XXXI. (168) But whoever is raised on high to such a sublime elevation will never any more allow any of the portions of his soul to dwell below among mortal men, but will draw them all up to himself as if they were suspended by a rope; for which reason a sacred injunction of the following purport was given to the wise man, “Go thou up to the Lord, thou, and Aaron, and Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel.”{85}{#ex 24:1.} (169) And the meaning of this injunction is as follows, “Go up, O soul, to the view of the living God, in an orderly manner, rationally, voluntarily, fearlessly, lovingly, in the holy and perfect numbers of seven multiplied tenfold.” For Aaron is described in the law as the prophet of Moses, being loudly uttered speech prophesying to the mind. And Nadab is interpreted “voluntary,” that is to say, the man who honours the Deity without compulsion; and the interpretation of the name Abihu is, “my father.” This man is one who has not need of a master by reason of his folly, more than of a father by reason of his wisdom, namely such a father as God the ruler of the world. (170) And these powers are the body-guards of the mind which is worthy to bear sovereign sway, which ought also to attend upon the king, and conduct him on his way. But the soul is afraid by itself to rise up to the contemplation of the living God, if it does not know the road, from being lifted up by a union of ignorance and audacity; and the falls which are caused by such a union of ignorance and great rashness are very serious; (171) on which account Moses prays that he may have God himself as his guide to the road which leads to him. For he says, “If thou wilt not thyself go with me, then do not thou lead me Hence.”{86}{exodus 33:5.} Because every motion which is without the divine approbation is mischievous, and it is better for men to remain here wandering about in this mortal life, as the great portion of the human race does, than raising themselves up to heaven in pride and arrogance, to encounter an overthrow, as has happened to countless numbers of sophists, who have looked upon wisdom as only a discovery of plausible arguments, and not, as it is, a certain belief in and well-assured knowledge of facts. (172) And perhaps too there is some such meaning as this intended to be conveyed by these words, –do not raise me up on high, bestowing on me riches, or glory, or honours, or authority, or any other of those things which are usually ranked as good, unless you intend also to go with them and me yourself; for these things are often calculated to cause either great mischief, or great advantage to their possessors; advantage when God is the guide of their mind; injury when the contrary is the case. For to great numbers of people the things which are called good not being so in reality have been the causes of irremediable evils, (173) but the man who follows God does of necessity have for his fellow travellers all those reasons which are the attendants of God, which we are accustomed to call angels. At all events, it is said that “Abraham went with them conducting them on their Way.”{87}{#ge 18:16.} Oh the admirable praise! according to which, he who was conducting others was himself conducted by them, giving what he was receiving; not giving one thing instead of another, but only that one single thing, which was prepared as a retributory gift, (174) for until a man is made perfect he uses divine reason as the guide of his path, for that is the sacred oracle of scripture: “Behold, I send my angel before thy face that he may keep thee in the road, so as to lead thee into the land which I have prepared for thee. Attend thou to him, and listen to him; do not disobey him; for he will not pardon your transgressions, for my name is in Him.”{88}{#ex 23:20.} (175) But when he has arrived at the height of perfect knowledge, then, running forward vigorously, he keeps up with the speed of him who was previously leading him in his way; for in this way they will both become attendants of God who is the guide of all things; no one of those who hold erroneous opinions accompanying them any longer, and even Lot himself, who turned on one side the soul, which might have been upright and inflexible, removing and living at a distance.