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Book VIII.

Chapter I.—The Old Workman.

Now the next morning Peter took my brothers and me with him, and we went down to the harbour to bathe in the sea, and thereafter we retired to a certain secret place for prayer.  But a certain poor old man, a workman, as he appeared by his dress, began to observe us eagerly, without our seeing him, that he might see what we were doing in secret. 806   And when he saw us praying, he waited till we came out, and then saluted us, and said:  “If you do not take it amiss, and regard me as an inquisitive and importunate person, I should wish to converse with you; for I take pity on you, and would not have you err under the appearance of truth, and be afraid of things that have no existence; or if you think that there is any truth in them, then declare it to me.  If, therefore, you take it patiently, I can in a few words instruct you in what is right; but if it be unpleasant to you, I shall go on, and do my business.”  To him Peter answered:  “Speak what you think good, and we will gladly hear, whether it be true or false; for you are to be welcomed, because, like a father anxious on behalf of his children, you wish to put us in possession of what you regard as good.”



[From this point there are considerable variations in the two narratives.  The old man becomes, in the Recognitions, a prominent participant in the discussions, arguing with Peter, and with Niceta, Aquila, and Clement.  At the close of these discussions he is recognised first by the sons (ix. 35), and then by his wife, as Faustinianus (ix. 37).  In the Homilies Peter tells of an interview with the old man (xiv. 2–8), and the recognition takes place immediately upon his appearance (xiv. 9).  Some discussion with him follows (Homily XV.); but soon the main controversy is with Simon Magus (Homilies XVI.–XIX.), in the presence of the father, who is convinced by Peter.  Book x. contains much matter introduced in Homilies IV.–VII.  The correspondences will be indicated in the footnotes.—R.]

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