XXXIX. (189) Very naturally therefore does Moses say, “He who is rich will not add anything, and he who is poor will not diminish anything of the half of the double Drachm,”{62}{#ex 30:15.} which is, as I have said before, a drachm, and a unit; to which every member might quote that line of the poet:

With thee I’ll end, with thee I will begin.

(190) For even an infinitely infinite number, being made of a continuation of other numbers, when dissolved must end in a unit: and again it must begin with a unit, being afterwards compounded so as to make an illimitable multitude; on which account those who have made the investigation of such matters their study, have not called the unit a number, but rather an element, and the beginning of number. (191) Again this heavenly food of the soul which Moses calls manna, the word of God divides in equal portions among all who are to use it; taking care of equality in an extraordinary degree. And Moses bears witness to this where he says, “He who had much had not too much, and he who had but little was in no Want;”{63}{#ex 16:18.} since they all used that wonderful and most desirable of proportion. On which account it happened to the Israelites to learn that each of them was collecting not more for the men who were related to him than for the reasonings and manners which were akin to him. For as much as was sufficient for each man, that he was allotted in a prudent manner, so as neither to feel any want or any superfluity.

XL. (192) And we may find something very much resembling this equality, according to analogy in the case of the festival which is called the passover; and the passover is when the soul is anxious to unlearn its subjection to the irrational passions, and willingly submits itself to a reasonable mastery over them. (193) For it is expressly said, “If there be few that are in thy house so as not to be sufficient in number for a sheep, then thou shalt take thy nearest neighbour in addition, according to the number of Souls,”{64}{#ex 12:16.} so that each person may receive a sufficient share in proportion to the number of his family, being such as he is found to be worthy of and to have need of. (194) But when, as if it were some country, he wishes to divide out virtue among its inhabitants, he then allows the more numerous body to have more, and the less numerous to have less, thinking it reasonable not to allot a larger share to a smaller number, nor a smaller share to a larger number; for in such a case they would neither of them be suited to their respective portions.

XLI. (195) But the most manifest instance of equality in respect of number, is exhibited in the sacred offerings of the twelve princes, and again in the portions of those offerings which are distributed among the chiefs. For, says the scripture, “There shall be an equal share allotted to each of the sons of Aaron.”{65}{#nu 7:5.} (196) Equality is also very beautifully displayed in respect of the composition of spices for purposes of fumigation; for we read, “Take to thyself sweet odours, stacte, onycha, galbanum, these sweet spices with pure frankincense, all of the most chosen kinds, all of equal weight and thou shalt make of it a perfume, a confection, after the art of the apothecary, a pure composition, a holy Work.”{66}{#ex 30:34.} For the Lord enjoins here that each of the separate portions shall be equal to each, with a view to the proper composition of the whole. (197) And as I imagine these four ingredients of which the entire perfume is composed are emblems of the four elements of which the whole world is made; he likens the stacte to water, the onycha to land, the galbanum to the air, and the pure transparent frankincense to fire; for stacte, which derives its name from the drops (stagones) in which it falls is liquid, and onycha is dry and earth-like, the sweet smelling galbanum is added by way of giving a representation of the air, for there is fragrance in the air; and the transparency which there is in frankincense serves for a representation of fire. (198) On which account also, he has separated the things which have weight from those which are light, uniting the one class by a closely connecting combination, and bringing forth the other in a disunited form; as where he says, “Take to thyself sweet odours, stacte, onycha,” these things being weighty he mentions unconnectedly, being the symbols of earth and water. Afterwards he begins afresh with the other class, which he mentions in combination, saying, “And the sweet spice of galbanum and the transparent frankincense,” these again being in their own nature emblems of the light things, air and fire. (199) And in the harmonious composition and mixture of these things is truly his most ancient and most perfect holy work, namely, the world; which, speaking of it under the emblem of perfume, he thinks is bound to show gratitude to its Creator. So that in name the composition which has been carefully fabricated by the art of the apothecary may be offered up, but in real fact for the whole world which was created by divine wisdom may be consecrated and dedicated, being made a burnt offering of early in the morning and also in the evening. (200) For such a life as this becomes the world, namely, continually and without ceasing to be giving thanks to its Father and Creator, so as to stop short of nothing but evaporating and reducing itself into its original element, in order to show that it stores up and conceals nothing, but dedicates itself wholly as a pious offering to God who created it.