IV. (17) But this is not so entirely wonderful, although it may fairly by itself be considered a thing of great intrinsic importance, that his laws were kept securely and immutably from all time; but this is more wonderful by far, as it seems, that not only the Jews, but that also almost every other nation, and especially those who make the greatest account of virtue, have dedicated themselves to embrace and honour them, for they have received this especial honour above all other codes of laws, which is not given to any other code. (18) And a proof of this is to be found in the fact that of all the cities in Greece and in the territory of the barbarians, if one may so say, speaking generally, there is not one single city which pays any respect to the laws of another state. In fact, a city scarcely adheres to its own laws with any constancy for ever, but continually modifies them, and adapts them to the changes of times and circumstances. (19) The Athenians rejected the customs and laws of the Lacedaemonians, and so did the Lacedaemonians repudiate the laws of the Athenians. Nor, again, in the countries of the barbarians do the Egyptians keep the laws of the Scythians, nor do the Scythians keep the laws of the Egyptians; nor, in short, do those who live in Asia attend to the laws which obtain in Europe, nor do the inhabitants of Europe respect the laws of the Asiatic nations. And, in short, it is very nearly an universal rule, from the rising of the sun to its extreme west, that every country, and nation, and city, is alienated from the laws and customs of foreign nations and states, and that they think that they are adding to the estimation in which they hold their own laws by despising those in use among other nations. (20) But this is not the case with our laws which Moses has given to us; for they lead after them and influence all nations, barbarians, and Greeks, the inhabitants of continents and islands, the eastern nations and the western, Europe and Asia; in short, the whole habitable world from one extremity to the other. (21) For what man is there who does not honour that sacred seventh day, granting in consequence a relief and relaxation from labour, for himself and for all those who are near to him, and that not to free men only, but also to slaves, and even to beasts of burden; (22) for the holiday extends even to every description of animal, and to every beast whatever which performs service to man, like slaves obeying their natural master, and it affects even every species of plant and tree; for there is no shoot, and no branch, and no leaf even which it is allowed to cut or to pluck on that day, nor any fruit which it is lawful to gather; but everything is at liberty and in safety on that day, and enjoys, as it were, perfect freedom, no one ever touching them, in obedience to a universal proclamation. (23) Again, who is there who does not pay all due respect and honour to that which is called “the fast,” and especially to that great yearly one which is of a more austere and venerable character than the ordinary solemnity at the full moon? on which, indeed, much pure wine is drunk, and costly entertainments are provided, and everything which relates to eating and drinking is supplied in the most unlimited profusion, by which the insatiable pleasures of the belly are inflamed and increased. (24) But on this fast it is not lawful to take any food or any drink, in order that no bodily passion may at all disturb or hinder the pure operations of the mind; but these passions are wont to be generated by fulness and satiety, so that at this time men feast, propitiating the Father of the universe with holy prayers, by which they are accustomed to solicit pardon for their former sins, and the acquisition and enjoyment of new blessings.