XXXIII. (146) And even the enemies of the soul are afraid of this perfection, whom, as they are no longer able to stand up against it, a genuine peace gets the mastery over. And all those who have attained to a half-perfect or half-established wisdom, are too weak to be able to make any effectual opposition to the brood of sins, which have become confined by long usage, and which have gained strength by time. (147) On this account, when in the time of war the general makes a levy of his army, he does not summon all the youth, not even, though it displays all imaginable willingness and spontaneous readiness to come forward to repel the enemy. But he commands some to depart and to remain at home, in order that by continued exercise they may acquire such an amount of military power and skill as may afterwards be sufficient to secure the victory. (148) And the order of this levy is made through the medium of the heralds of the army when the war is at hand, and already at the very gates. And the heralds will make this announcement: “What man is there who has built a new house, and has not handselled it? Let him go and return to his house, that he may not die in the war, and another man handsel it instead of him. And what man is there who has planted a vineyard and has not received any joy from the fruit thereof? Let him go and turn away back to his house, that he may not die in the war, and another man be delighted with the fruit of his vineyard. And what man has espoused a wife, and has not received her? Let him go and return back to his house, that he may not die in the war, and another man take his Wife.”{19}{#de 20:5.}

XXXIV. (149) For why, I should say, O most excellent man, do you not think it more proper to summon these men to follow you to the contest of war rather than the others, men who have acquired marriages, and houses, and vineyards, and all other kinds of possessions in abundance? For they will most cheerfully undergo dangers, even if they be altogether most formidable, for the sake of the safety of all these things. Since those men who have none of these things which have been enumerated will be very likely to exhibit indifference and inactivity in the war, as having no very important pledges at stake. (150) Or do you think that, just in proportion to the absence of any enjoyment from the possession of such things that they have hitherto felt, will be their apprehension lest they never be able to enjoy such things, and that this will give them energy? For what advantage from all the possessions that they may have acquired is left to those who have been subdued in war? But will they not be taken prisoners? Then they will immediately suffer for their absence from the field of battle; for while they are sitting at home and wallowing in luxury, it is evidently inevitable that their enemies, who are conducting all the operations of the war with energy, will, not merely without any loss, but even without the slightest exertion, make themselves masters of all that they possess. (151) But the multitude of their other allies will cheerfully encounter the contest on behalf of these things. At first sight, indeed, it seems absurd to rely upon the energies or fortune of others; and especially when it is both an individual and a common danger, involving defeat, and slavery, and utter destruction, which hangs over men’s heads, who are able of themselves to encounter the toils and perils of war, and who are not hindered by any disease, or by old age, or by any other disaster. It is rather fitting that those, whom the danger chiefly concerns, should seize their arms and stand in the front battalions and hold their shields over their allies, fighting cheerfully and with a spirit which even courts dangers.