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For that wicked reptile monster, by his enchantments, enslaves and plagues men even till now; inflicting, as seems to me, such barbarous vengeance on them as those who are said to bind the captives to corpses till they rot together. This wicked tyrant and serpent, accordingly, binding fast with the miserable chain of superstition whomsoever he can draw to his side from their birth, to stones, and stocks, and images, and such like idols, may with truth be said to have taken and buried living men with those dead idols, till both suffer corruption together.

Therefore (for the seducer is one and the same) he that at the beginning brought Eve down to death, now brings thither the rest of mankind.

Clement of Alexandria, “Exhortation to the Heathen,” in Fathers of the Second Century: Hermas, Tatian, Athenagoras, Theophilus, and Clement of Alexandria (Entire), ed. Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe, vol. 2, The Ante-Nicene Fathers (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Company, 1885), 173.

This quotation is interesting on a few grounds. First, it contains a source for the not-uncommon image used in sermons particular on Romans 7:24 (who will deliver me from this body of death). But I note that even Clement didn’t have a definite source of the story beyond the indefinite “they say” (legousin, in the original).

Second, it is a striking description of the danger and evil of idolatry: “to have taken and buried living men with those dead idols, till both suffer corruption together.” To have an idol is to be shackled to an idol.

A similar image is used of addictions in our day, which is appropriate seeing addiction is another way to understand magic and idolatry. It is to be chained to, buried with.