XII. (49) But the providence of God is the principal and almost the only cause that the divisions of the soul are not left entirely without any governor, and that they have met with a blameless and in all respects good shepherd. In consequence of whose appointment it is impossible that the company of the mind should become scattered; for it will of necessity appear in one and the same order, looking to the authority of its one governor, since the heaviest burden of all is to be compelled to obey a variety of rulers. (50) Thus, indeed, being a shepherd is a good thing, so that it is justly attributed, not only to kings, and to wise men, and to souls who are perfectly purified, but also to God, the ruler of all things; and he who confirms this is not any ordinary person, but a prophet, whom it is good to believe, he namely who wrote the psalms; for he speaks thus, “The Lord is my shepherd, and he shall cause me to lack Nothing;”{6}{psalm 23:1.} (51) and let every one in his turn say the same thing, for it is very becoming to every man who loves God to study such a song as this, but above all this world should sing it. For God, like a shepherd and a king, governs (as if they were a flock of sheep) the earth, and the water, and the air, and the fire, and all the plants, and living creatures that are in them, whether mortal or divine; and he regulates the nature of the heaven, and the periodical revolutions of the sun and moon, and the variations and harmonious movements of the other stars, ruling them according to law and justice; appointing, as their immediate superintendent, his own right reason, his first-born son, who is to receive the charge of this sacred company, as the lieutenant of the great king; for it is said somewhere, “Behold, I am he! I will send my messenger before thy face, who shall keep thee in the Road.”{7}{#ex 23:20.} (52) Let therefore all the world, the greatest and most perfect flock of the living God, say “The Lord is my shepherd, and he shall cause me to lack nothing,” (53) and let every separate individual say the same thing; not with the voice which proceeds from his tongue and his mouth, extending only through a scanty portion of the air, but with the wide spreading voice of the mind, which reaches to the very extremities of this universe; for it is impossible that there should be a deficiency of anything that is necessary, where God presides, who is in the habit of bestowing good things in all fulness and completeness in all living beings.