Ante-Nicene Fathers/Volume VIII/Pseudo-Clementine Literature/The Clementine Homilies/Homily XVII/Chapter 14

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Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. VIII, Pseudo-Clementine Literature, The Clementine Homilies, Homily XVII
Anonymous, translated by Thomas Smith
Chapter 14

Chapter XIV.—The Evidence of the Senses More Trustworthy Than that of Supernatural Vision.

And Peter said:  “You proposed to speak to one point, you replied to another.[1]  For your proposition was, that one is better able to know more fully, and to attain confidence,[2] when he hears in consequence of an apparition, than when he hears with his own ears; but when you set about the matter, you were for persuading us that he who hears through an apparition is surer than he who hears with his own ears.  Finally, you alleged that, on this account, you knew more satisfactorily the doctrines of Jesus than I do, because you heard His words through an apparition.  But I shall reply to the proposition you made at the beginning.  The prophet, because he is a prophet, having first given certain information with regard to what is objectively[3] said by him, is believed with confidence; and being known beforehand to be a true prophet, and being examined and questioned as the disciple wishes, he replies:  But he who trusts to apparition or vision and dream is insecure.  For he does not know to whom he is trusting.  For it is possible either that he may be an evil demon or a deceptive spirit, pretending in his speeches to be what he is not.  But if any one should wish to inquire of him who he is who has appeared, he can say to himself whatever he likes.  And thus, gleaming forth like a wicked one, and remaining as long as he likes, he is at length extinguished, not remaining with the questioner so long as he wished him to do for the purpose of consulting him.  For any one that sees by means of dreams cannot inquire about whatever he may wish.  For reflection is not in the special power of one who is asleep.  Hence we, desiring to have information in regard to something in our waking hours, inquire about something else in our dreams; or without inquiring, we hear about matters that do not concern us, and awaking from sleep we are dispirited because we have neither heard nor inquired about those matters which we were eager to know.”


Footnotes[edit]

  1. Probably it should be ἀπεκλίνω instead of ἀπεκρίνω, “you turned aside to another.”
  2. The words in italics are inserted conjecturally, to fill up a lacuna in the best ms.
  3. ἐναργῶς, “with reference to things palpable to our senses.”