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Chapter III.

To what the soul may be compared which is a prey to the attacks of dejection.

For the garment that is moth-eaten has no longer any commercial value or good use to which it can be put; and in the same way 954 the wood that is worm-eaten is no longer worth anything for ornamenting even an ordinary building, but is destined to be burnt in the fire. So therefore the soul also which is a prey to the attacks of gnawing dejection will be useless for that priestly garment which, according to the prophecy of the holy David, the ointment of the Holy Spirit coming down from heaven, first on Aaron’s beard, then on his skirts, is wont to assume: as it is said, “It is like the ointment upon the head which ran down upon Aaron’s beard, which ran down to the skirts of his clothing.” 955 Nor can it have anything to do with the building or ornamentation of that spiritual temple of which Paul as a wise master builder laid the foundations, saying, “Ye are the temple of God, and the Spirit of God dwelleth in you:” 956 and what the beams of this are like the bride tells us in the Song of Songs: “Our rafters are of cypress: the beams of our houses are of cedar.” 957 And therefore those sorts of wood are chosen for the temple of God which are fragrant and not liable to rot, and which are not subject to decay from age nor to be worm-eaten.



Totidem is used here by Cassian for itidem, as in III. ix.


Psa. 133.2.


1 Cor. 3:16, 1 Cor. 6:16.


Song of Sol. 1.16 (LXX.).

Next: Chapter IV. Whence and in what way dejection arises.