translated by G. S. R. Mead
John continueth his questioning.When then the Saviour had said this, John started forward and said: "My Lord, bear with me if I question thee, for from now on I will begin to, question thee on all things concerning the manner, how we are to herald it to mankind.
"If, therefore, I give that brother a mystery out of the mysteries of the beginning which are in the first space from without, and if I give him many mysteries and he doeth not what |266. is
worthy of the kingdom of heaven,--desirest thou that we let him pass through to the mysteries of the second space? Perchance we win the soul of that brother, and he turneth, repenteth and inheriteth the Light-kingdom. Desirest thou that we let him pass through to the mysteries [which are in the second space] or not?"
That the mysteries shall be given again unto a repentant brother even up to the three of the second space.And the Saviour answered and said unto John: "If it is a brother who is not play-acting, but in truth longeth after God, if ye have given him many times the mysteries of the beginning and because of the necessity of the elements of the Fate he hath not done what is worthy of the mysteries of the Light-kingdom, then forgive him, let him pass through and give him the first mystery which is in the second space. Perchance ye win the soul of that brother.
"And if he hath not done what is worthy of the mysteries of the Light and hath committed transgression and divers sins, and thereafter hath turned; again and been in great repentance and hath renounced the whole world and ceased from all the sins of the world, and ye know with certainty that he doth not play-act but in truth longeth after God, then turn ye anew, forgive him, let him pass on through and give him the second mystery in the second |267. space of the First Mystery. Perchance ye win the soul of that brother and he inheriteth the Light-kingdom.
"And again if he hath not done what is worthy of the mysteries, but hath been in transgression and divers sins, and thereafter again hath turned and been in great repentance and hath renounced the whole world and the whole matter therein and ceased from the sins of the world, so that
ye know truly that he is not play-acting but longeth truly after God, then turn ye anew, forgive him and receive his repentance, because the First Mystery is compassionate and merciful-minded; let also that man pass through and give him the three mysteries together which are in the second space of the First Mystery.
The limit of the power of the disciples to forgive sins."If that man [then] transgresseth and is in divers sins, from that moment onwards ye are not to forgive him nor to receive his repentance; but let him be among you as a stumbling-block and as a transgressor.
"For, amēn, I say unto you: Those three mysteries will be witnesses for his last repentance, and he hath not repentance from this moment onwards. For, amēn, I say unto you: The soul of that man will not |268. be cast back into the world above from this moment onwards, but will be in the abodes of the dragon of the outer darkness.
A former saying explained."For regarding the souls of such men I have spoken unto you aforetime in a similitude, saying: 'If thy brother sinneth against thee, bring him over between thee alone and him. If he hearkeneth unto thee, thou wilt win thy brother; if he hearkeneth not unto thee, take with thee yet another. If he hearkeneth not unto thee and the other, bring him to the assembly. If he hearken not unto the others, let him be for you as a transgressor and as a stumbling-block.'--That is: If he is not usable in the first mystery, give him the second; and if he is not usable in the second give him the three, assembled together, which is 'the assembly'; and if he is not usable in the third mystery, let him be for you as a stumbling-block and as a transgressor.
Of the master-mystery of the forgiveness of sins."And the word which I have spoken unto you aforetime: 'So that through two to three witnesses every word may be established,'--it is this: Those three mysteries will witness for his last repentance. And amēn, |269. I say unto you: If that man repenteth, no mystery can forgive him his sins, nor can his repentance be received, nor can he at all be hearkened to through any mystery, save through the first mystery of the First Mystery and through the mysteries of the Ineffable. It is these alone which will receive the repentance of that man and forgive his sins; for those mysteries in sooth are compassionate and merciful-minded and forgiving at every time."
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