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Chapter VIII.

Of the Staff of the Egyptians.

For Elisha, himself one of them, teaches that the same men used to carry a staff; as he says to Gehazi, his servant, when sending him to raise the woman’s son to life: “Take my staff and run and go and place it on the lad’s face that he may live.”660660    2 Kings iv. 29. And the prophet 204would certainly not have given it to him to take unless he had been in the habit of constantly carrying it about in his hand. And the carrying of the staff spiritually teaches that they ought never to walk unarmed among so many barking dogs of faults and invisible beasts of spiritual wickedness (from which the blessed David, in his longing to be free, says: “Deliver not, O Lord, to the beasts the soul that trusteth in Thee”),661661    Ps. lxxiii. (lxxiv.) 19. but when they attack them they ought to beat them off with the sign of the cross and drive them far away; and when they rage furiously against them they should annihilate them by the constant recollection of the Lord’s passion and by following the example of His mortified life.


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