XXVI. (96) But on him who is incapable of receiving repentance on account of the enormity of the pollution which he has incurred by the murder of his brother, namely, on Cain, he lays well-deserved and fitting curses; for in the first place he says to him, “And now, cursed art thou upon the Earth:”{32}{#ge 4:11.} showing first of all that he is polluted and accursed, not now for the first time when he has committed the murder, but that he was so before, the moment that he conceived the idea of it, the intention being of equal importance with the perfected action; (97) for as long as we only conceive wicked things in the bad imagination of our minds, still, during that time, we are guilty of thoughts only, for the mind is capable of being changed even against its will; but when performance is added to the intention that has been conceived, then our deliberate purpose becomes also guilty; for this is the chief distinction between voluntary and involuntary sin. (98) But the scripture here pronounces that the mind shall be accursed, not from anything else, but from the earth; for of all the most grievous calamities which can happen to it, the earthly portion which exists in each of us is found to be the cause. At all events, when the body is afflicted with disease, it adds the miseries which are derived from itself, and so fills the mind with grief and despondency; or, on the other hand, if it has grown fat immoderately through enjoyment of pleasures, it makes all the faculties of the mind duller for the comprehension of nobler objects. (99) For, indeed, each of the outward senses is capable of receiving injury; for either a man beholding beauty is wounded by the darts of love, which is a terrible passion; or else, perhaps, if he hears of the death of any one related to him by birth, he is bowed down by sorrow: very often, too, taste gets the mastery of a man, when it is either tortured by disagreeable flavours, or weighed down by the multitude of delicacies. And why need I speak of the impetuous passions, which tend to the connexion of the two sexes? These have destroyed whole cities, and countries, and mighty nations of the earth; to which fact nearly the whole multitude, both of poets and of historians, bears abundant testimony.