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I. (1) The genera and heads of all special laws, which are called "the ten commandments," have been discussed with accuracy in the former treatise. We must now proceed to consider the particular commands as we read them in the subsequent passages of the holy scriptures; and we will begin with that which is turned into ridicule by people in general. (2) The ordinance of circumcision of the parts of generation is ridiculed, though it is an act which is practised to no slight degree among other nations also, and most especially by the Egyptians, who appear to me to be the most populous of all nations, and the most abounding in all kinds of wisdom. (3) In consequence of which it would be most fitting for men to discard childish ridicule, and to investigate the real causes of the ordinance with more prudence and dignity, considering the reasons why the custom has prevailed, and not being precipitate, so as without examination to condemn the folly of mighty nations, recollecting that it is not probable that so many myriads should be circumcised in every generation, mutilating the bodies of themselves and of their nearest relations, in a manner which is accompanied with severe pain, without adequate cause; but that there are many reasons which might encourage men to persevere and continue a custom which has been introduced by previous generations, and that these are from reasons of the greatest weight and importance. (4) First of all, that it is a preventive of a painful disease, and of an affliction difficult to be cured, which they call a carbuncle;11831183the Greek word is anthrax, which also signifies a coal. The Latin, from which our carbuncle is derived, carbunculus, a diminutive of carbo, which also means a coal. because, I imagine, when it becomes inflamed it burns; from which fact it has derived that appellation. And this disease is very apt to be engendered among those who have not undergone the rite of circumcision. (5) Secondly, it secures the cleanliness of the whole body in a way that is suited to the people consecrated to God; with which object the Egyptian priests, being extravagant in their case, shave the whole of their bodies; for some of these evils which ought to be got rid of are collected in and lodge under the hair and the prepuce. (6) Thirdly, there is the resemblance of the part that is circumcised to the heart; for both parts are prepared for the sake of generation; for the breath contained within the heart is generative of thoughts, and the generative organ itself is productive of living beings. Therefore, the men of old thought it right to make the evident and visible organ, by which the objects of the outward senses are generated, resemble that invisible and superior part, by means of which ideas are formed. (7) The fourth, and most important, is that which relates to the provision thus made for prolificness; for it is said that the seminal fluid proceeds in its path easily, neither being at all scattered, nor flowing on its passage into what may be called the bags of the prepuce. On which account those nations which practise circumcision are the most prolific and the most populous.
II. (8) These considerations have come to our ears, having been discussed of old among men of divine spirit and wisdom, who have interpreted the writings of Moses in no superficial or careless manner. But, besides what has been already said, I also look upon circumcision to be a symbol of two things of the most indispensable importance. (9) First of all, it is a symbol of the excision of the pleasures which delude the mind; for since, of all the delights which pleasure can afford, the association of man with woman is the most exquisite, it seemed good to the lawgivers to mutilate the organ which ministers to such connections; by which rite they signified figuratively the excision of all superfluous and excessive pleasure, not, indeed, of one only, but of all others whatever, though that one which is the most imperious of all. (10) The second thing is, that it is a symbol of a man's knowing himself, and discarding that terrible disease, the vain opinion of the soul; for some men, like good statuaries, have boasted that they can make that most beautiful animal, man; and, being puffed up with arrogance, have deified themselves, hiding from sight the true cause of the creation of all things namely, God, although they might have corrected that error from a consideration of other persons among whom they live; (11) for there are among them many men who have no children, and many barren women whose connections lead to nothing, so that they grow old in childlessness. We must therefore eradicate evil opinions from the mind, and all other ideas which are not devoted to God. This, then, is enough to say on these subjects. (12) But we must now turn to the special and particular laws; and first of all to those which relate to those people by whom it is well to be governed, those which have been enacted concerning Monarchy.11841184Yonge's translation includes a separate treatise title at this point: On Monarchy, Book I. Accordingly, his next paragraph begins with roman numeral I (= III in Loeb). Yonge's "treatise" concludes with number IX (= XI in the Loeb). The publisher has elected to follow the Loeb numbering.
III. (13) Some persons have conceived that the sun, and the moon, and the other stars are independent gods, to whom they have attributed the causes of all things that exist. But Moses was well aware that the world was created, and was like a very large city, having rulers and subjects in it; the rulers being all the bodies which are in heaven, such as planets and fixed stars; (14) and the subjects being all the natures beneath the moon, hovering in the air and adjacent to the earth. But that the rulers aforesaid are not independent and absolute, but are the viceroys of one supreme Being, the Father of all, in imitation of whom they administer with propriety and success the charge committed to their care, as he also presides over all created things in strict accordance with justice and with law. Others, on the contrary, who have not discovered the supreme Governor, who thus rules everything, have attributed the causes of the different things which exist in the world to the subordinate powers, as if they had brought them to pass by their own independent act. (15) But the most sacred lawgiver changes their ignorance into knowledge, speaking in the following manner: "Thou shalt not, when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, and all the host of heaven, be led astray and fall down and worship Them."11851185 Deut 4:19. With great felicity and propriety has he here called the reception of these bodies as gods, an error; (16) for they who see that the different seasons of the year owe their existence to the advances and retreats of the sun, in which periods also the generation of animals, and plants, and fruits, are perfected according to well-defined times, and who see also that the moon is the servant and successor of the sun, taking that care and superintendence of the world by night which the sun takes by day; and also that the other stars, in accordance with their sympathy with things on earth, labour continually and do ten thousand things which contribute to the duration of the existing state of things, have been led into an inextricable error, imagining that these bodies are the only gods. (17) But if they had taken pains to travel along the straight and true road, they would soon have known that just as the outward sense is the subordinate minister of the mind, so in the same manner all the objects of the outward senses are servants of that which is appreciable only by intellect, being well contented if they can attain to the second place in honour. (18) But it is altogether ridiculous to imagine that the mind, which is the smallest thing in us, being in fact invisible, is the ruler of those organs which belong to the external senses, but that the greatest and most perfect ruler of the whole universe is not the King of kings; that the being who sees, is not the ruler of those who do not see. (19) We must, therefore, look on all those bodies in the heaven, which the outward sense regards as gods, not as independent rulers, since they are assigned the work of lieutenants, being by their intrinsic nature responsible to a higher power, but by reason of their virtue not actually called to render in an account of their doings. (20) So that, transcending all visible essence by means of our reason, let us press forward to the honour of that everlasting and invisible Being who can be comprehended and appreciated by the mind alone; who is not only the God of all gods, whether appreciable only by the intellect or visible to the outward senses, but is also the creator of them all. And if any one gives up the service due to the everlasting and uncreated God, transferring it to any more modern and created being, let him be set down as mad and as liable to the charge of the greatest impiety.
IV. (21) But there are some persons who have given gold and silver to sculptors and statuaries, as people able to fashion gods for them. And they, taking the lifeless materials and using a mortal model, have (which is a most extraordinary thing) made gods, as far as appearance went, and have built temples and erected altars, and dedicated them to them, honouring them with excessive pains and diligence, with sacrifices and processions, and all kinds of other sacred ceremonies and purifications; the priests and priestesses exciting themselves to the very extremity of their power to extend this kind of pride and vanity. (22) To whom the Father of the universe thus speaks, saying: "You shall not make to yourselves gods of silver and Gold;"11861186 Exod 20:20. all but teaching them in express words, "You shall not make to yourselves any gods whatever of this or of any other material, nor shall you worship anything made with hands," being forbidden expressly with respect to the two most excellent materials; for silver and gold are esteemed the most honourable of all materials. (23) And, besides this distinct prohibition, there is another meaning which appears to me to be intended to be figuratively conveyed under these words, which is one of very great influence as contributing to the formation of the moral character, and which convicts in no slight degree those who are covetous of money and who seek to procure silver and gold from all quarters, and when they have acquired it treasure it up, as though it were some divine image, in their inmost shrines, looking upon it as the cause of all good things and of all happiness. (24) And all the poor men that are possessed of that terrible disease, the love of money, but who, from not having any riches of their own which they can think worthy of their attention, fix their admiration on the wealth of their neighbours, and, for the purpose of offering adoration to it, come the first thing in the morning to the houses of those who have abundance, as if they were noble temples at which they were going to offer prayers, and to entreat blessings from their owners as if from the gods. (25) And to these men, Moses says, in another passage, "You shall not follow images, and you shall not make to yourselves molten Gods."11871187 Lev 19:4. Teaching them, by figurative language, that it is not right to pay such honours to wealth as one would pay to the gods; for those celebrated materials of wealth, silver and gold, are made to be used, which, however, the multitude follows, looking upon them as the only causes of wealth which is proverbially called blind, and the especial sources of happiness. (26) These are the things which Moses calls idols, resembling shadows and phantoms, and having about them nothing strong, or trustworthy, or lasting; for they are tossed about like the unstable wind, and are subject to all kinds of variations and changes. And the greatest possible proof of this is that, when people have not at all expected it, it suddenly has descended upon them; and, again, when they fancied that they had taken firm hold of it, it has flown away. And when, indeed, it is present, then images appear as in a mirror, deceiving the outward senses and imposing upon them with traps, and appearing as if they would last for a long time, while in reality they do not endure. (27) And why need I explain how unstable the wealth and pride of men are, which vain opinions decorate with showy colours? For, before now, some men have existed who have affirmed that all other animals and plants, of which there is any birth or any decay, are in one continual and incessant state of transition, and that the external sense of this transition is somewhat indistinct, inasmuch as the swiftness of nature surpasses the very quickest and most precise glance of the vision.
V. (28) But not only are wealth, and glory, and all other such things, mere phantoms and unsubstantial images, but also all the other deceits which the inventors of fables have devised, puffing themselves up by reason of their ingenuity, while they have been raising a fortification of false opinion in opposition to the truth, bringing in God as if by some theatrical machine, in order to prevent the everlasting and only true existing God from being consigned to oblivion, are so likewise. But such men have adapted their falsehood to melodies, and rhythm, and metres, with a reference to what is persuasive, thinking that by these means they should easily cajole all who read their works. (29) Not but what they have also joined to themselves the arts of statuary and painting as copartners in their system of deceit, in order that, bringing over the spectators by well-fabricated appearances of colours, and forms, and distinctive qualities, and having won over by their allurements those principal outward senses of sight and hearing, the one by the exquisite beauty of lifeless forms, and the other by a poetical harmony of numbers—they may ravish the unstable soul and render it feeble, and deprive it of any settled foundation. (30) On this account, Moses, being well aware that pride had by that time advanced to a very high pitch of power, and that it was well guarded by the greater part of mankind, and that too not from compulsion but of their own accord, and fearing lest those men who are admirers of uncorrupted and genuine piety may be carried away as by a torrent, stamped a deep impression on the minds of men, engraving piety on them, in order that the impression he thus made might not become confused or weakened, so as at last to become wholly effaced by time. And he is constantly prophesying and telling his people that there is one God, the creator and maker of the universe; and at other time he teaches them that he is the Lord of all created things, since all that is firm, and solid, and really stable and sure, is by nature so framed as to be connected with him alone. (31) And it is said in the scriptures that, "Those that are attached to the living God do all Live."11881188 Deut 4:4. Is not this, then, a thrice happy life, a thrice blessed existence, to be contented with performing due service to the most venerable Cause of all things, and not to think fit to serve his subordinate ministers and door-keepers in preference to the King himself? And this life is an immortal one, and is recorded as one of great duration in the pillars of nature. And it is inevitably necessary that these writings should last to all eternity with the world itself.
VI. (32) But the Father and Ruler of the universe is a being whose character it is difficult to arrive at by conjecture and hard to comprehend; but still we must not on that account shrink from an investigation of it. Now, in the investigations which are made into the nature of God, there are two things of the greatest importance, about which the intellect of the man who devotes himself to philosophy in a genuine spirit is perplexed. One is, whether there is any Deity at all? this question arises from the atheism (which is the greatest of all vices) of those men who study philosophy. The other question is, supposing there to be a God, what he is as to his essence? Now the former question it is not very difficult to determine; but the second is not only difficult, but perhaps impossible. We must, however, consider both these matters. (33) It has invariably happened that the works which they have made have been, in some degree, the proofs of the character of the workmen; for who is there who, when he looks upon statues or pictures, does not at once form an idea of the statuary or painter himself? And who, when he beholds a garment, or a ship, or a house, does not in a moment conceive a notion of the weaver, or shipbuilder, or architect, who has made them? And if any one comes into a well-ordered city, in which all parts of the constitution are exceedingly well arranged and regulated, what other idea will he entertain but that this city is governed by wise and virtuous rulers? (34) He, therefore, who comes into that which is truly the greatest of cities, namely, this world, and who beholds all the land, both the mountain and the champaign district full of animals, and plants, and the streams of rivers, both overflowing and depending on the wintry floods, and the steady flow of the sea, and the admirable temperature of the air, and the varieties and regular revolutions of the seasons of the year; and then too the sun and moon, the rulers of day and night, and the revolutions and regular motions of all the other planets and fixed stars, and of the whole heaven; would he not naturally, or I should rather say, of necessity, conceive a notion of the Father, and creator, and governor of all this system; (35) for there is no artificial work whatever which exists of its own accord? And the world is the most artificial and skilfully made of all works, as if it had been put together by some one who was altogether accomplished and most perfect in knowledge. It is in this way that we have received an idea of the existence of God.
VII. (36) Again, even if it is very difficult to ascertain and very hard properly to comprehend, we must still, as far as it is possible, investigate the nature of his essence; for there is no employment more excellent than that of searching out the nature of the true God, even though the discovery may transcend all human ability, since the very desire and endeavour to comprehend it is able by itself to furnish indescribable pleasures and delights. (37) And the witnesses of this fact are those who have not merely tasted philosophy with their outermost lips, but who have abundantly feasted on its reasonings and its doctrines; for the reasoning of these men, being raised on high far above the earth, roams in the air, and soaring aloft with the sun, and moon, and all the firmament of heaven, being eager to behold all the things that exist therein, finds its power of vision somewhat indistinct from a vast quantity of unalloyed light being poured over it, so that the eye of his soul becomes dazzled and confused by the splendour. (38) But he does not on that account faint and renounce the task which he has undertaken, but goes on with invincible determination towards the sight which he considers attainable, as if he were a competitor at the games, and were striving for the second prize, though he has missed the first. And guess and conjecture are inferior to true perception, as are all those notions which are classed under the description of reasonable and plausible opinions. (39) Though, therefore, we do not know and cannot accurately ascertain what each of the stars is as to its pure and real essence, still we are eager to investigate the subject, delighting in probable reasonings, because of the fondness for learning which is implanted in our nature. (40) And so in the same way, though we cannot attain to a distinct conception of the truly living God, we still ought not to renounce the task of investigating his character, because even if we fail to make the discovery, the very search itself is intrinsically useful and an object of deserved ambition; since no one ever blames the eyes of the body because they are unable to look upon the sun itself, and therefore shrink from the brilliancy which is poured upon them from its beams, and therefore look down upon the earth, shrinking from the extreme brilliancy of the rays of the sun.
VIII. (41) Which that interpreter of the divine word, Moses, the man most beloved by God, having a regard to, besought God and said, "Show me thyself"—all but urging him, and crying out in loud and distinct words—"that thou hast a real being and existence the whole world is my teacher, assuring me of the fact and instructing me as a son might of the existence of his father, or the work of the existence of the workman. But, though I am very desirous to know what thou art as to thy essence, I can find no one who is able to explain to me anything relating to this branch of learning in any part of the universe whatever. (42) On which account, I beg and entreat of thee to receive the supplication of a man who is thy suppliant and devoted to God's service, and desirous to serve thee alone; for as the light is not known by the agency of anything else, but is itself its own manifestation, so also thou must alone be able to manifest thyself. For which reason I hope to receive pardon, if, from want of any one to teach me, I am so bold as to flee to thee, desiring to receive instruction from thyself." (43) But God replied, "I receive, indeed, your eagerness, inasmuch as it is praiseworthy; but the request which you make is not fitting to be granted to any created being. And I only bestow such gifts as are appropriate to him who receives them; for it is not possible for a man to receive all that it is easy for me to give. On which account I give to him who is deserving of my favour all the gifts which he is able to receive. (44) But not only is the nature of mankind, but even the whole heaven and the whole world is unable to attain to an adequate comprehension of me. So know yourself, and be not carried away with impulses and desires beyond your power; and let not a desire of unattainable objects carry you away and keep you in suspense. For you shall not lack anything which may be possessed by you." (45) When Moses heard this he betook himself to a second supplication, and said, "I am persuaded by thy explanations that I should not have been able to receive the visible appearance of thy form. But I beseech thee that I may, at all events, behold the glory that is around thee. And I look upon thy glory to be the powers which attend thee as thy guards, the comprehension of which having escaped me up to the present time, worketh in me no slight desire of a thorough understanding of it." (46) But God replied and said, "The powers which you seek to behold are altogether invisible, and appreciable only by the intellect; since I myself am invisible and only appreciable by the intellect. And what I call appreciable only by the intellect are not those which are already comprehended by the mind, but those which, even if they could be so comprehended, are still such that the outward senses could not at all attain to them, but only the very purest intellect. (47) And though they are by nature incomprehensible in their essence, still they show a kind of impression or copy of their energy and operation; as seals among you, when any wax or similar kind of material is applied to them, make an innumerable quantity of figures and impressions, without being impaired as to any portion of themselves, but still remaining unaltered and as they were before; so also you must conceive that the powers which are around me invest those things which have no distinctive qualities with such qualities, and those which have no forms with precise forms, and that without having any portion of their own everlasting nature dismembered or weakened. (48) And some of your race, speaking with sufficient correctness, call them ideas (ideai), since they give a peculiar character (idiopoiousi) to every existing thing, arranging what had previously no order, and limiting, and defining, and fashioning what was before destitute of all limitation, and defination, and fashion; and, in short, in all respects changing what was bad into a better condition. (49) "Do not, then, ever expect to be able to comprehend me nor any one of my powers, in respect of our essence. But, as I have said, I willingly and cheerfully grant unto you such things as you may receive. And this gift is to call you to the beholding of the world and all the things that are in it, which must be comprehended, not indeed by the eyes of the body, but by the sleepless vision of the soul. (50) The desire of wisdom alone is continual and incessant, and it fills all its pupils and disciples with famous and most beautiful doctrines." When Moses heard this he did not cease from his desire, but he still burned with a longing for the understanding of invisible things. [...]11891189Mangey thinks that there is a considerable hiatus here. What follows relates to the regulations respecting proselytes, which as the text stands is in no way connected with what has gone before about the worship of God.
IX. (51) And he receives all persons of a similar character and disposition, whether they were originally born so, or whether they have become so through any change of conduct, having become better people, and as such entitled to be ranked in a superior class; approving of the one body because they have not defaced their nobility of birth, and of the other because they have thought fit to alter their lives so as to come over to nobleness of conduct. And these last he calls proselytes (proseÂ̄lytous), from the fact of their having come over (proseleÌlythenai) to a new and Godfearing constitution, learning to disregard the fabulous inventions of other nations, and clinging to unalloyed truth. (52) Accordingly, having given equal rank and honour to all those who come over, and having granted to them the same favours that were bestowed on the native Jews, he recommends those who are ennobled by truth not only to treat them with respect, but even with especial friendship and excessive benevolence. And is not this a reasonable recommendation? What he says is this. "Those men, who have left their country, and their friends, and their relations for the sake of virtue and holiness, ought not to be left destitute of some other cities, and houses, and friends, but there ought to be places of refuge always ready for those who come over to religion; for the most effectual allurement and the most indissoluble bond of affectionate good will is the mutual honouring of the one God." (53) Moreover, he also enjoins his people that, after they have given the proselytes an equal share in all their laws, and privileges, and immunities, on their forsaking the pride of their fathers and forefathers, they must not give a license to their jealous language and unbridled tongues, blaspheming those beings whom the other body looks upon as gods, lest the proselytes should be exasperated at such treatment, and in return utter impious language against the true and holy God; for from ignorance of the difference between them, and by reason of their having from their infancy learnt to look upon what was false as if it had been true, and having been bred up with it, they would be likely to err. (54) And there are some of the Gentiles, who, not attending to the honour due to the one God alone, deserve to be punished with extreme severity of punishment, as having forsaken the most important classification of piety and holiness, and as having chosen darkness in preference to the most brilliant light, and having rendered their own intellect blind when it might have seen clearly. (55) And it is well that a charge should be given to all those who have any admiration for virtue to inflict all such punishment out of hand without any delay, not bringing them before either any judgment seat, or any council, or any bench of magistrates, but giving vent to their own disposition which hates evil and loves God, so as to chastise the impious with implacable rigour, looking upon themselves as everything for the time being, counsellors, and judges, and generals, and members of the assembly, and accusers, and witnesses, and laws, and the people; that so, since there is no conceivable hindrance, they may with all their company put themselves forward fearlessly to fight as the champions of holiness.
X. (56) There is, in the history of the law, a record of one man who ventured on this exploit of noble daring, for when he saw some men connecting themselves with foreign women, and by reason of their allurements neglecting all their national customs and laws, and practising fabulous ceremonies, he was seized with a sudden enthusiasm in the presence of the whole multitude; and driving away all those on each side who were collected to see the sight, he slew one man who was so daring as to put himself forward as the leader and chief of this transgression of the law (for the impious deed had been already displayed and made a public exhibition of), and while he was openly performing sacrifices to images and unholy idols, he, I say, without being influenced by any fear, slew him, together with the woman who was with him; the one on account of his inclination to learn those things which it would have been more advantageous for him not to have learnt, and the woman because she was his preceptress in evil. (57) This action being done of a sudden, in the warm impetuosity of the moment, admonished a vast multitude of those who were prepared to commit similar follies; therefore God, having praised this virtuous exploit done in this manner, out of a voluntary and spontaneous zeal, recompensed the doer with two rewards, namely, peace and the priesthood. With the one, because he judged him who had thus voluntarily encountered a contest for the sake of the honour of his God worthy to enjoy a life safe from war; and with the other, because the priesthood is the most fitting honour for a pious man, who professes an eagerness for the service of the Father of all, to serve whom is not only better than all freedom, but even than royal authority. (58) But some men have gone to such a pitch of extravagant madness, that they have left themselves no retreat or way to repentance, but hasten onwards to the slavery and service of images made by hands, confessing it in distinct characters, not written on paper, as is the custom in the case of slaves, but branding the characters deep on their persons with a burning iron, in order that they may remain ineffacebly, for these things are not dimmed or weakened by time.
XI. (59) And the most sacred Moses appears to have preserved the same object and intention in all other cases whatever, being a lover and also a teacher of truth, which he desires to stamp and to impress upon all his disciples, expelling all false opinions, and compelling them to settle far from their minds. (60) At all events, knowing that the act of divination co-operates in no slight degree with the errors of the lives of the multitude, so as to lead them out of the right way, he did not suffer his disciples to use any species of it whatever, but drove all who paid it any observance far from his everlasting constitution, and banished all sacrificers and purifiers, and augurs, and soothsayers, and enchanters, and men who applied themselves to the art of prophesying from sounds; (61) for all these men are but guessers at what is probable and likely, at different times adopting different notions from the same appearances, because the subjects of their art have no stable and constant character, and because the intellect has never devised any accurate test by which those opinions which are approved may be examined. (62) And all these things are but the furniture of impiety. How so? Because he who attends to them, and who allows himself to be influenced by them, disregards the cause of all things, looking upon those things alone as the causes of all things, whether good or evil; and he does not perceive that he is making all the cares of life to depend upon the most unstable supports, upon the motion of birds and feathers in the air, in this and that direction; and upon the paths of reptiles, crawling along the ground, which creep forth out of their holes in quest of food; and even upon entrails, and blood, and dead corpses, which, the moment that they are deprived of life, fall to pieces and become confused; and being deprived of their original nature which belonged to them, are changed, and subjected to a transformation for the worse. (63) For he thinks it right, that the man who is legally enrolled as a citizen of his constitution must be perfect, not indeed in those things in which the multitude is educated, such as divination, and augury, and plausible conjectures, but in the observances due to God, which have nothing doubtful or uncertain about them, but only indubitable and naked truth. (64) And since there is implanted in all men a desire of the knowledge of future events, and as, on account of this desire, they have recourse to sacrifices and to other species of divination, as if by these means they would be able to search out and discover the truth (but these things are, in reality, full of indistinctness and uncertainty, and are continually being convicted by themselves). He, with great energy, forbids his disciples to apply themselves to such sources of knowledge; and he says, that if they are truly pious they shall not be deprived of a proper knowledge of the future; (65) but that some other Prophet11901190this prophecy, Deut 18:18, is always looked upon as one of the most remarkable of the early prophecies of our Saviour. will appear to them on a sudden, inspired like himself, who will preach and prophesy among them, saying nothing of his own (for he who is truly possessed and inspired, even when he speaks, is unable to comprehend what he is himself saying), but that all the words that he should utter would proceed from him as if another was prompting him; for the prophets are interpreters of God, who is only using their voices as instruments, in order to explain what he chooses. Having now then said this, and other things like this, concerning the proper idea to be entertained of the one real, and true, and living God; he proceeds to express in what manner one ought to pay him the honours that are his Due.11911191Yonge's translation includes a separate treatise title at this point: On the Monarchy, Book II. Accordingly, his next paragraph begins with roman numeral I (= XII in the Loeb). Yonge's "treatise" concludes with number XV (= XXVI in the Loeb). The publisher has elected to follow the Loeb numbering.
XII. (66) We ought to look upon the universal world as the highest and truest temple of God, having for its most holy place that most sacred part of the essence of all existing things, namely, the heaven; and for ornaments, the stars; and for priests, the subordinate ministers of his power, namely, the angels, incorporeal souls, not beings compounded of irrational and rational natures, such as our bodies are, but such as have the irrational parts wholly cut out, being absolutely and wholly intellectual, pure reasonings, resembling the unit. (67) But the other temple is made with hands; for it was desirable not to cut short the impulses of men who were eager to bring in contributions for the objects of piety, and desirous either to show their gratitude by sacrifices for such good fortune as had befallen them, or else to implore pardon and forgiveness for whatever errors they might have committed. He moreover foresaw that there could not be any great number of temples built either in many different places, or in the same place, thinking it fitting that as God is one, his temple also should be one. (68) In the next place, he does not permit those who desire to perform sacrifices in their own houses to do so, but he orders all men to rise up, even from the furthest boundaries of the earth, and to come to this temple, by which command he is at the same time testing their dispositions most severely; for he who was not about to offer sacrifice in a pure and holy spirit would never endure to quit his country, and his friends, and relations, and emigrate into a distant land, but would be likely, being under the influence of a more powerful attraction than that towards piety, to continue attached to the society of his most intimate friends and relations as portions of himself, to which he was most closely attached. (69) And the most evident proof of this may be found in the events which actually took place. For innumerable companies of men from a countless variety of cities, some by land and some by sea, from east and from west, from the north and from the south, came to the temple at every festival, as if to some common refuge and safe asylum from the troubles of this most busy and painful life, seeking to find tranquillity, and to procure a remission of and respite from those cares by which from their earliest infancy they had been hampered and weighed down, (70) and so, by getting breath as it were, to pass a brief time in cheerful festivities, being filled with good hopes and enjoying the leisure of that most important and necessary vacation which consists in forming a friendship with those hitherto unknown, but now initiated by boldness and a desire to honour God, and forming a combination of actions and a union of dispositions so as to join in sacrifices and libations to the most complete confirmation of mutual good will.
XIII. (71) Of this temple the outer circuit, being the most extensive both in length and width, was fortified by fortifications adorned in a most costly manner. And each of them is a double portico, built and adorned with the finest materials of wood and stone, and with abundant supplies of all kinds, and with the greatest skill of the workmen, and the most diligent care on the part of the superintendants. But the inner circuits were less extensive, and the fashion of their building and adorning was more simple. (72) And in the centre was the temple itself, beautiful beyond all possible description, as one may conjecture from what is now seen around on the outside; for what is innermost is invisible to every human creature except the high priest alone, and even he is enjoined only to enter that holy place once in each year. Everything then is invisible. For he carries in a brasier full of coals and frankincense; and then, when a great smoke proceeds from it, as is natural, and when everything all around is enveloped in it, then the sight of men is clouded, and checked, and prevented from penetrating in, being wholly unable to pierce the cloud. (73) But, being very large and very lofty, although built in a very low situation, it is not inferior to any of the greatest mountains around. The buildings of it are of most exceeding beauty and magnificence, so as to be universal objects of admiration to all who behold them, and especially to all foreigners who travel to those parts, and who, comparing them with their own public edifices, marvel both at the beauty and sumptuousness of this one. (74) But there is no grove of plantation in the space which surrounds it, in accordance with the prohibitions of the law, which for many reasons forbid this. In the first place, because a building which is truly a temple does not aim at pleasure and seductive allurements, but at a rigid and austere sanctity. Secondly, because it is not proper that those things which conduce to the verdure of trees should be introduced, such as the dung of irrational animals and of men. Thirdly, because those trees which do not admit of cultivation are of no use, but are as the poets say, the burden of the earth; while those which do admit of cultivation, and which are productive of wholesome fruit, draw off the attention of the fickle-minded from the thoughts of the respect due to the holy place itself, and to the ceremonies in which they are engaged. (75) And besides these reasons, shady places and dense thickets are places of refuge for evil doers, since by their enveloping them in darkness they give them safety and enable them, as from an ambuscade, suddenly to fall upon any whom they choose to attack. But wide spaces, open and uncovered in every direction, where there is nothing which can hinder the sight, are the most suitable for the distinct sight of all those who enter and remain in the temple.
XIV. (76) But the temple has for its revenues not only portions of land, but also other possessions of much greater extent and importance, which will never be destroyed or diminished; for as long as the race of mankind shall last, the revenues likewise of the temple will always be preserved, being coeval in their duration with the universal world. (77) For it is commanded that all men shall every year bring their first fruits to the temple, from twenty years old and upwards; and this contribution is called their ransom. On which account they bring in the first fruits with exceeding cheerfulness, being joyful and delighted, inasmuch as simultaneously with their making the offering they are sure to find either a relaxation from slavery, or a relief from disease, and to receive in all respects a most sure freedom and safety for the future. (78) And since the nation is the most numerous of all peoples, it follows naturally that the first fruits contributed by them must also be most abundant. Accordingly there is in almost every city a storehouse for the sacred things to which it is customary for the people to come and there to deposit their first fruits, and at certain seasons there are sacred ambassadors selected on account of their virtue, who convey the offerings to the temple. And the most eminent men of each tribe are elected to this office, that they may conduct the hopes of each individual safe to their destination; for in the lawful offering of the first fruits are the hopes of the pious.
XV. (79) Now there are twelve tribes of the nation, and one of them having been selected from the others for its excellence has received the priesthood, receiving this honour as a reward for its virtue, and fidelity, and its devout soul, which it displayed when the multitude appeared to be running into sin, following the foolish choices of some persons who persuaded their countrymen to imitate the vanity of the Egyptians, and the pride of the nations of the land, who had invented fables about irrational animals, and especially about bulls, making gods of them. For this tribe did of its own accord go forth and slay all the leaders of this apostacy from the youth upwards, in which they appeared to have done a holy action, encountering thus a contest and a labour for the sake of piety.
XVI. (80) Now these are the laws which relate to the priests. It is enjoined that the priest shall be entire and unmutilated, having no blemish on his body, no part being deficient, either naturally or through mutilation; and on the other hand, nothing having been superfluous either from his birth or having grown out subsequently from disease; his skin, also, must never have changed from leprosy, or wild lichen, or scab, or any other eruption or breaking out; all which things appear to me to be designed to be symbols of the purity of his soul. (81) For if it was necessary to examine the mortal body of the priest that it ought not be imperfect through any misfortune, much more was it necessary to look into his immortal soul, which they say is fashioned in the form of the living God. Now the image of God is the Word, by which all the world was made. (82) And after enjoining that the priest is to be of pure blood, and sprung from fathers of noble birth, and that he must be perfect in body and soul, laws are enacted also respecting the garments which the priest must wear when he is about to offer the sacred sacrifices and to perform the sacred ceremonies. (83) And this dress is a linen tunic and a girdle, the latter to cover those parts which must not be displayed in their nakedness near the altar of sacrifice. And the tunic is for the sake of promptness in performing the requisite ministrations; for they are but lightly clad, only in their tunics, when they bring their victims, and the libations, and the other requisite offerings for sacrifice, being apparelled so as to admit of unhesitating celerity. (84) But the high priest is commanded to wear a similar dress when he goes into the holy of holies to offer incense, because linen is not made of any animal that dies, as woollen garments are. He is also commanded to wear another robe also, having very beautiful embroidery and ornament upon it, so that it may seem to be a copy and representation of the world. And the description of the ornament is a clear proof of this; (85) for in the first place the whole of the round robe is of hyacinthine colour, a tunic reaching to the feet, being an emblem of the air, since the air also is by nature black, and in a manner may be said to be reaching to the feet, as it is extended from above from the regions about the moon, to the lowest places of the earth. (86) Next there was a woven garment in the form of a breastplate upon it, and this was a symbol of the heaven; for on the points of the shoulders are two emerald stones of most exceeding value, one on one side and one on the other, each perfectly round and single on each side, as emblems of the hemispheres, one of which is above the earth and the other under the earth. (87) Then on his chest there are twelve precious stones of different colours, arranged in four rows of three stones in each row, being fashioned so as an emblem of the zodiac. For the zodiac also consists of twelve animals, and so divides the four seasons of the year, allotting three animals to each season. (88) And the whole place is very correctly called the logeum (logeion), since every thing in heaven has been created and arranged in accordance with right reason (logois) and proportion; for there is absolutely nothing there which is devoid of reason. And on the logeum he embroiders two woven pieces of cloth, calling the one manifestation and the other truth. (89) And by the one which he calls truth he expresses figuratively that it is absolutely impossible for falsehood to enter any part of heaven, but that it is entirely banished to the parts around the earth, dwelling among the souls of impious men. And by that which he calls manifestation he implies that the natures in heaven make manifest every thing that takes place among us, which of themselves would be perfectly and universally unknown. (90) And the clearest proof of this is that if there were no light, and if the sun did not shine, it would be impossible for the indescribable variety of qualities of bodies to be seen, and for all the manifold differences of colours and forms to be distinguished from one another. And what else could exhibit to us the days and the nights, and the months and the years, and in short the divisions of time, but the harmonious and inconceivable revolutions of the sun, and moon, and other stars? (91) And what could exhibit the true nature of number, except those same bodies just mentioned in accordance with the observation of the combination of the parts of time? And what else could have cut the paths through the ocean and through such numerous and vast seas, and shown them to navigators, except the changes and periodical appearances of the stars? And wise men have observed, (92) also, an innumerable quantity of other circumstances, and have recorded them, conjecturing from the heavenly bodies the advent of calm weather and of violent storms, and the fertility or barrenness of crops, and the mild or violently hot summers, and whether the winters will be severe or spring-like, whether there will be droughts or abundance of rain, whether the flocks and trees will be fruitful, or on the contrary barren, and all such matters as these. For the signs of every thing on earth are engraved and firmly fixed in heaven.
XVII. (93) And besides this, golden pomegranates are attached to the lower parts of the tunic, reaching to the feet, and bells and borders embroidered with flowers. And these things are the emblems of earth and of water; the flowers are the emblems of the earth, inasmuch as it is out of it that they all rise and derive strength to bloom. And the Pomegranates11921192the Greek for a pomegranate is rhoia, or rhoiskos, which Philo imagines to be derived from rheoÂ̄, "to flow." as above mentioned are the emblems of water, being so named from the flowing of the stream. And the harmony, and concord, and unison of sound of the different parts of the world is betokened by the bells. (94) And the arrangement is a very excellent one; for the upper garment, on which the stones are placed, which is called the breast-plate, is a representation of heaven, because the heaven also is the highest of all things. And the tunic that reaches to the feet is in every part of a hyacinthine colour, since the air also is black, and is placed in the second classification next in honour to the heaven. And the embroidered flowers and pomegranates are on the hem, because the earth and water have been assigned the lowest situation in the universe. (95) This is the arrangement of the sacred dress of the high priest, being a representation of the universe, a marvellous work to be beheld or to be contemplated. For it has an appearance thoroughly calculated to excite astonishment, such as no embroidered work conceived by man ever was for variety and costly magnificence; (96) and it also attracts the intellect of philosophers to examine its different parts. For God intends that the high priest should in the first place have a visible representation of the universe about him, in order that from the continual sight of it he may be reminded to make his own life worthy of the nature of the universe, and secondly, in order that the whole world may co-operate with him in the performance of his sacred rites. And it is exceedingly becoming that the man who is consecrated to the service of the Father of the world should also bring his son to the service of him who has begotten him. (97) There is also a third symbol contained in this sacred dress, which it is important not to pass over in silence. For the priests of other deities are accustomed to offer up prayers and sacrifices solely for their own relations, and friends, and fellow citizens. But the high priest of the Jews offers them up not only on behalf of the whole race of mankind, but also on behalf of the different parts of nature, of the earth, of water, of air, and of fire; and pours forth his prayers and thanksgivings for them all, looking upon the world (as indeed it really is) as his country, for which, therefore, he is accustomed to implore and propitiate its governor by supplications and prayers, beseeching him to give a portion of his own merciful and humane nature to the things which he has created.
XVIII. (98) After he has given these precepts, he issues additional commandments, and orders him, whenever he approaches the altar and touches the sacrifices, at the time when it is appointed for him to perform his sacred ministrations, not to drink wine or any other strong drink, on account of four most important reasons, hesitation, and forgetfulness, and sleep, and folly. (99) For the intemperate man relaxes the powers of his body, and renders his limbs more slow of motion, and makes his whole body more inclined to hesitation, and compels it by force to become drowsy. And he also relaxes the energies of his soul, and so becomes the cause to it of forgetfulness and folly. But in the case of abstemious men all the parts of the body are lighter, and as such more active and moveable, and the outer senses are more pure and unalloyed, and the mind is gifted with a more acute sight, so that it is able to see things beforehand, and never forgets what it has previously seen; (100) in short, therefore, we must look upon the use of wine to be a most unprofitable thing for all the purposes of life, inasmuch as by it the soul is weighed down, the outward senses are dimmed, and the body is enervated. For it does not leave any one of our faculties free and unembarrassed, but is a hindrance to every one of them, so as to impede its attaining that object to which it is by nature fitted. But in sacred ceremonies and holy rites the mischief is most grievous of all, in proportion as it is worse and more intolerable to sin with respect to God than with respect to man. On which account it probably is that it is commanded to the priest to offer up sacrifices without wine, in order to make a difference and distinction between sacred and profane things, and pure and impure things, and lawful and unlawful things.
XIX. (101) But since the priest was a man before he was a priest, and since he is of necessity desirous to indulge the appetites which prompt him to seek for the connections of love, he procures for him a marriage with a pure virgin, and one who is born of pure parents, and grandfathers, and great-grandfathers, selected for their excellency with reference both to their virtue and to their noble birth. (102) For God does not allow him even to look upon a harlot, or a profane body or soul, or upon any one who, having put away her pursuit of gain, now wears an elegant and modest appearance, because such a one is unholy in respect of her former profession and way of life; though in other respects she may be looked upon as honourable, by reason of her having purified herself of her former evil courses. For repentance for past sins is a thing to be praised; and no one else need be forbidden to marry her, only let her not come near a priest. For the especial property of the priesthood is justice and purity, which from the first beginning of its creation to the end, seeks a concord utterly irreproachable. (103) For it would be mere folly that some men should be excluded from the priesthood by reason of the scars which exist on their bodies from ancient wounds, which are the emblem of misfortune indeed, but not of wickedness; but that those persons who, not at all out of necessity but from their own deliberate choice, have made a market of their beauty, when at last they slowly repent, should at once after leaving their lovers become united to priests, and should come from brothels and be admitted into the sacred precincts. For the scars and impressions of their old offences remain not the less in the souls of those who repent. (104) On which account it is wisely and truly said in another passage, that "One may not bring the hire of a harlot into the Temple."11931193 Deut 23:18. And yet the money is not in itself liable to any reproach, except by reason of the woman who received it, and the action for which it was given to her. How then could one possibly admit those women to consort with priests whose very money is looked upon as profane and base, even though as to its material and stamp it may be good and lawful money?
XX. (105) The regulations, therefore, are laid down with precision in this manner for the high priest, so that he is not allowed either to marry a widow, nor one who is left desolate after the death of the man to whom she has been espoused, nor one who has been divorced from a husband who is still alive, in order that the sacred seed may be sown for the first time in a field which is hitherto untrodden and pure, and that his offspring may have no admixture of the blood of any other house. And in the second place, in order that the pair coming together with souls which have as yet known no defilement or perversion, may easily form their dispositions and characters in a virtuous manner. For the minds of virgins are easily attracted and drawn over to virtue, being exceedingly ready to be taught. (106) But the woman who has had experience of another husband is very naturally less inclined to obedience and to instruction, inasmuch as she has not a soul perfectly pure, like thoroughly smooth wax, so as to receive distinctly the doctrines which are to be impressed upon it, but one which is to a certain degree rough from the impressions which have been already stamped upon it, which are difficult to be effaced, and so remain, and do not easily receive any other impression, or if they do they render it confused by the irregularity of their own surface. (107) Let the high priest, therefore, take a pure virgin to be his wife; I say a virgin, meaning not only one with whom no other man has even been connected, but one in connection with whom no other man has ever been named in reference to the agreement of marriage, even though her body may be pure.
XXI. (108) But besides this, injunctions are given to the particular and inferior priests concerning their marriages, which are the very same in most points, which are given to those who have the supreme priesthood. But they are permitted with impunity to marry not only maidens but widows also; not, indeed, all widows, but those whose husbands are dead. For the law thinks it fitting to remove all quarrels and disputes from the life of the priests. And if they had husbands living there very likely might be disputes from the jealousy which is caused by the love of men for women. But when the first husband is dead, then with him the hostility which could be felt towards the second husband dies also. (109) And even on other accounts he might have thought that the high priest ought to be of superior purity and holiness, as in other matters so also in the connection of marriage, and on this account it may have been that God only allowed the high priest to marry a virgin. But to the priests of the second rank he remitted something of the rigour of his regulations concerning the connection with women, permitting them to marry women who have made trials of other husbands.
XXII. (110) And besides these commands, he also defined precisely the family of the women who might be married by the high priest, commanding him to marry not merely a woman who was a virgin, but also one who was a priestess, the daughter of a priest, that so both bridegroom and bride might be of one house, and in a manner of one blood, so as to display a most lasting harmony and union of disposition during the whole of their lives. (111) The others also were permitted to marry women who were not the daughters of priests, partly because their purificatory sacrifices are of but small importance, and partly because he was not willing entirely to disunite and separate the whole nation from the order of the priesthood; for which reason he did not prevent the other priests from making intermarriages with any of their countrywomen, as that is relationship in the second degree; for sons-in-law are in the place of sons to their fathersin-law, and fathers-in-law instead of fathers to their sons-in-law.
XXIII. (112) These, then, are the ordinances which were established respecting marriage, and respecting what greatly resembles marriage, the procreation of children. But since destruction follows creation, Moses also gave the priests laws relating to death,11941194 Lev 23:1. commanding them not to permit themselves to be defiled in respect of all people whatsoever, who might happen to die, and who might be connected with them through some bond of friendship, or distant relationship: but allowing them to mourn for six classes only, their fathers or their mothers, their sons of their daughters, their brothers or their sisters, provided that these last were virgins; (113) but the high priest he absolutely forbade to mourn in any case whatever; and may we not say that this was rightly done? For as to the ministrations which belong to the other priests, one individual can perform them instead of another, so that, even if some be in mourning, still none of the usual observances need be omitted; but there is no one besides the high priest himself, who is permitted to perform his duties instead of him; for which reason, he must always be kept free from all defilement, never touching any dead body, in order that, being always ready to offer up prayers and sacrifices on behalf of the whole world at suitable seasons, he may continue to fulfil the duties of his office without hindrance. (114) And otherwise too, besides this consideration, the man who has been assigned to God, and who has become the leader of his sacred band of worshippers, ought to be disconnected with, and alienated from, all things of creation, not being so much the slave of the love of either parents, or children, or brothers, as either to omit or to delay any one of those holy actions, which it is by all means better should be done at once; (115) and God commands the high priest neither to rend his clothes over his very nearest relations when they die, nor to take from his head the ensign of the priesthood, nor in short to depart from the holy place on any plea of mourning, that, showing proper respect to the place, and to the sacred ornaments with which he himself is crowned, he may show himself superior to pity, and pass the whole of his life exempt from all sorrow. (116) For the law designs that he should be the partaker of a nature superior to that of man; inasmuch as he approaches more nearly to that of the Deity; being, if one must say the plain truth, on the borders between the two, in order that men may propitiate God by some mediator, and that God may have some subordinate minister by whom he may offer and give his mercies and kindnesses to mankind.
XXIV. (117) After he has said this, he immediately proceeds to lay down laws, concerning those who are to use the first fruits, "If therefore, any One,"11951195 Lev 21:17. says he, "should mutilate the priests as to their eyes, or their feet, or any part of their bodies, or if he should have received any blemish, let him not partake of the sacred ministrations by reason of the defects which exist in him, but still let him enjoy those honours which are common to all the priests, because of his irreproachable nobility of birth." (118) "Moreover, if any leprosies break out and attack him or if any one of the priests he afflicted with any flux, let him not touch the sacred table, nor any of the duties which are set apart for his race, until the flux stop, or the leprosy change, so that he become again resembling the complexion of sound Flesh."11961196 Lev 22:4. (119) And, if any priest do by any chance whatever touch anything that is unclean, or if he should have impure dreams by night, as is very often apt to be the case, let him during all that day touch nothing that has been consecrated, but let him wash himself and the ensuing evening, and after that let him not be hindered from touching them. (120) And let the sojourner in the priest's house, and the hireling, be prevented from approaching the first fruits; the sojourner, because it is not every one who is a neighbour who shares a man's hearth and eats at his table;11971197 Lev 22:10. for there is reason to fear that some such person may cast away what is hallowed, using as a cloak for his impiety the pretence of some unseasonable humanity; for one might not give all men a share of all things, but only of such as are adapted to those who are to receive them; otherwise, that which is the most beautiful and most beneficial of all the things in this life, namely order, will be wasted away and destroyed by that which is the most mischievous of all things, namely, confusion. (121) For if in merchant vessels the sailors were to receive an equal share with the pilot of the ship, and if in ships of war the rowers and the mariners were to receive an equal share with the captain, and if in military camps the cavalry of the line were to receive an equal share with their officers, the heavy armed infantry with their colonels, and the colonels with the generals; again, if in cities the parties before the court were to be placed on the same footing with the judges, the committeemen with the ministers, and in short private individuals with the magistrates, there would be incessant troubles and seditions, and the equality in words would produce inequality in fact; for it is an unequal measure to give equal honour to persons who are unequal in rank or desert; and inequality is the root of all evil. (122) On which account one must not give the honours of the priests to sojourners, just as one must not give them to any one else, who in that case, because of their proximity, would be meddling with what they have no business; for the honour does not belong to the house, but to the race.
XXV. (123) In like manner, no one must give this sacred honour to a hireling, as his wages, or as a recompense for his service; for sometimes he who receives it being unholy will employ it for illegitimate purposes, making the honours due to purity of birth common, and profaning all the sacred ceremonies and observances relating to the temple; (124) on which account the law altogether forbids any foreigner to partake in any degree of the holy things, even if he be a man of the noblest birth among the natives of the land, and irreproachable as respects both men and women, in order that the sacred honours may not be adulterated, but may remain carefully guarded in the family of the priests; (125) for it would be absurd that the sacrifices and holy ordinances, and all the other sacred observances pertaining to the altar, should be entrusted not to all men but to the priests alone; but that the rewards for the performance of those things should be common and liable to fall to the share of any chance persons, as if it were reasonable that the priests should be worn out with labours and toils, and nightly and daily cares, but that the rewards for such pains should be common and open to those who do nothing. (126) But, he proceeds, let the priest who is his master give to the slave who is born in his house, and to him who has been purchased with money, a share of meat and drink from the first fruits. In the first place, because the master is the only source of supply to the servant, and the inheritance of the master are the sacred offices of humanity, by which the slave must necessarily be supported. (127) In the second place, because it is by all means necessary that they should not do what is to be done unwillingly; and servants, even though we may not like it, since they are always about us and living with us, preparing meat, and drink, and delicacies for their masters beforehand, and standing at their tables, and carrying away the fragments that are left, even though they may not take any openly, will at all events secretly appropriate some of the victuals, being compelled by necessity to steal, so that instead of one injury (if indeed it is an injury to their masters that they should be supported at their expense), they are compelled to add a second to it, namely, theft; in order that, like thieves, they may enjoy what has been consecrated by their masters who live irreproachably themselves; which is the most unreasonable thing possible. (128) Thirdly, one ought to take this also into consideration, that share of the first fruits will not be neglected merely because they are distributed to the servants, through their fear of their masters; for this is sufficient to stop their mouths, preventing the arrogance of such persons from showing itself.
XXVI. (129) Having said thus much he proceeds next to put forth a law full of humanity. If, says he, the daughter of a priest, having married a man who is not a priest, becomes a widow by the death of her husband, or if she be left childless while he is still alive, let her return again to her father's house, to receive her share of the first fruits which she enjoyed when she was a virgin;11981198 Lev 22:12. for in some degree and in effect she is now also a virgin, since she has neither husband nor children, and has no other refuge but her father; (130) but if she has sons or daughters, then the mother must of necessity be classed with the children; and the sons and daughters, being ranked as of the family of their father, draw their mother also with them into his House.11991199Yonge's translation includes a separate treatise title at this point: On the Question: What the Rewards and Honours Are Which Belong to the Priests. Accordingly, his next paragraph begins with roman numeral I (= XVII in the Loeb). Yonge's "treatise" concludes with number VI (= XXXII in the Loeb). The publisher has elected to follow the Loeb numbering.
XXVII. (131) The law did not allot any share of the land to the priests, in order that they like others might derive revenues from the land, and so possess a sufficiency of necessary things; but admitting them to an excessive degree of honour, he said that God was their inheritance, having a reference to the things offered to God; for the sake of two objects, both that of doing them the highest honour, since they are thus made partners in those things which are offered up by pious men, out of gratitude to God; and also in order that they might have no business about which to trouble themselves except the offices of religion, as they would have had, if they were forced to take care of their inheritance. And the following are the rewards and preeminent honours which he assigns to them; (132) in the first place, that the necessary food for their support shall at all times be provided for them without any labour or toil of their own; for God commands those who are making bread, to take of all the fat and of all the dough, a loaf as first fruits for the use of the priests, making thus, by this legitimate instruction, a provision for those men who put aside these first fruits, proceeding in the way that leads to piety; (133) for being accustomed at all times to offer first fruits of the necessary food, they will thus have an everlasting recollection of God, than which it is impossible to imagine a greater blessing; and it follows of necessity, that the first fruits offered by the most populous of nations must be very plentiful, so that even the very poorest of the priests, must, in respect of his abundance of all necessary food, appear to be very wealthy. (134) In the second place, he commands the nation also to give them the first fruits of their other possessions; a portion of wine out of each winepress; and of wheat and barley from each threshing floor. And in like manner they were to have a share of oil from all; the olive trees, and of eatable fruit from all the fruit trees, in order that they might not pass a squalid existence, having only barely enough of necessary food to support life, but that they might have sufficient for a certain degree of comfort and luxury, and so live cheerfully on abundant means, with all becoming ornament and refinement. (135) The third honour allotted to them is an assignment of all the first-born males, of all kinds of land animals which are born for the service and use of mankind; for these are the things which God commands to be given to the men consecrated to the priesthood; the offspring of oxen, and sheep, and goats, namely calves, and lambs, and kids, inasmuch as they both are and are considered clean, both for the purposes of eating and of sacrifice, but he orders that money shall be given as a ransom for the young of other animals, such as horses, and asses and camels, and similar beasts, without disparaging their real value; (136) and the supplies thus afforded them are very great; for the people of this nation breed sheep, and cattle, and flocks of all kinds above all other peoples, separating them with great care into flocks of goats, and herds of oxen, and flocks of sheep, and a vast quantity of other troops of animals of all kinds. (137) Moreover the law, going beyond all these enactments in their favour, commands the people to bring them the first fruits, not only of all their possessions of every description, but also of their own lives and bodies; for the children are separable portions of their parents as one may say; but if one must tell the plain truth, they are inseparable as being of kindred blood, [...]12001200the above passage is quite unintelligible in the Greek, and is given up by Mangey as irremediably corrupt. and being bound to them by the allurements of united good will, and by the indissoluble bonds of nature. (138) But nevertheless, he consecrates also their own first-born male children after the fashion of other first fruits, as a sort of thanks-offering for fertility, and a number of children both existing and hoped for, and wishing at the same time that their marriages should be not only free from all blame, but even very deserving of praise, the first fruit arising from which is consecrated to God; and keeping this in their minds, both husbands and wives ought to cling to modesty, and to attend to their household concerns, and to cherish unanimity, agreeing with one another, so that what is called a communion and partnership may be so in solid truth, not only in word, but likewise in deed. (139) And with reference to the dedication of the first-born male children, in order that the parents may not be separated from their children, nor the children from their parents, he values the first fruits of them himself at a fixed price in money ordering everyone both poor and rich to contribute an equal sum, not having any reference to the ability of the contributors, nor to the vigour or beauty of the children who were born; but considering how much even a very poor man might be able to give; (140) for since the birth of children happens equally to the most noble and to the most obscure persons of the race, he thought it just to enact that their contribution should also be equal, aiming, as I have already said, particularly to fix a sum which should be in the power of everyone to give.
XXVIII. (141) After this he also appointed another source of revenue of no insignificant importance for the priests, bidding them to take the first fruits of every one of the revenues of the nation namely, the first fruits of the corn, and wine, and oil, and even of the produce of all the cattle, of the flocks of sheep, and herds of oxen, and flocks of goats, and of all other animals of all kinds; and how great an abundance of these animals there must be, any one may conjecture from the vast populousness of the nation; (142) from all which circumstances it is plain that the law invests the priests with the dignity and honour that belongs to kings; since he commands contributions from every description of possession to be given to them as to rulers; (143) and they are accordingly given to them in a manner quite contrary to that in which cities usually furnish them to their rulers; for cities usually furnish them under compulsion, and with great unwillingness and lamentation, looking upon the collectors of the taxes as common enemies and destroyers, and making all kinds of different excuses at different times, and neglecting all laws and ordinances, and with all this jumbling and evasion do they contribute the taxes and payments which are levied on them. (144) But the men of this nation contribute their payments to the priests with joy and cheerfulness, anticipating the collectors, and cutting short the time allowed for making the contributions, and thinking that they are themselves receiving rather than giving; and so with words of blessing and thankfulness, they all, both men and women, bring their offerings at each of the seasons of the year, with a spontaneous cheerfulness, and readiness, and zeal, beyond all description.
XXIX. (145) And these things are assigned to the priests from the possessions of each individual, but there are also often especial revenues set apart for them exceedingly suitable for the priests, which are derived from the sacrifices which are offered up; for it is commanded that two portions from two limbs of every victim shall be given to the priests, the arm from the limb on the right side, and the fat from the chest; for the one is a symbol of strength and manly vigour, and of every lawful action in giving, and taking, and acting: and the other is an emblem of human gentleness as far as the angry passions are concerned; (146) for it is said that these passions have their abode in the chest, since nature has assigned them the breast for their home as the most suitable place; around which as around a garrison she has thrown, in order more effectually to secure them from being taken, a very strong fence which is called the chest, which she has made of many continuous and very strong bones, binding it firmly with nerves which cannot be broken. (147) But from the victims which are sacrificed away from the altar, in order to be eaten, it is commanded that three portions should be given to the priest, an arm, and a jaw-bone, and that which is called the paunch; the arm for the reason which has been mentioned a short time ago; the jaw-bone as a first fruit of that most important of all the members of the body, namely the head, and also of uttered speech, for the stream of speech could not flow out without the motion of these jaws; for they being Agitated12011201the Greek word here used is seioÂ̄, and the word used for jawbone is siagoÌn, which Philo appears to think may be derived from seioÌ. (and it is very likely from this, that they have derived their name), when they are struck by the tongue, all the organisation of the voice sounds simultaneously; (148) and the paunch is a kind of excrescence of the belly. And the belly is a kind of stable of that irrational animal the appetite, which, being irrigated by much wine-bibbing and gluttony, is continually washed with incessant provision of meat and drink, and like a swine is delighted while wallowing in the mire; in reference to which fact, a very suitable place indeed has been assigned to that intemperate and most unseemly beast, namely, the place to which all the superfluities are conveyed. (149) And the opposite to desire is temperance, which one must endeavour, and labour, and take pains by every contrivance imaginable to acquire, as the very greatest blessing and most perfect benefit both to an individual and to the state. (150) Appetite therefore, being a profane, and impure, and unholy thing, is driven beyond the territories of virtue, and is banished as it ought to be; but temperance, being a pure and unblemished virtue, neglecting everything which relates to eating and drinking, and boasting itself as superior to the pleasures of the belly, may be allowed to approach the sacred altars, bringing forward as it does the excrescence of the body, as a memorial that it may be reminded to despise all insatiability and gluttony, and all those things which excite the appetites to this pitch.
XXX. (151) And beyond all these things he also orders that the priests who minister the offering of the sacrifices, shall receive the skins of the whole burnt offerings (and they amount to an unspeakable number, this being no slight gift, but one of the most exceeding value and importance), from which circumstances it is plain, that although he has not given to the priesthood a portion of land as its inheritance, in the same manner that he has to others, he has yet assigned to them a more honourable and more untroubled share than any other tribe, granting them the first fruits of every description of sacrifice and offering. (152) And to prevent anyone of those who give the offerings, from reproaching those who receive them, he commands that the first fruits should first of all be carried into the temple, and then orders that the priests shall take them out of the temple; for it was suitable to the nature of God, that those who had received kindness in all the circumstances of life, should bring the first fruits as thank-offering, and then that he, as a being who was in want of nothing, should with all dignity and honour bestow them on the servants and ministers who attend on the service of the temple; for to appear to receive these things not from men, but from the great Benefactor of all men, appears to be receiving a gift which has in it no alloy of sadness.
XXXI. (153) Since, then, these honours are put forth for them, if any of the priests are in any difficulty while living virtuously and irreproachably, they are at once accusers of us as disregarding the law, even though they may not utter a word. For if we were to obey the commands which we have received, and if we were to take care to give the first fruits as we are commanded, they would not only have abundance of all necessary things, but would also be filled with all kinds of supplies calculated for enabling them to live in refinement and luxury. (154) And if ever at any subsequent time the tribe of the priests is found to be blessed with a great abundance of all the necessaries and luxuries of life, this will be a great proof of their common holiness, and of their accurate observance of the laws and ordinances in every particular. But the neglect of some persons (for it is not safe to blame every one) is the cause of poverty to those who have been dedicated to God, and, if one must tell the truth, to the men themselves also. (155) For to violate the law is injurious to those who offend, even though it may be an attractive course for a short time; but to obey the ordinances of nature is most beneficial, even if at the time it may wear a painful appearance and may show no pleasant character.
XXXII. (156) Having given all these supplies and revenues to the priests, he did not neglect those either who were in the second rank of the priesthood; and these are the keepers of the temple, of whom some are placed at the doors, at the very entrance of the temple, as door-keepers; and others are within, in the vestibule of the temple, in order that no one who ought not to do so might enter it, either deliberately or by accident. Others, again, stand all around, having had the times of their watches assigned to them by lot, so as to watch by turns night and day, some being day watchmen and others night watchmen. Others, again, had charge of the porticoes and of the courts in the open air, and carried out all the rubbish, taking care of the cleanliness of the temple, and the tenths were assigned as the wages of all these men; for these tenths are the share of the keepers of the temple. (157) At all events the law did not permit those who received them to make use of them, until they had again offered up as first fruits other tenths as if from their own private property, and before they had given these to the priests of the superior rank, for then it permitted them to enjoy them, but before that time it would not allow it. (158) Moreover, the law allotted to them fortyeight cities, and in every city, suburbs, extending two hundred cubits all round, for the pasture of their cattle, and for the other necessary purposes of which cities have need. But of these cities, six were set apart, some on the near side, and some on the further side of Jordan, three on each side, as cities of refuge for those who had committed unintentional murder. (159) For as it was not consistent with holiness for one who had by any means whatever become the cause of death to any human being to come within the sacred precincts, using the temple as a place of refuge and as an asylum, Moses gave a sort of inferior sanctity to the cities above mentioned, allowing them to give great security, by reason of the privileges and honours conferred upon the inhabitants, who were to be justified in protecting their suppliants if any superior power endeavoured to bring force against them, not by warlike preparations, but by rank, and dignity, and honour, which they had from the laws by reason of the venerable character of the priesthood. (160) But the fugitive, when he has once got within the borders of the city to which he has fled for refuge, must be kept close within it, because of the avengers waiting for him on the outside, being the relations by blood of the man who has been slain, and who, out of regret for their kinsman, even if he has been slain by one who did not intend to do so, are still eager for the blood of him who slew him, their individual and private grief overpowering their accurate notions of what is right. And should he go forth from the city, let him know that he is going forth to undoubted destruction; for he will not escape the notice of any one of the slain man's relations, by whom he will at once be taken in nets and toils, and so he will perish. (161) And the limit of his banishment shall be the life of the high priest; and when he is dead, he shall be pardoned and return to his own city. Moses, having promulgated these and similar laws about the priests, proceeds to enact others concerning animals, as to what beasts are suitable for Sacrifice.12021202Yonge's translation includes a separate treatise title at this point: On Animals Fit for Sacrifice, or On Victims. Accordingly, his next paragraph begins with roman numeral I (= XXXIII in the Loeb). Yonge's "treatise" concludes with number XV (= XLVII in the Loeb). The publisher has elected to follow the Loeb numbering.
XXXIII. (162) Or the creatures which are fit to be offered as sacrifices, some are land animals, and some are such as fly through the air. Passing over, therefore, the infinite varieties of birds, God chose only two classes out of them all, the turtledove and the pigeon; because the pigeon is by nature the most gentle of all those birds which are domesticated and gregarious, and the turtle-dove the most gentle of those which love solitude. (163) Also, passing over the innumerable troops of land animals, whose very numbers it is not easy to ascertain, he selected these especially as the best—the oxen, and sheep, and goats; for these are the most gentle and the most manageable of all animals. At all events, great herds of oxen, and numerous flocks of goats and sheep, are easily driven by any one, not merely by any man, but by any little child, when they go forth to pasture, and in the same way they are brought back to their folds in good order when the time comes. (164) And of this gentleness, there are many other proofs, and the most evident are these: that they all feed on herbage, and that no one of them is carnivorous, and that they have neither crooked talons, nor any projecting tusks or teeth whatever; for the back parts of the upper jaw do not hold teeth, but all the incisor teeth are deficient in them: (165) and, besides these facts, they are of all animals the most useful to man. Rams are the most useful for the necessary covering of the body; oxen, for ploughing the ground and preparing the arable land for seed, and for the growth of the crops that shall hereafter come to be threshed out, in order that men may partake of and enjoy food; and the hair and fleeces of goats, where one is woven, or the other sewn together, make movable tents for travellers, and especially for men engaged in military expeditions, whom their necessities constantly compel to abide outside of the city in the open air.
XXXIV. (166) And the victims must be whole and entire, without any blemish on any part of their bodies, unmutilated, perfect in every part, and without spot or defect of any kind. At all events, so great is the caution used with respect not only to those who offer the sacrifices, but also to the victims which are offered, that the most eminent of the priests are carefully selected to examine whether they have any blemishes or not, and scrutinise them from head to foot, inspecting not only those parts which are easily visible, but all those which are more out of sight, such as the belly and the thighs, lest any slight imperfection should escape notice. (167) And the accuracy and minuteness of the investigation is directed not so much on account of the victims themselves, as in order that those who offer them should be irreproachable; for God designed to teach the Jews by these figures, whenever they went up to the altars, when there to pray or to give thanks, never to bring with them any weakness or evil passion in their soul, but to endeavour to make it wholly and entirely bright and clean, without any blemish, so that God might not turn away with aversion from the sight of it.
XXXV. (168) And since, of the sacrifices to be offered, some are on behalf of the whole nation, and indeed, if one should tell the real truth, in behalf of all mankind, while others are only in behalf of each individual who has chosen to offer them; we must speak first of all of those which are for the common welfare of the whole nation, and the regulations with respect to this kind of sacrifice are of a marvellous nature. (169) For some of them are offered up every day, and some on the days of the new moon, and at the festivals of the full moon; others on days of fasting; and others at three different occasions of festival. Accordingly, it is commanded that every day the priests should offer up two lambs, one at the dawn of day, and the other in the evening; each of them being a sacrifice of thanksgiving; the one for the kindnesses which have been bestowed during the day, and the other for the mercies which have been vouchsafed in the night, which God is incessantly and uninterruptedly pouring upon the race of men. (170) And on the seventh day he doubles the number of victims to be offered, giving equal honour to equal things, inasmuch as he looks upon the seventh day as equal in dignity to eternity, since he has recorded it as being the birthday of the whole world. On which account he has thought fit to make the sacrifice to be offered on the seventh day, equal to the continuation of what is usually sacrificed in one day. (171) Moreover, the most fragrant of all incenses are offered up twice every day in the fire, being burnt within the veil, both when the sun rises and sets, before the morning and after the evening sacrifice, so that the sacrifices of blood display our gratitude for ourselves as being composed of blood, but the offerings of incense show our thankfulness for the dominant part within us, our rational spirit, which was fashioned after the archetypal model of the divine image. (172) And loaves are placed on the seventh day on the sacred table, being equal in number to the months of the year, twelve loaves, arranged in two rows of six each, in accordance with the arrangement of the equinoxes; for there are two equinoxes every year, the vernal and the autumnal, which are each reckoned by periods of six months. At the vernal equinox all the seeds sown in the ground begin to ripen; about which time, also, the trees begin to put forth their fruit. And by the autumnal one the fruit of the trees has arrived at a perfect ripeness; and at this period, again, is the beginning of seed time. Thus nature, going through a long course of time, showers gifts after gifts upon the race of man, the symbols of which are the two sixes of loaves thus placed on the table. (173) And these loaves, also, do figuratively intimate that most useful of all virtues, temperance; which is attended by frugality, and economy, and moderation as so many bodyguards, on account of the pernicious attacks which intemperance and covetousness prepare to make upon it. For, to a lover of wisdom, a loaf is a sufficient nourishment, keeping the bodies free from disease, and the intellect sound, and healthy, and sober. (174) But high seasonings, and cheesecakes, and sweetmeats, and all the other delicacies which the superfluous skill of confectioners and cooks concoct to cajole the illiterate, and unphilosophical, and most slavish of all the outward senses, namely, taste, which is never influenced by any noble sight, or by any perceptible lesson, but only by desire to indulge the appetites of the miserable belly, constantly engenders incurable diseases both in the body and the mind. (175) And with the loaves there is also placed on the table frankincense and salt. The one as a symbol that there is no sweetmeat more fragrant and wholesome than economy and temperance, if wisdom is to be the judge; while salt is an emblem of the duration of all things (for salt preserves everything over which it is sprinkled), and also of sufficient seasoning. (176) I know that those men who devote themselves wholly to drinking parties and banquets, and who care only for costly entertainments, will make a mock at these things and turn them into ridicule, miserable slaves as they are of birds, and fishes, and meat, and all such nonsense as that, and not being able to taste of true freedom, not even in a dream. And all such men are to be disregarded and despised by those who seek to live in accordance with the will of God, in a manner pleasing to the true and living God; who, having learnt to despise the pleasures of the flesh, pursue the delights and luxuries of the mind, having exercised themselves in the contemplation of the objects of Nature.12031203sections 177-193 were omitted in Yonge's translation because the edition on which Yonge based his translation, Mangey, lacked this material. These sections have been newly translated for this edition. (177) After he had ordered these things concerning the seventh day, he said that for the new moons it is necessary to offer ten whole burntofferings in all: two young bulls, one ram, seven lambs. For since the month is perfect in which the moon makes its way through its cycle, he thought that a perfect number of animals should be Sacrificed.12041204an alternative would be to understand teleion as a predicate adjective and supply an einai which would mean "that the number of animals to be sacrificed should be perfect." The absence of a definite article before "perfect number" suggests the translation in the text is preferable. (178) The number ten is the completely perfect number which he most appropriately assigned to the animals which have been mentioned: the two young bulls since there are two motions of the moon as it continually runs its double-courseâthe motion of waxing until full moon and the motion of waning until its conjunction with the sun; one ram since there is one principle of reason by which the moon waxes and wanes in equal intervals, both as it increases and diminishes in illumination; the seven lambs because it receives the perfect shapes in periods of seven daysâthe half-moon in the first seven day period after its conjunction with the sun, full moon in the second; and when it makes its return again, the first is to half-moon, then it ceases at its conjunction with the sun. (179) With the sacrificial victims he ordered that the finest wheaten flour mixed with oil be offered and wine in stipulated amounts for drink-offerings. The reason is that even these are brought to maturity by the orbits of the moon in the annual seasons, especially as the moon helps to ripen fruits; wheat and wine and oilâthe most helpful substances for life and the most essential for use by humansâare suitably dedicated together with all sacrifices. (180) For the feast which begins the sacred Month12051205the exact meaning of ieromeÂ̄nia is unclear. The best explanation of the term was suggested by a scholiast on Pindar Nem. 3.2 who explained that the beginnings of months were sacred (A. B. Drachmann, Scholia Vetera in Pindari Carmina [3 vols., Leipzig: B. G. Teubner, 1903-27] 3:42). Thus understood to be Philo's designation for the feast day which opens the sacred month, it is here consistently translated "the feast which begins the sacred month." double sacrifices are fitly offered since the reason for it is double: one, since it is the new moon; the other, since it is the feast which begins the sacred month. Regarding the fact that it is the new moon it is distinctly stated that sacrifices equal to the other new moons are to be sacrificed. Regarding the fact that it is the feast which begins the sacred month, the gifts are doubled apart from the young bulls. For one rather than two is offered since the judge has thought it correct to use the indivisible nature of the number one instead of the divisible number two at the beginning of the year. (181) In the first season—he calls springtime and its equinox the first season—he ordered that a feast which is called "the feast of unleavened bread" be celebrated for seven days and declared that every day was equal in honor in religious services. For he commanded that each day ten whole burnt offerings should be sacrificed just as they are for the new moons, making the total number of whole burnt offerings apart from those dealing with the trespass offerings seventy. (182) For he thought that the same reason governed the relation of the new moon to the month which governed the relation of the seven days of the feast to the equinox that took place in the seventh month. As a result he declared sacred both the beginning of each month and the beginning, consisting of the same number of days as the new moons, of the aggregate seven months. (183) In the middle of spring the harvest takes place during which season thank offerings are offered to God from the field because it has produced fruit in abundance and the crops are being harvested. This feast is the most publicly celebrated feast and is called "the feast of the first produce," named etymologically from the circumstance that the first of the produce, the first fruits, are dedicated at that time. (184) We are ordered to offer two young bulls as sacrifices, one ram, and seven lambs—these ten are sacred whole burnt offerings—and in addition, two lambs as meat for the priests which he calls "lambs of preservation" since food is preserved for humans out of multiple and varied circumstances. For destructive forces frequently occur: some by heavy rains, some by droughts, some by other unspeakably great changes in nature; and again, some are humanly produced through the invasion of enemies who attempt to lay waste their neighbors' land. (185) Suitably then, the preservation offerings are offered to the one who has dispersed all plots as thank offerings. They are offered with loaves which, after the people have brought them to the altar and lifted them up to heaven, they give to the priests along with the meat of the sacrifice of preservation for a most appropriate sacred feast. (186) When the third season takes place in the seventh month at the autumnal equinox, at the beginning of the month, the feast which begins the sacred month named "the feast of trumpets" and which was discussed earlier is celebrated. On the tenth day the fast takes place which they take seriously—not only those who are zealous about piety and holiness, but even those who do nothing religious the rest of the time. For all are astounded, overcome with the sacredness of it; in fact, at that time the worse compete with the better in selfcontrol and virtue. (187) The reputation of the day is due to two reasons: one that it is a feast and the other that it is purification and escape from sins for which anmesty has been given by the favors of the gracious God who has assigned the same honor to repentance that he has to not committing a single Sin.12061206L. Cohn emended meÌden to meÌde in order to avoid the notion of sinlessness in the text. The translation follows the MSS since they offer the more difficult reading and this is a rhetorical statement designed to commend repentance, not make an observation on human perfection. (188) Therefore he declared that since it was a feast the sacrifices should be the same number as those of the feast which begins the sacred month: a young bull, a ram, and seven lambs. In this way he mixed the number one with the number seven and lined the end up with the beginning, for the number seven has been appointed the end of things and the number one the beginning. He added three sacrifices since it was for purification. For he ordered that two hegoats and a ram be offered. Then he said that it was necessary to offer the ram as a whole burnt offering, but to cast lots for the he-goats. The hegoat selected by lot for God must be sacrificed, but the other was to be sent out into a pathless and inaccessible desolate place carrying on himself the curses of those who had committed offenses, but who were purified by changes for the better and who have washed themselves from their old lawlessness with a new sense of loyalty to the law. (189) On the fifteenth day, at full moon, the feast which is called "the feast of booths" is celebrated for which the supplies of the sacrifices are more numerous. For during seven days, seventy young bulls, fourteen rams and ninety-eight lambs are sacrificed—all animals as whole burnt offerings. We are ordered to consider the eighth day sacred, a day which I must deal with carefully when the entire account of the feasts is thoroughly examined. On this day as many sacrifices are offered as on the feast which begins the sacred month. (190) The sacrifices which are whole burnt offerings and are joint offerings on behalf of the nation or—to speak more accurately—on behalf of the entire race of humanity have been addressed to the best of my ability. However, a he-goat accompanies the whole burnt offerings on each day of the feast. He is called "concerning sins" and is sacrificed for the forgiveness of sins. His meat is Distributed12071207although S. Daniel included a negative in her edition (PAPM 24)—[ouk] aponemetai ("is not distributed")—in order to harmonize this statement with 1.232 and 1.244, this translation has followed the more difficult reading. to the priests for food. (191) What is the reason for this? Is it because a feast is a time of good cheer, and undeceiving and true good cheer is good sense firmly established in the soul, and this unwavering good sense is impossible to receive without a cure from sins and cutting off of the passions? For it would be out of place if each of the animals of the whole burnt offerings is sacrificed only when it is found undamaged and unhurt, but the mind of the sacrificer has not been purified in every way and cleansed by making use of washings and lustrations which the right reason of nature pours into God-loving souls through healthy and uncorrupt ears. (192) In addition the following ought to be said. These festal and holiday rests have in the past often opened up countless avenues to sins. For unmixed beverage and luxurious diets with excessive drinking arouse the insatiable desires of the stomach and also kindle the desires of the parts beneath the stomach. As these desires both flow and stream out in every way, they produce a surge of unspeakable evils using the fearless stimulant of the feast as a refuge to avoid suffering anything. (193) Knowing these things, he did not allow them to celebrate a feast in the same way as other peoples, but at the very time of good cheer he first commanded that they purify themselves by bridling the impulses of pleasure. Then he summoned them into the temple for participation in hymns and prayers and sacrifices so that both from the place and from the things seen and said through the most powerful of senses, sight and hearing, they might come to love self-control and piety. Last of all, he reminded them not to sin through the sacrifice for sin. For the one who is asking for anmesty for the sins he has committed is not so dominated by evil that at the very time he is asking for release from old wrongs he should begin other new ones.
XXXVI. (194) After the lawgiver has given these commands with reference to these subjects, he begins to distinguish between the different kinds of sacrifices, and he divides the victims into three classes. The most important of which he makes a whole burnt offering; the next an offering for preservation; the last, a sin-offering. And then he adapts suitable ceremonies and rites to each, aiming, in no inadequate manner, at what is at the same time decorous and holy. (195) And the distinction which he makes is one of great beauty and propriety, having a close connection and a sort of natural kindred with the things themselves; for if any one were to wish to examine minutely the causes for which it seemed good to the first men to betake themselves at the same time to sacrifices to show their gratitude, and also to supplications, he will find two most especial reasons for this conduct. Firstly, that it conduces to the honour of God, which ought to be aimed at not for the sake of any other reason, but for itself alone, as being both honourable and necessary; and, secondly, for the benefits which have been poured upon the sacrificers themselves, as has been said before. And the benefit they derive is also twofold, being both an admission to a share of good things and a deliverance from evils. (196) Therefore the law has assigned the whole burnt offering as a sacrifice adequate to that honour which is suited to God, and which belongs to God alone, enjoining that what is offered to the allperfect and absolute God must be itself entire and perfect, having no taint of mortal selfishness in it. But that sacrifice which is offered for the sake of men, since its appearance admits of distinction, the law has distinguished also, appointing it to be a sacrifice for the participation in blessings which mankind has enjoined, and calling it a thank-offering for their preservation. And for the deliverance from evils it has allotted the sacrifice called a sin-offering, so that these are very appropriately their sacrifices for these causes; (197) the whole burntoffering being sacrificed for God himself alone, who must be honoured for his own sake, and not for that of any other being or thing; and the others for our sake; the thank-offering for our preservation, for the safety and amelioration of human affairs; and the sin-offering for the cure of those offences which the soul has committed.
XXXVII. (198) And we must now enumerate the laws which have been enacted respecting each sacrifice, making our commencement with that which is the most excellent. Now, the most excellent sacrifice is the whole burnt-offering. The law says, "In the first place the victim shall be a male, carefully selected for its excellence from all the animals which are fit for sacrifice, a calf, or a lamb, or a kid. And then let him who brings it wash his hands, and lay his hands on the head of the victim. (199) And after this let some one of the priests take the victim and sacrifice it, and let another hold a bowl under it, and, having caught some of the blood, let him go all around the altar and sprinkle it with the blood, and let him flay the victim and divide it into large pieces, having washed its entrails and its feet. And then let the whole victim be given to the fire of the altar of God,12081208 Lev 1:3. having become many things instead of one, and one instead of many." (200) These things, then, are comprehended in express words of command. But there is another meaning figuratively concealed under the enigmatical expressions. And the words employed are visible symbols of what is invisible and uncertain. Now the victim which is to be sacrificed as a whole burnt offering must be a male, because a male is both more akin to domination than a female and more nearly related to the efficient cause; for the female is imperfect, subject, seen more as the passive than as the active partner. (201) And since the elements of which our soul consists are two in number, the rational and the irrational part, the rational part belongs to the male sex, being the inheritance of intellect and reason; but the irrational part belongs to the sex of woman, which is the lot also of the outward senses. And the mind is in every respect superior to the outward sense, as the man is to the woman; who, when he is without blemish and purified with the proper purifications, namely, the perfect virtues, is himself the most holy sacrifice, being wholly and in all respects pleasing to God. (202) Again, the hands which are laid upon the head of the victim are a most manifest symbol of irreproachable actions, and of a life which does nothing which is open to accusation, but which in all respects is passed in a manner consistent with the laws and ordinances of nature; (203) for the law, in the first place, desires that the mind of the man who is offering the sacrifice shall be made holy by being exercised in good and advantageous doctrines; and, in the second place, that his life shall consist of most virtuous actions, so that, in conjunction with the imposition of hands, the man may speak freely out of his cleanly conscience, and may say, (204) "These hands have never received any gift as a bribe to commit an unjust action, nor any division of what has been obtained by rapine or by covetousness, nor have they shed innocent blood. nor have they wrought mutilation, nor works of insolence, nor acts of violence, nor have they inflicted any wounds; nor, in fact, have they performed any action whatever which is liable to accusation or to reproach, but have been ministers in everything which is honourable and advantageous, and which is honoured by wisdom, or by the laws, or by honourable and virtuous men."
XXXVIII. (205) And the blood is poured out in a circle all round the altar, because a circle is the most complete of all figures, and also in order that no part whatever may be left empty and unoccupied by the libation of life; for, to speak properly, the blood is the libation of the life. Therefore the law here symbolically teaches us that the mind, which is always performing its dances in a circle, is by every description of words, and intentions, and actions which it adopts, always showing its desire to please God. (206) And it is commanded that the belly and the feet shall be washed, which command is a figurative and very expressive one; for, by the belly it is figuratively meant to be signified that it is desirable that the appetites shall be purified, which are full of stains, and intoxication, and drunkenness, being thus a most pernicious evil, existing, and concocted, and exercised to the great injury of the life of mankind. (207) And by the command that the feet of the victim should be washed, it is figuratively shown that we must no longer walk upon the earth, but soar aloft and traverse the air. For the soul of the man who is devoted to God, being eager for truth, springs upward and mounts from earth to heaven; and, being borne on wings, traverses the expanse of the air, being eager to be classed with and to move in concert with the sun, and moon, and all the rest of the most sacred and most harmonious company of the stars, under the immediate command and government of God, who has a kingly authority without any rival, and of which he can never be deprived, in accordance with which he justly governs the universe. (208) And the division of the animal into limbs shows plainly that all things are but one, or that they are derived from one, and dissolved into one; which some persons have called satiety and also want, while others have called it combustion and arrangement: combustion, in accordance with the supreme power of God, who rules all other things in the world; and arrangement, according to the equality of the four elements which they all mutually allow to one another. (209) And when I have been investigating these matters, this has appeared to me to be a probable conjecture; the soul which honours the living God, ought for that very reason to honour him not inconsiderately nor ignorantly, but with knowledge and reason; and the reasoning which we indulge in respecting God admits of division and partition, according to each of the divine faculties and excellencies; for God is both all good, and is also the maker and creator of the universe; and he also created it having a foreknowledge of what would take place, and being its preserver and most blessed benefactor, full of every kind of happiness; all which circumstances have in themselves a most dignified and praiseworthy character, both separately and when looked at in conjunction with their kindred qualities; (210) and we must speak in the same way of other matters. When you wish to give thanks to God with your mind, and to assert your gratitude for the creation of the world, give him thanks for the creation of it as a whole, and of all its separate parts in their integrity, as if for the limbs of a most perfect animal; and by the parts I mean, for instance, the heaven, and the sun, and the moon, and the fixed stars; and secondly the earth, and the animals, and plants which spring from it; and next the seas and rivers, whether naturally springing from the ground or swollen by rain as winter torrents, and all the things in them: and lastly, the air and all the changes that take place in it; for winter, and summer, and spring, and autumn, being the seasons of the year, and being all of great service to mankind, are what we may call affections of the air for the preservation of all these things that are beneath the moon. (211) And if ever you give thanks for men and their fortunes, do not do so only for the race taken generally, but you shall give thanks also for the species and most important parts of the race, such as men and women, Greeks and barbarians, men on the continent, and those who have their habitation in the islands; and if you are giving thanks for one individual, do not divide your thankfulness in expression into gratitude for minute trifles and inconsiderable matters, but take in your view the most comprehensive circumstances, first of all, his body and his soul, of which he consists, and then his speech, and his mind, and his outward senses; for such gratitude cannot of itself be unworthy of being listened to by God, when uttered, for each of these particulars.
XXXIX. (212) These things are enough for us to say respecting the sacrifice of the whole burntoffering. We must now proceed in due order to consider that offering which is called the sacrifice for preservation; for with respect to this one it is a matter of consequence whether the victim be male or female; and when it is slain, these three parts are especially selected for the altar, the fat, and the lobe of the liver, and the two kidneys; and all the other parts are left to make a feast for the sacrificer; (213) and we must consider with great accuracy the reason why these portions of the entrails are in this case looked upon as sacred, and not pass this point by carelessly. Often when I have been considering this matter in my own mind, and investigating all these commandments, I have doubted why the law selected the lobe of the liver, and the kidneys, and the fat, as the first fruits of the animals thus sacrificed; and did not choose the heart or the brain, though the dominant part of the man resides in one of these parts; (214) and I think also that many other persons who read the sacred scriptures with their mind, rather than merely with their eyes, will ask the same question. If therefore they, when they have considered the matter, can find any more probable reason, they will be benefiting both themselves and us; but if they cannot, let them consider the cause which has been discovered by us, and see whether it will stand the test; and this is it. The dominant power alone of all those that exist in us is able to restrain our natural folly, and injustice, and cowardice, and our other vices, and does restrain them; and the abode of this dominant power is one or other of the aforesaid portions of us, that is, it is either the brain or the heart; (215) therefore the sacred commandment has thought fit that one should not bring to the altar of God, by means of which a remission and complete pardon of all sins and transgressions is procured, that vessel from which the mind having at one time been abiding in it, has gone forth on the trackless road of injustice and impiety, having turned out of the way which leads to virtue and excellence; for it would be folly to suppose that sacrifices were not to procure a forgetfulness of offences, but were to act as a reminder of them. This it is which appears to me to be the reason why neither of those two parts, which are of supreme importance, namely, the brain or the heart, is brought to the altar; (216) and the parts which are commanded to be brought have a very suitable reason why they should be; the fat is brought because it is the richest part, and that which guards the entrails; for it envelops them and makes them to flourish, and benefits them by the softness of its touch. And the kidneys are commanded to be selected on account of the adjacent parts and the organs of generation, which they, as they dwell near them, do, like good neighbours, assist and co-operate with, in order that the seed of nature may prosper without anything in its vicinity being any obstacle to it; for they are channels resembling blood, by which that part of the purification of the superfluities of the body which is moist is separated from the body; and the testicles are near by which the seed is irrigated. And the lobe of the liver is the first fruit of the most important of the entrails, by means of which the food is digested, and being conveyed into the stomach is diffused through all the veins, and so conduces to the durability of the whole body; (217) for the stomach, lying close to the gullet which swallows the food, receives it as soon after it has first been chewed by the teeth and been made smooth, and so digests it; and the body again receives it from the stomach and performs the second part of the service required, to which indeed it has been destined by nature, giving forth a juice to aid in liquefying the food; and there are tow pipes like channels in the belly, which pour forth chyle into the liver, through the two channels which are originally placed in it. (218) And the liver has a twofold power, a secretive one, and also a power of making blood. Now the secretive power secretes everything which is hard and difficult to be digested, and removes it into the adjacent vessels of gall; and the other power turns all that portion of the food which is pure and properly strained, by the means of its own innate flame, into life-like vivifying blood; and presses it into the heart, from which, as has been already said, it is conveyed through the veins and by these channels is diffused through the whole body to which it becomes the nourishment. (219) We must also add to what has been here said, that the nature of the liver being a lofty character and very smooth, by reason of its smoothness is looked upon as a very transparent mirror, so that when the mind, retreating from the cares of the day (while the body is lying relaxed in sleep, and while no one of the outward senses is any hindrance or impediment), begins to roll itself about, and to consider the objects of its thought by itself without any interruption, looking into the liver as into a mirror, it then sees, very clearly and without any alloy, every one of the proper objects of the intellect, and looking round upon all vain idols, and seeing that no disgrace can accrue to it, but taking care to avoid that and to choose the contrary, and being contented and pleased with all that it sees, it by dreams obtains a prophetic sight of the future.
XL. (220) And there are two days only during which God permits the nation to make use of the sacrifice for preservation, enjoining them to carve nothing of it till the third day, on many accounts, first of all, because all the things which are ever placed on the sacred table, ought to be made use of in due season, while the users take care that they shall suffer no deterioration from the lapse of time; but the nature of meat that has been kept is very apt to become putrid, even though it may have been seasoned in the cooking; (221) secondly, because it is fitting that the sacrifices should not be stored up for food, but should be openly exposed, so as to afford a meal to all who are in need of it, for the sacrifice when once placed on the altar, is no longer the property of the person who has offered it, but belongs to that Being to whom the victim is sacrificed, who, being a beneficent and bounteous God, makes the whole company of those who offer the sacrifice, partakers at the altar and messmates, only admonishing them not to look upon it as their own feast, for they are but stewards of the feast, and not the entertainers; and the entertainer is the man to whom all the preparation belongs, which it is not lawful to conceal while preferring parsimony and illiberal meanness to humanity which is a noble virtue. (222) Lastly, this command was given because it so happens that the sacrifice for preservation is offered up for two things, the soul and the body, to each of which the lawgiver has assigned one day for feasting on the meats, for it was becoming that a number of days should be allotted for this purpose equal to the number of those parts in us which were designed to be sacred; so that in the first day we should, together with our eating of the food, receive a recollection of the salvation of our souls; and on the second day be reminded of the sound health of our bodies. (223) And since there is no third object which is naturally appointed as one that should receive preservation, he has, with all possible strictness, forbidden the use of those meats being reserved to the third day, commanding that if it should so happen that, out of ignorance or forgetfulness, any portion was left, it should be consumed with fire; and he declares that the man who has merely tasted of it is blameable, saying to him, "Though thinking that you were sacrificing, O foolish man, you have not sacrificed; I have not accepted the unholy, unconsecrated, profane, unclean meats which you have roasted, O gluttonous man; never, even in a dream, having a proper idea of sacrifice."
XLI. (224) To this species of sacrifice for preservation that other sacrifice also belongs, which is called the sacrifice of praise, and which rests on the following Principle.12091209 Lev 19:1. The man who has never fallen into any unexpected disaster whatever, neither as to his body nor as to his external circumstances, but who has passed a tranquil and peaceful life, living in happiness and prosperity, being free from all calamity and all mishap, steering through the long voyage of life in calmness and serenity of circumstances, good fortune always blowing upon the stern of his vessel, is, of necessity, bound to requite God, who has been the pilot of his voyage, who has bestowed upon him untroubled salvation and unalloyed benefits, and, in short, all sorts of blessings unmingled with any evil, with hymns, and songs, an prayers, and also with sacrifices, and all other imaginable tokens of gratitude in a holy manner; all which things taken together have received the one comprehensive name of praise. (225) This sacrifice the lawgiver has not commanded to be spread like the one before mentioned over two days,12101210 Lev 7:5. but he has confined it to one only, in order that these men, who meet with ready benefits freely poured upon them, may offer up their requital freely and without any delay.
XLII. (226) This is sufficient to say on these subjects. We must now proceed, in due order, to consider the third sacrifice, which is called the sinoffering. This is varied in many ways, both in respect to the persons and to the description of victims offered; in respect of persons, that is, of the high priest, and of the whole nation, and of the ruler in his turn, and of the private individual; in respect of the victim offered, whether it be a calf, or a kid, or a she-goat, or a lamb. (227) Also there is a distinction made, which is very necessary, as to whether they are voluntary or involuntary, with reference to those who, after they have erred, change for the better, confessing that they have sinned, and reproaching themselves for the offences that they have committed, and turning, for the future, to an irreproachable way of life. (228) The sins therefore of the high priest, and of the whole nation, are atoned for by animals of equal value, for the priest is commanded to offer up a calf for each. The sins of the ruler are atoned for by an inferior animal, but still a male, for a kid is the appointed victim. The sins of the private individual by a victim of an inferior species, for it is a female, not a male, a she-goat, that is sacrificed; (229) for it was fitting that a ruler should be ranked above a private individual, even in his performance of sacred ceremonies also: but the nation is superior to the ruler, since the whole must, at all times, be superior to the part. But the high priest is accounted worthy of the same honour as the whole nation, in respect of purification and of entreating a forgiveness of his sins from the merciful power of God. And he receives an equality of honour, not so much as it appears for his own sake, as because he is a servant of the nation, offering up a common thank-offering for them all in his most sacred prayers and most holy sacrifices. (230) And the commandment given respecting these matters is one of great dignity and admirable solemnity. "If," says the law, "the high priest have sinned unintentionally," and then it adds, "so that the people has sinned too," all but affirming in express words that the true high priest, not the one incorrectly called so, has no participation in sin; and if ever he stumble, this will happen to him, not for his own sake, but for the common errors of the nation, and this error is not incurable, but is one which easily admits of a remedy. (231) When, therefore, the calf has been sacrificed, the lawgiver commands the sacrificer to sprinkle some of the blood with his finger seven times in front of the veil which is before the holy of holies, within the former veil, in which place the sacred vessels are placed; and after that to smear and anoint the four horns of the altar, for it is square; and to pour out the rest of the blood at the foot of the altar, which is in the open air. (232) And to this altar they are commanded to bring three things, the fat, and the lobe of the liver, and the two kidneys, in accordance with the commandment given with reference to the sacrifice for preservation; but the skin and the flesh, and all the rest of the body of the calf, from the head to the feet, with the entrails, they are commanded to carry out and to turn in an open place, to which the sacred ashes from the altar have been conveyed. The lawgiver also gives the same command with respect to the whole nation when it has sinned. (233) But if any ruler has sinned he makes his purification with a kid,12111211 Lev 4:22. as I have said before; and if a private individual has sinned, he must offer a she-goat or a lamb; and for the ruler he appoints a male victim, but to the private individual a female, making all his other injunctions the same in both cases, to anoint the horns of the altar in the open air with blood, to bring the fat and the lobe of the liver, and the two kidneys, and to give the rest of the victim to the priests to eat.
XLIII. (234) But since, of offences some are committed against men, and some against holy and sacred things; he has hitherto been speaking with reference to those which are unintentionally committed against men; but for the purification of such as have been committed against sacred things he commands a ram to be offered up, after the offender has first paid the value of the thing to which the offence related, adding one fifth to the exact value. (235) And after having put forth these and similar enactments with reference to sins committed unintentionally, he proceeds to lay down rules respecting intentional offences. "If any one," says the law, "shall speak falsely concerning a partnership, or about a deposit, or about a theft, or about the finding of something which another has lost, and being suspected and having had an oath proposed to him, shall swear, and when he appears to have escaped all conviction at the hands of this accusers, shall himself become his own accuser, being convicted by his own conscience residing within, and shall reproach himself for the things which he has denied, and as to which he has sworn falsely, and shall come and openly confess the sin which he has committed, and implore pardon; (236) then pardon shall be given to such a man, who shows the truth of his repentance, not by promises but by works, by restoring the deposit which he has received, and by giving up the things which he has stolen or found, or of which in short he has in any way deprived his neighbour, paying also in addition one fifth of the value, as an atonement for the evil which he had Done."12121212 Lev 5:20. (237) And then, after he has appeased the man who had been injured, the law proceeds to say, "After this let him go also into the temple, to implore remission of the sins which he has committed, taking with him an irreproachable mediator, namely, that conviction of the soul which has delivered him from his incurable calamity, curing him of the disease which would cause death, and wholly changing and bringing him to good health." And it orders that he should sacrifice a ram, and this victim is expressly mentioned, as it is in the case of the man who has offended in respect of the holy things; (238) for the law speaks of an unintentional offence in the matter of holy things as of equal importance with an intentional sin in respect of men; if we may not indeed say that this also is holy, since an oath is added to it, which, as having been taken for an unjust cause, it has corrected by an alteration for the better. (239) And we must take notice that the parts of the victim slain as a sin-offering which are placed upon the altar, are the same as those which are taken from the sacrifice for preservation, namely the lobe of the liver, and the fat, and the kidneys; for in a manner we may speak also of the man who repents as being preserved, since he is cured of a disease of the soul, which is worse than the diseases of the body; (240) but the other parts of the animal are assigned to be eaten in a different manner; and the difference consists in three things; in the place, and time, and in those who receive It.12131213 Lev 6:9. Now the place is the temple; the time is one day instead of two; and the persons who partake of it are the priests, and the male servants of the priests, but not the men who offer the sacrifice. (241) Therefore the law does not permit the sacrifice to be brought out of the temple, with the intent that, if the man who repents has committed any previous offence also, he may not now be overwhelmed by envious and malicious men, with foolish dispositions and unbridled tongues, always lying in wait for reproach and false accusation; but it must be eaten in the sacred precincts, within which the purification has taken place.
XLIV. (242) And the law orders the priests to feast on what is offered in the sacrifice for many reasons; first of all, that by this command it may do honour to him who has offered the sacrifice, for the dignity of those who eat of the feast is an honour to those who furnish it; secondly, that they may believe the more firmly that those men who feel repentance for their sins do really have God propitious to them, for he would never have invited his servants and ministers to a participation in such a banquet, if his forgiveness of those who provided it had not been complete; and thirdly, because it is not lawful for any one of the priests to bear a part in the sacred ceremonies who is not perfect, for they are rejected for the slightest blemish. (243) And God comforts those who have ceased to travel by the road of wickedness, as if they now, by means of the race of the priesthood, had received a pure purpose of life for the future, and had been sent forth so as to obtain an equal share of honour with the priests. And it is for this reason that the victim sacrificed as a sin-offering is consumed in one day, because men ought to delay to sin, being always slow and reluctant to approach it, but to exert all possible haste and promptness in doing well. (244) But the sacrifices offered up for the sins of the high priest, or for those of the whole nation, are not prepared to be eaten at all, but are burnt to ashes, and the ashes are sacred as has been said; for there is no one who is superior to the high priest or to the whole nation, or who can as such be an intercessor for them, as to the sins which they have committed. (245) Very naturally, therefore, is the meat of this sacrifice ordered to be consumed by fire, in imitation of the whole burnt offerings, and this to the honour of those who offer it; not because the sacred judgments of God are given with reference to the rank of those who come before his tribunal, but because the offences committed by men of pre-eminent virtue and real holiness are accounted of a character nearly akin to the good actions of others; (246) for as a deep and fertile soil, even if it at times yields a bad crop, still bears more and better fruit than one which is naturally unproductive, so in the same manner it happens that the barrenness of virtuous and God-fearing men is more full of excellence than the best actions which ordinary people perform by chance; for these men cannot intentionally endure to do anything blameable.
XLV. (247) Having given these commandments about every description of sacrifice in its turn, namely, about the burnt offering, and the sacrifice for preservation, and the sin-offering, he adds another kind of offering common to all the three, in order to show that they are friendly and connected with one another; and this combination of them all is called the great vow; (248) and why it received this appellation we must now proceed to say. When any persons offer first fruits from any portion of their possessions, wheat, or barley, or oil, or wine, or the best of their fruits, or the firstborn males of their flocks and herds, they do so actually dedicating those first fruits which proceed from what is clean, but paying a price as the value of what is unclean; and when they have no longer any materials left in which they can display their piety, they then consecrate and offer up themselves, displaying an unspeakable holiness, and a most superabundant excess of a God-loving disposition, on which account such a dedication is fitly called the great vow; for every man is his own greatest and most valuable possession, and this even he now gives up and abandons. (249) And when a man has vowed this vow the law gives him the following command; first of all, to touch no unmixed wine, nor any wine that is made of the grape, nor to drink any other strong drink whatever, to the destruction of his reason, considering that during this period his reason also is dedicated to God; for all which could tend to drunkenness is forbidden to those of the priests who are employed in the sacred ministrations, they being commanded to quench their thirst with water; (250) in the second place they are commanded not to show their heads, giving thus a visible sign to all who see them that they are not debasing the pure coinage of their vow; thirdly, they are commanded to keep their body pure and undefiled, so as not even to approach their parents if they are dead, nor their brothers; piety overcoming the natural good will and affection towards their relations and dearest friends, and it is both honourable and expedient that piety should at all times prevail.
XLVI. (251) But when the appointed time for their being Released12141214 Num 6:14. from this vow has arrived, the law then commands the man who has dedicated himself to bring three animals to procure his release from his vow, a male lamb, and a female lamb, and a ram; the one for a burnt offering, the second for a sin-offering, and the ram as a sacrifice for preservation; (252) for in some sense the man who has made such a vow resembles all these things. He resembles the sacrifice of the entire burnt offering, because he is dedicating to his preserver not only a portion of the first fruits of other things, but also of his own self. And he resembles the sin-offering, inasmuch as he is a man; for there is no one born, however perfect he may be, who can wholly avoid the commission of sin. He resembles also the offering for preservation, inasmuch as he has recorded that God the saviour is the cause of his preservation, and does not ascribe it to any physician or to any power of his; for those who have been born themselves, and who are liable to infirmity, are not competent to bestow health even on themselves. Medicine does not benefit all persons, nor does it always benefit the same persons; but there are times even when it does them great injury, since its power depends on different things, both on the thing itself and also on those persons who use it. (253) And a great impression is made on me by the fact that of three animals offered up in these different sacrifices, there is no one of a different species from the others, but they are every one of the same kind, a ram, and a male lamb, and a female lamb; for God wishes, as I said a little while ago, by this commandment to point out that the three kinds of sacrifice are nearly connected with and akin to one another; because, both the man who repents is saved, and the man who is saved from the diseases of the soul repents, and because both of them hasten with eagerness to attain to an entire and perfect disposition, of which the sacrifice of the whole burnt-offering is a symbol. (254) But since the man has begun to offer himself as his first fruits, and since it is not lawful for the sacred altar to be polluted with human blood, but yet it was by all means necessary that a portion should be consecrated, he has taken care to take a portion, which, being taken, should cause neither pain nor defilement; for he has cut Off12151215 Num 6:18. the hair of the head, the superfluities of the natural body, as if they were the superfluous branches of a tree, and he has committed them to the fire on which the meat of the sacrifice offered for preservation will be suitably prepared,12161216 Lev 6:13. in order that some portion of the man who has made the vow, which it is not lawful to place upon the altar, may still at all events be combined with the sacrifice, burning the fuel of the sacred flame.
XLVII. (255) These sacred fires are common to all the rest of the people. But it was fitting that the priests also should offer up something on the altar as first fruits, not thinking that the services and sacred ministrations to which they have been appointed have secured them an exemption from such duties. And the first fruits suitable for the priests to offer do not come from anything containing blood, but from the purest portion of human food; (256) for the fine wheaten flour is their continual offering; a tenth part of a sacred measure every day; one half of which is offered up in the morning, and one half in the evening, having been soaked in oil, so that no portion of it can be left for food; for the command of God is, that all the sacrifices of the priests shall be wholly burnt, and that no portion of them shall be allotted for food. Having now, then, to the best of our ability, discussed the matters relating to the sacrifices, we will proceed in due order to speak concerning those who offer Them.12171217Yonge's translation includes a separate treatise title at this point: On Those Who Offer Sacrifice. Accordingly, his next paragraph begins with roman numeral I (= XLVIII in the Loeb). Yonge's "treatise" concludes with number XVI (= LXIII in the Loeb). The publisher has elected to follow the Loeb numbering.
XLVIII. (257) The law chooses that a person who brings a sacrifice shall be pure, both in body and soul; —pure in soul from all passions, and diseases, and vices, which can be displayed either in word or deed; and pure in body from all such things as a body is usually defiled by. (258) And it has appointed a burning purification for both these things; for the soul, by means of the animals which are duly fit for sacrifices; and for the body, by ablutions and sprinklings; concerning which we will speak presently; for it is fit to assign the pre-eminence in honour in every point to the superior and dominant part of the qualities existing in us, namely, to the soul. (259) What, then, is the mode of purifying the soul? "Look," says the law, "take care that the victim which thou bringest to the altar is perfect, wholly without participation in any kind of blemish, selected from many on account of its excellence, by the uncorrupted judgments of the priests, and by their most acute sight, and by their continual practice derived from being exercised in the examination of faultless victims. For if you do not see this with your eyes more than with your reason, you will not wash off all the imperfections and stains which you have imprinted on your whole life, partly in consequence of unexpected events, and partly by deliberate purpose; (260) for you will find that this exceeding accuracy of investigation into the animals, figuratively signifies the amelioration of your own disposition and conduct; for the law was not established for the sake of irrational animals, but for that of those who have intellect and reason." So that the real object taken care of is not the condition of the victims sacrificed in order that they may have no blemish, but that of the sacrificers that they may not be defiled by any unlawful passion. (261) The body then, as I have already said, he purifies with ablutions and bespringklings, and does not allow a person after he has once washed and sprinkled himself, at once to enter within the sacred precincts, but bids him wait outside for seven days, and to be besprinkled twice, on the third day and on the seventh day; and after this it commands him to wash himself once more, and then it admits him to enter the sacred precincts and to share in the sacred ministrations.
XLIX. (262) We must consider what great prudence and philosophical wisdom is displayed in this law; for nearly all other persons are besprinkled with pure water, generally in the sea, some in rivers, and others again in vessels of water which they draw from fountains. But Moses, having previously prepared ashes which had been left from the sacred fire (and in what manner shall be explained hereafter), appointed that it should be right to take some of them and to put them in a vessel, and then to pour water upon them, and then, dipping some branches of hyssop in the mixture of ashes and water, to sprinkle it over those who were to be purified. (263) And the cause of this proceeding may very probably be said to be this:—The lawgiver's intention is that those who approach the service of the living God should first of all know themselves and their own essence. For how can the man who does not know himself ever comprehend the supreme and all-excelling power of God? (264) Therefore, our bodily essence is earth and water, of which he reminds us by this purification, conceiving that this result—namely, to know one's self, and to know also of what one is composed, of what utterly valueless substances mere ashes and water are—is of itself the most beneficial purification. (265) For when a man is aware of this he will at once reject all vain and treacherous conceit, and, discarding haughtiness and pride, he will seek to become pleasing to God, and to conciliate the merciful power of that Being who hates arrogance. For it is said somewhere with great beauty, "He that exhibits over proud words or actions offends not men alone but God also, the maker of equality and of every thing else that is most excellent." (266) Therefore, to us who are amazed and excited by this sprinkling the very elements themselves, earth and water, may almost be said to utter distinct words, and to say plainly, we are the essence of your bodies; nature having mixed us together, divine art has fashioned us into the figure of a man. Being made of us when you were born, you will again be dissolved into us when you come to die; for it is not the nature of any thing to be destroyed so as to become non-existent; but the end brings it back to those elements from which its beginnings come.
L. (267) But now it is necessary to fulfil our promise and to explain the peculiar propriety involved in this use of ashes. For they are not merely the ashes of wood which has been consumed by fire, but also of an animal particularly suited for this kind of purification. (268) For the law Orders12181218 Num 19:1. that a red heifer, which has never been brought under the yoke, shall be sacrificed outside of the city, and that the high priest, taking some of the blood, shall seven times sprinkle with it all the things in front of the temple, and then shall burn the whole animal, with its hide and flesh, and with the belly full of all the entrails. And when the flame begins to pour down, then it commands that these three things shall be thrown into the middle of it, a stick of cedar, a stick of hyssop, and a bunch of saffron; and then, when the fire is wholly extinguished, it commands that some man who is clean shall collect the ashes, and shall again place them outside of the city in some open place. (269) And what figurative meanings he conceals under these orders as symbols, we have accurately explained in another treatise, in which we have discussed the allegories. It is necessary, therefore, for those who are about to go into the temple to partake of the sacrifice, to be cleansed as to their bodies and as to their souls before their bodies. For the soul is the mistress and the queen, and is superior in every thing, as having received a more divine nature. And the things which cleanse the mind are wisdom and the doctrines of wisdom, which lead to the contemplation of the world and the things in it; and the sacred chorus of the rest of the virtues, and honourable and very praiseworthy actions in accordance with the virtues. (270) Let the man, therefore, who is adorned with these qualities go forth in cheerful confidence to the temple which most nearly belongs to him, the most excellent of all abodes to offer himself as a sacrifice. But let him in whom covetousness and a desire of unjust things dwell and display themselves, cover his head and be silent, checking his shameless folly and his excessive impudence, in those matters in which caution is profitable; for the temple of the truly living God may not be approached by unholy sacrifices. (271) I should say to such a man: My good man, God is not pleased even though a man bring hecatombs to his altar; for he possesses all things as his own, and stands in need of nothing. But he delights in minds which love God, and in men who practise holiness, from whom he gladly receives cakes and barley, and the very cheapest things, as if they were the most valuable in preference to such as are most costly. (272) And even if they bring nothing else, still when they bring themselves, the most perfect completeness of virtue and excellence, they are offering the most excellent of all sacrifices, honouring God, their Benefactor and Saviour, with hymns and thanksgivings; the former uttered by the organs of the voice, and the latter without the agency of the tongue or mouth, the worshippers making their exclamations and invocations with their soul alone, and only appreciable by the intellect, and there is but one ear, namely, that of the Deity which hears them. For the hearing of men does not extend so far as to be sensible of them.
LI. (273) And that this statement is true, and not mine but that of nature, is testified to a certain degree by the evident nature of the thing itself, which affords a manifest proof which none can deny who do not cleave to credulity out of a contentious disposition. It is testified also by the law which commands two altars to be prepared, differing both as to the materials of which they are made, as to the places in which they are erected, and as to the purposes to which they are applied; (274) for one is made of stones, carefully selected so to fit one another, and unhewn, and it is erected in the open air, near the steps of the temple, and it is for the purpose of sacrificing victims which contain blood in them. And the other is made of gold, and is erected in the inner part of the temple, within the first veil, and may not be seen by any other human being except those of the priests who keep themselves pure, and it is for the purpose of offering incense upon; (275) from which it is plain that God looks upon even the smallest offering of frankincense by a holy man as more valuable than ten thousand beasts which may be sacrificed by one who is not thoroughly virtuous. For in proportion, I imagine, as gold is more valuable than stones, and as the things within the inner temple are more holy than those without, in the same proportion is the gratitude displayed by offerings of incense superior to that displayed by the sacrifice of victims full of blood, (276) on which account the altar of incense is honoured not only in the costliness of its materials, and in the manner of its erection, and in its situation, but also in the fact that it ministers every day before any thing else to the thanksgivings to be paid to God. For the law does not permit the priest to offer the sacrifice of the whole burnt offering outside before he has offered incense within at the earliest Dawn.12191219 Exod 30:8. (277) And this command is a symbol of nothing else but of the fact that in the eyes of God it is not the number of things sacrificed that is accounted valuable, but the purity of the rational spirit of the sacrificer. Unless, indeed, one can suppose that a judge who is anxious to pronounce a holy judgment will never receive gifts from any of those whose conduct comes before his tribunal, or that, if he does receive such presents, he will be liable to an accusation of corruption; and that a good man will not receive gifts from a wicked person, not even though he may be poor and the other rich, and he himself perhaps in actual want of what he would so receive; and yet that God can be corrupted by bribes, who is most all-sufficient for himself and who has no need of any thing created; who, being himself the first and most perfect good thing, the everlasting fountain of wisdom, and justice, and of every virtue, rejects the gifts of the wicked. (278) And is not the man who would offer such gifts the most shameless of all men, if he offers a portion of the things which he has acquired by doing injury, or by rapine, or by false denial, or by robbery, to God as if he were a partner in his wickedness? O most miserable of all men! I should say to such a man, "You must be expecting one of two things. Either that you will be able to pass undetected, or that you will be discovered. (279) Therefore, if you expect to be able to pass undetected, you are ignorant of the power of God, by which he at the same time sees everything and hears everything. And if you think that you will be discovered, you are most audacious in (when you ought rather to endeavour to conceal the wicked actions which you have committed) bringing forward to light specimens of all your iniquitous deeds, and giving yourself airs, and dividing the fruits of them with God, bringing him unholy first fruits. And have you not considered this, that the law does not admit of lawlessness, nor does the light of the sun admit of darkness; but God is the archetypal model of all laws, and the sun, which can be appreciated only by the intellect, is the archetypal model of that which is visible to the senses, bringing forth from its invisible fountains visible light to afford to him who sees." Moreover, there are other commandments relating to the Altar.12201220Yonge's translation places sections 280-284 after what is section 345 in the Loeb and makes them part of a new treatise entitled On the Commandment that the Wages of a Harlot Are Not To Be Received in the Sacred Treasury. The sections are included here in their proper place. (280) This injunction also is very admirably and properly set down in the sacred tablets of the law, that the wages of a harlot are not to be received into the temple, and inasmuch as she has earned them by selling her beauty, having chosen a most infamous life for the sake of shameful gain; (281) but if the gifts which proceed from a woman who has lived as a concubine are unholy, how can those be different which proceed from a soul which is deriled in the same manner, which has voluntarily abandoned itself to shame and to the lowest infamy, to drunkenness and gluttony, and covetousness and ambition, and love of pleasure, and to innumerable other kinds of passions, and diseases, and wickednesses? For what time can be long enough to efface those defilements, I indeed do not know. (282) Very often in truth time has put an end to the occupation of a harlot, since, when women have outlived their beauty, no one any longer approaches them, their prime having withered away like that of some flowers; and what length of time can ever transform the harlotry of the soul which from its youth has been trained in early and habitual incontinence, so as to bring it over to good order? No time could do this, but God alone, to whom all things are possible, even those which among us are impossible. (283) Accordingly, the man who is about to offer a sacrifice ought to examine and see, not whether the victim is without blemish, but whether his mind is sound, and entire, and perfect. Let him likewise investigate the causes for which he is about to offer the sacrifice; for it must be as an expression of thankfulness for kindnesses which have been shown to him, or else of supplication for the permanence of his present blessings, or for the acquisition of some future good, or else to avert some evil either present or expected; for all which objects he should labour to bring his reason into a state of good health and sanity; (284) for if he is giving thanks for benefits conferred upon him, he must take care not to behave like an ungrateful man, becoming wicked, for the benefits are conferred on a virtuous man; or if his object be to secure the permanence of his present prosperity and happiness, and to be enabled to look forward to such for the future, he must still show himself worthy of his good fortune, and behave virtuously; or if he is asking to escape from evils, let him not commit actions deserving of correction and punishment.
LII. (285) The law says, "A fire shall be kept burning on the altar which shall never be extinguished, but shall be kept burning for Ever."12211221 Lev 6:9. I think with great reason and propriety; for, since the graces of God are everlasting, and unceasing, and uninterrupted, which we now enjoy day and night, and since the symbol of gratitude is the sacred flame, it is fitting that it should be kindled, and that it should remain unextinguished for ever. (286) And, perhaps, the lawgiver designed by this command to connect the old with the new sacrifices, and to unite the two by the duration and presence of the same fire by which all such sacrifices are consecrated, in order to demonstrate the fact that all perfect sacrifices consisted in thanksgiving, although, according to the diversity of the occasions on which they are offered, more victims are offered at one time and fewer at another. (287) But some are verbal symbols of things appreciable only by the intellect, and the mystical meaning which is concealed beneath them must be investigated by those who are eager for truth in accordance with the rules of allegory. The altar of God is the grateful soul of the wise man, being compounded of perfect numbers undivided and indivisible; for no part of virtue is useless. (288) On this soul the sacred fire is continually kept burning, preserved with care and unextinguishable. But the light of the mind is wisdom; as, on the contrary, the darkness of the soul is folly. For what the light discernible by the outward senses is to the eyes, that is knowledge to reason with a view to the contemplation of incorporeal things discernible only by the intellect, the light of which is continually shining and never extinguished.
LIII. (289) After this the law says, "On every offering you shall add Salt."12221222 Lev 2:13. By which injunction, as I have said before, he figuratively implies a duration for ever; for salt is calculated to preserve bodies, being placed in the second rank as inferior only to the soul; for as the soul is the cause of bodies not being destroyed, so likewise is salt, which keeps them together in the greatest degree, and to some extent makes them immortal. (290) On which account the law calls the altar thysiasteÂ̄rion, giving it a peculiar name of especial honour, from its preserving (diateÌreoÌ) the sacrifices (tas thysias) in a proper manner, and this too though the flesh is consumed by fire; so as to afford the most evident proof possible that God looks not upon the victims as forming the real sacrifice, but on the mind and willingness of him who offers them, that so the durability and firmness of the altar may be ensured by virtue. (291) Moreover, it also ordains that every sacrifice shall be offered up without any leaven or honey, not thinking it fit that either of these things should be brought to the altar. The honey, perhaps, because the bee which collects it is not a clean animal, inasmuch as it derives its birth, as the story goes, from the putrefaction and corruption of dead oxen,12231223this refers to the same idea so beautifully expressed by Virgil, Georgie 4.548 (as it is translated by Dryden)—"His mother's precepts he performs with care; / The temple visits and adores with prayer; / Four altars raises; from his herd he culls, / For slaughter, four the fairest of his bulls; / Four heifers from his female store he took, / All fair and all unknowing of the yoke, / Nine mornings thence with sacrifice and prayers, / The powers atoned, he to the grove repairs. / Behold a prodigy! for from within / The broken vowels and the bloated skin, / A buzzing noise of bees his ears alarms: / Straight issue through the sides assembling swarms, / Dark as a cloud they make a wheeling flight, / Then on a neighbouring tree, descending light: / Like a large cluster of black grapes they show, / And make a large dependance from the bough." just as wasps spring from the bodies of horses. (292) Or else this may be forbidden as a figurative declaration that all superfluous pleasure is unholy, making, indeed, the things which are eaten sweet to the taste, but inflicting bitter pains difficult to be cured at a subsequent period, by which the soul must of necessity be agitated and thrown into confusion, not being able to settle on any sure resting place. (293) And leaven is forbidden on account of the rising which it causes; this prohibition again having a figurative meaning, intimating that no one who comes to the altar ought at all to allow himself to be elated, being puffed up by insolence; but that such persons may keep their eyes fixed on the greatness of God, and so obtain a proper conception of the weakness of all created beings, even if they be very prosperous; and that so cherishing correct notions they may correct the arrogant lofiness of their minds, and discard all treacherous self-conceit. (294) But if the Creator and maker of the universe, who has no need of anything which he has created, not looking at the exceeding greatness of his own power and at his own authority, but at your weakness, gives you a share of his own merciful power, supplying the deficiencies with which you are overwhelmed, how do you think it fitting that you should behave towards men who are akin to you by nature, and who are springing from the same elements with yourself, when you have brought nothing into the world, not even yourself? (295) For, my fine fellow, you came naked into the world, and you shall leave it again naked, having received the interval between your birth and death as a loan from God; during which what ought you to do rather than take care to live in communion and harmony with your fellow creatures, studying equality, and humanity, and virtue, repudiating unequal, and unjust, and irreconcilable unsociable wickedness, which makes that animal which is by nature the most gentle of all, namely, man, a cruel and untractable monster?
LIV. (296) Again, the law commands that candles shall be kept burning from evening until Morning12241224 Lev 24:2. on the sacred candlesticks within the veil, on many accounts. One of which is that the holy places may be kept illuminated without any interruption after the cessation of the light of day, being always kept free from any participation in darkness, just as the stars themselves are, for they too, when the sun sets, exhibit their own light, never forsaking the place which was originally appointed for them in the world. (297) Secondly, in order that by night, also, a rite akin to and closely resembling the sacrifices by day may be performed so as to give pleasures to God, and that no time or occasion fit for offering thanksgiving may ever be left out, which is a duty most suitable and natural for night; for it is not improper to call the blaze of the most sacred light in the innermost shrine itself a sacrifice. (298) The third, which is a reason of the very greatest importance, is this. Since we are not only well treated while we are awake, but also when we are asleep, inasmuch as the mighty God gives sleep as a great assistance to the human race, for the benefit of both their bodies and souls, of their bodies as being by it relieved of the labours of the day, and of their souls as being lightened by it of all their cares, and being restored to themselves after all the disorder and confusion caused by the outward senses, and as being then enabled to retire within and commune with themselves, the law has very properly thought fit to make a distinction of the actions of thanksgiving, so that sacrifices may be made on behalf of those who are awake by means of the victims which are offered, and on behalf of those who are asleep, and of those who are benefited by sleep, by the lighting of the sacred candles.
LV. (299) These, then, and other commandments like them, are those which are established for the purpose of promoting piety, by express injunctions and prohibitions. But those which are in accordance with philosophical suggestions and recommendations must be explained in this manner; for the lawgiver, in effect, says, "God, O mind of man! demands nothing of you which is either oppressive, or uncertain, or difficult, but only such things as are very simple and easy. (300) And these are, to love him as your benefactor; and if you fail to do so, at all events, to fear him as your Governor and Lord, and to enter zealously upon all the paths which may please him, and to serve him in no careless or superficial manner, but with one's whole soul thoroughly filled as it ought to be with God-loving sentiments, and to cleave to his commandments, and to honour justice, by all which means the world itself continues constantly in the same nature without ever changing, and all other things which are contained in the world have a tendency towards improvement, such as the sun and the moon, and the whole multitude of the rest of the stars, and the entire heaven. But the mountains of the earth are elevated to the greatest possible height, and the champaign country, like other fusible essences, is spread over a body of wide extent, and the sea also changes so as to become united with sweet waters, and the rains also become in their turn similar to the sea. Therefore every one of those things is still fixed within the same boundaries as those within which it was originally created, when it was first disposed of in regular order. But you shall be better, living quite irreproachably. (301) And what of all these things is either grievous or laborious? You are not compelled to pass over unnavigable seas; or, when tossed about by the billows of the middle of winter and the force of contrary winds, to wander about the sea in every direction; or to travel on foot over rough and pathless byeways, always being in dread of the haunts of robbers, or of the attacks of wild beasts; or to watch all night to protect your walls in the open air, while the enemy are lying in ambush for you, and threatening you with the very extremity of danger. Come, now, let no unpleasant topics be brought up in pleasant circumstances. We must use words of good omen with reference to such advantageous matters. (302) It is only necessary for the mind to consent and everything will be ready. Are you not aware that both that heaven which is invisible to the outward senses, and that likewise which is appreciable only by the intellect, belongs to God: the heaven of heavens as we may call it; and again, that the earth and all that is in it, and the whole world, both that which is visible and that which is invisible and incorporeal, being a model of the real heaven?
LVI. (303) But, nevertheless, he selected out of the whole race of mankind those who were really men for their superior excellence; and he elected them and thought them worthy of the highest possible honour, calling them to the service of himself, to that everlasting fountain of all that is good; from which he has showered forth other virtues, drawing forth, at the same time, for our enjoyment, combined with the greatest possible advantage, a drink contributing more than ever nectar, or at all events not less, to make those who drink of it immortal. (304) But those men are to be pitied, and are altogether miserable, who have never banquetted on the labours of virtue; and they have remained to the end the most miserable of all men who have been always ignorant of the taste of moral excellence, when it was in their power to have feasted on and luxuriated among justice and equality. But these men are uncircumcised in their hearts, as the law expresses it, and by reason of the hardness of their hearts they are stubborn, resisting and breaking their traces in a restive manner; (305) whom the Lord reproves, saying, "Be ye circumcised as to your hard-Heartedness;"12251225 Deut 10:16. that means, "do ye eradicate the overbearing character of your dominant part, which the immoderate impulses of the passing hour have sown and caused to grow within you, and which the wicked husbandman of the soul, folly, planted. (306) Again, it says, "Let not your necks be Stiff,"12261226 Deut 10:18. that is to say, let not your mind be unbending and self-willed, and let it not admit into itself that most blameable ignorance of excessive perverseness. But discarding obstinacy and moroseness of nature as an enemy, let it change so as to become gentle, and inclined to obey the laws of nature. (307) Do you not see that the most important and greatest of all the powers of the living God are his beneficent and his punishing power? And his beneficent power is called God, since it is by means of this that he made and arranged the universe. And the other, or punishing power, is called Lord, on which his sovereignty over the universe depends. And God is God, not only of men, but also of gods; and he is mighty, being truly strong and truly Powerful.12271227 Deut 10:17.
LVII. (308) But, nevertheless, though he is so great in excellence and in power, he feels pity and compassion for all those who are most completely sunk in want and distress, not considering it beneath his dignity to be the judge in the causes of proselytes, and orphans, and widows, and disregarding kings and tyrants, and men in high commands, and honouring the humility of those men above mentioned, I mean the proselytes, with precedence, on this account. (309) These men, having forsaken their country and their national customs in which they were bred up, which, however, were full of the inventions of falsehood and pride, becoming genuine lovers of truth, have come over to piety; and becoming in all worthiness suppliants and servants of the true and living God, they very properly receive a precedence which they have deserved, having found the reward of their fleeing to God in the assistance which they now receive from him. (310) And in the case of orphans and widows, since they have been deprived of their natural protectors, the one class having lost their parents, and the others their husbands, they have no refuge whatever to which they can flee, no aid which they can hope for from man, being utterly destitute; on which account they are not deprived of the greatest hope of all, the hope of relief from God, who, because of his merciful character, does not refuse to provide and to care for persons so wholly desolate. (311) "Let then," says the law, "God alone be thy boast, and thy greater Glory,"12281228 Deut 10:21. And do not pride thyself either on thy wealth, or on thy glory, or on the beauty of thy person, or on thy strength, or on anything of the same kind as the objects at which foolish empty-headed persons are apt to be elated; considering that, in the first place, these things have no connection at all with the nature of good, and secondly, that they are liable to rapid changes, fading away in a manner before they have time to flourish permanently. (312) And let us cling to the custom of addressing our supplications to him, and let us not, after we have subdued our enemies, imitate their impiety in those matters of conduct in which they fancy that they are acting piously, burning their sons and their daughters to their gods, not, indeed, that it is the custom of all the barbarians to burn their children. (313) For they are not become so perfectly savage in their natures as to endure in time of peace to treat their nearest and dearest relatives as they would scarcely treat their irreconcilable enemies in time of war. But that they do in reality inflame and corrupt the souls of the children of whom they are the parents from the very moment that they are out of their swaddling clothes; not imprinting on their minds, while they are still tender, any true opinions respecting the one only and truly living God. Let us not then be overcome by, and fall down before, and yield to their good fortune as if they had prevailed by reason of their piety. (314) For present prosperity is given to many persons for a snare, being only a bait to be followed by excessive and incurable evils. And it is very likely that even men who are unworthy may be allowed to be successful, not for their own sakes, but in order that we who act impiously may be more vehemently grieved and pained, who having been born in a God-fearing city, and having been bred up in laws which would imbue men with every virtue, and having been instructed from our earliest youth in all such pursuits as are most honourable to men, neglect them all, and cling only to such practices as deserve to be neglected, considering all good things as subjects for amusement, and looking upon things fit only for sport as seriously good.
LVIII. (315) And if, indeed, any one assuming the name and appearance of a prophet,12291229 Deut 13:1. appearing to be inspired and possessed by the Holy Spirit, were to seek to lead the people to the worship of those who are accounted gods in the different cities, it would not be fitting for the people to attend to him being deceived by the name of a prophet. For such an one is an impostor and not a prophet, since he has been inventing speeches and oracles full of falsehood, (316) even though a brother, or a son, or a daughter, or a wife, or a steward, or a firm friend, or any one else who seems to be well-intentioned towards one should seek to lead one in a similar course; exhorting one to be cheerful among the multitude, and to approach the same temples and to adopt the same sacrifices; but such an one should be punished as a public and common enemy, and we should think but little of any relationship, and one should relate his recommendations to all the lovers of piety, who with all speed and without any delay would hasten to inflict punishment on the impious man, judging it a virtuous action to be zealous for his execution. (317) For we should acknowledge only one relationship, and one bond of friendship, namely, a mutual zeal for the service of God, and a desire to say and do everything that is consistent with piety. And these bonds which are called relationships of blood, being derived from one's ancestors, and those connections which are derived from intermarriages and from other similar causes, must all be renounced, if they do not all hasten to the same end, namely, the honour of God which is the one indissoluble bond of all united good will. For such men will lay claim to a more venerable and sacred kind of relationship; (318) and the law confirms my assertion, where it says that those who do what is pleasing to nature and virtuous are the sons of God, for it says, "Ye are the sons of the Lord your God,"12301230 Deut 14:1. inasmuch as you will be thought worthy of his providence and care in your behalf as though he were your father. And that care is as much superior to that which is shown by a man's own parents, as I imagine the being who takes it is superior to them.
LIX. (319) In addition to this the lawgiver also entirely removes out of his sacred code of laws all ordinances respecting initiations, and mysteries, and all such trickery and buffoonery; not choosing that men who are brought up in such a constitution as that which he was giving should be busied about such matters, and, placing their dependence on mystic enchantments, should be led to neglect the truth, and to pursue those objects which have very naturally received night and darkness for their portion, passing over the things which are worthy of light and of day. Let no one, therefore, of the disciples or followers of Moses either be initiated himself into any mysterious rites of worship, or initiate any one else; for both the act of learning and that of teaching such initiations is an impiety of no slight order. (320) For if these things are virtuous, and honourable, and profitable, why do ye, O ye men who are initiated, shut yourselves up in dense darkness, and limit your benefits to just three or four men, when you might bring down the advantages which you have to bestow into the middle of the market place, and benefit all men; so that every one might without hindrance partake of a better and more fortunate life? (321) for envy is never found in conjunction with virtue. Let men who do injurious things be put to shame, and seeking hiding places and recesses in the earth, and deep darkness, hide themselves, concealing their lawless iniquity from sight, so that no one may behold it. But to those who do such things as are for the common advantage, let there be freedom of speech, and let them go by day through the middle of the market place where they will meet with the most numerous crowds, to display their own manner of life in the pure sun, and to do good to the assembled multitudes by means of the principal of the outward senses, giving them to see those things the sight of which is most delightful and most impressive, and hearing and feasting upon salutary speeches which are accustomed to delight the minds even of those men who are not utterly illiterate. (322) Do you not see that nature has concealed none of those works which are deservedly celebrated and honourable, but has exhibited openly the stars and the whole of heaven, so as to cause the sight pleasure, and to excite a desire for philosophy, and she also displays her seas, and fountains, and rivers, and the excellencies of the atmosphere, and the beautiful adaptation of the winds to the various seasons of the year, and of plants, and of animals, and, moreover, the innumerable species of fruits, for the use and enjoyment of men? (323) Would it not have been right, then, for you, following her example and design, to give to those who are worthy of it all things that are necessary for their advantage? But now it very often happens that no good men at all are initiated by them, but that sometimes robbers, and wreckers, and companies of debauched and polluted women are, when they have given money enough to those who initiate them, and who reveal to them the mysteries which they call sacred. But let all such men be driven away and expelled from that city, and denied all share in that constitution, in which honour and truth are reverenced for their own sake. And this is enough to say on this subject.
LX. (324) But the law, being most especially an interpreter of equal communion, and of courteous humanity among men, has preserved the honour and dignity of each virtue; not permitting any one who is incurably sunk in vice to flee to them, but rejecting all such persons and repelling them to a distance. (325) Therefore, as it was aware that no inconsiderable number of wicked men are often mingled in these assemblies, and escape notice by reason of the crowds collected there, in order to prevent that from being the case in this instance, he previously excludes all who are unworthy from the sacred assembly, beginning in the first instance with those who are afflicted with the disease of effeminacy, men-women, who, having adulterated the coinage of nature, are willingly driven into the appearance and treatment of licentious women. He also banishes all those who have suffered any injury or mutilation in their most important members, and those who, seeking to preserve the flower of their beauty so that it may not speedily wither away, have altered the impression of their natural manly appearance into the resemblance of a woman. (326) The law also excludes not only all harlots, but also those who being born of a harlot bear about them the disgrace of their mother, because their original birth and origin have been adulterated. (327) For this passage (if there is any passage at all in the whole scripture which does so) admits of an allegorical interpretation; for there is not one description only of impious and unholy men, but there are many and different. For some persons affirm that the incorporeal ideas are only an empty name, having no participation in any real fact, removing the most important of all essences from the list of existing things, though it is in fact the archetypal model of all things which are the distinctive qualities of essence, in accordance with which each thing is assigned to its proper species and limited to its proper dimensions. (328) The sacred pillars of the law call all these men broken; for such an injury as is implied by that term leaves a man destitute of all distinctive quality and species, and what is so broken is nothing else, to speak the strict truth, than mere shapeless material. Thus, the doctrine which takes away species throws every thing into confusion, and moreover brings back that want of proper form which existed before the elements were reduced into proper order. (329) And what can be more absurd than this? For it is out of that essence that God created every thing, without indeed touching it himself, for it was not lawful for the all-wise and all-blessed God to touch materials which were all misshapen and confused, but he created them by the agency of his incorporeal powers, of which the proper name is "ideas," which he so exerted that every genus received its proper form. But this opinion has created great irregularity and confusion. For when it takes away the things by means of which the distinctive qualities exist, it at the same time takes away the distinctive qualities themselves. (330) But other persons, as if they were engaged in a contest of wickedness, being anxious to carry off the prizes of victory, go beyond all others in impiety, joining to their denial of the ideas a negative also of the being of God, as if he had no real existence but were only spoken of for the sake of what is beneficial to men. Others, again, out of fear of that Being who appears to be present everywhere and to see every thing, are barren of wisdom, but devoted to the maintenance of that which is the greatest of all wickednesses, namely impiety. (331) There is also a third class, who have entered on the contrary path, guiding a multitude of men and women, of old and young, filling the world with arguments in favour of a multiplicity of rulers, in order by such means to eradicate all notions of the one and truly living God from the minds of men. (332) These are they who are symbolically called by the law the sons of a harlot. For as mothers who are harlots do not know who is the real father of their children, and cannot register him accurately, but have many, or I might almost say all men, their lovers and associates, the same is the case with those who are ignorant of the one true God. For, inventing a great number whom they falsely call gods, they are blinded as to the most important of all existing things which they ought to have thoroughly learnt, if not alone, at all events as the first and greatest of all things from their earliest childhood; for what can be a more honourable thing to learn than the knowledge of the true and living God?
LXI. (333) The law also excludes a fourth class, and a fifth, both hastening to the same end, but not with the same intention; for, as they are both followers of the same great evil, self-will, they have divided between them the whole soul as a kind of common inheritance, consisting of a rational and an irrational part; and the one class has appropriate the rational part, which is the mind, and the other the irrational part which is again subdivided into the outward senses; (334) therefore, the champions of the mind attribute to it the predominance in and supreme authority over all human affairs, and affirm that it is able to preserve all past things in its recollection, and to comprehend all present things with great vigour, and to divine the future by probable conjecture; (335) for this is the faculty which sowed and planted all the fertile soil in both the mountainous and champaign districts of the earth, and which invented agriculture, the most useful of all sciences for human life. This also is the faculty which surveyed the heaven, and by a proper contemplation of it made the earth accessible to ships by an ingenuity beyond all powers of description; (336) this, also invented letters, and music, and the whole range of encyclical instruction, and brought them to perfection. This also, is the parent of that greatest of all good things, philosophy, and by means of its different parts it has benefited human life, proceeding by the logical portion of it to an infallible interpretation of difficulties, and by its moral part to a correction of the manners and dispositions of men; and by its physical division to the knowledge of the heaven and the world. And they have also collected and assembled many other praises of the mind on which they dwell, having a continual reference to the species already mentioned, about which we have not at the present time leisure to occupy ourselves.
LXII. (337) But the champions of the outward senses extol their praises, also, with great energy and magnificence; enumerating in their discourse all the wants which are supplied by their means, and they say that two of them are the causes of living; smell and taste; and two of living well, seeing and hearing; (338) therefore, by means of taste the nourishment derived from food is conveyed into the system, and by means of the nostrils the air on which every living thing depends; for this also is a continual food, which nourishes and preserves men, not only while they are awake, but also while they are asleep. And the proof of this is clear; for if the passage of the breath be obstructed for even the shortest period, to such a degree as wholly to cut off the air which is intended by nature to be conveyed into the system from without, inevitable death will of necessity ensue. (339) Again, of the more philosophical of the outward senses by means of which the living well is produced, the power of sight beholds the light which is the most beautiful of all essences, and by means of the light it beholds all other things, the sun, the moon, the stars, the heaven, the earth, the sea, the innumerable varieties of plants and animals, and in short all bodies, and shapes, and odours, and magnitudes whatever, the sight of which has given birth to excessive wisdom, and has begotten a great desire for knowledge. (340) And even without reckoning the advantage derived from these things; sight also affords us the greatest benefits in respect of the power of distinguishing one's relatives and strangers, and friends, and avoiding what is injurious and choosing what is beneficial. Now each of the other parts of the body has been created with reference to appropriate uses, which are of great importance, as, for instance, the feet were made for walking, and for all the other uses to which the legs can be applied; again, the hands were created for the purpose of doing, or giving, or taking anything; and the eyes, as a sort of universal good, afford both to the hands and feet, and to all the other parts of the body the cause of being able to act or move rightly; (341) and that this is the case is most unerringly demonstrated by the evidence of those who have suffered any mutilation in these members, who cannot in real truth be said to have either feet or hands, and who by the reality of their condition prove the correctness of their name, which they say that men of old gave them not so much by way of reproach as out of compassion, calling them impotent, out of surprise at what they see. (342) Again, hearing is the thing by which melodies and rhythm, and all parts and divisions of music are distinguished; for song and speech are salutary and wholesome medicines, the one charming the passions and the inharmonious qualities within us by its rhythm, and our unmelodious qualities by its melodies, and bridling our immoderate vehemence by its fixed measures; (343) and each of those parts of it are various and multiform, as the musicians and poets do testify, whom we must believe; and speech, checking and cutting short all the impulses which lead to wickedness, and healing those who are under the dominion of folly and misery, and strengthening those who are inclined to yield in a cowardly manner, and subduing those who resist more obstinately, becomes thus the cause of the greatest advantages.
LXIII. (344) The advocates of the mind and of the outward senses, having put these arguments together, make gods of both of them, the one deifying the first, and the other the last; both classes out of their self-will and self-conceit forgetting the truly living God. On which account the lawgiver very naturally excludes them all from the sacred assembly, calling those who would take away the ideas, broken in the stones, and those too who are utterly atheistical, to whom he has given the appropriate name of eunuchs; and those who are the teachers of an opposite system of theogony, whom he calls the sons of a harlot; and besides all these classes he excludes also the self-willed and self-conceited, some of whom have deified reason, and others have called each separate one of the outward senses gods. For all these men are hastening to the same end, even though they are not all influenced by the same intentions. (345) But we who are the followers and disciples of the prophet Moses, will never abandon our investigation into the nature of the true God; looking upon the knowledge of him as the true end of happiness; and thinking that the true everlasting life, as the law says,12311231 Deut 4:4. is to live in obedience to and worship of God; in which precept it gives us a most important and philosophical lesson; for in real truth those who are atheists are dead as to their souls, but those who are marshalled in the ranks of the true living God, as his servants, enjoy an everlasting Life.12321232Yonge's translation includes a separate treatise title at this point: On the Commandment that the Wages of a Harlot Are Not To Be Received in the Sacred Treasury. The first three paragraphs of this "treatise" are actually sections 280-284 of The Special Laws, I which have been relocated to their proper positon. The remainder of the "treatise" more correctly belongs to On the Sacrifices of Abel and Cain 1.21-33 and have been relocated accordingly.
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