XL. (228) I affirm, therefore, that that which produces is always older than that which is produced, and that that which causes anything is older than that of which it is the cause; but those who beget or bring forth a child are in some sense the causes and producers of the child which is begotten or brought forth, and they stand in the light of teachers, inasmuch as all that they know themselves they teach to their children from their earliest infancy, and they not only exercise and train them in the supernumerary accomplishments, impressing reasonings on the minds of their children when they come to their prime, but they also teach them those most necessary lessons which refer to choice and avoidance, the choice, that is to say, of virtues, and the avoidance of vices, and of all the energies in accordance with them. (229) For who can be more completely the benefactors of their children than parents, who have not only caused them to exist, but have afterwards thought them worthy of food, and after that again of education both in body and soul, and have enabled them not only to live, but also to live well; (230) training their body by gymnastic and athletic rules so as to bring it into a vigorous and healthy state, and giving it an easy way of standing and moving not without elegance and becoming grace, and educating the soul by letters, and numbers, and geometry, and music, and every kind of philosophy which may elevate the mind which is lodged in the mortal body and conduct it up to heaven, and can display to advantage the blessed and happy qualities that are in it, producing an admiration of and a desire for an unchangeable and harmonious system, which they will afterwards never leave if they preserve their obedience to their captain. (231) And in addition to the benefits which they heap upon them, they have likewise authority over the children of whom they are the parents, not as is the case in cities, in consequence of some drawing of lots or election, so that any one can find fault with his governor as having become so either by some blunder of fortune and not by reason, or it may be by the impetuosity of the multitude, the most inconsiderate and foolish of all things, but being established in this post by the most excellent and perfect wisdom of the sublime nature, which regulates all divine and human affairs in accordance with justice.

XLI. (232) For these reasons it is allowable for parents even to accuse their children, and to reprove them with considerable severity, and even, if they do not submit to the threats which are uttered to them by word of mouth, to beat them, and inflict personal punishment on them, and to imprison them; and if they behave with obstinacy and resist this treatment, becoming stiff-necked through the greatness of their incurable wickedness, the law permits them to chastise them even to the extent of putting them to Death.{41}{#de 21:18.} But still this permission is not given to either the father by himself, or to the mother by herself, by reason of the greatness of the punishment, which it is not fitting should be determined by one, but by both together, for it is not probable that both the parents will agree about putting their child to death unless his iniquities are very grievous, and weigh down by a certain undoubted preponderance that firm affection which is firmly implanted in the parents by nature. (233) But parents have received not only the power of a ruler and governor over their children, but also that of a master, according to both the very highest characteristics of the possession of servants, namely, possessing them as born in the house, and also as purchased with money, for they expend a price many times greater than their real value on their children and for the sake of their children, in wages to nurses, and instructors, and teachers, besides all the expenses which they incur for their dress and their food, and their other care of them when well and when sick, from their earliest infancy till the time that they are full grown. And not only are those looked upon as servants born in the house who have actually been brought forth within the walls, but those also are so regarded who by the laws of nature receive from the masters of the house a sufficient support to maintain them in life after they are born.