Page:Suppressed Gospels and Epistles.djvu/207

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cheerfulness; and they skipping, ran here and there.

9 And the shepherd took very great satisfaction in his flock; and the countenance of that shepherd was cheerful, running up and down among his flock.

10 Then the angel said unto me, Seest then this shepherd? I answered, sir, I see him. He said unto me, this is the messenger of delight and pleasure. He therefore corrupts the minds of the servants of God, and turns them from the truth, delighting them with many pleasures, and they perish.

11 For they forget the commands of the living God, and live in luxury and in vain pleasures, and are corrupted by the evil angel, some of them even unto death; and others to a falling away.

12 I replied; I understand not what you mean, by saying unto death, and to a falling away. Hear, says he; all those sheep which thou sawest exceeding joyful, are such as have for ever departed from God, and given selves up to the lusts of this present time.

13 To these therefore there is no return, by repentance, unto life; because, to their other sins they have added this, that they have blasphemed the name of the lord: These kind of men are ordained unto death.

14 But those sheep which thou sawest not leaping, but feeding in one place; are such as have indeed given themselves up to pleasure and delights; but have not spoken anything wickedly against the Lord.

15 These therefore are only fallen off from the truth, and so have yet hope laid up for them in repentance. For such a falling off hath some hope still left of a renewal; but they that are dead, are utterly gone for ever.

16 Again we went a little farther forward, and he showed me a great shepherd, who had as it were a rustic figure; clad with a white goat's skin, having his bag upon his shoulder, and in his hand a stick full of knots, and very hard, and a whip in his other hand; and his countenance was stern and sour, enough to affright a man; such was his look.

17 He took from that young shepherd such sheep as lived in pleasures, but did not skip up and down; and drove them into a certain steep craggy place fall of thorns and briars, insomuch that they could not get themselves free from them:

18 But being entangled in them, fed upon thorns and briars, and were grievously tormented with his whipping. For he still drove them on, and afforded them not any place, or time, to stand still.

19 When therefore I saw them so cruelly whipped and afflicted, I was grieved for them; because they were greatly tormented, nor had they any rest afforded them.

20 And I said unto the shepherd that was with me: Sir, who is this cruel and implacable shepherd, who is moved with no compassion towards these sheep? He answered, This shepherd is indeed one of the holy angels, but is appointed for the punishment of sinners.

21 To him therefore are delivered those who have erred from God, and served the lusts and pleasures of this world. For this cause he punishes them every one according to their deserts, with cruel and various kinds of pains.

22 Sir, said I, I would know what kind of pains they are which every one undergoes? Hearken, said he; The several pains and torments are those which men every day undergo in their present lives. For some suffer losses;