XXVIII. (124) Everything, then, that is requisite has now been said on the subject of a horseman and a rider, and a keeper of sheep and a shepherd, and a tiller of the ground and a husbandman; and all the difference existing between each of these pairs has been very accurately defined, as far as it was in our power. It is time now to turn to what follows. (125) Moses, then, introduces the man who is desirous of virtue as not possessing a complete knowledge of the whole business of a husbandman, but only as labouring with diligence at its principles and rudiments; for he says, “Noah began to be a Husbandman.”{16}{#ge 9:20.} And the beginning, as the proverb of the old writers has it, is half of the whole; as yet, therefore, he is half of the distance removed from the end, and where the end is not attained, it has been often injurious to many persons, to have begun great enterprises. (126) At all events, before now, some persons whose minds were not right, through their thoughts revolving in continued changes, have conceived a notion of some good things, but have derived no advantage from it; for it has happened that, as they did not attain the end which they desired, they have been overwhelmed by the impetuosity of a number of adverse circumstances coming against them, and so that good conception has been destroyed.

XXIX. (127) Was it not on this account that when Cain fancied that he had offered up a blameless sacrifice, an oracle came to him bidding him not to feel confidence as a man who had presented a well approved offering? for that he had not sacrificed with holy and perfect victims. And the oracle is as follows: “If thou dost not bring thy offering properly, and if thou dost not distribute it Rightly.”{17}{#ge 4:7.} (128) What is right, then, here is the honour of God, and that which is not properly distributed is not right. But let us now examine what meaning is contained under this expression. There are some persons who look upon piety as consisting in the affirmation that all things have been made by God, both what is good and the contrary; (129) to whom we would say that one portion of your opinion is praiseworthy, but the other portion blameable. One portion is praiseworthy, because it properly honours that which alone is worthy to receive honour; but that portion is blameable, which does so without any discrimination or division. For it was not proper to confuse and mingle everything together, nor to declare God the cause of everything without distinction, but to make a difference, and to pronounce him the cause only of those things which are good; (130) for it is an absurdity to be anxious about priests, taking care that they shall be perfect in their bodies and free from all defect and mutilation, and to be very particular about the animals which are offered in sacrifice, to be sure that they have no defect of any kind whatever, not even the most insignificant possible; and to appoint men, and to say whom and how many ought to be appointed for this business, whom some call inspectors of blemishes, to take care that the victims may be brought to the altar without any blemish or imperfection, and yet to allow the opinions which are held concerning God to be in confusion in the soul of each individual, and not to take care that they are discriminated by the rule of right reason.