Chapter IV.—Argument. Saturus, in a Vision, and Perpetua Being Carried by Angels into the Great Light, Behold the Martyrs. Being Brought to the Throne of God, are Received with a Kiss. They Reconcile Optatus the Bishop and Aspasius the Presbyter.
1. Moreover, also, the blessed Saturus related this his vision, which he himself committed to writing:—“We had suffered,” says he, “and we were gone forth from the flesh, and we were beginning to be borne by four angels into the east; and their hands touched p. 703 us not. And we floated not supine, looking upwards, but as if ascending a gentle slope. And being set free, we at length saw the first boundless light; and I said, Perpetua (for she was at my side), this is what the Lord promised to us; we have received the promise. And while we are borne by those same four angels, there appears to us a vast space which was like a pleasure-garden, having rose-trees and every kind of flower. And the height of the trees was after the measure of a cypress, and their leaves were falling 8998 incessantly. Moreover, there in the pleasure-garden four other angels appeared, brighter than the previous ones, who, when they saw us, gave us honour, and said to the rest of the angels, Here they are! Here they are! with admiration. And those four angels who bore us, being greatly afraid, put us down; and we passed over on foot the space of a furlong in a broad path. There we found Jocundus and Saturninus and Artaxius, who having suffered the same persecution were burnt alive; and Quintus, who also himself a martyr had departed in the prison. And we asked of them where the rest were. And the angels said to us, Come first, enter and greet your Lord.
2. “And we came near to place, the walls of which were such as if they were built of light; and before the gate of that place stood four angels, who clothed those who entered with white robes. And being clothed, we entered and saw the boundless light, and heard the united voice of some who said without ceasing, Holy! Holy! Holy! 8999 And in the midst of that place we saw as it were a hoary man sitting, having snow-white hair, and with a youthful countenance; and his feet we saw not. And on his right hand and on his left were four-and-twenty elders, and behind them a great many others were standing. We entered with great wonder, and stood before the throne; and the four angels raised us up, and we kissed Him, and He passed His hand over our face. And the rest of the elders said to us, Let us stand; and we stood and made peace. And the elders said to us, Go and enjoy. And I said, Perpetua, you have what you wish. And she said to me, Thanks be to God, that joyous as I was in the flesh, I am now more joyous here.
3. “And we went forth, and saw before the entrance Optatus the bishop at the right hand, and Aspasius the presbyter, a teacher, 9000 at the left hand, separate and sad; and they cast themselves at our feet, and said to us, Restore peace between us, because you have gone forth and have left us thus. And we said to them, Art not thou our father, and thou our presbyter, that you should cast yourselves at our feet? And we prostrated ourselves, and we embraced them; and Perpetua began to speak with them, and we drew them apart in the pleasure-garden under a rose-tree. And while we were speaking with them, the angels said unto them, Let them alone, that they may refresh themselves; 9001 and if you have any dissensions between you, forgive one another. And they drove them away. And they said to Optatus, Rebuke thy people, because they assemble to you as if returning from the circus, and contending about factious matters. And then it seemed to us as if they would shut the doors. And in that place we began to recognise many brethren, and moreover martyrs. We were all nourished with an indescribable odour, which satisfied us. Then, I joyously awoke.”
“Cadebant;” but “ardebant”—“were burning”—seems a more probable reading. [The imitations of the Shepherd of Hermas, in this memoir hardly need pointing out.]703:8999
A presbyter, that is, whose office was to teach, as distinct from other presbyters. See Cyprian, Epistles, vol. i. Ep. xxiii. p. 68. note i. transl. [One of those referred to by St. James iii. 1, and by St. Paul, 1 Tim. v. 17.]703:9001
More probably, “rest and refresh yourselves.” [“Go and enjoy,” or, “play,” or “take pleasure,” in the section preceding.]