Arnobius Against the Heathen. (Adversus Gentes) Book II
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1. Here, if any means could be found, I should wish to converse thus with all those who hate the name of Christ, turning aside for a little from the defence primarily set up:-If you think it no dishonour to answer when asked a question, explain to us and say what is the cause, what the reason, that you pursue Christ with so bitter hostility? or what offences you remember which He did, that at the mention of His name you are roused to bursts of mad and savage fury? 2 Did He ever, in claiming for Himself power as king, fill the whole world with bands of the fiercest soldiers; and of nations at peace from the beginning, did He destroy and put an end to some, and compel others to submit to His yoke and serve Him? Did He ever, excited by grasping 3 avarice, claim as His own by right all that wealth to have abundance of which men strive eagerly? Did He ever, transported with lustful passions, break down by force the barriers of purity, or stealthily lie in wait for other men's wives? Did He ever, puffed up with haughty arrogance, inflict at random injuries and insults, without any distinction of persons? (B) And He was not worthy that you should listen to and believe Him, yet He should not have been despised by you even on this account,
that He showed to you things concerning your salvation, that He prepared for you a path 4 to heaven, and the immortality for which you long; although 5 He neither extended the light of life to all, nor delivered all from the danger which threatens them through their ignorance. 6
2. But indeed, some one will say , He deserved our hatred because He has driven religion 7 from the world, because He has kept men back from seeking to honour the gods. 8 Is He then denounced as the destroyer of religion and promoter of impiety, who brought true religion into the world, who opened the gates of piety to men blind and verily living in impiety, and pointed out to whom they should bow themselves? Or is there any truer religion- one more serviceable, 9 powerful, and right -
than to have learned to know the supreme God, to know how to pray to God Supreme, who alone is the source and fountain of all good, the creator, 10 founder, and framer of all that endures, by whom all things on earth and all in heaven are quickened, and filled with the stir of life, and without whom there would assuredly be nothing to bear any name, and have any substance? But perhaps you doubt whether there is that ruler of whom we speak, and rather incline to believe in the existence of Apollo, Diana, Mercury, Mars, Give a true judgment; 11 and, looking round on all these things which we see, any one will rather doubt whether all the other gods exist, than hesitate with regard to the God whom we all know by nature, whether when we cry out, O God, or when we make God the witness of wicked deeds , 12 and raise our face to heaven as though He saw us.
3. But He did not permit men to make supplication to the lesser gods. Do you, then, know who are, or where are the lesser gods? Has mistrust of them, or the way in which they were mentioned, ever touched you, so that you are justly indignant that their worship has been done away with and deprived of all honour? 13 But if haughtiness of mind and arrogance, 14 as it is called by the Greeks, did not stand in your way and hinder you, you might long ago have been able to understand what He forbade to be done, or wherefore; within what limits He would have true religion lie; 15 what danger arose to you from that which you thought obedience? or from what evils you would escape if you broke away from your dangerous delusion.
4. But all these things will be more clearly and distinctly noticed when we have proceeded further. For we shall show that Christ did not teach the nations impiety, but delivered ignorant and wretched then from those who most wickedly wronged them. 16 We do not believe, you say, that what He says is true. What, then? Have you no doubt as to the things which 17 you say are not true, while, as they are only at hand, and not yet disclosed 18 they can by no means be disproved? But He, too, does not prove what He promises. It is so; for, as I said, there can be no proof of things still in the future. Since, then, the nature of the future is such that it cannot be grasped and comprehended by any anticipation, 19 is it not more rational, 20 of two things uncertain and hanging in doubtful suspense, rather to believe that which carries with it some hopes, than that which brings none at all? For in the one case there is no danger, if that which is said to be at hand should prove vain and groundless; in the other there is the greatest loss, even 21 the loss of salvation, if, when the time has come, it be shown that there was nothing false in what was declared . 22
5. What say you, O ignorant ones, for whom we might well weep and be sad? 23 Are you so void of fear that these things may be true which are despised by you and turned to ridicule? and do you not consider with yourselves at least, in your secret thoughts, lest that which to-day with perverse obstinacy you refuse to believe, time may too late show to be true, 24 and ceaseless remorse punish you? Do not even these proofs at least give you faith to believe, 25 viz ., that already, in so short and brief a time, the oaths of this vast army have spread abroad over all the earth? that already there is no nation so rude and fierce that it has not, changed by His love, subdued its fierceness, and with tranquillity hitherto unknown, become mild in disposition? 26
that men endowed with so great abilities, orators , critics, rhetoricians , lawyers, and physicians, those, too, who pry into the mysteries of philosophy, seek to learn these things, despising those in which but now they trusted? that slaves choose to be tortured by their masters as they please, wives to be divorced, children to be disinherited by their parents,
rather than be unfaithful to Christ and cast off the oaths of the warfare of salvation? that although so terrible punishments have been denounced by you against those who follow the precepts of this religion, it 27 increases even more, and a great host strives more boldly against all threats and the terrors which would keep it back, and is roused to zealous faith by the very attempt to hinder it? Do you indeed believe that these things happen idly and at random? that these feelings are adopted on being met with by chance? 28 Is not this, then, sacred and divine?
Or do you believe that, without God's grace , their minds are so changed, that although murderous hooks and other tortures without number threaten, as we said, those who shall believe, they receive the grounds of faith with which they have become acquainted, 29 as if carried away (A) by some charm, and by an eager longing for all the virtues, 30 and prefer the friendship of Christ to all that is in the world? 31
6. But perhaps those seem to you weak-minded and silly, who even now are uniting all over the world, and joining together to assent with that readiness of belief at which you mock . 32 What then? Do you alone, imbued 33 with the true power of wisdom and understanding, see something wholly different 34 and profound? Do you alone perceive that all these things are trifles? you alone, that those things are mere words and childish absurdities which we declare are about to come to us from the supreme Ruler? Whence, pray, has so much wisdom been given to you? whence so much subtlety and wit? Or from what scientific training have you been able to gain so much wisdom, to derive so much foresight? Because you are skilled in declining verbs and nouns by cases and tenses, and 35 in avoiding barbarous words and expressions; because you have learned either to express yourselves in 36 harmonious, and orderly, and fitly-disposed language, or to know when it is rude and unpolished; 37 because you have stamped on your memory the Fornix of Lucilius, 38 and Marsyas of Pomponius; because you know what the issues to be proposed in lawsuits are, how many kinds of cases there are, how many ways of pleading, what the genus is, what the species, by what methods an opposite is distinguished from a contrary,-do you therefore think that you know what is false, what true, what can or cannot be done, what is the nature of the lowest and highest? Have the well-known words never rung in 39 your ears, that the wisdom of man is foolishness with God?
7. In the first place, you yourselves, too, 40 see clearly that, if you ever discuss obscure subjects, and seek to lay bare the mysteries of nature, on the one hand you do not know the very things which you speak of, which you affirm, which you uphold very often with especial zeal, and that each one defends with obstinate resistance his own suppositions as though they were proved and ascertained truths . For how can we of ourselves know whether we 41 perceive the truth, even if all ages be employed in seeking out knowledge- we whom some envious power 42 brought forth, and formed so ignorant and proud, that, although we know nothing at all, we yet deceive ourselves, and are uplifted by pride and arrogance so as to suppose ourselves possessed of knowledge?
For, to pass by divine things, and those plunged in natural obscurity, can any man explain that which in the Phaedrus 43 the well-known Socrates cannot comprehend-what man is, or whence he is, uncertain, changeable, deceitful, manifold, of many kinds? for what purposes he was produced? by whose ingenuity he was devised? what he does in the world? (C) why he undergoes such countless ills? whether the earth gave life to him as to worms and mice, being affected with decay through the action of some moisture; 44 or whether he received 45 these outlines of body, and this cast of face, from the hand of some maker and framer? Can he, I say, know these things, which lie open to all, and are recognisable by 46 the senses common to all ,-by what causes we are plunged into sleep, by what we awake? in what ways dreams are produced, in what they are seen? nay rather-as to which Plato in the Theoetetus 47 is in doubt-whether we are ever awake, or whether that very state which is called waking is part of an unbroken slumber? and what we seem to do when we say that we see a dream? whether we see by means of rays of light proceeding towards the object, 48 or images of the objects fly to and alight on the pupils of our eyes? whether the flavour is in the things tasted , or arises from their touching the palate? from what causes hairs lay aside their natural darkness, and do not become gray all at once, but by adding little by little? why it is that all fluids, on mingling, form one whole; that oil, on the contrary , does not suffer the others to be poured into it, 49 but is ever brought together clearly into its own impenetrable 50 substance? finally, why the soul also, which is said by you to be immortal and divine, 51 is sick in men who are sick , senseless in children, worn out in doting, silly, 52 and crazy old age? Now the weakness and wretched ignorance of these theories is greater on this account, that while it may happen that we at times say something which is true, 53 we cannot be sure even of this very thing, whether we have spoken the truth at all.
8. And since you have been wont to laugh at our faith, and with droll jests to pull to pieces our readiness of belief too, say, O wits, soaked and filled with wisdom's pure drought, is there in life any kind of business demanding diligence and activity, which the doers 54 undertake, engage in, and essay, without believing that it can be done? Do you travel about, do you sail on the sea without believing that you will return home when your business is done? Do you break up the earth with the plough, and fill it with different kinds of seeds without believing that you will gather in the fruit with the changes of the seasons? Do you unite with partners in marriage, 55 without believing that it will be pure, and a union serviceable to the husband? Do you beget children without believing that they will pass 56 safely through the different stages of life to the goal of age? Do you commit your sick bodies to the hands of physicians, without believing that diseases can be relieved by their severity being lessened? Do you wage wars with your enemies, without believing that you will carry off the victory by success in battles? 57
Do you worship and serve the gods without believing that they are, and that they listen graciously to your prayers?
9. What, have you seen with your eyes, and handled 58 with your hands, those things which you write yourselves, which you read from time to time on subjects placed beyond human knowledge? Does not each one trust this author or that? That which any one has persuaded himself is said with truth by another, does he not defend with a kind of assent, as it were, like that of faith? Does not he who says that fire 59 or water is the origin of all things, pin his faith to Thales or Heraclitus? he who places the cause of all in numbers, to Pythagoras of Samos, and to Archytas? he who divides the soul, and sets up bodiless forms, to Plato, the disciple of Socrates? he who adds a fifth element 60 to the primary causes, to Aristotle, the father of the Peripatetics? he who threatens the world with destruction by fire, and says that when the time comes it will be set on fire, to Panaetius, Chrysippus, Zeno? he who is always fashioning worlds from atoms, 61 and destroying them , to Epicurus, Democritus, Metrodorus? he who says that nothing is comprehended by man, and that all things are wrapt in dark obscurity, 62 to Archesilas, 63 to Carneades?-to some teacher, in fine, of the old and later Academy?
10. Finally, do not even the leaders and founders of the schools 64 already mentioned, say those very things 65 which they do say through belief in their own ideas? For, did Heraclitus see things produced by the changes of fires? Thales, by the condensing of water? 66 Did Pythagoras see them spring from number? 67 Did Plato see the bodiless forms? Democritus, the meeting together of the atoms? Or do those who assert that nothing at all can be comprehended by man, know whether what they say is true, so as to 68 understand that the very proposition which they lay down is a declaration of truth? 69 Since, then, you have discovered and learned nothing, and are led by credulity to assert all those things which you write, and comprise in thousands of books; what kind of judgment, pray, is this, so unjust that you mock at faith in us, while you see that you have it in common with our readiness of belief? 70 But you say you believe wise men, well versed in all kinds of learning!-those, forsooth, who know nothing, and agree in nothing which they say; who join battle with their opponents on behalf of their own opinions, and are always contending fiercely with obstinate hostility; who, overthrowing, refuting, and bringing to nought the one the other's doctrines, have made all things doubtful, and have shown from their very want of agreement that nothing can he known.
11. But, supposing that these things do not at all hinder or prevent your being bound to believe and hearken to them in great measure; 71 and what reason is there either that you should have more liberty in this respect, or that we should have less?
You believe Plato, 72 Cronius, 73 Numenius, or any one you please; we believe and confide in Christ. 74 How unreasonable it is, that when we both abide 75 by teachers, and have one and the same thing, belief, in common, you should wish it to be granted to you to receive what is so 76 said by them, but should be unwilling to hear and see what is brought forward by Christ!
And yet, if we chose to compare cause with cause, we are better able to point out what we have followed in Christ, than you to point out what you have followed in the philosophers. And we, indeed, have followed in him these things-those glorious works and most potent virtues which he manifested and displayed in diverse miracles, by which any one might be led to feel the necessity of believing, and might decide with confidence that they were not such as might be regarded as man's, but such as showed some divine and unknown power. What virtues did you follow in the philosophers, that it was more reasonable for you to believe them than for us to believe Christ?
Was any one of them ever able by one word, or by a single command, I will not say to restrain, to check 77 the madness of the sea or the fury of the storm; to restore their sight to the blind, or give it to men blind from their birth; to call the dead back to life; to put an end to the sufferings of years; but-and this is much easier 78 -to heal by one rebuke a boil, a scab, or a thorn fixed in the skin?
Not that we deny either that they are worthy of praise for the soundness of their morals, or that they are skilled in all kinds of studies and learning; for we know that they both speak in the most elegant language, and that their words flow in polished periods; that they reason in syllogisms with the utmost acuteness; that they arrange their inferences in due order; 79 that they express, divide, distinguish principles by definitions;
that they say many things about the different kinds of numbers,
many things about music ; that by their maxims and precepts 80 they settle the problems of geometry also. But what has that to do with the case? Do enthymemes, syllogisms, and other such things, assure us that these men know what is true? or are they therefore such that credence should necessarily be given to them with regard to very obscure subjects?
A comparison of persons must be decided, not by vigour of eloquence,
........but by the excellence of the works which they have done.
12. You bring forward arguments against us, and speculative quibblings, 83 which-may I say this without displeasing Him-if Christ Himself were to use in the gatherings of the nations, who would assent? who would listen? who would say that He decided 84 anything clearly? or who, though he were rash and utterly 85 credulous, would follow Him when pouring forth vain and baseless statements? His virtues have been made manifest to you, and that unheard-of power over things, whether that which was openly exercised by Him or that which was used 86 over the whole world by those who proclaimed Him: it has subdued the fires of passion, and caused races, and peoples, and nations most diverse in character to hasten with one accord to accept the same faith. For the deeds can be reckoned up and numbered which have been done in India, 87 among the Seres, Persians, and Medes; in Arabia, Egypt, in Asia, Syria; among the Galatians, Parthians, Phrygians; in Achaia, Macedonia, Epirus; in all islands and provinces on which the rising and setting sun shines; in Rome herself, finally, the mistress of the world , in which, although men are 88 busied with the practices introduced by king 89 Numa, and the superstitious observances of antiquity, they have nevertheless hastened to give up their fathers' mode of life, 90 and attach themselves to Christian truth.
For they had seen the chariot 91 of Simon Magus, and his fiery car, blown into pieces by the mouth of Peter, and vanish when Christ was named. They had seen him , I say, trusting in false gods, and abandoned by them in their terror, borne down headlong by his own weight, lie prostrate with his legs broken; and then, when he had been carried to Brunda, 92 worn out with anguish and shame, again cast himself down from the roof of a very lofty house. But all these deeds you neither know nor have wished to know, nor did you ever consider that they were of the utmost importance to you; and while you trust your own judgments, and term that wisdom which is overweening conceit, you have given to deceivers-to those guilty ones , I say, whose interest it is that the Christian name be degraded-an opportunity of raising clouds of darkness, and concealing truths of so much importance; of robbing you of faith, and putting scorn in its place, in order that, as they already feel that an end such as they deserve threatens them, they might excite in you also a feeling through which you should run into danger, and be deprived of the divine mercy.
13. Meantime, however, O you who wonder and are astonished at the doctrines of the learned, and of philosophy, do you not then think it most unjust to scoff, to jeer at us as though we say foolish and senseless things, when you too are found to say either these or just such things which you laugh at when said and uttered by us? Nor do I address those who, scattered through various bypaths of the schools, have formed this and that insignificant party through diversity of opinion. You, you I address, who zealously follow Mercury, 93 Plato, and Pythagoras, and the rest of you who are of one mind, and walk in unity in the same paths of doctrine. Do you dare to laugh at us because we 94 revere and worship the Creator and Lord 95 of the universe, and because we commit and entrust our hopes to Him? What does your Plato say in the Theoetetus , to mention him especially? Does he not exhort the soul to flee froth the earth, and, as much as in it lies, to be continually engaged in thought and meditation about Him? 96 Do you dare to laugh at us, because we say that there will be a resurrection of the dead? And this indeed we confess that wee say, but maintain that it is understood by you otherwise than we hold it. What says the same Plato in the Politicus? Does he not say that, when the world has begun to rise out of the west and tend towards the east, 97 men will again burst forth from the bosom of the earth, aged, grey-haired, bowed down with years; and that when the remoter 98 years begin to draw near, they will gradually sink down 99 to the cradles of their infancy, through the same steps by which they now grow to manhood? 100 Do you dare to laugh at us because we see to the salvation of our souls?-that is, ourselves care for ourselves: for what are we men, but souls shut up in bodies?-You, indeed, do not take every pains for their safety, 101 in that you do not refrain from all vice and passion; about this you are anxious, that you may cleave to your bodies as though inseparably bound to them. 102 -What mean those mystic rites, 103 in which you beseech some unknown powers to be favourable to you, and not put any hindrance in your way to impede you when returning to your native seats?
14. Do you dare to laugh at us when we speak of hell, 104 and fires 105 which cannot be quenched, into which we have learned that souls are cast by their foes and enemies? What, does not your Plato also, in the book which he wrote on the immortality of the soul, name the rivers Acheron, Styx, 106 Cocytus, and Pyriphlegethon, and assert that in them souls are rolled along, engulphed, and burned up? But though a man of no little wisdom, 107 and of accurate judgment and discernment, he essays a problem which cannot be solved; so that, while he says that the soul is immortal, everlasting, and without bodily substance, he vet says that they are punished, and makes them suffer pain. 108 But what man does not see that that which is immortal, which is simple, 109 cannot be subject to any pain; that that, on the contrary, cannot be immortal which does suffer pain? And yet his opinion is not very far from the truth. For although the gentle and kindly disposed man thought it inhuman cruelty to condemn souls to death, he yet not unreasonably 110 supposed that they are cast into rivers blazing with masses of flame, and loathsome from their foul abysses. For they are cast in, and being annihilated, pass away vainly in 111 everlasting destruction. For theirs is an intermediate 112 state, as has been learned from Christ's teaching; and they are such that they may on the one hand perish if they have not known God, and on the other be delivered from death if they have given heed to His threats 113 and proffered favours. And to make manifest 114 what is unknown, this is man's real death, this which leaves nothing behind. For that which is seen by the eyes is only a separation of soul from body, not the last end-annihilation: 115 this, I say, is man's real death, when souls which know not God shall 116 be consumed in long-protracted torment with raging fire, into which certain fiercely cruel beings shall 117 cast them, who were unknown 118 before Christ, and brought to light only by His wisdom.
15. Wherefore there is no reason that that 119 should mislead us, should hold out vain hopes to us, which is said by some men till now unheard of, 120 and carried away by an extravagant opinion of themselves, that souls are immortal, next in point of rank to the God and ruler of the world, descended from that parent and sire, divine, wise, learned, and not within reach of the body by contact. 121 Now, because this is true and certain, and because we have been produced by Him who is perfect without flaw, we live unblameably, I suppose , and therefore without blame; are good, just, and upright, in nothing depraved; no passion overpowers, no lust degrades us; we maintain vigorousy the unremitting practice of all the virtues. And because all our souls have one origin, we therefore think exactly alike; we do not differ in manners, we do not differ in beliefs; we all know God; and there are not as many opinions as there are men in the world, nor are these divided in infinite variety. 122
16. But, they say , while we are moving swiftly down towards our mortal bodies, 123 causes pursue us from the world's circles, 124 through the working of which we become bad, ay, most wicked; burn with lust and anger, spend our life in shameful deeds, and are given over to the lust of all by the prostitution of our bodies for hire. And how can the material unite with the immaterial? or how can that which God has made, be led by weaker causes to degrade itself through the practice of vice? Will you lay aside your habitual arrogance, 125 O men, who claim God as your Father, and maintain that you are immortal, just as He is? Will you inquire, examine, search what you are yourselves, whose you are, of what parentage you are supposed to be , what you do in the world, in what way you are born, how you leap to life? Will you, laying aside all partiality, consider in the silence of your thoughts that we are creatures either quite like the rest, or separated by no great difference? For what is there to show that we do not resemble them? or what excellence is in us, such that we scorn to be ranked as creatures? Their bodies are built up on bones, and bound closely together by sinews; and our bodies are in like manner built up on bones, and bound closely together by sinews. They inspire the air through nostrils, and in breathing expire it again; and we in like manner drew in the air, and breathed it out with frequent respirations.
They have been arranged in classes, female and male; we, too, have been fashioned by our Creator into the same sexes. 126 Their young are born from the womb, and are begotten through union of the sexes; and we are born from sexual embraces, and are brought forth and sent into life from our mothers' wombs. They are supported by eating and drinking, and get rid of the filth which remains by the lower parts; and we are supported by eating and drinking, and that which nature refuses we deal with in the same way. Their care is to ward off death-bringing famine, and of necessity to be on the watch for food. What else is our aim in the business of life, which presses so much upon us, 127 but to seek the means by which the danger of starvation may be avoided, and carking anxiety put away? They are exposed to disease and hunger, and at last lose their strength by reason of age. What, then? are we not exposed to these evils, and are we not in like manner weakened by noxious diseases, destroyed by wasting age? But if that, too, which is said in the more hidden mysteries is true, that the souls of wicked men, on leaving their human bodies, pass into cattle and other creatures, 128 it is even more clearly shown that we are allied to them, and not separated by any great interval, since it is on the same ground that both we and they are said to be living creatures, and to act as such.
17. But we have reason, one will say , and excel the whole race of dumb animals in understanding. I might believe that this was quite true, if all men lived rationally and wisely, never swerved aside from their duty, abstained from what is forbidden, and withheld themselves from baseness, and if no one through folly and the blindness of ignorance demanded what is injurious and dangerous to himself. I should wish, however, to know what this reason is, through which we are more excellent than all the tribes of animals. Is it because we have made for ourselves houses, by which we can avoid the cold of winter and heat of summer? What! do not the other animals show forethought in this respect? Do we not see some build nests as dwellings for themselves in the most convenient situations; others shelter and secure themselves in rocks and lofty crags; others burrow in the ground, and prepare for themselves strongholds and lairs in the pits which they have dug out? But if nature, which gave them life, had chosen to give to them also hands to help them, they too would, without doubt, raise lofty buildings and strike out new works of art. 129 Yet, even in those things which they make with beaks and claws, we see that there are many appearances of reason and wisdom which we men are unable to copy, however much we ponder them, although we have hands to serve us dexterously in every kind of work.
18. They have not learned, I will be told , to make clothing, seats, ships, and ploughs, nor, in fine, the other furniture which family life requires.These are not the gifts of science, but the suggestions of most pressing necessity; nor did the arts descend with men's souls from the inmost heavens, but here on earth have they all been painfully sought out and brought to light, 130 and gradually acquired in process of time by careful thought. But if the soul 131 had in itself the knowledge which it is fitting that a race should have indeed which is divine and immortal, all men would from the first know everything; nor would there be an age unacquainted with any art, or not furnished with practical knowledge. But now a life of want and in need of many things, noticing some things happen accidentally to its advantage, while it imitates, experiments, and tries, while it fails, remoulds, changes, from continual failure has procured for itself 132 and wrought out some slight acquaintance with the arts, and brought to one issue the advances of many ages.
Is Music From Heaven?
19. But if men either knew themselves thoroughly, or had the slightest knowledge of God, 133 they would never claim as their own a divine and immortal nature; nor would they think themselves something great because they have made for themselves gridirons, basins, and bowls, 134 because they have made under-shirts, outer-shirts, cloaks, plaids, robes of state, knives, cuirasses and swords, mattocks, hatchets, ploughs.
Never, I say, carried away by pride and arrogance, would they believe themselves to be deities of the first rank, and fellows of the highest in his exaltation, 135 because they 136 had devised the arts of grammar, music , oratory , and geometry.
For we do not see what is so wonderful in these arts, that because of their discovery the soul should be believed to be above the sun as well as all the stars, to surpass both in grandeur and essence the whole universe, of which these are parts. For what else do these assert that they can either declare or teach, than that we may learn to know the rules and differences of nouns,
the intervals in the sounds of different tones, that we may speak persuasively in lawsuits, that we may measure the confines of the earth?
Now, if the soul had brought these arts with it from the celestial regions, and it were impossible not to know them, all men would long before this be busied with them over all the earth, nor would any race of men be found which would not be equally and similarly instructed in them all.
But now how few musicians, logicians , and geometricians are there in the world! how few orators , poets, critics!
From which it is clear, as has been said pretty frequently, that these things were discovered under the pressure of time and circumstances, and that the soul did not fly hither divinely 137 taught, because neither are all learned, nor can all learn; and 138 there are very many among them somewhat deficient in shrewdness, and stupid, and they are constrained to apply themselves to learning only by fear of stripes. But if it were a fact that the things which we learn are but reminiscences 139 -as has been maintained in the systems of the ancients-as we start from the same truth , we should all have learned alike, and remember alike-not have diverse, very numerous, and inconsistent opinions. Now, however, seeing that we each assert different things, it is clear and manifest that we have brought nothing from heaven, but become acquainted with what has arisen here, and maintain what has taken firm root in our thoughts.
20. And, that we may show you more clearly and distinctly what is the worth of man, whom you believe to be very like the higher power, conceive this idea; and because it can be done if we come into direct contact with it, let us conceive it just as if we came into contact. Let us then imagine a place dug out in the earth, fit for dwelling in, formed into a chamber, enclosed by a roof and walls, not cold in winter, not too warm in summer, but so regulated and equable that we suffer neither cold 140 nor the violent heat of summer. To this let there not come any sound or cry whatever, 141 of bird, of beast, of storm, of man-of any noise, in fine, or of the thunder's 142 terrible crash. Let us next devise a way in which it may be lighted not by the introduction of fire, nor by the sight of the sun, but let there be some counterfeit 143 to imitate sunlight, darkness being interposed. 144 Let there not be one door, nor a direct entrance, but let it be approached by tortuous windings, and let it never be thrown open unless when it is absolutely necessary.
21. Now, as we have prepared a place for our idea, let us next receive some one born to dwell there, where there is nothing but an empty void, 145 -one of the race of Plato, namely, or Pythagoras, or some one of those who are regarded as of superhuman wit, or have been declared most wise by the oracles of the gods.And when this has been done, he must then be nourished and brought up on suitable food. Let us therefore provide a nurse also, who shall come to him always naked, ever silent, uttering not a word, and shall not open her mouth and lips to speak at all, but after suckling him, and doing what else is necessary, shall leave him fast asleep, and remain day and night before the closed doors; for it is usually necessary that the nurse's care should be near at hand, and that she should watch his varying motions. But when the child begins to need to be supported by more substantial food, let it be borne in by the same nurse, still undressed, and maintaining the same unbroken silence. Let the food, too, which is carried in be always precisely the same, with no difference in the material, and without being re-cooked by means of different flavours; but let it be either pottage of millet, or bread of spelt, or, in imitation of the ancients, chestnuts roasted in the hot ashes, or berries plucked from forest trees. Let him moreover, never learn to drink wine, and let nothing else be used to quench his thirst than pure cold water from the spring, and that if possible raised to his lips in the hollow of his hands. For habit, growing into second nature, will become familiar from custom; nor will his desire extend 146 further, not knowing that there is any thing more to be sought after.
22. To what, then, you ask , do these things tend? We have brought them forward in order that-as it has been believed that the souls of men are divine, and therefore immortal, and that they come to their human bodies with all knowledge-we may make trial from this child , whom we have supposed to be brought up in this way, whether this is credible, or has been rashly believed and taken for granted, in consequence of deceitful anticipation. Let us suppose, then, that be grows up, reared in a secluded, lonely spot, spending as many, years as you choose, twenty or thirty,-nay, let him be brought into the assemblies of men when he has lived through forty years; and if it is true that he is a part of the divine essence, and 147 lives here sprung from the fountains of life, before he makes acquaint-ante with anything, or is made familiar with human speech, let him be questioned and answer who he is, or from what father in what regions he was born, how or in what way brought up; with what work or business he has been engaged during the former part of his life. Will he not, then, stand speechless , with less wit and sense than any beast, block, stone? Will he not, when brought into contact with 148 strange and previously unknown things, be above all ignorant of himself? If you ask, will he be able to say what the sun is, the earth, seas, stars, clouds, mist, showers. thunder, snow. hail? Will he be able to know what trees are, herbs, or grasses, a bull, a horse, or ram, a camel, elephant, or kite? 149
23. If you give a grape to him when hungry, a must-cake, an onion, a thistle, 150 a cucumber, a fig, will he know that his hunger can be appeased by all these, or of what kind each should be to be fit for eating? 151
If you made a very great fire, or surrounded him with venomous creatures , will he not go through the midst of flames, vipers, tarantulae, 152 without knowing that they are dangerous, and ignorant even of fear?
But again, if you set before him garments and furniture, both for city and country life, will he indeed be able to distinguish 153 for what each is fitted? to discharge what service they are adapted? Will he declare for what purposes of dress the stragula 154 was made, the coif, 155 zone, 156 fillet, cushion, handkerchief, cloak, veil, napkin, furs, 157 shoe, sandal, boot?
What, if you go on to ask what a wheel is, or a sledge, 158 a winnowing-fan, jar, tub, an oil-mill, ploughshare, or sieve, a mill-stone , ploughtail, or light hoe; a carved seat, a needle, a strigil, a layer, an open seat, a ladle, a platter, a candlestick, a goblet, a broom, a cup, a bag; a lyre , pipe , silver, brass , gold, 159 a book, a rod, a roll, 160
and the rest of the equipment by which the life of man is surrounded and maintained?
Will he not in such circumstances, as we said, like an ox 161 or an ass, a pig, or any beast more senseless, look 162 at these indeed, observing their various shapes, but 163 not knowing what they all are, and ignorant of the purpose for which they are kept?
If he were in any way compelled to utter a sound, would he not with gaping mouth shout something indistinctly, as the dumb usually do?
24. Why, O Plato , do you in the Meno 164 put to a young slave certain questions relating to the doctrines of number, and strive to prove by his answers that what we learn we do not learn, but that we merely call back to memory those things which we knew in former times? Now, if he answers you correctly,-for it would not be becoming that we should refuse credit to what you say,-he is led to do so not by his real knowledge, 165 but by his intelligence; and it results from his having some acquaintance with numbers, through using them every day, that when questioned he follows your meaning , and that the very process of multiplication always prompts him. But if you are really assured that the souls of men are immortal and endowed with knowledge when they fly hither, cease to question that youth whom you see to be ignorant 166 and accustomed to the ways of men; 167 call to you that man of forty years, and ask of him, not anything out of the way or obscure about triangles, about squares, not what a cube is, or a second power, 168 the ratio of nine to eight, or finally, of four to three; but ask him that with which all are acquainted-what twice two are, or twice three. We wish to see, we wish to know, what answer he gives when questioned-whether he solves the desired problem. In such a case will he perceive, although his ears are open, whether you are saying anything, or asking anything, or requiring some answer from him? and will he not stand like a stock, or the Marpesian rock, 169 as the saying is, dumb and speechless, not understanding or knowing even this-whether you are talking with him or with another, conversing with another or with him; 170 whether that is intelligible speech which you utter, or merely a cry having no meaning, but drawn out and protracted to no purpose?
25. What say you, O men, who assign to yourselves too much of an excellence not your own? Is this the learned soul which you describe, immortal, perfect, divine, holding the fourth place under God the Lord of the universe, and under the kindred spirits, 171 and proceeding from the fountains of life? 172
This is that precious being man, endowed 173 with the loftiest powers of reason, who is said to be a microcosm ,
and to be made and formed after the fashion of the whole universe , superior, as has been seen, to no brute, more senseless than stock or stone ; for he is unacquainted with men, and always lives, loiters idly in the still deserts although he were rich, 174 lived years without number, and never escaped from the bonds of the body.
But when he goes to school, you say , and is instructed by the teaching of masters , he is made wise, learned, and lays aside the ignorance which till now clung to him. And an ass, and an ox as well, if compelled by constant practice, learn to plough and grind; a horse, to submit to the yoke, and obey the reins in running; 175 a camel, to kneel down when being either loaded or unloaded; a dove, when set free, to fly back to its master's house; a dog, on finding game, to check and repress its barking; a parrot, too, to articulate words; and a crow to utter names.
26. But when I hear the soul spoken of as something extraordinary, as akin and very nigh to God, and as coming hither knowing all about past times, I would have it teach, not learn; and not go back to the rudiments, as the saying is, after being advanced in knowledge, but hold fast the truths it has learned when it enters its earthly body. 176 For unless it were so, how could it be discerned whether the soul recalls to memory or learns for the first time that which it hears; seeing that it is much easier to believe that it learns what it is unacquainted with, than that it has forgot what it knew but a little before, and that its power of recalling former things is lost through the interposition of the body? And what becomes of the doctrine that souls, being bodiless, do not have substance? For that which is not connected with 177 any bodily form is not hampered by the opposition of another, nor can anything be led 178 to destroy that which cannot be touched by what is set against it. For as a proportion established in bodies remains unaffected and secure, though it be lost to sight in a thousand cases; so must souls, if they are not material, as is asserted, retain their knowledge 179 of the past, however thoroughly they may have been enclosed in bodies. 180 Moreover, the same reasoning not only shows that they are not incorporeal, but deprives them of all 181 immortality even, and refers them to the limits within which life is usually closed. For whatever is led by some inducement to change and alter itself, so that it cannot retain its natural state, must of necessity be considered essentially passive. But that which is liable and exposed to suffering, is declared to be corruptible by that very capacity of suffering.
27. So then, if souls lose all their knowledge on being lettered with the body, they must experience something of such a nature that it makes them become blindly forgetful. 182 For they cannot, without becoming subject to anything whatever, either lay aside their knowledge while they maintain their natural state, or without change in themselves pass into a different state. Nay, we rather think that what is one, immortal, simple, in whatever it may be, must always retain its own nature, and that it neither should nor could be subject to anything, if indeed it purposes to endure and abide within the limits of true immortality. For all suffering is a passage for death and destruction, a way leading to the grave, and bringing an end of life which may not be escaped from; and if souls are liable to it, and yield to its influence and assaults, they indeed have life given to them only for present use, not as a secured possession, 183 although some come to other conclusions, and put faith in their own arguments with regard to so important a matter.
28. And yet, that we may not be as ignorant when we leave you as before , let us hear from you 184 how you say that the soul, on being enwrapt in an earthly body, has no recollection of the past; while, after being actually placed in the body itself, and rendered almost senseless by union with it, it holds tenaciously and faithfully the things which many years before, eighty if you choose to say so, or even more, it either did, or suffered, or said, or heard. For if, through being hampered by the body, it does not remember those things which it knew long ago, and before it came into this world, 185 there is more reason that it should forget those things which it has done from time to time since being shut up in the body, than those which it did before entering it, 186 while not yet connected with men.
For the same body which 187 deprives of memory the soul which enters it, 188 should cause what is done within itself also to be wholly forgotten; for one cause cannot bring about two results, and these opposed to each other, so as to make some things to be forgotten, and allow others to be remembered by him who did them. But if souls, as you call them, are prevented and hindered by their fleshly members from recalling their former knowledge, 189 how do they remember what has been arranged 190 in these very bodies, and know that they are spirits, and have no bodily substance, being exalted by their condition as immortal beings? 191 how do they know what rank they hold in the universe, in what order they have been set apart from other beings? how they have come to these, the lowest parts of the universe? what properties they acquired, and from what circles, 192 in gliding along towards these regions? How, I say, do they know that they were very learned, and have lost their knowledge by the hindrance which their bodies afford them? For of this very thing also they should have been ignorant, whether their union with the body had brought any stain upon them; for to know what you were, and what to-day you are not, is no sign that you have lost your memory, 193 but a proof and evidence that it is quite sound. 194
29. Now, since it is so, cease, I pray you, cease to rate trifling and unimportant things at immense values. Cease to place man in the upper ranks, since he is of the lowest; and in the highest orders, seeing that his person only is taken account of, 195 that he is needy, poverty-stricken in his house and dwelling, 196 and was never entitled to be declared of illustrious descent. For while, as just men and upholders of righteousness, you should have subdued pride and arrogance, by the evils 197 of which we are all uplifted and puffed up with empty vanity; you not only hold that these evils arise naturally, but-and this is much worse-you have also added causes by which vice should increase, and wickedness remain incorrigible. For what man is there, although of a disposition which ever shuns what is of bad repute and shameful, who, when he hears it said by very wise men that the soul is immortal, and not subject to the decrees of the fates, 198 would not throw himself headlong into all kinds of vice, and fearlessly 199 engage in and set about unlawful things? who would not, in short, gratify his desires in all things demanded by his unbridled lust, strengthened even further by its security and freedom from punishment? 200 For what will hinder him from doing so? The fear of a power above and divine judgment? And how shall he be overcome by any fear or dread who has been persuaded that he is immortal, just as the supreme God Himself, and that no sentence can be pronounced upon him by God, seeing that there is the same immortality in both, and that the one immortal being cannot be troubled by the other, which is only its equal? 201
30. But will he not be terrified by 202 the punishments in Hades, of which we have heard, assuming also, as they do , many forms of torture? And who 203 will be so senseless and ignorant of consequences, 204 as to believe that to imperishable spirits either the darkness of Tartarus, or rivers of fire, or marshes with miry abysses, or wheels sent whirling through the air, 205 can in any wise do harm? For that which is beyond reach, and not subject to the laws of destruction, though it be surrounded by all the flames of the raging streams, be rolled in the mire, overwhelmed by the fall of overhanging rocks and by the overthrow of huge mountains, must remain safe and untouched without suffering any deadly harm.
Moreover, that conviction not only leads on to wickedness, from the very freedom to sin which it suggests , but even takes away the ground of philosophy itself, and asserts that it is vain to undertake its study, because of the difficulty of the work, which leads to no result. For if it is true that souls know no end, and are ever 206 advancing with all generations, what danger is there in giving themselves up to the pleasures of sense-despising and neglecting the virtues by regard to which life is more stinted in its pleasures , and becomes less attractive-and in letting loose their boundless lust to range eagerly and unchecked through 207 all kinds of debauchery?
Is it the danger of being worn out by such pleasures, and corrupted by vicious effeminacy?
And how can that be corrupted which is immortal, which always exists, and is subject to no suffering? Is it the danger of being polluted by foul and base deeds? And how can that be defiled which has no corporeal substance; or where can corruption seat itself, where there is no place on which the mark of this very corruption should fasten?
But again, if souls draw near to the gates of death , 208 as is laid down in the doctrine of Epicurus, in this case, too, there is no sufficient reason why philosophy should be sought out, even if it is true that by it 209 souls are cleansed and made pure from all uncleanness. 210
For if they all 211 die, and even in the body 212 the feeling characteristic of life perishes, and is lost; 213 it is not only a very great mistake, but shows stupid blindness, to curb innate desires, to restrict your mode of life within narrow limits, not yield to your inclinations, and do what our passions have demanded and urged, since no rewards await you for so great toil when the day of death comes, and you shall be freed from the bonds of the body.
31. A certain neutral character, then, and undecided and doubtful nature of the soul, has made room for philosophy, and found out a reason for its being sought after: while, that is, that fellow 214 is full of dread because of evil deeds of which he is guilty; another conceives great hopes if he shall do no evil, and pass his life in obedience to 215 duty and justice. Thence it is that among learned men, and men endowed with excellent abilities, there is strife as to the nature of the soul, and some say that it is subject to death, and cannot take upon itself the divine substance; while others maintain that it is immortal, and cannot sink under the power of death. 216 But this is brought about by the law of the soul's neutral character: 217 because, on the one hand, arguments present themselves to the one party by which it is found that the soul 218 is capable of suffering, and perishable; and, on the other hand, are not wanting to their opponents, by which it is shown that the soul is divine and immortal.
32. Since these things are so, and we have been taught by the greatest teacher that souls are set not far from the gaping 219 jaws of death; that they can, nevertheless, have their lives prolonged by the favour and kindness of the Supreme Ruler
if only they try and study to know Him,-for the knowledge of Him is a kind of vital leaven 220 and cement to bind together that which would otherwise fly apart,-let them, 221 then, laying aside their savage and barbarous nature , return to gentler ways, that they may be able to be ready for that which shall be given. 222
What reason is there that we should be considered by you brutish, as it were, and stupid, if we have yielded and given ourselves up to God our deliverer, because of these fears?
We often seek out remedies for wounds and the poisoned bites of serpents , and defend ourselves by means of thin plates 223 sold by Psylli 224 or Marsi, and other hucksters 225 and impostors ; and that we may not be inconvenienced by cold or intense heat, 226 we provide with anxious and careful diligence coverings in 227 houses and clothing.
You rest the salvation of your souls on yourselves , and are assured that by your own exertions alone 232 you become gods; but we, on the contrary hold out no hope to ourselves from our own weakness, for we see that our nature has no strength, and is overcome by its own passions in every strife for anything. 233 You think that, as soon as you pass away, freed from the bonds of your fleshly members, you will find wings 234 with which you may rise to heaven and soar to the stars. We shun such presumption. and do not think 235 that it is in our power to reach the abodes 236 above, since we have no certainty as to this even, whether we deserve to receive life and be freed from the law of death. You suppose that without the aid of others 237 you will return to the master's palace as if to your own home, no one hindering you; but we, on the contrary, neither have any expectation that this can be unless by the will of the Lord of all, nor think that so much power and licence are given to any man.
34. Since this is the case, what, pray, is so unfair as that we should be looked on by you as silly in that readiness of belief at which you scoff , while we see that you both have like beliefs, and entertain the same hopes? If we are thought deserving of ridicule because we hold out to ourselves such a hope, the same ridicule awaits you too, who claim for yourselves the hope of immortality. If you hold and follow a rational course, grant to us also a share in it. If Plato in the Phaedrus , 238 or another of this band of philosophers , had promised these joys to us-that is, a way to escape death, or were able to provide it and bring us to the end which he had promised, 239 it would have been fitting that we should seek to honour him from whom we look for so great a gift and favour. Now, since Christ has not only promised it, but also shown by His virtues, which were so great, that it can be made good, what strange thing do we do, and on what grounds are we charged with folly, if we bow down and worship His name 240 and majesty from whom we expect to receive both these blessings , that we may at once escape a death of suffering, and be enriched with eternal life? 241
35. But, say my opponents , if souls are mortal and 242 of neutral character, how can they from their neutral properties become immortal? If we should say that we do not know this, and only believe it because said by 243 One mightier than we , when will our readiness of belief seem mistaken if we believe 244 that to the almighty King nothing is hard, nothing difficult, and that 245 what is impossible to us is possible to Him and at His command? 246 For is there anything which may withstand His will, or does it not follow 247 of necessity that what He has willed must be done? Are we to infer from our distinctions what either can or cannot be done; and are we not to consider that our reason is as mortal as we ourselves are, and is of no importance with the Supreme? And yet, O ye who do not believe that the soul is of a neutral character, and that it is held on the line midway between life and death, are not all whatever whom fancy supposes to exist, gods, angels, daemons, or whatever else is their name, themselves too of a neutral character, and liable to change 248 in the uncertainty of their future? 249 For if we all agree that there is one Father of all, who alone is immortal and unbegotten, and if nothing at all is found before Him which could be named, 250 it follows as a consequence that all these whom the imagination of men believes to be gods, have been either begotten by Him or produced at His bidding. Are they 251 produced and begotten? they are also later in order and time: if later in order and time, they must have an origin, and beginning of birth and life; but that which has an entrance into and beginning of life in its first stages, it of necessity follows, should have an end also.
36. But the gods are said to be immortal. Not by nature, then, but by the good-will and favour of God their Father. In the same way, then, in which the boon 252 of immortality is God's gift to these who were assuredly produced, 253 will He deign to confer eternal life upon souls also, although fell death seems able to cut them off and blot them out of existence in utter annihilation. 254 The divine Plato, many of whose thoughts are worthy of God, and not such as the vulgar hold, in that discussion and treatise entitled the Timaeus , says that the gods and the world are corruptible by nature, and in no wise beyond the reach of death, but that their being is ever maintained 255 by the will of God, their King and Prince; 256 for that that even which has been duly clasped and bound together by the surest bands is preserved only by God's goodness; and that by no other than 257 by Him who bound their elements together can they both be dissolved if necessary, and have the command given which preserves their being. 258 If this is the case, then, and it is not fitting to think or believe otherwise, why do you wonder that we speak of the soul as neutral in its character, when Plato says that it is so even with the deities, 259 but that their life is kept up by God's 260 grace, without break or end? For if by chance you knew it not, and because of its novelty it was unknown to you before, now, though late, receive and learn from Him who knows and has made it known, Christ, that souls are not the children of the Supreme Ruler, and did not begin to be self-conscious, and to be spoken of in their own special character after being created by Him; 261 but that some other is their parent, far enough removed from the chief in rank and power, of His court, however, and distinguished by His high and exalted birthright.
37. But if souls were, as is said, the Lord's children, and begotten by 262 the Supreme Power, nothing would have been wanting to make them perfect, as they would have been born with the most perfect excellence: they would all have had one mind, and been of one accord; they would always dwell in the royal palace; and would not, passing by the seats of bliss in which they had learned and kept in mind the noblest teachings, rashly seek these regions of earth, that 263 they might live enclosed in gloomy bodies amid phlegm and blood, among these bags of filth and most disgusting 264 vessels of urine.
But, an opponent will say , it was necessary that these parts too should be peopled, and therefore Almighty God sent souls hither to form some colonies, as it were. And of what use are men to the world, and on account of what are they necessary, 265 so that they may not be believed to have been destined to live here and be the tenants of an earthly body for no purpose?
They have a share, my opponent says , in perfecting the completeness of this immense mass,
........ and without their addition this whole universe is incomplete and imperfect.
What then? If there were not men, would the world cease to discharge its functions? would the stars not go through their changes? would there not be summers and winters? would the blasts of the winds be lulled? and from the clouds gathered and hanging overhead would not the showers come down upon the earth to temper droughts? But now 266 all things must go on in their own courses, and not give up following the arrangement established by nature, even if there should be no name of man heard in the world, and this earth should be still with the silence of an unpeopled desert.
How then is it alleged that it was necessary that an inhabitant should be given to these regions,
........ since it is clear that by man comes nothing to aid in perfecting the world,
and that all his exertions regard his private convenience always, and never cease to aim at his own advantage?
38. For, to begin with what is important, what advantage is it to the world that the mightiest kings are here? What, that there are tyrants , lords, and other innumerable and very illustrious powers? What, that there are generals of the greatest experience in war, skilled in taking cities; soldiers steady and utterly invincible in battles of cavalry, or in fighting hand to hand on foot?
What, that there are orators , grammarians, poets, writers, logicians, musicians , ballet-dancers, mimics , actors , singers , trumpeters , flute and reed players?
What, that there are runners , boxers, charioteers, vaulters, 267 walkers on stilts, rope-dancers , jugglers?
What, that there are dealers in salt fish, salters, fishmongers, perfumers, goldsmiths , bird-catchers, weavers of winnowing fans and baskets of rushes?
What, that there are fullers, workers in wool, embroiderers, cooks, confectioners, dealers in mules, pimps , butchers, harlots?
........ What , that there are other kinds of dealers?
What do the other kinds of professors and arts , for the enumeration of which all life would be too short,
39. But perhaps, some one will urge , the Ruler of the world sent hither souls sprung from Himself for this purpose-a very rash thing for a man to say 272 -that they which had been divine 273 with Him, not coming into contact with the body and earthly limits, 274 should be buried in the germs of men,
spring from the womb, burst into and keep up the silliest wailings, draw the breasts in sucking, besmear and bedaub themselves with their own filth, then be hushed by the swaying 275 of the frightened nurse and by the sound of rattles. 276
Did He send souls hither for this reason, that they which had been but now sincere and of blameless virtue should learn as 277 men to feign, to dissemble , to lie, to cheat, 278 to deceive , to entrap with a flatterer's abjectness ;
to conceal one thing in the heart, 279
express another in the countenance;
to ensnare, to beguile 280 the ignorant with crafty devices , to seek out poisons by means of numberless arts suggested by bad feelings, and to be fashioned 281 with deceitful changeableness to suit circumstances?
Was it for this He sent souls, that, living till then in calm and undisturbed tranquillity, they might find in 282 their bodies causes by which to become fierce and savage, cherish hatred and enmity, make war upon each other , subdue and overthrow states; load themselves with, and give themselves up to the yoke of slavery; and finally, be put the one in the other's power, having changed the condition 283 in which they were born?
Mousa 1 [*maô]
I. the Muse, in pl. the MUSES, goddesses of SONG, music, poetry, dancing, the DRAMA, and all fine ARTS, Hom.: the names of the nine were Clio, Euterpe, Thalia, Melpomene, Terpsichore, Erato, Polymnia or Polyhymnia, Urania, and Calliope, Hes.,
II. mousa, as appellat., music, song, Pind., Trag.:--also eloquence, Eur.:--in pl. arts, accomplishments, Ar., Plat.
mousôidos , on, ( [ôidê] ) singing, making music, Man.5.143.
hupobol-eus , eôs, ho, ( [hupoballô] ) SUGGESTER, reminder (v. hupobolê 1.3 ), Ph.1.591; in a THEATER, prompter, Plu.2.813f.
2. INTERPRETER, Eust.106.12.
II. = hupagôgeus 11, Theo Sm.p.71 H.
See Super Apostles below:
huperlian , Adv. beyond measure, exceedingly, sophos Eust.1396.42; to hu. Id.1184.18 ; hoi hu. apostoloi the 'super-Apostles', 2 Ep.Cor. 11.5, 12.11.
I. properly, skilled in any handicraft or art, cunning in his craft, Theogn., etc; of a charioteer, Pind.; of poets and musicians, id=Pind.; of a soothsayer, Soph., etc.
2. clever in matters of common life, wise, prudent, shrewd, s. andres Thessaloi shrewd fellows, the Thessalians! Hdt.; polla sophos Aesch.; meizô sophian sophos Plat., etc.; tôn sophôn kreissô better than all craft, Soph.; sophon [esti] c. inf., Eur.
ophis-teia, sophistry, mantikê, of Balaam, mantikê means divination, soothsayer
OPHIS-teia, sophistry, mantikê, of Balaam, mantikê means divination, soothsayer
Playto, Cratylus says "the part of appropriative, coercive, hunting art which hunts animals, land animals, tame animals, man, privately, for pay, is paid in cash, claims to give education, and is a hunt after rich and promising youths, must--so our present argument concludes--be called sophistry.
Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon
huperlian , Adv. beyond measure, exceedingly, sophos
Was it for this He sent souls, that, being made unmindful of the truth,
and forgetful of what God was, they should make supplication to images which cannot move;
address as superhuman deities pieces of wood, brass , and stones; ask aid of them 284 with the blood of slain animals; make no mention of Himself: nay more, that some of them should doubt their own existence, or deny altogether that anything exists?
Was it for this He sent souls ,
that they which in their own abodes had been of one mind, equals in intellect and knowledge,
after that they put on mortal forms , should be divided by differences of opinion; should have different views as to what is just, useful, and right; should contend about the objects of desire and aversion; should define the highest good and greatest evil differently ;
that, in seeking to know the truth of things,
40. Was it for this He sent souls hither , that while the other creatures are fed by what springs up spontaneously, and is produced without being sown, and do not seek for themselves the protection or covering of houses or garments, they should be under the sad necessity 287 of building houses for themselves at very great expense and with never-ending toils, preparing coverings for their limbs, making different kinds of furniture for the wants 288 of daily life, borrowing help for 289 their weakness from the dumb creatures; using violence to the earth that it might not give forth its own herbs, but might send up the fruits required; and when they had put forth all their strength 290 in subduing the earth,
and when set free, to be parted from their human forms by a wasting sickness?
Was it for this that they which, while they abode with Him, had never had any longing for property, should have become exceedingly covetous, and with insatiable craving be inflamed to an eager desire of possessing;
that they should dig up lofty mountains, and turn the unknown bowels of the earth into materials, and to purposes of a different kind; should force their way to remote nations at the risk of life, and, in exchanging goods always catch at a high price for what they sell , and a low one 293 for what they buy , take interest at greedy and excessive rates, and add to the number of their sleepless nights spent in reckoning up thousands 294 wrung from the life-blood of wretched men; should be ever extending the limits of their possessions, and, though they were to make whole provinces one estate, should weary the forum with suits for one tree, for one furrow; should hate rancorously their friends and brethren?
41. Was it for this He sent souls , that they which shortly before had been gentle
and ignorant of what it is to be moved by fierce passions,
should build for themselves markets and amphi-theatres, places of blood and open wickedness, in the one of which they should see men devoured and torn in pieces by wild beasts, and themselves slay others for no demerit but to please and gratify the spectators , 295 and should spend those very days on which such wicked deeds were done in general enjoyment,
and keep holiday with festive gaiety; while in the other, again, they should tear asunder the flesh of wretched animals, some snatch one part, others another, as dogs and vultures do, should grind them with their teeth, and give to their utterly insatiable 296 maw, and that, surrounded by 297 faces so fierce and savage, those should bewail their lot whom the straits of poverty withheld from such repasts; 298 that their life should be 299 happy and prosperous while such barbarous doings defiled their mouths and face?
Was it for this He sent souls, that, forgetting their importance and dignity as divine , they should acquire gems , precious stones , pearls, at the expense of their purity; should entwine their necks with these, pierce the tips of their ears, bind 300 their foreheads with fillets , seek for cosmetics 301 to deck their bodies, 302 darken their eyes with henna ; nor, though in the forms of men, blush to curl their hair with crisping-pins, to make the skin of the body smooth, to walk with bare knees, and with every other kind of wantonness,
both to lay aside the strength of their manhood,
and to grow in effeminacy to a woman's habits and luxury?
42. Was it for this He sent souls, that some should infest the highways and roads, 303 others ensnare the unwary , forge 304 false wills, prepare poisoned draughts; that they should break open houses by night, tamper with slaves , steal and drive away , not act uprightly, and betray their trust perfidiously; that they should strike out delicate dainties for the palate; that in cooking fowls they should know how to catch the fat as it drips; that they should make cracknels and sausages, 305 force-meats, tit-bits, Lucanian sausages, with these 306 a sow's udder and iced 307 puddings?
Was it for this He sent souls, that beings 308 of a sacred and august race should here practise singing and piping ;
that they should swell out their cheeks in blowing the flute ;
that they should take the lead in singing impure songs, and raising the loud din of the castanets, 309 by which another crowd of souls should be led in their wantonness to abandon themselves to clumsy motions,
to dance and sing , form rings of dancers , and finally, raising their haunches and hips, float along with a tremulous motion of the loins?
Was it for this He sent souls, that in men they should become impure,
in women harlots ,
players on the triangle 310 and psaltery ; that they should prostitute their bodies for hire, should abandon themselves to the lust of all, 311 ready in the brothels, to be met with in the stews, 312 ready to submit to anything, prepared to do violence to their mouth even? 313
43. What say you, O offspring and descendants of the Supreme Deity? Did these souls, then, wise, and sprung from the first causes, become acquainted with such forms of baseness, crime, and bad feeling? and were they ordered to dwell here, 314 and be clothed with the garment of the human body, in order that they might engage in, might practise these evil deeds , and that very frequently?
And is there a man with any sense of reason who thinks that the world was established because of them , and not rather that it was set up as a seat and home, in which every kind of wickedness should be committed daily, all evil deeds be done, plots, impostures, frauds, covetousness, robberies, violence, impiety, all that is presumptuous, indecent, base, disgraceful, 315 and all the other evil deeds which men devise over all the earth with guilty purpose, and contrive for each other's ruin?
44. But, you say, they came of their own accord not sent 316 by their lord. And 317 where was the Almighty Creator, where the authority of His royal and exalted place, 318 to prevent their departure, and not suffer them to fall into dangerous pleasures? For if He knew that by change of place they would become base-and, as the arranger of all things, 319 He must have known-or that anything would reach them from without which would make them forget their greatness and moral dignity,-a thousand times would I beg of Him to pardon my words ,-the cause of all is no other than Himself, since He allowed them to have freedom to wander 320 who He foresaw would not abide by their state of innocence; and thus it is brought about that it does not matter whether they came of their own accord, or obeyed His command, since in not preventing what should have been prevented, by His inaction He made the guilt His own, and permitted it before it was done by neglecting to withhold them from action .
45. But let this monstrous and impious fancy be put 321 far from us , that Almighty God, the creator and framer, the author 322 of things great and invisible, should be believed to have begotten souls so fickle, with no seriousness, firmness, and steadiness, prone to vice, inclining to all kinds of sins; and while He knew that they were such and of this character, to have bid 323 them enter into bodies, imprisoned in which, 324 they should live exposed to the storms and tempests of fortune every day, and now do mean things, now submit to lewd treatment; that they might perish by shipwreck, accidents, destructive conflagrations; that poverty might oppress some, beggary, others; that some might be torn in pieces by wild beasts, others perish by the venom of flies; 325 that some might limp in walking, others lose their sight, others be stiff with cramped 326 joints; in fine, that they should be exposed to all the diseases which the wretched and pitiable human race endures with agony caused by 327 different sufferings; then that, forgetting that they have one origin, one father and head, they should shake to their foundations and violate the rights of kinship, should overthrow their cities, lay waste their lands as enemies, enslave the free, do violence to maidens and to other men's wives, hate each other, envy the joys and good fortune of others; and further, all malign, carp at, and tear each other to pieces with fiercely biting teeth.
46. But, to say the same things again and again, 328 let this belief, so monstrous and impious, be put far from us , that. God, who preserves 329 all things, the origin of the virtues and chief in 330 benevolence, and, to exalt Him with human praise, most wise, just, making all things perfect, and that permanently, 331 either made anything which was imperfect and not quite correct, 332 or was the cause of misery or danger to any being, or arranged, commanded, and enjoined the very acts in which man's life is passed and employed to flow from His arrangement. These things are unworthy of 333 Him, and weaken the force of His greatness; and so far from His being believed to be their author, whoever imagines that man is sprung from Him is guilty of blasphemous impiety, man , a being miserable and wretched, who is sorry that he exists, hates and laments his state, and understands that he was produced for no other reason than lest evils should not have something 334 through which to spread themselves, and that there might always be wretched ones by whose agonies some unseen and cruel power, 335 adverse to men, should be gratified.
47. But, you say, if God is not the parent and father of souls, by what sire have they been begotten, and how have they been produced? If you wish to hear unvarnished statements not spun out with vain ostentation of words, we, too, 336 admit that we are ignorant of this, do not know it; 337 and we hold that, to know so great a matter, is not only beyond the reach of our weakness and frailty, but beyond that also of all the powers which are in the world, and which have usurped the place of deities in men's belief. But are we bound to show whose they are, because we deny that they are God's? That by no means 338 follows necessarily; for if we were to deny that flies, beetles, and bugs, dormice, weevils, and moths, 339 are made by the Almighty King, we should not be required in consequence to say who made and formed them; for without incurring any censure, we may not know who, indeed, gave them being, and yet assert that not by the Supreme 340 Deity were creatures produced so useless, so needless, so purposeless, 341 nay more, at times even hurtful, and causing unavoidable injuries.
48. Here, too, in like manner, when we deny that souls are the offspring of God Supreme, it does not necessarily follow that we are bound to declare from what parent they have sprung, and by what causes they have been produced. For who prevents us from being either ignorant of the source from which they issued and came, or aware that they are not God's descendants? By what method, you say, in what way? Because it is most true and certain 342 that, as has been pretty frequently said, nothing is effected, made, determined by the Supreme, except that which it is right and fitting should be done; except that which is complete and entire, and wholly perfect in its 343 integrity. But further, we see that men, that is, these very souls-for what are men but souls bound to bodies?-themselves show by perversely falling into 344 vice, times without number, that they belong to no patrician race, but have sprung from insignificant families. For we see some harsh, vicious, presumptuous, rash, reckless, blinded, false, dissemblers, liars, proud, overbearing, covetous, greedy, lustful, fickle, weak, and unable to observe their own precepts; but they would assuredly not be so, if their original goodness defended 345 them, and they traced their honourable descent from the head of the universe.
49. But, you will say, there are good men also in the world,-wise, upright, of faultless and purest morals. We raise no question as to whether there ever were any such, in whom this very integrity which is spoken of was in nothing imperfect. Even if they are very honourable men , and have been worthy of praise, have reached the utmost height of perfection, and their life has never wavered and sunk into sin, yet we would have you tell us how many there are, or have been, that we may judge from their number whether a comparison 346 has been made which is just and evenly balanced. 347 One, two, three, four, ten, twenty, a hundred, yet are they at least limited in number, and it may be within the reach of names. 348 But it is fitting that the human race should be rated and weighed, not by a very few good men, but by all the rest as well . For the part is in the whole, not the whole in a part; and that which is the whole should draw to it its parts, not the whole be brought to its parts. For what if you were to say that a man, robbed of the use of all his limbs, and shrieking in bitter agony, 349 was quite well, because in 350 one little nail he suffered no pain? or that the earth is made of gold, because in one hillock there are a few small grains from which, when dissolved, gold is produced, and wonder excited at it when formed into a lump? 351 The whole mass shows the nature of an element, not particles fine as air; nor does the sea become forthwith sweet, if you cast or throw into it a few drops of less bitter water, for that small quantity is swallowed up in its immense mass; and it must be esteemed, not merely of little importance, but even of none, because, being scattered throughout all, it is lost and cut off in the immensity of the vast body of water .
50. You say that there are good men in the human race; and perhaps, if we compare them with the very wicked, we may be led 352 to believe that there are. Who are they, pray? Tell us. The philosophers, I suppose, who 353 assert that they alone are most wise, and who have been uplifted with pride from the meaning attached to this name, 354 -those, forsooth, who are striving with their passions every day, and struggling to drive out, to expel deeply-rooted passions from their minds by the persistent 355 opposition of their better qualities; who, that it may be impossible for them to be led into wickedness at the suggestion of some opportunity, shun riches and inheritances, that they may remove 356 from themselves occasions of stumbling; but in doing this, and being solicitous about it, they show very clearly that their souls are, through their weakness, ready and prone to fall into vice. In our opinion, however, that which is good naturally, does not require to be either corrected or i reproved; 357 nay more, it should not know what evil is, if the nature of each kind would abide in its own integrity, for neither can two contraries be implanted in each other, nor can equality be contained in inequality, nor sweetness in bitterness. He, then, who struggles to amend the inborn depravity of his inclinations, shows most clearly that he is imperfect, 358 blameable, although he may strive with all zeal and stedfastness.
51. But you laugh at our reply, because, while we deny that souls are of royal descent, we do not, on the other hand, say in turn from what causes and beginnings they have sprung. But what kind of crime is it either to be ignorant of anything, or to confess quite openly that you do not know that of which you are ignorant? or whether does he rather seem to you most deserving of ridicule who assumes to himself no knowledge of some dark subject; or he who thinks that he 359 knows most clearly that which transcends human knowledge, and which has been involved in dark obscurity? If the nature of everything were thoroughly considered, you too are in a position like that which you censure in our case. For you do not say anything which has been ascertained and set most clearly in the light of truth, because you say that souls descend from the Supreme Ruler Himself, and enter into the forms of men. For you conjecture, do not perceives 360 this ; surmise, do not actually know it ; for if to know is to retain in the mind that which you have yourself seen or known, not one of those things which you affirm can you say that you have ever seen-that is, that souls descend from the abodes and regions above. You are therefore making use of conjecture, not trusting clear information. But what is conjecture, except a doubtful imagining of things, and directing of the mind upon nothing accessible? He, then, who conjectures, does not comprehend, 361 nor does he walk in the 362 light of knowledge. But if this is true and certain in the opinion of proper and very wise judges, your conjectures, too, in which you trust, must be regarded as showing your ignorance.
52. And yet, lest you should suppose that none but yourselves can make use of conjectures and surmises, we too are able to bring them forward as well, 363 as your question is appropriate to either side. 364 Whence, you say, are men; and what or whence are the souls of these men? Whence, we will ask , are elephants, bulls, stags, mules, 365 asses? Whence lions, horses, dogs, wolves, panthers; and what or whence are the souls of these creatures? For it is not credible that from that Platonic cup, 366 which Timaeus prepares and mixes, either their souls came, or that the locust, 367 mouse, shrew, cockroach, frog, centipede, should be believed to have been quickened and to live, because 368 they have a cause and origin of birth in 369 the elements themselves, if there are in these secret and very little known means 370 for producing the creatures which live in each of them. For we see that some of the wise say that the earth is mother of men, that others join with it water, 371 that others add to these breath of air, but that some say that the sun is their framer, and that, having been quickened by his rays, they are filled with the stir of life. 372 What if it is not these, and is something else another cause another method, another power, in fine, unheard of and unknown to us by name, which may have fashioned the human race, and connected it with things as established; 373 may it not be that men sprang up in this way, and that the cause of their birth does not go back to the Supreme God? For what reason do we suppose that the great Plato had- a man reverent and scrupulous in his wisdom-when he withdrew the fashioning of man from the highest God, and transferred it to some lesser deities . and when he would not have the souls of men formed 374 of that pure mixture of which he had made the soul of the universe, except that he thought the forming of man unworthy of God, and the fashioning of a feeble being not beseeming His greatness and excellence?
53. Since this, then, is the case, we do nothing out of place or foolish in believing that the souls of men are of a neutral character, inasmuch as they have been produced by secondary beings, 375 made subject to the law of death, and are of little strength, and that perishable; and that they are gifted with immortality, if 376 they rest their hope of so great a gift on God Supreme, who alone has power to grant such blessings , by putting away corruption. But this, you say , we are stupid in believing. What is that to you? In so believing, we act most absurdly, sillily. In what do we injure you, or what wrong do we do or inflict upon you, if we trust that Almighty God will take care of us when we leave 377 our bodies, and from the jaws of hell, as is said, deliver us?
54. Can, then, anything be made, some one will say, without God's will? We 378 must consider carefully, and examine with no little pains, test, while we think that we are honouring God 379 by such a question, we fall into the opposite sin, doing despite to His supreme majesty. In what way, on what ground? Because, if all things are brought about by His will, and nothing in the world can either succeed or fail contrary to His pleasure, it follows of necessity that it should be understood that 380 all evils, too, arise by His will. But if, on the contrary, we chose to say that He is privy to and produces no evil, not referring to Him the causes of very wicked deeds, the worst things will begin to seem to be done either against His will, or, a monstrous thing to say, while He knows it not, but is ignorant and unaware of them. But, again, if we choose to say that there are no evils, as we find some have believed and held, all races will cry out against us and all nations together, showing us their sufferings, and the various kinds of dangers with which the human race is every moment 381 distressed and afflicted. Then they will ask of us, Why, if there are no evils, do you refrain from certain deeds and actions? Why do you not do all that eager lust has required or demanded? Why, finally, do you establish punishments by terrible laws for the guilty? For what more monstrous 382 act of folly can be found than to assert that there are no evils, and at the same time to kill and condemn the erring as though they were evil? 383
55. But when, overcome, we agree that there are these things, 384 and expressly allow that all human affairs are full of them, they will next ask,
Why, then, the Almighty God does not take away these evils, but suffers them to exist and to go on without ceasing through all the ages? 385
If we have learned of God the Supreme Ruler, and have resolved not to wander in a maze of impious and mad conjectures, we must answer that we do not know these things, and have never sought and striven to know things which could be grasped by no powers which we have , and that we, even thinking it 386 preferable, rather remain in ignorance and want of knowledge than say that without God nothing is made, so that it should be understood that by His will 387
He is at once both the source of evil 388 and the occasion of countless miseries. Whence then, you will say, are all these evils? From the elements, say the wise, and from their dissimilarity; but how it is possible that things which have not feeling and judgment should be held to be wicked or criminal; or that he should not rather be wicked and criminal, who, to bring about some result, took what was afterwards to become very bad and hurtful, 389 -is for them to consider, who make the assertion.
What, then, do we say? whence? There is no necessity that we should answer, for whether we are able to say whence evil springs , or our power fails us, and we are unable, in either case it is a small matter in our opinion; nor do we hold it of much importance either to know or to be ignorant of it, being content to have laid down but one thing,-that NOTHING PROCEEDS from God Supreme which is HURTFUL and PERNICIOUS.
This we are assured of, this we know, on this one truth of knowledge and science we take our stand,-that nothing is made by Him except that which is for the WELL-BEING of all, which is agreeable, which is very full of love and joy and gladness, which has unbounded and imperishable pleasures,
which every one may ask in all his prayers to befall him, and think that otherwise 390 life is pernicious and fatal.
56. As for all the other things which are usually dwelt upon in inquiries and discussions-from what parents they have sprung, or by whom they are produced-we neither strive to know, 391 nor care to inquire or examine: we leave all things to their own causes, and do not consider that they have been connected and associated with that which we desire should befall us. 392 For what is there which men of ability do not dare to overthrow, to destroy, 393 from love of contradiction, although that which they attempt to invalidate is unobjectionable 394 and manifest, and evidently bears the stamp of truth? Or what, again, can they not maintain with plausible arguments, although it may be very manifestly untrue, although it may be a plain and evident falsehood? For when a man has persuaded himself that there is or is not something, he likes to affirm what he thinks, and to show greater subtlety than others, especially if the subject discussed is out of the ordinary track, and by nature abstruse and obscure. 395 Some of the wise think that the world was not created, and will never perish; 396 some that it is immortal, although they say that it was created and made; 397 while a third party have chosen to say that it both was created and made, and will perish as other things must. 398 And while of these three opinions one only must be true, they nevertheless all find arguments by which at once to uphold their own doctrines, and undermine and overthrow the dogmas of others. Some teach and declare that this same world is composed of four elements, others of two, 399 a third party of one; some say that it is composed of none of these, and that atoms are that from which it is formed, 400 and its primary origin. And since of these opinions only one is true, but 401 not one of them certain, here too, in like manner, arguments present themselves to all with which they may both establish the truth of what they say, and show that there are some things false 402 in the others' opinions. So, too, some utterly deny the existence of the gods; others say that they are lost in doubt as to whether they exist anywhere; others, however, say that they do exist, but do not trouble themselves about human things; nay others maintain that they both take part in the affairs of men, and guide the course of earthly events. 403
57. While, then, this is the case, and it cannot but be that only one of all these opinions is true, they all nevertheless make use of arguments in striving with each other,-and not one of them is without something plausible to say, whether in affirming his own views, or objecting to the opinions of others. In exactly the same way is the condition of souls discussed. For I this one thinks that they both are immortal, and survive the end of our earthly life; that one believes that they do not survive, but perish with the bodies themselves: the opinion of another, however, is that they suffer nothing immediately, but that, after the form of man has been laid aside, they are allowed to live a little longer, 404 and then come under the power of death. And while all these opinions cannot be alike true, yet all who hold them so support their case by strong and very weighty arguments, that you cannot find out anything which seems false to you, although on every side you see that things are being said altogether at variance with each other, and inconsistent from their opposition to each other; 405 which assuredly would not happen, if man s curiosity could reach any certainty, or if that which seemed to one to have been really discovered, was attested by the approval of all the others. It is therefore wholly 406 vain, a useless task, to bring forward something as though you knew it, or to wish to assert that you know that which, although it should be true, you see can be refuted; or to receive that as true which it may be is not, and is brought forward as if by men raving. And it is rightly so, for we do not weigh and guess at 407 divine things by divine, but by human methods; and just as we think that anything should have been made, so we assert that it must be.
58. What, then, are we alone ignorant? do we alone not know who is the creator, who the former of souls, what cause fashioned man, whence ills have broken forth, or why the Supreme Ruler allows them both to exist and be perpetrated, and does not drive them from the world? have you, indeed, ascertained and learned any of these things with certainty? If you chose to lay aside audacious 408 conjectures, can you unfold and disclose whether this world m which we dwell 409 was created or founded at some time? if it was founded and made, by what kind of work, pray, or for what purpose? Can you bring forward and disclose the reason why it does not remain fixed and immoveable, but is ever being carried round in a circular motion? whether it revolves of its own will and choice, or is turned by the influence of some power? what the place, too, and space is in which it is set and revolves, boundless, bounded, hollow, or 410 solid? whether it is supported by an axis resting on sockets at its extremities, or rather itself sustains by its own power, and by the spirit within it upholds itself? Can you, if asked, make it clear, and show most skilfully, 411 what opens out the snow into feathery flakes? what was the reason and cause that day did not, in dawning, arise in the west, and veil its light in the east? how the sun, too, by one and the same influence, 412 produces results so different, nay, even so opposite? what the moon is, what the stars? why, on the one hand, it does not remain of the same shape, or why it was right and necessary that these particles of fire should be set all over the world? why some 413 of them are small, others large and greater,-these have a dim light, those a more vivid and shining brightness?
59. If that which it has pleased us to know is within reach, and if such knowledge is open to all, declare to us, 414 and say how and by what means showers of rain are produced, so that water is held suspended in the regions above and in mid-air, although by nature it is apt to glide away, and so ready to flow and run downwards. Explain, I say, and tell what it is which sends the hail whirling through the air , which makes the rain fall drop by drop, which has spread out rain and feathery flakes of snow and sheets of lightning; 415 whence the wind rises, and what it is; why the changes of the seasons were established, when it might have been ordained that there should be only one, and one kind of climate, so that there should be nothing wanting to the world's completeness. What is the cause, what the reason, that the waters of the sea are salt; 416 or that, of those on land, some are sweet, others bitter or cold? From what kind of material have the inner parts of men's bodies been formed and built up into firmness? From what have their bones been made solid? what made the intestines and veins shaped like pipes , and easily passed through? Why, when it would be better to give us light by several eyes, to guard against the risk of blindness, are we restricted to two? For what purpose have so infinite and innumerable kinds of monsters and serpents been I either formed or brought forth? what purpose do owls serve in the world,-falcons, hawks? what other birds 417 and winged creatures? what the different kinds of ants and worms springing up to be a bane and pest in various ways? what fleas, obtrusive flies, spiders, shrew, and other mice, leeches, water-spinners? what thorns, briers, wild-oats, tares? what the seeds of herbs or shrubs, either sweet to the nostrils, or disagreeable in smell? Nay more, if you think that anything can be known or comprehended, say what wheat is,-spelt, barley, millet, the chick-pea, bean, lentil, melon, cumin, scallion, leek, onion? For even if they are useful to you, and are ranked among the different kinds of food, it is not alight or easy thing to know what each is,-why they have been formed with such shapes; whether there was any necessity that they should not have had other tastes, smells, and colours than those which each has, or whether they could have taken others also; further, what these very things are,-taste, I mean, 418 and the rest; and from what relations they derive their differences of quality. From the elements, you say, and from the first beginnings of things. Are the elements, then, bitter or sweet? have they any odour or 419 stench, that we should believe that, from their uniting, qualities were implanted in their products by which sweetness is produced, or something prepared offensive to the senses?
60. Seeing, then, that the origin, the cause, the reason of so many and so important things, escapes you yourselves also, and that you can neither say nor explain what has been made, nor why and wherefore it should not have been otherwise , do you assail and attack our timidity, who confess that we do not know that which cannot be known, and who do not care to seek out and inquire into those things which it is quite clear cannot be understood, although human conjecture should extend and spread itself through a thousand hearts?
And therefore Christ the divine,-although you are unwilling to allow it,-Christ the divine, I repeat, for this must be said often, that the ears of unbelievers may burst and be rent asunder,
speaking in the form of man by command of the Supreme God, because He knew that men are naturally 420 blind, and cannot grasp the truth at all, or regard as sure and certain what they might have persuaded themselves as to things set before their eyes, and do not hesitate, for the sake of their 421 conjectures, to raise and bring up questions that cause much strife,-bade us abandon and disregard all these things of which you speak, and not waste our thoughts upon things which have been removed far from our knowledge,
but, as much as possible, seek the Lord of the universe with the whole mind and spirit; be raised above these subjects, and give over to Him our hearts, as yet hesitating whither to turn; 422 be ever mindful of Him; and although no imagination can set Him forth as He is, 423 yet form some faint conception of Him. For Christ said that, of all who are comprehended in the vague notion of what is sacred and divine, 424 He alone is beyond the reach of doubt, alone true, and one about whom only a raving and reckless madman can be in doubt; to know whom is enough, although you have learned nothing besides; and if by knowledge you have indeed been related to 425 God, the head of the world, you have gained the true and most important knowledge.
61. What business of yours is it, He 426 says, to examine, to inquire who made man; what is the origin of souls; who devised the causes of ills; whether the sun is larger than the earth, or measures only a foot in breadth: 427 whether the moon shines with borrowed light, or from her own brightness,-things which there is neither profit in knowing, nor loss in not knowing? Leave these things to God, and allow Him to know what is, wherefore, or whence; whether it must have been or not; whether something always existed, 428 or whether it was produced at the first; whether it should be annihilated or preserved, consumed, destroyed, or restored in fresh vigour. Your reason is not permitted to involve you in such questions, and to be busied to no purpose about things so much out of reach. Your interests are in jeopardy,-the salvation, I mean, 429 of your souls; and unless you give yourselves to seek to know the Supreme God, a cruel death awaits you when freed from the bonds of body, not bringing sudden annihilation, but destroying by the bitterness of its grievous and long-protracted punishment.
62. And be not deceived or deluded with vain hopes by that which is said by some ignorant and most presumptuous pretenders, 430 that they are born of God, and are NOT SUBJECT to the decrees of fate; that His palace lies open to them if they lead a life of temperance, and that after death as men, they are RESTORED WITHOUT HINDERANCE, as if to their father's abode;
nor by that which the Magi 431 assert, that they have intercessory prayers,
won over by which some powers make the way easy to those who are striving to mount to heaven ;
None but the Almighty God can preserve souls ; nor is there any one besides who can give them length of days, and grant to them also a spirit which shall never die, 434 except He who alone is immortal and everlasting, and restricted by no limit of time. For since all the gods, whether those who are real, or those who are merely said to be from hearsay and conjecture, are immortal and everlasting by His good-will and free gift, how can it be that others 435 are able to give that which they themselves have, 436 while they have it as the gift of another, bestowed by a greater power? Let Etruria sacrifice what victims it may, let the wise deny themselves all the pleasures of life, 437
let the Magi soften and soothe all lesser powers ,
yet , unless souls have received from the Lord of all things that which reason demands, and does so by His command, it 438 will hereafter deeply repent having made itself a laughing-stock , 439 when it begins to feel the approach 440 of death.
63. But if, my opponents say, Christ was sent by God for this end, that He might deliver unhappy souls from ruin and destruction, of what crime were former ages guilty which were cut off in their mortal state before He came? Can you, then, know what has become of these souls 441 of men who lived long ago? 442 whether they, too, have not been aided, provided, and cared for in some way? Can you, I say, know that which could have been learned through Christ's teaching; whether the ages are unlimited in number or not since the human race began to be on the earth; when souls were first bound to bodies; who contrived that binding, 443 nay, rather, who formed man himself; whither the souls of men who lived before us have gone; in what parts or regions of the world they were; whether they were corruptible or not; whether they could have encountered the danger of death, if Christ had not come forward as their preserver at their time of need? Lay aside these cares, and abandon questions to which you can find no answer. 444 The Lord's compassion has been shown to them, too, and the divine kindness 445 has been extended to 446 all alike; they have been preserved, have been delivered, and have laid aside the lot and. condition of mortality. Of what kind, my opponents ask , what, when? If you were free from presumption, arrogance, and conceit, you might have learned long ago from this teacher.
I reply , does not He free all alike who invites all alike? or does He thrust back or repel any one from the kindness of the Supreme who gives to all alike the power of coming to Him,-to men of high rank, to the meanest slaves, to women, to boys?
if your wisdom is so great that you term those things which are offered by Christ ridiculous and absurd, why should He keep on inviting 452 you,
while His only duty is to make the enjoyment of His bounty depend upon your own free choice? 453
God, Plato says, does not cause any one to choose his lot in life; 454 nor can another's choice be rightly attributed to any one, since freedom of choice was put in His power who made it. Must you be even implored to deign to accept the gift of salvation from God;
and must God's gracious mercy be poured into your bosom while you reject it with disdain, and flee very far from it?
Do you choose to take what is offered, and turn it to your own advantage?
........ You will in that case have consulted your own interests.
Do you reject with disdain, lightly esteem, and despise it?
........ You will in this case have robbed yourself of the benefit of the gift. 455
God compels no one, terrifies no one with overpowering fear. For our salvation is not necessary to Him, so that He would gain anything or suffer any loss, if He either made us divine, 456 or allowed us to be annihilated and destroyed by corruption.
65. Nay, my opponent says , if God is powerful, merciful, willing to save us, let Him change our dispositions, and compel us to trust in His promises.
This, then, is violence, not kindness nor the bounty of the Supreme God, but a childish and vain 457 strife in seeking to get the mastery.
For what is so unjust as to force men who are reluctant and unwilling, to reverse their inclinations; to impress forcibly on their minds what they are unwilling to receive , and shrink from; to injure before benefiting, and to bring to another way of thinking and feeling, by taking away the former?
You who wish yourself to be changed, 458 and to suffer violence, that you may do and may be compelled to take to yourself that which you do not wish, why do you refuse of your own accord to select that which you wish to do, when changed and transformed?
I am unwilling, He says, and have no wish. What, then, do you blame God as though He failed you? do you wish Him to bring you help, 459 whose gifts and bounties you not only reject and shun, but term empty 460 words, and assail with jocose witticisms?
Unless, then, my opponent says , I shall be a Christian, I cannot hope for salvation. It is just as you yourself say. For, to bring salvation and impart to souls what should be bestowed and must be added, Christ alone has had given into His charge and entrusted 461 to Him by God the Father, the remote and more secret causes being so disposed.
For, as with you, certain gods have fixed offices, privileges, powers, and you do not ask from any of them what is not in his power and permitted to him, so it is the right of 462 Christ alone to give salvation to souls, and assign them everlasting life.
For if you believe that father Bacchus can give a good vintage, but cannot give relief from sickness; if you believe that Ceres can give good crops, Aesculapius health, Neptune one thing, Juno 463 another, that Fortune, Mercury, Vulcan, are each the giver of a fixed and particular thing,-this, too, you must needs receive from us, 464 that souls can receive from no one life and salvation, except from Him to whom the Supreme Ruler gave this charge and duty. The Almighty Master of the world has determined that this should be the way of salvation,-this the door, so to say, of life; by Him 465 alone is there access to the light: nor may men either creep in or enter elsewhere, all other ways being shut up and secured by an impenetrable barrier.
66. So, then, even if you are pure, and have been cleansed from every stain of vice, have won over and charmed 466 those powers not to shut the ways against you and bar your passage when returning to heaven,
by no efforts will you be able to reach the prize of immortality,
unless by Christ's gift you have perceived what constitutes this very immortality, and have been allowed to enter on the true life.
For as to that with which you have been in the habit of taunting us, that our religion is new, 467 and arose a few days ago, almost, and that you could not abandon the ancient faith which you had inherited from your fathers, and pass over to barbarous and foreign rites, this is urged wholly without reason. For what if in this way we chose to blame the preceding, even the most ancient ages, because when they discovered how to raise crops, 468 they despised acorns, and rejected with scorn the wild strawberry; because they ceased to be covered with the bark of trees and clad in the hides of wild beasts, after that garments of cloth were devised, more useful and convenient in wearing; or because, when houses were built, and more comfortable dwellings erected, they did not cling to their ancient huts, and did not prefer to remain nuder rocks and caves like the beasts of the field? It is a disposition possessed by all, and impressed on us almost from our cradles even, to prefer good things to bad, useful to useless things, and to pursue and seek that with more pleasure which has been generally regarded 469 as more than usually precious, and to set on that our hopes for prosperity and favourable circumstances.
67. Therefore, when you urge against us that we turn away from the religion 470 of past ages , it is fitting that you should examine why it is done, not what is crone, and not set before you what we have left, but observe especially what we have followed. For if it is a fault or crime to change an opinion, and pass from ancient customs to new conditions and desires, this accusation holds against you too, who have so often changed your habits and mode of life, who have gone over to other customs and ceremonies, so that you are condemned by 471 past ages as well as we.
Do you indeed have the people distributed into five 472 classes, as your ancestors once had? Do you ever elect magistrates by vote of the people? Do you know what military, urban, and common 473 comitia are? Do you watch the sky, or put an end to public business because evil omens are announced? When you are preparing for war, 474 do you hang out a flag from the citadel, or practise the forms of the Fetiales, solemnly 475 demanding the return of what has been carried off? or, when encountering the dangers of war, do you begin to hope also, because of favourable omens from the points of the spears? 476 In entering on office, do you still observe the laws fixing the proper times? with regard to gifts and presents to advocates, do you observe the Cincian and the sumptuary laws in restricting your expenses? Do you maintain fires, ever burning, in gloomy sanctuaries? 477 Do you consecrate tables by putting on them salt-cellars and images of the gods? When you marry, do you spread the couch with a toga, and invoke the genii of husbands? do you arrange the hair of brides with the hasta caelibaris? do you bear the maidens' garments to the temple of Fortuna Virginalis? Do your matrons work in the halls of your houses, showing their industry openly do they refrain from drinking wine? are their friends and relations allowed to kiss them, in order to show that they are sober and temperate?
68. On the Alban hill, it was not allowed in ancient times to sacrifice any but snow-white bulls: have you not changed that custom and religious observance, and has it not been enacted by decree of the senate, that reddish ones may be offered? While during the reigns of Romulus and Pompilius the inner parts, having been quite thoroughly cooked and softened, were burnt up in sacrificing to the gods, did you not begin, under king Tullius, 478 to hold them out half-raw and slightly warm, paying no regard to the former usage? While before the arrival of Hercules in Italy supplication was made to father Dis and Saturn with the heads of men by Apollo's advice; have you not, in like manner, changed this custom too, by means of cunning deceit and ambiguous names? 479 Since, then, yourselves also have followed at one time these customs, at another different laws, and have repudiated and rejected many things on either perceiving your mistakes or seeing something better, what have we done contrary to common sense and the discretion all men have, if we have chosen what is greater and more certain, and have not suffered ourselves to be held back by unreasoning respect for impostures?
69. But our name is new, we are told , and the religion which we follow arose but a few days ago. Granting for the present that what you urge against us is not untrue, what is there, I would ask , among the affairs of men that is either done by bodily exertion and manual labour, or attained by the mind's learning and knowledge, which did not begin at some time, and pass into general use and practice since then?
Medicine, 480 philosophy, music , and all the other arts by which social life has been built up and refined,-were these born with men,
and did they not rather begin to be pursued , understood , and practised lately, nay, rather, but a short time since?
Before the Etruscan Tages saw the 481 light, did any one know or trouble himself to know and learn what meaning there was in the fall of thunderbolts, or in the veins of the victims sacrificed? 482 When did the motion of the stars or the art of calculating nativities begin to be known? Was it not after Theutis 483 the Egyptian; or after Atlas, as some say, the bearer, supporter, stay, and prop of the skies?
70. But why do I speak of these trivial things? The immortal gods themselves, whose temples you now enter with reverence , whose deity you suppliantly adore, did they not at certain times, as is handed down by your writings and traditions, begin to be, to be known and to be invoked by names and titles which were given to them? For if it is true that Jupiter with his brothers was born of Saturn and his wife, before Ops was married and bore children Jupiter had not existed both the Supreme and the Stygian, 484 no, nor the lord of the sea, nor Juno, nay more, no one inhabited the heavenly seats except the two parents; but from their union the other gods were conceived and born, and breathed the breath of life. So, then, at a certain time the god Jupiter began to be, at a certain time to merit worship and sacrifices, at a certain time to be set above his brothers in power. 485 But, again, if Liber, Venus, Diana, Mercury, Apollo, Hercules, the Muses, the Tyndarian brothers, 486 and Vulcan the lord of fire, were begotten by father Jupiter, and born of a parent sprung from Saturn , before that Memory, Alcmena, Maia, Juno, Latona, Leda, Dione, and Semele also bore children to Diespiter; these deities , too, were nowhere in the world, nor in any part of the universe, but by Jupiter's embraces they were begotten and born, and began to have some sense of their own existence. So then, these, too, began to be at a certain time, and to be summoned among the gods to the sacred rites. This we say, in like manner, of Minerva. For if, as you assert, she burst forth from Jupiter's head ungenerated, 487 before Jupiter was begotten, and received in his mother's womb the shape and outline of his body, 488 it is quite certain that Minerva did not exist, and was not reckoned among things or as existing at all; but from Jove's head she was born, and began to have a real existence. She therefore has an origin at the first, and began to be called a goddess at a certain time, to be set up in temples, and to be consecrated by the inviolable obligations of religion. Now as this is the case, when you talk of the novelty of our religion, does your own not come into your thoughts, and do you not take care to examine when your gods sprung up,-what origins, what causes they have, or from what stocks they have burst forth and sprung? But how shameful how shameless it is to censure that in another which you see that you do yourself,-to take occasion to revile and accuse others for things which can be retorted upon you in turn!
71. But our rites are 489 new; yours are ancient, and of excessive antiquity, we are told . And what help does that give you, or how does it damage our cause and argument? The belief 490 which we hold is new; some day even it, too, will become old: yours is old; but when it arose, it was new and unheard of. The credibility of a religion, however, must not be determined by its age, but by its divinity; and you should consider not when, but what you began to worship. Four hundred years ago, my opponent says , your religion did not exist. And two thousand years ago, I reply , your gods did not exist. By what reckoning, you ask , or by what calculations, can that be inferred? They are not difficult, not intricate, but can be seen by any one who will take them in hand even, as the saying is. Who begot Jupiter and his brothers? Saturn with Ops, as you relate, sprung from Coelus and Hecate. Who begot Picus, the father of Faunus and grandfather of Latinus? Saturn , as you again hand down by your books and teachers? Therefore, if this is the case, Picus and Jupiter are in consequence united by the bond of kinship, inasmuch as they are sprung from one stock and race. It is clear, then, that what we say is true. How many steps are there in coming down 491 from Jupiter and Picus to Latinus? Three, as the line of succession shows. Will you suppose Faunus, Latinus, and Picus to have each lived a hundred and twenty years, for beyond this it is that man's life cannot be prolonged? The estimation is well grounded and clear. There are, then, three hundred and sixty years garter these? 492 It is just as the calculation shows. Whose father-in-law was Latinus? Aeneas'. Whose father was he? 493 He was father of the founder of the town Alba. How many years did kings reign in Alba? Four hundred and twenty almost. Of what age is the city Rome shown to be in the annals? It reckons ten 494 hundred and fifty years, or not much less. So, then, from Jupiter, who is the brother of Picus and father of the other and lesser gods, down to the present time, there are nearly, or to add a little to the time, altogether, two thousand years. Now since this cannot be contradicted, not only is the religion to which you adhere shown to have sprung up lately; but it is also shown that the gods themselves, to whom you heap up bulls and other victims at the risk of bringing on disease, are young and little children, who should still be fed with their mothers' milk. 495
72. But your religion precedes ours by many years, and is therefore, you say , truer, because it has been supported by the authority of antiquity. And of what avail is it that it should precede ours as many years as you please, since it began at a certain time? or what 496 are two thousand years, compared with so many thousands of ages? And yet, lest we should seem to betray our cause by so long neglect, say, if it does not annoy you, does the Almighty and Supreme God seem to you to be something new; and do those who adore and worship Him seem to you to support and introduce an unheard-of, unknown, and upstart religion? Is there anything older than Him? or can anything be found preceding Him in being, 497 time, name? Is not He alone uncreated, immortal, and everlasting? Who is the head 498 and fountain of things? is not He? To whom does eternity owe its name? is it not to Him? Is it not because He is everlasting, that the ages go on without end? This is beyond doubt, and true: the religion which we follow is not new, then, but we have been late in learning what we should follow and revere, or where we should both fix our hope of salvation, and employ the aid given to save us. For He had not yet shone forth who was to point out the way to those wandering from it, and give the light of knowledge to those who were lying in the deepest darkness, and dispel the blindness of their ignorance.
73. But are we alone in this position? 499 What! have you not introduced into the number of your gods the Egyptian deities named Serapis and Isis, since the consulship of Piso and Gabinius? 500 What! did you not begin both to know and be acquainted with, and to worship with remarkable honours, the Phrygian mother-who, it is said, was first set up as a goddess by Midas or Dardanus-when Hannibal, the Carthaginian, was plundering Italy and aiming at the empire of the world? 501 Are not the sacred rites of mother Ceres, which were adopted but a little while ago, called Graeca because they were unknown to you, their name bearing witness to their novelty? Is it not said 502 in the writings of the learned, that the rituals of Numa Pompilius do not contain the name of Apollo? Now it is clear and manifest from this, that he, too, was unknown to you. but that at some time afterwards he began to be known also. If any one, therefore, should ask yon why you have so lately begun to worship those deities whom we mentioned just now, it is certain that you will reply, either because we were C lately not aware that they were gods, or because we have now been warned by the seers, or because, in very trying circumstances, we have been preserved by their favour and help. But if you think that this is well said by you, you must consider that, on our part, a similar reply has been made. Our religion has sprung up just now; for now He has arrived who was sent to declare it to us, to bring us to its truth; to show what God is; to summon us from mere conjectures, to His worship.
74. And why, my, opponent says , did God, the Ruler and Lord of the universe , determine that a Saviour, Christ, should be sent to you from the heights of heaven a few hours ago, as it is said? We ask you too, on the other hand, what cause, what reason is there that the seasons sometimes do not recur at their own months, but that winter, summer, and autumn come too late? why, after the crops have been dried up and the corn 503 has perished, showers sometimes fall which should have dropped on them while yet uninjured, and made provision for the wants of the time? Nay, this we rather ask, why, if it were fitting that Hercules should be born, Aesculapius, Mercury, Liber, and some others, that they might be both added to the assemblies of the gods, and might do men some service,-why they were produced so late by Jupiter, that only later ages should know them, while the past ages 504 of those who went before knew them not? You will say that there was some reason. There was then some reason here also that the Saviour of our race came not lately, but to-day. What, then, you ask, is the reason? We do not deny that we do not know. For it is not within the power of any one to see the mind of God, or the way in which He has arranged His plans. 505 Man, a blind creature, and not knowing himself even, can 506 in no way learn what should happen, when, or what its nature is: the Father Himself, the Governor and Lord of all, alone knows. Nor, if I have been unable to disclose to you the causes why something is done in this way or that, does it straightway follow, that what has been done becomes not done, and that a thing becomes incredible, which has been shown to be beyond doubt by such 507 virtues and 508 powers.
75. You may object and rejoin, Why was the Saviour sent forth so late? In unbounded, eternal ages, we reply , nothing whatever should be spoken of as late. For where there is no end and no beginning, nothing is too soon, 509 nothing too late. For time is perceived from its beginnings and endings, which an unbroken line and endless 510 succession of ages cannot have. For what if the things themselves to which it was necessary to bring help, required that as a fitting time? For what if the condition of antiquity was different from that of later times? What if it was necessary to give help to the men of old in one way, to provide for their descendants in another? Do ye not hear your own writings read, telling that there were once men who were demi-gods, heroes with immense and huge bodies? Do you not read that infants on their mothers' breasts shrieked like. Stentors, 511 whose bones, when dug up in different parts of the earth, have made the discoverers almost doubt that they were the remains of human limbs? So, then, it may be that Almighty God, the only God, sent forth Christ then indeed, after that the human race, becoming feebler, weaker, began to be such as we are. If that which has been done now could have been done thousands of years ago, the Supreme Ruler would have done it; or if it had been proper, that what has been done now should be accomplished as many thousands after this, nothing compelled God to anticipate the necessary lapse 512 of time. His plans 513 are executed in fixed ways; and that which has been once decided on, can in no wise be changed again. 514
76. Inasmuch then, you say, as you serve the Almighty God, and trust that He cares for your safety and salvation, why does He suffer you to be exposed to such storms of persecution, and to undergo all kinds of punishments and tortures? Let us, too, ask in reply, why, seeing that you worship so great and so innumerable gods, and build temples to them, fashion images of gold, sacrifice herds of animals, and all heap up 515 boxfuls of incense on the already loaded altars, why you live subject to so many dangers and storms of calamity , with which many fatal misfortunes vex you every day? Why, I say, do your gods neglect to avert from you so many kinds of disease and sickness, shipwrecks, downfalls, conflagrations, pestilences, barrenness, loss of children, and confiscation of goods, discords, wars, enmities, captures of cities, and the slavery of those who are robbed of their rights of free birth? 516 But, my opponent says , in such mischances we, too, are in no wise helped by God. The cause is plain and manifest. For no hope has been held out to us with respect to this life, nor has any help been promised or 517 aid decreed us for what belongs to the husk of this flesh,-nay, more, we have been taught to esteem and value lightly all the threats of fortune, whatever they be; and if ever any very grievous calamity has assailed us , to count as pleasant in that misfortune 518 the end which must follow, and not to fear or flee from it, that we may be the more easily released from the bonds of the body, and escape from our darkness and 519 blindness.
77. Therefore that bitterness of persecution of which you speak is our deliverance and not persecution, and our ill-treatment will not bring evil upon us, but will lead us to the light of liberty. As if some senseless and stupid fellow were to think that he never punished a man who had been put into prison 520 with severity and cruelty, unless he were to rage against the very prison, break its stones in pieces, and burn its roof, its wall, its doors; and strip, overthrow, and dash to the ground its other parts, not knowing that thus he was giving light to him whom he seemed to be injuring, and was taking from him the accursed darkness: in like manner, you too, by the flames, banishments, tortures, and monsters with which you tear in pieces and rend asunder our bodies, do not rob us of life, but relieve us of our skins, not knowing that, as far as you assault and seek to rage against these our shadows and forms, so far you free us from pressing and heavy chains, and cutting our bonds, make us fly up to the light.
78. Wherefore, O men, refrain from obstructing what you hope for by vain questions; nor should you, if anything is otherwise than you think, trust your own opinions rather than that which should be reverenced. 521 The times, full of dangers, urge us, and fatal penalties threaten us; let us flee for safety to God our Saviour, without demanding the reason of the offered gift. When that at stake is our souls' salvation and our own interests, something must be done even without reason, as Arrhianus approves of Epictetus having said. 522 We doubt, we hesitate, and suspect the credibility of what is said; let us commit ourselves to God, and let not our incredulity prevail more with us than the greatness of His name and power, lest, while we are seeking out arguments for ourselves, through which that may seem false which we do not wish and deny to be true, the last day steal upon us, and we be found in the jaws of our enemy, death.
- On Instrumental Music, Tongues and Idolatry
Arnobius Against the Heathen. (Adversus Gentes)
Counter added 12.13.04 2:00p 1345
4 So Meursius, reading a- for the ms. o-ptaret , which is retained by LB., Orelli, and others. The ms. reading is explained, along with the next words vota immortalitatis , by Orelli as meaning "sought by His prayers," with reference to John xvii. 24, in which he is clearly mistaken. Heraldus conjectures p-o-r-ta-s a-p-er-taret , "opened paths...and the gates of immortality."
5 The words which follow, ut non in cunctos , etc., have been thus transposed by Heraldus, followed by later editors; but formerly they preceded the rest of the sentence, and, according to Oehler, the ms. gives utrum , thus: "(You ask) whether He has both extended to all...ignorance? who, if He was not," etc. Cf. book i. (this page) note 3, supra
8 This seems the true rationale of the sentence, viewed in relation to the context. Immediately before, Arnobius suggests that the hatred of Christ by the heathen is unjustifiable, because they had suffered nothing at His hands; now an opponent is supposed to rejoin, "But He has deserved our hatred by assailing our religion." The introductory particles at enim fully bear this out, from their being regularly used to introduce a rejoinder. Still, by Orelli and other editors the sentence is regarded as interrogative, and in that case would be, "Has He indeed merited our hatred by driving out," etc., which, however, not merely breaks away from what precedes, but also makes the next sentence somewhat lame. The older editors, too, read it without any mark of interrogation.
10 So the ms., reading perpetuarum pater, fundator conditor rerum , but all the editions pa -ri- ter , "alike," which has helped to lead Orelli astray. He suggests et fons est perpetu us pariter , etc., "perpetual fountain,...of all things alike the founder and framer." It has been also proposed by Oehler (to get rid of the difficulty felt here) to transfer per metathesin , the idea of "enduring," to God; but the reference is surely quite clear, viewed as a distinction between the results of God's working and that of all other beings.
11 So the ms. and almost all edd, reading da verum judicium , for which Heraldus suggested da naturae , or verum animae judicium , "give the judgment of nature," or "the true judgment of the soul," as if appeal were made to the inner sense; but in his later observations he proposed da puerum judicem , "give a boy as judge," which is adopted by Orelli. Meursius, merely transposing d-a , reads much more naturally ad -"at a true judgment."
12 The ms. reading is illum testem d-e-um constituimus improbarum , retained in the edd. with the change of -arum into -orum . Perhaps for deum should be read r-e-r-um , "make him witness of wicked things." With this passage compare iii. 31-33.
18 So the ms., followed by both Roman edd., Hildebrand and Oehler, reading passa , which Cujacius (referring it to patior , as the editors seem to have done generally) would explain as meaning "past," while in all other editions cassa , "vain," is read.
22 i.e., If you believe Christ's promises, your belief makes you lose nothing should it prove groundless; but if you disbelieve them, then the consequences to you will be terrible if they are sure. This would seem too clear to need remark, were it not for the confusion of Orelli in particular as to the meaning of the passage.
24 Redarguat . This sense is not recognised by Riddle and White, and would therefore seem to be, if not unique, at least extremely rare. The derivative redargutio , however, is in late Latin used for "demonstration," and this is evidently the meaning here.
25 Fidem vobis faciunt argumenta credendi. Heraldus, joining the two last words, naturally regards them as a gloss from the margin; but read as above, joining the first and last, there is nothing out of place.
29 Rationes cognitas . There is some difficulty as to the meaning of these words, but it seems best to refer them to the argumenta credendi (beginning of chapter, "do not even these proofs"), and render as above. Hildebrand, however, reads tortiones , "they accept the tortures which they know will befall them."
30 The ms. reads et non omnium , "and by a love not of all the virtues," changed in most edd, as above into atque omnium , while Oehler proposes et novo omnium , "and by fresh love of all," etc. It will be remembered that the transposition of leaves in the ms. (note on ii. 1) occurs here, and this seems to account for the arbitrary reading of Gelenius, which has no ms. authority whatever, but was added by himself when transposing these chapters to the first book (cf. p. 432, n. 14), atque nectare ebrii cuncta contemnant -
"As if intoxicated with a certain sweetness and nectar, they despise all things ." The same circumstance has made the restoration of the passage by Canterus a connecting of fragments of widely separated sentences and arguments.
33 So the ms., reading conditi vi mera , for which Orelli would read with Oudendorp, conditae -"by the pure force of recondite wisdom." The ms., however, is supported by the similar phrase in the beginning of chap. 8, where tincti is used.
34 So the ms., reading aliud , for which Stewechius, adopting a suggestion of Canterus, conjectures, altius et profundius -"something deeper and more profound." Others propose readings further removed from the text; while Obbarius, retaining the ms. reading, explains it as "not common."
38 No trace of either of these works has come down to us, and therefore, though there has been abundance of conjecture, we can reach no satisfactory conclusion about them. It seems most natural to suppose the former to be probably part of the lost satires of Lucilius, which had dealt with obscene matters, and the author of the latter to be the Atellane poet of Bononia. As to this there has been some discussion; but, in our utter ignorance of the work itself, it is as well to allow that we must remain ignorant of its author also. The scope of both works is suggested clearly enough by their titles-the statue of Marsyas in the forum overlooking nightly licentious orgies; and their mention seems intended to suggest a covert argument against the heathen, in the implied indecency of the knowledge on which they prided themselves. For Fornicem Lucilianum (ms. Lucialinum ) Meursius reads Caecilianum.
39 Lit., "Has that thing published never struck," etc. There is clearly a reference to 1 Cor. iii. 19, "the wisdom of this world." The argument breaks off here, and is taken up from a different point in the next sentence, which is included, however, in this chapter by Orelli.
40 So Gelenius, followed by Canterus and Orelli, reading primum et ipsi , by rejecting one word of the ms. ( et quae ). Canterus plausibly combines both words into itaque -"therefore." LB. reads ecquid -"do you at all," etc., with which Orelli so far agrees, that he makes the whole sentence interrogative.
42 So the ms. very intelligibly and forcibly, res...invida , but the common reading is invid-i-a -"whom something...with envy." The train of thought which is merely started here is pursued at some length a little later.
43 The ms. gives fedro , but all editions, except the first, Hildebrand, and Oehler, read Phaedone , referring, however, to a passage in the first Alcibiades (st. p. 129), which is manifestly absurd, as in it, while Alcibiades "cannot tell what man is," Socrates at once proceeds to lead him to the required knowledge by the usual dialectic. Nourry thinks that there is a general reference to Phaedr. , st. p. 230,-a passage in which Socrates says that he disregards mythological questions that he may study himself. [P. 447, note 2, infra .]
44 Lit., "changed with the rottenness of some moisture." The reference is probably to the statement by Socrates ( Phaedo , st. p. 96) of the questions with regard to the origin of life, its progress and development, which interested him as a young man.
47 Arnobius overstates the fact here. In the passage referred to ( Th. , st. p. 158), Socrates is represented as developing the Protagorean theory from its author's standpoint, not as stating his own opinions.
50 So LB., followed by Orelli, reading impenetrabil-em , for the ms. impenetrabil-is , which is corrected in both Roman edd. by Gelenius, Canterus, and Elmenhorst -e , to agree with the subject oleum -"being impenetrable is ever," etc.
52 So the edd., generally reading fatua for the ms. futura , which is clearly corrupt. Hildebrand turns the three adjectives into corresponding verbs, and Heinsius emends deliret (ms. -ra ) et fatue et insane -"dotes both sillily and crazily." Arnobius here follows Lucr., iii. 445 sqq.
60 Arnobius here allows himself to be misled by Cicero ( Tusc. , i. 10), who explains e0ntele/xeia as a kind of perpetual motion, evidently confusing it with e0ndele/xeia (cf. Donaldson, New Crat. , & 167; 339 sqq.), and represents Aristotle as making it a fifth primary cause. The word has no such meaning, and Aristotle invariably enumerates only four primary causes: the material from which, the form in which, the power by which, and the end for which anything exists ( Physics , ii. 3; Metaph. , iv. 2, etc.).
64 Sententiarum is read in the first ed. by Gelenius, Canterus, and Ursinus, and seems from Crusius to be the ms. reading. The other edd., however, have received from the margin of Ursinus the reading of the text, sectarum.
66 Cf. Diog. Laert. ix. 9, where Heraclitus is said to have taught that fire-the first principle-condensing becomes water, water earth, and conversely; and on Thales, Arist., Met. , A, 3, where, however, as in other places, Thales is merely said to have referred the generation and maintenance of all things to moisture, although by others he is represented as teaching the doctrine ascribed to him above. Cf. Cic., de Nat. Deor. , i. 10, and Heraclides, Alleg. Hom. , c. 22, where water evaporating is said to become air, and settling, to become mud.
67 There is some difficulty as to the reading: the ms., first ed., and Ursinus give numero s-c-ire , explained by Canterus as meaning "that numbers have understanding," i.e., so as to be the cause of all. Gelenius, followed by Canterus, reads -os scit -"does Pyth. know numbers," which is absurdly out of place. Heraldus approved of a reading in the margin of Ursinus (merely inserting o after c ), "that numbers unite," which seems very plausible. The text follows an emendation of Gronovius adopted by Orelli, -o ex-ire.
70 So the ms. reading nostra in-credulitate , for which Ursinus, followed by Stewechius, reads nostra cum. Heraldus conjectured vestra , i.e., "in your readiness of belief," you are just as much exposed to such ridicule.
72 So the ms. and edd., reading Platoni ; but Ursinus suggested Plotino , which Heraldus thinks most probably correct. There is, indeed, an evident suitableness in introducing here the later rather than the earlier philosopher, which has great weight in dialog with the next name, and should therefore, perhaps, have some in this case also.
73 The ms. and both Roman edd. give Crotonio , rejected by the others because no Crotonius is known (it has been referred, however, to Pythagoras, on the ground of his having taught in Croton). In the margin of Ursinus Cronius was suggested, received by LB. and Orelli, who is mentioned by Eusebius ( Hist. Eccl. , vi. 19, 3) with Numenius and others as an eminent Pythagorean, and by Porphyry ( de Ant. Nymph. , xxi. ), as a friend ot Numenius, and one of those who treated the Homeric poems as allegories. Gelenius substitutes Plotinus, followed by most edd.
82 White and Riddle translate candidule , "sincerely," but give no other instance of its use, and here the reference is plainly to the previous statement of the literary excellence of the philosophers. Heraldus suggests callidule , "cunningly," of which Orelli approves; but by referring the adv. to this well-known meaning of its primitive, all necessity for emendation is obviated.
83 Lit., "subtleties of suspicions." This passage is certainly doubtful. The reading translated, et suspicionum argutias profertis , is that of LB., Orelli, and the later edd. generally; while the ms. reads -atis -"Bring forward arguments to us, and" (for which Heraldus conjectures very plausibly, nec , "and not") "subtleties," etc., which, by changing a single letter, reads in the earlier edd. pro-fer-etis -"Will you," or, "You will bring forward," etc.
86 So all the edd. except Oehler; but as the first verb is plural in the ms., while the second is singular, it is at least as probable that the second was plural originally also, and that therefore the relative should be made to refer both to "virtues" and "power."
91 So the ms., although the first five edd., by changing r into s , read cur-s-um -"course." This story is of frequent occurrence in the later Fathers, but is never referred to by the earlier, or by any except Christian writers, and is derived solely from the Apostolic Constitutions. In the Greek version of the Apost. Const. the sixth book opens with a dissertation on schisms and heresies in which the story of Simon and others is told; but that this was interpolated by some compiler seems clear from the arguments brought forward by Bunsen ( Hippolytus and his Age , more particularly vol. ii. pt. 2, & 167; 2, and the second appendix).
96 Arnobius rather exaggerates the force of the passage referred to (st. p. 173), which occurs in the beautiful digression on philosophers. Plato there says that only the philosopher's body is here on earth, while his mind, holding politics and the ordinary business and amusements of life unworthy of attention, is occupied with what is above and beneath the earth, just as Thales, when he fell into a ditch, was looking at the stars, and not at his steps.
97 In cardinem vergere qui orientis est solis seems to be the reading of all edd.; but according to Crusius the ms. reads vertere -"to turn." Hildebrand, on the contrary, affirms that instead of t , the ms. gives c .
100 Reference is here made to one of the most extraordinary of the Platonic myths ( Pol. , 269-274), in which the world is represented as not merely material, but as being further possessed of intelligence. It is ever in motion, but not always in the same way. For at one time its motion is directed by a divine governor (tou\ panto\j o9 me\n kubernh/thj); but this does not continue, for he withdraws from his task, and thereupon the world loses, or rather gives up its previous bias, and begins to revolve in the opposite direction, causing among other results a reverse development of the phenomena which occurred before, such as Arnobius describes. Arnobius, however, gives too much weight to the myth, as in the introduction it is more than hinted that it may be addressed to the young Socrates, as boys like such stories, and he is not much more than a boy. With it should be contrasted the "great year" of the Stoics, in which the universe fulfilled its course, and then began afresh to pass through the same experience as before (Nemesius, de Nat. Hom. , c. 38).
101 LB. makes these words interrogative, but the above arrangement is clearly vindicated by the tenor of the argument: You laugh at our care for our souls' salvation; and truly you do not see to their safety by such precautions as a virtuous life, but do you not seek that which you think salvation by mystic rites?
106 Plato, in the passage referred to ( Phaedo , st. p. 113, & 167; 61), speaks of the Styx not as a river, but as the lake into which the Cocytus falls. The fourth river which he mentions in addition to the Acheron, Pyriphlegethon, and Cocytus, which he calls Stygian, is the Ocean stream.
113 So Gelenius emended the unintelligible ms. reading se-mina by merely adding s , followed by all edd., although Ursinus in the margin suggests se mîam , i.e., mi-sericordiam -"pity;" and Heraldus conjectures munia -"gifts."
115 It is worth while to contrast Augustine's words: "The death which men fear is the separation of the soul from the body. The true death, which men do not fear, is the separation of the soul from God" (Aug. in Ps. xlviii., quoted by Elmenhorst).
120 The ms. reading is a no-b-is quibusdam , for which LB. reads nobis a qu. -"to us," and Hild. a notis - "by certain known;" but all others, as above, from a conjecture of Gelenius, a no-v-is , although Orelli shows his critical sagacity by preferring an emendation in the margin of Ursinus, a bonis -"by certain good men," in which he sees a happy irony!
123 There has been much confusion as to the meaning of Arnobius throughout this discussion, which would have been obviated if it had been remembered that his main purpose in it is to show how unsatisfactory and unstable are the theories of the philosophers, and that he is not therefore to be identified with the views brought forward, but rather with the objections raised to them.
125 So the ms., followed by Orelli and others reading institutum superciliumque -"habit and arrogance," for the first word of which LB. reads istum typhum -"that pride of yours;" Meursius, isti typhum -"Lay aside pride, O ye."
129 So, by a later writer in the margin of the ms., who gives artificiosa-s novitates , adopted by Stewechius and Oehler, the s being omitted in the text of the ms. itself, as in the edd., which drop the final s in the next word also-"would raise and with unknown art strike out lofty buildings."
132 So Elmenhorst, Oberthür, and Orelli, reading par-a-v-it sibi et for the ms. parv-as et , "from continual failure has wrought out indeed slight smattering of the arts," etc., which is retained in both Roman edd., LB., and Hild.; while Gelenius and Canterus merely substitute sibi for et , "wrought out for itself slight," etc.
143 So the later edd., adopting the emendation of Scaliger, nothum -"spurious," which here seems to approach in meaning to its use by Lucretius (v. 574 sq.), of the moon's light as borrowed from the sun. The ms. and first four edd. read notum , "known."
147 So Gelenius, followed by Canterus, Elmenh., and Oberthür, reading portione-m et , while the words tam laetam , "that he is so joyous a part" are inserted before et by Stewechius and the rest, except both Roman edd. which retain the ms. portione jam laeta.
164 In this dialogue (st. p. 81) Socrates brings forward the doctrine of reminiscence as giving a reasonable ground for the pursuit of knowledge, and then proceeds to give a practical illustration of it by leading an uneducated slave to solve a mathematical problem by means of question and answer.
168 i.e., a square numerically or algebraically. The ms., both Roman edd., and Canterus read di-bus aut dynam-us , the former word being defended by Meursius as equivalent to binio , "a doubling,"- a sense, however, in which it does not occur. In the other edd., cubus aut dynamis has been received from the margin of Ursinus.
171 Founded on Plato's words ( Phaedrus , st. p. 247), tw\| d' (i.e. Zeus) e@petai stratia\ qew=n te kai\ daimo/nwn, the doctrine became prevalent that under the supreme God were lesser gods made by Him, beneath whom again were daemons, while men stood next. To this Orelli supposes that Arnobius here refers.
174 The text and meaning are both rather doubtful, and the edd. vary exceedingly. The reading of Orelli, demoretur iners, valeat in aere quamvis , has been translated as most akin to the ms., with which, according to Oehler, it agrees, although Orelli himself gives the ms. reading as aer-io .
184 The ms. reads ne videamu-s , changed in both Roman edd. into -amur - "that we may not be seen by you (as ignorant), how say you," etc. Gelenius proposed the reading of the text, audiamus , which has been received by Canterus and Orelli. It is clear from the next words- quemadmodum dicitis -that in this case the verb must be treated as a kind of interjection, "How say you, let us hear." LB. reads, to much the same purpose, scire avemus , "we desire to know."
189 So read by Orelli, artes suas antiquas , omitting atque , which he says, follows in the ms. It is read after suas , however, in the first ed., and those of Gelenius, Canterus, Hildebrand; and according to Oehler, it is so given in the ms., "its own and ancient." Oberthür would supply res -"its own arts and ancient things."
190 So the ms., reading constitut-a , followed by all edd. except those of Ursinus, Hildebrand, and Oehler, who read -ae , "how do they remember when established in the bodies," which is certainly more in accordance with the context.
201 Lit., "the one (immortality)...in respect of the equality of condition of the other"- nec in alterius (immortalatatis) altera (immortalitatas) possit aequalitate conditionis vexari ; the reference being clearly to the immediately preceding clause, with which it is so closely connected logically and grammatically. Orelli, however, would supply anima , a0po\ tou= koinou=, as he puts it, of which nothing need be said. Meursius, with customary boldness, emends nec vi alterius altera , "nor by the power of one can the other," etc.
208 Lucretius (iii. 417 sqq.) teaches at great length that the soul and mind are mortal, on the ground that they consist of atoms smaller than those of vapour, so that, like it, on the breaking of their case, they will be scattered abroad; next, on the ground of the analogy between them and the body in regard to disease, suffering, etc.; of their ignorance of the past, and want of developed qualities; and finally, on the ground of the adaptation of the soul to the body, as of a fish to the sea, so that life under other conditions would be impossible.
210 Cf. Plato, Phaedo (st. p. 64 sq.), where death is spoken of as only a carrying further of that separation of the soul from the pleasures and imperfections of the body which the philosopher strives to effect in this life.
217 Arnobius seems in this chapter to refer to the doctrine of the Stoics, that the soul must be material, because, unless body and soul were of one substance, there could be no common feeling or mutual affection (so Cleanthes in Nemes. de Nat. Hom. , ii, p. 33); and to that held by some of them, that only the souls of the wise remained after death, and these only till the conflagration (Stob., Ecl. Phys. , p. 372) which awaits the world, and ends the Stoic great year or cycle. Others, however, held that the souls of the wise became daemons and demigods (Diog., Laert. , vii. 157 and 151).
220 There may be here some echo of the words (John xvii. 3), "This is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God," etc.; but there is certainly not sufficient similarity to found a direct reference on, as has been done by Orelli and others.
222 This passage presents no difficulty in itself, its sense being obviously that, as by God's grace life is given to those who serve Him, we must strive to fit ourselves to receive His blessing. The last words, however, have seemed to some fraught with mystery, and have been explained by Heraldus at some length as a veiled or confused reference to the Lord's Supper, as following upon baptism and baptismal regeneration , which, he supposes, are referred to in the preceding words, "laying aside," etc. [It is not, however, the language of a mere catechumen.]
240 Meursius suggests numini , "deity," on which it may be well to remark once for all, that nomen and numen are in innumerable places interchanged in one or other of the edd. The change, however, is usually of so little moment, that no further notice will be taken of it.
246 So the ms., reading ad modum obsecutionis paratum -"prepared to the mode of compliance;" for which the edd. read adm. executioni -"quite prepared for performing," except Hildebrand, who gives adm. obsecutioni -"for obedience."
252 The ms. reading is utterly corrupt and meaningless- immortalitatis largiter est donum dei certa prolatis . Gelenius, followed by Canterus, Oberthür, and Orelli, emended largi-tio...certe , as above. The two Roman edd. read, -tatem largitus...certam -"bestowed, assured immortality as God's gift on," etc.
256 Plato makes the supreme God, creator of the inferior deities, assure these lesser gods that their created nature being in itself subject to dissolution, His will is a surer ground on which to rely for immortality, than the substance or mode of their own being ( Timaeus , st. p. 41; translated by Cicero, de Univ. , xi., and criticised de Nat. Deor. , i. 8 and iii. 12).
257 The ms. and both Roman edd. read neque ullo ab-olitio-nis unintelligibly, for which Gelenius proposed nexusque aboltitione -"and by the destruction of the bond;" but the much more suitable reading in the margin of Ursinus, translated above, ullo ab alio nis-i , has been adopted by later edd.
258 Lit., "be gifted with a saving order." So the ms., reading salutari iussione , followed by both Rom. edd.; LB. and Orelli read vinctione -"bond;" Gelenius, Canterus, Elmenh., and Oberthür, m-issione -"dismissal."
261 Cf. i. 48. On this passage Orelli quotes Irenaeus, i. 21, where are enumerated several gnostic theories of the creation of the world and men by angels, who are themselves created by the "one unknown Father." Arnobius is thought, both by Orelli and others, to share in these opinions, and in this discussion to hint at them, but obscurely, lest his cosmology should be confounded by the Gentiles with their own polytheistic system. It seems much more natural to suppose that we have here the indefinite statement of opinions not thoroughly digested.
265 Elmenhorst endeavours to show that Arnobius coincides in this argument with the Epicureans, by quoting Lucr. v. 165 sqq. and Lact. vii. 5,where the Epicurean argument is brought forward, What profit has God in man, that He should have created him? In doing this, it seems not to have been observed that the question asked by Arnobius is a very different one: What place has man in the world , that God should be supposed to have sent him to fill it?
271 So the ms., reading contentio , which Orelli would understand as meaning "contents," which may be correct. LB. reads conditio -"condition," ineptly; and Ursinus in the margin, completio -"the filling up."
274 So Gelenius (acc. to Orelli), reading as in the margin of Ursinus, terrenae circumscriptionis , for the unintelligible reading of the ms., temerariae , retained in both Roman edd., Canterus, and (acc. to Oehler) Gelenius. LB. reads metariae -"a limiting by boundaries."
278 According to Hildebrand, the ms. reads dissimular-ent circumscribere , so that, by merely dropping nt , he reads, "to dissemble and cheat;" but according to Crusius, iri is found in the ms. between these two words, so that by prefixing m Sabaeus in the first ed. read m-ent-iri as above, followed by all other edd.
294 So, adhering very closely to the ms., which gives e-t sanguine supputandis augere-t insomnia milibus , the t of e-t being omitted and n inserted by all. The first five edd. read, -tandi se angerent insania: millibus -"harass themselves with the madness of reckoning; by miles should extend," etc.,-the only change in Heraldus and Orelli being a return to insomnia -"harass with sleeplessness," etc.
301 In the ms. this clause follows the words "loss of their purity," where it is very much in the way. Orelli has followed Heraldus in disposing of it as above, while LB. inserts it after "tips of their ears." The rest adhere to the arrangement of the ms., Ursinus suggesting instead of his -"with these," catenis -"with chains;" Heraldus, linis -"with strings (of pearls);" Stewechius, taeniis - "with fillets."
302 So LB. and Orelli reading, con-fic-iendis corporibus for the ms. con-sp-iendis , for which the others read -spic- , "to win attention." A conjecture by Oudendorp, brought forward by Orelli, is worthy of notice- con-spu-endis , "to cover," i.e., so as to hide defects.
307 Lit., "in a frozen condition." As to the meaning of this there is difference of opinion: some supposing that it means, as above, preserved by means of ice, or at least frozen; while others interpret figuratively, "as hard as ice." [Our Scottish translators have used their local word, "iced haggises :" I have put puddings instead, which gives us, at least, an idea of something edible. To an American, what is iced conveys the idea of a drink. The budinarius , heretofore noted, probably made these iced saucisses.]
311 So the ms. and first four edd., reading virilitatem sui populo publicarent . Meursius emended utilitatem -"made common the use," etc.; and Orelli, from the margin of Ursinus, vilitatem -"their vileness."
312 The ms. reads in fornicibus obvi-t-ae , which, dropping t , is the reading translated, and was received by Elmenhorst, LB., and Hildebrand, from the margin of Ursinus. The other edd. insert nc before t -"bound."
313 The translation does not attempt to bring out the force of the words ad oris stuprum paratae , which are read by Orelli after Ursinus and Gelenius. The text is so corrupt, and the subject so obscene, that a bare reference to the practice nay be sufficient.
314 The ms. reads, habitare atque habitare juss-e-r-unt . All edd. omit the first two words, the first ed. without further change; but the active verb is clearly out of place, and therefore all other edd. read jussae sunt , as above. Oehler, however, from habitare omitted by the others, would emend aditare , "to approach,"-a conjecture with very little to recommend it.
325 The ms. and both Roman edd. read in-f-ernarum paterentut aliae laniatus muscularum , which has no meaning, and is little improved by Galenius changing ut into ur , as no one knows what "infernal flies" are. LB. and Orelli, adopting a reading in the margin of Ursinus, change intern. into ferarum , and join musc. with the words which follow as above. Another reading, also suggested by Ursinus, seems preferable, however, internorum...musculorum -"suffer rendings (i.e., spasms) of the inner muscles."
339 This somewhat wide-spread opinion found an amusing counterpart in the doctrines of Rorarius (mentioned by Bayle, Dict. Phil. ), who affirmed that the lower animals are gifted with reason and speech, as we are.
356 So Stewechius and later edd., reading ut...auferant , except Hildebrand, who gives as the ms. reading, et...-unt -"shun...and remove," etc. The first four edd. read ne...afferant -"that they may not bring upon themselves," etc.
357 So the ms. and first four edd., Orelli (who, however, seems to have meant to give the other reading), and Oehler, reading corri-p-i , for which the others read -igi -"corrected," except Hildebrand, who without due reason gives -rumpi -"corrupted."
358 In the ms. imperfectum is marked as a gloss, but is retained in all edd., while improbabilem is omitted, except in LB., when im is omitted, and probabilem joined to the next clause-"however he may strive to be acceptable," in order to provide an object for "strive;" and with a similar purpose Orelli thrusts in contrarium , although it is quite clear that the verb refers to the preceding clause, "struggles to amend."
363 Lit., "utter the same (conjectures)," easdem , the reading of LB. and Hildebrand, who says that it is so in the ms.; while Crusius asserts that the ms. has idem , which, with Orelli's punctuation, gives-"we have the same power; since it is common (i.e., a general right) to bring forth what you ask," i.e., to put similar questions.
368 The ms. reads quidem -"indeed," retained by the first four edd., but changed into quia -"because," by Elmenhorst, LB., and Orelli, while Oehler suggests very happily si quidem -"if indeed," i.e., because.
372 Orelli, retaining this as a distinct sentence, would yet enclose it in brackets, for what purpose does not appear; more especially as the next sentence follows directly from this in logical sequence.
374 Lit., "did not choose the souls of the human race to be mixtures of the same purity," noluit , received from the margin of Ursinus by all except the first four edd., which retain the ms. voluit -"did choose," which is absurd. Arnobius here refers again to the passage in the Timaeus , p. 41 sq., but to a different part, with a different purpose. He now refers to the conclusion of the speech of the Supreme God, the first part of which is noticed in ch. 36 (cf. p. 447, n. 20). There the Creator assures the gods He has made of immortality through His grace; now His further invitation that they in turn should form men is alluded to. That they might accomplish this task, the dregs still left in the cup, in which had been mixed the elements of the world's soul, are diluted and given to form the souls of men, to which they attach mortal bodies.
375 Lit., "things not principal." Orelli here quotes from Tertullian, de Anim. , xxiii., a brief summary of Gnostic doctrines on these points, which he considers Arnobius to have followed throughout this discussion.
383 The difficulty felt by Arnobius as to the origin of evil perplexed others also; and, as Elmenhorst has observed, some of the Fathers attempted to get rid of it by a distinction between the evil of guilt and of punishment,-God being author of the latter, the devil of the former (Tertullian, adv. Marcionem , ii. 14). It would have been simpler and truer to have distinguished deeds, which can be done only if God will, from wickedness, which is in the sinful purpose of man s heart.
387 Here, too, there has been much unnecessary labour. These words- per voluntatem -as they immediately follow sine deo dicere nihil fieri -"to say that without God nothing is made"-were connected with the preceding clause. To get rid of the nonsense thus created, LB. emended dei...voluntate -"without God's will;" while Heraldus regards them as an explanation of sine deo , and therefore interprets the sentence much as LB. Orelli gets rid of the difficulty by calling them a gloss, and bracketing them. They are, however, perfectly in place, as will be seen above.
391 It must be observed that this sentence is very closely connected with the last words of the preceding chapter, or the meaning may be obscured. The connection may be shown thus: This one thing- that God is author of no evil-we are assured of; but as for all other questions, we neither know, nor care to know, about them.
392 This seems the most natural arrangement; but the edd. punctuate thus: "have been connected and associated with us for that which we desire." The last part of the sentence is decidedly obscure; but the meaning may perhaps be, that the circumstances of man's life which absorb so much attention and cause such strife, have no bearing, after all, upon his salvation.
394 Lit., "pure." 395 Lit., "hidden and enwrapt in darkness of nature," abdita et caligine involuta naturae ,-the reading of all edd. except Hild. and Oehler, who follow the ms. abditae cal. -"enwrapt in darkness of hidden nature."
396 This has been supposed to refer to Heraclitus, as quoted by Clem. Alex., Stromata , v. p. 469 B., where his words are, "Neither God nor man made the world; but there was always, and is, and will be, an undying flame laying hold of its limits, and destroying them;" on which cf. p. 437. n. 8, supra . Here, of course, fire does not mean that perceived by the senses, but a subtle, all-penetrating energy.
398 Lit., "by ordinary necessity." The Stoics (Diog. Laert., vii. 134) said that the world was made by God working on uncreated matter, and that it was perishable (& 167; 141), because made through that of which perception could take cognizance. Cf. ch. 31, n. 9, p. 446.
399 Orelli thinks that there is here a confusion of the parts of the world with its elements, because he can nowhere find that any philosopher has fixed the number of the elements either above or below four. The Stoics, however (Diog. Laert., vii. 134), said "that the elements (a0rxa/j of the world are two-the active and passive;" while, of course, the cosmic theories of the early philosophers affirm that the world sprang from one, and it seems clear enough that Arnobius here uses the word "element" in this sense.
405 The ms., first four edd., and Oehler read et rerum contrarietatibus dissonare -"and that they disagree from the oppositions of things." Hild. reads dissonora , a word not met with elsewhere, while the other edd. merely drop the last two letters, -re , as above; a reading suggested in the margin of Ursinus.
421 So the ms., according to Crusius, reading nec pro suis ; while, according to Hild., the reading is prorsus -"and are utterly without hesitation," adopted in the edd. with the substitution of et for nec -"and that they altogether hesitate," which, besides departing from the ms. runs counter to the sense.
431 Cf. ch. 13, p. 439; Plato, Rep. , ii. st. p. 364, where Glaucon speaks of certain fortune-telling vagrant seers, who persuade the rich that they have power with the gods, by means of charms and sacrifices, to cleanse from guilt; and also Origen, contra Cels. , i. 69, where the Magi are spoken of as being on familiar terms with evil powers, and thus able to accomplish whatever is within these spirits' power.
448 So Orelli, reading cur ( quur in most edd.) for the ms. quos . Instead of non -"not," which follows, the ms., according to Oehler, reads nos , and he therefore changes quos into quaeso - "I ask, does He free all of us altogether?"
449 There is clearly no reference here to a particular passage of Scripture, but to the general tone of Christ's teaching: "Him that cometh unto me, I will in nowise cast out." Orelli, however with his usual infelicity, wishes to see a direct reference, either to Christ's words to the woman of Samaria (John iv. 13-15), or, which is rather extraordinary, to John vi. 35-37: "I am the bread of life," etc. Cf. n. 9, p. 459.
452 Lit., "what waits He for, inviting," quid invitans expectat ; the reading of the ms., both Roman edd. and Oehler. Gelenius, followed by Canterus and Elmenhorst, changed the last word into peccat -"in what does He sin," adopted by the other edd., with the addition of in te -"against you."
461 Lit., "For the parts of bringing...has enjoined and given over," partes...injunctum habet et traditum , where it will be important to notice that Arnobius, writing rapidly, had carried with him only the general idea, and forgotten the mode in which this was expressed.
465 This passage at once suggests John x. 9 and xiv. 6, and it is therefore the more necessary to notice the way in which Arnobius speaks ("so to say"), which is certainly not the tone of one quoting a passage with which he is well acquainted. [Elucidation I.]
476 This seems the most natural way to deal with the clause et ex acuminibus auspicatis , looking on the last word as an adjective, not a verb, as most edd. seem to hold it. There is great diversity of opinion as to what this omen was.
477 The ms. reads in penetralibus et coliginis . LB., followed by Orelli, merely omits et , as above while the first five edd. read in pen. Vestae ignis - "do you maintain the hearths of Vesta's fire." Many other readings and many explanations of the passage are also proposed.
480 The ms. reads edi in filosophia ; the first four edd., Philos. ; Elmenh. and Orelli, Etenim phil .-"For were phil.;" LB., Ede an phil. -"say whether phil.," which is, however faulty in construction, as the indicative follows. Rigaltius, followed by Oehler, emended as above, Medicina phil.
493 The ms. reads genitor...Latinus cujus , some letters having been erased. The reading followed above- genitor is cujus -was suggested to Canterus by his friend Gifanius, and is found in the margin of Ursinus and Orelli.
494 Cf. above, "four hundred years ago," etc., and i. ch. 13. It is of importance to note that Arnobius is inconsistent in these statements. [In the Edinburgh edition we have here "fifteen hundred years;" etc., but it was changed, in the Errata , to ten hundred and fifty.]
500 Dr. Schmitz (Smith's Dict., 3. v. Isis) speaks of these consuls as heading the revolt against the decree of the senate, that the statues of Isis and Serapis should be removed from the Capitol. The words of Tertullian (quoting Varro as his authority) are very distinct: "The consul Gabinius...gave more weight to the decision of the senate than the popular impulse, and forbade their altars (i.e., those of Serapis, Isis, Arpocrates, and Anubis) to be set up" ( ad Nationes , i. 10, cf. Apol. , 6).
508 The ms. and first edd. read et potestatibus potestatum -"and by powers of powers;" the other edd. merely omit potestatibus , as above, except Oehler, who, retaining it, changes potesttum into protestata -"being witnessed to by," etc.; but there is no instance adduced in which the participle of this verb is used passively.
511 So the edd., reading infantes stentoreos , except Oehler, who retains the ms. reading centenarios , which he explains as "having a hundred" heads or hands, as the case might be, e.g., Typhon, Briareus, etc.
520 The ms. and both Roman edd. read in carcerem natum inegressum ; LB. and later edd. have received from the margin of Ursinus the reading translated above, datum , omitting the last word altogether, which Oehler, however, would retain as equivalent to "not to be passed from."
522 Orelli refers to Arrh., i. 12; but the doctrine there insisted on is the necessity of submission to what is unavoidable. Oehler, in addition, refers to Epict., xxxii. 3, where, however, it is merely attempted to show that when anything is withheld from us, it is just as goods are unless paid for, and that we have therefore no reason to complain. Neither passage can be referred to here, and it seems as though Arnobius has made a very loose reference which cannot be specially identified.
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