(40) What is the meaning of the expression, “Because they knew that they were naked?” (Genesis 3:7). They first arrived at the knowledge of this fact, that is to say, of their nakedness, after they had eaten of the forbidden fruit. Therefore, opinion was like the beginning of wickedness, when they perceived that they had not as yet used any covering, inasmuch as all parts of the universe are immortal and incorruptible; but they themselves immediately found themselves in need of some corruptible coverings made with hands. But this knowledge was in the nakedness itself, not as having been in itself the cause of any change, but because their mind now conceived a novelty unlike the rest of the universal world.

(41) Why they sewed fig-leaves into girdles? (#Ge 3:8). They did this in the first place, because the fruit of the fig is very pleasant and agreeable to the taste. Therefore the sacred historian here, by a symbolical expression, indicates those who sew together and join pleasures to pleasures by every means and contrivance imaginable. Therefore they bind them around the place where the parts of generation are seated, as that is the instrument of important transactions. And they do this, secondly, because although the fruit of the fig-tree is, as I have already said, sweeter than any other, yet its leaves are harder. And, therefore, Moses here wishes by this symbol to intimate that the motions of pleasure are slippery and smooth in appearance, but that they, nevertheless, are in reality hard, so that it is impossible that he who feels them should be delighted, unless he was previously sorrowful, and he will again become sorrowful. For to be always sorrowing is a melancholy thing between a double grief, the one being at its beginning, and the other coming before the first is ended.