L. (243) Moreover, Moses introduces a very true opinion when he teaches us that justice and every virtue loves the soul, but that wickedness and every vice is attached to the body; and that what is friendly to the one is in every case of necessity hostile to the other, as is the case even now. For having figuratively represented the wars of the soul, he then introduces birds as eager to involve themselves with and to cling to the bodies, and to satiate themselves with the flesh, the inroads and attacks of which the virtuous man, desiring to check, is said to sit by them as if he were a sort of curator or overseer of them. (244) For when his domestic affairs were thrown into confusion by domestic sedition, and when the armies of the enemy were proceeding against him, he collected a wise council and deliberated with respect to the adversaries; in order that if he could possibly do so, using persuasion he might both put an end to the foreign war, and also remove the domestic confusion; for it was desirable to disperse those enemies who were gathering over him like a cloud, and who were full of irreconcileable enmity to him; and equally so to re-establish with the other party the relations which had previously existed. (245) Now those who are irreconcilable and implacable enemies are set down thus; the follies and intemperances of the soul, cowardice and injustice, and all the other irrational appetites which are accustomed to be generated by luxuriant and impotent appetite, raising their heads high and becoming restiff, and preventing the mind from proceeding in its straight course; and very often throwing its whole system into confusion and beating it down. (246) But the attacks and conflicts of those powers which are not irreconcilable resemble the frequent effect of the discussions and quarrels about doctrines which arise among the Sophists. For inasmuch as they all labour for one end, namely the contemplation of the things of nature, they may be said to be friends; but inasmuch as they do not agree in their particular investigations they may be said to be in a state of domestic sedition; as, for instance, those who affirm the universe to be uncreated are at variance with those who insist upon its
creation; and again those who urge that it will be destroyed are at strife with those who affirm that it is indeed perishable by nature but that it never will be destroyed, because it is held together by a more powerful chain, the will of the Creator. And again, those who affirm that there is nothing self-existent, but that everything has been created, are at variance with those who are of a contrary opinion. Those too, who say that man is the measure of all things, differ from those who would restrain the judicial faculties of the outward senses and of the intellect. And, in short, to sum up all these differences in a few words, those who represent everything as incomprehensible are at variance with those who say that a great number of things are properly understood. (247) And the sun, and the moon, and the whole heaven, and the earth, and the air, and the water, and all the things that are connected with them, afford subject for strife and contention to those who are fond of examining into such subjects, and who investigate their essences, and distinctive qualities, and changes, and alterations, and moreover their origin and the method of their destruction; and making no superficial investigation into the magnitude and motion of the heavenly bodies, they adopt all sorts of different opinions, never agreeing together, until some man, who is at the same time skilful at disentangling controversies and calculated to judge, takes his seat on the tribunal, and comes to a clear perception of the progeny of each individual’s soul, and discards those which do not deserve to be maintained, and preserves those which are good, and which he pronounces worthy of suitable providential care. (248) And all the controversies of philosophy are full of disagreement, since the truth escapes the intellect which is given to plausibilities and conjectures: for it is the very difficulty of discovering and seizing hold of the nature of truth that, in my opinion, has given rise to so many quarrels.