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THE ACTS OF THOMAS

ers and such as have spoken false and disgraceful words and are not ashamed. Those hung up by their hair are the shameless, who are not ashamed at all and go about with uncovered heads in the world. Those hung up by the hands are they who took that which did not belong to them and have stolen, and who never gave anything to the poor, nor helped the afflicted; but they did so because they wished to get everything, and cared nei­ ther for law nor right. And these hung up by the feet are those who lightly and eagerly walked in wicked ways and dis­ orderly paths, not visiting the sick nor escorting those who depart this life. On this account each soul receives what it has done.’

57

“And again he led me forth and showed me a very dark cavern, exhaling a very bad stench. Many souls were peeping out thence, wishing to get some share of the air. And their keepers would not let them look out. And my companion said to me, ‘This is the prison of those souls which you saw. For when they have fully received their punishment for that which each has done, others suc­ ceed them. Some are fully consumed, others are given up to other punishments.’ And the keepers of the souls in the dark cavern said to the man that had charge of me, ‘Give her to us, that we may bring her to the others till the time comes when she is handed over to punishment.’ But he said to them, ‘I will not give her to you, because I am afraid of him who delivered her to me. For I was not told to leave her here; I shall take her back with me, till I get an injunction about her.’ And he took me and brought me to an­ other place, where there were men who were cruelly tortured. He who is like you took me and gave me up to you, saying to you, ‘Take her, for she is one of the sheep which have wan­

133

dered away.’ And received by you, I now stand before you; I beg, therefore, and supplicate you that I may not come to those places of punishment which I have seen.”

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And the apostle said, “You have heard what this woman has re­ counted. And these are not the only pun­ ishments, but there are others worse than these. And you too, unless you turn to the God whom I preach, and abstain from your former works and from the deeds which you did in ignorance, shall find your end in these punishments. Believe, therefore, in Christ Jesus, and he will forgive you the former sins and will cleanse you from all your bodily desires that remain on the earth, and will heal you from the faults that follow after you and go along with you and are found before you. Let every one of you put off the old man and put on the new,6 and leave your former course of conduct and behaviour. Those who steal, let them steal no more, but let them live, labouring and working.7 The adulterers are no more to commit adultery, lest they give them­ selves up to everlasting punishment. For with God adultery is an evil exceedingly wicked above all other evils. Put away also covetousness and lying and drunk­ enness and slandering, and do not return evil for evil!8 For all these are alien and strange to the God whom I preach. But walk rather in faith and meekness and holiness and hope, in which God rejoices, that you may become his kinsmen, ex­ pecting from him those gifts which only a few receive.”

59 6

The whole people therefore be­ lieved and presented obedient

Cf. Col. 3: 9.

7

Cf. Eph. 4: 28.

8

Cf. I Pet. 3: 9.

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