XLIV. (252) Since the, the virtuous man has been bred up among and practised in these and similar divisions and discriminations of things, does he not rightly appear to pray that Ishmael may live, if he is not as yet able to become the father of Isaac? (253) What then does the merciful God say? To him who asks for one thing he gives two, and on him who prays for what is less he bestows what is greater; for, says the historian, he said unto Abraham, “Yea, behold, Sarrah thy wife shall bring forth a Son.”{87}{#ge 17:19.} Very felicitous and significant is this answer, “Yea;” for what can be more suitable to and more like the character of God, than to promise good things and to ratify that promise with all speed! (254) But what God promises every foolish man repudiates; therefore the sacred scriptures represent Leah as hated, and on this account it is that she received that name; for Leah, being interpreted, means “repudiating and labouring,” because we all turn away from virtue and think it a laborious thing, by reason of its very often imposing commands on us which are not pleasant. (255) But nevertheless, she is thought worthy of such an honourable reception from the prince, that her womb is opened by him, so as to receive the seed of divine generation, in order to cause the production of honourable pursuits and actions. Learn therefore, O soul, that Sarrah, that is, virtue, will bring forth to thee a son; and that Hagar, or intermediate instruction, is not the only one who will do so; for her offspring is one which has its knowledge from teaching, but the offspring of the other is entirely self-taught. (256) And do not wonder, if God, who brings forth all good things, has also brought forth this race, which, though rare upon the earth, is very numerous in heaven. And you may learn this also from other things of which man consists: do the eyes see from having been taught to do so? And what do the nostrils do? Do they smell by reason of their having learnt? And do the hands touch, or the feet advance, in accordance with the commands or recommendations of instructors? (257) Again, do the appetites and imaginations (and these are the first moving powers and persuasions of the soul) exist in consequence of teaching? And has our mind gone as a pupil to any sophist, in order to learn to think and to comprehend? All these things repudiate all kinds of instruction, and avail themselves only of the spontaneous gifts of nature to exert their appropriate energies. (258) Why then do you any longer wonder if God showers upon men virtue, unaccompanied by any labour or suffering, such as stand in need of no superintending care or instruction, but is from the very beginning entire and perfect? And if you wish to receive any testimony in corroboration of this view, can you find any more trustworthy than that of Moses? And he says that the rest of mankind derive their food from earth, but that he alone who is endowed with the power of sight, derives his from heaven. (259) And men occupied in agriculture co-operate to produce the food from the earth; but God, the only cause and giver, rains down the food from heaven without the cooperation of any other being. And, indeed, we read in the scriptures, “Behold, I rain upon you bread from Heaven.”{88}{#ex 16:4.} Now what nourishment can the scriptures properly say is rained down, except heavenly wisdom? (260) which God sends from above upon those souls which have a longing for virtue, God who possesses a great abundance and exceeding treasure of wisdom, and who irrigates the universe, and especially so on the sacred seventh day which he calls the sabbath; for then, he says, that there is an influx of spontaneous good things, not rising from any kind of art, but shooting up by their own spontaneous and self-perfecting nature, and bearing appropriate fruit.