XXV. (141) We have now then explained what is meant by the words, “I will give unto thee.” We must now explain the words, “out of her.” Some now have understood them as meaning that which exists out of her, thinking that it has been most correctly decided by right reason that the soul never displays any peculiar beauty of its own, but only such as comes to it from without, in accordance with the greatness of the good will of God who showers his graces upon it. (142) But others understand these words to mean instant rapidity; for that the words (ex auteµs, which we have translated) “out of her,” are here equivalent to, “at once, immediately, without any delay, without hesitation.” And it is in this way that the gifts of God usually come to men, outstripping the differences of time. There is a third class of persons who say, that virtue is the mother of all created good, without having received the seed of it from any mortal man; (143) and to those who ask, whether she who is barren has an offspring (for the holy scriptures, which some time ago represented Sarrah as barren, now confess that she will become a mother); this answer must be given, that a woman who is barren cannot, in the course of nature, bring forth an offspring, just as a blind man cannot see, nor a deaf man hear; but that the soul, which is barren of bad things, and which is unproductive of immoderate license of the passions and vices, is alone very nearly attaining to a happy delivery, bringing forth objects worthy of love, namely, the number seven, according to the hymn which is sung by Grace, that is, by Hannah, who says, “she who was barren hath born seven, and she who had many children has become weak:”{51}{#1Sa 2:5.} (144) and what she means by, “She who has many children,” is the mind, which being pregnant of mixed and promiscuous reasonings, from all quarters confused together, by reason of the multitudes which crowd around her, and of the disorder which they cause, brings forth incurable evils; and by “she who was barren,” she means that the mind which had never received any mortal seed, as if it were productive of offspring, but has avoided and shunned all association and all connection with the wicked, and clings to the seventh, and to the most peaceful numbers in accordance with it, for it deserves to be pregnant of it, and to be called its mother.