Works by Philo : Table of Contents
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I. (1) “And after this,” says Moses, “it came to pass that the angels of God went in unto the daughters of men, and they bore children unto them.”1 It is worth while, therefore, to consider what is meant by the expression, “And after this.” It is therefore a reference to something that has been said before, for the purpose of explaining it more clearly; (2) and a mention of the divine spirit has already been made, as he has already stated, that it is very difficult for it to remain throughout all ages in the soul, which is divisible into many parts, and which assumes many forms, and is clothed with a most heavy burden, namely its bulk of flesh; after this spirit, therefore, the angels of God go in unto the daughters of men. (3) For as long as the pure rays of wisdom shine forth in the soul, by means of which the wise man sees God and his powers, no one of those who bring false news ever enters into the reason, but all such are kept at a distance outside of the sacred threshhold. But when the light of the intellect is dimmed and overshadowed, then the companions of darkness having become victorious, associate themselves with the dissolute and effeminate passions which the prophet calls the daughters of men, and they bear children to them and not to God. (4) For the appropriate progeny of God are the perfect virtues, but that offspring which is akin to the wicked, is unregulated wickedness. But learn thou, if thou wilt, O my mind, not to bear children to thyself, after the example of that perfect man Abraham, who offered up to God “The beloved and only legitimate offspring of his soul,”2 the most conspicuous image of self-taught wisdom, by name Isaac; and who gave him up with all cheerfulness to be a necessary and fitting offering to God. “Having bound,”3 as the scripture says, this new kind of victim, either because he, having once tasted of the divine inspiration, did not condescend any longer to tread on any mortal truth, or because he saw that the creature was unstable and moveable, while he recognised the unhesitating firmness existing in the living God, on whom he is said to have believed.4