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THE ACTS OF JOHN

Did the voice from heaven, which came to me by the way, intend this for me, predicting to me what should here take place? Will it deliver me up to such a great multitude of citizens, for the sake of Lycomedes? The man lies here life­ less, and I know that I shall not leave this house alive. Why do you delay, Lord? Why have you deprived us of your gra­ cious promise? I beseech you, Lord, let him not rejoice who delights in the sor­ row of others. Let him not dance who always laughs at us! But let your holy name and your compassion come quickly! Waken the bodies of the two, who are against me!”

22

While John was crying, the city of Ephesus ran to the house of Lycomedes, supposing him dead. And when John saw the great multitude, he prayed to the Lord, “Now the time of refreshing and confidence has come with you, O Christ; now is the time for us weary ones to have help from you, phy­ sician, who heal freely. Keep my entrance here free from derision! I beseech you, Jesus, help such a great multitude to come to the Lord of the universe. Behold the affliction, behold those who lie here! Even those who came here, make holy instruments for your service, after they have seen your gift. For you have said yourself, O Christ, ‘Ask and it shall be given you.’2 We therefore beseech you, O King, not for gold, not for silver, not for riches, not for possession, nor for any transient, earthly goods, but for two souls through whom you will convert those present to your way, to your knowledge, to your confidence, and to your infallible promise. For many of them shall be saved, after they have known your power through the resurrection of the departed. Give us, therefore, hope in you! I will go to Cleopatra and say, ‘Arise, in the name of Jesus Christ.’ ”

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And he went, touched her face, and said, “Cleopatra, he whom every ruler fears, and every creature, power, abyss, and darkness and unsmil­ ing death and the heights of heaven and the caverns of the lower world and the resurrection of the dead and the sight of the blind and the whole power of the ruler of the world, and the pride of its prince, says, ‘Rise and become not a pretext for many who will not believe, and an afflic­ tion for souls who hope and could be saved.’ ” And Cleopatra cried out at once, “I will rise, master, save your hand­ maiden!” When she had risen after the seven days, the whole city of Ephesus was stirred by the miraculous sight. . . .

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. . . After two days the birthday of the idol’s temple was cele­ brated. While everybody was dressed in white garments, John wore black and went to the temple. They laid hold of him and tried to kill him. But John said, “Men, you are mad to lay hold of me, the servant of the only God.” And climbing on to the platform he spoke to them:

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“Men of Ephesus, you are in danger of behaving like the sea. Every discharging river and every precip­ itating spring, downpours and incessant waves and torrents rushing from the rock, are permeated by the bitter salt which is in the sea. Thus to this day you are un­ changeably hostile to true piety, and you perish in your old idolatry. How many miraculous deeds did you see me per­ form, how many cures! And still you are hardened in the heart and cannot see clearly. What now, men of Ephesus? I have ventured now to come up to this idol’s temple, to convince you that you

2

Matt 7:7.

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