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Chapter III.—Simon’s Accusation of Peter.

“‘Peter does this to you while promising to make you wise.  For, under the pretext of proclaiming one God, he seems to free you from many lifeless images, which do not at all injure those who worship them, because they are seen by the eyes themselves to be made of stone, or brass, or gold, or of some other lifeless material.  Wherefore the soul, because it knows that what is seen is nothing, cannot be spell-bound by fear in an equal degree by means of what is visible.  But looking to a terrible God through the influence of deceptive teaching, it has all its natural foundations overturned.  And I say this, not because I exhort you to worship images, but because Peter, seeming to free your souls from terrible images,13171317    ἰδεῶν. drives mad the mind of each one of you by a more terrible image, introducing God in a shape, and that, too, a God extremely just,—an image which is accompanied by what is terrible and awful to the contemplative soul, by that which can entirely destroy the energy of a sound mind.  For the mind, when in the midst of such a storm, is like the depth stirred by a violent wind, perturbed and darkened.  Wherefore, if he comes to benefit you, let him not, while seeming to dissolve your fears which gently proceed from lifeless shapes, introduce in their stead the terrible shape of God.  But has God a shape?  If He has, He possesses a figure.  And if He has a figure, how is He not limited?  And if limited, He is in space.  But if He is in space, He is less than the space which encloses Him.  And if less than anything, how is He greater than all, or superior to all, or the highest of all?  This, then, is the state of the case.


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