XL. (174) There are also some people who, letting loose every cable of piety, hasten to make a speedy voyage, in the hope of anchoring in its harbours. And afterwards, when they are at no great distance off, but are just on the point of reaching the haven, on a sudden there comes a violent wind, blowing in their teeth and coming upon them closely, which drives back the vessel which was proceeding onwards in its straight course, in such a manner as to destroy a great many of the things which were of use to contribute to a fair voyage; (175) no one then could blame those people for being still tossed about by the sea, for the slowness, which they have displayed in completing their voyage, has been unintentional on their part. Who then can be likened to them rather than he who prayed what is called the great prayer? “For if,” says Moses, “any one dies in his presence suddenly, then immediately the head of his vow shall be polluted and he shall be Shaved;”{22}{#nu 6:9.} and then after saying a few more sentences he thus proceeds, “And the former days shall not be taken into the computation, because the head of his vow was polluted.” (176) Now by the two expressions suddenly and immediately, the involuntary character of the deviation of the soul is manifested. For with reference to intentional sins there is need of time to consider where, and when, and how a thing is to be done. But unintentional sins are committed suddenly, without any consideration, and, if it be possible to say such a thing they strike upon the man without any time at all. (177) For it is very difficult, as in the case of runners, for men, when they first begin to travel by the road which leads to piety, to keep their course straight onward without stumbling and without being out of breath; since there are innumerable hindrances to every human being, (178) but above all things, that which is the one and only thing in the way of doing good, namely the abstaining from any intentional misdeeds, is of service also to keep off the incalculable number of voluntary sins; and, in the second place, even of those which are involuntary, they are but few which are committed, and they do not cling to a person for any very long time. (179) Very beautifully, therefore, has Moses said that the days of unintentional error do not come into the computation (alogos); not only because the error was one without calculation, but also because it is not possible to give an account (logos) of involuntary offences. Therefore, it often happens, when we are asked the reason of such and such a thing, that we say that we do not know, and that we cannot tell, in that we were not present when they were done, and also that we were ignorant of their being done. (180) It is, therefore, a very rare thing when God gives to any one to keep his life in a steady course from the beginning to the end, without either stumbling or falling; but escaping both kinds of offences, unintentional as well as intentional, with great speed and owing to the celerity and impetuosity of one’s motions. (181) These things then are here said about beginning and end, because of the instance of the just Noah, who, after he had acquired the first and elementary principles of the knowledge of husbandry, was unable to reach its furthest limits. For it is said that “he began to be a husbandman,” not that he arrived at the extreme end of complete knowledge: but what is said about his planting we will discuss subsequently.