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Chapter XVIII.—Manner of Conducting the Discussion.

Then Peter said:  “In what way do you put the question; as wishing to learn, or to teach or for the sake of raising the question?  If indeed as wishing to learn, I have something to teach you first, that coming by consequence and the right order of doctrine, you may understand from yourself what evil is.  But if you put the question as an instructor, I have no need to be taught by you, for I have a Master from whom I have learned all things.  But if you ask merely for the sake of raising a question and disputing, let each of us first set forth his opinion, and so let the matter be debated.  For it is not reasonable that you should ask as one wishing to learn, and contradict as one teaching, so that after my answer it should be in your discretion to say whether I have spoken well or ill.  Wherefore you cannot stand in the place of a gainsayer and be judge of what we say.  And therefore, as I said, if a discussion is to be held, let each of us state his sentiments; and while we are placed in conflict, these religious hearers will be just judges.”

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