The Allegories of the Sacred Laws

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The First Book of the Treatise on

The Allegories of the Sacred Laws,

After the Work of the Six Days of Creation.

Philo Judaeus

Philo of Alexandria

First Book

I. "And the heaven and the earth and all their world was completed." [[[Genesis 2]]:1.] Having previously related the creation of the mind and of sense, Moses now proceeds to describe the perfection which was brought about by them both. And he says that neither the indivisible mind nor the particular sensations received perfection, but only ideas, one the idea of the mind, the other of sensation. And, speaking symbolically, he calls the mind heaven, since the natures which can only be comprehended by the intellect are in heaven. And sensation he calls earth, because it is sensation which has obtained a corporeal and somewhat earthy constitution. The ornaments of the mind are all the incorporeal things, which are perceptible only by the intellect. Those of sensation are the corporeal things, and everything in short which is perceptible by the external senses.

II. "And on the sixth day God finished his work which he had made." It would be a sign of great simplicity to think that the world was created in six days, or indeed at all in time; because all time is only the space of days and nights, and these things the motion of the sun as he passes over the earth and under the earth does necessarily make. But the sun is a portion of heaven, so that one must confess that time is a thing posterior to the world. Therefore it would be correctly said that the world was not created in time, but that time had its existence in consequence of the world. For it is the motion of the heaven that has displayed the nature of time.

When, therefore, Moses says, "God completed his works on the sixth day," we must understand that he is speaking not of a number of days, but that he takes six as a perfect number. Since it is the first number which is equal in its parts, in the half, and the third and sixth parts, and since it is produced by the multiplication of two unequal factors, two and three. And the numbers two and three exceed the incorporeality which exists in the unit; because the number two is an image of matter being divided into two parts and dissected like matter. And the number three is an image of a solid body, because a solid can be divided according to a threefold division. Not but what it is also akin to the motions of organic animals. For an organic body is naturally capable of motion in six directions, forward, backwards, upwards, downwards, to the right, and to the left. And at all events he desires to show that the races of mortal, and also of all the immortal beings, exist according to their appropriate numbers; measuring mortal beings, as I have said, by the number six, and the blessed and immortal beings by the number seven. First, therefore, having desisted from the creation of mortal creatures on the seventh day, he began the formation of other and more divine beings.

III. For God never ceases from making something or other; but, as it is the property of fire to burn, and of snow to chill, so also it is the property of God to be creating. And much more so, in proportion as he himself is to all other beings the author of their working. Therefore the expression, "he caused to rest," is very appropriately employed here, not "he rested." For he makes things to rest which appear to be producing others, but which in reality do not effect anything; but he himself never ceases from creating. On which account Moses says, "He caused to rest the things which he had begun." For all the things that are made by our arts when completed stand still and remain; but all those which are accomplished by the knowledge of God are moved at subsequent times. For their ends are the beginnings of other things; as, for instance, the end of day is the beginning of night. And in the same way we must look upon months and years when they come to an end as the beginning of those which are just about to follow them. And so the generation of other things which are destroyed, and the destruction of others which are generated is completed, so that that is true which is said that--

And nought that is created wholly dies;
But one thing parted and combined with others
Produces a fresh form.

IV. But nature delights in the number seven. For there are seven planets, going in continual opposition to the daily course of the heaven which always proceeds in the same direction. And likewise the constellation of the Bear is made up of seven stars, which constellation is the cause of communication and unity among men, and not merely of traffic. Again, the periodical changes of the moon, take place according to the number seven, that star having the greatest sympathy with the things on earth. And the changes which the moon works in the air, it perfects chiefly in accordance with its own configurations on each seventh day. At all events, all mortal things, as I have said before, drawing their more divine nature from the heaven, are moved in a manner which tends to their preservation in accordance with this number seven. For who is there who does not know that those infants who are born at the end of the seventh month are likely to live, but those who have taken a longer time, so as to have abided eight months in the womb, are for the most part abortive births? And they say that man is a reasoning being in his first seven years, by which time he is a competent interpreter of ordinary nouns and verbs, making himself master of the faculty of speaking. And in his second period of seven years, he arrives at the perfection of his nature; and this perfection is the power of generating a being like himself; for at about the age of fourteen we are able to beget a creature resembling ourselves. Again, the third period of seven years is the termination of his growth; for up to the age of one and twenty years man keeps on increasing in size, and this time is called by many maturity.

Again, the irrational portion of the soul is divisible into seven portions; the five senses, and the organ of speech, and the power of generation. Again, the motions of the body are seven; the six organic motions, and the rotatory motion.

Also the entrails are seven -- the stomach, the heart, the spleen, the liver, the lungs, and the two kidneys.

In like manner the limbs of the body amount to an equal number -- the head, the neck, the chest, the two hands, the belly, the two feet. Also the most important part of the animal, the face, is divisible according to a sevenfold division -- the two eyes, and the two ears, and as many nostrils, and in the seventh place, the mouth.

Again, the secretions are seven -- tears, mucus from the nose, saliva, the generative fluid, the two excremental discharges, and the sweat that proceeds from every part of the body.

Moreover, in diseases the seventh day is the most critical period -- and in women the catamenial purifications extend to the seventh day.

V. And the power of this number has extended also to the most useful of the arts -- namely, to grammar. At all events, in grammar, the most excellent of the elements, and those which have the most powers, are the seven vowels. And likewise in music, the lyre with seven strings is nearly the best of all instruments; because the euharmonic principle which is the most dignified of all the principles of melody, is especially perceived in connection with it.

Again, it happens that the tones of the voice are seven -- the acute, the grave, the contracted, the aspirate, the lene, the long and the short sound. The number seven is also the first number which is compounded of the perfect number, that is to say of six, and of the unit. And in some sense the numbers which are below ten are either generated by, or do themselves generate those numbers which are below ten, and the number ten itself. But the number seven neither generates any of the numbers below ten, nor is it generated by any of them. On which account the Pythagoreans compare this number to the Goddess always a virgin who was born without a mother [i.e. Minerva], because it was not generated by any other, and will not generate any other.

VI. "Accordingly, on the seventh day, God caused to rest from all his works which he had made." [Genesis 2:2.] Now, the meaning of this sentence is something of this kind. God ceases from forming the races of mortal creatures when he begins to create the divine races, which are akin to the nature of the number seven. And the reference which is here contained to their moral character is of the following nature. When that reason which is holy in accordance with the number seven has entered into the soul the number six is then arrested, and all the mortal things which this number appears to make.

VII. "And God blessed the seventh day, and hallowed it." God blesses the manners which are formed in accordance with the seventh and divine light, as being truly light, and immediately declares them holy. For that which is blessed, and that which is holy, are closely connected with one another. On this account he says, concerning him who has vowed a great vow, that "If a sudden change comes over him, and pollutes his mind, he shall no longer be holy." [Numbers 6:9.]

But the previous days were not taken into the calculation, as was natural. For those manners which are not holy are not counted, so that which is blessed is alone holy. Correctly therefore, did Moses say that "God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it," because on it he "caused to rest from all his works which he had begun to make." And this is the reason why he who lives and conducts himself in accordance with the seventh and perfect light is blessed and holy, since it is in accordance with his nature, that the creation of mortal beings was terminated. For the case is thus: when the light of virtue, which is brilliant and really divine, rises up, then the generation of the contrary nature is checked. And we have shown that God never desists from creating something, but that when he appears to do so he is only beginning the creation of something else; as being not only, the Creator, but also the Father of everything which exists.

VIII. "This is the book of the generation of heaven and earth, when they were created." [Genesis 2:4.] This is perfect reason, which is put in motion in accordance with the number seven, being the beginning of the creation of that mind which was arranged according to the ideas, and also of the sensation arranged according to the ideas, and perceptible only by the intellect, if one can speak in such a manner. And Moses calls the word of God a book, in which it is come to pass that the formations of other things are written down and engraved. But, lest you should imagine that the Deity does anything according to definite periods of time, while you should rather think that everything done by him is inscrutable in its nature, uncertain, unknown to, and incomprehensible by the race of mortal men. Moses adds the words, "when they were created," not defining the time when by any exact limitation, for what has been made by the Author of all things has no limitation. And in this way the idea is excluded, that the universe was created in six days.

IX. "On which day God created the heaven and the earth, and every green herb of the field, before it appeared upon the earth, and all the grass of the field before it sprang up. For God did not rain upon the earth, and man did not exist to cultivate the earth." This day Moses has previously called a book, since at least he describes the generation of both heaven and earth in each place. For by his most conspicuous and brilliant word, by one command, God makes both things: the idea of mind, which, speaking symbolically, he calls heaven, and the idea of sensation, which by a sign he named earth. And he likens the idea of mind, and the idea of sensation to two fields; for the mind brings forth fruit, which consists in having intellectual perception; and sensation brings forth other fruits which consist in perceiving by the agency of the external senses. And what he says has the following meaning;-- as there was a previously existing idea of the particular mind, and also of the indivisible minds to serve as an archetype and model for either; and also a pre-existent idea of particular sensation, being, so to say, a sort of seal which gave impressions of forms, so before particular things perceptible only by the intellect had any existence, there was a pre-existent abstract idea of what was perceptible only by intellect, by participation in which the other things also received their names; and before particular objects perceptible by the external senses, existed, there was also a generic something perceptible by the external senses, in accordance with a participation in which, the other things perceptible by the external senses were created.

By "the green herb of the field," Moses means that portion of the mind which is perceptible only by intellect. For as in the field green things spring up and flourish, so also that which is perceptible only by the intellect is the fruit of the mind. Therefore, before the particular something perceptible only by intellect existed, God created the general something perceptible only by intellect, which also he correctly denominated the universe. For since the particular something perceptible only by intellect is incomplete, that is not the universe; but that which is generic is the universe, as being complete.

X. "And all the grass of the field," he proceeds, "before it sprang up." That is to say, before the particular things perceptible by the external senses sprang up, there existed the generic something perceptible by the external senses through the fore-knowledge of the Creator, which he again called "the universe." And very naturally he likened the things perceptible by the external senses to grass. For as grass is the food of irrational animals, so also that which is perceptible by the external senses is assigned to the irrational portion of the soul. For why, when he has previously mentioned "the green herb of the field," does he add also "and all the grass," as if grass were not green at all? But the truth is, that by the green herb of the field, he means that which is perceptible by the intellect only, the budding forth of the mind. But grass means that which is perceptible by the external senses, that being likewise the produce of the irrational part of the soul.

"For God did not rain upon the earth, and man did not exist to cultivate the earth," speaking in the strictest accordance with natural philosophy. For if God did not shed the perceptions of things subject to them, like rain upon the senses, in that case the mind too would not labor nor employ itself about sensation. For he himself would be unable to effect anything by himself, unless he were to pour forth, like rain or dew, colors upon the sight, and sounds upon the hearing, and flavor on the tastes, and on all the other senses, the things proper to produce the requisite effects. But when God begins to rain sensation on the things perceptible by the external senses, then also the mind is perceived to act like the cultivator of fertile soil. But the idea of sensation, which he, speaking figuratively, has called the earth, is in no need of nourishment. But the nourishment of the senses, are the particular objects perceptible by the external senses; and these objects are bodies. But an idea is a thing different from bodies.

Before, therefore, there existed any individual compound substances, God did not rain upon that idea of sensation to which he gave the name of the earth. And that means that he did not furnish it with any nourishment; for, indeed, it had altogether no need of any object perceptible by the external senses.

But when Moses says, "And man did not exist to cultivate the earth," that means that the idea of intellect did not labor upon the idea of the sensations. For my intellect and yours work up the sensations by means of things perceptible by the external senses: but the idea of mind as must be the case while there is no individual body connected with it does not work upon the idea of sensation. For if it did so work, it would of course work by means of objects, perceptible by the external senses. But there is no such object in ideas.

XI. "But a fountain went up upon the earth, and watered all the face of the earth." He here calls the mind the fountain of the earth, and the sensations he calls the face of the earth, because there is the most suitable place in the whole body for them, with reference to their appropriate energies, a place that nature which foreknows everything, has assigned to them. And the mind waters the sensations like a fountain, sending appropriate streams over each.

See now how all the powers of a living animal depend upon one another like a chain. For as the mind, and sensations, and the object perceptible by the external sense are three different things, the middle term is sensation; and the mind, and the object perceptible by the external sense, are the two extremes. But the mind is unable to work; that is to say, to energize according to sensation, unless God rains upon and irrigates the object perceptible by the external senses, nor is there any advantage from the object perceptible to the external sense when watered, unless the mind, like a fountain, extending itself as far as the sensation, puts it in motion when it is quiet, and leads it on to a comprehension of the subject. So that the mind, and the object perceptible by the external senses, are always endeavoring to reciprocate with one another, the one being subject to the sensations as a kind of material would be, and the mind stirring up the sensations towards the external object, as a workman would do, in order to create an appetite. For a living animal is superior to that which is not a living animal in two points, imagination and appetite. Accordingly, imagination consists in the approach of the external object striking the mind by means of the sensations. And appetite is the brother of imagination, according to the intensive power of the mind, which the mind keeps on the stretch, by means of the sensation, and so touches the subject matter, and comes over to it, being eager to arrive at and comprehend it.

XII. "And God created man, taking a lump of clay from the earth, and breathed into his face the breath of life: and man became a living soul." The races of men are twofold; for one is the heavenly man, and the other the earthly man. Now the heavenly man, as being born in the image of God, has no participation in any corruptible or earth-like essence. But the earthly man is made of loose material, which he calls a lump of clay. On which account he says, not that the heavenly man was made, but that he was fashioned according to the image of God; but the earthly man he calls a thing made, and not begotten by the maker. And we must consider that the man who was formed of earth, means the mind which is to be infused into the body, but which has not yet been so infused. And this mind would be really earthly and corruptible, if it were not that God had breathed into it the spirit of genuine life; for then it "exists," and is no longer made into a soul; and its soul is not inactive, and incapable of proper formation, but a really intellectual and living one. "For man," says Moses, "became a living soul."

XIII. But some one may ask, why God thought an earth-born mind, which was wholly devoted to the body, worthy of divine inspiration, and yet did not treat the one made after his own idea and image in the same manner. In the second place he may ask, what is the meaning of the expression "breathed into." And thirdly, why he breathed into his face: fourthly also, why, since he knew the name of the Spirit when he says, "And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters," [Genesis 1:2] he now speaks of breath, and not of the Spirit. Now in reply to the first question we must say this one thing; God being very munificent gives his good things to all men, even to those who are not perfect; inviting them to a participation and rivalry in virtue, and at the same time displaying his abundant riches, and showing that it is sufficient for those also who will not be greatly benefited by it; and he also shows this in the most evident manner possible in other cases; for when he rains on the sea, and when he raises up fountains in desert places, and waters shallow and rough and unproductive land, making the rivers to overflow with floods, what else is he doing but displaying the great abundance of his riches and of his goodness? This is the cause why he has created no soul in such a condition as to be wholly barren of good, even if the employment of that good be beyond the reach of some people. We must also give a second reason, which is this: Moses wished to represent all the actions of the Deity as just -- therefore a man who had not had a real life breathed into him, but who was ignorant of virtue, when he was chastised for the sins which he had committed would say that he was punished unjustly, in that it was only through ignorance of what was good that he had erred respecting it; and that he was to blame who had not breathed any proper wisdom into him; and perhaps he will even say, that he has absolutely committed no offense whatever; since some people affirm that actions done involuntarily and in ignorance have not the nature of offenses.

Now the expression "breathed into" is equivalent to "inspired," or "gave life to" things inanimate: for let us take care that we are never filled with such absurdity as to think that God employs the organs of the mouth or nostrils for the purpose of breathing into anything; for God is not only devoid of peculiar qualities, but he is likewise not of the form of man, and the use of these words shows some more secret mystery of nature; for there must be three things, that which breathes in, that which receives what is breathed in, and that which is breathed in. Now that which breathes in is God, that which receives what is breathed in is the mind, and that which is breathed in is the spirit. What then is collected from these three things? A union of the three takes place, through God extending the power, which proceeds from himself through the spirit, which is the middle term, as far as the subject. Why does he do this, except that we may thus derive a proper notion of him? Since how could the soul have perceived God if he had not inspired it, and touched it according to his power? For human intellect would not have dared to mount up to such a height as to lay claim to the nature of God, if God himself had not drawn it up to himself, as far as it was possible for the mind of man to be drawn up, and if he had not formed it according to those powers which can be comprehended.

And God breathed into man's face both physically and morally. Physically, when he placed the senses in the face: and this portion of the body above all others is vivified and inspired; and morally, in this manner, as the face is the dominant portion of the body, so also is the mind the dominant portion of the soul. It is into this alone that God breathes; but the other parts, the sensations, the power of speech, and the power of generation, he does not think worthy of his breath, for they are inferior in power. By what then were these subordinate parts inspired? beyond all question by the mind; for of the qualities which the mind has received from God, it gives a share to the irrational portion of the soul, so that the mind is vivified by God, and the irrational part of the soul by the mind; for the mind is as it were a god to the irrational part of the soul, for which reason Moses did not hesitate to call it "the god of Pharaoh." [Exodus 7:1.]

For of all created things some are created by God, and through him: some not indeed by God, but yet through him: and the rest have their existence both by him and through him.

At all events Moses as he proceeds says, that God planted a paradise, and among the best things as made both by God and through God, is the mind. But the irrational part of the soul was made indeed by God but not through God, but through the reasoning power which bears rule and sovereignty in the soul; and Moses has used the word "breath," not "spirit," as there is a difference between the two words; for spirit is conceived of according to strength, and intensity, and power; but breath is a gentle and moderate kind of breeze and exhalation; therefore the mind, which was created in accordance with the image and idea of God, may be justly said to partake in his spirit, for its reasoning has strength: but that which is derived from matter is only a partaker in a thin and very light air, being as it were a sort of exhalation, such as arises from spices; for they, although they be preserved intact, and are not exposed to fire or fumigation, do nevertheless emit a certain fragrance.

XIV. "And God planted a paradise in Eden, in the east: and there he placed the man whom he had formed [Genesis 2:8]:" for he called that divine and heavenly wisdom by many names; and he made it manifest that it had many appellations; for he called it the beginning, and the image, and the sight of God. And now he exhibits the wisdom which is conversant about the things of the earth (as being an imitation of this archetypal wisdom), in the plantation of this Paradise. For let not such impiety ever occupy our thoughts as for us to suppose that God cultivates the land and plants paradises, since if we were to do so, we should be presently raising the question of why he does so: for it could not be that he might provide himself with pleasant places of recreation and pastime, or with amusement. Let not such fabulous nonsense ever enter our minds; for even the whole world would not be a worthy place or habitation for God, since he is a place to himself, and he himself is full of himself, and he himself is sufficient for himself, filling up and surrounding everything else which is deficient in any respect, or deserted, or empty; but he himself is surrounded by nothing else, as being himself one and the universe.

God therefore sows and implants terrestrial virtue in the human race, being an imitation and representation of the heavenly virtue. For, pitying our race, and seeing that it is exposed to abundant and innumerable evils, he firmly planted terrestrial virtue as an assistant against and warder-off of the diseases of the soul; being, as I have said before, an imitation of the heavenly and archetypal wisdom which he calls by various names.

Now virtue is called a paradise metaphorically, and the appropriate place for the paradise is Eden; and this means luxury: and the most appropriate field for virtue is peace, and ease, and joy; in which real luxury especially consists. Moreover, the plantation of this paradise is represented in the east; for right reason never sets, and is never extinguished, but it is its nature to be always rising. And as I imagine, the rising sun fills the darkness of the air with light, so also does virtue when it has arisen in the soul, irradiate its mist and dissipate the dense darkness. "And there," says Moses, "he placed the man whom he had formed:" for God being good, and having formed our race for virtue, as his work which was most akin to himself, places the mind in virtue, evidently in order that it, like a good husband, may cultivate and attend to nothing else except virtue.

XV. And some one may ask here, why, since it is a pious action to imitate the works of God, it is forbidden to me to plant a grove near the altar, and yet God plants a paradise? For Moses says, "You shall not plant a grove for yourself; you shall not make for yourself any tree which is near the altar of the Lord your God." [Deuteronomy 16:21.] What then are we to say? That it is right for God to plant and to build up the virtues in the soul. But the selfish and atheistical mind, thinking itself equal with God while it appears to be doing something, is found in reality to be rather suffering. And though God sows and plants good things in the soul, the mind which says, "I plant," is acting impiously. You shall not plant therefore where God is planting: but if, O mind, you fix plants in the soul, take care to plant only such trees as bear fruit, and not a grove; for in a grove there are trees of a character to bear cultivation, and also wild trees. But to plant vice, which is unproductive in the soul, along with cultivated and fertile virtue, is the act of a double-natured and confused leprosy. If, however, you bring into the same place things which ought not to be mingled together, you must separate and disjoin them from the pure and incorrupt nature which is accustomed to make blameless offerings to God; and this is his altar; for it is inconsistent with this to say that there is any such thing as a work of the soul, when all things are referred to God, and to mingle barren things with those which are productive; for this would be faulty: but they are blameless things which are offered to God. If therefore you transgress any one of these laws, O soul! you will be injuring yourself, not God. On this account God says, "You shall not plant for yourself:" for no one works for God, and especially what is evil does not. And again, Moses adds: "You shall not make for yourself." And in another place he says, "You shall not make gods of silver with me, and you shall not make gods of gold for yourselves." For he who conceives either that God has any distinctive quality, or that he is not one, or that he is not uncreated and imperishable, or that he is not unchangeable, injures himself and not God. "For you shall not make them for yourselves," is what he says. For we must conceive that God is free from distinctive qualities, and imperishable, and unchangeable; and he who does not conceive thus of him is filling his own soul with false and atheistical opinions. Do you not see that -- even though God were to conduct us to virtue, and though when we had been thus conducted we were to plant no tree which was barren, but only such as produce fruit, he would still command us to purify its impurity, that is to say, the appearing to plant. For he here orders us to cut away vain opinions; and vain opinions are a thing impure by nature.

XVI. "And the man whom he had formed," Moses says, "God placed in the Paradise [Genesis 2:8]," for the present only. Who, then, is he in reference to whom he subsequently says that "The Lord God took the man whom he had formed, and placed him in the Paradise to cultivate it and to guard it." [Genesis 2:15.] Must not this man who was created according to the image and idea of God have been a different man from the other, so that two men must have been introduced into the Paradise together, the one a factitious man, and the other modelled after the image of God? Therefore, the man modelled after the idea of God, is perceived not only amid the planting of the virtues, but, besides this, he is their cultivator and guardian; that is to say, he is mindful of the things which he has heard and practiced. But the man who is factitious, neither cultivates the virtues, nor guards them, but is only introduced into opinions by the abundant liberality of God, being on the point of immediately becoming an exile from virtue. Therefore, he calls that man whom he only places in Paradise, factitious; but him whom he appoints to be its cultivator and guardian he calls not factitious, but "the man whom he had made." And him he takes, but the other he casts out. And him whom he takes he thinks worthy of three things, of which goodness of nature especially consists: namely, expertness, perseverance, and memory. Now, expertness is his position in Paradise; memory is the guarding and preservation of holy opinions; perseverance is the effecting of what is good, the performance of virtuous actions. But the factitious mind neither remembers what is good, nor does it, but is only expert, and nothing more; on which account, after it has been placed in Paradise, in a short time afterwards it runs away, and is cast out.

XVII. "And God caused to rise out of the earth every tree which is pleasant to the sight and good for food, and the tree of life he raised in the middle of the Paradise, and also the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." He here gives a sketch of the trees of virtue which he plants in the soul. And these are the particular virtues, and the energies in accordance with them, and the good and successful actions, and the things which by the philosophers are called fitting; these are the plants of the Paradise. Nevertheless, he describes the characteristics of these same trees, showing that that which is desirable to be beheld is likewise most excellent to be enjoyed. For of the arts some are theoretical and not practical, such as geometry and astronomy. Some, again, are practical and not theoretical, such as the art of the architect, of the smith, and all those which are called mechanical arts. But virtue is both theoretical and practical; for it takes in theory, since the road which leads to it is philosophy in three of its parts -- the reasoning, and the moral, and the physical part. It also includes action; for virtue is art conversant about the whole of life; and in life all actions are exhibited. Still, although it takes in both theory and practice, nevertheless it is most excellent in each particular. For the theory of virtue is thoroughly excellent, and its practice and observation is a worthy object to contend for. On which account Moses says that the tree was pleasant to the sight, which is a symbol of theoretical excellence; and likewise good for food, which is a token of useful and practical good.

XVIII. But the tree of life is that most general virtue which some people call goodness; from which the particular virtues are derived, and of which they are composed. And it is on this account that it is placed in the center of the Paradise; having the most comprehensive place of all, in order that, like a king, it may be guarded by the trees on each side of it. But some say that it is the heart that is meant by the tree of life; since that is the cause of life, and since that has its position in the middle of the body, as being, according to them, the dominant part of the body. But these men ought to be made aware that they are expounding a doctrine which has more reference to medical than to natural science. But we, as has been said before, affirm that by the tree of life is meant the most general virtue. And of this tree Moses expressly says, that it is placed in the middle of the paradise; but as to the other tree, that namely of the knowledge of good and evil, he has not specified whether it is within or outside of the Paradise; but after he has used the following expression, "and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil," he says no more, not mentioning where it is placed, in order that any one who is uninitiated in the principles of natural philosophy, may not be made to marvel at his knowledge.

What then must we say? That this tree is both in the Paradise and also out of it. As to its essence, indeed, in it; but as to its power, out of it. How so? The dominant portion of us is capable of receiving everything, and resembles wax, which is capable of receiving every impression, whether good or bad. In reference to which fact, that supplanter Jacob makes a confession where he says, "all these things were made for me." [Genesis 42:36.] For the unspeakable formations and impressions of all the things in the universe, are all borne forward into, and comprehended by the soul, which is only one. When, therefore that receives the impression of perfect virtue, it has become the tree of life; but when it has received the impression of vice, it has then become the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and vice and all evil have been banished from the divine company. Therefore the dominant power which has received it is in the Paradise according to its essence; for there is in it that characteristic of virtue, which is akin to the Paradise. But again, according to its power it is not in it, because the form of virtue is inconsistent with the divine operations; and what I here say, any one may understand in this manner. At this moment, the dominant part is in my body, according to its essence, but according to its power it is in Italy, or Sicily, when it applies its consideration to those countries, and in heaven when it is contemplating the heaven. On which principle it often happens that some persons who are in profane places, according to their essence, are in the most sacred places, thinking of those things which relate to virtue. And again, others who are in the temples of the gods, are profane in their minds, from the fact of their minds receiving a change for the worse, and evil impressions; so that vice is neither in the Paradise, nor not in it. For it is possible that it may be in it according to its essence, but it is not possible that it should be according to its power.

XIX. "And a river goes forth out of Eden to water the Paradise. From thence it is separated into four heads: the name of the one is Pheison. That is the one which encircles the whole land of Evilat. There is the country where there is gold, and the gold of that land is good. There also are the carbuncle and the sapphire stone. And the name of the second river is Gihon; this is that which encircles the whole land of Ethiopia. And the third river is the Tigris. This is the river which flows in front of the Assyrians. And the fourth river is the Euphrates." [Genesis 2:13.] In these words Moses intends to sketch out the particular virtues. And they also are four in number, prudence, temperance, courage, and justice. Now the greatest river from which the four branches flow off, is generic virtue, which we have already called goodness; and the four branches are the same number of virtues. Generic virtue, therefore, derives its beginning from Eden, which is the wisdom of God; which rejoices and exults, and triumphs, being delighted at and honored on account of nothing else, except its Father, God. And the four particular virtues, are branches from the generic virtue, which like a river waters all the good actions of each, with an abundant stream of benefits.

Let us examine the expressions of the writer: "A river," says he, "goes forth out of Eden, to water the Paradise." This river is generic goodness; and this issues forth out of the Eden of the wisdom of God, and that is the word of God. For it is according to the word of God, that generic virtue was created. And generic virtue waters the Paradise: that is to say, it waters the particular virtues. But it does not derive its beginnings from any principle of locality, but from a principle of pre-eminence. For each of the virtues is really and truly a ruler and a queen. And the expression, "is separated," is equivalent to "is marked off by fixed boundaries;" since wisdom appoints them settled limits with reference to what is to be done. Courage with respect to what is to be endured; temperance with reference to what is to be chosen; and justice in respect of what is to be distributed.

XX. "The name of one river is Pheison. This is that river which encircles all the land of Evilat; there is the country where there is gold. And the gold of that land is good; there also are the carbuncle and the sapphire stone." One of the four virtues is prudence, which Moses here calls Pheison: because the soul abstains [pheison, from pheidomai, to spare, or abstain from] from, and guards against, acts of iniquity. And it meanders in a circle, and flows all round the land of Evilat; that is to say, it preserves a mild, and gentle, and favorable constitution. And as of all fusible essences, the most excellent and the most illustrious is gold, so also the virtue of the soul which enjoys the highest reputation, is prudence. And when he uses the expression, "that is the country where there is gold," he is not speaking geographically, that is, where gold exists, but that is the country in which that valuable possession exists, brilliant as gold, tried in the fire, and valuable, namely, prudence. And this is confessed to be the most valuable possession of God.

But with reference to the geographical position of virtue, there are two personages, each invested with distinctive qualities. One, the being who has prudence, the other, the being who exerts it; and these he likens to the carbuncle and the emerald.

XXI. "And the name of the second river is Gihon. This is that which encircles all the land of Ethiopia." Under the symbol of this river courage is intended. For the name of Gihon being interpreted means chest, or an animal which attacks with its horns; each of which interpretations is emblematical of courage. For courage has its abode about the chest, where also is the seat of the heart, and where man is prepared to defend himself. For courage is the knowledge of what is to be withstood, and of what is not to be withstood, and of what is indifferent. And it encircles and surrounds Ethiopia, making demonstrations of war against it; and the name of Ethiopia, being interpreted, means humiliation. And cowardice is a humiliating thing; but courage is adverse to humiliation and to cowardice.

"And the third river is the Tigris; this is that which flows in front of Assyria." The third virtue is temperance, which resolutely opposes that kind of pleasure which appears to be the directress of human infirmity. For the translation of the name Assyrians in the Greek tongue is euthynontes, (directors). And he has likened desire to a tiger, which is the most untameable of beasts; it being desire about which temperance is conversant.

XXII. It is worth while therefore to raise the question why courage has been spoken of as the second virtue, and temperance as the third, and prudence as the first; and why Moses has not also explained the course of action of the other virtues. Now we must understand that our soul is divided into three parts, and that it has one portion which is conversant about reason; another which is subject to passion; and another which is that in which the desires are conceived. And we find that the proper place and abode of the reasoning part of the soul, is the head; of the passionate part, the chest; and of the part in which the desires are conceived, the stomach. And we find that appropriate virtues are adapted to each of these parts. To the rational part, prudence; in it is the office of reason, to have a knowledge of what one might, and of what one ought not to do. And the virtue of the passionate part of the soul is courage: and of the appetitive part, temperance. For it is through temperance that we remedy and cure the appetites. For as the head is the principle and uppermost part of the animal, and the chest the next highest, and the liver the third, in point both of importance and of position; so in the soul again, the first is the rational part, the second the passionate part, and the third the appetitive part. In the same way again of the virtues; the first is that which is conversant about the first portion of the soul, which is the reasoning portion, and which at the same time has its abode in the head of the body; in short it is prudence. And the second of the virtues is courage, because it is conversant about the second portion of the soul, namely, about passion, and has its abode in the second portion of the body, namely, in the chest. And the third virtue is temperance, which is placed in the stomach which is the third portion of the body, and it is conversant about the appetitive part, which has been allotted the third part of the soul, as being its subject matter.

XXIII. "And the fourth river," continues Moses, "is the river Euphrates." And this name Euphrates means fertility; and symbolically taken, it is the fourth virtue, namely, justice, which is most truly a productive virtue, and one which gladdens the intellect. When therefore does this happen? When the three parts of the soul are all in harmony with one another; and harmony among them is in reality the predominance of the most important; as for instance, when the two inferior parts, the passionate and the appetitive part, are disposed to yield to the superior part, then justice exists. For it is just that the better portion should rule at all times, and in all places, and that the inferior part should be ruled. Now the rational part is the better part, and the appetitive and the passionate parts are the inferior ones. But when, on the contrary, passion and appetite get riotous and disobey the reins, and by the violence of their impetuosity throw off and disregard the charioteer, that is to say reason, and when each of these passions get hold of the reins themselves, then there is injustice. For it is inevitable, that through any ignorance or vice of the charioteer, the chariot must be borne down over precipices, and must fall into the abyss; just as it must be saved when the charioteer is endowed with skill and virtue.

XXIV. Again, let us look at the subject in this way also. Pheison, being interpreted, is the change of the mouth; and Evilat means bringing forth, and by these two names prudence is signified. For people in general think a man prudent who is an inventor of sophistical expressions, and clever at explaining that which he has conceived in the mind. But Moses considered such an one a man fond of words, but by no means a prudent man. For in the changing of the mouth, that is to say of the power of speaking and explaining one's ideas, prudence is seen. And prudence is not a certain degree of acuteness in speech, but ability which is beheld in deeds and in serious actions. And prudence surrounds Evilat, which is in travail, as it were with a wall, in order to besiege it and destroy it. And "bringing forth," is an especially appropriate name for folly, because the foolish mind, being always desirous of what is unattainable, is at all times in travail. When it is desirous of money it is in labor, also when it thirsts for glory, or when it is covetous of pleasure, or of any thing else. But, though always in labor, it never brings forth. For the soul of the worthless man is not calculated by nature to bring any thing to perfection which is likely to live. But every thing which it appears to bring forth is found to be abortive and immature. "Eating up the half of its flesh, and being like a death of the soul." [Numbers 12:12.] On which account that holy word Aaron entreats the pious Moses, who was beloved by God, to heal the leprosy of Miriam, in order that her soul might not be occupied in the labor of bringing forth evil things. And in consequence he says: "Let her not become like unto death, as an abortion proceeding out of the womb of her mother, and let her not devour the half of her own flesh." [Numbers 12:13.]

XXV. "That," says Moses, "is the country, where there is gold." He does not say that that is the only place where there is gold, but simply that is the country where there is gold. For prudence which he likened to gold, being of a nature free from deceit, and pure, and tried in the fire, and thoroughly tested, and honorable, exists there in the wisdom of God. And being there, it is not a possession of wisdom, but something belonging to the God who is its creator and owner, whose work and possession this wisdom likewise is. "And the gold of that land is good." Is there, then, any other gold which is not good? Beyond all doubt; for the nature of prudence is twofold, there being one prudence general, and another particular. Therefore, the prudence that is in me, being particular prudence, is not good; for when I perish that also will perish together with me; but general or universal prudence, the abode of which is the wisdom of God and the house of God, is good; for it is imperishable itself, and dwells in an imperishable habitation.

XXVI. "There also is the carbuncle and the emerald." The two beings endowed with distinctive qualities, the prudent man and the man who acts prudently, differ from one another; one of them existing according to prudence, and the other acting wisely according to the rules of wisdom. For it is on account of these two beings thus endowed with distinctive qualities God implanted prudence and virtue in the earth-born man. For what would have been the use of it, if there had been no reasoning powers in existence to receive it, and to give impressions of its form? So that virtue is very properly conjoined with prudence, and the prudent man is rightly joined with him who displays prudence in his actions; the two being like two precious stones. And may not they be Judah and Issachar? For the man who puts in practice the prudence of God confesses himself to be bound to feel gratitude, and to feel it towards him who has given him what is good without grudging; and he also does honorable and virtuous actions. Accordingly Judah is the symbol of a man who makes this confession "in respect of whom Leah ceased from child-bearing." [Genesis 29:35.] But Issachar is the symbol of the man who does good actions, "For he put forth [Genesis 49:15] his shoulder to labor and became a man tilling the earth." With respect to whom Moses says, hire is in his soul after he has been sown and planted, so that his labor is not imperfect, but is rather crowned and honored with a reward by God.

And that he is making mention of these things, he shows when speaking on other subjects; when describing the garment, which reached to the feet he says, "And thou shalt weave in it sets of stones in four rows. The row of stones shall be the sardine stone, the topaz, and the emerald are the first row." Reuben, Simeon, and Levi are here meant. "And the second row," he says, "are the carbuncle and the sapphire." [Exodus 28:17.] And the sapphire is the same as the green stone. And in the carbuncle was inscribed the name of Judah, for he was the fourth son: and in the sapphire the name of Issachar. Why then as he had called the sapphire the green stone, did he not also speak of the red stone? Because Judah, as the type of a disposition inclined to confession, is a being immaterial and incorporeal. For the very name of confession (exomologeseos) shows that it is a thing external to (ektos) himself. For when the mind is beside itself, and bears itself upwards to God, as the laughter of Isaac did, then it makes a confession to him who alone has a real being. But as long as it considers itself as the cause of something, it is a long way from yielding to God, and confessing to him. For this very act of confessing ought to be considered as being the work not of the soul, but of God who teaches it this feeling of gratitude. Accordingly Judah, who practices confession, is an immaterial being.

But Issachar who came forth out of labor is in need of corporeal matter; since if it were otherwise how could a studious man read without his eyes? And how could any one hear words exhorting him to any cause, if he were not endowed with hearing? And how could he obtain meat and drink without a belly, and without a wonder working art exercised towards it? And it is on this account that he was likened to a precious stone.

Moreover the colors of the two are different. For the color of a coal when on fire is akin to that of the man who is inclined to confession: for he is inflamed by gratitude to God, and he is intoxicated with a certain sober intoxication: but the color of the green stone is more appropriate to the man who is still laboring: for those who are devoted to constant labor are pale on account of the wearing nature of toil, and also by reason of their fear that perhaps they may not attain to such an end of their wish as is desired in their prayers.

XXVII. And it is worth while to raise the question why the two rivers the Pheison and the Gihon encircle certain countries, the one surrounding Evilat, and the other Ethiopia, while neither of the other rivers is represented as encompassing any country. The Tigris is indeed said to flow in front of the land of the Assyrians, but the Euphrates is not mentioned in connection with any country whatever. And yet in real truth the Euphrates does both encircle some countries, and has several also in front of it. But the truth is that the sacred writer is here speaking not of the river, but of the correction of manners. It is necessary therefore to say that prudence and courage are able to raise a wall and a circle of fortification against the opposite evils, folly, and cowardice; and to take them captives: for both of them are powerless and easy to be taken. For the foolish man is easily to be defeated by the prudent one; and the coward falls before the valiant man. But temperance is unable to surround appetite and pleasure; for they are formidable adversaries and hard to be subdued. Do you not see that even the most temperate men are compelled by the necessities of their mortal body to seek meat and drink; and it is in those things that the pleasures of the belly have their existence. We must be content therefore to oppose and contend with the genus appetite. And it is on this account that the river Tigris is represented as flowing in front of the Assyrians, that is to say temperance is in front of or arrayed against pleasure.

But justice, according to which the river Euphrates is represented, neither besieges any one, nor draws lines of circumvallation round any one, nor opposes any one; -- why so? Because justice is conversant about the distribution of things according to merit, and does not take the part either of accuser or of defendant, but acts as a judge. As therefore a judge does not desire beforehand to defeat any one, nor to oppose and make war upon any one; but delivers his own opinion and judges, deciding for the right, so also justice, not being the adversary of any one, distributes its due to every thing.

XXVIII. "And the Lord God took the man whom he had made and placed him in the Paradise, to cultivate and to guard it." The man whom God made differs from the factitious man, as I have said before. For the factitious mind is somewhat earthly; but the created mind is purer and more immaterial, having no participation in any perishable matter, but having received a purer and more simple constitution. Accordingly God takes this pure mind, not permitting it to proceed out of itself, and after he has taken it, he places it among the virtues which are firmly rooted and budding well, that it may cultivate and guard them. For many men who were originally practicers of virtue, when they come to the end fall off; but he to whom God gives lasting knowledge is also endowed by him with both qualities, namely with the disposition to cultivate the virtues, and the resolution never to desert them, but always to minister to and guard every one of them. So Moses here uses the expression "cultivate" as equivalent to "act," and the word "guard" instead of "remember."

XXIX. "And the Lord God commanded Adam, saying, Of every tree that is in the Paradise thou mayest freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil ye shall not eat; but in the day on which ye eat of it ye shall die the death."

A question may arise here to what kind of Adam he gave this command and who, this Adam was. For Moses has not made any mention of him before; but now is the first time that he has named him.

Are we then to think that he is desirous to supply you with the name of the factitious man? "And he calls him," continues Moses, "Earth." For this is the interpretation of the name of Adam. Accordingly, when you hear the name Adam, you must think that he is an earthly and perishable being; for he is made according to an image, being not earthly but heavenly. But we must inquire how it was that after he had given names to all the other animals, he did not give one also to himself. What then are we to say about this? The mind which is in each of us is able to comprehend all other things, but has not the capability of understanding itself. For as the eye sees all other things, but cannot see itself, so also the mind perceives the nature of other things but cannot understand itself. For if it does, let it tell us what it is, or what kind of thing it is, whether it is a spirit, or blood, or fire, or air, or any other substance: or even only so much whether it is a substance at all, or something incorporeal. Are not those men then simple who speculate on the essence of God? For how can they who are ignorant of the nature of the essence of their own soul, have any accurate knowledge of the soul of the universe? For the soul of the universe is according to our definition, -- God.

XXX. It is therefore very natural that Adam, that is to say the mind, when he was giving names to and displaying his comprehension of the other animals, did not give a name to himself, because he was ignorant of himself and of his own nature. A command indeed is given to man, but not to the man created according to the image and idea of God; for that being is possessed of virtue without any need of exhortation, by his own instinctive nature, but this other would not have wisdom if it had not been taught to him: and these three things are different, command, prohibition, and recommendation. For prohibition is conversant about errors, and is directed to bad men, but command is conversant about things rightly done; recommendation again is addressed to men of intermediate character, neither bad nor good. For such a one does not sin so that any one has any need to direct prohibition to him, nor does he do right in every case in accordance with the injunction of right reason. But he is in need of recommendation, which teaches him to abstain from what is evil, and exhorts him to aim at what is good. Therefore there is no need of addressing either command, or prohibition, or recommendation to the man who is perfect, and made according to the image of God. For the perfect man requires none of these things; but there is a necessity of addressing both command and prohibition to the wicked man, and recommendation and instruction to the ignorant man. Just as the perfect grammarian or perfect musician has need of no instruction in the matters which belong to his art, but the man whose theories on such subjects are imperfect stands in need of certain rules, as it were, which contain in themselves commands and prohibitions, and he who is only learning the art requires instruction.

Very naturally, therefore, does God at present address commands and recommendations to the earthly mind, which is neither bad nor good, but of an intermediate character. And recommendation is employed in the two names, in that of the Lord and of God. For the Lord God commanded that if man obeyed his recommendations, he should be thought worthy of receiving benefits from God; but if he rejected his warnings, he should then be cast out to destruction by the Lord, as his Master and one who had authority over him. On which account, when he is driven out of Paradise, Moses repeats the same names; for he says, "And the Lord God sent him forth out of the Paradise of happiness, to till the ground from which he had been taken." [Genesis 3:23.] That, since the Lord had laid his commands on him as his Master, and God as his Benefactor, he might now, in both these characters, chastise him for having disobeyed them; for thus, by the same power by which he had exhorted him does he also banish him, now that he is disobedient.

XXXI. And the recommendations that he addresses to him are as follows: "Of every tree that is in the Paradise thou mayest freely eat." [Genesis 2:16.] He exhorts the soul of man to derive advantage not from one tree alone nor from one single virtue, but from all the virtues; for eating is a symbol of the nourishment of the soul, and the soul is nourished by the reception of good things, and by the doing of praiseworthy actions. And Moses not only says, "thou mayest eat," but he adds "freely," also; that is to say, having ground and prepared your food, not like an ordinary individual, but like a wrestler, you shall thus acquire strength and vigor. For the trainers recommend the wrestlers not to cut up their food by biting large pieces off, but to masticate it slowly, in order that it may contribute to their strength; for I and an athlete are fed in different manners. For I feed merely for the purpose of living, but the wrestler feeds for the purpose of acquiring flesh and deriving strength from it; on which account one of his rules of training and exercise is to masticate his food. This is the meaning of the expression, "Thou mayest freely eat."

Again let us endeavor to give a still more accurate explanation of it. To honor one's parents is a nourishing and cherishing thing. But the good and the wicked honor them in different manners. For the one does it out of habit, as men eat who do not eat freely, but who merely eat. When, then, do they also eat freely? When having investigated and developed the causes of things they form a voluntary judgment that this is good, and the causes of their eating freely, that is to say, of their honoring their parents in a proper spirit, is -- they became our parents; they nourished us; they instructed us; they have been the causes of all good things to us. Again, to honor the living God is spoken of symbolically as to eat. But to eat "freely," is when it is done with a proper explanation of the whole matter, and a correct assignment of the causes of it.

XXXII. "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil ye shall not eat." Therefore this tree is not in the Paradise. For God encourages them to eat of every tree that is in the Paradise. But when he forbids them to eat of this tree, it is plain that it is not in the Paradise; and this is in accordance with natural philosophy. For it is there in its essence, as I have said before, and it is not there in its power. For as in wax there are potentially many seals, but in actual fact only one which has been carved on it, so also in the soul, which resembles wax, all impressions whatever are contained potentially; but in reality one single characteristic which is stamped upon it has possession of it; until it is effaced by some other which makes a deeper and more conspicuous impression.

Again, this, also, may be made the subject of a question. When God recommends men to eat of every tree in the Paradise, he is addressing his exhortation to one individual: but when he forbids him to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil he is speaking to him as to many. For in the one case he says, "Thou mayest freely eat of all;" but in the second instance, "Ye shall not eat;" and "In the day in which ye shall eat," not "thou shalt eat;" and "Ye shall die," not "Thou shalt die." We must, therefore, say this, -- that the first good is rare, imparted to but few; but the evil is comprehensive. On this account it is a hard matter to find one single man wise and faithful, but the number of bad men is beyond all computation. Very appropriately, therefore, God does not address his exhortation to nourish one's self amid the virtues, to one individual, but he encourages many to abstain from extravagant wickedness; for innumerable men are addicted to it.

In the second place, for the due comprehension and adoption of virtue man requires one thing alone, namely reason. But the body not only does not co-operate in it at all, but rather impedes the progress of the reason towards it. For it may be almost called the peculiar task of wisdom to alienate itself from the body and from the corporeal appetites. But for the enjoyment of evil it is not only necessary for a man to have mind in some degree, but also senses, and reason, and a body. For the bad man has need of all these things for the completion of his own wickedness. Since how will he be able to divulge the sacred mysteries unless he has the organ of voice? And how will he be able to indulge in pleasures if he be deprived of the belly and the organs of sensation? Very properly, therefore, does Moses address reason alone on the subject of the acquisition of virtue, for reason is, as I have said before, the only thing of which there is need for the establishment of virtue. But for indulgence in vice a man requires many things -- soul, and reason, and the external senses of the body; for it is through all these organs that vice is exhibited.

XXXIII. Accordingly God says, "In the day in which ye eat of it ye shall die the death." And yet, though they have eaten of it, they not only do not die, but they even beget children, and are the causes of life to other beings besides themselves. What, then, are we to say? Surely that death is of two kinds; the one being the death of the man, the other the peculiar death of the soul -- now the death of the man is the separation of his soul from his body, but the death of the soul is the destruction of virtue and the admission of vice; and consequently God calls that not merely "to die," but "to die the death;" showing that he is speaking not of common death, but of that peculiar and especial death which is the death of the soul, buried in its passions and in all kinds of evil. And we may almost say that one kind of death is opposed to the other kind. For the one is the separation of what was previously existing in combination, namely, of body and soul. But this other death, on the contrary, is a combination of them both, the inferior one, the body, having the predominance, and the superior one, the soul, being made subject to it. When, therefore, God says, "to die the death," you must remark that he is speaking of that death which is inflicted as punishment, and not of that which exists by the original ordinance of nature. The natural death is that one by which the soul is separated from the body. But the one which is inflicted as a punishment, is when the soul dies according to the life of virtue, and lives only according to the life of vice.

Well, therefore, did Heraclitus say this, following the doctrine of Moses; for he says, "We are living according to the death of those men; and we have died according to their life." As if he had said, Now, when we are alive, we are so though our soul is dead and buried in our body, as if in a tomb. But if it were to die, then our soul would live according to its proper life, being released from the evil and dead body to which it is bound.


Second Book

I. "And the Lord God said, It is not good for man to be alone: let us make him a help meet for him." Why, O prophet, is it not good for man to be alone? Because, says he, it is good, that he who is alone should be alone. But God is alone, and by himself, being one; and there is nothing like unto God. So that, since it is good that he who only has a real existence should be alone (for that which is about itself alone is good), it cannot be good for man to be alone. But the fact of God being alone one may receive in this sense; that neither before the creation was there anything with God, nor, since the world has been created, is anything placed in the same rank with him; for he is in need of absolutely nothing whatever.

But the better way of understanding this passage is the following: God is alone: a single being: not a combination: a single nature: but each of us, and every other animal in the world, are compound beings: for instance, I myself am made up of many things, of soul and body. Again, the soul is made up of a rational part and an irrational part: also of the body, there is one part hot, another cold; one heavy, another light; one dry, another moist. But God is not a compound being, nor one which is made up of many parts, but one which has no mixture with anything else; for whatever could be combined with God must be either superior to him, or inferior to him, or equal to him. But there is nothing equal to God, and nothing superior to him, and nothing is combined with him which is worse than himself; for if it were, he himself would be deteriorated; and if he were to suffer deterioration, he would also become perishable, which it is impious even to imagine. Therefore God exists according to oneness and unity; or we should rather say, that oneness exists according to the one God, for all number is more recent than the world, as is also time. But God is older than the world, and is its Creator.

II. But it is not good for any man to be alone. For there are two kinds of men, the one made according to the image of God, the other fashioned out of the earth; for it longs for its own likeness. For the image of God is the antitype of all other things, and every imitation aims at this of which it is the imitation, and is placed in the same class with it. And it is not good for either the man, who was made according to the image of God, to be alone: nor is it any more desirable for the factitious man to be alone, and indeed it is impossible. For the external senses, and the passions, and the vices, and innumerable other things, are combined with and adapted to the mind of this man. But the second kind of man has a helpmeet for him, who, in the first place, is created; "For I will make him," says God, "a help-meet for him." And, in the second place, is younger than the object to be helped; for, first of all, God created the mind, and subsequently he prepares to make its helper. But all this is spoken allegorically, in accordance with the principles of natural philosophy; for external sensation and the passions of the soul are all younger than the soul, and how they help it we shall see hereafter, but at present we will consider the fact of their being helpers younger than the object helped.

III. As, according to the most skillful physicians and natural philosophers, the heart appears to be formed before the rest of the body, after the manner of the foundation of a house or the keel of a ship, and then the rest of the body is built upon it; on which account, even after death, the physicians say, that the heart still quivers, as having been created before the rest of the body, and being destroyed after it; so also does the dominant portion of the soul appear to be older than the whole of the soul, and the irrational part to be younger; the formation of which Moses has not yet mentioned, but he is about to give a sketch of it, how the irrational part of the soul is the external sensation, and the passions which spring from it, especially if the judgments are our own. And this assistant of God is younger, and created, being thus described with perfect propriety.

But now let us see how that part, which was postponed before, acts as an assistant: how does our mind comprehend that such and such a thing is black or white, unless it employs sight as its assistant? and how does it know that the voice of the man who is singing to his harp is sweet, or, on the contrary, out of tune, if it has not the assistance of the faculty of hearing to guide it? And how can it tell that exhalations are fragrant or foul-smelling, unless it makes use of the sense of smell as its ally? How again does it judge of the different flavors, except through the instrumentality of its assistant, taste? How can it distinguish between what is rough and what is smooth, except by touch? There is also another class of assistants, as I have already said, namely, the passions: for pleasure also is an assistant, co-operating towards the durability of our race, and in like manner concupiscence, and pain, and fear, biting the soul, lead it to treat nothing with indifference. Anger, again, is a defensive weapon, which has been of great service to many people, and so too have the other passions in the same manner. On which account Moses has said, with great felicity, "that he was an assistant to himself:" for he is in reality an assistant to the mind, as if he were its brother and near kinsman: for the external sensations and the passions are parts of one soul, and are its offspring.

IV. Now of assistants there are two kinds, the one consisting in the passions and the other in the sensations. [...] But the prior kind is that of generation, for Moses says, "And God proceeded and made all the beasts of the field out of the earth, and all the birds of heaven; and he brought them to Adam to see what he would call them, and whatever Adam called any living soul that became its name." You see here who are our assistants, the beasts of the soul, the passions. For after God had said, "I will make him a helpmeet for him," Moses adds subsequently, "He made the beasts," as if the beasts also were assistants to us. But these are not, properly speaking, assistants, but are called so only in a catachrestic manner, by a kind of abuse of language, for they are found in reality to be enemies to man. As also in the case of cities, the allies turn out at times to be traitors and deserters; and in the case of friendship, flatterers are found to be enemies instead of companions; and Moses here speaks of the heaven and the field synonymously, describing the mind in this allegorical manner; for the mind, like the field, has innumerable periods of rising and budding forth; and, like the heaven, has brilliant, and divine, and happy characteristics of nature.

But the passions he compares to beasts and birds, because they injure the mind, being untamed and wild, and because, after the manner of birds, they descend upon the intellect; for their onset is swift and difficult to withstand; and the word "besides," as attached to "he made," is not superfluous. Why so? because he has previously said, that the beasts were formed before the creation of man, and he shows it in the following words, which are an account of what was done on the sixth day.

"And God said, Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind, four-footed animals, and creeping things, and wild beasts." Why, then, is it that he makes other animals now, not being content with those already existing? now this must be stated according to the principles of moral philosophy. The species of evil are abundant in created man, so that the most evil things are continually produced in him; and this other thing must be affirmed on principles of natural philosophy. First of all, in the six days he created the different kinds of passions, and the ideas, but now, in addition to them, he is creating the species. On which account Moses says, "And besides he made..." and that what had been previously created were genera is plain from what he says, "Let the earth bring forth living souls," not according to species but according to genus. And this is found to be the course taken by God in all cases; for before making the species he completes the genera, as he did in the case of man: for having first modelled the generic man, in whom they say that the male and female sexes are contained, he afterwards created the specific man Adam.

V. This therefore he denominated the species of assistants, but the other part of the creation, the description, that is, of the formation of the external sensations, was postponed till he began to form the woman; and having put off this he then gives an account of the distribution of names; and this is an explanation, partly figurative and partly literal, which is worthy of our admiration. It is literal, inasmuch as the Lawgiver has attributed the imposition of names to the firstborn man; for those also among the Greeks, who study philosophy, say that they were wise men who first gave names to things: but Moses speaks more correctly in the first place, because he attributes this giving of names, not to some of those men who lived in early times, but to the first man who was created upon the earth; so that, just as he himself was created to be the beginning of creation to all other animals, he might also be considered the beginning of conversation and language: for if there were no such things as names there could be no such thing as language: and, secondly, because, if many different persons gave names, they must have been different and devoid of all connection, since different persons would have given different names: but if only one person did so, the name given by one was sure to be adapted to the thing: and the same name was likely to be a token to every one of the existing things signified by it.

VI. But the moral meaning of this passage is as follows: -- We often use the expression ti instead of dia ti; (why?) as when we say, why (ti) have you washed yourself? why (ti) are you walking? why (ti) are you conversing? for in all these cases ti is used instead of dia ti; when therefore Moses says, "to see what he would call them," you must understand him as if he had said dia ti (why), instead of ti (what): and the mind will invite and embrace each of these meanings. Is it then only for the sake of what is necessary that the mortal race is of necessity implicated in passions and vices? or is it also on account of that which is immoderate and superfluous? And again, is it because of the requirements of the earth-born man, or because the mind judges them to be most excellent and admirable things; as for instance, is it necessary for every created thing to enjoy pleasure? But the bad man flies to pleasure as to a perfect good, but the good man seeks it only as a necessary; for without pleasure nothing whatever is done among the human race.

Again, the bad man considers the acquisition of riches as the most perfect good possible; but the good man looks upon riches only as a necessary and useful thing. Very naturally, therefore, God desires to see and to learn how the mind denominates and appreciates each of these things, whether it looks upon them as good, or as things indifferent, or as evil in themselves, but nevertheless in some respects necessary. On which account, thinking that everything which he invited towards himself, and embraced as a living soul, was of equal value and importance with the soul, this became the name, not only of the thing which was thus invited, but also of him who invited it: as for instance, if the man embraced pleasure, he was called a man devoted to pleasure; if he embraced appetite, he was called a man of appetite; if he invited intemperance, he himself also acquired the name of intemperate; if he admitted cowardice, he was called cowardly; and so on in the case of the other passions. For as he who has any distinctive qualities according to the virtues, is called from that virtue with which he is especially endowed, prudent, or temperate, or just, or courageous, as the case may be; so too in respect of the vices, a man is called unjust, or foolish, or unmanly, when he has invited and embraced these habits of mind and conduct.

VII. "And God cast a deep trance upon Adam, and sent him to sleep; and he took one of his ribs," and so on. The literal statement conveyed in these words is a fabulous one; for how can any one believe that a woman was made of a rib of a man, or, in short, that any human being was made out of another? And what hindered God, as he had made man out of the earth, from making woman in the same manner? For the Creator was the same, and the material was almost interminable, from which every distinctive quality whatever was made. And why, when there were so many parts of a man, did not God make the woman out of some other part rather than out of one of his ribs? Again, of which rib did he make her? And this question would hold even if we were to say, that he had only spoken of two ribs; but in truth he has not specified their number. Was it then the right rib, or the left rib? Again, if he filled up the place of the other with flesh, was not the one which he left also made of flesh? and indeed our ribs are like sisters, and akin in all their parts, and they consist of flesh. What then are we to say? ordinary custom calls the ribs the strength of a man; for we say that a man has ribs, which is equivalent to saying that he has vigor; and we say that a wrestler is a man with strong ribs, when we mean to express that he is strong: and we say that a harp-player has ribs, instead of saying that he has energy and power in his singing.

Now that this has been premised we must also say, that the mind, while naked and free from the entanglement of the body (for our present discussion is about the mind, while it is as yet entangled in nothing) has many powers, namely, the possessive power, the progenitive power, the power of the soul, the power of reason, the power of comprehension, and part of others innumerable both in their genus and species. Now the possessive power is common to it with other inanimate things, with stocks and stones, and it is shared by the things in us, which are like stones, namely, by our bones. And natural power extends also over plants: and there are parts in us which have some resemblance to plants, namely, our nails and our hair: and nature is a habit already put in motion, but the soul is a habit which has taken to itself, in addition, imagination and impetuosity; and this power also is possessed by man in common with the irrational animals; and our mind has something analogous to the soul of an irrational animal.

Again, the power of comprehension is a peculiar property of the mind; and the reasoning power is perhaps common to the more divine natures, but is especially the property of the mortal nature of man: and this is a twofold power, one kind being that in accordance with which we are rational creatures, partaking of mind; and the other kind being that faculty by which we converse.

There is also another power in the soul akin to these, the power of sensation, of which we are now speaking; for Moses is describing nothing else on this occasion except the formation of the external sense, according to energy and according to reason.

VIII. For immediately after the creation of the mind it was necessary that the external sense should be created, as an assistant and ally of the mind; therefore God having entirely perfected the first, proceeded to make the second, both in rank and power, being a certain created form, an external sense according to energy, created for the perfection and completion of the whole soul, and for the proper comprehension of such subject matter as might be brought before it. How then was this second thing created? As Moses himself says in a subsequent passage, when the mind was gone to sleep: for, in real fact, the external sense then comes forward when the mind is asleep. And again, when the mind is awake the outward sense is extinguished; and the proof of this is, that when we desire to form an accurate conception of anything, we retreat to a desert place, we shut our eyes, we stop up our ears, we discard the exercise of our senses; and so, when the mind rises up again and awakens, the outward sense is put an end to.

Let us now consider another point, namely, how the mind goes to sleep: for when the outward sense is awakened and has become excited, when the sight beholds any works of painting or of sculpture beautifully wrought, is not the mind then without anything on which to exercise its functions, contemplating nothing which is a proper subject for the intellect? What more? When the faculty of hearing is attending to some melodious combination of sound, can the mind turn itself to the contemplation of its proper objects? by no means. And it is much more destitute of occupation, when taste rises up and eagerly devotes itself to the pleasures of the belly; on which account Moses, being alarmed lest some day or other the mind might not merely go to sleep, but might become absolutely dead, says in another place, "And it shall be to you a peg in your girdle; and it shall be, that when you sit down you shall dig in it, and, heaping up earth, shall cover your shame." [Deuteronomy 23:13.] Speaking symbolically, and giving the name of peg to reason which digs up secret affairs; and he bids him to bear it upon the affection with which he ought to be girded, and not to allow it to slacken and become loosened; and this must be done when the mind, departing from the intense consideration of objects perceptible by the intellect, is brought down to the passions, and sits down, yielding to, and being guided by, the necessities of the body: and this is the case when the mind, being absorbed in luxurious associations, forgets itself, being subdued by the things which conduct it to pleasure, and so we become enslaved, and yield ourselves up to unconcealed impurity.

But if reason be able to purify the passion, then neither when we drink do we become intoxicated, nor when we eat do we become indolent through satiety, but we feast soberly without indulging in folly. Therefore, the awakening of the outward senses is the sleep of the mind; and the awakening of the mind is the discharge of the outward senses from all occupation. Just as when the sun arises the brightness of all the rest of the stars becomes invisible; but when the sun sets, they are seen. And so, like the sun, the mind, when it is awakened, overshadows the outward senses, but when it goes to sleep it permits them to shine.

IX. After this preface we must now proceed to explain the words: "The Lord God," says Moses, "cast a deep trance upon Adam, and sent him to sleep." He speaks here with great correctness, for a trance and perversion of the mind is its sleep. And the mind is rendered beside itself when it ceases to be occupied about the things perceptible only by the intellect which present themselves to it. And when it is not energizing with respect to them it is asleep. And the expression, "it is in a trance," is very well employed, as it means that it is perverted and changed, not by itself, but by God, who presents to it, and brings before it, and sends upon it the change which occurs to it. For the case is this: -- if it were in my own power to be changed, then whenever I chose I should exercise this power, and whenever I did not choose I should continue as I am, without any change. But now change attacks me from an opposite direction, and very often when I am desirous to turn my intellect to some fitting subject, I am swallowed up by an influx contrary to what is fitting: and on the other hand, when I conceive an idea respecting something unseemly, I discard it by means of pleasant notions while God by his own grace pours into my soul a sweet stream instead of the salt flood. It is necessary therefore, that every created thing should at times be changed. For this is a property of every created thing, just as it is an attribute of God to be unchangeable. But of these beings who have been changed, some remain in their altered state till their final and complete destruction, though others are only exposed to the ordinary vicissitudes of human nature; and they are immediately preserved.

On which account Moses says that "God will not suffer the destroyer to enter into your houses to smite them." [Exodus 12:23.] For he does permit the destroyer (and change is the destruction of the soul) to enter into the soul, in order to exhibit the peculiar characteristic of the created being. But God will not permit the offspring of the seeing Israel to be changed in such a manner as to be stricken down by the change; but he will compel it to emerge and rise up again like one who rises up from the deep, and so he will cause it to be saved.

X. "He took one of his ribs." He took one of the many powers of the mind, namely, that power which dwells in the outward senses. And when he uses the expression, "He took," we are not to understand it as if he had said, "He took away," but rather as equivalent to "He counted, He examined;" as he says in another place, "Take the chief of the spoils of the captivity." [Numbers 31:26.] What, then, is it which he wishes to show? Sensation is spoken of in a twofold manner; -- the one kind being according to habit, which exists even when we are asleep, and the other being according to energy. Now, in the former kind, the one according to habit, there is no use: for we do not comprehend any one of the objects presented to our view by its means. But there is use in the second, in that which exists according to energy; for it is by means of this that we arrive at a comprehension of the objects perceptible by the outward senses.

Accordingly, God, having created the former kind of sensation, that existing according to habit, when he was creating the mind (for he was furnishing that with many faculties in a state of rest), desires now to complete the other kind which exists according to energy. And this one according to energy is perfected when the one which exists according to habit is put in motion, and extended as far as the flesh and the organs of sense. For as nature is perfected when the seed is put in motion, so, also, energy is perfected when the habit is put in motion.

XI. "And he filled the space with flesh instead of it." That is to say, he filled up that external sense which exists according to habit, leading it on to energy and extending it as far as the flesh and the whole outward and visible surface of the body. In reference to which Moses adds that "he built it up into a woman:" showing by this expression that woman is the most natural and felicitously given name for the external sense. For as the man is seen in action, and the woman in being the subject of action, so also is the mind seen in action, and the external sense, like the woman, is discerned by suffering or being the subject of action. And it is easy to learn this from the way in which it is affected in practice. Thus the sight is affected by these objects of sight which put it in motion, such as white and black, and the other colors. Again, hearing is affected by sounds, and taste is disposed in such or such a way by flavors; the sense of smell by scents; and that of touch by hardness or softness. And, on the other hand all the outward senses are in a state of tranquillity until each is approached from without by that which is to put it in motion.

XII. "And he brought her to Adam. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh." God leads the external sense, existing according to energy, to the mind; knowing that its motion and apprehension must turn back to the mind. But the mind, perceiving the power which it previously had (and which, while it was existing according to habit was in a state of tranquillity), now have to become a complete operation and energy, and to be in a state of motion, marvels at it, and utters an exclamation, saying that it is not unconnected with it, but very closely akin to it. For Adam says, "This now is bone of my bone;" that is to say, This is power of my power; for bone is here to be understood as a symbol of strength and power. And it is, he adds, suffering of my sufferings; that is, it is flesh of my flesh. For every thing which the external sense suffers, it endures not without the support of the mind; for the mind is its fountain, and the foundation on which it is supported.

It is also worth while to consider why Adam added the word "now," for he says, "This now is bone of my bone." The explanation is, external sensation exists now, having its existence solely with reference to the present moment. For the mind touches three separate points of time; for it perceives present circumstances, and it remembers past events, and it anticipates the future. But the external sensations have neither any anticipation of future events, nor are they subject to any feeling resembling expectation or hope, nor have they any recollection of past circumstances; but are by nature capable only of being affected by that which moves them at the moment, and is actually present. As, for example, the eye is made white by a white appearance presented to it at the moment, but it is not affected in any manner by that which is not present to it. But the mind is agitated also by that which is not actually present, but which may be past; in which case it is affected by its recollection of it; or it may be future, in which case it is, indeed, the influence of hope and expectation.

XIII. "And she shall be called woman." This is equivalent to saying, On this account the outward sensation shall be called woman, because it is derived from man who sets it in motion. He says "she;" why, then, is the expression "she" used? Why, because there is also another kind of outward sensation, not derived from the mind, but having been created, at the same moment with it. For there are, as I have said before, two different kinds of outward sensation; the one kind existing according to habit, and the other according to energy. Now, the kind existing according to habit is not derived from the man, that is to say from the mind, but is created at the same time with him. For the mind, as I have already shown, when it was created was created with many faculties and habits; namely, with the faculty and habit of reasoning, and of existing, and of promoting what is like itself, as also with that of receiving impressions from the outward senses. But the outward sensation, which exists according to energy, is derived from the mind. For it is extended from the outward sensation which exists in it according to habit, so as to become the same outward sense according to energy. So that this second kind of outward sense is derived from the mind, and exists according to motion. And he is but a foolish person who thinks that any thing is in true reality made out of the mind, or out of itself. Do you not see that even in the case of Rachel (that is to say of outward sensation) sitting upon the images, while she thought that her motions came from the mind, he who saw her reproved her. For she says, "Give me my children, and if you give them not to me I shall die." [Genesis 30:1.] And he replied: "Because, O mistaken woman, the mind is not the cause of any thing, but he which existed before the mind; namely God." On which account he adds: "Am I equal to God who has deprived you of the fruit of your womb?" But that it is God who creates men, he will testify in the case of Leah, when he says, "But the Lord, when he saw that Leah was hated, opened her womb. But Rachel was barren." [Genesis 29:31.] But it is the especial property of man to open the womb.

Now naturally virtue is hated by men. On which account God has honored it, and gives the honor of bearing the first child to her who is hated. And in another passage he says: "But if a man has two wives, one of them being loved and one of them being hated, and if they bear him children, and if the first-born son be the child of her who is hated; he will not be able to give the honors of the birthright to the child of the wife whom he loves, overlooking the firstborn son the child of her who is hated." [Deuteronomy 21:15.] For the productions of virtue which is hated, are the first and the most perfect, but those of pleasure, which is loved, are the last.

XIV. "On this account a man will leave his father and his mother and will cleave to his wife; and they two shall become one flesh." On account of the external sensation, the mind, when it has become enslaved to it, shall leave both its father, the God of the universe, and the mother of all things, namely, the virtue and wisdom of God, and cleaves to and becomes united to the external sensations, and is dissolved into external sensation, so that the two become one flesh and one passion. And here you must observe that it is not the woman who cleaves to the man, but on the contrary, the man who cleaves to the woman; that is to say, the mind cleaves to the external sensations. For when that which is the better, namely, the mind, is united to that which is the worse, namely, the external sensation, it is then dissolved into the nature of flesh, which is worse, and into outward sensation, which is the cause of the passions.

But when that which is the inferior, namely, the outward sensation, follows the better part, that is the mind, then there will no longer be flesh, but both will become one, namely, mind. And this is a thing of such a nature that it prefers the affections to piety. There is also another being called by an opposite name, Levi; he who says to his father and mother: "He saw you not, and he did not recognize his brethren, and repudiated his children." [Deuteronomy 33:9.] This man leaves his father and mother; that is to say, his mind and the material of his body, in order to have as his inheritance the one God; "For the Lord himself is his inheritance." [Deuteronomy 10:9.] And, indeed, suffering is the inheritance of him who is fond of suffering; but the inheritance of Levi is God. Do you not see that "he bids him on the tenth day of the months bring two goats as his share, one lot for the Lord and one lot for the scape-goat." [Leviticus 16:7.] For the sufferings inflicted on the scape goat are in real truth the lot of him who is fond of suffering.

XV. "And they were both naked, both Adam and his wife, and they were not ashamed; but the serpent was the most subtle of all the beasts that were upon the earth, which the Lord God had made:" [Genesis 2:25; 3:1] -- the mind is naked, which is clothed neither with vice nor with virtue, but which is really stripped of both: just as the soul of an infant child, which has no share in either virtue or vice, is stripped of all coverings, and is completely naked: for these things are the coverings of the soul, by which it is enveloped and concealed, good being the garment of the virtuous soul, and evil the robe of the wicked soul. And the soul is made naked in these ways. Once, when it is in an unchangeable state, and is entirely free from all vices, and has discarded and laid aside the covering of all the passions. With reference to this Moses also pitches his tabernacle outside of the camp, a long way from the camp, and it was called the tabernacle of testimony. [Exodus 33:7.] And this has some such meaning as this: the soul which loves God, having put off the body and the affections which are dear to it, and having fled a long way from them, chooses a foundation and a sure ground for its abode, and a lasting settlement in the perfect doctrines of virtue; on which account testimony is borne to it by God, that it loves what is good, "for it was called the tabernacle of testimony," says Moses, and he has passed over in silence the giver of the name, in order that the soul, being excited, might consider who it is who thus beareth witness to the dispositions which love virtue. On this account the high priest "will not come into the holy of holies clad in a garment reaching to the feet; [Leviticus 16:1] but having put off the robe of opinion and vain fancy of the soul, and having left that for those who love the things which are without, and who honor opinion in preference to truth, will come forward naked, without colors or any sounds, to make an offering of the blood of the soul, and to sacrifice the whole mind to God the Savior and Benefactor; and certainly Nadab and Abihu, [Leviticus 10:1] who came near to God, and left this mortal life and received a share of immortal life, are seen to be naked, that is, free from all new and mortal opinion; for they would not have carried it in their garments and borne it about, if they had not been naked, having broken to pieces every bond of passion and of corporeal necessity, in order that their nakedness and absence of corporeality might not be adulterated by the accession of atheistical reasonings; for it may not be permitted to all men to behold the secret mysteries of God, but only to those who are able to cover them up and guard them; on which account Mishael and his partisans concealed them not in their own garments, but in those of Nadab and Abihu, who had been burnt with fire and taken upwards; for having stripped off all the garments that covered them, they brought their nakedness before God, and left their tunics about Mishael. But clothes belong to the irrational part of the animal, which overshadow the rational part.

Abraham also was naked when he heard, "Come forth out of thy land and from thy kindred;" [Genesis 13:1] and as for Isaac, he indeed was not stripped, but was at all times naked and incorporeal; for a commandment was given to him not to go down into Egypt, [Genesis 26:2] that is to say, into the body.

Jacob also was fond of the nakedness of the soul, for his smoothness is nakedness, "for Esau was a hairy man, but Jacob," says Moses, "was a smooth man," [Genesis 25:25] on which account he was also the husband of Leah.

XVI. This is the most excellent nakedness, but the other nakedness is of a contrary nature, being a change which involves a deprivation of virtue, when the soul becomes foolish and goes astray. Such was the folly of Noah when he was naked, when he drank wine. [Genesis 9:21.] But thanks be to God, that this change and this tripping naked of the mind according to the deprivation of virtue, did not extend as far as external things, but remained in the house; for Moses says, that "he was stripped naked in his house:" for even if a wise man does commit folly, he still does not run to ruin like a bad man; for the evil of the one is spread abroad, but that of the other is kept within bounds, and therefore he becomes sober again, that is to say, he repents, and as it were recovers from his disease.

But let us now more accurately examine the statement, "that the stripping of him naked took place in his house." When the soul, being changed, only conceives some evil thing and does not put it in execution, so as to accomplish it in deed, then the sin is only in the private domain and abode of the soul. But if, in addition to thinking some wickedness it proceeds also to accomplish it and carry it into execution, then the wickedness is diffused over the parts beyond his house: and on this account he curses Canaan also, because he related the change of his soul abroad, that is to say, he extended it into the parts out of doors, and gave it notoriety, adding to his evil intention an evil consummation by means of his actions: but Shem and Japhet are praised, because they did not attack his soul, but rather concealed its deterioration.

On this account also the prayers and vows of the soul are invalidated when "they are made in the house of one's father or one's husband, [Genesis 25:25] while the reasoning powers are in a state of quiescence, and do not attack the alteration which has taken place in the soul, but conceal the delinquency; for then also "the master of all things" will purify it: but he hears the prayer of the widow and of her who is divorced without revoking it; for "whatever," says he, "she has vowed against her own soul shall abide to her," and very reasonably; for if, after she has been put away, she has advanced as far as the parts out of the house, so that not only is her place changed, but that she also sins in respect of deeds that she has perfected, she remains incurable, having no communion of conversation with her husband, and being deprived also of the advocacy and consolation of her father.

The third description of stripping naked is the middle one, according to which the mind is destitute of reason, having no share in either virtue or vice; and it is with reference to this kind of nakedness which an infant also is partaker of, that the expression is used which says, "And the two were naked, both Adam and his wife;" and the meaning of it is this, neither did their intellect understand, nor did their outward senses perceive this nakedness; but the former was devoid of all power of understanding, and naked; and the latter was destitute of all perception.

XVII. And the expression, "they were not ashamed," we will examine hereafter: for there are three ideas brought forward in this passage. Shamelessness, modesty, and a state of indifference, in which one is neither shameless nor modest. Now shamelessness is the property of a worthless person, and modesty the characteristic of a virtuous one; but the state of being neither modest nor shameless, is a sign of a person who is void of comprehension, and who does not act from any settled opinion; and it is of such a one that we are now speaking: for he who has not yet acquired any comprehension of good or evil, is not able to be either shameless or modest, therefore the examples of shamelessness are all the unseemly pieces of conduct, when the mind reveals disgraceful things, while it ought rather to cover them in the shade, instead of which it boasts of and glories in them. It is said also in the case of Miriam, when she was speaking against Moses, "If her father had spit in her face, ought she not to keep herself retired for seven days?" [Numbers 12:14.]

For the external sense, being really shameless and impudent, though considered as nothing by God the father, in comparison of him who was faithful in all his house, to whom God himself united the Ethiopian woman, that is to say, unchangeable and well-satisfied opinion, dared to speak against Moses and to accuse him, for the very actions for which he deserved to be praised; for this is his greatest praise, that he received the Ethiopian woman, the unchangeable nature, tried in the fire and found honest; for as in the eye, the part which sees is black, so also the part of the soul which sees is what is meant by the Ethiopian woman. Why when, as there are many works of wickedness, does he mention one only, namely, that which is conversant about what is shameful, saying, "they were not ashamed:" but were they not doing wrong, or were they not sinning, or were they not acting indecorously? But the cause is at hand. No, by the only true God, I think nothing so shameful as to suppose that I comprehend with my intellect, or perceive by my outward sense. Is my mind the cause of my comprehending? How so? for does it even comprehend itself, and know what it is, or how it came to exist? And are the outward senses the cause of man's perceiving anything? How can it be said to be so, when it is neither understood by itself nor by the mind? Do you not see, that he who fancies that he comprehends is often found to be foolish in his acts of covetousness, in his drunkenness, in his deeds of folly? Where then is his intellectual capacity shown in these actions?

Again, is not the outward sensation often deprived of the power of exercising itself? Are there not times when seeing we do not see, and hearing we do not hear, when the mind has its attention ever so little drawn off to some other object of the intellect, and is applied to the consideration of that? As long as they are both naked, the mind naked of its power of exciting the intellect, and the outward sense of its power of sensation, they have nothing disgraceful in them; but the moment that they begin to display any comprehension, they become masked in shame and insolence: for they will often be found behaving with simplicity and folly rather than with any sound knowledge, and this not only in particular acts of covetousness, or spleen, or folly, but also in the general conduct of life: for when the outward sense has the dominion the mind is enslaved, giving its attention to no one proper object of its intellect, and when the mind is predominant, the outward sense is seen to be without employment, having no comprehension of any proper object of its own exercise.

XVIII. "Now the serpent was the most subtle of all the beasts which are upon the earth, which the Lord God made." [Genesis 3:1.] Two things having been previously created, that is, mind and outward sense, and these also having been stripped naked in the manner which has already been shown, it follows of necessity that pleasure, which brings these two together, must be the third, for the purpose of facilitating the comprehension of the objects of intellect and of outward sense: for neither could the mind, without the outward sense, be able to comprehend the nature of any animal or of any plant, or of a stone or of a piece of wood, or, in short, of any substance whatever; nor could the outward sense exercise its proper faculties without the mind. Since, therefore, it was necessary for both these things to come together for the due comprehension of these objects, what was it which brought them together except a third something which acted as a bond between them, the two first representing love and desire, and pleasure not obtaining the dominion and mastery, which pleasure Moses here speaks of symbolically, under the emblem of the serpent. God, who created all the animals on the earth, arranged this order very admirably, for he placed the mind first, that is to say, man, for the mind is the most important part in man; then outward sense, that is the woman; and then proceeding in regular order he came to the third, pleasure. But the powers of these three, and their ages, are different only in thought, for in point of time they are equal; for the soul brings forward everything at the same moment with itself: but some things it brings forward in their actuality, and others in their power of existing, even if they have not yet arrived at the end.

And pleasure has been represented under the form of the serpent, for this reason, as the motion of the serpent is full of many windings and varied, so also is the motion of pleasure. At first it folds itself round a man in five ways, for the pleasures consist both in seeing, and in hearing, and in taste, and in smell, and in touch. But the most vehement and intense are those which arise from connection with woman, through which the generation of similar beings is appointed by nature to be effected. And yet this is not the only reason why we say that pleasure is various in appearance, namely, because it folds itself around all the divisions of the irrational part of the soul, but because it also folds itself with many windings around each separate part. For instance, the pleasures derived from sight are various, there is all the pleasure which arises from the contemplation of pictures or statues; and all other works which are made by art delight the sight. So also do the different stages through which plants go while budding and flowering and bearing fruit; and likewise the diversified beauty of the different animals. In the same manner the flute gives pleasure to the sense of hearing, as does the harp, and every kind of instrument, and the harmonious voices of the irrational animals, of swallows, of nightingales; and likewise the melody of such rational beings as nature has made musical, the tuneful voice of the harp-players, and of those who represent comedy, or tragedy, or any other histrionic performance.

XIX. Why need we enlarge on the pleasures of the belly? For we may almost say that there are as many varieties of pleasure as there are of gentle flavors which are presented to the belly, and which excite the outward sense. Was it not then, with great propriety that pleasure, which is derived form many varied sources, was presented to an animal endowed with varied faculties? On this account, too, that part in us which is analogous to the people, and which acts the part of a multitude, when it seeks "the houses in Egypt," [Numbers 21:5] that is to say, in its corporeal habitation, becomes entangled in pleasures which bring on death; not that death which is a separation of soul and body, but that which is the destruction of the soul by vice. For Moses says, "And the Lord God sent among the people deadly serpents, and they bit the people, and a great multitude of the children of Israel died." [Numbers 21:6.] For in real truth there is nothing which so much bringeth death upon the soul as an immoderate indulgence in pleasures. And that which perishes is not the dominant portion in us but the subject one, that which acts the part of the multitude; and it receives death up to this point, namely, until it turns to repentance, and confesses its sin, for the Israelites, coming to Moses, say, "We have sinned in that we have spoken against the Lord and against you; pray, therefore, for us to the Lord, and let him take away the serpents from us." It is well put here, not we have sinned because we have spoken against the Lord, but because we were inclined to sin we have spoken against the Lord, for when the mind sins and departs from virtue, it blames divine things, imputing its own sins to God.

XX. How, then, can there be any remedy for this evil? When another serpent is created, the enemy of the serpent which came to Eve, namely, the word of temperance: for temperance is opposite to pleasure, which is a varied evil, being a varied virtue, and one ready to repel its enemy pleasure. Accordingly, God commands Moses to make the serpent according to temperance; and he says, "Make thyself a serpent, and set it up for a sign." Do you see that Moses makes this serpent for no one else but for himself? for God commands him, "Make it for thyself," in order that you may know that temperance is not the gift of every one, but only of that man who loves God. And we must consider why Moses makes a brazen serpent, when no command was given to him respecting the material of which it was to be formed. May it not have been for this reason? In the first place, the graces of God are immaterial, being themselves only ideas, and destitute of any distinctive quality; but the graces of mortal men are only beheld in connection with matter. In the second place, not only does Moses love the incorporeal virtues, but our own souls, not being able to put off their bodies, do likewise aim at corporeal virtue, and reason, in accordance with temperance, is likened to the strong and solid substance of brass, inasmuch as it is form and not easily cut through. And perhaps brass may also have been selected inasmuch as temperance in the man who loves God is a most honorable thing, and like gold; though it has only a secondary place in a man who has received wisdom and improved in it. "And whomsoever the one serpent bites, if he looks upon the brazen serpent shall live:" in which Moses speaks truly, for if the mind that has been bitten by pleasure, that is by the serpent which was sent to Eve, shall have strength to behold the beauty of temperance, that is to say, the serpent made by Moses in a manner affecting the soul, and to behold God himself through the medium of the serpent, it shall live. Only let it see and contemplate it intellectually.

XXI. Do you not see that wisdom when dominant, which is Sarah, says, "For whosoever shall hear it shall rejoice with me." [Genesis 21:6.] But suppose that any were able to hear that virtue has brought forth happiness, namely, Isaac, immediately he will sing a congratulatory hymn. As, therefore, it can only be one who has heard the news that can sympathize in one's joy, so also it can only be he who has clearly seen temperance and God, who is safe from death. But many souls that have been in love with perseverance and temperance, when removed to a distance from the passions, have nevertheless withstood the power of God, and have undergone a change for the worse, while their Master has made a display of himself and of the work of creation; of himself, that he is always immovable, and of the work of creation, that it vibrates as if in a scale, and inclines opposite ways at different times. For Moses speaks to the Israelites of God, "Who led ye then through that great and terrible wilderness, where there were biting serpents, and scorpions, and thirst; where there was no water? who brought forth for thee out of the hard rock a fountain of water? who fed thee with manna in the desert, which thy fathers knew not?" [Deuteronomy 8:14.]

Do you not see that not only did the soul, while longing for the passions which prevailed in Egypt, fall under the power of the serpents, but that, also, while it was in the wilderness, it was bitten by pleasure, that affection of varied and serpent-like appearance? And the work of pleasure has received a most appropriate name, for it is called a biting. Moreover, not only they who were in the desert were bitten by serpents, but also they who were scattered abroad, for I, also, often having left the men who were my kinsmen and my friends, and my country, and having gone into the desert in order that I might perceive some of those things which are worthy of being beheld, have profited nothing. But my mind, being separated from me, or being bitten by passion, has withdrawn towards the things opposite to them. And there are times when in the midst of a multitude composed of infinite numbers of men, I can bring my mind into solitude, God having scattered for me the crowd which perplexes my soul, and having taught me that it is not the difference of place that is the cause of good and evil, but rather God, who moves and drives this vehicle of the soul wherever he pleases.

Moreover, the soul falls in with a scorpion, that is to say, with dispersion in the wilderness; and the thirst, which is that of the passions, seizes on it until God sends forth upon it the stream of his own accurate wisdom, and causes the changed soul to drink of unchangeable health; for the abrupt rock is the wisdom of God, which being both sublime and the first of things he quarried out of his own powers, and of it he gives drink to the souls that love God; and they, when they have drunk, are also filled with the most universal manna; for manna is called something which is the primary genus of every thing. But the most universal of all things is God; and in the second place the word of God. But other things have an existence only in word, but in deed they are at times equivalent to that which has no existence.

XXII. See now the difference between him who turns to sin in the desert and him who sins in Egypt. For the one is bitten by serpents which cause death, that is to say by insatiable pleasures which inflict death; but the other, he who meditates in the wilderness, is only bitten by pleasure and driven astray, but is not killed. And the one, indeed, is healed by temperance, which is the brazen serpent which was made by the wise Moses; but the other is supplied by God with a most beautiful draught to drink, namely, wisdom, from the fountain which He himself has brought forth out of his own wisdom. Nor, indeed, does the pleasure which is in the form of a serpent, abstain from attacking that most sincere lover of God, Moses, for we read as follows; "If, therefore, they will not obey me, nor listen to my voice -- for they will say, God has not been seen by you -- what shall I say to them? And the Lord said unto Moses, What is that which is in thy hand? And he said, A rod. And God said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent, and Moses fled from it. And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch forth thy hand, and take hold of it by the tail. And having stretched forth his hand, he took hold of it by the tail, and it became a rod in his hand. And the Lord said unto him, That they may believe thee." [Exodus 4:3.]

How can any one believe God? If he has learnt that all other things are changed, but that he alone is unchangeable. Therefore, God asks of the wise Moses what there is in the practical life of his soul; for the hand is the symbol of action. And he answers, Instruction, which he calls a rod. On which account Jacob the supplanter of the passions, says, "For in my staff did I pass over this Jordan." [Genesis 32:10.] But Jordan being interpreted means descent. And of the lower, and earthly, and perishable nature, vice and passion are component parts; and the mind of the ascetic passes over them in the course of its education. For it is too low a notion to explain his saying literally; as if it meant that he crossed the river, holding his staff in his hand.

XXIII. Well, therefore, does the Godloving Moses answer. For truly the actions of the virtuous man are supported by education as by a rod, tranquillizing the disturbances and agitations of the mind. This rod, when cast away, becomes a serpent. Very appropriately. For if the soul casts away instruction, it becomes fond of pleasure instead of being fond of virtue. On which account Moses fled from it, for the man who is fond of virtue does flee from passion and from pleasure. But God did not praise his flight. For it is fitting, indeed, for your mind, before you are made perfect, to meditate flight and escape from the passions; but Moses, that perfect man, ought rather to persevere in his war against them, and to resist them, and to strive against them, otherwise they, relying on their freedom from danger and on their power, will ascend up to the citadel of the soul, and take it by storm, and will plunder it entirely, like a tyrant. On which account God commanded Moses "to take hold of it by the tail," that is to say, let not the hostile and untameable spirit of pleasure terrify you, but with all your power take hold of it, and seize it firmly, and master it. For it will again become a rod instead of a serpent, that is to say, instead of pleasure it will become instruction in your hand; but it will be in your hand, that is in the action of a wise man, which, indeed, is true.

But it is impossible to take hold of and to master pleasure, unless the hand be first stretched out, that is to say, unless the soul confesses that all actions and all progress is derived from God; and attributes nothing to himself. Accordingly he, when he saw this serpent, decided to flee from it? But he prepared another principle, that of temperance, which is the brazen serpent: that whosoever was bitten by pleasure, when he looked on temperance, might live a real life.

XXIV. Such a serpent Jacob boasts that Dan is, and he speaks thus: "Dan will judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel:" [Genesis 49:16] and again, "Let Dan be a serpent in the path, sitting upon the road, biting the heel of the horse, and the rider shall fall backwards, waiting the salvation of the Lord." [Genesis 49:17.] The fifth son of Leah is Issachar, the legitimate son of Jacob; but if the two sons of Zilpah are counted he is the seventh; but the fifth son of Jacob is Dan, the son of Billah, the handmaid of Rachel; and the cause of this we will investigate in the proper place, but concerning Dan we must examine further now. The soul produces two kinds, the one divine and the other perishable; that which is the better kind it has already conceived, and ends in it; for when the soul was able to confess to God and to yield everything to him, it was not after that capable of receiving any more valuable possession; on this account she ceased to bring forth, after she had borne Judah, the emblem of the disposition of confessing -- and now she begins to form the mortal race -- now the mortal race subsists by imbibing; for, like a foundation, the sense of taste is the cause of the duration of animals; but the name Billah, being interpreted, means imbibing. From her was born Dan, which name being interpreted means judgment, for this kind distinguishes between and separates immortal from mortal things, therefore he prays that he may become a workman of temperance. But he will not pray for Judah, for Judah already has the capacity of praying to and pleasing God: "Therefore let Dan," says he, "be a serpent in the path." -- One path is the soul.

For as in the roads one may behold a great variety of living beings, inanimate and animate, irrational and rational, good and bad, slaves and free, young and old, male and female, strangers and natural citizens, sick and healthy, mutilated and perfect; so also in the soul there are motions inanimate, and imperfect, and diseased, and slavish, and female, and innumerable others of the class of evils; and on the other hand, there are motions which are living, and perfect, and masculine, and free, and healthy, and ripe, and virtuous, and genuine, and really legitimate. Let then the principle of temperance be a serpent in the soul, which makes its advance through all the circumstances of life, and let it sit in the path. But what is the meaning of this expression?-- The field of virtue is not trodden down; for they are few who walk along it, but that of vice is trodden and worn? And he recommends him here to occupy and to fill, with ambush and stratagem, the well-trodden path of passion and vice, in which the thoughts which are deserters from virtue pass their life.

XXV. "Biting the heel of the horse," -- Very consistently the disposition which shakes the stability of the created and perishable being is called the supplanter, and the passions are compared to a horse; for passion has four legs as a horse has, and is an impetuous beast, and full of insolence, and by nature a most restive animal. But the reasoning of temperance is wont to bite, and to wound, and to destroy passion. Therefore passion having been tripped up, and having fallen, "the horseman will fall backwards." We must comprehend that the horseman who has mounted upon the passions is the mind, who falls from the passions when they are reasoned upon closely, and so are supplanted; and it is well figured, that the soul does not fall forward, for it must not go before the passions, but rather advance behind them, and behave with moderation.

And there is sound learning in what he says here. If the mind, though desirous to act unjustly, comes too late and falls backward, it will not act unjustly; but if, when it is moved onwards to some irrational passion it does not run forward but remains behind, it will then receive freedom from the dominion of the passions, which is a most excellent thing. On which account Moses, approving of this backward fall from off the vices, adds further, "waiting for the salvation of the Lord," for, in good truth, he who falls from the passions is saved by God, and remains safe after their operation. May my soul meet with such a fall as this, and may it never afterwards remount upon that horselike and restive passion, in order that it may await the salvation of God, and attain to happiness! On this account also it was that Moses praised God in his hymn, because "the horse and his rider has he thrown into the sea," [Exodus 15:1] meaning that he has thrown the four passions, and the miserable mind which is mounted on them, down into ruin as to its affairs, and into the bottomless pit, and this is almost the burden of the whole hymn, to which every other part of it is referred, and indeed that is the truth; for if once a freedom from the passions occupies the soul, it will become perfectly happy.

XXVI. And we must also inquire, what is the reason why Jacob says, that "the rider will fall backward," [Genesis 49:17] and Moses says, that "the horse and his rider have been thrown into the sea." We must say, therefore, that that which is thrown into the sea is the Egyptian disposition, which indeed flies and escapes under the water, that is to say, under the advance of the passions. But the rider who falls backwards is not one of the persons who loves to yield to the passions; and the proof is, that Moses calls the one the horseman (hippeus), and the other the rider (anabates). Now it is the business of the horseman to subdue the horse, and when he resists the rein to make him tractable; but it is the part of the rider to be conveyed wherever the animal carries him, and in the sea it is the office of the pilot to guide the ship, and to keep it straight, and to preserve it in the right course; but it is the part of the sailor to endure all that happens to the ship.

And in reference to this the horseman who subdues the passions is not drowned in the sea, but dismounting from them awaits the salvation of the master. Accordingly, the word of God in Leviticus recommends men "to feed on those creeping things which go on four feet, and which have legs above their feet, so that they are able to leap with them;" [Leviticus 11:22] among which are the locust, and the attacus, and the acris, [these are different kinds of locusts] and in the fourth place the serpent-fighter; and very properly; for if pleasure, like a serpent, is an unprofitable and pernicious thing, then the nature which contends against pleasure must be a most profitable and saving thing, and this is temperance.

Fight thou then, O my mind, against every passion, and especially against pleasure, for "the serpent is the most subtle of all the beasts that are upon the earth, which the Lord God has made." And of all the passions the most mischievous is pleasure. Why so? Because all things are the slaves of pleasure; and because the life of the wicked is governed by pleasure as by a master. Accordingly, the things which are the efficient causes of pleasure are found to be full of all wickedness: gold and silver, and glory and honors, and powers and the objects of the outward senses, and the mechanical arts, and all other things which cause pleasure, being very various, and all injurious to the soul; and there are no sins without extreme wickedness; therefore do thou array against it the wisdom which contends with serpents; and struggle in this most glorious struggle, and labor to win the crown in the contest against pleasure, which subdues every one else; winning a noble and glorious crown, such as no assembly of men can confer.


Third Book

I. "And the Lord God said, It is not good for man to be alone: let us make him a help meet for him." Why, O prophet, is it not good for man to be alone? Because, says he, it is good, that he who is alone should be alone. But God is alone, and by himself, being one; and there is nothing like unto God. So that, since it is good that he who only has a real existence should be alone (for that which is about itself alone is good), it cannot be good for man to be alone. But the fact of God being alone one may receive in this sense; that neither before the creation was there anything with God, nor, since the world has been created, is anything placed in the same rank with him; for he is in need of absolutely nothing whatever.

But the better way of understanding this passage is the following: God is alone: a single being: not a combination: a single nature: but each of us, and every other animal in the world, are compound beings: for instance, I myself am made up of many things, of soul and body. Again, the soul is made up of a rational part and an irrational part: also of the body, there is one part hot, another cold; one heavy, another light; one dry, another moist. But God is not a compound being, nor one which is made up of many parts, but one which has no mixture with anything else; for whatever could be combined with God must be either superior to him, or inferior to him, or equal to him. But there is nothing equal to God, and nothing superior to him, and nothing is combined with him which is worse than himself; for if it were, he himself would be deteriorated; and if he were to suffer deterioration, he would also become perishable, which it is impious even to imagine. Therefore God exists according to oneness and unity; or we should rather say, that oneness exists according to the one God, for all number is more recent than the world, as is also time. But God is older than the world, and is its Creator.

II. But it is not good for any man to be alone. For there are two kinds of men, the one made according to the image of God, the other fashioned out of the earth; for it longs for its own likeness. For the image of God is the antitype of all other things, and every imitation aims at this of which it is the imitation, and is placed in the same class with it. And it is not good for either the man, who was made according to the image of God, to be alone: nor is it any more desirable for the factitious man to be alone, and indeed it is impossible. For the external senses, and the passions, and the vices, and innumerable other things, are combined with and adapted to the mind of this man. But the second kind of man has a helpmeet for him, who, in the first place, is created; "For I will make him," says God, "a help-meet for him." And, in the second place, is younger than the object to be helped; for, first of all, God created the mind, and subsequently he prepares to make its helper. But all this is spoken allegorically, in accordance with the principles of natural philosophy; for external sensation and the passions of the soul are all younger than the soul, and how they help it we shall see hereafter, but at present we will consider the fact of their being helpers younger than the object helped.

III. As, according to the most skillful physicians and natural philosophers, the heart appears to be formed before the rest of the body, after the manner of the foundation of a house or the keel of a ship, and then the rest of the body is built upon it; on which account, even after death, the physicians say, that the heart still quivers, as having been created before the rest of the body, and being destroyed after it; so also does the dominant portion of the soul appear to be older than the whole of the soul, and the irrational part to be younger; the formation of which Moses has not yet mentioned, but he is about to give a sketch of it, how the irrational part of the soul is the external sensation, and the passions which spring from it, especially if the judgments are our own. And this assistant of God is younger, and created, being thus described with perfect propriety.

But now let us see how that part, which was postponed before, acts as an assistant: how does our mind comprehend that such and such a thing is black or white, unless it employs sight as its assistant? and how does it know that the voice of the man who is singing to his harp is sweet, or, on the contrary, out of tune, if it has not the assistance of the faculty of hearing to guide it? And how can it tell that exhalations are fragrant or foul-smelling, unless it makes use of the sense of smell as its ally? How again does it judge of the different flavors, except through the instrumentality of its assistant, taste? How can it distinguish between what is rough and what is smooth, except by touch? There is also another class of assistants, as I have already said, namely, the passions: for pleasure also is an assistant, co-operating towards the durability of our race, and in like manner concupiscence, and pain, and fear, biting the soul, lead it to treat nothing with indifference. Anger, again, is a defensive weapon, which has been of great service to many people, and so too have the other passions in the same manner. On which account Moses has said, with great felicity, "that he was an assistant to himself:" for he is in reality an assistant to the mind, as if he were its brother and near kinsman: for the external sensations and the passions are parts of one soul, and are its offspring.

IV. Now of assistants there are two kinds, the one consisting in the passions and the other in the sensations. [...] But the prior kind is that of generation, for Moses says, "And God proceeded and made all the beasts of the field out of the earth, and all the birds of heaven; and he brought them to Adam to see what he would call them, and whatever Adam called any living soul that became its name." You see here who are our assistants, the beasts of the soul, the passions. For after God had said, "I will make him a helpmeet for him," Moses adds subsequently, "He made the beasts," as if the beasts also were assistants to us. But these are not, properly speaking, assistants, but are called so only in a catachrestic manner, by a kind of abuse of language, for they are found in reality to be enemies to man. As also in the case of cities, the allies turn out at times to be traitors and deserters; and in the case of friendship, flatterers are found to be enemies instead of companions; and Moses here speaks of the heaven and the field synonymously, describing the mind in this allegorical manner; for the mind, like the field, has innumerable periods of rising and budding forth; and, like the heaven, has brilliant, and divine, and happy characteristics of nature.

But the passions he compares to beasts and birds, because they injure the mind, being untamed and wild, and because, after the manner of birds, they descend upon the intellect; for their onset is swift and difficult to withstand; and the word "besides," as attached to "he made," is not superfluous. Why so? because he has previously said, that the beasts were formed before the creation of man, and he shows it in the following words, which are an account of what was done on the sixth day.

"And God said, Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind, four-footed animals, and creeping things, and wild beasts." Why, then, is it that he makes other animals now, not being content with those already existing? now this must be stated according to the principles of moral philosophy. The species of evil are abundant in created man, so that the most evil things are continually produced in him; and this other thing must be affirmed on principles of natural philosophy. First of all, in the six days he created the different kinds of passions, and the ideas, but now, in addition to them, he is creating the species. On which account Moses says, "And besides he made..." and that what had been previously created were genera is plain from what he says, "Let the earth bring forth living souls," not according to species but according to genus. And this is found to be the course taken by God in all cases; for before making the species he completes the genera, as he did in the case of man: for having first modelled the generic man, in whom they say that the male and female sexes are contained, he afterwards created the specific man Adam.

V. This therefore he denominated the species of assistants, but the other part of the creation, the description, that is, of the formation of the external sensations, was postponed till he began to form the woman; and having put off this he then gives an account of the distribution of names; and this is an explanation, partly figurative and partly literal, which is worthy of our admiration. It is literal, inasmuch as the Lawgiver has attributed the imposition of names to the firstborn man; for those also among the Greeks, who study philosophy, say that they were wise men who first gave names to things: but Moses speaks more correctly in the first place, because he attributes this giving of names, not to some of those men who lived in early times, but to the first man who was created upon the earth; so that, just as he himself was created to be the beginning of creation to all other animals, he might also be considered the beginning of conversation and language: for if there were no such things as names there could be no such thing as language: and, secondly, because, if many different persons gave names, they must have been different and devoid of all connection, since different persons would have given different names: but if only one person did so, the name given by one was sure to be adapted to the thing: and the same name was likely to be a token to every one of the existing things signified by it.

VI. But the moral meaning of this passage is as follows: -- We often use the expression ti instead of dia ti; (why?) as when we say, why (ti) have you washed yourself? why (ti) are you walking? why (ti) are you conversing? for in all these cases ti is used instead of dia ti; when therefore Moses says, "to see what he would call them," you must understand him as if he had said dia ti (why), instead of ti (what): and the mind will invite and embrace each of these meanings. Is it then only for the sake of what is necessary that the mortal race is of necessity implicated in passions and vices? or is it also on account of that which is immoderate and superfluous? And again, is it because of the requirements of the earth-born man, or because the mind judges them to be most excellent and admirable things; as for instance, is it necessary for every created thing to enjoy pleasure? But the bad man flies to pleasure as to a perfect good, but the good man seeks it only as a necessary; for without pleasure nothing whatever is done among the human race.

Again, the bad man considers the acquisition of riches as the most perfect good possible; but the good man looks upon riches only as a necessary and useful thing. Very naturally, therefore, God desires to see and to learn how the mind denominates and appreciates each of these things, whether it looks upon them as good, or as things indifferent, or as evil in themselves, but nevertheless in some respects necessary. On which account, thinking that everything which he invited towards himself, and embraced as a living soul, was of equal value and importance with the soul, this became the name, not only of the thing which was thus invited, but also of him who invited it: as for instance, if the man embraced pleasure, he was called a man devoted to pleasure; if he embraced appetite, he was called a man of appetite; if he invited intemperance, he himself also acquired the name of intemperate; if he admitted cowardice, he was called cowardly; and so on in the case of the other passions. For as he who has any distinctive qualities according to the virtues, is called from that virtue with which he is especially endowed, prudent, or temperate, or just, or courageous, as the case may be; so too in respect of the vices, a man is called unjust, or foolish, or unmanly, when he has invited and embraced these habits of mind and conduct.

VII. "And God cast a deep trance upon Adam, and sent him to sleep; and he took one of his ribs," and so on. The literal statement conveyed in these words is a fabulous one; for how can any one believe that a woman was made of a rib of a man, or, in short, that any human being was made out of another? And what hindered God, as he had made man out of the earth, from making woman in the same manner? For the Creator was the same, and the material was almost interminable, from which every distinctive quality whatever was made. And why, when there were so many parts of a man, did not God make the woman out of some other part rather than out of one of his ribs? Again, of which rib did he make her? And this question would hold even if we were to say, that he had only spoken of two ribs; but in truth he has not specified their number. Was it then the right rib, or the left rib? Again, if he filled up the place of the other with flesh, was not the one which he left also made of flesh? and indeed our ribs are like sisters, and akin in all their parts, and they consist of flesh. What then are we to say? ordinary custom calls the ribs the strength of a man; for we say that a man has ribs, which is equivalent to saying that he has vigor; and we say that a wrestler is a man with strong ribs, when we mean to express that he is strong: and we say that a harp-player has ribs, instead of saying that he has energy and power in his singing.

Now that this has been premised we must also say, that the mind, while naked and free from the entanglement of the body (for our present discussion is about the mind, while it is as yet entangled in nothing) has many powers, namely, the possessive power, the progenitive power, the power of the soul, the power of reason, the power of comprehension, and part of others innumerable both in their genus and species. Now the possessive power is common to it with other inanimate things, with stocks and stones, and it is shared by the things in us, which are like stones, namely, by our bones. And natural power extends also over plants: and there are parts in us which have some resemblance to plants, namely, our nails and our hair: and nature is a habit already put in motion, but the soul is a habit which has taken to itself, in addition, imagination and impetuosity; and this power also is possessed by man in common with the irrational animals; and our mind has something analogous to the soul of an irrational animal.

Again, the power of comprehension is a peculiar property of the mind; and the reasoning power is perhaps common to the more divine natures, but is especially the property of the mortal nature of man: and this is a twofold power, one kind being that in accordance with which we are rational creatures, partaking of mind; and the other kind being that faculty by which we converse.

There is also another power in the soul akin to these, the power of sensation, of which we are now speaking; for Moses is describing nothing else on this occasion except the formation of the external sense, according to energy and according to reason.

VIII. For immediately after the creation of the mind it was necessary that the external sense should be created, as an assistant and ally of the mind; therefore God having entirely perfected the first, proceeded to make the second, both in rank and power, being a certain created form, an external sense according to energy, created for the perfection and completion of the whole soul, and for the proper comprehension of such subject matter as might be brought before it. How then was this second thing created? As Moses himself says in a subsequent passage, when the mind was gone to sleep: for, in real fact, the external sense then comes forward when the mind is asleep. And again, when the mind is awake the outward sense is extinguished; and the proof of this is, that when we desire to form an accurate conception of anything, we retreat to a desert place, we shut our eyes, we stop up our ears, we discard the exercise of our senses; and so, when the mind rises up again and awakens, the outward sense is put an end to.

Let us now consider another point, namely, how the mind goes to sleep: for when the outward sense is awakened and has become excited, when the sight beholds any works of painting or of sculpture beautifully wrought, is not the mind then without anything on which to exercise its functions, contemplating nothing which is a proper subject for the intellect? What more? When the faculty of hearing is attending to some melodious combination of sound, can the mind turn itself to the contemplation of its proper objects? by no means. And it is much more destitute of occupation, when taste rises up and eagerly devotes itself to the pleasures of the belly; on which account Moses, being alarmed lest some day or other the mind might not merely go to sleep, but might become absolutely dead, says in another place, "And it shall be to you a peg in your girdle; and it shall be, that when you sit down you shall dig in it, and, heaping up earth, shall cover your shame." [Deuteronomy 23:13.] Speaking symbolically, and giving the name of peg to reason which digs up secret affairs; and he bids him to bear it upon the affection with which he ought to be girded, and not to allow it to slacken and become loosened; and this must be done when the mind, departing from the intense consideration of objects perceptible by the intellect, is brought down to the passions, and sits down, yielding to, and being guided by, the necessities of the body: and this is the case when the mind, being absorbed in luxurious associations, forgets itself, being subdued by the things which conduct it to pleasure, and so we become enslaved, and yield ourselves up to unconcealed impurity.

But if reason be able to purify the passion, then neither when we drink do we become intoxicated, nor when we eat do we become indolent through satiety, but we feast soberly without indulging in folly. Therefore, the awakening of the outward senses is the sleep of the mind; and the awakening of the mind is the discharge of the outward senses from all occupation. Just as when the sun arises the brightness of all the rest of the stars becomes invisible; but when the sun sets, they are seen. And so, like the sun, the mind, when it is awakened, overshadows the outward senses, but when it goes to sleep it permits them to shine.

IX. After this preface we must now proceed to explain the words: "The Lord God," says Moses, "cast a deep trance upon Adam, and sent him to sleep." He speaks here with great correctness, for a trance and perversion of the mind is its sleep. And the mind is rendered beside itself when it ceases to be occupied about the things perceptible only by the intellect which present themselves to it. And when it is not energizing with respect to them it is asleep. And the expression, "it is in a trance," is very well employed, as it means that it is perverted and changed, not by itself, but by God, who presents to it, and brings before it, and sends upon it the change which occurs to it. For the case is this: -- if it were in my own power to be changed, then whenever I chose I should exercise this power, and whenever I did not choose I should continue as I am, without any change. But now change attacks me from an opposite direction, and very often when I am desirous to turn my intellect to some fitting subject, I am swallowed up by an influx contrary to what is fitting: and on the other hand, when I conceive an idea respecting something unseemly, I discard it by means of pleasant notions while God by his own grace pours into my soul a sweet stream instead of the salt flood. It is necessary therefore, that every created thing should at times be changed. For this is a property of every created thing, just as it is an attribute of God to be unchangeable. But of these beings who have been changed, some remain in their altered state till their final and complete destruction, though others are only exposed to the ordinary vicissitudes of human nature; and they are immediately preserved.

On which account Moses says that "God will not suffer the destroyer to enter into your houses to smite them." [Exodus 12:23.] For he does permit the destroyer (and change is the destruction of the soul) to enter into the soul, in order to exhibit the peculiar characteristic of the created being. But God will not permit the offspring of the seeing Israel to be changed in such a manner as to be stricken down by the change; but he will compel it to emerge and rise up again like one who rises up from the deep, and so he will cause it to be saved.

X. "He took one of his ribs." He took one of the many powers of the mind, namely, that power which dwells in the outward senses. And when he uses the expression, "He took," we are not to understand it as if he had said, "He took away," but rather as equivalent to "He counted, He examined;" as he says in another place, "Take the chief of the spoils of the captivity." [Numbers 31:26.] What, then, is it which he wishes to show? Sensation is spoken of in a twofold manner; -- the one kind being according to habit, which exists even when we are asleep, and the other being according to energy. Now, in the former kind, the one according to habit, there is no use: for we do not comprehend any one of the objects presented to our view by its means. But there is use in the second, in that which exists according to energy; for it is by means of this that we arrive at a comprehension of the objects perceptible by the outward senses.

Accordingly, God, having created the former kind of sensation, that existing according to habit, when he was creating the mind (for he was furnishing that with many faculties in a state of rest), desires now to complete the other kind which exists according to energy. And this one according to energy is perfected when the one which exists according to habit is put in motion, and extended as far as the flesh and the organs of sense. For as nature is perfected when the seed is put in motion, so, also, energy is perfected when the habit is put in motion.

XI. "And he filled the space with flesh instead of it." That is to say, he filled up that external sense which exists according to habit, leading it on to energy and extending it as far as the flesh and the whole outward and visible surface of the body. In reference to which Moses adds that "he built it up into a woman:" showing by this expression that woman is the most natural and felicitously given name for the external sense. For as the man is seen in action, and the woman in being the subject of action, so also is the mind seen in action, and the external sense, like the woman, is discerned by suffering or being the subject of action. And it is easy to learn this from the way in which it is affected in practice. Thus the sight is affected by these objects of sight which put it in motion, such as white and black, and the other colors. Again, hearing is affected by sounds, and taste is disposed in such or such a way by flavors; the sense of smell by scents; and that of touch by hardness or softness. And, on the other hand all the outward senses are in a state of tranquillity until each is approached from without by that which is to put it in motion.

XII. "And he brought her to Adam. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh." God leads the external sense, existing according to energy, to the mind; knowing that its motion and apprehension must turn back to the mind. But the mind, perceiving the power which it previously had (and which, while it was existing according to habit was in a state of tranquillity), now have to become a complete operation and energy, and to be in a state of motion, marvels at it, and utters an exclamation, saying that it is not unconnected with it, but very closely akin to it. For Adam says, "This now is bone of my bone;" that is to say, This is power of my power; for bone is here to be understood as a symbol of strength and power. And it is, he adds, suffering of my sufferings; that is, it is flesh of my flesh. For every thing which the external sense suffers, it endures not without the support of the mind; for the mind is its fountain, and the foundation on which it is supported.

It is also worth while to consider why Adam added the word "now," for he says, "This now is bone of my bone." The explanation is, external sensation exists now, having its existence solely with reference to the present moment. For the mind touches three separate points of time; for it perceives present circumstances, and it remembers past events, and it anticipates the future. But the external sensations have neither any anticipation of future events, nor are they subject to any feeling resembling expectation or hope, nor have they any recollection of past circumstances; but are by nature capable only of being affected by that which moves them at the moment, and is actually present. As, for example, the eye is made white by a white appearance presented to it at the moment, but it is not affected in any manner by that which is not present to it. But the mind is agitated also by that which is not actually present, but which may be past; in which case it is affected by its recollection of it; or it may be future, in which case it is, indeed, the influence of hope and expectation.

XIII. "And she shall be called woman." This is equivalent to saying, On this account the outward sensation shall be called woman, because it is derived from man who sets it in motion. He says "she;" why, then, is the expression "she" used? Why, because there is also another kind of outward sensation, not derived from the mind, but having been created, at the same moment with it. For there are, as I have said before, two different kinds of outward sensation; the one kind existing according to habit, and the other according to energy. Now, the kind existing according to habit is not derived from the man, that is to say from the mind, but is created at the same time with him. For the mind, as I have already shown, when it was created was created with many faculties and habits; namely, with the faculty and habit of reasoning, and of existing, and of promoting what is like itself, as also with that of receiving impressions from the outward senses. But the outward sensation, which exists according to energy, is derived from the mind. For it is extended from the outward sensation which exists in it according to habit, so as to become the same outward sense according to energy. So that this second kind of outward sense is derived from the mind, and exists according to motion. And he is but a foolish person who thinks that any thing is in true reality made out of the mind, or out of itself. Do you not see that even in the case of Rachel (that is to say of outward sensation) sitting upon the images, while she thought that her motions came from the mind, he who saw her reproved her. For she says, "Give me my children, and if you give them not to me I shall die." [Genesis 30:1.] And he replied: "Because, O mistaken woman, the mind is not the cause of any thing, but he which existed before the mind; namely God." On which account he adds: "Am I equal to God who has deprived you of the fruit of your womb?" But that it is God who creates men, he will testify in the case of Leah, when he says, "But the Lord, when he saw that Leah was hated, opened her womb. But Rachel was barren." [Genesis 29:31.] But it is the especial property of man to open the womb.

Now naturally virtue is hated by men. On which account God has honored it, and gives the honor of bearing the first child to her who is hated. And in another passage he says: "But if a man has two wives, one of them being loved and one of them being hated, and if they bear him children, and if the first-born son be the child of her who is hated; he will not be able to give the honors of the birthright to the child of the wife whom he loves, overlooking the firstborn son the child of her who is hated." [Deuteronomy 21:15.] For the productions of virtue which is hated, are the first and the most perfect, but those of pleasure, which is loved, are the last.

XIV. "On this account a man will leave his father and his mother and will cleave to his wife; and they two shall become one flesh." On account of the external sensation, the mind, when it has become enslaved to it, shall leave both its father, the God of the universe, and the mother of all things, namely, the virtue and wisdom of God, and cleaves to and becomes united to the external sensations, and is dissolved into external sensation, so that the two become one flesh and one passion. And here you must observe that it is not the woman who cleaves to the man, but on the contrary, the man who cleaves to the woman; that is to say, the mind cleaves to the external sensations. For when that which is the better, namely, the mind, is united to that which is the worse, namely, the external sensation, it is then dissolved into the nature of flesh, which is worse, and into outward sensation, which is the cause of the passions.

But when that which is the inferior, namely, the outward sensation, follows the better part, that is the mind, then there will no longer be flesh, but both will become one, namely, mind. And this is a thing of such a nature that it prefers the affections to piety. There is also another being called by an opposite name, Levi; he who says to his father and mother: "He saw you not, and he did not recognize his brethren, and repudiated his children." [Deuteronomy 33:9.] This man leaves his father and mother; that is to say, his mind and the material of his body, in order to have as his inheritance the one God; "For the Lord himself is his inheritance." [Deuteronomy 10:9.] And, indeed, suffering is the inheritance of him who is fond of suffering; but the inheritance of Levi is God. Do you not see that "he bids him on the tenth day of the months bring two goats as his share, one lot for the Lord and one lot for the scape-goat." [Leviticus 16:7.] For the sufferings inflicted on the scape goat are in real truth the lot of him who is fond of suffering.

XV. "And they were both naked, both Adam and his wife, and they were not ashamed; but the serpent was the most subtle of all the beasts that were upon the earth, which the Lord God had made:" [Genesis 2:25; 3:1] -- the mind is naked, which is clothed neither with vice nor with virtue, but which is really stripped of both: just as the soul of an infant child, which has no share in either virtue or vice, is stripped of all coverings, and is completely naked: for these things are the coverings of the soul, by which it is enveloped and concealed, good being the garment of the virtuous soul, and evil the robe of the wicked soul. And the soul is made naked in these ways. Once, when it is in an unchangeable state, and is entirely free from all vices, and has discarded and laid aside the covering of all the passions. With reference to this Moses also pitches his tabernacle outside of the camp, a long way from the camp, and it was called the tabernacle of testimony. [Exodus 33:7.] And this has some such meaning as this: the soul which loves God, having put off the body and the affections which are dear to it, and having fled a long way from them, chooses a foundation and a sure ground for its abode, and a lasting settlement in the perfect doctrines of virtue; on which account testimony is borne to it by God, that it loves what is good, "for it was called the tabernacle of testimony," says Moses, and he has passed over in silence the giver of the name, in order that the soul, being excited, might consider who it is who thus beareth witness to the dispositions which love virtue. On this account the high priest "will not come into the holy of holies clad in a garment reaching to the feet; [Leviticus 16:1] but having put off the robe of opinion and vain fancy of the soul, and having left that for those who love the things which are without, and who honor opinion in preference to truth, will come forward naked, without colors or any sounds, to make an offering of the blood of the soul, and to sacrifice the whole mind to God the Savior and Benefactor; and certainly Nadab and Abihu, [Leviticus 10:1] who came near to God, and left this mortal life and received a share of immortal life, are seen to be naked, that is, free from all new and mortal opinion; for they would not have carried it in their garments and borne it about, if they had not been naked, having broken to pieces every bond of passion and of corporeal necessity, in order that their nakedness and absence of corporeality might not be adulterated by the accession of atheistical reasonings; for it may not be permitted to all men to behold the secret mysteries of God, but only to those who are able to cover them up and guard them; on which account Mishael and his partisans concealed them not in their own garments, but in those of Nadab and Abihu, who had been burnt with fire and taken upwards; for having stripped off all the garments that covered them, they brought their nakedness before God, and left their tunics about Mishael. But clothes belong to the irrational part of the animal, which overshadow the rational part.

Abraham also was naked when he heard, "Come forth out of thy land and from thy kindred;" [Genesis 13:1] and as for Isaac, he indeed was not stripped, but was at all times naked and incorporeal; for a commandment was given to him not to go down into Egypt, [Genesis 26:2] that is to say, into the body.

Jacob also was fond of the nakedness of the soul, for his smoothness is nakedness, "for Esau was a hairy man, but Jacob," says Moses, "was a smooth man," [Genesis 25:25] on which account he was also the husband of Leah.

XVI. This is the most excellent nakedness, but the other nakedness is of a contrary nature, being a change which involves a deprivation of virtue, when the soul becomes foolish and goes astray. Such was the folly of Noah when he was naked, when he drank wine. [Genesis 9:21.] But thanks be to God, that this change and this tripping naked of the mind according to the deprivation of virtue, did not extend as far as external things, but remained in the house; for Moses says, that "he was stripped naked in his house:" for even if a wise man does commit folly, he still does not run to ruin like a bad man; for the evil of the one is spread abroad, but that of the other is kept within bounds, and therefore he becomes sober again, that is to say, he repents, and as it were recovers from his disease.

But let us now more accurately examine the statement, "that the stripping of him naked took place in his house." When the soul, being changed, only conceives some evil thing and does not put it in execution, so as to accomplish it in deed, then the sin is only in the private domain and abode of the soul. But if, in addition to thinking some wickedness it proceeds also to accomplish it and carry it into execution, then the wickedness is diffused over the parts beyond his house: and on this account he curses Canaan also, because he related the change of his soul abroad, that is to say, he extended it into the parts out of doors, and gave it notoriety, adding to his evil intention an evil consummation by means of his actions: but Shem and Japhet are praised, because they did not attack his soul, but rather concealed its deterioration.

On this account also the prayers and vows of the soul are invalidated when "they are made in the house of one's father or one's husband, [Genesis 25:25] while the reasoning powers are in a state of quiescence, and do not attack the alteration which has taken place in the soul, but conceal the delinquency; for then also "the master of all things" will purify it: but he hears the prayer of the widow and of her who is divorced without revoking it; for "whatever," says he, "she has vowed against her own soul shall abide to her," and very reasonably; for if, after she has been put away, she has advanced as far as the parts out of the house, so that not only is her place changed, but that she also sins in respect of deeds that she has perfected, she remains incurable, having no communion of conversation with her husband, and being deprived also of the advocacy and consolation of her father.

The third description of stripping naked is the middle one, according to which the mind is destitute of reason, having no share in either virtue or vice; and it is with reference to this kind of nakedness which an infant also is partaker of, that the expression is used which says, "And the two were naked, both Adam and his wife;" and the meaning of it is this, neither did their intellect understand, nor did their outward senses perceive this nakedness; but the former was devoid of all power of understanding, and naked; and the latter was destitute of all perception.

XVII. And the expression, "they were not ashamed," we will examine hereafter: for there are three ideas brought forward in this passage. Shamelessness, modesty, and a state of indifference, in which one is neither shameless nor modest. Now shamelessness is the property of a worthless person, and modesty the characteristic of a virtuous one; but the state of being neither modest nor shameless, is a sign of a person who is void of comprehension, and who does not act from any settled opinion; and it is of such a one that we are now speaking: for he who has not yet acquired any comprehension of good or evil, is not able to be either shameless or modest, therefore the examples of shamelessness are all the unseemly pieces of conduct, when the mind reveals disgraceful things, while it ought rather to cover them in the shade, instead of which it boasts of and glories in them. It is said also in the case of Miriam, when she was speaking against Moses, "If her father had spit in her face, ought she not to keep herself retired for seven days?" [Numbers 12:14.]

For the external sense, being really shameless and impudent, though considered as nothing by God the father, in comparison of him who was faithful in all his house, to whom God himself united the Ethiopian woman, that is to say, unchangeable and well-satisfied opinion, dared to speak against Moses and to accuse him, for the very actions for which he deserved to be praised; for this is his greatest praise, that he received the Ethiopian woman, the unchangeable nature, tried in the fire and found honest; for as in the eye, the part which sees is black, so also the part of the soul which sees is what is meant by the Ethiopian woman. Why when, as there are many works of wickedness, does he mention one only, namely, that which is conversant about what is shameful, saying, "they were not ashamed:" but were they not doing wrong, or were they not sinning, or were they not acting indecorously? But the cause is at hand. No, by the only true God, I think nothing so shameful as to suppose that I comprehend with my intellect, or perceive by my outward sense. Is my mind the cause of my comprehending? How so? for does it even comprehend itself, and know what it is, or how it came to exist? And are the outward senses the cause of man's perceiving anything? How can it be said to be so, when it is neither understood by itself nor by the mind? Do you not see, that he who fancies that he comprehends is often found to be foolish in his acts of covetousness, in his drunkenness, in his deeds of folly? Where then is his intellectual capacity shown in these actions?

Again, is not the outward sensation often deprived of the power of exercising itself? Are there not times when seeing we do not see, and hearing we do not hear, when the mind has its attention ever so little drawn off to some other object of the intellect, and is applied to the consideration of that? As long as they are both naked, the mind naked of its power of exciting the intellect, and the outward sense of its power of sensation, they have nothing disgraceful in them; but the moment that they begin to display any comprehension, they become masked in shame and insolence: for they will often be found behaving with simplicity and folly rather than with any sound knowledge, and this not only in particular acts of covetousness, or spleen, or folly, but also in the general conduct of life: for when the outward sense has the dominion the mind is enslaved, giving its attention to no one proper object of its intellect, and when the mind is predominant, the outward sense is seen to be without employment, having no comprehension of any proper object of its own exercise.

XVIII. "Now the serpent was the most subtle of all the beasts which are upon the earth, which the Lord God made." [Genesis 3:1.] Two things having been previously created, that is, mind and outward sense, and these also having been stripped naked in the manner which has already been shown, it follows of necessity that pleasure, which brings these two together, must be the third, for the purpose of facilitating the comprehension of the objects of intellect and of outward sense: for neither could the mind, without the outward sense, be able to comprehend the nature of any animal or of any plant, or of a stone or of a piece of wood, or, in short, of any substance whatever; nor could the outward sense exercise its proper faculties without the mind. Since, therefore, it was necessary for both these things to come together for the due comprehension of these objects, what was it which brought them together except a third something which acted as a bond between them, the two first representing love and desire, and pleasure not obtaining the dominion and mastery, which pleasure Moses here speaks of symbolically, under the emblem of the serpent. God, who created all the animals on the earth, arranged this order very admirably, for he placed the mind first, that is to say, man, for the mind is the most important part in man; then outward sense, that is the woman; and then proceeding in regular order he came to the third, pleasure. But the powers of these three, and their ages, are different only in thought, for in point of time they are equal; for the soul brings forward everything at the same moment with itself: but some things it brings forward in their actuality, and others in their power of existing, even if they have not yet arrived at the end.

And pleasure has been represented under the form of the serpent, for this reason, as the motion of the serpent is full of many windings and varied, so also is the motion of pleasure. At first it folds itself round a man in five ways, for the pleasures consist both in seeing, and in hearing, and in taste, and in smell, and in touch. But the most vehement and intense are those which arise from connection with woman, through which the generation of similar beings is appointed by nature to be effected. And yet this is not the only reason why we say that pleasure is various in appearance, namely, because it folds itself around all the divisions of the irrational part of the soul, but because it also folds itself with many windings around each separate part. For instance, the pleasures derived from sight are various, there is all the pleasure which arises from the contemplation of pictures or statues; and all other works which are made by art delight the sight. So also do the different stages through which plants go while budding and flowering and bearing fruit; and likewise the diversified beauty of the different animals. In the same manner the flute gives pleasure to the sense of hearing, as does the harp, and every kind of instrument, and the harmonious voices of the irrational animals, of swallows, of nightingales; and likewise the melody of such rational beings as nature has made musical, the tuneful voice of the harp-players, and of those who represent comedy, or tragedy, or any other histrionic performance.

XIX. Why need we enlarge on the pleasures of the belly? For we may almost say that there are as many varieties of pleasure as there are of gentle flavors which are presented to the belly, and which excite the outward sense. Was it not then, with great propriety that pleasure, which is derived form many varied sources, was presented to an animal endowed with varied faculties? On this account, too, that part in us which is analogous to the people, and which acts the part of a multitude, when it seeks "the houses in Egypt," [Numbers 21:5] that is to say, in its corporeal habitation, becomes entangled in pleasures which bring on death; not that death which is a separation of soul and body, but that which is the destruction of the soul by vice. For Moses says, "And the Lord God sent among the people deadly serpents, and they bit the people, and a great multitude of the children of Israel died." [Numbers 21:6.] For in real truth there is nothing which so much bringeth death upon the soul as an immoderate indulgence in pleasures. And that which perishes is not the dominant portion in us but the subject one, that which acts the part of the multitude; and it receives death up to this point, namely, until it turns to repentance, and confesses its sin, for the Israelites, coming to Moses, say, "We have sinned in that we have spoken against the Lord and against you; pray, therefore, for us to the Lord, and let him take away the serpents from us." It is well put here, not we have sinned because we have spoken against the Lord, but because we were inclined to sin we have spoken against the Lord, for when the mind sins and departs from virtue, it blames divine things, imputing its own sins to God.

XX. How, then, can there be any remedy for this evil? When another serpent is created, the enemy of the serpent which came to Eve, namely, the word of temperance: for temperance is opposite to pleasure, which is a varied evil, being a varied virtue, and one ready to repel its enemy pleasure. Accordingly, God commands Moses to make the serpent according to temperance; and he says, "Make thyself a serpent, and set it up for a sign." Do you see that Moses makes this serpent for no one else but for himself? for God commands him, "Make it for thyself," in order that you may know that temperance is not the gift of every one, but only of that man who loves God. And we must consider why Moses makes a brazen serpent, when no command was given to him respecting the material of which it was to be formed. May it not have been for this reason? In the first place, the graces of God are immaterial, being themselves only ideas, and destitute of any distinctive quality; but the graces of mortal men are only beheld in connection with matter. In the second place, not only does Moses love the incorporeal virtues, but our own souls, not being able to put off their bodies, do likewise aim at corporeal virtue, and reason, in accordance with temperance, is likened to the strong and solid substance of brass, inasmuch as it is form and not easily cut through. And perhaps brass may also have been selected inasmuch as temperance in the man who loves God is a most honorable thing, and like gold; though it has only a secondary place in a man who has received wisdom and improved in it. "And whomsoever the one serpent bites, if he looks upon the brazen serpent shall live:" in which Moses speaks truly, for if the mind that has been bitten by pleasure, that is by the serpent which was sent to Eve, shall have strength to behold the beauty of temperance, that is to say, the serpent made by Moses in a manner affecting the soul, and to behold God himself through the medium of the serpent, it shall live. Only let it see and contemplate it intellectually.

XXI. Do you not see that wisdom when dominant, which is Sarah, says, "For whosoever shall hear it shall rejoice with me." [Genesis 21:6.] But suppose that any were able to hear that virtue has brought forth happiness, namely, Isaac, immediately he will sing a congratulatory hymn. As, therefore, it can only be one who has heard the news that can sympathize in one's joy, so also it can only be he who has clearly seen temperance and God, who is safe from death. But many souls that have been in love with perseverance and temperance, when removed to a distance from the passions, have nevertheless withstood the power of God, and have undergone a change for the worse, while their Master has made a display of himself and of the work of creation; of himself, that he is always immovable, and of the work of creation, that it vibrates as if in a scale, and inclines opposite ways at different times. For Moses speaks to the Israelites of God, "Who led ye then through that great and terrible wilderness, where there were biting serpents, and scorpions, and thirst; where there was no water? who brought forth for thee out of the hard rock a fountain of water? who fed thee with manna in the desert, which thy fathers knew not?" [Deuteronomy 8:14.]

Do you not see that not only did the soul, while longing for the passions which prevailed in Egypt, fall under the power of the serpents, but that, also, while it was in the wilderness, it was bitten by pleasure, that affection of varied and serpent-like appearance? And the work of pleasure has received a most appropriate name, for it is called a biting. Moreover, not only they who were in the desert were bitten by serpents, but also they who were scattered abroad, for I, also, often having left the men who were my kinsmen and my friends, and my country, and having gone into the desert in order that I might perceive some of those things which are worthy of being beheld, have profited nothing. But my mind, being separated from me, or being bitten by passion, has withdrawn towards the things opposite to them. And there are times when in the midst of a multitude composed of infinite numbers of men, I can bring my mind into solitude, God having scattered for me the crowd which perplexes my soul, and having taught me that it is not the difference of place that is the cause of good and evil, but rather God, who moves and drives this vehicle of the soul wherever he pleases.

Moreover, the soul falls in with a scorpion, that is to say, with dispersion in the wilderness; and the thirst, which is that of the passions, seizes on it until God sends forth upon it the stream of his own accurate wisdom, and causes the changed soul to drink of unchangeable health; for the abrupt rock is the wisdom of God, which being both sublime and the first of things he quarried out of his own powers, and of it he gives drink to the souls that love God; and they, when they have drunk, are also filled with the most universal manna; for manna is called something which is the primary genus of every thing. But the most universal of all things is God; and in the second place the word of God. But other things have an existence only in word, but in deed they are at times equivalent to that which has no existence.

XXII. See now the difference between him who turns to sin in the desert and him who sins in Egypt. For the one is bitten by serpents which cause death, that is to say by insatiable pleasures which inflict death; but the other, he who meditates in the wilderness, is only bitten by pleasure and driven astray, but is not killed. And the one, indeed, is healed by temperance, which is the brazen serpent which was made by the wise Moses; but the other is supplied by God with a most beautiful draught to drink, namely, wisdom, from the fountain which He himself has brought forth out of his own wisdom. Nor, indeed, does the pleasure which is in the form of a serpent, abstain from attacking that most sincere lover of God, Moses, for we read as follows; "If, therefore, they will not obey me, nor listen to my voice -- for they will say, God has not been seen by you -- what shall I say to them? And the Lord said unto Moses, What is that which is in thy hand? And he said, A rod. And God said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent, and Moses fled from it. And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch forth thy hand, and take hold of it by the tail. And having stretched forth his hand, he took hold of it by the tail, and it became a rod in his hand. And the Lord said unto him, That they may believe thee." [Exodus 4:3.]

How can any one believe God? If he has learnt that all other things are changed, but that he alone is unchangeable. Therefore, God asks of the wise Moses what there is in the practical life of his soul; for the hand is the symbol of action. And he answers, Instruction, which he calls a rod. On which account Jacob the supplanter of the passions, says, "For in my staff did I pass over this Jordan." [Genesis 32:10.] But Jordan being interpreted means descent. And of the lower, and earthly, and perishable nature, vice and passion are component parts; and the mind of the ascetic passes over them in the course of its education. For it is too low a notion to explain his saying literally; as if it meant that he crossed the river, holding his staff in his hand.

XXIII. Well, therefore, does the Godloving Moses answer. For truly the actions of the virtuous man are supported by education as by a rod, tranquillizing the disturbances and agitations of the mind. This rod, when cast away, becomes a serpent. Very appropriately. For if the soul casts away instruction, it becomes fond of pleasure instead of being fond of virtue. On which account Moses fled from it, for the man who is fond of virtue does flee from passion and from pleasure. But God did not praise his flight. For it is fitting, indeed, for your mind, before you are made perfect, to meditate flight and escape from the passions; but Moses, that perfect man, ought rather to persevere in his war against them, and to resist them, and to strive against them, otherwise they, relying on their freedom from danger and on their power, will ascend up to the citadel of the soul, and take it by storm, and will plunder it entirely, like a tyrant. On which account God commanded Moses "to take hold of it by the tail," that is to say, let not the hostile and untameable spirit of pleasure terrify you, but with all your power take hold of it, and seize it firmly, and master it. For it will again become a rod instead of a serpent, that is to say, instead of pleasure it will become instruction in your hand; but it will be in your hand, that is in the action of a wise man, which, indeed, is true.

But it is impossible to take hold of and to master pleasure, unless the hand be first stretched out, that is to say, unless the soul confesses that all actions and all progress is derived from God; and attributes nothing to himself. Accordingly he, when he saw this serpent, decided to flee from it? But he prepared another principle, that of temperance, which is the brazen serpent: that whosoever was bitten by pleasure, when he looked on temperance, might live a real life.

XXIV. Such a serpent Jacob boasts that Dan is, and he speaks thus: "Dan will judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel:" [Genesis 49:16] and again, "Let Dan be a serpent in the path, sitting upon the road, biting the heel of the horse, and the rider shall fall backwards, waiting the salvation of the Lord." [Genesis 49:17.] The fifth son of Leah is Issachar, the legitimate son of Jacob; but if the two sons of Zilpah are counted he is the seventh; but the fifth son of Jacob is Dan, the son of Billah, the handmaid of Rachel; and the cause of this we will investigate in the proper place, but concerning Dan we must examine further now. The soul produces two kinds, the one divine and the other perishable; that which is the better kind it has already conceived, and ends in it; for when the soul was able to confess to God and to yield everything to him, it was not after that capable of receiving any more valuable possession; on this account she ceased to bring forth, after she had borne Judah, the emblem of the disposition of confessing -- and now she begins to form the mortal race -- now the mortal race subsists by imbibing; for, like a foundation, the sense of taste is the cause of the duration of animals; but the name Billah, being interpreted, means imbibing. From her was born Dan, which name being interpreted means judgment, for this kind distinguishes between and separates immortal from mortal things, therefore he prays that he may become a workman of temperance. But he will not pray for Judah, for Judah already has the capacity of praying to and pleasing God: "Therefore let Dan," says he, "be a serpent in the path." -- One path is the soul.

For as in the roads one may behold a great variety of living beings, inanimate and animate, irrational and rational, good and bad, slaves and free, young and old, male and female, strangers and natural citizens, sick and healthy, mutilated and perfect; so also in the soul there are motions inanimate, and imperfect, and diseased, and slavish, and female, and innumerable others of the class of evils; and on the other hand, there are motions which are living, and perfect, and masculine, and free, and healthy, and ripe, and virtuous, and genuine, and really legitimate. Let then the principle of temperance be a serpent in the soul, which makes its advance through all the circumstances of life, and let it sit in the path. But what is the meaning of this expression?-- The field of virtue is not trodden down; for they are few who walk along it, but that of vice is trodden and worn? And he recommends him here to occupy and to fill, with ambush and stratagem, the well-trodden path of passion and vice, in which the thoughts which are deserters from virtue pass their life.

XXV. "Biting the heel of the horse," -- Very consistently the disposition which shakes the stability of the created and perishable being is called the supplanter, and the passions are compared to a horse; for passion has four legs as a horse has, and is an impetuous beast, and full of insolence, and by nature a most restive animal. But the reasoning of temperance is wont to bite, and to wound, and to destroy passion. Therefore passion having been tripped up, and having fallen, "the horseman will fall backwards." We must comprehend that the horseman who has mounted upon the passions is the mind, who falls from the passions when they are reasoned upon closely, and so are supplanted; and it is well figured, that the soul does not fall forward, for it must not go before the passions, but rather advance behind them, and behave with moderation.

And there is sound learning in what he says here. If the mind, though desirous to act unjustly, comes too late and falls backward, it will not act unjustly; but if, when it is moved onwards to some irrational passion it does not run forward but remains behind, it will then receive freedom from the dominion of the passions, which is a most excellent thing. On which account Moses, approving of this backward fall from off the vices, adds further, "waiting for the salvation of the Lord," for, in good truth, he who falls from the passions is saved by God, and remains safe after their operation. May my soul meet with such a fall as this, and may it never afterwards remount upon that horselike and restive passion, in order that it may await the salvation of God, and attain to happiness! On this account also it was that Moses praised God in his hymn, because "the horse and his rider has he thrown into the sea," [Exodus 15:1] meaning that he has thrown the four passions, and the miserable mind which is mounted on them, down into ruin as to its affairs, and into the bottomless pit, and this is almost the burden of the whole hymn, to which every other part of it is referred, and indeed that is the truth; for if once a freedom from the passions occupies the soul, it will become perfectly happy.

XXVI. And we must also inquire, what is the reason why Jacob says, that "the rider will fall backward," [Genesis 49:17] and Moses says, that "the horse and his rider have been thrown into the sea." We must say, therefore, that that which is thrown into the sea is the Egyptian disposition, which indeed flies and escapes under the water, that is to say, under the advance of the passions. But the rider who falls backwards is not one of the persons who loves to yield to the passions; and the proof is, that Moses calls the one the horseman (hippeus), and the other the rider (anabates). Now it is the business of the horseman to subdue the horse, and when he resists the rein to make him tractable; but it is the part of the rider to be conveyed wherever the animal carries him, and in the sea it is the office of the pilot to guide the ship, and to keep it straight, and to preserve it in the right course; but it is the part of the sailor to endure all that happens to the ship.

And in reference to this the horseman who subdues the passions is not drowned in the sea, but dismounting from them awaits the salvation of the master. Accordingly, the word of God in Leviticus recommends men "to feed on those creeping things which go on four feet, and which have legs above their feet, so that they are able to leap with them;" [Leviticus 11:22] among which are the locust, and the attacus, and the acris, [these are different kinds of locusts] and in the fourth place the serpent-fighter; and very properly; for if pleasure, like a serpent, is an unprofitable and pernicious thing, then the nature which contends against pleasure must be a most profitable and saving thing, and this is temperance.

Fight thou then, O my mind, against every passion, and especially against pleasure, for "the serpent is the most subtle of all the beasts that are upon the earth, which the Lord God has made." And of all the passions the most mischievous is pleasure. Why so? Because all things are the slaves of pleasure; and because the life of the wicked is governed by pleasure as by a master. Accordingly, the things which are the efficient causes of pleasure are found to be full of all wickedness: gold and silver, and glory and honors, and powers and the objects of the outward senses, and the mechanical arts, and all other things which cause pleasure, being very various, and all injurious to the soul; and there are no sins without extreme wickedness; therefore do thou array against it the wisdom which contends with serpents; and struggle in this most glorious struggle, and labor to win the crown in the contest against pleasure, which subdues every one else; winning a noble and glorious crown, such as no assembly of men can confer.

Allegory | Metaphor | Sophistry | Strong delusion | Golden calf |
The Allegories of the Sacred Laws by Philo Judaeus
Altars | Clay and Stone | Red Heifer | Stones | Breeches | Trees |
One purse | Fathers | Peaceful invasion of Canaan | Stoning |