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Chapter XXIV.

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

For, as an ancient tradition tells us,13591359    The “ancient tradition” to which Cassian here alludes is given in the Clementine Recognitions I. xxix., xxx.; and in Epiphanius “Heresies,” c. lxvi. § 83, sq., where it is given as an answer to the Manichæan objection against the cruelty and injustice of the extermination of the Canaanites by the Israelites. these same lands of the Canaanites into which the children of Israel were brought, had been formerly allotted to the children of Shem at the division of the world, and afterward the descendants of Ham wickedly invading them with force and violence took possession of them. And in this the righteous judgment of God is shown, as He expelled from the land of others these who had wrongfully taken possession of them, and restored to those others the ancient property of their fathers which had been assigned to their ancestors at the division of the world. And we can perfectly well see that this figure holds good in our own case. For by nature God’s will assigned the possession of our heart not to vices but to virtues, which, after the fall of Adam were driven out from their own country by the sins which grew up, i.e., by the Canaanites; and so when by God’s grace they are by our efforts and labour restored again to it, we may hold that they have not occupied the territory of another, but rather have recovered their own country.

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