207 The king received the answer with great delight and looking at another said, ‘What is the teaching of wisdom?’ And the other replied, ‘As you wish that no evil should befall you, but to be a partaker of all good things, so you should act on the same principle towards your subjects and offenders, and you should mildly admonish the noble and good. For God draws all men to himself by his benignity.’

208 The king praised him and asked the next in order How he could be the friend of men? And he replied, ‘By observing that the human race increases and is born with much trouble and great suffering: wherefore you must not lightly punish or inflict torments upon them, since you know that the life of men is made up of pains and penalties. For if you understood everything you would be filled with pity, for God also is pitiful.’

209 The king received the answer with approbation and inquired of the next ‘What is the most essential qualification for ruling? ‘ ‘To keep oneself’, he answered, ‘free from bribery and to practice sobriety during the greater part of one’s life, to honour righteousness above all things, and to make friends of men of this type. For God, too, is a lover of justice.’

210 Having signified his approval, the king said to another ‘What is the true mark of piety?’ And he replied, ‘To perceive that God constantly works in the Universe and knows all things, and no man who acts unjustly and works wickedness can escape His notice. As God is the benefactor of the whole world, so you, too, must imitate Him and be void of offence.’

211 The king signified his agreement and said to another ‘What is the essence of kingship?’ And he replied, ‘To rule oneself well and not to be led astray by wealth or fame to immoderate or unseemly desires, this is the true way of ruling if you reason the matter well out. For all that you really need is yours, and God is free from need and benignant withal. Let your thoughts be such as become a man, and desire not many things but only such as are necessary for ruling.’