IX. (41) And the Creator has made the soul to differ from nature in these thingsùin the outwards sense, and imagination, and impetuosity; for plants are destitute of impetuosity and devoid of imagination, and without any participation in the outward sense. But every animal partakes of all these qualities above-mentioned, all together. (42) Now the outward sense, as indeed its name shows, in some degree is a kind of insertion, placing the things that are made apparent to it in the mind; for in the mind, since that is the greatest storehouse and receptacle for all things, is everything placed and treasured up which comes under the operation of the sense of seeing or hearing, or the other organs of the outward senses. (43) And imagination is an impression of figures in the soul; for the things which each of the outward senses has brought in, like a ring or a seal, on them it imprints its own character. And the mind, being like wax, having received the impression, keeps it carefully in itself until forgetfulness, the enemy of memory, has smoothed off the edges of the impression, or else has rendered it dim, or perhaps has completely effaced it. (44) And that which has been visible and has been impressed upon the soul at times affects the soul in a way consistent with itself, and at other times in a different way; and this passion to which it is subject is called appetite, which philosophers who define such things say is the first motion of the soul. (45) In such important points are animals superior to plants. Let us now see in what man is superior to the rest of the animal creation.
X. Man, then, has received this one extraordinary gift, intellect, which is accustomed to comprehend the nature of all bodies and of all things at the same time; for, as in the body, the sight is the most important faculty, and since in the universe the nature of light is the most pre-eminent thing, in the same manner that part of us which is entitled to the highest rank is the mind. (46) For the mind is the sight of the soul, shining transcendently with its own rays, by which the great and dense darkness which ignorance of things sheds around is dissipated. This species of soul is not composed of the same elements as those of which the other kinds were made, but it has received a purer and more excellent essence of which the divine natures were formed; on which account the intellect naturally appears to be the only thing in us which is imperishable, (47) for that is the only quality in us which the Father, who created us, thought deserving of freedom; and, unloosing the bonds of necessity, he let it go unrestrained, bestowing on it that most admirable gift and most connected with himself, the power, namely, of spontaneous will, as far as he was able to receive it; for the irrational animals, in whose soul there is not that especial gift tending to freedom, namely, mind, are put under the yoke and have bridles put in their mouths, and so are given unto men to be their slaves, as servants are given to their masters. But man, who has had bestowed on him a voluntary and self-impelling intellect, and who for the most part puts forth his energies in accordance with deliberate purpose, very properly receives blame for the offences which he designedly commits, and praise for the good actions which he intentionally performs. (48) For, in the case of other plants and other animals, we cannot call either the good that is caused by them deserving of praise, nor the evil that they do deserving of blame; for all their motions in either direction, and, all their changes, have no design about them, but are involuntary. But the soul of man, being the only one which has received from God the power of voluntary motion, and which in this respect has been made to resemble God, and being as far as possible emancipated from the authority of that grievous and severe mistress, necessity, may rightly be visited with reproach if she does not pay due honour to the being who has emancipated her. And therefore, in such a case, she will most deservedly suffer the implacable punishment denounced against slavish and ungrateful minds. (49) So that God “considered” and though within himself, not now for the first time, but long ago, and with great steadiness and resolution, “that he had made man;” that is to say, he considered within himself what kind of being he had made him. For he had made him free from all bondage or restraint, able to exert his energies in accordance with his own will and deliberate purpose, on this account: that so knowing what things were good and what, on the contrary, were evil, and having arrived at a proper comprehension of what is honourable and what is disgraceful, and apprehending what things are just and what unjust, and, in short, what things flow from virtue and what from wickedness, he might exercise a choice of the better objects and an avoidance of their opposites; (50) and this is the meaning of the oracle recorded in Deuteronomy, “Behold, I have put before thy face life and death; good and evil. Do thou choose life.”12 Therefore he teaches us by this sentence both that men have a knowledge of good and of the contrary, evil, and that it is their duty to choose the better in preference to the worse, preserving reason within themselves as an incorruptible judge, to be guided by the arguments which sound sense suggests, and to reject those which are brought forward by the contrary power.