LIV. (267) And it is well to hear what the things are which are thus said to have been predicted to Abraham. In the first place, that God does not grant to the man who loves virtue to dwell in the body as in his own native land, but only to sojourn in it as in a foreign country. “For knowing,” says the scripture, “thou shalt know that thy seed shall be sojourners in a land which is not Theirs.”{89}{genesis 15:13.} But the district of the body is akin to every bad man, and in it he is desirous to abide as a dweller, not as a sojourner. (268) Accordingly, these words contain this as one lesson; another is, that the things which bring slavery and disaster and bitter humiliation, as the prophet himself tells us, upon the soul are the dwellings upon earth. For the affections of the body are truly spurious and foreign, being produced by the flesh, in which they are rooted. (269) And this slavery lasts four hundred years in accordance with the powers of the four passions. For when pleasure rules, the mind is elated and puffed up, being carried away by empty vanity. Again, when the appetite gets the upper hand, a desire for absent things is engendered, which suspends the mind upon unaccomplished hopes, as if in a halter; for then the mind is always thirsting and yet is unable to drink, enduring the punishment of Tantalus. (270) Again, when under the influence of grief, the mind is tortured and contracted, like trees the leaves of which are falling off and withering; for all its flourishing and nutritious particles are dried up. Also, when fire obtains that supremacy, no one any longer chooses to remain, but betakes to flight and running away, thinking that this is the only way in which he can be saved. For appetite, having an attractive power even if the object which is desired retreats, compels one to pursue it; and fear, on the other hand, causing alienation, separates one from it, and makes one remove to a distance from what is presented to one’s view.

LV. (271) But the supremacy of these different passions before mentioned inflicts terrible slavery on those who are ruled over by them, until God, the umpire and judge of all things, separates that which is ill treated from that which is inflicting ill treatment, and delivers the former and blesses it with perfect freedom, and inflicts upon the other a retribution for the wickedness which it has committed. (272) For we read in the next verse, “And the nation to which they shall be slaves I will judge and after that they shall go forth with great Substance.”{90}{#ge 15:14.} For it is inevitable that a mortal man must obey the nature of the passions, and that a man who has been born must endure the fate which is allotted to him as appropriate; but it is the will of God to lighten the evils which are planted contemporaneously with our birth. (273) So that even if we at the beginning suffer such evils as are properly assigned to us, become slaves of cruel masters, and if God also performs what is his peculiar work, proclaiming emancipation and freedom to the souls which address their supplications to him, then he not only gives men a release from their bondage and a means of departure from their prison all guarded round as it is, but he also gives them the means of travelling, which he here calls substance. (274) And what is this? When the mind having come down from above the heaven becomes entangled in the necessities of the body, then, although it is not allured by any of these, still, like a eunuch or impotent person, it embraces pleasant evils. But if it remains in its own nature, then, being truly a man, it resists and discards them instead of being overthrown by them, being initiated in all the parts of complete encyclical learning; from which it derives a desire for contemplation, and acquires temperance and patience, very vigorous virtues, leaving its former abode, and finding a means of return back to its own country, and bringing with it all the lessons of instruction, which are here called supplies for the journey.