277 The king loudly applauded the answer and asked another, Why is it that the majority of men never become virtuous? ‘Because,’ he replied, ‘all men are by nature intemperate and inclined to 278 pleasure. Hence, injustice springs up and a flood of avarice. The habit of virtue is a hindrance to those who are devoted to a life of pleasure because it enjoins upon them the preference of temperance and righteousness. For it is God who is the master of these things.’

279 The king said that he had answered well, and asked, What ought kings to obey? And he said, ‘The laws, in order that by righteous enactments they may restore the lives of men. Even as you by such conduct in obedience to the Divine command have laid up in store for yourself a perpetual memorial.’

280 The king said that this man, too, had spoken well, and asked the next, Whom ought we to appoint as governors? And he replied, ‘All who hate wickedness, and imitating your own conduct act righteously that they may maintain a good reputation constantly. For this is what you do, O mighty King,’ he said, ‘and it is God who has bestowed upon you the crown of righteousness.’

281 The king loudly acclaimed the answer and then looking at the next man said, Whom ought we to appoint as officers over the forces?’ And he explained, ‘Those who excel in courage and righteousness and those who are more anxious about the safety of their men than to gain a victory by risking their lives through rashness. For as God acts well towards all men, so too you in imitation of Him are the benefactor of all your subjects.’

282 The king said that he had given a good answer and asked another, What man is worthy of admiration? And he replied, The man who is furnished with reputation and wealth and power and possesses a soul equal to it all. You yourself show by your actions that you are most worthy of admiration through the help of God who makes you care for these things.’