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Chapter LII.—False Signs and Miracles.

Then Niceta said:  “I give you abundant thanks, O most clement Peter; but this is what I desire to learn, how Simon, who is the enemy 128of God, is able to do such and so great things?  For indeed he told no lie in his declaration of what he has done.”  To this the blessed Peter thus answered:  “God, who is one and true, has resolved to prepare good and faithful friends for His first begotten; but knowing that none can be good, unless they have in their power that perception by which they may become good, that they may be of their own intent what they choose to be,—and otherwise they could not be truly good, if they were kept in goodness not by purpose, but by necessity,—has given to every one the power of his own will, that he may be what he wishes to be.  And again, foreseeing that that power of will would make some choose good things and others evil, and so that the human race would necessarily be divided into two classes, He has permitted each class to choose both a place and a king, whom they would.  For the good King rejoices in the good, and the wicked one in the evil.  And although I have expounded those things more fully to you, O Clement, in that treatise in which I discoursed on predestination and the end, yet it is fitting that I should now make clear to Niceta also, as he asks me, what is the reason than Simon, whose thoughts are against God, is able to do so great marvels.

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