XXXVI. (194) After the lawgiver has given these commands with reference to these subjects, he begins to distinguish between the different kinds of sacrifices, and he divides the victims into three classes. The most important of which he makes a whole burnt offering; the next an offering for preservation; the last, a sin-offering. And then he adapts suitable ceremonies and rites to each, aiming, in no inadequate manner, at what is at the same time decorous and holy. (195) And the distinction which he makes is one of great beauty and propriety, having a close connection and a sort of natural kindred with the things themselves; for if any one were to wish to examine minutely the causes for which it seemed good to the first men to betake themselves at the same time to sacrifices to show their gratitude, and also to supplications, he will find two most especial reasons for this conduct. Firstly, that it conduces to the honour of God, which ought to be aimed at not for the sake of any other reason, but for itself alone, as being both honourable and necessary; and, secondly, for the benefits which have been poured upon the sacrificers themselves, as has been said before. And the benefit they derive is also twofold, being both an admission to a share of good things and a deliverance from evils. (196) Therefore the law has assigned the whole burnt offering as a sacrifice adequate to that honour which is suited to God, and which belongs to God alone, enjoining that what is offered to the allperfect and absolute God must be itself entire and perfect, having no taint of mortal selfishness in it. But that sacrifice which is offered for the sake of men, since its appearance admits of distinction, the law has distinguished also, appointing it to be a sacrifice for the participation in blessings which mankind has enjoined, and calling it a thank-offering for their preservation. And for the deliverance from evils it has allotted the sacrifice called a sin-offering, so that these are very appropriately their sacrifices for these causes; (197) the whole burntoffering being sacrificed for God himself alone, who must be honoured for his own sake, and not for that of any other being or thing; and the others for our sake; the thank-offering for our preservation, for the safety and amelioration of human affairs; and the sin-offering for the cure of those offences which the soul has committed.

XXXVII. (198) And we must now enumerate the laws which have been enacted respecting each sacrifice, making our commencement with that which is the most excellent. Now, the most excellent sacrifice is the whole burnt-offering. The law says, “In the first place the victim shall be a male, carefully selected for its excellence from all the animals which are fit for sacrifice, a calf, or a lamb, or a kid. And then let him who brings it wash his hands, and lay his hands on the head of the victim. (199) And after this let some one of the priests take the victim and sacrifice it, and let another hold a bowl under it, and, having caught some of the blood, let him go all around the altar and sprinkle it with the blood, and let him flay the victim and divide it into large pieces, having washed its entrails and its feet. And then let the whole victim be given to the fire of the altar of God, {26}{#le 1:3.} having become many things instead of one, and one instead of many.” (200) These things, then, are comprehended in express words of command. But there is another meaning figuratively concealed under the enigmatical expressions. And the words employed are visible symbols of what is invisible and uncertain. Now the victim which is to be sacrificed as a whole burnt offering must be a male, because a male is both more akin to domination than a female and more nearly related to the efficient cause; for the female is imperfect, subject, seen more as the passive than as the active partner. (201) And since the elements of which our soul consists are two in number, the rational and the irrational part, the rational part belongs to the male sex, being the inheritance of intellect and reason; but the irrational part belongs to the sex of woman, which is the lot also of the outward senses. And the mind is in every respect superior to the outward sense, as the man is to the woman; who, when he is without blemish and purified with the proper purifications, namely, the perfect virtues, is himself the most holy sacrifice, being wholly and in all respects pleasing to God. (202) Again, the hands which are laid upon the head of the victim are a most manifest symbol of irreproachable actions, and of a life which does nothing which is open to accusation, but which in all respects is passed in a manner consistent with the laws and ordinances of nature; (203) for the law, in the first place, desires that the mind of the man who is offering the sacrifice shall be made holy by being exercised in good and advantageous doctrines; and, in the second place, that his life shall consist of most virtuous actions, so that, in conjunction with the imposition of hands, the man may speak freely out of his cleanly conscience, and may say, (204) “These hands have never received any gift as a bribe to commit an unjust action, nor any division of what has been obtained by rapine or by covetousness, nor have they shed innocent blood. nor have they wrought mutilation, nor works of insolence, nor acts of violence, nor have they inflicted any wounds; nor, in fact, have they performed any action whatever which is liable to accusation or to reproach, but have been ministers in everything which is honourable and advantageous, and which is honoured by wisdom, or by the laws, or by honourable and virtuous men.”