XXX. (152) Accordingly, he first of all anointed the three parts before mentioned of the bodies of the priests with the unmixed blood of one of the victims, that, namely, which was called the ram of perfection; and afterwards, taking some of the blood which was upon the altar, being the blood of all the victims mingled together, and some also of the unguent which has already been mentioned, which the ointment makers had prepared, and mixing some of the oil with the mingled blood of the different victims, he sprinkled some upon the priests and upon their garments, with the intention that they should have a share not only in that purity which was external and in the open air, but also of that which was in the inmost shrine, since they were about to minister within the temple. And all the things within the temple were anointed with oil. (153) And when they had brought forward other sacrifices in addition to the former ones, partly the priests sacrificing for themselves, and partly the elders sacrificing on behalf of the whole nation, then Moses entered into the tabernacle, leading his brother by the hand (and it was the eighth and last day of the festival, for the seven previous days had been devoted to the initiation of the hierophants), he now initiated both him and his nephews. And when he had entered in he taught him as a learned teacher might instruct an ignorant pupil, in what way the high priest ought to perform the ministrations which are performed inside the temple. (154) Then, when they had both come out and held up their hands in front of their head, they, with a pure and holy mind, offered up such prayers as were suitable and becoming for the nation. And while they were still praying a most marvellous prodigy happened; for from out of the inmost shrine, whether it was a portion of the purest possible aether, or whether the air, according to some natural change of the elements, had become dissolved with fire, on a sudden a body of flame shone forth, and with impetuous violence descended on the altar and consumed all that was thereon, with the view, as I imagine, of showing in the clearest manner that none of the things which had been done had been done without the especial providence of God. (155) For it was natural that an especial honour should be assigned to the holy place, not only by means of those things in which men are the workmen employed, but also by that purest of all essences, fire, in order that the ordinary fire which is used by men might not touch the altar; perhaps by reason of its being defiled by ten thousand impurities. (156) For it is concerned not only with irrational animals when they are roasted or boiled for the unjust appeasing of our miserable bellies, but also in the case of men who are slain by hostile attack, not merely in a small body of three or four, but in numerous hosts. (157) At all events, before now, arrows charged with fire have been aimed at vast naval fleets and have burnt them; and fire has destroyed whole cities, which have blazed away till they have been consumed down to their very foundations and reduced to ashes, so that no trace whatever has remained of their former situation. (158) It appears to me that this was the reason for which God rejected from his sacred altar the fire which is applied to common uses, as being defiled; and that, instead of it, he rained down celestial flame from heaven, in order to make a distinction between holy and profane things, and to separate the things belonging to man from the things belonging to God; for it was fitting that a more incorruptible essence of fire than that which served the common purposes of life should be set apart for sacrifices.