The Shepherd of Hermas: Similitude the Third

As in Winter Green Trees Cannot Be Distinguished from Withered, So in This World Neither Can The Just from The Unjust

He showed me many trees having no leaves, but withered, as it seemed to me; for all were alike. And he said to me, “Do you see those trees?”

“I see, sir,” I replied, “that all are alike, and withered.”

He answered me, and said, “These trees which you see are those who dwell in this world.”

“Why, then, sir,” I said, “are they withered, as it were, and alike?”

“Because,” he said, “neither are the righteous manifest in this life, nor sinners, but they are alike; for this life is a winter to the righteous, and they do not manifest themselves, because they dwell with sinners: for as in winter trees that have cast their leaves are alike, and it is not seen which are dead and which are living, so in this world neither do the righteous show themselves, nor sinners, but all are alike one to another.”