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Chapter XXII.—Sins of Ignorance.

And Simon:  “Why is it, then, that some die prematurely, and periodical diseases arise; and that there are, moreover, attacks of demons, and of madness, and all other kinds of afflictions which can greatly punish?”  And Peter said:  “Because men, following their own pleasure in all things, cohabit without observing the proper times; and thus the deposition of seed, taking place unseasonably, naturally produces a multitude of evils.  For they ought to reflect, that as a season has been fixed suitable for planting and sowing,14651465    Eccles. iii. 2. so days have been appointed as appropriate for cohabitation, which are carefully to be observed.  Accordingly some one well instructed in the doctrines taught by Moses, finding fault with the people for their sins, called them sons of the new moons and the sabbaths.14661466    Lit., “new moons that are according to the moon.”  Gal. iv. 10.  Yet in the beginning of the world men lived long, and had no diseases.  But when through carelessness they neglected the observation of the proper times, then the sons in succession cohabiting through ignorance at times when14671467    “At times when” is supplied by conjecture. they ought not, place their children under innumerable afflictions.  Whence our Teacher, when we inquired of Him14681468    We have followed an emendation of Wieseler’s. in regard to the man who was blind from his birth, and recovered his sight, if this man sinned, or his parents, that he should be born blind, answered, ‘Neither did he sin at all, nor his parents, but that the power of God might be made manifest through him in healing the sins of ignorance.’14691469    John ix. 2, 3.  [This clear instance of citation from the Gospel of John is found in that portion of the text recovered by Dressel.  It is of importance, since writers of the Tübingen school previously denied that this author uses the fourth Gospel.—R.]  And, in truth, such afflictions arise because of ignorance; as, for instance, by not knowing when one ought to cohabit with his wife, as if she be pure from her discharge.  Now the afflictions which you mentioned before are the result of ignorance, and not, assuredly, of any wickedness that has been perpetrated.  Moreover, give me the man who sins not, and I will show you the man who suffers not; and you will find that he not only does not suffer himself, but that he is able14701470    We have adopted an obvious emendation of Wieseler’s. to heal others.  For instance, Moses, on account of his 338piety, continued free from suffering all his life, and by his prayers he healed the Egyptians when they suffered on account of their sins.”


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