LX. (324) But the law, being most especially an interpreter of equal communion, and of courteous humanity among men, has preserved the honour and dignity of each virtue; not permitting any one who is incurably sunk in vice to flee to them, but rejecting all such persons and repelling them to a distance. (325) Therefore, as it was aware that no inconsiderable number of wicked men are often mingled in these assemblies, and escape notice by reason of the crowds collected there, in order to prevent that from being the case in this instance, he previously excludes all who are unworthy from the sacred assembly, beginning in the first instance with those who are afflicted with the disease of effeminacy, men-women, who, having adulterated the coinage of nature, are willingly driven into the appearance and treatment of licentious women. He also banishes all those who have suffered any injury or mutilation in their most important members, and those who, seeking to preserve the flower of their beauty so that it may not speedily wither away, have altered the impression of their natural manly appearance into the resemblance of a woman. (326) The law also excludes not only all harlots, but also those who being born of a harlot bear about them the disgrace of their mother, because their original birth and origin have been adulterated. (327) For this passage (if there is any passage at all in the whole scripture which does so) admits of an allegorical interpretation; for there is not one description only of impious and unholy men, but there are many and different. For some persons affirm that the incorporeal ideas are only an empty name, having no participation in any real fact, removing the most important of all essences from the list of existing things, though it is in fact the archetypal model of all things which are the distinctive qualities of essence, in accordance with which each thing is assigned to its proper species and limited to its proper dimensions. (328) The sacred pillars of the law call all these men broken; for such an injury as is implied by that term leaves a man destitute of all distinctive quality and species, and what is so broken is nothing else, to speak the strict truth, than mere shapeless material. Thus, the doctrine which takes away species throws every thing into confusion, and moreover brings back that want of proper form which existed before the elements were reduced into proper order. (329) And what can be more absurd than this? For it is out of that essence that God created every thing, without indeed touching it himself, for it was not lawful for the all-wise and all-blessed God to touch materials which were all misshapen and confused, but he created them by the agency of his incorporeal powers, of which the proper name is “ideas,” which he so exerted that every genus received its proper form. But this opinion has created great irregularity and confusion. For when it takes away the things by means of which the distinctive qualities exist, it at the same time takes away the distinctive qualities themselves. (330) But other persons, as if they were engaged in a contest of wickedness, being anxious to carry off the prizes of victory, go beyond all others in impiety, joining to their denial of the ideas a negative also of the being of God, as if he had no real existence but were only spoken of for the sake of what is beneficial to men. Others, again, out of fear of that Being who appears to be present everywhere and to see every thing, are barren of wisdom, but devoted to the maintenance of that which is the greatest of all wickednesses, namely impiety. (331) There is also a third class, who have entered on the contrary path, guiding a multitude of men and women, of old and young, filling the world with arguments in favour of a multiplicity of rulers, in order by such means to eradicate all notions of the one and truly living God from the minds of men. (332) These are they who are symbolically called by the law the sons of a harlot. For as mothers who are harlots do not know who is the real father of their children, and cannot register him accurately, but have many, or I might almost say all men, their lovers and associates, the same is the case with those who are ignorant of the one true God. For, inventing a great number whom they falsely call gods, they are blinded as to the most important of all existing things which they ought to have thoroughly learnt, if not alone, at all events as the first and greatest of all things from their earliest childhood; for what can be a more honourable thing to learn than the knowledge of the true and living God?