V. (16) It is then confessed by all most undeniably, that it is both honourable and advantageous to yield and to become obedient to virtue, so that on the other hand to be disobedient to it must be disgraceful and in no moderate degree disadvantageous. And to be contentious and obstinate is a quality which comprehends every extravagance of evil; for the man who is disobedient is less wicked than he who is contentious, since the one only disregards what he is commanded to do, but the other also exerts himself to do the contrary. (17) Come, now, let us investigate the true nature of these things. Since the law commands, for instance, that men should honour their parents, he who does not honour them is disobedient; but he who dishonours them is contentious. And again, since it is a righteous action to preserve one’s country, we must call the man who admits of hesitation in the pursuit of the object disobedient, but the man who is prepared moreover to betray it we must pronounce perverse and contentious. (18) Again, he who, when requested to requite a favour, contradicts the man who says that he ought to consider himself a debtor, is disobedient; but he who, in addition to making no return, is so carried away by contentiousness that he endeavours to do the person what harm he can, commits unredeemable wickedness. And further, he who never approaches, nor practises sacrifices, or any of the other observances required by piety, disobeys the commandments which the law usually ordains in such matters; but he who resists and turns aside to the opposite disposition, impiety, is a wicked man and a minister of impiety.

VI. (19) Such a man as this was he who said, “Who is there whom I am to obey?” and again, “I do not know the Lord.”{3}{#ex 5:2.} For by his first expression he states that there is no such thing as a Deity; and by the second question he means, that even if there is such a being, still he will not recognize him, which arises from a deficiency in his providence; for if he were possessed of providence he would be recognized. (20) Now to bring contributions and supplies in aid of an entertainment with a view to a participation in that best of all possessions, prudence, is praiseworthy and advantageous. But to do so with a view to the worst of all objects, folly, is disadvantageous and blameable; (21) therefore, the contributions for the most excellent object are the desire of virtue, the imitation of good men, continued care, laborious practice, incessant and unwearied labours; the contributions for the opposite object are relaxation, indifference, luxury, effeminacy, and a complete desertion of what is right. (22) And we may see those who every day descend into the arena to contend in drinking much wine, and practising this quality every day, and striving to gain the victory in greediness and voracity, bringing their contributions as though they had some desirable object in view, and injuring themselves in every thing, in their property, and their bodies, and their souls; for by contributing their property they diminish their substance; and they break down and enervate the powers of their bodies by their luxurious way of life, and as for their souls, inundating them with immoderate food like a swollen torrent, they compel that to sink down to the lowest depth. (23) For the same manner all those, who bring contributions for the destruction of learning, injure the most important thing in them, namely, their mind, cutting off every thing that might save it–prudence, and temperance, and courage, and justice; on which account he seems to me himself to use a compound word, symbolokopoµn, for the more manifest manifestation of his meaning, because they who bring forward attempts at virtue as their offering and contribution, wound and lacerate, and cut to pieces, obedient and learningloving souls to the extent of their utter destruction.