XXXV. (183) The law also forbids, by a most just and reasonable prohibition, the man who has undertaken the care and government of the common interests of the state, to behave with treachery among the people; {41}{#le 19:16.} for a treacherous disposition is the mark of an illiberal and very slavish soul, which seeks to overshadow its real nature by hypocrisy; (184) for, in reality, a ruler ought to stand up in defence of his subjects as a father would in defence of his children, that he may be honoured by them as if they were his own real children; on which account good rulers are the common parents of their cities and nations, if one may say the plain truth, displaying equal, and sometimes even superior, good will to them; (185) but those men who acquire great power and authority to the injury and damage of their subjects, ought to be entitled, not rulers, but enemies, inasmuch as they are acting the part of implacable foes. Not but what those who injure one treacherously are even more wicked than those who oppose one openly, since it is possible to repel the one without difficulty, as they display their hostility without disguise; but the evil-mindedness of the others is difficult to detect and hard to unveil, being like the conduct of men on the stage, who are clothed in a dress which does not belong to them, in order to conceal their real appearance. (186) But there is a kind of pre-eminence and superior authority, which I had almost said pervades every part of life, varying only in respect of magnitude and quantity; for what the king of a city is, that also is the first man in a village, and the master of a house, and a physician among the sick, and a general in his camp, and an admiral with respect to his crew and to his passengers, and a captain of a ship in regard to merchant vessels and transports, and a pilot among common sailors, every one of whom has power to make things either better or worse. But they ought to wish to conduct themselves in everything for the best, and the best is to use all their energies to assist people and not to injure them; (187) for this is to act in imitation of God, since he also has the power to do either good or evil, but his inclination causes him only to do good. And the creation and arrangement of the world shows this, for he has summoned what had previously no being into existence, creating order out of disorder, and distinctive qualities out of things which had no such qualities, and similarities out of things dissimilar, and identity out of things which were different, and intercommunion and harmony out of things which had previously no communication nor agreement, and equality out of inequality, and light out of darkness; for he is always anxious to exert his beneficent powers in order to change whatever is disorderly from its present evil condition, and to transform it so as to bring it into a better state.