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Chapter III.—How Each One Ought to Prepare Himself for the Future Resurrection.

In the first day of the resurrection I am examined whether I bring these things which are commanded, whether I am adorned with virtuous works, whether I am overshadowed by the boughs of chastity. For account the resurrection to be the erection of the tabernacle. Account that the things which are taken for the putting together of the tabernacle are the works of righteousness. I take, therefore, on the first day the things which are set down, that is, on the day in which I stand to be judged, whether I have adorned my tabernacle with the things commanded; if those things are found on that day which here in time we are commanded to prepare, and there to offer to God. But come, let us consider what follows.

“And ye shall take you,” He says, “on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm-trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows (and the tree of chastity) of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the Lord your God.”27652765    Lev. xxiii. 40. The Jews, uncircumcised in heart, think that the most beautiful fruit of wood is the citron wood, on account of its size; nor are they ashamed to say that God is worshipped with cedar, to whom not all the quadrupeds of the earth would suffice as a burnt-offering or as incense for burning. And moreover, O hard breasts, if the citron appear beautiful to you, why not the pomegranate, and other fruits of trees, and amongst them 346apples, which much surpass the citron? Indeed, in the Song of Songs,27662766    Cant. iv. 13. Solomon having made mention of all these fruits, passes over in silence the citron only. But this deceives the unwary, for they have not understood that the tree of life27672767    Gen. ii. 9. which Paradise once bore, now again the Church has produced for all, even the ripe and comely fruit of faith.

Such fruit it is necessary that we bring when we come to the judgment-seat of Christ, on the first day of the feast; for if we are without it we shall not be able to feast with God, nor to have part, according to John,27682768    Rev. xx. 6. in the first resurrection. For the tree of life is wisdom first begotten of all. “She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her,” says the prophet;27692769    Prov. iii. 18. “and happy is every one that retaineth her.” “A tree planted by the waterside, that will bring forth his fruit in due season;”27702770    Ps. i. 3. that is, learning and charity and discretion are imparted in due time to those who come to the waters of redemption.

He that hath not believed in Christ, nor hath understood that He is the first principle and the tree of life, since he cannot show to God his tabernacle adorned with the most goodly of fruits, how shall he celebrate the feast? How shall he rejoice? Desirest thou to know the goodly fruit of the tree? Consider the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, how pleasant they are beyond the children of men. Good fruit came by Moses, that is the Law, but not so goodly as the Gospel. For the Law is a kind of figure and shadow of things to come, but the Gospel is truth and the grace of life. Pleasant was the fruit of the prophets, but not so pleasant as the fruit of immortality which is plucked from the Gospel.

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