HYMN of the SOUL (or HYMN of the PEARL), translated from the Greek by M.R.James, Apocryphal NT (1924), Acts of Thomas, modernized by R.A.Kraft and with some revisions based on B. Layton's ET in The Gnostic Scriptures (1987) 371-375, and other sources (February 2005).

NOTE: Although the first parts of Acts of Thomas are found in nearly 20 Greek MSS (as of 1903, ed. Bonnet), sections 82-143 are found in only two of those MSS , U (11th century) and P (11-12th century); only U has the Hymn. It is also found in one Syriac manuscript.

106. [Charisius confronts Thomas for having estranged Mygdonia, the wife of Charisius.]

[Thomas exults in prison:]  I praise you Jesu, because not only have you  made me worthy of your faith, but also to endure much for your sake. I give you thanks therefore, Lord, that you have taken thought for me and given me patience. I thank you Lord that for your sake I am called a sorcerer and a wizard.
[Gk manuscript P goes from here to section 114; only MS U has the following material]

Receive me therefore with the blessing [Syr, let me receive the blessing] of the poor, and of the rest of the weary, and of the blessings of them whom men hate and persecute and revile, speaking evil words of them. For behold, for your sake I am hated; behold, for your sake I am cut off from the many, and for your sake they call me such a person as I am not.

108. And as he prayed, all the prisoners looked on him, and besought him to pray for them: and when he had prayed and was set down, he began to utter a psalm in this wise:

[Here follows the Hymn of the Soul: a most remarkable composition, originally Syriac, and certainly older than the Acts, with which it has no real connection. We have it in Greek in one manuscript, the Vallicellian, and in a paraphrase by Nicetas of Thessalonica, found and edited by Bonnet. (M.R.James)]

{001} When I was an infant child [+ too young to talk Gk] in the palace of my Father
{002} and resting in the wealth and luxury of my nurturers,
{003} out of the East, our native-country, my parents provisioned me and sent me [+on a mission Gk].

{004} And of the wealth of those their treasures they put together a load
{005} both great and light, that I might carry it alone.

{006} Gold is the load, of them that are above [or, of the land of the Ellaeans or Gilaeans], and silver of the great treasures [or, of Gazzak the great]
{007} and stones, chalcedonies [lit "chalcedony jewels"; "rubies" Syr] from the Indians and pearls from <the land of> the Kosani (Kushan).

{008} And they armed me with adamant <which breaks iron>
{009} and they took off from me [Syr; Gk. put on me] the garment set with gems, spangled with gold, which they had made for me because they loved me
{010} and the robe that was yellow in hue, made for my stature.

{011} And they made a covenant with me, and inscribed it on my understanding, that I should <not> [Syr; om Gk] forget it, and said:

{012} If you go down into Egypt, and bring back from there the one pearl
{013} which is there <in the midst of sea> girt about by the devouring serpent,
{014} you shall put on <again> the garment set with gems, and that robe on which it rests [or, which is on it]
{015} and become with your brother that is next unto us [Gk. of the well-remembered] an heir [Gk. herald] in our kingdom.

109.{016} And I came out of the East by a road difficult and fearful, with two guides,
{017} and I was untried in travelling by it.

{018} And I passed by the borders of the Mosani (Maishan) where is the resort of the merchants of the East,
{019} and reached the land of the Babylonians <and came to the walls of Sarbug>.

{020} But when I entered into Egypt, the guides left me which had journeyed with me.

{021} And I set forth by the quickest way to the serpent, and by his hole I abode
{022} watching for him to slumber and sleep, that I might take my pearl from him.

{023} And forasmuch as I was alone I made mine aspect strange, and appeared as an alien to my people.

{024} And there I saw my kinsman from the East, the free-born,
{025} a lad of grace and beauty, a son of princes [or, an anointed one].

{026} He came unto me and dwelt with me,
{027} and I had him for a companion, and made him my friend and partaker in my journey [or, merchandise].

{028} And I charged him to beware of the Egyptians, and of partaking of those unclean things [or, consorting with those unclean men].

{029} And I put on their raiment, lest I should seem strange, as one that had come from without
{030} to recover the pearl; and lest the Egyptians should awake the serpent against me.

{031} But, I know not by what occasion, they learned that I was not of their country.

{032} And with guile they mingled for me a deceit, and I tasted of their food.

{033} And I knew no more that I was a king's son, and I became a servant unto their king.

{034} And I forgot also the pearl for which my fathers had sent me,
{035} and by means of the heaviness of their food I fell into a deep sleep.

110.{036}  But when this befell me, my fathers also were ware of it, and grieved for me,
{037} and a proclamation was published in our kingdom, that all should meet at our doors.

{038} And then the kings of Parthia and they that bare office and the great ones of the East
{039} made a resolve concerning me, that I should not be left in Egypt,
{040} and the princes wrote unto me signifying thus [and every noble signed his name to it, Syr.]:

{041} From the [or, your] Father the King of kings, and your mother that rules the East,
{042} and your brother that is second to us; to our son that is in Egypt, peace.

{043} Rise up and awake out of sleep, and listen to the words of the letter,
{044} and remember that you are a son of kings; lo, you have come under the yoke of bondage.

{045} Remember the pearl for which you were sent into Egypt [Gk. puts this after 46].

{046} Remember thy garment spangled with gold,
{047} <and the glorious mantle which you should wear and with which you should deck yourself>. Your name is named in the book of life,
{048} and with your brother whom you have received <you shall be> in our kingdom.

111.{049} <And my letter was a letter> and the King [as ambassador] sealed it <with his right hand>
{050} because of the evil ones, even the children of the Babylonians and the tyrannous demons of Labyrinthus [Sarbug, Syr.].

{051} <It flew like the eagle, the king of all fowls.
{052} It flew and lighted down by me, and became all speech.>

{053} And I at the voice of it and the feeling of it started up out of sleep,
{054} and I took it up and kissed it <and broke the seal> and read it.

{055} And it was written concerning that which was recorded in my heart.

{056} And I remembered immediately that I was a son of kings, and my freedom yearned [or, sought] after its kind.

{057} I remembered also the pearl for the which I was sent down into Egypt,
{058} and I began [or, came] with charms against the terrible serpent,
{059} and I overcame him [or, put him to sleep] by naming the name of my Father upon him,
{060} <and the name of our second in rank, and of my mother the queen of the East.>
{061} And I caught away the pearl and turned back to bear it to my fathers.

{062} And I stripped off the filthy garment and left it in their land,
{063} and directed my way immediately to the light of my fatherland in the East.

{064} And on the way I found my letter that had awakened me,
{065} and it, like as it had taken a voice and raised me when I slept, so also guided me with the light that came from it.

{066} For at times the royal garment of silk <shone> before my eyes,
{067} <and with its voice and its guidance it also encouraged me to speed,>
{068} and with love leading me and drawing me onward,
{069} I passed by Labyrinthus [Sarbug], and I left Babylon upon my left hand,
{070} and I came unto Meson (Mesene; Maishan) the great, 
{071} that lies on the shore of the sea,
{072} <and my bright robe which I had taken off, and the mantle wherewith I had been clad
{073} from the heights of Warkan (Hyrcania?) had my parents sent thither
{074} by the hand of their treasurers, unto whom they committed it because of their faithfulness>.

112.{075} But I remembered not the brightness of it; for I was yet a child and very young when I had left it in the palace of my Father,
{076} but suddenly, [when] I saw the garment made like unto me as it had been in a mirror.

{077} And I beheld upon it all myself [or, saw it wholly in myself] and I knew and saw myself through it, {078} that we were divided asunder, being of one; and again were one in one shape.

{079} Yea, the treasurers also which brought me the garment
{080} I beheld, that they were two, yet one shape was upon both, one royal sign was set upon both of them.

{081} The money and the wealth had they in their hands, and paid me the due price,
{082} and the lovely garment, which was variegated with bright colours
{083} with gold and precious stones and pearls of comely hue
{084} they were fastened above [or, in the height].
{085} <and with stones of adamant were all its seams fastened>,

{086} And the likeness of the King of kings was all in all of it.
{087} Sapphire stones were fitly set in it above [or, like the sapphire stone also were its manifold hues].

113. {088} And again I saw that throughout it motions of knowledge were being sent forth,
{089} and it was ready to utter speech.

{090} And I heard it speak <with them that had brought it>;:
{091} I am of him that is more valiant than all men, for whose sake I was reared up with the Father himself.

{092} And I also perceived his stature [so Gk.; Syr. I perceived in myself that my stature grew in accordance with his working].

{093} And all its royal motions rested upon me as it grew toward the impulse of it [or, And with its kingly motions it was spreading itself toward me].

{094} And it hastened, reaching out from the hand of <him that brought it> unto him that would receive it
{095} and me also did yearning arouse to start forth and meet it and receive it.

{096} And I stretched forth and received it, and adorned myself with the beauty of the colours thereof [mostly Syr.; Gr. corrupt]
{097} and in my royal robe excelling in beauty I arrayed myself wholly.

{098} And when I had put it on, I was lifted up unto the place of peace [or, salutation] and homage,
{099} and I bowed my head and worshipped the brightness of the Father which had sent it unto me.
{100} for I had performed his commandments, and he likewise that which he had promised,
{101} and at the doors of his palace which was from the beginning I mingled among <his nobles>, 
{102} and he rejoiced over me and received me with him into his palace,
{103} and all his servants do praise him with sweet voices.

{104} And he promised me that with him I shall be sent unto the gates of the king,
{105} that with my gifts and my pearl we may appear together before the king.

[Immediately on this, in the Syriac, follows a Song of Praise of Thomas the apostle consisting of forty-two ascriptions of praise and four final clauses (Wright, pp. 245-51). It has no bearing on the Acts, and is not in itself so remarkable as to need to be inserted here. (M.R.James)]

114. [Now when the apostle had been thrown into the prison (so MS P); And (MS U)] Charisius went home glad, thinking that his wife [Mygdonia] would be with him, and that she had become such as she was before, even before she heard the divine word and believed on Jesus.... [He was wrong!]