upon the altar. Having said this to the shepherd, he departed.
16 After he was gone, the shepherd said unto me: Let us take the rods from them, and plant them; if perchance they may grow green again. I said unto him; Sir, how can those dry rods ever grow green again?
17 He answered me; That tree is a willow, and always loves to live. If therefore these rods shall be planted, and receive a little moisture, many of them will recover themselves.
18 Wherefore I will try, and will pour water upon them, and if any of them can live, I will rejoice with him; but if not, at least by this means I shall be found not to have neglected my part.
19 Then he commanded me to call them; and they all came unto him, every one in the rank in which he stood, and gave him their rods; which having received, he planted every one of them in their several orders.
20 And after he had planted them all, he poured much water upon them, insomuch that they were covered with water, and did not appear above it. Then when he had watered them, he said unto me; Let us depart, and after a little time we will return and visit them.
21 For he who created this tree, would have all those live that received rods from it. And I hope now that these rods are thus watered, many of them receiving in the moisture, will recover.
22 I said unto him, Sir, tell me what this tree denotes? For I am greatly [*1] astonished, that after so many branches have been cut off, it seems still to be whole; nor does there any thing the less of it appear to remain, which greatly amazes me.
23 He answered, Hearken. This great tree which covers the plains and the mountains, and all the earth, is the law of God, published throughout the whole world.
24 Now [*2] this law is the Son of God, who is preached to all the ends of the earth. The people that stand under its shadow, are those which have heard his preaching, and believed.
25 The great and venerable angel which you saw, was Michael, who has the power over his people, and governs them. For he has planted the law in the hearts of those who have believed; and therefore he visits them to whom he has given the law, to see if they have kept it.
26 And he examines every one’s rod; and of those, many that are weakened: for those rods are the law of the Lord. Then he discerns all those who have not kept the law, knowing the place of every one of them.
27 I said unto him, Sir, why did he send away some to the tower, and left others here to you? He replied, those who have transgressed the law, which they received from him, are left in my power, that they may repent of their sins: but they who [*3] fulfilled the law and kept it, are under his power.
28 But who then, said I, are those, who went into the tower crowned? He replied all such as having striven with the devil, have overcome him, are crowned:[p. 243]
and they are those, who have suffered hard things, that they might keep the law.
29 But they who gave up their rods green, and with young branches, but without fruit, have indeed endured trouble for the same law, but have not suffered death; neither have they denied their holy law.
30 They who delivered up their rods green as they received them, are those who were modest and just, and have lived with a very pure mind, and kept the commandments of God.
31 The rest thou shalt know, when I shall have considered those rods which I have planted and watered.
32 After a few days we returned, and in the same place stood that glorious angel, and I stood by him, Then he said unto me; Gird thyself with a [*1] towel, and serve me.
33 And I girded myself with a clean towel, which was made of coarse cloth. And when he saw me girded, and ready to minister unto him, he said, Call those men whose rods have been planted, every one in his order as he gave them.
34 And he brought me into the field, and I called them all, and they all stood ready in their several ranks. Then he said unto them; let every one pluck up his rod, and bring it unto me. And first they delivered theirs, whose rods had been dry and rotten.
35 And those whose rods still continued so, he commanded to stand apart. Then they came whose rods had been dry but not rotten. Some of these delivered in their rods green; others dry and rotten, as if they had been touched by the moth.
36 Those who gave them up green, he commanded to stand apart; but those whose rods were dry and rotten, he caused to stand with the first sort. Then came they whose rods had been half dry, and cleft: many of these gave up their rods green, and uncleft.
37 Others delivered them up green with branches, and fruit upon the branches, like unto those who went crowned into the tower. Others delivered them up dry, but not rotten; and some gave them up as they were before, half dry, and cleft.
38 Every one of these he ordered to stand apart; some by themselves, others in their respective ranks.
39 Then came they whose rods had been green, but cleft. These delivered their rods altogether green, and stood in their own order. And the shepherd rejoiced at these, because they were all changed, and free from their clefts.
40 Then they gave in their rods, who had them half green and half dry. Of these some were found wholly green, others half dry; others green, with young shoots. And all these were sent away, every one to his proper rank.
41 Then they gave up their rods, who had them before two parts green, and the third dry. Many of those gave in their rods green; many half dry; the rest dry but not rotten. So these were sent away, each to his proper place.
42 Then came they who had before their rods two parts dry[p. 244]
and the third green; many of these delivered up their rods half dry, others dry and rotten; others half dry and cleft; but few green. And all these were set every one in his own rank.
43 Then they reached in their rods, [*1] in which there was before but a little green, and the rest dry. Their rods were for the most part found green, having little boughs, with fruit upon them, and the rest altogether green.
44 And the shepherd upon sight of these rejoiced exceedingly, because he had found them thus; and they also went to their proper orders.
45 Now after he had examined all their rods, he said unto me I told thee that this tree loved life: thou seest how many have repented, and attained unto salvation. Sir, said I, I see it.
46 That thou mightest know, saith he, that the goodness and mercy of the Lord is great, and to be had in honour; who gave his spirit to them that were found worthy of repentance.
47 I answered, Sir, why then did not all of them repent? He replied, Those whose minds the Lord foresaw would be pure, and that they would serve him with all their hearts, to them he gave repentance.
48 But for those whose deceit and wickedness he beheld, and perceived that they would not truly return unto him; to them he denied any return unto repentance, lest they should again blaspheme his law with wicked words.
49 I said unto him; Now, Sir, make known unto me, what is the place of every one of those, who have given up their rods, and what their [*2] portion; that when they may have not kept their seal entire, but have wasted the seal which they received, shall hear and believe these things, they may acknowledge their evil deeds and repent;
50 And receiving again their seal from you, may give glory to God, that he was moved with compassion towards them, and sent you to renew their spirits.
51 Hearken, said he: they whose rods have been found dry and rotten, and as it were touched with the moth; are the deserters and the betrayers of the church.
52 Who with the rest of their crimes, have also blasphemed the Lord, and denied his name which had been called upon them. Therefore all these are dead unto God: and thou seest that none of them have repented, although they have heard my commands which thou hast delivered unto them. From these men therefore life is far distant.
53 They also who have delivered up their rods dry, but not rotten, have not been far from them. For they have been counterfeits, and brought in evil doctrines; and have perverted the servants of God: but especially those who had sinned; not suffering them to return unto repentance, but keeping them back by their false doctrines.
54 These therefore have hope; and thou seest that many of them have repented, since the time that thou hast laid my commands before them; and many more will yet repent. But they that shall not repent shall lose both repentance and life.[p. 245]
55 But they that have repented, their place is begun to be within the first walls, and some of them are even gone into the tower. Thou seest therefore, said he, that in the repentance of sinners there is life; but for those who repent not, death is prepared.
56 Hear now concerning those who gave in their rods half dry and full of clefts. Those whose rods were only half dry, are the doubtful; for they are neither living nor dead.
57 But they who delivered in their rods, not only half dry but also full of clefts, are both doubtful and evil speakers; who detract from those who are absent, and have never peace among themselves, and that envy one another.
58 Howbeit to those also repentance is offered; for thou seest that some of these have repented.
59 Now all those of this kind who have quickly repented, shall have a place in the tower; but they who have been more slow in their repentance, shall dwell within the walls; but they that shall not repent, but shall continue on in their wicked doings, shall die the death.
60 As for those who had their rods green, but yet cleft; they are such as were always faithful and good, but they had some envy and strife among themselves concerning dignity and pre-eminence.
61 Now all such are vain and without understanding, as contend with one another about these things.
62 Nevertheless, seeing they are otherwise good, if when they shall hear these commands they shall amend themselves, and shall at my persuasion suddenly repent; they shall at last dwell in the tower, as they who have truly and worthily repented.
63 But if any one shall again return to his dissension; he shall be shut out from the tower, and shall lose his life. For the life of those who keep the commandments of the Lord consists in doing what they are commanded; not in principality, or in any other dignity.
64 For by forbearance and humility of mind, men shall attain unto life; but by seditions and contempt of the law, they shall purchase death unto themselves.
65 They who in their rods had half dry and half green, are those who are engaged in many affairs of the world, and are not joined to the saints. For which cause half of them liveth, and half is dead.
66 Wherefore many of these since the time that they have heard my commands, have repented, and begun to dwell in the tower. But some of them have wholly fallen away; to these there is no more place for repentance.
67 For by reason of their present interests, they have blasphemed and denied God: and for this wickedness they have lost life. And of these many are still in doubt; these may yet return; and if they shall quickly repent, they shall have a place in the tower; but if they shall be more slow, they shall dwell within the walls; but if they shall not repent, they shall die. [*1]
68 As for those who had two[p. 246]
parts of their rods green, and the third dry; they have by manifold ways denied the Lord. Of those many have repented, and found a place in the tower: and many have altogether departed from God. These have utterly lost life.
69 And some being in a doubtful state, have raised up dissensions: these may yet return, if they shall suddenly repent and not continue in their lusts; but if they shall continue in their evil doing they shall die.
70 They who gave in their rods two parts dry, and the other green; are those who have indeed been faithful, but withal rich and full of good things; and thereupon have desired to be famous among the heathen which are without, and have thereby fallen into great pride, and begun to aim at high matters, and to forsake the truth.
71 Nor were they joined to the [*1] saints, but lived with the heathen; and this life seemed the more pleasant to them. Howbeit they have not departed from God, but continued in the faith; only they have not wrought the works of faith.
72 Many therefore of these have repented, and begun to dwell in the tower. Yet others still living among the heathen people, and being lifted up with their vanities, have utterly fallen away from God, and followed the works and wickednesses of the heathen. These kind of men therefore are reckoned among strangers to the Gospel.
73 Others of these began to be doubtful in their minds; despairing by reason of their wicked doings ever to attain unto salvation: Others being thus made doubtful, did moreover stir up dissensions.
74 To these therefore, and to those who by reason of their doings are become doubtful, there is still hope of return; but they must repent quickly, that their place may be in the tower. But they that repent not, but continue still in their pleasures, are nigh unto death.
75 As for those who gave in their rods green, excepting their tops, which only were dry, and had clefts; these were always good, and faithful, and [*2] upright before God: nevertheless they sinned a little, by reason of their empty pleasures and trifling thoughts which they had within themselves.
76 Wherefore many of them when they heard my words, repented forthwith, and began to dwell in the tower. Nevertheless some grew doubtful, and others to their doubtful minds added dissensions. To these therefore there is still hope of return, because they were always good; but they shall not hardly be moved.
77 As for those, lastly, who gave in their rods dry, their tops only excepted, which alone were green: they are such as have believed indeed in God, but have lived in wickedness; yet without departing from God: having always willingly borne the name of the Lord; and readily received into their houses the servants of God.
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