XL. (208) The commandment which came in the middle of the three injunctions about pairs, was that one was not to sow a vineyard so as to make it bear two crops at the same time; the object of this law being, in the first place, that those things which are of different species might not be confused by being mixed together; for crops grown from seed have no connection with trees, nor trees with crops grown from seed; on which account nature has not appointed to them both the same time for the production of their fruits, but has assigned to the one the spring as the season of their harvest, while to the others it has appointed the end of summer, as the season for the gathering of their fruits; (209) accordingly, it happens that at the same period of the year the one are become withered having been in bloom at an earlier time, while the others are just budding having been dried up before; for the crops which are produced from seed begin to flourish in the winter, when the trees are losing their leaves; and in the spring, on the contrary, when all the crops which are produced from seed are drying up, the wood of all trees, whether wild or improved by cultivation, are shooting; and one may almost say, that the period in which the crops which are produced from seed come to perfection is the same as that in which those of the trees derive the beginning of their productiveness. (210) Very naturally therefore, has God separated things so wholly different from one another, both in their natures and in the period of their flowering, and in the seasons of their producing their appropriate fruits, and has appointed different situations for them, producing order out of disorder; for order is closely connected with arrangement, and disorder with a want of arrangement. (211) And in the second place, in order that the two different species may not go through a reciprocal system of inflicting and suffering injury, because of one kind drawing away the nourishment from the other kind, while if that nourishment is divided into small portions, as happens in times of famine and of scarcity of necessaries, all plants of every kind will in every place become weak, and will be either afflicted with barrenness, becoming utterly unproductive, or at all events will never bear tolerably fine fruit, inasmuch as they have been previously weakened by want of nourishment. (212) And in the third place, in order that the naturally fertile land may not be oppressed with burdens beyond its strength, partly by the continued and uninterrupted thickness of the crops which are sown, and of the trees which are planted in the same place, and partly by the doubling of the crops, which are exacted from the ground; for it ought to be quite sufficient for the owner to draw one yearly tribute from one spot, just as it is sufficient for a king to receive his tribute from a city once a year; and to endeavour to extract larger revenues is the act of exceeding covetousness, by which all the laws of nature are attempted to be overturned. (213) For which reason the law might well say to those who have determined to sow their vineyards with seed out of pure covetousness; “Do not you be worse than those kings who have subdued cities with arms and warlike expeditions, for even they, from a prudent regard for the future and from a proper wish to spare their subjects, are content to receive one payment of tribute each year, as they are desirous not to reduce them utterly to the very extremity of want and distress in a short time; (214) but if you in the spring exact from the same piece of ground crops of barley and of wheat, and in the summer the crops from the fruit-bearing trees, you will be exhausting it by a double contribution; for then it will very naturally grow faint and fail, like an athlete, who is never abroad any time to take breath and to collect his strength for the beginning of another contest. (215) “But you seem rashly to forget those precepts of general advantage which I enjoined you to observe. For, at all events, if you had recollected the commandment concerning the seventh year, in which I commanded you to allow the land to remain fallow and sacred, without being exhausted by any agricultural operation of any kind, by reason of the labours which it has been going through for the six preceding years, and which is has undergone, producing its crops at the appointed seasons of the year in accordance with the ordinances of nature; you would not now be introducing innovations, and giving vent to all your covetous desires, be seeking for unprecedented crops, sowing a land fit for the growth of trees, and especially one planted with vines, in order by two crops every year, both being founded in iniquity, to increase your substance out of undue avarice, amassing money by lawless desires.” (216) For the same man would never endure to let his land lie fallow every seventy years without exacting any revenue from it, for the sake of not having his land exhausted by over-production, but of allowing it to recover itself by rest, and yet at the same time to oppress and overwhelm it by double burdens; (217) therefore I have judged it necessary to pronounce all acquisition or exaction of wealth in this way unholy and impious; I mean the production of the fruit of trees, and of such crops as are derived from seed, because such fertility does in a manner exhaust and destroy the vivifying principle in the good soil, and, because too, by requiring so much, the owner of the land is insulting and abusing the bounty and liberality of God, giving full reins to his unrighteous desires, and not restraining them by any limits. (218) Ought we not, then, to feel an attachment to such commandments as these, which tend to restrain us from and to remove us to a great distance from the acts of covetousness, which are common among men, blunting the edge of the passion itself? For if the private individual, who, in the matter of his plants, has learnt to renounce all unrighteous gain, if he should acquire power in weightier matters and become a king, would adopt the same practice towards men and women, not exacting twofold tributes from them, not exhausting his subjects with taxes and contributions; for the habits in which he has been brought up would be sufficient for him, and would be able to soften the harshness of his disposition, and in a manner to educate him, and to re-mould him to a better character. And that is a better character which justice impresses upon the soul.