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Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles: The English translations online

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their eyes and dripping down upon their blackened
cheeks. And when the holy (man) saw (them), he was
grieved and wept, and the procurator with him; and
the whole crowd was weeping. And the holy (man)
kneeled down, and prayed, and said: "Merciftil God, the
Father and Sender of our Lord Jesus the Messiah, Thou,
Lord, hast said, ^ If the sinner turns from his sin and
does righteousness before me, through that righteousness,
which he hath done, he shall live.'** I ask of thee. Lord,



^ Beading with B. ft^?JW v DC CO ^:iaL . ^ Ezekiel, ch.

xxxiii. 14 — 16.



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THE SON OF ZSBEDEEU 51

have pity upon the work of thy hands, and be not dis-
gusted with it. Let these be received, who were perish*
ing like sheep which have no shepherd, and let them praise
Thy great and terrible name and Thy dear Son our
Lord Jesus the Messiah, for to Th^ and to Him and to
Thy holy Spirit is glory and honour for ever, Amen."
And the whole congregation answered " Amen.^^

Tlien he arose and called them, but they were not
able to speak for weeping and sobbing. And he drew
near unto th^n^ holding the procurator by his hand, and
spake with them, and they did not speak. And the holy
(man) made the sign of the cross upon the forehead of
each one of them. Then there was an outcry from the
whole crowd, and the tears of S, John w^re running
over. And he said unto them: ^^Take courage; there
is no cutting off of hope. Hope was given to men by the
birth of the Son of God from the Virgin, (ca) Open
your mouths and speak with us. We are your members,
and are formed of the same material of which ye are
formed. We are created by one God, and are one souL
Fear not j He* will not cast you off; He will not reject
you ; He will not be disgusted with you. I have learned
of Him, that if ye believe in Him, ye shall rejoice at the
table of His kingdom.'' Then those priests answered
and said before the crowd : " How can our deceitful
mouth speak? What can we say? for the face of our
heart is blackened more than our external face. We
cannot open our mouth to speak. But this we know, and

a B. God.
e2



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62 THE HISTORY OP JOHN

believe, and declare true, that there is one God, who
created the world by His grace, and His only (and)
beloved So% our Lord Jesus the Messiah, who put on
the body' from the holy** Virgin; and whether we die,
or whether we live, we know no other man. Woe to us
then, if He has not mercy upon us and does not for-
give us; because we have much property and gold that
passeth away, and with these souls we have acquired
it/'

And the procurator had a wish that they should draw
near to him, because they were far from the crowd
(vj) and were standing alone. And when they went to
bring them near and make them stand in the midst, the
priests say : " We beg of you, do not defile your hands
with our stench. We will not draw nearer than here,
Tiutil He wills it in whose name we have believed.''
And it was about the third hour of that day.

And the holy (man) answered and said to the procurator:
"Command, sir, that water come into the font. We
must baptize this assemblage, and speak to them the word
of life. And command that tables be (laid oui^ through
the whole city, and whosoever wants food, our Lord
Jesus, who satisfied thousands in the desert, will pre-
pare (a feast) before him.'' Then the procurator called
Menelaus his son, who became alive, and Baid to him :
" Take unto thee ten men, and let each of them go and
provide for thee*" a hundred men of those who have
received the sign of baptism, and let them lay the tables,

a B. who became man, ^ B. omits hoh/. ^ B. adds mt^ son.



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THE SON OF ZEBEDEE, 5S

and make ready a great banquet/' And they went and
did according to the command of the procurator.

And S. John arose from the bench on which he was
sitting^ and came to the priests, and took hold of the
hand of their chief, whose name was AfK)llo, and of the
hand of another, whose name was Dionysius, and drew
them near to him, and was speaking * to them the word of
God, and was interpreting (it),** ( jjj) and exhorting them»
And Apollo and Dionysius the priests were saying aloud :
^* Have pity upon us, Son of God, and bring us nigh
unto Thy Father, we beg of Thee, If we are to be
punished for our wickedness, let not these be punished,
for we have led them astray from Thy path. We beg
of Thee, merciful Lord,*" have mercy. Lord, upon our
wickedness. If Thy righteousness judge us, let not these
be judged, for ours, Lord,* is their corruption." And the
whole people was weeping.

: And when the font was prepared, the procurator com-
manded, and oil was brought. Then S. John arose,
and prayed, and said: " Glory to Thee, Father* and Son
and Spirit of holiness, for ever, Ameu.^' And they
answered after him, " Amen.'' And he said : ^' Lord
God Almighty, let Thy Spirit of holiness come, arid rest
and dwell upon the oil and upon the water ; and let them
be bathed and purified from uncleanness; and let them
receive the Spirit of holiness through baptism ; and
Kencefojrth let them call Thee * Our Father who art in



» B. and spake. ^ B. adds to them. "" B. omits Lord.

*• B. omits Lord, « B. to the Father,



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54 IHB mSTORY OP JOHN

Heaven.' Yea, Lord, sanotify this water with Thy vo&e,
which resounded oTer the Jordan and pdnted out our Lord
Jesus (as) with tiie finger, (saying,) ^ This is my beloved
Son, in whom I am well pleased, hear ye Him/* Thou
(\k) art here who wast on tiie Jordan. Yea^ I beseedi
Thee, Lord, manifest Thyself here b^ore this assemblage
who have believed on Thee witii BimplLeity,.8nd let the
nations of the earth hear ihat the city of Ephesns^ was
tbe first to receive Thy Ck>spel before all cities, and
became a second sister to TJrhai (Edessa) of the Par-
thians.'' And in that hour fire biased forth over the (^
and the wings of the angeb were spread or&r tiie oil ; *
and tiie whole assemblage was crying out, men and
women end children, " Hdy, holy, holy. Lord Almighty,
of whose praises Heaven imd earth jare MU' And
stmghtway the vision was taken away.

And the priests fell down on their foces and wept*
And 8, John drew nigh and raised them up, and ihey said :
'^ We believe in the name of the Pather and tibe Son and
Ihe S^xrit of holiness, and we will nev^ Jbiow anght
else.'' And John drew near, and washed them (clean)
of the soot, and anomted them with oil, and bn^tiaed
them in the n^ne of the Father and the Son at^ &e
Sj^t of holiness^ for Ithe forgiveness of debts and the
pardon of sins. And &. John Said to the procurator :
^Command that &ey go and fetch fine white ^^ead
and wine, whilst the whole multitude is being baptised,'^.



» S. Matthew, ch. iii. 17 (ch. xvii. 5). ^ B. i^t Thy eiUf

U^he9U9* ^ B. imter.



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THB SON 07 ZEBEBEE. 55

And tiiey went, (and) prepared, and made ready every-
thing. And when the whole multitude was baptized,
the priests say: ^^ Brothers and fathers* and sons, (j^)
to-day we bear the Cross of our Lord Jesus the Messiah.
Why stand over the gates of our city the images of the
daughter of Satan ? Let us go (and) pull them down and
bum them, and place over all ** the gates the Cross of our
Lord Jesus the Messiah.'' And the whole multitude
were c^ng out, ** Where ou^t we to make a church ?''
And S. John was glad and rejoicing; and he said
to the procurator : " Look, sir, where it pleaseth thee."
And ttiey chose a place which was fitting, and bore the
cross and came"" thither, and set up there the cross, and
over the gates of the whole city crosses. And the holy
(man) prayed, and offered the (eucharistic) sacrifice, and
let them partake of the body and blood of the Messiah ;
and thither they were assembling every Sunday, and
were breaking (bread) together, and were partaking of
the body and blood of our Ldfegiver.

After these things, when the Gospel was increasing by
the hands of the Apostles, Nero, the unclean and impure
and wicked king, heard all tliat had haj^ned at Ephesus.
And he sent (and) took all that the procurator had, and
imprisoned him; and laid hold of S. John and drove
him into exile; and passed sentence <m the city that
it should be hid waste.

And after tiiree days, believing men of tibe city
assembled, (ftlfl») and counselled one another and said :

» B. masters, ** B. omits all, * B. toent.



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S6 THE mSTOEY OF JOHK

^liet MB assemble' at £he church, and see what each
man is willing to giye, and take a bribe, and offer it to
this wicked ruler,' and he will give up to us this (man),
who turned us away fix)m error unto our Lord." And
when they had taken counsel thus, they collected three
hundred pounds of gold, and took ten men, and they
went on board a ship to go to Nero, the wicked king,
and give the bribe, and bring back the holy (man).

And when they had gone and entered into Rome, at
midnight, when the impure Nero was asleep, the Lord
sent to him an angel ; and he appeared to him in a flame
and bearing a sword, and awakened him. And when he
had opened his eyes and looked upon him, he cried out
and said : " I pray thee, what I have to do with thee ?'*
The angel says to him : ^^ Send back the man whom thou
hast taken from Ephesus and cast into exile ; and if not,
this sword shall enter into thy unclean heart before the
sun rises.^' And the angel smote him ^ and took away his
speech, and he was howling like a dog. And his slaves
came in when they heard his lamentation, and said to
him : *' What is the matter with thee, my lord the
king ?" And he made a sign, and they brought him
ink and a sheet of paper, and he wrote : " Straightway,
— if ^it be possible, to-day,— let John, the son of Zebedee,
the Galilean, whom I took away from Ephesus, pass the
night in it." And he wrote also, and sent (word) to
Ephesus quickly, that every one (.a») who was in
prison, should come out and do as he pleased.

f^^^ = rayos ? ^ B, into thy unclean heart A^ at

the time when the sun roue, the angel smote him.



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TBE SON OF ZEBEDBB. 57

And there t^aine sailors and men' clad in arms; and
took the letters written by the king's hand, and went on
board ship, and went (and) found John at midday kneel-
ing and praying. They say to him : " The king has
commanded that we should convey thee to the place
where thouwast.^' And they took him, and went on
board ship, and sailed on the sea in peace, and brought
him to the gate " of Ephesus, and returned to Rome.

And those men who had brought the bribe, when they
heard that the holy (man) had returned to Ephesus, said :
" We worship Thee, Father and Son and Spirit of holi-
ness, who host done what Thy fearers wished." And
they went on board ship, and brought those three hun-
dred pounds (of gold with them), and came. And when
they had entered Ephesus, they showed^ the gold and
narrated all that had happened, and there was joy
through the whole city; and they took counsel one with
another, and deposited the gold in a house, and hired
artificers, and built with it two churches for the worship
of our Lord Jesus the Messiah.

And S. John we^t up (and) sat in the hut; and
tiU the free men of the province of Asia gathered together
unto him, and he was teaching and preaching concerning
bur Lord Jesus ; and i;he word of Nero was established
oyer his own place, but (.i^) he did not dare again to
give orders regarding the province of Asia. It was this
widted man, who slew Paul and Peter.
, And after a long interval, when the Apostles

a B. omits ihe gate of. *• B. and showed .... • cityj they took
counsel.



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58 THE mSIOBT OF JOHN

heard all that liad happened in the whole comitry of fhe
Epheeians, Hlbj were amazed, and said : ^^ 13iis thmg is
not great for our Lord Jesos, bnt to us it is wondroiiu.''
And Paul was asking and inqniring of the Apostles, tiiat
he might hear the history <^ S. John ; and every day
and every hour he was supplicating before Ood, that he
might be deemed worthy to see him.

And when the Gospel rose upon the world, the Spirit
of holiness willed, and Matthew was moved and oom-
posed the Evangel ; and after him, Mark ; and after Inm,
liuke. And they wrote, and sent (word) to the holy
John that he too should write, and informed him con*
COTning Paul, who had entered into tilie numb» of the
Apostles. But the holy (man) did not wish to write (a
Gospel), saying that they should not say ^^ He is a
youth,^' if Satan cast dissension into tiio worid.

And when the Apostles had travelled about in the
countries, and had planted the Cross, and it had ip?ead
abroad* over the four quarters of the world, tiien Simon
Cephas (Peter) arose, and took Paul with him, and
th^ came to Ephesus unto John. And they rejoiced
with a great joy, and were preadiing concerning our
liord Josus^ without hindrance. And they went up
to (sfl>) the holy (mBn),"" and found him {oa^ong* And
th^ saluted one another, and rejoiced with a great joy^

* Beading with B. X^f^Ck , &e tmbject bmng w^nX^ * Oa the
t^ord itf ^1 (more tisadlly f^2A<U , also Hdator^ and »snai)»
flee Payne Smith's Thdsaurufi Syiiaous, fasc. 1, ooL 114^ art 3Mr^ •

^ B. adds the Messiah. <" B. S. John.



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THE SON OF ZBBEDBE* 59

and narrated to one another all that our Lord Jesus had
done, and appointed (as) priests belieying men.

Peter and Panl entered !E^hesas on a M<mday^ and for
five days they -sren pervading him, whilst rejoicing, to
compose an Evangel, hut he was not willing, saying to
them, ^^When the Spirit of holiness wills it, I will
write*'^ And on the Sunday, at night, at the time
when our Lord arose from the grare, the Apostles slum-
bered and slept. And at that glorious time of the Se-
surrection, the Spirit of holiness descended, and the
whole place, in which they were dwelling, was in a
flame ; and those men who were awake, awakened their
fellows, and they were amazed. And John took paper,
and wrote his Evangel in one hour, and gave it to Paul
and to Peter.' And when the sun rose, they went
down to the house of prayer, and read it before the
whole city, and prayed, and partook of the body and
blood of our Lord Jesus. And they came to the holy
(man), and remained with him thirty days; and then
they came to Jerusalem, to Jacob (James), the brother
of our Lord, and thence they came to Antioch.

And the holy (man) sat in the hut summer and winter,
(0109) until he was a hundred and twenty years of age^
and there his Master buried ^ him in that place, as Moses
was buried on Mount Nebo.

Every one who believes, and gives credence to the

, signs, which our Lord did by the hands of the Apostles,

shall find mercy at the day of judgment. And to the

a B. to Peter and to Paul. ^ B. adds and concealed.



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60 THE HISTORY OF JOHN, THE SON OF ZEBEDEE.

Spirit of lioliness, who is in the Father and the Son,
everything is easy. And let the children of the Church,
without division, oflfer up praise, without investigation,
to the Father and to the Son and to the Spirit of holi*
ness, for ever, Amen*

Here ends the Doctrine of John the son of Zehedee,
who leaned on the breast of our Lord Jesus at the
supper,* and instructed and taught and baptized in the
city of Ephesus.

^ B. omits this clause.



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AN ACCOXJNT OF THE

DECEASE OF SAINT JOHN,

THE APOSTLE AND EVANGELIST .•



And S. John was with the blessed brethren, rejoicing
and being glad in the Lord.

And on the next day, which was Sunday, when the
brethren were assembled, he began to say : " My bre-
thren and fellows, and heirs and sharers of the kingdom of
the Messiah, ye know how much God hath given to you
through me,— how many signs, how many wonders, how
many gifts^ rests, services, teachings, rulings, graces,
honours,— how many things ye see before your eyes,
which are given to you, which are not seen by these
eyes and are not heard by these ears. Be strong in
Him, therefore, remembering Him in your every deed,
and knowing well the mystery of the dispensation that
is (come) unto men, why it was wrought. The Lord
beseeches you — the Lord through me beseeches, my
brethren, and implores — who beseeches U9 that we
should remain not insulting, not injured, not defiled.**.

» See the Syriac text, p. CU» ; and compare Clark's Ante-Nicene
Christian Library, vol. xvi., p. 449. * The Gr. text requires

us to read : Who hegeeches tis that JECe rrmf remain not insulted
(ayv^purros in its passive sense, Kll l^\y^ ''^)^ ^^t plotted



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62 THE DECEASE OF SAINT JOHN«

For He knows insult which (comes) from you, He knows
contempt, He knows degradation^ He knows torture, when
ye do not obey His holy commandments. Let not, (w^)
therefore, your good God be grieyed, the gracious, the
merciful, the holy, the undefiled, the only one, the im-
mutable, the true, the guileless, the slow to anger, who
is exalted above every appellation that is spoken or
thought by you — the God Jesus. Let Him be glad,
therefore, whilst ye conduct yourselves well and live
purely; let Him glory, whilst ye conduct yourselves
chastely ; let Him not be anxious,* whilst ye live con-
tinently in the world ; let it be pleasant to Him that ye
are in fellowship ; let Him glory in your chastity ; let
Him rejoice, whilst ye love Him. These things I speak
imto you, my brethren, whilst I hasten to the work which
is appointed, which is already perfected in the Lord. For
what is there to say to you? Ye have the surety of
Gtod ; ye have the pledge of His grace ; ye have His
coming, which cannot be deprecated.** If, therefore, ye
sin not again, those things which ye have done withont
knowledge He will forgive you ; but if, when ye have
known Him, and have obtained mercy from Him, ye

agaimt or injured (aveirifiovkevTo^y r^lliAAiliM K^), not ehastised
or punished (dicoAaaTo?, which the translator seems to have taken In
the meanhig, undiseipUnedj Ueentioue, f^U»^).

• I venture to read r^ij Kii , let Him not he anxiousy or con-
eemedf since r^vi appears to be destitute of meanitig. The Greek
text has &va9ravi(r$ia (lU i lOlgl— l) aefAvloi rifmv SLva(rrp€ffiOfjJtfiM^,

^ Or arreited hy prayers. These words correspond with the Greek



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THB DECEASE OF SAIKT JOHN. 63

walk in courses which (are) like (unto those), both those
former (sins) will be imputed unto you, and ye shall not
have part in Him or mercy.^^

And when he had said these things unto them, he
prayed thus : " Jesus, who didst twine this garland with
Thy twining; who hast attached these many flowers
to Thy flower which fidleth not ; who hast sown these
words of Thine; (jjl09) (who) alone hast compassion on
Thy servants ; physician that healest for nought ; (who)
alone art a minister and not haughty ; Jesus, who alone
art gracious and merciful ; do Thou with Thy grace cover
all those who hope in Thee, Thou who knowest well the
artifices and the plundering of the adversary/'

And when he had asked for bread, he prayed thus :
** What praise, or what cififering, or what thanksgiving,
wh^i we break the bread, shall we render unto Thee ?
But Thyself alone, Thee Jesus the Messiah, we praise,
the Name of the Father which was spoken."^ We glorify
Thy entrance by the door ; we glorify the resurrection,
which through Thee has been announced unto us ; we
glorify Thy word. Thy glory. Thy ineflGable pearl, Thy
treasury. Thy net, Thy greatness. Him who for our sake
was called the Son of Man, the truth, the knowledge, the
rest, the strength, the command, the freedom of speech,



• Our Gr. text has : Ttva atvov r) iroCav irpoa'<l>opav rj riva evxapur-
Tiav icAxtfiTes rov aprov hrovoiiAxniifLfv dXA.' ^ <r^ /xovov; So^aiofxtv aov
t6 xnrb rov irarpos XexOhf 6vofjM. " Whai praise, etc, shall we name,
hut Thee onhf. We glorify Thf name which was spoJcen hy the
Father:'



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64 THE DECEASE OF SAINT JOHN.

the liberty which (is) in Thee as in the truth** For
Thou art tiie Lord, who wast called the root of immor-
tality, and the fountain of incorruptiony and the founda-
tion of the universe.** Because of this we acknowledge
Thy majesty, which is now invisible."

And when he had broken the bread, and stretched out
his hand to them, and prayed for every man, that he
might be worthy of the grace which (is) in the Lord and
of the holy Eucharist, he too did eat, and said : " And
to me in the same manner (let there be) a portion with
you, and peace, and love/' (\»)

Then he said to Birrus (Byrrhus) : " Take with thee
two brethren, who have with them baskets and spades,""
and come after me." And Birrus, without neglect, did
what was ordered him by John, the servant of God,

The blessed John, therefore, went forth from the house,
and was walking before the gate, and said to many that
they should depart from him. And when he came to
the grave of a brother of ours, he said to the youths, ** Dig,
my sons." And they were digging ; but he was urging
them exceedingly, and saying : *^ Let the trench be deep.*'
And whilst they were digging, he was conversing with
them, and was exhorting them, with himself and with those
who had come forth from the house, edifyi^g (them) and



» I have here taken a slight liberty with the punctuation of the
MS., which connects the words t^ll T n^ ^^f^ with the follow-
ing clause. ^ Literally, the world. * crxa*^ here = o-icaf^at,
spades.



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THE DECEASE OF SAINT JOHN. 65

Speaking to them of the iniajesty of the Messiah^ and
praying over each of them.

And when these young men had finidied the trench,
as he wished, without our knowing anything,* he stripped
off the garments which he wore, and cast them like bed-
^ding into the bottom of the trench. And standing in
his mantle** only, he lifted up his hands, and prayed thus':
'" God, who hast chosen us for the apostleship of the
nations; who hast sent us to the world ; who hast shown
Thyself through Thy Apostles ; who hast never been at
rest from the foimdations of the world, but who con-
stantly hast saved those who were able (to be saved);
who hast made Thyself known through all nature, and
hast proclaimed Thyself even among the beasts; who
hast made the desolate soul, that had become savage,
be peaceable (•j^) and quiet ; who, whei it was thirsting
for Thy word, hast given Thyself to it ; who, when it
was dead, hast quickly appeared unto it ; who, when it
was plunged in sin, hast alone shown Thyself unto
it ; who, when it was overcome by Satan, hast already
manifested Thyself imto it ; who haat not left it to be
agitated like the body; who hast shown it its enemy;
who hast made a clean union ; God Jesus, Father of those
that are above the heavens, and Lotd of the celestials^
tmd God of the celestials, and law of those that are in



A t. e., suddenly, ^ cp i ^ ^!*» ja :| A m . i i , cv fwv^

fr<^ Sty/joKTMp (var. Siypoa-u^) . ^ The Greek word is unknown to me,
Mr. Cowper suggests that it is a corruption of SiKpoara-i^ or S(,-
Kpoa'O'u^*

F



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66 THE DECEASE OF SAIITT JOHIT.

fhe ether ; oonrse of the aerials, and guardian of those
that are on the eaxQi ; fear of the t^restrials, and peace
of Thine own ; receive the soul of Thy John, which
perhaps may be worthy before Thee, Jesus, who hast thus
preserved me to Thyself pure until this hour, and free
from intercourse with woman ; who didst appear to me
in my youth, when I wished to take to myself a wife,
and didst say to me, ^ Thou art needful to me, John f
who didst choose for me infertility of body, when three
times, being disobedient, I wished to marry ; who didst
say to me on the sea, ^ Thou art needful to me^ John, and
if not, I would let thee take a wife, to mourn and weep ;'
who in the third year didst open for me the eyes of my
understanding, and didst present me with my visible
eyes ; who didst make it hard for me to see and gaze
upon a woman ; who didst deliver me from temporal
show {or fancy), and preserve me for that which pro-
duceth fruit always ; (f^:^) who didst deliver me from
the madness of undeanness that is in the flesh ; who
didst separate me from bitter death, and didst raise me up
who had need of Thee ; who didst restrain the hidden
disease of the soul, and didst cut oflf its evil action ; who
didst afflict and expel from the boundary him who caused
disturbance in me; who didst preserve my affection to


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