XXV. We must therefore divide it into the principal heads, which are called incidents, and we must assign to each its appropriate preparation, imitating in this point skilful archers, who, when they have chosen a mark, endeavour to shoot every one of their arrows straight at it. For the head resembles the mark, and the preparation is similar to the arrows. (83) And thus the most excellent of all branches of learning, speech, is harmoniously connected together. For the lawgiver cuts leaves of gold into thin hairs, so as to plait appropriate works of that material in a durable manner. And in like manner, speech, which is more precious than gold, is completed in a praiseworthy manner of innumerable varieties of ideas, then, being divided into the thinnest possible heads, after the fashion of a woven web, it receives an harmonious demonstration, like a work of the distaff. (84) It is enjoined therefore that sacrificers, when they have flayed the burnt offering, shall cut it up joint by joint, in order in the first place that the soul may appear naked without any coverings, such as are made by empty and false opinions; and in the second place that it may be able to receive suitable divisions, for virtue is a whole and one, which is divided into corresponding species, such as prudence and temperance, justice and courage, that we, knowing the differences of each of these qualities, may submit to a voluntary service of them both in their entirety and in particulars.

(85) And let us consider how we may train the soul so that it may not, from being thrown into a state of confusion, be deceived by general and unintelligible appearances, but that by making proper divisions of things it may be able to inspect and examine each separate thing with all accuracy, adopting language which will not, through being borne forward by disorderly impetuosity, cause any indistinctness, but being divided into its appropriate headings and into the demonstrations suitable to each, will be compounded like some living animal of perfect parts, properly put together. And we ought to apply ourselves to a continual meditation on and practice of these things, if we wish the use of them to be confirmed in us, as after having touched knowledge, not to abide in it is like tasting meat and drink, but being prevented from feeding on them in sufficient quantities.