XXIV. Since, then, life is full of all this irregularity, and confusion, and indistinctness, it is necessary that the statesman as well as the philosopher should approach the science of the interpretation of dreams, so as to understand the dreams and visions which appear by day to people who believe themselves to be awake, being guided by probable conjectures and rational probabilities, and in this way he must explain each separate one, and show that such and such a thing is honourable, another disgraceful, that this is good or that is bad; that this thing is just, that thing is on the contrary unjust; and so on in the same way with respect to prudence, and courage, and piety, and holiness, and expediency, and usefulness; and in like manner of the opposite things, with respect to what was not useful nor reasonable, what was ignoble, impious, unholy, inexpedient, pernicious, and selfish. Moreover, he warns you in this way: is this something belonging to another? do not covet it. Is it your own? use it as not using it. Have you great abundance? share it with others; for the beauty of riches is not in the purse, but in the power it gives one to succour those who are in need. Have you but little? do not envy those who have much; no one will pity a poor man who is always envious. Are you in high reputation, and are you held in much honour? be not insolent on that account. Are you lowly in your fortunes? still let not your spirit be depressed. Does everything succeed with you according to your wish? fear a change. Do you often stumble? hope for good fortune hereafter; for the changes of human affairs are apt to be in a direction opposite to the course they have formerly taken. The moon and the sun, indeed, and the whole of the heaven has clearness bright and distinct, inasmuch as all things are alike which exist permanently in the heaven; and as they are all measured by the rules of truth itself, in harmonious order and in the most admirable agreement. But as for earthly things, which are full of great disorder and confusion, they are inharmonious and discordant, to speak with perfect correctness, so that dense darkness has overtaken some of them, while others resemble the most brilliant light, or rather they are themselves the clearest and purest of light. If, therefore, any one should wish to look closely into the nature of things, he will find that heaven is everlasting day, free from all participation in night or in any kind of shade, inasmuch as it is surrounded uninterruptedly by a brilliant display of inextinguishable and unadulterated light. And in the same proportion as among us those who are awake are superior to those who are asleep, so also in the universal world the things of heaven are superior to the things of earth; since the one enjoys an everlasting wakefulness which knows no sleep, on account of its energies which never stray, and never stumble, and which proceed rightly and successfully in every thing; while the others are oppressed by sleep, and if they wake up for a short time they are again pulled down and buried in slumber; because they are unable to look steadfastly and correctly at any thing with their souls, but are always straying and stumbling. For they are overshadowed by false opinions, by which they are compelled to submit to dreams, and are always behind the real truth, and are unable to comprehend any thing with a firm and tenacious grasp.