III. (15) Therefore do not doubt either whether that which is more ancient than any existing thing is indescribable, when his very word is not to be mentioned by us according to its proper name. So that we must understand that the expression, “The Lord was seen by Abraham,”{9}{#ge 17:1.} means not as if the Cause of all things had shone forth and become visible, (for what human mind is able to contain the greatness of his appearance?) but as if some one of the powers which surround him, that is to say, his kingly power, had presented itself to the sight, for the appellation Lord belongs to authority and sovereignty. (16) But when our mind was occupied with the wisdom of the Chaldaeans, studying the sublime things which exist in the world, it made as it were the circuit of all the efficient powers as causes of what existed; but when it emigrated from the Chaldaean doctrines, it then knew that it was moving under the guidance and direction of a governor, of whose authority it perceived the appearance. (17) On which account it is said, “The Lord,” not the living God, “was seen;” as if it had been meant to say, the king appeared, he who was from the beginning, but who was not as yet recognized by the soul, which, indeed, was late in learning, but which did not continue for ever in ignorance, but received a notion of there being an authority and governing power among existing things. (18) And when the ruler has appeared, then he in a still greater degree benefits his disciple and beholder, saying, “I am thy God;”{10}{genesis 17:2.} for I should say to him, “What is there of all the things which form a part of creation of which thou art not the God?” But his word, which is his interpreter, will teach me that he is not at present speaking of the world, of which he is by all means the creator and the God, but about the souls of men, which he has thought worthy of a different kind of care; (19) for he thinks fit to be called the Lord and Master of bad men, but the God of those who are in a state of advancement and improvement; and of those which are the most excellent and the most perfect, both Lord and God at once. On which account, having made Pharaoh the very extreme instance of impiety, he has never once called himself his Lord or his God; but he calls the wise Moses so, for he says to him, “Behold I give thee as a god to Pharaoh.”{11}{#ge 7:1.} But he has in many passages of the sacred oracles delivered by him, called himself Lord. (20) For instance, we read such as passage as this: “Thus says the Lord;”{12}{#ex 7:17.} and at the very beginning we read, “The Lord spake unto Moses, saying, I am the Lord, say unto Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, all the things which I say unto Thee.”{13}{#ex 6:29.} (21) And Moses, in another place, says, “Behold, when I go forth out of the city I will spread out my hands unto the Lord, and the sounds shall cease, and the hail, and there shall be no more rain, that thou mayest know that the earth is the Lord’s;” that is to say, every thing that is made of body or of earth, “and that thou,” that is the mind which bears in itself the images of things, “and thy servants,” that is the particular reasonings which act as body-guards to the mind, “for I know that ye do not yet fear the Lord;”{14}{#ex 9:29.} by which he means not the Lord who is spoken of commonly and in different senses, but him who is truly the Master of all things. (22) For there is in truth no created Lord, not even a king shall have extended his authority and spread it from one end of the world even to the other end, but only the uncreated God, the real governor, whose authority he who reverences and fears receives a most beneficial reward, namely, the admonitions of God, but utterly miserable destruction awaits the man who despises him; (23) therefore he is held forth as the Lord of the foolish, striking them with a terror which is appropriate to him as ruler. But he is the God of those who are improved; as we read now, “I am thy God, I am thy God, be thou increased and Multiplied.”{15}{#ge 17:1, also 35:2.} And in the case of those who are perfect, he is both together, both Lord and God; as we read in the ten commandments, “I am the Lord thy God.”{16}{#ex 20:2.} And in another passage it is written, “The Lord God of our Fathers.”{17}{#de 4:1.} (24) For he thinks it right for the wicked man to be governed by a master as by a lord; that, being in a state of alarm and groaning, he may have the fear of a master suspended over him; but him who is advancing in improvement he thinks deserving to receive benefits as from God in order that by means of these benefits he may arrive at perfection; and him who is complete and perfect he thinks should be both governed as by the Lord, and benefited as by God; for the last man remains for ever unchangeable, and he is, by all means and in all respects, the man of God: (25) and this is especially shown to be the fact in the case of Moses; for, says the scripture, “This is the blessing which Moses, the man of God, Blessed.”{18}{#de 33:1.} O the man that thus thought worthy of this all-beautiful and sacred recompense, to give himself as a requital for the divine Providence! (26) But do not thou think that he is in the same sense a man and the man of God; for he is said to be a man as being a possession of God, but the man of God as boasting in and being benefited by him. And if thou wishest to have God as the inheritance of thy mind, then do thou in the first place labour to become yourself an inheritance worthy of him, and thou wilt be such if thou avoidest all laws made by hands and voluntary.