VII. (37) For, choose whatever good thing you please, and you will find that it owes its existence and all its strength and solidity to labour. Now, piety and holiness are good things, but still we are not able to attain to them without the worship of the gods, and the worship of them is combined with perseverance in labours. Again, prudence and courage and justice are all beautiful things and perfect goods, but still they are not to be acquired by laziness, and we must be content if they can be attained to by continued diligence. Now, since the organs of every soul are not able to support a familiarity with God and with virtue, as being a very intense and mighty harmony, they very often get lax and become remiss so as to descend from the highest unto those of more moderate character; (38) but, nevertheless, even in these moderate ones there is great labour requisite. Look at all those who practise the encyclical branches of what is called elementary instruction; look at those who cultivate the land, and at all who provide the means of subsistence by any regular business. These men are never free from care night or day, but always and continually, as it is said, they labour with hand and foot and with all their power, and never cease from suffering hardship, so as often to encounter even death from it.

VIII. (39) But as those who are thus anxious to render their souls propitious must of necessity cultivate the virtues of the soul, so also they who purpose to render their bodies favourable to their objects, must cultivate health and those powers which are akin to health, and these too they cultivate with unremitting and ceaseless labours, being overwhelmed with care, arising from the faculties in them of which they are compounded. (40) You see, therefore, that all good things spring up and shoot out from labour as from one general root, and this you must never allow yourself to neglect; for if you do, you will without being aware of it, be also letting slip the collected heap of goods which it brings with it; for the Ruler of the universe, of heaven, and of the world, both himself possesses and bestows on whomsoever he pleases, his good things, with all ease and abundance. Since formerly he created this world, vast as you see it is, without any labour, and how too he never ceases holding it together, so that it may last for ever. And absence from all labour and fatigue is the most appropriate attribute of God; but nature has not given the acquisition of good things to any mortal without labour, {14}{this is not only the same idea, but almost the very language of Horace in Sat. I. 9.60.} in order that in consequence of this arrangement, God alone of existing beings may be called happy and enjoy felicity.