From the Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol X.
Here Begins the Vision of Saint Paul the Apostle.
"But I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord: I know a man in Christ
fourteen years ago (whether in the body, I know not; or out of the body, I know not, God
knoweth) snatched up in this manner to the third heaven: and I know such a man, whether in
the body or out of the body I know not, God knoweth; how that he was snatched up into
Paradise and heard secret words which it is not lawful for men to speak; on behalf of such
a one will I glory; but on mine own behalf I will not glory, save in my
infirmities."-2 Corinthians 12:1-5
1. At what time was this revelation made? In the consulship of Theodosius Augustus the
Younger and Cynegius,1 a certain nobleman then
living in Tharsus, in the house which was that of Saint Paul, an angel appearing in the
night revealed to him, saying that he should open the foundations of the house and should
publish what he found, but he thought that these things were dreams;
2. But the angel coming for the third time beat him and forced him to open the
foundation. And digging he found a marble box, inscribed on the sides; there was the
revelation of Saint Paul, and his shoes in which he walked teaching the word of God. But
he feared to open that box and brought it to the judge; when he had received it, the
judge, because it was sealed with lead, sent it to the Emperor Theodosius, fearing lest it
might be something else; which when he had received the emperor opened it, and found the
revelation of Saint Paul; a copy of it he sent to Jerusalem, and retained the original
3. While I was in the body in which I was snatched up to the third heaven, the word of
the Lord came to me saying: speak to the people: until when will ye transgress, and heap
sin upon sin, and tempt the Lord who made you? Ye are the sons of God, doing the works of
the devil in the faith of Christ, on account of the impediments of the world. Remember
therefore and know that while every creature serves God, the human race alone sins. But it
reigns over every creature and sins more than all nature.
4. For indeed the sun, the great light, often addressed the Lord saying: Lord God
Almighty, I look out upon the impieties and injustices of men; permit me and I shall do
unto them what are my powers, that they may know that thou art God alone. And there came a
voice saying to him: I know all these things, for mine eye sees and ear hears, but my
patience bears them until they shall be converted and repent. But if they do not return to
me I will judge them all.
5. For sometimes the moon and stars addressed the Lord saying: Lord God Almighty, to us
thou hast given the power of the night; till when shall we look down upon the impieties
and fornications and homicides done by the sons of men? Permit us to do unto them
according to our powers, that they may know that thou art God alone. And there came a
voice unto them saying: I know all these things, and mine eye looks forth and ear hears,
but my patience bears with them until they shall be converted and repent. But if they do
not return unto me I will judge them.
6. And frequently also the sea exclaimed saying: Lord God Almighty, men have defiled
thy holy name in me; permit me to arise and cover every wood and orchard and the whole
world, until I blot out all the sons of men from before thy face, that they may know that
thou art God alone. And the voice came again and said: I know all things; mine eye seeth
everything, and mine ear heareth, but my patience bears with them until they be converted
and repent. But if they do not return, I will judge them. Sometimes the waters2 also spoke against the sins of men saying: Lord God
Almighty, all the sons of men have defiled thy holy name. And there came a voice saying: I
know all things before they come to pass, for mine eye seeth and mine ear heareth all
things, but my patience bears with them until they be converted. But if not I will judge
them. Frequently also the earth3 too exclaimed to
the Lord against the sons of men saying: Lord God Almighty, I above every other creature
of thine am harmed, supporting the fornications, adulteries, homicides, thefts, perjuries
and magic and ill-doings of men and all the evil they do, so that the father rises up
against the son, and the son upon the father, the alien against the alien, so that each
one defiles his neighbour's wife. The father ascends upon the bed of his own son, and the
son likewise ascends the couch of his own father; and in all these evils, they who offer
the sacrifice to thy name have defiled thy holy place. Therefore I am injured above every
creature, desiring not to shew my power to myself, and my fruits to the sons of men.
Permit me and I will destroy the virtue of my fruits. And there came a voice and said: I
know all things, and there is none who can hide himself from his sin. Moreover I know
their impieties, but my holiness suffers them until they be converted and repent. But if
they do not return unto me I will judge them.
7. Behold, ye sons of men, the creature is subject to God, but the human race alone
sins. For this cause, therefore, ye sons of men, bless the Lord God unceasingly, every
hour and every day: but more especially when the sun has set:4
for at that hour all the angels proceed to the Lord to worship him and to present the
works of men, which every man has wrought from the morning till the evening, whether good
or evil. And there is a certain angel who proceeds rejoicing concerning the man in whom he
dwells. When therefore the sun5 has set in the
first hour of night, in the same hour the angel of every people and every man and woman,
who protect and preserve them, because man is the image of God: similarly also in the
matin hour which is the twelfth of the night, all the angels of men and women, go up to
God to worship God, and present every work which each man has wrought, whether good or
evil. Moreover every day and night the angels show to God an account6 of all the acts of the human race. To you, therefore, I
say, ye sons of men, bless the Lord God without fail all the days of your life.
8. Therefore at the appointed hour all the angels whatever, rejoicing at once together,
proceed before God that they may meet to worship at the hour determined. And behold
suddenly it became the hour of meeting, and the angels came to worship in the presence of
God, and the spirit proceeded to meet them: and there came a voice and said: Whence come
ye, our angels, bearing the burdens of tidings?
9. They answered and said: We come from those who have renounced this world for the
sake of thy holy name, wandering as pilgrims, and in caves of the rocks, and weeping every
hour in which they inhabited the earth, and hungering and thirsting because of thy name,
with their loins girded, having in theist hands the incense of their hearts, and praying
and blessing every hour, and restraining and overcoming themselves, weeping and wailing
above the rest that inhabit the earth. And we indeed, their angels, mourn along with them:
whither therefore it shall please thee, command us to go and minister, lest others also do
it, but the destitute above the rest who are on earth. And there came the voice of God to
them saying: Know ye that now henceforward my grace is appointed unto you, and my help,
who is my well-beloved Son, shall be present with them, guiding them every hour;
ministering also to them, never deserting them, since their place is his habitation.
10. When therefore these angels had retired, behold other angels came to adore in the
presence of honour, in the assembly, who wept; and the spirit of God proceeded to meet
them, and there came the voice of God and said: Whence come ye, our angels, bearing the
burdens of the ministry of the tidings of the world? They answered and said in the
presence of God: We have arrived from those who called upon thy name, and the impediments
of the world made them wretched, devising many occasions every hour, not even making one
pure prayer, nor out of their whole heart, in all the time of their life; what need,
therefore, is there to be present with men who are sinners? And there came the voice of
God to them: It is necessary that ye should minister to them, until they be converted and
repent: but if they do not return to me I will judge them. Know therefore, sons of men,
that whatever things are wrought by you, these angels relate to God, whether good or evil.
11. And the angel answered and said unto me: Follow me, and I will show you the place
of the just where they are led when they are deceased, and after these things taking thee
into the abyss, I will show thee the souls of sinners and what sort of place they are led
into when they have deceased. And I proceeded back after the angel, and he led me into
heaven, and I looked back upon the firmament, and I saw in the same place power, and there
was there oblivion which deceives and draws down to itself the hearts of men, and the
spirit of detraction, and the spirit of fornication, and the spirit of madness, and the
spirit of insolence, and there were there the princes of vices: these I saw under the
firmament of heaven: and again I looked back, and I saw angels without mercy, having no
pity, whose countenance was full of madness, and their teeth sticking out beyond the
mouth: their eyes shone like the morning star of the east, and from the hairs of their
head sparks of fire went out, or from their mouth. And I asked the angel saying: Sir, who
are those? And the angel answered and said unto me: These are those who are destined to
the souls of the impious in the hour of need, who did not believe that they had the Lord
for their helper, nor hoped in him.
12. And I looked on high and I saw other angels whose countenance shone as the sun,
their loins girded with golden girdles, having palms in their hands, and the sign of God,
clothed with garments in which was written the name of the Son of God, filled moreover
with all meekness and pity; and I asked the angels saying: Who are these, Lord, in so
great beauty and pity? And the angel answered and said unto me: These are the angels of
justice who are sent to lead up the souls of the just, in the hour of need, who believed
that they had the Lord for their helper. And I said to him: Do the just and sinners
necessarily meet witnesses when they have died? And the angel answered and said to me:
There is one way by which all pass over to God, but the just having their helper with them
are not confounded when they go to appear in the sight of God.
13. And I said to the angel: I wished to see the souls of the just and of sinners going
out of the world. And the angel answered and said unto me: Look down upon the earth. And I
looked down from heaven upon the earth, and saw the whole world, and it was nothing in my
sight and I saw the sons of men as though they were naught, and a-wanting, and I wondered
and said to the angel: Is this the greatness of men? And the angel answered and said unto
me: It is, and these are they who do evil from morning till evening. And I looked and saw
a great cloud of fire spread over the whole world, and I said to the angel: What is this,
my Lord? and he said to me: This is injustice stirred up by the princes of sinners.
14. I indeed when I had heard this sighed and wept, and said to the angel: I wished to
see the souls of the just and of sinners, and to see in what manner they go out of the
body. And the angel answered and said unto me: Look again upon the earth. And I looked and
saw all the world, and men were as naught and a-wanting: and I looked carefully and saw a
certain man about to die, and the angel said to me: This one whom thou seest is a just
man. And I looked again and saw all his works, whatever he had done for the sake of God's
name, and all his desires, both what he remembered, and what he did not remember; they all
stood in his sight in the hour of need; and I saw the just man advance and find
refreshment and confidence, and before he went out of the world the holy and the impious
angels both attended: and I saw them all, but the impious found no place of habitation in
him, but the holy took possession of his soul, guiding it till it went out of the body:
and they roused the soul saying: Soul, know thy body whence thou goest out, for it is
necessary that thou shouldst return to the same body on the day of the resurrection, that
thou mayest receive the things promised to all the just. Receiving therefore the soul from
the body, they immediately kissed it as familiarly known to them, saying to it: Do
manfully, for thou hast done the will of God while placed in the earth. And there came to
meet him the angel who watched him every day, and said to him: Do manfully, soul; for I
rejoice in thee, because thou hast done the will of God on earth: for I related to God all
thy works, such as they were. Similarly also the spirit proceeded to meet him and said:
Soul, fear not, nor be disturbed, until thou comest into a place which thou hast never
known, but I will be a helper unto thee: for I found in thee a place of refreshment in the
time when I dwelt in thee, while I was on earth. And his spirit strengthened him, and his
angel received him, and led him into heaven: and an angel said: Whither runnest thou, O
soul, and dost thou dare to enter into heaven? Wait and let us see if there is anything of
ours in thee: and behold we find nothing in thee. I see also thy divine helper and angel,
and the spirit is rejoicing along with thee, because thou hast done the will of God on
earth. And they led him along till he should worship in the sight of God. And when they
had ceased, immediately Michael and all the army of angels, with one voice, adored the
footstool of his feet, and his doom, saying at the same time to the soul: This is your God
of all things, who made you in his own image and likeness. Moreover the angel returns and
points him out saying: God, remember his labours: for this is the soul, whose works I
related to thee, doing according to thy judgment. And the spirit said likewise: I am the
spirit of vivification inspiring him: for I had refreshment in him, in the time when I
dwelt in him, doing according to thy judgment. And there came the voice of God and said:
In as much as this man did not vex me, neither will I vex him; for according as he had
pity, I also will have pity. Let him therefore be handed over to Michael, the angel of the
Covenant, and let him lead him into the Paradise of joy, that he himself may become
co-heir with all the saints. And after these things I heard the voices of a thousand
thousand angels, and archangels, and cherubim, and twenty-four elders saying hymns, and
glorifying the Lord and crying: thou art just, O Lord, and just are thy judgments, and
there is no acceptance of persons with thee, but thou rewardest unto every man according
to thy judgment. And the angel answered and said unto me: Hast thou believed and known,
that whatever each man of you has done, he sees in the hour of need? And I said: Yes, sir.
15. And he saith to me: Look again down on the earth, and watch the soul of an impious
man going out of the body, which vexed the Lord day and night, saying: I know nothing else
in this world, I eat and drink, and enjoy what is in the world; for who is there who has
descended into hell, and ascending has declared to us that there is judgment there! And
again I looked carefully, and saw all the scorn of the sinner, and all that he did, and
they stood together before him in the hour of need: and it was done to him in that hour,
in which he was threatened about his body at the judgment, and I said: It were better for
him if he hall not been born. And after these things, there came at the same time, the
holy angels, and the malign, and the soul of the sinner and the holy angels did not find a
place in it. Moreover the malign angels cursed it; and when they had drawn it out of the
body, the angels admonished it a third time, saying: O wretched soul, look upon thy flesh,
whence thou camest out: for it is necessary that thou shouldst return to thy flesh in the
day of resurrection, that thou mayest receive the due for thy sins and thy impieties.
16. And when they had led it forth, the customary angel preceded it, and said to it: O
wretched soul, I am the angel belonging to thee, relating daily to the Lord thy malign
works, whatever thou didst by night or day: and if it were in my power, not for one day
would I minister to thee, but none of these things was I able to do: the judge is pitiful
and just, and he himself commanded us that we should not cease to minister to the soul,
till you should repent, but thou hast lost the time of repentance. I indeed was strange to
thee and thou to me. Let us go on then to the just judge: I will not dismiss thee, before
I know from to-day why I was strange to thee. And the spirit confounded him, and the angel
troubled him. When, therefore, they had arrived at the power, when he started to enter
heaven, a labour was imposed upon him, above all other labour: error and oblivion and
murmuring met him, and the spirit of fornication, and the rest of the powers, and said to
him: Whither goest thou, wretched soul, and darest thou to rush into heaven? hold, that we
may see if we have our qualities in thee, since we do not see that thou hast a holy
helper. And after that I heard voices in the height of heaven saying: Present that
wretched soul to God, that it may know that it is God that it despised. When, therefore,
it had entered heaven, all the angels saw it, a thousand thousand exclaimed with one
voice, all saying: Woe to thee, wretched soul, for the sake of thy works which thou didst
on earth; what answer art thou about to give to God when thou shalt have approached to
adore him? The angel who was with it answered and said: Weep with me, my beloved, for I
have not found rest in this soul. And the angels answered him and said: Let such a soul be
taken away from the midst of ours, for from the time he entered, the stink of him crosses
to us angels. And after these things it was presented, that it might worship in the sight
of God, and an angel of God showed him God who made him after his own image and likeness.
Moreover his angel ran before him saying: Lord God Almighty, I am the angel of this soul,
whose works I presented to thee day and night, not doing according to thy judgment. And
the spirit likewise said: I am the spirit who dwelt in it from the time it was made, in
itself moreover I know it, and it has not followed my will: judge it, Lord, according to
thy judgment. And there came the voice of God to it and said: Where is thy fruit which
thou has made worthy of the goods which thou hast received? Have I put a distance of one
day between thee and the just man? Did I not make the sun to arise upon thee as upon the
just? But the soul was silent, having nothing to answer: and again there came a voice
saying: Just is the judgment of God, and there is no acceptance of persons with God, for
whoever shall have done mercy, on them shall he have mercy, and whoever shall not have
pitied neither shall God pity him. Let him therefore be handed over to the angel
Tartaruch, who is set over the punishments, and let him place him in outer darkness, where
there is weeping and gnashing of teeth, and let him be there till the great day of
judgment. And after these things I heard the voice of angels and archangels saying: Thou
art just, Lord, and thy judgment is just.
17. And again I saw, and behold a soul which was led forward by two angels, weeping and
saying: Have pity on me, just God, God the judge, for to-day is seven days since I went
out of my body, and I was handed over to these two angels, and they led me through to
those places, which I had never seen. And God, the just judge, saith to him: What hast
thou done? for thou never didst mercy, wherefore thou wast handed over to such angels as
have no mercy, and because thou didst not do uprightly, so neither did they act piously
with thee in the hour of thy need. Confess therefore thy sins which thou didst commit when
placed in the world. And he answered and said: Lord, I did not sin. And the Lord, the just
Lord, was angered in fury when it said: I did not sin, because it lied; and God said: Dost
thou think thou art still in the world? if any one of you, sinning there, conceal and hide
his sin from his neighbour, here indeed nothing whatever shall be hid: for when the souls
come to adore in sight of the throne, both the good works and the sins of each one are
made manifest. And hearing these things the soul was silent, having no answer. And I heard
the Lord God, the just judge, again saying: Come, angel of this soul, and stand in the
midst. And the angel of the sinful soul came, having in his hands a manuscript, and said:
These, Lord, in my hands, are all the sins of this soul from his youth till to-day, from
the tenth year of his birth: and if thou command, Lord, I will also relate his acts from
the beginning of his fifteenth year. And the Lord God, the just judge, said: I say unto
thee, angel, I do not expect of thee an account of him since he began to be fifteen years
old, but state his sins for five years before he died and before he came hither. And again
God, the just judge, said: For by myself I swear, and by my holy angels, and by my virtue,
that if he had repented five years before he died, on account of one year's life, oblivion
would now be thrown over all the evils which he sinned before, and he would have
indulgence and remission of sins: now indeed he shall perish. And the angel of the sinful
soul answered and said: Lord, command that angel to exhibit those souls.
18. And in that same hour the souls were exhibited in the midst, and the soul of the
sinner knew them; and the Lord said to the soul of the sinner: I say unto thee, soul,
confess thy work which thou wroughtest in these souls, whom thou seest, when they were in
the world. And he answered and said: Lord, it is not yet a full year since I slew this one
and poured his blood upon the ground, and with another (a woman) I committed fornication:
not this alone, but I also greatly harmed her in taking away her goods. And the Lord God,
the just judge, said: Either thou didst not know that he who does violence to another, if
he dies first who sustains the violence, is kept in this place until the doer of hurt
dies, and then both stand in the presence of the judge, and now each receives according to
his deed. And I heard a voice of one saying: Let that soul be delivered into the hands of
Tartarus, and led down into hell: he shall lead him into the lower prison and he shall be
put in torments, and left there till the great day of judgment. And again I heard a
thousand thousand angels saying hymns to the Lord, and crying: Thou art just, O Lord, and
just are thy judgments.
19. The angel answered and said unto me: Hast thou perceived all these things? and I
said, Yes, sir. And he said to me: Follow me again, and I will take thee, and show thee
the places of the just. And I followed the angel, and he raised me to the third heaven,
and placed me at the entry of the door: and looking carefully I saw, and the door was of
gold, and two columns of gold, full above of golden letters, and the angel tuned again to
me and said: Blessed weft thou, if thou hadst entered into these doors, for it is not
allowed to any to enter except only to those who have goodness and innocence of body in
all things. And I asked the angel about everything and said: Sir, tell me on what account
these letters are put upon those tables? The angel answered and said unto me: These are
the names of the just, serving God with their whole heart, who dwell on the earth. And
again I said: Sir, therefore their names and countenance and the likeness of these who
serve God are in heaven, and are known to the angels: for they know who are the servants
of God with all their heart, before they go out of the world.
20. And when I had entered the interior of the gate of Paradise,7 there came out to meet me an old man whose countenance
shone as the sun; and when he had embraced me he said: Hail, Paul, beloved of God. And he
kissed me with a cheerful countenance. He wept, and I said to him: Brother, why dost thou
weep? And again sighing and lamenting he said: We are hurt by men, and they vex us
greatly; for many are the good things which the Lord has prepared, and great is his
promise, but many do not perceive them. And I asked the angel, and said: Sir, who is this?
And he said to me: This is Enoch, the scribe of righteousness. And I entered into the
interior of that place, and immediately I saw the sun,8
and coming it saluted me laughing and rejoicing. And when it had seen (me), it turned away
and wept, and said to me: Paul, would that thou shouldst receive thy labours which thou
hast done in the human race. For me, indeed, I have seen the great and many good things,
which God has prepared for the just, and the promises of God are great, but many do not
perceive them; but even by many labours scarcely one or two enters into these places.
21. And the angel answered and said to me,9
Whatever I now show thee here, and whatever thou shalt hear, tell it not to any one in the
earth. And he led me and shewed me: and there I heard words which it is not lawful for a
man to speak. And again he said, For now follow me, and I will shew thee what thou
oughtest to narrate in public and relate.
And he took me down from the third heaven, and led me into the second heaven, and again
he led me on to the firmament and from the firmament he led me over the doors of heaven:
the beginning of its foundation was on the river which waters all the earth. And I asked
the angel and said, Lord, what is this river of water? and he said to me, This is Oceanus!
And suddenly I went out of heaven, and I understood that it is the light of heaven which
lightens all the earth. For the land there is seven times brighter10 than silver. And I said, Lord, what is this place? And
he said to me, This is the land of promise. Hast thou never heard what is written: Blessed
are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth? The souls therefore of the just, when they
have gone out of the body, are meanwhile dismissed to this place. And I said to the angel,
Then this land will be manifested before the time? The angel answered and said to me, When
Christ, whom thou preachest, shall come to reign, then, by the sentence of God,11 the first earth will be dissolved and this land of
promise will then be revealed, and it will be like dew or cloud, and then the Lord Jesus
Christ, the King Eternal, will be manifested and will come with all his saints to dwell in
it, and he will reign over them a thousand years, and they will eat of the good things
which I shall now show unto thee.
22. And I looked around upon that land and I saw a river flowing of milk and honey, and
there were trees planted by the bank of that river, full of fruit: moreover each single
tree bore twelve fruits in the year, having various and diverse fruits: and I saw the
created things which are in that place and all the work of God, and I saw there palms of
twenty cubits, but others of ten cubits: and that land was seven times brighter than
silver. And there were trees full of fruits from the roots to the highest branches, of ten
thousand fruits of palms upon ten thousand fruits. The grape-vines moreover had ten
thousand plants.12 Moreover in the single vines
there were ten thousand thousand bunches and in each of these a thousand single grapes:
moreover these single trees bore a thousand fruits. And I said to the angel, Why does each
tree bear a thousand fruits? The angel answered and said unto me, Because the Lord God
gives an abounding flood of gifts to the worthy, because they also of their own will
afflicted themselves when they were placed in the world doing all things on account of his
holy name. And again I said to the angel, Sir, are these the only promises which the Most
Holy God makes? And he answered and said to me: No! there are seven times greater than
these. But I say unto thee that when the just go out of the body they shall see the
promises and the good things which God has prepared for them. Till then, they shall sigh,
and lament saying: Have we emitted any word from our mouth to vex our neighbour even on
one day? I asked and said again: Are these alone the promises of God? And the angel
answered and said unto me: These whom you now see are the souls of the married13 and those who kept the chastity of their nuptials,
containing themselves. But to the virgins and those who hunger and thirst after
righteousness and those who afflicted themselves for the sake of the name of God, God will
give seven times greater than these, which I shall now show thee.
And then he took me up from that place where I saw these things and behold, a river,
and its waters were greatly whiter than milk, and I said to the angel, What is this? And
he said to me: This is the Acherousian Lake where is the City of Christ, but not every man
is permitted to enter that city; for this is the journey which leads to God, and if anyone
is a fornicator and impious, and is converted and shall repent and do fruits worthy of
repentance, at first indeed when he shall have gone out of the body, he is led and adores
God, and thence by command of the Lord he is delivered to the angel Michael and he
baptizes him in the Acherousian Lake-thus he leads them into the City of Christ alongside
of those who have never sinned. But I wondered and blessed the Lord God for all the things
which I saw.
23. And the angel answered and said unto me: Follow me and I will lead thee into the
City of Christ. And he was standing on the Acherousian Lake and he put me into a golden
ship14 and angels as it were three thousand were
saying hymns before me till I arrived at the City of Christ. Moreover those who inhabited
the City of Christ greatly rejoiced over me as I went to them, and I entered and saw the
City of Christ, and it was all of gold, and twelve walls encircled it, and twelve interior
towers, and each wall had between them single stadia in the circuit: And I said to the
angel, Sir, how much is a stadium? The angel answered and said to me: As much as there is
between the Lord God and the men who are on the earth, for the City of Christ is alone
great. And there were twelve gates in the circuit of the city, of great beauty, and four
rivers which encircled it. There was, moreover, a river of honey and a river of milk, and
a river of wine and a river of oil. And I said to the angel: What are these rivers
surrounding that city? And he saith to me: These are the four rivers which flow
sufficiently for those who are in this land of promise, of which the names15 are: the river of honey is called Fison, and the river
of milk Euphrates, and the river of oil Gion, and the river of wine Tigris, such therefore
they are for those who when placed in the world did not use the power of these things, but
they hungered for these things and afflicted themselves for the sake of the Lord God: so
that when these enter into this city, the Lord will assign them these things on high above
24. I indeed entering the gates saw trees great and very high before the doors of the
city, having no fruit but leaves only, and I saw a few men scattered in the midst of the
trees, and they lamented greatly when they saw anyone enter the city. And those trees were
sorry for them and humbled themselves and bowed down and again erected themselves. And I
saw and wept with them and I asked the angel and said: Sir, who are these who are not
admitted to enter into the City of Christ? And he said to me: These are they who zealously
abstained day and night in fasts, but they had a proud heart above other men, glorifying
and praising themselves and doing nothing for their neighbours. For they gave some
friendly greeting, but to others they did not even say hail! and indeed they shewed
hospitality to those only whom they wished, and if they did anything whatever for their
neighbour they were immoderately puffed up. And I said: What then, Sir? Did their pride
prevent them from entering into the City of Christ? And the angel answered and said unto
me: Pride is the root of all evils. Are they better than the Son of God who came to the
Jews with much humility? And I asked him and said: Why is it that the trees humble
themselves and erect themselves again? And the angel answered and said to me: The whole
time which these men passed on earth zealously serving God, on account of the confusion
and reproaches of men at the time, they blushed and humiliated themselves, but they were
not saddened. nor did they repent that they should recede from their pride which was in
them. This is why the trees humble themselves, and again are raised up. And I asked and
said: For what cause were they admitted to the doors of the city? The angel answered and
said unto me: Because of the great goodness of God, and because there is the entry of his
holy men entering into this city: for this cause they are left in this place, but when
Christ the King Eternal enters with his saints, as he enters just men may pray for these,
and then they may enter into the city along with them: but yet none of them is able to
have assurance such as they have who humbled themselves, serving the Lord God all their
25. But I went on while the angel instructed me, and he carried me to the river of
honey, and I saw there Isaiah and Jeremiah16 and
Ezekiel and Amos, and Micah and Zechariah, the minor and major prophets, and they saluted
me in the city. I said to the angel: What way is this? And he said to me: This is the way
of the prophets, every one who shall have afflicted his soul and not done his own will
because of God, when he shall have gone out of the world and have been led to the Lord God
and adored him, then by the command of God he is handed over to Michael, and he leads him
into the city to this place of the prophets, and they salute him as their friend and
neighbour because he did the will of God.
26. Again he led me where there is a river of milk, and I saw in that place all the
infants whom Herod slew because of the name of Christ, and they saluted me, and the angel
said to me: All who keep their chastity with purity, when they shall have come out of the
body, after they adore the Lord God are delivered to Michael and are led to the infants
and they salute them, saying that they are our brothers and friends and members; in
themselves they shall inherit the promises of God.
27. Again he took me up and carried me to the north of the city and led me where there
was a river of wine, and there I saw Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, Lot and Job and other
saints,17 and they saluted me: and I asked and
said: What is this place, my Lord? The angel answered and said to me: All who are
receivers of pilgrims, when they go out of the world, first adore the Lord God, and are
delivered to Michael and by this way are led into the city, and all the just salute him as
son and brother, and say unto him: Because thou hast observed humanity and the receiving
of pilgrims, come, have an inheritance in the city of the Lord our God: every just man
shall receive good things of God in the city, according to his own action.
28. And again he carried me near the river of oil on the east of the city. And I saw
there men rejoicing and singing psalms, and I said: Who are those, my Lord? And the angel
saith to me: Those are they who devoted themselves to God with their whole heart and had
no pride in themselves. For all those who rejoice in the Lord God and sing psalms to the
Lord with their whole heart are here led into this city.
29. And he carried me into the midst of the city near the twelve walls.18 But there was in this place a higher wall, and I asked
and said: Is there in the City of Christ a wall which in honour exceeds this place? And
the angel answering said to me: There is a second better than the first, and similarly a
third than the second, as each exceeds the other, unto the twelfth wall. And I said: Tell
me, Sir, why one exceeds another in glory? And the angel answered and said unto me: All
who have in themselves even a little detraction or zeal or pride, something of his glory
would be made void even if he were in the city of Christ: look backward!
And turning round I saw golden thrones placed in each gate, and on them men having
golden diadems and gems:19 and I looked carefully
and I saw inside between the twelve men thrones placed in another rank which appeared of
much glory, so that no one is able to recount their praise. And I asked the angel and
said: My lord, who is on the throne? And the angel answered and said unto me: Those
thrones belong to those who had goodness and understanding of heart and made themselves
fools for the sake of the Lord God, nor knew new Scriptures nor psalms, but, mindful of
one chapter of the commands of God, and hearing what it contained they wrought thereby in
much diligence and had s fight zeal before the Lord God, and the admiration of them will
seize all the saints in presence of the Lord God, for talking with one another they say,
Wait and see the unlearned who know nothing more: by which means they merited so great and
such a garment and so great glory on account of their innocence.
And I saw in the midst of this city a great altar, very high, and there was one
standing near the altar whose countenance shone as the sun, and he held in his hands a
psaltery and harp, and he sang psalms, saying Halleluia! And his voice filled the whole
city: at the same time when all they who were on the towers and gates heard him they
responded Halleluia! so that the foundations of the city were shaken: and I asked the
angel and said, Sir, who is this of so great power? And the angel said to me: This is
David: this is the city of Jerusalem, for when Christ the King of Eternity shall come with
the assurance of His kingdom, he again shall go before him that he may sing psalms, and
all the just at the same time shall sing psalms responding Halleluia! And I said, Sir, how
did David alone above the other saints make a beginning of psalm-singing? And the angel
answered and said unto me: Because Christ the Son of God sits at the right hand of His
Father, and this David sings psalms before him in the seventh heaven, and as is done in
the heavens so also below, because the host may not be offered to God without David, but
it is necessary that David should sing psalms in the hour of the oblation of the body and
blood of Christ: as it is performed in heaven so also on earth.
30. And I said to the angel: Sir, what is Alleluia? And the angel answered and said to
me: You ask questions about everything. And he said to me, Alleluia is said in the Hebrew
language of God and angels, for the meaning of Alleluia is this: tecel cat. marith macha.20
And I said, Sir, what is tecel cat. marith macha? And
the angel answered and said unto me: <i>tecel'cat. marith macha</i> is: Let us all bless him
together. I asked the angel and said, Sir, do all who say Alleluia bless the Lord? And the
angel answered and said to me: It is so, and again, therefore, if any one sing Alleluia
and those who are present do not sing at the same time, they commit sin because they do
not sing along with him, And I said: My lord, does he also sin if he be hesitating or very
old? The angel answered and said unto me: Not so, but he who is able and does not join in
the singing, know such as a despiser of the Word, and it would be proud and unworthy that
he should not bless the Lord God his maker.
31. Moreover when he had ceased speaking to me, he led me outside the city through the
midst of the trees and far from the places of the land of the good, and put me across the
river of milk and honey: and after that he led me over the ocean which supports the
foundations of heaven.
The angel answered and said unto me: Dost thou understand why thou goest hence? And I
said: Yes, sir. And he said to me Come and follow me, and I will show thee the souls of
the impious and sinners, that thou mayest know what manner of place it is. And I proceeded
with the angel and he carried me by the setting of the sun, and I saw the beginning of
heaven rounded on a great river of water, and I asked: What is this river of water? And he
said to me: This is Ocean which surrounds all the Earth. And when I was at the outer limit
of Ocean I looked, and there was no light in that place, but darkness and sorrow and
sadness: and I sighed.
And I saw there a fervent river of fire, and in it a multitude of men and women
immersed. up to the knees, and other men up to the navel, others even up to the lips,
others moreover up to the hair. And I asked the angel and said: Sir, who are those in the
fiery river? And the angel answered and said to me: They are neither hot nor cold, because
they were found neither in the number of the just nor in the number of the impious.21 For those spent the time of their life on earth passing
some days in prayer, but others in sins and fornications, until their death. And I asked
him and said: Who are these, Sir, immersed up to their knees in fire? He answered and said
to me: These are they who when they have gone out of church throw themselves into strange
conversations to dispute. Those indeed who are immersed up to the navel are those who,
when they have taken the body and blood of Christ go and fornicate and did not cease from
their sins till they died. Those who are immersed up to the lips are the detractors of
each other when they assemble in the church of God: those up to the eyebrows are those who
nod approval of themselves and plot spite against their neighbour.22
32. And I saw on the north a place of various and diverse punishments full of men and
women,23 and a river of fire ran down into it.
Moreover I observed and I saw pits great in depth, and in them several souls together, and
the depth of that place was as it were three thousand cubits, and I saw them groaning and
weeping and saying: Have pity on us, O Lord! and none had pity on them. And I asked the
angel and said: Who are these, Sir? And the angel answered and said unto me: These are
they who did not hope in the Lord, that they would be able to have him as their helper.
And I asked and said: Sir, if these souls remain for thirty or forty generations thus one
upon another, if they were sent deeper, the pits I believe would not hold them. And he
said to me: The Abyss has no measure, for beyond24
this it stretches down below him who is down in it: and so it is, that if perchance anyone
should take a stone and throw it into a very deep well and after many hours it should
reach the bottom, such is the abyss. For when the souls are thrown in there, they hardly
reach the bottom in fifty years.
33. I, indeed, when I heard this, wept and groaned over the human race. The angel
answered and said unto me: Why dost thou weep? Art thou more pitiful than God? For though
God is good, He knows also that there are punishments, and He patiently bears with the
human race, dismissing each one to work his own will in the time in which he dwells on the
34. I further observed the fiery river and saw there a man being tortured by
Tartaruchian angels having in their hands an iron with three hooks with which they pierced
the bowels of that old man: and I asked the angel, and said: Sir, who is that old man on
whom such torments are imposed? And the angel answered and said to me: He whom you see was
a presbyter who did not perform well his ministry: when he had been eating and drinking
and committing fornication he offered the host to the Lord at his holy altar.
35. And I saw not far away another old man led on by malign angels running with speed,
and they pushed him into the fire up to his knees, and they struck him with stones and
wounded his face like a storm, and did not allow him to say: Have pity on me! And I asked
the angel and he said to me: He whom you see was a bishop, and did not perform well his
episcopate, who indeed accepted the great name but did not enter into the witness of him
who gave him the name in all his life, seeing that he did not do just judgment, and did
not pity widows and orphans, but now he receives retribution according to his iniquity and
36. And I saw another man in the fiery river up to his knees. Moreover his hands were
stretched out and bloody, and worms proceeded from his mouth and nostrils and he was
groaning and weeping, and crying he said: Have pity on me! for I am hurt above the rest
who are in this punishment. And I asked, Sir, who is this? And he said to me: This man
whom thou seest, was a deacon who devoured the oblations and committed fornications and
did not right in the sight of God, for this cause he unceasingly pays this penalty.
And I looked closely and saw alongside of him another25
man whom they delivered up with haste and cast into the fiery river, and he was (in it) up
to the knees: and there came the angel who was set over the punishments having a great
fiery razor, and with it he cut the lips of that man and the tongue likewise. And sighing,
I lamented and asked: Who is that, sir. And he said to me, He whom thou seest was a reader
and read to the people, but he himself did not keep the precepts of God: now he also pays
the proper penalty.
37. And I saw another multitude of pits in the same place, and in the midst of it a
river full of a multitude of men and women,26 and
worms27 consumed them. But I lamented and sighing
asked the angel and said: Sir, who are these? And he said to me: These are those who
exacted interest28 on interest and trusted in their
riches and did not hope in God that He was their helper.
And after that I looked and saw another place, very narrow, and it was like a wall, and
fire round about it. And I saw inside men and women gnawing29
their tongues, and I asked: Sir, who are these. And he said to me: These are they who in
church disparage the Word of God, not attending to it, but as it were make naught of God
and His angels: for that cause they now likewise pay the proper penalty.
38. And I observed and saw another old man down in a pit and his countenance was like
blood, and I asked and said, Sir, what is this place? And he said to me: Into that pit
stream all the punishments. And I saw men and women immersed up to the lips and I asked,
Sir, who are these? And he said to me: These are the magicians who prepared for men and
women evil magic arts and did not find how to stop them till they died.
And again I saw men and women with very black faces in a pit of fire,30 and I sighed and lamented and asked, Sir, who are these?
And he said to me: These are fornicators and adulterers who committed adultery having
wives of their own: likewise also the women committed adultery having husbands of their
own: therefore they unceasingly suffer penalties.
39. And I saw there girls having black31
raiment, and four terrible angels having in their hands burning chains, and they put them
on the necks of the girls and led them into darkness: and I, again weeping, asked the
angel: Who are these, Sir? And he said to me: These are they who, when they were virgins,
defiled their virginity unknown to their parents; for which cause they unceasingly pay the
And again I observed there men and women with hands cut and their feet placed naked in
a place of ice and snow, and worms devoured them. But seeing them I lamented and asked:
Sir, who are these? And he said to me: These are they who harmed orphans and widows and
the poor,32 and did not hope in the Lord, for which
cause they unceasingly pay the proper penalties.
And I observed and saw others hanging over a channel of water, and their tongues were
very dry, and many fruits were placed in their sight, and they were not permitted to take
of them, and I asked: Sir, who are these? And he said to me: These are they who break
their fast33 before the appointed hour, for this
cause they unceasingly pay these penalties.
And I saw other men and women hanging by their eyebrows and their hair,34 and a fiery river drew them, and I said: Who are these,
my Lord? And he said to me:35 These are they who
join themselves not to their own husbands and wives but to whores, and therefore they
unceasingly pay the proper penalties.
And I saw other men and women covered with dust, and their countenance was like blood,
and they were in a pit of pitch and sulphur and running down into a fiery river, and I
asked: Sir, who are these?36 And he said to me:
These are they who committed the iniquity of Sodom and Gomorrah, the male with the male,
for which reason they unceasingly pay the penalties.
40. And37 I observed and saw men and women
clothed in bright garments, having their eyes blind, placed in a pit, and I asked: Sir,
who are these? And he said to me: These are of the people who did alms, and knew not the
Lord God, for which reason they unceasingly pay the proper penalties. And I observed and
saw other men and women on an obelisk of fire, and beasts tearing them in pieces, and they
were not allowed to say, Lord have pity on us! And I saw the angel38 of penalties putting heavy punishments on them and
saying: Acknowledge the Son of God; for this was predicted to you, when the divine
Scriptures were read to you, and you did not attend; for which cause God's judgment is
just, for your actions have apprehended you and brought you into these penalties. But I
sighed and wept, and I asked and said: Who are these men and women who are strangled in
fire and pay their penalties? And he answered me: These are women who defiled the image of
God when bringing forth infants out of the womb, and these are the men who lay with them.
And their infants addressed the Lord God and the angels who were set over the punishments,
saying:39 Cursed be the hour to our parents, for
they defiled the image of God, having the name of God but not observing His precepts: they
gave us for food to dogs and to be trodden down of swine: others they threw into the
river. But their infants40 were handed over to the
angels of Tartarus who were set over the punishments, that they might lead them to a wide
place of mercy: but their fathers and mothers were tortured in a perpetual punishment.
And after that I saw men and women clothed with rags full of pitch and fiery sulphur,
and dragons were coiled about their necks and shoulders and feet, and angels having fiery
horns restrained them and smote them, and closed their nostrils, saying to them: Why did
ye not know the time in which it was right to repent and serve God, and did not do it? And
I asked: Sir, who are these? And he said to me: These are they who seem to give up the
world for God,41 putting on our garb, but the
impediments of the world made them wretched, not maintaining agapae , and they did
not pity widows and orphans: they did not receive the stranger and the pilgrim, nor did
they offer the oblations, and they did not pity their neighbour. Moreover their prayer did
not even on one day ascend pure to the Lord God, but many impediments of the world
detained them, and they were not able to do right in the sight of God, and the angels
enclosed them in the place of punishments. Moreover they saw those who were in punishments
and said to them: We indeed when we lived in the world neglected God, and ye also did
likewise: as we also truly when we were in the world knew that ye were sinners. But ye
said: These are just and servants of God, now we know why ye were called by the name of
the Lord: for which cause they also pay their own penalties.
And sighing I wept and said: Woe unto men, woe unto sinners! why were they born? And
the angel answered and said unto me: Why dost thou lament?42
Art thou more pitiful than the Lord God who is blessed forever, who established judgment
and sent forth every man to choose good and evil in his own will and do what pleases him?
Then I lamented again very greatly, and he said to me: Dost thou lament when as yet thou
hast not seen greater punishments? Follow me and thou shalt see seven times greater than
41. And he carried me south and placed me above a well, and I found it sealed with
seven seals: and answering, the angel who was with me said to the angel of that place:
Open the mouth of the well that Paul, the well-beloved of God, may see, for authority is
given him that he may see all the pains of hell. And the angel said to me: Stand afar off
that thou mayest be able to bear the stench of this place. When therefore the well was
opened, immediately there arose from it a certain hard and malign stench, which surpasses
all punishments: and I looked into the well and I saw fiery masses glowing in every. part,
and narrow places, and the mouth of the well was narrow so as to admit one man only. And
the angel answered and said unto me: If any man shall have been put into this well of the
abyss and it shall have been sealed over him, no remembrance of him shall ever be made in
the sight of the Father and His Son and the holy angels. And I said: Who are these, Sir,
who are put into this well? And he said to me: They are whoever shall not confess that
Christ has come in the flesh and that the Virgin Mary brought him forth, and whoever says
that the bread and cup of the Eucharist of blessing are not this body and blood of Christ.
42. And I looked to the south in the west and I saw there a43
restless worm and in that place there was gnashing of teeth: moreover the worms were one
cubit long, and had two heads, and there I saw men and women in cold and gnashing of
teeth. And I asked and said, Sir, who are these in this place? And he said to me: These
are they who say that Christ did not rise from the dead and that this flesh will not rise
again. And I asked and said: Sir, is there no fire nor heat in this place? And he said to
me: In this place there is nothing else but cold and snow:44
and again he said to me: Even if the sun should rise upon them, they do not become warm on
account of the superabundant cold of that place and the snow.
But hearing these things I stretched out my hands and wept, and sighing again, I said:
It were better for us if we had not been born,45
all of us who are sinners.
43. But when those who were in the same place saw me weeping with the angel, they
themselves cried out and wept saying, Lord God have mercy upon us! And after these things
I saw the heavens open, and Michael46 the archangel
descending from heaven, and with him was the whole army of angels, and they came to those
who were placed in punishment and seeing him, again weeping, they cried out and said, Have
pity on as! Michael the archangel, have pity on us and on the human race, for on account
of thy prayers the earth standeth. We now see the judgment and acknowledge the Son of God!
It was impossible for us before these things to pray for this, before we entered into this
place: for we heard that there was a judgment before we went out of the world, but
impediments and the life of the world did not allow us to repent. And Michael answered and
said: Hear Michael speaking! I am he who stands in the sight of God every. hour: As the
Lord liveth, in whose sight I stand, I do not intermit one day or one night praying
incessantly for the human race, and I indeed pray for those who are on the earth: but they
do not cease doing iniquity and fornications, and they do not bring to me any good while
they are placed on earth: and ye have consumed in vanity the time in which ye ought to
have repented. But I have always prayed thus and I now beseech that God may send dew and
send forth rains upon the earth, and now I desire until the earth produce its fruits and
verily I say, that if any have done but a little good, I will agonise for him, protecting
him till he have escaped the judgment of penalties. Where therefore are your prayers?
Where are your penances? Ye have lost your time contemptuously. But now weep and I will
weep with you and the angels who are with me with the well-beloved Paul, if perchance the
merciful God will have pity and give you refreshment. But hearing these words they cried
out and wept greatly, and all said with one voice: Have pity on us, Son of God! And I,
Paul, sighed and said: O Lord God! have pity on thy creature, have pity on the sons of
men, have pity on thine image.
44. And I looked and saw the heaven move like a tree shaken by the wind. Suddenly,
moreover, they threw, themselves on their faces in the sight of the throne. And I saw
twenty-four elders and twenty-four thousand adoring God, and I saw an altar and veil and
throne, and all were rejoicing; and the smoke of a good odour was raised near the altar of
the throne of God, and I heard the voice of one saying: For the sake of what do ye our
angels and ministers intercede? And they cried out saying: We intercede seeing thy many
kindnesses to the human race. And after these things I saw the Son of God descending from
heaven, and a diadem was on his head. And seeing him those who were placed in punishment
exclaimed all with one voice saying: Have pity, Son of the High God! Thou art He who
shewest refreshment for all in the heavens and on earth, and on us likewise have pity, for
since we have seen Thee, we have refreshment. And a voice went out from the Son of God
through all the punishments saying: And what work have ye done that ye demand refreshment
from me? My blood was poured out for your sakes, and not even so did ye repent: for your
sakes I wore the crown of thorns on my head: for you I received buffets on my cheeks, and
not even so did ye repent. I asked water when hanging on the cross and they gave me
vinegar mixed with gall, with a spear they opened my right side, for my name's sake they
slew my prophets and just men, and in all these things I gave you a place of repentance
and ye would not. Now, however, for the sake of Michael the archangel of my covenant and
the angels who are with him, and because of Paul the well-beloved, whom I would not vex,
for the sake of your brethren who are in the world and offer oblations, and for the sake
of your sons, because my precepts are in them, and more for the sake of mine own kindness,
on the day on which I rose from the dead, I give to you all who are in punishment a night
and a day of refreshment forever. And they all cried out and said, We bless thee, Son of
God, that Thou hast given us a night and a day of respite. For better to us is a
refreshment of one day above all the time of our life which we were on earth, and if we
had plainly known that this was intended for those who sin, we would have worked no other
work, we would have done no business, and we would have done no iniquity: what need had we
for pride in the world? For here our pride is crushed which ascended from our mouth
against our neighbour: our plagues and excessive straitness and the tears and the worms
which are under us, these are much worse to us than the pains which we have left behind
us. When they said thus, the malign angels of the penalties were angered with them,
saying: How long do ye lament and sigh? for ye had no pity. For this is the judgment of
God who had no pity. But ye received this great grace of a day and a night's refreshment
on the Lord's Day for the sake of Paul the well-beloved of God who descended to you.
45. And after that the angel said to me: Hast thou seen all these things? And I said:
Yes, Sir. And he said to me: Follow me and I will lead thee into Paradise, that the just
who are there may see thee, for lo! they hope to see thee, and they are ready to come to
meet thee in joy and gladness. And I followed the angel by the impulse of the Holy Spirit,
and he placed me in Paradise and said to me: This is Paradise in which Adam and his wife
erred. Moreover I entered Paradise and saw the beginning of waters, and there was an angel
making a sign to me and he said to me: Observe, said he, the waters, for this is the river
of Physon which surrounds all the land of Evilla, and the second is Geon which surrounds
all the land of Egypt and Ethiopia, and the third is Thigris which is over against the
Assyrians, and another is Eufrates which waters all the land of Mesopotamia. And when I
had gone inside I saw a tree planted from whose roots water flowed out, and from this
beginning there were four rivers. And the spirit of God rested on that tree, and when the
Spirit blew, the waters flowed forth, and I said: My Lord, is it this tree itself which
makes the waters flow? And he said to me: That from the beginning, before the heavens and
earth were manifested, and all things here invisible, the Spirit of God was borne upon the
waters, but from the time when the command of God made the heavens and earth to appear,
the Spirit rested upon this tree: wherefore whenever the Spirit blows, the waters flow
forth from the tree. And he held me by the hand and led me near the tree of knowledge of
good and evil, and he said: This is the tree by which death entered into the world, and
receiving of it through his wife Adam ate and death entered into the world. And he shewed
me another tree in the midst of Paradise, and saith to me: This is the tree of life.
46. While I was yet looking upon the tree, I saw a virgin coming from afar and two
hundred angels before her saying hymns, and I asked and said: Sir, who is she who comes in
so great glory? And he said to me: This is Mary the Virgin, the Mother of the Lord. And
coming near she saluted me and said: Hail, Paul! well-beloved of God and angels and men.
For all the saints prayed my Son Jesus who is my Lord that thou mightest come hither in
the body that they might see thee before thou goest out of the world. And the Lord said to
them: Bear and be patient: yet a little and ye shall see him and he shall be with you for
ever: and again they all said to him together: Do not vex us, for we desire to see him in
the flesh, for by him Thy name was greatly glorified in the world, and we have seen that
he endured all the labours whether of the greater or of the less. This we learn from those
who come hither. For when we say: Who is he who directed you in the world? they reply to
us: There is one in the world whose name is Paul, he preaches and announces Christ, and we
believe that many have entered into the kingdom through the virtue and sweetness of his
speeches. Behold all the just men are behind me coming to meet thee, Paul, and I first
come for this cause to meet them who did the will of my Son and my Lord Jesus Christ, I
first advance to meet them and do not send them away to be as wanderers until they meet in
47. When she had thus spoken, I saw three coming from afar, very beautiful in the
likeness of Christ, and their forms were shining, and their angels, and I asked: Sir, who
are these? And he said to me: Dost thou not know those? And I said: No, Sir. And he
answered: These are the fathers of the people, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And coming near
they saluted me, and said: Hail, Paul, well-beloved of God and men; blessed is he who
suffers violence for the Lord's sake. And Abraham answered me and said: This is my son
Isaac, and Jacob my well-beloved, and we have known the Lord and followed him; blessed are
all they who believed in thy word, that they may be able to inherit the Kingdom of God by
labour, by renunciation, and sanctification, and humility, and charity, and meekness, and
fight faith in the Lord; and we also have had devotion to the Lord whom thou preachest in
the testament, that we might assist those who believed in him with their whole soul, and
might minister unto them as fathers minister to their children.
When they had thus spoken, I saw other twelve coming from afar in honour, and I asked:
Sir, who are these? And he said: These are the patriarchs. And coming near they saluted me
and said: Hail, Paul, well-beloved of God and men: the Lord did not vex us, that we might
see thee yet in the body, before thou goest out of the world. And each one of them
reminded me of his name in order, from Ruben to Benjamin: and Joseph said to me: I am he
who was sold; but I say to thee, Paul, that all the things, whatever my brothers did to
me, in nothing did I act maliciously with them, nor in all the labour which they imposed
on me, nor in any point was I hurt by them on that account from morning till evening:
blessed is he who receives some hurt on account of the Lord, and bears it, for the Lord
will repay it to him manifold, when he shall have gone out of the world.
48. When he had spoken thus far, I saw another beautiful one coming from afar, and his
angels saying hymns, and I asked: Sir, who is this that is beautiful of countenance? And
he saith to me: Dost thou not know him? And I said: No, Sir. And he said to me: This is
Moses the law-giver, to whom God gave the law. And when he had come near me, he
immediately wept, and after that he saluted me: and I said to him: What dost thou lament?
for I have heard that thou excellest every. man in meekness. And he answered saying: I
weep for those whom I planted with toil, because they did not bear fruit, nor did any
profit by them; and I saw all the sheep whom I fed, that they were scattered and become as
if they had no shepherd, and because all the toils which I endured for the sake of the
sons of Israel were accounted as naught, and how greatso-ever virtues I did in the midst
of them these they did not understand, and I wonder that strangers and uncircumcised and
idol-worshippers have been converted and have entered into the promises of God, but Israel
has not entered; and now I say unto thee, brother Paul, that in that hour when the people
hanged Jesus whom thou preachest, that the Father, the God of all, who gave me the law,
and Michael and all the angels and archangels, and Abraham and Isaac, and Jacob, and all
the just wept over the Son of God hanging on the cross. In that hour all the saints
attended on me looking (upon me) and they said to me: See, Moses, what men of thy people
have done to the Son of God. Wherefore thou art blessed, Paul, and blessed the generation
and race which believed in thy word.
49. When he had spoken thus far, there came other twelve, and seeing me said: Art thou
Paul the glorified in heaven and on earth? And I answered and said: What are ye? The first
answered and said: I am Esaias whom Manasses cut asunder with a wooden saw. And the second
said likewise: I am Jeremias who was stoned by the children of Israel and slain. And the
third said: I am Ezekiel whom the children of Israel dragged by the feet over a rock in a
mountain till they knocked out my brains, and we endured all these toils, wishing to save
the children of Israel: and I say unto thee that after the toils which they laid upon me,
I cast myself on my face in the sight of the Lord praying for them, bending my knees until
the second hour of the Lord's day, till Michael came and lifted me up from the earth.
Blessed art thou, Paul, and blessed the nation which believed through thee.
And as these passed by, I saw another, beautiful of countenance, and I asked: Sir, Who
is this? Who when he had seen me, rejoiced and said to me: This is Lot47 who was found just in Sodom. And approaching48 he saluted me and said: Blessed art thou, Paul, and
blessed the generation to which thou didst minister. And I answered and said to him: Art
thou Lot who wast found just in Sodom? And he said: I entertained angels, as travellers,
and when they of the city wished to violate them, I offered them my two virgin daughters
who had not yet known men, and gave them to them saying: use them as ye will, but only to
these men ye shall do no evil; for this cause they entered under the roof of my house. For
this cause, therefore, we ought to be confident and know that if anyone shall have done
anything, God shall repay him manifold when they shall come to him. Blessed art thou,
Paul, and blessed the nation which believed in thy word.
When, therefore, he had ceased talking to me, I saw another coming from a distance,
very beautiful of countenance, and smiling, and his angels saying hymns: and I said to the
angel who was with me: Has then each of the just an angel for companion? And he said to
me: Each one of the saints has his own (angel) assisting him, and saying a hymn, and the
one does not depart from the other. And I said: Who is this, Sir? And he said: This is
Job. And approaching, he saluted me and said: Brother Paul, thou hast great praise with
God and men. And I am Job, who laboured much for a period of thirty years from a plague in
the blood; and verily in the beginning, the wounds which went forth from my body were like
grains of wheat. But on the third day, they became as the foot of an ass; worms moreover
which fell four digits in length: and on the third (day) the devil appeared and said to
me: Say something against God and die. I said to him: If such be the will of God that I
should remain under a plague all the time of my life till I die, I shall not cease from
blessing the Lord, and I shall receive more reward. For I know that the labours of that
world are nothing to the refreshment which is afterwards: for which cause blessed art
thou, Paul, and blessed the nation which believed through thee.
50. When he had spoken thus far, another came calling from afar and saying: Blessed art
thou, Paul, and blessed am I because I saw thee, the beloved of the Lord. And I asked the
angel: Sir, who is this? And he answered and said unto me: This is Noe in the time of the
deluge. And immediately we saluted each other: and greatly rejoicing he said to me: Thou
art Paul the most beloved of God. And I asked him: Who art thou? And he said: I am Noe,
who was in the time of the deluge. And I say to thee, Paul, that working for a hundred
years, I made the ark, not putting off the tunic with which I was clad, nor did I cut the
hair of my head. Till then also I cherished continence, not approaching my own wife: in
those hundred years not a hair of my head grew in length, nor did my garments become
soiled: and I besought men at all times saying: Repent, for a deluge of waters will come
upon you. But they laughed at me, and mocked my words; and again they said to me: But this
is the time of those who are able to play and sin freely, desiring her with whom it is
possible to commit fornication frequently: for God does not regard this, and does not know
what things are done by us men, and there is no flood of waters straightway coming upon
this world. And they did not cease from their sins, till God destroyed all flesh which had
the breath of life in it. Know then that God loveth one just man more than all the world
of the impious. Wherefore, blessed art thou, Paul, and blessed is the nation which
believes through thee.
51. And turning round, I saw other just ones coming from afar, and I asked the angel:
Sir, who are those? And he answered me: These are Elias and Eliseus.49 And they saluted me: and I said to them: Who are ye? And
one of them answered and said: I am Elias, the prophet of God; I am Elias who prayed, and
because of my word, the heaven did not rain for three years and six months, on account of
the unrighteousness of men. God is just and true, who doeth the will of his servants: for
the angels often besought the Lord for rain, and he said: Be patient till my servant Elias
shall pray and petition for this and I will send rain on the earth.50
The End of the Vision of Saint Paul.
Notes to the Text:
1 Theodosius the younger and Cynegius, Consuls,
2 The waters (not in Greek version); rivers in
3 The earth (not in Greek version, but in
4 Cf. Test. Of Abraham, Rec. B, iv.
5 Cf. Test. Of Abraham, Rec. B, §4.
6 Cf. Test. Of Abraham, Rec. A, §12.
7 Cf. Ascension of Isaiah ix. 9.
8 And the sun. Not in Greek : Elias in
9 (Not in Syriac.)
10 Cf. Rev. of Peter. 15.
11 Cf. Enoch.
12 Cf. Papias. ap. Iren. Hacr. V. 33, 3,
13 (In Syriac, but not in Greek version.)
14 The Greek has not the golden ship, the angels
or the walls. They are given in the Syriac.
15 Not in the Greek, but given in the Syriac. Cf.
Genesis ii. 11ff.
16 Names not in the Greek. Isaiah, Jeremiah,
Ezekiel, Moses and all the Prophets in the Syriac.
17 Names not in the Greek or Syriac.
18 Not in Greek, which here has the altar in the
city and David. The Syriac is the same as the Latin.
19 Not in the Greek. Cf. Ascension of Isaiah
20 These letters are unintelligible. In the Greek
version, the interpretation of Alleluia is given as thebel marematha, which is also
unintelligible. In the Syriac the interpretation of Alleluia is correctly given.
21 Not in Greek or Syriac.
22 Not in the Greek or Syriac.
23 The Greek has here thieves and slanderers.
24 Passage probably corrupt.
25 Not in the Greek but in the Syriac.
26 Not in the Greek. The Syraic has simply those
who trusted in their riches.
27 Cf. Rev. of Peter, 27.
28 Cf. Rev. of Peter, 31.
29 Cf. Rev. of Peter, 29.
30 Cf. Rev. of Peter, 24. Not in the Greek. The
Syraic has darkness the torment of patriarchs, bishops, etc.
31 Cf. Rev. of Peter xxi. 30, Not in jSyriac.
32 Cf. Rev. of Peter, 30. Not in the Greek.
33 Not in the Greek.
34 Not in the Greek.
35 Cf. Rev. of Peter, 24.
36 Cf. Rev. of Peter, 32. Not in the Greek.
37 Not in the Greek. Whole section omitted in the
38 Cf. Rev. of Peter xxi. 23.
39 Cf. Rev. of Peter, 26
40 Cf. Rev. of Peter. Fragments 4, 5.
41 Not in the Greek.
42 Not in Greek.
43 Cf. Rev,. of Peter, 27
44 Not in the Greek.
45 Cf. Esdras, Ante-Nicene Lib., vol. Viii., p.
46 Gabriel in the Greek version.
47 Lot and Job, in the Syriac but not in the
48 For adproprians read adpropinquans.
49 Elias and Eliseus. Latin and Syriac. The Greek
has Enoch and Elijah.
50 The Latin version here breaks off abruptly, as
does also the Greek. In the Syriac as translated by the Rev. J. Perkins, D.D. (cf. Journal
of Sacred Literature, N. S., vi., 1865, p. 399), the narrative runs as follows: "And
often the angels asked that he would give them rain, and he gave not, until I called upon
him again; then he gave unto them. But blessed art thou, O Paul, that thy generation, and
those thou teachest. are the sons of the Kingdom. And know thou, O Paul. that everyman who
believes through thee hath a great blessing, and a blessing is reserved for him."
Then he departed from me.
And the angel who was with me led me forth, and said unto me: "Lo, unto thee is
given this mystery and revelation: as thou pleasest, make it known unto the sons of
men." And I, Paul, returned unto myself, and I knew all that I had seen; and in life
I had not rest that I might reveal this mystery, but I wrote it and deposited it under the
ground and the foundation of a certain faithful man with whom I used to be, in Tarsus, a
city of Cilicia. And when I was released from this life of time and stood before my Lord,
thus said He unto me: "Paul, have we shown all these things unto thee. that thou
shouldst deposit them under the foundation of a house? Then send, and disclose, concerning
this Revelation that men may read it, and turn to the way of truth, that they also may not
come to these bitter torments."
Then follows the story of the discovery of the Revelation at Tarsus in the reign of
Theodosius as given at the beginning of the Greek and Latin versions.
51 In this Apocalypse and that of Sedrach which
follows, the test is in many places so obviously corrupt that the translator cannot be
confident that he has given the correct meaning of the original in all cases.-A.R.