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Chapter VII.—The Objection Answered, that One Cannot Change Himself.

“But perhaps some one of you thinks that one may become something under the influence of one, and another under the influence of another, but no one can change himself into whatever he wishes, and that it is the characteristic of one who grows old, and who must die according to his nature, 1502 to change, but we ought not to entertain such thoughts of immortal beings.  For were not angels, who are free from old age, and of a fiery substance, 1503 changed into flesh,—those, for instance, who received the hospitality of Abraham, 1504 whose feet men washed, as if they were the feet of men of like substance? 1505   Yea, moreover, with Jacob, 1506 who was a man, there wrestled an angel, converted into flesh that he might be able to come to close quarters with him.  And, in like manner, after he had wrestled by his own will, he was converted into his own natural form; and now, when he was changed into fire, he did not burn up the broad sinew of Jacob, but he inflamed it, and made him lame.  Now, that which cannot become anything else, whatever it may wish, is mortal, inasmuch as it is subject to its own nature; but he who can become whatever he wishes, whenever he wishes, is immortal, returning to a new condition, inasmuch as he has control over his own nature.  Wherefore much more does the power of God change the substance of the body into whatever He wishes and whenever He wishes; and by the change that takes place 1507 He sends forth what, on the one hand, is of similar substance, but, on the other, is not of equal power.  Whatever, then, he who sends forth turns into a different substance, that he can again turn back into his own; 1508 but he who is sent forth, arising in consequence of the change which proceeds from him, and being his child, cannot become anything else without the will of him who sent him forth, unless he wills it.”



One word of this is supplied conjecturally by Dressel.


Gen. 6:2, Ps. 104:4.]


Part of this is conjectural.


Gen. xviii. 4.


Gen. xxxii. 24.


We have adopted Wieseler’s emendation of μή into μέν.


This passage is corrupt.  We have changed ὅτι into ὅ, τι, and supplied τρέπει.

Next: Chapter VIII