VIII. (24) On this account it is written in the curses contained in scripture, “Thou shalt never rest; nor shall there be any rest for the sole of thy Foot.”{7}{#de 28:65.} And, a little afterwards, we read that, “Thy life shall hang in doubt before Them.”{8}{#de 28:66.} For it is the nature of the foolish man, who is always being tossed about in a manner contrary to right reason, to be hostile to tranquillity and rest, and not to stand firmly or with a sure foundation on any doctrine whatever. (25) Accordingly he is full of different opinions at different times, and sometimes, even in the same circumstances, without any new occurrence having arisen to affect them, he will be perfectly contrary to himself, –now great, now little, now hostile, now friendly; and, in short, he will, so to say, be everything that is most inconsistent in a moment of time. And, as the law-giver says, “All his life shall hang in doubt before him;” having no firm footing, but being constantly tossed about by opposing circumstances, which drag it different ways. (26) On which account Moses says, in another place, “Cursed of God is he that hangeth on a Tree;”{9}{#de 21:23.} because what he ought to hang upon is God. But such a man has, of his own accord, bound himself to the body, which is a wooden burden upon us, exchanging hope for desire and a perfect hope for the greatest of evils; for hope, being the expectation of good things, causes the mind to depend upon the bounteous God; but appetite, creating only unreasonable desires, depends on the body, which nature has made to be a sort of receptacle and abode for the soul.

IX. (27) Let these men, then, hang by their appetites as by a halter; but the wise Abraham, where he stands, comes near to God, who is also standing. For Moses says that “Abraham was standing near to God; and coming nigh unto him, he Said,”{10}{#ge 18:22, 23.}… For in good truth the unalterable soul is the only thing that has access to the unalterable God; and being of such a disposition, it does really stand very near to the Divine power. (28) Therefore the oracle which was given to the allwise Moses most manifestly shows the lasting good condition and stability of the virtuous man. Now, the oracle is as follows: “And do thou thyself stand with Me.”{11}{#de 5:31.} By which expression, two things are made clear. One, that it is the living God, who moves and turns about all other beings, being himself unchangeable and immoveable. The second is, that he makes the virtuous man a participator in his own tranquil nature. For, as I suppose, the crooked things are made straight by his straight rule; so, likewise, are the things that are in motion restrained and made stationary by the power of him who always stands still and firm. (29) In this passage, therefore, he commands another being to stand with him: but in another place he says, “I will go down with thee to Egypt, and I will conduct thee to the End.”{12}{#ge 46:4.} He does not say, Thou shalt go down with me. Why not? Because calmness and stability are the especial attributes of God; but a liability to change one’s place, and every kind of motion which has a tendency to change the place, is incident to a created being. When, therefore, he invites the man to his own peculiar good, he says, “Stand thou with me:” not “I will stand with thee.” For “will stand,” cannot be said of God, who always stands still. (30) But when he comes to that which is the peculiar attribute of the creature, he says, with the most perfect correctness, “I will go down with you;” for change of place is adapted to you: so that no one shall go down with me, for in me there is no changing; but whatever is consistent with me, that is to say, with rest, shall stand. And with those who go down in such a manner as to change their place (for change of place is akin to and closely connected with them), I will go down also, not indeed changing my situation as to its actual place, inasmuch as I fill every place with myself. (31) And this, too, I do through the pity which exists in rational nature, in order that it may be raised from the hell of the passions to the heavenly region of virtue; I being the guide, who also have made the road which leads to heaven, so that it may be a plain road for suppliant souls, and have shown it to them all, in order that they may not foolishly wander out of the way.