XXVII. (94) For it is always the case that if a second impression is stamped upon any thing, the mark of any previous one is effaced. But the impression which is thus made is so far from permitting evil things to be taken in exchange for what is good, that it does not allow even what is beautiful to be taken in exchange for what is laborious; but looking upon what is laborious (poneµron) as evil, since it would be downright folly not to discard what is bad for the sake of the acquisition of what is better, but only taking (poneµros) to be equivalent to epiponos or kamateµros, in which sense, indeed, the Attic writers use the word when they mark the first syllable with an acute, thus, poneµros. (95) Now the precept is of this kind, “Of every thing which passeth under the rod, the tenth is sacred to the Lord; thou shalt not exchange good for bad, and if thou dost exchange, both the thing itself and that for which it is exchanged shall be sacred,”{40} {#Le 27:32.} and yet how can that which is evil possibly be sacred? The truth is that, as I said, he means here what is laborious, not what is bad; so that what is really intended is something of this kind:–The honourable is a perfect good, but labour is an imperfect advantage. If therefore you acquire what is perfect, you need no longer seek what is deficient; but if with an excessive superfluity you choose still to continue labouring, then know that you will appear to be exchanging one thing for another, but in reality you will be acquiring both, for even if both are of equal value they nevertheless are not completely whole.

XXVIII. (96) But a thing which is sacred is proved to be so by three witnesses, the middle number, education, and perfect number. On which account it is said, “Of everything which cometh in the number under the rod, the tenth is sacred,” for that which is not accounted worthy of being comprehended under number is profane, not sacred; but that which is according to number is approved, as having been already tested. Accordingly the law says, that the corn which was collected in Egypt by Joseph could not be Counted,”{41}{#ge 41:49.} and adds, “for it was without number,” since the things which nourish the body and the Egyptian passions, are utterly unworthy to be included in any calculation. (97) But the rod is the symbol of education, for without being looked at sternly, and chastised for some causes, it is impossible for any one to be admonished and corrected to any good purpose; but the number ten is a confirmation of that perfection which takes place in accordance with improvement, with which he must begin who having brought forth an offspring educated it, and brought the wished-for fruit to maturity.