17 - Put away from thee every evil desire, and put on the good and holy desire:"1. HE said to me, Put away from thee every evil desire,
and put on the good and holy desire; for having put on this desire thou shalt
hate the evil desire, and shalt curb it as thou wilt. "
(Shepherd of Hermas 12th Mand. 1.1)
Examples of evil desires:"1. FOREMOST of all is the desire for another's wife or husband,
and for much outlay of wealth, and for divers vain meats and strong drinks
and many other foolish luxuries; for all luxury is foolish and vain to
the servants of God." (Shepherd of Hermas 12th Mand. 2.1)
Evil desires are deadly:"3. But as many as are overmastered by them and withstand them not perish utterly,
for these desires are deadly.
4. But do thou put on the desire of righteousness, and being fully armed
with the fear of the Lord withstand them.
For the fear of the Lord dwelleth in the good desire.
The evil desire, if she see thee armed in the fear of God and withstanding her,
will flee far from thee and be no more seen of thee, being in fear of thy arms."
(Shepherd of Hermas 12th Mand. 2.3,4)
Examples of good desires:"1. I WOULD know, sir, quoth I, by what behaviour I must serve the good desire.
Hear, quoth he;
work righteousness and virtue, truth and fear of the Lord,
faith and meekness, and whatsoever good things are like unto these.
If thou do these things thou shalt be a wellpleasing servant of God,
and shalt live unto Him; and every one who serveth the good desire shall
live unto God."
(Shepherd of Hermas 12th Mand. 3.1)
The end of the commandments list:"2. So he made an end of the twelve commandments, and said unto me,
Thou hast these commandments; walk therein, and exhort them that hear,
that their repentance may be pure the rest of the days of their life.
3. Do thy diligence to accomplish this ministry which I give thee,
and thou shalt do much; for thou shalt find favour with those who are about
to repent, and they shall be persuaded by thy words; for I will be with thee,
and will constrain them to obey thee." (Shepherd of Hermas 12th Mand. 3.2,3)
Keeping these commandments is not as hard as it looks."... But I wot not if these commandments can be kept by a man,
because they are exceeding hard.
5. He answered and said to me, If thou put it to thyself that they can be kept,
thou shalt keep them easily, and they will not be hard;
but If it enter thy heart that they cannot be kept by a man,
thou wilt not keep them." (Shepherd of Hermas 12th Mand. 3.4,5)
Salvation depends on keeping these commandments:"6. Now therefore I say unto thee, If thou keep them not, but neglect them,
thou shalt not have salvation, neither thy children nor thy house,
since thou hast already judged for thyself that these commandments
cannot be kept by a man." (Shepherd of Hermas 12th Mand. 3.6)
"5. Thou shalt keep them, quoth he, if thy heart be pure unto the Lord;
and all who cleanse their hearts from the vain desires of this world
shall keep them, and they shall live unto God. " (Shepherd of Hermas 12th Mand. 6.5)
Repent:"O foolish, unwise, and doubleminded man, perceivest thou not the glory of God,
how great and strong and marvellous it is for He created the world for the sake
of man, and put all His creation in subjection to man, and gave him
all authority to rule over all things under heaven?
3. If then, quoth he, man is lord of the creatures of God and hath dominion
over them all, can he not have dominion over these commandments also?
The man, quoth he, who hath the Lord in his heart is able to have dominion
over all things and all these commandments.
4. But they who have the Lord on their lips, and their heart hardened,
and who are far from the Lord, to them these commandments are difficult and hard
to walk in.
5. Set ye therefore the Lord in your hearts, ye that are empty and light
in the faith, and ye shall know that there is nothing easier nor sweeter
nor gentler than these commandments.
6. Turn again ye that walk in the commandments of the devil,
that are so hard and bitter and wild and wanton, and fear not the devil,
because in him there is no power against you.
7. For I, the Angel of Repentance, who have dominion over him,
will be with you.
The devil hath only fear, and his fear hath no force; fear him not therefore,
and he shall flee from you." (Shepherd of Hermas 12th Mand. 4.2-7)
"... if ye turn to the Lord with all your heart and do righteousness the rest
of the days of your life and serve Him rightly according to His will,
He will heal your former sins; and ye shall have power to have dominion
over the works of the devil.
3. Hearken to me therefore, and fear Him who is all-able,
to save and to destroy; and observe these commandments,
and ye shall live unto God. " (Shepherd of Hermas 12th Mand. 6.2,3)
"3. These commandments are profitable to such as are about to repent;
for except they walk in them their repentance is in vain.
4. Do ye therefore who repent cast off the wickednesses of this world
which wear you away; and having put on every virtue of righteousness
ye shall be able to observe these commandments, and no longer to add
to your sins. If ye add no more at all to them, ye shall depart from your
former sins. Walk then in these my commandments, and ye shall live unto God."
(Shepherd of Hermas 6th Sim. 1.3,4)