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NON-CANONICAL ACTS OF THE APOSTLES

It is difficult to know when the Acts of John was composed, but many scholars locate it to the second half of the second century.

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When we came near the city Lycomedes, the commander-inchief of the Ephesians, a wealthy man, met us, fell down before John and asked him for help, with these words, “Your name is John; the God whom you preach has sent you to help my wife, who has been paralyzed for seven days and lies past recovery. But glorify your God and treat her out of compassion for us. Whilst I was reflecting what to do, a man came to me and said, ‘Desist, Lycomedes, from the evil thought which militates against you. Do not submit. For out of compas­ sion for my servant Cleopatra I have sent you a man from Miletus, named John, who will comfort her and restore her to you cured.’ Delay not, therefore, servant of the God who announced you to me, but hasten to the ailing woman.” And John went at once from the gate with the brethren who were with him and fol­ lowed Lycomedes into his house. And Cleobius said to his servants, “Go to my relative Callippus and make yourselves comfortable in his house—for I am com­ ing there with his son—that we may find everything prepared!”

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When Lycomedes and John had come into the house in which the woman was lying, he grasped his feet again, and said, “See, Lord, the lost beauty, see the youth, see the much talked of bloom of my unhappy wife, the ad­ miration of all Ephesus! Woe to me, un­ happy man! I was envied, humbled, the enemy’s eye was fixed on me. I never wronged anyone, although I could harm many. I envisaged this situation and I was always anxious to experience no sorrow

or anything like it! Of what use is my care now, Cleopatra? What good was it to me, that I was called godly to this day? I suffer more than a heathen, seeing you, Cleopatra, suffering so. The sun in his circuit shall not see me, if you are no more with me. Cleopatra, I will die be­ fore you. I will not spare my life though I am still youthful. I will justify myself before the goddess of right, whom I served in righteousness, though I might indict her for her unrighteous sentence. I will avenge myself on her by coming as a shade. I will say to her, ‘You have forced me to leave the light of life, be­ cause you tore away Cleopatra. You are the cause of my death, by having pre­ pared for me this fate. You have forced me to blaspheme Providence by destroy­ ing my joy.’ ”

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And Lycomedes spoke more to Cleopatra, went to her couch, and cried bitterly. But John drew him away and said, “Abandon these tears and unbecoming words! It is not proper for you, who saw the vision, to be disbeliev­ ing. Know that your partner for life will be restored to you. Therefore join us, who have come for her sake, and pray to the God whom you saw, when he showed me to you in a vision! What is the matter, Lycomedes? Wake up and open also your soul! Cast from you heavy sleep! Call on the Lord, beseech him for your wife, and he will support her.” But he fell to the ground and wept dejectedly. And John said with tears, “Woe to the treachery of the vision, woe to the new temptation prepared for me, woe to the new craft of him who devises cunnings against me!

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