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   TRUSTING in the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, we begin to write this book of gleanings called 'The Bee,' which was composed by the saint of God, Mâr Solomon, metropolitan of Perath-Maishân1, that is Bassorah (al-Basrah), one of His companions. O Lord, in Thy mercy help me. Amen.


   'The children ought not to lay up treasures for the parents, but the parents for the spiritual children,' saith the blessed Paul2; therefore we are bound to repay thee the debt of love, O beloved brother and staff of our old age, saint of God, Mâr Narses3, bishop of Khônî-Shâbôr Bêth-Wâzik4. We remember thy solicitude for us, and thy zeal for our service, which thou didst fulfil with fervent love and Christ-like humility. And when we had loving meetings with each other from time to time, thou wert wont to ask questions and to make enquiries about the various things which God hath wrought in His dispensation in this material world, and also as to the things that He is about to do in the world of light. But since we were afflicted with the Mosaic defect of hesitancy of speech, we were unable to inform thee fully concerning the profitable p. 2 matters about which, as was right, thou didst enquire; and for this reason we were prevented from profitable discourse upon the holy Books. Since, then, God has willed and ruled our separation from each other, and the sign of old age, which is the messenger of death, hath appeared in us, and we have grown old and come into years, it has seemed good to us, with the reed for a tongue and with ink for lips, to inform thee briefly concerning God's dispensation in the two worlds. And, behold, we have gleaned and collected and gathered together chapters and sections relating to this whole universe from the garden of the divine Books and from the crumbs of the Fathers and the Doctors, having laid down as the foundation of our building the beginning of the creation of this world, and concluding with the consummation of the world to come. We have called this book the 'Book of the Bee,' because we have gathered of the blossoms of the two Testaments and of the flowers of the holy Books, and have placed them therein for thy benefit. As the common bee with gauzy wings flies about, and flutters over and lights upon flowers of various colours, and upon blossoms of divers odours, selecting and gathering from all of them the materials which are useful for the construction of her handiwork; and having first of all collected the materials from the flowers, carries them upon her thighs, and bringing them to her dwelling, lays a foundation for her building with a base of wax; then gathering in her mouth some of the heavenly dew which is upon the blossoms of spring, brings it and blows it into these cells; and weaves the comb and honey for the use of men and her own nourishment: in like manner have we, the infirm, hewn the stones of corporeal words from the rocks of the Scriptures which are in the Old Testament, and have laid them down as a foundation for the edifice of the spiritual law. And as the bee carries the waxen substance upon her thighs because of its insipidity and tastelessness, and brings the honey in her mouth because of its sweetness and value; so also have we laid down the corporeal law by way of substratum and foundation, and the spiritual law for a roof and ceiling to the edifice of the spiritual tower. And as the expert gardener and orchard-keeper goes round among the gardens, and seeking out the finest sorts of fruits takes from them slips and shoots, and plants them in his own field; so also have we gone into the garden of the divine Books, and have culled therefrom p. 3 branches and shoots, and have planted them in the ground of this book for thy consolation and benefit. When thou, O brother, art recreating thyself among these plants, those which appear and which thou dost consider to be insipid and tasteless, leave for thy companions, for they may be more suitable to others (than to thee); but, upon those which are sweet, and which sweeten the palate of thy understanding, do thou feed and satisfy thy hunger. If, however, owing to their fewness, they do not fill thee, seek in succession for their roots, and from thence shall thy want be satisfied. Know also, O brother, that where there is true love, there is no fear1; and where there is freedom of speech, there is no dread; and we should not dare to be so rash as to enter upon these subjects, which are beyond the capacity of our simple understanding, unless we relied upon thy immaculate love; because, in the words of one of the inspired2, 'When thou findest honey, eat (only) so much as is sufficient for thee, lest, when thou art sated, thou vomit it3'; that is to say, do not enquire (too closely) into the divine words.


I. Of God's eternal intention in respect of the creation of the universe.
II. Of the creation of the seven natures (substances) in silence.
III. Of earth, water, air, and fire.
IV. Of heaven.
V. Of the angels.
VI. Of darkness.
VII. Of effused (circumambient) light.
VIII. Of the firmament.
IX. Of the creation of trees and plants, and the making of seas and rivers.
X. Of the making of the luminaries.
XI. Of the creation of sea-monsters, fish, winged fowl, and the reptiles that are in the seas.
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XII. Of the creation of beasts and animals.
XIII. Of the formation of Adam.
XIV. Of the making of Eve.
XV. Of Paradise.
XVI. Of the sin of Adam.
XVII. Of the expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise.
XVIII. Of Adam's knowing Eve.
XIX. Of the invention of the instruments for working in iron.
XX. Of Noah and the Flood.
XXI. Of Melchizedek.
XXII. Of the generations of Noah, how seventy-two families sprang from three sons.
XXIII. Of the succession of generations from the Flood until now.
XXIV. Of the building of the Tower.
XXV. Of Abraham.
XXVI. Of the temptation of Job.
XXVII. Of Isaac's blessing upon Jacob.
XXVIII. Of Joseph.
XXIX. Of Moses and the Children of Israel.
XXX. Of Moses' rod.
XXXI. Of Joshua the son of Nun, and the Judges, and brief notices of the Kings of the Children of Israel.
XXXII. Of the death of the Prophets; how they died, and (where) they were buried.
XXXIII. Of the divine dispensation which was wrought in the New Testament, and of the genealogy of Christ.
XXXIV. Of the announcement of the angel to Jonachir (Joachim) in respect of Mary.
XXXV. Of the annunciation of Gabriel to Mary in respect of her conception of our Lord.
XXXVI. Of our Lord's birth in the flesh.
XXXVII. Of the prophecy of Zarâdôsht, that is Baruch the scribe.
XXXVIII. Of the star which appeared in the East on the day of our Lord's birth.
XXXIX. Of the coming of the Magi from Persia, and the slaughter of the infants.
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XL. Of the going down of our Lord into Egypt.
XLI. Of John the Baptist and his baptism of our Lord.
XLII. Of our Lord's fast and His contest with Satan.
XLIII. Of the passover of our Lord.
XLIV. Of the passion of our Lord.
XLV. Of the resurrection of our Lord.
XLVI. Of the ascension of our Lord.
XLVII. Of the descent of the Holy Ghost upon the Apostles in the upper chamber.
XLVIII. Of the teaching of the Apostles, their deaths, and the place where each of them (was buried).
XLIX. The names of the twelve Apostles and the seventy (Disciples), one after another in (his) grade.
L. Of minor matters; those of the Apostles who were married, etc.
LI. The names of the Eastern Patriarchs, and the places where they were buried1.
LII. The names of the kings who have reigned in the world from the Flood to the present time, and the (number of the) years of the reign of each of them. The names of the kings of the Medes and the Egyptians; the names of the seventy old men who brought out the Scriptures and translated them; the names of the Roman emperors, and of the kings of Persia.
LIII. Of the end of times and the change of kingdoms. From the book of Methodius, the bishop of Rome.
LIV. Of Gog and Magog, who are imprisoned in the North.
LV. Of the coming of Antichrist, the son of perdition.
LVI. Of death and the departure of the soul from the body.
LVII. Of the rising of the dead and the general resurrection, the end of the material world, and the beginning of the new world.
LVIII. Of the manner in which men will rise in the day of the resurrection.
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LIX. Of the happiness of the righteous, and the torture of sinners; and of the manner in which they will exist yonder.
LX. Of the demons and sinners in Gehenna, whether after they have been punished and have suffered and received their sentence, they will have mercy shewn to them or not; and if mercy be shewn to them, when it will be.



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1 See Le Quien, Oriens Christianus, vol. ii. 1212.

2 2 Cor. xii. 14.

3 See Le Quien, Or. Christ., vol. ii. 1188.

4 Khônî-Shâbôr, or Bêth-Wâzîk, was a town on the little Zâb, close to its junction with the Tigris, in the diocese of Tîrhân. Bêth-Wâzîk is also written Bêth-Wâzîg, and has been altered by the Arabs into al-Bawâzîg or al-Bawâzîj. See Hoffmann, Auszüge aus syrischen Akten persischer Märtyrer, pp. 189 and 296. It has, of course, nothing whatever to do with Gundê-Shâbôr, or Jundai-Shâbûr, with which it has sometimes been confounded.

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1 1 John iv. 18.

2 ### θϵόφοροι {Greek: ðeóforoi}; see Prov. xxv. 16. Schoenfelder, quippe a Theodoro dictum est.

3 Schoenfelder, satiaberis fortasse de eo et prophetabis.

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1 C reads: The names of the Eastern Catholics, the successors of the Apostles.