THE TWO SORROWS OF THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN
This is an Irish apocryphon that portrays Enoch and Elijah being transported to the heavenly realm, where they mourn because their earthly bodies are heavy and inert and they cannot soar with the weightless angels. This is yet another medieval apocryphal text.
§1 Why does one speak of sorrow in Heaven? That is not difficult. Elijah and Enoch prayed to the Lord to carry them in their bodies to Heaven. Due to the excellence, then, of their merit to God while on earth, they were carried to Paradise in their earthly bodies. Consequently, bright, pure, light, aerial souls are flying all around them in the shape of angels. They, that is, Elijah and Enoch, however, are in their heavy, sluggish, earthly bodies and they may not accompany them. This is a sorrow and a great pain to them, to be unable to accompany the angels, so that they themselves are the two sorrows of the Kingdom of Heaven.
§2 Elijah goes to sit under the Tree of Paradise with the Gospels in his hand to preach to the birds and the souls in Paradise. The birds then come to eat the fruit of the tree. Great berries are they, sweeter than any honey and more intoxicating than wine. They eat the fruit. After this Elijah opens his Gospels. At that they press their wings and feet against them, moving foot nor wing, until the preaching is finished. Teachings of Doomsday is what he preaches to them, that is, that which is brought down as tortures upon the souls of men on Doomsday, for instance, the four rivers around the mountain - that is, around the mountain of Zion - burning the souls. Long - that is, the thousand long years - is the danger for anyone who will be sinful. It is better for anyone who is well-deserving, even though it would be on that day only. Even if there were no suffering in store for the souls except on Doomsday, it would be meet that no-one should sleep thinking about it for as long as he should live.
§3 In addition to this there is the coming of Christ with the nine orders of Heaven, with all mortal men who have been born and will be born up to the Last Judgment, and with the hosts of Hell. It is thus that he, Jesus Christ, will come to them, with his red cross on his back to avenge his crucifixion on the Devil by coming to deliver them from his mouth. The host and the crowd which will be there will be great. It is in front of that host then that everyone will show his deeds both good and bad. Everyone in turn is to reveal that which their eyes have seen, that which their lips and their tongues have said and their hands have made, and where their feet have been. Christ son of God and Heaven’s angels and the men of Earth and Hell listen to him until he finishes speaking. His accompanying devil will be reminding him of every evil thing he has done, for he used to be on his left hand side continually watching him. A guardian angel on his right hand side will be reminding him of the good he has done.
§4 After all that has finished, Christ says: “Behold this man, O judges! What is it which is heavier, this man’s goodness or badness?”
“His goodness is heavier indeed.”
“Let him go, then, with his goodness to the community he has chosen”, says Christ, “to the angels and archangels”.
The angels come to fetch him with their hands outstretched towards him. “Welcome, come with me.” “He will come with me”, says the other.
§5 “The goodness and badness of this man are equal.”
“Half of this man is ours then” says the Devil.
“The soul will not be divided,” says Christ “since my might is stronger than yours he will come with me”.
§6 “The man’s evil is heavier, indeed.”
“Let him go then with his evil to the community he has chosen.”
The demons come to fetch him. “Alas for you,” they say, “Misery and suffering await you.” There will be sorrow to anyone: one man with his fist, the other man with his scourge, another is at his mouth with spikes and shouting at him. Miserable indeed is he who has earned the Devil’s welcome while he was in his body.
§7 When, afterwards, they have finished the judging of Adam’s offspring, it is then that Christ will tell them to go with the Devil and his vulgar crowd, that is, those who have chosen him and placed themselves in his community in hell forever. They will rise after that and they will cry their unanimous cry as the Devil forces them into Hell.
§8 There are three cries in the world, that is, the first is the cry of God’s people when they were forced by the Egyptians and the Pharaoh towards the Red Sea, to their death and destruction, and to give into slavery their sons and daughters forever, unless God would save them. And the cry of the men of Hell and the souls of Adam’s offspring who died before Christ’s crucifixion, that is, he brought them out of Hell, to spite the Devil, into the environs of the Kingdom of Heaven. This is the cry, then, which the souls uttered on account of eagerness to escape from the Devil and the cry of the men of Hell in pursuit of them. The third cry, that is the cry of the sinners as they are cast into Hell to live forever in torment and punishment without any atonement at all.
§9 Afterwards, the community which has chosen God will go towards the everlasting kingdom with Christ son of the living God in the hosts of the archangels. The horrors, indeed, of that day - that is, Doomsday, is what Elijah preaches under the Tree of Paradise, but this is only a selection of it.
§10 As Elijah closes his book, the birds utter their cries and beat their wings against their sides, so that streams of blood come out of their sides for fear of Doomsday. If it is birds who do this, it would be fitting for us mortals to prepare ourselves for it too. The Elijah and Enoch mentioned here, moreover, they will go to their martyrdom. For the Holy Spirit said: “Who is the man that shall live, and not see death?” that is, who experiences life and will not see death? They come to the Antichrist at the end of the world, and by him they are put to the sword, that is, that Antichrist is the Devil in the guise of a man. He comes into the world as if he were to bring faith. He will be wearing a number on his forehead; this is the sign that will be on him. Anyone who will believe in him will be cut down by him, until Michael comes from heaven, so that it is he who will fight the Antichrist.
THE LETTER OF BENAN
Extract From Strange New Gospels by Edgar J. Goodspeed 1931
IN 1910 there appeared at Berlin a work called Der Benanbrief, "The Letter of Benan," the Egyptian physician. It was described as translated from a Coptic papyrus roll of the fifth century, said to have been itself a translation of a Greek original written in A.D. 83. Its editor, Ernst Edler von der Planitz, stated that the roll was bought in 1860 by an independent Munich scholar named Baron von Rabenau, from a native in the village of Mit Rahinê, on the site of the ancient Memphis. It had been found in a tomb at Sakkara. Von der Planitz went on to say that von Rabenau had put the four fragments together but had made only a mechanical word-for-word translation of them, when in 1877 he informed von der Planitz, then a youth of twenty, of the document, and after working on it fourteen years himself, decided to make the young man his assistant. Von Rabenau died in 1879, and von der Planitz describes himself as having worked thirty-four years on the text. As a result of their combined efforts a translation into modern form was produced, the plan being to accompany the letter with a full historical and scientific commentary. The result is five neat little volumes, the first two of which contain the translation; the third and fourth, notes on the text; and the fifth, a discussion of Jesus and his work in the light of "The Letter of Benan." It may be added that from one-fourth to one-third, or even two-fifths, of each volume is devoted to press notices and advertisements of von der Planitz and his works. The text is carefully divided into chapters and verses--long, numbered paragraphs, after the traditional Bible fashion.
The story is in brief as follows:
Benan, a priest of Memphis, writes to his friend Strato, once secretary to Tiberius, whom he had met when the eruption of Vesuvius found him in the amphitheater at Pompeii arid drove him to escape to Capri in Pliny's galley. In conversation with Strato on that occasion, mention was made of the Christians. Benan told something of his early friendship with Jesus, and Strato told how Jesus' handkerchief, sent by Pilate's wife Procula, had cured Tiberius. Strato wished to hear more, but Benan had to sail for Egypt.
Four years later, in A.D. 83, Strato is settled at Rhodes and writes to Benan to remind him of his promise to tell his story more fully. Benan's letter is the result. Benan begins with the Wise Men and the star. Putiphra, an astronomer at Anu-Heliopolis in Egypt, is sent to the country of the Apriu by the high priest Ranebchru, and discovers the star Siriu. At that very time a child is born there. The child is taken back to Anu and brought up by Ranebchru, being at the same time trained in rabbinic lore by Pinehas, the high priest of the Jewish temple of Onias near by. When he is twelve Putiphra dies and Jesus returns to Nazareth. He visits Jerusalem and amazes the scribes. But he soon returns to Leontopolis and Heliopolis, where he comes to know Benan, a youth who is studying to be a physician. Jesus also learns that art, and astonishes people with his cures. When Jesus is twenty-six he is visited by Philo; he has already become acquainted with the Therapeutae, a group of Essenes, who practiced healing. Pinehas on his deathbed charges Jesus to go to his native land as teacher and healer, and he goes. For three years no news of him comes; then Asartis, a girl who is in love with him, sends Benan to find him.
With another physician named Saites, Benan goes, and on the way learns of Jesus' death. Finding the crosses empty, the friends go to the tomb and there witness the Resurrection, of which they afterward inform the women who come to the tomb. They also carry the news of it to Bethany. Jesus appears again and utters his lament over Jerusalem; then he shows himself in Bethany, and finally calling the disciples from Jerusalem, he commits to them the preaching of the gospel and takes his departure. Benan returns to Ranebchru in Egypt with the news; the phoenix appears in the temple of the sun at Heliopolis, in token of the Resurrection, and Asartis dies of grief.
The second part of the letter tells of Benan's subsequent journey to Italy, where he is unable to help the dying Tiberius. But he becomes the physician of Gaius and in that capacity visits Gaul and Britain. Later he meets the leading literary men of Rome, and witnesses the burning of Rome in Nero's time, and the persecution of the Christians that followed. Benan learns that their founder is his old friend Jehoshua, or Jesus, of Anu. Anxious to learn more of the sect, he visits Paul in his prison, and in that connection meets Seneca and Luke. Benan is involved in some way in Piso's conspiracy against Nero, and he accordingly flees from Rome to Antioch. He visits Nazareth and Jerusalem, where he meets James and the apostle John. After various adventures in connection with the outbreak of the Jewish war he takes refuge with Titus at Caesarea; becomes his physician; witnesses the fall of Jerusalem; follows his patron to Rome, and witnesses his triumph; intercedes successfully for the life of John, and is in the amphitheater at Pompeii witnessing the display of Christian martyrs when the eruption of Vesuvius drives him and Strato to Capri as already described.
SELECTIONS FROM THE HENGWRT MSS PRESERVED IN THE PENIARTH LIBRARY
These selections are Welsh Apocryphal texts originally edited and translated in 1892
THE GOSPEL OF NICODEMUS
I.—In the hour that Adam sinned in Paradise, he was driven out of it after his sin, and he lifted up his voice at seeing himself naked. And by the mercy of the Lord he was concealed with the leaves, and, through a boon, he received a promise that the Oil of Mercy should he given him at the end of the ages. And then Adam came as far as the Yale of Hebron, with Eva, his wife; and there he endured many toils, with sweat and contrition of heart. And there were born to them two sons, Cain and Abel. And as they were sacrificing according to their wont, the Lord looked upon the offerings of Abel, but looked not upon the offerings of Cain, because he sacrificed with reluctance of heart. And when Cain was aware that the Lord looked not upon his sacrifice, he was infuriated with jealousy and slew Abel, his brother. And when Adam saw that Cain slew his brother, he said that many evils came because of woman: As God liveth, I will have no knowledge of her further. And he kept from her two hundred years. And a second time, by a command from God, he knew her, and he had a son by her, whom he called Seth
II.—And this one was obedient to his father. And when Adam was a hundred and thirty years old, he was wearied of uprooting briars and thorns; he was bowed in the body, and was sad, and bethought him in his heart that much evil would grow in the world from his line, and be was tired of his life. And then he called Seth, his son, to him, and spoke to him, My son, said he, I will send thee to Paradise, to the Cherubim Archangel, who keeps the Tree of Life with a twisted sword of fire in his hand. I am ready, said the son; point me out the road and what I shall say to him. Tell him that I am sick of my life, and that I entreat him through thee in prayer, to send by thee assurance of the Oil of Mercy which the Lord promised me, when He sent me from Paradise. Seth got him ready, and in this wise did his father teach him the road. Walk, said he, opposite the vale towards the East, and at the end of the vale thou shalt find a road untrodden, that will lead thee to Paradise. And, that thou mayst have knowledge of thy way, thou shalt find on the road and that fair path the footprints of thy mother and father, withered, and dry, and scorched. When we came from Paradise, so manifold were our sins that no blade or herb grew on the road where we trod the earth with our feet.
III.—Thereupon, Seth, as charged by his father, walked so towards Paradise. And as he drew near to Paradise, behold, there was, as it were, fire round about him from the light of Paradise, and fear came upon him, from thinking that fire encompassed him; and yet his father had warned him of this occurrence. And then he crossed himself, and marked himself with the sign of the Trinity. And then be came without hindrance. And when the angel saw him, he asked him why he came there. My father, said he, is spent with age, and tired of living longer, and sent me to thee to pray thee to give him assurance of the Oil of Mercy thou didst promise him, so that thou mightest send it to him by me. Put thy head through the wicket of the gate, said the angel, and look in steadily to find what thou seest there. And when he put in his head he saw such loveliness that tongue could not declare the diverse kinds of fruits and flowers there, or such music to which he listened, and an organ such as no man ever heard. There he saw, too, a clear fountain, and from it four streams gliding. The names of the four rivers were :—Pison, Gihon, Tigris, and Euphrates. And these four rivers are those that supply still water to the whole world. And above the fountain there was a tree of wondrous size, and upon it many branches, dry and bare, without bark, and without leaves. And then he drew in his head again to the angel, to declare to him fully what he saw. And then the angel bade him look in again, to see other things. And when he looked, he saw there the tree that was before bare, now surrounded by leaves and bark, and as high as Heaven; and at the point of the tree was a child, newly-born, as he thought, at that hour. And he turned his face towards the earth, and there he saw the branches of the tree passing through Earth to Hell, and there he recognized the soul of Abel, his brother. And then he turned the third time to the angel, to declare what he saw. And then the angel interpreted to him the vision about the child. The Child that thou didst see, said he, is the Son of God, who mourns over the sins of thy parents, and will mourn until the fullness of time shall come. And He is the Oil that was promised thy parents. He shall effect mercy for thy parents, and for their heirs. And that mercy is the property of love.
IV.—And after Seth had been so taught by the angel, when he was starting on his journey, the angel gave him three grains from the hollow of an apple from that tree, as his father had bidden him, and told him that his father would expire at the end of three days after Seth came to Adam. And do thou place these three grains under the roots of his tongue, and from them will grow three rods. One of them will be of the species of Cedar ; the second will be of the species of Cypress; and the third will be of the species of Pine-tree. By the Cedar will be understood the Father in Heaven, for it is the highest of trees in its growth. By Cypress will be understood the Son, for it is the tree that has the most fragrance and the sweetest fruit By the Pine will be understood the Holy Ghost, because of the abundance of its fruit. And then Seth came again to his father with his message, without let. And when he declared his message to Adam, he rejoiced; and this was the only time Adam laughed since he came upon earth, and he cried continually, and spake, Lord, said he, enough is the length of my life; take my spirit to Thee. And before the end of three days, as the angel said, Adam expired. And Seth, his son, buried him in the Vale of Hebron, with the three grains aforesaid under the roots of his tongue. And from these arose after a short time three rods, and the length of them all was alike, and these rods lived in the month of Adam until Noah, and from Noah until Abraham, and from Abraham until Moses, without growing or extending any more, or changing at all from the same nature.
V.—And then, when Moses went to bring the people of Israel from the bondage of Egypt, from Pharaoh the King, through the Red Sea; and Pharaoh and his people were drowned; and Moses came to the Vale of Hebron, and the people of God with him; as Moses brought them out after encamping,—he blessed the people, to go to raise the three rods that were in Adam’s month; and by learning from the spirit of prophecy, be seized the three rods and plucked them. And when he pulled them from the mouth of Adam, they found such fragrance, that they then thought they were in the Promised Land. And when Moses plucked them, he said that they signified the Trinity. And Moses was glad to find the odors and that good sign; and he kept them with honor, covered in cloth, as precious relics. And they were forty years in the wilderness. And if any one of the host had fallen into sickness, either from the sting of a poisonous insect, or any other affection, the prophet would place the rods in his mouth, and at that hour he was healed.
VI.—And then it happened that the people asked Moses for water from the rock, and murmured for water from Moses. Ye look strangely, said Moses: can I, hateful and unbelieving people, bring you water from this stone? And he struck two blows with his rod on the rock until water in abundance issued forth from it, so that men and animals could get plenty. And then, straightway, the Lord appeared to Moses, and communed with him thus, Because thou didst not trust in My name, said He, before the people of Israel, thou shalt not bring them to the Promised Land. Who, Lord, shall lead them I said Moses. As I live, said God, none of them shall go there, save Caleph and Joshua. Then Moses understood that his day was coming; and then he went to the lowest end of the Valley of Tabor. And there he planted the rods in the earth, and he dug himself a grave; and then he went into the grave, and expired. And there these rods remained a thousand years, until the time of David, the King of Judaea.
VII.—And at the end of a thousand years after Moses the prophet, David was taught through the Holy Ghost to go to Mount Tabor, to get the rods that Moses planted there: And David went there, and took the rods as far as Jerusalem, for God had foreseen that the health of the human race was of them by virtue of the Cross. And then David fared as far as Arabia; and at the end of the ninth day he came to a mountain and there David found the rods that the angel pointed out to him. And when he plucked them from the earth, David and all his company got very precious scents from the rods, so that all thought and believed that it was a heavenly thing. And, as David was returning, there met him many with afflictions, and many with divers diseases; and all of them received health from the power of the Cross, they calling aloud the while with the voice of prophecy, and saying: To-day God gives health to the world through the power of the Holy Cross, and through the Holy Ghost. And with great joy all of them went homeward, healed. And at the cud of nine days David came back to Jerusalem, and bethought him where he should plant these rods with honor. And that night he placed them in a cave of stone that was near water, so that he might plant them next day in the open. And there he left keepers that night, and a light with them, and he went to rest. And already, by Divine Power, that which is ever abundance, which does not deceive, and is never deceived, the rods shot up, standing with their roots in the rock, and blended the three rods into one. And when the King saw that marvel, he said: The fear of God he upon all the nations of the earth, for mighty and praiseworthy is He in His Works.
VIII.—The King did not move them from that place, for God placed them marvelously. And David made a wall around the tree beautifully, after planting them, to bring them out at the end of thirty years. And on the increase of each year the King caused a circle of silver to be placed each year, so that he might know what the growth of the Holy Tree as each year; and the amount that grew on it in the first year, grew upon it each year afterwards, that being a cubit each year. And at the end of thirty years, after David committed grievous sin and deserved God’s judgment, David came under the Sacred Tree, to weep, from repentance for his sin, and to say to the Lord the Miserere. And after finishing the Psalm, he began to build a temple to the Lord, as an atonement for his sins. And for fourteen years David was engaged in the work about the temple. And yet, since David was a man of slaughter, because of the carnage he had worked, the Lord willed not that the house should be finished by him, and said to him: Thou shalt not build Me a house, for thou art a man of blood. Who, Lord, shall build it? said David. Solomon, thy son, said the Lord. And then David understood that he would not last longer; and then called to him the elders and chiefs of the City, and said to them: Hearken to Solomon as ye have done to me, for the Lord has chosen him.
IX.--And after David died and was buried in the sepulcher, of the kings, Solomon ruled in Judea, and completed the temple? with joy, in the space of thirty-two years. And just before finishing it, when neither the masons nor the carpenters could find in all the forests of Libanus a beam that would fit the temple in length, nor in all the wood of the other kingdoms round about, as if in constraint and necessity they felled that tree and made a beam of it, and it was thirty-one cubits in length. And after measuring it thus, it was a cubit longer than it ought to be by the line, when it was raised and so proved. The reason why they tested was this;—that, when the beam was on the ground, it was a cubit’s length longer than the measure; and when it was raised in its place, it was a cubit’s length shorter. And when they looked to it, they called the King to show him their wonder. And then the King commanded them to place the tree in the temple, so that it might be honored by all that came in to the temple.
X.—Then the carpenters went to get a beam to suit, and found it readily, and finished the temple of David in joy and gladness. And then there was a custom of the kingdoms round about Jerusalem, to make a pilgrimage to the temple of the Lord to worship God. And then it happened, that this beam was honored by all that came to the temple. And then it was told a saintly woman called Maximilla that it was unseemly for her to sit on the Sacred Tree. And then she felt her clothes burning about her. And, with the utterance of prophecy, she raised her full voice and said: My God and Lord, Jesus Christ. And when the Jews heard her name Jesus Christ, they stoned her with stones. And she was the first martyr that suffered martyrdom in the name of Christ. And then the Jews dragged the beam from the temple, and cast it into a pool that was near their city, called Probatica Piscina, the Sheeps’ Pond, wherein the entrails of animals that were sacrificed in the temple, were washed. And notwithstanding, the Lord did not suffer this Sacred Tree to be without performing miracles, wherever it might be; but each day, between eventide and morning, the angels went down into the pool, and troubled the water. And the first man that came into the pool after the troubling of the water, whatever might be the disease that was upon him, he received succor and health.
XI.— And when the Jews saw those miracles, they drew the tree from the lake, and placed it as a bridge over a river, to tread upon, so that its virtue might be less. And there the tree was lying on the banks of that river, until Queen Sibylla came as far as Jerusalem, to listen to the wisdom of Solomon, the son of David. She came to the region where the beam lay; and when she beheld the tree, she bowed her head and worshiped it, and took off her shoes, and raised her garments, and went through the water below it, and spake in the utterance of prophecy: The earth shall drip with sweat as a sign of this declaration; a king shall come from heaven through the ages hereafter, to wit, one who shall judge in his flesh; and all, both the good and the evil, shall see him among them at the last day. And everyone shall come in his flesh, to be judged of them that be under the earth and stones, and shall throw them from their tombs. And fire shall burn the air, and shall break the gates of Black Hell. And every¬one in the flesh shall see this, and the fountains shall be burned with fire for ever. Then their hidden works shall be unveiled from all, and God shall open the secrets of their hearts. Then there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the heat and splendor be plucked from the Sun, and the Stars fall, and the Heavens be over¬thrown, and the light of the Moon shall fail, and the Hills shall bow down, and the Valleys be lifted up. And there shall be nothing which shall not be leveled, neither sea nor mountain, neither high nor low, and then all things shall rest, and the earth shall be bruised and burnt. And the fountains of the rivers shall burn. And then shall come a trump from the heights of the sky, awful to sinners. And then the world shall mourn over their evil deeds, and then the Earth shall be torn and expose Hell to view. And then all the kings shall bow down before the One Lord. And then a river of brimstone shall gather with wild fire from Heaven; the moon shall be torn from her.
XII.--Moreover, Sibylla said much afterwards to Solomon, the son of David, and there this tree remained lying, until the time that Christ suffered upon it. And when the Jews condemned Christ to death, one of them said with the voice of prophecy: Take the King’s tree that lieth outside the City, and make thereof a cross for the King of the Jews. And then the Jews came outside the city, and cut the third part of the beam, and with that they made the Lord’s cross, seven cubits in length and three cubits in breadth in the cross-trees, and removed it to the place called Calvaria. And thereon they hanged our Lord Jesus Christ, for the salvation of him that believeth in Him, who possesseth honor and glory for ever and ever.
THE HISTORY OF PILATE
I.—In the olden time there was a King named Eres and he had knowledge of a maiden called Pila, who was the daughter of a miller named Atus. And by her the King had a son, and his mother composed the child’s name of her own name and that of her father and gave him the name of Pilatus. And when he was three years of age, Pila sent him to the King, his father; and there was there another son of the King, by the Queen, who was almost of the same age as Pilatus. And when they all came together, it was their wont, both of them, to contend frequently in slinging and putting stones, and each of them wrangled with the other. And still, as the legitimate son was nobler than the illegitimate, through his superiority he was stouter at every game. And for this reason Pilatus waxed insolent with jealousy towards his brother, and slew his brother covertly. And when it came to the ears of the King, he grieved, and after this he called to him his council to ask what he should do about that heinous murderer. All of them urged him to put him to death. Nevertheless the King bethought him that it was not well to make two iniquities of one, but better to send him as hostage for tribute that the men of Rome owed him each year; for it pleased him that his son should escape without being slain, and withal that he should be freed from the tribute.
II.—And at the same time a son of the King of France was hostage for tribute with the men of Rome. And after they had accompanied together, Pilatus saw the other’s excellence in the ordinances, that it was greater than his; so, at the dictates of jealousy, he slew this man also. And when the men of Rome had thought what they should do with him, they said If we leave this man alive after he has slain his brother, and hilled the son of the King of France, he may rouse the anger of the men of Rome for the injuries of this foolish people. Since he has deserved execution, let us send him to the Isle of the Bridge, as a judge over the people that never suffered a judge over them; and one of two things will befall him—either he will tame that unruly people, or he will be deservedly destroyed. And then Pilatus was sent to the ferocious race that had ever slain their judges. And he understood what was before him, and craftily made a covenant with them, and kept his life in their midst, and that iniquitous people he subdued, sometimes by threats, at other times by entreating them gently, sometimes by punishment, sometimes by gifts. And through his overcoming a people so ungentle, thenceforward he was called Pilatus of the Isle of the Bridge. And when cruel Herod heard of the stratagems of Pilatus, he rejoiced, for he too was subtle, and invited him to him, and gave him power over the land of Judea and Jerusalem, as much as was in his own hand.
III.—And after amassing vast treasure there, he proceeded to take the treasure without Herod’s license, and brought it to Tiberius, the Emperor, and received from the Emperor an extension of the power that he had held from Herod. And for this reason hostility arose between Herod and Pilatus, until they were reconciled at the time of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ. And as to Herod, another reason is told in the school histories for the strife between them. This was that some one or other had made himself out to be a Son of God and deceived many of the Jews. And after He had brought them to the place that is called Gazarim, where He had said that He would ascend to heaven, Pilatus slew Him and those that were with Him, to prevent His seducing other Jews in the same way; and this was why Pilatus and Herod were enemies, for Herod possessed Galilee, And each of the two reasons may be true. However, when Pilatus gave up the Lord to the Jews to he crucified, he was afraid of offending Tiberius the Emperor, about destroying guiltless blood; he therefore sent to the Emperor a person in whom he trusted, to make excuses for him.
IV.—Meanwhile disease and leprosy attacked the Emperor. And it was told him that there was a physician in Jerusalem that healed all men by His Word, and he did not know that Pilatus and the Jews had already crucified Him. And the Emperor sent to Pilatus a beloved servant of his, in whom he trusted greatly in his secrets, Valesianus by name, to bid him send him by night, as soon as he could, the physician there, who could make him whole, as it had been told him, And when this reached Pilatus, and he was told that the Emperor sent the message, Pilatus was alarmed and asked for a fortnight’s time to seek Him. And as the messenger waited he found a discreet woman, Veronica by name, and questioned her, where Jesus could be found. Alas, said she, He was my Lord and God. When the Jews gave Him up to Pilatus through envy, he delivered Him to death and commanded Him to be crucified.
V.—And then he was exceedingly grieved. It is a great affliction to me, said he, that I cannot fulfill that which my lord commanded. Then Veronica spoke to him: I asked my Lord, said she, for the form of His face, and He pressed His face in a cloth, and gave it me for the length of the time that it was for me to see His face, when He went to preach, so that His image might comfort me in His absence. And He gave me on this account, said she, His revered features imprinted on a cloth. I believe, said she, that if this lord looked upon that impression, undoubtedly, he would find health, as good as ever it was. Is the image sold, said he, for gold or silver? It is not sold, said she, save for meekness of heart. I will go with thee, said she, to show the image to the Emperor, and let him look thereon and then I will return. And so Valesianus, taking Veronica with him, came to Rome and told Tiberius the Emperor that Jesus, the man he wished for, had been given over iniquitously to death by Pilatus to the Jews, and that they in envy had placed Him upon the cross. And therefore this discreet woman has brought the impress of that Jesus’s face to show thee: and if thou lookest upon His image, straightway thou wilt find health.
VI.—And then the Emperor caused the road by which the image should come to be spread with silk and fine sendal, and ordered that it should be shown before him. And as soon as he looked upon it he received full health. And from that time to this the image remains at Rome, in the Church of the Apostles Peter and Paul, to be shown to the people. And there it is called Veronica unto this day, after the name of the woman that had brought it. Thereupon, at the request of Tiberius the Emperor, Pilatus was taken and brought to Rome. And then Pilatus brought in his possession a coat, upon which there was no seam. And when Caesar heard that Pilatus was come, be was filled with rage, and commanded him to be brought before him. And as soon as the Emperor saw him, he rose gently to meet him, and he could not say a harsh word against him, and in his absence he was like an enemy towards him, while before him he was peaceable towards him. And when he let him go from him he would be filled with wrath, and would cause him to be called back, and swear he should be put to death, and that it was not right for him to live on the face of the earth. Meanwhile, as he came back, all his wrath and anger would vanish from him. And that surprised all, and the Emperor as well; in Pilatus’s absence he would fall into a passion, but to his face he felt no anger.
VII.—And this happened a third time. And then Veronica came to the Emperor and told him that he had on him the coat that His Glorious Mother made for Jesus Christ; and no one could do him any harm so long as be wore the coat. And then the Emperor let strip the coat from Pilatus, and he was fiercely enraged. And as the Emperor wondered at the occurrence, it was told him that it was Jesus Christ’s coat that protected him. And then the Emperor commanded him to be put in prison until he should determine, by the counsel of wise men, what death he ought to receive. And judgment was given that Pilatus should be removed by the basest death. And when Pilatus heard this, he brought death upon himself with his knife, and thus he met his end. And when the Emperor knew this, he said that he had met with the foulest death, as he adjudged it him. And then he was bound to a weight of huge size and flung into the river Tiber. And there the devils reveled over that polluted corpse. Then the filthy carcass began to cause an overflow in the sea, and in the water, and caused storms and lightning and thunder and hail in the air, so that all that listened were amazed.
VIII.—Therefore the men of Rome took the corpse out of the river Tiber, and, to make sport of it, they brought it to Vigenna and throw it headlong into the river Rodro, now Vigenna is the road to hell, for it was an accursed river, and there the devils ever make their home. And the people that were there likewise could not endure the disturbance of the devils over the body; they thrust out from them also the accursed vessel and brought it to the borders of Losan to be buried. And when they again were oppressed by the excessive disturbance, they brought it thence, and cast it into a well that was in a mountain, where, it is said, the snow in the wells ever bubbles, And thus it befell Pilatus.
THE HISTORY OF JUDAS
THIS IS HOW THE HISTORY or JUDAS IS TREATED
IX.—It has been read in some history that there was a man at Jerusalem, and his name was Reuben, and he was also called of the line of Iron of the tribe of Judas, or, according to others, of the line of Issachar. And he had a wife called Cyborea. And one night his wife fell asleep and saw a dream, and awoke in terror, and related it to her husband, groaning and lamenting the while. It appeared to me, said she, that I gave birth to a noble child, who would be the cause of perdition to a wicked generation. Whether it is an incantation that thou art prophesying, said Reuben, from God or from evil spirit or from vanity, this leads to mischief. If I have conceived, said the wife, doubtless it is no vanity but a vision.
X.—And when the time came that she should bring forth, a son was born her, and they feared the people because of it, and bethought them what they should do with him. And though they were in terror of the child, they could not do away with him. And yet, to prevent their being destroyed by the nation, they cast him in a leathern basket into the sea, and the waves threw him out to an island called Scarioth. And hero he was found, and was called Judas Scarioth thereafter. And the Queen of that place one day was walking hard by the sea beach, and discovered a vessel cast up by the waves to land. And the Queen commanded that it should be opened. And ‘when it was opened, behold, there was a child of comely form. And with a groan she spake, O truly Son of God, said she, can I find comfort in this child as my heir, so that I may not leave my kingdom heirless? for I have no heir. And she bade them nurture the child secretly and feign that she was with child.
XI.—And in due time she said that a son was born her, and commanded it to be published throughout the kingdom. And the princes rejoiced greatly, and the people, that the Queen had an heir. And it was caused that the son should be nurtured as befitted his dignity. And no long time after, the Queen. conceived and gave birth to son. And when they were both reared together, and grew in years, they often ‘wrangled, and Judas hurt the King's son, and made him weep repeatedly. And this was more than the Queen could bear, for Judas did not belong to her, and she beat the lad frequently; but for all that, he would not let the son alone. At last it was told Judas that he was not the Queen’s son, but a chance child. And then shame fell upon Judas, and he killed the son of the King. And he fled from there to Jerusalem with comrades, for fear of destruction. And there he joined himself to the court of Pilatus, who was Governor there. And as all things that resemble each other in character harmonize, the ways of Judas and those of Pilatus at once agreed, and therefore Judas was dear to him. And so he gave Judas authority over all his possessions, and they ordained everything with full accord.
XII.—And one day Pilatus espied an orchard from his palace, and longed for the apples so much that be could not do without them. And this orchard belonged to Reuben, the father of Judas. And Reuben did not know Judas, nor Judas his father, because he had been cast into the sea when newly born, so that Judas did not know from what land he was sprung. Pilatus s called Judas to him, and told him that his desire of the apples was so strong that, unless be obtained them, he ‘was likely to die. And at once Judas leapt into the orchard, and quickly took the apples. Meantime, lo, there was Reuben coming, and he found Judas gathering the apples. Thereupon they strove, and quarreled, and fought together; and at last Judas cut off Reuben’s head ; then he brought the apples to Pilatus, and related to him the mishap. And when day came and night was ended, Reuben was found dead. And then it was supposed that some other accident had befallen him. And thereupon Pilatus gave Judas all Reuben’s powers together with Cyborea, Reuben’s wife, to be the wife of Judas.
XIII.—And one day Cyborea was moaning. Judas asked her ‘what had happened to her. it is, said she, that I am the most hapless of all women; I drowned my son in the sea, said she, and found my husband dead in my own orchard; and it increases my woes that I was given by Pilatus, the most wretched of women as I am, in wedlock to thee. And when she had related her misfortune, Judas related what had befallen him. And then it was found that it ‘was his mother that he had taken to wife, and it was his father that he had slain. And then in repentance Cyborea came to our Lord Jesus Christ, to entreat of Him forgiveness of her sins. And the Lord made her son His disciple, and one of His apostles, and Judas became dear to Him, and He made him His steward, and then he was found to be a traitor in His service, and he carried the wallet in ‘which ‘were the things that were given to Christ.
XIV.—And at the time that the Lord suffered, Judas was vexed that the ointment that came to anoint the Lord was not sold for thirty pieces of silver, so that he might steal that money. And then he came and sold the Lord for thirty pieces of silver, and each one of them was worth ten pence in current money; and in that way he compensated himself for the loss of the value of the ointment; or, as others say, from all the goods that were given to Christ he stole the tenth part, and therefore, to make up for the tenth part of the worth of the ointment that he lost, he sold his Lord for thirty pieces. And these he brought back in remorse, and then hanged himself; and as he hung, his bowels were rent, and his entrails were let to the ground. And at the same time the mouth was spared, because it did not deserve pollution, for it had been kissed by the mouth of the Lord. The bowels, however, that had conceived the betrayal, deserved to be torn and to fall down. And the neck, too, where from the treachery came, deserved to be choked by the halter in the air above. And because he had offended the angels in heaven, and men upon earth, he was estranged from the kingdom of angels, and the men made him the companion of the devils in air.
THE SIGNS BEFORE JUDGMENT DAY
These are the signs that shall come to pass during fifteen days before Judgment Day; which Bishop Morudd obtained from the books of St. Jerome; and Bishop Morudd sang the stanzas.
¶ Gwyn, listen thou to the import of what the books so fully declare: evident miracles shall be seen,—the rising of the sea even to the sky.
¶ . . . . God said it—the many signs that shall be the fifteenth day before the Day of Judgment.
¶ The fourteenth day the sea shall long remain in the depth of the earth, as far as the sight can pierce; so that the wind cannot reach the waves.
¶ The thirteenth day bow terrible to see the Ocean, since, when one goes to gaze, not where it was, it shall be.
¶ The twelfth day God shall cause the creatures of the abounding sea, all the fishes, to come to the surface of the Ocean from its depth.
¶ The eleventh day, it is certain, the animals shall tremble for fear of inevitable destruction; the birds of the earth shall forget their food.
¶ The tenth day . . . . men shall not have comfort; the waste sea shall not be extinguished by reason of the great force of the streams of fire.
¶ The ninth day after the tenth shall come, God himself fashioning it, sulphurous fire throughout the laud impetuously falling from the stars.
¶ The eighth day, in accordance with the tokens, the Lord shall not conceal the war ; when the heights and hills shall burn, the churches shall certainly fall.
¶ The seventh day, a day of prognostication; the largest stones all shall split, and in the presence of God shall speak; in terror of the judgment they shall rive.
¶ Bitter signs—the sixth day shall come blood from the grass and the trees, our Lord shall be our protector, who gave us, since we have received faith and baptism.
¶ The fifth day a matter for tumult how men and the earth shall tremble!
¶ The fourth day, the chief stroke, the animals of the earth shall leap wildly; they shall roam . . . since they know they shall go together.
¶ The third day a day of misery, through the terror of judgment what friends everyone has lost shall come to the surface of the earth.
¶ This is the grace of the wafer, when God, Very Man, is elevated, Two, Three, Trinity, Unity, One, Father, Son, Holy Ghost.
¶ In the purity of freedom before the Sovereign meekly we shall see Christ, the King, God of Heaven. It is a gift to confess the Divine, in the form of wheat and wine.
¶ From the wine and wafer we shall see bright communion, God in his own image, the gifted life of man’s end.
¶ Man is the priest to fashion the people, if they come for fear of danger to him, with great learning and power and Our Brother between his hands.
¶ Between his hands it was fair, worthy the dawn, to see the court of the King of Heaven and Earth.
THE BLESSED OIL
THIS IS THE BEGINNING OF THE ACCOUNT OF THE BLESSED OIL, TURNED OUT OF LUCAS’ BOOK, FROM LATIN INTO WELSH
I.—Nasciens, a cousin of Bredyr ap Efrog, the Chief of the Knights of the Round Table, from the time that Merddin established it, under Uthur Pendragon, until a part of Arthur’s age. And then Nasciens went as a hermit to the chapel Perilous in Ynys Wydrin. And he so pleased God, that an angel was wont to come to administer his mass, as Arthur himself saw, when Mary sent the Golden Cross to Arthur, which is in the monastery of Glastonbury, where Arthur himself placed it. And for that reason he carried a green buckler with a white cross and Mary’s image on its right arm, sitting on the upper part of the shield.
II.—And that Nasciens, by the command of the Holy Spirit, wrote all the account of the Holy Grail, with whom Blaes the hermit agrees, both that and a book that Merddin brought to the Glass Chapel, rehearsing the prowess of Arthur and his knights. And the book bears witness that Josephus, the son of Joseph of Arimathea, was consecrated Bishop in Dinas Farar, and was ordained with Blessed Oil, which seven angels of heaven brought to Joseph, and his son, and his twelve nephews, his sister’s sons, and four hundred other people, of the nearest to him in faith and creed and religion; and a command came from heaven to bid Joseph, and all the multitude, come to the island of Britain, and bring the Oil with them; and so they did.
III.—At that time Koel was king in Britain, and this Oil Dyfrig the Archbishop received, to consecrate Arthur as king, when he drew the sword from the stone in Caer Fudei. And for that reason he overcame all inroads, and his crown and arms are the high relics of the kingdom, because he was consecrated with the Blessed Oil from heaven. And it was given to Arthur to destroy every unspiritual oppression from among the Saints and Christians. And then that Oil was lost without anyone knowing where it went until the time that Thomas of Caer Gaint retired to escape from Henry, King of England.
IV.—And Thomas went to Pope Alexander, to the city of Sange, for there the Bishop of Rome was at that time. And Thomas showed the unjust robbery of his possessions, that King Henry was fain to commit. And as Thomas was one night in the church of Columba praying, and the Queen and her maidens begged that grace should be given to the icing of England, to love Cod, and to be merciful to wards the just thereupon he saw the Lady Mary, the Virgin, with an eagle in her hand and a vial of precious stone in the other, and putting the vial in the eagle, and placing the eagle in Thomas’s hand, and saying to him: Take the Holy Oil to consecrate some of the kings of the Isle of Britain withal, but not those that now are, nor those that shall come next, since they are evil, and for their sins they shall lose much of their domains. The first king that shall he ordained with this Oil, he shall gain and win back what the others lost, and shall build many temples to God, and drive the pagans in flight from Babylon, and shall win victory over all, so long as the eagle is with him. And do thou, Thomas, go home, and thou shalt be a martyr and a saint.
V.—Then Thomas asked Mary where he should keep the eagle. And then Mary said: There is a man in this town named William the Little, and he is sprung front Picardy, from a town called Siprina; and he was unjustly driven from his monastery, but he shall yet be abbot there: and do then place the eagle in his hand, and bid him hide it in the corner nearest to the west, in the Church of St. Gregory, under a stone of marble. And he shall be chief over the pagans, because he gets the eagle. And Thomas placed the eagle in the hand of the monk and the tale in writing altogether; and the monk placed it in a chest of lead in the earth. And thereafter Sawden of Babylon warred fiercely against the Christians, and won the Holy Land, and then asked his gods how much of the country of the Christians he could win.
VI.—And the gods said he should march onward until the King of the Leopards should come, and the golden eagle, and men of arms hired with the price of wool. And he shall win and destroy many of the Saracens, by miracles of the eagle, and the might of the men that got their bread in their drink. And Sawden wondered who that king was; and one of the pagans said that he was the King of England, for there are three golden leopards in his arms, and he is rich in sheep, and his drink is made of corn. And then Sawden asked the gods where the eagle was, and they told him clearly. And then there was made a cry whether there was anyone who could go to the country to fetch the eagle. Then a Christian knight, who was in prison with the Saracens, said that he was sprung from Picardy. Then Sawden said that he should be set free, and all his fellows, if he would bring him the eagle. And therewithal he promised what would better him; so the knight promised, and found the eagle and vial in the leaden chest, and obtained with it the tale of prophecy, which Mary had uttered. And when the knight bad read that account, he bethought him that it was less sin for him to break his oath to the pagans, than cause a loss to the Christians for ever. And he brought the eagle to the Isle of Britain, and gave it to King Henry, and bade him keep it among the High Relics, and not give it to any until a warning came from God, as Mary directed in the writing. And so it was done. And the third took it by a Divine warning in the tenth year of his life in the kingdom. And after this it is not known as yet where it went, until God sees good to show it. And so ends the account of the Blessed Oil.
THE DREAM OF PAUL THE APOSTLE
I.—Sunday is a chosen day, whereon the souls that are in pains rest from their pain through joy. And let all know that it was to Paul the Apostle, and to Michael the Archangel, that God showed hell. And then Paul saw before the gates of hell a fiery oak-grove, and sinners hanging upon the branches, some by the hair of their heads, others by their hands, others by their throats, others by their tongues, and others by their arms. And then Paul saw in another place a furnace burning, and seven flames of divers colors rising therefrom, and many being tortured therein. And around the furnace there were seven plagues. The first was snow, the second fire, the third ice, the fourth blood, the fifth serpents, the sixth lightning, the seventh stench. And to this furnace are sent the souls of sinners that do not perform their penance in this world, some of them weeping, others howling, others lamenting, others seeking their death without being able to obtain it, for a soul dies not eternally. Wherefore hell is an awful place, where there is sadness without joy and pain everlasting, abundance of tears, and lamentation of heart, and great cold, through the burning of souls. There is a wheel of fire there, with a thousand tires of fire thereon, and devils turn it once daily, and at each turn a thousand souls are burnt.
II.—Thereafter Paul saw a terrible river, full of devilish beasts, like fishes in the sea, swallowing the souls of sinners, as wolves devour sheep. And on that river there was a bridge, to which the just souls passed without stumbling, and the souls of sinners fell upon it. In hell there are many evil habitations, as is said in the Gospel: Bind them in bundles to burn them. There like shall be tormented with like, the adulterous with the adulterous, ravishers with procuresses, the iniquitous with the iniquitous. And all walked along that bridge, according to their deserts. And there Paul saw many souls in pain, some of them up to their knees, others up to their navels, others up to their lips, others to their eyelids, others as far as the top of their heads.
III.—Then Paul wept, and asked the angel who these were. Then said the angel: Those that thou seest up to their knees mock at others when they go to churches; and those that thou seest sunk as far as the navel committed the sin of adultery, and did no penance until death. Those that thou seest up to the lips, railed in churches without listening to the words of God, and those that thou seest as far as the eyelids, rejoiced at the downfall of their neighbors. Then he saw a fearful place, full of men and women gnawing their tongues. Those, said the angel to Paul, are the usurers that practiced usury and sought it, and were not merciful towards the weak, and therefore they shall he in this torment until the Day of Judgment. Thereafter Paul saw another place with all kinds of torments, and there were maidens there as black as pitch, dressed in clothes as black as pitch, and fiery dragons and serpents, and venomous adders in coils about their necks, and nine devils with fangs and horns of fire upon them, attending to them, and reproaching and saying to them : Know the Son of the Living God, Him that redeemeth the world with His precious blood. And then Paul questioned the angel who they were. These, said he, are those that did not observe chastity, and sinned against their relatives, and broke marriage ties, and killed their children, and cast them out as food to the wild beasts or into waters, to drown them, or to any other death, and did not their penance before death.
IV.—Then he saw men and women in fire and ice, the fire burning one half of them, the cold tempering and shriveling them on the other side. There, said the angel, are those that injured orphans and widows. Then he saw in another place an old man, quailing between four devils, and there he was, weeping and howling. And Paul asked who he was. A negligent bishop, said the angel, is he, who kept not the laws of God, end was not chaste in word or deed or thought, but a deceitful and proud miser, and therefore countless torments shall visit him until the Day of Judgment.
V.—And then said Paul, Alas! alas! alas! woe that they, poor sinners, were born ! And then said the angel to Paul: Why dost thou groan, Paul? Thou hast not yet seen many of the pains of hell. And then he showed him a pit with seven seals thereon. Stand afar off, said the angel, for thou canst not endure the stench of this pit. And when the mouth of the pit was opened, there arose a stench therefrom, so that Paul thought it was worse than all the torments of hell. Whoever falls into this pit, said the angel, there shall be no recollection of him ever before God. Those, said the angel, did not believe in Christ, Him that suffered death for the people of the world, and believed not that He took man’s flesh or was born of the Virgin Mary, and received not baptism in the name of God, and paid no tithes to the churches, and despised their neighbors, and took not the Sacrament of the Body of Christ or His Blood.
VI.—Then Paul saw men and women naked, and worms and adders devouring them, and that, too, one upon the other, like sheep in a fold. And the place where they were was as broad as from the heaven to earth, and he could hear mourning and groaning and weeping like thunder in the air. And Paul looked afar off. and he could see a sinner’s soul bound by seven devils newly taken, at that hour, front the body, while he shrieked and howled while the angels of heaven cried, and said: Alas! alas! poor soul, what didst thou? Yea, answered one of the devils, this is the soul that despised the Commandments of God and His Laws. And then he read a charter, with his sins and evil deeds recorded therein, dooming him to perdition. And the devils took him, and sent him to the uttermost darkness, where there was weeping and chattering of teeth, and sadness without joy. And then said the angel: Believest thou, Paul, that as a man acts in this world he shall have hereafter?
VII.—Then he saw angels bringing the soul of white monk from his body, and sending him to heaven. And then Paul beard the voice of thousands of thousands of angels rejoicing over him, and saying: Oh, most happy soul, be joyful to-day, fur thou hast done the will of God and then they raised the soul before the face of God, to read His good works which He had done. And then Michael brought the soul to paradise, where the angels were receiving the souls of the just; and they gave forth a shout of joy, as if the sun, moon, and heaven, and earth were astir. And then the sinners cried out of their torments and said: Have mercy upon us, Archangel Michael, and do thou, too, blessed Paul the Apostle, intercede for us with God, for we know that it is through your prayers that heaven and earth are upheld; do ye weep, and we will weep with yon, so that God may have mercy upon you, end God may give you a refuge. And the multitude that were in the torments cried aloud, and Michael and Paul the Apostle cried, and thousands of angels with them, until the cry was heard in the fourth heaven, saying: Lord Christ, have mercy upon the sons of men.
VIII.—And there Paul saw the heavens stirred, and God with a crown upon His head, and the multitude that was in hell shrieking, and saying: Have mercy upon us, Son of the Living God Most High. And then Paul heard a voice saying to them: Why did ye nothing good, so that ye might have asked for blessing and rest? I was placed upon the Cross, and the nails were beaten into My hands, and poison was given Me to drink, and I was pierced with the spear, and I gave Myself up to death for your life, and ye were false, and rapacious robbers, jealous, and proud, and destroyed the churches, and refused tithes, and did every variety of evil, without doing any good, either fast or alms at all.
IX.—And then Michael the Archangel, and Paul the Apostle, and thousands of angels bowed themselves before God, to entreat Him to give rest on Sunday to the souls that were in hell. For the sake of Michael and Paul the Apostle, and My own goodness, said the Lord Jesus, I will give them rest from the hour of noon on Saturday until the first hour on Monday. And then Etyrfal, the doorkeeper of hell, arose from their heads, with Cerebius, his hound, and sorrowed greatly. And the multitude that were in heaven rebelled, and said, one and all : We say that Thou art Son of the Living God, for Thou didst give rest on Sunday itself, and, therefore&, whoever honors Sunday shall share and rest with the angels of heaven.
X.—And then Paul asked the angel: How many torments are there in hell? And the angel said: If there were four thousand and forty. thousand and a hundred thousand people counting the torments of hell, and four tongues of iron in the head of each, they would not hold out in counting the torments of hell; therefore, whoever of us hears the greatness of the torments of unbelieving Christians, and the greatness of the joy of devout and righteous souls, and how much Christ suffered for our sakes, how He lost His blood innocently for love of Christians, we, too, ought to deserve His pleasure, so that we might win everlasting life in the kingdom of the region of heaven. This is why God’s wrath came into your midst, and failure upon your labor and upon the goods ye possess, and the pagan people shall come to place your bodies in bondage and subjection. Because ye do not keep the holy and blessed Sunday; ravening wolves and mad dogs shall multiply amongst you, they shall plunge you in the depths of affliction, and I shall turn away My face from you, and from your dwellings which your hands made. Every kind of evil that ye have done against My holy Church I shall avenge, and I shall give you into the power of aliens, and I shall sink you, as I once sank Sovir and Ovir, which the earth swallowed up alive for their sins. And whoever journeys on the holy Sunday to any other place than My Church, for it is a place to pray, or to pilgrimages of saints, or to visit the sick, or to bury the dead, or to make peace between men at strife, whoso does work other than this, such as shaving hair or beards, or cutting them, or washing heads or clothes, or baking bread, or any other task forbidden of the Catholic Church, on the special day, Sunday, shall not receive from God spiritual blessing, by night or by day, but the curse they have merited, more the pity; and I shall send into their houses diseases unending upon them and upon their children, and plague upon their cattle. And whosoever disputes, or deals treacherously, or engages in strife or unseasonable matters, instead of praying with devout will, in My Name and My Church, I shall send into their midst divers losses manifestly, so that they fail.
XI.—Let all the unbelieving people hearken, and do thou, too, hearken, O unrighteous generation, to Him on Whom thou wilt not believe; short are thy days, and thy days and end draw nigh, and I am forbearing towards earthly sinners, to see if they will turn to true penitence and contrition and Holy Confession. Let all the people of the world hearken, that, for love of Me, they may not grow bold to swear false oaths, or dishonor churches, or commit theft on the holy Sunday. For on that day the Lord rose from the dead to life and ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty, and thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead. And in six days God made heaven and earth, and creatures that are therein, altogether, those that are seen and those that are not seen, and on the seventh day He rested from all His labors. And so I will that ye also rest from the works of the world, all, bond and free, and keep the Sunday, from the evening of Saturday until the sun rise on Monday; else I shall curse you before My Father who is in Heaven, and ye shall not reign with Me nor with My angels, in the Kingdom of Heaven most high. And unless ye keep faith towards your sponsors, and keep Sunday regularly, without labor, I shall send tempests upon you, and upon your crops, until they he endangered, and ye shall not have sustenance without affliction. Bring your tithes uprightly to My Church with devout will.
XII.—And whoever does not bring his tithe uprightly, from the goods that God has lent him, he shall meet with the wrath of God on his body and soul, and shall not see eternal life where he hopes to see it, but hunger shall be upon them, for they are an unbelieving people, preparing for themselves judgment of hell, and I shall not forgive them for ever, unless they keep My commandments. Whoever keep the holy Sunday, to them will I open the windows of heaven, and shall multiply for them all blessings of the labor of their bands, and shall prolong their years in this world, in health and earthly joy, and there shall be no anxious troubles among the people and I shall be a helper to them, and they shall be My adopted children. And know that I am the true Lord, and that there is no Lord but Me, for I shall take away all evil and care from you. If there be a priest that does not declare this epistle to My people, whether in town, or church, or city, My wrath shall fall upon him everlastingly. Let them declare to the people that they may believe in the special day, Sunday, and may merit the mercy of heaven, for God Himself sent this written warning to sinners, unto the altar of the Church of Peter and Paul at Rome, to admonish them concerning the work of Sundays and Feast-days.
THE IRISH GOSPEL OF THE INFANCY BY THOMAS
The Irish Gospel of Thomas exists in one 17th century MS. This translation is based on the recent edition of the Irish text by M. Herbert contained in M. McNamara et al, Apocrypha Hiberniae, t. 1: Evangelia infantiae (CCSA 13 and 14; Turnhout: Brepols, 2001–2002), p. 443-483.
A VERSIFIED NARRATIVE OF THE CHILDHOOD DEEDS OF THE LORD JESUS
The Pools and the Sparrows
1 When Jesus, Son of the living God,
was a lad of five years
he blessed twelve little pools of water.
He had enclosed then with clay.
2 He shaped twelve little birds,
on the Sabbath day
He made them firmly from clay.
3 A certain Jew complained about
Jesus, son of the great God.
He brought him by the hand
to his foster-father, Joseph.
4 “Rebuke your son, Joseph.
What he is doing is not right.
On the Sabbath Day he has fashioned
Images of birds out of clay.”
5 Jesus clapped his two hands.
His small voice resounded.
Before their eyes – a wonder of sudden movement –
He scared away the birds.
6 There was heard a gentle, endearing little speech
from the mouth of faultless Jesus:
“Let you find out who created you!
Go to your home!”
7 Someone reported to the people
– it was a extraordinary tale –
that the cries of the birds
were heard as they flew.
Jesus curses the son of Annas
8 The son of Annas the scribe
approached him at his play
and released each single stream.
He destroyed the construction.
9 “What you have done”, said Jesus,
“has not been to our benefit.
May you be like a little branch
Which falls before its fruit.”
10 The boy fell over
like a withered twig.
It would have been better for him not to have ruined
the game of the King’s son.
Jesus curses the boy who caused him annoyance and Joseph rebukes Jesus
11 On a further occasion when Jesus
was at home with Joseph,
another boy who came to him
caused him annoyance.
12 “May the journey which you have made
be one of no return”, said Jesus.
The boy collapsed
and died straight away.
13 It infuriated the lowly kindred of the boy
to whom he had dealt doom.
“He is declared as your son, Joseph.
Go! Depart from us, indeed!
14 “Unless you reprove your son,
you are to go away somewhere.
Whichever way you go from here,
It would not be too quickly.”
15 “Why, son, have you offended
the people?” asked Joseph.
“Anyone on whom you pronounce your judgment
is taken away from you dead.”
16 “Whomever is innocent”, said Jesus,“
does not die as a result of judgements.
It is only to the accursed
that the malediction adheres.
17 “Sufficient that my ear be offered to them,
and that I be met with hostility,
that strong men should not tear off
my two ears from my head.”
18 “There is great terror”, said the people,
“that your son does this.
We have not heard, up to now
of any boy acting thus.
19 “Quicker than a glance, what he says
is done forthwith.
We have not heard tell of the like
of that boy in the world.”
20 Joseph said: “He is not like
everyone else’s sons.
Whatever the outcome, even cross or death,
he would not attain at all.
21 “Everyone who threatened
to accuse him he punished.
Deafness seized their ears,
Blindness their eyes”
Jesus and Zacharias. The riddle of the alphabet
22 The scholar Zacharias said:
“This is an extraordinary boy.
If he were instructed, he would be
outstanding in that respect
23 Zacharias takes him with him
to his school,
so that he might undertake learning with him
like everyone else.
24 When he had written an alphabet for him,
he said: “Say A.”
Though the son of the King did not answer him,
He knew a greater amount.
25 The master grew angry
and struck him over the head,
using whichever he happened on,
either fist or rod.
26 “It is usual”, said Jesus,
“for an anvil when struck
that it teaches whoever strikes it,
and that it is not the anvil which is taught.
27 “For what you have taught to all,
what you have written for me,
the letters which you record,
I know their sound.”
28 Jesus recounted his letters
for them before their eyes
each of them with its constituent
and with its hidden design.
Zacharias, confounded, says that Jesus is no mere mortal
29 The scholar Zacharias said:
“Take the boy away from me.
I do not have the means of answering you.
Lad, do not provoke me.
30 “I thought it was a pupil
whom I brought with me to my school.
I saw that it is a master
whom I had taken in charge.
31 “I do not know in any way whether
he be and angel of god.
It seems to me that until today
I did not proceed in confusion.
32 “Who is the mother who conceived
this infant in the womb?
What foster-mother was able
to nurse the suckling?
33 “His proper place will not be on earth.
What is surer
is that he is the child for the cross
who existed before the Deluge.”
Jesus replies to Zacharias as a heavenly Redeemer
34 The boy Jesus replied:
“Scholar of divine law,
you think that Joseph is
my father. He is not.
35 I existed before your birth.
I am the scholar.
I know every thought
that has been in your heart.
36 “You have certainty of all knowledge.
You have read all.
I have instruction for you
which is not known to anyone.
37 “I have a wonderful tale for you,
absolutely without falsehood.
I have seen Abraham
at the time when he lived.
38 “Likewise, I have seen yourself a long time ago,
through the mystery of the Holy Spirit.
O scholar in the Law, I have existed
constantly before you were born.
39 “That across which you speak of,
he who has come to it for the sake of all,
to redeem every living person,
will encounter it.”
Jesus’ playmate Zeno dies from a fall and is raised by Jesus
40 The sinless son of Mary
played a game with boys.
The extent of his age, which I know,
was then seven year.
41 One of the boys fell over a cliff.
He died forthwith.
They all fled expect Jesus.
He remained, awaiting a crowd.
42 He was accused of a calculated act,
That it was he who had knocked him down.
“Wait a while for me”, said Jesus,
“until I reach him.
43 “I am accused, O Zeno,
of knocking you down. Is it true?”
“It is not true, Lord, not true.
Let him go. It is not to be attributed to him.”
44 He was dead before, he was dead after,
save that he said this.
When the crowd saw it,
they released him.
Jesus takes water home in his cloak
45 His mother sent him for water –
a great and wonderful boy.
He filled his lap with the water,
And it did not go through his garment.
Jesus sows a field with leeks
46 He sowed a little field with leeks –
the amount was not great.
Later, after harvesting, there were
a hundred basketfuls of produce.
Jesus miraculously stretches a beam
47 A piece of craftwork was brought
to the house to Joseph to be adjusted,
for its corner was lopsided,
one side exceeding another.
48 Jesus said: “You take hold of your position,
and I myself will take mine.”
He stretched the shorter side until
it was equivalent to the other.