The Way of Light
(Taken from the Epistle of Barnabas)
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, 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.
Thou shalt not take glory to thyself.
Thou shalt not take evil counsel against thy neighbor.
Thou shalt not allow over-boldness to enter into thy soul.
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
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.
Thou shalt not be mindful of evil against thy brother.
Thou shalt not be of doubtful mind as to whether a thing shall be or not.
Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord in vain.
Thou shalt love thy neighbor more than thine own soul.
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.
Thou shalt not covet what is thy neighbor'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 which
come upon thee.
Thou shalt not be of double mind or of double tongue, for a double tongue
is a snare of death.
Thou shalt be subject 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 ], lest thou shouldest not reverence that God
who is above both; for He came to call men not according to their outward
appearance, but according as the Spirit had prepared them.
Thou shalt communicate in all things with thy neighbor.
Thou shalt not call things thine own; for if ye are partakers in common
of things which are incorruptible, how much more [should you be] of those
things which are corruptible!
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, either by word examining
them, and going to exhort them, and meditating how to save a soul by the
word, or by thy hands thou shalt labor for the redemption of thy sins.
Thou shalt not hesitate to give, nor murmur when thou givest. "Give to
every one that asketh thee," 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 [one].
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
The Way of Darkness
But the way of darkness is crooked, and full of cursing; for it is the
way of eternal death with punishment, in which way are the things that
destroy the soul:
Idolatry, over-confidence, the arrogance of power, hypocrisy, double-heartedness,
adultery, murder, rapine, haughtiness, transgression, deceit, malice, self-sufficiency,
poisoning, magic, avarice, want of the fear of God.
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, labor
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, 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 shall be destroyed with his works. On this account there will be
a resurrection, 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
to one another; continue faithful counselors 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,
with patience. And be ye taught of God, inquiring diligently what the Lord
asks from you; and do it that ye maybe safe in the day of judgment. 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 favor. While yet you
are in this fair vessel, do not fail in any one of those things, but unceasingly
seek after them, and fulfil every commandment; for these things are worthy.
Wherefore I have been the more earnest to write to you, as my ability served,
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.
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