XIV. (49) Wherefore, if truth were to be the judge, no wicked or worthless man can pass a time of festival, no not even for the briefest period, inasmuch as he must be continually pained by the consciousness of his own iniquities, even though, with his soul, and his voice, and his countenance, he may pretend to smile; for how can a man who is full of the most evil counsels, and who lives with folly, have any period of genuine joy? A man who is in every respect unfortunate and miserable, in his tongue, and his belly, and all his other members, (50) since he uses the first for the utterance of things which ought to be secret and buried in silence, and the second he fills full of abundance of strong wine and immoderate quantities of food out of gluttony, and the rest of his members he uses for the indulgence of unlawful desires and illicit connections, not only seeking to violate the marriage bed of others, but lusting unnaturally, and seeking to deface the manly character of the nature of man, and to change it into a womanlike appearance, for the sake of the gratification of his own polluted and accursed passions. (51) On which account the all-great Moses, seeing the pre-eminence of the beauty of that which is the real festival, looked upon it as too perfect for human nature and dedicated it to God himself, speaking thus, in these very words: “The feast of the Lord.”{7}{#le 23:2.} (52) In considering the melancholy and fearful condition of the human race, and how full it is of innumerable evils, which the covetousness of the soul begets, which the defects of the body produce, and which all the inequalities of the soul inflict upon us, and which the retaliations of those among whom we live, both doing and suffering innumerable evils, are continually causing us, he then wondered whether any one being tossed about in such a sea of troubles, some brought on deliberately and others unintentionally, and never being able to rest in peace nor to cast anchor in the safe haven of a life free from danger, could by any possibility really keep a feast, not one in name, but one which should really be so, enjoying himself and being happy in the contemplation of the world and all the things in it, and in obedience to nature, and in a perfect harmony between his words and his actions, between his actions and his words. (53) On which account he necessarily said that the feasts belonged to God alone; for he alone is happy and blessed, having no participation in any evil whatever, but being full of all perfect blessings. Or rather, if one is to say the exact truth, being himself the good, who has showered all particular good things over the heaven and earth. (54) In reference to which fact, a certain pre-eminently virtuous mind among the people of old, {8}{#ge 18:10.} when all its passions were tranquil, smiled, being full of and completely penetrated with joy, and reasoning with itself whether perhaps to rejoice was not a peculiar attribute of God, and whether it might not itself miss this joy by pursuing what are thought delights by men, was timorous, and denied the laughter of her soul until she was comforted. (55) For the merciful God lightened her fear, bidding her by his holy word confess that she did laugh, in order to teach us that the creature is not wholly and entirely deprived of joy; but that joy is unmingled and the purest of all which can receive nothing of an opposite nature, the chosen peculiar joy of God. But the joy which flows from that is a mingled one, being alloyed, being that of a man who is already wise, and who has received as the most valuable gift possible such a mixture as that in which the pleasant are far more numerous than the unpleasant ingredients. And this is enough to say on this subject.