IX. (41) For labour appears to me to have nearly the same properties as food. As therefore this latter makes life to depend upon itself, having combined all the actions and all the passions in living, so also has labour caused all good things to depend upon itself. For as those persons who are desirous to live must not neglect food, so too they who are anxious to attain to good things must pay due attention to labour, for what food is to life that labour is to virtue. Do not you then ever slight that, though it is but a single thing, that by its means you may enjoy the collective blessings of all good things. (42) For thus, though you may be younger by birth you shall be called the elder, and you shall be thought worthy of the pre-eminence in honour. But if, having gone through a constant course of improvement you shall at last arrive at the end, then not only shall the Father give thee the preeminence, but he shall also bestow on thee all the inheritance of the Father, as he did to Jacob, who overthrew all the foundations and seats of passion, and who confessed what he suffered, saying that “God has pitied me, and all things belong to Me,”{15}{#ge 33:11.} uttering a doctrine full of instruction, for he makes everything to anchor in the mercy of God.

X. (43) And he learnt all these things from Abraham his grandfather, who was the author of his own education, who gave to the all-wise Isaac all that he had, {16}{#ge 25:5.} leaving none of his substance to bastards, or to the spurious reasonings of concubines, but he gives them small gifts, as being inconsiderable persons. For the possessions of which he is possessed, namely, the perfect virtues, belong only to the perfect and legitimate son; but those which are of an intermediate character, are suitable to and fall to the share of those who are not perfect, but who have advanced as far as the encyclical branches of elementary education, of which Agar and Cheturah partake, Agar meaning “a dwelling near,” and Cheturah meaning “sacrificing.” (44) For he who attends only to the encyclical instruction abides near wisdom but does not dwell with it, as sending a certain sweet fragrance from the elegance of contemplation to his own soul. But such a man requires food, and not sweet scents to bless him with good health. But nature is said to have made, with great skill and propriety, smell to serve as a handmaid to taste, as a sort of subject and taster to the other, or her queen; and we must always attend to the sovereign powers before those who are ruled over by them, and to the indigenous and native sciences before those which are strangers. (45) The mind bearing this rejects pleasure, and attaches itself to virtue, perceiving its genuine, and unalloyed, and very divine beauty. Then it becomes the shepherd of sheep, being the charioteer and pilot of the irrational faculties which exist in the soul, “not permitting them to be borne about at random and in an inconsistent manner, without any superintendant or guide; {17}{#nu 27:17.} that they may not fall into a sort of orphan state, destitute of guardians and protectors, owing to their want of any allies, in which case they would perish without any saving hand to restrain them.