58 When he had thus commanded him, he departed, with all those that came with him to the tower: but those virgins still stood about the tower to keep it.
59 And I said unto that shepherd, How can these stones, seeing they have been rejected, return into the building of this tower? He replied; I will cut off the greatest part front these stones, and will add them to the building, and they will agree with the rest.
60 And I said, Sir, how will they be able to fill the same place, when they shall be so much cut away? He answered; They that shall be found too little shall be put into the middle of the building, and the greater shall be placed without, and keep them in.[p. 252]
61 When he had said thus unto me, he added; Let us go, and after three days we will return, and I will put these stones, being cleansed, into the tower.
62 For all these that are about the tower must be cleansed, lest the master of the house chance to come upon the sudden, and find those which are about the tower unclean; [*1] and be so exasperated, that these stones should never be put into the building of this tower, and I shall be looked upon to have been [*2] unmindful of my master’s commands.
63 When therefore we came after three days to the tower, he said unto me; Let us examine all these stones, and let us see which of them may go into the building. I answered, Sir, let us see.
64 And first of all we begun to consider those which had been black; for they were found just such as they were when they were pulled out of the tower: wherefore he commanded them to be removed from the tower and put by themselves.
65 Then he examined those which had been rough; and commanded many of those to be cut round, and to be fitted by the virgins into the building of the tower; so they took them, and fitted them into the middle of the building; and he commanded the rest to be laid by with the black ones, for they also were become black.
66 Next he considered those which were full of cracks, and many of those also he ordered to be pared away, and so to be added to the rest of the building by the same virgins.
67 These were placed without because they were found entire; but the residue through the multitude of their cracks could not be reformed, and therefore were cast away from the building of the tower.
68 Then he considered those that had been maimed; many of these had cracks, and were become black; others were large clefts; these he commanded to be placed with those that were rejected.
69 But the rest being cleansed and reformed, he commanded to be put in the building. These therefore those virgins took up, and fitted into the middle of the building, because they were but weak.
70 After these he examined those which were found half white and half black; and many of those were now black; these also he ordered to be laid among those that were cast away.
71 The rest were found altogether white; those were taken up by the virgins, and fitted into the same tower: [*3] and these were put in the outside, because they were found entire; that so they might keep in those that were placed in the middle, for nothing was cut off from them.
72 Next he looked upon those [*4] which had been hard and sharp; but few of these were made use of, because they could not be cut, for they were found very hard: but the rest were formed, and fitted by the virgins into the middle of the building, because they were more weak.
73 Then he considered those which had spots; of these a few were found black, and these were carried to their fellows. The rest[p. 253]
were white and entire; and they were fitted by the virgins into the building, and placed in the outside, by reason of their strength.
74 After this he came to consider those stones which were white and round: and he said unto me, What shall we do with these stones? I answered, Sir, I cannot tell.
75 He replied, Canst thou think of nothing then for these? I answered, Sir, I understand not this art; neither am I a stone-cutter, nor can I tell any thing.
76 And he said, seest thou not that they are very round? Now to make them square, I must cut off a great deal from them; howbeit, it is necessary that some of these should go into the building of the tower.
77 I answered; If it be necessary, why do you perplex yourself, and not rather choose, if you have any choice among them, and fit them into the building.
78 Upon this he chose out the largest and brightest, and squared them; which when he had done the virgins took them up, and placed them in the outside of the building.
79 And die rest that remained were carried back into the same field from which they were taken; howbeit, they were not cast away; because, said he, there is not yet a little wanting to this tower, which is to be built; and perhaps the Lord will have these stones fitted into this building, because they are exceeding white.
80 Then were there called twelve very stately women, clothed with a black garment, girded, and their shoulders free, and their hair loose. These seemed to me to be country women.
81 And the shepherd commanded them to take up those stones which were cast out of the building, and carry them back to the mountains out of which they were taken.
82 And they took them all up joyfully, and carried them back to their places from whence they had been taken.
83 When not one stone remained about the tower, he said unto me, Let us go about this tower, and see whether any thing be wanting to it.
84 We began therefore to go round about it; and when he saw that it was handsomely built, he began to be very glad; for it was so beautifully framed, that any one that had seen it must have been in love with the building:
85 For it seemed to be all but one stone, nor did a joint anywhere appear; but it looked as if it had all been cut out of one rock.
86 And when I diligently considered what a tower it was, I was extremely pleased: and he said unto me, Bring hither some lime and little shells, that I may fill up the [*1] spaces of those stones that were taken out of the building, and put in again; for all things about the tower must be made even.
87 And I did as he commanded me, and he said unto me, Be ready to help me, and this work will quickly be finished.
88 He therefore filled up the spaces of those stones, and commanded the place about the tower to be cleansed.[p. 254]
89 Then those virgins took besoms, and cleansed all the place around and took away all the rubbish, and threw water on; which being done, the place became delightful, and the tower beauteous.
90 Then he said unto me, All is now clean: if the Lord should come to finish the tower, he will find nothing whereby to complain of us.
91 When he had said this he would have departed. But I laid hold on his bag, and began to entreat him for the Lord’s sake, that he would explain to me all things that he had shown me.
92 He said unto me, I have at present a little business; but I will suddenly explain all things unto thee. Tarry here for me till I come.
93 I said unto him, Sir, what shall I do here alone? He answered, Thou art not alone, seeing all these virgins are with thee.
94 I said, Sir, deliver me then unto them. Then he called them and said unto them, I commend this man unto you until I shall come.
95 So I remained with those virgins: now they were cheerful and courteous unto me; especially the four, which seemed to be the chiefest among them.
96 Then those virgins said unto me, that shepherd will not return hither to day. I said unto them, What then shall I do? They answered, Tarry for him till the evening, if perhaps he may come and speak with thee; but if not, yet thou shalt continue with us till he does coma.
97 I said unto them, I will tarry for him till evening; but if be comes not by that time, I will go home, and return hither again the next morning.
98 They answered me, Thou art delivered unto us, thou mayest not depart from us. I said, Where shall I tarry?
99 They replied, Thou shalt sleep with us as a brother, not as a husband: for thou art our brother, and we are ready from henceforth to dwell with thee; for thou art very dear to us.
100 Howbeit I was ashamed to continue with them. But she that seemed to be the chiefest amongst them, embraced me, and began to kiss me. And the rest when they saw that I was kissed by her, began also to kiss me as a brother; and led me about the tower, and played with me.
101 Some of them also sung psalms, others made up the chorus with them. But I walked about the tower with them, rejoicing silently, and seeming to myself to be grown young again.
102 When the evening came on, I would forthwith have gone home, but they withheld me, and suffered me not to depart. Wherefore I continued with them that night near the same tower.
103 So they spread their linen garments upon the ground; and placed me in the middle, nor did they anything else, only they prayed.
104 I also prayed with them without ceasing, nor less than they. Who when they saw me pray in that manner, rejoiced greatly; and I continued there with them till the next day.
105 And when we had worshipped God, then the shepherd came and said unto them: You have done no injury to this man. They answered, Ask him. I said unto him, Sir, I have received a[p. 255]
great deal of satisfaction in that have remained with them.
106 And he said unto me, How thou sup? I answered, Sir, I feasted the whole night upon the words of the Lord. They received thee well then, said he; I said, Sir, very well.
107 He answered, Wilt thou now learn what thou didst desire? I replied, Sir, I will: and first I pray thee that thou shouldest shew me all things in the order that I asked them.
108 He answered, I will do all as thou wouldst have me, nor will I hide anything from thee.
109 First of all, Sir, said I, tell me, what this rock, and this gate denote? Hearken, said he; this rock, and this gate, are the Son of God. I replied, Sir, how can that be; seeing the rock is old, but the gate new.
110 Hear, said he, O foolish man! and understand. The Son of God is indeed more ancient than any creature; [*1] insomuch that he was in council with his Father at the creation of [*2] all things.
111 But the gate is therefore new, because he appeared in the last days in the fulness of time; that they who shall attain unto salvation, may by it enter into the kingdom of God.
112 You have seen, said he, those stones which were carried through the gate, how they were placed in the building of the tower; but that those which were not carried through the gate, were sent away into their own places?
113 I answered, Sir, I saw it. Thus, said he, no man shall enter into the kingdom of God, but he who shall take upon him the name of the Son of God.
114 For if you would enter into any city, and that city should w be encompassed with a wall, and had only one gate, could you n enter into that city except by that gate?
115 I answered, Sir, how could I do otherwise? As therefore, said he, there would be no other way of entering into that city but by its gate, so neither can any one enter into the kingdom of God, but only by the name of his Son, who is most dear unto him.
116 And he said unto me, Didst thou see the multitude of those that built that tower? Sir, said I, I saw it. He answered, All those are the angels, venerable in their dignity.
117 With those is the Lord encompassed as with a wall: but the gate is the Son of God, who is the only way of coming unto God. For no man shall go to God, but by his Son.
118 Thou sawest also, said he, the six men, and in the middle of them that venerable great man, who walked about the tower, and rejected the stones out of the tower?
119 Sir, said I, I saw them. He answered, that tall man was the Son of God: and those six were his angels of most eminent dignity, which stand about him on the right hand and on the left.
120 Of these excellent angels none comes in unto God without him. He added, Whosoever therefore shall not take upon him his name, he shall not enter into the kingdom of God.
121 Then I said, What is this tower? This, said he, is the church. And what, Sir, are these virgins? He said unto me, These are the holy spirits, for no[p. 256]
man can enter into the kingdom of God, except these clothe him with their garment.
122 For it will avail thee nothing to take up the name of the Son of God, unless thou shalt also receive their garment from them. For these virgins are the powers of the Son of God. So shall a man in vain bear his name, unless he shall be also endued with his powers.
123 And he said unto me, sawest thou those stones that were cast away? They bore indeed the name, but put not on their garment. I said, Sir, what is their garment? [*1] Their very names, said he, are their garment.
124 Therefore whosoever beareth the name of the Son of God, ought to bear their names also; for the Son of God also himself beareth their names.
125 As for those stones, continued he, which being delivered by their hands, thou sawest remain in the building, they were clothed with their power; for which cause thou seest the whole tower of the same [*2] colour with the rock, and made as it were of one stone.
126 So also those who have believed in God by his Son, have put on his spirit. Behold there shall be one spirit, and one body, and one colour of their garments; and all they shall attain this, who shall bear the names of these virgins.
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