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ANF08. The Twelve Patriarchs, Excerpts and Epistles, The Clementia, Apocrypha, Decretals, Memoirs of Edessa and Syriac Documents, Remains of the First
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Chapter X.—Peter’s Explanation of the Apparent Contradictions of Scripture.

And Peter said: “They do not lead astray, but convict and bring to light the evil disposition against God which lurks like a serpent in each one.  For the Scriptures lie before each one like many divers types.  Each one, then, has his own disposition like wax, and examining the Scriptures and finding everything in them, he moulds his idea of God according to his wish, laying upon them, as I said, his own disposition, which is like wax.12831283    [This statement of the subjective method of interpretation is in curious harmony with the prevalent theory of this work respecting the mixture of error and truth in the Scriptures.—R.]  Since, then, each one finds in the Scriptures whatever opinion he wishes to have in regard to God, for this reason he, Simon, moulds from them the forms12841284    ἰδέας. of many gods, while we moulded the form of Him who truly exists, coming to the knowledge of the true type from our own shape.12851285    μορφῆς.  For assuredly the soul within us is clothed with His image for immortality.  If I abandon the parent of this soul, it also will abandon me to just judgment, making known the injustice by the very act of daring;12861286    Probably τολμήματι should be changed into ὁρμήματι, or some such word:  making known that an act of injustice has been committed by taking its departure. and as coming from one who is just, it will justly abandon me; and so, as far as the soul is concerned, I shall, after punishment, be destroyed, having abandoned the help that comes from it.  But if there is another god, first let him put on another form, another shape, in order that by the new shape of the body I may recognise the new god.  But if he should change the shape, does he thereby change the substance of the soul?  But if he should change it also, then I am no longer myself, having become another both in shape and in substance.  Let him, therefore, create others, if there is another.  But there is not.  For if there had been, he would have created.  But since he has not created, then let him, as nonexistent, leave him who is really existent.12871287    This might possibly be translated, “let him leave him who exists to him who exists;” i.e., let him leave the real God to man, who really exists.  For he is nobody,12881288    Wieseler proposes, “for he exists to no one.” except only in the opinion of Simon.  I do not accept of any other god but Him alone who created me.”


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