Mar 28

The Didache

by

In:Early Church, Obedience, Sin, The Church

Comments Off on The Didache

Teaching of the Lord through the Twelve Apostles to the Nations.

 

There are Two Ways, one of Life and one of Death, and the difference between the Two Ways is great.

 

The Way of Life, then, is this: First, Thou shalt love the God who made thee: Second, Thy neighbor as thyself; and all things whatsoever thou wouldst not have befall thee, do thou, too, not to another.

 

And of these words the Teaching is this: The first commandment: Bless them that curse you, and pray for your enemies, and fast for them that persecute you; for what thank have ye if ye love them that love you? do not the nations also the same?  but love ye them that hate you, and ye shall not have an enemy.

 

Abstain from fleshly and worldly lusts.

 

If one give thee a blow on the right cheek, turn to him the other also, and thou shalt be perfect; if any one press thee into service for one mile, go with him two; if one take away thy cloak, give him thy coat also; if one take from thee thine own, ask it not back; for not even canst thou.

 

Give to every one that asketh thee, and ask not back; for to all the Father wills that there be given of his own free gifts.

 

Blessed is he that giveth according to the commandment; for he is guiltless. Woe to him that receiveth; for if, indeed, one that hath need receiveth, he shall be guiltless; but he that hath not need, shall submit to trial with reference to why he received and for what purpose, and, having come into custody, shall be examined with reference to what he did, and shall not go forth thence until he have paid the last farthing.

 

But concerning this, also, it hath been said: Let thine alms sweat in thy hands until thou know to whom to give.

 

And the second commandment of the Teaching is:

 

Thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not corrupt boys, thou shalt not commit fornication, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not use magic arts, thou shalt not practice sorcery, thou shalt not kill a child by abortion nor put it to death when born. Thou shalt not covet the things of thy neighbor, thou shalt not forswear thyself, thou shalt not bear false witness, thou shalt not speak evil, thou shalt not bear a grudge.  Thou shalt not be double-minded nor double-tongued; for doubleness of tongue is a snare of death.  Thy word shall not be false, nor empty, but fulfilled by deed.  Thou shalt not be covetous, nor rapacious, nor a hypocrite, nor malicious, nor haughty.  Thou shalt not take evil counsel against thy neighbor.  Thou shalt not hate any man, but some thou shalt reprove, and for some thou shalt pray, and some thou shalt love above thy life.

 

My child, flee from every evil thing, and from everything like it. Be not prone to anger, for anger leadeth to murder; nor jealous, nor contentious, nor passionate; for out of all these, murders are begotten.

 

My child, be not one that lusteth, for lust leadeth to fornication; nor of foul speech, nor of leering eyes; for out of all these, adulteries are begotten.

 

My child, be not an augur,[1] since augury leadeth to idolatry; nor an enchanter; nor an astrologer; nor a purifier; nor be willing to behold these things; for out of all these, idolatry is begotten.

 

My child, be not a liar, since lying leadeth to theft, nor a lover of money, nor vain-glorious; for out of all these, thefts are begotten.

 

My child, be not a murmurer, since murmuring leadeth to blasphemy; nor self-willed, nor evil-minded, for out of all these, blasphemies are begotten.

 

But be meek, since the meek shall inherit the earth. Be longsuffering and pitiful and guileless and quiet and good, and continually trembling at the words which thou hast heard.

 

Thou shalt not exalt thyself, nor give assurance to thy soul. Thy soul shall not be joined with lofty ones, but with righteous and lowly ones shalt thou hold converse.  The events that befall thee, thou shalt accept as good, knowing that nothing cometh to pass without God.

 

My child, him that speaketh to thee the Word of God, thou shalt remember night and day, and shalt honor him as the Lord; for where the sovereignty of the Lord is proclaimed, there is the Lord. And thou shalt seek out daily the faces of the saints, that thou mayest rest upon their words.

 

Thou shalt not be desirous of division, but shalt bring contending ones to peace; thou shalt judge righteously; thou shalt not respect persons in reproving for transgressions. Thou shalt not hesitate whether this shall be or not.

 

Be not one that with reference to receiving stretcheth out the hands, but with reference to giving contracteth them: thou shalt give by thy hands a ransom, if thou have, for thy sins. Thou shalt not hesitate to give, nor, when giving shalt thou murmur; for thou shalt know who is the good Recompenser of the offering.  Thou shalt not turn away from him that is in want, but shalt share all things with thy brother, and shalt not say that they are thine own; for if ye are partakers in that which is immortal, how much more in the things which are mortal.

 

Thou shalt not remove thy hand from thy son or from thy daughter, but from youth shalt teach them the fear of God.

 

Thou shalt not lay commands in thy bitterness on thy bondman or maidservant, who hope in the same God, lest perchance they shall not fear the God who is over both; for He cometh not to call according to appearance, but unto those whom the Spirit hath prepared. And ye, the slaves, shall, in modesty and fear, be subject to your masters as to a type of God.

 

Thou shalt hate all hypocrisy and everything that is not pleasing to the Lord.

 

Do not in any wise forsake the commandments of the Lord; but thou shalt guard what thou hast received, neither adding thereto nor taking therefrom.

 

In the church thou shalt confess thy transgressions, and thou shalt not come to thy prayer with an evil conscience.

 

This is the Way of Life.

 

And the Way of Death is this:

 

First of all, it is evil and full of curse; murders, adulteries, lusts, fornications, thefts, idolatries, magic practices, sorceries, rapines; false testimonies, hypocrisies, double-heartedness, deceit, haughtiness; malice, self-will, covetousness, filthy talking, jealousy, self-assurance, loftiness, boastfulness; persecutors of good men, hating truth, loving falsehood, not knowing the reward of righteousness, not joined to anything good nor to righteous judgment, watching not with a view to good but with a view to evil; far from whom are meekness and patience, loving vain things, pursuing a requital, not pitying a poor man, not toiling for one borne down with toil, not knowing Him that made them; murderers of children, destroyers of God’s handiwork; turning away from him that is in want, oppressing him that is afflicted, rich men’s advocates, poor men’s lawless judges; utter sinners.

 

May ye be delivered, children, from all these.

 

See that no one cause thee to wander from this Way of the Teaching, since thus aloof from God doth he teach thee. For, if thou art able to bear the whole yoke of the Lord thou shalt be perfect; but if thou art not able, what thou art able that do.

 

And concerning food, brook what thou art able; but of that which is sacrificed to idols beware exceedingly, for it is a worship of dead gods.

 

And concerning baptism, thus baptize ye: Having first said all these things, baptize into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in living water. But if thou have not living water, baptize into other water; and if thou canst not in cold, in warm.  But if thou have not either, pour out water thrice upon the head, into the name of Father and Son and Holy Spirit.  But before the baptism, let the baptizer and the baptized fast, and any others, if they can; and thou shalt command the baptized  to fast one or two days before.

 

But let not your fastings be with the hypocrites; for they fast on the Second Day of the week and on the Fifth; but do ye fast the Fourth and Preparation. Neither pray ye as the hypocrites, but as the Lord commanded in his gospel, thus pray:

 

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come.  Thy will be done, as in heaven, so also on earth.  Give us today our daily bread, and forgive us our debt as we, too, forgive our debtors.  And bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for thine is the power and the glory for ever.

 

Pray thus three times in the day.

 

And concerning the Eucharist, thus give thanks. First, concerning the cup:

 

We thank Thee, our Father, for the holy vine of David, thy servant, which thou hast made known to us through Jesus thy servant; to Thee be the glory forever.

 

And concerning the broken bread:

 

We thank Thee, our Father, for the life and knowledge which Thou hast made known to us through Jesus thy servant; to Thee be the glory forever. Just as this, a broken piece, was scattered upon the hills, and was gathered together and became one, so let thy church be gathered together from the ends of the earth into thy kingdom; for thine is the glory and the power through Jesus Christ forever.

 

But let no one eat or drink of your Eucharist, but those that have been baptized into the name of the Lord; for concerning this the Lord hath said: Give not that which is holy to the dogs.

 

And after being filled, thus give thanks:

 

We thank Thee, holy Father, for thy holy name, which Thou hast caused to dwell in our hearts, and for the knowledge and faith and immortality, which Thou hast made known to us through Jesus thy servant; to Thee be the glory forever. Thou, Almighty Sovereign, didst create the universe for thy name’s sake; both food and drink Thou gavest men for enjoyment, that they might give thanks to Thee; but to us Thou hast graciously given spiritual food and drink and life eternal through thy servant.  Before all things, we thank Thee that Thou art mighty: to Thee be the glory forever.  Remember, Lord, thy church, to deliver it from every evil and to make it perfect in thy love; and do Thou gather it from the four winds, the sanctified church, into thy kingdom, which Thou hast prepared for it; for thine is the power and the glory forever.  Let grace come, and let this world pass away.  Hosanna to the Son of David.  If any one is holy, let him come: if any one is not, let him repent: Maranatha.  Amen.

 

But permit the prophets to express what thanks they wish.

 

Whoever, then, shall come and teach all these things, the things aforesaid, receive him; but if the teacher himself turn and teach another doctrine to the destruction of this, do not hear him; but if he teacheth to the promotion of righteousness and knowledge of the Lord, receive him as the Lord.

 

And with reference to the apostles and prophets in accordance with the ordinance of the gospel, act thus. And let every apostle that cometh to you be received as the Lord; but he shall remain, not one day, but, if there be need, the next also; but if he remain three days, he is a false prophet.  And let the apostle, when he goeth forth, take nothing except bread to suffice until he lodge; but if he ask money, he is a false prophet.

 

And no prophet that speaketh in the Spirit, shall ye try or judge; for every sin shall be forgiven, but this sin shall not be forgiven. Not every one, however, that speaketh in the Spirit, is a prophet, but only if he have the ways of the Lord.

 

From their ways, then, shall the false prophet and the prophet be known. And no prophet that in the Spirit commandeth a meal, will eat of it, else he is a false prophet ; and every prophet that teacheth the truth, if he doeth not what he teacheth, is a false prophet.  And no prophet, approved, true, acting with a view to the world-mystery of the church, but not teaching others to do what he himself doeth, shall be judged in your presence; for with God he hath his judgment; for in like manner did the ancient prophets also.  But whoever in the Spirit shall say: Give me money, or something else, ye shall not hear him; but if he bid you give for others that are in want, let no one judge him.

 

And let every one that cometh in the name of the Lord be received, and afterward ye shall prove and know him; for ye shall possess understanding right and left. If he that cometh is a traveller, help him as much as you can; however, he shall not remain with you, except for two or three days, if need be.  But if he wisheth to reside with you, being an artisan, let him work and eat; but if he hath not a trade, provide, according to your understanding, that, as a Christian, he shall not live with you idle.  But if he doth not wish so to do, he is one that maketh a gain of Christ: beware of such.

 

But every true prophet that wisheth to reside with you, is worthy of his food. In like manner a true teacher, himself also is worthy of his food, just as the workman.  Every firstfruit, then, of the products of winepress and threshing-floor, of oxen and of sheep, thou shalt take and give to the prophets; for they are your high priests.  But if ye have not a prophet, give to the poor.

 

If thou make a baking of bread, take and give the first-fruit according to the commandment. In like manner, on opening a jar of wine or oil, take and give the first-fruit to the prophets; and of money and clothing and every possession, take the firstfruit, as it may seem good to thee, and give according to the commandment.

 

And every Lord’s Day gather yourselves together, and break bread and give thanks, after having also confessed your transgressions, that your sacrifice may be pure. But let no one that is at variance with his fellow assemble with you, until they be reconciled, that your sacrifice may not be profaned; For this is the one that was commanded by the Lord: In every place and time, offer Me a pure sacrifice; for I am a great King, saith the Lord, and my name is wonderful among the nations.

 

Choose, therefore, for yourselves bishops and deacons worthy of the Lord, men meek and free from the love of money, and true and proved; for they, too, render you the service of the prophets and teachers. Do not, then, despise them; for together with the prophets and teachers, they are your honored ones.

 

And reprove one another, not in anger, but in peace, as ye have it in the gospel; and to every one that acteth amiss against another, let no one speak, and let him not hear from you until he repent. But your prayers and alms and all deeds so do, as ye have it in the gospel of our Lord.

 

Watch for your life; let your lamps not be quenched, and your loins not be loosed, but be ye ready; for ye know not the hour in which our Lord cometh. And ye shall often be gathered together seeking the things which become your souls; for the whole time of your faith will not profit you, if ye be not made perfect in the last time.

 

For in the last days the false prophets and the corrupters shall be multiplied, and the sheep shall be turned into wolves, and love shall be turned into hate; for as lawlessness increaseth, they shall hate one another, and persecute and betray, and then shall appear the world-deceiver as the Son of God, and shall do signs and wonders, and the earth shall be delivered into his hands, and he shall do iniquitous things which have never been done since the world began.

 

Then shall the human creation come into the fire of trial, and many shall be caused to stumble and shall perish; but they that endure in their faith shall be saved from under the curse itself.

 

And then shall appear the signs of the truth; first, the sign of an opening in heaven, then the sign of the sound of a trumpet, and third, the resurrection of the dead; not of all, however, but as was said: The Lord shall come and all the saints with Him. Then shall the world see the Lord coming upon the clouds of heaven.

 

[1] An observer of omens.—Ed.

 

Translation from S. Stanhope Orris, “Teaching of the Twelve Apostles,” in Teaching of the Twelve Apostles: Text and Translation, 1884, pp. 3-19.

X