78 Wherefore hearing these things they returned, and without delay repented, and lived in all righteousness. And some of them suffered death: others

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readily underwent many trials, being mindful of their evil doings.

79 And when he had ended his explications of all the rods, he said unto me, Go, and say unto all men that they repent, aid they shall live unto God: because the Lord being moved with great clemency hath sent me to preach repentance unto all.

80 Even unto those who by reason of their evil doings, deserve not to attain unto salvation. But the Lord will be patient, and keep the invitation that was made by his Son.

81 I said unto him, Sir, I hope that all when they shall hear these things, will repent. For I trust that everyone acknowledging his crimes, and taking up the fear of the Lord, will return unto repentance.

82 He said unto me, Whosoever shall repent with all their hearts, and cleanse themselves from all the evils that I have before mentioned, and not add anything more to their sins, shall receive from the Lord the cure of their former iniquities, if they shall not make any doubt of these commands, and shall live unto God.

83 But they that shall continue to add to their transgressions, and shall still converse with the lusts of the present world, shall condemn themselves unto death. But do thou walk in these commands, and whosoever shall walk in these, and exercise them rightly, shall live unto God.

84 And having shewed me all these things, he said; I will shew thee the rest in a few days.

SIMILITUDE IX.

The greatest mysteries of the militant and triumphant church which is to be built.

AFTER I had written the Commands and Similitudes of the Shepherd, the Angel of Repentance; he came unto me, and said to me, I will shew thee all those things which the [*1] Spirit spake with thee under the figure of the Church. For that Spirit is the Son of God.

2 And because thou wert weak in body, it was not declared unto thee by the angel, until thou wert strengthened by the Spirit, and increased in force, that thou mightest also see the angel.

3 For then indeed the building of the tower was very well and gloriously shewn unto thee by the church; nevertheless thou sawest all things shewn unto thee as it were by a virgin.

4 But now thou art enlightened by the angel, but yet by the same Spirit. But thou must consider all things diligently; for therefore am I sent into thy house by that venerable [*2] messenger, that when thou shalt have seen all things powerfully, thou mayest not be afraid as before.

5 And he led me to the [*3] height of a mountain in Arcadia, and we sat upon its top. And he showed me a great plain, and about it twelve mountains in different figures.

6 The first was black as soot. The second was smooth, without herbs. The third was full of thorns and thistles. The fourth had herbs half dried; of which the upper part was green, but that next the root was dry; and

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some of the herbs, when the sun grew hot, were dry.

7 The fifth mountain was very rugged; but yet had green herbs. The sixth mountain was full of clefts, some lesser, and some greater; and in these clefts grew grass, not flourishing, but which seemed to be withering

8 The seventh mountain had delightful pasture, and was wholly fruitful: and all kinds of cattle, and of the birds of heaven, fed upon it; and the more they fed of it, the more and better did the grass grow.

9 The eighth mountain was full of fountains, and from those fountains were watered all kinds of the creatures of God. The ninth mountain had no water at all, but was wholly destitute of it; and nourished deadly serpents, and destructive to men.

10 The tenth mountain was full of tall trees, and altogether shady: and under the shade of them lay cattle resting and chewing the cud.

11 The eleventh mountain was full of the thickest trees; and those trees seemed to be loaded with several sorts of fruits; that whosoever saw them could not choose but desire to eat of their fruit.

12 The twelfth mountain was altogether white, and of a most pleasant aspect, and itself gave a most excellent beauty to itself.

13 In the middle of the [*1] plain he showed me a huge white rock, which rose out of the plain, and the rock was higher than those mountains, and was square; so that it seemed capable of supporting the whole world.

14 It looked to me to be old, yet it had in it a new gate, which seemed to have been newly hewn out in it. Now that gate was bright beyond the sun itself; insomuch, that I greatly admired at its light.

15 About the gate stood twelve virgins; of which four that stood at the corners of the gate, seemed to me to be the chiefest, although the rest were also of worth: and they stood at the four parts of the gate.

16 It added also to the grace of those virgins, that they stood in pairs, clothed with linen garments, and decently girded, their right arms being at liberty, as if they were about to lift up some [*2] burthen; for so they were adorned, and were exceeding cheerful and ready.

17 When I saw this, I wondered with myself to see such great and noble things. And again I admired upon the account of those virgins, that they were so handsome and delicate; and stood with such firmness and constancy, as if they would carry the whole heaven.

18 And as I was thinking thus within myself, the shepherd said unto me: What thmkest thou within thyself, and art disquieted, and fillest thyself with care?

19 Do not seem to consider, as if thou wert wise, what thou doest not understand, but pray unto the Lord, that thou mayest have ability to understand it: what is to come thou canst not understand, but thou seest that which is before thee.

20 Be not therefore disquieted at those things which thou canst not see; but get the understanding of those which thou seest.

21 Forbear to be curious; and

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[paragraph continues] I will shew thee all things that I ought to declare unto thee; but first consider what yet remains.

22 And when he had said this unto me I looked up, and behold I saw six tall and venerable men coming; their countenances were all alike; and they called a certain multitude of men; and they who came at their call were also tall and stout.

23 And those six commanded them to build a certain tower over that gate. And immediately there began to be a great noise of those men running here and there about the gate, who were come together to build the tower.

24 But those virgins which stood about the gate perceived that the building of the tower was to be hastened by them. And they stretched out their hands, as if they were to receive somewhat from them to do.

25 Then those six men commanded, that they should lift up stones out of a certain deep place, and prepare them for the building of the tower. And there were lifted up ten white stones, square, and [*1] not cut round.

26 Then those six men called the ten virgins to them, and commanded them to carry all the stones that were to be put into the building and having carried them through the gate to deliver them to those that were about to build the tower.

27 Immediately the virgins began all of them together to lift up those stones, that were before taken out of the deep.

28 And they who also stood about the gate did carry stones in such a manner, that those stones which seemed to be the strongest were laid at the corners, the rest were put into the sides.

29 And thus they carried all the stones, and bringing them through the gate delivered them to the builders, as they had been commanded: who receiving them at their hands, built with them.

30 But this building was made upon that great rock, and over the gate; and by these the whole tower was supported. But the building of the ten stones filled the whole gate, which began to be made for the foundation of that tower.

31 After those ten stones did five and twenty others [*2] rise up out of the deep; and these were placed in the building of the same tower; being lifted up by those virgins, as the others had been before.

32 After these did five and thirty others [*2] rise up; and these were also in like manner fitted into the same work. Then forty other stones were brought up, and all these were added unto the building of that tower.

33 So there began to be four ranks in the foundation of that tower; and the stones ceased to [*2] rise out of the deep; and they also which built rested a little.

34 Again those six men commanded the multitude, that they should bring stones out of those twelve mountains to the building of the same tower.

35 So they cut out of all the mountains stones of divers colours, and brought them and gave them to the virgins; which when they had received they carried them, and delivered them into the building of the tower,

36 In which when they were built they became white, and

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different from what they were before; for they were all alike, and did change their former colours. And some were reached up by the men themselves, which when they came into the building, continued such as they were put in.

37 These neither became white, nor different from what they were before; because they were not carried by the virgins through the gate. Wherefore these stones were disagreeable in the building: which, when those six men perceived, they commanded them to be removed, and put again in the place from which they were brought.

38 And they said to those who brought those stones; Do not ye reach up to us any stones for this building, but lay them down by the tower, and these virgins may carry them and reach them to us.

39 For unless they shall be carried by these virgins through this gate, they cannot change their colours; therefore do not labour in vain.

40 So the building that day was done, howbeit the tower was not finished; for it was afterwards to be built, therefore now also there was some delay made of it.

41 And these six men commanded those that built to depart, and as it were to rest for some time; but they ordered those virgins that they should not depart from the tower; now they seemed to me to be left for the guarding of it.

42 When all were departed, I said unto that shepherd; Sir, why is not the building of the tower finished? Because it cannot, said he, be finished until its Lord comes, and approves of the building; that if he shall find any stones in it that are not good they may be changed; for this tower is built according to his will.

43 Sir, said I, I would know what the building of this tower signifies; as also I would be informed concerning this rock, and this gate.

44 And concerning the mountains, and the virgins, and the stones that did rise out of the deep, and were not cut, but put into the building just as they came forth; and why the ten stones were first laid in the foundation; then the twenty-five; then thirty-five; then forty?

45 Also concerning these stones that were put into the building, and again taken out, and carried back into their place? Fulfil, I pray, the desire of my soul as to all these things and manifest all unto me.

46 And he said unto me; If thou shalt not be dull, thou shalt know all, and shalt see all the other things that are about to happen in this tower; and shalt understand diligently all these similitudes.

47 And after a few days we came into the same place where we had sat before; and he said unto me, Let us go unto the tower; for the Lord of it will come and examine it.

48 So we came thither, and found none but those virgins there. And he asked them whether the Lord of that tower was come thither? And they replied, that he would be there presently to examine the building.

49 After a very little while I saw a great multitude of men coming, and in the middle of

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them a man so tall, that he surpassed the tower in [*1] height.

50 About him were those six, who before commanded in the building, and all the rest of those who had built that tower, and many others of great dignity: and the virgins that kept the tower ran to meet him, and kissed him, and began to walk near unto him.

51 But he examined the building with so much care that he handled every stone; and struck every one with a rod which he held in his hand:

52 Of which some being so struck turned black as soot; others were rough; some looked as if they had cracks in them; others seemed maimed: some neither black nor white; some looked sharp, and agreed not with the other stones, and others were full of spots.

53 These were the several kinds of those stones which were not found proper in the building; all which the Lord commanded to be taken out of the tower, and laid near it, and other stones to be brought and put in their places.

54 And they that built, asked him from which of the mountains he would have stones brought to put in the place of those that were laid aside. But he forbad them to bring any from the mountains, and commanded that they should take out of a certain field that was near.

55 So they digged in the field, and found many bright square stones, and some also that were round. Howbeit, all that were found in that field were taken away, and carried through the gate by those virgins; and those of them that were square were fitted and put into the places of those that were pulled out.

56 But the round ones were not put into the building, because they were hard, and it would have required too much time to cut them; but they were placed about the tower, as if they should hereafter be cut square, and put into the building; for they were very white.

57 When he who was chief in dignity, and lord of the whole tower saw this, he called to him the shepherd that was with me and gave him the stones that were rejected and laid about the tower and said unto him; cleanse these stones with all care, and fit them into the building of the tower, that they may agree with the rest; but those that will not suit with the rest, cast away afar off from the tower.

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