VII. (36) It is not then without great correctness that after he has praised the man as being possessed of such great virtues he adds, “and he was perfect in his generation.” Showing that he was not perfect absolutely, but that he was good in comparison with the others who lived at that time; (37) for in a little time he will also speak of other wise men who were possessed of unconquerable and incomparable virtue, not merely if contrasted with the wicked, nor because they were better than the other men of their age, and as such were considered worthy of acceptance and pre-eminence, but because having received a well disposed nature, they preserved it without any error or change for the worse; not fleeing from evil habits, but never having once fallen into them, and being by deliberate purpose practicers of all virtuous actions and speeches, by which system they had adorned their life. (38) Those then are the most admirable of all men who have adopted free and noble inclinations, not in imitation of or by way of contrast to others, but from an inclination to genuine virtue and justice for its own sake; he also is to be admired who is superior to his own generation and his own age, and who is overcome by none of those things which the multitude follows; and he will be classed in the second rank, and nature will give to such men the best of her prizes; (39) and the second prize is of itself a great thing; for what is not a great and most desirable object which God offers to, and bestows upon men? And the greatest proof of this is to be found in the exceeding graces which this man attained to; (40) for as that time bore an abundant crop of injustice and impiety, and so every country, and nation, and city, and house, and every separate individual was full of wicked practices, all men of free will and of deliberate purpose, as if in an arena, living with one another for the first rank in iniquity, and strove with all possible zeal and rivalry, every one seeking to surpass his neighbour in the magnitude of his wickedness, and failing in nothing which might render life blameless and accursed.