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Chapter V.—Mattidia Wishes to Be Baptized.

When she heard this, she said:  “What, then, prevents me from being baptized this day? for before I saw you I turned away from the so-called gods, induced by the thought that, though I sacrificed much to them almost every day, they did not aid me in my necessities.  And with regard to adultery, what need I say? for not even when I was rich was I betrayed into this sin by luxury, and the poverty which succeeded has been unable to force me into it, since I cling to my chastity as constituting the greatest beauty,11631163    One ms. and the first Epitome read, “as being the greatest blessing.” on account of which I fell into so great distress.  But I do not at all imagine that you, my lord Peter, are ignorant that the greatest temptation11641164    Lit., “desire.” arises when everything looks bright.  And therefore, if I was chaste in my prosperity, I do not in my despondency give myself up to pleasures.  Yea, indeed, you are not to suppose that my soul has now been freed from distress, although it has received some measure of consolation by the recognition of Clement.  For the gloom which I feel in consequence of the loss of my two children rushes in upon me, and throws its shadow to some extent over my joy; for I am grieved, not so much because they perished in the sea, but because they were destroyed, both soul and body, without possessing true11651165    The Greek has, “apart from divine piety towards God.”  As Wieseler remarks, the epithet “divine” is corrupt.  The meaning may be, “without having known the proper mode of worshipping God.” piety towards God.  Moreover, my husband, their father, as I have learned from Clement, went away in search of me and his sons, and for so many years has not been heard of; and, without doubt, he must have died.  For the miserable man, loving me as he did in chastity, was fond of his children; and therefore the old man, deprived of all of us who were dear to him above everything else, died utterly broken-hearted.”


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