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Chapter XII.—Fire a Primal Principle, According to Simon.

According to Simon, therefore, there exists that which is blessed and incorruptible in a latent condition in every one—(that is,) potentially, not actually; and that this is He who stood, stands,636636    In the Recognitions of Clement we have this passage:  “He (Simon) wishes himself to be believed to be an exalted power, which is above God the Creator, and to be thought to be the Christ, and to be called the standing one” (Ante-Nicene Library, ed. Edinburgh, vol. iii. p. 196). and is to stand.637637    The expression stans (standing) was used by the scholastics as applicable to the divine nature. Interpreted in this manner, the words in the text would be equivalent with “which was, and is, and is to come” (Rev. i. 8). The Recognitions of Clement explain the term thus: “He (Simon) uses this name as implying that he can never be dissolved, asserting that his flesh is so compacted by the power of his divinity, that it can endure to eternity. Hence, therefore, he is called the standing one, as though he cannot fall by any corruption” (Ante-Nicene Library, vol. iii. p. 196). [To be found in vol. viii. of this series, with the other apocryphal Clementines.] He has stood above in unbegotten power. He stands below, when in the stream of waters He was begotten in a likeness. He is to stand above, beside the blessed indefinite power, if He be fashioned into an image. For, he says, there are three who have stood; and except there were three Æons who have stood, the unbegotten one is not adorned. (Now the unbegotten one) is, according to them, wafted over the water, and is re-made, according to the similitude (of an 79eternal nature), a perfect celestial (being), in no (quality of) intelligence formed inferior to the unbegotten power: that is what they say—I and you, one; you, before me; I, that which is after you. This, he says, is one power divided above (and) below, generating itself, making itself grow, seeking itself, finding itself, being mother of itself, father of itself, sister of itself, spouse of itself, daughter of itself, son of itself, mother, father, a unit, being a root of the entire circle of existence.

And that, he says, the originating principle of the generation of things begotten is from fire, he discerns after some such method as the following. Of all things, (i.e.) of whatsoever there is a generation, the beginning of the desire of the generation is from fire. Wherefore the desire after mutable generation is denominated “to be inflamed.” For when the fire is one, it admits of two conversions. For, he says, blood in the man being both warm and yellow, is converted as a figured flame into seed; but in the woman this same blood is converted into milk. And the conversion of the male becomes generation, but the conversion of the female nourishment for the fœtus. This, he says, is “the flaming sword, which turned to guard the way of the tree of life.”638638    Gen. iii. 24. For the blood is converted into seed and milk, and this power becomes mother and father—father of those things that are in process of generation, and the augmentation of those things that are being nourished; (and this power is) without further want, (and) self-sufficient. And, he says, the tree of life is guarded, as we have stated, by the brandished flaming sword. And it is the seventh power, that which (is produced) from itself, (and) which contains all (powers, and) which reposes in the six powers. For if the flaming sword be not brandished, that good tree will be destroyed, and perish. If, however, these be converted into seed and milk, the principle that resides in these potentially, and is in possession of a proper position, in which is evolved a principle of souls, (such a principle,) beginning, as it were, from a very small spark, will be altogether magnified, and will increase and become a power indefinite (and) unalterable, (equal and similar) to an unalterable age, which no longer passes into the indefinite age.

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