(72) What is the meaning of the statement, “Shem and Japhet, taking a garment, laid it upon both their shoulders and went backwards, and covered the nakedness of their father, and they themselves did not see it?” (#Ge 9:23). The literal meaning of the statement is evident; but with respect to the inner sense contained in it, we must say that the light man who is in too great haste only sees those things which are before his eyes and exposed to his sight: but that the evil man also sees those things which are at his back, that is to say, the future. And since what is posterior is postponed to what is anterior, so is what is future to what is present, the sight of which is peculiar to the virtuous and wise man, who in truth is a second Lynceus, being according to the fables gifted with eyes in every part. Therefore every wise man, who is not so much man as actual intellect, walks backward, that is to say, he sees what is behind him or future, as if it were placed in brilliant light; and seeing every thing on all sides of him with a perfect sight, and looking all around him, he is found to be armed, and protected, and fortified, so that no part of his soul is ever found naked or in an unseemly plight, on account of any accidents which occur unfortunately.

(73) What is the meaning of the statement, “And Noah became sober after the wine?” (Genesis 9:24). The literal meaning is too notorious. Therefore we need only here speak of what concerns the inner sense of the words. When the intellect is strengthened, it is able by its soberness to discern with a certain accuracy all things, both before and behind it, both present, I mean, and future; but the man who can see neither what is present nor what is future with accuracy, is afflicted by blindness; but he who sees the present, but who cannot also foresee the future, and is not at all cautious, such a man is overcome by drunkenness and intoxication; and he, lastly, who is found to be able to look all around him, and to see, and discern, and comprehend the different natures of things, both present and future, the watchfulness of sobriety is in that man.