Chapter VI.—Simon Magus: His Wickedness.
When Niceta had thus spoken, Aquila also, asking that he might be permitted to speak, proceeded in manner following: “Receive, I entreat thee, most excellent Peter, the assurance of my love towards thee; for indeed I also am extremely anxious on thy account. And do not blame us in this, for indeed to be concerned for any one cometh of affection; whereas to be indifferent is no less than hatred. But I call God to witness that I feel for thee, not as knowing thee to be weaker in debate,—for indeed I was never present at any dispute in which thou wert engaged,—but because I well know the impieties of this man, I think of thy reputation, and at the same time the souls of the hearers, and above all, the interests of the truth itself. For this magician is vehement towards all things that he wishes, and wicked above measure. For in all things we know him well, since from boyhood we have been assistants and ministers of his wickedness; and had not the love of God rescued us from him, we should even now be engaged in the same evil deeds with him. But a certain inborn love towards God rendered his wickedness hateful to us, and the worship of God attractive to us. Whence I think also that it was the work of Divine Providence, that we, being first made his associates, should take knowledge in what manner or by what art he effects the prodigies which he seems to work. For who is there that would not be astonished at the wonderful things which he does? Who would not think that he was a god come down from heaven for the salvation of men? For myself, I confess, if I had not known him intimately, and had taken part in his doings, I would easily have been carried away with him. Whence it was no great thing for us to be separated from his society, knowing as we did that he depends upon magic arts and wicked devices. But if thou also thyself wish to know all about him—who, what, and whence he is, and how he contrives what he does—then listen.”