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Chapter XXXVII.—Simon’s Subtlety.

Then Simon said:  “I admire, indeed, the quickness of your wit, yet I do not embrace the error of your faith.  For you have wisely foreseen that you may be contradicted; and you have even politely confessed, that for the assertion of these things countless thousands of words will be called forth, for no one agrees with the profession of your faith.  In short, as to there being one God, and the world being His work, who can receive this doctrine?  Neither, I think, any one of the Pagans, even if he be an unlearned man, and certainly no one of the philosophers; but not even the rudest and most wretched of the Jews, nor I myself, who am well acquainted with their law.”  Then Peter said:  “Put aside the opinions of those who are not here, and tell us face to face what is your own.”  Then Simon said:  “I can state what I really think; but this consideration makes me reluctant to do so, that if I say what is neither acceptable to you, nor seems right to this unskilled rabble, you indeed, as confounded, will straightway shut your ears, that they may not be polluted with blasphemy, forsooth, and will take to flight because you cannot find an answer; while the unreasoning populace will assent to you, and embrace you as one teaching those things which are commonly received among them; and will curse me, as professing things new and unheard of, and instilling my error into the minds of others.”

Next: Chapter XXXVIII