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OF THE END OF TIMES AND THE CHANGE OF KINGDOMS4; FROM THE BOOK OF METHODIUS, BISHOP OF ROME5.
IN this seventh and last millennium will the kingdom of the Persians be destroyed. In it will the children of Ishmael go forth from the wilderness of Yathrib (al-Medînah), and they will all come and be gathered together in Gibeah of Ramah, and there shall the fat ones of the kingdom of the Greeks, who destroyed the kingdoms of the Hebrews and the Persians, be destroyed by Ishmael, the wild ass of the desert; for in wrath shall he be sent against the whole earth, against man and beast and trees, and it shall be a merciless chastisement. It is not because God loves them that He has allowed them to enter into the kingdoms of the Christians, but by reason of the iniquity and sin which is wrought by the Christians, the like of which has never been wrought in any one of the former generations. They are mad with drunkenness and anger and shameless lasciviousness; they have intercourse with one another wickedly, a man and his son committing fornication with one woman, the brother with his brother's wife, male with male, and female with female, contrary to the law of nature and of Scripture, as the blessed Paul has said, 'Male with male did work shame, and likewise also the p. 125 women did work lewdness, and, contrary to nature, had intercourse with one another1.' Therefore they have brought upon themselves the recompense of punishment which is meet for their error, women as well as men, and hence God will deliver them over to the impurity of the barbarians, that their wives may be polluted by the sons of pollution, and men may be subjected to the yoke of tribute; then shall men sell everything that they have and give it to them, but shall not be able to pay the debt of the tribute, until they give also their children to them into slavery. And the tyrant shall exalt himself until he demands tribute and poll-tax from the dead that lie in the dust, first oppressing the orphans and defrauding the widows. They will have no pity upon the poor, nor will they spare the miserable; they will not relieve the afflicted; they will smite the grey hairs of the aged, despise the wise, and honour fools; they will mock at those who frame laws, and the little shall be esteemed as the great, and the despised as the honourable; their words shall cut like swords, and there is none who shall be able to change the persuasive force of their words. The path of their chastisement shall be from sea to sea, and from east to west, and from north to south, and to the wilderness of Yathrib. In their latter days there shall be great tribulation, old men and old women hungering and thirsting, and tortured in bonds until they account the dead happy. They will rip up the pregnant woman, and tear infants away from their mothers' bosoms and sell them like beasts, and those that are of no use to them will they dash against the stones. They will slay the priests and deacons in the sanctuary, and they will lie with their wives in the houses of God. They will make clothes for themselves and their wives out of the holy vestments, and they will spread them upon their horses, and work impurity upon them in their beds. They will bring their cattle into the churches and altars, and they will tie up their dogs by the shrines of the saints. In those days the spirit of the righteous and of them that are well versed in signs will be grieved. The feeble will deny the true faith, the holy Cross, and the life-giving mysteries; and without compulsion many will deny Christ, and become rebels and slanderers and boasters, denying the faith. With this chastisement shall the Christians be tried. For at that p. 126 time the righteous, the humble, the peaceful and the gentle will not be sought after, but liars and slanderers and accusers and disturbers and the obscene and those who are destitute of mercy, and those who scoff at their parents and blaspheme the life-giving mysteries. And the true believers shall come into troubles and persecutions until they despair of their lives. Honour shall be taken away from the priests, and the pastors shall become as the people. When the measure of their (i.e. the Ishmaelites') victory is full, tribulation will increase, and chastisement will be doubled upon man and beast. And there shall be a great famine, and the dead bodies of men shall lie in the streets and squares without any one to bury them, and (just) reckoning shall vanish and disappear from the earth, And men shall sell their brass and their iron and their clothes, and shall give their sons and their daughters willingly to the heathen. A man shall lie down in the evening and rise in the morning, and shall find at his do or two or three exactors and officers to carry off by force; and two or three women shall throw themselves upon one man and say, 'We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel, only let us take refuge beneath thy skirts2.' When men are oppressed and beaten, and hunger and thirst, and are tormented by that bitter chastisement; while the tyrants shall live luxuriously and enjoy themselves, and eat and drink, and boast in the victory they have won, having destroyed nations and peoples, and shall adorn themselves like brides, saying, 'The Christians have neither a God nor a deliverer;' then all of a sudden there shall be raised up against them pains like those of a woman in childbirth; and the king of the Greeks shall go forth against them in great wrath, and he shall rouse himself like a man who has shaken off his wine. He shall go forth against them from the sea of the Cushites, and shall cast the sword and destruction into the wilderness of Yathrib and into the dwelling-place of their fathers. They shall carry off captive their wives and sons and daughters into the service of slavery, and fear of all those round about them shall fall upon them, and they shall all be delivered into the hand of the king of the Greeks, and shall be given over to the sword and to captivity and to slaughter, and their latter subjection shall be one hundred times more severe than their p. 127 (former) yoke. They shall be in sore tribulation from hunger and thirst and anxiety; they shall be slaves unto those who served them, and bitter shall their slavery be. Then shall the earth which has become desolate of its inhabitants find peace, and the remnant that is left shall return every man to his own land and to the inheritance of his fathers; and men shall increase like locusts upon the earth which was laid waste. Egypt shall be ravaged, Arabia shall be burnt with fire, the land of Hebron shall be laid waste, and the tongue of the sea shall be at peace. All the wrath and anger of the king of the Greeks shall have full course upon those who have denied Christ. And there shall be great peace on earth, the like of which has not been from the creation of the world until its end; for it is the last peace. And there shall be great joy on earth, and men shall dwell in peace and quiet; convents and churches shall be restored, cities shall be built, the priests shall be freed from taxes, and men shall rest from labour and anxiety of heart. They shall eat and drink; there shall be neither pain nor care; and they shall marry wives and beget children during that true peace. Then shall the gates of the north be opened, and the nations shall go forth that were imprisoned there by Alexander the king.
3 In the Oxford MS. chap. liv, fol. 191 b.
4 See Assemânî, Bibl. Orient., t. iii, pt. i, p. 53; and the revelation to Methodius in prison, edited by Brant, Basel, 1516, 4to, pp. 1-80.
5 Solomon has made a slip here: Methodius was bishop of Olympus and Tyre, but never of Rome.
1 Rom. i. 26, 27.
2 Isa. iv. 1.