Blessed art thou who hast believed in me without having seen me. For it is written concerning me, that they who have seen me will not believe in me and that they who have not seen me will believe and be saved. But in regard to what thou hast written me, that I should come to thee, it is necessary for me to fulfill all these things here for which I have been sent, and after I have fulfilled them thus to be taken up again to him who sent me. But after I have been taken up I will send to thee one of my disciples, that he may heal thy disease and give life to thee and thine.
[James gives the text of Abgarus' letter to Jesus:]
A copy of letter written by Abgarus the toparch to Jesus, and sent to him by means of Ananias the runner, to Jerusalem.
Abgarus Uchama the toparch to Jesus the good Saviour
that hath appeared in the parts of Jerusalem, greeting. I have heard concerning
thee and thy cures, that they are done of thee without drugs or herbs: for,
as the report goes, thou makest blind men to see again, lame to walk, and
cleansed lepers, and castest out unclean spirits and devils, and those that
are afflicted with long sickness thou healest, and raisest the dead. And having
heard all this of thee, I had determined one of tow things, either that thou
are God come down from heaven, and so doest these things, or art a Son of
God that doest these things. Therefore now have I written and entreated thee
to trouble thyself to come to me and heal the affliction which I have. For
indeed I have heard that the Jews even murmur against thee and wish to do
thee hurt. And I have a very little but comely city, which is sufficient
for us both.
Version from Lukach, Harry C. 1913. The Fringe of the East. London: MacMillan & Co. p. 243-245. Abgar was a dynasty name in a Frankish state in the Edessa area - first home of Christianity east of the Euphrates. Legend: Abgar V, suffering from an incurable disease, wrote Jesus asking him to come to Edessa to live and to heal him. Jesus replied as above. Often found added to the Sabbath (Lady Cubas, Iconium) letter (Oda, 1949. The Pennsylvania Dutchman. V. 1, no. 21).
From: James, M.R. The Apocryphal New Testament, Oxford, 1924 & 1953. "Later texts add a promise that where this letter is, no enemy shall prevail; and so we find the letter copied and used as an amulet. If was regarded naturally as the palladium of Edessa, but was also thought to act as a protection to individuals."
The Paper Chain Letter Archive - contents Chain Letter Evolution.