XXXVI. (169) “For if,” says Israel, “I and my cattle drink of thy water, I will pay you a price for it.” Not meaning by that such price as is spoken of by the poets, money of silver or gold, or anything else; such among dealers is accustomed to be given to those who sell wares in exchanges for their wares, but the price will be the honour which he now claims; (170) for, in reality, every intemperate, or unjust, or cowardly man, when he sees any one who is more austere either avoiding labour, or subdued by gain, or yielding to any one of the allurements of pleasure, rejoices and exults, and thinks that he himself has received honour. And, moreover, going on in his rejoicing and displaying his exultation to the multitude, he begins to philosophise about his own errors as very unavoidable and not useless, saying that if they were not of such a character, that respectable man, so and so, would never have indulged in them. (171) Let us, then, say to every wicked man, if we drink of thy water, if we touch anything, whatever that is yours, owing to an indiscreet impetuosity, we shall be giving you honour, and acceptance, instead of dishonour and rejection (for these are what you deserve to receive); (172) and, in truth, the matters about which you are anxious are absolutely nothing. Do you think that anything mortal has any real being and existence, and that it is not rather something borne up and suspended by the rope of some false and untrustworthy opinion, resting on empty air, and in no respect differing from deceitful dreams? (173) And if you are unwilling to contemplate the fortunes of particular men, think upon the changes, whether for the better or for the worse, of whole countries and nations. At one time Greece was flourishing, but the Macedonians took away the power of that land; then, in turn, Macedonia became mighty, but that, being divided into small portions became weak, until at last it was entirely extinguished. (174) Before the time of the Macedonians the Persians prospered, but one day overthrew their exceeding and extensive prosperity. And now the Parthians are more powerful than the Persians, who a little while ago were their masters, ever were; and those who were their subjects are now masters. Once, and for a very long time, Egypt was a mighty empire, but its great dominion and glory have passed away like a cloud. What has become of the Ethiopians, and of Carthage, and of the kingdoms of Libya? Where now are the kings of Pontus? (175) What has become of Europe and Asia, and, in short, of the whole of the inhabited world? Is it not tossed up and down the agitated like a ship that is tossed by the sea, at one time enjoying a fair wind and at another time being forced to battle against contrary gales? (176) For the divine Word brings round its operations in a circle, which the common multitude of men call fortune. And then, as it continually flows on among cities, and nations, and countries, it overturns existing arrangements and gives to one person what has previously belonged to another, changing the affairs of individuals only in point of time, in order that the whole world may become, as it were, one city, and enjoy the most excellent of constitutions, a democracy.