“Wherefore the Scripture exclaims in name of the God of the Jews, saying, ‘Behold, behold, seeing that I am God, and there is none else besides me, I will kill, and I will make alive; I will smite, and I will heal; and there is none who can deliver out of my hands.’ (Deu_32:39) See therefore how, by some ineffable virtue, the Scripture, opposing the future errors of those who should affirm that either in heaven or on earth there is any other god besides Him who is the God of the Jews, decides thus: ‘The Lord your God is one God, in heaven above, and in the earth beneath; and besides Him there is none else.’ (Deu_4:39) How, then, hast thou dared to say that there is any other God besides Him who is the God of the Jews? And again the Scripture says, ‘Behold, to the Lord thy God belong the heaven, and the heaven of heavens, the earth, and all things that are in them: nevertheless I have chosen your fathers, that I might love them, and you after them.’ (Deu_10:14, Deu_10:15) Thus that judgment is supported by the Scripture on every side, that He who created the world is the true and only God.
Chap. XLIV. — The Serpent, the Author of Polytheism.
“But even if there be others, as we have said, who are called gods, they are under the power of the God of the Jews; for thus saith the Scripture to the Jews, ‘The Lord our God, He is God of gods, and Lord of lords.’ (Deu_10:17) Him alone the Scripture also commands to be worshipped, saying, ‘Thou shall worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shall thou serve;’ (Deu_6:13; Deu_10:20) and, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord thy God is one God.’ (Deu_6:4) Yea, also the saints, filled with the Spirit of God, and bedewed with the drops of His mercy, cried out, saying, ‘Who is like unto Thee among the gods? O Lord, who is like unto Thee?’ (Psa_84:8, Psa_71:19) And again, ‘Who is God, but the Lord; and who is God, but our Lord?’ (Psa_18:31) Therefore Moses, when he saw that the people were advancing, by degrees initiated them in the understanding of the monarchy and the faith of one God, as he says in the following words: ‘Thou shalt not make negation of the names of other gods;’19 doubtless remembering with what penalty the serpent was visited, which had first named gods.20 For it is condemned to feed upon dust, and is judged worthy of such food, for this cause, that it first of all introduced the name of gods into the world. But if you also wish to introduce many gods, see that you partake not the serpent’s doom.
Chap. XLV. — Polytheism Inexcusable.
“For be sure of this, that you shall not have us participators in this attempt; nor will we suffer ourselves to be deceived by you. For it will not serve us for an excuse in the judgment, if we say that you deceived us; because neither could it excuse the first woman, that she had unhappily believed the serpent; but she was condemned to death, because she believed badly. For this cause therefore, Moses, also commending the faith of one God to the people, says, ‘Take heed to thyself, that thou be not seduced from the Lord thy God.’ (Deu_8:11) Observe that he 110 makes use of the same word which the first woman also made use of in excusing herself, saying that she was seduced; but it profited her nothing. But over and above all this, even if some true prophet should arise, who should perform signs and miracles, but should wish to persuade us to worship other gods besides the God of the Jews, we should never be able to believe him. For so the divine law has taught us, handing down a secret injunction more purely by means of tradition, for thus it saith: ‘If there arise among you a prophet, or one dreaming a dream, and give you signs or wonders, and these signs or wonders come to pass, and he say to you, Let us go and worship strange gods, whom ye know not; ye shall not hear the words of that prophet, nor the dream of that dreamer, because proving he hath proved you, that he may see if ye love the ‘Lord your God.’ (Deu_13:1-3)
Chap. XLVI. — Christ Acknowledged the God of the Jews.
“Wherefore also our Lord, who wrought signs and wonders, preached the God of the Jews; and therefore we are right in believing what He preached. But as for you, even if you were really a prophet, and performed signs and wonders, as you promise to do, if you were to announce other gods besides Him who is the true God, it would be manifest that you were raised up as a trial to the people of God; and therefore you can by no means be believed. For He alone is the true God, who is the God of the Jews; and for this reason our Lord Jesus Christ did not teach them that they must inquire after God, for Him they knew well already, but that they must seek His kingdom and righteousness, (Mat_6:33) which the scribes and Pharisees, having received the key of knowledge, had not shut in, but shut out. (Luk_11:52) For if they had been ignorant of the true God, surely He would never have left the knowledge of this thing, which was the chief of all, and blamed them for small and little things, as for enlarging their fringes, and claiming the uppermost rooms in feasts, and praying standing in the highways, and such like things; which assuredly, in comparison of this great charge, ignorance of God, seem to be small and insignificant matters.”
Chap. XLVII. — Simon’s Cavil.
To this Simon replied:21 “From the words of your master I shall refute you, because even he introduces to all men a certain God who was known. For although both Adam knew the God who was his creator, and the maker of the world; and Enoch knew him, inasmuch as he was translated by him; and Noah, since he was ordered by him to construct the ark; and although Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and Moses, and all, even every people and all nations, know the maker of the world, and confess him to be a God, yet your Jesus, who appeared long after the patriarchs, says: ‘No one knows the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any one the Father, but the Son, and he to whom the Son has been pleased to reveal Him.’22 Thus, therefore, even your Jesus confesses that there is another God, incomprehensible and unknown to all.
Chap. XLVIII. — Peter’s Answer.
Then Peter says: “You do not perceive that you are making statements in opposition to yourself. For if our Jesus also knows Him whom ye call the unknown God, then He is not known by you alone. Yea, if our Jesus knows Him, then Moses also, who prophesied that Jesus should come, assuredly could not himself be ignorant of Him. For he was a prophet; and he who prophesied of the Son doubtless knew the Father. For if it is in the option of the Son to reveal the Father to whom He will, then the Son, who has been with the Father from the beginning, and through all generations, as He revealed the Father to Moses, so also to the other prophets; but if this be so, it is evident that the Father has not been unknown to any of them. But how could the Father be revealed to you, who do not believe in the Son, since the Father is known to none except him to whom the Son is pleased to reveal Him? But the Son reveals the Father to those who honour the Son as they honour the Father.” (Joh_5:23)
Chap. XLIX. — The Supreme Light.
Then Simon said: “Remember that you said that God has a son, which is doing Him wrong; for how can He have a son, unless He is subject to passions, like men or animals? But on these points there is not time now to show your profound folly, for I hasten to make a statement concerning the immensity of the supreme light; and so now listen. My opinion is, that there is a certain power of immense and ineffable light, whose greatness may be held to be incomprehensible, of which power even the maker of the world is ignorant, and Moses the lawgiver, and Jesus your master.”23 111
Chap. L. — Simon’s Presumption.
Then Peter:24 “Does it not seem to you to be madness, that any one should take upon himself to assert that there is another God than the God of all; and should say that he supposes there is a certain power, and should presume to affirm this to others, before he himself is sure of what he says? Is any one so rash as to believe your words, of which he sees that you are yourself doubtful, and to admit that there is a certain power unknown to God the Creator, and to Moses, and the prophets, and the law, and even to Jesus our Master, which power is so good, that it will not make itself known to any but to one only, and that one such an one as thou! Then, further, if that is a new power, why does it not confer upon us some new sense, in addition to those five which we possess, that by that new sense, bestowed upon us by it, we may be able to receive and understand itself which is new? Or if it cannot bestow such a sense upon us, how has it bestowed it upon you? Or if it has revealed itself to you, why not also to us? But if you of yourself understand things which not even the prophets were able to perceive or understand, come, tell us what each one of us is thinking now; for if there is such a spirit in you that you know those things which are above the heavens, which are unknown to all, and incomprehensible by all, much more easily do you know the thoughts of men upon the earth. But if you cannot know the thoughts of us who are standing here, how can you say that you know those things which, you assert, are known to none?
Chap. LI. — The Sixth Sense.
“But believe me, that you could never know what light is unless you had received both vision and understanding from light itself; so also in other things. Hence, having received understanding, you are framing in imagination something greater and more sublime, as if dreaming, but deriving all your hints from those five senses, to whose Giver you are unthankful. But be sure of this, that until you find some new sense which is beyond those five which we all enjoy, you cannot assert the existence of a new God.” Then Simon answered: “Since all things that! exist are in accordance with those five senses, that power which is more excellent than all cannot add anything new.” Then Peter said: “It is false; for there is also a sixth sense, namely that of foreknowledge: for those five senses are capable of knowledge, but the sixth is that of foreknowledge: and this the prophets possessed. How, then, can you know a God who is unknown to all, who do not know the prophetic sense, which is that of prescience?” Then Simon began to say: “This power of which I speak, incomprehensible and more excellent than all, nay, even than that God who made the world, neither any of the angels has known, nor of the demons, nor of the Jews, nay, nor any creature which subsists by means of God the creator. How, then, could that creator’s law teach me that which the creator himself did not know, since neither did the law itself know it, that it might teach it?”
Chap. LII. — Reductio Ad Absurdum.
Then Peter said: “I wonder how you have been able to learn more from the law than the law was able to know or to teach; and how you say that you adduce proofs from the law of those things which you are pleased to assert, when you declare that neither the law, nor He who gave the law — that is, the Creator of the world — knows those things of which you speak! But this also I wonder at, how you, who alone know these things, should be standing here now with us all, circumscribed by the limits of this small court.” Then Simon, seeing Peter and all the people laughing, said: “Do you laugh, Peter, while so great and lofty matters are under discussion?” Then said Peter: “Be not enraged, Simon, for we are doing no more than keeping our promise: for we are neither shutting our ears, as you said, nor did we take to flight as soon as we heard you propound your unutterable things; but we have not even stirred from the place. For indeed you do not even propound things that have any resemblance to truth, which might to a certain extent frighten us. Yet, at all events, disclose to us the meaning of this saying, how from the law you have learned of a God whom the law itself does not know, and of whom He who gave the law is ignorant.” Then Simon said: “If you have done laughing, I shall prove it by clear assertions.” Then Peter said: “Assuredly I shall give over, that I may learn from you how you have learned from the law what neither the law nor the God of the law Himself knows.”
Chap. LIII. — Simon’s Blasphemy.
Then says Simon: “Listen: it is manifest to all, and ascertained in a manner of which no account can be given,25 that there is one God, who is better than all, from whom all that is took its beginning; whence also of necessity, all things that are after him are subject to him, as the chief 112 and most excellent of all. When, therefore, I had ascertained that the God who created the world, according to what the law teachers, is in many respects weak, whereas weakness is utterly incompatible with a perfect God, and I saw that he is not perfect, I necessarily concluded that there is another God who is perfect.26 For this God, as I have said, according to what the writing of the law teaches, is shown to be weak in many things. In the first place, because the man whom he formed was not able to remain such as be had intended him to be; and because he cannot be good who gave a law to the first man, that he should eat of all the trees of paradise, but that he should not touch the tree of knowledge; and if be should eat of it, be should die. For why should he forbid him to eat, and to know what is good and what evil, that, knowing, he might shun the evil and choose the good? But this he did not permit; and because he did eat in violation of the commandment, and discovered what is good, and learned for the sake of honour to cover his nakedness (for he perceived it to be unseemly to stand naked before his Creator), he condemns to death him who had learned to do honour to God, and curses the serpent who had shown him these things. But truly, if man was to be injured by this means, why did he place the cause of injury in paradise at all? But if that which he placed in paradise was good, it is not the part of one that is good to restrain another from good.
Chap. LIV. — How Simon Learned from the Law What the Law Does Not Teach.
“Thus then, since he who made man and the world is, according to what the law relates, imperfect, we are given to understand, without doubt, that there is another who is perfect. For it is of necessity that there be one most excellent of all, on whose account also every creature keeps its rank. Whence also I, knowing that it is every way necessary that there be some one more benignant and more powerful than that imperfect God who gave the law, understanding what is perfect from comparison of the imperfect, understood even from the Scripture that God who is not mentioned there. And in this way I was able, O Peter, to learn from the law what the law did not know. But even if the law had not given indications from which it might be gathered that the God who made the world is imperfect, it was still possible for me to infer from those evils which are done in this world, and are not corrected, either that its creator is powerless, if be cannot correct what is done amiss; or else, if he does not wish to remove the evils, that he is himself evil; but if he neither can nor will, that he is neither powerful nor good. And from this it cannot but be concluded that there is another God more excellent and more powerful than all. If you have aught to say to this, say on.”
Chap. LV. — Simon’s Objections Turned Against Himself.
Peter answered: “O Simon, they are wont to conceive such absurdities against God who do not read the law with the instruction of masters, but account themselves teachers, and think that they can understand the law, though he has not explained it to them who has learned of the Master.27 Nevertheless now, that we also may seem to follow the book of the law according to your apprehension of it; inasmuch as you say that the creator of the world is shown to be both impotent and evil, how is it that you do not see that that power of yours, which you say is superior to all, fails and lies under the very same charges? For the very same thing may be said of it, that it is either powerless, since it does not correct those things which here are done amiss; or if it can and will not, it is evil; or if it neither can nor will, then it is both impotent and imperfect. Whence that new power of yours is not only found liable to a similar charge, but even to a worse one, if, in addition to all these things, it is believed to be, when it is not. For He who created the world, His existence is manifest by His very operation in creating the world, as you yourself also confess. But this power which you say that you alone know, affords no indication of itself, by which we might perceive, at least, that it is, and subsists.
Chap. LVI. — No God Above the Creator.
“What kind of conduct, then, would it be that we should forsake God, in whose world we live and enjoy all things necessary for life, and follow I know not whom, from whom we not only obtain no good, but cannot even know that he exists? Nor truly does he exist. For whether you call him light, and brighter than that light which we see, you borrow that very name from the Creator of the world; or whether you say that he is a substance above all, you derive from Him the idea with enlargement of speech.28 Whether you make mention of mind, or goodness, or life, or whatever else, you borrow the words from Him. Since, then, you have nothing new concerning 113 that power you speak of, not only as regards understanding, but even in respect of naming him, how do you introduce a new God, for whom you cannot even find a new name? For not only is the Creator of the world called a Power, but even the ministers of His glory, and all the heavenly host. Do you not then think it better that we should follow our Creator God, as a Father who trains us and endows us as He knows how? But if, as you say, there be some God more benignant than all, it is certain that he will not be angry with us; or if he be angry, he is evil. For if our God is angry and punishes, He is not evil, but righteous, for He corrects and amends His own sons. But he who has no concern with us, if he shall punish us, how should he be good? Inflicting punishments upon us because we have not been drawn by vain imaginations to forsake our own Father and follow him, how can you assert that he is so good, when he cannot be regarded as even just?”
Chap. LVII. — Simon’s Inconsistency.
Then Simon: “Do you so far err, Peter, as not to know that our souls were made by that good God, the most excellent of all, but they have been brought down as captives into this world?” To this Peter answered: “Then he is not unknown by all, as you said a little while ago; and yet how did the good God permit his souls to be taken captive, if he be a power over all?” Then Simon said: “He sent God the creator to make the world; and he, when he had made it, gave out that himself was God.” Then Peter said: “Then be is not, as you said, unknown to Him who made the world; nor are souls ignorant of him, if indeed they were stolen away from him. To whom, then, can he be unknown, if both the Creator of the world know him, as having been sent by him; and all souls I know him, as baring been violently withdrawn from him? Then, further, I wish you would tell us whether he who sent the creator of the world did not know that he would not keep faith? For if he did not know it, then he was not prescient; while if he foreknew it, and suffered it, he is himself guilty of this deed, since he did not prevent it; but if he could not, then he is not omnipotent. But if, knowing it as good, he did not prohibit it, he is found to be better, who presumed to do that which he who sent him did not know to be good.”
Chap. LVIII. — Simon’s God Unjust.
Then Simon said: “He receives those who will come to him, and does them good.” Peter answered: “But there is nothing new in this; for He whom you acknowledge to be the Creator of the world also does so.” Then Simon: “But the good God bestows salvation if he is only acknowledged; but the creator of the world demands also that the law be fulfilled.” Then said Peter: “He saves adulterers and men-slayers, if they know him; but good, and sober, and merciful persons, if they do not know him, in consequence of their having no information concerning him, he does not save! Great and good truly is he whom you proclaim, who is not so much the saviour of the evil, as he is one who shows no mercy to the good.” Then Simon: “It is truly very difficult for man to know him, as long as he is in the flesh; for blacker than all darkness, and heavier than all clay, is this body with which the soul is surrounded.” Then says Peter: “That good God of yours demands things which are difficult; but He who is truly God seeks easier things. Let him then, since he is so good, leave us with our Father and Creator; and when once we depart from the body, and leave that darkness that you speak of, we shall more easily know Him; and then the soul shall better understand that God is its Creator, and shall remain with Him, and shall no more be harassed with diverse imaginations; nor shall wish to betake itself to another power, which is known to none but Simon only, and which is of such goodness that no one can come to it, unless he be first guilty of impiety towards his own father! I know not how this power can be called either good or just, which no one can please except by acting impiously towards him by whom he was made!”
Chap. LIX. — The Creator Our Father.
Then Simon: “It is not impious for the sake of greater profit and advantage to rice to him who is of richer glory.” Then Peter: “If, as you say, it is not impious to flee to a stranger, it is at all events much more pious to remain with our own father, even if he be poor. But if you do not think it impious to leave our father, and flee to another, as being better than he; and you do not believe that our Creator will take this amiss; much more the good God will not be angry, because, when we were strangers to him, we have not fled to him, but have remained with our own Creator. Yea, I think he will rather commend us the more for this, that we have kept faith with God our Creator; for he will consider that, if we had been his creatures, we should never have been seduced by the allurements of any other to forsake him. For if any one, allured by richer promises, shall leave his own father and betake himself to a stranger, it may be that he will leave him in his turn, and go to another who shall promise him greater things, and this the rather because he is not his son, since he could leave even him who by nature was his father.” Then Simon said: “But what if souls 114 are from him, and do not know him, and he is truly their father?”
Chap. LX. — The Creator the Supreme God.
Then Peter said: “You represent him as weak enough. For if, as you say, he is more powerful than all, it can never be believed the weaker wrenched the spoils from the stronger. (Luk_11:22) Or if God the Creator was able by violence to bring down souls into this world, how can it be that, when they are separated from the body and freed from the bonds of captivity, the good God shall call them to the sufferance of punishment, on the ground that they, either through his remissness or weakness, were dragged away to this place, and were involved in the body, as in the darkness of ignorance? You seem to me not to know what a father and a God is: but I could tell you both whence souls are, and when and how they were made; but it is not permitted to me now to disclose these things to you, who are in such error in respect of the knowledge of God.” Then said Simon: “A time will come when you shah be sorry that you did not understand me speaking of the ineffable power.” Then said Peter: “Give us then, as I have often said, as being yourself a new God, or as having .yourself come down from him, some new sense, by means of which we may know that new God of whom you speak; for those five senses, which God our Creator has given us, keep faith to their own Creator, and do not perceive that there is any other God, for so their nature necessitates them.”
Chap. LXI. — Imagination.
To this Simon answered: “Apply your mind to those things which I am going to say, and cause it, walking in peaceable paths, to attain to those things which I shall demonstrate. Listen now, therefore. Did you never in thought reach forth your mind into regions or islands situated far away, and remain so fixed in them, that you could not even see the people that were before you, or know where yourself were sitting, by reason of the delightfulness of those things on which yon were gazing?” And Peter said: “It is true, Simon, this has often occurred to me.” Then Simon said: “In this way now reach forth your sense into heaven, yea above the heaven, and behold that there must be some place beyond the world, or outside the world, in which there is neither heaven nor earth, and where no shadow of these things produces darkness; and consequently, since there are neither bodies in it, nor darkness occasioned by bodies, there must of necessity be immense light; and consider of what sort that light must be, which is never succeeded by darkness. For if the light of this sun fills this whole world, how great do you suppose that bodiless and infinite light to be? So great, doubtless, that this light of the sun would seem to be darkness and not light, in comparison.”
Chap. LXII. — Peter’s Experience of Imagination.
When Simon thus spoke, Peter answered:29 “Now listen patiently concerning both these matters, that is, concerning the example of stretching out the senses, and concerning the immensity of light. I know that I myself, O Simon, have sometimes in thought extended my sense, as you say, into regions and islands situated afar off, and have seen them with my mind not less than if it had been with my eyes. When I was at Capernaum, occupied in the taking of fishes, and sat upon a rock, holding in my hand a hook attached to a line, and fitted for deceiving the fishes, Iwassoabsorbed that I did not feel a fish adhering to it while my mind eagerly ran through my beloved Jerusalem, to which I had frequently gone up, waking, for the sake of offerings and prayers. But I was accustomed also to admire this Cæsarea, hearing of it from others, and to long to see it; and I seemed to myself to see it, although I had never been in it; and I thought of it what was suitable to be thought of a great city, its gates, walls, baths, streets, lanes, markets, and the like, in accordance with what I had seen in other cities; and to such an extent was I delighted with the intentness of such inspection, that, as you said, neither saw one who was present and standing by me, nor knew where myself was sitting.” Then said Simon: “Now you say well.”
Chap. LXIII. — Peter’s Reverie.
Then Peter: “In short, when I did not perceive, through the occupation of my mind, that I had caught a very large fish which was attached to the hook, and that although it was dragging the hook-line from my hand, my brother Andrew, who was sitting by me, seeing me in a reverie and almost ready to fall, thrusting his elbow into my side as if he would awaken me from sleep, said: ‘Do you not see, Peter, what a large fish you have caught? Are you out of your senses, that you are thus in a stupor of astonishment? Tell me, What is the matter with you?’ But I was angry with him for a little, because he had withdrawn me from the delight of those things which I was contemplating; then I answered that I was not suffering from any malady, but that I was mentally gazing on the beloved Jerusalem, and at the same time on Cæsarea; and 115 that, while I was indeed with him in the body, in my mind I was wholly carried away thither. But he, I know not whence inspired, uttered a hidden and secret word of truth.
Chap. LXIV. — Andrew’s Rebuke.
“‘Give over,’ says he, ‘O Peter. What is it that you are doing? For those who are beginning to be possessed with a demon, or to be disturbed in their minds, begin in this way. They are first carried away by fancies to some pleasant and delightful things, then they are poured out in vain and fond motions towards things which have no existence. Now this happens from a certain disease of mind, by reason of which they see not the things which are, but long to bring to their sight those which are not. But thus it happens also to those who are suffering phrenzy, and seem to themselves to see many images, because their soul, being torn and withdrawn from its place by excess of cold or of heat, suffers a failure of its natural service. But those also who are in distress through thirst, when they fall asleep, seem to themselves to see rivers and fountains, and to drink; but this befalls them through being distressed by the dryness of the unmoistened body. Wherefore it is certain that this occurs through some ailment either of the soul or body.’
Chap. LXV. — Fallacy of Imagination.
“In short, that you may receive the faith of the matter; concerning Jerusalem, which I had often seen, I told my brother what places and what gatherings of people I had seemed to myself to see. But also concerning Cæsarea, which I had never seen, I nevertheless contended that it was such as I had conceived it in my mind and thought. But when I came hither, and saw nothing at all like to those things which I had seen in phantasy, I blamed myself, and observed distinctly, that I had assigned to it gates, and walls, and buildings from others which I had seen, taking the likeness in reality from others. Nor indeed can any one imagine anything new, and of which no form has ever existed. For even if any one should fashion from his imagination bulls with five heads, he only forms them with five heads out of those which he has seen with one head. And you therefore, now, if truly you seem to yourself to perceive anything with your thought, and to look above the heavens, there is no doubt but that you imagine them from those things which you see, placed as you are upon the earth. But if you think that there is easy access for your mind above the heavens, and that you are able to conceive the things that are there, and to apprehend knowledge of that immense light, I think that for him who can comprehend these things, it were easier to throw his sense, which knows how to ascend thither, into the heart and breast of some one of us who stand by, and to tell what thoughts he is cherishing in his breast. If therefore you can declare the thoughts of the heart of any one of us, who is not pre-engaged in your favour, we shall perhaps be able to believe you, that you are able to know those things that are above the heavens, although these are much loftier.”
Chap. LXVI. — Existence and Conception.
To this Simon replied:30 “O thou who hast woven a web of many frivolities, listen now. It is impossible that anything which comes into a man’s thoughts should not also subsist in truth and reality. For things that do not subsist, have no appearances;31 but things that have no appearances, cannot present themselves to our thoughts.” Then said Peter: “If everything that can come into our thoughts has a subsistence, then, with respect to that place of immensity which you say is outside the world, if one thinks in his heart that it is light, and another that it is darkness, how can one and the same place be both light and darkness, according to their different thoughts concerning it?” Then said Simon: “Let pass for the present what I have said; and tell us what you suppose to be above the heavens.”
Chap. LXVII. — The Law Teaches of Immensity.
Then said Peter: “If you believed concerning the true fountain of light, I could instruct you what and of what sort is that which is immense, and should render, not a vain fancy, but a consistent and necessary account of the truth, and should make use, not of sophistical assertions, but testimonies of the law and nature, that you might know that the law especially contains what we ought to believe in regard to immensity. But if the doctrine of immensity is not unknown to the law, then assuredly, nought else can be unknown to it; and therefore it is a false supposition of yours, that there is anything of which the law is not cognisant. Much more shall nothing be unknown to Him who gave the law. Yet I cannot speak anything to you of immensity and of those things which are without limit, unless first you either accept our account of those heavens which are bounded by a certain limit, or else propound your own account of them. But if you cannot understand concerning those which are comprehended within fixed boundaries, much more can you neither know nor learn anything concerning those which are without limit.” 116
Chap. LXVIII. — The Visible and the Invisible Heaven.
To this Simon answered: “It seems to me to be better to believe simply that God is, and that that heaven which we see is the only heaven in the whole universe.” But Peter said: “Not so; but it is proper to confess one God who truly is; but that there are heavens, which were made by Him, as also the law says, of which one is the higher, in which also is contained the visible firmament; and that that higher heaven is perpetual and eternal, with those who dwell in it; but that this visible heaven is to be dissolved and to pass away at the end of the world, in order that that heaven which is older and higher may appear after the judgment to the holy and the worthy.” To this Simon answered: “That these things are so, as you say, may appear to those who believe them; but to him who seeks for reasons of these things, it is impossible that they can be produced from the law, and especially concerning the immensity of light.”
Chap. LXIX. — Faith and Reason.
Then Peter: “Do not think that we say that these things are only to be received by faith, but also that they are to be asserted by reason. For indeed it is not safe to commit these things to bare faith without reason, since assuredly truth cannot be without reason. And therefore he who has received these things fortified by reason, call never lose them; whereas he who receives them without proofs, by an assent to a simple statement of them, can neither keep them safely, nor is certain if they are true; because he who easily believes, also easily yields. But he who has sought reason for those things which he has believed and received, as though bound by chains of reason itself, can never be torn away or separated from those things which he hath believed. And therefore, according as any one is more anxious in demanding a reason, by so much will he be the firmer in preserving his faith.”
Chap. LXX. — Adjournment.
To this Simon replied: “It is a great thing which you promise, that the eternity of boundless light can be shown from the law.” And when Peter said, “I shall show it whenever you please,” Simon answered: “Since now it is a late hour, I shall stand by you and oppose you to-morrow; and if you can prove that this world was created, and that souls are immortal, you shall have me to assist you in your preaching.” When he had said thus, he departed, and was followed by a third part of all the people who had conic with him, who were about one thousand men. But the rest with bended knees prostrated themselves before Peter; and he, invoking upon them the name of God, cured some who had demons, healed others who were sick, and so dismissed the people rejoicing, commanding them to come early the next day. But Peter, when the crowds had withdrawn, commanded the table to be spread on the ground, in the open air, in the court where the disputation had been held, and sat down together with those eleven; but I dined reclining with some others who also had made a beginning of hearing I the word of God, and were greatly beloved.
Chap. LXXI. — Separation from the Unclean.
But Peter, most benignantly regarding me, lest haply that separation might cause me sorrow, says to me: “It is not from pride, O Clement, that I do not eat with those who have not yet been purified; but I fear lest perhaps I should injure myself, and do no good to them.32 For this I would have you know for certain, that every one who has at any time worshipped idols, and has adored those whom the pagans call gods, or has eaten of the things sacrificed to them, is not without an unclean spirit; for he has become a guest of demons, and has been partaker with that demon of which he has formed the image in his mind, either through fear or love. (1Co_10:20) And by these means he is not free from an unclean spirit, and therefore needs the purification of baptism, that the unclean spirit may go out of him, which has made its abode in the inmost affections of his soul, and what is worse, gives no indication that it lurks within, for fear it should be exposed and expelled.
Chap. LXXII. — The Remedy.
“For these unclean spirits love to dwell in the bodies of men, that they may fulfil their own desires by their service, and, inclining the motions of their souls to those things which they themselves desire, may compel them to obey their own lusts, that they may become wholly vessels of demons.33 One of whom is this Simon, who is seized with such disease, and cannot now be healed, because he is sick in his will and purpose. Nor does the demon dwell in him against his will; and therefore, if any one would drive it out of him, since it is inseparable from himself, and, so to speak, has now become his very soul, he should seem rather to kill him, and to incur the guilt of manslaughter. Let no one of you therefore be saddened at being separated from eating with us, for every one ought to observe that it is for just so long a time as he 117 pleases. For he who wishes soon to be baptized is separated but for a little time, but he for a longer who wishes to be baptized later. Every one therefore has it in his own power to demand a shorter or a longer time for his repentance; and therefore it lies with you, when you wish it, to come to our table; and not with us, who are not permitted to take food with any one who has not been baptized. It is rather you, therefore, who hinder us from eating with you, if you interpose delays in the way of your purification, and defer your baptism.” Having said thus, and having blessed, he took food. And afterwards, when he had given thanks to God, he went into the house and went to bed; and we all did the like, for it was now night.
19 Jos_23:7, in Septuagint.
20 Gen_3:1-24. [The same thought occurs in Homily X. 10, 11. — R.]
21 [Compare Homily XVII. 4. — R.]
22 Mat_11:27. [Comp. Luk_10:22. This objection is given in Homilies XVII. 4, XVIII. 4. — R.]
23 [This chapter presents the topic which is made the main point in a subsequent discussion with Simon; see Homily XVIII. — R.]
24 [With chaps. 50, 51, comp. Homily XVII 13, etc. — R.]
25 We render by a periphrasis the expression ineffabiliquadamrationecompetrum. The meaning seems to be, that the belief of the existence and unity of God is not the result of reasoning, but of intuition or instinct
26 [The argument of Simon here differs from that represented in Homilies XVII., XVIII. There Simon asserts that the Framer of the world is not the highest God, because He is not both just and good. Comp. also Recognitions, book iii. 37, 38. — R.]
27 [The attitude of the Apostle Peter toward the Old Testament is differently represented in the Homilies where false views are admitted to exist in the Scriptures. Comp. Homily II. 38, 40, 41, 52, Homily III. 4, 5, etc. — R.]
28 That is, you take the idea of substance from the God of the Jews, and only enlarge it by the addition of the words aboveall.
29 [This story (chaps. 62-65) is peculiar to the Recognitions. In Homily XVII. 14-19 there is an argument against the trustworthiness of supernatural visions, which is supposed to be anti-Pauline in its aim. — R.]
30 [The remaining chapters of this book have no exact parallel in the Homilies. — R.]
31 That is, have no visible or sensible species, according to the Platonic theory of perception.
32 [Comp. book i. 19, vii. 29; Homily I 22, XIII. 4. — R.]
33 [On the demonology of this work see book iv. 15-19: comp. Homily IX. 8-22. — R.]