VII. (30) Now such a disposition of the soul, Abraham, the inspector, has deeply engraved on my memory. For, says the scripture, “Abraham came near and said, Now have I begun to speak unto the Lord, I that am but dust and Ashes;”{13}{#ge 18:27.} since then there was an opportunity given to the creature to approach the Creator, when he recognised his own nothingness. (31) But the expression, “What wilt thou give me?” is not so much the language of one who is in doubt, as of one feeling and expressing gratitude at the multitude and greatness of the blessings which he has already enjoyed. “What wilt thou give me?” for, in fact, what more is there left for me to expect? for, O bountiful God! thy graces and mercies are boundless and unlimited, and they have no boundary and no end, bursting up like fountains full of perfection, which are continually drawn upon and are never dry. (32) And it is worth while to contemplate, not merely the ever-abounding torrent of thy bounties, but also those fields of ours which are irrigated by them; for if a superfluous and too excessive stream be poured over them, then the place will become a marshy and swampy plain instead of fertile land; for our land has need of irrigation, carefully measured out with a view to cause fertility, and not unmeasured. (33) And on this account I will ask, What wilt thou give me, thou who hast already bestowed on me unspeakable mercies, and almost all things, so that mortal nature is incapable of containing them? For what remains that I wish to know, and to have, and to acquire, is this: who could be worthy of thy works, who could deserve to inherit them? (34) “I shall depart from life Childless;”{14}{#ge 15:2.} having received a short-lived and ephemeral blessing, which speedily passes away, when I prayed for the contrary, namely, for one who should last many days, a long time; which should be free from all mishap, which should never die, but should be able to sow seeds itself, and to stretch forth roots for the sake of giving it firmness, and which should raise its trunk upwards to heaven, and hold its head on high; (35) for it is necessary that human virtue must walk upon the earth, and must, at the same time, strive to reach heaven; that there being hospitably received by immortality, it may pass all future time in freedom from all evil, (36) for I know that thou hatest a barren and unproductive soul, thou who art thyself the supporter of things that have no existence, and the parent of all things. Since thou hast given especial grace to the race which has the faculty of seeing, so that it shall never be barren, and never be childless; and as I myself have been assigned to that race as part of it, I am justly desirous of an heir; for, perceiving that the race is inextinguishable, I think it would be a most shameful thing of me to be indifferent to the sight of my own nature, separated from all that is good. (37) Therefore I am a suppliant to thee, and I implore thee, that those seeds and sparks being kindled and cherished, the saving light of virtue may burn up and give light, which being borne on like a torch, delivered from hand to hand in constant succession, may last as long as the world. (38) Moreover, thou has inspired those men who practice virtue with a desire for children of the sowing and generation of the soul; and they, having received such a portion have, in their joy, spoken and said, “The children which God hath mercifully given to thy Servant,”{15}{#ge 33:5.} of whom migration is the nurse and guardian, whose souls are simple, and tender, and well disposed, being calculated easily to receive the beautiful and most God-like impressions of virtue; (39) and teach me also this saying, “Whether the son of Meshech, my servant, born in my house, is competent to become the inheritor of thy graces,” for up to this time I have not received the son whom I hoped for, and of the one whom I have received I have no hope.