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with the venerable anchorite, whom I scarce find in my heart to leave; and never did I feel such pain in parting with any one, save yourself. Very willingly could I have continued a much longer time, but another signal, and the urgent importunity of my companions prevented; taking therefore my scroll, and embracing the excellent man who shed tears on me and my friends, and lifting up his eyes to heaven, commended us to the Almighty. I departed in silent sorrow, and made to the ship with all possible expedition.
You cannot wonder that I was anxious to read the manuscript; but my pleasure was greatly interrupted at first by several small defects in it, and for the want of skill in reading manuscript Greek; however, at length, by frequent perusals, I have conquered all difficulties, and to read it not only with satisfaction, but with comfort to my soul; and find the whole mystery of redemption and spiritual life clearly and satisfactorily set forth. But why do I say this to you, or why dare to anticipate your judgment! To you, I recommend it for the sake of my venerable-friend, in compliance with his request; for my own sake also, and for your's, but most of all, for the sake of those who desire to believe and be saved! I trust therefore, you will translate it from the Greek; and I doubt not of seeing it in the hands of most of my countrymen, when I again return to my native soil; and enjoy the pleasure of your beloved conversation. I am yours, &c. &c.
Such is the letter of my friend which I received with this excellent tract: and as I think myself bound to comply with every desire of his, I have endeavored to do it all the justice I am able in the translation. It has been almost impossible for me to avoid indulging conjectures concerning the author; it would be as useless as unentertaining to trouble the reader, for there being no date of name, all can be but conjecture; and it matters very little by whom a treatise is written, so the book itself is good and profitable: nay, of what consequence is it to us whether this was the product of the third, fourth, or seventeenth century? what can antiquity really add to its price, or length of days to its value? its own native simplicity, clearness and order, would in my opinion, sufficiently recommend it, were it only the production of the present age.
The reader cannot but observe how exactly it conducts his steps into the right paths of christianity. To have confirmed almost every paragraph of it by the sacred scriptures, would have been a very easy matter; but this I have omitted, leaving it as a matter of great improvement to the readers; humbly recommending it to each one of them, as a mean to render this little work truly advantageous, that they would, when considering the importance of its doctrines, diligently search the scriptures whether these things are so.
As I am certain the good and sincere christian will receive and welcome these passages with joy
and gladness, so let me trust they will prove instrumental to the salvation of some who shall read merely through curiosity, and a desire to examine so remarkable a piece of antiquity. Let such consider, that to them, even to them, it speaketh, seriously addresseth itself; and oh, that they may be wise and hear!
But I was going, by my supplications to the throne of grace, to anticipate the venerable hermit's petition, which is found on the back of the scroll, with an account of his finding it.
The Anchorite's Annotation on the back of the Scroll or Manuscript.
Son of man! whoever thou art, into whose hands this little, tho' inestimable gem, shall fall-know that after having been three days on the desolate island of Patmos, I was wandering under a row of rocks, and by accident directed into a cave, cut at the bottom of one of them, which seems to have been heretofore the habitation of some human creatures. I looked diligently around it, and sat me down on a seat hewn from the living stone, full of gloomy ideas, and sorrowfully reflecting on the vicissitude of all human affairs! Casting my eyes upward, I perceived on the side of the rock a kind of shelf, cut likewise from the stone; and raising myself to look thereon, behold! there lay with a written scroll of the divine and ever sacred scripture, this Manuscript, whereon now I write! Looking on each, I fell down and adored and mag
nified the God of all wisdom, in whose hands we are, and by whose providence we are held and supported all the days of our life! hoping he will by some means (however improbable it may at present seem) deliver this work from the night of obscurity and make it subservient to the good of his creatures. Thus I commend it to his favor, whose mercy is over all, and whose hands I trust, will speedily receive my immortal soul!
Being of Beings, God of all mercy, Fountain of glory, of wisdom and love! thanksgiving and honor, power and praise be unto thee, Eternal and Incomprehensible! from the voice of every nation under thy heavens, for ever, Amen! I bless thee evermore for thy wonderful loving kindness to me, the least of thy servants! Oh strengthen my faith in every trial; give me comfort and full assurance in thy promises, that my eye and heart, being fixed upon thee, may never lose sight of that golden crown, the purchase of thy suffering for all the sons of men! For my heaviest affliction and deadliest persecutions, loving heavenly Father, most gratefully do I thank and praise thee! they have shown, me myself, they have revealed my heart to Me! they have nailed me to thy cross. Blessed Jesus, let them not be to my advantage only! By means of them I have obtained this precious gem, these words of health: oh grant them a deliverance from darkness; spread them abroad O Jehovah, and let thy blessings still accompany them. To thee, all gracious, I commend this scroll: thou
that canst do all things, if it seemeth good in thy sight, render it subservient to the eternal welfare of all thy chosen people! Nothing is impossible with thee; the meanest instruments are in thy hands all powerful; thou that bringest to nought the wisdom of the wise! oh bring down all the high looks of the proud: let thy light and thy truth dispel throughout the whole world the darkness of error; and grant to all the nations of the earth a full and complete knowledge of thee their only GOD, and their only Redeemer. Amen.