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Now if any one should ask for some interpretation, and description, and explanation of the Divine essence, we are not going to deny that in this kind of wisdom we are unlearned, acknowledging only so much as this, that it is not possible that that which is by nature infinite should be comprehended in any conception expressed by words. The fact that the Divine greatness has no limit is proclaimed by prophecy, which declares expressly that of His splendour, His glory, His holiness, “there is no end587
Learning these things, then, from the lofty words of the Apostle, we argue, by the passage quoted, in this way:—If His judgments cannot be searched out, and His ways are not traced, and the promise of His good things transcends every representation that our conjectures can frame, by how much more is His actual Godhead higher and loftier, in respect of being unspeakable and unapproachable, than those attributes which are conceived as accompanying it, whereof the divinely instructed Paul declares that there is no knowledge:—and by this means we confirm in ourselves the doctrine they deride, confessing ourselves inferior to them in the knowledge of those things which are beyond the range of knowledge, and declare that we really worship what we know. Now we know the loftiness of the glory of Him Whom we worship, by the very fact that we are not able by reasoning to comprehend in our thoughts the incomparable character of His greatness; and that saying of our Lord to the Samaritan woman, which is brought forward against us by our enemies, might more properly be addressed to them. For the words, “Ye worship ye know not what,” the Lord speaks to the Samaritan woman, prejudiced as she was by corporeal ideas in her opinions concerning God: and to her the phrase well applies, because the Samaritans, thinking that they worship God, and at the same time supposing the Deity to be corporeally settled in place, adore Him in name only, worshipping something else, and not God. For nothing is Divine that is conceived as being circumscribed, but it belongs to the Godhead to be in all places, and to pervade all things, and not to be limited by anything: so that those who fight against Christ find the phrase they adduce against us turned into an accusation of themselves. For, as the Samaritans, supposing the Deity to be compassed round by some circumscription of place, were rebuked by the words they heard, “‘Ye worship ye know not what,’ and your service is profitless to you, for a God that is deemed to be settled in any place is no God,”—so one might well say to the new Samaritans, “In supposing the Deity to be limited by the absence of generation, as it were by some local limit, ‘ye worship ye know not what,’ doing service to Him indeed as God, but not knowing that the infinity of God exceeds all the significance and comprehension that names can furnish.”