57. It is a prevailing opinion at this day that God's omnipotence is like the absolute power of a king in the world, who can at his pleasure do whatever he will, pardon or condemn whom he will, make the guilty innocent, declare the unfaithful faithful, exalt the unworthy and undeserving above the worthy and deserving, and even take away the property of his subjects under any pretext whatsoever, and condemn them to death, and so on. From this absurd opinion, belief, and doctrine respecting the Divine omnipotence, as many falsities, fallacies, and chimeras have flooded the church as there are changes, distinctions, and generations of faith in it; and the number that may yet flow in may equal the number of urns that might be filled from a great lake, or the number of serpents that might creep from their holes and bask in the sunshine in the desert of Arabia. What need is there except to pronounce these two words, omnipotence and faith, and then circulate among the common people conjectures and fables and nonsense such as will appeal to the bodily senses? For these two words banish reason; and when reason has been banished what better is man's thought than the reason of the birds that fly over his head? Or what then is the spirituality that man possesses over and above the beasts but like the stench in the dens of beasts, which to them indeed is agreeable, but not to a man unless he is like them? If the Divine omnipotence were so extended as to do evil as well as good, what difference would there be between God and the devil? Would there be any but such as that between two monarchs, one of whom is both a king and a tyrant, while the other is a tyrant whose power is so restrained that he cannot be called a king; or such as that between a shepherd who is allowed to lead the sheep and also to act the wolf, and one who is not? Who cannot see that good and evil are opposites, and that if God from His omnipotence had the power to will both, and from will to do both, He would be able to will and do nothing at all? Thus He would have no power, much less all power. It would be like two wheels acting against each other by turning in opposite directions, by which opposition both wheels would be stopped and be perfectly at rest; or like a vessel in a rushing stream driving it contrary to its course, so that if not held by the anchor it would be carried away and destroyed; or like a man with two opposing wills, one of which must needs be quiescent when the other is acting, for if both should act at the same time delirium or giddiness would invade his mind.