XVIII. (1.109) On which account the scripture adds, “This is the only covering of his nakedness;” for what can so becomingly overshadow and conceal the reproaches and disgraces of life, as speech? For ignorance is a disgrace akin to irrational nature, but education is the brother of speech, and an ornament properly belonging to man. (1.110) In what then will a man lie down to rest? That is to say, in what will a man find tranquillity and a respite from his labours, except in speech? For speech is a relief to our most miserable and afflicted race. As therefore, when men have been overwhelmed by grief, or by fear, or by any other evil, tranquillity, and constancy, and the kindness of friends have often restored them; so it happens, not often, but invariably, that speech, the only real averter of evil, wards off that most heavy burden which the necessities of that body in the which we are bound up, and the unforeseen accidents of external circumstances which attack us, impose upon us; (1.111) for speech is a friend, and an acquaintance, and a kinsman, and a companion bound up within us; I should rather say, fitted close and united to us by some indissoluble and invisible cement of nature. On this account it is, that it forewarns us of what will be expedient for us, and when any unexpected event befalls us it comes forward of its own accord to assist us; not only bringing advantage of one kind only, such as that which he who is an adviser without acting, or an agent who can give no advice, may supply, but of both kinds: (1.112) for he does not display a half-complete power, but one which is perfect in every part. Inasmuch, as even if it were to fail in his endeavour, and in any conceptions which may have been formed, or efforts which may have been made, it still can have recourse to the third species of assistance, namely, consolation. For speech is, as it were, a medicine for the wounds of the soul, and a saving remedy for its passions, which, “even before the setting of the sun,” the lawgiver says one must restore: that is to say, before the all-brilliant beams of the almighty and all-glorious God are obscured, which he, out of pity for our race, sends down from heaven upon the human mind. (1.113) For while that most Godlike light abides in the soul, we shall be able to give back the speech, which was deposited as a pledge, as if it were a garment, in order that he who has received this peculiar possession of man, may by its means conceal the discreditable circumstances of life, and reap the benefit of the divine gift, and indulge in a respite combined with tranquillity, in consequence of the presence of so useful an adviser and defender, who will never leave the ranks in which he has been stationed. (1.114) Moreover, while God pours upon you the light of his beams, do you hasten in the light of day to restore his pledge to the Lord; for when the sun has set, then you, like the whole land of Egypt, {29}{#ex 10:21.} will have an everlasting darkness which may be felt, and being stricken with blindness and ignorance, you will be deprived of all those things of which you thought that you had certain possession, by that sharp-sighted Israel, whose pledges you hold, having made one who was by nature exempt from slavery a slave to necessity.