“Therefore my father, being fond of his children, supplying them suitably for the journey with male and female servants, put them on board ship, and sent them to Athens with her to be educated, and kept me alone of his sons with him for his comfort; and for this I am very thankful, that the vision had not ordered me also to depart with my mother from the city of Rome. Then, after the lapse of a year, my father sent money to them to Athens, and at the same time to learn how they did. But those who went on this errand did not return. And in the third year, my father being distressed, sent others in like manner with supplies, and they returned in the fourth year with the tidings that they had seen neither my mother nor my brothers, nor had they ever arrived at Athens, nor had they found any trace of any one of those who set out with them.
Chap. X. - The Seeker Lost.
“Then my father, hearing this, and being stupefied with excessive grief, and not knowing where to go in quest of them, used to take me with him and go down to the harbour, and inquire of many where any one of them had seen or heard of a shipwreck four years ago. And one turned one place, and another another. Then he inquired whether they had seen the body of a woman with two children cast ashore. And when they told him they had seen many corpses in many places, my father groaned at the information. But, with his bowels yearning, he asked: unreasonable questions, that he might try to search so great an extent of sea. However, he was pardonable, because, through affection towards those whom he was seeking for, he fed on vain hopes. And at last, placing me under guardians, and leaving me at Rome when I was twelve years old, he himself, weeping, went down to the harbour, and went on board ship, and set out upon the search. And from that day till this I have neither received a letter from him, nor do I know whether he be alive or dead. But I rather suspect that he is dead somewhere, either overcome by grief, or perished by shipwreck. And the proof of that is that it is now the twentieth year that I have heard no true intelligence concerning him.”
Chap. XI. - The Afflictions of the Righteous.
But Peter, hearing this, wept through sympathy, and immediately said to the gentlemen who were present: “If any worshipper of God had suffered these things, such as this man’s father hath suffered, he would immediately have assigned the cause of it to be his worship of God, ascribing it to the wicked one. Thus also it is the lot of the wretched Gentiles to suffer; and we worshippers of God know it not. But with good reason I call them wretched, because here they are ensnared, and the hope that is thine they obtain not. For those who in the worship of God suffer afflictions, suffer them for the expiation of their transgressions.”
Chap. XII. - A Pleasure Trip.
When Peter had spoken thus, a certain one amongst us ventured to invite him, in the name of all, that next day, early in the morning, he should sail to Aradus, an island opposite, distant, I suppose, not quite thirty stadia, for the purpose of seeing two pillars of vine-wood that were there, and that were of very great girth. Therefore the indulgent Peter consented, saying, “When you leave the boat, do not go many of you together to see the things that you desire to see; for I do not wish that the attention of the inhabitants should he turned to you.” And so we sailed, and in short time arrived at the island. Then landing from the boat, we went to the place where the vine-wood pillars were, and along with them we looked at several of the works of Phidias.
Chap. XIII. - A Woman of A Sorrowful Spirit.
But Peter alone did not think it worth while to look at the sights that were there; but noticing a certain woman sitting outside before the doors, begging constantly for her support, he said to her, “O woman, is any of your limbs 295 defective, that you submit to such disgrace - I mean that of begging, - and do not rather work with the hands which God has given you, and procure your daily food?” But she, groaning, answered, “Would that I had hands able to work! But now they retain only the form of hands, being dead and rendered useless by my gnawing of them.” Then Peter asked her, “What is the cause of your suffering so terribly?” And she answered, “Weakness of soul; and nought else. For if I had the mind of a man, there was a precipice or a pool whence I should have thrown myself, and have been able to rest from my tormenting misfortunes.”
Chap. XIV. - Balm In Gilead.
Then said Peter, “What then? Do you suppose, O woman, that those who destroy themselves are freed from punishment? Are not the souls of those who thus die punished with a worse punishment in Hades for their suicide?” But she said, “Would that I were persuaded that souls are really found alive in Hades; then I should love death, making light of the punishment, that I might see, were it but for an hour, my longed for sons!” Then said Peter, “What is it that grieves you? I should like to know, O woman. For if you inform me, in return for this favour, I shall satisfy you that souls live in Hades; and instead of precipice or pool, I shall give you a drug, that you may live and die without torment.”
Chap. XV. - The Woman’s Story.
Then the woman, not understanding what was spoken ambiguously, being pleased with the promise, began to speak thus: - “ Were I to speak of my family and my country, I do not suppose that I should be able to persuade any one. But of what consequence is it to you to learn this, excepting only the reason why in my anguish I have deadened my hands by gnawing them? Yet I shall give you an account of myself, so far as it is in your power to hear it. I, being very nobly born, by the arrangement of a certain man in authority, became the wife of a man who was related to him. And first I had twins sons, and afterwards another son. But my husband’s brother, being thoroughly mad, was enamoured of wretched me, who exceedingly affected chastity. And I, wishing neither to consent to my lover nor to expose to my husband his brother’s love of me, reasoned thus: that I may neither defile myself by the commission of adultery nor disgrace my husband’s bed, nor set brother at war with brother, nor subject the whole family, which is a great one, to the reproach of all, as I said. I reasoned that it was best for me to leave the city for some time with my twin children, until the impure love should cease of him who flattered me to my disgrace. The other son, however, I left with his father, to remain for a comfort to him.
Chap. XVI. - The Shipwreck.
“However, that matters might be thus arranged, I resolved to fabricate a dream, to the effect that some one stood by me by night, and thus spoke: ‘O woman, straightway leave the, city with your twin children for some time, until I shall charge you to return hither again; otherwise you forthwith shall die miserably, with your husband and all your children.’ And so I did. For as soon as I told the false dream to my husband, he being alarmed, sent me off by ship to Athens with my two sons, and with slaves, maids, and abundance of money, to educate the boys, until, said he, it shall please the giver of the oracle that you return to me. But, wretch that I am, while sailing with my children, I was driven by the fury of the winds into these regions, and the ship having gone to pieces in the night, I was wrecked. And all the rest having died, my unfortunate self alone was tossed by a great wave and cast upon a rock; and while I sat upon it in my misery, I was prevented, by the hope of finding my children alive, from throwing myself into the deep then, when I could easily have done it, having my soul made drunk by the waves.
Chap. XVII. - The Fruitless Search.
“But when the day dawned, I shouted aloud, and howled miserably, and looked around, seeking for the dead bodies of my hapless children. Therefore the inhabitants took pity on me, and seeing me naked, they first clothed me and then sounded the deep, seeking for my children. And when they found nothing of what they sought, some of the hospitable women came to me to comfort me, and every one told her own misfortunes, that I might obtain comfort from the occurrences of similar misfortunes. But this only grieved me the more for I said that I was not so wicked that I could take comfort from the misfortunes of others. And so, when many of them asked me to accept their hospitality, a certain poor woman with much urgency constrained me to come into her cottage, saying to me, ‘Take courage, woman, for my husband, who was a sailor, also died at sea, while he was still in the bloom of his youth; and ever since, though many have asked me in marriage, I have preferred living as a widow, regretting the loss of my husband. But we shall have in common whatever we can both earn with our hands.’ 296
Chap. XVIII. - Trouble Upon Trouble.
“And not to lengthen out unnecessary details, I went to live with her, on account of her love to her husband. And not long after, my hands were debilitated by my gnawing of them; and the woman who had taken me in, being wholly seized by some malady, is confined in the house. Since then the former compassion of the women has declined, and I and the woman of the house are both of us helpless. For a long time I have sat here, as you see, begging; and whatever I get I convey to my fellow-sufferer for our support. Let this suffice about my affairs. For the rest, what hinders your fulfilling of your promise to give me the drug, that I may give it to her also, who desires to die; and thus I also, as you said, shall be able to escape from life?”
Chap. XIX. - Evasions.
While the woman thus spoke, Peter seemed to be in suspense on account of many reasonings. But I came up and said. “I have been going about seeking you for a long time. And now, what is in hand?” But Peter ordered me to lead the way, and wait for him at the boat; and because there was no gainsaying when he commanded, I did as I was ordered. But Peter, as he afterwards related the whole matter to me, being struck in his heart with some slight suspicion, inquired of the woman, saying, “Tell me, O woman, your family, and your city, and the names of your children, and presently I shall give you the drug.” But she, being put under constraint, and not wishing to speak, yet being eager to obtain the drug, cunningly said one thing for another. And so she said that she was an Ephesian and her husband a Sicilian; and in like manner she changed the names of the three children. Then Peter, supposing that she spoke the truth, said, “Alas! O woman, I thought that this day was to bring you great joy, suspecting that you are a certain person of whom I was thinking, and whose affairs I have heard and accurately know.” But she adjured him, saying, “Tell me, I entreat of you, that I may know if there is among women any one more wretched than myself.”
Chap. XX. - Peter’s Account of the Matter.
Then Peter, not knowing that she had spoken falsely, through pity towards her, began to tell her the truth: “There is a certain young man in attendance upon me, thirsting after the discourses on religion, a Roman citizen, who told me how that, having a father and two twin brothers, he has lost sight of them all. For,” says he, “my mother, as my father related to me, having seen a vision, left the city Rome for a time with her twin children, lost she should perish by an evil fate, and having gone away with them, she cannot be found; and her husband, the young man’s father, having gone in search of her, he also cannot be found.”
Chap. XXI. - A Disclosure.
While Peter thus spoke, the woman, who had listened attentively, swooned away as if in stupor. But Peter approached her, and caught hold of her, and exhorted her to restrain herself, persuading her to confess what was the matter with her. But she, being powerless in the rest of her body, as through intoxication, turned her head round, being able to sustain the greatness of the hoped for joy, and rubbing her face: “Where,” said she, “is this youth?” And he, now seeing through the whole affair, said, “Tell me first; for otherwise you cannot see him.” Then she earnestly said, “I am that youth’s mother.” Then said Peter, “What is his name?” And she said, “Clement.” Then Peter said, “It is the same, and he it was that spoke to me a little while ago, whom I ordered to wait for me in the boat. And she, falling at Peter’s feet, entreated him to make haste to come to the boat.” Then Peter, “If you will keep terms with me, I shall do so.” Then she said, “I will do anything; only show me my only child. For I shall seem to see in him my two children who died here.” Then Peter said, “When ye see him, be quiet, until we depart from the island.” And she said, “I will.”
Chap. XXII. - The Lost Found.
Peter, therefore, took her by the hand, and led her to the boat. But I, when I saw him leading the woman by the hand, laughed, and approaching, offered to lead her instead of him, to his honour. But as soon as I touched her hand, she gave a motherly shout, and embraced me violently, and eagerly kissed me as her son. But I, being ignorant of the whole affair, shook her off as a madwoman. But, through my respect for Peter, I checked myself.
Chap. XXIII. - Reward of Hospitality.
But Peter said, “Alas! What are you doing, my son Clement, shaking off your real mother?” But I, when I heard this, wept, and falling down by my mother, who had fallen, I kissed her. For as soon as this was told me, I in some way recalled her appearance indistinctly. Then great crowds ran together to see the beggar woman, telling one another that her son had recognised her, and that he was a man of consideration. Then, when we would have straightway left the island with my mother, she said to us, “My much longed-for son, it is right that I should bid farewell to the woman who entertained me, 297 who, being poor and wholly debilitated, lies in the house.” And Peter hearing this, and all the multitude who stood by, admired the good disposition of the woman. And immediately Peter ordered some persons to go and bring the woman on her couch. And as soon as the couch was brought and set down, Peter said, in the hearing of the whole multitude, “If I be a herald of the truth, in order to the faith of the bystanders, that they may know that there is one God, who made the world, let her straightway rise whole.” And while Peter was still speaking, the woman arose healed, and fell down before Peter, and kissed her clear associate, and asked her what it all meant. Then she briefly detailed to her the whole business of the recognition,7 to the astonishment of the hearers. Then also my mother, seeing her hostess cured, entreated that she herself also might obtain healing. And his placing his hand upon her, cured her also.
Chap. XXIV. - All Well Arranged.
And then Peter having discoursed concerning God and the service accorded to Him, he concluded as follows: “If any one wishes to learn these things accurately, let him come to Antioch, where I have resolved to remain some length of time, and learn the things that pertain to his salvation. For if you are familiar with leaving your country for the sake of trading or of warfare, and coming to far-off places, you should not be unwilling to go three days’ journey for the sake of eternal salvation.” Then, after the address of Peter, I presented the woman who had been healed, in the presence of all the multitude, with a thousand drachmas, for her support, giving her in charge to a certain good man, who was the chief man of the city, and who of his own accord joyfully undertook the charge. Further, having distributed money amongst many other women, and thanked those who at any time had comforted my mother, I sailed away to Antaradus, along with my mother, and Peter, and the rest of our companions; and thus we proceeded to our lodging.
Chap. XXV. - Philanthropy and Friendship.
And when we were arrived and had partaken of food, and given thanks according to our custom, there being still time,8 I said to Peter: “My lord Peter, my mother has done a work of philanthropy ill remembering the woman her hostess.” And Peter answered, “Have yon indeed, O Clement, thought truly that your mother did a work of philanthropy in respect of her treatment of the woman who took her in after her shipwreck, or have you spoken this word by way of greatly complimenting your mother? But if you spoke truly, and not by way of compliment, you seem to me not to know what the greatness of philanthropy is, which is affection towards any one whatever in respect of his being a man, apart from physical persuasion. But not even do I venture to call the hostess who received your mother after her shipwreck, philanthropic; for she was impelled by pity, and persuaded to become the benefactress of a woman who had been shipwrecked, who was grieving for her children, - a stranger, naked, destitute, and greatly deploring her misfortunes. When, therefore, she was in such circumstances, who that saw her, though he were impious, could but pity her? So that it does not seem to me that even the stranger-receiving woman did a work of philanthropy, but to have been moved to assist her by pity for her innumerable misfortunes. And how much more is it true of your mother, than when she was in prosperous circumstances land requited her hostess, she did a deed, not of philanthropy, but of friendship! for there is much difference between friendship and philanthropy, because friendship springs from requital. But philanthropy, apart from physical persuasion, I loves and benefits every, man as he is a man. If, therefore, while she pitied her hostess, she also pitied and did good to her enemies who have wronged her, she would be philanthropic; but if, on one account site is friendly or hostile, and on another account is hostile or friendly, such an one is the friend or enemy of some quality, not of man as man.”
Chap. XXVI. - What Is Philanthropy.
Then I answered, “Do you not think, then, that even the stranger-receiver was philanthropic, who did good to a stranger whom she did not know?” Then Peter said, “Compassionate, indeed, I can call her, but I dare not call her philanthropic, just as I cannot call a mother philoteknic, for she is prevailed on to have an affection for them by her pangs, and by her rearing of them. As the lover also is gratified by the company and enjoyment of his mistress, and the friend by return of friendship, so also the compassionate man by misfortune. However the compassionate man is near to the philanthropic, in that he is impelled, apart from hunting after the receipt of anything, to do the kindness. But he is not yet philanthropic.” Then I said, “By what deeds, then, can any one be philanthropic?” And Peter answered, “Since I see that you are eager to hear what is the work of philanthropy, I shall not object to telling you. He is the philanthropic man who does good even to 298 his enemies. And that it is so, listen: Philanthropy is masculo-feminine; and the feminine part of it is called compassion, and the male part is named love to our neighbour. But every man is neighbour to every man, and not merely this man or that; for the good and the bad, the friend and the enemy, are alike men. It behoves, therefore, him who practises philanthropy to be an imitator of God, doing good to the righteous and the unrighteous, as God Himself vouchsafes His sun and His heavens to all in the present world. But if you will do good to the good, but not to the evil, or even will punish them, yon undertake to do the work of a judge, you do not strive to hold by philanthropy.”
Chap. XXVII. - Who Can Judge.
Then I said, “Then even God, who, as you teach us, is at some time to judge, is not philanthropic.” Then said Peter, “You assert a contradiction; for because He shall judge, on that very account He is philanthropic. For he who loves and compassionates those who have been wronged, avenges those who have wronged,, them.” Then I said, “If, then, I also do good to the good, and punish the wrong-doers in respect of their injuring men, am I not philanthropic?” And Peter answered,” If along with knowledge9 you had also authority to judge, you would do this rightly on account of your, having received authority to judge those whom God made, and on account of your knowledge infallibly justifying some as the righteous, and condemning some as unrighteous. Then I said, “You have spoken rightly and truly; for it is impossible for any one who has not knowledge to judge rightly. For sometimes some persons seem good, though they perpetrate wickedness in secret, and some good persons are conceived to be bad through the accusation of their enemies. But even if one judges, having the power of torturing and examining, not even so should he altogether judge righteously. For some persons, being murderers, have sustained the tortures, and have come off as innocent; while others, being innocent, have not been able to sustain the tortures, but have confessed falsely against themselves, and have been punished as guilty.”
Chap. XXVIII. - Difficulty of Judging.
Then said Peter, “These things are ordinary: now hear what is greater. There are some men whose sins or good deeds are partly their own, and partly those of others; but it is right that each one be punished for his own sins, and rewarded for his own merits. But it is impossible for any one except a prophet, who alone has omniscience, to know with respect to the things that are done by any one, which are his own, and which are not; for all are seen as done by him.” Then I said, “I would learn how some of men’s wrong-doings or right-doings are their own, and some belong to others.”
Chap. XXIX. - Sufferings of the Good.
Then Peter answered, “The prophet of the truth has said, ‘Good things must needs come, and blessed, said he, is he by whom they come; in like manner evil things must needs come, but woe to him through whom they come.’10 But if evil things come by means of evil men, and good things are brought by good men, it must needs be in each man as his own to be either good or bad, and proceeding from what he has proposed, in order to the coming of the subsequent good or evil,11 which, being of his own choice, are not arranged by the providence of God to come from him. This being so, this is the judgment of God, that he who, as by a combat, comes through all misfortune and is found blameless, he is deemed worthy of eternal life; for those who by their own will continue in goodness, are tempted by those who continue in evil by their own will, being persecuted, hated, slandered, plotted against, struck, cheated, accused, tortured, disgraced, - suffering all these things by which it seems reasonable that they should be enraged and stirred up to vengeance.
Chap. XXX. - Offences Must Come.
“But the Master knowing that those who wrongfully do these things are guilty by means of their former sins, and that the spirit of wickedness works these things by means of the guilty, has counselled to compassionate men, as they are men, and as being the instruments of wickedness through sin; andthiscounsel He has given to His disciples as claiming philanthropy, and, as much as in us lies, to absolve the wrong-doers from condemnation, that, as it were, the temperate may help the drunken, by prayers, fastings, and benedictions, not resisting, not avenging, lest they should compel them to sin more. For when a person is condemned by any one to suffer, it is not reasonable for him to be angry with him by whose means the suffering comes; for he ought to reason, that if he had not ill-used him, yet because he was to be ill-used, he must have suffered it by means of another. Why, then, should I be angry with the dispenser, when I was condemned at all events to suffer? But yet, further: if we do these same things to the evil on pretence of 299 revenge, we who are good do the very things which the evil do, excepting that they do them first, and we second; and, as I said, we ought not to be angry, as knowing that in the providence of God, the evil punish the good. Those, therefore, who are bitter against their punishers, sin, as disdaining the messengers of God; but those who honour them, and set themselves in opposition to those who think to injure them,12 are pious towards God who has thus decreed.”
Chap. XXXI. - “Howbeit, They Meant It Not.”
To this I answered, “Those, therefore, who do wrong are not guilty, because they wrong the just by the judgment of God.” Then Peter said, “They indeed sin greatly, for they have given themselves to sin. Wherefore knowing this, God chooses from among them some to punish those who righteously repented of their former sins, that the evil things done by the just before their repentance may be remitted through this punishment. But to the wicked who punish and desire to ill-use them, and will not repent, it is permitted to ill-use the righteous for the filling up of their own punishment. For without the will of God, not even a sparrow can fall into a girn. (Luk_12:6,Luk_12:7; [Mat_10:29,Mat_10:30. - R.]) Thus even the hairs of the righteous are numbered by God.
Chap. XXXII. - The Golden Rule.
“But he is righteous who for the sake of what is reasoning fights with nature. For example, it is natural to all to love those who love them. But the righteous man tries also to love his enemies and to bless those who slander him, and even to pray for his enemies, and to compassionate those who do him wrong. Wherefore also he refrains from doing wrong, and blesses those who curse him, pardons those who strike him, and submits to those who persecute him, and salutes those who do not salute him, shares such things as he has with those who have not, persuades him that is angry with him, conciliates his enemy, exhorts the disobedient, instructs the unbelieving, comforts the mourner; being distressed, be endures being ungratefully treated, he is not angry. But having devoted himself to love his neighbour as himself, he is not afraid of poverty, but becomes poor by sharing his possessions with those who have none. But neither does he punish the sinner. For he who loves his neighbour as himself, as he knows that when he has sinned he does not wish to be punished, so neither does he punish those who sin. And as he wishes to be praised, and blessed, and honoured, and to have all his sins forgiven, thus he does to his neighbour, loving him as himself. (Mat_22:39) In one word, what he wishes for himself, he wishes also for his neighbour. For this is the law of God and of the prophets (Mat_7:12) this is the doctrine of truth. And this perfect love towards every man is the male part of philanthropy, but the female part of it is compassion; that is, to feed the hungry, to give drink to the thirsty, to clothe the naked, to visit the sick, to take in the stranger, to show herself to, and help to the utmost of her power, him who is in prison, (Mat_25:35,Mat_25:36) and, in short, to have compassion on him who is in misfortune.”
Chap. XXXIII - Fear and Love.
But I, hearing this, said: “These things, indeed, it is impossible to do; but to do good to enemies, bearing all their insolences, I do not think can possibly be in human nature.” Then Peter answered: “You have said truly; for philanthropy, being the cause of immortality, is given for much.” Then I said, “How then is it possible to get it in the mind?” Then Peter answered: “O beloved Clement, the way to get it is this: if any one be persuaded that enemies, ill-using for a time those whom they hate, become the cause to them of deliverances from eternal punishment; and forthwith he will ardently love them as benefactors. But the way to get it, O dear Clement, is but one, which is the fear of God. For he who fears God cannot indeed from the first love his neighhour as himself; for such an order does not occur to the soul. But by the fear of God he is able to do the things of those who love; and thus, while he does the deeds of love, the bride Love is, as it were, brought to the bridegroom Fear. And thus this bride, bringing forth philanthropic thoughts, makes her possessor immortal, as an accurate image of God, which cannot be subject in its nature to corruption.” Thus while he expounded to us the doctrine of philanthropy, the evening having set in, we turned to sleep. 300
7 [Comp. Recognitions, book vii. 23, where the translator prints the word in italics. - R.]
8 [The remainder of this Homily has no parallel in the Recognitions. The views presented are peculiar, and indicate a speculative tendency, less marked in the Recognitions, - R.]
9 The word repeatedly rendered knowledge and once omniscience in this passage, properly signifies foreknowledge. The argument shows clearly that it means omniscience, of which foreknowledge is the most signal manifestation.
10 An incorrect quotation from Mat_18:7; Luk_17:1.
11 This from a various reading,
12 That is, I suppose, who render good for evil.
Chap. I. - Journey to Laodicea.
Now at break of day Peter entered, and said:1 “Clement, and his mother Mattidia, and my wife, must take their seats immediately on the waggon.” And so they did straightway. And as we were hastening along the road to Balanææ, my mother asked me how my father was; and I said: “My father went in search of you, and of my twin brothers Faustinus and Faustinianus, and is now nowhere to be found. But I fancy he must have died long ago, either perishing by shipwreck, or losing his way,2 or wasted away by grief.” When she heard this, she burst into tears, and groaned through grief; but the joy which she felt at finding me, mitigated in some degree the painfulness of her recollections. And so we all went down together to Balanææ. And on the following day we went to Paltus, and from that to Gabala; and on the next day we reached Laodicea. And, lo! before the gates of the city Nicetas and Aquila met us, and embracing us, brought us to our lodging. Now Peter, seeing that the city was beautiful and great, said: “It is worth our while to stay here for some days; for, generally speaking, a populous place is most capable of yielding us those whom we seek.”3 Nicetas and Aquila asked me who that strange woman was; and I said: “My mother, whom God, through my lord Peter, has granted me to recognise.”
Chap. II. - Peter Relates to Nicetas and Aquila the History of Clement and His Family.
On my saying this, Peter gave them a summary account4 of all the incidents, - how, when they had gone on before, I Clement had explained to him my descent, the journey undertaken by my mother with her twin children on the false pretext of the dream; and furthermore, the journey undertaken by my father in search of her; and then how Peter himself, after hearing this, went into the island, met with the woman, saw her begging, and asked the reason of her so doing; and then ascertained who she was, and her mode of life, and the feigned dream, and the names of her children - that is, the name borne by me, who was left with my father, and the names of the twin children who travelled along with her, and who, she supposed, had perished in the deep.
Chap. III. - Recognition of Nicetas and Aquila.
Now when this summary narrative had been given by Peter, Nicetas and Aquila in amazement said: “Is this indeed true, O Ruler and Lord of the universe, or is it a dream?” And Peter said: “Unless we are asleep, it certainly is true.” On this they waited for a little in deep meditation, and then said: “We are Faustinus and Faustinianus. From the commencement of your conversation we looked at each other, and conjectured much with regard to ourselves, whether what was said had reference to us or not; for we reflected that many coincidences take place in life. Wherefore we remained silent while our hearts beat fast. But when you came to the end of your narrative, we saw clearly5 that your statements referred to us, and then we avowed who we were.” And on saying this, bathed in tears, they rushed in to see their mother; and although they found her asleep, they were yet anxious to embrace her. But Peter forbade them, saying: “Let me bring you and present you to your mother, lest she should, in consequence of her great and sudden joy, lose her reason, as she is slumbering, and her spirit is held fast by sleep.”
Chap. IV. - The Mother Must Not Take Food with Her Son. The Reason Stated.
As soon as my mother had enough of sleep, she awoke, and Peter at once began first to talk to her of true piety, saying: “I wish you to know, O woman, the course of life involved in our religion.6 We worship one God, who made the world which you see; and we keep His law, which has for its chief injunctions to worship Him alone, and to hallow His name, and to honour our parents, and to be chaste, and to live piously. In addition to this, we do not live with all indiscriminately; nor do we take our food from the same table as Gentiles, inasmuch as we cannot eat along with them, because they live impurely. But when we have persuaded them to have true thoughts, and to follow a right course of action, and have baptized them with a thrice blessed invocation, then we dwell with them. For not even if it were our father, or mother, or wife, or child, or brother, or 301 any other one having a claim by nature on our affection, can we venture to take our meals with him; for our religion compels us to make a distinction. Do not, therefore, regard it as an insult if your son does not take his food along with you, until you come to have the same opinions and adopt the same course of conduct as he follows.”
Chap. V. - Mattidia Wishes to Be Baptized.
When she heard this, she said: “What, then, prevents me from being baptized this day? for before I saw you I turned away from the so-called gods, induced by the thought that, though I sacrificed much to them almost every day, they did not aid me in my necessities. And with regard to adultery, what need I say? for not even, hen I was rich was I betrayed into this sin by luxury, and the poverty which succeeded has been unable to force me into it, since I cling to my chastity as constituting the greatest beauty,7 on account of which I fell into so great distress. But I do not at all imagine that you, my lord Peter, are ignorant that the greatest temptation8 arises when everything looks bright. And therefore, if I was chaste in my prosperity, I do not in my despondency give myself up to pleasures. Yea, indeed, you are not to suppose that my soul has now been freed from distress, although it has received some measure of consolation by the recognition of Clement. For the gloom which I feel in consequence of the loss of my two children rushes in upon me, and throws its shadow to some extent over my joy; for I am grieved, not so much because they perished in the sea, but because they were destroyed, both soul and body, without possessing true9 piety towards God. Moreover, my husband, their father, as I have learned from Clement, went away in search of me and his sons, and for so many years has not been heard of; and, without doubt, he must have died. For the miserable man, loving me as he did in chastity, was fond of his children; and therefore the old man, deprived of all of us who were dear to him above everything else, died utterly broken-hearted.”
Chap. VI. - The Sons Reveal Themselves to the Mother.
The sons, on hearing their mother thus speak, could no longer, in obedience to the exhortation of Peter, restrain themselves, but rising up, they clasped her in their arms, showering down upon her tears and kisses. But she said: “What is the meaning of this?” And Peter answered: “Courageously summon up your spirits, O woman, that you may enjoy your children; for these are Faustinus and Faustinianus, your sons, who, you said, had perished in the deep. For how they are alive, after they had in your opinion died on that most disastrous night, and how one of them now bears the name of Nicetas, and the other that of Aquila, they will themselves be able to tell you; for we, as well as you, have yet to learn this.” When Peter thus spoke, my mother fainted away through her excessive joy, and was like to die. But when we had revived her she sat up, and coming to herself, she said: “Be so good, my darling children, as tell us what happened to you after that disastrous night.
Chap. VII. - Nicetas Tells What Befell Him.
And Nicetas, who in future is to be called Faustinus, began to speak. “On that very night when, as you know, the ship went to pieces, we were taken up by some men, who did not fear to follow the profession of robbers on the deep. They placed us in a boat, and brought us along the coast, sometimes rowing and sometimes sending for provisions, and at length took us to Cæsarea Stratonis,10 and there tormented us by hunger, fear, and blows, that we might not recklessly disclose anything which they did not wish us to tell; and, moreover, changing our names, they succeeded in selling us. Now the woman who bought us was a proselyte of the Jews, an altogether worthy person, of the name of Justa. She adopted us as her own children, and zealously brought us up in all the learning of the Greeks. But we, becoming discreet with our years, were strongly attached to her religion, and we paid good heed to our culture, in order that, disputing with the other nations, we might be able to convince them of their error. We also made an accurate study of the doctrines of the philosophers, especially the most atheistic, - I mean those of Epicurus and Pyrrho, - in order that we might be the better able to refute them.11
Chap. VIII. - Nicetas Like to Be Deceived by Simon Magus.
“We were brought up along with one Simon, a magician; and in consequence of our friendly intercourse with him, we were in danger of being 302 led astray. Now there is a report in regard to some man, that, when he appears, the mass of those who have been pious are to live free from death and pain in his kingdom. This matter, however, mother, will be explained more fully at him proper time. But when we were going to be led astray by Simon, a friend of our lord Peter, by name Zacchæus, came to us and warned us not to be led astray by the magician; and when Peter came, he brought us to him that he might give us full information, and convince us in regard to those matters that related to piety. Wherefore we beseech you, mother, to partake of those blessings which have been vouchsafed to us, that we may unite around the same table!12 This, then, is the reason, mother, why you thought we were dead. On that disastrous night we had been taken up in the sea by pirates, but you supposed that we had perished.”
Chap. IX. - The Mother Begs Baptism for Herself and Her Hostess.
When Faustinus had said this, our mother fell down at Peter’s feet, begging and entreating him to send for her and her hostess, and baptize; them immediately, in order that, says she, not a single day may pass after the recovery of my children, without my taking food with them. When we united with our mother in making the same request, Peter said: “What can you imagine? Am I alone heartless, so as not to wish that you should take your meals with your mother, baptizing her this very day? But yet it is incumbent on her to fast one day before she be baptized. And it is only one day, because, in her simplicity, she said something in her own behalf, which I looked on as a sufficient indication of her faith; otherwise, her purification must have lasted many days.”
Chap. X. - Mattidia Values Baptism Aright.
And I said: “‘Tell us what it was that she said which made her faith manifest.” And Peter, said: “Her request that her hostess and benefactress should be baptized along with her. For she would not have besought this to be granted to her whom she loves, had she not herself first felt that baptism was a great gift. And for this reason I condemn many that, after being baptized, and asserting that they have faith, they yet do nothing worthy of faith; nor do they urge those whom they love - I mean their wives, or sons, or friends - to be baptized.13 For if they had believed that God grants eternal life with good works on the acceptance of baptism,14 they without delay would urge those whom they loved to be baptized. But some one of you will say, ‘They do love them, and care for them.’ That is nonsense. For do they not, most assuredly, when they see them sick, or led away along the road that ends in death, or enduring any other trial, lament over them and pity them? So, if they believed that eternal fire awaits those who worship not God, they would not cease admonishing them, or being in deep distress for them as unbelievers, if they saw them disobedient, being fully assured that punishment awaits them. But now I shall send for the hostess, and question her as to whether she deliberately accepts the law which is proclaimed through us;15 and so, according to her state of mind, shall we do what ought to be done.
Chap. XI. - Mattidia Has Unintentionally Fasted One Day.
“But since your mother has real confidence in the efficacy of baptism,16 let her fast at least one day before her baptism.” But she swore: “During the two past days, while 1 related to the woman17 all the events connected with the recognition, I could not, in consequence of my excessive joy, partake of food: only yesterday I took a little water.” Peter’s wife bore testimony to her statement with an oath, saying: “In truth she did not taste anything.” And Aquila, who must rather be called Faustinianus18 in future, said: “There is nothing, therefore, to prevent her being baptized.” And Peter, smiling, replied: “But that is not a baptismal fast which has not taken place on account of the baptism itself.” And Faustinus answered: “Perhaps God, not wishing to separate our mother a single day after our recognition from our table, has arranged beforehand the fast. For as she was chaste in the times of her ignorance, doing what the true religion inculcated,19 so even now perhaps God has arranged that she should fast one day before for the sake of the true baptism, that, from the first day of her recognising us, she might take her meals along with us.”
Chap. XII. - The Difficulty Solved.
And Peter said: “Let not wickedness have dominion over us, finding a pretext in Providence and your affection for your mother; but rather abide this day in your fast, and I shall join you in it, and tomorrow she will be baptized. And, besides, this hour of the day is not suitable for baptism.” Then we all agreed that it should be so. 303
Chap. XIII. - Peter on Chastity.
That same evening we all enjoyed the benefit of Peter’s instruction. Taking occasion by what had happened to our mother, he showed us how the results of chastity are good, while those of adultery are disastrous, and naturally bring destruction on the whole race, if not speedily, at all events slowly.20 “And to such an extent,” he says. “do deeds of chastity please God, that in this life He bestows some small favour on account of it, even on those who are in error; for salvation in the other world is granted only to those who have been baptized on account of their trust21 in Him, and who act chastely and righteously. This ye yourselves have seen in the case of your mother, that the results of chastity are in the end good. For perhaps she would have been cut off if she had committed adultery; but God took pity on her for having behaved chastely, rescued her from the death that threatened her, and restored to her her lost children.
Chap. XIV. - Peter’s Speech Continued.
“But some one will say, ‘How many have perished on account of chastity!’ Yes; but it was because they did not perceive the danger. For the woman who perceives that she is in love with any one, or is beloved by any one, should immediately shun all association with him as she would shun a blazing fire or a mad dog. And this is exactly what your mother did, for she really loved chastity as a blessing: wherefore she was preserved, and, along with you, obtained the full knowledge of the everlasting kingdom. The woman who wishes to be chaste, ought to know that she is envied by wickedness, and that because of love many lie in wait for her. If, then, she remain holy through a stedfast persistence in chastity, she will gain the victory over all temptations, and be saved; whereas, even if she were to do all that is right, and yet should once commit the sin of adultery, she must be punished, as said the prophet.
Chap. XV. - Peter’s Speech Continued.
“The chaste wife doing the will of God, is at good reminiscence of His first creation; for God, being one, created one woman for one man. She is also still more chaste if she does not forget her own creation, and has future punishment before her eyes, and is not ignorant of the loss of eternal blessings. The chaste woman takes pleasure in those who wish to be saved, and is a pious example to the pious, for she is the model of a good life. She who wishes to be chaste, cuts off all occasions for slander; but if she be slandered as by an enemy, though affording him no pretext, she is blessed and avenged by God. The chaste woman longs for God, loves God, pleases God, glorifies God; and to men she affords no occasion for slander. The chaste woman perfumes the Church with her good reputation, and glorifies it by her piety. She is, more over, the praise of her teachers, and a helper to them in their chastity.22
Chap. Xvi. - Peter’s Speech Continued.
“The chaste woman is adored with the Son of God as with a bridegroom. She is clothed with holy light. Her beauty lies well-regulated soul; and she is fragrant with ointment, even with a good reputation. She is arrayed in beautiful vesture, even in modesty. She wears about her precious pearls, even chaste words. And she is radiant, for23 her mind has been brilliantly lighted up. Onto a beautiful mirror does she look, for she looks into God. Beautiful cosmetics24 does she use, namely, the fear of God, with which she admonishes her soul. Beautiful is the woman not because she has chains of gold on her,25 but because she has been set free from transient lusts. The chaste woman is greatly desired by the great King; (Psa_45:11) she has been wooed, watched, and loved by Him. The chaste woman does not furnish occasions for being desired, except by her own husband. The chaste woman is grieved when she is desired by another. The chaste woman loves her husband from the heart, embraces, soothes, and pleases him, acts the slave to him, and is obedient to him in all things, except when she would be disobedient to God. For she who obeys God is without the aid of watchmen chaste in soul and pure in body.
Chap. XVII. - Peter’s Speech Continued.
“Foolish, therefore, is every husband who separates his wife from the fear of God; for she who does not fear God is not afraid of her husband. If she fear not God, who sees what is invisible, how will she be chaste in her unseen choice?26 And how will she be chaste, who does not come to the assembly to hear chaste-making words? And how could she obtain admonition? And how will she be chaste without watchmen, 304 if she be not informed in regard to the coming judgment of God, and if she be not fully assured that eternal punishment is the penalty for the slight pleasure? Wherefore, on the other hand, compel her even against her will always to come to hear the chaste-making word, yea, coax her to do so
Chap. XVIII. - Peter’s Speech Continued.
“Much better is it if you will take her by the hand and come, in order that you yourself may become chaste; for you will desire to become chaste, that you may experience the full fruition of a holy marriage, and you will not scruple, if you desire it, to become a father,27 to love your own children, and to be loved by your own children. He who wishes to have a chaste wife is also himself chaste, gives her what is due to a wife, takes his meals with her, keeps company with her, goes with her to the word that makes chaste, does not grieve her, does not rashly quarrel with her, does not make himself hateful to her, furnishes her with all the good things he can, and when he has them not, he makes up the deficiency by caresses. The chaste wife does not expect to be caressed, recognises her husband as her lord, bears his poverty when he is poor, is hungry with him when he is hungry, travels with him when he travels, consoles him when he is grieved, and if she have a large28 dowry, is subject to him as if she had nothing at all. But if the husband have a poor wife, let him reckon her chastity a great dowry. The chaste wife is temperate in her eating and drinking, in order that the weariness of the body, thus pampered, may not drag the soul down to unlawful desires. Moreover, she never assuredly remains alone with young men, and she suspects29 the old; she turns away from disorderly laughter, gives herself up to God alone; she is not led astray; she delights in listening to holy words, but turns away from those which are not spoken to produce chastity.
Chap. XIX. - Peter’s Speech Ended.
“God is my witness: one adultery is as bad as many murders; and what is terrible in it is this, that the fearfulness and impiety of its murders are not seen. For, when blood is shed, the dead body remains lying, and all are struck by the terrible nature of the occurrence. But the murders of the soul caused by adultery, though they are more frightful, yet, since they are not seen by men, do not make the daring a whir less eager in their impulse. Know, O man, whose breath it is that thou hast to keep thee in life, and thou shalt not wish that it be polluted. By adultery alone is the breath of God polluted. And therefore it drags him who has polluted it into the fire; for it hastens to deliver up its insurer to everlasting punishment,”
Chap. XX. - Peter Addresses Mattidia.
While Peter was saying this, he saw the good and chaste Mattidia weeping for joy; but thinking that she was grieved at having suffered so much in past times, he said:30 “Take courage, O woman; for while many have suffered many evils on account of adultery, you have suffered on account of chastity, and therefore you did not die. But if you had died, your soul would have been saved. You left your native city of Rome on account of chastity, but through it you found the truth, the diadem of the eternal kingdom. You underwent danger in the deep, but you did not die; and even if you had died, the deep itself would have proved to you, dying on account of chastity, a baptism for the salvation of your soul. You were deprived of your children for a little; but these, the true offspring of your husband, have been found in better circumstances. When starving, you begged for food, but you did not defile your body by fornication. You exposed your body to torture, but you saved your soul; you fled from the adulterer, that you might not defile the couch of your husband: but, on account of your chastity, God, who knows your flight, will fill up the place of your husband. Grieved and left desolate, yon were for a short time deprived of husband and children, but all these you must have been deprived of, some time or other, by death, the preordained lot of man. But better is it that you were willingly deprived of thorn on account of chastity, than that you should have perished unwillingly after a time, simply on account of sins.
Chap. XXI. - The Same Subject Continued.
“Much better is it, then, that your first circumstances should be distressing. For when this is the case, they do not so deeply grieve you, because you hope that they will pass away, and they yield joy though the expectation of better circumstances. But, above all, I wish you to know how much chastity is pleasing to God. The chaste woman is God’s choice, God’s good pleasure, God’s glory, God’s child. So great a blessing is chastity,31 that if there had not been a law that not even a righteous person should enter into the kingdom of God unbaptized, 305 perhaps even the erring Gentiles might have been saved solely on account of chastity. Wherefore I am exceedingly sorry for those erring ones who are chaste because they shrink from baptism - thus choosing to be chaste without good hope. Wherefore they are not saved; for the decree of God is clearly set down, that an unbaptized person cannot enter into His kingdom.” When he said this, and much more, we I turned to sleep.
1 [Comp. Recognitions, book vii. 25. Here the narrative is somewhat fuller in detail. - R.]
2 Cotelerius conjectured σφαγέντα for σφαλέντα - “being slain on our journey.”
3 The first Epitome explains “those whom we seek” as those who are worthy to share in Christ or in Christ’s Gospel
4 [In Recognitions, book vii. 26, 27, the recapitulation is more extended. - R.]
5 The text is somewhat doubtful. We have given the meaning contained in the first Epitome.
7 One ms. and the first Epitome read, “as being the greatest blessing.”
8 Lit., “desire.”
9 The Greek has, “a part from divine piety towards God.” As Wieseler remarks, the epithet “divine” is corrupt. The meaning m