Chapter XXXIV.—Order of Proof.
Then said Simon: “I have no need to learn this from you, but how these things agree with one another. For if he shall be shown to be inconsistent, he shall be proved at the same time not to be a prophet.” Then says Peter: “But if I first show Him to be a prophet, it will follow that what seems to be inconsistency is not such. For no one can be proved to be a prophet merely by consistency, because it is possible for many to attain this; but if consistency does not make a prophet, much more inconsistency does not. Because, therefore, there are many things which to some seem inconsistent, which yet have consistency in them on a more profound investigation; as also other things which seem to have consistency, but which, being more carefully discussed, are found to be inconsistent; for this reason I do not think there is any better way to judge of these things than to ascertain in the first instance whether He be a prophet who has spoken those things which appear to be inconsistent. For it is evident that, if He be found a p. 107 prophet, those things which seem to be contradictory must have consistency, but are misunderstood. Concerning these things, therefore, proofs will be properly demanded. For we apostles are sent to expound the sayings and affirm the judgments of Him who has sent us; but we are not commissioned to say anything of our own, but to unfold the truth, as I have said, of His words.”