X. (62) But since some persons, who have paid but very little attention to literary pursuits, not understanding demonstrative arguments, which establish only general principles of action, are accustomed to ask us, “Who then are the men, whether previously existing or now alive, whom you thus represent to us?” it is well to make answer, that in former times there were some persons who surpassed all their contemporaries in virtue, taking God alone for their guide, and living in strict accordance with the law, that is to say, with the right reason of nature, and who were not only free themselves, but who also filled all who came near to them with a spirit of freedom. And now also, in our own time, there are some who are, as it were, images of them, bearing on themselves the stamp of the virtue of those wise men as their archetypal model; (63) for it does not follow, that although the souls of such as contradict those virtuous men are deprived of all liberty for having been completely led away and enslaved by folly and other vices, that on this account the whole human race is so too. But it is no wonder if we do not see numerous companies of those men advancing as it were in a solid body. In the first place, because whatever is exceedingly beautiful is rare; secondly, because men who are removed from the main crowd of inconsiderately judging persons, have abundant leisure for the contemplation of the things of nature, endeavouring, as far as it may be in their power, to correct life in general (for virtue is a thing of great benefit to the whole community); but when they are unable to succeed in their object, by reason of the numbers of absurdities which are continually impeding them in the different cities, which the different passions and vices of the soul have given strength to, they then retire into solitude, in order not to be carried away by the violence and rush of these absurdities, as by a wintry torrent. (64) But if there were any real anxiety for improvement in us, we ought carefully to trace out the hiding-places of these men, and to sit down before them as suppliants, and to entreat them to come forward to impart a tincture of civilization to life which was previously savage, by announcing, instead of inward slavery and innumerable evils, peace and an abundance of all other good things to flow over it continually. (65) But as things are, we do investigate all retreats only for the sake of money, and with this object we open the hard and rugged beings of the earth; and a great deal of the champaign country is opened in mines, and no small part of the mountainous district also, while we are seeking for gold, and silver, and brass, and iron, and all kinds of materials. (66) But vain opinion, setting up pride as a god, has descended down to the very lowest depths of the sea in its researches to see whether there is any beautiful thing which might become an object of the outward senses lying covered anywhere; and finding many species of precious stones, some adhering closely to the rocks, and others lying concealed in oyster-shells, which are more valuable still, has thus shown a great desire to deceive the sight; (67) and for the sake of the requirements of wisdom, or temperance, or courage, or justice, even that portion of the earth which is naturally inaccessible is travelled over, and seas which are dangerous to navigate are sailed over at any season of the year by sailors. (68) And yet, what need is there, either of long journeys over the land, or of long voyages, for the sake of investigating the seeking out virtue, the roots of which the Creator has laid not at any great distance, but so near, as the wise lawgiver of the Jews says, {10}{#de 30:14.} “They are in thy mouth, and in thy heart, and in thy hands:” intimating by these figurative expressions the words, and actions, and designs of men; all of which stand in need of careful cultivation. (69) These men, therefore, who prefer idleness to industry, have not only hindered the shoots of virtue from thriving, but have even dried up all the roots, and withered and destroyed them; while those on the contrary, who look upon idleness as pernicious and who are willing to labour, cultivate it as husbandmen would cultivate flourishing shoots of good kinds of plants, with incessant care, and thus they raise the virtues to the height of heaven itself in ever-flourishing and undying branches, bearing a fruit of happiness which never ceases, or rather, as some say, not bearing happiness, but rather actually being happiness, which Moses was in the habit of calling by one compound name, holokarpoµmata (whole offerings of entire fruit). (70) For in respect of those things which grow out of the ground, the fruit is not trees, nor are the trees fruit. But with respect to those which grew in the soul, these their whole branches do entirely change into the nature of the fruit; for instance, into wisdom, and justice, and courage, and temperance.