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suddenly and immediately, the involuntary character of the deviation of the soul is manifested.
For with reference to intentional sins there is need of time to consider where, and when, and how a thing is to be done. But unintentional sins are committed suddenly, without any consideration, and, if it be possible to say such a thing they strike
upou the man without any time at all. For it is very difficult, as in the case of runners, for men, when they first begin to travel by the road which leads to piety, to keep their course straight onward without stumbling and without being out of breath ; since there are innumerable hindrances to every human being, but above all things, that which is the one and only thing in the way of doing good, namely the abstaining from any intentional misdeeds, is of service also to keep off the incalculable number of voluntary sins; and, in the second place, even of those which are involuntary, they are but few which are committed, and they do not cling to a person for any very long time.
Very beautifully, therefore, has Moses said that the days of unintentional error do not come into the computation (äroyos); not only because the error was one without calculation, but also because it is not possible to give an account (6yos) of involuntary offences. Therefore, it often happens, when we are asked the reason of such and such a thing, that we say that we do not know, and that we cannot tell, in that we were not present when they were done, and also that we were ignorant of their being done. It is, therefore, a very rare thing when God gives to any one to keep his life in a steady course from the beginning to the end, without either stumbling or falling; but escaping both kinds of offences, unintentional as well as intentional, with great speed and owing to the celerity and impetuosity of one's motions.
These things then are here said about beginning and end, because of the instance of the just. Noah, who, after he had acquired the first and elementary principles of the knowledge of husbandry, was unable to reach its furthest limits. For it is said that " he began to be a husbandman,” not that he arrived at the extreme end of complete knowledge: but what is said about his planting we will discuss subsequently,
THE SECOND PART
OF THB TR RATIBU
ABOUT THE PLANTING OF NOAH. I. In the former part of this treatise we have spoken of the art of husbandry as to its genus, dwelling on it at as great a length as the time admitted of; but in this book we will discuss the question of his cultivation of his vineyard with regard to the species as far as it is in our power. For Moses represents the just Noah not only as a husbandman, but also especially as occupied with the cultivation of vines, saying, “Noah began to be a husbandman of the earth; and he planted a vineyard." * And it is fitting that a man who was about to discuss the whole question of separate plants and manners of cultivation, should first of all acquire an accurate comprehension of the most perfect plants in the universe, and of the great planter and superintendent of them.
He then who is the greatest of all planters and the most perfect in art, is the Ruler of the universe ; and his plant is not one which comprises within itself only individual plants, but rather infinite numbers of them springing up like suckers from one root, namely, this world. For after the Creator of the world, reducing that substance, which was in its own nature destitute of order and regularity, into a state of order, and bringing it from a condition of confusion into a distinct system, began to fashion and shape it, he placed the earth and the water in the middle, and the plants of air and fire he drew up from their previously central position to a lofty eminence; and the ather he arranged all round, placing it as a boundary to and preservation of the things within, from which also it seems that the heavent derives its name, causing the earth to be borne upon the water in such a way that it continues dry, which, however, there was reason to fear might be dissolved by water; and this great worker of marvels, moreover, united the air, which was exceedingly
# Genesis ix. 20.
t Oupuvds, "heaven;" as if derived from ópos or ovpos, "a boundary."
cold by its own nature, to fire which is very hot; a most surprising miracle. For how can it be looked
upon as anything but a prodigy, for that which would dissolve another thing, to be held together by that which it would dissolve: that is to say, for water to be held together by earth ; and again, for that which is the hottest of all things to be placed upon that which is the coldest without its nature being destroyed, thnt is to say, for fire to be placed upon air ? And these are the elements of this most perfect plant; but the very great and all productive plant is this world, of which the aforesaid branches are the main shoots.
II. We must now therefore consider where God placed its foundations, and in fact, what foundation it bias on which it is supported, as a statue is on a pedestal ; certainly we cannot imagine that any body is left outside and wandering about, since God has worked up and arranged every imaginable material throughout the whole universe. For it was fitting that the most perfect and greatest of all works should be made by the greatest of all makers; and it would not have been the most perfect of works if it had not been filled up by perfect parts, so that this world consists of all earth, and all water, and all air, and all fire, not a single particle, no not the smallest imaginable atom, being omitted.
It follows therefore of necessity, that what is outside must either be a vacuum or nothing at all
. If now it is a vacuum, than how can that which is full and solid, and the heaviest of all things, avoid being pressed down by its own weight, since there is no solid thing to hold it up ? from which consideration it would appear to be something like a vision, since the mind is always seeking for some corporeal foundation, such as everything which is moved, must of necessity have ; and especially the world, inasmuch as it is the greatest of all bodies, and embraces a multitude of other bodies as its own appropriate parts.
If therefore any one wishes to escape from the difficulties of this question which present themselves in the different doubts thus raised, let him speak freely and say that there is nothing in any ma
material of such power as to be able to support this weight of the world. But it is the eternal law of the everlasting God which is the most supporting and
firm foundation of the universe. This it is which, being extended from the centre to the borders, and again from the extremities to the centre, runs through the whole unsubdued course of nature, collecting all the parts and binding them firmly together; for the father who created them has made it the indissoluble bond of the universe. Very naturally and appropriately therefore, all earth will not be dissolved by all water, which the bosom of the earth contains, nor will fire be extinguished by air, nor again will air be burnt
up by fire, since the divine law establishes itself as a boundary to all these elements, like a vowel among consonants, so that the universe may, as it were, be harmonious in concert with the music expressed by letters ; persuasion, by its own authority, putting an end to the threatening conflicts of contrary natures.
III. Thus then the plant which bears all things was rooted, and when it was rooted was made strong. But of the particular plants, and those of smaller growth, some were moveable, so as to have their places changed; and some were made so as, without any such change, to stand steadily in the same place. Those then that are affected by motion, inducing change of place, which we call animals, are attached to the most important portions of the universe; the terrestrial animals to the earth, the animals which swim to the water, the winged animals to the air and those which can live in the flame to the fire (which last are said to be most evidently produced in Macedonia), and the stars are attached to the heaven. For those who have studied philosophy pronounce the stars also to be animals, being endowed with intellect and pervading the whole universe; some being planets, and moving by their own intrinsic nature ; and others, that is the fixed stars, being borne along with the revolutions of the universe ; so that they likewise appear to change their places. But those which are regulated according to a nature devoid of all sensation, which are peculiarly called plants, have no participation in that motion which involves a change of place.
IV. But the Creator made two different races on the earth and in the air. In the air, he made the winged animals capable of being perceived by the external senses, and other powers which can by no means be comprehended in any place
by the external senses ; and this is the company of incorporeal souls arranged in order, but not in the same classifications. For it is said that some are assigned to mortal bodies, and are again subjected to a change of place according to certain defined periodical revolutions ; but that others which have received a more divinely prepared habitation, look down upon the region of the earth, and that in the highest place, near the other itself, the purest souls are placed, which those who have studied philosophy among the Greeks call heroes, but which Moses, by a felicitous appellation, entitles angels ; souls which go as ambassadors and messengers of good from the ruler of all things to his subjects, and messeygers also to the king respecting those things of which his subjects have heard. To the earth again he assigned two classos, terrestrial animals and plants, wishing that sho should be at the same time their mother and their nurse. For, as in the case of woman and every animal of the female
fountains of milk spring up in them when they are about to bring forth, in order that they may supply the offspring that is born of them with necessary and suitable food; 80 in a similar manner God has assigned to the earth, which is the mother of all terrestrial animals, all the different species of plants, in order that the animals produced by the earth may have such food as is akin to them, and not alien from their natures.
And, indeed, God has caused plants to grow with their heads downwards, having fixed their heads in the deepest parts of the earth ; and having drawn up the heads of the irrational animals from the earth, he has set them up high on long necks, putting their fore feet under their necks as a kind of foundation. But man has received a pre-eminently superior formation. For of all other animals God has bent the eyes downwards, so that they look upon the ground; but on the other hand, he has raised the eyes of man so that he may bebold the hoaven, being not a terrestrial but a celestial plant as the old proverb is. * This is similar to what Ovid says
Pronaque dum spectant animalia cætera terram,
Jussit et erectos ad sidera tollere vultus.