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Chapter XXIII.

How it is useful for us to take possession of their lands.

But the fact that we are bidden for our good to take possession of the countries of those most wicked nations, may be understood in this way. Each fault has its own especial corner in the heart, which it claims for itself in the recesses of the soul, and drives out Israel, i.e., the contemplation of holy and heavenly things, and never ceases to oppose them. For virtues cannot possibly live side by side with faults. “For what participation hath righteousness with unrighteousness? Or what fellowship hath light with darkness?” 1357 But as p. 350 soon as these faults have been overcome by the people of Israel, i.e., by those virtues which war against them, then at once the place in our heart which the spirit of concupiscence and fornication had occupied, will be filled by chastity. That which wrath had held, will be claimed by patience. That which had been occupied by a sorrow that worketh death, will be taken by a godly sorrow and one full of joy. That which had been wasted by accidie, will at once be tilled by courage. That which pride had trodden down will be ennobled by humility: and so when each of these faults has been expelled, their places (that is the tendency towards them) will be filled by the opposite virtues which are aptly termed the children of Israel, that is, of the soul that seeth God: 1358 and when these have expelled all passions from the heart we may believe that they have recovered their own possessions rather than invaded those of others.



2 Cor. vi. 14.


Cf. the note on “Against Nestorius” VII. ix.

Next: Chapter XXIV. How the lands from which the Canaanites were expelled, had been assigned to the seed of Shem.