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THE SHEPHERD OF HERMAS

a voice answered me, “Do not be of two minds, Hermas.” I began to debate with myself, “How can I be of two minds, when I have been firmly established by the Lord and seen his glorious deeds?” 5 I passed on a bit, brothers, and sud­ denly saw a cloud of dust, reaching up to the sky. And I began saying to myself, “Is that a herd of cattle coming, raising the dust? But it was still about two hun­ dred yards away from me. 6 And as the dust cloud grew larger and larger, I realized that it was some­ thing supernatural. The sun began to shine a bit and suddenly I saw an enor­ mous wild beast, something like a sea monster, with fiery locusts spewing from its mouth. The beast was nearly a hun­ dred feet long, and its head looked like a ceramic jar. 7 And I began to weep and ask the Lord to save me from it. Then I remem­ bered the word I had heard: “Do not be of two minds, Hermas.” 8 And so, putting on the faith of the Lord, brothers, and remembering the great things he had taught me, I coura­ geously gave myself over to the beast. And so it came on with a roar, enough to lay waste a city. 9 But when I approached it, the enor­ mous sea monster stretched itself out on the ground and did nothing but stick out its tongue; otherwise it did not move at all until I had passed it by. 10 And the beast had four colors on its head: black, fire- and blood-red, gold, and white. (IV, 2) After I passed by the beast and went about thirty feet ahead, a young woman suddenly met me, clothed as if coming from a bridal chamber, dressed all in white and with white san­ dals, veiled down to her forehead. Her veil was a headband and her hair was white.

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2 From my earlier visions I knew that she was the church, and I became cheer­ ful. She welcomed me, “Greetings, my man.” And I welcomed her in return, “Greetings, Lady.” 3 She said to me, “Did anything meet you?” I responded, “An enormous wild beast, Lady, able to destroy entire peo­ ples. But by the power of the Lord and his great compassion, I escaped it.” 4 “You escaped well,” she said, “be­ cause you cast your anxiety upon God and opened your heart to the Lord, be­ lieving that you could not be saved except through his great and glorious name. For this reason the Lord sent his angel, named Thegri, who is in charge of the wild beasts; and he shut the beast’s mouth, so that it could not harm you. You have escaped a great affliction because of your faith, and because you were not of two minds even though you saw such an enor­ mous wild beast. 5 And so, go and explain the great acts of the Lord to his chosen ones, and tell them that this wild beast is a foreshad­ owing of the great affliction that is com­ ing. If then all of you prepare and repent before the Lord from your whole heart, you will be able to escape it—if your heart becomes clean and blameless and you serve the Lord blamelessly the rest of your days. Cast your anxieties upon the Lord and he will take care of them. 6 Trust in the Lord, you who are of two minds, because he can do all things; he both diverts his anger from you and sends punishments to you who are double-minded. Woe to those who hear these words and disobey. It would be better for them not to have been born.”

(IV, 3) I then asked her about the four colors the beast had on its head. And she answered me, “Once again you are being overly inquisitive about these

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