XXXIX. (216) Very beautifully therefore, do we pray that this Ishmael may live. Therefore, Abraham adds, “May he live before God,” looking upon it as the perfection of all happiness for the mind to be accounted worthy of him who is the most excellent of all beings, as its inspector and overseer; (217) for if, while the teacher is present the pupil cannot go wrong, and if a monitor being at hand is of service to the learner, and if while an elder person is present the younger man is adorned by modesty and temperance, and if the presence of his father or of his mother have often prevented a son when about to commit sin, even though they are only beheld by him in silence, then what excess of good must we imagine that man to enjoy, who believes that he is always watched and beheld by God? for while he fears and reverences and looks up to the dignity of him as being present, he will flee from committing iniquity with all his might. (218) But when he prays that Ishmael may live, he does not despair of the birth of Isaac, as I have already said, but he believes in God; for it does not follow that what it is possible for God to give, it is also possible for man to receive, since to God it is easy to give the most numerous and important benefits, but to us it is not easy to accept of the gifts which are proffered to us; (219) for we must be content, if, by means of labour and diligence, we obtain a share of those good things which are familiar and customary to us. But there is no hope that we can attain to those which come of their own accord, and from some ever ready and previously prepared source, without any art, or in short, any human contrivance whatever; for inasmuch as these things are divine, they must of necessity be found out by more divine and unadulterated natures, such as have no connection with any mortal body. (220) And Moses has shown that every one, to the best of his power, ought to make grateful acknowledgments for benefits received; for instance, that the clever man ought to offer up as a sacrifice his acuteness and wisdom; the eloquent man should consecrate all his excellences of speech, by means of psalms and a regular enumeration of the greatness and panegyric on the living God; and to proceed with each species, he who is a natural philosopher should offer up his natural philosophy; he who is a moral philosopher should make an offering of his ethical philosophy; he who is skilful in any art or science should dedicate to God his knowledge of the arts and sciences. (221) Thus again a sailor and a pilot should dedicate their successful voyage; the agricultural farmer, his productive crops; the stock-farmer, the prolific increase of his flocks and herds; the physician, the good health of his patients; the commander of an army, his success in war; the magistrate or the king will offer up his administration of the laws or his sovereign power. And, in short, the man who is not blinded by self-love, looks upon the only true maker of all things, God, as the cause of all the good things affecting his soul, or body, or his external circumstances. (222) Let no one therefore, of those who seem to be somewhat obscure and humble, from a despair of any better hope, hesitate to become a suppliant to God. But even if he no longer looks forward to any great advantages, still let him, to the best of his power, give God thanks for the blessings which he has already received, (223) and in effect, those which he has received are countless; his birth, his life, his soul, his food, his outward senses, his imagination, his inclinations, his reason; and reason is a very short word, but a most perfect and admirable thing, a fragment of the soul of the universe, or, as it is more pious to say for those who study philosophy according to Moses, a very faithful copy of the divine image.