Therefore on the fourth day at Tripolis, Peter rising and finding us awake, saluted us and went out to the reservoir, that he might bathe and pray; and we also did so after him. To us, therefore, when we had prayed together, and were set down before him, he gave a discourse touching the necessity of purity. And when thereafter it was day, he permitted the multitudes to enter. Then, when a great crowd had entered, he saluted them according to custom, and began to speak.
Inasmuch as, by long-continued neglect on your part, to your own injury, your mind has caused to sprout many hurtful conceptions about religion, and ye have become like land fallow by the carelessness of the husbandman, you need a long time for your purification, that your mind, receiving like good seed the true word that is imparted to you, may not choke it with evil cares, and render it unfruitful with respect to works that are able to save you. Wherefore it behooves those who are careful of their own salvation to hear more constantly, that their sins which have been long multiplying may, in the short time that remains, be matched with constant care for their purification. Since, therefore, no one knows the time of his end, hasten to pluck out the many thorns of your hearts; but not little by little, for then you cannot be purified, for you have been long fallow.
But not otherwise will you endure to undertake much care for your purification unless you be angry with yourselves, and chastise yourselves for those things with which, as unprofitable servants, you have been ensnared, consenting to your evil lusts, that you may be able to let in your righteous indignation upon your mind, as fire upon a fallow field. If, therefore, ye have not righteous fire, I mean indignation, against evil lusts, learn from what good things ye have been seduced, and by whom ye have been deceived, and for what punishment you are prepared; and thus, your mind being sober, and kindled into indignation like fire by the teaching of Him who sent us, may be able to consume the evil things of lust. Believe me, that if you will, you can rectify all things.
You are the image of the invisible God. Whence let not those who would be pious say that idols are images of God, and therefore that it is right to worship them. For the image of God is man. He who wishes to be pious towards God does good to man, because the body of man bears the image of God. But all do not as yet bear His likeness, but the pure mind of the good soul does. However, as we know that man was made after the image and after the likeness of God, we tell you to be pious towards him, that the favour may be accounted as done to God, whose image he is. Therefore it behooves you to give honour to the image of God, which is man—in this wise: food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty, clothing to the naked, care to the sick, shelter to the stranger, and visiting him who is in prison, to help him as you can. And not to speak at length, whatever good things any one wishes for himself, so let him afford to another in need, and then a good reward can be reckoned to him as being pious towards the image of God. And by like reason, if he will not undertake to do these things, he shall be punished as neglecting the image.
Can it therefore be said that, for the sake of piety towards God, ye worship every form, while in all things ye injure man who is really the image of God, committing murder, adultery, stealing, and dishonouring him in many other respects? But you ought not to do even one evil thing on account of which man is grieved. But now you do all things on account of which man is disheartened, for wrong is also distress. Wherefore you murder and spoil his goods, and whatever else you know which you would not receive from another. But you, being seduced by some malignant reptile to malice, by the suggestion of polytheistic doctrine, are impious towards the real image, which is man, and think that you are pious towards senseless things.
But some say, Unless He wished these things to be, they should not be, but He would take them away. But I say this shall assuredly be the case, when all shall show their preference for Him, and thus there shall be a change of the present world. However, if you wished Him to act thus, so that none of the things that are worshipped should subsist, tell me what of existing things you have not worshipped. Do not some of you worship the sun, and some the moon, and some water, and some the earth, and some the mountains, and some plants, and some seeds, and some also man, as in Egypt? Therefore God must have suffered nothing, not even you, so that there should have been neither worshipped nor worshipper. Truly this is what the terrible serpent which lurks in you would have, and spares you not. But so it shall not be. For it is not the thing that is worshipped that sins; for it suffers violence at the hands of him who will worship it. For though unjust judgment is passed by all men, yet not by God. For it is not just that the sufferer and the disposer receive the same punishment, unless he willingly receive the honour which belongs only to the Most Honourable.
But it will be said that the worshippers themselves ought to be taken away by the true God, that others may not do it. But you are not wiser than God, that you should give Him counsel as one more prudent than He. He knows what He does; for He is long-suffering to all who are in impiety, as a merciful and philanthropic father, knowing that impious men become pious. And of those very worshippers of base and senseless things, many becoming sober have ceased to worship these things and to sin, and many Greeks have been saved so as to pray to the true God.
But, you say, God ought to have made us at first so that we should not have thought at all of such things. You who say this do not know what is free-will, and how it is possible to be really good; that he who is good by his own choice is really good; but he who is made good by another under necessity is not really good, because he is not what he is by his own choice. Since therefore every one's freedom constitutes the true good, and shows the true evil, God has contrived that friendship or hostility should be in each man by occasions. But no, it is said: everything that we think He makes us to think. Stop! Why do you blaspheme more and more, in saying this? For if we are under His influence in all that we think, you say that He is the cause of fornications, lusts, avarice, and all blasphemy. Cease your evil-speaking, ye who ought to speak well of Him, and to bestow all honour upon Him. And do not say that God does not claim any honour; for if He Himself claims nothing, you ought to look to what is right, and to answer with thankful voice Him who does you good in all things.
But, you say, we do better when we are thankful at once to Him and to all others. Now, when you say this, you do not know the plot that is formed against you. For as, when many physicians of no power promise to cure one patient, one who is really able to cure him does not apply his remedy, considering that, if he should cure him, the others would get the credit; so also God does not do you good, when He is asked along with many who can do nothing. What! It will be said, is God enraged at this, if, when He cures, another gets the credit? I answer: Although He be not indignant, at all events He will not be an accomplice in deceit; for when He has conferred a benefit, the idol, which has done nothing, is credited with the power. But also I say to you, if he who crouches in adoration before senseless idols had not been injured naturally, perhaps He (God) would have endured even this. Wherefore watch ye that you may attain to a reasonable understanding on the matter of salvation. For God being without want, neither Himself needs anything, nor receives hurt; for it belongs to us to be profited or injured. For in like manner as Cæsar is neither hurt when he is evil spoken of, nor profited when he is thanked, but safety accrues to the renderer of thanks, and ruin to the evil-speaker, so they who speak well of God indeed profit Him nothing, but save themselves; and in like manner, those who blaspheme Him do not indeed injure Him, but themselves perish.
But it will be said that the cases are not parallel between God and man; and I admit that they are not parallel: for the punishment is greater to him who is guilty of impiety against the greater, and less to him who sins against the less. As, therefore, God is greatest of all, so he who is impious against Him shall endure greater punishment, as sinning against the greater; not through His defending Himself with His own hand, but the whole creation being indignant at him, and naturally taking vengeance on him. For to the blasphemer the sun will not give his light, nor the earth her fruits, nor the fountain its water, nor in Hades shall he who is there constituted prince give rest to the soul; since even now, while the constitution of the world subsists, the whole creation is indignant at him. Wherefore neither dothe clouds afford sufficient rains, nor the earth fruits, whereby many perish; yea, even the air itself, inflamed with anger, is turned to pestilential courses. However, whatsoever good things we enjoy, He of His mercy compels the creature to our benefits. Still, against you who dishonour the Maker of all, the whole creation is hostile.
And though by the dissolution of the body you should escape punishment, how shall you be able by corruption to flee from your soul, which is incorruptible? For the soul even of the wicked is immortal, for whom it were better not to have it incorruptible. For, being punished with endless torture under unquenchable fire, and never dying, it can receive no end of its misery. But perhaps some one of you will say, 'You terrify us, O Peter.' Teach us then how we can be silent about these things, and yet tell you things as they are, for not otherwise can we tell you them. But if we should be silent, you should be ensnared by evils through ignorance. But if we speak, we are suspected of terrifying you with a false theory. How then shall we charm that wicked serpent that lurks in your soul, and subtlety insinuates suspicions hostile to God, under the guise of love of God? Be reconciled with yourselves; for in order to your salvation recourse is to Him with well-doing. Unreasonable lust in you is hostile to God, for by conceit of wisdom it strengthens ignorance.
But others say, God does not care for us. This also is false. For if really He did not care, He would neither cause His sun to rise on the good and the evil, nor send His rain on the just and the unjust. But others say, We are more pious than you, since we worship both him and images. I do not think, if one were to say to a king, 'I give you an equal share of honour with that which I give to corpses and to worthless dung,'—I do not think that he would profit by it. But some one will say, Do you call our objects of worship dung? I say Yes, for you have made them useless to yourselves by setting them aside for worship, whereas their substance might perhaps have been serviceable for some other purpose, or for the purpose of manure. But now it is not useful even for this purpose, since you have changed its shape and worship it. And how do you say that you are more pious, you who are the most wicked of all, who deserve destruction of your souls by this very one incomparable sin, at the hands of Him who is true, if you abide in it? For as if any son having received many benefits from his father, give to another, who is not his father, the honour that is due to his father, he is certainly disinherited; but if he live according to the judgment of his father, and so thanks him for his kindnesses, he is with good reason made the heir.
But others say, We shall act impiously if we forsake the objects of worship handed down to us by our fathers; for it is like the guarding of a deposit. But on this principle the son of a robber or a debauchee ought not to be sober and to choose the better part, lest he should act impiously, and sin by doing differently from his parents! How foolish, then, are they who say, We worship these things that we may not be troublesome to Him; as if God were troubled by those who bless Him, and not troubled by those who ungratefully blaspheme Him. Why is it, then, that when there is a withholding of rain, you look only to heaven and pour out prayers and supplications; and when you obtain it, you quickly forget? For when you have reaped your harvest or gathered your vintage, you distribute your first-fruits among those idols which are nothing, quickly forgetting God your benefactor; and thus you go into groves and temples, and offer sacrifices and feasts. Wherefore some of you say, These things have been excellently devised for the sake of good cheer and feasting.
Oh men without understanding! Judge ye rightly of what is said. For if it were necessary to give one's self to some pleasure for the refreshment of the body, whether were it better to do so among the rivers and woods and groves, where there are entertainments and convivialities and shady places, or where there is the madness of demons, and cuttings of hands, and emasculations, and fury and mania, and dishevelling of hair, and shoutings and enthusiasms and howlings, and all those things which are done with hypocrisy for the confounding of the unthinking, when you offer your prescribed prayers and thanksgivings even to those who are deader than the dead?
And why do ye take pleasure in these doings? Since the serpent which lurks in you, which has sown in you fruitless lust, will not tell you, I shall speak and put it on record. Thus the case stands. According to the worship of God, the proclamation is made to be sober, to be chaste, to restrain passion, not to pilfer other men's goods, to live uprightly, moderately, fearlessly, gently; rather to restrain one's self in necessities, than to supply his wants by wrongfully taking away the property of another. But with the so-called gods the reverse is done. And ye renounce some things as done by you, in order to the admiration of your righteousness; whereas, although you did all that you are commanded, ignorance with respect to God is alone sufficient for your condemnation. But meeting together in the places which you have dedicated to them, you delight in making yourselves drunk, and you kindle your altars, of which the diffused odour through its influence attracts the blind and deaf spirits to the place of their fumigation. And thus, of those who are present, some are filled with inspirations, and some with strange fiends, and some betake themselves to lasciviousness, and some to theft and murder. For the exhalation of blood, and the libation of wine, satisfies even these unclean spirits, which lurk within you and cause you to take pleasure in the things that are transacted there, and in dreams surround you with false phantasies, and punish you with myriads of diseases. For under the show of the so-called sacred victims you are filled with dire demons, which, cunningly concealing themselves, destroy you, so that you should not understand the plot that is laid for you. For, under the guise of some injury, or love, or anger, or grief, or strangling you with a rope, or drowning you, or throwing you from a precipice, or by suicide, or apoplexy, or some other disease, they deprive you of life.
But no one of us can suffer such a thing; but they themselves are punished by us, when, having entered into any one, they entreat us that they may go out slowly. But some one will say perhaps, Even some of the worshippers of God fall under such sufferings. I say that is impossible. For he is a worshipper of God, of whom I speak, who is truly pious, not one who is such only in name, but who really performs the deeds of the law that has been given him. If any one acts impiously, he is not pious; in like manner as, if he who is of another tribe keeps the law, he is a Jew; but he who does not keep it is a Greek. For the Jew believes God and keeps the law, by which faith he removes also other sufferings, though like mountains and heavy. But he who keeps not the law is manifestly a deserter through not believing God; and thus as no Jew, but a sinner, he is on account of his sin brought into subjection to those sufferings which are ordained for the punishment of sinners. For, by the will of God prescribed at the beginning, punishment righteously follows those who worship Him on account of transgressions; and this is so, in order that having reckoned with them by punishment for sin as for a debt, he may set forth those who have turned to Him pure in the universal judgment. For as the wicked here enjoy luxury to the loss of eternal blessings, so punishments are sent upon the Jews who transgress for a settlement of accounts, that, expiating their transgression here, they may there be set free from eternal punishments.
But you cannot speak thus; for you do not believe that things are then as we say; I mean, when there is a recompense for all. And on this account, you being ignorant of what is advantageous, are seduced by temporal pleasures from taking hold of eternal things. Wherefore we attempt to make to you exhibitions of what is profitable, that, being convinced of the promises that belong to piety, you may by good deeds inherit with us the griefless world. Until then you know us, do not be angry with us, as if we spoke falsely of the good things which we desire for you. For the things which are regarded by us as true and good, these we have not scrupled to bring to you, but, on the contrary, have hastened to make you fellow-heirs of good things, which we have considered to be such. For thus it is necessary to speak to the unbelievers. But that we really speak the truth in what we say, you cannot know otherwise than by first listening with love of the truth.
Wherefore, as to the matter in hand, although in ten thousand ways the serpent that lurks in you suggesting evil reasonings and hindrances, wishes to ensnare you, therefore so much the more ought ye to resist him, and to listen to us assiduously. For it behooves you, consulting, as having been grievously deceived, to know how he must be charmed. But in no other way is it possible. But by charming I mean the setting yourselves by reason in opposition to their evil counsels, remembering that by promise of knowledge he brought death into the world at the first.
Whence the Prophet of the truth, knowing that the world was much in error, and seeing it ranged on the side of evil, did not choose that there should be peace to it while it stood in error. So that till the end he sets himself against all those who are in concord with wickedness, setting truth over against error, sending as it were fire upon those who are sober, namely wrath against the seducer, which is likened to a sword, and by holding forth the word he destroys ignorance by knowledge, cutting, as it were, and separating the living from the dead. Therefore, while wickedness is being conquered by lawful knowledge, war has taken hold of all. For the submissive son is, for the sake of salvation, separated from the unbelieving father, or the father from the son, or the mother from the daughter, or the daughter from the mother, and relatives from relatives, and friends from associates.
And let not any one say, How is this just, that parents should be separated from their children, and children from their parents? It is just, even entirely. For if they remained with them, and, after profiting them nothing, were also destroyed along with them, how is it not just that he who wishes to be saved should be separated from him who will not, but who wishes to destroy him along with himself. Moreover, it is not those who judge better that wish to be separated, but they wish to stay with them, and to profit them by the exposition of better things; and therefore the unbelievers, not wishing to hearken to them, make war against them, banishing, persecuting, hating them. But those who suffer these things, pitying those who are ensnared by ignorance, by the teaching of wisdom pray for those who contrive evil against them, having learned that ignorance is the cause of their sin. For the Teacher Himself, being nailed to the cross, prayed to the Father that the sin of those who slew Him might be forgiven, saying, 'Father, forgive them their sins, for they know not what they do.' They also therefore, being imitators of the Teacher in their sufferings, pray for those who contrive them, as they have been taught. Therefore they are not separated as hating their parents, since they make constant prayers even for those who are neither parents nor relatives, but enemies, and strive to love them, as they have been commanded.
But tell me, how do you love your parents? If, indeed, you do it as always regarding what is right, I congratulate you; but if you love them as it happens, then not so, for then you may on a small occasion become their enemies. But if you love them intelligently, tell me, what are parents? You will say they are the sources of our being. Why, then, do ye not love the source of the being of all things, if indeed you have with right understanding elected to do this? But you will now say again, we have not seen Him. Why, then, do ye not seek for Him, but worship senseless things? But what? If it were even difficult for you to know what God is, you cannot fail to know what is not God, so as to reason that God is not wood, nor stone, nor brass, nor anything else made of corruptible matter.
For are not they graven with iron? And has not the graying iron been softened by fire? And is not the fire itself extinguished with water? And has not the water its motion from the spirit? And has not the spirit the beginning of its course from the God who has made all things? For thus said the prophet Moses: 'In the beginning God made the heaven and the earth. And the earth was unsightly, and unadorned; and darkness was over the deep: and the Spirit of God was borne above the waters.' Which Spirit, at the bidding of God, as it were His hand, makes all things, dividing light from darkness, and after the invisible heaven spreading out the visible, that the places above might be inhabited by the angels of light, and those below by man, and all the creatures that were made for his use.
For on your account, O man, God commanded the water to retire upon the face of the earth, that the earth might be able to bring forth fruits for you. And He made water-courses, that He might provide for you fountains, and that river-beds might be disclosed, that animals might teem forth; in a word, that He might furnish you with all things. For is it not for you that the winds blow, and the rains fall, and the seasons change for the production of fruits? Moreover, it is for you that the sun and moon, with the other heavenly bodies, accomplish their risings and settings; and rivers and pools, with all fountains, serve you. Whence to you, O senseless one, as the greater honour has been given, so for you, ungrateful, the greater punishment by fire has been prepared, because you would not know Him whom it behooved you before all things to know.
And now from inferior things learn the cause of all, reasoning that water makes all things, and water receives the production of its movement from spirit, and the spirit has its beginning from the God of all. And thus you ought to have reasoned, in order that by reason you might attain to God, that, knowing your origin, and being born again by the first-born water, you may be constituted heir of the parents who have begotten you to incorruption.
Wherefore come readily, as a son to a father, that God may assign ignorance as the cause of your sins. But if after being called you will not, or delay, you shall be destroyed by the just judgment of God, not being willed, through your not willing. And do not think, though you were more pious than all the pious that ever were, but if you be unbaptized, that you shall ever obtain hope. For all the more, on this account, you shall endure the greater punishment, because you have done excellent works not excellently. For well-doing is excellent when it is done as God has commanded. But if you will not be baptized according to His pleasure, you serve your own will and oppose His counsel.
But perhaps some one will say, What does it contribute to piety to be baptized with water? In the first place, because you do that which is pleasing to God; and in the second place, being born again to God of water, by reason of fear you change your first generation, which is of lust, and thus you are able to obtain salvation. But otherwise it is impossible. For thus the prophet has sworn to us, saying,Verily I say to you, Unless ye be regenerated by living water into the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven. Wherefore approach. For there is there something that is merciful from the beginning, borne upon the water, and rescues from the future punishment those who are baptized with the thrice blessed invocation, offering as gifts to God the good deeds of the baptized whenever they are done after their baptism. Wherefore flee to the waters, for this alone can quench the violence of fires. He who will not now come to it still bears the spirit of strife, on account of which he will not approach the living water for his own salvation.
Therefore approach, be ye righteous or unrighteous. For if you are righteous, baptism alone is lacking in order to salvation. But if you are unrighteous, come to be baptized for the remission of the sins formerly committed in ignorance. And to the unrighteous man it remains that his well-doing after baptism be according to the proportion of his previous impiety. Wherefore, be ye righteous or unrighteous, hasten to be born to God, because delay brings danger, on account of the fore-appointment of death being unrevealed; and show by well-doing your likeness to the Father, who begets you of water. As a lover of truth, honour the true God as your Father. But His honour is that you live as He, being righteous, would have you live. And the will of the righteous One is that you do no wrong. But wrong is murder, hatred, envy, and such like; and of these there are many forms.
However, it is necessary to add something to these things which has not community with man, but is peculiar to the worship of God. I mean purification, not approaching to a man's own wife when she is in separation, for so the law of God commands. But what? If purity be not added to the service of God, you would roll pleasantly like the dung-flies. Wherefore as man, having something more than the irrational animals, namely, rationality, purify your hearts from evil by heavenly reasoning, and wash your bodies in the bath. For purification according to the truth is not that the purity of the body precedes purification after the heart, but that purity follows goodness. For our Teacher also, dealing with certain of the Pharisees and Scribes among us, who are separated, and as Scribes know the matters of the law more than others, still He reproved them as hypocrites, because they cleansed only the things that appear to men, but omitted purity of heart and the things seen by God alone.
Therefore He made use of this memorable expression, speaking the truth with respect to the hypocrites of them, not with respect to all. For to some He said that obedience was to be rendered, because they were entrusted with the chair of Moses. However, to the hypocrites he said, 'Woe to you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, for ye make clean the outside of the cup and the platter, but the inside is full of filth. You blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup and the platter, that their outsides may be clean also.' And truly: for when the mind is enlightened by knowledge, the disciple is able to be good, and thereupon purity follows; for from the understanding within a good care of the body without is produced. As from negligence with respect to the body, care of the understanding cannot be produced, so the pure man can purify both that which is without and that which is within. And he who, purifying the things without, does it looking to the praise of men, and by the praise of those who look on, he has nothing from God.
But who is there to whom it is not manifest that it is better not to have intercourse with a woman in her separation, but purified and washed. And also after copulation it is proper to wash. But if you grudge to do this, recall to mind how you followed after the parts of purity when you served senseless idols; and be ashamed that now, when it is necessary to attain, I say not more, but to attain the one and whole of purity, you are more slothful. Consider, therefore, Him who made you, and you will understand who He is that casts upon you this sluggishness with respect to purity.
But some one of you will say, Must we then do whatsoever things we did while we were idolaters? I say to you, Not all things; but whatsoever you did well, you must do now, and more: for whatsoever is well done in error hangs upon truth, as if anything be ill done in the truth it is from error. Receive, therefore, from all quarters the things that are your own, and not those that are another's, and do not say, If those who are in error do anything well we are not bound to do it. For, on this principle, if any one who worships idols do not commit murder, we ought to commit murder, because he who is in error does not commit it.
No; but rather, if those who are in error do not kill, let us not be angry; if he who is in error do not commit adultery, let us not lust even in the smallest degree; if he who is in error loves him who loves him, let us love even those who hate us; if he who is in error lends to those who have, let us give to those who have not. Unquestionably we ought—we who hope to inherit eternal life—to do better things than the good things that are done by those who know only the present life, knowing that if their works, being judged with ours in the day of judgment, be found equal in goodness, we shall have shame, and they perdition, having acted against themselves through error. And I say that we shall be put to shame on this account, because we have not done more than they, though we have known more than they. And if we shall be put to shame if we show well-doing equal to theirs, and no more, how much more if we show less than their well-doing?
But that indeed in the day of judgment the doings of those who have known the truth are compared with the good deeds of those who have been in error, the unlying One Himself has taught us, saying to those who neglected to come and listen to Him, 'The queen of the south shall rise up with this generation, and shall condemn it; because she came from the extremities of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon: and behold, a greater than Solomon is here,' and ye do not believe Him. And to those amongst the people who would not repent at His preaching He said, 'The men of Nineveh shall rise up with this generation and shall condemn it, for they heard and repented on the preaching of Jonas: and behold, a greater is here, and no one believes.' And thus, setting over against all their impiety those from among the Gentiles who have done well, in order to condemn those who, possessing the true religion, had not acted so well as those who were in error, he exhorted those having reason not only to do equally with the Gentiles whatsoever things are excellent, but more than they. And this speech has been suggested to me, taking occasion from the necessity of respecting the separation, and of washing after copulation, and of not denying such purity, though those who are in error do the same, since those who in error do well, without being saved, are for the condemnation of those who are in the worship of God, and do ill; because their respect for purity is through error, and not through the worship of the true Father and God of all.
Having said this, he dismissed the multitudes; and according to his custom, having partaken of food with those dearest to him, he went to rest. And thus doing and discoursing day by day, he strongly buttressed the law of God, challenging the reputed gods with the reputed Genesis, and arguing that there is no automatism, but that the world is governed according to providence.
Then after three months were fulfilled, he ordered me to fast for several days, and then brought me to the fountains that are near to the sea, and baptized me as in ever-flowing water. Thus, therefore, when our brethren rejoiced at my God-gifted regeneration, not many days after he turned to the elders in presence of all the church, and charged them, saying: Our Lord and Prophet, who has sent us, declared to us that the wicked one, having disputed with Him forty days, and having prevailed nothing against Him, promised that he would send apostles from amongst his subjects, to deceive. Wherefore, above all, remember to shun apostle or teacher or prophet who does not first accurately compare his preaching with that of James, who was called the brother of my Lord, and to whom was entrusted to administer the church of the Hebrews in Jerusalem,—and that even though he come to you with witnesses: lest the wickedness which disputed forty days with the Lord, and prevailed nothing, should afterwards, like lightning falling from heaven upon the earth, send a preacher to your injury, as now he has sent Simon upon us, preaching, under pretence of the truth, in the name of the Lord, and sowing error. Wherefore He who has sent us, said, 'Many shall come to me in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. By their fruits ye shall know them.'
Having spoken thus, he sent the harbingers into Antioch of Syria, bidding them expect him there immediately. Then when they had gone, Peter having driven away diseases, sufferings, and demons from great multitudes who were persuaded, and having baptized them in the fountains which are near to the sea, and having celebrated the Eucharist, and having appointed Maroones, who had received him into his house, and was now perfected, as their bishop, and having set apart twelve elders, and having designated deacons, and arranged matters relating to widows, and having discoursed on the common good what was profitable for the ordering of the church, and having counselled them to obey the bishop Maroones, three months being now fulfilled; he bade those in Tripolis of Phœnicia farewell, and took his journey to Antioch of Syria, all the people accompanying us with due honour.
Therefore starting from Tripolis of Phœnicia to go to Antioch of Syria, on the same day we came to Orthasia, and there stayed. And on account of its being near the city which we had left, almost all having heard the preaching before, we stopped there only one day, and set out to Antaradus. And as there were many who journeyed with us, Peter, addressing Nicetus and Aquila, said, Inasmuch as the great crowd of those who journey with us draws upon us no little envy as we enter city after city, I have thought that we must of necessity arrange, so that neither, on the one hand, these may be grieved at being prevented from accompanying us, nor, on the other hand, we, by being so conspicuous, may fall under the envy of the wicked. Wherefore I wish you, Nicetus and Aquila, to go before me in two separate bodies, and enter secretly into the Gentile cities.
I know, indeed, that you are distressed at being told to do this, being separated from me by a space of two days. I would have you know, therefore, that we the persuaders love you the persuaded much more than you love us who have persuaded you. Therefore loving one another as we do by not unreasonably doing what we wish, let us provide, as much as in us lies, for safety. For I prefer, as you also know, to go into the more notable cities of the provinces, and to remain some days, and discourse. And for the present lead the way into the neighbouring Laodicea, and, after two or three days, so far as it depends upon my choice, I shall overtake you. And do you alone receive me at the gates, on account of the confusion, that thus we may enter along with you without tumult. And thence, in like manner, after some days' stay, others in your stead will go forward by turns to the places beyond, preparing lodgings for us.
When Peter had thus spoken they were compelled to acquiesce, saying, It does not altogether grieve us, my lord, to do this on account of its being your command; in the first place, indeed, because you have been chosen by the providence of God, as being worthy to think and counsel well in all things; and in addition to this, for the most part we shall be separated from you only for two days by the necessity of preceding you. And that were indeed a long time to be without sight of you, O Peter, did we not consider that they will be more grieved who are sent much farther forward, being ordered to wait for you longer in every city, distressed that they are longer deprived of the sight of your longed-for countenance. And we, though not less distressed than they, make no opposition, because you order us to do it for profit. Thus, having spoken, they went forward, having it in charge that at the first stage they should address the accompanying multitude that they should enter the cities apart from one another.
When, therefore, they had gone, I, Clement, rejoiced greatly that he had ordered me to remain with himself. Then I answered and said, I thank God that you have not sent me away as you have done the others, as I should have died of grief. But he said, But what? If there shall ever be any necessity that you be sent away for the sake of teaching, would you, on account of being separated for a little while from me, and that for an advantageous purpose, would you die for that? Would you not rather impress upon yourself the duty of bearing the things that are arranged for you through necessity, and cheerfully submit? And do you not know that friends are present with one another in their memories, although they are separated bodily; whereas some, being bodily present, wander from their friends in their souls, by reason of want of memory?
Then I answered, Do not think, my lord, that I should endure that grief foolishly, but with some good reason. For since I hold you, my lord, in place of all, father, mother, brothers, relatives, you who are the means through God of my having the saving truth, holding you in place of all, I have the greatest consolation. And in addition to this, being afraid of my natural youthful lust, I was concerned lest, being left by you (being but a young man, and having now such a resolution that it would be impossible to desert you without incurring the anger of God,) I should be overcome by lust. But since it is much better and safer for me to remain with you, when my mind is with good reason set upon venerating, therefore I pray that I may always remain with you. Moreover, I remember you saying in Cæsarea, 'If any one wishes to journey with me, let him piously journey.' And by piously you meant, that those who are devoted to the worship of God should grieve no one in respect of God, such as by leaving parents, an attached wife, or any others. Whence I am in all respects a fitting fellow-traveller for you, to whom, if you would confer the greatest favour, you would allow to perform the functions of a servant.
Then Peter, hearing, smiled and said, What think you, then, O Clement? Do you not think that you are placed by very necessity in the position of my servant? For who else shall take care of those many splendid tunics, with all my changes of rings and sandals? And who shall make ready those pleasant and artistic dainties, which, being so various, need many skilful cooks, and all those things which are procured with great eagerness, and are prepared for the appetite of effeminate men as for some great wild beast? However, such a choice has occurred to you, perhaps, without you understanding or knowing my manner of life, that I use only bread and olives, and rarely pot-herbs; and that this is my only coat and cloak which I wear; and I have no need of any of them, nor of anything else: for even in these I abound. For my mind, seeing all the eternal good things that are there, regards none of the things that are here. However, I accept of your good will; and I admire and commend you, for that you, a man of refined habits, have so easily submitted your manner of living to your necessities. For we, from our childhood, both I and Andrew, my brother, who is also my brother as respects God, not only being brought up in the condition of orphans, but also accustomed to labour through poverty and misfortune, easily bear the discomforts of our present journeys. Whence, if you would obey me, you would allow me, a working man, to fulfil the part of a servant to you.
But I, when I heard this, fell a-trembling and weeping, that such a word should be spoken by a man to whom all the men of this generation are inferior in point of knowledge and piety. But he, seeing me weeping, asked the cause of my tears. Then I said, In what have I sinned so that you have spoken to me such a word? Then Peter answered, If it were wrong of me to speak of being your servant, you were first in fault in asking to be mine. Then I said, The cases are not parallel; for to do this indeed becomes me well; but it is terrible for you, the herald of God, and who savest our souls, to do this to me. Then Peter answered, I should agree with you, but that our Lord, who came for the salvation of all the world, being alone noble above all, submitted to the condition of a servant, that He might persuade us not to be ashamed to perform the ministrations of servants to our brethren, however well-born we may be. Then I said, If I think to overcome you in argument, I am foolish. However, I thank the providence of God, that I have been thought worthy to have you instead of parents.
Then Peter inquired, Are you really, then, alone in your family? Then I answered, There are indeed many and great men, being of the kindred of Cæsar. Wherefore Cæsar himself gave a wife of his own family to my father, who was his foster-brother; and of her three sons of us were born, two before me, who were twins and very like each other, as my father told me. But I scarcely know either them or our mother, but bear about with me an obscure image of them, as through dreams. My mother's name was Mattidia, and my father's, Faustus; and of my brothers one was called Faustinus, and the other Faustinianus. Then after I, their third son, was born, my mother saw a vision—so my father told me— which told her, that unless she immediately took away her twin sons, and left the city of Rome for exile for twelve years, she and they must die by an all-destructive fate.
Therefore my father, being fond of his children, supplying them suitably for the journey with male and female servants, put them on board ship, and sent them to Athens with her to be educated, and kept me alone of his sons with him for his comfort; and for this I am very thankful, that the vision had not ordered me also to depart with my mother from the city of Rome. Then, after the lapse of a year, my father sent money to them to Athens, and at the same time to learn how they did. But those who went on this errand did not return. And in the third year, my father being distressed, sent others in like manner with supplies, and they returned in the fourth year with the tidings that they had seen neither my mother nor my brothers, nor had they ever arrived at Athens, nor had they found any trace of any one of those who set out with them.
Then my father, hearing this, and being stupefied with excessive grief, and not knowing where to go in quest of them, used to take me with him and go down to the harbour, and inquire of many where any one of them had seen or heard of a shipwreck four years ago. And one turned one place, and another another. Then he inquired whether they had seen the body of a woman with two children cast ashore. And when they told him they had seen many corpses. in many places, my father groaned at the information. But, with his bowels yearning, he asked unreasonable questions, that he might try to search so great an extent of sea. However, he was pardonable, because, through affection towards those whom he was seeking for, he fed on vain hopes. And at last, placing me under guardians, and leaving me at Rome when I was twelve years old, he himself, weeping, went down to the harbour, and went on board ship, and set out upon the search. And from that day till this I have neither received a letter from him, nor do I know whether he be alive or dead. But I rather suspect that he is dead somewhere, either overcome by grief, or perished by shipwreck. And the proof of that is that it is now the twentieth year that I have heard no true intelligence concerning him.
But Peter, hearing this, wept through sympathy, and immediately said to the gentlemen who were present: If any worshipper of God had suffered these things, such as this man's father has suffered, he would immediately have assigned the cause of it to be his worship of God, ascribing it to the wicked one. Thus also it is the lot of the wretched Gentiles to suffer; and we worshippers of God know it not. But with good reason I call them wretched, because here they are ensnared, and the hope that is yours they obtain not. For those who in the worship of God suffer afflictions, suffer them for the expiation of their transgressions.
When Peter had spoken thus, a certain one amongst us ventured to invite him, in the name of all, that next day, early in the morning, he should sail to Aradus, an island opposite, distant, I suppose, not quite thirty stadia, for the purpose of seeing two pillars of vine-wood that were there, and that were of very great girth. Therefore the indulgent Peter consented, saying, When you leave the boat, do not go many of you together to see the things that you desire to see; for I do not wish that the attention of the inhabitants should be turned to you. And so we sailed, and in short time arrived at the island. Then landing from the boat, we went to the place where the vine-wood pillars were, and along with them we looked at several of the works of Phidias.
But Peter alone did not think it worth while to look at the sights that were there; but noticing a certain woman sitting outside before the doors, begging constantly for her support, he said to her, O woman, is any of your limbs defective, that you submit to such disgrace—I mean that of begging,—and do not rather work with the hands which God has given you, and procure your daily food? But she, groaning, answered, Would that I had hands able to work! But now they retain only the form of hands, being dead and rendered useless by my gnawing of them. Then Peter asked her, What is the cause of your suffering so terribly? And she answered, Weakness of soul; and nought else. For if I had the mind of a man, there was a precipice or a pool whence I should have thrown myself, and have been able to rest from my tormenting misfortunes.
Then said Peter, What then? Do you suppose, O woman, that those who destroy themselves are freed from punishment? Are not the souls of those who thus die punished with a worse punishment in Hades for their suicide? But she said, Would that I were persuaded that souls are really found alive in Hades; then I should love death, making light of the punishment, that I might see, were it but for an hour, my longed for sons! Then said Peter, What is it that grieves you? I should like to know, O woman. For if you inform me, in return for this favour, I shall satisfy you that souls live in Hades; and instead of precipice or pool, I shall give you a drug, that you may live and die without torment.
Then the woman, not understanding what was spoken ambiguously, being pleased with the promise, began to speak thus:—Were I to speak of my family and my country, I do not suppose that I should be able to persuade any one. But of what consequence is it to you to learn this, excepting only the reason why in my anguish I have deadened my hands by gnawing them? Yet I shall give you an account of myself, so far as it is in your power to hear it. I, being very nobly born, by the arrangement of a certain man in authority, became the wife of a man who was related to him. And first I had twins sons, and afterwards another son. But my husband's brother, being thoroughly mad, was enamoured of wretched me, who exceedingly affected chastity. And I, wishing neither to consent to my lover nor to expose to my husband his brother's love of me, reasoned thus: that I may neither defile myself by the commission of adultery nor disgrace my husband's bed, nor set brother at war with brother, nor subject the whole family, which is a great one, to the reproach of all, as I said. I reasoned that it was best for me to leave the city for some time with my twin children, until the impure love should cease of him who flattered me to my disgrace. The other son, however, I left with his father, to remain for a comfort to him.
However, that matters might be thus arranged, I resolved to fabricate a dream, to the effect that some one stood by me by night, and thus spoke: 'O woman, straightway leave the city with your twin children for some time, until I shall charge you to return hither again; otherwise you immediately shall die miserably, with your husband and all your children.' And so I did. For as soon as I told the false dream to my husband, he being alarmed, sent me off by ship to Athens with my two sons, and with slaves, maids, and abundance of money, to educate the boys, until, said he, it shall please the giver of the oracle that you return to me. But, wretch that I am, while sailing with my children, I was driven by the fury of the winds into these regions, and the ship having gone to pieces in the night, I was wrecked. And all the rest having died, my unfortunate self alone was tossed by a great wave and cast upon a rock; and while I sat upon it in my misery, I was prevented, by the hope of finding my children alive, from throwing myself into the deep then, when I could easily have done it, having my soul made drunk by the waves.
But when the day dawned, I shouted aloud, and howled miserably, and looked around, seeking for the dead bodies of my hapless children. Therefore the inhabitants took pity on me, and seeing me naked, they first clothed me and then sounded the deep, seeking for my children. And when they found nothing of what they sought, some of the hospitable women came to me to comfort me, and every one told her own misfortunes, that I might obtain comfort from the occurrences of similar misfortunes. But this only grieved me the more for I said that I was not so wicked that I could take comfort from the misfortunes of others. And so, when many of them asked me to accept their hospitality, a certain poor woman with much urgency constrained me to come into her cottage, saying to me, 'Take courage, woman, for my husband, who was a sailor, also died at sea, while he was still in the bloom of his youth; and ever since, though many have asked me in marriage, I have preferred living as a widow, regretting the loss of my husband. But we shall have in common whatever we can both earn with our hands.'
And not to lengthen out unnecessary details, I went to live with her, on account of her love to her husband. And not long after, my hands were debilitated by my gnawing of them; and the woman who had taken me in, being wholly seized by some malady, is confined in the house. Since then the former compassion of the women has declined, and I and the woman of the house are both of us helpless. For a long time I have sat here, as you see, begging; and whatever I get I convey to my fellow-sufferer for our support. Let this suffice about my affairs. For the rest, what hinders your fulfilling of your promise to give me the drug, that I may give it to her also, who desires to die; and thus I also, as you said, shall be able to escape from life?
While the woman thus spoke, Peter seemed to be in suspense on account of many reasonings. But I came up and said, I have been going about seeking you for a long time. And now, what is in hand? But Peter ordered me to lead the way, and wait for him at the boat; and because there was no gainsaying when he commanded, I did as I was ordered. But Peter, as he afterwards related the whole matter to me, being struck in his heart with some slight suspicion, inquired of the woman, saying, Tell me, O woman, your family, and your city, and the names of your children, and presently I shall give you the drug. But she, being put under constraint, and not wishing to speak, yet being eager to obtain the drug, cunningly said one thing for another. And so she said that she was an Ephesian and her husband a Sicilian; and in like manner she changed the names of the three children. Then Peter, supposing that she spoke the truth, said, Alas! O woman, I thought that this day was to bring you great joy, suspecting that you are a certain person of whom I was thinking, and whose affairs I have heard and accurately know. But she adjured him, saying, Tell me, I entreat of you, that I may know if there is among women any one more wretched than myself.
Then Peter, not knowing that she had spoken falsely, through pity towards her, began to tell her the truth: There is a certain young man in attendance upon me, thirsting after the discourses on religion, a Roman citizen, who told me how that, having a father and two twin brothers, he has lost sight of them all. For, says he, my mother, as my father related to me, having seen a vision, left the city Rome for a time with her twin children, lest she should perish by an evil fate, and having gone away with them, she cannot be found; and her husband, the young man's father, having gone in search of her, he also cannot be found.
While Peter thus spoke, the woman, who had listened attentively, swooned away as if in stupor. But Peter approached her, and caught hold of her, and exhorted her to restrain herself, persuading her to confess what was the matter with her. But she, being powerless in the rest of her body, as through intoxication, turned her head round, being able to sustain the greatness of the hoped for joy, and rubbing her face: Where, said she, is this youth? And he, now seeing through the whole affair, said, Tell me first; for otherwise you cannot see him. Then she earnestly said, I am that youth's mother. Then said Peter, What is his name? And she said, Clement. Then Peter said, It is the same, and he it was that spoke to me a little while ago, whom I ordered to wait for me in the boat. And she, falling at Peter's feet, entreated him to make haste to come to the boat. Then Peter, If you will keep terms with me, I shall do so. Then she said, I will do anything; only show me my only child. For I shall seem to see in him my two children who died here. Then Peter said,When ye see him, be quiet, until we depart from the island. And she said, I will.
Peter, therefore, took her by the hand, and led her to the boat. But I, when I saw him leading the woman by the hand, laughed, and approaching, offered to lead her instead of him, to his honour. But as soon as I touched her hand, she gave a motherly shout, and embraced me violently, and eagerly kissed me as her son. But I, being ignorant of the whole affair, shook her off as a madwoman. But, through my respect for Peter, I checked myself.
But Peter said, Alas! What are you doing, my son Clement, shaking off your real mother? But I, when I heard this, wept, and falling down by my mother, who had fallen, I kissed her. For as soon as this was told me, I in some way recalled her appearance indistinctly. Then great crowds ran together to see the beggar woman, telling one another that her son had recognised her, and that he was a man of consideration. Then, when we would have straightway left the island with my mother, she said to us, My much longed-for son, it is right that I should bid farewell to the woman who entertained me, who, being poor and wholly debilitated, lies in the house. And Peter hearing this, and all the multitude who stood by, admired the good disposition of the woman. And immediately Peter ordered some persons to go and bring the woman on her couch. And as soon as the couch was brought and set down, Peter said, in the hearing of the whole multitude, If I be a herald of the truth, in order to the faith of the bystanders, that they may know that there is one God, who made the world, let her straightway rise whole. And while Peter was still speaking, the woman arose healed, and fell down before Peter, and kissed her dear associate, and asked her what it all meant. Then she briefly detailed to her the whole business of the recognition, to the astonishment of the hearers. Then also my mother, seeing her hostess cured, entreated that she herself also might obtain healing. And his placing his hand upon her, cured her also.
And then Peter having discoursed concerning God and the service accorded to Him, he concluded as follows: If any one wishes to learn these things accurately, let him come to Antioch, where I have resolved to remain some length of time, and learn the things that pertain to his salvation. For if you are familiar with leaving your country for the sake of trading or of warfare, and coming to far-off places, you should not be unwilling to go three days' journey for the sake of eternal salvation. Then, after the address of Peter, I presented the woman who had been healed, in the presence of all the multitude, with a thousand drachmas, for her support, giving her in charge to a certain good man, who was the chief man of the city, and who of his own accord joyfully undertook the charge. Further, having distributed money amongst many other women, and thanked those who at any time had comforted my mother, I sailed away to Antaradus, along with my mother, and Peter, and the rest of our companions; and thus we proceeded to our lodging.
And when we were arrived and had partaken of food, and given thanks according to our custom, there being still time, I said to Peter: My lord Peter, my mother has done a work of philanthropy in remembering the woman her hostess. And Peter answered, Have you indeed, O Clement, thought truly that your mother did a work of philanthropy in respect of her treatment of the woman who took her in after her shipwreck, or have you spoken this word by way of greatly complimenting your mother? But if you spoke truly, and not by way of compliment, you seem to me not to know what the greatness of philanthropy is, which is affection towards any one whatever in respect of his being a man, apart from physical persuasion. But not even do I venture to call the hostess who received your mother after her shipwreck, philanthropic; for she was impelled by pity, and persuaded to become the benefactress of a woman who had been shipwrecked, who was grieving for her children,—a stranger, naked, destitute, and greatly deploring her misfortunes. When, therefore, she was in such circumstances, who that saw her, though he were impious, could but pity her? So that it does not seem to me that even the stranger-receiving woman did a work of philanthropy, but to have been moved to assist her by pity for her innumerable misfortunes. And how much more is it true of your mother, than when she was in prosperous circumstances and requited her hostess, she did a deed, not of philanthropy, but of friendship! For there is much difference between friendship and philanthropy, because friendship springs from requital. But philanthropy, apart from physical persuasion, loves and benefits every man as he is a man. If, therefore, while she pitied her hostess, she also pitied and did good to her enemies who have wronged her, she would be philanthropic; but if, on one account she is friendly or hostile, and on another account is hostile or friendly, such an one is the friend or enemy of some quality, not of man as man.
Then I answered, Do you not think, then, that even the stranger-receiver was philanthropic, who did good to a stranger whom she did not know? Then Peter said, Compassionate, indeed, I can call her, but I dare not call her philanthropic, just as I cannot call a mother philoteknic, for she is prevailed on to have an affection for them by her pangs, and by her rearing of them. As the lover also is gratified by the company and enjoyment of his mistress, and the friend by return of friendship, so also the compassionate man by misfortune. However the compassionate man is near to the philanthropic, in that he is impelled, apart from hunting after the receipt of anything, to do the kindness. But he is not yet philanthropic. Then I said, By what deeds, then, can any one be philanthropic? And Peter answered,Since I see that you are eager to hear what is the work of philanthropy, I shall not object to telling you. He is the philanthropic man who does good even to his enemies. And that it is so, listen: Philanthropy is masculo-feminine; and the feminine part of it is calledcompassion, and the male part is named love to our neighbour. But every man is neighbour to every man, and not merely this man or that; for the good and the bad, the friend and the enemy, are alike men. It behooves, therefore, him who practises philanthropy to be an imitator of God, doing good to the righteous and the unrighteous, as God Himself vouchsafes His sun and His heavens to all in the present world. But if you will do good to the good, but not to the evil, or even will punish them, you undertake to do the work of a judge, you do not strive to hold by philanthropy.
Then I said, Then even God, who, as you teach us, is at some time to judge, is not philanthropic. Then said Peter, You assert a contradiction; for because He shall judge, on that very account He is philanthropic. For he who loves and compassionates those who have been wronged, avenges those who have wronged them. Then I said, If, then, I also do good to the good, and punish the wrong-doers in respect of their injuring men, am I not philanthropic? And Peter answered, If along with knowledge you had also authority to judge, you would do this rightly on account of your having received authority to judge those whom God made, and on account of your knowledge infallibly justifying some as the righteous, and condemning some as unrighteous. Then I said, You have spoken rightly and truly; for it is impossible for any one who has not knowledge to judge rightly. For sometimes some persons seem good, though they perpetrate wickedness in secret, and some good persons are conceived to be bad through the accusation of their enemies. But even if one judges, having the power of torturing and examining, not even so should he altogether judge righteously. For some persons, being murderers, have sustained the tortures, and have come off as innocent; while others, being innocent, have not been able to sustain the tortures, but have confessed falsely against themselves, and have been punished as guilty.
Then said Peter, These things are ordinary: now hear what is greater. There are some men whose sins or good deeds are partly their own, and partly those of others; but it is right that each one be punished for his own sins, and rewarded for his own merits. But it is impossible for any one except a prophet, who alone has omniscience, to know with respect to the things that are done by any one, which are his own, and which are not; for all are seen as done by him. Then I said, I would learn how some of men's wrong-doings or right-doings are their own, and some belong to others.
Then Peter answered, The prophet of the truth has said, 'Good things must needs come, and blessed, said he, is he by whom they come; in like manner evil things must needs come, but woe to him through whom they come.' But if evil things come by means of evil men, and good things are brought by good men, it must needs be in each man as his own to be either good or bad, and proceeding from what he has proposed, in order to the coming of the subsequent good or evil, which, being of his own choice, are not arranged by the providence of God to come from him. This being so, this is the judgment of God, that he who, as by a combat, comes through all misfortune and is found blameless, he is deemed worthy of eternal life; for those who by their own will continue in goodness, are tempted by those who continue in evil by their own will, being persecuted, hated, slandered, plotted against, struck, cheated, accused, tortured, disgraced,—suffering all these things by which it seems reasonable that they should be enraged and stirred up to vengeance.
But the Master knowing that those who wrongfully do these things are guilty by means of their former sins, and that the spirit of wickedness works these things by means of the guilty, has counselled to compassionate men, as they are men, and as being the instruments of wickedness through sin; and this counsel He has given to His disciples as claiming philanthropy, and, as much as in us lies, to absolve the wrong-doers from condemnation, that, as it were, the temperate may help the drunken, by prayers, fastings, and benedictions, not resisting, not avenging, lest they should compel them to sin more. For when a person is condemned by any one to suffer, it is not reasonable for him to be angry with him by whose means the suffering comes; for he ought to reason, that if he had not ill-used him, yet because he was to be ill-used, he must have suffered it by means of another. Why, then, should I be angry with the dispenser, when I was condemned at all events to suffer? But yet, further: if we do these same things to the evil on pretence ofrevenge, we who are good do the very things which the evil do, excepting that they do them first, and we second; and, as I said, we ought not to be angry, as knowing that in the providence of God, the evil punish the good. Those, therefore, who are bitter against their punishers, sin, as disdaining the messengers of God; but those who honour them, and set themselves in opposition to those who think to injure them, are pious towards God who has thus decreed.
To this I answered, Those, therefore, who do wrong are not guilty, because they wrong the just by the judgment of God. Then Peter said, They indeed sin greatly, for they have given themselves to sin. Wherefore knowing this, God chooses from among them some to punish those who righteously repented of their former sins, that the evil things done by the just before their repentance may be remitted through this punishment. But to the wicked who punish and desire to ill-use them, and will not repent, it is permitted to ill-use the righteous for the filling up of their own punishment. For without the will of God, not even a sparrow can fall into a girn. Thus even the hairs of the righteous are numbered by God.
But he is righteous who for the sake of what is reasonable fights with nature. For example, it is natural to all to love those who love them. But the righteous man tries also to love his enemies and to bless those who slander him, and even to pray for his enemies, and to compassionate those who do him wrong. Wherefore also he refrains from doing wrong, and blesses those who curse him, pardons those who strike him, and submits to those who persecute him, and salutes those who do not salute him, shares such things as he has with those who have not, persuades him that is angry with him, conciliates his enemy, exhorts the disobedient, instructs the unbelieving, comforts the mourner; being distressed, he endures; being ungratefully treated, he is not angry. But having devoted himself to love his neighbour as himself, he is not afraid of poverty, but becomes poor by sharing his possessions with those who have none. But neither does he punish the sinner. For he who loves his neighbour as himself, as he knows that when he has sinned he does not wish to be punished, so neither does he punish those who sin. And as he wishes to be praised, and blessed, and honoured, and to have all his sins forgiven, thus he does to his neighbour, loving him as himself. In one word, what he wishes for himself, he wishes also for his neighbour. For this is the law of God and of the prophets this is the doctrine of truth. And this perfect love towards every man is the male part of philanthropy, but the female part of it is compassion; that is, to feed the hungry, to give drink to the thirsty, to clothe the naked, to visit the sick, to take in the stranger, to show herself to, and help to the utmost of her power, him who is in prison, and, in short, to have compassion on him who is in misfortune.
But I, hearing this, said: These things, indeed, it is impossible to do; but to do good to enemies, bearing all their insolences, I do not think can possibly be in human nature. Then Peter answered: You have said truly; for philanthropy, being the cause of immortality, is given for much. Then I said, How then is it possible to get it in the mind? Then Peter answered: O beloved Clement, the way to get it is this: if any one be persuaded that enemies, ill-using for a time those whom they hate, become the cause to them of deliverances from eternal punishment; and immediately he will ardently love them as benefactors. But the way to get it, O dear Clement, is but one, which is the fear of God. For he who fears God cannot indeed from the first love his neighbour as himself; for such an order does not occur to the soul. But by the fear of God he is able to do the things of those who love; and thus, while he does the deeds of love, the bride Love is, as it were, brought to the bridegroom Fear. And thus this bride, bringing forth philanthropic thoughts, makes her possessor immortal, as an accurate image of God, which cannot be subject in its nature to corruption. Thus while he expounded to us the doctrine of philanthropy, the evening having set in, we turned to sleep.
Now at break of day Peter entered, and said: Clement, and his mother Mattidia, and my wife, must take their seats immediately on the waggon. And so they did straightway. And as we were hastening along the road to Balanæae, my mother asked me how my father was; and I said: My father went in search of you, and of my twin brothers Faustinus and Faustinianus, and is now nowhere to be found. But I fancy he must have died long ago, either perishing by shipwreck, or losing his way, or wasted away by grief. When she heard this, she burst into tears, and groaned through grief; but the joy which she felt at finding me, mitigated in some degree the painfulness of her recollections. And so we all went down together to Balanæae. And on the following day we went to Paltus, and from that to Gabala; and on the next day we reached Laodicea. And, lo! Before the gates of the city Nicetas and Aquila met us, and embracing us, brought us to our lodging. Now Peter, seeing that the city was beautiful and great, said: It is worth our while to stay here for some days; for, generally speaking, a populous place is most capable of yielding us those whom we seek. Nicetas and Aquila asked me who that strange woman was; and I said: My mother, whom God, through my lord Peter, has granted me to recognise.
On my saying this, Peter gave them a summary account of all the incidents,—how, when they had gone on before, I Clement had explained to him my descent, the journey undertaken by my mother with her twin children on the false pretext of the dream; and furthermore, the journey undertaken by my father in search of her; and then how Peter himself, after hearing this, went into the island, met with the woman, saw her begging, and asked the reason of her so doing; and then ascertained who she was, and her mode of life, and the feigned dream, and the names of her children—that is, the name borne by me, who was left with my father, and the names of the twin children who travelled along with her, and who, she supposed, had perished in the deep.
Now when this summary narrative had been given by Peter, Nicetas and Aquila in amazement said: Is this indeed true, O Ruler and Lord of the universe, or is it a dream? And Peter said: Unless we are asleep, it certainly is true. On this they waited for a little in deep meditation, and then said: We are Faustinus and Faustinianus. From the commencement of your conversation we looked at each other, and conjectured much with regard to ourselves, whether what was said had reference to us or not; for we reflected that many coincidences take place in life. Wherefore we remained silent while our hearts beat fast. But when you came to the end of your narrative, we saw clearly that your statements referred to us, and then we avowed who we were. And on saying this, bathed in tears, they rushed in to see their mother; and although they found her asleep, they were yet anxious to embrace her. But Peter forbade them, saying: Let me bring you and present you to your mother, lest she should, in consequence of her great and sudden joy, lose her reason, as she is slumbering, and her spirit is held fast by sleep.
As soon as my mother had enough of sleep, she awoke, and Peter at once began first to talk to her of true piety, saying: I wish you to know, O woman, the course of life involved in our religion. We worship one God, who made the world which you see; and we keep His law, which has for its chief injunctions to worship Him alone, and to hallow His name, and to honour our parents, and to be chaste, and to live piously. In addition to this, we do not live with all indiscriminately; nor do we take our food from the same table as Gentiles, inasmuch as we cannot eat along with them, because they live impurely. But when we have persuaded them to have true thoughts, and to follow a right course of action, and have baptized them with a thrice blessed invocation, then we dwell with them. For not even if it were our father, or mother, or wife, or child, or brother, or any other one having a claim by nature on our affection, can we venture to take our meals with him; for our religion compels us to make a distinction. Do not, therefore, regard it as an insult if your son does not take his food along with you, until you come to have the same opinions and adopt the same course of conduct as he follows.
When she heard this, she said: What, then, prevents me from being baptized this day? For before I saw you I turned away from the so-called gods, induced by the thought that, though I sacrificed much to them almost every day, they did not aid me in my necessities. And with regard to adultery, what need I say? For not even when I was rich was I betrayed into this sin by luxury, and the poverty which succeeded has been unable to force me into it, since I cling to my chastity as constituting the greatest beauty, on account of which I fell into so great distress. But I do not at all imagine that you, my lord Peter, are ignorant that the greatest temptation arises when everything looks bright. And therefore, if I was chaste in my prosperity, I do not in my despondency give myself up to pleasures. Yea, indeed, you are not to suppose that my soul has now been freed from distress, although it has received some measure of consolation by the recognition of Clement. For the gloom which I feel in consequence of the loss of my two children rushes in upon me, and throws its shadow to some extent over my joy; for I am grieved, not so much because they perished in the sea, but because they were destroyed, both soul and body, without possessing true piety towards God. Moreover, my husband, their father, as I have learned from Clement, went away in search of me and his sons, and for so many years has not been heard of; and, without doubt, he must have died. For the miserable man, loving me as he did in chastity, was fond of his children; and therefore the old man, deprived of all of us who were dear to him above everything else, died utterly broken-hearted.
The sons, on hearing their mother thus speak, could no longer, in obedience to the exhortation of Peter, restrain themselves, but rising up, they clasped her in their arms, showering down upon her tears and kisses. But she said: What is the meaning of this? And Peter answered: Courageously summon up your spirits, O woman, that you may enjoy your children; for these are Faustinus and Faustinianus, your sons, who, you said, had perished in the deep. For how they are alive, after they had in your opinion died on that most disastrous night, and how one of them now bears the name of Nicetas, and the other that of Aquila, they will themselves be able to tell you; for we, as well as you, have yet to learn this. When Peter thus spoke, my mother fainted away through her excessive joy, and was like to die. But when we had revived her she sat up, and coming to herself, she said: Be so good, my darling children, as tell us what happened to you after that disastrous night.
And Nicetas, who in future is to be called Faustinus, began to speak. On that very night when, as you know, the ship went to pieces, we were taken up by some men, who did not fear to follow the profession of robbers on the deep. They placed us in a boat, and brought us along the coast, sometimes rowing and sometimes sending for provisions, and at length took us to Cæsarea Stratonis, and there tormented us by hunger, fear, and blows, that we might not recklessly disclose anything which they did not wish us to tell; and, moreover, changing our names, they succeeded in selling us. Now the woman who bought us was a proselyte of the Jews, an altogether worthy person, of the name of Justa. She adopted us as her own children, and zealously brought us up in all the learning of the Greeks. But we, becoming discreet with our years, were strongly attached to her religion, and we paid good heed to our culture, in order that, disputing with the other nations, we might be able to convince them of their error. We also made an accurate study of the doctrines of the philosophers, especially the most atheistic,—I mean those of Epicurus and Pyrrho,—in order that we might be the better able to refute them.
We were brought up along with one Simon, a magician; and in consequence of our friendly intercourse with him, we were in danger of being led astray. Now there is a report in regard to some man, that, when he appears, the mass of those who have been pious are to live free from death and pain in his kingdom. This matter, however, mother, will be explained more fully at the proper time. But when we were going to be led astray by Simon, a friend of our lord Peter, by name Zacchæus, came to us and warned us not to be led astray by the magician; and when Peter came, he brought us to him that he might give us full information, and convince us in regard to those matters that related to piety. Wherefore we beseech you, mother, to partake of those blessings which have been vouchsafed to us, that we may unite around the same table! This, then, is the reason, mother, why you thought we were dead. On that disastrous night we had been taken up in the sea by pirates, but you supposed that we had perished.
When Faustinus had said this, our mother fell down at Peter's feet, begging and entreating him to send for her and her hostess, and baptize them immediately, in order that, says she, not a single day may pass after the recovery of my children, without my taking food with them. When we united with our mother in making the same request, Peter said: What can you imagine? Am I alone heartless, so as not to wish that you should take your meals with your mother, baptizing her this very day? But yet it is incumbent on her to fast one day before she be baptized. And it is only one day, because, in her simplicity, she said something in her own behalf, which I looked on as a sufficient indication of her faith; otherwise, her purification must have lasted many days.
And I said: Tell us what it was that she said which made her faith manifest. And Peter, said: Her request that her hostess and benefactress should be baptized along with her. For she would not have besought this to be granted to her whom she loves, had she not herself first felt that baptism was a great gift. And for this reason I condemn many that, after being baptized, and asserting that they have faith, they yet do nothing worthy of faith; nor do they urge those whom they love—I mean their wives, or sons, or friends—to be baptized. For if they had believed that God grants eternal life with good works on the acceptance of baptism, they without delay would urge those whom they loved to be baptized. But some one of you will say, 'They do love them, and care for them.' That is nonsense. For do they not, most assuredly, when they see them sick, or led away along the road that ends in death, or enduring any other trial, lament over them and pity them? So, if they believed that eternal fire awaits those who worship not God, they would not cease admonishing them, or being in deep distress for them as unbelievers, if they saw them disobedient, being fully assured that punishment awaits them. But now I shall send for the hostess, and question her as to whether she deliberately accepts the law which is proclaimed through us; and so, according to her state of mind, shall we do what ought to be done.
But since your mother has real confidence in the efficacy of baptism, let her fast at least one day before her baptism. But she swore:During the two past days, while I related to the woman all the events connected with the recognition, I could not, in consequence of my excessive joy, partake of food: only yesterday I took a little water. Peter's wife bore testimony to her statement with an oath, saying: In truth she did not taste anything. And Aquila, who must rather be called Faustinianus in future, said: There is nothing, therefore, to prevent her being baptized. And Peter, smiling, replied: But that is not a baptismal fast which has not taken place on account of the baptism itself. And Faustinus answered: Perhaps God, not wishing to separate our mother a single day after our recognition from our table, has arranged beforehand the fast. For as she was chaste in the times of her ignorance, doing what the true religion inculcated, so even now perhaps God has arranged that she should fast one day before for the sake of the true baptism, that, from the first day of her recognising us, she might take her meals along with us.
And Peter said: Let not wickedness have dominion over us, finding a pretext in Providence and your affection for your mother; but rather abide this day in your fast, and I shall join you in it, and tomorrow she will be baptized. And, besides, this hour of the day is not suitable for baptism. Then we all agreed that it should be so.
That same evening we all enjoyed the benefit of Peter's instruction. Taking occasion by what had happened to our mother, he showed us how the results of chastity are good, while those of adultery are disastrous, and naturally bring destruction on the whole race, if not speedily, at all events slowly. And to such an extent, he says, do deeds of chastity please God, that in this life He bestows some small favour on account of it, even on those who are in error; for salvation in the other world is granted only to those who have been baptized on account of their trust in Him, and who act chastely and righteously. This ye yourselves have seen in the case of your mother, that the results of chastity are in the end good. For perhaps she would have been cut off if she had committed adultery; but God took pity on her for having behaved chastely, rescued her from the death that threatened her, and restored to her her lost children.
But some one will say, 'How many have perished on account of chastity!' Yes; but it was because they did not perceive the danger. For the woman who perceives that she is in love with any one, or is beloved by any one, should immediately shun all association with him as she would shun a blazing fire or a mad dog. And this is exactly what your mother did, for she really loved chastity as a blessing: wherefore she was preserved, and, along with you, obtained the full knowledge of the everlasting kingdom. The woman who wishes to be chaste, ought to know that she is envied by wickedness, and that because of love many lie in wait for her. If, then, she remain holy through a stedfast persistence in chastity, she will gain the victory over all temptations, and be saved; whereas, even if she were to do all that is right, and yet should once commit the sin of adultery, she must be punished, as said the prophet.
The chaste wife doing the will of God, is a good reminiscence of His first creation; for God, being one, created one woman for one man. She is also still more chaste if she does not forget her own creation, and has future punishment before her eyes, and is not ignorant of the loss of eternal blessings. The chaste woman takes pleasure in those who wish to be saved, and is a pious example to the pious, for she is the model of a good life. She who wishes to be chaste, cuts off all occasions for slander; but if she be slandered as by an enemy, though affording him no pretext, she is blessed and avenged by God. The chaste woman longs for God, loves God, pleases God, glorifies God; and to men she affords no occasion for slander. The chaste woman perfumes the Church with her good reputation, and glorifies it by her piety. She is, moreover, the praise of her teachers, and a helper to them in their chastity.
The chaste woman is adorned with the Son of God as with a bridegroom. She is clothed with holy light. Her beauty lies in a well-regulated soul; and she is fragrant with ointment, even with a good reputation. She is arrayed in beautiful vesture, even in modesty. She wears about her precious pearls, even chaste words. And she is radiant, for her mind has been brilliantly lighted up. Onto a beautiful mirror does she look, for she looks into God. Beautiful cosmetics does she use, namely, the fear of God, with which she admonishes her soul. Beautiful is the woman not because she has chains of gold on her, but because she has been set free from transient lusts. The chaste woman is greatly desired by the great King; she has been wooed, watched, and loved by Him. The chaste woman does not furnish occasions for being desired, except by her own husband. The chaste woman is grieved when she is desired by another. The chaste woman loves her husband from the heart, embraces, soothes, and pleases him, acts the slave to him, and is obedient to him in all things, except when she would be disobedient to God. For she who obeys God is without the aid of watchmen chaste in soul and pure in body.
Foolish, therefore, is every husband who separates his wife from the fear of God; for she who does not fear God is not afraid of her husband. If she fear not God, who sees what is invisible, how will she be chaste in her unseen choice? And how will she be chaste, who does not come to the assembly to hear chaste-making words? And how could she obtain admonition? And how will she be chaste without watchmen, if she be not informed in regard to the coming judgement of God, and if she be not fully assured that eternal punishment is the penalty for the slight pleasure? Wherefore, on the other hand, compel her even against her will always to come to hear the chaste-making word, yea, coax her to do so.
Much better is it if you will take her by the hand and come, in order that you yourself may become chaste; for you will desire to become chaste, that you may experience the full fruition of a holy marriage, and you will not scruple, if you desire it, to become a father, to love your own children, and to be loved by your own children. He who wishes to have a chaste wife is also himself chaste, gives her what is due to a wife, takes his meals with her, keeps company with her, goes with her to the word that makes chaste, does not grieve her, does not rashly quarrel with her, does not make himself hateful to her, furnishes her with all the good things he can, and when he has them not, he makes up the deficiency by caresses. The chaste wife does not expect to be caressed, recognises her husband as her lord, bears his poverty when he is poor, is hungry with him when he is hungry, travels with him when he travels, consoles him when he is grieved, and if she have a large dowry, is subject to him as if she had nothing at all. But if the husband have a poor wife, let him reckon her chastity a great dowry. The chaste wife is temperate in her eating and drinking, in order that the weariness of the body, thus pampered, may not drag the soul down to unlawful desires. Moreover, she never assuredly remains alone with young men, and she suspects the old; she turns away from disorderly laughter, gives herself up to God alone; she is not led astray; she delights in listening to holy words, but turns away from those which are not spoken to produce chastity.
God is my witness: one adultery is as bad as many murders; and what is terrible in it is this, that the fearfulness and impiety of its murders are not seen. For, when blood is shed, the dead body remains lying, and all are struck by the terrible nature of the occurrence. But the murders of the soul caused by adultery, though they are more frightful, yet, since they are not seen by men, do not make the daring a whit less eager in their impulse. Know, O man, whose breath it is that you have to keep you in life, and you shall not wish that it be polluted. By adultery alone is the breath of God polluted. And therefore it drags him who has polluted it into the fire; for it hastens to deliver up its insulter to everlasting punishment.
While Peter was saying this, he saw the good and chaste Mattidia weeping for joy; but thinking that she was grieved at having suffered so much in past times, he said: Take courage, O woman; for while many have suffered many evils on account of adultery, you have suffered on account of chastity, and therefore you did not die. But if you had died, your soul would have been saved. You left your native city of Rome on account of chastity, but through it you found the truth, the diadem of the eternal kingdom. You underwent danger in the deep, but you did not die; and even if you had died, the deep itself would have proved to you, dying on account of chastity, a baptism for the salvation of your soul. You were deprived of your children for a little; but these, the true offspring of your husband, have been found in better circumstances. When starving, you begged for food, but you did not defile your body by fornication. You exposed your body to torture, but you saved your soul; you fled from the adulterer, that you might not defile the couch of your husband: but, on account of your chastity, God, who knows your flight, will fill up the place of your husband. Grieved and left desolate, you were for a short time deprived of husband and children, but all these you must have been deprived of, some time or other, by death, the preordained lot of man. But better is it that you were willingly deprived of them on account of chastity, than that you should have perished unwillingly after a time, simply on account of sins.
Much better is it, then, that your first circumstances should be distressing. For when this is the case, they do not so deeply grieve you, because you hope that they will pass away, and they yield joy though the expectation of better circumstances. But, above all, I wish you to know how much chastity is pleasing to God. The chaste woman is God's choice, God's good pleasure, God's glory, God's child. So great a blessing is chastity, that if there had not been a law that not even a righteous person should enter into the kingdom of God unbaptized, perhaps even the erring Gentiles might have been saved solely on account of chastity. Wherefore I am exceedingly sorry for those erring ones who are chaste because they shrink from baptism—thus choosing to be chaste without good hope. Wherefore they are not saved; for the decree of God is clearly set down, that an unbaptized person cannot enter into His kingdom. When he said this, and much more, we turned to sleep.
Much earlier than usual Peter awoke, and came to us, and awaking us, said: Let Faustinus and Faustinianus, along with Clement and the household, accompany me, that we may go to some sheltered spot by the sea, and there be able to baptize her without attracting observation. Accordingly, when we had come to the sea-shore, he baptized her between some rocks, which supplied a place at once free from wind and dust. But we brothers, along with our brother and some others, retired because of the women and bathed, and coming again to the women, we took them along with us, and thus we went to a secret place and prayed. Then Peter, on account of the multitude, sent the women on before, ordering them to go to their lodging by another way, and he permitted us alone of the men to accompany our mother and the rest of the women. We went then to our lodging, and while waiting for Peter's arrival, we conversed with each other. Peter came several hours after, and breaking the bread for the Eucharist, and putting salt upon it, he gave it first to our mother, and, after her, to us her sons. And thus we took food along with her and blessed God.
Then, at length, Peter seeing that the multitude had entered, sat down, and bidding us sit down beside him, he related first of all why he had sent us on before him after the baptism, and why he himself had been late in returning. He said that the following was the reason: At the time that you came up, he says, an old man, a workman, entered along with you, concealing himself out of curiosity. He had watched us before, as he himself afterwards confessed, in order to see what we were doing when we entered into the sheltered place, and then he came out secretly and followed us. And coming up to me at a convenient place, and addressing me, he said, 'For a long time I have been following you and wishing to talk with you, but I was afraid that you might be angry with me, as if I were instigated by curiosity; but now I shall tell you, if you please, what I think is the truth.' And I replied, 'Tell us what you think is good, and we shall approve your conduct, even should what you say not be really good, since with a good purpose you have been anxious to state what you deem to be good.'
The old man began to speak as follows: 'When I saw you after you had bathed in the sea retire into the secret place, I went up and secretly watched what might be your object in entering into a secret place, and when I saw you pray, I retired; but taking pity on you, I waited that I might speak with you when you came out, and prevail on you not to be led astray. For there is neither God nor providence; but all things are subject to Genesis. Of this I am fully assured in consequence of what I have myself endured, having for a long time made a careful study of the science. Do not therefore be deceived, my child. For whether you pray or not, you must endure what is assigned to you by Genesis. For if prayers could have done anything or any good, I myself should now be in better circumstances. And now, unless my needy garments mislead you, you will not refuse to believe what I say. I was once in affluent circumstances; I sacrificed much to the gods, I gave liberally to the needy; and yet, though I prayed and acted piously, I was not able to escape my destiny.' And I said: 'What are the calamities you have endured?' And he answered: 'I need not tell you now; perhaps at the end you shall learn who I am, and who are my parents, and into what straitened circumstances I have fallen. But at present I wish you to become fully assured that everything is subject to Genesis.'
And I said: 'If all things are subject to Genesis, and you are fully convinced that this is the case, your thoughts and advice are contrary to your own opinion. For if it is impossible even to think in opposition to Genesis, why do you toil in vain, advising me to do what cannot be done? Yea, moreover, even if Genesis subsists, do not make haste to prevail on me not to worship Him who is also Lord of the stars, by whose wish that a thing should not take place, that thing becomes an impossibility. For always that which is subject must obey that which rules. As far, however, as the worship of the common gods is concerned, that is superfluous, if Genesis has sway. For neither does anything happen contrary to what seems good to fate, nor are they themselves able to do anything, since they are subject to their own universal Genesis. If Genesis exists, there is this objection to it, that that which is not first has the rule; or, in other words, the uncreated cannot be subject, for the uncreated, as being uncreated, has nothing that is older than itself.'
While we were thus talking, a great multitude gathered round us. And then I looked to the multitude, and said: 'I and my tribe have had handed down to us from our ancestors the worship of God, and we have a commandment to give no heed to Genesis, I mean to the science of astrology; and therefore I gave no attention to it. For this reason I have no skill in astrology, but I shall state that in which I have skill. Since I am unable to refute Genesis by an appeal to the science which relates to Genesis, I wish to prove in another way that the affairs of this world are managed by a providence, and that each one will receive reward or punishment according to his actions. Whether he shall do so now or hereafter, is a matter of no consequence to me; all I affirm is, that each one without doubt will reap the fruit of his deeds. The proof that there is no Genesis is this. If any one of you present has been deprived of eyes, or has his hand maimed, or his foot lame, or some other part of the body wrong, and if it is utterly incurable, and entirely beyond the range of the medical profession,—a case, indeed, which not even the astrologers profess to cure, for no such cure has taken place within the lapse of a vast period,—yet I praying to God will cure it, although it could never have been set right by Genesis. Since this is so, do not they sin who blaspheme the God that fashioned all things?' And the old man answered: 'Is it then blasphemy to say that all things are subject to Genesis?' And I replied: 'Most certainly it is. For if all the sins of men, and all their acts of impiety and licentiousness, owe their origin to the stars, and if the stars have been appointed by God to do this work, so as to be the efficient causes of all evils, then the sins of all are traced up to Him who placed Genesis in the stars.'
And the old man answered: 'You have spoken truly, and yet, notwithstanding all your incomparable demonstration, I am prevented from yielding assent by my own personal knowledge. For I was an astrologer, and dwelt first at Rome; and then forming a friendship with one who was of the family of Cæsar, I ascertained accurately the genesis of himself and his wife. And tracing their history, I find all the deeds actually accomplished in exact accordance with their genesis, and therefore I cannot yield to your argument. For the arrangement of her genesis was that which makes women commit adultery, fall in love with their own slaves, and perish abroad in the water. And this actually took place; for she fell in love with her own slave, and not being able to bear the reproach, she fled with him, hurried to a foreign land, shared his bed, and perished in the sea.'
And I answered: 'How then do you know that she who fled and took up her residence in a foreign land married the slave, and marrying him died?' And the old man said: 'I am quite sure that this is true, not indeed that she married him, for I did not know even that she fell in love with him; but after her departure, a brother of her husband's told me the whole story of her passion, and how he acted as an honourable man, and did not, as being his brother, wish to pollute his couch, and how she the wretched woman (for she is not blameable, inasmuch as she was compelled to do and suffer all this in consequence of Genesis) longed for him, and yet stood in awe of him and his reproaches, and how she devised a dream, whether true or false I cannot tell; for he stated that she said, Some one in a vision stood by me, and ordered me to leave the city of the Romans immediately with my children. But her husband being anxious that she should be saved with his sons, sent them immediately to Athens for their education, accompanied by their mother and slaves, while he kept the third and youngest son with himself, for he who gave the warning in the dream permitted this son to remain with his father. And when a long time had elapsed, during which he received no letters from her, he himself sent frequently to Athens, and at length took me, as the truest of all his friends, and went in search of her. And much did I exert myself along with him in the course of our travels with all eagerness; for I remembered that, in the old times of his prosperity, he had given me a share of all he had and loved me above all his friends. At length we set sail from Rome itself, and so we arrived in these parts of Syria, and we landed at Seleucia, and not many days after we had landed he died of a broken heart. But I came here, and have procured my livelihood from that day till this by the work of my hands.'
When the old man had thus spoken, I knew from what he said that the old man who he stated had died, was no other than your father. I did not wish, however, to communicate your circumstances to him until I should confer with you. But I ascertained where his lodging was, and I pointed out mine to him; and to make sure that my conjecture was right, I put this one question to him: 'What was the name of the old man?' And he said, 'Faustus.' 'And what were the names of his twin sons?' And he answered, 'Faustinus and Faustinianus.' 'What was the name of the third son?' He said, 'Clement.' 'What was their mother's name?' He said, 'Mattidia.' Accordingly, from compassion, I shed tears along with him, and, dismissing the multitudes, I came to you, in order that I might take counsel with you after we had partaken of food together. But I did not wish to disclose the matter to you before we had partaken of food, lest perchance you should be overcome by sorrow, and continue sad on the day of baptism, when even angels rejoice. At these statements of Peter we all fell a weeping along with our mother. But he beholding us in tears, said: Now let each one of you, through fear of God, bear bravely what has been said: for certainly it was not today that your father died, but long ago, as you conjecturing said.
When Peter said this, our mother could no longer endure it, but cried out, Alas! My husband! loving us, you died by your own decision,while we are still alive, see the light, and have just partaken of food. This one scream had not yet ceased, when, lo! The old man came in, and at the same time wishing to inquire into the cause of the cry, he looked on the woman and said, What does this mean? Whom do I see? And going up to her, and looking at her, and being looked at more carefully, he embraced her. But they were like to die through the sudden joy, and wishing to speak to each other, they could not get the power in consequence of their unsatisfied joy, for they were seized with speechlessness. But not long after, our mother said to him: I now have you, Faustus, in every way the dearest being to me. How then are you alive, when we heard a short time ago that you were dead? But these are our sons, Faustinus, Faustinianus, and Clement. And when she said this, we all three fell on him, and kissed him, and in rather an indistinct way we recalled his form to our memory.
Peter seeing this, said: Are you Faustus, the husband of this woman, and the father of her children? And he said: I am. And Peter said: How, then, did you relate to me your own history as if it were another's; telling me of your toils, and sorrow, and burial? And our father answered: Being of the family of Cæsar, and not wishing to be discovered, I devised the narrative in another's name, in order that it might not be perceived who I was. For I knew that, if I were recognised, the governors in the place would learn this, and recall me to gratify Cæsar, and would bestow upon me that former prosperity to which I had formerly bidden adieu with all the resolution I could summon. For I could not give myself up to a luxurious life when I had pronounced the strongest condemnation on myself, because I believed that I had been the cause of death to those who were loved by me.
And Peter said: You did this according to your resolution. But in regard to Genesis, were you merely playing a part when you affirmed it, or were you in earnest in asserting that it existed? Our father said: I will not speak falsely to you. I was in earnest when I maintained that Genesis existed. For I am not uninitiated in the science; on the contrary, I associated with one who is the best of the astrologers, an Egyptian of the name of Annubion, who became my friend in the commencement of my travels, and disclosed to me the death of my wife and children. And Peter said: Are you not now convinced by facts, that the doctrine of Genesis has no firm foundation? And my father answered: I must lay before you all the ideas that occur to my mind, that listening to them I may understand your refutation of them. I know, indeed, that astrologers both make many mistakes, and frequently speak the truth. I suspect, therefore, that they speak the truth so far as they are accurately acquainted with the science, and that their mistakes are the result of ignorance; so that I conjecture that the science has a firm foundation, but that the astrologers themselves speak what is false solely on account of ignorance, because they cannot know all things with absolute accuracy. And Peter answered: Consider whether their speaking of the truth is not accidental, and whether they do not make their declarations without knowing the matters accurately. For it must by all means happen that, when many prophecies are uttered, some of them should come true. And the old man said: How, then, is it possible to be fully convinced of this, whether the science of Genesis has a sure foundation or not?
When both were silent, I said: Since I know accurately the science, but our lord and our father are not in this condition, I should like if Annubion himself were here, to have a discussion with him in the presence of my father. For thus would the matter be able to become public, when one practically acquainted with the subject has held the discussion with one equally informed. And our father answered:Where, then, is it possible to fall in with Annubion? And Peter said: In Antioch, for I learn that Simon Magus is there, whose inseparable companion Annubion is. When, then, we go there, if we come upon them, the discussion can take place. And so, when we had discussed many subjects, and rejoiced at the recognition and given thanks to God, evening came down upon us, and we turned to sleep.
At break of day our father, with our mother and his three sons, entered the place where Peter was, and accosting him, sat down. Then we also did the same at his request; and Peter looking at our father, said: I am anxious that you should become of the same mind as your wife and children, in order that here you may live along with them, and in the other world, after the separation of the soul from the body, you will continue to be with them free from sorrow. For does it not grieve you exceedingly that you should not associate with each other? And my father said: Most assuredly. And Peter said: If, then, separation from each other here gives you pain, and if without doubt the penalty awaits you that after death you should not be with each other, how much greater will your grief be that you, a wise man, should be separated from your own family on account of your opinions? They too, must feel the more distressed from the consciousness that eternal punishment awaits you because you entertain different opinions from theirs, and deny the established truth.
Our father said: But it is not the case, my very dear friend, that souls are punished in Hades, for the soul is dissolved into air as soon as it leaves the body. And Peter said: Until we convince you in regard to this point, answer me, does it not appear to you that you are not grieved as having no faith in a future punishment, but they who have full faith in it must be vexed in regard to you? And our father said: You speak sense. And Peter said: Why, then, will you not free them from the greatest grief they can have in regard to you by agreeing to their religion, not, I mean, through dread, but through kindly feeling, listening and judging about what is said by me, whether it be so or not? And if the truth is as we state it, then here you will enjoy life with those who are dearest to you, and in the other world you will have rest with them; but if, in examining the arguments, you show that what is stated by us is a fictitious story, you will thus be doing good service, for you will have your friends on your side, and you will put an end to their leaning upon false hopes, and you will free them from false fears.
And our father said: There is evidently much reason in what you say. And Peter said: What is it, then, that prevents you from coming to our faith? Tell me, that we may begin our discussion with it. For many are the hindrances. The faithful are hindered by occupation with merchandise, or public business, or the cultivation of the soil, or cares, and such like; the unbelievers, of whom you also are one, are hindered by ideas such as that the gods, which do not exist, really exist, or that all things are subject to Genesis, or chance, or that souls are mortal, or that our doctrines are false because there is no providence.
But I maintain, from what has happened to you, that all things are managed by the providence of God, and that your separation from your family for so many years was providential; for since, if they had been with you, they perhaps would not have listened to the doctrines of the true religion, it was arranged that your children should travel with their mother, should be shipwrecked, should be supposed to have perished, and should be sold; moreover, that they should be educated in the learning of the Greeks, especially in the atheistic doctrines, in order that, as being acquainted with them, they might be the better able to refute them; and in addition to this, that they should become attached to the true religion, and be enabled to be united with me, so as to help me in my preaching; furthermore, that their brother Clement should meet in the same place, and that thus his mother should be recognised, and through her cure should be fully convinced of the right worship of God; that after no long interval the twins should recognise and be recognised, and the other day should fall in with you, and that you should receive back your own. I do not think, then, that such a speedy filling in of circumstances, coming as it were from all quarters, so as to accomplish one design, could have happened without the direction of Providence.
And our father began to say: Do not suppose, my dearest Peter, that I am not thinking of the doctrines preached by you. I was thinking of them. But during the past night, when Clement urged me earnestly to give in my adhesion to the truth preached by you, I at last answered, 'Why should I? For what new commandment can any one give more than what the ancients urged us to obey?' And he, with a gentle smile, said, 'There is a great difference, father, between the doctrines of the true religion and those of philosophy; for the true religion receives its proof from prophecy, while philosophy, furnishing us with beautiful sentences, seems to present its proofs from conjecture.' On saying this, he took an instance, and set before us the doctrine of philanthropy, which you had explained to him, which rather appeared to me to be very unjust, and I shall tell you how. He alleged that it was right to present to him who strikes you on the one cheek the other also, and to give to him who takes away your cloak your tunic also, and to go two miles with him who compels you to go one, and such like.
And Peter answered: You have deemed unjust what is most just. If you are inclined, will you listen to me? And my father said: With all my heart. And Peter said: What is your opinion? Suppose that there were two kings, enemies to each other, and having their countries cut off from each other; and suppose that some one of the subjects of one of them were to be caught in the country of the other, and to incur the penalty of death on this account: now if he were let off from the punishment by receiving a blow instead of death, is it not plain that he who let him off is a lover of man? And our father said: Most certainly. And Peter said: Now suppose that this same person were to steal from some one something belonging to him or to another; and if when caught he were to pay double, instead of suffering the punishment that was due to him, namely, paying four times the amount, and being also put to death, as having been caught in the territories of the enemy; is it not your opinion that he who accepts double, and lets him off from the penalty of death, is a lover of man? And our father said: He certainly seems so. And Peter said: Why then? Is it not the duty of him who is in the kingdom of another, and that, too, a hostile and wicked monarch, to be pleasing to all for the sake of life, and when force is applied to him, to yield still more, to accost those who do not accost him, to reconcile enemies, not to quarrel with those who are angry, to give his own property freely to all who ask, and such like? And our father said: He should with reason endure all things rather, if he prefers life to them.
And Peter said: Are not those, then, who you said received injustice, themselves transgressors, inasmuch as they are in the kingdom of the other, and is it not by overreaching that they have obtained all they possess? While those who are thought to act unjustly are conferring a favour on each subject of the hostile kingdom, so far as they permit him to have property. For these possessions belong to those who have chosen the present. And they are so far kind as to permit the others to live. This, then, is the parable; now listen to the actual truth. The prophet of the truth who appeared on earth taught us that the Maker and God of all gave two kingdoms to two, good and evil; granting to the evil the sovereignty over the present world along with law, so that he, it, should have the right to punish those who act unjustly; but to the good He gave the eternal to come. But He made each man free with the power to give himself up to whatsoever he prefers, either to the present evil or the future good. Those men who choose the present have power to be rich, to revel in luxury, to indulge in pleasures, and to do whatever they can. For they will possess none of the future goods. But those who have determined to accept the blessings of the future reign have no right to regard as their own the things that are here, since they belong to a foreign king, with the exception only of water and bread, and those things procured with sweat to maintain life (for it is not lawful for them to commit suicide), and also one garment, for they are not permitted to go naked on account of the all-seeing Heaven.
If, then, you wish to have an accurate account of the matter, listen. Those of whom you said a little before that they receive injustice, rather act unjustly themselves; for they who have chosen the future blessings, live along with the bad in the present world, having many enjoyments the same as the bad,—such as life itself, light, bread, water, clothing, and others of a like nature. But they who are thought by you to act unjustly, shall not live with the good men in the coming age. And our father replied to this: Now when you have convinced me that those who act unjustly suffer injustice themselves, while those who suffer injustice have by far the advantage, the whole affair seems to me still more the most unjust of transactions; for those who seem to act unjustly grant many things to those who have chosen the future blessings, but those who seem to receive injustice do themselves commit injustice, because they do not give in the other world, to those who have given them blessings here, the same advantages which these gave to them. And Peter said: This is not unjust at all, because each one has the power to choose the present or the future goods, whether they be small or great. He who chooses by his own individual judgment and wish, receives no injustice,—I mean, not even should his choice rest on what is small, since the great lay within his choice, as in fact did also the small. And our father said: You are right; for it has been said by one of the wise men of the Greeks, 'The blame rests with those who chose—God is blameless.'
Will you be so good as to explain this matter also? I remember Clement saying to me, that we suffer injuries and afflictions for the forgiveness of our sins. Peter said: This is quite correct. For we, who have chosen the future things, in so far as we possess more goods than these, whether they be clothing, or food or drink, or any other thing, possess sins, because we ought not to have anything, as I explained to you a little ago. To all of us possessions are sins. The deprivation of these, in whatever way it may take place, is the removal of sins. And our father said: That seems reasonable, as you explained that these were the two boundary lines of the two kings, and that it was in the power of each to choose whatever he wished of what was under their authority. But why are the afflictions sent, or do we suffer them justly? And Peter said: Most justly; for since the boundary line of the saved is, as I said, that no one should possess anything, but since many have many possessions, or in other words sins, for this reason the exceeding love of God sends afflictions on those who do not act in purity of heart, that on account of their having some measure of the love of God, they might, by temporary inflictions, be saved from eternal punishments.
And our father said: How then is this? Do we not see many impious men poor? Then do these belong to the saved on this account? And Peter said: Not at all; for that poverty is not acceptable which longs for what it ought not. So that some are rich as far as their choice goes, though poor in actual wealth, and they are punished because they desire to have more. But one is not unquestionably righteous because he happens to be poor. For he can be a beggar as far as actual wealth is concerned, but he may desire and even do what above everything he ought not to do. Thus he may worship idols, or be a blasphemer or fornicator, or he may live indiscriminately, or perjure himself, or lie, or live the life of an unbeliever. But our teacher pronounced the faithful poor blessed; and he did so, not because they had given anything, for they had nothing, but because they were not to be condemned, as having done no sin, simply because they gave no alms, because they had nothing to give. And our father said: In good truth all seems to go right as far as the subject of discussion is concerned; wherefore I have resolved to listen to the whole of your argument in regular order.
And Peter said: Since, then, you are eager henceforth to learn what relates to our religion, I ought to explain it in order, beginning with God Himself, and showing that we ought to call Him alone God, and that we neither ought to speak of the others as gods nor deem them such, and that he who acts contrary to this will be punished eternally, as having shown the greatest impiety to Him who is the Lord of all. And saying this, he laid his hands on those who were vexed by afflictions, and were diseased, and possessed by demons; and, praying, he healed them, and dismissed the multitudes. And then entering in this way, he partook of his usual food, and went to sleep.
At break of day Peter went out, and reaching the place where he was wont to discourse, he saw a great multitude assembled. At the very time when he was going to discourse, one of his deacons entered, and said: Simon has come from Antioch, starting as soon as it was evening, having learned that you promised to speak on the unity of God; and he is ready, along with Athenodorus the Epicurean, to come to hear your speech, in order that he may publicly oppose all the arguments ever adduced by you for the unity of God. Just as the deacon said this, lo! Simon himself entered, accompanied by Athenodorus and some other friends. And before Peter spoke at all, he took the first word, and said:—
I heard that you promised yesterday to Faustus to prove this day, giving out your arguments in regular order, and beginning with Him who is Lord of the universe, that we ought to say that He alone is God, and that we ought neither to say nor to think that there are other gods, because he that acts contrary to this will be punished eternally. But, above all, I am truly amazed at your madness in hoping to convert a wise man, and one far advanced in years, to your state of mind. But you will not succeed in your designs; and all the more that I am present, and can thoroughly refute your false arguments. For perhaps, if I had not been present, the wise old man might have been led astray, because he has no critical acquaintance with the books publicly believed in amongst the Jews. At present I shall omit much, in order that I may the more speedily refute that which you have promised to prove. Wherefore begin to speak what you promised to say before us, who know the Scriptures. But if, fearing our refutation, you are unwilling to fulfil your promise in our presence, this of itself will be sufficient proof that you are wrong, because you did venture to speak in the presence of those who know the Scriptures. And now, why should I wait till you tell me, when I have a most satisfactory witness of your promise in the old man who is present? And, saying this, he looked to my father, and said: Tell me, most excellent of all men, is not this the man who promised to prove to you today that God is one, and that we ought not to say or think that there is any other god, and that he who acts contrary to this will be punished eternally, as committing the most heinous sin? Do you, then, refuse to reply to me?
And our father said: Well might you have demanded testimony from me, Simon, if Peter had first denied that he had made the promise. But now I shall feel no shame in saying what I am bound to say. I think that you wish to enter on the discussion inflamed with anger. Now this is a state of mind in which it is improper for you to speak and for us to listen to you; for we are no longer being helped on to the truth. but we are watching the progress of a contest. And now, having learned from Hellenic culture how those who seek the truthought to act, I shall remind you. Let each of you give an exposition of his own opinion, and let the right of speech pass from the one to the other. For if Peter alone should wish to expound his thought, but you should be silent as to yours, it is possible that some argument adduced by you might crush both your and his opinion; and both of you, though defeated by this argument, would not appear defeated, but only the one who expounded his opinion; while he who did not expound his, though equally defeated, would not appear defeated, but would even be thought to have conquered. And Simon answered: I will do as you say; but I am afraid lest you do not turn out a truth-loving judge, as you have been already prejudiced by his arguments.
Our father answered: Do not compel me to agree with you without any exercise of my judgment in order that I may seem to be atruth-loving judge; but if you wish me to tell you the truth, my prepossessions are rather the side of your opinions. And Simon said:How is this the case, when you do not know what my opinions are? And our father said: It is easy to know this, and I will tell you how. You promised that you would convict Peter of error in maintaining the unity of God; but if one undertakes to convict of error him who maintains the unity of God. it is perfectly plain that he, as being in the right, does not hold the same opinion. For if he holds the same opinion as the man who is thoroughly in error, then he himself is in error; but if he gives his proofs holding opposite opinions, then he is in the right. Not well then do you assert that he who maintains the unity of God is wrong, unless you believe that there are many gods. Now I maintain that there are many gods. Holding, therefore, the same opinion as you before the discussion, I am prepossessed rather in your favour. For this reason you ought to have no anxiety in regard to me, but Peter ought, for I still hold opinions contrary to his. And so after your discussion I hope that, as a truth-loving judge, who has stripped himself of his prepossessions, I shall agree to that doctrine which gains the victor. When my father said this, a murmur of applause burst insensibly from the multitudes because my father had thus spoken.
Peter then said: I am ready to do as the umpire of our discussion has said; and straight-way without any delay I shall set forth my opinion in regard to God. I then assert that there is one God who made the heavens and the earth, and all things that are in them. And it is not right to say or to think that there is any other. And Simon said: But I maintain that the Scriptures believed in amongst the Jews say that there are many gods, and that God is not angry at this, because He has Himself spoken of many gods in His Scriptures.
For instance, in the very first words of the law, He evidently speaks of them as being like even unto Himself. For thus it is written, that, when the first man received a commandment from God to eat of every tree that was in the garden, but not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the serpent having persuaded them by means of the woman, through the promise that they would become gods, made them look up; and then, when they had thus looked up, God said, 'Behold, Adam has become as one of us.' When, then, the serpent said, 'You shall be as gods,' he plainly speaks in the belief that gods exist; all the more as God also added His testimony, saying, 'Behold, Adam has become as one of us.' The serpent, then, who said that there are many gods, did not speak falsely. Again, the scripture, 'You shall not revile the gods, nor curse the rulers of your people,' points out many gods whom it does not wish even to be cursed. But it is also somewhere else written, 'Did another god dare to enter and take him a nation from the midst of another nation, as did I the Lord God?' When He says, 'Did another God dare?' He speaks on the supposition that other gods exist. And elsewhere: 'Let the gods that have not made the heavens and the earth perish;' as if those who had made them were not to perish. And in another place, when it says, 'Take heed to yourself lest you go and serve other gods whom your fathers knew not,' it speaks as if other gods existed whom they were not to follow. And again: 'The names of other gods shall not ascend upon your lips.' Here it mentions many gods whose names it does not wish to be uttered. And again it is written, 'Your God is the Lord, He is God of gods.' And again: 'Who is like unto You, O Lord, among the Gods?' And again: 'God is Lord of gods.' And again: 'God stood in the assembly of gods: He judges among the gods.' Wherefore I wonder how, when there are so many passages in writing which testify that there are many gods, you have asserted that we ought neither to say nor to think that there are many. Finally, if you have anything to say against what has been spoken so distinctly, say it in the presence of all.
And Peter said: I shall reply briefly to what you have said. The law, which frequently speaks of gods, itself says to the Jewish multitude,'Behold, the heaven of heavens is the Lord's your God, with all that therein is;' implying that, even if there are gods, they are under Him, that is, under the God of the Jews. And again: 'The Lord your God, He is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath, and there is none other except Him.' And somewhere else the Scripture says to the Jewish multitude, 'The Lord your God is God of gods;' so that, even if there are gods, they are under the God of the Jews. And somewhere else the Scripture says in regard to Him, God, the great and true, who regards not persons, nor takes reward, He executes the judgment of the fatherless and widow.' The Scripture, in calling the God of the Jews great and true, and executing judgment, marked out the others as small, and not true. But also somewhere else the Scripture says, 'As I live, says the Lord, there is no other God but me. I am the first, I am after this; except me there is no God.' And again: 'You shall fear the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve.' And again: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord your God is one Lord.' And many passages besides seal with an oath that God is one, and except Him there is no God. Whence I wonder how, when so many passages testify that there is one God, you say that there are many.
And Simon said: My original stipulation with you was that I should prove from the Scriptures that you were wrong in maintaining that we ought not to speak of many gods. Accordingly I adduced many written passages to show that the divine Scriptures themselves speak of many gods. And Peter said: Those very Scriptures which speak of many gods, also exhorted us, saying, 'The names of other gods shall not ascend upon your lips.' Thus, Simon, I did not speak contrary to what was written. And Simon said: Do you, Peter, listen to what I have to say. You seem to me to sin in speaking against them, when the Scripture says, 'You shall not revile the gods, nor curse the rulers of your people.' And Peter said: I am not sinning, Simon, in pointing out their destruction according to the Scriptures; for thus it is written: 'Let the gods who did not make the heavens and the earth perish.' And He said thus, not as though some had made the heavens and were not to perish, as you interpreted the passage. For it is plainly declared that He who made them is one in the very first part of Scripture: 'In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And it did not say, 'the gods.' And somewhere else it says,'And the firmament shows His handiwork.' And in another place it is written, 'The heavens themselves shall perish, but You shall remain for ever.'
And Simon said: I adduced clear passages from the Scriptures to prove that there are many gods; and you, in reply, brought forward as many or more from the same Scriptures, showing that God is one, and He the God of the Jews. And when I said that we ought not to revile gods, you proceeded to show that He who created is one, because those who did not create will perish. And in reply to my assertion that we ought to maintain that there are gods, because the Scriptures also say so, you showed that we ought not to utter their names, because the same Scripture tells us not to utter the names of other gods. Since, then, these very Scriptures say at one time that there are many gods, and at another that there is only one; and sometimes that they ought not to be reviled, and at other times that they ought; what conclusion ought we to come to in consequence of this, but that the Scriptures themselves lead us astray?
And Peter said: They do not lead astray, but convict and bring to light the evil disposition against God which lurks like a serpent in each one. For the Scriptures lie before each one like many divers types. Each one, then, has his own disposition like wax, and examining the Scriptures and finding everything in them, he moulds his idea of God according to his wish, laying upon them, as I said, his own disposition, which is like wax. Since, then, each one finds in the Scriptures whatever opinion he wishes to have in regard to God, for this reason he, Simon, moulds from them the forms of many gods, while we moulded the form of Him who truly exists, coming to the knowledge of the true type from our own shape. For assuredly the soul within us is clothed with His image for immortality. If I abandon the parent of this soul, it also will abandon me to just judgment, making known the injustice by the very act of daring; and as coming from one who is just, it will justly abandon me; and so, as far as the soul is concerned, I shall, after punishment, be destroyed, having abandoned the help that comes from it. But if there is another god, first let him put on another form, another shape, in order that by the new shape of the body I may recognise the new god. But if he should change the shape, does he thereby change the substance of the soul? But if he should change it also, then I am no longer myself, having become another both in shape and in substance. Let him, therefore, create others, if there is another. But there is not. For if there had been, he would have created. But since he has not created, then let him, as nonexistent, leave him who is really existent. For he is nobody, except only in the opinion of Simon. I do not accept of any other god but Him alone who created me.
And Simon said: Since I see that you frequently speak of the God who created you, learn from me how you are impious even to him. For there are evidently two who created, as the Scripture says: 'And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.' Now 'let us make,' implies two or more; certainly not one only.
And Peter answered: One is He who said to His Wisdom, 'Let us make a man.' But His Wisdom was that with which He Himself always rejoiced as with His own spirit. It is united as soul to God, but it is extended by Him, as hand, fashioning the universe. On this account, also, one man was made, and from him went forth also the female. And being a unity generically, it is yet a duality, for by expansion and contraction the unity is thought to be a duality. So that I act rightly in offering up all the honour to one God as to parents. And Simon said: What then? Even if the Scriptures say that there are other gods, will you not accept the opinion?
And Peter answered: If the Scriptures or prophets speak of gods, they do so to try those who hear. For thus it is written: 'If there arise among you a prophet, giving signs and wonders, and that sign and wonder shall then come to pass, and he say to you, Let us go after and worship other gods which your fathers have not known, ye shall not hearken to the words of that prophet; let your hands be among the first to stone him. For he has tried to turn you from the Lord your God. But if you say in your heart, How did he do that sign or wonder? You shall surely know that he who tried you, tried you to see if you fear the Lord your God.' The words 'he who tried you, tried you,' have reference to the earliest times; but it appears to be otherwise after the removal to Babylon. For God, who knows all things, would not, as can be proved by many arguments, try in order that He Himself might know, for He fore-knows all things. But, if you like, let us discuss this point, and I shall show that God foreknows. But it has been proved that the opinion is false that He does not know, and that this was written to try us. Thus we, Simon, can be led astray neither by the Scriptures nor by any one else; nor are we deceived into the admission of many gods, nor do we agree to any statement that is made against God.
For we ourselves also know that angels are called gods by the Scriptures,—as, for instance, He who spoke at the bush, and wrestled with Jacob,—and the name is likewise applied to Him who is born Emmanuel, and who is called the mighty God. Yea, even Moses became a god to Pharaoh, though in reality he was a man. The same is the case also with the idols of the Gentiles. But we have but one God, one who made creation and arranged the universe, whose Son is the Christ. Obeying Christ, we learn to know what is false from the Scriptures. Moreover, being furnished by our ancestors with the truths of the Scriptures, we know that there is only one who has made the heavens and the earth, the God of the Jews, and of all who choose to worship Him. Our fathers, with pious thought, setting down a fixed belief in Him as the true God, handed down this belief to us, that we may know that if any thing is said against God, it is a falsehood. I shall add this remark over and above what I need say: If the case be not as I have said, then may I, and all who love the truth, incur danger in regard to the praise of the God who made us.
When Simon heard this, he said: Since you say that we ought not to believe even the prophet that gives signs and wonders if he say that there is another god, and that you know that he even incurs the penalty of death, therefore your teacher also was with reason cut off for having given signs and wonders. And Peter answered: Our Lord neither asserted that there were gods except the Creator of all, nor did He proclaim Himself to be God, but He with reason pronounced blessed him who called Him the Son of that God who has arranged the universe. And Simon answered: Does it not seem to you, then, that he who comes from God is God? And Peter said: Tell us how this is possible; for we cannot affirm this, because we did not hear it from Him.
In addition to this, it is the peculiarity of the Father not to have been begotten, but of the Son to have been begotten; but what is begotten cannot be compared with that which is unbegotten or self-begotten. And Simon said: Is it not the same on account of its origin? And Peter said: He who is not the same in all respects as some one, cannot have all the same appellations applied to him as that person. And Simon said: This is to assert, not to prove. And Peter said: Why, do you not see that if the one happens to be self-begotten or unbegotten, they cannot be called the same; nor can it be asserted of him who has been begotten that he is of the same substance as he is who has begotten him? Learn this also: The bodies of men have immortal souls, which have been clothed with the breath of God; and having come forth from God, they are of the same substance, but they are not gods. But if they are gods, then in this way the souls of all men, both those who have died, and those who are alive, and those who shall come into being, are gods. But if in a spirit of controversy you maintain that these also are gods, what great matter is it, then, for Christ to be called God? For He has only what all have.
We call Him God whose peculiar attributes cannot belong to the nature of any other; for, as He is called the Unbounded because He is boundless on every side, it must of necessity be the case that it is no other one's peculiar attribute to be called unbounded, as another cannot in like manner be boundless. But if any one says that it is possible, he is wrong; for two things boundless on every side cannot co-exist, for the one is bounded by the other. Thus it is in the nature of things that the unbegotten is one. But if he possesses a figure, even in this case the figure is one and incomparable. Wherefore He is called the Most High, because, being higher than all, He has the universe subject to Him.
And Simon said: Is this word 'God' His ineffable name, which all use, because you maintain so strongly in regard to a name that it cannot be given to another? And Peter said: I know that this is not His ineffable name, but one which is given by agreement among men; but if you give it to another, you will also assign to this other that which is not used; and that, too, deliberately. The name which is used is the forerunner of that which is not used. In this way insolence is attributed even to that which has not yet been spoken, just as honour paid to that which is known is handed on to that which has not yet been known.
And Simon said: I should like to know, Peter, if you really believe that the shape of man has been moulded after the shape of God. And Peter said: I am really quite certain, Simon, that this is the case. And Simon said: How can death dissolve the body, impressed as it has thus been with the greatest seal? And Peter said: It is the shape of the just God. When, then, the body begins to act unjustly, the form which is in it takes to flight, and thus the body is dissolved, by the shape disappearing, in order that an unjust body may not have the shape of the just God. The dissolution, however, does not take place in regard to the seal, but in regard to the sealed body. But that which is sealed is not dissolved without Him who sealed it. And thus it is not permitted to die without judgment. And Simon said: What necessity was there to give the shape of such a being to man, who was raised from the earth? And Peter said: This was done because of the love of God, who made man. For while, as far as substance is concerned, all things are superior to the flesh of man,—I mean the ether, the sun, the moon, the stars, the air, the water, the fire—in a word, all the other things which have been made for the service of man,—yet, though superior in substance, they willingly endure to serve the inferior in substance, because of the shape of the superior. For as they who honour the clay image of a king have paid honour to the king himself, whose shape the clay happens to have, so the whole creation with joy serves man, who is made from earth, looking to the honour thus paid to God.
Behold, then, the character of that God to whom you, Simon, wish to persuade us to be ungrateful, and the earth continues to bear you, perhaps wishing to see who will venture to entertain similar opinions to yours. For you were the first to dare what no other dared: you were the first to utter what we first heard. We first and alone have seen the boundless long-suffering of God in bearing with such great impiety as yours, and that God no other than the Creator of the world, against whom you have dared to act impiously. And yet openings of the earth took not place, and fire was not sent down from heaven and went not forth to burn up men, and rain was not poured out, and a multitude of beasts was not sent from the thickets, and upon us ourselves the destructive wrath of God did not begin to show itself, on account of one who sinned the sin, as it were, of spiritual adultery, which is worse than the carnal. For it is not God the Creator of heaven and earth that in former times punished sins, since now, when He is blasphemed in the highest degree, He would inflict the severest punishment. But, on the contrary, He is long-suffering, calls to repentance, having the arrows which end in the destruction of the impious laid up in His treasures, which He will discharge like living animals when He shall sit down to give judgment to those that are His. Wherefore let us fear the just God, whose shape the body of man bears for honour.
When Peter said this, Simon answered: Since I see you skilfully hinting that what is written in the books against the framer of the worlddoes not happen to be true, tomorrow I shall show, from the discourses of your teacher, that he asserted that the framer of the worldwas not the highest God. And when Simon said this, he went out. But Peter said to the assembled multitudes: If Simon can do no other injury to us in regard to God, he at least prevents you from listening to the words that can purify the soul. On Peter saying this, much whispering arose amongst the crowds, saying, What necessity is there for permitting him to come in here, and utter his blasphemies against God? And Peter heard, and said, Would that the doctrines against God which are intended to try men went no further than Simon! For there will be, as the Lord said, false apostles, false prophets, heresies, desires for supremacy, who, as I conjecture, finding their beginning in Simon, who blasphemes God, will work together in the assertion of the same opinions against God as those of Simon.And saying this with tears, he summoned the multitudes to him by his hand; and when they came, he laid his hands upon them and prayed, and then dismissed them, telling them to come at an earlier hour next day. Saying this, and groaning, he entered and went to sleep, without taking food.
The next day, therefore, as Peter was to hold a discussion with Simon, he rose earlier than usual and prayed. On ceasing to pray, Zacchæus came in, and said: Simon is seated without, discoursing with about thirty of his own special followers. And Peter said: Let him talk until the multitude assemble, and then let us begin the discussion in the following way. We shall hear all that has been said by him, and having fitted our reply to this, we shall go out and discourse. And assuredly so it happened. Zacchæus, therefore, went out, and not long after entered again, and communicated to Peter the discourse delivered by Simon against him.
Now he said: He accuses you, Peter, of being the servant of wickedness, of having great power in magic, and as charming the souls of men in a way worse than idolatry. To prove that you are a magician, he seemed to me to adduce the following evidence, saying: 'I am conscious of this, that when I come to hold a discussion with him, I do not remember a single word of what I have been meditating on by myself. For while he is discoursing, and my mind is engaged in recollecting what it is that I thought of saying on coming to a conference with him, I do not hear anything whatsoever of what he is saying. Now, since I do not experience this in the presence of any other than in his alone, is it not plain that I am under the influence of his magic? And as to his doctrines being worse than those of idolatry, I can make that quite clear to any one who has understanding. For there is no other benefit than this, that the soul should be freed from images of every kind. For when the soul brings an image before its eye, it is bound by fear, and it pines away through anxiety lest it should suffer some calamity; and being altered, it falls under the influence of a demon; and being under his influence, it seems to the mass to be wise.
'Peter does this to you while promising to make you wise. For, under the pretext of proclaiming one God, he seems to free you from many lifeless images, which do not at all injure those who worship them, because they are seen by the eyes themselves to be made of stone, or brass, or gold, or of some other lifeless material. Wherefore the soul, because it knows that what is seen is nothing, cannot be spell-bound by fear in an equal degree by means of what is visible. But looking to a terrible God through the influence of deceptive teaching, it has all its natural foundations overturned. And I say this, not because I exhort you to worship images, but because Peter, seeming to free your souls from terrible images, drives mad the mind of each one of you by a more terrible image, introducing God in a shape, and that, too, a God extremely just,—an image which is accompanied by what is terrible and awful to the contemplative soul, by that which can entirely destroy the energy of a sound mind. For the mind, when in the midst of such a storm, is like the depth stirred by a violent wind, perturbed and darkened. Wherefore, if he comes to benefit you, let him not, while seeming to dissolve your fears which gently proceed from lifeless shapes, introduce in their stead the terrible shape of God. But has God a shape? If He has, He possesses a figure. And if He has a figure, how is He not limited? And if limited, He is in space. But if He is in space, He is less than the space which encloses Him. And if less than anything, how is He greater than all, or superior to all, or the highest of all? This, then, is the state of the case.
'And that he does not really believe even the doctrines proclaimed by his teacher is evident, for he proclaims doctrines opposite to his.For he said to some one, as I learn, Call me not good, for the good is one. Now in speaking of the good one, he no longer speaks of that just one, whom the Scriptures proclaim, who kills and makes alive,—kills those who sin, and makes alive those who live according to His will. But that he did not really call Him who is the framer of the world good, is plain to any one who can reflect. For the framer of the world was known to Adam whom He had made, and to Enoch who pleased Him, and to Noah who was seen to be just by Him; likewise to Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob; also to Moses, and the people, and the whole world. But Jesus, the teacher of Peter himself, came and said, No one knew the Father except the Son, as no one knows even the Son except the Father, and those to whom the Son may wish to reveal Him. If, then, it was the Son himself who was present, it was from the time of his appearance that he began to reveal to those to whom he wished, Him who was unknown to all. And thus the Father was unknown to all who lived before him, and could not thus be He who was known to all.
'In saying this, Jesus is consistent not even with himself. For sometimes by other utterances, taken from the Scriptures, he presents God as being terrible and just, saying, Fear not him who kills the body, but can do nothing to the soul; but fear Him who is able to cast both body and soul into the Gehenna of fire. Yea, I say unto you, fear Him. But that he asserted that He is really to be feared as being a just God, to whom he says those who receive injustice cry, is shown in a parable of which he gives the interpretation, saying: If, then, the unjust judge did so, because he was continually entreated, how much more will the Father avenge those who cry to Him day and night? Or do you think that, because He bears long with them, He will not do it? Yea, I say to you, He will do it, and that speedily. Now he who speaks of God as an avenging and rewarding God, presents Him as naturally just, and not as good. Moreover he gives thanks to the Lord of heaven and earth. But if He is Lord of heaven and earth, He is acknowledged to be the framer of the world, and if framer, then He is just. When, therefore, he sometimes calls Him good and sometimes just, he is not consistent with himself in this point. But his wise disciple maintained yesterday a third point, that real sight is more satisfactory than vision, not knowing that real sight can be human, but that vision confessedly proceeds from divinity.
These and such like were the statements, Peter, which Simon addressed to the multitudes while he stood outside; and he seems to me to be disturbing the minds of the greater number. Wherefore go forth immediately, and by the power of truth break down his false statements. When Zacchæus said this, Peter prayed after his usual manner and went out, and standing in the place where he spoke the day before, and saluting the multitudes according to the custom enjoined by his religion, he began to speak as follows: Our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the true prophet (as I shall prove conclusively at the proper time), made concise declarations in regard to those matters that relate to the truth, for these two reasons: first, because He was in the habit of addressing the pious, who had knowledge enough to enable them to believe the opinions uttered by Him by way of declaration; for His statements were not strange to their usual mode of thought; and in the second place, because, having a limited time assigned Him for preaching, He did not employ the method of demonstration in order that He might not spend all His limited time in arguments, for in this way it might happen that He would be fully occupied in giving the solutions of a few problems which might be understood by mental exertion, while He would not have given us to any great extent those statements which relate to the truth. Accordingly He stated any opinions He wished, as to a people who were able to understand Him, to whom we also belong, who, whenever we did not understand anything of what had been said by Him,—a thing which rarely happened,—inquired of Him privately, that nothing said by Him might be unintelligible to us.
Knowing therefore that we knew all that was spoken by Him, and that we could supply the proofs, He sent us to the ignorant Gentiles to baptize them for remission of sins, and commanded us to teach them first. Of His commandments this is the first and great one, to fear the Lord God, and to serve Him only. But He meant us to fear that God whose angels they are who are the angels of the least of the faithful amongst us, and who stand in heaven continually beholding the face of the Father. For He has shape, and He has every limb primarily and solely for beauty's sake, and not for use. For He has not eyes that He may see with them; for He sees on every side, since He is incomparably more brilliant in His body than the visual spirit which is in us, and He is more splendid than everything, so that in comparison with Him the light of the sun may be reckoned as darkness. Nor has He ears that He may hear; for He hears, perceives, moves, energizes, acts on every side. But He has the most beautiful shape on account of man, that the pure in heart may be able to see Him, that they may rejoice because they suffered. For He moulded man in His own shape as in the grandest seal, in order that he may be the ruler and lord of all, and that all may be subject to him. Wherefore, judging that He is the universe, and that man is His image (for He is Himself invisible, but His image man is visible), the man who wishes to worship Him honours His visible image, which is man. Whatsoever therefore any one does to man, be it good or bad, is regarded as being done to Him. Wherefore the judgment which proceeds from Him shall go before, giving to every one according to his merits. For He avenges His own shape.
But someone will say, If He has shape, then He has figure also, and is in space; but if He is in space, and is, as being less, enclosed by it, how is He great above everything? How can He be everywhere if He has figure? The first remark I have to make to him who urges these objections is this: The Scriptures persuade us to have such sentiments and to believe such statements in regard to Him; and we know that their declarations are true, for witness is borne to them by our Lord Jesus Christ, by whose orders we are bound to afford proofs to you that such is the case. But first I shall speak of space. The space of God is the non-existent, but God is that which exists. But that which is non-existent cannot be compared with that which is existent. For how can space be existent? Unless it be a second space, such as heaven, earth, water, air, and if there is any other body that fills up the vacuity, which is called vacuity on this account, that it is nothing. For 'nothing' is its more appropriate name. For what is that which is called vacuity but as it were a vessel which contains nothing, except the vessel itself? But being vacuity, it is not itself space; but space is that in which vacuity itself is, if indeed it is the vessel. For it must be the case that that which exists is in that which does not exist. But by this which is non-existent I mean that which is called by some, space, which is nothing. But being nothing, how can it be compared with that which is, except by expressing the contrary, and saying that it is that which does not exist, and that that which does not exist is called space? But even if it were something, there are many examples which I have at hand, but I shall content myself with one only, to show that that which encloses is not unquestionably superior to that which is enclosed. The sun is a circular figure, and is entirely enclosed by air, yet it lightens up the air, it warms it, it divides it; and if the sun be away from it, it is enveloped in darkness; and from whatsoever part of it the sun is removed, it becomes cold as if it were dead; but again it is illuminated by its rising, and when it has been warmed up by it, it is adorned with still greater beauty. And it does this by giving a share of itself, though it has its substance limited. What, then, is there to prevent God, as being the Framer and Lord of this and everything else, from possessing figure and shape and beauty, and having the communication of these qualities proceeding from Himself extended infinitely?
One, then, is the God who truly exists, who presides in a superior shape, being the heart of that which is above and that which is below twice, which sends forth from Him as from a centre the life-giving and incorporeal power; the whole universe with the stars and regionsof the heaven, the air, the fire, and if anything else exists, is proved to be a substance infinite in height, boundless in depth, immeasurable in breadth, extending the life-giving and wise nature from Him over three infinites. It must be, therefore, that this infinite which proceeds from Him on every side exists, having as its heart Him who is above all, and who thus possesses figure; for wherever He be, He is as it were in the centre of the infinite, being the limit of the universe. And the extensions taking their rise with Him, possess the nature of six infinites; of whom the one taking its rise with Him penetrates into the height above, another into the depth below, another to the right hand, another to the left, another in front, and another behind; to whom He Himself, looking as to a number that is equal on every side, completes the world in six temporal intervals, Himself being the rest, and having the infinite age to come as His image, being the beginning and the end. For in Him the six infinites end, and from Him they receive their extension to infinity.
This is the mystery of the hebdomad. For He Himself is the rest of the whole who grants Himself as a rest to those who imitate His greatness within their little measure. For He is alone, sometimes comprehensible, sometimes incomprehensible, sometimes limitable,sometimes illimitable, having extensions which proceed from Him into infinity. For thus He is comprehensible and incomprehensible, near and far, being here and there, as being the only existent one, and as giving a share of that mind which is infinite on every hand, in consequence of which souls breathe and possess life; and if they be separated from the body and be found with a longing for Him, they are borne along into His bosom, as in the winter time the mists of the mountains, attracted by the rays of the sun, are borne along immortal to it. What affection ought therefore to arise within us if we gaze with our mind on His beautiful shape! But otherwise it is absurd to speak of beauty. For beauty cannot exist apart from shape; nor can one be attracted to the love of God, nor even deem that he can see Him, if God has no form.
But some who are strangers to the truth, and who give their energies to the service of evil, on pretext of glorifying God, say that He has no figure, in order that, being shapeless and formless, He may be visible to no one, so as not to be longed for. For the mind, not seeing the form of God, is empty of Him. But how can any one pray if he has no one to whom he may flee for refuge, on whom he may lean? For if he meets with no resistance, he falls out into vacuity. Yea, says he, we ought not to fear God, but to love Him. I agree; but the consciousness of having done well in each good act will accomplish this. Now well-doing proceeds from fearing. But fear, says he, strikes death into the soul. Nay, but I affirm that it does not strike death, but awakens the soul, and converts it. And perhaps the injunction not to fear God might be right, if we men did not fear many other things; such, for instance, as plots against us by those who are like us, and wild beasts, serpents, diseases, sufferings, demons, and a thousand other ills. Let him, then, who asks us not to fear God, rescue us from these, that we may not fear them; but if he cannot, why should he grudge that we should be delivered from a thousand fears by one fear, the fear of the Just One, and that it should be possible by a slight faith in Him to remove a thousand afflictions from ourselves and others, and receive instead an exchange of blessings, and that, doing no ill in consequence of fear of the God who sees everything, we should continue in peace even in the present life.
Thus, then, grateful service to Him who is truly Lord, renders us free from service to all other masters. If, then, it is possible for any one to be free from sin without fearing God, let him not fear; for under the influence of love to Him one cannot do what is displeasing to Him. For, on the one hand, it is written that we are to fear Him, and we have been commanded to love Him, in order that each of us may use that prescription which is suitable to his constitution. Fear Him, therefore, because He is just; but whether you fear Him or love Him, sin not. And may it be the case that any one who fears Him shall be able to gain the victory over unlawful desires, shall not lust after what belongs to others, shall practise kindness, shall be sober, and act justly! For I see some who are imperfect in their fear of Him sinning very much. Let us therefore fear God, not only because He is just; for it is through pity for those who have received injustice that He inflicts punishment on those who have done the injustice. As water therefore quenches fire, so does fear extinguish the desire for evil practices. He who teaches fearlessness does not himself fear; but he who does not fear, does not believe that there will be a judgment, strengthens his lusts, acts as a magician, and accuses others of the deeds which he himself does.
Simon, on hearing this, interrupted him, and said: I know against whom you are making these remarks; but in order that I may not spend any time in discussing subjects which I do not wish to discuss, repeating the same statements to refute you, reply to that which is concisely stated by us. You professed that you had well understood the doctrines and deeds of your teacher because you saw them before you with your own eyes, and heard them with your own ears, and that it is not possible for any other to have anything similar by vision or apparition. But I shall show that this is false. He who hears any one with his own ears, is not altogether fully assured of the truth of what is said; for his mind has to consider whether he is wrong or not, inasmuch as he is a man as far as appearance goes. But apparition not merely presents an object to view, but inspires him who sees it with confidence, for it comes from God. Now reply first to this.
And Peter said: You proposed to speak to one point, you replied to another. For your proposition was, that one is better able to know more fully, and to attain confidence, when he hears in consequence of an apparition, than when he hears with his own ears; but when you set about the matter, you were for persuading us that he who hears through an apparition is surer than he who hears with his own ears. Finally, you alleged that, on this account, you knew more satisfactorily the doctrines of Jesus than I do, because you heard His words through an apparition. But I shall reply to the proposition you made at the beginning. The prophet, because he is a prophet, having first given certain information with regard to what is objectively said by him, is believed with confidence; and being known beforehand to be a true prophet, and being examined and questioned as the disciple wishes, he replies: But he who trusts to apparition or vision and dream is insecure. For he does not know to whom he is trusting. For it is possible either that he may be an evil demon or a deceptive spirit, pretending in his speeches to be what he is not. But if any one should wish to inquire of him who he is who has appeared, he can say to himself whatever he likes. And thus, gleaming forth like a wicked one, and remaining as long as he likes, he is at length extinguished, not remaining with the questioner so long as he wished him to do for the purpose of consulting him. For any one that sees by means of dreams cannot inquire about whatever he may wish. For reflection is not in the special power of one who is asleep. Hence we, desiring to have information in regard to something in our waking hours, inquire about something else in our dreams; or without inquiring, we hear about matters that do not concern us, and awaking from sleep we are dispirited because we have neither heard nor inquired about those matters which we were eager to know.
And Simon said: If you maintain that apparitions do not always reveal the truth, yet for all that, visions and dreams, being God-sent, do not speak falsely in regard to those matters which they wish to tell. And Peter said: You were right in saying that, being God-sent, they do not speak falsely. But it is uncertain if he who sees has seen a God-sent dream. And Simon said: If he who has had the vision is just, he has seen a true vision. And Peter said: You were right. But who is just, if he stands in need of a vision that he may learn what he ought to learn, and do what he ought to do? And Simon said: Grant me this, that the just man alone can see a true vision, and I shall then reply to that other point. For I have come to the conclusion that an impious man does not see a true dream. And Peter said:This is false; and I can prove it both apart from Scripture and by Scripture; but I do not undertake to persuade you. For the man who is inclined to fall in love with a bad woman, does not change his mind so as to care for a lawful union with another woman in every respect good; but sometimes they love the worse woman through prepossessions, though they are conscious that there is another who is more excellent. And you are ignorant, in consequence of some such state of mind. And Simon said: Dismiss this subject, and discuss the matter on which you promised to speak. For it seems to me impossible that impious men should receive dreams from God in any way whatever.
And Peter said: I remember that I promised to prove this point, and to give my proofs in regard to it from Scripture and apart from Scripture. And now listen to what I say. We know that there are many (if you will pardon me the statement; and if you don't, I can appeal to those who are present as judges) who worship idols, commit adultery, and sin in every way, and yet they see true visions and dreams, and some of them have also apparitions of demons. For I maintain that the eyes of mortals cannot see the incorporeal form of the Father or Son, because it is illumined by exceeding great light. Wherefore it is not because God envies, but because He pities, that He cannot be seen by man who has been turned into flesh. For he who sees God cannot live. For the excess of light dissolves the flesh of him who sees; unless by the secret power of God the flesh be changed into the nature of light, so that it can see light, or the substance of light be changed into flesh, so that it can be seen by flesh. For the power to see the Father, without undergoing any change, belongs to the Son alone. But the just shall also in like manner behold God; for in the resurrection of the dead, when they have been changed, as far as their bodies are concerned, into light, and become like the angels, they shall be able to see Him. Finally, then, if any angel be sent that he may he seen by a man, he is changed into flesh, that he may be able to be seen by flesh. For no one can see the incorporeal power not only of the Son, but not even of an angel. But if one sees an apparition, he should know that this is the apparition of an evil demon.
But it is manifest that the impious see true visions and dreams, and I can prove it from Scripture. Finally, then, it is written in the law, how Abimelech, who was impious, wished to defile the wife of just Abraham by intercourse, and how he heard the commandment from God in his sleep, as the Scripture says, not to touch her, because she was dwelling with her husband. Pharaoh, also an impious man, saw a dream in regard to the fullness and thinness of the ears of grain, to whom Joseph said, when he gave the interpretation, that the dream had come from God. Nebuchadnezzar, who worshipped images, and ordered those who worshipped God to be cast into fire, saw a dream extending over the whole age of the world. And let no one say, 'No one who is impious sees a vision when awake.' That is false. Nebuchadnezzar himself, having ordered three men to be cast into fire, saw a fourth when he looked into the furnace, and said, 'I see the fourth as the Son of God.' And nevertheless, though they saw apparitions, visions, and dreams, they were impious. Thus, we cannot infer with absolute certainty that the man who has seen visions, and dreams, and apparitions, is undoubtedly pious. For in the case of the pious man, the truth gushes up natural and pure in his mind, not worked up through dreams, but granted to the good through intelligence.
Thus to me also was the Son revealed by the Father. Wherefore I know what is the meaning of revelation, having learned it in my own case. For at the very time when the Lord said, 'Who do they say that I am?' and when I heard one saying one thing of Him, and another another, it came into my heart to say (and I know not, therefore, how I said it), 'You are the Son of the living God.' But He, pronouncing me blessed, pointed out to me that it was the Father who had revealed it to me; and from this time I learned that revelation is knowledge gained without instruction, and without apparition and dreams. And this is indeed the case. For in the soul which has been placed in us by God, there is all the truth; but it is covered and revealed by the hand of God, who works so far as each one through his knowledge deserves. But the declaration of anything by means of apparitions and dreams from without is a proof, not that it comes from revelation, but from wrath. Finally, then, it is written in the law, that God, being angry, said to Aaron and Miriam, 'If a prophet arise from amongst you, I shall make myself known to him through visions and dreams, but not so as to my servant Moses; because I shall speak to him in an outward appearance, and not through dreams, just as one will speak to his own friend.' You see how the statements of wrath are made through visions and dreams, but the statements to a friend are made face to face, in outwardappearance, and not through riddles and visions and dreams, as to an enemy.
If, then, our Jesus appeared to you in a vision, made Himself known to you, and spoke to you, it was as one who is enraged with an adversary; and this is the reason why it was through visions and dreams, or through revelations that were from without, that He spoke to you. But can any one be rendered fit for instruction through apparitions? And if you will say, 'It is possible,' then I ask, 'Why did our teacher abide and discourse a whole year to those who were awake?' And how are we to believe your word, when you tell us that He appeared to you? And how did He appear to you, when you entertain opinions contrary to His teaching? But if you were seen and taughtby Him, and became His apostle for a single hour, proclaim His utterances, interpret His sayings, love His apostles, contend not with me who companied with Him. For in direct opposition to me, who am a firm rock, the foundation of the Church, you now stand. If you were not opposed to me, you would not accuse me, and revile the truth proclaimed by me, in order that I may not be believed when I state what I myself have heard with my own ears from the Lord, as if I were evidently a person that was condemned and in bad repute. But if you say that I am condemned, you bring an accusation against God, who revealed the Christ to me, and you inveigh against Him who pronounced me blessed on account of the revelation. But if, indeed, you really wish to work in the cause of truth, learn first of all from us what we have learned from Him, and, becoming a disciple of the truth, become a fellow-worker with us.
When Simon heard this, he said: Far be it from me to become his or your disciple. For I am not ignorant of what I ought to know; but the inquiries which I made as a learner were made that I may see if you can prove that actual sight is more distinct than apparition. But you spoke according to your own pleasure; you did not prove. And now, tomorrow I shall come to your opinions in regard to God, whom you affirmed to be the framer of the world; and in my discussion with you, I shall show that he is not the highest, nor good, and that your teacher made the same statements as I now do; and I shall prove that you have not understood him. On saying this he went away, not wishing to listen to what might be said to the propositions which he had laid down.
At break of day, when Peter went forth to discourse, Simon anticipated him, and said: When I went away yesterday, I promised to you to return today, and in a discussion show that he who framed the world is not the highest God, but that the highest God is another who alone is good, and who has remained unknown up to this time. At once, then, state to me whether you maintain that the framer of the world is the same as the lawgiver or not? If, then, he is the lawgiver, he is just; but if he is just, he is not good. But if he is not good, then it was another that Jesus proclaimed, when he said, 'Do not call me good; for one is good, the Father who is in the heavens.' Now a lawgiver cannot be both just and good, for these qualities do not harmonize. And Peter said: First tell us what are the actions which in your opinion constitute a person good, and what are those which constitute him just, in order that thus we may address our words to the same mark. And Simon said: Do you state first what in your opinion is goodness, and what justice.
And Peter said: That I may not waste my time in contentious discussions, while I make the fair demand that you should give answers to my propositions, I shall myself answer those questions which I put, as is your wish. I then affirm that the man who bestows goods is good, just as I see the Framer of the world doing when He gives the sun to the good, and the rain to the just and unjust. And Simon said: It is most unjust that he should give the same things to the just and the unjust. And Peter said: Do you, then, in your turn state to us what course of conduct would constitute Him good. And Simon said: It is you that must state this. And Peter said: I will. He who gives the same things to the good and just, and also to the evil and unjust, is not even just according to you; but you would with reason call Him just if He gave goods to the good and evils to the evil. What course of conduct, then, would He adopt, if He does not adopt the plan of giving things temporal to the evil, if perchance they should be converted, and things eternal to the good, if at least they remain good? And thus by giving to all, but by gratifying the more excellent, His justice is good; and all the more long-suffering in this, that to sinners who repent He freely grants forgiveness of their sins, and to those who have acted well He assigns even eternal life. But judging at last, and giving to each one what he deserves, He is just. If, then, this is right, confess it; but if it appears to you not to be right, refute it.
And Simon said: I said once for all, 'Every lawgiver, looking to justice, is just.' And Peter said: If it is the part of him who is good not to lay down a law, but of him who is just to lay down a law, in this way the Framer of the world is both good and just. He is good, inasmuch as it is plain that He did not lay down a law in writing from the times of Adam to Moses; but inasmuch as He had a written law from Moses to the present times, He is just also. And Simon said: Prove to me from the utterances of your teacher that it is within the power of the same man to be good and just; for to me it seems impossible that the lawgiver who is good should also be just. And Peter said: I shall explain to you how goodness itself is just. Our teacher Himself first said to the Pharisee who asked Him, 'What shall I do to inherit eternal life?' 'Do not call me good; for one is good, even the Father who is in the heavens;' and straightway He introduced these words, 'But if you shall wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.' And when he said, 'What commandments?' He pointed him to those of the law. Now He would not, if He were indicating some other good being, have referred him to the commandments of the Just One. That indeed justice and goodness are different I allow, but you do not know that it is within the power of the same being to be good and just. For He is good, in that He is now long-suffering with the penitent, and welcomes them; but just, when acting as judge He will give to every one according to his deserts.
And Simon said: How, then, if the framer of the world, who also fashioned Adam, was known, and known too by those who were just according to the law, and moreover by the just and unjust, and the whole world, does your teacher, coming after all these, say, 'No one has known the Father but the Son, even as no one knows the Son but the Father, and those to whom the Son may wish to reveal Him?' But he would not have made this statement, had he not proclaimed a Father who was still unrevealed, whom the law speaks of as the highest, and who has not given any utterance either good or bad (as Jeremiah testifies in the Lamentations ); who also, limiting the nations to seventy languages, according to the number of the sons of Israel who entered Egypt, and according to the boundaries of these nations, gave to his own Son, who is also called Lord, and who brought into order the heaven and the earth, the Hebrews as his portion, and defined him to be God of gods, that is, of the gods who received the other nations as their portions. Laws, therefore, proceeded from all the so-called gods to their own divisions, which consist of the other nations. In like manner also from the Son of the Lord of all came forth the law which is established among the Hebrews. And this state of matters was determined on, that if any one should seek refuge in the law of any one, he should belong to the division of him whose law he undertook to obey. No one knew the highest Father, who was unrevealed, just as they did not know that his Son was his Son. Accordingly at this moment you yourself, in assigning the special attributes of the unrevealed Most High to the Son, do not know that he is the Son, being the Father of Jesus, who with you is called the Christ.
When Simon had made these statements, Peter said to him: Can you call to witness that these are your beliefs that being Himself,—I do not mean Him whom you speak of now as being unrevealed, but Him in whom you believe, though you do not confess Him? For you are talking nonsense when you define one thing in stead of another. Wherefore, if you call Him to witness that you believe what you say, I shall answer you. But if you continue discussing with me what you do not believe, you compel me to strike the empty air. And Simon said: It is from some of your own disciples that I have heard that this is the truth. And Peter said: Do not bear false witness? And Simon said: Do not rebuke me, most insolent man. And Peter said: So long as you do not tell who it was who said so, I affirm that you are a liar. And Simon said: Suppose that I myself have got up these doctrines, or that I heard them from some other, give me your answer to them. For if they cannot be overturned, then I have learned that this is the truth. And Peter said: If it is a human invention, I will not reply to it; but if you are held fast by the supposition that it is the truth, acknowledge to me that this is the case, and I can then myself say something in regard to the matter. And Simon said: Once for all, then, these doctrines seem to me to be true. Give me your reply, if you have anything to say against them.
And Peter said: If this is the case, you are acting most impiously. For if it belongs to the Son, who arranged heaven and earth, to reveal His unrevealed Father to whomsoever He wishes, you are, as I said, acting most impiously in revealing Him to those to whom He has not revealed Him. And Simon said: But he himself wishes me to reveal him. And Peter said: You do not understand what I mean, Simon. But listen and understand. When it is said that the Son will reveal Him to whom He wishes, it is meant that such an one is to learn of Him not by instruction, but by revelation only. For it is revelation when that which lies secretly veiled in all the hearts of men is revealed unveiled by His God's own will without any utterance. And thus knowledge comes to one, not because he has been instructed, but because he has understood. And yet the person who understands it cannot demonstrate it to another, since he did not himself receive it by instruction; nor can he reveal it, since he is not himself the Son, unless he maintains that he is himself the Son. But you are not the standing Son. For if you were the Son, assuredly you would know those who are worthy of such a revelation. But you do not know them. For if you knew them, you would do as they do who know.
And Simon said: I confess I have not understood what you mean by the expression, 'You would do as they do who know.' And Peter said: If you have not understood it, then you cannot know the mind of every one; and if you are ignorant of this, then you do not know those who are worthy of the revelation. You are not the Son, for the Son knows. Wherefore He reveals Him to whomsoever He wishes, because they are worthy. And Simon said: Be not deceived. I know those who are worthy, and I am not the Son. And yet I have not understood what meaning you attach to the words, 'He reveals Him to whomsoever He wishes.' But I said that I did not understand it, not because I did not know it, but because I knew that those who were present did not understand it, in order that you may state it more distinctly, so that they may perceive what are the reasons why we are carrying on this discussion. And Peter said: I cannot state the matter more clearly: explain what meaning you have attached to the words. And Simon said: There is no necessity why I should state your opinions. And Peter said: You evidently, Simon, do not understand it, and yet you do not wish to confess, that you may not be detected in your ignorance, and thus be proved not to be the standing Son. For you hint this, though you do not wish to state it plainly; and, indeed, I who am not a prophet, but a disciple of the true Prophet, know well from the hints you have given what your wishes are. For you, though you do not understand even what is distinctly said, wish to call yourself son in opposition to us. And Simon said: I will remove every pretext from you. I confess I do not understand what can be the meaning of the statement, 'The Son reveals Him to whomsoever He wishes.' State therefore what is its meaning more distinctly.
And Peter said: Since, at least in appearance, you have confessed that you do not understand it, reply to the question I put to you, and you will learn the meaning of the statement. Tell me, do you maintain that the Son, whoever he be, is just, or that he is not just? And Simon said: I maintain that he is most just. And Peter said: Seeing He is just, why does He not make the revelation to all, but only to those to whom He wishes? And Simon said: Because, being just, he wishes to make the revelation only to the worthy. And Peter said:Must He not therefore know the mind of each one, in order that He may make the revelation to the worthy? And Simon said: Of course he must. And Peter said: With reason, therefore, has the work of giving the revelation been confined to Him alone, for He alone knows the mind of every one; and it has not been given to you, who are not able to understand even that which is stated by us.
When Peter said this, the multitudes applauded. But Simon, being thus exposed, blushed through shame, and rubbing his forehead, said:Well, then, do they declare that I, a magician, yea, even I who syllogize, am conquered by Peter? It is not so. But if one should syllogize, though carried away and conquered, he still retains the truth that is in him. For the weakness in the defender is not identical with the truth in the conquered man. But I assure you that I have judged all those who are bystanders worthy to know the unrevealed Father. Wherefore, because I publicly reveal him to them, you yourself, through envy, are angry with me who wish to confer a benefit on them.
And Peter said: Since you have thus spoken to please the multitudes who are present, I shall speak to them, not to please them, but to tell them the truth. Tell me how you know all those who are present to be worthy, when not even one of them agreed with your exposition of the subject; for the giving of applause to me in opposition to you is not the act of those who agree with you, but of those who agree with me, to whom they gave the applause for having spoken the truth. But since God, who is just, judges the mind of each one—a doctrine which you affirm to be true—He would not have wished this to be given through the left hand to those on the right hand, exactly as the man who receives anything from a robber is himself guilty. So that, on this account, He did not wish them to receive what is brought by you; but they are to receive the revelation through the Son, who has been set apart for this work. For to whom is it reasonable that the Father should give a revelation, but to His only Son, because He knows Him to be worthy of such a revelation? And so this is a matter which one cannot teach or be taught, but it must be revealed by the ineffable hand to him who is worthy to know it.
And Simon said: It contributes much to victory, if the man who wars uses his own weapons; for what one loves he can in real earnest defend, and that which is defended with genuine earnestness has no ordinary power in it. Wherefore in future I shall lay before you my real opinions. I maintain that there is some unrevealed power, unknown to all, even to the Creator himself, as Jesus himself has also declared, though he did not know what he said. For when one talks a great deal he sometimes hits the truth, not knowing what he is saying. I am referring to the statement which he uttered, 'No one knows the Father.' And Peter said: Do not any longer profess that you know His doctrines. And Simon said: I do not profess to believe his doctrines; but I am discussing points in which he was by accident right. And Peter said: Not to give you any pretext for escape, I shall carry on the discussion with you in the way you wish. At the same time, I call all to witness that you do not yet believe the statement which you just now made. For I know your opinions. And in order that you may not imagine that I am not speaking the truth, I shall expound your opinions, that you may know that you are discussing with one who is well acquainted with them.
We, Simon, do not assert that from the great power, which is also called the dominant power, two angels were sent forth, the one to create the world, the other to give the law; nor that each one when he came proclaimed himself, on account of what he had done, as the sole creator; nor that there is one who stands, will stand, and is opposed. Learn how you disbelieve even in respect to this subject. If you say that there is an unrevealed power, that power is full of ignorance. For it did not foreknow the ingratitude of the angels who were sent by it. And Simon became exceedingly angry with Peter for saying this, and interrupted his discourse, saying: What nonsense is this you speak, you daring and most impudent of men, revealing plainly before the multitudes the secret doctrines, so that they can be easily learned? And Peter said: Why do you grudge that the present audience should receive benefit? And Simon said: Do you then allow that such knowledge is a benefit? And Peter said: I allow it: for the knowledge of a false doctrine is beneficial, inasmuch as you do not fall into it because of ignorance. And Simon said: You are evidently not able to reply to the propositions I laid before you. I maintain that even your teacher affirms that there is some Father unrevealed.
And Peter said: I shall reply to that which you wish me to speak of,—namely, the passage, 'No one knows the Father but the Son, nor does any one know the Son but the Father, and they to whom the Son may wish to reveal Him.' First, then, I am astonished that, while this statement admits of countless interpretations, you should have chosen the very dangerous position of maintaining that the statement is made in reference to the ignorance of the Creator (Demiurge), and all who are under him. For, first, the statement can apply to all the Jews who think that David is the father of Christ, and that Christ himself is his son, and do not know that He is the Son of God. Wherefore it is appropriately said, 'No one knows the Father,' since, instead of God, they affirmed David to be His father; and the additional remark, that no one knows even the Son, is quite correct, since they did not know that He was the Son. The statement also, 'to whomsoever the Son may wish to reveal Him,' is also correct; for He being the Son from the beginning, was alone appointed to give the revelation to those to whom He wishes to give it. And thus the first man (protoplast) Adam must have heard of Him; and Enoch, who pleased God, must have known Him; and Noah, the righteous one, must have become acquainted with Him; and Abraam His friend must have understood Him; and Isaac must have perceived Him; and Jacob, who wrestled with Him, must have believed in Him; and the revelation must have been given to all among the people who were worthy.
But if, as you say, it will be possible to know Him, because He is now revealed to all through Jesus, are you not stating what is most unjust, when you say that these men did not know Him, who were the seven pillars of the world, and who were able to please the most just God, and that so many now from all nations who were impious know Him in every respect? Were not those who were superior to every one not deemed worthy to know Him? And how can that be good which is not just? Unless you wish to give the name of 'good,' not to him who does good to those who act justly, but to him who loves the unjust, even though they do not believe, and reveals to them the secrets which he would not reveal to the just. But such conduct is befitting neither in one who is good nor just, but in one who has come to hate the pious. Are not you, Simon, the standing one, who have the boldness to make these statements which never have been so made before?
And Simon, being vexed at this, said: Blame your own teacher, who said, 'I thank You, Lord of heaven and earth, that what was concealed from the wise, You have revealed to suckling babes.' And Peter said: This is not the way in which the statement was made; but I shall speak of it as if it had been made in the way that has seemed good to you. Our Lord, even if He had made this statement, 'What was concealed from the wise, the Father revealed to babes,' could not even thus be thought to point out another God and Father in addition to Him who created the world. For it is possible that the concealed things of which He spoke may be those of the Creator (Demiurge) himself; because Isaiah says, 'I will open my mouth in parables, and I will belch forth things concealed from the foundation of the world.' Do you allow, then, that the prophet was not ignorant of the things concealed, which Jesus says were concealed from the wise, but revealed to babes? And how was the Creator (Demiurge) ignorant of them, if his prophet Isaiah was not ignorant of them? But our Jesus did not in reality say 'what was concealed,' but He said what seems a harsher statement; for He said, ' You have concealed these things from the wise, and hast revealed them to sucking babes.' Now the word 'You have concealed' implies that they had once been known to them; for the key of the kingdom of heaven, that is, the knowledge of the secrets, lay with them.
And do not say He acted impiously towards the wise in hiding these things from them. Far be such a supposition from us. For He did not act impiously; but since they hid the knowledge of the kingdom, and neither themselves entered nor allowed those who wished to enter, on this account, and justly, inasmuch as they hid the ways from those who wished, were in like manner the secrets hidden from them, in order that they themselves might experience what they had done to others, and with what measure they had measured, an equal measure might be meted out to them. For to him who is worthy to know, is due that which he does not know; but from him who is not worthy, even should he seem to have any thing it is taken away, even if he be wise in other matters; and it is given to the worthy, even should they be babes as far as the times of their discipleship are concerned.
But if one shall say nothing was concealed from the sons of Israel, because it is written, 'Nothing escaped your notice, O Israel (for do not say, O Jacob, The way is hid from me),' he ought to understand that the things that belong to the kingdom had been hid from them, but that the way that leads to the kingdom, that is, the mode of life, had not been hid from them. Wherefore it is that He says, 'For say not that the way has been hid from me.' But by the way is meant the mode of life; for Moses says, 'Behold, I have set before your face the way of life and the way of death.' And the Teacher spoke in harmony with this: 'Enter ye through the strait and narrow way, through which ye shall enter into life.' And somewhere else, when one asked Him, 'What shall I do to inherit eternal life?' He pointed out to him the commandments of the law.
From the circumstance that Isaiah said, in the person of God, 'But Israel has not known me, and the people has not understood me,' it is not to be inferred that Isaiah indicated another God besides Him who is known; but he meant that the known God was in another sense unknown, because the people sinned, being ignorant of the just character of the known God, and imagined that they would not be punished by the good God. Wherefore, after he said, 'But Israel has not known me, and the people has not understood me,' he adds, 'Alas! A sinful nation, a people laden with sins.' For, not being afraid, in consequence of their ignorance of His justice, as I said, they became laden with sins, supposing that He was merely good, and would not therefore punish them for their sins.
And some sinned thus, on account of imagining that there would be no judgment because of His goodness. But others took an opposite course. For, supposing the expressions of the Scriptures which are against God, and are unjust and false, to be true, they did not know His real divinity and power. Therefore, in the belief that He was ignorant and rejoiced in murder, and let off the wicked in consequence of the gifts of sacrifices; yea, moreover, that He deceived and spoke falsely, and did every thing that is unjust, they themselves did things like to what their God did, and thus sinning, asserted that they were acting piously. Wherefore it was impossible for them to change to the better, and when warned they took no heed. For they were not afraid, since they became like their God through such actions.
But one might with good reason maintain that it was with reference to those who thought Him to be such that the statement was made, 'No one knows the Father but the Son, as no one knows even the Son, but the Father.' And reasonably. For if they had known, they would not have sinned, by trusting to the books written against God, really for the purpose of trying. But somewhere also He says, wishing to exhibit the cause of their error more distinctly to them, 'On this account ye do err, not knowing the true things of the Scriptures, on which account you are ignorant also of the power of God.' Wherefore every man who wishes to be saved must become, as the Teacher said, a judge of the books written to try us. For thus He spoke: 'Become experienced bankers.' Now the need of bankers arises from the circumstance that the spurious is mixed up with the genuine.
When Peter said this, Simon pretended to be utterly astonished at what was said in regard to the Scriptures; and as if in great agitation, he said: Far be it from me, and those who love me, to listen to your discourses. And, indeed, as long as I did not know that you held these opinions in regard to the Scriptures, I endured you, and discussed with you; but now I retire. Indeed, I ought at the first to have withdrawn, because I heard you say, 'I, for my part, believe no one who says anything against Him who created the world, neither angels, nor prophets, nor Scriptures, nor priests, nor teachers, nor any one else, even though one should work signs and miracles, even though he should lighten brilliantly in the air, or should make a revelation through visions or through dreams.' Who, then, can succeed in changing your mind, whether well or ill, so as that you should hold opinions different from what you have determined on, seeing that you abide so persistently and immoveably in your own decision?
When Simon said this, and was going to depart, Peter said: Listen to this one other remark, and then go where you like. Whereupon Simon turned back and remained, and Peter said: I know how you were then astonished when you heard me say, 'Whosoever says anything whatever against God who created the world, I do not believe him.' But listen now to something additional, and greater than this. If God who created the world has in reality such a character as the Scriptures assign Him, and if somehow or other He is incomparably wicked, more wicked than either the Scriptures were able to represent Him, or any other can even conceive Him to be, nevertheless I shall not give up worshipping Him alone, and doing His will. For I wish you to know and to be convinced, that he who has not affection for his own Creator, can never have it towards another. And if he has it towards another, he has it contrary to nature, and he is ignorant that he has this passion for the unjust from the evil one. Nor will he be able to retain even it stedfastly. And, indeed, if there is another above the Creator (Demiurge), he will welcome me, since he is good, all the more that I love my own Father; and he will not welcome you, as he knows that you have abandoned your own natural Creator: for I do not call Him Father, influenced by a greater hope, and not caring for what is reasonable. Thus, even if you find one who is superior to Him, he knows that you will one day abandon him; and the more so that he has not been your father, since you have abandoned Him who was really your Father.
But you will say, 'He knows that there is no other above him, and on this account he cannot be abandoned.' Thanks, then, to there being no other; but He knows that the state of your mind is one inclined to ingratitude. But if, knowing you to be ungrateful, He welcomes you, and knowing me to be grateful, He does not receive me, He is inconsiderate, according to your own assertion, and does not act reasonably. And thus, Simon, you are not aware that you are the servant of wickedness. And Simon answered: Whence, then, has evil arisen? Tell us. And Peter said: Since today you were the first to go out, and you declared that you would not in future listen to me as being a blasphemer, come tomorrow, if indeed you wish to learn, and I shall explain the matter to you, and I will permit you to ask me any questions you like, without any dispute. And Simon said: I shall do as shall seem good to me. And saying this, he went away. Now, none of those who entered along with him went out along with him; but, falling at Peter's feet, they begged that they might be pardoned for having been carried away with Simon, and on repenting, to be welcomed. But Peter, admitting those persons who repented, and the rest of the multitudes, laid his hands upon them, praying, and healing those who were sick amongst them; and thus dismissing them, he urged them to return early about dawn. And saying this, and going in with his intimate friends, he made the usual preparations for immediate repose, for it was now evening.
The next day Peter came forth earlier than usual; and seeing Simon with many others waiting for him, he saluted the multitude, and began to discourse. But no sooner did he begin than Simon interrupted him, and said: Pass by these long introductions of yours, and answer directly the questions I put to you. Since I perceive that you (as I know from what I heard at the beginning, that you have no other purpose, than by every contrivance to show that the Creator himself is alone the blameless God),—since, as I said, I perceive that you have such a decided desire to maintain this, that you venture to declare to be false some portions of the Scriptures that clearly speak against him, for this reason I have determined today to prove that it is impossible that he, being the Creator of all, should be blameless. But thus proof I can now begin, if you reply to the questions which I put to you.
Do you maintain that there is any prince of evil or not? For if you say that there is not, I can prove to you from many statements, and those too of your teacher, that there is; but if you honestly allow that the evil one exists, then I shall speak in accordance with this belief. And Peter said: It is impossible for me to deny the assertion of my Teacher. Wherefore I allow that the evil one exists, because my Teacher, who spoke the truth in all things, has frequently asserted that he exists. For instance, then, he acknowledges that he conversed with Him, and tempted Him for forty days. And I know that He has said somewhere else, 'If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself: how then is his kingdom to stand?' And He pointed out that He saw the evil one like lightning falling down from heaven. And elsewhere He said, 'He who sowed the bad seed is the devil.' And again, 'Give no pretext to the evil one.' Moreover, in giving advice, He said, 'Let your yea be yea, and your nay nay; for what is more than these is of the evil one.' Also, in the prayer which He delivered to us, we have it said, 'Deliver us from the evil one.' And in another place, He promised that He would say to those who are impious, 'Go ye into outer darkness, which the Father prepared for the devil and his angels.' And not to prolong this statement further, I know that my Teacher often said that there is an evil one. Wherefore I also agree in thinking that he exists. If, then, in future you have anything to say in accordance with this belief, say it, as you promised.
And Simon said: Since, then, you have honestly confessed, on the testimony of the Scriptures, that the evil one exists, state to us how he has come into existence, if indeed he has come into existence, and by whom, and why. And Peter said: Pardon me, Simon, if I do not dare to affirm what has not been written. But if you say that it has been written, prove it. But if, since it has not been written, you cannot prove it, why should we run risk in stating our opinions in regard to what has not been written? For if we discourse too daringly in regard to God, it is either because we do not believe that we shall be judged, or that we shall be judged only in respect to that which we do, but not also in regard to what we believe and speak. But Simon, understanding that Peter referred to his own madness, said: Permit me to run the risk; but do not you make what you assert to be blasphemy a pretext for retiring. For I perceive that you wish to withdraw, in order that you may escape refutation before the masses, sometimes as if you were afraid to listen to blasphemies, and at other times by maintaining that, as nothing has been written as to how, and by whom, and why the evil one came into existence, we ought not to dare to assert more than the Scripture. Wherefore also as a pious man you affirm this only, that he exists. But by these contrivances you deceive yourself, not knowing that, if it is blasphemy to inquire accurately regarding the evil one, the blame rests with me, the accuser, and not with you, the defender of God. And if the subject inquired into is not in Scripture, and on this account you do not wish to inquire into it, there are some satisfactory methods which can prove to you what is sought not less effectively than the Scriptures. For instance, must it not be the case that the evil one, who you assert exists, is either originated or unoriginated?
And Peter said: It must be so. And Simon: Therefore, if he is originated, he has been made by that very God who made all things, being either born as an animal, or sent forth substantially, and resulting from an external mixture of elements. For either the matter, being living or lifeless, from which he was made was outside of Him, or he came into being through God Himself, or through his own self, or he resulted from things non-existent, or he is a mere relative thing, or he always existed. Having thus, as I think, clearly, pointed out all the possible ways by which we may find him, in going along some one of these we must find him. We must therefore go along each one of these in search of his origin; and when we find him who is his author, we must perceive that he is to blame. Or how does the matter seem to you?
And Peter said: It is my opinion that, even if it be evident that he was made by God, the Creator who made him should not be blamed; for it might perchance be found that the service he performs was an absolute necessity. But if, on the other hand, it should be proved that he was not created, inasmuch as he existed for ever, not even is the Creator to be blamed in this respect, since He is better than all others, even if He has not been able to put an end to a being who had no beginning, because his nature did not admit of it; or if, being able, He does not make away with him, deeming it unjust to put an end to that which did not receive a beginning, and pardoning that which was by nature wicked, because he could not have become anything else, even if he were to wish to do so. But if, wishing to do good, He is not able, even in this case He is good in that He has the will, though He has not the power; and while He has not the power, He is yet the most powerful of all, in that the power is not left to another. But if there is some other that is able, and yet does not accomplish it, it must be allowed that, in so far as, being able, he does not accomplish it, he is wicked in not putting an end to him, as if he took pleasure in the deeds done by him. But if not even he is able, then he is better who, though unable, is yet not unwilling to benefit us according to his ability.
And Simon said: When you have discussed all the subjects which I have laid before you, I shall show you the cause of evil. Then I shall also reply to what you have now said, and prove that that God whom you affirm to be blameless is blameable. And Peter said: Since I perceive from what you say at the commencement that you are striving after nothing else than to subject God, as being the author of evil, to blame, I have resolved to go along with you all the ways you like, and to prove that God is entirely free from blame. And Simon said: You say this as loving God, whom you suppose you know; but you are not right. And Peter said: But you, as being wicked, and hating God whom you have not known, utter blasphemous words. And Simon said: Remember that you have likened me to the author of evil. And Peter said: I confess it, I was wrong in comparing you to the evil one; for I was compelled to do so, because I have not found one who is your equal, or worse than you. For this reason I likened you to the evil one; for you happen to be much more wicked than the author of evil. For no one can prove that the evil one spoke against God; but all of us who are present see you speaking daringly against Him. And Simon said: He who seeks the truth ought not to gratify any one in any respect contrary to what is really true. For why does he make the inquiry at all? Why, I ask? For I am not also able, laying aside the accurate investigation of things, to spend all my time in the praise of that God whom I do not know.
And Peter said: You are not so blessed as to praise Him, nor indeed can you do such a good deed as this; for then you would be full of Him. For thus said our Teacher, who always spoke the truth: 'Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.' Whence you, abounding in evil purposes, through ignorance speak against the only good God. And not yet suffering what you deserve to suffer for the words which you have dared to utter, you either imagine that there will be no judgment, or perchance you think that there is not even a God. Whence, not comprehending such long-suffering as His, you are moving on to still greater madness. And Simon said: Do not imagine that you will frighten me into not investigating the truth of your examples. For I am so eager for the truth, that for its sake I will not shrink from undergoing danger. If, then, you have anything to say in regard to the propositions made by me at the commencement, say it now.
And Peter said: Since you compel us, after we have made accurate investigations into the contrivances of God, to venture to state them, and that, too, to men who are not able to comprehend thoroughly the contrivances of their fellow-men, for the sake at least of those who are present, I, instead of remaining silent—a course which would be most pious—shall discuss the subjects of which you wish me to speak. I agree with you in believing that there is a prince of evil, of whose origin the Scripture has ventured to say nothing either true or false. But let us follow out the inquiry in many ways, as to how he has come into existence, if it is the fact that he has come into existence; and of the opinions which present themselves, let us select that which is most reverential, since in the case of probable opinions, that one is assumed with confidence which is based on the principle that we ought to attribute to God that which is more reverential; and all the more so, if, when all other suppositions are removed, there still remains one which is adequate and involves less danger. But I promise you, before I proceed with the investigation, that every method in the investigation can show that God alone is blameless.
But, as you said, if the evil one is created either he has been begotten as an animal, or he has been sent forth substantially by Him, or he has been compounded externally, or his will has arisen through composition; or it happened that he came into existence from things non-existent, without composition and the will of God; or he has been made by God from that which in no manner and nowhere exists; or the matter, being lifeless or living, from which he has arisen was outside of God; or he fashioned himself, or he was made by God, or he is a relative thing, or he ever existed: for we cannot say that he does not exist, since we have agreed in thinking that he does exist.And Simon said: Well have you distinguished all the methods of accounting for his existence in a summary manner. Now it is my part to examine these various ideas, and to show that the Creator is blameable. But it is your business to prove, as you promised, that he is free from all blame. But I wonder if you will be able. For, first, if the devil has been begotten from God as an animal, the vice which is his is accordingly the same as that of him who sends him forth. And Peter said: Not at all. For we see many men who are good the fathers of wicked children, and others who are wicked the fathers of good children, and others again who are wicked producing both good and wicked children, and others who are good having both wicked and good children. For instance, the first man who was created produced the unrighteous Cain and the righteous Abel. To this Simon said: You are acting foolishly, in using human examples when discoursing about God. And Peter said: Speak you, then, to us about God without using human examples, and yet so that what you say can be understood; but you are not able to do so.
For instance, then, what did you say in the beginning? If the wicked one has been begotten of God, being of the same substance as He, then God is wicked. But when I showed you, from the example which you yourself adduced, that wicked beings come from good, and good from wicked, you did not admit the argument, for you said that the example was a human one. Wherefore I now do not admit that the term 'being begotten' can be used with reference to God; for it is characteristic of man, and not of God, to beget. Not only so; but God cannot be good or evil, just or unjust. Nor indeed can He have intelligence, or life, or any of the other attributes which can exist in man; for all these are peculiar to man. And if we must not, in our investigations in regard to God, give Him the good attributes which belong to man, it is not possible for us to have any thought or make any statement in regard to God; but all we can do is to investigate One point alone,—namely, what is His will which He has Himself allowed us to apprehend, in order that, being judged, we might be without excuse in regard to those laws which we have not observed, though we knew them.
And Simon, hearing this, said: You will not force me through shame to remain silent in regard to His substance, and to inquire into His will alone. For it is possible both to think and to speak of His substance. I mean from the good attributes that belong to man. For instance, life and death are attributes of man; but death is not an attribute of God, but life, and eternal life. Furthermore, men may be both evil and good; but God can be only incomparably good. And, not to prolong the subject too much, the better attributes of man are eternal attributes of God. And Peter said: Tell me, Simon, is it an attribute of man to beget evil and good, and to do evil and good?And Simon said: It is. And Peter said: Since you made this assertion, we must assign the better attributes of man to God; and so, while men beget evil and good, God can beget good only; and while men do evil and good, God rejoices only in doing good. Thus, with regard to God, we must either not predicate any of the attributes of man and be silent, or it is reasonable that we should assign the best of the good attributes to Him. And thus He alone is the cause of all good things.
And Simon said: If, then, God is the cause only of what is good, what else can we think than that some other principle begot the evil one; or is evil unbegotten? And Peter said: No other power begot the wicked one, nor is evil unbegotten, as I shall show in the conclusion; for now my object is to prove, as I promised in the commencement, that God is blameless in every respect. We have granted, then, that God possesses in an incomparable way the better attributes that belong to men. Wherefore also it is possible for Him to have been the producer of the four substances,—heat, I mean, and cold, moist and dry. These, as being at first simple and unmixed, were naturally indifferent in their desire; but being produced by God, and mixed externally, they would naturally become a living being, possessing the free choice to destroy those who are evil. And thus, since all things have been begotten from Him, the wicked one is from no other source. Nor has he derived his evil from the God who has created all things (with whom it is impossible that evil should exist), because the substances were produced by Him in a state of indifference, and carefully separated from each other; and when they were externally blended through his art, there arose through volition the desire for the destruction of the evil ones. But the good cannot be destroyed by the evil that arose, even though it should wish to do so: for it exercises its power only against those who sin. Ignorant, then, of the character of each, he makes his attempt against him, and convicting him, he punishes him. And Simon said: God being able to mingle the elements, and to make His mixtures so as to produce any dispositions that He may wish, why did He not make the composition of each such as that it would prefer what is good?
And Peter said: Now indeed our object is to show how and by whom the evil one came into being, since he did come into being; but we shall show if he came into being blamelessly, when we have finished the subject now in hand. Then I shall show how and on account of what he came into being, and I shall fully convince you that his Creator is blameless. We said, then, that the four substances were produced by God. And thus, through the volition of Him who mingled them, arose, as He wished, the choice of evils. For if it had arisen contrary to His determination, or from some other substance or cause, then God would not have had firmness of will: for perchance, even though He should not wish it, leaders of evil might continually arise, who would war against His wishes. But it is impossible that this should be the case. For no living being, and especially one capable of giving guidance, can arise from accident: for everything that is produced must be produced by some one.
And Simon said: But what if matter, being coeval with Him, and possessing equal power, produces as His foe leaders who hinder His wishes? And Peter said: If matter is eternal, then it is the foe of no one: for that which exists for ever is impassible, and what is impassible is blessed; but what is blessed cannot be receptive of hatred, since, on account of its eternal creation, it does not fear that it will be deprived of anything. But how does not matter rather love the Creator, when it evidently sends forth its fruits to nourish all who are made by Him? And how does it not fear Him as superior, as trembling through earthquakes it confesses, and as, though its billows ran high, yet, when the Teacher was sailing on it and commanded a calm, it immediately obeyed and became still? What! Did not the demons go out through fear and respect for Him, and others of them desired to enter into swine; but they first entreated Him before going, plainly because they had no power to enter even into swine without His permission?
And Simon said: But what if, being lifeless, it possesses a nature capable of producing what is evil and what is good? And Peter said:According to this statement, it is neither good nor evil, because it does not act by free choice, being lifeless and insensible. Wherefore it is possible to perceive distinctly in this matter, how, being lifeless, it produces as if it were living; and being insensible, it yet plainly fashions artistic shapes both in animals and plants. And Simon said: What! If God Himself gave it life, is not He, then, the cause of the evils which it produces? And Peter said: If God gave it life according to His own will, then it is His Spirit that produces it, and no longer is it anything hostile to God, or of equal power with Him; or it is impossible that everything made by Him is made according as He wishes. But you will say, He Himself is the cause of evil, since He Himself produces the evils through it. What sort, then, are the evils of which you speak? Poisonous serpents and deadly plants, or demons, or any other of those things that can disturb men?—which things would not have been injurious had not man sinned, for which reason death came in. For if man were sinless, the poison of serpents would have no effect, nor the activities of injurious plants, nor would there be the disturbances of demons, nor would man naturally have any other suffering; but losing his immortality on account of his sin, he has become, as I said, capable of every suffering. But if you say, Why, then, was the nature of man made at the beginning capable of death? I tell you, because of free-will; for if we were not capable of death, we could not, as being immortal, be punished on account of our voluntary sin. And thus, on account of our freedom from suffering, righteousness would be still more weakened if we were wicked by choice; for those who should have evil purposes could not be punished, on account of their being incapable of suffering.
And Simon said to this: I have one thing more to say in regard to the wicked one. Assuredly, since God made him out of nothing, he is in this respect wicked, especially since he was able to make him good, by giving him at his creation a nature in no way capable of selecting wickedness. And Peter said: The statement that He created him out of nothing, with a power of choice, is like the statement we have made above, that, having made such a constitution as can rejoice in evils, He Himself appears to be the cause of what took place. But since there is one explanation of both statements, we shall show afterwards why it was that He made him rejoice in the destruction of the wicked. And Simon said: If he made the angels also voluntary agents, and the wicked one departed from a state of righteousness, why has he been honoured with a post of command? Is it not plain that he who thus honoured him takes pleasure in the wicked, in that he has thus honoured him? And Peter said: If God set him by law, when he rebelled, to rule over those who were like him, ordering him to inflict punishment on those who sin, He is not unjust. But if it be the case that He has honoured him even after his revolt, He who honoured him saw beforehand his usefulness; for the honour is temporary, and it is right that the wicked should be ruled by the wicked one, and that sinners should be punished by him.
And Simon said: If, then, he exists for ever, is not the fact of the sole government of God thus destroyed, since there is another power, namely, that concerned with matter, which rules along with Him? And Peter said: If they are different in their substances, they are different also in their powers, and the superior rules the inferior. But if they are of the same substance, then they are equal in power, and they are in like manner good or bad. But it is plain that they are not equal in power; for the Creator put matter into that shape of a world into which He willed to put it. Is it then at all possible to maintain that it always existed, being a substance; and is not matter, as it were, the storehouse of God? For it is not possible to maintain that there was a time when God possessed nothing, but He always was the only ruler of it. Wherefore also He is an eternal sole ruler; and on this account it would justly be said to belong to Him who exists, and rules, and is eternal. And Simon said: What then? Did the wicked one make himself? And was God good in such a way, that, knowing he would be the cause of evil, he yet did not destroy him at his origination, when he could have been destroyed, as not yet being perfectly made? For if he came into being suddenly and complete, then on that account he is at war with the Creator, as having come suddenly into being, possessed of equal power with him.
And Peter said: What you state is impossible; for if he came into existence by degrees, He could have cut him off as a foe by His own free choice. And knowing beforehand that he was coming into existence, He would not have allowed him as a good, had He not known that by reason of him what was useful was being brought into existence. And he could not have come into existence suddenly, complete, of his own power. For he who did not exist could not fashion himself; and he neither could become complete out of nothing, nor could any one justly say that he had substance, so as always to be equal in power if he were begotten. And Simon said: Is he then a mere relation, and in this way wicked? —being injurious, as water is injurious to fire, but good for the seasonably thirsty land; as iron is good for the cultivation of the land, but bad for murders; and lust is not evil in respect of marriage, but bad in respect of adultery; as murder is an evil, but good for the murderer so far as his purpose is concerned; and cheating is an evil, but pleasant to the man who cheats; and other things of a like character are good and bad in like manner. In this way, neither is evil, nor good; for the one produces the other. For does not that which seems to be done injuriously rejoice the doer, but punish the sufferer? And though it seems unjust that a man should, out of self-love, gratify himself by every means in his power, to whom, on the other hand, does it not seem unjust that a man should suffer severe punishments at the hand of a just judge for having loved himself?
And Peter said: A man ought to punish himself through self-restraint, when his lust wishes to hurry on to the injury of another, knowingthat the wicked one can destroy the wicked, for he has received power over them from the beginning. And not yet is this an evil to those who have done evil; but that their souls should remain punished after the destruction, you are right in thinking to be really harsh, though the man who has been fore-ordained for evil should say that it is right. Wherefore, as I said, we ought to avoid doing injury to another for the sake of a short lived pleasure, that we may not involve ourselves in eternal punishment for the sake of a little pleasure.And Simon said: Is it the case, then, that there is nothing either bad or good by nature, but the difference arises through law and custom? For is it not the habit of the Persians to marry their own mothers, sisters and daughters, while marriage with other women is prohibited as most barbarous? Wherefore, if it is not settled what things are evil, it is not possible for all to look forward to the judgment of God. And Peter said: This cannot hold; for it is plain to all that cohabitation with mothers is abominable, even though the Persians, who are a mere fraction of the whole, should under the effects of a bad custom fail to see the iniquity of their abominable conduct. Thus also the Britons publicly cohabit in the sight of all, and are not ashamed; and some men eat the flesh of others, and feel no disgust; and others eat the flesh of dogs; and others practice other unmentionable deeds. Thus, then we ought not to form our judgments with a perception which through habit has been perverted from its natural action. For to be murdered is an evil, even if all were to deny it; for no one wishes to suffer it himself, and in the case of theft no one rejoices at his own punishment. If, then, no onewere at all ever to confess that these are sins, it is right even then to look forward of necessity to a judgment in regard to sins. When Peter said this, Simon answered: Does this, then, seem to you to be the truth in regard to the wicked one? Tell me.
And Peter said: We remember that our Lord and Teacher, commanding us, said, 'Keep the mysteries for me and the sons of my house.' Wherefore also He explained to His disciples privately the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. But to you who do battle with us, and examine into nothing else but our statements, whether they be true or false, it would be impious to state the hidden truths. But that none of the bystanders may imagine that I am contriving excuses, because I am unable to reply to the assertions made by you, I shall answer you by first putting the question, If there had been a state of painlessness, what is the meaning of the statement, 'The evil one was?' And Simon said: The words have no meaning. And Peter: Is then evil the same as pain and death? And Simon: It seems so.And Peter said: Evil, then, does not exist always, yea, it cannot even exist at all substantially; for pain and death belong to the class of accidents, neither of which can co-exist with abiding strength. For what is pain but the interruption of harmony? And what is death but the separation of soul from body? There is therefore no pain when there is harmony. For death does not even at all belong to those things which substantially exist: for death is nothing, as I said, but the separation of soul from body; and when this takes place, the body, which is by nature incapable of sensation, is dissolved; but the soul, being capable of sensation, remains in life and exists substantially. Hence, when there is harmony there is no pain, no death, no, not even deadly plants nor poisonous reptiles, nor anything of such a nature that its end is death. And hence, where immortality reigns, all things will appear to have been made with reason. And this will be the case when, on account of righteousness, man becomes immortal through the prevalence of the peaceful reign of Christ, when his composition will be so well arranged as not to give rise to sharp impulses; and his knowledge, moreover, will be unerring, so as that he shall not mistake evil for good; and he will suffer no pain, so that he will not be mortal.
And Simon said: You were right in saying this; but in the present world does not man seem to you to be capable of every kind of affection,—as, for instance, of lust, anger, grief, and the like? And Peter said: Yes, these belong to the things that are accidental, not to those that always exist, and it will be found that they now occur with advantage to the soul. For lust has, by the will of Him who created all things well, been made to arise within the living being, that, led by it to intercourse, he may increase humanity, from a selection of which a multitude of superior beings arise who are fit for eternal life. But if it were not for lust, no one would trouble himself with intercourse with his wife; but now, for the sake of pleasure, and, as it were, gratifying himself, man carries out His will. Now, if a man uses lust for lawful marriage, he does not act impiously; but if he rushes to adultery, he acts impiously, and he is punished because he makes a bad use of a good ordinance. And in the same way, anger has been made by God to be lighted up naturally within us, in order that we may be induced by it to ward off injuries. Yet if any one indulges it without restraint, he acts unjustly; but if he uses it within due bounds, he does what is right. Moreover, we are capable of grief, that we may be moved with sympathy at the death of relatives, of a wife, or children, or brothers, or parents, or friends, or some others, since, if we were not capable of sympathy, we should be inhuman. In like manner, all the other affections will be found to be adapted for us, if at least the reason for their existence be considered.
And Simon: Why is it, then, that some die prematurely, and periodical diseases arise; and that there are, moreover, attacks of demons, and of madness, and all other kinds of afflictions which can greatly punish? And Peter said: Because men, following their own pleasure in all things, cohabit without observing the proper times; and thus the deposition of seed, taking place unseasonably, naturally produces a multitude of evils. For they ought to reflect, that as a season has been fixed suitable for planting and sowing, so days have been appointed as appropriate for cohabitation, which are carefully to be observed. Accordingly some one well instructed in the doctrines taught by Moses, finding fault with the people for their sins, called them sons of the new moons and the sabbaths. Yet in the beginning of the world men lived long, and had no diseases. But when through carelessness they neglected the observation of the proper times, then the sons in succession cohabiting through ignorance at times when they ought not, place their children under innumerable afflictions. Whence our Teacher, when we inquired of Him in regard to the man who was blind from his birth, and recovered his sight, if this man sinned, or his parents, that he should be born blind, answered, 'Neither did he sin at all, nor his parents, but that the power of God might be made manifest through him in healing the sins of ignorance.' And, in truth, such afflictions arise because of ignorance; as, for instance, by not knowing when one ought to cohabit with his wife, as if she be pure from her discharge. Now the afflictions which you mentioned before are the result of ignorance, and not, assuredly, of any wickedness that has been perpetrated. Moreover, give me the man who sins not, and I will show you the man who suffers not; and you will find that he not only does not suffer himself, but that he is able to heal others. For instance, Moses, on account of his piety, continued free from suffering all his life, and by his prayers he healed the Egyptians when they suffered on account of their sins.
And Simon said: Let me grant that this is the case: does not the inequality of lot amongst men seem to you most unjust? For one is in penury, another is rich; one is sick, another is in good health: and there are innumerable differences of a like character in human life.And Peter said: Do you not perceive, Simon, that you are again shooting your observations beyond the mark? For while we were discussing evil, you have made a digression, and introduced the question of the anomalies that appear in this world. But I shall speak even to this point. The world is an instrument artistically contrived, that for the male who is to exist eternally, the female may bear eternal righteous sons. Now they could not have been rendered perfectly pious here, had there been no needy ones for them to help. In like manner there are the sick, that they may have objects for their care. And the other afflictions admit of a like explanation. And Simon said: Are not those in humble circumstances unfortunate? For they are subjected to distress, that others may be made righteous. And Peter said: If their humiliation were eternal, their misfortune would be very great. But the humiliations and exaltations of men take place according to lot; and he who is not pleased with his lot can appeal, and by trying his case according to law, he can exchange his mode of life for another. And Simon said: What do you mean by this lot and this appeal? And Peter said: You are now demanding the exposition of another topic; but if you permit me, we can show you how, being born again, and changing your origin, and living according to law, you will obtain eternal salvation.
And Simon hearing this, said: Do not imagine that, when I, while questioning you, agreed with you in each topic, I went to the next, as being fully assured of the truth of the previous; but I appeared to yield to your ignorance, that you might go on to the next topic, in order that, becoming acquainted with the whole range of your ignorance, I might condemn you, not through mere conjecture, but from full knowledge. Allow me now to retire for three days, and I shall come back and show that you know nothing. When Simon said this, and was on the point of going out, my father said: Listen to me, Simon, for a moment, and then go wherever you like. I remember that in the beginning, before the discussion, you accused me of being prejudiced, though as yet you had no experience of me. But now, having heard you discuss in turn, and judging that Peter has the advantage, and now assigning to him the merit of speaking the truth, do I appear to you to judge correctly, and with knowledge; or is it not so? For if you should say that I have judged correctly, but do not agree, then you are plainly prejudiced, inasmuch as you do not wish to agree, after confessing your defeat. But if I was not correct in maintaining that Peter has the advantage in the discussion, do you convince us how we have not judged correctly, or you will cease to discuss with him before all, since you will always be defeated and agree, and in consequence your own soul will suffer pain, condemned as you will be, and in disgrace, through your own conscience, even if you do not feel shame before all the listeners as the greatest torture; for we have seen you conquered, in fact, and we have heard your own lips confess it. Finally, therefore, I am of opinion that you will not return to the discussion, as you promised; but that you may seem not to have been defeated, you have promised, when going away, that you will return.
And Simon hearing this, gnashed his teeth for rage, and went away in silence. But Peter (for a considerable portion of the day still remained) laid his hands on the large multitude to heal them; and having dismissed them, went into the house with his more intimate friends, and sat down. And one of his attendants, of the name of Sophonias, said: Blessed is God, O Peter, who selected you and instructed you for the comfort of the good. For, in truth, you discussed with Simon with dignity and great patience. But we beg of you to discourse to us of evil; for we expect that you will state to us your own genuine belief in regard to it,—not, however at the present moment, but tomorrow, if it seems good to you: for we spare you, because of the fatigue you feel on account of your discussion. And Peter said: I wish you to know, that he who does anything with pleasure, finds rest in the very toils themselves; but he who does not do what he wishes, is rendered exceedingly weary by the very rest he takes. Wherefore you confer on me a great rest when you make me discourse on topics which please me. Content, then, with his disposition, and sparing him on account of his fatigue, we requested him to put the discussion off till the night, when it was his custom to discourse to his genuine friends. And partaking of salt, we turned to sleep.
In the night-time Peter rose up and wakened us, and then sat down in his usual way, and said: Ask me questions about anything you like. And Sophonias was the first to begin to speak to him: Will you explain to us who are eager to learn what is the real truth in regard to evil? And Peter said: I have already explained it in the course of my discussion with Simon; but because I stated the truth in regard to it in combination with other topics, it was not altogether clearly put; for many topics that seem to be of equal weight with the truth afford some kind of knowledge of the truth to the masses. So that, if now I state what I formerly stated to Simon along with many topics, do not imagine that you are not honoured with honour equal to his. And Sophonias said: You are right; for if you now separate it for us from many of the topics that were then discussed, you will make the truth more evident.
And Peter said: Listen, therefore, to the truth of the harmony in regard to the evil one. God appointed two kingdoms, and established two ages, determining that the present world should be given to the evil one, because it is small, and passes quickly away; but He promised to preserve for the good one the age to come, as it will be great and eternal. Man, therefore, He created with free-will, and possessing the capability of inclining to whatever actions he wishes. And his body consists of three parts, deriving its origin from the female; for it has lust, anger, and grief, and what is consequent on these. But the spirit not being uniform, but consisting of three parts, derives its origin from the male; and it is capable of reasoning, knowledge, and fear, and what is consequent on these. And each of these triads has one root, so that man is a compound of two mixtures, the female and the male. Wherefore also two ways have been laid before him—those of obedience and disobedience to law; and two kingdoms, have been established,—the one called the kingdom of heaven, and the other the kingdom of those who are now kings upon earth. Also two kings have been appointed, of whom the one is selected to rule by law over the present and transitory world, and his composition is such that he rejoices in the destruction of the wicked. But the other and good one, who is the King of the age to come, loves the whole nature of man; but not being able to have boldness in the present world, he counsels what is advantageous, like one who tries to conceal who he really is.
But of these two, the one acts violently towards the other by the command of God. Moreover, each man has power to obey whichever of them he pleases for the doing of good or evil. But if any one chooses to do what is good, he becomes the possession of the future good king; but if any one should do evil, he becomes the servant of the present evil one, who, having received power over him by just judgment on account of his sins, and wishing to use it before the coming age, rejoices in punishing him in the present life, and thus by gratifying, as it were, his own private passion, he accomplishes the will of God. But the other, being made to rejoice in power over the righteous, when he finds a righteous man, is exceedingly glad, and saves him with eternal life; and he also, as if gratifying himself, traces the gratification which he feels on account of these to God. Now it is within the power of every unrighteous man to repent and be saved; and every righteous man may have to undergo punishment for sins committed at the end of his career. Moreover, these two leaders are the swift hands of God, eager to anticipate Him so as to accomplish His will. But that this is so, has been said even by the law in the person of God: 'I will kill, and I will make alive; I will strike, and I will heal.' For, in truth, He kills and makes alive. He kills through the left hand, that is, through the evil one, who has been so composed as to rejoice in afflicting the impious. And he saves and benefits through the right hand, that is, through the good one, who has been made to rejoice in the good deeds and salvation of the righteous. Now these have not their substances outside of God: for there is no other primal source. Nor, indeed, have they been sent forth as animals from God, for they were of the same mind with Him; nor are they accidental, arising spontaneously in opposition to His will, since thus the greatest exercise of His power would have been destroyed. But from God have been sent forth the four first elements—heat and cold, moist and dry. In consequence of this, He is the father of every substance, but not of the disposition which may arise from the combination of the elements; for when these were combined from without, disposition was begotten in them as a child. The wicked one, then, having served God blamelessly to the end of the present world, can become good by a change in his composition, since he assuredly is not of one uniform substance whose sole bent is towards sin. For not even more does he do evil, although he is evil, since he has received power to afflict lawfully.
When Peter said this, Micah, who was himself one of his followers, asked: What, then, is the reason why men sin? And Peter said: It is because they are ignorant that they will without doubt be punished for their evil deeds when judgment takes place. For this reason they, having lust, as I elsewhere said, for the continuance of life, gratify it in any accidental way, it may be by the vitiation of boys, or by some other flattering sin. For in consequence of their ignorance, as I said before, they are urged on through fearlessness to satisfy their lust in an unlawful manner. Wherefore God is not evil, who has rightly placed lust within man, that there may be a continuance of life, but they are most impious who have used the good of lust badly. The same considerations apply to anger also, that if one uses it righteously, as is within his power, he is pious; but going beyond measure, and taking judgment to himself, he is impious.
And Sophonias said again: Your great patience, my lord Peter, gives us boldness to ask you many questions for the sake of accuracy. Wherefore we make our inquiries with confidence in every direction. I remember, then, that Simon said yesterday, in his discussion with you, that the evil one, if he was born of God, possesses in consequence the same substance as He does who sent him forth, and he ought to have been good, and not wicked. But you answered that this was not always the case, since many wicked sons are born of good parents, as from Adam two unlike sons were begotten, one of whom was bad and the other good. And when Simon found fault with you for having used human examples, you answered that in this way we ought not to admit that God begets at all; for this also is a human example. And I, Sophonias, admit that God begets; but I do not allow that He begets what is bad, even though the good among men beget bad children. And do not imagine that I am without reason attributing to God some of the qualities that distinguish men, and refusing to attribute others, when I grant that He begets, but do not allow that He begets what is unlike Himself. For men, as you might expect, beget sons who are unlike them in their dispositions for the following reason. Being composed of four parts, they change their bodies variously, according to the various changes of the year; and thus, the appropriate change either of increase or decrease taking place in the human body, each season destroys the harmonious combination. Now, when the combinations do not always remain exactly in the same position, the seeds, having sometimes one combination, sometimes another, are sent off; and these are followed, according to the combination belonging to the season, by dispositions either good or bad. But in the case of God we cannot suppose any such thing; for, being unchangeable and always existing, whenever He wishes to send forth, there is an absolute necessity that what is sent forth should be in all respects in the same position as that which has begotten, I mean in regard to substance and disposition. But if any one should wish to maintain that He is changeable, I do not know how it is possible for him to maintain that He is immortal.
When Peter heard this, he thought for a little, and said: I do not think that any one can converse about evil without doing the will of the evil one. Therefore knowing this, I do not know what I shall do, whether I shall be silent or speak. For if I be silent, I should incur the laughter of the multitude, because, professing to proclaim the truth, I am ignorant of the explanation of vice. But if I should state my opinion, I am afraid lest it be not at all pleasing to God that we should seek after evil, for only seeking after good is pleasing to Him. However, in my reply to the statements of Sophonias, I shall make my ideas more plain. I then agree with him in thinking that we ought not to attribute to God all the qualities of men. For instance, men not having bodies that are convertible are not converted; but they have a nature that admits of alteration by the lapse of time through the seasons of the year. But this is not the case with God; for through His inborn Spirit He becomes, by a power which cannot be described, whatever body He likes. And one can the more easily believe this, as the air, which has received such a nature from Him, is converted into dew by the incorporeal mind permeating it, and being thickened becomes water, and water being compacted becomes stone and earth, and stones through collision light up fire. According to such a change and conversion, air becomes first water, and ends in being fire through conversions, and the moist is converted into its natural opposite. Why? Did not God convert the rod of Moses into an animal, making it a serpent, which He reconverted into a rod? And by means of this very converted rod he converted the water of the Nile into blood, which again he reconverted into water. Yea, even man, who is dust, He changed by the inbreathing of His breath into flesh, and changed him back again into dust. And was not Moses, who himself was flesh, converted into the grandest light, so that the sons of Israel could not look him in the face? Much more, then, is God completely able to convert Himself into whatsoever He wishes.
But perhaps some one of you thinks that one may become something under the influence of one, and another under the influence of another, but no one can change himself into whatever he wishes, and that it is the characteristic of one who grows old, and who must die according to his nature, to change, but we ought not to entertain such thoughts of immortal beings. For were not angels, who are free from old age, and of a fiery substance, changed into flesh,—those, for instance, who received the hospitality of Abraham, whose feet men washed, as if they were the feet of men of like substance? Yea, moreover, with Jacob, who was a man, there wrestled an angel, converted into flesh that he might be able to come to close quarters with him. And, in like manner, after he had wrestled by his own will, he was converted into his own natural form; and now, when he was changed into fire, he did not burn up the broad sinew of Jacob, but he inflamed it, and made him lame. Now, that which cannot become anything else, whatever it may wish, is mortal, inasmuch as it is subject to its own nature; but he who can become whatever he wishes, whenever he wishes, is immortal, returning to a new condition, inasmuch as he has control over his own nature. Wherefore much more does the power of God change the substance of the body into whatever He wishes and whenever He wishes; and by the change that takes place He sends forth what, on the one hand, is of similar substance, but, on the other, is not of equal power. Whatever, then, he who sends forth turns into a different substance, that he can again turn back into his own; but he who is sent forth, arising in consequence of the change which proceeds from him, and being his child, cannot become anything else without the will of him who sent him forth, unless he wills it.
When Peter said this, Micah, who was himself also one of the companions that attended on him, said: I also should like to learn from you if the good one has been produced in the same way that the evil one came into being. But if they came into being in a similar manner, then they are brothers in my opinion. And Peter said: They have not come into being in a similar way: for no doubt you remember what I said in the beginning, that the substance of the body of the wicked one, being fourfold in origin, was carefully selected and sent forth by God; but when it was combined externally, according to the will of Him who sent it forth, there arose, in consequence of the combination, the disposition which rejoices in evils: so that you may see that the substance, fourfold in origin, which was sent forth by Him, and which also always exists, is the child of God; but that the accidentally arising disposition which rejoices in evils has supervened when the substance was combined externally by him. And thus disposition has not been begotten by God, nor by any one else, nor indeed has it been sent forth by Him, nor has it come forth spontaneously, nor did it always exist, like the substance before the combination; but it has come on as an accident by external combination, according to the will of God. And we have often said that it must be so. But the good one having been begotten from the most beautiful change of God, and not having arisen accidentally through an external combination, is really His Son. Yet, since these doctrines are unwritten, and are confirmed to us only by conjecture, let us by no means deem it as absolutely certain that this is the true state of the case. For if we act otherwise, our mind will cease from investigating the truth, in the belief that it has already fully comprehended it. Remember these things, therefore; for I must not state such things to all, but only to those who are found after trial most trustworthy. Nor ought we rashly to maintain such assertions towards each other, nor ought ye to dare to speak as if you were accurately acquainted with the discovery of secret truths, but you ought simply to reflect over them in silence; for in stating, perchance, that a matter is so, he who says it will err, and he will suffer punishment for having dared to speak even to himself what has been honoured with silence.
When Peter said this, Lazarus, who also was one of his followers, said: Explain to us the harmony, how it can be reasonable that the wicked one should be appointed by the righteous God to be the punisher of the impious, and yet should himself afterwards be sent into lower darkness along with his angels and with sinners: for I remember that the Teacher Himself said this. And Peter said: I indeed allow that the evil one does no evil, inasmuch as he is accomplishing the law given to him. And although he has an evil disposition, yet through fear of God he does nothing unjustly; but, accusing the teachers of truth so as to entrap the unwary, he is himself named the accuser (the devil). But the statement of our unerring Teacher, that he and his angels, along with the deluded sinners, shall go into lower darkness, admits of the following explanation. The evil one, having obtained the lot of rejoicing in darkness according to his composition, delights to go down to the darkness of Tartarus along with angels who are his fellow-slaves; for darkness is dear to fire. But the souls of men, being drops of pure light, are absorbed by the substance fire, which is of a different class; and not possessing a nature capable of dying, they are punished according to their deserts. But if he who is the leader of men into vice is not sent into darkness, as not rejoicing in it, then his composition, which rejoices in evils, cannot be changed by another combination into the disposition for good. And thus he will be adjudged to be with the good, all the more because, having obtained a composition which rejoices in evils, through fear of God he has done nothing contrary to the decrees of the law of God. And did not the Scripture by a mysterious hint point out by the statement that the rod of the high priest Aaron became a serpent, and was again converted into a rod, that a change in the composition of the wicked one would afterwards take place?
And after Lazarus, Joseph, who also was one of his followers, said: You have spoken all things rightly. Teach me also this, as I am eager to know it, why, when you give the same discourses to all, some believe and others disbelieve? And Peter said: It is because my discourses are not charms, so that every one that hears them must without hesitation believe them. The fact that some believe, and others do not, points out to the intelligent the freedom of the will. And when he said this, we all blessed him.
And as we were going to take our meals, some one ran in and said: Appion Pleistonices has just come with Annubion from Antioch, and he is lodging with Simon. And my father hearing this, and rejoicing, said to Peter: If you permit me, I shall go to salute Appion andAnnubion, who have been my friends from childhood. For perchance I shall persuade Annubion to discuss genesis with Clement. And Peter said: I permit you, and I praise you for fulfilling the duties of a friend. But now consider how in the providence of God there come together from all quarters considerations which contribute to your full assurance, rendering the harmony complete. But I say this because the arrival of Annubion happens advantageously for you. And my father: In truth, I see that this is the case. And saying this, he went to Simon.
Now all of us who were with Peter asked each other questions the whole of the night, and continued awake, because of the pleasure and joy we derived from what was said. But when at length the dawn began to break, Peter, looking at me and my brothers, said: I am puzzled to think what your father has been about. And just as he was saying this, our father came in and caught Peter talking to us of him; and seeing him displeased, he accosted him, and rendered an apology for having slept outside. But we were amazed when we looked at him: for we saw the form of Simon, but heard the voice of our father Faustus. And when we were fleeing from him, and abhorring him, our father was astonished at receiving such harsh and hostile treatment from us. But Peter alone saw his natural shape, and said to us:Why do you in horror turn away from your own father? But we and our mother said: It is Simon that we see before us, with the voice of our father. And Peter said: You recognise only his voice, which is unaffected by magic; but as my eyes also are unaffected by magic, I can see his form as it really is, that he is not Simon, but your father Faustus. Then, looking to my father, he said: It is not your own true form that is seen by them, but that of Simon, our deadliest foe, and a most impious man.
While Peter was thus talking, there entered one of those who had gone before to Antioch, and who, coming back from Antioch, said to Peter: I wish you to know, my lord, that Simon, by doing many miracles publicly in Antioch, and calling you a magician and a juggler and a murderer, has worked them up to such hatred against you, that every man is eager to taste your very flesh if you should sojourn there. Wherefore we who went before, along with our brethren who were in pretence attached by you to Simon, seeing the city raging wildly against you, met secretly and considered what we ought to do. And assuredly, while we were in great perplexity, Cornelius the centurion arrived, who had been sent by the emperor to the governor of the province. He was the person whom our Lord cured when he was possessed of a demon in Cæsarea. This man we sent for secretly; and informing him of the cause of our despondency, we begged his help. He promised most readily that he would alarm Simon, and make him take to flight, if we should assist him in his effort. And when we all promised that we should readily do everything, he said, 'I shall spread abroad the news through many friends that I have secretly come to apprehend him; and I shall pretend that I am in search of him, because the emperor, having put to death many magicians, and having received information in regard to him, has sent me to search him out, that he may punish him as he punished the magicians before him; while those of your party who are with him must report to him, as if they had heard it from a secret source, that I have been sent to apprehend him. And perchance when he hears it from them, he will be alarmed and take to flight.' When, therefore, we had intended to do something else, nevertheless the affair turned out in the following way. For when he heard the news from many strangers who gratified him greatly by secretly informing him, and also from our brethren who pretended to be attached to him, and took it as the opinion of his own followers, he resolved on retiring. And hastening away from Antioch, he has come here with Athenodorus, as we have heard. Wherefore we advise you not yet to enter that city, until we ascertain whether they can forget in his absence the accusations which he brought against you.
When the person who had gone before gave this report, Peter looked to my father, and said: You hear, Faustus; the change in your form has been caused by Simon the magician, as is now evident. For, thinking that a servant of the emperor was seeking him to punish him, he became afraid and fled, putting you into his own shape, that if you were put to death, your children might have sorrow. When my father heard this, he wept and lamented, and said: You have conjectured rightly, Peter. For Annubion, who is my dear friend, hinted his design to me; but I did not believe him, miserable man that I am, since I deserved to suffer.
When my father said this, after no long time Annubion came to us to announce to us the flight of Simon, and how that very night he had hurried to Judæa. And he found our father wailing, and with lamentations saying: Alas, alas! unhappy man! I did not believe when I was told that he was a magician. Miserable man that I am! I have been recognised for one day by my wife and children, and have speedily gone back to my previous sad condition when I was still ignorant. And my mother lamenting, plucked her hair; and we groaned in distress on account of the transformation of our father, and could not comprehend what in the world it could be. But Annubion stood speechless, seeing and hearing these things; while Peter said to us, his children, in the presence of all: Believe me, this is Faustus your father. Wherefore I urge you to attend to him as being your father. For God will vouchsafe some occasion for his putting off the shape of Simon, and exhibiting again distinctly that of your father. And saying this, and looking to my father, he said: I permitted you to salute Appion and Annubion, since you asserted that they were your friends from childhood, but I did not permit you to associate with the magician Simon.
And my father said: I have sinned; I confess it. And Annubion said: I also along with him beg you to forgive the noble and good old man who has been deceived: for the unfortunate man has been the sport of that notorious fellow. But I shall tell you how it took place.The good old man came to salute us. But at that very hour we who were there happened to be listening to Simon, who wished to run away that night, for he had heard that some people had come to Laodicea in search of him by the command of the emperor. But as Faustus was entering, he turned his own rage on him, and thus addressed us: 'Make him, when he comes, share your meals; and I will prepare an ointment, so that, when he has supped, he may take some of it, and anoint his face with it, and then he will appear to all to have my shape. But I will anoint you with the juice of some plant, and then you will not be deceived by his new shape; but to all others Faustus will seem to be Simon.'
And while he stated this beforehand, I said, 'What, then, is the advantage you now expect to get from such a contrivance?' And Simon said, 'First, those who seek me, when they apprehend him, will give up the search after me. But if he be executed by the hand of the emperor, very great sorrow will fall upon his children, who left me, and fleeing to Peter, now aid him in his work.' And now, Peter, I confess the truth to you: I was prevented by fear of Simon from informing Faustus of this. But Simon did not give us an opportunity for private conversation, lest some one of us might reveal to him the wicked design of Simon. Simon then rose up in the middle of the night and fled to Judæa, convoyed by Appion and Athenodorus. Then I pretended that I was sick, in order that, remaining after they had gone, I might make Faustus go back immediately to his own people, if by any chance he might be able, by being concealed with you, to escape observation, lest, being caught as Simon by those who were in search of Simon, he might be put to death through the wrath of the emperor. At the dead of night, therefore, I sent him away to you; and in my anxiety for him I came by night to see him, with the intention of returning before those who convoyed Simon should return. And looking to us, he said: I, Annubion, see the true shape of your father; for I was anointed, as I related to you before, by Simon himself, that the true shape of Faustus might be seen by my eyes. Astonished, therefore, I exceedingly wonder at the magic power of Simon, in that standing you do not recognise your own father. And while our father and our mother and we ourselves wept on account of the calamity common to all of us, Annubion also through sympathy wept with us.
Then Peter promised to us to restore the shape of our father, and he said to him: Faustus, you heard how matters stand with us. When, therefore, the deceptive shape which invests you has been useful to us, and you have assisted us in doing what I shall tell you to do, then I shall restore to you your true form, when you have first performed my commands. And when my father said, I shall do everything that is in my power most willingly; only restore to my own people my own form; Peter answered, You yourself heard with your own ears how those who went before me came back from Antioch, and said that Simon had been there, and had strongly excited the multitudes against me by calling me a magician and a murderer, a deceiver and a juggler, to such an extent that all the people there were eager to taste my flesh. You will do, then, as I tell you. You will leave Clement with me, and you will go before us into Antioch with your wife, and your sons Faustinus and Faustinianus. And some others will accompany you whom I deem capable of helping forward my design.
When you are with these in Antioch, while you look like Simon, proclaim publicly your repentance, saying, 'I Simon proclaim this to you: I confess that all my statements in regard to Peter are utterly false; for he is not a deceiver, nor a murderer, nor a juggler; nor are any of the evil things true which I, urged on by wrath, said previously in regard to him. I myself therefore beg of you, I who have been the cause of your hatred to him, cease from hating him; for he is the true apostle of the true Prophet that was sent by God for the salvation of the world. Wherefore also I counsel you to believe what he preaches; for if you do not, your whole city will be utterly destroyed. Now I wish you to know for what reason I have made this confession to you. This night angels of God scourged me, the impious one, terribly, as being an enemy to the herald of the truth. I beseech you, therefore, do not listen to me, even if I myself should come at another time and attempt to say anything against Peter. For I confess to you I am a magician, I am a deceiver, I am a juggler. Yet perhaps it is possible for me by repentance to wipe out the sins which were formerly committed by me.'
When Peter suggested this, my father said: I know what you want; wherefore take no trouble. For assuredly I shall take good care, when I reach that place, to make such statements in regard to you as I ought to make. And Peter again suggested: When, then, you perceive the city changing from its hatred of me, and longing to see me, send information to me of this, and I shall come to you immediately. And when I arrive there, that same day I shall remove the strange shape which now invests you, and I shall make your own unmistakeably visible to your own people and to all others. Saying this, he made his sons, my brothers, and our mother Mattidia to go along with him; and he also commanded some of his more intimate acquaintances to accompany him. But my mother was unwilling to go with him, and said: I seem to be an adulteress if I associate with the shape of Simon; but if I shall be compelled to go along with him, it is impossible for me to recline on the same couch with him! But I do not know if I shall be persuaded to go along with him. And while she was very unwilling to go, Annubion urged her, saying: Believe me and Peter, and the very voice itself, that this is Faustus your husband, whom I love not less than you. And I myself will go along with him. When Annubion said this, our mother promised to go with him.
But Peter said: God arranges our affairs in a most satisfactory manner; for we have with us Annubion the astrologer. For when we arrive at Antioch, he will in future discourse regarding genesis, giving us his genuine opinions as a friend. Now when, after midnight, our father hurried with those whom Peter had ordered to go along with him and with Annubion to Antioch, which was near, early next day, before Peter went forth to discourse, Appion and Athenodorus, who had convoyed Simon, returned to Laodicea in search of our father. But Peter, ascertaining the fact, urged them to enter. And when they came in and sat down, and said, Where is Faustus? Peter answered: We know not; for since the evening, when he went to you, he has not been seen by his kinsmen. But yesterday morning Simon came in search of him; and when we made no reply to him, something seemed to come over him, for he called himself Faustus; but not being believed, he wept and lamented, and threatened to kill himself, and then rushed out in the direction of the sea.
When Appion and those who were with him heard this, they howled and lamented, saying: Why did you not receive him? And when at the same time Athenodorus wished to say to me, It was Faustus, your father; Appion anticipated him, and said, We learned from some one that Simon, finding him, urged him to go along with him, Faustus himself entreating him, since he did not wish to see his sons after they had become Jews. And hearing this, we came, for his own sake, in search of him. But since he is not here, it is plain that he spoke the truth who gave us the information which we, hearing it from him, have given to you. And I Clement, perceiving the design of Peter, that he wished to beget a suspicion in them that he intended to look out among them for the old man, that they might be afraid and take to flight, assisted in his design, and said to Appion: Listen to me, my dearest Appion. We were eager to give to him, as being our father, what we ourselves deemed to be good. But if he himself did not wish to receive it, but, on the contrary, fled from us in horror, I shall make a somewhat harsh remark, 'Nor do we care for him.' And when I said this, they went away, as if irritated by my savageness; and, as we learn next day, they went to Judæa in the track of Simon.
Now, when ten days had passed away, there came one of our people from our father to announce to us how our father stood forwardpublicly in the shape of Simon, accusing him; and how by praising Peter he had made the whole city of Antioch long for him: and in consequence of this, all said that they were eager to see him, and that there were some who were angry with him as being Simon, on account of their surpassing affection for Peter, and wished to lay hands on Faustus, believing he was Simon. Wherefore he, fearing that he might be put to death, had sent to request Peter to come immediately if he wished to meet him alive, and to appear at the proper time to the city, when it was at the height of its longing for him. Peter, hearing this, called the multitude together to deliberate, and appointed one of his attendants bishop; and having remained three days in Laodicea baptizing and healing, he hastened to the neighboring city of Antioch. Amen.