XLIV. (2.291) Therefore these ridiculous men giving themselves tragic airs and using inflated language, are accustomed to speak thus: we are they who are leaders; we are kings; On us all things depend. Who, except ourselves, is the cause of good and of the contrary? To whom, except to us, can be doing well or ill be truly attributed? They talk nonsense too in another manner, saying, that all things depend upon an invisible power, which they fancy presides over all human and divine affairs in the whole world. (2.292) Uttering such insolent falsehoods as these, if after intoxication they have become sober, and have come to themselves again, and feel ashamed of the intoxication to which they have given way coming under the dominion of the external senses, and if they reproach themselves for the evil actions which they have been led on to commit by folly, giving ear to their new counsellor, which never flatters, and which cannot be corrupted, namely, repentance, having propitiated the merciful power of the living God by sacred hymns of repentance instead of profane songs, they will find entire forgiveness. (2.293) But if they are restive and obstinate for ever, and indulge in wanton behavior, as if they were independent, and free, and the rulers of others, then by a necessity which is deaf to all entreaties and implacable, they will learn to feel their own nothingness in all things both small and great; (2.294) for the driver who mounts upon them, putting a bridle, upon this world, as though it were a winged chariot, drawing back with main strength the reins which before were loose, and pressing the bits severely, will remind them by whip and spur of his authority as master, which they, like wicked servants, have forgotten by reason of the gentle and merciful temper of their manager; (2.295) for bad servants, looking upon the gentleness of masters as anarchy, fancy themselves entirely free from the power of any master at all, until their owner checks their great and increasing disease by applying punishment as a remedy. (2.296) For which reason the expression is used of “a lawless soul, which with its lips distinguishes well-doing and evil-doing, and then will subsequently announce its own Sin.”{126}{#le 5:4.} What sayest thou, O soul, full of insolence? For dost thou know what real good or real evil, real justice or real holiness, are? or what is suited to what? (2.297) The knowledge of those things and the power of regulating them belongs to God alone, and to whoever is dear to him. And witness is borne to this assertion by the scripture in which it is said, “I will kill and I will cause to live; I will smite and I will Heal.”{127}{#de 32:39.} (2.298) But the mind which was wise in its own conceit had not even a superficial dreaming intimation of the things placed above it; but, wretched that it was, it was so completely carried away by the wind of vain opinion that it swore that those things which it had erroneously imagined stood firmly and solidly. (2.299) If, therefore, the violence and convulsion of the disease begin to relax, the sparks of returning health becoming gradually re-kindled, will compel it at first to confess its error, that is to say, to reproach itself, and afterwards to become a suppliant at the altar, entreating with prayers, and supplications, and sacrifices, that it may only obtain pardon.