(6) So in the same manner, God, how is the father of all rational understanding, takes care of all those beings who are endowed with reason, and exercises a providential power for the protection even of those who are living in a blameable manner, giving them at the same time opportunity of correcting their errors, and nevertheless not violating the dictates of his own merciful nature, of which virtue and humanity are the regular attendants, being willing to have their dwelling in the God-created world; (7) this one argument now, do thou, O my soul, take to thyself, and store up within thyself as a sacred deposit, and this other also as consistent with and in perfect harmony with it. Do not ever be so deceived and wander from the truth to such a degree as to think any wicked man happy, even though he may be richer than Croesus, and more sharp-sighted than Lyceus, and more powerful than Milo of Crotena, and more beautiful than Ganymede,

“Whom the immortal gods, for beauty’s sake,

Did raise up from the vile earth to heaven,

To be the cup-bearer of mighty Jove.”{1}{homer’s Iliad 20.234.}

(8) Accordingly, such a man, having shown his own daemon, I mean to say his own mind, to be the slave of ten thousand thousand different masters, such as love, appetite, pleasure, fear, pain, folly, intemperance, cowardice, injustice, he can never possibly be happy, even if the multitude, being utterly misled and deprived of their judgment, were to think him so, being corrupted by a double evil, pride and vain opinion, by which souls without ballast must infallibly be tossed about and driven out of their course; for these evils, above all others, injure the chief multitude of mankind.

(9) If, then, fixing the eyes of the mind steadily upon the truth, you should be inclined to contemplate the providence of God as far as the powers of human reason are capable of doing it, then, when you have attained to a closer conception of the true and only good, you will laugh at those things which belong to men which you for some time admired; for what is worse is always honoured in the absence of what is better, as it then usurps its place; but when that which is better appears, then that which is worse retires, and is contented with the second prize. (10) Therefore, admiring that godlike excellence and beauty, you will by all means perceive that none of the things previously mentioned were by themselves thought worthy of the better portion by God. On which account the mines of silver and gold are the most worthless portion of the earth, which is altogether and wholly unfit for the production of fruits and food; (11) for abundance of riches is not like food, a thing without which one cannot live. And the one great and manifest test of all these things is hunger, by which it is seen what is in truth really necessary and useful; for a person when oppressed by hunger would gladly give all the treasures in the whole world in exchange for a little food; (12) but when there is an abundance of necessary things poured out in a plentiful and unlimited supply, and flowing over all the cities of the land, then we, the citizens, indulging luxuriously in the good things provided by nature, are not contented to stop at them alone, but set up satiated insolence as the guide of our lives, and devoting ourselves to the acquisition of silver and gold, and of everything else by which we hope to acquire gain, proceed in everything like blind men, no longer exciting the eyes of our intellect by reason of our covetousness, so far as to see that riches are but the burden of the earth, and are the cause of continual and uninterrupted war instead of peace.