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I. (1) In the treatise preceding the present one, we discussed the question of rewards to the best of our ability. Our present purpose is to examine who is the heir of the things of God; for after the wise man heard the oracle, which being divinely given, said, (2) “Thy reward is exceedingly Great;”{1}{#ge 15:1.} he inquired, saying, “What wilt thou give me, O master?” And I shall depart childless: but my son who is the child of my handmaid will inherit after me, this Eliezer of Damascus.” And in another place he says, “Since thou has not given me any seed, but one born in my house shall be my heir.” (3) And yet who would not have been amazed at the dignity and greatness of him who delivered this oracle, so as to become silent and mute before him, if not out of fear, still at all events from excess of joy? For excessive griefs stop the mouth, and so also do excessive joys; (4) on which account Moses confesses that he is “a man of a slight voice and slow of speech from the time when God first began to converse with Him.”{2}{#ex 4:10.} And this testimony of the prophet is unerring; for it is natural for the organs of speech to be checked, and for the reason which is collected in the mind to be borne onwards with unrestrained impetuosity, philosophically examining the unceasing beauty of ideas not of words, with fluent and sublime power; (5) and the most admirable virtues are boldness and freedom of speech at suitable times towards one’s betters, so that the sentence in the comic poet appears to me to be uttered with truth rather than with comic humour:–

If a slave is always dumb,

He is scarcely worth a crumb:

Let him, freely told, boldly speak.