THE ACTS OF THOMAS
poor and needy, and bestowing alms, and gave them relief, saying, “The king knows that he will receive royal recom pense, but the poor must be refreshed, as their condition requires it.” After this the king sent a messenger to the apostle, having written the following: “Let me know what you have done or what I should send to you or what you need.” The apostle sent word to him saying, “The palace is built, and only the roof remains to be done.” Upon hearing this the king sent him again gold and uncoined silver and wrote, “If the palace is built, let it be roofed.” And the apostle said to the Lord, “I thank you, Lord, in every respect, that you died for a short time, that I may live in you for ever, and that you have sold me, to deliver many through me.” And he did not cease to teach and refresh the afﬂicted, saying, “The Lord has dispensed this to you and he gives to each his food. For he is the support of the orphans and the nourisher of the widows, and rest and repose to all who are afﬂicted.”
When the king came to the city he inquired of his friends con cerning the palace which Judas, sur named Thomas, had built for him. And they said to him, “He has neither built a palace, nor did he do anything of that which he promised to do, but he goes about in the cities and villages, and if he has anything he gives it to the poor, and teaches a new God, heals the sick, drives out demons, and performs many mira cles. And we believe that he is a magi cian. But his acts of compassion and the cures done by him as a free gift, still more his simplicity and gentleness and ﬁdelity, show that he is a just man, or an apostle of the new God, whom he preaches. For he continually fasts and prays and eats only bread with salt, and
his drink is water, and he wears one coat, whether in warm weather or in cold, and he takes nothing from anyone but gives to others what he has.” Upon hearing this the king hit his face with his hands, shak ing his head for a long time.
And he sent for the merchant who had brought him, and for the apostle, and said to him, “Have you built the palace?” And he said, “Yes, I have built it.” The king said, “When shall we go to inspect it?” And he answered and said, “Now you cannot see it, but you shall see it when you depart this life.” And the king was very angry and ordered both the merchant and Judas Thomas to be bound and cast into prison, until he should ﬁnd out to whom the property of the king had been given, and so destroy him and the merchant. And the apostle went to prison rejoicing and said to the merchant, “Fear nothing, believe only in the God who is preached by me, and you shall be freed from this world, and obtain life in the world to come.” And the king considered by what death he should kill them. He decided to ﬂog them and burn them with ﬁre. On that very night Gad, the king’s brother, fell ill; and through the grief and disappoint ment which the king had suffered he was grievously depressed. And having sent for the king he said to him, “Brother and king, I commend to you my house and my children. For I have been grieved on account of the insult that has befallen you, and lo, I am dying, and if you do not proceed against the life of that ma gician you will give my soul no rest in Hades.” And the king said to his brother, “I considered the whole night by what death I should kill him, and I have de cided to ﬂog him and burn him with ﬁre, together with the merchant who brought him.”