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Chapter V.—A Resolution.

What, then, am I to do, unless this?  I shall go into Egypt, and I shall become friendly with the hierophants of the shrines, and with the prophets; and I shall seek and find a magician, and persuade him with large bribes to effect the calling up of a soul, which is called necromancy, as if I were going to inquire of it concerning some business.  And the inquiry shall be for the purpose of learning whether the soul is immortal.  But the answer of the soul that it is immortal shall not give me the knowledge from its speaking or my hearing, but only from its being seen; so that, seeing it with my very eyes, I may have a self-sufficient and fit assurance, from the very fact of its appearing, that it exists; and never again shall the uncertain words of hearing be able to overturn the things which the eyes have made their own.  However, I submitted this very plan to a certain companion who was a philosopher; and he counselled me not to venture upon it, and that on many accounts.  “For if,” said he, “the soul shall not listen to the magician, you will live with an evil conscience, as having acted against the laws which forbid the doing of these things.  But if it shall listen to him, then, besides your living with an evil conscience, I think that matters of piety will not be promoted to you on account of your making this attempt.  For they say that the Deity is angry with those who disturb souls after their release from the body.” 901   And I, when I heard this, became indeed more backward to undertake such a thing, but I did not abandon my original plan; but I was distressed, as being hindered in the execution of it.



This rendering is from the text in the corresponding passage of the Epitome de gestis S. Petri.

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