the Lord thine evil deeds, whatsoever thou wroughtest by night or day; and if it had been in my power I would not have ministered unto thee even one day; but of this I could do nothing, for God is merciful and a just judge, and he commanded us not to cease ministering unto your soul till ye should repent: but thou hast lost the time of repentance. I indeed am become a stranger unto thee and thou to me.
Let us go then unto the just judge: I will not leave thee until I know that from this day I am become a stranger unto thee. (Here Copt. inserts a quite similar speech of the spirit to the soul, which may be original.) And the spirit confounded it, and the angel troubled it. When therefore they were come unto the principalities, and it would now go to enter into heaven, one burden (labour, suffering) was laid upon it after another: error and forgetfulness and whispering met it, and the spirit of fornication and the rest of the powers, and said unto it: Whither goest thou, wretched soul and darest to run forward into heaven? Stay, that we may see whether we have property of ours in thee, for we see not with thee an holy helper. (Syr. adds: And the angel answered and said: Know ye that it is a soul of the Lord, and he will not cast it aside, neither will I surrender the image of God into the hand of the wicked one. The Lord supported me all the days of the life of the soul, and he can support and help me: and I will not cast it off until it go up before the throne of God on high. When he shall see it, he hath power over it, and will send it whither he pleases.)
And after that I heard voices in the height of the heavens, saying: Present this miserable soul unto God, that it may know that there is a God, whom it hath despised. When therefore it was entered into the heaven, all the angels, even thousands of thousands, saw it, and all cried out with one voice saying: Woe unto thee, miserable soul, for thy works which thou didest upon the earth, what answer wilt thou make unto God when thou drawest near to worship him? The angel which was with it answered and said: Weep with me, my dearly beloved, for I have found no rest in this soul. And the angels answered him and said: Let this soul be taken away out of our midst, for since it came in, the stench of it is passed upon us the angels. And thereafter it was presented, to worship in the presence of God, and the angel showed it the Lord God that made it after his own image and likeness. And its angel ran before it, saying: O Lord God Almighty, I am the angel of this soul, whose works I presented unto thee day and night, not doing according to thy judgement. And likewise the spirit said: I am the spirit which dwelt in it ever since it was made, and I know it in itself, and it followed not my will: judge it, Lord, according to thy judgement.
And the voice of God came unto it and said: Where is thy fruit that thou hast yielded, worthy of those good things which thou hast received? did I put a distance even of a day between thee and the righteous? did I not make the sun to rise upon thee even as upon the righteous? And it was silent, having nothing to answer; and again the voice came, saying: Just is the judgement of God, and there is no respect of persons with God, for whosoever hath done his mercy he will have mercy on him, and whoso hath not had mercy, neither shall God have mercy on him. Let him therefore be delivered unto the angel Tartaruchus (Gr. Temeluchus) that is set over the torments, and let him cast him into the outer darkness where is weeping and gnashing of teeth, and let him be there until the great day of judgement. And after that I heard the voice of the angels and archangels saying: Righteous art thou, O Lord, and just is thy judgement.
17 And again I beheld, and lo, a soul which was brought by two angels, weeping and saying: Have mercy on me, thou righteous God, O God the judge; for to-day it is seven days since I went forth out of my body, and I was delivered unto these two angels, and they have brought me unto those places which I had never seen. And God the righteous judge said unto it: What hast thou done? for thou hast never wrought mercy; therefore wast thou delivered unto such angels, which have no mercy, and because thou hast not done right, therefore neither have they dealt pitifully with thee in the hour of thy necessity. Confess therefore thy sins which thou hast committed when thou wert in the world. And it answered and said: Lord, I have not sinned. And the righteous Lord God was wroth with indignation when it said: I have not sinned, for it lied. And God said: Thinkest thou that thou art yet in the world? If every one of you there when he sinneth, hideth and concealeth his sin from his neighbour, yet here no thing is hidden, for when the souls come to worship before the throne both the good works and the sins of every one are made manifest. And when the soul heard that, it held its peace, having no answer.
And I heard the Lord God, the righteous judge, saying again: Come, thou angel of this soul, and stand in the midst. And the angel of the sinful soul came, having a writing in his hands, and said: These, Lord, that are in mine hands, are all the sins of this soul from its youth up unto this day, even from ten years from its birth: and if thou bid me, Lord, I can tell the acts thereof since it began to be fifteen years old. [Apocalypse of Zephaniah: I looked and saw that a writing (the same word, chirographum) was in his hand: he began to open it, and when he had spread it out I read it in mine own language, and I found all my sins that I had committed, recorded by him, even those which I had committed from my childhood up unto this day.]
And the Lord God the righteous judge said: I say unto thee, O angel, I desire not of thee the account since it began to be fifteen years old; but declare its sins of five years before that it died and came hither. And again God the righteous judge said: For by myself I swear, and by mine holy angels and by my power, that if it had repented five years before it died, even for the walk (conversation) of one year, there should be forgetfulness of all the evil which it committed before and it should have pardon and remission of sins: but now let it perish. And the angel of the sinful soul answered and said: Command, Lord, that (such and such an) angel to bring forth those (such and such) souls.
18 And in that same hour the souls were brought forth into the midst, and the soul of the sinner knew them. And the Lord said unto the soul of the sinner: I say unto thee, O soul, confess thy deeds which thou didst upon these souls whom thou seest, when they were in the world. And it answered and said: Lord, it is not yet a full year since I slew this one and shed its blood upon the earth, and with another I committed fornication; and not that only, but I did it much harm by taking away its substance. And the Lord God the righteous judge said: Knewest thou not that he that doth violence to another, if he that suffered violence die first, he is kept in this place until he that hurt him dieth, and then do both of them appear before the judge? and now hath every one received according as he did. And I heard a voice saying: Let that soul be delivered into the hands of Tartaruchus, and he must be taken down into hell. Let him take him into the lower prison and let him be cast into torments and be left there until the great day of judgement. And again I heard thousands of thousands of angels singing an hymn unto the Lord and saying: Righteous art thou, O Lord, and just are thy judgements.
19 The angel answered and said unto me: Hast thou perceived all these things? And I said: Yea, Lord. And he said unto me: Follow me again, and I will take thee and show thee the places of the righteous. And I followed the angel and he took me up unto the third heaven and set me before the door of a gate; and I looked on it and saw, and the gate was of gold, and there were two pillars of gold full of golden letters; and the angel turned again to me and said: Blessed art thou if thou enterest in by these gates, for it is not permitted to any to enter save only to those that have kept goodness and pureness of their bodies in all things. And I asked the angel and said: Lord, tell me for what cause are these letters set upon these tables? The angel answered and said unto me: These are the names of the righteous that minister unto God with their whole heart, which dwell on the earth. And again I said: Lord, then are their names
also their countenance and the likeness of them that serve God is in heaven, and they are known unto the angels: for they know them that with their whole heart serve God before they depart out of the world.
20 And when I had entered within the gate of paradise there came to meet me an old man whose face shone like the sun, and he embraced me and said: Hail, Paul, dearly beloved of God And he kissed me with a joyful countenance, but he wept, and I said unto him: Father (Lat. Brother), why weepest thou? And again sighing and weeping he said: Because we are vexed by men, and they grieve us sore; for many are the good things which the Lord hath prepared, and great are his promises, but many receive them not. And I asked the angel and said: Who is this, Lord? And he said unto me: This is Enoch the scribe of righteousness.
And I entered within that place and straightway I saw Elias I and he came and saluted me with gladness and joy. And when he had seen me, he turned himself away and wept and said unto me: Paul, mayest thou receive the reward of thy labour which thou hast done among mankind. As for me, I have seen great and manifold good things which God hath prepared for all the righteous, and great are the promises of God, but the more part receive them not; yea hardly through much toil doth one and another enter into these places.
21 And the angel answered and said unto me: What things soever I now show thee here, and whatsoever thou hearest, reveal them not unto any upon earth. And he led me and showed me: and I heard there words which it is not lawful for a man to utter; and again he said: Yet again follow me and I will show thee that which thou must relate and tell openly.
And he brought me down from the third heaven, and led me into the second heaven, and again he led me to the firmament, and from the firmament he led me unto the gates of heaven. And the beginning of the foundation thereof was upon the river that watereth all the earth. And I asked the angel and said: Lord, what is this river of water? and he said unto me: This is the Ocean. And suddenly I came out of heaven, and perceived that it is the light of the heaven that shineth upon all the earth (or, all that land). And there the earth (or, land) was seven times brighter than silver. And I said: Lord, what is this place? and he said unto me: This is the land of promise. Hast thou not yet heard that which is written: Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth? The souls therefore of the righteous when they are gone forth of the body are sent for the time into this place. And I said unto the angel: Shall then this land be made manifest after (lat. before) a time? The angel answered and said unto me: When Christ whom thou preachest cometh to reign, then by the decree of God the first earth shall be dissolved, and then shall this land of promise be shown and it shall be like dew or a cloud; and then shall the Lord Jesus Christ the eternal king be manifested and shall come with all his saints to dwell therein; and he shall reign over them a thousand years, and they shall eat of the good things which now I will show thee.
22 And I looked round about that land and saw a river flowing with milk and honey. And there were at the brink of the river trees planted, full of fruits: now every tree bare twelve fruits in the year, and they had various and divers fruits: and I saw the fashion (creation) of that place and all the work of God, and there I saw palm-trees of twenty cubits and others of ten cubits: and that land was seven times brighter than silver. And the trees were full of fruits from the root even to the upper branches. (Lat. is confused here. Copt. has: From the root of each tree up to its heart there were ten thousand branches with tens of thousands of clusters, [and there were ten thousand clusters on each branch,] and there were ten thousand dates in each cluster. And thus was it also with the vines. Every vine had ten thousand branches, and each branch had upon it ten thousand bunches of grapes, and every bunch had on it ten thousand grapes. And there were other trees there, myriads of myriads of them, and their fruit was in the same proportion.) And I said unto the angel: Wherefore doth every tree bring forth thousands of fruits? The angel answered and said unto me: Because the Lord God of his bounty giveth his gifts in abundance unto the worthy; for they also of their own will afflicted themselves when they were in the world, doing all things for his holy name's sake.
And again I said unto the angel: Lord, are these the only promises which the most holy Lord God promiseth? and he answered and said unto me: No; for there are greater by seven times than these. But I say unto thee, that when the righteous are gone forth out of the body and shall see the promises and the good things which God hath prepared for them, yet again they shall sigh and cry, saying: Wherefore did we utter a word out of our mouth to provoke our neighbour even for a day? And I asked again and said: Be these the only promises of God? And the angel answered and said unto me: These which now thou seest are for them that are married and keep the purity of their marriage, being continent. But unto the virgins, and unto them that hunger and thirst after righteousness and afflict themselves for the name of the Lord, God will give things seven-fold greater than these, which now I will show thee.
And after that he took me out of that place where I saw these things, and lo, a river, and the waters of it were white exceedingly, more than milk, and I said unto the angel: What is this? and he said to me: This is the lake Acherusa where is the city of Christ: but not every man is suffered to enter into that city: for this is the way that leadeth unto God, and if any be a fornicator or ungodly, and turn and repent and bear fruits meet for repentance, first when he cometh out of the body he is brought and worshippeth God, and then by the commandment of the Lord he is delivered unto Michael the angel, and he washeth him in the lake Acherusa and so bringeth him in to the city of Christ with them that have done no sin. And I marvelled and blessed the Lord God for all the things which I saw.
23 And the angel answered and said unto me: Follow me and I will bring thee into the city of Christ. And he stood by (upon) the lake Acherusa, and set me in a golden ship, and angels as it were three thousand sang an hymn before me until I came even unto the city of Christ. And they that dwelt in the city of Christ rejoiced greatly over me as I came unto them, and I entered in and saw the city of Christ. And it was all of gold, and twelve walls compassed it about, and there were twelve towers within (a tower on each wall, Copt.; 12,000 towers, Syr.), and every wall had a furlong between them (i.e. the walls were a furlong apart, so Syr., Copt. the circumference of each was 100 furlongs) round about; and I said unto the angel: Lord, how much is one furlong? The angel answered and said unto me: It is as much as there is betwixt the Lord God and the men that are on the earth, for the great city of Christ is alone. And there were twelve gates in the circuit of the city, of great beauty, and four rivers that compassed it about. There was a river of honey, and a river of milk, and a river of wine, and a river of oil. And I said unto the angel: What are these rivers that compass this city about? And he saith to me: These are the four rivers which flow abundantly for them that are in this land of promise, whereof the names are these: the river of honey is called Phison, and the river of milk Euphrates, and the river of oil Geon, and the river of wine Tigris. Whereas therefore when the righteous were in the world they used not their power over these things, but hungered and afflicted themselves for the Lord God's sake, therefore when they enter into this city, the Lord will give them these things without number (?) and without all measure.
24 And I when I entered in by the gate saw before the doors of the city trees great and high, having no fruits, but leaves only. And I saw a few men scattered about in the midst of the trees, and they mourned sore when they saw any man enter into the city. And those trees did penance for them, humbling themselves and bowing down, and again raising themselves up.
And I beheld it and wept with them, and I asked the angel and said: Lord, who are these that are not permitted to enter into the city of Christ? And he said unto me: These are they that did earnestly renounce the world day and night with fasting, but had an heart proud above other men, glorifying and praising themselves, and doing nought for their neighbours. For some they greeted friendly, but unto others they said not even 'Hail', and unto whom they would they opened, and if they did any small thing for their neighbour they were puffed up. And I said: What then, Lord? their pride hath prevented them from entering into the city of Christ? And the angel answered and said unto me: The root of all evils is pride.
Are they better than the Son of God who came unto the Jews in great humility? And I asked him and said: Wherefore is it then that the trees humble themselves and are again raised up? And the angel answered and said unto me: All the time that these spent upon earth (Of old time they were on the earth, Copt.) serving God (they served God): But because of the shame and reproaches of men they were ashamed (did blush) for a time and humbled themselves, but they were not grieved, neither did repent, to cease from this pride that was in them (and one day they bowed themselves because of the disgrace of man, for they cannot endure the pride that is in him, Copt.). This is the cause why the trees humble themselves and again are raised up. And I asked and said: For what cause are they let in unto the gates of the city? The angel answered and said unto me: Because of the great goodness of God, and because this is the entry of all his saints which do enter into this city. Therefore are they left in this place, that when Christ the eternal king entereth in with his saints, when he cometh in, all the righteous shall entreat for them, and then shall they enter into the city with them: yet none of them is able to have confidence such as they have that have humbled themselves, serving the Lord God all their life long.
25 But I went forward and the angel led me and brought me unto the river of honey, and I saw there Esaias and Jeremias and Ezekiel and Amos and Micheas and Zacharias, even the prophets lesser and greater, and they greeted me in the city. I said unto the angel: What is this path? and he said unto me: This is the path of the prophets: every one that hath grieved his soul and not done his own will for God's sake, when he is departed out of the world and hath been brought unto the Lord God and worshipped him, then by the commandment of God he is delivered unto Michael, and he bringeth him into the city unto this place of the prophets, and they greet him as their friend and neighbour because he hath performed the will of God.
26 Again he led me where was the river of milk, and I saw in that place all the children whom the king Herod slew for the name of Christ, and they greeted me, and the angel said unto me: All they that keep chastity in cleanness, when they are gone out of the body, after they worship the Lord God, are delivered unto Michael and brought unto the children: and they greet them saying: They are our brothers and friends and members: among them shall they inherit the promises of God.
27 Again he took me and brought me to the north side of the city, and led me to where was the river of wine, and I saw there Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Lot and Job and other saints, and they greeted me. [Apocalypse of Zephaniah: (The angel) ran unto all the righteous that are there, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Enoch, Elias, and David. He conversed with them as a friend with a friend, who talk together.] And I asked and said: What is this place, Lord? The angel answered and said unto me: All they that are entertainers of strangers, when they are departed out of the world first worship the Lord God, and then are delivered unto Michael and brought by this path into the city, and all the righteous greet him as a son and brother, and say unto him: Because thou hast kept kindliness and the entertainment of strangers, come thou and have an inheritance in the city of our Lord God. Every one of the righteous shall receive the good things of God in the city according to his deeds.
28 And again he took me to the river of oil on the east side of the city. And I saw there men rejoicing and singing psalms, and said: Who are these, Lord? and the angel said unto me: These are they that have devoted themselves unto God with their whole heart, and had in them no pride. For all that rejoice in the Lord God and sing praises to the Lord with their whole heart are brought here into this city.
29 And he took me into the midst of the city, by the twelve walls (to the twelfth wall, Copt.). Now there was in that place an higher wall; and I asked and said: Is there in the city of Christ a wall more excellent in honour than this place? And the angel answered and said unto me: The second is better than the first, and likewise the third than the second; for one excelleth the other even unto the twelfth wall. And I said: Wherefore Lord, doth one excel another in glory? show me. And the angel answered and said unto me: All they that have in them even a little slandering or envy or pride, somewhat is taken away from his glory, even if he be in the city of Christ. Look thou behind thee.
And I turned myself and saw golden thrones set at the several gates, and upon them men having golden crowns and jewels: and I looked and saw within among the twelve men, thrones set in another order (row, fashion ?), which appeared of much glory so that no man is able to declare the praise of them. And I asked the angel and said: Lord, who is upon the throne? And the angel answered and said unto me: These are the thrones of them that had goodness and understanding of heart and yet made themselves foolish for the Lord God's sake, knowing neither the Scriptures nor many psalms, but keeping in mind one chapter of the precepts of God they performed it with great diligence, and had a right intent before the Lord God; and for these great wonder shall take hold upon all the saints before the Lord God, who shall speak one with another, saying: Stay and behold the unlearned that know nothing [more], how they have earned such and so fair raiment and so great glory because of their innocency.
And I saw in the midst of the city an altar exceeding high. And there was one standing by the altar whose visage shone like the sun, and he held in his hands a psaltery and an harp and sang praises, saying: Alleluia. And his voice filled all the city. And when all that were upon the towers and the gates heard him, they answered: Alleluia, so that the foundations of the city were shaken. And I asked the angel and said: Who is this, Lord, that is of so great might? And the angel said unto me: This is David. This is the city of Jerusalem; and when Christ the king of eternity shall come in the fullness (confidence, freedom) of his kingdom, he shall again go before him to sing praises, and all the righteous together shall sing praises, answering: Alleluia. And I said: Lord, how is it that David only above the rest of the saints maketh (made) the beginning of singing praises? And the angel answered and said unto me: When (or, because) Christ the Son of God sitteth on the right hand of his Father, this David shall sing praises before him in the seventh heaven: and as it is done in the heavens, so likewise is it below: for without David it is not lawful to offer a sacrifice unto God: but it must needs be that David sing praises at the hour of the offering of the body and blood of Christ: as it is performed in heaven, so also is it upon earth.
30 And I said unto the angel: Lord, what is Alleluia? And the angel answered and said unto me: Thou dost examine and inquire of all things. And he said unto me: Alleluia is spoken in the Hebrew, that is the speech of God and of the angels: now the interpretation of Alleluia is this: tecel . cat . marith . macha (Gr.thebel marematha). And I said: Lord, what is tecel cat marith macha? And the angel answered and said unto me: This is tecel cat marith macha: Let us bless him all together. I asked the angel and said: Lord, do all they that say Alleluia bless God? And the angel answered and said unto me: So it is: and again, if any sing Alleluia, and they that are present sing not with him, they commit sin in that they sing not with him. And I said: Lord, doth a man likewise sin if he be doting or very aged? The angel answered and said unto me: Not so: but he that is able, and singeth not with him, know ye that such a one is a despiser of the word, for it would be proud and unworthy that he should not bless the Lord God his creator.
31 And when he had ceased speaking unto me, he led me out without the city through the midst of the trees and back from the place of the land of good things (or, men) and set me at the river of milk and honey: and after that he led me unto the ocean that beareth the foundations of the heaven.
The angel answered and said unto me: Perceivest thou that thou goest hence? And I said: Yea, Lord. And he said unto me: Come, follow me, and I will show thee the souls of the ungodly and the sinners, that thou mayest know what manner of place they have. And I went with the angel and he took me by the way of the sunsetting, and I saw the beginning of the heaven founded upon a great river of water, and I asked: What is this river of water? And he said unto me: This is the ocean which compasseth the whole earth about. And when I was come beyond (to the outside of) the ocean, I looked and there was no light in that place, but darkness and sorrow and sadness: and I sighed.
And I saw there a river of fire burning with heat, and in it was a multitude of men and women sunk up to the knees, and other men up to the navel; others also up to the lips and others up to the hair: and I asked the angel and said: Lord, who are these in the river of fire? And the angel answered and said unto me: They are neither hot nor cold,: for they were not found either in the number of the righteous or in the number of the wicked, for they passed the time of their life upon the earth, spending some days in prayer, but other days in sins and fornications, until their death. And I asked and said: Who are these, Lord, that are sunk up to their knees in the fire? He answered and said unto me: These are they which when they are come out of the church occupy themselves in disputing with idle (alien) talk. But these that are sunk up to the navel are they who, when they have received the body and blood of Christ, go and commit fornication, and did not cease from their sins until they died; and they that are sunk up to their lips are they that slandered one another when they gathered in the church of God; but they that are sunk up to the eyebrows are they that beckon one to another, and privily devise evil against their neighbours.
32 And I saw on the north side a place of sundry and diverse torments, full of men and women, and a river of fire flowed down upon them. And I beheld and saw pits exceeding deep, and in them many souls together, and the depth of that place was as it were three thousand cubits; and I saw them groaning and weeping and saying: Have mercy on us, Lord. And no man had mercy on them. And I asked the angel and said: Who are these, Lord? And the angel answered and said unto me: These are they that trusted not in the Lord that they could have him for their helper. And I inquired and said: Lord, if these souls continue thus, thirty or forty generations being cast one upon another, if (unless?) they be cast down yet deeper, I trow the pits would not contain them. And he said to me; The abyss hath no measure: for beneath it there followeth also that which is beneath: and so it is that if a strong man took a stone and cast it into an exceeding deep well and after many hours (long time) it reacheth the earth, so also is the abyss. For when the souls are cast therein, hardly after five hundred years do they come at the bottom. 33 And I when I heard it, mourned and lamented for the race of men. The angel answered and said unto me: Wherefore mournest thou? art thou more merciful than God? for inasmuch as God is good and knoweth that there are torments, he beareth patiently with mankind, leaving every one to do his own will for the time that he dwelleth on the earth.
34 Yet again I looked upon the river of fire, and I saw there a man caught by the throat (Copt. an old man who was being dragged along, and they immersed him up to the knees. And the angel Aftemeloukhos came with a great fork of fire, &c. Syr. similar. Some sentences are lost in Lat.) by angels, keepers of hell (Tartaruchi), having in their hands an iron of three hooks wherewith they pierced the entrails of that old man. And I asked the angel and said: Lord, who is this old man upon whom such torments are inflicted? And the angel answered and said unto me: He whom thou seest was a priest who fulfilled not well his ministry, for when he was eating and drinking and whoring he offered the sacrifice unto the Lord at his holy altar.
35 And I saw not far off another old man whom four evil angels brought, running quickly, and they sank him up to his knees in the river of fire, and smote him with stones and wounded his face like a tempest, and suffered him not to say: Have mercy on me. And I asked the angel and he said unto me: He whom thou seest was a bishop, and he fulfilled not well his bishopric: for he received indeed a great name, but entered not into (walked not in) the holiness of him that gave him that name all his life; for he gave not righteous judgement, and had not compassion on widows and orphans: but now it is recompensed unto him according to his iniquity and his doings.
36 And I saw another man in the river of fire sunk up to the knees: and his hands were stretched out and bloody, and worms issued out of his mouth and his nostrils, and he was groaning and lamenting and crying out, and said: Have mercy on me for I suffer hurt more than the rest that are in this torment. And I asked: Who is this, Lord? And he said unto me: This whom thou seest was a deacon, who devoured the offerings and committed fornication and did not right in the sight of God: therefore without ceasing he payeth the penalty. And I looked and saw beside him another man whom they brought with haste and cast him into the river of fire, and he was there up to the knees; and the angel that was over the torments came, having a great razor, red-hot, and therewith he cut the lips of that man and the tongue likewise. And I sighed and wept and asked: Who is this man, Lord? And he said unto me: This that thou seest was a reader and read unto the people: but he kept not the commandments of God: now also he payeth his own penalty.
37 And I saw another multitude of pits in the same place, and in the midst thereof a river filled with a multitude of men and women, and worms devoured them. But I wept and sighed and asked the angel: Lord, who are these? And he said unto me: These are they that extorted usury on usury and trusted in their riches, not having hope in God, that he was their helper.
And after that I looked and saw a very strait place, and there was as it were a wall, and round about it fire. And I saw within it men and women gnawing their tongues, and asked: Who are these, Lord? And he said unto me: These are they that mocked at the word of God in the church, not attending thereto, but as it were making nought of God and of his angels: therefore now likewise do they pay the due penalty.
38 And I looked in and saw another pool (lat. old man!) beneath in the pit, and the appearance of it was like blood: and I asked and said: Lord, what is this place? And he said unto me: Into this pit do all the torments flow. And I saw men and women sunk up to the lips, and asked: Who are these, Lord? And he said unto me: These are the sorcerers which gave unto men and women magical enchantments, and they found no rest (i.e. did not cease ?) until they died.
And again I saw men and women of a very black countenance in a pit of fire, and I sighed and wept and asked: Who are these, Lord? And he said unto me: These are whoremongers and adulterers who, having wives of their own, committed adultery, and likewise the women after the same sort committed adultery, having their own husbands: therefore do they pay the penalty without ceasing.
39 And I saw there girls clad in black raiment, and four fearful angels holding in their hands red-hot chains, and they put them upon their necks (heads) and led them away into darkness. And again I wept and asked the angel: Who are these, Lord? And he said unto me: These are they which being virgins defiled their virginity, and their parents knew it not: wherefore without ceasing they pay the due penalty.
And again I beheld there men and women with their hands and feet cut off and naked, in a place of ice and snow, and worms devoured them. And when I saw it I wept and asked: Who are these, Lord? and he said unto me: These are they that injured the fatherless and widows and the poor, and trusted not in the Lord: wherefore without ceasing they pay the due penalty.
And I looked and saw others hanging over a channel of water, and their tongues were exceeding dry, and many fruits were set in their sight, and they were not suffered to take of them. And I asked: Who are these, Lord? And he said unto me: These are they that brake the fast before the time appointed: therefore without ceasing do they pay this penalty.
And I saw other men and women hanged by their eyebrows and their hair, and a river of fire drew them, and I said: Who are these, Lord? And he said unto me: These are they that gave themselves not unto their own husbands and wives, but unto adulterers, and therefore without ceasing they pay the due penalty. (For this Copt. has: men and women hung head downwards torches burning before their faces, serpents girt about them devouring them. These are the women that beautified themselves with paints and unguents and went to church to ensnare men. Syr. and Gr. omit.)
And I saw other men and women covered with dust, and their appearance was as blood, and they were in a pit of pitch and brimstone and borne down in a river of fire. And I asked: Who are these, Lord? And he said unto me: These are they that committed the wickedness of Sodom and Gomorrah, men with men, wherefore they pay the penalty without ceasing. (Copt., Syr., Gr. omit this paragraph.)
40 And I looked and saw men and women clad in white (bright) apparel, and their eyes were blind, and they were set in a pit, and I asked: Who are these, Lord? And he said unto me: These are they of the heathen that gave alms and knew not the Lord God; wherefore without ceasing they pay the due penalty.
And I looked and saw other men and women upon a spit of fire, and beasts tearing them, and they were not suffered to say: Lord, have mercy on us. And I saw the angel of the torments (Aftemeloukhos, Copt.) laying most fierce torments upon them and saying: Acknowledge the Son of God. For it was told you before, but when the scriptures of God were read unto you, ye paid no heed: wherefore the judgement of God is just, for your evil doings have taken hold upon you, and brought you into these torments. But I sighed and wept, and I inquired and said : Who are these men and women that are strangled in the fire and pay the penalty? And he answered me: These are the women which defiled the creation of God when they brought forth children from the womb, and these are the men that lay with them. But their children appealed unto the Lord God and unto the angels that are over the torments, saying: Avenge us of our parents: for they have defiled the creation of God. Having the name of God, but not observing his commandments, they gave us for food unto dogs and to be trampled on by swine, and others they cast into the river (Copt. adds: and did not permit us to grow up into righteous men and to serve God). But those children were delivered unto the angels of Tartarus (Gr. unto an angel) that they should bring them into a spacious place of mercy: but their fathers and mothers were haled (strangled) into everlasting torment.
And thereafter I saw men and women clad in rags full of pitch and brimstone of fire, and there were dragons twined about their necks and shoulders and feet, and angels having horns of fire constrained them and smote them and closed up their nostrils, saying unto them: Wherefore knew ye not the time wherein it was right for you to repent and serve God, and ye did not? And I asked: Who are these, Lord? And he said unto me: These are they that seemed to renounce the world (lat. God), wearing our garb, but the snares of the world made them to be miserable: they showed no charity and had no pity upon the widows and fatherless: the stranger and pi]grim they did not take in, neither offered one oblation nor had pity on their neighbour: and their prayer went not up even one day pure unto the Lord God; but the many snares of the world held them back, and they were not able to do right in the sight of God. And the angels carried (lat. surrounded) them about into the place of torments: and they that were in torments saw them and said unto them: We indeed when we lived in the world neglected God, and ye did so likewise. And we when we were in the world knew that we were sinners, but of you it was said: These are righteous and servants of God: now we know that ye were only called by the name of the Lord. Wherefore also they pay the due penalty.
And I sighed and wept and said: Woe unto men! woe unto the sinners! to what end were they born? And the angel answered and said unto me: Wherefore weepest thou? Art thou more merciful than the Lord God which is blessed for ever, who hath established the judgement and left every man of his own will to choose good or evil and to do as pleaseth him? Yet again I wept very sore, and he said unto me: Weepest thou, when as yet thou hast not seen the greater torments? Follow me, and thou shalt see sevenfold greater than these.
41 And he took me from the north side (to the west, Syr.) and set me over a well, and I found it sealed with seven seals. And the angel that was with me answered and said unto the angel of that place: Open the mouth of the well, that Paul the dearly beloved of God may behold; for power hath been given unto him to see all the torments of hell. And the angel said unto me: Stand afar off, that thou mayest be able to endure the stench of this place. When therefore the well was opened, straightway there arose out of it a stench hard and evil exceedingly, which surpassed all the torments: and I looked into the well and saw masses (lumps) of fire burning on every side, and anguish, and there was straitness in the mouth of the pit so as to take but one man in. And the angel answered and said unto me: If any be cast into the well of the abyss, and it be sealed over him, there shall never be remembrance made of him in the presence of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost or of the holy angels. And I said: Who are they, Lord, that are cast into this well? And he said unto me: They are whosoever confesseth not that Christ is come in the flesh and that the Virgin Mary bare him and whosoever saith of the bread and the cup of blessing of the Eucharist that it is not the body and blood of Christ.
42 And I looked from the north unto the west and saw there the worm that sleepeth not, and in that place was gnashing of teeth. And the worms were of the measure of one cubit, and on them were two heads; and I saw there men and women in cold and gnashing of teeth. And I asked and said: Lord, who are they that are in this place? And he said unto me: These are they which say that Christ rose not from the dead, and that this flesh riseth not again. And I inquired and said: Lord, is there no fire nor heat in this place? And he said unto me: In this place is nothing else but cold and snow. And again he said to me: Even if the sun (seven suns, Copt.) rose upon them, they would not be warmed, because of the excessive cold of this place, and the snow. And when I heard this I spread forth mine hands and wept and sighed, and again I said: It were better for us if we had not been born, all we that are sinners. 43 But when they that were in that place saw me weeping, with the angel, they also cried out and wept, saying: Lord God, have mercy upon us.
And after that I beheld the heaven open and Michael the archangel coming down out of heaven, and with him all the host of the angels; and they came even unto them that were set in torment. And they when they saw them wept again and cried out and said: Have mercy upon us, thou Michael, archangel, have mercy upon us and upon the race of men, for it is by thy prayers that the earth standeth. We have now seen the judgement and have known the Son of God. It was not possible for us to pray for this before we came into this place: for we heard that there was a judgement, before we departed out of the world, but the snares and the life of the world suffered us not to repent. And Michael answered and said: Hearken when Michael speaketh: I am he that stands in the presence of God alway.
As the Lord liveth, before whose face I stand, I cease not for one day nor one night to pray continually for the race of men; and I indeed pray for them that are upon earth: but they cease not from committing wickednesses and fornication. And they bring not forth aught of good while they are upon earth; and ye have wasted in vanity the time wherein ye ought to have repented. But I have prayed alway, and now do I entreat that God would send dew and that rain may be sent upon the earth, and still pray I until the earth yield her fruits: and I say that if any man doeth but a little good I will strive for him and protect him until he escape the judgement of torment. Where then be your prayers? Where be your repentances? ye have lost the time despicably. Yet now weep ye, and I will weep with you, and the angels that are with me, together with the dearly beloved Paul, if peradventure the merciful God will have pity and grant you refreshment. And they when they heard these words cried out and wept sore, and all said with one voice: Have mercy upon us, O Son of God. And I, Paul, sighed and said: O Lord God, have mercy upon thy creature, have mercy on the children of men, have mercy upon thine image.
44 I beheld and saw the heaven shake like unto a tree that is moved by the wind: and suddenly they cast themselves down upon their faces before the throne: and I saw the four-and- twenty elders and the four beasts worshipping God: and I saw the altar and the veil and the throne, and all of them were rejoicing, and the smoke of a sweet odour rose up beside the altar of the throne of God; and I heard a voice saying: For what cause do ye entreat me, our angels, and our ministers? And they cried out, saying: We entreat thee, beholding thy great goodness unto mankind. And thereafter I saw the Son of God coming down out of heaven, and on his head was a crown. And when they that were in torments saw him they all cried out with one voice, saying: Have mercy upon us, O exalted Son of God (or, Son of God Most High): thou art he that hast granted refreshment unto all that are in heaven and earth; have mercy upon us likewise: for since we beheld thee we have been refreshed.
And there went forth a voice from the Son of God throughout all the torments, saying: What good works have ye done that ye should ask of me refreshment? My blood was shed for you, and not even so did ye repent: for your sake I bare a crown of thorns on mine head, for you I received buffets upon my cheeks, and not even so did ye repent. I asked for water when I hanged upon the cross, and they gave me vinegar mingled with gall: with a spear did they open my right side: for my name's sake have they slain my servants the prophets, and the righteous: and for ail these things did I give you a place of repentance, and ye would not. Yet now because of Michael the archangel of my covenant and the angels that are with him, and because of Paul my dearly beloved whom I would not grieve. and because of your brethren that are in the world and do offer oblations, and because of your sons, for in them are my commandments,l and yet more because of mine own goodness: on that day whereon I rose from the dead I grant unto all you that are in torment refreshment for a day and a night for ever.
And all they cried out and said: We bless thee, O Son of God, for that thou hast granted us rest for a day and a night: for better unto us is the refreshment of one day than the whole time of our life wherein we were upon earth: and if we had known clearly that this place was appointed for them that sin, we should have done none other work whatsoever, neither traded nor done any wickedness. For what profit was our pride in the world? (Copt. What profit was it to us to be born into the world?) For this our pride is taken captive, which came up out of our mouth against our neighbour (Copt. our life is like the breath of our mouth): and this pain and our sore anguish and tears and the worms which are under us, these are worse unto us than the torments which we suffer. (This is hardly sense, but Copt. agrees; should it not have been ' these are worse than not to have been born ' ?) And as they thus spake, the angels of torment and the evil angels were wroth with them and said: How long have ye wept and sighed? for ye have had no mercy. For this is the judgement of God on him that hath not had mercy. Yet have ye received this great grace, even refreshment for the night and day of the Lord's day, because of Paul the dearly beloved of God who hath come down unto you.
45 And after these things the angel said unto me: Hast thou seen all these things? And I said: Yea, Lord. And he said unto me: Follow me, and I will bring thee into Paradise, that the righteous which are there may see thee: for, behold, they hope to see thee, and are ready to come and meet thee with joy and exultation. And I followed after the angel in the swiftness of the Holy Ghost, and he set me in Paradise and said unto me: This is Paradise, wherein Adam and his wife erred. And I entered into Paradise and saw the head of the waters, and the angel beckoned unto me and said to me: Behold, saith he, these waters: for this is the river Phison that compasseth about all the land of Evila. and this other is Geon that goeth about all the land of Egypt and Ethiopia, and this other is Tigris that is over against the Assyrians, and this other is Euphrates that watereth the land of Mesopotamia. And I entered in further and saw a tree planted, out of whose roots flowed waters, and out of it was the beginning of the four rivers, and the Spirit of God rested upon that tree, and when the spirit breathed the waters flowed forth: and I said: Lord, is this tree that which maketh the waters to flow? And he said unto me: Because in the beginning, before the heaven and the earth were made to appear, and all things were invisible, the Spirit of God moved (was borne) upon the waters; but since by the commandment of God the heaven and the earth appeared the spirit hath rested upon this tree; wherefore when the spirit breatheth, the waters flow out from the tree. And he took hold on mine hand and led me unto the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and said: This is the tree whereby death entered into the world, and Adam taking of it from his wife did eat, and death entered into the world. And he showed me another tree in the midst of Paradise, and saith unto me: This is the tree of life.
46 And as I yet looked upon the tree, I saw a virgin coming from afar off, and two hundred angels before her singing hymns: and I inquired and said: Lord, who is this that cometh in such glory? and he said unto me: This is Mary the virgin, the mother of the Lord. And she came near and saluted me, and said: Hail, Paul, dearly beloved of God and angels and men. For all the saints have besought my son Jesus who is my Lord, that thou shouldest come here in the body that they might see thee before thou didst depart out of the world. And the Lord said to them: Wait and be ye patient: yet a little while, and ye shall see him, and he shall be with you for ever. And again they all with one accord said unto him: Grieve us not, for we desire to see him while he is in the flesh, for by him hath thy name been greatly glorified in the world, and we have seen that he hath excelled (done away with) all the works whether of the lesser or the greater. For we inquire of them that come hither, saying: Who is he that guided you in the world? and they have told us: There is one in the world whose name is Paul; he declareth Christ, preaching him, and we believe that by the power and sweetness of his speech many have entered into the kingdom. Behold, all the righteous are behind me, coming to meet thee. But I say unto thee, Paul, that for this cause I come first to meet them that have performed the will of my son and my Lord Jesus Christ, even I come first to meet them and leave them not as strangers until they meet with him in peace.
47 While she was yet speaking I saw three men coming from afar, very beautiful, after the appearance of Christ, and their forms were shining, and their angels; and I asked: Who are these, Lord? And he answered: These are the fathers of the people, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And they came near and greeted me, and said: Hail, Paul, dearly beloved of God and men: blessed is he that endureth violence for the Lord's sake. And Abraham answered me and said: This is my son Isaac, and Jacob my best beloved, and we knew the Lord and followed him. Blessed are all they that have believed thy word that they may inherit the kingdom of God by labour and self-sacrifice (renunciation) and sanctification and humility and charity and meekness and right faith in the Lord: and we also had devotion unto the Lord whom thou preachest, covenanting that we will come unto every soul of them that believe in him, and minister unto him as fathers minister unto their sons.
While they yet spake I saw twelve men coming from afar with honour, and I asked: Who are these, Lord? And he said: These are the patriarchs. And they came and saluted me and said: Hail, Paul, dearly beloved of God and men. The Lord hath not grieved us, that we might see thee yet being in the body, before thou departedst out of the world. And every one of them signified his name unto me in order, from Ruben unto Benjamin; and Joseph said unto me: I am he that was sold; and I say unto thee, Paul, that for all that my brethren did unto me, in nothing did I deal evilly with them, not in all the labour which they laid upon me, nor did I hurt them in any thing (Copt. kept no evil thought against them) from morning until evening. Blessed is he that is hurt for the Lord's sake and hath endured, for the Lord will recompense him manifold more when he departeth out of the world.
48 While he yet spake I saw another coming from afar, beautiful, and his angels singing hymns, and I asked: Who is this, Lord, that is fair of countenance? And he said unto me: Dost thou not know him? And I said: No, Lord. And he said to me: This is Moses the lawgiver, unto whom God gave the law. And when he was nigh me, straightway he wept, and after that he greeted me; and I said unto him: Why weepest thou? for I have heard that thou excellest all men in meekness. And he answered, saying: I weep for them whom I planted with much labour, for they have borne no fruit, neither doth any of them do well.
And I have seen all the sheep whom I fed that they are scattered and become as having no shepherd, and that all the labours which I have endured for the children of Israel are come to nought, and however great wonders I did in their midst [and] they understood not: and I marvel how the strangers and uncircumcised and idolaters are converted and entered into the promises of God, but Israel hath not entered in: and now I say unto thee, O brother Paul, that in that hour when the people hanged up Jesus whom thou preachest, God the Father of all, which gave me the law, and Michael and all the angels and archangels, and Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the righteous wept over the Son of God that was hanged on the cross. And in that hour all the saints waited upon me, looking on me and saying: Behold, Moses, what they of thy people have done unto the Son of God. Therefore blessed art thou O Paul, and blessed is the generation and people that hath believed thy word.
49 While he yet spake there came other twelve and saw me and said: Art thou Paul that is glorified in heaven and upon earth? And I answered and said: Who are ye? The first answered and said: I am Esaias whose head Manasses cut with a saw of wood. And the second said likewise: I am Jeremias who was stoned by the children of Israel, and slain. And the third said: I am Ezechiel whom the children of Israel dragged by the feet over the stones in the mountain until they scattered my brains abroad: and all of us endured these labours, desiring to save the children of Israel: and I say unto thee that after the toils which they laid upon me I would cast myself down upon my face before the Lord, praying for them and bowing my knees unto the second hour of the Lord's day, even until Michael came and raised me up from the earth. Blessed art thou, Paul, and blessed is the people that hath believed through thee.
And as they passed by, I saw another, fair of countenance and asked: Who is this, Lord? [And when he saw me he was glad] and he said unto me: This is Lot, which was found righteous in Sodom. And he came near and greeted me and said: Blessed art thou, Paul, and blessed is the generation unto whom thou hast ministered. And I answered and said unto him: Art thou Lot, that wast found righteous in Sodom? And he said: I entertained angels in mine house as strangers, and when they of the city would have done them violence I offered them my two daughters, virgins, that had never known man, and gave them to them, saying: Use them as ye will, only do no ill unto these men, for therefore have they entered under the roof of mine house. Therefore ought we to have confidence, and know that whatsoever any man hath done, God recompenseth him manifold more when he cometh (they come) unto him. Blessed art thou Paul, and blessed is the generation which hath believed thy word.
When therefore he had ceased speaking unto me, I saw another coming from afar off, very beautiful in the face, and smiling, and his angels singing hymns, and I said unto the angel that was with me: Hath,then,every one of the righteous an angel for his fellow? And he saith to me: Every one of the saints hath his own, that standeth by him and singeth hymns, and the one departeth not from the other. And I said: Who is this, Lord? And he said: This is Job. And he drew near and greeted me and said: Brother Paul, thou hast great praise with God and men. Now I am Job, which suffered much for the season of thirty years by the issue of a plague, and in the beginning the blains that came forth of my body were as grains of wheat; but on the third day they became like an ass's foot, and the worms that fell from them were four fingers long: and thrice the devil appeared unto me and saith to me: Speak a word against the Lord, and die. But I said unto him: If thus be the will of God that I continue in the plague all the time of my life until I die, I will not rest from blessing the Lord God, and I shall receive the greater reward. For I know that the sufferings of this world are nought compared with the refreshment that is thereafter: wherefore blessed art thou, Paul, and blessed is the people which hath believed by thy means.
50 While he yet spake there came another crying out from afar off and saying: Blessed art thou, Paul, and blessed am I that have seen thee the beloved of the Lord. And I asked the angel: Who is this, Lord? and he answered and said unto me: This is Noe of the days of the flood. And straightway we greeted one another, and he, rejoicing greatly, said unto me: Thou art (or, Art thou) Paul the best beloved of God. And I asked him: Who art thou? And he said: I am Noe that was in the days of the flood: but I say unto thee, Paul, that I spent an hundred years making the ark, not putting off the coat (tunic) which I wore, and I shaved not the hair of mine head. Furthermore I kept continence, not coming near mine own wife, and in those hundred years the hair of mine head grew not in greatness, neither was my raiment soiled. And I besought men at that time, saying: Repent, for a flood of waters cometh upon you.
But they mocked me and derided my words; and again they said unto me: This is the time of them that would play and sin as much as they will, that have leave to fornicate not a little (lat. confused; other versions omit): for God looketh not on these things, neither knoweth what is done of us men, and moreover there is no flood of waters coming upon this world. And they ceased not from their sins until God blotted out all flesh that had the breath of life in it. But know thou that God loveth one righteous man more than all the world of the wicked. Therefore blessed art thou, O Paul, and blessed is the people that hath believed by thy means.
51 And I turned myself and saw other righteous ones coming from afar off, and I asked the angel: Who are these, Lord? and he answered me: These are Elias and Eliseus. And they greeted me, and I said unto them: Who are ye? And one of them answered and said: I am Elias the prophet of God. I am Elias that prayed, and because of my word the heaven rained not for three years and six months, because of the iniquities of men. Righteous and true is God, who doeth the will of his servants; for oftentimes the angels besought the Lord for rain, and he said: Be patient until my servant Elias pray and entreat for this, and I will send rain upon the earth.
[Here the Greek, latin, and Syriac texts end, save that the Syriac adds thus much:]
And he gave not, until I called upon him again; then he gave unto them. But blessed art thou, O Paul, that thy generation and those thou teachest are the sons of the kingdom. And know thou, O Paul, that every man who believes through thee hath a great blessing, and a blessing is reserved for him. Then he departed from me.
And the angel who was with me led me forth, and said unto me: Lo, unto thee is given this mystery and revelation: as thou pleasest, make it known unto the sons of men.
And I, Paul, returned unto myself, and I knew all that I had seen: and in life I had not rest that I might reveal this mystery, but I wrote it and deposited it under the ground and the foundations of the house of a certain faithful man with whom I used to be in Tarsus a city of Cilicia. And when I was released from this life of time, and stood before my Lord, thus said he unto me: Paul, have we shown all these things unto thee that thou shouldst deposit them under the foundations of a house? Then send and disclose concerning this revelation, that men may read it and turn to the way of truth, that they also may not come to these bitter torments.
And thus was this revelation discovered....
[Then follows the history of the finding, which in the other texts is prefixed to the book.]
But this conclusion can hardly be the original one. The Coptic seems in part better. After the words 'rain upon the earth', it continues:
The sufferings which each endureth for God's sake will God requite unto him twofold. Blessed art thou, Paul, and blessed are the heathen who shall believe through thee. And whilst he was speaking, Enoch (here Enoch replaces Elisha) also came and saluted me and said unto me: The man who endureth suffering for God's sake, God will not afflict when he goeth out of the world.
Then there are similar meetings with Zacharias and John Baptist, and Abel. Zacharias says:
' I am he whom they killed when I was offering up the offering unto God: and when the angels came for the offering, they carried my body up to God, and no man found my body whither it had been taken.'
Then Adam, taller than the rest, appears. And this seems a suitable finale to the procession of saints.
After this Paul is carried into the third heaven. The angel who is with him changes in appearance and bursts into flames of fire, and a voice forbids Paul to reveal what he has seen.
There is a description of a mysterious vision of an altar with seven eagles of light on the right and seven on the left. And this is followed by more descriptions of Paradise-partly resembling a vision seen by one Siophanes, in the Book of Bartholomew. Some sentences also are taken from, or at least found in, the Apocalypse of Zephaniah. The meek, the prophets, David, all figure again in this episode: last are the martyrs. The conclusion runs thus (in substance):
The angel of the Lord took me up and brought me to the Mount of Olives. I found the apostles assembled and told them all I had seen. They praised God and commanded us, that is me, Mark, and Timothy, to write the revelation. And while they were talking, Christ appeared from the chariot of the cherubim and spoke greetings to Peter, John, and especially Paul. He promised blessings to those who should write or read the Apocalypse, and curses on those who should deride it. Peter and Paul should end their course on the fifth of Epiphi (29 June). He then bade a cloud take the apostles to the various countries allotted to them, and commanded them to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom. And a doxology follows.
I am disposed to think that nothing after the appearance of Adam in this version can be original. The rest is to a great extent, I think a pasticcio from other Coptic apocrypha. It is quite possible, of course that the original end of the Apocalypse was lost at an early date, but the supposition is probable that after the appearance of Adam a short conclusion followed in which Paul returned to earth. With so ill-proportioned and inartistic a book it is not perhaps worth while to spend much time on conjectural restoration. Yet another possibility should be pointed out. The climax of the Apocalypse is reached when the Sunday is granted as a day of rest from torment. Paul has seen Paradise and hell, and there is no more for him to do. Everything after ch. 44 is an otiose appendix.
And we do find in the Ethiopic Apocalypse of the Virgin, which copies that of Paul very literally, that the end comes at ch. 44, when the Virgin procures rest from Friday evening to Monday morning for the lost. The Greek Apocalypse -one form at least ends when she has gained for them the days of Pentecost.
It may be the case, then, that the Apocalypse of Paul as first issued ended here, and that it was reissued with the appendix about Paradise (45-end). In the shorter Latin recensions there is no trace of anything after ch. 44: but this does not furnish a conclusive argument. More to the point would be the discovery of a copy of the full text ending with 44.
Scanned and Edited by
Northwest Nazarene College, 1995