FRAGMENTS

EXTRACTED FROM THE PARALLELS OF JOHN OF DAMASCUS

About the unstable and changeable condition of human affairs.

Page 326. C. If one is to tell the plain truth, man is without real power in anything, never taking a firm hold of anything. I do not mean merely of common things, but not even of those which concern himself; neither of health, nor of a good condition of the outward senses, nor of soundness in respect of the other parts of his body, nor of his voice, nor of his presence of mind; for as to wealth, or glory, or friends, or power, or all the other things which depend on fortune, who is there who does not know how thoroughly unstable they are? So that we must of necessity confess that the supreme power over everything belongs to one being alone, the true Lord of all existing things.

About impious men, sinners, etc.

Page 341. D. If you wish to be governed under God as your king, take care not to sin; but if you commit sin, how can you be under the government of God as your king?

About those people who have renounced such and such a line of conduct, and then turning

back again, have adopted that very line which they had renounced.

Page 343. D. Some men, making improvement, have returned back to virtue before coming to the end, the ancient principle of oligarchy having destroyed the principle of aristocracy lately engendered in the soul, which having been quiet for a little while, has subsequently come up over again with greater power than before.

Page 343. D. When a man rightly establishes himself in a virtuous life, with meditation, and practice, and good government, and when having been known by all men as a pious man and one who fears God, he falls into sin, that is a great fall, for he has ascended up to the height of heaven, and fallen down into the abyss of hell.

About resurrection and judgment.

Page 349. A. It is not possible with God that a wicked man should lose his good reward for a single good thing which he may have done among a great number of evil actions; nor, on the other hand, that a good man should escape punishment, and not suffer it, if among many good actions he has done wickedly in anything, for it is infallibly certain that God distributes everything according to a just weight and balance.

Page 349. B. The mind is the witness to each individual of the things which they have planned in secret, and conscience is an incorruptible judge, and the most unerring of all judges.

About those who are ruled.

Page 359. A. He who has learnt how to submit to be ruled, immediately learns how to rule others; for even if a man were invested with the supreme power over all the earth and all the sea, he would not be a true ruler unless he had also learnt and been previously taught to submit to the rule of others.

About anarchy.

Page 359. D. Alas, how many and great evils are produced by anarchy! Famine, war, the devastation of lands, the deprivation of money, abductions, fears of slavery, and death.

About the foolish and senseless man, etc.

Page 362. E. No wicked man is rich, not even though he should be the owner of all the mines in the whole world; but all foolish men are poor. Every foolish man is straitened, being oppressed by covetousness, and ambition, and a love of pleasure, and things of that sort, which do not permit the mind to dwell at ease or to enjoy plenty of room.

Page 363. A. There is no greater evil to a man than folly, and the being deprived of the proper use of his reasoning powers and intellect.

Page 363. A. Ignorance is the cause of disease and destruction.

About deceit affecting the management of a household.

Page 367. D. Every stratagem is not blameable, since guardians of the night appear to act properly when they lie in wait for robbers, and generals when they form ambuscades against the enemy, whom they cannot catch without a stratagem; and the same principle is applicable to what are called manoeuvres, and to the artifices practised in the contests of wrestlers, for in such cases deceit is accounted honourable.

About impossible things.

Page 370. B. It is as impossible that the love of the world can co-exist with the love of God, as for light and darkness to co-exist at the same time with one another.

About holy men.

Page 372. E. The happy nature is that which rejoices on every occasion, and which is not discontented with anything whatever which exists in the world, but is pleased with whatever happens, as being good, and beautiful, and expedient.

About leisure and quiet.

Page 376. A. The wise man endeavours to secure quiet and leisure, and periods of rest from work, that he may devote himself peacefully to the meditations on divine matters.

About evil-speaking.

Page 369. D. Foul speakers and random accusers, who seek to make a display of their art with vain words, being slow to learn what is good, are very quick and ready at learning what is of the opposite character.

About counsel.

Page 397. D. Everything which is not done with reason is discreditable, just as what is done with reason is beautiful.

About old men.

Page 404. C. Old age is an unruffled harbour.

Page 404. C. Old age is the time when the vigour of the body is passed by; the period when the passions can be checked.

About gymnasia.

Page 405. D. Continued practice makes knowledge firm, just as want of practice engenders ignorance. And, again, practice in any matter increases experience.

Page 405. D. Study is the nurse of knowledge.

About calumny.

Page 436. D. Calumniators and men discarded from the divine grace, who are afflicted with the same evil disposition of calumny with him, are in all respects hated and detested by God, and removed to a distance from all happiness.

Page 436. D. What can be worse than calumny? for it seduces the ears and perplexes the minds of those who listen to it, and it makes them brutal and always on a watch for evil, like men engaged in hunting; but those who are well ballasted and restrained by prudent reason, hate the man who utters calumnies more than him against whom they are uttered, reproving and seeking to check all desire of blaming others until it be either proved by evidence or demonstrated by undeniable proof.

About justice and virtue.

Page 438. D. If any one embraces all the virtues with earnestness and sobriety, he is a king, even though he may be in a private station.

About voluntary and involuntary sins.

Page 526. B. As to sin intentionally is unjust, so to sin unintentionally and out of ignorance is not at once justifiable, but perhaps it is something between the two, that is between righteousness and unrighteousness, and is of what some persons call an indifferent character, for no sin can be an act of righteousness.

About initiation into divine mysteries.

Page 533. C. It is not lawful to speak of the sacred mysteries to the uninitiated.

About the sea.

Page 551. D. It is proper to marvel at the sea, by means of which countries requite one another for the good things which they receive from each other, and by which they receive what they are in need of, and export what they have a superfluity of.

About equality.

Page 556. D. To give equal things to unequal people is an action of the greatest injustice.

About physicians and medical science.

A good physician would not be inclined to apply every kind of salutary medicine at once and on the same day to a patient, as he would know that by such a course he would be doing him more harm than good, but he would measure out the proper opportunities, and then give saving medicines in a seasonable manner; and he would apply different remedies at different times, and so he would bring about the patient's restoration to health by gentle degrees.

About opportunity.

Page 563. C. Say what is right, and at the time when it is right, and you will not hear what is not right.

Page 563. C. It is well to economise time.

About mysteries.

Page 576. D. Chatterers divulging what ought to be kept buried in silence, do in a manner from a disease of the tongue pour forth into people's ears things which are not worthy of being heard.

About people who are in a state of pupillage.

Page 613. D. To inquire and put questions is the most useful of habits with a view to acquiring instruction.

Page 613. D. He who hungers and thirsts after knowledge, and who is eager to learn what he does not know, abandoning all other objects of care, is eager to become a disciple, and day and night watches at the doors of the houses of wise men.

Page 613. D. For any one to know that he is ignorant is a piece of wisdom, just as to know that one has done wrong is a piece of righteousness.

About reproach.

Page 630. C. Never reproach any one with misfortune, for nature is impartial, and the future is uncertain; lest if you yourself should fall into similar misfortunes, you should be found to be convicted and condemned by your own conscience.

About a proper constitution.

Page 657. C. It is advantageous to submit to one's betters.

About a blameable constitution.

From the fifth book of the Essays on Genesis.

Page 658. E. A shameless look, and a high head, and a continual rolling of the eyes, and a pompous strut in walking, and a habit of blushing at nothing, however discreditable, are signs of a most infamous soul, which stamps the obscure topics of the reproaches which belong to itself upon the visible body.

About familiarity and habituation.

Page 681. D. A change of all kinds of circumstances at once to the opposite direction is very harsh, especially when the existing powers are established by the length of time that they have lasted.

About correction.

Page 683. D. It is useful to be warned by the misfortunes of others.

Page 683. D. Punishment very often warns and corrects those who do wrong; but if it fails to do so to them, at all events it corrects the bystanders, for the punishments of others improve most people, from fear lest they should suffer similar evils.

About associating with wicked men.

Page 692. A. Associations with wicked men are mischievous, and very often the soul against its will receives the impression of the insane wickedness of one's associates.

About wisdom.

Page 693. E. Every wise man is a friend of God.

About haughty men.

Page 693. E. Self-conceit, as the proverb of the ancients has it, is the eradication of all improvement, for the man who is full of self-conceit is incapable of improvement.

Self-conceit is by nature an unclean thing.

About natural things.

Page 711. C. As it is difficult to inoculate anything in a manner contrary to nature, and to introduce anything into nature which does not belong to it, so likewise is it hard to change things which are of such and such a nature from that nature, and to restrain them; for it has been well said by some one, everything is vain if nature sets herself against it.

About man.

From the Questions arising in Genesis.

Page 748. A. What is the meaning of the expression, "Until"{1}{#ge 3:19.} thou return to the dust from which thou wast taken? For man was not formed of the dust alone, but also of the divine Spirit; but since he did not continue in an unchanged condition, he neglected the divine command, and cutting off that constitution which imitated the heaven from his better part, he made himself over wholly to the earth; for if he had been a lover of virtue, which is immortal, he would beyond all question have received heaven for his inheritance, but since what he sought was pleasure, by means of which the death of the soul is brought upon mankind, he became appropriated to the earth.

About Adam.

From the Questions arising in Genesis.

Page 748. B. "And God brought all the animals to Adam, to see what he would call Them;"{2}{genesis 2:19.} for God does not doubt, but since he has given mind to man, the first born and most excellent of his creatures, according to which he, being endowed with knowledge, is by nature enabled to reason; he excites him, as an instructor excites his pupil, to a display of his powers, and he contemplates the most excellent offspring of his soul. And, again, he visibly by the example of this man gives an outline of all that is voluntary in us, looking with disfavour on those who affirm that everything happens through necessity, by which some men must be influenced, he on that account commanded man to take upon himself the regulation of these things. And this is an employment peculiarly fitting for man, as being endowed with a very high degree of knowledge and most surpassing prudence, the giving of names to the animals being suited to him not only as being wise, but also as being the first nobly born creature.

For it was fitting that he should be the founder of the human race, and also the king of everything that is born of the earth, and that he should have this as an especial honour of his own, that, as he was the first who had any acquaintance with the animals, he might also be the first inventor and pronouncer of their names; for it would have been absurd for them to be left without names, and subsequently to have names given to them by some younger man, to the honour and glory of the elder.

And when Adam saw the figure of his wife, as the prophet says, and that it had been produced not by any connexion, nor out of a woman, as human beings in after times were produced, but that she was as it were a nature on the borders between these two kinds, like a graft from a shoot of another vine taken off and grafted into a second one, on which account he says, "For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they two shall become one Flesh;"{3}{#ge 2:24.} in saying which he used a most gentle expression, which was at the same time most perfectly true, meaning that they would be united by sympathy in their griefs and joys.

From the same book, or else from the last book of the Questions arising in Exodus.

Truly the divine place is inaccessible, and one which is hard to be approached, nor is it given even to the purest intellect to be able to ascend to such a height as to touch it. It is impossible for human nature to behold the face of the living God; but the word "face" is not used here in its literal meaning, but it is a metaphorical expression, here intended to manifest the purest and simplest form of the living God, since man is not recognized more by anything than by his face, according to his peculiar distinctive qualities and form. For God does not say, "I am not visible in my nature." But who, in fact, is more visible than he who is the Father of all visible things? And being such with regard to being seen, I am, says he, seen by no mortal man; and the reason of this is the inability of the created man to behold him.

And that I may not become prolix while weaving in all kinds of arguments, it is inevitable that God must first be created (which is not possible), in order for any one to be able to comprehend God. But if any one dies as to this mortal life, but still lives, having received in exchange a life of immortality, perhaps he will see what he never saw before.

All the different philosophical sects which have flourished in Greece, and in the countries of the barbarians, when investigating the secrets of nature, have never been able to arrive at a clear perception of even the most trivial circumstances; and a clear proof of this assertion may be found in the disagreements, and dissensions, and contentions of those of each sect who are seeking to establish their own opinions, and to overthrow those of their adversaries. And the households of those who have been contending for the predominance of this and that sect, have been the causes of universal wars, blinding the human mind by their contradictory quarrels, which might otherwise have been able to see the truth, and fighting hard about what doctrines ought to be abandoned and what ought to be preserved.

Now he who desires to form to himself a conception of the most excellent of all beings, ought in the first place to stand firm in his mind, being steadfastly fixed in one opinion, and not varying or wandering in different directions. And in the next place, he ought to take his stand upon nature, and upon solid grounds, and to abandon all barren and corruptible things, for if anything of a somewhat effeminate character approach him, he will be disappointed of his object, and he will be unable, even if he exert the most acute faculties of sight imaginable, to behold the uncreated God; so that he will become blind before he sees him, on account of the brilliancy of his beams and the flood of light which distils therefrom. Do you not see that the power of fire in the case of those who stand at a measured distance from it affords light to them, but it burns those who approach too near? Take care that you do not suffer such an injury as this in your mind, and lest an extravagant desire of an impossible object destroy you.

About those who are governed.

Out of the first book of the Questions in Genesis.

Page 749. E. As pillars support whole houses, so also the power of God supports the whole world, and the best and most God-loving section of the human race.

Out of the Questions in Genesis.

Page 750. C. If any one is either in any house, or village, or city, or nation, who is a lover of wisdom, it is absolutely inevitable that that house or city should be the better for his existence in it, for a virtuous man is a common good to all men, bestowing on them advantages proceeding from himself as from a prepared store.

About people who carry news, and act as intermediate bearers of answers.

From the Questions arising in Exodus.

Page 751. B. The influx of evils agitates and disturbs the soul, enveloping it in a giddiness which darkens its perceptions, and compels it to suffer that power of sight which by nature was preeminent, but which by habit has become blinded, to be obscured.

Page 751. B. There is nothing so opposite to and inconsistent with the most holy powers of God as injustice.

About the sinner and offender.

From the Questions arising in Genesis.

Page 751. C. Never to err in any point whatever is the greatest blessing; but when one has erred, to repent is next akin to it, as a younger good, if one may say so, by the side of an elder, for there are some persons who exult in the offences which they have committed as if they had done good actions, though they are in reality afflicted with a disease difficult to be cured, or I should rather say incurable.

About its being impossible to escape from God.

From the last book of Questions arising in Exodus.

Page 752. A. He contains all things, while yet he is himself contained by nothing; for as place is that which contains bodies, and that to which they flee for refuge, so also the divine reason contains the universe and is that which has completed it.

About truth and faithful evidence.

From the second book of the Questions in Exodus.

Page 754. C. By some lawgivers the practice of giving hearsay evidence has been forbidden, on the ground that the truth is established by the eyesight, but falsehood by hearing.

About quiet and ease.

From the fourth book of the Questions in Genesis.

The wise man is desirous of peace and leisure, that he may have time for meditation on heavenly things.

From the fifth book.

Page 754. E. For thus the lover of wisdom never unites with any rash person, even though he may be closely united to him by blood; nor does he ever consent to dwell with a wicked man, being separated from the multitude by his reasoning powers, on account of which he is said not to be a fellow voyager, or a fellow citizen, or a companion of such men.

Page 754. E. The wise man is a sojourner and a settler, having come as an emigrant from a life of confusion and disorder to one suitable to peaceful and happy men.

About the fearful expulsion.

From the first book of the Questions in Genesis.

Page 772. B. But the essence of the angels is spiritual, but they are very often made to resemble the appearance of men, being transformed on any emergencies which arise.

From the second book of the same Questions.

Page 772. B. All the powers of God are winged, being always eager and striving for the higher path which leads to the Father.

About heretics.

From the first book of the Questions in Exodus.

Page 774. B. All those who have stumbled, being unable to proceed with upright feet, go on slowly, being fatigued a long time before they come to their journey's end; so also the soul is hindered from proceeding successfully on the path which leads to piety if it has previously fallen in with any of the byroads of wickedness, for they are great hindrances to it, and the causes of its stumbling, by means of which the mind becoming lame, proceeds too slowly on the road, according to nature; and this road, according to nature, is that which ends at the Father of the universe.

From the same book.

The contentious investigations which men enter into about the virtues of God, improve the intellect and train it in most pleasant labours, which are also most beneficial to it, and especially when men do not (as those of the present day do) disguise themselves under a false appellation, and contend for the doctrines in appearance only, but do, in an honest and true heart, seek out truth in connection with knowledge.

From the second book of the same treatise.

... not being more anxious to display melody and harmony in their voices than in their minds; the eloquence of the wise man does not display its beauty in words only, but in the matters which it proves by its words.

From the last book of the Questions in Exodus.

Those men who apply themselves to the study of the holy scriptures ought not to cavil and quibble at syllables, but ought first to look at the spirit and meaning of the nouns and verbs used, and at the occasions on which and the manners in which each expression is used; for it often happens that the same expressions are applied to different things at different times; and, on the contrary, opposite expressions are at different times applied to the same thing with perfect consistency.

From the Questions in Genesis.

Those men act absurdly who judge of the whole from a part, instead of, on the contrary, forming their estimate of a part from their knowledge of the whole; for this is the more proper way to form one's opinion of anything, whether it be a body or a doctrine; therefore the divine code of laws is, in a manner, a united creature, which one must regard in all its parts and members at once with all one's eyes, and one must contemplate the meaning and sense of the whole scripture with accuracy and clearness, not disturbing its harmony nor dissevering its unity; for the parts will have a very different appearance and character if they are once deprived of their union.

From the fourth book of the same treatise.

Let there then be a law against all those who profess to look on what is venerable and divine, in any other than a respectful and holy spirit, inflicting punishment on their blindness.

From the second book of the Questions in Exodus.

Page 775. There is nothing either more pleasant or more deserving of respect than to serve God, whose power is superior to that of the mightiest sovereign; and it appears to me that the greatest kings have also been chief priests, showing, by their actions, that it is right for those who are the masters of other men nevertheless to serve as servants of God.

About a king not being greatly respected.

From the first book of the Questions in Genesis.

Page 775. E. No foolish man is a king even though he be invested with supreme power by sea and land, but he only is a king who is a virtuous and God-loving man, even though he may be deprived of those supplies and revenues, by means of which kings in general are strengthened in their sovereignty; for as a rudder, or a collection of drugs, or a flute, or a harp, are all superfluities to a man who has no knowledge of the art of steering, or medicine, or music, because he is not able to employ any one of them to the purpose for which it is made, while they may be said to be excellently adapted to and to be very seasonable for a pilot, or a physician, or a musician; so also, since kingcraft is an art, and the best of arts, we must look upon him who does not know how to exert it as a private individual; and as the man who does know how to exert it well as the only king.

About the stable and unstable man.

From the Questions in Genesis.

Page 776. E. A facility of change must of necessity belong to man, by reason of the unsteadiness of external circumstances. Accordingly we thus oftentimes, after we have chosen friends, and have associated with them for some time, though we have nothing to accuse them of, turn away from them with aversion as enemies.

About those who change their minds and blame themselves.

Page 776. E. These are the words of Philo:-

Gaius, as he was ignorant of the greatness of the cause, that he should never fall into death, suffered a more simple punishment; but his imitator, not being able to take refuge in the plea of ignorance, is subjected to a double punishment; on which account Lamech shall be avenged seventy and seven fold, for the reason above mentioned, according to which he was the second offender who had not thought fit to take warning from the punishment of him who had offended before, and he clearly receives his punishment, being a more simple one; as in numbers the units have a highly multiplied power, resembling that of the decades, such as now Lamech, changing his mind, denounces against himself.

From the same book of the same author.

Page 777. To be aware of what one has done amiss, and to blame one's self, is the part of a righteous man; but to be insensible to such things causes still more grievous evils to the soul, and the conduct of wicked men.

About the courage of a woman.

From Philo, from the Questions arising in Exodus.

Page 777. B. It is said by men who have applied themselves to the study of natural philosophy, that the female is nothing else but an imperfect male.

About the oracles of God.

The words of Philo, out of the second book of his Questions arising in Genesis.

Page 782. A. It is not lawful to divulge the sacred mysteries to the uninitiated until they are purified by a perfect purification; for the man who is not initiated, or who is of moderate capacity, being unable either to hear or to see that nature which is incorporeal and appreciable only by the intellect, being deceived by the visible sight, will blame what ought not to be blamed. Now, to divulge sacred mysteries to uninitiated people, is the act of a person who violates the laws of the privileges belonging to the priesthood.

From the same author.

Page 782. B. It is absurd that there should be a law in cities that it is not lawful to divulge sacred mysteries to the uninitiated, but that one may speak of the true rites and ceremonies which lead to piety and holiness to ears full of folly. All men must not partake of all things, nor of all discourses, above all, of such as are sacred; for those that desire to be admitted to a participation in such things, ought to have many qualifications beforehand. In the first place, what is the greatest and most important, they ought to have deep feelings of piety towards the only true and living God, and correct notions of holiness, avoiding all inextricable errors which perplex so many about images and statues, and in fact about any erections whatever, and about unlawful ceremonies, or illicit mysteries.

In the second place, they must be purified with all holy purifications, both in soul and body, as far as it is allowed by their national laws and customs. In the third place, they must give credible evidence of their entering into the common joy, so that they may not, after having partaken of the sacred food, like intemperate youths, be changed by satiety and overabundance, becoming like drunken men; which is not lawful.

About evil-doers.

The words of Philo, out of the Questions arising in Exodus.

Page 782. D. The man who lives in wickedness, bears about destruction within him, since he has living with him that which is both treacherous, designing, and hostile to him. For the conscience of the wicked man is alone a sufficient punishment to him, inflicting cowardice on his soul from its own inmost feelings, as it feared blows.

From the same author.

Page 782. D. The life of the wicked man is subject to pain and sorrow, and full of fear; and in everything which it does according to the outward senses, it is mingled with fear and grief.

About monks who break their vows.

The words of Philo, from the Questions arising in Exodus.

Page 784. C. The reasoning of some persons is very rapidly satiated, who, though they have been borne upwards on wings for a little while, yet do presently return back again; not so much flying upwards, says Philo, as being dragged down again to the lowest depths of hell. But happy are they who do not draw back.

From the same author.

Page 784. C. Before now, some persons who have tasted happiness, being very speedily satiated, after they have given hopes of their being in health, have fallen back into the same disease as before.

From the same author, out of the Questions arising in Genesis.

Page 784. D. To commit perjury is impious and mischievous.

About good friends.

The words of Philo, out of the first book of the Questions arising in Exodus.

Page 788. I. We ought to look upon those men as our friends who are inclined to assist us, and to requite our kindnesses with kindness, even if they are destitute of power; for friendship is a thing which is seen more in moments of necessity, than in a steady conjunction or union of dispositions. So that in the case of each person who unites with another in an association of friendship, one may apply the expression of Pythagoras to him, and say, "A friend is a second I."

About the mercies of God.

The words of Philo, out of the first book of the Questions arising in Exodus.

Page 789. A. When the fruits of these crops which are raised from seed are in a state of perfection, they receive the beginnings of the generation of trees in order that the mercies of God may last for ever, and then that one continually succeeding the other, and connecting ends with beginnings and beginnings with ends, they may be in reality never ending.

From the second book of the same treatise.

Page 789. A. The mercies of God give us not only what is necessary, but also all such things as conduce to a more excessive and liberal enjoyment of life.

FRAGMENTS FROM A MONKISH MANUSCRIPT

About man: to show that God when he made him endowed him with free will.

It is said to you, O noble man, who live in obedience to the divine precepts, endeavour with all thy might not only to preserve the gifts which you have received unimpaired and unalloyed, but also think them worthy of all imaginable honour and regard, as being endowed with free will and independent power, so that he who has committed them to your charge may have no reason to find fault with you for having neglected to take proper care of them; and the Creator of the world has entrusted to your care to employ them according to your own deliberative purpose, a soul, and speech, and the outward senses. Therefore, those men who receive these gifts in a proper spirit, and who preserve them for him who has bestowed them on them, have kept their intellect carefully in such a way that it shall never think of anything else than of God and his virtues; and their speech in such a manner that with unwearied mouth it shall honour the Father of the universe with praises and hymns; and their outward senses in such a way that after they have represented to themselves the whole of the world which is perceptible to those senses, namely, the heaven and the earth, and the natures which are between those two, they may relate what they have been in a pure and guileless manner to the soul.

About people who are governed.

The words of Philo, from the fourth book of his Allegorical Interpretation of the Sacred Laws.

If you take away their resources of wealth from politicians, you will find nothing left but empty arrogance devoid of sense, for as long as there is an abundant supply of external good things, wisdom and presence of mind appear also to attend them, but when that plenty is taken away all appearance of wisdom is taken away at the same time.

About the best men.

From the same author, in his Treatise on Drunkenness.

Good men, to speak somewhat metaphorically, are of more value than whole nations, since they support cities and constitutions as buttresses support large houses.

From the same author.

If it depended on wicked men, no city would ever enjoy tranquillity; but states continue free from seditious troubles on account of the righteousness of one or two men who live in them, whose virtue is a remedy for the diseases of war, because God, who loves mankind, grants this effect as a reward to those who are virtuous and honourable, so that they should not only benefit themselves, but all who are near them.

From the same author.

There is no place upon earth more sacred than the mind of a wise man, while all the virtues hover around like so many stars.

About things which are uncertain and unknown to us.

The words of Philo.

The comprehension of the future does not belong to the nature of man.

From the same author.

All things are not known to the mortal race.

From the same author.

God alone is acquainted with the ultimate results of things.

About evil report.

Quiet, which is free from danger, is better than words, the object of which is only to give pleasure.

About self-satisfied people, etc.

The words of Philo.

The lawgiver says, "You shall not do all the things which we will do here this day, {4}{deuteronomy 12:28.} every one doing that which is pleasant in his own sight," by which words he declares as loudly as possible that there is no evil which may not be produced by selfishness and self-sufficiency, which must be eradicated from the mind as unholy feelings. Let no one embrace that which is pleasing to himself rather than that which is agreeable to nature, for the one is found to be the cause of mischief and the other the cause of benefit.

From the same author.

Those who do everything for their own sake alone practise selfishness, which is the greatest of evils, which produces unsociability, want of fellowship, unfriendliness, injustice, impiety, for nature has made man not like those beasts which love solitude, but like the gregarious beasts which live together like the most sociable of all creatures, that he may live not to himself alone, but also to his father, and to his mother, and to his brethren, and to his wife, and to his children, and to all his other relations and friends, and to those of the same borough as himself, and to those of the same tribe, and to his native country, and to his fellow countrymen, and to all mankind, and moreover to the different parts of the universe, and to the whole world, and much more to the Father and Creator of the world, for he must be (if at least he is really endowed with reason) sociable, loving the world, and loving God, that he may also be beloved by God.

About God being incomprehensible.

From the first book of the Questions arising in Exodus.

There are thousands and thousands, I do not say only of important matters, but also of those which appear to be most trivial, which escape the human intellect.

From the same author.

No one may so far yield to unreasonable folly as to boast that he has seen the invisible God.

About the doctrine that God has made angels to be guardians of us.

The words of Philo, from the first book of the Questions arising in Genesis.

As pillars support whole houses, so also do the divine powers support the whole world, and that most excellent and God-loving race of mankind.

About avoiding sin.

From the treatise on the Giants.

I think it absolutely impossible that no part of the soul should become tainted, not even the outer most and lowest parts of it, even if the man appears to be perfect among men.

About slowness of counsel.

Slow counsel is profitless, and change of purpose in extremities is mischievous.

About heretical teachers, etc.

From the same book.

A teacher of a good and virtuous disposition, even if he sees his pupils at first stiff-necked by nature, does not despair of producing in them a change for the better; but, like a good physician, he does not apply a remedy at once at the first moment of the disease attacking the patient, but he gives nature time that it may recede a little, so that he may first make ready the path to safety, and then apply healthful and salutary remedies. And in the same manner does the virtuous man apply the arguments and doctrines of philosophy.

If, when a pupil is first introduced to you, and first comes to learn of you, you hasten to eradicate all his ignorance at once, and attempt to introduce every kind of knowledge in a lump, you will produce the contrary effect to that which you desire, for it will not be likely that such an eradication, having taken place all in a moment, will continue effectual, nor that the pupil will be able at once to contain such an abundant influx and overflow of instruction; but being exceedingly perplexed and troubled, he will resist both these operations, that of eradicating one thing and that of introducing another; but the system of taking away his ignorance with gentleness and moderation, and of, in the same manner, gently instilling wisdom into the mind, will be the causes of admitted advantage.

About people who meditate and design mischief.

The words of Philo, from his treatise on Things Improperly Named.

The ordinary production or wickedness enslaves the mind, even if it has not as yet produced any perfect fruit; for it is, as the proverb says, washing a brick, or taking up water in a net, to try and eradicate wickedness out of the soul of man. For "behold," says Moses, "with what designs the minds of all men are Impressed."{5}{#ge 8:21.} And he speaks truly, for he does not say, what designs are attached to and adapted to it, but that which has been considered with care and deliberation is also explained with accuracy, and this too not slowly and with difficulty, but from man's earliest youth, or as one may almost say, from his very cradle, as if it were a part of him, kept in continual exercise.

About cowardly and wavering people.

Those who are unmanly from an innate effeminacy, falling down of their own accord before they meet with any opposition, are a disgrace and ridicule to themselves.

From the same author.

Wickedness in a foolish man has a twin offspring, for the foolish man is wavering and hesitating, mingling considerations together which ought not to be mingled, and humbling and confusing what ought to be kept distinct, having as many colours in his soul as a viper has in his body, and polluting even his sound thoughts with those which cause trouble and death.

From the same author.

The thoughts of a bad man are one thing, and his words another, and his actions indeed are many, but they are all inconsistent and at variance one with another, for he does not say what he thinks, and he has decided on the contrary of what he affirms, and he does things which are not consistent with his original designs, so that, to speak truly, one may say that the life of the wicked man is a life of enmity.

About distinctness.

The words of Philo.

That which is not distinct is unsuited to a free man, being the most shameful product of folly and haughtiness; for as distinctness in everything that is to be done is a mark of acuteness and wisdom, and deserves honour and praise, so also an absence of shame is a sign of folly and infamy, on which account the other definition which you disregard, classifies a man who is afflicted with this disease thus, saying, he is impious who does not know how to respect the face of an honourable man, nor to rise up in the presence of an elder, {6}{juvenal speaks of this as a custom of the ancient Romans.} nor to guide his own steps in the right way.

About those who serve God.

The servants of virtuous men submit to voluntary obedience to God, for they are not servants to human caprices, but to wise men; and he who is the servant of wisdom may justly be said to be also the servant of God.

About just men.

The words of Philo.

An irreconcileable and endless war is carried on by the atheists against the godly, so that they threaten them even with slavery.

About justice.

The words of Philo.

Justice, above all things, conduces to the safety both of mankind and of the parts of the world, earth and heaven.

About the judgments of God.

From the same author.

It is good to begin every day with divine and holy employments, and after that to proceed to the necessary duties of life. On this account God has commanded Us{7}{#de 6:7.} to take care to obey his commandments, and especially at the first moment of the dawn, as soon as we are risen, to pay our adoration to Him, that their offerings to God may precede every human occupation, having the recollection of God for their prompter and leader.

From the same author.

Every soul which piety fertilises with its own mysteries is necessarily awake for all holy services, and eager for the contemplation of those things which are worth being seen, for this is the feeling of the soul at the great festival, and this is the true season of joy.

About the difference between God and man.

The words of Philo.

The things of creation are far removed from the uncreated God, even though they are brought into close proximity following the attractive mercies of the Saviour.

About bold and brave men.

The words of Philo, from his treatise about the Giants.

It is a sign of courage not to be easily alarmed by the terrors of death, and to be full of cheerful confidence in dangers, and to be of valiant hardiness amid disasters, and to prefer dying with honour to being saved disgracefully, and to wish to be the cause of victory; and a happy boldness, and a cheerfulness of soul, and fortitude, are the attendants on a manly spirit.

About equality.

The words of Philo.

As an equality of measurement is the cause of the most perfect blessings, so also a want of measure is the cause of the greatest evils, as it dissolves that most useful bond of equality.

About drunkenness.

From the same author.

Inequality is a grievous thing and the cause of differences, just as equality is free from all annoyances and contributes to unite men for advantageous ends.

From the same author.

Obedience to the law and equality are the seeds of peace, and the causes of safety and continued durability; but inequality and covetousness are excitements to war, and dissolvers of all existing things.

About evil-doers.

The words of Philo.

Those things which chastise the first, are, if men are wise, preventatives of the second.

About the eye and sight.

The words of Philo, from the treatise about the Creation of the World.

The outward senses resemble windows; for through them, as through windows, the comprehension of the objects of the outward senses enters into the mind, and again through them the mind goes out to investigate such objects. But the sight is a part of these windows, that is to say, of the outward senses, since above all others it is akin to the soul, because it is nearly connected with the most beautiful of all things, namely light, and is a servant of divine things; and, indeed, that is the sense which first opened the way to philosophy. For when the eye had beheld the motions of the sun and moon, and the periodical revolutions of the stars, and the unvarying motions of the whole host of heaven, and the indescribable order and harmony of the whole universe, and the one unerring Creator of the world, it then related what it had seen to reason, as having the supreme authority; and reason, having beheld with a still more acutely piercing eye both these things, and things of a still more sublime character in their appearance and species, and the great cause of all things, it then immediately arrived at a due conception of God, and of creation, and of providence; considering that the whole nature of all things was not brought into existence of its own accord, but that of necessity it had a creator, and a father, and a guide, and a governor, who also created it, and who also preserves everything which he has created.

About contentment.

The words of the same author.

If you have a great deal of wealth, take care and do not be carried away by its overflow; but endeavour to take hold of some dry ground, in order to establish your mind with proper firmness; and this will be the proper exertion of justice and fairness. And if you should have abundant supplies of all the things requisite for the indulgence of those passions which lie beneath the belly, be not carried away by such plenty, but oppose to them a saving degree of contentedness, taking in this way dry ground to stand upon instead of an absorbing quicksand.

By the same author.

One should practise being contented with a little, for this is being near God; but the contrary habit is being very far from him.

About faith in and piety towards God.

The words of Philo.

What can be a real sacrifice except the piety of a soul devoted to the love of God? whose grateful feelings are made immortal by God, having conferred on them an immortal duration like that of the sun and the moon, and the whole world.

About wicked and impious men.

From the same author.

The hopes of wicked men are unstable, as they expect a good fate, but suffer a contrary destiny of which they are worthy.

About a bad conscience.

The words of Philo, from his treatise on Men and Things which are Improperly Named.

Who is there who does wrong who is not convicted by his own conscience as if he were in a court of justice, even though no man correct him?

About advisers.

The words of Philo, from the Questions in Genesis.

Since the mind of those who have not studied philosophy is blind with respect to many of the circumstances of life, one must take those who do see the character of affairs for one's guides.

About hasty talkers.

The words of Philo.

He who has not shame or fear for his companions, has an unbridled mouth and a licentious tongue.

About perfection.

The words of Philo.

Perfection and an absence of deficiency are found in God alone. But deficiency and imperfection exist in every man. For man is taught, even if he be the wisest of his race, by some other man, and he knows nothing without being taught by his own nature. And if one man has more knowledge than another, still he has it not naturally, but because of instruction which he has received.

About those who think lowlily of themselves.

The words of Philo.

These things are proved to be most completely natural, that the descent of the soul is its elation by means of self-conceit, and that its ascent and elevation is its return from arrogance.

From the same author.

It is desirable to eradicate self-conceit, which is the friend of endurance, and prudence, and justice, {8}{it is evident that there is great corruption in this and the next sentence.} and also to destroy overbearing pride; for it is no small proof and exercise of folly to study virtue in an illegitimate manner.

From the same author.

If you are puffed up by glory and authority so as to desire great things, then remember, like the skilful pilot of a ship, to take in your sails, that you may not be carried away into absurd conduct.

About sleep.

The words of Philo.

Sleep, according to the prophet, is a trance, not indeed in accordance with insanity, but proceeding from a relaxation of the outward senses and the retreat of reason; for at that time the outward senses cease from attaching themselves to their proper objects, and the mind is quiet, neither being any longer under the influence nor affording any motion to them, and they, being in consequence cut off from any energy because they are separated from the objects which are perceptible to them, are dissolved in a state of motionless inactivity.

From the same author.

Very naturally some who have been wise enough to arrive at correct notions of the truth, have described sleep as a thing to teach us to meditate upon death, and a shadow and outline of the resurrection which is hereafter to follow, for it bears in itself visible images of both conditions, for it removes the same man from his state of perfection and brings him back to it.

About promises, etc.

The words of Philo.

It is better absolutely never to make any promise at all than not to assist another willingly, for no blame attaches to the one, but great dislike on the part of those who are less powerful, and intense hatred and long enduring punishment from those who are more powerful, is the result of the other line of conduct.

About haughty men, etc.

From the first book of the Sacred Allegory of the Holy Laws.

Some persons say that the last thing which the wise man puts off is the tunic of vain glory, for even if a man gets the mastery over his other passions, still he is inclined by nature to be influenced by glory and the praises of the multitude.

From the same author.

Self-conceit is an impure thing by nature.

About promises, etc.

The words of Philo.

To give thanks to God is intrinsically right, but not to do so to him in the first place, and not to begin with the first reasons for gratitude, is blameable, for it is not right to give the chief honour to the creation, and the inferior honour to God, who is the giver of all things in the creation; and indeed that is a most culpable division, inasmuch as it is laying down a certain disorder of order.

About envy.

The words of Philo.

Envy naturally attaches itself to whatever is great.

About industrious people.

The words of the same author.

The most perfect and greatest of all good things are usually the result of laborious exercise and energetic vigorous labour.

From the same author.

It is absurd for a man who is in the pursuit of honours to flee from labours by which honours are acquired.

About the soul and the mind.

From the same author.

What is the meaning of the expression, "You shall not eat the flesh in the blood of the Soul?"{9}{#ge 9:4.} God appears by this expression to intend to show that the blood is the essence of the soul, that is to say, of the soul endowed with the outward senses, not the soul spoken of in the most excellent sense of the word, that is to say, as far as it is endued with reason and intellect; for there are three divisions of the soul, one part being nutritious, a second being endued with the outward senses, and the third being endued with reason. Accordingly the divine Spirit is the essence of the rational portion, according to the sacred historian of the creation of the world, for he says that "God breathed into his face the breath of Life."{10}{#ge 2:9.} But of that part which is endued with the outward senses, and which has the revivifying power, blood is the essence, for he says in another place that "the soul of all flesh is the Blood;"{11}{#de 12:23.} but what is connected with the flesh is the outward sense and the passions, and not the mind and the intellect; not but what that expression, "in the blood of the soul," also indicates that the soul is one thing and the body another. So that in real truth the breath is the essence of the soul, but it has not any place of itself independently of the blood, but it resembles and is combined with blood.

About the assistance of God.

The words of Philo, from the fourth book of his treatise on the Allegories contained in the Sacred

Laws.

The extremity of happiness is the assistance of God, for there can be no such thing as want when God gives his aid.

About the creation of the world.

From the same author, from the first book of the Questions arising in Genesis.

It is impossible that the harmony, and arrangement, and reason, and analogy, and that all the great accord and real happiness which we see existing in the world can have been originated by themselves, for it follows inevitably that these things must have had a creator, and a father, and a regulator and governor, who generated them in the first place, and who now preserves what he has generated.

About the church of God.

From the same author.

God wishing to send down from heaven to the earth an image of his divine virtue, out of his compassion for our race, that it might not be destitute of a more excellent portion, and that he might thus wash off the pollutions which defile our miserable existence, so full of all dishonour, established his church among us.

About seeking God.

From the same author, from the last book of the Questions arising in Exodus.

The one most powerful relaxation of the soul leads to the sacred love of the one living God, teaching mankind to take God as its guide in all their plans, and words, and actions.

From the same author.

The extremity of happiness is to rest unchangeably and immovably on God alone.

About the last day.

The words of Philo, from the second book of the Questions arising in Exodus.

The stars are turned round and revolve in a regular circle, some proceeding on in the same manner through the whole heaven, and others have special eccentric motions of their own.

About the detestation of wickedness felt by God.

The words of Philo, from the second book of the Questions arising in Exodus.

Some men think that repentance appears at times to take possession of God on account of the oaths which he has sworn, but they do not form correct notions; for apart from the fact that the Deity does not change, neither the expression, "God repented," nor that, "And it grieved him at the Heart,"{12}{#ge 6:6.} is indicative of repentance, for the Deity is unchangeable; but they only show the character of the pure intellect which is now deeply meditating on the cause for which he created man upon the earth.

By the same author, from the same book.

There is no hesitation and no envy in God; but he often uses expressions indicative of hesitation or of uncertainty from a reference to man, who is susceptible of such feelings; for as I have often said, there are altogether two supreme sources; in the one case God does not speak as man speaks, in the other he instructs man as a man instructs his son, the former being a sign of his power, the second of the way in which he teaches and guides man.

About promises.

The words of Philo, from the last book of the Questions arising in Exodus.

He who does not offer to God first fruits of his own free will does not really offer first fruits at all, even if he brings everything which is great, with a most royal abundance of treasure; for the real first fruits consist not in the things offered, but in the pious disposition of him who offers them.

About the mildness of God and his love for mankind.

The words of Philo, from the Questions arising in Exodus.

The mercies of God do always outstrip justice, for the work which he has chosen for himself is that of doing good, and the task of punishing follows that; and it is common, when great evils are about to arise, for an abundance of great and numerous blessings to happen first.

FRAGMENTS PRESERVED BY ANTONIUS

SER. I.

The virtues alone know how to regulate the affairs of men.

The contemplation of virtue is exceedingly beautiful, and actions according to it, and the exercise of it, are desirable above all things.

SER. II.

If you wish to have a good reputation in a twofold manner, then honour exceedingly those who are doing well, and reprove those who are doing ill.

SER. VIII.

When you are entreated to pardon offences, pardon willingly those who have offended against you, because indulgence given in requital for indulgence, and reconciliation with our fellow servants, is a means of averting the divine anger.

SER. IX.

The virtuous man is a lover of his race, and he is merciful and inclined to pardon, and never bears ill will towards any man whatever, but thinks it right to surpass in doing good rather than in injuring.

What is beautiful is then beautiful, when a man has no need of the assistance of another, but when he contains in himself all the signs of excellence as his own.

SER. X.

It is well that the worse should always follow the better, on account of the hope of improvement.

SER. XI.

One ought to call a city, and a country, and a house, happy, when they contain a virtuous man; and one ought to call those miserable, when they have no such man within them.

SER. XVI.

Those who are tyrannical in their natures, but without power, make their designs succeed by treachery.

SER. XX.

The friendships of the wicked are mischievous, and very often the soul of such men, being influenced by such associations, takes the impressions of downright insanity.

It is not the country which makes men bad, or the city which makes them good, but the habits of living with such and such men.

SER. XXVIII.

One need not dread the blow of a weak man, nor the threat of a fool.

Light-minded men, like empty vessels, may easily be taken and moved by their ears.

SER. XXX.

Nothing that is done can be beautiful without scientific contemplation, for knowledge is the offspring of counsel, but folly is the source of all evils.

Every argument on behalf of justice is superfluous, when those who listen are unanimous in a bad object.

SER. XXXVIII.

The wicked man disturbs the city, and is eager for the confusion and the disorder of all men and all things within the city; for a desire of interference, and covetousness, and the acts of a demagogue, and the influence with the populace, are looked upon as honours by such a man, and quiet he looks upon with disdain.

Excellence is a thing difficult to find, or rather is absolutely undiscoverable in a troubled life.

SER. XLIII.

There is nothing so calculated to cause good will as kind words, on account of good actions.

SER. XLVII.

It is sufficient not to bear witness one's self, but that which stands in need of the advocacy of another is inadequate to bring conciliation to the mind.

SER. LII.

Reject with aversion the deceitful words of flatterers, for they, obscuring reason, do not contribute to the truth of things; for either they praise actions which are deserving of blame, or else they often blame things beyond all praise.

SER. LVI.

Peace is the greatest blessing which no man is able to afford, since this is a divine action.

SER. LVII.

Behave to your servants in the same manner in which you desire that God should behave to you; for as we hear them we shall be heard by him, and as we regard them we shall be regarded by him. Let us therefore let our compassion outrun compassion, that we may receive a like requital from him for our mercy to them.

SER. LXIX.

How great a relief of nature is sleep, it is the image of death, and the rest of the outward senses.

Sleep is one thing only, but the desire of it has many reasons and causes; I mean from nature, from food, from fate, and perhaps also from excessive and intense fasting, by means of which the flesh, becoming unnerved and deprived of strength, wishes to recover itself for subsequent actions by means of sleep.

As much drinking is called a habit, so is much sleep, and it is difficult to get rid of an inveterate habit.

SER. LXXIV.

Pardon is apt to engender repentance.

SER. LXXIX.

Shamelessness is the characteristic of a worthless man, and modesty of a virtuous man, but never to feel either ashamed or bold is a mark of one who is slow of comprehension, and who is without the power of giving assent.

SER. LXXXII.

Since God penetrates invisibly in the region of the soul, let us prepare that region in the best manner that we are able to, or rather that it may be a habitation fit for God, otherwise, without our being aware of it, God will depart and remove to some other abode.

The mind of a wise man is the house of God, and he is called, in an especial manner, the God of all mankind, as the prophet says when speaking of the mind of a wise man, he calls it "that in which God Walks,"{13}{#le 26:12.} as in a palace.

What is visible and actually before us is comprehended by the eyes, but the pure faculty of reason extends even to what is unseen and future.

SER. LXXXVII.

God who is merciful by nature will never exonerate from guilt the man who swears falsely for an unrighteous object, as such a man is impure and defiled, even though he may escape the punishments inflicted by men.

SER. XCIX.

Those things which are kept in the dark for a while by envy, are at last released and brought to light.

SER. CIV.

In his essential character a king is equal to every man, but in the power of his authority and rank he is equal to God who ruleth over all things; for there is nothing on earth that is higher than he. Therefore it becomes him as being a mortal not to be too much elated, and as being a kind of God not to yield too much to passion; for if he is honoured as being of the likeness of God, nevertheless he is in some degree entangled in terrestrial and vile dust, by means of which he should learn simplicity and meekness towards all men.

SER. CXVI.

A severe master is best for untractable and foolish servants; for they, fearing his threats and punishments, though against their will, are made to do right by fear.

SER. CXVIII.

It is the greatest praise of a servant to neglect nothing which his master commands, but to attempt with an honest heart to perform in a proper and successful manner, even if it be beyond his power, all that is commanded him with energy and without hesitation.

SER. CXXIII.

When once the wife of Philo was asked in an assembly of many women why she alone of all her sex did not wear any golden ornaments, she replied: "The virtue of a husband is a sufficient ornament for his wife."

SER. CXXX.

The virtues of children are the glory of their fathers.

Those who are well acquainted with what is honourable and virtuous, are happy in their children.

SER. CXXXV.

To drink poison out of a golden goblet, and to take advice from a foolish friend, is the same thing.

New vessels are better than old ones, but old friendship is better than new.

The fruits produced by the earth come once a year; but those which we derive from friendship are to be gathered on every occasion. Many men select for their friends not those who are the most virtuous, but those who are rich.

Many who appear to be friends are not so, and many who do not appear to be such are so in reality; but it is the part of a wise man to discern both these classes.

SER. CLII.

Youth which is not willing to work is laying up misfortunes for old age.

SER. CLVI.

What is bad is, not being punished here, but being worthy of punishment hereafter.

SER. CXXXV.

God has implanted hope in the human race that, having a comfort innate in them, those who have committed errors which are not irremediable may feel their sorrows lightened.

SER. CLXXXII.

Pleasure appears to be an equable kind of motion, but in reality it both is and is found to be rough.

THE FOLLOWING FRAGMENTS ARE FROM AN ANONYMOUS COLLECTION IN THE

BODLEIAN LIBRARY AT OXFORD

EXTRACTS FROM PHILO

About friends.

A steadiness towards one's friends is a sign of a general stability of disposition, on which account one ought not to form friendship till one has carefully tested the characters of those with whom he proposes to form it; for not only is the forming of such friendship pleasant, but so also is the feeling that one has not to bear by one's self burdens which oppress the soul, and not to depart from the association; for he who is the cause of differences in friendship is not known to the generality of men, but he is accustomed to bring common blame upon both parties, and very commonly on the innocent party more than on the guilty one.

Of secret things, you may share with mean persons those which increase your virtue; but as to those which deteriorate your mind, you must not pursue them yourself, nor impute them to your friends.

The life of man is like a sea, it is liable to every description of agitation and change, even in the height of prosperity; for nothing earth-born is firmly established, but all such things are carried about to and fro, like a vessel which is driven about in the sea by contrary winds.

About sin.

Let us fear not the diseases which come upon us from without, but those offences on which account diseases come, diseases of the soul rather than of the body.

About pain.

Every foolish man is in a strait, being oppressed by covetousness, and love of glory, and desire of pleasure, and things of that sort, which do not allow the mind freedom of motion.

About gluttony.

The sons of the physicians have laid it down as a maxim that regularity is the parent of a healthy condition of the body, paying but little attention to the health of the soul; but we lay it down that regularity is not only destructive of all diseases of the body, but much more do we recognise the fact that the truest health is that which destroys the passions which injure the soul.

About custom and familiarity.

An inveterate habit is more powerful than nature, and little things, if they are not hindered, grow up and increase and become of a large size.

THE FOLLOWING FRAGMENTS ARE FROM AN UNPUBLISHED MANUSCRIPT IN THE LIBRARY

OF THE FRENCH KING

From the works of the Hebrew Philo, on #Ge 6:7.

Why is it that God, when he threatens to extirpate mankind, does also destroy the irrational animals? Because the irrational animals were not originally created designedly for their own sakes, but for the sake of man, and to perform services of which he might be in need; and when man was destroyed it followed naturally that they should also be destroyed at the same time, when the beings for whose sake they had been created were no longer in existence.

From the same author, on #Ge 17:14.

The law does not treat any action done involuntarily as guilty, since it even pardons a man who has committed murder unintentionally; but if a child is not circumcised eight days after its birth, what evil has it done so as to be subjected to the punishment of death? Therefore some persons say that the manner of the punishment is to be referred to its parents, and think that they ought to be punished severely as having neglected the commandments of the law; and others think that it is by an excess of indignation that God is here represented as inflicting punishment, as far as appearance goes, on the child, in order that this inevitable punishment may be inflicted on those people of mature age who have violated the law.

Not because the action of circumcision is important in itself, but because if that is neglected the covenant itself is treated with contempt when the seal by which it is recognised and ratified is not made perfect.

From the same author, on #Ge 19:23.

Why did the sun go forth upon the land when Lot entered into Segor? And he says the very same place is a safety for those who are making progress, and a punishment to those who are inwardly wicked. And again the moment that the sun rises in the beginning of the day it brings with it justice; wishing to show that the sun, and the day, and the light, and everything else in the world which is beautiful and honourable, are given only to the virtuous and to no worthless man who embraces incurable wickedness.

From the same author, on #Ge 27:2427.

Having been spies rather than friends under truce, and being prepared for either alternative; for war if they saw that the other was weak, and for peace if they found him stronger than themselves.

From the same author, on #Ge 26:28, etc.

These are the covenants which they made, not to be destroyed as the other nations had been, and the Philistines were at a subsequent period by the Israelites; whom the holy scriptures call sometimes Canaanites, and sometimes Cappadocians; but afterwards the Cappadocians emigrated.

From the same author, on #Ge 26:30.

Not on account of praise, for the wise man is not attracted by flattery or by any other kind of subserviency, but because he has accepted their repentance.

From the same author, on #Ge 27:6, etc.

When he had two sons, the one good and the other guilty, he says that he will bless the guilty one, not because he preferred him to the good one, but because he knew that the other one could do right by himself, but that the other was convicted by his own disposition, and had no hope whatever of salvation except in the prayers of his father; and if he did not obtain them, then he would be the most miserable of all men.

From the same author, on #Ge 27:11, etc.

It is proper here to admire also the good will of his mother, who confessed herself willing to take upon herself the cause for his sake, in order that her son might have the honour to which the two were entitled, for she is carried away by her affection for both of them; for she had feared his father, lest she should be looked upon as imposing on him, and to be filching away the honour to which the other was entitled; and his mother, lest he should be considered by her as disobedient to her when she urged him vehemently; on which account he says, with great prudence and propriety, Will not my father curse me? and I shall be bringing a curse on myself. He had confidence because of the promise of God, which said, "The elder shall serve the younger." But, on the other hand, he feared as a man, lest the blessing of his father, as a just man, should overturn the assertion of God.

From the same author, on #Ge 27:30.

He is not so indignant at his disappointment in not obtaining the blessings, as at the fact of his brother having been thought worthy of them; for being of an envious disposition, he regarded his want of success as more desirable than even his own advantage, and he shows this by his great and bitter lamentations, and by his subsequent exclamation, "Bless me now also, O my father."

From the same author.

But if he obtained it by fraud, a man will be inclined to say, he was not to be praised. What then does his father say? "And he shall be blessed." But he appears by what he here says to intimate, in an enigmatical and obscure manner, that it does not follow that every stratagem is blameable, since guardians of the night when they lie in wait for robbers, and generals when they form ambuscades for enemies whom they would not be able to subdue by open force, appear to act rightly: and what are called stratagems proceed on the same principle as the contests of wrestlers, for in these cases too tricks are accounted honourable; and those who by trickery get the better of their antagonists are thought worthy of the prize, and of the crown of victory; so that it is not a charge against a man to say, he has done a thing by trick, but it is rather a panegyric, being equivalent to saying, he has done it skilfully, for the virtuous man does not do anything unskilfully.

From the same author, on #Ex 20:25.

What is the meaning of "thy dagger," and what comes next? Those who by their nature venture to make improper attempts, and who by their own private endeavours metamorphose the works of nature, defile what ought not to be defiled, for all the things of nature are perfect and complete, and stand in need of no addition.

From the same author, on #Ex 22:19.

He shows most evidently that he is a proselyte, inasmuch as he is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, but in the pleasures and appetites, and all the other passions of the soul; for the Hebrew race was not circumcised in Egypt, but being ill-treated with every imaginable circumstance of ill-treatment by the natural cruelty of the natives of the country to strangers, it nevertheless lived among them with fortitude and patience, and that no more from compulsion than voluntarily, because of the refuge which it possessed in God the saviour, who, sending down his beneficent power, delivered his suppliants from their difficult and apparently inextricable troubles. On this account Moses adds, "For you know the soul of a Proselyte."{14}{#ex 23:10.} Now what is the mind of a proselyte? a forsaking of the opinions of the worshippers of many gods, and a union with those who honour the one God, the Father of the universe. In the second place, some persons call foreigners also proselytes, and those are strangers who have come over to the truth in the same manner with those who have been sojourners in Egypt; for the one are strangers newly arrived in the country, but the last are strangers also to the customs and laws, but the common name of proselytes is given to both.

From the same author, on #Ex 22:22.

It is forbidden to injure a widow and orphan, for these are under the protection of the especial providence of God, since they are deprived of their natural protectors and guardians, for God wills that those who enjoy natural associations should make amends to the others from their own abundance of resources.

From the same author, on #Ex 23:1.

He says that we must not approach folly or falsehood, either with the ears or with any other of the outward senses, for great injuries are the result of being deceived; on which account some lawgivers have forbidden any one to give hearsay evidence, since the truth is confirmed by eyesight, but falsehood by hearing.

From the same author, on #Ex 23:6.

Poverty by itself claims compassion, in order to correct its deficiencies, but when it comes to judgment, it then has for the arbitrator the law of equity, for justice is a divine and incorruptible thing, on which account it is expressly affirmed in another passage that the judgment of God is Just.{15}{#de 32:4.}

From the same author, on #Ex 23:18.

Instead of saying leavened bread must not come among the things which are offered, but all things which are brought as a sacrifice or an offering must be unleavened, he intimates two most necessary things by an obscure and symbolical expression; one being to despise pleasure, for leaven is the seasoning of food and not food itself; and the other being that it is not right for men to be elated, because of being puffed up by vain self-conceit; for each is a wicked state, and pleasure and selfconceit are both the offspring of one mother, deceit.

The blood of the sacrifices is a proof of a soul making its offerings to God; and it is not in accordance with the divine law that things which will not unite should be mingled together.

From the same author, on #Ex 23:20.

One must suppose that the angel mentioned a little before indicated the voice of God; for the prophet is the messenger of the Lord, who is the real speaker; for it is inevitable that he who hears with his ears, that is to say who firmly receives what is said, must also accomplish what is said to him by his actions; for an action is the proof of what is said; and he who is obedient to what is said, and who performs actions corresponding to his orders, must of necessity have him who has commanded him for his ally and champion, who in appearance indeed brings assistance to his pupil, but in reality to his own doctrines and commandments, ... which his enemies and adversaries seek to overthrow.

From the same author, on #Ex 23:24.

Pillars symbolically mean the doctrines which appear to stand and to be firmly established. Now of the doctrines established in this firm way, some are good, which ought to be stored up and to be fixed in a most lasting manner; but others are open to blame, and such it is desirable should be overthrown. But the expression, "overthrowing you will overthrow, and destroying you will destroy," has such a meaning as the following. Some men pull down some things as if they meant to raise them again, and destroy some things as if they meant at a future time to re-establish them. But God wills that what has been once destroyed and pulled down shall never be raised or re-established again, but shall be utterly destroyed and for ever, as being contrary to what is good or beautiful.

From the same author, on #Ex 23:28.

And we ought to consider that the wasps are a sign of unexpected power coming by the divine mission; which, bringing down its blows from high places so as to reach the extremity of the ear, takes a good aim with all its strokes, and regulating them well will meet with no failure whatever itself.

From the same author, on #Ex 23:31.

These things God announced to them, if they obeyed him and kept his commandments. But when they were found to be transgressing and disobedient to the divine law, he then contracted his promise from Dan to Beersheba.

From the same author, on #Ex 24:9, 10.

The express command as uttered has a subsequent proposition evident, as all were preserved in safety. But the real meaning is that they all were of one mind in respect of piety and differed in no good thing.

From the same author, on #Ex 24:10.

When he speaks of the seventy men he means those with Moses, and Aaron, and Nadab, and Abihu. And the statement that they did not differ, rather shows that they all equally saw the place where God had stood, than that nothing was left.

From the same author, on #Ex 24:13.

He is most manifestly offended with those who being near thought, out of their impiety or folly, that the motions of the Deity were those of peace, and belonging to the act of changing his abode; for behold he says expressly, not that the God who exists in essence, and who is duly thought of in respect of his existence, came down, but that his glory came down. And the acceptation of the word glory may be twofold; for in one sense it may signify the presence of his powers, since the power of his army is spoken of as the glory of a king; and in another sense it may refer to the appearance of him alone, and to the apprehension of his divine glory; so that an idea of the actual arrival of God may have been created in the minds of those who were present, as if he had come in order to give a most undeniable information to the laws which were about to be given.

From the same author, on #Ex 24:17.

But he says that the appearance of the glory of the Lord is very like unto flame, or rather not that it is so, but that it appears like it to the beholders; since God shows what he chose to appear to be, in order to strike the beholders with amazement without in reality being what he appeared. Accordingly he brings him before the face of the children of Israel, affirming in the plainest language that it was an appearance as of flame, but not a real flame. But as flame consumes every material which is exposed to it, so also when the true conception of God once enters into the soul, it destroys all the heterodox reasonings of impiety, and purifies and sanctifies the whole mind.

From the same author, on #Ex 24:18.

Because the generation which had thus quitted its former abode was about to be condemned, and to wander in a state of desolation for forty years, having received innumerable benefits, but having displayed its ingratitude in still more countless instances.


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