XXXIX. (1.224) What reason is there then for our congratulating ourselves on the administration of political affairs as if we were clothed in a garment of many colours, deceived by its external splendour, and not perceiving its ugliness, which is kept out of sight, and hidden, and full of treachery and guile? (1.225) Let us then put off this flowery robe, and put on that sacred one woven with the embroideries of virtue; for thus we shall escape the snares which want of skill, and ignorance, and want of knowledge, and education lay for us, of which Laban is the companion. (1.226) For when the sacred word has purified us with the sprinklings prepared beforehand for purification, and when it has adorned us with the select reasonings of true philosophy, and, having led us to that man who has stood the test, has made us genuine, and conspicuous, and shining, it blames the treacherous disposition which seeks to raise itself up to invalidate what is said. (1.227) For the scripture says: “I have seen what Laban does unto Thee,”{53}{#ge 31:12.} namely, things contrary to the benefits which I conferred on you, things impure, wicked, and altogether suited to darkness. But it is not right for the man who anchors on the hope of the alliance of God to crouch and tremble, to whom God says, “I am the God who was seen by thee in the place of God.” (1.228) A very glorious boast for the soul, that God should think fit to appear to and to converse with it. And do not pass by what is here said, but examine it accurately, and see whether there are really two Gods. For it is said: “I am the God who was seen by thee;” not in my place, but in the place of God, as if he meant of some other God. (1.229) What then ought we to say? There is one true God only: but they who are called Gods, by an abuse of language, are numerous; on which account the holy scripture on the present occasion indicates that it is the true God that is meant by the use of the article, the expression being, “I am the God (ho Theos);” but when the word is used incorrectly, it is put without the article, the expression being, “He who was seen by thee in the place,” not of the God (tou Theou), but simply “of God” (Theou); (1.230) and what he here calls God is his most ancient word, not having any superstitious regard to the position of the names, but only proposing one end to himself, namely, to give a true account of the matter; for in other passages the sacred historian, when he considered whether there really was any name belonging to the living God, showed that he knew that there was none properly belonging to him; but that whatever appellation any one may give him, will be an abuse of terms; for the living God is not of a nature to be described, but only to be.