XXVIII. (141) But since Moses not only uses the expression, “he divided,” but says further, “he divided in the midst,” it is necessary to say a few words on the subject of equal divisions; for that which is divided skilfully just in the middle makes two equal divisions. (142) And no man could ever possibly divide anything into two exactly equal parts; but it is inevitable that one of the divisions must fall a little short, or exceed a little, if not much, at all events by a small quantity, in every instance, which indeed escapes the perception of our outward senses which attend only to the larger and more tangible burdens of nature and custom, but which are unable to comprehend atoms and indivisible things. (143) But it is established by the incorruptible word of truth that there is nothing equal in inequality. God alone therefore seems to be exactly just, and to be the only being able to divide in the middle bodies and things, in such a manner that none of the divisions shall be greater or less than the other by the smallest and most indivisible portion, and he alone is able to attain to sublime and perfect equality. (144) If therefore there were but one idea of perfect equality, what has been said would be quite sufficient for the purpose. But as there are many, we must not hesitate to add some considerations which are suitable. For the word “equal” is used in one sense when speaking of numbers, as when we say that two are equal to two, and three to three; and speak of other numbers in the same manner. But in another sense when speaking of magnitude, as equal in length or breadth, or depth, which are all different proportions. For wrestler compared with wrestler, or cubit with cubit are equal in magnitude but different in power, as is the case also with measures and weights. (145) But the idea of equality is a necessary one, and so is that of equality in proportion, according to which a few things are looked upon as equal to many, and small things are equal to larger ones. And their proportionate equality, cities are accustomed to use at suitable times, when they command every citizen to contribute an equal share of his property, not equal in number, but in proportion to the value of his assessment, so that in some cases he who contributes a hundred drachmas will appear to have brought an equal sum with him who contributes a talent.
XXIX. (146) These things being thus previously sketched out, see now how God, dividing things in the middle, has divided them into equal portions according to all the ideas of equality which occur in the creation of the universe. He has divided the heavy things so as to make them equal in number to the light ones, two to two; that is to say, so that the earth and the water, being things of weight, are equal in number to those which are by nature light, air, and fire. Again, he has made one equal to one, the driest thing to the wettest thing, the earth to the water; and the coldest thing to the hottest thing, the air to the fire. So, in the same manner, he had divided light from darkness, and day from night, and summer from winter, and autumn from spring; and so on. (147) Again, he has divided things so as to make his divisions equal in point of magnitude; such as the parallel cycles in heaven, and those which belong to the equinoxes both of spring and autumn, and those which belong to the winter and summer solstice. And on the earth he has divided the zones, two being equal to one another, which being placed close to the poles are frozen with cold, and on this account are uninhabitable. And two he has placed on the borders between these two and the torrid zone, and these two they say are the abode of a happy temperature of the air, one of them lying towards the south and the other towards the north. (148) Now the divisions of time are equal in point of length, the longest day being equal to the longest night, and the shortest day being equal to the shortest night, and the mean length of day to the mean length of night. And the equal magnitude of other days and nights appears to be indicated chiefly by the equinoxes. (149) From the spring equinox to the summer solstice, day receives an addition to its length, and night, on the other hand, submits to a diminution; until the longest day and the shortest night are both completed. And then after the summer solstice the sun, turning back again the same road, neither more quickly nor more slowly than he advanced, but always preserving the same difference in the same manner, having a constantly equal arrangement, proceeds on till the autumnal equinox; and then, having made day and night both equal, begins to increase the length of the night, diminishing the day until the time of the winter solstice. (150) And when it has made the night the longest night, and the day the shortest day, then returning back again and adopting the same distances as before, he again comes to the spring equinox. Thus the differences of time which appear to be unequal, do in reality possess a perfect equality in respect of magnitude, not indeed at the same seasons, but at different seasons of the year.