XXIX. (109) Accordingly the bad man never ceases from employing, without any of the principles of art, his earth-like body, and the outward senses which are akin to it, and all the external objects of these outward senses, and he injures his miserable soul, and he also injures what he fancies he is benefiting exceedingly, his own body. But the good man, for he has skill in the art of a farmer, manages the whole of his materials in accordance with the principles of art and reason; for when the outward senses behave insolently, being borne forward with irresistible impetuosity towards the external objects of the outward senses, they are easily restrained by some contrivance among those which art has devised; (110) but when an impetuous passion in the soul becomes violent, bringing forth voluptuous itchings and ticklings arising from pleasure or from appetite, or on the other hand, stings and agitation, caused by fear or grief, it is softened by the previously prepared saving medicine; and if any evil devouring as it goes, proceeds further, like a sister of the cancrous disease, which creeps over the body, it is cut out by reason which proceeds in its operations in accordance with knowledge. (111) In this manner then the trees of the wild wood are brought into a state of tameness, but all the plants of the cultivated and fruit-bearing virtues have for their shoots studies, and for their fruits virtuous actions, of each of which the farming skill of the soul promotes the growth, and as far as depends upon it, it makes them immortal by its industry.

XXX. (112) Very clearly therefore is the good man thus shown to be a farmer, and the bad man to be only a cultivator of the land; and I wish that while he is thus cultivating the land, the earthly nature which environs him, had imparted some vigour to him, and had not, as it has, taken away something of the power which he had before, for we read in the scripture, “It shall not add its strength to thee to give it to thee,” (113) and such would be the character of a man who was always eating or drinking and never satisfied, or who was incessantly indulging in the pleasures of the belly, and devoting his energies to the gratifying of his carnal appetites, for deficiency produces weakness, but fulness produces strength; but when, amid abundance of things an insatiability is united with excessive intemperance, that is hunger; and they are truly wretched whose bodies are filled, while their passions are empty and still thirsting; (114) but of the lovers of knowledge the prophet speaks in a great song, and says, “That she has made them to ascend upon the strength of the earth, and has fed them upon the produce of the Fields,”{36}{#de 32:13.} showing plainly that the godless man fails in attaining his object, in order that he may grieve the more while strength is not added to these operations in which he expends his energies, but while on the other hand it is take from them; but they who follow after virtue, placing it above all these things which are earthly and mortal, disregard their strength in their exceeding abundance, using God as the guide to conduct them in their ascent, who proffers to them the produce of the earth for their enjoyment and most profitable use, likening the virtues to fields, and the fruits of the virtues to the produce of the fields, according to the principles of their generation; for from prudence is derived prudent action, and from temperance temperate action, and from piety pious conduct, and from each of the other virtues is derived the energy in accordance with it.