XLVI. (268) Therefore, the only real, and true, and lasting good is trust in God, the comfort of life, the fulfillment of all good hopes, the absence of all evils, and the attendant source of blessings, the repudiation of all unhappiness, the recognition of piety, the inheritance of all happiness, the improvement of the soul in every respect, as it thus relies for support on the cause of all things, who is able to do everything but who wills only to do what is best. (269) For as men who are going along a slippery road stumble and fall, but they who proceed by a dry, and level, and plain path, journey on without stumbling; so also those men who are conducting their soul through the road of bodily and external good things are only accustoming it to fall; for these things are full of stumbling and the most insecure of all. But they who by those speculations which are in accordance with virtue, hasten towards God, are guiding their souls in a safe and untroubled path. So that we may say with the most absolute truth, that the man who trusts in the good things of the body disbelieves in God, and that he who distributes them believes in him. (270) But not only do the holy scriptures bear witness to the faith of Abraham in the living God, which faith is the queen of all the virtues, but moreover he is the first man whom they speak of as an elder; though they were men who had preceded him who had lived three times as many years (or even more still) as he had, not one of whom is handed down to us as worthy of the appellation. And may we not say that this is in strict accordance with natural truth? For he who is really an elder is looked upon as such, not with reference to his length of time, but to the praiseworthiness of his life. (271) Those men, therefore, who have spent a long life in that existence which is in accordance with the body, apart from all virtue, we must call only long-lived children, having never been instructed in those branches of education which befit grey hairs. But the man who has been a lover of prudence, and wisdom, and faith in God, one may justly denominate an elder, forming his name by a slight change from the first. (272) For in real truth the wise man is the first man in the human race, being what a pilot is in a ship, a governor in a city, a general of war, the soul in the body, or the mind in the soul; or again, what the heaven is in the world, and what God is in the heaven. (273) And God, admiring this man for his faith (pistis) in him, giving him a pledge (pistis) in return, namely, a confirmation by an oath of the gifts which he had promised him; no longer conversing with him as God might with man, but as one friend with another. For he says, “By myself have I Sworn,”{19}{#ge 15:6.} by him that is whose word is an oath, in order that Abraham’s mind may be established still more firmly and immoveably than before. (274) Let the virtuous man both be and be called the younger and the last, since he only pursues such objects as may produce revolution and as are placed in the lowest rank. (275) Thus much is sufficient to say on this subject. But God, adding to the multitude and magnitude of the praises of the wise man one single thing as a crowning point, says that “this man fulfilled the divine law, and all the commandments of God,”{20}{#ge 26:5.} not having been taught to do so by written books, but in accordance with the unwritten law of his nature, being anxious to obey all healthful and salutary impulses. And what is the duty of man except most firmly to believe those things which God asserts? (276) Such is the life of the first author and founder of our nation; a man according to the law, as some persons think, but, as my argument has shown, one who is himself the unwritten law and justice of God.