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

Arnobius (Cont.)

Book II.1

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 grasping3 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 path4 to heaven, and the immortality for which you long; although5 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 religion7 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 which17 you say are not true, while, as they are only at hand, and not yet disclosed18 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, even21 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, it27 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, imbued33 with the true power of wisdom and understanding, see something wholly different34 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, and35 in avoiding barbarous words and expressions; because you have learned either to express yourselves in36 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 in39 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 we41 perceive the truth, even if all ages be employed in seeking out knowledge – we whom some envious power42 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 Phaedrus43 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 received45 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 by46 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 Theoetetus47 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 impenetrable50 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 doers54 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 pass56 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 handled58 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 fire59 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 element60 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 schools64 already mentioned, say those very things65 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 abide75 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 so76 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 check77 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 easier78 – 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 precepts80 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. He must not81 be called a good teacher who has expressed himself clearly,82 but he who accompanies his promises with the guarantee of divine works.


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 decided84 anything clearly? or who, though he were rash and utterly85 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 used86 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 are88 busied with the practices introduced by king89 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 chariot91 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 we94 revere and worship the Creator and Lord95 of the universe, and because we commit and entrust our hopes to Him? What does your Plato say in the Theotetus, to mention him especially? Does he not exhort the soul to flee from 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 remoter98 years begin to draw near, they will gradually sink down99 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 fires105 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 yet 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 unreasonably110 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 in111 everlasting destruction. For theirs is an intermediate112 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 threats113 and proffered favours. And to make manifest114 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 shall116 be consumed in long-protracted torment with raging fire, into which certain fiercely cruel beings shall116 cast them, who were unknown117 before Christ, and brought to light only by His wisdom.


15. Wherefore there is no reason that that118 should mislead us, should hold out vain hopes to us, which is said by some men till now unheard of,119 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.120 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 vigorously 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.121


16. But, they say, while we are moving swiftly down towards our mortal bodies,122 causes pursue us from the world’s circles,123 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,124 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.125 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,126 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,127 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.128 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,129 and gradually acquired in process of time by careful thought. But if the soul130 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 itself131 and wrought out some slight acquaintance with the arts, and brought to one issue the advances of many ages.


19. But if men either knew themselves thoroughly, or had the slightest knowledge of God,132 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,133 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,134 because they135 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 divinely136 taught, because neither are all learned, nor can all learn; and137 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 reminiscences138 – 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 cold139 nor the violent heat of summer. To this let there not come any sound or cry whatever,140 of bird, of beast, of storm, of man – of any noise, in fine, or of the thunder’s141 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 counterfeit142 to imitate sunlight, darkness being interposed.143 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,144 – 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 extend145 further, not knowing that there is anything 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, and146 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 with147 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? 148





1 There has been much confusion in dealing with the first seven chapters of this book, owing to the leaves of the MS having been arranged in wrong order, as was pointed out at an early period by some one who noted on the margin that there was some transposition. To this circumstance, however, Oehler alone seems to have called attention; but the corruption was so manifest, that the various editors gave themselves full liberty to re-arrange and dispose the text more correctly. The first leaf of the MS concludes with the words sine ullius personae discriminibus inrogavit, “without any distinction of person,” and is followed by one which begins with the words (A, end of c. 5) et non omnium virtutum, “and (not) by an eager longing,” and ends tanta experiatur examina, “undergoes such countless ills” (middle of c. 7). The third and fourth leaves begin with the words (B, end of c. 1) utrum in cunctos … amoverit? qui si dignos, “Now if He was not worthy” (see notes), and run on to end of c. 5, quadam dulcedine, “by some charm;” while the fifth (C, middle of c. 7) begins atque ne (or utrumne) illum, “whether the earth,” and there is no further difficulty. This order is retained in the first ed., and also by Hildebrand, who supposes three lacunae at A, B, and C, to account for the abruptness and want of connection; but it is at once seen that, on changing the order of the leaves, so that they shall run B A C, the argument and sense are perfectly restored. This arrangement seems to have been first adopted in LB., and is followed by the later editors, with the exception of Hildebrand.

2 Lit., “boil up with the ardours of furious spirits.”

3 Lit., “by the heats of.”

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 Joh_17:24, 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. note 3, supra.

6 So the MS, reading periculum i-g-n-ora-tionis, for which Meursius suggests i-n-teri-tionis – “danger of destruction.”

7 Pl.

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.

9 i.e., according to Orelli, to the wants of men; but possibly it may here have the subjunctive meaning of “more full of service,” i.e., to God.

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 de 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.

13 It seems necessary for the sake of the argument to read this interrogatively, but in all the edd. the sentence ends without any mark of interrogation.

14 Typhus – τῦφος.

15 Lit., “He chose … to stand.”

16 Lit., “the ignorance of wretched men from the worst robbers,” i.e., the false prophets and teachers, who made a prey of the ignorant and credulous. Joh_8:46.

17 Lit., “Are the things clear with you which,” etc.

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.

19 Lit., “the touching of no anticipation.”

20 Lit., “purer reasoning.”

21 Lit., “that is.” This clause Meursius rejects as a gloss.

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.

23 Lit., “most worthy even of weeping and pity.”

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.

26 Lit., “tranquillity being assumed, passed to placid feelings.”

27 Res, “the thing.”

28 Lit., “on chance encounters.”

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 ut 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. 152), 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.

31 Lit, “all the things of the world.” Here the argument breaks off, and passes into a new phase, but Orelli includes the next sentence also in the fifth chapter.

32 Lit., “to the assent of that credulity.”

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 Joh_8:1-59, 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.”

35 Lit., “because you are,” etc.

36 Lit., “either yourselves to utter,” etc.

37 Incomptus, for which Heraldus would read inconditus, as in opposition to “harmonius.” This is, however, unnecessary, as the clause is evidently opposed to the whole of the preceding one.

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 1Co_3:19, “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.

41 So restored by Stewechius; in the first ed. perspiciam (instead of am-us) “if I perceive the truth,” etc.

42 So the MS very intelligently 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 237, 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.

45 So the MS, LB., and Oehler, but the other edd. make the verb plural, and thus break the connection.

46 Lit., “established in the common senses.”

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.

48 Lit., “by the stretching out of rays and of light.” This, the doctrine of the Stoics, is naturally contrasted in the next clause with that of Epicurus.

49 Lit., “oil refuses to suffer immersion into itself,” i.e., of other fluids.

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.

51 Lit., “a god.”

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.

53 Lit., “something of truth.”

54 The MS has a-t-tor-o-s, corrected by a later writer a-c-tor-e-s, which is received in LB. and by Meursius and Orelli.

55 Lit., “unite marriage partnerships.”

56 Lit., “be safe and come.”

57 Or, “in successive battles” – proeliorum successionibus.

58 Lit., “with ocular inspection, and held touched.”

59 “Fire” is wanting in the text.

60 Arnobius here allows himself to be misled by Cicero (Tusc., i. 10), who explains ἐντελέχεια as a kind of perpetual motion, evidently confusing it with ἐνδελέχεια (cf. Donaldson, New Crat., § 399 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.).

61 Lit., “with indivisible bodies.”

62 Pl.

63 So the MS, LB., and Hildebrand, reading Archesilae, while the others read Archesilao, forgetting that Arcesilas is the regular Latin form, although Archesilaus is found.

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.

65 In the first ed., and that of Ursinus, the reading is, nonne apud ea, “in those things which they say, do they not say,” etc., which Gelenius emended as in the text, nonne ipsa ea.

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 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 numera 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.

68 So the MS, reading ut; but Orelli, and all edd. before him, aut – “or do they.”

69 i.e., that truth knowable by man exists.

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.

71 Heraldus has well suggested that plurimum is a gloss arising out of its being met with in the next clause.

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 dealing 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 Orelli, who is mentioned by Eusebuis (Hist. Eccl., vi. 19, 3) with Numenius and others as an eminent Pythagorean, and by Porphyry (de Ant. Nymph., xxi.), as a friend of Numenius, and one of those who treated the Homeric poems as allegories. Gelenius substitutes Plotinus, followed by most edd.

74 [Thus everywhere he writes as a Christian.]

75 Stemus, the admirable correction of Gelenius for the MS temp-us.

76 Orelli, following Stewechius, would omit ita.

77 Hildebrand thinks compescere here a gloss, but it must be remembered that redundancy is a characteristic of Arnobius.

78 The superlative is here, as elsewhere, used by Arnobius instead of the comparative.

79 i.e., so as to show the relations existing between them.

80 Perhaps “axioms and postulates.”

81 According to Crusius, non is not found in the MS

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.

84 Meursius conjectures in- (for MS ju-) dicare – “pointed out,” of which Orelli approves.

85 So the MS and both Roman edd., supported by Heraldus, reading solidae facilitatis, changed by the edd. into stolidae – “stupid.”

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.”

87 Orelli notes that by India is here meant Ethiopia. If so, it may be well to remember that Lucan (x. 29 sq.) makes the Seres neighbours of the Ethiopians, and dwellers at the sources of the Nile.

88 Instead of sint, Stewechius would read essent – “were.”

89 Instead of the MS reading, Numae regis artibus et antiquis superstitionibus, Stewechius, followed by Heraldus, would read ritibus – “with the rites of Numa,” etc.

90 So the MS, reading res patrias, for which Heraldus, ritus patrios – “rites.”

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, § 2, and the second appendix).

92 Brunda or Brenda, i.e., Brundisium.

93 Hermes Trismegistus. See index.

94 So the MS, Elmenh., LB., Hildebrand, and Oehler, reading quod, for which the other edd. read qui – “who.”

95 This seems to be the reading intended by the MS, which according to Hild. gives dom, i.e., probably dominum, which Oehler adopts, but all other edd. read deum – “god.”

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.

98 i.e., originally earlier.

99 So most edd., reading desituros, for which Stewechius suggests desulturos – “leap down;” LB. exituros – “go out.”

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 (τοῦ παντὸς ὁ μὲν κυβερνήτης); 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?

102 Lit., “fastened with beam” (i.e., large and strong) “nails.”

103 Cf. on the intercessory prayers of the Magi, c. 62, infra.

104 Pl. Cf. Milman’s note on Gibbon, vol. 2, c. xi. p. 7.

105 Lit., “certain fires.”

106 Plato, in the passage referred to (Phaedo, st. p. 113, § 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.

107 So the MS, according to Hild., reading parvae; but acc. to Rigaltius and Crusius, it gives pravae – “of no mean.”

108 So LB., Hild., and Oehler, reading doloris afficiat sensu, by merely dropping m from the MS sensu-m; while all other edd. read doloribus sensuum – “affects with the pains of the senses.”

109 i.e., not compounded of soul and body.

110 Or, “not unsuitably,” absone.

111 Lit., “in the failure (or ‘disappointment’) of,” etc.

112 i.e., neither immortal nor necessarily mortal.

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.”

114 So almost all edd., from a conjecture of Gelenius, supplying ut, which is wanting in the MS, first ed., and Oehler.

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).

116 In the first ed., Gelenius, Canterus, Ursinus, and Orelli, both verbs are made present, but all other edd. follow the MS as above.

117 Lit., “and unknown.” Here Arnobius shows himself ignorant of Jewish teaching, as in iii. 12.

118 So the MS and LB., followed by Oehler; in the edd. id is omitted.

119 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!

120 Lit., “not touchable by any contact of body,” neque ulla corporis attrectatione contiguas.

121 Arnobius considers the reductio ad absurdum so very plain, that he does not trouble himself to state his argument more directly.

122 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 the be identified with the views brought forward, but rather with the objections raised to them.

123 Cf. c. 28, p. 440, note 114.

124 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.”

125 So the edd., reading in totidem sexus for the MS sexu – “into so many kinds in sex.”

126 Lit., “in so great occupations of life.”

127 Cf. Plato, Phaedo, st. p. 81.

128 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.”

129 Lit., “born.”

130 Throughout this discussion, Arnobius generally uses the plural, animae – “souls.”

131 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.

132 Lit., “or received understanding of God by the breath of any suspicion.”

133 The MS gives c-etera-que, “and the rest,” which is retained in both Roman edd., and by Gelenius and Canterus, though rather out of place, as the enumeration goes on.

134 Lit., “equal to the highness (summitati) of the prince.”

135 So LB. and Orelli, reading qui-a; the rest, qui – “who.”

136 So Gelenius, reading divinitus for the MS divinas, i.e., “with a divine nature and origin,” which is retained in the first ed. and Orelli.

137 The MS, both Roman edd., Hild., and Oehler, read ut, “so that there are.”

138 Cf. on this Platonic doctrine, ch. 24, p. 443, infra.

139 Lit., “a feeling of cold.”

140 Lit., “sound of voice at all.”

141 Lit., “of heaven terribly crashing.”

142 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.”

143 According to Huet (quoted by Oehler), “between that spurious and the true light;” but perhaps the idea is that of darkness interposed at intervals to resemble the recurrence of night.

144 Lit., “born, and that, too (et wanting in almost all edd.), into the hospice of that place which has nothing, and is inane and empty.”

145 So most edd., reading porrigetur for the MS corrigetur – “be corrected,” i.e., need to be corrected, which is retained in the first ed.

146 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.

147 Lit., “sent to.”

148 So the MS, reading milvus, for which all edd. (except Oberthuer) since Stewechius read mulus, “a mule.”