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THE first child that Leah conceived of Jacob was Reuben, that is, dread; and therefore it is written in the psalm: "The beginning of wisdom is the dread of our Lord God."[32] This is the first felt virtue in a man's affection, without the which none other may be had. And, therefore, whoso desireth to have such a son, him behoveth busily and oft also behold the evil that he hath done. And he shall, on the one party, think on the greatness of his trespass, and, on another party, the power of the Doomsman.[33] Of such a consideration springeth dread, that is to say Reuben, that through right is cleped "the son of sight."[34] For utterly is he blind that seeth not the pains that are to come, and dreadeth not to sin. And well is Reuben cleped the son of sight; for when he was born, his mother cried and said: "God hath seen my meekness."[35] And man's soul, in such a consideration of his old sins and of the power of the Doomsman, beginneth then truly to see God by feeling of dread, and also to be seen of God by rewarding of pity.

[32] Ps. cxi. 10 (Vulgate cx.).

[33] Pepwell adds: "and high Judge."

[34] Filius visionis.

[35] Gen. xxix. 32 (Vidit Dominus humilitatem meam, Vulgate).

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