127 And I said, Sir, why then were those stones cast away which were rejected, seeing they also were carried through the gate, and delivered by the hands of these virgins into the building of this tower?
128 Seeing, said he, thou takest care to inquire diligently into all things, hear also concerning those stones which were rejected. All these received the name of the Son of God, and with that the power of these virgins.
129 Having therefore received these spirits, they were perfected, and brought into the number of the servants of God; and they began to be one body, and to have one garment, for they were [*3] endued with the same righteousness, which they alike exercised.
130 But after that they be held those women which thou sawest clothed with a black garment, with their shoulders at liberty and their hair loose; they fixed their desires upon them, being tempted with their beauty; and were clothed with their power, and cast off the clothing of the virgins:
131 Therefore were they cast off from the house of God, and delivered to those women. But they that were not corrupted with their beauty, remained in the house of God. This, said he, is the signification of those stones which were rejected.
132 And I said, Sir, what if any of these men shall repent, and cast away their desire of those women, and be converted, and return to these virgins, and put on again their virtue; shall they not enter into the house of God?
133 They shall enter, said he, if they shall lay aside all the works of those women, and shall resume the power of these virgins, and shall walk in their works.
134 And for this cause there[p. 257]
Click to enlarge
JONAH CAST INTO THE SEA, AND HIS COMING OUT OF THE WHALE. FROM THE FRONT OF A SARCOPHAGUS OF THE FIRST AGES OF CHRISTIANITY, FOUND IN THE CEMETERY OF THE VATICAN, ROME.
is a stop in the building, that if they shall repent, they may be added to the building of this tower; but if they shall not repent, that others may be built in their places, and so they may be utterly cast away.
135 For all these things I gave thanks unto the Lord, that being moved with mercy towards all those upon whom his name is called, he sent to us the angel of repentance to preside over us who have sinned against him; and that he has refreshed our spirits which were almost gone, and who had no hope of salvation, but are now refreshed to the renewal of life.
136 Then I said, Shew me now, Sir, why this tower is not built upon the ground, but upon a rock, and upon the gate? He replied, thou art foolish, and without understanding, therefore thou asketh this.
137 And I said, Sir, I must needs ask all things of you, because I understand nothing at all. For all your answers are great and excellent; and which a man can hardly understand.
138 Hear, said he: The name of the Son of God is great and without bounds, and the whole world is supported by it. If therefore, said I, every creature of God be sustained by his Son, why should he not support those also who have been invited by him, and who carry his name, and walk in his commandments?
139 Seest thou not, said he, that he doth support them, who with all their heart bear his’ name? He therefore is their foundation, and gladly supports those who do not deny his name, but willingly bear it.
140 And I said: Sir, tell me the names of these virgins; and of those women that were clothed with the black garment.
141 Hear, said he, the names of those virgins which are the more powerful, and stand at the corners of the gate. These are their names:
142 The first is called [*1] Faith; the second Continence; the third, Power; the fourth, Patience; the rest which stand beneath these are, Simplicity, Innocence, Chastity, Cheerfulness, Truth, Understanding, Concord, Charity.
143 Whosoever therefore bear these names, and the names of the Son of God, shall enter into the kingdom of God.
144 Hear now, said he, the names of those women, which were clothed with the black garment. Of these, four are the principal: the first is Perfidiousness; the second, Incontinence; the third, Infidelity; the fourth, Pleasure.
145 And the rest which follow are called thus, Sadness, Malice, Lust, Anger, Lying, Foolishness, Pride, and Hatred. The servant of God, which carries these spirits, shall see indeed the kingdom of God, but he shall not enter into it.
146 But, Sir, what are those stones which were taken out of the deep and fitted into the building? The ten, said he, which were placed at the foundation, are the first age; the following five-and-twenty, the second, of righteous men.
147 The next thirty-five, are the prophets and ministers of the Lord. And the forty, are the Apostles and doctors of the preaching of the Son of God.[p. 258]
148 And I said, Sir, why did the virgins put even those stones into the building after they were carried through the gate? And he said, Because these first carried those spirits, and they departed not one from the one, neither the men from the spirits, nor the spirits from the men:
149 But the spirits were joined to those men even to the day of their death; who if they had not had these spirits with them, they could not have been useful to the building of this tower.
150 And I said, Sir, shew me this farther. He answered, What dost thou ask? Why did these stones come out of the deep, and were placed into the building of this tower, seeing that they long ago carried those [*1] holy spirits.
151 [*2] It was necessary, said he, for them to ascend by water, that they might be at rest. For they could not otherwise enter into the kingdom of God, but by laying aside the mortality of their former life.
152 They therefore being dead, were nevertheless sealed with the seal of the Son of God, and so entered into the kingdom of God.
153 For before a man receives the name of the Son of God, he is ordained unto death; but when he receives that seal, he is freed from death, and [*3] assigned unto life.
154 Now that seal is the water of baptism, into which men go down under the obligation unto death, but come up appointed unto life.
155 Wherefore to those also was this seal [*4] preached, and they made use of it, that they might enter the kingdom of God.
156 And I said, Why then, sir, did these forty stones also ascend with them out of the deep, having already received that seal?
157 He answered, [*5] Because these Apostles and teachers, who preached the name of the Son of God, dying after they had received his faith and power, preached to them who were dead before; and they gave this seal to them.
158 They went down therefore into the water with them, and again came up. But these went down whilst they were alive, and came up again alive: whereas those who were before dead, went down dead, but came up alive;
159 Through these therefore they received life, and knew the Son of God: for which cause they came up with them, and were fit to come into the building of the tower; and were not cut, but put in entire; because they died in righteousness, and in great purity; only this seal was wanting to them.
160 Thus you have the explication of these things.
161 I answered: Sir, tell me now what concerns those mountains, why are they so different; some of one form, and some of another.
162 Hear, said he; These twelve mountains which thou seest, are twelve nations, which make up the whole world. Wherefore the Son of God is preached to them, by those whom he sent unto them.
163 But why, said I, are they different, and every one of a[p. 259]
figure? He replied, Hearken. Those twelve nations which possess the whole world, are twelve people.
164 And as thou hast beheld these mountains different, so are they. I will therefore open to thee the meaning and actions of every mountain.
165 But first, sir, said I, shew me this; Seeing these mountains are so different, how have they agreed into the building of this tower; and been brought to one colour; and are no less bright than those that came out of the deep?
166 Because, replied he, all the nations which are under heaven, have heard and believed in the same one name of the Son of God by whom they are called.
167 Wherefore having received his seal, they have all been made partakers of the same [*1] understanding and [*2] knowledge; and their faith and charity have been the same; and they have carried the spirits of these virgins together with his name.
168 And therefore the building of this tower appeared to be of the same colour, and did shine like the brightness of the sun.
169 But after that they had thus agreed in one mind there began to be one body of them all; howbeit some of them polluted themselves, and were cast off from the kind of the righteous, and again returned to their former state, and became even worse than they were before.
170 How, said I, sir, were they worse who knew the Lord? He answered: If he who knows not the Lord liveth wickedly, the punishment of his wickedness attends him.
171 But he who has known the Lord, ought to abstain altogether from all wickedness, and more and more to be the servant of righteousness.
172 And does not he then seem to thee to sin more who ought to follow goodness, if he shall prefer the part of sin; than he who offends without knowing the power of God?
173 Wherefore these are indeed ordained unto death; but they who have known the Lord, and have seen his wonderful works, if they shall live wickedly, they shall be doubly punished, and shall die for ever.
174 As therefore thou hast seen that after the stones were cast out of the tower, which had been rejected; they were delivered to wicked and cruel spirits; and thou beheldest the tower so cleansed, as if it had all been made of one stone:
175 [*3] So the church of God, when it shall be purified: (the [*4] wicked and counterfeits, the [*5] mischievous and doubtful, and all that have behaved themselves wickedly in it, and committed divers kinds of sin, being cast out) shall become one body, and there shall be one understanding, one opinion, one faith, and the same charity.
176 And then shall the Son of God rejoice among them, and shall receive his people with a pure will.
177 And I said; Sir, all these things are great and honourable; but now shew unto me the effect and force of every mountain: that every soul which trusteth in the Lord, when it shall hear these things may honour his great, and wonderful, and holy name.[p. 260]
178 Hear, said he, the variety of these mountains, that is, of the twelve nations.
179 They who have believed of the first mountain, which is black, are those who have revolted from the faith; and spoken wicked things against the Lord; and betrayed the servants of God.
180 These are condemned to death, there is no repentance for them: and therefore they are black, because their kind is wicked.
181 Of the second mountain which was smooth, are the [*1] hypocrites, who have believed, and the teachers of naughtiness: and these are next to the foregoing, which have not in them the fruit of righteousness.
182 For as their mountain is barren and without fruit; so also such kind of men have indeed the name of Christians, but are empty of faith; nor is there any fruit of the truth in them.
183 Nevertheless there is room left to them for repentance, if they shall suddenly pursue it: but if they shall delay, they also shall be partakers of death with the foregoing kind.
184 I said, Sir, why is there room left to those for repentance, and not to the foregoing kind, seeing their sins are well nigh the same?
185 There is therefore, said he to these a return unto life by repentance, because they have not blasphemed against their Lord, nor betrayed the servants of God: but by their desire of gain have deceived men, leading them according to the lusts of sinners; wherefore they shall suffer for this thing.
186 Howbeit there is still left them room for repentance, because they have not spoken any thing wickedly against the Lord.
187 They who are of the third mountain which had thorns and brambles, are those who believed, but were some of them rich, others taken up with many affairs: the brambles are their riches: the thorns, those affairs in which they were engaged.
188 Now they who are entangled in much business, and in diversity of affairs, join not themselves to the servants of God, but wander, being called away by those affairs with which they are choked.
189 And so they which are rich, with difficulty yield themselves to the [*2] conversation of the servants of God; fearing lest anything should be asked of them. These therefore shall hardly enter into the kingdom of God.
190 For as men walk with difficulty bare-foot over thorns, even so these kind of men shall scarcely enter into the kingdom of God.
191 Nevertheless there is at. forded to all these a return unto repentance; if that they shall quickly return to it; that because in their former days they have neglected to work, in the time that is to come they may do some good.
192 If therefore having repented they shall do the works of righteousness, they shall live; but if they shall continue in their evil courses, they shall be delivered to those women that will take away their life.
193 As for the fourth mountain, which had many herbs, the upper part of which is green,[p. 261]
but the roots dry, and some of which being touched with the heat of the sun are withered;
194 It denotes the doubtful, who have believed, and some others who carry the Lord in their tongues, but have him not in their heart: therefore their grass is dry, and without root; because they live only in words, but their works are dead.
195 These therefore are neither dead nor living, and withal are doubtful. For the doubtful are neither green nor dry; that is, neither dead nor alive.
196 For as the herbs dry away at the sight of the sun; so the doubtful as soon as they hear of persecution, and fear inconveniences, return to their idols, and again serve them, and are ashamed to bear the name of their Lord.
197 This kind of men then is neither dead nor alive; nevertheless these also may live, if they shall presently repent; but if not, they shall be delivered to those women, who shall take away their life.
198 As concerning the fifth mountain that is craggy, and yet has green grass: they are of this kind who have believed, and are faithful indeed, but believe with difficulty; and are bold, and self-conceited; that would be thought to know all things, but really know nothing.
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