CHAP. LIX.--THE CREATOR OUR FATHER,
Then Simon: "It is not impious for the sake of greater profit and advantage to rice to him who is of richer glory."
Then Peter: "If, as you say, it is not impious to flee to a stranger, it is at all events much more pious to remain with our
own father, even if he be poor. But if you do not think it impious to leave our father, and flee to another, as being better
than he; and you do not believe that our Creator will take this amiss; much more the good God will not be angry, because,
when we were strangers to him, we have not fled to him, but have remained with our own Creator. Yea, I think he will rather
commend us the more for this, that we have kept faith with God our Creator; for he
will consider that, if we had been his creatures, we should never have been seduced by the allurements of any other to forsake
him. For if any one, allured by richer promises, shall leave his own father and betake himself to a stranger, it may be that
he will leave him in his turn, and go to another who shall promise him greater things, and this the rather because he is not
his son, since he could leave even him who by nature was his father." Then Simon said: "But what if souls are from him, and
do not know him, and he is truly their father?"
CHAP. LX.--THE CREATOR THE SUPREME GOD.
Then Peter said: "You represent him as weak enough. For if, as you say, he is more powerful than all, it can never
be believed the weaker wrenched the spoils from the stronger. Or if God the Creator was able by violence to bring down
souls into this world, how can it be that, when they are separated from the body and freed from the bonds of captivity, the
good God shall call them to the sufferance of punishment, on the ground that they, either through his remissness or weakness,
were dragged away to this place, and were involved in the body, as in the darkness of ignorance? You seem to me not to know
what a father and a God is: but I could tell you both whence souls are, and when and how they were made; but it is not permitted
to me now to disclose these things to you, who are in such error in respect of the knowledge of God." Then said Simon: "A
time will come when you shah be sorry that you did not understand me speaking of the ineffable power." Then said Peter: "Give
us then, as I have often said, as being yourself a new God, or as having .yourself come down from him, some new sense, by
means of which we may know that new God of whom you speak; for those five senses, which God our Creator has given us, keep
faith to their own Creator, and do not perceive that there is any other God, for so their nature necessitates them."
To this Simon answered: "Apply your mind to those things which I am going to say, and cause it, walking in peaceable
paths, to attain to those things which I shall demonstrate. Listen now, therefore. Did you never in thought reach forth your
mind into regions or islands situated far away, and remain so fixed in them, that you could not even see the people that were
before you, or know where yourself were sitting, by reason of the delightfulness of those things on which yon were gazing?"
And Peter said: "It is true, Simon, this has often occurred to me." Then Simon said: "In this way now reach forth your sense
into heaven, yea above the heaven, and behold that there must be some place beyond the world, or outside the world, in which
there is neither heaven nor earth, and where no shadow of these things produces darkness; and consequently, since there are
neither bodies in it, nor darkness occasioned by bodies, there must of necessity be immense light; and consider of what sort
that light must be, which is never succeeded by darkness. For if the light of this sun
fills this whole world, how great do you suppose that bodiless and infinite light to be? So great, doubtless, that
this light of the sun would seem to be darkness and not light, in comparison."
CHAP. LXII.--PETER'S EXPERIENCE OF IMAGINATION.
When Simon thus spoke, Peter answered: "Now listen patiently concerning both these matters, that is, concerning
the example of stretching out the senses, and concerning the immensity of light. I know that I myself, O Simon, have sometimes in thought extended my sense, as you say, into regions and islands situated afar
off, and have seen them with my mind not less than if it had been with my eyes. When I was at Capernaum, occupied in the taking
of fishes, and sat upon a rock, holding in my hand a hook attached to a line, and fitted for deceiving the fishes, I was so
absorbed that I did not feel a fish adhering to it while my mind eagerly ran through my beloved Jerusalem, to which I had
frequently gone up, waking, for the sake of offerings and prayers. But I was accustomed also to admire this Caesarea, hearing
of it from others, and to long to see it; and I seemed to myself to see it, although I had never been in it; and I thought
of it what was suitable to be thought of a great city, its gates, walls, baths, streets, lanes, markets, and the like, in
accordance with what I had seen in other cities; and to such an extent was I delighted with the intentness of such inspection,
that, as you said, neither saw one who was present and standing by me, nor knew
where myself was sitting." Then said Simon: "Now you say well."
CHAP. LXIII.--PETER'S REVERIE.
Then Peter: "In short, when I did not perceive, through the occupation of my mind, that I had caught a very large fish
which was attached to the hook, and that although it was dragging the hook-line from my hand, my brother Andrew. who was sitting
by me, seeing me in a reverie and almost ready to fall, thrusting his elbow into my side as if he would awaken me from sleep,
said: 'Do you not see, Peter, what a large fish you have caught? Are you out of your senses, that you are thus in a stupor
of astonishment? Tell me, What is the matter with you?' But i was angry with him for a little, because he had withdrawn me
from the delight of those things which I was contemplating; then I answered that I was not suffering from any malady, but that I was mentally gazing on the beloved Jerusalem, and at the same time on Caesarea;
and that, while I was indeed with him in the body, in my mind I was wholly carried away thither. But he, I know not whence
inspired, uttered a hidden and secret word of truth.
CHAP. LXIV.--ANDREW'S REBUKE.
"'Give over,' says he, 'O Peter. What is it that you are doing? For those who are beginning to be possessed with a
demon, or to be disturbed in their minds, begin in this way. They are first carried away by butts to some pleasant and delightful
things, then they are poured out in vain and fond motions towards things which have no existence. Now this happens from a
certain disease of mind, by reason of which they see not the things which are, but long to bring to their sight those which
are not. But thus it happens also to those who are suffering phrenzy, and seem to themselves to see many images, because their
soul, being torn and withdrawn from its place by excess of cold or of heat, suffers a failure of its natural service. But
those also who are in distress through thirst, when they fall asleep, seem to
themselves to see rivers and fountains, and to drink; but this befalls them through being distressed by the dryness of the
unmoistened body. Wherefore it is certain that this occurs through some ailment either of the soul or body.'
CHAP. LXV.--FALLACY OF IMAGINATION.
"In short, that you may receive the faith of the matter; concerning Jerusalem, which I had often seen, I told my brother
what places and what gatherings of people I had seemed to myself to see. But also concerning Caesarea, which I had never seen,
I nevertheless contended that it was such as I had conceived it in my mind and thought. But when I came hither, and saw nothing
at all like to those things which I had seen in phantasy, I blamed myself, and observed distinctly, that I had assigned to
it gates, and walls, and buildings from others which I had seen, taking the likeness in reality from others. Nor indeed can
any one imagine anything new, and of which no form has ever existed. For even if any one should fashion from his imagination
bulls with five heads, he only forms them with five heads out of those which he has seen with one head. And you therefore,
now, if truly you seem to yourself to perceive anything with your thought, and to look above the heavens, there is no doubt
but that you imagine them from those things which you see, placed as you are upon the earth. But if you think that there is
easy access for your mind above the heavens, and that you are able to conceive the things that are there, and to apprehend
knowledge of that immense light, I think that for him who can comprehend these things, it were easier to throw his sense,
which knows how to ascend thither, into the heart and breast of some one of us who stand by, and to tell what thoughts he
is cherishing in his breast. If therefore you can declare the thoughts of the heart of any one of us, who is not pre-engaged
in your favour, we shall perhaps be able to believe you, that you are able to know those things that are above the heavens,
although these are much loftier."
CHAP. LXVI.--EXISTENCE AND CONCEPTION.
To this Simon replied: "O thou who hast woven a web of many frivolities, listen now. It is impossible that anything
which comes into a man's thoughts should not also subsist in truth and reality.
For things that do not subsist, have no appearances; but things that have no appearances, cannot present themselves to
our thoughts." Then said Peter: "If everything that can come into our thoughts
has a subsistence, then, with respect to that place of immensity which you say is outside the world, if one thinks in his
heart that it is light, and another that it is darkness, how can one and the same place be both light and darkness, according
to their different thoughts concerning it?" Then said Simon: "Let pass for the present what I have said; and tell us what
you suppose to be above the heavens."
CHAP. LXVII.--THE LAW TEACHES OF IMMENSITY.
Then said Peter: "If you believed concerning the true fountain of light, I could instruct you what and of what sort
is that which is immense, and should render, not a vain fancy, but a consistent and necessary account of the truth, and should
make use, not of sophistical assertions, but testimonies of the law and nature, that you might know that the law especially
contains what we ought to believe in regard to immensity. But if the doctrine of immensity is not unknown to the law, then
assuredly, nought else can be unknown to it; and therefore it is a false supposition of yours, that there is anything of which
the law is not cognisant. Much more shall nothing be unknown to Him who gave
the law. Yet I cannot speak anything to you of immensity and of those things
which are without limit, unless first you either accept our account of those heavens which are bounded by a certain limit,
or else propound your own account of them. But if you cannot understand concerning those which are comprehended within fixed
boundaries, much more can you neither know nor learn anything concerning those which are without limit."
CHAP. LXVIII.--THE VISIBLE AND THE INVISIBLE
To this Simon answered: "It seems to me to be better to believe simply that God is, and that that heaven which we see
is the only heaven in the whole universe." But Peter said: "No! so; but it is proper to confess one God who truly is; but
that there are heavens, which were made by Him, as also the law says, of which one is the higher, in which also is contained
the visible firmament; and that that higher heaven is perpetual and eternal, with those who dwell in it; but that this visible
heaven is to be dissolved and to pass away at the end of the world, in order that that heaven which is older and higher may appear after the judgment to the holy
and the worthy." To this Simon answered: "That these things are so, as you say, may appear to those who believe them; but
to him who seeks for reasons of these things, it is impossible that they can be produced from the law, and especially concerning
the immensity of light."
CHAP. LXIX.--FAITH AND REASON.
Then Peter: "Do not think that we say that these things are only to be received by faith, but also that they are to
be asserted by reason. For indeed it is not safe to commit these things to bare faith without reason, since assuredly truth
cannot be without reason. And therefore he who has received these things fortified by reason, call never lose them; whereas
he who receives them without proofs, by an assent to a simple statement of them, can neither keep them safely, nor is certain
if they are true; because he who easily believes, also easily yields. But he who has sought reason for those things which
he has believed and received, as though bound by chains of reason itself, can never be torn away or separated from those things
which he hath believed. And therefore, according as any one is more anxious in demanding a reason, by so much will he be the
firmer in preserving his faith."
To this Simon replied: "It is a great thing which you promise, that the eternity of boundless light can be shown from
the law." And when Peter said, "I shall show it whenever you please," Simon answered: "Since now it is a late hour, I shall
stand by you and oppose you to-morrow; and if you can prove that this world was created, and that souls are immortal, you
shall have me to assist you in your preaching." When he had said thus, he departed, and was followed by a third part of all
the people who had conic with him, who were about one thousand men. But the rest with bended knees prostrated themselves before
Peter; and he, invoking upon them the name of God, cured some who had demons, healed others who were sick, and so dismissed
the people rejoicing, commanding them to come early the next day. But Peter, when the crowds had withdrawn, commanded the
table to be spread on the ground, in the open air, in the court where the disputation had been held, and sat down together
with those eleven; but I dined reclining with some others who also had made a beginning of hearing I the word of God, and
were greatly beloved.
CHAP. LXXI.--SEPARATION FROM THE UNCLEAN.
But Peter, most benignantly regarding me, lest haply that separation might cause me sorrow, says to me: "It is not
from pride, O Clement, that I do not eat with those who have not yet been purified; but I fear lest perhaps I should injure
myself, and do no good to them. For this I would have you know for certain, that every one who has at any time worshipped
idols, and has adored those whom the pagans call gods, or has eaten of the things sacrificed to them, is not without an unclean
spirit; for he has become a guest of demons, and has been partaker with that demon of which he has formed the image in his
mind, either through fear or love. And by these means he is not free from an unclean spirit, and therefore needs the purification
of baptism, that the unclean spirit may go out of him, which has made its abode in the inmost affections of his soul, and
what is worse, gives no indication that it lurks within, for fear it should be exposed and expelled.
CHAP. LXXII.--THE REMEDY.
"For these unclean spirits love to dwell in the bodies of men, that they may fulfil their own desires by their service,
and, inclining the motions of their souls to those things which they themselves desire, may compel them to obey their own
lusts, that they may become wholly vessels of demons. One of whom is this Simon, who is seized with such disease, and cannot
now be healed, because he is sick in his will and purpose. Nor does the demon dwell in him against his will; and therefore,
if any one would drive it out of him, since it is inseparable from himself, and, so to speak, has now become his very soul,
he should seem rather to kill him, and to incur the guilt of manslaughter. Let no one of you therefore be saddened at being
separated from eating with us, for every one ought to observe that it is for just so long a time as he pleases. For he who
wishes soon to be baptized is separated but for a little time, but he for a longer who wishes to be baptized later. Every
one therefore has it in his own power to demand a shorter or a longer time for his repentance; and therefore it lies with
you, when you wish it, to come to our table; and not with us, who are not permitted to take food with any one who has not
been baptized. It is rather you, therefore, who hinder us from eating with you, if you interpose delays in the way of your
purification, and defer your baptism." Having said thus, and having blessed, he took food. And afterwards, when he had given
thanks to God, he went into the house and went to bed; and we all did the like, for it was now night.
Simon's quasi-Trinitarian Gnostic teaching,
wherein he, with the title the Great Power of God, appeared to the Jews as a mediating, suffering Son of God, to the Samaritans
as Father, and to the pagan world as Holy Spirit, is contained in the early Christian writings known as the Clementine literature.
The mythic form of these documents raises doubts as to whether the biblical Simon Magus and the Simon of later apocryphal
sources are the same.
In the 2nd century a Simonian sect arose
that viewed Simon Magus as the first God, or Father, and he was sometimes worshipped as the incarnation of the Greek god Zeus.
His consort Helen was regarded by his followers as the earthly manifestation of Athena.
In the Simonian creation myth, the first
thought (Ennoia) was produced from the Father's mind in order to create the angels, who in turn created the visible universe.
These angels, however, imprisoned the first thought out of jealousy, placing her in a human body so that she could not return
to the Father. She was thus doomed to pass from body to body, the most recent being that of Helen. In order to redeem his
first thought, the Father descended in human shape as Simon and offered salvation to human beings if they would recognize
him as the first God.
The Simonian doctrine of salvation differed
from that of the other Gnostic groups, for it promised redemption within the temporal order, whereas other Gnostics could
conceive of salvation as attainable only by escaping their earthly prison.
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CHRISTIAN APOCRYPHA & ESSAYS