XXXI. (102) But it is most entirely in accordance with nature “to sacrifice the males of every creature that openeth the womb, to God.”{46}{#ex 13:12.} For as nature has given to women the womb, as the part most excellently adapted for the generation of animals, so also for the production of things she has placed a power in the soul, by means of which the mind conceives and is in travail, and brings forth many things. (103) But of the ideas which are brought forth by the mind, some are male and some female, as in the case of animals. Now the female offspring of the soul are wickedness and passion, by which we are made effeminate in every one of our pursuits; but a healthy state of the passions and virtue is male, by which we are excited and invigorated. Now of these, whatever belongs to the fellowship of men must be attributed to God, and everything that relates to the similarity to women must be imputed to one’s self, on which account the command was delivered, “Of everything which openeth the womb the males belong to the Lord.”

XXXII. (104) But also he says, “The males belong to the Lord of everything which openeth the womb, of thy flocks and of thy cattle, and of all that belongs to thee.” Having spoken of the offspring of the principal part of the soul, he begins to give us information about the produce of the irrational part, which the outward senses have obtained for their inheritance, which he likens to cattle, and to the young which are bred up in the herds, being tame and tractable, inasmuch as they are guided by the care of their overseer, that is to say, of the shepherd; for those which are let run loose and are indulged with freedom, are made wild from want of any one to make them gentle. But those which have guides, such as goatherds, cowherds, and shepherds, who are the managers of every species of cattle, they I say are of necessity made tame. (105) Moreover the genus of the outward senses is formed by nature, so as to be in one instance wild and in another tractable; it is wild, when having shaken off the rein of the mind as of its herdsman, it is borne on irrationally towards the external objects of the outward senses; but it is tame when having yielded in an obedient manner to reason, which is the guide of the discernment, it is regulated and directed in its course by it. Whatever therefore it sees or hears, or, in short, whatever it feels with any one of its inward senses according to the injunction of the mind, all these things are male and perfect, for goodness is added to each; (106) but whatever is done without any guide, in a state of anarchy, in such case the body ruins us as anarchy ruins a city. Again, we must consider that those motions of the outward senses which proceed in obedience to the mind, and which of necessity are the better, do take place according to the dispensation of God; but these which are obstinate and disobedient, we must impute to ourselves, when we are carried away irrationally by the impetuosity of the outward senses.