NON-CANONICAL EPISTLES AND RELATED WRITINGS
but I have already the beginning of the evil before me. 3 For some from among the Gentiles have rejected my lawful preaching and have preferred a lawless and absurd doc trine of the man who is my enemy. 4 And indeed some have attempted, whilst I am still alive, to distort my words by interpretations of many sorts, as if I taught the dissolution of the law and, although I was of this opinion, did not express it openly. But that may God forbid! 5 For to do such a thing means to act contrary to the law of God which was made known by Moses and was con ﬁrmed by our Lord in its everlasting con tinuance. For he said: “The heaven and the earth will pass away, but one jot or one title shall not pass away from the law.”3 6 This he said that everything might come to pass. But those persons who, I know not how, allege that they are at home in my thoughts wish to expound the words which they have heard of me better than I myself who spoke them. To those whom they instruct they say that this is my opinion, to which indeed I never gave a thought. 7 But if they falsely assert such a thing while I am still alive, how much more after my death will those who come later venture to do so?
Peter to James, the lord and bishop of the holy church: Peace be with you always from the Father of all through Jesus Christ. 2 Knowing well that you, my brother, eagerly take pains about what is for the mutual beneﬁt of us all, I earnestly be seech you not to pass on to any one of the Gentiles the books of my preachings which I (here) forward to you, nor to any one of our own tribe before probation. But if some one of them has been ex amined and found to be worthy, then you may hand them over to him in the same way as Moses handed over his ofﬁce of a teacher to the seventy. 3 Wherefore also the fruit of his cau tion is to be seen up to this day. For those who belong to his people preserve every where the same rule in their belief in the one God and in their line of conduct, the Scriptures with their many senses being unable to incline them to assume another attitude. 4 Rather they attempt, on the basis of the rule that has been handed down to them, to harmonise the contradictions of the Scriptures, if haply some one who does not know the traditions is perplexed by the ambiguous utterances of the prophets. 5 On this account they permit no one to teach unless he ﬁrst learn how the Scriptures should be used. Wherefore there obtain amongst them one God, one law, and one hope.
In order now that the same may also take place among us, hand over the books of my preachings in the same mysterious way to our seventy brethren that they may prepare those who are candidates for positions as teachers. 2 For if we do not proceed in this way, our word of truth will be split into many options. This I do not know as a prophet,
In order now that such a thing may not happen I earnestly beseech you not to pass on the books of my preachings which I send you to any one of our own tribe or to any foreigner before probation, but if some one is examined and found
Matt 24:35; 5:18.