The Seven Books of Arnobius Against the Heathen. (Cont.)Book II. (Cont.)

Arnobius (Cont.)

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 led351 to believe that there are. Who are they, pray? Tell us. The philosophers, I suppose, who352 assert that they alone are most wise, and who have been uplifted with pride from the meaning attached to this name,353 – 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 persistent354 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 remove355 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 reproved;356 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,357 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 he358 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 perceive360 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,360 nor does he walk in the361 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,362 as your question is appropriate to either side.363 Whence, you say, are men; and what or whence are the souls of these men? Whence, we will ask, are elephants, bulls, stags, mules,364 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,365 which Timaeus prepares and mixes, either their souls came, or that the locust,366 mouse, shrew, cockroach, frog, centipede, should be believed to have been quickened and to live, because367 they have a cause and origin of birth in368 the elements themselves, if there are in these secret and very little known means369 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,370 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.371 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;372 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 formed373 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,374 made subject to the law of death, and are of little strength, and that perishable; and that they are gifted with immortality, if375 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 leave376 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? We377 must consider carefully, and examine with no little pains, test, while we think that we are honouring God378 by such a question, we fall into the opposite sin, doing despite to His supreme majesty. In what way, you ask, 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 that379 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 moment380 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 monstrous381 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?382


55. But when, overcome, we agree that there are these things,383 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?384 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 it385 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 will386 He is at once both the source of evil387 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,388 – 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 otherwise389 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,390 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.391 For what is there which men of ability do not dare to overthrow, to destroy,392 from love of contradiction, although that which they attempt to invalidate is unobjectionable393 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.394 Some of the wise think that the world was not created, and will never perish;395 some that it is immortal, although they say that it was created and made;396 while a third party have chosen to say that it both was created and made, and will perish as other things must.397 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,398 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,399 and its primary origin. And since of these opinions only one is true, but400 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 false401 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.402


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,403 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;404 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 wholly405 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 at406 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 audacious407 conjectures, can you unfold and disclose whether this world in which we dwell408 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, or409 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,410 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,411 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 some412 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,413 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;414 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;415 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 either formed or brought forth? what purpose do owls serve in the world, – falcons, hawks? what other birds416 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 a light 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,417 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 or418 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 naturally419 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 their420 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;421 be ever mindful of Him; and although no imagination can set Him forth as He is,422 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,423 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 to424 God, the head of the world, you have gained the true and most important knowledge.


61. What business of yours is it, He425 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:426 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,427 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,428 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,429 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 hindrance, as if to their father’s abode; nor by that which the Magi430 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; nor by that which Etruria holds out in the Acherontic books,431 that souls become divine, and are freed from the law432 of death, if the blood of certain animals is offered to certain deities. These are empty delusions, and excite vain desires. 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,433 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 others434 are able to give that which they themselves have,435 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,436 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, it437 will hereafter deeply repent having made itself a laughing-stock,438 when it begins to feel the approach439 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 souls440 of men who lived long ago?441 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,442 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.443 The Lord’s compassion has been shown to them, too, and the divine kindness444 has been extended to445 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.


64. But, my opponents ask, if Christ came as the Saviour of men, as446 you say, why447 does He not, with uniform benevolence, free all without exception? 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? To all, He says, the fountain of life is open,448 and no one is hindered or kept back from drinking.449 If you are so fastidious as to spurn the kindly450 offered gift, nay, more, 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 451 you, while His only duty is to make the enjoyment of His bounty depend upon your own free choice?452 God, Plato says, does not cause any one to choose his lot in life;453 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.454 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,455 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 vain456 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,457 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,458 whose gifts and bounties you not only reject and shun, but term empty459 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 entrusted460 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 of461 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, Juno462 another, that Fortune, Mercury, Vulcan, are each the giver of a fixed and particular thing, – this, too, you must needs receive from us,463 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 Him464 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 charmed465 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,466 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,467 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 under 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 regarded468 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 religion469 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 by470 past ages as well as we. Do you indeed have the people distributed into five471 classes, as your ancestors once had? Do you ever elect magistrates by vote of the people? Do you know what military, urban, and common472 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,473 do you hang out a flag from the citadel, or practise the forms of the Fetiales, solemnly474 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?475 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?476 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,477 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?478 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,479 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 the480 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?481 When did the motion of the stars or the art of calculating nativities begin to be known? Was it not after Theutis482 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,483 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.484 But, again, if Liber, Venus, Diana, Mercury, Apollo, Hercules, the Muses, the Tyndarian brothers,485 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,486 before Jupiter was begotten, and received in his mother’s womb the shape and outline of his body,487 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 are488 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 belief489 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 down490 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 pro longed? The estimation is well grounded and clear. There are, then, three hundred and sixty years garter these?491 It is just as the calculation shows. Whose father-in-law was Latinus? Aeneas’. Whose father was he?492 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 ten493 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.494


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 what495 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,496 time, name? Is not He alone uncreated, immortal, and everlasting? Who is the head497 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?498 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?499 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?500 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 said501 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 till 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 corn502 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 ages503 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.504 Man, a blind creature, and not knowing himself even, can505 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 such506 virtues and507 powers.




351 Lit., “a comparison of the worst may effect that we,” etc.

352 So all edd. except Hildebrand, who gives as the reading of the MS, qui-d – “what! do they assert.”

353 Lit., “by the force of,” vi, – an emendation of Heraldus for the MS in.

354 So most edd., reading pertinaci for the MS -ium – “by the opposition of persistent virtues,” which is retained in both Roman edd., Gelenius, Canterus, Hildebrand, and Oehler.

355 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.

356 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.”

357 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.”

358 The MS reads se esse, without meaning, from which LB., followed by Hildebrand, and Oehler derived se ex se – “himself of himself.” The rest simply omit esse as above.

360 Lit., “hold.”

361 Lit., “set in the.”

362 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.

363 i.e., may be retorted upon you.

364 Here, as elsewhere, instead of muli, the MS reads milvi – “kites.”

365 Cf. Plato, Timaeus, st. p. 41, already referred to.

366 Or, perhaps, “cray-fish,” locusta.

367 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.

368 Lit., “from.”

369 Rationes.

370 Cf. chs. 9 and 10 [p. 416, supra].

371 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.

372 Lit., “the constitutions of things.”

373 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. 255). 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.

374 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.

375 Si was first inserted in LB., not being found in the MS, though demanded by the context.

376 Lit., “have begun to leave.”

377 The MS and first three edd. read vobis – “you,” corrected nobis, as above, by Ursinus.

378 So the MS; but most edd., following the Brussels transcript, read dominum – “Lord.”

379 Ut is omitted in the MS, first four edd., and Hild.

380 So LB., reading p-uncta for the MS c-uncta.

381 So the MS, Hild, and Oehler, reading imman-ior; LB., from the margin of Ursinus, major – “greater;” the rest, inanior – “more foolish.”

382 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.

383 i.e., ills.

384 Lit., “with all the ages, in steady continuance.”

385 The MS, followed by Oehler alone, reads ducetis – “and you will think;” while all the other edd. read, as above, ducentes.

386 Here, too, there has been much unnecessary labour. These words – per voluntatem – as they immediately follow sine deodicere 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.

387 Pl.

388 It would not be easy to understand why Orelli omitted these words, if we did not know that they had been accidentally omitted by Oberthür also.

389 Lit., “that apart from these it is pernicious.”

390 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.

391 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.

392 So the MS, reading labefactare dissolvere; the latter word, however, being marked as spurious.

393 Lit., “pure.”

394 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.”

395 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 if its limits, and destroying them;” on which cf. p. 437. n. 66, supra. Here, of course, fire does not mean that perceived by the senses, but a subtle, all-penetrating energy.

396 Cf. ch. 52, p. 453.

397 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 (§ 141), because made through that of which perception could take cognizance. Cf. ch. 31, n. 216, p. 446.

398 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 (ἀρχάς) 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.

399 Lit., “its material.”

400 A conjecture of Meursius adopted by Oehler, merely dropping u from aut – “or,” which is read in the MS and edd.

401 Lit., “refute falsities placed.”

402 Cf. Cicero, de Nat. Deor., i. 1, 12, 19, 23, etc.

403 Lit., “something is given to them to life.” So the Stoics taught, although Chrysippus (cf. n. 216, ch. 31, p. 446) held that only the souls of the wise remained at all after death.

404 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.

405 Lit., “a most vain thing,” etc.

406 So the MS, LB., Elmenh., Hild., and Oehler, reading conjectamus, the other edd. reading commetamur or -imur – “measure,” except Gelenius and Canterus, who read commentamur – “muse upon.”

407 Lit., “audacity of.”

408 Lit., “world which holds us.”

409 The first five edd. insert the mark of interrogation after “hollow:” “Whether does a solid axis,” etc.

410 So the edd. except Hild., who retains the MS reading in scientissime – “most unskillfully” (the others omitting in-), and Oehler, who changes e into i – “and being most witless show,” etc.

411 Lit., “touch.”

412 So the later edd., reading from the margin of Ursinus figi? cur alia, for the MS figuralia, except LB., which reads figurari – “be formed.”

413 So the MS; but all edd. except Hild. and Oehler omit nobis.

414 So the MS, reading folgora dilatarit, followed by LB.

415 Salsa, corrected from the MS sola.

416 Alites et volucres; i.e., according to Orelli, the birds from whose flight auguries were drawn, as opposed to the others.

417 So Heraldus, whose punctuation also is here followed, omitting id est sapor – “that is, taste,” which Meursius and LB., followed by Orelli, amend, ut est – “as taste is” in each thing.

418 Vel is here inserted in all edd., most of which read, as above, oloris, which is found in the MS, in later writing, for the original, coloris – “colour,” retained by Ursinus, LB., and Oehler.

419 Lit., “that the nature of man is.”

420 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.

421 Lit., “transfer to Him the undecided conversions of the breast.”

422 Lit., “He can be formed by no imagination.”

423 Lit., “which the obscurity of sacred divinity contains;” which Orelli interprets, “the most exalted being holds concealed from mortals.”

424 Lit., “and being fixed on.”

425 i.e., Christ.

426 As Heraclitus is reported to have said.

427 The MS, first five edd., and Oehler read supernatum, for which the other edd. read, as above, semper natum, from the margin of Ursinus. The soul is referred to.

428 So the later edd., following Elmenhorst, who emended dico for the MS dici, omitted by the first four edd.

429 So most edd., reading sciolis, from the emendation of Gelenius; but the MS, first five edd., Hild., and Oehler read scholis – “by some schools, and (these) arrogating very much to themselves.”

430 Cf. Rom_13:1-14, 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 from 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.

431 Mentioned by Servius (on Aen., viii. 399) as composed by Tages, cap. 69 [p. 460, supra], and seemingly containing directions as to expiatory sacrifices.

432 Pl.

433 Lit., “a spirit of perpetuity.”

434 i.e., than the Supreme God.

435 Lit., “are.”

436 Lit., “all human things.”

437 i.e., reason.

438 The MS reads fuisse me risui, which has no meaning; corrected, fuisse irrisui in most edd., derisui by Meursius, Hild., and Oehler, – the sense being in either case as above.

439 Lit., “when it begins to approach to the feeling,” cum ad sensum; so read by Gelenius for the unintelligible MS cum absens cum.

440 So the edd., reading quid sit cum eis animis actum for the MS cum ejus nimis.

441 Lit., “of ancient and very old men.”

442 So the MS, LB., Hild., Oehler, reading vinctionis; the other edd. junctionis – “union.”

443 Lit., “unknown questions.”

444 Pl.

445 Lit., “has run over.”

446 So the Ms and Oehler, reading ut, which is omitted in all other edd.; in this case, the words in italics are unnecessary.

447 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?”

448 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 (Joh_4:13-15), or, which is rather extraordinary, to Joh_6:35-37: “I am the bread of life,” etc. Cf. n. 464, p. 459.

449 Lit., “the right kind of drinking.”

450 Lit., “the kindness of.”

451 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.”

452 Lit., “exposes under decision of your own right.”

453 Cf. Plato, Rep., ii. st. p. 379: “of a few things God would be the cause, but of many He would not;” and x. st. p. 617 fin.

454 So LB., Orelli, Oehler, adopting the emendation of Ursinus, tu te muneris commoditate privaveris, for the unintelligible reading of the MS, tuti m. c. probaveris.

455 i.e., immortal, deos, so corrected by Gelenius for the MS deus – “if either God made us.”

456 So most edd., reading inanis for the MS animi; retained, though not very intelligible, in LB., while Hild. reads anilis – “foolish.”

457 So the MS now reads verti; but this word, according to Pithoeus, is in a later handwriting, and some letters have been erased.

458 So the edd., reading tibi desit? opem desideras tibi, except Hild and Oehler, who retain the MS reading, t. d. o. desideranti – “as though He failed you desiring Him to bring help.”

459 So Ursinus, reading in ania cognomines for the MS in alia, which Orelli would interpret, “call the reverse of the truth.”

460 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.

461 Pontificium.

462 Here, too, according to Pithoeus, there are signs of erasure.

463 i.e., admit.

464 This passage at once suggests Joh_10:9 and Joh_14:6, 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.]

465 Lit., “bent.”

466 Cf. i. 13 and 58.

467 Lit., “crops being invented.”

468 So the later edd., reading constiterit from the margin of Ursinus; but in the MS and first four edd. the reading is constituerit – “has established,” for which there is no subject.

469 So the later edd., reading aversionem ex (LB., and preceding edd. a) relîgione for the MS et religionem – “against us the hatred and religion of past ages.”

470 Lit., “with the condemnation of.”

471 This shows that the division of the people into classes was obsolete in the time of Arnobius.

472 Turnebus has explained this as merely another way of saying the comitia centuriata, curiata and tributa.

473 So the edd., reading cum paratis bella (Oehler reads reparantes) for the MS reparatis.

474 i.e., per clarigationem, the solemn declaration of war, if restitution was not made within thirty-three days.

475 This seems the most natural way to deal with the clause of 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.

476 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.

477 i.e., Servius Tullius. The first four edd. read Tullo, i.e., Tullus Hostilius.

478 Cf. v. c. 1.

479 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.

480 Lit., “reached the coasts of.”

481 Lit., “of the intestines” – extorum.

482 In both Roman edd., Theutatem, i.e., Theutas. Cf. Plato, Phaedrus, st. p. 274.

483 i.e., Pluto.

484 Pl.

485 Lit., “Castors,” i.e., Castor and Pollux.

486 i.e., sine ullius seminis jactu.

487 Lit., “forms of bodily circumspection.”

488 Lit., “what we do is.”

489 Lit., “thing.”

490 Lit., “how many steps are there of race.”

491 i.e., Jupiter and Picus.

492 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.

493 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;” but it was changed, in the Errata, to ten hundred and fifty.]

494 Lit., “be nursed with the breasts and dropt milk.”

495 Lit., “of what space.”

496 i.e., re.

497 So the MS, according to Crusius and Livineius, reading ac; all edd. except Oehler read aut – “head (i.e., source) or fountain.”

498 The MS reads unintelligibly vertitur solae; for which LB., followed by the later edd., reads, as above, vertimur soli.

499 Dr. Schmitz (Smith’s Dict., c. 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).

500 Cf. vii. 49.

501 Lit., “contained.”

502 Pl.

503 Lit., “antiquity.”

504 Lit., “things.”

505 So Gelenius emended the MS, reading potens – “being able,” which he changed into potest, as above, followed by later edd.

506 Lit., “by such kinds of.”

507 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 potestatum into protestata – “being witnessed to by,” etc.; but there is no instance adduced in which the participle of this verb is used passively.