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Chapter XX.—Postponement of Discussion with Simon Magus.

Early next morning Zacchæus 542 came in to us, and after salutation, said to Peter:  “Simon puts off the discussion till the eleventh day of the present month, which is seven days hence, for he says that then he will have more leisure for the contest.  But to me it seems that his putting off is also advantageous to us, so that more may come together, who may be either hearers or judges of our disputation.  However, if it seem proper to you, let us occupy the interval in discussing among ourselves the things which, we suppose, may come into the controversy; so that each of us, knowing what things are to be proposed, and what answers are to be given, may consider with himself if they are all right, or if an adversary shall be able to find anything to object, or to set aside the things which we bring against him.  But if the things which are to be spoken by us are manifestly impregnable on every side, we shall have confidence in entering upon the examination.  And indeed, this is my opinion, that first of all it ought to be inquired what is the origin of all things, or what is the immediate 543 thing which may be called the cause of all things which are:  then, with respect to all things that exist, whether they have been made, and by whom, through whom, and for whom; whether they have received their subsistence from one, or from two, or from many; and whether they have been taken and fashioned from none previously subsisting, or from some:  then, whether there is any virtue in the highest things, or in the lower; whether there is anything which is better than all, or anything that is inferior to all; whether there are any motions, or none; whether those things which are seen were always, and shall be always; whether they have come into existence without a creator, and shall pass away without a destroyer.  If, I say, the discussion begin with these things, I think that the things which shall be inquired into, being discussed with diligent examination, will be easily ascertained.  And when these are ascertained, the knowledge of those that follow will be easily found.  I have stated my opinion; be pleased to intimate what you think of the matter. 544



[Identified in the Homilies with the publican of Jericho.  Fifteen others are named in Homily II. 1; some of them are introduced in Recognitions, ii. 1.—R.]


Here we follow a marginal reading.


[This chapter has no direct parallel in the Homilies.  While there is a general resemblance in the remainder of book i. to Homily II., much of the matter is peculiar, or at least introduced in a connection different from that of the Homilies.—R.]

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