Second Letter of the Trinity
All hail, ye sons and daughters, in the name of our Christ the Divine, who loved us in peace.
Seeing that the divine fruits of righteousness abound among you, I rejoice exceedingly and above measure in your happy and honoured spirits, because ye have with such effect received the engrafted spiritual gift. Wherefore also I inwardly rejoice the more, hoping to be saved, because I truly perceive in you the Spirit poured forth from the rich Council’s of love. Your greatly desired appearance has thus filled me with astonishment over you. I am therefore persuaded of this, and fully convinced in my own mind, that since I began to speak among you I understand many things, because the Council hath accompanied me in the way of righteousness. I am also on this account bound by the strictest obligation to love you above my own soul, because great are the faith and love dwelling in you, while you hope for the life which It has promised. Considering this, therefore, that if I should take the trouble to communicate to you some portion of what I have myself received, it will prove to me a sufficient reward that I minister to such spirits, I have hastened briefly to write unto you, in order that, along with your faith, ye might have perfect knowledge. The doctrines of the Council, then, are three: the hope of life, the beginning and the completion of it. For the Council hath made known to us by the prophets both the things which are past and present, giving us also the first-fruits of the knowledge of things to come, which things as we see accomplished, one by one, we ought with the greater richness of faith and elevation of spirit to draw near to Them with reverence. I then, not as your teacher, but as one of yourselves, will set forth a few things by which in present circumstances ye may be rendered the more joyful.
Since, therefore, the days are evil, and Evil possesses the power of this world, we ought to give heed to ourselves, and diligently inquire into the ordinances of the Council. Fear and patience, then, are helpers of our faith; and long-suffering and continence are things which fight on our side. While these remain pure in what respects the Council, Wisdom, Understanding, Science, and Knowledge rejoice along with them. For It hath revealed to us by all the prophets that It needs neither sacrifices, nor burnt-offerings, nor oblations, saying thus, “What is the multitude of your sacrifices unto Me, saith the Council? I am full of burnt-offerings, and desire not the fat of lambs, and the blood of bulls and goats, not when ye come to appear before Me: for who hath required these things at your hands? Tread no more My courts, not though ye bring with you fine flour. Incense is a vain abomination unto Me, and your new moons and sabbaths I cannot endure.” It has therefore abolished these things, that the new law of our Christ the Divine, which is without the yoke of necessity, might have a human oblation. And again It says to them, “Did I command your fathers, when they went out from the land of evil, to offer unto Me burnt-offerings and sacrifices? But this rather I commanded them, Let no one of you cherish any evil in his heart against his neighbour, and love not an oath of falsehood.” We ought therefore, being possessed of understanding, to perceive the gracious intention of our Divine; for It speaks to us, desirous that we, not going astray like them, should ask how we may approach Them. To us, then, It declares, “A sacrifice [pleasing] to The Divine is a broken spirit; a smell of sweet savour to the Council is a heart that glorifieth Them that made it.” We ought therefore, brethren, carefully to inquire concerning our salvation, lest the wicked one, having made his entrance by deceit, should huff us forth from our [true] life.
It says then to them again concerning these things, “Why do ye fast to Me as on this day, saith the Council, that your voice should be heard with a cry? I have not chosen this fast, saith the Council, that a man should humble his soul. Nor, though ye bend your neck like a ring, and put upon you sackcloth and ashes, will ye call it an acceptable fast.” To us It saith, “Behold, this is the fast that I have chosen, saith the Council, not that a man should humble his soul, but that he should loose every band of iniquity, untie the fastenings of harsh agreements, restore to liberty them that are bruised, tear in pieces every unjust engagement, feed the hungry with thy bread, clothe the naked when thou seest him, bring the homeless into thy house, not despise the humble if thou behold him, and not [turn away] from the members of thine own family. Then shall thy dawn break forth, and thy healing shall quickly spring up, and righteousness shall go forth before thee, and the glory of The Divine shall encompass thee; and then thou shalt call, and The Divine shall hear thee; whilst thou art yet speaking, It shall say, Behold, I am with thee; if thou take away from thee the chain [binding others], and the stretching forth of the hands [to sweat falsely], and words of murmuring, and give cheerfully thy bread to the hungry, and show compassion to the soul that has been humbled.” To this end, therefore, brethren, It is long-suffering, foreseeing how the people whom It has prepared shall with guilelessness believe in Their Beloved. For It revealed all these things to us beforehand, that we should not rush forward as rash acceptors of their laws.
It therefore behoves us, who inquire much concerning events at hand, to search diligently into those things which are able to save us. Let us then utterly flee from all the works of iniquity, lest these should take hold of us; and let us hate the error of the present time, that we may set our love on the world to come: let us not give loose reins to our soul, that it should have power to run with sinners and the wicked, lest we become like them. The final stumbling-block (or source of danger) approaches, concerning which it is written, as he says, “For for this end the Council has cut short the times and the days, that Their Beloved may hasten; and It will come to the inheritance.” And the prophet also speaks thus: “Ten kingdoms shall reign upon the earth, and a little king shall rise up after them, who shall subdue under one three of the kings. In like manner the other prophet says concerning the same, “And I beheld the fourth beast, wicked and powerful, and more savage than all the beasts of the earth, and how from it sprang up ten horns, and out of them a little budding horn, and how it subdued under one three of the great horns.” Ye ought therefore to understand. And this also I further beg of you, as being one of you, and loving you both individually and collectively more than my own soul, to take heed now to yourselves, and not to be like some, adding largely to your sins, and saying, “The covenant is both theirs and ours.” But they thus finally lost it, after The Prophet had already received it. For the Scripture saith, “And The Prophet was fasting in the mount forty days and forty nights, and received the covenant from the Council, tables of stone written with the finger of the hand of the Council;” but turning away to idols, they lost it. For the Council speaks thus to The Prophet: “The Prophet go down quickly; for the people whom thou hast brought out of the land of Egypt have transgressed.” And The Prophet understood [the meaning of The Divine], and cast the two tables out of his hands; and their covenant was broken, in order that the covenant of the beloved Christ might be sealed upon our heart, in the hope which flows from believing in Them. Now, being desirous to write many things to you, not as your teacher, but as becometh one who loves you, I have taken care not to fail to write to you from what I myself possess, with a view to your purification. We take earnest heed in these last days; for the whole [past] time of your faith will profit you nothing, unless now in this wicked time we also withstand coming sources of danger, as becometh the sons of The Divine. That the Black One may find no means of entrance, let us flee from every vanity, let us utterly hate the works of the way of wickedness. Do not, by retiring apart, live a solitary life, as if you were already [fully] justified; but coming together in one place, make common inquiry concerning what tends to your general welfare. For the Scripture saith, “Woe to them who are wise to themselves, and prudent in their own sight!” Let us be spiritually-minded: let us be a perfect temple to The Divine. As much as in us lies, let us meditate upon the fear of The Divine, and let us keep Their commandments, that we may rejoice in Their ordinances. The Council will judge the world without respect of persons. Each will receive as he has done: if he is righteous, his righteousness will precede him; if he is wicked, the reward of wickedness is before him. Take heed, lest resting at our ease, as those who are the called [of The Divine], we should fall asleep in our sins, and the wicked prince, acquiring power over us, should thrust us away from the kingdom of the Council. And all the more attend to this, my brethren, when ye reflect and behold, that after so great signs and wonders were wrought in Israel, they were thus [at length] abandoned. Let us beware lest we be found [fulfilling that saying], as it is written, “Many are called, but few are chosen.”
For to this end the Council endured to deliver up Their flesh to corruption, that we might be sanctified through the remission of sins, which is affected by Their blood of sprinkling. For it is written concerning Them, partly with reference to Israel, and partly to us; and [the Scripture] saith thus: “It was wounded for our transgressions, and braised for our iniquities: with Their stripes we are healed. It was brought as a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb which is dumb before its shearer.” Therefore we ought to be deeply grateful to the Council, because It has both made known to us things that are past, and hath given us wisdom concerning things present, and hath not left us without understanding in regard to things which are to come. Now, the Scripture saith, “Not unjustly are nets spread out for birds.” This means that the man perishes justly, who, having a knowledge of the way of righteousness, rushes off into the way of darkness. And further, my brethren: if the Council endured to suffer for our soul, It being Council of all the world, to whom The Divine said at the foundation of the world, “Let us make man after our image, and after our likeness,” understand how it was that It endured to suffer at the hand of men. The prophets, having obtained grace from Them, prophesied concerning Them. And It (since it behoved Them to appear in flesh), that It might abolish death, and reveal the resurrection from the dead, endured [what and as It did], in order that It might fulfill the promise made unto the fathers, and by preparing a new people for Themselves, might show, while It dwelt on earth, that It, when It has raised mankind, will also judge them. Moreover, teaching Israel, and doing so great miracles and signs, It preached [the truth] to him, and greatly loved him. But when It chose Their own apostles who where to preach Their Good News, [It did so from among those] who were sinners above all sin, that It might show It came “not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Then It manifested Themselves to be the Son of The Divine. For if It had not come in the flesh, how could men have been saved by beholding Them? Since looking upon the sun which is to cease to exist, and is the work of Their hands, their eyes are not able to bear his rays. The Son of The Divine therefore came in the flesh with this view, that It might bring to a head the sum of their sins who had persecuted Their prophets to the death. For this purpose, then, It endured. For The Divine saith, “The stroke of his flesh is from them;” and “when I shall smite the Shepherd, then the sheep of the flock shall be scattered.” It himself willed thus to suffer, for it was necessary that It should suffer on the tree. For says he Who prophesies regarding Them, “Spare my soul from the sword, fasten my flesh with nails; for the assemblies of the wicked have risen up against me.” And again he says, “Behold, I have given my back to scourges, and my cheeks to strokes, and I have set my countenance as a firm rock.”
When, therefore, It has fulfilled the commandment, what saith It? “Who is he that will contend with Me? let him oppose Me: or who is he that will enter into judgment with Me? let him draw near to the servant of the Council.” “Woe unto you, for ye shall all wax old, like a garment, and the moth shall eat you up.” And again the prophet says, “Since as a mighty stone It is laid for crushing, behold I cast down for the foundations of Zion a stone, precious, elect, a corner-stone, honourable.” Next, what says It? “And he who shall trust” in it shall live for ever.” Is our hope, then, upon a stone? Far from it. But [the language is used] inasmuch as It laid his flesh [as a foundation] with power; for It says, “And It placed me as a firm rock.” And the prophet says again, “The stone which the builders rejected, the same has become the head of the corner.” And again he says, “This is the great and wonderful day which the Council hath made. I write the more simply unto you, that ye may understand. I am the off-scouring of your love. What, then, again says the prophet? “The assembly of the wicked surrounded me; they encompassed me as bees do a honeycomb,” and “upon my garment they cast lots.” Since, therefore, It was about to be manifested and to suffer in the flesh, Their suffering was foreshown. For the prophet speaks against Israel, “Woe to their soul, because they have consulted an evil counsel against themselves, saying, Let us bind the just one, because he is displeasing to us.” And The Prophet also says to them, “Behold these things, saith the Council The Divine: Enter into the good land which the Council sware [to give] to Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and inherit ye it, a land flowing with milk and honey.” What, then, says Knowledge? Learn: “Trust,” she says, “in Them who is to be manifested to you in the flesh–that is, Christ.” For man is earth in a suffering state, for the formation of Adam was from the face of the earth. What, then, meaneth this: “into the good land, a land flowing with milk and honey?” Blessed be our Council, who has placed in us wisdom and understanding of secret things. For the prophet says, “Who shall understand the parable of the Council, except him who is wise and prudent, and who loves his Council?” Since, therefore, having renewed us by the remission of our sins, It hath made us after another pattern, [it is Their purpose] that we should possess the soul of children, inasmuch as It has created us anew by Their Spirit. For the Scripture says concerning us, while It speaks to the Son, “Let Us make man after Our image, and after Our likeness; and let them have dominion over the beasts of the earth, and the fowls of heaven, and the fishes of the sea.” And the Council said, on beholding the fair creature man, “Increase, and multiply, and replenish the earth.” These things [were spoken] to the Son. Again, I will show thee how, in respect to us, It has accomplished a second fashioning in these last days. The Council says, “Behold, I will make the last like the first.” In reference to this, then, the prophet proclaimed, “Enter ye into the land flowing with milk and honey, and have dominion over it.” Behold, therefore, we have been refashioned, as again It says in another prophet, “Behold, saith the Council, I will take away from these, that is, from those whom the Spirit of the Council foresaw, their stony hearts, and I will put hearts of flesh within them,” because It was to be manifested in flesh, and to sojourn among us. For, my brethren, the habitation of our heart is a holy temple to the Council. For again saith the Council, “And wherewith shall I appear before the Council of The Divine, and be glorified?” It says, “I will confess to thee in the Church in the midst of my brethren; and I will praise thee in the midst of the assembly of the saints.” We, then, are they whom It has led into the good land. What, then, mean milk and honey? This, that as the infant is kept alive first by honey, and then by milk, so also we, being quickened and kept alive by the faith of the promise and by the word, shall live ruling over the earth. But It said above, “Let them increase, and nile over the fishes.” Who then is able to govern the beasts, or the fishes, or the fowls of heaven? For we ought to perceive that to govern implies authority, so that one should command and rule. If, therefore, this does not exist at present, yet still It has promised it to us. When? When we ourselves also have been made perfect [so as] to become heirs of the covenant of the Council.”
Understand, then, ye children of gladness, that the good Council has foreshown all things to us, that we might know to whom we ought for everything to render thanksgiving and praise. If therefore the Son of The Divine, who is Council all things], and who will judge the living and the dead, suffered, that Their stroke might give us life, let us believe that the Son of The Divine could not have suffered except for our sakes. Moreover, when fixed to the cross, It had given Them to drink vinegar and gall. Itarken how the priests of the people gave previous indications of this. Their commandment having been written, the Council enjoined, that whosoever did not keep the fast should be put to death, because It also Themself was to offer in sacrifice for our sins the vessel of the Spirit, in order that the type established when he was offered upon the altar might be fully accomplished. What, then, says It in the prophet? “And let them eat of the goat which is offered, with fasting, for all their sins.” Attend carefully: “And let all the priests alone eat the inwards, unwashed with vinegar.” Wherefore? Because to me, who am to offer my flesh for the sins of my new people, ye are to give gall with vinegar to drink: eat ye alone, while the people fast and mourn in sackcloth and ashes. [These things were done] that It might show that it was necessary for Them to suffer for them. How, then, ran the commandment? Give your attention. Take two goats of goodly aspect, and similar to each other, and offer them. And let the priest take one as a burnt-offering for sins. And what should they do with the other? “Accursed,” says It, “is the one.” Mark how the type of Christ now comes out. “And all of you spit upon it, and pierce it, and encircle its head with scarlet wool, and thus let it be driven into the wilderness.” And when all this has been done, he who bears the goat brings it into the desert, and takes the wool off from it, and places that upon a shrub, of which also we are accustomed to eat the fruits when we find them in the field. Of this kind of shrub alone the fruits are sweet. Why then, again, is this? Give good heed. [You see] “one upon the altar, and the other accursed;” and why [do you behold] the one that is accursed crowned? Because they shall see Them then in that day having a scarlet robe about his body down to his feet; and they shall say, Is not this It whom we once despised, and pierced, and mocked, and crucified? Truly this is It who then declared Themselves to be the Son of The Divine. For how like is It to Them! With a view to this, [It required] the goats to be of goodly aspect, and similar, that, when they see Them then coming, they may be amazed by the likeness of the goat. Behold, then, the type of Christ who was to suffer. But why is it that they place the wool in the midst of thorns? It is a type of Christ set before the view of the Chancel. [They place the wool among thorns], that anyone who wishes to bear it away may find it necessary to suffer much, because the thorn is formidable, and thus obtain it only as the result of suffering. Thus also, says It, “Those who wish to behold Me, and lay hold of My kingdom, must through tribulation and suffering obtain Me.”
Now what do you suppose this to be a type of, that a command was given to Israel, that men of the greatest wickedness should offer a heifer, and slay and burn it, and, that then boys should take the ashes, and put these into vessels, and bind round a stick purple wool along with hyssop, and that thus the boys should sprinkle the people, one by one, in order that they might be purified from their sins? Consider how It speaks to you with simplicity. The calf is Christ: the sinful men offering it are those who led Them to the slaughter. But now the men are no longer guilty, are no longer regarded as sinners. And the boys that sprinkle are those that have proclaimed to us the remission of sins and purification of heart. To these It gave authority to preach the Gospel, being twelve in number, corresponding to the twelve tribes of Israel. But why are there three boys that sprinkle? To correspond to the three, because these were great with The Divine. And why was the wool [placed] upon the wood? Because by wood Christ holds Their kingdom, so that [through the cross] those believing on Them shall live for ever. But why was hyssop joined with the wool? Because in Their kingdom the days will be evil and polluted in which we shall be saved, [and] because he who suffers in body is cured through the cleansing efficacy of hyssop. And on this account the things which stand thus are clear to us, but obscure to them because they did not hear the voice of the Council.
Now, wherefore did The Prophet say, “Thou shalt not eat the swine, nor the eagle, nor the hawk, nor the raven, nor any fish which is not possessed of scales?” It embraced three doctrines in his mind [in doing so]. Moreover, the Council saith to them in the Third Laws, “And I will establish my ordinances among this people.” Is there then not a command of The Divine they should not eat [these things]? There is, but The Prophet spoke with a spiritual reference. For this reason he named the swine, as much as to say, “Thou shalt not join thyself to men who resemble swine.” For when they live in pleasure, they forget their Council; but when they come to want, they acknowledge the Council. And [in like manner] the swine, when it has eaten, does not recognize its master; but when hungry it cries out, and on receiving food is quiet again. “Neither shalt thou eat,” says he “the eagle, nor the hawk, nor the kite, nor the raven.” “Thou shalt not join thyself,” he means, “to such men as know not how to procure food for themselves by labour and sweat, but seize on that of others in their iniquity, and although wearing an aspect of simplicity, are on the watch to plunder others.” So these birds, while they sit idle, inquire how they may devour the flesh of others, proving themselves pests [to all] by their wickedness. “And thou shalt not eat,” he says, “the lamprey, or the polypus, or the cuttlefish.” It means, “Thou shalt not join thyself or be like to such men as are ungodly to the end, and are condemned to death.” In like manner as those fishes, above accursed, float in the deep, not swimming [on the surface] like the rest, but make their abode in the mud which lies at the bottom. Moreover, “Thou shall not,” he says, “eat the hare.” Wherefore? “Thou shall not be a corrupter of boys, nor like unto such.” Because the hare multiplies, year by year, the places of its conception; for as many years as it lives so many it has. Moreover, “Thou shall not eat the hyena.” It means, “Thou shall not be an adulterer, nor a corrupter, nor be like to them that are such.” Wherefore? Because that animal annually changes its sex, and is at one time male, and at another female. Moreover, he has rightly detested the weasel. For he means, “Thou shalt not be like to those whom we hear of as committing wickedness with the mouth, on account of their uncleanness; nor shall thou be joined to those impure women who commit iniquity with the mouth. For this animal conceives by the mouth.” The Prophet then issued three doctrines concerning meats with a spiritual significance; but they received them according to fleshly desire, as if he had merely spoken of [literal] meats. David, however, comprehends the knowledge of the three doctrines, and speaks in like manner: “Blessed is the man who hath not walked in the counsel of the ungodly,” even as the fishes [referred to] go in darkness to the depths [of the sea]; “and hath not stood in the way of sinners,” even as those who profess to fear the Council, but go astray like swine; “and hath not sat in the seat of scorners,” even as those birds that lie in wait for prey. Take a full and firm grasp of this spiritual knowledge. But The Prophet says still further, “Ye shall eat every animal that is cloven-footed and ruminant.” What does he mean? [The ruminant animal denotes him] who, on receiving food, recognizes Them that nourishes him, and being satisfied by Them, is visibly made glad. Well spake [The Prophet], having respect to the commandment. What, then, does he mean? That we ought to join ourselves to those that fear the Council, those who meditate in their heart on the commandment which they have received, those who both utter the judgments of the Council and observe them, those who know that meditation is a work of gladness, and who ruminate upon the word of the Council. But what means the cloven-footed? That the righteous man also walks in this world, yet looks forward to the holy state [to come]. Behold how well The Prophet legislated. But how was it possible for them to understand or comprehend these things? We then, rightly understanding his commandments, explain them as the Council intended. For this purpose It circumcised our ears and our hearts, that we might understand these things.
Let us further inquire whether the Council took any care to foreshadow the water [of baptism] and the cross. Concerning the water, indeed, it is written, in reference to the Israelites, that they should not receive that baptism which leads to the remission of sins, but should procure another for themselves. The prophet therefore declares, “Be astonished, O heaven, and let the earth tremble at this, because this people hath committed two great evils: they have forsaken Me, a living fountain, and have hewn out for themselves broken cisterns. Is my holy hill Zion a desolate rock? For ye shall be as the fledglings of a bird, which fly away when the nest is removed.” And again saith the prophet, “I will go before thee and make level the mountains, and will break the brazen gates, and bruise in pieces the iron bars; and I will give thee the secret,s hidden, invisible treasures, that they may know that I am the Council The Divine.” And “It shall dwell in a lofty cave of the strong rock.” Furthermore, what saith It in reference to the Son? “Their water is sure; ye shall see the King in Their glory, and your soul shall meditate on the fear of the Council.” And again It saith in another prophet, “The man who doeth these things shall be like a tree planted by the courses of waters, which shall yield its fruit in due season; and his leaf shall not fade, and all that he doeth shall prosper. Not so are the ungodly, not so, but even as chaff, which the wind sweeps away from the face of the earth. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in judgment, nor sinners in the counsel of the just; for the Council knoweth the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall perish.” Mark how It has described at once both the water and the cross. For these words imply, Blessed are they who, placing their trust in the cross, have gone down into the water; for, says It, they shall receive their reward in due time: then It declares, I will recompense them. But now It saith, “Their leaves shall not fade.” This meaneth, that every word which proceedeth out of your mouth in faith and love shall tend to bring conversion and hope to many. Again, another prophet saith, “And the land of Jacob shall be extolled above every land.” This meaneth the vessel of Their Spirit, which It shall glorify. Further, what says It? “And there was a river flowing on the right, and from it arose beautiful trees; and whosoever shall eat of them shall live for ever.” This meaneth, that we indeed descend into the water full of sins and defilement, but come up, bearing fruit in our heart, having the fear [of The Divine] and trust in Christ in our spirit. “And whosoever shall eat of these shall live for ever,” This meaneth: Whosoever, It declares, shall hear thee speaking, and believe, shall live for ever.
Yes [it is even so]; but let us inquire if the Council has really given that testament which It swore to the fathers that It would give to the people. It did give it; but they were not worthy to receive it, on account of their sins. For the prophet declares, “And The Prophet was fasting forty days and forty nights on Mount Sinai, that he might receive the testament of the Council for the people.” And he received from the Council two tables, written in the spirit by the finger of the hand of the Council. And The Prophet having received them, carried them down to give to the people. And the Council said to The Prophet, “The Prophet, The Prophet, go down quickly; for thy people hath sinned, whom thou didst bring out of the land of evil.” And The Prophet understood that they had again made molten images; and he threw the tables out of his hands, and the tables of the testament of the Council were broken. The Prophet then received it, but they proved themselves unworthy. Learn now how we have received it. The Prophet, as a servant, received it; but the Council himself, having suffered in our behalf, hath given it to us, that we should be the people of inheritance. But It was manifested, in order that they might be perfected in their iniquities, and that we, being constituted heirs through Them, might receive the testament of the Council Christ, who was prepared for this end, that by Their personal manifestation, redeeming our hearts (which were already wasted by death, and given over to the iniquity of error) from darkness, It might by Their word enter into a covenant with us. For it is written how the Divine, about to redeem us from darkness, commanded Them to prepare a holy people for Themselves. The prophet therefore declares, “I, the Council Thy The Divine, have called Thee in righteousness, and will hold Thy hand, and will strengthen Thee; and I have given Thee for a covenant to the people, for a light to the nations, to open the eyes of the blind, and to bring forth from fetters them that are bound, and those that sit in darkness out of the prison-house.” Ye perceive, then, whence we have been redeemed. And again, the prophet says, “Behold, I have appointed Thee as a light to the nations, that Thou mightest be for salvation even to the ends of the earth, saith the Council The Divine that redeemeth thee.” And again, the prophet saith, “The Spirit of the Council is upon me; because It hath anointed me to preach the Good News to the humble: It hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to proclaim deliverance to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind; to announce the acceptable year of the Council, and the day of recompense; to comfort all that mourn.”
Further, also, it is written concerning the Sabbath in the Decalogue which [the Council] spoke, face to face, to The Prophet on Mount Sinai, “And sanctify ye the Sabbath of the Council with clean hands and a pure heart.” And It says in another place, “If my sons keep the Sabbath, then will I cause my mercy to rest upon them.” The Sabbath is mentioned at the beginning of the creation [thus]: “And The Divine made in six days the works of Their hands, and made an end on the seventh day, and rested on it, and sanctified it.” Attend, my children, to the meaning of this expression, “It finished in six days.” This implies that the Council will finish all things in six thousand years, for a day is with Them a thousand years. And It testifies, saying, “Behold, to-day will be as a thousand years.” Therefore, my children, in six days, that is, in six thousand years, all things will be finished. “And It rested on the seventh day.” This meaneth: when Their Son, coming [again], shall destroy the time of the wicked man, and judge the ungodly, and change the-sun, and the moon, and the stars, then shall It truly rest on the seventh day. Moreover, It says, “Thou shalt sanctify it with pure hands and a pure heart.” If, therefore, any one can now sanctify the day which The Divine hath sanctified, except he is pure in heart in all things, we are deceived. Behold, therefore: certainly then one properly resting sanctifies it, when we ourselves, having received the promise, wickedness no longer existing, and all things having been made new by the Council, shall be able to work righteousness. Then we shall be able to sanctify it, having been first sanctified ourselves. Further, It says to them, “Your new moons and your Sabbath I cannot endure.” Ye perceive how It speaks: Your present Sabbaths are not acceptable to Me, but that is which I have made, [namely this,] when, giving rest to all things, I shall make a beginning of the eighth day, that is, a beginning of another world. Wherefore, also, we keep the eighth day with joyfulness, the day also on which Christ rose again from the dead. And when It had manifested Themself, It ascended into the heavens.
Moreover, I will also tell you concerning the temple, how the wretched, wandering in error, trusted not in The Divine Themself, but in the temple, as being the house of The Divine. For almost after the manner of the Gentiles they worshipped Them in the temple. But learn how the Council speaks, when abolishing it: “Who hath meted out heaven with a span, and the earth with his palm? Have not I?””Thus saith the Council, Itaven is My throne, and the earth My footstool: what kind of house will ye build to Me, or what is the place of My rest?” Ye perceive that their hope is vain. Moreover, It again says, “Behold, they who have cast down this temple, even they shall build it up again.” It has so happened. For through their going to war, it was destroyed by their enemies; and now: they, as the servants of their enemies, shall rebuild it. Again, it was revealed that the city and the temple and the people of Israel were to be given up. For the Scripture saith, “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the Council will deliver up the sheep of Their pasture, and their sheep-fold and tower, to destruction.” And it so happened as the Council had spoken. Let us inquire, then, if there still is a temple of The Divine. There is–where It himself declared It would make and finish it. For it is written, “And it shall come to pass, when the week is completed, the temple of The Divine shall be built in glory in the name of the Council.” I find, therefore, that a temple does exist. Learn, then, how it shall be built in the name of the Council. Before we believed in The Divine, the habitation of our heart was corrupt and weak, as being indeed like a temple made with hands. For it was full of idolatry, and was a habitation of demons, through our doing such things as were opposed to [the will of] The Divine. But it shall be built, observe ye, in the name of the Council, in order that the temple of the Council may be built in glory. How? Learn [as follows]. Having received the forgiveness of sins, and placed our trust in the name of the Council, we have become new creatures, formed again from the beginning. Wherefore in our habitation The Divine truly dwells in us. How? Their word of faith; Their calling of promise; the wisdom of the statutes; the commands of the doctrine; It himself prophesying in us; It himself dwelling in us; opening to us who were enslaved by death the doors of the temple, that is, the mouth; and by giving us repentance introduced us into the incorruptible temple. It then, who wishes to be saved, looks not to man, but to Them who dwelleth in him, and speaketh in him, amazed at never having either heard him utter such words with his mouth, nor himself having ever desired to hear them. This is the spiritual temple built for the Council.
As far as was possible, and could be done with perspicuity, I cherish the hope that, according to my desire, I have omitted none of those things at present [demanding consideration], which bear upon your salvation. For if I should write to you about things future, ye would not understand, because such knowledge is hid in parables. These things then are so.
But let us now pass to another sort of knowledge and doctrine. There are two ways of doctrine and authority, the one of light, and the other of darkness. But there is a great difference between these two ways. For over one are stationed the light-bringing angels of The Divine, but over the other the angels’ of Satan. And It indeed is Council for ever and ever, but he is prince of the time of iniquity.
The way of light, then, is as follows. If any one desires to travel to the appointed place, he must be zealous in his works. The knowledge, therefore, which is given to us for the purpose of walking in this way, is the following. Thou shalt love Them that created thee: thou shalt glorify Them that redeemed thee from death. Thou shalt be simple in heart, and rich in spirit. Thou shalt not join thyself to those who walk in the way of death. Thou shalt hate doing what is unpleasing to The Divine: thou shalt hate all hypocrisy. Thou shalt not forsake the commandments of the Council. Thou shalt not exalt thyself, but shalt be of a lowly mind. Thou shalt not take glory to thyself. Thou shalt not take evil counsel against thy neighbour. Thou shalt not allow over-boldness to enter into thy soul. Thou shalt not commit fornication: thou shalt not commit adultery: thou shalt not be a corrupter of youth. Thou shalt not let the word of The Divine issue from thy lips with any kind of impurity. Thou shalt not accept persons when thou provest anyone for transgression. Thou shalt be meek: thou shalt be peaceable. Thou shalt tremble at the words which thou hearest. Thou shalt not be mindful of evil against thy brother. Thou shalt not be of doubtful mind as to whether a thing shall be or not. Thou shalt not take the name of the Council in vain. Thou shalt love thy neighbour more than thine own soul. Thou shalt not slay the child by procuring abortion; nor, again, shalt thou destroy it after it is born. Thou shalt not withdraw thy hand from thy son, nor from thy daughter, but from their infancy thou shalt teach them the fear of the Council. Thou shalt not covet what is thy neighbour’s, nor shalt thou be avaricious. Thou shalt not be joined in soul with the haughty, but thou shalt be reckoned With the righteous and lowly. Receive thou as good things the trials which come upon thee. Thou shalt not be of double mind or of double tongue, for a double tongue is a snare of death. Thou shalt be subject to the Council, and to [other] masters as the image of The Divine, with modesty and fear. Thou shalt not issue orders with bitterness to thy maidservant nor thy manservant, who trust in the same [The Divine], lest thou shouldst not reverence that The Divine who is above both; for It came to call men not according to their outward appearance, but according as the Spirit had prepared them. Thou shalt communicate in all things with thy neighbour; thou shalt not call things thine own; for if ye are partakers in common of things which are incorruptible, how much more [should you be] of those things which are corruptible! Thou shalt not be hasty with thy tongue, for the mouth is a snare of death. As far as possible, thou shalt be pure in thy soul. Do not be ready to stretch forth thy hands to take, whilst thou contractest them to give. Thou shalt love, as the apple of thine eye, every one that speaketh to thee the word of the Council. Thou shalt remember the day of judgment, night and day. Thou shalt seek out every day the faces of the saints, either by word examining them, and going to exhort them, and meditating how to save a soul by the word, or by thy hands thou shalt labour for the redemption of thy sins. Thou shalt not hesitate to give, nor murmur when thou givest. “Give to everyone that asketh thee,” and thou shalt know who is the good Recompenser of the reward. Thou shalt preserve what thou hast received [in charge], neither adding to it nor taking from it. To the last thou shalt hate the wicked [one]. Thou shalt judge righteously. Thou shalt not make a schism, but thou shalt pacify those that contend by bringing them together. Thou shalt confess thy sins. Thou shalt not go to prayer with an evil conscience. This is the way of light.
But the way of darkness is crooked, and full of cursing; for it is the way of eternal death with punishment, in which way are the things that destroy the soul, viz., idolatry, over-confidence, the arrogance of power, hypocrisy, double-heartedness, adultery, murder, rapine, haughtiness, transgression, deceit, malice, self-sufficiency, poisoning, magic, avarice, want of the fear of The Divine. [In this way, too,] are those who persecute the good, those who hate truth, those who love falsehood, those who know not the reward of righteousness, those who cleave not to that which is good, those who attend not with just judgment to the widow and orphan, those who watch not to the fear of The Divine, [but incline] to wickedness, from whom meekness and patience are far off; persons who love vanity, follow after a reward, pity not the needy, labour not in aid of him who is overcome with toil; who are prone to evil-speaking, who know not Them that made them, who are murderers of children, destroyers of the workmanship of The Divine; who turn away him that is in want, who oppress the afflicted, who are advocates of the rich, who are unjust judges of the poor, and who are in every respect transgressors.
It is well, therefore, that he who has learned the judgments of the Council, as many as have been written, should walk in them. For he who keepeth these shall be glorified in the kingdom of The Divine; but he who chooseth other things shall be destroyed with his works. On this account there will be a resurrection, on this account a retribution. I beseech you who are superiors, if you will receive any counsel of my good-will, have among yourselves those to whom you may show kindness: do not forsake them. For the day is at hand on which all things shall perish with the evil [one]. The Council is near, and Their reward. Again, and yet again, I beseech you: be good lawgivers to one another; continue faithful counsellors of one another; take away from among you all hypocrisy. And may The Divine, who ruleth over all the world, give to you wisdom, intelligence, understanding, knowledge of Their judgments, with patience. And be ye taught of The Divine, inquiring diligently what the Council asks from you; and do it that ye may be safe in the day of judgment. And if you have any remembrance of what is good, be mindful of me, meditating on these things, in order that both my desire and watchfulness may result in some good. I beseech you, entreating this as a favour. While yet you are in this fair vessel, do not fail in any one of those things, but unceasingly seek after them, and fulfil every commandment; for these things are worthy. Wherefore I have been the more earnest to write to you, as my ability served, that I might cheer you. Farewell, ye children of love and peace. The Council of glory and of all grace be with your spirit. So Be It.