Chapter X.—Tow Smeared with Pitch.
“But what, it is said, of the fact that some who in their childhood are free from any bodily defect, yet in process of time fall into those evils, so that some are even violently hurried on to death? Concerning these also the account is at hand, and is almost the same: for those powers which we have said to be contrary to the human race, are in some way invited into the heart of every one by many and diverse lusts, and find a way of entrance; and they have in them such influence and power as can only encourage and incite, but cannot compel or accomplish. If, therefore, any one consents to them, so as to do those things which he wickedly desires, his consent and deed shall find the reward of destruction and the worst kind of death. But if, thinking of the future judgment, he be checked by fear, and reclaim himself, so that he do not accomplish in action what he has conceived in his evil thought, he shall not only escape present destruction, but also future punishments. For every cause of sin seems to be like tow smeared over with pitch, which immediately breaks into flame as soon as it receives the heat of fire; and the kindling of this fire is understood to be the work of demons. If, therefore, any one be found smeared with sins and lusts as with pitch, the fire easily gets the mastery of him. But if the tow be not steeped in the pitch of sin, but in the water of purification and regeneration, the fire of the demons shall not be able to be kindled in it.