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not completely corrected. EWTN has corrected all mistakes found.)
THE CLEMENTINE HOMILIES
[Translated by Peter Peterson, M.A.]
CHAP. I.--CLEMENT MEETS APPION.
AND on the third day, when I came with my friends to the appointed
place in Tyre, I found Appion sitting between Anubion and Athenodorus, and
waiting for us, along with many other learned men. But in no wise dismayed,
I greeted them, and sat down opposite Appion. And in a little he began to
"I wish to start from the following point, and to come with all speed
at once to the question. Before you, my son Clement, joined us, my friend
Anubion here, and Athenodorus, who yesterday were among those who heard you
discourse, were reporting to me what you said of the numerous false
accusations I brought against the gods when I was visiting you in Rome, at
the time you were shamming love, how I charged them with paederasty,
lasciviousness, and numerous incests of all kinds. But, my son, you ought
to have known that I was not in earnest when I wrote such things about the
gods, but was concealing the truth, from my love to you. That truth,
however, if it so please you, you may hear from me now.
CHAP. II.--THE MYTHS ARE NOT TO BE TAKEN LITERALLY.
"The wisest of the ancients, men who had by hard labour learned all
truth, kept the path of knowledge hid from those who were unworthy and had
no taste for lessons in divine things.(1) For it is not really true that
from Ouranos and his mother Ge were born twelve children, as the myth
counts them: six sons, Okeanos, Koios, Krios, Hyperion, Japetos, Kronos;
and six daughters, Thea, Themis, Mnemosyne, Demeter, Tethys, and Rhea.(2)
Nor that Kronos, with the knife of adamant, mutilated his father Ouranos,
as you say, and threw the part into the sea; nor that Aphrodite sprang from
the drops of blood which flowed from it; nor that Kronos associated with
Rhea, and devoured his first-begotten son Pluto, because a certain saying
of Prometheus led him to fear that a child born from him would wax stronger
than himself, and spoil him of his kingdom; nor that he devoured in the
same way Poseidon, his second child; nor that, when Zeus was born next, his
mother Rhea concealed him, and when Kronos asked for him that he might
devour him, gave him a stone instead; nor that this, when it was devoured,
pressed those who had been previously devoured, and forced them out, so
that Pluto, who was devoured first, came out first, and after him Poseidon,
and then Zeus;(3) nor that Zeus, as the story goes, preserved by the wit of
his mother, ascended into heaven, and spoiled his father of the kingdom;
nor that he punished his father's brothers; nor that he came down to lust
after mortal women; nor that he associated with his sisters, and daughters,
and sisters-in-law, and was guilty of shameful paederasty; nor that he
devoured his daughter Metis, in order that from her he might make Athene be
born out of his own brain (and from his thigh might bear Dionysos, who is
said to have been rent in pieces by the Titans); nor that he held a feast
at the marriage of Peleus and Thetis;(5) nor that he excluded Erie
(discord) from the marriage; nor that Erie on her part, thus dishonoured,
contrived an occasion of quarrelling and discord among the feasters; nor
that she took a golden apple from the gardens of the Hesperides, and wrote
on it 'For the fair.' And then they fable how Hera, and Athena, and
Aphrodite, found the apple, and quarrelling about it, came to Zeus; and he
did not decide it for them, but sent them by Hermes to the shepherd Paris,
to be judged of their beauty. But there was no such judging of the
goddesses; nor did Paris give the apple to Aphrodite; nor did Aphrodite,
being thus honoured, honour him in return, by giving him Helen to wife. For
the honour bestowed by the goddess could never have furnished a pretext for
a universal war, and that to the ruin of him who was honoured, himself
nearly related to the race of Aphrodite. But, my son, as I said, such
stories have a peculiar and philosophical meaning, which can be
allegorically set forth in such a way that you yourself would listen with
wonder." And I said, "I beseech you not to torment me with delay." And he
said, "Do not be afraid; for I shall lose no time, but commence at once.
CHAP. III.--APPION PROCEEDS TO INTERPRET THE MYTHS.
"There was once a time when nothing existed but chaos and a confused
mixture of orderless elements, which were as yet simply heaped together.(1)
This nature testifies, and great men have been of opinion that it was so.
Of these great men I shall bring forward to you him who excelled them all
in wisdom, Homer, where he says, with a reference to the original confused
mass, 'But may you all become water and earth;'(2) implying that from these
all things had their origin, and that all things return to their first
state, which is chaos, when the watery and earthy substances are separated.
And Hesiod in the THEOGONY says, 'Assuredly chaos was the very first to
come into being.'(3) Now, by 'come into being,' he evidently means that
chaos came into being, as having a beginning, and did not always exist,
without beginning. And Orpheus likens chaos to an egg, in which was the
confused mixture of the primordial elements. This chaos, which Orpheus
calls an egg, is taken for granted by Hesiod, having a beginning, produced
from infinite matter, and originated in the following way.
CHAP. IV.--ORIGIN OF CHAOS.
"This matter, of four kinds, and endowed with life, was an entire
infinite abyss, so to speak, in eternal stream, borne about without order,
and forming every now and then countless but ineffectual combinations
(which therefore it dissolved again from want of order); ripe indeed, but
not able to be bound so as to generate a living creature. And once it
chanced that this infinite sea, which was thus by its own nature driven
about with a natural motion, flowed in an orderly manner from the same to
the same (back on itself), like a whirlpool, mixing the substances in such
a way that from each(4) there flowed down the middle of the universe (as in
the funnel of a mould) precisely that which was most useful and suitable
for the generation of a living creature. This was carried down by the all-
carrying whirlpool, drew to itself the surrounding spirit, and having been
so conceived that it was very fertile, formed a separate substance. For
just as a bubble is usually formed in water, so everything round about
contributed to the conception of this ball-like globe. Then there came
forth to the light, after it had been conceived in itself, and was borne
upwards by the divine spirit which surrounded it,(5) perhaps the greatest
thing ever born; a piece of workmanship, so to speak, having life in it
which had been conceived from that entire infinite abyss, in shape like an
egg, and as swift as a bird.
CHAP. V.--KRONOS AND RHEA EXPLAINED.
"Now you must think of Kronos as time (CHRONOS), and Rhea as the
flowing (RHEON) of the watery substance.(6) For the whole body of matter
was borne about for some TIME, before it brought forth, like an egg, the
sphere-like, all-embracing heaven (OURANOS), which at first was full of
productive marrow, so that it was able to produce out of itself elements
and colours of all sorts, while from the one substance and the one colour
it produced all kinds of forms. For as a peacock's egg seems to have only
one colour, while potentially it has in it all the colours of the animal
that is to be, so this living egg, conceived out of infinite matter, when
set in motion by the underlying and ever-flowing matter, produces many
different forms. For within the circumference a certain living creature,
which is both male and female, is formed by the skill of the indwelling
divine spirit. This Orpheus calls Phanes, because when it appeared
(PHANEIS) the universe shone forth from it, with the lustre of that most
glorious of the elements, fire, perfected in moisture. Nor is this
incredible, since in glowworms nature gives us to see a moist light.
CHAP. VI.--PHANES AND PLUTO.
"This egg, then, which was the first substance, growing somewhat hot,
was broken by the living creature within, and then there took shape and
came forth something;(7) such as Orpheus also speaks of, where he says,
'when the capacious egg was broken,'(1) etc. And so by the mighty power of
that which appeared (PHANEIS) and came forth, the globe attained coherency,
and maintained order, while it itself took its seat, as it were, on the
summit of heaven, there in ineffable mystery diffusing light through
endless ages. But the productive matter left inside the globe, separated
the substances of all things. For first its lower part, just like the
dregs, sank downwards of its own weight; and this they called Pluto from
its gravity, and weight, and great quantity (POLU) of underlying matter,
styling it the king of Hades and the dead.(2)
CHAP. VII.--POSEIDON, ZEUS, AND METIS.
"When, then, they say that this primordial substance, although most
filthy and rough, was devoured by Kronos, that is, time, this is to be
understood in a physical sense, as meaning that it sank downwards. And the
water which flowed together after this first sediment, and floated on the
surface of the first substance, they called Poseidon. And then what
remained, the purest and noblest of all, for it was translucent fire, they
called Zeus, from its glowing (ZEOUSA) nature, Now since fire ascends, this
was not swallowed, and made to descend by time or Kronos; but, as I said,
the fiery substance, since it has life in it, and naturally ascends, flew
right up into the air, which from its purity is very intelligent. By his
own proper heat, then, Zeus--that is, the glowing substance--draws up what
is left in the underlying moisture, to wit, that very strong(3) and divine
spirit which they called Metis.
CHAP. VIII.--PALLAS AND HERA.
"And this, when it had reached the summit of the aether, was devoured
by it (moisture being mixed with heat, so to say); and causing in it that
ceaseless palpitation, it begat intelligence, which they call Pallas from
this palpitating (PALLESTHAI).(4) And this is artistic wisdom, by which the
aetherial artificer wrought out the whole world. And from all-pervading
Zeus, that is, from this very hot aether, air (AER) extends all the way to
our earth; and this they call Hera. Wherefore, because it has come below
the aether, which is the purest substance (just as a woman, as regards
purity, is inferior), when the two were compared to see which was the
better, she was rightly regarded as the sister of Zeus, in respect of her
origin from the same substance, but as his spouse, as being inferior like a
"And Hera we understand to be a happy tempering of the atmosphere, and
therefore she is very fruitful; but Athena, as they call Pallas, was
reckoned a virgin, because on account of the intense heat she could produce
nothing. And in a similar fashion Artemis is explained: for her they take
as the lowest depth of air, and so they called her a virgin, because she
could not bear anything on account of the extreme cold. And that troubled
and drunken composition which arises from the upper and lower vapours they
called Dionysus, as troubling the intellect. And the water under the earth,
which is in nature indeed one, but which flows through all the paths of
earth, and is divided into many parts, they called Osiris, as being cut in
pieces. And they understand Adonis as favourable seasons, Aphrodite as
coition and generation, Demeter as the earth, the Girl (Proserpine) as
seeds; and Dionysus some understand as the vine.
CHAP. X.--ALL SUCH STORIES ARE ALLEGORICAL.
"And I must ask you to think of all such stories as embodying some such
allegory. Look on Apollo as the wandering Sun (PERI-POLON), a son of Zeus,
who was also called Mithras, as completing the period of a year. And these
said transformations of the all-pervading Zeus must be regarded as the
numerous changes of the seasons, while his numberless wives you must
understand to be years, or generations. For the power which proceeds from
the aether and passes through the air unites with all the years and
generations in turn, and continually varies them, and so produces or
destroys the crops. And ripe fruits are called his children, the barrenness
of some seasons being referred to unlawful unions."
CHAP. XI.--CLEMENT HAS HEARD ALL THIS BEFORE.
While Appion was allegorizing in this way, I became plunged in thought,
and seemed not to be following what he was saying. So he interrupted his
discourse, and said to me, "If you do not follow what I am saying, why
should I speak at all?" And I answered, "Do not suppose that I do not
understand what you say. I understand it thoroughly; and that the more that
this is not the first time I have heard it. And that you may know that I am
not ignorant of these things, I shall epitomize what you have said, and
supply in their order, as I have heard them from others, the allegorical
interpretations of those stories you have omitted." And Appion said: "Do
CHAP. XII.--EPITOME OF APPION'S EXPLANATION.
And I answered:(1) "l shall not at present speak particularly of that
living egg, which was conceived by a happy combination out of infinite
matter, and from which, when it was broken, the masculo-feminine Phanes
leaped forth, as some say. I say little about all that, up to the point
when this broken globe attained coherency, there being left in it some of
its marrow-like matter; and I shall briefly run over the description of
what took place in it by the agency of this matter, with all that followed.
For from Kronos and Rhea were born, as you say--that is, by time and
matter--first Pluto, who represents the sediment which settled down; and
then Poseidon, the liquid substance in the middle,(2) which floated over
the heavier body below; and the third child--that is, Zeus--is the aether,
and is highest of all. It was not devoured; but as it is a fiery power,
and naturally ascends, it flew up as with a bound to the very highest
CHAP. XIII.--KRONOS AND APHRODITE.
"And the bonds of Kronos are the binding together of heaven and earth,
as I have heard others allegorizing; and his mutilation is the separation
and parting of the elements; for they all were severed and separated,
according to their respective natures, that each kind might be arranged by
itself. And time no longer begets anything; but the things which have been
begotten of it, by a law of nature, produce their successors. And the
Aphrodite who emerged from the sea is the fruitful substance which arises
out of moisture, with which the warm spirit mixing, causes that sexual
desire, and perfects the beauty of the world.
CHAP. XIV.--PELEUS AND THETIS, PROMETHEUS, ACHILLES, AND POLYXENA.
"And the marriage banquet, at which Zeus held the feast on the occasion
of the marriage of the Nereid Thetis and the beautiful Peleus, has in it
this allegory,(3)--that you may know, Appion, that you are not the only one
from whom I have heard this sort of thing. The banquet, then, is the world,
and the twelve are these heavenly props of the Fates,(4) called the Zodiac.
Prometheus is foresight (PROMETHEIA), by which all things arose; Peleus is
clay (PELOS), namely, that which was COLLECTED(5) from the earth and mixed
with Nereis, or water, to produce man; and from the mixing of the two,
i.e., water and earth, the first offspring was not begotten, but fashioned
complete, and called Achilles, because he never put his lips (CHEILE) to
the breast.(6) Still in the bloom of life, he is slain by an arrow while
desiring to have Polyxena, that is, something other than the truth, and
foreign (XENE) to it, death stealing on him through a wound in his foot.
CHAP. XV.--THE JUDGMENT OF PARIS.
"Then Hera, and Athena, and Aphrodite, and Eris, and the apple, and
Hermes, and the judgment, and the shepherd, have some such hidden meaning
as the following:--Hera is dignity; Athena, manliness; Aphrodite, pleasure;
Hermes, language, which interprets (HERMENEUTIKOS) thought; the shepherd
Paris, unreasoned and brutish passion. Now if, in the prime of life,
reason, that shepherd of the soul, is brutish, does not regard its own
advantage, will have nothing to do with manliness and temperance, chooses
only pleasure, and gives the prize to lust alone, bargaining that it is to
receive in return from lust what, may delight it,--he who thus judges
incorrectly will choose pleasure to his own destruction and that of his
friends. And Eris is jealous spite; and the golden apples of the Hesperides
are perhaps riches, by which occasionally even temperate persons like Hera
are seduced, and manly ones like Athena are made jealous, so that they do
things which do not become them, and the soul's beauty like Aphrodite is
destroyed under the guise of refinement. To speak briefly, in all men
riches provoke evil discord.
"And Hercules, who slew the serpent which led and guarded riches, is
the true philosophical reason which, free from all wickedness, wanders all
over the world, visiting the souls of men, and chastising all it meets,--
namely, men like fierce lions, or timid stags, or savage boars, or
multiform hydras; and so with all the other fabled labours of Hercules,
they all have a hidden reference to moral valour. But these instances must
suffice, for all our time would be insufficient if we were to go over each
CHAP. XVII.--THEY ARE BLAMEWORTHY WHO INVENTED SUCH STORIES.
"Now,(7) since these things can be clearly, profitably, and without
prejudice to piety, set forth in an open and straightforward manner, I
wonder you call those men sensible and wise who concealed them under
crooked riddles, and overlaid them with filthy stories, and thus, as if
impelled by an evil spirit, deceived almost all men. For either these
things are not riddles, but real crimes of the gods, in which case they
should not have been exposed to contempt, nor should these their needs have
been set before men at all as models; or things falsely attributed to the
gods were set forth in an allegory, and then, Appion, they whom you call
wise erred, in that, by concealing under unworthy stories things in
themselves worthy, they led men to sin, and that not without dishonouring
those whom they believed to be gods.
CHAP. XVIII.--THE SAME.
"Wherefore do not suppose that they were wise men, but rather evil
spirits, who could cover honourable actions with wicked stories, in order
that they who wish to imitate their betters may emulate these deeds of so-
called gods, which yesterday in my discourse I spoke so freely of,--namely,
their parricides, their murders of their children, their incests of all
kinds, their shameless adulteries and countless impurities. The most
impious of them are those who wish these stories to be believed, in order
that they may not be ashamed when they do the like. If they had been
disposed to act reverently, they ought, as I said a little ago, even if the
gods really did the things which are sting of them, to have veiled their
indecencies under more seemly stories, and not, on the contrary, as you say
they did, when the deeds of the gods were honourable, clothed them in
wicked and indecent forms, which, even when interpreted, can only be
understood by much labour; and when they were understood by some, they
indeed got for their much toil the privilege of not being deceived, which
they might have had without the toil, while they who were deceived were
utterly ruined. (Those, however, who trace the allegories to a more
honourable source I do not object to; as, for instance, those who explain
one allegory by saying that it was wisdom which sprang from the head of
Zeus.) On the whole, it seems to me more probable that wicked men, robbing
the gods of their honour, ventured to promulgate these insulting stories.
CHAP. XIX.--NONE OF THESE ALLEGORIES ARE CONSISTENT.
"Nor do we find the poetical allegory about any of the gods consistent
with itself. To go no further than the fashioning of the universe, the
poets now say that nature was the first cause of the whole creation, now
that it was mind. For, say they, the first moving and mixture of the
elements came from nature, but it was the foresight of mind which arranged
them in order. Even when they assert that it was nature which fashioned the
universe, being unable absolutely to demonstrate this on account of the
traces of design in the work, they inweave the foresight of mind in such a
way that they are able to entrap even the wisest. But we say to them: If
the world arose from self-moved nature, how did it ever take proportion and
shape, which cannot come but from a superintending wisdom, and can be
comprehended only by knowledge, which alone can trace such things? If, on
the other hand, it is by wisdom that all things subsist and maintain order,
how can it be that those things arose from self-moved chance?
CHAP. XX.--THESE GODS WERE REALLY WICKED MAGICIANS.
"Then those who chose to make dishonourable allegories of divine
things--as, for instance, that Metis was devoured by Zeus--have fallen into
a dilemma, because they did not see that they who in these stories about
the gods indirectly taught physics, denied the very existence of the gods,
revolving all kinds of gods into mere allegorical representations of the
various substances of the universe. And so it is more likely that the gods
these persons celebrate were some sort of wicked magicians, who were in
reality wicked men, but by magic assumed different shapes, committed
adulteries, and took away life, and thus to the men of old who did not
understand magic seemed to be gods by the things they did; and the bodies
and tombs of these men are to be seen in many towns.
CHAP. XXI.--THEIR GRAVES ARE STILL TO BE SEEN.
"For instance, as I have mentioned already, in the Caucasian mountains
there is shown the tomb of a certain Kronos, a man, and a fierce monarch
who slew his children. And the son of this man, called Zeus, became worse
than his father; and having by the power of magic been declared ruler of
the universe, he committed many adulteries, and inflicted punishment on his
father and uncles, and so died; and the Cre-tans show his tomb. And in
Mesopotamia there lie buried a certain Helios at Atir, and a certain Selene
at Carrhae. A certain Hermes, a man, lies buried in Egypt; Ares in Thrace;
Aphrodite in Cyprus; AEsculapius in Epidaurus; and the tombs of many other
such persons are to be seen.(1)
CHAP. XXII.--THEIR CONTEMPORARIES, THEREFORE, DID NOT LOOK ON THEM AS GODS.
"Thus, to right-thinking men, it is clear that they were admitted to be
mortals. And their contemporaries, knowing that they were mortal, when they
died paid them no more heed; and it was length of thee which clothed them
with the glory of gods. Nor need you wonder that they who lived in the
times of AEsculapius and Hercules were deceived, or the contemporaries of
Dionysus or any other of the men of that time, when even Hector in Ilium,
and Achilles in the island of Leuce, are worshipped by the inhabitants of
those places; and the Opuntines worship Patroclus, and the Rhodians
Alexander of Macedon.(1)
CHAP. XXIII.--THE EGYPTIANS PAY DIVINE HONOURS TO A MAN.
"Moreover, among the Egyptians even to the present day, a man is
worshipped as a god before his death. And this truly is a small impiety,
that the Egyptians give divine honours to a man in his lifetime; but what
is of all things most absurd is, that they worship birds and creeping
things, and all kinds of beasts. For the mass of men neither think nor do
anything with discretion. But look, I pray you, at what is most disgraceful
of all: he who is with them the father of gods and men is said by them to
have had intercourse with Leda; and many of them set up in public a
painting of this, writing above it the name Zeus. To punish this insult, I
could wish that they would paint their own present king in such base
embraces as they have dared to do with Zeus, and set it up in public, that
from the anger of a temporary monarch, and him a mortal, they might learn
to render honour where it is due. This I say to you, not as myself already
knowing the true God; but I am happy to say that even if I do not know who
is God, I think I at least know clearly what God is.
CHAP. XXIV.--WHAT IS NOT GOD.
"And first, then, the four original elements cannot be God, because
they have a cause. Nor can that mixing be God, nor that compounding, nor
that generating, nor that globe which surrounds the visible universe; nor
the dregs which flow together in Hades, nor the water which floats over
them; nor the fiery substance, nor the air which extends from it to our
earth. For the four elements, if they lay outside one another, could not
have been mixed together so as to generate animal life without some great
artificer. If they have always been united, even in this case they are
fitted together by an artistic mind to what is requisite for the limbs and
parts of animals, that they may be able to preserve their respective
proportions, may have a clearly defined shape, and that all the inward
parts may attain the fitting coherency. In the same way also the positions
suitable for each are determined, and that very beautifully, by the
artificer mind. To be brief, in all other things which a living creature
must have, this great being of the world is in no respect wanting.
CHAP. XXV.--THE UNIVERSE IS THE PRODUCT OF MIND.
"Thus we are shut up to the supposition that there is an unbegotten
artificer, who brought the elements together, if they were separate; or, if
they were together, artistically blended them so as to generate life, and
perfected from all one work. For it cannot be that a work which is
completely wise can be made without a mind which is greater than it. Nor
will it do to say that love is the artificer of all things, or desire, or
power, or any such thing. All these are liable to change, and transient in
their very nature. Nor can that be God which is moved by another, much less
what is altered by time and nature, and can be annihilated."(2)
CHAP. XXVI.--PETER ARRIVES FROM CAESAREA.
While I was saying these things to Appion, Peter drew near from
Caesarea, and in Tyre the people were flocking together, hurrying to meet
him and unite in an expression of gratification at his visit. And Appion
withdrew, accompanied by Anubion and Athenodorus only; but the rest of us
hurried to meet Peter, and I was the first to greet him at the gate, and I
led him towards the inn. When we arrived, we dismissed the people; and when
he deigned to ask what had taken place, I concealed nothing, but told him
of Simon's slanders, and the monstrous shapes he had taken, and all the
diseases he had sent after the sacrificial feast, and that some of the sick
persons were still there in Tyre, while others had gone on with Simon to
Sidon just as I arrived, hoping to be cured by him, but that I had heard
that none of them had been cured by him. I also told Peter of the
controversy I had with Appion; and he, from his love to me, and desiring to
encourage me, praised and blessed me. Then, having supped, he betook
himself to the rest the fatigues of his journey rendered so necessary.
CHAP. I.--PETER ADDRESSES THE PEOPLE.
AND on the fourth day of our stay in Tyre,(1) Peter went out about
daybreak, and there met him not a few of the dwellers round about, with
very many of the inhabitants of Tyre itself, who cried out, and said, "God
through you have mercy upon us, God through you heal us!" And Peter stood
on a high stone, that all might see him; and having greeted them in a godly
manner, thus began:--
CHAP. II.--REASON OF SIMON'S POWER.
"God, who created the heavens and the whole universe, does not want
occasion for the salvation of those who would be saved. Wherefore let no
one, in seeming evils, rashly charge Him with unkindness to man. For men do
not know the issue of those things which happen to them, nay, suspect that
the result will be evil; but God knows that they will turn out well. So is
it in the case of Simon. He is a power of the left hand of God, and has
authority to do harm to those who know not God, so that he has been able to
involve you in diseases; but by these very diseases, which have been
permitted to come upon you by the good providence of God, you, seeking and
finding him who is able to cure, have been compelled to submit to the will
of God on the occasion of the cure of the body, and to think of believing,
in order that in this way you may have your souls as well as your bodies in
a healthy state.
CHAP. III.--THE REMEDY.
"Now I have been told, that after he had sacrificed an ox he feasted
you in the middle of the forum, and that you, being carried away with much
wine, made friends with not only the evil demons, but their prince also,
and that in this way the most of you were seized by these sicknesses,
unwittingly drawing upon yourselves with your own hands the sword of
destruction. For the demons would never have had power over you, had not
you first supped with their prince. For thus from the beginning was a law
laid by God, the Creator of all things, on each of the two princes, him of
the right hand and him of the left, that neither should have power over any
one whom they might wish to benefit or to hurt, unless first he had sat
down at the same table with them. As, then, when you partook of meat
offered to idols, you became servants to the prince of evil, in like
manner, if you cease from these things, and flee for refuge to God through
the good Prince of His right hand, honouring Him without sacrifices, by
doing whatsoever He wills, know of a truth that not only will your bodies
be healed, but your souls also will become healthy. For He only, destroying
with His left hand, can quicken with His right; He only can both smite and
raise the fallen.
CHAP. IV.--THE GOLDEN RULE.
"Wherefore, as then ye were deceived by the forerunner Simon, and so
became dead in your souls to God, and were smitten in your bodies; so now,
if you repent, as I said, and submit to those things which are well-
pleasing to God, you may get new strength to your bodies, and recover your
soul's health. And the things which are well-pleasing to God are these: to
pray to Him, to ask from Him, recognising that He is the giver of all
things, and gives with discriminating law; to abstain from the table of
devils, not to taste dead flesh, not to touch blood; to be washed from all
pollution; and the rest in one word,--as the God-fearing Jews have heard,
do you also hear, and be of one mind in many bodies; let each man be minded
to do to his neighbour those good things he wishes for himself. And you may
all find out what is good, by holding some such conversation as the
following with yourselves: You would not like to be murdered; do not murder
another man: you would not like your wife to be seduced by another; do not
you commit adultery: you would not like any of your things to be stolen
from you; steal nothing from another. And so understanding by yourselves
what is reasonable, and doing it, you will become dear to God, and will
obtain healing; otherwise in the life which now is your bodies will be
tormented, and in that which is to come your souls will be punished."(2)
CHAP. V.--PETER DEPARTS FOR SIDON.
After Peter had spent a few days in teaching them in this way, and in
healing them, they were baptized. And after that,(3) all sat down together
in the market-places in sackcloth and ashes, grieving because of his other
wondrous works, and repenting their former sins. And when they of Sidon
heard it, they did likewise, and sent to beseech Peter, since they could
not come themselves for their diseases. And Peter did not spend many days
in Tyre; but when he had instructed all its inhabitants, and freed them
from all manners of diseases and had rounded a church, and set over it as
bishop one of the elders who were with him, he departed for Sidon. But when
Simon heard that Peter was coming, he straightway fled to Beyrout with
Appion and his friends.
CHAP. VI.--PETER IN SIDON.
And as Peter entered Sidon, they brought many in couches, and laid them
before him. And he said to them: "Think not, I pray you, that I can do
anything to heal you, who am a mortal man, myself subject to many evils.
But I shall not refuse to show you the way in which you must be saved. For
I have learned from the Prophet of truth the conditions fore-ordained of
God before the foundation of the world; that is to say, the evil deeds
which if men do He has ordained that they shall be injured by the prince of
evil, and in like manner the good deeds for which He has decreed that they
who have believed in Him as their Physician shall have their bodies made
whole, and their souls established in safety.
CHAP. VII.--THE TWO PATHS.
"Knowing, then, these good and evil deeds, I make known unto you as it
were two paths,(1) and I shall show you by which travellers are lost and by
which they are saved, being guided of God. The path of the lost, then, is
broad and very smooth--it ruins them without troubling them; but the path
of the saved is narrow, rugged, and in the end it saves, not without much
toil, those who have journeyed through it. And these two paths are presided
over by unbelief and faith; and these journey through the path of unbelief,
those who have preferred pleasure, on account of which they have forgotten
the day of judgment, doing that which is not pleasing to God, and not
caring to save their souls by the word, and have not anxiously sought their
own good. Truly they know not that the counsels of God are not like men's
counsels; for, in the first place, He knows the thoughts of all men, and
all must give an account not only of their actions, but also of their
thoughts. And their sin is much less who strive to understand well and
fall, than that of those who do not at all strive after good things.
Because it has pleased God that he who errs in his knowledge of good, as
men count errors, should be saved after being slightly punished. But they
who have taken no care at all to know the better way, even though they may
have done countless other good deeds, if they have not stood in the service
He has Himself appointed, come under the charge of indifference, and are
severely punished, and utterly destroyed.
CHAP. VIII.--THE SERVICE OF GOD'S APPOINTMENT.
"And this is the service He has appointed: To worship Him only, and
trust only in the Prophet of truth, and to be baptized for the remission of
sins, and thus by this pure baptism to be born again unto God by saving
water; to abstain from the table of devils, that is, from food offered to
idols, from dead carcases, from animals which have been suffocated or
caught by wild beasts, and from blood;(2) not to live any longer impurely;
to wash after intercourse; that the women on their part should keep the law
of purification; that all should be sober-minded, given to good works,
refraining from wrongdoing, looking for eternal life from the all-powerful
God, and asking with prayer and continual supplication that they may win
it." Such was Peter's counsel to the men of Sidon also. And in few days
many repented and believed, and were healed. And Peter having founded a
church, and set over it as bishop one of the elders who were with him, left
CHAP. IX.--SIMON ATTACKS PETER.
No sooner had he reached Beyrout than an earthquake took place; and the
multitude, running to Peter, said, "Help us, for we are afraid we shall all
utterly perish." Then Simon ventured, along with Appion and Anubion and
Athenodorus, and the rest of his companions, to cry out to the people
against Peter in public: "Flee, friends, from this man! he is a magician;
trust us, he it was who caused this earthquake: he sent us these diseases
to terrify us, as if he were God Himself." And many such false charges did
Simon and his friends bring against Peter, as one who could do things above
human power. But as soon as the people gave him a moment's quiet, Peter
with surprising boldness gave a little laugh, and said, "Friends, I admit
that I can do, God willing, what these men say; and more than that, I am
ready, if you do not believe what I say, to overturn your city from top to
CHAP. X.--SIMON IS DRIVEN AWAY.
And the people were afraid, and promised to do whatever he should
command. "Let none of you, then," said Peter, "either hold conversation
with these sorcerers, or have any thing to do with them." And as soon as
the people heard this concise command, they took up sticks, and pursued
them till they had driven them wholly out of the town. And they who were
sick and possessed with devils came and cast themselves at Peter's feet.
And he seeing all this, and anxious to free them from their terror, said to
CHAP. XI.--THE WAY OF SALVATION.
"Were I able to cause earthquakes, and do all that I wish, I assure you
I would not destroy Simon and his friends (for not to destroy men am I
sent), but would make him my friend, that he might no longer, by his
slanders against my preaching the truth, hinder the salvation of many. But
if you believe me, he himself is a magician; he is a slanderer; he is a
minister of evil to them who know not the truth. Therefore he has power to
bring diseases on sinners, having the sinners themselves to help him in his
power over them. But I am a servant of God the Creator of all things, and a
disciple of His Prophet who is at His right hand. Wherefore I, being His
apostle, preach the truth: to serve a good man I drive away diseases, for I
am His second messenger, since first the disease comes, but after that the
healing. By that evil-working magician, then, you were stricken with
disease because you revolted from God. By me, if you believe on Him ye
shall be cured: and so having had experience that He is able, you may turn
to good works, and have your souls saved."
CHAP. XII.--PETER GOES TO BYBLUS AND TRIPOLIS.
As he said these things, all fell on their knees before his feet. And
he, lifting up his hands to heaven, prayed to God, and healed them all by
his simple prayer alone. And he remained not many days in Beyrout; but
after he had accustomed many to the service of the one God, and had
baptized them, and had set over them a bishop from the elders who were with
him, he went to Byblus. And when he came there, and learned that Simon had
not waited for them for a day, but had gone straightway to Tripolis, he
remained there only a few days; and after that he had healed not a few, and
exercised them in the Scriptures, he followed in Simon's track to Tripolis,
preferring to pursue him rather than flee from him.
CHAP. I.--PETER'S ARRIVAL AT TRIPOLIS.
Now, as Peter was entering Tripolis,(1) the people from Tyre and Sidon,
Berytus and Byblus, who were eager(2) to get instruction, and many from the
neighbourhood, entered along with him; and not least were there gatherings
of the multitudes from the city itself wishing to see him. Therefore there
met with us in the suburbs the brethren who had been sent forth by him to
ascertain as well other particulars respecting the city, as the proceedings
of Simon, and to come and explain them. They received him, and conducted
him to the house of Maroones.(3)
CHAP. II.--PETER'S THOUGHTFULNESS.
But he, when he was at the very gate of his lodging, turned round, and
promised to the multitudes that after the next day he would converse with
them on the subject of religion. And when he had gone in, the forerunners
assigned lodgings to those who had come with him. And the hosts and the
entertainers did not fall short of the desire of those who sought
hospitality. But Peter, knowing nothing of this, being asked by us to
partake of food, said that he would not himself partake until those who had
come with him were settled. And on our assuring him that this was already
done, all having received them eagerly by reason of their affection towards
him, so that those were grieved beyond measure who had no guests to
entertain,--Peter hearing this, and being pleased with their eager
philanthropy, blessed them and went out, and having bathed in the sea,
partook of food with the forerunners; and then, the evening having come, he
CHAP. III.--A CONVERSATION INTERRUPTED.
But awaking about the second cock-crowing, he found us astir. We were
in all sixteen, viz., Peter himself, and I Clement, Nicetas and Aquila, and
the twelve who had preceded us.(4) Having therefore saluted us, he said,
"To-day, not being occupied with those without, we are free to be occupied
with one another. Wherefore I shall tell you the things that happened after
your departure from Tyre; and do you minutely relate to me what have been
the doings of Simon here." While, therefore, we were answering one another
by narratives on either side, one of our friends entered, and announced to
Peter that Simon, learning of his arrival, had set off for Syria, and that
the multitudes, thinking this one night to be like a year's time, and not
able to wait for the appointment which he had made, were standing before
the doors conversing with one another in knots and circles about the
accusation brought by Simon, and how that, having raised their
expectations, and promised that he would charge Peter when he came with
many evils, he had fled by night when he knew of his arrival. "However,"
said he, "they are eager to hear you; and I know not whence some rumour has
reached them to the effect that you are going to address them to-day. In
order, therefore, that they may not when they are very tired be dismissed
without reason, you yourself know what it is proper for you to do."
CHAP. IV.--MANY CALLED.
Then Peter, wondering at the eagerness of the multitudes, answered,(1)
"You see, brethren, how the words of our Lord are manifestly fulfilled. For
I remember His saying, "Many shall come from the east and from the west,
the north and the south, and shall recline on the bosoms of Abraham, and
Isaac, and Jacob.'(2) 'But many,' said He also, 'are called, but few
chosen.'(3) The coming, therefore, of these called ones is fulfilled. But
inasmuch as it is not of themselves, but of God who has called them and
caused them to come, on this account alone they have no reward, since it is
not of themselves but of Him who has wrought in them. But if, after being
called, they do things that are excellent, for this is of themselves, then
for this they shall have a reward.
CHAP. V.--FAITH THE GIFT OF GOD.
"For even the Hebrews who believe Moses, and do not observe the things
spoken by him, are not saved, unless they observe the things that were
spoken to them. For their believing Moses was not of their own will, but of
God, who said to Moses, 'Behold, I come to thee in a pillar of cloud, that
the people may hear me speaking to thee, and may believe thee for ever.'(4)
Since, therefore, both to the Hebrews and to those who are called from the
Gentiles, believing in the teachers of truth is of God, while excellent
actions are left to every one to do by his own judgment, the reward is
righteously bestowed upon those who do well. For there would have been no
need of Moses, or of the coming of Jesus, if of themselves they would have
understood what is reasonable. Neither is there salvation in believing in
teachers and calling them lords.
CHAP. VI.--CONCEALMENT AND REVELATION.
"For on this account Jesus is concealed from the Jews, who have taken
Moses as their teacher, and Moses is hidden from those who have believed
Jesus. For, there being one teaching by both, God accepts him who has
believed either of these. But believing a teacher is for the sake of doing
the things spoken by God. And that this is so our Lord Himself says, 'I
thank thee, Father of heaven and earth, because Thou hast concealed these
things from the wise and elder, and hast revealed them to sucking
babes.'(5) Thus God Himself has concealed a teacher from some, as
foreknowing what they ought to do, and has revealed him to others, who are
ignorant what they ought to do.
CHAP. VII.--MOSES AND CHRIST.
"Neither, therefore, are the Hebrews condemned on account of their
ignorance of Jesus, by reason of Him who has concealed Him, if, doing the
things commanded by Moses, they do not hate Him whom they do not know.
Neither are those from among the Gentiles condemned, who know not Moses on
account of Him who hath concealed him, provided that these also, doing the
things spoken by Jesus, do not hate Him whom they do not know. And some
will not be profited by calling the teachers lords, but not doing the works
of servants. For on this account our Jesus Himself said to one who often
called Him Lord, but did none of the things which He prescribed, 'Why call
ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?'(6) For it is not
saying that will profit any one, but doing. By all means, therefore, is
there need of good works. Moreover, if any one has been thought worthy to
recognise both as preaching one doctrine, that man has been counted rich in
God, understanding both the old things as new in time, and the new things
CHAP. VIII.--A LARGE CONGREGATION.
While Peter was thus speaking, the multitudes, as if they had been
called by some one, entered into the place where Peter was. Then he, seeing
a great multitude, like the smooth current of a river gently flowing
towards him, said to Maroones, "Have you any place here that is better able
to contain the crowd?" Then Maroones conducted him to a garden-plot in the
open air, and the multitudes followed. But Peter, standing upon a base of a
statue which was not very high, as soon as he had saluted the multitude in
pious fashion, knowing that many of the crowd that stood by were tormented
with demons and many sufferings of long standing, and hearing them
shrieking with lamentation, and falling down before him in supplication,
rebuked them, and commanded them to hold their peace; and promising healing
to them after the discourse,(1) began to speak on this wise:--
CHAP. IX.--"VINDICATE THE WAYS OF GOD TO MEN."
"While beginning to discourse on the worship of God to those who are
altogether ignorant of everything, and whose minds have been corrupted by
the accusations of our adversary Simon, I have thought it necessary first
of all to speak of the blamelessness of the God who hath made all things,
starting from the occasion seasonably afforded by Him according to His
providence, that it may be known how with good reason many arc held by many
demons, and subjected to strange sufferings, that in this the justice of
God may appear; and that those who through ignorance blame Him, now may
learn by good speaking and well-doing what sentiments they ought to hold,
and recall themselves from their previous accusation, assigning ignorance
as the cause of their evil presumption, in order that they may be pardoned.
CHAP. X.--THE ORIGINAL LAW.
"But thus the matter stands. The only good God having made all things
well, and having handed them over to man, who was made after His image, he
who had been made breathing of the divinity of Him who made him, being a
true prophet and knowing all things, for the honour of the Father who had
given all things to him, and for the salvation of the sons born of him, as
a genuine father preserving his affection towards the children born of him,
and wishing them, for their advantage, to love God and be loved of Him,
showed them the way which leads to His friendship, teaching them by what
deeds of men the one God and Lord of all is pleased; and having exhibited
to them the things that are pleasing to Him, appointed a perpetual law to
all, which neither can be abrogated by enemies, nor is vitiated by any
impious one, nor is concealed in any place, but which can be read by all.
To them, therefore, by obedience to the law, all things were in abundance,-
-the fairest of fruits, fulness of years, freedom from grief and from
disease, bestowed upon them without fear, with all salubrity of the air.
CHAP. XI.--CAUSE OF THE FALL OF MAN.
"But they, because they had at first no experience of evils, being
insensible to the gift of good things, were turned to ingratitude by
abundance of food and luxuries, so that they even thought that there is no
Providence, since they had not by previous labour got good things as the
reward of righteousness, inasmuch as no one of them had fallen into any
suffering or disease, or any other necessity; so that, as is usual for men
afflicted on account of wicked transgression, they should look about for
the God who is able to heal them.(2) But immediately after their despite,
which proceeded from fearlessness and secure luxury, a certain just
punishment met them, as following from a certain arranged harmony, removing
from them good things as having hurt them, and introducing evil things
instead, as advantageous.
CHAP. XII.--METAMORPHOSES OF THE ANGELS.
"For of the spirits who inhabit the heaven,(3) the angels who dwell in
the lowest region, being grieved at the ingratitude of men to God, asked
that they might come into the life of men, that, really becoming men, by
more intercourse they might convict those who had acted ungratefully
towards Him, and might subject every one to adequate punishment. When,
therefore, their petition was granted, they metamorphosed themselves into
every nature; for, being of a more godlike substance, they are able easily
to assume any form. So they became precious stones, and goodly pearl, and
the most beauteous purple, and choice gold, and all matter that is held in
most esteem. And they fell into the hands of some, and into the bosoms of
others, and suffered themselves to be stolen by them. They also changed
themselves into beasts and reptiles, and fishes and birds, and into
whatsoever they pleased. These things also the poets among yourselves, by
reason of fearlessness, sing, as they befell, attributing to one the many
and diverse doings of all.
CHAP. XIII.--THE FALL OF THE ANGELS.
"But when, having assumed these forms, they convicted as covetous those
who stole them, and changed themselves into the nature of men, in order
that, living holily, and showing the possibility of so living, they might
subject the ungrateful to punishment, yet having become in all respects
men, they also partook of human lust, and being brought tinder its
subjection they fell into cohabitation with women;(1) and being involved
with them, and sunk in defilement and altogether emptied of their first
power, were unable to turn back to the first purity of their proper nature,
their members turned away from their fiery substance:(2) for the fire
itself, being extinguished by the weight of lust, and changed into flesh,
they trode the impious path downward. For they themselves, being fettered
with the bonds of flesh, were constrained and strongly bound; wherefore
they have no more been able to ascend into the heavens.
CHAP. XIV.--THEIR DISCOVERIES.
"For after the intercourse, being asked to show what they were before,
and being no longer able to do so, on account of their being unable to do
aught else after their defilement, yet wishing to please their mistresses,
instead of themselves, they showed the bowels(3) of the earth; I mean, the
choice metals,(4) gold, brass, silver, iron, and the like, with all the
most precious stones. And along with these charmed stones, they delivered
the arts of the things pertaining to each, and imparted the discovery of
magic, and taught astronomy, and the powers of roots, and whatever was
impossible to be found out by the human mind; also the reeking of gold and
silver, and the like, and the various dyeing of garments. And all things,
in short, which are for the adornment and delight of women, are the
discoveries of these demons bound in flesh.
CHAP. XV.--THE GIANTS.
"But from their unhallowed intercourse spurious men sprang, ranch
greater in stature than ordinary men, whom they afterwards called giants;
not those dragon-footed giants who waged war against God, as those
blasphemous myths of the Greeks do sing, but wild in manners, and greater
than men in size, inasmuch as they were sprung of angels; yet less than
angels, as they were born of women. Therefore God, knowing that they were
barbarized to brutality, and that the world was not sufficient to satisfy
them (for it was created according to the proportion of men and human use),
that they might not through want of food turn, contrary to nature, to the
eating of animals, and yet seem to be blameless, as having ventured upon
this through necessity, the Almighty God rained manna upon them, suited to
their various tastes; and they enjoyed all that they would. But they, on
account of their bastard nature, not being pleased with purity of food,
longed only after the taste of blood. Wherefore they first tasted flesh.
"And the men who were with them there for the first time were eager to
do the like. Thus, although we are born neither good nor bad, we become one
or the other; and having formed habits, we are with difficulty drawn from
them. But when irrational animals fell short, these bastard men tasted also
human flesh. For it was not a long step to the consumption of flesh like
their own, having first tasted it in other forms.
CHAP. XVII.--THE FLOOD.
"But by the shedding of much blood, the pure air being defiled with
impure vapour, and sickening those who breathed it, rendered them liable to
diseases, so that thenceforth men flied prematurely. But the earth being by
these means greatly defiled, these first teemed with poison-darting and
deadly creatures. All things, therefore, going from bad to worse, on
account of these brutal demons, God wished to cast them away like an evil
leaven, lest each generation from a wicked seed, being like to that before
it, and equally impious, should empty the world to come of saved men. And
for this purpose, having warned a certain righteous man,(5) with his three
sons, together with their wives and their children, to save themselves in
an ark, He sent a deluge of water, that all being destroyed, the purified
world might be handed over to him who was saved in the ark, in order to a
second beginning of life. And thus it came to pass.
CHAP. XVIII.--THE LAW TO THE SURVIVORS.
"Since, therefore, the souls of the deceased giants were greater than
human souls, inasmuch as they also excelled their bodies, they, as being a
new race, were called also by g new name. And to those who survived in the
world a law was prescribed of God through an angel, how they should live.
For being bastards in race, of the fire of angels and the blood of women,
and therefore liable to desire a certain race of their own, they were
anticipated by a certain righteous law. For a certain angel was sent to
them by God, declaring to them His will, and saying:--
CHAP. XIX.--THE LAW TO THE GIANTS OR DEMONS.
"'These things seem good to the all-seeing God, that you lord it over
no man; that you trouble no one, unless any one of his own accord subject
himself to you, worshipping you, and sacrificing and pouring libations, and
partaking of your table, or accomplishing aught else that they ought not,
or shedding blood, or tasting dead flesh, or filling themselves with that
which is torn of beasts, or that which is cut, or that which is strangled,
or aught else that is unclean. But those who betake themselves to my law,
you not only shall not touch, but shall also do honour to, and shall flee
from, their presence. For whatsoever shall please them, being just,
respecting you, that you shall be constrained to suffer. But if any of
those who worship me go astray, either committing adultery, or practising
magic, or living impurely, or doing any other of the things which are not
well-pleasing to me, then they will have to suffer something at your hands
or those of others, according to my order. But upon them, when they repent,
I, judging of their repentance, whether it be worthy of pardon or not,
shall give sentence. These things, therefore, ye ought to remember and to
do, well knowing that not even your thoughts shall be able to be concealed
CHAP. XX.--WILLING CAPTIVES.
"Having charged them to this effect, the angel departed. But you are
still ignorant of this law, that every one who worships demons, or
sacrifices to them, or partakes with them of their table, shall become
subject to them and receive all punishment from them, as being under wicked
lords. And you who, on account of ignorance of this law, have been
corrupted beside their altars,(1) and have been satiated with food offered
to them, have come under their power, and do not know how you have been in
every way injured in respect of your bodies. But you ought to know that the
demons have no power over any one, unless first he be their table-
companion; since not even their chief can do anything contrary to the law
imposed upon them by God, wherefore he has no power over any one who does
not worship him; but neither can any one receive from them any of the
things that he wishes, nor in anything be hurt by them, as you may learn
from the following statement.
CHAP. XXI.--TEMPTATION OF CHRIST.
"For once the king of the present time came to our King of
righteousness, using no violence, for this was not in his power, but
inducing and persuading, because the being persuaded lies in the power of
every one.(2) Approaching Him, therefore, as being king of things present,
he said to the King of things future, 'All the kingdoms of the present
world are subject to me; also the gold and the silver and all the luxury
of this world are under my power. Wherefore fall down and worship me, and I
will give you all these things.' And this he said, knowing that after He
worshipped him he would have power also over Him, and thus would rob Him of
the future glory and kingdom. But He, knowing all things, not only did not
worship him, but would not receive aught of the things that were offered by
him. For He pledged Himself with those that are His, to the effect that it
is not lawful henceforth even to touch the things that are given over to
him. Therefore He answered and said, 'Thou shall fear the Lord thy God, and
Him only shall thou serve.'(3)
CHAP. XXII.--THE MARRIAGE SUPPER.
"However, the king of the impious, striving to bring over to his own
counsel the King of the pious, and not being able, ceased his efforts,
undertaking to persecute Him for the remainder of His life. But you, being
ignorant of the fore-ordained law, are under his power through evil deeds.
Wherefore you are polluted in body and soul, and in the present life you
are tyrannized over by sufferings and demons, but in that which is to come
you shall have your souls to be punished. And this not you alone suffer
through ignorance, but also some of our nation, who by evil deeds having
been brought trader the power of the prince of wickedness, like persons
invited to a supper by a father celebrating the marriage of his son, have
not obeyed.(4) But instead of those who through preoccupation disobeyed,
the Father celebrating the marriage of his Son, has ordered us, through the
Prophet of the truth, to come into the partings of the ways, that is, to
you, and to invest you with the clean wedding-garment, which is baptism,
which is for the remission of the sins done by you, and to bring the good
to the supper of God by repentance, although at the first they were left
out of the banquet.
CHAP. XXIII.--THE ASSEMBLY DISMISSED.
"If, therefore, ye wish to be the vesture of the Divine Spirit, hasten
first to put off your base presumption, which is an unclean spirit and a
foul garment. And this you cannot otherwise put off, than by being first
baptized in good works. And thus being pure in body and in soul, you shall
enjoy the future eternal kingdom. Therefore neither believe in idols, nor
partake with them of the impure table, nor commit murder, nor adultery, nor
hate those whom it is not right to hate, nor steal, nor set upon any evil
deeds; since, being deprived of the hope of future blessings in the present
life, you shall be subjected to evil demons and terrible sufferings, and in
the world to come you shall be punished with eternal fire. Now, then, what
has been said is enough for to-day. For the rest, those of you who are
afflicted with ailments remain for healing; and of the others, you who
please go in peace."
CHAP. XXIV.--THE SICK HEALED.
When he had thus spoken, all of them remained, some in order to be
healed, and others to see those who obtained cures. But Peter, only laying
his hands upon them, and praying, healed them;(1) so that those who were
straightway cured were exceeding glad, and those who looked on exceedingly
wondered, and blessed God, and believed with a firm hope, and with those
who had been healed departed to their own homes, having received a charge
to meet early on the following day. And when they had gone, Peter remained
there with his associates, and partook of food, and refreshed himself with
CHAP. I.--PETER'S DISCOURSE RESUMED.
THEREFORE on the next day, Peter going out with his companions, and
coming to the former place, and taking his stand, proceeded to say:(1) "God
having cut off by water all the impious men of old, having found one alone
amongst them all that was pious, caused him to be saved in an ark, with his
three sons and their wives. Whence may be perceived that it is His nature
not to care for a multitude of wicked, nor to be indifferent to the
salvation of one pious. Therefore the greatest impiety of all is forsaking
the sole Lord of all, and worshipping many, who are no gods, as if they
CHAP. II.--MONARCHY AND POLYARCHY.
"If, therefore, while I expound and show you that this is the greatest
sin, which is able to destroy you all, it occur to your mind that you are
not destroyed, being great multitudes, you are deceived. For you have the
example of the old world deluged. And yet their sin was much less than that
which is chargeable against you. For they were wicked with respect to their
equals, murdering or committing adultery. But you are wicked against the
God of all, worshipping lifeless images instead of Him or along with Him,
and attributing His divine name to every kind of senseless matter. In the
first place, therefore, you are unfortunate in not knowing the difference
between monarchy and polyarchy--that monarchy, on the one hand, is
productive of concord, but polyarchy is effective of wars. For unity does
not fight with itself, but multitude has occasion of undertaking battle one
CHAP. III.--FAMILY OF NOE.
"Therefore straightway after the flood,(2) Noe continued to live three
hundred and fifty years with the multitude of his descendants in concord,
being a king according to the image of the one God. But after his death
many of his descendants were ambitious of the kingdom, and being eager to
reign, each one considered how it might be effected; and one attempted it
by war, another by deceit, another by persuasion, and one in one way and
another in another; one of whom was of the family of Ham, whose descendant
was Mestren, from whom the tribes of the Egyptians and Babylonians and
Persians were multiplied.
"Of this family there was born in due time a certain one, who took up
with magical practices, by name Nebrod, who chose, giant-like, to devise
things in opposition to God. Him the Greeks have called Zoroaster. He,
after the deluge, being ambitious of sovereignty, and being a great
magician, by magical arts compelled the world-guiding star of the wicked
one who now rules, to the bestowal of the sovereignty as a gift from him.
But he,(3) being a prince, and having authority over him who compelled
him,(1) wrathfully poured out the fire of the kingdom, that he might both
bring to allegiance, and might punish him who at first constrained him.
"Therefore the magician Nebrod, being destroyed by this lightning
falling on earth from heaven, for this circumstance had his name changed to
Zoroaster, on account of the living (zw^san) stream of the star (aste'ros)
being poured upon him. But the unintelligent amongst the men who then were,
thinking that through the love of God his soul had been sent for by
lightning, buried the remains of his body, and honoured his burial-place
with a temple among the Persians, where the descent of the fire occurred,
and worshipped him as a god. By this example also, others there bury those
who die by lightning as beloved of God, and honour them with temples, anti
erect statues of the dead in their own forms. Thence, in like manner, the
rulers in different places were emulous of like honour, and very many of
them honoured the tombs of those who were beloved of them, though not dying
by lightning, with temples and statues, and lighted up altars, and ordered
them to be adored as gods. And long after, by the lapse of time, they were
thought by posterity to be really gods.
"Thus, in this fashion, there ensued many partitions of the one
original kingdom. The Persians, first taking coals from the lightning which
fell from heaven, preserved them by ordinary fuel, and honouring the
heavenly fire as a god, were honoured by the fire itself with the first
kingdom, as its first worshippers. After them the Babylonians, stealing
coals from the fire that was there, and conveying it safetly to their own
home, and worshipping it, they themselves also reigned in order. And the
Egyptians, acting in like manner, and calling the fire in their own dialect
PHTHAE, which is translated HEPHAISTUS or OSIRIS, he who first reigned
amongst them is called by its name. Those also who reigned in different
places, acting in this fashion, and making an image, and kindling altars in
honour of fire, most of them were excluded from the kingdom.
CHAP. VII.--SACRIFICIAL ORGIES.
"But they did not cease to worship images,(2) by reason of the evil
intelligence of the magicians, who found excuses for them, which had power
to constrain them to the foolish worship For, establishing this things by
magical ceremonies, they assigned them feasts from sacrifices, libations,
flutes, and shoutings, by means of which senseless men, being deceived, and
their kingdom being taken from them, yet did not desist from the worship
that they had taken up with. To such an extent did they prefer error, on
account of its pleasantness, before truth. They also howl after their
sacrificial surfeit, their soul from the depth, as it were by dreams,
forewarning them of the punishment that is to befall such deeds of theirs.
CHAP. VIII.--THE BEST MERCHANDISE.
"Many forms of worship,(3) then, having passed away in the world, we
come, bringing to you, as good merchantmen, the worship that has been
handed down to us from our fathers, and preserved; showing you, as it were,
the seeds of plants, and placing them under your judgment and in your
power. Choose that which seems good unto you. If, therefore, ye choose our
wares, not only shall ye be able to escape demons, and the sufferings which
are inflicted by demons, but yourselves also putting them to flight, and
having them reduced to make supplication to you, shall for ever enjoy
CHAP. IX.--HOW DEMONS GET POWER OVER MEN.
"Since, on the other hand, you are oppressed by strange sufferings
inflicted by demons, on your removal from the body you shall have your
souls also punished for ever; not indeed by God's inflicting vengeance, but
because such is the judgment of evil deeds. For the demons, having power by
means of the food given to them, are admitted into your bodies by your own
hands; and lying hid there for a long time, they become blended with your
souls. And through the carelessness of those who think not, or even wish
not, to help themselves, upon the dissolution of their bodies, their souls
being united to the demon, are of necessity borne by it into whatever
places it pleases. And what is most terrible of all, when at the end of all
things the demon is first consigned to the purifying fire, the soul which
is mixed with it is under the necessity of being horribly punished, and the
demon of being pleased. For the soul, being made of light, and not capable
of bearing the heterogeneous flame of fire, is tortured; but the demon,
being in the substance of his own kind, is greatly pleased, becoming the
strong chain of the soul that he has swallowed up.
CHAP. X.--HOW THEY ARE TO BE EXPELLED.
"But the reason why the demons delight in entering into men's bodies is
this. Being spirits, and having desires after meats and drinks, and sexual
pleasures, but not being able to partake of these by reason of their being
spirits, and wanting organs fitted for their enjoyment, they enter into the
bodies of men, in order that, getting organs to minister to them, they may
obtain the things that they wish, whether it be meat, by means of men's
teeth, or sexual pleasure, by means of men's members. Hence, in order to
the putting of demons to flight, the most useful help is abstinence, and
fasting, and suffering of affliction. For if they enter into men's bodies
for the sake of sharing pleasures, it is manifest that they are put to
flight by suffering. But inasmuch as some,(1) being of a more malignant
kind, remain by the body that is undergoing punishment, though they are
punished with it, therefore it is needful to have recourse to God by
prayers and petitions, refraining from every occasion of impurity, that the
hand of God may touch him for his cure, as being pure and faithful.
CHAP. XI.--UNBELIEF THE DEMON'S STRONGHOLD.
"But it is necessary in our prayers to acknowledge that we have had
recourse to God, and to bear witness, not to the apathy, but to the
slowness of the demon. For all things are done to the believer, nothing to
the unbeliever. Therefore the demons themselves, knowing the amount of
faith of those of whom they take possession, measure their stay
proportionately. Wherefore they stay permanently with the unbelieving,
tarry for a while with the weak in faith; but with those who thoroughly
believe, and who do good, they cannot remain even for a moment. For the
soul being turned by faith, as it were, into the nature of water, quenches
the demon as a spark of fire. The labour, therefore, of every one is to be
solicitous about the putting to flight of his own demon. For, being mixed
up with men's souls, they suggest to every one's mind desires after what
things they please, in order that he may neglect his salvation.
CHAP. XII.--THEORY OF DISEASE.
"Whence many, not knowing how they are influenced, consent to the evil
thoughts suggested by the demons, as if they were the reasoning of their
own souls. Wherefore they become less active to come to those who are able
to save them, and do not know that they themselves are held captive by the
deceiving demons. Therefore the demons who lurk in their souls induce them
to think that it is not a demon that is distressing them, but a bodily
disease, such as some acrid matter, or bile, or phlegm, or excess of blood,
or inflammation of a membrane, or something else. But even if this were so,
the case would not be altered of its being a kind of demon. For the
universal and earthly soul, which enters on account of all kinds of food,
being taken to excess by over-much food, is itself united to the spirit, as
being cognate, which is the soul of man; and the material part of the food
being united to the body, is left as a dreadful poison to it. Wherefore in
all respects moderation is excellent.
CHAP. XIII.--DECEITS OF THE DEMONS.
"But some of the maleficent demons deceive in another way. For at first
they do not even show their existence, in order that care may not be taken
against them; but in due time, by means of anger, love, or some other
affection, they suddenly injure the body, by sword, or halter, or
precipice, or something else, and at last bring to punishment the deceived
souls of those who have been mixed up with them, as we said, withdrawing
into the purifying fire. But others, who are deceived in another way, do
not approach us, being seduced by the instigations of maleficent demons, as
if they suffered these things at the hands of the gods themselves, on
account of their neglect of them, and were able to reconcile them by
sacrifices, and that it is not needful to come to us, but rather to flee
from and hate us. And at the same time (2) they hate and flee from those
who have greater compassion for them, and who follow after them in order to
do good to them.
CHAP. XIV.--MORE TRICKS.
"Therefore shunning and hating us they are deceived, not knowing how it
happens that they devise things opposed to their health. For neither can we
compel them against their will to incline towards health, since now we have
no such power over them, nor are they able of themselves to understand the
evil instigation of the demon; for they know not whence these evil
instigations are suggested to them. And these are they whom the demons
affright, appearing in such forms as they please. And sometimes they
prescribe remedies for those who are diseased, and thus they receive divine
honours from those who have previously been deceived. And they conceal from
many that they are demons, but not from us, who know their mystery, and why
they do these things, changing themselves in dreams against those over whom
they have power; and why they terrify some, and give oracular responses to
others, and demand sacrifices from them, and command them to eat With them,
that they may swallow up their souls.
CHAP. XV.--TEST OF IDOLS.
"For as dire serpents draw sparrows to them by their breath, so also
these draw to their own will those who partake of their table, being mixed
up with their understanding by means of food and drink, changing themselves
in dreams according to the forms of the images, that they may increase
error. For the image is neither a living creature, nor has it a divine
spirit, but the demon that appeared abused the form.(1) How many, in like
manner, have been seen by others in dreams; and when they have met one
another when awake, and compared them with what they saw in their dream,
they have not accorded: so that the dream is not a manifestation, but is
either the production of a demon or of the soul, giving forums to present
fears and desire. For the soul, being struck with fear, conceives forms in
dreams. But if you think that images, as being alive, can accomplish such
things, place them on a beam accurately balanced, and place. an equipoise
in the other scale, then ask them to become either heavier or lighter: and
if this be done, then they are alive. But it does not so happen. But if it
were so, this would not prove them to be gods. For this might be
accomplished by the finger of the demon. Even maggots move, yet they are
not called gods.
CHAP. XVI.--POWERS OF THE DEMONS.
"But that the soul of each man embodies the forms of demons after his
own preconceptions, and that those who are called gods do not appear, is
manifest from the fact that they do not appear to the Jews. But some one
will say, How then do they give oracular responses, forecasting future
things? This also is false. But suppose it were true, this does not prove
them to be gods; for it does not follow, if anything prophesies, that it is
a god. For pythons prophesy, yet they are cast out by us as demons, and
put to flight. But some one will say, They work cures for some persons. It
is false. But suppose it were true, this is no proof of Godhead; for
physicians also heal many, yet are not gods. But, says one, physicians do
not completely heal those of whom they take charge, but these heal
oracularly. But the demons know the remedies that are suited to each
disease. Wherefore, being skilful physicians, and able to cure those
diseases which can be cured by men, and also being prophets, and knowing
when each disease is healed of itself, they so arrange their remedies that
they may gain the credit of producing the cure.
CHAP. XVII.--REASONS WHY THEIR DECEITS ARE NOT DETECTED.
"For why do they oracularly foretell cures after a long time? And why,
if they are almighty, do they not effect cures without administering any
medicine? And for what reason do they prescribe remedies to some of those
who pray to them, while to some, and it may be more suitable cases, they
give no response? Thus, whenever a cure is going to take place
spontaneously, they promise, in order that they may get the credit of the
cure; and others, having been sick, and having prayed, and having recovered
spontaneously, attributed the cure to those whom they had invoked, and make
offerings to them. Those, however, who, after praying, have failed, are not
able to offer their sacrifices. But if the relatives of the dead, or any of
their children, inquired into the losses, you would find the failures to be
more than the successes. But no one who has been taken in by them is
willing to exhibit an accusation against them, through shame or fear; but,
on the other hand, they conceal the crimes which they believe them to be
CHAP. XVIII.--PROPS OF THE SYSTEM.
"And how many also falsify the responses given and the cures effected
by them, and confirm them with an oath! And how many give themselves up to
them for hire, undertaking falsely to suffer certain things, and thus
proclaiming their suffering, and being restored by remedial means, they say
that they oracularly promised them healing, in order that they may assign
as the cause the senseless worship: And how many of these things were
formerly done by magical art, in the way of interpreting dreams, and
divining! Yet in course of time these things have disappeared. And how many
are there now, who, wishing to obtain such things, make use of charms!
However, though a thing be prophetical or healing, it is not divine.
CHAP. XIX.--PRIVILEGES OF THE BAPTIZED.
"For God is almighty. For He is good and righteous, now long-suffering
to all, that those who will, repenting of the evils which they have done,
and living well, may receive a worthy reward in the day in which all things
are judged. Wherefore now begin to obey God by reason of good knowledge,(1)
and to oppose your evil lusts and thoughts, that you may be able to recover
the original saving worship which was committed to humanity. For thus shall
blessings straightway spring up to you, which, when you receive, you will
thenceforth quit the trial of evils. But give thanks to the Giver; being
kings for ever of unspeakable good things, with the King of peace. But in
the present life, washing in a flowing river, or fountain, or even in the
sea, with the thrice-blessed invocation, you shall not only be able to
drive away the spirits which lurk in you; but yourselves no longer sinning,
and undoubtingly believing God, you shall drive out evil spirits and dire
demons, with terrible diseases, from others. And sometimes they shall flee
when you but look on them. For they know those who have given themselves up
to God. Wherefore, honouring them, they flee affrighted, as you saw
yesterday, how, when after the address I delayed praying for those who were
suffering these maladies, through respect towards the worship they cried
out, not being able to endure it for a short hour.
CHAP. XX.--"NOT ALMOST, BUT ALTOGETHER SUCH AS I AM."
"Do not then suppose that we do not fear demons on this account, that
we are of a different nature from you. For we are of the same nature, but
not of the same worship. Wherefore, being not only much but altogether
superior to you, we do not grudge you becoming such as we are; but, on the
other hand, counsel you, knowing that all these demons beyond measure
honour and fear those who are reconciled to God.
CHAP. XXI.--THE DEMONS SUBJECT TO THE BELIEVER.
"For, in like manner as the soldiers who are put under one of Caesar's
captains know to honour him who has received authority on account of him
who gave it, so that the commanders say to this one, Come, and he comes,
and to another, Go, and he goes; so also he who has given himself to God,
being faithful, is heard when he only speaks to demons and diseases; and
the demons give place, though they be much stronger than they who command
them. For with unspeakable power God subjects the mind of every one to whom
He pleases. For as many captains, with whole camps and cities, fear Caesar,
who is but a man, every one's heart being eager to honour the image of
all;(2) for by the will of God, all things being enslaved by fear, do not
know the cause; so also all disease-producing spirits, being awed in some
natural way, honour and flee from him who has had recourse to God, and who
carries right faith as His image in his heart.
CHAP. XXII.--"RATHER REJOICE."
"But still, though all demons, with all diseases, flee before you, you
are not to rejoice in this only, but in that, through grace, your names, as
of the ever-living, are written in heaven. Thus also the Divine Holy Spirit
rejoices, because man hath overcome death; for the putting of the demons to
flight makes for the safety of another. But this we say, not as denying
that we ought to help others, but that we ought not to be inflated by this
and neglect ourselves. It happens, also, that the demons flee before some
wicked men by reason of the honoured name, and both he who expels the demon
and he who witnesses it are deceived: he who expels him, as if he were
honoured on account of righteousness, not knowing the wickedness of the
demon. For he has at once honoured the name, and by his flight has brought
the wicked man into a thought of his righteousness, and so deceived him
away from repentance. But the looker-on, associating with the expeller as a
pious man, hastens to a like manner of life, and is ruined. Sometimes also
they pretend to flee before adjurations not made in the name of God, that
they may deceive men, and destroy them whom they will.
CHAP. XXIII.--THE SICK HEALED.
"This then we would have you know, that unless any one of his own
accord give himself over as a slave to demons, as I said before, the demon
has no power against him. Choosing, therefore, to worship one God, and
refraining from the table of demons, and undertaking chastity with
philanthropy and righteousness, and being baptized with the thrice-blessed
invocation for the remission of sins, and devoting yourselves as much as
you can to the perfection of purity, you can escape everlasting punishment,
and be constituted heirs of eternal blessings."
Having thus spoken, he ordered those to approach who were distressed
with diseases;(3) and thus many approached, having come together through
the experience of those who had been healed yesterday. And he having laid
his hands upon them and prayed, and immediately healed them, and having
charged them and the others to come earlier, he bathed and partook of food,
and went to sleep.
CHAP. I.--THE THIRD DAY IN TRIPOLIS.
THEREFORE on the third day in Tripolis,(1) Peter rose early and went
into the garden, where there was a great water-reservoir, into which a full
stream of water constantly flowed. There having bathed, and then having
prayed, he sat down; and perceiving us sitting around and eagerly observing
him, as wishing to hear something from him, he said:--
CHAP. II.--IGNORANCE AND ERROR.
"There seems to me to be a great difference between the ignorant and
the erring. For the ignorant man seems to me to be like a man who does not
wish to set out for a richly stored city, through his not knowing the
excellent things that are there; but the erring man to be like one who has
learned indeed the good things that are in the city, but who has forsaken
the highway in proceeding towards it, and so has wandered. Thus, therefore,
it seems to me that there is a great difference between those who worship
idols and those who are faulty in the worship of God. For they who worship
idols are ignorant of eternal life, and therefore they do not desire it;
for what they do not know, they cannot love. But those who have chosen to
worship one God, and who have learned of the eternal life given to the
good, if they either believe or do anything different from what is pleasing
to God, are like to those who have gone out from the city of punishment,
and are desirous to come to the well-stored city, and on the road have
strayed from the right path."
CHAP. III--MAN THE LORD OF ALL.
While he was thus discoursing to us, there entered one of our people,
who had been appointed to make the following announcement to him, and said:
"My lord Peter, there are great multitudes standing before the doors." With
his consent, therefore, a great multitude entered. Then he rose up, and
stood on the basis, as he had done the day before; and having saluted them
in religious fashion, he said: "God having formed the heaven and the earth,
and having made all things in them, as the true Prophet has sad to us man,
being made after the image and likeness of God, was appointed to be ruler
and lord of things I say in air and earth and water, as may be known from
the very fact that by his intelligence he brings down the creatures that
are in the air, and brings up those that are in the deep, hunts those that
are on the earth, and that although they are much greater in strength than
he; I mean elephants, and lions, and such like.
CHAP. IV.--FAITH AND DUTY.
"While, therefore, he was righteous, he was also superior to all
sufferings, as being unable by his immortal body to have any experience of
pain; but when he sinned, as I showed you yesterday and the day before,
becoming as it were the servant of sin, he became subject to all
sufferings, being by a righteous judgment deprived of all excellent things.
For it was not reasonable, the Giver having been forsaken, that the gifts
should remain with the ungrateful. Whence, of His abundant mercy, in order
to our receiving, with the first, also future blessings, He sent His
Prophet. And the Prophet has given in charge to us to tell you what you
ought to think, and what to do. Choose, therefore; and this is in your
power. What, therefore, you ought to think is this, to worship the God who
made all things; whom if you receive in your minds, you shall receive from
Him, along with the first excellent things, also the future eternal
CHAP. V.--THE FEAR OF GOD.
"Therefore you shall be able to persuade yourselves with respect to the
things that are profitable, if, like charmers, you say to the horrible
serpent which lurks in your heart, 'The Lord God thou shall fear, and Him
alone thou shall serve.'(2) On every account it is advantageous to fear Him
alone, not as an unjust, but as a righteous God. For one fears an unjust
being, lest he be wrongfully destroyed, but a righteous one, lest he be
caught in sin and punished. You can therefore, by fear towards Him, he
freed from many hurtful fears. For if you do not fear the one Lord and
Maker of all, you shall be the slaves of all evils to your own hurt, I mean
of demons and diseases, and of everything that can in any way hurt you.
CHAP. VI.--RESTORATION OF THE DIVINE IMAGE.
"Therefore approach with confidence to God, you who at first were made
to be rulers and lords of all things: ye who have His image in your bodies,
have in like manner the likeness of His judgment in your minds. Since,
then, by acting like irrational animals, you have lost the soul of man from
your soul, becoming like swine, you are the prey of demons. If, therefore,
you receive the law of God, you become men. For it cannot be said to
irrational animals, 'Thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not commit adultery,
thou shalt not steal,' and so forth. Therefore do not refuse, when invited,
to return to your first nobility; for it is possible, if ye be conformed to
God by good works. And being accounted to be sons by reason of your
likeness to Him, you shall be reinstated as lords of all.
CHAP. VII.--UNPROFITABLENESS OF IDOLS.
"Begin,(1) then, to divest yourselves of the injurious fear of vain
idols, that you may escape unrighteous bondage. For they have become your
masters, who even as servants are unprofitable to you. I speak of the
material of the lifeless images, which are of no use to you as far as
service is concerned. For they neither bear nor see nor feel, nor can they
be moved. For is there any one of you who would like to see as they see,
and to hear as they hear, and to feel as they feel, and to be moved as they
are? God forbid that such a wrong should be done to any man bearing the
image of God, though he have lost His likeness.
CHAP. VIII.--NO GODS WHICH ARE MADE WITH HANDS.
"Therefore reduce your gods of gold and silver, or any other material,
to their original nature; I mean into cups and basins and all other
utensils, such as may be useful to you for service; and those good things
which were given you at first shall be able to be restored. But perhaps you
will say, The laws of the emperors do not permit us to do this.(2) You say
well that it is the law, and not the power of the vain idols themselves,
which is nothing. How, then, have ye regarded them as gods, who are avenged
by human laws, guarded by dogs, kept by multitudes?--and that if they are
of gold, or silver. or brass. For those of wood or earthenware are
preserved by their worthlessness, because no man desires to steal a wooden
or earthenware god! So that your gods are exposed to danger in proportion
to the value of the material of which they are made. How, then, can they be
gods, which are stolen, molten, weighed, guarded?
CHAP. IX.--"EYES HAVE THEY, BUT THEY SEE NOT."
"Oh the minds of wretched men, who fear things deader than dead men!
For I cannot call them even dead, which have never lived, unless they are
the tombs of ancient men. For sometimes a person, visiting unknown places,
does not know whether the temples which he sees are monuments of dead men,
or whether they belong to the so-called gods; but on inquiring and bearing
that they belong to the gods, he worships, without being ashamed that if he
had not learned on inquiring, he would have passed them by as the monuments
of a dead man, on account of the strictness of the resemblance. However, it
is not necessary that I should adduce much proof in regard to such
superstition. For it is easy for any one who pleases to understand that it,
an idol, is noticing, unless there be any one who does not see. However,
now at least hear that it does not hear, and understand that it does not
understand. For the hands of a man who is dead made it. If, then, the maker
is dead, how can it be that which was made by him shall not be dissolved?
Why, then, do you worship the work of a mortal which is altogether
senseless? whereas those who have reason do not worship animals, nor do
they seek to propitiate the elements which have been made by God,--I mean
the heaven, the sun, the moon, lightning, the sea, and all things in them,-
-rightly judging not to worship the things that He has made, but to
reverence the Maker and Sustainer of them. For in this they themselves also
rejoice, that no one ascribes to them the honour that belongs to their
CHAP. X.--IDOLATRY A DELUSION OF THE SERPENT.
"For His alone is the excellent glory of being alone uncreated, while
all else is created. As, therefore, it is the prerogative of the uncreated
to be God, so whatever is created is not God indeed. Before all things,
therefore, you ought to consider the evil-working suggestion of the
deceiving serpent that is in you, which seduces yon by the promise of
better reason, creeping from your brain to your spinal marrow, and setting
great value upon deceiving you.(3)
CHAP. XI.--WHY THE SERPENT TEMPTS TO SIN.
"For he knows the original law, that if he bring you to the persuasion
of the so-called gods, so that you sin against the one good of monarchy
your overthrow becomes a gain to him. And that for this reason, because he
being condemned eats earth, he has power to eat him who through sin being
dissolved into earth, has become earth, your souls going into his belly of
fire. In order, therefore, that you may suffer these things, he suggests
every thought to your hurt.
CHAP. XII.--IGNORANTIA NEMINEM EXCUSAT.
"For all the deceitful conceptions against the monarchy are sown in
your mind by him to your hurt. First, that you may not hear the discourses
of piety, and so drive away ignorance, which is the occasion of evils, he
ensnares you by a pretence of knowledge, giving in the first instance, and
using throughout this presumption, which is to think and to be unhappily
advised, that if any one do not hear the word of piety, he is not subject
to judgments. Wherefore also some, being thus deceived, are not willing to
hear, that they may be ignorant, not knowing that ignorance is of itself a
sufficient deadly drug. For if any one should take a deadly drug in
ignorance, does he not die? So naturally sins destroy the sinner, though he
commit them in ignorance of what is right.
CHAP. XIII.--CONDEMNATION OF THE IGNORANT.
"But if judgment follows upon disobedience to instruction, much more
shall God destroy those who will not undertake His worship. For he who
will not learn, lest that should make him subject to judgment, is already
judged as knowing, for he knew what he will not hear; so that imagination
avails nothing as an apology in presence of the heart-knowing God.
Wherefore avoid that cunning thought suggested by the serpent to your
minds. But if any one end this life in real ignorance, this charge will lie
against him, that, having lived so long, he did not know who was the
bestower of the food supplied to him: and as a senseless, and ungrateful,
and very unworthy servant, he is rejected from the kingdom of God.
CHAP. XIV.--POLYTHEISTIC ILLUSTRATION.
"Again, the terrible serpent suggests this supposition to you, to think
and to say that very thing which most of you do say; viz., We know that
there is one Lord of all, but there also are gods. For in like manner as
there is one Caesar, but he has under him procurators, proconsuls,
prefects, commanders of thousands, and of hundreds, and of tens; in the
same way, there being one great God, as there is one Caesar, there also,
after the manner of inferior powers, are gods, inferior indeed to Him, but
ruling over us. Hear, therefore, ye who have been led away by this
conception as by a terrible poison--I mean the evil conception of this
illustration--that you may know what is good and what is evil. For you do
not yet see it, nor do you look into the things that you utter.
CHAP. XV.--ITS INCONCLUSIVENESS.
"For if you say that, after the manner of Caesar, God has subordinate
powers--those, namely, which are called gods--you do not thus go by your
illustration. For if you went by it, you must of necessity know that it is
not lawful to give the name of Caesar to another, whether he be consul, or
prefect, or captain, or any one else, and that he who gives such a name
shall not live, and he who takes it shall be cut off. Thus, according to
your own illustration, the name of God must not be given to another; and he
who is tempted either to take or give it is destroyed. Now, if this insult
of a man induces punishment, much more they who call others gods shall be
subject to eternal punishment, as insulting God. And with good reason;
because you subject to all the insult that you can the name which it was
committed to you to honour, in order to His monarchy. For GOD is not
properly His name; but you having in the meantime received it, insult what
has been given you, that it may be accounted as done against the real name,
according as you use that. But you subject it to every kind of insult.
CHAP. XVI.--GODS OF THE EGYPTIANS.
"Therefore you ringleaders among the Egyptians, boasting of
meteorology, and promising to judge the natures of the stars, by reason of
the evil opinion lurking in them, subjected that name to all manner of
dishonour as far as in them lay. For some of them taught the worship of an
ox called Apis, some that of a he-goat, some of a cat, some of a serpent;
yea, even of a fish, and of onions, and rumblings in the stomach,(1) and
common sewers, and members of irrational animals, and to myriads of other
base abominations they gave the name of god."
CHAP. XVII.--THE EGYPTIANS' DEFENCE OF THEIR SYSTEM.
On Peter's saying this, the surrounding multitude laughed. Then Peter
said to the laughing multitude: "You laugh at their proceedings, not
knowing that you are yourselves much more objects of ridicule to them. But
you laugh at one another's proceedings; for, being led by evil custom into
deceit, you do not see your own. But I admit that you have reason to laugh
at the idols of the Egyptians, since they, being rational, worship
irrational animals, and these altogether dying. But listen to what they say
when they deride you. We, they say, though we worship dying creatures, yet
still such as have once had life: but you reverence things that never
lived. And in addition to this, they say, We wish to honour the form of the
one God, but we cannot find out what it is, and so we choose to give honour
to every form. And so, making some such statements as these, they think
that they judge more rightly than you do.
CHAP. XVIII.--ANSWER TO THE EGYPTIANS.
"Wherefore answer them thus: You lie, for you do not worship these
things in honour of the true God, for then all of you would worship every
form; not as ye do. For those of you who suppose the onion to be the
divinity, and those who worship rumblings in the stomach, contend with one
another; and thus all in like manner preferring some one thing, revile
those that are preferred by others. And with diverse judgments, one
reverences one and another of the limbs of the same animal. Moreover, those
of them who still have a breath of right reason, being ashamed of the
manifest baseness, attempt to drive these things into allegories, wishing
by another vagary to establish their deadly error. But we should confute
the allegories, if we were there, the foolish passion for which has
prevailed to such an extent as to constitute a great disease of the
understanding. For it is not necessary to apply a plaster to a whole part
of the body, but to a diseased part. Since then, you, by your laughing at
the Egyptians, show that you are not affected with their disease, with
respect to your own disease it were reasonable I should afford to you a
present cure of your own malady.
CHAP. XIX.--GOD'S PECULIAR ATTRIBUTE.
"He who would worship God ought before all things to know what alone is
peculiar to the nature of God, which cannot pertain to another, that,
looking at His peculiarity, and not finding it in any other, he may not be
seduced into ascribing godhead to another. But this is peculiar to God,
that He alone is, as the Maker of all, so also the best of all. That which
makes is indeed superior in power to that which is made; that which is
boundless is superior in magnitude to that which is bounded: in respect of
beauty, that which is comeliest; in respect of happiness, that which is
most blessed; in respect of understanding, that which is most perfect. And
in like manner, in other respects, He has incomparably the pre-emenince.
Since then, as I said, this very thing, viz., to be the best of all, is
peculiar to God, and the all-comprehending world was made by Him, none of
the things made by Him can come into equal comparison with Him.
CHAP. XX.--NEITHER THE WORLD NOR ANY OF ITS PARTS CAN BE GOD.
"But the world, not being incomparable and unsurpassable, and
altogether in all respects without defect, cannot be God. But if the whole
world cannot be God, in respect of its having been made, how much more
should not its parts be reasonably called God; I mean the parts that are by
you called gods, being made of gold and silver, brass and stone, or of any
other material whatsoever; and they constructed by mortal hand. However,
let us further see how the terrible serpent through man's mouth poisons
those who are seduced by his solicitations.
CHAP. XXI.--IDOLS NOT ANIMATED BY THE DIVINE SPIRIT.
"For many say, We do not worship the gold or the silver, the wood or
the stone, of the objects of our worship. For we also know that these are
nothing but lifeless matter, and the art of mortal man. But the spirit that
dwells in them, that we call God. Behold the immorality of those who speak
thus! For when that which appears is easily proved to be nothing, they have
recourse to the invisible, as not being able to be convicted in respect of
what is non-apparent. However, they agree with us in part, that one half of
their images is not God, but senseless matter. It remains for them to show
how we are to believe that these images have a divine spirit. But they
cannot prove to us that it is so, for it is not so; and we do not believe
them when they say that they have seen it. We shill afford them proofs that
they have not a divine spirit, that lovers of truth, hearing the refutation
of the thought that they are animated, may turn away from the hurtful
CHAP. XXII.--CONFUTATION OF IDOL-WORSHIP.
"In the first place, indeed, if you worship them as being animated, why
do you also worship the sepulchres of memorable men of old, who confessedly
had no divine spirit? Thus you do not at all speak truth respecting this.
But if your objects of worship were really animated, they would move of
themselves; they would have a voice; they would shake off the spiders that
are on them; they would thrust forth those that wish to surprise and to
steal them; they would easily capture those who pilfer the offerings. But
now they do none of these things, but are guarded, like culprits, and
especially the more costly of them, as we have already said. But what? Is
it not so, that the rulers demand of you imposts and taxes on their
account, as if you were greatly benefited by them? But what? Have they not
often been taken as plunder by enemies, and been broken and scattered? And
do not the priests, more than the outside worshippers, carry off many of
the offerings, thus acknowledging the uselessness of their worship?
CHAP. XXIII.--FOLLY OF IDOLATRY.
"Nay, it will be said; but they are detected by their foresight. It is
false; for how many of them have not been detected? And if on account of
the capture of some it be said that they have power, it is a mistake. For
of those who rob tombs, some are found out and some escape; but it is not
by the power of the dead that those who are apprehended are detected. And
such ought to be our conclusion with respect to those who steal and pilfer
the gods. But it will be said, The gods that are in them take no care of
their images. Why, then, do you tend them, wiping them, and washing them,
and scouring them, crowning them, and sacrificing to them? Wherefore agree
with me that you act altogether without right reason. For as you lament
over the dead, so you sacrifice and make libations to your gods.
CHAP. XXIV.--IMPOTENCE OF IDOLS.
"Nor yet is that in harmony with the illustration of Caesar, and of the
powers under him, to call them administrators; whereas you take all care of
them, as I said, tending your images in every respect. For they, having no
power, do nothing. Wherefore tell us what do they administer? what do they
of that sort which rulers in different places do? and what influence do
they exert, as the stars of God? Do they show anything like the sun, or do
you light lamps before them? Are they able to bring showers, as the clouds
bring rain,--they which cannot even move themselves, unless men carry them?
Do they make the earth fruitful to your labours, these to whom you supply
sacrifices? Thus they can do nothing.
CHAP. XXV.--SERVANTS BECOME MASTERS.
"But if they were able to do something, you should not be right in
calling them gods: for it is not right to call the elements gods, by which
good things are supplied; but only Him who ordereth them, to accomplish all
things for our use, and who commandeth them to be serviceable to man,--Him
alone we call God in propriety of speech, whose beneficence you do not
perceive, but permit those elements to rule over you which have been
assigned to you as your servants. And why should I speak of the elements,
when you not only have made and do worship lifeless images, but deign to be
subject to them in all respects as servants? Wherefore, by reason of your
erroneous judgments, you have become subject to demons. However, by
acknowledgment of God Himself, by good deeds you can again become masters,
and command the demons as slaves, and as sons of God be constituted heirs
of the eternal kingdom."
CHAP. XXVI.--THE SICK HEALED.
Having said this, he ordered the demoniacs, and those taken with
diseases, to be brought to him; and when they were brought, he laid his
hands on them, and prayed, and dismissed them healed, reminding them and
the rest of the multitude to attend upon him there every day that he should
discourse. Then, when the others had withdrawn, Peter bathed in the
reservoir that was there, with those who pleased; and then ordering a table
to be spread on the ground under the thick foliage of the trees, for the
sake of shade, he ordered us each to recline, according to our worth; and
thus we partook of food. Therefore having blessed and having given thanks
to God for the enjoyment, according to the accustomed faith of the Hebrews;
and there being still a long time before us, he permitted us to ask him
questions about whatever we pleased; and thus, though there were twenty of
us putting questions to him all round, he satisfied every one. And now
evening having descended, we all went with him into the largest apartment
of the lodging, and there we all slept.
CHAP. I.--MORNING EXERCISES.
THEREFORE On the fourth day at Tripolis, Peter rising and finding us
awake, saluted us and went out to the reservoir, that he might bathe and
pray; and we also did so after him. To us, therefore, when we had prayed
together, and were set down before him, he gave a discourse touching the
necessity of purity. And when thereafter it was day, he permitted the
multitudes to enter. Then, when a great crowd had entered, he saluted them
according to custom, and began to speak.
CHAP. II.--"GIVING ALL DILIGENCE."
"Inasmuch as, by long-continued neglect on your part, to your own
injury, your mind has caused to sprout many hurtful conceptions about
religion, and ye have become like land fallow by the carelessness of the
husbandman, you need a long time for your purification, that your mind,
receiving like good seed the true word that is imparted to you, may not
choke it with evil cares, and render it unfruitful with respect to works
that are able to save you. Wherefore it behoves those who are careful of
their own salvation to hear more constantly, that their sins which have
been long multiplying may, in the short time that remains, be matched with
constant care for their purification. Since, therefore, no one knows the
time of his end, hasten to pluck out the many thorns of your hearts; but
not by little and little, for then you cannot be purified, for you have
been long fallow.(1)
CHAP. III.--"BEHOLD WHAT INDIGNATION."
"But not otherwise will you endure to undertake much care for your
purification unless you be angry with yourselves, and chastise yourselves
for those things with which, as unprofitable servants, you have been
ensnared, consenting to your evil lusts, that you may be able to let in
your righteous indignation upon your mind, as fire upon a fallow field. If,
therefore, ye have not righteous fire, I mean indignation, against evil
lusts, learn from what good things ye have been seduced, and by whom ye
have been deceived, and for what punishment ye are prepared; and thus, your
mind being sober, and kindled into indignation like fire by the teaching of
Him who sent us, may be able to consume the evil things of lust. Believe
me, that if you will, you can rectify all things.
CHAP. IV.--THE GOLDEN RULE.
"Ye are the image of the invisible God.(2) Whence let not those who
would be pious say that idols are images of God, and therefore that it is
right to worship them. For the image of God is man. He who wishes to be
pious towards God does good to man, because the body of man bears the image
of God. But all do not as yet bear His likeness, but the pure mind of the
good soul does. However, as we know that man was made after the image and
after the likeness of God, we tell you to be pious towards him, that the
favour may be accounted as done to God, whose image he is. Therefore it
behoves you to give honour to the image of God, which is man--in this wise:
food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty, clothing to the naked, care to
the sick, shelter to the stranger, and visiting him who is m prison, to
help him as you can. And not to speak at length, whatever good things any
one wishes for himself, so let him afford to another in need, and then a
good reward can be reckoned to him as being pious towards the image of God.
And by like reason, if he will not undertake to do these things, he shall
be punished as neglecting the image.
CHAP. V.--FORASMUCH AS YE DID IT UNTO ONE OF THESE.
"Can it therefore be said that, for the sake of piety towards God, ye
worship every form, while in all things ye injure man who is really the
image of God, committing murder, adultery, stealing, and dishonouring him
in many other respects? But you ought not to do even one evil thing on
account of which man is grieved. But now you do all things on account of
which man is disheartened, for wrong is also distress. Wherefore you murder
and spoil his goods, and whatever else you know which you would not receive
from another. But you, being seduced by some malignant reptile to malice,
by the suggestion of polytheistic doctrine, are impious towards the real
image, which is man, and think that ye are pious towards senseless things.
CHAP. VI.--WHY GOD SUFFERS OBJECTS OF IDOLATRY TO SUBSIST.
"But some say, Unless He wished these things to be, they should not be,
but He would take them away. But I say this shall assuredly be the case,
when all shall show their preference for Him, and thus there shall be a
change of the present world. However, if you wished him to act thus, so
that none of the things that are worshipped should subsist, tell me what of
existing things you have not worshipped. Do not some of you worship the
sun, and some the moon, and some water, and some the earth, and some the
mountains, and some plants, and some seeds, and some also man, as in Egypt?
Therefore God must have suffered nothing, not even you, so that there
should have been neither worshipped nor worshipper. Truly this is what the
terrible serpent which lurks in you would have, and spares you not. But so
it shall not be. For it is not the thing that is worshipped that sins; for
it suffers violence at the hands of him who will worship it. For though
unjust judgment is passed by all men, yet not by God. For it is not just
that the sufferer and the disposer receive the same punishment, unless he
willingly receive the honour which belongs only to the Most Honourable.
CHAP. VII.--"LET BOTH GROW TOGETHER TILL THE HARVEST."
"But it will be said that the worshippers themselves ought to be taken
away by the true God, that others may not do it. But you are not wiser than
God, that you should give Him counsel as one more prudent than He. He knows
what He does; for He is long-suffering to all who are in impiety, as a
merciful and philanthropic father, knowing that impious men become pious.
And of those very worshippers of base and senseless things, many becoming
sober have ceased to worship these things and to sin, and many Greeks have
been saved so as to pray to the true God.
CHAP. VIII.--LIBERTY AND NECESSITY.
"But, you say, God ought to have made us at first so that we should not
have thought at all of such things. You who say this do not know what is
free-will, and how it is possible to be really good; that he who is good by
his own choice is really good; but he who is made good by another under
necessity is not really good, because he is not what he is by his own
choice.(1) Since therefore every one's freedom constitutes the true good,
and shows the true evil, God has contrived that friendship or hostility
should be in each man by occasions. But no, it is said: everything that we
think He makes us to think. Stop! Why do you blaspheme more and more, in
saying this? For if we are under His influence in all that we think, you
say that He is the cause of fornications, lusts, avarice, and all
blasphemy. Cease your evil-speaking, ye who ought to speak well of Him, and
to bestow all honour upon Him. And do not say that God does not claim any
honour; for if He Himself claims nothing, you ought to look to what is
right, and to answer with thankful voice Him who does you good in all
CHAP. IX.--GOD A JEALOUS GOD.
"But, you say, we do better when we are thankful at once to Him and to
all others. Now, when you say this, you do not know the plot that is formed
against you. For as, when many physicians of no power promise to cure one
patient, one who is really able to cure him does not apply his remedy,
considering that, if he should cure him, the others would get the credit;
so also God does not do you good, when He is asked along with many who can
do nothing. What! it will be said, is God enraged at this, if, when He
cures, another gets the credit? I answer: Although He be not indignant, at
all events He will not be an accomplice in deceit; for when He has
conferred a benefit, the idol, which has done nothing, is credited with the
power. But also I say to you, if he who crouches in adoration before
senseless idols had not been injured naturally, perhaps He(God) would have
endured even this. Wherefore watch ye that you may attain to a reasonable
understanding on the matter of salvation? For God being without want,
neither Himself needs anything, nor receives hurt; for it belongs to us to
be profiled or injured. For in like manner as Caesar is neither hurt when
he is evil spoken of, nor profiled when he is thanked, but safety accrues
to the renderer of thanks, and ruin to the evil-speaker, so they who speak
well of God indeed profit Him nothing, but save themselves; and in like
manner, those who blaspheme Him do not indeed injure Him, but themselves
CHAP. X.--THE CREATURES AVENGE GOD'S CAUSE.
"But it will be said that the cases are not parallel between God and
man; and I admit that they are not parallel: for the punishment is greater
to him who is guilty of impiety against the greater, and less to him who
sins against the less. As, therefore, God is greatest of all, so he who is
impious against Him shall endure greater punishment, as sinning against the
greater; not through His defending Himself with His own hand, but the whole
creation being indignant at him, and naturally taking vengeance on him. For
to the blasphemer the sun will not give his light, nor the earth her
fruits, nor the fountain its water, nor in Hades shall he who is there
constituted prince give rest to the soul; since even now, while the
constitution of the world subsists, the whole creation is indignant at him.
Wherefore neither do the clouds afford sufficient rains, nor the earth
fruits, whereby many perish; yea, even the air itself, inflamed with anger,
is turned to pestilential courses. However, whatsoever good things we
enjoy, He of His mercy compels the creature to our benefits. Still, against
you who dishonour the Maker of all, the whole creation is hostile.
CHAP. XI.--IMMORTALITY OF THE SOUL.
"And though by the dissolution of the body you should escape
punishment, how shall you be able by corruption to flee from your soul,
which is incorruptible? For the soul even of the wicked is immortal, for
whom it were better not to have it incorruptible. For, being punished with
endless torture trader unquenchable fire, and never dying, it can receive
no end of its misery. But perhaps some one of you will say, 'You terrify
us, O Peter.' Teach us then how we can be silent about these things, and
yet tell you things as they are, for not otherwise can we tell you them.
But if we should be silent, you should be ensnared by evils through
ignorance. But if we speak, we are suspected of terrifying you with a false
theory. How then shall we charm that wicked serpent that lurks in your
soul, and subtilely insinuates suspicions hostile to God, under the guise
of love of God? Be reconciled with yourselves; for in order to your
salvation recourse is to Him with well-doing. Unreasonable lust in you is
hostile to God, for by conceit of wisdom it strengthens ignorance.
CHAP. XII.--IDOLS UNPROFITABLE.
"But others say, God does not care for us. This also is false. For if
really He did not care, He would neither cause His sun to rise on the good
and the evil, nor send His rain on the just and the unjust. But others say,
We are more pious than you, since we worship both him and images. I do not
think, if one were to say to a king, 'I give you an equal share of honour
with that which I give to corpses and to worthless dung'--I do not think
that he would profit by it. But some one will say, Do you call our objects
of worship dung? I say Yes, for you have made them useless to yourselves by
setting them aside for worship, whereas their substance might perhaps have
been serviceable for some other purpose, or for the purpose of manure. But
now it is not useful even for this purpose, since you have changed its
shape and worship it. And how do you say that you are more pious, you who
are the most wicked of all, who deserve destruction of your souls by this
very one incomparable sin, at the hands of Him who is true, if you abide in
it? For as if any son having received many benefits from his father, give
to another, who is not his father, the honour that is due to his father, he
is certainly disinherited; but if he live according to the judgment of his
father, and so thanks him for his kindnesses, he is with good reason made
CHAP. XIII.--ARGUMENTS IN FAVOUR OF IDOLATRY ANSWERED.
"But others say, We shall act impiously if we forsake the objects of
worship handed down to us by our fathers; for it is like the guarding of a
deposit. But on this principle the son of a robber or a debauchee ought not
to be sober and to choose the better part, lest he should act impiously,
and sin by doing differently from his parents! How foolish, then, are they
who say, We worship these things that we may not be troublesome to Him; as
if God were troubled by those who bless Him, and not troubled by those who
ungratefully blaspheme Him. Why is it, then, that when there is a
withholding of rain, you look only to heaven and pour out prayers and
supplications; and when you obtain it, you quickly forget? For when you
have reaped your harvest or gathered your vintage, you distribute your
first-fruits among those idols which are nothing, quickly forgetting God
your benefactor; and thus you go into groves and temples, and offer
sacrifices and feasts. Wherefore some of you say, These things have been
excellently devised for the sake of good cheer and feasting.
CHAP. XIV.--HEATHEN ORGIES.
"Oh men without understanding! Judge ye rightly of what is said. For if
it were necessary to give one's self to some pleasure for the refreshment
of the body, whether were it better to do so among the rivers and woods and
groves, where there are entertainments and convivialities and shady places,
or where there is the madness of demons, and cuttings of bands, and
emasculations, and fury and mania, and dishevelling of hair, and shoutings
and enthusiasms and howlings, and all those things which are done with
hypocrisy for the confounding of the unthinking, when you offer your
prescribed prayers and thanksgivings even to those who are deader than the
CHAP. XV.--HEATHEN WORSHIPPERS UNDER THE POWER OF THE DEMON.
"And why do ye take pleasure in these doings? Since the serpent which
lurks in you, which has sown in you fruitless lust, will not tell you. I
shall speak and put it on record. Thus the case stands. According to the
worship of God, the proclamation is made to be sober, to be chaste, to
restrain passion, not to pilfer other men's goods, to live uprightly,
moderately, fearlessly, gently; rather to restrain one's self in
necessities, than to supply his wants by wrongfully taking away the
property of another. But with the so-called gods the reverse is done. And
ye renounce some things as done by you, in order to the admiration of your
righteousness; whereas, although you did all that you are commanded,
ignorance with respect to God is alone sufficient for your condemnation.
But meeting together in the places which you have dedicated to them, you
delight in making yourselves drunk, and you kindle your altars, of which
the diffused odour through its influence attracts the blind and deaf
spirits to the place of their fumigation. And thus, of those who are
present, some are filled with inspirations, and some with strange fends,
and some betake themselves to lasciviousness, and some to theft and murder.
For the exhalation of blood, and the libation of wine, satisfies even these
unclean spirits, which lurk within you and cause you to take pleasure in
the things that are transacted there, and in dreams surround you with false
phantasies, and punish you with myriads of diseases. For under the show of
the so-called sacred victims you are filled with dire demons, which,
cunningly concealing themselves, destroy you, so that you should not
understand the plot that is laid for you. For, under the guise of some
injury, or love, or anger, or grief, or strangling you with a rope, or
drowning you, or throwing you from a precipice, or by suicide, or apoplexy,
or some other disease, they deprive you of life.
CHAP. XVI.--ALL THINGS WORK FOR GOOD TO THEM THAT LOVE GOD.
"But no one of us can suffer such a thing; but they themselves are
punished by us, when, having entered into any one, they entreat us that
they may go out slowly. But some one will say perhaps, Even some of the
worshippers of God fall under such sufferings. I say that is impossible.
For he is a worshipper of God, of whom I speak, who is truly pious, not one
who is such only in name, but who really performs the deeds of the law that
has been given him. If any one acts impiously, he is not pious; in like
manner as, if he who is of another tribe keeps the law, he is a Jew; but he
who does not keep it is a Greek. For the Jew believes God and keeps the
law, by which faith he removes also other sufferings, though like mountains
and heavy.(1) But he who keeps not the law is manifestly a deserter through
not believing God; and thus as no Jew, but a sinner, he is on account of
his sin brought into subjection to those sufferings which are ordained for
the punishment of sinners. For, by the will of God prescribed at the
beginning, punishment righteously follows those who worship Him on account
of transgressions; and this is so, in order that having reckoned with them
by punishment for sin as for a debt, he may set forth those who have turned
to Him pure in the universal judgment. For as the wicked here enjoy luxury
to the loss of eternal blessings, so punishments are sent upon the Jews
who transgress for a settlement of accounts, that, expiating their
transgression here, they may there be set free from eternal punishments.
CHAP. XVII.- SPEAKING THE TRUTH IN LOVE.
"But you cannot speak thus; for you do not believe that things are then
as we say; I mean, when there is a recompense for all. And on this account,
you being ignorant of what is advantageous, are seduced by temporal
pleasures from taking hold of eternal things. Wherefore we attempt to make
to you exhibitions of what is profitable, that, being convinced of the
promises that belong to piety, you may by good deeds inherit with us the
griefless world. Until then you know us, do not be angry with us, as if we
spoke falsely of the good things which we desire for you. For the things
which are regarded by us as true and good, these we have not scrupled to
bring to you, but, on the contrary, have hastened to make you fellow-heirs
of good things, which we have considered to be such. For thus it is
necessary to speak to the unbelievers. But that we really speak the truth
in what we say, you cannot know otherwise than by first listening with love
of the truth.
CHAP. XVIII.--CHARMING OF THE SERPENT.
"Wherefore, as to the matter in hand, although in ten thousand ways the
serpent that lurks in you suggesting evil reasonings and hindrances, wishes
to ensnare you, therefore so much the more ought ye to resist him, and to
listen to us assiduously. For it behoves you, consulting, as having been
grievously deceived, to know how he must be charmed. But in no other way is
it possible. But by charming I mean the setting yourselves by reason in
opposition to their evil counsels, remembering that by promise of knowledge
he brought death into the world at the first.(2)
CHAP. XIX.--NOT PEACE, BUT A SWORD.
"Whence the Prophet of the truth, knowing that the world was much in
error, and seeing it ranged on the side of evil, did not choose that there
should be peace to it while it stood in error. So that till the end he sets
himself against all those who are in concord with wickedness, setting truth
over against error, sending as it were fire upon those who are sober,
namely wrath against the seducer, which is likened to a sword,(3) and by
holding forth the word he destroys ignorance by knowledge, cutting, as it
were, and separating the living from the dead. Therefore, while wickedness
is being conquered by lawful knowledge, war has taken hold of all. For the
submissive son is, for the sake of salvation, separated from the
unbelieving father, or the father from the son, or the mother from the
daughter, or the daughter from the mother, and relatives from relatives,
and friends from associates.
CHAP. XX.--WHAT IF IT BE ALREADY KINDLED?
"And let not any one say, How is this just, that parents should be
separated from their children, and children from their parents? It is just,
even entirely. For if they remained with them, and, after profiting them
nothing, were also destroyed along with them, how is it not just that he
who wishes to be saved should be separated from him who will not, but who
wishes to destroy him along with himself. Moreover, it is not those who
judge better that wish to be separated, but they wish to stay with them,
and to profit them by the exposition of better things; and therefore the
unbelievers, not wishing to hearken to them, make war against them,
banishing, persecuting, hating them. But those who suffer these things,
pitying those who are ensnared by ignorance, by the teaching of wisdom pray
for those who contrive evil against them, having learned that ignorance is
the cause of their sin. For the Teacher Himself, being nailed to the cross,
prayed to the Father that the sin of those who slew Him might be forgiven,
saying, 'Father, forgive them their sins, for they know not what they
do.'(1) They also therefore, being imitators of the Teacher in their
sufferings, pray for those who contrive them, as they have been taught.
Therefore they are not separated as hating their parents, since they make
constant prayers even for those who are neither parents nor relatives, but
enemies, and strive to love them, as they have been commanded.
CHAP. XXI.--"IF I BE A FATHER, WHERE IS MY FEAR?"
"But tell me, how do you love your parents? If, indeed, you do it as
always regarding what is right, I congratulate you; but if you love them as
it happens, then not so, for then you may on a small occasion become their
enemies. But if you love them intelligently, tell me, what are parents? You
will say they are the sources of our being. Why, then, do ye not love the
source of the being of all things, if indeed you have with right
understanding elected to do this? But you will now say again, we have not
seen Him. Why, then, do ye not seek for Him, but worship senseless things?
But what? If it were even difficult for you to know what God is, you cannot
fail to know what is not God, so as to reason that God is not wood, nor
stone, nor brass, nor anything else made of corruptible matter.
CHAP. XXII.--"THE GODS THAT HAVE NOT MADE THE HEAVENS."
"For are not they graven with iron? And has not the graying iron been
softened by fire? And is not the fire itself extinguished with water? And
has not the water its motion from the spirit? And has not the spirit the
beginning of its course from the God who hath made all things? For thus
said the prophet Moses: 'In the beginning God made the heaven and the
earth. And the earth was unsightly, and unadorned; and darkness was over
the deep: and the Spirit of God was borne above the waters.' Which Spirit,
at the bidding of God, as it were His hand, makes all things, dividing
light from darkness, and after the invisible heaven spreading out the
visible, that the places above might be inhabited by the angels of light,
and those below by man, and all the creatures that were made for his use.
CHAP. XXIII.--"TO WHOM MUCH IS GIVEN."
"For on thy account, O man, God commanded the water to retire upon the
face of the earth, that the earth might be able to bring forth fruits for
thee. And He made water-courses. that He might provide for thee fountains,
and that river-beds might be disclosed, that animals might teem forth; in a
word, that He might furnish thee with all things. For is it not for thee
that the winds blow, and the rains fall, and the seasons change for the
production of fruits? Moreover, it is for thee that the sun and moon, with
the other heavenly bodies, accomplish their risings and settings; and
rivers and pools, with all fountains, serve thee. Whence to thee, O
senseless one, as the greater honour has been given, so for thee,
ungrateful, the greater punishment by fire has been prepared, because thou
wouldest not know Him whom it behoved thee before all things to know.
CHAP. XXIV.--"BORN OF WATER."
"And now from inferior things learn the cause of all, reasoning that
water makes all things, and water receives the production of its movement
from spirit, and the spirit has its beginning from the God of all. And thus
you ought to have reasoned, in order that by reason you might attain to
God, that, knowing your origin, and being born again by the first-born
water, you may be constituted heir of the parents who have begotten you to
CHAP. XXV.--GOOD WORKS TO BE WELL DONE.
"Wherefore come readily, as a son to a father, that God may assign
ignorance as the cause of your sins. But if after being called you will
not, or delay, you shall he destroyed by the just judgment of God, not
being willed, through your not willing. And do not think, though you were
more pious than all the pious that ever were, but if you be unbaptized,
that you shall ever obtain hope. For all the more, on this account, you
shall endure the greater punishment, because you have done excellent works
not excellently. For well-doing is excellent when it is done as God has
commanded. But if you will not be baptized according to His pleasure, you
serve your own will and oppose His counsel.
"But perhaps some one will say, What does it contribute to piety to be
baptized with water? In the first place, because you do that which is
pleasing to God; and in the second place, being born again to God of water,
by reason of fear you change your first generation, which is of lust, and
thus you are able to obtain salvation. But otherwise it is impossible. For
thus the prophet has sworn to us, saying, "Verily I say to you, Unless ye
be regenerated by living water into the name of Father, Son, and Holy
Spirit, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.(1) Wherefore approach.
For there is there something that is merciful from the beginning, home upon
the water, and rescues from the future punishment those who are baptized
with the thrice blessed invocation, offering as gifts to God the good
deeds of the baptized whenever they are done after their baptism. Wherefore
flee to the waters, for this alone can quench the violence of fires.(2) He
who will not now come to it still bears the spirit of strife, on account
of which he will not approach the living water for his own salvation.
CHAP. XXVII.--ALL NEED BAPTISM.
"Therefore approach, be ye righteous or unrighteous. For if you are
righteous, baptism alone is lacking in order to salvation. But if you are
unrighteous, come to be baptized for the remission of the sins formerly
committed in ignorance. And to the unrighteous man it remains that his
well-doing after baptism be according to the proportion of his previous
impiety. Wherefore, be ye righteous or unrighteous, hasten to be born to
God, because delay brings danger, on account of the fore-appointment of
death being unrevealed; and show by well-doing your likeness to the Father,
who begetteth you of water. As a lover of truth, honour the true God as
your Father. But His honour is that you live as He, being righteous, would
have you live. And the will of the righteous One is that you do no wrong.
But wrong is murder, hatred, envy, and such like; and of these there are
"However, it is necessary to add something to these things which has
not community with man, but is peculiar to the worship of God. I mean
purification, not approaching to a man's own wife when she is in
separation, for so the law of God commands. But what? If purity be not
added to the service of God, you would roll pleasantly like the dung-flies.
Wherefore as man, having something more than the irrational animals,
namely, rationality, purify your hearts from evil by heavenly reasoning,
and wash your bodies in the bath. For purification according to the truth
is not that the purity of the body precedes purification after the heart,
but that purity follows goodness. For our Teacher also, dealing with
certain of the Pharisees and Scribes among us, who are separated, and as
Scribes know the matters of the law more than others, still He reproved
them as hypocrites, because they cleansed only the things that appear to
men, but omitted purity of heart and the things seen by God alone.
CHAP. XXIX.--OUTWARD AND INWARD PURITY.
"Therefore He made use of this memorable expression, speaking the truth
with respect to the hypocrites of them, not with respect to all. For to
some He said that obedience was to be rendered, because they were entrusted
with the chair of Moses. However, to the hypocrites he said, 'Woe to you,
Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, for ye make clean the outside of the cup
and the platter, hut the inside is full of filth. Thou blind Pharisee,
cleanse first the inside of the cup and the platter, that their outsides
may be clean also.' And truly: for when the mind is enlightened by
knowledge, the disciple is able to be good, and thereupon purity follows;
for from the understanding within a good care of the body without is
produced. As from negligence with respect to the body, care of the
understanding cannot be produced, so the pure man can purify both that
which is without and that which is within. And he who, purifying the things
without, does it looking to the praise of men, and by the praise of those
who look on, he has nothing from God.
CHAP. XXX.--"WHATSOEVER THINGS ARE PURE."
"But who is there to whom it is not manifest that it is better not to
have intercourse with a woman in her separation, but purified and washed.
And also after copulation it is proper to wash. But if you grudge to do
this, recall to mind how you followed after the parts of purity when you
served senseless idols; and be ashamed that now, when it is necessary to
attain, I say not more, but to attain the one and whole of purity, you are
more slothful. Consider, therefore, Him who made you, and you will
understand who He is that casts upon you this sluggishness with respect to
CHAP. XXXI.--"WHAT DO YE MORE THAN OTHERS?"
"But some one of you will say, Must we then do whatsoever things we did
while we were idolaters? I say to you, Not all things; but whatsoever you
did well, you must do now, and more: for whatsoever is welt done in error
hangs upon truth, as if anything be ill done in the truth it is from error.
Receive, therefore, from all quarters the things that are your own, and not
those that are another's, and do not say, If those who are in error do
anything well we are not bound to do it. For, on this principle, if any one
who worships idols do not commit murder, we ought to commit murder, because
he who is in error does not commit it.
CHAP. XXXII.--"TO WHOM MUCH IS GIVEN."
"No; but rather, if those who are in error do not kill, let us not be
angry; if he who is in error do not commit adultery, let us not lust even
in the smallest degree; if he who is in error loves him who loves him, let
us love even those who hate us; if he who is in error lends to those who
have, let us give to those who have not. Unquestionably we ought--we who
hope to inherit eternal life--to do better things than the good things that
are done by those who know only the present life, knowing that if their
works, being judged with ours in the day of judgment, be found equal in
goodness, we shall have shame, and they perdition, having acted against
themselves through error. And I say that we shall be put to shame on this
account, because we have not done more than they, though we have known more
than they. And if we shall be put to shame if we show well-doing equal to
theirs, and no more, how much more if we show less than their well-doing?
CHAP. XXXIII.--THE QUEEN OF THE SOUTH AND THE MEN OF NINEVEH.
"But that indeed in the day of judgment the doings of those who have
known the truth are compared with the good deeds of those who have been in
error, the unlying One Himself has taught us, saying to those who neglected
to come and listen to Him, 'The queen of the south shall rise up with this
generation, and shall condemn it; because she came from the extremities of
the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon: and behold, a greater than Solomon
is here,'(1) and ye do not believe Him. And to those amongst the people who
would not repent at His preaching He said, 'The men of Nineveh shall rise
up with this generation and shall condemn it, for they heard and repented
on the preaching of Jonas: and behold, a greater is here, and no one
believes.'(2) And thus, setting over against all their impiety those from
among the Gentiles who have done well, in order to Condemn those who,
possessing the true religion, had not acted so well as those who were in
error, he exhorted those having reason not only to do equally with the
Gentiles whatsoever things are excellent, but more than they. And this
speech has been suggested to me, taking occasion from the necessity of
respecting the separation, and of washing after copulation, and of not
denying such purity, though those who are in error do the same, since those
who in error do well, without being saved, are for the condemnation of
those who are in the worship of God, and do ill; because their respect for
purity is through error, and not through the worship of the true Father and
God of all."
CHAP. XXXIV.--PETER'S DAILY WORK.
Having said this, he dismissed the multitudes; and according to his
custom, having partaken of food with those dearest to him, he Went to rest.
And thus doing and discoursing day by day, he strongly buttressed the law
of God, challenging the reputed gods with the reputed GENESIS,(3) and
arguing that there is no automatism, but that the world is governed
according to providence.
CHAP. XXXV.--"BEWARE OF FALSE PROPHETS."
Then after three months were fulfilled, he ordered me to fast for
several days, and then brought me to the fountains that are near to the
sea, and baptized me as in ever-flowing water. Thus, therefore, when our
brethren rejoiced at my God-gifted regeneration, not many days after he
turned to the elders in presence of all the church, and charged them,
saying: "Our Lord and Prophet, who hath sent us, declared to us that the
wicked one, having disputed with Him forty days, and having prevailed
nothing against Him, promised that he would send apostles from amongst his
subjects, to deceive. Wherefore, above all, remember to shun apostle or
teacher or prophet who does not first accurately compare his preaching with
that of James, who was called the brother of my Lord, and to whom was
entrusted to administer the church of the Hebrews in Jerusalem,--and that
even though he come to you with witnesses:(4) lest the wickedness which
disputed forty days with the Lord, and prevailed nothing, should
afterwards, like lightning falling from heaven upon the earth, send a
preacher to your injury, as now he has sent Simon upon us, preaching, under
pretence of the truth, in the name of the Lord, and sowing error. Wherefore
He who hath sent us, said, 'Many shall come to me in sheep's clothing, but
inwardly they are ravening wolves. By their fruits ye shall know them.'"
CHAP. XXXVI.--FAREWELL TO TRIPOLIS.
Having spoken thus, he sent the harbingers into Antioch of Syria,
bidding them expect him there forthwith. Then when they had gone, Peter
having driven away diseases, sufferings, and demons from great multitudes
who were persuaded, and having baptized them in the fountains which are
near to the sea, and having celebrated(1) the Eucharist, and having
appointed Maroones, who had received him into his house, and was now
perfected, as their bishop, and having set apart twelve elders, and having
designated deacons, and arranged matters relating to widows, and having
discoursed on the common good what was profitable for the ordering of the
church, and having counselled them to obey the bishop Maroones, three
months being now fulfilled; he bade those in Tripolis of Phoenicia
farewell, and took his journey to Antioch of Syria, all the people
accompanying us with due honour.
CHAP. I.--TWO BANDS.
THEREFORE starting from Tripolis of Phoenicia to go to Antioch of
Syria, on the same day we came to Orthasia, and there stayed.(1) And on
account of its being near the city which we had left, almost all having
heard the preaching before, we stopped there only one day, and set out to
Antaradus. And as there were many who journeyed with us, Peter, addressing
Nicetus and Aquila, said, "Inasmuch as the great crowd of those who journey
with us draws upon us no little envy as we enter city after city, I have
thought that we must of necessity arrange, so that neither, on the one
hand, these may be grieved at being prevented from accompanying us, nor, on
the other hand, we, by being so conspicuous, may fall under the envy of the
wicked.(2) Wherefore I wish you, Nicetus and Aquila, to go before me in two
separate bodies, and enter secretly into the Gentile cities.
CHAP. II.--LOVE OF PREACHERS AND THEIR CONVERTS.
"I know, indeed, that you are distressed at being told to do this,
being separated from me by a space of two days. I would have you know,
therefore, that we the persuaders love you the persuaded much more than
you love us who have persuaded you. Therefore loving one another as we do
by not unreasonably doing what we wish, let us provide, as much as in us
lies, for safety. For I prefer, as you also know, to go into the more
notable cities of the provinces, and to remain some days, and discourse.
And for the present lead the way into the neighbouring Laodicea, and, after
two or three days, so far as it depends upon my choice, I shall overtake
you. And do you alone receive me at the gates, on account of the confusion,
that thus we may enter along with you without tumult. And thence, in like
manner, after some days' stay, others in your stead will go forward by
turns to the places beyond, preparing lodgings for us."
When Peter had thus spoken they were compelled to acquiesce, saying,
"It does not altogether grieve us, my lord, to do this on account of its
being your command; in the first place, indeed, because you have been
chosen by the providence of God, as being worthy to think and counsel well
in all things; and in addition to this, for the most part we shall be
separated from you only for two days by the necessity of preceding you. And
that were indeed a long time to be without sight of thee, O Peter, did we
not consider that they will be more grieved who are sent much farther
forward, being ordered to wait for thee longer in every city, distressed
that they are longer deprived of the sight of thy longed-for countenance.
And we, though not less distressed than they, make no opposition, because
you order us to do it for profit." Thus, having spoken, they went forward,
having it in charge that at the first stage they should address the
accompanying multitude that they should enter the cities apart from one
CHAP. IV.--CLEMENT'S JOY.
When, therefore, they had gone, I, Clement, rejoiced greatly that he
had ordered me to remain with himself. Then I answered and said, "I thank
God that you have not sent me away as you have done the others, as I should
have died of grief." But he said, "But what? If there shall ever be any
necessity that you be sent away for the sake of teaching, would you, on
account of being separated for a little while from me, and that for an
advantageous purpose, would you die for that? Would you not rather impress
upon yourself the duty of bearing the things that are arranged for you
through necessity, and cheerfully submit? And do you not know that friends
are present with one another in their memories, although they are separated
bodily; whereas some, being bodily present, wander from their friends in
their souls, by reason of want of memory?"
CHAP. V.--CLEMENT'S OFFICE OF SERVICE.
Then I answered, "Do not think, my lord, that I should endure that
grief foolishly, but with some good reason. For since I hold you, my lord,
in place of all, father, mother, brothers, relatives, you who are the means
through God of my having the saving truth, holding you in place of all, I
have the greatest consolation. And in addition to this, being afraid of my
natural youthful lust, I was concerned lest, being left by you (being but a
young man, and having now such a resolution that it would be impossible to
desert you without incurring the anger of God,)(1) I should be overcome by
lust. But since it is much better and safer for me to remain with you, when
my mind is with good reason set upon venerating, therefore I pray that I
may always remain with you. Moreover, I remember you saying in Caesarea,
'If any one wishes to journey with me, let him piously journey.' And by
PIOUSLY you meant, that those who are devoted to the worship of God should
grieve no one in respect of God, such as by leaving parents, an attached
wife, or any others.(2) Whence I am in all respects a fitting fellow-
traveller for you, to whom, if you would confer the greatest favour, you
would allow to perform the functions of a servant."
CHAP. VI.--PETER'S FRUGALITY.
Then Peter, hearing, smiled and said, "What think you, then, O Clement?
Do you not think that you are placed by very necessity in the position of
my servant? For who else shall take care of those many splendid tunics,
with all my changes of rings and sandals? And who shall make ready those
pleasant and artistic dainties, which, being so various, need many skilful
cooks, and all those things which are procured with great eagerness, and
are prepared for the appetite of effeminate men as for some great wild
beast? However, such a choice has occurred to you, perhaps, without you
understanding or knowing my manner of life, that I use only bread and
olives, and rarely pot-herbs; and that this is my only coat and cloak which
I wear; and I have no need of any of them, nor of aught else: for even in
these I abound. For my mind, seeing all the eternal good things that are
there, regards none of the things that are here. However, I accept of your
good will; and I admire and commend you, for that you, a man of refined
habits, have so easily submitted your manner of living to your necessities.
For we, from our childhood, both I and Andrew, my brother, who is also my
brother as respects God, not only being brought up in the condition of
orphans, but also accustomed to labour through poverty and misfortune,
easily bear the discomforts of our present journeys. Whence, if you would
obey me, you would allow me, a working man, to fulfil the part of a servant
CHAP. VII.--NOT TO BE MINISTERED UNTO, BUT
But I, when I heard this, fell a-trembling and weeping, that such a
word should be spoken by a man to whom all the men of this generation are
inferior in point of knowledge and piety. But he, seeing me weeping, asked
the cause of my tears. Then I said, "In what have I sinned so that you have
spoken to me such a word?" Then Peter answered, "If it were wrong of me to
speak of being your servant, you were first in fault in asking to be mine,"
Then I said, "The cases are not parallel; for to do this indeed becomes me
well; but it is terrible for you, the herald of God, and who savest our
souls, to do this to me." Then Peter answered, "I should agree with you,
but that(3) our Lord, who came for the salvation of all the world, being
alone noble above all, submitted to the condition of a servant, that He
might persuade us not to be ashamed to perform the ministrations of
servants to our brethren, however well-born we may be." Then I said, "If I
think to overcome you in argument, I am foolish. However, I thank the
providence of God, that I have been thought worthy to have you instead of
CHAP. VIII.--FAMILY HISTORY.
Then Peter inquired, "Are you really, then, alone in your family?" Then
I answered, "There are indeed many and great men, being of the kindred of
Caesar. Wherefore Caesar himself gave a wife of his own family to my
father, who was his foster-brother; and of her three sons of us were born,
two before me, who were twins and very like each other, as my father told
me. But I scarcely know either them or our mother, but bear about with me
an obscure image of them, as through dreams. My mother's name was Mattidia,
and my father's, Faustus; and of my brothers one was called Faustinus, and
the other Faustinianus.(1) Then after I, their third son, was 'born, my
mother saw a vision--so my father told me--which told her, that unless she
immediately took away her twin sons, and left the city of Rome for exile
for twelve years, she and they must die by an all-destructive fate.
CHAP. IX--THE LOST ONES.
"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
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 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
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?"
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, 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,(1) 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
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,(2) 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 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 knowledge(1) 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.'(2) 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,(3) 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; and this counsel He has given to His disciples as Claiming
philanthropy, and, as much as in us lies, to absolve the wrong-doers from
condemnation, that, as it were, the temperate may help the drunken, by
prayers, fastings, and benedictions, not resisting, not avenging, lest they
should compel them to sin more. For when a person is condemned by any one
to suffer, it is not reasonable for him to be angry with him by whose means
the suffering comes; for he ought to reason, that if he had not ill-used
him, yet because he was to be ill-used, he must have suffered it by means
of another. Why, then, should I be angry with the dispenser, when I was
condemned at all events to suffer? But yet, further: if we do these same
things to the evil on pretence of 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,(1) are pious towards God who has thus decreed."
CHAP. XXXI.--" HOWBEIT, THEY MEANT IT NOT."
To this I answered, "Those, therefore, who do wrong arc 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, Good 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.(2) 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 alI 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.(3) 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(4) 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,(5) 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.
Taken from "The Early Church Fathers and Other Works" originally published
by Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co. in English in Edinburgh, Scotland, beginning in
1867. (ANF 8, Roberts and Donaldson). The digital version is by The
Electronic Bible Society, P.O. Box 701356, Dallas, TX 75370, 214-407-WORD.