duck5

procrastination, heresy, and navel-gazing.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Hippolytus on deception

a great story - it'll be worth it - read on!

The Story Of A Maiden Of Corinth, And A Certain Magistrianus


There lived a certain most noble and beautiful maiden in the city of Corinth, in the careful exercise of a virtuous life. At that time some persons falsely charged her before the judge there, who was a Greek, with cursing the times, and the princes, and the images. Now those who trafficked in such things, brought her beauty under the notice of the impious judge, who lusted after women. And he gladly received the accusation with his equine ears and lascivious thoughts. And when she was brought before the bloodstained (judge), he was driven still more frantic with profligate passion. But when, after bringing every device to bear upon her, the profane than could not gain over this woman of God, he subjected the noble maiden to various outrages. And when he failed in these too, and was unable to seduce her from her confession of Christ, the cruel judge became furious against her, and gave her over to a punishment of the following nature: Placing the chaste maiden in a brothel, he charged the manager, saying, Take this woman, and bring me three nummi by her every day. And the man, exacting the money from her by her dishonour, gave her up to any who sought her in the brothel. And when the women-hunters knew that, they came to the brothel, and, paying the price lint upon their iniquity, sought to seduce her. But this most honourable maiden, taking counsel with herself to deceive them, called them to her, and earnestly besought them, saying: I have a certain ulceration of the pudenda, which has an extremely hateful stench; and I am afraid that ye might come to hate me on account of the abominable sore. Grant me therefore a few days, and then ye may have me even for nothing. With these words the blessed maiden gained over the profligates, and dismissed them for a time. And with most fitting prayers she importuned God, and with contrite supplications she sought to turn Him to compassion. God, therefore, who knew her thoughts, and understood how the chaste maiden was distressed in heart for her purity, gave ear to her; and the Guardian of the safety of all men in those days interposed with His arrangements in the following manner:

Of a certain person Magistrianus.

There was a certain young man, Magistrianus, comely in his personal appearance, and of a pious mind, whom God had inspired with such a burning spiritual zeal, that he despised even death itself. He, coming under the guise of profligacy, goes in, when the evening was far gone, to the fellow who kept the women, and pays him five nummi, and says to him, Permit me to spend this night with this damsel. Entering then with her into the private apartment, he says to her, Rise, save thyself. And taking off her garments, and dressing her in his own attire, his night-gown, his cloak, and all the habiliments of a man, he says to her, Wrap yourself up with the top of your cloak, and go out; and doing so, and signing herself entirely with the mystery of the cross, she went forth uncorrupted from that place, and was preserved perfectly stainless by the grace of Christ, and by the instrumentality of the young man, who by his own blood delivered her from dishonour. And on the following day the matter became known, and Magistrianus was brought before the infuriated judge. And when the cruel tyrant had examined the noble champion of Christ, and had learned all, he ordered him to be thrown to the wild beasts, — that in this, too, the honour-hating demon might be put to shame. For, whereas he thought to involve the noble youth in an unhallowed punishment, he exhibited him as a double martyr for Christ, inasmuch as he had both striven nobly for his own immortal soul, and persevered manfully in labours also in behalf of that noble and blessed maiden. Wherefore also he was deemed worthy of double honour with Christ, and of the illustrious and blessed crowns by His goodness.

Elucidation.

The conduct of Father Abraham, although not approved of by Inspiration, but simply recorded (Genesis 26:7), gave early Christians an opinion that the wicked may be justly foiled, by equivocation and deception, for the preservation of innocence or the life of the innocent. In such case the person deceived, they might argue, is not injured, but benefited (Genesis 26:10), being saved from committing violence and murder. The Corinthian maiden was accustomed to be veiled, and was taught alike to cherish her own purity and to have no share in affording occasion of sin to others.
from Schaff's ANF, vol V

Hippolytus was i think the first anti-pope - a rival bishop of Rome. some of his stuff is appropriately wacky for ~200AD, but other stuff is genius - his creed likely was the foundation for the apostle's creed.

apart from this being a great yarn, it's interesting to note his ethic - acting for the good of the other person. it's obviously not easy to work out the good for all involved, but the old question of lying about the Jews in the basement could be answered by Hippolytus - it's for the good of them, and it prevents the Nazis at the door from committing a great evil also. a win-win.

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