Recognitions Of Clement by Unknown
Chapter IV.--His Increasing Disquiet.
Being therefore straitened in the discovery of things, I said to myself, Why do we labour in vain, since the end of things is manifest? For if after death I shall be no more, my present torture is useless; but if there is to be for me a life after death, let us keep for that life the excitements that belong to it, lest perhaps some sadder things befall me than those which I now suffer, unless I shall have lived piously and soberly; and, according to the opinions of some of the philosophers, I be consigned to the stream of dark-rolling Phlegethon, or to Tartarus, like Sisyphus and Tityus, and to eternal punishment in the infernal regions, like Ixion and Tantalus. And again I would answer to myself: But these things are fables; or if it be so, since the matter is in doubt, it is better to live piously. But again I would ponder with myself, How should I restrain myself from the lust of sin, while uncertain as to the reward of righteousness? -- and all the more when I have no certainty what righteousness is, or what is pleasing to God; and when I cannot ascertain whether the soul be immortal, and be such that it has anything to hope for; nor do I know what the future is certainly to be. Yet still I cannot rest from thoughts of this sort.