(9) What is the meaning of the words, “About the time of the setting of the sun a trance fell upon Abraham; and lo, a great horror of darkness came over him?” (#Ge 15:12). A certain divine excess was suddenly rendered calm to the man endued with virtue; for the trance, or ecstacy as the word itself evidently points out, is nothing else than a departure of the mind wandering beyond itself.{2}{ekstasis, derived from existamai, in 2nd aor. act. exesteµn, “I was beside myself.”} But the class of prophets loves to be subject to such influences; for when it is divining, and when the intellect is inspired with divine things, it no longer exists in itself, since it receives the divine spirit within and permits it to dwell with itself; or rather, as he himself has expressed it, as spirit falls upon him; since it does not come slowly over him, but rushes down upon him suddenly. Moreover, that which he has added afterwards applies admirably, that a great horror of darkness fell upon him. For all these things are ecstacies of the mind; for he also who is in a state of alarm is not in himself; but darkness is a hindrance to his sight; and in proportion as the horror is greater, so also do his powers of seeing and understanding become more obscured. And this is not said without reason: but as an indication of the evident knowledge of prophecy by which oracles and laws are given from God.