LI. (273) And that this statement is true, and not mine but that of nature, is testified to a certain degree by the evident nature of the thing itself, which affords a manifest proof which none can deny who do not cleave to credulity out of a contentious disposition. It is testified also by the law which commands two altars to be prepared, differing both as to the materials of which they are made, as to the places in which they are erected, and as to the purposes to which they are applied; (274) for one is made of stones, carefully selected so to fit one another, and unhewn, and it is erected in the open air, near the steps of the temple, and it is for the purpose of sacrificing victims which contain blood in them. And the other is made of gold, and is erected in the inner part of the temple, within the first veil, and may not be seen by any other human being except those of the priests who keep themselves pure, and it is for the purpose of offering incense upon; (275) from which it is plain that God looks upon even the smallest offering of frankincense by a holy man as more valuable than ten thousand beasts which may be sacrificed by one who is not thoroughly virtuous. For in proportion, I imagine, as gold is more valuable than stones, and as the things within the inner temple are more holy than those without, in the same proportion is the gratitude displayed by offerings of incense superior to that displayed by the sacrifice of victims full of blood, (276) on which account the altar of incense is honoured not only in the costliness of its materials, and in the manner of its erection, and in its situation, but also in the fact that it ministers every day before any thing else to the thanksgivings to be paid to God. For the law does not permit the priest to offer the sacrifice of the whole burnt offering outside before he has offered incense within at the earliest Dawn.{37}{#ex 30:8.} (277) And this command is a symbol of nothing else but of the fact that in the eyes of God it is not the number of things sacrificed that is accounted valuable, but the purity of the rational spirit of the sacrificer. Unless, indeed, one can suppose that a judge who is anxious to pronounce a holy judgment will never receive gifts from any of those whose conduct comes before his tribunal, or that, if he does receive such presents, he will be liable to an accusation of corruption; and that a good man will not receive gifts from a wicked person, not even though he may be poor and the other rich, and he himself perhaps in actual want of what he would so receive; and yet that God can be corrupted by bribes, who is most all-sufficient for himself and who has no need of any thing created; who, being himself the first and most perfect good thing, the everlasting fountain of wisdom, and justice, and of every virtue, rejects the gifts of the wicked. (278) And is not the man who would offer such gifts the most shameless of all men, if he offers a portion of the things which he has acquired by doing injury, or by rapine, or by false denial, or by robbery, to God as if he were a partner in his wickedness? O most miserable of all men! I should say to such a man, “You must be expecting one of two things. Either that you will be able to pass undetected, or that you will be discovered. (279) Therefore, if you expect to be able to pass undetected, you are ignorant of the power of God, by which he at the same time sees everything and hears everything. And if you think that you will be discovered, you are most audacious in (when you ought rather to endeavour to conceal the wicked actions which you have committed) bringing forward to light specimens of all your iniquitous deeds, and giving yourself airs, and dividing the fruits of them with God, bringing him unholy first fruits. And have you not considered this, that the law does not admit of lawlessness, nor does the light of the sun admit of darkness; but God is the archetypal model of all laws, and the sun, which can be appreciated only by the intellect, is the archetypal model of that which is visible to the senses, bringing forth from its invisible fountains visible light to afford to him who sees.” Moreover, there are other commandments relating to the Altar.{38}{yonge’s translation places sections 280û284 after what is section 345 in the Loeb and makes them part of a new treatise entitled On the Commandment that the Wages of a Harlot Are Not To Be Received in the Sacred Treasury. The sections are included here in their proper place.} (280) This injunction also is very admirably and properly set down in the sacred tablets of the law, that the wages of a harlot are not to be received into the temple, and inasmuch as she has earned them by selling her beauty, having chosen a most infamous life for the sake of shameful gain; (281) but if the gifts which proceed from a woman who has lived as a concubine are unholy, how can those be different which proceed from a soul which is deriled in the same manner, which has voluntarily abandoned itself to shame and to the lowest infamy, to drunkenness and gluttony, and covetousness and ambition, and love of pleasure, and to innumerable other kinds of passions, and diseases, and wickednesses? For what time can be long enough to efface those defilements, I indeed do not know. (282) Very often in truth time has put an end to the occupation of a harlot, since, when women have outlived their beauty, no one any longer approaches them, their prime having withered away like that of some flowers; and what length of time can ever transform the harlotry of the soul which from its youth has been trained in early and habitual incontinence, so as to bring it over to good order? No time could do this, but God alone, to whom all things are possible, even those which among us are impossible. (283) Accordingly, the man who is about to offer a sacrifice ought to examine and see, not whether the victim is without blemish, but whether his mind is sound, and entire, and perfect. Let him likewise investigate the causes for which he is about to offer the sacrifice; for it must be as an expression of thankfulness for kindnesses which have been shown to him, or else of supplication for the permanence of his present blessings, or for the acquisition of some future good, or else to avert some evil either present or expected; for all which objects he should labour to bring his reason into a state of good health and sanity; (284) for if he is giving thanks for benefits conferred upon him, he must take care not to behave like an ungrateful man, becoming wicked, for the benefits are conferred on a virtuous man; or if his object be to secure the permanence of his present prosperity and happiness, and to be enabled to look forward to such for the future, he must still show himself worthy of his good fortune, and behave virtuously; or if he is asking to escape from evils, let him not commit actions deserving of correction and punishment.