Chapter XXIII.—The Inequalities of Lot in Human Life.
And Simon said: “Let me grant that this is the case: does not the inequality of lot amongst men seem to you most unjust? For one is in penury, another is rich; one is sick, another is in good health: and there are innumerable differences of a like character in human life.” 1471 And Peter said: “Do you not perceive, Simon, that you are again shooting your observations beyond the mark? For while we were discussing evil, you have made a digression, and introduced the question of the anomalies that appear in this world. But I shall speak even to this point. The world is an instrument artistically contrived, that for the male who is to exist eternally, the female may bear eternal righteous sons. Now they could not have been rendered perfectly pious here, had there been no needy ones for them to help. In like manner there are the sick, that they may have objects for their care. And the other afflictions admit of a like explanation.” And Simon said: “Are not those in humble circumstances unfortunate? for they are subjected to distress, that others may be made righteous.” And Peter said: “If their humiliation were eternal, their misfortune would be very great. But the humiliations and exaltations of men take place according to lot; and he who is not pleased with his lot can appeal, 1472 and by trying his case according to law, he can exchange his mode of life for another.” And Simon said: “What do you mean by this lot and this appeal?” And Peter said: “You are now demanding the exposition of another topic; but if you permit me, we can show you how, being born again, and changing your origin, and living according to law, you will obtain eternal salvation.”
[Comp. Recognitions, iii. 40, 41.—R.]338:1472
An amendation of Wieselers.