Marcellino D'Ambrosio, Crossroads Initiative

catechetical resourses for the Catholic ChurchMarcellino D'Ambrosio, Crossroads Initiative RCIA in

the Catholic ChurchMarcellino D'Ambrosio, Crossroads Initiative adult

education in the Catholic ChurchMarcellino D'Ambrosio, Crossroads Initiative

Exploring the Catholic ChurchMarcellino D'Ambrosio, Crossroads Initiative Early

Church Fathers
Crossroads Initiatitve, a ministry of Dr. Marcellino


Letter of Barnabas

atrributed to the apostle but written by an unknown 2nd Century Author
All hail, ye sons and daughters, in the name of our Lord(1) Jesus 
Christ, who loved us in peace. 
The Epistle of Barnabas    Seeing that the divine fruits(3) of righteousness abound among you, I 
rejoice exceedingly and above measure in your happy and honoured spirits, 
because ye have with such effect received the engrafted(4) spiritual gift. 
Wherefore also I inwardly rejoice the more, hoping to be saved, because I 
truly perceive in you the Spirit poured forth from the rich Lord s of love. 
Your greatly desired appearance has thus filled me with astonishment over 
you.(6) I am therefore pursuaded of this, and fully convinced in my own 
mind, that since I began to speak among you I understand many things, 
because the Lord hath accompanied me in the way of righteousness. I am also 
on this account bound(7) by the strictest obligation to love you above my 
own soul, because great are the faith and love dwelling in you, while you 
hope for the life which He has promised.(8) Considering this, therefore, 
that if I should take the trouble to communicate to you some portion of what I have myself received, it will prove to me a sufficient reward that I 
minister to such spirits, I have hastened briefly to write unto you, in order that, along with your faith, ye might have perfect knowledge. The 
doctrines of the Lord, then, are three:(9) the hope of life, the beginning and the completion of it. For the Lord hath made known to us by the 
prophets both the things which are past and present, giving us also the first-fruits of the knowledge(10) of things to come, which things as we see 
accomplished, one by one, we ought with the greater richness of faith(11) and elevation of spirit to draw near to Him with reverence.(12) I then, not 
as your teacher, but as one of yourselves, will set forth a few things by which in present circumstances ye may be rendered the more joyful. 
    Since, therefore, the days are evil, and Satan(13) possesses the power 
of this world, we ought to give heed to ourselves, and diligently inquire 
into the ordinances of the Lord. Fear and patience, then, are helpers of 
our faith; and long-suffering and continence are things which fight on our 
side. While these remain pure in what respects the Lord, Wisdom, 
Understanding, Science, and Knowledge rejoice along with them.(14) For He 
hath revealed to us by all the prophets that He needs neither sacrifices, 
nor burnt-offerings, nor oblations, saying thus, "What is the multitude of 
your sacrifices unto Me, saith the Lord? I am full of burnt-offerings, and 
desire not the fat of lambs, and the blood of bulls and goats, not when ye 
come to appear before Me: for who hath required these things at your hands? 
Tread no more My courts, not though ye bring with you fine flour. Incense 
is a vain abomination unto Me, and your new moons and sabbaths I cannot 
endure."(1) He has therefore abolished these things, that the new law of 
our Lord Jesus Christ, which is without the yoke of necessity, might have a 
human oblation.(2) And again He says to them, "Did I command your fathers, 
when they went out from the land of Egypt, to offer unto Me burnt-offerings 
and sacrifices? But this rather I commanded them, Let no one of you cherish 
any evil in his heart against his neighbour, and love not an oath of 
falsehood."(3) We ought therefore, being possessed of understanding, to 
perceive the gracious intention of our Father; for He speaks to us, 
desirous that we, not(4) going astray like them, should ask how we may 
approach Him. To us, then, He declares, "A sacrifice [pleasing] to God is a 
broken spirit; a smell of sweet savour to the Lord is a heart that 
glorifieth Him that made it."(5) We ought therefore, brethren, carefully to 
inquire concerning our salvation, lest the wicked one, having made his 
entrance by deceit, should huff(6) us forth from our [true] life. 
    He says then to them again concerning these things, "Why do ye fast to 
Me as on this day, saith the Lord, that your voice should be heard with a 
cry? I have not chosen this fast, saith the Lord, that a man should humble 
his soul. Nor, though ye bend your neck like a ring, and put upon you 
sackcloth and ashes, will ye call it an acceptable fast."(7) To us He 
saith, "Behold, this is the fast that I have chosen, saith the Lord, not 
that a man should humble his soul, but that he should loose every band of 
iniquity, untie the fastenings of harsh agreements, restore to liberty them 
that are bruised, tear in pieces every unjust engagement, feed the hungry 
with thy bread, clothe the naked when thou seest him, bring the homeless 
into thy house, not despise the humble if thou behold him, and not [turn 
away] from the members of thine own family. Then shall thy dawn break 
forth, and thy healing shall quickly spring up, and righteousness shall go 
forth before thee, and the glory of God shall encompass thee; and then thou 
shalt call, and God shall hear thee; whilst thou art yet speaking, He shall 
say, Behold, I am with thee; if thou take away from thee the chain [binding 
others], and the stretching forth of the hands(8) [to sweat falsely], and 
words of murmuring, and give cheerfully thy bread to the hungry, and show 
compassion to the soul that has been humbled."(9) To this end, therefore, 
brethren, He is long-suffering, foreseeing how the people whom He has 
prepared shall with guilelessness believe in His Beloved. For He revealed 
all these things to us beforehand, that we should not rush forward as rash 
acceptors of their laws.(10) 
    It therefore behoves us, who inquire much concerning events at 
hand,(11) to search diligently into those things which are able to save us. 
Let us then utterly flee from all the works of iniquity, lest these should 
take hold of us; and let us hate the error of the present time, that we may 
set our love on the world to come: let us not give loose reins to our soul, 
that it should have power to run with sinners and the wicked, lest we 
become like them. The final stumbling-block (or source of danger) 
approaches, concerning which it is written, as Enoch(12) says, "For for 
this end the Lord has cut short the times and the days, that His Beloved 
may hasten; and He will come to the inheritance." And the prophet also 
speaks thus: "Ten kingdoms shall reign upon the earth, and a little king 
shall rise up after them, who shall subdue under one three of the 
kings.(13) In like manner Daniel says concerning the same, "And I beheld 
the fourth beast, wicked and powerful, and more savage than all the beasts 
of the earth, and how from it sprang up ten horns, and out of them a little 
budding horn, and how it subdued under one three of the great horns."(14) 
Ye ought therefore to understand. And this also I further beg of you, as 
being one of you, and loving you both individually and collectively more 
than my own soul, to take heed now to yourselves, and not to be like some, 
adding largely to your sins, and saying, "The covenant is both theirs and 
ours."(15) But they thus finally lost it, after Moses had already received 
it. For the Scripture saith, "And Moses was fasting in the mount forty days 
and forty nights, and received the covenant from the Lord, tables of stone 
written with the finger of the hand of the Lord;"(1) but turning away to 
idols, they lost it. For the Lord speaks thus to Moses: "Moses go down 
quickly; for the people whom thou hast brought out of the land of Egypt 
have transgressed."(2) And Moses understood [the meaning of God], and cast 
the two tables out of his hands; and their covenant was broken, in order 
that the covenant of the beloved Jesus might be sealed upon our heart, in 
the hope which flows from believing in Him.(3) Now, being desirous to write 
many things to you, not as your teacher, but as becometh one who loves you, 
I have taken care not to fail to write to you from what I myself possess, 
with a view to your purification.(4) We take earnest(5) heed in these last 
days; for the whole [past] time of your faith will profit you nothing, 
unless now in this wicked time we also withstand coming sources of danger, 
as becometh the sons of God. That the Black One(6) may find no means of 
entrance, let us flee from every vanity, let us utterly hate the works of 
the way of wickedness. Do not, by retiring apart, live a solitary life, as 
if you were already [fully] justified; but coming together in one place, 
make common inquiry concerning what tends to your general welfare. For the 
Scripture saith, "Woe to them who are wise to themselves, and prudent in 
their own sight!"(7) Let us be spiritually-minded: let us be a perfect 
temple to God. As much as in us lies, let us meditate upon the fear of God, 
and let us keep His commandments, that we may rejoice in His ordinances. 
The Lord will judge the world without respect of persons. Each will receive 
as he has done: if he is righteous, his righteousness will precede him; if 
he is wicked, the reward of wickedness is before him. Take heed, lest 
resting at our ease, as those who are the called [of God], we should fall 
asleep in our sins, and the wicked prince, acquiring power over us, should 
thrust us away from the kingdom of the Lord. And all the more attend to 
this, my brethren, when ye reflect and behold, that after so great signs 
and wonders were wrought in Israel, they were thus [at length] abandoned. 
Let us beware lest we be found [fulfilling that saying], as it is written, 
"Many are called, but few are chosen."(8) 
    For to this end the Lord endured to deliver up His flesh to corruption, 
that we might be sanctified through the remission of sins, which is 
effected by His blood of sprinkling. For it is written concerning Him, 
partly with reference to Israel, and partly to us; and [the Scripture] 
saith thus: "He was wounded for our transgressions, and braised for our 
iniquities: with His stripes we are healed. He was brought as a sheep to 
the slaughter, and as a lamb which is dumb before its shearer."(9) 
Therefore we ought to be deeply grateful to the Lord, because He has both 
made known to us things that are past, and hath given us wisdom concerning 
things present, and hath not left us without understanding in regard to 
things which are to come. Now, the Scripture saith, "Not unjustly are nets 
spread out for birds."(10) This means that the man perishes justly, who, 
having a knowledge of the way of righteousness, rushes off into the way of 
darkness. And further, my brethren: if the Lord endured to suffer for our 
soul, He being Lord of all the world, to whom God said at the foundation of 
the world, "Let us make man after our image, and after our likeness,"(11) 
understand how it was that He endured to suffer at the hand of men. The 
prophets, having obtained grace from Him, prophesied concerning Him. And He 
(since it behoved Him to appear in flesh), that He might abolish death, and 
reveal the resurrection from the dead, endured [what and as He did], in 
order that He might fulfill the promise made unto the fathers, and by 
preparing a new people for Himself, might show, while He dwelt on earth, 
that He, when He has raised mankind, will also judge them. Moreover, 
teaching Israel, and doing so great miracles and signs, He preached [the 
truth] to him, and greatly loved him. But when He chose His own apostles 
who where to preach His Gospel, [He did so from among those] who were 
sinners above all sin, that He might show He came "not to call the 
righteous, but sinners to repentance."(12) Then He manifested Himself to be 
the Son of God. For if He had not come in the flesh, how could men have 
been saved by beholding Him?(13) Since looking upon the sun which is to 
cease to exist, and is the work of His hands, their eyes are not able to 
bear his rays. The Son of God therefore came in the flesh with this view, 
that He might bring to a head the sum of their sins who had persecuted His 
prophets(1) to the death. For this purpose, then, He endured. For God 
saith, "The stroke of his flesh is from them;"(2) and(3) "when I shall 
smite the Shepherd, then the sheep of the flock shall be scattered."(4) He 
himself willed thus to suffer, for it was necessary that He should suffer 
on the tree. For says he Who prophesies regarding Him, "Spare my soul from 
the sword,(5) fasten my flesh with nails; for the assemblies of the wicked 
have risen up against me."(6) And again he says, "Behold, I have given my 
back to scourges, and my cheeks to strokes, and I have set my countenance 
as a firm rock."(7) 
    When, therefore, He has fulfilled the commandment, what saith He? "Who 
is he that will contend with Me? let him oppose Me: or who is he that will 
enter into judgment with Me? let him draw near to the servant of the 
Lord."(8) "Woe unto you, for ye shall all wax old, like a garment, and the 
moth shall eat you up."(9) And again the prophet says, "Since(10) as a 
mighty stone He is laid for crushing, behold I cast down for the 
foundations of Zion a stone, precious, elect, a corner-stone, honourable." 
Next, what says He? "And he who shall trust" in it shall live for ever." Is 
our hope, then, upon a stone? Far from it. But [the language is used] 
inasmuch as He laid his flesh [as a foundation] with power; for He says, 
"And He placed me as a firm rock."(12) And the prophet says again, "The 
stone which the builders rejected, the same has become the head of the 
corner."(13) And again he says, "This is the great and wonderful day which 
the Lord hath made.(14) I write the more simply unto you, that ye may 
understand. I am the off-scouring of your love.(15) What, then, again says 
the prophet? "The assembly of the wicked surrounded me; they encompassed me 
as bees do a honeycomb,"(16) and "upon my garment they cast lots."(17) 
Since, therefore, He was about to be manifested and to suffer in the flesh, 
His suffering was foreshown. For the prophet speaks against Israel, "Woe to 
their soul, because they have counselted an evil counsel against 
themselves,(18) saying, Let us bind the just one, because he is displeasing 
to us."(19) And Moses also says to them,(20) "Behold these things, saith 
the Lord God: Enter into the good land which the Lord sware [to give] to 
Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and inherit ye it, a land flowing with milk 
and honey."(21) What, then, says Knowledge?(22) Learn: "Trust," she says, 
"in Him who is to be manifested to you in the flesh--that is, Jesus." For 
man is earth in a suffering state, for the formation of Adam was from the 
face of the earth. What, then, meaneth this: "into the good land, a land 
flowing with milk and honey?" Blessed be our Lord, who has placed in us 
wisdom and understanding of secret things. For the prophet says, "Who shall 
understand the parable of the Lord, except him who is wise and prudent, and 
who loves his Lord?"(23) Since, therefore, having renewed us by the 
remission of our sins, He hath made us after another pattern, [it is His 
purpose] that we should possess the soul of children, inasmuch as He has 
created us anew by His Spirit.(24) For the Scripture says concerning us, 
while He speaks to the Son, "Let Us make man after Our image, and after Our 
likeness; and let them have dominion over the beasts of the earth, and the 
fowls of heaven, and the fishes of the sea."(25) And the Lord said, on 
beholding the fair creature(26) man, "Increase, and multiply, and replenish 
the earth."(27) These things [were spoken] to the Son. Again, I will show 
thee how, in respect to us,(28) He has accomplished a second fashioning in 
these last days. The Lord says, "Behold, I will make(29) the last like the 
first."(30) In reference to this, then, the prophet proclaimed, "Enter ye 
into the land flowing with milk and honey, and have dominion over it."(1) 
Behold, therefore, we have been refashioned, as again He says in another 
prophet, "Behold, saith the Lord, I will take away from  these, that is, 
from those whom the Spirit of the Lord foresaw, their stony hearts, and I 
will put hearts of flesh within them,"(2) because He(3) was to be 
manifested in flesh, and to sojourn among us. For, my brethren, the 
habitation of our heart is a holy temple to the Lord.(4) For again saith 
the Lord, "And wherewith shall I appear before the Lord my God, and be 
glorified?"(5) He says,(6) "I will confess to thee in the Church in the 
midst(7) of my brethren; and I will praise thee in the midst of the 
assembly of the saints."(8) We, then, are they whom He has led into the 
good land. What, then, mean milk and honey? This, that as the infant is 
kept alive first by honey, and then by milk, so also we, being quickened 
and kept alive by the faith of the promise and by the word, shall live 
ruling over the earth. But He said above,(9) "Let them increase, and nile 
over the fishes."(10) Who then is able to govern the beasts, or the fishes, 
or the fowls of heaven? For we ought to perceive that to govern implies 
authority, so that one should command and rule. If, therefore, this does 
not exist at present, yet still He has promised it to us. When? When we 
ourselves also have been made perfect [so as] to become heirs of the 
covenant of the Lord." 
    Understand, then, ye children of gladness, that the good Lord has 
foreshown all things to us, that we might know to whom we ought for 
everything to render thanksgiving and praise. If therefore the Son of God, 
who is Lord all things], and who will judge the living and the dead, 
suffered, that His stroke might give us life, let us believe that the Son 
of God could not have suffered except for our sakes. Moreover, when fixed 
to the cross, He had given Him to drink vinegar and gall. Hearken how the 
priests of the people(12) gave previous indications of this. His 
commandment having been written, the Lord enjoined, that whosoever did not 
keep the fast should be put to death, because He also Himself was to offer 
in sacrifice for our sins the vessel of the Spirit, in order that the type 
established in Isaac when he was  offered upon the altar might be fully 
accomplished. What, then, says He in the prophet? "And let them eat of the 
goat which is offered, with fasting, for all their sins."(13) Attend 
carefully: "And let all the priests alone eat the inwards, unwashed with 
vinegar." Wherefore? Because to me, who am to offer my flesh for the sins 
of my new people, ye are to give gall with vinegar to drink: eat ye alone, 
while the people fast and mourn in sackcloth and ashes. [These things were 
done] that He might show that it was necessary for Him to suffer for 
them.(14) How,(15) then, ran the commandment? Give your attention. Take two 
goats of goodly aspect, and similar to each other, and offer them. And let 
the priest take one as a burnt-offering for sins.(16) And what should they 
do with the other? "Accursed," says He, "is the one." Mark how the type of 
Jesus(17) now comes out. "And all of you spit upon it, and pierce it, and 
encircle its head with scarlet wool, and thus let it be driven into the 
wilderness." And when all this has been done, he who bears the goat brings 
it into the desert, and takes the wool off from it, and places that upon a 
shrub which is called Rachia,(18) of which also we are accustomed to eat 
the fruits(19) when we find them in the field. Of this(20) kind of shrub 
alone the fruits are sweet. Why then, again, is this? Give good heed. [You 
see] "one upon the altar, and the other accursed;" and why [do you behold] 
the one that is accursed crowned? Because they shall see Him then in that 
day having a scarlet robe about his body down to his feet; and they shall 
say, Is not this He whom we once despised, and pierced, and mocked, and 
crucified? Truly this is(21) He who then declared Himself to be the Son of 
God. For how like is He to Him!(22) With a view to this, [He required] the 
goats to be of goodly aspect, and similar, that, when they see Him then 
coming, they may be amazed by the likeness of the goat. Behold, then,(23) 
the type of Jesus who was to suffer. But why is it that they place the wool 
in the midst of thorns? It is a type of Jesus set before the view of the 
Church. [They(1) place the wool among thorns], that any one who wishes to 
bear it away may find it necessary to suffer much, because the thorn is 
formidable, and thus obtain it only as the result of suffering. Thus also, 
says He, "Those who wish to behold Me, and lay hold of My kingdom, must 
through tribulation and suffering obtain Me."(2) 
    Now what do you suppose this to be a type of, that a command was given 
to Israel, that men of the greatest wickedness(3) should offer a heifer, 
and slay and burn it, and, that then boys should take the ashes, and put 
these into vessels, and bind round a stick(4) purple wool along with 
hyssop, and that thus the boys should sprinkle the people, one by one, in 
order that they might be purified from their sins? Consider how He speaks 
to you with simplicity. The calf(5) is Jesus: the sinful men offering it 
are those who led Him to the slaughter. But now the men are no longer 
guilty, are no longer regarded as sinners.(6) And the boys that sprinkle 
are those that have proclaimed to us the remission of sins and purification 
of heart. To these He gave authority to preach the Gospel, being twelve in 
number, corresponding to the twelve tribes(7) of Israel. But why are there 
three boys that sprinkle? To correspond(8) to Abraham, and Isaac, and 
Jacob, because these were great with God. And why was the wool [placed] 
upon the wood? Because by wood Jesus holds His kingdom, so that [through 
the cross] those believing on Him shall live for ever. But why was hyssop 
joined with the wool? Because in His kingdom the days will be evil and 
polluted in which we shall be saved, [and] because he who suffers in body 
is cured through the cleansing(9) efficacy of hyssop. And on this account 
the things which stand thus are clear to us, but obscure to them because 
they did not hear the voice of the Lord. 
    He speaks moreover concerning our ears, how He hath circumcised both 
them and our heart. The Lord saith in the prophet, "In the hearing of the 
ear they obeyed me."(10) And again He saith, "By hearing, those shall hear 
who are afar off; they shall know what I have done."(11) And, "Be ye 
circumcised in your hearts, saith the Lord."(12) And again He says, "Hear, 
O lsrael, for these things saith the Lord thy God."(13) And once more the 
Spirit of the Lord proclaims, "Who is he that wishes to live for ever? By 
hearing let him hear the voice of my servant."(14) And again He saith, 
"Hear, O heaven, and give ear, O earth, for God(15) hath spoken."(16) These 
are in proof.(17) And again He saith, "Hear the word of the Lord, ye rulers 
of this people."(18) And again He saith, "Hear, ye children, the voice of 
one crying in the wilderness."(19) Therefore He hath circumcised our ears, 
that we might hear His word and believe, for the circumcision in which they 
trusted is abolished.(20) For He declared that circumcision was not of the 
flesh, but they transgressed because an evil angel deluded them.(21) He 
saith to them, "These things saith the Lord your God"-(here(22) I find a 
new(23) commandment)--"Sow not among thorns, but circumcise yourselves to 
the Lord."(24) And why speaks He thus: "Circumcise the stubbornness of your 
heart, and harden not your neck?"(25) And again: "Behold, saith the Lord, 
all the nations are uncircumcised(26) in the flesh, but this people are 
uncircumcised in heart."(27) But thou wilt say, "Yea, verily the people are 
circumcised for a seal." But so also is every Syrian and Arab, and all the 
priests of idols: are these then also within the bond of His covenant?(28) 
Yea, the Egyptians also practise circumcision. Learn then, my children, con 
cerning all things richly,(29) that Abraham, the first who enjoined 
circumcision, looking forward in spirit to Jesus, practised that rite, 
having received the mysteries(30) of the three letters. For [the Scripture] 
saith, "And Abraham circumcised ten, and eight, and three hundred men of 
his household."(1) What, then, was the knowledge given to him in this? 
Learn the eighteen first, and then the three hundred.(2) The ten and the 
eight are thus denoted--Ten by I, and  Eight by H.(3) You have [the 
initials of the, name of] Jesus. And because(4) the cross was to express 
the grace [of our redemption] by the letter The says also, "Three Hundred." 
He signifies, therefore, Jesus by two letters, and the cross by one. He 
knows this, who has put within us the engrafted(5) gift of His doctrine. No 
one has been admitted by me to a more excellent piece of knowledge(6) than 
this, but I know that ye are worthy. 
    Now, wherefore did Moses say, "Thou shalt not eat the swine, nor the 
eagle, nor the hawk, nor the raven, nor any fish which is not possessed of 
scales?"(7) He embraced three doctrines in his mind [in doing so]. 
Moreover, the Lord saith to them in Deuteronomy, "And I will establish my 
ordinances among this people."(8) Is there then not a command of God they 
should not eat [these things]? There is, but Moses spoke with a spiritual 
reference.(9) For this reason he named the swine, as much as to say, "Thou 
shalt not join thyself to men who resemble swine." For when they live in 
pleasure, they forget their Lord; but when they come to want, they 
acknowledge the Lord. And [in like manner] the swine, when it has eaten, 
does not recognize its master; but when hungry it cries out, and on 
receiving food is quiet again. "Neither shalt thou eat," says he "the 
eagle, nor the hawk, nor the kite, nor the raven." "Thou shalt not join 
thyself," he means, "to such men as know not how to procure food for  
themselves by labour and sweat, but seize on that of others in their 
iniquity, and although  wearing an aspect of simplicity, are on the watch  
to plunder others."(10) So these birds, while they sit idle, inquire how 
they may devour the flesh of others, proving themselves pests [to all] by 
their wickedness. "And thou shalt not eat," he says, "the lamprey, or the 
polypus, or the cuttlefish." He means, "Thou shalt not join thyself or be 
like to such men as are ungodly to the end, and are condemned(11) to 
death." In like manner as those fishes, above accursed, float in the deep, 
not swimming [on the surface] like the rest, but make their abode in the 
mud which lies at the bottom. Moreover, "Thou shall not," he says, "eat the 
hare." Wherefore? "Thou shall not be a corrupter of boys, nor like unto 
such."(12) Because the hare multiplies, year by year, the places of its 
conception; for as many years as it lives so many(13) it has. Moreover, 
"Thou shall not eat the hyena." He means, "Thou shall not be an adulterer, 
nor a corrupter, nor be like to them that are such." Wherefore? Because 
that animal annually changes its sex, and is at one time male, and at 
another female. Moreover, he has rightly detested the weasel. For he means, 
"Thou shalt not be like to those whom we hear of as committing wickedness 
with the mouth,(14) on account of their uncleanness; nor shall thou be 
joined to those impure women who commit iniquity with the mouth. For this 
animal conceives by the mouth." Moses then issued(15) three doctrines 
concerning meats with a spiritual significance; but they received them 
according to fleshly desire, as if he had merely spoken of [literal] meats. 
David, however, comprehends the knowledge of the three doctrines, and 
speaks in like manner: "Blessed is the man who hath not walked in the 
counsel of the ungodly,"(16) even as the fishes [referred to] go in 
darkness to the depths [of the sea]; "and hath not stood in the way of 
sinners," even as those who profess to fear the Lord, but go astray like 
swine; "and hath not sat in the seat of scorners,"(17) even as those birds 
that lie in wait for prey. Take a full and firm grasp of this spiritual(18) 
knowledge. But Moses says still further, "Ye shall eat every animal that is 
cloven-footed and ruminant." What does he mean? [The ruminant animal 
denotes him] who, on receiving food, recognizes Him that nourishes him, and 
being satisfied by Him,(19) is visibly made glad. Well spake [Moses], 
having respect to the commandment. 
What, then, does he mean? That we ought to join ourselves to those that 
fear the Lord, those who meditate in their heart on the commandment which 
they have received, those who both utter the judgments of the Lord and 
observe  them, those who know that meditation is a work of gladness, and 
who ruminate(1)  upon the word of the Lord. But what means the cloven-
footed? That the righteous man also walks in this world, yet looks forward 
to the holy state(2)  [to come]. Behold how well Moses legislated. But how 
was it possible for them to understand or comprehend these things? We then, 
rightly understanding his commandments,(3) explain them as the Lord 
intended. For this purpose He circumcised our ears and our hearts, that we 
might understand these things. 
    Let us further inquire whether the Lord took any care to foreshadow the 
water [of baptism] and the cross. Concerning the water, indeed, it is 
written, in reference to the Israelites, that they should not receive that 
baptism which leads to the remission of sins, but should procure(4) another 
for themselves. The prophet therefore declares, "Be astonished, O heaven, 
and let the earth tremble(5) at this, because this people hath committed 
two great evils: they have forsaken Me, a living fountain, and have hewn 
out for themselves broken cisterns.(6) Is my holy hill Zion a desolate 
rock? For ye shall be as the fledglings of a bird, which fly away when the 
nest is removed."(7) And again saith the prophet, "I will go before thee 
and make level the mountains, and will break the brazen gates, and bruise 
in pieces the iron bars; and I will give thee the secret,s hidden, 
invisible treasures, that they may know that I am the Lord God."(9) And "He 
shall dwell in a lofty cave of the strong rock."(10) Furthermore, what 
saith He in reference to the Son? "His water is sure;(11) ye shall see the 
King in His glory, and your soul shall meditate on the fear of the 
Lord."(12) And again He saith in another prophet, "The man who doeth these 
things shall be like a tree planted by the courses of waters, which shall 
yield its fruit in due season; and his leaf shall not fade, and all that he 
doeth shall prosper. Not so are the ungodly, not so, but even as chaff, 
which the wind sweeps away from the face of the earth. Therefore the 
ungodly shall not stand in judgment, nor sinners in the counsel of the 
just; for the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous, but the way of the 
ungodly shall perish."(13) Mark how He has described at once both the water 
and the cross. For these words imply, Blessed are they who, placing their 
trust in the cross, have gone down into the water; for, says He, they shall 
receive their reward in due time: then He declares, I will recompense them. 
But now He saith,(14) "Their leaves shall not fade." This meaneth, that 
every word which proceedeth out of your mouth in faith and love shall tend 
to bring conversion and hope to many. Again, another prophet saith, "And 
the land of Jacob shall be extolled above every land."(15) This meaneth the 
vessel of His Spirit, which He shall glorify. Further, what says He? "And 
there was a river flowing on the right, and from it arose beautiful trees; 
and whosoever shall eat of them shall live for ever."(16) This meaneth,(17) 
that we indeed descend into the water full of sins and defilement, but come 
up, bearing fruit in our heart, having the fear [of God] and trust in Jesus 
in our spirit. "And whosoever shall eat of these shall live for ever," This 
meaneth: Whosoever, He declares, shall hear thee speaking, and believe, 
shall live for ever. 
    In like manner He points to the cross of Christ in another prophet, who 
saith,(18) "And when shall these things be accomplished? And the Lord 
saith, When a tree shall be bent down, and again arise, and when blood 
shall flow out of wood."(19) Here again you have an intimation concerning 
the cross, and Him who should be crucified. Yet again He speaks of this(20) 
in Moses, when Israel was attacked by strangers. And that He might remind 
them, when assailed, that it was on account of their sins they were 
delivered to death, the Spirit speaks to the heart of Moses, that he should 
make a figure of the cross,(21) and of Him about to suffer thereon; for 
unless they put their trust in Him, they shall be overcome for ever. Moses 
therefore placed one weapon above another in the midst of the hill,(22) and 
standing upon it, so as to be higher than all the people, he stretched 
forth his hands,(1) and thus again Israel acquired the mastery. But when 
again he let down his hands, they were again destroyed. For what reason? 
That they might know that they could not be saved unless they put their 
trust in Him.(2) And in another prophet He declares, "All day long I have 
stretched forth My hands to an unbelieving people, and one that gainsays My 
righteous way."(3) And again Moses makes a type of Jesus, [signifying] that 
it was necessary for Him to suffer, [and also] that He would be the author 
of life(4) [to others], whom they believed to have destroyed on the 
cross(5) when Israel was failing. For since transgression was committed by 
Eve through means of the serpent, [the Lord] brought it to pass that every 
[kind of] serpents bit them, and they died,(6) that He might convince them, 
that on account of their transgression they were given over to the straits 
of death. Moreover Moses, when he commanded, "Ye shall not have any graven 
or molten [image] for your God,"(7) did so that he might reveal a type of 
Jesus. Moses then makes a brazen serpent, and places it upon a beam,(8) and 
by proclamation assembles the people. When, therefore, they were come 
together, they besought Moses that he would offer sacrifice(9) in their 
behalf, and pray for their recovery. And Moses spake unto them, saying, 
"When any one of you is bitten, let him come to the serpent placed on the 
pole; and let him hope and believe, that even though dead, it is able to 
give him life, and immediately he shall be restored."(10) And they did so. 
Thou hast in this also [an indication of] the glory of Jesus; for in Him 
and to Him are all things.(11) What, again, says Moses to Jesus (Joshua) 
the son of Nave, when he gave him(12) this name, as being a prophet, with 
this view only, that all the people might hear that the Father would reveal 
all things concerning His Son Jesus to the son(13) of Nave? This name then 
being given him when he sent him to spy out the land, he said, "Take a book 
into thy hands, and write what the Lord declares, that the Son of God will 
in the last days cut off from the roots all the house of Amalek."(14) 
Behold again: Jesus who was manifested, both by type and in the flesh,(15) 
is not the Son of man, but the Son of God. Since, therefore, they were to 
say that Christ was the son(16) of David, fearing and understanding the 
error of the wicked, he saith, "The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit at My right 
hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool."(17) And again, thus saith 
Isaiah, "The Lord said to Christ,(18) my Lord, whose right hand I have 
holden,(19) that the nations should yield obedience before Him; and I will 
break in pieces the strength of kings."(20) Behold how David calleth Him 
Lord and the Son of God. 
    But let us see if this people(21) is the heir, or the former, and if 
the covenant belongs to us or to them. Hear ye now what the Scripture saith 
concerning the people. Isaac prayed for Rebecca his wife, because she was 
barren; and she conceived.(22) Furthermore also, Rebecca went forth to 
inquire of the Lord; and the Lord said to her, "Two nations are in thy 
womb, and two peoples in thy belly; and the one people shall surpass the 
other, and the eider shall serve the younger."(23) You ought to understand 
who was Isaac, who Rebecca, and concerning what persons He declared that 
this people should be greater than that. And in another prophecy Jacob 
speaks more clearly to his son Joseph, saying, "Behold, the Lord hath not 
deprived me of thy presence; bring thy sons to me, that I may bless 
them."(24) And he brought Manasseh and Ephraim, desiring that Manasseh(25) 
should be blessed, because he was the eider. With this view Joseph led him 
to the right hand of his father Jacob. But Jacob saw in spirit the type of 
the people to arise afterwards. And what says [the Scripture]? And Jacob 
changed the direction of his bands, and laid his fight hand upon the head 
of Ephraim, the second and younger, and blessed him. And Joseph said to 
Jacob, "Transfer thy right hand to the head of Manasseh,(25) for he is my 
first-born son."(26) And Jacob said, "I know it, my son, I know it; but the 
eider shall serve the younger: yet he also shall be blessed."(27) Ye see on 
whom he laid(28) [his hands], that this people should be first, and heir of 
the covenant. If then, still further, the same thing was intimated through 
Abraham, we reach the perfection of our knowledge. What, then, says He to 
Abraham? "Because thou hast believed,(1) it is imputed to thee for 
righteousness: behold, I have made thee the father of those nations who 
believe in the Lord while in [a state of] uncircumcision."(2) 
    Yes [it is even so]; but let us inquire if the Lord has really given 
that testament which He swore to the fathers that He would give(3) to the 
people. He did give it; but they were not worthy to receive it, on account 
of their sins. For the prophet declares, "And Moses was fasting forty days 
and forty nights on Mount Sinai, that he might receive the testament of the 
Lord for the people."(4) And he received from the Lord(5) two tables, 
written in the spirit by the finger of the hand of the Lord. And Moses 
having received them, carried them down to give to the people. And the Lord 
said to Moses, "Moses, Moses, go down quickly; for thy people hath sinned, 
whom thou didst bring out of the land of Egypt."(6) And Moses understood 
that they had again(7) made molten images; and he threw the tables out of 
his hands, and the tables of the testament of the Lord were broken. Moses 
then received it, but they proved themselves unworthy. Learn now how we 
have received it. Moses, as a servant,(8) received it; but the Lord 
himself, having suffered in our behalf, hath given it to us, that we should 
be the people of inheritance. But He was manifested, in order that they 
might be perfected in their iniquities, and that we, being constituted 
heirs through Him,(9) might receive the testament of the Lord Jesus, who 
was prepared for this end, that by His personal manifestation, redeeming 
our hearts (which were already wasted by death, and given over to the 
iniquity of error) from darkness, He might by His word enter into a 
covenant with us. For it is written how the Father, about to redeem(10) us 
from darkness, commanded Him to prepare(11) a holy people for Himself. The 
prophet therefore declares, "I, the Lord Thy God, have called Thee in 
righteousness, and will hold Thy hand, and will strengthen Thee; and I have 
given Thee for a covenant to the people, for a light to the nations, to 
open the eyes of the blind, and to bring forth from fetters them that are 
bound, and those that sit in darkness out of the prison-house."(12) Ye 
perceive,(13) then, whence we have been redeemed. And again, the prophet 
says, "Behold, I have appointed Thee as a light to the nations, that Thou 
mightest be for salvation even to the ends of the earth, saith the Lord God 
that redeemeth thee."(14) And again, the prophet saith, "The Spirit of the 
Lord is upon me; because He hath anointed me to preach the Gospel to the 
humble: He hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to proclaim deliverance 
to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind; to announce the 
acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of recompense; to comfort all that 
    Further,(16) also, it is written concerning the Sabbath in the 
Decalogue which [the Lord] spoke, face to face, to Moses on Mount Sinai, 
"And sanctify ye the Sabbath of the Lord with clean hands and a pure 
heart."(17) And He says in another place, "If my sons keep the Sabbath, 
then will I cause my mercy to rest upon them."(18) The Sabbath is mentioned 
at the beginning of the creation [thus]: "And God made in six days the 
works of His hands, and made an end on the seventh day, and rested on it, 
and sanctified it."(19) Attend, my children, to the meaning of this 
expression, "He finished in six days." This implieth that the Lord will 
finish all things in six thousand years, for a day is(20) with Him a 
thousand years. And He Himself testifieth,(21) saying, "Behold, to-day(22) 
will be as a thousand years."(23) Therefore, my children, in six days, that 
is, in six thousand years, all things will be finished. "And He rested on 
the seventh day." This meaneth: when His Son, coming [again], shall destroy 
the time of the wicked man,(24) and judge the ungodly, and change the-sun, 
and the moon,(25) and the stars, then shall He truly rest on the seventh 
day. Moreover, He says, "Thou shalt sanctify it with pure hands and a pure 
heart." If, therefore, any one can now sanctify the day which God hath 
sanctified, except he is pure in heart in all things,(1) we are 
deceived.(2) Behold, therefore:(3) certainly then one properly resting 
sanctifies it, when we ourselves, having received the promise, wickedness 
no longer existing, and all things having been made new by the Lord, shall 
be able to work righteousness.(4) Then we shall be able to sanctify it, 
having been first sanctified ourselves.(5) Further, He says to them, "Your 
new moons and your Sabbath I cannot endure."(6) Ye perceive how He speaks: 
Your present Sabbaths are not acceptable to Me, but that is which I have 
made, [namely this,] when, giving rest to all things, I shall make a 
beginning of the eighth day, that is, a beginning of another world. 
Wherefore, also, we keep the eighth day with joyfulness, the day also on 
which Jesus rose again from the dead.(7) And(8) when He had manifested 
Himself, He ascended into the heavens. 
     Moreover, I will also tell you concerning the temple, how the wretched 
[Jews], wandering in error, trusted not in God Himself, but in the temple, 
as being the house of God. For almost after the manner of the Gentiles they 
worshipped Him in the temple.(9) But learn how the Lord speaks, when 
abolishing it: "Who hath meted out heaven with a span, and the earth with 
his palm? Have not I?"(10)"Thus saith the Lord, Heaven is My throne, and 
the earth My footstool: what kind of house will ye build to Me, or what is 
the place of My rest?"(11)  Ye perceive that their hope is vain. Moreover, 
He again says, "Behold, they who have cast down this temple, even they 
shall build it up again."(12) It has so happened.(13) For through their 
going to war, it was destroyed by their enemies; and now: they, as the 
servants of their enemies, shall rebuild it. Again, it was revealed that 
the city and the temple and the people of Israel were to be given up. For 
the Scripture saith, "And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the 
Lord will deliver up the sheep of His pasture, and their sheep-fold and tower, 
to destruction."(14) And it so happened as the Lord had spoken. Let us 
inquire, then, if there still is a temple of God. There is--where He 
himself declared He would make and finish it. For it is written, "And it 
shall come to pass, when the week is completed, the temple of God shall be 
built in glory in the name of the Lord."(15) I find, therefore, that a 
temple does exist. Learn, then, how it shall be built in the name of the 
Lord. Before we believed in God, the habitation of our heart was corrupt 
and weak, as being indeed like a temple made with hands. For it was full of 
idolatry, and was a habitation of demons, through our doing such things as 
were opposed to [the will of] God. But it shall be built, observe ye, in 
the name of the Lord, in order that the temple of the Lord may be built in 
glory. How? Learn [as follows]. Having received the forgiveness of sins, 
and placed our trust in the name of the Lord, we have become new creatures, 
formed again from the beginning. Wherefore in our habitation God truly 
dwells in us. How? His word of faith; His calling(16) of promise; the 
wisdom of the statutes; the commands of the doctrine; He himself 
prophesying in us; He himself dwelling in us; opening to us who were 
enslaved by death the doors of the temple, that is, the mouth; and by 
giving us repentance introduced us into the incorruptible temple.(17) He 
then, who wishes to be saved, looks not to man,(18) but to Him who dwelleth 
in him, and speaketh in him, amazed at never having either heard him utter 
such words with his mouth, nor himself having ever desired to hear them. 
(19)This is the spiritual temple built for the Lord. 
    As far as was possible, and could be done with perspicuity, I cherish 
the hope that, according to my desire, I have omitted none(20) of those 
things at present [demanding consideration], which bear upon your 
salvation. For if I should write to you about things future,(21) ye would 
not understand, because such knowledge is hid in parables. These things 
then are so. 
    But let us now pass to another sort of knowledge and doctrine. There 
are two ways of doctrine and authority, the one of light, and the other of 
darkness. But there is a great difference between these two ways. For over 
one are stationed the light-bringing angels of God, but over the other the 
angels' of Satan. And He indeed (i.e., God) is Lord for ever and ever, but 
he (i.e., Satan) is prince of the time(2) of iniquity. 
    The way of light, then, is as follows. If any one desires to travel to 
the appointed place, he must be zealous in his works. The knowledge, 
therefore, which is given to us for the purpose of walking in this way, is 
the following. Thou shalt love Him that created thee:(3) thou shalt glorify 
Him that redeemed thee from death. Thou shalt be simple in heart, and rich 
in spirit. Thou shalt not join thyself to those who walk in the way of 
death. Thou shalt hate doing what is unpleasing to God: thou shalt hate all 
hypocrisy. Thou shalt not forsake the commandments of the Lord. Thou shalt 
not exalt thyself, but shalt be of a lowly mind.(4) Thou shalt not take 
glory to thyself. Thou shalt not take evil counsel against thy neighbour. 
Thou shalt not allow over-boldness to enter into thy soul.(5) Thou shalt 
not commit fornication: thou shalt not commit adultery: thou shalt not be a 
corrupter of youth. Thou shalt not let the word of God issue from thy lips 
with any kind of impurity.(6) Thou shalt not accept persons when thou 
reprovest any one for transgression. Thou shalt be meek: thou shalt be 
peaceable. Thou shalt tremble at the words which thou hearest.(7) Thou 
shalt not be mindful of evil against thy brother. Thou shalt not be of 
doubtful mind(8) as to whether a thing shall be or not. Thou shalt not take 
the name(9) of the Lord in vain. Thou shalt love thy neighbour more than 
thine own soul.(10) Thou shalt not slay the child by procuring abortion; 
nor, again, shalt thou destroy it after it is born. Thou shalt not withdraw 
thy hand from thy son, or from thy daughter, but from their infancy thou 
shalt teach them the fear of the Lord.(11) Thou shalt not covet what is thy 
neighbour's, nor shalt thou be avaricious. Thou shalt not be joined in soul 
with the haughty, but thou shalt be reckoned With the righteous and lowly. 
Receive thou as good things the trials(12) which come upon thee.(13) Thou 
shalt not be of  double mind or of double tongue,(14) for a double tongue 
is a snare of death. Thou shalt be subject(15) to the Lord, and to [other] 
masters as the image of God, with modesty and fear. Thou shalt not issue 
orders with bitterness to thy maidservant or thy man-servant, who trust in 
the same [God(16)], lest thou shouldst not(17) reverence that God who is 
above both; for He came to call men not according to their outward 
appearance,(18) but according as the Spirit had prepared them.(19) Thou 
shalt communicate in all things with thy neighbour; thou shalt not call(20) 
things thine own; for if ye are partakers in common of things which are 
incorruptible,(21) how much more [should you be] of those things which are 
corruptible!(22) Thou shalt not be hasty with thy tongue, for the mouth is 
a snare of death. As far as possible, thou shalt be pure in thy soul. Do 
not be ready to stretch forth thy hands to take, whilst thou contractest 
them to give. Thou shalt love, as the apple of thine eye, every one that 
speaketh to thee the word of the Lord. Thou shalt remember the day of 
judgment, night and day. Thou shalt seek out every day the faces of the 
saints,(23) either by word examining them, and going to exhort them, and 
meditating how to save a soul by the word,(24) or by thy hands thou shalt 
labour for the redemption of thy sins. Thou shalt not hesitate to give, nor 
murmur when thou givest. "Give to every one that asketh thee,"(25) and thou 
shalt know who is the good Recompenser of the reward. Thou shalt preserve 
what thou hast received [in charge], neither adding to it nor taking from 
it. To the last thou shalt hate the wicked(26) [one].(27) Thou shalt judge 
righteously. Thou shalt not make a schism, but thou shalt pacify those that 
contend by bringing them together. Thou shalt confess thy sins. Thou shalt 
not go to prayer with an evil conscience. This is the way of light.(1) 
    But the way of darkness(2) is crooked, and full of cursing; for it is 
the way of eternal(3) death  with punishment, in which way are the things 
that destroy the soul, viz., idolatry, over-confidence, the arrogance of 
power, hypocrisy, double-heartedness, adultery, murder, rapine, 
haughtiness, transgression,(4) deceit, malice, self-sufficiency, poisoning, 
magic, avarice,(5) want of the fear of God. [In this way, too,] are those 
who persecute the good, those who hate truth, those who love falsehood, 
those who know not the reward of righteousness, those who cleave not to 
that which is good, those who attend not with just judgment to the widow 
and orphan, those who watch not to the fear of God, [but incline] to 
wickedness, from whom meekness and patience are far off; persons who love 
vanity, follow after a reward, pity not the needy, labour not in aid of him 
who is overcome with toil; who are prone to evil-speaking, who know not Him 
that made them, who are murderers of children, destroyers of the 
workmanship of God; who turn away him that is in want, who oppress the 
afflicted, who are advocates of the rich, who are unjust judges of the 
poor, and who are in every respect transgressors. 
    It is well, therefore,(6) that he who has learned the judgments of the 
Lord, as many as have been written, should walk in them. For he who keepeth 
these shall be glorified in the kingdom of God; but he who chooseth other 
things(7) shall be destroyed with his works. On this account there will be 
a resurrection,(8) on this account a retribution. I beseech you who are 
superiors, if you will receive any counsel of my good-will, have among 
yourselves those to whom you may show kindness: do not forsake them. For 
the day is at hand on which all things shall perish with the evil [one]. 
The Lord is near, and His reward. Again, and yet again, I beseech you: be 
good lawgivers(9) to one another; continue faithful counsellors of one 
another; take away from among you all hypocrisy. And may God, who ruleth 
over all the world, give to you wisdom, intelligence, understanding, 
knowledge of His judgments,(10) with patience. And be ye(11) taught of God, 
inquiring diligently what the Lord asks from you; and do it that ye may  be 
safe in the day of judgment.(12) And if you have any remembrance of what is 
good, be mindful of me, meditating on these things, in order that both my 
desire and watchfulness may result in some good. I beseech you, entreating 
this as a favour. While yet you are in this fair vessel,(13) do not fail in 
any one of those things,(14) but unceasingly seek after them, and fulfil 
every commandment; for these things are worthy.(15) Wherefore I have been 
the more earnest to write to you, as my ability served,(16) that I might 
cheer you. Farewell, ye children of love and peace. The Lord of glory and 
of all grace be with your spirit. Amen.(17)

Taken from "The Early Church Fathers and Other Works" originally published by Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co. in English in Edinburgh, Scotland beginning in 
1867. (ANF 1, Roberts and Donaldson). The digital version is by The Electronic Bible Society, P.O. Box 701356, Dallas, TX 75370, 214-407-WORD.


Early Church Fathers - Dr. Marcellino D'AmbrosioThe Early Church Fathers


A society characterized by the loss of respect for life, violence, exotic religious cults, sexual promiscuity, homosexuality, and even pedophilia. Sound familiar?


The Early Church Fathers succeeded in bringing a Pagan society to Christ. If we pay attention to what they taught, we will succeed in doing the same for our own de-Christianized society!


Album 1: The Apostolic Fathers and Irenaeus

Album 2: The Apologists, Ambrose, and Augustine


Early Church Fathers VHS Setó$44.00    

Early Church Fathers DVD Setó$44.00

Early Church Fathers CD Setó$18.00

Early Church Fathers Audio Setó$16.00

Home | Site Map | Links | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Free Newsletter | Win a CD | Calender | Donate Now!
A ministry of Crossroads Productions, Inc. + PO Box 271227 + Flower Mound, TX 75027 + 1.800.803.0118 + a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.