There are stones, and then there are stones, says Tyconius ( The Book of Rules ). In Ezekiel, the king of Tyre is surrounded by precious stones, but “these words pertain both to the devil and to man. For these twelves tones as well as gold and silver and all treasures, a assigned to the devil, adhere to him.” But then there are also twelve foundations stones in the new Jerusalem.

Tyconius is no Manichean: “All things that God made are good; the devil has changed their use, but not their nature.” But God isn’t concerned with precious stones, is he? No, he’s talking about people: “Now all men of outstanding sense and powerful talent are gold and silver and precious stones by nature; but they will belong, by choice not by nature, to the one in whose service they find enjoyment in their powers. For anyone who consigns himself to another in obedience is the slave of the one he obeys . . . . So it happens that the devil also has his gold and silver and precious stones. None of these are his in virtue of their origin but they are his in virtue of their choice.”

Articles by Peter J. Leithart

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