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Argument IX.—But He Imbues Their Minds, Above All, with Ethical Science; And He Does Not Confine Himself to Discoursing on the Virtues in Word, But He Rather Confirms His Teaching by His Acts.

Moreover, as to those things which excel all in importance, and those for the sake of which, above all else, the whole214214    πᾶν τὸ φιλόσοφον. Hœschelius and Bengel read πῶς, etc. family of the philosophical labours, gathering them like good fruits produced by the varied growths of all the other studies, and of long practised philosophizing,—I mean the divine virtues that concern the moral nature, by which the impulses of the mind have their equable and stable subsistence,—through these, too, he aimed at making us truly proof 31against grief and disquietude under the pressure of all ills, and at imparting to us a well-disciplined and stedfast and religious spirit, so that we might be in all things veritably blessed. And this he toiled at effecting by pertinent discourses, of a wise and soothing tendency, and very often also by the most cogent addresses touching our moral dispositions, and our modes of life. Nor was it only by words, but also by deeds, that he regulated in some measure our inclinations,—to wit, by that very contemplation and observation of the impulses and affections of the mind, by the issue of which most especially the mind is wont to be reduced to a right estate from one of discord, and to be restored to a condition of judgment and order out of one of confusion. So that, beholding itself as in a mirror (and I may say specifically, viewing, on the one hand, the very beginnings and roots of evil in it, and all that is reasonless within it, from which spring up all absurd affections and passions; and, on the other hand, all that is truly excellent and reasonable within it, under the sway of which it remains proof against injury and perturbation in itself215215    The text gives ὑφ᾽ ἑαυτῆς, for which Bengel reads ἐφ᾽ ἑαυτῆς., and then scrutinizing carefully the things thus discovered to be in it), it might cast out all those which are the growth of the inferior part, and which waste our powers216216    ἐκχέοντα ἡμᾶς. through intemperance, or hinder and choke them through depression,—such things as pleasures and lusts, or pains and fears, and the whole array of ills that accompany these different species of evil. I say that thus it might cast them out and make away with them, by coping with them while yet in their beginnings and only just commencing their growth, and not leaving them to wax in strength even by a short delay, but destroying and rooting them out at once; while, at the same time, it might foster all those things which are really good, and which spring from the nobler part, and might preserve them by nursing them in their beginnings, and watching carefully over them until they should reach their maturity. For it is thus (he used to say) that the heavenly virtues will ripen in the soul: to wit, prudence, which first of all is able to judge of those very motions in the mind at once from the things themselves, and by the knowledge which accrues to it of things outside of us, whatever such there may be, both good and evil; and temperance, the power that makes the right selection among these things in their beginnings; and righteousness, which assigns what is just to each; and that virtue which is the conserver of them all—fortitude. And therefore he did not accustom us to a mere profession in words, as that prudence, for instance, is the knowledge217217    ἐπιστήμη, science. of good and evil, or of what ought to be done, and what ought not: for that would be indeed a vain and profitless study, if there was simply the doctrine without the deed; and worthless would that prudence be, which, without doing the things that ought to be done, and without turning men away from those that ought not to be done, should be able merely to furnish the knowledge of these things to those who possessed her,—though many such persons come under our observation. Nor, again, did he content himself with the mere assertion that temperance is simply the knowledge of what ought to be chosen and what ought not; though the other schools of philosophers do not teach even so much as that, and especially the more recent, who are so forcible and vigorous in words (so that I have often been astonished at them, when they sought to demonstrate that there is the same virtue in God and in men, and that upon earth, in particular, the wise man is equal218218    τὰ πρῶτα Θεῷ ἶσον εἶναι τὸν σοφὸν ἄνθρωπον. to God), and yet are incapable of delivering the truth as to prudence, so that one shall do the things which are dictated by prudence, or the truth as to temperance, so that one shall choose the things he has learned by it; and the same holds good also of their treatment of righteousness and fortitude. Not thus, however, in mere words only did this teacher go over the truths concerning the virtues with us; but he incited us much more to the practice of virtue, and stimulated us by the deeds he did more than by the doctrines he taught.

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