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The Clementine Homilies by Unknown

Chapter XIX.--Some Actions Really Wicked.

And Peter said: |A man ought to punish himself through self-restraint, when his lust wishes to hurry on to the injury of another, knowing that the wicked one can destroy the wicked, for he has received power over them from the beginning. And not yet is this an evil to those who have done evil; but that their souls should remain punished after the destruction, you are right in thinking to be really harsh, though the man who has been fore-ordained for evil should say that it is right. Wherefore, as I said, we ought to avoid doing injury to another for the sake of a short lived pleasure, that we may not involve ourselves in eternal punishment for the sake of a little pleasure.| And Simon said: |Is it the case, then, that there is nothing either bad or good by nature, but the difference arises through law and custom? For is it not the habit of the Persians to marry their own mothers, sisters and daughters, while marriage with other women is prohibited as most barbarous? Wherefore, if it is not settled what things are evil, it is not possible for all to look forward to the judgment of God.| And Peter said: |This cannot hold; for it is plain to all that cohabitation with mothers is abominable, even though the Persians, who are a mere fraction of the whole, should under the effects of a bad custom fail to see the iniquity of their abominable conduct. Thus also the Britons publicly cohabit in the sight of all, and are not ashamed; and some men eat the flesh of others, and feel no disgust; and others eat the flesh of dogs; and others practice other unmentionable deeds. Thus, then we ought not to form our judgments with a perception which through habit has been perverted from its natural action. For to be murdered is an evil, even if all were to deny it; for no one wishes to suffer it himself, and in the case of theft no one rejoices at his own punishment. If, then, no one were at all ever to confess that these are sins, it is right even then to look forward of necessity to a judgment in regard to sins.| When Peter said this, Simon answered: |Does this, then, seem to you to be the truth in regard to the wicked one? Tell me.|
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