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Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Shepherd of Hermas: Tenth Mandate

...Rid yourself...of grief, for it is the sister of double-mindedness and an angry temper. ...understand that grief is the most evil of all the spirits and very bad for GOD's servants, and it destroys man more than all the spirits and crushes the work of the HOLY SPIRIT -- and again HE saves.

...Those who have never searched for the Truth nor inquired about the Deity, but have simply believed, and have been mixed up in business affairs and wealth and pagan friendships and many other concerns of this world--well, those who are absorbed in these things do not comprehend the parables of the Deity, because they are darkened by these matters and are ruined and become barren. Just as good vineyards are made barren by thorns and weeds of various kinds when they are neglected, so men who have believed and then fall into these many activities that have been mentioned above lose their understanding and do not comprehend anything at all. But those who fear GOD and search for the Deity and Truth and direct their heart to the LORD grasp more quickly and understand everything that is said to them, because they have the fear of the LORD in themselves, for where the LORD lives, there also is much understanding. So hold fast to the LORD and you will understand and grasp everything. ... (10:1)

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...Foolish man...hear now how grief crushes the work of the HOLY SPIRIT and saves again. Whenever a double-minded person undertakes some action and fails at it because of his double-mindedness, this grief enters the man and grieves the HOLY SPIRIT and crushes HIS work.

Then again, when an angry temper holds fast to a man over some matter and he becomes very embittered, again grief enters the heart of the angry-tempered man, and he is grieved by what he has done, and he repents because he has done evil. This grief, therefore, seems to bring salvation, because he repented after having done evil.

So both actions grieve the SPIRIT: the double-mindedness, because it did not succeed in its attempt, and the angry temper grieves the SPIRIT, because it did what was evil. So both are a cause for grief for the HOLY SPIRIT, double-mindedness and an angry temper.

Rid yourself, therefore, of grief and do not oppress the work of the HOLY SPIRIT WHO lives in you, lest HE being GOD act against you and leave you. For the SPIRIT of GOD WHO was given to this flesh endures neither grief nor distress. ... (10:2)

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...Clothe yourself, therefore, with cheerfulness, which always finds favor with GOD and is acceptable to HIM, and rejoice in it. For every cheerful man does good things and thinks good things.

But the sorrowful man always does evil. Firstly, he does evil, because he grieves the HOLY SPIRIT, WHO was cheerful when given to man. Secondly, by grieving the HOLY SPIRIT, he acts lawlessly in that he neither prays nor confesses to GOD. For the intercession of a grieving man never has the power to ascend to the Altar of GOD. ...Because grief is entrenched in his heart. When the grief is mixed with the intercession, it does not permit the intercession to ascend in purity to the Altar. For just as vinegar mixed together with wine in the same bottle dos not have a pleasant taste, so also grief mixed with the HOLY SPIRIT does not have the same intercession. So cleanse yourself of this evil grief, and you will live to GOD: indeed, all will live to GOD who rid themselves of grief and clothe themselves with all cheerfulness. ... (10:3) --The Shepherd of Hermas, Mandate 10 (mid second century AD)

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