These three things, therefore, our philosopher attaches himself to: first, speculation; second, the performance of the precepts; third, the forming of good men;—which, concurring, form the Gnostic. Whichever of these is wanting, the elements of knowledge limp. Whence the Scripture divinely says, “And the Lord spake to Moses, saying, Speak to the children of Israel, and thou shalt say to them, I am the Lord your God. According to the customs of the land of Egypt, in which ye have dwelt, ye shall not do; and according to the customs of Canaan, into which I bring you, ye shall not do; and in their usages ye shall not walk. Ye shall perform My judgments, and keep My precepts, and walk in them: I am the Lord your God. And ye shall keep all My commandments, and do them. He that doeth them shall live in them. I am the Lord your God.” 2256 Whether, then, Egypt and the land of Canaan be the symbol of the world and of deceit, or of sufferings and afflictions; the oracle shows us what must be abstained from, and what, being divine and not worldly, must be observed. And when it is said, “The man that doeth them shall live in them,” 2257 it declares both the correction of the Hebrews themselves, and the training and advancement of us who are nigh: 2258 it declares at once their life and ours. For “those who were dead in sins are quickened together with Christ,” 2259 by our covenant. For Scripture, by the frequent reiteration of the expression, “I am the Lord your God,” shames in such a way as most powerfully to dissuade, by teaching us to follow God who gave the commandments, and gently admonishes us to seek God and endeavour to know Him as far as possible; which is the highest speculation, that which scans the greatest mysteries, the real knowledge, that which becomes irrefragable by reason. This alone is the knowledge of wisdom, from which rectitude of conduct is never disjoined.
“Them that are far off, and them that are nigh” (Eph. ii. 13).358:2259
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