The Clementine Recognitions Volumes 1-5
These ten volumes of the "Anagnoseis" ("Calling to Mind") purport to be Clement's autobiographical account of how he learned the faith from St. Peter, and in turn delivered it to the Church. (Source: The Ante-Nicene Christian Library, vol. 3, pages 135-471).
To you, indeed, O Gaudentius, you choicest glory of our teachers, belongs such vigour of mind and such grace of the Spirit, that whatever you say even in the course of your daily preaching, whatever you deliver in the church, ought to be preserved in books, and handed down to posterity for their instruction. But after many delays, we, though hampered by our lack of ability and now rendered slow and inactive by old age, finally present to you the work which the Virgin Sylvia of revered memory once asked of us, and which you afterwards by hereditary right demanded of us, a translation of Clement into our own tongue. It is our contribution to the use and profit of our people, no small trophy, I reckon, taken from the libraries of the Greeks, so that we may offer nourishment from abroad to those whom we cannot feed with our own. For things from abroad usually seem more pleasing, and even also more profitable. In short, almost everything is from outside that brings healing to our bodies, combats disease and neutralizes poisons. For Judaea sends us Lacryma balsami, Crete Coma dictamni, Arabia her flower of spices, India reaps her crop of spikenard; which, although they reach us in a somewhat more broken condition than when they leave their native fields, yet retain entire the sweetness of their odour and their healing virtue. Receive therefore, my soul, Clement returning to you; receive him now in a Roman dress. And do not wonder if perhaps the florid countenance of his eloquence appear less than usual. It matters not, provided the meaning tastes the same. Therefore with much effort we import foreign merchandise into our country and I do not know how gratefully my countrymen welcome me, for bringing to them the rich spoils of Greece and unlocking hidden treasures of wisdom with the key of our language. But may God grant your prayers, that no unlucky eye nor angry face may meet us, or, by an extreme paradox, those on whom he is bestowed should resent it while those from whom he is taken are not envious.
Truly it is right to point out the plan of our translation to you, who have read these works also in Greek, in case perhaps in some parts you may think the order of translation not kept. I do you suppose are aware that there are two editions in Greek of this work of Clement, - the Anagnoseis , that is, Recognitions; and that there are two collections of books, differing in some points, but in many containing the same narrative. In short, the last part of this work, in which is the relation concerning the transformation of Simon, is contained in one of the collections, but is not at all in the other. There are also in both collections some dissertations concerning the Unbegotten God and the Begotten, and on some other subjects, which, to say nothing more, are beyond our comprehension. These, therefore, as being beyond our powers, I have chosen to reserve for others, rather than to produce in an imperfect state.
But in the rest, we have tried, so far as we could, not to stray either from the thoughts or even from the language and modes of expression; and this, although it renders the style of the narrative less ornate, makes it more faithful. The epistle in which the same Clement, writing to James the Lord's brother, informs him of the death of Peter, and that he had left him as his successor in his chair and teaching, and in which also the whole subject of church order is treated, I have not prefixed to this work, both because it is of later date, and because I have already translated and published it. But I do not think it out of place to explain here what in that letter will perhaps seem to some to be inconsistent. For some ask, since Linus and Cletus were bishops in the city of Rome before this Clement, how could Clement himself, writing to James, say that the chair of teaching was handed over to him by Peter? We have heard this explanation of it, that Linus and Cletus were indeed bishops in the city of Rome before Clement, but during the lifetime of Peter: that is, that they undertook the care of the episcopate, and that he fulfilled the office of apostleship; as is found also to have been the case at Caesarea, where, when he himself was present, he yet had Zacchaeus, ordained by himself, as bishop. And in this way both statements will appear true, both that these bishops are reckoned before Clement, and yet that Clement received the teacher's seat on the death of Peter. But now let us see how Clement, writing to James the Lord's brother, begins his narrative.
I Clement, who was born in the city of Rome, was from my earliest age a lover of chastity; while the bent of my mind held me bound as with chains of anxiety and sorrow. For a thought that was in me - whence originating, I cannot tell - constantly led me to think of my condition of mortality, and to discuss such questions as these: Whether there be for me any life after death, or whether I am to be wholly annihilated: whether I did not exist before I was born, and whether there shall be no memory of this life after death, and so the boundlessness of time shall consign all things to oblivion and silence; so that not only we shall cease to be, but there shall be no memory that we have ever been. This also I revolved in my mind: when the world was made, or what was before it was made, or whether it has existed from eternity. For it seemed certain, that if it had been made, it must be doomed to dissolution; and if it be dissolved, what is to be afterwards? - unless, perhaps, all things shall be buried in oblivion and silence, or something shall be, which the mind of man cannot now conceive.
While I was continually revolving in my mind these and such like questions, suggested I do not know how, I was pining away wonderfully through excess of grief; and, what was worse, if at any time I thought to cast aside such cares, as being of little use, the waves of anxiety rose all the higher on me. For I had in me that most excellent companion, who would not suffer me to rest - the desire of immortality: for, as the subsequent issue showed, and the grace of Almighty God directed, this bent of mind led me to the quest of truth, and the acknowledgment of the true light; and hence it happened, that before long I pitied those whom formerly in my ignorance I believed to be happy.
Having therefore such a bent of mind from my earliest years, the desire of learning something led me to frequent the schools of the philosophers. There I saw that nought else was done, save that doctrines were asserted and controverted without end, contests were waged, and the arts of syllogisms and the subtleties of conclusions were discussed. If at any time the doctrine of the immortality of the soul prevailed, I was thankful; if at any time it was impugned, I went away sorrowful. Still, neither doctrine had the power of truth over my heart. This only I understood, that opinions and definitions of things were accounted true or false, not in accordance with their nature and the truth of the arguments, but in proportion to the talents of those who supported them. And I was all the more tortured in the bottom of my heart, because I was neither able to lay hold of any of those things which were spoken as firmly established, nor was I able to lay aside the desire of enquiry; but the more I endeavoured to neglect and despise them, so much the more eagerly, as I have said, did a desire of this sort, creeping in on me secretly as with a kind of pleasure, take possession of my heart and mind.
Being therefore worn out in the discovery of things, I said to myself, why do we labour in vain, since the end of things is manifest? For if after death I shall be no more, my present torture is useless; but if there is to be for me a life after death, let us keep for that life the excitements that belong to it, in case perhaps some sadder things befall me than those which I now suffer, unless I shall have lived piously and soberly; and, according to the opinions of some of the philosophers, I be consigned to the stream of dark-rolling Phlegethon, or to Tartarus, like Sisyphus and Tityus, and to eternal punishment in the infernal regions, like Ixion and Tantalus. And again I would answer to myself: But these things are fables; or if it be so, since the matter is in doubt, it is better to live piously. But again I would ponder with myself, How should I restrain myself from the lust of sin, while uncertain as to the reward of righteousness? - and all the more when I have no certainty what righteousness is, or what is pleasing to God; and when I cannot ascertain whether the soul be immortal, and be such that it has anything to hope for; nor do I know what the future is certainly to be. Yet still I cannot rest from thoughts of this sort.
What, then, shall I do? This shall I do. I shall proceed to Egypt, and there I shall cultivate the friendship of the hierophants or prophets, who preside at the shrines. Then I shall win over a magician by money, and ask him, by what they call the necromantic art, to bring me a soul from the infernal regions, as if I were desirous of consulting it about some business. But this shall be my consultation, whether the soul be immortal. Now, the proof that the soul is immortal will be put past doubt, not from what it says, or from what I hear, but from what I see: for seeing it with my eyes, I shall ever after hold the surest conviction of its immortality; and no fallacy of words or uncertainty of hearing shall ever be able to disturb the persuasion produced by sight. However, I related this project to a certain philosopher with whom I was intimate, who counseled me not to venture on it; "for," said he, "if the soul should not obey the call of the magician, you from now on will live more hopelessly, as thinking that there is nothing after death, and also as having tried things unlawful. If, however, yon seem to see anything, what religion or what piety can arise to you from things unlawful and implores? For they say that transactions of this sort are hateful to the Divinity, and that God sets himself in opposition to those who trouble souls after their release from the body." When I heard this, I was indeed staggered in my purpose; yet I could not in any way either lay aside my longing, or cast off the distressing thought.
Not to make a long story of it, while I was tossed on these billows of my thought, a certain report, which took its rise in the regions of the East in the reign of Tiberius Caesar, gradually reached us; and gaining strength as it passed through every place, like some good message sent from God, it was filling the whole world, and suffered not the divine will to be concealed in silence. For it was spread over all places, announcing that there was a certain person in Judaea, who, beginning in the spring-time, was preaching the kingdom of God to the Jews, and saying that those should receive it who should observe the ordinances of his commandments and his doctrine. And that his speech might be believed to be worthy of credit, and full of the Divinity, he was said to perform many mighty works, and wonderful signs and prodigies by his mere word; so that, as one having power from God, he made the deaf to hear, and the blind to see, and the lame to stand erect, and expelled every weakness and all demons from men; yes, that he even raised dead persons who were brought to him; that he cured letters also, looking at them from a distance; and that there was absolutely nothing which seemed impossible to him. These and such like things were confirmed in process of time, not now by frequent rumors, but by the plain statements of persons coming from those quarters; and clay by day the truth of the matter was further disclosed.
At length meetings began to be held in various places in the city, and this subject to be discussed in conversation, and to be a matter of wonder who this might be who had appeared, and what message he had brought from God to men; until, about the same year, a certain man, standing in a most crowded place in the city, made proclamation to the people, saying: "Hear me, O you citizens of Rome. The Son of God is now in the regions of Judaea, promising eternal life to ever), one who will hear him, but on condition that he shall regulate his actions according to the will of him by whom he has been sent, even of God the Father. Therefore turn you from evil things to good, from things temporal to things eternal. Acknowledge that there is one God, ruler of heaven and earth, in whose righteous sight you unrighteous inhabit his world. But if you are converted, and act according to his will, then, coming to the world to come, and being made immortal, you shall enjoy his unspeakable blessings and rewards." Now, the man who spoke these things to the people was from the regions of the East, by nation a Hebrew, by name Barnabas, who said that he himself was one of his disciples, and that he was sent for this end, that he should declare these things to those who would hear them. When I heard these things, I began, with the rest of the multitude, to follow him, and to hear what he had to say. Truly I perceived that there was nothing of dialectic artifice in the man, but that he expounded with simplicity, and without any craft of speech, such things as he had heard from the Son of God, or had seen. For he did not confirm his assertions by the force of arguments, but produced, from the people who stood round about him, many witnesses of the sayings and marvels which he related.
Now, inasmuch as the people began to assent willingly to the things which were sincerely spoken, and to embrace his simple discourse, those who thought themselves learned or philosophic began to laugh at the man, and to flout him, and to throw out for him the grappling-hooks of syllogisms, like strong arms. But he, unterrified, regarding their subtleties as mere ravings, did not even judge them worthy of an answer, but boldly pursued the subject which he had set before him. At length, some one having proposed this question to him as he was speaking, why a gnat has been so formed, that though it is a small creature, and has six feet, yet it has got wings in addition; whereas an elephant, though it is an immense animal, and has no wings, yet has only four feet; he, paying no attention to the question, went on with his discourse, which had been interrupted by the unseasonable challenge, only adding this admonition at every interruption: "We have it in charge to declare to you the words and the wondrous works of him who has sent us, and to confirm the truth of what we speak, not by artfully devised arguments, but by witnesses produced from amongst yourselves. For I recognise many standing in the midst of you whom I remember to have heard along with us the things which we have heard, and to have seen what we have seen. But be it in your option to receive or to spurn the tidings which we bring to you. For we cannot keep back what we know to be for your advantage, because, if we be silent, woe is to us; but to you, if you do not receive what we speak, destruction. I could indeed very easily answer your foolish challenges, if you asked for the sake of learning truth, - I mean as to the difference of a gnat and an elephant; but now it were absurd to speak to you of these creatures, when the very Creator and Framer of all things is unknown by you."
When he had thus spoken, all, as with one consent, with rude voice raised a shout of derision, to put him to shame, and to silence him, crying out that he was a barbarian and a madman. When I saw matters going on in this way, being filled, I do not know whence, with a certain zeal, and inflamed with religious enthusiasm, I could not keep silence, but cried out with all boldness, "Most righteously does Almighty God hide his will from you, whom he foresaw to be unworthy of the knowledge of himself, as is manifest to those who are really wise, from what you are now doing. For when you see that preachers of the will of God have come amongst you, because their speech makes no show of knowledge of the grammatical art, but in simple and unpolished language they set before you the divine commands, so that all who hear may be able to follow and to understand the things that are spoken, you deride the ministers and messengers of your salvation, not knowing that it is the condemnation of you who think yourselves skillful and eloquent, that rustic and barbarous men have the knowledge of the truth; whereas, when it has come to you, it is not even received as a guest, while, if your intemperance and lust did not oppose, it ought to have been a citizen and a native. Thus you are convicted of not being friends of truth and philosophers, but followers of boasting and vain speakers. You think that truth dwells not in simple, but in ingenious and subtle words, and produce countless thousands of words which are not to be rated at the worth of one word. What, then, do you think will become of you, all you crowd of Greeks, if there is to be, as he says, a judgment of God? But now give over laughing at this man to your own destruction, and let anyone of you who pleases answer me; for, indeed, by your barking you annoy the ears even of those who desire to be saved, and by your clamour you turn aside to the fall of infidelity the minds that are prepared for faith. What pardon can there be for you who deride and do violence to the messenger of the truth when he offers to you the knowledge of God? Whereas, even if he brought you nothing of truth, yet, even for the kindness of his intentions towards you, you ought to receive with gratitude and welcome."
While I was urging these and similar arguments, a great excitement was stirred up amongst the bystanders, some being moved with pity as towards a stranger, and approving my speech as in accordance with that feeling; others, petulant and stolid, rousing the anger of their undisciplined minds as much against me as against Barnabas. But as the day was declining to evening, I laid hold of Barnabas by the right hand, and led him away, although reluctantly, to my house; and there I made him remain, in case perhaps anyone of the rude rabble should lay hands on him. While we were thus placed in contact for a few days, I gladly heard him discoursing the word of truth; yet he hastened his departure, saying that he must by all means celebrate at Judaea a festal day of his religion which was approaching, and that there he should remain in future with his countrymen and his brethren, evidently indicating that he was horrified at the wrong that had been done to him.
At length I said to him, "Only expound to me the doctrine of that man who you say has appeared, and I will arrange your sayings in my language, and will preach the kingdom and righteousness of Almighty God; and after that, if you wish it, I shall even sail along with you, for I am extremely eager to see Judaea, and perhaps I shall remain with you always." To this he answered, "If indeed you wish to see our country, and to learn those things which you desire, set sail with me even now; or, if there be anything that detains you now, I shall leave with you directions to my dwelling, so that when you please to come you may easily find me; for tomorrow I shall set out on my journey." When I saw him determined, I went down with him to the harbor, and carefully took from him the directions which he gave me to find his dwelling. I told him that, but for the necessity of getting some money which was due to me, I should not at all delay, but that I should speedily follow him. Having told him this, I commended him to the kindness of those who had charge of the ship, and returned sad; for I was possessed of the memory of the conversation which I had had with an excellent guest and a choice friend.
Having then stopped for a few days, and having in some measure finished the business of collecting what was owing to me (for I neglected many things through my desire of hastening, that I might not be hindered from my purpose), I set sail direct for Judaea, and after fifteen days landed at Caesarea Stratonis, which is the largest city in Palestine. When I had landed, and was seeking for an inn, I learned from the conversation of the people, that one Peter, a most approved disciple of him who appeared in Judaea, and showed many signs and miracles divinely worked among men, was going to hold a discussion of words and questions the next day with one Simon, a Samaritan. Having heard this, I asked to be shown his lodging; and finding it, and standing before the door, I informed the doorkeeper who I was, and whence I came; and behold, Barnabas coming out, as soon as he saw me rushed into my arms, weeping for joy, and, seizing me by the hand, led me in to Peter, having pointed him out to me at a distance. "This," said he, "is Peter, of whom I spoke, to you as the greatest in the wisdom of God, and to whom also I have spoken constantly of you. Enter, therefore, as one well known to him. For he is well acquainted with all the good that is in you, and has carefully made himself aware of your religious purpose, whence also he is greatly eager to see you. Therefore I present you to him today as a great gift." At the same time, presenting me, he said, "This, O Peter, is Clement."
But Peter most kindly, when he heard my name, immediately ran to me and kissed me. Then, having made me sit down, he said, "You did well to receive as your guest Barnabas, preacher of the truth, nothing fearing the rage of the insane people. You shall be blessed. For as you have deemed an ambassador of the truth worthy of all honour, so the truth herself shall receive you a wanderer and a stranger, and shall enroll you a citizen of her own city; and then there shall be great joy to you, because, imparting a small favour, you shall be written heir of eternal blessings. Now, therefore, do not trouble yourself to explain your mind to me; for Barnabas has with faithful speech informed me of all things about you and your dispositions, almost daily and without ceasing, recalling the memory of your good qualities And to point out to you shortly, as to a friend already of one mind with us, what is your best course; if there is nothing to hinder you, come along with us, and hear the word of the truth, which we are going to speak in every place until we come even to the city of Rome; and now, if you wish anything, speak."
Having detailed to him what purpose I had conceived from the beginning, and how I had been distracted with vain enquiries, and all those things which at first I intimated to you, my Lord James, so that I need not repeat the same things now, I willingly agreed to travel with him; "for that," said I, "is just what I was most eagerly desirous of. But first I should wish the scheme of truth to be expounded to me, that I may know whether the soul is mortal or immortal; and if immortal, whether it shall be brought into judgment for those things which it does here. Further, I desire to know what that righteousness is, which is pleasing to God; then, further, whether the world was created, and why it was created, and whether it is to be dissolved, and whether it is to be renovated and made better, or whether after this there shall be no world at all; and, not to mention everything, I should wish to be told what is the case with respect to these and such like things." To this Peter answered, "I shall briefly impart to you the knowledge of these things, O Clement: therefore listen.
"The will and counsel of God has for many reasons been concealed from men; first, indeed, through bad instruction, wicked associations, evil habits, unprofitable conversation, and unrighteous presumptions. On account of all these, I say, first error, then contempt, then infidelity and malice, covetousness also, and vain boasting, and other such like evils, have filled the whole house of this world, like some enormous smoke, and preventing those who dwell in it from seeing its Founder aright, and from perceiving what things are pleasing to him. What, then, is fitting for those who are within, excepting with a cry brought forth from their inmost hearts to invoke his aid, who alone is not shut up in the smoke-filled house, that he would approach and open the door of the house, so that the smoke may be dissipated which is within, and the light of the sun which shines without may be admitted.
"He, therefore, whose aid is needed for the house filled with the darkness of ignorance and the smoke of vices, is He, we say, who is called the true Prophet, who alone can enlighten the souls of men, so that with their eyes they may plainly see the way of safety. For otherwise it is impossible to get knowledge of divine and eternal things, unless one learns of that true Prophet; because, as you yourself stated a little ago, the belief of things, and the opinions of causes, are estimated in proportion to the talents of their advocates: hence, also, one and the same cause is now thought just, now unjust; and what now seemed true, anon becomes false on the assertion of another. For this reason, the credit of religion and piety demanded the presence of the true Prophet, that he himself might tell us respecting each particular, how the truth stands, and might teach us how we are to believe concerning each. And therefore, before all else, the credentials of the prophet himself must be examined with all care; and when you have once ascertained that he is a prophet, you ought from then on to believe him in everything, and not further to discuss the particulars which he teaches, but to hold the things which he speaks as certain and sacred; which things, although they seem to be received by faith, yet are believed on the ground of the probation previously instituted. For when once at the outset the truth of the prophet is established on examination, the rest is to be heard and held on the ground of the faith by which it is already established that he is a teacher of truth. And as it is certain that all things which pertain to divine knowledge ought to be held according to the rule of truth, so it is beyond doubt that from none but himself alone can it be known what is true."
Having thus spoken, he set forth to me so openly and so clearly who that Prophet was, and how he might be found, that I seethed to have before my eyes, and to handle with my hand, the proofs which he produced concerning the prophetic truth; and I was struck with intense astonishment, how no one sees, though placed before his eyes, those things which all are seeking for. Whence, by his command, reducing into order what he had spoken to me, I compiled a book concerning the true Prophet, and sent it to you from Caesarea by his command. For he said that he had received a command from you to send you every year an account of his sayings and doings. Meantime, at the beginning of his discourse which he delivered to me the first day, when he had instructed me very fully concerning the true Prophet, and very many things besides, he added also this: "See," said he, "for the future, and be present at the discussions which whenever any necessity arises, I shall hold with those who contradict; against whom, when I dispute, even if I shall seem to be worsted, I shall not be afraid of your being led to doubt of those things which I have stated to you; because, even if I shall seem to be beaten, yet those things shall not therefore seem to be uncertain which the true Prophet has delivered to us. Yet I hope that we shall not be overcome in disputations either, if only our hearers are reasonable, and friends of truth, who can discern the force and bearing of words, and recognise what discourse comes from the sophistical art, not containing truth, but an image of truth; and what that is, which, uttered simply and without craft, depends for all its power not on show and ornament, but on truth and reason."
To this I answered: "I give thanks to God Almighty, because I have been instructed as I wished and desired. At all events, you may depend on me so far, that I can never come to doubt of those things which I have learned of you; so that even if you yourself should at any time wish to transfer my faith from the true Prophet, you should not be able, because I have drunk in with all my heart what you have spoken. And that you may not think that I am promising you a great thing when I say that I cannot be moved away from this faith, it is with me a certainty, that whoever has received this account of the true Prophet, can never afterwards so much as doubt of its truth. And therefore I am confident with respect to this heaven-taught doctrine, in which all the art of malice is overborne. For in opposition to this prophecy neither any are can stand, nor the subtleties of sophisms and syllogism; but everyone who hears of the true Prophet must of necessity long immediately for the truth itself, nor will he afterwards, under pretext of seeking the truth, endure diverse errors. Therefore, my Lord Peter, be not further anxious about me, as if I were one who does not know what he has received, and how great a gift has been conferred on him. Be assured that you have conferred a favour on one who knows and understands its value: nor can I be easily deceived on that account, because I seem to have gotten quickly what I long desired; for it may be that one who desires gets quickly, while another does not even slowly attain the things which he desires."
Then Peter, when he heard me speak thus, said: "I give thanks to my God, both for your salvation and for my own peace; for I am greatly delighted to see that you have understood what is the greatness of the prophetic virtue, and because, as you say, not even I myself, if I should wish it (which God forbid!), should be able to turn you away to another faith. Now from now on begin to be with us, and tomorrow be present at our discussions, for I am to have a contest with Simon the magician." When he had thus spoken, he retired to take food along with his friends; but he ordered me to eat by myself; and after the meal, when he had sung praise to God and given thanks, he rendered to me an account of this proceeding, and added, "May the Lord grant to you to be made like to us in all things, that, receiving baptism, you may be able to meet with us at the same table." Having thus spoken, he ordered me to go to rest, for by this time both fatigue and the time of the day called to sleep.
Early next morning Zacchaeus came in to us, and after salutation, said to Peter: "Simon puts off the discussion till the eleventh day of the present month, which is seven days hence, for he says that then he will have more leisure for the contest. But to me it seems that his putting off is also advantageous to us, so that more may come together, who may be either hearers or judges of our disputation. However, if it seem proper to you, let us occupy the interval in discussing among ourselves the things which, we suppose, may come into the controversy; so that each of us, knowing what things are to be proposed, and what answers are to be given, may consider with himself if they are all right, or if an adversary shall be able to find anything to object, or to set aside the things which we bring against him. But if the things which are to be spoken by us are manifestly impregnable on every side, we shall have confidence in entering on the examination. And indeed, this is my opinion, that first of all it ought to be enquired what is the origin of all things, or what is the immediate thing which may be called the cause of all things which are: then, with respect to all things that exist, whether they have been made, and by whom, through whom, and for whom; whether they have received their subsistence from one, or from two, or from many; and whether they have been taken and fashioned from none previously subsisting, or from some: then, whether there is any virtue in the highest things, or in the lower; whether there is anything which is better than all, or anything that is inferior to all; whether there are any motions, or none; whether those things which are seen were always, and shall be always; whether they have come into existence without a Creator, and shall pass away without a destroyer. If, I say, the discussion begin with these things, I think that the things which shall be enquired into, being discussed with diligent examination, will be easily ascertained. And when these are ascertained, the knowledge of those that follow will be easily found. I have stated my opinion; be pleased to intimate what you think of the matter.
To this Peter answered: "Tell Simon in the meantime to do as he pleases, and to rest assured that, Divine Providence granting, he shall always find us ready." Then Zacchaeus went out to intimate to Simon what he had been told. But Peter, looking at us, and perceiving that I was saddened by the putting off of the contest, said: "He who believes that the world is administered by the providence of the Most High God. Ought not, O Clement, my friend, to take it amiss, in whatever way particular things happen, being assured that the righteousness of God guides to a favourable and fitting issue even those things which seem superfluous or contrary in any business, and especially towards those who worship him more intimately; and therefore he who is assured of these things, as I have said, if anything occur contrary to his expectation, he knows how to drive away grief from his mind on that account, holding it unquestionable in his better judgment, that, by the government of the good God, even what seems contrary may be turned to good. Therefore, O Clement, even now let not this delay of the magician Simon sadden you: for I believe that it has been done by the providence of God, for your advantage; that I may be able, in this interval of seven days, to expound to you the method of our faith without any distraction, and the order continuously, according to the tradition of the true Prophet, who alone knows the past as it was, the present as it is, and the future as it shall be: which things were indeed plainly spoken by him, but are not plainly written; so much so, that when they are read, they cannot be understood without an expounder, on account of the sin which has grown up with men, as I said before. Therefore I shall explain all things to you, that in those things which are written yon may clearly perceive what is the mind of the Law giver."
When he had said this, he began to expound to me point by point of those chapters of the Law which seemed to be in question, from the beginning of the creation even to that point of time at which I came to him at Caesarea, telling me that the delay of Simon had contributed to my learning all things in order. "At other times." said he, "we shall discourse more fully on individual points of which we have now spoken shortly, according as the occasion of our conversation shall bring them before us; so that, according to my promise, you may gain a full and perfect knowledge of all. Since, then, by this delay we have today on our hands, I wish to repeat to you again what has been spoken, that it may be the better recalled to your memory." Then he began in this way to refresh my recollection of what he had said: "Do you remember, O friend Clement, the account I gave you of the eternal age, that knows no end?" Then said I, "Never, O Peter, shall I retain anything, if I can lose or forget that."
Then Peter, having heard my answer with pleasure, said: "I congratulate you because you have answered thus, not because you speak of these things easily, but because you profess that you remember them; for the most sublime truths are best honoured by means of silence. Yet, for the credit of those things which you remember concerning things not to be spoken, tell me what you retain of those things which we spoke of in the second place, which can easily be spoken out, that, perceiving your tenacity of memory, I may the more readily point out to you, and freely open, the things of which I wish to speak." Then I, when I perceived that he rejoiced in the good memory of his hearers, said: "Not only am I mindful of your definition, but also of that preface which was prefixed to the definition; and of almost all things that you have expounded, I retain the sense complete, though not all the words; because the things that you have spoken have been made, so to speak, native to my soul, and inborn. For you have held out a most sweet cup to me in my excessive thirst. And that you may not suppose that I am occupying you with words, being unmindful of things, I shall now call to mind the things which were spoken, in which the order of your discussion greatly helps me; for the way in which the things that you said followed by consequence on one another, and were arranged in a balanced man-her, makes them easily recalled to memory by the lines of their order. For the order of sayings is useful for remembering them: for when you begin to follow them point by point in succession, when anything is wanting, immediately the sense seeks for it; and when it has found it, retains it, or at all events, if it cannot discover it, there will be no reluctance to ask it of the master. But not to delay in granting what you demand of me, I shall shortly rehearse what you delivered to me concerning the definition of truth.
"There always was, there is now, and there ever shall be, that by which the first Will begotten from eternity consists; and from the first Will proceeds a second Will. After these came the world; and from the world came time: from this, the multitude of men; from the multitude the election of the beloved, from whose oneness of mind the peaceful kingdom of God is constructed. But the rest, which ought to follow these, you promised to tell me at another time. After this, when you had explained about the creation of the world, you intimated the decree of God, "which He, of his own good pleasure, announced in the presence of all the first angels," and which he ordained as an eternal law to all; and how he established two kingdoms, - I mean that of the present time and that of the future, - and appointed times to each, and decreed that a day of judgment should be expected, which he determined, in which a severance is to be made of things and of souls: so that the wicked indeed shall be consigned to eternal fire for their sins; but those who have lived according to the will of God the Creator, having received a blessing for their good works, effulgent with brightest light, introduced into an eternal abode, and abiding in incorruption, shall receive eternal gifts of inexpressible blessings."
While I was going on thus, Peter, enraptured with joy, and anxious for me as if I had been his son, in case perhaps I should fail in recollection of the rest, and be put to shame on account of those who were present, said: "It is enough, O Clement; for you have stated these things more clearly than I myself explained them." Then said I, "Generous learning has conferred on me the power of orderly narration, and of stating those things clearly for which there is occasion. And if we use learning in asserting the errors of antiquity, we ruin ourselves by gracefulness and smoothness of speech; but if we apply learning and grace of speech to the assertion of the truth, I think that not a little advantage is thereby gained. Be that as it may, my Lord Peter, you can but imagine with what thankfulness I am transported for all the rest of your instruction indeed, but especially for the statement of that doctrine which you gave: There is one God, whose work the world is, and who, because he is in all respects righteous, shall render to everyone according to his deeds. And after that you added: For the assertion of this dogma countless thousands of words will be brought forward; but in those to whom is granted knowledge of the true Prophet, all this forest of words is cut down. And on this account, since you have delivered to me a discourse concerning the true Prophet, you have strengthened me with all confidence of your assertions." And then, having perceived that the sum of all religion and piety consists in this, I immediately replied: "You have proceeded most excellently, O Peter: therefore, in future, expound unhesitatingly, as to one who already knows what are the foundations of faith and piety, the traditions of the true Prophet, who alone, as has been clearly proved, is to be believed. But that exposition which requires assertions and arguments, reserve for the unbelievers, to whom you have not yet judged it proper to commit the indubitable faith of prophetic grace." When I had said this, I added: "You promised that you would give at the proper time two things: first this exposition, at once simple and entirely free from error; and then an exposition of each individual point as it may be evolved in the course of the various questions which shall be raised. And after this you expounded the sequence of things in order from the beginning of the world, even to the present time; and if you please, I can repeat the whole from memory."
To this Peter answered: "I am exceedingly delighted, O Clement, that I commit my words to so safe a heart; for to be mindful of the things that are spoken is an indication of having in readiness the faith of works. But he from whom the wicked demon steals away the words of salvation, and snatches them away from his memory, cannot be saved, even though he wish it; for he loses the way by which life is reached. Therefore let us the rather repeat what has been spoken, and confirm it in your heart, that is, how or by whom the world was made, that we may proceed to the friendship of the Creator. But his friendship is secured by living well, and by obeying his will; which will is the Law of all that live. We shall therefore unfold these things briefly to you, in order that they may be the more surely remembered.
"In the beginning, when God had made the heaven and the earth, as one house, the shadow which was cast by the mundane bodies involved in darkness those things which were enclosed in it. But when the will of God had introduced light, that darkness which had been caused by the shadows of bodies was immediately dispelled: then at length light is appointed for the day, darkness for the night. And now the water which was within the world, in the middle space of that first heaven and earth, congealed as if with frost, and solid as crystal, is distended, and the middle spaces of the heaven and earth are separated as by a firmament of this sort; and that firmament the Creator called heaven, so called by the name of that previously made: and so he divided into two portions that fabric of the universe, although it was but one house. The reason of the division was this, that the upper portion might afford a dwelling-place to angels, and the lower to men. After this, the place of the sea and the chaos which had been made received that portion of the water which remained below, by order of the eternal Will; and these flowing down to the sunk and hollow places, the dry land appeared; and the gatherings of the waters were made seas. And after this the earth, which had appeared, produced various species of herbs and shrubs. It gave forth fountains also, and rivers, not only in the plains, but on the mountains. And so all things were prepared, that men who were to dwell in it might have it in their power to use all these things according to their will, that is, either for good or evil.
"After this he adorns that visible heaven with stars. He places in it also the sun and the moon, that the day might enjoy the light of the one, the night that of the other; and that at the same time they might be for an indication of things past, present, and future. For they were made for signs of seasons and of days, which, although they are seen indeed by all, are understood only by the learned and intelligent. And when, after this, he had ordered living creatures to be produced from the earth and the waters, he made Paradise, which also he named a place of delights. But after all these things he made man, on whose account he had prepared all things, whose internal species is older, and for whose sake all things that are were made, given up to his service, and assigned to the uses of his habitation.
"All things therefore being completed which are in heaven, and in earth, and in the waters, and the human race also having multiplied, in the eighth generation, righteous men, who had lived the life of angels, being allured by the beauty of women, fell into promiscuous and illicit connections with these; and from then on acting in all things without discretion, and disorderly, they changed the state of human affairs and the divinely prescribed order of life, so that either by persuasion or force they compelled all men to sin against God their Creator. In the ninth generation are born the giants, so called from of old, not dragon-footed, as the fables of the Greeks relate, but men of immense bodies, whose bones, of enormous size, are still shown in some places for confirmation. But against these the righteous providence of God brought a flood on the world, that the earth might be purified from their pollution, and every place might be turned into a sea by the destruction of the wicked. Yet there was then found one righteous man, by name Noah, who, being delivered in an ark with his three sons and their wives, became the colonizer of the world after the subsiding of the waters, with those animals and seeds which he had shut up with him.
"In the twelfth generation, when God had blessed men, and they had begun to multiply, they received a commandment that they should not taste blood, for on account of this also the deluge had been sent. In the thirteenth generation, when the second of Noah's three sons had done an injury to his father, and had been cursed by him, he brought the condition of slavery on his posterity. His elder brother meantime obtained the lot of a dwelling-place in the middle region of the world, in which is the country of Judaea; the younger obtained the eastern quarter, and he the western. In the fourteenth generation one of the cursed progeny first erected an altar to demons. For the purpose of magical arts, and offered there bloody sacrifices. In the fifteenth generation, for the first time, men set up an idol and worshipped it. Until that time the Hebrew language, which had been given by God to men, bore sole sway. In the sixteenth generation the sons of men migrated from the east, and, coming to the lands that had been assigned to their fathers, each one marked the place of his own allotment by his own name. In the seventeenth generation Nimrod I. Reigned in Babylonia, and built a city, and thence migrated to the Persians, and taught them to worship fire.
"In the eighteenth generation walled cities were built, armies were organized and armed, judges and laws were sanctioned, temples were built, and the princes of nations were adored as gods. In the nineteenth generation the descendants of him who had been cursed after the flood, going beyond their proper bounds which they had obtained by lot in the western regions, drove into the eastern lands those who had obtained the middle portion of the world, and pursued them as far as Persia, while themselves violently took possession of the country from which they expelled them. In the twentieth generation a son for the first time died before his father, on account of an incestuous crime.
"In the twenty-first generation there was a certain wise man, of the race of those who were expelled, of the family of Noah's eldest son, by name Abraham, from whom our Hebrew nation is derived. When the whole world was again overspread with errors, and when for the hideousness of its crimes destruction was really for it, this time not by water, but fire, and when already the scourge was hanging over the whole earth, beginning with Sodom, this man, by reason of his friendship with God, who was well pleased with him, obtained from God that the whole world should not equally perish. From the first this same man, being an astrologer, was able, from the account and order of the stars, to recognise the Creator, while all others were in error, and understood that all things are regulated by his providence. Whence also an angel, standing by him in a vision, instructed him more fully concerning those things which he was beginning to perceive. He showed him also what belonged to his race and posterity, and promised him that those districts should be restored rather than given to them.
"Therefore Abraham, when he was eager to learn the causes of things, and was intently pondering on what had been told him, the true Prophet appeared to him, who alone knows the hearts and purpose of men, and disclosed to him all things which he desired. He taught him the knowledge of the Divinity; intimated the origin of the world, and likewise its end; showed him the immortality of the soul, and the way of life which was pleasing to God; declared also the resurrection of the dead, the future judgment, the reward of the good, the punishment of the evil, - all to be regulated by righteous judgment: and having given him all this information plainly and sufficiently, he departed again to the invisible abodes. But while Abraham was still in ignorance, as we said to you before, two sons were born to him, of whom the one was called Ismael, and the other Heliesdros. From the one are descended the barbarous nations, from the other the people of the Persians, some of whom have adopted the way of living and the institutions of their neighbours, the Brachmans. Others settled in Arabia, of whose posterity some also have spread into Egypt. From them some of the Indians and of the Egyptians have learned to be circumcised, and to be of purer observance than others, although in process of time most of them have turned to impiety what was the proof and sign of purity.
"Nevertheless, as he had got these two sons during the time while he still lived in ignorance of things, having received the knowledge of God, he asked of the Righteous One that he might merit to have offspring by Sarah, who was his lawful wife, though she was barren. She obtained a son. Whom he named Isaac, from whom came Jacob, and from him the twelve patriarchs, and from these twelve seventy-two. These, when famine befell came into Egypt with all their family; and in the course of four hundred years, being multiplied by the blessing and promise of God, they were afflicted by the Egyptians. And when they were afflicted the true Prophet appeared to Moses, and struck the Egyptians with ten plagues, when they refused to let the Hebrew people depart from them, and return to their native land; and he brought the people of God out of Egypt. But those of the Egyptians who survived the plagues, being infected with the animosity of their king, pursued after the Hebrews. And when they had overtaken them at the sea-shore, and thought to destroy and exterminate them all, Moses, pouring out prayer to God, divided the sea into two parts, so that the water was held on the right hand and on the left as if it had been frozen, and the people of God passed as over a dry road; but the Egyptians who were pursuing them, rashly entering, were drowned. For when the last of the Hebrews came out, the last of the Egyptians went down into the sea; and immediately the waters of the sea, which by his command were held bound as with frost, were loosed by his command who had bound them, and recovering their natural freedom, inflicted punishment on the wicked nation.
"After this, Moses, by the command of God, whose providence is over all, led out the people of the Hebrews into the wilderness; and, leaving the shortest road which leads from Egypt to Judaea, he led the people through long windings of the wilderness, that, by the discipline of forty years, the novelty of a changed way of life might root out the evils which had clung to them by a long-continued familiarity with the customs of the Egyptians. Meantime they came to Mount Sinai, and thence the Law was given to them with voices and sights from heaven, written in ten precepts, of which the first and greatest was that they should worship God himself alone, and not make to themselves any appearance or form to worship. But when Moses had gone up to the mount, and was staying there forty days, the people, although they had seen Egypt struck with the ten plagues, and the sea parted and passed over by them on foot, manna also given to them from heaven for bread, and drink supplied to them out of the rock that followed them, which kind of food was turned into whatever taste anyone desired; and although, being placed under the torrid region of heaven, they were shaded by a cloud in the day-time, that they might not be scorched by the heat, and by night were enlightened by a pillar of fire, in case the horror of darkness should be added to the wasteness of the wilderness; - those very people, I say, when Moses stayed in the mount, made and worshipped a golden calf's head, after the fashion of Apis, whom they had seen worshipped in Egypt; and after so many and so great marvels which they had seen, were unable to cleanse and wash out from themselves the defilements of old habit. On this account, leaving the short road which leads from Egypt to Judaea, Moses conducted them by an immense circuit of the desert, if perhaps he might be able, as we mentioned before, to shake off the evils of old habit by the change of a new education.
"When meantime Moses, that faithful and wise steward, perceived that the vice of sacrificing to idols had been deeply ingrained into the people from their association with the Egyptians, and that the root of this evil could not be extracted from them, he allowed them indeed to sacrifice, but permitted it to be done only to God, that by any means he might cut off one half of the deeply ingrained evil, leaving the other half to be corrected by another, and at a future time; by him, namely, concerning whom he said himself, "A prophet shall the Lord your God raise to you, whom you shall hear even as myself, according to all things which he shall say to you. Whosoever shall not hear that prophet, his soul shall be cut off from his people. '
"In addition to these things, he also appointed a place in which alone it should be lawful to them to sacrifice to God. And all this was arranged with this view, that when the fitting time should come, and they should learn by means of the Prophet that God desires mercy and not sacrifice, they might see him who should teach those who the place chosen of God, in which it was suitable that victims should be offered to God, is his Wisdom; and that on the other hand they might hear that this place, which seemed chosen for a time, often harassed as it had been by hostile invasions and plunderings, was at last to be wholly destroyed. And in order to impress this on them, even before the coming of the true Prophet, who was to reject at once the sacrifices and the place, it was often plundered by enemies and burnt with fire, and the people carried into captivity among foreign nations, and then brought back when they betook themselves to the mercy of God; that by these things they might be taught that a people who offer sacrifices are driven away and delivered up into the hands of the enemy, but they who do mercy and righteousness are without sacrifices freed from captivity, and restored to their native land. But it fell out that very few understood this; for the greater number, though they could perceive and observe these things, yet were held by the irrational opinion of the vulgar: for right opinion with liberty is the prerogative of a few.
"Moses, then, having arranged these things, and having set over the people one Auses to bring them to the land of their fathers, himself by the command of the living God went up to a certain mountain, and there died. Yet such was the way of his death, that till this day no one has found his burial-place. When, therefore, the people reached their fathers' land, by the providence of God, at their first onset the inhabitants of wicked races are routed, and they enter on their paternal inheritance, which was distributed among them by lot. For some time thereafter they were ruled not by kings, but judges, and remained in a somewhat peaceful condition. But when they sought for themselves tyrants rather than kings, then also with regal ambition they erected a temple in the place which had been appointed to them for prayer; and thus, through a succession of wicked kings, the people fell away to greater and still greater impiety.
"But when the time began to draw near that what was wanting in the Mosaic institutions should be supplied, as we have said, and that the Prophet should appear, of whom he had foretold that he should warn them by the mercy of God to cease from sacrificing; in case perhaps they might suppose that on the cessation of sacrifice there was no remission of sins for them, he instituted baptism by water amongst them, in which they might be absolved from all their sins on the invocation of his name, and for the future, following a perfect life, might abide in immortality, being purified not by the blood of beasts, but by the purification of the Wisdom of God. Subsequently also an evident proof of this great mystery is supplied in the fact, that everyone who, believing in this Prophet who had been foretold by Moses, is baptised in his name, shall be kept unhurt from the destruction of war which impends over the unbelieving nation, and the place itself; but that those who do not believe shall be made exiles from their place and kingdom, that even against their will they may understand and obey the will of God.
"These things therefore having been fore-arranged, he who was expected comes, bringing signs and miracles as his credentials by which he should be made manifest. But not even so did the people believe, though they had been trained during so many ages to the belief of these things. And not only did they not believe, but they added blasphemy to unbelief, saying that he was a gluttonous man and a belly-slave, and that he was actuated by a demon, even he who had come for their salvation. To such an extent does wickedness prevail by the agency of evil ones; so that, but for the Wisdom of God assisting those who love the truth, almost all would have been involved in impious delusion. Therefore he chose us twelve, the first who believed in him, whom he named apostles; and afterwards other seventy-two most approved disciples, that, at least in this way recognising the pattern of Moses, the multitude might believe that this is he of whom Moses foretold, the Prophet that was to come.
"But some one perhaps may say that it is possible for anyone to imitate a number; but what shall we say of the signs and miracles which he worked? For Moses had worked miracles and cures in Egypt. He also of whom he foretold that he should rise up a prophet like to himself, though he cured every sickness and weakness among the people, worked innumerable miracles, and preached eternal life, was hurried by wicked men to the cross; which deed was, however, by his power turned to good. In short, while he was suffering, all the world suffered with him; for the sun was darkened, the mountains were torn asunder, the graves were opened, the veil of the temple was rent, as in lamentation for the destruction impending over the place. And yet, though all the world was moved, they themselves are not even now moved to the consideration of these so great things.
"But inasmuch as it was necessary that the Gentiles should be called into the room of those who remained unbelieving, so that the number might be filled up which had been shown to Abraham, the preaching of the blessed kingdom of God is sent into all the world. On this account worldly spirits are disturbed, who always oppose those who are in quest of liberty, and who make use of the engines of error to destroy God's building; while those who press on to the glory of safety and liberty, being rendered braver by their resistance to these spirits, and by the toil of great struggles against them, attain the crown of safety not without the palm of victory. Meantime, when he had suffered, and darkness had overwhelmed the world from the sixth even to the ninth hour, as soon as the sun shone out again, and things were returned to their usual course, even wicked men returned to themselves and their former practices, their fear having abated. For some of them, watching the place with all care, when they could not prevent his rising again, said that he was a magician; others pretended that he was stolen away.
"Nevertheless, the truth everywhere prevailed; for, in proof that these things were done by divine power, we who had been very few became in the course of a few days, by the help of God, far more than they. So that the priests at one you were afraid, in case perhaps, by the providence of God, to their confusion, the whole of the people should come over to our faith. Therefore they often sent to us, and asked us to discourse to them concerning Jesus, whether he were the Prophet whom Moses foretold, who is the eternal Christ. For on this point only does there seem to be any difference between us who believe in Jesus, and the unbelieving Jews. But while they often made such requests to us, and we sought for a fitting opportunity, a week of years was completed from the passion of the Lord, the Church of the Lord which was constituted in Jerusalem was most plentifully multiplied and grew, being governed with most righteous ordinances by James, who was ordained bishop in it by the Lord
"But when we twelve apostles, on the day of the passover, had come together with an immense multitude, and entered into the Church of the brethren, each one of us, at the request of James, stated briefly, in the hearing of the people, what we had done in every place. While this was going on, Caiaphas, the high priest, sent priests to us, and asked us to come to him, that either we should prove to the one who Jesus is the eternal Christ, or he to us that he is not, and that so all the people should agree on the one faith or the other; and this he frequently entreated us to do. But we often put it off, always seeking for a more convenient time." Then I, Clement, answered to this: "I think that this very question, whether he is the Christ, is of great importance for the establishment of the faith; otherwise the high priest would not so frequently ask that he might either learn or teach concerning the Christ." Then Peter: "You have answered rightly, O Clement; for as no one can see without eyes, nor hear without ears, nor smell without nostrils, nor taste without a tongue, nor handle anything without hands, so it is impossible, without the true Prophet, to know what is pleasing to God." And I answered: "I have already learned from your instruction that this true prophet is the Christ; but I should wish to learn what the Christ means, or why he is so called, that a matter of so great importance may not be vague and uncertain to me."
Then Peter began to instruct me in this manner: "When God had made the world, as Lord of the universe, he appointed chiefs over the several creatures, over the trees even, and the mountains, and the fountains, and the rivers, and all things which he had made, as we have told you; for it would be too long to mention them one by one. He set, therefore, an angel as chief over the angels, a spirit over the spirits, a star over the stars, a demon over the demons, a bird over the birds, a beast over the beasts, a serpent over the serpents, a fish over the fishes, a man over men, who is Christ Jesus. But he is called Christ by a certain excellent rite of religion; for as there are certain names common to kings, as Arsaces among the Persians, Caesar among the Romans, Pharaoh among the Egyptians, so among the Jews a king is called Christ And the reason of this appellation is this: Although indeed he was the Son of God, and the beginning of all things, he became man; him first God anointed with oil which was taken from the wood of the tree of life: from that anointing therefore he is called Christ. Thence, moreover, he himself also, according to the appointment of his Father, anoints with similar oil everyone of the pious when they come to his kingdom, for their refreshment after their labours, as having got over the difficulties of the way; so that their light may shine, and being filled with the Holy Spirit, they may be endowed with immortality. But it occurs to me that I have sufficiently explained to you the whole nature of that branch from which that ointment is taken.
"But now also I shall, by a very short representation, recall you to the recollection of all these things. In the present life, Aaron, the first high priest, was anointed with a composition of chrism, which was made after the pattern of that spiritual ointment of which we have spoken before. He was prince of the people, and as a king received first-fruits and tribute from the people, man by man; and having undertaken the office of judging the people, he judged of things clean and things unclean. But if anyone else was anointed with the same ointment, as deriving virtue from it, he became either king, or prophet, or priest. If, then, this temporal grace, compounded by men, had such efficacy, consider now how potent was that ointment extracted by God from a branch of the tree of life, when that which was made by men could confer so excellent dignities among men. For what in the present age is more glorious than a prophet, more illustrious than a priest, more exalted than a king?"
To this, I replied: "I remember, Peter, that you told me of the first man that he was a prophet; but you did not say that he was anointed. If then there be no prophet without anointing, how could the first man be a prophet, since he was not anointed?" Then Peter, smiling, said: "If the first man prophesied, it is certain that he was also anointed. For although he who has recorded the Law in his pages is silent as to his anointing, yet he has evidently left us to understand these things. For as, if he had said that he was anointed, it would not be doubted that he was also a prophet, although it were not written in the law; so, since it is certain that he was a prophet, it is in the same way certain that he was also anointed, because without anointing he could not be a prophet. But you should rather have said, If the chrism was compounded by Aaron, by the perfumer's art, how could the first man be anointed before Aaron's time, the arts of composition not yet having been discovered?" Then I answered, "Do not misunderstand me, Peter; for I do not speak of that compounded ointment and temporal oil, but of that simple and eternal ointment, which you told me was made by God, after whose likeness you say that that other was compounded by men."
Then Peter answered, with an appearance of indignation: "What! do you suppose, Clement, that all of us can know all things before the you? But not to be drawn aside now from our proposed discourse, we shall at another time, when your progress is more manifest, explain these things more distinctly.
"Then, however, a priest or a prophet, being anointed with the compounded ointment, putting fire to the altar of God, was held illustrious in all the world. But after Aaron, who was a priest, another is taken out of the waters. I do not speak of Moses, but of him who, in the waters of baptism, was called by God his Son. For it is Jesus who has put out, by the grace of baptism, that fire which the priest kindled for sins; for, from the you when he appeared, the chrism has ceased, by which the priesthood or the prophetic or the kingly office was conferred.
"His coming, therefore, was predicted by Moses, who delivered the Law of God to men; but by another also before him, as I have already informed you. He therefore intimated that he should come, humble indeed in his first coming, but glorious in his second. And the first, indeed, has been already accomplished; since he has come and taught, and He, the Judge of all, has been judged and slain. But at his second coming he shall come to judge, and shall indeed condemn the wicked, but shall take the pious into a share and association with himself in his kingdom. Now the faith of his second coming depends on his first. For the prophets - especially Jacob and Moses - spoke of the first, but some also of the second. But the excellency of prophecy is chiefly shown in this, that the prophets spoke not of things to come, according to the sequence of things; otherwise they might seem merely as wise men to have conjectured what the sequence of things pointed out.
"But what I say is this: It was to be expected that Christ should be received by the Jews, to whom he came, and that they should believe on him who was expected for the salvation of the people, according to the traditions of the fathers; but that the Gentiles should be averse to him, since neither promise nor announcement concerning him had been made to them, and indeed he had never been made known to them even by name. Yet the prophets, contrary to the order and sequence of things, said that he should be the expectation of the Gentiles, and not of the Jews. And so it happened. For when he came, he was not at all acknowledged by those who seemed to expect him, in consequence of the tradition of their ancestors; whereas those who had heard nothing at all of him, both believe that he has come, and hope that he is to come. And thus in all things prophecy appears faithful, which said that he was the expectation of the Gentiles. The Jews, therefore, have erred concerning the first coming of the Lord; and on this point only there is disagreement betwixt us and them. For they themselves know and expect that Christ shall come; but that he has come already in humility - even he who is called Jesus - they do not know. And this is a great confirmation of his coming, that all do not believe on him.
"Him, therefore, has God appointed in the end of the world; because it was impossible that the evils of men could be removed by any other, provided that the nature of the human race were to remain entire, that is, the liberty of the will being preserved. This condition, therefore, being preserved inviolate, he came to invite to his kingdom all righteous ones, and those who have been eager to please him. For these he has prepared unspeakable good things, and the heavenly city Jerusalem, which shall shine above the brightness of the sun, for the habitation of the saints. But the unrighteous, and the wicked and those who have despised God, and have devoted the life given them to diverse wickednesses, and have given to the practice of evil the you which was given them for the work of righteousness he shall hand over to fitting and condign vengeance. But the rest of the things which shall then be done, it is neither in the power of angels nor of men to tell or to describe. This only it is enough for us to know, that God shall confer on the good an eternal possession of good things."
When he had thus spoken, I answered: "If those shall enjoy the kingdom of Christ, whom his coming shall final righteous, shall then those be wholly deprived of the kingdom who have died before his coming?" Then Peter says: "You compel me, O Clement, to touch on things that are unspeakable. But so far as it is allowed to declare them, I shall not shrink from doing so. Know then that Christ, who was from the beginning, and always, was ever present with the pious, though secretly, through all their generations: especially with those who waited for him, to whom he frequently appeared. But the you was not yet that there should be a resurrection of the bodies that were dissolved; but this seemed rather to be their reward from God, that whoever should be found righteous, should remain longer in the body; or, at least, as is clearly related in the writings of the Law concerning a certain righteous man, that God translated him. In the same way others were dealt with, who pleased his will, that, being translated to Paradise, they should be kept for the kingdom. But as to those who have not been able completely to fulfill the rule of righteousness, but have had some remnants of evil in their flesh, their bodies are indeed dissolved, but their souls are kept in good and blessed abodes, that at the resurrection of the dead, when they shall recover their own bodies, purified even by the dissolution, they may obtain an eternal inheritance in proportion to their good deeds. And therefore blessed are all those who shall attain to the kingdom of Christ; for not only shall they escape the pains of hell, but shall also remain incorruptible, and shall be the first to see God the Father, and shall obtain the rank of honour among the first in the presence of God.
"Therefore there is not the least doubt concerning Christ; and all the unbelieving Jews are stirred up with boundless rage against us, fearing in case perhaps he against whom they have sinned should be He. And their fear grows all the greater, because they know that, as soon as they fixed him on the cross, the whole world showed sympathy with him; and that his body, although they guarded it with strict care, could nowhere be found; and that innumerable multitudes are attaching themselves to his faith. Whence they, together with the high priest Caiaphas, were compelled to send to us again and again, that an enquiry might be instituted concerning the truth of his name. And when they were constantly entreating that they might either learn or teach concerning Jesus, whether he were the Christ, it seemed good to us to go up into the temple, and in the presence of all the people to bear witness concerning him, and at the same time to charge the Jews with many foolish things which they were doing. For the people was now divided into many parties, ever since the days of John the Baptist.
"For when the rising of Christ was at hand for the abolition of sacrifices, and for the bestowal of the grace of baptism, the enemy, understanding from the predictions that the you was at hand, worked various schisms among the people, that, if perhaps it might be possible to abolish the former sin, the latter fault might be incorrigible. The first schism, therefore, was that of those who were called Sadducees, which took their rise almost in the you of John. These. As more righteous than others, began to separate themselves from the assembly of the people, and to deny the resurrection of the dead, and to assert that by an argument of infidelity, saying that it was unworthy that God should be worshipped, so to speak, under the promise of a reward. The first author of this opinion was Dositheus; the second was Simon. Another schism is that of the Samaritans; for they deny the resurrection of the dead, and assert that God is not to be worshipped in Jerusalem, but on Mount Gerizim. They indeed rightly, from the predictions of Moses, expect the one true Prophet; but by the wickedness of Dositheus they were hindered from believing that Jesus is he whom they were expecting. The scribes also, and Pharisees, are led away into another schism; but these, being baptised by John, and holding the word of truth received from the tradition of Moses as the key of the kingdom of heaven, have hid it from the hearing of the people. Yes, some even of the disciples of John, who seemed to be great ones, have separated themselves from the people, and proclaimed their own master as the Christ. But all these schisms have been prepared, that by means of them the faith of Christ and baptism might be hindered.
"However, as we were proceeding to say, when the high priest had often sent priests to ask us that we might discourse with one another concerning Jesus; when it seemed a fit opportunity, and it pleased all the Church, we went up to the temple, and, standing on the steps together with our faithful brethren, the people kept perfect silence; and first the high priest began to exhort the people that they should hear patiently and quietly, and at the same time witness and judge of those things that were to be spoken. Then, in the next place, exalting with many praises the rite or sacrifice which had been bestowed by God on the human race for the remission of sins, he found fault with the baptism of our Jesus, as having been recently brought in in opposition to the sacrifices. But Matthew, meeting his propositions, showed clearly, that whosoever shall not obtain the baptism of Jesus shall not only be deprived of the kingdom of heaven, but shall not be without peril at the resurrection of the dead, even though he be for-titled by the prerogative of a good life and an upright disposition. Having made these and such like statements, Matthew stopped.
"But the party of the Sadducees, who deny the resurrection of the dead, were in a rage, so that one of them cried out from amongst the people, saying that those greatly err who think that the dead ever arise. In opposition to him, Andrew, my brother, answering, declared that it is not an error, but the surest matter of faith, that the dead rise, in accordance with the teaching of him of whom Moses foretold that he should come the true Prophet. "Or if,' he says, "you do not think that this is he whom Moses foretold, let this first be enquired into, so that when this is clearly proved to be He, there may be no further doubt concerning the things which he taught. ' These, and many such like things, Andrew proclaimed, and then stopped.
"But a certain Samaritan, speaking against the people and against God, and asserting that neither are the dead to rise, nor is that worship of God to be maintained which is in Jerusalem, but that Mount Gerizim is to be reverenced, added also this in opposition to us, that our Jesus was not he whom Moses foretold as a Prophet to come into the world. Against him. And another who supported him in what he said, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, strove vigorously; and although they had a command not to enter into their cities, nor to bring the word of preaching to them, yet, in case their discourse, unless it were confined, should hurt the faith of others, they replied so prudently and so powerfully, that they put them to perpetual silence. For James made an oration concerning the resurrection of the dead, with the approbation of all the people; while John showed that if they would abandon the error of Mount Gerizim, they should consequently acknowledge that Jesus was indeed he who, according to the prophecy of Moses, was expected to come; since, indeed, as Moses worked signs and miracles, so also did Jesus. And there is no doubt but that the likeness of the signs proves him to be that prophet of whom he said that he should come, "like himself. ' Having declared these things, and more to the same effect, they ceased.
"And behold, one of the scribes, shouting out from the midst of the people, says: "The signs and miracles which your Jesus worked, he worked not as a prophet, but as a magician.' Him Philip eagerly encounters, showing that by this argument he accused Moses also. For when Moses worked signs and miracles in Egypt, in the same way as Jesus also did in Judaea, it cannot be doubted that what was said of Jesus might as well be said of Moses. Having made these and such like protestations, Philip was silent.
"Then a certain Pharisee, hearing this, chid Philip because he put Jesus on a level with Moses. To whom Bartholomew, answering, boldly declared that we do not only say that Jesus was equal to Moses, but that he was greater than he, because Moses was indeed a prophet, as Jesus was also, but that Moses was not the Christ, as Jesus was, and therefore he is doubtless greater who is both a prophet and the Christ, than he who is only a prophet. After following out this train of argument, he stopped. After him James the son of Alphaeus gave an address to the people, with the view of showing that we are not to believe on Jesus on the ground that the prophets foretold concerning him, but rather that we are to believe the prophets, that they were really prophets, because the Christ bears testimony to them; for it is the presence and coming of Christ that show that they are truly prophets: for testimony must be born by the superior to his inferiors, not by the inferiors to their superior. After these and many similar statements, James also was silent. After him Lebbaeus began vehemently to charge it on the people that they did not believe in Jesus, who had done them so much good by teaching them the things that are of God, by comforting the afflicted, healing the sick, relieving the poor; yet for all these benefits their return bad been hatred and death. When he had declared these and many more such things to the people, he ceased.
"And behold, one of the disciples of John asserted that John was the Christ, and not Jesus, inasmuch as Jesus himself declared that John was greater than all men and all prophets. "If, then,' said he, "he be greater than all, he must be held to be greater than Moses, and than Jesus himself. But if he be the greatest of all, then must he be the Christ. ' To this Simon the Canaanite, answering, asserted that John was indeed greater than all the prophets, and all who are born of women, yet that he is not greater than the Son of man. Accordingly Jesus is also the Christ, whereas John is only a prophet: and there is as much difference between him and Jesus, as between the forerunner and him whose forerunner he is; or as between him who gives the law, and him who keeps the law. Having made these and similar statements, the Canaanite also was silent. After him Barnabas, who also is called Matthias, who was substituted as an apostle in the place of Judas, began to exhort the people that they should not regard Jesus with hatred, nor speak evil of him. For it would be far more proper, even for one who might be in ignorance or in doubt concerning Jesus, to love than to hate him. For God has affixed a reward to love, a penalty to hatred. "For the very fact,' said he, "that he assumed a Jewish body, and was born among the Jews, how has not this incited us all to love him?' When he had spoken this, and more to the same effect, he stopped.
"Then Caiaphas attempted to impugn the doctrine of Jesus, saying that he spoke vain things, for he said that the poor are blessed; and promised earthly rewards; and placed the chief gift in an earthly inheritance; and promised that those who maintain righteousness shall be satisfied with meat and drink; and many things of this sort he is charged with teaching. Thomas, in reply, proves that his accusation is frivolous; showing that the prophets, in whom Caiaphas believes, taught these things much more, and did not show how these things are to be, or how they are to be understood; whereas Jesus pointed out how they are to be taken. And when he had spoken these things, and others of like kind, Thomas also held his peace.
"Therefore Caiaphas, again looking at me, and sometimes in the way of warning and sometimes in that of accusation, said that I ought for the future to refrain from preaching Christ Jesus, in case I should do it to my own destruction, and in case, being deceived myself, I should also deceive others. Then, moreover, he charged me with presumption, because, though I was unlearned, a fisherman, and a rustic, I dared to assume the office of a teacher. As he spoke these things, and many more of like kind, I said in reply, that I incurred less danger, if, as he said, this Jesus were not the Christ, because I received him as a teacher of the law; but that he was in terrible danger if this be the very Christ, as assuredly he is: for I believe in him who has appeared; but for whom else, who has never appeared, does he reserve his faith? But if I, an unlearned and uneducated man, as you say, a fisherman and a rustic, have more understanding than wise elders, this, said I, ought the more to strike terror into you. For if I disputed with any learning, and won over you wise and learned men, it would appear that I had acquired this power by long learning, and not by the grace of divine power; but now, when, as I have said, we unskilled men convince and overcome you wise men, who that has any sense does not perceive that this is not a work of human subtlety, but of divine will and gift?
"Thus we argued and bore witness; and we who were unlearned men and fishermen, taught the priests concerning the one only God of heaven; the Sadducees, concerning the resurrection of the dead; the Samaritans, concerning the sacredness of Jerusalem (not that we entered into their cities, but disputed with them in public); the scribes and Pharisees, concerning the kingdom of heaven; the disciples of John, that they should not suffer John to be a stumbling-block to them; and all the people, that Jesus is the eternal Christ. At last, however, I warned them, that before we should go forth to the Gentiles, to preach to them the knowledge of God the Father, they should themselves be reconciled to God, receiving his Son; for I showed those who in no way else could they be saved, unless through the grace of the Holy Spirit they hasted to be washed with the baptism of threefold invocation, and received the Eucharist of Christ the Lord, whom alone they ought to believe concerning those things which he taught, that so they might merit to attain eternal salvation; but that otherwise it was utterly impossible for them to be reconciled to God, even if they should kindle a thousand altars and a thousand high altars to him.
'For we,' said I, "have ascertained beyond doubt that God is much rather displeased with the sacrifices which you offer, the you of sacrifices having now passed away; and because you will not acknowledge that the you for offering victims is now past, therefore the temple shall be destroyed, and the abomination of desolation shall stand in the holy place; and then the Gospel shall be preached to the Gentiles for a testimony against you, that your unbelief may be judged by their faith. For the whole world at different times suffers under various maladies, either spreading generally over all, or affecting specially. Therefore it needs a physician to visit it for its salvation. We therefore bear witness to you, and declare to you what has been hidden from everyone of you. It is for you to consider what is for your advantage. '
"When I had thus spoken, the whole multitude of the priests were in a rage, because I had foretold to them the overthrow of the temple. Which when Gamaliel, a chief of the people, saw - who was secretly our brother in the faith, but by our advice remained among them - because they were greatly enraged and moved with intense fury against us, he stood up, and said, "Be quiet for a while, O men of Israel, for you do not perceive the trial which hangs over you. Therefore refrain from these men; and if what they are engaged in be of human counsel, it will soon come to an end; but if it be from God, why will you sin without cause, and prevail nothing? For who can overpower the will of God? Now therefore, since the day is declining towards evening. I shall myself dispute with these men tomorrow, in this same place, in your hearing, so that I may openly oppose and clearly confute every error. ' By this speech of his their fury was to some extent checked, especially in the hope that next day we should be publicly convicted of error; and so he dismissed the people peacefully.
"Now when we had come to our James, while we detailed to him all that had been said and done, we supped, and remained with him, spending the whole night in supplication to Almighty God, that the discourse of the approaching disputation might show the unquestionable truth of our faith. Therefore, on the following day, James the bishop went up to the temple with us, and with the whole church. There we found a great multitude, who had been waiting for us from the middle of the night. Therefore we took our stand in the same place as before, in order that, standing on an elevation, we might be seen by all the people. Then, when profound silence was obtained, Gamaliel, who, as we have said, was of our faith, but who by a dispensation remained amongst them, that if at any you they should attempt anything unjust or wicked against us, he might either check them by skillfully adopted counsel, or might warn us, that we might either be on our guard or might turn it aside; - he therefore, as if acting against us, first of all looking to James the bishop, addressed him in this manner: -
"If I, Gamaliel, deem it no reproach either to my learning or to my old age to learn something from babes and unlearned ones, if perhaps there be anything which it is for profit or for I safety to acquire (for he who lives reasonably knows that nothing is more precious than the soul), ought not this to be the object of love and desire to all, to learn what they do not know, and to teach what they have learned? For it is most certain that neither friendship, nor kindred, nor lofty power, ought to be more precious to men than truth. Therefore you, O brethren, if you know anything more, shrink not from laying it before the people of God who are present, and also before your brethren; while the whole people shall willingly and in perfect quietness hear what you say. For why should not the people do this, when they see even me equally with themselves willing to learn from you, if perhaps God has revealed something further to you? But if you in anything are deficient, be not you ashamed in the same way to be taught by us, that God may fill up whatever is wanting on either side. But if any fear now agitates you on account of some of our people whose minds are prejudiced against you, and if through fear of their violence you dare not openly speak your sentiments, in order that I may deliver you from this fear, I openly swear to you by Almighty God, who lives for ever, that I will suffer no one to lay hands on you. Since, then, you have all this people witnesses of this my oath, and you hold the covenant of our sacrament as a fitting pledge, let each one of you, without any hesitation, declare what he has learned; and let us, brethren, listen eagerly and in silence.'
"These sayings of Gamaliel did not much please Caiaphas; and holding him in suspicion, as it seemed, he began to insinuate himself cunningly into the discussions: for, smiling at what Gamaliel had said, the chief of the priests asked of James, the chief of the bishops, that the discourse concerning Christ should not be drawn but from the Scriptures; "that we may know,' said he, "whether Jesus be the very Christ or no. ' Then said James, "We must first enquire from what Scriptures we are especially to derive our discussion. ' Then he, with difficulty, at length overcome by reason, answered, that it must be derived from the law; and afterwards he made mention also of the prophets.
"To him our James began to show, that whatever things the prophets say they have taken from the law, and what they have spoken is in accordance with the law. He also made some statements respecting the books of the Kings in: what way, and when, and by whom they were written, and how they ought to be used. And when he had discussed most fully concerning the law, and had, by a most clear exposition, brought into light whatever things are in it concerning Christ, he showed by most abundant proofs that Jesus is the Christ, and that in him are fulfilled all the prophecies which related to his humble advent. For he showed that two advents of him are foretold: one in humiliation, which he has accomplished; the other in glory, which is hoped for to be accomplished, when he shall come to give the kingdom to those who believe in him, and who observe all things which he has commanded. And when he had plainly taught the people concerning these things, he added this also: That unless a man be baptised in water, in the name of the threefold blessedness, as the true Prophet taught, he can neither receive remission of sins nor enter into the kingdom of heaven; and he declared that this is the prescription of the unbegotten God. To which he added this also: "Do not think that we speak of two unbegotten Gods, or that one is divided into two, or that the same is made male and female. But we speak of the only-begotten Son of God, not sprung from another source, but ineffably self-originated; and in the same way we speak of the Paraclete. But when he had spoken some things also concerning baptism, through seven successive days he persuaded all the people and the high priest that they should hasten immediately to receive baptism.
"And when matters were at that point that they should come and be baptised, some one of our enemies, entering the temple with a few men, began to cry out, and to say, "What mean you, O men of Israel? Why are you so easily hurried on? Why are you led headlong by most miserable men, who are deceived by Simon, a magician?' While he was thus speaking, and adding more to the same effect, and while James the bishop was refuting him, he began to excite the people and to raise a tumult. So that the people might not be able to hear what was said. Therefore he began to drive all into confusion with shouting, and to undo what had been arranged with much labour, and at the same time to reproach the priests, and to enrage them with revilings and abuse, and, like a madman, to excite everyone to murder, saying, "What do you? Why do you hesitate? Oh sluggish and inert, why do we not lay hands on them, and pull all these fellows to pieces?' When he had said this, he first, seizing a strong brand from the altar, set the example of smiting. Then others also, seeing him, were carried away with like readiness. Then ensued a tumult on either side, of the beating and the beaten. Much blood is shed; there is a confused flight, in the midst of which that enemy attacked James, and threw him headlong from the top of the steps; and supposing him to be dead, he cared not to inflict further violence on him.
"But our friends lifted him up, for they were both more numerous and more powerful than the others; but, from their fear of God, they rather suffered themselves to be killed by an inferior force, than they would kill others. But when the evening came the priests shut up the temple, and we returned to the house of James, and spent the night there in prayer. Then before daylight we went down to Jericho, to the number of 5000 men. Then after three days one of the brethren came to us from Gamaliel, whom we mentioned before, bringing to us secret tidings that that enemy had received a commission from Caiaphas, the chief priest, that he should arrest all who believed in Jesus, and should go to Damascus with his letters, and that there also, employing the help of the unbelievers, he should make havoc among the faithful; and that he was hastening to Damascus chiefly on this account, because he believed that Peter had fled there. And about thirty days thereafter he stopped on his way while passing through Jericho going to Damascus. At that time we were absent, having gone out to the sepulchers of two brethren which were whitened of themselves every year, by which miracle the fury of many against us was restrained, because they saw that our brethren were had in memory before God.
"While, therefore, we abode in Jericho, and gave ourselves to prayer and fasting, James the bishop sent for me, and sent me here to Caesarea, saying that Zacchaeus had written to him from Caesarea, that one Simon, a Samaritan magician, was subverting many of our people, asserting that he was one Stans, - that is, in other words, the Christ, and the great power of the high God, which is superior to the Creator of the world; at the same time that he showed many miracles, and made some doubt, and others fall away to him. He informed me of all things that had been ascertained respecting this man from those who had formerly been either his associates or his disciples, and had afterwards been converted to Zacchaeus. "Many therefore there are, Peter,' said James,' for whose safety's sake you ought to go and to refute the magician, and to teach the word of truth. Therefore make no delay; nor let it grieve yon that you set out alone, knowing that God by Jesus will go with you, and will help you, and that soon, by his grace, you will have many associates and sympathizers. Now be sure that you send me in writing every year an account of you sayings and doings, and especially at the end of every seven years. ' With these expressions he dismissed me, and in six days I arrived at Caesarea.
"When I entered the city, our most beloved brother Zacchaeus met me; and embracing me, brought me to this lodging, in which he himself stayed, enquiring of me concerning each of the brethren, especially concerning our honourable brother James. And when I told him that he was still lame on one foot, on his immediately asking the cause of this, I related to him all that I have now detailed to you, how we had been called by the priests and Caiaphas the high priest to the temple, and how James the archbishop, standing on the top of the steps, had for seven successive days shown the whole people from the Scriptures of the Lord that Jesus is the Christ; and how, when all were acquiescing that they should be baptised by him in the name of Jesus, an enemy did all those things which I have already mentioned, and which I need not repeat.
"When Zacchaeus had heard these things, he told me in return of the doings of Simon; and in the meantime Simon himself - how he heard of my arrival I do not know - sent a message to me, saying, "Let us dispute tomorrow in the hearing of the people. ' To which I answered, "Be it so, as it pleases you. ' And this promise of mine was known over the whole city, so that even you, who arrived on that very day, learned that I was to hold a discussion with Simon on the following day, and having found out my abode, according to the directions which you had received from Barnabas, came to me. But I so rejoiced at your coming, that my mind, moved I do not know how, hastened to expound all things quickly to you, yet especially that which is the main point in our faith, concerning the true Prophet, which alone, I doubt not, is a sufficient foundation for the whole of our doctrine. Then, in the next place, I unfolded to you the more secret meaning of the written law, through its several heads, which there was occasion to unfold; neither did I conceal from you the good things of the traditions. But what remains, beginning from tomorrow, you shall hear from day to day in connection with the questions which will be raised in the discussion with Simon, until by God's favour we reach that city of Rome to which we believe that our journey is to be directed." I then declared that I owed him all thanks for what he had told me, and promised that I would most readily do all that he commanded. Then, having taken food, he ordered me to rest, and he also betook himself to rest.
When the day dawned which had been fixed for the discussion with Simon, Peter rose at the first cock-crowing, and roused us also: for we were sleeping in the same apartment, thirteen of us in all; of whom, next to Peter, Zacchaeus was first, then Sophonius, Joseph and Michaeas, Eliesdrus, Phineas, Lazarus, and Elisaeus: after these I (Clement) and Nicodemus; then Nicetas and Aquilas, who had formerly been disciples of Simon, and were converted to the faith of Christ under the teaching of Zacchaeus. Of the women there was no one present. As the evening light was still lasting, we all sat down; and Peter, seeing that we were awake, and that we were giving attention to him, having saluted us, immediately began to speak, as follows: -
"I confess, brethren, that I wonder at the power of human nature, which I see to be fit and suited to every call on it. This, however, it occurs to me to say of what I have found by experience, that when the middle of the night is passed, I awake of my own accord, and sleep does not come to me again. This happens to me for this reason, that I have formed the habit of recalling to memory the words of my Lord, which I heard from himself; and for the longing I have towards them, I constrain my mind and my thoughts to be roused, that, awaking to them, and recalling and arranging them one by one, I may retain them in my memory. From this, therefore, while I desire to cherish the sayings of the Lord with all delight in my heart, the habit of waking has come on me, even if there be nothing that I wish to think of. Thus, in some unaccountable way, when any custom is established, the old custom is changed, provided indeed yon do not force it above measure, but as far as the measure of nature admits. For it is not possible to be altogether without sleep; otherwise night would not have been made for rest."
Then I, when I heard this, said: "You have very well said, O Peter; for one custom is superseded by another. For when I was at sea, I was at first distressed, and all my system was disordered, so that I felt as if I had been beaten, and could not bear the tossing and tumult of the sea; but after a few days, when I had got accustomed to it, I began to bear it tolerably, so that I was glad to take food immediately in the morning along with the sailors, whereas before it was not my custom to eat anything before the seventh hour. Now, therefore, simply from the custom which I then acquired, hunger reminds me about that time at which I used to eat with the sailors; which, however, I hope to get rid of, when once another custom shall have been formed. I believe, therefore, that you also have acquired the habit of wakefulness, as yon state; and you have wished at a fitting time to explain this to us, that we also may not grudge to throw off and dispense with some portion of our sleep, that we may be able to take in the precepts of the living doctrine. For when the food is digested, and the mind is under the influence of the silence of night, those things which are seasonably taught abide in it."
Then Peter, being pleased to hear that I understood the purport of his preface, that he had delivered it for our advantage; and commending me, doubtless for the purpose of encouraging, and stimulating me, began to deliver the following discourse: "It seems to me to be seasonable and necessary to have some discussion relating to those things that are near at hand; that is, concerning Simon. For I should wish to know of what character and of what conduct he is. Therefore, if anyone of you has any knowledge of him, let him not fail to inform me; for it is of consequence to know these things beforehand. For if we have it in charge, that when we enter into a city we should first learn who in it is worthy, that we may eat with him, how much more is it proper for us to ascertain who or what sort of man he is to whom the words of immortality are to be committed! For we ought to be careful, yes, extremely careful, that we cast not our pearls before swine.
"But for other reasons also it is of importance that I should have some knowledge of this man. For if I know that in those things concerning which it cannot be doubted that they are good, he is faultless and irreproachable, - that is to say, if he is sober, merciful, upright, gentle, and humane, which no one doubts to be good qualities, - then it will seem to be fitting, that on him who possesses these good virtues, that which is lacking of faith and knowledge should be conferred; and so his life, which is in other respects worthy of approbation, should be amended in those points in which it shall appear to be imperfect. But if he remains wrapped up and polluted in those sins which are manifestly such, it does not become me to speak to him at all of the more secret and sacred things of divine knowledge, but rather to protest and confront him, that he cease from sin, and cleanse his actions from vice. But if he insinuate himself, and lead us on to speak what he, while he acts improperly, ought not to hear, it will be our part to parry him cautiously. For not to answer him at all does not seem proper, for the sake of the hearers, in case perhaps they may think that we decline the contest through want of ability to answer him, and so their faith may be injured through their misunderstanding of our purpose."
When Peter had thus spoken to us, Nicetas asks permission to say something to him; and Peter having granted permission, he says: "With your. Pardon, I beseech you, my Lord Peter, to hear me, who am very anxious for you, and who am afraid in case, in the contest which you have in band with Simon, you should seem to be overmatched. For it very frequently happens that he who defends the truth does not gain the victory, since the hearers are either prejudiced, or have no great interest in the better cause. But over and above all this, Simon himself is a most vehement orator, trained in the dialectic art and in the meshes of syllogisms; and what is worse than all, he is greatly skilled in the magic art. And therefore I fear, test perhaps, being so strongly fortified on every side, he shall be thought to be defending the truth, while he is alleging falsehoods, in the presence of those who do not know him. For neither should we ourselves have been able to escape from him, and to be converted to the Lord, had it not been that, while we were his assistants, and the sharers of his errors, we had ascertained that he was a deceiver and a magician."
When Nicetas had thus spoken, Aquila also, asking that he might be permitted to speak, proceeded in manner following: "Receive, I ask you, most excellent Peter, the assurance of my love towards you; for indeed I also am extremely anxious on your account. And do not blame us in this, for indeed to be concerned for anyone comes of affection; whereas to be indifferent is no less than hatred. But I call God to witness that I feel for you, not as knowing you to be weaker in debate, - for indeed I was never present at any dispute in which you were engaged, - but because I well know the impieties of this man, I think of your reputation, and at the same time the souls of the hearers, and above all, the interests of the truth itself. For this magician is vehement towards all things that he wishes, and wicked above measure. For in all things we know him well, since from boyhood we have been assistants and ministers of his wickedness; and had not the love of God rescued is from him, we should even now be engaged in the same evil deeds with him. But a certain inborn love towards God rendered his wickedness hateful to us, and the worship of God attractive to us. I think also that it was the work of Divine Providence, that we, being first made his associates, should take knowledge how or by what are the effects the prodigies which he seems to work. For who is there that would not be astonished at the wonderful things which he does? Who would not think that he was a God come down from heaven for the salvation of men? For myself, I confess, if I had not known him intimately, and had taken part in his doings, I would easily have been carried away with him. Whence it was no great thing for us to be separated from his society, knowing as we did that he depends on magic arts and wicked devices. But if you also yourself wish to know all about him - who, what, and whence he is, and bow he contrives what he does - then listen.
"This Simon's father was Antonius, and his mother Rachel. By nation he is a Samaritan, from a village of the Gettones; by profession a magician yet exceedingly well trained in the Greek literature; desirous of glory, and boasting above all the human race, so that he wishes himself to be believed to be an exalted power, which is above God the Creator, and to be thought to be the Christ, and to be called the Standing One. And he uses this name as implying that he can never be dissolved, asserting that his flesh is so compacted by the power of his divinity, that it can endure to eternity. Hence, therefore, he is called the Standing One, as though he cannot fall by any corruption.
"For after that John the Baptist was killed, as you yourself also know, when Dositheus had broached his heresy, with thirty other chief disciples, and one woman, who was called Luna - whence also these thirty appear to have been appointed with reference to the number of the days, according to the course of the moon - this Simon ambitious of evil glory, as we have said, goes to Dositheus, and pretending friendship, entreats him, that if anyone of those thirty should die, he should immediately substitute him in room of the dead: for it was contrary to their rule either to exceed the fixed number, or to admit anyone who was unknown, or not yet proved; whence also the rest, desiring to become worthy of the place and number, are eager in every way to please, according to the institutions of their sect each one of those who aspire after admittance into the number, hoping that he may be deemed worthy to be put into the place of the deceased, when, as we have said, anyone dies. Therefore Dositheus, being greatly urged by this man, introduced Simon when a vacancy occurred among the number.
"But not long after he fell in love with that woman whom they call Luna; and he confided all things to us as his friends: how he was a magician, and how he loved Luna, and how, being desirous of glory, he was unwilling to enjoy her ingloriously, but that he was waiting patiently until he could enjoy her honourably; yet so if we also would conspire with him towards the accomplishment of his desires. And he promised that, as a reward of this service, he would cause us to be invested with the highest honours, and we should be believed by men to be gods; "Only, however, on condition,' he says, "that you confer the chief place on me, simon, who by magic are am able to show many signs and prodigies, by means of which either my glory or our sect may be established. For I am able to render myself invisible to those who wish to lay hold of me, and again to be visible when I am willing to be seen. If I wish to flee, I can dig through the mountains, and pass through rocks as if they were clay. If I should throw myself headlong from a lofty mountain, I should be born unhurt to the earth, as if I were held up; when bound, I can loose myself, and bind those who had bound me; being shut up in prison, I can make the barriers open of their own accord; I can render statues animated, so that those who see suppose that they are men. I can make new trees suddenly spring up, and produce sprouts at once. I can throw myself into the fire, and not be burnt; I can change my countenance, so that I cannot be recognised; but I can show people that I have two faces. I shall change myself into a sheep or a goat; I shall make a beard to grow on little boys; I shall ascend by flight into the air; I shall exhibit abundance of gold, and shall make and unmake kings. I shall be worshipped as God; I shall have divine honours publicly assigned to me, so that an image of me shall be set up, and I shall be worshipped and adored as God. And what need of more words? Whatever I wish, that I shall be able to do. For already I have achieved many things by way of experiment. In short,' he says, "once when my mother Rachel ordered me to go to the field to reap, and I saw a sickle lying, I ordered it to go and reap; and it reaped ten times more than the others. Lately, I produced many new sprouts from the earth, and made them bear leaves and produce fruit in a moment; and the nearest mountain I successfully bored through.'
"But when he spoke thus of the production of sprouts and the perforation of the mountain, I was confounded on this account, because he wished to deceive even us, in whom he seemed to place confidence; for we knew that those things bad been from the days of our fathers, which he represented as having been done by himself lately. We then, although we heard these atrocities from him, and worse than these, yet we followed up his crimes, and suffered others to be deceived by him, telling also many lies on his behalf; and this before he did any of the things which he had promised, so that while as yet he had done nothing, he was by some thought to be God.
"Meantime, at the outset, as soon as he was reckoned among the thirty disciples of Dositheus, he began to depreciate Dositheus himself, saying that he did not teach purely or perfectly, and that this was the result not of ill intention, but. Of ignorance. But Dositheus, when he perceived that Simon was depreciating him, fearing in case his reputation among men might be obscured (for he himself was supposed to be the Standing One), moved with rage, when they met as usual at the school, seized a rod, and began to beat Simon; but suddenly the rod seemed to pass through his body, as if it had been smoke. On which Dositheus, being astonished, says to him, "Tell me if you are the Standing One, that I may adore you. ' And when Simon answered that he was, then Dositheus, perceiving that he himself was not the Standing One, fell down and worshipped him, and gave up his own place as chief to Simon, ordering all the rank of thirty men to obey him; himself taking the inferior place which Simon formerly occupied. Not long after this he died.
"Therefore, after the death of Dositheus Simon took Luna to himself; and with her he still goes about, as you see, deceiving multitudes, and asserting that he himself is a certain power which is above God the Creator, while Luna, who is with him, has been brought down from the higher heavens, and that she is Wisdom, the mother of all things, for whom, he says, the Greeks and barbarians contending, were able in some measure to see an image of her; but of herself, as she is, as the dweller with the first and only God, they were wholly ignorant. Propounding these and other things of the same sort, he has deceived many. But I ought also to state this, which I remember that I myself saw. Once, when this Luna of his was in a certain tower, a great multitude had assembled to see her, and were standing around the tower on all sides; but she was seen by all the people to lean forward, and to look out through all the windows of that tower. Many other wonderful things he did and does; so that men, being astonished at them, think that he himself is the great God.
"Now when Niceta and I once asked him to explain to us how these things could be effected by magic art, and what was the nature of that thing, Simon began thus to explain it to us as his associates. "I have,' said he, "made the soul of a boy, unsullied and violently slain, and invoked by unutterable adjurations, to assist me; and by it all is done that I command. ' "But,' said I "is it possible for a soul to do these things?' he answered: "I would have you know this, that the soul of man holds the next place after God, when once it is set free from the darkness of his body. And immediately it acquires prescience: therefore it is invoked for necromancy. ' Then I answered: "Why, then, do not the souls of persons who are slain take vengeance on their slayers?' "Do you not remember,' said he, "that I told you, that when it goes out of the body it acquires knowledge of the future?' "I remember,' said I. "Well, then,' said he, "as soon as it goes out of the body, it immediately knows that there is a judgment to come, and that everyone shall suffer punishment for those evils that he has done; and therefore they are unwilling to take vengeance on their slayers, because they themselves are enduring torments for their own evil deeds which they had done here, and they know that severer punishments await them in the judgment. Moreover, they are not permitted by the angels who preside over them to go out, or to do anything. ' "Them' I replied, "if the angels do not permit them to come here, or to do what they please, how can the souls obey the magician who invokes them?' "It is not,' said he, "that they grant indulgence to the souls that are willing to come: but when the presiding angels are adjured by one greater than themselves, they have the excuse of our violence who adjure them, to permit the souls which we invoke to go out: for they do not sin who suffer violence, but we who impose necessity on them. ' Thereupon Niceta, not able longer to refrain, hastily answered, as indeed I also was about to do, only I wished first to get information from him on several points; but, as I said, Niceta, anticipating me, said: "And do you not fear the day of judgment, who do violence to angels, and invoke souls, and deceive men, and bargain for divine honour to yourself from then? And how do you persuade us that there shall be no judgment, as some of the Jews confess, and that souls are not immortal, as many suppose, though you see them with your very eyes, and receive from them assurance of the divine judgment?'
"At those sayings of his Simon grew pale; but after a little, recollecting himself, he thus answered: "Do not think that I am a man of your race. I am neither magician, nor lover of Luna, nor son of Antonius. For before my mother Rachel and he came together, she, still a virgin, conceived me, while it was in my power to be either small or great, and to appear as a man among men. Therefore I have chosen you first as my friends, for the purpose of trying you, that I may place you first in my heavenly and unspeakable places when I shall have proved you. Therefore I have pretended to be a man, that I might more clearly ascertain if you cherish entire affection towards me. ' But when I heard that, judging him indeed to be a wretch, yet wondering at his impudence; and blushing for him, and at the same time fearing in case he should attempt some evil against us, I beckoned to Niceta to feign for a little along with me, and said to him: "Be not angry with us, corruptible men, O you incorruptible God, but rather accept our affection, and our mind willing to know who God is; for we did not till now know who you are, nor did we perceive that you are he whom we were seeking. '
"As we spoke these and such like words with looks suited to the occasion, this most vain fellow believed that we were deceived; and being thereby the more elated, he added also this: "I shall now be gracious to you, for the affection which you bear towards me as God; for you loved me while you did not know me, and were seeking me in ignorance. But I would not have you doubt that this is truly to be God, when one is able to become small or great as he pleases; for I am able to appear to man in whatever manner I please. Now, then, I shall begin to unfold to you what is true. Once on , I, by my power, turning air into water, and water again into blood, and solidifying it into flesh, formed a new human creature - a boy - and produced a much nobler work than God the Creator. For he created a man from the earth, but I from air - a far more difficult matter; and again I unmade him and restored him to air, but not until I had placed his picture and image in my bed-chamber, as a proof and memorial of my work. ' Then we understood that he spoke concerning that boy, whose soul, after he had been slain by violence, he made use of for those services which he required.
But Peter, hearing these things, said with: tears: "Greatly do I wonder at the infinite patience of God, and, on the other hand, at the audacity of human rashness in some. For what further reason can be found to persuade Simon that God judges the unrighteous, since he persuades himself that he employs the obedience of souls for the service of his crimes? But, in truth, he is deluded by demons. Yet, although he is sure by these very things that souls are immortal, and are judged for the deeds which they have done, and although he thinks that he really sees those things which we believe by faith; though, as I said, he is deluded by demons, yet he thinks that he sees the very substance of the soul. How shall such a man, I say, be brought to confess either that he acts wickedly while he occupies such an evil position, or that he is to be judged for those things which he has done, who, knowing the judgment of God, despises it, and shows himself an enemy to God, and dares commit such horrid things? Therefore it is certain, my brethren, that some oppose the truth and religion of God, not because it appears that those who reason can by no means stand with faith, but because they are either involved in excess of wickedness, or prevented by their own evils, or elated by the swelling of their heart, so that they do not even believe those things which they think that they see with their own eyes.
"But, inasmuch as inborn affection towards God the Creator seemed to suffice for salvation to those who loved him, the enemy studies to pervert this affection in men, and to render them hostile and ungrateful to their Creator. For I call heaven and earth to witness, that if God permitted the enemy to rage as much as he desires, all men should have perished long before now; but for his mercy's sake God does not allow him. But if men would turn their affection towards God, all would doubtless be saved, even if for some faults they might seem to be corrected for righteousness But now the most of men have been made enemies of God, whose hearts the wicked one has entered, and has turned aside towards himself the affection which God the Creator had implanted in them, that they might have it towards him. But of the rest, who seemed for a you to be watchful, the enemy, appearing in a phantasy of glory and splendor, and promising them certain great and mighty things, has caused their mind and heart to wander away from God; yet it is for some just reason that he is permitted to accomplish these things."
"To this Aquila answered: "How, then, are men in fault, if the wicked one, transforming himself into the brightness of light, promises to men greater things than the Creator himself does?" Then Peter answered: "I think," he says "that nothing is more unjust than this; and now listen while I tell you how unjust it is. If your son, whom you have trained and nourished with all care, and brought to man's estate, should be ungrateful to you, and should leave you and go to another, whom perhaps he may have seen to be richer, and should show to him the honour which he owed to you, and, through hope of greater profit, should deny his birth, and refuse you your paternal rights, would this seem to you right or wicked?" Then Aquila answered: "It is manifest to all that it would be wicked." Then Peter said: "If you say that this would be wicked among men, how much more so is it in the case of God, who, above all men, is worthy of honour from men; whose benefits we not only enjoy, but by whose means and power it is that we began to be when we were not, and whom, if we please, we shall obtain from him to be for ever in blessedness! In order, therefore, that the unfaithful may be distinguished from the faithful, and the pious from the impious, it has been permitted to the wicked one to use those arts by which the affections of everyone towards the true Father may be proved. But if there were in truth some strange God, were it right to leave our own God, who created us, and who is our Father and our Maker, and to pass over to another?" "God forbid!" said Aquila. Then said Peter: "How, then, shall we say that the wicked one is the cause of our sin, when this is done by permission of God, that those may be proved and condemned in the day of judgment, who, allured by greater promises, have abandoned their duty towards their true Father and Creator; while those who have kept the faith and the love of their own Father, even with poverty, if so it has befallen, and with tribulation, may enjoy heavenly gifts and immortal dignities in his kingdom But we shall expound these things more carefully at another time. Meantime I desire to know what Simon did after this."
And Niceta answered: "When he perceived that we had found him out, having spoken to one another concerning his crimes we left him, and came to Zacchaeus, telling him those same things which we have now told to you. But he, receiving us most kindly, and instructing us concerning the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, enrolled us in the number of the faithful." When Niceta had done speaking, Zacchaeus, who had gone out a little before, entered, saying, "It is you, O Peter, that yon proceed to the disputation; for a great crowd, collected in the court of the house, is awaiting you, in the midst of whom stands Simon, supported by many attendants." Then Peter, when he heard this, ordering me to withdraw for the sake of prayer (for I had not yet been washed from the sins which I had committed in ignorance), said to the rest, "Brethren, let its pray that God, for his unspeakable mercy through his Christ, would help me going out on behalf of the salvation of men who have been created by him." Having said this, at, it having prayed, he went forth to the court of the house, in which a great multitude of people were assembled; and when he saw them all looking intently on him in profound silence, and Simon the magician standing in the midst of them like a standard-bearer, he began in manner following.
"Peace be to all of you who are prepared to give your right hands to truth: for whosoever are obedient to it seem indeed themselves to confer some favour on God; whereas they do themselves obtain from him the gift of his greatest bounty, walking in his paths of righteousness. Therefore the first duty of all is to enquire, into the righteousness of God and his kingdom; his righteousness, that we may be taught to act rightly; his kingdom, that we may know what is the reward appointed for labour and patience; in which kingdom there is indeed a bestowal of eternal good things on the good, but on those who have acted contrary to the will of God, a worthy infliction of penalties in proportion to the doings of everyone. It becomes you, therefore, while you are here, - that is, while you are in the present life, - to ascertain the will of God, while there is opportunity also of doing it. For if anyone, before he amends his doings, wishes to investigate concerning things which he cannot discover, such investigation will be foolish and ineffectual. For the time is short, and the judgment of God shall be occupied with deeds, not questions. Therefore before all things enquire into this, what or how we must act that we may merit to obtain eternal life.
"For if we occupy the short time of this life with vain and useless questions, we shall without doubt go into the presence of God empty and void of good works, when, as I have said, our works shall be brought into judgment. For everything has its own you and place. This is the place, this the you of works; the world to come, that of recompenses. That we may not therefore be entangled, by changing the order of places and times, let us enquire, in the first place, what is the righteousness of God; so that, like persons going to set out on a journey, we may be filled with good works as with abundant provision, so that we may be able to come to the kingdom of God, as to a very great city. For to those who think aright, God is manifest even by the operations of the world which he has made, using the evidence of his creation; and therefore, since there ought to be no doubt about God, we have now to enquire only about his righteousness and his kingdom. But if our mind suggest to us to make any enquiry concerning secret and hidden things before we enquire into the works of righteousness, we ought to render to ourselves a reason, because if acting well we shall merit to obtain salvation: then, going to God chaste and clean, we shall be filled with the Holy Spirit, and shall know all things that are secret and hidden, without any caviling of questions; whereas now, even if anyone should spend the whole of his life in enquiring into these things, he not only shall not be able to find them, but shall involve himself in greater errors, because he did not first enter through the way of righteousness, and strive to reach the haven of life.
"And therefore I advise that his righteousness be first enquired into, that, pursuing our journey through it, and placed in the way of truth, we may be able to find the true Prophet, running not with swiftness of foot, but with goodness of works, and that, enjoying his guidance, we may be under no danger of mistaking the way. For if under his guidance we shall merit to enter that city to which we desire to come, all things concerning which we now enquire we shall see with our eyes, being made, so to speak, heirs of all things. Understand, therefore, that the way is this course of our life; the travelers are those who do good works; the gate is the true Prophet, of whom we speak; the city is the kingdom in which dwells the Almighty Father, whom only those can see who are of pure heart. Let us not then think the labour of this journey hard, because at the end of it there shall be rest. For the true Prophet himself also from the beginning of the world, through the course of time, hurries to rest. For he is present with us at all times; and if at any you it is necessary, he appears and corrects us, that he may bring to eternal life those who obey him. Therefore this is my judgment, as also it is the pleasure of the true Prophet, that enquiry should first be made concerning righteousness, by those especially who profess that they know God. If therefore anyone has anything to propose which he thinks better, let him speak; and when he has spoken, let him hear, but with patience and quietness: for in order to this at the first, by way of salutation, I prayed for peace to you all."
To this Simon answered: "We have no need of your peace; for if there be peace and concord, we shall not be able to make any advance towards the discovery of truth. For robbers and debauchees have peace among themselves, and every wickedness agrees with itself; and if we have met with this view, that for the sake of peace we should give assent to all that is said, we shall confer no benefit on the hearers; but. On the contrary, we shall impose on them, and shall depart friends. Therefore, do not invoke peace, but rather battle, which is the mother of peace; and if you can, exterminate errors. And do not seek for friendship obtained by unfair admissions; for this I would have you know, above all, that when two fight with each other, then there will be peace when one has been defeated and has fallen. And therefore fight as best you can, and do not expect peace without war, which is impossible; or if it can be attained, show us how."
To this Peter answered: "Hear with all attention, O men, what we say. Let us suppose that this world is a great plain, and that from two states, whose kings are at variance with each other, two generals were sent to fight: and suppose the general of the good king gave this counsel, that both armies should without bloodshed submit to the authority of the better king, whereby all should be safe without danger; but that the opposite general should say, No, but we must fight; that not he who is worthy, but who is stronger, may reign, with those who shall escape; - which, I ask you, would you rather choose? I doubt not but that you would give your hands to the better king, with the safety of all. And I do not now wish, as Simon says I do, that assent should be given for the sake of peace to those things that are spoken amiss, but that truth be sought out, with quietness and order.
"For some, in the contest of disputations, when they perceive that their error is confuted, immediately begin, for the sake of making good their retreat, to create a disturbance, and to stir up strifes, that it may not be manifest to all that they are defeated; and therefore I frequently ask that the investigation of the matter in dispute may be conducted with all patience and quietness, so that if perhaps anything seem to be not rightly spoken, it may be allowed to go back over it, and explain it more distinctly. For sometimes a thing may be spoken in one way and heard in another, while it is either advanced too obscurely, or not attended to with sufficient care; and on this account I desire that our conversation should be conducted patiently, so that neither should the one snatch it away from the other, nor should the unseasonable speech of one contradicting interrupt the speech of the other; and that we should not cherish the desire of finding fault, but that we should be allowed, as I have said, to go over again what has not been clearly enough spoken, that by fairest examination the knowledge of the truth may become clearer. For we ought to know, that if anyone is conquered by the truth, it is not he that is conquered, but the ignorance which is in him, which is the worst of all demons; so that he who can drive it out receives the palm of salvation. For it is our purpose to benefit the hearers, not that we may conquer badly, but that we may be well conquered for the acknowledgment of the truth. For if our speech be actuated by the desire of seeking the truth, even although we shall speak anything imperfectly through human frailty, God in his unspeakable goodness will fill up secretly in the understandings of the hearers those things that are lacking. For he is righteous; and according to the purpose of everyone, he enables some to find easily what they seek, while to others he renders even that obscure which is before their eyes. Since, then, the way of God is the way of peace, let us with peace seek the things which are God's. If anyone has anything to advance in answer to this, let him do so; but if there is no one who wishes to answer, I shall begin to speak, and I myself shall bring forward what another may object to me, and shall refute it."
When therefore Peter had begun to continue his discourse, simon, interrupting his speech, said: "Why do you hasten to speak whatever you please? I understand your tricks. You wish to bring forward those matters whose explanation you have well studied, that you may appear to the ignorant crowd to be speaking well; but I shall not allow you this subterfuge. Now therefore, since you promise, as a brave man, to answer to all that anyone chooses to bring forward, be pleased to answer me in the first place." Then Peter said: "I am ready, only provided that our discussion may be with peace." Then Simon said: "Do not you see, O simpleton, that in pleading for peace you act in opposition to your Master, and that what you propose is not suitable to him who promises that he will overthrow ignorance? Or, if you are right in asking peace from the audience, then your Master was wrong in saying, "I have not come to send peace on earth, but a sword. For either you say well, and he not well; or else, if your Master said well, then you not at all well: for you do not understand that your statement is contrary to his, whose disciple you profess yourself to be."
Then Peter: "Neither he who sent me did amiss in sending a sword on the earth, nor do I act contrary to him in asking peace of the hearers. But you both unskillfully and rashly find fault with what you do not understand: for you have heard that the Master came not to send peace on earth; but that he also said, "Blessed are the peace-makers, for they shall be called the very sons of God," you have not heard. Therefore my sentiments are not different from those of the Master when I recommend peace, to the keepers of which he assigned blessedness." Then Simon said: "In your desire to answer for your Master, O Peter, you have brought a much more serious charge against him, if he himself came not to make peace, yet enjoined on others to keep it. Where, then, is the consistency of that other saying of his, "it is enough for the disciple that he be as his master? ""
To this Peter answered: "Our Master, who was the true Prophet, and ever mindful of himself, neither contradicted himself, nor enjoined on us anything different from what himself practiced. For whereas he said, "I am not come to send peace on earth, but a sword; and from now on you shall see father separated from son, son from father, husband from wife and wife from husband, mother from daughter and daughter from mother, brother from brother, father-in-law from daughter-in-law friend from friend,' all these contain the doctrine of peace; and; will tell you how. At the beginning of his preaching, as wishing to invite and lead all to salvation, and induce them to bear patiently labours and trials, he blessed the poor, and promised that they should obtain the kingdom of heaven for their endurance of poverty, in order that under the influence of such a hope they might bear with equanimity the weight of poverty, despising covetousness; for covetousness is one, and the greatest, of most pernicious sins. But he promised also that the hungry and the thirsty should be satisfied with the eternal blessings of righteousness, in order that they might bear poverty patiently, and not be led by it to undertake any unrighteous work. In the same way. Also, he said that the pure in heart are blessed, and that thereby they should see God, in order that everyone desiring so great a good might keep himself from evil and polluted thoughts.
"Thus, therefore, our Master, inviting his disciples to patience, impressed on those who the blessing of peace was also to be preserved with the labour of patience. But, on the other hand, he mourned over those who lived in riches and luxury, who bestowed nothing on the poor; proving that they must render an account, because they did not pity their neighbours, even when they were in poverty, whom they ought to I love as themselves. And by such sayings as these he brought some indeed to obey him, but others he rendered hostile. The believers therefore, and the obedient, he charges to have peace among themselves. And says to them, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the very sons of God. ' But to those who not only did not believe, but set themselves in opposition to his doctrine, he proclaims the war of the word and of confutation, and says that "from now on you shall see son separated from father, and husband from wife, and daughter from mother. And brother from brother, and daughter-in-law from mother-in-law, and a man's foes shall be they of his own house. ' For in every house, when there begins to be a difference betwixt believer and unbeliever, there is necessarily a contest: the unbelievers, on the one hand. Fighting against the faith; and the believers on the other, confuting the old error and the vices of sins in them.
"In the same way, also, during the last period of his teaching, he wages war against the scribes and Pharisees, charging them with evil deeds and unsound doctrine, and with hiding the key of knowledge which they had handed down to them from Moses, by which the gate of the heavenly kingdom might be opened. But when our Master sent us forth to preach, he commanded as, that into whatever city or house we should enter, we should say, "Peace be to this house. ' "And if,' said He, "a son of peace be there, your peace shall come on him; but if there be not, your peace shall return to you. ' Also that, going out from that house or city, we should shake off on them the very dust which adhered to our feet. But it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city or house. ' This indeed he commanded to be done at length, if first the word of truth be preached in the city or house, whereby they who receive the faith of the truth may become sons of peace and sons of God; and those who will not receive it may be convicted as enemies of peace and of God.
"Thus, therefore, we, observing the commands of our Master, first offer peace to our hearers, that the way of salvation may be known without any tumult. But if anyone do not receive the words of peace, nor acquiesce in the truth, we know how to direct against him the war of the word, and to rebuke him sharply by confuting his ignorance and charging home on him his sins. Therefore of necessity we offer peace, that if anyone is a son of peace, our peace may come on him; but from him who makes himself an enemy of peace, our peace shall return to ourselves. We do not therefore, as you say, propose peace by agreement with the wicked, for indeed we should immediately have given you the right hand; but only in order that, through our discussing quietly and patiently, it might be more easily ascertained by the hearers which is the true speech. But if you differ and disagree with yourself, how shall you stand? He must of necessity fall who is divided in himself; "for every kingdom divided against itself shall not stand. ' If you have anything to say to this, say on."
Then said Simon: "I am astonished at your folly. For you so propound the words of your Master, as if it were held to be certain concerning him that he is a prophet; while I can very easily prove that he often contradicted himself. In short, I shall refute you from those words which you have yourself brought forward. For you say, that he said that every kingdom or every city divided in itself shall not stand; and elsewhere you say, that he said that he would send a sword, that he might separate those who are in one house, so that son shall be divided from father, daughter from mother, brother from brother; so that if there be five in one house, three shall be divided against two, and two against three. If, then, everything that is divided falls, he who makes divisions furnishes causes of falling; and if he is such, assuredly he is wicked. Answer this if you can."
Then Peter: "Do not rashly take exception, O Simon, against the things which you do not understand. In the first place, I shall answer your assertion, that I set forth the words of my Master, and from them resolve matters about which there is still doubt. Our Lord, when he sent us apostles to preach, enjoined us to teach all nations the things which were committed to us. We cannot therefore speak those things as they were spoken by himself. For our commission is not to speak, but to teach those things, and from them to show how everyone of them rests on truth. Nor, again, are we permitted to speak anything of our own. For we are sent; and of necessity he who is sent delivers the message as he has been ordered, and sets forth the will of the sender. For if I should speak anything different from what he who sent me enjoined me, I should be a false apostle, not saying what I am commanded to say, but what seems good to myself. Whoever does this, evidently wishes to show himself to be better than he is by whom he is sent, and without doubt is a traitor. If, on the contrary, he keeps by the things that he is commanded, and brings forward most clear assertions of them, it will appear that he is accomplishing the work of an apostle; and it is by striving to fulfill this that I displease you. Blame me not, therefore, because I bring forward the words of him who sent me. But if there is anything in those who is not fairly spoken, you have liberty to confute me; but this can in no way be done, for he is a prophet, and cannot be contrary to himself. But if you do not think that he is a prophet, let this be first enquired into."
Then said Simon: "I have no need to learn this from you, but how these things agree with one another. For if he shall be shown to be inconsistent, he shall be proved at the same time not to be a prophet." Then says Peter: "But if I first show him to be a prophet, it will follow that what seems to be inconsistency is not such. For no one can be proved to be a prophet merely by consistency, because it is possible for many to attain this; but if consistency does not make a prophet, much more inconsistency does not. Because, therefore, there are many things which to some seem inconsistent, which yet have consistency in them on a more profound investigation; as also other things which seem to have consistency, but which, being more carefully discussed, are found to be inconsistent; for this reason I do not think there is any better way to judge of these things than to ascertain in the first instance whether he be a prophet who has spoken those things which appear to be inconsistent. For it is evident that, if he be found a prophet, those things which seem to be contradictory must have consistency, but are misunderstood. Concerning these things, therefore, proofs will be properly demanded. For we apostles are sent to expound the sayings and affirm the judgments of him who has sent us; but we are not commissioned to say anything of our own, but to unfold the truth, as I have said, of his words."
Then Simon said: "Instruct us, therefore, how it can be consistent that he who causes divisions, which divisions cause those who are divided to fall, can either seem to be good, or to have come for the salvation of men." Then Peter said: "I will tell you how our Master said that every, kingdom and every house divided against itself cannot stand; and whereas he himself did this, see how it makes for salvation. By the word of truth he certainly divides the kingdom of the world, which is founded in error, and every home in it, that error may fall, and truth may reign. But if it happen to any house, that error, being introduced by anyone, divides the truth, then, where error has gained a footing, it is certain that truth cannot stand." Then Simon said: "But it is uncertain whether your master divides error or truth." Then Peter: "That belongs to another question; but if you are agreed that everything which is divided falls, it remains that I show, if only you will hear in peace, that our Jesus has divided and dispelled error by teaching truth."
Then said Simon: "Do not repeat again and again your talk of peace, but expound briefly what it is that you think or believe." Peter answered: "Why are you afraid of hearing frequently of peace? or do you not know that peace is the perfection of law? For wars and disputes spring from sins; and where there is no sin, there is peace of soul; but where there is peace, truth is found in disputations, righteousness in works." Then Simon: "You seem to me not to be able to profess what you think." Then Peter: "I shall speak, but according to my own judgment, not under constraint of your tricks. For I desire that what is salutary and profitable be brought to the knowledge of all and therefore I shall not delay to state it as briefly as possible. There is one God; and he is the Creator of the world. A righteous judge, rendering to everyone at some time or other according to his deeds. But now for the assertion of these things I know that countless thousands of words can be called forth."
Then Simon said: "I admire, indeed, the quickness of your wit, yet I do not embrace the error of your faith. For you have wisely foreseen that you may be contradicted; and you have even politely confessed, that for the assertion of these things countless thousands of words will be called forth, for no one agrees with the profession of your faith. In short, as to there being one God, and the world being his work, who can receive this doctrine? Neither, I think, anyone of the Pagans, even if he be an unlearned man, and certainly no one of the philosophers; but not even the rudest and most wretched of the Jews, nor I myself, who am well acquainted with their law." Then Peter said: "Put aside the opinions of those who are not here, and tell us face to face what is your own." Then Simon said: "I can state what I really think; but this consideration makes me reluctant to do so, that if I say what is neither acceptable to you, nor seems right to this unskilled rabble, you indeed, as confounded, will immediately shut your ears, that they may not he polluted with blasphemy, indeed, and will take to flight because yon cannot find an answer; while the unreasoning populace will assent to you, and embrace you as one teaching those things which are commonly received among them; and will curse me, as professing things new and unheard of, and instilling my error into the minds of others."
Then Peter: "Are not you making use of long preambles, as you accused us of doing, because you have no truth to bring forward? or if you have, begin without circumlocution, if you have so much confidence. And if, indeed, what you say be displeasing to anyone of the hearers, he will withdraw; and those who remain shall be compelled by your assertion to approve what is true. Begin, therefore, to expound what seems to yon to be right." Then Simon said: "I say that there are many gods; but that there is one incomprehensible and unknown to all, and that he is the God of all these gods." Then Peter answered: "This God whom you assert to he incomprehensible and unknown to all, can you prove his existence from the Scriptures of the Jews, which are held to be of authority, or from some others of which we are all ignorant, or from the Greek authors, or from your own writings? Certainly you are at liberty to speak from whatever writings you please, yet so that you first show that they are prophetic; for so their authority will be held without question."
Then Simon said: "I shall make use of assertions from the Law of the Jews only. For it is manifest to all who take interest in religion, that this law is of universal authority, yet that everyone receives the understanding of this law according to his own judgment. For it has so been written by him who created the world, that the faith of things is made to depend on it. Whence, whether anyone wishes to bring forward truth, or anyone to bring forward falsehood, no assertion will be received without this law. Inasmuch, therefore, as my knowledge is most fully in accordance with the law, I rightly declared that there are many gods, of whom one is more eminent than the rest, and incomprehensible, even he who is God of gods. But that there are many gods, the Law itself informs me. For, in the first place, it says this in the passage where one in the figure of a serpent speaks to Eve, the first woman, "On the day you eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall be as gods, that is, as those who made man; and after they have tasted of the tree, God himself testifies, saying to the rest of the gods, "Behold, Adam is become as one of us;' thus, therefore, it is manifest that there were many gods engaged in the making of man. Also, whereas at the first God said to the other gods, "Let us make man after our image and likeness;' also his saying, "Let us drive him out;' and again, "Come, let us go down, and confound their language;' all these things indicate that there are many gods. But this also is written, "You shall not curse the gods, nor curse the chief of your people;' and again this writing, "God alone led them, and there was no strange God with them,' shows that there are many gods. There are also many other testimonies which might be adduced from the law, not only obscure, but plain, by which it is taught that there are many gods. One of these was chosen by lot, that he might be the God of the Jews. But it is not of him that I speak, but of that God who is also his God, whom even the Jews themselves did not know. For he is not their God, but the God of those who know him."
When Peter had heard this, he answered: "Fear nothing, simon: for you see, we have neither shut our ears, nor fled; but we answer with words of truth to those things which you have spoken falsely, asserting this first, that there is one God, even the God of the Jews, who is the only God, the Creator of heaven and earth, who is also the God of all those whom you call gods. If, then, I shall show you that none is superior to him, but that he himself is above all, you will confess that your error is above all." Then Simon said: "Why, indeed, though I should be unwilling to confess it, would not the hearers who stand by charge me with unwillingness to profess the things that are true?"
"Listen, then," says Peter, "that you may know, first of all, that even if there are many gods, as you say, they are subject to the God of the Jews, to whom no one is equal, than whom no one can be greater; for it is written that the prophet Moses thus spoke to the Jews: "The Lord your God is the God of gods, and the Lord of lords, the great God. ' Thus, although there are many that are called gods, yet he who is the God of the Jews is alone called the God of gods. For not everyone who is called God is necessarily God. Indeed, even Moses is called a God to Pharaoh, and it is certain that he was a man; and judges were called gods, and it is evident that they were mortal. The idols also of the Gentiles are called gods, and we all know that they are not; but this has been inflicted as a punishment on the wicked, that because they would not acknowledge the true God, they should regard as God whatever form or image should occur to them. Because they refused to receive the knowledge of the One who, as I said, is God of all, therefore it is permitted to them to have as gods those who can do nothing for their worshippers. For what can either dead images or living creatures confer on men, since the power of all things is with One?
"Therefore the name God is applied in three ways: either because he to whom it is given is truly God, or because be is the servant of him who is truly; and for the honour of the sender, that his authority may be full, he that is sent is called by the name of him who sends, as is often done in respect of angels: for when they appear to a man, if he is a wise and intelligent man, he asks the name of him who appears to him, that he may acknowledge at once the honour of the sent, and the authority of the sender. For every nation has an angel, to whom God has committed the government of that nation; and when one of these appears, although he be thought and called God by those over whom he presides, yet, being asked, he does not give such testimony to himself. For the Most High God, who alone holds the power of all things, has divided all the nations of the earth into seventy-two parts, and over these he has appointed angels as princes. But to the one among the archangels who is greatest, was committed the government of those who, before all others, received the worship and knowledge of the Most High God. But holy men also, as we have said, are made gods to the wicked, as having received the power of life and death over them, as we mentioned above with respect to Moses and the judges. Therefore it is also written concerning them, "You shall not curse the gods, and you shall not curse the prince of your people. ' Thus the princes of the several nations are called gods. But Christ is God of princes, who is Judge of all. Therefore neither angels, nor men, nor any creature, can be truly gods, since they are placed under authority, being created and changeable: angels, for they were not, and are; men, for they are mortal; and every creature, for it is capable of dissolution, if only he dissolve it who made it. And therefore he alone is the true God, who not only himself lives, but also bestows life on others, which he can also take away when it pleass him.
"Therefore the Scripture exclaims in name of the God of the Jews, saying, "Behold, behold, seeing that I am God, and there is none else besides me, I will kill, and I will make alive; I will smite, and I will heal; and there is none who can deliver out of my hands. ' See therefore how, by some inexpressible virtue, the Scripture, opposing the future errors of those who should affirm that either in heaven or on earth there is any other God besides him who is the God of the Jews, decides thus: "The Lord your God is one God, in heaven above, and in the earth beneath; and besides him there is none else. ' How, then, have you dared to say that there is any other God besides him who is the God of the Jews? And again the Scripture says, "Behold, to the Lord your God belong the heaven, and the heaven of heavens, the earth, and all things that are in them: nevertheless I have chosen your fathers, that I might love them, and you after them. ' Thus that judgment is supported by the Scripture on every side, that he who created the world is the true and only God.
"But even if there be others, as we have said, who are called gods, they are under the power of the God of the Jews; for thus says the Scripture to the Jews, "The Lord our God, he is God of gods, and Lord of lords. ' him alone the Scripture also commands to be worshipped, saying, "You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve;' and, "Hear, O lsrael: the Lord your God is one God. ' Yes, also the saints, filled with the Spirit of God, and bedewed with the drops of his mercy, cried out, saying, "Who is like you among the gods? O Lord, who is like you?' And again, "Who is God, but the Lord; and who is God, but our Lord?' Therefore Moses, when he saw that the people were advancing, by degrees initiated them in the understanding of the monarchy and the faith of one God, as he says in the following words: "You shall not make negation of the names of other gods;' doubtless remembering with what penalty the serpent was visited, which had first named gods. For it is condemned to feed on dust, and is judged worthy of such food, for this reason. That it first of all introduced the name of gods into the world. But if you also wish to introduce many gods, see that you partake not the serpent's doom.
"For be sure of this. That you shall not have us participators in this attempt; nor will we suffer ourselves to be deceived by you. For it will not serve us for an excuse in the judgment, if we say that you deceived us; because neither could it excuse the first woman, that she had unhappily believed the serpent; but she was condemned to death, because she believed badly. For this reason therefore, Moses, also commending the faith of one God to the people, says, "Take heed to yourself, that you be not seduced from the Lord your God. ' Observe that he makes use of the same word which the first woman also made use of in excusing herself, saying that she was seduced; but it profited her nothing. But over and above all this, even if some true prophet should arise, who should perform signs and miracles, but should wish to persuade us to worship other gods besides the God of the Jews, we should never be able to believe him. For so the divine law has taught us, handing down a secret injunction more purely by means of tradition, for thus it says: "If there arise among you a prophet, or one dreaming a dream, and give you signs or wonders, and these signs or wonders come to pass, and he say to you, Let us go and worship strange gods, whom you know not; you shall not hear the words of that prophet, nor the dream of that dreamer, because proving he has proved you, that he may see if you love the "Lord your God. '
"Therefore also our Lord, who performed signs and wonders, preached the God of the Jews; and therefore we are right in believing what he preached. But as for you, even if you were really a prophet, and performed signs and wonders, as you promise to do, if you were to announce other gods besides him who is the true God, it would be manifest that you were raised up as a trial to the people of God; and therefore you can by no means be believed. For he alone is the true God, who is the God of the Jews; and for this reason our Lord Jesus Christ did not teach those who they must enquire after God, for him they knew well already, but that they must seek his kingdom and righteousness, which the scribes and Pharisees, having received the key of knowledge, had not shut in, but shut out. For if they had been ignorant of the true God, surely he would never have left the knowledge of this thing, which was the chief of all, and blamed them for small and little things, as for enlarging their fringes, and claiming the uppermost rooms in feasts, and praying standing in the highways, and such like things; which assuredly, in comparison of this great charge, ignorance of God, seem to be small and insignificant matters."
To this Simon replied: "From the words of your master I shall refute you, because even he introduces to all men a certain God who was known. For although both Adam knew the God who was his Creator, and the maker of the world; and Enoch knew him, inasmuch as he was translated by him; and Noah, since he was ordered by him to construct the ark; and although Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and Moses, and all, even every people and all nations, know the maker of the world, and confess him to be a God, yet your Jesus, who appeared long after the patriarchs, says: "No one knows the Son, but the Father; neither knows anyone the Father, but the Son, and he to whom the Son has been pleased to reveal him. ' Thus, therefore, even your Jesus confesses that there is another God, incomprehensible and unknown to all.
Then Peter says: "You do not perceive that you are making statements in opposition to yourself. For if our Jesus also knows him whom you call the unknown God. Then he is not known by you alone. Yes, if our Jesus knows him, then Moses also, who prophesied that Jesus should come, assuredly could not himself be ignorant of him. For he was a prophet; and he who prophesied of the Son doubtless knew the Father. For if it is in the option of the Son to reveal the Father to whom he will, then the Son, who has been with the Father from the beginning, and through all generations, as he revealed the Father to Moses, so also to the other prophets; but if this be so, it is evident that the Father has not been unknown to any of them. But how could the Father be revealed to you, who do not believe in the Son, since the Father is known to none except him to whom the Son is pleased to reveal him? But the Son reveals the Father to those who honour the Son as they honour the Father."
Then Simon said: "Remember that you said that God has a son, which is doing him wrong; for how can he have a son, unless he is subject to passions, like men or animals? But on these points there is not time now to show your profound folly, for I hasten to make a statement concerning the immensity of the supreme light; and so now listen. My opinion is, that there is a certain power of immense and inexpressible light, whose greatness may be held to be incomprehensible, of which power even the maker of the world is ignorant, and Moses the lawgiver, and Jesus your master."
Then Peter: "Does it not seem to you to be madness, that anyone should take on himself to assert that there is another God than the God of all; and should say that he supposes there is a certain power, and should presume to affirm this to others, before he himself is sure of what he says? Is anyone so rash as to believe your words, of which he sees that you are yourself doubtful, and to admit that there is a certain power unknown to God the Creator, and to Moses, and the prophets, and the law, and even to Jesus our Master, which power is so good, that it will not make itself known to any but to one only, and that one such a person as you! Then, further, if that is a new power, why does it not confer on us some new sense, in addition to those five which we possess, that by that new sense. Bestowed on us by it, we may be able to receive and understand itself which is new? Or if it cannot bestow such a sense on us, how has it bestowed it on you? Or if it has revealed itself to you, why not also to us? But if you of yourself understand things which not even the prophets were able to perceive or understand, come, tell us what each one of us is thinking now; for if there is such a spirit in you that you know those things which are above the heavens, which are unknown to all, and incomprehensible by all, much more easily do you know the thoughts of men on the earth. But if you cannot know the thoughts of us who are standing here, how can you say that you know those things which, you assert, are known to none?
"But believe me, that you could never know what light is unless you had received both vision and understanding from light itself; so also in other things. Hence, having received understanding, you are framing in imagination something greater and more sublime, as if dreaming, but deriving all your hints from those five senses, to whose Giver you are unthankful. But be sure of this, that until you find some new sense which is beyond those five which we all enjoy, you cannot assert the existence of a new God." Then Simon answered: "Since all things that! exist are in accordance with those five senses, that power which is more excellent than all cannot add anything new." Then Peter said: "It is false; for there is also a sixth sense, namely that of foreknowledge: for those five senses are capable of knowledge, but the sixth is that of foreknowledge: and this the prophets possessed. How, then, can you know a God who is unknown. To all, who do not know the prophetic sense, which is that of prescience?" Then Simon began to say: "This power of which I speak, incomprehensible and more excellent than all, yes, even than that God who made the world, neither any of the angels has known, nor of the demons, nor of the Jews, no, nor any creature which subsists by means of God the Creator. How, then, could that Creator's law teach me that which the Creator himself did not know, since neither did the Law itself know it, that it might teach it?"
Then Peter said: "I wonder how you have been able to learn more from the Law than the Law was able to know or to teach; and how you say that you adduce proofs from the Law of those things which you are pleased to assert, when you declare that neither the law, nor he who gave the Law - that is, the Creator of the world - knows those things of which you speak! But this also I wonder at, how you, who alone know these things, should be standing here now with us all, circumscribed by the limits of this small court." Then Simon, seeing Peter and all the people laughing, said: "Do you laugh, Peter, while so great and lofty matters are under discussion?" Then said Peter: "Be not enraged, simon, for we are doing no more than keeping our promise: for we are neither shutting our ears, as you said, nor did we take to flight as soon as we heard you propound your unutterable things; but we have not even stirred from the place. For indeed you do not even propound things that have any resemblance to truth, which might to a certain extent frighten us. Yet, at all events, disclose to us the meaning of this saying, how from the Law you have learned of a God whom the Law itself does not know. And of whom he who gave the Law is ignorant." Then Simon said: "If you have done laughing, I shall prove it by clear assertions." Then Peter said: "Assuredly I shall give over, that I may learn from you how you have learned from the Law what neither the Law nor the God of the Law himself knows."
Then says Simon: "Listen: it is manifest to all, and ascertained in a way of which no account can be given, that there is one God, who is better than all, from whom all that is took its beginning; whence also of necessity, all things that are after him are subject to him, as the chief and most excellent of all. When, therefore, I had ascertained that the God who created the world, according to what the Law teachers, is in many respects weak, whereas weakness is utterly incompatible with a perfect God, and I saw that he is not perfect, I necessarily concluded that there is another God who is perfect. For this God, as I have said, according to what the writing of the Law teaches, is shown to be weak in many things. In the first place, because the man whom he formed was not able to remain such as be had intended him to be; and because he cannot be good who gave a law to the first man, that he should eat of all the trees of paradise, but that he should not touch the tree of knowledge; and if be should eat of it, be should die. For why should he forbid him to eat, and to know what is good and what evil, that, knowing, he might shun the evil and choose the good? But this he did not permit; and because he did eat in violation of the commandment, and discovered what is good, and learned for the sake of honour to cover his nakedness (for he perceived it to be improper to stand naked before his Creator), he condemns to death him who had learned to do honour to God, and curses the serpent who had shown him these things. But truly, if man was to be injured by this means, why did he place the cause of injury in paradise at all? But if that which he placed in paradise was good, it is not the part of one that is good to restrain another from good.
"Thus then, since he who made man and the world is, according to what the Law relates, imperfect, we are given to understand, without doubt, that there is another who is perfect. For it is of necessity that there be one most excellent of all, on whose account also every creature keeps its rank. Whence also I, knowing that it is every way necessary that there be some one more benignant and more powerful than that imperfect God who gave the law, understanding what is perfect from comparison of the imperfect, understood even from the Scripture that God who is not mentioned there. And in this way I was able, O Peter, to learn from the Law what the Law did not know. But even if the Law had not given indications from which it might be gathered that the God who made the world is imperfect, it was still possible for me to infer from those evils which are done in this world, and are not corrected, either that its Creator is powerless, if be cannot correct what is done amiss; or else, if he does not wish to remove the evils, that he is himself evil; but if he neither can nor will, that he is neither powerful nor good. And from this it cannot but be concluded that there is another God more excellent and more powerful than all. If you have anything to say to this, say on."
Peter answered: "O Simon, they tend to conceive such absurdities against God who do not read the Law with the instruction of masters, but account themselves teachers, and think that they can understand the law, though he has not explained it to them who has learned of the Master. Nevertheless now, that we also may seem to follow the book of the Law according to your apprehension of it; inasmuch as you say that the Creator of the world is shown to be both impotent and evil, how is it that you do not see that that power of yours, which you say is superior to all, fails and lies under the very same charges? For the very same thing may be said of it, that it is either powerless, since it does not correct those things which here are done amiss; or if it can and will not, it is evil; or if it neither can nor will, then it is both impotent and imperfect. Whence that new power of yours is not only found liable to a similar charge, but even to a worse one, if, in addition to all these things, it is believed to be, when it is not. For he who created the world, his existence is manifest by his very operation in creating the world, as you yourself also confess. But this power which you say that you alone know, affords no indication of itself, by which we might perceive, at least, that it is, and subsists.
"What kind of conduct, then, would it be that we should forsake God, in whose world we live and enjoy all things necessary for life, and follow I do not know whom, from whom we not only obtain no good, but cannot even know that he exists? Nor truly does he exist. For whether you call him light, and brighter than that light which we see, you borrow that very name from the Creator of the world; or whether you say that he is a substance above all, you derive from him the idea with enlargement of speech. Whether you make mention of mind, or goodness, or life, or whatever else, you borrow the words from him. Since, then, you have nothing new concerning that power you speak of, not only as regards understanding, but even in respect of naming him, how do you introduce a new God, for whom you cannot even find a new name? For not only is the Creator of the world called a Power, but even the ministers of his glory, and all the heavenly host. Do you not then think it better that we should follow our Creator God, as a Father who trains us and endows us as he knows how? But if, as you say, there be some God more benignant than all, it is certain that he will not be angry with us; or if he be angry, he is evil. For if our God is angry and punishes, he is not evil, but righteous, for he corrects and amends his own sons. But he who has no concern with us, if he shall punish us, how should he be good? Inflicting punishments on us because we have not been drawn by vain imaginations to forsake our own Father and follow him, how can you assert that he is so good, when he cannot be regarded as even just?"
Then Simon: "Do you so far err, Peter, as not to know that our souls were made by that good God, the most excellent of all, but they have been brought down as captives into this world?" To this Peter answered: "Then he is not unknown by all, as you said a little while ago; and yet how did the good God permit his souls to be taken captive, if he be a power over all?" Then Simon said: "He sent God the Creator to make the world; and he, when he had made it, gave out that himself was God." Then Peter said: "Then be is not, as you said, unknown to him who made the world; nor are souls ignorant of him, if indeed they were stolen away from him. To whom, then, can he be unknown, if both the Creator of the world know him, as having been sent by him; and all souls I know him, as baring been violently withdrawn from him? Then, further, I wish you would tell us whether he who sent the Creator of the world did not know that he would not keep faith? For if he did not know it, then he was not prescient; while if he foreknew it, and suffered it, he is himself guilty of this deed, since he did not prevent it; but if he could not, then he is not omnipotent. But if, knowing it as good, he did not prohibit it, he is found to be better, who presumed to do that which he who sent him did not know to be good."
Then Simon said: "He receives those who will come to him, and does them good." Peter answered: "But there is nothing new in this; for he whom you acknowledge to be the Creator of the world also does so." Then Simon: "But the good God bestows salvation if he is only acknowledged; but the Creator of the world demands also that the Law be fulfilled." Then said Peter: "He saves adulterers and men-slayers, if they know him; but good, and sober, and merciful persons, if they do not know him, in consequence of their having no information concerning him, he does not save! Great and good truly is he whom you proclaim, who is not so much the Saviour of the evil, as he is one who shows no mercy to the good." Then Simon: "It is truly very difficult for man to know him, as long as he is in the flesh; for blacker than all darkness, and heavier than all clay, is this body with which the soul is surrounded." Then says Peter: "That good God of yours demands things which are difficult; but he who is truly God seeks easier things. Let him then, since he is so good, leave us with our Father and Creator; and when once we depart from the body, and leave that darkness that you speak of, we shall more easily know him; and then the soul shall better understand that God is its Creator, and shall remain with him, and shall no more be harassed with diverse imaginations; nor shall wish to betake itself to another power, which is known to none but Simon only, and which is of such goodness that no one can come to it, unless he be first guilty of impiety towards his own father! I do not know how this power can be called either good or just, which no one can please except by acting impiously towards him by whom he was made!"
Then Simon: "It is not impious for the sake of greater profit and advantage to rice to him who is of richer glory." Then Peter: "If, as you say, it is not impious to flee to a stranger, it is at all events much more pious to remain with our own father, even if he be poor. But if you do not think it impious to leave our father, and flee to another, as being better than he; and you do not believe that our Creator will take this amiss; much more the good God will not be angry, because, when we were strangers to him, we have not fled to him, but have remained with our own Creator. Yes, I think he will rather commend us the more for this, that we have kept faith with God our Creator; for he will consider that, if we had been his creatures, we should never have been seduced by the allurements of any other to forsake him. For if anyone, allured by richer promises, shall leave his own father and betake himself to a stranger, it may be that he will leave him in his turn, and go to another who shall promise him greater things, and this the rather because he is not his son, since he could leave even him who by nature was his father." Then Simon said: "But what if souls are from him, and do not know him, and he is truly their father?"
Then Peter said: "You represent him as weak enough. For if, as you say, he is more powerful than all, it can never be believed the weaker wrenched the spoils from the stronger. Or if God the Creator was able by violence to bring down souls into this world, how can it be that, when they are separated from the body and freed from the bonds of captivity, the good God shall call them to the sufferance of punishment, on the ground that they, either through his remissness or weakness, were dragged away to this place, and were involved in the body, as in the darkness of ignorance? You seem to me not to know what a father and a God is: but I could tell you both whence souls are, and when and how they were made; but it is not permitted to me now to disclose these things to you, who are in such error in respect of the knowledge of God." Then said Simon: "A time will come when you shall be sorry that you did not understand me speaking of the inexpressible power." Then said Peter: "Give us then, as I have often said, as being yourself a new God, or as having yourself come down from him, some new sense, by means of which we may know that new God of whom you speak; for those five senses, which God our Creator has given us, keep faith to their own Creator, and do not perceive that there is any other God, for so their nature necessitates them."
To this Simon answered: "Apply your mind to those things which I am going to say, and cause it, walking in peaceable paths, to attain to those things which I shall demonstrate. Listen now, therefore. Did you never in thought reach forth your mind into regions or islands situated far away, and remain so fixed in them, that you could not even see the people that were before you, or know where yourself were sitting, by reason of the delightfulness of those things on which yon were gazing?" And Peter said: "It is true, simon, this has often occurred to me." Then Simon said: "In this way now reach forth your sense into heaven, yes above the heaven, and behold that there must be some place beyond the world, or outside the world, in which there is neither heaven nor earth, and where no shadow of these things produces darkness; and consequently, since there are neither bodies in it, nor darkness occasioned by bodies, there must of necessity be immense light; and consider of what sort that light must be, which is never succeeded by darkness. For if the light of this sun fills this whole world, how great do you suppose that bodiless and infinite light to be? So great, doubtless, that this light of the sun would seem to be darkness and not light, in comparison."
When Simon thus spoke, Peter answered: "Now listen patiently concerning both these matters, that is, concerning the example of stretching out the senses, and concerning the immensity of light. I know that I myself, O Simon, have sometimes in thought extended my sense, as you say, into regions and islands situated afar off, and have seen them with my mind not less than if it had been with my eyes. When I was at Capernaum, occupied in the taking of fishes, and sat on a rock, holding in my hand a hook attached to a line, and fitted for deceiving the fishes, I was so absorbed that I did not feel a fish adhering to it while my mind eagerly ran through my beloved Jerusalem, to which I had frequently gone up, waking, for the sake of offerings and prayers. But I was accustomed also to admire this Caesarea, hearing of it from others, and to long to see it; and I seemed to myself to see it, although I had never been in it; and I thought of it what was suitable to be thought of a great city, its gates, walls, baths, streets, lanes, markets, and the like, in accordance with what I had seen in other cities; and to such an extent was I delighted with the intentness of such inspection, that, as you said, neither saw one who was present and standing by me, nor knew where myself was sitting." Then said Simon: "Now you say well."
Then Peter: "In short, when I did not perceive, through the occupation of my mind, that I had caught a very large fish which was attached to the hook, and that although it was dragging the hook-line from my hand, my brother Andrew. Who was sitting by me, seeing me in a reverie and almost ready to fall, thrusting his elbow into my side as if he would awaken me from sleep, said: "Do you not see, Peter, what a large fish you have caught? Are you out of your senses, that you are thus in a stupor of astonishment? Tell me, what is the matter with you?' But I was angry with him for a little, because he had withdrawn me from the delight of those things which I was contemplating; then I answered that I was not suffering from any malady, but that I was mentally gazing on the beloved Jerusalem, and at the same time on Caesarea; and that, while I was indeed with him in the body, in my mind I was wholly carried away there. But he, I do not know whence inspired, uttered a hidden and secret word of truth.
"Give over,' he says, "O Peter. What is it that you are doing? For those who are beginning to be possessed with a demon, or to be disturbed in their minds, begin in this way. They are first carried away by fancies to some pleasant and delightful things, then they are poured out in vain and fond motions towards things which have no existence. Now this happens from a certain disease of mind, by reason of which they do not see the things which are, but long to bring to their sight those which are not. But thus it happens also to those who are suffering frenzy, and seem to themselves to see many images, because their soul, being torn and withdrawn from its place by excess of cold or of heat, suffers a failure of its natural service. But those also who are in distress through thirst, when they fall asleep, seem to themselves to see rivers and fountains, and to drink; but this befalls them through being distressed by the dryness of the unmoistened body. Therefore it is certain that this occurs through some ailment either of the soul or body. '
"In short, that you may receive the faith of the matter; concerning Jerusalem, which I had often seen, I told my brother what places and what gatherings of people I had seemed to myself to see. But also concerning Caesarea, which I had never seen, I nevertheless contended that it was such as I had conceived it in my mind and thought. But when I came here, and saw nothing at all like to those things which I had seen in phantasy, I blamed myself, and observed distinctly, that I had assigned to it gates, and walls, and buildings from others which I had seen, taking the likeness in reality from others. Nor indeed can anyone imagine anything new, and of which no form has ever existed. For even if anyone should fashion from his imagination bulls with five heads, he only forms them with five heads out of those which he has seen with one head. And you therefore, now, if truly you seem to yourself to perceive anything with your thought, and to look above the heavens, there is no doubt but that you imagine them from those things which you see, placed as you are on the earth. But if you think that there is easy access for your mind above the heavens, and that you can conceive the things that are there, and to apprehend knowledge of that immense light, I think that for him who can comprehend these things, it were easier to throw his sense, which knows how to ascend there, into the heart and breast of some one of us who stand by, and to tell what thoughts he is cherishing in his breast. If therefore you can declare the thoughts of the heart of anyone of us, who is not pre-engaged in your favour, we shall perhaps be able to believe you, that you can know those things that are above the heavens, although these are much loftier."
To this Simon replied: "O you who have woven a web of many frivolities, listen now. It is impossible that anything which comes into a man's thoughts should not also subsist in truth and reality. For things that do not subsist, have no appearances; but things that have no appearances, cannot present themselves to our thoughts." Then said Peter: "If everything that can come into our thoughts has a subsistence, then, with respect to that place of immensity which you say is outside the world, if one thinks in his heart that it is light, and another that it is darkness, how can one and the same place be both light and darkness, according to their different thoughts concerning it?" Then said Simon: "Let pass for the present what I have said; and tell us what you suppose to be above the heavens."
Then said Peter: "If you believed concerning the true fountain of light, I could instruct you what and of what sort is that which is immense, and should render, not a vain fancy, but a consistent and necessary account of the truth, and should make use, not of sophistical assertions, but testimonies of the Law and nature, that you might know that the Law especially contains what we ought to believe in regard to immensity. But if the doctrine of immensity is not unknown to the law, then assuredly, nought else can be unknown to it; and therefore it is a false supposition of yours, that there is anything of which the Law is not cognizant. Much more shall nothing be unknown to him who gave the law. Yet I cannot speak anything to you of immensity and of those things which are without limit, unless first you either accept our account of those heavens which are bounded by a certain limit, or else propound your own account of them. But if you cannot understand concerning those which are comprehended within fixed boundaries, much more can you neither know nor learn anything concerning those which are without limit."
To this Simon answered: "It seems to me to be better to believe simply that God is, and that that heaven which we see is the only heaven in the whole universe." But Peter said: "Not so; but it is proper to confess one God who truly is; but that there are heavens, which were made by him, as also the Law says, of which one is the higher, in which also is contained the visible firmament; and that that higher heaven is perpetual and eternal, with those who dwell in it; but that this visible heaven is to be dissolved and to pass away at the end of the world, in order that that heaven which is older and higher may appear after the judgment to the holy and the worthy." To this Simon answered: "That these things are so, as you say, may appear to those who believe them; but to him who seeks for reasons of these things, it is impossible that they can be produced from the law, and especially concerning the immensity of light."
Then Peter: "Do not think that we say that these things are only to be received by faith, but also that they are to be asserted by reason. For indeed it is not safe to commit these things to bare faith without reason, since assuredly truth cannot be without reason. And therefore he who has received these things fortified by reason, call never lose them; whereas he who receives them without proofs, by an assent to a simple statement of them, can neither keep them safely, nor is certain if they are true; because he who easily believes, also easily yields. But he who has sought reason for those things which he has believed and received, as though bound by chains of reason itself, can never be torn away or separated from those things which he has believed. And therefore, according as anyone is more anxious in demanding a reason, by so much will he be the firmer in preserving his faith."
To this Simon replied: "It is a great thing which you promise, that the eternity of boundless light can be shown from the law." And when Peter said, "I shall show it whenever you please," Simon answered: "Since now it is a late hour, I shall stand by you and oppose you tomorrow; and if you can prove that this world was created, and that souls are immortal, you shall have me to assist you in your preaching." When he had said thus, he departed, and was followed by a third part of all the people who had conic with him, who were about one thousand men. But the rest with bended knees prostrated themselves before Peter; and he, invoking on them the name of God, cured some who had demons, healed others who were sick, and so dismissed the people rejoicing, commanding them to come early the next day. But Peter, when the crowds had withdrawn, commanded the table to be spread on the ground, in the open air, in the court where the disputation had been held, and sat down together with those eleven; but I dined reclining with some others who also had made a beginning of hearing I the word of God, and were greatly beloved.
But Peter, most benignantly regarding me, in case perhaps that separation might cause me sorrow, says to me: "It is not from pride, O Clement, that I do not eat with those who have not yet been purified; but I fear in case perhaps I should injure myself, and do no good to them. For this I would have you know for certain, that everyone who has at any time worshipped idols, and has adored those whom the pagans call gods, or has eaten of the things sacrificed to them, is not without an unclean spirit; for he has become a guest of demons, and has been partaker with that demon of which he has formed the image in his mind, either through fear or love. And by these means he is not free from an unclean spirit, and therefore needs the purification of baptism, that the unclean spirit may go out of him, which has made its abode in the inmost affections of his soul, and what is worse, gives no indication that it lurks within, for fear it should be exposed and expelled.
"For these unclean spirits love to dwell in the bodies of men, that they may fulfill their own desires by their service, and, inclining the motions of their souls to those things which they themselves desire, may compel them to obey their own lusts, that they may become wholly vessels of demons. One of whom is this Simon, who is seized with such disease, and cannot now be healed, because he is sick in his will and purpose. Nor does the demon dwell in him against his will; and therefore, if anyone would drive it out of him, since it is inseparable from himself, and, so to speak, has now become his very soul, he should seem rather to kill him, and to incur the guilt of manslaughter. Let no one of you therefore be saddened at being separated from eating with us, for everyone ought to observe that it is for just so long a time as he pleases. For he who wishes soon to be baptised is separated but for a little time, but he for a longer who wishes to be baptised later. Everyone therefore has it in his own power to demand a shorter or a longer time for his repentance; and therefore it lies with you, when you wish it, to come to our table; and not with us, who are not permitted to take food with anyone who has not been baptised. It is rather you, therefore, who hinder us from eating with you, if you interpose delays in the way of your purification, and defer your baptism." Having said thus, and having blessed, he took food. And afterwards, when he had given thanks to God, he went into the house and went to bed; and we all did the like, for it was now night.
Meantime Peter, rising at the crowing of the cock, and wishing to rouse us, found us awake, the evening light still burning; and when, according to custom, he had saluted us, and we had all sat down, he thus began. "Nothing is more difficult, brethren, than to reason concerning the truth in the presence of a mixed multitude of people. For that which is may not be spoken to all as it is, on account of those who hear wickedly and treacherously; yet it is not proper to deceive, on account of those who desire to hear the truth sincerely. What, then, shall he do who has to address a mixed multitude? Shall he conceal what is true? How, then, shall he instruct those who are worthy? But if he set forth pure truth to those who do not desire to obtain salvation, he does injury to him by whom he has been sent, and from whom he has received commandment not to throw the pearls of his words before swine and dogs, who, striving against them with arguments and sophisms, roll them in the mud of carnal understanding, and by their barkings and base answers break and weary the preachers of God's word. Therefore I also, for the most part, by using a certain circumlocution, endeavour to avoid publishing the chief knowledge concerning the Supreme Divinity to unworthy ears." Then, beginning from the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, he briefly and plainly expounded to us, so that all of us hearing him wondered that men have forsaken the truth, and have turned themselves to vanity.
But when the day had dawned, some one came in and said: "There is a very great multitude waiting in the court, and in the midst of them stands Simon, endeavouring to preoccupy the ears of the people with most wicked persuasions." Then Peter, immediately going out, stood in the place where he had disputed the day before, and all the people turning to him with joy, gave heed to him. But when Simon perceived that the people rejoiced at the sight of Peter, and were moved to love him, he said in confusion: "I wonder at the folly of then, who call me a magician, and love Peter; whereas, having knowledge of me of old, they ought to love me rather. And therefore from this sign those who have sense may understand that Peter may rather seem to be the magician, since affection is not born to me, to whom it is almost due from acquaintance, but is abundantly expended on him, to whom it is not due by any familiarity."
While Simon was talking on in this style, Peter, having saluted the people in his usual way. Thus answered: "O Simon, his own conscience is sufficient for everyone to confute him; but if you wonder at this, that those who are acquainted with yon not only do not love you but even hate you, learn the reason from me. Since you are a seducer yon profess to proclaim the truth; and on this account you had many friends who had a desire to learn the truth. But when they saw in you things contrary to what you professed, they being, as I said, lovers of truth, began not only not to love you, but even to hate you. But yet they did not immediately forsake you, because you still promised that you could show them what is true. As long, therefore, as no one was present who could show them, they bore with you; but since the hope of better instruction has dawned on them, they despise you, and seek to know what they understand to be better. And you indeed, acting by nefarious arts, thought at first that you should escape detection. But you are detected. For you are driven into a corner, and, contrary to your expectation, you are made notorious, not only as being ignorant of the truth, but as being unwilling to hear it from those who know it. For if you had been willing to hear, that saying would have been exemplified in you, of him who said that "there is nothing hidden which shall not be known, nor covered which shall not be disclosed. '"
While Peter spoke these words, and others to the same effect, Simon answered: "I will not have you detain me with long speeches, Peter; I claim from you what you promised yesterday. You then said that you could show that the Law teaches concerning the immensity of the eternal light, and that there are only two heavens, and these created, and that the higher is the abode of that light, in which the inexpressible Father dwells alone for ever; but that after the pattern of that heaven is made this visible heaven, which you asserted is to pass away. You said, therefore, that the Father of all is one, because there cannot be two infinites; otherwise neither of them would be infinite, because in that in which the one subsists, he makes a limit of the subsistence of the other. Since then you not only promised this, but are able to show it from the law, leave off other matters and set about this." Then Peter said: "If I were asked to speak of these things only on your account, who come only for the purpose of contradicting, you should never hear a single discourse from me; but seeing it is necessary that the farmer, wishing to sow good ground, should sow some seeds, either in stony places, or places that are to be trodden of men, or in places filled with brambles and briers (as our Master also set forth, indicating by these the diversities of the purposes of several souls), I shall not delay."
Then said Simon: "You seem to me to be angry; but if it be so, it is not necessary to enter into the conflict." Then Peter: "I see that you perceive that you are to be convicted, and you wish politely to escape from the contest; for what have you seen to have made me angry against you, a man desiring to deceive so great a multitude, and when you have nothing to say, pretending moderation, who also command, indeed, by your authority that the controversy shall be conducted as you please, and not as order demands?" Then Simon: "I shall enforce myself to bear patiently your unskillfulness, that I may show that you indeed wish to seduce the people, but that I teach the truth. But now I refrain from a discussion concerning that boundless light. Answer me, therefore, what I ask of you. Since God, as you say, made all things, what is the source of evil?" Then said Peter: "To put questions in this way is not the part of an opponent, but of a learner. If therefore you wish to learn, confess it; and I shall first teach you how you ought to learn, and when you have learned to listen, then immediately I shall begin to teach you. But if you do not wish to learn, as though you knew all things, I shall first set forth the faith which I preach, and do you also set forth what you think to be true; and when the profession of each of us has been disclosed, let our hearers judge whose discourse is supported by truth." To this Simon answered: "This is a good joke: behold a fellow who offers to teach me! Nevertheless I shall suffer you, and bear with your ignorance and your arrogance. I confess, then, I do wish to learn; let us see how you can teach me."
Then Peter said: "If you truly wish to learn, I then first learn this, how unskillfully you have framed your question; for you say, since God has created all things, whence is evil? But before you asked this, three sorts of questions should have had the precedence: First, whether there be evil? Secondly, what evil is? Thirdly, To whom it is, and whence?" To this Simon answered:" Oh you most unskillful and unlearned, is there any man who does not confess that there is evil in this life? Whence I also, thinking that you had even the common sense of all men, asked, whence evil is; not as wishing to learn, since I know all things, least of all from you, who know nothing, but that I might show you to be ignorant of all things. And that you may not suppose that it is because I am angry that I speak somewhat sternly, know that I am moved with compassion for those who are present, whom you are attempting to deceive." Then Peter said: "The more wicked are you, if you can do such wrong, not being angry; but smoke must rise where there is fire. Nevertheless I shall tell you, in case I should seem to take you up with words, so as not to answer to those things which you have spoken disorderly. You say that all confess the existence of evil, which is truly false; for, first of all, the whole Hebrew nation deny its existence."
Then Simon, interrupting his discourse, said: "They are right who say that there is no evil." Then Peter answered: "We do not propose to speak of this now, but only to state the fact that the existence of evil is not universally admitted. But the second question that you should have asked is, what is evil? - a substance, an accident, or an act? And many other things of the same sort. And after that, towards what, or how it is, or to whom it is evil, - whether to God, or to angels, or to men, to the righteous or the wicked, to all or to some, to one's self or to no one? And then you should enquire, whence it is? - whether from God, or from nothing; whether it has always been, or has had its beginning in time; whether it is useful or useless? and many other things which a proposition of this sort demands." To this Simon answered: "Pardon me; I was in error concerning the first question; but suppose that I now ask first, whether evil is or not?"
Then Peter said: "In what way do you put the question; as wishing to learn, or to teach or for the sake of raising the question? If indeed as wishing to learn, I have something to teach you first, that coining by consequence and the right order of doctrine, yon may understand from yourself what evil is. But if you put the question as an instructor, I have no need to be taught by you, for I have a Master from whom I have learned all things. But if you ask merely for the sake of raising a question and disputing, let each of us first set forth his opinion, and so let the matter be debated. For it is not reasonable that you should ask as one wishing to learn, and contradict as one teaching, so that after my answer it should be in your discretion to say whether I have spoken well or ill. Therefore you cannot stand in the place of a gainsayer and be judge of what we say. And therefore, as I said, if a discussion is to be held, let each of us state his sentiments; and while we are placed in conflict, these religious hearers will be just judges."
Then Simon said: "Does it not seem to you to be absurd that an unskilled people should sit in judgment on our sayings?" Then Peter: "It is not so; for what perhaps is less clear to one, can be investigated by many, for frequently even a popular rumor has the aspect of a prophecy. But in addition to all this, all these people stand here constrained by the love of God, and by a desire to know the truth, and therefore all these are to he regarded as one, by reason of their affection being one and the same towards the truth; as, on the other hand, two are many and diverse, if they disagree with each other. But if you wish to receive an indication how all these people who stand before us are as one man, consider from their very silence and quietness how with all patience, as you see, they do honour to the truth of God, even before they learn it, for they have not yet learned the greater observance which they owe to it. Therefore I hope, through the mercy of God, that he will accept the religious purpose of their mind towards him, and will give the palm of victory to him who preaches the truth, that he may make manifest to them the herald of truth."
Then Simon: "On what subject do you wish the discussion to be held? Tell me, that I also may define what I think, and so the enquiry may begin." And Peter answered: "If indeed, you will do as I think right, I would have it done according to the precept of my Master, who first of all commanded the Hebrew nation, whom he knew to have knowledge of God, and that it is he who made the world, not that they should enquire about him whom they knew, but that, knowing him, they should investigate his will and his righteousness; because it is placed in men's power that, searching into these things, they may find, and do, and observe those things concerning which they are to be judged. Therefore he commanded us to enquire, not whence evil comes, as you asked just now, but to seek the righteousness of the good God, and his kingdom; and all these things, he says, shall be added to you." Then Simon said: "Since these things are commanded to Hebrews, as having a right knowledge of God, and being of opinion that everyone has it in his power to do these things concerning which he is to be judged, - but my opinion differs from theirs, - where do you wish me to begin?"
Then said Peter: "I advise that the first enquiry be, whether it be in our power to know whence we are to be judged." But Simon said: "Not so; but concerning God, about whom all who are present are eager to hear." Then Peter: "You admit, then, that something is in the power of the will: only confess this, if it is so, and let us enquire, as you say, concerning God." To this Simon answered: "By no means" Then Peter said: "If, then, nothing is in our power, it is useless for us to enquire anything concerning God, since it is not in the power of those who seek to find; hence I said well, that this should be the first enquiry, whether anything is in the power of the will." Then said Simon: "We cannot even understand this that you say, if there is anything in the power of the will." But Peter, seeing that he was turning to contention, and, through fear of being overcome, was confounding all things as being in general uncertain, answered: "How then do you know that it is not in the power of man to know anything, since this very thing at least you know?"
Then Simon said: "I do not know whether I know even this; for everyone, according as it is decreed to him by fate, either does, or understands, or suffers." Then Peter said: "See, my brethren, into what absurdities Simon has fallen, who before my coining was teaching that men have it in their power to be wise and to do what they will, but now, driven into a corner by the force of my arguments, he denies that man has any power either of perceiving or of acting; and yet he presumes to profess himself to be a teacher! But tell me how then God judges according to truth everyone for his doings, if men have it not in their own power to do anything? If this opinion he held, all things are torn up by the roots; vain will be the desire of following after goodness; yes, even in vain do the judges of the world administer laws and punish those who do amiss, for they had it not in their power not to sin; vain also will be the laws of nations which assign penalties to evil deeds. Miserable also will those be who labouriously keep righteousness; but blessed those who, living in pleasure, exercise tyranny, living in luxury and wickedness. According to this. Therefore, there can be neither righteousness, nor goodness, nor any virtue, nor, as you would have it, any God. But, O Simon, I know why you have spoken thus: truly because you wished to avoid enquiry, in case you should be openly confuted; and therefore you say that it is not in the power of man to perceive or to discern anything. But if this had really been your opinion, you would not surely, before my coming, have professed yourself before the people to be a teacher. I say, therefore, that man is under his own control." Then said Simon: "What is the meaning of being under his own control? Tell us." To this Peter: "If nothing can he learned, why do you wish to hear?" And Simon said: "You have nothing to answer to this."
Then said Peter: "I shall speak, not as under compulsion from you, but at the request of the hearers. The power of choice is the sense of the soul, possessing a quality by which it can be inclined towards what acts it wills." Then Simon, applauding Peter for what he had spoken, said: "Truly you have expounded it magnificently and incomparably, for it is my duty to bear testimony to your speaking well. Now if you will explain to me this which I now ask you, in all things else I shall submit to you. What I wish to learn, then, is this: if what God wishes to be, is; and what he does not wish to be, is not. Answer me this." Then Peter: "If you do not know that you are asking an absurd and incompetent question, I shall pardon you and explain; but if you are aware that yon are asking inconsequently, you do not well." Then Simon said: "I swear by the Supreme Divinity, whatever that may be, which judges and punishes those who sin, that I do not know what I have said inconsequently, or what absurdity there is in my words, that is, in those that I have just uttered."
To this Peter answered: "Since, then, you confess that you are ignorant, now learn. Your question demanded our deliverance on two matters that are contrary to one another. For every motion is divided into two parts, so that a certain part is moved by necessity, and another by will; and those things which are moved by necessity are always in motion, those which are moved by will, not always. For example, the sun's motion is performed by necessity to complete its appointed circuit, and every state and service of heaven depends on necessary motions. But man directs the voluntary motions of his own actions. And thus there are some things which have been created for this end, that in their services they should he subject to necessity, and should be unable to do anything else than what has been assigned to them; and when they have accomplished this service, the Creator of all things. Who thins arranged them according to his will, preserves them. But there are other things, in which there is a power of will, and which have a free choice of doing what they will. These, as I have said, do not remain always in that order in which they were created: but according as their will leads them, and the judgment of their mind inclines them, they effect either good or evil; and therefore he has proposed rewards to those who do well, and penalties to those who do evil.
You say, therefore, if God wishes anything to he, it is; and if he do not wish it, it is not. But if I were to answer that what he wishes is, and what he wishes not is not, you would say that then he wishes the evil things to be which are done in the world, since everything that he wishes is, and everything that he wishes not is not. But if I had answered that it is not so that what God wishes is, and what he wishes not is not, then you would retort on me that God must then be powerless, if he cannot do what he wills; and you would be all the more petulant, as thinking that you had got a victory, though had said nothing to the point. Therefore you are ignorant, O Simon, yes very ignorant, how the will of God acts in each individual case. For some things, as we have said, he has so willed to be, that they cannot be otherwise than as they are ordained by him; and to these he has assigned neither rewards nor punishments; but those which he has willed to be so that they have it in their power to do what they will, he has assigned to them according to their actions and their wills, to earn either rewards or punishments. Since, therefore, as I have informed you, all things that are moved are divided into two parts, according to the distinction that I formerly stated, everything that God wills is, and everything that he wills not is not.
To this Simon answered: "Was not he able to make us all such that we should be good, and that we should not have it in our power to be otherwise?" Peter answered: "This also is an absurd question. For if he had made us of an unchangeable nature and incapable of being moved away from good, we should not be really good, because we could not be anything else; and it would not be of our purpose that we were good; and what we did would not be ours, but of the necessity of our nature. But how can that be called good which is not done of purpose? And on this account the world required long periods, until the number of souls which were predestined to fill it should be completed, and then that visible heaven should be folded up like a scroll, and that which is higher should appear, and the souls of the blessed, being restored to their bodies, should be ushered into light; but the souls of the wicked, for their impure actions being surrounded with fiery spirit, should be plunged into the abyss of unquenchable fire, to endure punishments through eternity. Now that these things are so, the true Prophet. Has testified to us; concerning whom, if you wish to know that he is a prophet, I shall instruct you by innumerable declarations. For of those things which were spoken by him, even now everything that he said is being fulfilled; and those things which he spoke with respect to the future are believed to be about to be fulfilled, for faith is given to the future from those things which have already come to pass."
But Simon, perceiving that Peter was clearly assigning a reason from the head of prophecy, from which the whole question is settled, declined that the discourse should take this turn; and thus answered: "Give me an answer to the questions that I put, and tell me, if that visible heaven is. As you say, to be dissolved, why was it made at first?" Peter answered: "It was made for the sake of this present life of men, that there might be some sort of interposition and separation, in case any unworthy one might see the habitation of the celestials and the abode of God himself, which are prepared in order to be seen by those only who are of pure heart. But now, that is in the time of the conflict, it has pleased him that those things be invisible, which are destined as a reward to the conquerors." Then Simon said: "If the Creator is good, and the world is good, how shall he who is good ever destroy that which is good? But if he shall destroy that which is good, how shall he himself be thought to be good? But if he shall dissolve and destroy it as evil, how shall he not appear to be evil, who has made that which is evil?"
To this Peter replied: "Since we have promised not to run away from your blasphemies, we endure them patiently, for you shall yourself render an account for the things that you speak. Listen now, therefore. If indeed that heaven which is visible and transient had been made for its own sake, there would have been some reason in what you say, that it ought not to be dissolved. But if it was made not for its own sake, but for the sake of something else, it must of necessity be dissolved, that that for which it seems to have been made may appear. As I might say, by way of illustration, however fairly and carefully the shell of the egg may seem to have been formed, it is yet necessary that it be broken and opened, that the chick may issue from it, and that may appear for which the form of the whole egg seems to have been moulded. So also, therefore, it is necessary that the condition of this world pass away, that that sublimer condition of the heavenly kingdom may shine forth."
Then Simon: "It does not seem to me that the heaven, which has been made by God, can be dissolved. For things made by the Eternal One are eternal, while things made by a corruptible one are temporary and decaying." Then Peter: "It is not so. Indeed corruptible and temporary things of all sorts are made by mortal creatures; but the Eternal does not always make things corruptible, nor always incorruptible; but according to the will of God the Creator, so will be the things which he creates. For the power of God is not subject to law, but his will is law to his creatures." Then Simon answered: "I call you back to the first question. You said now that God is visible to no one; but when that heaven shall be dissolved, and that superior condition of the heavenly kingdom shall shine forth, then those who are pure in heart shall see God; which statement is contrary to the law, for there it is written that God said, "None shall see my face and live. '"
Then Peter answered: "To those who do not read the Law according to the tradition of Moses, my speech appears to be contrary to it; but I will show you how it is not contradictory. God is seen by the mind, not by the body; by the spirit, not by the flesh. Whence also angels, who are spirits, see God; and therefore men, as long as they are men, cannot see him. But after the resurrection of the dead, when they shall have been made like the angels, they shall be able to see God. And thus my statement is not contrary to the law; neither is that which our Master said, "Blessed are they of a pure heart, for they shall see God. ' For he showed that a time shall come in which of men shall be made angels, who in the spirit of their mind shall see God." After these and many similar sayings, Simon began to assert with many oaths, saying: "Concerning one thing only render me a reason, whether the soul is immortal, and I shall submit to your will in all things. But let it be tomorrow, for today it is late." When therefore Peter began to speak, Simon went out, and with him a very few of his associates; and that for shame. But all the rest, turning to Peter, on bended knees prostrated themselves before him; and some of those who were afflicted with diverse sicknesses, or invaded by demons, were healed by the prayer of Peter, and departed rejoicing, as having obtained at once the doctrine of the true God, and also his mercy. When therefore the crowds had withdrawn, and only we his attendants remained with him, we sat down on couches placed on the ground, each one recognising his accustomed place, and having taken food, and given thanks to God, we went to sleep.
But on the following day, Peter, as usual, rising before dawn, found us already awake and ready to listen; and thus began: "I ask you, my brethren and fellow-servants, that if any of you is not able to wake, he should not torment himself through respect to my presence, because sudden change is difficult; but if for a long time one gradually accustoms himself, that will not be distressing which comes of use. For we had not all the same training; although in course of time we shall be able to be moulded into one habit, for they say that custom holds the place of a second nature. But I call God to witness that I am not offended, if anyone is not able to wake; but rather by this, if, when anyone sleeps all through the night, he does not in the course of the day fulfill that which he omitted in the night. For it is necessary to give heed intently and unceasingly, to the study of doctrine, that our mind may be filled with the thought of God only: because in the mind which is filled with the thought of God, no place will be given to the wicked one."
When Peter spoke thus to us, everyone of us eagerly assured him, that before now we were awake, being satisfied with short sleep, but that we were afraid to arouse him, because it did not become the disciples to command the master; "and yet even this O Peter we had almost ventured to take on ourselves, because our hearts, agitated with longing for your words, drove sleep wholly from our eves. But again our affection towards you opposed it, and did not allow us violently to rouse you." Then Peter said: "Since therefore you assert that you are willingly awake through desire of hearing, I wish to repeat to you more carefully, and to explain in their order, the things that were spoken yesterday without arrangement. And this I propose to do throughout these daily disputations, that by night, when privacy of time and place is afforded, I shall unfold in correct order, and by a straight line of explanation, anything that in the controversy has not been stated with sufficient fullness." And then he began to point out to us how the yesterday's discussion ought to have been conducted, and how it could not be so conducted on account of the contentiousness or the unskillfulness of his opponent; and how therefore he only made use of assertion, and only overthrew what was said by his adversary, but did not expound his own doctrines either completely or distinctly. Then repeating the several matters to us, he discussed them in regular order and with full reason.
But when the day began to be light, after prayer he went out to the crowds and stood in his accustomed place, for the discussion; and seeing Simon standing in the middle of the crowd, he saluted the people in his usual way, and said to them: "I confess that I am grieved with respect to some men, who come to us in this way that they may learn something, but when we begin to teach them, they profess that they themselves are masters, and while indeed they ask questions as ignorant persons, they contradict as knowing trees. But perhaps a person may say, that he who puts a question, puts it indeed in order that he may learn, but when that which he hears does not seem to him to be right, it is necessary that he should answer, and that seems to he contradiction which is not contradiction, but further enquiry.
"Let such a one then hear this: The teaching of all doctrine has a certain order, and there are some things which must be delivered first, others in the second place, and others in the third, and so all in their order; and if these things be delivered in their order, they become plain; but if they be brought forward out of order, they will seem to be spoken against reason. And therefore order is to be observed above all things, if we seek for the purpose of finding what we seek. For he who enters rightly on the road, will observe the second place in due order, and from the second will more easily find the third; and the further he proceeds, so much the more will the way of knowledge become open to him, until he arrive at the city of truth, where he is bound, and which he desires to reach. But he who is unskillful, and knows not the way of enquiry, - as a traveler in a foreign country, ignorant and wandering, if he will not employ a native of the country as a guide, - undoubtedly when he has strayed from the way of truth, shall remain outside the gates of life, and so, involved in the darkness of black night, shall walk through the paths of perdition. Inasmuch therefore, as, if those things which are to be sought, be sought in an orderly manner, they can most easily be found, but the unskillful man is ignorant of the order of enquiry, it is right that the ignorant man should yield to the knowing one, and first learn' the order of enquiry, that so at length he may find the method of asking and answering.
To this Simon replied: "Then truth is not the property of all, but of those only who know the art of disputation, which is absurd; for it cannot be, since he is equally the God of all, that all should not be equally able to know his will." Then Peter: "All were made equal by him, and to all he has given equally to be receptive of truth. But that none of those who are born, are born with education, but education is subsequent to birth, no one can doubt. Since, therefore, the birth of men holds equity in this respect, that all are equally capable of receiving discipline, the difference is not in nature, but in education. Who does not know that the things which anyone learns, he was ignorant of before he learned them?" Then Simon said: "You say truly." Then Peter said "If then in those arts which are in common use, one first learns and then teaches, how much more ought those who profess to be the educators of souls, first to learn, and so to teach, that they may not expose themselves to ridicule, if they promise to afford knowledge to others, when they themselves are unskillful?" Then Simon: "This is true in respect of those arts which are in common use; but in the word of knowledge, as soon as anyone has heard, he has learned."
Then said Peter: "If indeed one hear in an orderly and regular manner he is able to know what is true; but he who refuses to submit to the rule of a reformed life and a pure conversation, which truly is the proper result of knowledge of the truth, will not confess that he knows what he does know. For this is exactly what we see in the case of some who, abandoning the trades which they learned in their youth, betake themselves to other performances, and by way of excusing their own sloth, begin to find fault with the trade as unprofitable." Then Simon: "Ought all who hear to believe that whatever they hear is true?" Then Peter: "Whoever hears an orderly statement of the truth, cannot by any means gainsay it, but knows that what is spoken is true, provided he also willingly submit to the rules of life. But those who, when they hear, are unwilling to betake themselves to good works, are prevented by the desire of doing evil from acquiescing in those things which they judge to be right. Hence it is manifest that it is in the power of the hearers to choose which of the two they prefer. But if all who hear were to obey, it would be rather a necessity of nature, leading all in one way. For as no one can be persuaded to become shorter or taller, because the force of nature does not permit it; so also, if either all were converted to the truth by a word, or all were not converted, it would be the force of nature which compelled all in the one case, and none at all in the other, to be converted."
Then said Simon: "Inform us, therefore, what he who desires to know the truth must first learn." Then Peter: "Before all things it must be enquired what it is possible for man to find out. For of necessity the judgment of God turns on this, if a man was able to do good and did it not. And therefore men must enquire whether they have it in their power by seeking to find what is good, and to do it when they have found it; for this is that for which they are to be judged. But more than this there is no occasion for anyone but a prophet to know: for what is the need for men to know how the world was made? This, indeed, would be necessary to be learned if we had to enter on a similar construction. But now it is sufficient for us, in order to the worship of God, to know that he made the world; but how he made it is no subject of enquiry for us, because, as I have said, it is not incumbent on us to acquire the knowledge of that art, as though we were about to make something similar. But neither are we to be judged for this, why we have not learned how the world was made, but only for that, if we be without knowledge of its Creator. For we shall know that the Creator of the world is the righteous and good God, if we seek him in the paths of righteousness. For if we only know regarding him that he is good, such knowledge is not sufficient for salvation. For in the present life not only the worthy, but also the unworthy, enjoy his goodness and his benefits. But if we believe him to be not only good, but also righteous, and if, according to what we believe concerning God, we observe righteousness in the whole course of our life, we shall enjoy his goodness for ever. In a word, to the Hebrews, whose opinion concerning God was that he is only good, our Master said that they should seek also his righteousness; that is, that they should know that he is good indeed in this present time, that all may live in his goodness, but that he shall be righteous at the day of judgment, to bestow eternal rewards on the worthy, from which the unworthy shall be excluded.
Then Simon asked, "How can one and the same being be both good and righteous?" Peter answered: "Because without righteousness, goodness would be unrighteousness; for it is the part of a good God to bestow his sunshine and rain equally on the just and the unjust; but this would seem to be unjust, if he treated the good and the bad always with equal fortune, and were it not that he does it for the sake of the fruits, which all may equally enjoy who are born in this world. But as the rain given by God equally nourishes the corn and the tares, but at the time of harvest the crops are gathered into the barn, but the chaff or the tares are burnt in the fire, so in the day of judgment, when the righteous shall be introduced into the kingdom of heaven, and the unrighteous shall be cast out, then also the justice of God shall be shown. For if he remained for ever alike to the evil and the good, this would not only not be good, but even unrighteous and unjust; that the righteous and the unrighteous should be held by him in one order of desert."
Then said Simon: "The one point on which I should wish to be satisfied is, whether the soul is immortal; for I cannot take up the burden of righteousness unless I know first concerning the immortality of the soul; for indeed if it is not immortal, the profession of your preaching cannot stand." Then said Peter: "Let us first enquire whether God is just; for if this were ascertained, the perfect order of order of religion would straight-way be established." Then Simon: "With all your boasting of your knowledge of the order of discussion, you seem to me now to have answered contrary to order; for when I ask you to show whether the soul is immortal, you say that we must first enquire whether God is just." Then said Peter: "That is perfectly right and regular." Simon: "I should wish to learn how."
"Listen, then," said Peter: "Some men who are blasphemers against God, and who spend their whole life in injustice and pleasure die in their own bed and obtain honourable burial; while others who worship God, and maintain their life frugally with all honesty and sobriety, die in deserted places for their observance of righteousness, so that they are not even thought worthy of burial. Where, then, is the justice of God, if there be no immortal soul to suffer punishment in the future for impious deeds, or enjoy rewards for piety and rectitude?" Then Simon said: "It is this indeed that makes me incredulous, because many well-doers perish miserably, and again many evil-doers finish long lives in happiness."
Then said Peter: "This very thing which draws you into incredulity, affords to us a certain conviction that there shall be a judgment. For since it is certain that God is just, it is a necessary consequence that there is another world, in which everyone receiving according to his deserts, shall prove the justice of God. But if all men were now receiving according to their deserts, we should truly seem to be deceivers when we say that there is a judgment to come; and therefore this very fact, that in the present life a return is not made to everyone according to his deeds, affords, to those who know that God is just, an indubitable proof that there shall be a judgment." Then said Simon: "Why, then, am I not persuaded of it?" Peter: "Because you have not heard the true Prophet saying, "Seek first his righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. '"
Then said Simon: "Pardon me if I am unwilling to seek righteousness, before I know if the soul is immortal." Then Peter: "You also pardon me this one thing, because I cannot do otherwise than the Prophet of truth has instructed me." Then said Simon: "It is certain that you cannot assert that the soul is immortal, and therefore you cavil, knowing that if it be proved to be mortal, the whole profession of that religion which you are attempting to propagate will be plucked up by the roots. And therefore, indeed, I commend your prudence, while I do not approve your persuasiveness; for you persuade many to embrace your religion, and to submit to the restraint of pleasure, in hope of future good things; to whom it happens that they lose the enjoyment of things present, and are deceived with hopes of things future. For as soon as they die, their soul shall at the same time be extinguished."
But Peter, when he heard him speak thus, grinding his teeth, and rubbing his forehead with his hand, and sighing with profound grief, said: "Armed with the cunning of the old serpent, you stand forth to deceive souls; and therefore, as the serpent is more subtle than any other beast, you profess that you are a teacher from the beginning. And again, like the serpent you wished to introduce many gods; but now, being confuted in that, you assert that there is no God at all. For by occasion of I do not know what unknown God, you denied that the Creator of the world is God, but asserted that he is either an evil being, or that he has many equals, or, as we have said, that he is not God at all. And when you had been overcome in this position, you now assert that the soul is mortal, so that men may not live righteously and uprightly in hope of things to come. For if there be no hope for the future, why should not mercy be given up, and men indulge in luxury and pleasures, from which it is manifest that all unrighteousness springs? And while you introduce so impious a doctrine into the miserable life of men, you call yourself pious, and me impious, because, under the hope of future good things, I will not suffer men to take up arms and fight against one another, plunder and subvert everything, and attempt whatever lust may dictate. And what will be the condition of that life which you would introduce, that men will attack and be attacked, be enraged and disturbed, and live always in fear.? For those who do evil to others must expect like evil to themselves. Do you see that you are a leader of disturbance and not of peace, of iniquity and not of equity? But I feigned anger, not because I could not prove that the soul is immortal, but because I pity the souls which you are endeavouring to deceive. I shall speak, therefore, but not as compelled by you; for I know how I should speak; and you will be the only one who wants not so much persuasion as admonition on this subject. But those who are really ignorant of this, I shall instruct as is suitable."
Then says Simon: "If you are angry, I shall neither ask you any questions, nor do I wish to hear you." Then Peter: "If you are now seeking a pretext for escaping, you have full liberty, and need not use any special pretext. For all have heard you speaking all amiss, and have perceived that you can prove nothing, but that you only asked questions for the sake of contradiction; which anyone can do. For what difficulty is there in replying, after the clearest proofs have been adduced, "You have said nothing to the purpose?' But that you may know that I am able to prove to you in a single sentence that the soul is immortal, I shall ask you with respect to a point which all know; answer me, and I shall prove to you in one sentence that it is immortal." Then Simon, who had thought that he had got, from the anger of Peter, a pretext for departing, stopped on account of the remarkable promise that was made to him, and said: "Ask me then, and I shall answer you what all know, that I may hear in a single sentence, as you have promised, how the soul is immortal."
Then Peter: "I shall speak so that it may be proved to you before all the rest. Answer me, therefore, which of the two can better persuade an incredulous man. Seeing or hearing?" Then Simon said: "Seeing." Then Peter: "Why then do you wish to learn from me by words, what is proved to you by the thing itself and by sight?" Then Simon: "I do not know what you mean." Then Peter: "If you do not know, go now to your house, and entering the inner bed-chamber you will see an image placed, containing the figure of a murdered boy clothed in purple; ask him, and he will inform you either by hearing or seeing. For what need is there to hear from him if the soul is immortal, when you see it standing before you? For if it were not in being, it assuredly' could not be seen. But if you do not know what image I speak of, let us immediately go to your house, with ten other men, of those who are here present."
But Simon hearing this, and being smitten by his conscience, changed colour and became bloodless; for he was afraid, if he denied it, that his house would be searched, or that Peter in his indignation would betray him more openly, and so all would learn what he was. Thus he answered: "I beseech you, Peter, by that good God who is in you, to overcome the wickedness that is in me. Receive me to repentance, and you shall have me as an. Assistant in your preaching. For now I have learned in very deed that you are a prophet of the true God, and therefore you alone know the secret and hidden things of men." Then said Peter: "You see, brethren, Simon seeking repentance; in a little while yon shall see him returning again to his infidelity. For, thinking that I am a prophet, since I have disclosed his wickedness, which he supposed to be secret and hidden, he has promised that he will repent. But it is not lawful for me to lie, nor must I deceive, whether this infidel be saved or not saved. For I call heaven and earth to witness, that I spoke not by a prophetic spirit what I said, and what I intimated, as far as was possible, to the listening crowds; liter I learned from some who once were his associates in his works, but have now been converted to our faith, what things he did in secret. Therefore I spoke what I knew, not what I foreknew."
But when Simon heard this, he assailed Peter with curses and reproaches, saying: "Oh most wicked and most deceitful of men, to whom fortune, not truth, has given the victory. But I sought repentance not for defect of knowledge, but in order that you, thinking that by repentance I should become your disciple, might entrust to me all the secrets of your profession. And so at length, knowing them all, I might confute you. But as you cunningly understood for what reason I had pretended penitence, and acquiesced as if yon did not understand my stratagem, that you might first expose me in presence of the people as unskillful, then fore-seeing that being thus exposed to the people, I must of necessity be indignant, and confess that I was not truly penitent, you anticipated me, that you might say, that I should, after my penitence, again return to my infidelity, that you might seem to have conquered on all sides, both if I continued in the penitence which I hart professed, and if I did not continue; and so you should be believed to be wise, because you had foreseen these things, while I should seem to be deceived, because I did not foresee your trick. But you foreseeing mine, have used subtlety and circumvented me. But, as I said, your victory is the result of fortune, not of truth: yet I know why I did not foresee this; because I stood by you and spoke with you in my, goodness, and bore patiently with you. But now I shall show you the power of my divinity, so that you shall quickly fall down and worship me.
"I am the first power, who am always, and without beginning. But having entered the womb of Rachel, I was born of her as a man, that I might be visible to men. I have flown through the air; I have been mixed with fire, and been made one betty with it; I have made statues to move; I have animated lifeless things; I have made stones bread; I have flown from mountain to mountain; I have moved from place to place, upheld by angels' hands, and have lighted on the earth. Not only bare I done these things; but even now I am able to do them, that by facts I may prove to all, that I am the Son of God, enduring to eternity, and that I can make those who believe on me endure in the same way for ever. But your words are all vain; nor can you perform any real works such as I have now mentioned, as he also who sent you is a magician, who yet could not deliver himself from the suffering of the cross."
To this speech of Simon, Peter answered: "Do not meddle with the things that belong to others; for that you are a magician, you have confessed and made manifest by the very deeds that you have done; but our Master, who is the Son of God and of man, is manifestly good; and that he is truly the Son of God has been told, and shall be told to those to whom it is fitting. But if your will not confess that you are a magician, let us go, with all this multitude, to your house, and then it will be evident who is a magician." While Peter was speaking thus, Simon began to assail him with blasphemies and curses, that he might make a riot, and excite all so that he could not be refuted, and that Peter, withdrawing on account of his blasphemy, might seem to be overcome. But he stood fast, and began to charge him more vehemently.
Then the people in indignation cast Simon from the court, and drove him forth from the gate of the house; and only one person followed him when he was driven out. Then silence being obtained, Peter began to address the people in this manner: "You ought, brethren, to bear with wicked men patiently; knowing that although God could cat them off, yet he suffers them to remain even until the day appointed, in which judgment shall pass on all. Why then should not we bear with those whom, God suffers? Why should not we bear with fortitude the wrongs that they do to us, when he who is almighty does not take vengeance on them, that both his own goodness and the impiety of the wicked may be known? But if the wicked one had not found Simon to be his minister, he would doubtless have found another: for it is of necessity that in this life offences come, "but woe to that man by whom they come;' and therefore Simon is rather to be mourned over, because he has become a choice vessel for the wicked one, which undoubtedly would not have happened had he not received power over him for ills former sins. For why should I further say that he once believed in our Jesus, and was persuaded that Souls are immortal? Although in this he is deluded by demons, yet he has persuaded himself that he has the soul of a murdered boy ministering to him in whatever he pleases to employ it in; in which truly, as I have said, he is deluded by demons, and therefore I spoke to him according to his own ideas: for he has learned from the Jews, that judgment and vengeance are to be brought forth against those who set themselves against the true faith, and do not repent. But here are men to whom, as being perfect in crimes, the wicked one appears, that he may deceive them, so that they may never be turned to repentance.
"You therefore who are turned to the Lord by repentance, bend to him your knees." When he had said this, all the multitude bent their knees to God; and Peter, looking towards heaven, prayed for them with tears that God, for his goodness, would deign to receive those betaking themselves to him. And after he had prayed and had instructed them to meet early the next day, he dismissed the multitude. Then according to custom, having taken food, we went to sleep.
Peter, therefore, rising at the usual hour of the night. Found us waking; and when, saluting us, in his usual manner, he had taken his seat, first of all Niceta, said: "If you will permit me, my Lord Peter, I have something to ask of you." Then Peter said: "I permit not only you, but all, and not only now, but always, that everyone confess what moves him, and the part in his mind that is pained, in order that he may obtain healing. For things which are covered with silence, and are not made known to us, are cured with difficulty, like maladies of long standing; and therefore, since the medicine of seasonable and necessary discourse cannot easily be applied to those who keep silence, everyone ought to declare in what respect his mind is feeble through ignorance. But to him who keeps silence, it belongs to God alone to give a remedy. We indeed also can do it, but by the lapse of a long time. For it is necessary than the discourse of doctrine, proceeding in order from the beginning, and meeting each single question, should disclose all things, and resolve and reach to all things, even to that which everyone required in his mind; but that, as I have said, can only be done in the course of a long time. Now, then, ask what you please."
Then Niceta said: "I give you abundant thanks, O most clement Peter; but this is what I desire to learn. How Simon, who is the enemy of God, is able to do such and so great things? For indeed he told no lie in his declaration of what he has done." To this the blessed Peter thus answered: "God, who is one and true, has resolved to prepare good and faithful friends for his first begotten; but knowing that none can be good, unless they have in their power that perception by which they may become good, that they may be of their own intent what they choose to be, - and otherwise they could not be truly good, if they were kept in goodness not by purpose, but by necessity, - has given to everyone the power of his own will, that he may be what he wishes to be. And again, foreseeing that that power of will would make some choose good things and others evil, and so that the human race would necessarily be divided into two classes, he has permitted each class to choose both a place and a king, whom they would. For the good King; rejoices in the good, and the wicked one in the evil. And although I have expounded those things more fully to you, O Clement, in that treatise in which I discoursed on predestination and the end, yet it is fitting that I should now make clear to Niceta also, as he asks me, what is the reason than Simon, whose thoughts are against God, is able to do so great marvels.
"First of all, then, he is evil, in the judgment of God, who will not enquire what is advantageous to himself. For how can anyone love another, if he does not love himself? Or to whom will that man not be an enemy, who cannot be a friend to himself? In order, therefore, that there might be a distinction between those who choose good and those who choose evil, God has concealed that which is profitable to men, that is, the possession of the kingdom of heaven, and has laid it up and hidden it as a secret treasure, so that no one can easily attain it by his own power or knowledge. Yet he has brought the report of it, under various names and opinions, through successive generations, to the hearing of all: so that whosoever should be lovers of good, hearing it, might enquire and discover what is profitable and salutary to them; but that they should ask it, not from themselves, but from him who has hidden it, and should pray that access and the way of knowledge might be given to them: which way is opened to those only who love it above all the good things of this world; and on no other condition can anyone even understand it, however wise he may seem; but that those who neglect to enquire what is profitable and salutary to themselves, as self-haters and self-enemies, should be deprived of its good things, as lovers of evil things.
"It behoves, therefore, the good to love that way above all things, that is, above riches, glory, rest, parents, relatives, friends, and everything in the world. But he who perfectly loves this possession of the kingdom of heaven, will undoubtedly cast away all practice of evil habit, negligence, sloth, malice, anger, and such like. For if you prefer any of these to it, as loving the vices of your own lust more than God, you shall not attain to the possession of the heavenly kingdom; for truly it is foolish to love anything more than God. For whether they be parents, they die; or relatives, they do not continue; or friends, they change. But God alone is eternal, and abides unchangeable. He, therefore, who will not seek after that which is profitable to himself, is evil, to such an extent that his wickedness exceeds the very prince of impiety. For he abuses the goodness of God to the purpose of his own wickedness, and pleases himself; but the other neglects the good things of his own salvation, that by his own destruction he may please the evil one.
"On account of those, therefore, who by neglect of their own salvation please the evil one, and those who by study of their own profit seek to please the good One, ten things have been prescribed as a test to this present age, according to the number of the ten plagues which were brought on Egypt. For when Moses, according to the commandment of God, demanded of Pharaoh that he should let the people go, and in token of his heavenly commission showed signs, his rod being thrown on the ground was turned into a serpent. And when Pharaoh could not by these means be brought to consent, as having freedom of will, again the magicians seemed to do similar signs, by permission of God, that the purpose of the king might be proved from the freedom of his will, whether he would rather believe the signs performed by Moses, who was sent by God, or those which the magicians rather seemed to work than actually performed. For truly he ought to have understood from their very name that they were not workers of truth, because they were not called messengers of God, but magicians, as the tradition also intimates. Moreover, they seemed to maintain the contest up to a certain point, and afterwards they confessed of themselves, and yielded to their superior. Therefore the last plague is inflicted, the destruction of the first-born, and then Moses is commanded to consecrate the people by the sprinkling of blood; and so, gifts being presented, with much entreaty he is asked to depart with the people.
"In a similar transaction I see that I am even now engaged. For as then, when Moses exhorted the king to believe God, the magicians opposed him by a pretended exhibition of similar signs, and so kept back the unbelievers from salvation; so also now, when I have come out to teach all nations to believe in the true God, Simon the magician resists me, acting in opposition to me, as they also did in opposition to Moses; in order that whosoever they be from among the nations that do not use sound judgment, they may be made manifest; but that those may be saved who rightly distinguish signs from signs." While Peter thus spoke, Niceta answered: "I beseech you that you would permit me to state whatever occurs to my mind." Then Peter, being delighted with the eagerness of his disciples, said: "Speak what you will."
Then said Niceta: "In what respect did the Egyptians sin in not believing Moses, since the magicians performed like signs, even although they were done rather in appearance than in truth? For if I had been there then, should I not have thought, from the fact that the magicians did like things to those which Moses did, either that Moses was a magician, or that the magicians performed their signs by divine commission? For I should not have thought it likely that the same things could be effected by magicians, even in appearance, which he who was sent by God performed. And now, in what respect do they sin who believe Simon, since they see him do so great marvels? Or is it not marvellous to fly through the air, to be so mixed with fire as to become one body with it, to make statues walk, brazen dogs bark, and other such like things, which assuredly are sufficiently wonderful to those who do not know how to distinguish? Yes, he has also been seen to make bread of stones. But if he sins who believes those who do signs, how shall it appear that he also does not sin who has believed our Lord for his signs and works of power?"
Then said Peter: "I take it well that you bring the truth to the rule, and do not suffer hindrances of faith to lurk in your soul. For thus you can easily obtain the remedy. Do you remember that I said, that the worst of all things is when anyone neglects to learn what is for his good?" Niceta answered: "I remember." Then Peter: "And again, that God has veiled his truth, that he may disclose it to those who faithfully follow him?" "Neither," said Niceta, "have I forgotten this." Then said Peter: "What do you think then? That God has buried his truth deep in the earth, and has heaped mountains on it, that it may be found by those only who are able to dig down into the depths? It is not so; but as he has surrounded the mountains and the earth with the expanse of heaven, so has he veiled the truth with the curtain of his own love, that he alone may be able to reach it, who has first knocked at the gate of divine love.
"For, as I was beginning to say, God has appointed for this world certain pairs; and he who comes first of the pairs is of evil, he who comes second, of good. And in this is given to every man an occasion of right judgment, whether he is simple or prudent. For if he is simple, and believes him who comes first, though moved to it by signs and prodigies, he must of necessity, for the same reason, believe him who comes second; for he will be persuaded by signs and prodigies, as he was before. When he believes this second one, he will learn from him that he ought not to believe the first, who comes of evil; and so the error of the former is corrected by the emendation of the latter. But if he will not receive the second, because he has believed the first, he will deservedly be condemned as unjust; for unjust it is, that when he believed the first on account of his signs, he will not believe the second, though he bring the same, or even greater signs. But if he has not believed the first, it follows that he may be moved to believe the second. For his mind has not become so completely inactive but that it may be roused by the redoubling of marvels. But if he is prudent, he can make distinction of the signs. And if indeed he has believed in the first, he will be moved to the second by the increase in the miracles, and by comparison he will apprehend which are better; although clear tests of miracles are recognised by all learned men, as we have shown in the regular order of our discussion. But if anyone, as being whole and not needing a physician, is not moved to the first, he will be drawn to the second by the very continuance of the thing, and will make a distinction of signs and marvels after this fashion; - he who is of the evil one, the signs that he works do good to no one; but those which the good man works are profitable to men.
"For tell me, Please, what is the use of showing statues walking, dogs of brass or stone barking, mountains dancing, of flying through the air, and such like things, which you say that Simon did? But those signs which are of the good One, are directed to the advantage of men. As are those which were done by our Lord, who gave sight to the blind and hearing to the deaf, raised up the feeble and the lame, drove away sicknesses and demons, raised the dead, and did other like things, as yon see also that I do. Those signs, therefore, which make for the benefit of men, and confer some good on them, the wicked one cannot do, excepting only at the end of the world. For then it shall be permitted him to mix hip with his signs some good ones, as the expelling of demons or the healing of diseases; by this means going beyond his bounds, and being divided against himself, and fighting against himself, he shall be destroyed. And therefore the Lord has foretold, that in the last times there shall be such temptation, that, if it be possible, the very elect shall be deceived; that is to say, that by the marks of signs being confused, even those must be disturbed who seem to be expert in discovering spirits and distinguishing miracles.
"The ten pairs of which we have spoken have therefore been assigned to this world from the beginning of time. Cain and Abel were one pair. The second was the giants and Noah; the third, Pharaoh and Abraham; the fourth, the Philistines and Isaac; the fifth, Esau and Jacob; the sixth, the magicians and Moses the lawgiver; the seventh, the tempter and the Son of man; the eighth, Simon and I, Peter; the ninth, all nations, and he who shall be sent to sow the word among the nations; the tenth, Antichrist and Christ. Concerning these pairs we shall give you fuller information at another time." When Peter spoke thus, Aquila said: "Truly there is need of constant teaching, that one may learn what is true about everything."
But Peter said: "Who is he that is earnest toward instruction, and that studiously enquires into every particular, except him who loves his own soul to salvation, and renounces all the affairs of this world, that he may have leisure to attend to the word of God only? Such is he whom alone the true Prophet deems wise, even he who sells all that he has and buys the one true pearl, who understands what is the difference between temporal things and eternal, small and great, men and God. For he understands what is the eternal hope in presence of the true and good God. But who is he that loves God, save him who knows his wisdom? And how can anyone obtain knowledge of God's wisdom, unless he be constant in hearing his word? Whence it comes, that he conceives a love for him, and venerates him with worthy honour, pouring out hymns and prayers to him, and most pleasantly resting in these, accounts it his greatest damage if at any time he speak or do anything else even for a moment of time; because, in reality, the soul which is filled with the love of God can neither look on anything except what pertains to God, nor, by reason of love of him, can be satisfied with meditating on those things which it knows to be pleasing to him. But those who have not conceived affection for him, nor bear his love lighted up in their mind, are so to speak placed in darkness and cannot see light; and therefore, even before they begin to learn anything of God, they immediately faint as though worn out by labour; and filled with weariness, they are immediately hurried by their own peculiar habits to those words with which they are pleased. For it is wearisome and annoying to such persons to hear anything about God; and that for the reason I have stated, because their mind has received no sweetness of divine love."
While Peter was thus speaking, the day dawned; and behold, one of the disciples of Simon came, crying out: "I beseech you, O Peter, receive me, a wretch, who have been deceived by Simon the magician, to whom I gave heed as to a heavenly God, by reason of those miracles which I saw him perform. But when I heard your discourses, I began to think him a man, and indeed a wicked man; nevertheless, when he went out from this I alone followed him, for I had not yet clearly perceived his impieties. But when he saw me following him, he called me blessed, and led me to his house; and about the middle of the night he said to me, "I shall make you better than all men, if you will remain with me even till the end. ' When I had promised him this, he demanded of me an oath of perseverance; and having got this, he placed on my shoulders some of his polluted and accursed secret things, that I might carry them, and ordered me to follow him. But when we came to the sea, he went aboard a boat which happened to be there, and took from my neck what he had ordered me to carry. And as he came out a little after, bringing nothing with him, he must have thrown it into the sea. Then he asked me to go with him, saying that he was going to Rome, and that there he would please the people so much, that he should be reckoned a God, and publicly gifted with divine honours. "Then,' said he, "if you wish to return here, I shall send you back, loaded with all riches, and upheld by various services. ' When I heard this, and saw nothing in him in accordance with this profession, but perceived that he was a magician and a deceiver, I answered: "Pardon me, Please; for I have a pain in my feet, and therefore I ant not able to leave Caesarea. Besides, I have a wife and little children, whom I cannot leave by any means. ' When he heard this, he charged me with sloth, and set out towards Dora, saying, "You will be sorry, when you hear what glory I shall get in the city of Rome. ' And after this he set out for Rome, as he said; but I hastily returned here, entreating you to receive me to penitence, because I have been deceived by him."
When he who had returned from Simon had thus spoken, Peter ordered him to sit down in the court. And he himself going forth, and seeing immense crowds, far more than on the previous days, stood in his usual place; and pointing out him who had come, began to discourse as follows: "This man whom I point out to you, brethren, has just come to me, telling me of the wicked practices of Simon, and how he has thrown the implements of his wickedness into the sea, not induced to do so by repentance, but being afraid in case, being detected, he should be subjected to the public laws. And he asked this man, as he tells me, to remain with him, promising him immense gifts; and when he could not persuade him to do so, he left him, reproaching him for sluggishness, and set out for Rome." When Peter had intimated this to the crowd, the man himself who had returned from Simon stood up, and began to state to the people everything relating to Simon's crimes. And when they were shocked by the things which they heard that Simon had done by his magical acts, Peter said:
"Be not, my brethren, distressed by those things that have been done, but give heed to the future: for what is passed is ended; but the things which threaten are dangerous to those who shall fall in with them. For offences shall never be wanting in this world, so long as the enemy is permitted to act according to his will; in order that the prudent and those who understood his wiles may be conquerors in the contests which he raises against them; but that those who neglect to learn the things that pertain to the salvation of their souls, may be taken by him with merited deceptions. Since, therefore, as you have heard, Simon has gone forth to preoccupy the ears of the Gentiles who are called to salvation, it is necessary that I also follow on his track, so that whatever disputations he raises may be corrected by us. But inasmuch as it is right that greater anxiety should be felt concerning you who are already received within the walls of life, - for if that which has been actually acquired perish, a positive loss is sustained; while with respect to that which has not yet been acquired, if it can be got, there is so much gain; but if not, the only loss is that there is no gain; - in order, therefore, that you may be more and more confirmed in the truth, and the nations who are called to salvation may in no way be prevented by the wickedness of Simon, I have thought good to ordain Zacchaeus as pastor over you, and to remain with you myself for three months; and so to go to the Gentiles, in case through our delaying longer, and the crimes of Simon stalking in every direction, they should become incurable."
At this announcement all the people wept, hearing that he was going to leave them; and Peter, sympathizing with them, himself also shed tears; and looking up to heaven, he said: "To you, O God, who have made heaven and earth, and all things that are in them, we pour out the prayer of supplication, that you would comfort those who have recourse to you in their tribulation. For by reason of the affection that they have towards you, they do love me who have declared to them your truth. Therefore guard them with the right hand of your compassion; for neither Zacchaeus nor any other man can be a sufficient guardian to them." When he had said this, and more to the same effect, he laid his hands on Zacchaeus, and prayed that he might blamelessly discharge the duty of his episcopacy. Then he ordained twelve presbyters and four deacons, and said: "I have ordained you this Zacchaeus as a bishop, knowing that he has the fear of God, and is expert in the Scriptures. You ought therefore to honour him as holding the place of Christ, obeying him for your salvation, and knowing that whatever honour and whatever injury is done to him, redounds to Christ, and from Christ to God. Hear him therefore with all attention, and receive from him the doctrine of the faith; and from the presbyters the monitions of life; and from the deacons the order of discipline. Have a religious care of widows; vigorously assist orphans; take pity on the poor; teach the young modesty; - and in a word, sustain one another as circumstances shall demand; worship God, who created heaven and earth; believe in Christ; love one another; be compassionate to all; and fulfill charity not only in word, but in act and deed."
When he had given them these and such like precepts, he made proclamation to the people, saying: "Since I have resolved to stay three months with you, if anyone desires it, let him be baptised; that, stripped of his former evils, he may for the future, in consequence of his own conduct, become heir of heavenly blessings, as a reward for his good actions. Whosoever will, then, let him come to Zacchaeus and give his name to him, and let him hear from him the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. Let him attend to frequent fastings, and approve himself in all things, that at the end of these three months he may be baptised on the day of the festival. But everyone of you shall be baptised in ever flowing waters, the name of the Trine Beatitude being invoked over him; he being first anointed with oil sanctified by prayer, that so at length, being consecrated by these things, he may attain a perception of holy things."
When he had spoken at length on the subject of baptism, he dismissed the crowd, and betook himself to his usual place of abode; and there, while the twelve stood around him (viz. zacchaeus and Sophonias, Joseph and Michaeus, Eleazar and Phineas, Lazarus and Eliseus, I Clement and Nicodemus, Niceta and Aquila), he addressed us to the following effect: "Let us, my brethren, consider what is right; for it is our duty to bring some help to the nations, which are called to salvation. You have yourselves heard that Simon has set out, wishing to anticipate our journey. Him we should have followed step by step, that wheresoever he tries to subvert any, we might immediately confute him. But since it appears to me to be unjust to forsake those who have been already converted to God, and to bestow our care on those who are still afar off, I think it right that I should remain three months with those in this city who have been turned to the faith, and should strengthen them; and yet that we should not neglect those who are still far off, in case perhaps, if they be long infected with the power of pernicious doctrine, it be more difficult to recover them. Therefore I wish (only, however, if you also think it right), that for Zacchaeus, whom we have now ordained bishop, Benjamin the son of Saba be substituted; and for Clement (whom I have resolved to have always by me, because, coming from the Gentiles, he has a great desire to hear the word of God) there be substituted Ananias the son of Safra; and for Niceta and Aquila, who have been but lately converted to the faith of Christ, Rubelus the brother of Zacchaeus, and Zacharias the builder. I wish, therefore, to complete the number of twelve by substituting these four for the other four, that Simon may feel that I in them am always with him."
Having therefore separated me, Clement, and Niceta and Aquila, he said to those twelve: "I wish you the day after tomorrow to proceed to the Gentiles, and to follow in the footsteps of Simon, that you may inform me of all his proceedings. You will also enquire diligently the sentiments of everyone, and announce to those who I shall come to them without delay; and, in short, in all places instruct the Gentiles to expect my coming." When he had spoken these things, and others to the same effect, he said: "You also, my brethren, if you have anything to say to these things, say on, in case perhaps it be not right which seems good to me alone." Then all, with one voice applauding him, said: "We ask you rather to arrange everything according to your own judgment, and to order what seems good to yourself; for this we think to be the perfect work of piety, if we fulfill what you command."
Therefore, on the day appointed, when they had ranged themselves before Peter, they said: "Do not think, O Peter, that it is a small grief to us that we are to be deprived of the privilege of hearing you for three months; but since it is good for us to do what you order, we shall most readily obey. We shall always retain in our hearts the memory of your face; and so we set out actively, as you have commanded us." Then he, having poured out a prayer to the Lord for them, dismissed them. And when those twelve who had been sent forward had gone, Peter entered, according to custom, and stood in the place of disputation. And a multitude of people had come together, even a larger number than usual; and all with tears gazed on him, by reason of what they had heard from him the day before, that he was about to go forth on account of Simon. Then, seeing them weeping, he himself also was similarly affected, although he endeavoured to conceal and to restrain his tears. But the trembling of his voice, and the interruption of his discourse, betrayed that he was distressed by similar emotion.
However, rubbing his forehead with his hand, he said: "Be of good courage, my brethren, and comfort your sorrowful hearts by means of counsel, referring all things to God, whose will alone is to be fulfilled and to be preferred in all things. For let us suppose for a moment, that by reason of the affection that we have towards you, we should act against his will, and remain with you, is he not able, by sending death on me, to appoint to me a longer separation from you? And therefore it is better for us to carry out this shorter separation with his will, as those to whom it is prescribed to obey God in all things. Hence you also ought to obey him with like submission, inasmuch as you love me from no other reason than on account of your love of him. As friends of God, therefore, acquiesce in his will; but also judge yourselves what is right. Would it not have seemed wicked, if, when Simon was deceiving you, I had been detained by the brethren in Jerusalem, and had not come to you, and that although you had Zacchaeus among you, a good and eloquent man? So now also consider that it would be wicked, if, when Simon has gone forth to assail the Gentiles, who are wholly without a defender, I should be detained by you, and should not follow him. Therefore let us see to it, that we do not, by an unreasonable affection, accomplish the will of the wicked one.
"Meantime I shall remain with you three months, as I promised. Be constant in hearing the word; and at the end of that time, if any are able and willing to follow us, they may do so, if duty will admit of it. And when I say if duty will admit I mean that no one by his departure must sadden anyone who ought not to be saddened, as by leaving parents who ought not to be left, or a faithful wife, or any other person to whom he is bound to afford comfort for God's sake." Meantime, disputing and teaching day by day, he filled up the tithe appointed with the labour of teaching; and when the festival day arrived, upwards of ten thousand were baptised.
But in those days a letter was received from the brethren who had gone before, in which were detailed the crimes of Simon, how going from city to city he was deceiving multitudes, and everywhere maligning Peter, so that, when he should come, no one might afford him a hearing. For he asserted that Peter was a magician, a godless man, injurious, cunning, ignorant, and professing impossible things. "For," he says, "he asserts that the dead shall rise again, which is impossible. But if anyone attempts to confute him, he is cut off by secret snares by him, by means of his attendants. Therefore, I also," he says, "when I had vanquished him and triumphed over him, fled for fear of his snares, in case he should destroy me by incantations, or plan my death by plots." They intimated also that he mainly stayed at Tripolis.
Peter therefore ordered the letter to be read to the people; and after the reading of it, he addressed them and gave them full instructions about everything, but especially that they should obey Zacchaeus, whom he had ordained bishop over them. Also he commended the presbyters and the deacons to the people, and not less the people to them. And then, announcing that he should spend the winter at Tripolis, he said: "I commend you to the grace of God, being about to depart tomorrow, with God's will. But during the whole three months which he spent at Caesarea, for the sake of instruction, whatever he discoursed of in the presence of the people in the day-time, he explained more fully and perfectly in the night, in private to us, as more faithful and completely approved by him. And at the same time he commanded me, because he understood that I carefully stored in my memory what I heard, to commit to writing whatever seemed worthy of record, and to send it to you, my Lord James, as also I did, in obedience to his command.
The first book, therefore, of those that I formerly sent to you, contains an account of the true Prophet, and of the peculiarity of the understanding of the law, according to what the tradition of Moses teaches. The second contains an account of the beginning, and whether there be one beginning or many, and that the Law of the Hebrews knows what immensity is. The third, concerning God, and those things that have been ordained by him. The fourth, that though there are many that are called gods, there is but one true God, according to the testimonies of the Scriptures. The fifth, that there are two heavens, one of which is that visible firmament which shall pass away, but the other is eternal and invisible. The sixth, concerning good and evil; and that all things are subjected to good by the Father; and why, and how, and whence evil is, and that it co-operates with good, but not with a good purpose; and what are the signs of good, and what those of evil; and what is the difference between duality and conjunction. The seventh, what are the things which the twelve apostles treated of in the presence of the people in the temple. The eighth, concerning the words of the Lord which seem to be contradictory, but are not; and what is the explanation of them. The ninth, that the Law which has been given by God is righteous and perfect, and that it alone can make pure. The tenth, concerning the carnal birth of men, and concerning the generation which is by baptism; and what is the succession of carnal seed in man; and what is the account of his soul, and how the freedom of the will is in it, which, seeing it is not unbegotten, but made, could not be immovable from good. Concerning these several subjects, therefore, whatever Peter discoursed at Caesarea, according to his command, as I have said, I have sent you written in ten volumes. But on the next day, as had been determined, we set out from Caesarea with some faithful men, who had resolved to accompany Peter.
Having set out from Caesarea on the way to Tripolis, we made our first stoppage at a small town called Dora, because it was not far distant; and almost all those who had believed through the preaching of Peter could scarcely bear to be separated from him, but walked along with us, again and again gazing on him, again and again embracing him, again and again conversing with him, until we came to the inn. On the following day we came to Ptolemais, where we stayed ten days; and when a considerable number had received the word of God, we signified to some of them who seemed particularly attentive, and wished to detain us longer for the sake of instruction, that they might, if so disposed, follow us to Tripolis. We acted in the same way at Tyre, and Sidon, and Berytus, and announced to those who desired to hear further discourses, that we were to spend the winter at Tripolis. Therefore, as all those who were anxious followed Peter from each city, we were a great multitude of elect ones when we entered into Tripolis. On our arrival, the brethren who had been sent before met us before the gates of the city; and taking us under their charge, conducted us to the various lodgings which they bad prepared. Then there arose a commotion in the city, and a great assemblage of persons eager to see Peter.
When we had come to the house of Maro, in which preparation had been made for Peter, he turned to the crowd, and told those who he would address them the day after tomorrow. Therefore the brethren who had been sent before assigned lodgings to all who had come with us. Then, when Peter had entered into the house of Maro, and was asked to partake of food, he answered that he would by no means do so, until he had ascertained whether all those that had accompanied him were provided with lodgings. Then he learned from the brethren who had been sent before, that the citizens had received them not only hospitably, but with all kindness, by reason of their love towards Peter; so much so, that several were disappointed because there were no guests for them; for that all had made such preparations, that even if many more had come, there would still have been a deficiency of guests for the hosts, not of hosts for the guests.
Thereupon Peter was greatly delighted, and praised the brethren, and blessed them, and requested them to remain with him. Then, when he had bathed in the sea, and had taken food, he went to sleep in the evening; and rising, as usual, at cock-crow, while the evening light was still burning, he found us all awake. Now there were in all sixteen of us, viz. peter and I, Clement, Niceta and Aquila, and those twelve who had preceded us. Saluting us, then, as was his wont, Peter said: "Since we are not taken up with others today, let us be taken up with ourselves. I shall tell you what took place at Caesarea after your departure, and you shall tell us of the doings of Simon here." And while the conversation was going on on these subjects, at daybreak some of the members of the family came in and told Peter that Simon, when he heard of Peter's arrival, departed in the night, on the way to Syria. They also stated that the crowds thought that the day which he had said was to intervene was a very long time for their affection, and that they were standing in impatience before the gate, conversing among themselves about those things which they wished to hear, and that they hoped that they should by all means see him before the time appointed; and that as the day became lighter the multitudes were increasing, and that they were trusting confidently, whatever they might be presuming on, that they should hear a discourse from him. "Now then "said they "instruct us to tell them what seems good to you; for it is absurd that so great a multitude should have come together, and should depart with sadness, through no answer being returned to them. For they will not consider that it is those who have not waited for;the appointed day but rather they will think that you are slighting them."
Then Peter, filled with admiration, said: "You see, brethren, how every word of the Lord spoken prophetically is fulfilled. For I remember that he said, "The harvest indeed is plenteous, but the labourers are few; ask therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send out labourers into his harvest. ' Behold, therefore, the things which are foretold in a mystery are fulfilled. But whereas he said also, "Many shall come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and shall recline in the bosom of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob;' this also is, as yon see, in the same way fulfilled. Therefore I ask you, my fellow-servants and helpers, that you would learn diligently the order of preaching, and the ways of absolutions, that you may be able to save the souls of men, which by the secret power of God acknowledge whom they ought to love, even before they are taught. For you see that these men, like good servants, long for him whom they expect to announce to them the coming of their Lord, that they may be able to fulfill his will when they have learned it. The desire, therefore, of hearing the word of God, and enquiring into his will, they have from God; and this is the beginning of the gift of God, which is given to the Gentiles, that by this they may be able to receive the doctrine of truth.
"For so also it was given to the people of the Hebrews from the beginning, that they should love Moses, and believe his word; whence also it is written: "The people believed God, and Moses his servant. What, therefore, was of peculiar gift from God toward the nation of the Hebrews, we see now to be given also to those who are called from among the Gentiles to the faith. But the method of works is put into the power and will of everyone, and this is their own; but to have an affection towards a teacher of truth. This is a gift of the heavenly Father. But salvation is in this, that you do his will of whom you have conceived a love and affection through the gift of God; in case that saying of his be addressed to you which he spoke, "Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and do not what I say?' It is therefore the peculiar gift bestowed by God on the Hebrews, that they believe Moses; and the peculiar gift bestowed on the Gentiles is that they love Jesus. For this also the Master intimated, when he said, "I will confess' to you, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have concealed these things from the wise and prudent, and have revealed them to babes. By which it is certainly declared, that the people of the Hebrews, who were instructed out of the law, did not know him; but the people of the Gentiles have acknowledged Jesus, and venerate him; on which account also they shall be saved, not only acknowledging him, but also doing his will. But he who is of the Gentiles, and who has it of God to believe Moses, ought also to have it of his own purpose to love Jesus also. And again, the Hebrew, who has it of God to believe Moses, ought to have it also of his own purpose to believe in Jesus; so that each of them, having in himself something of the divine gift, and something of his own exertion, may be perfect by both. For concerning such a person our Lord spoke, as of a rich man, "Who brings forth from his treasures things new and old. '
"But enough has been said of these things for time presses, and the religious devotion of the people invites us to address them." And when he had thus spoken, he asked where there was a suitable place for discussion. And Maro said: "I have a very spacious hall which can hold more than five hundred men, and there is also a garden within the house; or if it please you to be in some public place, all would prefer it, for there is nobody who does not desire at least to see your face." Then Peter said: "Show me the hall, or the garden." And when he had seen the hall, he went in to see the garden also; and suddenly the whole multitude, as if some one had called them, rushed into the house, and thence broke through into the garden, where Peter was already standing, selecting a fit place for discussion.
But when he saw that the crowds had, like the waters of a great river, poured over the narrow passage, he mounted on a pillar which happened to stand near the wall of the garden, and first saluted the people in a religious manner. But some of those who were present, and who had been for a long time distressed by demons, threw themselves on the ground, while the unclean spirits entreated that they might be allowed but for one day to remain in the bodies that they had taken possession of. But Peter rebuked them, and commanded them to depart; and they went out without delay. After these, others who had been afflicted with long-standing sicknesses asked Peter that they might receive healing; and he promised that he would ask the Lord for them as soon as his discourse of instruction was completed. But as soon as he promised, they were freed from their sicknesses; and he ordered them to sit down apart, with those who had been freed from the demons, as after the fatigue of labour. Meantime, while this was going on, a vast multitude assembled, attracted not only by the desire of hearing Peter, but also by the report of the cures which had been accomplished. But Peter, beckoning with his hand to the people to he still, and settling the crowds in tranquillity, began to address them as follows: -
"It seems to me necessary, at the outset of a discourse concerning the true worship of God, first of all to instruct those who have not as yet acquired any knowledge of the subject, that throughout the divine providence must be maintained to be without blame, by which the world is ruled and governed. Moreover, the reason of the present undertaking, and the occasion offered by those whom the power of God has healed, suggest this subject for a beginning, viz. to show that for good reason very many persons are possessed by demons, that so the justice of God may appear. For ignorance will be found to be the mother of almost all evils. But now let us come to the reason.
"When God had made man after his own image and likeness, he grafted into his work a certain breathing and odour of his divinity, that so men, being made partakers of his Only-begotten, might through him be also friends of God and sons of adoption. Whence also he himself, as the true Prophet, knowing with what actions the Father is pleased, instructed them in what way they might obtain that privilege. At that time, therefore, there was among men only one worship of God - a pure mind and an uncorrupted spirit. And for this reason every creature kept an inviolable covenant with the human race. For by reason of their reverence of the Creator, no sickness, or bodily disorder, or corruption of food, had power over them; whence it happened, that a life of a thousand years did not fall into the frailty of old age.
"But when men, leading a life void of distress, began to think that the continuance of good things was granted them not by the divine bounty, but by the chance of things, and to accept as a debt of nature, not as a gift of God's goodness, their enjoyment without any exertion of the delights of the divine complaisance, - men, being led by these things into contrary and impious thoughts, came at last, at the instigation of idleness, to think that the life of gods was theirs by nature, without any labours or merits on their part. Hence they go from bad to worse, to believe that neither is the world governed by the providence of God, nor is there any place for virtues, since they knew that they themselves possessed the fullness of ease and delights, without the assignment of any works previously, and without any labours were treated as the friends of God.
"By the most righteous judgment of God, therefore, labours and afflictions are assigned as a remedy to men languishing in the vanity of such thoughts. And when labour and tribulations came on them, they were excluded from the place of delights and amenity. Also the earth began to produce nothing to them without labour; and then men's thoughts being turned in them, they were warned to seek the aid of their Creator, and by prayers and vows to ask for the divine protection. And thus it happened, that the worship of God, which they had neglected by reason of their prosperity, they recovered through their adversity; and their thoughts towards God, which indulgence had perverted, affliction corrected. So therefore the divine providence, seeing that this was more profitable to man, removed from them the ways of kindness and abundance, as being hurtful, and introduced the way of vexation and tribulation.
"But that he might show that these things were done on account of the ungrateful, he translated to immortality a certain one of the first race of men, because he saw that he was not unmindful of his grace, and because he hoped to call on the name of God; while the rest, who were so ungrateful that they could not be amended and corrected even by labours and tribulations, were condemned to a terrible death. Yet amongst them also he found a certain one, who was righteous with his house, whom he preserved, having enjoined him to build an ark, in which he and those who were commanded to go with him might escape, when all things should be destroyed by a deluge: in order that, the wicked being cut off by the overflow of waters, the world might receive a purification; and he who had been preserved for the continuance of the race, being purified by water, might anew repair the world.
"But when all these things were done, men turned again to impiety; and on this account a law was given by God to instruct them in the way of living. But in process of time, the worship of God and righteousness were corrupted by the unbelieving and the wicked, as we shall show more fully by and by. Moreover, perverse and erratic religions were introduced, to which the greater part of men gave themselves up, on the occasion of holidays and solemnities, instituting drinking sessions and banquets, following pipes, and flutes, and harps, and diverse kinds of musical instruments, and indulging themselves in all kinds of drunkenness and luxury. From such things every kind of error took rise; hence they invented groves and altars, fillets and victims, and after drunkenness they were agitated with mad emotions. By this means power was given to the demons to enter into minds of this sort, so that they seemed to lead insane dances and to rave like Bacchanalians; hence were invented the gnashing of teeth, and bellowing from the depth of their bowels; hence a terrible countenance and a fierce aspect in men, so that he whom drunkenness had subverted and a demon had instigated, was believed by the deceived and the erring to be filled with the Deity.
"Hence, since so many false and erratic religions have been introduced into the world, we have been sent, as good merchants, bringing to you the worship of the true God, handed down from the fathers, and preserved; as the seeds of which we scatter these words amongst you, and place it in your choice to choose what seems to you to be right. For if you receive those things which we bring you, you shall not only be able yourselves to escape the incursions of the demon, but also to drive them away from others; and at the same time you shall obtain the rewards of eternal good things. But those who shall refuse to receive those things which are spoken by us, shall be subject in the present life to diverse demons and disorders of sicknesses, and their souls after their departure from the body shall be tormented for ever. For God is not only good, but also just; for if he were always good, and never just to render to everyone according to his deeds, goodness would be found to be injustice. For it would be injustice if the impious and the pious were treated by him alike.
"Therefore demons, as we have just said, when once they have been able, by means of opportunities afforded them, to convey themselves through base and evil actions into the bodies of men, if they remain in them a long time through their own negligence, because they do not seek after what is profitable to their souls, they necessarily compel them for the future to fulfill the desires of the demons who dwell in them. But what is worst of all, at the end of the world, when that demon shall be consigned to eternal fire, of necessity the soul also which obeyed him, shall with him be tortured in eternal fires, together with its body which it has polluted.
"Now that the demons are desirous of occupying the bodies of men, this is the reason. They are spirits baring their purpose turned to wickedness. Therefore by immoderate eating and drinking, and lust, they urge men on to sin, but only those who entertain the purpose of sinning, who, while they seem simply desirous of satisfying the necessary cravings of nature, give opportunity to the demons to enter into them, because through excess they do not maintain moderation. For as long as the measure of nature is kept, and legitimate moderation is preserved, the mercy of God does not give them liberty to enter into men. But when either the mind falls into impiety, or the body is filled with immoderate meat or drink, then, as if invited by the will and purpose of those who thus neglect themselves, they receive power as against those who have broken the Law imposed by God.
"You see, then, how important is the acknowledgment of God, and the observance of the divine religion, which not only protects those who believe from the assaults of the demon, but also gives them command over those who rule over others. And therefore it is necessary for you, who are of the Gentiles, to betake yourselves to God, and to keep yourselves from all uncleanness, that the demons may be expelled, and God may dwell in you And at the same time, by prayers, commit yourselves to God, and call for his aid against the impudence of the demons; for "whatever things you ask, believing, you shall receive. ' But even the demons themselves, in proportion as they see faith grow in a man, in that proportion they depart from him, residing only in that part in which something of infidelity still remains; but from those who believe with full faith, they depart without any delay. For when a soul has come to the faith of God, it obtains the virtue of heavenly water, by which it extinguishes the demon like a spark of fire.
"There is therefore a measure of faith, which, if it be perfect, drives the demon perfectly from the soul; but if it has any defect, something on the part of the demon still remains in the portion of infidelity; and it is the greatest difficulty for the soul to understand when or how, whether fully or less fully, the demon has been expelled from it. For if he remains in any quarter, when he gets an opportunity, he suggests thoughts to men's hearts; and they, not knowing whence they come, believe the suggestions of the demons, as if they were the perceptions of their own souls. Thus they suggest to some to follow pleasure by occasion of bodily necessity; they excuse the passionateness of others by excess of gall; they colour over the madness of others by the vehemence of melancholy; and even extenuate the folly of some as the result of abundance of phlegm. But even if this were so, still none of these could be hurtful to the body, except from the excess of meats and drinks; because, when these are taken in excessive quantities, their abundance, which the natural warmth is not sufficient to digest, curdles into a sort of poison, and it, flowing through the bowels and all the veins like a common sewer, renders the motions of the body unhealthy and base. Therefore moderation is to be attained in all things, that neither may place be given to demons, nor the soul, being possessed by them, be delivered along with them to be tormented in eternal fires.
"There is also another error of the demons, which they suggest to the senses of men, that they should think that those things which they suffer, they suffer from such as are called gods, in order that thereby, offering sacrifices and gifts, as if to propitiate them, they may strengthen the worship of false religion, and avoid us who are interested in their salvation, that they may be freed from error; but this they do, as I have said, not knowing that these thing are suggested to them by demons, for fear they should be saved. It is therefore in the power of everyone, since man has been made possessed of free-will, whether he shall hear us to life, or the demons to destruction. Also to some, the demons, appearing visibly under various figures, sometimes throw out threats, sometimes promise relief from sufferings, that they may instill into those whom they deceive the opinion of their being gods, and that it may not be known that they are demons. But they are not concealed from us, who know the mysteries of the creation, and for what reason it is permitted to the demons to do those things in the present world; how it is allowed them to transform themselves into what figures they please, and to suggest evil thoughts, and to convey themselves, by means of meats and of drink consecrated to them, into the minds or bodies of those who partake of it, and to concoct vain dreams to further the worship of some idol.
"And yet who can be found so senseless as to be persuaded to worship an idol, whether it be made of gold or of any other metal? To whom is it not manifest that the metal is just that which the artificer pleased? How then can the divinity be thought to be in that which would not be at all unless the artificer had pleased? Or how can they hope that future things should be declared to them by that in which there is no perception of present things? For although they should divine something, they should not immediately be held to be gods; for divination is one thing, divinity is another. For the Pythons also seem to divine, yet they are not gods; and, in short, they are driven out of men by Christians. And how can that be God which is put to flight by a man? But perhaps you will say, what as to their effecting cures, and their showing how one can be cured? On this principle, physicians ought also to be worshipped as gods, for they cure many; and in proportion as anyone is more skillful, the more he will cure.
"So it is clear that they since they are demoniac spirits, know some things both more quickly and more perfectly than men; for they are not retarded in their learning by the heaviness of a body. And therefore they, as being spirits, know without delay and without difficulty what physicians attain after a long time and by much labour. It is not wonderful, therefore, if they know somewhat more than men do; but this is to be observed, that what they know they do not employ for the salvation of souls, but for the deception of them, that by means of it they may indoctrinate them in the worship of false religion. But God, that the error of so great deception might not be concealed, and that he himself might not seem to be a cause of error in permitting them so great license to deceive men by divinations, and cures, and dreams, has of his mercy furnished men with a remedy, and has made the distinction of falsehood and truth obvious to those who desire to know. This, therefore, is that distinction: what is spoken by the true God, whether by prophets or by diverse visions, is always true; but what is foretold by demons is not always true. It is therefore an evident sign that those things are not spoken by the true God, in which at any time there is falsehood; for in truth there is never falsehood. But in the case of those who speak falsehoods, there may occasionally be a slight mixture of truth, to give so to speak seasoning to the falsehoods.
"But if anyone say, what is the use of this, that they should be permitted even sometimes to speak truth, and thereby so much error be introduced amongst men? let him take this for answer: If they had never been allowed to speak any truth, then they would not foretell anything at all; while if they did not foretell, they would not be known to be demons. But if demons were not known to be in this world, the cause of our struggle and contest would be concealed from us, and we should suffer openly what was done in secret, that is, if the power were granted to them of only acting against us, and not of speaking. But now, since they sometimes speak truth, and sometimes falsehood, we ought to acknowledge, as I have said, that their responses are of demons, and not of God, with whom there is never falsehood.
"But if anyone, proceeding more curiously, enquire: What then was the use of God's making these evil things, which should have so great a tendency to subvert the minds of men? To one proposing such a question, we answer that we must first of all enquire whether there is any evil in substance. And although it would be sufficient to say to the one who it is not suitable that the creature judge the Creator, but that to judge the work of another belongs to him who is either of equal skill or equal power; yet, to come directly to the point, we say absolutely that there is no evil in substance. But if this be so, then the Creator of substance is vainly blamed.
"But you will meet me by saying, Even if it has come to this through freedom of will, was the Creator ignorant that those whom he created would fall away into evil? He ought therefore not to have created those who, he foresaw, would deviate from the path of righteousness. Now we tell those who ask such questions, that the purpose of assertions of the sort made by us is to show why the wickedness of those who as yet were not, did not prevail over the goodness of the Creator. For if, wishing to fill up the number and measure of his creation, he had been afraid of the wickedness of those who were to be, and like one who could find no other way of remedy and cure, except only this, that he should refrain from his purpose of creating, in case the wickedness of those who were to be should be ascribed to him; what else would this show but unworthy suffering and improper feebleness on the part of the Creator, who should so fear the actings of those who as yet were not, that he refrained from his purposed creation?
"But, setting aside these things, let us consider this earnestly, that God the Creator of the universe, foreseeing the future differences of his creation, foresaw and provided diverse ranks and different offices to each of his creatures, according to the peculiar movements which were produced from freedom of will; so that while all men are of one substance in respect of the method of creation, there should yet be diversity in ranks and offices, according to the peculiar movements of minds, to be produced from liberty of will. Therefore he foresaw that there would be faults in his creatures; and the method of his justice demanded that punishment should follow faults, for the sake of amendment. It was necessary, therefore, that there should be ministers of punishment, and yet that freedom of will should draw them into that order. Moreover, those also must have enemies to conquer, who had undertaken the contests for the heavenly rewards. Thus, therefore, neither are those things destitute of utility which are thought to be evil, since the conquered unwillingly acquire eternal rewards for those by whom they are conquered. But let this suffice on these points, for in process of time even more secret things shall be disclosed.
"Now therefore, since you do not yet understand how great darkness of ignorance surrounds you, meantime I wish to explain to you whence the worship of idols began in this world. And by idols, I mean those lifeless images which you worship, whether made of wood, or earthenware, or stone, or brass, or any other metals: of these the beginning was in this way. Certain angels, having left the course of their proper order, began to favour the vices of men, and in some measure to lend unworthy aid to their lust, in order that by these means they might indulge their own pleasures the more; and then, that they might not seem to be inclined of their own accord to unworthy services, taught men that demons could, by certain arts - that is, by magical invocations - be made to obey men; and so, as from a furnace and workshop of wickedness, they filled the whole world with the smoke of impiety, the light of piety being withdrawn.
"For these and some other causes, a flood was brought on the world, as we have said already, and shall say again; and all who were on the earth were destroyed, except the family of Noah, who survived, with his three sons and their wives. One of these, by name Ham, unhappily discovered the magical act, and handed down the instruction of it to one of his sons, who was called Mesraim, from whom the race of the Egyptians and Babylonians and Persians are descended. Him the nations who then existed called Zoroaster, admiring him as the first author of the magic art; under whose name also many books on this subject exist. He therefore, being much and frequently intent on the stars, and wishing to be esteemed a God among them, began to draw forth, so to speak, certain sparks from the stars, and to show them to men, in order that the rude and ignorant might be astonished, as with a miracle; and desiring to increase this estimation of him, he attempted these things again and again, until he was set on fire, and consumed by the demon himself, whom he accosted with too great importunity.
"But the foolish men who were then, whereas they ought to have abandoned the opinion which they bad conceived of him, inasmuch as they had seen it confuted by his mortal punishment, extolled him the more. For raising a sepulcher to his honour, they went so far as to adore him as a friend of God, and one who had been removed to heaven in a chariot of lightning, and to worship him as if he were a living star. Hence also his name was called Zoroaster after his death - that is, living star - by those who, after one generation, had been taught to speak the Greek language. In fine, by this example, even now many worship those who have been struck with lightning, honouring them with sepulchers, and worshipping them as friends of God. But this man was born in the fourteenth generation, and died in the fifteenth, in which the tower was built, and the languages of men were divided into many.
"First among whom is named a certain king Nimrod, the magic art having been handed down to him as by a flash, whom the Greeks, also called Ninus, and from whom the city of Nineveh took its name. Thus, therefore, diverse and erratic superstitions took their beginning from the magic art. For, because it was difficult to draw away the human race from the love of God, and attach them to deaf and lifeless images, the magicians made use of higher efforts, that men might be turned to erratic worship, by signs among the stars, and motions brought down so to speak from heaven, and by the will of God. And those who had been first deceived, collecting the ashes of Zoroaster, - who, as we have said, was burnt up by the indignation of the demon, to whom he had been too troublesome, - brought them to the Persians, that they might be preserved by them with perpetual watching, as divine fire fallen from heaven, and might be worshipped as a heavenly God.
"By a like example, other men in other places built temples, set up statues, instituted mysteries and ceremonies and sacrifices, to those whom they had admired, either for some arts or for virtue, or at least had held in very great affection; and rejoiced, by means of all things belonging to gods, to hand down their fame to posterity; and that especially, because, as we have already said, they scented to be supported by some phantasies of magic art, so that by invocation of demons something seemed to be done and moved by them towards the deception of men. To these they add also certain solemnities, and drunken banquets, in which men might with all freedom indulge; and demons, conveyed into them in the chariot of repletion, might be mixed with their very bowels, and holding a place there, might bind the acts and thoughts of men to their own will. Such errors, then, having been introduced from the beginning, and having been aided by lust and drunkenness, in which carnal men chiefly delight, the religion of God, which consisted in continence and sobriety, began to become rare amongst men, and to be nearly abolished.
"For whereas at first, men worshipping a righteous and all-seeing God, neither dared sin nor do injury to their neighbours, being persuaded that God sees the actions and movements of everyone; when religious worship was directed to lifeless images, concerning which they were certain that they were incapable of hearing, or sight, or motion, they began to sin licentiously, and to go forward to every crime, because they had no fear of suffering anything at the hands of those whom they worshipped as gods. Hence the madness of wars burst out; hence plunderings, rapines, captivities, and liberty reduced to slavery; each one, as he could, satisfied his lust and his covetousness, although no power can satisfy covetousness. For as fire, the more fuel it gets, is the more extensively kindled and strengthened, so also the madness of covetousness is made greater and more vehement by means of those things which it acquires.
"Therefore begin now with better understanding to resist yourselves in those things which you do not rightly desire; if so be that you can in any way repair and restore in yourselves that purity of religion and innocence of life which at first were bestowed on man by God, that thereby also the hope of immortal blessings may be restored to you. And give thanks to the bountiful Father of all, by him whom he has constituted King of peace, and the treasury of unspeakable honours, that even at the present time your sins may be washed away with the water of the fountain, or river, or even sea: the threefold name of blessedness being called over you, that by it not only evil spirits may be driven out, if any dwell in you, but also that, when you have forsaken your sins, and have with entire faith and entire purity of mind believed in God, you may drive out wicked spirits and demons from others also, and may be able to set others free from sufferings and sicknesses. For the demons themselves know and acknowledge those who have given themselves up to God, and sometimes they are driven out by the mere presence of such, as you saw a little while ago, how, when we had only addressed to you the word of salutation, immediately the demons, on account of their respect for our religion, began to cry out, and could not bear our presence even for a little.
"Is it, then, that we are of another and a superior nature, and that therefore the demons are afraid of us? No, we are of one and the same nature with you, but we differ in religion. But if you will also be like us, we do not grudge it, but rather we exhort you, and wish you to be assured, that when the same faith and religion and innocence of life shall be in you that is in us, you will have equal and the same power and virtue against demons, through God rewarding your faith. For as he who has soldiers under him, although he may be inferior, and they superior to him in strength, yet "says to this one, Go, and he goes; and to another, Come, and he comes; and to another, Do this, and he does it;' and this he is able to do, not by his own power, but by the fear of Caesar; so every faithful one commands the demons, although they seem to he much stronger than men, and that not by means of his own power, but by means of the power of God, who has put them in subjection. For even that which we have just spoken of, that Caesar is held in awe by all soldiers, and in every camp, and in his whole kingdom, though he is but one man, and perhaps feeble in respect of bodily strength, this is not effected but by the power of God, who inspires all with fear, that they may be subject to one.
"This we would have you know assuredly, that a demon has no power against a man, unless one voluntarily submit himself to his desires. Whence even that one who is the prince of wickedness, approached him who, as we have said, is appointed of God King of peace, tempting him, and began to promise him all the glory of the world; because he knew that when he had offered this to others, for the sake of deceiving them, they had worshipped him. Therefore, impious as he was, and unmindful of himself, which indeed is the special peculiarity of wickedness, he presumed that he should be worshipped by him by whom he knew that he was to be destroyed. Therefore our Lord, confirming the worship of one God, answered him: "It is written, you shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve. ' And he, terrified by this answer, and fearing in case the true religion of the one and true God should be restored, hastened immediately to send forth into this world false prophets, and false apostles, and false teachers, who should speak indeed in the name of Christ, but should accomplish the will of the demon.
"Therefore observe the greatest caution, that you believe no teacher, unless he bring from Jerusalem the testimonial of James the Lord's brother, or of whosoever may come after him. For no one, unless he has gone up there, and there has been approved as a fit and faithful teacher for preaching the word of Christ, - unless, I say, he brings a testimonial thence, is by any means to be received. But let neither prophet nor apostle be looked for by you at this time, besides us. For there is one true Prophet, whose words we twelve apostles preach; for he is the accepted year of God, having us apostles as his twelve months. But for what reason the world itself was made, or what diversities have occurred in it, and why our Lord, coming for its restoration, has chosen and sent us twelve apostles, shall be explained more at length at another time. Meantime he has commanded us to go forth to preach, and to invite you to the supper of the heavenly King, which the Father has prepared for the marriage of his Son, and that we should give you wedding garments, that is, the grace of baptism; which whosoever obtains, as a spotless robe with which he is to enter to the supper of the King, ought to beware that it be not in any part of it stained with sin, and so he be rejected as unworthy and reprobate.
"But the ways in which this garment may be spotted are these: If anyone withdraw from God the Father and Creator of all, receiving another teacher besides Christ, who alone is the faithful and true Prophet, and who has sent us twelve apostles to preach the word; if anyone think otherwise than worthily of the substance of the Godhead, which excels all things; - these are the things which even fatally pollute the garment of baptism. But the things which pollute it in actions are these: murders, adulteries, hatreds, avarice, evil ambition. And the things which pollute at once the soul and the body are these: to partake of the table of demons, that is, to taste things sacrificed, or blood, or a carcass which is strangled, and if there be anything else which has been offered to demons. Be this therefore the first step to you of three; which step brings forth thirty commands, and the second sixty, and the third a hundred, as we shall expound more fully to you at another time."
When he had thus spoken, and had charged them to come to the same place in good time on the following day, he dismissed the crowds; and when they were unwilling to depart, Peter said to them: "Do me this favour on account of the fatigue of yesterday's journey; and now go away. And meet in good time tomorrow." And so they departed with joy. But Peter, commanding me to withdraw a little for the purpose of prayer, afterwards ordered the couches to be spread in the part of the garden which was covered with shade; and everyone, according to custom, recognising the place of his own rank, we took food. Then, as there was still some portion of the day left, he conversed with us concerning the Lord's miracles; and when evening came, he entered his bed-chamber and went to sleep.
BUT on the following day, Peter rising a little earlier than usual, found us asleep; and when he saw it, he gave orders that silence should be kept for him, as though he himself wished to sleep longer, that we might not be disturbed in our rest. But when we rose refreshed with sleep, we found him, having finished his prayer, waiting for us in his bed-chamber. And as it was already dawn, he addressed us shortly, saluting us according to his custom, and immediately proceeded to the usual place for the purpose of teaching; and when he saw that many had assembled there, having invoked peace on them according to the first religious form, he began to speak as follows: -
"God, the Creator of all, at the beginning made man after his own image, and gave him dominion over the earth and sea, and over the air; as the true Prophet has told us, and as the very reason of things instructs us: for man alone is rational, and it is fitting that reason should rule over the irrational. At first, therefore, while he was still righteous, he was superior to all disorders and all frailty; but when he sinned, as we taught you yesterday, and became the servant of sin, he became at the same time liable to frailty. This therefore is written, that men may know that, as by impiety they have been made liable to suffer, so by piety they may be made free from suffering; and not only free from suffering, but by even a little faith in God be able to cure the sufferings of others. For thus the true Prophet promised us, saying, "Truly I say to you, that if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain, Remove hence, and it shall remove. ' Of this saving you have yourselves also had proofs; for you saw yesterday how at our presence the demons removed and were put to flight, with those sufferings which they had brought on men.
"Whereas therefore some men suffer, and others cure those who suffer, it is necessary, to know the cause at once of the suffering and the cure; and this is proved to be nought else than unbelief on the part of the sufferers, and faith on the part of those who cure them. For unbelief, while it does not believe that there is to be a judgment by God, affords license to sin, and sin makes men liable to sufferings; but faith, believing that there is to be a judgment of God, restrains men from sin; and those who do not sin are not only free from demons and sufferings, but can also put to flight the demons and sufferings of others.
"From all these things, therefore, it is concluded that all evil springs from ignorance; and ignorance herself, the mother of all evils, is sprung from carelessness and sloth, and is nourished, and increased, and rooted in the senses of men by negligence; and if anyone teach that she is to be put to flight, she is with difficulty and indignantly torn away, as from an ancient and hereditary abode. And therefore we must labour for a little, that we may search out the presumptions of ignorance, and cut them off by means of knowledge, especially in those who are preoccupied with some erroneous opinions, by means of which ignorance is the more firmly rooted in them, as under the appearance of a certain kind of knowledge; for nothing is worse than for one to believe that he knows what he is ignorant of, and to maintain that to be true which is false. This is as if a drunk man should think himself to be sober, and should act indeed in all respects as a drunk man, and yet think himself to be sober, and should wish to be called so by others. Thus, therefore, are those also who do not know what is true, yet hold some appearance of knowledge, and do many evil things as if they were good, and hasten destruction as if it were to salvation.
"Therefore we must, above all things, hasten to the knowledge of the truth, that, as with a light kindled thereat, we may be able to dispel the darkness of errors: for ignorance, as we have said, is a great evil; but because it has no substance, it is easily dispelled by those who are: in earnest. For ignorance is nothing else than not knowing what is good for us; once know this, and ignorance perishes. Therefore the knowledge of truth ought to be eagerly sought after; and no one can confer it except the true Prophet. For this is the gate of life to those who will enter, and the road of good works to those going to the city of salvation.
"Whether anyone, truly hearing the word of the true Prophet; is willing or unwilling to receive it, and to embrace his burden, that is, the precepts of life, he has either in his power, for we are free in will. For if it were so, that those who hear had it not in their power to do otherwise than they had heard, there were some power of nature in virtue of which it would not be free to him to pass over to another opinion. Or if, again, no one of the hearers could at all receive it, this also were a power of nature which should compel the doing of some one thing, and should leave no place for the other course. But now, since it is free for the mind to turn its judgment to which side it pleases, and to choose the way which it approves, it is clearly manifest that there is in men a liberty of choice.
"Therefore, before anyone hears what is good for him, it is certain that he is ignorant; and being ignorant, he wishes and desires to do what is not good for him; therefore he is not judged for that. But when once he has heard the causes of his error, and has received the method of truth, then, if he remain in those errors with which he had been long ago preoccupied, he shall rightly be called into judgment, to suffer punishment, because he has spent in the sport of errors that portion of life which was given him to be spent in living well. But he who, hearing those things, willingly receives them, and is thankful that the teaching of good things has been brought to him, enquires more eagerly, and does not cease to learn, until he ascertains whether there be truly another world, in which rewards are prepared for the good. And when he is assured of this, he gives thanks to God because he has shown him the light of truth; and for the future directs his actions in all good works, for which he is assured that there is a reward prepared in the world to come; while he constantly wonders and is astonished at the errors of other men, and that no one sees the truth which is placed before his eyes. Yet he himself, rejoicing in the riches of wisdom which he has found, desires insatiably to enjoy them, and is delighted with the practice of good works; hastening to attain, with a clean heart and a pure conscience, the world to come, when he shall be able even to see God, the king of all.
"But the sole cause of our wanting and being deprived of all these things is ignorance. For while men do not know how much good there is in knowledge, they do not suffer the evil of ignorance to be removed from them; for they do not know how great a difference is involved in the change of one of these things for the other. Therefore I counsel every learner willingly to lend his ear to the word of God, and to hear with love of the truth what we say, that his mind, receiving the best seed, may bring forth joyful fruits by good deeds. For if, while I teach the things which pertain to salvation, anyone refuses to receive them, and strives to resist them with a mind occupied by evil opinions, he shall have the cause of his perishing, not from us, but from himself. For it is his duty to examine with just judgment the things which we say, and to understand that we speak the words of truth, that, knowing how things are, and directing his life in good actions, he may be found a partaker of the kingdom of heaven, subjecting to himself the desires of the flesh, and becoming Lord of them, that so at length he himself also may become the pleasant possession of the Ruler of all.
"For he who persists in evil, and is the servant of evil, cannot be made a portion of good so long as he persists in evil, because from the beginning, as we have said, God instituted two kingdoms, and has given to each man the power of becoming a portion of that kingdom to which he shall yield himself to obey. And since it is decreed by God that no one man can be a servant of both kingdoms, therefore endeavour with all earnestness to betake yourselves to the covenant and laws of the good King. Therefore also the true Prophet, when he was present with us, and saw some rich men negligent with respect to the worship of God, thus unfolded the truth of this matter: "No one,' said He, "can serve two masters; you cannot serve God and mammon' - calling riches, in the language of his country, mammon.
"He therefore is the true Prophet, who appeared to us, as you have heard, in Judaea, who, standing in public places, by a simple command made the blind see, the deaf hear, cast out demons, restored health to the sick, and life to the dead; and since nothing was impossible to him, he even perceived the thoughts of men, which is possible for none but God only. He proclaimed the kingdom of God; and we believed him as a true Prophet in all that he spoke, deriving the confirmation of our faith not only from his words, but also from his works; and also because the sayings of the law, which many generations before had set forth his coming, were fulfilled in him; and the figures of the doings of Moses, and of the patriarch Jacob before him, bore in all respects a type of him. It is evident also that the time of his advent, that is, the very time at which he came, was foretold by them; and, above all, it was contained in the sacred writings, that he was to be waited for by the Gentiles. And all these things were equally fulfilled in him.
"But that which a prophet of the Jews foretold, that he was to be waited for by the Gentiles, confirms above measure the faith of truth in him. For if he had said that he was to be waited for by the Jews, he would not have seemed to prophesy anything extraordinary, that he whose coming had been promised for the salvation of the world should be the object of hope to the people of the same tribe with himself, and to his own nation: for that this would take place, would seem rather to be a matter of natural inference than one requiring the grandeur of a prophetic utterance. But now, whereas the prophets say that all that hope which is presented concerning the salvation of the world, and the newness of the kingdom which is to be established by Christ, and all things which are declared concerning him are to be transferred to the Gentiles; the grandeur of the prophetic office is confirmed, not according to the sequence of things, but by an incredible fulfillment of the prophecy. For the Jews from the beginning had understood by a most certain tradition that this man should at some time come, by whom all things should be restored; and daily meditating and looking out for his coming, when they saw him amongst them, and accomplishing the signs and miracles, as had been written of him, being blinded with envy, they could not recognise him when present, in the hope of whom they rejoiced while he was absent; yet the few of us who were chosen by him understood it.
"But this happened by the providence of God, that the knowledge of this good One should be handed over to the Gentiles, and those who had never heard of him, nor had learned from the prophets, should acknowledge him, while those who had acknowledged him in their daily meditations should not know him. For you see, by you who are now present, and desire to hear the doctrine of his faith, and to know what, and how, and of what sort is his coming, the prophetic truth is fulfilled. For this is what the prophets foretold, that he is to he sought for by you, who never heard of him. And, therefore, seeing that the prophetic sayings are fulfilled even in yourselves, you rightly believe in him alone, you rightly wait for him, you rightly enquire concerning him, that you not only may wait for him, but also believing, you may obtain the inheritance of his kingdom; according to what himself said, that everyone is made the servant of him to whom he yields subjection.
"Therefore awake, and take to yourselves our Lord and God, even that Lord who is Lord both of heaven and earth, and conform yourselves to his image and likeness, as the true Prophet himself teaches, saying, "Be merciful, as also your heavenly Father is merciful, who makes his sun to rise on the good and the evil, and rains on the just and the unjust. ' Imitate him, therefore, and fear him, as the commandment is given to men, "You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve. ' For it is profitable to you to serve this Lord alone, that through him knowing the one God, you may be freed from the many whom you vainly feared. For he who fears not God the Creator of all, but fears those whom he himself with his own hands has made, what does he do but make himself subject to a vain and senseless fear, and render himself more vile and abject than those very things, the fear of which he has conceived in his mind? But rather, by the goodness of him who invites you, return to your former nobleness, and by good deeds show that you bear the image of your Creator, that by contemplation of his likeness you may be believed to be even his sons.
"Begin, therefore, to cast out of your minds the vain ideas of idols, and your useless and empty fears, that at the same time you may also escape the condition of unrighteous bondage. For those have become your lords, who could not even have been profitable servants to you. For how should lifeless images seem fit even to serve you, when they can neither hear, nor see, nor feel anything? Yes, even the material of which they are made, whether it be gold or silver, or even brass or wood, though it might have profiled yon for necessary uses, you have rendered wholly inefficient and useless by fashioning gods out of it. We therefore declare to you the true worship of God, and at the same time warn and exhort the worshippers, that by good deeds they, imitate him whom they worship, and hasten to return to his image and likeness, as we said before.
"But I should like if those who worship idols would tell me if they wish to become like to those whom they worship? Does anyone of you wish to see in such sort as they see? or to hear after the way of their hearing? or to have such understanding as they have? Far be this from any of my hearers! For this were rather to be thought a curse and a reproach to a man, who bears in himself the image of God, although he has lost the likeness. What sort of gods, then, are they to be reckoned, the imitation of whom would be execrable to their worshippers, and to have whose likeness would be a reproach? What then? Melt your useless images, and make useful vessels. Melt the unserviceable and inactive metal, and make implements fit for the use of men. But, says one, human laws do not allow us. He says well; for it is human laws, and not their own power, that prevents it. What kind of gods, then, are those which are defended by human laws, and not by their own energies? And so also they are preserved from thieves by watch-dogs and the protection of bolts, at least if they be of silver, or gold, or even of brass; for those that are of stone and earthenware are protected by their own worthlessness, for no one will steal a stone or a crockery God. Hence those seem to be the more miserable whose more precious metal exposes them to the greater danger. Since, then, they can be stolen, since they must be guarded by men, since they can be melted, and weighed out, and forged with hammers, ought men possessed of understanding to hold them as gods?
"Oh! into what wretched plight the understanding of men has fallen! For if it is reckoned the greatest folly to fear the dead, what shall we judge of those who fear something that is worse than the dead are? For those images are not even to be reckoned among the number of the dead, because they were never alive. Even the sepulchers of the dead are preferable to them, since, although they are now dead, yet they once had life; but those whom yon worship never possessed even such base life as is in all, the life of frogs and owls. But why say more about them, since it is enough to say to him who adores them: Do you not see that he whom you adore sees not, hear that he whom you adore hears not, and understand that he understands not? - for he is the work of man's hand, and necessarily is void of understanding. You therefore worship a God without sense, whereas everyone who has sense believes that not even those things are to be worshipped which have been made by God and have sense, such as the sun, moon, and stars, and all things that are in heaven and on earth. For they think it reasonable, that not those things which have been made for the service of the world, but the Creator of those things themselves, and of the whole world, should be worshipped. For even these things rejoice when he is adored and worshipped, and do not take it well that the honour of the Creator should be bestowed on the creature. For the worship of God alone is acceptable to them, who alone is uncreated, and all things also are his creatures. For as it belongs to him who alone is uncreated to be God, so everything that has been created is not truly God
"Above all, therefore, you ought to understand the deception of the old serpent and his cunning suggestions, who deceives you so to speak by prudence, and as by a sort of reason creeps through your senses; and beginning at the head, he glides through your inner marrow, accounting the deceiving of you a great gain. Therefore he insinuates into your minds opinions of gods of whatever kinds, only that he may withdraw yon from the faith of one God knowing that your sin is his comfort. For he, for his wickedness, was condemned from the beginning to eat dust, for that he caused to be again resolved into dust him who had been taken from the dust, even until the time when your souls shall be restored, being brought through the fire; as we shall instruct you more fully at another time. From him, therefore, proceed all the errors and doubts, by which you are driven from the faith and belief of one God.
"And first of all he suggests to men's thoughts not to hear the words of truth, by which they might put to flight the ignorance of those things which are evils. And this he does, as by the presentation of another knowledge, making a show of that opinion which very many hold, to think that they shall not be held guilty if they have been in ignorance, and that they shall not be called to account for what they have not heard; and thereby he persuades them to turn aside from hearing the word. But I tell you, in opposition to this, that ignorance is in itself a most deadly poison, which is sufficient to ruin the soul without any aid from without. And therefore there is no one who is ignorant who shall escape through his ignorance, bill it is certain that he shall perish. For the power of sin naturally destroys the sinner. But since the judgment shall be according to reason, the cause and origin of ignorance shall be enquired into, as well as of every sin. For he who is unwilling to know how he may attain to life, and prefers to be in ignorance in case he thereby be made guilty, from this very fact is judged as if he knew and had knowledge. For he knew what it was that he was unwilling to hear; and the cunning obtained by the artifice of the serpent will avail him nothing for an excuse, for he will have to do with him to whom the heart is open. But that you may know that ignorance of itself brings destruction, I assure you that when the soul departs from the body, if it leave it in ignorance of him by whom it was created, and from whom in this world it obtained all things that were necessary for its uses, it is driven forth from the light of his kingdom as ungrateful and unfaithful.
"Again, the wicked serpent suggests another opinion to men, which many of you are in the habit of bringing forward, - that there is, as we say, one God, who is Lord of all; but these also, they say, are gods. For as there is one Caesar, and he has under him many judges, - for example, prefects, consuls, tribunes, and other officers, - in the same way we think, that while there is one God greater than all, yet still that these gods are ordained in this world, after the likeness of those officers of whom we have spoken, subject indeed to that greater God, yet ruling us and the things that are in this world. In answer to this, I shall show you how, in those very things which you propose for deception, you are confuted by the reasons of truth. You say that God occupies the place of Caesar, and those who are called gods represent his judges and officers. Hold then, as you have adduced it, by the example of Caesar; and know that, as one of Caesar's judges or administrators, as prefects, proconsuls, generals, or tribunes, may lawfully take the name of Caesar, - or else both he who should take it and those who should confer it should be destroyed together, - so also in this case yon ought to observe, that if anyone give the name of God to any but himself, and he accept it, they shall partake one and the same destruction, by a much more terrible fate than the servants of Caesar. For he who offends against Caesar shall undergo temporal destruction; but he who offends against him who is the sole and true God, shall suffer eternal punishment, and that deservedly, as having injured by a wrongful condition the name which is unique.
"Although this word God is pot the name of God, but meantime that word is employed by men as his name; and therefore, as I have said, when it is used reproachfully, the reproach is referred to the injury of the true name. In short, the ancient Egyptians, who thought that they had discovered the theory of the heavenly revolutions and the nature of the stars, nevertheless, through the demon's blocking up their senses, subjected the incommunicable name to all kinds of indignity. For some taught that their ox, which is called Apis, ought to be worshipped; others taught that the he-goat, others that cats, the ibis, a fish also, a serpent, onions, drains, crepitus ventris, ought to be regarded as deities, and innumerable other things, which I am ashamed even to mention."
When Peter was speaking thus, all we who heard him laughed. Then said Peter: "You laugh at the absurdities of others, because through long custom you do not see your own. For indeed it is not without reason that you laugh at the folly of the Egyptians, who worship dumb animals, while they themselves are rational. But I will tell you how they also laugh at you; for they say, we worship living animals, though mortal; but you worship and adore things which never were alive at all. They add this also, that they are figures and allegories of certain powers by whose help the race of men is governed. Taking refuge in this for shame, they fabricate these and similar excuses, and so endeavour to screen their error. But this is not the time to answer the Egyptians, and leaving the care of those who are present to heal the disease of the absent. For it is a certain indication that you are held to be free from sickness of this sort, since you do not grieve over it as your own, but laugh at it as that of others.
"But let us come back to you, whose opinion it is that God should be regarded as Caesar, and the gods as the ministers and deputies of Caesar. Follow me attentively, and I shall presently show you the lurking-places of the serpent, which lie in the crooked windings of this argument. It ought to be regarded by all as certain and beyond doubt, that no creature can be on a level with God, because he was made by none, but himself made all things; nor indeed can anyone be found so irrational, as to suppose that the thing made can be compared with the maker. If therefore the human mind, not only by reason, but even by a sort of natural instinct, rightly holds this opinion, that that is called God to which nothing can be compared or equaled, but which exceeds all and excels all; how can it be supposed that that name which is believed to be above all, is rightly given to those whom you think to be employed for the service and comfort of human life? But we shall add this also. This world was undoubtedly made, and is corruptible, as we shall show more fully by and by; meantime it is admitted both that it has been made and that it is corruptible. If therefore the world cannot be called God, and rightly so, because it is corruptible, how shall parts of the world take the name of God? For inasmuch as the whole world cannot be God, much more its parts cannot. Therefore, if we come back to the example of Caesar, you will see how far you are in error. It is not lawful for anyone, though a man of the same nature with him, to be compared with Caesar: do you think, then, that anyone ought to be compared with God, who excels all in this respect, that he was made by none, but himself made all things? But, indeed, you dare not give the name of Caesar to any other, because he immediately punishes one who offends against him; you dare give that of God to others, because he delays the punishment of offenders against him, in order to their repentance.
"Through the mouths of others also that serpent can often speak in this way: We adore visible images in honour of the invisible God. Now this is most certainly false. For if you really wished to worship the image of God, you would do good to man, and so worship the true image of God in him. For the image of God is in every man, though his likeness is not in all, but where the soul is benign and the mind pure. If, therefore, you wish truly to honour the image of God, we declare to you what is true, that you should do good to and pay honour and reverence to man, who is made in the image of God; that you minister food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty, clothing to the naked, hospitality to the stranger, and necessary things to the prisoner; and that is what will be regarded as truly bestowed on God. And so far do these things go to the honour of God's image, that he who does not these things is regarded as casting reproach on the divine image. What, then, is that honour of God which consists in running from one stone or wooden figure to another, in venerating empty and lifeless figures as deities, and despising men in whom the image of God is truly? Yes, rather be assured, that whoever commits murder or adultery, or anything that causes suffering or injury to men, in all these the image of God is violated. For to injure men is a great impiety towards God. Whenever, therefore, you do to another what you would not have another do to you, you defile the image of God with undeserved distresses. Understand, therefore, that that is the suggestion of the serpent lurking within you, which persuades you that you may seem to be pious when you worship insensible things, and may not seem impious when you injure sensible and rational beings.
"But to these things the serpent answers us with another mouth, and says: If God did not wish these things to be, then they should not be. I am not telling you how it is that many contrary things are permitted to be in this world for the probation of everyone's mind. But this is what is suitable to be said in the meantime: If, according to you, everything that was to be worshipped ought not to have been, there would have been almost nothing in this world. For what is there that you have left without worshipping it? The sun, the moon, the stars, the water, the earth, mountains, trees, stones, men; there is no one of these that you have not worshipped. According to your saying, therefore, none of these ought to have been made by God, that you might not have anything that you could worship! Yes, he ought not even to have made men themselves to be the worshippers! But this is the very thing which that serpent which lurks within you desires: for he spares none of you; he would have no one of you escape from destruction. But it shall not be so. For I tell you, that not that which is worshipped is in fault, but he who worships. For with God is righteous judgment; and he judges in one way the sufferer, and in another way the doer, of wrong.
"But you say: Then those who adore what ought not to be adored, should be immediately destroyed by God, to prevent others doing the like. But are you wiser than God, that you should offer him counsel? He knows what to do. For with all who are placed in ignorance he exercises patience, because he is merciful and gracious; and he foresees that many of the wicked become godly, and that even some of those who worship impure statues and polluted images have been converted to God, and forsaking their sins and doing good works, attain to salvation. But it is said: We ought never to have come even to the thought of doing these things. You do not know what freedom of will is, and you forget that he is good who is so by his own intention; but, he who is retained in goodness by necessity cannot be called good, because it is not of himself that he is so. Because, therefore, there is in everyone liberty to choose good or evil, he either acquires rewards, or brings destruction on himself. No it is said, God brings to our minds whatever we think. What mean you, O then? You blaspheme. For if he brings all our thoughts into our minds, then it is he that suggests to us thoughts of adultery, and covetousness, and blasphemy, and every kind of effeminacy. Cease, I ask of you, these blasphemies, and understand what is the honour worthy of God. And say not, as some of you tend to say, that God needs not honour from men. Indeed, he truly is in need of none; but you ought to know that the honour which you bestow on God is profitable to yourselves. For what is so execrable, as for a man not to render thanks to his Creator?
"But it is said: We do better, who give thanks both to himself, and to all with him. In this you do not understand that there is the ruin of your salvation. For it is as if a sick man should call in for his cure at once a physician and poisoners; since these could indeed injure him, but not cure him; and the true physician would refuse to mix his remedies with their poisons, in case either the man's destruction should be ascribed to the good, or his recovery, to the injurious. But you say: Is God then indignant or envious, if, when he benefits us, our thanks be rendered to others? Even if he be not indignant, at all events he does not wish to be the author of error, that by means of his work credit should be given to a vain idol. And what is so impious, so ungrateful, as to obtain a benefit from God, and to render thanks to blocks of wood and stone? Therefore arise, and understand your salvation. For God is in need of no one, nor does he require anything, nor is he hurt by anything; but we are either helped or hurt, in that we are grateful or ungrateful. For what does God gain from our praises, or what does he lose by our blasphemies? Only this we must remember, that God brings into proximity and friendship with himself the soul that renders thanks to him. But the wicked demon possesses the ungrateful soul.
"But this also I would have you know, that on such souls God does not take vengeance directly, but his whole creation rises up and inflicts punishments on the impious; and although in the present world the goodness of God bestows the light of the world and the services of the earth alike on the pious and the impious, yet not without grief does the sun afford his light, and the other elements perform their service, to the impious. And, in short, sometimes even in opposition to the goodness of the Creator, the elements are wearied out by the crimes of the wicked; and thence it is that either the fruit of the earth is blighted, or the composition of the air is vitiated, or the heat of the sun is increased beyond measure, or there is an excessive amount of rain or of cold. Thence pestilence, and famine, and death in various forms stalk forth, for the creature hurries to take vengeance on the wicked; yet the goodness of God restrains it, and bridles its indignation against the wicked, and compels it to be obedient to his mercy, rather than to be inflamed by the sins and the crimes of men. For the patience of God waits for the conversion of men, as long as they are ill this body.
"But if any persist in impiety till the end of life, then as soon as the soul, which is immortal, departs, it shall pay the penalty of its persistence in impiety. For even the souls of the impious are immortal, though perhaps they themselves would wish them to end with their bodies. But it is not so; for they endure without end the torments of eternal fire, and to their destruction they have not the quality of mortality. But perhaps you will say to me, you terrify us, O Peter. And how shall we speak to you the things which are in reality? Can we declare to you the truth by keeping silence? We cannot state the things which are, otherwise than as they are. But if we were silent, we should make ourselves the cause of the ignorance that is ruinous to you, and should satisfy the serpent that lurks within you, and blocks up your senses, who cunningly suggests these things to you, that he may make you always the enemies of God. But we are sent for this end, that we may betray his disguises to you; and melting your enmities, may reconcile you to God, that you may be converted to him, and may please him by good works. For man is at enmity with God, and is in an unreasonable and impious state of mind and wicked disposition towards him, especially when he thinks that he knows something, and is in ignorance. But when you lay aside these, and begin to he pleased and displeased with the same things which please and displease God, and to will what God wills then you shall truly be called his friends.
"But perhaps some of you will say, God has no care of human things; and if we cannot even attain to the knowledge of him, how shall we attain to his friendship? That God does concern himself with the affairs of men, his government of the world bears witness: for the sun daily waits on it, the showers minister to it; the fountains, rivers, winds, and all elements, attend on it; and the more these things become known to men, the more do they indicate God's care over men. For unless by the power of the. Most High, the more powerful would never minister to the inferior; and by this God is shown to have not only a care over men, but some great affection, since he has deputed such noble elements to their service. But that men may also attain to the friendship of God, is proved to us by the example of those to whose prayers he has been so favourable, that he has withheld the heaven from rain when they wished, and has again opened it when they prayed. And many other things he has bestowed on those who does his will, which could not be bestowed but on his friends. But you will say, what harm is done to God if these things also are worshipped by us? If anyone of you should pay to another the honour that is due to his father, from whom he has received innumerable benefits, and should reverence a stranger and foreigner as his father, should you not think that he was undutiful towards his father, and most deserving to be disinherited?
"Others say, It is wicked if we do not worship those idols which have come down to us from our fathers, and prove false to the religion bequeathed to us by our ancestors. On this principle, if anyone's father was a robber or a base fellow, he ought not to change the way of life handed down to him by his fathers, nor to be recalled from his father's errors to a better way; and it is reckoned impious if one do not sin with his parents, or does not persist in impiety with them. Others say, we ought not to be troublesome to God, and to be always burdening him with complaints of our miseries, or with the exigencies of our petitions. How foolish and witless an answer! Do you think it is troublesome to God if you thank him for his benefits, while you do not think it troublesome to him if, for his gifts, you render thanks to stocks and stones? And how comes it, that when rain is withheld in a long drought, we all turn our eyes to heaven, and ask the gift of rain from God Almighty, and all of us with oar little ones pour out prayers on God and ask his compassion? But truly ungrateful souls, when they obtain the blessing, quickly forget: for as soon as they have gathered in their harvest or their vintage, immediately they offer the first-fruits to deaf and dumb images, and pay vows in temples or groves for those things which God has bestowed on them, and then offer sacrifices to demons; and having received a favour, deny the giver of the favour.
"But some say, These things are instituted for the sake of joy, and for refreshing our minds; and they have been devised for this end, that the human mind may be relaxed for a little from cares and sorrows. See now what a charge you yourselves bring on the things which you practice. If these things have been invented for the purpose of lightening sorrow and affording enjoyment, how is it that the invocations of demons are performed in groves and woods? What is the meaning of the insane whirlings, and the slashing of limbs, and the cutting off of members? How is it that mad rage is produced in them? How is insanity produced? How is it that women are driven violently, raging with disheveled hair? Whence the shrieking and gnashing of teeth? Whence the bellowing of the heart and the bowels, and all those things which, whether they are pretended or are contrived by the ministration of demons, are exhibited to the terror of the foolish and ignorant? Are these things done for the sake of lightening the mind, or rather for the sake of oppressing it? Do you not yet perceive nor understand, that these are the counsels of the serpent lurking within you, which draws yon away from the apprehension of truth by irrational suggestions of errors, that he may hold you as slaves and servants of lust and concupiscence and every disgraceful thing?
"But I protest to you with the clear voice of preaching, that, on the contrary, the religion of God calls you to sobriety and modesty; orders you to refrain from effeminacy and madness, and by patience and gentleness to prevent the inroads of anger; to be content with your own possessions, and with the virtue of frugality; not even when driven by poverty to plunder the goods of others, but in all things to observe justice; to withdraw yourselves wholly from the idol sacrifices: for by these things you invite demons to you, and of your own accord give them the power of entering into you; and so you admit that which is the cause either of madness or of unlawful love.
"Hence is the origin of all impiety; hence murders, adulteries, thefts; and a nursery is formed of all evils and wickednesses, while you indulge in profane libations and odors, and give to wicked spirits an opportunity of ruling and obtaining some sort of authority over you. For when they invade your senses, what do they else than work the things which belong to lust and injustice and cruelty, and compel you to be obedient to all things that are pleasing to them? God, indeed, permits you to suffer this at their hands by a certain righteous judgment, that from the very disgrace of your doings and your feelings you may understand how unworthy it is to be subject to demons and not to God. Hence also, by the friendship of demons, men are brought to disgraceful and base deeds; hence, men proceed even to the destruction of life, either through the fire of lust, or through the madness of anger through excess of grief, so that, as is well known, some have even laid violent hands on themselves. And this, as we have said, by a just sentence of God they are not prevented from doing, that they may both understand to whom they have yielded themselves in subjection, and know whom they have forsaken.
"But a person may say, These passions sometimes befall even those who worship God. It is not true. For we say, that he is a worshipper of God, who does the will of God, and observes the precepts of his law. For in God's estimation he is not a Jew who is called a Jew among men (nor is he a Gentile that is called a Gentile), but he who, believing in God, fulfills his law and does his will, though he be not circumcised. He is the true worshipper of God, who not only is himself free from passions, but also sets others free from them; though they be so heavy that they are like mountains, he removes them by means of the faith with which he believes in God. Yes, by faith be truly removes mountains with their trees, if it be necessary. But be who seems to worship Cool, but is neither fortified by a full faith, nor by obedience to the commandments, but is a sinner, has given a place in himself, by reason of his sins, to passions, which are appointed of God for the punishment of those who sin, that they may exact from them the deserts of their sins by means of punishments inflicted, and may bring them purified to the general judgment of all, provided always that their faith do not fail them in their punishment. For the punishment of unbelievers in the present life is a judgment, by which they begin to be separated from future blessings; but the punishment of those who worship God, while it is inflicted on them for sins into which they have fallen, exacts from them the due of what they have done, that, preventing the judgment, they may pay the debt of their sin in the present life, and be freed, at least in half, from the eternal punishments which are there prepared.
"But he does not receive these things as true who does not believe that there is to be a judgment of God, and therefore, being bound by the pleasures of the present life, is shut out from eternal good things; and therefore we do not neglect to proclaim to you what we know to be necessary for your salvation, and to show you what is the true worship of God, that, believing in God, you may be able, by means of good works, to be heirs with us of the world to come. But if you are not yet convinced that what we say is true, meantime, in the first instance, you ought not to take it amiss and to be hostile to us because we announce to you the things which we consider to be good, and because we do not grudge to bestow also on you that which we believe brings salvation to ourselves, labouring, as I have said, with all eagerness, that we may have you as fellow-heirs of the blessings which we believe are to befall ourselves. But whether those things which we declare to you are certainly true, you shall not be able to know otherwise than by rendering obedience to the things which are commanded, that you may be taught by the issue of things, and the most certain end of blessedness.
"And, therefore, although the serpent lurking within you occupies your senses with a you sand arts of corruption, and throws in your way a thousand obstacles, by which he may turn you away from the hearing of saving instruction, all the more ought you to resist him, and despising his suggestions, to come together the more frequently to hear the word and receive instruction from us, because nobody can learn anything who is not taught."
When he had done speaking, he ordered those to be brought to him who were oppressed by sickness or demons, and laid his hands on them with prayer; and so he dismissed the crowds, charging them to resort to the hearing of the word during the days that he was to remain there. Therefore, when the crowds had departed, Peter washed his body in the waters which ran through the garden, with as many of the others as chose to do so; and then ordered the couches to be spread on the ground under a very shady tree, and directed us to recline according to the order established at Caesarea. And thus, having taken food and given thanks to God after the way of the Hebrews, as there was yet some portion of the day remaining, he ordered us to question him on any matters that we pleased. And although we were with him twenty in all, he explained to everyone whatever he pleased to ask of him; the particulars of which I set down in books and sent to you some time ago. And when evening came we entered with him into the lodging, and went to sleep, each one in his own place.#