XXXVII. (183) We must now examine what this confusion is. How then shall we enter on this examination? In this manner, in my opinion. We have very often known those whom we had knowledge of before, from certain similarities and a comparison of circumstances which have some connection with them. Therefore we also become acquainted with things in the same manner, which it is not easy to form a conception of from their own nature, from some similarity of other things connected with them. (184) What things then resemble confusion? Mixture, as the ancient report has it, and combination; but mixture takes place in dry things, and combination is looked upon as belonging to wet substances. (185) Mixture then is a placing side by side of different bodies in no regular order, as if any one were to make a heap, bringing barley, and wheat, and pease, and all sorts of other seeds, all into one mass; but combination is not a placing side by side, but rather a mutual penetration of dissimilar parts entering into one another at all points, so that the distinctive qualities are still able to be distinguished by some artificial skill, as they say is the case with respect to wine and water; (186) for these substances coming together form a combination, but that which is combined is not the less capable of being resolved again into the distinctive qualities from which it was originally formed. For with a sponge saturated with oil it is possible for the water to be taken up and for the wine to be left behind, which may perhaps be because the origin of sponge is derived from water, and therefore it is natural that water being a kindred substance is calculated by nature to be taken up by the sponge out of the combination, but that that substance which is of a different nature, namely the wine, is naturally left behind. (187) But confusion is the destruction of all the original distinctive qualities, owing to their component parts penetrating one another at every point, so as to generate one thing wholly different, as is the case in that composition of the physicians which they call the tetrapharmacon. For that, I imagine, is made up of wax, and fat, and pitch, and resin, all compounded together, but when the medicine has once been compounded, then it is impossible for it again to be resolved into the powers of which it was originally composed, but every one of them is destroyed separately, and the destruction of them all has produced one other power of exceeding excellence. (188) But when God threatens impious reasonings with confusion, he is in fact not only commanding the whole species and power of each separate wickedness to be destroyed, but also that thing which has been made up of all their joint contributions; so that neither the parts by themselves, nor the union and harmony of the whole, can contribute any strength hereafter towards the destruction of the better part; (189) on which account, he says, “Let us then confuse their language, so that each of them may not understand the voice of his neighbour;” which is equivalent to, let us make each separate one of the parts of wickedness deaf and dumb, so that it shall neither utter a voice of its own, nor be able to sound in unison with any other part, so as to be a cause of mischief.