XXXI. (130) This is then the purport of that legend of the ancients, and we in accordance with that story say, that it is the most appropriate work of God to confer benefits, and of created beings to show gratitude, since they are unable to give any requital of those benefits beyond gratitude; for whatever he might be inclined to give as a requital for the other things which he has received, will be found to be the private property of him who is the Creator of all things, and not of the nature which offers it. (131) Having learnt therefore that there is only one employment possible for us of all the things that seem to contribute to the honour of God, namely the display of gratitude, let us at all times and in all places study this, with our voice, and with useful writings, and let us never desist composing encomiastic orations and poems, in order that both the Creator and the world may be honoured by every description of utterance which can be exhibited in either speaking or singing; the one being, as some has said, the best of all causes, and the other the most perfect of all created things.

XXXII. (132) Since therefore all the fruit of the soul is consecrated in the fourth year and the fourth number; in the fifth year we ourselves shall be allowed the use and enjoyment of it for ourselves; for the scripture says, “In the fifth year ye shall eat the fruit thereof;” since it has been established by a perpetual law of nature, that account shall be taken of the creation after the Creator in every thing; so that even if we are thought worthy of the second place, it must be considered a marvellous thing; (133) and on this account it assigns to us the fruit of the fifth year, because the number five is the number appropriate to the outward sense; and if one must tell the truth, that which nourishes our minds is the outward sense, which by means of our eyes sets before us the distinctive qualities of colours and forms, and by means of our ears presents us with all the various peculiarities of sounds, and with smells by means of the nose, and with tastes through the medium of the mouth, and which enables us to judge of the yielding softness and resisting hardness, or of softness and roughness, or again of heat and cold, by means of the faculty which is dispersed over the whole body, which we usually denominate touch.

XXXIII. (134) But the most correct example of what has been said, is afforded by the sons of Leah, that is of virtue, not all her sons, but the fourth and fifth; for with respect to the fourth, Moses says that, then she ceased to bring forth, {27}{#ge 29:35.} and his name was called Judah, which, being interpreted, is “confession to the Lord,” and the fifth she called Issachar, and the name being interpreted, means “reward;” and after she had brought forth in this manner, the soul immediately spoke and related what it had suffered; for says Moses, “She called his name Issachar, which means Reward.”{28}{#ge 30:18.} (135) Therefore Judas, the mind which blesses God, and which is without ceasing, devoted to pouring forth hymns of praise and gratitude to him, is himself in truth “the holy and praiseworthy Fruit,”{29}{#le 19:24.} being produced not by the trees of the earth but by a rational and virtuous nature. In reference to which, the nature which brought him forth is said to have desisted from bringing forth, since she knew not which way to turn, when she had come to the limit of perfection; for of all successful actions which are brought forth, the best and most perfect production is a hymn to the Father of the universe; (136) and the fifth son is in no respect different from the enjoyment of the trees planted in the fifth year; for the tiller of the earth after a fashion takes his reward from the trees in the fifth year, and he takes the offspring of the soul, Issachar, who was called the “reward,” and very naturally, being brought forth after the grateful Judah; for to a grateful person gratitude is a most sufficient reward. (137) Therefore, the fruits of the trees are called the produce of the owners of the trees; but the fruit of instruction and wisdom is no longer the produce of man, but as Moses says, “of the universal Governor alone;” for after he has spoken of his produce, he adds, “I am the Lord your God,” asserting most distinctly that there is one God, whose fruit is the produce of the soul. (138) And with this assertion, this oracle delivered by one of the prophets is consistent, “Fruit from me has been found by you. What wise man will understand this? Will any intelligent person comprehend It?”{30}{#ho 14:9.} For it does not belong to every one, but only to the wise man, to understand whose the fruit of the mind is.