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THE ACTS OF THOMAS

Sending forth a sweet smell of myrrh and herbs. Within are strewn myrtle-branches and all manner of sweetsmelling flowers, The portal is adorned with reeds.

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She is surrounded by her grooms­ men, seven in number, Chosen by herself; Her bridesmaids are seven, Who dance before her. Twelve in number are they who minister before her And are at her bidding. Their gaze is attentively directed at the bridegroom, That they be enlightened by his sight, And be for ever with him in that ev­ erlasting joy, And sit down at that wedding to which the princes assemble, And abide at the supper, of which the eternal ones are deemed worthy, And put on royal garments, and be dressed in splendid robes That both may rejoice and exult And praise the Father of all, Whose majestic light they have received And have been enlightened by the sight of their Lord, Whose ambrosial food they received, Of which there is no deficiency, And drank also of his wine, Which brings to them neither thirst nor desire, And they praised and glorified with the living spirit The Father of truth and the mother of wisdom.”

And when he had finished this song all who were present looked at him. He kept silence. They also saw his form

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changed, but they did not understand his words, as he was a Hebrew and his words were spoken in Hebrew. Only the flutegirl understood him, being of the Hebrew race; and leaving him she played the flute to the others, but repeatedly looked back and gazed at him. For she loved him as one belonging to her race, and he was also beautiful in appearance above all who were there. And when the flute-girl had finished her flute-playing, she sat down opposite him, and looked steadily at him. But he looked at no one at all, neither did he pay attention to any one, but kept his eyes only on the ground, waiting until he could depart. And the cupbearer that struck him came down to the fountain to draw water. And there happened to be a lion there which killed him and left him lying in the place, after tearing his limbs asunder. And dogs im­ mediately seized his limbs, among them a black dog, which grasped his right hand in his mouth and brought it to the place of the banquet.

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When they all saw it they were frightened and inquired who was absent. And when it became known that it was the hand of the cupbearer that struck the apostle, the flute-girl broke her flute and threw it away, and went and sat at the feet of the apostle, saying, “This man is either God or God’s apostle. For I heard him say in Hebrew to the cup­ bearer, ‘I shall soon see the hand that struck me dragged about by dogs.’ This you have now seen. For just as he said, so also it has come to pass.” Some be­ lieved her, and some not. And when the king heard of it he came and said to the apostle, “Rise up and go with me, and pray for my daughter. For she is my only child and to-day I give her away in mar­ riage.” And the apostle would not go with him, for the Lord had not yet been re­ vealed to him there. But the king took

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