XV. (80) At all events when the conceptions are at all indistinct and ambiguous, speech is the treading as it were on empty air, and often stumbles and meets with a severe fall, so as never to be able to rise again. “And thou shalt speak to him, and thou shalt give my words into his mouth,” which is equivalent to, Thou shalt speak to him, and thou shalt give my words into his mouth,” which is equivalent to, Thou shalt suggest to him conceptions which are in no respect different from divine language and divine arguments. (81) For without some one to offer suggestions, speech will not speak; and the mind is what suggests to speech, as God suggests to the mind. “And he shall speak for thee to the people, and he shall be thy mouth, and thou shalt be to him as God.” And there is a most emphatic meaning in the expression, “He shall speak for thee,” that is to say, He shall interpret thy conceptions, and “He shall be thy mouth.” For the stream of speech being borne through the tongue and mouth conveys the conceptions abroad. But speech is the interpreter of the mind to men, while again mind is by means of speech the interpreter to God; but these thoughts are those of which God alone is the overseer. (82) Therefore it is necessary for any one who is about to enter into a contest of sophistry, to pay attention to all his words with such vigorous earnestness, that he may not only be able to escape from the manoeuvres of his adversaries, but may also in his turn attack them, and get the better of them, both in skill and in power. (83) Do you not see that conjurors and enchanters, who attempting to contend against the divine word with their sophistries, and who daring to endeavor to do other things of a similar kind, labour not so much to display their own knowledge, as to tear to pieces and turn into ridicule what was Done?{42}{exodus 7:12.} For they even transform their rods into the nature of serpents, and change water into the complexion of blood, and by their incantations they attract the remainder of the frogs to the land, and, like miserable men as they are, they increase everything for their own destruction, and while thinking to deceive others they are deceived themselves. (84) And how was it possible for Moses to encounter such men as these unless he had prepared speech, the interpreter of his mind, namely Aaron? who now indeed is called his mouth; but in a subsequent passage we shall find that he is called a prophet, when also the mind, being under the influence of divine inspiration, is called God. “For,” says God, “I give thee as a God to Pharaoh, and Aaron they brother shall be thy Prophet.”{43}{#ex 7:1.} O the harmonious and well-organised consequence! For that which interprets the will of God is the prophetical race, being under the influence of divine possession and frenzy. (85) Therefore “the rod of Aaron swallowed up their Rods,”{44}{#ex 7:12.} as the holy scripture tells us. For all sophistical reasons are swallowed up and destroyed by the varied skilfulness of nature; so that they are forced to confess that what is done is “the finger of God,”{45}{#ex 8:19.} an expression equivalent to confessing the truth of the divine scripture which asserts that sophistry is always subdued by wisdom. For the sacred account tells us that “the tables” on which the commandments were engraved as on a pillar, “were also written by the finger of God.”{46}{#ex 32:16.} On which account the conjurors were not able to stand before Moses, but fell down as in a wrestling match, being overcome by the superior strength of their antagonist.