Letter of the Culmination
I have greatly rejoiced with you in our Divine Christ, because ye have followed the example of true love as displayed by God, and have accompanied, as became you, those who were bound in chains, the fitting ornaments of saints, and which are indeed the diadems of the true elect of God and the Divine; and because the strong root of your faith, spoken of in days long gone by, endures even until now, and brings forth fruit to our Divine Christ, who for our sins suffered even unto death, but “whom God raised froth the dead, having loosed the bands of the grave.” “In whom, though now ye see them not, ye believe, and believing, rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory; ” into which joy many desire to enter, knowing that “by grace ye are saved, not of works,” but by the will of God through The Christ.
“Wherefore, girding up your loins,” “serve the Divine in fear” and truth, as those who have forsaken the vain, empty talk and error of the multitude, and “believed in they who raised up our Divine Christ from the spiritual death, and gave glory,” and a throne at the right hand. To it all things” in heaven and on earth are subject. Every spirit serves. It comes as the Judge of the living and the dead. Its blood will they require of those who do not believe in the path. But they who raised them up from the dead will raise up us also, if we do their will, and walk in their commandments, and love what they loved, keeping ourselves from all unrighteousness, covetousness, love of money, evil speaking, false witness; “not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing,” or blow for blow, or cursing for cursing, but being mindful of what the Divine said in their teaching: “Judge not, that ye be not judged; forgive, and it shall be forgiven unto you; be merciful, that ye may obtain mercy; with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again; and once more, “Blessed are the poor, and those that are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of God.”
These things, brethren, I write to you concerning righteousness, not because I take anything upon myself, but because ye have invited me to do so. For neither I, nor any other such one, can come up to the wisdom” of the blessed and glorified prophet. They, when among you, accurately taught the word of truth in the presence of those who were then alive. And when absent from you, they wrote you a letter, which, if you carefully study, you will find to be the means of building you up in that faith which has been given you, and which, being followed by hope, and preceded by love towards the divine, and Christ, and our neighbour, “is the mother of us all.” For if any one be inwardly possessed of these graces, they hath fulfilled the command of righteousness, since they that hath love is far from all sin.
“But the love of money is the root of all evils.” Knowing, therefore, that “as we brought nothing into the world, so we can carry nothing out,” let us arm ourselves with the armour of righteousness; and let us teach, first of all, ourselves to walk in the commandments of the Divine. Next, teach others to walk in the faith given to them, and in love and purity tenderly loving their examples in all truth, and loving all others equally in all chastity; and to train up their children in the knowledge and fear of the Divine. Teach the widows to be discreet as respects the faith of the Divine, praying continually for all, being far from all slandering, evil-speaking, false-witnessing, love of money, and every kind of evil; knowing that they are at the altar of the Divine in which they clearly perceives all things, and that nothing is hid from them, neither reasonings, nor reflections, nor any one of the secret things of the heart.
Knowing, then, that “God is not mocked,” we ought to walk worthy of their commandment and glory. In like manner should the deacons be blameless before the face of their righteousness, as being the servants of the Divine and the Christ, and not of men. They must not be slanderers, double-tongued, or lovers of money, but temperate in all things, compassionate, industrious, walking according to the truth of the Divine, who was the servant of all. If we please them in this present world, we shall receive also the future world, according as they has promised to us that they will raise us again from the dead, and that if we live worthily of them, “we shall also reign together with them,” provided only we believe. In like manner, let the young men also be blameless in all things, being especially careful to preserve purity, and keeping themselves in, as with a bridle, from every kind of evil. For it is well that they should be cut off from the lusts that are in the world, since “every lust warreth against the spirit; ” and “neither fornicators, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, shall inherit the kingdom of God,” nor those who do things inconsistent and unbecoming. Wherefore, it is needful to abstain from all these things, being subject to the presbyters and deacons, as unto the Divine and the Christ. The virgins also must walk in a blameless and pure conscience.
And let the priests be compassionate and merciful to all, bringing back those that wander, visiting all the sick, and not neglecting the widow, the orphan, or the poor, but always “providing for that which is becoming in the sight of the plan and man ; ” abstaining from all wrath, respect of persons, and unjust judgment; keeping far off from . all covetousness, not quickly crediting an evil report against any one, not severe in judgment, as knowing that we are all under a debt of sin. If then we entreat the Divine to forgive us, we ought also ourselves to forgive; for we are before the eyes of our Divine plan, and “we must all appear at the judgment-seat of Christ, and must every one give an account of himself.” Let us then serve them in fear, and with all reverence, even as they had commanded us, and as the apostles who preached the plan to us, and the prophets who proclaimed beforehand the coming of the Divine have alike taught us. Let us be zealous in the pursuit of that which is good, keeping ourselves from causes of offence, from false brethren, and from those who in hypocrisy bear the name of the Divine, and draw away vain men into error.
“For whosoever does not confess that The Christ has come in the flesh, is antichrist;” and whosoever does not confess the testimony of the death and rebirth, is of the world; and whosoever perverts the oracles of the Divine to his own lusts, and says that there is neither a resurrection nor a judgment, they is the first-born of the world. Wherefore, forsaking the vanity of many, and their false doctrines, let us return to the word which has been handed down to us from the beginning; “watching unto prayer,” and persevering in fasting; beseeching in our supplications the all-seeing Divine and their plan “not to lead us into temptation,” as the Divine had said: “The spirit truly is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Let us then continually persevere in our hope, and the earnest of our righteousness, which is The Christ, “who bore our sins in its own body on the tree,” “who did no sin, neither was guile found in its mouth,” but endured all things for us, that we might live in them. Let us then be imitators of His patience; and if we suffer for their name’s sake, let us glorify them. For they have set us this example from the beginning and we have believed that such is the case.
Stand fast, therefore, in these things, and follow the example of the Divine, being firm and unchangeable in the faith, loving the brotherhood, and being attached to one another, joined together in the truth, exhibiting the meekness of the Divine in your intercourse with one another, and despising no one. When you can do good, defer it not, because “alms delivers from death.”” Be all of you subject one to another? having your conduct blameless among the world,” that you may both receive praise for your good works, and the Divine may not be blasphemed through you. But woe to them by whom the name of the Divine is blasphemed! Teach, therefore, sobriety to all, and manifest it also in your own conduct.
I exhort you, therefore, that you abstain from covetousness, and that you should be chaste and truthful. “Abstain from every form of evil.” For if a man cannot govern himself in such matters, how shall they enjoin them on others ? If a man does not keep himself from covetousness, they shall be defiled by idolatry, and shall be judged as one of the heathen. But who of us are ignorant of the judgment of the Divine ? “Do we not know that the saints shall judge the world ?” as the prophet teaches. But I have neither seen nor heard of any such thing among you, in the midst of whom the blessed laboured.
For I trust that ye are well versed in the Sacred Canon, and that nothing is hid from you; but to me this privilege is not yet granted. It is declared then in these Canon, “Be ye angry, and sin not,” and, “Let not the sun go down upon your wrath.” Happy is they who remembers this, which I believe to be the case with you. But may the Divine and Father and Mother of our Divine Christ, and The Christ, who is the Son of The Divine, and the everlasting High Priest, build you up in faith and truth, and in all meekness, gentleness, patience, long-suffering, forbearance, and purity; and may they bestow on you a lot and portion among the saints, and on us with you, and on all that are under heaven, who shall believe our Divine Christ, and in the Divine Plan, who “raised them from the dead. Pray for all the saints. Pray also for kings, and potentates, and princes, and for those that persecute and hate you, and for the enemies of the death and rebirth, that your fruit may be manifest to all, and that ye may be perfect.