Chapter VIII.—Peter Undertakes to Discuss the Devils Origin.
And Peter said: “Since you compel us, after we have made accurate investigations into the contrivances of God, to venture to state them, and that, too, to men who are not able to comprehend thoroughly the contrivances of their fellow-men, for the sake at least of those who are present, I, instead of remaining silent—a course which would be most pious—shall discuss the subjects of which you wish me to speak. I agree with you in believing that there is a prince of evil, of whose origin the Scripture has ventured to say nothing either true or false. But let us follow out the inquiry in many ways, as to how he has come into existence, if it is the fact that he has come into existence; and of the p. 333 opinions which present themselves, let us select that which is most reverential, since in the case of probable opinions, that one is assumed with confidence which is based on the principle that we ought to attribute to God that which is more reverential; and all the more so, if, when all other suppositions are removed, there still remains one which is adequate and involves less danger. 1423 But I promise you, before I proceed with the investigation, that every method in the investigation can show that God alone is blameless.
This sentence is regarded as corrupt by Wieseler. We have retained the reading of the Paris ms., ὁ, and understand λαμβάνεται after it. Δὲ would naturally be inserted after ταύτῃ, but it is not necessary. Καθαρθεισῶν is translated in the Latin purgatis, which may mean the same as in our translation if we take it in the sense of “washed away;” but καθαιρεθεισῶν would be a better reading. The translation of Cotelerius gives, “Since this is reasonably assumed with firmness,—namely, that it is right to give to God,” etc.