The Ante-Nicene Fathers ranges from the Apostolic Fathers to various third and fourth century sources including the liturgies and ancient Syriac documents. It was intended to comprise translations into English of all the extant works of the Fathers (with the exception of the more bulky works of Origen) down to the date of the first General Council held at Nicaea in 325 A.D. This American edition by Arthur Cleveland Coxe is a revision of the original series edited by Alexander Roberts and Sir James Donaldson and published in Edinburgh. The revision involves a major rearrangement to conform to the historical sequence, the addition of brief introductions and notes indicating variances in readings, specifying references to scripture or literature, clarifying obscure passages, and noting corruptions or distortions of patristic testimony (as forged in the Decretals). The basic aim of the translations has been to strive for literary exactness, placing the English reader as nearly as possible on an equal footing with those who are able to read the original.
Volume 1: Apostolic Fathers, Justin Martyr, Inrenaeus
Volume 2: Hermas, Tatian, Athenagoras, Theophilus, Clement of Alexandria
Volume 3: Tertullian
Volume 4: Tertullian (IV), Minucius Felix, Commodian, Origen
Volume 5: Hippolytus, Cyprian, Caius, Novatian, Appendix
Volume 6: Gregory Thaumaturgus, Dionysius the Great, Julius Africanus, Anatolius and Minor Writers, Methodius, Arnobius
Volume 7: Lactantius, Venantius, Asterius, Victorinus, Dionysius, Apostolic Teaching and Constitutions, Homily, and Liturgies
Volume 8: Twelve Patriarchs, Excerpts and Epistles, The Clementina, Aprocryphal Gospels and Acts, Syriac Documents
Volume 9: Gospel of Peter, Diatessaron, Testament of Abraham, Epistles of Clement, Origen and Miscellaneous Works
Volume 10: Bibliography, General Index, Annotated Index of Authors and Works
Hardcover: 6448 pages
Publisher: Hendrickson Pub; Revised edition (February 1, 1996)
Consummation of Thomas the Apostle
Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. VIII
translations follow Tischendorf
from: The Writings of the Fathers down to a.d. 325
Rev. Alexander Roberts, D.D., and James Donaldson, LL.D.
Consummation of Thomas the Apostle
At the command of King Misdeus2395 the blessed Apostle Thomas was cast into prison; and he said: I glorify God, and I shall preach the word to the prisoners, so that all rejoiced at his presence. When, therefore, Juzanes the king's son, and Tertia his mother, and Mygdonia, and Markia, had become believers, but were not yet thought worthy of baptism, they took it exceedingly ill that the blessed one had been shut up. And having come to the prison, and given much money to the jailor,2396 they went in to him. And he, seeing them, was glad, and glorified the Lord, and blessed them. And they entreated and begged the seal in the Lord, a beautiful young man having appeared to them in a dream, and ordered the apostle into the house of Juzanes.
And again the beautiful young man coming to them and Thomas, bade them do this on the coming night. And he ran before them, and gave them light on the way, and without noise opened the doors that had been secured, until all the mystery was completed. And having made them communicate in the Eucharist, and having talked much with them, and confirmed them in the faith, and commended them to the Lord, he went forth thence, leaving the women, and again went to be shut up.2397 And they grieved and wept because Misdeus the king was to kill him.
And Thomas went and found the jailors fighting, and saying: What wrong have we done to that sorcerer, that, availing himself of his magic art, he has opened the doors of the prison, and wishes to set all the prisoners free? But let us go and let the king know about his wife and his son.2398 And when he came they stripped him, and girded him with a girdle; and thus they stood before the king.
And Misdeus said to him: Art thou a slave, or a freeman? And Thomas answered and said to him: I am not2399 a slave, and thou hast no power against me at all. And how, said Misdeus, hast thou run away and come to this country? And Thomas said: I came here that I might save many, and that I might by thy hands depart from this body. Misdeus says to him: Who is thy master? and what is his name? and of what country, and of whom is he? My Lord, says Thomas, is my Master and thine, being the Lord of heaven and earth. And Misdeus said: What is he called? And Thomas said: Thou canst not know His true name at this time; but I tell thee the name that has been given Him for a season—Jesus the Christ. And Misdeus said: I have not been in a hurry2400 to destroy thee, but have restrained myself; but thou hast made a display of works, so that thy sorceries have been heard of in all the country. But now this will I do,2401 that thy sorceries may also perish with thee, that our nation may be purified from them. And Thomas said: Dost thou call these things which will follow me sorceries? They shall never be removed from the people here.
And while these things were saying, Misdeus was considering in what manner he should put him to death; for he was afraid of the multitude standing round, many, even some of the chief men, having believed in him. And he arose, and took Thomas outside of the city; and a few soldiers accompanied him with their arms. And the rest of the multitude thought that the king was wishing to learn something from him; and they stood and observed him closely. And when they had gone forth three stadia, he delivered him to four soldiers, and to one of the chief officers,2402 and ordered them to take him up into the mountain and spear him; but he himself returned to the city.
And those present ran to Thomas, eager to rescue him; but he was led away by the soldiers who were with him. For there were two on each side having hold of him, because of sorcery. And the chief officer held him by the hand, and led him with honour. And at the same time the blessed apostle said: O the hidden mysteries of Thee, O Lord! for even to the close of life is fulfilled in us the riches of Thy grace, which does not allow us to be without feeling as to the body. For, behold, four have laid hold of me, and one leads me, since I belong to One, to whom I am going always invisibly. But now I learn that my Lord also, since He was a stranger, to whom I am going, who also is always present with me invisibly, was struck by one; but I am struck by four.2403
And when they came to that place where they were to spear him, Thomas spoke thus to those spearing him: Hear me now, at least, when I am departing from my body; and let not your eyes be darkened in understanding, nor your ears shut up so as not to hear those things in which you have believed the God whom I preach, after being delivered in your souls from rashness; and behave in a manner becoming those who are free, being void of human glory, and live the life towards God. And he said to Juzanes: Son of an earthly king, but servant of Jesus Christ, give what is due to those who are to fulfil the command2404 of Misdeus, in order that I may go apart from them and pray. And Juzanes having paid the soldiers, the apostle betook himself to prayer; and it was as follows:—
My Lord, and my God, and hope, and leader, and guide in all countries, I follow Thee along with all that serve Thee, and do Thou guide me this day on my way to Thee. Let no one take my soul, which Thou hast given to me. Let not publicans and beggars look upon me, nor let serpents slander me, and let not the children of the dragon hiss at me. Behold, I have fulfilled Thy work, and accomplished what Thou gavest me to do. I have become a slave, that I might receive freedom from Thee; do then give it to me, and make me perfect. And this I say not wavering, but that they may hear who need to hear. I glorify Thee in all, Lord and Master; for to Thee is due glory for ever. Amen.
And when he had prayed, he said to the soldiers: Come and finish the work of him that sent you. And the four struck him at once, and killed him. And all the brethren wept, and wrapped him up in beautiful shawls, and many linen cloths, and laid him in the tomb in which of old the kings used to be buried.
And Syphor and Juzanes did not go to the city, but spent the whole day there, and waited during the night. And Thomas appeared to them, and said: I am not there; why do you sit watching? for I have gone up, and received the things I hoped for; but rise up and walk, and after no long time you shall be brought beside me. And Misdeus and Charisius2405 greatly afflicted Tertia and Mygdonia, but did not persuade them to abandon their opinions. And Thomas appeared, and said to them: Forget not the former things, for the holy and sanctifying Jesus Himself will aid you. And Misdeus and Charisius, when they could not persuade them not
to be of this opinion, granted them their own will. And all the brethren assembled together, for the blessed one had made Syphorus2406 a presbyter in the mountain, and Juzanius2407 a deacon, when he was led away to die. And the Lord helped them, and increased the faith by means of them.
And after a long time, it happened that one of the sons of Misdeus was a demoniac; and the demon being stubborn, no one was able to heal him. And Misdeus considered, and said: I shall go and open the tomb, and take a bone of the apostle's body, and touch my son with it, and I know that he will be healed. And he went to do what he had thought of. And the blessed apostle appeared to him, and said: Thou didst not believe in me when alive; how wilt thou believe in me when I am dead? Fear not. Jesus Christ is kindly disposed to thee, through His great clemency. And Misdeus, when he did not find the bones (for one of the brethren had taken them, and carried them into the regions of the West2408), took some dust from where the bones had lain, and touched his son with it, and said: I believe in Thee, Jesus, now when he has left me who always afflicts men, that they may not look to Thy light which giveth understanding, O Lord, kind to men. And his son being healed in this manner, he met with the rest of the brethren who were under the rule of Syphorus, and entreated the brethren to pray for him, that he might obtain mercy from our Lord Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
2394 The following translation of a ms. in the Bodleian Library, transcribed by Tischendorf (Apocal. Apocr., p. 158), gives a fuller account of the martyrdom of St. Thomas:—
MARTYRDOM OF THE HOLY AND ALL-RENOWNED APOSTLE THOMAS.
After the apostle had gone forth, according to the command of our Lord, and God, and Saviour Jesus Christ, the Lord appeared to him, saying: Peace to thee, my disciple and apostle! And the apostle fell on his face on the ground, and prayed the Lord to reveal to him the circumstances of his precious departure. And the Lord said to him: Misdæus is contriving a plan to destroy thee very soon; but, behold, he will come to me. And after having sealed him, He ascended into the heavens. And the apostle taught the people, and there was added unto the flock of Christ. But some men who hated Christ accused him before King Misdeus, saying: Destroy this sorcerer, who corrupts and deceives the people in this new one God whom he proclaims. Moreover, he has deceived thy lady and thy son. On hearing this, Misdeus, without inquiry, ordered him to be laid hold of, and shut up in prison. And they quickly did what they were ordered, and threw him into the prison, and sealed it. And when the women who believed in God had heard that Judas was shut up, they gave a great sum of money to the warders, and went in to him in the prison. And the apostle says to them: My daughters, handmaidens of Jesus Christ, listen to me. In my last day I address you, because I shall no more speak in the body; for, lo, I am taken up to my Lord Jesus Christ, who has had pity upon me, who humbled Himself even to my littleness. And I rejoice that the time is at hand for my change from this, that I may depart and receive my reward in the end; for my Lord is just. And at the end of his discourse to them, he said: O my Saviour, who hast endured much for our sake, let Thy mercies be upon us. And he sent them away, saying: The grace of the Holy Spirit be with you! And they grieved and wept, knowing that King Misdeus was going to put him to death. And Judas heard the warders contending with each other, and saying: Let us go and tell the king, Thy wife and thy son are going to the prison to this sorcerer, and for their sakes thou shouldst put him to death soon. And at dawn they arose and went to King Misdeus, and said: My Lord, release that sorcerer, or cause him to be shut up elsewhere; for though we shut in the prisoners, and secure the doors, when we rise we find them opened. Nay, more: thy wife and son will not keep away from the man any more than the rest of them. And when the king heard this, he went to look at the seals. And he looked all about them on the doors, and found them as they were. Then he said to the jailors: What are you telling lies about? for certainly these seals are quite safe: and how do you say that Tertia, and Mygdonia, and my son go within the prison? And the warders said: We have told thee the truth, O king. And after this the king went into the prison, and sent for the apostle. And when he came, they took off his girdle, and set him before the tribunal. And the king said: Art thou a slave, or free? And Thomas said: I am One's slave. Thou hast no power over me whatever. And Misdæus says: Didst thou run away and come to this country? Thomas: I came here to save many, and I am to depart from my body by thy hands. Misdæus says to him: Who is thy master? and what is his name? and what country dost thou belong to? Thomas: Thou canst not hear His true name at this time; but I tell thee the name that has been given Him for the time: it is Jesus the Christ. And Misdæus says: I have been in no hurry to put thee to death, but have restrained myself; but thou hast made a display of thy works, so that thy sorceries have been heard of in every country. But no; I shall bring thee to an end, that thy sorceries may be destroyed, and our nation purified. And Thomas said: What thou callest sorceries shall abound in me, and never be removed from the people here. And after this was said, Misdeus reflected in what manner he should put the apostle to death, for he was afraid of the people standing by who believed. And he arose and took Thomas outside of the city; and he was accompanied by a few armed soldiers. And the multitude suspected that the king was plotting about him, and stood and addressed themselves to him. And when they had gone forth three stadia, he delivered him to four soldiers and one of the polemarchs, and ordered them to spear him on the mountain; and he returned to the city. And those who were present ran to Thomas, eager to rescue him. And he was led away, accompanied by the soldiers, two on each side.…And Thomas, walking along, said: O Thy secret mysteries, O Jesus! for even unto the end of life are they fulfilled in us. O the riches of Thy grace!…for, lo, how four have laid hold of me, since of four elements…(Here the fragment ends.) [Thems. in which this occurs is not that one which has been so frequently cited in the preceding Apocryphal Acts.—R.]
2395 Pseudo-Abdias, in his Histories of the Apostles, has as follows: Wherefore, in a rage, Mesdeus king of India thrust into prison the Apostle Thomas, and Zuganes his son, and several others.
2396 Abdias: Treptia, who was the king's wife, and Mygdonia the wife of Charisius, one of the king's friends, and Narchia the nurse, gave the jailor 360 pieces of silver, and were let in to the apostle.
2397 Abdias: Thomas stood in the prison, and said: Lord Jesus, who didst endure very much for us, let the gates be shut as they were before, and the seals be made again on the same doors.
2398 Abdias gives an account of the king going to the prison, and disbelieving the report of the warders, because he found the seals on the doors as he had left them.
2399 The not should, by the context, be omitted. [So Pseudo-Abdias.—R.]
2400 Reading ἠπείχθην for ἀπήχθην.
2401 i.e., I will so act.
2402 Lit., polemarchs, who in the early times of Athens combined the duties of Foreign Secretary and War Secretary, and sometimes took the command in the field.
2403 Abdias: The apostle said that great and divine mysteries were revealed in his death, since he was led by four soldiers, because he consisted of four elements; and the Lord Jesus had been struck by one man, because He knew that one Father had begotten Him.
2404 Lit., the servants of the order.
2405 The husband of Mygdonia.
2406 These names are slightly different in form in this paragraph.
2407 These names are slightly different in form in this paragraph.
2408 Abdias: and buried them in the city of Edessa. [The translator cites the readings of Pseudo-Abdias, as given by Tischendorf (from Fabricius), as those of "Abdias." The same form of citation appears in the footnotes to the Martyrdom of Bartholomew, pp. 553–557.—R.]
Never in your long ascendancy will you lose the power to recognize your associates of former existences. Always, as you ascend inward in the scale of life, will you retain the ability to recognize and fraternize with the fellow beings of your previous and lower levels of experience. Each new translation or resurrection will add one more group of spirit beings to your vision range without in the least depriving you of the ability to recognize your friends and fellows of former estates.
Princess Bride 1987 Wallace Shawn (Vizzini) and Mandy Patinkin (Inigo Montoya)
Vizzini: HE DIDN'T FALL? INCONCEIVABLE.
Inigo Montoya: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
And here is mystery: The more closely man approaches God through love, the greater the reality -- actuality -- of that man. The more man withdraws from God, the more nearly he approaches nonreality -- cessation of existence. When man consecrates his will to the doing of the Father's will, when man gives God all that he has, then does God make that man more than he is.
"And do you not remember that I said to you once before that, if you had your spiritual eyes anointed, you would then see the heavens opened and behold the angels of God ascending and descending? It is by the ministry of the angels that one world may be kept in touch with other worlds, for have I not repeatedly told you that I have other sheep not of this fold?"
But we know that there dwells within the human mind a fragment of God, and that there sojourns with the human soul the Spirit of Truth; and we further know that these spirit forces conspire to enable material man to grasp the reality of spiritual values and to comprehend the philosophy of universe meanings. But even more certainly we know that these spirits of the Divine Presence are able to assist man in the spiritual appropriation of all truth contributory to the enhancement of the ever-progressing reality of personal religious experience—God-consciousness.
When you are through down here, when your course has been run in temporary form on earth, when your trial trip in the flesh is finished, when the dust that composes the mortal tabernacle "returns to the earth whence it came"; then, it is revealed, the indwelling "Spirit shall return to God who gave it." There sojourns within each moral being of this planet a fragment of God, a part and parcel of divinity. It is not yet yours by right of possession, but it is designedly intended to be one with you if you survive the mortal existence.
And the greatest of all the unfathomable mysteries of God is the phenomenon of the divine indwelling of mortal minds. The manner in which the Universal Father sojourns with the creatures of time is the most profound of all universe mysteries; the divine presence in the mind of man is the mystery of mysteries.
To every spirit being and to every mortal creature in every sphere and on every world of the universe of universes, the Universal Father reveals all of his gracious and divine self that can be discerned or comprehended by such spirit beings and by such mortal creatures. God is no respecter of persons, either spiritual or material. The divine presence which any child of the universe enjoys at any given moment is limited only by the capacity of such a creature to receive and to discern the spirit actualities of the supermaterial world.
Paradise is the eternal center of the universe of universes and the abiding place of the Universal Father, the Eternal Son, the Infinite Spirit, and their divine co-ordinates and associates. This central Isle is the most gigantic organized body of cosmic reality in all the master universe. Paradise is a material sphere as well as a spiritual abode. All of the intelligent creation of the Universal Father is domiciled on material abodes; hence must the absolute controlling center also be material, literal. And again it should be reiterated that spirit things and spiritual beings are real.
Culture presupposes quality of mind; culture cannot be enhanced unless mind is elevated. Superior intellect will seek a noble culture and find some way to attain such a goal. Inferior minds will spurn the highest culture even when presented to them ready-made.
True liberty is the associate of genuine self-respect; false liberty is the consort of self-admiration. True liberty is the fruit of self-control; false liberty, the assumption of self-assertion. Self-control leads to altruistic service; self-admiration tends towards the exploitation of others for the selfish aggrandizement of such a mistaken individual as is willing to sacrifice righteous attainment for the sake of possessing unjust power over his fellow beings.
How dare the self-willed creature encroach upon the rights of his fellows in the name of personal liberty when the Supreme Rulers of the universe stand back in merciful respect for these prerogatives of will and potentials of personality! No being, in the exercise of his supposed personal liberty, has a right to deprive any other being of those privileges of existence conferred by the Creators and duly respected by all their loyal associates, subordinates, and subjects.
There is no error greater than that species of self-deception which leads intelligent beings to crave the exercise of power over other beings for the purpose of depriving these persons of their natural liberties. The golden rule of human fairness cries out against all such fraud, unfairness, selfishness, and unrighteousness.