XXXIX. (212) These things are enough for us to say respecting the sacrifice of the whole burntoffering. We must now proceed in due order to consider that offering which is called the sacrifice for preservation; for with respect to this one it is a matter of consequence whether the victim be male or female; and when it is slain, these three parts are especially selected for the altar, the fat, and the lobe of the liver, and the two kidneys; and all the other parts are left to make a feast for the sacrificer; (213) and we must consider with great accuracy the reason why these portions of the entrails are in this case looked upon as sacred, and not pass this point by carelessly. Often when I have been considering this matter in my own mind, and investigating all these commandments, I have doubted why the law selected the lobe of the liver, and the kidneys, and the fat, as the first fruits of the animals thus sacrificed; and did not choose the heart or the brain, though the dominant part of the man resides in one of these parts; (214) and I think also that many other persons who read the sacred scriptures with their mind, rather than merely with their eyes, will ask the same question. If therefore they, when they have considered the matter, can find any more probable reason, they will be benefiting both themselves and us; but if they cannot, let them consider the cause which has been discovered by us, and see whether it will stand the test; and this is it. The dominant power alone of all those that exist in us is able to restrain our natural folly, and injustice, and cowardice, and our other vices, and does restrain them; and the abode of this dominant power is one or other of the aforesaid portions of us, that is, it is either the brain or the heart; (215) therefore the sacred commandment has thought fit that one should not bring to the altar of God, by means of which a remission and complete pardon of all sins and transgressions is procured, that vessel from which the mind having at one time been abiding in it, has gone forth on the trackless road of injustice and impiety, having turned out of the way which leads to virtue and excellence; for it would be folly to suppose that sacrifices were not to procure a forgetfulness of offences, but were to act as a reminder of them. This it is which appears to me to be the reason why neither of those two parts, which are of supreme importance, namely, the brain or the heart, is brought to the altar; (216) and the parts which are commanded to be brought have a very suitable reason why they should be; the fat is brought because it is the richest part, and that which guards the entrails; for it envelops them and makes them to flourish, and benefits them by the softness of its touch. And the kidneys are commanded to be selected on account of the adjacent parts and the organs of generation, which they, as they dwell near them, do, like good neighbours, assist and co-operate with, in order that the seed of nature may prosper without anything in its vicinity being any obstacle to it; for they are channels resembling blood, by which that part of the purification of the superfluities of the body which is moist is separated from the body; and the testicles are near by which the seed is irrigated. And the lobe of the liver is the first fruit of the most important of the entrails, by means of which the food is digested, and being conveyed into the stomach is diffused through all the veins, and so conduces to the durability of the whole body; (217) for the stomach, lying close to the gullet which swallows the food, receives it as soon after it has first been chewed by the teeth and been made smooth, and so digests it; and the body again receives it from the stomach and performs the second part of the service required, to which indeed it has been destined by nature, giving forth a juice to aid in liquefying the food; and there are tow pipes like channels in the belly, which pour forth chyle into the liver, through the two channels which are originally placed in it. (218) And the liver has a twofold power, a secretive one, and also a power of making blood. Now the secretive power secretes everything which is hard and difficult to be digested, and removes it into the adjacent vessels of gall; and the other power turns all that portion of the food which is pure and properly strained, by the means of its own innate flame, into life-like vivifying blood; and presses it into the heart, from which, as has been already said, it is conveyed through the veins and by these channels is diffused through the whole body to which it becomes the nourishment. (219) We must also add to what has been here said, that the nature of the liver being a lofty character and very smooth, by reason of its smoothness is looked upon as a very transparent mirror, so that when the mind, retreating from the cares of the day (while the body is lying relaxed in sleep, and while no one of the outward senses is any hindrance or impediment), begins to roll itself about, and to consider the objects of its thought by itself without any interruption, looking into the liver as into a mirror, it then sees, very clearly and without any alloy, every one of the proper objects of the intellect, and looking round upon all vain idols, and seeing that no disgrace can accrue to it, but taking care to avoid that and to choose the contrary, and being contented and pleased with all that it sees, it by dreams obtains a prophetic sight of the future.