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Chapter XXV.—Repetition Continued.

While I was going on thus, Peter, enraptured with joy, and anxious for me as if I had been his son, lest perhaps I should fail in recollection of the rest, and be put to shame on account of those who were present, said:  “It is enough, O Clement; for you have stated these things more clearly than I myself explained them.”  Then said I, “Liberal learning has conferred upon me the power of orderly narration, and of stating those things clearly for which there is occasion.  And if we use learning in asserting the errors of antiquity, we ruin ourselves by gracefulness and smoothness of speech; but if we apply learning and grace of speech to the assertion of the truth, I think that not a little advantage is thereby gained.  Be that as it may, my lord Peter, you can but imagine with what thankfulness I am transported for all the rest of your instruction indeed, but especially for the statement of that doctrine which you gave:  There is one God, whose work the world is, and who, because He is in all respects righteous, shall render to every one according to his deeds.  And after that you added:  For the assertion of this dogma countless thousands of words will be brought forward; but in those to whom is granted knowledge of the true Prophet, all this forest of words is cut down.  And on this account, since you have delivered to me a discourse concerning the true Prophet, you have strengthened me with all confidence of your assertions.”  And then, having perceived that the sum of all religion and piety consists in this, I immediately replied:  “You have proceeded most excellently, O Peter:  wherefore, in future, expound unhesitatingly, as to one who already knows what are the foundations of faith and piety, the traditions of the true Prophet, who alone, as has been clearly proved, is to be believed.  But that exposition which requires assertions and arguments, reserve for the unbelievers, to whom you have not yet judged it proper to commit the indubitable faith of prophetic grace.”  When I had said this, I added:  “You promised that you would give at the proper time two things:  first this exposition, at once simple and entirely free from error; and then an exposition of each individual point as it may be evolved in the course of the various questions which shall be raised.  And after this you expounded the sequence of things in order from the beginning of the world, even to the present time; and if you please, I can repeat the whole from memory.”

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