XXXVIII. (197) Also this commandment is given with exceeding propriety, {45}{#le 19:14.} which forbids anyone from blaspheming and speaking ill, especially of a deaf man, and of one who is unable to perceive by the aid of his outward senses the injuries which are done to him, nor to retaliate in an equal manner under similar circumstances; for that is the most iniquitous conflict of all, in which the one side is considered only in acting, and the other only in suffering; (198) and those who speak ill of the dumb, or of people whose sense of hearing is defective, are committing the same offences as those who put stumbling blocks in the way of the blind, or who offer other obstacles to their progress; for in this case also it is impossible for the blind to step over the obstacles, as they are not aware of their existence, so they stumble over them, and both are hindered in their progress and hurt their feet. (199) Accordingly, with great propriety and fitness, does the law threaten those who devise and execute wickedness of this kind with punishment at the hand of God; since he alone holds his protecting hand over and defends those who are unable to protect themselves, and all but says in plain words to those who injure the innocent, (200) “O foolish minded men, do you expect to escape detection while turning the misfortunes of those men into ridicule, and committing offences against those very parts in respect of which they are unfortunate, attacking their ears by false accusations, and their eyes by putting stumbling blocks in their path? But you will never escape the notice of God, who sees everything and governs everything, while you insult in this manner the calamities of miserable men, so as to avoid meeting with similar distresses yourselves, inasmuch as your bodies are also liable to all kinds of diseases, and your outward senses are susceptible of injury and mutilation, being such as, by a very slight and ordinary cause, they are often not only impaired, but crippled by incurable mutilations. (201) Why then should those who forget themselves, and who in their arrogance fancy that they themselves are superior to the ordinary natural weakness of mankind, and that they are out of the reach of the invisible and unexpected attacks of fortune, which often aims sudden blows at all people, and which has often wrecked men, who up to that moment had enjoyed a prosperous voyage through life, when they had almost arrived in the very harbour of ultimate happiness, why, I say, should such men triumph in and insult the misfortunes of others, having no respect for justice, the ruler of human life, who sits by the side of the great Ruler of the universe, who surveys all things with sleepless and most piercing eyes, and sees what is in recesses as clearly as if it was in the pure sunlight? (202) It seems to me that these men would not spare even the dead, in the extravagance of their cruelty, but, according to the proverb so commonly quoted, would even slay the slain over again, since they in a manner think fit to insult and ill treat those members of them which are already dead; for eyes which do not see are dead, and ears which are devoid of the power of hearing are devoid of life; so that if the man himself to whom these members belong, were to be extinct, they would then show their merciless and implacable nature, doing no humane or compassionate action, such as is shown to the dead, even by their enemies in irreconcileable wars. And this may be enough to say on this subject.