XX. (66) “The name of one river is Pheison. This is that river which encircles all the land of Evilat; there is the country where there is gold. And the gold of that land is good; there also are the carbuncle and the sapphire stone.” One of the four virtues is prudence, which Moses here calls Pheison: because the soul abstains, {14}{pheisoæn from pheidomai, to spare, or abstain from.} from, and guards against, acts of iniquity. And it meanders in a circle, and flows all round the land of Evilat; that is to say, it preserves a mild, and gentle, and favourable constitution. And as of all fusible essences, the most excellent and the most illustrious is gold, so also the virtue of the soul which enjoys the highest reputation, is prudence. (67) And when he uses the expression, “that is the country where there is gold,” he is not speaking geographically, that is, where gold exists, but that is the country in which that valuable possession exists, brilliant as gold, tried in the fire, and valuable, namely, prudence. And this is confessed to be the most valuable possession of God.

But with reference to the geographical position of virtue, there are two personages, each invested with distinctive qualities. One, the being who has prudence, the other, the being who exerts it; and these he likens to the carbuncle and the emerald.

XXI. (68) “And the name of the second river is Gihon. This is that which encircles all the land of Ethiopia.” Under the symbol of this river courage is intended. For the name of Gihon being interpreted means chest, or an animal which attacks with its horns; each of which interpretations is emblematical of courage. For courage has its abode about the chest, where also is the seat of the heart, and where man is prepared to defend himself. For courage is the knowledge of what is to be withstood, and of what is not to be withstood, and of what is indifferent. And it encircles and surrounds Ethiopia, making demonstrations of war against it; and the name of Ethiopia, being interpreted, means humiliation. And cowardice is a humiliating thing; but courage is adverse to humiliation and to cowardice. (69) “And the third river is the Tigris; this is that which flows in front of Assyria.” The third virtue is temperance, which resolutely opposes that kind of pleasure which appears to be the directress of human infirmity. For the translation of the name Assyrians in the Greek tongue is euthynontes, (directors). And he has likened desire to a tiger, which is the most untameable of beasts; it being desire about which temperance is conversant.