5 And behold somewhat like a voice answered me; Doubt not, Hermas. Wherefore I began to think, and say within myself; why should I doubt, seeing I am thus settled by the Lord, and have seen such glorious things?

6 I had gone but a little farther, brethren, when behold I saw a dust rise up to heaven. I began to say within myself, is there a drove of cattle coming, that raises such a dust?

7 It was about a furlong off from me. And behold I saw the dust rise more and more, insomuch that I began to suspect that there was [*2] somewhat extraordinary in it.

8 And the sun shone a little: and behold I saw a great beast, as it were a whale; and fiery locusts came out of his mouth. The height of the beast was about a hundred feet, and he had a head like a [*3] large earthen vessel.

9 I began to weep, and to pray unto the Lord that he would deliver me from it. Then I called to mind the word which I had heard; Doubt not, Hermas.

10 Wherefore, brethren, putting on a divine faith, and remembering who it was that had taught me great things, I delivered myself bodily unto the beast.

11 Now the beast came on in such a manner, as if it could [*4] at once have devoured a city.

12 I came near unto it, and the beast extended its whole bulk upon the ground, and put forth nothing but its tongue, nor once moved itself till I had quite passed by it.

13 Now the beast had upon its head four colours; first black, then a red and bloody colour, then a golden, and then a white.

14 After that I had passed by it, and was gone forward about thirty feet, behold there met me a certain virgin, well adorned as if she had been just come out of her bride chamber, all in white, having on white shoes, and a veil down her face, and covered with shining hair.

15 Now I knew by my former visions that it was the church, and thereupon grew the more cheerful. She saluted me saying,

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[paragraph continues] Hail, O Man! I returned the salutation, saying, Lady, Hail!

16 She answering said unto me, Did nothing meet you, O man? I replied, Lady, there met me such a beast, as seemed able to devour a whole people; but by the power of God, and through his singular mercy, I escaped it.

17 Thou didst escape it well, said she, because thou didst cast thy whole care upon God, and opened thy heart unto him, believing that thou couldst be safe by no other than by his great and honourable name.

18 For this cause the Lord sent his angel, who is over the beast, whose name is Hegrin, and stopped his mouth, that he should not devour thee. Thou hast escaped a great trial through thy faith, and because thou didst not doubt for such a terrible beast.

19 Go therefore, and relate to the elect of God the great things that he hath done for thee. And thou shalt say unto them, that this beast is the figure of the trial that is about to came.

20 If therefore, ye shall have prepared yourselves, ye may escape it, if your heart be pure and without spot; and if ye shall serve God all the rest of your days without complaint.

21 Cast all your cares upon the Lord, and he will direct them. Believe in God, ye doubtful, because he can do all things; he can both turn away his wrath from you, and send you help and security.

22 Wo to the doubtful, to those who shall hear these words, and shall despise them: it had been better for them that they had not been born.

23 Then I asked her concerning the four colours which the beast had upon its head. But she answered me saying; Again thou art curious in that thou asketh concerning these things. But I said to her, Lady, shew me what they are.

24 Hear, said she; The black which thou sawest denotes the world in which you dwell. The fiery and bloody colour signifies that this age must be destroyed by fire and blood.

25 The golden part are ye, who have escaped out of it. For as gold is tried by the fire, and is made profitable, so are ye also in like manner tried who dwell among the men of this world.

26 They therefore, that shall endure to the end, and be proved by them shall be purged. And as gold, by this trial, is cleansed and loses its dross, so shall ye also cast away all sorrow and trouble, and be made pure for the building of the tower.

27 But the white colour denotes the time of the world which is to come, in which the elect of God shall dwell: because the elect of God shall be pure and without spot until life eternal.

28 Wherefore do not thou cease to speak these things in the ears of the saints. Here ye have the figure of the great tribulation that is about to come; which, if you please shall be nothing to you. Keep therefore in mind the things that I have said unto you.

29 When she had spoken thus much, she departed; but I saw not whither she went. But suddenly I heard a noise, and I turned back, being afraid, for I thought that the beast was coming toward me.


^197:1 In MS. Lambeth. Praecepta sum a Domino ut peccata tua arguam: I am commanded of the Lord to reprove thee for thy sins.

^197:2 In MS. Wilt thou accuse me?

^198:1 Vid. Hieron in Hoseam, vii. 9.

^199:1 In Glory. Edit. Oxon. Hath preserved thee in honour.

^199:2 So. MSS. Lamb. Et describentur in libre vitae.

^199:3 Edit. Oxon.

^199:4 Et ejus modo.

^200:1 Clem. Alex. Strom.

^200:2 vi. Impropera.

^200:3 So one MS. in Coteler. Edit. Oxon. And she, &c.

^200:4 Day. Praefinita ista die etiam nunc si peccaverit aliquis Lat.

^200:5 Shall sin after it.

^200:6 Days that are coming.

^201:1 Injuries.

^201:2 Eldad and Medad. Numb. xi. 26, 27.

^201:3 See Dr. Grabe’s Annot. to Bishop Bull’s Def. Fid. Nic. p. 24. Fol. de S. Herma.

^201:4 Suum is added in the Lambeth MS.

^201:5 Origen. Philocal, cap. 1.

^203:1 Lat. Exiguitatas.

^203:2 Are about.

^204:1 Edit. Oxon.

^204:2 Clem. Alex. Strom. xii.

^204:3 Baptism.

^204:4 Namely, the tower.

^205:1 In aequitatem Domini, Lat.

^205:2 Edit. Oxon.

^206:1 Tribulation arises.

^206:2 Finally.

^208:1 Medicaments.

^209:1 Broken, Contusus.

^209:2 Honestam.

^210:1 That he would shew me.

^210:2 Aliquid divinitus.

^210:3 Vas. urnale.

^210:4 In ictu.

The Lost Books of the Bible, [1926], at sacred-texts.com

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The Second Book of HERMAS, called his COMMANDS.


WHEN I had prayed at home, and was sat down upon the bed, a certain man came in to me with a reverend look, in the habit of a shepherd, clothed with a white cloak, having his bag upon his back, and his staff in his hand, and saluted me.

2 I returned his salutation, and immediately he sat down by me, and said unto me, I am sent by that venerable messenger, that I should dwell with thee all the remaining days of thy life.

3 But I thought that he was come to try me, and said unto him, Who are you? For I know to whom I am committed. He said unto me, Do you not know me? I answered no. I am, said he, that shepherd to whose care you are delivered.

4 Whilst he was yet speaking, his shape was changed; and when I knew that it was he to whom I was committed, I was ashamed, and a sudden fear came upon me, and I was utterly overcome with sadness, because I had spoken so foolishly unto him.

5 But he said unto me, Be not ashamed, but receive strength in thy mind, through the commands which I am about to deliver unto thee. For, said he, I am sent to shew unto thee all those things again, which thou hast seen before, but especially such of them as may be of most use unto thee.

6 And first of all write my Commands and Similitudes, the rest thou shalt so write as I shall shew unto thee. But I therefore bid thee first of all write my Commands and Similitudes, that by often reading of them thou mayest the more easily [*1] keep them in memory.

7 Whereupon I wrote his Commands and Similitudes, as he bade me.

8 Which things if when you have heard, ye shall observe to do them, and shall walk according to them, and exercise yourselves in them with a pure mind, ye shall receive from the Lord those things which be has promised unto you.

9 But if having heard them ye shall not repent, but shall still go on to add to your sins, [*2] ye shall be punished by him.

10 All these things that Shepherd, the angel of repentance, commanded me to write.


Of [*3] believing in one God.

FIRST of [*4] all believe that there is one God who created and framed all things of nothing into a being.

2 He comprehends all things, and is only immense, not to be comprehended by any.

3 Who can neither be defined by any words, nor conceived by the mind.

4 Therefore believe in him; and fear him; and fearing him [*5] abstain from all evil.

5 Keep these things, and cast all [*6] lust and iniquity far from thee, and put on righteousness, and thou shalt live to God, if thou shalt keep this commandment.

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That we must avoid detraction, and do our alms-deeds with simplicity.

HE said unto me, [*1] Be innocent and without disguise; so shalt thou be like an infant who knows no malice which destroys the life of man.

2 Especially see that thou speak evil of none, nor willingly hear any one speak evil of any.

3 [*2] For if thou observest not this, thou also who hearest shalt be [*3] partaker of the sin of him that speaketh evil, by believing the slander, and thou also shalt have sin, because thou believed-est him that spoke evil of thy brother.

4 [*4] Detraction is a pernicious thing; an inconstant, [*5] evil spirit; that never continues in peace, but is always in discord. [*6] Wherefore refrain thyself from it, and keep peace ever more with thy brother.

5 Put on an holy [*7] constancy, [*8] in which there are no sins, but all is full of joy; and do good of thy labours.

6 [*9] Give [*10] without distinction to all that are in want, not doubting to whom thou givest.

7 But give to all, for God will have us give to all, of [*11] all his own gifts. They therefore that receive shall give an account to God, both wherefore they received and for what end.

8 And they that receive without a real need, shall give an account for it; but he that gives shall be innocent.

9 For he has fulfilled his duty as he received it from God; not making any choice to whom he should give, and to whom not. And this service he did with simplicity and [*12] to the glory of

10 Keep therefore this command according as I have delivered it unto thee; that thy repentance may be found to be sincere, and that good may come to thy house; and have a pure heart.


Of avoiding lying, and the repentance of Hermas for his dissimulation.

MOREOVER [*13] he said unto me, love truth; and let all the speech be true which proceeds out of thy mouth.

2 That the spirit which the Lord hath given to dwell in thy flesh may be found true towards all men; and the Lord be glorified, who hath given such a spirit unto thee: because God is true in all his words, and in him there is no lie.

3 They therefore that lie, deny the Lord, [*14] and become robbers of the Lord, [*15] not rendering to God what they received from him.

4 For they received the spirit free from lying: If therefore they make that a liar, they defile what was committed to them by the Lord, and become deceivers.

5 When I heard this, I wept bitterly; and when he saw me weeping, he said unto me, Why

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weepest thou? And I said, Because, sir, I doubt whether I can be saved?

6 He asked me, Wherefore? I replied, because sir, I never spake a true word in my life; but always lived in dissimulation, and affirmed a lie for truth to all men; and no man contradicted me, but all gave credit to my words. How then can I live, seeing I have done in this, manner?

7 And he said unto me, Thou thinkest well and truly. For thou oughtest, as the servant of God, to have walked in the truth, and not have joined an evil conscience with the spirit of truth, nor have grieved the holy and true Spirit of God.

8 And I replied unto him, sir, I never before hearkened so diligently to these things. He answered, Now thou hearest them: Take care from henceforth, that even those things which thou hast formerly spoken falsely for the sake of thy business, may, [*1] by thy present truth receive credit.

9 For even those things may be credited, if for the time to come thou shalt speak the truth; and [*2] by so doing thou mayest attain unto life.

10 And whosoever shall hearken unto this command, and do it, and shall depart from all lying, he shall live unto God.


Of putting away one’s wife for adultery.

FURTHERMORE, said he, I command thee, that thou keep [*3] thyself chaste; and that thou suffer not any thought of any other marriage, or of fornication, to enter into thy heart: for such a thought produces great sin.

2 But be thou at all times mindful of the Lord, and thou shalt never sin. For if such an evil thought should arise in thy heart, thou shouldest be guilty of a great sin; and they who do such things follow the way of death.

3 Look therefore to thyself, and keep thyself from such a thought; for where chastity remains in the heart of a righteous man, there an evil thought ought never to arise.

4 And I said unto him, Sir, suffer me to speak a little to you. He bade me say on. And I answered, Sir, if a man that is faithful in the Lord shall have a wife, and shall catch her in adultery; doth a man sin that continues to live still with her?

5 And he said unto me, As long as he is ignorant of her sin, he commits no fault in living with her; but if a man shall know his wife to have offended, and she shall not repent of her sin, but go on still in her fornication, and a man shall continue nevertheless to live with her, he shall become guilty of her sin, and partake with her in her adultery.

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