XIII. (59) This, then, is the prayer which Noah offers for Shem; let us now see what kind of prayer it is that he puts forth for Japhet. He says, “May God make Japhet broad, and let him dwell in the tents of Shem, and Canaan shall be their servant.” (60) The object of a man who thinks nothing beautiful but what is good is limited and contracted, for of all the innumerable guides which influence different men he is confined to one alone, namely, to the mind. But the object of a man who attributes good to three different kinds of things, dividing it as it has reference to the soul, and to the body, and to external things, is more extended, inasmuch as he cuts up the good into a number of small and dissimilar fragments; (61) on which account Noah very appropriately prays that breadth may be added to him, in order that he may be able to exercise the virtues of the soul, prudence, and temperance, and all the others, and likewise the vigorous health and acute perceptions of the body, strength and vigour, and the other qualities akin to them; and also the external advantages which contribute to wealth and glory, and to the enjoyment and use of necessary pleasures.

XIII. (62) Thus much we may say concerning breadth. We must now consider who it is who Noah prays may dwell in the tents of Shem, for he does not say very clearly. One may affirm that he means the Lord of the universe; for what more suitable and beautiful abode in all creation could be found for God beyond a soul completely purified, and thinking nothing beautiful but what is good, and looking upon all things, which are usually held in estimation among men, in the light of subjects and body-guards of that one thing, good? (63) But God is said to dwell in a house, not as in respect of place (for he contains everything and is contained by nothing), but as in a most especial degree exerting his providence and care in favour of that place; for it follows inevitably in the case of every one who is master of a house that he has a particular care for that house. (64) But let every one, on whom the love of God has showered good things, pray to God that he may have as a dweller within him the Ruler of all things, who will raise this small house, the mind, to a great height above the earth, and will connect it with the bounds of heaven. (65) And what is said in the scriptures appears to coincide with this, for Shem is planted as a root of excellence and virtue; and from this root there sprang up a tree bringing forth good fruit, namely, Abraham, of whom the self-instructed and self-teaching offspring, Isaac, was the fruit, by whom again the virtues which are displayed in labour are sown, the practiser of which is Jacob, the man trained and exercised in wrestling with the passions, having the admonitions of angels for his gymnastic trainers. (66) He is the prince of the twelve tribes, which the scriptures call the “kingdom and priesthood of God.”{16}{#ex 19:6.} in reference to their agreement with the original author of their race, Shem, in whose house it was prayed that God might dwell; for a kingdom is the house of a king, being truly sacred, and the only house free from danger of being plundered. (67) Perhaps, indeed, the prayer has reference also to Japhet, that he also may make his abode in the dwellings of Shem, for it is well to pray for one who thinks the good things of the body and external advantages the only goods, that he may come over to the only true good, that of the soul, and may not wander from true opinions all his life, thinking advantages which are common to the most accursed and worst of men, such as health, and riches, and all such things as those, goods, when nature has not given any portion of what is really good to any wicked man; for, by its own nature, what is good can have no participation in what is bad.(68) On this account good is treasured up in the soul alone, in the beauty of which no foolish man has any share. Now, the original progenitor of a virtuous posterity has written that he prayed for this for some of his friends, saying, “Return unto Me,”{17}{#ge 49:22.} in order that, returning to adopt his opinions, and looking upon good alone as beautiful, he might pass by the reports of mistaken men as to the nature of good. Let him, then, dwell in the house of him who says that the good of the soul is the only beautiful thing; passing by and repudiating the abodes of others, by whom corporeal and external advantages are held in honour. (69) And very appropriately has he assigned the fool to be a slave to those who cultivate virtue, that, either by passing under a better government he may live a better life, or if he continue in evil doing he may easily be punished by the independent authority of his masters.