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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol VIII:
Pseudo-Clementine Literature.: Chapter IX

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter IX.—Simple and Compound.

Then Niceta began as follows: 814   “Everything that is, is either simple or compound.  That which is simple is without number, division, colour, difference, roughness, smoothness, weight, lightness, quality, quantity, and therefore without end.  But that which is compound is either compounded of two, or of three, or even of four elements, or at all events of several; and things which are compounded can also of necessity be divided.”  The old man, hearing this, said:  “You speak most excellently and learnedly, my son.”  Then Niceta went on:  “Therefore that which is simple, and which is without any of those things by which that which subsists can be dissolved, is without doubt incomprehensible and infinite, knowing neither beginning nor end, and therefore is one and alone, and subsisting without an author.  But that which is compound is subject to number, and diversity, and division,—is necessarily compounded by some author, and is a diversity collected into one species.  That which is infinite is therefore, in respect of goodness, a Father; in respect of power, a Creator.  Nor can the power of creating cease in the Infinite, nor the goodness be quiescent; but He is impelled by goodness to change existing things, and by power to arrange and strengthen them.  Therefore some things, as we have said, are changed, and composed of two or three, some of four, others of more elements.  But since our inquiry at present is concerning the method of the world and its substance, which, it is agreed, is compounded of four elements, to which all those ten differences belong which we have mentioned above, let us begin at these lower steps, and come to the higher.  For a way is afforded us to intellectual and invisible things from those which we see and handle; as is contained in arithmetical instructions, where, when inquiry is made concerning divine things, we rise from the lower to the higher numbers; but when the method respecting present and visible things is expounded, the order is directed from the higher to the lower numbers.  Is it not so?”



[The argument of Niceta (chaps. 9–34), while it necessarily includes statements occurring elsewhere in this literature, is, as a whole, peculiar to the Recognitions.  In order of arrangement and logical force it is much superior to most of the discourses.—R.]

Next: Chapter X

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