But the Greeks make no mention of the histories which give the truth: first, because they themselves only recently became partakers of the knowledge of letters; and they themselves own it, alleging that letters were invented, some say among the Chaldæans, and others with the Egyptians, and others again say that they are derived from the Phœnicians. And secondly, because they sinned, and still sin, in not making mention of God, but of vain and useless matters. For thus they most heartily celebrate Homer and Hesiod, and the rest of the poets, but the glory of the incorruptible and only God they not only omit to mention, but blaspheme; yes, and they persecuted, and do daily persecute, those who worship Him. And not only so, but they even bestow prizes and honours on those who in harmonious language insult God; but of those who are zealous in the pursuit of virtue and practice a holy life, some they stoned, some they put to death, and up to the present time they subject them to savage tortures. Wherefore such men have necessarily lost the wisdom of God, and have not found the truth.
If you please, then, study these things carefully, that you may have a compendium 693 and pledge of the truth.p. 122
Otto prefers σύμβουλον instead of σύμβολον , on the authority of one ms. The sense then is, “that you may have a counsellor and pledge of the truth,”—the counsellor and pledge of the truth being the book written by Theophilus for Autolycus. [This has been supposed to mean, “that you may have a token and pledge (or earnest) of the truth,” i.e., in Christian baptism. Our author uses St. Pauls word (ἀῤῥαβὼν), “the earnest of the spirit,” as in 2 Cor. i. 22, and Eph. 1.14.]
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