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Chapter I.—Power of Habit.

When the day dawned which had been fixed for the discussion with Simon, Peter, rising at the first cock-crowing, aroused us also:  for we were sleeping in the same apartment, thirteen of us in all;600600    [With this list compare that in iii. 68, where four others are added (or substituted), and some importance given to the number twelve.  See also Homily II. 1.  The variety and correspondence point to the use of a common basis.—R.] of whom, next to Peter, Zacchæus was first, then Sophonius, Joseph and Michæas, Eliesdrus, Phineas, Lazarus, and Elisæus:  after these I (Clement) and Nicodemus; then Niceta and Aquila, who had formerly been disciples of Simon, and were converted to the faith of Christ under the teaching of Zacchæus.  Of the women there was no one present.  As the evening light601601    That is, the lamp which had been lighted in the evening. was still lasting, we all sat down; and Peter, seeing that we were awake, and that we were giving attention to him, having saluted us, immediately began to speak, as follows:—

“I confess, brethren, that I wonder at the power of human nature, which I see to be fit and suited to every call upon it.  This, however, it occurs to me to say of what I have found by experience, that when the middle of the night is passed, I awake of my own accord, and sleep does not come to me again.  This happens to me for this reason, that I have formed the habit of recalling to memory the words of my Lord, which I heard from Himself; and for the longing I have towards them, I constrain my mind and my thoughts to be roused, that, awaking to them, and recalling and arranging them one by one, I may retain them in my memory.  From this, therefore, whilst I desire to cherish the sayings of the Lord with all delight in my heart, the habit of waking has come upon me, even if there be nothing that I wish to think of.  Thus, in some unaccountable way, when any custom is established, the old custom is changed, provided indeed you do not force it above measure, but as far as the measure of nature admits.  For it is not possible to be altogether without sleep; otherwise night would not have been made for rest.”

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