XVI. (68) What, then, are we to say, but that such men are caught by the common customs of men, having, as their accuser, their mother, who lives according to the laws of the state, and acts like a demagogue, namely, custom: but that the others preserve the laws of nature, having, for their ally, their father, namely, right reason; (69) for it is not the case, as some persons think, that the priests slay men, rational animals, compounded of soul and body, but they only eradicate from their minds all those things which are akin to and dear to the flesh, thinking it seemly for those who have become ministers of the only wise God, to alienate themselves form all the things of creation, and to look upon all such things as enemies and thoroughly hostile. (70) On this account it is, that we shall slay a brother, not a man, but the body, which is brother to the soul; that is to say, we shall separate that which is devoted to the passions and mortal, from that which is devoted to virtue and divine. And, again, we shall slay a neighbour, not a man, but a company and a band; for such a company is, at the same time, akin to, and hostile to, the soul, laying baits and spreading snares for it, in order that being inundated by the objects of the outward senses, which overflow it, it may never emerge and look up to heaven, so as to embrace the beautiful and God-like natures. And we shall also slay those nearest to us: but that which is nearest to the mind is uttered speech, inserting false opinions among reasonable and natural plausibilities and probabilities, to the destruction of that best of all possessions, truth.

XVII. (71) Why, then, are we not also to repel this being, too, who is a sophist and a polluted person, condemning him to the death which is suited to him, namely, silence (for silence is the death of speech), in order that the mind may be no longer led away by its sophisms, but being completely emancipated from all the pleasures which are according to the body, “the brother,” and being alienated from, and having shaken off the yoke of, all the trickeries according to “the neighbour,” and the neighbouring outward senses, and from the sophistries in accordance with the “nearest” speech, may be able, in all purity, to apply itself to all the proper objects of the intellect. (72) This is he “who says to his father and to his mother,” his mortal parents, “I have not seen you,” ever since I have beheld the things of God, who “does not recognize his sons,” ever since he has become an acquaintance of wisdom, who “disowns his Brethren,”{16}{#de 33:9.} ever since he has ceased to be disowned by God, and has been thought worthy of perfect salvation. (73) This is he who “took as coadjutor,” that is to say, who searched for and sought out the things of corruptible creation, of which the chief happiness is laid up in eating and drinking, and who went, Moses says, “to the chimney,” which was burning and flaming with the excesses of wickedness, and which could never be extinguished, namely, the life of man, and who, after that, was able even to pierce the woman through her belly, {17}{#nu 25:8.} because she appeared to be the cause of bringing forth, being, in real truth, rather the patient than the agent, and even every “man,” and every reasoning which follows the opinion which attributes passions to the essence of God, who is the cause of all things.