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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol VIII:
Apocrypha of the New Testament.: Chapter 4

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 4 (20).

And when all were in such joy, came Satan the heir of darkness, and said to Hades:  O all-devouring and insatiable, hear my words.  There is of the race of the Jews one named Jesus, calling himself the Son of God; and being a man, by our working with them the Jews have crucified him:  and now when he is dead, be ready that we may secure him here.  For I know that he is a man, and I heard him also saying, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death. 1941   He has also done me many evils when living with mortals in the upper world.  For wherever he found my servants, he persecuted them; and whatever men I made crooked, blind, lame, lepers, or any such thing, by a single word he healed them; and many whom I had got ready to be buried, even these through a single word he brought to life again.

Hades says:  And is this man so powerful as to do such things by a single word? or if he be so, canst thou withstand him?  It seems to me that, if he be so, no one will be able to withstand him.  And if thou sayest that thou didst hear him dreading death, he said this mocking thee, and laughing, wishing to seize thee with the strong hand; and woe, woe to thee, to all eternity!

Satan says:  O all-devouring and insatiable Hades, art thou so afraid at hearing of our common enemy?  I was not afraid of him, but worked in the Jews, and they crucified him, and gave him also to drink gall with vinegar. 1942   Make ready, then, in order that you may lay fast hold of him when he comes.

Hades answered:  Heir of darkness, son of destruction, devil, thou hast just now told me that many whom thou hadst made ready to be buried, be brought to life again by a single word.  And if he has delivered others from the tomb, how and with what power shall he be laid hold of by us?  For I not long ago swallowed down one dead, Lazarus by name; and not long after, one of the living by a single word dragged him up by force out of my bowels:  and I think that it was he of whom thou speakest.  If, therefore, we receive him here, I am afraid lest perchance we be in danger even about the rest.  For, lo, all those that I have swallowed from eternity I perceive to be in commotion, and I am pained in my belly.  And the snatching away of Lazarus beforehand seems to me to be no good sign:  for not like a dead body, but like an eagle, he flew out of me; for so suddenly did the earth throw him out.  Wherefore also I adjure even thee, for thy benefit and for mine, not to bring him here; for I think that he is coming here to raise all the dead.  And this I tell thee:  by the darkness in which we live, if thou bring him here, not one of the dead will be left behind in it to me.


Footnotes

436:1941

Mark xv. 34.

436:1942

Matt. xxvii. 34.


Next: Chapter 5

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