XXIII. (79) On which account it is said also: “And ye shall eat old store, and old food from the old store, and you shall also bring forward the old out of the sight of the New.”{39}{#le 26:10.} As it is fitting to repudiate no ancient piece of learning from considerations of time, while we endeavour to meet with the writings of wise men, and to be present as it were with the opinions and expositions of those who relate ancient matters, and to be always fond of inquiring about the former ages of men, and ancient events, since it is the pleasantest of all things to be ignorant of nothing. But when God causes new shoots of self-taught wisdom to spring up in the soul, then it behoves us immediately to circumscribe and to contract the things which we have acquired from instruction, which of their own accord do return and flow back to their source. For it is impossible that one who is a follower, or a friend, or a disciple of God, or any other name which one may think fit to call him, should tolerate mortal lessons.

XXIV. (80) And let the ripeness of the new soul be toasted. That is to say, as gold is tried in the fire, let this also be tested by powerful reason. And the being consolidated is a sign of having been tried, and tested, and approved. For as the fruit of flourishing stalks of corn is toasted, that it may no longer be damp, and as this cannot in the nature of things take place without fire, so also is it necessary that the young and fresh ripeness, advancing by means of powerful and unalterable reason to the perfection of virtue, must be made solid and stable. But it is the natural characteristic of reason not only to ripen speculations in the soul, preventing them from dissolving, but also vigorously to put an end to the impetuosity of irrational passion. (81) Behold the practiser of contemplations, Joseph, cooking it, when, “Esau is in a moment discovered to be Fainting.”{40}{#ge 25:29.} For wickedness and passion are the foundations of those who love themselves, supported on which the man, when he sees them defeated and extinguished by reason which has refuted them, does not unnaturally relax his exertions and his strength. (82) But suppose the language is not confused, but divided into appropriate divisions, the meaning of the expression, “those that are cut up,” is something of this kind. For in everything order is better than disorder, and most especially is it so in the most swiftly flowing nature–speech.