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´╗┐Title: An Extract out of Josephus's Discourse to The Greeks Concerning Hades
Author: Josephus, Flavius, 38?-100?
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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AN EXTRACT OUT OF JOSEPHUS'S DISCOURSE TO THE GREEKS CONCERNING HADES

By Flavius Josephus


Translated by William Whiston



1. Now as to Hades, wherein the souls of the of the good things they
see, and rejoice in the righteous and unrighteous are detained, it is
necessary to speak of it. Hades is a place in the world not regularly
finished; a subterraneous region, wherein the light of this world does
not shine; from which circumstance, that in this region the light does
not shine, it cannot be but there must be in it perpetual darkness. This
region is allotted as a place of custody for souls, ill which angels
are appointed as guardians to them, who distribute to them temporary
punishments, agreeable to every one's behavior and manners.

2. In this region there is a certain place set apart, as a lake of
unquenchable fire, whereinto we suppose no one hath hitherto been cast;
but it is prepared for a day afore-determined by God, in which one
righteous sentence shall deservedly be passed upon all men; when the
unjust, and those that have been disobedient to God, and have given
honor to such idols as have been the vain operations of the hands of men
as to God himself, shall be adjudged to this everlasting punishment,
as having been the causes of defilement; while the just shall obtain an
incorruptible and never-fading kingdom. These are now indeed confined in
Hades, but not in the same place wherein the unjust are confined.

3. For there is one descent into this region, at whose gate we believe
there stands an archangel with an host; which gate when those pass
through that are conducted down by the angels appointed over souls, they
do not go the same way; but the just are guided to the right hand, and
are led with hymns, sung by the angels appointed over that place, unto a
region of light, in which the just have dwelt from the beginning of the
world; not constrained by necessity, but ever enjoying the prospect of
the good things they see, and rejoice in the expectation of those new
enjoyments which will be peculiar to every one of them, and esteeming
those things beyond what we have here; with whom there is no place of
toil, no burning heat, no piercing cold, nor are any briers there; but
the countenance of the and of the just, which they see, always smiles
them, while they wait for that rest and eternal new life in heaven,
which is to succeed this region. This place we call The Bosom of
Abraham.

4. But as to the unjust, they are dragged by force to the left hand by
the angels allotted for punishment, no longer going with a good-will,
but as prisoners driven by violence; to whom are sent the angels
appointed over them to reproach them and threaten them with their
terrible looks, and to thrust them still downwards. Now those angels
that are set over these souls drag them into the neighborhood of hell
itself; who, when they are hard by it, continually hear the noise of
it, and do not stand clear of the hot vapor itself; but when they have
a near view of this spectacle, as of a terrible and exceeding great
prospect of fire, they are struck with a fearful expectation of a future
judgment, and in effect punished thereby: and not only so, but where
they see the place [or choir] of the fathers and of the just, even
hereby are they punished; for a chaos deep and large is fixed between
them; insomuch that a just man that hath compassion upon them cannot be
admitted, nor can one that is unjust, if he were bold enough to attempt
it, pass over it.

5. This is the discourse concerning Hades, wherein the souls of all men
are confined until a proper season, which God hath determined, when
he will make a resurrection of all men from the dead, not procuring
a transmigration of souls from one body to another, but raising again
those very bodies, which you Greeks, seeing to be dissolved, do not
believe [their resurrection]. But learn not to disbelieve it; for while
you believe that the soul is created, and yet is made immortal by
God, according to the doctrine of Plato, and this in time, be not
incredulous; but believe that God is able, when he hath raised to life
that body which was made as a compound of the same elements, to make it
immortal; for it must never be said of God, that he is able to do some
things, and unable to do others. We have therefore believed that the
body will be raised again; for although it be dissolved, it is not
perished; for the earth receives its remains, and preserves them; and
while they are like seed, and are mixed among the more fruitful soil,
they flourish, and what is sown is indeed sown bare grain, but at the
mighty sound of God the Creator, it will sprout up, and be raised in a
clothed and glorious condition, though not before it has been dissolved,
and mixed [with the earth]. So that we have not rashly believed the
resurrection of the body; for although it be dissolved for a time on
account of the original transgression, it exists still, and is cast into
the earth as into a potter's furnace, in order to be formed again, not
in order to rise again such as it was before, but in a state of purity,
and so as never to be destroyed any more. And to every body shall its
own soul be restored. And when it hath clothed itself with that body, it
will not be subject to misery, but, being itself pure, it will continue
with its pure body, and rejoice with it, with which it having walked
righteously now in this world, and never having had it as a snare, it
will receive it again with great gladness. But as for the unjust,
they will receive their bodies not changed, not freed from diseases or
distempers, nor made glorious, but with the same diseases wherein they
died; and such as they were in their unbelief, the same shall they be
when they shall be faithfully judged.

6. For all men, the just as well as the unjust, shall be brought before
God the word: for to him hath the Father committed all judgment: and he,
in order to fulfill the will of his Father, shall come as Judge, whom
we call Christ. For Minos and Rhadamanthus are not the judges, as
you Greeks do suppose, but he whom God and the Father hath glorified:
Concerning Whom We Have Elsewhere Given A More Particular Account, For
The Sake Of Those Who Seek After Truth. This person, exercising the
righteous judgment of the Father towards all men, hath prepared a just
sentence for every one, according to his works; at whose judgment-seat
when all men, and angels, and demons shall stand, they will send forth
one voice, and say, Just Is Thy Judgment; the rejoinder to which will
bring a just sentence upon both parties, by giving justly to those that
have done well an everlasting fruition; but allotting to the lovers of
wicked works eternal punishment. To these belong the unquenchable fire,
and that without end, and a certain fiery worm, never dying, and not
destroying the body, but continuing its eruption out of the body with
never-ceasing grief: neither will sleep give ease to these men, nor
will the night afford them comfort; death will not free them from their
punishment, nor will the interceding prayers of their kindred profit
them; for the just are no longer seen by them, nor are they thought
worthy of remembrance. But the just shall remember only their righteous
actions, whereby they have attained the heavenly kingdom, in which
there is no sleep, no sorrow, no corruption, no care, no night, no day
measured by time, no sun driven in his course along the circle of
heaven by necessity, and measuring out the bounds and conversions of
the seasons, for the better illumination of the life of men; no moon
decreasing and increasing, or introducing a variety of seasons, nor will
she then moisten the earth; no burning sun, no Bear turning round [the
pole], no Orion to rise, no wandering of innumerable stars. The earth
will not then be difficult to be passed over, nor will it be hard to
find out the court of paradise, nor will there be any fearful roaring of
the sea, forbidding the passengers to walk on it; even that will be made
easily passable to the just, though it will not be void of moisture.
Heaven will not then be uninhabitable by men, and it will not be
impossible to discover the way of ascending thither. The earth will not
be uncultivated, nor require too much labor of men, but will bring forth
its fruits of its own accord, and will be well adorned with them. There
will be no more generations of wild beasts, nor will the substance of
the rest of the animals shoot out any more; for it will not produce men,
but the number of the righteous will continue, and never fail, together
with righteous angels, and spirits [of God], and with his word, as a
choir of righteous men and women that never grow old, and continue in
an incorruptible state, singing hymns to God, who hath advanced them to
that happiness, by the means of a regular institution of life; with whom
the whole creation also will lift up a perpetual hymn from corruption,
to incorruption, as glorified by a splendid and pure spirit. It will
not then be restrained by a bond of necessity, but with a lively freedom
shall offer up a voluntary hymn, and shall praise him that made them,
together with the angels, and spirits, and men now freed from all
bondage.

7. And now, if you Gentiles will be persuaded by these motives, and
leave your vain imaginations about your pedigrees, and gaining of
riches, and philosophy, and will not spend your time about subtleties
of words, and thereby lead your minds into error, and if you will apply
your ears to the hearing of the inspired prophets, the interpreters
both of God and of his word, and will believe in God, you shall both be
partakers of these things, and obtain the good things that are to come;
you shall see the ascent unto the immense heaven plainly, and that
kingdom which is there. For what God hath now concealed in silence [will
be then made manifest,] what neither eye hath seen, nor ear hath heard,
nor hath it entered into the heart of man, the things that God hath
prepared for them that love him.

8. In whatsoever ways I shall find you, in them shall I judge you
entirely: so cries the End of all things. And he who hath at first
lived a virtuous lift, but towards the latter end falls into vice, these
labors by him before endured shall be altogether vain and unprofitable,
even as in a play, brought to an ill catastrophe. Whosoever shall have
lived wickedly and luxuriously may repent; however, there will be need
of much time to conquer an evil habit, and even after repentance his
whole life must be guarded with great care and diligence, after the
manner of a body, which, after it hath been a long time afflicted with a
distemper, requires a stricter diet and method of living; for though
it may be possible, perhaps, to break off the chain of our irregular
affections at once, yet our amendment cannot be secured without the
grace of God, the prayers of good men, the help of the brethren, and our
own sincere repentance and constant care. It is a good thing not to sin
at all; it is also good, having sinned, to repent; as it is best to have
health always, but it is a good thing to recover from a distemper. To
God be glory and dominion for ever and ever Amen.





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