Revelations of Lazarus
Revelations of Lazarus after his resuscitation
A Revelation of Lazarus (Visio Lazari) describing the torments of Hell is perhaps the latest of the apocryphal apocalypses. James says that he has seen it only in Old French. It occurs in the Calendar of the Shepherds, is described by Nisard in his Histoire de la Litterature Populaire, and is also to be found, illustrated by paintings of the early part of the 16th century, at the west end of the cathedral of Albi.
Here Followeth the Pains of Hell Comminatories of Sin, to Punish the Sins as Lazarus Recounted After that He Was Risen, as He Had Seen in the Parts Infernal, as it Appeareth by These Figures Ensuing One After Another
1. Our Savior and redeemer Jesus Christ, a little before his blessed passion, being in Bethany, entered into the house of a man named Simon, for to take his corporal refection:
2. And as he was sitting at the table with his apostles and disciples, there being Lazarus brother to Mary Magdalene and Martha, the which our Lord had raised from death to life;
3. The which thing Simon doubted, and prayed our Lord for to command Lazarus to shew before the assistants what he had seen in the other world: and our Lord gave him leave to speak.
4. And then the said Lazarus recounted how that he had seen in the parts infernal of hell, many great and intolerable pains, whereas sinful men and women were pained. First of pride, and consequently of all the seven deadly sins, each pain by himself.
5. First said Lazarus, I have seen in hell wheels right high, set on an hill, the which was to look on in manner of mils, incessantly turning about by great impetuosity, roaring and whirling as it were thunder. And the wheels were fixed full of hooks and cramps of iron and steel, and on them were hanged and turned the proud men and women for their pride, with their prince, captain, and master, Lucifer.
6. Pride among all other sins, is a king, a captain, and master: and as a king hath a great company of people, in the same manner hath pride a great company of vices. And as a king keepeth that which is his, in like wise doth pride keep the proud folk that be in his jurisdiction. Great sign of reprobation it is to persevere long in pride. Pride then is a sin that displeases God above all other sins, as much as humility pleases him among virtues.
7. And there is no sin that maketh a man more equal to the devil than pride doth. For the proud man will not be as other men, but he must be as the Pharisee with the devil. And for that the proud man will enhance himself above other men; the devil doth with him as the crow having a hard nut in her bill, the which she may not crack, she beareth it up a hie in the air, and then letteth it fall upon a stone whereon it breaketh, and then she descendeth and eateth it. In like wise the devil raiseth the proud man and woman for to let them fall in the hard pains of hell.
8. As much difference is between pride and humility, as the chaff and the corn, for the chaff is light and mounteth high, and the wind carrieth it about, and so is lost, and the corn which is heavy abideth low on the ground, and is gathered up and put in garners of the farmer, and is kept for the common profit, and the chaff is burnt, lost, and devoured of beasts.
9. And in this wise are the proud people raised and enhanced through the enticement of the fiend of hell, and then fall down by the moist rain of death, which make them heavy, and cause them to tumble by the strength of their proud blasts into the furnace everlasting, and there to be burnt and devoured with the horrible beasts of hell.
10. Secondly, said Lazarus, I have seen in hell a flood frozen as ice, wherein the envious men and women were plunged unto the navel, and then suddenly came over them a right cold and a great wind, that grieved, and pained them right sore, and when they would invite and eschew the wonderful blasts of the wind, they plunged into the water with great shouts and cries lamentable to hear.
11. Envy is pain and sorrow of the heart at the felicity and prosperity of others, the which sin is sovereignly cursed, for that is it contrary to charity, that is sovereign head of all virtues, whereby it is great sign of reprobation, for by it the fiends know them that shall be damned, as charity is sign of salvation, and whereby God knowseth who shall be saved.
12. Envious people be fellows unto the devil. For if so be that an envious man do win, then he is very glad, and if he lose, he is evil angry with them. Envious men be so infected and corrupt, that good odors to them stinketh, and sweet things unto them seem sour, in like wise is the good name and prosperity of other, but stinking things, and sour to them be sweet, the which be vices , reproaches, adversities and evil fortunes, that they know or hear said of others.
13. The envious folk seek their wealth in the adversity of other, as when of the harm of other, they seek the good in rejoicing them, but with this they be not yet satisfied, but of a new they be tormented, for they have not such joy without displeasure and affliction of the heart, whereby they be tormented, for he that seeketh his wealth in the adversity of another, is like to him that seeketh the fire in the bottom of a water, or looketh for wool on an urchins back , the which things be but follies and disappointments. Envy is but the goods and felicities of this world, for the cursed sin of envy may not ascend into Heaven.
14. It is a sin difficult to heal, for it taketh root and is fixed in the heart secretly, wherefore it is hard and impossible to be done away by medicine, wherefore with great pains is any made whole that is infected with it. The envious men's tongues be likened unto a three-edged sword, that hurteth and cutteth three manners of ways, The first, he hurteth and woundeth his own soul. The second, him that he tells his tale unto, and thirdly, he slays him by whom he tells his cursed tale.
15. Thus endeth envy, and followeth the history of wrath.
16. Thirdly said Lazarus, I have seen in hell, a great cave black and obscure, full of tables like butcher's stalls or great butchery, whereas ireful men and women were pierced through with trenching knives, and sharp swords, and with long spears pierced their bodies, wherewith the most horrible and fearful butchers of hell hewed, and sliced them with their swords and knives, without pity without ceasing.
17. As peace maketh the Conscience of a man to be the dwelling-place of God, so cursed wrath maketh it the habitation of the devil. Wrath efisceth and leeseth the eye of reason, for in a wrathful man reason is banished: there is nothing keepeth so much the image of God in man, as sweetness, peace, and love, for Almighty God will be there where peace and concord is , but wrath chaseth them from man, so that our Lord may have no abiding; the wrathful man is like to a demoniac, the which hath the devil within him, causing him to torment and strive with himself, foaming at the mouth, and gnashing with his teeth, for the intolerable pain the enemy doth unto him.
18. In likewise the wrathful man is tormented by wrath, and doth oftentimes worse than the demoniac, for without patience they beat the one with the other, saying injuries, reproaches, villainies and give themselves to the devil body and soul, and say and do many unlawful and shameful things.
19. By wrath sometime the devil getth an entire generation or all a country. When wrath is set, then cometh noise, and then revenge, that destroyeth and looseth all; the which happeneth sometime through one wrathful man, as an ireful does the which moveth and putteth strife among others. The fisher troubleth the water that the fish may not see his net, to the end that they may go therein and be taken: In like sort the devil troubleth a man by wrath, to the end that he know not the harm that he committed by his wrathful heart and courage.
20. Fourthly said Lazarus, I have seen in hell an horrible hall dark and black wherein was a great multitude of serpents big and small, whereas slothful men and women were tormented with bitings and stingings of venomous worms, the which pierced them through in divers parts of their bodies wounding them to the heart with unextinguishable pain.
21. Sloth is sadness of spiritual goods, that should be ordained to God, wherefore they love to serve God as they ought to do with heart and mouth, and by good operation, who that will love God, ought to know him to be the redeemer and Savior of all goodness that we have had and received every day, acknowledging ourselves sinners. Great folly it is when by sloth in the time of this brief life we gather not goods for the eternal life. But in these days many be slothful to do well, and diligent to do evil, so that if they were diligent to do well as they be to do evil, they were right happy:
22. Also sloth is the beginner of sin, and a great enemy to God, for he letterth men and women to serve God, and to know their maker and redeemer, and sender of all goodness that they have here, they be great fools, that be so slothful here in this little time of this short life, that will gather no goods to bring the soul to everlasting life: But now a days people be slothful in doing of good, and full diligent to evil, and if they were as diligent to do good as evil, they were full of grace. Now he that will think as after his death is not wise for then he shall have but the good deeds that he hath done in his life before▪ then shall he sorrow and plain of the time that he hath lost by sloth, and shall sorrow that he did no good deeds when he had time and space here in this world.
23. Here endeth sloth, and followeth the history of covetousness.
24. Fifthly said Lazarus, I have seen in the infernal parts a great number of wide cauldrons, and kettles, full of boiling lead and oil, with other hot metals molten, in the which were plunged and dipped the covetous men and women, for to fulfill and replenish them of their unsatisfied covetousness.
25. Covetousness is a great sin, and wicked in the sight of God. For the covetous man imagineth more to get a penny, than the love of God, and had rather lose God than one half penny: for oftentimes for a little thing he lieth and foresweareth himself, and sinneth deadly. The faith, hope, and charity that should be in God, the covetous man putteth in his riches. First faith, for he believeth to have such things the which be necessary for him, sooner for his goods, than by the gift of God, as if that God might not help him, or as if that God had no solicitude of his servants.
26. Also the covetous man hath hope to have the more joy and consolations by his riches than God may give them. And also the covetous man setteth all his heart on his goods, and not on God, and thus the covetous man and woman have their charity in their rich chests, coffers and bags. The covetous man hath his heart more on his goods than on God: there as is the heart, there is their love, and love is charity, and so covetous men have their hearts on their goods.
27. The Covetous man sinneth gathering his goods, and in using it evil, and in loving it overmuch, and sometimes better than he doth God; the covetous man is taken in the net of the devil, by the which he looseth everlasting life for small temporal goods; as the bird doth go into the pitfall for a worm, and loseth his life: and as the mouse is taken in a fall or trap, and loseth his life for a little bacon.
28. The covetous men and women be like curs or dogs, the which do keep cartion, and when their bellies be full they lie down by it and keep away the birds that they may not eat, but dieth for hunger for fault that the curs have too much. In like wise the covetous men with-hold the goods that poor men may get none, and letth them dye for hunger and holdeth them in their subjection, and the devil holdeth the rich men in his subjection that doth the poor men wrong.
29. Thus endeth the pain for the covetous men.
Here Followeth the Sixth Pain of Hell
30. The sixth pain said Lazarus that I have seen in a vale a flood foul and stinking at the brim, in which was a table with towels right dishonestly, whereas gluttons be fed with toads and other venomous beasts , and had to drink of the water of the said flood.
31. The throat is the gate of the body of man, so when enemies will take the castle, if they may win the gate they will lightly have all the castle: So when the devil may win the throat of a man by gluttony, easily he will have the remnant, and enter into the body accompanied by sins, for the gluttons consent unto all vices. And for this cause it was necessary to have a good guard at the gate, that the devil enter not. For when one holdeth a horse by the bridle, he may lead him where he will, so doth the devil the gluttonous man where him list.
32. The servant that is over easily nourished rebelth oft against his master, the belly over filled with meat and drink is rebel to the soul, so that it will do no good operations. By gluttony many be dead which might have lived longer, and so they have bin homicides of themselves, for excess of too much eating and drinking corrupteth the bodies and engendereth sickness, the which often abridgeth and shorteneth the lives. And they that nourish well the flesh, prepare meats for worms, and so the glutton is cook of worms. A man of worship would be ashamed for to be a cook of a great Lord, more ashamed should he be, to be a cook for worms.
33. They that live after the desire of the flesh, live after the rule of the Swine, in eating without measure like an unreasonable beast. This is the hog as it were an Abbot over gluttonous people, of whom they hold their order and regulate, whereby they be constrained to keep them in their cloister, that is, in the tavern, and ale-houses. And like wise as the hog their Abbot lieth in a rotten dunghill or in the miry puddle, so do they always lie in the stinking infection of gluttony, till they be drunken and without wit.
34. The seventh pain said Lazarus, I have seen a field full of deep wells replenished with fire and sulfur, where-out issued smoke thick and contagious, wherein all lecherous persons were tormented incessantly with devils.
35. Of all the seven deadly sin, lechery pleaseth most unto the devil, for it filleth and corrupteth both the body and the soul together, and by lechery the devil winneth two souls at once, and many lecherous persons will advance themselves, and say, that they may not have their full desire and lust of that sin. Lecherous men and women be more deformed and ugly than the devil in the superabundance of that sin. He is a foolish merchant that makes a bargain of the which he knowseth right well that he shall thereby lose, and repent him of his bargain again.
36. In like manner of wise, each lecherous man hath great pain, and spendeth his goods and his understanding to fulfill and accomplish his lusts and delights, and after repenteth him of his expense, and yet the worst is he is in danger of his soul till he be repentant, and do sufficient penance. The lecherous men and women living be tormented with three infernal pains, as heat, stink, and remorse of their conscience: For they be hot by strong sexual desire, they be stinking by their uncleanness, for such sin is all stinking and staineth the body and soul, where all other sins fill but the soul. Also they be not without remorse of conscience for the offense they have done to God.
37. Lechery is the pit of the devil, wherein he maketh sinners to fall, to the which many helpeth the devil to cast themselves in it, when willingly they go to the brink, knowing that the devil will cast them in; good it is not to hearken to women, better it is, not to behold them, and much better it is not to touch them. To this sin belongeth foul words, villain songs, dishonest touchings, the which abhorreth not bawds, harlots, whores, and such as frequenteth and persevereth in the same.
38. Thus endeth the seven deadly sins, figured each by himself, like as Lazarus had seen in the parts infernal.