Extended Writings


The angel of repentance explains to Hermas the process of repentance that is necessary to purify our hearts from all evil. The angel of punishment is sent to afflict us to humble us so that we may come to a deep and pure place of repentance, repenting with the whole heart. There is no true repentance without affliction.


After a few days I saw him in the same plain where I had also seen the shepherds; and he said to me,

“What do you wish with me?”

I said to him,

“Sir, that you would order the shepherd who punishes to depart out of my house, because he afflicts me exceedingly.”

“It is necessary,” 

he replied,

“that you be afflicted; for thus,” he continued, “did the glorious angel command concerning you, as he wishes you to be tried.”

“What have I done which is so bad, sir,”

I replied,

“that I should be delivered over to this angel?”


he said:

“Your sins are many, but not so great as to require that you be delivered over to this angel; but your household
has committed great iniquities and sins, and the glorious angel has been incensed at them on account of their deeds; and for this reason he commanded you to be afflicted for a certain time, that they also might
repent, and purify themselves from every desire of this world. When, therefore, they repent and are purified, then the angel of punishment will depart.”

I said to him,

“Sir, if they have done such things as to
incense the glorious angel against them, yet what have I done?”

He replied,

“They cannot be afflicted at all, unless you, the head of the house, be afflicted: for when you are afflicted, of necessity they also suffer affliction; but if you are in comfort, they can feel no affliction.”

“Well, sir,”

I said,

“they have repented with their whole heart.”

“I know, too,” he answered,

“that they have repented with their whole heart: do you
think, however, that the sins of those who repent are remitted? Not altogether, but he who repents must
torture his own soul, and be exceedingly humble in all his conduct, and be afflicted with many kinds of
affliction; and if he endure the afflictions that come upon him, He who created all things, and endued them
with power, will assuredly have compassion, and will heal him; and this will He do when He sees the heart
of every penitent pure from every evil thing: and it is profitable for you and for your house to suffer
affliction now. But why should I say much to you? You must be afflicted, as that angel of the Lord
commanded who delivered you to me. And for this give thanks to the Lord, because He has deemed you
worthy of showing you beforehand this affliction, that, knowing it before it comes, you may be able to
bear it with courage.” 

I said to him,

“Sir, be thou with me, and I will be able to bear all affliction.”

“I will be with you,”

he said,

“and I will ask the angel of punishment to afflict you more lightly; nevertheless, you will be afflicted for a little time, and again you will be re-established in your house. Only continue humble, and serve the Lord in all purity of heart, you and your children, and your house, and walk in my commands which I enjoin upon you, and your repentance will be deep and pure; and if you observe these things wit
your household, every affliction will depart from you. (2Sa_3:31, 2Sa_3:32, 2Sa_3:33) And affliction,”

he added,

“will depart from all who walk in these my commandments.”

~Hermas– The Pastor Book III Pt. 2, Vol. 2

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