taste is, what touch is, what smell is, and how it is that you exercise the energies of each of these faculties; and what the sources of them are from which they originate. (138) For do not tell me long stories about the moon and the sun, and all the other things in heaven and in the world, which are at such a distance from us and which are so different in their natures, empty-minded creatures that you are, before you examine into and become acquainted with yourselves; for when you have learnt to understand yourselves, then perhaps one may believe you when you enter into explanations respecting other things. But till you are able to tell what you yourselves are, do not expect ever to be looked upon as truth-telling judges or witnesses with respect to others.

XXV. (139) Since, then, these things are in this state, the mind, when it is rendered perfect, will pay its proper tribute to the God who causes perfection, according to that most sacred scripture, “For the law is, that tribute belongs to the Lord.”{69}{#nu 31:40.} When does the mind pay it? When? “On the third day it comes to the place which God has told it Of,”{70}{#ge 22:4.} having passed by the greater portions of the differences of time, and being now passing over to that nature which has no connection with time; (140) for then it will sacrifice its beloved son, not a man (for the wise man is not a slayer of his children), but the male offspring of a virtuously living soul, the fruit which germinates from it, as to which it knows not how it bore it, the divine shoot, which, when it appears, the soul then having appeared to be pregnant, confesses that it does not understand the good which has happened to it saying, “Who will tell to Abraham?”{71}{#ge 21:7.} as if, in fact, he would refuse to believe about the rising up of the self-taught race, that “Sarah was suckling a child,” not that the child was being suckled by Sarah. For the self-taught offspring is nourished by no one, but is itself the nourishment of others as being competent to teach, and having no need to learn; (141) for “I have brought forth a son,” not like the Egyptian women, in the flower of my age and in the height of my bodily vigour, but like the Hebrew souls, “in my old Age,”{72}{#ex 1:18.} when all the objects of the outward senses and all mortal things are faded, and when the objects of the intellect and immortal things are in their full vigour and worthy of all estimation and honour. (142) And I have brought forth, too, without requiring the aid of the midwife’s skill; for we bring forth even before any skill or knowledge of man can come to us, without any of the ordinary means of assistance to help us, God having sown and generated an excellent offspring, which, in accordance with the law made concerning gratitude, very properly requites its creator with gratitude and honour. For, says God, “My gifts, and my offerings, and my first fruits, you have taken care to bring to Me.”{73}{#nu 28:2.}