Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol VIII:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Apocrypha of the New Testament.: Chapter 4
Chapter 4 (20).
And when all the saints were exulting, lo, Satan, the prince and leader of death, said to Hades: Make thyself ready to receive Jesus, who boasts himself to be the Son of God, and is a man fearing death, and saying, My soul is sorrowful, even unto death. And he has withstood me much, doing me evil; and many whom I made blind, lame, deaf, leprous, and demoniac, he has healed with a word; and those whom I have brought to thee dead, he has dragged away from thee.
Hades, answering, said to Prince Satan: Who is he that is so powerful, when he is a man in fear of death? For all the powerful of the earth are kept in subjection by my power, whom thou hast brought into subjection by thy power. If then, thou art powerful, what is that man Jesus like, who, though fearing death, withstands thy power? If he is so powerful in humanity, verily I say unto thee, he is all-powerful in divinity, and his power can no one resist. And when he says that he fears death, he wishes to lay hold on thee, and woe will be to thee to the ages of eternity. And Satan, prince of Tartarus, answered and said: Why hast thou doubted, and feared to receive this Jesus, thy adversary and mine? For I have tempted him, and I have roused up my ancient people the Jews with hatred and anger against him; I have sharpened a lance to strike him; I have mixed gall and vinegar to give him to drink; and I have prepared wood to crucify him, and nails to pierce him, and his death is near at hand, that I may bring him to thee, subject to thee and me.
Tartarus answered and said: Thou hast told me that it is he himself who has dragged away the dead from me. Now there are many who are here kept by me, who, while they lived on earth, took the dead from me, not by their own powers, but by godly prayers, and their almighty God dragged them away from me. Who is that Jesus, who by his word has withdrawn the dead from me without prayers? Perhaps he is the same who, by, the word of his command, brought alive Lazarus, after he had been four days in stench and corruption, whom I kept dead. Satan prince of death answered and said: That Jesus is the same. And when Hades heard this he said to him: I adjure thee by thy powers and mine, do not bring him to me. For I at that time, when I heard the command of his word, trembled with terror and dismay, and all p. 450 my officers at the same time were confounded along with me. Nor could we keep that Lazarus; but, shaking himself like an eagle, he sprang out, and went forth from us with all activity and speed, and the same ground which held the dead body of Lazarus immediately gave him forth alive. So now, I know that that man who could do these things is God, strong in authority, powerful in humanity, and He is the Saviour of the human race. But if thou bring Him to me, all who are here shut up in the cruelty of the prison, and bound by their sins in chains that cannot be loosened, He will let loose, and will bring to the life of His divinity for ever.
Next: Chapter 5
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