XXXIX. (2.255) And, moreover, he says to the wise Abraham, “that he will give him an inheritance of land from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates,”{114}{#ge 15:18.} not meaning a portion of the land so much as a better portion in respect of our own selves. For our own body, and the passions which exist in it, and which are engendered by it, are likened to the river of Egypt, but the soul and the passions which are dear to that are likened to the river Euphrates. (2.256) And here a doctrine is laid down, at once most profitable to life and of the highest importance, that the good man has received for his inheritance the soul and the virtues of the soul: just as, on the contrary, the wicked man has received for his share the body and the vices of the body, and those which are engendered by the body. (2.257) And the expression “from,” has a double sense. One, that by which the starting point from which it begins is included; the other that by which it is excluded. For when we say that from morning to evening there are twelve hours, or from the new moon to the end of the month there are thirty days, we are including in our enumeration both the first hour and the day of the new moon. And when any one says that such and such a field is three or four furlongs distant from the city, he clearly means to leave the city itself out of that measurement. (2.258) So that now, too, we must consider that the expression, “from the river of Egypt,” is to be understood so as to include that river; for the writer intends to remove us to a distance from the things of the body which are seen to exist in a constant flow and course which is being destroyed and destroying, that so we may receive the inheritance of the soul with the imperishable virtues, which are, moreover, deserving of immortality. (2.259) Thus, therefore, by tracing it out diligently, we have found that praiseworthy speech is likened to a river; but speech which is deserving of blame is the very river of Egypt itself, untractable, unwilling to learn, as one may say in a word, lifeless speech; for which reason it is also changed into blood, {115}{#ex 7:17.} as not being able to afford sustenance. For the speech of ignorance is not wholesome, and it is productive of bloodless and lifeless frogs, which utter only a novel and harsh sound, a noise painful to the ear. (2.260) And it is said, likewise, that all the fish in that river were destroyed. And by the fish are here figuratively meant the conceptions; for these things float about and exist in speech as in a river, resembling living things and filling the river with life. But in uninstructed speech all conceptions die; for it is not possible to find any thing intelligent in it, but only, as some one has said, some disorderly and unmusical voices of jackdaws.