XLIII. (1.249) Very admirably therefore does the practiser of virtue, having learnt by continued study that creation is a thing in its own nature moveable, but that the uncreated God is unchangeable and immoveable, erect a pillar to God, and anoint it after he has erected it; for God says, “Thou hast anointed my Pillar.”{62}{#ge 31:13.} (1.250) But do not fancy that that stone was anointed with oil, but understand rather that that opinion, that God is the only being who stands firmly, was thoroughly hardened by exercise, and established in the soul by the science of wrestling, not that science by which bodies are made fat, but that by which the mind acquires strength and irresistible vigour; (1.251) for the man who is eager in the pursuit of good studies and virtuous objects is fond of labours, and fond of exercises; so that very naturally, having worked out the science of training which is the sister of the art of medicine, he anoints and brings to perfection all the reasonings of virtue and piety, and dedicates them, as a most beautiful and lasting offering to God. (1.252) For this reason, after mentioning the dedication of the pillar, God adds that, “Thou vowedst a vow to me.” Now a vow also is, to speak properly, a dedication, since he who makes a vow is said to offer up, as a gift to God, not only his own possessions, but himself likewise, who is the owner of them; (1.253) for says the scripture, “the man is holy who nourishes the locks of the hair of his head; who has vowed a vow.” But if he is holy he is undoubtedly an offering to God, no longer meddling with anything unholy or profane; (1.254) and there is an evidence in favour of my argument, in the conduct of the prophetess, and mother of a prophet, Hannah, whose name being translated, signifies grace; for she says that she gives her son, “Samuel, as a gift to the Holy One,”{63}{#1Sa 1:28.} not dedicating him more as a human being, than as a disposition full of inspiration, and possessed by a divinely sent impulse; and the name Samuel being interpreted means, “appointed to God.” (1.255) Why then, O my soul, do you any longer waste yourself in vain speculations and labours? and why do you not go as a pupil to the practiser of virtue, taking up arms against the passions, and against vain opinion, to learn from him the way to wrestle with them? For as soon as you have learnt this art, you will become the leader of a flock, not of one which is destitute of marks, and of reason, and of docility, but of one which is well approved, and rational, and beautiful, (1.256) of which, if you become the leader, you will pity the miserable race of mankind, and will not cease to reverence the Deity; and you will never be weary of blessing God, and moreover you will engrave hymns suited to your sacred subject upon pillars, that you may not only speak fluently, but may also sing musically the virtues of the living God; for by these means you will be able to return to your father’s house, being delivered from a long a profitless wandering in and foreign land.