1. On a certain day a pearl did I take up, my brethren; I saw in it
mysteries pertaining to the Kingdom; semblances and types of the
Majesty; it became a fountain, and I drank out of it mysteries of the
I put it, my brethren, upon the palm of my hand, that I might examine
it: I went to look at it on one side, and it proved faces on all sides.
I found out that the Son was incomprehensible, since He is wholly
In its brightness I beheld the Bright One Who cannot be clouded, and in
its pureness a great mystery, even the Body of our Lord which is
well-refined: in its undividedness I saw the Truth which is undivided.
It was so that I saw there its pure conception,-the Church, and the Son
within her. The cloud was the likeness of her that bare Him, and her
type the heaven, since there shone forth from her His gracious Shining.
I saw therein His trophies, and His victories, and His crowns. I saw
His helpful and overflowing graces, and His hidden things with His
2. It was greater to me than the ark, for I was astonied thereat: I saw
therein folds without shadow to them because it was a daughter of
light, types vocal without tongues, utterances of mysteries without
lips, a silent harp that without voice gave out melodies.
The trumpet falters and the thunder mutters; be not thou daring then;
leave things hidden, take things revealed. Thou hast seen in the clear
sky a second shower; the clefts of thine ears, as from the clouds, they
are filled with interpretations.
And as that manna which alone filled the people, in the place of
pleasant meats, with its pleasantnesses, so does this pearl fill me in
the place of books, and the reading thereof, and the explanations
And when I asked if there were yet other mysteries, it had no mouth for
me that I might hear from, neither any ears wherewith it might hear me.
O thou thing without senses, whence I have gained new senses!
3. It answered me and said, "The daughter of the sea am I, the
illimitable sea! And from that sea whence I came up it is that there is
a mighty treasury of mysteries in my bosom! Search thou out the sea,
but search not out the Lord of the sea!
"I have seen the divers who came down after me, when astonied, so that
from the midst of the sea they returned to the dry ground; for a few
moments they sustained it not. Who would linger and be searching on
into the depths of the Godhead?
"The waves of the Son are full of blessings, and with mischiefs too.
Have ye not seen, then, the waves of the sea, which if a ship should
struggle with them would break her to pieces, and if she yield herself
to them, and rebel not against them, then she is preserved? In the sea
all the Egyptians were choked, though they scrutinised it not, and,
without prying, the Hebrews too were overcome upon the dry land, and
how shall ye be kept alive? And the men of Sodom were licked up by the
fire, and how shall ye prevail?
"At these uproars the fish in the sea were moved, and Leviathan also.
Have ye then a heart of stone that ye read these things and run into
these errors? O great fear that justice also should be so long silent!"
4. "Searching is mingled with thanksgiving, and whether of the two will
prevail? The incense of praise riseth along with the fume of
disputation from the tongue, and unto which shall we hearken? Prayer
and prying come from one mouth, and which shall we listen to?
"For three days was Jonah a neighbour of mine in the sea: the living
things that were in the sea were aftrighted, saying, "Who shall flee
from God? Jonah fled, and ye are obstinate at your scrutiny of Him!"
1. Whereunto art thou like? Let thy stillness speak to one that hears;
with silent mouth speak with us: for whoso hears the stammerings of thy
silence, to him thy type utters its silent cry concerning our Redeemer.
Thy mother is a virgin of the sea; though he took her not to wife: she
fell into his bosom, though he knew her not; she conceived thee near
him, though he did not know her. Do thou, that art a type, reproach the
Jewish women that have thee hung upon them. Thou art the only progeny
of all forms which art like to the Word on High, Whom singly the Most
High begot. The engraven forms seem to be the type of created things
above. This visible offspring of the invisible womb is a type of great
things. Thy goodly conception was without seed, and without wedlock was
thy pure generation, and without brethren was thy single birth.
Our Lord had brethren and yet not brethren, since He was an
Only-Begotten. O solitary one, thou type exact of the Only-Begotten!
There is a type of thine in the crown of kings, wherein thou hast
brothers and sisters.
Goodly gems are thy brethren, with beryls and unions as thy companions:
may gold be as it were thy kinsman, may there be unto the King of kings
a crown from thy well-beloved ones! When thou camest up from the sea,
that living tomb, thou didst cry out. Let me have a goodly assemblage
of brethren, relatives, and kinsmen. As the wheat is in the stalk, so
thou art in the crown with princes: and it is a just restoration to
thee, as if of a pledge, that from that depth thou shouldest be exalted
to a goodly eminence. Wheat the stalk bears in the field; thee the head
of the king upon his chariot carries about.
O daughter of the water, who hast left sea, wherein thou wert born, and
art gone up to the dry land, wherein thou art beloved: for men have
loved and seized and adorned themselves with thee, like as they did
that Offspring Whom the Gentiles loved and crowned themselves withal.
It is by the mystery of truth that Leviathan is trodden down of
mortals: the divers put him off, and put on Christ. In the sacrament of
oil did the Apostles steal Thee away, and came up. They snatched their
souls from his mouth, bitter as it was.
Thy Nature is like a silent lamb in its sweetness, of which if a man is
to lay hold, he lifts it in a crucial form by its ears, as it was on
Golgotha. He cast out abundantly all His gleams upon them that looked
2. Shadowed forth in thy beauty is the beauty of the Son, Who clothed
Himself with suffering when the nails passed through Him. The awl
passed in thee since they handled thee roughly, as they did His hands;
and because He suffered He reigned, as by thy sufferings thy beauty
And if they showed no pity upon thee, neither did they love thee: still
suffer as thou mightest, thou hast come to reign I Simon Peter showed
pity on the Rock; whoso hath smitten it, is himself thereby overcome;
it is by reason of Its suffering that Its beauty hath adorned the
height and the depth.
1. Thou dost not hide thyself in thy bareness, O pearl! With the love
of thee is the merchant ravished also, for he strips off his garments;
not to cover thee, seeing thy clothing is thy light, thy garment is thy
brightness, O thou that art bared!
Thou art like Eve who was clothed with nakedness. Cursed be he that
deceived her and stripped her and left her. The serpent cannot strip
off thy glory. In the mysteries whose type thou art, women are clothed
with Light in Eden.
2. Very glistening are the pearls of Ethiopia, as it is written, Who
gave thee to Ethiopia the land of black men. He that gave light to the
Gentiles, both to the Ethiopians and unto the Indians did His bright
The eunuch of Ethiopia upon his chariot saw Philip: the Lamb of Light
met the dark man from out of the water. While he was reading, the
Ethiopian was baptised and shone with joy, and journeyed on!
He made disciples and taught, and out of black men he made men white.
And the dark Ethiopic women became pearls for the Son; He offered them
up to the Father, as a glistening crown from the Ethiopians.
3. The Queen of Sheba was a sheep that had come into the place of
wolves; the lamp of truth did Solomon give her, who also married her
when he fell away. She was enlightened and went away, but they were
dark as their manner was.
The bright spark which went down home with that blessed Queen, held on
its shining amid the darkness, till the new Day-spring came. The bright
spark met with this shining, and illumined the place.
4. There are in the sea divers fishes of many cubits, and with all
their greatness they are very small; but by thy littleness the crown is
made great, like as the Son, by whose littleness Adam was made great.
For the head is thy crown intended: for the eye thy beauty, for the ear
thy goodliness. Come up from the sea, thou neighbour to the dry land,
and come and sojourn by the seat of hearing. Let the ear love the word
of life as it loveth thee!In the ear is the word, and without it is the
pearl. Let it as being warned by thee, by thee get wisdom, and be
warned by the word of truth. Be thou its mirror: the beauty of the Word
in thine own beauty shall it see: in thee it shall learn how precious
is the Word on High! The ear is the leaf: the flesh is the tree, and
thou in the midst of it are a fruit of light, and to the womb that
brings forth Light, thou art a type that points.
Thee He used as a parable of that kingdom, O pearl! as He did the
virgins that entered into it, five in number, clothed with the light of
their lamps! To thee are those bright ones like, thou that art clad in
5. Who would give a pearl to the daughter of the poor? For when it
hangs on her, it becomes her not. Gain without price that faith, all of
which becomes all the limbs of men. But for no gold would a lady
exchange her pearl.
It were a great disgrace if thou shouldst throw thy pearl away into the
mire for nought!
In the pearl of time let us behold that of eternity; for it is in the
purse, or in the seal, or in the treasury. Within the gate there are
other gates with their locks and keys. Thy pearl hath the High One
sealed up as taking account of all.
1. The thief gained the faith which gained him, and brought him up and
placed him in paradise. He saw in the Cross a tree of life; that was
the fruit, he was the eater in Adam's stead.
The fool, who goes astray, grazes the faith, as it were an eye, by all
manner of questions. The probing of the finger blinds the eye, and much
more doth that prying blind. the faith.
For even the diver pries not into his pearl. In it do all merchants
rejoice without prying into whence it came; even the king who is
crowned therewith does not explore it.
2. Because Balaam was foolish, a foolish beast in the ass spoke with
him, because he despised God Who spoke with him. Thee too let the pearl
reprove in the ass's stead.
The people that had a heart of stone, by a Stone He set at nought, for
lo, a stone hears words. Witness its work that has reproved them; and
you, ye deaf ones, let the pearl reprove today.
With the swallow and the crow did He put men to shame; with the ox, yea
with the ass, did He put them to shame; let the pearl reprove now, O ye
birds and things on earth and things below.
3. Not as the moon does thy light fill or wane; the Sun whose light is
greater than all, lo! of Him it is that a type is shadowed out in thy
little compass. O type of the Son, one spark of Whom is greater than
The pearl itself is full, for its light is full; neither is there any
cunning worker who can steal from it; for its wall is its own beauty,
yea, its guard also! It lacks not, since it is entirely perfect.
And if a man would break thee to take a part from thee, thou art like
the faith which with the heretics perishes, seeing they have broken it
in pieces and spoiled it: for is it any better than this to have the
faith scrutinised? The faith is an entire nature that may not be
corrupted. The spoiler gets himself mischief by it: the heretic brings
ruin on himself thereby. He that chases the light from his pupils
Fire and air are divided when sundered. Light alone, of all creatures,
as its Creator, is not divided; it is not barren, for that it also
begets without losing thereby.
4. And if a man thinks that thou art framed by art he errs greatly; thy
nature proclaims that thou, as all stones, art not the framing of art;
and so thou art a type of the Generation which no making framed.
Thy stone flees from a comparison with the Stone which is the Son. For
thy own generation is from the midst of the deep, that of the Son of
thy Creator is from the highest height; He is not like thee, in that He
is like His Father.
And as they tell, two wombs bare thee also. Thou camest down from on
high a fluid nature; thou camest up from the sea a solid body. By means
of thy second birth thou didst show thy loveliness to the children of
Hands fixed thee, when thou wast embodied, into thy receptacles; for
thou art in the crown as upon a cross, and in a coronet as in a
victory; thou art upon the ears, as if to fill up what was lacking;
thou extendest over all.
1. O gift that camest up without price with the diver! Thou laidest
hold upon this visible light, that without price rises for the children
of men: a parable of the hidden One that without price gives the hidden
And the painter too paints a likeness of thee with colours. Yet by thee
is faith painted in types and emblems for colours, and in the place of
the image by thee and thy colours is thy Creator painted.
O thou frankincense without smell, who breathest types from out of
thee! thou art not to be eaten, yet thou givest a sweet smell unto them
that hear thee! thou art not to be drunk, yet by thy story, a fountain
of types art thou made unto the ears!
2. It is thou which art great in thy littleness, O pearl! Small is thy
measure and little thy compass with thy weight; but great is thy glory:
to that crown alone in which thou art placed, there is none like.
And who hath not perceived of thy littleness, how great it is; if one
despises thee and throws thee away, he would blame himself for his
clownishness, for when he saw thee in a king's crown he would be
attracted to thee.
3. Men stripped their clothes off and dived and drew thee out, pearl!
It was not kings that put thee before men, but those naked ones who
were a type of the poor and the fishers and the Galileans.
For clothed bodies were not able to come to thee; they came that were
stript as children; they plunged their bodies and came down to thee;
and thou didst much desire them, and thou didst aid them who thus loved
Glad tidings did they give for thee: their tongues before their bosoms
did the poor fishers open, and produced and showed the new riches among
the merchants: upon the wrists of men they put thee as a medicine of
4. The naked ones in a type saw thy rising again by the sea-shore; and
by the side of the lake they, the Apostles of a truth, saw the rising
again of the Son of thy Creator. By thee and by thy Lord the sea and
the lake were beautified.
The diver came up from the sea and put on his clothing; and from the
lake too Simon Peter came up swimming and put on his coat; clad as with
coats, with the love of both of you, were these two.
5. And since I have wandered in thee, pearl, I will gather up my mind,
and by having contemplated thee, would become like thee, in that thou
art all gathered up into thyself; and as thou in all times art one, one
let me become by thee!
Pearls have I gathered together that I might make a crown for the Son
in the place of stains which are in my members. Receive my offering,
not that Thou art shortcoming; it is because of mine own shortcoming
that I have offered it to Thee. Whiten my stains!
This crown is all spiritual pearls, which instead of gold are set in
love, and instead of ouches in faith; and instead of hands, let praise
offer it up to the Highest!
1. Would that the memory of the fathers would exhale from the tombs;
who were very simple as being wise, and reverend as believing. They
without cavilling searched for, and came to the right path.
He gave the law; the mountains melted away; fools broke through it. By
unclean ravens He fed Elijah at the desert stream; and moreover gave
from the skeleton honey unto Samson. They judged not, nor inquired why
it was unclean, why clean.
2. And when He made void the sabbaths, the feeble Gentiles were clothed
with health. Samson took the daughter of the aliens, and there was no
disputing among the righteous; the prophet also took a harlot, and the
just held their peace.
He blamed the righteous, and He held up and lifted up to view their
delinquencies: He pitied sinners, and restored them without cost: and
made low the mountains of their sins: He proved that God is not to be
arraigned by men, and as Lord of Truth. that His servants were His
shadow; and whatsoever way His will looked, they directed also their
own wills; and because Light was in Him, their shadows were
3. How strangely perplexed are all the heretics by simple things! For
when He plainly foreshadowed this New Testament by that of the
Prophets, those pitiable men rose, as though from sleep, and shouted
out and made a disturbance. And the Way, wherein the righteous held
straight on, and by their truths had gone forth therein, that Way have
these broken up, because they were besotted: this they left and went
out of; because they pried, an evil searching, yea, an evil babbling
led them astray.
They saw the ray: they made it darkness, that they might grope therein:
they saw the jewel, even the faith: while they pried into it, it fell
and was lost. Of the pearl they made a stone, that they might stumble
4. O Gift, which fools have made a poison! The People were for
separating Thy beauteous root from Thy fountain, though they separated
it not: false teachings estranged Thy beauty also from the stock
By Thee did they get themselves estranged, who wished to estrange Thee.
By Thee the tribes were cut off and scattered abroad from out of Sion,
and also the false teachings of the seceders.
Bring Thyself within the compass of our littleness, O Thou Gift of
ours. For if love cannot find Thee out on all sides, it cannot be still
and at rest. Make Thyself small, Thou Who art too great for all, Who
comest unto all!
5. By this would those who wrangle against our Pearl be reproved;
because instead of love, strife has come in and dared to essay to
unveil thy beauty. It was not graven, since it is a progeny which
cannot be interpreted.
Thou didst show thy beauty among the abjects to show whereto thou art
like, thou Pearl that art all faces. The beholders were astonied and
perplexed at thee. The separatists separated thee in two, and were
separated in two by thee, thou that art of one substance throughout.
They saw not thy beauty, because there was not in them the eye of
truth. For the veil of prophecy, full as it was of the mysteries; to
them was a covering of thy glistering faces: they thought that thou
wast other than thou art, O thou mirror of ours! and therefore these
blind schismatics defiled thy fair beauty.
6. Since they have extolled thee too much, or have lowered thee too
much, bring them to the even level. Come down, descend a little from
that height of infidelity and heathendom; and come up from the depth of
Judaism, though thou art in the Heaven.
Let our Lord be set between God and men! Let the Prophets be as it were
His heralds! Let the Just One, as being His Father, rejoice! that Word
it is which conquered both Jews and Heathens!
7. Come, Thou Gift of Holy Church, stay, rest in the midst of Her! The
circumcised have troubled Thee, in that they are vain babblers, and so
have the false doctrines in that they are contentious. Blessed be He
that gave Thee a goodly company which bears Thee about!
In the covenant of Moses is Thy brightness shadowed forth: in the new
covenant Thou dartest it forth: from those first Thy light shineth even
unto those last. Blessed be He that gave us Thy gleam as well as Thy
1. As in a race saw I the disputers, the children of strife, trying to
taste fire, to see the air, to handle the light: they were troubled at
the gleaming, and struggled to make divisions.
The Son, Who is too subtle for the mind, did they seek to feel: and the
Holy Ghost Who cannot be explored, they thought to explore with their
questionings. The Father, Who never at any time was searched out, have
they explained and disputed of.
The sound form of our faith is from Abraham, and our repentance is from
Nineveh and the house of Rahab, and ours are the expectations of the
Prophets, ours of the Apostles.
2. And envy is from Satan: the evil usage of the evil calf is from the
Egyptians. The hateful sight of the hateful image of four faces is from
the Hittites. Accursed disputation, that hidden moth, is from the
The bitter enemy read and saw orthodox teachings, and subverted them;
he saw hateful things, and sowed them; and he saw hope, and he turned
it upside down and cut it off. The disputation that he planted, lo! it
has yielded a fruit bitter to the tooth. Satan saw that the Truth
strangled him, and united himself to the tares, and secreted his
frauds, and spread his snares for the faith, and cast upon the priests
the darts of the love of pre-eminence.
They made contests for the throne, to see which should first obtain it.
There was that meditated in secret and kept it close: there was that
openly combated for it: and there was that with a bribe crept up to it:
and there was that with fraud dealt wisely to obtain it.
The paths differed, the scope was one, and they were alike. Him that
was young, and could not even think of it, because it was not time for
him; and him that was hoary and shaped out dreams for time beyond; all
of them by his craftiness did the wicked one persuade and subdue. Old
men, youths, and even striplings, aim at rank!
4. His former books did Satan put aside, and put on others: the People
who was grown old had the moth and the worm devoured and eaten and left
and deserted: the moth came into the new garment of the new peoples:
He saw the crucifiers who were rejected and cast forth as strangers: he
made of those of the household, pryers; and of worshippers, they became
disputants. From that garment the moth gendered and wound it up and
The worm gendered in the storehouse of wheat, and sat and looked on:
and lo! the pure wheat was mildewed, and devoured were the garments of
glory! He made a mockery of us, and we of ourselves, since we were
He showed tares, and the bramble shot up in the pure vineyard! He
infected the flock, and the leprosy broke out, and the sheep became
hired servants of his! He began in the People, and came unto the
Gentiles, that he might finish.
5. Instead of the reed which the former people made the Son hold,
others have dared with their reed to write in their tracts that He is
only a Son of man. Reed for reed does the wicked one exchange against
our Redeemer, and instead of the coat of many colours, wherewith they
clothed Him, titles has he dyed craftily. With diversity of names he
clothed Him; either that of a creature or of a thing made, when He was
And as he plaited for Him by silent men speechless thorns that cry out,
thorns from the mind has he plaited now by the voice, as hymns; and
concealed the spikes amid melodies that they might not be perceived.
6. When Satan saw that he was detected in his former frauds; that the
spitting was discovered, and vinegar, and thorns, nails and wood,
garments and reed and spear, which smote him, and were hated and openly
known; he changed his frauds.
Instead of the blow with the hand, by which our Lord was overcome, he
brought in distractions; and instead of the spitting, cavilling entered
in; and instead of garments, secret divisions; and instead of the reed,
came in strife to smite us on the face.
Haughtiness called for rage its sister, and there answered and came
envy, and wrath, and pride, and fraud. They have taken counsel against
our Redeemer as on that day when they took counsels at His Passion.
And instead of the cross, a hidden wood hath strife become; and instead
of the nails, questionings have come in; and instead of hell, apostasy:
the pattern of both Satan would renew again.Instead of the sponge which
was cankered with vinegar and wormwood, he gave prying, the whole of
which is cankered with death. The gall which they gave Him did our Lord
put away from Him; the subtle questioning, which the rebellious one
hath given, to fools is sweet.
7. And at that time there were judges against them, lo, the judges are,
as it were, against us, and instead of a handwriting are their
commands. Priests that consecrate crowns, set snares for kings.
Instead of the priesthood praying for royalty that wars may cease from
among men, they teach wars of overthrow, which set kings to combat with
those round about.
O Lord, make the priests and kings peaceful; that in one Church priests
may pray for their kings, and kings spare those round about them; and
may the peace which is within Thee become ours, Lord, Thou that art
within and without all thing!