THE SHEPHERD OF HERMAS
by their own pleasure. And so this kind of luxury can be proﬁtable for the slaves of God, and provides life to such a per son. But the harmful luxuries that I men tioned before provide torments and pun ishments. If people remain in them without repenting, they provide death for themselves.”
Parable Seven (VII) After a few days I saw him in the same plain where I had seen the shepherds, and he said to me, “What are you looking for?” “I have come here, Lord,” I said, “to ask you to order the punishing angel to leave my house, be cause he is afﬂicting me terribly.” “You need to be afﬂicted,” he replied, “because this is what the glorious angel com manded for you. For he wants you to be put to the test.” “What evil thing have I done, Lord, to be handed over to this angel?” I asked. 2 “Listen,” he said, “your sins are many, but not enough for you to be handed over to this angel. But your household has committed great sins and lawless acts, and the glorious angel is embittered by their deeds. This is why he commanded you to be afﬂicted for a time, to lead them to repent and cleanse them selves from all worldly desires. When they repent and are cleansed, then the punishing angel will leave.” 3 I said to him, “Lord, even if they are acting in ways that embitter the glorious angel—what have I done?” “It cannot be otherwise,” he said. “They cannot be af ﬂicted unless you are as well, since you are the head of the household. For if you are afﬂicted, of necessity they are too; but if you are ﬂourishing, they can ex perience no afﬂiction.”
4 “But look, Lord,” I said, “they have in fact repented from their whole heart.” “I myself know they have repented from their whole heart,” he replied. “But do you think,” he said, “that the sins of those who repent are forgiven on the spot? Not at all! But the one who repents must torment his own soul and become might ily humble in his every deed and be af ﬂicted with many and various afﬂictions. And if he should endure the afﬂictions that come upon him, the one who created and empowered all things will be fully compassionate and bring him some healing. 5 This will certainly happen if he sees that the heart of the one who repents is pure from every evil deed. And it is to your advantage, and to your household’s, to be afﬂicted now. But why am I telling you so much? You must be afﬂicted, just as that angel of the Lord commanded, the one who delivered you over to me. Give the Lord thanks for this—for he consid ered you worthy to have the afﬂiction explained in advance, that by knowing about it in advance you could endure it strongly.” 6 I said to him, “Lord, be with me and I will be able to endure every afﬂiction.” “I will be with you,” he said. “And I will also ask the punishing angel to afﬂict you less severely. You will be afﬂicted for a brief time, and you will again be restored to your place. But continue by being humble, serving the Lord with a pure heart, you, your children, and your household, and proceed in my command ments, which I have given you, and your repentance will be able to be strong and pure. 7 And if you guard these matters, along with your household, every afﬂic tion will leave you. And afﬂiction will leave everyone who proceeds in these my commandments.” . . .