XXXIV. (185) Now it would take a long time to enumerate all the necessities which the eyes supply to, and all the services which they perform for, the human race. But one, the most excellent of all, we may mention. It is the heaven which has showered philosophy upon us, it is the human mind which has received and which contains it, but it is sight which has entertained and been its host; for that is the faculty which was the first to see the level roads through the air. (186) And philosophy is the fountain of all blessings, of all things which are really good. And he who draws from this fountain, so as thus to acquire and make use of virtue is praiseworthy; but he who does it with the object of accomplishing wicked purposes and of condemning others is blameable. For the one is like a man at an entertainment, who is delighting both himself and all who are feasting in his company; but the other is like one who is swallowing down strong wine, in order to make himself and his neighbour drunk. (187) Now in what way it is that the sight may be said to have entertained philosophy as its host we must now proceed to explain. Having looked up to heaven it beheld the sun, and the moon, and the planets, and the fixed stars, the most beautiful host of heaven, the ornament of the world. (188) After that it arrived at a perception of the rising and setting of these bodies, and their harmonious motions, and the fixed seasons of their periodical revolutions, and their meetings, and eclipses, and re-appearances. After that it proceeded onwards to a comprehension of the increase and decrease of the moon; of the motions of the sun along the breadth of heaven, as he comes from the south towards the north, and again recedes from the north towards the south, in order to the generation of the fruits of the year, so that they may all be brought to perfection, and ten thousand other wonderful things besides these. And having looked round and surveyed the things in the earth, and in the sea, and in the air, with great diligence displayed all the things in each of these elements to the mind. (189) But as the mind was unable by itself to comprehend all these things from merely beholding them by the faculty of sight, it did not stop merely at what was seen by it, but being devoted to learning, and fond of what is honourable and excellent, as it admired what it did see, it adopted this probable opinion, that these things are not moved spontaneously and at random by any irrational impulse of their own, but that they are set in motion and guided by the will of God, whom it is proper to look upon as the Father and Creator of the world. Moreover, that these things are not unrestrained by any bounds, but that they are limited by the circumference of one world, as they might be by the walls of a city, the world itself being circumscribed within the outermost sphere of the fixed stars. Moreover it considered also that the Father who created the world does by the law of nature take care of that which he has created, exerting his providence in behalf of the whole universe and of its parts. (190) In the next place it also considered what was the essence of the visible world, and whether all the things in the world had the same essence, or whether different things had different essences, and also of what substances everything was made, and for what reasons it was made, and by what powers the world was held together, and whether these powers were corporeal or incorporeal. (191) For what can the investigation into these and similar subjects be called but philosophy? And what more fitting name could one give to the man who devoted himself to the investigation of these topics than that of a philosopher? For by his examination of the nature of God, and of the world, and of all the things in it, whether plants or animals, and of those models which are only appreciable by the intellect, and again of the perfected representations of those models which are visible to the outward senses, and of the virtues and vices which exist in all created things, he shows that his disposition is one truly devoted to learning, and contemplation, and philosophy; and this greatest of blessings to mortal man is bestowed upon him by the faculty of sight. (192) And this faculty seems to me to deserve this pre-eminence, since it is more nearly related to the soul than any one of the other outward senses, for they all of them have some kind of connection with the intellect; but this one obtains the first and principal rank as the nearest relation does in a private house. (193) And any one may conjecture this from many circumstances, for who is there who does not know that when persons are delighted their eyes betray their pleasure, and sparkle, but that when they are grieved their eyes are full of depression and heaviness; and if any heavy burden of grief oppresses, and crushes, and overwhelms the mind, they weep; and if anger obtains and preponderance, the eyes swell, and become bloodshot and fiery; (194) and again change so as to be gentle and soft when the anger is relaxed. Again, when the man is immersed in deep thought and contemplation, the eyes seem fixed as if they in a manner joined in his gravity; but in the case of those who are of no great wisdom the sight wanders, because of their vacancy of intellect, and is restless, and in short the eyes sympathise with the affections of the soul, and are wont to change along with it in innumerable alternations, on account of the closeness of their connection with it; for it seems to me that there is no one visible thing which God has made so complete a representation of that which is invisible as the sight is of the mind.