VIII. (26) These are they who “made a treaty with one another in the valley of Salt.”{2}{#ge 14:3.} For the region of the vices and of the passions is a hollow valley, rough, and full of ravines; truly salt, and producing bitter pains; and their treaty, as one that was not worthy of being confirmed by any oath or by any libation, the wise Abraham, who knew the character of it, annulled. For it is said in the scripture that, “All these men made a treaty at the valley of Salt, that is the sea of Salt.” (27) Do you not perceive that they who are barren of wisdom and blinded as to the intellect which it would be natural to expect should be sharp-sighted, having the name of Sodomites from their real character,” did, with all their people united together, from young to old, surround the house in a Circle”{3}{#ge 19:4.} (that is to say, the house of the soul), in order to pollute and contaminate those strangers from a foreign land, who had been received in hospitality, namely, sacred and holy reasons, the guards and defenders of the soul; no one whatever attempting either to resist those wrong doers, or to avoid doing wrong himself? (28) For Moses does not speak of some as having consented and of others having stood aloof; but, as he says, “The whole people surrounded the house all together, both old and young,” having entered into a conspiracy against all those holy actions and words which it is customary to call angels.

IX. (29) But Moses, the prophet of God, will meet them and check them, though they come on with exceeding boldness; even though, placing in the front him who is the boldest and the most forward and able speaker among them as their king, namely speech, they rush on with one impulse, hoping to increase their strength as they go on, and overflowing like a river; “For behold,” says Moses, “the king of Egypt is coming to the water; but do thou go to meet him, and stand on the bank of the River.”{4}{#ex 7:15.} (30) Therefore the wicked man goes forth to the stream of iniquities and passions, and all collected evils, which are here likened to water; but the wise man first obtains from God, who always stands firm, an honour akin to his undeviating, and in all respects and under all circumstances, unchangeable power; for we read in the scripture, (31) “But do thou stand here with me, {5}{#de 5:31.} that having laid aside doubt and vacillation, the dispositions of an infirm soul, he may put on that most steadfast and trustworthy disposition, faith. In the next place, even while standing still, he (which seems a most extraordinary thing) goes forward to meet him; for it is said to him, “Thou shalt stand meeting him,” and yet to go to meet is a part of motion, while to stand still is regarded as characteristic of tranquillity. (32) But the prophet does not here say things which are inconsistent, but rather such as are exceedingly in accordance with nature; for the man whose mind is naturally disposed to be tranquil, and is established undeviatingly, must necessarily be at variance with all those who delight in disorder and confusion, and who by artificial storms seek to disturb him who is capable of enjoying tranquillity.