XV. (2.100) On which account they say with confidence, “Shall you be a king and reign over us?” Are you ignorant that we are not independent, but that we are under the government of an immortal king, the only God? And why should you be a lord and lord it over us? for are we not under domination, and have we not now, and shall we not have for ever, and ever the same one Lord? in being whose servants we rejoice more than any one else can do in his liberty; for to be the servant of God is the most excellent of all things which are honoured in creation. (2.101) I, therefore, should pray that I myself also might be able to abide firmly in the things which have been decided by these men; overseers of things, not of bodies, and just, and sober all their lives, so as never to be deceived by any of those things which are accustomed to deceive mankind. (2.102) But up to this time I am in a state of intoxication, and I am labouring under much uncertainty, and I have need of a staff and of a guide like a blind man; for if I had a staff to support me, then, perhaps, I might neither stumble nor fall. (2.103) But if any persons who are conscious that they are but inconsiderate and precipitate, pay no attention to and do not care to follow those who have investigated all necessary matters with diligence and circumspection, nor, though they themselves are ignorant of the road, submit to the guidance of those who are acquainted with it, let them know that they have entered a course which is very difficult to travel through, and that they are entangled in it, and will not be able to advance further; (2.104) but I am so bound by treaties to these men, the moment I have a little recovered from my intoxication, that I think the same person both a friend and an enemy. But at present I will drive from me and hate that dreamer no less than they do; for no one in his senses could blame me for this, that the majority of opinions and votes does always prevail; (2.105) but when he changes to a better course of life, and no longer dreams, and no longer worries himself by entangling himself in the vain imaginations of the slaves of vain opinion, and when he no longer dreams about night, and darkness, and the changes of uncertain matters which cannot be guessed at; (2.106) he, then, having awakened from deep sleep, continues awake and receives certainty instead of indistinctness, and truth instead of false conceptions, and day instead of night, and light instead of darkness, and rejects an Egyptian wife, that is to say, the pleasure of the body, when she invites him to come in to her, and to enjoy her conversation, out of an indescribable love of continence and admiration for piety, (2.107) and asserts his right to a share in those kindred and inherited blessings from which he appeared to be alienated, again desiring to recover that portion of virtue which properly belongs to him. For proceeding by small and gradual improvements, as if he were now established on the summit and perfection of his own life, he cries out, what indeed he knows to a certainty from what has happened to him, that he “belongs to God,”{81}{#ge 50:19.} and that he belongs no more to any object of external sense which can affect any creature; (2.108) and then his brethren will come to a permanent reconciliation with him, changing their hatred into friendship, and their malignity into good will. But I who am the follower of these men, for I have learnt to obey them as a servant obeys his master, will never cease to praise him for his change of mind. (2.109) Since Moses, also, that priest of sacred things, preserves his change of mind as what is worthy of love and of being preserved in men’s recollection, from being forgotten, by the symbol of the Bones{82}{#ex 13:19.} which he did not think proper to have buried in Egypt for ever, looking upon it as a hard thing, if the soul put forth any beautiful flower to suffer that to wither away, and to be overwhelmed and destroyed by the torrents which the Egyptian river of the passions, namely the body, which is incessantly flowing through all the outward senses, sends forth.