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NON-CANONICAL ACTS OF THE APOSTLES

him away against his will to the bridal chamber, that he might pray for them.

10

And the apostle stood and be­ gan to pray and speak thus: “My Lord and my God,3 who accompa­ nies his servants, guide and leader of those who believe in him, refuge and repose of the afflicted, hope of the poor and deliverer of the captives, physician of the souls laid low by disease, and saviour of every creature, who gives life to the world and strengthens the souls, you know the future and accomplish it through us; you, Lord, who reveal hidden mysteries and declare secret words; you, Lord, are the planter of the good tree and by your hand all good works are pro­ duced; you, Lord, are in all, and come through all, and exist in all your works and make yourself manifest through the working of them all; Jesus Christ, the Son of compassion and perfect Saviour; Christ, Son of the living God, the un­ daunted power which has overthrown the enemy; the voice, heard by the rulers, which shook all their powers; messenger, sent from on high, who went down even to Hades; who also, having opened the doors, brought out from there those who had been shut in for many ages in the treasuries of darkness, and showed them the way that leads up on high—I beseech you, Lord Jesus, offering you supplica­ tion for these young persons, that you may do to them what helps, benefits, and is profitable for them.” And having laid his hands on them and said, “The Lord be with you,” he left them in that place and went away.

11

The king requested the grooms­ men to leave the bridal chamber. When all had left, and the doors were shut, the bridegroom raised the curtain of the bridal chamber, that he might bring the bride to himself. And he saw the Lord

Jesus talking with the bride. He had the appearance of Judas Thomas, the apostle, who shortly before had blessed them and departed; and he said to him, “Did you not go out before them all? And how is it that you are here now?” And the Lord said to him, “I am not Judas Thomas, I am his brother.” And the Lord sat down on the bed and ordered them to sit down on couches, and he began to speak to them.

12

“Remember, my children, what my brother said to you, and to whom he commended you; and know that if you refrain from this filthy intercourse you become temples holy and pure, being released from afflictions and troubles, known and unknown, and you will not be involved in the cares of life and of children, whose end is destruction. But if you get many children, for their sakes you become grasping and avaricious, plundering orphans and deceiving wid­ ows, and by doing this you subject your­ selves to most grievous punishments. For most children become unprofitable, being possessed by demons, some openly and some secretly. For they become either lunatics or half-withered or crippled or deaf or dumb or paralytics or idiots. And though they be healthy, they will be again good-for-nothing, doing unprofitable and abominable works. For they will be de­ tected either in adultery or in murder or in theft or in unchastity, and by all these you will be afflicted. But if you obey and preserve your souls pure to God, there will be born to you living children, un­ touched by these hurtful things, and you will be without care, spending an untrou­ bled life, free from grief and care, look­ ing forward to receive that incorruptible

3

John 20: 28.

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