Chapter XVII.—Suggestions of the Old Serpent.
“Above all, therefore, you ought to understand the deception of the old serpent 764 and his cunning suggestions, who deceives you as it were by prudence, and as by a sort of reason creeps through your senses; and beginning at the head, he glides through your inner marrow, accounting the deceiving of you a great gain. Therefore he insinuates into your minds opinions of gods of whatsoever kinds, only that he may withdraw you from the faith of one God knowing that your sin is his comfort. For he, for his wickedness, was condemned from the beginning to eat dust, for that he caused to be again resolved into dust him who had been taken from the dust, even till the time when your souls shall be restored, being brought through the fire; as we shall instruct you more fully at another time. From him, therefore, proceed all the errors and doubts, by which you are driven from the faith and belief of one God.
[Comp. book ii. 45. In Homily X. 10, etc., the influence of the serpent is spoken of, but the discourse here is much fuller. There is, however, a general agreement in outline between chaps. 17–22 here and Homily X. 10–21.—R.]