The Clementine Homilies. (Cont.)
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 eager2 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 slept.
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,5 “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.’ (Mat_8:11; Luk_13:29) ‘But many,’ said He also, ‘are called, but few chosen.’ (Mat_20:16) 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.’ (Exo_19:9) 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.’ (Mat_11:25; [Luk_10:21. – R.]) 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?’ (Luk_7:46) 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 as old.”
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,6 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 are 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.7 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,8 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;9 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:10 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 bowels11 of the earth; I mean, the choice metals,12 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.
Chap. XVI. – Cannibalism.
“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,13 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 a 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 from Him.’
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,14 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.15 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.’ (Mat_4:1-25; Luk_4:1-44)
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. (Mat_22:1-46) 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;16 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 sleep.
1 [For the general parallelism of Homilies VIII.-XI with Recognitions, iv-vi., see footnote1 on Recognitions, iv. l. Homilies VIII IX., contain matter included in the single discourse of Recognitions, book iv. – R.]
2 Lit.: More willing to learn than the others.
3 [“Maro” in Recognitions, book iv. The resemblance between that book and this Homily is quite marked. – R.]
4 [Comp. Recognitions, book iv. 3 – R.]
5 [With chaps. 4-11 compare the closely resembling passage, Recognitions, book iv. 4-11. – R.]
6 [In Recognitions, book iv. 7, the healing is represented as occurring at once. – R.]
7 The general meaning seems to be as given; but the text is undoubtedly corrupt, and scarcely intelligible.
8 [Chaps. 12-16 have no parallel in the corresponding discourse of the Recognitions. The doctrine here is peculiar. But compare Recognitions, book iv. 26. – R.]
9 [Comp. Recognitions, book i. 30. The details here are not only fuller but apparently represents more developed speculation. – R.]
10 The text is somewhat obscure; but the following sentence shows this to be the meaning of it.
11 Literally, “the marrow.”
12 Literally, “the flowers of metals.”
13 [Comp. Recognitions, book v.12. – R.]
14 τοῖς αὐτῶν βωμοῖς προσφθαρέντες καὶ αὐτῶν ἐκπληρωθέντες.
15 [The conclusion of this homily resembles Recognitions, iv. 34-37, but much of the matter of that book is contained in Homily IX.; see footnotes. – R.]
16 [Comp. Recognitions, book iv, 7. – R.]
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 were gods.
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 against another.
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.
Chap. IV. – Zoroaster.
“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,4 wrathfully poured out the fire of the kingdom, that he might both bring to allegiance, and might punish him who at first constrained him.
Chap. V. – Hero-Worship.
“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 (ζῶσαν) stream of the star (ἀστέρος) 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, and 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.
Chap. VI. – Fire-Worship.
“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 phthæ, 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,5 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,6 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 future blessings.
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,7 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 time8 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.9 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 guilty of.
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,10 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 Cæsar’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 Cæsar, who is but a man, every one’s heart being eager to honour the image of all;11 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;12 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.
1 [Much of the matter in this Homily is to be found in Recognitions, book iv. – R.]
2 [With this and the succeeding chapters compare Recognitions, book i. 30, 31, but more particularly book iv. 27-31, which finish a close parallel. – R.]
3 That is, I suppose the wicked one.
4 I suppose Nimrod, or Zoroaster.
5 [Comp. Recognitions, book iv. 13. – R.]
6 [Compare with chaps. 8-18 the parallel passage in Recognitions, book iv. 14-22. The resemblances are quite close. – R.]
7 The gender is here changed, but the sense shows that the reference is still to the demons. I suppose the author forgot that in the preceding sentences he had written δαίμονες (masc.) and not δαιμόνια (neut.).
8 Some read οὕτως, thus.
9 The meaning is: “the idols or images of the heathen deities are not living, but the demons adopt the forms of these images when they appear to men in dreams.”
10 [With chaps. 19-21 compare Recognitions, book iv. 32, 35, which closely resemble them. – R.]
11 I prefer here the common text to any of the proposed emendations, and suppose that the author represents Cæsar, though but one man, the image or personification of the whole empire.
12 [Comp. Recognitions, book iv. 7. – R.]
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 blessings.
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.’ (Mat_4:10; [Luk_4:8; Deu_6:13. – R.]) 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,2 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.3 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 Maker.
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.4
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.
1 [Book v. of the Recognitions, assigned to the second day at Tripolis, contains most of the matter in this Homily, but has many passages without a parallel here. – R.]
2 [Recognitions, book v. 14, is parallel to this chapter, and the resemblance is close throughout some of the succeeding chapters. – R.]
3 [This, with the corresponding passage in Recognitions, book v. 15, points to an early origin of the literature, under the heathen emperors. – R.]
4 [Comp. Recognitions, book ii. 45, and especially the full discussion about the serpent in Recognitions, book v. 17-26. – R.]