(59) What is the meaning of the expression, “You shall not eat flesh in the blood of its life?” (#Ge 9:4). God appears by this command to indicate that the blood is the substance of the soul; I mean of that soul which exists by the external senses and by vitality, not of that which is spoken of with a certain especial pre-eminence, being the rational and intellectual soul; for there are three parts of the human soul; one the nutritive part, another that which is connected with the external senses, and the third that which exists in reason. Therefore the rational part is the substance of the divine spirit according to the sacred writer Moses: for in his account of the creation of the world, he says, “God breathed into his face the breath of life,” as being what was to constitute his life. But of that part of the soul which is connected with the external senses and with vitality, blood is the substance; for he says in another place, “The blood exists in every breath of flesh.” It is with great propriety in fact that he has called the blood the breath of all flesh, because there are in the flesh senses and passions, but not intellect nor thoughts. But again by the expression “the spirit of blood,” he intimates that the spirit is one thing and the blood another; so that the essence of the soul is truly and beyond all possible question spirit. But that spirit has a place not by itself separately, apart from the blood in the body; but it is interwoven and mingled with the blood. As also the veins which exhibit a pulse, as if they were vessels to convey breathing, bear with them most unmixed and pure air, but blood likewise, though perhaps in a less degree; for there are two vessels, the veins and the breathing channels; but the veins have more blood than breath, and the breathing channels have more breath than blood. Therefore the proper admixture in each vessel is distinct, as the greater and the lesser proportion. This is the meaning of these words when taken literally; but if we look to their inner meaning, he calls the blood of the soul that warm and fiery virtue belonging to it which we name courage. And he who is full of this wisdom despises all food, and every pleasure of the belly, and of those parts which are below the belly. But if any one adopts a profligate life, and becomes a wanderer like the wind, and gradually inactive from laziness and a luxurious life, he in fact does nothing else but fall upon his belly, as a reptile creeping upon the earth, and greedily licking up earthly things, closing his life without ever tasting of that heavenly food which the souls which are desirous of wisdom receive.