James writes to you. Peace be with you from Peace, love from Love,
grace from Grace, faith from Faith, life from Holy Life!
Since you asked me to send you a secret book which was revealed to me
and Peter by the Lord, I could neither refuse you nor speak directly to
you, but I have written it in Hebrew letters and have sent it to you -
and to you alone. But inasmuch as you are a minister of the salvation of
the saints, endeavor earnestly and take care not to recount this book to
many - this which the Savior did not desire to recount to all of us, his
twelve disciples. But blessed are those who will be saved through faith
in this discourse.
Now I sent you ten months ago another secret book with the Savior
revealed to me. But that one you are to regard in this manner, as
revealed to me, James.
Now the twelve disciples were sitting all together at the same time,
and, remembering what the Savior had said to each one of them, whether
secretly or openly, they were setting it down in books. And I was
writing what was in my book - lo, the Savior appeared, after he had
departed from us while we gazed at him. And five hundred and fifty days
after he arose from the dead, we said to him: "Have you gone and
departed from us?"
And Jesus said: "No, but I shall go to the place from which I have
come. If you desire to come with me, come."
They all answered and said: "If you bid us, we'll come."
He said: "Truly I say to you, no one ever will enter the Kingdom of
Heaven if I bid him, but rather because you yourselves are full. Let me
have James and Peter, in order that I may fill them." And when he called
these two, he took them aside, and commanded the rest to busy themselves
with that with which they had been busy.
The Savior said; "You have received mercy....
(7 lines missing) Do you not desire, then, to be filled? And is your
heart drunk? Do you not desire, then, to be sober? Therefore, be
ashamed! And now, waking or sleeping, remember that you have seen the
Son of Man, and with him you have spoken, and to him you have listened.
Woe to those who have seen the Son of Man! Blessed are those who have
not seen the Man, and who have not consorted with him, and who have not
spoken with him, and who have not listened to anything from him. Yours
is life! Know, therefore, that he healed you when you were ill, in order
that you might reign. Woe to those who have rested from their illness,
because they will relapse again into illness! Blessed are those who have
not been ill, and have known rest before they became ill. Yours is the
Kingdom of God! Therefore I say to you, become full and leave no place
within you empty, since the Coming One is able to mock you."
Then Peter answered: "Lord, three times you have said to us 'Become
full', but we are full."
The Lord answered and said: "Therefore I say unto you, become full, in
order that you may not be diminished. Those who are diminished, however,
will not be saved. For fullness is good and diminution is bad.
Therefore, just as it is good for you to be diminished and, on the other
hand, bad for you to be filled, so also the one who is full is
diminished; and the one who is diminished is not filled as the one who
is diminished is filled, and the one who is full, for his part, brings
his sufficiency to completion. Therefore, it is fitting to be diminished
while you can still be filled, and to be filled while it is still
possible to be diminished, in order that you can fill yourselves the
more. Therefore become full of the spirit but be diminished of reason.
For reason is of the soul; and it is soul."
And I answered, and said to him: "Lord, we can obey you if you wish.
For we have forsaken our forefathers and our mothers and our villages
and have followed you. Grant us, therefore, not to be tempted by the
The Lord answered and said: "What is your merit when you do the will of
the Father if it is not given to you by him as a gift, while you are
tempted by Satan? But if you are oppressed by Satan and are persecuted
and you do the Father's will, I say that he will love you and will make
you equal with me and will consider that you have become beloved through
his providence according to your free choice. Will you not cease, then,
being lovers of the flesh and being afraid of sufferings? Or do you not
know that you have not yet been mistreated and have not yet been accused
unjustly, nor have you yet been shut up in prison, nor have you yet been
condemned lawlessly, nor have you yet been crucified without reason, nor
have you yet been buried shamefully, as was I myself, by the evil one?
Do you dare to spare the flesh, you for whom the spirit is an encircling
wall? If you contemplate the world, how long it is before you and also
how long it is after you, you will find that your life is one single day
and your sufferings, one single hour. For the good will not enter the
world. Scorn death, therefore, and take concern for life. Remember my
cross and my death and you will live."
And I answered and said to him: "Lord, do not mention to us the cross
and the death, for they are far from you."
The Lord answered and said: "Truly I say to you, none will be saved
unless they believe in my cross. But those who have believed in my
cross, theirs is the Kingdom of God. Therefore, become seekers for
death, just as the dead who seek for life, for that which they seek is
revealed to them. And what is there to concern them? When you turn
yourselves towards death, it will make known to you election. In truth I
say to you, none of those who are afraid of death will be saved. For the
Kingdom of God belongs to those who have put themselves to death. Become
better than I; make yourselves like the son of the Holy Spirit."
Then I questioned him: "Lord how may we prophesy to those who ask us
to prophesy to them? For there are many who ask us and who look to us to
hear an oracle from us."
The Lord answered and said: "Do you not know that the head of prophecy
was cut off with John?"
And I said: "Lord, it is not possible to remove the head of prophecy, is
The Lord said to me: "When you come to know what 'head' is, and that
prophecy issues from the head, then understand what is the meaning of
'Its head was removed'. I first spoke with you in parables, and you did
not understand. Now, in turn, I speak with you openly, and you do not
perceive. But it is you who were to me a parable in parables and what is
apparent in what are open.
"Be zealous to be saved without being urged. Rather, be ready on your
own and, if possible, go before me. For thus the Father will love you.
"Become haters of hypocrisy and evil thought. For it is thought which
gives birth to hypocrisy, but hypocrisy is far from the truth.
"Let not the Kingdom of Heaven wither away. For it is like a date
palm shoot whose fruits poured down around it. It put forth leaves and,
when they budded, they caused the productivity of the date palm to dry
up. Thus it is also with the fruit which came from this single root;
when the fruit was picked, fruits were collected by many harvesters. It
would indeed be good if it were possible to produce these new plants
now; for then you would find the Kingdom.
"Since I have been glorified in this manner before this time, why do
you all restrain me when I am eager to go? You have constrained me to
remain with you eighteen more days for the sake of the parables. It
sufficed for some persons to pay attention to the teaching and
understand 'The Shepherds' and 'The Seed' and 'The Building' and 'The
Lamps of the Virgins' and 'The Wage of the Workers' and 'The Double
Drachma' and 'The Woman'.
"Become zealous about the Word. For the Word's first condition is
faith; the second is love; the third is works. Now from these comes
life. For the Word is like a grain of wheat. When someone sowed it, he
believed in it; and when it sprouted, he loved it, because he looked
forward to many grains in the place of one; and when he worked it, he
was saved, because he prepared it for food. Again he left some grains to
sow. Thus it is also possible for you all to receive the Kingdom of
Heaven: unless you receive it through knowledge, you will not be able to
"Therefore I say to you, be sober. Do not go astray. And many times I
have said to you all together - and also to you alone, James, I have
said - 'Be saved!' And I have commanded you to follow me, and I have
taught you the response in the presence of the rulers. Observe that I
have descended, and I have spoken, and I have troubled myself, and I
have received my crown, when I saved you. For I have descended to dwell
with you in order that you also may dwell with me. And when I found that
your houses had no ceilings over them, I dwelt in houses which would be
able to receive me when I descended.
"Therefore, obey me, my brothers. Understand what the great light is.
The Father does not need me. For a father does not need a son, but it is
the son who needs the father. To him I am going, for the Father of the
Son is not in need of you.
"Pay attention to the Word. Understand Knowledge. Love Life. And no
one will persecute you, nor will any one oppress you, other than you
"O you wretched! O you unfortunates! O you dissemblers of the truth!
O you falsifiers of knowledge! O you sinners against the spirit! Do you
even now dare to listen, when it behooved you to speak from the
beginning? Do you even now dare to sleep, when it behooved you to be
awake from the beginning, in order that the Kingdom of Heaven might
receive you? In truth I say to you, it is easier for a holy one to sink
into defilement, and for a man of light to sink into darkness, than for
you to reign - or even not to reign!
"I have remembered your tears and your grief and your sorrow. They
are far from us. Now, then, you who are outside the inheritance of the
Father, weep where it behooves you and grieve and proclaim that which is
good, since the Son is ascending appropriately. In truth I say to you,
had it been to those who would listen to me that I was sent, and had it
been with them that I was to speak, I would have never descended upon
the earth. And now, then, be ashamed on account of them.
"Behold, I shall depart from you. I am going and I do not desire to
remain with you any longer - just as you yourselves have not desired.
Now, then, follow me quickly. Therefore I say to you, for your sake I
have descended. You are the beloved; you are those who will become a
cause of life for many. Beseech the Father. Implore God often, and he
will give to you. Blessed is the one who has seen you with him when he
is proclaimed among the angels and glorified among the saints. Yours is
life! Rejoice and be glad as children of God. Keep his will in order
that you may be saved. Take reproof from me and save yourselves. I
intercede on your behalf with the Father, and he will forgive you much."
And when we heard these things, we became elated, for we had been
depressed on account of what we had said earlier. Now when he saw our
rejoicing, he said: "Woe to you who are in want of an advocate! Woe to
you who are in need of grace! Blessed are those who have spoken freely
and have produced grace for themselves. Make yourselves like strangers;
of what sort are they in the estimation of your city? Why are you
troubled when you oust yourselves of your own accord and depart from
your city? Why do you abandon your dwelling place of your own accord,
readying it for those who desire to dwell in it? O you exiles and
fugitives! Woe to you, because you will be caught! Or perhaps you
imagine that the Father is a lover of humanity? Or that he is persuaded
by prayers? Or that he is gracious to one on behalf of another? Or that
he bears with one who seeks? For he knows the desire and also that which
the flesh needs. Because it is not the flesh which yearns for the soul.
For without the soul the body does not sin, just as the soul is not
saved without the Spirit. But if the soul is saved when it is without
evil, and if the spirit also is saved, then the body becomes sinless.
For it is the spirit which animates the soul, but it is the body which
kills it - that is, it is the soul which kills itself. Truly I say to
you, the Father will not forgive the sin of the soul at all, nor the
guilt of the flesh. For none of those who have worn the flesh will be
saved. For do you imagine that many have found the Kingdom of Heaven?
Blessed is the one who has seen himself as a fourth one in Heaven."
When we heard these things, we became distressed. Now when he saw
that we were distressed, he said: "This is why I say this to you, that
you may know yourselves. For the Kingdom of Heaven is like an ear of
grain which sprouted in a field. And when it ripened, it scattered its
fruit and, in turn, filled the field with ears of grain for another
year. You also: be zealous to reap for yourselves an ear of life, in
order that you may be filled with the Kingdom.
"As long as I am with you, give heed to me and obey me. But when I am
to depart from you, remember me. And remember me because I was with you
without your knowing me. Blessed are those who have known me. Woe to
those who have heard and have not believed! Blessed are those who have
not seen but have had faith!
"And once again I persuade you. For I am revealed to you building a
house which is very valuable to you, since you take shelter under it; in
the same way it will be able to support the house of your neighbors when
theirs is in danger of falling. In truth I say to you, woe to those on
behalf of whom I was sent down to this place! Blessed are those who are
to ascend to the Father. Again I reprove you. You who are, make
yourselves like those who are not, in order that you may come to be with
those who are not.
"Let not the Kingdom of Heaven become desolate among you. Do not
become arrogant on account of the light which illumines. Rather, become
to yourselves in this manner, as I am to you. For I have placed myself
under the curse, in order that you may be saved"
And Peter answered to this and said: "Sometimes you urge us on to the
Kingdom of Heaven, and other times you turn us away, Lord. Sometimes you
persuade us and impel us to faith and promise us life, and other times
you expel us from the Kingdom of Heaven."
And the Lord answered and said to us: "I have given you faith many
times. Moreover, I have revealed myself to you, James, and you have not
known me. Again, now I see you rejoicing many times. And when you are
elated over the promise of life, are you nevertheless glum? And are you
distressed when you are taught about the Kingdom? But you through faith
and knowledge have received life. Therefore, scorn rejection when you
hear it, but, when you hear the promise, be the more glad. In truth I
say to you, the one who will receive life and believe in the Kingdom
will never leave it - not even if the Father desires to banish him!
"These things I shall say to you for the present. But now I shall
ascend to the place from which I have come. But you, when I was eager to
go, have driven me out, and, instead of your accompanying me, you have
pursued me. But give heed to the glory which awaits me, and, having
opened your hearts, listen to the hymns which await me up in heaven. For
today I am obliged to take (my place) at the right hand of my Father.
Now I have said my last word to you. I shall part from you. For a
chariot of wind has taken me up, and from now on I shall strip myself in
order that I may clothe myself. But give heed: blessed are those who
have preached the Son before he descended, in order that, when I have
come, I may ascend. Thrice-blessed are thos who were proclaimed by the
Son before they came into being, in order that you may have a portion
When he said these things, he went away. And we knelt down, I and
Peter, and gave thanks, and sent our hearts up to heaven. We heard with
our ears and saw with our eyes the sound of wars and a trumpet call and
a great commotion.
And when we passed beyond that place, we sent out minds up further.
And we saw with our eyes and heard with our ears hymns and angelic
praises and angelic jubilation. And heavenly majesties were hymning, and
we ourselves were jubilant.
After this, we also desired to send our spirits above to the Majesty.
And when we ascended, we were permitted neither to see nor to hear
anything. For the rest of the disciples called to us and questioned us:
"What is it that you have heard from the Master?" And, "What has he said
to you?" And, "Where has he gone?"
And we answered them: "He has ascended." And, "He has given us a
pledge and has promised us all life and disclosed to us children who are
to come after us, since he has bid us to love them, inasmuch as we will
be saved for their sake."
And when they heard, they believed the revelation, but were angry
about those who would be born. Then I, not desiring to entice them to
scandal, sent each one to another place. But I myself went up to
Jerusalem, praying that I may obtain a portion with the beloved who are
to be revealed.
And I pray that the beginning may come from you, for thus I can be
saved. Because they will be enlightened through me, through my faith and
through another's which is better than mine, for I desire that mine
become the lesser. Endeavor earnestly, therefore, to make yourself like
them, and pray that you may obtain a portion with them. For apart from
what I have recounted, the Savior did not disclose revelation to us. For
their sake we proclaim, indeed, a portion with those for whom it was
proclaimed, those whom the Lord has made his children.