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to having committed no new crimes, has also endeavoured to wash off his old misdeeds, come cheerfully before him ; but let the man who is without any such preparation, and who is impure, keep aloof. For he will never escape the notice of him who can look into the recesses of the heart, and who walketh in its most secret places.
III. Now the most evident sign of a soul devoted to God is that song in which that expression occurs, " She that was barren has bornu seven children, and she that had many children has become weak." * And yet she who is speaking is in reality only the mother of one son, namely, of Samuel. How then does she say that she has borne seven children, unless indeed any one thinks that the unit is in its strictest nature identical with the number seven, not only in number, but also in the harmony of the universe, and in the reasonings of the soul which is devoted to virtue? For he who was devoted to the one God, that is Samuel, and who had no connection whatever with any other being, is adorned according to that essence which is single and the real unit; and this is the constitution of the number seven, that is to say, of the soul that rests in God, and which no longer concerns itself about any mortal employment, when it has quitted the number six which it allotted to those who were not able to attain to the first rank, but who of necessity contented themselves with arriving at the second.
It is therefore not incredible that the barren woman, not being one who is incapable of becoming fruitful, but one who is still vigorous and fresh, striving for the chief reward in the arena of fortitude, patience, and perseverance, may bring forth a seven, equal in honour to the unit, of which numbers, nature is very productive and prolific. And she says, that “she that had many children has become weak," speaking accurately and very plainly. For when the soul, although only one, brings forth many children when separated from the one, it then naturally becomes infinite in number; and then being weighed down and overwhelmed by the multitude of children who depend upon it, (and the greatest part of them are premature and abortive), it becomes weak. For it brings forth the desire of. forms and colours, as gratified by the eyes, and the pleasures. arising from sound, as gratified by the ears. It is pregnant
1 Samuel u. 5.
also of the pleasures of the belly and of the parts beneath the belly, so that, as many children are attached to it, it becomes exhausted by bearing this heavy burden, and drops its hands from weakness, and faints away. And in this way it comes to pass that all those things are subdued which bring forth perishablo children to themselves, who are likewise perishable.
IV. But some persons, through their self-love, have incurred not only defeat but even death also. At all events Onan, “ knowing that the seed should not be his, "* did not desist from injuring the rational principle, which is the best thing in kind of all existing things, until he himself met with utter destruction. And this, too, very properly and deservedly; for if some men do all things for the sake of themselves alone, not with a view to the honour of their parents, or the proper regulation of their children, or the salvation of their country, or the guardianship of the laws, or the preservation of good morals, or with a view to the due performance of any public or private duty, or of a proper celebration of sacred rites, or the pious worship due to the gods, they will be deservedly miserable. For the sake of one of the objects which I have mentioned, it is glorious even to quit life itself. But these men say that, unless they are likely to gain some pleasure by the pursuit of them, they would disregard the whole lot of them glorious objects as they are.
Therefore, the incorruptible God banishes the wicked exposition of unnatural opinion, which is named Onan. And alto. gether these persons are to be detested who beget children for themselves, that is to say, who, pursuing their own privato advantage alone, disregard all other objects, as if they had been born for themselves alone, and not for ten thousand other persons also, for their fathers, and their mothers, and their wives, and their children, and their country, and for all man. kind. And if we must go further and add any thing to this enumeration, we may say for heaven, and earth, and the whole universe, and for the sciences, and for the virtues, and for the Father and Ruler of all; to every one of which a man ought to pay what is due to the best of his power, not looking upon all the world as an addition to himself, but on himself as an addition to the rest of the world.
Genesis xxxviii. 9.
V. However, we have said enough on this bead ; let us now connect what follows with it :
• The Lord God, therefore,” says Moses,“ seeing that the wickedvess of man was multiplied upon the earth, and that every one of them was carefully studying wickedness in his heart all his days ; God considered in his mind that he had made man upon the earth, and he thought upon it; and God said, I will destroy man whom I have made from off the face of the earth."* Perhaps some very wicked persons will sus. pect that the lawgiver is here speaking enigmatically, when he says that the Creator repented of having created man, when he beheld their wickedness ; on which account he determined to destroy the whole race. But let those who adopt such opinions as these know, that they are making light of and extenuating the offences of these men of old time, by reason of their own excessive impiety; for what can be a greater act of wickedness than to think that the unchangeable God can be changed? And this, too, while some persons think that even those who arę really men do never hesitate in their opinions, for that those, who have studied philosophy in a sincere and pure spirit, have derived as the greatest good arising from their knowledge, the absence of any inclination to change with the changes of affairs, and the disposition, with all immovable firmness and sure stability, to labour at every thing that it becomes them to pursue.
VI. And it seems good to the lawgiver that the perfect man shold should desire tranquillity; for it was said to the wise man in the character of God, “ But stand thou here with me,"t this expression showing the unchangeable and unalterable nature of the mind which is firmly established in the right way; for it is really marvellous when any one touches the soul, like a lyre tuned in musical principles, not with sharp and flat sounds, but with an accurate knowledgo of contrary tones, and employing only the best, not sounding any too loudly, nor on the other hand letting any be too weak, so as to impair the harmony of the virtues and of those things which are good by nature, and when he, preserving it in an equal condition plays and sings melodiously; for this instrument nature has made to be the most perfect of all, and to be the model of all instruments made by the hand. And if this • Gonesis vi. 6.
+ Deuteronomy v. 81.
le properly tuned, it will utter the most exquisite of all symphonies, which consists not in the combination and tones of a melodious voice, but in a harmonious agreement of all the actions in life; therefore, as the soul of man can allay the excessive storm and swell of the sea, which the violent and irresistible gule of wickedess has suddenly raised, by the gentle breezes of knowledge and wisdom, and having mitigated its swelling and boisterous fury, enjoys trauquillity resting in an unruffled calm. Do you doubt whether the imperishable, and everlasting, and blessed God, the Being endowed with all the virtues, and with all perfection, and with all happiness is unchangeable in his counsels, and whether he abides by the designs which he originally formed, without changing any of them. Facility of change is indeed an attributo of man, which is of necessity incidental to their nature by reason of its external want of firmness; as in this way, for instance:--often when we have chosen friends, and have lived some short time with them, without having any thing to accuse them of, we then turn away from them, so as to place ourselves in the rank of enemies, or at least of strangers to them; now this conduct shows the facility and lovity of ourselves, who are unable steadily to adhere to the professions which we originally made ; but God is not so easily sated or wearied.
Again there are times when we determine to abide by the same judgment that we have formed; but those who join us do not equally abide by theirs, so that our opinions of necessity change as well as theirs; for it is impossible for us, who are but men, to foresee all the contingencies of future events, or to anticipate the opinions of others; but to God, as dwelling in pure light, all things are visible; for he penetrating into the very recesses of the soul, is able to 800, with the most perfect certainty, what is invisible to others, and being possessed of prescience and of providence, his own peculiar attributes, he allows nothing to abuse its liberty, and to stray out of the reach of his comprehension, since with him, there is no un. certanty even in the future, for there is nothing uncertain nor even future to God.
It is plain therefore that the creator of all created things, and the maker of all the things that have ever been made, and the governor of all the things which are subject to
government, must of necessity be a being of universal knowledge; and he is in truth the father, and creator, and gorernor of all things in heaven and in the whole world ; and indeed future events are overshadowed by the distance of future time, which is sometimes a short and sometimes a long interval. But God is the creator of time also; for he is the father of its father, and the father of time is the world, which made its own mother the creation of time, so that time stands towards God in the relation of a grandson ; for this world is a younger son of God, inasmuch as it is perceptible by the outward sense ; for the only son he speaks of as older thau the world, is idea, and this is not perceptible by the intellect; but having thought the other worthy of the rights of primogeniture, he has decided that it shall remain with him; therefore, this younger son, perceptible by the external senses being set in motion, has caused the nature of time to shine forth, and to become conspicuous, so that there is nothing future to God, who has the very boundaries of time subject to bim ; for their life is not time, but the beautiful model of time, eternity; and in eternity nothing is past and nothing is future, but everything is present only.
VII. Having therefore now sufficiently discussed the quest tion of the living God never knowing repentauce, it comes next in order for us to explain what is the meaning of the expression, "God considered that he had made man upon the earth, and he thought within himself." Then the creator of the world, having attached to himself the two most lasting powers of cogitation and deliberation-the one being a conception conceived within his own breast, and the other the discussion of such conception—and since he continually employs them for the contemplation of his own works, those things which do not leave their appointed station he praises for their obedience, but those which change their place he pursues with the punishment appointed for deserters; for some bodies he has endowed with habit, others with nature, others with soul, and some with rational soul; for instance, he has bound stones and beams, which are torn from their kindred materials, with the most powerful bond of habit; and this habit is the inclination of the spirit to return to itself; for it begins at the middle and
• I have followed Mangey, who proposes to read idlay here but the sending in the text is ovoeva.