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THE CLEMENTINE HOMILIES:
Epistle of Peter to James
Epistle of Clement to James
[Translated by Rev. Thomas Smith, D.D.]
EPISTLE OF PETER TO JAMES
(Written to account for the late appearance of the Homilies)
PETER to James, the lord and bishop of the holy Church, under the
Father of all, through Jesus Christ, wishes peace always.(1)
CHAP. I.--DOCTRINE OF RESERVE.
Knowing, my brother, your eager desire after that which is for the
advantage of us all, I beg and beseech you not to communicate to any one of
the Gentiles the books of my preachings which I sent to you, nor to any one
of our own tribe before trial; but if any one has been proved and found
worthy, then to commit them to him, after the manner in which Moses
delivered his books to the Seventy who succeeded to his chair. Wherefore
also the fruit of that caution appears even till now. For his countrymen
keep the same rule of monarchy and polity everywhere, being unable in any
way to think otherwise, or to be led out of the way of the much-indicating
Scriptures. For, according to the rule delivered to them, they endeavour to
correct the discordances of the Scriptures, if any one, haply not knowing
the traditions, is confounded at the various utterances of the prophets.
Wherefore they charge no one to teach, unless he has first learned how the
Scriptures must be used. And thus they have amongst them one God, one law,
CHAP. II.--MISREPRESENTATION OF PETER'S DOCTRINE.
In order, therefore, that the like may also happen to those among us as
to these Seventy, give the books of my preachings to our brethren, with the
like mystery of initiation, that they may indoctrinate those who wish to
take part in teaching; for if it be not so done, our word of truth will be
rent into many opinions. And this I know, not as being a prophet, but as
already seeing the beginning of this very evil. For some from among the
Gentiles have rejected my legal preaching, attaching themselves to certain
lawless and trifling preaching of the man who is my enemy.(2) And these
things some have attempted while I am still alive, to transform my words by
certain various interpretations, in order to the dissolution of the law; as
though I also myself were of such a mind, but did not freely proclaim it,
which God forbid! For such a thing were to act in opposition to the law of
God which was spoken by Moses, and was borne witness to by our Lord in
respect of its eternal continuance; for thus he spoke: "The heavens and the
earth shall pass away, but one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from
the law."(3) And this He has said, that all things might come to pass. But
these men, professing, I know not how, to know my mind, undertake to
explain my words, which they have heard of me, more intelligently than I
who spoke them, telling their catechumens that this is my meaning, which
indeed I never thought of. But if, while I am still alive, they dare thus
to misrepresent me, how much more will those who shall come after me dare
to do so!
Therefore, that no such thing may happen, for this end I have prayed
and besought you not to communicate the books of my preaching which I have
sent you to any one, whether of our own nation or of another nation, before
trial; but if any one, having been tested, has been found worthy, then to
hand them over to him, according to the initiation of Moses, by which he
delivered his books to the Seventy who succeeded to his chair; in order
that thus they may keep the faith, and everywhere deliver the rule of
truth, explaining all things after our tradition; lest being themselves
dragged down by ignorance, being drawn into error by conjectures after
their mind, they bring others into the like pit of destruction. Now the
things that seemed good to me, I have fairly pointed out to you; and what
seems good to you, do you, my lord, becomingly perform. Farewell.
CHAP. IV.--AN ADJURATION CONCERNING THE RECEIVERS OF THE BOOK.
1. Therefore James, having read the epistle, sent for the elders; and
having read it to them, said: "Our Peter has strictly and becomingly
charged us concerning the establishing of the truth, that we should not
communicate the books of his preachings, which have been sent to us, to any
one at random, but to one who is good and religious, and who wishes to
teach, and who is circumcised, and faithful. And these are not all to be
committed to him at once; that, if he be found injudicious in the first,
the others may not be entrusted to him. Wherefore let him be proved not
less than six years. And then according to the initiation of Moses, he that
is to deliver the books should bring him to a river or a fountain, which is
living water, where the regeneration of the righteous takes place, and
should make him, not swear--for that is not lawful--but to stand by the
water and adjure, as we ourselves, when we were re-generated,(1) were made
to do for the sake of not stoning.
2. "And let him say: 'I take to witness heaven, earth, water, in which
all things are comprehended, and in addition to all these, that, air also
which pervades all things, and without which I cannot breathe, that I shall
always be obedient to him who gives me the books of the preachings; and
those same books which he may give me, I shall not communicate to any one
in any way, either by writing them, or giving them in writing, or giving
them to a writer, either myself or by another, or through any other
initiation, or trick, or method, or by keeping them carelessly, or placing
them before any one, or granting him permission to see them, or in any way
or manner whatsoever communicating them to another; unless I shall
ascertain one to be worthy, as I myself have been judged, or even more so,
and that after a probation of not less than six years; but to one who is
religious and good, chosen to teach, as I have received them, so I will
commit them, doing these things also according to the will of my bishop.
3. "'But otherwise, though he were my son or my brother, or my friend,
or otherwise in any way pertaining to me by kindred, if he be unworthy,
that I will not vouchsafe the favour to him, as is not meet; and I shall
neither be terrified by plot nor mollified by gifts. But if even it should
ever seem to me that the books of the preachings given to me are not true,
I shall not so communicate them, but shall give them back. And when I go
abroad, I shall carry them with me, whatever of them I happen to possess.
But if I be not minded to carry them about with me, I shall not suffer them
to be in my house, but shall deposit them with my bishop, having the same
faith, and setting out from the same persons as myself.(2) But if it befall
me to be sick, and in expectation of death, and if I be childless, I shall
act in the same manner. But if I die having a son who is not worthy, or not
yet capable, I shall act in the same manner. For I shall deposit them with
my bishop, in order that if my son, when he grows up, be worthy of the
trust, he may give them to him as his father's bequest, according to the
terms of this engagement.
4. "'And that I shall thus do, I again call to witness heaven, earth,
water, in which all things are enveloped, and in addition to all these, the
all-pervading air, without which I cannot breathe, that I shall always be
obedient to him who giveth me these books of the preachings, and shall
observe in all things as I have engaged, or even something more. To me,
therefore, keeping this covenant, there shall be a part with the holy ones;
but to me doing anything contrary to what I have covenanted, may the
universe be hostile to me, and the all-pervading ether, and the God who is
over all, to whom none is superior, than whom none is greater. But if even
I should come to the acknowledgment of another God, I now swear by him
also, be he or be he not, that I shall not do otherwise. And in addition to
all these things, if I shall lie, I shall be accursed living and dying, and
shall be punished with everlasting punishment.(7)
"And after this, let him partake of bread and salt with him who commits
them to him."
CHAP. V.--THE ADJURATION ACCEPTED.
James having thus spoken, the elders were in an agony of terror.
Therefore James, perceiving that they were greatly afraid, said: "Hear me,
brethren and fellow-servants. If we should give the books to all
indiscriminately, and they should be corrupted by any daring men, or be
perverted by interpretations, as you have heard that some have already
done, it will remain even for those who really seek the truth, always to
wander in error. Wherefore it is better that they should be with us, and
that we should communicate them with all the fore-mentioned care to those
who wish to live piously, and to save others. But if any one, after taking
this adjuration, shall act otherwise, he shall with good reason incur
eternal punishment. For why should not he who is the cause of the
destruction of others not be destroyed himself?" The elders, therefore,
being pleased with the sentiments of James exclaimed, "Blessed be He who,
as foreseeing all things, has graciously appointed thee as our bishop;" and
when they had said this, we all rose up, and prayed to the Father and God
of all, to whom be glory for ever. Amen.(1)
EPISTLE OF CLEMENT TO JAMES
(Designed to authenticate the homilies)
CLEMENT to James, the lord,(1) and the bishop of bishops, who rules
Jerusalem, the holy church of the Hebrews, and the churches everywhere
excellently rounded by the providence of God, with the elders and deacons,
and the rest of the brethren, peace be always.
CHAP. I.--PETER'S MARTYRDOM.
Be it known to you, my lord, that Simon, who, for the sake of the true
faith, and the most sure foundation of his doctrine, was set apart to be
the foundation of the Church, and for this end was by Jesus Himself, with
His truthful mouth, named Peter, the first-fruits of our Lord, the first of
the apostles; to whom first the Father revealed the Son; whom the Christ,
with good reason, blessed; the called, and elect, and associate at table
and in the journeyings of Christ; the excellent and approved disciple, who,
as being fittest of all, was commanded to enlighten the darker part of the
world, namely the West, and was enabled to accomplish it,--and to what
extent do I lengthen my discourse, not wishing to indicate what is sad,
which yet of necessity, though reluctantly, I must tell you,--he himself,
by reason of his immense love towards men, having come as far as Rome,
clearly and publicly testifying, in opposition to the wicked one who
withstood him, that there is to be a good King over all the world, while
saving men by his God-inspired doctrine, himself, by violence, exchanged
this present existence for life.
CHAP. II.--ORDINATION OF CLEMENT.
But about that time, when he was about to die, the brethren being
assembled together, he suddenly seized my hand, and rose up, and said in
presence of the church: "Hear me, brethren and fellow-servants. Since, as I
have been taught by the Lord and Teacher Jesus Christ, whose apostle I am,
the day of my death is approaching, I lay hands upon this Clement as your
bishop; and to him I entrust my chair of discourse, even to him who has
journeyed with me from the beginning to the end, and thus has heard all my
homilies--who, in a word, having had a share in all my trials, has been
found stedfast in the faith; whom I have found, above all others, pious,
philanthropic, pure, learned, chaste, good, upright, large-hearted, and
striving generously to bear the ingratitude of some of the catechumens.
Wherefore I communicate to him the power of binding and loosing, so that
with respect to everything which he shall ordain in the earth, it shall be
decreed in the heavens. For he shall bind what ought to be bound, and loose
what ought to be loosed, as knowing the role of the Church. Therefore hear
him, as knowing that he who grieves the president of the truth, sins
against Christ, and offends the Father of all. Wherefore he shall not live;
and therefore it becomes him who presides to hold the place of a physician,
and not to cherish the rage of an irrational beast."
CHAP. III.--NOLO EPISCOPARI.
While he thus spoke, I knelt to him, and entreated him, declining the
honour and the authority of the chair. But he answered: "Concerning this
matter do not ask me; for it has seemed to me to be good that thus it be,
and all the more if you decline it. For this chair has not need of a
presumptuous man, ambitious of occupying it, but of one pious in conduct
and deeply skilled in the word of God. But show me a better than yourself,
who has travelled more with me, and has heard more of my discourses, and
has learned better the regulations of the Church, and I shall not force you
to do well against your will. But it will not be in your power to show me
your superior; for you are the choice first-fruits of the multitudes saved
through me. However, consider this further, that if you do not undertake
the administration of the Church, through fear of the danger of sin, you
may be sure that you sin more, when you have it in your power to help the
godly, who are, as it were, at sea and in danger, and will not do so,
providing only for your own interest, and not for the common advantage of
all. But that it behoves you altogether to undertake the danger, while I do
not cease to ask it of you for the help of all, you well understand. The
sooner, therefore, you consent, so much the sooner will you relieve me from
CHAP. IV.--THE RECOMPENSE OF THE REWARD.
"But I myself also, O Clement, know the griefs and anxieties, and
dangers and reproaches, that are appointed you from the uninstructed
multitudes; and these you will be able to bear nobly, looking to the great
reward of patience bestowed on you by God. But also consider this fairly
with me: When has Christ need of your aid? Now, when the wicked one has
sworn war against His bride; or in the time to come, when He shall reign
victorious, having no need of further help? Is it not evident to any one
who has even the least understanding, that it is now? Therefore with all
good-will hasten in the time of the present necessity to do battle on the
side of this good King, whose character it is to give great rewards after
victory. Therefore take the oversight gladly; and all the more in good
time, because you have learned from me the administration of the Church,
for the safety of the brethren who have taken refuge with us.
CHAP. V.--A CHARGE.
"However, I wish, in the presence of all, to remind you, for the sake
of all, of the things belonging to the administration. It becomes you,
living without reproach, with the greatest earnestness to shake off all the
cares of life, being neither a surety, nor an advocate, nor involved in any
other secular business. For Christ does not wish to appoint you either a
judge or an arbitrator in business, or negotiator of the secular affairs of
the present life, lest, being confined to the present cares of men, you
should not have leisure by the word of truth to separate the good among men
from the bad. But let the disciples perform these offices to one another,
and not withdraw you from the discourses which are able to save. For as it
is wicked for you to undertake secular cares, and to omit the doing of what
you have been commanded to do, so it is sin for every layman, if they do
not stand by one another even in secular necessities. And if all do not
understand to take order that you be without care in respect of the things
in which you ought to be, let them learn it from the deacons; that you may
have the care of the Church always, in order both to your administering it
well, and to your holding forth the words of truth.
CHAP. VI.--THE DUTY OF A BISHOP.
"Now, if you were occupied with secular cares, you should deceive both
yourself and your hearers. For not being able, on account of occupation, to
point out the things that are advantageous, both you should be punished, as
not having taught what was profitable, and they, not having learned, should
perish by reason of ignorance. Wherefore do you indeed preside over them
without occupation, so as to send forth seasonably the words that are able
to save them; and so let them listen to you, knowing that whatever the
ambassador of the truth shall bind upon earth is bound also in heaven, and
what he shall loose is loosed. But you shall bind what ought to be bound,
and loose what ought to be loosed. And these, and such like, are the things
that relate to you as president.
CHAP. VII.--DUTIES OF PRESBYTERS.
"And with respect to the presbyters, take these instructions. Above all
things, let them join the young betimes in marriage, anticipating the
entanglements of youthful lusts. But neither let them neglect the marriage
of those who are already old; for lust is vigorous even in some old men.
Lest, therefore, fornication find a place among you, and bring upon you a
very pestilence, take precaution, and search, lest at any time the fire of
adultery be secretly kindled among you. For adultery is a very terrible
thing, even such that it holds the second place in respect of punishment,
the first being assigned to those who are in error, even although they be
chaste. Wherefore do you, as elders of the Church, exercise the spouse of
Christ to chastity (by the spouse I mean the body of the Church); for if
she be apprehended to be chaste by her royal Bridegroom, she shall obtain
the greatest honour; and you, as wedding guests, shall receive great
commendation. But if she be caught having sinned, she herself indeed shall
be cast out; and you shall suffer punishment, if at any time her sin has
been through your negligence.
CHAP. VIII.--"DO GOOD UNTO ALL?"
"Wherefore above all things be careful about chastity; for fornication
has been marked out as a bitter thing in the estimation of God. But there
are many forms of fornication, as also Clement himself will explain to you.
The first is adultery, that a man should not enjoy his own wife alone, or a
woman not enjoy her own husband alone. If any one be chaste, he is able
also to be philanthropic, on account of which he shall obtain eternal
mercy. For as adultery is a great evil, so philanthropy is the greatest
good. Wherefore love all your brethren with grave and compassionate eyes,
performing to orphans the part of parents, to widows that of husbands,
affording them sustenance with all kindliness, arranging marriages for
those who are in their prime, and for those who are without a profession,
the means of necessary support through employment; giving work to the
artificer, and alms to the incapable.
CHAP, IX.--"LET BROTHERLY LOVE CONTINUE."
"But I know that ye will do these things if you fix love into your
minds; and for its entrance there is one only fit means, viz., the common
partaking of food.(1) Wherefore see to it that ye be frequently one
another's guests, as ye are able, that you may not fail of it. For it is
the cause of well-doing, and well-doing of salvation. Therefore all of you
present your provisions in common to all your brethren in God, knowing
that, giving temporal things, you shall receive eternal things. Much more
feed the hungry, and give drink to the thirsty, and clothing to the naked;
visit the sick; showing yourselves to those who are in prison, help them as
ye are able, and receive strangers into your houses with all alacrity.
However, not to speak in detail, philanthropy will teach you to do
everything that is good, as misanthropy suggests ill-doing to those who
will not be saved,
CHAP. X.--"WHATSOEVER THINGS ARE HONEST."
"Let the brethren who have causes to be settled not be judged by the
secular authorities; but let them by all means be reconciled by the elders
of the church, yielding ready obedience to them. Moreover, also, flee
avarice, inasmuch as it is able, under pretext of temporal gain, to deprive
you of eternal blessings. Carefully keep your balances, your measures, your
weights, and the things belonging to your traffic, just. Be faithful with
respect to your trusts. Moreover, you will persevere in doing these things,
and things similar to these, until the end, if you have in your hearts an
ineradicable remembrance of the judgment that is from God. For who would
sin, being persuaded that at the end of life there is a judgment appointed
of the righteous God, who only now is long-suffering and good,(2) that the
good may in future enjoy for ever unspeakable blessings; but the sinners
being found as evil, shall obtain an eternity of unspeakable punishment.
And, indeed, that these things are so, it would be reasonable to doubt,
were it not that the Prophet of the truth has said and sworn that it shall
CHAP. XI.--DOUBTS TO BE SATISFIED.
"Wherefore, being disciples of the true Prophet, laying aside double-
mindedness, from which comes ill-doing, eagerly undertake well-doing. But
if any of you doubt concerning the things which I have said are to be, let
him confess it without shame, if he cares for his own soul, and he shall be
satisfied by the president. But if he has believed rightly, let his
conversation be with confidence, as fleeing from the great fire of
condemnation, and entering into the eternal good kingdom of God.
CHAP. XII.--DUTIES OF DEACONS.
"Moreover let the deacons of the church, going about with intelligence,
be as eyes to the bishop, carefully inquiring into the doings of each
member of the church, ascertaining who is about to sin, in order that,
being arrested with admonition by the president, he may haply not
accomplish the sin. Let them check the disorderly, that they may not desist
from assembling to hear the discourses, so that they may be able to
counteract by the word of truth those anxieties that fall upon the heart
from every side, by means of worldly casualties and evil communications;
for if they long remain fallow, they become fuel for the fire. And let them
learn who are suffering under bodily disease, and let them bring them to
the notice of the multitude who do not know of them, that they may visit
them, and supply their wants according to the judgment of the president.
Yea, though they do this without his knowledge, they do nothing amiss.
These things, then, and things like to these, let the deacons attend to.
CHAP. XIII.--DUTIES OF CATECHISTS.
"Let the catechists instruct, being first instructed; for it is a work
relating to the souls of men. For the teacher of the word must accommodate
himself to the various judgments of the learners. The catechists must
therefore be learned, and unblameable, of much experience, and approved, as
you will know that Clement is, who is to be your instructor after me. For
it were too much for me now to go into details. However, if ye be of one
mind, you shall be able to reach the haven of rest, where is the peaceful
city of the great King.
CHAP. XIV.--THE VESSEL OF THE CHURCH.
"For the whole business of the Church is like unto a great ship,
bearing through a violent storm men who are of many places, and who desire
to inhabit the city of the good kingdom. Let, therefore, God be your
shipmaster; and let the pilot be likened to Christ, the mate(3) to the
bishop, and the sailors to the deacons, the midshipmen to the catechists,
the multitude of the brethren to the passengers, the world to the sea; the
foul winds to temptations, persecutions, and dangers; and all manner of
afflictions to the waves; the land winds and their squalls to the
discourses of deceivers and false prophets; the promontories and rugged
rocks to the judges in high places threatening terrible things; the
meetings of two seas, and the wild places, to unreasonable men and those
who doubt of the promises of truth. Let hypocrites be regarded as like to
pirates. Moreover, account the strong whirlpool, and the Tartarean
Charybdis, and murderous wrecks, and deadly founderings, to be nought but
sins. In order, therefore, that, sailing with a fair wind, you may safely
reach the haven of the hoped-for city, pray so as to be heard. But prayers
become audible by good deeds.
CHAP. XV.--INCIDENTS OF THE VOYAGE,
"Let therefore the passengers remain quiet, sitting in their own
places, lest by disorder they occasion rolling or careening. Let the
midshipmen give heed to the fare. Let the deacons neglect nothing with
which they are entrusted; let the presbyters, like sailors, studiously
arrange what is needful for each one. Let the bishop, as the mate,
wakefully ponder the words of the pilot alone. Let Christ, even the
Saviour, be loved as the pilot, and alone believed in the matters of which
He speaks; and let all pray to God for a prosperous voyage. Let those
sailing expect every tribulation, as travelling over a great and troubled
sea, the world: sometimes, indeed, disheartened, persecuted, dispersed,
hungry, thirsty, naked, hemmed in; and, again, sometimes united,
congregated, at rest; but also sea-sick, giddy, vomiting, that is,
confessing sins, like disease-producing bile,--I mean the sins proceeding
from bitterness, and the evils accumulated from disorderly lusts, by the
confession of which, as by vomiting, you are relieved of your disease,
attaining healthful safety by means of carefulness.
CHAP. XVI.--THE BISHOP'S LABOURS AND REWARD.
"But know all of you that the bishop labours more than you all; because
each of you suffers his own affliction, but he his own and that of every
one. Wherefore, O Clement, preside as a helper to every one according to
your ability, being careful of the cares of all. Whence I know that in your
undertaking the administration, I do not confer, but receive, a favour. But
take courage and bear it generously, as knowing that God will recompense
you when you enter the haven of rest, the greatest of blessings, a reward
that cannot be taken from you, in proportion as you have undertaken more
labour for the safety of all. So that, if many of the brethren should hate
you on account of your lofty righteousness, their hatred shall nothing hurt
you, but the love of the righteous God shall greatly benefit you. Therefore
endeavour to shake off the praise that arises from injustice, and to attain
the profitable praise that is from Christ on account of righteous
CHAP. XVII.--THE PEOPLE'S DUTIES.
Having said this, and more than this, he looked again upon the
multitude, and said: "And you also, my beloved brethren and fellow-
servants, be subject to the president of the truth in all things, knowing
this, that he who grieves him has not received Christ, with whose chair he
has been entrusted; and he who has not received Christ shall be regarded as
having despised the Father; wherefore he shall be cast out of the good
kingdom. On this account, endeavour to come to all the assemblies, lest as
deserters you incur the charge of sin through the disheartening of your
captain. Wherefore all of you think before all else of the things that
relate to him, knowing this, that the wicked one, being the more hostile on
account of every one of you, wars against him alone. Do you therefore
strive to live in affection towards him, and in kindliness towards one
another, and to obey him, in order that both he may he comforted and you
may be saved.
CHAP. XVIII.--"AS A HEATHEN MAN AND A PUBLICAN."
"But some things also you ought of yourselves to consider, on account
of his not being able to speak openly by reason of the plots. Such as: if
he be hostile to any one, do not wait for his speaking; and do not take
part with that man, but prudently follow the bishop's will, being enemies
to those to whom he is an enemy, and not conversing with those with whom he
does not converse, in order that every one, desiring to have you all as his
friends, may be reconciled to him and be saved, listening to his discourse.
But if any one remain a friend of those to whom he is an enemy, and speak
to those with whom he does not converse, he also himself is one of those
who would waste the church. For, being with you in body, but not with you
in judgment, he is against you; and is much worse than the open enemies
from without, since with seeming friendship he disperses those who are
CHAP. XIX.--INSTALLATION OF CLEMENT.
Having thus spoken, he laid his hands upon me in the presence of all,
and compelled me to sit in his own chair. And when I was seated, he
immediately said to me: "I entreat you, in the presence of all the brethren
here, that whensoever I depart from this life, as depart I must, you send
to James the brother of the Lord a brief account of your reasonings from
your boyhood, and how from the beginning until now you have journeyed with
me, hearing the discourses preached by me in every city, and seeing my
deeds. And then at the end you will not fail to inform him of the manner of
my death, as I said before. For that event will not grieve him very much,
when he knows that I piously went through what it behoved me to suffer. And
he will get the greatest comfort when he learns, that not an unlearned man,
or one ignorant of life-giving words, or not knowing the rule of the
Church, shall be entrusted with the chair of the teacher after me. For the
discourse of a deceiver destroys the souls of the multitudes who heat."
CHAP. XX.--CLEMENT'S OBEDIENCE.
Whence I, my lord James, having promised as I was ordered, have not
failed to write in books by chapters the greater part of his discourses in
every city, which have been already written to you, and sent by himself, as
for a token; and thus I despatched them to you,(1) inscribing them
"Clement's Epitome of the Popular Sermons of Peter." However, I shall begin
to set them forth, as I was ordered.
THE CLEMENTINE HOMILIES, HOMILIES I-V
CHAP. I.--BOYISH QUESTIONINGS.
I CLEMENT, being a Roman citizen,(1) even from my earliest youth was
able to live chastely, my mind from my boyhood drawing away the lust that
was in me to dejection and distress. For I had a habit of reasoning--how
originating I know not--making frequent cogitations concerning death: When
I die, shall I neither exist, nor shall any one ever have any remembrance
of me, while boundless time bears all things of all men into forgetfulness?
and shall I then be without being, or acquaintance with those who are;
neither knowing nor being known, neither having been nor being? And has the
world ever been made? and was there anything before it was made? For if it
has been always, it shall also continue to be; but if it has been made, it
shall also be dissolved. And after its dissolution, shall there ever be
anything again, unless, perhaps, silence and forgetfulness? Or perhaps
something shall be which is not possible now to conceive.
CHAP. II.--GOOD OUT OF EVIL.
As I pondered without ceasing these and such like questions--I know not
whence arising--I had such bitter grief, that, becoming pale, I wasted
away; and, what was most terrible, if at any time I wished to drive away
this meditation as unprofitable, my suffering became all the more severe;
and I grieved over this, not knowing that I had a fair inmate, even my
thought, which was to be to me the cause of a blessed immortality, as I
afterwards knew by experience, and gave thanks to God, the Lord of all. For
it was by this thought, which at first afflicted me, that I was compelled
to come to the search and the finding of things; and then I pitied those
whom at first, through ignorance, I ventured to call blessed.
From my boyhood, then, being involved in such reasonings, in order to
learn something definite, I used to resort to the schools of the
philosophers. But nought else did I see than the setting up and the
knocking down of doctrines, and strifes, and seeking for victory, and the
arts of syllogisms, and the skill of assumptions; and sometimes one opinion
prevailed,--as, for example, that the soul is immortal, and sometimes that
it is mortal. If, therefore, at any time the doctrine prevailed that it is
immortal, I was glad; and when the doctrine prevailed that it is mortal, I
was grieved. And again, I was the more disheartened because I could not
establish either doctrine to my satisfaction. However, I perceived that the
opinions on subjects under discussion are taken as true or false, according
to their defenders, and do not appear as they really are. Perceiving,
therefore, now that the acceptance does not depend on the real nature of
the subjects discussed, but that opinions are proved to be true or false,
according to ability of those who defend them, I was still more than ever
at a loss in regard of things. Wherefore I groaned from the depth of my
soul. For neither was I able to establish anything, nor could I shake off
the consideration of such things, though, as I said before, I wished it.
For although I frequently charged myself to be at peace, in some way or
other thoughts on these subjects, accompanied with a feeling of pleasure,
would come into my mind.
CHAP. IV.--MORE PERPLEXITY.
And again, living in doubt, I said to myself, Why do I labour in vain,
when the matter is clear, that if I lose existence when I die, it is not
fitting that I should distress myself now while I do exist? Wherefore I
shall reserve my grief till that day, when, ceasing to exist, I shall not
be affected with grief. But if I am to exist, what does it profit me now to
distress myself gratuitously? And immediately after this another reasoning
assailed me; for I said, Shall I not have something worse to suffer then
than that which distresses me now, if I have not lived piously; and shall I
not be delivered over, according to the doctrines of some philosophers, to
Pyriphlegethon and Tartarus, like Sisyphus, or Tityus, or Ixion, or
Tantalus, and be punished for ever in Hades? But again I replied, saying:
But there are no such things as these. Yet again I said: But if there be?
Therefore, said I, since the matter is uncertain, the safer plan is for me
rather to live piously. But how shall I be able, for the sake of
righteousness, to subdue bodily pleasures, looking, as I do, to an
uncertain hope? But I am neither fully persuaded what is that righteous
thing that is pleasing to God, nor do I know whether the soul is immortal
or mortal. Neither can I find any well-established doctrine, nor can I
abstain from such debatings.
CHAP. V.--A RESOLUTION.
What, then, am I to do, unless this? I shall go into Egypt, and I shall
become friendly with the hierophants of the shrines, and with the prophets;
and I shall seek and find a magician, and persuade him with large bribes to
effect the calling up of a soul, which is called necromancy, as if I were
going to inquire of it concerning some business. And the inquiry shall be
for the purpose of learning whether the soul is immortal. But the answer of
the soul that it is immortal shall not give me the knowledge from its
speaking or my hearing, but only from its being seen; so that, seeing it
with my very eyes, I may have a self-sufficient and fit assurance, from the
very fact of its appearing, that it exists; and never again shall the
uncertain words of hearing be able to overturn the things which the eyes
have made their own. However, I submitted this very plan to a certain
companion who was a philosopher; and he counselled me not to venture upon
it, and that on many accounts. "For if," said he, "the soul shall not
listen to the magician, you will live with an evil conscience, as having
acted against the laws which forbid the doing of these things. But if it
shall listen to him, then, besides your living with an evil conscience, I
think that matters of piety will not be promoted to you on account of your
making this attempt. For they say that the Deity is angry with those who
disturb souls after their release from the body."(1) And I, when I heard
this, became indeed more backward to undertake such a thing, but I did not
abandon my original plan; but I was distressed, as being hindered in the
execution of it.
CHAP. VI.--TIDINGS FROM JUDAEA.
And, not to discuss such matters to you in a long speech, while I was
occupied with such reasonings and doings, a certain report, taking its rise
in the spring-time,(2) in the reign of Tiberius Caesar, gradually grew
everywhere, and ran through the world as truly the good tidings of God,
being unable to stifle the counsel of God in silence. Therefore it
everywhere became greater and louder, saying that a certain One in Judaea,
beginning in the spring season, was preaching to the Jews the kingdom of
the invisible God, and saying that whoever of them would reform his manner
of living should enjoy it. And in order that He might be believed that He
uttered these things full of the Godhead, He wrought many wonderful
miracles and signs by His mere command, as having received power from God.
For He made the deaf to hear, the blind to see, the lame to walk, raised up
the bowed down, drove away every disease, put to flight every demon; and
even scabbed lepers, by only looking on Him from a distance, were sent away
cured by Him; and the dead being brought to Him, were raised; and there was
nothing which He could not do. And as time advanced, so much the greater,
through the arrival of more persons, and the stronger grew--I say not now
the report, but--the truth of the thing; for now at length there were
meetings in various places for consultation and inquiry as to who He might
be that had appeared, and what was His purpose.
CHAP. VII.--THE GOSPEL IN ROME.
And then in the same year, in the autumn season, a certain one,
standing in a public place, cried and said, "Men of Rome, hearken. The Son
of God is come in Judaea, proclaiming eternal life to all who will, if they
shall live according to the counsel of the Father, who hath sent Him.
Wherefore change your manner of life from the worse to the better, from
things temporal to things eternal; for know ye that there is one God, who
is in heaven, whose world ye unrighteously dwell in before His righteous
eyes. But if ye be changed, and live according to His counsel, then, being
born into the other world, and becoming eternal, ye shall enjoy His
unspeakable good things. But if ye be unbelieving, your souls, after. the
dissolution of the body, shall be thrown into the place of fire, where,
being punished eternally, they shall repent of their unprofitable deeds.
For every one, the term of repentance is the present life." I therefore,
when I heard these things, was grieved, because no one among so great
multitudes, hearing such an announcement, said: I shall go into Judaea,
that I may know if this man who tells us these things speaks the truth,
that the Son of God has come into Judaea, for the sake of a good and
eternal hope, revealing the will of the Father who sent Him. For it is no
small matter which they say that He preaches: for He asserts that the souls
of some, being themselves immortal, shall enjoy eternal good things; and
that those of others, being thrown into unquenchable fire, shall be
punished for ever.
CHAP. VIII.--DEPARTURE FROM ROME.
While I spoke thus concerning others, I also lectured myself, saying,
Why do I blame others, being myself guilty of the very same crime of
heedlessness? But I shall hasten into Judaea, having first arranged my
affairs.(1) And when I had thus made up my mind, there occurred a long time
of delay, my worldly affairs being difficult to arrange. Therefore,
meditating further on the nature of life, that by involving(2) men in hope
it lays snares for those who are making haste, yea, and how much time I had
been robbed of while tossed by hopes, and that we men die while thus
occupied, I left all my affairs as they were, and sped to Portus;(3) and
coming to the harbour, and being taken on board a ship, I was borne by
adverse winds to Alexandria instead of Judaea; and being detained there by
stress of weather, I consorted with the philosophers, and told them about
the rumour and the sayings of him who had appeared in Rome. And they
answered that indeed they knew nothing of him who had appeared in Rome; but
concerning Him who was born in Judaea, and who was said by the report to be
the Son of God, they had heard from many who had come from thence, and had
learned respecting all the wonderful things that He did with a word.
CHAP. IX.--PREACHING OF BARNABAS.
And when I said that I wished I could meet. with some one of those who
had seen Him, they immediately brought me to one, saying, "There is one
here who not only is acquainted with Him, but is also of that country, a
Hebrew, by name Barnabas, who says that he himself is one of His disciples;
and hereabouts he resides, and readily announces to those who will the
terms of His promise." Then I went with them; and when I came, I stood
listening to his words with the crowd that stood round him; and I perceived
that he was speaking the truth not with dialectic art, but was setting
forth simply and without preparation what he had heard and seen the
manifested Son of God do and say. And even from the crowd who stood around
him he produced many witnesses of the miracles and discourses which he
CHAP. X.--CAVILS OF THE PHILOSOPHERS.
But while the multitudes were favourably disposed towards the things
that he so artlessly spoke, the philosophers, impelled by their worldly
learning, set upon laughing at him and making sport of him, upbraiding and
reproaching him with excessive presumption, making use of the great armoury
of syllogisms. But he set aside their babbling, and did not enter into
their subtle questioning, but without embarrassment went on with what he
was saying. And then one of them asked, Wherefore it was that a gnat,
although it be so small, and has six feet, has wings also; while an
elephant, the largest of beasts, is wingless, and has but four feet? But
he, after the question had been put, resuming his discourse, which had been
interrupted, as though he had answered the question, resumed his original
discourse, only making use of this preface after each interruption: We have
a commission only to tell you the words and the wondrous doings of Him who
sent us; and instead of logical demonstration, we present to you many
witnesses from amongst yourselves who stand by, whose faces I remember, as
living images. These sufficient testimonies it is left to your choice to
submit to, or to disbelieve.(4) But I shall not cease to declare unto you
what is for your profit; for to be silent were to me a loss, and to
disbelieve is ruin to you. But indeed I could give answers to your
frivolous questions, if you asked them through love of truth. But the
reason of the different structure of the gnat and elephant it is not
fitting to tell to those who are ignorant of the God of all."
CHAP. XI.--CLEMENT'S ZEAL.
When he said this, they all, as in concert, set up a shout of laughter,
trying to silence him and put him out, as a barbarous madman. But I, seeing
this, and seized, I know not how, with enthusiasm, could no longer keep
silence with righteous indignation, but boldly cried out, saying, "Well has
God ordained that His counsel should be incapable of being received by you,
foreseeing you to be unworthy, as appears manifestly to such of those who
are now present as have minds capable of judging. For whereas now heralds
of His counsel have been sent forth, not making a show of grammatical art,
but setting forth His will in simple and inartificial words, so that
whosoever hear can understand what is spoken, and not with any invidious
feeling, as though unwilling to offer it to all; you come here, and besides
your not understanding what is for your advantage, to your own injury you
laugh at the truth, which, to your condemnation, consorts with the
barbarians, and which you will not entertain when it visits you, by reason
of your wickedness and the plainness of its words, lest you be convicted of
being merely lovers of words, and not lovers of truth and lovers of wisdom.
How long will you be learning to speak, who have not the power of
speech?(1) For many sayings of yours are not worth one word. What, then,
will your Grecian multitude say, being of one mind, if, as he says, there
shall be a judgment? "Why, O God, didst Thou not proclaim to us Thy
counsel?" Shall you not, if you be thought worthy of an answer at all, be
told this? "I, knowing before the foundation of the world all characters
that were to be, acted towards each one by anticipation according to his
deserts without making it known;(2) but wishing to give full assurance to
those who have fled to me that this is so, and to explain why from the
beginning, and in the first ages, I did not suffer my counsel to be
publicly proclaimed; I now, in the end of the world,(3) have sent heralds
to proclaim my will, and they are insulted and flouted by those who will
not be benefited, and who wilfully reject my friendship. Oh, great wrong!
The preachers are exposed to danger even to the loss of life,(4) and that
by the men who are called to salvation.
CHAP. XII.--CLEMENT'S REBUKE OF THE PEOPLE.
"And this wrongful treatment of my heralds would have been against all
from the beginning, if from the beginning the unworthy had been called to
salvation. For that which is now done wrongfully by these men serves to the
vindication of my righteous foreknowledge, that it was well that I did not
choose from the beginning to expose uselessly to public contempt the word
which is worthy of honour; but determined to suppress it, as being
honourable, not indeed from those who were worthy from the beginning--for
to them also I imparted it--but from those, and such as those, unworthy, as
you see them to be,--those who hate me, and who will not love themselves.
And now, give over laughing at this man, and hear me with respect to his
announcement, or let any one of the hearers who pleases answer. And do not
bark like vicious dogs, deafening with disorderly clamour the ears of those
who would be saved, ye unrighteous and God-haters, and perverting the
saving method to unbelief. How shall you be able to obtain pardon, who
scorn him who is sent to speak to you of the Godhead of God? And this you
do towards a man whom you ought to have received on account of his good-
will towards you, even if he did not speak truth."
CHAP. XIII.--CLEMENT INSTRUCTED BY BARNABAS.
While I spake these words, and others to the same effect, there arose a
great excitement among the crowd; and some as pitying Barnabas, sympathized
with me; but others, being senseless, terribly gnashed their teeth against
me. But, as the evening had already come, I took Barnabas by the hand, and
by force conducted him, against his will, to my lodging, and constrained
him to remain there, lest some one might lay hands on him. And having spent
several days, and instructed me briefly in the true doctrine, as well as he
could in a few days, he said that he should hasten into Judaea for the
observance of the festival, and also because he wished for the future to
consort with those of his own nation.
CHAP. XIV.--DEPARTURE OF BARNABAS.
But it plainly appeared to me that he was disconcerted. For when I said
to him, "Only set forth to me the words which you have heard of the Man who
has appeared, and I will adorn them with my speech, and preach the counsel
of God; and if you do so, within a few days I will sail with you, for I
greatly desire to go to the land of Judaea, and perhaps I shall dwell with
you all my life;"--when he heard this, he answered: "If you wish to inquire
into our affairs, and to learn what is for your advantage, sail with me at
once. But if you will not, I shall now give you directions to my house, and
that of those whom you wish to meet, that when you choose to come you may
find us. For I shall set out to-morrow for my home?" And when I saw that he
could not be prevailed upon, I went with him as far as the harbour; and
having learned of him the directions which he had promised to give me for
finding the dwellings, I said to him, "Were it not that to-morrow I am to
recover a debt that is due to me, I should straightway set sail with you.
But I shall soon overtake you." And having said this, and having given him
in charge to those who commanded the ship, I returned grieving, remembering
him as an excellent and dear friend.
CHAP. XV.--INTRODUCTION TO PETER.
But having spent same days, and not having been able to recover the
whole debt, for the sake of speed I neglected the balance, as being a
hindrance, and myself also set sail for Judaea, and in fifteen days arrived
at Caesarea Stratonis. And when I had landed, and was seeking for a
lodging, I learned that one named Peter, who was the most esteemed disciple
of the Man who had appeared in Judaea, and had done signs and wonders, was
going to have a verbal controversy next day with Simon, a Samaritan of
Gitthi. When I heard this, I begged to be shown his lodging; and as soon as
I learned it, I stood before the door. And those who were in the house,
seeing me, discussed the question who I was, and whence I had come. And,
behold, Barnabas came out; and as soon as he saw me he embraced me,
rejoicing greatly, and weeping. And he took me by the hand, and conducted
me to where Peter was, saying to me, "This is Peter, of whom I told you as
being the greatest in the wisdom of God, and I have spoken to him of you
continually. Therefore enter freely, for I have told him your excellent
qualities, without falsehood; and, at the same time, have disclosed to him
your intention, so that he himself also is desirous to see you. Therefore I
offer him a great gift when by my hands I present you to him." Thus saying,
he presented me, and said, "This, O Peter, is Clement."
CHAP. XVI.--PETER'S SALUTATION.
Then the blessed man, springing forward as soon as he heard my name,
kissed me; and making me sit down, straightway said, "You acted nobly in
entertaining Barnabas, a herald of the truth, to the honour of the living
God, being magnanimously not ashamed, nor fearing the resentment of the
rude multitude. Blessed shall you be. For as you thus with all honour
entertained the ambassador of the truth, so also truth herself shah
constitute you, who are a stranger, a citizen of her own city. And thus you
shall greatly rejoice, because you have now lent a small favour; I mean the
kindness of good words. You shall be heir of blessings which are both
eternal and cannot possibly be taken from you. And do not trouble yourself
to detail to me your manner of life; for the veracious Barnabas has
detailed to us everything relating to you, making favourable mention of you
almost every day. And in order that I may tell to you briefly, as to a
genuine friend, what is in hand, travel with us, unless anything hinders
you, partaking of the words of truth which I am going to speak from city to
city, as far as Rome itself. And if you wish to say anything, speak on."
CHAP. XVII.--QUESTIONS PROPOUNDED.
Then I set forth my purpose from the beginning, and how I had spent
myself upon difficult questions, and all the things that I disclosed to you
at the outset, so that I need not write the same things again. Then I said,
"I hold myself in readiness to journey with you; for this, I know not how,
I gladly wish. However, I wish first to be convinced concerning the truth,
that I may know whether the soul is mortal or immortal; and whether, if it
is eternal, it is to be judged concerning the things which it hath done
here. Also, whether there is anything that is righteous and well-pleasing
to God; and whether the world was made, and for what end it was made; and
whether it shall be dissolved; and if it shall be dissolved, whether it
shall be made better, or shall not be at all." And not to mention them in
detail, I said that I wished to learn these things, and things consequent
upon these. And to this he answered: "I shall shortly convey to you, O
Clement, the knowledge of the things that are; and even now listen.
CHAP. XVIII.--CAUSES OF IGNORANCE.
"The will of God has been kept in obscurity in many ways. In the first
place, there is evil instruction, wicked association, terrible society,
unseemly discourses, wrongful prejudice. Thereby is error, then
fearlessness, unbelief, fornication, covetousness, vainglory; and ten
thousand other such evils, filling the world as a quantity of smoke fills a
house, have obscured the sight of the men inhabiting the world, and have
not suffered them to look up and become acquainted with God the Creator
from the delineation of Himself which He has given, and to know what is
pleasing to Him. Wherefore it behoves the lovers of truth, crying out
inwardly from their breasts, to call for aid, with truth-loving reason,
that some one living within the house which is filled with smoke may
approach and open the door, so that the light of the sun which is without
may be admitted into the house, and the smoke of the fire which is within
may be driven out.
CHAP. XIX.--THE TRUE PROPHET.
"Now the Man who is the helper I call the true Prophet; and He alone is
able to enlighten the souls of men, so that with our own eyes we may be
able to see the way of eternal salvation. But otherwise it is impossible,
as you also know, since you said a little while ago that every doctrine is
set up and pulled down, and the same is thought true or false, according to
the power of him who advocates it; so that doctrines do not appear as they
are, but take the appearance of being or not being truth or falsehood from
those who advocate them. On this account the whole business of religion
needed a true prophet, that he might tell us things that are, as they are,
and how we must believe concerning all things. So that it is first
necessary to test the prophet by every prophetic sign, and having
ascertained that he is true, thereafter to believe him in every thing, and
not to sit in judgment upon his several sayings, but to receive them as
certain, being accepted indeed by seeming faith, yet by sure judgment. For
by our initial proof, and by strict inquiry on every side, all things are
received with right reason. Wherefore before all things it is necessary to
seek after the true Prophet, because without Him it is impossible that any
certainty can come to men."
CHAP. XX.--PETER'S SATISFACTION WITH CLEMENT.
And, at the same time, he satisfied me by expounding to me who He is,
and how He is found, and holding Him forth to me as truly to be found,
showing that the truth is more manifest to the ear by the discourse of the
prophet than things that are seen with the eye; so that I was astonished,
and wondered that no one sees those things which are sought after by all,
though they lie before him. However, having written this discourse
concerning the Prophet by his order, he caused the volume to be despatched
to you from Caesarea Stratonis, saying that he had a charge from you to
send his discourses and his acts year by year. Thus, on the very first
day, beginning only concerning the prophet of the truth, he confirmed me in
every respect; and then he spoke thus: "Henceforth give heed to the
discussions that take place between me and those on the other side; and
even if I come off at a disadvantage, I am not afraid of your ever doubting
of the truth that has been delivered to you, knowing well that I seem to be
beaten, but not the doctrine that has been delivered to us by the Prophet.
However, I hope not to come off in our inquiries at a disadvantage with men
who have understanding--I mean lovers of truth, who are able to know what
discourses are specious, artificial, and pleasant, and what are
unartificial and simple, trusting only to the truth that is conveyed
CHAP. XXI.--UNALTERABLE CONVICTION.
When he had thus spoken, I answered: "Now do I thank God; for as I
wished to be convinced, so He has vouchsafed to me. However, so far as
concerns me, be you so far without anxiety that I shall never doubt; so
much so, that if you yourself should ever wish to remove me from the
prophetic doctrine, you should not be able, so well do I know what I have
received. And do not think that it is a great thing that I promise you that
I shall never doubt; for neither I myself, nor any man who has heard your
discourse concerning the Prophet, can ever doubt of the true doctrine,
having first heard and understood what is the truth of the prophetic
announcement. Wherefore have confidence in the God-willed dogma; for every
art of wickedness has been conquered. For against prophecy, neither arts of
discourses, nor tricks of sophisms, nor syllogisms, nor any other
contrivance, can prevail anything; that is, if he who has heard the true
Prophet really is desirous of truth, and does not give heed to aught else
under pretext of truth. So that, my lord Peter, be not disconcerted, as
though you bad presented the greatest good to a senseless person; for you
have presented it to one sensible of the favour, and who cannot be seduced
from the truth that has been committed to him. For I know that it is one of
those things which one wishes to receive quickly, and not to attain slowly.
Therefore I know that I should not despise, on account of the quickness
with which I have got it, what has been committed to me, what is
incomparable, and what alone is safe."
When I had thus spoken, Peter said: "I give thanks to God, both for
your salvation and for my satisfaction. For I am truly pleased to know that
you apprehend what is the greatness of prophecy. Since, then, as you say,
if I myself should ever wish--which God forbid--to transfer you to another
doctrine, I shall not be able to persuade you, begin from to-morrow to
attend upon me in the discussions with the adversaries. And to-morrow I
have one with Simon Magus." And having spoken thus, and he himself having
partaken of food in private, he ordered me also to partake; and having
blessed the food, and having given thanks after being satisfied, and having
giving me an account of this matter, he went on to say: "May God grant you
in all things to be made like unto me, and having been baptized, to partake
of the same table with me." And having thus spoken, he enjoined me to go to
rest; for now indeed my bodily nature demanded sleep.
CHAP. I.--PETER'S ATTENDANTS.
Therefore the next day, I Clement, awaking from sleep before dawn, and
learning that Peter was astir, and was conversing with his attendants
concerning the worship of God (there were sixteen of them, and I have
thought good to set forth their names, as I subsequently learned them, that
you may also know who they were. The first of them was Zacchaeus, who was
once a publican, and Sophonias his brother; Joseph and his foster-brother
Michaias; also Thomas and Eliezer the twins; also AEneas and Lazarus the
priests; besides also Elisaeus, and Benjamin the son of Saphrus; as also
Rubilus and Zacharias the builders; and Ananias and Haggaeus the
Jamminians; and Nicetas and Aquila the friends),--accordingly I went in and
saluted him, and at his request sat down.
CHAP. II.--A SOUND MIND IN A SOUND BODY.
And he, breaking off the discourse in which he was engaged, assured me,
by way of apology, why he had not awakened me that I might hear his
discourses, assigning as the reason the discomfort of my voyage. As he
wished this to be dispelled, he had suffered me to sleep. "For," said
he, "whenever the soul is distracted concerning some bodily want, it does
not properly approach the instructions that are presented to it. On this
account I am not willing to converse, either with those who are greatly
grieving through some calamity, or are immoderately angry, or are turned to
the frenzy of love, or are suffering trader bodily exhaustion, or are
distressed with the cares of life, or are harassed with any other
sufferings, whose soul, as I said, being downcast, and sympathizing with
the suffering body, occupies also its own intelligence therewith.
CHAP. III.--FOREWARNED IS FOREARMED.
"And let it not be said, Is it not, then, proper to present comforts
and admonitions to those who are in any bad case? To this I answer, that
if, indeed, any one is able, let him present them; but if not, let him bide
his time. For I know that all things have their proper season. Wherefore
it is proper to ply men with words which strengthen the soul in
anticipation of evil; so that, if at any time any evil comes upon them, the
mind, being forearmed with the right argument, may be able to bear up under
that which befalls it: for then the mind knows in the crisis of the
struggle to have recourse to him who succoured it by good counsel.
CHAP. IV.--A REQUEST.
"However, I have learned, O Clement, how that in Alexandria Barnabas
perfectly expounded to you the word respecting prophecy. Was it not so?" I
answered, "Yes, and exceeding well." Then Peter: "Therefore it is not
necessary now to occupy with the instructions which you know, the time
which may serve us for other instructions which you do not know." Then said
I: "You have rightly said, O Peter. But vouchsafe this to me, who purpose
always to attend upon you, continuously to expound to me, a delighted
hearer, the doctrine of the Prophet. For, apart from Him, as I learned from
Barnabas, it is impossible to learn the truth."
CHAP. V.--EXCELLENCE OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUE PROPHET.
And Peter, being greatly pleased with this, answered: "Already hath the
rectifying process taken its end, as regards you, knowing as you do the
greatness of the infallible prophecy, without which it is impossible for
any one to receive that which is supremely profitable. For of many and
diverse blessings which are in the things which are or which may be, the
most blessed of all--whether it be eternal life, or perpetual health, or a
perfect understanding, or light, or joy, or immortality, or whatever else
there is or that can be supremely good in the nature of things--cannot be
possessed without first knowing things as they are; and this knowledge
cannot be otherwise obtained than by first becoming acquainted with the
Prophet of the truth.
CHAP. VI.--THE TRUE PROPHET.
"Now the Prophet of the truth is He who always knows all things--things
past as they were, things present as they are, things future as they shall
be; sinless, merciful, alone entrusted with the declaration of the truth.
Read, and you shall find that those were deceived who thought that they
had found the truth of themselves. For this is peculiar to the Prophet, to
declare the truth, even as it is peculiar to the sun to bring the clay.
Wherefore, as many as have even desired to know the truth, but have not had
the good fortune to learn it from Him, have not found it, but have died
seeking it. For how can he find the truth who seeks it from his own
ignorance? And even if he find it, he does not know it, and passes it by as
if it were not. Nor yet shall he be able to obtain possession of the truth
from another, who, in like manner, promises to him knowledge from
ignorance; excepting only the knowledge of morality and things of that
sort, which can be known through reason, which affords to every one the
knowledge that he ought not to wrong another, through his not wishing
himself to be wronged.
CHAP. VII.--UNAIDED QUEST OF TRUTH PROFITLESS.
"All therefore who ever sought the truth, trusting to themselves to be
able to find it, fell into a snare. This is what both the philosophers of
the Greeks, and the more intelligent of the barbarians, have suffered. For,
applying themselves to things visible, they have given decisions by
conjecture on things not apparent, thinking that that was truth which at
any time presented itself to them as such. For, like persons who know the
truth, they, still seeking the truth, reject some of the suppositions that
are presented to them, and lay hold of others, as if they knew, while they
do not know, what things are true and what are false. And they dogmatize
concerning truth, even those who are seeking after truth, not knowing that
he who seeks truth cannot learn it from his own wandering. For not even, as
I said, can he recognise her when she stands by him, since he is
unacquainted with her.
CHAP. VIII.--TEST OF TRUTH.
"And it is by no means that which is true, but that which is pleasing,
which persuades every one who seeks to learn from himself. Since,
therefore, one thing is pleasing to one, and another to another, one thing
prevails over one as truth, and another thing over another. But the truth
is that which is approved by the Prophet, not that which is pleasant to
each individual. For that which is one would be many, if the pleasing were
the true; which is impossible. Wherefore also the Grecian philologers--
rather than philosophers--going about matters by conjectures, have
dogmatized much and diversely, thinking that the apt sequence of hypotheses
is truth, not knowing that when they have assigned to themselves false
beginnings, their conclusion has corresponded with the beginning.
CHAP. IX.--"THE WEAK THINGS OF THE WORLD."
"Whence a man ought to pass by all else, and commit himself to the
Prophet of the truth alone. And we are all able to judge of Him, whether he
is a prophet, even although we be wholly unlearned, and novices in
sophisms, and unskilled in geometry, and uninitiated in music. For God, as
caring for all, has made the discovery concerning Himself easier to all, in
order that neither the barbarians might be powerless, nor the Greeks unable
to find Him. Therefore the discovery concerning Him is easy; and thus it
CHAP. X.--TEST OF THE PROPHET.
"If he is a Prophet, and is able to know how the world was made, and
the things that are in it, and the things that shall be to the end, if He
has foretold us anything, and we have ascertained that it has been
perfectly accomplished, we easily believe that the things shall be which He
says are to be, from the things that have been already; we believe Him, I
say, as not only knowing, but foreknowing. To whom then, however limited an
understanding he may have, does it not appear, that it behoves us, with
respect to the things that are pleasing to God, to believe beyond all
others Him who beyond all men knows, even though He has not learned?
Wherefore, if any one should be unwilling to concede the power of knowing
the truth to such an one--I mean to Him who has foreknowledge through the
divinity of the Spirit that is in Him--conceding the power of knowing to
any one else, is he not void of understanding, in conceding to him who is
no prophet, that power of knowing which he would not concede to the
CHAP. XI.--IGNORANCE, KNOWLEDGE, FOREKNOWLEDGE.
"Wherefore, before all things, we must test the Prophet with all
judgment by means of the prophetic promise; and having ascertained Him to
be the Prophet, we must undoubtingly follow the other words of His
teaching; and having confidence concerning things hoped for, we must
conduct ourselves according to the first judgment, knowing that He who
tells us these things has not a nature to lie. Wherefore, if any of the
things that are afterwards spoken by Him do not appear to us to be well
spoken, we must know that it is not that it has been spoken amiss, but that
it is that we have not conceived it aright. For ignorance does not judge
knowledge, and so neither is knowledge competent truly to judge
foreknowledge; but foreknowledge affords knowledge to the ignorant.
CHAP. XII.--DOCTRINE OF THE TRUE PROPHET.
"Hence, O beloved Clement, if you would know the things pertaining to
God, you have to learn them from Him alone, because He alone knows the
truth. For if any one else knows anything, he has received it from Him or
from His disciples. And this is His doctrine and true proclamation, that
there is one God, whose work the world is; who being altogether righteous,
shall certainly at some time render to every one according to his deeds.
CHAP. XIII.--FUTURE REWARDS AND PUNISHMENTS.
"For there is every necessity, that he who says that God is by His
nature righteous, should believe also that the souls of men are immortal:
for where would be His justice, when some, having lived piously, have been
evil-treated, and sometimes violently cut off, while others who have been
wholly impious, and have indulged in luxurious living, have died the common
death of men? Since therefore, without all contradiction, God who is good
is also just, He shall not otherwise be known to be just, unless the soul
after its separation from the body be immortal, so that the wicked man,
being in hell, as having here received his good things, may there be
punished for his sins; and the good man, who has been punished here for his
sins, may then, as in the bosom of the righteous, be constituted an heir of
good things. Since therefore God is righteous, it is fully evident to us
that there is a judgment, and that souls are immortal.
CHAP. XIV.--RIGHTEOUSNESS AND UNRIGHTEOUSNESS.
"But if any one, according to the opinion of this Simon the Samaritan,
will not admit that God is just, to whom then can any one ascribe justice,
or the possibility of it? For if the Root of all have it not, there is
every necessity to think that it must be impossible to find it in human
nature, which, is, as it were, the fruit. And if it is to be found in man,
how much more in God! But if righteousness can be found nowhere, neither in
God nor in man, then neither can unrighteousness. But there is such a thing
as righteousness, for unrighteousness takes its name from the existence of
righteousness; for it is called unrighteousness, when righteousness is
compared with it, and is found to be opposite to it.
"Hence therefore God, teaching men with respect to the truth of
existing things, being: Himself one, has distinguished all principles into
pairs and opposites, Himself being one and sole God from the beginning,
having made heaven and earth, day and night, light and fire, sun and moon,
life and death. But man alone amongst these He made self-controlling,
having a fitness to be either righteous or unrighteous. To him also he hath
varied the figures of combinations, placing before him small things first,
and great ones afterwards, such as the world and eternity. But the world
that now is, is temporary; that which shall be, is eternal. First is
ignorance, then knowledge. So also has He arranged the leaders of prophecy.
For, since the present world is female, as a mother bringing forth the
souls of her children, but the world to come is male, as a father receiving
his children from their mother, therefore in this world there come a
succession of prophets, as being sons of the world to come, and having
knowledge of men. And if pious men had understood this mystery, they would
never have gone astray, but even now they should have known that Simon, who
now enthralls all men, is a fellow-worker of error and deceit. Now, the
doctrine of the prophetic rule is as follows.
CHAP. XVI.--MAN'S WAYS OPPOSITE TO GOD'S.
"As in the beginning God, who is one, like a right hand and a left,
made the heavens first and then the earth, so also He constituted all the
combinations in order; but upon men He no more does this, but varies all
the combinations. For whereas from Him the greater things come first, and
the inferior second, we find the opposite in men--the first worse, and the
second superior. Therefore from Adam, who was made after the image of God,
there sprang first the unrighteous Cain, and then the righteous Abel.
Again, from him who amongst you is called Deucalion, two forms of
spirits were sent forth, the impure namely, and the pure, first the black
raven, and then the white dove. From Abraham also, the patriarchs of our
nation, two firsts sprang--Ishmael first, then Isaac, who was blessed of
God. And from Isaac himself, in like manner, there were again two--Esau the
profane, and Jacob the pious. So, first in birth, as the first born in the
world, was the high priest Aaron, then the lawgiver Moses.
CHAP. XVII.--FIRST THE WORSE, THEN THE BETTER.
"In like manner, the combination with respect to Elias, which behoved
to have come, has been willingly put off to another time, having determined
to enjoy it conveniently hereafter. Wherefore, also, he who was among
those born of woman came first; then he who was among the sons of men came
second It were possible, following this order, to perceive to what series
Simon belongs, who came before me to the Gentiles, and to which I belong
who have come after him, and have come in upon him as light upon darkness,
as knowledge upon ignorance, as healing upon disease. And thus, as the true
Prophet has told us, a false prophet must first come from some deceiver;
and then, in like manner, after the removal of the holy place, the true
Gospel must be secretly sent abroad for the rectification of the heresies
that shall be. After this, also, towards the end, Antichrist must first
come, and then our Jesus must be revealed to be indeed the Christ; and
after this, the eternal light having sprung up, all the things of darkness
CHAP. XVIII.--MISTAKE ABOUT SIMON MAGUS.
"Since, then, as I said, some men do not know the rule of combination,
thence they do not know who is my precursor Simon. For if he were known, he
would not be believed; but now, not being known, he is improperly believed;
and though his deeds are those of a hater, he is loved; and though an
enemy, he is received as a friend; and though he be death, he is desired as
a saviour; and though fire, he is esteemed as light; and though a deceiver,
he is believed as a speaker of truth."
Then I Clement, when I heard this, said, "Who then, I pray you, is this
who is such a deceiver? I should like to be informed." Then said Peter: "If
you wish to learn, it is in your power to know it from those from whom I
also got accurate information on all points respecting him.
CHAP. XIX.--JUSTA, A PROSELYTE.
"There is amongst us one Justa, a Syro-Phoenician, by race a Canaanite,
whose daughter was oppressed with a grievous disease. And she came to
our Lord, crying out, and entreating that He would heal her daughter. But
He, being asked also by us, said, 'It is not lawful to heal the Gentiles,
who are like to dogs on account of their using various meats and
practices, while the table in the kingdom has been given to the sons of
Israel.' But she, hearing this, and begging to partake like a dog of the
crumbs that fall from this table, having changed what she was, by living
like the sons of the kingdom, she obtained healing for her daughter, as she
asked. For she being a Gentile, and remaining in the same course of life,
He would not have healed had she remained a Gentile, on account of its not
being lawful to heal her as a Gentile.
CHAP. XX.--DIVORCED FOR THE FAITH.
"She, therefore, having taken up a manner of life according to the law,
was, with the daughter who had been healed, driven out from her home by her
husband, whose sentiments were opposed to ours. But she, being faithful to
her engagements, and being in affluent circumstances, remained a widow
herself, but gave her daughter in marriage to a certain man who was
attached to the true faith, and who was poor. And, abstaining from marriage
for the sake of her daughter, she bought two boys and educated them, and
had them in place of sons. And they being educated from their boyhood with
Simon Magus, have learned all things concerning him. For such was their
friendship, that they were associated with him in all things in which he
wished to unite with them.
CHAP. XXI.--JUSTA'S ADOPTED SONS, ASSOCIATES
"These men having fallen in with Zacchaeus, who sojourned here, and
having received the word of truth from him, and having repented of their
former innovations, and immediately denouncing Simon as being privy with
him in all things, as soon as I came to sojourn here, they came to me with
their foster-mother, being presented to me by him, Zacchaeus, and ever
since they continue with me, enjoying instructions in the truth." When
Peter had said this, he sent for them, and charged them that they should
accurately relate to me all things concerning Simon. And they, having
called God to witness that in nothing they would falsify, proceeded with
CHAP. XXII.--DOCTRINES OF SIMON.
First Aquila began to speak in this wise: "Listen, O dearest brother,
that you may know accurately everything about this man, whose he is, and
what, and whence; and what the things are which he does, and how and why he
does them. This Simon is the son of Antonius and Rachel, a Samaritan by
race, of the village of Gitthae, which is six schoeni distant from the
city. He having disciplined himself greatly in Alexandria, and being
very powerful in magic, and being ambitious, wishes to be accounted a
certain supreme power, greater even than the God who created the world. And
sometimes intimating that he is Christ, he styles himself the Standing
One. And this epithet he employs, as intimating that he shall always
stand, and as not having any cause of corruption so that his body should
fall. And he neither says that the God who created the world is the
Supreme, nor does he believe that the dead will be raised. He rejects
Jerusalem, and substitutes Mount Gerizzim for it. Instead of our Christ, he
proclaims himself. The things of the lair he explains by his own
presumption; and he says, indeed, that there is to be a judgment, but he
does not expect it. For if he were persuaded that he shall be judged by
God, he would not dare be impious towards God Himself. Whence some not
knowing that, using religion as a cloak, he spoils the things of the truth,
and faithfully believing the hope and the judgment which in some way he
says are to be, are ruined.
CHAP. XXIII.--SIMON A DISCIPLE OF THE BAPTIST.
"But that he came to deal with the doctrines of religion happened on
this wise. There was one John, a day-baptist, who was also, according to
the method of combination, the forerunner of our Lord Jesus; and as the
Lord had twelve apostles, bearing the number of the twelve months of the
sun, so also he, John, had thirty chief men, fulfilling the monthly
reckoning of the moon, in which number was a certain woman called
Helena, that not even this might be without a dispensational
significance. For a woman, being half a man, made up the imperfect number
of the triacontad; as also in the case of the moon, whose revolution does
not make the complete course of the month. But of these thirty, the
first and the most esteemed by John was Simon; and the reason of his not
being chief after the death of John was as follows:--
CHAP. XXIV.--ELECTIONEERING STRATAGEMS.
"He being absent in Egypt for the practice of magic, and John being
killed, Dositheus desiring the leadership, falsely gave out that Simon
was dead, and succeeded to the seat. But Simon, returning not long after,
and strenuously holding by the place as his own, when he met with Dositheus
did not demand the place, knowing that a man who has attained power beyond
his expectations cannot be removed from it. Wherefore with pretended
friendship he gives himself for a while to the second place, under
Dositheus. But taking his place after a few days among the thirty fellow-
disciples, he began to malign Dositheus as not delivering the instructions
correctly. And this he said that he did, not through unwillingness to
deliver them correctly, but through ignorance. And on one occasion,
Dositheus, perceiving that this artful accusation of Simon was dissipating
the opinion of him with respect to many, so that they did not think that he
was the Standing One, came in a rage to the usual place of meeting, and
finding Simon, struck him with a staff. But it seemed to pass through the
body of Simon as if he had been smoke. Thereupon Dositheus, being
confounded, said to him, 'If you are the Standing One, I also will worship
you.' Then Simon said that he was; and Dositheus, knowing that he himself
was not the Standing One, fell down and worshipped; and associating himself
with the twenty-nine chiefs, he raised Simon to his own place of repute;
and thus, not many days after, Dositheus himself, while he (Simon) stood,
fell down and died.
CHAP. XXV.--SIMON'S DECEIT.
"But Simon is going about in company with Helena, and even till now, as
you see, is stirring up the people. And he says that he has brought down
this Helena from the highest heavens to the world; being queen, as the all-
bearing being, and wisdom, for whose sake, says he, the Greeks and
barbarians fought, having before their eyes but an image of truth; for
she, who really is the truth, was then with the chiefest god. Moreover, by
cunningly explaining certain things of this sort, made up from Grecian
myths, he deceives many; especially as he performs many signal marvels, so
that if we did not know that he does these things by magic, we ourselves
should also have been deceived. But whereas we were his fellow-labourers at
the first, so long as be did such things without doing wrong to the
interests of religion; now that he has madly begun to attempt to deceive
those who are religious, we have withdrawn from him.
CHAP. XXVI.--HIS WICKEDNESS.
"For he even began to commit murder? as himself disclosed to us, as a
friend to friends, that, having separated the soul of a child from its own
body by horrid incantations, as his assistant for the exhibition of
anything that he pleased, and having drawn the likeness of the boy, he has
it set up in the inner room where he sleeps, saying that he once formed the
boy of air, by divine arts, and having painted his likeness, he gave him
back again to the air. And he explains that he did the deed thus. He says
that the first soul of man, being turned into the nature of heat, drew to
itself, and sucked in the surrounding air, after the fashion of a gourd;
and then that he changed it into water, when it was within the form of the
spirit; and he said that he changed into the nature of blood the air that
was in it, which could not be poured out on account of the consistency of
the spirit, and that he made the blood solidified into flesh; then, the
flesh being thus consolidated, that he exhibited a man not made from earth,
but from air. And thus, having persuaded himself that he was able to make a
new sort of man, he said that he reversed the changes, and again restored
him to the air. And when he told this to others, he was believed; but by us
who were present at his ceremonies he was religiously disbelieved.
Wherefore we denounced his impieties, and withdrew from him."
CHAP. XXVII.--HIS PROMISES.
When Aquila had thus spoken, his brother Nicetas said: "It is
necessary, O Clement our brother, for me to mention what has been left out
by Aquila. For, in the first place, God is witness that we assisted him in
no impious work, but that we looked on while he wrought; and as long as he
did harmless things, and exhibited them, we were also pleased. But when, in
order to deceive the godly, he said that he did, by means of godhead, the
things that were done by magic, we no longer endured him, though he made us
many promises, especially that our statues should be thought worthy of a
place in the temple, and that we should be thought to be gods, and
should be worshipped by the multitude, and should be honoured by kings, and
should be thought worthy of public honours, and enriched with boundless
CHAP. XXVIII.--FRUITLESS COUNSEL.
"These things, and things reckoned greater than these, he promised us,
on condition only that we should associate with him, and keep silence as to
the wickedness of his undertaking, so that the scheme of his deceit might
succeed. But still we would not consent, but even counselled him to desist
from such madness, saying to him: ' We, O Simon, remembering our friendship
towards you from our childhood, and out of affection for you, give you good
counsel. Desist from this attempt. You cannot be a God. Fear Him who is
really God. Know that you are a man, and that the time of your life is
short; and though you should get great riches, or even become a king, few
things accrue to the short time of your life for enjoyment, and things
wickedly gotten soon flee away, and procure everlasting punishment for the
adventurer. Wherefore we counsel you to fear God, by whom the soul of every
one must be judged for the deeds that he hath done here.'
CHAP. XXIX.--IMMORTALITY OF THE SOUL.
"When he heard this he laughed; and when we asked him why he laughed at
us for giving him good counsel, he answered: 'I laugh at your foolish
supposition, because you believe that the soul of man is immortal.' Then I
said: ' We do not wonder, O Simon, at your attempting to deceive us, but we
are confounded at the way in which you deceive even yourself. Tell me, O
Simon, even if no one else has been fully convinced that the soul is
immortal, at all events you and we ought to be so: you as having separated
one from a human body, and conversed with it, and laid your commands upon
it; and we as having been present, and heard your commands, and clearly
witnessed the performance of what was ordered.' Then said Simon: 'I know
what you mean; but you know nothing of the matters concerning which you
reason.' Then said Nicetas: ' If you know, speak; but if you do not know,
do not suppose that we can be deceived by your saying that you know, and
that we do not. For we are not so childish, that you can sow in us a shrewd
suspicion that we should think that you know some unutterable things, and
so that you should take and hold us in subjection, by holding us in
restraint through means of desire.'
CHAP. XXX.--AN ARGUMENT.
"Then Simon said: 'I am aware that you know that I separated a soul
from a human body; but I know that you are ignorant that it is not the soul
of the dead person that ministers to me, for it does not exist; but a
certain demon works, pretending to be the soul.' Then said Nicetas: 'Many
incredible things we have heard in our lifetime, but aught more senseless
than this speech we do not expect ever to hear. For if a demon pretends to
be the soul of the dead person, what is the use of the soul at all, that it
should be separated from the body? Were I not we ourselves present and
heard you conjuring the soul from the body? And how comes it that, when one
is conjured, another who is not conjured obeys, as if it were frightened?
And you yourself, when at any time we have asked you why the conferences
sometimes cease, did not you say that the soul, having fulfilled the time
upon earth which it was to have passed in the body, goes to Hades? And you
added, that the souls of those who commit suicide are not easily permitted
to come, because, having gone home into Hades, they are guarded.'"
CHAP. XXXI.--A DILEMMA.
Nicetas having thus spoken, Aquila himself in turn said: "This only
should I wish to learn of you, Simon, whether it is the soul or whether it
is a demon that is conjured: what is it afraid of, that it does not despise
the conjuration? Then Simon said: 'It knows that it should suffer
punishment if it were disobedient.' Then said Aquila: 'Therefore, if the
soul comes when conjured, there is also a judgment. If, therefore, souls
are immortal, assuredly there is also a judgment. As you say, then, that
those which are conjured on wicked business are punished if they disobey,
how are you not afraid to compel them, when those that are compelled are
punished for disobedience? For it is not wonderful that you do not already
suffer for your doings, seeing the judgment has not yet come, when you are
to suffer the penalty of those deeds which you have compelled others to do,
and when that which has been done under compulsion shall be pardoned, as
having been out of respect for the oath which led to the evil action.'
And he hearing this was enraged, and threatened death to us if we did not
keep silence as to his doings."
CHAP. XXXII.--SIMON'S PRODIGIES.
Aquila having thus spoken, I Clement inquired: "What, then, are the
prodigies that he works?" And they told me that he makes statues walk, and
that he rolls himself on the fire, and is not burnt; and sometimes he
flies; and he makes loaves of stones; he becomes a serpent; he transforms
himself into a goat; he becomes two-faced; he changes himself into gold; he
opens lockfast gates; he melts iron; at banquets he produces images of all
manner of forms. In his house he makes dishes be seen as borne of
themselves to wait upon him, no bearers being seen. I wondered when I heard
them speak thus; but many bore witness that they had been present, and had
seen such things.
CHAP. XXXIII.--DOCTRINE OF PAIRS.
These things having been thus spoken, the excellent Peter himself also
proceeded to speak: "You must perceive, brethren. the truth of the rule
of conjunction, from which he who departs not cannot be misled. For since,
as we have said, we see all things in pairs and contraries, and as the
night is first, and then the day; and first ignorance, then knowledge;
first disease, then healing, so the things of error come first into our
life, then truth supervenes, as the physician upon the disease. Therefore
straightway, when our God-loved nation was about to be ransomed from the
oppression of the Egyptians, first diseases were produced by means of the
rod turned into a serpent, which was given to Aaron, and then remedies were
superinduced by the prayers of Moses. And now also, when the Gentiles are
about to be ransomed from the superstition with respect to idols,
wickedness, which reigns over them, has by anticipation sent forth her ally
like another serpent, even this Simon whom you see, who works wonders to
astonish and deceive, not signs of healing to convert and save. Wherefore
it behoves you also from the miracles that are done to judge the doers,
what is the character of the performer, and what that of the deed. If he do
unprofitable miracles, he is the agent of wickedness; but if he do
profitable things, he is a leader of goodness.
CHAP. XXXIV.--USELESS AND PHILANTHROPIC MIRACLES.
"Those, then, are useless signs, which you say that Simon did. But I
say that the making statues walk, and rolling himself on burning coals, and
becoming a dragon, and being changed into a goat, and flying in the air,
and all such things, not being for the healing of man, are of a nature to
deceive many. But the miracles of compassionate truth are philanthropic,
such as you have heard that the Lord did, and that I after Him accomplish
by my prayers; at which most of you have been present, some being freed
from all kinds of diseases, and some from demons, some having their hands
restored, and some their feet, some recovering their eyesight, and some
their hearing, and whatever else a man can do, being of a philanthropic
CHAP. XXXV.--DISCUSSION POSTPONED.
When Peter had thus spoken, towards dawn Zacchaeus entered and saluted
us, and said to Peter: "Simon puts off the inquiry till to-morrow; for to-
day is his Sabbath, which occurs at intervals of eleven days." To him Peter
answered: "Say to Simon, Whenever thou wishest; and know thou that we are
always in readiness to meet thee, by divine providence, when thou
desirest." And Zacchaeus hearing this, went out to return the answer.
CHAP. XXXVI.--ALL FOR THE BEST.
But he (Peter) saw me disheartened, and asked the reason; and being
told that it proceeded from no cause but the postponement of the
inquiry, he said: "He who has apprehended that the world is regulated by
the good providence of God, O beloved Clement, is not vexed by things
howsoever occurring, considering that things take their course
advantageously under the providence of the Ruler. Whence, knowing that He
is just, and living with a good conscience, he knows how by right reason to
shake off from his soul any annoyance that befalls him, because, when
complete, it must come to some unknown good. Now then, let not Simon the
magician's postponement of the inquiry grieve you; for perhaps it has
happened from the providence of God for your profit. Wherefore I shall not
scruple to speak to you as being my special friend.
CHAP. XXXVII.--SPIES IN THE ENEMY'S CAMP.
"Some of our people attend feignedly upon Simon as companions, as if
they were persuaded by his most atheistic error, in order that they may
learn his purpose and disclose it to us, so that we may be able to
encounter this terrible man on favourable terms. And now I have learned
from them what arguments he is going to employ in the discussion. And
knowing this, I give thanks to God on the one hand, and I congratulate you
on the other, on the postponement of the discussion; for you, being
instructed by me before the discussion, of the arguments that are to be
used by him for the destruction of the ignorant, will be able to listen
without danger of falling.
CHAP. XXXVIII.--CORRUPTION OF THE LAW.
"For the Scriptures have had joined to them many falsehoods against God
on this account. The prophet Moses having by the order of God delivered the
law, with the explanations, to certain chosen men, some seventy in number,
in order that they also might instruct such of the people as chose, after a
little the written law had added to it certain falsehoods contrary to the
law of God, who made the heaven and the earth, and all things in them;
the wicked one having dared to work this for some righteous purpose. And
this took place in reason and judgment, that those might be convicted who
should dare to listen to the things written against God, and those who,
through love towards Him, should not only disbelieve the things spoken
against Him, but should not even endure to hear them at all, even if they
should happen to be true, judging it much safer to incur danger with
respect to religious faith, than to live with an evil conscience on account
of blasphemous words.
"Simon, therefore, as I learn, intends to come into public, and to
speak of those chapters against God that are added to the Scriptures, for
the sake of temptation, that he may seduce as many wretched ones as he can
from the love of God. For we do not wish to say in public that these
chapters are added to the Bible, since we should thereby perplex the
unlearned multitudes, and so accomplish the purpose of this wicked Simon.
For they not having yet the power of discerning, would flee from us as
impious; or, as if not only the blasphemous chapters were false, they would
even withdraw from the word. Wherefore we are under a necessity of
assenting to the false chapters, and putting questions in return to him
concerning them, to draw him into a strait, and to give in private an
explanation of the chapters that are spoken against God to the well-
disposed after a trial of their faith; and of this there is but one way,
and that a brief one. It is this.]
CHAP. XL.--PRELIMINARY INSTRUCTION.
"Everything that is spoken or written against God is false. But that we
say this truly, not only for the sake of reputation, but for the sake of
truth, I shall convince you when my discourse has proceeded a little
further. Whence you, my most beloved Clement, ought not to be sorry at
Simon's having interposed a day between this and the discussion. For to-
day, before the discussion, you shall be instructed concerning the chapters
added to the Scriptures; and then in the discussion concerning the only one
and good God, the Maker also of the world, you ought not to be distracted.
But in the discussion you will even wonder how impious men, overlooking the
multitudes of things that are spoken in the Scriptures for God, and looking
at those that are spoken against Him, gladly bring these forward; and thus
the hearers, by reason of ignorance, believing the things against God,
become outcasts from His kingdom. Wherefore you, by advantage of the
postponement, learning the mystery of the Scriptures, and gaining the means
of not sinning against God, will incomparably rejoice."
CHAP. XLI.--ASKING FOR INFORMATION, NOT CONTRADICTION.
Then I Clement, hearing this, said: "Truly I rejoice, and I give thanks
to God, who in all things doeth well. However, he knows that I shall be
able to think nothing other than that all things are for God. Wherefore do
not suppose that I ask questions, as doubting the words concerning God,
or those that are to be spoken, but rather that I may learn, and so be able
myself to instruct another who is ingenuously willing to learn. Wherefore
tell me what are the falsehoods added to the Scriptures, and how it comes
that they are really false." Then Peter answered: "Even although you had
not asked me, I should have gone on in order, and afforded you the
exposition of these matters, as I promised. Learn, then, how the Scriptures
misrepresent Him in many respects, that you may know when you. happen upon
CHAP. XLII.--RIGHT NOTIONS OF GOD ESSENTIAL TO HOLINESS.
"But what I am going to tell you will be sufficient by way of example.
But I do not think, my dear Clement, that any one who possesses ever so
little love to God and ingenuousness, will be able to take in, or even to
hear, the things that are spoken against Him. For how is it that he can
have a monarchic soul, and be holy, who supposes that there are many
gods, and not one only? But even if there be but one, who will cherish zeal
to be holy, that finds in Him many defects, since he will hope that the
Beginning of all things, by reason of the defects of his own nature, will
not visit the crimes of others?
CHAP. XLIII.--A PRIORI ARGUMENT ON THE DIVINE ATTRIBUTES.
"Wherefore, far he it from us to believe that the Lord of all, who made
the heaven and the earth, and all things that are in them, shares His
government with others, or that He lies. For if He lies, then who speaks
truth? Or that He makes experiments as in ignorance; for then who
foreknows? And if He deliberates, and changes His purpose, who is perfect
in understanding and permanent in design? If He envies, who is above
rivalry? If He hardens hearts, who makes wise? If He makes blind and deaf,
who has given sight and hearing? If He commits pilfering, who administers
justice? If He mocks, who is sincere? If He is weak, who is omnipotent? If
He is unjust, who is just? If He makes evil things, who shall make good
things? If He does evil, who shall do good?
CHAP. XLIV.--THE SAME CONTINUED.
"But if He desires the fruitful hill, whose then are all things? If
He is false, who then is true? If He dwells in a tabernacle, who is without
bounds? If He is fond of fat, and sacrifices, and offerings, and drink-
offerings, who then is without need, and who is holy, and pure, and
perfect? If He is pleased with candles and candlesticks, who then placed
the luminaries in heaven? If He dwells in shadow, and darkness, and storm,
and smoke, who is the light that lightens the universe? If He comes with
trumpets, and shoutings, and darts, and arrows, who is the looked-for
tranquillity of all? If He loves war, who then wishes peace? If He makes
evil things, who makes good things? If He is without affection, who is a
lover of men? If He is not faithful to His promises, who shall be trusted?
If He loves the wicked, and adulterers, and murderers, who shall be a just
judge? If He changes His mind, who is stedfast? If He chooses evil men, who
then takes the part of the good?
CHAP. XLV.--HOW GOD IS TO BE THOUGHT OF.
"Wherefore, Clement, my son, beware of thinking otherwise of God, than
that He is the only God, and Lord, and Father, good and righteous, the
Creator, long-suffering, merciful, the sustainer, the benefactor, ordaining
love of men, counselling purity, immortal and making immortal,
incomparable, dwelling in the souls of the good, that cannot be contained
and yet is contained, who has fixed the great world as a centre in
space, who has spread out the heavens and solidified the earth, who has
stored up the water, who has disposed the stars in the sky, who has made
the fountains flow in the earth, has produced faults, has raised up
mountains, hath set bounds to the sea, has ordered winds and blasts, who by
the spirit of counsel has kept safely the body comprehended in a boundless
CHAP. XLVI.--JUDGMENT TO COME.
"This is our Judge, to whom it behoves us to look. and to regulate our
own souls, thinking all things in His favour, speaking well of Him,
persuaded that by His long-suffering He brings to light the obstinacy of
all, and is alone good. And He, at the end of all, shall sit as a just
Judge upon every one of those who have attempted what they ought not."
CHAP. XLVII.--A PERTINENT QUESTION.
When I Clement heard this, I said, "Truly, this is a godliness; truly
this is piety." And again I said: "I would learn, therefore, why the Bible
has written anything of this sort? For I remember that you said that it was
for the conviction of those who should dare to believe anything that was
spoken against God. But since you permit us, we venture to ask, at your
command: If any one, most beloved Peter, should choose to say to us, 'The
Scriptures are true, although to you the things spoken against God seem to
be false,' how should we answer him?"
CHAP. XLVIII--A PARTICULAR CASE.
Then Peter answered: "You speak well in your inquiry; for it will be
for your safety. Therefore listen: Since there are many things that are
spoken by the Scriptures against God, as time presses on account of the
evening, ask with respect to any one matter that you please, and I will
explain it, showing that it is false, not only because it is spoken against
God, but because it is really false." Then I answered: "I wish to learn
how, when the Scriptures say that God is ignorant, you can show that He
CHAP. XLIX.--REDUCTIO AD ABSURDUM.
Then Peter answered: "You have presented us with a matter that can
easily be answered. However, listen, how God is ignorant of nothing, but
even foreknows. But first answer me what I ask of you. He who wrote the
Bible, and told how the world was made, and said that God does not
foreknow, was he a man or not?" Then I said: "He was a man." Then Peter
answered: "How, then, was it possible for him, being a man, to know
assuredly how the world was made, and that God does not foreknow?"
CHAP. L.--A SATISFACTORY ANSWER.
Then I, already perceiving the explanation, smiled, and said that he
was a prophet. And Peter said: "If, then, he was a prophet, being a man, he
was ignorant of nothing, by reason of his having received foreknowledge
from God; how then, should He, who gave to man the gift of foreknowledge,
being God, Himself be ignorant?" And I said: "You have spoken rightly."
Then Peter said: "Come with me one step further. It being acknowledged by
us that God foreknows all things, there is every necessity that the
scriptures are false which say that He is ignorant, and those are true
which say that He knows." Then said I: "It must needs be so."
CHAP. LI.--WEIGH IN THE BALANCE.
Then Peter said: "If, therefore, some of the Scriptures arc true and
some false, with good reason said our Master, ' Be ye good money-
changers,' inasmuch as in the Scriptures there are some true sayings and
some spurious. And to those who err by reason of the false scriptures He
fitly showed the cause of their error, saying, 'Ye do therefore err, not
knowing the true things of the Scriptures; for this reason ye are
ignorant also of the power of God.'" Then said I: "You have spoken very
CHAP. LII.--SINS OF THE SAINTS DENIED.
Then Peter answered: "Assuredly, with good reason, I neither believe
anything against God, nor against the just men recorded in the law, taking
for granted that they are impious imaginations. For, as I am persuaded,
neither was Adam a transgressor, who was fashioned by the hands of God; nor
was Noah drunken, who was found righteous above all the world; nor did
Abraham live with three wives at once, who, on account of his sobriety, was
thought worthy of a numerous posterity; nor did Jacob associate with four--
of whom two were sisters--who was the father of the twelve tribes, and who
intimated the coining of the presence of our Master; nor was Moses a
murderer, nor did he learn to judge from an idolatrous priest--he who set
forth the law of God to all the world, and for his right judgment has been
testified to as a faithful steward.
CHAP. LIII.--CLOSE OF THE CONFERENCE.
"But of these and such like things I shall afford you an explanation in
due time. But for the rest, since, as you see, the evening has come upon
us, let what has been said be enough for to-day. But whenever you wish, and
about whatever you wish, ask boldly of us, and we shall gladly explain it
at once." Thus having spoken, he rose up. And then, having partaken of
food, we turned to sleep, for the night had come upon us.
CHAP. I.--THE MORNING OF THE DISCUSSION.
Two days, therefore, having elapsed, and while the third was dawning, I
Clement, and the rest of our companions, being roused about the second
cock-crowing, in order to the discussion with Simon, found the lamp still
alight, and Peter kneeling in prayer. Therefore, having finished his
supplication, and turning round, and seeing us in readiness to hear, he
CHAP. II.--SIMON'S DESIGN.
"I wish you to know that those who, according to our arrangement,
associate with Simon that they may learn his intentions, and submit them to
us, so that we may be able to cope with his variety of wickedness, these
men have sent to me, and informed me that Simon to-day is, as he arranged,
prepared to come before all, and show from the Scriptures that He who made
the heaven and the earth, and all things in them, is not the Supreme God,
but that there is another, unknown and supreme, as being in an unspeakable
manner God of gods; and that He sent two gods, one of whom is he who made
the world, and the other he who gave the law. And these things he contrives
to say, that he may dissipate the right faith of those who would worship
the one and only God who made heaven and earth.
CHAP. III.--HIS OBJECT.
"When I heard this, how was I not disheartened! Wherefore I wished you
also, my brethren, who associate with me, to know that I am beyond measure
grieved in my soul, seeing the wicked one awake for the temptation of men,
and men wholly indifferent about their own salvation. For to those from
amongst the Gentiles who were about being persuaded respecting the earthly
images that they are no gods, he has contrived to bring in opinions of many
other gods, in order that, if they cease from the polytheo-mania, they may
be deceived to speak otherwise, and even worse than they now do, against
the sole government of God, so that they may not yet value the truths
connected with that monarchy, and may never be able to obtain mercy. And
for the sake of this attempt Simon comes to do battle with us, armed with
the false chapters of the Scriptures. And what is more dreadful, he is not
afraid to dogmatize thus against the true God from the prophets whom he
does not in fact believe.
CHAP. IV.--SNARES LAID FOR THE GENTILES.
"And with us, indeed, who have had handed down from our forefathers the
worship of the God who made all things, and also the mystery of the books
which are able to deceive, he will not prevail; but with those from amongst
the Gentiles who have the polytheistic fancy bred in them, and who know not
the falsehoods of the Scriptures, he will prevail much. And not only he;
but if any other shall recount to those from among the Gentiles any vain,
dreamlike, richly set out story against God, he will be believed, because
from their childhood their minds are accustomed to take in things spoken
against God. And few there shall be of them, as a few out of a multitude,
who through ingenuousness shall not be willing so much as to hear an evil
word against the God who made all things. And to these alone from amongst
the Gentiles it shall be vouchsafed to be saved. Let not any one of yon,
therefore, altogether complain of Simon, or of any one else; for nothing
happens unjustly, since even the falsehoods of Scripture are with good
reason presented for a test."
CHAP. V.--USE OF ERRORS.
Then I Clement, hearing this, said: "How say you, my lord, that even
the falsehoods of the Scriptures are set forth happily for the proof of
men?" And he answered: "The falsehoods of the Scriptures have been
permitted to be written for a certain righteous reason, at the demand of
evil. And when I say happily, I mean this: In the account of God, the
wicked one, not loving God less than the good one, is exceeded by the good
in this one thing only, that he, not pardoning those who are impious on
account of ignorance, through love towards that which is profound, desires
the destruction of the impious; but the good one desires to present them
with a remedy. For the good one desires all to be healed by repentance, but
saves those only who know God. But those who know Him not He does not heal:
not that He does not wish to do so, hut because it is not lawful to afford
to those who, through want of judgment, are like to irrational animals, the
good things which have been prepared for the children of the kingdom.
CHAP. VI.--PURGATORY AND HELL.
"Such is the nature of the one and only God, who made the world, and
who created us, and who has given us all things, that as long as any one is
within the limit of piety, and does not blaspheme His Holy Spirit, through
His love towards him He brings the soul to Himself by reason of His love
towards it. And although it be sinful, it is His nature to save it, after
it has been suitably punished for the deeds it hath done. But if any one
shall deny Him, or in any other way be guilty of impiety against Him, and
then shall repent, he shall be punished indeed for the sins he hath
committed against Him, but he shall be saved, because he turned and lived.
And perhaps excessive piety and supplication shall even be delivered from
punishment, ignorance being admitted as a reason for the pardon of sin
after repentance. But those who do not repent shall be destroyed by the
punishment of fire, even though in all other things they are most holy.
But, as I said, at an appointed time a fifth part, being punished with
eternal fire, shall be consumed. For they cannot endure for ever who have
been impious against the one God.
CHAP. VII.--WHAT IS IMPIETY?
"But impiety against Him is, in the matter of religion, to die saying
there is another God, whether superior or inferior, or in any way saying
that there is one besides Him who really is. For He who truly is, is He
whose form the body of man bears; for whose sake the heaven and all the
stars, though in their essence superior, submit to serve him who is in
essence inferior, on account of the form of the Ruler. So much has God
blessed man above all, in order that, loving the Benefactor in proportion
to the multitude of His benefits, by means of this love he may be saved for
the world to come.
CHAP. VIII.--WILES OF THE DEVIL.
"Therefore the love of men towards God is sufficient for salvation. And
this the wicked one knows; and while we are hastening to sow the love
towards Him which makes immortal in the souls of those who from among the
Gentiles arc ready to believe in the one and only God, this wicked one,
having sufficient armour against the ignorant for their destruction,
hastens to sow the supposition of many gods, or at least of one greater, in
order that men, conceiving and being persuaded of what is not wisdom, may
die, as in the crime of adultery, and be cast out from His kingdom.
CHAP. IX.--UNCERTAINTY OF THE SCRIPTURES.
"Worthy, therefore, of rejection is every one who is willing so much as
to hear anything against the monarchy of God; but if any one dares to hear
anything against God, as trusting in the Scriptures, let him first of all
consider with me that if any one, as he pleases, form a dogma agreeable to
himself, and then carefully search the Scriptures, he will be able to
produce many testimonies from them in favour of the dogma that he has
formed. How, then, can confidence be placed in them against God, when what
every man wishes is found in them?
CHAP. X.--SIMON'S INTENTION.
"Therefore Simon, who is going to discuss in public with us to-morrow,
is bold against the monarchy of God, wishing to produce many statements
from these Scriptures, to the effect that there are many gods, and a
certain one who is not He who made this world, but who is superior to Him;
and, at the same time, he is going to offer many scriptural proofs. But we
also can easily show many passages from them that He who made the world
alone is God, and that there is none other besides Him But if any one shall
wish to speak otherwise, he also shall be able to produce proofs from them
at his pleasure. For the Scriptures say all manner of things, that no one
of those who inquire ungratefully may find the truth, but simply what he
wishes to find, the truth being reserved for the grateful now gratitude is
to preserve our love to Him who is the cause of our being.
CHAP. XI.--DISTINCTION BETWEEN PREDICTION AND PROPHECY.
"Whence it must before all things be known, that nowhere can truth be
found unless from a prophet of truth. But He is a true Prophet, who always
knows all things, and even the thoughts of all men, who is without sin, as
being convinced respecting the judgment of God. Wherefore we ought not
simply to consider respecting His foreknowledge, but whether His
foreknowledge can stand, apart from other cause. For physicians predict
certain things, having the pulse of the patient as matter submitted to
them; and some predict by means of having fowls, and some by having
sacrifices, and others by having many various matters submitted to them;
yet these are not prophets.
CHAP. XII.--THE SAME.
"But if any one should say that the foreknowledge shown by these
predictions is like to that foreknowledge which is really implanted, he
were much deceived. For he only declares such things as being present, and
that if he speaks truth. However, even these things are serviceable to me,
for they establish that there is such a thing as foreknowledge. But the
foreknowledge of the one true Prophet does not only know things present,
but stretches out prophecy without limit as far as the world to come, and
needs nothing for its interpretation, not prophesying darkly and
ambiguously, so that the things spoken would need another prophet for the
interpretation of them; but clearly and simply, as our Master and Prophet,
by the inborn and ever-flowing Spirit, always knew all things.
CHAP. XIII.--PROPHETIC KNOWLEDGE CONSTANT.
"Wherefore He confidently made statements respecting things that are to
be--I mean sufferings, places, limits. For, being a faultless Prophet, and
looking upon all things with the boundless eye of His soul, He knows hidden
things. But if we should hold, as many do, that even the true Prophet, not
always, but sometimes, when He has the Spirit, and through it, foreknows,
but when He has it not is ignorant,--if we should suppose thus, we should
deceive ourselves and mislead others. For such a matter belongs to those
who are madly inspired by the spirit of disorder--to those who are drunken
beside the altars, and are gorged with fat.
CHAP. XIV.--PROPHETIC SPIRIT CONSTANT.
"For if it were permitted to any one who will profess prophecy to have
it believed in the cases in which he was found false, that then he had not
the Holy Spirit of foreknowledge, it will be difficult to convict him of
being a false prophet; for among the many things that he speaks, a few come
to pass, and then he is believed to have the Spirit, although he speaks the
first things last, and the last first; speaks of past events as future, and
future as already past; and also without sequence; or things borrowed from
others and altered, and some that are lessened, unformed, foolish,
ambiguous, unseemly, obscure, proclaiming all unconscientiousness.
CHAP. XV.--CHRIST'S PROPHECIES.
"But our Master did not prophesy after this fashion; but, as I have
already said, being a prophet by an inborn and ever-flowing Spirit, and
knowing all things at all times, He confidently set forth, plainly as I
said before, suffer-lugs, places, appointed times, manners, limits.
Accordingly, therefore, prophesying concerning the temple, He said: 'See ye
these buildings? Verily I say to you, There shall not be left here one
stone upon another which shall not be taken away; and this generation shall
not pass until the destruction begin. For they shall come, and shall sit
here, and shall besiege it, and shall slay your children here." And in like
manner He .spoke in plain words the things that were straightway to happen,
which we can now see with our eyes, in order that the accomplishment might
be among those to whom the word was spoken. For the Prophet of truth utters
the word of proof in order to the faith of His hearers.
CHAP. XVI.--DOCTRINE OF CONJUNCTION.
"However, there are many proclaimers of error, having one chief, even
the chief of wickedness, just as the Prophet of truth, being one, and being
also the chief of piety, shall in His own times have as His prophets all
who are found pure. But the chief cause of men being deceived is this,
their not understanding beforehand the doctrine of conjunction, which I
shall not fail to expound to you in private every day, summarily; for it
were too long to speak in detail. Be you therefore to me truth-loving
judges of the things that are spoken.
CHAP. XVII.--WHETHER ADAM HAD THE SPIRIT.
"But I shall begin the statement now. God having made all things, if
any one will not allow to a man, fashioned by His hands, to have possessed
His great and Holy Spirit of foreknowledge, how does not he greatly err who
attributes it to another born of a spurious stock! And I do not think
that he will obtain pardon, though he be misled by spurious scripture to
think dreadful things against the Father of all. For he who insults the
image and the things belonging to the eternal King, has the sin reckoned as
committed against Him in whose likeness the image was made. But then, says
he, the Divine Spirit left him when he sinned. In that case the Spirit
sinned along with him; and how can he escape peril who says this? But
perhaps he received the Spirit after he sinned. Then it is given to the
unrighteous; and where is justice? But it was afforded to the just and the
unjust. This were most unrighteous of all. Thus every falsehood, though it
be aided by ten thousand reasonings, must receive its refutation, though
after a long time.
CHAP. XXVIII.--ADAM NOT IGNORANT.
"Be not deceived. Our father was ignorant of nothing; since, indeed,
even the law publicly current, though charging him with the crime of
ignorance for the sake of the unworthy, sends to him those desirous of
knowledge, saying, 'Ask your father, and he will tell you; your elders, and
they will declare to you.' This father, these ciders ought to be
inquired of. But you have not inquired whose is the time of the kingdom,
and whose is the seat of prophecy, though He Himself points out Himself,
saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat; all things
whatsoever they say to you, hear them." Hear them, He said, as entrusted
with the key of the kingdom, which is knowledge, which alone can open the
gate of life, through which alone is the entrance to eternal life. But
truly, He says, they possess the key, but those wishing to enter they do
not suffer to do so.
CHAP. XIX.--REIGN OF CHRIST.
"On this account, I say, He Himself, rising from His seat as a father
for his children, proclaiming the things which from the beginning were
delivered in secret to the worthy, extending mercy even to the Gentiles,
and compassionating the souls of all, neglected His own kindred. For He,
being thought worthy to be King of the world to come, fights against him
who, by predestination, has usurped the kingdom that now is. And the thing
which exceedingly grieved Him is this, that by those very persons for whom,
as for sons, he did battle, He was assailed, on account of their ignorance.
And vet He loved even those who hated Him, and wept over the unbelieving,
and blessed those who slandered Him, and prayed for those who were enmity
against Him. And not only did He o this as a father, but also taught His
disciples to do the like, bearing themselves as towards brethren. This
did our Father, this did our, Prophet. This is reasonable, that He should
be King over His children; that by the affection of a father towards his
children, and the engrafted respect of children towards their father,
eternal peace might be produced. For when the good man reigneth, there is
true joy among those who are ruled over, on account of him who rules.
CHAP. XX.--CHRIST THE ONLY PROPHET HAS APPEARED IN DIFFERENT AGES,
"But give heed to my first discourse of the truth. If any one do not
allow the man fashioned by the hands of God to have had the Holy Spirit of
Christ, how is he not guilty of the greatest impiety in allowing another
born of an impure stock to have it? But he would act most piously, if he
should not allow to another to have it, but should say that he alone has
it, who has changed his forms and his names from the beginning of the
world, and so reappeared again and again in the world, until coming upon
his own times, and being anointed with mercy for the works of God, he shall
enjoy rest for ever. His honour it is to bear rule and lordship over all
things, in air, earth, and waters. But in addition to these, himself having
made man, he had breath, the indescribable garment of the soul, that he
might be able to be immortal.
CHAP. XXI.--THE EATING OF THE FORBIDDEN FRUIT DENIED.
"He himself being the only true prophet, fittingly gave names to each
animal, according to the merits of its nature, as having made it. For if he
gave a name to any one, that was also the name of that which was made,
being given by him who made it. How, them had he still need to partake
of a tree, that he might know what is good and what is evil, if he was
commanded not to eat of it? But this senseless men believe, who think that
a reasonless beast was more powerful than the God who made these things.
CHAP. XXII.--MALE AND FEMALE.
"But a companion was created along with him, a female nature, much
differing from him, as quality from substance, as the moon from the sun, as
fire from light. She, as a female ruling the present world as her like,
was entrusted to be the first prophetess, announcing prophecy with all
amongst those born of woman? But the other, as the son of man, being a
male, prophesies better things to the world to come as a male.
CHAP. XXIII.--TWO KINDS OF PROPHECY.
"Let us then understand that there are two kinds of prophecy: the
one male; and let it be defined that the first, being the male, has been
ranked after the other in the order of advent; but the second, being
female, has been appointed to come first in the advent of the pairs. This
second, therefore, being amongst those born of woman, as the female
superintendent of this present world, wishes to be thought masculine.
Wherefore, stealing the l seeds of the male, and sowing them with her own
seeds of the flesh, she brings forth the fruits--that is, words--as wholly
her own. And she promises that she will give the present earthly riches as
a dowry, wishing to change the slow for the swift, the small for the
CHAP. XXIV.--THE PROPHETESS A MISLEADER.
"However, she, not only presuming to say and to hear that there are
many gods, but also believing herself to be one, and in hope of king that
which she had not a nature to be, and throwing away what she had, and as a
female being in her courses at the offering of sacrifices, is stained with
blood; and then she pollutes those who touch her. But when she conceives
and brings forth temporary kings, she stirs up wars, shedding much blood;
and those who desire to learn truth from her, by telling them all things
contrary, and presenting many and various services, she keeps them always
seeking and finding nothing, even until death. For from the beginning a
cause of death lies upon blind men; for she, prophesying deceit, and
ambiguities, and obliquities, deceives those who believe her.
CHAP. XXV.--CAIN'S NAME AND NATURE.
"Hence the ambiguous name which she gave to her first-born son, calling
him CAIN, which has a capability of interpretation in two ways; for it
is interpreted both POSSESSION and ENVY, as signifying that in the future
he was to envy either a woman, or possessions, or the love of the parents
towards her. But if it be none of these, then it will befall him to be
called the POSSESSION. For she possessed him first, which also was
advantageous to him. For he was a murderer and a liar, and with his sins
was not willing to be at peace with respect to tile government. Moreover,
those who came forth by succession from him were the first adulterers. And
there were psalteries, and harps, and forgers of instruments of war.
Wherefore also the prophecy of his descendants being full of adulterers and
of psalteries, secretly by means of pleasures excites to wars.
CHAP. XXVI.--ABEL'S NAME AND NATURE.
"But he who amongst the sons Of men had prophecy innate to his soul as
belonging to it, expressly, as being a male, indicating the hopes of the
world to come, called his own son Abel, which without any ambiguity is
translated GRIEF. For he assigns to his sons to grieve over their deceived
brethren. He does not deceive them when he promises them comfort in the
world to come. When he says that we must pray to one only God, he neither
himself speaks of gods, nor does he believe another who speaks of them. He
keeps the good which he has, and increases more and more. He hates
sacrifices, bloodshed, and libations; he loves the chaste, the pure, the
holy. He quenches the fire of altars, represses wars, teaches pious
preachers wisdom, purges sins, sanctions marriage, approves temperance,
leads all to chastity, makes men liberal, prescribes justice, seals those
of them who are perfect, publishes the word of peace, prophesies mention of
the eternal fire of punishment, constantly announces the kingdom of God,
indicates heavenly riches, promises unfading glory, shows the remission of
sins by works.
CHAP. XXVII.--THE PROPHET AND THE PROPHETESS.
"And what need is there to say more? The male is wholly truth, the
female wholly falsehood. But he who is born of the male arid the female, in
some things speaks truth, in some falsehood. For the female, surrounding
the white seed of the male with her own blood, as with red fire, sustains
her own weakness with the extraneous supports of bones, and, pleased with
the temporary flower of flesh, and spoiling the strength of the judgment by
short pleasures, leads the greater part into fornication, and thus deprives
them of the coming excellent Bridegroom. For every person is a bride,
whenever, being sown with the true Prophet's whole word of truth, he is
enlightened in his understanding.
CHAP. XXVIII.--SPIRITUAL ADULTERY.
"Wherefore, it is fitting to hear the one only Prophet of the truth,
knowing that the word that is sown by another bearing the charge of
fornication, is, as it were, cast out by the Bridegroom from His kingdom.
But to those who know the mystery, death is also produced by spiritual
adultery. For whenever the soul is sown by others, then it is forsaken by
the Spirit, as guilty of fornication or adultery; and so the living body,
the life-giving Spirit being withdrawn, is dissolved into dust, and the
rightful punishment of sin is suffered at the time of the judgment by the
soul, after the dissolution of the body; even as, among men, she who is
caught in adultery is first cast out from the house, and then afterwards is
condemned to punishment."
CHAP. XXIX.--THE SIGNAL GIVEN.
While Peter was about to explain fully to us this mystic word,
Zacchaeus came, saying: "Now indeed, O Peter, is the time for you to go out
and engage in the discussion; for a great crowd awaits you, packed together
in the court; and in the midst of them stands Simon, like a war-chieftain
attended by his spearmen." And Peter, hearing this, ordered me to withdraw
for prayer, as not yet having received baptism for salvation, and then said
to those who were already perfected: "Let us rise and pray that God, by His
unfailing mercies, may help me striving for the salvation of the men whom
He has made." And having thus said, and having prayed, he went out into the
uncovered portion of the court, which was a large space; and there were
many come together for the purpose of seeing him, his pre-eminence having
made them more eagerly hasten to hear.
CHAP. XXX.--APOSTOLIC SALUTATION.
Therefore, standing and seeing all the people gazing upon him in
profound silence, and Simon the magician standing in the midst, he began to
speak thus: "Peace be to all you who are in readiness to give your right
hands to the truth of God, which, being His great and incomparable gift
in the present world, He who sent us, being an infallible Prophet of that
which is supremely profitable, gave us in charge, by way of salutation
before our words of instruction, to announce to you, in order that if there
be any son of peace among you, peace may take hold of him through our
teaching; but if any of you will not receive it, then we, shaking off for a
testimony the road-dust of our feet, which we have borne through our toils,
and brought to you that you may be saved, will go to the abodes and the
cities of others.
CHAP. XXXI.--FAITH IN GOD.
"And we tell you truly, it shall be more tolerable in the day of
judgment to dwell in the land of Sodom and Gomorrah, than in the place of
unbelief. In the first place, because you have not preserved of yourselves
what is reasonable; in the second place, because, hearing the things
concerning us, you have not come to us; and in the third place, because you
have disbelieved us when we have come to you. Wherefore, being concerned
for you, we pray of our own accord that our peace may come upon you. If
therefore ye will have it, you must readily promise not to do injustice,
and generously to bear wrong; which the nature of man would not sustain,
unless it first received the knowledge of that which is supremely
profitable, which is to know the righteous nature of Him who is over all,
that He defends and avenges those who are wronged, and does good for ever
to the pious.
"Do you, therefore, as thankful servants of God, perceiving of
yourselves what is reasonable, take upon you the manner of life that is
pleasing to Him, that so, loving Him, and being loved of Him, you may enjoy
good for ever. For to Him alone is it most possible to bestow it, who gave
being to things that were not, who created the heavens, settled the earth,
set bounds to the sea, stored up the things that are in Hades, and filled
all places with air.
CHAP. XXXIII.--WORKS OF CREATION.
"He alone turned into the four contrary elements the one, first,
simple substance. Thus combining them, He made of them myriads of
compounds, that, being turned into opposite natures, and mingled, they
might effect the pleasure of life from the combination of contraries. In
like manner, He alone, having created races of angels and spirits by the
FIAT of His will, peopled the heavens; as also He decked the visible
firmament with stars, to which also He assigned their paths and arranged
their courses. He compacted the earth for the production of fruits. He set
bounds to the sea, marking out a dwelling-place on the dry land. He
stores up the things in Hades, designating it as the place of souls; and He
filled all places with air, that all living creatures might be able to
breathe safely in order that they might live.
CHAP. XXXIV.--EXTENT OF CREATION.
"O the great hand of the wise God, which doeth all in all! For a
countless multitude of birds have been made by Him, and those various,
differing in all respects from one another; I mean in respect of their
colours, beaks, talons, looks, senses, voices, and all else. And how many
different species of plants, distinguished by boundless variety of colours,
qualities, and scents! And how many animals on the land and in the water,
of which it were impossible to tell the figures, forms, habitats, colour,
food, senses, natures, multitude! Then also the multitude and height of
mountains, the varieties of stones, awful caverns, fountains, rivers,
marshes, seas, harbours, islands, forests, and all the inhabited world, and
CHAP. XXXV.--"THESE ARE A PART OF HIS WAYS."
"And how many things besides are unknown, having eluded the sagacity of
men! And of those that are within our comprehension, who of mankind knows
the limit? I mean. how the heaven rolls, how the stars are borne in their
courses, and what forms they have, and the subsistence of their being,
and what are their ethereal paths. And whence the blasts of winds are borne
around, and have different energies; whence the fountains ceaselessly
spring, and the rivers, being ever flowing, run down into the sea, and
neither is that fountain emptied whence they come, nor do they fill that
sea whither they come! How far reaches the unfathomable depth of the
boundless Tartarus! Upon what the heaven is upborne which encircles all!
How the clouds spring from air, and are absorbed into air! What is the
nature of thunder and lightning, snow, hail, mist, ice, storms, showers,
hanging clouds! And how He makes plants and animals! And these things, with
all accuracy, continually perfected in their countless varieties!
CHAP. XXXVI.--DOMINION OVER THE CREATURES.
"Therefore, if any one shall accurately scan the whole with reason, he
shall find that God has made them for the sake of man. For showers fall for
the sake of fruits, that man may partake of them, and that animals may be
fed, that they may be useful to men. And the sun shines, that he may turn
the air into four seasons, and that each time may afford its peculiar
service to man. And the fountains spring, that drink may be given to men.
And, moreover, who is lord over the creatures, so far as is possible? Is it
not man, who has received wisdom to till the earth, to sail the sea: to
make fishes, birds, and beasts his prey; to investigate the course of the
stars, to mine the earth, to sail the sea; to build cities, to define
kingdoms, to ordain laws, to execute justice, to know the invisible God, to
be cognizant of the names of angels, to drive away demons, to endeavour to
cure diseases by medicines, to find charms against poison-darting serpents,
to understand antipathies?
CHAP. XXXVII.--"WHOM TO KNOW IS LIFE ETERNAL."
But if thou art thankful, O man, understanding that God is thy
benefactor in all things, thou mayest even be immortal, the things that are
made for thee having continuance through thy gratitude. And now thou art
able to become incorruptible, if thou acknowledge Him whom thou didst not
know, if thou love Him whom thou didst forsake, if thou pray to Him alone
who is able to punish or to save thy booty and soul. Wherefore, before all
things, consider that no one shares His rule, no one has a name in common
with Him--that is, is called God. For He alone is both called and is God.
Nor is it lawful to think that there is any other, or to call any other by
that name. And if any one should dare do so, eternal punishment of soul is
CHAP. XXXVIII.--SIMON'S CHALLENGE
When Peter had thus spoken, Simon, at the outside of the crowd, cried
aloud:(1) "Why would you lie, and deceive the unlearned multitude standing
around you, persuading them that it is unlawful to think that there are
gods, and to call them so, when the books that are current among the Jews
say that there are many gods?(2) And now I wish, in the presence of all, to
discuss with you from these books on the necessity of thinking that there
are gods; first showing respecting him whom you call God, that he is not
the supreme and omnipotent Being, inasmuch as he is without foreknowledge,
imperfect, needy, not good, and underlying many and innumerable grievous
passions. Wherefore, when this has been shown from the Scriptures, as I
say, it follows that there is another, not written of, foreknowing,
perfect, without want, good, removed froth all grievous passions. But he
whom you call the Creator is subject to the opposite evils.
CHAP. XXXIX.--DEFECTS ASCRIBED TO GOD.
"Therefore also Adam, being made at first after his likeness, is
created blind, and is said not to have knowledge of good or evil, and is
found a transgressor, and is driven out of paradise, and is punished with
death. In like manner also, he who made him, because be sees not in all
places, says with reference to the overthrow of Sodom, 'Come, and let us go
down, and see whether they do according to their cry which comes to me; or
if not, that I may know.'(3) Thus he shows himself ignorant And in his
saying respecting Adam, 'Let us drive him out, lest he put forth his hand
and touch the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever;'(4) in saying LEST
he is ignorant; and in driving him out lest he should eat and live for
ever, he is also envious. And whereas it is written that 'God repented that
he had made man,'(5) this implies both repentance and igno-rance. For this
reflection is a view by which one, through ignorance, wishes to inquire
into the result of the things which he wills, or it is the act of one
repenting on account of the event not being according to his expectation.
And whereas it is written, 'And the Lord smelled a scent of sweetness,'(6)
it is the part of one in need; and his being pleased with the fat of flesh
is the part of one who is not good. But his tempting, as it is written,
'And God did tempt Abraham,'(7) is the part of one who is wicked, and who
is ignorant of the issue of the experiment."
CHAP. XL.--PETER'S ANSWER.
In like manner Simon, by taking many passages from the Scriptures,
seemed to show that God is subject to every infirmity. And to this Peter
said: "Does he who is evil, and wholly wicked, love to accuse himself in
the things in which he sins? Answer me this." Then said Simon: "He does
not." Then said Peter: "How, then, can God be evil and wicked, seeing that
those evil things which have been commonly written regarding Him, have been
added by His own will!." Then said Simon: "It may be that the charge
against Him is written by another power, and not according to His choice."
Then said Peter: "Let us then, in the first place, inquire into this. If,
indeed, He has of His own will accused Himself, as you formerly
acknowledged, then He is not wicked; but if it is done by another power, it
must be inquired and investigated with all energy who hath subjected to all
evils Him who alone is good."
CHAP. XLI.--"STATUS QUAESTIONIS."
Then said Simon: "You are manifestly avoiding the hearing of the charge
from the Scriptures against your God." Then Peter: "You yourself appear to
me to be doing this; for he who avoids the order of inquiry, does not wish
a true investigation to be made. Hence I, who proceed in an orderly manner,
and wish that the writer should first be considered, am manifestly desirous
to walk in a straight path." Then Simon: "First confess that if the things
written against the Creator are true, he is not above all, since, according
to the Scriptures, he is subject to all evil; then afterwards we shall
inquire as to the writer." Then said Peter: "That I may not seem to speak
against your want of order through unwillingness to enter upon the
investigation,(1) I answer you. I say that if the things written against
God are true, they do not show that God is wicked." Then said Simon: "How
can you maintain that?"
CHAP. XLII.--WAS ADAM BLIND?
Then said Peter: "Because things are written opposite to those sayings
which speak evil of him; wherefore neither the one nor the other can be
confirmed." Then Simon: "How, then, is the truth to be ascertained, of
those Scriptures that say he is evil, or of those that say he is good?"
Then Peter: "Whatever sayings of the Scriptures are in harmony with the
creation that was made by Him are true, but whatever are contrary to it are
false."(2) Then Simon said: "How can you show that the Scriptures
contradict themselves?" And Peter said: "You say that Adam was created
blind, which was not so; for He would not have pointed out the tree of the
knowledge of good and evil to a blind man, and commanded him not to taste
of it." Then said Simon: "He meant that his mind was blind." Then Peter:
"How could he be blind in respect of his mind, who, before tasting of the
tree, in harmony with Him who made him, imposed ap-propriate names on all
the animals?" Then Simon: "If Adam had foreknowledge, how did he not
foreknow that the serpent would deceive his wife?" Then Peter: "If Adam had
not foreknowledge, how did he give names to the sons of men as they were
born with reference to their future doings, calling the first Cain (which
is interpreted 'envy'), who through envy killed his brother Abel (which is
interpreted 'grief'); for his parents grieved over him, the first slain?
CHAP. XLIII.--GOD'S FOREKNOWLEDGE.
"But if Adam, being the work of God, had foreknowledge, much more the
God who created him. And that is false which is written that God reflected,
as if using reasoning on account of ignorance; and that the Lord tempted
Abraham, that He might know if he would endure it; and that which is
written, 'Let us go down, and see if they are doing according to the cry
of them which cometh to me; and if not, that I may know.' And, not to
extend my discourse too far, whatever sayings ascribe ignorance to Him, or
anything else that is evil, being upset by other sayings which affirm the
contrary, are proved to be false. But because He does indeed foreknow, He
says to Abraham, 'Thou shalt assuredly know that thy seed shall be
sojourners in a land that is not their own; and they shall enslave them,
and shall evil entreat them, and humble them four hundred years. But the
nation to which they shall be in bondage will I judge, and after that they
shall come out hither with much property; but thou shall depart to thy
fathers with peace, being nourished in a good old age; and in the fourth
generation they shall return hither, for the sins of the Amorites are
hitherto not filled up.'(3)
CHAP. XLIV.--GOD'S DECREES.
"But what? Does not Moses pre-intimate the sins of the people, and
predict their dispersion among the nations? But if He gave foreknowledge
to Moses, how can it be that He had it not Himself? But He has it. And if
He has it, as we have also shown, it is an extravagant saying that He
reflected, and that He repented, and that He went down to see, and whatever
else of this sort. Whatsoever things being fore-known before they come to
pass as about to befall, take issue by a wise economy, without repentance.
"But that He is not pleased with sacrifices, is shown by this, that
those who lusted after flesh were slain as soon as they tasted it, and were
consigned to a tomb, so that it was called the grave of lusts.(1) He then
who at the first was displeased with the slaughtering of animals, not
wishing them to be slain, did not ordain sacrifices as desiring them; nor
from the beginning did He require them. For neither are sacrifices
accomplished without the slaughter of animals, nor can the first-fruits be
presented. But how is it possible for Him to abide in darkness, and smoke,
and storm (for this also is written), who created a pure heaven, and
created the sun to give light to all, and assigned the invariable order of
their revolutions to innumerable stars? Thus, O Simon, the handwriting of
God--I mean the heaven--shows the counsels of Him who made it to be pure
CHAP. XLVI.--DISPARAGEMENTS OF GOD.
"Thus the sayings accusatory of the God who made the heaven are both
rendered void by the opposite sayings which are alongside of them, and are
refuted by the creation. For they were not written by a prophetic hand.
Wherefore also they appear opposite to the hand of God, who made all
things." Then said Simon: "How can you show this?"
CHAP. XLVII.--FOREKNOWLEDGE OF MOSES.
Then said Peter: "The law of God was given by Moses, without writing,
to seventy wise men, to be handed down, that the government might be
carried on by succession. But after that Moses was taken up, it was written
by some one, but not by Moses. For in the law itself it is written, 'And
Moses died; and they buried him near the house of Phogor,(2) and no one
knows his sepulchre till this day.' But how could Moses write that Moses
died? And whereas in the time after Moses, about 500 years or thereabouts,
it is found lying in the temple which was built, and after about 500 years
more it is carried away, and being burnt in the time of Nebuchadnezzar it
is destroyed; and thus being written after Moses, and often lost, even this
shows the foreknowledge of Moses, because he, foreseeing its disappearance,
did not write it; but those who wrote it, being convicted of ignorance
through their not foreseeing its disappearance, were not prophets."(3)
CHAP. XLVIII.--TEST OF TRUTH.
Then said Simon: "Since, as you say, we must understand the things
concerning God by comparing them with the creation, how is it possible to
recognise the other things in the law which are from the tradition of
Moses, and are true, and are mixed up with these falsehoods?" Then Peter
said: "A certain verse has been recorded without controversy in the written
law, according to the providence of God, so as to show clearly which of the
things written are true and which are false." Then said Simon: "Which is
that? Show it us."
CHAP. XLIX.--THE TRUE PROPHET.
Then Peter said: "I shall tell you forthwith. It is written in the
first book of the law, towards the end: 'A ruler shall not fail from Judah,
nor a leader from his thighs, until He come whose it is; and He is the
expectation of the nations.'(4) If, therefore, any one can apprehend Him
who came after the failure of ruler and leader from Judah, and who was to
be expected by the nations, he will be able by this verse to recognise Him
as truly having come;(5) and believing His teaching, he will know what of
the Scriptures are true and what are false." Then said Simon: "I understand
that you speak of your Jesus as Him who was prophesied of by the scripture.
Therefore let it be granted that it is so. Tell us, then, how he taught you
to discriminate the I Scriptures."
CHAP. L.--HIS TEACHING CONCERNING THE SCRIPTURES.
Then Peter: "As to the mixture of truth with falsehood,(6) I remember
that on one occasion He, finding fault with the Sadducees, said, 'Wherefore
ye do err, not knowing the true things of the Scriptures; and on this
account ye are ignorant of the power of God.'(7) But if He cast up to their
that they knew not the true things of the Scriptures, it is manifest that
there are false things in them. And also, inasmuch as He said, 'Be ye
prudent money-changers,'(8) it is because there are genuine and spurious
words. And whereas He said, 'Wherefore do ye not perceive that which is
reasonable in the Scriptures?' He makes the understanding of him stronger
who voluntarily judges soundly.
CHAP. LI.--HIS TEACHING CONCERNING THE LAW.
"And His sending to the scribes and teachers of the existing
Scriptures, as to those who knew the true things of the law that then was,
is well known. And also that He said, 'I am not come to destroy the
law,'(1) and yet that He appeared to be destroying it, is the part of one
intimating that the things which He destroyed did not belong to the law.
And His saying, 'The heaven and the earth shall pass away, but one jot or
one tittle shall not pass froth the law,'(2) intimated that the things
which pass away before the heaven and the earth do not belong to the law in
CHAP. LII.--OTHER SAYINGS OF CHRIST.
"Since, then, while the heaven and the earth still stand, sacrifices
have passed away, and kingdoms, and prophecies among those who are born of
woman, and such like, as not being ordinances of God; hence therefore He
says, 'Every plant which the heavenly Father has not planted shall be
rooted up.'(3) Wherefore He, being the true Prophet, said, 'I am the gate
of life;(4) he who entereth through me entereth into life,' there being no
other teaching able to save. Wherefore also He cried, and said, 'Come unto
me, all who labour,'(5) that is, who are seeking the truth, and not finding
it; and again, 'My sheep hear my voice;'(6) and elsewhere, 'Seek and
find,'(7) since the truth does not lie on the surface.
CHAP. LIII.--OTHER SAYINGS OF CHRIST.
"But also a witnessing voice was heard from heaven, saying, 'This is my
beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear Him.'(8) And in addition to
this, willing to convict more fully of error the prophets from whom they
asserted that they had learned, He proclaimed that they died desiring the
truth, but not having learned it, saying, 'Many prophets and kings desired
to see what ye see, and to hear what you hear; and verily I say to you,
they neither saw nor heard.'(9) Still further He said, 'I am he concerning
whom Moses prophesied, saying, A Prophet shall the Lord our God raise unto
you of your brethren, like unto me: Him hear in all things; and whosoever
will not hear that Prophet shall die.'(10)
CHAP. LIV.--OTHER SAYINGS.
"Whence it is impossible without His teaching to attain to saving
truth, though one seek it for ever where the thing that is sought is not.
But it was, and is, in the word of our Jesus. Accordingly, He, knowing the
true things of the law, said to the Sadducees, asking on what account Moses
permitted to marry seven,(11) "Moses gave you commandments according to
your hard-heartedness; for from the beginning it was not so: for He who
created man at first, made him male and female.'(12)
CHAP. LV.--TEACHING OF CHRIST.
"But to those who think, as the Scriptures teach, that God swears, He
said, 'Let your yea be yea, and nay, nay; for what is more than these is of
the evil one.'(13) And to those who say that Abraham and Isaac and Jacob
are dead, He said, 'God is not of the dead, but of the living.'(14) And to
those who suppose that God tempts, as the Scriptures say, He said, 'The
tempter is the wicked one,'(15) who also tempted Himself. To those who
suppose that God does not foreknow, He said, 'For your heavenly Father
knoweth that ye need all these things before ye ask Him.'(16) And to those
who believe, as the Scriptures say, that He does not see all things, He
said, 'Pray in secret, and your Father, who seeth secret things, will
CHAP. LVI.--TEACHING OF CHRIST.
"And to those who think that He is not good, as the Scriptures say, He
said, 'From which of you shall his son ask bread, and he will give him a
stone; or shall ask a fish, and he will give him a serpent? If ye then,
being evil, know to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall
your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask Him, and to those
who do His will!'(18) But to those who affirmed that He was in the temple,
He said, 'Swear not by heaven, for it is God's throne; nor by the earth,
for it is the footstool of His feet.'(19) And to those who supposed that
God is pleased with sacrifices, He said, 'God wishes mercy, and not
sacrifices'(20)--the knowledge of Himself, and not holocausts.
CHAP. LVII.--TEACHING OF CHRIST.
"But to those who are persuaded that He is evil, as the Scriptures say,
He said, 'Call not me good, for One only is good.'(1) And again, 'Be ye
good and merciful, as your Father in the heavens, who makes the sun rise on
good and evil men, and brings rain upon just and unjust.'(2) But to those
who were misled to imagine many gods, as the Scriptures say, He said,
'Hear, O Israel; the Lord your God is one Lord.'"(3)
CHAP. LVIII.--FLIGHT OF SIMON.
Therefore Simon, perceiving that Peter was driving him to use the
Scriptures as Jesus taught, was unwilling that the discussion should go
into the doctrine concerning God, even although Peter had changed the
discussion into question and answer, as Simon himself asked. However, the
discussion occupied three days.(4) And while the fourth was dawning, he set
off darkling as far as Tyre of Phoenicia.(5) And not many days after, some
of the precursors came and said to Peter: "Simon is doing great miracles in
Tyre, and disturbing many of the people there; and by many slanders he has
made you to be hated."
CHAP. LIX.--PETER'S RESOLUTION TO FOLLOW.
Peter, hearing this, on the following night assembled the multitude of
hearers; and as soon as they were come together, he said: "While I am going
forth to the nations which say that there are many gods, to teach and to
preach that God is one, who made heaven and earth, and all things that are
in them, in order that they may love Him and be saved, evil has anticipated
me, and by the very law of conjunction has sent Simon before me, in order
that these men, if they shall cease to say that there are many gods,
disowning those upon earth that are called gods, may think that there are
many gods in heaven; so that, not feeling the excellency of the monarchy,
they may perish with eternal punishment. And what is most dreadful, since
true doctrine has incomparable power, he forestalls me with slanders, and
persuades them to this, not even at first to receive me; lest he who is the
slanderer be convicted of being himself in reality a devil, and the true
doctrine be received and believed. Therefore I must quickly catch him up,
lest the false accusation, through gaining time, wholly get hold of all
CHAP. LX.--SUCCESSOR TO BE APPOINTED.
"Since, therefore, it is necessary to set apart some one instead of me
to fill my place, let us all with one consent pray to God, that He would
make manifest who amongst us is the best, that, sitting in the chair of
Christ, he may piously rule His Church. Who, then, shall be set apart? For
by the counsel of God that man is set forth as blessed, 'whom his Lord
shall appoint over the ministry of his fellow-servants, to give them their
meat in their season, not thinking and saying in his heart, My Lord
delayeth His coming, and who shall not begin to beat his fellow-servants,
eating and drinking with harlots and drunkards. And the Lord of that
servant shall come in an hour when he doth not look for Him, and in a day
when he is not aware, and shall cut him in sunder, and shall assign his
unfaithful part with the hypocrites.'(6)
"But if any one of those present, being able to instruct the ignorance
of men, shrink from it, thinking only of his own ease, let him expect to
hear this sentence: 'O wicked and slothful servant, thou oughtest to have
given my money to the exchangers, and I at my coming should have got my
own. Cast out the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness.'(7) And
with good reason; 'for,' says He, 'it is thine, O man, to prove my words,
as silver and money are proved among the exchangers.'(8) Therefore the
multitude of the faithful ought to obey some one, that they may live in
harmony. For that which tends to the government of one person, in the form
of monarchy, enables the subjects to enjoy peace by means of good order;
but in case of all, through desire of ruling, being unwilling to submit to
one only, they must altogether fall by reason of division.
CHAP. LXII.--OBEDIENCE LEADS TO PEACE.
"But, further, let the things that are happening before your eyes
persuade you; how wars are constantly arising through there being now many
kings all over the earth. For each one holds the government of another as a
pretext for war. But if one were universal superior, he, having no reason
why he should make war, would have perpetual peace. In short, therefore, to
those who are thought worthy of eternal life, God appoints one universal
King in the world that shall then be, that by means of monarchy there may
be unfailing peace. It behoves all, therefore, to follow some one as a
leader, honouring him as the image of God; and it behoves the leader to be
acquainted with the road that entereth into the holy city.
CHAP. LXIII.--ZACCHAEUS APPOINTED.
"But of those who are present, whom shall I choose but Zacchaeus,(1) to
whom also the Lord went in(2) and rested, judging him worthy to be saved?"
And having said this, he laid his hand upon Zacchaeus, who stood by, and
forced him to sit down in his own chair. But Zacchaeus, falling at his
feet, begged that he would permit him to decline the rulership; promising,
at the same time, and saying, "Whatever it behoves the ruler to do, I will
do; only grant me not to have this name; for I am afraid of assuming the
name of the rulership, for it teems with bitter envy and danger. "
CHAP. LXIV.--THE BISHOPRIC.
Then Peter said: "If you are afraid of this, do not be called RULER,
but THE APPOINTED ONE, the Lord having permitted you to be so called, when
He said, 'Blessed is that man whom his Lord shall APPOINT to the ministry
of his fellow-servants.'(3) But if you wish it to be altogether unknown
that you have authority of administration, you seem to me to be ignorant
that the acknowledged authority of the president has great influence as
regards the respect of the multitude. For every one obeys him who has
received authority, having conscience as a great constraint. And are you
not well aware that you are not to rule as the rulers of the nations, but
as a servant ministering to them, as a father to the oppressed, visiting
them as a physician, guarding them as a shepherd,--in short, taking all
care for their salvation? And do you think that I am not aware what labours
I compel you to undertake, desiring you to be judged by multitudes whom it
is impossible for any one to please? But it is most possible for him who
does well to please God. Wherefore I entreat you to undertake it heartily,
by God, by Christ, for the salvation of the brethren, for their ordering,
and your own profit.
CHAP. LXV.--NOLO EPISCOPARI.
"And consider this other thing, that in proportion as there is labour
and danger in ruling the Church of Christ, so much greater is the reward.
And yet again the greater is also the punishment to him who can, and
refuses. I wish, therefore, knowing that you are the best instructed of my
attendants, to turn to account those noble powers of judging with which you
have been entrusted by the Lord, in order that you may be saluted with the
WELL DONE, GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT, and not be found fault with, and
declared liable to punishment, like him who hid the one talent. But if you
will not be appointed a good guardian of the Church, point out another in
your stead, more learned and more faithful than yourself. But you cannot do
this; for you associated with the Lord, and witnessed His marvellous
doings, and learned the administration of the Church.
CHAP. LXVI.--DANGER OF DISOBEDIENCE.
"And your work is to order what things are proper; and that of the
brethren is to submit, and not to disobey. Therefore submitting they shall
be saved, but disobeying they shall be punished by the Lord, because the
president is entrusted with the place of Christ. Wherefore, indeed, honour
or contempt shown to the president is handed on to Christ, and from Christ
to God. And this I have said, that these brethren may not be ignorant of
the danger they incur by disobedience to you, because whosoever disobeys
your orders, disobeys Christ; and he who disobeys Christ offends God.
CHAP. LXVII.--DUTIES OF CHURCH OFFICE-BEARERS.
"It is necessary, therefore, that the Church, as a city built upon a
hill, have an order approved of God, and good government. In particular,
let the bishop, as chief, be heard in the things which he speaks; and let
the elders give heed that the things ordered be done. Let the deacons,
going about, look after the bodies and the souls of the brethren, and
report to the bishop. Let all the rest of the brethren bear wrong
patiently; but if they wish judgment to be given concerning wrongs done to
them, let them be reconciled in presence of the elders; and let the elders
report the reconciliation to the bishop.
CHAP. LXVIII.--"MARRIAGE ALWAYS HONOURABLE."
"And let them inculcate marriage not only upon the young, but also upon
those advanced in years, lest burning lust bring a plague upon the Church
by reason of whoredom or adultery. For, above every other sin, the
wickedness of adultery is hated by God, because it not only destroys the
person himself who sins, but those also who eat and associate with him. For
it is like the madness of a dog, because it has the nature of communicating
its own madness. For the sake of chastity, therefore, let not only the
elders, but even all, hasten to accomplish marriage. For the sin of him who
commits adultery necessarily comes upon all. Therefore, to urge the
brethren to be chaste, this is the first charity. For it is the healing of
the soul. For the nourishment of the body is rest.
CHAP. LXIX.--NOT FORSAKING THE ASSEMBLING OF YOURSELVES TOGETHER."
"But if you love your brethren, take nothing from them, but share with
them such things as ye have. Feed the hungry; give drink to the thirsty;
clothe the naked; visit the sick; so far as you can, help those in prison;
receive strangers gladly into your own abodes; hate no one. And how you
must be pious, your own mind will teach you, judging rightly. But before
all else, if indeed I need say it to you, come together frequently, if it
were every hour, especially on the appointed days of meeting. For if you do
this, you are within a wall of safety. For disorderliness is the beginning
of perdition. Let no one therefore forsake the assembly on the ground of
envy towards a brother. For if any one of you forsake the assembly, he
shall be regarded as of those who scatter the Church of Christ, and shall
be cast out with adulterers. For as an adulterer, under the influence of
the spirit that is in him, he separates himself on some pretext, and gives
place to the wicked one against himself,--a sheep for the stealing, as one
found outside the fold.(1)
CHAP. LXX.--"HEAR THE BISHOP."
"However, hear your bishop, and do not weary of giving all honour to
him; knowing that, by showing it to him, it is borne to Christ, and from
Christ it is borne to God; and to him who offers it, is requited
manifold.(2) Honour, therefore, the throne of Christ. For you are commanded
even to honour the chair of Moses, and that although they who occupy it are
accounted sinners.(3) And now I have said enough to you; and I deem it
superfluous to say to him how he is to live unblameably, since he is an
approved disciple of Him who taught me also.
CHAP. LXXI.--VARIOUS DUTIES OF CHRISTIANS.
"But, brethren, there are some things that you must not wait to hear,
but must consider of yourselves what is reasonable. Zacchaeus alone having
given himself up wholly to labour for you, and needing sustenance, and not
being able to attend to his own affairs, how can he procure necessary
support? Is it not reasonable that you are to take forethought for his
living? not waiting for his asking you, for this is the part of a beggar.
But he will rather die of hunger than submit to do this. And shall not you
incur punishment, not considering that the workman is worthy of his hire?
And let no one say: Is, then, the word sold which was freely given? Far be
it. For if any one has the means of living, and takes anything, he sells
the word; but if he who has not takes support in order to live--as the Lord
also took at supper and among His friends, having nothing, though He alone
is the owner of all things--he sins not. Therefore suitably honour elders,
catechists, useful deacons, widows who have lived well, orphans as children
of the Church. But wherever there is need of any provision for an
emergency, contribute all together. Be kind one to another, not shrinking
from the endurance of anything whatever for your own salvation."
And having thus spoken, he placed his hand upon Zacchaeus, saying, "O
Thou Ruler and Lord of all, Father and God, do Thou guard the shepherd with
the flock. Thou art the cause, Thou the power. We are that which is helped;
Thou the helper, the physician, the saviour, the wall, the life, the hope,
the refuge, the joy, the expectation, the rest. In a word, Thou art all
things to us. In order to the eternal attainment of salvation, do Thou co-
operate, preserve, protect. Thou canst do all things. For Thou art the
Ruler of rulers, the Lord of lords, the Governor of kings. Do Thou give
power to the president to loose what ought to be loosed, to bind what ought
to be bound. Do Thou make him wise. Do Thou, as by His name, protect the
Church of Thy Christ as a fair bride. For Thine is eternal glory. Praise to
the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost to all ages. Amen."
And having thus spoken, he afterwards said: "Whoever of yon Wish to be
baptized, begin from to-morrow to fast, and have hands laid upon you day by
day, and inquire about what matters you please. For I mean still to remain
with you ten days." And after three days, having begun to baptize, he
called me, and Aquila, and Nicetas, and said to us: "As I am going to set
out for Tyre after seven days, I wish you to go away this very day, and to
lodge secretly with Bernice the Canaanite, the daughter of Justa, and to
learn from her, and write accurately to me what Simon is about. For this is
of great consequence to me, that I may prepare myself accordingly.
Therefore depart straightway in peace." And leaving him baptizing, as he
commanded, we preceded him to Tyre of Phoenicia.
CHAP. I.--BERNICE'S HOSPITALITY.
THUS I Clement, departing from Caesarea Stratonis, together with
Nicetas and Aquila, entered into Tyre of Phoenicia;(1) and according to the
injunction of Peter, who sent us, we lodged with Bernice, the daughter of
Justa the Canaanitess. She received us most joyfully; and striving with
much honour towards me, and with affection towards Aquila and Nicetas, and
speaking freely as a friend, through joy she treated us courteously, and
hospitably urged us to take bodily refreshment. Perceiving, therefore, that
she was endeavouring to impose a short delay upon us, I said: "You do well,
indeed, to busy yourself in fulfilling the part of love; but the fear of
our God must take the precedence of this. For, having a combat on hand on
behalf of many souls, we are afraid of preferring our own ease before their
CHAP. II.--SIMON'S PRACTICES.
"For we hear that Simon the magician, being worsted at Caesarea in the
discussion with our lord Peter, immediately hastened hither, and is doing
much mischief. For he is slandering Peter, in opposition to truth, to all
the adversaries, and stealing away the souls of the multitude. For he being
a magician, calls him a magician; and he being a deceiver, proclaims him
as a deceiver. And although in the discussions he was beaten in all points,
and fled, yet he says that he was victorious; and he constantly charges
them that they ought not to listen to Peter,--as if, forsooth, he were
anxious that they may not be fascinated by a terrible magician.
CHAP. III.--OBJECT OF THE MISSION.
"Therefore our lord Peter, having learned these things, has sent us to
be investigators of the things that have been told him; that if they be so,
we may write to him and let him know, so that he may come and convict him
face to face of the accusations that he has uttered against him. Since,
therefore, danger on the part of many souls lies before us, on this account
we must neglect bodily rest for a short time; and we would learn truly from
you who live here, whether the things which we have heard be true. Now tell
CHAP. IV.--SIMON'S DOINGS.
But Bernice, being asked, said: "These things are indeed as you have
heard; and I will tell you other things respecting this same Simon, which
perhaps you do not know. For he astonishes the whole city every day, by
making spectres and ghosts appear in the midst of the market-place; and
when he walks abroad, statues move, and many shadows go before him, which,
he says, are souls of the dead. And many who attempted to prove him an
impostor he speedily reconciled to him; and afterwards, under pretence of a
banquet, having slain an ox, and given them to eat of it, he infected them
with various diseases, and subjected them to demons. And in a word, having
injured many, and being supposed to be a god, he is both feared and
CHAP. V.--DISCRETION THE BETTER PART OF VALOUR.
"Wherefore I do not think that any one will be able to quench such a
fire as has been kindled. For no one doubts his promises; but every one
affirms that this is so. Wherefore, lest you should expose yourselves to
danger, I advise you not to attempt anything against him until Peter come,
who alone shall be able to resist such a power, being the most esteemed
disciple of our Lord Jesus Christ. For so much do I fear this man, that if
he had not elsewhere been vanquished in disputing with my lord Peter, I
should counsel you to persuade even Peter himself not to attempt to oppose
CHAP. VI.--SIMON'S DEPARTURE.
Then I said: "If our lord Peter did not know that he himself alone can
prevail against this power, he would not have sent us before him with
orders to get information secretly concerning Simon, and to write to him."
Then, as evening had come on, we took supper,(3) and went to sleep. But in
the morning, one of Bernice's friends came and said that Simon had set sail
for Sidon, and that he had left behind him Appion Pleistonices,(4)--a man
of Alexandria, a grammarian by profession, whom I knew as being a friend of
my father; and a certain astrologer, Annubion the Diospolitan, and
Athenodorus the Athenian, attached to the doctrine of Epicurus. And we,
having learned these things concerning Simon, in the morning wrote and
despatched a letter to Peter, and went to take a walk.
CHAP. VII.--APPION'S SALUTATION.
And Appion met us, not only with the two companions just named, but
with about thirty other men. And as soon as he saw me, he saluted and
kissed me, and said, "This is Clement, of whose noble birth and liberal
education I have often told you; for he, being related to the family of
Tiberius Caesar, and equipped with all Grecian learning, has been seduced
by a certain barbarian called Peter to speak and act after the manner of
the Jews. Wherefore I beg of you to strive together with me for the setting
of him right. And in your presence I now ask him. Let him tell me, since
he thinks that he has devoted himself to piety, whether he is not acting
most impiously, in forsaking the customs of his country, and falling away
to those of the barbarians."
CHAP. VIII.--A CHALLENGE.
I answered: "I accept, indeed, your kindly affection towards me, but I
take exception to your ignorance. For your affection is kindly, because you
wish to continue in those customs which you consider to be good. But your
inaccurate knowledge strives to lay a snare for me, under the guise of
friendship." Then said Appion: "Does it seem to you to be ignorance, that
one should observe the customs of his fathers, and judge after the manner
of the Greeks?" Then I answered: "It behoves one who desires to be pious
not altogether to observe the customs of his fathers; but to observe them
if they be pious, and to shake them off if they be impious. For it is
possible that one who is the son of an impious father, if he wishes to be
pious, should not desire to follow the religion of his father."(1) Then
answered Appion: "What then? Do you say that your father was a man of an
evil life?" Then said I: "He was not of an evil life, but of an evil
opinion." Then Appion: "I should like to know what was his evil
apprehension." Then said I: "Because he believed the false and wicked myths
of the Greeks." Then Appion asked: "What are these false and evil myths of
the Greeks?" Then I said: "The wrong opinion concerning the gods, which, if
you will bear with me, you shall hear, with those who are desirous to
CHAP. IX.--UNWORTHY ENDS OF PHILOSOPHERS.
"Wherefore, before beginning our conversation, let us now withdraw into
some quieter place, and there I shall converse with you. And the reason why
I wish to speak privately is this, because neither the multitude, nor even
all the philosophers, approach honestly to the judgment of things as they
are. For we know many, even of those who pride themselves on their
philosophy, who are vainglorious, or who have put on the philosopher's robe
for the sake of gain, and not for the sake of virtue itself; and they, if
they do not find that for which they take to philosophy, turn to mockery.
Therefore, on account of such as these, let us choose some place fit for
CHAP. X.--A COOL RETREAT.
And a certain one amongst them--a rich man, and possessing a garden of
evergreen plants(2)--said: "Since it is very hot, let us retire for a
little from the city to my gardens." Accordingly they went forth, and sat
down in a place where there were pure streams of cool water, and a green
shade of all sorts of trees. There I sat pleasantly, and the others round
about me; and they being silent, instead of a verbal request made to me,
showed by their eager looks to me that they required the proof of my
assertion.And therefore I proceeded to speak thus:--
CHAP. XI.--TRUTH AND CUSTOM.
"There is a certain great difference, O men of Greece, between truth
and custom. For truth is found when it is honestly sought; but custom,
whatsoever be the character of the custom received, whether true or false,
is strengthened by itself without the exercise of judgment; and he who has
received it is neither pleased with it as being true, nor grieved with it
as false. For such an one has believed not by judgment, but by prejudice,
resting his own hope on the opinion of those who have lived before him on a
mere peradventure. And it is not easy to cast off the ancestral garment,
though it be shown to himself to be wholly foolish and ridiculous.
"Therefore I say that the whole learning of the Greeks is a most
dreadful fabrication of a wicked demon. For they have introduced many gods
of their own, and these wicked, and subject to all kinds of passion; so
that he who wishes to do the like things may not be ashamed, which belongs
to a man, having as an example the wicked and unquiet lives of the
mythological gods. And through his not being ashamed, such an one affords
no hope of his repenting. And others have introduced fate, which is called
genesis, contrary to which no one can suffer or do anything. This,
therefore, also is like to the first. For any one who thinks that no one
has aught to do or suffer contrary to genesis easily falls into sin; and
having sinned, he does not repent of his impiety, holding it as his apology
that he was borne on by genesis to do these things. And as he cannot
rectify genesis, he has no reason to be ashamed of the sins he commits.(1)
"And others introduce an unforeseeing destiny, as if all things
revolved of their own accord, without the superintendence of any master.
But thus to think these things is, as we have said, the most grievous of
all opinions. For, as if there were no one superintending and fore-judging
and distributing to every one according to his deserving, they easily do
everything as they can through fearlessness. Therefore those who have such
opinions do not easily, or perhaps do not at all, live virtuously; for
they do not foresee the danger which might have the effect of converting
them. But the doctrine of the barbarous Jews, as you call them, is most
pious, introducing One as the Father and Creator of all this world, by
nature good and righteous; good, indeed, as pardoning sins to those who
repent; but righteous, as visiting to every one after repentance according
to the worthiness of his doings.
CHAP. XIV.--"DOCTRINE ACCORDING TO GODLINESS."
"This doctrine, even if it also be mythical, being pious, would not be
without advantage for this life. For every one, in expectation of being
judged by the all-seeing God, receives the greater impulse towards virtue.
But if the doctrine be also true, it withdraws him who has lived virtuously
from eternal punishment, and endows him with eternal and unspeakable
blessings from God.
CHAP. XV.--WICKEDNESS OF THE GODS.
"But I return to the foremost doctrine of the Greeks, that which states
in stories(2) that there are gods many, and subject to all kinds of
passions. And not to spend much time upon things that are clear, referring
to the impious deeds of every one of those who are called gods, I could not
tell all their amours; those of Zeus and Poseidon, of Pluto and Apollo, of
Dionysus and Hercules, and of them all singly.(3) And of these you are
yourselves not ignorant, and have been taught their manners of life, being
instructed in the Grecian learning, that, as competitors with the gods, you
might do like things.
CHAP. XVI.--WICKEDNESS OF JUPITER.
"But I shall begin with the most royal Zeus, whose father Kronos,
having, as you say, devoured his own children, and having shorn off the
members of his father Uranus with a sickle of adamant, showed to those who
are zealous for the mysteries of the gods an example of piety towards
parents and of love towards children. And Jupiter himself bound his own
father, and imprisoned him in Tartarus; and he also punishes the other
gods.(4) And for those who wish to do things not to be spoken of, he begat
Metis, and devoured her. But Metis was seed; for it is impossible to devour
a child. And for an excuse to abusers of themselves with mankind, he
carries away Ganymedes. And as a helper of adulterers in their adultery, he
is often found an adulterer. And to those who wish to commit incest with
sisters, he sets the example in his intercourse with his sisters Hera and
Demeter, and the heavenly Aphrodite, whom some call Dodona.(5) And to those
who wish to commit incest with their daughters, there is a wicked example
from his story, in his committing incest with Persephone. But in myriads of
instances he acted impiously, that by reason of his excessive wickedness
the fable of his being a god might be received by impious men.
CHAP. XVII.--"THEIR MAKERS ARE LIKE UNTO THEM."
"You will hold it reasonable for ignorant men to be moderately
indignant at these fancies. But what must we say to the learned, some of
whom, professing themselves to be grammarians and sophists, affirm that
these acts are worthy of gods? For, being themselves incontinent, they lay
hold of this mythical pretext; and as imitators of the gods,(6) they
practise unseemly things with freedom.
CHAP. XVIII.--SECOND NATURE.
"On this account, they who live in the country sin much less than they
do, not having been indoctrinated in those things in which they have been
indoctrinated who dare do these things, having learned from evil
instruction to be impious. For they who from their childhood learn letters
by means of such fables, while their soul is yet pliant, engraft the
impious deeds of those who are called gods into their own minds; whence,
when they are grown up, they ripen fruit, like evil seeds cast into the
soul. And what is worst of all, the rooted impurities cannot be easily cut
down, when they are perceived to be bitter by them when they have attained
to manhood. For every one is pleased to remain in those habits which he
forms in childhood; and thus, since custom is not much less powerful than
nature, they become difficult to be converted to those good things which
were not sown in their souls from the beginning.
CHAP. XIX.--"WHERE IGNORANCE IS BLISS."
"Wherefore it behoves the young not to be satisfied with those
corrupting lessons, and those who are in their prime should carefully avoid
listening to the mythologies of the Greeks. For lessons about their gods
are much worse than ignorance, as we have shown from the case of those
dwelling in the country, who sin less through their not having been
instructed by Greeks. Truly, such fables of theirs, and spectacles, and
books, ought to be shunned, and if it were possible, even their cities. For
those who are full of evil learning, even with their breath infect as with
madness those who associate with them, with their own passions. And what is
worst, whoever is most instructed among them, is so much the more turned
from the judgment which is according to nature.
CHAP.XX.--FALSE THEORIES OF PHILOSOPHERS.
"And some of those amongst them who even profess to be philosophers,
assert that such sins are indifferent, and say that those who are indignant
at such practices are senseless.(1) For they say that such things are not
sins by nature, but have been proscribed by laws made by wise men in early
times, through their knowing that men, through the instability of their
minds, being greatly agitated on these accounts, wage war with one another;
for which reason, wise men have made laws to proscribe such things as sins.
But this is a ridiculous supposition. For how can they be other than sins,
which are the cause of tumults, and murders, and every confusion? For do
not shortcomings of life(2) and many more evils proceed from adultery?
CHAP. XXI.--EVILS OF ADULTERY.
"But why, it is said, if a man is ignorant of his wife's being an
adulteress, is he not indignant, enraged, distracted? why does he not make
war? Thus these things are not evil by nature, but the unreasonable opinion
of men make them terrible. But I say, that even if these dreadful things do
not occur, it is usual for a woman, through association with an adulterer,
either to forsake her husband, or if she continue to live with him, to
plot against him, or to bestow upon the adulterer the goods procured by
the labour of her husband; and having conceived by the adulterer while her
husband is absent, to attempt the destruction of that which is in her womb,
through shame of conviction, and so to become a child-murderer; or even,
while destroying it, to be destroyed along with it. But if while her
husband is at home she conceives by the adulterer and bears a child, the
child when he grows up does not know his father, and thinks that he is his
father who is not; and thus he who is not the father, at his death leaves
his substance to the child of another. And how many other evils naturally
spring from adultery! And the secret evils we do not know. For as the mad
dog destroys all that he touches, infecting them with the unseen madness,
so also the hidden evil of adultery, though it be not known, effects the
cutting off of posterity.
CHAP. XXII.--A MORE EXCELLENT WAY.
"But let us pass over this now. But this we all know, that universally
men are beyond measure enraged on account of it, that wars have been waged,
that there have been overthrows of houses, and captures of cities, and
myriads of other evils. On this account I betook myself to the holy God and
law of the Jews, putting my faith in the well-assured conclusion that the
law has been assigned by the righteous judgment of God, and that the soul
must at some time receive according to the desert of its deeds."
CHAP. XXIII.--"WHITHER SHALL I GO FROM THY PRESENCE?"
When I had thus spoken, Appion broke in upon my discourse. "What!" said
he; "do not the laws of the Greeks also forbid wickedness, and punish
adulterers?" Then said I: "Then the gods of the Greeks, who acted contrary
to the laws, deserve punishment. But how shall I be able to restrain
myself, if I suppose that the gods themselves first practised all
wickednesses as well as adultery, and did not suffer punishment; whereas
they ought the rather to have suffered, as not being slaves to lust? But if
they were subject to it, how were they gods?" Then Appion said: "Let us
have in our eye not the gods, but the judges; and looking to them, we
shall be afraid to sin." Then I said: "This is not fitting, O Appion: for
he who has his eye upon men will dare to sin, in hope of escaping
detection; but he who sets before his soul the all-seeing God, knowing that
he cannot escape His notice, will refrain from sinning even in secret."
When Appion heard this, he said: "I knew, ever since I heard that you
were consorting with Jews, that you had alienated your judgment. For it has
been well said by some one, Evil communications corrupt good manners.'"
Then said I: "Therefore good communications correct evil manners." And
Appion said: "Today I am fully satisfied to have learned your position;
therefore I permitted you to speak first. But to-morrow, in this place, if
it is agreeable to you, I will show, in the presence of these friends when
they meet, that our gods are neither adulterers, nor murderers, nor
corrupters of children, nor guilty of incest with sisters or daughters. But
the ancients, wishing that only lovers of learning should know the
mysteries, veiled them with those fables of which you have spoken. For they
speak physiologically of boiling substance under the name of Zen, and of
time under that of Kronos, and of the ever-flowing nature of water under
that of Rhea. However, as I have promised, I shall to-morrow exhibit the
truth of things, explaining them one by one to you when you come together
in the morning."(1) In reply to this I said: "To-morrow, as you have
promised, so do. But now hear something in opposition to what you are going
CHAP. XXV.--AN ENGAGEMENT FOR TO-MORROW.
"If the doings of the gods, being good, have been veiled with evil
fables, the wickedness of him who wove the veil is shown to have been
great, because he concealed noble things with evil narratives, that no one
imitate them. But if they really did things impious, they ought, on the
contrary, to have veiled them with good narratives, lest men, regarding
them as their superiors, should set about sinning in like manner." As I
spoke thus, those present were evidently beginning to be well-disposed
towards the words spoken by me; for they repeatedly and earnestly asked me
to come on the following day, and departed.
CHAP. I.--APPION DOES NOT APPEAR.
THE next day, therefore, in Tyre, as we had agreed, I came to the quiet
place, and there I found the rest, with some others also. Then I saluted
them. But as I did not see Appion, I asked the reason of his not being
present; and some one said that he had been unwell ever since last evening.
Then, when I said that it was reasonable that we should immediately set out
to visit him, almost all begged me first to discourse to them, and that
then we could go to see him. Therefore, as all were of one opinion, I
proceeded to say:(1)--
CHAP. II.--CLEMENT'S PREVIOUS KNOWLEDGE OF APPION.
"Yesterday, when I left this, O friends, I confess that, through much
anxiety about the discussion that was to take place with Appion, I was not
able to get any sleep. And while I was unable to sleep, I remembered a
trick that I played upon him in Rome. It was this. From my boyhood I
Clement was a lover of truth, and a seeker of the things that are
profitable for the soul, and spending my time in raising and refuting
theories; but being unable to find anything perfect, through distress of
mind I fell sick. And while I was confined to bed Appion came to Rome, and
being my father's friend, he lodged with me; and hearing that I was in bed,
he came to me, as being not unacquainted with medicine, and inquired the
cause of my being in bed. But I, being aware that the man exceedingly hated
the Jews, as also that he had written many books against them, and that he
had formed a friendship with this Simon, not through desire of learning,
but because he knew that he was a Samaritan and a hater of the Jews, and
that he had come forth in opposition to the Jews, therefore he had formed
an alliance with him, that he might learn something from him against the
CHAP. III.--CLEMENT'S TRICK.
"I knowing this before concerning Appion, as soon as he asked me the
cause of my sickness, answered feignedly, that I was suffering and
distressed in my mind after the manner of young men. And to this he said,
'My son, speak freely as to a father: what is your soul's ailment?' And
when I again groaned feignedly, as being ashamed to speak of love, by means
of silence and down-looking I conveyed the impression of what I wished to
intimate. But he, being persuaded that I was in love with a woman, said:
'There is nothing in life which does not admit of help. For indeed I
myself, when I was young, being in love with a most accomplished woman, not
only thought it impossible to obtain her, but did not even hope ever to
address her. And yet, having fallen in with a certain Egyptian who was
exceedingly well versed in magic, and having become his friend, I disclosed
to him my love, and not only did he assist me in all that I wished, but,
honouring me more bountifully, he hesitated not to teach me an incantation
by means of which I obtained her; and as soon as I had obtained her, by
means of his secret instruction, being persuaded by the liberality of my
teacher, I was cured of love.
CHAP. IV.--APPION'S UNDERTAKING.
"'Whence, if you also suffer any such thing after the manner of men,
use freedom with me with all security; for within seven days I shall put
you fully in possession of her.' When I heard this, looking at the object I
had in view, I said: 'Pardon me that I do not altogether believe in the
existence of magic; for I have already tried many who have made many
promises, and have deceived me. However, your undertaking influences me,
and leads me to hope. But when I think of the matter, I am afraid that the
demons are sometimes not subject to the magicians with respect to the
things that are commanded them.'
CHAP. V.--THEORY OF MAGIC.
"Then Appion said: 'Admit that I know more of these things than you do.
However, that you may not think that there is nothing in what you have
heard from me in reference to what you have said, I will tell you how the
demons are under necessity to obey the magicians in the matters about which
they are commanded. For as it is impossible for a soldier to contradict his
general, and impossible for the generals themselves to disobey the king--
for if any one oppose those set over him, he is altogether deserving of
punishment--so it is impossible for the demons not to serve the angels who
are their generals; and when they are adjured by them, they yield
trembling, well knowing that if they disobey they shall be fully punished.
But the angels also themselves, being adjured by the magicians in the name
of their ruler, obey, lest, being found guilty of disobedience, they be
destroyed. For unless all things that are living and rational foresaw
vengeance from the ruler, confusion would ensue, all revolting against one
"Then said I: 'Are those things correct, then, which are spoken by
poets and philosophers, that in Hades the souls of the wicked are judged
and punished for their attempts; such as those of Ixion, and Tantalus, and
Tityus, and Sisyphus, and the daughters of Danaus, and as many others as
have been impious here? And how, if these things are not so, is it possible
that magic can subsist?' Then he having told me that these things are so in
Hades, I asked him: 'Why are not we ourselves afraid of magic, being
persuaded of the punishment in Hades for adultery? For I do not admit that
it is a righteous thing to compel to adultery a woman who is unwilling; but
if any one will engage to persuade her, I am ready for that, besides
confessing my thanks.'
CHAP. VII.--A DISTINCTION WITH A DIFFERENCE.
"Then Appion said: 'Do you not think it is the same thing, whether you
obtain her by magic, or by deceiving her with words?' Then said I: 'Not
altogether the same; for these differ widely from one another. For he who
constrains an unwilling woman by the force of magic, subjects himself to
the most terrible punishment, as having plotted against a chaste woman; but
he who persuades her with words, and puts the choice in her own power and
will, does not force her. And I am of opinion, that he who has persuaded a
woman will not stiffer so great punishment as he who has forced her.
Therefore, if you can persuade her, I shall be thankful to yon when I have
obtained her; but otherwise, I had rather die than force her against her
CHAP. VIII.--FLATTERY OR MAGIC.
"Then Appion, being really puzzled, said: 'What am I to say to you? For
at one time, as one perturbed with love, you pray to obtain her; and anon,
as if you loved her not, you make more account of your fear than your
desire: and you think that if you can persuade her you shall be blameless,
as without sin; but obtaining her by the power of magic, you will incur
punishment. But do you not know that it is the end of every action that is
judged, the fact that it has been committed, and that no account is made of
the means by which it has been effected? And if you commit adultery, being
enabled by magic, shall you be judged as having done wickedly; and if by
persuasion, shall you be absolved from sin in respect of the adultery?'
Then I said: 'On account of my love, there is a necessity for me to choose
one or other of the means that are available to procure the object of my
love; and I shall choose, as far as possible, to cajole her rather than to
use magic. But neither is it easy to persuade her by flattery, for the
woman is very much of a philosopher.'
CHAP. IX.--A LOVE-LETTER.
"Then Appion said: 'I am all the more hopeful to be able to persuade
her, as you wish, provided only we be able to converse with her.' 'That,'
said I, 'is impossible.' Then Appion asked if it were possible to scud a
letter to her. Then I said: 'That indeed may be done.' Then Appion said:
'This very night I shall write a paper on encomiums of adultery, which you
shall get from me and despatch to her; and I hope that she shall be
persuaded, and consent.' Appion accordingly wrote the paper, and gave it to
me; and I thought of it this very night, and I remembered that fortunately
I have it by me, along with other papers which I carry about with me."
Having thus spoken, I showed the paper to those who were present, and read
it to them as they wished to hear it; and having read it, I said: "This, O
men, is the instruction of the Greeks, affording a bountiful licence to sin
without fear. (1) The paper was as follows:--
CHAP. X.--THE LOVER TO THE BELOVED ONE.
"'Anonymously, on account of the laws of foolish men. At the bidding of
Love, the first-born of all, salutation: I know that you are devoted to
philosophy, and for the sake of virtue you affect the life of the noble.
But who are nobler than the gods among all, and philosophers among men? For
these alone know what works are good or evil by nature, and what, not being
so, are accounted so by the imposition of laws. Now, then, some have
supposed that the action which is called adultery is evil, although it is
in every respect good. For it is by the appointment of Eros for the
increase of life. And Eros is the eldest of all the gods. For without Eros
there can be no mingling or generation either of elements, or gods, or men,
or irrational animals, or aught else. For we are all instruments of Eros.
He, by means of us, is the fabricator of all that is begotten, the mind
inhabiting our souls. Hence it is not when we ourselves wish it, but when
we are ordered by him, that we desire to do his will. But if, while we
desire according to his will, we attempt to restrain the desire for the
sake of what is called chastity, what do we do but the greatest impiety,
when we oppose the oldest of all gods and men?
CHAP. XI.--"ALL UNCLEANNESS WITH GREEDINESS."
"'But let all doors be opened to him, and let all baneful and arbitrary
laws be set aside, which have been ordained by fanatical men, who, under
the power of senselessness, and not willing to understand what is
reasonable, and, moreover, suspecting those who are called adulterers, are
with good reason mocked with arbitrary laws by Zeus himself, through Minos
and Rhadamanthus. For there is no restraining of Eros dwelling in our
souls; for the passion of lovers is not voluntary. Therefore Zeus himself,
the giver of these laws, approached myriads of women; and, according to
some wise men, he sometimes had intercourse with human beings, as a
benefactor for the production of children. But in the case of those to whom
he knew that his being unknown would be a favour,(2) he changed his form,
in order that he might neither grieve them, nor seem to act in opposition
to the laws given by himself. It becomes you, therefore, who are debaters
of philosophy, for the sake of a good life, to imitate those who are
acknowledged to be the nobler, who have had sexual intercourse ten thousand
CHAP. XII.--JUPITER'S AMOURS.
"'And not to spend the time to no purpose in giving more examples, I
shall begin with mentioning some embraces of Zeus himself, the father of
gods and men.(3) For it is impossible to mention all, on account of their
multitude. Hear, therefore, the amours of this great Jupiter, which he
concealed by changing his form, on account of the fanaticism of senseless
men. For, in the first place, wishing to show to wise men that adultery is
no sin, when he was going to marry, being, according to the multitude,
knowingly an adulterer, in his first marriage, but not being so in reality,
by means, as I said, of a seeming sin be accomplished a sinless
marriage.(4) For he married his own sister Hera, assuming the likeness of a
cuckoo's wing; and of her were born Hebe and Ilithyia. For he gave birth to
Metis without copulation with any one, as did also Hera to Vulcan.
CHAP. XIII.--JUPITER'S AMOURS CONTINUED.
"'Then he committed incest with his sister, who was born of Kronos and
Thalasse, after the dismemberment of Kronos, and of whom were born Eros and
Cypris, whom they call also Dodone. Then, in the likeness of a satyr, he
had intercourse with Antiope the daughter of Nycteus, of whom were born
Amphion and Zethus. And he embraced Alcmene, the wife of Amphitryon, in the
form of her husband Amphitryon, of whom was born Hercules. And, changed
into an eagle, he approached AEgina, the daughter of Asclepius, of whom
AEacus was born. And in the form of a bear he lay with Amalthea the
daughter of Phocus; and in a golden shower he fell upon Danae, the daughter
of Acrisius, of whom sprang Perseus. He became wild as a lion to Callisto
the daughter of Lycaon and begat Arcus the second. And with Europa the
daughter of Phoenix he had intercourse by means of a bull, of whom sprang
Minos, and Rhadamanthus, and Sarpedon; and with Eurymedusa the daughter of
Achelous, changing himself into an ant, of whom was born Myrmidon. With a
nymph of Hersaeus, in the form of a vulture, from whom sprang the wise men
of old in Sicily. He came to Juno the earth-born in Rhodes, and of her were
born Pargaeus, Kronius, Kytis. And he deflowered Ossia, taking the likeness
of her husband Phoenix, of whom Anchinous was born to him. Of Nemesis the
daughter of Thestius, who is also thought to be Leda, he begot Helena, in
the form of a swan or goose; and again, in the form of a star, he produced
Castor and Polydeuces. With Lamia he was transformed into a hoopoo.
CHAP. XIV.--JUPITER'S UNDISGUISED AMOURS.
"'In the likeness of a shepherd he made Mnemosyne mother of the Muses.
Setting himself on fire, he married Semele, the daughter of Cadmus, of whom
he begat Dionysus. In the likeness of a dragon he deflowered his daughter
Persephone, thought to be the wife of his brother Pluto. He had intercourse
with many other women without undergoing any change in his form; for the
husbands had no ill-will to him as if it were a sin, but knew well that in
associating with their wives he bountifully produced children for them,
bestowing upon them the Hermeses, the Apollos, the Dionysi, the Endymions,
and others whom we have spoken of, most excellent in beauty through his
CHAP. XV.--UNNATURAL LUSTS.
"'And not to spend the time in an endless exposition, you will find
numerous unions with Jupiter of all the gods. But senseless men call these
doings of the gods adulteries; even of those gods who did not refrain from
the abuse of males as disgraceful, but who practised even this as seemly.
For instance, Jupiter himself was in love with Ganymede: Poseidon with
Pelops; Apollo with Cinyras, Zacyinthus, Hyacinthus, Phorbas, Hylas,
Admetus, Cyparissus, Amyclas, Troilus, Branchus the Tymnaean, Parus the
Potnian, Orpheus; Dionysus with Laonis, Ampelus, Hymenaeus, Hermaphrodites,
Achilles; Asclepius with Hippolytus, and Hephaestus with Peleus; Pan with
Daphnis; Hermes with Perseus, Chrysas, Theseus, Odrysus; Hercules with
Abderus, Dryops, Jocastus, Philoctetes, Hylas, Polyphemus, Haemon, Chonus,
CHAP. XVI.--PRAISE OF UNCHASTITY.
"'Thus have I in part set before you the amours of all the more noted
gods, beloved, that you may know that fanaticism respecting this thing is
confined to senseless men. Therefore they are mortal, and spend their lives
sadly, because through their zeal they proclaim those things to be evil
which the gods esteem as excellent. Therefore for the future you will be
blessed, imitating the gods, and not men. For men, seeing you preserving
that which is thought to be chastity, on account of what they themselves
feel, praise you indeed, but do not help you. But the gods, seeing you like
unto themselves, will both praise and help.
CHAP. XVII.--THE CONSTELLATIONS.
"'For reckon to me how many mistresses they have rewarded, some of whom
they have placed among the stars; and of some they have blessed both the
children and the associates. Thus Zeus made Callisto a constellation,
called the Little Bear, which some also call the Dog's Tail. Poseidon also
placed the dolphin in the sky for the sake of Amphitrite; and he gave a
place among the stars to Orion the son of Euryale, the daughter of Minos,
for the sake of his mother Euryale. And Dionysus made a constellation of
the crown of Ariadne, and Zeus invested the eagle which assisted him in the
rape of Ganymede, and Ganymede himself with the honour of the Water-pourer.
Also he honoured the bull for the sake of Europa; and also having bestowed
Castor, and Polydeuces, and Helena upon Leda, he made them stars. Also
Perseus for the sake of Danae; and Arcus for the sake of Callisto. The
virgin who also is Dice, for the sake of Themis; and Heracles for the sake
of Alcmene. But I do not enlarge further; for it were long to tell
particularly how many others the gods have blessed for the sake of their
many mistresses. in their intercourse with human beings, which senseless
men repudiate as evil deeds, not knowing that pleasure is the great
advantage among men.
CHAP. XVIII.--THE PHILOSOPHERS ADVOCATES OF ADULTERY.
"'But why? Do not the celebrated philosophers extol pleasure, and have
they not had intercourse with what women they would? Of these the first was
that teacher of Greece, of whom Phoebus himself said, "Of all men, Socrates
is the wisest." Does not he teach that in a well-regulated state women
should be common?(1) and did he not conceal the fair Alcibia-des under his
philosopher's gown? And the Socratic Antisthenes writes of the necessity of
not abandoning what is called adultery. And even his disciple Diogenes, did
not he freely associate with Lais, for the hire of carrying her on his
shoulders in public? Does not Epicurus extol pleasure? Did not Aristippus
anoint himself with perfumes, and devote himself wholly to Aphrodite? Does
not Zeno, intimating indifference, say that the deity pervades all things,
that it may be known to the intelligent, that with whomsoever a man has
intercourse, it is as with himself; and that it is superfluous to forbid
what are called adulteries, or intercourse with mother, or daughter, or
sister, or children. And Chrysippus, in his erotic epistles, makes mention
of the statue in Argos, representing Hera and Zeus in an obscene position.
CHAP. XIX.--CLOSE OF THE LOVE-LETTER.
"'I know that to those uninitiated in the truth these things seem
dreadful and most base; but not so to the gods and the philosophers of the
Greeks, nor to those initiated in the mysteries of Dionysus and Demeter.
But above all these, not to waste time in speaking of the lives of all the
gods, and all the philosophers, let the two chief be your marks--Zeus the
greatest of the gods, and Socrates of philosophic men. And the other things
which I have mentioned in this letter, understand and attend to, that you
may not grieve your lover; since, if you act contrarily to gods and heroes,
you will be judged wicked, and will subject yourself to fitting punishment.
But if you offer yourself to every lover, then, as an imitator of the gods,
you shall receive benefits from them. For the rest, dearest one, remember
what mysteries I have disclosed to you, and inform me by letter of your
choice. Fare thee well.'
CHAP. XX.--THE USE MADE OF IT.
"I therefore, having received this billet from Appion, as though I were
really going to send it to a beloved one, pretended as if she had written
in answer to it; and the next day, when Appion came, I gave him the reply,
as if from her, as follows:--
CHAP. XXI.--ANSWER TO APPION'S LETTER.
"'I wonder how, when you commend me for wisdom, you write to me as to a
fool. For, wishing to persuade me to your passion, you make use of examples
from the mythologies of the gods, that Eros is the eldest of all, as you
say, and above all gods and men, not being afraid to blaspheme, that you
might corrupt my soul and insult my body. For Eros is not the leader of the
gods,--he, I mean, who has to do with lusts. For if he lusts willingly, he
is himself his own suffering and punishment; and he who should suffer
willingly could not be a god. But if against his will he lust for
copulation, and, pervading our souls as through the members of our bodies,
is borne into intermeddling with our minds, then he that impels him to love
is greater than he. And again, he who impels him, being himself impelled by
another desire, another greater than he is found impelling him. And thus we
come to an endless succession of lovers,(2) which is impossible. Thus,
neither is there an impeller nor an impelled; but it is the lustful passion
of the lover himself, which is increased by hope and diminished by despair.
CHAP. XXII.--LYING FABLES.
"'But those who will not subdue base lusts belie the gods, that, by
representing the gods as first doing the things which they do, they may be
set free from blame. For if those who are called gods committed adulteries
for the sake of begetting children, and not through lasciviousness, why did
they also debauch males? But it is said they complimented their mistresses
by making them stars. Therefore before this were there no stars, until such
time as, by reason of wantonness, the heaven was adorned with stars by
adulterers? And how is it that the children of those who have been made
stars are punished in Hades,--Atlas loaded, Tantalus tortured with thirst,
Sisyphus pushing a stone, Tityus thrust through the bowels, Ixion
continually rolled round a wheel? How is it that these divine lovers made
stars of the women whom they defiled, but gave no such grace to these?
CHAP. XXIII.--THE GODS NO GODS.
"'They were not gods, then, but representations of tyrants. For a
certain tomb is shown among the Caucasian mountains, not in heaven, but in
earth, as that of Kronos, a barbarous man and a devourer of children.
Further, the tomb of the lascivious Zeus, so famed in story, who in like
manner devoured his own daughter Metis, is to be seen in Crete, and those
of Pluto and Poseidon in the Acherusian lake; and that of Helius in Astra,
and of Selene in Carrae, of Hermes in Hermopolis, of Ares in Thrace, of
Aphrodite in Cyprus, of Dionysus in Thebes, and of the rest in other
places. At all events, the tombs are shown of those that I have named; for
they were men, and in respect of these things, wicked men and magicians.(1)
For else they should not have become despots--I mean Zeus, renowned in
story, and Dionysus--but that by changing their forms they prevailed over
whom they pleased, for whatever purpose they designed.
CHAP. XXIV.--IF A PRINCIPLE BE GOOD, CARRY IT OUT.
"'But if we must emulate their lives, let us imitate not only their
adulteries, but also their banquets. For Kronos devoured his own children,
and Zeus in like manner his own daughter. And what must I say? Pelops
served as a supper for all the gods. Wherefore let us also, before
unhallowed marriages, perpetrate a supper like that of the gods; for thus
the supper would be worthy of the marriages. But this you would never
consent to; no more will I to adultery. Besides this, you threaten me with
the anger of Eros as of a powerful god. Eros is not a god, as I conceive
him, but a desire occurring from the temperament of the living creature in
order to the perpetuation of life, according to the foresight of Him who
worketh all things, that the whole race may not fail, but by reason of
pleasure another may be produced out of the substance of one who shall die,
springing forth by lawful marriage, that he may know to sustain his own
father in old age. And this those born from adultery cannot do, not having
the nature of affection towards those who have begotten them.
CHAP. XXV.--BETTER TO MARRY THAN TO BURN.
"'Since, therefore, the erotic desire occurs for the sake of
continuation and legitimate increasing, as I have said, it behoves parents
providing for the chastity of their children to anticipate the desire, by
imbuing them with instruction by means of chaste books, and to accustom
them beforehand by excellent discourses; for custom is a second nature. And
in addition to this, frequently to remind them of the punishments appointed
by the laws, that, using fear as a bridle, they may not run on in wicked
pleasures. And it behoves them also, before the springing of the desire, to
satisfy the natural passion of puberty by marriage, first persuading them
not to look upon the beauty of another woman.
CHAP. XXVI.--CLOSE OF THE ANSWER.
"'For our mind, whenever it is impressed delightfully with the image of
a beloved one, always seeing the form as in a mirror, is tormented by the
recollection; and if it do not obtain its desire, it contrives ways of
obtaining it; but if it do obtain it, it is rather increased, like fire
having a supply of wood, and especially when there is no fear impressed
upon the soul of the lover before the rise of passion. For as water
extinguishes fire, so fear is the extinguisher of unreasonable desire.
Whence I, having learned from a certain Jew both to understand and to do
the things that are pleasing to God, am not to be entrapped into adultery
by your lying fables. But may God help you in your wish and efforts to be
chaste, and afford a remedy to your soul burning with love.'
CHAP. XXVII.--A REASON FOR HATRED.
"When Appion heard the pretended answer, he said: "Is it without reason
that I hate the Jews? Here now some Jew has fallen in with her, and has
converted her to his religion, and persuaded her to chastity, and it is
henceforth impossible that she ever have intercourse with another man; for
these fellows, setting God before them as the universal inspector of
actions, are extremely persistent in chastity, as being unable to be
concealed from Him.'
CHAP. XXVIII.--THE HOAX CONFESSED.
"When I heard this, I said to Appion: 'Now I shall confess the truth to
you. I was not enamoured of the woman, or of any one else, my soul being
exceedingly spent upon other desires, and upon the investigation of true
doctrines. And till now, although I have examined many doctrines of
philosophers, I have inclined to none of them, excepting only that of the
Jews,--a certain merchant of theirs having sojourned here in Rome, selling
linen clothes, and a fortunate meeting having set simply before me the
doctrine of the unity of God.'
CHAP. XXIX.--APPION'S RESENTMENT.
"Then Appion, having heard from me the truth, with his unreasonable
hatred of the Jews, and neither knowing nor wishing to know what their
faith is, being senselessly angry, forthwith quitted Rome in silence. And
as this is my first meeting with him since then, I naturally expect his
anger in consequence. However, I shall ask him in your presence what he has
to say concerning those who are called gods, whose lives, fabled to be
filled with all passions, are constantly celebrated to the people, in order
to their imitation; while, besides their human passions as I have said,
their graves are also shown in different places."
CHAP. XXX.--A DISCUSSION PROMISED.
The others having heard these things from me, and desiring to learn
what would ensue, accompanied me to visit Appion. And we found him bathed,
and sitting at a table furnished. Wherefore we inquired but little into the
matter concerning the gods. But he, understanding, I suppose, our wish,
promised that next day he would have something to say about the gods, and
appointed to us the same place where he would converse with us. And we, as
soon as he had promised, thanked him, and departed, each one to his home.
Taken from "The Early Church Fathers and Other Works" originally published
by Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co. in English in Edinburgh, Scotland, beginning in
1867. (ANF 8, Roberts and Donaldson). The digital version is by The
Electronic Bible Society, P.O. Box 701356, Dallas, TX 75370, 214-407-WORD.