Writings of Commodianus
Translated by the Rev. Robert Ernest Wallis, Ph.D.
Text edited by Rev. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson and
first published by T&T Clark in Edinburgh in 1867. Additional
introductionary material and notes provided for the American
edition by A. Cleveland Coxe, 1886.
Introductory Note to the Instructions of Commodianus
[a.d.; 240.] Our author seems to have been a North-African bishop, of whom
little is known save what we learn from his own writings. He has been
supposed to incline to some ideas of Praxeas, and also to the Millenarians,
but perhaps on insufficient grounds. His Millenarianism reflects the views
of a very primitive age, and that without the corrupt Chiliasm of a later
period, which brought about a practical repudiation of the whole system.
 Of his writings, two poems only remain, and of these the second, a
very recent discovery, has no place in the Edinburgh series. I greatly
regret that it cannot be included in ours.As a poetical work the following
prose version probably does it no injustice. His versification is pronounced
very crabbed, and his diction is the wretched patois of North Africa. But
the piety and earnestness of a practical Christian seem everywhere
conspicuous in this fragment of antiquity.
The Instructions of Commodianus in Favour of Christian Discipline. Against
the Gods of the Heathens. (Expressed in Acrostics.)
My preface sets forth the way to the wanderer and a good visitation when the
goal of life shall have come, that he may become eternal'a thing which
ignorant hearts disbelieve. I in like manner have wandered for a long time,
by giving attendance upon heathen fanes, my parents themselves being
ignorant.  Thence at length I withdrew myself by reading concerning
the law. I bear witness to the Lord; I grieve alas, the crowd of citizens!
ignorant of what it loses in going to seek vain gods. Thoroughly taught by
these things, I instruct the ignorant in the truth.
II. 'God's Indignation
In the law, the Lord of heaven, and earth, and sea has commanded, saying,
Worship not vain gods made by your own hands out of wood or gold, lest my
wrath destroy you for such things. The people before Moses, unskilled,
abiding without law, and ignorant of God, prayed to gods that perished,
after the likenesses of which they fashioned vain idols. The Lord having
brought the Jews out of the land of Egypt, subsequently imposed on them a
law; and the Omnipotent enjoined these things, that they should serve Him
alone, and not those idols. Moreover, in that law is taught concerning the
resurrection, and the hope of living in happiness again in the world, if
vain idols be forsaken and not worshipped.
III. 'The Worship of Demons
When Almighty God, to beautify the nature of the world, willed that that
earth should be visited by angels, when they were sent down they despised
His laws. Such was the beauty of women, that it turned them aside; so that,
being contaminated, they could not return to heaven. Rebels from God, they
uttered words against Him. Then the Highest uttered His judgment against
them; and from their seed giants are said to have been born. By them arts
were made known in the earth, and they taught the dyeing of wool, and
everything which is done; and to them, when they died, men erected images.
But the Almighty, because they were of an evil seed, did not approve that,
when dead, they should be brought back from death. Whence wandering they now
subvert many bodies, and it is such as these especially that ye this day
worship and pray to as gods.
And Saturn the old, if he is a god, how does he grow old? Or if he was a
god, why was he driven by his terrors to devour his children? But because he
was not a god, he consumed the bowels of his sons in a monstrous madness. He
was a king upon earth, born in the mount Olympus; and he was not divine, but
called himself a god. He fell into weakness of mind, and swallowed a stone
for his son. Thus he became a god; of late he is called Jupiter.
This Jupiter was born to Saturn in the island of Breta; and when he was
grown up, he deprived his father of the kingdom. He then deluded the wives
and sisters of the nobles. Moreover, Pyracmon, a smith, had made for him a
sceptre. In the beginning God made the heaven, the earth, and the sea. But
that frightful creature, born in the midst of time, went forth as a youth
from a cave, and was nourished by stealth. Behold, that God is the author of
all things, not that Jupiter.
VI. 'Of the Same Jupiter's Thunderbolt.
Ye say, O fools, Jupiter thunders. It is he that hurls thunderbolts; and if
it was childishness that thought thus, why for two hundred years have ye
been babies?  And will ye still be so always? Infancy is passed into
maturity, old age does not enjoy trifles, the age of boyhood has departed;
let the mind of youth in like manner depart. Your thoughts ought to belong
to the character of men. Thou art then a fool, to believe that it is Jupiter
that thunders. He, born on the earth, is nourished with goats' milk.
Therefore if Saturn had devoured him, who was it in those times that sent
rain when he was dead? Especially, if a god may be thought to be born of a
mortal father, Saturn grew old on the earth, and on the earth he died. There
was none that predicted his previous birth. Or if he thunders, the law would
have been given by him. The stories that the poets feign seduce you. He,
however, reigned in Crete, and there died. He who to you is the Almighty
became Alcmena's lover; he himself would in like manner be in love with
living men now if he were alive. Ye pray to unclean gods, and ye call them
heavenly who are born of mortal seed from those giants. Ye hear and ye read
that he was born in the earth: whence was it that that corrupter so well
deserved to ascend into heaven? And the Cyclopes are said to have forged him
a thunderbolt; for though he was immortal, he received arms from mortals. Ye
have conveyed to heaven by your authority one guilty of so many crimes, and,
moreover, a parricide of his own relations.
VII. 'Of the Septizonium and the Stars.
Your want of intelligence deceives you concerning the circle of the zone,
and perchance from that you find out that you must pray to Jupiter. Saturn
is told of there, but it is as a star, for he was driven forth by Jupiter,
or let Jupiter be believed to be in the star. He who controlled the
constellations of the pole, and the sower of the soil; he who made war with
the Trojans, he loved the beautiful Venus. Or among the stars themselves
Mars was caught with her by married jealousy: he is called the youthful god.
Oh excessively foolish, to think that those who are born of Maia rule from
the stars, or that they rule the entire nature of the world! Subjected to
wounds, and themselves living under the dominion of the fates, obscene,
inquisitive, warriors of an impious life; and they made sons, equally mortal
with themselves, and were all terrible, foolish, strong, in the sevenfold
girdle. If ye worship the stars, worship also the twelve signs of the
zodiac, as well the ram, the bull, the twins, as the fierce lion; and
finally, they go on into fishes,'cook them and you will prove them. A law
without law is your refuge: what wishes to be, will prevail. A woman desires
to be wanton; she seeks to live without restraint. Ye yourselves will be
what ye wish for, and pray to as gods and goddesses. Thus I worshipped while
I went astray, and now I condemn it.
VIII. 'Of the Sun and Moon.
Concerning the Sun and Moon ye are in error, although they are in our
immediate presence; in that ye, as I formerly did, think that you must pray
to them. They, indeed, are among the stars; but they do not run of their own
accord. The Omnipotent, when He established all things at first, placed them
there with the stars, on the fourth day. And, indeed, He commanded in the
law that none should worship them. Ye worship so many gods who promise
nothing concerning life, whose law is not on the earth, nor are they
themselves foretold. But a few priests seduce you, who say that any deity
destined to die can be of service. Draw near now, read, and learn the truth.
Let your Mercury be depicted with a Saraballum, and with wings on his helmet
or his cap, and in other respects naked. I see a marvellous thing, a god
flying with a little satchel. Run, poor creatures, with your lap spread open
when he flies, that he may empty his satchel: do ye from thence be prepared.
Look on the painted one, since he will thus cast you money from on high:
then dance ye securely. Vain man, art thou not mad, to worship painted gods
in heaven? If thou knowest not how to live, continue to dwell with the
Ye make Neptune a god descended from Saturn; and he wields a trident that he
may spear the fishes. It is plain by his being thus provided that he is a
sea-god. Did not he himself with Apollo raise up walls for the Trojans? How
did that poor stone-mason become a god? Did not he beget the
cyclops-monster? And was he himself when dead unable to live again, though
his structure admitted of this?  Thus begotten, he begot who was
already once dead.
Ye make Apollo a player on the cithara, and divine. Born at first of Main,
in the isle of Delos, subsequently, for offered wages, a builder, obeying
the king Laomedon, he reared the walls of the Trojans. And he established
himself, and ye are seduced into thinking him a god, in whose bones the love
of Cassandra burned, whom the virgin craftily sported with, and, though a
divine being, he is deceived. By his office of augur he was able to know the
double-hearted one. Moreover rejected, he, though divine, departed thence.
Him the virgin burnt up with her beauty, whom he ought to have burnt up;
while she ought first of all to have loved the god who thus lustfully began
to love Daphne, and still follows her up, wishing to violate the maid. The
fool loves in vain. Nor can he obtain her by running. Surely, if he were a
god, he would come up with her through the air. She first came under the
roof, and the divine being remained outside. The race of men deceive you,
for they were of a sad way of life. Moreover, he is said to have fed the
cattle of Admetus. While in imposed sports. he threw the quoit into the air,
he could not restrain it as it fell, and it killed his friend. That was the
last day of his companion Hyacinthus. Had he been divine, he would have
fore-known the death of his friend.
XII. 'Father Liber'Bacchus.
Ye yourselves say that Father Liber was assuredly twice begotten. First of
all he was born in India of Proserpine and Jupiter, and waging war against
the Titans, when his blood was shed, he expired even as one of mortal men.
Again, restored from his death, in another womb Semele conceived him again
of Jupiter, a second Main, whose womb being divided, he is taken away near
to birth from his dead mother, and as a nursling is given to be nourished to
Nisus. From this being twice born he is called Dionysus; and his religion is
falsely observed in vanity; and they celebrate his orgies such that now they
themselves seem to be either foolhardy or burlesquers of Mimnermomerus. They
conspire in evil; they practise beforehand with pretended heat, that they
may deceive others into saying that a deity is present. Hence you manifestly
see men living a life like his, violently excited with the wine which he
himself had pressed out; they have given him divine honour in the midst of
their drunken excess.
XIII. 'The Unconquered One.
The unconquered one was born from a rock, if he is regarded as a god. Now
tell us, then, on the other hand, which is the first of these two. The rock
has overcome the god: then the creator of the rock has to be sought after.
Moreover, you still depict him also as a thief; although, if he were a god,
he certainly did not live by theft. Assuredly he was of earth, and of a
monstrous nature. And he turned other people's oxen into his caves; just as
did Cacus, that son of Vulcan.
Whence, again, has Sylvanus appeared to be a god? Perhaps it is agreeable so
to call him from this, that the pipe sings sweetly because he bestows the
wood; for, perhaps, it might not be so. Thou hast bought a venal master,
when thou shalt have bought from him. Behold the wood fails! What is due to
him? Art thou not ashamed, O fool, w adore such pictures? Seek one God who
will allow you to live after death. Depart from such as have become dead in
Hercules, because he destroyed the monster of the Aventine Mount, who had
been wont to steal the herds of Evander, is a god: the rustic mind of men,
untaught also, when they wished to return thanks instead of praise to the
absent thunderer, senselessly vowed victims as to a god to be besought, they
made milky altars as a memorial to themselves. Thence it arises that he is
worshipped in the ancient manner. But he is no god, although he was strong
XVI. 'Of the Gods and Goddesses.
Ye say that they are gods who are plainly cruel, and ye say that genesis
assigns the fates to you. Now, then, say to whom first of all sacred rites
are paid. Between the ways on either side immature death is straying. If the
fates give the generations, why do you pray to the god? Thou art vainly
deceived who art seeking to beseech the manes, and thou namest them to be
lords over thee who are fabricated. Or, moreover, I know not what women you
pray to as goddesses'Bellona and Nemesis the goddesses, together with the
celestial Fury, the Virgins and Venus, for whom your wives are weak in the
loins. Besides, there are in the lanes other demons which are not as yet
numbered, and are worn on the neck, so that they themselves cannot give to
themselves an account. Plagues ought rather to be exported to the ends of
XVII. 'Of Their Images.
A few wicked and empty poets delude you; while they seek with difficulty to
procure their living, they adorn falsehood to be for others under the guise
of mystery. Thence reigning to be smitten by some deity, they sing of his
majesty, and weary themselves under his form. Ye have often seen the
Dindymarii, with what a din they enter upon luxuries while they seek to
feign the furies, or when they strike their backs with the filthy axe,
although with their teaching they keep what they heal by their blood. Behold
in what name they do not compel those who first of all unite themselves to
them with a sound mind. But that they may take away a gift, they seek such
minds. Thence see how all things are feigned. They cast a shadow over a
simple people, lest they should believe, while they perish, the thing once
for all proceeded in vanity from antiquity, that a prophet who uttered false
things might be believed; but their majesty has spoken nought.
XVIII. 'Of Ammydates and the Great God.
We have already said many things of an abominable superstition, and yet we
follow up the subject, lest we should be said to have passed anything over.
And the worshippers worshipped their Ammydates after their manner. He was
great to them when there was gold in the temple. They placed their heads
under his power, as if he were present. It came to the highest point that
Caesar took away the gold. The deity failed, or fled, or passed away into
fire. The author of this wickedness is manifest who formed this same god,
and falsely prophesying seduces so many and so great men, and only was
silent about Him who was accustomed to be divine. For voices broke forth, as
if with a changed mind, as if the wooden god were speaking into his ear. Say
now yourselves if they are not false deities? From that prodigy how many has
that prophet destroyed? He forgot to prophesy who before was accustomed to
prophesy; so those prodigies are reigned among those who are greedy of wine,
whose damnable audacity feigns deities, for they were carried about, and
such an image was dried up. For both he himself is silent, and no one
prophesies concerning him at all. But ye wish to ruin yourselves.
XIX. 'Of the Vain Nemesiaci.
Is it not ignominy, that a prudent man should be seduced and worship such a
one, or say that a log is Diana? You trust a man who in the morning is
drunk, costive, and ready to perish, who by art speaks falsely what is seen
by him. While he lives strictly, he feeds on his own bowels. A detestable
one defiles all the citizens; and he has attached to himself'a similar
gathering being made'those with whom he feigns the history, that he may
adorn a god. He is ignorant how to prophesy for himself; for others he dares
it. He places it on his shoulder when he pleases, and again he places it
down. Whirling round, he is turned by himself with the tree of the
two-forked one, as if you would think that he was inspired with the deity of
the wood. Ye do not worship the gods whom they themselves falsely announce;
ye worship the priests themselves, fearing them vainly. But if thou art
strong in heart, flee at once from the shrines of death.
XX. 'The Titans.
Ye say that the Titans are to you Tutans. Ye ask that these fierce ones
should be silent under your roof, as so many Lares, shrines, images made
like to a Titan. For ye foolishly adore those who have died by an evil
death, not reading their own law. They themselves speak not, and ye dare to
call them gods who are melted out of a brazen vessel; ye should rather melt
them into little vessels for yourselves.
XXI. 'The Montesiani.
Ye call the mountains also gods. Let them rule in gold, darkened by evil,
and aiding with an averted mind. For if a pure spirit and a serene mind
remained to you, thou thyself ought to examine for thyself concerning them.
Thou art become senseless as a man, if thou thinkest that these can save
thee, whether they rule or whether they cease. If thou seekest anything
healthy, seek rather the righteousness of the law, that brings the help of
salvation, and says that you are becoming eternal. For what you shall follow
in vanity rejoices you for a time. Thou art glad for a brief space, and
afterwards bewailest in the depths. Withdraw thyself from these, if thou
wilt rise again with Christ.
XXII. 'The Dulness of the Age.
Alas, I grieve, citizens, that ye are thus blinded by the world. One runs to
the lot; another gazes on the birds; another, having shed the blood of
bleating animals, calls forth the manes, and credulously desires to hear
vain responses. When so many leaders and kings have taken counsel concerning
life, what benefit has it been to them to have known even its portents?
Learn, I beg you, citizens, what is good; beware of idol-fanes. Seek,
indeed, all of you, in the law of the Omnipotent. Thus it has pleased the
Lord of lords Himself in the heavens, that demons should wander in the world
for our discipline. And yet, on the other hand, He has sent out His
mandates, that they who forsake their altars shall become inhabitants of
heaven. Whence I am not careful to argue this in a small treatise. The law
teaches; it calls on you in your midst. Consider for yourselves. Ye have
entered upon two roads; decide upon the right one. 
XXIII. Of Those Who are Everywhere Ready.
While thou obeyest the belly, thou sayest that thou art innocent; and, as if
courteously, makest thyself everywhere ready. Woe to thee, foolish man! thou
thyself lookest around upon death. Thou seekest in a barbarous fashion to
live without law. Thou thyself hymnest thyself also to play upon a word, who
feignest thyself simple. I live in simplicity with such a one. Thou
believest that thou livest, whilst thou desirest to fill thy belly. To sit
down disgracefully of no account in thy house, ready for feasting, and to
run away from precepts. Or because thou believest not that God will judge
the dead, thou foolishly makest thyself ruler of heaven instead of Him. Thou
regardest thy belly as if thou canst provide for it. Thou seemest at one
time to be profane, at another to be holy. Thou appearest as a suppliant of
God, under the aspect of a tyrant. Thou shalt feel in thy fates by whose law
thou art aided.
XXIV. 'Of Those Who Live Between the Two.
Thou who thinkest that, by living doubtfully between the two, thou art on
thy guard, goest on thy way stript of law, broken down by luxury. Thou art
looking forward vainly to so many things, why seekest thou unjust things?
And whatever thou hast done shall there remain to thee when dead. Consider,
thou foolish one, thou wast not, and lo, thou art seen. Thou knowest not
whence thou hast proceeded, nor whence thou art nourished. Thou avoidest the
excellent and benignant God of thy life, and thy Governor, who would rather
wish thee to live. Thou turnest thyself to thyself, and givest thy back to
God. Thou drownest thyself in darkness, whilst thou thinkest thou art
abiding in light. Why runnest thou in the synagogue to the Pharisees, that
He may become merciful to thee, whom thou of thy own accord deniest? Thence
thou goest abroad again; thou seekest healthful things. Thou wishest to live
between both ways, but thence thou shalt perish. And, moreover, thou sayest,
Who is He who has redeemed from death, that we may believe in Him, since
there punishments are awarded P Ah! not thus, O malignant man, shall it be
as thou thinkest. For to him who has lived well there is advantage after
death. Thou, however, when one day thou diest, shalt be taken away in an
evil place. But they who believe in Christ shah be led into a good place,
and those to whom that delight is given are caressed; but to you who are of
a double mind, against you is punishment without the body. The course of the
tormentor stirs you up to cry out against your brother.
XXV. 'They Who Fear and Will Not Believe.
How long, O foolish man, wilt thou not acknowledge Christ? Thou avoidest the
fertile field, and castest thy seeds on the sterile one. Thou seekest to
abide in the wood where the thief is delaying. Thou sayest, I also am of
God; and thou wanderest out of doors. Now at length, after so many
invitations, enter within the palace. Now is the harvest ripe, and the time
so many times prepared. Lo, now reap! What! dost thou not repent? Thence
now, if thou hast not, gather the seasonable wines. The time of believing to
life is present in the time of death. The first law of God is the foundation
of the subsequent law. Thee, indeed, it assigned to believe in the second
law. Nor are threats from Himself, but from it, powerful over thee. Now
astounded, swear that thou wilt believe in Christ; for the Old Testament
proclaims concerning Him. For it is needful only to believe in Him who was
dead, to be able to rise again to live for all time. Therefore, if thou art
one who disbelievest that these things shall be, at length he shall be
overcome in his guilt in the second death. I will declare things to come in
few words in this little treatise. In it can be known when hope must be
preferred. Still I exhort you as quickly as possible to believe in Christ.
XXVI. 'To Those Who Resist the Law of Christ the Living God.
Thou rejectest, unhappy one, the advantage of heavenly discipline, and
rushest into death while wishing to stray without a bridle. Luxury and the
shortlived joys of the world are raining thee, whence thou shalt be
tormented in hell for all time. They are vain joys with which thou art
foolishly delighted. Do not these make thee to be a man dead? Cannot thirty
years at length make thee a wise man? Ignorant how thou hast first strayed,
look upon ancient time, thou thinkest now to enjoy here a joyous life in the
midst of wrongs. These are the rains of thy friends, wars, or wicked frauds,
thefts with bloodshed: the body is vexed with sores, and groaning and
wailing is indulged; whether a slight disease invade thee, or thou art held
down by long sickness, or thou art bereaved of thy children, or thou
mournest over a lost wife. All is a wilderness: alas, dignities are hurried
down from their height by vices and poverty; doubly so, assuredly, if thou
languishest long. And callest thou it life when this life of glass is
mortal? Consider now at length that this time is of no avail, but in the
future you have hope without the craft of living. Certainly the little
children which have been snatched away desired to live. Moreover, the young
men who have been deprived of life, perchance were preparing to grow old,
and they themselves were making ready to enjoy joyful days; and yet we
unwillingly lay aside all things in the world. I have delayed with a
perverse mind, and I have thought that the life of this world was a true
one; and I judged that death would come in like manner as ye did'that when
once life had departed, the soul also was dead and perished. These things,
however, are not so; but the Founder and Author of the world has certainly
required the brother slain by a brother. Impious man, say, said He, where is
thy brother? and he denied. For the blood of thy brother has cried aloud to
Me to heaven. Thou art tormented, I see, when thou thoughtest to feel
nothing; but he lives and occupies the place on the right hand. He enjoys
delights which thou, O wicked one, hast lost; and when thou hast called back
the world, he also has gone before, and will be immortal: for thou shalt
wail in hell. Certainly God lives, who makes the dead to live, that He may
give worthy rewards to the innocent and to the good; but to the fierce and
impious, cruel hell. Commence, O thou who art led away, to perceive the
judgments of God.
XXVII. 'O Fool, Thou Dost Not Die to God.
O fool, thou dost not absolutely die; nor, when dead, dost thou escape the
lofty One. Although thou shouldst arrange that when dead thou perceivest
nothing, thou shalt foolishly be overcome. God the Creator of the world
liveth, whose laws cry out that the dead are in existence. But thou, whilst
recklessly thou seekest to live without God, judgest that in death is
extinction, and thinkest that it is absolute. God has not ordered it as thou
thinkest, that the dead are forgetful of what they have previously done. Now
has the governor made for us receptacles of death, and after our ashes we
shall behold them. Thou art stripped, O foolish one, who thinkest that by
death thou art not, and hast made thy Ruler and Lord to be able to do
nothing. But death is not a mere vacuity, if thou reconsiderest in thine
heart. Thou mayest know that He is to be desired, for late thou shalt
perceive Him. Thou wast the ruler of the flesh; certainly flesh ruled not
thee. Freed from it, the former is buried; thou art here. Rightly is mortal
man separated from the flesh. Therefore mortal eyes will not be able to be
equalled (to divine things). Thus our depth keeps us from the secret of God.
Give thou now, whilst in weakness thou art dying, the honour to God, and
believe that Christ will bring thee back living from the dead. Thou oughtest
to give praises in the church to the omnipotent One.
XXVIII. 'The Righteous Rise Again.
Righteousness and goodness, peace and true patience, and care concerning
one's deeds, make to live after death. But a crafty mind, mischievous,
perfidious, evil, destroys itself by degrees, and delays in a cruel death. O
wicked man, hear now what thou gainest by thy evil deeds. Look on the judges
of earth, who now in the body torture with terrible punishments; either
chastisements are prepared for the deserving by the sword, or to weep in a
long imprisonment. Dost thou, last of all, hope to laugh at the God of
heaven and the Ruler of the sky, by whom all things were made? Thou ragest,
thou art mad, and now thou takest away the name of God, from whom, moreover,
thou shalt not escape; and He will award punishments according to your
deeds. Now I would have you be cautious that thou come not to the burning of
fire. Give thyself up at once to Christ, that goodness may attend thee.
XXIX. 'To the Wicked and Unbelieving Rich Man.
Thou wilt, O rich man, by insatiably looking too much to all thy wealth,
squander those things to which thou art still seeking to cling. Thou sayest,
I do not hope when dead to live after such things as these. O ungrateful to
the great God, who thus judgest thyself to be a god; to Him who, when thou
knewest nothing of it, brought thee forth, and then nourished thee. He
governs thy meadows; He, thy vineyards; He, thy herd of cattle; and He,
whatever thou possessest. Nor dost thou give heed to these things; or thou,
perchance, rulest all things. He who made the sky, and the earth, and the
salt seas, decreed to give us back again ourselves in a golden age. And only
if thou believest, thou livest in the secret of God. Learn God, O foolish
man, who wishes thee to be immortal, that thou mayest give Him eternal
thanks in thy struggle. His own law teaches thee; but since thou seekest to
wander, thou disbelievest all things, and thence thou shalt go into hell. By
and by thou givest up thy life; thou shalt be taken where it grieveth thee
to be: there the spiritual punishment, which is eternal, is undergone; there
are always wailings: nor dost thou absolutely die therein'there at length
too late proclaiming the omnipotent God.
XXX. 'Rich Men, Be Humble.
Learn, O thou who art about to die, to show thyself good to all. Why, in the
midst of the people, makest thou thyself to be another than thou art? Thou
goest where thou knowest not, and ignorantly thence thou departest. Thou
managest wickedly with thy very body; thou thirstest always after riches.
Thou exaltest thyself too much on high; and thou bearest pride, and dost not
willingly look on the poor. Now ye do not even feed your parents themselves
when placed under you. Ah, wretched men, let ordinary men flee far from you.
He lived, and I have destroyed him; the poor man cries out eu öür─ôka. By and
by thou shalt be driven with the furies of Charybdis, when thou thyself dost
perish. Thus ye rich men are undisciplined, ye give a law to those, ye
yourselves not being prepared. Strip thyself, O rich man turned away from
God, of such evils, if assuredly, perchance, what thou hast seen done may
aid thee. Be ye the attendant of God while ye have time. Even as the elm
loves the vine, so love ye people of no account. Observe now, O barren one,
the law which is terrible to the evil, and equally benignant to the good; be
humble in prosperity. Take away, O rich men, hearts of fraud, and take up
hearts of peace. And look upon your evil-doing. Do ye do good? I am here.
XXXI. 'To Judges.
Consider the sayings of Solomon, all ye judges; in what way, with one word
of his, he disparages you. How gifts and presents corrupt the judges,
thence, thence follows the law. Ye always love givers; and when there shall
be a cause, the unjust cause carries off the victory. Thus I am innocent;
nor do I, a man of no account, accuse you, because Solomon openly raises the
blasphemy. But your god is your belly, and rewards are your laws. Paul the
apostle suggests this, I am not deceitful.
XXXII. 'To Self-Pleasers.
If place or time is favourable, or the person has advanced, let there be a
new judge. Why now art thou lifted up thence? Untaught, thou blasphemest Him
of whose liberality thou livest. In such weakness thou dost not ever regard
Him. Throughout advances and profits thou greedily presumest oil fortune.
There is no law to thee, nor dost thou discern thyself in prosperity.
Although they may be counted of gold, let the strains of the pipe always be
raving. If thou hast not adored the crucifixion of the Lord, thou hast
perished.  Both place and occasion and person are now given to thee,
if, however, thou believest; but if not, thou shalt fear before Him. Bring
thyself into obedience to Christ, and place thy neck under Him. To Him
remains the honour and all the confidence of things. When the time flatters
thee, be more cautious. Not foreseeing, as it behoves thee, the final awards
of fate, thou art not able ever to live again without Christ.
XXXIII. 'To the Gentiles.
O people, ferocious, without a shepherd, now at length wander not. For I
also who admonish you was the same, ignorant, wandering. Now, therefore,
take the likeness of your Lord. Raise upward your wild and roughened hearts.
Enter stedfastly into the fold of your sylvan Shepherd, remaining Safe from
robbers under the royal roof. In the wood are wolves; therefore take refuge
in the cave. Thou warrest, thou art mad; nor dost thou behold where thou
abidest. Believe in the one God, that when dead thou mayest live, and mayest
rise in His kingdom, when there shall be the resurrection to the just.
XXXIV. 'Moreover, to Ignorant Gentiles.
The unsubdued neck refuses to bear the yoke of labour. Then it delights to
be satisfied with herbs in the rich plains. And still unwillingly is subdued
the useful mare, and it is made to be less fierce when it is first brought
into subjection. O people, O man, thou brother, do not be a brutal flock.
Pluck thyself forth at length, and do thyself withdraw thyself. Assuredly
thou art not cattle, thou art not a beast, but thou art born a man. Do thou
thyself wisely subdue thyself, and enter under arms. Thou who followest
idols art nothing but the vanity of the age. Your trifling hearts destroy
you when almost set free. There gold, garments, silver is brought to the
elbows; there war is made; there love is sung of instead of psalms. Dost
thou think it to be life, when thou playest or lookest forward to such
things as these? Thou choosest, O ignorant one, things that are extinct;
thou seekest golden things. Thence thou shall not escape the plague,
although thyself art divine. Thou seekest not that grace which God sent to
be read of in the earth, but thus as a beast thou wanderest. The golden age
before spoken of shall come to thee if thou believest, and again thou shall
begin to live always an immortal life. That also is permitted to know what
thou wast before. Give thyself as a subject to God, who governs all things.
XXXV. 'Of the Tree of Life and Death.
Adam was the first who fell, and that he might shun the precepts of God,
Belial was his tempter by the lust of the palm tree. And he conferred on us
also what he did, whether of good or of evil, as being the chief of all that
was born from him; and thence we die by his means, as he himself, receding
from the divine, became an outcast from the Word. We shall be immortal when
six thousand years are accomplished. The tree of the apple being tasted,
death has entered into the world. By this tree of death we are born to the
life to come. On the tree depends the life that bean fruits'precepts. Now,
therefore, pluck  believingly the fruits of life. A law was given from
the tree to be feared by the primitive man, whence comes death by the
neglect of the law of the beginning. Now stretch forth your hand, and take
of the tree of life. The excellent law of the Lord which follows has issued
from the tree. The first law is lost; man eats whence he can, who adores the
forbidden gods, the evil joys of life. Reject this partaking; it sill
suffice you to know what it should be. If you wish to live, surrender
yourselves to the second law. Avoid the worship of temples, the oracles of
demons; turn yourselves to Christ, and ye shall be associates with God. Holy
is God's law, which teaches the dead to live. God alone has commanded us to
offer to Him the hymn of praise. All of you shun absolutely the law of the
XXXVI. 'Of the Foolishness of the Cross.
I have spoken of the twofold sign whence death proceeded, and again I have
said that thence life frequently proceeds; but the cross has become
foolishness to an adulterous people. The awful King of eternity shadows
forth these things by the cross, that they may now believe on Him.  O
fools, that live in death! Cain slew his younger brother by the invention of
wickedness. Thence the sons of Enoch  are said to be the race of Cain.
Then the evil people increased in the world, which never transfers souls to
God. To believe the cross came to be a dread, and they say that they live
righteously. The first law was in the tree; and thence, too, the second. And
thence the second law first of all overcame the terrible law with peace.
 Lifted up, they have rushed into vain prevarications. They are
unwilling to acknowledge the Lord pierced with nails; but when His judgment
shall come, they will then discern Him. But the race of Abel already
believes on a merciful Christ.
XXXVII. 'The Fanatics Who Judaize.
What! art thou half a Jew? wilt thou be half profane? Whence thou shalt not
when dead escape the judgment of Christ. Thou thyself blindly wanderest, and
foolishly goest in among the blind. And thus the blind leadeth the blind
into the ditch. Thou goest whither thou knowest not, and thence ignorantly
withdrawest. Let them who are learning go to the learned, and let the
learned depart. But thou goest to those from whom thou canst learn nothing.
Thou goest forth before the doors, and thence also thou goest to the idols.
Ask first of all what is commanded in the law. Let them tell thee if it be
commanded to adore the gods; for they are ignored in respect of that which
they are especially able to do. But because they are guilty of that very
crime, they relate nothing concerning the commandments of God save what is
marvellous. Then, however, they blindly lead you with them into the ditch.
There are deaths too well known by them to relate, or because the heaping up
of the plough closes up the field. The Almighty would not have them
understand their King. Why such a wickedness? He Himself took refuge from
those bloody men. He gave Himself to us by a superadded law. Thence now they
lie concealed with us, deserted by their King. But if you think that in them
there is hope, you are altogether in error if you worship God and heathen
XXXVIII. 'To the Jews.
Evil always, and recalcitrant, with a stiff neck ye wish not that ye should
be overcome; thus ye will be heirs. Isaiah said that ye were of hardened
heart. Ye look upon the law which Moses in wrath dashed to pieces; and the
same Lord gave to him a second law. In that he placed his hope; but ye, half
healed, reject it, and therefore ye shall not be worthy of the kingdom of
XXXIX. 'Also to the Jews.
Look upon Leah, that was a type of the synagogue, which Jacob received as a
sign, with eyes so weak; and yet he served again for the younger one
beloved: a true mystery, and a type of our Church. Consider what was
abundantly said of Rebecca from heaven; whence, imitating the alien, ye may
believe in Christ. Thence come to Tamar and the offspring of twins. Look to
Cain, the first tiller of the earth, and Abel the shepherd, who was an
unspotted offerer in the ruin of his brother, and was slain by his brother.
Thus therefore perceive, that the younger are approved by Christ.
XL. 'Again to the Same.
There is not an unbelieving people such as yours. O evil men! in so many
places, and so often rebuked by the law of those who cry aloud. And the
lofty One despises your Sabbaths, and altogether rejects your universal
monthly feasts according to law, that ye should not make to Him the
commanded sacrifices; who told you to throw a stone for your offence. If any
should not believe that He had perished by an unjust death, and that those
who were beloved were saved by other laws, thence that life was suspended on
the tree, and believe not on Him. God Himself is the fife; He Himself was
suspended for us. But ye with indurated heart insult Him.
XLI. Of the Time of Antichrist. 
Isaiah said: This is the man who moveth the world anti so many kings, and
under whom the land shall become desert. Hear ye how the prophet foretold
concerning him. I have said nothing elaborately, but negligently. Then,
doubtless, the world shall be finished when he shall appear. He himself
shall divide the globe into three ruling powers, when, moreover, Nero shall
be raised up from hell, Elias shall first come to seal the beloved ones; at
which things the region of Africa and the northern nation, the whole earth
on all sides, for seven years shall tremble. But Elias shall occupy the half
of the time, Nero shall occupy half. Then the whore Babylon, being reduced
to ashes, its embers shall thence advance to Jerusalem; and the Latin
conqueror shall then say, I am Christ, whom ye always pray to; and, indeed,
the original ones who were deceived combine to praise him. He does many
wonders, since his is the false prophet. Especially that they may believe
him, his image shall speak. The Almighty has given it power to appear such.
The Jews, recapitulating Scriptures from him, exclaim at the same time to
the Highest that they have been deceived.
XLII. Of the Hidden and Holy People of the Almighty Christ, the Living God.
Let the hidden, the final, the holy people be longed for; and, indeed, let
it be unknown by us where it abides, acting by nine of the tribes and a half
; and he has bidden to live by the former law. Now let us all live: the
tradition of the law is new, as the law itself teaches, I point out to you
more plainly. Two of the tribes and a half are left: wherefore is the half
of the tribes separated from them? That they might be martyrs, when He
should bring war on His elected ones into the world; or certainly the choir
of the holy prophets would rise together upon the people who should impose a
check upon them whom the obscene horses have slaughtered with kicking heel;
nor would the band hurry rashly at any time to the gift of peace. Those of
the tribes are withdrawn, and all the mysteries of Christ are fulfilled by
them throughout the whole age. Moreover, they have arisen from the crime of
two brothers, by whose auspices they have followed crime. Not undeservedly
are these bloody ones thus scattered: they shall again assemble on behalf of
the mysteries of Christ. But then the things told of in the law are
hastening to their completion. The Almighty Christ descends to His elect,
who have been darkened from our view for so long a time'they have become so
many thousands'that is the true heavenly people. The son does not die before
his father, then; nor do they feel pains in their bodies, nor polypus in
their nostrils. They who cease depart in ripe years in their bed, fulfilling
all the things of the law, and therefore they are protected. They are bidden
to pass on the right side of their Lord; and when they have passed over as
before, He dries up the river. Nor less does the Lord Himself also proceed
with them. He has passed over to our side, they come with the King of
heaven; and in their journey, what shall I speak of which God will bring to
pass? Mountains subside before them, and fountains break forth. The creation
rejoices to see the heavenly people. Here, however, they hasten to defend
the captive matron. But the wicked king who possesses her, when he hears,
flies into the parts of the north, and collects all his followers. Moreover,
when the tyrant shall dash himself against the army of God, his soldiery are
overthrown by the celestial terror; the false prophet himself is seized with
the wicked one, by the decree of the Lord; they are handed over alive to
Gehenna. From him chiefs and leaders are bidden to obey; then will the holy
ones enter into the breasts of their ancient mother, that, moreover, they
also may be refreshed whom he has evil persuaded. With various punishments
he will torment those who trust in him; they come to the end, whereby
offences are taken away from the world.The Lord will begin to give judgment
XLIII. Of the End of This Age.
The trumpet gives the sign in heaven, the lion being taken away, and
suddenly there is darkness with the din of heaven. The Lord casts down His
eyes, so that the earth trembles. He cries out, so that all may hear
throughout the world: Behold, long have I been silent while I bore your
doings in such a time. They cry out together, complaining and groaning too
late. They howl, they bewail; nor is there room found for the wicked. What
shall the mother do for i the sucking child, when she herself is burnt up?
In the flame of fire the Lord will judge the wicked. But the fire shall not
touch the just, but shall by all means lick them up.  In one place
they delay, but a part has wept at the judgment. Such will be the heat, that
the stones themselves shall melt. The winds assemble into lightnings, the
heavenly wrath rages; and wherever the wicked man fleeth, he is seized upon
by this fire. There will be no succour nor ship of he sea. Amen 
flames on the nations, and the Medes and Parthians burn for a thousand
years, as the hidden words of John declare. For then after a thousand years
they are delivered over to Gehenna; and he whose work they were, with them
are burnt up.
XLIV. 'Of the First Resurrection.
From heaven will descend the city in the first resurrection; this is what we
may tell of such a celestial fabric. We shall arise again to Him, who have
been devoted to Him. And they shall be incorruptible, even already living
without death. And neither will there be any grief nor any groaning in that
city. They shall come also who overcame cruel martydom under Antichrist, and
they themselves live for the whole time, and receive blessings because they
have suffered evil things; and they themselves marrying, beget for a
thousand years. There are prepared all the revenues of the earth, because
the earth renewed without end pours forth abundantly. Therein are no rains;
no cold comes into the golden camp. No sieges as now, nor rapines, nor does
that city crave the light of a lamp. It shines from its Founder. Moreover,
Him it obeys; in breadth 12,000 furlongs and length and depth. It levels its
foundation in the earth, but it raises its head to heaven. In the city
before the doors, moreover, sun and moon shall shine; he who is evil is
hedged up in torment, for the sake of the nourishment of the righteous. But
from the thousand years God will destroy all those evils.
XLV. 'Of the Day of Judgment.
I add something, on account of unbelievers, of the day of judgment. Again,
the fire of the Lord sent forth shall be appointed. The earth gives a true
groan; then those who are making their journey in the last end, and then all
unbelievers, groan. The whole of nature is converted in flame, which yet
avoids the camp of His saints. The earth is burned up from its foundations,
and the mountains melt. Of the sea nothing remains: it is overcome by the
powerful fire. This sky perishes, and the stars and these things are
changed. Another newness of sky and of everlasting earth is arranged. Thence
they who deserve it are sent away in a second death, but the righteous are
placed in inner dwelling-places.
XLVI. 'To Catechumens.
In few words, I admonish all believers in Christ, who have forsaken idols,
for your salvation. In the first times, if in any way thou fallest into
error, still, when entreated, do thou leave all things for Christ; and since
thou hast known God, be a recruit good and approved, and let virgin modesty
dwell with thee in purity. Let the mind be watchful for good things. Beware
that thou fall not into former sins. In baptism the coarse dress of thy
birth is washed. For if any sinful catechumen is marked with punishment, let
him live in the signs of Christianity, although not without loss. 
The whole of the matter for thee is this, Do thou ever shun great sins.
XLVII. 'To the Faithful.
I admonish the faithful not to hold their brethren in hatred. Hatreds are
accounted impious by martyrs for the flame. The martyr is destroyed whose
confession is of such kind; nor is it taught that the evil is expiated by
the shedding of blood. A law is given to the unjust man that he may restrain
himself. Thence he ought to be free from craft; so also oughtest thou. Twice
dost thou sin against God, if thou extendest strifes to thy brother; whence
thou shalt not avoid sin following thy former courses. Thou hast once been
washed: shalt thou be able to be immersed again?
XLVIII. 'O Faithful, Beware of Evil.
The birds are deceived, and the beasts of the woods in the woods, by those
very charms by which their ruin is ever accomplished, and caves as well as
food deceive them as they follow; and they know not how to shun evil, nor
are they restrained by law. Law is given to man, and a doctrine of life to
be chosen, from which he remembers that he may be able to live carefully,
and recalls his own place, and takes away those things which belong to
death. He severely condemns himself who forsakes rule; either bound with
iron, or cast down from his degree; or deprived of life, he loses what he
ought to enjoy. Warned by example, do not sin gravely; translated by the
layer, rather have charity; flee far from the bait of the mouse-trap, where
there is death. Many are the martyrdoms which are made without shedding of
blood. Not to desire other men's goods; to wish to have the benefit of
martyrdom; to bridle the tongue, thou oughtest to make thyself humble; not
willingly to use force, nor to return force used against thee, thou wilt be
a patient mind, understand that thou art a martyr.
XLIX. 'To Penitents.
Thou art become a penitent; pray night and day; yet from thy Mother the
Church do not far depart, and the Highest will be able to be merciful to
thee. The confession of thy fault shall not be in vain. Equally in thy state
of accusation learn to weep manifestly. Then, if thou hast a wound, seek
herbs and a physician; and yet in thy punishments thou shalt be able to
mitigate thy sufferings. For I will even confess that I alone of you am
here, and that terror must be foregone. I have myself felt the destruction;
and therefore I warn those who are wounded to walk more cautiously, to put
thy hair and thy beard in the dust of the earth, and to be clothed in
sackcloth, and to current from the highest King will aid thee, that thou
perish not perchance from among the people.
L. Who Have Apostatized from God.
Moreover, when war is waged, or an enemy attacks, if one be able either to
conquer or to be hidden, they are great trophies; but unhappy will he be who
shall be taken by them. He Noses country and king who has been unwilling to
fight worthily for the truth, for his country, or for life. He ought to die
rather than go under a barbarian king; and let him seek slavery who is
willing to transfer himself to enemies without law. Then, if in warring thou
shouldst die for thy king, thou hast conquered, or if thou hast given thy
hands, thou hast perished uninjured by law. The enemy crosses the river; do
thou hide under thy lurking-place; or, if he can enter or not, do not
linger. Everywhere make thyself safe, and thy friends also; thou hast
conquered. And take watchful care lest any one enter in that lurking-place.
It will be an infamous thing if any one declares himself to the enemy. He
who knows not how to conquer, and runs to deliver himself up, has weakly
foregone praise for neither his own nor his country's good. Then he was
unwilling to live, since life itself will perish. If any one is without God,
or profane from the enemy, they are become as sounding brass, or deaf as
adders: such men ought abundantly to pray or to hide themselves.
LI. 'Of Infants.
The enemy has suddenly come flooding us over with war; and before they could
flee, he has seized upon the helpless children. They cannot be reproached,
although they are seen to be taken captive; nor, indeed, do I excuse them.
Perhaps they have deserved it on account of the faults of their parents;
therefore God has given them up. However, I exhort the adults that they run
to arms, and that they should be born again, as it were, to their Mother
from the womb. Let them avoid a law that is terrible, and always bloody,
impious, intractable, living with the life of the beasts; for when another
war by chance should be to be waged, he who should be able to conquer or
even rightly to know how to beware.
For deserters are not called so as all of one kind. One is wicked, another
partially withdraws; but yet true judgments are decreed for both. So Christ
is fought against, even as Caesar is obeyed. Seek the refuge of the king, if
thou hast been a delinquent. Do thou implore of Him; do thou prostrate
confess to Him: He will grant all things whose also are all our things. The
camp being replaced, beware of sinning further; do not wander long as a
soldier through caves of the wild beasts. Let it be sin to thee to cease
from unmeasured doing.
LIII. 'To the Soldiers of Christ.
When thou hast given thy name to the warfare, thou art held by a bridle.
Therefore begin thou to put away thy former doings. Shun luxuries, since
labour is threatening arms. With all thy virtue thou must obey the king's
command, if thou wishest to attain the last times in-gladness. He is a good
soldier, always wait for things to be enjoyed. Be unwilling to flatter
thyself; absolutely put away sloth, that thou mayest daily be ready for what
is set before thee, Be careful beforehand; in the morning revisit the
standards, When thou seest the war, take the nearest contest. This is the
king's glory, to see the soldiery prepared. The king is present; desire that
ye may fight beyond his hope. He makes ready gifts. He gladly looks for the
victory, and assigns you to be a fit follower. Do thou be unwilling to spare
thyself besides for Belial; be thou rather diligent, that he may give fame
for your death.
LIV. 'Of Fugitives.
The souls of those that are lost deservedly of themselves separate
themselves. Begotten of him, they again recur to those things which are his.
The root of Cain, the accursed seed, breaks forth and takes refuge in the
servile nation under a barbarian king; and there the eternal flame will
torment on the day decreed. The fugitive will wander vaguely without
discipline, loosed from law to go about through the defiles of the ways.
These, therefore, are such whom no penalty has restrained. If they will not
live, they ought to be seen by the idols.
LV. 'Of the Seed of the Tares.
Of the seed of the tares, who stand mingled in the Church. When the times of
the harvest are filled up, the tares that have sprung up are separated from
the fruit, because God had not sent them. The husbandman separates all those
collected tares. The law is our field; whoever does good in it, assuredly
the Ruler Himself will afford a true repose, for the tares are burned with
fire. If, therefore, you think that under one they are delaying, you are
wrong. I designate you as barren Christians; cursed was the fig-tree without
hit in the word of the Lord, and immediately it withered away. Ye do not
works; ye prepare no gift for the treasury, and yet re thus vainly think to
deserve well of the Lord.
LVI. 'To the Dissembler.
Dost thou dissemble with the law that was given with such public
announcement, crying out in the heavenly word of so many prophets? If a
prophet had only cried out to the clouds,  the word of the Lord
uttered by him would surely suffice. The law of the Lord proclaims itself
into so many volumes of prophets; none of them excuses wickedness; thus even
thou wishest from the heart to see good things; thou art also seeking to
live by deceits. Why, then, has the law itself gone forth with so much
pains? Thou abusest the commands of the Lord, and yet thou callest thyself
His son. Thou art seen, if thou wilt be such without reason. I say, the
Almighty seeks the meek to be His sons, those who are upright with a good
heart, those who are devoted to the divine law; but ye know already where He
has plunged the wicked.
LVII. 'That Worldly Things are Absolutely to Be Avoided.
If certain teachers, while looking for your gifts or fearing your persons,
relax individual things to you, not only do I not grieve, but I am compelled
to speak the truth. Thou art going to vain shows with the crowd of the evil
one, where Satan is at work in the circus with din. Thou persuadest thyself
that everything that shall please thee is lawful. Thou art the offspring of
the Highest, mingled with the sons of the devil. Dost thou wish to see the
former things which thou hast renounced? Art thou again conversant with
them? What shall the Anointed One profit thee? Or if it is permitted, on
account of weakness, that thou foolishly profane Love not the world, nor
its contents. Such is God's word, and it seems good to thee. Thou observest
man's command, and shunnest God's. Thou trustedst to the gift whereby the
teachers shut up their mouths, that they may be silent, and not tell thee
the divine commands; while I speak the truth, as thou art bound look to the
Highest. Assign thyself as a follower to Him whose son thou wast. If thou
seekest to live, being a believing man, as do the Gentiles, the joys of the
world remove thee from the grace of Christ. With an undisciplined mind thou
seekest what thou presumest to be easily lawful, both thy dear actors and
their musical strains; nor carest thou that the offspring of such an one
should babble follies. While thou thinkest that thou art enjoying life, thou
art improvidently erring. The Highest commands, and thou shunnest His
LVIII. 'That the Christian Should Be Such.
When the Lord says that man should eat bread with groaning, here what art
thou now doing, who desirest to live with joy? Thou seekest to rescind the
judgment uttered by the highest God when He first formed man; thou wishest
to abandon the curb of the law. If the Almighty God have bidden thee live
with sweat, thou who art living in pleasure wilt already be a stranger to
Him. The Scripture saith that the Lord was angry with the Jews. Their sons,
refreshed with food, rose up to play. Now, therefore, why do we follow these
circumcised men?  In what respect they perished, we ought to beware;
the greatest part of you, surrendered to luxuries, obey them. Thou
transgressest the law in staining thyself with dyes: against thee the
apostle cries out; yea, God cries out by him. Your dissoluteness, says he,
in itself ruins  you. Be, then, such as Christ wishes you to be,
gentle, and in Him joyful, for in the world you are sad. Run, labour, sweat,
fight with sadness. Hope comes with labour, and the palm is given to
victory. If thou wishest to be refreshed, give help and encouragement to the
martyr. Wait for the repose to come in the passage of death.
LIX. 'To the Matrons of the Church of the Living God.
Thou wishest, O Christian woman, that the matrons should be as the ladies of
the world. Thou surroundest thyself with gold, or with the modest silken
garment. Thou givest the terror of the law from thy ears to the wind. Thou
affectest vanity with all the pomp of the devil. Thou art adorned at the
looking-glass with thy curled hair turned back from thy brow. And moreover,
with evil purposes, thou puttest on false medicaments, on thy pure eyes the
stibium, with painted beauty, or thou dyest thy hair that it may be always
black. God is the overlooker, who dives into each heart. But these things
are not necessary for modest women. Pierce thy breast with chaste and modest
feeling. The law of God bears witness that such laws fail from the heart
which believes; to a wife approved of her husband, let it suffice that she
is so, not by her dress, but by her good disposition. To put on clothes
which the cold and the heat or too much sun demands, only that thou mayest
be approved modest, and show forth the gifts of thy capacity among the
people of God. Thou who wast formerly most illustrious, givest to thyself
the guise of one who is contemptible. She who lay without life, was raised
by the prayers of the widows. She deserved this, that she should be raised
from death, not by her costly dress, but by her gifts. Do ye, O good
matrons, flee from the adornment of vanity; such attire is fitting for women
who haunt the brothels. Overcome the evil one, O modest women of Christ.
Show forth all your wealth in giving.
LX. 'To the Same Again.
Hear my voice, thou who wishest to remain a Christian woman, in what way the
blessed Paul commands you to be adorned. Isaiah, moreover, the teacher and
author that spoke from heaven, for he detests those who follow the
wickedness of the world, says: The daughters of Zion that are lifted up
shall be brought low. It is not right in God that a faithful Christian woman
should be adorned. Dost thou seek to go forth after the fashion of the
Gentiles, O thou who art consecrated to God? God's heralds, crying aloud in
the law, condemn such to be unrighteous women, who in such wise adorn
themselves. Ye stain your hair; ye paint the opening of your eyes with
black; ye lift up your pretty hair one by one on your painted brow; ye
anoint your cheeks with some sort of ruddy colour laid on; and, moreover,
earrings hang down with very heavy weight. Ye bury your neck with necklaces;
with gems and gold ye bind hands worthy of God with an evil presage. Why
should I tell of your dresses, or of the whole pomp of the devil? Ye are
rejecting the law when ye wish to please the world. Ye dance in your houses;
instead of psalms, ye sing love songs. Thou, although thou mayest be chaste,
dost not prove thyself so by following evil things. Christ therefore makes
you, such as you are, equal with the Gentiles. Be pleasing to the hymned
chorus, and to an appeased Christ with ardent love fervently offer your
savour to Christ.
LXI. 'In the Church to All the People of God.
I, brethren, am not righteous who am lifted up out of the filth, nor do I
exalt myself; but I grieve for you, as seeing that out of so great a people,
none is crowned in the contest; certainly, even if he does not himself
fight, yet let him suggest encouragement to others. Ye rebuke calamity; O
belly, stuff yourself out with luxury. The brother labours in arms with a
world opposed to him; and dost thou, stuffed with wealth, neither fight, nor
place thyself by his side when he is fighting? O fool, dost not thou
perceive that one is warring on behalf of many? The whole Church is
suspended on such a one if he conquers. Thou seest that thy brother is
withheld, and that he fights with the enemy. Thou desirest peace in the
camp, he outside rejects it. Be pitiful, that thou mayest be before all
things saved. Neither dost thou fear the Lord, who cries aloud with such an
utterance; even He who commands us to give food even to our enemies. Look
forward to thy meals from that Tobias who always on every day shared them
entirely with the poor man. Thou seekest to feed him, O fool, who feedeth
thee again. Dost thou wish that he should prepare for me, who is setting
before him his burial? The brother oppressed with want, nearly languishing
away, cries out at the splendidly fed, and with distended belly. What sayest
thou of the Lord's day? If he have not placed himself before, call forth a
poor man from the crowd whom thou mayest take to thy dinner. In the tablets
is your hope from a Christ refreshed.
LXII. 'To Him Who Wishes for
Since, O son, thou desirest martyrdom, hear. Be thou such as Abel was, or
such as Isaac himself, or Stephen, who chose for himself on the way the
righteous life. Thou indeed desirest that which is a matter suited for the
blessed. First of all, overcome the evil one with thy good acts by living
well; and when He thy King shall see thee, be thou secure. It is His own
time, and we are living for both; so that if war fails, the martyrs shall go
in peace. Many indeed err who say, With our blood we have overcome the
wicked one; and if he remains, they are unwilling to overcome. He perishes
by lying in wait, and the wicked thus feels it; but he that is lawful does
not feel the punishments applied. With exclamation and with eagerness beat
thy breast with thy fists. Even now, if thou hast conquered by good deeds,
thou art a martyr in Him. Thou, therefore, who seekest to extol martyrdom
with thy word, in peace clothe thyself with good deeds, and be secure.
LXIII. the Daily War.
Thou seekest to wage war, O fool, as if wars were at peace. From the first
formed day in the end you fight. Lust precipitates you, there is war; fight
with it. Luxury persuades, neglect it; thou hast overcome the war. Be
sparing of abundance of wine, lest by means of it thou shouldest go wrong.
Restrain thy tongue from cursing, because with it thou adorest the Lord.
Repress rage. Make thyself peaceable to all. Beware of trampling on thy
inferiors when weighed down with miseries. Lend thyself as a protector only,
and do no hurt. Lead yourselves in a righteous path, unstained by jealousy.
In thy riches make thyself gentle to those that are of little account. Give
of thy labour, clothe the naked. Thus shalt thou conquer. Lay snares for no
man, since thou servest God. Look to the beginning, whence the envious enemy
has perished. I am not a teacher, but the law itself teaches by its
proclamation. Thou wearest such great words vainly, who in one moment
seekest without labour to raise a martyrdom to Christ.
LXIV. 'Of the Zeal of Concupiscence.
In desiring, thence thou perishest, whilst thou art burning with envy of thy
neighbour. Thou extinguishest thyself, when thou inflamest thyself within.
Thou art jealous, O envious man, of another who is struggling with evil, and
desirest that thou mayest become equally the possessor of so much wealth.
The law does not thus behold him when thou seekest to fall upon him.
Depending on all things, thou livest in the lust of gain; and although thou
art guilty to thyself, thou condemnest thyself by thy own judgment. The
greedy survey of the eyes is never satisfied. Now, therefore, if thou mayest
return and consider, lust is vain whence God cries out, Thou fool, this
night thou art summoned. Death rushes after thee. Whose, then, shall be
those talents? By hiding the unrighteous gains in the concealed treasury,
when the Lord shall supply to every one his daily life. Let another
accumulate; do thou seek to live well. And when thy heart is conscious of
God, thou shalt be victor over all things; yet I do not say that thou
shouldest boast thyself in public, when thou art watching for thy day by
living without fraud. The bird perishes in the midst of food, or carelessly
sticks fast in the bird-lime. Think that in thy simplicity thou hast much to
beware of. Let others trangress these bounds. Do thou always look forward.
LXV. 'They Who Give from Evil.
Why dost thou senselessly feign thyself good by the wound of another? Whence
thou bestowest, another is daily weeping. Dost not thou believe that the
Lord sees those things from heaven? The Highest says, He. does not prove of
the gifts of the wicked. Thou shalt break forth upon the wretched when thou
shalt have gained a place. One gives gifts that he may make another of no
account; or if thou hast lent on usury, taking twenty-four per cent, thou
wishest to bestow charity that thou mayest purge thyself, as being evil,
with that which is evil. The Almighty absolutely rejects such works as
these. Thou hast given that which has been wrung from tears; that candidate,
oppressed with ungrateful usuries, and become needy, deplores it. Besides
having obtained an opportunity for the exactors, thy enemy for the present
is the people; thou consecrated, hast become, wicked for reward. Also thou
wishest to atone for thyself by the gain of wages. O wicked one, thou
deceivest thyself, but none else.
LXVI. 'Of a Deceitful Peace.
The arranged time comes to our people; there is peace in the world; and, at
the same time, ruin is weighing us down from the enticement of the world,
(the destruction) of the reckless people whom ye have rent into schism.
Either obey the law of the city, or depart from it. Ye behold the mote
sticking in our eyes, and will not see the beam in your own. A treacherous
peace is coming to you; persecution is rife; the wounds do not appear; and
thus, without slaughter, ye are destroyed. War is waged in secret, because,
in the midst of peace itself, scarcely one of you has behaved himself with
caution. O badly fortified, and foretold for slaughter, ye praise a
treacherous peace, a peace that is mischievous to you. Having become the
soldiers of another than Christ, ye have perished.
I warn certain readers only to consider, and to give material to others by
an example of life, to avoid strife, and to shun so many quarrels; to
repress terror, and never to be proud; moreover, denounce the righteous
obedience of wicked men. Make yourselves like to Christ your Master, O
little ones. Be among the lilies of the field by your benefits; ye have
become blessed when ye bear the edicts; ye are flowers in the congregation;
ye are Christ's lanterns. Keep what ye are, and ye shall be able to tell it.
LXVIII. 'To Ministers.
Exercise the mystery of Christ, O deacons, with purity; therefore, O
ministers, do the commands of your Master; do not play the person of a
righteous judge; strengthen your office by all things, as learned men,
looking upwards, always devoted to the Supreme God. Render the faithful
sacred ministries of the altar to God, prepared in divine matters to set an
example; yourselves incline your head to the pastors, so shall it come to
pass that ye may be approved of Christ.
LXIX. 'To God's Shepherds.
A shepherd, if he shall have confessed, has doubled his conflict. Moreover,
the apostle bids that such should be teachers. Let him be a patient ruler;
let him know when he may relax the reins; let him terrify at first, and then
anoint with honey; and let him first observe to do himself what he says. The
shepherd who minds worldly things is esteemed in fault, against whose
countenance thou mightest dare to say anything. Gehenna itself bubbles up in
hell with rumours. Woe to the wretched people which wavers with doubtful
brow! if such a shepherd shall be present to it, it is almost mined. But a
devout man restrains it, governing rightly. The swarms are rejoiced under
suitable kings; in such there is hope, and the entire Church lives.
LXX. 'I Speak to the Elder-Born.
The time demands that I alone should speak to you truth.
He is often admonished by one word which many refuse. I wish you to turn
your hatred against me alone, that the hearts of all may tremble at the
tempter. Look to the saying that truly begets hatred, (and consider) how
many things I have lately indeed foretold concerning a delusive peace,
while, alas, the enticing seducer has come upon you unawares, and because ye
have not known how that his wiles were imminent, ye have perished; ye work
absolutely bitter things, but that is itself the characteristic of the
world; not any one for whom ye intercede acts for nothing. He who takes
refuge from your fire, plunges in the whirlpool. Then the wretch, stripped
naked, seeks assistance from you. The judges themselves shudder at your
frauds of a shorter title, I should not labour at so many lines. Ye who
teach, look upon those to whom ye willingly tend, when for yourselves ye
both receive banquets and feed upon them. For those things are ye already
almost entering the foundations of the earth.
LXXI. 'To Visit the Sick.
If thy brother should be weak'I speak of the poor man'do not empty-handed
visit such an one as he lies ill. Do good under God; pay your obedience by
your money. Thence he shall be restored; or if he should perish, let a poor
man be refreshed, who has nothing wherewith to pay you, but the Founder and
Author of the world on his behalf. Or if it should displease thee to go to
the poor man, always hateful, send money, and something whence he may
recover himself. And, similarly, if thy poor sister lies upon a sick-bed,
let your matrons begin to bear her victuals. God Himself cries out, Break
thy bread to the needy. There is no need to visit with words, but with
benefits. It is wicked that thy brother should be sick through want of food.
Satisfy him not with words. He needs meat and drink. Look upon such
assuredly weakened, who are not able to act for themselves. Give to them at
once. I pledge my word that fourfold shall be given you by God.
LXXII. 'To the Poor in Health.
What can healthful poverty do, unless wealth be present? Assuredly, if thou
hast the means, at once communicate also to thy brother. Be responsible to
thyself for one, lest thou shouldst be said to be proud. I promise that thou
shalt live more secure than the rich man. Receive into thy ears the teaching
of the great Solomon: God hates the poor man to be a pleader on high.
 Therefore submit thyself, and give honour to Him that is powerful;
for the soft speech'thou knowest the proverb'melts.  One is
conquered by service, even although there be an ancient anger. If the tongue
be silent, thou hast found nothing better. If there should not wholesomely
be an art whereby life may be governed, either give aid or direction by the
command of Him that is mighty. Let it not shame or grieve you that a healthy
man should have faith. In the treasury, besides, thou oughtest to give of
thy labour, even as that widow whom the Anointed One preferred. 
LXXIII. that Sons are Not to Be Bewailed.
Although the death of sons leaves grief for the heart, yet it is not right
either to go forth in black garments, or to bewail them. The Lord prudently
says that ye must grieve with the mind, not with outward show, which is
finished in the week. In the book of Solomon the promises of the Lord
concerning the resurrection are forgotten if thou wouldest make thy sons
martyrs, and thus with thy voice will bewail them. Art thou not ashamed
without restraint to lament thy sons, like the Gentiles? Thou tearest thy
face, thou beatest thy breast, thou takest off thy garments; and dost thou
not fear the Lord, whose kingdom thou desirest to behold? Mourn as it is
right, but do not do wrong on their behalf. Ye therefore are such. What less
than Gentiles are ye? Ye do as the crowds that are descended from the
diabolical stock. Ye cry that they are extinct. With what advantage, O false
one, thou hast perished! The father has not led his son with grief to be
slain at the altar, nor has the prophet mourned over a deceased son with
grief, nor even has a weeping parent. But one devoted to God was hastily
LXXIV. 'Of Funeral Pomp.
Thou who seekest to be careful of the pomp of death art in error. As a
servant of God, thou oughtest even in death to please Him. Alas that the
lifeless body should be adorned in death! O true vanity, to desire honour
for the dead! A mind enchained to the world; not even in death devoted to
Christ. Thou knowest the proverbs. He wished to be carried through the
forum. Thus ye, who are like to him, and living with untrained mind, wish to
have a happy and blessed day at your death, that the people may come
together, and that you may see praise with mourning. Thou dost not foresee
whither thou mayest deserve to go when dead. Lo, they are following thee;
and thou, perchance, art already burning, being driven to punishment. What
will the pomp benefit the dead man? Thou shalt be accused, who seekest them
on account of those gatherings. Thou desirest to live under idols. Thou
LXXV. 'To the Clerks.
They will assemble together at Easter, that day of ours most blessed; and
let them rejoice, who ask for divine entertainments. Let what is sufficient
be expended upon them, wine and food. Look back at the source whence these
things may be told on your behalf. Ye are wanting in a gift to Christ, in
moderate expenditure. Since ye yourselves do it not, in what manner can ye
persuade the righteousness of the law to such people, even once in the year?
Thus often blasphemy suggests to many concerning you.
LXXVI. 'Of Those Who Gossip, and of Silence.
When a thing appears to anybody of no consequence, and is not shunned, and
it rushes forth, as if easy, whilst thou abusest it. Fables assist it when
thou comest to pour out prayers, or to beat thy breast for thy daily sin.
The trumpet of the heralds sounds forth, while the reader is reading, that
the ears may be open, and thou rather impedest them. Thou art luxurious with
thy lips, with which thou oughtest to groan. Shut up thy breast to evils, or
loose them in thy breast. But since the possession of money gives
barefacedness to the wealthy, thence every one perishes when they are most
trusting to themselves. Thus, moreover, the women assemble, as if they would
enter the bath. They press closely, and make of God's house as if it were a
fair. Certainly the Lord frightened the house of prayer. The Lord's priest
commanded with "sursum corda," when prayer was to be made, that your silence
should be made. Thou answerest fluently, and moreover abstainest not from
promises. He entreats the Highest on behalf of a devoted people, lest any
one should perish, and thou turnest thyself to fables. Thou mockest at him,
or detractest from thy neighbour's reputation. Thou speakest in an
undisciplined manner, as if God were absent'as if He who made all things
neither hears nor sees.
LXXVII. 'To the Drunkards.
I place no limit to a drunkard; but I prefer a beast. From those who are
proud in drinking thou withdrawest in thine inner mind, holding the power of
the ruler, O fool, among Cyclopes, Thence in the histories thou criest,
While I am dead I drink not. Be it mine to drink the best things, and to be
wise in heart. Rather give assistance (what more seekest thou to abuse?) to
the lowest pauper, and ye shall both be refreshed. If thou doest such
things, thou extinguishest Gehenna for thyself.
LXXVIII. 'To the Pastors.
Thou who seekest to feed others, and hast prepared what thou couldest by
assiduously feeding, hast done rightly. But still look after the poor man,
who cannot feed thee again: then will thy table be approved by the one God.
The Almighty has bidden such even especially to be fed. Consider, when thou
feedest the sick, thou art also lending to the High One. In that thing the
Lord has wished that you should stand before Him approved.
LXXIX. 'To the Petitioners.
If thou desirest, when praying, to be heard from heaven, break the chains
from the lurking-places of wickedness; or if, pitying the poor, thou prayest
by thy benefits, doubt not but what thou shalt have asked may be given to
the petitioner. Then truly, if void of benefits, thou adorest God, do not
thus at all make thy prayers vainly.
LXXX. 'The Name of the Man of Gaza.
Ye who are to be inhabitants of the heavens with God-Christ, hold fast the
beginning, look at all things from heaven. Let simplicity, let meekness
dwell in your body. Be not angry with thy devout brother without a cause,
for ye shall receive whatever ye may have done from him. This has pleased
Christ, that the dead should rise again, yea, with their bodies; and those,
too, whom in this world the fire has burned, when six thousand years are
completed, and the world has come to an end. The heaven in the meantime is
changed with an altered course, for then the wicked are burnt up with divine
fire. The creature with groaning burns with the anger of the highest God.
Those who are more worthy, and who are begotten of an illustrious stem, and
the men of nobility under the conquered Antichrist, according to God's
command living again in the world for a thousand years, indeed, that they
may serve the saints, and the High One, under a servile yoke, that they may
bear victuals on their neck. Moreover, that they may be judged again when
the reign is finished. They who make God of no account when the thousandth
year is finished shall perish by fire, when they themselves shall speak to
the mountains. All flesh in the monuments and tombs is restored according to
its deed: they are plunged in hell; they bear their punishments in the
world; they are shown to them, and they read the things transacted from
heaven; the reward according to one's deeds in a perpetual tyranny. I cannot
comprehend all things in a little treatise; the curiosity of the learned men
shall find my name in this. 
I Know nothing of the second poem of our author, and am indebted for the
following particulars to Dr. Schaff. 
It is an apologetic poem against Jews and Gentiles, written in uncouth
hexameters, and discusses in forty-seven sections the doctrine concerning
God and the Redeemer and mankind. It treats of the names of Son and Father;
and here, probably, he lays himself open to the charge of Patripassian
heresy. He passes to the obstacles encountered by the Gospel, warns the Jews
and the Gentiles to forsake their unprofitable devotions, and enlarges on
the eschatology, as he conceives of it. Let me now quote textually, as
"The most interesting part of the second poem is the conclusion. It contains
a fuller description of Antichrist than the first poem. The author expects
that the end of the world wild come with the seventh persecution. The Goths
will conquer Rome and redeem the Christians; but then Nero will appear as
the heathen Antichrist, reconquer Rome, and rage against the Christians
three years and a half. He will be conquered in turn by the Jewish and real
Antichrist from the East, who, after the defeat of Nero and the burning of
Rome, will return to Judea, perform false miracles, and be worshipped by the
Jews. At last Christ appears, that is, God himself (from the Monarchian
stand-point of the author) with the lost Twelve Tribes [?] as his army,
which had lived beyond Persia in happy simplicity and virtue. Under
astounding phenomena of nature he will conquer Antichrist and his host,
convert all nations, and take possession of the holy city of Jerusalem."
This idea of a double Antichrist re-appears in Lactantius, Inst. Div, vii.
This second poem was discovered by Cardinal Pitra in 1852. The two poems
were edited by E. Ludwig, Leipzig, 1877 and 1878.
 He gives us a painful picture of the decline of godliness in his
days; of which see Wordsworth's Hippolytus, p. 140.
 [Sufficient evidence of his heathen origin.]
 [An index of time. He writes, therefore, in the third century.]
 We have changed marhus et into mortuus, and de suo into denuo.
 [He defers to the Canon Law and notes the Duae Viae.]
 [This is not Patripassianism. Nor does the "one God" of the next
Chapter involve this heresy.]
 [Here ends the apologetic portion.]
 Scil. "capite," conjectural for "cavete."
 [Or, "shadows forth Himself."]
 "Eusebius tells of another Enoch, who was not translated without
seeing death." ' Rig. [See Gen. iv. 17, 18. S.]
 Et inde secunda terribilem legem primo cum pace revincit. ' Davis,
 [See Elucidation at end.]
 [The translator here inserts a mark of interrogation. The meaning
is: lick up them (the wicked) who have persecuted them. Dan. iii. 22.]
 [Rev. iii. 14.]
 [Catechumens falling away before baptism must not despair, but
persevere and remain under discipline.]
 Or, "If one prophet only had cried out to the world."
 Sponte profectos.
 [Compare Clement's reproof, vol. ii. p. 423, this series.]
 [Prov. xxiii. 11.]
 [Prov. xv. 1.]
 [Mark xii. 42; Luke xxi. 2.]
 [Dr. Schaff says this Nomen Gazaei may indicate his possession of
the wealth of truth, etc. But, if we read the acrostical initials of the
verses backwards, we find the name Commodianus Mendicus Christi, which
betokens his poverty also, in the spirit of St. Paul (2 Cor. vi. 10; also,
Rev. ii. 9), which our author would naturally make emphatic here.]
 Hist., vol. ii. 855.
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