VIII. (29) But what is the use now of enumerating the excellencies of the decade, which are infinite in number; treating our most important task as one of no importance, which is, indeed, of itself most all-sufficient, and worthy material for the study of those who devote themselves to mathematics? The other points we must pass over for the present; but perhaps it may not be out of place to mention one by way of example; (30) for those who have devoted themselves to the doctrines of philosophy say that what are called the categories in nature are ten only in number, –quality, essence, quantity, relation, action, passion, possession, condition, and those two without which nothing can exist, time and place. (31) For there is nothing which is devoid of participation in these things; as, for instance, I partake of essence, borrowing of each one of the elements of which the whole world was made, that is to say, of earth and water, and air and fire, what is sufficient for my own existence. I also partake of quality, inasmuch as I am a man; and of quantity, inasmuch as I am a man of such and such a size. I also partake of relation, when any one is on my right hand or on my left. Again, I am in action when I rub or burn any thing. I am in passion when I am cut or rubbed by any one else. I am discerned as a possessor, when I am clothed or equipped with anything. And I am seen in condition, when sitting still or lying down. And I am altogether in time and place, since not one of all the categories just mentioned can exist without both these things.
IX. (32) This, then, may be enough to say on these subjects; but it is necessary now to connect with these things what I am about to say, namely, that it was the Father of the universe who delivered these ten maxims, or oracles, or laws and enactments, as they truly are, to the whole assembled nation of men and women altogether. Did he then do so, uttering himself some kind of voice? Away! let not such an idea ever enter your mind; for God is not like a man, in need of a mouth, and of a tongue, and of a windpipe, (33) but as it seems to me, he at that time wrought a most conspicuous and evidently holy miracle, commanding an invisible sound to be created in the air, more marvellous than all the instruments that ever existed, attuned to perfect harmonies; and that not an inanimate one, nor yet, on the other hand, one that at all resembled any nature composed of soul and body; but rather it was a rational soul filled with clearness and distinctness, which fashioned the air and stretched it out and changed it into a kind of flaming fire, and so sounded forth so loud and articulate a voice like a breath passing through a trumpet, so that those who were at a great distance appeared to hear equally with those who were nearest to it. (34) For the voices of men, when they are spread over a very long distance, do naturally become weaker and weaker, so that those who are at a distance from them cannot arrive at a clear comprehension of them, but their understanding is gradually dimmed by the extension of the sound over a larger space, since the organs also by which it is extended are perishable. (35) But the power of God, breathing forth vigorously, aroused and excited a new kind of miraculous voice, and diffusing its sound in every direction, made the end more conspicuous at a distance than the beginning, implanting in the soul of each individual another hearing much superior to that which exists through the medium of the ears. For the one, being in some degree a slower kind of external sense, remains in a state of inactivity until it is struck by the air, and so put in motion. But the sense of the inspired mind outstrips that, going forth with the most rapid motion to meet what is said.