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VII. On the Useful or the Ordinary

The bread is Christ or conversation of the Lord; in the gospel: I am the living bread. [John 6:41]

The wine is the same as above; in Solomon: and drink this wine, which I have blended for you. [Prov. 9:5]

Olive oil is mercy or the Holy Spirit; in the psalm: I have anointed him with my holy oil. The same in another part: Let not the oil of the sinner, that is, admiration, touch my head. [Ps. 88(89):21(20); Ps. 140(141):5]

Pork is sin; in the psalm: they are sated with pork. [Ps. 16(17):14 (unknown variant)]

Yeast that does not ferment is inquity; in the apostle: in the yeast of sincerity and truth. [I Cor. 5:8]

The best flour is purity of mind and strength of love; in Leviticus: if the soul offers a gift of sacrifice to God, let its gift be the finest flour. [Lev. 2:1]

A small baked cake is an oblation of humility; in Genesis: make haste, sprinkle three measures of the best flour, and make little cakes. [Gen. 18:6]

Milk is sincerity of mind; in the letter of Peter: reasonably long for milk, without pain. The same in another part: I gave you milk to drink, not food; yet you will not drink it. Here milk is a small amount of understanding. [I Peter 2:2; I Cor. 3:2]

Rennet is insensitivity to life; in the psalm: their heart is like milk gone sour. [Ps. 118(119):70 Vulgate]

Salt is the seasoning of wisdom; in the gospel: you are the salt of the earth. [Matt. 5:13]

Honey is the sweet teaching of God; in the psalm: how much sweeter your eloquence is to my throat, O Lord, than honey is in my mouth. The same in Solomon: finding honey, eat as much as is enough, lest you vomit in overabundance, that is, lest you seek what is too great for you. [Ps. 118(119):103; Prov. 25:16; Eccl. 3:22]

Bile is the love of injustice; in the psalm: they gave me bile for food. [Ps. 68(69):22(21) Vulgate]

Vinegar is the roughness of a corrupt mind; in the psalm: and in my thrist, they gave me vinegar to drink. [Ps. 68(69):22(21)]

Pitch is inequity and blackness of offenses: in Solomon: he who touches pitch is defiled from it. [Eccl. 13:1]

Strong drink is the completion of a specific inquity; in the gospel: he will not drink wine or strong drink. [Luke 1:15]

The wine cup is the passion of the Lord; in the psalm: I will take up the cup of salvation. [Ps. 115(116):13]

New wine is the sincerity of the just or the truth or the fire of faith; in the psalm: it is mixed fully with wine and new wine. [Ps. 74(75):9(8) Vulgate]

The dregs are the last of the righteous; in the psalm: truly his dregs are not emptied. [Ps. 74(75):9(8) Vulgate]

Food is discourse or the will of God; in the gospel: my food is doing the will of my Father who sent me. [John 4:34]

Drink is the same as above; in the psalm: You give them drink of the fountain of Your will, that is, of the Holy Spirit. The same in another part: the kingdom of God is not food and drink. [Ps. 35(36):9(8) Vulgate; Rom. 14:17]

The granary is the reservoir of the heart; in the canticle of Deuteronomy: in fear in the granary. [Deut. 33:16]

The knapsack is anxiety about the means of living; in the gospel: I will not perish in the way. [Matt. 10:10]

The purse is stored up treasure in God; in the gospel: make your purses which shall not grow old. And in another part: let us have a common purse, that is, desire {for the Lord}. [Luke 12:33; Prov. 1:14]

Money is the divine word; in the gospel: therefore, you ought to have sent my money out to the exchangers. [Matt. 25:27]

A pelt of sheepskin is the people; in the psalm: and let him descend as rain upon a pelt of sheepskin. [Ps. 71(72):6 Vulgate]

Linen is spiritual strength or candor; in Exodus: next you will prepare tunics of linen for the sons of Aaron. [Ex. 28:40]

The bottle is the form of the human body; in the gospel: one ought to put new wine in new bottles. [Luke 5:38]

Flour is good work or knowledge; in the gospel: the wife hid it in three measures of flour. [Luke 13:21]

The millstone is conversion of life; in the gospel: two are milling in a millstone. The stones of the millstone can mean the two testaments, through which with labor the wheat sown with the old instrument is made into the flour of the gospel. [Matt. 24:41]

Here, therefore, the names which occur in the text of the holy readings are translated, literally or broadly, with accepted keys, that we may articulate them; I allow that many meanings may come out in diversity of person, time, and place. Let them be brought out in metaphors congruent with places, in accordance with the rules of allegorical interpretation. Now then. . . .

The abyss is to be understood, as we have said above, as the profound depth of the scriptures or an infinity of deep water; many springs burst forth from the abyss. The righteousness of God is such an ineffable abyss: Your righteousness is a great abyss. Hades is also an abyss: who, then, has descended into the abyss? That is Christ who called forth the dead. The abyss is also the human heart in the darkness of sins: the abyss has said: it, that is, wisdom, is not with me. [Gen. 7:11; Ps. 35(36):7(5) Vulgate; Rom. 10:7; Job 28:14]

Fire, as we have mentioned above, is taken as the Holy Spirit. And fire as His all-encompassing love, the fire of His flames. Fire is tribulation: we have been tried by fire as silver is tried by fire. Fire is anger: and I will consume them in the fire of my anger, says the Lord. Fire is desire: all are adulterers, their hearts are like an oven for baking bread. [Ps. 65(66):10; Ezek. 22:31; Hosea 7:4]

The shade, as we have indicated, means divine protection; the shade, in other cases, means sins: sitting in darkness and shade like the dead. Shade, in yet another case, means punishments; in Job: where the shadow of death is and no order exists. And such shade is not far from its business, which is the shade, thus, death is not far from punishment, which brings death. In another case, shade is the enjoyment of sins; in Job about the devil: under the shade he sleeps in the secrecy of reeds and in wet places and, once more, the outward appearance is a different matter, where many in that form mean one thing. [Job 40:16]

The two testaments, as we have mentioned, may signify two millstones because two stones are in a mill. Likewise, the two testaments may signify the two Cherubim in Exodus; two animals in Habakkuk; two rocks, in Exodus and in the Song of Songs, which Moses and the bride cover with a veil; two bronze mountains in Zachariah, from which came teams of four, with horses of red, black, white, and other colors, out of the hidden shade of the myrtle thicket. [Ex. 25:18; Hab. 3:8; Ex. 17:6; Cant. 2:14; Zech. 6:1-4]

But these, we think, have so many multiple meanings for each name that following them is not only a task of great difficulty but even an impossibility. Now, therefore, we return to the order and mode of interpretation we had interrupted necessarily for a short while.

Baskets are the apostles; in the gospel: and they put the plentiful leftovers in twelve baskets. The same in another part: their hands were enslaved in a basket, that is, in servitude and tribulation, which the Egyptians had wrought. [Matt. 14:20; Ps. 80(81):7(6) Vulgate]

The bishop's seat is instruction; in the psalm: let them in the bishop's seat of the elders praise him. The same in a bad part: he shall not sit in the bishop's seat of plague, that is, in the instruction of heretics. [Ps. 106(107):32 Vulgate; Ps. 1:1 Vulgate]

The stool is the subjection of the humiliated; in the psalm: until I place your enemies beneath your feet as a stool. [Ps. 109(110):1]

The scales are equity, or the power of divine government; in Isaiah: and he weighed the mountains and the hills in his scales. [Is. 40:12]

Ashes are the emptiness of human frailty; in Solomon: what remains but earth and ashes? [Eccl. 10:9]

The jar is lineage; in the psalm: Moab is the jar of my hope, that is, Christ according to the flesh was descended from the lineage of Ruth, a Moabite. The same in another part: the jar of tribulation has dried up; in the prophet: And I have seen an inflamed jar with its face from the face of the north wind. [Ps. 59(60):10(8) Vulgate; Matt. 25:7; Jer. 1:13]

Lamps are souls aflame with righteousness; in the gospel: and they prepared their lamps. [Matt. 25:7]

Light is the church or the soul; in the gospel: let your loins be girded and your light bright. Several times lights are good works; therefore, let your light shine, that they might see your good works. [Luke 12:35; Matt. 5:16]

A bushel basket is the human body, or the letter of the law, or the people of Judah; in the gospel; no man light a light and puts it under a bushel. [Matt. 5:15]

The candlestick is the church, or the body of the Lord, or the sacred scripture; in the prophet: and I saw on the right of the altar two burning candlesticks. [Zech. 4:2]

The table is the altar or the refreshment of the spirit; in the psalm: You prepare a table in my sight. [Ps. 22(23):5]

The keys are the opening of scriptural knowledge; in Luke: woe to you, dying in the law, which you take to be the key of knowledge; you will not enter by it, and you will be kept from those who do enter. The same keys are the virtues of righteousness, mercy, and piety; in the gospel: I give you the keys of the heavenly kingdom. [Luke 11:52; Matt. 16:19]

The bolt is the bar of divine teaching against the impious; in the psalm: since he has made the bolts of your door sound. [Ps. 146(147):13]

The axe is the prosecution of the perverse; in the psalm: and with a two-edged axe, they felled it. [Ps. 73(74):6(5)]

The two-edged sword is double affliction; in the psalm, the same as above.

The ship is the church; in the gospel: the small ship was tossed by waves in the middle of the sea. As is the custom, I have said that man is a small ship, that the thoughts which rule men may be termed sailors. [Matt. 14:24]

Nets are public preaching; in the gospel: and send out your nets for a catch. [Luke 5:4]

Beams are grave sins; in the gospel: first pull the beam from your own eye. [Matt. 7:5]

The rod is a lighter sin; in the gospel: and then you will see to draw the rod from your brother's eye. [Matt. 7:5]

The noose is sorrow; in the psalm: they have prepared a noose for my feet. [Ps. 56(57):7(6)]

The ropes are fortune or heredity; in the psalm: they have beaten me with splendid ropes. ropes are also sins; woe to you who bear sins or long ropes. Also, the ropes of sinners have bound me. [Ps. 15(16):6 Vulgate; Is. 5:18; Ps. 118(119):61]

The {potter's} wheel is an orbit or human life; in the psalm: the voice of the thunder in the wheel. And in the same: my God, place them on a wheel, that is, make them unstable or fickle in their malice. [Ps. 76(77):19(18) Vulgate; Ps. 82(83):14(13) Vulgate]

The sponge is the den of inquity of the Jews; in the gospel: they put a sponge filled with vinegar and surrounded by hyssop to his mouth. [John 19:29]

The ladder is the perfection of the saints; in Genesis: and he saw in his sleep a ldder standing above the earth, and the top of the ladder touched heaven. The angels of God ascended and descended on the ladder. [Gen. 28:12]

The broom is the cure of superstition through one glory; in the gospel: and he, entering, found it unoccupied, since it had been cleaned with a broom and made orderly. [Luke 11:25 (Vulgate)]

The pearl is the gospel teaching or the hope of the kingdom of heaven; in the gospel: having found the precious pearl, he went away and sold everything which he had and bought the pearl. [Matt. 13:46]

The ring is a sign of faith; in the gospel: and put a ring on his hand. The same about this in the psalm: O Lord, the light of Your face is a sign above us. [Luke 15:22, Ps. 4:7 (Vulgate)]

The cloak is the apparel of praise; in Solomon: she made cloaks for her man, that is, vestments, because he would be clothed in the two testaments. [Prov. 31:22]

Gold is the interior knowledge of the scriptures; in the psalm: and his {the dove's} back side has an outline of gold. [Ps. 67(68):14(13)]

Silver is the divine declaration or knowledge of letters and history; in the psalm: the declarations of the Lord, pure declarations, are silver tried by the fire. [Ps. 11(12):7(6)]

Precious stones are the apostles, or the saints, or their works of virtue themselves; in the Apocalypse: all the foundational walls of the city are decorated with precious stones. [Apoc. 21:19]

Copper is vanity or empty faith; in the apostle: I am made as a gong. The same in another part: you have placed my arms that I may bend copper. Here, copper is firm and strong. [1 Cor. 13:1; Ps. 17(18):35(34)]

Iron is tribulation or man himself; in the psalm: his soul has passed through iron. [Ps. 104(105):18 (Vulgate)]

Lead is the weight of sins; in the prophet: and I saw iniquity on lead coins. [Zech. 5:7]

Clay is the fragility of human flesh; in the apostle: here, we have a treasure in earthen pots. [2 Cor. 4:7]

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