LIII. (220) But all these men have been now spoken of as eunuchs, being utterly barren of wisdom. But the mind, with which the king of the belly makes a treaty and agreement, was the cupbearer; for by its own nature, the human race is very fond of wine, and this is the sole thing of which it is immeasurably insatiable, since there is no one who is impossible to be satisfied with sleep, and eating, and carnal enjoyments, and things like these; but nearly every one is insatiably fond of wine, and especially those who are occupied with serious business; (221) for after they have drunk they are still thirsty, and they begin drinking at first out of small cups, then, as they proceed, they tell their servants to bring them wine in larger goblets, and when they are pretty full and getting riotous, being no longer able to restrain themselves, they take bowls and goblets of all the largest sizes that they can get, and drink the wine unmixed in huge draughts, until they are either overcome by deep sleep, being no longer able to govern themselves, or till what they have poured into themselves is vomited out again through repletion. (222) But even then, nevertheless, the insatiable desire which exists within them continues to rage as though it were still under the influence of hunger. “For their wine is of the vine of Sodom,” as Moses says, “and their tenderils are from Gomorrah; their grapes are grapes of gall, and their branches are bitter branches. The rage of dragons is their wine, and the incurable fury of Serpents.”{42}{#de 32:32.} The interpretation of the name Sodom is “barrenness and blindness.” But Moses here compares those who are the slaves of greediness for wine and general gluttony, and of other most disgraceful pleasures to a vine, and to the different products of the vine; (223) and the enigmatical meaning which he conceals under this allegory is this:–There is no plant of true joy naturally implanted in the soul of the bad man; inasmuch as it has no healthy roots, but only such as are burnt and reduced to ashes, since, instead of water, Heaven has poured upon it the fire of lightning which cannot be quenched, God having adjudged that as fitting punishment for the impious. But there is implanted in it the plant of excessive desire, barren of all good things, and destitute of anything deserving of regard or contemplation, which he here compares to a vine. Not meaning that one which is the parent of eatable fruit, but that one which produces bitterness, and wickedness, and ungodly cunning; and which is most fertile in anger, and fury, and the most savage dispositions; biting the soul like an asp or a viper, inflicting envenomed wounds, utterly incurable. (224) For which wounds, however, we pray that a relief may be found by propitiating the all-merciful God, in order that he may destroy this wild vine, and may condemn the eunuchs and all persons who are barren of virtue to everlasting punishment; and that, instead of them he may implant in our souls the valuable trees of right instruction, and may bestow upon us noble and masculine reason as its fruit, such as is able to bear within it good actions by way of seed, and is able to increase the virtues, and is calculated to maintain and preserve for ever the entire connection and system of happiness.