Chapter XV.—Simons Arrogance.
Then said Simon: “You seem to me to be angry; but if it be so, it is not necessary to enter into the conflict.” Then Peter: “I see that you perceive that you are to be convicted, and you wish politely to escape from the contest; for what have you seen to have made me angry against you, a man desiring to deceive so great a multitude, and when you have nothing to say, pretending moderation, who also command, forsooth, by your authority that the controversy shall be conducted as you please, and not as order demands?” Then Simon: “I shall enforce myself to bear patiently your unskilfulness, that I may show that you indeed wish to seduce the people, but that I teach the truth. But now I refrain from a discussion concerning that boundless light. Answer me, therefore, what I ask of you. Since God, as you say, made all things, whence comes evil?” 680 Then said Peter: “To put questions in this way is not the part of an opponent, but of a learner. If therefore you wish to learn, confess it; and I shall first teach you how you ought to learn, and when you have learned to listen, then straightway I shall begin to teach you. But if you do not wish to learn, as though you knew all things, I shall first set forth the faith which I preach, and do you also set forth what you think to be true; and when the profession of each of us has been disclosed, let our hearers judge whose discourse is supported by truth.” To this Simon answered: “This is a good joke: behold a fellow who offers to teach me! Nevertheless I shall suffer you, and bear with your ignorance and your arrogance. I confess, then, I do wish to learn; let us see how you can teach me.”
[In Homily XIX. the discussion with Simon is respecting the existence of the evil one. Here the treatment is apparently of a higher philosophical character.—R.]