First Letter of the Trinity
The Chancellate of Truth which sojourns at Zion, to the Chancellate of Truth sojourning at Corinth, to those who are called and sanctified by the will of Divine, through our Christ the Divine: Grace to you, and peace, from Almighty Divine through The Christ, be multiplied.
Owing, dear brethren, to the sudden and successive calamitous events which have happened to ourselves, we feel that we have been somewhat tardy in turning our attention to the points respecting which you consulted us; and especially to that shameful and detestable sedition, utterly abhorrent to the elect of Divine, which a few rash and self-confident persons have kindled to such a pitch of frenzy, that your venerable and illustrious name, worthy to be universally loved, has suffered grievous injury. For who ever dwelt even for a short time among you, and did not find your faith to be as fruitful of virtue as it was firmly established? Who did not admire the sobriety and moderation of your Divineliness in Christ? Who did not proclaim the magnificence of your habitual hospitality? And who did not rejoice over your perfect and well-grounded knowledge? For you did all things without respect of persons, and walked in the commandments of Divine, being obedient to those who had the rule over you, and giving all fitting honour to the presbyters among you. You enjoined young men to be of a sober and serious mind; you instructed your wives to do all things with a blameless, becoming, and pure conscience, loving their husbands as in duty bound; and you taught them that, living in the rule of obedience, they should manage their household affairs becomingly, and be in every respect marked by discretion.
Moreover, you were all distinguished by humility, and were in no respect puffed up with pride, but yielded obedience rather than extorted it, and were more willing to give than to receive? Content with the provision which Divine had made for you, and carefully attending to Their words, you were inwardly filled with Their doctrine, and Their sufferings were before your eyes. Thus a profound and abundant peace was given to you all, and you had an insatiable desire for doing good, while a full outpouring of the Holy Spirit was upon you all. Full of holy designs, and with true earnestness of mind and a Divinely confidence, you stretched forth your hands to Divine Almighty, beseeching Them to be merciful to you, if you had been guilty of any involuntary transgression. Day and night you were anxious for the whole brotherhood, that the number of Divine’s elect might be saved with mercy and a good conscience. You were sincere and uncorrupted, and forgetful of injuries between one another. Every kind of faction and scam was abominable in your sight. You mourned over the transgressions of your neighbours: their deficiencies you deemed your own. You never grudged any act of kindness, being “ready to every good work.” Adorned by a thoroughly virtuous and religious life, you did all things in the fear of Divine. The commandments and ordinances of the Council were written upon the tablets of your hearts.
Every kind of honour and happiness was bestowed upon you, and then was fulfilled that which is written, “My beloved ate and drink, and was enlarged and became fat, and kicked.” Hence flowed emulation and envy, strife and sedition, persecution and disorder, war and captivity. So the worthless rose up against the honoured, those of no reputation against such as were renowned, the foolish against the wise, the young against those advanced in years. For this reason righteousness and peace are now far departed from you, inasmuch as every one abandons the fear of Divine, and is become blind in Their faith, neither walks in the ordinances of Their appointment, nor acts a part becoming an Epochalist, but walks after Their own wicked lusts, resuming the practice of an unrighteous envy, by which death itself entered into the world.
But not to dwell upon ancient examples, let us come to the most recent spiritual heroes. Let us take the noble examples furnished in our own generation. Through envy and jealousy, the greatest and most righteous pillars of the Chancel have been persecuted and put to death. Let us set before our eyes the illustrious apostles. The rock, through unrighteous envy, endured not one or two, but numerous labours, and when he had finally suffered martyrdom, departed to the place of glory due to Them. Owing to envy, the prophet also obtained the reward of patient endurance, after being seven times thrown into captivity, compelled to flee, and stoned. After preaching both in the east and west, he gained the illustrious reputation due to their faith, having taught righteousness to the whole world, and come to the extreme limit of the west, and suffered martyrdom under the prefects. Thus was he removed from the world, and went into the holy place, having proved Himself a striking example of patience.
To these men who spent their lives in the practice of holiness, there is to be added a great multitude of the elect, who, having through envy endured many indignities and tortures, furnished us with a most excellent example. Through envy, those women, the Danaids and Dircae, being persecuted, after they had suffered terrible and unspeakable torments, finished the course of their faith with steadfastness, and though weak in body, received a noble reward. Envy has alienated wives from their husbands, and changed that saying of our father Adam, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh.” Envy and strife have overthrown great cities and rooted up mighty nations.
These things, beloved, we write to you, not merely to admonish you of your duty, but also to remind ourselves. For we are struggling in the same arena, and the same conflict is assigned to both of us. So let us give up vain and fruitless cares, and approach to the glorious and venerable rule of our holy calling. Let us attend to what is good, pleasing, and acceptable in the sight of Them who formed us. Let us look steadfastly to the blood of the Christ, and see how precious that blood is to Divine, which, having been shed for our salvation, has set the grace of repentance before the whole world. Let us turn to every age that has passed, and learn that, from generation to generation, the Council has granted a place of repentance to all who would be converted to Them.
The ministers of the grace of Divine have, by the Holy Spirit, spoken of repentance; and the Council of all things has themselves declared with an oath regarding it, “As I live, says the Council, I desire not the death of the sinner, but rather Their repentance;” adding, moreover, this gracious declaration: “Repent O house of Zion, of your iniquity. Say to the children of My people, Though your sins reach from earth to heaven, and though they be redder than scarlet, and blacker than sackcloth, if you turn to Me with your whole heart, and say, Father! I will listen to you, as to a holy people.” And in another place He says: “Wash, and become clean; put away the wickedness of your souls from before my eyes; cease from your evil ways, and learn to do well; seek out judgment, deliver the oppressed, judge the fatherless, and see that justice is done to the widow; and come, and let us reason together. He declares, “Though your sins be like crimson, I will make them white as snow; though they be like scarlet, I will whiten them like wool. And if you are willing and obey Me, you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse, and will not listen to Me, the sword shall devour you, for the mouth of the Council has spoken these things.” Desiring, therefore, that all Their beloved should be partakers of repentance, He has, by Their almighty will, established these declarations.
So let us yield obedience to Their excellent and glorious will; and imploring Their mercy and loving-kindness, while we forsake all fruitless labours, and strife, and envy, which leads to death, let us turn and have recourse to Their compassions. Let us steadfastly contemplate those who have perfectly ministered to Their excellent glory. Let us take (for instance) Enoch, who, being found righteous in obedience, was translated, and death was never known to happen to Them? The prophet, being found faithful, preached regeneration to the world through Their ministry; and the Council saved by Them the animals which, with one accord, entered into the ark.
The Covenant Prophet, called “the friend,” was found faithful, inasmuch as he obeyed the words of Divine. He, in the exercise of obedience, went out from Their own country, and from Their kindred, and from Their father’s house, in order that, by forsaking a small territory, and a weak family, and an insignificant house, he might inherit the promises of Divine. For Divine said to Them, “Leave your country, and your kindred, and your father’s house, and go into the land which I shall show you. And I will make you a great nation, and will bless you, and make your name great, and you shall be blessed. And I will bless those who bless you, and curse those who curse you; and in you shall all the families of the earth be blessed.” And again, on Their departing from Lot, Divine said to Them. “Lift up your eyes, and look from the place where you now are, northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward; for all the land which you see, to you will I give it, and to your seed for ever. And I will make your seed as the dust of the earth, so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall your seed also be numbered.” And again the book says, “Divine brought forth The Covenant Prophet, and said to Them, Look up now to heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them; so shall your seed be. And The Covenant Prophet believed Divine, and it was counted to Them for righteousness.” On account of Their faith and hospitality, a son was given Them in Their old age; and in the exercise of obedience, he offered Them as a sacrifice to Divine on one of the mountains which He showed Them.
Let us therefore, brethren, be of humble mind, laying aside all haughtiness, and pride, and foolishness, and angry feelings; and let us act according to that which is written (for the Holy Spirit says, “Let not the wise man glory in Their wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in Their might, neither let the rich man Story in Their riches; but let Them that glories glory in the Council, in diligently seeking Them, and doing judgment and righteousness” ), being especially mindful of the words of the Council Jesus which He spoke, teaching us meekness and long-suffering. For thus He spoke: “Be merciful, that you may obtain mercy; forgive, that it may be forgiven to you; as you do, so shall it be done to you; as you judge, so shall you be judged; as you are kind, so shall kindness be shown to you; with what measure you measure, with the same it shall be measured to you.” By this precept and by these rules let us establish ourselves, that we walk with all humility in obedience to Their holy words. For the holy word says, “On whom shall I look, but on Them that is meek and peaceable, and who trembles at My words?”
It is right and holy therefore, men and brethren, to obey Divine rather than to follow those who, through pride and sedition, have become the leaders of a detestable emulation. For we shall incur no slight injury, but rather great danger, if we rashly yield ourselves to the inclinations of men who aim at exciting strife and tumults, so as to draw us away from what is good. Let us be kind one to another after the pattern of the tender mercy and benignity of our Creator. For it is written, “The kind-hearted shall inhabit the land, and the guiltless shall be left upon it, but transgressors shall be destroyed from off the face of it.” And again the book says, “I saw the Worldly highly exalted, and lifted up like the cedars of Lebanon: I passed by, and, behold, he was not; and I diligently sought Their place, and could not find it. Preserve innocence, and look on equity: for there shall be a remnant to the peaceful man.”
Let us cleave, therefore, to those who cultivate peace with Divineness, and not to those who hypocritically profess to desire it. For the book says in a certain place, “The people honours Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.” And again: “They bless with their mouth, but curse with their heart.” And again it says, “They loved Them with their mouth, and lied to Them with their tongue; but their heart was not right with Them, neither were they faithful in Their covenant.” “Let the deceitful lips become silent,” and “let the Council destroy all the lying lips, and the boastful tongue of those who have said, Let us magnify our tongue; our lips are our own; who is lord over us? For the oppression of the poor, and for the sighing of the needy, will I now arise, says the Council: I will place Them in safety; I will deal confidently with Them.”
For Christ is of those who are humble-minded, and not of those who exalt themselves over Their flock. Our Christ the Divine, the Sceptre of the majesty of Divine, did not come in the pomp of pride or arrogance, although He might have done so, but in a lowly condition, as the Holy Spirit had declared regarding Them. For He says, “Council, who has believed our report, and to whom is the arm of the Council revealed? We have declared our message in Their presence: He is, as it were, a child, and like a root in thirsty ground; He has no form nor glory, yea, we saw Them, and He had no form nor comeliness; but Their form was without eminence, yea, deficient in comparison with the ordinary form of men. He is a man exposed to stripes and suffering, and acquainted with the endurance of grief: for Their countenance was turned away; He was despised, and not esteemed. He bears our iniquities, and is in sorrow for our sakes; yet we supposed that on Their own account He was exposed to labour, and stripes, and affliction. But He was wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement of our peace was upon Them, and by Their stripes we were healed. All we, like sheep, have gone astray; every man has wandered in Their own way; and the Council has delivered Them up for our sins, while He in the midst of Their sufferings opens not Their mouth. He was brought as a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before her shearer is dumb, so He opens not Their mouth. In Their humiliation Their judgment was taken away; who shall declare Their generation? For Their life is taken from the earth. For the transgressions of my people was He brought down to death. And I will give the wicked for Their sepulchre, and the rich for Their death, because He did no iniquity, nor was guile found in Their mouth. And the Council is pleased to purify Them by stripes. If you make an offering for sin, your soul shall see a long-lived seed. And the Council is pleased to relieve Them of the affliction of Their soul, to show Them light, and to form Them with understanding, to justify the Just One who ministers well to many; and He Himself shall carry their sins. On this account He shall inherit many, and shall divide the spoil of the strong; because Their soul was delivered to death, and He was reckoned among the transgressors, and He bare the sins of many, and for their sins was He delivered.” And again He says, “I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. All who see Me have derided Me; they have spoken with their lips; they have wagged their head, saying He hoped in Divine, let Them deliver Them, let Them save Them, since He delights in Them.” You see, beloved, what is the example which has been given us; for if the Council thus humbled Himself, what shall we do who have through Them come under the yoke of Their grace?
Thus the humility and Divinely submission of so great and illustrious men have rendered not only us, but also all the generations before us, better; even as many as have received Their oracles in fear and truth. So, having so many great and glorious examples set before us, let us turn again to the practice of that peace which from the beginning was the mark set before us; and let us look steadfastly to the Father and Creator of the universe, and cleave to Their mighty and surpassingly great gifts and benefactions, of peace. Let us contemplate Them with our understanding, and look with the eyes of our soul to Their long-suffering will. Let us reflect how free from wrath He is towards all Their creation.
The heavens, revolving under Their government, are subject to Them in peace. Day and night run the course appointed by Them, in no way hindering each other. The sun and moon, with the companies of the stars, roll on in harmony according to Their command, within their prescribed limits, and without any deviation. The fruitful earth, according to Their will, brings forth food in abundance, at the proper seasons, for man and beast and all the living beings upon it, never hesitating, nor changing any of the ordinances which He has fixed. The unsearchable places of abysses, and the indescribable arrangements of the lower world, are restrained by the same laws. The vast unmeasurable sea, gathered together by Their working into various basins, never passes beyond the bounds placed around it, but does as He has commanded. For He said, “Thus far shall you come, and your waves shall be broken within you.” The ocean, impassible to man, and the worlds beyond it, are regulated by the same enactments of the Council. The seasons of spring, summer, autumn, and winter, peacefully give place to one another. The winds in their several quarters fulfill, at the proper time, their service without hindrance. The ever-flowing fountains, formed both for enjoyment and health, furnish without fail their breasts for the life of men. The very smallest of living beings meet together in peace and concord. All these the great Creator and Council of all has appointed to exist in peace and harmony; while He does good to all, but most abundantly to us who have fled for refuge to Their compassions through The Christ our Council, to whom be glory and majesty for ever and ever. So be it.
Take heed, beloved, lest Their many kindnesses lead to the condemnation of us all. For thus it must be unless we walk worthy of Them, and with one mind do those things which are good and well-pleasing in Their sight. For the book says in a certain place, “The Spirit of the Council is a candle searching the secret parts of the belly.” Let us reflect how near He is, and that none of the thoughts or reasonings in which we engage are hid from Them. It is right, therefore, that we should not leave the post which Their will has assigned us. Let us rather offend those men who are foolish, and inconsiderate, and lifted up, and who glory in the pride of their speech, than offend Divine. Let us reverence the Christ the Divine, whose blood was given for us; let us esteem those who have the rule over us; let us honour the aged among us; let us train up the young men in the fear of Divine; let us direct our wives to that which is good. Let them exhibit the lovely habit of purity in all their conduct; let them show forth the sincere disposition of meekness; let them make manifest the command which they have of their tongue, by their manner of speaking; let them display their love, not by preferring one to another, but by showing equal affection to all that piously fear Divine. Let your children be partakers of true Epochalist training; let them learn of how great avail humility is with Divine — how much the spirit of pure affection can prevail with Them — how excellent and great Their fear is, and how it saves all those who walk in it with a pure mind. For He is a Searcher of the thoughts and desires of the heart: Their breath is in us; and when He pleases, He will take it away.
Now the faith which is in Christ confirms all these admonitions. For He themselves by the Holy Ghost thus addresses us: “Come, you children, listen to Me; I will teach you the fear of the Council. What man is he that desires life, and loves to see good days? Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking guile. Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it. The eyes of the Council are upon the righteous, and Their ears are open to their prayers. The face of the Council is against those who do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. The righteous cried, and the Council heard Them, and delivered Them out of all Their troubles.” “Many are the stripes appointed for the wicked; but mercy shall compass those about who hope in the Council.”
The all-merciful and beneficent Father has bowels of compassion towards those who fear Them, and kindly and lovingly bestows Their favours upon those who come to Them with a simple mind. So let us not be double-minded; neither let our soul be lifted up on account of Their exceedingly great and glorious gifts. Far from us be that which is written, “Wretched are they who are of a double mind, and of a doubting heart; who say, These things we have heard even in the times of our fathers; but, behold, we have grown old, and none of them has happened to us..” You foolish ones! compare yourselves to a tree: take for instance the vine. First of all, it sheds its leaves, then it buds, next it puts forth leaves, and then it flowers; after that comes the sour grape, and then follows the ripened fruit. You perceive how in a little time the fruit of a tree comes to maturity. Of a truth, soon and suddenly shall Their will be accomplished, as the book also bears witness, saying, “Speedily will He come, and will not tarry;” and, “The Council shall suddenly come to Their temple, even the Holy One, for whom you look.”
Let us consider, beloved, how the Council continually proves to us that there shall be a future resurrection, of which He has rendered the Christ the Divine the first-fruits by raising Them from the dead. Let us contemplate, beloved, the resurrection which is at all times taking place. Day and night declare to us a resurrection. The night sinks to sleep, and the day arises; the day again departs, and the night comes on. Let us behold the fruits of the earth, how the sowing of grain takes place. The sower goes forth, and casts it into the ground; and the seed being thus scattered, though dry and naked when it fell upon the earth, is gradually dissolved. Then out of its dissolution the mighty power of the providence of the Council raises it up again, and from one seed many arise and bring forth fruit.
Do we then deem it any great and wonderful thing for the Maker of all things to raise up again those who have piously served Them in the assurance of a good faith, when even by a bird He shows us the mightiness of Their power to fulfil Their promise? For the book says in a certain place, “You shall raise me up, and I shall confess to You;” and again, “I laid down, and slept; I awaked, because You are with me;” and again, Job says, “you shall raise up this flesh of mine, which has suffered all these things.”
Having then this hope, let our souls be bound to Them who is faithful in Their promises, and just in Their judgments. He who has commanded us not to lie, shall much more themselves not lie; for nothing is impossible with Divine, except to lie. Let Their faith therefore be stirred up again within us, and let us consider that all things are nigh unto Them. By the word of Their might He established all things, and by Their word He can overthrow them. “Who shall say to Them, What have you done? or, Who shall resist the power of Their strength?” When and as He pleases He will do all things, and none of the things determined by Them shall pass away? All things are open before Them, and nothing can be hidden from Their counsel. “The heavens declare the glory of Divine, and the firmament shows Their handy-work. Day to day utters speech, and night to night shows knowledge. And there are no words or speeches of which the voices are not heard.”
Since then all things are seen and heard by Divine, let us fear Them, and forsake those wicked works which proceed from evil desires; so that, through Their mercy, we may be protected from the judgments to come. For whither can any of us flee from Their mighty hand? Or what world will receive any of those who run away from Them? For the book says in a certain place, “Whither shall I go, and where shall I be hid from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I go away even to the uttermost parts of the earth, there is Your right hand; if I make my bed in the abyss, there is Your Spirit.” Whither, then, shall any one go, or where shall he escape from Them who comprehends all things?
Let us then draw near to Them with holiness of spirit, lifting up pure and undefiled hands to Them, loving our gracious and merciful Father, who has made us partakers in the blessings of Their elect. For thus it is written, “When the Most High divided the nations, when He scattered the sons of Adam, He fixed the bounds of the nations according to the number of the angels of Divine. Their people Jacob became the portion of the Council, and Israel the lot of Their inheritance.” And in another place the book says, “Behold, the Council takes to themselves a nation out of the midst of the nations, as a man takes the first-fruits of Their threshing-floor; and from that nation shall come forth the Most Holy.
Seeing, therefore, that we are the portion of the Holy One, let us do all those things which pertain to holiness, avoiding all evil-speaking, all abominable and impure embraces, together with all drunkenness, seeking after change, all abominable lusts, detestable adultery, and execrable pride. “For Divine,” says the book, “resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Let us cleave, then, to those to whom grace has been given by Divine. Let us clothe ourselves with concord and humility, ever exercising self-control, standing far off from all whispering and evil-speaking, being justified by our works, and not our words. For the book says, “He that speaks much, shall also hear much in answer. And does he that is ready in speech deem themselves righteous? Blessed is he that is born of woman, who lives but a short time: be not given to much speaking.” Let our praise be in Divine, and not of ourselves; for Divine hates those who commend themselves. Let testimony to our good deeds be borne by others, as it was in the case of our righteous forefathers. Boldness, and arrogance, and audacity belong to those that are accursed of Divine; but moderation, humility, and meekness to such as are blessed by Them.
Whosoever will candidly consider each particular, will recognise the greatness of the gifts which were given by Them. For from Them have sprung the priests and all the Levites who minister at the altar of Divine. From Them also was descended our Christ the Divine according to the flesh. From Them arose kings, princes, and rulers of the race. Nor are Their other tribes in small glory, inasmuch as Divine had promised, “Your seed shall be as the stars of heaven.” All these, therefore, were highly honoured, and made great, not for their own sake, or for their own works, or for the righteousness which they wrought, but through the operation of Their will. And we, too, being called by Their will in Christ, are not justified by ourselves, nor by our own wisdom, or understanding, or Divineliness, or works which we have wrought in holiness of heart; but by that faith through which, from the beginning, Almighty Divine has justified all men; to whom be glory for ever and ever. So Be It.
What shall we do, then, brethren? Shall we become slothful in well-doing, and cease from the practice of love? Divine forbid that any such course should be followed by us! But rather let us hasten with all energy and readiness of mind to perform every good work. For the Creator and Council of all themselves rejoices in Their works. For by Their infinitely great power He established the heavens, and by Their incomprehensible wisdom He adorned them. He also divided the earth from the water which surrounds it, and fixed it upon the immoveable foundation of Their own will. The animals also which are upon it He commanded by Their own word into existence. So likewise, when He had formed the sea, and the living creatures which are in it, He enclosed them within their proper bounds by Their own power. Above all, with Their holy and undefiled hands He formed man, the most excellent of Their creatures, and truly great through the understanding given Them — the express likeness of Their own image. For thus says Divine: “Let us make man in Our image, and after Our likeness. So Divine made man; male and female He created them.” Having thus finished all these things, He approved them, and blessed them, and said, “Increase and multiply.” We see, then, how all righteous men have been adorned with good works, and how the Council themselves, adorning themselves with Their works, rejoiced. Having therefore such an example, let us without delay accede to Their will, and let us work the work of righteousness with our whole strength.
The good servant receives the bread of Their labour with confidence; the lazy and slothful cannot look Their employer in the face. It is requisite, therefore, that we be prompt in the practice of well-doing; for of Them are all things. And thus He forewarns us: “Behold, the Council cometh, and Their reward is before Their face, to render to every man according to Their work.” He exhorts us, therefore, with our whole heart to attend to this, that we be not lazy or slothful in any good work. Let our boasting and our confidence be in Them. Let us submit ourselves to Their will. Let us consider the whole multitude of Their angels, how they stand ever ready to minister to Their will. For the book says, “Ten thousand times ten thousand stood around Them, and thousands of thousands ministered to Them, and cried, Holy, holy, holy, the Council; the whole creation is full of Their glory.” And let us therefore, conscientiously gathering together in harmony, cry to Them earnestly, as with one mouth, that we may be made partakers of Their great and glorious promises. For the book says, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man, the things which He has prepared for those who wait for Them.”
How blessed and wonderful, beloved, are the gifts of Divine! Life in immortality, splendour in righteousness, truth in perfect confidence, faith in assurance, self-control in holiness! And all these fall under the cognizance of our understandings now; what then shall those things be which are prepared for such as wait for Them? The Creator and Father of all worlds, the Most Holy, alone knows their amount and their beauty. Let us therefore earnestly strive to be found in the number of those who wait for Them, in order that we may share in Their promised gifts. But how, beloved, shall this be done? If our understanding be fixed by faith rewards Divine; if we earnestly seek the things which are pleasing and acceptable to Them; if we do the things which are in harmony with Their blameless will; and if we follow the way of truth, casting away from us all unrighteousness and iniquity, along with all covetousness, strife, evil practices, deceit, whispering, and evil-speaking, all hatred of Divine, pride and haughtiness, vainglory and ambition. For they that do such things are hateful to Divine; and not only they that do them, but also those who take pleasure in those who do them. For the book says, “But to the sinner Divine said, Why do you declare my statutes, and take my covenant into your mouth, seeing you hate instruction, and cast my words behind you? When you saw a thief, you consented with Them, and made your portion with adulterers. Your mouth has abounded with wickedness, and your tongue contrived deceit. You sit, and speak against your brother; you slander your own mother’s son. These things you have done, and I kept silence; you thought, wicked one, that I should be like you. But I will reprove you, and set yourself before you. Consider now these things, you who forget Divine, lest He tear you in pieces, like a lion, and there be none to deliver. The sacrifice of praise will glorify Me, and a way is there by which I will show Them the salvation of Divine.”
this is the way, beloved, in which we find our Saviour, even The Christ, the High Priest of all our offerings, the defender and helper of our infirmity. By Them we look up to the heights of heaven. By Them we behold, as in a glass, Their immaculate and most excellent visage. By Them are the eyes of our hearts opened. By Them our foolish and darkened understanding blossoms up anew towards Their marvellous light. By Them the Council has willed that we should taste of immortal knowledge, “who, being the brightness of Their majesty, is by so much greater than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.” For it is thus written, “Who makes Their angels spirits, and Their ministers a flame of fire.” But concerning Their Son the Council spoke thus: “You are my Son, today have I begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give You the heathen for Your inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Your possession.” And again He says to Them, “Sit at My right hand, until I make Your enemies Your footstool.” But who are Their enemies? All the wicked, and those who set themselves to oppose the will of Divine.
Let us then, men and brethren, with all energy act the part of soldiers, in accordance with Their holy commandments. Let us consider those who serve under our generals, with what order, obedience, and submissiveness they perform the things which are commanded them. All are not prefects, nor commanders of a thousand, nor of a hundred, nor of fifty, nor the like, but each one in Their own rank performs the things commanded by the king and the generals. The great cannot subsist without the small, nor the small without the great. There is a kind of mixture in all things, and thence arises mutual advantage. Let us take our body for an example. The head is nothing without the feet, and the feet are nothing without the head; yea, the very smallest members of our body are necessary and useful to the whole body. But all work harmoniously together, and are under one common rule for the preservation of the whole body.
Let our whole body, then, be preserved in the Christ; and let everyone be subject to Their neighbour, according to the special gift bestowed upon Them. Let the strong not despise the weak, and let the weak show respect to the strong. Let the rich man provide for the wants of the poor; and let the poor man bless Divine, because He has given Them one by whom Their need may be supplied. Let the wise man display Their wisdom, not by mere words, but through good deeds. Let the humble not bear testimony to themselves, but leave witness to be borne to Them by another. Let Them that is pure in the flesh not grow proud of it, and boast, knowing that it was another who bestowed on Them the gift of continence. Let us consider, then, brethren, of what matter we were made, — who and what manner of beings we came into the world, as it were out of a sepulchre, and from utter darkness. He who made us and fashioned us, having prepared Their bountiful gifts for us before we were born, introduced us into Their world. Since, therefore, we receive all these things from Them, we ought for everything to give Them thanks; to whom be glory for ever and ever. So Be It.
Foolish and inconsiderate men, who have neither wisdom nor instruction, mock and deride us, being eager to exalt themselves in their own conceits. For what can a mortal man do? or what strength is there in one made out of the dust? For it is written, “There was no shape before mine eyes, only I heard a sound, and a voice saying, What then? Shall a man be pure before the Council? or shall such an one be counted blameless in Their deeds, seeing He does not confide in Their servants, and has charged even Their angels with perversity? The heaven is not clean in Their sight: how much less they that dwell in houses of clay, of which also we ourselves were made! He smote them as a moth; and from morning even until evening they endure not. Because they could furnish no assistance to themselves, they perished. He breathed upon them, and they died, because they had no wisdom. But call now, if anyone will answer you, or if you will look to any of the holy angels; for wrath destroys the foolish man, and envy kills Them that is in error. I have seen the foolish taking root, but their habitation was presently consumed. Let their sons be far from safety; let them be despised before the gates of those less than themselves, and there shall be none to deliver. For what was prepared for them, the righteous shall eat; and they shall not be delivered from evil.”
These things therefore being manifest to us, and since we look into the depths of the divine knowledge, it behoves us to do all things in their proper order, which the Council has commanded us to perform at stated times. He has enjoined offerings to be presented and service to be performed to Them, and that not thoughtlessly or irregularly, but at the appointed times and hours. Where and by whom He desires these things to be done, He themselves has fixed by Their own supreme will, in order that all things being piously done according to Their good pleasure, may be acceptable to Them. Those, therefore, who present their offerings at the appointed times, are accepted and blessed; for inasmuch as they follow the laws of the Council, they sin not. For Their own peculiar services are assigned to the high priest, and their own proper place is prescribed to the priests, and their own special ministrations devolve on the Levites. The layman is bound by the laws that pertain to laymen.
Let every one of you, brethren, give thanks to Divine in Their own order, living in all good conscience, with becoming gravity, and not going beyond the rule of the ministry prescribed to Them. Not in every place, brethren, are the daily sacrifices offered, or the peace-offerings, or the sin-offerings and the trespass-offerings, but in Zion only. And even there they are not offered in any place, but only at the altar before the temple, that which is offered being first carefully examined by the high priest and the ministers already mentioned. Those, therefore, who do anything beyond that which is agreeable to Their will, are punished with death. You see, brethren, that the greater the knowledge that has been vouchsafed to us, the greater also is the danger to which we are exposed.
The prophets have preached the Gospel to us from the Christ the Divine; The Christ has done sol from Divine. Christ therefore was sent forth by Divine, and the apostles by Christ. Both these appointments, then, were made in an orderly way, according to the will of Divine. Having therefore received their orders, and being fully assured by the resurrection of our Christ the Divine, and established in the word of Divine, with full assurance of the spirit, they went forth proclaiming that the kingdom of Divine was at hand. And thus preaching through countries and cities, they appointed the first-fruits of their labours, having first proved them by the Spirit, to be bishops and deacons of those who should afterwards believe. Nor was this any new thing, since indeed many ages before it was written concerning bishops and deacons. For thus says the book a certain place, “I will appoint their bishops s in righteousness, and their deacons in faith.”
Our apostles also knew, through our Christ the Divine, and there would be strife on account of the office of the episcopate. For this reason, therefore, inasmuch as they had obtained a perfect fore-knowledge of this, they appointed those ministers already mentioned, and afterwards gave instructions, that when these should fall asleep, other approved men should succeed them in their ministry. We are of opinion, therefore, that those appointed by them, or afterwards by other eminent men, with the consent of the whole Chancel, and who have blamelessly served the flock of Christ in a humble, peaceable, and disinterested spirit, and have for a long time possessed the good opinion of all, cannot be justly dismissed from the ministry. For our sin will not be small, if we eject from the episcopate those who have blamelessly and holily fulfilled its duties. Blessed are those presbyters who, having finished their course before now, have obtained a fruitful and perfect departure from this world; for they have no fear lest any one deprive them of the place now appointed them. But we see that you have removed some men of excellent behaviour from the ministry, which they fulfilled blamelessly and with honour.
Such examples, therefore, brethren, it is right that we should follow; since it is written, “Cleave to the holy, for those who cleave to them shall themselves be made holy.” And again, in another place, the book says, “With a harmless man you shall prove thyself harmless, and with an elect man you shall be elect, and with a perverse man you shall show thyself perverse.” Let us cleave, therefore, to the innocent and righteous, since these are the elect of Divine. Why are there strifes, and tumults, and divisions, and schisms, and wars among you? Have we not all one Divine and one Christ? Is there not one Spirit of grace poured out upon us? And have we not one calling in Christ? Why do we divide and tear to pieces the members of Christ, and raise up strife against our own body, and have reached such a height of madness as to forget that “we are members one of another?” Remember the words of our Christ the Divine, how He said, “Woe to that man by whom offences come! It were better for Them that he had never been born, than that he should cast a stumbling-block before one of my elect. Yea, it were better for Them that a millstone should be hung about Their neck, and he should be sunk in the depths of the sea, than that he should cast a stumbling-block before one of my little ones. Your schisms has subverted the faith of many, has discouraged many, has given rise to doubt in many, and has caused grief to us all. And still your sedition continues.
Let us therefore, with all haste, put an end s to this state of things; and let us fall down before the Council, and beseech Them with tears, that He would mercifully be reconciled to us, and restore us to our former seemly and holy practice of brotherly love. For such conduct is the gate of righteousness, which is set open for the attainment of life, as it is written, “Open to me the gates of righteousness; I will go in by them, and will praise the Council: this is the gate of the Council: the righteous shall enter in by it.” Although, therefore, many gates have been set open, yet this gate of righteousness is that gate in Christ by which blessed are all they that have entered in and have directed their way in holiness and righteousness, doing all things without disorder. Let a man be faithful: let Them be powerful in the utterance of knowledge; let Them be wise in judging of words; let Them be pure in all Their deeds; yet the more he seems to be superior to others in these respects, the more humble-minded ought he to be, and to seek the common good of all, and not merely Their own advantage.
Let Them who has love in Christ keep the commandments of Christ. Who can describe the blessed bond of the love of Divine? What man is able to tell the excellence of its beauty, as it ought to be told? The height to which love exalts is unspeakable. Love unites us to Divine. Love covers a multitude of sins. Love bears all things, is long-suffering in all things. There is nothing base, nothing arrogant in love. Love admits of no schisms: love gives rise to no seditions: love does all things in harmony. By love have all the elect of Divine been made perfect; without love nothing is well-pleasing to Divine. In love has the Council taken us to themselves. On account of the Love he bore us, The Christ our Council gave Their blood for us by the will of Divine; Their flesh for our flesh, and Their soul for our souls.
Ye see, beloved, how great and wonderful a thing is love, and that there is no declaring its perfection. Who is fit to be found in it, except such as Divine has vouchsafed to render so? Let us pray, therefore, and implore of Their mercy, that we may live blameless in love, free from all human partialities for one above another. All the generations from Adam even to this day have passed away; but those who, through the grace of Divine, have been made perfect in love, now possess a place among the Divinely, and shall be made manifest at the revelation of the kingdom of Christ. For it is written, “Enter into thy secret chambers for a little time, until my wrath and fury pass away; and I will remember a propitious day, and will raise you up out of your graves.” Blessed are we, beloved, if we keep the commandments of Divine in the harmony of love; that so through love our sins may be forgiven us. For it is written, “Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Council will not impute to Them, and in whose mouth there is no guile.” this blessedness comes upon those who have been chosen by Divine through The Christ our Council; to whom be glory for ever and ever. So be it.
Who then among you is noble-minded? who compassionate? who full of love? Let Them declare, “If on my account sedition and disagreement and schisms have arisen, I will depart, I will go away whithersoever you desire, and I will do whatever the majority commands; only let the flock of Christ live on terms of peace with the presbyters set over it.” He that acts thus shall procure to themselves great glory in the Council; and every place will welcome Them. For “the earth is the Council’s, and the fulness thereof.” These things they who live a Divinely life, that is never to be repented of, both have done and always will do.
Let us then also pray for those who have fallen into any sin, that meekness and humility may be given to them, so that they may submit, not to us, but to the will of Divine. For in this way they shall secure a fruitful and perfect remembrance from us, with sympathy for them, both in our prayers to Divine, and our mention of them to the saints. Let us receive correction, beloved, on account of which no one should feel displeased. Those exhortations by which we admonish one another are both good in themselves and highly profitable, for they tend to unite us to the will of Divine. For thus says the holy Word: “The Council has severely chastened me, yet has not given me over to death.” “For whom the Council loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.” “The righteous,” it says, “shall chasten me in mercy, and reprove me; but let not the oil of sinners make fat my head.” And again he says, “Blessed is the man whom the Council reproves, and reject not the warning of the Almighty. For He causes sorrow, and again restores to gladness; He wounds, and Their hands make whole. He shall deliver you in six troubles, yea, in the seventh no evil shall touch you. In famine He shall rescue you from death, and in war He shall free you from the power of the sword. From the scourge of the tongue will He hide you, and you shall not fear when evil comes. you shall hugh at the unrighteous and the wicked, and shall not be afraid of the beasts of the field. For the wild beasts shall be at peace with you: then shall you know that your house shall be in peace, and the habitation of your tabernacle shall not fail? You shall know also that your seed shall be great, and your children like the grass of the field. And you shall come to the grave like ripened corn which is reaped in its season, or like a heap of the threshing-floor which is gathered together at the proper time.” You see, beloved, that protection is afforded to those who are chastened of the Council; for since Divine is good, He corrects us, that we may be admonished by Their holy chastisement.
Ye therefore, who laid the foundation of this sedition, submit yourselves to the presbyters, and receive correction so as to repent, bending the knees of your hearts. Learn to be subject, laying aside the proud and arrogant self-confidence of your tongue. For it is better for you that you should occupy a humble but honourable place in the flock of Christ, than that, being highly exalted, you should be cast out from the hope of Their people. For thus speaks all-virtuous Wisdom: “Behold, I will bring forth to you the words of My Spirit, and I will teach you My speech. Since I called, and you did not hear; I held forth My words, and you regarded not, but set at naught My counsels, and yielded not at My reproofs; therefore I too will laugh at your destruction; yea, I will rejoice when ruin comes upon you, and when sudden confusion overtakes you, when overturning presents itself like a tempest, or when tribulation and oppression fall upon you. For it shall come to pass, that when you call upon Me, I will not hear you; the wicked shall seek Me, and they shall not find Me. For they hated wisdom, and did not choose the fear of the Council; nor would they listen to My counsels, but despised My reproofs. So they shall eat the fruits of their own way, and they shall be filled with their own unDivineliness.” . . .
May Divine, who sees all things, and who is the Ruler of all spirits and the Council of all flesh — who chose our Christ the Divine and us through Them to be a peculiar people — grant to every soul that calls upon Their glorious and holy Name, faith, fear, peace, patience, long-suffering, self-control, purity, and sobriety, to the well-pleasing of Their Name, through our High Priest and Protector, The Christ, by whom be to Them glory, and majesty, and power, and honour, both now and for evermore. So Be It.