LIV. (296) Again, the law commands that candles shall be kept burning from evening until Morning{42}{#le 24:2.} on the sacred candlesticks within the veil, on many accounts. One of which is that the holy places may be kept illuminated without any interruption after the cessation of the light of day, being always kept free from any participation in darkness, just as the stars themselves are, for they too, when the sun sets, exhibit their own light, never forsaking the place which was originally appointed for them in the world. (297) Secondly, in order that by night, also, a rite akin to and closely resembling the sacrifices by day may be performed so as to give pleasures to God, and that no time or occasion fit for offering thanksgiving may ever be left out, which is a duty most suitable and natural for night; for it is not improper to call the blaze of the most sacred light in the innermost shrine itself a sacrifice. (298) The third, which is a reason of the very greatest importance, is this. Since we are not only well treated while we are awake, but also when we are asleep, inasmuch as the mighty God gives sleep as a great assistance to the human race, for the benefit of both their bodies and souls, of their bodies as being by it relieved of the labours of the day, and of their souls as being lightened by it of all their cares, and being restored to themselves after all the disorder and confusion caused by the outward senses, and as being then enabled to retire within and commune with themselves, the law has very properly thought fit to make a distinction of the actions of thanksgiving, so that sacrifices may be made on behalf of those who are awake by means of the victims which are offered, and on behalf of those who are asleep, and of those who are benefited by sleep, by the lighting of the sacred candles.

LV. (299) These, then, and other commandments like them, are those which are established for the purpose of promoting piety, by express injunctions and prohibitions. But those which are in accordance with philosophical suggestions and recommendations must be explained in this manner; for the lawgiver, in effect, says, “God, O mind of man! demands nothing of you which is either oppressive, or uncertain, or difficult, but only such things as are very simple and easy. (300) And these are, to love him as your benefactor; and if you fail to do so, at all events, to fear him as your Governor and Lord, and to enter zealously upon all the paths which may please him, and to serve him in no careless or superficial manner, but with one’s whole soul thoroughly filled as it ought to be with God-loving sentiments, and to cleave to his commandments, and to honour justice, by all which means the world itself continues constantly in the same nature without ever changing, and all other things which are contained in the world have a tendency towards improvement, such as the sun and the moon, and the whole multitude of the rest of the stars, and the entire heaven. But the mountains of the earth are elevated to the greatest possible height, and the champaign country, like other fusible essences, is spread over a body of wide extent, and the sea also changes so as to become united with sweet waters, and the rains also become in their turn similar to the sea. Therefore every one of those things is still fixed within the same boundaries as those within which it was originally created, when it was first disposed of in regular order. But you shall be better, living quite irreproachably. (301) And what of all these things is either grievous or laborious? You are not compelled to pass over unnavigable seas; or, when tossed about by the billows of the middle of winter and the force of contrary winds, to wander about the sea in every direction; or to travel on foot over rough and pathless byeways, always being in dread of the haunts of robbers, or of the attacks of wild beasts; or to watch all night to protect your walls in the open air, while the enemy are lying in ambush for you, and threatening you with the very extremity of danger. Come, now, let no unpleasant topics be brought up in pleasant circumstances. We must use words of good omen with reference to such advantageous matters. (302) It is only necessary for the mind to consent and everything will be ready. Are you not aware that both that heaven which is invisible to the outward senses, and that likewise which is appreciable only by the intellect, belongs to God: the heaven of heavens as we may call it; and again, that the earth and all that is in it, and the whole world, both that which is visible and that which is invisible and incorporeal, being a model of the real heaven?