XVI. (61) For the stream of the intemperate soul, flowing outwards through the mouth and tongue, is pumped up and poured into all ears. Some of which having wide channels, keeps that which is poured into them with all cheerfulness; but others, through the narrowness of the passages, are unable to be bedewed by it. But that which overflows being poured forth in an unrestrained manner, is scattered in every direction: so that what has been concealed escapes and floats on the top of it, and, like a random torrent of mud, bears along with it in its flood, things worthy of being tended with all care. (62) In reference to which, those persons appear to me to have come to a right decision who have been initiated in the lesser mysteries before learning anything of these greater ones. “For they baked their flour which they brought out of Egypt, baking secret cakes of unleavened Bread.”{30}{#ex 12:34.} That is to say, they dealt with the untameable and savage passions, softening them with reason as they would knead bread; fore they did not divulge the manner of their kneading and improving it, as it was derived from some divine system of preparation; but they treasured it up in their secret stores, not being elated at the knowledge of the mystery, but yielding and being lowly as to their boasting.

XVII. (63) Let us then, with reference to our gratitude to and honouring of the omnipotent God, be active and ready, deprecating all sluggishness and delay; for those who are passing over from obedience to the passions to the contemplation of virtue, are enjoined to keep the passover with their loins girded up, being ready to do service, and binding up the burden of the flesh, or, as it is expressed, their shoes, “standing upright, and firmly on their feet, and having in their hands a Staff,”{31}{#ex 12:11.} that is to say education, with the object of succeeding without any failure in all the affairs of life; and lastly, “to eat the passover in haste.” For, by the passover, is signified the crossing over of the created and perishable being to God:–and very appropriately; for there is no single good thing which does not belong to God, and which is not divine. (64) Seek it therefore, quickly, O my soul! as did that practiser of contemplation, Jacob, who, when his father asked him, “How found you this so quickly, I my Son?”{32}{#ge 27:20.} answered, with a doctrine concealed underneath his words, “The Lord God brought it before me.” For he, being well skilled in many matters, knew that whatever creation bestows on the soul is confirmed by long time, as those men know who give to their pupils arts, and lessons in arts: for their case is not like that of men who pour water into a vessel, they are not in a moment able to fill their minds with the lessons which have been brought before them. But when the fountain of wisdom, that is to say, God, gives knowledge of the sciences to the race of mankind, he gives it to them without any limitation of time. But they, as being disciples of the only wise Being, and being competent by nature, quickly accomplish the discovery of the things which they seek to understand.