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The Shepherd, 1-5.

The Shepherd written around the year 140, is one of the books of the New Testament Apocrypha, and for the next century many early Christians considered it scripture. It was written by Hermas, a Christian prophet, an ex-slave, and brother of Pope Pius of Aquileia.

1. Hermas sins, and is corrected.

The man who brought me up sold me to a certain Rhoda in Rome. Many years later I saw her, and began to love her like a sister. Some time later I saw her washing in the Tiber, and offered my hand to help her out of the river. At the sight of her beauty, I thought to myself: “How happy I’d be if my wife were as beautiful and good as she!” My thoughts went this far; no further.

A little later, walking the road to the villages, glorying in the greatness, splendor, and power of God’s creatures, I fell asleep and the Spirit carried me away: He took me to a pathless place where no one could travel. It was rocky, craggy, and running water made it near-impassible. Crossing that river, coming to a plain, I knelt down and began to pray to the Lord, confessing my sins. As I prayed the heavens opened, and I saw the woman I desired, waving at me from the sky, saying, “Hello, Hermas!” Looking at her, I said, “Ma’am, what are you doing here?” She answered, “I’ve been taken up to correct you of your sins before the Lord.”