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Chapter II.—Definition of Goodness and Justice.

And Peter said:  “That I may not waste my time in contentious discussions, while I make the fair demand that you should give answers to my propositions, I shall myself answer those questions which I put, as is your wish.  I then affirm that the man who bestows13711371    There is a lacuna in one of the mss. here, which is supplied in various ways.  We have inserted the word “goods.” goods is good, just as I see the Framer of the world doing when He gives the sun to the good, and the rain to the just and unjust.”  And Simon said:  “It is most unjust that he should give the same things to the just and the unjust.”  And Peter said:  “Do you, then, in your turn state to us what course of conduct would constitute Him good.”  And Simon said:  “It is you that must state this.”  And Peter said:  “I will.  He who gives the same things to the good and just, and also to the evil and unjust, is not even just according to you; but you would with reason call Him just if He gave goods to the good and evils to the evil.  What course of conduct, then, would He adopt, if He does not adopt the plan of giving things temporal to the evil, if perchance they should be converted, and things eternal to the good, if at least they remain good?  And thus by giving to all, but by gratifying the more 325excellent,13721372    This translation of Cotelerius is doubtful.  More correctly it would be, “by gratifying different people,” which does not make sense.  Wieseler proposes, “by gratifying in different ways.” His justice is good; and all the more long-suffering in this, that to sinners who repent He freely grants forgiveness of their sins, and to those who have acted well He assigns even eternal life.  But judging at last, and giving to each one what he deserves, He is just.  If, then, this is right, confess it; but if it appears to you not to be right, refute it.”


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