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Chapter XXXVIII.—Simon’s Challenge.

When Peter had thus spoken, Simon, at the outside of the crowd, cried aloud:978978    [The reply of Simon in the Recognitions is quite different, though the substance of this attack is given in the progress of this discussion; see Recognitions, ii. 39.—R.]  “Why would you lie, and deceive the unlearned multitude standing around you, persuading them that it is unlawful to think that there are gods, and to call them so, when the books that are current among the Jews say that there are many gods?979979    [The Ebionitic tendency appears in this representation of Simon, as opposing the monotheism of the Old Testament.  Comp. Recognitions, ii. 38.—R.]  And now I wish, in the presence of all, to discuss with you from these books on the necessity of thinking that there are gods; first showing respecting him whom you call God, that he is not the supreme and omnipotent Being, inasmuch as he is without foreknowledge, imperfect, needy, not good, and underlying many and innumerable grievous passions.  Wherefore, when this has been shown from the Scriptures, as I say, it follows that there is another, not written of, foreknowing, perfect, without want, good, removed from all grievous passions.  But he whom you call the Creator is subject to the opposite evils.

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