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offspring of God, who sees everything with a piercing sight, becomes holy; for the departure of wickedness brings about the entrance of virtue, as, on the other hand, when what is good is driven away, then what was bad, having been lying in ambush, comes in to supply the void. Jacob then had scarcely at all gone out,*, when Esau entered, not the mind which receives everything, being stamped with the impression of wickedness instead of the figures of virtue, if that is possible; but he would not have been able to effect this, for he will be supplanted and overthrown by the wise man before he knows it, the wise man being prompt to repel the impending injury before it can affect him.
XL. And he brings not only the first fruits froin the firstborn, but also from the fat; showing by this that whatever there is in the soul that is cheerful, or fat, or preservative and pleasant, might all be surrendered to God. And I see also in the arrangements established about sacrifices, that three things aru enjoined to be offered from the victims ; in the first place tho fut, and tho kidneys, and tho lobo of tho livor, about which we will speak separately; but not the brain or the heart which it seemed natural should be dedicated before the other parts, since, according to the language of the lawgiver, the dominant power is recognised as existing in one of them.
But may it not be owing to an exceeding holiness and to very accurate consideration of the matter that he did not bear these things to the faithful altar of God? because that dominant part being subject to changes in either direction, either for bad or good, in an indivisible moment of time receives impressions which are continually changing, at one time impressions of what is pure and approved, and at others of an adulterated and base coinage.
Therefore the lawgiver judging a place which was capable of receiving both these opposite qualities, namely, what is honourable, and what is disgraceful, and which was adapted to each, and distributed equal honour to both, to be quite as much impure as holy, removed it from the altar of God. For what is disgraceful is profane, and what is profane is by all means unholy; and this is why the dominant part is kept away from sacrifices, but if it is subjected to examination, then, when all its parts have been purified, it will be consecrated as
Genesis xxvii. 1.
a burnt offering, free from all stain, and from all pollution. For this is the law respecting whole burnt offerings, that with the exception of the refuse of the food, and of the skin which are tokens of the weakness of the body and not of wickedness, nothing else should be left to the creature, but that all the other parts which exhibit the soul perfect in all its parts, should be presented as a whole burnt offering to God.
ON THX PRINCIPLR
THAT THE WORSE IS ACCUSTOMED TO BE ALWAYS
PLOTTING AGAINST THE BETTER.
I. And Cain said to Abel his brother, “Let us go to the field. And it came to pass, that while they were in the field, Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.”. What Cain proposes to do is this : having by invitation led Abel on to a dispute, to convince him by main force, using plausible and probable sophisms; for the field to which he invites him to come, we may call a symbol of rivalry and contention, forming our conjectures of things that are uncertain from our perception of those which are manifest. For we see that most contests, both in peace and in war, take place in the open fields. In peace, therefore, all those who practise gymnastic contests, seek for level race-courses and plain fields : and, in a war, it is not usual to have battles, of either infantry or cavalry, on hills; for many more disasters arise from the unfavourable character of the ground, than from anything that the enemies do to one another.
II, And a very great proof of this is the conduct of the practiser of knowledge, Jacob, when warring against the opposite disposition, ignorance; when it is beheld in the field how he regulates the irrational faculties in the soul after a fashion, reproving and correcting them.
“For Jacob having sent, called Leah and Rachel into the plain where the flocks were ;"+ showing here clearly, that the plain is the symbol of revolt and contention. And he calls them and says, . Genesis iv. 8.
+ Genesis xii. 4.
" I see
the face of your father, that it is not to me as it was yesterday and the day before yesterday,* but the God of my father was with me." And on this account I should be inclined to say, Laban is not favourable to you because God is on your side ; for in the soul, by which the external object of the outward senses is honoured as the greatest good, perfect reason is not found to exist; but in the soul, in which God walks, the ex. ternal object of the outward senses is not looked upon as the greatest good, according to which object the name of Laban is given and understood. And all those who, through the improvement of their reason, are adorned in the similitude of the Father, in consequence of education, unlearn all sub. serviency to the irrational impulses of the soul, selecting the plain as a suitable place, for it is said to Joseph, “ Are not thy brethren keeping sheep in Sichem ? Come, I will send thee to them. And he said, Behold, here am I. And Jacob said unto him, Go and see if thy brethren and the flocks are well, and come and tell me. And he sent him from the val. ley of Chebron, and he came to Sichem, and a man found him wandering in the plain : and the man asked him, What seek est thou? And he said, I am seeking my brethren, tell me where they are feeding their sheep. And the man said unto him they have departed from hence, for I heard them saying, Let us go to Dotham.”+
III. Therefore, from what has here been said it is plain, that they make the halting place of the irrational faculties, which are in them, in the plain. But Joseph is sent unto them because he is unable to bear the somewhat austere knowledge of his father; that he may learn, under gentler instruc. tors, what is to be done and what will be advantageous; for he uses a doctrine woven together from divers foundations, very variegated and very artfully made, in reference to which the law-giver says, that he had a robe of many colours made for him ;"signifying by this that he is an interpreter of labyrinth-like learning, such as is hard to be explained; for as he philosophises more with a regard to political wisdom than to truth, be brings into one place and connects together the three kinds of good things, namely, external things, the things concerning the body, and those concerning the soul, things utterly different from one another in their whole pa• Genesis mi. 5. + Genesis xxvii. 12. I Genesis xxvii. &
tures ; wishing to show that each has need of each, and that everything has need of everything; and that that which is really the complete and perfect good, is composed of all these things together, and that the parts of which this perfect good is compounded are parts or elements of good, but are not themselves perfect goods. In the same way, as neither fire, nor earth, nor any one of the four elements, out of which the universe was created, are the world, but the meeting and mix. ture of all the elements together; in the same way also happiness ought not peculiarly to be sought for either in the ex. ternal things, or in the things of the body, or in the things of the soul, taken by themselves; for each of the aforementioned things has only the rank of parts and elements, but it must be looked for in the combination of them all together.
IV. He therefore is sent, to be uptaught this doctrine, to men who think nothing honourable but what is good, which is the peculiar attribute of the soul as the soul; but all external goods, which are called the good things of the body, they believe to be only superfluities, and not true and real goods : " For behold," says he, “thy brethren are tending their sheep," that is to say, they are governing all the irrational part that is in them, in Sichem ;'* and the name Sichem, being interpreted, means a shoulder, the symbol of enduring labour.
For the men who are lovers of virtue endure a great burden, the opposition to the body and the pleasure of the body, and also the opposition to external things and to the delights which arise from them. Come, therefore, let me send thee to them,"t that is to say, listen to my bidding and come over, receiving in your mind a voluntary impulse to learn better things. But up to the present time you are full of self-complacency, as one who has received true instruction ; for although you have not as yet plainly asserted this, you still say that you are ready to be taught again, when you say,
Behold, here am I,” by which expression you appear to me to exhibit your own rashness and easiness to be persuaded more than your readiness to learn ; and a proof of what I say is this, " And a little afterwards the true man will find you wandering in the way,"I while you would not have been led Astray, if you had come to the practice of virtue with a sound intention. • Genesis xxxTÜ 12. + Genesis iuü. 13. Genosis xxxv.1.16
And yet the adhortatory speech of your father's imposes no irresistible necessity upon you, to turn of your own accord and at the instigation of your own mind to better things; for he says, “ Go and see, behold, consider, and meditate in the matter with entire accuracy. For you ought first to know the affair concerning which you are going to labour, and then after that to proceed to a care how to accomplish it. But after you have examined into it, and after you have inspected it carefully, casting your eyes over the whole of the business, then examine, | esides, those who have already given their attention to the matter, and who have become practisers of it, whether now that they do this they are in a sound state, and not mad, as the lovers of pleasure think who calumniate them and cover them with ridicule. And do not form a positive judgment in your own mind either as to the appearance of the mutter, or as to the soundness of condition enjoyed by those who practise these things, before you have reported the matter to and laid it Loforo the fathor; for the opinions of those who have only lately begun to learn are unstable and without any firm foun. dation; but the sentiment of those who have made some advance are solid, and from their opinions they must of neces. sity derive firmness and steadiness.
V. Therefore, O my mind, if you in this manner investigate the holy thoughts of God with which man is inspired by divine agency and the laws of such men as love God, you will not be compelled to admit any thing lowly, anything unworthy, of their greatness. For how could any man who is endowed with sound sense and wisdom, receive this very thing concern. ing which our present discussion now is? Can any one believe that there was such a great want of servants and attendants in the household of Jacob who was possessed of treasures equal to those of a king, that it was necessary for him to send his son away to a distant country to bring him word of the health of his other children and of his flocks? His grandfather, besides the multitude of captives whom he had carried off when he defeated the nine kings, had mora than three hundred domestic servants, and all this household had suffered no diminution, but rather, as time advanced, all his wealth had received great increase in all its parts.
Would he not then, when he had an abundance of servants of all kinds ready to his band, have preferred sending one of