God causes the violent storms of wind and rain which we see, not for the injury of those who traverse the sea, as you fancied, or of those who till the earth, but for the general benefit of the whole of the human race, for with his water he cleanses the earth, and with his breezes he purifies all the regions beneath the moon, and by the united influence of both he nourishes and promotes the growth and brings to perfection both animals and plants. (44) And if at times these things do injure those who put to sea or who till the land at unseasonable moments, it is not to be wondered at, for these men are but a small portion of the human race, and the care of God is exerted for the benefit of all mankind.
As, therefore, in a gymnastic school oil is placed there for the common benefit of every one, but still it often happens that the master of the school, by reason of some political necessity changes the arrangement of the usual hours of exercise, by which means some of those who wish to anoint themselves come too late; in like manner God, who takes care of the whole world as if it were a city committed to his charge, does sometimes cause the summer to resemble winter, and winter to assume the characteristics of spring, for the common benefit of the universe, even though some captains of ships, or some cultivators of the ground, may very likely be injured by this irregularity of the seasons. (45) Therefore He, being aware that the occasional interchanges of the elements with one another, out of which the world was made, and of which it consists, are a work of the greatest importance and necessity, supplies them without allowing anything to be an obstacle to them; and frost and snow-storms, and other things of that kind, follow the cooling of the air. And, again, lightnings and thunders arise from the collision and repercussion of the clouds, none of which things are perhaps effected by any immediate exertion of providence, but the rains and winds are the causes of existence, and nourishment, and growth to all things which are upon the earth, and these phenomena are the natural consequences of those others.
(46) For just as it often happens, when the master of a gymnastic school, out of rivalry, has gone to extravagant expense, then some of those who are ignorant of all that is becoming, having been bespattered with oil instead of water, let all the drops from them fall upon the boards, and then a most slippery mud is the result: nevertheless a man, whose appreciations were just would not say that the hard and the slippery state of the ground was caused by the intention of the master of the school, but that these things had resulted accidentally, in consequence of the abundant quantity of the things supplied. (47) Again, the rainbow, and the halo, and all other things of that kind, are natural consequences of those things becoming mingled with the clouds, not being occurrences which lead and influence nature, but being the results and consequences of the operations of nature.