Recognitions of Clement - Book V
Text edited by Rev. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson and
first published by T&T Clark in Edinburgh in 1867. Additional
introductionary material and notes provided for the American
edition by A. Cleveland Coxe, 1886.
Chapter I.--Peter's Salutation.
But on the following day,  Peter rising a little earlier than
usual, found us asleep; and when he saw it, he gave orders that
silence should be kept for him, as though he himself wished to sleep
longer, that we might not be disturbed in our rest. But when we rose
refreshed with sleep, we found him, having finished his prayer,
waiting for us in his bed-chamber. And as it was already dawn, he
addressed us shortly, saluting us according to his custom, and
forthwith proceeded to the usual place for the purpose of teaching;
and when he saw that many had assembled there, having invoked peace
upon them according to the first religious form, he began to speak as
 [Book v. has a partial parallel in Homily X., which is assigned
to the second day at Tripolis. The matter here is more extensive.
Chaps. 1, 2, show some resemblance to Homily X. 3-6.--R.]
Chapter II.--Suffering the Effect of Sin.
"God, the Creator of all, at the beginning made man after His own
image, and gave him dominion over the earth and sea, and over the air;
as the true Prophet has told us, and as the very reason of things
instructs us: for man alone is rational, and it is fitting that reason
should rule over the irrational. At first, therefore, while he was
still righteous, he was superior to all disorders and all frailty; but
when he sinned, as we taught you yesterday, and became the servant of
sin, he became at the same time liable to frailty. This therefore is
written, that men may know that, as by impiety they have been made
liable to suffer, so by piety they may be made free from suffering;
and not only free from suffering, but by even a little faith in God be
able to cure the sufferings of others. For thus the true Prophet
promised us, saying, `Verily I say to you, that if ye have faith as a
grain of mustard seed, ye shall say to this mountain, Remove hence,
and it shall remove.' Of this saving you have yourselves also
had proofs; for you saw yesterday how at our presence the demons
removed and were put to flight, with those sufferings which they had
brought upon men.
 Matt. xvii. 20.
Chapter III.--Faith and Unbelief.
"Whereas therefore some men suffer, and others cure those who suffer,
it is necessary to know the cause at once of the suffering and the
cure; and this is proved to be nought else than unbelief on the part
of the sufferers, and faith on the part of those who cure them. For
unbelief, while it does not believe that there is to be a judgment by
God, affords licence to sin, and sin makes men liable to sufferings;
but faith, believing that there is to be a judgment of God, restrains
men from sin; and those who do not sin are not only free from demons
and sufferings, but can also put to flight the demons and sufferings
Chapter IV.--Ignorance the Mother of Evils.
"From  all these things, therefore, it is concluded that all evil
springs from ignorance; and ignorance herself, the mother of all
evils, is sprung from carelessness and sloth, and is nourished, and
increased, and rooted in the senses of men by negligence; and if any
one teach that she is to be put to flight, she is with difficulty and
indignantly torn away, as from an ancient and hereditary abode. And
therefore we must labour for a little, that we may search out the
presumptions of ignorance, and cut them off by means of knowledge,
especially in those who are preoccupied with some erroneous opinions,
by means of which ignorance is the more firmly rooted in them, as
under the appearance of a certain kind of knowledge; for nothing is
worse than for one to believe that he knows what he is ignorant of,
and to maintain that to be true which is false. This is as if a drunk
man should think himself to be sober, and should act indeed in all
respects as a drunk man, and yet think himself to be sober, and should
wish to be called so by others. Thus, therefore, are those also who
do not know what is true, yet hold some appearance of knowledge, and
do many evil things as if they were good, and hasten destruction as if
it were to salvation.
 [Chaps. 4, 5, resemble somewhat Homily X. 2, which contains a
preliminary discourse of the Apostle to his followers.--R.]
Chapter V.--Advantages of Knowledge.
"Wherefore we must, above all things, hasten to the knowledge of the
truth, that, as with a light kindled thereat, we may be able to dispel
the darkness of errors: for ignorance, as we have said, is a great
evil; but because it has no substance, it is easily dispelled by those
who are in earnest. For ignorance is nothing else than not knowing
what is good for us; once know this, and ignorance perishes.
Therefore the knowledge of truth ought to be eagerly sought after; and
no one can confer it except the true Prophet. For this is the gate of
life to those who will enter, and the road of good works to those
going to the city of salvation.
"Whether any one, truly hearing the word of of the true Prophet; is
willing or unwilling to receive it, and to embrace His burden, that
is, the precepts of life, he has either in his power, for we are free
in will. For if it were so, that those who hear had it not in
their power to do otherwise than they had heard, there were some power
of nature in virtue of which it were not free to him to pass over to
another opinion. Or if, again, no one of the hearers could at all
receive it, this also were a power of nature which should compel the
doing of some one thing, and should leave no place for the other
course. But now, since it is free for the mind to turn its judgment
to which side it pleases, and to choose the way which it approves, it
is clearly manifest that there is in men a liberty of choice.
 [Here again the doctrine of free-will is pressed, the Homilies
containing no parallel. Chaps. 6-13 have no corresponding passage in
Chapter VII.--Responsibility of Knowledge.
"Therefore, before any one hears what is good for him, it is certain
that he is ignorant; and being ignorant, he wishes and desires to do
what is not good for him; wherefore he is not judged for that. But
when once he has heard the causes of his error, and has received the
method of truth, then, if he remain in those errors with which he had
been long ago preoccupied, he shall rightly be called into judgment,
to suffer punishment, because he has spent in the sport of errors that
portion of life which was given him to be spent in living well. But
he who, hearing those things, willingly receives them, and is thankful
that the teaching of good things has been brought to him, inquires
more eagerly, and does not cease to learn, until he ascertains whether
there be truly another world, in which rewards are prepared for the
good. And when he is assured of this, he gives thanks to God because
He has shown him the light of truth; and for the future directs his
actions in all good works, for which he is assured that there is a
reward prepared in the world to come; while he constantly wonders and
is astonished at the errors of other men, and that no one sees the
truth which is placed before his eyes. Yet he himself, rejoicing in
the riches of wisdom which he hath found, desires insatiably to enjoy
them, and is delighted with the practice of good works; hastening to
attain, with a clean heart and a pure conscience, the world to come,
when he shall be able even to see God, the king of all.
Chapter VIII.--Desires of the Flesh to Be Subdued.
"But the sole cause of our wanting and being deprived of all these
things is ignorance. For while men do not know how much good there is
in knowledge, they do not suffer the evil of ignorance to be removed
from them; for they know not how great a difference is involved in the
change of one of these things for the other. Wherefore I counsel
every learner willingly to lend his ear to the word of God, and to
hear with love of the truth what we say, that his mind, receiving the
best seed, may bring forth joyful fruits by good deeds. For if, while
I teach the things which pertain to salvation, any one refuses to
receive them, and strives to resist them with a mind occupied by evil
opinions, he shall have the cause of his perishing, not from us, but
from himself. For it is his duty to examine with just judgment the
things which we say, and to understand that we speak the words of
truth, that, knowing how things are, and directing his life in good
actions, he may be found a partaker of the kingdom of heaven,
subjecting to himself the desires of the flesh, and becoming lord of
them, that so at length he himself also may become the pleasant
possession of the Ruler of all.
Chapter IX.--The Two Kingdoms.
"For he who persists in evil, and is the servant of evil, cannot be
made a portion of good so long as he persists in evil, because from
the beginning, as we have said, God instituted two kingdoms, and has
given to each man the power of becoming a portion of that kingdom to
which he shall yield himself to obey. And since it is decreed by God
that no one man can be a servant of both kingdoms, therefore endeavour
with all earnestness to betake yourselves to the covenant and laws of
the good King. Wherefore also the true Prophet, when He was present
with us, and saw some rich men negligent with respect to the worship
of God, thus unfolded the truth of this matter: `No one,' said He,
`can serve two masters; ye cannot serve God and mammon;'  calling
riches, in the language of His country, mammon.
 Matt. vi. 24.
Chapter X.--Jesus the True Prophet.
"He therefore is the true Prophet, who appeared to us, as you have
heard, in Judæa, who, standing in public places, by a simple command
made the blind see, the deaf hear, cast out demons, restored health to
the sick, and life to the dead; and since nothing was impossible to
Him, He even perceived the thoughts of men, which is possible for none
but God only. He proclaimed the kingdom of God; and we believed Him
as a true Prophet in all that He spoke, deriving the confirmation of
our faith not only from His words, but also from His works; and also
because the sayings of the law, which many generations before had set
forth His coming, were fulfilled in Him; and the figures of the doings
of Moses, and of the patriarch Jacob before him, bore in all respects
a type of Him. It is evident also that the time of His advent, that
is, the very time at which He came, was foretold by them; and, above
all, it was contained in the sacred writings, that He was to be waited
for by the Gentiles. And all these things were equally fulfilled in
Chapter XI.--The Expectation of the Gentiles.
"But that which a prophet of the Jews foretold, that He was to be
waited for by the Gentiles,  confirms above measure the faith of
truth in Him. For if he had said that He was to be waited for by the
Jews, he would not have seemed to prophesy anything extraordinary,
that He whose coming had been promised for the salvation of the world
should be the object of hope to the people of the same tribe with
Himself, and to His own nation: for that this would take place, would
seem rather to be a matter of natural inference than one requiring the
grandeur of a prophetic utterance. But now, whereas the prophets say
that all that hope which is set forth concerning the salvation of the
world, and the newness of the kingdom which is to be established by
Christ, and all things which are declared concerning Him are to be
transferred to the Gentiles; the grandeur of the prophetic office is
confirmed, not according to the sequence of things, but by an
incredible fulfilment of the prophecy. For the Jews from the
beginning had understood by a most certain tradition that this man
should at some time come, by whom all things should be restored; and
daily meditating and looking out for His coming, when they saw Him
amongst them, and accomplishing the signs and miracles, as had been
written of Him, being blinded with envy, they could not recognise Him
when present, in the hope of whom they rejoiced while He was absent;
yet the few of us who were chosen by Him understood it.
 Gen. xlix. 10. [This detailed statement of the call of the
Gentiles is peculiar to the Recognitions; comp. i. 42. Such passages
seem to indicate a tendency less anti-Pauline than that of the
Homilies, yet the christology and soteriology are Ebionitic.--R.]
Chapter XII.--Call of the Gentiles.
"But this happened by the providence of God, that the knowledge of
this good One should be handed over to the Gentiles, and those who had
never heard of Him, nor had learned from the prophets, should
acknowledge Him, while those who had acknowledged Him in their daily
meditations should not know Him. For, behold, by you who are now
present, and desire to hear the doctrine of His faith, and to know
what, and how, and of what sort is His coming, the prophetic truth is
fulfilled. For this is what the prophets foretold, that He is to be
sought for by you, who never heard of Him. And, therefore,
seeing that the prophetic sayings are fulfilled even in yourselves,
you rightly believe in Him alone, you rightly wait for Him, you
rightly inquire concerning Him, that you not only may wait for Him,
but also believing, you may obtain the inheritance of His kingdom;
according to what Himself said, that every one is made the servant of
him to whom he yields subjection. 
 Isa. lxv. 1.
 John viii. 34.
Chapter XIII.--Invitation of the Gentiles.
"Wherefore awake, and take to yourselves our Lord and God, even that
Lord who is Lord both of heaven and earth, and conform yourselves to
His image and likeness, as the true Prophet Himself teaches, saying,
`Be ye merciful, as also your heavenly Father is merciful, who makes
His sun to rise upon the good and the evil, and rains upon the just
and the unjust.' Imitate Him, therefore, and fear Him, as the
commandment is given to men, `Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and
Him only shalt thou serve.' For it is profitable to you to
serve this Lord alone, that through Him knowing the one God, ye may be
freed from the many whom ye vainly feared. For he who fears not God
the Creator of all, but fears those whom he himself with his own hands
hath made, what does he do but make himself subject to a vain and
senseless fear, and render himself more vile and abject than those
very things, the fear of which he has conceived in his mind? But
rather, by the goodness of Him who inviteth you, return to your former
nobleness, and by good deeds show that you bear the image of your
Creator, that by contemplation of His likeness ye may be believed to
be even His sons.
 Luke vi. 36; Matt. v. 45.
 Deut. vi. 13; Matt. iv. 10.
Chapter XIV.--Idols Unprofitable.
"Begin,  therefore, to cast out of your minds the vain ideas of
idols, and your useless and empty fears, that at the same time you may
also escape the condition of unrighteous bondage. For those have
become your lords, who could not even have been profitable servants to
you. For how should lifeless images seem fit even to serve you, when
they can neither hear, nor see, nor feel anything? Yea, even the
material of which they are made, whether it be gold or silver, or even
brass or wood, though it might have profited you for necessary uses,
you have rendered wholly inefficient and useless by fashioning gods
out of it. We therefore declare to you the true worship of God, and
at the same time warn and exhort the worshippers, that by good deeds
they imitate Him whom they worship, and hasten to return to His image
and likeness, as we said before.
 [The parallel with Homily X. recurs at this Chapter, and
continues for several Chapters.--R.]
Chapter XV.--Folly of Idolatry.
"But I should like if those who worship idols would tell me if they
wish to become like those whom they worship? Does any one of you wish
to see in such sort as they see? or to hear after the manner of their
hearing? or to have such understanding as they have? Far be this from
any of my hearers! For this were rather to be thought a curse and a
reproach to a man, who bears in himself the image of God, although he
has lost the likeness. What sort of gods, then, are they to be
reckoned, the imitation of whom would be execrable to their
worshippers, and to have whose likeness would be a reproach? What
then? Melt your useless images, and make useful vessels. Melt the
unserviceable and inactive metal, and make implements fit for the use
of men. But, says one, human laws do not allow us. He says
well; for it is human laws, and not their own power, that prevents
it. What kind of gods, then, are those which are defended by human
laws, and not by their own energies? And so also they are preserved
from thieves by watch-dogs and the protection of bolts, at least if
they be of silver, or gold, or even of brass; for those that are of
stone and earthenware are protected by their own worthlessness, for no
one will steal a stone or a crockery god. Hence those seem to be the
more miserable whose more precious metal exposes them to the greater
danger. Since, then, they can be stolen, since they must be guarded
by men, since they can be melted, and weighed out, and forged with
hammers, ought men possessed of understanding to hold them as gods?
 [This, with the more specific statement of Homily X. 8, points
to an early date.--R.]
Chapter XVI.--God Alone a Fit Object of Worship.
"Oh! into what wretched plight the understanding of men has fallen!
For if it is reckoned the greatest folly to fear the dead, what shall
we judge of those who fear something that is worse than the dead are?
For those images are not even to be reckoned among the number of the
dead, because they were never alive. Even the sepulchres of the dead
are preferable to them, since, although they are now dead, yet they
once had life; but those whom you worship never possessed even such
base life as is in all, the life of frogs and owls. But why say more
about them, since it is enough to say to him who adores them: Do you
not see that he whom you adore sees not, hear that he whom you adore
hears not, and understand that he understands not?--for he is the work
of man's hand, and necessarily is void of understanding. You
therefore worship a god without sense, whereas every one who has sense
believes that not even those things are to be worshipped which have
been made by God and have sense,  such as the sun, moon, and
stars, and all things that are in heaven and upon earth. For they
think it reasonable, that not those things which have been made for
the service of the world, but the Creator of those things themselves,
and of the whole world, should be worshipped. For even these things
rejoice when He is adored and worshipped, and do not take it well that
the honour of the Creator should be bestowed on the creature. For the
worship of God alone is acceptable to them, who alone is uncreated,
and all things also are His creatures. For as it belongs to him who
alone is uncreated to be God, so everything that has been created is
not truly God.
 It was a very prevalent opinion among the ancient philosophers,
that the heavenly bodies have some kind of life and intelligence.
Chapter XVII.--Suggestions of the Old Serpent.
"Above all, therefore, you ought to understand the deception of the
old serpent  and his cunning suggestions, who deceives you as it
were by prudence, and as by a sort of reason creeps through your
senses; and beginning at the head, he glides through your inner
marrow, accounting the deceiving of you a great gain. Therefore he
insinuates into your minds opinions of gods of whatsoever kinds, only
that he may withdraw you from the faith of one God knowing that your
sin is his comfort. For he, for his wickedness, was condemned from
the beginning to eat dust, for that he caused to be again resolved
into dust him who had been taken from the dust, even till the time
when your souls shall be restored, being brought through the fire; as
we shall instruct you more fully at another time. From him,
therefore, proceed all the errors and doubts, by which you are driven
from the faith and belief of one God.
 [Comp. book ii. 45. In Homily X. 10, etc., the influence of the
serpent is spoken of, but the discourse here is much fuller. There is,
however, a general agreement in outline between chaps. 17-22 here and
Homily X. 10-21.--R.]
Chapter XVIII.--His First Suggestion.
"And first of all he suggests to men's thoughts not to hear the words
of truth, by which they might put to flight the ignorance of those
things which are evils. And this he does, as by the presentation of
another knowledge, making a show of that opinion which very many hold,
to think that they shall not be held guilty if they have been in
ignorance, and that they shall not be called to account for what they
have not heard; and thereby he persuades them to turn aside from
hearing the word. But I tell you, in opposition to this, that
ignorance is in itself a most deadly poison, which is sufficient to
ruin the soul without any aid from without. And therefore there is no
one who is ignorant who shall escape through his ignorance, but it is
certain that he shall perish. For the power of sin naturally destroys
the sinner. But since the judgment shall be according to reason, the
cause and origin of ignorance shall be inquired into, as well as of
every sin. For he who is unwilling to know how he may attain to life,
and prefers to be in ignorance lest he thereby be made guilty, from
this very fact is judged as if he knew and had knowledge. For he knew
what it was that he was unwilling to hear; and the cunning obtained by
the artifice of the serpent will avail him nothing for an excuse, for
he will have to do with Him to whom the heart is open. But that you
may know that ignorance of itself brings destruction, I assure you
that when the soul departs from the body, if it leave it in ignorance
of Him by whom it was created, and from whom in this world it obtained
all things that were necessary for its uses, it is driven forth from
the light of His kingdom as ungrateful and unfaithful.
Chapter XIX.--His Second Suggestion.
"Again, the wicked serpent suggests another opinion to men, which many
of you are in the habit of bringing forward,--that there is, as we
say, one God, who is Lord of all; but these also, they say, are gods.
For as there is one Cæsar, and he has under him many judges,--for
example, prefects, consuls, tribunes, and other officers,--in like
manner we think, that while there is one God greater than all, yet
still that these gods are ordained in this world, after the likeness
of those officers of whom we have spoken, subject indeed to that
greater God, yet ruling us and the things that are in this world. In
answer to this, I shall show you how, in those very things which you
propose for deception, you are confuted by the reasons of truth. You
say that God occupies the place of Cæsar, and those who are called
gods represent His judges and officers. Hold then, as you have
adduced it, by the example of Cæsar; and know that, as one of Cæsar's
judges or administrators, as prefects, proconsuls, generals, or
tribunes, may lawfully take the name of Cæsar,--or else both he who
should take it and those who should confer it should be destroyed
together,--so also in this case you ought to observe, that if any one
give the name of God to any but Himself, and he accept it, they shall
partake one and the same destruction, by a much more terrible fate
than the servants of Cæsar. For he who offends against Cæsar shall
undergo temporal destruction; but he who offends against Him who is
the sole and true God, shall suffer eternal punishment, and that
deservedly, as having injured by a wrongful condition the name which
is unique. 
 The writer means, that insult is offered to that name which
belongs to God alone by giving it to others, and thus placing it in a
position which is unjust to it.
Chapter XX.--Egyptian Idolatry.
"Although this word God is not the name of God, but meantime that word
is employed by men as His name; and therefore, as I have said, when it
is used reproachfully, the reproach is referred to the injury of the
true name. In short, the ancient Egyptians, who thought that they had
discovered the theory of the heavenly revolutions and the nature of
the stars, nevertheless, through the demon's blocking up their senses,
subjected the incommunicable name to all kinds of indignity. For some
taught that their ox, which is called Apis, ought to be worshipped;
others taught that the he-goat, others that cats, the ibis, a fish
also, a serpent, onions, drains, crepitus ventris, ought to be
regarded as deities, and innumerable other things, which I am ashamed
even to mention."
Chapter XXI.--Egyptian Idolatry More Reasonable Than Others.
When Peter was speaking thus, all we who heard him laughed. Then said
Peter: "You laugh at the absurdities of others, because through long
custom you do not see your own. For indeed it is not without reason
that you laugh at the folly of the Egyptians, who worship dumb
animals, while they themselves are rational. But I will tell you how
they also laugh at you; for they say, We worship living animals,
though mortal; but you worship and adore things which never were alive
at all. They add this also, that they are figures and allegories of
certain powers by whose help the race of men is governed. Taking
refuge in this for shame, they fabricate these and similar excuses,
and so endeavour to screen their error. But this is not the time to
answer the Egyptians, and leaving the care of those who are present to
heal the disease of the absent. For it is a certain indication that
you are held to be free from sickness of this sort, since you do not
grieve over it as your own, but laugh at it as that of others.
Chapter XXII.--Second Suggestion Continued.
"But let us come back to you, whose opinion it is that God should be
regarded as Cæsar, and the gods as the ministers and deputies of
Cæsar. Follow me attentively, and I shall presently show you the
lurking-places of the serpent, which lie in the crooked windings of
this argument. It ought to be regarded by all as certain and beyond
doubt, that no creature can be on a level with God, because He was
made by none, but Himself made all things; nor indeed can any one be
found so irrational, as to suppose that the thing made can be compared
with the maker. If therefore the human mind, not only by reason, but
even by a sort of natural instinct, rightly holds this opinion, that
that is called God to which nothing can be compared or equalled, but
which exceeds all and excels all; how can it be supposed that that
name which is believed to be above all, is rightly given to those whom
you think to be employed for the service and comfort of human life?
But we shall add this also. This world was undoubtedly made, and is
corruptible, as we shall show more fully by and by; meantime it is
admitted both that it has been made and that it is corruptible. If
therefore the world cannot be called God, and rightly so, because it
is corruptible, how shall parts of the world take the name of God?
For inasmuch as the whole world cannot be God, much more its parts
cannot. Therefore, if we come back to the example of Cæsar, you will
see how far you are in error. It is not lawful for any one, though a
man of the same nature with him, to be compared with Cæsar: do you
think, then, that any one ought to be compared with God, who excels
all in this respect, that He was made by none, but Himself made all
things? But, indeed, you dare not give the name of Cæsar to any
other, because he immediately punishes one who offends against him;
you dare give that of God to others, because He delays the punishment
of offenders against Him, in order to their repentance.
Chapter XXIII.--Third Suggestion.
"Through the mouths of others also that serpent is wont to speak in
this wise: We adore visible images in honour of the invisible God.
Now this is most certainly false. For if you really wished to
worship the image of God, you would do good to man, and so worship the
true image of God in him. For the image of God is in every man,
though His likeness is not in all, but where the soul is benign and
the mind pure. If, therefore, you wish truly to honour the image of
God, we declare to you what is true, that you should do good to and
pay honour and reverence to man, who is made in the image of God; that
you minister food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty, clothing to the
naked, hospitality to the stranger, and necessary things to the
prisoner; and that is what will be regarded as truly bestowed upon
God. And so far do these things go to the honour of God's image, that
he who does not these things is regarded as casting reproach upon the
divine image. What, then, is that honour of God which consists in
running from one stone or wooden figure to another, in venerating
empty and lifeless figures as deities, and despising men in whom the
image of God is of a truth? Yea, rather be assured, that whoever
commits murder or adultery, or anything that causes suffering or
injury to men, in all these the image of God is violated. For to
injure men is a great impiety towards God. Whenever, therefore, you
do to another what you would not have another do to you, you defile
the image of God with undeserved distresses. Understand, therefore,
that that is the suggestion of the serpent lurking within you, which
persuades you that you may seem to be pious when you worship
insensible things, and may not seem impious when you injure sensible
and rational beings.
 [To chaps. 23-36 a parallel is afforded by Homily XI. 4-18.--R.]
Chapter XXIV.--Fourth Suggestion.
"But to these things the serpent answers us with another mouth, and
says: If God did not wish these things to be, then they should not
be. I am not telling you how it is that many contrary things are
permitted to be in this world for the probation of every one's mind.
But this is what is suitable to be said in the meantime: If,
according to you, everything that was to be worshipped ought not to
have been, there would have been almost nothing in this world. For
what is there that you have left without worshipping it? The sun, the
moon, the stars, the water, the earth, mountains, trees, stones, men;
there is no one of these that ye have not worshipped. According to
your saying, therefore, none of these ought to have been made by God,
that you might not have anything that you could worship! Yea, He
ought not even to have made men themselves to be the worshippers! But
this is the very thing which that serpent which lurks within you
desires: for he spares none of you; he would have no one of you
escape from destruction. But it shall not be so. For I tell you,
that not that which is worshipped is in fault, but he who worships.
For with God is righteous judgment; and He judges in one way the
sufferer, and in another way the doer, of wrong.
Chapter XXV.--Fifth Suggestion.
"But you say: Then those who adore what ought not to be adored,
should be immediately destroyed by God, to prevent others doing the
like. But are you wiser than God, that you should offer Him counsel?
He knows what to do. For with all who are placed in ignorance
He exercises patience, because He is merciful and gracious; and He
foresees that many of the ungodly become godly, and that even some of
those who worship impure statues and polluted images have been
converted to God, and forsaking their sins and doing good works,
attain to salvation. But it is said: We ought never to have come
even to the thought of doing these things. You do not know what
freedom of will is, and you forget that he is good who is so by his
own intention; but, he who is retained in goodness by necessity cannot
be called good, because it is not of himself that he is so. Because,
therefore, there is in every one liberty to choose good or evil, he
either acquires rewards, or brings destruction on himself. Nay it is
said, God brings to our minds whatsoever we think. What mean ye, O
men? Ye blaspheme. For if He brings all our thoughts into our minds,
then it is He that suggests to us thoughts of adultery, and
covetousness, and blasphemy, and every kind of effeminacy. Cease, I
entreat of you, these blasphemies, and understand what is the honour
worthy of God. And say not, as some of you are wont to say, that God
needs not honour from men. Indeed, He truly is in need of none; but
you ought to know that the honour which you bestow upon God is
profitable to yourselves. For what is so execrable, as for a man not
to render thanks to his Creator?
 Rom. xi. 34.
Chapter XXVI.--Sixth Suggestion.
"But it is said: We do better, who give thanks both to Himself, and
to all with Him. In this you do not understand that there is the ruin
of your salvation. For it is as if a sick man should call in for his
cure at once a physician and poisoners; since these could indeed
injure him, but not cure him; and the true physician would refuse to
mix his remedies with their poisons, lest either the man's destruction
should be ascribed to the good, or his recovery, to the injurious.
But you say: Is God then indignant or envious, if, when He benefits
us, our thanks be rendered to others? Even if He be not indignant, at
all events He does not wish to be the author of error, that by means
of His work credit should be given to a vain idol. And what is so
impious, so ungrateful, as to obtain a benefit from God, and to render
thanks to blocks of wood and stone? Wherefore arise, and understand
your salvation. For God is in need of no one, nor does He require
anything, nor is He hurt by anything; but we are either helped or
hurt, in that we are grateful or ungrateful. For what does God gain
from our praises, or what does He lose by our blasphemies? Only this
we must remember, that God brings into proximity and friendship with
Himself the soul that renders thanks to Him. But the wicked demon
possesses the ungrateful soul.
Chapter XXVII.--Creatures Take Vengeance on Sinners.
"But this also I would have you know, that upon such souls God does
not take vengeance directly, but His whole creation rises up and
inflicts punishments upon the impious; and although in the present
world the goodness of God bestows the light of the world and the
services of the earth alike upon the pious and the impious, yet not
without grief does the sun afford his light, and the other elements
perform their service, to the impious. And, in short, sometimes even
in opposition to the goodness of the Creator, the elements are wearied
out by the crimes of the wicked; and thence it is that either the
fruit of the earth is blighted, or the composition of the air is
vitiated, or the heat of the sun is increased beyond measure, or there
is an excessive amount of rain or of cold. Thence pestilence, and
famine, and death in various forms stalk forth, for the creature
hastens to take vengeance on the wicked; yet the goodness of God
restrains it, and bridles its indignation against the wicked, and
compels it to be obedient to His mercy, rather than to be inflamed by
the sins and the crimes of men. For the patience of God waiteth for
the conversion of men, as long as they are in this body.
Chapter XXVIII.--Eternity of Punishments.
"But if any persist in impiety till the end of life, then as soon as
the soul, which is immortal, departs, it shall pay the penalty of its
persistence in impiety. For even the souls of the impious are
immortal, though perhaps they themselves would wish them to end with
their bodies. But it is not so; for they endure without end the
torments of eternal fire, and to their destruction they have not the
quality of mortality. But perhaps you will say to me, You terrify us,
O Peter. And how shall we speak to you the things which are in
reality? Can we declare to you the truth by keeping silence? We
cannot state the things which are, otherwise than as they are. But if
we were silent, we should make ourselves the cause of the ignorance
that is ruinous to you, and should satisfy the serpent that lurks
within you, and blocks up your senses, who cunningly suggests these
things to you, that he may make you always the enemies of God. But we
are sent for this end, that we may betray his disguises to you; and
melting your enmities, may reconcile you to God, that you may be
converted to Him, and may please Him by good works. For man is at
enmity with God, and is in an unreasonable and impious state of mind
and wicked disposition towards Him, especially when he thinks that he
knows something, and is in ignorance. But when you lay aside these,
and begin to be pleased and displeased with the same things which
please and displease God, and to will what God willeth then ye shall
truly be called His friends.
Chapter XXIX.--God's Care of Human Things.
"But perhaps some of you will say, God has no care of human things;
and if we cannot even attain to the knowledge of Him, how shall we
attain to His friendship? That God does concern Himself with the
affairs of men, His government of the world bears witness: for the
sun daily waits upon it, the showers minister to it; the fountains,
rivers, winds, and all elements, attend upon it; and the more these
things become known to men, the more do they indicate God's care over
men. For unless by the power of the Most High, the more powerful
would never minister to the inferior; and by this God is shown to have
not only a care over men, but some great affection, since He has
deputed such noble elements to their service. But that men may also
attain to the friendship of God, is proved to us by the example of
those to whose prayers He has been so favourable, that He has withheld
the heaven from rain when they wished, and has again opened it when
they prayed. And many other things He has bestowed upon those
who does His will, which could not be bestowed but upon His friends.
But you will say, What harm is done to God if these things also are
worshipped by us? If any one of you should pay to another the honour
that is due to his father, from whom he has received innumerable
benefits, and should reverence a stranger and foreigner as his father,
should you not think that he was undutiful towards his father, and
most deserving to be disinherited?
 1 Kings xvii.; xviii.; Jas. v. 17, 18.
Chapter XXX.--Religion of Fathers to Be Abandoned.
"Others say, It is wicked if we do not worship those idols which have
come down to us from our fathers, and prove false to the religion
bequeathed to us by our ancestors. On this principle, if any one's
father was a robber or a base fellow, he ought not to change the
manner of life handed down to him by his fathers, nor to be recalled
from his father's errors to a better way; and it is reckoned impious
if one do not sin with his parents, or does not persist in impiety
with them. Others say, We ought not to be troublesome to God, and to
be always burdening Him with complaints of our miseries, or with the
exigencies of our petitions. How foolish and witless an answer! Do
you think it is troublesome to God if you thank Him for His benefits,
while you do not think it troublesome to Him if, for His gifts, you
render thanks to stocks and stones? And how comes it, that when rain
is withheld in a long drought, we all turn our eyes to heaven, and
entreat the gift of rain from God Almighty, and all of us with our
little ones pour out prayers on God and entreat His compassion? But
truly ungrateful souls, when they obtain the blessing, quickly
forget: for as soon as they have gathered in their harvest or their
vintage, straightway they offer the first-fruits to deaf and dumb
images, and pay vows in temples or groves for those things which God
has bestowed upon them, and then offer sacrifices to demons; and
having received a favour, deny the bestower of the favour. 
 Literally, "change the bestower of it for another."
Chapter XXXI.--Paganism, Its Enormities.
"But some say, These things are instituted for the sake of joy, and
for refreshing our minds; and they have been devised for this end,
that the human mind may be relaxed for a little from cares and
sorrows. See now what a charge you yourselves bring upon the things
which you practise. If these things have been invented for the
purpose of lightening sorrow and affording enjoyment, how is it that
the invocations of demons are performed in groves and woods? What is
the meaning of the insane whirlings, and the slashing of limbs, and
the cutting off of members? How is it that mad rage is produced in
them? How is insanity produced? How is it that women are driven
violently, raging with dishevelled hair? Whence the shrieking and
gnashing of teeth? Whence the bellowing of the heart and the bowels,
and all those things which, whether they are pretended or are
contrived by the ministration of demons, are exhibited to the terror
of the foolish and ignorant? Are these things done for the sake of
lightening the mind, or rather for the sake of oppressing it? Do ye
not yet perceive nor understand, that these are the counsels of the
serpent lurking within you, which draws you away from the apprehension
of truth by irrational suggestions of errors, that he may hold you as
slaves and servants of lust and concupiscence and every disgraceful
Chapter XXXII.--True Religion Calls to Sobriety and Modesty.
"But I protest to you with the clear voice of preaching, that, on the
contrary, the religion of God calls you to sobriety and modesty;
orders you to refrain from effeminacy and madness, and by patience and
gentleness to prevent the inroads of anger; to be content with your
own possessions, and with the virtue of frugality; not even when
driven by poverty to plunder the goods of others, but in all things to
observe justice; to withdraw yourselves wholly from the idol
sacrifices: for by these things you invite demons to you, and of your
own accord give them the power of entering into you; and so you admit
that which is the cause either of madness or of unlawful love.
Chapter XXXIII.--Origin of Impiety.
"Hence is the origin of all impiety; hence murders, adulteries,
thefts; and a nursery is formed of all evils and wickednesses, while
you indulge in profane libations and odours, and give to wicked
spirits an opportunity of ruling and obtaining some sort of authority
over you. For when they invade your senses, what do they else than
work the things which belong to lust and injustice and cruelty, and
compel you to be obedient to all things that are pleasing to them?
God, indeed, permits you to suffer this at their hands by a certain
righteous judgment, that from the very disgrace of your doings and
your feelings you may understand how unworthy it is to be subject to
demons and not to God. Hence also, by the friendship of demons, men
are brought to disgraceful and base deeds; hence, men proceed even to
the destruction of life, either through the fire of lust, or through
the madness of anger through excess of grief, so that, as is well
 known, some have even laid violent hands upon themselves. And
this, as we have said, by a just sentence of God they are not
prevented from doing, that they may both understand to whom they have
yielded themselves in subjection, and know whom they have forsaken.
 The original has here, "as is often known;" that is, as people
know from many instances having occurred within their own knowledge.
Chapter XXXIV.--Who are Worshippers of God?
"But some one will say, These passions sometimes befall even those who
worship God. It is not true. For we say, that he is a worshipper of
God, who does the will of God, and observes the precepts of His law.
For in God's estimation he is not a Jew who is called a Jew among men
(nor is he a Gentile that is called a Gentile), but he who, believing
in God, fulfils His law and does His will, though he be not
circumcised. He is the true worshipper of God, who not only is
himself free from passions, but also sets others free from them;
though they be so heavy that they are like mountains, he removes them
by means of the faith with which he believes in God. Yea, by faith he
truly removes mountains with their trees, if it be necessary. 
But he who seems to worship God, but is neither fortified by a full
faith, nor by obedience to the commandments, but is a sinner, has
given a place in himself, by reason of his sins, to passions, which
are appointed of God for the punishment of those who sin, that they
may exact from them the deserts of their sins by means of punishments
inflicted, and may bring them purified to the general judgment of all,
provided always that their faith do not fail them in their
chastisement. For the chastisement of unbelievers in the present life
is a judgment, by which they begin to be separated from future
blessings; but the chastisement of those who worship God, while it is
inflicted upon them for sins into which they have fallen, exacts from
them the due of what they have done, that, preventing the judgment,
they may pay the debt of their sin in the present life, and be freed,
at least in half, from the eternal punishments which are there
 Rom. ii. 28; Rev. ii. 9.
 Matt. xvii. 20; Luke xvii. 6.
Chapter XXXV.--Judgment to Come.
"But he does not receive these things as true who does not believe
that there is to be a judgment of God, and therefore, being bound by
the pleasures of the present life, is shut out from eternal good
things; and therefore we do not neglect to proclaim to you what we
know to be necessary for your salvation, and to show you what is the
true worship of God, that, believing in God, you may be able, by means
of good works, to be heirs with us of the world to come. But if you
are not yet convinced that what we say is true, meantime, in the first
instance, you ought not to take it amiss and to be hostile to us
because we announce to you the things which we consider to be good,
and because we do not grudge to bestow also upon you that which we
believe brings salvation to ourselves, labouring, as I have said, with
all eagerness, that we may have you as fellow-heirs of the blessings
which we believe are to befall ourselves. But whether those things
which we declare to you are certainly true, you shall not be able to
know otherwise than by rendering obedience to the things which are
commanded, that you may be taught by the issue of things, and the most
certain end of blessedness.
Chapter XXXVI.--Conclusion of Discourse.
"And, therefore, although the serpent lurking within you occupies your
senses with a thousand arts of corruption, and throws in your way a
thousand obstacles, by which he may turn you away from the hearing of
saving instruction, all the more ought you to resist him, and
despising his suggestions, to come together the more frequently to
hear the word and receive instruction from us, because nobody can
learn anything who is not taught." 
And when he had done speaking, he ordered those to be brought to him
who were oppressed by sickness or demons, and laid his hands upon them
with prayer; and so he dismissed the crowds, charging them to resort
to the hearing of the word during the days that he was to remain
there. Therefore, when the crowds had departed, Peter washed his body
in the waters which ran through the garden, with as many of the others
as chose to do so; and then ordered the couches to be spread on the
ground under a very shady tree, and directed us to recline according
to the order established at Cæsarea. And thus, having taken food and
given thanks to God after the manner of the Hebrews, as there was yet
some portion of the day remaining, he ordered us to question him on
any matters that we pleased. And although we were with him twenty in
all, he explained to every one whatever he pleased to ask of him; the
particulars of which I set down in books and sent to you some time
ago. And when evening came we entered with him into the lodging, and
went to sleep, each one in his own place.
 [The latter half of this discourse, as already indicated (see
note on chap. 23), finds a parallel in Homily XI. 4-18, which forms
the first half of that discourse.--R.]
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