XXIII. (104) We must now consider the question which is meant by “Noah found grace in the sight of the Lord God.”25 Is the meaning of what is here expressed this, that he received grace, or that he was accounted worthy of grace? The former idea it is not natural for us to entertain; for what was given to him beyond what was given to all, as one may say, not only to all concrete natures only, but to all elementary and simple natures which have been accounted worthy of divine grace? (105) But the second interpretation has a reason in it which is not altogether inconsistent, that the cause of all things, judges those persons worthy of his gifts, who do not corrupt the divine impression which has been stamped upon them, namely, the most sacred mind, with disgraceful practices; still perhaps even this is not the true meaning of the words. (106) For what kind of person must he be who would be accounted before God to be worthy of his grace? I indeed think that the whole world put together could scarcely attain to such a pitch, and yet the world is the first, and greatest, and most perfect of all the works of God. (107) May it not then perhaps be better to understand this expression as meaning that the virtuous man being fond of investigating things, and eager for learning, amid all the different things that he has investigated, has found this one most certain fact, that all things that exist, the earth, the water, the air, the fire, the sun, the stars, the heaven, all animals and plants whatever, are the grace of God. (108) But God has given nothing to himself, for he has no need of anything; but he has given the world to the world, and its parts he has bestowed on themselves and on one another, and also on the universe, and without having judged anything to be worthy of grace, (for he gives all his good things without grudging to the universe and to its parts), he merely has regard to his own everlasting goodness, thinking the doing good to be a line of conduct suitable to his own happy and blessed nature; so that if any one were to ask me, what was the cause of the creation of the world, having learnt from Moses, I should answer, that the goodness of the living God, being the most important of his graces, is in itself the cause.