XXXIX. (169) Are we then to say that there is but little use in a beginning to which a fortunate end does not set its seal? It has often indeed happened that even some who have attained to perfection have still been thought imperfect, from appearing to have improved through their own earnestness alone, and not according to the will of God. And on this account, being exceedingly elated by their vain opinion, and elevated to a great height, they have fallen from a high position to the lowest depths, and so been destroyed. (170) “For if,” says Moses, “you have built a new house, you shall also erect a battlement on the house, and then shall commit no murder in your house if any one falls from It.”{20}{#de 22:8.} (171) For the most grievous of all falls is for a man to stumble and fall from the honour due to God; crowning himself rather than God, and committing domestic murder. For he who does not duly honour the living God kills his own soul: so that the building of education which he has erected is of no advantage to him. But instruction has a nature which never grows old; on which account Moses calls its house a new house, for all other things are gradually destroyed by time. But instruction, in proportion as it advances towards perfection, is fresh and vigorous, looking blooming with an ever-flourishing appearance, and putting itself in motion with continual studies. (172) And in his hortatory admonitions Moses recommends that those who have received the most abundant possession of good things should not look upon themselves as the causes of their acquisition, but should “remember God who gave them strength to acquire the Power.”{21}{#de 8:18.} (173) This then is the utmost limit of good fortune, and the other things are its beginnings, so that those who forget the end cannot possibly derive any advantage from the acquisitions which they have made. And so the falls which these men endure are selfincurred, through their own self-sufficiency, because they could not endure to call the loving and all-accomplishing God the cause of their good things.