XXIV. (77) As, therefore, God hates pleasure and the body without any especial cause, so also does he give pre-eminent honour to virtuous natures without any visible cause; not alleging any action of theirs before the praises of them which he utters. For if any one were to ask why Moses says that “Noah found grace before the Lord God,”{35}{#ge 6:8.} without having previously done any good thing, as far at least as we know, we shall be very properly answered, that he was proved to be a praiseworthy character and order of creation; for the name Noah, being interpreted, means rest, or just: and it follows of necessity that one who is resting from acts of injustice and from sins, and who, so resting, lives with virtue and justice, must find grace before God; (78) and to find grace, is not only, as some call it, equivalent to the expression “pleasing God,” but it has some such meaning as this. The just man seeking to understand the nature of all existing things, makes this one most excellent discovery, that everything which exists, does so according to the grace of God, and that there is nothing ever given by, just as there is nothing possessed by, the things of creation. On which account also it is proper to acknowledge gratitude to the Creator alone. Accordingly, to those persons who seek to investigate what is the origin of creation, we may most correctly make answer, that it is the goodness and the grace of God, which he has bestowed on the human race; for all the things which are in the world, and the world itself, are the gift and benefaction and free grace of God.

XXV. (79) Moreover, God made Melchisedek, the king of peace, that is of Salem, for that is the interpretation of this name, “his own high Priest,”{36}{#ge 14:18.} without having previously mentioned any particular action of his, but merely because he had made him a king, and a lover of peace, and especially worthy of his priesthood. For he is called a just king, and a king is the opposite of a tyrant, because the one is the interpreter of law, and the other of lawlessness. (80) Therefore the tyrannical mind imposes violent and mischievous commands on both soul and body, and such as have a tendency to cause violent suffering, being commands to act according to vice, and to indulge the passions with enjoyment. But the other, the kingly mind, in the first place, does not command, but rather persuades, since it gives recommendations of such a character, that if guided by them, life, like a vessel, will enjoy a fair voyage through life, being directed in its course by a good governor and pilot; and this good pilot is right reason. (81) We may therefore call the tyrannical mind the ruler of war, and the kingly mind the guide to peace, that is Salem. And this kingly mind shall bring forth food full of cheerfulness and joy; for “he brought forth bread and wine,” which the Ammonites and Moabites were not willing to give to the beholder, that is Israel; by reason of such unwillingness they are shut out from the companionship and assembly of God. For the Ammonites being they who are sprung from the outward sense of the mother, and the Moabites, who originate in the mind of the father, are two different dispositions, which look upon the mind and the outward sense as the efficient causes of all existing things, but take no notice of God. Therefore “they shall not come,” says Moses, “into the assembly of the Lord, because they did not come to meet you with bread and water when you came out of Egypt,”{37}{#de 23:4.} that is, out of the passions.