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The Stromata (Book 3-4)

BOOK 3

CHAPTER I

I. The Valentinians, who hold that the union of man and woman is derived from the divine emanation in heaven above, approve of marriage. The followers of Basilides, on the other hand, say that when the apostles asked whether it was not better not to marry, the Lord replied: "Not all can receive this saying; there are some eunuchs who are so from their birth, others are so of necessity." And their explanation of this saying is roughly as follows: Some men, from their birth, have a natural sense of repulsion from a woman; and those who are naturally so constituted do well not to marry. Those who are eunuchs of necessity are those theatrical ascetics who only control themselves because they have a passion for the limelight. [And those who have suffered accidental castration have become eunuchs of necessity.] Those, then, who are eunuchs of necessity have no sound reason for their abstinence from marriage. But those who for the sake of the eternal kingdom have made themselves eunuchs derive this idea, they say, from a wish to avoid the distractions involved in marriage, because they are afraid of having to waste time in providing for the necessities of life.

2. And they say that by the words "it is better to marry than to burn" the apostle means this: "Do not cast your soul into the fire, so that you have to endure night and day and go in fear lest you should fall from continence. For a soul which has to concentrate upon 'endurance has lost hope." In his Ethics, Isidore says in these very words: " Abstain, then, from a quarrelsome woman lest you are distracted from the grace of God. But when you have rejected the fire of the seed, then pray with an undisturbed conscience. And when your prayer of thanksgiving," he says, "descends to a prayer of request, and your request is not that in future you may do right, but that you may do no wrong, then marry. But perhaps a man is too young or poor or suffers from weak health, and has not the will to marry as the apostle's saying suggests. Such a man should not separate himself from his brother Christian. He should say, I have come into the sanctuary, I can suffer nothing. And if he has a presentiment that he may fall, he may say, Brother, lay your hand on me lest I sin, and he will receive help both spiritually and physically. Let him only wish to accomplish what is right and he will achieve his object.

3. "Sometimes, however, we say with our mouth 'I wish not to sin' while our mind is really inclined towards sin. Such a man does not do what he wishes for fear lest any punishment should be in store for him. Human nature has some wants which are necessary and natural, and others which are only natural. To be clothed is necessary and natural; sexual intercourse is natural but not necessary."
I have quoted these remarks to prove in error those Basilidians who do not live purely, supposing either that they have the power even to commit sin because of their perfection, or indeed that they will be saved by nature even if they sin in this life because they possess an innate election. For the original teachers of their doctrines do not allow one to do the same as they are now doing. They ought not, therefore, to take as a covering cloak the name of Christ and, by living lewder lives than the most uncontrolled heathen, bring blasphemy upon his name. "For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers" as far as the words "whose end shall be like their works."

4. Continence is an ignoring of the body in accordance with the confession of faith in God. For continence is not merely a matter of sexual abstinence, but applies also to the other things for which the soul has an evil desire because it is not satisfied with the necessities of life. There is also a continence of the tongue, of money, of use, and of desire. I t does not only teach us to exercise self-control; it is rather that self-control is granted to us, since it is a divine power and grace. Accordingly I must declare what is the opinion of our people about this subject. Our view is that we welcome as blessed the state of abstinence from marriage in those to whom this has been granted by God. We admire monogamy and the high standing of single marriage, holding that we ought to share suffering with another and "bear one another's burdens," lest anyone who thinks he stands securely should himself fall. It is of second marriage that the apostle says, If you burn, marry.


CHAPTER II

5. But the followers of Carpocrates and Epiphanes think that wives should be common property. Through them the worst calumny has become current against the Christian name. This fellow Epiphanes, whose writings I have at hand, was a son of Carpocrates and his mother was named Alexandria. On his father's side he was an Alexandrine, on his mother's a Cephallenian. He lived in all only seventeen years, and at Same in Cephallenia was honoured as a god. There a temple of vast blocks of stone was erected and dedicated to him, with altars, sacred precincts, and a "museum." The Cephallenians gather at the temple every new moon and celebrate with sacrifices the day when Epiphanes became a god as his birthday; they pour libations to him, feast in his honour, and sing his praises. He was educated by his father in the general education and in Platonism, and he was instructed in the knowledge of the Monad, which is the root-origin of the Carpocratians' heresy.

6. This is what he says, then, in the book Concerning Righteousness: "The righteousness of God is a kind of universal fairness and equality. There is equality in the heaven which is stretched out in all directions and contains the entire earth in its circle. The night reveals equally all the stars. The light of the sun, which is the cause of the daytime and the father of light, God pours out from above upon the earth in equal measure on all who have power to see. For all see alike. There is no distinction between rich and poor, people and governor, stupid and clever, female and male, free men and slaves. Even the irrational animals are not accorded any different treatment; but in just the same way God pours out from above sunlight equally upon all the animals. He establishes his righteousness to both good and bad by seeing that none is able to get more than his share and to deprive his neighbour, so that he has twice the light his neighbour has. The sun causes food to grow for all living beings alike; the universal righteousness is given to all equally. In this respect there is no difference between the entire species of oxen and any individual oxen, between the species of pigs and particular pigs, between the species of sheep and particular sheep, and so on with all the rest. In them the universality of God's fairness is manifest. Furthermore all plants of whatever sort are sown equally in the earth. Common nourishment grows for all beasts which feed on the earth's produce; to all it is alike. It is regulated by no law, but rather is harmoniously available to all through the gift of him who gives it and makes it to grow.

7. "And for birth there is no written law (for otherwise it would have been transcribed). All beings beget and give birth alike, having received by God's righteousness an innate equality. The Creator and Father of all with his own righteousness appointed this, just as he gave equally the eye to all to enable them to see. He did not make a distinction between female and male, rational and irrational, nor between anything and anything else at all; rather he shared out sight equally and universally. It was given to all alike by a single command. As the laws (he says) could not punish men who were ignorant of them, they taught men that they were transgressors. But the laws, by pre-supposing the existence of private property, cut up and destroyed the universal equality decreed by the divine law." As he does not understand the words of the apostle where he says "Through the law I knew sin," he says that the idea of Mine and Thine came into existence through the laws so that the earth and money were no longer put to common use. And so also with marriage. "For God has made vines for all to use in common, since they are not protected against sparrows and a thief; and similarly corn and the other fruits. But the abolition, contrary to divine law, of community of use and equality begat the thief of domestic animals and fruits.

8.He brought female to be with male and in the same way united all animals. He thus showed righteousness to be a universal fairness and equality .But those who have been born in this way have denied the universality which is the corollary of their birth and say, 'Let him who has taken one woman keep her,' whereas all alike can have her, just as the other animals do." After this, which is quoted word for word, he again continues in the same spirit as follows: "With a view to the permanence of the race, he has implanted in males a strong and ardent desire which neither law nor custom nor any other restraint is able to destroy. For it is God's decree."
And how can this man still be reckoned among our number when he openly abolishes both law and gospel by these words. The one says: "Thou shalt not commit adultery." The other says: "Everyone who looks lustfully has already committed adultery." The saying in the law, "Thou shalt not covet," lt shows that one God is proclaimed by law, prophets, and gospel; for it says: "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife." But for a Jew the "neighbour" is not a Jew, for he is a brother and has the same spirit. Therefore it remains that "neighbour" means one of another race. But how can he not be a neighbour who is able to share in the same spirit? For Abraham is father not only of the Hebrews, but also of the Gentiles.

9. If the adulteress and he who committed fornication with her are punished with death, clearly the command which says "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife" speaks of the Gen- tiles, in order that anyone who, as the law directs, abstains from his neighbour's wife and from his sister may hear clearly from the Lord, "But I say unto you, Thou shalt not lust." The addition of the word "I," however, shows the stricter force of the commandment, and that Carpocrates fights against God, and Epiphanes likewise. The latter in the same notorious book, I mean Concerning Righteousness, writes in one passage as follows: "Consequently one must understand the saying 'Thou shalt not covet' as if the lawgiver was making a jest, to which he added the even more comic words 'thy neighbour's goods'. For he himself who gave the desire to sustain the race orders that it is to be suppressed, though he removes it from no other animals. And by the words 'thy neighbour's wife' he says something even more ludicrous, since he forces what should be common property to be treated as a private possession."

These then are the doctrines of the excellent Carpocratians. These, so they say, and certain other enthusiasts for the same wickednesses, gather together for feasts (I would not call their meeting an Agape), men and women together. After they have sated their appetites (" on repletion Cypris, the goddess of love, enters,"21 as it is said), then they overturn the lamps and so extinguish the light that the shame of their adulterous "righteousness" is hidden, and they have intercourse where they will and with whom they will.23 After they have practiced community of use in this love-feast, they demand by daylight of whatever women they wish that they will be obedient to the law of Carpocrates-it would not be right to say the law of God. Such, I think, is the law that Carpocrates must have given for the copulations of dogs and pigs and goats. He seems to me to have misunderstood the saying of Plato in the Republic24 that the women of all are to be common. Plato means that the unmarried are common for those who wish to ask them, as also the theatre is open to the public for all who wish to see, but that when each one has chosen his wife, then the married woman is no longer common to all.

II. In his book entitled Magica Xanthus says: "The Magi think it permissible to have sexual intercourse with mothers and daughters and sisters, and that wives are to be held in common, not by force and in secret, but both parties may agree when one man wishes to marry another's wife. "Of these and other similar sects Jude, I think, spoke prophetically in his letter- "In the same way also these dreamers" (for they do not seek to find the truth in the light of day) as far as the words "and their mouth speaks arrogant things."


CHAPTER III
12 If Plato himself and the Pythagoreans, as indeed later also followers of Marcion, regard birth as something evil (though the last named was far from thinking that wives were to be held in common), yet by the Marcionites nature is regarded as evil because it was created out of evil matter and by a just Creator. On this ground, that they do not wish to fill the world made by the Creator-God, they decide to abstain from marriage. Thus they are in opposition to their Maker and hasten towards him who is called the good God, but not to the God, as they say, of the other kind. As they wish to leave nothing of their own behind them on this earth, they are continent, not of their own free choice, but from hatred of the Creator, being unwilling to use what he has made. But these folk, who in their blasphemous fight against God have abandoned natural reasoning, and despise the long-suffering and goodness of God, even if they do not wish to marry, use the food made by the Creator and breathe his air; for they are his works and dwell in his world. They say they have received the gospel of the knowledge of the Strange God; yet at least they ought to acknowledge gratitude to the. Lord of the world because they receive this gospel on this earth.
13. But we shall give a detailed answer to these people when we discuss the doctrine of First Principles. The philosophers whom we have mentioned, from whom the Marcionites blasphemously derived their doctrine that birth is evil, on which they then plumed themselves as if it were their own idea, do not hold that it is evil by nature, but only for the soul which has perceived the truth. For they think the soul is divine and has come down here to this world as a place of punishment. In their view souls which have become embodied need to be purified. But this doctrine is not that of the Marcionites, but of those who believe that the souls are enclosed in bodies and change from this prison and undergo transmigration. There will be an opportunity to reply to these when we come to speak about the soul.

14. It is clear that Heraclitus regards birth as something evil when he says: "When men are born they are fain to live and suffer death," or rather go to their rest, "and they leave children who also suffer death." Empedocles is obviously in agreement with him when he says:
"When I saw the place, so strange it was, I wept and wailed."
And further:
"For out of the living he made the dead, changing their forms."
And again;
"0 woe, unhappy race of mortals, wretched men!
Out of what kind of dissensions and groans were you born!”
And the Sibyl also says:
"Mortal men are ye, and fleshly, being nothing," like the poet who writes:
"Earth nurtures nothing weaker than a man."
15. Moreover Theognis shows that birth is evil when he
speaks as follows:
"For mortals best it is not to be born at all
And never to see the rays of the bright sun,
But if born to pass the gates of Hades as soon as possible."
With this agrees also the tragic poet Euripides when he writes:
"Where a man is born we ought to assemble only to bewail His lot in coming into so much evil.
But when one dies and comes to the end of troubles
Then we should rejoice and praise his happy departure."
And again he says the same in these words:
"Who knows if life be not in truth but death And death be life."
16. Herodotus, it is clear, makes Solon say the same as this: "0 Croesus, every man is a misfortune." And his myth about Cleobis and Biton has obviously no other intention than to disparage birth and praise death. " As scattered leaves, so is mankind," says Homer.41 And in the Cratylus Plato attributes to Orpheus the doctrine that the soul in this body is suffering punishment. This is what he says: "Some say that the body is a tomb of the soul, as being buried in it for the present life. And because the soul expresses (semainei) by this body whatever it may wish to express, so it is rightly called a tomb (sema). The Orphics, in particular, seem to have given it this name, as they think the soul suffers punishment for its misdeeds,"

17. It is also worth mentioning the remark of Philolaus. This Pythagorean speaks as follows: "The ancient theologians and seers testify that the soul is conjoined to the body to suffer certain punishments, and is, as it were, buried in this tomb." And Pindar speaks of the Eleusinian mysteries as follows: "Blessed is he who has seen before he goes under the earth; for he knows the end of life and knows also its divine beginning. Similarly in the Phaedo Plato does not hesitate to write as follows: " And these men who established our mysteries. .." down to the words "and will dwell with the gods." And what when he says, " As long as we have still the body and our soul is involved in such evil, shall we never have sufficient possession of that which we desire?" Does he not hint that birth is the cause; of the worst evils? And in the Phaedo he bears witness again: " All who have rightly been concerned with philosophy run the risk that other men will fail to notice that their sole object is to pursue death and dying."

18. And in another place: " Accordingly here the soul of the philosopher mostly disregards his body and flees from it, and seeks to be existent by itself." Does he not agree to some ex- tent with the divine apostle when he says, "0 wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from this body of death?" unless he speaks of "body of death" in a figurative sense to refer to the agreement of those who have been enticed into evil. And that sexual intercourse, as the cause of birth, was rejected long before Marcion by Plato is clear from the first book of the Republic. For after praising old age he continues: "Mark it well, for me the more the other pleasures of the body fade away, the 49 more grow the desires and pleasures of rational enquiry ." And with reference to sex relations: "Be silent, O man, it is with the greatest joy that I escaped from it-as if I had escaped from a wild and raging tyrant."

19. Again in the Phaedo he disparages birth when he writes of "the doctrine which is secretly taught about this that we men are in a sort of prison." And again, "Those who are manifestly distinguished for their holiness of life are liberated from these places on earth and are set free as if this earth were a prison, and go to the pure home above." Nevertheless, although he says this, he perceives that the administration of this world is good, and says: "One ought not to set oneself free and run away."And to sum up briefly, he has given Marcion no opening for his view that matter is evil, when he himself reverently says of the world, " All that is good the world has received from him who has composed it; but from its previous state arise all the recalcitrant and unjust things in the heaven and from this it derives these elements and causes them in living beings."

20. With even greater clarity he adds: "The cause of these things was the material element in the world's constitution, which was at one time bound up with its ancient nature. For before it came into its present ordered state it was in a condition of great chaos." To the same effect in the Laws he laments the of men saying: "The gods had mercy on mankind which born for trouble, and to give them rest from their labours appointed the changing cycle of feasts." And in the Epinomis discusses the causes of this pitiful condition and says this: )m the beginning birth was difficult for every human being; to get to the state of being an embryo, then to be born, and l to be nourished and educated, all this is attended by count- pains, as we all agree."
What then? Does not Heraclitus call birth death, just as Pythagoras and Socrates in the Gorgias,54 when he says: "Death is what we see when we are awake; and what we see in our sleep is a dream." But enough of this. When we discuss First Principles we consider the difference between the views of the philosophers and those of the Marcionites. But I think I have shown clearly enough that Marcion took from Plato the starting-point of his "strange" doctrines, without either grateful acknowledgment or understanding.

22. Now we may continue our discussion about continence. We were saying that from a dislike of its inconveniences the Greeks have made many adverse observations about the birth of children, and that the Marcionites have interpreted them in a godless sense and are ungrateful to their Creator. For the tragedy says:
"For mortals it is better not to be born than to be born;
Children I bring to birth with bitter pains; And then when I have borne them they lack understanding.
In vain I groan, that I must look on wicked offspring
While I lose the good. If the good survive, My wretched heart is melted by alarm.
What is this goodness then? Is it not enough That I should care for one alone
And bear the pain for this one soul?"

And further to the same effect

"So now I think and have long so thought Man ought never children to beget, Seeing into what agonies we are born."
But in the following verses he clearly attributes the cause of evil to the primal origins, when he speaks as follows:

"0 thou who art born for misfortune and disaster, thou art born a man, and thine unhappy life thou didst receive from the place where the air of heaven, which gives breath to mortals, first began to give food for all. Complain not of thy mortal state, thou who art mortal."

23. Again he puts the same idea in these words:
"No mortal is content and happy
Nor is any born free from sorrow."

And then again:
" Alas, alas, how many are the chances of mortal calamity! How many forms it takes! None can tell the end."
And further likewise:
" Of what is mortal there is nothing which is happy without end."

24. It is asserted that on this ground the Pythagoreans exercised abstinence. But to me, on the contrary, it seems that they marry for the sake of procreating children, but after they have begotten children they desire to control sexual indulgence. That is why they give the mysterious command to abstain from beans, not because pulse leads to flatulence and is indigestible and causes troubled dreams, nor because the bean is shaped like a man's head; as the verse has it, "It is alike to eat beans and the head of one's parents." The real reason is that if beans are eaten they make women barren. At any rate Theophrastus in the fifth book of his Causes of Plants relates that if the pods of beans are put round the roots of newly planted trees the shoots dry up and that if birds that live round houses are continuously fed on beans they become unable to lay eggs.


CHAPTER IV
25. Of the heretics we mentioned Marcion of Pontus as forbidding the use of this world's goods on the ground of opposition to the Creator. The Creator himself is thus the reason for continence, if this can be called continence; for this giant o thinks he can resist God is not continent by an act of free choice, in that he attacks the creation and the process by which n is formed. If they quote the Lord's words to Philip, "Let dead bury their dead, but do thou follow me," they ought to consider that Philip's flesh is also formed in the same way; body is not a polluted corpse. How then could he have a body of flesh which is not a corpse? Because he rose from the tomb when the Lord killed his passions, and he began to live unto Christ. We also mentioned the blasphemous immorality of Carpocrates. But when we spoke about the saying of Nicolaus we omitted to say this. Nicolaus, they say, had a lovely wife. When after the Saviour's ascension he was accused before the apostles of jealousy, he brought his wife into the concourse and allowed anyone who so desired to marry her. For, they say, this action was appropriate to the saying: "One must abuse the flesh." Those who share his heresy follow both his action and his words simply and without qualification by indulging in the gravest enormity.
26. I am informed, however, that Nicolaus never had relations with any woman other than the wife he married, and that of his children his daughters remained virgins to their old age, and his son remained uncorrupted. In view of this it was an act of suppression of passion when he brought before the apostles the wife on whose account he was jealous. He taught what it meant to "abuse the flesh" by restraining the distracting passions. For, as the Lord commanded, he did not wish to serve two masters, pleasure and God. It is said that Matthias also taught that one should fight the flesh and abuse it, never allowing it to give way to licentious pleasure, so that the soul might grow by faith and knowledge.

27. There are some who call Aphrodite Pandemos [i.e., physical love] a mystical communion. This is an insult to the name of communion. To do something wrong is called an action, just as also to do right is likewise called an action. Similarly communion is good when the word refers to sharing of money and food and clothing. But they have impiously called by the name of communion any common sexual intercourse. The story goes that one of them came to a virgin of our church who had a lovely face and said to her: "Scripture says, 'Give to everyone that asks you.' " She, however, not understanding the lascivious intention of the man gave the dignified reply: "On the subject of marriage, talk to my mother." What godlessness! Even the words of the Lord are perverted by these immoral fellows, the brethren of lust, a shame not only to philosophy but to all human life, who corrupt the truth, or rather destroy it; as far as they can. These thrice wretched men treat carnal and sexual intercourse as a sacred religious mystery, and think that it will bring them to the kingdom of God.

28. It is to the brothels that this "communion" leads. They can have pigs and goats as their associates. Those who have most to hope from them are the public harlots who shamelessly receive all who want to come to them. "But you have not so learned Christ, if you have heard him and have been taught by him as the truth is in Christ Jesus; put off with the ways of your former life your old man which is corrupted by the deceitful lusts. Be renewed in the spirit of your mind and put on the new man which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness," so as to be made like unto God. "Be therefore imitators of God, as dear children, and walk in love as Christ also loved us and gave himself for us as an offering and sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savor. But fornication and all impurity and covetousness and shamefulness and foolish talk, let them not be mentioned among you as is fitting for saints." Moreover, the apostle teaches us to be chaste in speech when he writes, "Know this well that no fornicator. .." and so on as far as the words "but rather expose them."

29. They derived their doctrines from an apocryphal work. I will quote the text which is the mother of their licentiousness. And whether they themselves, I mean the authors of the book, bare responsible (see their madness, for by their licence they do grievous wrong to God) or whether they derived their ideas from some others whom they fell in with, they have taken a sound doctrine and perversely misapplied it. The passage reads as follows: "All things were one; but as it seemed good to its f unity not to be alone, an idea came forth from it, and it had intercourse with it and made the beloved. In consequence of this there came forth from him an idea with which he had intercourse and made powers which cannot be seen or heard. .." ; down to the words "each by her own name." If these people spoke of acts of spiritual union like the Valentinians, perhaps one could accept their view. But to suppose that the holy prophets spoke of carnal and wanton intercourse is the way of a man who has renounced salvation.

30. These are also the doctrines of the adherents of Prodicus, who falsely entitle themselves gnostics, asserting that they are by nature sons of the first God. But they misuse their noble birth and freedom and life as they desire. And their desire is for pleasure, thinking that no one is superior to them, as they are lords of the sabbath and are royal sons far above the rest of mankind. To a king, they say, there is no law prescribed. But in the first place they cannot do all they desire since there is much to prevent them, however much they desire and essay to do it. And even what they can do, they do not like kings, but like cringing slaves. For it is only in secret that they commit adultery, as they are scared of being caught. They want to avoid condemnation and are afraid of punishment. What freedom is there in their license and filthy talk? "Everyone who sins is a slave," says the apostle.

31. The Lord has said: "But I say unto you, you shall not lust." How then can he live according to God's will who surrenders himself to every desire? And is a man to decide of his own free will that he can sin, and lay it down as a principle that one may commit adultery and revel in sin and break up other men's marriages, when we even take pity on others if they fall into sin against their will? And if they regard the world into which they have come as an alien country they will not possess the truth if they have not been faithful in that which is another's. Does a foreign visitor insult the citizens and do them injury? Does he not rather behave as a guest and conform to the necessary rules, living without causing offence to the citizens? And how can they say that they alone know God when they do the same things as those who are loathed by the heathen because they do not do what the laws direct, that is, as the wicked and incontinent and covetous and adulterous? They ought to live good lives even while they are dwelling in an alien country, to manifest their truly kingly nature.

32. But because they have chosen to disobey the laws, they make themselves objects of hatred both to human lawgivers and to the law of God. At any rate in Numbers the man who thrust his spear into the fornicator is evidently blessed by God. And John says in his epistle: "If we say that we have fellowship with him and walk in darkness, we lie and do not the truth; but if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with him, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from sin."

33. How then are they who do these things superior to worldly men when they behave like the very worst men of this world? Those whose actions are alike are in my opinion of like nature. Those who think they are superior to others by their nobility of birth ought to be superior to them also in their moral characters, that they may escape incarceration in the prison. For indeed as the Lord said: "Except your righteousness exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter the kingdom of God." However, abstinence from food is exemplified in the book of Daniel.s6 And to sum up in a word, concerning obedience David speaks in the Psalms: "How shall a young man correct his way?" And at once he hears "by keeping thy word with his whole heart." And Jeremiah says: "Thus saith the Lord, You shall not walk in the ways of the heathen."

34. Because of this certain other depraved and worthless fellows have been impelled to assert that man was formed by various powers, and that down as far as the navel his body shows the work of godlike craftsmanship, but his lower parts indicate inferior workmanship. In consequence of the latter man has a sexual impulse. They fail to observe that the upper parts also want food and in some men are lustful. And they contradict Christ when he said to the Pharisees that the same God made both our outer and our inner man. Moreover, desire is not a bodily thing, though it occurs because of the body.
Certain others, whom we may call Antitactae [i.e., opponents ], assert that the God of the universe is our Father by nature, and all that he has made is good. But one of the beings made by him sowed tares and so caused the origin of evils. He involved us all in them and so made us opponents of the Father. Therefore even we ourselves are set in opposition to him to avenge the Father, and act contrary to the will of the second. Since, then, the latter has said, "Thou shalt not commit adultery," Let us, say they, commit adultery to abolish his commandment.

35. To them we would say: We have been taught to recognize by their works false prophets and all who merely pretend to the truth. And your works tell against you. How can you still assert that you adhere to the truth? For either nothing evil exists, in which case there is no question of finding fault with him whom you attack as being in opposition to God, and he is not the originator of anything evil (both the fruit and the tree are done away together), or, if wickedness really does exist, let them tell us what they have to say of the commandments given to us about righteousness, self-control, patience, long suffering, and other such virtues, whether they think them bad or good? If the command is bad which forbids one to do almost all that is disgraceful, then evil must enact laws against itself in order t(l destroy its own fruit, which is impossible. If it is good, by opposing good commandments they must confess that they are opposing what is right and doing wrong.
36. But the Saviour himself, whom alone they think one should obey, has forbidden hatred and reviling and says: "When you go with your adversary to court, try to achieve a friendly reconciliation with him." Accordingly, they will either refuse to accept Christ's exhortation, in that they are in opposition to the adversary, or they will become his friends and cease to oppose him. What then? Do you not realize, my worthy friends (I speak as if you were present with me) that by conflict with these excellent commandments you fight against your own salvation? You overturn yourselves, not these beneficial instructions. The Lord said, "Let your good works shine out." But you make your licentiousness manifest to all. Besides, if your aim is to destroy the lawgiver's commands, why is it the commands "Thou shalt not commit adultery" and "Thou shalt not corrupt boys," and all the commandments enjoining purity, which through your incontinence you seek to destroy? Why do you not abolish winter, which he made, and make it summer when it is still midwinter, and make dry land navigable and the sea pass- able on foot, as the historians say Xerxes the barbarian desired to do?

37. Why do you not oppose all the commandments? For he says, "Increase and multiply ."1 you who are opposed to him ought to abstain from sexual relations altogether. And if he says, "I have given you all things for food and enjoyment,"2 you ought to enjoy nothing at all. Moreover, he says, " An eye for an eye." you ought not, therefore, to repay opposition with opposition. If he tells the thief to restore fourfold, you ought even to give something to the thief. Similarly again, you who oppose the command "Thou shalt love the Lord" ought not to love the God of the universe at all. And if he says, "Thou shalt not make any graven or molten image," it follows that you ought to bow down to graven images. Are you not blasphemous, therefore, when you oppose, as you say, the Creator, and endeavour to do the same as fornicators and adulterers? Do you not perceive that you make him all the greater whom you regard as weak if what is taking place is what he wishes and not what the good God wills? For, on the contrary, your father, as you call him, is shown to be weak by you yourselves.

38. These folk also collect extracts from the prophets, making a selection and mischievously stringing them together. They interpret in a literal sense sayings intended to be understood allegorically. It is written, they say, "They resisted God and were saved." But they add the "shameless" God, and interpret this saying as if it gave them advice, thinking it will bring them salvation if they resist the Creator. In fact, scripture does not mention the " shameless" God. And if it did, you fools, you should have understood the word "shameless" to refer to him who is called the devil, either because he slanders men, or because he accuses sinners, or because he is an apostate. The people to whom the passage refers were unwilling to be punished for their sins, and they spoke the words quoted in a spirit of complaining and grumbling, on the ground that other nations were not punished when they transgressed, and that on every occasion they alone were humiliated, so that even Jeremiah said, "Why is the way of the ungodly easy?" Similar in sense to this is the saying in Malachi which has been quoted: "They resisted God and were saved." In uttering their oracles the prophets do not only say that they have heard some message from God; it is also evident that they take up phrases in common use among the people and reply to them, as if they were reporting certain questions raised by them. The saying under discussion is an instance of this.

39. Perhaps it is such people that the apostle attacks in the epistle to the Romans when he writes: " And not as we are blasphemously accused and some assert that we say, Let us do evil that good may come, an argument which is rightly condemned." These are they who when reading the Bible pervert the sense to their own desires by their tone of voice, and by changing certain accents and marks of punctuation twist words that are wise and useful to conform to their own lusts. "You who provoke God with your words," says Malachi, "have even said Wherein have we provoked him? In this, that you have said, Anyone who does evil is good in the Lord's sight, and he is well pleased with them; and, Where is the God of righteousness?"


CHAPTER V

40. It is not our aim to pursue this subject in further detail and to mention further senseless heresies. To put them to shame we should be forced to deal with each one, and to state our objections to each point, which would extend these notes to an un- conscionable length. Accordingly we may divide all the heresies into two groups in making answer to them. Either they teach that one ought to live on the principle that it is a matter of indifference whether one does right or wrong, or they set a too ascetic tone and proclaim the necessity of continence on the ground of opinions which are godless and arise from hatred of what God has created. First we may discuss the former group. If it is lawful to live any sort of life one likes, obviously one may live in continence; or if any kind of life has no dangers for the elect, obviously one of virtue and self-control is far less dangerous. If the "lord of the sabbath" has been given the right to pass uncorrected if he lives an immoral life, a fortiori there will be no correction for him who behaves decently. " All things are lawful, but all things are not expedient," says the apostle. If all things are lawful, obviously this includes self-control.

41. Therefore if one who uses his power to live a virtuous life receives praise, then much more worthy of reverence and honour is he who has given us this free and sovereign power and has allowed us to live as we choose, not allowing us to become en- slaved and subjected to necessity by our acts of choice and rejection. But if both can have no anxiety, he who chooses incontinence and he who chooses abstinence, yet the honour is not equal. He who indulges his pleasures gratifies his body; but he who is controlled liberates from its passions his soul which is master of the body. And if they tell us that we are called to freedom, only let us not use our freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, as the apostle says. If lust is to be gratified and a life of sin regarded as morally neutral, as they say, either we ought to indulge our desires in every direction and, if this is our desire, do the most lascivious and immoral acts, in that we are following our instincts in every way; or we may suppress certain desires and live no longer a life which recognizes no distinction of right and wrong, nor be absolute slaves to our most dishonourable members, the stomach and the private parts, gratifying our carcase for the sake of desire. For desire is nourished and invigorated if it is encouraged in indulgence, just as, on the other hand, it loses strength if it is kept in check.

42. But how is it possible to become like the Lord and have knowledge of God if one is subject to physical pleasures? Every pleasure is the consequence of an appetite, and an appetite is a certain pain and anxiety, caused by need, which requires some object.1S In my opinion those who choose this kind of life are simply "suffering pain to their shame," as the well-known verse puts it, 16 choosing evil which they bring upon themselves, now and hereafter. If, then, all things were lawful and one need have no fear that because of one's wicked deeds one's hope of salvation would be lost, perhaps they might have some excuse for living this wicked and wretched life. But through the commandments a life of blessedness is shown to us. We must all keep to them without misinterpreting any of the words or neglecting any of our duties, however minute. We must follow where the word leads; and if we depart from it, we must fall into "endless evil." And by following the divine scripture, the path by which believers travel, we are to be made like unto the Lord as far as possible. We must not live as if there were no difference between right and wrong, but, to the best of our power, must purify ourselves from indulgence and lust and take care for our soul which must continually be devoted to the Deity alone. For when it is pure and set free from all evil the mind is somehow capable of receiving the power of God and the divine image is set up in it. " And everyone who has this hope in the Lord purifies himself," says the Scripture, "even as he is pure."

43. To attain the knowledge of God is impossible for those who are still under the control of their passions. Therefore they cannot attain the salvation they hope for as they have not obtained any knowledge of God. He who fails to attain this end is clearly subject to the charge of being ignorant of God, and ignorance of God is shown by a man's manner of life. It is absolutely impossible at the same time to be a man of understanding and not to be ashamed to gratify the body. Nor can the view that pleasure is the supreme Good be reconciled with the view that only the beautiful is good, or that only the Lord is beautiful, and God alone is good and is alone to be loved. "You are circumcised in Christ with a circumcision not done with hands, which consists rather in the putting away of the carnal body, in the circumcision of Christ." "If you then are risen with Christ, seek those things which are above; have in mind higher things, not earthly things. For you are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God" -- but not the fornication which they practice. "Mortify therefore your earthly members, fornication, uncleanness, passion, lust; for on account of these wrath is coming." Let them also therefore "put away anger, wrath, wickedness, blasphemy, filthy talk from their mouth, putting off the old man with its lusts, and putting on the new man which is renewed to possess full knowledge according to the image of him who created it."

44. It is the manner of life which shows up those who know the commandments; for as a man's word is, so is his life. The tree is known by its fruit, not by its blossom and leaves. Knowledge, then, comes from the fruit and from behaviour, not from talk and from blossom. We say that knowledge is not mere talk, but a certain divine knowledge, that light which is kindled in the soul as a result of obedience to the commandments, and which reveals all that is in a state of becoming, enables man to know himself and teaches him to become possessed of God. What the eye is in the body, knowledge is in the mind. Let them not call bondage to pleasure freedom, as if bitterness were sweet. We have learnt to recognize as freedom that which the Lord alone confers on us when he liberates us from lusts and desires and the other passions. "He who says, I know the Lord, and does not keep his commandments, is a liar and the truth is not in him," says John.


CHAPTER VI
45. To those, on the other hand, who under a pious cloak blaspheme by their continence both the creation and the holy Creator, the almighty, only God, and teach that one must reject marriage and begetting of children, and should not bring others in their place to live in this wretched world, nor give any sustenance to death, our reply is as follows. We may first quote the word of the apostle John: "And now are many antichrists come, whence we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us. For if they had been of us, they would have remained with US." Next we may destroy their case on the ground that they pervert the sense of the books they quote, as follows. When Salome asked the Lord: "How long shall death hold sway?" he answered: " As long as you women bear children." Her words do not imply that this life is evil and the' creation bad, and his reply only teaches the ordinary course of nature. For birth is invariably followed by death.
46. The task of the law is to deliver us from a dissolute life and all disorderly ways. Its purpose is to lead us from unrighteousness to righteousness, so that it would have us self-con- trolled in marriage, in begetting children, and in general behavior. The Lord is not "come to destroy the law but to fulfill it." "To fulfill" does not imply that it was defective, but that by his coming the prophecies of the law are accomplished, since before the law the demand for right conduct was proclaimed by the Logos to those also who lived good lives. The multitude who know nothing of continence live for the body, not for the spirit. But the body without spirit is "earth and ashes."28 Now the Lord judges adultery which is only committed in thought. What then? Is it not possible to remain continent even in the married state and not to seek to "put asunder what God has joined together" For such is the teaching of those who divide the yoke of marriage, by reason of whom the Christian name is blasphemed. If it is the view of these people who themselves owe their existence to sexual relations that such relations are impure, must not they be impure? But I hold that even the seed of the sanctified is holy.

47. In us it is not only the spirit which ought to be sanctified, but also our behaviour, manner of life, and our body. What does the apostle Paul mean when he says that the wife is sanctified by the husband and the husband by the wife? And what is the meaning of the Lord's words to those who asked concerning divorce whether it is lawful to put away one's wife as Moses commanded? "Because of the hardness of your hearts," he says, "Moses wrote this; but have you not read that God said to the first man, You two shall be one flesh? Therefore he who divorces his wife except for fornication makes her an adulteress." But "after the resurrection," he says, "they neither marry nor are given in marriage." Moreover, concerning the belly and its food it is written: "Food is for the belly and the belly for food; but God shall destroy both the one and the other ." In this saying he attacks those who think they can live like wild pigs and goats, lest they should indulge their physical appetites without restraint.

48. If, as they say, they have already attained the state of resurrection, and on this account reject marriage let them neither eat nor drink. For the apostle says that in the resurrection the belly and food shall be destroyed. Why then do they hunger and thirst and suffer the weaknesses of the flesh and all the other needs which will not affect the man who through Christ has attained to the hoped for resurrection? Furthermore those who worship idols abstain both from food and from sexual intercourse. "But the kingdom of God does not consist in eating and drinking," he says. And indeed the Magi make a point of abstaining from wine and the meat of animals and from sexual intercourse while they are worshipping angels and daemons. But just as humility consists in meekness and not in treating one's body roughly, so also continence is a virtue of the soul which is not manifest to others, but is in secret.

49. There are some who say outright that marriage is fornication and teach that it was introduced by the devil. They proudly say that they are imitating the Lord who neither married nor had any possession in this world, boasting that. they understand the gospel better than anyone else. The Scripture says to them: "God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble." Further, they do not know the reason why the Lord did not marry .In the first place he had his own bride, the Church; and in the next place he was no ordinary man that he should also be in need of some helpmeet after the flesh. Nor was it necessary for him to beget children since he abides eternally and was born the only Son of God. It is the Lord himself who says: "That which God has joined together, let no man put asunder." And again: "As it was in the days of Noah, they were marrying, and giving in marriage, building and planting, and as it was in the days of Lot, so shall be the coming of the Son of man." And to show that he is not referring to the heathen he adds: "When the Son of man is come, shall he find faith on the earth?" And again: "Woe to those who are with child and are giving suck in those days," a saying, I admit, to be understood allegorically. The reason why he did not determine "the times which the Father has appointed by his own power" was that the world might continue from generation to generation.

50. Concerning the words, "Not all can receive this saying. There are some eunuchs who were born so, and some who were made eunuchs by men, and some who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven; let him receive it who can receive it," they do not realize the context. After his word about divorce some asked him whether, if that is the position in relation to woman, it is better not to marry; and it was then that the Lord said: "Not all can receive this saying, but those to whom it is granted." What the questioners wanted to know was whether, when a man's wife has been condemned for fornication, it is allowable for him to marry another.
It is said, however, that several athletes abstained from sexual intercourse, exercising continence to keep their bodies in training, as Astylos of Croton and Crison of Himera. Even the cithara-player, Amoebeus, though newly married, kept away from his bride. And Aristotle of Cyrene was the only man to disdain the love of Lais when she fell for him.

51. As he had sworn to the courtesan that he would take her to his home country if she rendered him some assistance against his antagonists, when she had rendered it, he kept his oath in an amusing manner by painting the closest possible likeness of her and setting it up in Cyrene. The story is told by Istros in his book on The Peculiarity of Athletic Contests. Therefore there is nothing meritorious about abstinence from marriage unless it arises from love to God. At any rate the blessed Paul says of those who revile marriage: "In the last times some shall depart from the faith, turning to spirits of error and doctrines inspired by daemons, forbidding to marry and commanding abstinence from food." And again he says: "Let no one disqualify you by demanding self-imposed ascetic practices and severe treatment of the body." And the same writer has this also: "Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be separated from her? Are you free from any wife? Do not seek to find one." And again: "Let every man have his own wife lest Satan tempt you."

52. How then? Did not the righteous in ancient times partake of what God made with thanksgiving? Some begat children and lived chastely in the married state. To Elijah the ravens brought bread and meat for food. And Samuel the prophet brought as food for Saul the remnant of the thigh, of which he had already eaten. But whereas they say that they are superior to them in behaviour and conduct, they cannot even be compared with them in their deeds. "He who does not eat," then, "let him not despise him who eats; and he who eats let him not judge him who does not eat; for God has accepted him." Moreover, the Lord says of himself: "John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He has a devil. The Son of man came eating and drinking and they say, Behold a gluttonous man and a wine-bibber, a friend of publicans and a sinner."
Or do they also scorn the apostles? Peter and Philip had children, and Philip gave his daughters in marriage.

53. Even Paul did not hesitate in one letter to address his consort. The only reason why he did not take her about with him was that it would have been an inconvenience for his ministry. Accordingly he says in a letter: "Have we not a right to take about with us a wife that is a sister like the other apostles?" But the latter, in accordance with their particular ministry, devoted themselves to preaching without any distraction, and took their wives with them not as women with whom they had marriage relations, but as sisters, that they might be their fellow-ministers in dealing with housewives. I t was through them that the Lord's teaching penetrated also the women's quarters without any scandal being aroused. We also know the directions about women deacons which are given by the noble Paul in his second letter to Timothy. Furthermore, the selfsame man cried aloud that "the kingdom of God does not consist in food and drink," not indeed in abstinence from wine and meat, "but in righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit." Which of them goes about like Elijah clad in a sheepskin and a leather girdle? Which of them goes about like Isaiah, naked except for a piece of sacking and without shoes? Or clothed merely in a linen loincloth like Jeremiah? Which of them will imitate John's gnostic way of life? The blessed prophets also lived in this manner and were thankful to the Creator .

54. The "righteousness" of Carpocrates, however, and those like him who pursue immoral "communion" is to be refuted by an argument along the following lines. Immediately after the words "Give to him that asks you," he continues: " And do not turn away from him who wishes to borrow ."Thus it is this kind of communion which he is teaching, not the immoral kind. How can there be one who asks and receives and borrows unless there is someone who possesses and gives and lends? What, then, is the position when the Lord says, "I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you took me in, naked and you clothed me," after which he adds "inasmuch as you did it to one of these little ones, you did it to me"? And does he not lay down the same principle in the Old Testament? "He who gives to the poor lends to God," and "Do not avoid giving to the needy," he says.

55. And again: "Let not your almsgiving and faithfulness lapse." And: "Poverty brings a man low, but the hands of the energetic are made rich." And he adds: "Behold the man who has not given his money on usury is accepted." And does he not declare expressly, " A man's wealth is judged to be his soul’s ransom"? Just as the world is composed of opposites, of heat and cold, dry and wet, so also is it made up of givers and receivers. Again when he says, "If you would be perfect, sell your possessions and give to the poor," he convicts the man who boasts that he has kept all the commandments~ from his youth up. For he had not fulfilled "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." Only then was he taught by the Lord who wished to make him perfect, to give for love's sake.

56. Accordingly he has not forbidden us to be rich in the right way, but only a wrongful and insatiable grasping of money. For "property gained unlawfully is diminished." "There are some who sow much and gain the more, and those who hoard become impoverished." Of them it is written: "He distributed, he gave to the poor, his righteousness endures for ever." For he who sows and gathers more is the man who by giving away his earthly and temporal goods has obtained a heavenly and eternal prize; the other is he who gives to no one, but vainly "lays up treasure on earth where moth and rust corrupt"; of him it is written: "In gathering motley, he has gathered it into a condemned cell." Of his land the Lord says in the gospel that it produced plentifully; then wishing to store the fruits he built larger store-houses, saying to himself in the words dramatically put into his mouth "You have many good things laid up for many years to come, eat, drink, and be merry. You fool," says the Lord, "this night your soul shall be required of you. Whose then shall be the things you have prepared?"


CHAPTER VII
57. The human ideal of continence, I mean that which is set forth by Greek philosophers, teaches that one should fight desire and not be subservient to it so as to bring it to practical effect. But our ideal is not to experience desire at all. Our aim is not that while a man feels desire he should get the better of it, but that he should be continent even respecting desire itself. This chastity cannot be attained in any other way except by God's grace. That was why he said "Ask and it shall be given you." This grace was received even by Moses, though clothed in his needy body, so that for forty days he felt neither thirst nor hunger. Just as it is better to be in good health than for a sick man to talk about health, so to be light is better than to discuss light, and true chastity is better than that taught by the philosophers. Where there is light there is no darkness. But where there is inward desire, even if it goes no further than desire and is quiescent so far as bodily action is concerned, union takes place in thought with the object of desire, although that object is not present.
58. Our general argument concerning marriage, food, and other matters, may proceed to show that we should do nothing '- from desire. Our will is to be directed only towards that which is necessary. For we are children not of desire but of will. A man who marries for the sake of begetting children must practise continence so that it is not desire he feels for his wife, whom he ought to love, and that he may beget children with a chaste and controlled will. For we have learnt not to "have thought for the flesh to fulfil its desires." We are to "walk honourably as in the way", that is in Christ and in the enlightened conduct of the Lord's way, "not in revelling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and lasciviousness, not in strife and envy."

59. However, one ought to consider continence not merely in relation to one form of it, that is, sexual relations, but in relation to all the other indulgences for which the soul craves when it is ill content with what is necessary and seeks for luxury. It is continence to despise money, softness, property, to hold in small esteem outward appearance, to control one's tongue, to master evil thoughts. In the past certain angels became incontinent and were seized by desire so that they fell from heaven to earth. And Valentine says in the letter .to Agathopus: "Jesus endured " all things and was continent; It was his endeavour to earn a divine nature; he ate and drank in a manner peculiar to him- self, and the food did not pass out of his body. Such was the power of his continence that food was not corrupted within him; for he himself was not subject to the process of corruption." As for ourselves, we set high value on continence which arises from love to the Lord and seeks that which is good for its own sake, sanctifying the temple of the Spirit. It is good if for the sake of the kingdom of heaven a man emasculates himself from all desire, and "purifies his conscience from dead works to serve the living God."

60. But those who from a hatred for the flesh ungratefully long .to have nothing to do with the marriage union and the eating of reasonable food, are both blockheads and atheists, and exercise an irrational chastity like the other heathen. For ex- ample, the Brahmans neither eat animal flesh nor drink wine. But some of them take food every way, as we do, while others do so only on every third day, as Alexander Polyhistor says in his Indian History. They despise deaths and reckon life of no account. For they are persuaded that there is a regeneration. The gods they worship are Heracles and Pan. And the Indians who are called Holy Men go naked throughout their entire life. They seek for the truth, and predict the future, and reverence a certain pyramid beneath which, they think, lie the bones of a certain god. Neither the Gymnosophists nor the so-called Holy Men have wives. They think sexual relations are unnatural and contrary to law. For this cause they keep themselves chaste. The Holy Women are also virgins. They observe, it seems, the heavenly bodies and from what they indicate foretell future events.


CHAPTER VIII
61. Those who hold that for them there is no difference between right and wrong force a few passages of Scripture and think they favour their own immoral opinions. In particular they quote the saying: "Sin shall not have dominion over you; for you are not under the law but under grace," and others of this sort, which there is no reason to add, for I am not proposing to fit out a pirate ship. Let us then briefly put a stop to their argument. The noble apostle himself refutes the charge against him implied in their false exegesis by the words with which he continues after the saying just quoted: "What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? God forbid." In this inspired and prophetic way he at once destroys the device of these licentious sophists.
62. They fail to understand, it seems, that "we must all stand before the judgment seat of Christ that each man may be re- warded for what he has done with his body, whether it is good or bad," that is, in order that a man may receive his reward for what he has done by means of his body. So then, "if any man be in Christ he is a new creation," no longer inclined to sin ; "old things are passed away," we have washed off the old life; "behold new things have happened," there is chastity instead of fornication, continence instead of incontinence; righteousness instead of unrighteousness. "What is there in common between righteousness and lawlessness? Or what fellowship between light and darkness? Or what harmony between Christ and Belial? What community is there between a believer and an unbeliever? What agreement between the temple of God and idols? Having then these promises let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God."


CHAPTER IX
63. Those who are opposed to God's creation, disparaging it under the fair name of continence, also quote the words to Salome which we mentioned earlier. They are found, I believe, in the Gospel according to the Egyptians. They say that the Saviour himself said "1 came to destroy the works of the female," meaning by "female" desire, and by "works" birth and corruption. What then would they say? Has this destruction in fact been accomplished? They could not say so, for the world continues exactly as before. Yet the Lord did not lie. For in truth he did destroy the works of desire, love of money, contentiousness, vanity, mad lust for women, paederasty, gluttony, licentious- ness, and similar vices. Their birth is the soul's corruption, since then we are "dead in sins." And this is the incontinence referred to as "female." Birth and the corruption chiefly involved in the creation must necessarily continue until the achievement of complete separation and the restoration of the elect, on whose account even the beings mingled with this world are restored to their proper condition.
64. It is probably therefore with reference to the consummation that Salome says: "Until when shall men die?" The Scripture uses the word "man" in two senses, the outward man and the soul, and again of him who is being saved and him who is not; and sin is said to be the death of the soul. That is why the Lord gave a cautious answer-" As long as women bear children," that is, as long as the desires are active. "Therefore, as through one man sin entered into the world, and through sin death came to all men, in that all sinned, and death reigned from Adam to Moses," says the apostle. By natural necessity in the divine plan death follows birth, and the coming together of soul and body is followed by their dissolution. If birth exists for the sake of learning and knowledge, dissolution leads to the final restoration. As woman is regarded as the cause of death because she brings to birth, so also for the same reason she may be called the originator of life.
65. In fact the woman who first began transgression was named "Life" because she became responsible for the succession of those who were born and fell into sin, the mother of righteous and unrighteous alike, since each one of us makes him- self either righteous or disobedient. On this account I for my part do not think the apostle was expressing disgust at life in the flesh when he said: "But with all boldness both now and ever Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain. If, however, it is to be life in the flesh, that also means for me fruitful work. I do not know which I prefer. I am constrained on both sides: I have a desire to depart and to be with Christ, which is far better; but to abide in the flesh is more needful for your sakes." Here he showed clearly, I think, that the perfect reason for departing from the body is love for God, and that if one is to be in the flesh one should thankfully remain here for the sake of those who need salvation.

66. But why do they not go on to quote the words after those spoken to Salome, these people who do anything rather than walk according to the truly evangelical rule? For when she says, "I would have done better had I never given birth to a child," suggesting that she might not have been right in giving birth to a child, the Lord replies to her saying: "Eat of every plant, but eat not of that which has bitterness in it." For by this saying also he indicates that whether we are continent or married is a matter for our free choice and that there is no absolute prohibition which would impose continence upon us as a necessity. And he further makes it clear that marriage is co-operation with the work of creation.

67. Therefore a man ought not to think that marriage on rational principles is a sin, supposing that he does not look on the bringing up of children as being bitter (on the contrary to many childlessness is most grievous) ; but if a man regards the rearing of children as bitter because it distracts him from the things of God on account of the time it takes up, he may yet desire to marry because he does not take easily to a bachelor's life. What he wants to do is not harmful if it is done with self- control; and each one of us is master of his own will in deciding whether to beget children. But I am aware that because of marriage there are some who have kept clear of it and against the principles of holy knowledge have lapsed into hatred of humanity so that the spirit of charity has departed from them. There are others who have become absorbed by marriage and fulfil their desires in the indulgence which the law permits, and, as the prophet says, "have become like beasts."


CHAPTER X
68. But who are the two or three gathered in the name of Christ in whose midst the Lord is? Does he not by the "three" mean husband, wife, and child? For a wife is bound to her husband by God. If, however, a man wishes to be undistracted, and prefers to avoid begetting children because of the business it involves, "let him remain unmarried," says the apostle, "even as I am." They explain that what the Lord meant was this. By the plurality he means the Creator, the God who is the cause of the world's existence; and by the one, the elect, he meant the Saviour who is Son of another God, the good God. But this is not correct. Through his Son, God is with those who are soberly married and have children. By the same mediation the same God is also with the man who exercises continence on rational grounds.
According to another view the three may be passion, desire, and thought; another interpretation makes them flesh, soul, and spirit.
69. Perhaps the triad mentioned refers to the called, and in the second place to the chosen, and in the third place to the race appointed to receive the greatest honour . With them is the power of God watching over all things which is indivisibly divided among them. He, then, who uses the soul's natural powers as is right, desires those things which are appropriate, and hates what is harmful, as the commandments prescribe: "Thou shalt bless him who blesses thee and curse him who curses thee." But when he has risen above these, passion and desire, and in very deed has begun to love the creation of the God and Creator of all things, then he will live a gnostic life, as he has become like the Saviour and has attained to a state of continence no longer maintained with difficulty. He has united knowledge, faith, and love. Thenceforth he is one in his judgment and truly spiritual, wholly incapable of thoughts arising from passion and desire, one who is to be made perfect after the image of the Lord by the artist himself, a perfect man, already worthy to be called a brother to the Lord as well as his friend and son. Thus the "two" and the "three" come together into one and the same thing -- a gnostic man.

70. The agreement of many, which is indicated by the number "three," with whom the Lord is present, might also be the one Church, the one man, and the one race. Or could it mean this? The Lord when he gave the law was with the one, that is the Jew. Later when he inspired the prophets and sent Jeremiah to Babylon and, moreover, called believers from the Gentiles by the teaching of the prophets, he brought the two peoples together. And was not the third the one which is made out of the two into a new man in which he walks and dwells, in the Church itself? And the law, the prophets, and also the gospel were brought together in Christ's name into a single knowledge. Accordingly, those who from hatred do not marry or from desire use the flesh as if it were not a matter of right and wrong,6 are not in the number of the saved with whom the Lord is present.


CHAPTER XI
71. The demonstration of these matters being concluded, let us - now quote all the Scriptures which oppose these heretical sophists, and show the right rule of continence that is preserved on grounds of reason. The man of understanding will find out
the particular Scripture which deals with each individual heresy, and at the right time will quote it to refute those who teach doctrines contrary to the commandments. Right from the beginning the law, as we have already said, lays down the command, "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife," long before the Lord's closely similar utterance in the New Testament, -- where the same idea is expressed in his own mouth: "You have heard that the law commanded, Thou shalt not commit adultery. But I say, Thou shalt not lust."9 That the law intended husbands to cohabit with their wives with self-control and only for the purpose of begetting children is evident from the prohibition which forbids the unmarried man from having immediate sexual relations with a captive woman. If the man has conceived a desire for her, he is directed to mourn for thirty days while she is to have her hair cut; if after this the desire has not passed off, then they may proceed to beget children, because the appointed period enables the overwhelming impulse to be tested and to become a rational act of will.
72. For this reason you could not point to any place in Scripture where one of the ancients approached a pregnant woman; later, after the child is born and weaned, you might find that marriage relations of husbands and wives were resumed. You will find that Moses' father kept this principle in mind. After Aaron's birth three years passed before Moses was born. Again, the tribe of Levi observed this law of nature given by God, although they were fewer in number than any others which came into the promised land. For a tribe does not easily grow to great numbers if their men have intercourse only within the legal marriage relationship and then wait until the end not only of pregnancy but also of breast-feeding.

73. It was, therefore, reasonable when Moses in his attempt to bring the Jews to continence by degrees, directed that after sexual intercourse they must abstain for three days before they heard the divine words. "We are God's temples; as the prophet said, I will dwell among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people," if our behaviour conforms to the commandments both as individuals and also as a society, as the Church. "Wherefore come out from among them and be separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing, and I will receive you and be to you a Father, and you shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." Is He prophetically commands us to be separate not from those who are married, as they assert, but from the heathen who are still living in immorality, and also from the heretics we have mentioned, as unclean and godless persons.

74. Hence Paul speaks against people who are like those I have mentioned, saying: "You have then these promises, beloved; let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." "For I am jealous for you with a divine jealousy, for I betrothed you to one husband to present a pure virgin to Christ." The Church cannot marry another, having obtained a bridegroom; but each of us individually has the right to marry the woman he wishes according to the law; I mean here first marriage. "1 am afraid lest, as the serpent in his craftiness deceived Eve, so also your thoughts may be corrupted from the simplicity which is toward Christ," said the apostle as a very careful and conscientious teacher .

75. So also the admirable Peter says: "Beloved, I exhort you as strangers and pilgrims, to abstain from carnal lusts, which war against the soul, and conduct yourselves well among the heathen; for this is the will of God that by doing good you should put to silence the activity of foolish men, as free and not using your freedom as a covering for evil, but as God's slaves." Likewise also Paul in the Epistle to the Romans writes: "We who are dead to sin, how shall we any longer live in it? Because our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed," down to the words, "do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin."

76. While on this point I think I must not commit mention of the fact that the apostle declares that the same God is the God of the law, the prophets, and the gospel. In the Epistle to the Romans he quotes the gospel saying "Thou shalt not lust" as if it were from the law, knowing that it is the one Father who is preached by the law and the prophets. For he says: "What shall we say? Is the law sin? God forbid. I had not known sin except through the law; and I had not known lust unless the law had said, Thou shalt not lust." Even if the heretics who are opposed to the Creator suppose that in the next sentence Paul was speaking against him when he says, "I know that in me, that is in my flesh, there dwells no good thing," yet let them read what precedes and follows this. For before it he says, "But sin which dwells in me," which explains why it was appropriate for him to say, "in my flesh dwells no good thing."

77. In what follows he continues, "But if I do that which I do not wish to do, it is no longer I that do it, but sin which dwells in me," which being at war with the law of God and "of my mind," he says, "makes me captive by the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from this body of death." And again (for he does not be- come in the least weary of being helpful) he does not hesitate to add, "For the law of the Spirit has set me free from the law of sin and death," since by his Son "God condemned sin in the flesh that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit." In addition to this he makes the point still clearer by saying emphatically, "The body is dead because of sin," indicating that if it is not the temple, it is still the tomb of the soul. For when it is dedicated to God, he adds, "the spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, who shall also make alive your mortal bodies through his Spirit dwelling in you."

78. Again his remarks are directed against libertines when he continues as follows: "The mind of the flesh is death because those who live according to the flesh mind the things of the flesh, and the mind of the flesh is enmity against God. For it is not subject to the law of God. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God," not in the sense in which some teach, but in the sense which we have already explained. Then by contrast to this he says to the Church: "But you are not in the flesh but in the spirit, if the Spirit of God dwells in you. If any man has not Christ's Spirit, he is none of his. But if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. So then, brethren, we are under an obligation, not to the flesh to live after the flesh. If you live after the flesh you shall die. But if by the Spirit you mortify the deeds of the body, you shall live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God." And against the "nobility of birth" and the "freedom" abominably taught by the heretics who make a boast of their licentiousness, he goes on to say: "You have not received the spirit of bondage that you should again be in fear, but you have received the spirit of sonship by which we cry, Abba, Father." That is, we have received the Spirit for this purpose, that we may know him to whom we pray, the true Father, the only Father of all that is, him who like a father educates us for salvation and destroys fear.


CHAPTER XII

79. If by agreement marriage relations are suspended for a time to give opportunity for prayer, this teaches continence. He adds the words "by agreement" lest anyone should dissolve his marriage, and the words "for a time" lest a married man, brought to continence by force, should then fall into sin; for if he spares his own wife he may fall into desire for another woman. On this principle he said that the man who thinks he is not behaving properly if he brings up his daughter to be unmarried, does right to give her in marriage. Whether a man becomes a celibate or whether he joins himself in marriage with a woman for the sake of having children, his purpose ought to be to re- main unyielding to what is inferior. If he can live a life of intense devotion, he will gain to himself great merit with God, since his continence is both pure and reasonable. But if he goes be- yond the rule he has chosen to gain greater glory, there is a danger that he may lose hope. Both celibacy and marriage have their own different forms of service and ministry to the Lord; I have in mind the caring for one's wife and children. For it seems that the particular characteristic of the married state is that it gives the man who desires a perfect marriage an opportunity to take responsibility for everything in the home which he shares with his wife. The apostle says that one should appoint bishops who by their oversight over their own house have learned to be in charge of the whole church. Let each man therefore fufil his ministry by the work in which he was called, that he may be free in Christ and receive the proper reward of his ministry.

80. Again when speaking about the law he makes use of an illustration saying: "The married woman is by law bound to her husband while he is alive" and the following words. And again: "The wife is bound to her husband so long as he is alive, but if he dies, she is free to marry, only in the Lord. But she is happier in my judgment if she remains as she is." Moreover in the former passage he says, "You are dead to the law," not to marriage, "that you may belong to another who was raised from the dead," as Bride and Church. The Church must be chaste, both from inward thoughts contrary to the truth and from outward tempters, that is the adherents of the sects who would persuade her to commit fornication against her one husband, Almighty God, lest as the serpent deceived Eve, who is called Life, we too should be led to transgress the commandments by the lewd craftiness of the sects. The second passage teaches single marriage. One should not suppose, as some have expounded the text, that when Paul says the wife is bound to her husband he means that flesh is involved in corruption. He is attacking the notion of the godless men who attribute the invention of marriage directly to the devil, a notion which dangerously blasphemes the lawgiver.

81. I believe Tatian the Syrian made bold to teach these doctrines. At any rate he writes these words in his book On Perfection According to the Saviour: "While agreement to be continent makes prayer possible, intercourse of corruption destroys it. By the very disparaging way in which he allows it, he forbids it. For although he allowed them to come together again because of Satan and the temptation to incontinence, he indicated that the man who takes advantage of this permission will be serving two masters, God if there is 'agreement,' but, if there is no such agreement, incontinence, fornication, and the devil." This he says in expounding the apostle. But he falsifies the truth in that by means of what is true he tries to prove what is untrue. We too confess that incontinence and fornication are diabolical passions, but the agreement of a controlled marriage occupies a middle position. If the married couple agree to be .continent, it helps them to pray; if they agree with reverence to
have sexual relations it leads them to beget children. In fact the right time to procreate is said in Scripture to be knowledge since it says: " And Adam knew his wife Eve, and she conceived and bore a son, and they called him by the name of Seth. For God has raised up for me other seed instead of Abel." You see who is the object of the blasphemy of those who abuse sober marriage and attribute birth to the devil? The Scripture here does not speak simply of a God, but of the God, indicating the Almighty by the addition of the definite article.

82. The point of the apostle's addition " And then come together again because of Satan" is to stop the husband from ever turning aside after other women. A temporary agreement, although for the moment intercourse is not approved, does not mean that the natural instincts are completely removed. Because of them he again restores the marriage bond, not so that husband and wife may be incontinent and fornicate and do the devil's work, but to prevent them from falling into incontinence, fornication, and the devil. Tatian also separates the old man and the new, but not as we understand it. We agree with him that the law is the old man and the gospel the new, and say the same ourselves, but not in the sense in which he takes it since he would do away with the law as originating from another God. But it is the same man and Lord who makes the old new, by no longer allowing several marriages (for at that time God required it when men had to increase and multiply), and by teaching single marriage for the sake of begetting children and looking after domestic affairs, for which purpose woman was given as a "helpmeet." And if from sympathy the apostle allows a man a second marriage because he cannot control himself and burns with passion, he also does not commit any sin according to the Old Testament (for it was not forbidden by the Law), but he does not fulfil the heightened perfection of the gospel ethic. But he gains heavenly glory for himself if he remains as he is, and keeps undefiled the marriage yoke broken by death, and willingly accepts God's purpose for him, by which he has become free from distraction for the service of the Lord. But the providence of God as revealed by the Lord does not order now, as it did in ancient times, that after sexual intercourse a man should wash. For there is no need for the Lord to make believers do this after intercourse since by one Baptism he has washed them clean for every such occasion, as also he has comprehended in one Baptism the many washings of Moses.
83. In ancient times the law directed washing after the emission of the generative seed because it was foretelling our regeneration by speaking of fleshly birth, not because it held human birth to be a defilement. For that which after birth appears as a man is effected by the emission of the seed. It is not frequent intercourse of the parents which produces birth, but the reception of the seed in the womb. In the workshop of nature the seed is transformed into an embryo. How then can marriage be a state only intended for ancient times and an invention of the law, and marriage on Christian principles of a different nature, if we hold that the Old and the New Testaments proclaim the same God? "For what God has joined together no man may ever put asunder" for any good reason; if the Father commanded this, so much the more also will the Son keep it. If the author of the law and the gospel is the same, he never contradicts himself. For there is life in the law in that it is spiritual and is to be gnostically understood. But "we are dead to the law by the body of Christ, that we should belong to an- other, to him who was raised from the dead" and was prophesied by the law: "that we might bear fruit unto God."

84. Therefore "the law is holy and the commandment holy, righteous, and good." We, then, are dead to the law, that is to sin of which the law makes us aware; the law indicates it, it does not give rise to it; by telling us what we ought to do and prohibiting what we ought not to do, the law shows up the sin which lies underneath "that sin may be manifest." But if marriage according to the law is sin, I do not know how anyone can say he knows God when he asserts that the command of God is sin. If the law is holy, marriage is holy. This mystery the apostle refers to Christ and the Church. Just as "that which is born of the flesh is flesh, so that which is born of the spirit is spirit" not only in respect of its birth but also of what is acquired by learning. Thus "the children also are holy," they are well-pleasing to God, in that the Lord's words bring the soul as a bride to God. Fornication and marriage are therefore different things, as far apart as God is from the devil. " And you are dead to the law through the body of Christ so that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead." 1t is to be understood here that you become closely obedient, since it is also according to the truth of the law that we obey the same Lord whose commands are given to us from a distance.

85. And no doubt of such people it is reasonable when, "the Spirit says expressly that in the last times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to spirits of error and the teaching inspired by daemons, through hypocritical sophists who are seated in conscience and forbid marriage, and demand abstinence from foods which God created to be eaten with thanksgiving by believers who know the truth. Everything created by God is good, and none is to be rejected but accepted with thanksgiving. For it is sanctified by the Word of God and by prayer." It necessarily follows, then, that it is wrong to forbid marriage and indeed eating meat or drinking wine. For it is written: "It is good to eat no meat and to drink no wine" if it causes offence to do so, and that it is "good to remain as I am." But both he who eats with thanksgiving and he who does not eat, who also offers thanksgiving and has a continent enjoyment, should live in accordance with reason.

86. In general all the epistles of the apostle teach self-control and continence and contain numerous instructions about marriage, begetting children, and domestic life. But they nowhere rule out self-controlled marriage. Rather they preserve the harmony of the law and the gospel and approve both the man who with thanks to God enters upon marriage with sobriety and the man who in accordance with the Lord's win lives as a celibate, even as each individual is caned, making his choice without blemish and in perfection. "And the land of Jacob was praised above another lands," says the prophet, glorifying the vessel of his Spirit. But a certain man who disparages birth, speaking of it as corrupt and destined for abolition, and does violence to the Scripture, saying that the Lord was referring to procreation in the words that on earth one ought not to "lay up treasure where moth and rust corrupt." And he is not ashamed to add to this the quotation from the prophet: "You all shall wax old like a garment and moth shall eat you." But we do not contradict the Scripture. Our bodies are corruptible and by nature subject to continual change. Perhaps the prophet was foretelling destruction to those whom he was addressing because they were sinners. But the Saviour did not refer to begetting children, but was exhorting those who wished only to possess large wealth and not to help the needy, to share their goods with others.

87. That is why he says: "Work not for the food which perishes, but for that which abides unto eternal life." Similarly they quote the saying: "The children of the age to come neither marry nor are given in marriage." But if anyone thinks care- fully about this question concerning the resurrection of the dead and those who asked it, he will find that the Lord is not rejecting marriage, but ridding their minds of the expectation that in the resurrection there will be carnal desire. The phrase "the children of this age" is not meant to make a contrast with the children of some other age, but is equivalent to saying "those who are born in this age," who are children because of birth; they beget and are begotten since without birth no one will come into this life. But this birth, which must expect a corresponding corruption, no longer awaits him who has once departed from this life. "Your father in heaven is one," but he is also father of all men by creation. "Therefore call no man your father on earth," which is as if he said: Do not reckon him who begat you by fleshly generation to be the cause of your being, but as the one who co-operated in causing your birth, or rather as a subordinate helper to that end.

88. He thus wishes us to turn ourselves again and become as children who have come to know the true Father and are reborn through water by a generation different from birth in the created world. Yes, he says, "the unmarried cares for the things The source of the quotation is unknown; the entire sentence is cited by of the Lord, but he who is married how he can please his wife." What then? Is it not lawful also for those who wish to please their wives according to the will of God to give thanks to God? Is it not allowable for both the married man and his wife to care for things of the Lord together? But just as "the unmarried woman cares for the things of the Lord, .that she may be holy both in body and spirit," so also the married woman cares in the Lord for the things of her husband and the things of the Lord, the one as a wife, the other as a virgin. But to put to shame and to discourage those inclined to contract a second marriage the apostle appropriately uses strong language and says at once: "Every other sin is external to the body, but he who commits fornication sins against his own body."

89. But if anyone dares to call marriage fornication, he again falls into blasphemy against the law and the Lord. For as covetousness is called fornication because it is opposed to contentment with what one possesses, and as idolatry is an abandonment of the one God to embrace many gods, so fornication is apostasy from single marriage to several. For, as we have re- marked, the apostle uses the words fornication and adultery in ; three senses. On this matter the prophet says: "You were sold to your sins." And again: "You were defiled in a foreign land." Here he regards as defilement an association which is bound up with a strange body and not with that which in marriage is bestowed for the purpose of procreation. That is why the apostle ! also says: "I wish then that the younger women marry, bear children, look after their houses, and give the adversary no occasion for abuse; for some have already turned aside after Satan."

90. And indeed he entirely approves of the man who is husband of one wife, whether he be presbyter, deacon, or layman, if he conducts his marriage unblameably. "For he shall be saved by child-bearing." Again when the Saviour calls the Jews "a wicked and adulterous generation" he teaches that they did not know the law as the law intended; by following the tradition of the elders and the commandments of men, they were committing adultery against the law, as they did not accept "the husband and lord of their virginity." But perhaps he also knew that they were enslaved by alien desires, on account of which they were in continual bondage to their sins and were sold to foreigners, since among the Jews at least no public harlots existed and adultery was forbidden. But he who said, "I have married a wife and therefore I cannot come" to the divine supper was an example to convict those who for pleasure's sake were abandoning the divine command; for if this saying is taken otherwise, neither the righteous before the coming of Christ nor those who have married since his coming, even if they be apostles, will be saved. And if they again bring forward the point that the prophet also said, "I have become old among all my enemies," by "enemies" they ought to understand sins. It is not marriage that is a sin but fornication, since otherwise they must say that birth and the creation of birth are sinful.


CHAPTER. XIII

91. Such are the arguments of Julius Casinos, the originator of deceits. At any rate in his book Concerning Continence and Celibacy he says these words: "And let no one say that because we have these parts, that the female body is shaped this way and the male that way, the one to receive, the other to give seed, sexual intercourse is allowed by God. For if this arrangement had been made by God, to whom we seek to attain, he would not have pronounced eunuchs blessed; nor would the prophet have said that they are 'not an unfruitful tree,' using the tree as an illustration of the man who chooses to emasculate himself of any such notion."

92. And striving still further to support his godless opinion he adds: "Could not one rightly find fault with the Saviour if he was responsible for our formation and then delivered us from error and from this use of the generative organs?" In this respect his teaching is the same as Titian’s. But he departed from the school of Valentine. On this account he says: "When Salome ' asked when she would know the answer to her questions, the Lord said, When you trample on the robe of shame, and when the two shall be one, and the male with the female, and there is neither male nor female."

93. In the first place we have not got the saying in the four Gospels that have been handed down to us, but in the Gospel according to the Egyptians. Secondly Cassia seems to me not to know that it refers to wrath in speaking of and to desire in speaking of the female. When these operate, there follow repentance and shame. But when a man gives in neither to wrath nor to desire, both of which increase in consequence of evil habit and upbringing so as to cloud and obscure rational thought, but puts off from him the darkness they cause with penitence and shame, uniting spirit and soul in obedience to the Word, then, as Paul also says, "there is among you neither male nor female." For the soul leaves this physical form in which male and female are distinguished, and being neither the one nor the other changes to unity. But this worthy fellow thinks in Platonic fashion that the soul is of divine origin and, having become female by desire, has come down here from above to birth and corruption.
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CHAPTER XIV
94. He then does violence to Paul, making him hold that birth originated from deceit because he says: "I am afraid lest, as the serpent deceived Eve, your thoughts should be corrupted from the simplicity which is towards Christ." But the Lord, as all agree, came to that which was astray, but it had not strayed from above into earthly birth (for birth is created and the creation of the Almighty who would never bring the soul down from what is good to what is bad). The Saviour came to men who were astray in their thoughts, to us whose minds were corrupted as a result of our disobeying the commandments because we were lovers of pleasure, and perhaps also because the first man of our race did not bide his time, desired the favor of marriage before the proper hour, and fell into sin by not waiting for the time of God's will; "for everyone who looks upon a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery with her."

95. It was the same Lord who at that time also condemned the desire which preceded marriage. When, therefore, the apostle says, "Put on the new man which is created after God," he speaks to us who were formed as we are by the will of the Almighty. In speaking of the old man and the new he is not referring to birth and rebirth respectively, but to manner of life, the one being disobedient, the other obedient. The "coats of skins” in Cassia’s view are bodies. That both he and those who teach the same as he does are wrong here we will show :r when we undertake an explanation of the birth of man :r the necessary preliminary discussion. He further says: The subjects of earthly kings both beget and are born, 'but our citizenship is in heaven, from whence also we look for the Savior. That this remark also is right we recognize, since ought to behave as strangers and pilgrims, if married as though we were not married, if possessing wealth as though we not possess it, if procreating children as giving birth to mortals , as those who are ready to abandon their property, as men ) would even live without a wife if need be, as people who not passionately attached to the created world, but use it with all gratitude and with a sense of exaltation beyond it.
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CHAPTER XV
96. And again when the apostle says, "It is good for a man not to touch a woman; but because of the risk of immorality let man have his own wife," he explains it, as it were, by the further words "lest Satan tempt you." In the phrase "because of continence" he speaks not to those who chastely use marriage for procreation alone, but to those who were desiring to beyond procreation, lest the adversary should raise a stormy and arouse desire for alien pleasures. But perhaps because Satan is zealously hostile to those who live rightly and contends against them, and wishes to bring them over to his own side, he aims to give them occasions for falling by making it difficult for to be continent.
97. Accordingly the apostle rightly says, "It is better to marry :than to burn," that the husband may give to the wife her due he wife to the husband, and that they should not deprive another of help given by divine providence for the purpose of generation. "But whosoever shall not hate father or mother or wife or children," they quote, "cannot be my disciple." This a command to hate one's family. For he says: "Honour thy father and thy mother that it may be well with thee."1s But what he means is this: Do not let yourself be led astray by irrational impulses and have nothing to do with the city customs. For a household consists of a family, and cities of households, as Paul also says of those who are absorbed in marriage that they aim to "please the world." Again the Lord says, "Let not the married person seek a divorce, nor the unmarried person marriage," that is, he who has confessed his intention of being celibate, let him remain unmarried.

98. To both the same Lord gives the corresponding promises by the prophet Isaiah in the following words: "Let not the eunuch say, I am dry wood. To eunuchs the Lord says this, If you keep my sabbaths and do all that I command you, I will give you a place better than sons and daughters." For a eunuch is not justified merely because he is a eunuch, and certainly not because he observes the sabbath, if he does not keep the commandments. And for the married he goes on to say, "My elect shall not labour in vain nor bear children to be accursed; for they are a seed blessed by the Lord." For him who begets children and brings them up and educates them in the Lord, just as for him who begets children by means of the true teaching, a reward is laid up, as also for the elect seed. But others hold that procreation is a curse and do not understand that the Scripture speaks against them. Those who are in truth the Lord's elect neither teach doctrines nor beget children to be accursed, as the sects do.

99. A eunuch, then, does not mean a man who has been castrated, nor even an unmarried man, but a man who is un- productive of truth. Formerly he was "dry wood," but if he obeys the word and observes the sabbaths by abstaining from sins and keeps the commandments, he will be in higher honour that those who are educated in word alone and fail to do what is right. "Little children," says our teacher, "a little while longer I am with you." That is why Paul also instructs the Galatians in these words: "My little children, with whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you." And again he writes to the Corinthians: "For though you may have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you have not many fathers. For in Christ I have begotten you through the gospel." On this account a eunuch shall not enter into God's assembly," that is, the man who is unproductive and unfruitful both in conduct and in word; but blessed are those who have made themselves eunuchs, free from all sin, for the sake of the kingdom of heaven by their abstinence from the world.


CHAPTER XVI

100. When Jeremiah says, Cursed be the day in which I was born, and let it not be longed for," he is not saying simply that birth is accursed, but is in despair at the sins and disobedience of the people. In fact he goes on, "Why was I born to see labour and pain and my days accomplished in shame?" All those who preach the truth are persecuted and in danger because of the disobedience of their hearers. "Why did not my mother's womb become my tomb, that I might not see the distress of Jacob and the toil of the nation of Israel?" says Esdras the prophet. “No one is pure from defilement," says Job, "not even if his life last but one day." Let them tell us how the newly born child could commit fornication, or how that which has done nothing has fallen under the curse of Adam. The only consistent answer for them, it seems, is to say that birth is an evil, not only for the body, but also for the soul for the sake of which the body itself exists. And when David says: “In sin I was born and in unrighteousness my mother conceived me," he says in prophetic manner that Eve is his mother. For Eve became the mother of the living." But if he was conceived in sin, yet he was not himself in sin, nor is he himself sin.

101. But on the question whether everyone who turns from I sin to faith turns from sinful habits to life as though born of a mother, I may call as witness one of the twelve prophets who said:, “Am I to give my firstborn for my impiety, the fruit of my womb for the sin of my soul?" This is not an attack on him who said: "Increase and multiply." Rather he calls the first impulses resulting from birth, by which we do not know God, "impiety." If on this basis anyone maintains that birth is evil, let him also on the same ground hold that it is good, since in it we recognize the truth. "Be sober as is right, .and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God," that is, those who sin. "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against spiritual powers." But "the rulers of darkness" have power to tempt us. That is why concessions are made. Therefore also Paul says: "I buffet my body and bring it into subjection." "For everyone who wishes to take part in a contest is continent in all things" (the words "he is continent in all things" really mean that, though he does not abstain from everything, yet he is self-controlled on such things as he thinks fit). "They do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible," as if we conquer in the struggle, though there is no crown for us if we do not put up any fight at all. There are also some now who rank the widow higher than the virgin in the matter of continence, on the ground that she scorns pleasure of which she has had experience.


CHAPTER XVII

102. If birth is something evil, let the blasphemers say that the Lord who shared in birth was born in evil, and that the virgin gave birth to him in evil. Woe to these wicked fellows! They blaspheme against the will of God and the mystery of creation in speaking evil of birth. This is the ground upon which Docetism is held by Cassian and by Marcion also, and on which even Valentine indeed teaches that Christ's body was "psychic." They say: Man became like the beasts when he came to practice sexual intercourse. But it is when a man in his passion really wants to go to bed with a strange woman that in truth such a man has become a wild beast. "Wild horses were they become, each man whinnied after his neighbour's wife." And if the serpent took the use of intercourse from the irrational animals and persuaded Adam to agree to have sexual union with Eve, as though the couple first created did not have such union by nature, as some think, this again is blasphemy against the creation. For it makes human nature weaker than that of the brute beasts if in this matter those who were first created by God copied them.
103. But if nature led them, like the irrational animals, to procreation, yet they were impelled to do it more quickly than . was proper because they were still young and had been led away by deceit. Thus God's judgment against them was just, because they did not wait for his will. But birth is holy. By it were made the world, the existences, the natures, the angels, powers, souls, the commandments, the law, the gospel, the knowledge of God. And "all flesh is grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withers, the flower falls; but the word of the Lord abides" which anoints the soul and unites it with the spirit. Without the body how could the divine plan for us in the Church achieve its end? Surely the Lord himself, the head of the Church, came in the flesh, though without form and beauty, to teach us to look upon the formless and incorporeal nature of the divine Cause. "For a tree of life" says the prophet, "grows by a good desire," teaching that desires which are in the living Lord are good and pure.

104. Furthermore they wish to maintain that the intercourse of man and wife in marriage, which is called knowledge, is a sin; this sin is referred to as eating of the tree of good and evil, and the phrase "he knew" signifies transgression of the commandment. But if this is so, even knowledge of the truth is eating of the tree of life. It is possible for a sober-minded marriage to partake of that tree. We have already observed that marriage may be used rightly or wrongly; and this is the tree of knowledge, if we do not transgress in marriage. What then? Does not the Saviour who heals the soul also heal the body of its passions? But if the flesh were hostile to the soul, he would not have raised an obstacle to the soul by strengthening with good health the hostile flesh. "This I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God nor corruption incorruption." For sin being corruption cannot have fellowship with incorruption which is righteousness. " Are you so foolish?" he says; "having begun in the Spirit are you now to be made perfect by the flesh."


CHAPTER XVIII
105. Some, then, as we have shown, have tried to go beyond what is right and the concord that marks salvation which is holy
and established. They have blasphemously accepted the ideal of continence for reasons entirely godless. Celibacy may lawfully be chosen according to the sound rule. with godly reasons, provided that the person gives thanks for the grace God has granted, and does not hate the creation' or reckon married people to be of no account. For the world is created: celibacy is also created. Let both give thanks for their appointed state, if they know to what state they are appointed. But others have kicked over the traces and waxed wanton, having become indeed "wild horses who whinny after their neighbour's wives." They have abandoned themselves to lust without restraint and persuade their neighbours to live licentiously; as wretches they follow the Scripture: "Cast your lot in with us; let us all have a common purse and let our moneybag be one."
106. On account of them the same prophet gives us advice saying: "Go not in the way with them, withdraw thy foot from their steps. For not unjustly are nets spread out to catch birds; for they are guilty of bloodshed and treasure up evil for them- selves" -that is, they seek for immorality and teach their neighbours to do the same. According to the prophet they are "fighters struck with their own tails" ( ourai) , to which the Greeks give the name kerkoi. Those to whom the prophecy refers might well be lustful, incontinent, men who fight with their tails, children of darkness and wrath, bloodstained suicides and murderers of their neighbours. "Purify out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump," cries the apostle to us. And again in anger at such people he directs that we should "have no fellowship with anyone called a brother if he is a fornicator or covetous man or idolater or reviler or drunkard or robber; with such a man one ought not even to eat." "For I through the law am dead to the law," he says, "that I may live unto God. I am crucified with Christ; it is no longer I that live," meaning that I used to live according to my lusts, "but Christ lives in me," and I am pure and blessed by obeying the commandments; so that whereas at one time I lived in the flesh carnally, "the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God."

107. "Go into no way of the heathen and enter no city of the Samaritans," says the Lord, to keep us away from society contrary to his will. "For the end of the lawless man is evil. And these are the ways of all those who do lawless deeds." "Woe to that man," the Lord says, "it were well for him if he had never been born, than that he should cause one of my little ones to stumble. It were better for him that a millstone were hung about him and he cast into the sea than that he should pervert one of my elect." "For the name of God is blasphemed because of them." Therefore the apostle nobly says, "1 wrote to you in my letter to have no company with fornicators," as far as the words "but the body is not for fornication but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body." And to show that he does not regard marriage as fornication he goes on: "Do you not know that he Who is joined to a harlot is one body with her?" Or who will assert that before she is married a virgin is a harlot? " And do not deprive one another," he says, "except by agreement for a time," indicating by the word "deprive" the obligation of marriage, procreation, which he has set forth in the preceding pas- sage where he says: "Let the husband give the wife her due and likewise also the wife to the husband."

108. In fulfilling this obligation she is a helpmeet in the house and in Christian faith. And the apostle expresses the same point even more clearly as follows: "To the married I direct, yet not I but the Lord, that the wife be not separated from her husband (and if she is separated, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband) and that the husband should not leave his wife. But to the rest I say, not the Lord: If any brother. ..," 'down to the words "but now are they holy." What have they to say to these words, these people who disparage the law and speak as if marriage were only conceded by the law and is not in accord with the New Testament? What reply to these directions have those who recoil from intercourse and birth? For he also lays down that the bishop who is to rule the Church must be a man who governs his own household well. A household pleasing to the Lord consists of a marriage with one wife.. "To the pure," he says, "all things are pure: but to the defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure, but their mind and conscience are polluted." With reference to illicit indulgence he says: "Make no mistake: neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers nor effeminate men nor homosexuals nor covetous men nor robbers nor drunkards nor revilers nor thieves shall inherit the kingdom of God. And we," who used to indulge in such practices, "have washed ourselves." 'But they have a purification, with a view to committing this immorality; their baptism means passing from se1f-control to fornication. They maintain that one should gratify the lusts and passions, teaching that one must turn from sobriety to be incontinent. They set their hope on their private parts. Thus they shut themselves out of God's kingdom and deprive themselves of enrolment as disciples, and under the name of knowledge, falsely so called, they have taken the road to outer darkness. "For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is holy, whatever is righteous, whatever is pure, whatever is attractive, whatever is well spoken of, whatever is virtuous, and whatever is praiseworthy, think on these things. And whatever you have learnt and received and heard and seen in me, this do. And the God of peace shall be with you."

110. And Peter in his epistle says the same: "So that your faith and hope may be in God, because you have purified your souls in obedience to the truth," ''as obedient children, not behaving after the fashion of the lusts in which in your ignorance you formerly indulged; but as he who has called you is holy, so also must you be holy in all your conduct; as it is written, Be ye holy for I am holy."
But our polemic, though necessary against those who masquerade under the false name of knowledge, has carried us beyond the limit and made our discussion lengthy. Accordingly this is the end of our third miscellany of gnostic notes in accordance with the true philosophy.

BOOK 4

Chapter 1. Order of Contents

It will follow, I think, that I should treat of martyrdom, and of who the perfect man is. With these points shall be included what follows in accordance with the demands of the points to be spoken about, and how both bond and free must equally philosophize, whether male or female in sex. And in the sequel, after finishing what is to be said on faith and inquiry, we shall set forth the department of symbols; so that, on cursorily concluding the discourse on ethics, we shall exhibit the advantage which has accrued to the Greeks from the barbarian philosophy. After which sketch, the brief explanation of the Scriptures both against the Greeks and against the Jews will be presented, and whatever points we were unable to embrace in the previous Miscellanies (through having respect necessarily to the multitude of matters), in accordance with the commencement of the poem, purposing to finish them in one commentary. In addition to these points, afterwards on completing the sketch, as far as we can in accordance with what we propose, we must give an account of the physical doctrines of the Greeks and of the barbarians, respecting elementary principles, as far as their opinions have reached us, and argue against the principal views excogitated by the philosophers.

It will naturally fall after these, after a cursory view of theology, to discuss the opinions handed down respecting prophecy; so that, having demonstrated that the Scriptures which we believe are valid from their omnipotent authority, we shall be able to go over them consecutively, and to show thence to all the heresies one God and Omnipotent Lord to be truly preached by the law and the prophets, and besides by the blessed Gospel. Many contradictions against the heterodox await us while we attempt, in writing, to do away with the force of the allegations made by them, and to persuade them against their will, proving by the Scriptures themselves.

On completing, then, the whole of what we propose in the commentaries, on which, if the Spirit will, we ministering to the urgent need, (for it is exceedingly necessary, before coming to the truth, to embrace what ought to be said by way of preface), shall address ourselves to the true gnostic science of nature, receiving initiation into the minor mysteries before the greater; so that nothing may be in the way of the truly divine declaration of sacred things, the subjects requiring preliminary detail and statement being cleared away, and sketched beforehand. The science of nature, then, or rather observation, as contained in the gnostic tradition according to the rule of the truth, depends on the discussion concerning cosmogony, ascending thence to the department of theology. Whence, then, we shall begin our account of what is handed down, with the creation as related by the prophets, introducing also the tenets of the heterodox, and endeavouring as far as we can to confute them. But it shall be written if God will, and as He inspires; and now we must proceed to what we proposed, and complete the discourse on ethics.

Chapter 2. The Meaning of the Name Stromata or Miscellanies

Let these notes of ours, as we have often said for the sake of those that consult them carelessly and unskilfully, be of varied character— and as the name itself indicates, patched together— passing constantly from one thing to another, and in the series of discussions hinting at one thing and demonstrating another. For those who seek for gold, says Heraclitus, dig much earth and find little gold. But those who are of the truly golden race, in mining for what is allied to them, will find the much in little. For the word will find one to understand it. The Miscellanies of notes contribute, then, to the recollection and expression of truth in the case of him who is able to investigate with reason. And you must prosecute, in addition to these, other labours and researches; since, in the case of people who are setting out on a road with which they are unacquainted, it is sufficient merely to point out the direction. After this they must walk and find out the rest for themselves. As, they say, when a certain slave once asked at the oracle what he should do to please his master, the Pythian priestess replied, You will find if you seek. It is truly a difficult matter, then, as turns out, to find out latent good; since

Before virtue is placed exertion,
And long and steep is the way to it,
And rough at first; but when the summit is reached,
Then is it easy, though difficult [before].

For narrow, in truth, and strait is the way of the Lord. And it is to the violent that the kingdom of God belongs.
Whence, Seek, and you shall find, holding on by the truly royal road, and not deviating. As we might expect, then, the generative power of the seeds of the doctrines comprehended in this treatise is great in small space, as the universal herbage of the field, Job 5:25 as Scripture says. Thus the Miscellanies of notes have their proper title, wonderfully like that ancient oblation culled from all sorts of things of which Sophocles writes:—

For there was a sheep's fleece, and there was a vine,
And a libation, and grapes well stored;
And there was mixed with it fruit of all kinds,
And the fat of the olive, and the most curious
Wax-formed work of the yellow bee.

Just so our Stromata, according to the husbandman of the comic poet Timocles, produce figs, olives, dried figs, honey, as from an all-fruitful field; on account of which exuberance he adds:—

You speak of a harvest-wreath not of husbandry.

For the Athenians were wont to cry:—

The harvest-wreath bears figs and fat loaves,
And honey in a cup, and olive oil to anoint you.

We must then often, as in winnowing sieves, shake and toss up this the great mixture of seeds, in order to separate the wheat.

Chapter 3. The True Excellence of Man

The most of men have a disposition unstable and heedless, like the nature of storms. Want of faith has done many good things, and faith evil things. And Epicharmus says, Don't forget to exercise incredulity; for it is the sinews of the soul. Now, to disbelieve truth brings death, as to believe, life; and again, to believe the lie and to disbelieve the truth hurries to destruction. The same is the case with self-restraint and licentiousness. To restrain one's self from doing good is the work of vice; but to keep from wrong is the beginning of salvation. So the Sabbath, by abstinence from evils, seems to indicate self-restraint. And what, I ask, is it in which man differs from beasts, and the angels of God, on the other hand, are wiser than he? You made him a little lower than the angels. For some do not interpret this Scripture of the Lord, although He also bore flesh, but of the perfect man and the gnostic, inferior in comparison with the angels in time, and by reason of the vesture [of the body]. I call then wisdom nothing but science, since life differs not from life. For to live is common to the mortal nature, that is to man, with that to which has been vouchsafed immortality; as also the faculty of contemplation and of self-restraint, one of the two being more excellent. On this ground Pythagoras seems to me to have said that God alone is wise, since also the apostle writes in the Epistle to the Romans, For the obedience of the faith among all nations, being made known to the only wise God through Jesus Christ; Romans 16:26-27 and that he himself was a philosopher, on account of his friendship with God. Accordingly it is said, God talked with Moses as a friend with a friend. Exodus 33:11 That, then, which is true being clear to God, immediately generates truth. And the gnostic loves the truth. Go, it is said, to the ant, you sluggard, and be the disciple of the bee; thus speaks Solomon. Proverbs 6:6, 8 For if there is one function belonging to the peculiar nature of each creature, alike of the ox, and horse, and dog, what shall we say is the peculiar function of man? He is like, it appears to me, the Centaur, a Thessalian figment, compounded of a rational and irrational part, of soul and body. Well, the body tills the ground, and hastes to it; but the soul is raised to God: trained in the true philosophy, it speeds to its kindred above, turning away from the lusts of the body, and besides these, from toil and fear, although we have shown that patience and fear belong to the good man. For if by the law is the knowledge of sin, Romans 3:20 as those allege who disparage the law, and till the law sin was in the world; Romans 5:13 yet without the law sin was dead, Romans 7:6 we oppose them. For when you take away the cause of fear, sin, you have taken away fear; and much more, punishment, when you have taken away that which gives rise to lust. For the law is not made for the just man, 1 Timothy 1:9 says the Scripture. Well, then, says Heraclitus, They would not have known the name of Justice if these things had not been. And Socrates says, that the law was not made for the sake of the good. But the cavillers did not know even this, as the apostle says, that he who loves his brother works not evil; for this, You shall not kill, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal; and if there be any other commandment, it is comprehended in the word, You shall love your neighbour as yourself. Romans 13:8-10 So also is it said, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and you shall love your neighbour as yourself. Luke 10:27 And if he that loves his neighbour works no evil, and if every commandment is comprehended in this, the loving our neighbour, the commandments, by menacing with fear, work love, not hatred. Wherefore the law is productive of the emotion of fear. So that the law is holy, and in truth spiritual, according to the apostle. We must, then, as is fit, in investigating the nature of the body and the essence of the soul, apprehend the end of each, and not regard death as an evil. For when you were the servants of sin, says the apostle, you were free from righteousness. What fruit did you have in those things in which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now, being made free from sin, and become servants to God, you have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death: but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:20-23 The assertion, then, may be hazarded, that it has been shown that death is the fellowship of the soul in a state of sin with the body; and life the separation from sin. And many are the stakes and ditches of lust which impede us, and the pits of wrath and anger which must be overleaped, and all the machinations we must avoid of those who plot against us—who would no longer see the knowledge of God through a glass.

The half of virtue the far-seeing Zeus takes
From man, when he reduces him to a state of slavery.

As slaves the Scripture views those under sin and sold to sin, the lovers of pleasure and of the body; and beasts rather than men, those who have become like to cattle, horses, neighing after their neighbours' wives. The licentious is the lustful ass, the covetous is the savage wolf, and the deceiver is a serpent. The severance, therefore, of the soul from the body, made a life-long study, produces in the philosopher gnostic alacrity, so that he is easily able to bear natural death, which is the dissolution of the chains which bind the soul to the body. For the world is crucified to me, and I to the world, the [apostle] says; and now I live, though in the flesh, as having my conversation in heaven. Galatians 6:14; Philippians 3:20

Chapter 4. The Praises of Martyrdom

Whence, as is reasonable, the gnostic, when Galled, obeys easily, and gives up his body to him who asks; and, previously divesting himself of the affections of this carcass, not insulting the tempter, but rather, in my opinion, training him and convincing him—

From what honour and what extent of wealth fallen,

as says Empedocles, here for the future he walks with mortals. He, in truth, bears witness to himself that he is faithful and loyal towards God; and to the tempter, that he in vain envied him who is faithful through love; and to the Lord, of the inspired persuasion in reference to His doctrine, from which he will not depart through fear of death; further, he confirms also the truth of preaching by his deed, showing that God to whom he hastes is powerful. You will wonder at his love, which he conspicuously shows with thankfulness, in being united to what is allied to him, and besides by his precious blood, shaming the unbelievers. He then avoids denying Christ through fear by reason of the command; nor does he sell his faith in the hope of the gifts prepared, but in love to the Lord he will most gladly depart from this life; perhaps giving thanks both to him who afforded the cause of his departure hence, and to him who laid the plot against him, for receiving an honourable reason which he himself furnished not, for showing what he is, to him by his patience, and to the Lord in love, by which even before his birth he was manifested to the Lord, who knew the martyr's choice. With good courage, then, he goes to the Lord, his friend, for whom he voluntarily gave his body, and, as his judges hoped, his soul, hearing from our Saviour the words of poetry, Dear brother, by reason of the similarity of his life. We call martyrdom perfection, not because the man comes to the end of his life as others, but because he has exhibited the perfect work of love. And the ancients laud the death of those among the Greeks who died in war, not that they advised people to die a violent death, but because he who ends his life in war is released without the dread of dying, severed from the body without experiencing previous suffering or being enfeebled in his soul, as the people that suffer in diseases. For they depart in a state of effeminacy and desiring to live; and therefore they do not yield up the soul pure, but bearing with it their lusts like weights of lead; all but those who have been conspicuous in virtue. Some die in battle with their lusts, these being in no respect different from what they would have been if they had wasted away by disease.

If the confession to God is martyrdom, each soul which has lived purely in the knowledge of God, which has obeyed the commandments, is a witness both by life and word, in whatever way it may be released from the body—shedding faith as blood along its whole life till its departure. For instance, the Lord says in the Gospel, Whosoever shall leave father, or mother, or brethren, and so forth, for the sake of the Gospel and my name, Matthew 19:29 he is blessed; not indicating simple martyrdom, but the gnostic martyrdom, as of the man who has conducted himself according to the rule of the Gospel, in love to the Lord (for the knowledge of the Name and the understanding of the Gospel point out the gnosis, but not the bare appellation), so as to leave his worldly kindred, and wealth, and every possession, in order to lead a life free from passion. Mother figuratively means country and sustenance; fathers are the laws of civil polity: which must be contemned thankfully by the high-souled just man; for the sake of being the friend of God, and of obtaining the right hand in the holy place, as the Apostles have done.

Then Heraclitus says, Gods and men honour those slain in battle; and Plato in the fifth book of the Republic writes, Of those who die in military service, whoever dies after winning renown, shall we not say that he is chief of the golden race? Most assuredly. But the golden race is with the gods, who are in heaven, in the fixed sphere, who chiefly hold command in the providence exercised towards men. Now some of the heretics who have misunderstood the Lord, have at once an impious and cowardly love of life; saying that the true martyrdom is the knowledge of the only true God (which we also admit), and that the man is a self-murderer and a suicide who makes confession by death; and adducing other similar sophisms of cowardice. To these we shall reply at the proper time; for they differ with us in regard to first principles. Now we, too, say that those who have rushed on death (for there are some, not belonging to us, but sharing the name merely, who are in haste to give themselves up, the poor wretches dying through hatred to the Creator )— these, we say, banish themselves without being martyrs, even though they are punished publicly. For they do not preserve the characteristic mark of believing martyrdom, inasmuch as they have not known the only true God, but give themselves up to a vain death, as the Gymnosophists of the Indians to useless fire.

But since these falsely named calumniate the body, let them learn that the harmonious mechanism of the body contributes to the understanding which leads to goodness of nature. Wherefore in the third book of the Republic, Plato, whom they appeal to loudly as an authority that disparages generation, says, that for the sake of harmony of soul, care must be taken for the body, by which, he who announces the proclamation of the truth, finds it possible to live, and to live well. For it is by the path of life and health that we learn gnosis. But is he who cannot advance to the height without being occupied with necessary things, and through them doing what tends to knowledge, not to choose to live well? In living, then, living well is secured. And he who in the body has devoted himself to a good life, is being sent on to the state of immortality.

Chapter 5. On Contempt for Pain, Poverty, and Other External Things

Fit objects for admiration are the Stoics, who say that the soul is not affected by the body, either to vice by disease, or to virtue by health; but both these things, they say, are indifferent. And indeed Job, through exceeding continence, and excellence of faith, when from rich he became poor, from being held in honour dishonoured, from being comely unsightly, and sick from being healthy, is depicted as a good example, putting the Tempter to shame, blessing his Creator; bearing what came second, as the first, and most clearly teaching that it is possible for the gnostic to make an excellent use of all circumstances. And that ancient achievements are proposed as images for our correction, the apostle shows, when he says, So that my bonds in Christ have become manifest in all the palace, and to all the rest; and several of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word of God without fear, Philippians 1:13-14 — since martyrs' testimonies are examples of conversion gloriously sanctified. For what things the Scripture speaks were written for our instruction, that we, through patience and the consolation of the Scriptures, might have the hope of consolation. Romans 15:4 When pain is present, the soul appears to decline from it, and to deem release from present pain a precious thing. At that moment it slackens from studies, when the other virtues also are neglected. And yet we do not say that it is virtue itself which suffers, for virtue is not affected by disease. But he who is partaker of both, of virtue and the disease, is afflicted by the pressure of the latter; and if he who has not yet attained the habit of self-command be not a high-souled man, he is distraught; and the inability to endure it is found equivalent to fleeing from it.

The same holds good also in the case of poverty. For it compels the soul to desist from necessary things, I mean contemplation and from pure sinlessness, forcing him, who has not wholly dedicated himself to God in love, to occupy himself about provisions; as, again, health and abundance of necessaries keep the soul free and unimpeded, and capable of making a good use of what is at hand. For, says the apostle, such shall have trouble in the flesh. But I spare you. For I would have you without anxiety, in order to decorum and assiduity for the Lord, without distraction.
These things, then, are to be abstained from, not for their own sakes, but for the sake of the body; and care for the body is exercised for the sake of the soul, to which it has reference. For on this account it is necessary for the man who lives as a gnostic to know what is suitable. Since the fact that pleasure is not a good thing is admitted from the fact that certain pleasures are evil, by this reason good appears evil, and evil good. And then, if we choose some pleasures and shun others, it is not every pleasure that is a good thing.

Similarly, also, the same rule holds with pains, some of which we endure, and others we shun. But choice and avoidance are exercised according to knowledge; so that it is not pleasure that is the good thing, but knowledge by which we shall choose a pleasure at a certain time, and of a certain kind. Now the martyr chooses the pleasure that exists in prospect through the present pain. If pain is conceived as existing in thirst, and pleasure in drinking, the pain that has preceded becomes the efficient cause of pleasure. But evil cannot be the efficient cause of good. Neither, then, is the one thing nor the other evil. Simonides accordingly (as also Aristotle) writes, that to be in good health is the best thing, and the second best thing is to be handsome, and the third best thing is to be rich without cheating.

And Theognis of Megara says:—

You must, to escape poverty, throw
Yourself, O Cyrnus down from
The steep rocks into the deep sea.

On the other hand, Antiphanes, the comic poet, says, Plutus (Wealth), when it has taken hold of those who see better than others, makes them blind. Now by the poets he is proclaimed as blind from his birth:—

And brought him forth blind who saw not the sun.

Says the Chalcidian Euphorion:—

Riches, then, and extravagant luxuries,
Were for men the worst training for manliness.

Wrote Euripides in Alexander:—

And it is said,
Penury has attained wisdom through misfortune;
But much wealth will capture not
Sparta alone, but every city.

It is not then the only coin that mortals have, that which is white silver or golden, but virtue too, as Sophocles says.

Chapter 6. Some Points in the Beatitudes

Our holy Saviour applied poverty and riches, and the like, both to spiritual things and objects of sense. For when He said, Blessed are they that are persecuted for righteousness' sake, Matthew 5:10 He clearly taught us in every circumstance to seek for the martyr who, if poor for righteousness' sake, witnesses that the righteousness which he loves is a good thing; and if he hunger and thirst for righteousness' sake, testifies that righteousness is the best thing. Likewise he, that weeps and mourns for righteousness' sake, testifies to the best law that it is beautiful. As, then, those that are persecuted, so also those that hunger and thirst for righteousness' sake, are called blessed by Him who approves of the true desire, which not even famine can put a stop to. And if they hunger after righteousness itself, they are blessed. And blessed are the poor, whether in spirit or in circumstance— that is, if for righteousness' sake. It is not the poor simply, but those that have wished to become poor for righteousness' sake, that He pronounces blessed— those who have despised the honours of this world in order to attain the good; likewise also those who, through chastity, have become comely in person and character, and those who are of noble birth, and honourable, having through righteousness attained to adoption, and therefore have received power to become the sons of God, John 1:12 and to tread on serpents and scorpions, and to rule over demons and the host of the adversary. Luke 10:19 And, in fine, the Lord's discipline draws the soul away gladly from the body, even if it wrench itself away in its removal. For he that loves his life shall lose it, and he that loses his life shall find it, if we only join that which is mortal of us with the immortality of God. It is the will of God [that we should attain] the knowledge of God, which is the communication of immortality. He therefore, who, in accordance with the word of repentance, knows his life to be sinful will lose it— losing it from sin, from which it is wrenched; but losing it, will find it, according to the obedience which lives again to faith, but dies to sin. This, then, is what it is to find one's life, to know one's self.

The conversion, however, which leads to divine things, the Stoics say, is affected by a change, the soul being changed to wisdom. And Plato: On the soul taking a turn to what is better, and a change from a kind of nocturnal day. Now the philosophers also allow the good man an exit from life in accordance with reason, in the case of one depriving him of active exertion, so that the hope of action is no longer left him. And the judge who compels us to deny Him whom we love, I regard as showing who is and who is not the friend of God. In that case there is not left ground for even examining what one prefers— the menaces of man or the love of God. And abstinence from vicious acts is found, somehow, [to result in] the diminution and extinction of vicious propensities, their energy being destroyed by inaction. And this is the import of Sell what you have, and give to the poor, and come, follow Me Matthew 19:21 — that is, follow what is said by the Lord. Some say that by what you have He designated the things in the soul, of a nature not akin to it, though how these are bestowed on the poor they are not able to say. For God dispenses to all according to desert, His distribution being righteous. Despising, therefore, the possessions which God apportions to you in your magnificence, comply with what is spoken by me; haste to the ascent of the Spirit, being not only justified by abstinence from what is evil, but in addition also perfected, by Christlike beneficence. In this instance He convicted the man, who boasted that he had fulfilled the injunctions of the law, of not loving his neighbour; and it is by beneficence that the love which, according to the gnostic ascending scale, is Lord of the Sabbath, proclaims itself. We must then, according to my view, have recourse to the word of salvation neither from fear of punishment nor promise of a gift, but on account of the good itself. Such, as do so, stand on the right hand of the sanctuary; but those who think that by the gift of what is perishable they shall receive in exchange what belongs to immortality are in the parable of the two brothers called hirelings. And is there not some light thrown here on the expression in the likeness and image, in the fact that some live according to the likeness of Christ, while those who stand on the left hand live according to their image? There are then two things proceeding from the truth, one root lying beneath both—the choice being, however, not equal, or rather the difference that is in the choice not being equal. To choose by way of imitation differs, as appears to me, from the choice of him who chooses according to knowledge, as that which is set on fire differs from that which is illuminated. Israel, then, is the light of the likeness which is according to the Scripture. But the image is another thing. What means the parable of Lazarus, by showing the image of the rich and poor? And what the saying, No man can serve two masters, God and Mammon?— the Lord so terming the love of money. For instance, the covetous, who were invited, responded not to the invitation to the supper, not because of their possessing property, but of their inordinate affection to what they possessed. The foxes, then, have holes. He called those evil and earthly men who are occupied about the wealth which is mined and dug from the ground, foxes. Thus also, in reference to Herod: Go, tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected. Luke 13:32 For He applied the name fowls of the air to those who were distinct from the other birds— those really pure, those that have the power of flying to the knowledge of the heavenly Word. For not riches only, but also honour, and marriage, and poverty, have ten thousand cares for him who is unfit for them. And those cares He indicated in the parable of the fourfold seed, when He said that the seed of the word which fell unto the thorns and hedges was choked by them, and could not bring forth fruit. It is therefore necessary to learn how to make use of every occurrence, so as by a good life, according to knowledge, to be trained for the state of eternal life. For it said, I saw the wicked exalted and towering as the cedars of Lebanon; and I passed, says the Scripture, and, lo, he was not; and I sought him, and his place was not found. Keep innocence, and look on uprightness: for there is a remnant to the man of peace. Such will he be who believes unfeignedly with his whole heart, and is tranquil in his whole soul. For the different people honour me with their lips, but their heart is far from the Lord. They bless with their mouth, but they curse in their heart. They loved Him with their mouth, and lied to Him with their tongue; but their heart was not right with Him, and they were not faithful to His covenant. Wherefore let the false lips become speechless, and let the Lord destroy the boastful tongue: those who say, We shall magnify our tongue, and our lips are our own; who is Lord over us? For the affliction of the poor and the groaning of the needy now will I arise, says the Lord; I will set him in safety; I will speak out in his case. For it is to the humble that Christ belongs, who do not exalt themselves against His flock. Lay not up for yourselves, therefore, treasures on the earth, where moth and rust destroy, and thieves break through and steal, Matthew 6:19 says the Lord, in reproach perchance of the covetous, and perchance also of those who are simply anxious and full of cares, and those too who indulge their bodies. For amours, and diseases, and evil thoughts break through the mind and the whole man. But our true treasure is where what is allied to our mind is, since it bestows the communicative power of righteousness, showing that we must assign to the habit of our old conversation what we have acquired by it, and have recourse to God, beseeching mercy. He is, in truth, the bag that waxes not old, the provisions of eternal life, the treasure that fails not in heaven. Luke 12:33 For I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, Romans 9:15 says the Lord. And they say those things to those who wish to be poor for righteousness' sake. For they have heard in the commandment that the broad and wide way leads to destruction, and many there are who go in by it. Matthew 7:13 It is not of anything else that the assertion is made, but of profligacy, and love of women, and love of glory, and ambition, and similar passions. For so He says, Fool, this night shall your soul be required of you; and whose shall those things be which you have prepared? Luke 12:20 And the commandment is expressed in these very words, Take heed, therefore, of covetousness. For a man's life does not consist in the abundance of those things which he possesses. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? Matthew 16:26 Wherefore I say, Take no thought for your life, what you shall eat; neither for your body, what you shall put on. For your life is more than meat, and your body than raiment. Matthew 6:31; Luke 12:22-23 And again, For your Father knows that you have need of all these things. But seek first the kingdom of heaven, and its righteousness, for these are the great things, and the things which are small and appertain to this life shall be added to you. Matthew 6:32-33; Luke 12:30-31 Does He not plainly then exhort us to follow the gnostic life, and enjoin us to seek the truth in word and deed? Therefore Christ, who trains the soul, reckons one rich, not by his gifts, but by his choice. It is said, therefore, that Zaccheus, or, according to some, Matthew, the chief of the publicans, on hearing that the Lord had deigned to come to him, said, Lord, and if I have taken anything by false accusation, I restore him fourfold; on which the Saviour said, The Son of man, on coming today, has found that which was lost. Again, on seeing the rich cast into the treasury according to their wealth, and the widow two mites, He said that the widow had cast in more than they all, for they had contributed of their abundance, but she of her destitution. And because He brought all things to bear on the discipline of the soul, He said, Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Matthew 5:5 And the meek are those who have quelled the battle of unbelief in the soul, the battle of wrath, and lust, and the other forms that are subject to them. And He praises those meek by choice, not by necessity. For there are with the Lord both rewards and many mansions, corresponding to men's lives. Whosoever shall receive, says He, a prophet in the name of a prophet, shall receive a prophet's reward; and whosoever shall receive a righteous man in the name of a righteous man, shall receive a righteous man's reward; and whoso shall receive one of the least of these my disciples, shall not lose his reward. Matthew 10:41-42 And again, the differences of virtue according to merit, and the noble rewards, He indicated by the hours unequal in number; and in addition, by the equal reward given to each of the labourers— that is, salvation, which is meant by the penny— He indicated the equality of justice; and the difference of those called He intimated, by those who worked for unequal portions of time. They shall work, therefore, in accordance with the appropriate mansions of which they have been deemed worthy as rewards, being fellow-workers in the ineffable administration and service. Those, then, says Plato, who seem called to a holy life, are those who, freed and released from those earthly localities as from prisons, have reached the pure dwelling-place on high. In clearer terms again he expresses the same thing: Those who by philosophy have been sufficiently purged from those things, live without bodies entirely for all time. Although they are enveloped in certain shapes; in the case of some, of air, and others, of fire. He adds further: And they reach abodes fairer than those, which it is not easy, nor is there sufficient time now to describe. Whence with reason, blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted; Matthew 5:4 for they who have repented of their former evil life shall attain to the calling (κλῆσιν), for this is the meaning of being comforted (παρακληθῆναι). And there are two styles of penitents. That which is more common is fear on account of what is done; but the other which is more special, the shame which the spirit feels in itself arising from conscience. Whether then, here or elsewhere (for no place is devoid of the beneficence of God), He again says, Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. And mercy is not, as some of the philosophers have imagined, pain on account of others' calamities, but rather something good, as the prophets say. For it is said, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice. And He means by the merciful, not only those who do acts of mercy, but those who wish to do them, though they be not able; who do as far as purpose is concerned. For sometimes we wish by the gift of money or by personal effort to do mercy, as to assist one in want, or help one who is sick, or stand by one who is in any emergency; and are not able either from poverty, or disease, or old age (for this also is natural disease), to carry out our purpose, in reference to the things to which we are impelled, being unable to conduct them to the end we wished. Those, who have entertained the wish whose purpose is equal, share in the same honour with those who have the ability, although others have the advantage in point of resources. And since there are two paths of reaching the perfection of salvation, works and knowledge, He called the pure in heart blessed, for they shall see God. And if we really look to the truth of the matter, knowledge is the purification of the leading faculty of the soul, and is a good activity. Some things accordingly are good in themselves, and others by participation in what is good, as we say good actions are good. But without things intermediate which hold the place of material, neither good nor bad actions are constituted, such I mean as life, and health, and other necessary things or circumstantials. Pure then as respects corporeal lusts, and pure in respect of holy thoughts, he means those are, who attain to the knowledge of God, when the chief faculty of the soul has nothing spurious to stand in the way of its power. When, therefore, he who partakes gnostically of this holy quality devotes himself to contemplation, communing in purity with the divine, he enters more nearly into the state of impassible identity, so as no longer to have science and possess knowledge, but to be science and knowledge.

Blessed, then, are the peacemakers, who have subdued and tamed the law which wars against the disposition of the mind, the menaces of anger, and the baits of lust, and the other passions which war against the reason; who, having lived in the knowledge both of good works and true reason, shall be reinstated in adoption, which is dearer. It follows that the perfect peacemaking is that which keeps unchanged in all circumstances what is peaceful; calls Providence holy and good; and has its being in the knowledge of divine and human affairs, by which it deems the opposites that are in the world to be the fairest harmony of creation. They also are peacemakers, who teach those who war against the stratagems of sin to have recourse to faith and peace. And it is the sum of all virtue, in my opinion, when the Lord teaches us that for love to God we must gnostically despise death. Blessed are they, says He, who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for they shall be called the sons of God; Matthew 5:10 or, as some of those who transpose the Gospels say, Blessed are they who are persecuted by righteousness, for they shall be perfect. And, Blessed are they who are persecuted for my sake; for they shall have a place where they shall not be persecuted. And, Blessed are you when men shall hate you, when they shall separate you, when they shall cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake; Luke 6:22 if we do not detest our persecutors, and undergo punishments at their hands, not hating them under the idea that we have been put to trial more tardily than we looked for; but knowing this also, that every instance of trial is an occasion for testifying.

Chapter 7. The Blessedness of the Martyr

Then he who has lied and shown himself unfaithful, and revolted to the devil's army, in what evil do we think him to be? He belies, therefore, the Lord, or rather he is cheated of his own hope who believes not God; and he believes not who does not what He has commanded.

And what? Does not he, who denies the Lord, deny himself? For does he not rob his Master of His authority, who deprives himself of his relation to Him? He, then, who denies the Saviour, denies life; for the light was life. John 1:4 He does not term those men of little faith, but faithless and hypocrites, Matthew 6:30 who have the name inscribed on them, but deny that they are really believers. But the faithful is called both servant and friend. So that if one loves himself, he loves the Lord, and confesses to salvation that he may save his soul. Though you die for your neighbour out of love, and regard the Saviour as our neighbour (for God who saves is said to be near in respect to what is saved); you do so, choosing death on account of life, and suffering for your own sake rather than his. And is it not for this that he is called brother? He who, suffering out of love to God, suffered for his own salvation; while he, on the other hand, who dies for his own salvation, endures for love to the Lord. For he being life, in what he suffered wished to suffer that we might live by his suffering.

Why do you call me Lord, Lord, He says, and do not the things which I say? Luke 6:46 For the people that loves with their lips, but have their heart far away from the Lord, Isaiah 29:15 is another people, and trust in another, and have willingly sold themselves to another; but those who perform the commandments of the Lord, in every action testify, by doing what He wishes, and consistently naming the Lord's name; and testifying by deed to Him in whom they trust, that they are those who have crucified the flesh, with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Galatians 5:24-25 He that sows to his flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that sows to the Spirit, shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. Galatians 6:8

But to those miserable men, witness to the Lord by blood seems a most violent death, not knowing that such a gate of death is the beginning of the true life; and they will understand neither the honours after death, which belong to those who have lived holily, nor the punishments of those who have lived unrighteously and impurely. I do not say only from our Scriptures (for almost all the commandments indicate them); but they will not even hear their own discourses. For the Pythagorean Theano writes, Life were indeed a feast to the wicked, who, having done evil, then die; were not the soul immortal, death would be a godsend. And Plato in the Phædo, For if death were release from everything, and so forth. We are not then to think according to the Telephus of Æschylus, that a single path leads to Hades. The ways are many, and the sins that lead there. Such deeply erring ones as the unfaithful are, Aristophanes properly makes the subjects of comedy. Come, he says, you men of obscure life, you that are like the race of leaves, feeble, wax figures, shadowy tribes, evanescent, fleeting, ephemeral. And Epicharmus, This nature of men is inflated skins. And the Saviour has said to us, The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. Matthew 26:41 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God, explains the apostle: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed, can be. And they that are in the flesh cannot please God. And in further explanation continues, that no one may, like Marcion regard the creature as evil. But if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. And again: For if you live after the flesh, you shall die. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory which shall be revealed in us. If we suffer with Him, that we also may be glorified together as joint-heirs of Christ. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are called according to the purpose. For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren. And whom He did predestinate, them He also called; and whom He called, them He also justified; and whom He justified, them He also glorified.
You see that martyrdom for love's sake is taught. And should you wish to be a martyr for the recompense of advantages, you shall hear again. For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man sees, why does he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. Romans 7:24-25 But if we also suffer for righteousness' sake, says Peter, blessed are we. Be not afraid of their fear, neither be troubled. But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to him that asks a reason of the hope that is in you, but with meekness and fear, having a good conscience; so that in reference to that for which you are spoken against, they may be ashamed who calumniate your good conversation in Christ. For it is better to suffer for well-doing, if the will of God, than for evil-doing. But if one should captiously say, And how is it possible for feeble flesh to resist the energies and spirits of the Powers? well, let him know this, that, confiding in the Almighty and the Lord, we war against the principalities of darkness, and against death. Whilst you are yet speaking, He says, Lo, here am I. See the invincible Helper who shields us. Think it not strange, therefore, concerning the burning sent for your trial, as though some strange thing happened to you; But, as you are partaken in the sufferings of Christ, rejoice; that at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice exultant. If you be reproached in the name of Christ, happy are you; for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. As it is written, Because for Your sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors, through Him that loved us. Romans 8:36-37

What you wish to ascertain from my mind,
You shall not ascertain, not were you to apply
Horrid saws from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet,
Not were you to load me with chains,

says a woman acting manfully in the tragedy. And Antigone, contemning the proclamation of Creon, says boldly:—

It was not Zeus who uttered this proclamation.

But it is God that makes proclamation to us, and He must be believed. For with the heart man believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Wherefore the Scripture says, Whosoever believes in Him shall not be put to shame. Romans 10:10-11 Accordingly Simonides justly writes, It is said that virtue dwells among all but inaccessible rocks, but that she speedily traverses a pure place. Nor is she visible to the eyes of all mortals. He who is not penetrated by heart-vexing sweat will not scale the summit of manliness. And Pindar says:—

But the anxious thoughts of youths, revolving with toils,
Will find glory: and in time their deeds
Will in resplendent ether splendid shine.

Æschylus, too, having grasped this thought, says:—

To him who toils is due,
As product of his toil, glory from the gods.

For great Fates attain great destinies, according to Heraclitus:—

And what slave is there, who is careless of death?

For God has not given us the spirit of bondage again to fear; but of power, and love, and of a sound mind. Be not therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, or of me his prisoner, he writes to Timothy. 2 Timothy 1:7-8; Romans 8:15 Such shall he be who cleaves to that which is good, according to the apostle, Romans 12:9 who hates evil, having love unfeigned; for he that loves another fulfills the law. Romans 13:8 If, then, this God, to whom we bear witness, be as He is, the God of hope, we acknowledge our hope, speeding on to hope, saturated with goodness, filled with all knowledge.
The Indian sages say to Alexander of Macedon: You transport men's bodies from place to place. But you shall not force our souls to do what we do not wish. Fire is to men the greatest torture, this we despise. Hence Heraclitus preferred one thing, glory, to all else; and professes that he allows the crowd to stuff themselves to satiety like cattle.

For on account of the body are many toils,
For it we have invented a roofed house,
And discovered how to dig up silver, and sow the land,
And all the rest which we know by names.

To the multitude, then, this vain labour is desirable. But to us the apostle says, Now we know this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. Romans 6:6 Does not the apostle then plainly add the following, to show the contempt for faith in the case of the multitude? For I think that God has set forth us the apostles last, as appointed to death: we are made a spectacle to the world, and to angels, and to men. Up to this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are beaten, and are feeble, and labour, working with our hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure; being defamed, we entreat; we have become as it were the offscourings of the world. Such also are the words of Plato in the Republic: The just man, though stretched on the rack, though his eyes are dug out, will be happy. The Gnostic will never then have the chief end placed in life, but in being always happy and blessed, and a kingly friend of God. Although visited with ignominy and exile, and confiscation, and above all, death, he will never be wrenched from his freedom, and signal love to God. The charity which bears all things, endures all things, 1 Corinthians 13:7 is assured that Divine Providence orders all things well. I exhort you, therefore it is said, Be followers of me. The first step to salvation is the instruction accompanied with fear, in consequence of which we abstain from what is wrong; and the second is hope, by reason of which we desire the best things; but love, as is fitting, perfects, by training now according to knowledge. For the Greeks, I know not how, attributing events to unreasoning necessity, own that they yield to them unwillingly. Accordingly Euripides says:—

What I declare, receive from me, madam:
No mortal exists who has not toil;
He buries children, and begets others,
And he himself dies. And thus mortals are afflicted.

Then he adds:—

We must bear those things which are inevitable according to nature, and go through them:
Not one of the things which are necessary is formidable for mortals.

And for those who are aiming at perfection there is proposed the rational gnosis, the foundation of which is the sacred Triad. Faith, hope, love; but the greatest of these is love. Truly, all things are lawful, but all things are not expedient, says the apostle: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not. 1 Corinthians 10:23 And, Let no one seek his own advantage, but also that of his neighbour, 1 Corinthians 10:24 so as to be able at once to do and to teach, building and building up. For that the earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof, is admitted; but the conscience of the weak is supported. Conscience, I say, not his own, but that of the other; for why is my liberty judged of by another conscience? For if I by grace am partaker, why am I evil spoken of for that for which I give thanks? Whether therefore you eat, or drink, or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God. For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh; for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the demolition of fortifications, demolishing thoughts, and every high thing which exalts itself against the knowledge of Christ. Equipped with these weapons, the Gnostic says: O Lord, give opportunity, and receive demonstration; let this dread event pass; I contemn dangers for the love I bear to You.

Because alone of human things
Virtue receives not a recompense from without,
But has itself as the reward of its toils.

Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness, meekness, long-suffering. And above all these, love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God reign in your hearts, to which also you are called in one body; and be thankful, you who, while still in the body, like the just men of old, enjoy impassibility and tranquillity of soul.

Chapter 8. Women as Well as Men, Slaves as Well as Freemen, Candidates for the Martyr's Crown

Since, then, not only the Æsopians, and Macedonians, and the Lacedæmonians endured when subjected to torture, as Eratosthenes says in his work, On Things Good and Evil; but also Zeno of Elea, when subjected to compulsion to divulge a secret, held out against the tortures, and confessed nothing; who, when expiring, bit out his tongue and spat it at the tyrant, whom some term Nearchus, and some Demulus. Theodotus the Pythagorean acted also similarly, and Paulus the friend of Lacydes, as Timotheus of Pergamus says in his work on The Fortitude of Philosophers, and Achaicus in The Ethics. Posthumus also, the Roman, when captured by Peucetion, did not divulge a single secret; but putting his hand on the fire, held it to it as if to a piece of brass, without moving a muscle of his face. I omit the case of Anaxarchus, who exclaimed, Pound away at the sack which holds Anaxarchus, for it is not Anaxarchus you are pounding, when by the tyrant's orders he was being pounded with iron pestles. Neither, then, the hope of happiness nor the love of God takes what befalls ill, but remains free, although thrown among the wildest beasts or into the all-devouring fire; though racked with a tyrant's tortures. Depending as it does on the divine favour, it ascends aloft unenslaved, surrendering the body to those who can touch it alone. A barbarous nation, not cumbered with philosophy, select, it is said, annually an ambassador to the hero Zamolxis. Zamolxis was one of the disciples of Pythagoras. The one, then, who is judged of the most sterling worth is put to death, to the distress of those who have practiced philosophy, but have not been selected, at being reckoned unworthy of a happy service.

So the Church is full of those, as well chaste women as men, who all their life have contemplated the death which rouses up to Christ. For the individual whose life is framed as ours is, may philosophize without Learning, whether barbarian, whether Greek, whether slave— whether an old man, or a boy, or a woman. For self-control is common to all human beings who have made choice of it. And we admit that the same nature exists in every race, and the same virtue. As far as respects human nature, the woman does not possess one nature, and the man exhibit another, but the same: so also with virtue. If, consequently, a self-restraint and righteousness, and whatever qualities are regarded as following them, is the virtue of the male, it belongs to the male alone to be virtuous, and to the woman to be licentious and unjust. But it is offensive even to say this. Accordingly woman is to practice self-restraint and righteousness, and every other virtue, as well as man, both bond and free; since it is a fit consequence that the same nature possesses one and the same virtue. We do not say that woman's nature is the same as man's, as she is woman. For undoubtedly it stands to reason that some difference should exist between each of them, in virtue of which one is male and the other female. Pregnancy and parturition, accordingly, we say belong to woman, as she is woman, and not as she is a human being. But if there were no difference between man and woman, both would do and suffer the same things. As then there is sameness, as far as respects the soul, she will attain to the same virtue; but as there is difference as respects the peculiar construction of the body, she is destined for child-bearing and housekeeping. For I would have you know, says the apostle, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man: for the man is not of the woman, but the woman of the man. For neither is the woman without the man, nor the man without the woman, in the Lord. For as we say that the man ought to be continent, and superior to pleasures; so also we reckon that the woman should be continent and practiced in fighting against pleasures. But I say, Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh, counsels the apostolic command; for the flesh lusts against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh. These, then, are contrary (not as good to evil, but as fighting advantageously), he adds therefore, so that you cannot do the things that you would. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are, fornication uncleanness, profligacy, idolatry, witchcrafts, enmities, strifes, jealousies, wrath, contentions, dissensions, heresies, envyings, drunkenness, revellings, and such like; of which I tell you before, as I have also said before, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, temperance, goodness, faith, meekness. He calls sinners, as I think, flesh, and the righteous spirit. Further, manliness is to be assumed in order to produce confidence and forbearance, so as to him that strikes on the one cheek, to give to him the other; and to him that takes away the cloak, to yield to him the coat also, strongly, restraining anger. For we do not train our women like Amazons to manliness in war; since we wish the men even to be peaceable. I hear that the Sarmatian women practice war no less than the men; and the women of the Sacæ besides, who shoot backwards, feigning flight as well as the men. I am aware, too, that the women near Iberia practice manly work and toil, not refraining from their tasks even though near their delivery; but even in the very struggle of her pains, the woman, on being delivered, taking up the infant, carries it home. Further, the females no less than the males manage the house, and hunt, and keep the flocks:—

Cressa the hound ran keenly in the stag's track.

Women are therefore to philosophize equally with men, though the males are preferable at everything, unless they have become effeminate. To the whole human race, then, discipline and virtue are a necessity, if they would pursue after happiness. And how recklessly Euripides writes sometimes this and sometimes that! On one occasion, For every wife is inferior to her husband, though the most excellent one marry her that is of fair fame. And on another:—

For the chaste is her husband's slave,
While she that is unchaste in her folly despises her consort.
. . . . For nothing is better and more excellent,
Than when as husband and wife you keep house,
Harmonious in your sentiments.

The ruling power is therefore the head. And if the Lord is head of the man, and the man is head of the woman, the man, being the image and glory of God, is lord of the woman. Wherefore also in the Epistle to the Ephesians it is written, Subjecting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is the head of the Church; and He is the Saviour of the body. Husbands, love your wives, as also Christ loved the Church. So also ought men to love their wives as their own bodies: he that loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh. Ephesians 5:21-29 And in that to the Colossians it is said, Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands, as is fit in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them. Children, obey your parents in all things; for this is well pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged. Servants, be obedient in all things to those who are your masters according to the flesh; not with eye-service, as men-pleasers; but with singleness of heart, fearing the Lord. And whatsoever you do, do it heartily, as serving the Lord and not men; knowing that of the Lord you shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for you serve the Lord Christ. For the wrongdoer shall receive the wrong, which he has done; and there is no respect of persons. Masters, render to your servants justice and equity; knowing that you also have a Master in heaven, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bond, free: but Christ is all, and in all. And the earthly Church is the image of the heavenly, as we pray also that the will of God may be done upon the earth as in heaven. Matthew 6:10 Putting on, therefore, bowels of mercy, gentleness, humbleness, meekness, long-suffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if one have a quarrel against any man; as also Christ has forgiven us, so also let us. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which you are called in one body; and be thankful. For there is no obstacle to adducing frequently the same Scripture in order to put Marcion to the blush, if perchance he be persuaded and converted; by learning that the faithful ought to be grateful to God the Creator, who has called us, and who preached the Gospel in the body. From these considerations the unity of the faith is clear, and it is shown who is the perfect man; so that though some are reluctant, and offer as much resistance as they can, though menaced with punishments at the hand of husband or master, both the domestic and the wife will philosophize. Moreover, the free, though threatened with death at a tyrant's hands, and brought before the tribunals, and all his substances imperilled, will by no means abandon piety; nor will the wife who dwells with a wicked husband, or the son if he has a bad father, or the domestic if he has a bad master, ever fail in holding nobly to virtue. But as it is noble for a man to die for virtue, and for liberty, and for himself, so also is it for a woman. For this is not peculiar to the nature of males, but to the nature of the good. Accordingly, both the old man, the young, and the servant will live faithfully, and if need be die; which will be to be made alive by death. So we know that both children, and women, and servants have often, against their fathers', and masters', and husbands' will, reached the highest degree of excellence. Wherefore those who are determined to live piously ought none the less to exhibit alacrity, when some seem to exercise compulsion on them; but much more, I think, does it become them to show eagerness, and to strive with uncommon vigour, lest, being overcome, they abandon the best and most indispensable counsels. For it does not, I think, admit of comparison, whether it be better to be a follower of the Almighty than to choose the darkness of demons. For the things which are done by us on account of others we are to do always, endeavouring to have respect to those for whose sake it is proper that they be done, regarding the gratification rendered in their case, as what is to be our rule; but the things which are done for our own sake rather than that of others, are to be done with equal earnestness, whether they are like to please certain people or not. If some indifferent things have obtained such honour as to appear worthy of adoption, though against the will of some; much more is virtue to be regarded by us as worth contending for, looking the while to nothing but what can be rightly done, whether it seem good to others or not. Well then, Epicurus, writing to Menœceus, says, Let not him who is young delay philosophizing, and let not the old man grow weary of philosophizing; for no one is either not of age or past age for attending to the health of his soul. And he who says that the time for philosophizing is not come or is past, is like the man who says that the time for happiness is not come or has gone. So that young as well as old ought to philosophize: the one, in order that, while growing old, he may grow young in good things out of favour accruing from what is past; and the other, that he may be at once young and old, from want of fear for the future.

Chapter 9. Christ's Sayings Respecting Martyrdom

On martyrdom the Lord has spoken explicitly, and what is written in different places we bring together. But I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess in Me before men, the Son of man also shall confess before the angels of God; but whosoever shall deny Me before men, him will I deny before the angels. Luke 12:8 Whosoever shall be ashamed of Me or of My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him shall the Son of man also be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with His angels. Whosoever therefore shall confess in Me before men, him will I also confess before my Father in heaven. Matthew 10:32 And when they bring you before synagogues, and rulers, and powers, think not beforehand how you shall make your defence, or what you shall say. For the Holy Spirit shall teach you in the same hour what you must say. Luke 12:11-12 In explanation of this passage, Heracleon, the most distinguished of the school of Valentinians, says expressly, that there is a confession by faith and conduct, and one with the voice. The confession that is made with the voice, and before the authorities, is what the most reckon the only confession. Not soundly: and hypocrites also can confess with this confession. But neither will this utterance be found to be spoken universally; for all the saved have confessed with the confession made by the voice, and departed. Of whom are Matthew, Philip, Thomas, Levi, and many others. And confession by the lip is not universal, but partial. But that which He specifies now is universal, that which is by deeds and actions corresponding to faith in Him. This confession is followed by that which is partial, that before the authorities, if necessary, and reason dictate. For he will confess rightly with his voice who has first confessed by his disposition. And he has well used, with regard to those who confess, the expression 'in Me,' and applied to those who deny the expression'Me.' For those, though they confess Him with the voice, yet deny Him, not confessing Him in their conduct. But those alone confess 'in Him,' who live in the confession and conduct according to Him, in which He also confesses, who is contained in them and held by them. Wherefore 'He never can deny Himself.' And those deny Him who are not in Him. For He said not, 'Whosoever shall deny' in Me, but 'Me.' For no one who is in Him will ever deny Him. And the expression 'before men?' applies both to the saved and the heathen similarly by conduct before the one, and by voice before the other. Wherefore they never can deny Him. But those deny Him who are not in Him. So far Heracleon. And in other things he seems to be of the same sentiments with us in this section; but he has not adverted to this, that if some have not by conduct and in their life confessed Christ before men, they are manifested to have believed with the heart; by confessing Him with the mouth at the tribunals, and not denying Him when tortured to the death. And the disposition being confessed, and especially not being changed by death at any time, cuts away all passions which were engendered by corporeal desire. For there is, so to speak, at the close of life a sudden repentance in action, and a true confession toward Christ, in the testimony of the voice. But if the Spirit of the Father testifies in us, how can we be any more hypocrites, who are said to bear testimony with the voice alone? But it will be given to some, if expedient, to make a defence, that by their witness and confession all may be benefited— those in the Church being confirmed, and those of the heathen who have devoted themselves to the search after salvation wondering and being led to the faith; and the rest seized with amazement. So that confession is by all means necessary. For it is in our power. But to make a defence for our faith is not universally necessary. For that does not depend on us. But he that endures to the end shall be saved. For who of those who are wise would not choose to reign in God, and even to serve? So some confess that they know God, according to the apostle; but in works they deny Him, being abominable and disobedient, and to every good work reprobate. Titus 1:16 And these, though they confess nothing but this, will have done at the end one good work. Their witness, then, appears to be the cleansing away of sins with glory. For instance, the Shepherd says: You will escape the energy of the wild beast, if your heart become pure and blameless. Also the Lord Himself says: Satan has desired to sift you; but I have prayed. Luke 22:31-32 Alone, therefore, the Lord, for the purification of the men who plotted against Him and disbelieved Him, drank the cup; in imitation of whom the apostles, that they might be in reality Gnostics, and perfect, suffered for the Churches which they founded. So, then, also the Gnostics who tread in the footsteps of the apostles ought to be sinless, and, out of love to the Lord, to love also their brother; so that, if occasion call, enduring without stumbling, afflictions for the Church, they may drink the cup. Those who witness in their life by deed, and at the tribunal by word, whether entertaining hope or surmising fear, are better than those who confess salvation by their mouth alone. But if one ascend also to love, he is a really blessed and true martyr, having confessed perfectly both to the commandments and to God, by the Lord; whom having loved, he acknowledged a brother, giving himself up wholly for God, resigning pleasantly and lovingly the man when asked, like a deposit.
Chapter 10. Those Who Offered Themselves for Martyrdom Reproved

When, again, He says, When they persecute you in this city, flee to the other, Matthew 10:23 He does not advise flight, as if persecution were an evil thing; nor does He enjoin them by flight to avoid death, as if in dread of it, but wishes us neither to be the authors nor abettors of any evil to any one, either to ourselves or the persecutor and murderer. For He, in a way, bids us take care of ourselves. But he who disobeys is rash and foolhardy. If he who kills a man of God sins against God, he also who presents himself before the judgment-seat becomes guilty of his death. And such is also the case with him who does not avoid persecution, but out of daring presents himself for capture. Such a one, as far as in him lies, becomes an accomplice in the crime of the persecutor. And if he also uses provocation, he is wholly guilty, challenging the wild beast. And similarly, if he afford any cause for conflict or punishment, or retribution or enmity, he gives occasion for persecution. Wherefore, then, we are enjoined not to cling to anything that belongs to this life; but to him that takes our cloak to give our coat, not only that we may continue destitute of inordinate affection, but that we may not by retaliating make our persecutors savage against ourselves, and stir them up to blaspheme the name.
Chapter 11. The Objection, Why Do You Suffer If God Cares for You, Answered

But, say they, if God cares for you, why are you persecuted and put to death? Has He delivered you to this? No, we do not suppose that the Lord wishes us to be involved in calamities, but that He foretold prophetically what would happen— that we should be persecuted for His name's sake, slaughtered, and impaled. So that it was not that He wished us to be persecuted, but He intimated beforehand what we shall suffer by the prediction of what would take place, training us to endurance, to which He promised the inheritance, although we are punished not alone, but along with many. But those, it is said, being malefactors, are righteously punished. Accordingly, they unwillingly bear testimony to our righteousness, we being unjustly punished for righteousness' sake. But the injustice of the judge does not affect the providence of God. For the judge must be master of his own opinion— not pulled by strings, like inanimate machines, set in motion only by external causes. Accordingly he is judged in respect to his judgment, as we also, in accordance with our choice of things desirable, and our endurance. Although we do not wrong, yet the judge looks on us as doing wrong, for he neither knows nor wishes to know about us, but is influenced by unwarranted prejudice; wherefore also he is judged. Accordingly they persecute us, not from the supposition that we are wrong-doers, but imagining that by the very fact of our being Christians we sin against life in so conducting ourselves, and exhorting others to adopt the like life.

But why are you not helped when persecuted? Say they. What wrong is done us, as far as we are concerned, in being released by death to go to the Lord, and so undergoing a change of life, as if a change from one time of life to another? Did we think rightly, we should feel obliged to those who have afforded the means for speedy departure, if it is for love that we bear witness; and if not, we should appear to the multitude to be base men. Had they also known the truth, all would have bounded on to the way, and there would have been no choice. But our faith, being the light of the world, reproves unbelief. Should Anytus and Melitus kill me, they will not hurt me in the least; for I do not think it right for the better to be hurt by the worse, [says Socrates]. So that each one of us may with confidence say, The Lord is my helper; I will not fear: what shall man do to me? For the souls of the righteous are in the hand of the Lord, and no plague shall touch them.
Chapter 12. Basilides' Idea of Martyrdom Refuted

Basilides, in the twenty-third book of the Exegetics, respecting those that are punished by martyrdom, expresses himself in the following language: For I say this, Whosoever fall under the afflictions mentioned, in consequence of unconsciously transgressing in other matters, are brought to this good end by the kindness of Him who brings them, but accused on other grounds; so that they may not suffer as condemned for what are owned to be iniquities, nor reproached as the adulterer or the murderer, but because they are Christians; which will console them, so that they do not appear to suffer. And if one who has not sinned at all incur suffering— a rare case— yet even he will not suffer anything through the machinations of power, but will suffer as the child which seems not to have sinned would suffer. Then further on he adds: As, then, the child which has not sinned before, or committed actual sin in itself, but has that which committed sin, when subjected to suffering, gets good, reaping the advantage of many difficulties; so also, although a perfect man may not have sinned in act, while he endures afflictions, he suffers similarly with the child. Having within him the sinful principle, but not embracing the opportunity of committing sin, he does not sin; so that he is not to be reckoned as not having sinned. For as he who wishes to commit adultery is an adulterer, although he does not succeed in committing adultery; and he that wishes to commit murder is a murderer, although he is unable to kill; so also, if I see the man without sin, whom I specify, suffering, though he have done nothing bad, I should call him bad, on account of his wishing to sin. For I will affirm anything rather than call Providence evil. Then, in continuation, he says expressly concerning the Lord, as concerning man: If then, passing from all these observations, you were to proceed to put me to shame by saying, perchance impersonating certain parties, This man has then sinned; for this man has suffered—if you permit, I will say, He has not sinned; but was like a child suffering. If you were to insist more urgently, I would say, That the man you name is man, but that God is righteous: For no one is pure, as one said, 'from pollution.' Job 14:4 But the hypothesis of Basilides says that the soul, having sinned before in another life, endures punishment in this— the elect soul with honour by martyrdom, the other purged by appropriate punishment. How can this be true, when the confessing and suffering punishment or not depends on ourselves? For in the case of the man who shall deny, Providence, as held by Basilides, is done away with. I will ask him, then, in the case of a confessor who has been arrested, whether he will confess and be punished in virtue of Providence or not? For in the case of denying he will not be punished. But if, for the sake of escaping and evading the necessity of punishing such an one, he shall say that the destruction of those who shall deny is of Providence, he will be a martyr against his will. And how any more is it the case, that there is laid up in heaven the very glorious recompense to him who has witnessed, for his witnessing? If Providence did not permit the sinner to get the length of sinning, it is unjust in both cases; both in not rescuing the man who is dragged to punishment for righteousness' sake, and in having rescued him who wished to do wrong, he having done it as far as volition was concerned, but [Providence] having prevented the deed, and unjustly favoured the sinner. And how impious, in deifying the devil, and in daring to call the Lord a sinful man! For the devil tempting us, knowing what we are, but not knowing if we will hold out, but wishing to dislodge us from the faith, attempts also to bring us into subjection to himself. Which is all that is allowed to him, partly from the necessity of saving us, who have taken occasion from the commandment, from ourselves; partly for the confusion of him who has tempted and failed; for the confirmation of the members of the Church, and the conscience of those who admire the constancy [displayed]. But if martyrdom be retribution by way of punishment, then also faith and doctrine, on account of which martyrdom comes, are co-operators in punishment— than which, what other absurdity could be greater? But with reference to these dogmas, whether the soul is changed to another body, also of the devil, at the proper time mention will be made. But at present, to what has been already said, let us add the following: Where any more is faith in the retribution of sins committed before martyrdom takes place? And where is love to God, which is persecuted and endures for the truth? And where is the praise of him who has confessed, or the censure of him who has denied? And for what use is right conduct, the mortification of the lusts, and the hating of no creature? But if, as Basilides himself says, we suppose one part of the declared will of God to be the loving of all things because all things bear a relation to the whole, and another not to lust after anything, and a third not to hate anything, by the will of God these also will be punishments, which it were impious to think. For neither did the Lord suffer by the will of the Father, nor are those who are persecuted persecuted by the will of God; since either of two things is the case: either persecution in consequence of the will of God is a good thing, or those who decree and afflict are guiltless. But nothing is without the will of the Lord of the universe. It remains to say that such things happen without the prevention of God; for this alone saves both the providence and the goodness of God. We must not therefore think that He actively produces afflictions (far be it that we should think this!); but we must be persuaded that He does not prevent those that cause them, but overrules for good the crimes of His enemies: I will therefore, He says, destroy the wall, and it shall be for treading under foot. Isaiah 5:5 Providence being a disciplinary art; in the case of others for each individual's sins, and in the case of the Lord and His apostles for ours. To this point says the divine apostle: For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that you abstain from fornication: that each one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; not in the lust of concupiscence, as the Gentiles who know not the Lord: that none of you should overreach or take advantage of his brother in any matter; because the Lord is the avenger in respect of all such, as we also told you before, and testified. For God has not called us unto uncleanness, but to holiness. Wherefore he that despises, despises not man, but God, who has also given His Holy Spirit to you. 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 Wherefore the Lord was not prohibited from this sanctification of ours. If, then, one of them were to say, in reply, that the martyr is punished for sins committed before this embodying, and that he will again reap the fruit of his conduct in this life, for that such are the arrangements of the [divine administration], we shall ask him if the retribution takes place by Providence. For if it be not of the divine administration, the economy of expiations is gone, and their hypothesis falls to the ground; but if expiations are by Providence, punishments are by Providence too. But Providence, although it begins, so to speak, to move with the Ruler, yet is implanted in substances along with their origin by the God of the universe. Such being the case, they must confess either that punishment is not just, and those who condemn and persecute the martyrs do right, or that persecutions even are wrought by the will of God. Labour and fear are not, then, as they say, incident to affairs as rust to iron, but come upon the soul through its own will. And on these points there is much to say, which will be reserved for future consideration, taking them up in due course.

Chapter 13. Valentinian's Vagaries About the Abolition of Death Refuted

Valentinian, in a homily, writes in these words: You are originally immortal, and children of eternal life, and you would have death distributed to you, that you may spend and lavish it, and that death may die in you and by you; for when we dissolve the world, and are not yourselves dissolved, you have dominion over creation and all corruption. For he also, similarly with Basilides, supposes a class saved by nature, and that this different race has come hither to us from above for the abolition of death, and that the origin of death is the work of the Creator of the world. Wherefore also he so expounds that Scripture, No man shall see the face of God, and live, as if He were the cause of death. Respecting this God, he makes those allusions when writing in these expressions: As much as the image is inferior to the living face, so much is the world inferior to the living Æon. What is, then, the cause of the image? The majesty of the face, which exhibits the figure to the painter, to be honoured by his name; for the form is not found exactly to the life, but the name supplies what is wanting in the effigy. The invisibility of God co-operates also in order to the faith of that which has been fashioned. For the Creator, called God and Father, he designated as Painter, and Wisdom, whose image that which is formed is, to the glory of the invisible One; since the things which proceed from a pair are complements, and those which proceed from one are images. But since what is seen is no part of Him, the soul comes from what is intermediate, which is different; and this is the inspiration of the different spirit, and generally what is breathed into the soul, which is the image of the spirit. And in general, what is said of the Creator, who was made according to the image, they say was foretold by a sensible image in the book of Genesis respecting the origin of man; and the likeness they transfer to themselves, teaching that the addition of the different spirit was made; unknown to the Creator. When, then, we treat of the unity of the God who is proclaimed in the law, the prophets, and the Gospel, we shall also discuss this; for the topic is supreme. But we must advance to that which is urgent. If for the purpose of doing away with death the peculiar race has come, it is not Christ who has abolished death, unless He also is said to be of the same essence with them. And if He abolished it to this end, that it might not touch the peculiar race, it is not these, the rivals of the Creator, who breathe into the image of their intermediate spirit the life from above— in accordance with the principle of their dogma— that abolish death. But should they say that this takes place by His mother, or should they say that they, along with Christ, war against death, let them own their secret dogma that they have the hardihood to assail the divine power of the Creator, by setting to rights His creation, as if they were superior, endeavouring to save the vital image which He was not able to rescue from corruption. Then the Lord would be superior to God the Creator; for the son would never contend with the father, especially among the gods. But the point that the Creator of all things, the omnipotent Lord, is the Father of the Son, we have deferred till the discussion of these points, in which we have undertaken to dispute against the heresies, showing that He alone is the God proclaimed by Him.

But the apostle, writing to us with reference to the endurance of afflictions, says, And this is of God, that it is given to you on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake; having the same conflict which you saw in me, and now hear to be in me. If there is therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any communion of spirit, if any bowels and mercies, fulfil my joy, that you may be of the same mind, having the same love, unanimous, thinking one thing. And if he is offered on the sacrifice and service of faith, joying and rejoicing with the Philippians, to whom the apostle speaks, calling them fellow-partakers of joy, Philippians 1:7 how does he say that they are of one soul, and having a soul? Likewise, also, writing respecting Timothy and himself, he says, For I have no one like-souled, who will nobly care for your state. For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's. Philippians 2:20-21

Let not the above-mentioned people, then, call us, by way of reproach, natural men (ψυκικοί), nor the Phrygians either; for these now call those who do not apply themselves to the new prophecy natural men (ψυκικοί), with whom we shall discuss in our remarks on Prophecy. The perfect man ought therefore to practice love, and thence to haste to the divine friendship, fulfilling the commandments from love. And loving one's enemies does not mean loving wickedness, or impiety, or adultery, or theft; but the thief, the impious, the adulterer, not as far as he sins, and in respect of the actions by which he stains the name of man, but as he is a man, and the work of God. Assuredly sin is an activity, not an existence: and therefore it is not a work of God. Now sinners are called enemies of God— enemies, that is, of the commands which they do not obey, as those who obey become friends, the one named so from their fellowship, the others from their estrangement, which is the result of free choice; for there is neither enmity nor sin without the enemy and the sinner. And the command to covet nothing, not as if the things to be desired did not belong to us, does not teach us not to entertain desire, as those suppose who teach that the Creator is different from the first God, not as if creation was loathsome and bad (for such opinions are impious). But we say that the things of the world are not our own, not as if they were monstrous, not as if they did not belong to God, the Lord of the universe, but because we do not continue among them for ever; being, in respect of possession, not ours, and passing from one to another in succession; but belonging to us, for whom they were made in respect of use, so long as it is necessary to continue with them. In accordance, therefore, with natural appetite, things disallowed are to be used rightly, avoiding all excess and inordinate affection.

Chapter 14. The Love of All, Even of Our Enemies

How great also is benignity! Love your enemies, it is said, bless them who curse you, and pray for them who despitefully use you, Matthew 5:44-45 and the like; to which it is added, that you may be the children of your Father who is in heaven, in allusion to resemblance to God. Again, it is said, Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are in the way with him. Matthew 5:25 The adversary is not the body, as some would have it, but the devil, and those assimilated to him, who walks along with us in the person of men, who emulate his deeds in this earthly life. It is inevitable, then, that those who confess themselves to belong to Christ, but find themselves in the midst of the devil's works, suffer the most hostile treatment. For it is written, Lest he deliver you to the judge, and the judge deliver you to the officers of Satan's kingdom. For I am persuaded that neither death, through the assault of persecutors, nor life in this world, nor angels, the apostate ones, nor powers (and Satan's power is the life which he chose, for such are the powers and principalities of darkness belonging to him), nor things present, amid which we exist during the time of life, as the hope entertained by the soldier, and the merchant's gain, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, in consequence of the energy proper to a man—opposes the faith of him who acts according to free choice. Creature is synonymous with activity, being our work, and such activity shall not be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39 You have got a compendious account of the gnostic martyr.

Chapter 15. On Avoiding Offence

We know that we all have knowledge— common knowledge in common things, and the knowledge that there is one God. For he was writing to believers; whence he adds, But knowledge (gnosis) is not in all, being communicated to few. And there are those who say that the knowledge about things sacrificed to idols is not promulgated among all, lest our liberty prove a stumbling-block to the weak. For by your knowledge he that is weak is destroyed. Should they say, Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, ought that to be bought? adding, by way of interrogation, asking no questions, 1 Corinthians 10:25 as if equivalent to asking questions, they give a ridiculous interpretation. For the apostle says, All other things buy out of the shambles, asking no questions, with the exception of the things mentioned in the Catholic epistle of all the apostles, with the consent of the Holy Ghost, which is written in the Acts of the Apostles, and conveyed to the faithful by the hands of Paul himself. For they intimated that they must of necessity abstain from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication, from which keeping themselves, they should do well. It is a different matter, then, which is expressed by the apostle: Have we not power to eat and to drink? Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as the rest of the apostles, as the brethren of the Lord and Cephas? But we have not used this power, he says, but bear all things, lest we should occasion hindrance to the Gospel of Christ; namely, by bearing about burdens, when it was necessary to be untrammelled for all things; or to become an example to those who wish to exercise temperance, not encouraging each other to eat greedily of what is set before us, and not to consort inconsiderately with woman. And especially is it incumbent on those entrusted with such a dispensation to exhibit to disciples a pure example. For though I be free from all men, I have made myself servant to all, it is said, that I might gain all. And every one that strives for mastery is temperate in all things. 1 Corinthians 9:19-25 But the earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof. 1 Corinthians 10:26 For conscience' sake, then, we are to abstain from what we ought to abstain. Conscience, I say, not his own, for it is endued with knowledge, but that of the other, lest he be trained badly, and by imitating in ignorance what he knows not, he become a despiser instead of a strong-minded man. For why is my liberty judged of by another conscience? For if I by grace am a partaker, why am I evil spoken of for that for which I give thanks? Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God 1 Corinthians 10:28-31 — what you are commanded to do by the rule of faith.

Chapter 16. Passages of Scripture Respecting the Constancy, Patience, and Love of the Martyrs

With the heart man believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Wherefore the Scripture says, Whosoever believes in Him shall not be ashamed; that is, the word of faith which we preach: for if you confess the word with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved. There is clearly described the perfect righteousness, fulfilled both in practice and contemplation. Wherefore we are to bless those who persecute us. Bless, and curse not. Romans 12:14 For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of a good conscience, that in holiness and sincerity we know God by this inconsiderable instance exhibiting the work of love, that not in fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world. 2 Corinthians 1:12 So far the apostle respecting knowledge; and in the second Epistle to the Corinthians he calls the common teaching of faith the savour of knowledge. For unto this day the same veil remains on many in the reading of the Old Testament, 2 Corinthians 3:14 not being uncovered by turning to the Lord. Wherefore also to those capable of perceiving he showed resurrection, that of the life still in the flesh, creeping on its belly. Whence also he applied the name brood of vipers to the voluptuous, who serve the belly and the pudenda, and cut off one another's heads for the sake of worldly pleasures. Little children, let us not love in word, or in tongue, says John, teaching them to be perfect, but in deed and in truth; hereby shall we know that we are of the truth. 1 John 3:18-19 And if God be love, piety also is love: there is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear. This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. 1 John 5:3 And again, to him who desires to become a Gnostic, it is written, But be an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in love, in faith, in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12 For perfection in faith differs, I think, from ordinary faith. And the divine apostle furnishes the rule for the Gnostic in these words, writing as follows: For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to lack. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:11-13 And also when discussing with others in order to put them, to shame, he does not shrink from saying, But call to mind the former days, in which, after you were illuminated, you endured a great fight of afflictions; partly, while you were made a gazing-stock, both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, while you became companions of them that were so used. For you had compassion of me in my bonds, and took with joy the spoiling of your goods, knowing that you have a better and enduring substance. Cast not away therefore your confidence, which has great recompense of reward. For you have need of patience, that, after doing the will of God, you may obtain the promise. For yet a little while, and He that comes will come, and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith: and if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them that draw back unto perdition, but of them that believe to the saving of the soul. Hebrews 10:32-39 He then brings forward a swarm of divine examples. For was it not by faith, he says, this endurance, that they acted nobly who had trial of mockeries and scourgings, and, moreover, of bonds and imprisonments? They were stoned, they were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheep-skins and goat-skins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented, of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts, in mountains, in dens, and caves of the earth. And all having received a good report, through faith, received not the promise of God (what is expressed by a parasiopesis is left to be understood, viz., alone). He adds accordingly, God having provided some better thing for us (for He was good), that they should not without us be made perfect. Wherefore also, having encompassing us such a cloud, holy and transparent, of witnesses, laying aside every weight, and the sin which does so easily beset us, let us run with patience the race set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. Since, then, he specifies one salvation in Christ of the righteous, and of us he has expressed the former unambiguously, and saying nothing less respecting Moses, adds, Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt: for he had respect to the recompense of the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible. The divine Wisdom says of the martyrs, They seemed in the eyes of the foolish to die, and their departure was reckoned a calamity, and their migration from us an affliction. But they are in peace. For though in the sight of men they were punished, their hope was full of immortality. He then adds, teaching martyrdom to be a glorious purification, And being chastened a little, they shall be benefited much; because God proved them, that is, suffered them to be tried, to put them to the proof, and to put to shame the author of their trial, and found them worthy of Himself, plainly to be called sons. As gold in the furnace He proved them, and as a whole burned-offering of sacrifice He accepted them. And in the time of their visitation they will shine forth, even as sparks run along the stubble. They shall judge the nations, and rule over the peoples, and the Lord shall reign over them forever.
Chapter 17. Passages from Clement's Epistle to the Corinthians on Martyrdom

Moreover, in the Epistle to the Corinthians, the Apostle Clement also, drawing a picture of the Gnostic, says: For who that has sojourned among you has not proved your perfect and firm faith? And has not admired your sound and gentle piety? And has not celebrated the munificent style of your hospitality? And has not felicitated your complete and sure knowledge? For you did all things impartially, and walked in the ordinances of God; and so forth.

Then more clearly: Let us fix our eyes on those who have yielded perfect service to His magnificent glory. Let us take Enoch, who, being by his obedience found righteous, was translated; and Noah, who, having believed, was saved; and Abraham, who for his faith and hospitality was called the friend of God, and was the father of Isaac. For hospitality and piety, Lot was saved from Sodom. For faith and hospitality, Rahab the harlot was saved. From patience and faith they walked about in goat-skins, and sheep-skins, and folds of camels' hair, proclaiming the kingdom of Christ. We name His prophets Elias, and Eliseus, and Ezekiel, and John.

For Abraham, who for his free faith was called 'the friend of God,' was not elated by glory, but modestly said, 'I am dust and ashes.' Genesis 18:27 And of Job it is thus written: 'Job was just and blameless, true and pious, abstaining from all evil.' Job 1:1 He it was who overcame the tempter by patience, and at once testified and was testified to by God; who keeps hold of humility, and says, No one is pure from defilement, not even if his life were but for one day. Moses, 'the servant who was faithful in all his house,' said to Him who uttered the oracles from the bush, 'Who am I, that You send me? I am slow of speech, and of a stammering tongue,' to minister the voice of God in human speech. And again: 'I am smoke from a pot.' For God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5

David too, of whom the Lord, testifying, says, 'I found a man after my own heart, David the son of Jesse. With my holy oil I anointed him.' But he also says to God, 'Pity me, O God, according to Your mercy; and according to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgression. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgression, and my sin is ever before me.' Then, alluding to sin which is not subject to the law, in the exercise of the moderation of true knowledge, he adds, Against You only have I sinned, and done evil in Your sight. For the Scripture somewhere says, The Spirit of the Lord is a lamp, searching the recesses of the belly. Proverbs 20:27 And the more of a Gnostic a man becomes by doing right, the nearer is the illuminating Spirit to him. Thus the Lord draws near to the righteous, and none of the thoughts and reasonings of which we are the authors escape Him— I mean the Lord Jesus, the scrutinizer by His omnipotent will of our heart, whose blood was consecrated for us. Let us therefore respect those who are over us, and reverence the elders; let us honour the young, and let us teach the discipline of God. For blessed is he who shall do and teach the Lord's commands worthily; and he is of a magnanimous mind, and of a mind contemplative of truth. Let us direct our wives to what is good; let them exhibit, says he, the lovable disposition of chastity; let them show the guileless will of their meekness; let them manifest the gentleness of their tongue by silence; let them give their love not according to their inclinations, but equal love in sanctity to all that fear God. Let our children share in the discipline that is in Christ; let them learn what humility avails before God; what is the power of holy love before God, how lovely and great is the fear of the Lord, saving all that walk in it holily; with a pure heart: for He is the Searcher of the thoughts and sentiments, whose breath is in us, and when He wills He will take it away.

Now all those things are confirmed by the faith that is in Christ.'Come, you children,' says the Lord, 'hearken to me, and I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Who is the man that desires life, that loves to see good days? ' Then He subjoins the gnostic mystery of the numbers seven and eight.'Stop your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking guile. Depart from evil, and do good. Seek peace, and pursue it.' For in these words He alludes to knowledge (gnosis), with abstinence from evil and the doing of what is good, teaching that it is to be perfected by word and deed. 'The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are to their prayer. But the face of God is against those that do evil, to root out their memory from the earth. The righteous cried, and the Lord heard, and delivered him out of all his distresses.' 'Many are the stripes of sinners; but those who hope in the Lord, mercy shall compass about.' A multitude of mercy, he nobly says, surrounds him that trusts in the Lord.

For it is written in the Epistle to the Corinthians, Through Jesus Christ our foolish and darkened mind springs up to the light. By Him the Sovereign Lord wished us to taste the knowledge that is immortal. And, showing more expressly the peculiar nature of knowledge, he added: These things, then, being clear to us, looking into the depths of divine knowledge, we ought to do all things in order which the Sovereign Lord commanded us to perform at the appointed seasons. Let the wise man, then, show his wisdom not in words only, but in good deeds. Let the humble not testify to himself, but allow testimony to be borne to him by another. Let not him who is pure in the flesh boast, knowing that it is another who furnishes him with continence. You see, brethren, that the more we are subjected to peril, the more knowledge are we counted worthy of.

Chapter 18. On Love, and the Repressing of Our Desires

The decorous tendency of our philanthropy, therefore, according to Clement, seeks the common good; whether by suffering martyrdom, or by teaching by deed and word—the latter being twofold, unwritten and written. This is love, to love God and our neighbour. This conducts to the height which is unutterable. 'Love covers a multitude of sins. James 5:20; 1 Peter 4:8 Love bears all things, suffers all things.' 1 Corinthians 13:7 Love joins us to God, does all things in concord. In love, all the chosen of God were perfected. Apart from love, nothing is well pleasing to God. Of its perfection there is no unfolding, it is said. Who is fit to be found in it, except those whom God counts worthy? To the point the Apostle Paul speaks, If I give my body, and have not love, I am sounding brass, and a tinkling cymbal. If it is not from a disposition determined by gnostic love that I shall testify, he means; but if through fear and expected reward, moving my lips in order to testify to the Lord that I shall confess the Lord, I am a common man, sounding the Lord's name, not knowing Him. For there is the people that loves with the lips; and there is another which gives the body to be burned. And if I give all my goods in alms, he says, not according to the principle of loving communication, but on account of recompense, either from him who has received the benefit, or the Lord who has promised; and if I have all faith so as to remove mountains, and cast away obscuring passions, and be not faithful to the Lord from love, I am nothing, as in comparison of him who testifies as a Gnostic, and the crowd, and being reckoned nothing better.

Now all the generations from Adam to this day are gone. But they who have been perfected in love, through the grace of God, hold the place of the godly, who shall be manifested at the visitation of the kingdom of Christ. Love permits not to sin; but if it fall into any such case, by reason of the interference of the adversary, in imitation of David, it will sing: I will confess unto the Lord, and it will please Him above a young bullock that has horns and hoofs. Let the poor see it, and be glad. For he says, Sacrifice to God a sacrifice of praise, and pay to the Lord your vows; and call upon me in the day of trouble, and I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me. For the sacrifice of God is a broken spirit.
God, then, being good, is love, it is said. 1 John 4:8, 16 Whose love works no ill to his neighbour, Romans 13:10 neither injuring nor revenging ever, but, in a word, doing good to all according to the image of God. Love is, then, the fulfilling of the law; Romans 13:10 like as Christ, that is the presence of the Lord who loves us; and our loving teaching of, and discipline according to Christ. By love, then, the commands not to commit adultery, and not to covet one's neighbour's wife, are fulfilled, [these sins being] formerly prohibited by fear.

The same work, then, presents a difference, according as it is done by fear, or accomplished by love, and is wrought by faith or by knowledge. Rightly, therefore, their rewards are different. To the Gnostic are prepared what eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has entered into the heart of man; but to him who has exercised simple faith He testifies a hundredfold in return for what he has left—a promise which has turned out to fall within human comprehension.

Come to this point, I recollect one who called himself a Gnostic. For, expounding the words, But I say unto you, he that looks on a woman to lust after, has committed adultery, Matthew 5:28 he thought that it was not bare desire that was condemned; but if through the desire the act that results from it proceeding beyond the desire is accomplished in it. For dream employs phantasy and the body. Accordingly, the historians relate the following decision of Bocchoris the just. A youth, falling in love with a courtezan, persuades the girl, for a stipulated reward, to come to him next day. But his desire being unexpectedly satiated, by laying hold of the girl in a dream, by anticipation, when the object of his love came according to stipulation, he prohibited her from coming in. But she, on learning what had taken place, demanded the reward, saying that in this way she had sated the lover's desire. They came accordingly to the judge. He, ordering the youth to hold out the purse containing the reward in the sun, bade the courtezan take hold of the shadow; facetiously bidding him pay the image of a reward for the image of an embrace.

Accordingly one dreams, the soul assenting to the vision. But he dreams waking, who looks so as to lust; not only, as that Gnostic said, if along with the sight of the woman he imagine in his mind intercourse, for this is already the act of lust, as lust; but if one looks on beauty of person (the Word says), and the flesh seem to him in the way of lust to be fair, looking on carnally and sinfully, he is judged because he admired. For, on the other hand, he who in chaste love looks on beauty, thinks not that the flesh is beautiful, but the spirit, admiring, as I judge, the body as an image, by whose beauty he transports himself to the Artist, and to the true beauty; exhibiting the sacred symbol, the bright impress of righteousness to the angels that wait on the ascension; I mean the unction of acceptance, the quality of disposition which resides in the soul that is gladdened by the communication of the Holy Spirit. This glory, which shone forth on the face of Moses, the people could not look on. Wherefore he took a veil for the glory, to those who looked carnally. For those, who demand toll, detain those who bring in any worldly things, who are burdened with their own passions. But him that is free of all things which are subject to duty, and is full of knowledge, and of the righteousness of works, they pass on with their good wishes, blessing the man with his work. And his life shall not fall away— the leaf of the living tree that is nourished by the water-courses. Now the righteous is likened to fruit-bearing trees, and not only to such as are of the nature of tall-growing ones. And in the sacrificial oblations, according to the law, there were those who looked for blemishes in the sacrifices. They who are skilled in such matters distinguish propension (ὄρεξις) from lust (ἐπιθυμία); and assign the latter, as being irrational, to pleasures and licentiousness; and propension, as being a rational movement, they assign to the necessities of nature.

Chapter 19.— Women as well as Men Capable of Perfection.

In this perfection it is possible for man and woman equally to share. It is not only Moses, then, that heard from God, I have spoken to you once, and twice, saying, I have seen this people, and lo, it is stiff-necked. Allow me to exterminate them, and blot out their name from under heaven; and I will make you into a great and wonderful nation much greater than this; who answers not regarding himself, but the common salvation: By no means, O Lord; forgive this people their sin, or blot me out of the book of the living. How great was his perfection, in wishing to die together with the people, rather than be saved alone!

But Judith too, who became perfect among women, in the siege of the city, at the entreaty of the elders went forth into the strangers' camp, despising all danger for her country's sake, giving herself into the enemy's hand in faith in God; and straightway she obtained the reward of her faith—though a woman, prevailing over the enemy of her faith, and gaining possession of the head of Holofernes. And again, Esther perfect by faith, who rescued Israel from the power of the king and the satrap's cruelty: a woman alone, afflicted with fastings, held back ten thousand armed hands, annulling by her faith the tyrant's decree; him indeed she appeased, Haman she restrained, and Israel she preserved scathless by her perfect prayer to God. I pass over in silence Susanna and the sister of Moses, since the latter was the prophet's associate in commanding the host, being superior to all the women among the Hebrews who were in repute for their wisdom; and the former in her surpassing modesty, going even to death condemned by licentious admirers, remained the unwavering martyr of chastity.

Dion, too, the philosopher, tells that a certain woman Lysidica, through excess of modesty, bathed in her clothes; and that Philotera, when she was to enter the bath, gradually drew back her tunic as the water covered the naked parts; and then rising by degrees, put it on. And did not Leæna of Attica manfully bear the torture? She being privy to the conspiracy of Harmodius and Aristogeiton against Hipparchus, uttered not a word, though severely tortured. And they say that the Argolic women, under the guidance of Telesilla the poetess, turned to flight the doughty Spartans by merely showing themselves; and that she produced in them fearlessness of death. Similarly speaks he who composed the Danais respecting the daughters of Danaus:—

And then the daughters of Danaus swiftly armed themselves,
Before the fair-flowing river, majestic Nile ,

and so forth.

And the rest of the poets sing of Atalanta's swiftness in the chase, of Anticlea's love for children, of Alcestis's love for her husband, of the courage of Makæria and of the Hyacinthides. What shall I say? Did not Theano the Pythagorean make such progress in philosophy, that to him who looked intently at her, and said, Your arm is beautiful, she answered Yes, but it is not public. Characterized by the same propriety, there is also reported the following reply. When asked when a woman after being with her husband attends the Thesmophoria, said, From her own husband at once, from a stranger never. Themisto too, of Lampsacus, the daughter of Zoilus, the wife of Leontes of Lampsacus, studied the Epicurean philosophy, as Myia the daughter of Theano the Pythagorean, and Arignote, who wrote the history of Dionysius.

And the daughters of Diodorus, who was called Kronus, all became dialecticians, as Philo the dialectician says in the Menexenus, whose names are mentioned as follows— Menexene, Argia, Theognis, Artemesia, Pantaclea. I also recollect a female Cynic,— she was called Hipparchia, a Maronite, the wife of Crates—in whose case the so-called dog-wedding was celebrated in the Pœcile. Arete of Cyrene, too, the daughter of Aristippus, educated her son Aristippus, who was surnamed Mother-taught. Lastheneia of Arcis, and Axiothea of Phlius, studied philosophy with Plato. Besides, Aspasia of Miletus, of whom the writers of comedy write much, was trained by Socrates in philosophy, by Pericles in rhetoric. I omit, on account of the length of the discourse, the rest; enumerating neither the poetesses Corinna, Telesilla, Myia, and Sappho; nor the painters, as Irene the daughter of Cratinus, and Anaxandra the daughter of Nealces, according to the account of Didymus in the Symposiaci. The daughter of Cleobulus, the sage and monarch of the Lindii, was not ashamed to wash the feet of her father's guests. Also the wife of Abraham, the blessed Sarah, in her own person prepared the cakes baked in the ashes for the angels; and princely maidens among the Hebrews fed sheep. Whence also the Nausicaä of Homer went to the washing-tubs.

The wise woman, then, will first choose to persuade her husband to be her associate in what is conducive to happiness. And should that be found impracticable, let her by herself earnestly aim at virtue, gaining her husband's consent in everything, so as never to do anything against his will, with exception of what is reckoned as contributing to virtue and salvation. But if one keeps from such a mode of life either wife or maid-servant, whose heart is set on it; what such a person in that case plainly does is nothing else than determine to drive her away from righteousness and sobriety, and to choose to make his own house wicked and licentious.

It is not then possible that man or woman can be conversant with anything whatever, without the advantage of education, and application, and training; and virtue, we have said, depends not on others, but on ourselves above all. Other things one can repress, by waging war against them; but with what depends on one's self, this is entirely out of the question, even with the most strenuous persistence. For the gift is one conferred by God, and not in the power of any other. Whence licentiousness should be regarded as the evil of no other one than of him who is guilty of licentiousness; and temperance, on the other hand, as the good of him who is able to practice it.

Chapter 20. A Good Wife

The woman who, with propriety, loves her husband, Euripides describes, while admonishing,—

That when her husband says anything,
She ought to regard him as speaking well if she say nothing;
And if she will say anything, to do her endeavour to gratify her husband.

And again he subjoins the like:—

And that the wife should sweetly look sad with her husband,
Should anything evil befall him,
And have in common a share of sorrow and joy.

Then, describing her as gentle and kind even in misfortunes, he adds:—

And I, when you are ill, will, sharing your sickness bear it;
And I will bear my share in your misfortunes.

And:—

Nothing is bitter to me,
For with friends one ought to be happy,
For what else is friendship but this?

The marriage, then, that is consummated according to the word, is sanctified, if the union be under subjection to God, and be conducted with a true heart, in full assurance of faith, having hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and the body washed with pure water, and holding the confession of hope; for He is faithful that promised. And the happiness of marriage ought never to be estimated either by wealth or beauty, but by virtue.

Beauty, says the tragedy,—

Helps no wife with her husband;
But virtue has helped many; for every good wife
Who is attached to her husband knows how to practice sobriety.

Then, as giving admonitions, he says:—

First, then, this is incumbent on her who is endowed with mind,
That even if her husband be ugly, he must appear good-looking;
For it is for the mind, not the eye, to judge.

And so forth.

For with perfect propriety Scripture has said that woman is given by God as an help to man. It is evident, then, in my opinion, that she will charge herself with remedying, by good sense and persuasion, each of the annoyances that originate with her husband in domestic economy. And if he do not yield, then she will endeavour, as far as possible for human nature, to lead a sinless life; whether it be necessary to die, in accordance with reason, or to live; considering that God is her helper and associate in such a course of conduct, her true defender and Saviour both for the present and for the future; making Him the leader and guide of all her actions, reckoning sobriety and righteousness her work, and making the favour of God her end. Gracefully, therefore, the apostle says in the Epistle to Titus, that the elder women should be of godly behaviour, should not be slanderers, not enslaved to much wine; that they should counsel the young women to be lovers of their husbands, lovers of their children, discreet, chaste, housekeepers, good, subject to their own husbands; that the word of God be not blasphemed. Titus 2:3-5 But rather, he says, Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: looking diligently, lest there be any fornicator or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel surrendered his birth-right; and lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled. Hebrews 13:14-16 And then, as putting the finishing stroke to the question about marriage, he adds: Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge. Hebrews 13:4 And one aim and one end, as far as regards perfection, being demonstrated to belong to the man and the woman, Peter in his Epistle says, Though now for a season, if need be, you are in heaviness through manifold temptations; that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than that of gold which perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise, and honour, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ; whom, having not seen, you love; in whom, though now you see Him not, yet believing, you rejoice with joy unspeakable, and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:6-9 Wherefore also Paul rejoices for Christ's sake that he was in labours, more abundantly, in stripes above measure, in deaths oft. 2 Corinthians 11:23

Chapter 21. Description of the Perfect Man, or Gnostic

Here I find perfection apprehended variously in relation to Him who excels in every virtue. Accordingly one is perfected as pious, and as patient, and as continent, and as a worker, and as a martyr, and as a Gnostic. But I know no one of men perfect in all things at once, while still human, though according to the mere letter of the law, except Him alone who for us clothed Himself with humanity. Who then is perfect? He who professes abstinence from what is bad. Well, this is the way to the Gospel and to well-doing. But gnostic perfection in the case of the legal man is the acceptance of the Gospel, that he that is after the law may be perfect. For so he, who was after the law, Moses, foretold that it was necessary to hear in order that we might, according to the apostle, receive Christ, the fullness of the law. Deuteronomy 18:15; Romans 10:4 But now in the Gospel the Gnostic attains proficiency not only by making use of the law as a step, but by understanding and comprehending it, as the Lord who gave the Covenants delivered it to the apostles. And if he conduct himself rightly (as assuredly it is impossible to attain knowledge (gnosis) by bad conduct); and if, further, having made an eminently right confession, he become a martyr out of love, obtaining considerable renown as among men; not even thus will he be called perfect in the flesh beforehand; since it is the close of life which claims this appellation, when the gnostic martyr has first shown the perfect work, and rightly exhibited it, and having thankfully shed his blood, has yielded up the ghost: blessed then will he be, and truly proclaimed perfect, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us, as the apostle says. Only let us preserve free-will and love: troubled on every side, yet not distressed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 For those who strive after perfection, according to the same apostle, must give no offense in anything, but in everything approve themselves not to men, but to God. And, as a consequence, also they ought to yield to men; for it is reasonable, on account of abusive calumnies. Here is the specification: in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings, in pureness, in knowledge, in long-suffering, in kindness, in the Holy Ghost, in love unfeigned, in the word of truth, in the power of God, 2 Corinthians 6:3-7 that we may be the temples of God, purified from all filthiness of the flesh and of the spirit. And I, He says, will receive you; and I will be to you for a Father, and you shall be to Me for sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty. Let us then, he says, perfect holiness in the fear of God. For though fear beget pain, I rejoice, he says, not that you were made sorry, but that you showed susceptibility to repentance. For you sorrowed after a godly sort, that you might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow works repentance unto salvation not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world works death. For this same thing that you sorrowed after a godly sort, what earnestness it wrought in you; yea, what clearing of yourselves; yea, what compunction; yea, what fear; yea, what desire; yea, what zeal; yea, revenge! In all things you have showed yourselves clear in the matter. 2 Corinthians 7:1-11 Such are the preparatory exercises of gnostic discipline. And since the omnipotent God Himself gave some apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; we are then to strive to reach manhood as befits the Gnostic, and to be as perfect as we can while still abiding in the flesh, making it our study with perfect concord here to concur with the will of God, to the restoration of what is the truly perfect nobleness and relationship, to the fullness of Christ, that which perfectly depends on our perfection.

And now we perceive where, and how, and when the divine apostle mentions the perfect man, and how he shows the differences of the perfect. And again, on the other hand: The manifestation of the Spirit is given for our profit. For to one is given the word of wisdom by the Spirit; to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith through the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing through the same Spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discernment of spirits; to another diversities of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: and all these works the one and the same Spirit, distributing to each one according as He wills. 1 Corinthians 12:7-11 Such being the case, the prophets are perfect in prophecy, the righteous in righteousness, and the martyrs in confession, and others in preaching, not that they are not sharers in the common virtues, but are proficient in those to which they are appointed. For what man in his senses would say that a prophet was not righteous? For what? Did not righteous men like Abraham prophesy?

For to one God has given warlike deeds,
To another the accomplishment of the dance,
To another the lyre and song,
says Homer. But each has his own proper gift of God 1 Corinthians 7:7 — one in one way, another in another. But the apostles were perfected in all. You will find, then, if you choose, in their acts and writings, knowledge, life, preaching, righteousness, purity, prophecy. We must know, then, that if Paul is young in respect to time — having flourished immediately after the Lord's ascension— yet his writings depend on the Old Testament, breathing and speaking of them. For faith in Christ and the knowledge of the Gospel are the explanation and fulfilment of the law; and therefore it was said to the Hebrews, If you believe not, neither shall you understand; Isaiah 7:9 that is, unless you believe what is prophesied in the law, and oracularly delivered by the law, you will not understand the Old Testament, which He by His coming expounded.

Chapter 22. The True Gnostic Does Good, Not from Fear of Punishment or Hope of Reward, But Only for the Sake of Good Itself

The man of understanding and perspicacity is, then, a Gnostic. And his business is not abstinence from what is evil (for this is a step to the highest perfection), or the doing of good out of fear. For it is written, Whither shall I flee, and where shall I hide myself from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I go away to the uttermost parts of the sea, there is Your right hand; if I go down into the depths, there is Your Spirit. Nor any more is he to do so from hope of promised recompense. For it is said, Behold the Lord, and His reward is before His face, to give to every one according to his works; what eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and has not entered into the heart of man what God has prepared for them that love Him. But only the doing of good out of love, and for the sake of its own excellence, is to be the Gnostic's choice. Now, in the person of God it is said to the Lord, Ask of Me, and I will give the heathen for Your inheritance; teaching Him to ask a truly regal request— that is, the salvation of men without price, that we may inherit and possess the Lord. For, on the contrary, to desire knowledge about God for any practical purpose, that this may be done, or that may not be done, is not proper to the Gnostic; but the knowledge itself suffices as the reason for contemplation. For I will dare aver that it is not because he wishes to be saved that he, who devotes himself to knowledge for the sake of the divine science itself, chooses knowledge. For the exertion of the intellect by exercise is prolonged to a perpetual exertion. And the perpetual exertion of the intellect is the essence of an intelligent being, which results from an uninterrupted process of admixture, and remains eternal contemplation, a living substance. Could we, then, suppose any one proposing to the Gnostic whether he would choose the knowledge of God or everlasting salvation; and if these, which are entirely identical, were separable, he would without the least hesitation choose the knowledge of God, deeming that property of faith, which from love ascends to knowledge, desirable, for its own sake. This, then, is the perfect man's first form of doing good, when it is done not for any advantage in what pertains to him, but because he judges it right to do good; and the energy being vigorously exerted in all things, in the very act becomes good; not, good in some things, and not good in others; but consisting in the habit of doing good, neither for glory, nor, as the philosophers say, for reputation, nor from reward either from men or God; but so as to pass life after the image and likeness of the Lord.

And if, in doing good, he be met with anything adverse, he will let the recompense pass without resentment as if it were good, he being just and good to the just and the unjust. To such the Lord says, Be, as your Father is perfect.

To him the flesh is dead; but he himself lives alone, having consecrated the sepulchre into a holy temple to the Lord, having turned towards God the old sinful soul.

Such an one is no longer continent, but has reached a state of passionlessness, waiting to put on the divine image. If you do alms, it is said, let no one know it; and if you fast anoint yourself, that God alone may know, and not a single human being. Not even he himself who shows mercy ought to know that he does show mercy; for in this way he will be sometimes merciful, sometimes not. And when he shall do good by habit, he will imitate the nature of good, and his disposition will be his nature and his practice. There is no necessity for removing those who are raised on high, but there is necessity for those who are walking to reach the requisite goal, by passing over the whole of the narrow way. For this is to be drawn by the Father, to become worthy to receive the power of grace from God, so as to run without hindrance. And if some hate the elect, such an one knows their ignorance, and pities their minds for its folly.

As is right, then, knowledge itself loves and teaches the ignorant, and instructs the whole creation to honour God Almighty. And if such an one teaches to love God, he will not hold virtue as a thing to be lost in any case, either awake or in a dream, or in any vision; since the habit never goes out of itself by falling from being a habit. Whether, then, knowledge be said to be habit or disposition; on account of diverse sentiments never obtaining access, the guiding faculty, remaining unaltered, admits no alteration of appearances by framing in dreams visionary conceptions out of its movements by day. Wherefore also the Lord enjoins to watch, so that our soul may never be perturbed with passion, even in dreams; but also to keep the life of the night pure and stainless, as if spent in the day. For assimilation to God, as far as we can, is preserving the mind in its relation to the same things. And this is the relation of mind as mind.

But the variety of disposition arises from inordinate affection to material things. And for this reason, as they appear to me, to have called night Euphrone; since then the soul, released from the perceptions of sense, turns in on itself, and has a truer hold of intelligence (φρόνησις). Wherefore the mysteries are for the most part celebrated by night, indicating the withdrawal of the soul from the body, which takes place by night. Let us not then sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep, sleep in the night; and they that are drunken, are drunken in the night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as an helmet the hope of salvation. 1 Thessalonians 5:6-8 And as to what, again, they say of sleep, the very same things are to be understood of death. For each exhibits the departure of the soul, the one more, the other less; as we may also get this in Heraclitus: Man touches night in himself, when dead and his light quenched; and alive, when he sleeps he touches the dead; and awake, when he shuts his eyes, he touches the sleeper. For blessed are those that have seen the Lord, according to the apostle; for it is high time to awake out of sleep. For now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and put on the armour of light. By day and light he designates figuratively the Son, and by the armour of light metaphorically the promises.

So it is said that we ought to go washed to sacrifices and prayers, clean and bright; and that this external adornment and purification are practiced for a sign. Now purity is to think holy thoughts. Further, there is the image of baptism, which also was handed down to the poets from Moses as follows:—

And she having drawn water, and wearing on her body clean clothes.
It is Penelope that is going to prayer:—

And Telemachus,
Having washed his hands in the hoary sea, prayed to Athene.
It was a custom of the Jews to wash frequently after being in bed. It was then well said—

Be pure, not by washing of water, but in the mind.

For sanctity, as I conceive it, is perfect pureness of mind, and deeds, and thoughts, and words too, and in its last degree sinlessness in dreams.

And sufficient purification to a man, I reckon, is thorough and sure repentance. If, condemning ourselves for our former actions, we go forward, after these things taking thought, and divesting our mind both of the things which please us through the senses, and of our former transgressions.

If, then, we are to give the etymology of ἐπιστήμη, knowledge, its signification is to be derived from στάσις, placing; for our soul, which was formerly borne, now in one way, now in another, it settles in objects. Similarly faith is to be explained etymologically, as the settling (στάσις) of our soul respecting that which is.

But we desire to learn about the man who is always and in all things righteous; who, neither dreading the penalty proceeding from the law, nor fearing to entertain hatred of evil in the case of those who live with him and who prosecute the injured, nor dreading danger at the hands of those who do wrong, remains righteous. For he who, on account of these considerations, abstains from anything wrong, is not voluntarily kind, but is good from fear. Even Epicurus says, that the man who in his estimation was wise, would not do wrong to any one for the sake of gain; for he could not persuade himself that he would escape detection. So that, if he knew he would not be detected, he would, according to him, do evil. And such are the doctrines of darkness. If, too, one shall abstain from doing wrong from hope of the recompense given by God on account of righteous deeds, he is not on this supposition spontaneously good. For as fear makes that man just, so reward makes this one; or rather, makes him appear to be just. But with the hope after death— a good hope to the good, to the bad the reverse— not only they who follow after Barbarian wisdom, but also the Pythagoreans, are acquainted. For the latter also proposed hope as an end to those who philosophize. Whereas Socrates also, in the Phædo, says that good souls depart hence with a good hope; and again, denouncing the wicked, he sets against this the assertion, For they live with an evil hope. With him Heraclitus manifestly agrees in his dissertations concerning men: There awaits man after death what they neither hope nor think. Divinely, therefore, Paul writes expressly, Tribulation works, patience, and patience experience, and experience hope; and hope makes not ashamed. Romans 5:3-5 For the patience is on account of the hope in the future. Now hope is synonymous with the recompense and restitution of hope; which makes not ashamed, not being any more vilified.

But he who obeys the mere call, as he is called, neither for fear, nor for enjoyments, is on his way to knowledge (γνῶσις). For he does not consider whether any extrinsic lucrative gain or enjoyment follows to him; but drawn by the love of Him who is the true object of love, and led to what is requisite, practices piety. So that not even were we to suppose him to receive from God leave to do things forbidden with impunity; not even if he were to get the promise that he would receive as a reward the good things of the blessed; but besides, not even if he could persuade himself that God would be hoodwinked with reference to what he does (which is impossible), would he ever wish to do anything contrary to right reason, having once made choice of what is truly good and worthy of choice on its own account, and therefore to be loved. For it is not in the food of the belly, that we have heard good to be situated. But he has heard that meat will not commend us, 1 Corinthians 8:8 nor marriage, nor abstinence from marriage in ignorance; but virtuous gnostic conduct. For the dog, which is an irrational animal, may be said to be continent, dreading as it does the uplifted stick, and therefore keeping away from the meat. But let the predicted promise be taken away, and the threatened dread cancelled, and the impending danger removed, and the disposition of such people will be revealed.

Chapter 23. The Same Subject Continued

For it is not suitable to the nature of the thing itself, that they should apprehend in the truly gnostic manner the truth, that all things which were created for our use are good; as, for example, marriage and procreation, when used in moderation; and that it is better than good to become free of passion, and virtuous by assimilation to the divine. But in the case of external things, agreeable or disagreeable, from some they abstain, from others not. But in those things from which they abstain from disgust, they plainly find fault with the creature and the Creator; and though in appearance they walk faithfully, the opinion they maintain is impious. That command, You shall not lust, needs neither the necessity arising from fear, which compels to keep from things that are pleasant; nor the reward, which by promise persuades to restrain the impulses of passion.

And those who obey God through the promise, caught by the bait of pleasure, choose obedience not for the sake of the commandment, but for the sake of the promise. Nor will turning away from objects of sense, as a matter of necessary consequence, produce attachment to intellectual objects. On the contrary, the attachment to intellectual objects naturally becomes to the Gnostic an influence which draws away from the objects of sense; inasmuch as he, in virtue of the selection of what is good, has chosen what is good according to knowledge (γνωστικῶς), admiring generation, and by sanctifying the Creator sanctifying assimilation to the divine. But I shall free myself from lust, let him say, O Lord, for the sake of alliance with You. For the economy of creation is good, and all things are well administered: nothing happens without a cause. I must be in what is Yours, O Omnipotent One. And if I am there, I am near You. And I would be free of fear that I may be able to draw near to You, and to be satisfied with little, practising Your just choice between things good and things like.

Right mystically and sacredly the apostle, teaching us the choice which is truly gracious, not in the way of rejection of other things as bad, but so as to do things better than what is good, has spoken, saying, So he that gives his virgin in marriage does well; and he that gives her not does better; as far as respects seemliness and undistracted attendance on the Lord. 1 Corinthians 7:38, 35

Now we know that things which are difficult are not essential; but that things which are essential have been graciously made easy of attainment by God. Wherefore Democritus well says, that nature and instruction are like each other. And we have briefly assigned the cause. For instruction harmonizes man, and by harmonizing makes him natural; and it is no matter whether one was made such as he is by nature, or transformed by time and education. The Lord has furnished both; that which is by creation, and that which is by creating again and renewal through the covenant. And that is preferable which is advantageous to what is superior; but what is superior to everything is mind. So, then, what is really good is seen to be most pleasant, and of itself produces the fruit which is desired— tranquillity of soul. And he who hears Me, it is said, shall rest in peace, confident, and shall be calm without fear of any evil. Proverbs 1:33 Rely with all your heart and your mind on God. Proverbs 3:5

On this wise it is possible for the Gnostic already to have become God. I said, You are gods, and sons of the highest. And Empedocles says that the souls of the wise become gods, writing as follows:—

At last prophets, minstrels, and physicians,
And the foremost among mortal men, approach;
Whence spring gods supreme in honours.

Man, then, genetically considered, is formed in accordance with the idea of the connate spirit. For he is not created formless and shapeless in the workshop of nature, where mystically the production of man is accomplished, both art and essence being common. But the individual man is stamped according to the impression produced in the soul by the objects of his choice. Thus we say that Adam was perfect, as far as respects his formation; for none of the distinctive characteristics of the idea and form of man were wanting to him; but in the act of coming into being he received perfection. And he was justified by obedience; this was reaching manhood, as far as depended on him. And the cause lay in his choosing, and especially in his choosing what was forbidden. God was not the cause.

For production is twofold— of things procreated, and of things that grow. And manliness in man, who is subject to perturbation, as they say, makes him who partakes of it essentially fearless and invincible; and anger is the mind's satellite in patience, and endurance, and the like; and self-constraint and salutary sense are set over desire. But God is impassible, free of anger, destitute of desire. And He is not free of fear, in the sense of avoiding what is terrible; or temperate, in the sense of having command of desires. For neither can the nature of God fall in with anything terrible, nor does God flee fear; just as He will not feel desire, so as to rule over desires. Accordingly that Pythagorean saying was mystically uttered respecting us, that man ought to become one; for the high priest himself is one, God being one in the immutable state of the perpetual flow of good things. Now the Saviour has taken away wrath in and with lust, wrath being lust of vengeance. For universally liability to feeling belongs to every kind of desire; and man, when deified purely into a passionless state, becomes a unit. As, then, those, who at sea are held by an anchor, pull at the anchor, but do not drag it to them, but drag themselves to the anchor; so those who, according to the gnostic life, draw God towards them, imperceptibly bring themselves to God: for he who reverences God, reverences himself. In the contemplative life, then, one in worshipping God attends to himself, and through his own spotless purification beholds the holy God holily; for self-control, being present, surveying and contemplating itself uninterruptedly, is as far as possible assimilated to God.

Chapter 24. The Reason and End of Divine Punishments

Now that is in our power, of which equally with its opposite we are masters—as, say to philosophize or not, to believe or disbelieve. In consequence, then, of our being equally masters of each of the opposites, what depends on us is found possible. Now the commandments may be done or not done by us, who, as is reasonable, are liable to praise and blame. And those, again, who are punished on account of sins committed by them, are punished for them alone; for what is done is past, and what is done can never be undone. The sins committed before faith are accordingly forgiven by the Lord, not that they may be undone, but as if they had not been done. But not all, says Basilides, but only sins involuntary and in ignorance, are forgiven; as would be the case were it a man, and not God, that conferred such a boon. To such an one Scripture says, You thought that I would be like you. But if we are punished for voluntary sins, we are punished not that the sins which are done may be undone, but because they were done. But punishment does not avail to him who has sinned, to undo his sin, but that he may sin no more, and that no one else fall into the like. Therefore the good God corrects for these three causes: First, that he who is corrected may become better than his former self; then that those who are capable of being saved by examples may be driven back, being admonished; and thirdly, that he who is injured may not be readily despised, and be apt to receive injury. And there are two methods of correction— the instructive and the punitive, which we have called the disciplinary. It ought to be known, then, that those who fall into sin after baptism are those who are subjected to discipline; for the deeds done before are remitted, and those done after are purged. It is in reference to the unbelieving that it is said, that they are reckoned as the chaff which the wind drives from the face of the earth, and the drop which falls from a vessel.
Chapter 25. True Perfection Consists in the Knowledge and Love of God

Happy he who possesses the culture of knowledge, and is not moved to the injury of the citizens or to wrong actions, but contemplates the undecaying order of immortal nature, how and in what way and manner it subsists. To such the practice of base deeds attaches not, Rightly, then, Plato says, that the man who devotes himself to the contemplation of ideas will live as a god among men; now the mind is the place of ideas, and God is mind. He says that he who contemplates the unseen God lives as a god among men. And in the Sophist, Socrates calls the stranger of Elea, who was a dialectician, god: Such are the gods who, like stranger guests, frequent cities. For when the soul, rising above the sphere of generation, is by itself apart, and dwells amidst ideas, like the Coryphæus in Theætetus, now become as an angel, it will be with Christ, being rapt in contemplation, ever keeping in view the will of God; in reality

Alone wise, while these flit like shadows.
For the dead bury their dead. Whence Jeremiah says: I will fill it with the earth-born dead whom mine anger has smitten. Jeremiah 33:5

God, then, being not a subject for demonstration, cannot be the object of science. But the Son is wisdom, and knowledge, and truth, and all else that has affinity thereto. He is also susceptible of demonstration and of description. And all the powers of the Spirit, becoming collectively one thing, terminate in the same point— that is, in the Son. But He is incapable of being declared, in respect of the idea of each one of His powers. And the Son is neither simply one thing as one thing, nor many things as parts, but one thing as all things; whence also He is all things. For He is the circle of all powers rolled and united into one unity. Wherefore the Word is called the Alpha and the Omega, of whom alone the end becomes beginning, and ends again at the original beginning without any break. Wherefore also to believe in Him, and by Him, is to become a unit, being indissolubly united in Him; and to disbelieve is to be separated, disjoined, divided.

Wherefore thus says the Lord, Every alien son is uncircumcised in heart, and uncircumcised in flesh (that is, unclean in body and soul): there shall not enter one of the strangers into the midst of the house of Israel, but the Levites. Ezekiel 44:9-10 He calls those that would not believe, but would disbelieve, strangers. Only those who live purely being true priests of God. Wherefore, of all the circumcised tribes, those anointed to be high priests, and kings, and prophets, were reckoned more holy. Whence He commands them not to touch dead bodies, or approach the dead; not that the body was polluted, but that sin and disobedience were incarnate, and embodied, and dead, and therefore abominable. It was only, then, when a father and mother, a son and daughter died, that the priest was allowed to enter, because these were related only by flesh and seed, to whom the priest was indebted for the immediate cause of his entrance into life. And they purify themselves seven days, the period in which Creation was consummated. For on the seventh day the rest is celebrated; and on the eighth he brings a propitiation, as is written in Ezekiel, according to which propitiation the promise is to be received. Ezekiel 44:27 And the perfect propitiation, I take it, is that propitious faith in the Gospel which is by the law and the prophets, and the purity which shows itself in universal obedience, with the abandonment of the things of the world; in order to that grateful surrender of the tabernacle, which results from the enjoyment of the soul. Whether, then, the time be that which through the seven periods enumerated returns to the chiefest rest, or the seven heavens, which some reckon one above the other; or whether also the fixed sphere which borders on the intellectual world be called the eighth, the expression denotes that the Gnostic ought to rise out of the sphere of creation and of sin. After these seven days, sacrifices are offered for sins. For there is still fear of change, and it touches the seventh circle. The righteous Job says: Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return there; Job 1:21 not naked of possessions, for that were a trivial and common thing; but, as a just man, he departs naked of evil and sin, and of the unsightly shape which follows those who have led bad lives. For this was what was said, Unless you be converted, and become as children, Matthew 18:3 pure in flesh, holy in soul by abstinence from evil deeds; showing that He would have us to be such as also He generated us from our mother— the water. For the intent of one generation succeeding another is to immortalize by progress. But the lamp of the wicked shall be put out. That purity in body and soul which the Gnostic partakes of, the all-wise Moses indicated, by employing repetition in describing the incorruptibility of body and of soul in the person of Rebecca, thus: Now the virgin was fair, and man had not known her. Genesis 24:16 And Rebecca, interpreted, means glory of God; and the glory of God is immortality. This is in reality righteousness, not to desire other things, but to be entirely the consecrated temple of the Lord. Righteousness is peace of life and a well-conditioned state, to which the Lord dismissed her when He said, Depart into peace. Mark 5:34 For Salem is, by interpretation, peace; of which our Saviour is enrolled King, as Moses says, Melchizedek king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who gave bread and wine, furnishing consecrated food for a type of the Eucharist. And Melchizedek is interpreted righteous king; and the name is a synonym for righteousness and peace. Basilides, however, supposes that Righteousness and her daughter Peace dwell stationed in the eighth sphere.

But we must pass from physics to ethics, which are clearer; for the discourse concerning these will follow after the treatise in hand. The Saviour Himself, then, plainly initiates us into the mysteries, according to the words of the tragedy: —

Seeing those who see, he also gives the orgies.

And if you ask,

These orgies, what is their nature?

You will hear again:—

It is forbidden to mortals uninitiated in the Bacchic rites to know.

And if any one will inquire curiously what they are, let him hear:—

It is not lawful for you to hear, but they are worth knowing;
The rites of the God detest him who practices impiety.

Now God, who is without beginning, is the perfect beginning of the universe, and the producer of the beginning. As, then, He is being, He is the first principle of the department of action, as He is good, of morals; as He is mind, on the other hand, He is the first principle of reasoning and of judgment. Whence also He alone is Teacher, who is the only Son of the Most High Father, the Instructor of men.

Chapter 26. How the Perfect Man Treats the Body and the Things of the World

Those, then, who run down created existence and vilify the body are wrong; not considering that the frame of man was formed erect for the contemplation of heaven, and that the organization of the senses tends to knowledge; and that the members and parts are arranged for good, not for pleasure. Whence this abode becomes receptive of the soul which is most precious to God; and is dignified with the Holy Spirit through the sanctification of soul and body, perfected with the perfection of the Saviour. And the succession of the three virtues is found in the Gnostic, who morally, physically, and logically occupies himself with God. For wisdom is the knowledge of things divine and human; and righteousness is the concord of the parts of the soul; and holiness is the service of God. But if one were to say that he disparaged the flesh, and generation on account of it, by quoting Isaiah, who says, All flesh is grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass: the grass is withered, and the flower has fallen; but the word of the Lord endures for ever; Isaiah 40:6-8 let him hear the Spirit interpreting the matter in question by Jeremiah, And I scattered them like dry sticks, that are made to fly by the wind into the desert. This is the lot and portion of your disobedience, says the Lord . As you have forgotten Me, and have trusted in lies, so will I discover your hinder parts to your face; and your disgrace shall be seen, your adultery, and your neighing, and so on. Jeremiah 13:24-27 For the flower of grass, and walking after the flesh, and being carnal, according to the apostle, are those who are in their sins. The soul of man is confessedly the better part of man, and the body the inferior. But neither is the soul good by nature, nor, on the other hand, is the body bad by nature. Nor is that which is not good straightway bad. For there are things which occupy a middle place, and among them are things to be preferred, and things to be rejected. The constitution of man, then, which has its place among things of sense, was necessarily composed of things diverse, but not opposite— body and soul.

Always therefore the good actions, as better, attach to the better and ruling spirit; and voluptuous and sinful actions are attributed to the worse, the sinful one.

Now the soul of the wise man and Gnostic, as sojourning in the body, conducts itself towards it gravely and respectfully, not with inordinate affections, as about to leave the tabernacle if the time of departure summon. I am a stranger in the earth, and a sojourner with you, it is said. And hence Basilides says, that he apprehends that the election are strangers to the world, being supramundane by nature. But this is not the case. For all things are of one God. And no one is a stranger to the world by nature, their essence being one, and God one. But the elect man dwells as a sojourner, knowing all things to be possessed and disposed of; and he makes use of the things which the Pythagoreans make out to be the threefold good things. The body, too, as one sent on a distant pilgrimage, uses inns and dwellings by the way, having care of the things of the world, of the places where he halts; but leaving his dwelling-place and property without excessive emotion; readily following him that leads him away from life; by no means and on no occasion turning back; giving thanks for his sojourn, and blessing [God] for his departure, embracing the mansion that is in heaven. For we know, that, if the earthly house of our tabernacle be dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: if so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we walk by faith, not by sight, as the apostle says; and we are willing rather to be absent from the body, and present with God. The rather is in comparison. And comparison obtains in the case of things that fall under resemblance; as the more valiant man is more valiant among the valiant, and most valiant among cowards. Whence he adds, Wherefore we strive, whether present or absent, to be accepted with Him, 2 Corinthians 5:9 that is, God, whose work and creation are all things, both the world and things supramundane. I admire Epicharmus, who clearly says:—

Endowed with pious mind, you will not, in dying,
Suffer anything evil. The spirit will dwell in heaven above;

and the minstrel who sings:—

The souls of the wicked flit about below the skies on earth,
In murderous pains beneath inevitable yokes of evils;
But those of the pious dwell in the heavens,
Hymning in songs the Great, the Blessed One.

The soul is not then sent down from heaven to what is worse. For God works all things up to what is better. But the soul which has chosen the best life— the life that is from God and righteousness— exchanges earth for heaven. With reason therefore, Job, who had attained to knowledge, said, Now I know that you can do all things; and nothing is impossible to You. For who tells me of what I know not, great and wonderful things with which I was unacquainted? And I felt myself vile, considering myself to be earth and ashes. For he who, being in a state of ignorance, is sinful, is earth and ashes; while he who is in a state of knowledge, being assimilated as far as possible to God, is already spiritual, and so elect. And that Scripture calls the senseless and disobedient earth, will be made clear by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, in reference to Joachim and his brethren Earth, earth, hear the word of the Lord; Write this man, as man excommunicated. Jeremiah 22:29-30 And another prophet says again, Hear, O heaven; and give ear, O earth, Isaiah 1:2 calling understanding ear, and the soul of the Gnostic, that of the man who has applied himself to the contemplation of heaven and divine things, and in this way has become an Israelite, heaven. For again he calls him who has made ignorance and hardness of heart his choice, earth. And the expression give ear he derives from the organs of hearing, the ears, attributing carnal things to those who cleave to the things of sense. Such are they of whom Micah the prophet says, Hear the word of the Lord, you peoples who dwell with pangs. And Abraham said, By no means. The Lord is He who judges the earth; Genesis 18:25 since he that believes not, is, according to the utterance of the Saviour, condemned already. John 3:18 And there is written in the Kings the judgment and sentence of the Lord, which stands thus: The Lord hears the righteous, but the wicked He saves not, because they do not desire to know God. For the Almighty will not accomplish what is absurd. What do the heresies say to this utterance, seeing Scripture proclaims the Almighty God to be good, and not the author of evil and wrong, if indeed ignorance arises from one not knowing? But God does nothing absurd. For this God, it is said, is our God, and there is none to save besides Him. Isaiah 45:21 For there is no unrighteousness with God, Romans 9:14 according to the apostle. And clearly yet the prophet teaches the will of God, and the gnostic proficiency, in these words: And now, Israel, what does the Lord God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, and walk in all His ways, and love Him, and serve Him alone? Deuteronomy 10:12 He asks of you, who hast the power of choosing salvation. What is it, then, that the Pythagoreans mean when they bid us pray with the voice? As seems to me, not that they thought the Divinity could not hear those who speak silently, but because they wished prayers to be right, which no one would be ashamed to make in the knowledge of many. We shall, however, treat of prayer in due course by and by. But we ought to have works that cry aloud, as becoming those who walk in the day. Romans 13:13 Let your works shine, Matthew 5:16 and behold a man and his works before his face. For behold God and His works. Isaiah 62:11 For the gnostic must, as far as is possible, imitate God. And the poets call the elect in their pages godlike and gods, and equal to the gods, and equal in sagacity to Zeus, and having counsels like the gods, and resembling the gods—nibbling, as seems to me, at the expression, in the image and likeness. Genesis 1:26

Euripides accordingly says, Golden wings are round my back, and I am shod with the winged sandals of the Sirens; and I shall go aloft into the wide ether, to hold convene with Zeus.

But I shall pray the Spirit of Christ to wing me to my Jerusalem. For the Stoics say that heaven is properly a city, but places here on earth are not cities; for they are called so, but are not. For a city is an important thing, and the people a decorous body, and a multitude of men regulated by law as the church by the word— a city on earth impregnable— free from tyranny; a product of the divine will on earth as in heaven. Images of this city the poets create with their pen. For the Hyperboreans, and the Arimaspian cities, and the Elysian plains, are commonwealths of just men. And we know Plato's city placed as a pattern in heaven.