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p. 102 Chapter XVIII.—Responsibility of Men.

“To this Aquila answered:  “How, then, are men in fault, if the wicked one, transforming himself into the brightness of light, 612 promises to men greater things than the Creator Himself does?”  Then Peter answered:  “I think,” says he “that nothing is more unjust than this; and now listen while I tell you how unjust it is.  If your son, whom you have trained and nourished with all care, and brought to man’s estate, should be ungrateful to you, and should leave you and go to another, whom perhaps he may have seen to be richer, and should show to him the honour which he owed to you, and, through hope of greater profit, should deny his birth, and refuse you your paternal rights, would this seem to you right or wicked?”  Then Aquila answered:  “It is manifest to all that it would be wicked.”  Then Peter said:  “If you say that this would be wicked among men, how much more so is it in the case of God, who, above all men, is worthy of honour from men; whose benefits we not only enjoy, but by whose means and power it is that we began to be when we were not, and whom, if we please, we shall obtain from Him to be for ever in blessedness!  In order, therefore, that the unfaithful may be distinguished from the faithful, and the pious from the impious, it has been permitted to the wicked one to use those arts by which the affections of every one towards the true Father may be proved.  But if there were in truth some strange God, were it right to leave our own God, who created us, and who is our Father and our Maker, and to pass over to another?”  “God forbid!” said Aquila.  Then said Peter:  “How, then, shall we say that the wicked one is the cause of our sin, when this is done by permission of God, that those may be proved and condemned in the day of judgment, who, allured by greater promises, have abandoned their duty towards their true Father and Creator; while those who have kept the faith and the love of their own Father, even with poverty, if so it has befallen, and with tribulation, may enjoy heavenly gifts and immortal dignities in His kingdom.  But we shall expound these things more carefully at another time.  Meantime I desire to know what Simon did after this.”



2 Cor. xi. 14.

Next: Chapter XIX