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THE ACTS OF THOMAS

and true marriage, and you will enter as groomsmen into that bridal chamber full of immortality and light.”

13

And when the young people heard this, they believed the Lord and gave themselves over to him and refrained from filthy lust, and re­ mained thus spending the night in the place. And the Lord went away from them saying, “The grace of the Lord be with you!”4 And when dawn came the king arrived, and having furnished the table brought it in before the bridegroom and the bride. And he found them sit­ ting opposite each other, and he found the face of the bride uncovered, and the bridegroom was very cheerful. And the mother came in and said to the bride, “Why do you sit thus, child, and are not ashamed, but act as if you had lived for a long time with your own husband?” And her father said, “Is it because of your great love to your husband that you are unveiled?”

14

The bride answered and said, “Truly, father, I am in great love, and I pray to my Lord that the love which I have experienced this night may remain, and that I obtain that man whom I have experienced today. That I do not veil myself is because the mirror of shame has been taken away from me; I am no longer ashamed or abashed, since the work of shame and bashfulness has been removed far from me. And that I am not frightened is because alarm did not abide in me. And that I am cheerful and glad is because the day of joy has not been disturbed. And that I have set at naught this husband and these nuptials which have passed away from before my eyes is because I have been joined in a different marriage. And that I had no conjugal intercourse with a temporary husband, whose end is repentance and

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bitterness of soul, is because I have been united to the true husband.”

15

And when the bride was saying even more, the bridegroom an­ swered and said, “I thank you, Lord, who have been proclaimed by the stranger and found in us; who have put corruption far from me, and have sown life in me, who have delivered me from this disease, hard to heal, hard to cure and abiding for ever, and established in me sound health; who have shown yourself to me, and have revealed to me my condition, in which I am; who have redeemed me from falling, and have led me to something better, and who have released me from things tem­ porary, but have deemed me worthy of things immortal and everlasting; who have humbled yourself to me and my weakness, to place me beside your great­ ness and to unite with you; who have not kept your compassion from me, who was lost, but have shown me how to seek myself, and to know who I was and who and how I now am, that I may become again what I was; whom I did not know, but you have sought me out; of whom I did not know; but you stood by me; whom I have experienced and am not able to forget; whose love is fervent in me and of whom I cannot speak as I ought. But what I have to say about him is short and very little, and is not in proportion to his glory; but he does not find fault with me if I dare to tell him even what I know not; for it is out of love to him I say this.”

16

And when the king heard these things from the bridegroom and the bride, he rent his garments and said to those standing near him, “Go out

4

1 Cor. 16: 23.

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