XI. (35) Arguing therefore in this prolix train of reasoning, they thought that they got the better of those who were not accustomed to deal in sophistry. But the cause of their victory was not the strength of those who got the better, but the weakness of their adversaries in these matters. For of those who practise virtue, some treasured up what is good in their soul alone, becoming practisers of praiseworthy actions, and having no knowledge whatever of sophistries of words. But they who were armed in both ways, having their minds furnished with wise counsel and with good deeds, and having also good store of reasons to bring forward according to the arts of the sophists, (36) they had a good right to oppose the contentious behaviour of some others, having means at hand by which to repel their enemies. But the former sort had no safety whatever. For what men could fight naked against armed enemies on equal terms, when, even if they had been both equally armed, the contest would still have been unequal? (37) Abel therefore had not learnt any of the arts of reasoning, but he knew what was good by his intellectual disposition alone; on account of which he ought to have refused to go down to the plain, and to have disregarded the invitation of his enemy. For any display of fear is better than being defeated; but such fear a man’s enemies call cowardice, but his friends entitle it safe prudence, and we must believe friends in preference to enemies, inasmuch as they tell us the truth.