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Chapter XXXVI.—Self-Evidence of the Truth.

Then said Peter:  “If indeed one hear in an orderly and regular manner he is able to know what is true; but he who refuses to submit to the rule of a reformed life and a pure conversation, which truly is the proper result of knowledge of the truth, will not confess that he knows what he does know.  For this is exactly what we see in the case of some who, abandoning the trades which they learned in their youth, betake themselves to other performances, and by way of excusing their own sloth, begin to find fault with the trade as unprofitable.”  Then Simon:  “Ought all who hear to believe that whatever they hear is true?”  Then Peter:  “Whoever hears an orderly statement of the truth, cannot by any means gainsay it, but knows that what is spoken is true, provided he also willingly submit to the rules of life.  But those who, when they hear, are unwilling to betake themselves to good works, are prevented by the desire of doing evil from acquiescing in those things which they judge to be right.  Hence it is manifest that it is in the power of the hearers to choose which of the two they prefer.  But if all who hear were to obey, it would be rather a necessity of nature, leading all in one way.  For as no one can be persuaded to become shorter or taller, because the force of nature does not permit it; so also, if either all were converted to the truth by a word, or all were not p. 124 converted, it would be the force of nature which compelled all in the one case, and none at all in the other, to be converted.”

Next: Chapter XXXVII