Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol VIII:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Apocrypha of the New Testament.: About the Young Man Who Killed the Maiden.
About the Young Man Who Killed the Maiden.
And there was a certain young man who had done a nefarious deed; and having come to the apostle, he took the bread of the Eucharist into his mouth, and his two hands immediately withered, so that he could no longer bring them to his mouth. And those who were present and saw him told the apostle what had happened. And he, having summoned him, said: Tell me, my child, and be ashamed of nothing, 2378 what thou hast done, and why thou hast come hither; for the Eucharist of the Lord has convicted thee. For this gracious gift coming to many is especially healing to those who approach it through faith and love; but thee it has withered away, and what has happened has happened not without some working cause. And the young man who had been convicted by the Eucharist of the Lord came up, and fell at the apostles feet, and prayed him, saying: An evil deed has been done by me, yet I thought to do something good. I was p. 547 in love with a certain woman living outside of the city in an inn, and she loved me. And I having heard from thee, and believed that thou proclaimest the living God, came and received the seal from thee along with the others; and thou saidst, Whoever shall indulge in filthy intercourse, and especially in adultery, shall not have life with the God whom I proclaim. 2379 Since, then, I altogether loved her, I begged of her, and persuaded her to live with me in chaste and pure intercourse, as thou thyself teachest; but she would not. When therefore she would not, I took a sword and killed her; for I could not see her living in adultery with another.
The apostle, having heard this, said: O maddening intercourse, into what shamelessness dost thou lead! O unrestrained lust, how hast thou brought him into subjection to do this! O work of the serpent, how dost thou rage in thine own! And the apostle ordered water to be brought him in a dish. And when the water had been brought, he said: Come waters from the living waters, existing from the existing, and sent to us; the fountain sent to us from repose, the power of salvation coming from that power that subdues all things, and subjects them to its own will; come and dwell in these waters, that the gracious gift of the Holy Spirit may be fully perfected in them. And he said to the young man: Go, wash thy hands in these waters. And when he had washed, they were restored. And the apostle said to him: Dost thou believe in our Lord Jesus Christ, that He can do all things? And he said: Even though I am least of all, I believe; but this I did, thinking to do a good thing: for I implored her, as also I told thee; but she would not be persuaded by me to keep herself chaste.
And the apostle said to him: Come, let us go to the inn where thou didst this deed, and let us see what has happened. And the young man went before the apostle on the road; and when they came to the inn, they found her lying. And the apostle, seeing her, was disheartened, for she was a beautiful maiden; and he ordered her to be brought into the middle of the inn. And having put her on a couch, they brought it, and set it in the midst of the court-yard of the inn. And the apostle laid his hand on her, and began to say: Jesus, who always appearest to us—for this Thou always wishest, that we should seek Thee—and Thou Thyself hast given us this power of asking and receiving; 2380 and not only hast Thou given us this, but hast also taught us how to pray; 2381 who art not seen by bodily eyes, but who art not altogether hidden from those of our soul, and who art hidden in Thy form, but manifested to us by Thy works; and by Thy many deeds we have recognised Thee as we go on, and Thou hast given us Thy gifts without measure, saying, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. 2382 We pray, therefore, having suspicion of our sins; 2383 and we ask of Thee not riches, nor gold, nor silver, nor possessions, nor any of those things that come from the earth and go into the earth again; but this we beg of Thee, and entreat that in Thy holy name Thou raise this woman lying here by Thy power, to the glory and faith of those standing by.
And when he had thus prayed, he sealed the young man, and said to him: Go, and take her by the hand, and say to her, I through my hands killed thee with the sword; 2384 and again I raise thee by my hands, in the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ. And the young man went and stood by her, saying: I have believed in Thee, O Christ Jesus. And looking upon Judas Thomas the apostle, he said to him: Pray for me, that my Lord, upon whom also I call, may come to my help. And having laid his hand on her hand, he said: Come, Lord Jesus Christ, giving this woman life, and me the earnest of Thy faith. And immediately, as he drew her hand, she sprang up, and sat, looking at the great multitude standing round. And she also saw the apostle standing opposite to her; and having left the couch, she sprang up, and fell at his feet, and took hold of his garments, saying: I pray thee, my lord, where is that other who is with thee, who has not left me to remain in that fearful and grievous place, but has given me up to thee, saying, Do thou take her, that she may be made perfect, and thereafter brought into her own place?
And the apostle says to her: Tell us where thou hast been. And she answered: Dost thou, who wast with me, to whom also I was entrusted, wish to hear? And she began to say: A certain man received me, hateful in appearance, all black, and his clothing exceedingly filthy; and he led me away to a place where there were many chasms, and a great stench and most hateful odour were given forth thence; and he made me bend down into each chasm, and I saw in the chasm blazing fire; and wheels of fire ran there, and souls were hung upon those wheels, and were dashed against each other. And there was there crying and great lamentation, and there was none released. And that man said to me, These souls are of thine own nation, and for a certain number of days 2385 they have been given over to punishment and torture; and then p. 548 others are brought in instead of them; and likewise also these are again succeeded by others. These are they who have exchanged the intercourse of man and wife. And again I looked down, and saw infants heaped upon each other, and struggling and lying upon each other; and he answered and said to me, These are their children, and for this have they been placed here for a testimony against them.
And he brought me to another chasm, and I bent down and saw mud, and worms spouting forth, and souls wallowing there; and a great gnashing of teeth was heard thence from them. And that man said to me, These are the souls of women that left their own husbands, and went and committed adultery with others, and who have been brought to this torment. He showed me another chasm, into which I bent down and saw souls hung up, some by the tongue, some by the hair, some by the hands, some by the feet, head downwards, and smoked with smoke and sulphur; about whom that man who was with me answered me, These souls which are hung up by the tongue are slanderers, and such as have uttered false and disgraceful words; those that are hung up by the hair 2386 are those that are shameless, and that have gone about with uncovered heads in the world; these hung up by the hands are those who have taken what belongs to others, and have stolen, and who have never given anything to the poor, nor assisted the afflicted; but they so acted, wishing to get everything, and giving no heed at all to justice and the laws; and these hung up by the feet are those who lightly and eagerly ran in wicked ways, and disorderly wickedness, not looking after the sick, and not aiding those departing this life, and on account of this each individual soul is requited for what has been done by it.
Again leading me away, he showed me a cavern, exceedingly dark, exhaling a great stench; and many souls were peeping out thence, wishing to get some share of the air, but their keepers would not let them peep out. And he who was with me said, This is the prison of those souls which thou seest; for when they shall complete their punishments for those things which each one has done, afterwards again others succeed them—and there are some also quite used up—and are given up to other punishments. Those, then, who guarded the souls that were in the dark cave said to the man that had charge of me, Give her to us, that we may take her in beside the others, until the time comes for her to be given up to punishment. And he answered them, I will not give her to you, for I am afraid of him who gave her up to me; for I received no orders to leave her here, and I shall take her up with me until I get some injunction about her. And he took me and brought me to another place, in which were men who were bitterly tortured. And he that is like thee took me and gave me up to thee, having thus said to thee, Take her, since she is one of the creatures that have been led astray. And I was taken by thee, and am now before thee. I beg, therefore, and supplicate thee that I may not go into those places of punishment which I saw.
And the apostle said to the multitudes standing by: You have heard, brethren, what this woman has recounted; and these are not the only punishments, but there are others worse than these; and if you do not turn to this God whom I proclaim, and refrain from your former works and deeds which you have done without knowledge, in these punishments you shall have your end. Believe, therefore, in our Lord Jesus Christ, and He will forgive you the sins done by you heretofore, and will purify you from all the bodily desires that abide in the earth, and will heal you from the faults that follow after you, and go along with you, and are found before you. And let each of you put off the old man, and put on the new, and leave your former course of conduct and behaviour; and let those that steal steal no more, but let them live, labouring and working; 2387 and let the adulterers no more commit adultery, lest they give themselves up to everlasting punishment; for adultery is with God an evil altogether grievous above other evils. Put away also from yourselves covetousness, and lying, and drunkenness, and slandering, and requiting evil for evil: for all these are alien and strange to the God proclaimed by us; but rather live in faith, and meekness, and holiness, and hope, in which God rejoices, that ye may become His servants, having received from Him gracious gifts, which few or none receive.
All the people therefore believed, and presented their souls obedient to the living God and Christ Jesus, enjoying His blessed works, and His holy service. And they brought much money for the service of the widows; for he had them collected in the cities, and he sent to all of them by his own servants 2388 what was necessary, both clothing and food. But he did not cease proclaiming and saying to them, and showing that this is Jesus the Christ, concerning whom the Scriptures proclaimed that He should come, and be crucified, and be raised from the dead after three days. And he showed them a second time, beginning from the prophets, and explaining the things concerning Christ, and that it was necessary for Him to come, and for all things to p. 549 be fulfilled that had been said to us beforehand concerning Him. 2389
And the report of him ran through all the cities and countries; and all who had persons sick or tormented by unclean spirits brought them, and they were healed. Some also they laid on the road by which he was to pass, and he healed them all by the power of the Lord. 2390 Then said all with one accord who had been healed by him, with one voice: Glory to Thee, Jesus, who givest Thy healing to all alike by means of Thy servant and apostle Thomas. And being in good health, and rejoicing, we pray Thee that we may be of Thy flock, and be numbered among Thy sheep; receive us, therefore, O Lord, and consider not our transgressions and former offences which we did, being in ignorance.
And the apostle said: Glory to the only-begotten from the Father; 2391 glory to the first-born of many brethren; 2392 Glory to Thee, the defender and helper of those who come to Thy place of refuge; Thou that sleepest not, and raisest those that are asleep; that livest and bringest to life those that are lying in death; O God Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, redeemer and helper, refuge and rest of all that labour in Thy work, who affordest health to those who for Thy names sake bear the burden of the day, and the icy coldness of the night; we give thanks for the gracious gifts that have been given us by Thee, and for the help from Thee bestowed upon us, and Thy providential care that has come upon us from Thee. Perfect these things upon us, therefore, unto the end, that we may have confidence in Thee; look upon us, because for Thy sake we have left our homes, and for Thy sake have become strangers gladly and willingly; look upon us, O Lord, because for Thy sake we have abandoned our possessions, that we may have Thee for a possession that shall not be taken away; look upon us, O Lord, because we have left those related to us by ties of kindred in order that we may be united in relationship to Thee; look upon us, O Lord, who have left our fathers and mothers, and those that nourished us, that we may behold Thy Father, and be satisfied with His divine nourishment: look upon us, O Lord, because for Thy sake we have left our bodily yoke-fellows, 2393 and our earthly fruit, in order that we may share in that intercourse which is lasting and true, and bring forth true fruits, whose nature is from above, the enjoyment of which no one can take away from us, with which we abide, and they abide with us.
Or, stand in awe of no one.547:2379
1 Cor. vi. 9.547:2380
Matt. 7:7, Luke 11:9.547:2381
Matt. 6:9, Luke 11:2.547:2382
Matt. vii. 7.547:2383
Or, having our sins in view.547:2384
Lit., with iron.547:2385
Lit., days of number.548:2386
Obviously omitted either in the mss. or in the text.548:2387
Eph. iv. 28.548:2388
Comp. Luke xxiv. 46.549:2390
Comp. Acts v. 15.549:2391
John i. 14.549:2392
Rom. viii. 29.549:2393
Next: Consummation of Thomas the Apostle.
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