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Chapter LXIV.

As, then, this act of self-restraint, which in appearance is one and the same, is found in fact to be different in different persons, according to the principles and motives which lead to it; so in the same way with those who cannot allow in the worship of the Divine Being altars, or temples, or images.  The Scythians, the Nomadic Libyans, the godless Seres, and the Persians, agree in this with the Christians and Jews, but they are actuated by very different principles.  For none of these former abhor altars and images on the ground that they are afraid of degrading the worship of God, and reducing it to the worship of material things wrought by the hands of men.48304830    [Note this wholesome fear of early Christians.]  Neither do 638they object to them from a belief that the demons choose certain forms and places, whether because they are detained there by virtue of certain charms, or because for some other possible reason they have selected these haunts, where they may pursue their criminal pleasures, in partaking of the smoke of sacrificial victims.  But Christians and Jews have regard to this command, “Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and serve Him alone;”48314831    Deut. vi. 13. and this other, “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me:  thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:  thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them;”48324832    Ex. xx. 3, 4. and again, “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.”48334833    Matt. iv. 10.  It is in consideration of these and many other such commands, that they not only avoid temples, altars, and images, but are ready to suffer death when it is necessary, rather than debase by any such impiety the conception which they have of the Most High God.


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