Church Fathers: Ante-Nicene Fathers Volume 8: 8.04.21 Pseudo-Clementine - Homilies - Part 2

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Church Fathers: Ante-Nicene Fathers Volume 8: 8.04.21 Pseudo-Clementine - Homilies - Part 2



TOPIC: Ante-Nicene Fathers Volume 8 (Other Topics in this Collection)
SUBJECT: 8.04.21 Pseudo-Clementine - Homilies - Part 2

Other Subjects in this Topic:

Pseudo-Clementine Literature (Cont.)

The Clementine Homilies. (Cont.)

Homily II. (Cont.)

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.’25 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:26 “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 spirit.”





Chap. XXXV. - Discussion Postponed.

When Peter had thus spoken, towards dawn Zacchæus 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 Zacchæus 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 236 the inquiry,27 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.

“Some28 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,29 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.





Chap. XXXIX. - Tactics.

“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.30]





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 237 things are for God. Wherefore do not suppose that I ask questions, as doubting the words concerning God,31 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 them.





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 monarchic32 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,33 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,34 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 sea.





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 238 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 knows?”





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 are true and some false, with good reason said our Master, ‘Be ye good money-changers,’35 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;36 for this reason ye are ignorant also of the power of God.’” Then said I: “You have spoken very excellently.”





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; (Gen_7:1) 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. 239







FOOTNOTES





25 The Latin translates; “as having preferred the oath to the evil action.”

26 [Chaps. 33, 34, find a parallel in Recognitions, book iii. 59, 60, at the close of the discussion with Simon. - R.]

27 [Comp. Recognitions, book i. 21. - R.]

28 [From chap. 27 to iii. 28 the matter is peculiar to the Homilies. The views stated are obviously coloured by the Gnostic Ebionism of the author. - R.]

29 The Vatican ms. reads; “against the only God.”

30 [This view of the Scriptures, as held by Peter, is one of the marked characteristics of the Homilies. - R.]

31 The text has ὑπό, “by,” which has been altered into ὑπέρ. Davis would read σου, “by you.”

32 Cotelerius doubts whether this expression means a soul ruling over his body, or a soul disposed to favour monarchical rule. The former explanation seems to us more probable.

33 Wieseler considers this corrupt, and amends: “if He desires more.”

34 The Latin has here, “imperceptus et perceptus;” but Wieseler points out that χωρούμενος has reference to God’s dwelling in the souls of the good, and thus He is contained by them.

35 This is quoted three times in the Homilies as a saying of our Lord, viz., here and in Homily III. chap. 50, and Homily XVIII. chap. 20. It is probably taken from one of the apocryphal Gospels. In Homily XVIII. chap. 20 the meaning is. Shown to be, that as it is the part of a money-changer to distinguish spurious coins from genuine, so it is the part of a Christian to distinguish false statements from true.

36 A corruption of the texts, Mat_22:29, Mar_12:24.



Homily III.

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 said:1 -





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, but 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 240 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.2 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 fifth3 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 are 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 241 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.” (Mat_24:2,Mat_24:34; Luk_19:43,Luk_19:44) 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!4 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.’ (Deu_32:7) 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 242 scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat; all things whatsoever they say to you, hear them.” (Mat_23:2,Mat_23:3) 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 against5 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 yet 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. (Mat_23:37; Luk_13:34; Luk_23:34) And not only did He do this as a father, but also taught His disciples to do the like, bearing themselves as towards brethren. (Mat_5:44) 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. (Gen_2:20) 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,6 was entrusted to be the first prophetess, announcing prophecy with all amongst those born of woman.7 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:8 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.9 Wherefore, stealing the 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 greater.





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 243 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;10 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.11 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 the 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 and 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, Zacchæus 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 244 were many come together for the purpose of seeing him, his pre-eminence having made them more eagerly hasten to hear.12



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,13 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.14





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.





Chap. XXXII. - Invitation.

“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 elements15 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.16 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 places uninhabited!





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,17 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, 245 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 his.”





Chap. XXXVIII. - Simon’s Challenge.

When Peter had thus spoken, Simon, at the outside of the crowd, cried aloud:18 “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?19 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 from 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.’ (Gen_18:22) 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;’ (