The Shepherd of Hermas
Translated by William Wake, Archbishop of Canterbury


William Wake

This page:

I Hermas (Visions)
II Hermas (Commands)
III Hermas (Similitudes)


the Bible


index pages:

The Shepherd of Hermas, eventually excluded from the New Testament canon, appeared in Bibles as late at the mid-4th-century Codex Sinaiticus. The translations of Archbishop Wake (1657–1737) are found in The Lost Books of the Bible (1820), collected by William Hone.

The Shepherd of the title, identified as the angel of repentance, does not appear in the first book. The Visions are presented by a woman, varying in appearance and personifying the Church.

The Shepherd of Hermas
I (Visions)

For the Lord hath sworn by his glory concerning his elect, having determined this very time, that if any one shall even now sin, he shall not be saved.

For the repentance of the righteous has its end; the days of repentance are fulfilled to all the saints; but to the heathen, there is repentance even unto the last day.

Note (Hal’s):
This declaration might sufficiently explain the exclusion of these books from the New Testament canon.

— end note




For the remembrance of evils worketh death, but the forgetting of them life eternal.

text checked (see note) Oct 2009

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The Shepherd of Hermas
II (Commands)

First of all believe that there is one God who created and framed all things of nothing into a being.

He comprehends all things, and is only immense, not to be comprehended by any.

Who can neither be defined by any words, nor conceived by the mind.




He said unto me, Be innocent and without disguise; so shalt thou be like an infant who knows no malice which destroys the life of man.

Especially see that thou speak evil of none, nor willingly hear any one speak evil of any.


Give without distinction to all that are in want, not doubting to whom thou givest.


Moreover he said unto me, love truth; and let all the speech be true which proceeds out of thy mouth.

That the spirit which the Lord hath given to dwell in thy flesh may be found true towards all men; and the Lord be glorified, who hath given such a spirit unto thee: because God is true in all his words, and in him there is no lie.

They therefore that lie, deny the Lord, and become robbers of the Lord, not rendering to God what they received from him.

For they received the spirit free from lying: If therefore they make that a liar, they defile what was committed to them by the Lord, and become deceivers.




Be patient, says he, and long-suffering; so shalt thou have dominion over all wicked works, and shalt fulfil all righteousness.

For if thou shalt be patient, the Holy Spirit which dwelleth in thee shall be pure, and not be darkened by any evil spirit; but being full of joy shall be enlarged, and feast in the body in which it dwells, and serve the Lord with joy, and in great peace.




But anger is unprofitable. If therefore anger shall be mixed with forbearance, the soul is distressed, and its prayer is not profitable with God.


And now, says he; understand first of all what belongs to faith. There are two angels with man; one of righteousness, the other of iniquity.

And I said unto him: Sir, how shall I know that there are two such angels with man? Hear says he, and understand.

The angel of righteousness, is mild and modest, and gentle, and quiet. When therefore, he gets into thy heart, immediately he talks with thee of righteousness, of modesty, of chastity, of bountifulness, of forgiveness, of charity, and piety.

When all these things come into thy heart, know then that the angel of righteousness is with thee. Wherefore hearken to this angel and to his works.

Learn also the works of the angel of iniquity. He is first of all bitter, and angry, and foolish; and his works are pernicious, and overthrow the servants of God. When therefore these things come into thy heart; thou shalt know by his works, that this is the angel of iniquity.

And I said unto him, Sir, how shall I understand these things? Hear, says he, and understand. When anger overtakes thee, or bitterness, know that he is in thee:

As also, when the desire of many things, and of the best meats and of drunkenness; when the love of what belongs to others, pride, and much speaking and ambition, and the like things, come upon thee.

When therefore these things arise in thy heart, know that the angel of iniquity is with thee. Seeing therefore thou knowest his works, depart from them all, and give no credit to him; because his works are evil, and become not the servants of God.




Again he said unto me; remove from thee all doubting; and question nothing at all, when thou askest anything of the Lord; saying within thyself: how shall I be able to ask anything of the Lord and receive it, seeing I have so greatly sinned against him?

Do not think thus, but turn unto the Lord with all they heart, and ask of him without doubting, and thou shalt know the mercy of the Lord; how that he will not forsake thee, but will fulfil the request of thy soul.

For God is not as men, mindful of the injuries he has received; but he forgets injuries, and has compassion upon his creature.




He is able, said he, to fulfil all these commands, who has the Lord in his heart: but they who have the Lord only in their mouths, and their heart is hardened, and they are far from the Lord; to such persons these commands are hard and difficult.


And I said unto him; Sir, hear me speak a few words unto you. He answered, Say on: A man indeed desires to keep the commandments of God: and there is no one but what prays unto God, that he may be able to keep his commandments.

But the devil is hard, and by his power rules over the servants of God. And he said He cannot rule over the servants of God, who trust in him with all their hearts.

The devil may strive, but he cannot overcome them.

For if ye resist him, he will flee away with confusion from you. But they that are not full in the faith, fear the devil, as if he had some great power. For the devil tries the servants of God and if he finds them empty, he destroys them.


The Devil

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The Shepherd of Hermas
III (Similitudes)

Instead therefore of the possessions that ye would otherwise purchase, redeem those that are in want from their necessities, as every one is able; justify the widows; judge the cause of the fatherless; and spend your riches and your wealth in such works as these.

For, for this end has God enriched you, that ye might fulfil these kind of services.



text checked (see note) Oct 2009

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