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THE SHEPHERD OF HERMAS

3 I said to him, “Lord, I do not know what you mean that some are destroyed to death and others to ruin.” “Listen,” he said. “All the sheep you saw that were extremely cheerful and leaping about are the ones who have finally fallen away from God and have delivered themselves over to the desires of this age. Among these there is no repentance that leads to life, because they have also committed blasphemy against the name of the Lord. Death therefore belongs to them. 4 But the ones you saw that were not leaping about but were grazing in one place, these are the ones who have deliv­ ered themselves over to luxuries and de­ ceits, without committing blasphemy against the Lord. They have been ruined by falling from the truth. For these there is a hope of repentance, and it can make them live. And so, those who have ex­ perienced this kind of ruin have some hope of new life, but death brings eternal destruction.” 5 Then we went a little way ahead, and he showed me a large shepherd with a wild kind of appearance, clothed in the skin of a white goat, with a bag on his shoulder, a very hard and knotty staff, and a great whip. He had an extremely bitter look about him. I was afraid of him, he had such a look. 6 This shepherd was taking the sheep from the young shepherd—those that were frisky and luxuriously fed, but not leaping—and driving them into an area that was steep and filled with thorns and thistles. And the sheep could not extricate themselves from the thorns and thistles but became entangled in them. 7 And so they had to graze while being entangled among the thorns and thistles; and they were being miserably beaten by the shepherd. He was forcing them to move here and there, giving them no rest at all, so that those sheep were not at all tranquil.

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(VI, 3) When I saw them flogged like this and made so miserable, I started to grieve for them, because they were tormented in this way and had no respite. 2 I said to the shepherd who was speaking with me, “Lord,” I said, “who is this merciless and bitter shepherd, who is showing no compassion at all for these sheep?” “This,” he replied, “is the angel of punishment. He is one of the upright angels, but he has been appointed to mete out punishment. 3 And so he takes those who have strayed from God and proceeded in the desires of this age, and he punishes them with the various terrifying punishments that each of them deserves.” 4 “I want to know, Lord,” I said, “what sorts of punishments there are.” “Listen,” he said, “to the various torments and pun­ ishments. For the torments come in the present life. Some people are punished with financial losses, others with depri­ vations, various diseases, or every kind of disruption, or by being abused by miscreants and many other kinds of suffering. 5 For many people undertake numer­ ous projects but go back and forth in their minds, and nothing at all goes well for them. And they say that they do not pros­ per in what they do, but it never occurs to them that they have done what is evil; instead, they blame the Lord. 6 And so, when they have suffered every affliction, they are handed over to me for good discipline, and they are made strong in the faith of the Lord, and they serve as the Lord’s slaves the remaining days of their lives, with pure hearts. When they repent, they think about the evil deeds they have done, and then they give glory to God, because he is an up­ right judge and each one has rightly suf­ fered everything in light of what he has

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