The Twelve Patriarchs; The Mystical Ark; Book Three of the Trinity

By Richard of St. Victor; Grover A. Zinn | Go to book overview

Levi. They are those two brothers of Dina, Simeon and Levi, fierce avengers of their injuries. If only they had been as discreet as they were strong! To Simeon it pertains to give satisfaction for that which is wrong; to Levi it pertains to encourage the soul to that which it must provide for the future. Therefore, if you grieve concerning corruption and give up hope concerning improvement, Simeon is there, but alone. If you neglect concerning satisfaction for the past and yet hope concerning security in the future, Levi is there, but alone. For such a task it is necessary that both come together, and each bring aid to the other.


CHAPTER LVII

In what manner and how cautiously a corrupted mind ought to be punished
by means of reproach for sin and exaction of debt

But it ought to be considered again that often in that which they do bravely, they go beyond the bounds of proper balance. This we can easily prove from this deed of theirs that we have in our hands. For when they had drawn their swords they violently killed persons joined to them in a pact of alliance, and on account of the violated chastity of one they brought about the sudden massacre of so many men. The sword of Simeon is reproach. The sword of Levi is exaction. For Simeon is accustomed to reproach vehemently in a corrupted mind the evil that it has done, while Levi is accustomed to demand vehemently the good that should be done. Therefore, what does it mean that they fight with these swords, other than that they punish the mind with the goads of reproach and exaction? The mind of certain persons when vehemently inflamed by these goads often laments inconsolably even over the things that it cannot avoid in any way. When disturbed by these goads, often it even ventures to begin those things which it in no way has the strength to complete. From this comes that immoderate sadness of certain persons and also that indiscriminate abstinence which in truth destroys not only the powers of the body but even the strength of the mind. In fact, when Simeon rages, we see that some people are so swallowed up by irrational sadness that they cannot

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