XXXVI. And the most beautiful and varied work of God, this world, has been created in this its present state of perfection by all-wise knowledge; and how can it be anything but right to receive the art of variegating as a noble effort of knowledge? (1.208) the most sacred copy of which is the whole word of wisdom, which will bear about in its bosom the things of heaven and of earth, from which the practiser of virtue elaborates his notions of various things. For after the white sheep he immediately beheld the variegated animals, stamped with the impression of instruction. (1.209) The third kind are the ring-straked and speckled; and what man in his senses would deny that these also are, as to their genus, variegated? but still he is not so very eager about the varieties of the members of the flocks, as about the road which leads to virtue and excellence; (1.210) for the prophet intends that he who proceeds along this road shall be besprinkled with dust and water; because it is related that the earth and water being kneaded together and fashioned into shape by the Creator of man, was formed into one body, not being made by hand, but being the work of invisible nature. (1.211) Therefore it is the first principle of wisdom not to forget one’s self, and always to keep before one’s eyes the materials of which one has been compounded; for in this way a man will get rid of boasting and arrogance, which of all evils is the one most hated by God; for who that ever admits into his mind the recollection that the first principles of his formation are dust and water, would ever be so puffed by vanity as to be unduly elated? (1.212) On this account the prophet has thought it fit that those who are about to offer sacrifice shall be sprinkled with the aforesaid things; thinking no one worthy to appear at a sacrifice who has not first of all learnt to know himself, and to comprehend the nothingness of mankind, and the elements of which he is composed, conjecturing from them that he himself is utterly insignificant.