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CATHOLIC EPISTLE OF ST. BARNABAS.
All happiness to you, my Sons and Daughters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, who loved us; in peace.
I. HAVING perceived abundance of knowledge of the great and excellent' laws of God to be in you, I exceedingly rejoice in your blessed and admirable souls', because ye have so worthily received the grace which was grafted in you. For which cause, I am full of joy, hoping the rather to be saved'; inasmuch as I truly see a spirit infused into you, from the pure Fountain of God. Having this, persuasion, and being fully convinced thereof, because that since I have begun to speak unto you, I have had a more than ordinary good success in the way of the law of the Lord, which is in Christ. For which cause, Brethren, I also think, verily, that I love you above my own soul; because that therein dwelleth the greatness of faith and charity, as also the hope of that life which is to come. Wherefore considering this, that if I shall take care to communicate to you a part of what I have received, it shall turn to my reward, that I have served such good souls', I gave diligence to write in a few words unto you, that together with your faith, your 10 knowledge
1 Honestarum. 2 Equitatum; Aizawμárw; righteous judgments. Spiritibus, disposition.
4 Natural: Gr.upur.See Chap. xix. μpurov dogsàv didans; which the Lat. Int. renders Naturale donum doctrina. Comp. Jam. i. 21. 5 Liberari: Gr. ut videtur ownvas. 6 Honesto, from the Gr. xas. 7 Comp. Psal. cix. 33. viz. either by preaching, or fulfilling the same. 8 Vid. Annot. Voss. in loc. 9 Talibus spiritibus servienti. Usser. 10 Γνώσις.
also may be perfect. There are, therefore, three things ordained by the Lord'-the hope of life, For the beginning, and the completion of it. the Lord hath both declared unto us, by the prophets, those things that are past; and opened to us the beginnings of those that are to come. Wherefore, it will behove us, as he has spoken', to come more holily, and nearer to his altar. I therefore, not as a teacher, but as one of you', will endeavour to lay before you a few things by which you may, on many accounts", become the more joyful.
II. Seeing, then, the days are exceeding evil, and the adversary has got the power of this present world, we ought to give the more diligence to inquire into the righteous judgments of the Lord. Now, the assistants of our faith are, fear and patience; our fellow-combatants, long-sufWhilst these remain fering and continence. pure in what relates unto the Lord: wisdom, and understanding, and science, and knowledge-rejoice together with them. For God has manifested to us, by all the Prophets, that he has no occasion for our sacrifices, or burnt-offerings, or oblations; saying thus: To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt-offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts"; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of he-goats. When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hands?
1 Abyμara Kuglov, Constitutions of the Lord.
2 Viz. Faith and Charity.-See before.
3 Namely, which we are to believe.
4 That is, which are to be hoped for, and end in love.
5 Given us to know.
6 Honestius et altius; the more honestly and highly.
8 In many things.
10 Equities. Comp. Græc. Clem Alex.
Ye shall no more tread my courts. Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me: your new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Your new moons, and your appointed feasts, my soul hateth'. These things, therefore, hath God abolished, that the new law of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is without the yoke of any such necessity, might have the spiritual offering of men themselves. For so the Lord saith again to those heretofore; Did I at all command your fathers, when they came out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt-offerings or sacrifices: but this I commanded them, saying, Let' none of you imagine evil in your hearts against his neighbour, and love no false oath. Forasmuch then as we are not without understanding, we ought to apprehend the design of our merciful Father. For he speaks to us, being willing that we who have been in the same error about the sacrifices, should seek and find how to approach unto him. And therefore he thus bespeaks usThe sacrifice of God [is a broken spirit], a broken and contrite heart God will not despise. Wherefore, Brethren, we ought the more diligently to inquire after those things that belong to our salvation, that the adversary may not have any entrance into us, and deprive us of our spiritual
III. Wherefore he again speaketh to them, concerning these things: Ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high. Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? Is it to bow down his head
1 Isaiah i. 11-14.
2 Jer. vii. 22, 23.
3 Zech. viii. 17.
5 Psal. 1. 19.
Of the mercy of our Father.
like a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD? But to us he saith on this wise. Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free; and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him, and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thy health shall spring forth speedily; and thy righteousness shall go before thee, the glory of the LORD shall be thy reward. Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer: thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am; if thou put away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity: and if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul'. In this therefore, Brethren, God has manifested his foreknowledge' and mercy to us; because the people which he has purchased to his beloved Son were to believe in sincerity'; and therefore he has shewn these things to all of us, that we should not run as proselytes to the Jewish law.
IV. Wherefore it is necessary, that, searching diligently into those things which are near to may come to. pass, we should write to serve to keep you whole. To which end, let us flee from every evil work, and hate the errors of the present time, that we may be happy in that which is to come. Let us not give ourselves the liberty of disputing with the wicked and sinners;
1 Isaiah lviii. 4-10.
5 Histantibus: read instantibus.
lest we should chance in time to become like unto them. For the consummation of sin' is come, as it is written, as the prophet Daniel' says. And for this end the Lord hath shortened the times and the days, that his Beloved might hasten his coming to his inheritance. For so the Prophet speaks,There shall ten kings reign in the earth; and there shall rise, last of all, another little one, and he shall humble three kings'. And again, Daniel speaks in like manner concerning the kingdoms,-And I saw the fourth beast dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had ten horns. I considered the horns; and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before which were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots*. We ought, therefore, to understand this also: and I beseech you, as one of your own brethren, loving you all beyond my own life, that you look well to yourselves, and be not like to those who add sin to sin, and say, "That their covenant is ours also." Nay, but it is ours only; for they have for ever lost that which Moses received. For thus saith the Scripture, And Moses continued fasting forty days and forty nights in the mount; and he received the covenant from the Lord, even two tables of stone written by the hand of God". But having turned themselves to idols, they lost it; as the LORD also said to Moses,-Moses, go down quickly; for thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of Egypt, have corrupted themselves, and turned aside from the way which I commanded them". And Moses cast the two tables out of his hands— and their covenant was broken, that the love of Jesus might be sealed in your hearts, unto
2 Dan. ix.
3 Dan. vii.