XX. (91) And we have often met with such things as previously we had never seen even in a dream; like a husbandman whom some persons say while digging a hole for the purpose of planting some fruit-bearing tree, found a treasure, meeting with good fortune which he had never hoped for. (92) Therefore Jacob, the wrestler with God, when his father asked him the manner in which he had acquired this knowledge, saying, “How didst thou find this so quickly, my son?” answered and said, “Because the Lord my God brought it before me.”22 For when God bestows on any one the treasures of his own wisdom without any toil or labour, then we, without having expected such things, suddenly perceive that we have found a treasure of perfect happiness. (93) And it often happens to those who seek with great labour, that they miss that for which they are seeking; while others, who are seeking without any diligence, find with great ease even things that they never thought of finding. For those who are dull and slow in their souls, like men bereft of their eyesight, find the labour which they devote to the contemplation of objects of science useless and wasted; while others, through the richness of their natural endowments, find out immeasurable things without any investigation at all, by the help of felicitous and well directed conjectures; so that it would seem that they attain their objects not in consequence of any labour of their own, but because the things themselves do of their own accord come to meet them and hasten to present themselves to their view, and so give them the most accurate comprehension of them.

XXI. (94) To these men the law-giver says were given, “Great and beautiful cities, which they had not built; houses full of good things, which they had not filled; cisterns cut out of the solid rock, which they had not hewn; vineyards and olive gardens, which they had not planted.”23 (95) Now, by cities and houses, he here symbolically sketches out the generic and specific virtues; for genus resembles a city, because it is marked out in larger circumferences, and because it is common to many individuals; and species resembles a house, because it is more contracted and avoids community; (96) and cisterns prepared before-hand intimate the rewards which fall to the lot of some for their labour, while they are given spontaneously to others, being channels of heavenly and wholesome waters and well prepared treasures for the preservation of the virtues before mentioned, by means of which joy is shed over the perfect heart, irradiating it all over with the light of truth. Again, when Moses speaks of the vineyards, he means them as an emblem of cheerfulness, and the olive gardens as a symbol of light. (97) Happy, therefore, are they who, suffering something like those persons who awoke up out of deep sleep, on a sudden, without any labour or exertion on their part, behold the world before them; and miserable are they to whom it happens to be eagerly contentious for objects to which they are not fitted by nature, being full of a contentious spirit, which is the most grievous of diseases. (98) For, in addition to failing in the object which they are desirous of attaining, they do further incur great disgrace with no slight injury, like ships which are attempting to make their way by sea against opposing winds; for they, in addition to being unable to proceed in their course towards the point to which they are hastening, are very often upset with their crews and their cargoes, and so cause pain to their friends and pleasure to their enemies.