יום רביעי, 29 באפריל 2015


Book VI. Of True Worship.
Chapter I.-Of the Worship of the True God, and of Innocency, and of the Worship of False Gods.
We have completed that which was the object of our undertaking, through the teaching of the Divine Spirit, and the aid of the truth itself; the cause of asserting and explaining which was imposed upon me both by conscience and faith, and by our Lord Himself, without whom nothing can be known or clearly set forth. I come now to that which is the chief and greatest part of this work-to teach in what manner or by what sacrifice God must be worshipped. For that is the duty of man, and in that one object the sum of all things and the whole course of a happy life consists, since we were fashioned and received the breath of life from Him on this account, not that we might behold the heaven and the sun, as Anaxagoras supposed, but that we might with pure and uncorrupted mind worship Him who made the sun and the heaven. But although in the preceding books, as far as my moderate talent permitted, I defended the truth, yet it may especially be elucidated1 by the mode of worship itself. For that sacred and surpassing majesty requires from man nothing more than innocence alone; and if any one has presented this to God, he has sacrificed with sufficient piety and religion. But men, neglecting justice, though they are polluted by crimes and outrages of all kinds, think themselves religious if they have stained the temples and altars with the blood of victims, if they have moistened the hearths with a profusion of fragrant and old wine. Moreover, they also prepare sacred feasts and choice banquets, as though, they offered to those who would taste something from them. Whatever is rarely to be viewed, whatever is precious in workmanship or in fragrance, that they judge to be pleasing to their gods, not by any reference to their divinity, of which they are ignorant, but from their own desires; nor do they understand that God is in no want of earthly resources.
For they have no knowledge of anything except the earth, and they estimate good and evil things by the perception and pleasure of the body alone. And as they judge of religion according to its pleasure, so also they arrange the acts of their whole life. And since they have turned away once for all from the contemplation of the heaven, and have made that heavenly faculty the slave of the body, they give the reins to their lusts, as though they were about to bear away pleasure with themselves, which they hasten to enjoy at every moment; whereas the soul ought to employ the service of the body, and not the booty to make use of the service of the soul. The same men judge riches to be the greatest good. And if they cannot obtain them by good practices, they endeavour to obtain them by evil practices; they deceive, they carry off by violence, they plunder, they lie in wait, they deny on oath; in short, they have no consideration or regard for anything,2 if only they can glitter with gold, and shine conspicuous with plate, with jewels, and with garments, can spend riches upon their greedy appetite, and always walk attended with crowds of slaves through the people compelled to give way.3 Thus devoting4 themselves to the service of pleasures, they extinguish the force and vigour of the mind; and when they especially think that they are alive, they are hastening with the greatest precipitation to death. For, as we showed in the second book. the soul is concerned with heaven, the body with the earth.5 They who neglect the goods of the soul, and seek those of the body, are engaged with darkness and death, which belong to the earth and to the body, because life and light are from heaven; and they who are without this, by serving the body, are far removed from the understanding of divine things. The same blindness everywhere oppresses the wretched men; for as they know not who is the true God, so they know not what constitutes true worship.
Chapter II.-Of the Worship of False Gods and the True God.
Therefore they sacrifice fine and fat victims to God, as though He were hungry; they pour forth wine to Him, as though He were thirsty they kindle lights to Him, as though He were in darkness.6 But if they were able to conjecture or to conceive in their mind what those heavenly goods are, the greatness of which we cannot imagine, while we are still encompassed with an earthly body, they would at once know that they are most foolish with their empty offices. Or if they would contemplate that heavenly light which we call the sun, they will at once perceive how God has no need of their candles, who has Himself given so clear and bright a light for the use of man.7 And when, in so small a circle, which on account of its distance appears to have a measure no greater than that of a human head, there is still so much brilliancy that mortal eye cannot behold it, and if you should direct your eye to it for a short time mist and darkness would overspread your dimmed eyes, what light, I pray, what brightness, must we suppose that there is in God, with whom there is no night? For He has so attempered this very light, that it might neither injure living creatures by excessive brightness or vehement heat, and has given it so much of these properties as mortal bodies might endure or the ripening of the crops require. Is that man, therefore, to be thought in his senses, who presents the light of candles and torches as an offering to Him who is the Author and Giver of light? The light which He requires from us is of another kind, and that indeed not accompanied with smoke, but (as the poet says) clear and bright; I mean the light of the mind, on account of which we are called by the poets photes,8 which light no one can exhibit unless he has known God. But their gods, because they are of the earth, stand in need of lights, that they may not be in darkness; and their worshippers, because they have no taste for anything heavenly, are recalled to the earth even by the religious rites to which they are devoted.9 For on the earth there is need of a light, because its system and nature are dark. Therefore they do not attribute to the gods a heavenly perception, but rather a human one. And on this account they believe that the same things are necessary and pleasing to them as to us, who, when hungry, have need of food; or, when thirsty, of drink; or, when we are cold, require a garment; or, when the sun has withdrawn himself, require a light that we may be able to see.10
From nothing, therefore, can it be so plainly proved and understood that those gods, since they once lived, are dead, as from their worship itself, which is altogether of the earth. For what heavenly influence can there be in the shedding of the blood of beasts, with which they stain their altars? unless by chance they imagine that the gods feed upon that which men shrink from touching. And whoever shall have offered to them this food,11 although he be an assassin, an adulterer, a sorcerer, or a parricide, he will he happy and prosperous. Him they love, him they defend, to him they afford all things which he shall wish for. Persius therefore deservedly ridicules superstitions of thiskind in his own style:12 " With what bribe," he says, "dost thou win the ears of gods? Is it with lungs and rich intestines? "He plainly perceived that there is no need of flesh for appeasing the majesty of heaven, but of a pure mind and a just spirit, and a breast, as he himself says, which is generous with a natural love of honour. This is the religion of heaven-not that which consists of corrupt things, but of the virtues of the soul, which has its origin from heaven; this is true worship, in which the mind of the worshipper presents itself as an undefiled offering to God. But how this is to be obtained, how it is to be afforded, the discussion of this book will show; for nothing can be so illustrious and so suited to man as to train men to righteousness.13
In Cicero, Catulus in the Hortensius, while he prefers philosophy to all things, says that he would rather have one short treatise respecting duty, than a long speech in behalf of a seditious man Cornelius. And this is plainly to be regarded not as the opinion of Catulus, who perhaps did not utter this saying, but as that of Cicero, who wrote it. I believe that he wrote it for the purpose of recommending these books which he was about to write on Offices, in which cry books he testifies that nothing in the whole range of philosophy is better and more profitable than to give precepts for living. But if this is done by those who do not know the truth, how much more ought we to do it, who are able to give true precepts,14 being taught and enlightened by God? Nor, however, shall we so teach as though we were delivering the first elements of virtue, which would be an endless task, but as though we had undertaken the instruction of him who, with them, appears to be already perfect. For while their precepts remain, which they are accustomed to give correctly, with a view to uprightness, we will add to them things which were unknown to them, for the completion and consummation of righteousness, which they do not possess. But I will omit those things which are common to us with them, that I may not appear to borrow from those whose errors I have determined to convict and bring to light.
Chapter III.-Of the Ways, and of Vices and Virtues; And of the Rewards of Heaven and the Punishments of Hell.
There are two ways,15 O Emperor Constantine, by which human life must proceed-the one which leads to heaven, the other which sinks to hell; and these ways poets have introduced in their poems, and philosophers in their disputations. And indeed philosophers have represented the one as belonging to virtues, the other to vices; and they have represented that which belongs to virtues as steep and rugged at the first entrance, in which if any one, having overcome the difficulty, has climbed to the summit. they say that he afterwards has a level path, a bright and pleasant plain, and that he enjoys abundant and delightful fruits of his labours; but that those whom the difficulty of the first approach has deterred, glide and turn aside into the way of vices, which at its first entrance appears to be pleasant and much more beaten, but afterwards, when they have advanced in it a little further, that the appearance of its pleasantness is withdrawn, and that there arises a steep way, now rough with stones, now overspread with thorns, now interrupted by deep waters or violent with torrents, so that they must be in difficulty, hesitate, slip about, and fall. And all these things are brought forward that it may appear that there are very great labours in undertaking virtues, but that when they are gained there are the greatest advantages, and firm and incorruptible pleasures; but that vices ensnare the minds of men with certain natural blandishments, and lead them captivated by the appearance of empty pleasures to bitter griefs and miseries,-an altogether wise discussion, if they knew the forms and limits of the virtues themselves. For they had not learned either what they are, or what reward awaits them from God: but this we will show in these two books.
But these men, because they were ignorant or in doubt that the souls of men are immortal, estimated both virtues and vices by earthly honours or punishments. Therefore all this discussion respecting the two ways16 has reference to frugality and luxury. For they say that the course of human life resembles the letter Y, because every one of men, when he has reached the threshold of early youth, and has arrived at the place "where the way divides itself into two parts, "17 is in doubt, and hesitates, and does not know to which side he should rather turn himself. If he shall meet with a guide who may direct him wavering to better things-that is, if he shall learn philosophy or eloquence, or some honourable arts by which he may turn to good conduct,18 which cannot take place without great labour-they say that he will lead a life of honour and abundance; but if he shall not meet with a teacher of temperance,19 that he falls into the way on the left hand, which assumes the appearance of the better,-that is, he gives himself up to idleness, sloth, and luxury, which seem pleasant for a time to one who is ignorant of true goods, but that afterwards, having lost all his dignity and property, he will live in all wretchedness and ignominy. Therefore they referred the end of those ways20 to the body, and to this life which we lead on earth. The poets perhaps did better, who would have it that this twofold way was in the lower regions; but they are deceived in this, that they proposed these ways to the dead. Both therefore spoke with truth, but yet both incorrectly; for the ways themselves ought to have been referred to life, their ends to death. We therefore speak better and more truly, who say that the two ways21 belong to heaven and hell, because immortality is promised to the righteous, and everlasting punishment is threatened to the unrighteous.
But I will explain how these ways either exalt to heaven or thrust down to hell, and I will set forth what these virtues are of which the philosophers were ignorant; then I will show what are their rewards, and also what are vices, and what their punishments. For perhaps some one may expect that I shall speak separately of vices and virtues; whereas, when we discuss the subject of good or evil, that which is contrary may also be understood. For, whether you introduce virtues, vices will spontaneously depart; or if you take away vices, virtues will of their own accord succeed. The nature of good and evil things is so fixed, that they always oppose and drive out one another: and thus it comes to pass that vices cannot be removed without virtues, nor can virtues be introduced without the removal of vices. Therefore we bring forward these ways in a very different manner from that in which the philosophers are accustomed to present them: first of all, because we say that a guide is proposed to each, and in each case an immortal: but that the one is honoured who presides over virtues and good qualities, the other condemned who presides over vices and evils. But they place a guide only onthe right side, and that not one only, nor a lasting one; inasmuch as they introduce any teacher of a good art, who may recall men from sloth, and teach them to be temperate. But they do not represent any as entering upon that way except boys and young men; for this reason, that the arts are learned at these ages. We, on the other hand, lead those of each sex, every age and race, into this heavenly path, because God, who is the guide of that way, denies immortality to no human being.22 The shape also of the ways themselves is not as they supposed. For what need is there of the letter Y in matters which are different and opposed to one another? But the one which is better is turned towards the rising of the sun, the other which is worse towards its setting: since he who follows truth and righteousness, having received the reward of immortality, will enjoy perpetual light; but he who, enticed by that evil guide, shall prefer vices to virtues, falsehood to truth, must be borne to the setting of the sun, and to darkness.23 I will therefore describe each, and will point out their properties and habits.
Chapter IV.-Of the Ways of Life, of Pleasures, Also of the Hardships of Christians.
There is one way, therefore, of virtue and the good, which leads, not, as the poets say, to the Elysian plains, but to the very citadel of the world:-
"The left gives sinners up to pain,
And leads to Tartarus' guilty reign."24
For it belongs to that accuser who, having invented false religions, turns men away from the heavenly path, and leads them into the way of perdition. And the appearance and shape of this way is so composed to the sight, that it appears to be level and open, and delightful with all kinds of flowers and fruits. For there are placed25 in it all things which are esteemed on earth as good things-I mean wealth, honour, repose, pleasure, all kinds of enticements; but together with these also injustice, cruelty, pride, perfidy, lust, avarice, discord, ignorance, falsehood, folly, and other vices. But the end of this way is as follows: When they have reached the point from which there is now no return, it is so suddenly removed, together with all its beauty, that no one is able to foresee the fraud before that he falls headlong into a deep abyss. For whoever is captivated by the appearance of present goods, and occupied with the pursuit and enjoyment of these, shall not have foreseen the things which are about to follow after death, and shall have turned aside from God; he truly will be cast down to hell, and be condemned to eternal punishment.
But that heavenly way is set forth as difficult and hilly, or rough with dreadful thorns, or entangled with stones jutting out; so that every one must walk with the greatest labour and wearing of the feet, and with great precautions against failing. In this he has placed justice, temperance, patience, faith, chastity, self-restraint, concord, knowledge, truth, wisdom, and the other virtues; but together with these, poverty, ignominy, labour, pain, and all kinds of hardship. For whoever has extended his hope beyond the present, and chosen better things, will be without these earthly goods, that, being lightly equipped and without impediment, he may overcome the difficulty of the way. For it is impossible for him who has surrounded himself with royal pomp, or loaded himself with riches, either to enter upon or to persevere in these difficulties. And from this it is understood that it is easier for the wicked and the unrighteous to succeed in their desires, because their road is downward and on the decline; but that it is difficult for the good to attain to their wishes, because they walk along a difficult and steep path. Therefore the righteous man, since he has entered upon a hard and rugged way, must be an object of contempt, derision, and hatred. For all whom desire or pleasure drags headlong, envy him who has been able to attain to virtue, and take it ill that any one possesses that which they themselves do not possess. Therefore he will be poor, humble, ignoble, subject to injury, and yet enduring all things which are grievous; and if he shall continue his patience unceasingly to that last step and end, the crown of virtue will be given to him, and he will be rewarded by God with immortality for the labours which he has endured in life for the sake of righteousness. These are the ways which God has assigned to human life, in each of which he has shown both good and evil things, but in a changed and inverted order. In the one he has pointed out in the first place temporal evils followed by eternal goods, which is the better order; in the other, first temporal goods followed by eternal evils, which is the worse order: so that, whosoever has chosen present evils together with righteousness, he will obtain greater and more certain goods than those were which he despised; but whoever has preferred present goods to righteousness, will fall into greater and more lasting evils than those were which he avoided. For as this bodily life is short, therefore its goods and evils must also be short; but since that spiritual life, which is contrary to this earthly life, is everlasting, therefore its goods and evils are also everlasting. Thus it comes to pass, that goods of short duration are succeeded by eternal evils, and evils of short duration by eternal goods.
Since, therefore, good and evil things are set before man at the same time, it is befitting that every one should consider with himself how much better it is to compensate evils of short duration by perpetual goods, than to endure perpetual evils for short and perishable goods. For as, in this life, when a contest with an enemy is set before you, you must first labour that you may afterwards enjoy repose, you must suffer hunger and thirst, you must endure heat and cold, you must rest on the ground, must watch and undergo dangers, that your children,26 and house, and property being preserved, you may be able to enjoy all the blessings of peace and victory; but if you should choose present ease in preference to labour, you must do yourself the greatest injury: for the enemy will surprise you offering no resistance, your lands will be laid waste, your house plundered, your wife and children become a prey, you yourself will be slain or taken prisoner; to prevent the occurrence of these things, present advantage must be put aside, that a greater and more lasting advantage may be gained;-so in the whole of this life, because God has provided an adversary for us, that we might be able to acquire virtue, present gratification must be laid aside, lest the enemy should overpower us. We must be on the watch, must post guards, must undertake military expeditions, must shed our blood to the uttermost; in short, we must patiently submit to all things which are unpleasant and grievous, and the more readily because God our commander has appointed for us eternal rewards for our labours. And since in this earthly warfare men expend so much labour to acquire for themselves those things which may perish in the same manner as that in which they were acquired, assuredly no labour ought to be refused by us, by whom that is gained which can in no way be lost.
For God, who created men to this warfare, desired that they should stand prepared in battle array, and with minds keenly intent should watch against the stratagems or open attacks of our single enemy, who, as is the practice of skilful and experienced generals, endeavours to ensnare us by various arts, directing his rage according to the nature and disposition of each. For he infuses into some insatiable avarice, that, being chained by their riches as by fetters, he may drive them from the way of truth. He inflames others with the excitement of anger, that while they are rather intent upon inflicting injury, he may turn them aside from the contemplation of God. He plunges others into immoderate lusts, that, giving themselves to pleasure of the body, they may be unable to look towards virtue. He inspires others with envy, that, being occupied with their own torments, they may think of nothing but the happiness of those whom they hate. He causes others to swell with ambitious desires. These are they who direct the whole occupation and care of their life to the holding of magistracies, that they may set a mark upon the annals,27 and give a name to the years. The desire of others mounts higher, not that they may rule provinces with the temporal sword, but with boundless and perpetual power may wish to be called lords of the whole human race.28 Moreover, those whom he has seen to be pious he involves in various29 superstitions, that he may make them impious. But to those who seek for wisdom, he dashes philosophy before their eyes,30 that he may blind them with the appearance of light, lest any one should grasp and hold fast the truth. Thus he has blocked up all the approaches against men, and has occupied the way, rejoicing in public errors; but that we might be able to dispel these errors, and to overcome the author of evils himself, God has enlightened us, and has armed us with true and heavenly virtue, respecting which I must now speak.
Chapter V.-Of False and True Virtue; And of Knowledge.
But before I begin to set forth the separate virtues, I must mark out the character of virtue itself, which the philosophers have not rightly defined, as to its nature, or in what things it consisted; and I must describe its operation and office. For they only retained the name, but lost its power, and nature, and effect. But whatever they are accustomed to say in their definition of virtue, Lucilius puts together and expresses in a few verses, which I prefer to introduce, lest, while I refute the opinions of many, I should be longer than is necessary:-
"It is virtue, O Albinus, to pay the proper price,
To attend to the matters in which we are engaged, and in which we live.
It is virtue for a man to know the nature of everything.
It is virtue for a man to know what is right and useful and honourable,
What things are good, and what are evil.
What is useless,31 base, and dishonourable.
It is virtue to know the end of an object to be sought, and the means of procuring it.
It is virtue to be able to assign their value to riches.
It is virtue to give that which is really due to honour;
To be the enemy and the foe32 of bad men and manners, but, on the other hand, the defender of good men and manners;
To esteem these highly, to wish them well, to live in friendship with them,
Moreover, to consider the interest of one's country first;
Then those of parents, to put our own interests in the third and last place."
From these definitions, which the poet briefly puts together, Marcus Tullius derived the offices of living, following Panaetius the Stoic,33 and included them in three books.
But we shall presently see how false these things are, that it may appear how much the divine condescension has bestowed on us in opening to us the truth. He says that it is virtue to know what is good and evil, what is base, what is honourable, what is useful, what is useless. He might have shortened his treatise if he had only spoken of that which is good and evil; for nothing can be useful or honourable which is not also good, and nothing useless and base which is not also evil. And this also appears to be thus to philosophers, and Cicero shows it likewise in the third book of the above-mentioned treatise.34 But knowledge cannot be virtue, because it is not within us, but it comes to us from without.But that which is able to pass from one to the other is not virtue, because virtue is the property of each individual. Knowledge therefore consists in a benefit derived from another; for it depends upon hearing. Virtue is altogether our own; for it depends upon the will of doing that which is good. As, therefore, in undertaking a journey, it is of no profit to know the way, unless we also have the effort and strength for walking, so truly knowledge is of no avail if our virtue fails. For, in general, even they who sin perceive what is good and evil, though not perfectly; and as often as they act improperly, they know that they sin, and therefore endeavour to conceal their actions. But though the nature of good and evil does not escape their notice, they are overpowered by an evil desire to sin, because they are wanting in virtue, that is, the desire of doing right and honourable things. Therefore that the knowledge of good and evil is one thing, and virtue another, appears from this, because knowledge can exist without virtue, as it has been in the case of many of the philosophers; in which, since not to have done what you knew to be right is justly censurable, a depraved will and a vicious mind, which ignorance cannot excuse, will be justly punished. Therefore, as the knowledge of good and evil is not virtue, so the doing that which is good and the abstaining from evil is virtue. And yet knowledge is so united with virtue, that knowledge precedes virtue, and virtue follows knowledge; because knowledge is of no avail unless it is followed up by action. Horace therefore speaks somewhat better: "Virtue is the fleeing from vice, and the first wisdom is to be free from folly."35 But he speaks improperly, because he defined virtue by its contrary, as though he should say, That is good which is not evil. For when I know not what virtue is, I do not know what vice is. Each therefore requires definition, because the nature of the case is such that each must be understood or not understood.36
But let us do that which he ought to have done. It is a virtue to restrain anger, to control desire, to curb lust; for this is to flee from vice. For almost all things which are done unjustly and dishonestly arise from these affections. For if the force of this emotion which is called anger be blunted, all the evil contentions of men will be lulled to rest; no one will plot, no one will rush forth to injure another. Also, if desire be restrained, no one will use violence by land or by sea, no one will lead an army to carry off and lay waste the property of others. Also, if the ardour of lusts be repressed, every age and sex will retain its sanctity; no one will suffer, or do anything disgraceful. Therefore all crimes and disgraceful actions will be taken away from the life and character of men, if these emotions are appeased and calmed by virtue. And this calming of the emotions and affections has this meaning, that we do all things which are right. The whole duty of virtue then is, not to sin. And assuredly he cannot discharge this who is ignorant of God, since ignorance of Him from whom good things proceed must thrust a man unawares into vices. Therefore, that I may more briefly and significantly fix the offices of each subject, knowledge is to know God, virtue is to worship Him: the former implies wisdom, the latter righteousness.
Chapter VI.-Of the Chief Good and Virtue, and or Knowledge and Righteousness.
I have said that which was the first thing, that the knowledge of good is not virtue; and secondly, I have shown what virtue is, and in what it consists. It follows that I should show this also, that the philosophers were ignorant of what is good and evil; and this briefly, because it has been almost37 made plain in the third book, when I was discussing the subject of the chief good. And because they did not know what the chief good was, they necessarily erred in the case of the other goods and evils which are not the chief; for no one can weigh these with a true judgment who does not possess the fountain itself from which they are derived. Now the source of good things is God; but of evils, he who is always the enemy of the divine name, of whom we have often spoken. From these two sources good and evil things have their origin. Those which proceed from God have this object, to procure immortality, which is the greatest good; but those which arise from the other have this office, to call man away from heavenly things and sink him in earthly things, and thus to consign him to the punishment of everlasting death, which is the greatest evil. Is it therefore doubtful but that all those were ignorant of what was good and evil, who neither knew God nor the adversary of God? Therefore they referred the end of good things to the body, and to this short life, which must be dissolved and perish: they did not advance further. But all their precepts, and all the things which they introduce as goods, adhere to the earth, and lie on the ground, since they die with the body, which is earth; for they do not tend to procure life for man, but either to the acquisition or increase of riches, honour, glory, and power, which are altogether mortal things, as much so indeed as he who has laboured to obtain them. Hence is that saying,38 "It is virtue to know the end of an object39 to be sought, and the means of procuring it; "for they enjoin by what means and by what practices property is to be sought, for they see that it is often sought unjustly. But virtue of this kind is not proposed to the wise man; for it is not virtue to seek riches, of which neither the finding nor the possession is in our power: therefore they are more easy to be gained and to be retained by the bad than by the good. Virtue, then, cannot consist in the seeking of those things in the despising of which the force and purport of virtue appears; nor will it have recourse to those very things which, with its great and lofty mind, it desires to trample upon and bruise under foot; nor is it lawful for a soul which is earnestly fixed on heavenly goods to be called away from its immortal pursuits, that it may acquire for itself these frail things. But the course40 of virtue especially consists in the acquisition of those things which neither any man, nor death itself, can take away from us. Since these things are so, that which follows is true: "It is virtue to be able to assign their value to riches: "which verse is nearly of the same meaning as the first two. But neither he nor any of the philosophers was able to know the price itself, either of what nature or what it is; for the poet, and all those whom he followed, thought that it meant to make a right use of riches,-that is, to be moderate in living, not to make costly entertainments, not to squander carelessly, not to expend property on superfluous or disgraceful objects.41
Some one will perhaps say, What do you say? Do you deny that this is virtue? I do not deny it indeed; for if I should deny it, I should appear to prove the opposite. But I deny that it is true virtue; because it is not that heavenly principle, but is altogether of the earth, since it produces no effect but that which remains on the earth.42 But what it is to make a right use of wealth, and what advantage is to be sought from riches, I will declare more openly when I shall begin to speak of the duty of piety. Now the other things which follow are by no means true; for to proclaim enmity against the wicked, or to undertake the defence of the good, may be common to it with the evil. For some, by a pretence of goodness, prepare the way for themselves to power, and do many things which the good are accustomed to do, and that the more readily because they do them for the sake of deceiving; and I wish that it were as easy to carry out goodness in action as it is to pretend to it. But when they have begun to attain to their purpose and their wish in reaching the highest step of power, then, truly laying aside pretence, these men discover their character; they seize upon everything, and offer violence, and lay waste; and they press upon the good themselves, whose cause they had undertaken; and they cut away the steps by which they mounted, that no one may be able to imitate them against themselves. But, however, let us suppose that this duty of defending the good belongs only to the good man. Yet to undertake it is easy, to fulfil it is difficult; because when you have committed yourself to a contest and an encounter, the victory is placed at the disposal of God, not in your own power. And for the most part the wicked are more powerful both in number and in combination than the good, so that it is not so much virtue which is necessary to overcome them as good fortune. Is any one ignorant how often the better and the juster side has been overcome? From this cause harsh tyrannies have always broken out against the citizens. All history is full of examples, but we will be content with one. Cnoeus Pompeius wished to be the defender of the good, since he took up arms in defence of the commonwealth, in defence of the senate, and in defence of liberty; and yet the same man, being conquered, perished together with liberty itself,43 and being mutilated by Egyptian eunuchs, was cast forth unburied.44
It is not virtue, therefore, either to be the enemy of the bad or the defender of the good, because virtue cannot be subject to uncertain chances.
"Moreover, to reckon the interests of our country as in the first place."
When the agreement of men is taken away, virtue has no existence at all; for what are the interests of our country, but the inconveniences of another state or nation?-that is, to extend the boundaries which are violently taken from others, to increase the power of the state, to improve the revenues,-all which things are not virtues, but the overthrowing of virtues: for, in the first place, the union of human society is taken away, innocence is taken away, the abstaining from the property of another is taken away; lastly, justice itself is taken away, which is unable to bear the tearing asunder of the human race, and wherever arms have glittered, must be banished and exterminated from thence. This saying of Cicero45 is true: "But they who say that regard is to be had to citizens, but that it is not to be had to foreigners, these destroy the common society of the human race; and when this is removed, beneficence, liberality, kindness, and justice are entirely46 taken away." For how can a man be just who injures, who hates, who despoils, who puts to death? And they who strive to be serviceable to their country do all these things: for they are ignorant of what this being serviceable is, who think nothing useful, nothing advantageous, but that which can be held b the hand; and this alone cannot be held, because it may be snatched away.
Whoever, then, has gained for his country these goods-as they themselves call them-that is, who by the overthrow of cities and the destruction of nations has filled the treasury with money, has taken lands and enriched his country-men-he is extolled with praises to the heaven: in him there is said to be the greatest and perfect virtue. And this is the error not only of the people and the ignorant, but also of philosophers, who even give precepts for injustice, test folly and wickedness should be wanting in discipline and authority. Therefore, when they are speaking of the duties relating to warfare, all that discourse is accommodated neither to justice nor to true virtue, but to this life and to civil institutions;47 and that this is not justice the matter itself declares, and Cicero has testified.48 "But we," he says, "are not in possession of the real and life-like figure of true law and genuine justice, we have nothing but delineations and sketches;49 and I wish that we followed even these, for they are taken from the excellent copies made by nature and truth." It is then a delineation and a sketch which they thought to be justice. But what of wisdom? does not the same man confess that it has no existence in philosophers"Nor," he says,50 "when Fabricius or Aristides is called just, is an example of justice sought from these as from a wise man; for none of these is wise in the sense in which we wish the truly wise to be understood. Nor were they who are esteemed and called wise, Marcus Cato and Caius Laelius, actually wise, nor those well-known seven;51 but from their constant practice of the `middle duties, '52 they bore a certain likeness and appearance53 of wise men." If therefore wisdom is taken away from the philosophers by their own confession, and justice is taken away from those who are regarded as just, it follows that all those descriptions of virtue must be false, because no one can know what true virtue is but he who is just and wise. But no one is just and wise but he whom God has instructed with heavenly precepts.
Chapter VII.-Of the Way of Error and of Truth: that It is Single, Narrow, and Steep, and Has God for Its Guide.
For all those who, by the confessed folly of others, are thought wise, being clothed with the appearance of virtue, grasp at shadows and outlines, but at nothing true. Which happens on this account, because that deceitful road which; inclines to the west has many paths, on account of the variety of pursuits and systems which are dissimilar and varied in the life of men. For as that way of wisdom contains something which resembles folly, as we showed in the preceding book, so this way, which belongs altogether to folly, contains something which resembles wisdom, and they who perceive the folly of men in general seize upon this; and as it has its vices manifest, so it has something which appears to resemble virtue: as it has its wickedness open, so it has a likeness and appearance of justice. For how could the forerunner54 of that way, whose strength and power are altogether in deceit, lead men altogether into fraud, unless he showed them some things which resembled the truth?55 For, that His immortal secret might be hidden, God placed in his way things which men might despise as evil and disgraceful, that, turning away from wisdom and truth, which they were searching for without any guide, they might fall upon that very thing which they desired to avoid and flee from. Therefore he points out that way of destruction and death which has many windings, either because there are many kinds of life, or because there are many gods who are worshipped.
The deceitful56 and treacherous guide of this way, that there may appear to be some distinction between truth and falsehood, good and evil, reads the luxurious in one direction, and those who are called temperate57 in another; the ignorant in one direction, the learned in another; the sluggish in one direction, the active in another; the foolish in one direction, the philosophers in another, and even these not in one path. For those who do not shun pleasures or riches, he withdraws a little from this public and frequented road; but those who either wish to follow virtue, or profess a contempt for things, he drags over certain rugged precipices. But nevertheless all those paths which display an appearance of honours are not different roads, but turnings off58 and bypaths, which appear indeed to be separated from that common one. and to branch off to the right, but yet return to the same, and all lead at the very end to one issue. For that guide unites them all, where it was necessary that the good should be separated from the bad, the strong from the inactive, the wise from the foolish; namely, in the worship of the gods, in which he slays them all with one sword, because they were all foolish without any distinction, and plunges them into death. But this way-which is that of truth, and wisdom, and virtue, and justice, of all which there is but one fountain, one source of strength, one abode-is both simple,59 because with like minds, and with the utmost agreement, we follow and worship one God; and it is narrow, because virtue is given to the smaller number; and steep, because goodness, which is very high and lofty, cannot be attained to without the greatest difficulty and labour.
Chapter VIII.-Of the Errors of Philosophers, and the Variableness of Law.
This is the way which philosophers seek, but do not find on this account, because they prefer to seek it on the earth, where it cannot appear. Therefore they wander, as it were, on the great sea, and do not understand whither they are borne, because they neither discern the way nor follow any guide. For this way of life ought to be sought in the same manner in which their course is sought by ships over the deep: for unless they observe some light of heaven, they wander with uncertain courses. But whoever strives to hold the right course of life ought not to look to the earth, but to the heaven: and, to speak more plainly, he ought not to follow man, but God; not to serve these earthly images, but the heavenly God; not to measure all things by their reference to the body, but by their reference to the soul; not to attend to this life, but the eternal life. Therefore, if you always direct your eyes towards heaven, and observe the sun, where it rises, and take this as the guide of your life, as in the case of a voyage, your feet will spontaneously be directed into the way; and that heavenly light, which is a much brighter sun60 to sound minds than this which we behold in mortal flesh, will so rule and govern you as to lead you without any error to the most excellent harbour of wisdom and virtue.
Therefore the law of God must be undertaken, which may direct us to this path; that sacred, that heavenly law, which Marcus Tullius, in his third book respecting the Republic,61 has described almost with a divine voice; whose words have subjoined, that I might not speak at greater length: "There is indeed a true law, right reason, agreeing with nature, diffused among all, unchanging, everlasting, which calls to duty by commanding, deters from wrong by forbidding; which, however, neither commands nor forbids the good in vain, nor affects the wicked by commanding or forbidding. It is not allowable to alter62 the provisions of this law, nor is it permitted us to modify it, nor can it be entirely abrogated.63 Nor, truly, can we be released from this law, either by the senate or by the people; nor is another person to be sought to explain or interpret it. Nor will there be one law at Rome and another at Athens; one law at the present time, and another hereafter: but the same law, everlasting and unchangeable, will bind all nations at all times; and there will be one common Master and Ruler of all, even God, the framer, arbitrator, and proposer of this law; and he who shall not obey this will flee from himself, and, despising the nature of man, will suffer the greatest punishments through this very thing, even though he shall have escaped the other punishments which are supposed to exist." Who that is acquainted with the mystery of God could so significantly relate the law of God, as a man far removed from the knowledge of the truth has set forth that law? But I consider that they who speak true things unconsciously are to be so regarded as though they prophesied64 under the influence of some spirit. But if he had known or explained this also, in what precepts the law itself consisted, as he clearly saw the force and purport of the divine law, he would not have discharged the office of a philosopher, but of a prophet. And because he was unable to do this, it must be done by us, to whom the law itself has been delivered by the one great Master and Ruler of all, God.
Chapter IX.-Of the Law and Precept of God; Of Mercy, and the Error of the Philosophers.
The first head of this law is, to know God Himself, to obey Him alone, to worship Him alone. For he cannot maintain the character of a man who is ignorant of God, the parent of his soul: which is the greatest impiety. For this ignorance causes him to serve other gods, and no greater crime than this can be committed. Hence there is now so easy a step to wickedness through ignorance of the truth and of the chief good; since God, from the knowledge of whom he shrinks, is Himself the fountain of goodness. Or if he shall wish to follow the justice of God, yet, being ignorant of the divine law, he embraces the laws of his own country as true justice, though they were clearly devised not by justice, but by utility. For why is it that there are different and various laws amongst all people, but that each nation has enacted for itself that which it deemed useful for its own affairs? But how greatly utility differs from justice the Roman people themselves teach, who, by proclaiming war through the Fecials, and by inflicting injuries according to legal forms, by always desiring and carrying off the property of other, have gained for themselves the possession of the whole world.65 But these persons think themselves just if they do nothing against their own laws; which may be even ascribed to fear, if they abstain from crimes through dread of present punishment. But let us grant that they do that naturally, or, as the philosopher says, of their own accord, which they are compelled to do by the laws. Will they therefore be just, because they obey the institutions of men, who may themselves have erred, or have been unjust?-as it was with the framers of the twelve tables, who certainly promoted the public advantage according to the condition of the times. Civil law is one thing, which varies everywhere according to customs; but justice is another thing, which God has set forth to all as uniform and simple: and he who is ignorant of God must also be ignorant of justice.
But let us suppose it possible that any one, by natural and innate goodness, should gain true virtues, such a man as we have heard that Cimon was at Athens, who both gave alms to the needy, and entertained the poor, and clothed the naked; yet, when that one thing which is of the greatest importance is wanting-the acknowledgment of God-then all those good things are superfluous and empty, so that in pursuing them he has laboured in vain.66 For all his justice will resemble a human body which has no head, in which, although all the limbs are in their proper position, and figure, and proportion, yet, since that is wanting which is the chief thing of all, it is destitute both of life and of all sensation. Therefore those limbs have only the shape of limbs, but admit of no use, as much so as a head without a body; and he resembles this who is not without the knowledge of God, but yet lives unjustly. For he has that only which is of the greatest importance; but he has it to no purpose, since he is destitute of the virtues, as it were, of limbs.
Therefore, that the body may be alive, and capable of sensation, both the knowledge of God is necessary, as it were the head, and all the virtues, as it were the body. Thus there will exist a perfect and living man; but, however, the whole substance is in the head; and although this cannot exist in the absence of all, it may exist in the absence of some. And it will be an imperfect and faulty animal, but yet it will be alive, as he who knows God and yet sins in some respect. For God pardons sins. And thus it is possible to live without some of the limbs, but it is by no means possible to live without a head. This is the reason why the philosophers, though they may be naturally good, yet have no knowledge and no intelligence. All their learning and virtue is without a head, because they are ignorant of God, who is the Head of virtue and knowledge; and he who is ignorant of Him, though he may see, is blind; though he may hear, is deaf; though he may speak, is dumb. But when he shall know the Creator and Parent of all things, then he will both see, and hear, and speak. For he begins to have a head, in which all the senses are placed, that is, the eyes, and ears, and tongue. For assuredly he sees who has beheld with the eyes of his mind the truth in which God is, or God in whom the truth is; he hears, who imprints on his heart the divine words and life-giving precepts; he speaks, who, in discussing heavenly things, relates the virtue and majesty of the surpassing God. Therefore he is undoubtedly impious who does not acknowledge God; and all his virtues, which he thinks that he has or possesses, are found in that deadly road which belongs altogether to darkness. Wherefore there is no reason why any one should congratulate himself if he has gained these empty virtues, because he is not only wretched who is destitute of present goods, but he must also be foolish, since he undertakes the greatest labours in his life without any purpose. For if the hope of immortality is taken away, which God promises to those who continue in His religion, for the sake of obtaining which virtue is to be sought, and whatever evils happen are to be endured, it will assuredly be the greatest folly to wish to comply with virtues which in vain bring calamities and labours to man. For if it is virtue to endure and undergo with fortitude, want, exile, pain, and death, which are feared by others, what goodness, I pray, has it in itself, that philosophers should say that it is to be sought for on its own account? Truly they are delighted with superfluous and useless punishments, when it is permitted them to live in tranquillity.
For if our souls are mortal, if virtue is about to have no existence after the dissolution of the body, why do we avoid the goods assigned to us, as though we were ungrateful or unworthy of enjoying the divine gifts? For, that we may enjoy these blessings, we must live in wickedness and impiety, because virtue, that is, justice, is followed by poverty. Therefore he is not of sound mind, who, without having any greater hope set before him, prefers labours, and tortures, and miseries, to those goods which others enjoy in life.67 But if virtue is to be taken up, as is most rightly said by these, because it is evident that man is born to it, it ought to contain some greater hope, which may apply a great and illustrious solace for the ills and labours which it is the part of virtue to endure. Nor can virtue, since it is difficult in itself, be esteemed as a good in any other way than by having its hardship compensated by the greatest good. We can in no other way equally abstain from these present goods, than if there are other greater goods on account of which it is worth while to leave the pursuit of pleasures, and to endure all evils. But these are no other, as I have shown in the third book,68 than the goods of everlasting life. Now who can bestow these except God, who has proposed to us virtue itself? Therefore the sum and substance of everything is contained in the acknowledging and worship of God; all the hope and safety of man centres in this; this is the first step of wisdom, to know who is our true Father, and to worship Him alone with the piety which is due to Him, to obey Him, to yield ourselves to His service with the utmost devotedness: let our entire acting, and care, and attention, be laid out in gaining His favour.69
Chapter X.-Of Religion Towards God, and Mercy Towards Men; And of the Beginning of the World.
I have said what is due to God, I will now say what is to be given to man; although this very thing which you shall give to man is given to God, for man is the image of God. But, how ever, the first office of justice is to be united with God, the second with man. But the former is called religion; the second is named mercy or kindness;70 which virtue is peculiar to the just, and to the worshippers of God, because this alone comprises the principle of common life. For God, who has not given wisdom to the other animals, has made them more safe from attack in danger by natural defences. But because He made him naked and defenceless,71 that He might rather furnish him with wisdom, He gave him, besides other things, this feeling of kindness;72 so that man should protect, love, and cherish man, and both receive and afford assistance against all dangers. Therefore kindness is the greatest bond of human society; and he who has broken this is to be deemed impious, and a parricide. For if we all derive our origin from one man, whom God created, we are plainly of one blood; and therefore it must be considered the greatest wickedness to hate a man, even though guilty. On which account God has enjoined that enmities are never to be contracted by us, but that they are always to be removed, so that we soothe those who are our enemies, by reminding them of their relationship. Likewise, if we are all inspired and animated by one God, what else are we than brothers? And, indeed, the more closely united, because we are united in soul rather than in body.73 Accordingly Lucretius does not err when he says:74 "In short, we are all sprung from a heavenly seed; all have that same father." Therefore they are to be accounted as savage beasts who injure man; who, in opposition to every law and right of human nature, plunder, torture, slay, and banish.
On account of this relationship of brotherhood, God teaches us never to do evil, but always good. And He also prescribes75 in what this doing good consists: in affording aid to those who are oppressed and in difficulty, and in bestowing food on those who are destitute. For God, since He is kind,76 wished us to be a social animal. Therefore, in the case of other men, we ought to think of ourselves. We do not deserve to be set free in our own dangers, if we do not succour others; we do not deserve assistance, if we refuse to render it. There are no precepts of philosophers to this purport, inasmuch as they, being captivated by the appearance of false virtue, have taken away mercy from man, and while they wish to heal, have corrupted.77 And though they generally admit that the mutual participation of human society is to be retained, they entirely separate themselves from it by the harshness of their inhuman virtue. This error, therefore, is also to be refuted, of those who think that nothing is to be bestowed on any one. They have introduced not one origin only, and cause of building a city; but some relate that those men who were first born from the earth, when they passed a wandering life among the woods and plains, and were not united by any mutual bond of speech or justice, but had leaves and grass for their beds, and caves and grottos for their dwellings, were a prey to the beasts and stronger animals. Then, that those who had either escaped, having been torn, or had seen their neighbours torn, being admonished of their own danger, had recourse to other men, implored protection, and at first made their wishes known by nods; then that they tried the beginnings of conversation, and by attaching names to each object, by degrees completed the system of speech. But when they saw that numbers themselves were not safe against the beasts, they began also to build towns, either that they might make their nightly repose safe, or that they might ward off the incursions and attacks of beasts, not by fighting, but by interposing barriers.78
O minds unworthy of men, which produced these foolish trifles! O wretched and pitiable men, who committed to writing and handed down to memory the record of their own folly; who, when they saw that the plan of assembling themselves together, or of mutual intercourse, or of avoiding danger, or of guarding against evil, or of preparing for themselves sleeping-places and lairs, was natural even to the dumb animals, thought, however, that men could not have been admonished and learned, except by examples, what they ought to fear, what to avoid, and what to do, or that they would never have assembled together, or have discovered the method of speech, had not the beasts devoured them! These things appeared to others senseless, as they really were; and they said that the cause of their coming together was not the tearing of wild beasts, but rather the very feeling of humanity itself; and that therefore they collected themselves together, because the nature of men avoided solitude, and was desirous of communion and society. The discrepancy between them is not great; since the causes are different, the fact is the same. Each might have been true, because there is no direct opposition. But, however, neither is by any means true, because men were not born from the ground throughout the world, as though sprung from the teeth of some dragon, as the poets relate; but one man was formed by God, and from that one man all the earth was filled with the human race, in the same way as again took place after the deluge, which they certainly cannot deny.79 Therefore no assembling together of this kind took place at the beginning; and that there were never men on the earth who could not speak except those who were infants,80 every one who is possessed of sense will understand. Let us suppose, however, that these things are true which idle and foolish old men vainly say, that we may refute them especially by their own feelings and arguments.
If men were collected together on this account, that they might protect their weakness by mutual help, therefore we must succour man, who needs help. For, since men entered into and contracted fellowship with men for the sake of protection, either to violate or not to preserve that compact which was entered into among men from the commencement of their origin, is to be considered as the greatest impiety. For he who withdraws himself from affording assistance must also of necessity withdraw himself from receiving it; for he who refuses his aid to another thinks that he stands in need of the aid of none. But he who withdraws and separates himself from the body81 at large, must live not after the custom of men, but after the manner of wild beasts. But if this cannot be done, the bond of human society is by all means to be retained, because man can in no way live without man. But the preservation82 of society is a mutual sharing of kind offices; that is, the affording help, that we may be able to receive it. But if, as those others assert, the assembling together of men has been caused on account of humanity itself, man ought undoubtedly to recognise man. But if those ignorant and as yet uncivilized men did this, and that, when the practice of speaking was not yet established, what must we think ought to be done by men who are polished, and connected together by interchange of conversation and all business, who, being accustomed to the society of men, cannot endure solitude?
Chapter XI.-Of the Persons Upon Whom a Benefit is to Be Conferred.
Therefore humanity is to be preserved, if we wish rightly to be called men. But what else is this preservation of humanity than the loving a man because he is a man, and the same as ourselves? Therefore discord and dissension are not in accordance with the nature of man; and that expression of Cicero is true, which says83 that man, while he is obedient to nature, cannot injure man. Therefore, if it is contrary to nature to injure a man, it must be in accordance with nature to benefit a man; and he who does not do this deprives himself of the title of a man, because it is the duty of humanity to succour the necessity and peril of a man. I ask, therefore, of those who do not think it the part of a wise man to be prevailed upon and to pity, If a man were seized by some beast, and were to implore the aid of an armed man, whether they think that he ought to be succoured or not? They are not so shameless as to deny that that ought to be done which humanity demands and requires. Also, if any one were surrounded by fire, crushed by the downfall of a building, plunged in the sea, or carried away by a river, would they think it the duty of a man not to assist him? They themselves are not men if they think so; for no one can fail to be liable to dangers of this kind. Yes, truly, they will say that it is the part of a human being, and of a brave man too, to preserve one who was on the point of perishing. If, therefore, in casualties of this nature which imperil the life of man, they allow that it is the part of humanity to give succour, what reason is there why they should think that succour is to be withheld if a man should suffer from hunger, thirst, or cold? But though these things are naturally on an equality with those accidental circumstances, and need one and the same humanity, yet they make a distinction between these things, because they measure all things not by the truth itself, but by present utility. For they hope that those whom they rescue from peril will make a return of the favour to them. But because they do not hope for this in the case of the needy, they think that whatever they bestow on men of this kind is thrown away. Hence that sentiment of Plautus is detestable:84 -
"He deserves ill who gives food to a beggar;
For that which he gives is thrown away, and
It lengthens out the life of the other to his misery."
But perhaps the poet spoke for the actor.85
What does Marcus Tullius say in his books respecting Offices? Does he not also advise that bounty should not be employed at all? For thus he speaks:86 "Bounty, which proceeds from our estate, drains the very source of our liberality; and thus liberality is destroyed by liberality: for the more numerous they are towards whom you practise it, the less you will be able to practise it towards many." And he also says shortly afterwards: "But what is more foolish than so to act that you may not be able to continue to do that which you do willingly? "This professor of wisdom plainly keeps men back from acts of kindness, and advises them carefully to guard their property, and to preserve their money-chest in safety, rather than to follow justice. And when he perceived that this was inhuman and wicked, soon afterwards, in another chapter, as though moved by repentance, he thus spoke: "Sometimes, however, we must exercise bounty in giving: nor is this kind of liberality altogether to be rejected; and we must give from our property to suitable87 persons when they are in need of assistance." What is the meaning of "suitable? " Assuredly those who are able to restore and give back the favour.88 If Cicero were now alive, I should certainly exclaim: Here, here, Marcus Tullius, you have erred from true justice; and you have taken it away by one word, since you measured the offices of piety and humanity by utility. For we must not bestow our bounty on suitable objects, but as much as possible on unsuitable objects. For that will be done with justice, piety, and humanity, which you shall do without the hope of any return!
This is that true and genuine justice, of which you say that you have no real and life-like figure.89 You yourself exclaim in many places that virtue is not mercenary; and you confess in the books of your Laws90 that liberality is gratuitous, in these words: "Nor is it doubtful that he who is called liberal and generous is influenced by a sense of duty, and not by advantage." Why therefore do you bestow your bounty on suitable persons, unless it be that you may afterwards receive a reward? With you, therefore, as the author and teacher of justice, whosoever shall not be a suitable person will be worn out with nakedness, thirst, and hunger; nor will men who are rich and abundantly supplied, even to luxuriousness, assist his last extremity. If virtue does not exact a reward; if, as you say, it is to be sought on its own account, then estimate justice, which is the mother and chief of the virtues, at its own price, and not according to your advantage: give especially to him from whom you hope for nothing in return. Why do you select persons? Why do you look at bodily forms? He is to be esteemed by you as a man, whoever it is that implores you, because he considers you a man. Cast away those outlines and sketches of justice, and hold fast justice itself, true and fashioned to the life. Be bountiful to the blind, the feeble, the lame, the destitute, who must die: unless you bestow your bounty upon them. They are useless to men, but they are serviceable to God, who retains them in life, who endues them with breath, who vouchsafes to them the light. Cherish as far as in you lies, and support with kindness, the lives of men, that they may not be extinguished. He who is able to succour one on the point of perishing, if he fails to do so, kills him. But they, because they neither retain their nature, nor know what reward there is in this, while they fear to lose, do lose, and fall into that which they chiefly guard against; so that whatever they bestow is either lost altogether, or profits only for the briefest time. For they who refuse a small gift to the wretched, who wish to preserve humanity without any loss to themselves, squander their property, so that they either acquire for themselves frail and perishable things, or they certainly gain nothing by their own great loss.
For what must be said of those who, induced by the vanity of popular favour,91 expend on the exhibition of shows wealth that would be sufficient even for great cities? Must we not say that they are senseless and mad who bestow upon the people that which is both lost to themselves, and which none of those on whom it is bestowed receives? Therefore, as all pleasure is short and perishable, and especially that of the eyes and ears, men either forget and are ungrateful for the expenses incurred by another, or they are even offended if the caprice of the people is not satisfied: so that most foolish men, have even acquired evil for themselves by evil; or if they have thus succeeded in pleasing, they gain nothing more than empty favour and the talk92 of a few days. Thus every day the estates of most trifling men are expended on superfluous matters. Do they then act more wisely who exhibit to their fellow-citizens more useful and lasting gifts? They, for instance, who by the building of public works seek a lasting memory for their name? Not even do they act rightly in burying their property in the earth; because the remembrance of them neither bestows anything upon the dead, nor are their works eternal, inasmuch as they are either thrown down and destroyed by a single earthquake, or are consumed by an accidental fire, or they are over through by some attack of an enemy, or at any rate they decay and fall to pieces by mere length of time. For there is nothing, as the orator says,93 made by the work of man's hand which length of time does not weaken and destroy. But this justice of which we speak, and mercy, flourish more every day. They therefore act better who bestow their bounty on their tribesmen and clients, for they bestow something on men. and profit them; but that is not true and just bounty, for there is no conferring of a benefit where there is no necessity. Therefore, whatever is given to those who are not in need, for the sake of popularity, is thrown away; or it is repaid with interest, and thus it will not be the conferring of a benefit. And although it is pleasing to those to whom it is given, still it is not just, because if it is not done, no evil follows. Therefore the only sure and true office of liberality is to support the needy and unserviceable.
Chapter XII.-Of the Kinds of Beneficence, and Works of Mercy.
This is that perfect justice which protects human society, concerning which philosophers speak. This is the chief and truest advantage of riches; not to use wealth for the particular, pleasure of an individual, but for the welfare of many; not for one's own immediate enjoyment, but for justice, which alone does not perish. We must therefore by all means keep in mind, that the hope of receiving in return must be altogether absent from the duty of showing mercy: for the reward of this work and duty must be expected from God alone; for if you should expect it from man, then that will not be kindness, but the lending of a benefit at interest;94 nor can he seem to have deserved well who affords that which he does, not to another, but to himself. And yet the matter comes to this, that whatever a man has bestowed upon another, hoping for no advantage from him, he really bestows upon himself, for he will receive a reward from God. God has also enjoined, that if at any time we make a feast, we should invite to the entertainment those who cannot invite us in return, and thus make us a recompense, so that no action of our life should be without the exercise of mercy. Nor, however, let any one think that he is debarred from intercourse with his friends or kindness with his neighbours. But God has made known to us what is our true and just work: we ought thus to live with our neighbours, provided that we know that the one manner of living relates to man, the other to God.95
Therefore hospitality is a principal virtue, as the philosophers also say; but they turn it aside from true justice, and forcibly apply96 it to advantage. Cicero says:97 "Hospitality was rightly praised by Theophrastus. For (as it appears to me) it is highly becoming that the houses of illustrious men should be open to illustrious guests." He has here committed the same error which he then did, when he said that we must bestow our bounty on "suitable" persons. For the house of a just and wise man ought not to be open to the illustrious, but to the lowly and abject. For those illustrious and powerful men cannot be in want of anything, since they are sufficiently protected and honoured by their own opulence. But nothing is to be done by a just man except that which is a benefit. But if the benefit is returned, it is destroyed and brought to an end; for we cannot possess in its completeness that for which a price has been paid to us. Therefore the principle of justice is employed about those benefits which have remained safe and uncorrupted; but they cannot thus remain by any other means than if they are be stowed upon those men who can in no way profit us. But in receiving illustrious men, he looked to nothing else but utility; nor did the ingenious man conceal what advantage he hoped from it. For he says that he who does that will become powerful among foreigners by the favour of the leading men, whom he will have bound to himself by the right of hospitality and friendship. O by how many arguments might the inconsistency of Cicero be proved, if this were my object! Nor would he be convicted so much by my words as by his own. For he also says, that the more any one refers all his actions to his own advantage, the less he is a good man. He also says, that it is not the part of a simple and open man to ingratiate himself in the favour of others,98 to pretend and allege anything, to appear to be doing one thing when he is doing another, to feign that he is bestowing upon another that which he is bestowing upon himself; but that this is rather the part of one who is designing99 and crafty, deceitful and treacherous. But how could he maintain that that ambitious hospitality was not evil intention?100 "Do you run round through all the gates, that you may invite to your house the chief men of the nations and cities as they arrive, that by their means you may acquire influence with their citizens; and wish yourself to be called just, and kind, and hospitable, though you are studying to promote your own advantage? "But did he not say this rather incautiously? For what is less suitable for Cicero? But through his ignorance of true justice he knowingly and with foresight fell into this snare. And that he might be pardoned for this, he testified that he does not give precepts with reference to true justice, which he does not hold, but with reference to a sketch and outline of justice. Therefore we must pardon this teacher who uses sketches and outlines,101 nor must we require the truth from him who admits that he is ignorant of it.
The ransoming of captives is a great and noble exercise of justice, of which the same Tullius also approved.102 "And this liberality," he says, "is serviceable even to the state, that captives should be ransomed from slavery, and that those of slender resources should be provided for. And I greatly prefer this practice of liberality to lavish expenditure on shows. This is the part of great and eminent men." Therefore it is the appropriate work of the just to support the poor and to ransom captives, since among the unjust if any do these things they are called great and eminent. For it is deserving of the greatest praise for those to confer benefit from whom no one expected such conduct. For he who does good to a relative, or neighbour, or friend, either deserves no praise, or certainly no great praise, because he is bound to do it, and he would be impious and detestable if he did not do that which both nature itself and relationship require; and if he does it, he does it not so much for the sake of obtaining glory as of avoiding censure. But he who does it to a stranger and an unknown person, he truly is worthy of praise, because he was led to do it by kindness only. Justice therefore exists there, where there is no obligation of necessity for conferring a benefit. He ought not therefore to have preferred this duty of generosity to expenditure on shows; for this is the part of one making a comparison, and of two goods choosing that which is the better. For that profusion of men throwing away their property into the sea is vain and trifling, and very far removed from all justice. Therefore they are not even to be called girls,103 in which no one receives but he who does not deserve to receive.
Nor is it less a great work of justice to protect and defend orphans and widows who are destitute and stand in need of assistance; and therefore that divine law prescribes this to all, since all good judges deem that it belongs to their office to favour them with natural kindness, and to strive to benefit them. But these works are especially ours, since we have received the law, and the words of God Himself giving us instructions. For they perceive that it is naturally just to protect those who need protection, but they do not perceive why it is so. For God, to whom everlasting mercy belongs, on this account commands that widows and orphans should be defended and cherished, that no one through regard and pity for his pledges104 should be prevented from undergoing death in behalf of justice and faith, but should encounter it with promptitude and boldness, since he knows that he leaves his beloved ones to the care of God, and that they will never want protection. Also to undertake the care and support of the sick, who need some one to assist them, is the part of the greatest kindness, and of great beneficence;105 and he who shall do this will both gain a living sacrifice to God, and that which he has given to another for a time he will himself receive from God for eternity. The last and greatest office of piety is the burying of strangers and the poor; which subject those teachers of virtue and justice have not touched upon at all. For they were unable to see this, who measured all their duties by utility. For in the other things which have been mentioned above, although they did not keep the true path, yet, since they discovered some advantage in these things, retained as it were by a kind of inkling106 of the truth, they wandered to a less distance; but they abandoned this because they were unable to see any advantage in it.
Moreover, there have not been wanting those who esteemed burial as superfluous, and said that it was no evil to lie unburied and neglected; but their impious wisdom is rejected alike by the whole human race, and by the divine expressions which command the performance of the rite.107 But they do not venture to say that it ought not to be done, but that, if it happens to be omitted, no inconvenience is the result. Therefore in that matter they discharge the office, not so much of those who give precepts, as of those who suggest consolation, that if this shall by chance have occurred to a wise man, he should not deem himself wretched on this account. But we do not speak of that which ought to be endured by a wise man, but of that which he himself ought to do. Therefore we do not now inquire whether the whole system of burial is serviceable or not; but this, even though it be useless, as they imagine, must nevertheless be practised, even on this account only, that it appears among men to be done rightly and kindly. For it is the feeling which is inquired into, and it is the purpose which is weighed. Therefore we will not suffer the image and workmanship of God to lie exposed as a prey to beasts and birds, but we will restore it to the earth, from which it had its origin; and although it be in the case of an unknown man, we will fulfil the office of relatives, into whose place, since they are wanting, let kindness succeed; and wherever there shall be need of man, there we will think that our duty is required.108 But in what does the nature of justice more consist than in our affording to strangers through kindness, that which we render to our own relatives through affection? And this kindness is much more sure and just when it is now afforded, not to the man who is insensible, but to God alone, to whom a just work is a most acceptable sacrifice. Some one will perhaps say: If I shall do all these things, I shall have no possessions. For what if a great number of men shall be in want, shall suffer cold, shall be taken captive, shall die, since one who acts thus must deprive himself of his property even in a single day, shall I throw away the estate acquired by my own labour or by that of my ancestors, so that after this I myself must live by the pity of others?
Why do you so pusillanimously fear poverty, which even your philosophers praise, and bear witness that nothing is safer and nothing more calm than this? That which you fear is a haven against anxieties. Do you not know to how many dangers, to how many accidents, you are exposed with these evil resources? These will treat you well if they shall pass without your bloodshed. But you walk about laden with booty, and you bear spoils which may excite the minds even of your own relatives. Why, then, do you hesitate to lay that out well which perhaps a single robbery will snatch away from you, or a proscription suddenly arising, or the plundering of an enemy? Why do you fear to make a frail and perishable good everlasting, or to entrust your treasures to God as their preserver, in which case you need not fear thief and robber, nor rust, nor tyrant? He who is rich towards God can never be poor.109 If you esteem justice so highly, lay aside the burthens which press you, and follow it; free yourself from fetters and chains, that you may run to God without any impedient. It is the part of a great and lofty mind to despise and trample upon mortal affairs. But if you do not comprehend this virtue, that you may bestow your riches upon the altar110 of God, in order that you may provide for yourself firmer possessions than these frail ones, I will free you from fear. All these precepts are not given to you alone, but to all the people who are united in mind, and hold together as one man.If you are not adequate to the performance of great works alone, cultivate justice with all your power, in such a manner, however, that you may excel others in work as much as you excel them in riches. And do not think that you are advised to lessen or exhaust your property; but that which you would have expended on superfluities, turn to better uses. Devote to the ransoming of captives that from which you purchase beasts; maintain the poor with that from which you feed wild beasts; bury the innocent dead with that from which you provide men for the sword.111 What does it profit to enrich men of abandoned wickedness, who fight with beasts,112 and to equip them for crimes? Transfer things about to be miserably thrown away to the great sacrifice, that in return for these true gifts you may have an everlasting gift from God. Mercy has a great reward; for God promises it, that He will remit all sins. If you shall hear, He says, the prayers of your suppliant, I also will hear yours; if you shall pity those in distress, I also will pity you in your distress. But if you shall not regard nor assist them, I also will bear a mind like your own against you, and I will judge you by your own laws.113
Chapter XIII.-Of Repentance, of Mercy, and the Forgiveness of Sins.
As often, therefore, as you are asked for aid, believe that you are tried by God, that it may be seen whether you are worthy of being heard. Examine your own conscience, and, as far as you are able, heal your wounds. Nor, however, because offences are removed by bounty, think that a licence is given you for sinning. For they are done away with, if you are bountiful to God because you have sinned; for if you sin through reliance on your bounty, they are not done away with. For God especially desires that men shall be cleansed from their sins, and therefore He commands them to repent. But to repent is nothing else than to profess and to affirm that one will sin no more. Therefore they are pardoned who unawares and incautiously glide into sin; he who sins wilfully has no pardon. Nor, however, if any one shall have been purified from all stain of sin, let him think that he may abstain from the work of bounty because he has no faults to blot out. Nay, in truth, he is then more bound to exercise justice when he is become just, so that that which he had before done for the healing of his wounds he may afterwards do for the praise and glory of virtue. To this is added, that no Ode can be without fault as long as he is burthened with a covering of flesh, the infirmity of which is subject to the dominion of sin in a threefold manner-in deeds, in words, and thoughts.
By these steps justice advances to the greatest height. The first step of virtue is to abstain from evil works; the second, to abstain also from evil worsts; the third, to abstain even from the thoughts of evil things. He who ascends the first step is sufficiently just; he who ascends the second is now of perfect virtue, since he offends neither in deeds nor in conversation;114 he who ascends the third appears truly to have attained the likeness of God. For it is almost beyond the measure of man not even to admit to the thought115 that which is either bad in action or improper in speech. Therefore even just men, who can refrain from every unjust work, are sometimes, however, overcome by frailty itself, so that they either speak evil in anger, or, at the sight of delightful things, they desire them with silent thought. But if the condition of mortality does not suffer a man to be pure from every stain, the faults of the flesh ought therefore to be done away with by continual bounty. For it is the single work of a man who is wise, and just, and worthy of life, to lay out his riches on justice alone; for assuredly he who is without this, although he should surpass Croesus or Crassus in riches, is to be esteemed as poor, as naked, as a beggar. Therefore we must use our efforts that we may be clothed with the garment of justice and piety, of which no one may deprive us, which may furnish us with an everlasting ornament. For if the worshippers of gods adore senseless images, and bestow upon them whatever they have which is precious, though they can neither make use of them nor give thanks because they have received them, how much more just and true is it to reverence the living images of God, that you may gain the favour of the living God! For as these make use of what they have received, and give thanks, so God, in whose sight you shall have done that which is good, will both approve of it and reward your piety.
Chapter XIV.-Of the Affections, and the Opinion of the Stoics Respecting Them; And of Virtue, the Vices, and Mercy.
If, therefore, mercy is a distinguished and excellent gift in man, and that is judged to be very good by the consent both of the good and the evil, it appears that philosophers were far distant from the good of man, who neither enjoined nor practised anything of this kind, but always esteemed as a vice that virtue which almost holds the first place in man. It pleases me here to bring forward one subject of philosophy, that we may more fully refute the errors of those who call mercy, desire, and fear, diseases of the soul. They indeed attempt to distinguish virtues from vices, which is truly a very easy matter. For who cannot distinguish a liberal man from one who is prodigal (as they do), or a frugal man from one who is mean, or a calm man from one who is slothful, or a cautious man from one who is timid? Because these things which are good have their limits, and if they shall exceed these limits, fall into vices; so that constancy, unless it is undertaken for the truth, becomes shamelessness. In like manner, bravery, if it shall undergo certain danger, without the compulsion of any necessity, or not for an honourable cause, is changed into rashness. Freedom of speech also, if it attack; others rather than oppose those who attack it, is obstinacy. Severity also, unless it restrain itself within the befitting punishments of the guilty, becomes savage cruelty.
Therefore they say, that those who appear evil do not sin of their own accord, or choose evils by preference, but that, erring116 through the appearance of good, they fall into evils, while they are ignorant of the distinction between good things and evil. These things are not indeed false, but they are all referred to the body. For to be frugal, or constant, or cautious, or calm, or grave, or severe, are virtues indeed, but virtues which relate to this short117 life. But we who despise this life have other virtues set before us, respecting which philosophers could not by any means even conjecture. Therefore they regarded certain virtues as vices, and certain vices as virtues. For the Stoics take away from man all the affections, by the impulse of which the soul is moved-desire, joy, fear, sorrow: the two former of which arise from good things, either future or present; the latter from evil things. In the same manner, they call these four (as I said) diseases, not so much inserted in us by nature as undertaken through a perverted opinion; and therefore they think that these can be eradicated, if the false notion of good and evil things is taken away. For if the wise man thinks nothing good or evil, he will neither be inflamed with desire, nor be transported with joy, nor be alarmed with fear, nor suffer his spirits to droop118 through sadness. We shall presently see whether they effect that which they wish, or what it is which they do effect: in the meantime their purpose is arrogant and almost mad, who think that they apply a remedy, and that they are able to strive in opposition to the force and system of nature.
Chapter XV.-Of the Affections, and the Opinion of the Peripatetics Respecting Them.
For, that these things are natural and not voluntary, the nature of all living beings shows, which is moved by all these affections. There fore the Peripatetics act better, who say that all these cannot be taken from us, because they were born with us; and they endeavour to show how providently and how necessarily God, or nature (for so they term it), armed us with these affections; which, however, because they generally become vicious if they are in excess, can be advantageously regulated by man,-a limit being applied, so that there may be left to man as much as is sufficient for nature. Not an unwise disputation, if, as I said, all things were not referred to this life. The Stoics therefore are mad who do not regulate but cut them out, and wish by some means or other to deprive man of powers implanted in him by nature. And this is equivalent to a desire of taking away timidity from stags, or poison from serpents, or rage from wild beasts, or gentleness from cattle. For those qualities which have been given separately to dumb animals, are altogether given to man at the same time. But if, as physicians affirm, the affection of joy has its seat in the spleen,119 that of anger in the gall, of desire in the liver, of fear in the heart, it is easier to kill the animal itself than to tear anything from the body; for this is to wish to change the nature of the living creature. But the skilful men do not understand that when they take away vices from man, they also take away virtue, for which alone they are making a place. For if it is virtue in the midst of the impetuosity of anger to restrain and check oneself, which they cannot deny, then he who is without anger is also without virtue. If it is virtue to control the lust of the body, he must be free from virtue who has no lust which he may regulate. If it is virtue to curb the desire from coveting that which belongs to another, he certainly can have no virtue who is without that, to the restraining of which the exercise of virtue is applied. Where, therefore, there are no vices, there is no place even for virtue, as there is no place for victory where there is no adversary. And so it comes to pass that there can be no good in this life without evil. An affection therefore is a kind of natural fruitfulness120 of the powers of the mind. For as a field which is naturally fruitful produces an abundant crop of briars,121 so the mind which is uncultivated is overgrown with vices flourishing of their own accord, as with thorns. But when the true cultivator has applied himself, immediately vices give way, and the fruits of virtues spring up.
Therefore God, when He first made man, with wonderful foresight first implanted in him these emotions of the mind, that he might be capable of receiving virtue, as the earth is of cultivation; and He placed the subject-matter of vices in the affections, and that of virtue in vices. For assuredly virtue will have no existence, or not be in exercise, if those things are wanting by which its power is either shown or exists. Now let us see what they have effected who altogether removes vices. With regard to those four affections122 which they imagine to arise from the opinion of things good and evil, by the eradication of which they think that the mind of the wise man is to be healed, since they understand that they are implanted by nature, and that without these nothing can be put in motion, nothing be done, they put certain other things into their place and room: for desire they substitute inclination, as though it were not much better to desire a good than to feel inclination for it; they in like manner substitute for joy gladness, and for fear caution. But in the case of the fourth they are at a loss for a method of exchanging the name. Therefore they have altogether taken away grief, that is, sadness and pain of mind, which cannot possibly be done. For who can fail to be grieved if pestilence has desolated his country, or an enemy overthrown it, or a tyrant crushed its liberty? Can any one fail to be grieved if he has beheld the overthrow of liberty,123 and the banishment or most cruel slaughter of neighbours, friends, or good men?-unless the mind of any one should be so struck with astonishment that all sensibility should be taken from him. Wherefore they ought either to have taken away the whole, or this defective124 and weak discussion ought to have been completed; that is, something ought to have been substituted in the place of grief, since, the former ones having been so arranged, this naturally followed.
For as we rejoice in good things that are present, so we are vexed and grieved with evil things. If, therefore, they gave another name to joy because they thought it vicious, so it was befitting that another name should be given to grief because they thought it also vicious. From which it appears that it was no, the object itself which was wanting to them, but a word, through want of which they wished, contrary to what nature allowed, to take away that affection which is the greatest. For I could have refuted those changes of names at greater length, and have shown that many names are attached to the same objects, for the sake of embellishing the style and increasing its copiousness, or at any rate that they do not greatly differ from one another. For both desire takes its beginning from the inclination, and caution arises from fear, and joy is nothing else than the expression of gladness. But let us suppose that they are different, as they themselves will have it. Accordingly they will say that desire is continued and perpetual inclination, but that joy is gladness bearing itself immoderately; and that fear is caution in excess, and passing the limits of moderation. Thus it comes to pass, that they do not take away those things which they think ought to be taken away, but regulate them, since the names only are changed, the things themselves remain. They therefore return unawares to that point at which the Peripatetics arrive by argument, that vices, since they cannot be taken away, are to be regulated with moderation. Therefore they err, be cause they donot succeed in effecting that which they aim at, and by a circuitous route, which is long and rough, they return to the same path.
Chapter XVI.-Of the Affections, and the Refutation of the Opinion of the Peripatetics Concerning Them; What is the Proper Use of the Affections, and What is a Bad Use of Them.
But I think that the Peripatetics did not even approach the truth, who allow that they are vices, but regulate them with moderation. For we must be free even from moderate vices; yea, rather, it ought to have been at first effected that there should be no vices. For nothing can be born vicious;125 but if we make a bad use of the affections they become vices, if we use them well they become virtues. Then it must be shown that the causes of the affections, and not the affections themselves, must be moderated. We must not, they say, rejoice with excessive joy, but moderately and temperately. This is as though they should say that we must not run swiftly, but walk quietly. But it is possible that he who walks may err, and that he who runs may keep the right path. What if I show that there is a case in which it is vicious not only to rejoice moderately, but even in the smallest degree; and that there is another case, on the contrary, in which even to exult with transports of joy is by no means faulty? What then, I pray, will this mediocrity profit us? I ask whether they think that a wise man ought to rejoice if he sees any evil happening to his enemy; or whether he ought to curb his joy, if by the conquest of enemies, or the overthrow of a tyrant, liberty and safety have been acquired by his countrymen.126
No one doubts but that in the former case to rejoice a little, and in the latter to rejoice too little, is a very great crime. We may say the same respecting the other affections. But, as I have said, the object of wisdom does not consist in the regulation of these, but of their causes, since they are acted upon from without; nor was it befitting that these themselves should be restrained; since they may exist in a small degree with the greatest criminality, and in the greatest degree without any criminality. But they ought to have been assigned to fixed times, and circumstances, and places, that they may not be vices, when it is permitted us to make a right use of them. For as to walk in the right course is good, but to wander from it is evil, so to be moved by the affections to that which is right is good, but to that which is corrupt is evil. For sensual desire, if it does not wander from its lawful object, although it be ardent, yet is without fault. But if it desires an unlawful object, although it be moderate, yet it is a great vice. Therefore it is not a disease to be angry, nor to desire, nor to be excited by lust; but to be passionate, to be covetous or licentious, is a disease. For he who is passionate is angry even with him with whom he ought not to be angry or at times when he ought not. He who is covetous desires even that which is unnecessary. He who is licentious pursues even that which is forbidden by the laws. The whole matter ought to have turned on this, that since the impetuosity of these things cannot be restrained, nor is it right that it should be, because it is necessarily implanted for maintaining the duties of life, it might rather be directed into the right way, where it may be possible even to run without stumbling and danger.
Chapter XVII.-Of the Affections and Their Use; Of Patience, and the Chief Good of Christians.
But I have been carried too far in my desire of refuting them; since it is my purpose to show that those things which the philosophers thought to be vices, are so far from being vices, that they are even great virtues. Of others, I will take, for the sake of instruction, those which I think to be most closely related to the subject. They regard dread or fear as a very great vice, and think that it is a very great weakness of mind; the opposite to which is bravery: and if this exists in a man, they say that there is no place for fear. Does any one then believe that it can possibly happen that this same fear is the highest fortitude? By no means. For nature does not appear to admit that anything should fall back to its contrary. But yet I, not by any skilful conclusion, as Socrates does in the writings of Plato, who compels those against whom he disputes to admit those things which they had denied, but in a simple manner, will show that the greatest fear is the greatest virtue. No one doubts but that it is the part of a timid and feeble mind either to fear pain, or want, or exile, or imprisonment, or death; and if any one does not dread all these, he is judged a man of the greatest fortitude. But he who fears God is free from the fear of all these things. In proof of which, there is no need of arguments: for the punishments inflicted on the worshippers of God have been witnessed at all times, and are still witnessed through the world, in the tormenting of whom new and unusual tortures have been devised. For the mind shrinks from the recollection of various kinds of death, when the butchery of savage monsters has raged even beyond death itself. But a happy and unconquered patience endured these execrable lacerations of their bodies without a groan. This virtue afforded the greatest astonishment to all people and provinces, and to the torturers themselves, when cruelty was overcome by patience. But this virtue was caused by nothing else than the fear of God. Therefore (as I said) fear is not to be uprooted, as the Stoics maintain, nor to be restrained, as the Peripatetics wish, but to be directed into the right way; and apprehensions are to be taken away, but so that this one only may be left: for since this is the only lawful and true one, it alone effects that all other things may not be feared. Desire also is reckoned among vices; but if it desires those things which are of the earth, it is a vice; on the other hand, if it desires heavenly things, it is a virtue. For he who desires to obtain justice, God, perpetual life, everlasting light, and all those things which God promises to man, will despise these riches, and honours, and commands, and kingdoms themselves.
The Stoic will perhaps say that inclination is necessary for the attainment of these things, and not desire; but, in truth, the inclination is not sufficient. For many have the inclination; but when pain has approached the vitals, inclination gives way, but desire perseveres: and if it effects that all things which are sought by others are objects of contempt to him, it is the greatest virtue, since it is the mother of self-restraint. And therefore we ought rather to effect this, that we may rightly direct the affections, a corrupt use of which is vice. For these excitements of the mind resemble a harnessed chariot, in the right management of which the chief duty of the driver is to know the way; and if he shall keep to this, with whatever swiftness he may go, he will not strike against an obstacle. But if he shall wander from the course, although he may go calmly and gently, he will either be shaken over rough places, or will glide over precipices, or at any rate will be carried where he does not need to go. So that chariot of life which is led by the affections as though by swift horses, if it keeps the right way, will discharge its duty. Dread, therefore, and desire, if they are cast down to the earth, will become vices, but they will be virtues if they are referred to divine things. On the other hand, they esteem parsimony as a virtue; which, if it is eagerness for possessing, cannot be a virtue, because it is altogether employed in the increase or preservation of earthly goods. But we do not refer the chief good to the body, but we measure every duty by the preservation of the soul only. But if, as I have before taught, we must by no means spare our property that we may preserve kindness and justice, it is not a virtue to be frugal; which name beguiles and deceives under the appearance of virtue. For frugality is, it is true, the abstaining from pleasures; but in this respect it is a vice, because it arises from the love of possessing, whereas we ought both to abstain from pleasures, and by no means to withhold money. For to use money sparingly, that is, moderately, is a kind of weakness of mind, either of one fearing lest he should be in want, or of one despairing of being able to recover it, or of one incapable of the contempt of earthly things. But, on the other hand, they call him who is not sparing of his property prodigal. For thus they distinguish between the liberal man and the prodigal: that he is liberal who bestows on deserving objects, and on proper occasions, and in sufficient quantities; but that he is prodigal who lavishes on undeserving objects, and when there is no need, and without any regard to his property.
What then? shall we call him prodigal who through pity gives food to the needy? But it makes a great difference, whether on account of lust you bestow your money on harlots, or on account of benevolence on the wretched; whether profligates, gamesters, and pimps squander your money, or you bestow it on piety and God; whether you expend it upon your own appetite,127 or lay it up in the treasury of justice. As, therefore, it is a vice to lay it out badly, so it is a virtue to lay it out well. If it is a virtue not to be sparing of riches, which can be replaced, that you may support the life of man, which cannot be replaced; then parsimony is a vice. Therefore I can call them by no other name than mad, who deprive man, a mild and sociable animal, of his name; who, having uprooted the affections, in which humanity altogether consists, wish to bring him to an immoveable insensibility of mind, while they desire to free the soul from perturbations, and, as they themselves say, to render it calm and tranquil; which is not only impossible, because its force and nature consist in motion, but it ought not even to be so. For as water which is always still and motionless is unwholesome and more muddy, so the soul which is unmoved and torpid is useless even to itself: nor will it be able to maintain life itself; for it will neither do nor think anything, since thought itself is nothing less than agitation of the mind. In fine, they who assert this immoveableness of the soul wish to deprive the soul of life; for life is full of activity, but death is quiet. They also rightly esteem some things as virtues, but they do not maintain their due proportion.128
Constancy is a virtue; not that we resist those who injure us, for we must yield to these; and why this ought to be done I will show presently: but that when men command us to act in opposition to the law of God, and in opposition to justice, we should be deterred by no threats or punishments from preferring the command of God to the command of man. Likewise it is a virtue to despise death; not that we seek it, and of our own accord inflict it upon ourselves, as many and distinguished philosophers have often done, which is a wicked and impious thing; but that when compelled to desert God, and to betray our faith, we should prefer to undergo death, and should defend our liberty against the foolish and senseless violence of those who cannot govern themselves, and with fortitude of spirit we should challenge all the threats and terrors of the world. Thus with lofty and invincible mind we trample upon those things which others fear-pain and death. This is virtue; this is true constancy-to be maintained and preserved in this one thing alone, that no terror and no violence may be able to turn us away from God. Therefore that is a true sentiment of Cicero:129 "No one," he says, "can be just who fears death, or pain, or exile, or want." Also of Seneca, who says, in his books of moral philosophy: "This is that virtuous man, not distinguished by a diadem or purple, or the attendance of lictors, but in no respect inferior, who, when he sees death at hand, is not so disturbed as though he saw a fresh object; who, whether torments are to be suffered by his whole body, or a flame is to be seized by his mouth, or his hands are to be stretched out on the cross,130 does not inquire what he suffers, but how well." But he who worships God suffers these things without fear. Therefore he is just. By these things it is effected, that he cannot know or maintain at all either the virtues or the exact limits of the virtues, whoever is estranged from the religion of the one God.
Chapter XVIII.-Of Some Commands of God, and of Patience.
But let us leave the philosophers, who either know nothing at all, and hold forth this very ignorance as the greatest knowledge; or who, inasmuch as they think they know that of which they are ignorant, are absurdly and arrogantly foolish. Let us therefore (that we may return to our purpose), to whom alone the truth has been revealed by God, and wisdom has been sent from heaven, practise those things which God who enlightens us commands: let us sustain and endure the labours of life, by mutual assistance towards each other; nor, however, if we shall have done any good work, let us aim at glory from it. For God admonishes us that the doer of justice ought not to be boastful, lest he a should appear to have discharged the duties of benevolence, not so much from a desire of obeying the divine commands, as of pleasing men, and should already have the reward of glory which he has aimed at, and should not receive the recompense of that heavenly and divine reward. The other things which the worshipper of God ought to observe are easy, when these virtues are comprehended, that no one should ever speak falsely for the sake of deceiving or injuring. For it is unlawful for him who cultivates truth to be deceitful in anything, and to depart from the truth itself which he follows. In this path of justice and all the virtues there is no place for falsehood. Therefore the true and just traveller will not use the saying of Lucilius:131 -
"It is not for me to speak falsely to a man who is a friend and acquaintance; "
but he will think that it is not his part to speak falsely even to an enemy and a stranger; nor will he at any time so act, that his tongue, which is the interpreter of his mind, should be at variance with his feeling and thought. If he shall have lent any money, he will not receiveinterest, that the benefit may be unimpaired t which succours necessity, and that he may entirely abstain from the property of another. For in this kind of duty he ought to be content with that which is his own; since it is his duty in other respects not to be sparing of his property, in order that he may do good; but to receive more than he has given is unjust. And he who does this lies in wait in some manner, that he may gain booty from the necessity of another.
But the just man will omit no opportunity of doing anything mercifully: nor will he pollute himself with gain of this kind; but he will so act that without any loss to himself, that which he lends may be reckoned among his good works. He must not receive a gift from a poor man; so that if he himself has afforded anything, it may be good, inasmuch as it is gratuitous. If any one reviles, he must answer him with a blessing;132 he himself must never revile, that no evil word may proceed out of the mouth of a man who reverences the good Word.133 Moreover, he must also diligently take care, lest by any fault of his he should at any time make an enemy; and if any one should be so shameless as to inflict injury on a good and just man, he must bear it with calmness and moderation, and not take upon himself his revenge, but reserve it for the judgment of God.134 He must at all times and in all places guard innocence. And this precept is not limited to this, that lie should not himself inflict injury, but that lie should not avenge it when inflicted on himself. For there sits on the judgment-seat a very great and impartial Judge, the observer and witness of all. Let him prefer Him to man; let him rather choose that He should pronounce judgment respecting his cause, whose sentence no one can escape, either by the advocacy of any one or by favour. Thus it comes to pass, that a just man is an object of contempt to all; and because it will be thought that he is unable to defend himself, he will be regarded as slothful and inactive; but if any one shall have avenged himself upon his enemy, he is judged a man of spirit and activity-aIl honour and reverence him. And although the good man has it in his power to profit many, yet they look up to him who is able to injure, rather than to him who is able to profit. But the depravity of men will not be able to corrupt the just man, so that he will not endeavour to obey God; and he would prefer to be despised, provided that he may always discharge the duty of a good man, and never of a bad man. Cicero says in those same books respecting Offices: "But if any one should wish to unravel this indistinct conception of his soul,135 let him at once teach himself that he is a good man who profits those whom he can, and injures no one136 unless provoked by injury."
Oh how he marred a simple and true sentiment by the addition of two words! For what need was there of adding these words, "unless provoked by injury? "that he might append vice as a most disgraceful tail to a good man and might represent him as without patience, which is the greatest of all the virtues. He said that a good man would inflict injuries if he were provoked: now he must necessarily lose the name of a good man from this very circumstance, if he shall inflict injury. For it is not less the part of a bad man to return an injury than to inflict it. For from what source do contests, from what source do fightings and contentions, arise among men, except that impatience opposed to injustice often excites great tempests? But if you meet injustice with patience, than which virtue nothing can be found more true, nothing more worthy of a man, it will immediately be extinguished, as though you should pour water upon a fire. But if that injustice which provokes opposition has met with impatience equal137 to itself, as though overspread with oil, it will excite so great a conflagration, that no stream can extinguish it, but only the shedding of blood. Great, therefore, is the advantage of patience, of which the wise man has deprived the good man. For this alone causes that no evil happens; and if it should be given to all, there will be no wickedness and no fraud in the affairs of men. What, therefore, can be so calamitous to a good man, so opposed to his character, as to let loose the reins to anger, which deprives him not only of the title of a good man, but even of a man; since to injure another, as he himself most truly says, is not in accordance with the nature of man? For if you provoke cattle or horses,138 they turn against you either with their hoof or their horn; and serpents and wild beasts, unless you pursue them that you may kill them, give no trouble. And to return to examples of men, even the inexperienced and the foolish, if at any time they receive an injury, are led by a blind and irrational fury, and endeavour to retaliate upon those who injure them. In what respect, then, does the wise and good man differ from the evil and foolish, except that he has invincible patience, of which the foolish are destitute; except that he knows how to govern himself, and to mitigate his anger, which those, because they are without virtue, are unable to curb? But this circumstance manifestly deceived him, because, when inquiry is made respecting virtue, he thought that it is the part of virtue to conquer in every kind of contention. Nor was he able in any way to see, that a man who gives way to grief and anger, and who indulges these affections, against which he ought rather to struggle, and who rushes wherever injustice shall have called him, does not fulfil the duty of virtue. For he who endeavours to return an injury, desires to imitate that very person by whom he has been injured. Thus he who imitates a bad man can by no means be good.
Therefore by two words he has taken away from the good and wise man two of the greatest virtues, innocence and patience. But, as Sallustius relates was said by Appius, because he himself practised that canine139 eloquence, be wished man also to live after the manner of a dog, so as, when attacked, to bite in return. And to show how pernicious this repayment of insult is, and what carnage it is accustomed to produce, from what can a more befitting example be sought, than from the most melancholy disaster of the teacher himself, who, while he desired to obey these precepts of the philosophers, destroyed himself? For if, when attacked with injury, he had preserved patience-if he had learned that it is the part of a good man to dissemble and to endure insult, and his impatience, vanity, and madness had not poured forth those noble orations, inscribed with a name derived from another source,140 he would never, by his head affixed to them, have polluted the rostra on which he had formerly distinguished himself, nor would that proscription have utterly destroyed the state. Therefore it is not the part of a wise and good man to wish to contend, and to commit himself to danger, since to conquer is not in our power, and every contest is doubtful; but it is the part of a wise and excellent man not to wish to remove his adversary, which cannot be done without guilt and danger, but to put an end to the contest itself, which may be done with advantage and with justice. Therefore patience is to be regarded as a very great virtue; and that the just man might obtain this, God willed, as has been before said, that he should be despised as sluggish. For unless he shall have been insulted, it will not be known what fortitude he has in restraining himself. Now if, when provoked by injury, he has begun to follow up his assailant with violence, he is overcome. But if he shall have repressed that emotion by reasoning, he altogether has command over himself: he is able to rule himself. And this restraining141 of oneself is rightly named patience, which single virtue is opposed to all vices and affections. This recalls the disturbed and wavering mind to its tranquillity; this mitigates, this restores a man to himself. Therefore, since it is impossible and useless to resist nature, so that we are not excited at all; before, however, the emotion bursts forth to the infliction of injury, as far142 as is possible let it be calmed143 in time. God has enjoined us not to let the sun go down upon our wrath,144 lest he should depart as a witness of our madness. Finally, Marcus Tullius, in opposition to his own precept, concerning which I have lately spoken, gave the greatest praises to the forgetting of injuries. "I entertain hopes," he says, "O Caesar, who art accustomed to forget nothing except injuries."145 But if he thus acted-a man most widely removed not only front heavenly, but also from public and civil justice-how much more ought we to do this, who are, as it were, candidates for immortality?
Chapter XIX.-Of the Affections and Their Use; And of the Three Furies.
When the Stoics attempt to uproot the affections from man as diseases, they are opposed by the Peripatetics, who not only retain, but also defend them, and say that there is nothing in man which is not produced in him with great reason and foresight. They say this indeed rightly, if they know the true limits of each subject. Accordingly they say that this very affection of anger is the whetstone of virtue, as though no one could fight bravely against enemies unless he were excited by anger; by which they plainly show that they neither know what virtue is, nor why God gave anger to man. And if this was given to us for this purpose, that we may employ it for the slaying of men, what is to be thought more savage than man, what more resembling the wild beasts, than that animal which God formed for communion and innocence? There are, then, three affections which drive men headlong to all crimes: (1) anger, (2) desire, and (3) lust.146 On which account the poets have said that there are three furies which harass the minds of men: anger longs for revenge, desire for riches, lust for pleasures. But God has appointed fixed limits to all of these; and if they pass these limits and begin to be too great, they must necessarily pervert their nature, and be changed into diseases and vices. And it is a matter of no great labour to show what these limits are.147 Cupidity148 is given us for providing those things which are necessary for life; concupiscence,149 for the procreation of offspring; the affection of indignation,150 for restraining the faults of those who are in our power, that is, in order that tender age may be formed by a severer discipline to integrity and justice: for if this time of life is not restrained by fear,151 licence will produce boldness, and this will break out into every disgraceful and daring action. Therefore, as it is both just and necessary to employ anger towards the young, so it is both pernicious and impious to use it towards those of our own age. It is impious, because humanity is injured; pernicious, because if they oppose, it is necessary either to destroy them or to perish. But that this which I have spoken of is the reason why the affection of anger has been given to man, may be understood from the precepts of God Himself, who commands that we should not be angry with those who revile and injure us, but that we should always have our hands over the young; that is, that when they err, we should correct them with continual stripes,152 lest by useless love and excessive indulgence they should be trained to evil and nourished to vices. But those who are inexperienced in affairs and ignorant of reason, have expelled those affections which have been given to man for good uses, and they wander more widely than reason demands. From this cause they live unjustly and impiously. They employ anger against their equals in age: hence disagreements, hence banishments, hence wars have arisen contrary to justice. They use desire for the amassing of riches: hence frauds, hence robberies, hence all kinds of crimes have originated. They use lust only for the enjoyment of pleasures: hence debaucheries, hence adulteries, hence all corruptions have proceeded. Whoever, therefore, has reduced those affections within their proper limits, which they who are ignorant of God cannot do, he is patient, he is brave, he is just.153
Chapter XX.-Of the Senses, and Their Pleasures in the Brutes and in Man; And of Pleasures of the Eyes, and Spectacles.
It remains that I should speak against the pleasures of the five senses, and this briefly, for the measure of the book itself now demands moderation; all of which, since they are vicious and deadly, ought to be overcome and subdued by virtue, or, as I said a little before respecting the affections, be recalled to their proper office. The other animals have no pleasure, except the one only which relates to generation. Therefore they use their senses for the necessity of their nature: they see, in order that they may seek those things which are necessary for the preservation of life; they hear one another, and distinguish one another, that they may be able to assemble together; they either discover from the smell, or perceive from the taste, the things which are useful for food; they refuse and reject the things which are useless, they measure the business of eating and drinking by the fulness of their stomach. But the foresight of the most skilful Creator gave to man pleasure without limit, and liable to fall into vice, because He set before him virtue, which might always be at variance with pleasure, as with a domestic enemy.Cicero says, in the Cato Major:154 "In truth, debaucheries, and adulteries, and disgraceful actions are excited by no other enticements than those of pleasure. And since nature or some God has given to man nothing more excellent than the mind, nothing is so hostile to this divine benefit and gift as pleasure. For when lust bears sway there is no place for temperance, nor can virtue have any existence when pleasure reigns supreme." But, on the other hand, God gave virtue on this account, that it might subdue and conquer pleasure, and that, when it passed the boundaries assigned to it, it might restrain it within the prescribed limits, lest it should soothe and captivate man with enjoyments, render him subject to its control, and punish him with everlasting death.
The pleasure arising from the eyes is various and manifold, which is derived from the sight of objects which are pleasant in intercourse with men, or in nature or workmanship. The philosophers rightly took this away. For they say that it is much more excellent and worthy of man to look upon the heaven155 rather than carved works, and to admire this most beautiful work adorned with the lights of the stars shining through,156 as with flowers, than to admire things painted and moulded, and varied with jewels. But when they have eloquently exhorted us to despise earthly things, and have urged us to look up to the heaven, nevertheless they do not despise these public spectacles. Therefore they are both delighted with these, and are gladly present at them; though, since they are the greatest incitement to vices, and have a most powerful tendency to corrupt our minds, they ought to betaken away from us; for they not only contribute in no respect to a happy life, but even inflict the greatest injury. For he who reckons it a pleasure, that a man, though justly condemned, should be slain in his sight, pollutes his conscience as much as if he should become a spectator and a sharer of a homicide which is secretly committed.157 And yet they call these sports in which human blood is shed. So far has the feeling of humanity departed from the men, that when they destroy the lives of men, they think that they are amusing themselves with sport, being more guilty than all those whose blood-shedding they esteem a pleasure. I ask now whether they can be just and pious men, who, when they see men placed under the stroke of death, and entreating mercy, not only suffer them to be put to death, but also demand it, and give cruel and inhuman votes for their death, not being satiated with wounds nor contented with bloodshed. Moreover, they order them, even though wounded and prostrate, to be attacked again, and their caresses to he wasted158 with blows, that no one may delude them by a pretended death. They are even angry with the combatants, unless one of the two is quickly slain; and as though they thirsted for human blood, they hate delays. They demand that other and fresh combatants should be given to them, that they may satisfy their eyes as soon as possible. Being imbued with this practice, they have lost their humanity. Therefore they do not spare even the innocent, but practise upon all that which they have learned in the slaughter of the wicked. It is not therefore befitting that those who strive to keep to the path of justice should be companions and sharers in this public homicide. For when God forbids us to kill, He not only prohibits us from open violence,159 which is not even allowed by the public laws, but He warns us against the commission of those things which are esteemed lawful among men. Thus it will be neither lawful for a just man to engage in warfare, since his warfare is justice itself, nor to accuse any one of a capital charge, because it makes no difference whether you put a man to death by word, or rather by the sword, since it is the act of putting to death itself160 which is prohibited. Therefore, with regard to this precept of God, there ought to be no exception at all but that it is always unlawful to put to death a man, whom God willed to be a sacred animal.161
Therefore let no one imagine that even this is allowed, to strangle162 newly-born children, which is the greatest impiety; for God breathes into their souls for life, and not for death. But men, that there may be no crime with which they may not pollute their hands, deprive souls as yet innocent and simple of the light which they themselves have not given. Can any one, indeed, expect that they would abstain from the blood of others who do not abstain even from their own? But these are without any controversy wicked and unjust. What are they whom a false piety163 compels to expose their children? Can they be considered innocent who expose their own offspring164 as a prey to dogs, and as far as it depends upon themselves, kill them in a more cruel manner than if they had strangled them? Who can doubt that he is impious who gives occasion165 for the pity of others? For, although that which he has wished should befall the child-namely, that it should be brought up-he has certainly consigned his own offspring either to servitude or to the brothel? But who does not understand, who is ignorant what things may happen, or are accustomed to happen, in the case of each sex, even through error? For this is shown by the example of Oedipus alone, confused with twofold guilt. It is therefore as wicked to expose as it is to kill. But truly parricides complain of the scantiness of their means, and allege that they have not enough for bringing up more children; as though, in truth, their means were in the power of those who possess them, or God did not daily make the rich poor, and the poor rich. Wherefore, if any one on account of poverty shall be unable to bring up children, it is better to abstain from marriage166 than with wicked hands to mar the work of God.
If, then, it is in no way permitted to commit homicide, it is not allowed us to be present at all,167 lest any bloodshed should overspread the conscience, since that blood is offered for the gratification of the people. And I am inclined to think that the corrupting influence of the stage is still more contaminating.168 For the subject of comedies are the dishonouring of virgins, or the loves of harlots; and the more eloquent they are who have composed the accounts of these disgraceful actions, the more do they persuade by the elegance of their sentiments; and harmonious and polished verses more readily remain fixed in the memory of the hearers. In like manner, the stories of the tragedians place before the eyes the parricides and incests of wicked kings, and represent tragic169 crimes. And what other effect do the immodest gestures of the players produce, but both teach and excite lusts? whose enervated bodies, rendered effeminate after the gait and dress of women, imitate170 unchaste women by their disgraceful gestures. Why should I speak of the actors of mimes,171 who hold forth instruction in corrupting influences, who teach adulteries while they feign them, and by pretended actions train to those which are true? What can young men or virgins do, when they see that these things are practised without shame, and willingly beheld by all? They are plainly admonished of what they can do, and are inflamed with lust, which is especially excited by seeing; and every one according to his sex forms172 himself in these representations. And they approve of these things, while they laugh at them, and with vices clinging to them, they return more corrupted to their apartments; and not boys only, who ought not to be inured to vices prematurely, but also old men, whom it does not become at their age to sin.
What else does the practice of the Circensian games contain but levity, vanity, and madness? For their souls are hurried away to mad excitement with as great impetuosity as that with which the chariot races are there carried on; so that they who come for the sake of beholding the spectacle now themselves exhibit more of a spectacle, when they begin to utter exclamations, to be thrown into transports, and to leap from their seats. Therefore all spectacles ought to be avoided, not only that no vice may settle in our breasts, which ought to be tranquil and peaceful; but that the habitual indulgence of any pleasure may not soothe and captivate us, and turn us aside from God and from good works.173 For the celebrations of the games are festivals in honour of the gods, inasmuch as they were instituted on account of their birthdays, or the dedication of new temples. And at first the huntings, which are called shows, were in honour of Saturnus, and the scenic games in honour of Liber, but the Circensian in honour of Neptune. By degrees, however, the same honour began to be paid also to the other gods, and separate games were dedicated to their names, as Sisinnius Capita teaches in his book on the games. Therefore, if any one is present at the spectacles to which men assemble for the sake of religion, he has departed from the worship of God, and has be-taken himself to those deities whose birthdays and festivals he has celebrated.174
Chapter XXI.-Of the Pleasures of the Ears, and of Sacred Literature.
Pleasure of the ears is received from the sweetness of voices and strains, which indeed is as productive of vice as that delight of the eyes of which we have spoken. For who would not deem him luxurious and worthless who should have scenic arts at his house? But it makes no difference whether you practise luxury alone at home, or with the people in the theatre. But we have already spoken of spectacles:175 there remains one thing which is to be overcome by us, that we be not captivated by those things which penetrate to the innermost perception. For all those things which are unconnected with words, that is, pleasant sounds of the air and of strings, may be easily disregarded, because they do not adhere to its, and cannot be written. But a well-composed poem, and a speech be-guiling with its sweetness, captivate the minds of men, and impel them in what direction they please. Hence, when learned men have applied themselves to the religion of God, unless they have been instructed176 by some skilful teacher, they do not believe. For, being accustomed to sweet and polished speeches or poems, they despise the simple and common language of the sacred writings as mean. For they seek that t which may soothe the senses. But whatever is pleasant to the ear effects persuasion, and while it delights fixes itself deeply within the breast. Is God, therefore, the contriver both of the mind, and of the voice, and of the tongue, unable to speak eloquently? Yea, rather, with the greatest foresight, He wished those things which are divine to be without adornment, that all might understand the things which He Himself spoke to all.
Therefore he who is anxious for the truth, who does not wish to deceive himself, must lay aside hurtful and injurious pleasures, which would bind the mind to themselves, as pleasant food does the body: true things must be preferred to false, eternal things to those which are of short duration, useful things to those which are pleasant. Let nothing be pleasing to the sight but that which you see to be done with piety and justice; let nothing be agreeable to the hearing but that which nourishes the soul and makes you a better man. And especially this sense ought not to be distorted to vice, since it is given to us for this purpose, that we might gain the knowledge of God. Therefore, if it be a pleasure to hear melodies and songs, let it be pleasant to sing and hear the praises of God. This is true pleasure, which is the attendant and companion of virtue. This is not frail and brief, as those which they desire, who, like cattle, are slaves to the body; but lasting, and affording delight without any intermission. And if any one shall pass its limits, and shall seek nothing else from pleasure but pleasure itself, he designs for himself death; for as there is perpetual life in virtue, so there is death in pleasure. For he who shall choose temporal things will be without things eternal; he who shall prefer earthly things will not have heavenly things.
Chapter XXII.-Of the Pleasures of Taste and Smell.
But with regard to the pleasures of taste and smell, which two senses relate only to the body, there is nothing to be discussed by us; unless by chance any one requires us to say that it is dis graceful to a wise and good man if he is the slave of his appetite, if he walks along besmeared with unguents and crowned with flowers: and he who does these things is plainly foolish and senseless, and is worthless, and one whom not even a notion of virtue has reached. Perhaps some one will say, Why, then, have these things been made, except that we may enjoy them? However, it has often been said that there would have been no virtue unless it had things which it might overpower. Therefore God made all things to supply a contest between two things. Those enticements of pleasures, then, are the instruments of that whose only business it is to subdue virtue, and to shut out justice from men.With these soothing influences and enjoyments it captivates their souls; for it knows that pleasure is the contriver of death. For as God calls man to life only through virtue and labour, so the other calls us to death by delights and pleasures; and as men arrive at real good through deceitful evils, so they arrive at real evil through deceitful goods. Therefore those enjoyments are to be guarded against, as snares or nets, lest, captivated by the softness of enjoyments, we should be brought under the dominion of death with the body itself, to which we have enslaved ourselves.
Chapter XXIII.177 -De Tactus Voluptate Et Libidine, Atque de Matrimonio Et Continentia.
Venio nunc ad eam, quaepercipitur ex tactu, voluptatem: qui sensus est quidem totius corporis. Sed ego non de ornamentis, aut vestibus, sed de sola libidine dicendum mihi puto; qum maxime coercenda est, quia maxime nocet. Cure excogitasset Deus duorum sexuum rationero, attribuit iis, ut se invicem appeterent, et conjunctione gauderent. Itaque ardentissimam cupiditatem cunctorum animantium corporibus admiscuit, ut in hos affectus avidissime ruerent, eaque ratione propagari et multiplicari genera possent. Quaecupiditas et appetentia in homine vehementior et acrior invenitur; vel quia hominum multitudinem voluit esse majorem, vel quoniam virtutem soli homini dedit, ut esset laus et gloria in coercendis voluptatibus, et abstinentia sui. Seit ergo adversarius ille noster, quanta sit vis hujus cupiditatis, quam quidam necessitatem dicere maluerunt; eamque a recto et bono, ad malum et pravum transfert. Illicita enim desideria immittit, ut aliena contaminent, quibus habere propria sine delicto licet. Objicit quippe oculis irritabiles formas, suggeritque fomenta, et vitiis pabulum subministrat: tum intimis visceribus stimulos omnes conturbat et commovet, et naturalem illum incitat atque inflammat ardorem, donee irretitum hominem implicatumque decipiat. Ac ne quis esset, qui poenarum metu abstineret alieno, lupanaria quoque constituit; et pudorem infelicium mulierum publicavit, ut ludibrio haberet tam eos qui faciunt, quam quas pati necesse est.
His obscoenitatibus animas, ad sanctitatem genitas, velut in coeni gurgite demersit, pudorem extinxit, pudicitiam profligavit. Idem etiam mares maribus admiscuit; et nefandos coitus contra naturam contraque institutum Dei machinatus est: sic imbuit homines, et armavit ad nefas omne. Quid enim potest esse sanctum iis, qui aetatem imbecillam et praesidio indigentem, libidini suaedepopulandam foedandamque substraverint? Non potest haec res pro magnitudine sceleris enarrari. Nihil amplius istos appellare possum, quam implos et parricidas, quibus non sufficit sexus a Deo datus, nisi eliare suum profane ac petulanter illudant. Haec tamen apud illos levia, et quasi honesta sunt. Quid dicam de iis, qui abominandam non libidinem, sod insaniam potius exercent! Piget dicere: sed quid his fore credamus, quos non piget facere? et tamen dicendum est, quia fit. De istis loquor, quorum teterrima libido et execrabilis furor ne capiti quidem parcit. Quibus hoc verbis, aut qua indignatione tantum nefas prosequar? Vincit officium linguae sceleris magnitudo. Cum igitur libido haec edat opera, et haec facinora designer, armandi adversus earn virtute maxima sumus. Quisquis affectus illos fraenare non potest, cohibeat eos intra prae scriptum legitimi tori, ut et illud, quod avide expetat, consequatur, et tamen in peccatum non incidat. Nam quid sibi homines perditi volunt? Nempe honesta opera voluptas sequitur: si ipsam per se appetunt, justa et legitima frui licet.
Quod si aliqua necessitas prohibebit tum vero maxima adhibenda virtus erit, ut cupiditati continentia reluctetur. Nec tanturn alienis, quae attingere non licet, veriun etiam publicis vulgatisque corporibus abstinendum, Deus praecepit; docetque nos, cum duo inter se corpora fuerint copulata, unum corpus efficere. Ita qui se coeno immerserit, coeno sit oblitus necesse est; et corpus quidem cito ablui potest: mens autem contagione impudici corporis inquinata non potest, nisi et longo tempore, et multis bonis operibus, ab ea quae inhae serit colluvione purgari. Oportet ergo sibi quemque proponere, duorum sexuum conjunctionem generandi causa datam esse viventibus, eamque legera his affectibus positam, ut successionera parent. Sicut autem dedit nobis oculos Deus, non ut spectemus, voluptatemque capiamus, sed ut videamus propter eos actus, qui pertinent ad vitae necessitatem, ita genitalem corporis partem, quod nomen ipsum docet, nulla alia causa nisi efficiendae sobolis accepimus. Huic divinae legi summa devotione parendum est. Sint omnes, qui se discipulos Dei profitebuntur, ita morati et instituti, ut imperare sibi possint. Nam qui voluptatibus indulgent, qui libidini obsequuntur, ii animam suam corpori mancipant, ad mortemque condemnant: quia se corpori addixerunt, in quod habet mors potestatem. Unusquisque igitur, quantum potest, formet se ad verecundiam, pudorem colat, castitatem conscientia et mente tueatur; nec tantum legibus publicis pareat: sed sit supra omnes leges, qui legem Dei sequitur. Quibus bonis si assueverit, jam pudebit eum ad deteriora desciscere: modo placeant recta et honesta, quae melioribus jucundiora sunt quam prava et inhonesta pejoribus.
Nondum omnia castitatis officio exsecutus sum: quam Deus fion modo intra privatos parietes, sed etiam prae scripto lectuli terminat; ut cum quis hobeat uxorem, neque servam, neque liberam habere insuper velit, sed matrimonio fidem server. Non enim, sicut juris publici ratio est, solo mulier adultera est, quae habet allure, maritus outem, etiam si plures habeat, a crimine adulterii solutus est. Sed divina lex ira duos in matrimonium, quod est in corpus unum, pari jure conjungit, ut adulter habeatur, quisquis compagem corporis in diversa distraxerit. Nec ob aliam cansam Deus, cam caeteras animantes suscepto foetu maribus repugnare voluisset, solam omnium mulierem patientem viri fecit; scilicet ne foe minis repugnantibus, libido cogeret viros aliud appetere, eoque facto, castitatis gloriam non tenerent.178 Sed neque mulier virtutem pudicitiae caperet, si peccare non posset. Nam quis mutum animal pudicum esse dixerit, quod suscepto foe tu mari repugnat? Quod ideo facit, quia necesse est in dolorem atque in periculum veniat, si admiserit. Nulla igitur laus est, non facere quod facere non possis. Ideo autem pudicitia in homine laudatur, quia non naturalis est, sed voluntaria. Servanda igitur fides ab utroque alteri est: immo exemplo continentia: docenda uxor, ut se caste gerat. Iniquum est enim, ut id exigas, quod prae stare ipse non possis. Quae iniquitas effecit profecto, ut essent adulteria, foe minis aegre ferentibus prae stare se fidem non exhibentibus mutuam charitatem. Denique nulla est tam perditi pudoris adultera, quae non hanc causam vitiis suis prae tendat; injuriam se peccando non facere, sed referre. Quod optime Quintilianus expressit: Homo, inquit, neque alieni matrimonii abstinens, neque sui custos, quae inter se natura. connexa sunt. Nam neque maritus circa corrumpendas aliorum conjuges occupatus potest vacare domesticae sanctitati; et uxor, cum in tale incidit matrimonium, exemplo ipso concitara, out imitari se putat, out vindicari.
Cavendum igitur, ne occasionem vitiis nostra intemperantia demus: sed assuescant invicem mores duorum, et jugum paribus animis ferant. Nos ipsos in altero cogitemus. Nam fere in hoc justitiae summa consistit, ut non facias alteri, quidquid ipse ab altero pati nolis. Hae c sunt quae ad continentiam prae cipiuntur a Deo. Sed tamen ne quis divina prae cepta circumscribere se putet posse, adduntur ilia, ut omnis calumnia, et occasio fraudis removeatur, adulterum esse, qui a marito dimissam duxerit, et eum qui prae tercrimen adulterii uxorem dimiserit, ut alteram ducat; dissociari enim corpus et distrahi Deus noluit. Prae terea non tanturn adulterium esse vitandum, sed etiam cogitationem; ne quis aspiciat alienam, et animo concupiscat: adulteram enim fieri mentem, si vel imaginem voluptatis sibi ipsa depinxerit. Mens est enim profecto quae peccat; quae immoderata: libidinis fructum cogitatione complectitur; in hac crimen est, in hac omne delictum. Nam etsi corpus nulla sit lobe maculatum, non constat tamen pudicitiae ratio, si animus incestus est; nec illibata castitas videri potest, ubi conscientiam cupiditas inquinavit. Nec verb aliquis existimet, difficile esse frae nos imponere voluptati, eamque vagam et errantem castitatis pudicitiae que limitibus includere, cum propositum sit hominibus etiam vincere, ac plurimi beatam atque incorruptam corporis integritatem retinuerint, multique sint, qui hoc coe lesti genere vitae felicissime perfruantur. Quod quidem Deus non ira fieri prae cepit, tanquam astringat, quia generari homines oportet; sed tanquam sinat. Scit enim, quantam his affectibus imposuerit necessitatem. Si quis hoc, inquit, facere potuerit, habebit eximiam incomparabilemque mercedem. Quod continentiae genus quasi fastigium est, omniumque consummatio virtutum. Ad quam si quis eniti atque eluctari potuerit, hunc servum dominus, hunc discipulum magister agnoscet; hic terrain triumphabit, hic erit consimilis Deo, qui virtutem Dei cepit. Hae c quidem difficilia videntur; sed de eo loquimur, cui calcatis omnibus terrenis, iter in coe lum paratur. Nam quia virtus in Dei agnitione consistit, omnia gravia sunt, dum ignores; ubi cognoveris, facilia: per ipsas difficultates nobis exeundum est, qui ad summum bonum tendimus.
Chapter XXIV.-Of Repentance, of Pardon, and the Commands of God.
Nor, however, let any one be disheartened, or despair concerning himself, if, overcome by passion, or impelled by desire, or deceived by error, or compelled by force, he has turned aside to the way of unrighteousness. For it is possible for him to be brought back, and to be set free, if he repents of his actions, and, turning to better things, makes satisfaction to God. Cicero, indeed. thought that this was impossible, whose words in the third book of the Academics179 are: "But if, as in the case of those who have gone astray on a journey, it were permitted those who have followed a devious course to correct their error by repentance, it would be more easy to amend rashness." It is altogether permitted them. For if we think that our children are corrected when we perceive that they repent of their faults, and though we have disinherited and cast them off, we again receive, cherish, and embrace them, why should we despair that the mercy of God our Father may again be appeased by repentance? Therefore He who is at once the Lord and most indulgent Parent promises that He will remit the sins of the penitent, and that He will blot out all the iniquities of him who shall begin afresh to practise righteousness. For as the uprightness of his past life is of no avail to him who lives badly, because the subsequent wickedness has destroyed his works of righteousness, so former sins do not stand in the way of him who has amended his life, because the subsequent righteousness has effaced the stain of his former life. For he who repents of that which he has done, understands his former error; and on this account the Greeks better and more significantly speak of metanoia,180 which we may speak of in Latin as a return to a right understanding.181 For he returns to a right understanding, and recovers his mind as it were from madness, who is grieved for his error; and he reproves himself of madness, and confirms his mind to a better course of life: then he especially guards against this very thing, that he may not again be led into the same snares. In short, even the dumb animals, when they are ensnared by fraud, if by any means they have extricated themselves so as to escape, become more cautious for the future, and always avoid all those things in which they have perceived wiles and snares. Thus repentance makes a man cautious and diligent to avoid the faults into which he has once fallen through deceit.
For no one can be so prudent and so circumspect as not at some time to slip; and therefore God, knowing our weakness, of His compassion182 has opened a harbour of refuge for man, that the medicine of repentance might aid this necessity to which our frailty is liable.183 Therefore, if any one has erred, let him retrace his step, and as soon as possible recover and reform himself.
"But upward to retrace the way,
And pass into the light of day,
Then comes the stress of labour."184
For when men have tasted sweet pleasures to their destruction,185 they can scarcely be separated from them: they would more easily follow right things if they had not tasted their attractions. But if they tear themselves away from this pernicious slavery, all their error will be forgiven them, if they shall have corrected their error by a better life. And let not any one imagine that he is a gainer if he shall have no witness of his fault: for all things are known to Him in whose sight we live; and if we are able to conceal anything from all men, we cannot conceal it from God, to whom nothing can be hidden, nothing secret. Seneca closed his exhortations with an admirable sentiment: "There is," he says," some great deity, and greater than can be imagined; and for him we endeavour to live. Let us approve ourselves to him. For it is of no avail that conscience is confirmed; we lie open to the sight of God." What can be spoken with greater truth by him who knew God, than has been said by a man who is ignorant of true religion? For he both expressed the majesty of God, by saying that it is too great for the reflecting powers of the human mind to receive; and he touched upon the very fountain of truth, by perceiving that the life of men is not superfluous,186 as the Epicureans will have it, but that they make it their endeavour to live to God, if indeed they live with justice and piety. He might have been a true worshipper of God, if any one had pointed out to him God;187 and he might assuredly have despised Zeno, and his teacher Sotion, if he had obtained a true guide of wisdom. Let us approve ourselves to him, he says. A speech truly heavenly, had it not been preceded by a confession of ignorance. It is of no avail that conscience is confined; we lie open to the sight of God. There is then no room for falsehood, none for dissimulation; for the eyes of men are removed by walls, but the divine power of God cannot be removed by the inward parts from looking through and knowing the entire man. The same writer says, in the first book of the same work: "What are you doing? what are you contriving? what are you hiding? Your guardian follows you; one is withdrawn from you by foreign travel, another by death, another by infirm health; this one adheres to you, and you can never be without him. Why do you choose a secret place, and remove the witness? Suppose that yon have succeeded in escaping the notice of all, foolish man! What does it profit you not to have a witness,188 if you have the witness of your own conscience?
And Tully speaks in a manner no less remarkable concerning conscience and God: "Let him remember," he says, "that he has God as a witness, that is, as I judge, his own mind, than which God has given nothing more divine to man."189 Likewise, in speaking of the just and good man, he says: "Therefore such a man will not dare not merely to do, but even to think, anything which he would not dare to proclaim." Therefore let us cleanse our conscience, which is open to the eyes of God; and, as the same writer says, "let us always so live as to remember that we shall have to give an account; "190 and let us reckon that we are looked upon at every moment, not, as he said, in some theatre of the world by men, but from above by Him who is about to be both the judge and also the witness, to whom, when He demands an account of our life, it will not be permitted any one to deny his actions. Therefore it is better either to flee from conscience, or ourselves to open our mind of our own accord, and tearing open our wounds to pour forth destruction; which wounds no one else can heat but He alone who made the lame to walk, restored sight to the blind, cleansed the polluted limbs, and raised the dead. He will quench the ardour of desires, He will root out lusts, He will remove envy, He will mitigate anger. He will give true and lasting health. This remedy should be sought by all, inasmuch as the soul is harassed by greater danger than the body, and a cure should be applied as soon as possible to secret diseases. For if any one has his eyesight clear, all his limbs perfect, and his entire body in the most vigorous health, nevertheless I should not call him sound if he is carried away by anger, swollen and puffed up with pride, the slave of lust, and burning with desires; but I should rather call him sound who does not raise his eyes to the prosperity of another, who does not admire riches, who looks upon another's wife with chaste eye, who covets nothing at all, does not desire that which is another's, envies no one, disdains no one; who is lowly, merciful, bountiful, mild, courteous: peace perpetually dwells in his mind.
That man is sound, he is just, he is perfect. Whoever, therefore, has obeyed all these heavenly precepts, he is a worshipper of the true God, whose sacrifices are gentleness of spirit, and an innocent life, and good actions. And he who exhibits all these qualities offers a sacrifice as often as he performs any good and pious action. For God does not desire the sacrifice of a dumb animal, nor of death and blood, but of man and life. And to this sacrifice there is neither need of sacred boughs, nor of purifications,191 nor of sods of turf, which things are plainly most vain, but of those things which are put forth from the innermost breast. Therefore, upon the altar of God, which is truly very great,192 and which is placed in the heart of man, and cannot be defiled with blood, there is placed righteousness, patience, faith, innocence, chastity, and abstinence. This is the truest ceremony, this is that law of God, as it is called by Cicero, illustrious and divine, which always commands things which are right and honourable, and forbids things which are wrong and disgraceful; and he who obeys this most holy and certain law cannot fail to live justly and lawfully. And I have laid down a few chief points of this law, since I promised that I would speak only of those: things which completed the character193 of virtue and righteousness. If any one shall wish to comprise all the other parts, let him seek them from the fountain itself, from which that stream flowed to us.
Chapter XXV.-Of Sacrifice, and of an Offering Worthy of God, and of the Form of Praising God.
Now let us speak briefly concerning sacrifice itself. "Ivory," says Plato, "is not a pure offering to God." What then? Are embroidered and costly textures? Nay, rather nothing is a pure offering to God which can be corrupted or taken away secretly. But as he saw this, that nothing which was taken from a dead body ought to be offered to a living being, why did he not see that a corporeal offering ought not to be presented to an incorporeal being? How much better and more truly does Seneca speak: "Will you think of God as great and placid, and a friend to be reverenced with gentle majesty, and always at hand? not to be worshipped with the immolation of victims and with much blood-for what pleasure arises from the slaughter of innocent animals?-but with a pure mind and with a good and honourable purpose. Temples are not to be built to Him with stones piled up on high; He is to be consecrated by each man in his own breast." Therefore, if any one thinks that garments, and jewels, and other things which are esteemed precious, are valued by God, he is altogether ignorant of what God is, since he thinks that those things are pleasing to Him which even a man would be justly praised for despising. What, then, is pure, what is worthy of God, but that which He Himself has demanded in that divine law of His?
There are two things which ought to be offered, the gift194 and the sacrifice; the gift as a perpetual offering, the sacrifice for a time. But with those who by no means understand the nature of the Divine Being, a gift is anything which is wrought of gold or silver; likewise anything which is woven of purple and silk: a sacrifice is a victim, and as many things as are burnt upon the altar. But God does not make use either of the one or the other, because He is free from corruption, and that is altogether corruptible. Therefore, in each case, that which is incorporeal must be offered to God, for He accepts this. His offering is innocency of soul; His sacrifice praise and a hymn.195 For if God is not seen, He ought therefore to be worshipped with things which are not seen. Therefore no other religion is true but that which consists of virtue and justice. But in what manner God deals with the justice of man is easily understood. For if man shall be just, having received immortality, he will serve God for ever. But that men are not born except for justice, both the ancient philosophers and even Cicero suspects. For, discussing the Laws,196 he says: "But of all things which are discussed by learned men, nothing assuredly is of greater importance than that it should be entirely understood that we are born to justice." We ought therefore to hold forth I and offer to God that alone for the receiving of which He Himself produced us. But how true this twofold kind of sacrifice is, Trismegistus Hermes is a befitting witness, who agrees with us, that is, with the prophets, whom we follow, as much in fact as in words. He thus spoke concerning justice: "Adore and worship this word, O son." But the worship of God consists of one thing, not to be wicked. Also in that perfect discourse, when he heard Asclepius inquiring from his son whether it pleased him that incense and other odours for divine sacrifice: were offered to his father, exclaimed: "Speak words of good omen, O Asclepius. For it is the greatest impiety to entertain any such thought concerning that being of pre-eminent goodness. For these things, and things resembling these, are not adapted to Him. For He is full of all things, as many as exist, and He has need of nothing at all. But let us give Him thanks, and adore Him. For His sacrifice consists only of blessing." And he spoke rightly.197
For we ought to sacrifice to God in word; inasmuch as God is the Word, as He Himself confessed. Therefore the chief ceremonial in the worship of God is praise from the mouth of a just man directed towards God.198 That this, however, may be accepted by God, there is need of humility, and fear, and devotion in the greatest degree, lest any one should chance to place confidence in his integrity and innocence, and thus incur the charge of pride and arrogance, and by this deed lose the recompense of his virtue. But that he may obtain the favour of God, and be free from every stain, let him always implore the mercy of God, and pray for nothing else but pardon for his sins, even though he has none.199 If he desires anything else, there is no need of expressing it in word to one who knows what we wish; if anything good shall happen to him, let him give thanks; if any evil, let him make amends,200 and let him confess that the evil has happened to him on account of his faults; and even in evils let him nothing less give thanks, and make amends in good things, that he may be the same at all times, and be firm, and unchangeable, and unshaken. And let him not suppose that this is to be done by him only in the temple, but at home, and even in his very bed. In short, let him always have God with himself, consecrated in his heart, inasmuch as he himself is a temple of God. But if he has served God, his Father and Lord, with this assiduity, obedience, and devotion, justice is complete and perfect; and he who shall keep this, as we before testified, has obeyed God, and has satisfied the obligations of religion and his own duty.
Book VII. Of a Happy Life.
Chapter I.-Of the World, and Those Who are About to Believe, and Those Who are Not; And in This the Censure of the Faithless.
It is well: the foundations are laid, as the illustrious orator says. But we have not only laid the foundations, which might be firth and suitable for the support of the work; but we have raised the entire edifice, with great and strong buildings, almost to the summit. There remains, a matter which is much easier, either to cover or adorn it; without which, however, the former works are both useless and displeasing. For of what avail is it, either to be freed from false religions1 or to understand the true2 one? Of what avail, either to see the vanity of false wisdom,3 or to know what is true?4 Of what avail is it, I say, to defend that heavenly justice?5 Of what avail to hold the worship of God6 with great difficulties, which is the greatest virtue, unless the divine reward of everlasting blessedness attends it? Of which subject we must speak in this book, lest all that is gone before should appear vain and unprofitable: if. we should leave this, on account of which they were undertaken, in uncertainty, lest any one should by chance think that such great labours are undertaken in vain; while he distrusts their heavenly reward, which God has appointed for him who shall have despised the present sweet enjoyments of earth in comparison of solitary and unrewarded7 virtue. Let us satisfy this part of our subject also, both by the testimonies of the sacred writings and also by probable arguments, that it may be equally manifest that future things are to be preferred to those which are present; heavenly things to earthly: and eternal things to those which are temporal: since the rewards of vices are temporal, those of virtues are eternal.
I will therefore set forth the system of the world, that it may easily be understood both when and how it was made by God; which Plato, who discoursed about the making of the world, could neither know nor explain, inasmuch as he was ignorant of the heavenly mystery, which is not learned except by the teaching of prophets and God; and therefore he said that it was created for eternity. Whereas the case is far different, since whatever is of a solid and heavy body, as it received a beginning at some time, so it must needs have an end. For Aristotle, when he did not see how so great a magnitude of things could perish, and wished to escape this objection,8 said that the world always had existed, and always would exist. He did not at all see, that whatever material thing exists must at some time have had a beginning, and that nothing can exist at all unless it bad a beginning. For when we see that earth, and water, and fire perish, are consumed, and extinguished, which are clearly parts of the world, it is understood that that is altogether mortal the members of which are mortal. Thus it comes to pass, that whatever is liable to destruction must have been produced. But everything which comes within the sight of the eyes must of necessity be material, and capable of dissolution. Therefore Epicurus alone, following the authority of Democritus, spoke truly in this matter, who said that it had a beginning at some time, and that it would at some time perish. Nor, however, was he able to assign any reason, either through what causes or at what time this work of such magnitude should be destroyed. But since God has revealed this to us, and we do not arrive at it by conjectures, but by instruction from heaven, we will carefully teach it, that it may at length be evident to those who are desirous of the truth, that the philosophers did not see nor comprehend the truth; but that they had so slight a knowledge9 of it, that they by no means perceived from what source that fragrance10 of wisdom, which was so pleasant and agreeable, breathed upon them.
In the meantime, I think it necessary to admonish those who are about to read this, that depraved and vicious minds, since the acuteness of their mind is blunted by earthly passions, which weigh down all the perceptions and render them weak, will either altogether fail to understand these things which we relate, or, even if they shall understand them, they will dissemble and be unwilling for them to be true: because they are drawn away by vices, and they knowingly favour their own evils, by the pleasantness of which they are captivated, and they desert the way of virtue, by the bitterness of which they are offended. For they who are inflamed with avarice and a certain insatiable thirst for riches-because, when they have sold or squandered the things in which they delight, they are unable to live in a simple style-undoubtedly prefer that by which they are compelled to renounce their eager desires. Also, they who, urged on by the incitements of lusts, as the poet says,11
"Rush into madness and fire,"
say that we bring forward things plainly incredible; because the precepts about self-restraint wound their ears, which restrain them from their pleasures, to which they have given12 up their soul, together with their body. But those who, swollen with ambition or inflamed with the love of power, have bestowed all their efforts on the acquisition of honours, will not, even if we should bear the sun himself in our hands, believe that teaching which commands them to despise all power and honour, and to live in humility, and in such humility that they may be able to receive an injury, and if they have received one, be unwilling to return it. These are the men who cry out13 in any way against the truth with closed eyes. But they who are or shall be of sound mind, that is, not so immersed in vices as to be incurable, will both believe these things, and will readily approach them; and whatever things we say, they will appear to them open, and plain, and simple, and that which is chiefly necessary, true and unassailable.
No one favours virtue but he who is able to follow it; but it is not easy for all to follow it: they can do so whom poverty and want have exercised, and made capable of virtue. For if the endurance of evils is virtue, it follows that they are not capable of virtue who have always lived in the enjoyment of good things; because they have never experienced evils, nor can they endure them, through their long-continued use and desire of good things, which alone they know. Thus it comes to pass that the poor and humble, who are unencumbered, more readily believe God than the rich, who are entangled with many hindrances;14 yea, rather, in chains and fetters they are enslaved to the nod of desire, their mistress, which has ensnared them with inextricable bonds; nor are they able to look up to heaven, since their mind is bent down to the earth, and fixed on the ground. But the way of virtue does not admit those carrying great burthens. The path is very narrow by which justice leads man to heaven; no one can keep this unless he is unencumbered and lightly equipped. For those wealthy men, who are loaded with many and great burthens, proceed along the way of death, which is very broad, since destruction rules with extended sway. The precepts which God gives for justice, and the things which we bring forward under the teaching of God respecting virtue and the truth, are bitter and as poisons to these. And if they shall dare to oppose these things, they must own themselves to be enemies of virtue and justice. I will now come to the remaining part of the subject, that an end may be put to the work. But this remains, that we should treat of the judgment of God, which will then be established when our Lord shall return to the earth to render to every one either a reward or punishment, according to his desert.Therefore, as we spoke in the fourth book concerning His first advent,15 so in this book we will relate His second advent, which the Jews also both confess and hope for; but in vain, since He must return to the confusion16 of those for whose call He had before come. For they who impiously treated Him with violence in His humiliation, will experience Him in His power as a conqueror; and, God requiting them, they will suffer all those things which they read and do not understand; inasmuch as, being polluted with all sins, and moreover sprinkled with the blood of the Holy One, they were devoted to eternal punishment by that very One on whom they laid wicked hands. But we shall have a separate subject against the Jews, in which we shall convict them of error and guilt.
Chapter II.-Of the Error of the Philosophers, and of the Divine Wisdom, and of the Golden Age.
Now let us instruct those who are ignorant of the truth. It has been so determined by the arrangement of the Most High God, that this unrighteous age, having run the course17 of its appointed times, should come to an end; and all wickedness being immediately extinguished, and the souls of the righteous being recalled to a happy life, a quiet, tranquil, peaceful, in short, golden age, as the poets call it, should flourish, under the rule of God Himself. This was especially the cause of all the errors of the philosophers, that they did not comprehend the system of the world, which comprises the whole of wisdom. But it cannot be comprehended by our own perception and innate intelligence, which they wished to do by themselves without a teacher. Therefore they fell into various and ofttimes contradictory opinions, out of which they had no way of escape,
"And they remained fixed in the same mire."
as the comic writer18 says, since their conclusion does not correspond with their assumptions;19 inasmuch as they had assumed things to be true which could not be affirmed, and proved without the knowledge of the truth and of heavenly things. And this knowledge, as I have often said already, cannot exist in a man unless it is derived from the teaching of God. For if a man is able to understand divine things, he will be able also to perform them; for to understand is, as it were, to follow in their track. But he is not able to do the things which God does, because he is clothed with a mortal body; therefore he cannot even understand those things which God does. And whether this is possible is easy for every one to measure, from the immensity of the divine actions and works. For if you will contemplate the world, with all the things which it contains, you will assuredly understand how much the work of God surpasses the works of men. Thus, as great as is the difference between divine and human works, so great must be the distance between the wisdom of God and man. For because God is incorruptible and immortal, and therefore perfect because He is everlasting, His wisdom also is perfect, as He Himself is; nor can anything oppose it, because God Himself is subject to nothing.
But because man is subject to passion, his wisdom also is subject to error; and as many things hinder the life of man, so that it cannot be perpetual, so also his wisdom must be hindered by many things: so that it is not perfect in entirely perceiving the truth. Therefore there is no human wisdom, if it strives by itself to attain to the conception and knowledge of the truth; inasmuch as the mind of man, being bound up with a frail body, and enclosed in a dark abode, is neither able to wander at large, nor clearly to perceive the truth, the knowledge of which belongs to the divine nature. For His works are known to God alone. But man cannot attain this knowledge by reflection or disputation, but by learning and hearing from Him who alone is able to know and to teach. Therefore Marcus Tullius,20 borrowing from Plato the sentiment of Socrates, who said that the time had come for himself to depart from life, but that they before whom he was pleading his cause were still alive, says: Which is better is known to the immortal gods; but I think that no man knows. Wherefore all the sects of philosophers must be far removed from the truth, because they who established them were men; nor can those things have any foundation or firmness which are unsupported by any utterances of divine voices.
Chapter III.-Of Nature, and of the World; And a Censure of the Stoics and Epicureans.
And since we are speaking of the errors of philosophers, the Stoics divide nature into two parts-the one which effects, the other which affords itself tractable for action. They say that in the former is contained all the power of perception, in the latter the material, and that the one cannot act without the other. How can that which handles and that which is handled be one and the same thing? If any one should say that the potter is the same as the clay, or that the clay is the same as the potter, would he not plainly appear to be mad? But these men comprehend under the one name of nature two things which are most widely different, God and the world, the Maker and the work; and say that the one can do nothing without the other, as though God were mixed up in nature with the world. For sometimes they so mix them together, that God Himself is the mind of the world, and that the world is the body of God; as though the world and God began to exist at the same time, and God did not Himself make the world. And they themselves also confess this at other times, when they say that it was made for the sake of men, and that God could, if He willed it, exist without the world, inasmuch as God is the divine and l eternal mind, separate and free from a body. And since they were unable to understand His power and majesty, they mixed Him21 with the world, that is, with His own work. Whence is that saying of Virgil:22 -
"A spirit whose celestial flame
Glows in each member of the frame,
And stirs the mighty whole."
What, then, becomes of their own saying, that the world was both made and is governed by the divine providence? For if He made the world, it follows that He existed without the world; if He governs it, it is plain that it is not as the mind governs the body, but as a master rules the house, as a pilot the ship, as a charioteer the chariot. Nor, however, are they mixed with those things which they govern. For if all these things which we see are members of God, then God is rendered insensible by them, since the members are without sensibility, and mortal, since we see that the members are mortal.
I can enumerate how often lands shaken by sudden motions23 have either opened or sunk down precipitously; how often cities and islands have been overwhelmed by waves, and gone into the deep; marshes have inundated fruitful plains, rivers and pools have been dried up;24 mountains also have either fallen precipitously, or have been levelled with plains. Many districts, and the foundations of many mountains, are laid waste by latent and internal fire. And this is not enough, if God does not spare His own members, unless it is permitted man also to have some power over the body of God. Seas are built up, mountains are cut down, and the innermost bowels of the earth are dug out to draw forth riches. Why, should I say that we cannot even plough without lacerating the divine body? So that we are at once wicked and impious in doing violence to the members of God. Does God, then, suffer His body to be harassed, and endure to weaken Himself, or permit this to be done by man? Unless by chance that divine intelligence which is mixed with the world, and with all parts of the world, abandoned the first outer aspect25 of the earth, and plunged itself into the lowest depths, that it might be sensible of no pain from continual laceration. But if this is trifling and absurd, then they themselves were as devoid of intelligence as those are who have not perceived that the divine spirit is everywhere diffused, and that all things are held together by it, not however in such a manner that God, who is incorruptible, should Himself be mixed with heavy and corruptible elements. Therefore that is more correct which they derived from Plato, that the world was made by God, and is also governed by His providence. It was therefore befitting that Plato, and those who held the same opinion, should teach and explain what was the cause, what the reason, for the contriving of so great a work; why or for the sake of whom He made it.
But the Stoics also say the world was made for the sake of men I hear But Epicurus is ignorant on what account or who made men themselves. For Lucretius, when he said that the world was not made by the gods, thus spoke:26
"To say, again, that for the sake of men they have willed to set in order the glorious nature of the world"-
then he introduced:-
"Is sheer folly. For what advantage can our gratitude bestow on immortal and blessed beings, that for our, sake they should take in hand to administer aught? "
And with good reason. For they brought forward no reason why the human race was created or established by God. It is our business to set forth the mystery of the world and man, of which they, being destitute, were able neither to reach nor see the shrine of truth. Therefore, as I said a little before, when they had assumed that which was true, that is, that the world was made by God, and was made for the sake of men, yet, since their argument failed them in the consequences, they were unable to defend that which they had assumed. In fine, Plato, that he might not make the work of God weak and subject to ruin, said that it would remain for ever. If it was made for the sake of men, and so made as to be eternal, why then are not they on whose account it was made eternal? If they are mortal on account of whom it was made, it must also itself be mortal and subject to dissolution, for it is not of more value than those for whose sake it was made. But if his argument27 were consistent, he would understand that it must perish because it was made, and that nothing can remain for ever except that which cannot be touched.
But he who says that it was not made for the sake of men has no argument. For if he says that the Creator contrived these works of such magnitude on His own account, why then were we produced? Why do we enjoy the world itself? what means the creation of the human race, and of the other living creatures? why do we intercept the advantages of others? why, in short, do we grow, decrease, and perish? What reason is implied in our production itself? what in our perpetual succession? Doubtless God wished us to be seen, and to frame, as it were, impressions28 with various representations of Himself, with which He might delight Himself. Nevertheless, if it were so, He would esteem living creatures as His care, and especially man. to whose command He made all things subject.But with regard to those who say that the world always existed: I omit that point, that itself cannot exist without some beginning, from which they are unable to extricate themselves; but I say this, if the world always existed, it can have no systematic arrangement.29 For what could arrangement have effected in that which never had a beginning? For before anything is done or arranged, there is need of counsel that it may be determined how it should be done; nor can anything be done without the foresight of a settled plan. Therefore the plan precedes every work. Therefore that which has not been made has no plan. But the world has a plan by which it both exists and is governed; therefore also it was made: if it was made, it will also be destroyed. Let them therefore assign a reason, I if they can, why it was either made in the beginning or will hereafter be destroyed.
And because Epicurus or Democritus was unable to teach this, he said that it was produced of its own accord, the seeds30 coming together in all directions; and that when these are again resolved, discord and destruction will follow. Therefore he perverted31 that which he had correctly seen, and by his ignorance of system entirely overthrew the whole system, and reduced the world, and all things which are done in it, to the likeness of a most trifling dream, if no plan exists in human affairs. But since the world and all its parts, as we see, are governed by a wonderful plan; since the framing of the heaven, and the course of the stars and of the heavenly bodies, which is harmonious32 even in variety itself, the constant and wonderful arrangement of the seasons, the varied fruitfulness of the lands, the level plains, the defences and heapings up of mountains, the verdure and productiveness of the woods, the most salubrious bursting forth of fountains, the seasonable overflowings of rivers, the rich and abundant flowing33 in of the sea, the opposite and useful breathing34 of the winds, and all things, are fixed with the greatest regularity: who is so blind as to think that they were made without a cause, in which a wonderful disposition of most provident arrangement shines forth? If, therefore, nothing at all exists nor is done without a cause; if the providence of the Supreme God is manifest from the disposition of things, His excellency from their greatness, and His power from their government: therefore they are dull and mad who have said that there is no providence. I should not disapprove if they denied the existence of gods with this object, that they might affirm the existence of one; but when they did it with this intent, that they might say that there is none, he who does not think that they were senseless is himself senseless.
Chapter IV.-That All Things Were Created for Some Use, Even Those Things Which Appear Evil; On What Account Man Enjoys Reason in So Frail a Body.
But we have spoken sufficiently on the subject of providence in the first book. For if it has any existence, as appears from the wonderful nature of its works, it must be that the same providence created man and the other animals. Let us therefore see what reason there was for the creation of the human race, since it is evident, as the Stoics say, that the world was made for the sake of men, although they make no slight error in this very matter, in saying it was not made for the sake of man, but of men. For the naming of one individual comprehends the whole human race. But this arises from the fact that they are ignorant that one man only was made by God, and they think that men were produced in all lands and fields like mushrooms. But Hermes was not ignorant that man was both made by God and after the likeness of God. But I return to my subject. There is nothing, as I imagine, which was made on its own account; but whatever is made at all must necessarily be made for some purpose. For who is there either so senseless or so unconcerned as to attempt to do anything at random, from which he expects no utility, no advantage? He who builds a house does not build it merely for this purpose, that it may be a house, but that it may be inhabited. He who builds a ship does not bestow his labour on this account, only that the ship may be visible, but that men may sail in it. Likewise he who designs and forms any vessel does not do it on this account, that he may only appear to have done it, but that the vessel when made may contain something necessary for use. In like manner, other things, whatever are made, are plainly not made superfluously, but for some useful purposes.
It is plain, therefore, that the world was made by God, not on account of the world itself; for since it is without sensibility, it neither needs the warmth of the sun, or light, or the breath of the winds, or the moisture of showers, or the nourishment of fruits. But it cannot even be said that God made the world for His own sake, since He can exist without the world, as He did before it was made; and God Himself does not make use of all those things which are contained in it, and which are produced. It is evident, therefore, that the world was constructed for the sake of living beings, since living beings enjoy those things of which it consists; and that these may live and exist, all things necessary for them are supplied at fixed times. Again, that the other living beings were made for the sake of man, is plain from this, that they are subservient to man, and were given for his protection and service; since, whether they are of the earth or of the water, they do not perceive the system of the world as man does. We must here reply to the philosophers, and especially to Cicero, who says: "Why should God, when He made all things on our account, make so large a quantity of snakes and vipers? why should He scatter so many pernicious things by land and by sea? "A very wide subject for discussion, but it must be briefly touched upon, as in passing. Since man is formed of different and opposing elements, soul and body, that is, heaven and earth, that which is slight and that which is perceptible to the senses, that which is eternal and that which is temporal, that which has sensibility and that which is senseless, that which is endued with light and that which is dark, reason itself and necessity require that both good and evil things should be set before man-good things which he may use, and evil things which he may guard against and avoid.
For wisdom has been given to him on this account, that, knowing the nature of good and evil things, he may exercise the force of his reason in seeking the good and avoiding the evil. For because wisdom was not given to the other animals, they were both defended with natural clothing and were armed; but in the place of all these He gave to man that which was most excellent, reason only. Therefore He formed him naked and unarmed, that wisdom might be both his defence and covering. He placed his defence and ornament not without, but within not in the body, but in the heart Unless, therefore, there were evils which he might guard against, and which he might distinguish from good and useful things, wisdom was not necessary for him. Therefore let Marcus Tullius know that reason was either given to man that he might take fishes on account of his own use, and avoid snakes and vipers for the sake of his own safety; or that good and evil things were set before him on this account, because he had received wisdom, the whole force of which is occupied in distinguishing things good and evil.35 Great, therefore, and right, and admirable is the force, and reason, and power of man, for whose sake God made the world itself and all things, as many as exist, and gave him so much honour that He set him over all things, since he alone could admire the works of God. Most excellently, therefore, does our Asclepiades,36 in discussing the providence of the Supreme God in that book which he wrote to me, say: "And on this account any one may with good reason think that the divine providence gave the place nearest to itself to him who was able to understand its arrangement. For that is the sun: who so beholds it as to understand why it is the sun, and what amount of influence it has upon the other parts of the system? this is the heaven, who looks up to it? this is the earth, who inhabits it? this is the sea, who sails upon it? this is fire, who makes use of it? "Therefore the Supreme God did not arrange these things on account of Himself, because He stands in need of nothing, but on account of man, who might fitly make use of them.
Chapter V.-Of the Creation of Man, and of the Arrangement of the World, and of the Chief Good.
Let us now assign the reason why He made man himself. For if the philosophers bad known this, they would either have maintained those things which they had found to be true, or would not have fallen into the greatest errors. For this is the chief thing; this is the point on which everything turns. And if any one does not possess this, the truth altogether glides away from him. It is this, in short, which causes them to be inconsistent with reason;37 for if this had shone upon them, if they had known all the mystery38 of man, the Academy would never have been in entire opposition39 to their disputations, and to all philosophy. As, therefore, God did not make the world for His own sake, because He does not stand in need of its advantages, but for the sake of man, who has the use of it, so also He made man himself for His own sake. What advantage is there to God in man, says Epicurus, that He should make him for His own sake? Truly, that there might be one who might understand His works; who might be able both to admire with his understanding, and to express with his voice, the foresight displayed in their arrangement, the order of their creation, the power exerted in their completion. And the sum of all these things is, that he should worship God.40 For he who understands these things worships Him; he follows Him with due veneration as the Maker of all things, He as his true Father, who measures the excellence of His majesty according to the invention, the commencement, and completion of His works. What more evident argument can be brought forward that God both made the world for the sake of man, and man for His own sake, than that he alone of all living creatures has been so formed that his eyes are directed towards heaven, his face looking towards God, his countenance is in fellowship with his Parent, so that God appears, as it were, with outstretched hand to have raised man from the ground, and to have elevated him to the contemplation of Himself. "What, then," he says, "does the worship paid by man confer on God, who is blessed, and in want of nothing? Or if He gave such honour to man as to create the world for his sake, to furnish him with wisdom, to make him lord of all things living, and to love him as a son, why did He make him subject to death and decay? why did He expose the object of His love to all evils? when it was befitting that man should be happy, as though closely connected with God, and everlasting as He is, to the worship and contemplation of whom he was formed."
Although we have taught these things for the most part in a scattered manner in the former books, nevertheless, since the subject now specially requires it, because we have undertaken to discuss the subject of a happy life, these things are to be explained by us more carefully and fully, that the arrangement made by God, and His work and will, may be known. Though He was always able by His own immortal Spirit to produce innumerable souls, as He produced the angels, to whom there exists immortality without any danger and fear of evils, yet He devised an unspeakable work, in what manner He might create an infinite multitude of souls, which being at first united with frail and feeble bodies, He might place in the midst between good and evil, that He might set virtue before them composed as they were of both natures; that they might not attain to immortality by a delicate and easy course of life, but might arrive at that unspeakable reward of eternal life with the utmost difficulty and great labours. Therefore, that He might clothe them with limbs which were heavy and liable to injury,41 since they were unable to exist in the middle void, the weight and gravity of the body sinking downwards, He determined that an abode and dwelling-place should first be built for them. And thus with unspeakable energy and power He contrived the surpassing works of the world; and having suspended the light elements on high, and depressed the heavy ones to the depths below, He strengthened the heavenly things, and established the earthly. It is not necessary at present to follow out each point separately, since we discussed them all together in the second book.
Therefore He placed in the heaven lights, whose regularity, and brightness, and motion, were most suitably proportioned to the advantage of living beings. Moreover, He gave to the earth, which He designed as their dwelling-place, fruitfulness for bringing forth and producing various42 things, that by the abundance of fruits and green herbs it might supply nourishment according to the nature and requirements of each kind. Then, when He had completed all things which belonged to the condition of the world, He formed man from the earth itself, which He prepared for him from the beginning as a habitation; that is, He clothed and covered his spirit with an earthly body, that, being compacted of different and opposing materials, he might be susceptible of good and evil; and as the earth itself is fruitful for the bringing forth of grain, so the body of man, which was taken from the earth, received the power of producing offspring, that, inasmuch as he was formed of a fragile substance, and could not exist for ever, when tim space of his temporal life was past, he might depart, and by a perpetual succession renew that which he bore, which was frail and feeble. Why, then, did He make him frail and mortal, when He had built the world for his sake? First of all, that an infinite number of living beings might be produced, and that He might fill all the earth with a multitude; in the next place, that He might set before man virtue, that is, endurance of evils and labours, by which he might be able to gain the reward of immortality. For since man consists of two parts, body and soul, of which the one is earthly, the other heavenly, two lives have been assigned to man: the one temporal, which is appointed for the body; the other everlasting, which belongs to the soul. We received the former at our birth we attain to the latter by striving, that immortality might not exist to man without any difficulty. That earthly one is as the body, and therefore has an end; but this heavenly one is as the soul, and therefore has no limit. We received the first when we were ignorant of it, this second knowingly; for it is given to virtue, not to nature, because God wished that we should procure life for ourselves in life.
For this reason He has given us this present life, that we may either lose that true and eternal life by our vices, or win it43 by virtue. The chief good is not contained in this bodily life, since, as it was given to us by divine necessity, so it will again be destroyed by divine necessity. Thus that which has an end does not contain the chief good. But the chief good is contained in that spiritual life which we acquire by ourselves, because it cannot contain evil, or have an end; to which subject nature and the system of the body afford an argument. For other animals incline towards the ground, because they are earthly, and are incapable of immortality, which is from heaven; but man is upright and looks towards heaven,44 because immortality is proposed to him; which, however, does not come, unless it is given to man by God. For otherwise there would be no difference between the just and the unjust, since every man who is born would become immortal. Immortality, then, is not the consequence45 of nature, but the reward and recompense of virtue. Lastly, man does not immediately upon his birth walk upright, but at first on all fours,46 because the nature of his body and of this present life is common to us with the dumb animals; afterwards, when his strength is confirmed, he raises himself, and his tongue is loosened so that he speaks plainly, and he ceases to be a dumb animal. And this argument teaches that man is born mortal; but that he afterwards becomes immortal, when he begins to live in conformity with the will47 of God, that is, to follow righteousness,48 which is comprised in the worship of God, since God raised man to a view of the heaven and of Himself. And this takes place when man, purified in the heavenly laver, lays aside49 his infancy together with all the pollution of his past life, and having received an increase of divine vigour, becomes a perfect and complete man.
Therefore, because God has set forth virtue before man, although the soul and the body are connected together, yet they are contrary, and oppose one another. The things which are good for the soul are evil to the body, that is, the avoiding of riches, the prohibiting of pleasures, the contempt of pain and death. In like manner, the things which are good for the body are evil to the soul, that is, desire and lust, by which riches are desired, and the enjoyments of various pleasures, by which the soul is weakened and destroyed.50 Therefore it is necessary, that the just and wise man should be engaged in all evils, since fortitude is victorious over evils; but the unjust in riches, in honours, in power. For these goods relate to the body, and are earthly; and these men also lead an earthly life, nor are they able to attain to immortality. because they have given themselves up to pleasures which are the enemies of virtue. Therefore this temporal life ought to be subject to that eternal life, as the body is to the soul. Whoever, then, prefers the life of the soul must despise the life of the body; nor will he in any other way be able to strive after that which is highest, unless he shall have despised the things which are lowest. But he who shall have embraced the life of the body, and shall have turned his desires downwards51 to the earth, is unable to attain to that higher life. But he who prefers to live well for eternity, will live badly52 for a time, and will be subjected to all troubles and labours as long as he shall be on earth, that he may have divine and heavenly consolation. And he who shall prefer to live well53 for a time, will live ill to eternity; for he will be condemned by the sentence of God to eternal punishment, be cause he has preferred earthly to heavenly goods. On this account, therefore, God seeks to be worshipped, and to be honoured by man as a Father, that he may have virtue and wisdom, which alone produce' immortality. For because no other but Himself is able to confer that immortality, since He alone possesses it, He will grant54 to the piety of the man, with which he has honoured God, this reward, to be blessed to all eternity, and to be for ever in the presence of God and in the society of God.
N.B.-The following paragraphs to the end of the chapter are wanting many mss., and it is very doubtful whether they were written by Lactantius.
Nor can any one shelter himself under the pretext that the fault belongs to Him who made both good and evil. For why did He will that evil should exist if He hated it? Why did He not make good only, that no one might sin, no one commit evil? Although I have explained this in almost all the former books, and have touched upon it, though slightly, above, yet it must be mentioned repeatedly, because the whole matter turns on this point. For there could be no virtue unless He had made contrary things; nor can the power of good be at all manifest, except from a comparison with evil. Thus evil is nothing else but the explanation of good. Therefore if evil is taken away, good must also be taken away. If you shall cut off your left hand or foot, your body will not be entire, nor will life itself remain the same. Thus, for the due adjustment of the framework of the body, the left members are most suitably joined with the right. In like manner, if you make chessmen55 all alike, no one will play. If you shall give one colour56 only to the circus, no one will think it worth while to be a spectator, all the pleasure of the Circensian games being taken away. For he who first instituted the games was a favourer of one colour; but he introduced another as a rival, that there might be a contest, and some partisanship57 in the spectacle. Thus God, when He was fixing that which was good, and giving virtue, appointed also their contraries, with which they might contend. If an enemy and a fight be wanting, there is no victory. Take away a contest, and even virtue is nothing. How many are the mutual contests of men, and with what various arts are they carried on! No one, however, would be regarded as surpassing in bravery, swiftness, or excellence, if he bad no adversary with whom he might contend. And where victory is wanting, there also glory and the reward of victory must be absent together with it. Therefore, that he might strengthen virtue itself by continual exercise, and might make it perfect from its conflict with evils, He gave both together, because each of the two without the other is unable to retain its force. Therefore there is diversity, on which the whole system of truth depends.
It does not escape my notice what may here be urged in opposition by more skilful persons. If good cannot exist without evil, how do you say that, before he had offended God, the first man lived in the exercise of good only, or that be will hereafter live in the exercise of good only? This question is to be examined by us, for in the former books I omitted it, that I might here fill up the subject. We have said above that the nature of man is made up of opposing elements; for the body, because it is earth, is capable of being grasped, of temporary duration, senseless, and dark. But the soul, because it is from heaven, is unsubstantial,58 everlasting, endued with sensibility, and full of lustre;59 and because these qualities are opposed to one another, it follows of necessity that man is subject to good and evil. Good is ascribed to the soul, because it is incapable of dissolution; evil to the body, because it is frail. Since, therefore, the body and the soul are connected and united together, the good and the evil must necessarily hold together; nor can they be separated from one another, unless when they (the body and soul) are separated. Finally, the knowledge of good and of evil was given at the same time to the first man; and when he understood this, he was immediately driven from the holy place in which there is no evil; for when he was conversant with that which was good only, he was ignorant that this itself was good. But after that he had received the knowledge of good and evil, it was now unlawful for him to remain in that place of happiness, and he was banished to this common world, that he might at once experience both of those things with the nature of which he had at once become acquainted. It is plain, therefore, that wisdom has been given to man that he may distinguish good from evil-that he may discriminate between things advantageous and things disadvantageous, between things useful and things useless-that he may have judgment and consideration as to what he ought to guard against, what to desire, what to avoid, and what to follow. Wisdom therefore cannot exist without evil; and that first author60 of the human race, as long as he was conversant with good only, lived as an infant, ignorant of good and evil. But, indeed, hereafter man must be both wise and happy without any evil; but this cannot take place as long as the soul is clothed with the abode of the body.
But when a separation shall have been made between the body and the soul, then evil will be disunited from good; and as the body perishes and the soul remains, so evil will perish and good be permanent. Then man, having received the garment of immortality, will be wise and free from evil, as God is. He, therefore, who wishes that we should be conversant with good only, especially desires this, that we should live without the body, in which evil is. But if evil is taken away, either wisdom, as I have said, or the body, will be taken from man; wisdom, that he may be ignorant of evil; the body, that he may not be sensible of it. But now, since man is furnished with wisdom to know, and a body to perceive, God willed that both should exist alike in this life, that virtue and wisdom may be in agreement. Therefore He placed man in the midst, between both, that he might have liberty to follow either good or evil. But He mingled with evil some things which appear good, that is, various and delightful enjoyments, that by the enticements of these He might lead men to the concealed evil. And He likewise mingled with good some things which appear evil-that is, hardships, and miseries, and labours-by the harshness and unpleasantness of which the soul, being offended, might shrink back from the concealed good. But here the office of wisdom is needed, that we may see more with the mind than with the body, which very few are able to do; because while virtue is difficult and rarely to be found, pleasure is common and public. Thus it necessarily happens that the wise man is accounted as a fool, who, while he seeks good things which are not seen, permits those which are seen to slip from his hands; and while he avoids evils which are not seen, runs into evils which are before the eyes; which happens to us when we refuse neither torture nor death in behalf of the faith, since we are driven to the greatest wickedness, so as to betray the faith and deny the true God, and to sacrifice to dead and death-bearing gods. This is the cause why God made man mortal, and made him subject to evils, although he had framed the world for his sake, namely, that he might be capable of virtue, and that his virtue might reward him with immortality. Now virtue, as we have shown, is the worship of the true God.
Chapter VI.-Why the World and Man Were Created. How Unprofitable is the Worship of False Gods.
Now let us mark the whole argument by a brief definition.61 The world has been created for this purpose, that we may be born; we are born for this end, that we may acknowledge the Maker of the world and of ourselves-God; we acknowledge Him for this end, that we may worship Him; we worship Him for this end that we may receive immortality as the reward of our labours, since the worship of God consists of the greatest labours; for this end we are rewarded with immortality, that being made like to the angels, we may serve the Supreme Father and Lord for ever, and may be to all eternity a kingdom to God. This is the sum of all things, this the secret of God, this the mystery of the world, from which they are estranged, who, following present gratification, have devoted themselves to the pursuit of earthly and frail goods, and by means of deadly enjoyments have sunk as it were in mire and mud their souls, which were born for heavenly pursuits.
Let us now, in the next place, inquire whether there is anything reasonable in the worship of these gods; for if they are many, if they are worshipped only on this account by men, that they may afford them riches, victories, honours, and all things, which are of no avail except for the present; if we are produced without cause-if no providence is employed in the production of men-if we are brought forth by chance for ourselves, and for the sake of our own pleasure-if we are nothing after death,-what can be so superfluous, so empty, so vain, as the affairs of man, and the world itself? which, though it is of incredible magnitude, and constructed with such wonderful arrangement, is nevertheless occupied with trifling subjects. For why should the breathings of the winds put the clouds in motion? Why should lightnings shine forth, thunders roar, or showers fall, that the earth may bring forth its increase, and nourish its various productions? Why, in short, should all nature labour that nothing may be wanting of those things by which the life of man is sustained, if it is vain, if we utterly perish, if there is in us nothing of greater advantage to God? But if it is unlawful to be spoken, and is not to be thought possible, that that which you see to be most in accordance with reason was not established on account of some reason of importance, what reason can there be in these errors of depraved religions, and in this persuasion of philosophers, by which they imagine that souls perish? Assuredly there is none; for what have they to say why the gods so regularly supply to men everything in its season? Is it that we may present to them corn and wine, and the odour of incense, and the blood of cattle? Which things cannot be acceptable to the immortals, because they are perishable; nor can they be of use to beings destitute of bodies, because these things have been given for the use of those possessed of bodies; and yet if they required these things, they could bestow them upon themselves when they wished. Whether, therefore, souls perish or exist for ever, what principle is involved in the worship of the gods, or by whom was the world established? Why, or when, or how long, or how far were men produced, or on what account? Why do they arise, die, succeed one another, are renewed? What do the gods obtain from the worship of those who after death are about to have no existence? What do they perform, what do they promise, What do they threaten, which is worthy of men or of gods? Or if souls remain after death, what do they do or are they about to do respecting them? What need is there to them of a treasure-house of souls? From what source do they themselves arise? How, or why, or whence are they so many? Thus it comes to pass, that if yon depart from that sum of things which we comprised above, all system is destroyed, and all things return62 to nothing.
Chapter VII.-Of the Variety of Philosophers, and Their Truth.
And because the philosophers did not comprehend this main point, they were neither able to comprehend truth, although they for the most part both saw and explained those things of which the main point itself consists. But different persons brought forward all these things, and in different ways, not connecting the causes of things, nor the consequences, nor the reasons, so that they might join together and complete that main point which comprises the whole. But it is easy to show that almost the whole truth has been divided by philosophers and sects. For we do not overthrow philosophy, as the Academics are accustomed to do, whose plan was to reply to everything, which is rather to calumniate and mock; but we show that no sect was so much out of the way, and no philosopher so vain, as not to see something of the truth.63 But while they are mad with the desire of contradicting, while they defend their own arguments even though false, and overthrow those of others even though true, not only has the truth escaped from them, which they pretended that they were seeking, but they themselves lost it chiefly through their own fault. But if there had been any one to collect together the truth which was dispersed amongst individuals and scattered amongst sects, and to reduce it to a body, he assuredly would not disagree with us. But no one is able to do this, unless he has experience64 and knowledge of the truth. But to know the truth belongs to him only who has been taught by God. For he cannot in any other way reject the things which are false, or choose and approve of those which are true; but if even by chance he should effect this, he would most surely act the part of the philosopher; and though he could not defend those things by divine testimonies, yet the truth would explain itself by its own light. Wherefore the error of those is incredible, who, when they have approved of any sect, and have devoted themselves to it, condemn all others as false and vain, and arm themselves for battle, neither knowing what they ought to defend nor what to refute; and make attacks everywhere, without distinction,65 upon all things which are brought forward by those who disagree with them.
On account of these most obstinate contentions of theirs, no philosophy existed which made a nearer approach to the truth, for the whole truth has been comprised by these in separate portions.66 Plato said67 that the world was made by God: the prophets68 speak the same; and the same is apparent from the verses of the Sibyl. They therefore are in error, who have said either that all things were produced of their own accord or from an assemblage of atoms;69 since so great a world, so adorned and of such magnitude, could neither have been made nor arranged and set in order without some most skilful author, and that very arrangement by which all things are perceived to be kept together and to be governed bespeaks70 an artificer with a most skilful mind. The Stoics say that the world, and all things which are in it, were made for the sake of men: the sacred writings71 teach us the same thing. Therefore Democritus was in error, who thought that they were poured forth from the earth like worms, without any author or plan. For the reason of man's creation belongs to a divine mystery; and because he was unable to know this, he drew72 down man's life to nothing. Aristo asserted that men were born to the exercise of virtue; we are also reminded of and learn the same from the prophets. Therefore Aristippus is deceived, who made man subject to pleasure, that is, to evil, as though he were a beast. Pherecydes and Plato contended that souls were immortal; but this is a peculiar doctrine in our religion. Therefore Dicae archus was mistaken, together with Democritus, who argued that souls perished with the body and were dissolved, Zeno the Stoic taught that there were infernal regions, and that the abodes of the good were separated from the wicked; and that the former enjoyed peaceful and delightful regions, but that the latter suffered punishment in dark places, and in dreadful abysses of mire: the prophets show the same thing. Therefore Epicurus was mistaken, who thought that that was an invention73 of the poets, and explained those punishments of the infernal regions, which are spoken of, as happening in this life. Therefore the philosophers touched upon the whole truth, and every secret of our holy religion; but when others denied it, they were unable to defend that which they had found, because the system did not agree74 with the particulars; nor were they able to reduce to a summary those things which they had perceived to be true, as we have done above.
Chapter VIII.-Of the Immortality of the Soul.
The one chief good, therefore, is immortality, for the reception of which we were originally formed and born. To this we direct our course; human nature regards this; to this virtue exalts us. And because we have discovered this good, it remains that we should also speak of immortality itself. The arguments of Plato, although they contribute much to the subject, have little strength to prove and fill up the truth, since he had neither summed up and collected into one the plan of the whole of this great mystery, nor had he comprehended the chief good. For although he perceived the truth respecting the immortality of the soul, yet he did not speak respecting it as though it were the chief good. We, therefore, are able to elicit the truth by more certain signs; for we have not collected it by doubtful surmise,75 but have known it by divine instruction. Now Plato thus reasoned, that whatever has perception by itself, and always moves, is immortal; for that that which has no beginning of motion is not about to have an end, because it cannot be deserted by itself. But this argument would give eternal existence even to dumb animals, unless he had made a distinction by the addition of wisdom. He added, therefore, that he might escape this common76 linking together, that the soul of man could not be otherwise than immortal, since its wonderful skill in invention, its quickness in reflection, and its readiness in perceiving and learning, its memory of the past, and its foresight of the future, and its knowledge of innumerable arts and subjects, which other living creatures do not possess, appear divine and heavenly; because of the soul, which conceives such great things, and contains such great things, no origin can be found on earth, since it has nothing of earthly admixture united with it. But that which is ponderous in man, and liable to dissolution, must be resolved into earth; whereas that which is slight and subtle is incapable of division, and when freed from the abode of the body, as from prison, it flies to the heaven, and to its own nature. This is a brief summary of the tenets of Plato, which are widely and copiously explained in his own writings.
Pythagoras also was previously of the same sentiments, and his teacher Pherecydes, whom Cicero reported to have been the first who discoursed respecting the immortality of the soul. And although all these excelled in eloquence, nevertheless in this contest at least, those who argued against this opinion had no less authority; Dicae archus first, then Democritus, and lastly Epicurus: so that the matter itself, respecting which they were contending, was called into doubt. Finally, Tullius also having set forth the opinions of all these respecting immortality and death, declared that he did not know what was the truth. "Which of these opinions is true," he said, "some God may see."77 And again he says in another place: "Since each of these opinions had most learned defenders, it cannot be divined what is certainty." But we have no need of divination, since the divinity itself has laid open to us the truth.
Chapter IX.-Of the Immortality of the Soul, and of Virtue.
By these arguments, therefore, which neither Plato nor any other invented, the immorality of souls can be proved and perceived: which arguments we will briefly collect, since my discourse hastens on to relate the great judgment of God, which will be celebrated on the earth at the approaching end of the world.78 Before all things, since God cannot be seen by man, lest any one should imagine from this circumstance that God does not exist, because He was not seen by mortal eyes, among other wonderful arrangements79 He also made many things the power of which is manifest, but the substance is not seen, as the voice, smell, the wind, that by the token and example of these things we might perceive God from His power and operation and works, although He did not fall under the notice of our eyes. What is clearer than the voice, or stronger than the wind, or more forcible than smell? Yet these, when they are borne through the air and come to our senses, and impel them by their efficacy, are not distinguished by the eyesight, but are perceived by other parts of the body. In like manner, God is not to be perceived by us through the sight or other frail sense; but He is to be beheld by the eyes of the mind, since we see His illustrious and wonderful works. For as to those who have altogether denied the existence of God, I should not only refuse to call them philosophers, but even deny them the name of men, who, with a close resemblance to dumb animals, consisted of body only, discerning nothing with their mind, and referring all things to the bodily senses, who thought that nothing existed but that which they beheld with their eyes. And because they saw that adversity befell the wicked, or prosperity happened to the good, they believed that all things were carried on by fortune, and that the world was established by nature, and not by providence.
Hence they at once fell into the absurdities80 which necessarily followed such a sentiment. But if there is a God who is incorporeal, invisible, and eternal, therefore it is credible that the soul, since it is not seen, does not perish after its departure from the body; for it is manifest that something exists which perceives and is vigorous, and yet does not come into sight. But, it is said, it is difficult to comprehend with the mind how the soul can retain its perception without those parts of the body in which the office of perception is contained. What about God? Is it easy to comprehend how He is vigorous without a body? But if they believe in the existence of gods who, if they exist, are plainly destitute of bodies, it must be that human souls exist in the same way, since it is perceived from reason itself, and discernment, that there is a certain resemblance in man and God. Finally, that proof which even Marcus Tullius81 saw is of sufficient strength: that the immortality of the soul may be discerned from the fact that there is no other animal which has any knowledge of God; and religion is almost the only thing which distinguishes man from the dumb creation. And since this falls to man alone, it assuredly testifies that we may aim at, desire, and cultivate that which is about to be familiar and very near.
Can any one, when he has considered the nature of other animals, which the providence of the Supreme God has made abject, with bodies bending down and prostrated to the earth, so that it may be understood from this that they have no intercourse with heaven, fail to understand that man alone of all animals is heavenly and divine, whose body raised from the ground,82 elevated countenance, and upright position, goes in quest of its origin, and despising, as it were, the lowliness of the earth, reaches forth to that which is on high, because he perceives that the highest good is to be sought by him in the highest place, and mindful of his condition in which God made him illustrious, looks towards his Maker? And Trismegistus most rightly called this looking a contemplation of God,83 which has no existence in the dumb animals. Since therefore wisdom, which is given to man alone, is nothing else but the knowledge of God, it is evident that the soul does not perish, nor undergo dissolution, but that it remains for ever, because it seeks after and loves God, who is everlasting, by the impulse of its very nature perceiving either from what source it has sprung, or to what it is about to return. Moreover, it is no slight proof of immortality that man alone makes use of the heavenly element. For, since the nature of the world consists of two elements84 which are opposed to one another-fire and water-of which the one is assigned to the heaven, the other to the earth, the other living creatures, because they are of the earth and mortal, make use of the element which is earthly and heavy: man alone makes use of fire, which is an element light, rising upward,85 and heavenly. But those things which are weighty depress to death, and those which are light elevate to life; because life is on high, and death below. And as there cannot be light without fire, so there cannot be life without light. Therefore fire is the element of light and life; from which it is evident that man who uses it is a partaker of an immortal condition, because that which causes life is familiar to him.
The gift of virtue also to man alone is a great proof that souls are immortal. For this will not be in accordance with nature if the soul is extinguished; for it is injurious to this present life. For that earthly life, which we lead in common with dumb animals, both seeks pleasure, by the varied and agreeable fruits of which it is delighted, and avoids pain, the harshness of which, by its unpleasant sensations, injures the nature of living beings, and endeavours to lead them to death, which dissolves the living being. If, therefore, virtue both prohibits man from those goods which are naturally desired, and impels him to endure evils which are naturally avoided, it follows that virtue is an evil, and opposed to nature; and he must necessarily be judged foolish who pursues it, since he injures himself both by avoiding present goods, and by seeking equally evils, without hope of greater advantage. For when it is permitted us to enjoy the sweetest pleasures, should we not appear to be without sense if we should not prefer to live in lowliness, in want, in contempt and ignominy, or not to live at all, but to be tormented with pain, and to die, when from these evils we should gain nothing to compensate us for the pleasure which we have given up? But if virtue is not an evil, and acts honourably, inasmuch as it despises vicious and shameful pleasures, and bravely, inasmuch as it neither fears pain nor death, that it may discharge its duty, therefore it must obtain some greater good than those things are which it despises. But when death has been undergone, what further good can be hoped for except immortality?
Chapter X.-Of Vices and Virtues, and of Life and Death.
Let us now in turn pass on to those things which are opposed to virtue, that from these also the immortality of the soul may be inferred. All vices are for a time; for they are excited for the present. The impetuosity of anger is appeased when vengeance has been taken; the pleasure of the body puts an end86 to lust; desire is destroyed either by the full enjoyment of the objects which it seeks, or by the excitement of other affections; ambition, when it has gained the honours which it wished for, loses87 its strength; likewise the other vices are unable to stand their ground and remain, but they are ended by the very enjoyment which they desire. Therefore they withdraw and return. But virtue is perpetual, without any intermission; nor can he who has once taken it up depart from it. or if it should have any interruption88 if we can at any time do without it, vices, which always oppose virtue, will return. Therefore it has not been grasped, if it deserts its post, if at any time it withdraws itself. But when it has established for itself a firm abode, it must necessarily be engaged in every act; nor can it faithfully drive away and put to flight vices, unless it shall fortify with a perpetual guard the breast which it inhabits. Therefore the uninterrupted duration89 of virtue itself shows that the soul of man, if it has received virtue, remains permanent, because virtue is perpetual, and it is the human mind alone which receives virtue. Since, therefore, vices are contrary to virtue, the whole systems must of necessity differ from and be contrary to each other. Because vices are commotions and perturbations of the soul; virtue, on the contrary, is mildness and tranquillity of mind. Because vices are temporary, and of short duration; virtue is perpetual and constant, and always consistent with itself. Because the fruits of vices, that is, pleasures, equally with themselves, are short and temporary, therefore the fruit and reward of virtue are everlasting. Because the advantage of vices is immediate, therefore that of virtue is future.
Thus it happens that in this life there is no reward of virtue, because virtue itself still exists. For as, when vices are completed in their performance, pleasure and their rewards follow; so, when virtue has been ended, its reward follows. But virtue is never ended except by death, since its highest office is in the undergoing of death: therefore the reward of virtue is after death. In fine, Cicero, in his Tusculan Disputations,90 perceived, though with doubt, that the chief good does not happen to man except after death. "A man will go," he says, "with confident spirit, if circumstances shall so happen, to death in which we have ascertained that there is either the chief good or no evil." Death, therefore, does not extinguish man, but admits him to the reward of virtue. But he who has contaminated himself,91 as the same writer says, with vices and crimes, and has been the slave of pleasure, he truly, being condemned, shall suffer eternal punishment, which the sacred writings call the second death, which is both eternal and full of the severest torments.92 For as two lives are proposed to man, of which the one belongs to the soul, the other to the body; so also two deaths are proposed,-one relating to the body, which all must undergo according to nature, the other relating to the soul, which is acquired by wickedness and avoided by virtue. As this life is temporary and has fixed limits, because it belongs to the body; so also death is in like manner temporary and has a fixed end, because it affects the body.
Chapter XI.-Of the Last Times, and of the Soul and Body.
Therefore, when the times which God has appointed for death shall be completed, death itself shall be ended. And because temporal death follows temporal life, it follows that souls rise again to everlasting life, because temporal death has received an end. Again, as the life of the soul is everlasting, in which it receives the divine and unspeakable fruits of its immortality; also its death must be eternal, in which it suffers perpetual punishments and infinite torments for its faults. Therefore things are in this position, that they who are happy in this life, pertaining to the body and the earth, are about to be miserable for ever, because they have already enjoyed the good things which they preferred, which happens to those who adore false gods and neglect the true God. In the next place, they who, following righteousness, have been miserable, and despised, and poor in this life, and have often been harassed with insults and injuries on account of righteousness itself, because virtue cannot otherwise be attained, are about to be always happy, that since they have already endured evils, they may also enjoy goods. Which plainly happens to those who, having despised gods of the earth and frail goods, follow the heavenly religion of God, whose goods are everlasting, as He Himself who gave them. What shall I say of the works of the body and soul? Do not they show that the soul is not subject to death? For, as to the body, since it is itself frail and mortal, whatever works it contrives are equally perishable. For Tullius says that there is nothing which is wrought by the hands of man which is not at some time reduced to destruction, either through injury caused by men, or through length of time, which is the destroyer of all things.
But truly we see that the productions of the mind are immortal. For as many as, devoting themselves to the contempt of present things, have handed down to memory the monuments of their genius and great deeds, have plainly gained by these an imperishable name for their mind and virtue. Therefore, if the deeds of the body are mortal for this reason, because the body itself is mortal, it follows that the soul is shown to be immortal from this, because we see that its productions are not mortal. In the same manner also, the desires of the body and of the soul declare that the one is mortal, the other everlasting. For the body desires nothing except what is temporal, that is, food, drink, clothing, rest, and pleasure; and it cannot desire or attain to these very things without the assent and assistance93 of the soul. But the soul of itself desires many things which do not extend94 to the duty or enjoyment of the body; and those are not frail, but eternal, as the fame of virtue, as the remembrance of the name. For the soul even in opposition to the body desires the worship of God, which consists in abstinence from desires and lusts, in the enduring of pain, in the contempt of death. From which it is credible that the soul does not perish, but is separated from the body, because the body can do nothing without the soul, but the soul can do many and great things without the body. Why should I mention that those things which are visible to the eyes, and capable of being touched by the hand, cannot be eternal, because they admit of external violence; but those things which neither come under the touch nor tinder the sight, but are apparent only in their force and method and effect, are eternal because they suffer no violence from without? But if the body is mortal on this account, because it is equally open to the sight and to the touch, therefore the soul is immortal for this reason, because it can be neither touched nor seen.
Chapter XII.-Of the Soul and the Body, and of Their Union and Separation and Return.
Now let us refute the arguments of those who maintain the opposite opinions, which Lucretius has related in his third book. Since, he says, the soul is born together with the body, it must necessarily die with the body. But the two cases are not similar. For the body is solid, and capable of being grasped95 both by the eyes and the hand; but the soul is slight,96 and eluding the touch and sight. The body is formed from the earth, and made firm; the soul has in it nothing concrete, nothing of earthly weight, as Plato maintained. For it could not have such great force, such great skill, such great rapidity, unless it derived its origin from heaven. The body, therefore, since it is made up of a ponderous and corruptible element, and is tangible and visible, is corrupted and dies; nor is it able to repel violence, because it comes under the sight and under the touch; but the soul, which by its slightness avoids all touch, can be dissolved by no attack. Therefore, although they are joined and connected together from birth, and the one which is formed of earthly material97 is, as it were, the vessel of the other, which is drawn out from heavenly fineness, when any violence has separated the two, which separation is called death, then each returns into its own nature; that which was of earth is resolved into earth; that which is of heavenly breath remains fixed, and flourishes always, since the divine spirit is everlasting. In fine, the same Lucretius, forgetting what he asserted, and what dogma he defended, wrote these verses:98 -
"That also which before was from the earth passes back into the earth, and that which was sent from the borders of ether is carried again by the quarters of heaven."99
But this language was not for him to employ, who contended that souls perished with the bodies; but he was overcome by the truth, and the true system stole upon him unawares. Moreover, that very inference which he draws, that the soul suffers dissolution, that is, that it perishes together with the body, since they are produced together, is both false, and is capable of being turned to the opposite direction. For the body does not perish together with the soul; but when the soul departs it remains entire for many days. and frequently by medical preparations it remains entire for a very long time. For if they both perished together, as they are produced together, the soul would not hastily depart and desert the body, but both would be dispersed alike at one point of time; and the body also, while the breath still remained in it, would dissolve and perish as quickly as the soul departs: yes, truly, the body, being dissolved, the soul would vanish, as moisture poured forth from a broken vessel. For if the earthly and frail body after the departure of the soul does not immediately flow away and waste into earth, from which it has its origin, therefore the soul, which is not frail, endures to eternity, since its origin is eternal. He says, since the understanding increases in boys, and is vigorous in young men, and is lessened in the aged, it is evident that it is mortal. First, the soul is not the same thing as the mind; for it is one thing that we live, another that we reflect. For it is the mind of those who are asleep which is at rest,100 not the soul; and in those who are mad, the mind is extinguished, the soul remains; and therefore they are not said to be without a soul, but to be deprived of their mind.101 Therefore the mind, that is, the understanding, is either increased or lessened according to age. The soul is always in its own condition; and from the time when it receives the power of breathing, it remains the same even to the end, until, being sent forth from the confinement of the body, it flies back to its own abode. In the next place, the soul, although inspired by God, yet, because it is shut up in a dark abode of earthly flesh, does not possess knowledge, which belongs to divinity. Therefore it hears and learns all things, and receives wisdom by learning and hearing; and old age does not lessen wisdom, but increases it, if the age of youth has been passed in virtue; and if excessive old age shall have enfeebled the limbs, it is not the fault of the mind if the sight has vanished, if the tongue has become benumbed, if the hearing has grown deaf, but it is the fault of the body. But, it is said, the memory fails. What wonder, if the mind is oppressed by the ruin of the falling house, and forgets the past, not about to be divine on any other condition than if it shall have escaped the prison in which it is confined?
But the soul, be says, is also subject to pain and grief, and loses its senses through drunkenness, whence it is evidently frail and mortal. On this account, therefore, virtue and wisdom are necessary, that both grief, which is contracted by the suffering and the sight of unworthy objects, may be repelled by fortitude, and that pleasure may be overcome, not only by abstaining from drinking, but also from other things. For if it be destitute of virtue, if it be given up to pleasure, and thus rendered effeminate, it will become subject to death, since virtue, as we have shown, is the contriver of immortality, as pleasure is of death. But death, as I have set forth, does not entirely extinguish and destroy, but visits with eternal torments. For the soul cannot entirely perish, since it received its origin from the Spirit of God, which is eternal. The soul, he says, is sensible even of disease of the body, and suffers forgetfulness of itself; and as it grows ill, so also it is often healed. This is therefore the reason why virtue is especially to be used, that the mind-not the soul102 -may not be harassed by any pain of the body, or undergo oblivion of itself. And since this has its seat in a certain part of the body, when any violence of disease has vitiated that part, it is moved from its place; and as though shaken, it departs from its station, about to return when a cure and health shall have remodelled its abode. For, since the soul is united with the body, if it is destitute of virtue, it grows sick by the contagion of the body, and from sharing its frailty the weakness extends to the mind. But when it shall be disunited from the body it will flourish by itself; nor will it now be assailed by any, condition of frailty, because it has laid aside its frail covering. As the eye, he says, when torn out and separated from the body, can see nothing, so also the soul, when separated, can perceive nothing, because it is itself also a part of the body. This is false, and dissimilar to the case supposed; for the soul is not a part of the body, but in the body. As that which is contained in a vessel is not a part of the vessel, and these things which are in a house are not said to be a part of the house; so the mind is not a part of the body, because the body is either the vessel or the receptacle of the soul.
Now, that is a much more empty argument which says that the soul appears to be mortal because it is not quickly sent forth from the body, but gradually unfolds itself from all the members, beginning from the extremity of the feet; as though, if it were eternal, it would burst forth in a single moment of time, which takes place in those who die by the sword. But they who are slain by disease are longer in breathing forth their spirit, so that as the limbs grow cold the soul is breathed forth. For, since it is contained in the material of the blood, as light is in the oil, that material being consumed by the heat of fevers, the extremities of the limbs must grow cold; since the more slender veins are extended into the extremities of the body, and the extreme and smaller streams are dried up when the fountain-spring fails. It must not, however, be supposed that, because the perception of the body fails, the sensibility of the soul is extinguished and perishes. For it is not the soul that becomes senseless when the body fails, but it is the body which becomes senseless when the soul takes its departure, because it draws all sensibility with it. But since the soul by its presence gives sensibility to the body, and causes it to live, it is impossible that it should not live and perceive by itself, since it is in itself both consciousness and life. For as to that which says,
"But if our mind were immortal, it would not when dying complain so much of its dissolution as it would rejoice in passing abroad and quitting its vesture like a snake,"103
I never saw any one who complained of his dissolution in death; but he perhaps had seen some Epicurean philosophizing even in death, and with his latest breath discoursing about his dissolution.
How can it be known whether he feels that he is in a state of dissolution, or that he is being set free from the body, when his tongue grows dumb at his departure? For as long as he perceives and has the power of speech, he is not yet dissolved; when he has suffered dissolution, he is now unable either to perceive or to speak, so that either he is not yet able to complain of his dissolution, or he is no longer able. But, it is said, he understands before he undergoes dissolution, that he must undergo it. Why should I mention that we see many of the dying, not complaining that they are undergoing dissolution, but testifying that they are passing out, and setting forth on their journey and walking? and they signify this by gesture, or if they still are able, they express it also by their voice. From which it is evident that it is not a dissolution which takes place, but a separation; and this shows that the soul continues to exist. Other arguments of the Epicurean system are opposed to Pythagoras, who contends that souls migrate from bodies worn out with old age and death, and gain admission104 into those which are new and recently born; and that the same souls are always reproduced at one time in a man, at another time in a sheep, at another in a wild beast, at another in a bird; and that they are immortal on this account, because they often change their abodes, consisting of various and dissimilar bodies. And this opinion of a senseless man, since it is ridiculous and more worthy of a stage-player than of a school of philosophy, ought not even to have been refuted seriously; for he who does this appears to be afraid lest any one should believe it. Therefore we must pass by those things which have been discussed in behalf of falsehood against falsehood; it is sufficient to have refuted those things which are against the truth.
Chapter XIII.-Of the Soul, and the Testimonies Concerning Its Eternity.
I have made it evident, as I think, that the soul is not subject to dissolution. It remains that I bring forward witnesses by whose authority my arguments may be confirmed. And I will not now allege the testimony of the prophets, whose system and divination consist in this alone, the teaching that man was created for the worship of God. and for receiving immortality from Him; but I will rather bring forward those whom they who reject the truth cannot but believe. Hermes, describing the nature of man, that he might show how he was made by God, introduced this statement: "And the same out of two natures-the immortal and the mortal-made one nature, that of man, making the same partly immortal, and partly mortal; and bringing this, he placed it in the midst, between that nature which was divine and immortal, and that which was mortal and changeable, that seeing all things, he may admire all things." But some one may perhaps reckon him in the number of the philosophers, although he has been placed among the gods, and honoured by the Egyptians under the name of Mercury, and may give no more authority to him than to Plato or Pythagoras. Let us therefore seek for greater testimony. A certain Polites asked Apollo of Miletus whether the soul remains after death or goes to dissolution; and he replied in these verses:-
"As long as the soul is bound by fetters to the body, perceiving corruptible sufferings, it yields to mortal pains; but when, after the wasting of the body, it has found a very swift dissolution of mortality, it is altogether borne into the air, never growing old, and it remains always uninjured; for the first-born providence of God made this disposition."
What do the Sibylline poems say? Do they not declare that this is so, when they say that the time Will come when God will judge the living and the dead?-whose authority we will hereafter bring forward.105 Therefore the opinion entertained by Democritus, and Epicurus, and Dicae archus concerning the dissolution of the soul is false; and they would not venture to speak concerning the destruction of souls, in the presence of any magician, who knew that souls are called forth from the lower regions by certain incantations, and that they are at hand, and afford themselves to be seen by human eyes, and speak, and foretell future events; and if they should thus venture, they would be overpowered by the fact itself, and by proofs presented to them. But because they did not comprehend the nature of the soul, which is so subtle that it escapes the eyes of the human mind, they said that it perishes. What of Aristoxenus, who denied that there is any soul at all, even while it lives in the body? But as on the lyre harmonious sound, and the strain which musicians call harmony, is produced by the tightening of the strings, so he thought that the power of perception existed in bodies from the joining together of the vitals, and from the vigour of the limbs; than which nothing can be said more senseless. Truly he had his eyes uninjured, but his heart was blind, with which he did not see that he lived, and had the mind by which he had conceived that very thought. But this has happened to many philosophers, that they did not believe in the existence of any object which is not apparent to the eyes; whereas the sight of the mind ought to be much clearer than that of the body, for perceiving those things the force and nature of which are rather felt than seen.
Chapter XIV.-Of the First and Last Times of the World.
Since we have spoken of the immortality of the soul, it follows that we teach how and when it is given to man; that in this also they may see the errors of their perverseness and folly, who imagine that some mortals have become gods by the decrees and dogmas of mortals; either because they had invented arts, or because they had taught the use of certain productions of the earth, or because they had discovered things useful for the life of men, or because they had slain savage beasts. How far these things were from deserving immortality we have both shown in the former books, and we will now show, that it may be evident that it is righteousness alone which procures for man eternal life, and that it is God alone who bestows the reward of eternal life. For they who are said to have been immortalized by their merits, inasmuch as they possessed neither righteousness nor any true virtue, did not obtain for themselves immortality, but death by their sins and lusts; nor did they deserve the reward of heaven, but the punishment of hell, which impends over them, together with all their worshippers. And I show that the time of this judgment draws near, that the due reward may be given to the righteous, and the deserved punishment may be inflicted on the wicked.
Plato and many others of the philosophers, since they were ignorant of the origin of all things, and of that primal period at which the world was made, said that many thousands of ages had passed since this beautiful arrangement of the world was completed; and in this they perhaps followed the Chaldeans, who, as Cicero has related in his first book respecting divination,106 foolishly say107 that they possess comprised in their memorials four hundred and seventy thousand years; in which matter, because they thought that they could not be convicted, they believed that they were at liberty108 to speak falsely. But we, whom the Holy Scriptures instruct to the knowledge of the truth, know the beginning and the end of the world, respecting which we will now speak in the end of our work, since we have explained respecting the beginning in the second book. Therefore let the philosophers, who enumerate thousands of ages from the beginning of the world, know that the six thousandth year is not yet completed, and that when this number is completed the consummation must take place, and the condition of human affairs be remodelled for the better, the proof of which must first be related, that the matter itself may be plain. God completed the world and this admirable work of nature in the space of six days, as is contained in the secrets of Holy Scripture, and consecrated the seventh day, on which He had rested from His works. But this is the Sabbath-day, which in the language of the Hebrews received its name from the number,109 whence the seventh is the legitimate and complete number. For there are seven days, by the revolutions of which in order the circles of years are made up; and there are seven stars which do not set, and seven luminaries which are called planets,110 whose differing and unequal movements are believed to cause the varieties of circumstances and times.111
Therefore, since all the works of God were completed in six days, the world must continue in its present state through six ages, that is, six thousand years. For the great day of God is limited by a circle of a thousand years, as the prophet shows, who says112 "In Thy sight, O Lord, a thousand years are as one day." And as God laboured during those six days in creating such great works, so His religion and truth must labour during these six thousand years, while wickedness prevails and bears rule. And again, since God, having finished His works, rested the seventh day and blessed it, at the end of the six thousandth year all wickedness must be abolished from the earth, and righteousness reign for a thousand years; and there must be tranquillity and rest from the labours which the world now has long endured. But how that will come to pass I will explain in its order. We have often said that lesser things and things of small importance are figures and previous shadowings forth of great things; as this day of ours, which is bounded by the rising and the setting of the sun, is a representation113 of that great clay to which the circuit of a thousand years affixes its limits.114
In the same manner also the fashioning of the earthly man held forth to the future the formation of the heavenly people. For as, when all things were completed which were contrived for the use of man, last of all, on the sixth day, He made man also, and introduced him into this world as into a home now carefully prepared; so now on the great sixth day the true man is being formed by the word of God, that is, a holy people is fashioned for righteousness by the doctrine and precepts of God. And as then a mortal and imperfect man was formed from the earth, that he might live a thousand years in this world; so now from this earthly age is formed a perfect man, that being quickened by God, he may bear rule in this same world through a thousand years. But in what manner the consummation will take place, and what end awaits the affairs of men, if any one shall examine the divine writings he will ascertain. But the voices also of prophets of the world, agreeing with the heavenly, announce the end and overthrow of all things after a short time, describing as it were the last old age of the wearied and wasting world. But the things which are said by prophets and seers to be about to happen before that last ending comes upon the world, I will subjoin, being collected and accumulated from all quarters.
Chapter XV.-Of the Devastation of the World and Change of the Empires.
It is contained in the mysteries of the sacred writings, that a prince of the Hebrews, compelled by want of corn, passed into Egypt with all his family and relatives. And when his posterity, remaining long in Egypt, had increased into a great nation, and were oppressed by the heavy and intolerable yoke of slavery, God smote Egypt with an incurable stroke, and freed His people, leading them through the midst of the sea, when, the waves being cut asunder and parted on either side, the people went over on dry ground. And the king of the Egyptians endeavouring to follow them as they fled, the sea returning to its place, he was cut off, with all his people. And this deed so illustrious and so wonderful, although for the present it displayed to men the power of God, was also a foreshadowing and figure of a greater deed, which the same God was about to perform at the last consummation of the times, for He will free His people from the oppressive bondage of the world. But since at that time the people of God were one, and in one nation only, Egypt only was smitten. But now, because the people of God are collected out of all languages, and dwell among all nations, and are oppressed by those hearing rule over them, it must come to pass that all nations, that is, the whole world, be beaten with heavenly stripes, that the righteous people, who are worshippers of God, may be set free. And as then signs were given by which the coming destruction was shown to the Egyptians, so at the last time wonderful prodigies will take place throughout all the elements of the world, by which the impending destruction may be understood by all nations.
Therefore, as the end of this world approaches, the condition of human affairs must undergo a change, and through the prevalence of wickedness become worse; so that now these times of ours, in which iniquity and impiety have increased even to the highest degree, may be judged happy and almost golden in comparison of that incurable evil. For righteousness will so decrease, and impiety, avarice, desire, and lust will so greatly increase, that if there shall then happen to be any good men, they will be a prey to the wicked, and will be harassed on all sides by the unrighteous; while the wicked alone will be in opulence, but the good will be afflicted in all calumnies and in want. All justice will be confounded, and the laws will be destroyed. No one will then have anything except that which has been gained or defended by the hand: boldness and violence will possess all things. There will be no faith among men, nor peace, nor kindness, nor shame, nor truth; and thus also there will be neither security, nor government, nor any rest from evils. For all the earth will be in a state of tumult; wars will everywhere rage; all nations will he in arms, and will oppose one another; neighbouring states will carry on conflicts with each other; and first of all, Egypt will pay the penalties of her foolish superstitions, and will be covered with blood as if with a river. Then the sword will traverse the world, mowing down everything, and laying low all things as a crop. And-my mind dreads to relate it, but I will relate it, because it is about to happen-the cause of this desolation and confusion will be this; because the Roman name, by which the world is now ruled, will be taken away from the earth, and the government return to Asia; and the East will again bear rule, and the West he reduced to servitude.115 Nor ought it to appear wonderful to any one, if a kingdom rounded with such vastness, and so long increased by so many and such men, and in short strengthened by such great resources, shall nevertheless at some time fall. There is nothing prepared by human strength which cannot equally he destroyed by human strength, since the works of mortals are mortal. Thus also other kingdoms in former times, though they had long flourished, were nevertheless destroyed. For it is related that the Egyptians, and Persians, and Greeks, and Assyrians had the government of the world; and after the destruction of them all, the chief power came to the Romans also. And inasmuch as they excel all other kingdoms in magnitude, with so much greater an overthrow will they fall, because those buildings which are higher than others have more weight for a downfall.116
Seneca therefore not unskilfully divided the times of the Roman city by ages. For he said that at first was its infancy under King Romulus, by whom Rome was brought into being, and as it were educated; then its boyhood under the other kings, by whom it was increased and fashioned with more numerous systems of instruction and institutions; but at length, in the reign of Tarquinius, when now it had begun as it were to be grown up, it did not endure slavery; and having thrown off the yoke of a haughty tyranny, it preferred to obey laws rather than kings; and when its youth was terminated by the end of the Punic war, then at length with confirmed strength it began to be manly.117 For when Carthage was taken away, which was long its rival in power, it stretched out its hands by land and sea over the whole world, until, having subdued all kings and nations, when the materials118 for war now failed, it abused its strength, by which it destroyed itself. This was its first old age, when, lacerated by civil wars and oppressed by intestine evil, it again fell back to the government of a single ruler, as it were revolving to a second infancy.119 For, having lost the liberty which it had defended under the guidance and authority of Brutus, it so grew old, as though it had no strength to support itself, unless it depended on the aid of its rulers. But if these things are so, what remains, except that death follow old age? And that it will so come to pass, the predictions of the prophets briefly announce under the cover120 of other names, so that no one can easily understand them. Nevertheless the Sibyls openly say that Rome is doomed to perish, and that indeed by the judgment of God, because it held His name in hatred; and being the enemy of righteousness, it destroyed the people who kept121 the truth. Hystaspes also, who was a very ancient king of the Medes, from whom also the river which is now called Hydaspes received its name, handed down to the memory of posterity a wonderful dream upon the interpretation of a boy who uttered divinations, announcing long before the founding of the Trojan nation, that the Roman empire and name would be taken away from the world.
Chapter XVI.-Of the Devastation of the World, and Its Prophetic Omens.122
But, test any one should think this incredible, I will show how it will come to pass. First, the kingdom will be enlarged, and the chief power, dispersed among many and divided,123 will be diminished. Then civil discords will perpetually be sown; nor will there be any rest from deadly wars, until ten kings arise at the same time, who will divide the world, not to govern, but to consume it. These, having increased their armies to an immense extent, and having deserted the cultivation of the fields, which is the beginning of overthrow and disaster, will lay waste and break in pieces and consume all things. Then a most powerful enemy will suddenly arise against him from the extreme boundaries of the northern region, who, having destroyed three of that number who shall then be in possession of Asia, shall be admitted into alliance by the others, and shall be constituted prince of all. He shall harass the world with an intolerable rule; shall mingle things divine and human; shall contrive things impious to relate, and detestable; shall meditate new designs in his breast, that he may establish the government for himself: he will change the laws, and appoint his own; he will contaminate, plunder, spoil, and put to death. And at length, the name being changed and the seat of government being transferred, confusion and the disturbance of mankind will follow. Then, in truth, a detestable and abominable time shall come, in which life shall be pleasant to none of men.
Cities shall be utterly overthrown, and shall perish; not only by fire and the sword, but also by continual earthquakes and overflowings of waters, and by frequent diseases and repeated famines. For the atmosphere will be tainted, and become corrupt and pestilential-at one time by unseasonable rains, at another by barren drought, now by colds, and now by excessive heats. Nor will the earth give its fruit to man: no field, or tree, or vine will produce anything; but after they have given the greatest hope in the blossom, they will fail in the fruit. Fountains also shall be dried up, together with the rivers; so that there shall not be a sufficient supply for drinking; and waters shall be changed into blood or bitterness. On account of these things, beasts shall fail on the land, and birds in the air, and fishes in the sea. Wonderful prodigies also in heaven shall confound the minds of men with the greatest terrors, and the trains of comets, and the darkness of the sun, and the colour of the moon, and the gliding of the falling stars. Nor, however, will these things take place in the accustomed manner; but there will suddenly appear stars unknown and unseen by the eyes; the sun will be perpetually darkened, so that there will be scarcely any distinction between the night and the day; the moon will now fail, not for three hours only, but overspread with perpetual blood, will go through extraordinary movements, so that it will not be easy for man to ascertain the courses of the heavenly bodies or the system of the times; for there will either be summer in the winter, or winter in the summer. Then the year will be shortened, and the month diminished, and the day contracted into a short space; and stars shall fall in great numbers, so that all the heaven will appear dark without any lights. The loftiest mountains also will fall, and be levelled with the plains; the sea will be rendered unnavigable.
And that nothing may be wanting to the evils of men and the earth, the trumpet shall be heard from heaven, which the Sibyl foretells in this manner:-
"The trumpet from heaven shall utter its wailing voice."
And then all shall tremble and quake at that mournful sound.124 But then, through the anger of God against the men who have not known righteousness, the sword and fire, famine and disease, shall reign; and, above all things, fear always overhanging. Then they shall call upon God, but He will not hear them; death shall be desired, but it will not come; not even shall night give rest to their fear, nor shall sleep approach to their eyes, but anxiety and watchfulness shall consume the souls of men; they shall deplore and lament, and gnash their teeth; they shall congratulate the dead, and bewail the living. Through these and many other evils there shall be desolation on the earth, and the world shall be disfigured and deserted, which is thus expressed in the verses of the Sibyl:-
"The world shall be despoiled of beauty, through the destruction of men."
For the human race will be so consumed, that scarcely the tenth part of men will be left; and from whence a thousand had gone forth, scarcely a hundred will go forth. Of the worshippers of God also, two parts will perish; and the third part, which shall have been proved, will remain.
Chapter XVII.-Of the False Prophet, and the Hardships of the Righteous, and His Destruction.
But I will more plainly set forth the manner in which this happens. When the close of the times draws nigh, a great prophet shall be sent from God to turn men to the knowledge of God, and he shall receive the power of doing wonderful things.125 Wherever men shall not hear him, he will shut up the heaven, and cause it to withhold its rains; he will turn their water into blood, and torment them with thirst and hunger; and if any one shall endeavour to injure him, fire, shall come forth out of his mouth, and shall bum that man. By these prodigies and powers he shall turn many to the worship of God; and when his works shall be accomplished, another king shall arise out of Syria, born from an evil spirit, the overthrower and destroyer of the human race, who shall destroy that which is left by the former evil, together with himself. He shall fight against the prophet of God, and shall overcome, and slay him, and shall suffer him to lie unburied; but after the third day he shall come to life again; and while all look on and wonder, he shall be caught up into heaven. But that king will not only be most disgraceful in himself, but he will also be a prophet of lies; and he will constitute and call himself God, and will order himself to be worshipped as the Son of God; and power will be given him to do signs and wonders, by the sight of which he may entice men to adore him. He will command fire to come down from heaven, and the sun to stand and leave his course, and an image to speak; and these things shall be done at his word,-by which miracles126 many even of the wise shall be enticed by him. Then he will attempt to destroy the temple of God, and persecute the righteous people; and there will be distress and tribulation?127 such as there never has been from the beginning of the world.
As many as shall believe him and unite themselves to him, shall be marked by him as sheep; but they who shall refuse his mark will either flee to the mountains, or, being seized, will be slain with studied128 tortures. He will also enwrap righteous men with the books of the prophets, and thus burn them; and power will be given him to desolate129 the whole earth for forty-two months. That will be the time in which righteousness shall be cast out, and innocence be hated; in which the wicked shall prey upon the good as enemies; neither law, nor order, nor military discipline shall be preserved; no one shall reverence hoary locks, nor recognise the duty of piety, nor pity sex or infancy; all things shall be confounded and mixed together against right, and against the laws of nature. Thus the earth shall be laid waste, as though by one common robbery. When these things shall so happen, then the righteous and the followers of truth shall separate themselves from the wicked, and flee into solitudes. And when he hears of this, the impious king, inflamed with anger, will come with a great army, and bringing up all his forces, will surround all the mountain in which the righteous shall be situated, that he may seize them. But they, when they shall see themselves to be shut in on all sides and besieged, will call upon God with a loud voice, and implore the aid of heaven; and God shall hear them, and send from heaven a great king to rescue and free them, and destroy all the wicked with fire and sword.
Chapter XVIII.-Of the Fortunes of the World at the Last Time, and of the Things Foretold by the Soothsayers.
That these things will thus take place, all the prophets have announced from the inspiration of God, and also the soothsayers at the instigation of the demons. For Hystaspes, whom I have named above, having described the iniquity of this last time, says that the pious and faithful, being separated from the wicked, will stretch forth their hands to heaven with weeping and mourning, and will implore the protection of Jupiter: that Jupiter will look to the earth, and hear the voices of men, and will destroy the wicked. All which things are true except one, that he attributed to Jupiter those things which God will do. But that also was withdrawn from the account, not without fraud on the part of the demons, viz., that the Son of God would then be sent, who, having destroyed all the wicked, would set at liberty the pious. Which, however, Hermes did not conceal. For in that book which is entitled the Complete Treatise, after an enumeration of the evils concerning which we have spoken, he added these things: "But when these things thus come to pass, then He who is Lord, and Father, and God, and the Creator of the first and one God, looking upon what is done, and opposing to the disorder His own will, that is, goodness, and recalling the wandering and cleansing wickedness, partly inundating it with much water, and partly burning it with most rapid fire, and sometimes pressing it with wars and pestilences, He brought His world to its ancient state and restored it." The Sibyls also show that it would not be otherwise than that the Son of God should be sent by His supreme Father, to set free the righteous from the hands of the wicked, and to destroy the unrighteous, together with their cruel tyrants. One of whom thus wrote:-
"He shall come also, wishing to destroy the city of the blest; and a king sent against him from the gods shall slay all the great kings and chief men: then judgment shall thus come from the Immortal to men."
Also another Sibyl:-
"And then God shall send a king from the sun, who shall cause all the earth to cease from disastrous war."
And again another:-
"He will take away the intolerable yoke of slavery which is placed on our neck, and he will do away with impious laws and violent chains."
Chapter XIX.-Of the Advent of Christ to Judgment, and of the Overcoming of the False Prophet.
The world therefore being oppressed, since the resources of men shall be insufficient for the overthrow of a tyranny of immense strength, inasmuch as it will press upon the captive world with great armies of robbers; that calamity so great will stand in need of divine assistance. Therefore God, being aroused both by the doubtful danger and by the wretched lamentation of the righteous, will immediately send a deliverer. Then the middle of the heaven shall be laid open in the dead and darkness of the night, that the light of the descending God may be manifest in all the world as lightning: of which the Sibyl spoke in these words:-
"When He shall come, there will be fire and darkness in the midst of the black night."
This is the night which is celebrated by us in watchfulness on account of the coming of our King and God:130 of which night there is a twofold meaning; because in it He then received life when He suffered, and hereafter He is about to receive the kingdom of the world. For He is the Deliverer, and Judge, and Avenger, and King, and God, whom we call Christ, who before He descends will give this sign: There shall suddenly fall from heaven a sword, that the righteous may know that the leader of the sacred warfare is about to descend; and He shall descend with a company of angels to the middle of the earth, and there shall go before Him an unquenchable fire, and the power of the angels shall deliver into the hands of the just that multitude which has surrounded the mountain, and they shall be slain from the third hour until the evening, and blood shall flow like a torrent; and all his forces being destroyed, the wicked one shall alone escape, and his power shall perish from him.
Now this is he who is called Antichrist; but he shall falsely call himself Christ, and shall fight against the truth, and being overcome shall flee; and shall often renew the war, and often be conquered, until in the fourth battle, all the wicked being slain, subdued, and captured, he shall at length pay the penalty of his crimes. But other princes also and tyrants who have harassed the world, together with him, shall be led in chains to the king; and he shall rebuke them, and reprove them, and upbraid them with their crimes, and condemn them, and consign them to deserved tortures. Thus, wickedness being extinguished and impiety suppressed, the world will be at rest, which having been subject to error and wickedness for so many ages, endured dreadful slavery. No longer shall gods made by the hands be worshipped; but the images being thrust out from their temples and couches, shall be given to the fire, and shall be burnt, together with their wonderful gifts: which also the Sibyl, in accordance with the prophets, announced as about to take place:-
"But mortals shall break in pieces the images and all the wealth."
The Erythraean Sibyl also made the same promise:-
"And the works made by the hand of the gods shall be burnt up."
Chapter XX.-Of the Judgment of Christ, of Christians, and of the Soul.
After these things the lower regions shall be opened, and the dead shall rise again, on whom the same King and God shall pass judgment, to whom the supreme Father shall give the great power both of judging and of reigning. And respecting this judgment and reign, it is thus found in the Erythraean Sibyl:-
"When this shall receive its fated accomplishment, and the judgment of the immortal God shall now come to mortals, the great judgment shall come upon men, and the beginning."
Then in another:-
"And then the gaping earth shall show a Tartarean chaos; and all kings shall come to the judgment-seat of God."
And in another place in the same:-
"Rolling along the heavens, I will open the caverns of the earth; and then I will raise the dead, loosing fate and the sting of death; and afterwards I will call them into judgment, judging the life of pious and impious men."
Not all men, however, shall then be judged by God, but those only who have been exercised in the religion of God. For they who have not known God, since sentence cannot be passed upon them for their acquittal, are already judged and condemned, since the Holy Scriptures testify that the wicked shall not arise to judgment.131 Therefore they who have known God shall be judged, and their deeds, that is, their evil works, shall be compared and weighed against their good ones: so that if those which are good and just are more132 and weighty, they may be given to a life of blessedness; but if the evil exceed, they may be condemned to punishment. Here, perhaps, some one will say, If the soul is immortal, how is it represented as capable of suffering, and sensible of punishment? For if it shall be punished on account of its deserts, it is plain that it will be sensible of pain, and even of death. If it is not liable to death, not even to pain, it follows that it is not capable of suffering.
This question or argument is thus met by the Stoics: that the souls of men continue to exist, and are not annihilated133 by the intervention of death: that the souls, moreover, of those who have been just, being pure, and incapable of suffering, and happy, return to the heavenly abodes from which they had their origin, or are borne to some happy plains, where they may enjoy wonderful pleasures; but that the wicked, since they have defiled themselves with evil I passions, have a kind of middle nature, between that of an immortal and a mortal, and have something of weakness, from the contagion of the flesh; and being enslaved to its desires and lusts, they contract an indelible stain and earthly blot; and when this has become entirely inherent through length of time, souls are given over to its nature, so that, though they cannot altogether be extinguished, inasmuch as they are from God, nevertheless they become liable to torment through the taint of the body, which being burnt in by means of sins, produces a feeling of pain. Which sentiment is thus expressed by the poet:134 -
"Nay, when at last the life has fled,
And left the body cold and dead,
E'en then there passes not away
The painful heritage of clay:
Full many a long contracted stain
Perforce must linger deep in grain.
So penal sufferings they endure
For ancient crime, to make them pure."
These things are near to the truth.135 For the semi, when separated from the body, is, as the same poet says,136 such as
"No vision of the drowsy night,
No airy current half so light,"
because it is a spirit, and by its very slightness incapable of being perceived, but only by us who are corporeal but capable of being perceived by God, since it belongs to Him to be able to do all things.
Chapter XXI.-Of the Torments and Punishments of Souls.
First of all, therefore, we say that the power of God is so great, that He perceives even incorporeal things, and manages them as He will. For even angels fear God, because they can be chastised by Him in some unspeakable manner; and devils dread Him, because they are tormented and punished by Him. What wonder is it, therefore, if souls, though they are immortal, are nevertheless capable of suffering at the hand of God? For since they have nothing solid and tangible in themselves, they can suffer no violence from solid and corporeal beings; but because they live in their spirits only, they are capable of being handled by God alone, whose energy and substance is spiritual. But, however, the sacred writings inform us in what manner the wicked are to undergo punishment. For because they have committed sins in their bodies, they will again be clothed with flesh, that they may make atonement in their bodies; and yet it will not be that flesh with which God clothed man, like this our earthly body, but indestructible, and abiding for ever, that it may be able to hold out against tortures and everlasting fire, the nature of which is different from this fire of ours, which we use for the necessary purposes of life, and which is extinguished unless it be sustained by the fuel of some material. But that divine fire always lives by itself, and flourishes without any nourishment; nor has it any smoke mixed with it, but it is pure and liquid, and fluid, after the manner of water. For it is not urged upwards by any force, as our fire, which the taint of the earthly body, by which it is held, and smoke intermingled, compels to leap forth, and to fly upwards to the nature of heaven, with a tremulous movement.137
The same divine fire, therefore, with one and the same force and power, will both burn the wicked and will form them again, and will replace as much as it shall consume of their bodies, and will supply itself with eternal nourishment: which the poets transferred to the vulture of Tityus. Thus, without any wasting of bodies, which regain their substance, it will only burn and affect them with a sense of pain. But when He shall have judged the righteous, He will also try them with fire. Then they whose sins shall exceed either in weight or in number, shall be scorched by the fire and burnt:138 but they whom full justice and maturity of virtue has imbued will not perceive that fire; for they have something of God in themselves which repels and rejects the violence of the flame. So great is the force of innocence, that the flame shrinks from it without doing harm; which has received from God this power, that it burns the wicked, and is under the command of the righteous. Nor, however, let any one imagine that souls are immediately judged. after death. For all are detained in one and a common place of confinement, until the arrival of the time in which the great Judge shall make an investigation of their deserts.139 Then they whose piety shall have been approved of will receive the reward of immortality; but they whose sins and crimes shall have been brought to light will not rise again, but will be hidden in the same darkness with the wicked, being destined to certain punishment.
Chapter XXII.-Of the Error of the Poets, and the Return of the Soul from the Lower Regions.
Some imagine that these things are figments of the poets, not knowing whence the poets received them, and they say that these things are impossible; and it is no wonder that it so appears to them. For the matter is related by the poets in a manner which is different from the truth; for although they are much more ancient than the historians and orators, and other kinds of writers, yet because they were ignorant of the secret of the divine mystery, and mention of a future resurrection had reached them by an obscure rumour, yet they handed it down, when carelessly and lightly heard, after the manner of a feigned story. And yet they also testified that they did not follow a sure authority, but mere opinion, as Maro, who says,140
"What ear has heard let tongue make known."
Although, therefore, they have partly corrupted the secrets of the truth, yet the matter itself is found to be more true, because it partly agrees with the prophets: which is sufficient for us as a proof of the matter. Yet some reason is contained in their error. For when the prophets proclaimed with continual announcements that the Son of God was about to judge the dead, and this announcement did not escape their notice; inasmuch as they supposed that there was no other ruler of heaven but Jupiter, they reported that the son of Jupiter was king in the lower regions, but not Apollo, or Liber, or Mercurius, who are supposed to be gods of heaven, but one who was both mortal and just, either Minos, or Aeacus, or Rhadamanthus. Therefore with poetic licence they corrupted that which they had received; or, the opinion being scattered through different mouths and various discourses, changed the truth. For inasmuch as they foretold that, when a thousand years had been passed in the lower regions, they should again be restored to life, as Maro said:141 -
"All these, when centuries ten times told
The wheel of destiny have rolled,
The voice divine from far and wide
Calls up to Lethe's river side,
That earthward they may pass once more,
Remembering not the things before,
And with a blind propension yearn
To fleshly bodies to return: "
this matter escaped their notice, that the dead will rise again, not after a thousand years from their death, but that, when again restored to life, they may reign with God a thousand years. For God will come, that, having cleansed the world from all defilement, He may restore the souls of the righteous to their renewed bodies, and raise them to everlasting blessedness.Therefore the other things are true, except the water of oblivion, which they feigned on this account, that no one might make this objection: why, therefore, did they not remember that they were at one time alive, or who they were, or what things they accomplished? But nevertheless it is not thought probable, and the whole matter is rejected, as though licentiously and fabulously invented. But when we affirm the doctrine of the resurrection, and teach that souls will return to another life, not forgetful of themselves, but possessed of the same perception and figure, we are met with this objection: So many ages have now passed; what individual ever arose from the dead, that through. his example we may believe it to be possible? But the resurrection cannot take place while unrighteousness still prevails. For in this world men are slain by violence, by the sword, by ambush, by poisons, and are visited with injuries, with want, with imprisonment, with tortures, and with proscriptions. Add to this that righteousness is hated, that all who wish to follow God are not only held in hatred, but are harassed with all reproaches, and are tormented by manifold kinds of punishments, and are driven to the impious worship of gods made with hands, not by reason or truth, but by dreadful laceration of their bodies.
Ought men therefore to rise again to these same things, or to return to a life in which it is impossible for them to be safe? Since the righteous, then, are so lightly esteemed, and so easily taken away, what can we suppose would have happened if any one returning from the dead had recovered life by a recovery142 of his former condition? He would assuredly be taken away from the eyes of men, lest, if he were seen or heard, all men with one accord should leave the gods and betake themselves to the worship and religion of the one God. Therefore it is necessary that the resurrection should take place once only when evil shall have been taken away, since it is befitting that those who have risen again should neither die any more, nor be injured in any way, that they may be able to pass a happy life whose death has been annulled.143 But the poets, knowing that this life abounds with all evils, introduced the river of oblivion, lest the souls, remembering their labours and evils, should refuse to return to the upper regions; whence Virgil says:144 -
"O Father l and can thought conceive
That happy souls this realm would leave,
And seek the upper sky,
With sluggish clay to reunite?
This dreadful longing for the light,
Whence comes it, say, and why? "
For they did not know how or when it must take place; and therefore they supposed that souls were born again, and that they returned afresh to the womb, and went back to infancy. Whence also Plato, while discussing the nature of the soul, says that it may be known from this that souls are immortal and divine, because in boys minds are pliant, and easy of perception, and because they so quickly comprehend the subjects which they learn, that they appear not then to be learning for the first time, but to be recalling them to mind and recollecting them: in which matter the wise man most foolishly believed the poets.
Chapter XXIII.-Of the Resurrection of the Soul, and the Proofs of This Fact.
Therefore they will not be born again, which is impossible, but they will rise again, and be clothed by God with bodies, and will remember their former life, and all its actions; and being placed in the possession of heavenly goods, and enjoying the pleasure of innumerable resources, they will give thanks to God in His immediate presence, because He has destroyed all evil, and because He has raised them to His kingdom and to perpetual life. Respecting which resurrection the philosophers also attempted to speak as corruptly as the poets. For Pythagoras asserted that souls passed into new bodies; but foolishly, that they passed from men into cattle, and from cattle into men; and that he himself was restored from Euphorbus. Chrysippus says better, whom Cicero speaks of as supporting the portico of the Stoics, who, in the books which he wrote concerning providence, when he was speaking of the renewing of the world, introduced these words: "But since this is so, it is evident that nothing is impossible, and that we, after our death, when certain periods of time have again come round, are restored to this state in which we now are." But let us return from human to divine things. The Sibyl thus speaks:-
"For the whole race of mortals is hard to be believed; but when the judgment of the world and of mortals shall now come, which God Himself shall institute, judging the impious and the holy at the same time, then at length He shall send the wicked to darkness in fire. But as many as are holy shall live again on the earth, God giving them at the same time a spirit, and honour, and life."
But if not only prophets, but even bards, and poets, and philosophers, agree that there will be a resurrection of the dead, let no one ask of us how this is possible: for no reason can be assigned for divine works; but if from the beginning God formed man in some unspeakable manner, we may believe that the old man can be restored by Him who made the new man.
Chapter XXIV.-Of the Renewed World.
Now I will subjoin the rest. Therefore the Son of the most high and mighty God shall come to judge the quick and the dead, as the Sibyl testifies and says:-
"For then there shall be confusion of mortals throughout the whole earth, when the Almighty Himself shall come on His judgment-seat to judge the souls of the quick and dead, and all the world."
But He, when He shall have destroyed unrighteousness, and executed His great judgment, and shall have recalled to life the righteous, who have lived from the beginning, will be engaged among men a thousand years, and will rule them with most just command. Which the Sibyl proclaims in another place, as she utters her inspired predictions:-
"Hear me, ye mortals; an everlasting King reigns."
Then they who shall be alive in their bodies shall not die, but during those thousand years shall produce an infinite multitude, and their offspring shall be holy, and beloved by God; but they who shall be raised from the dead shall preside over the living as judges.145 But the nations shall not be entirely extinguished, but some shall be left as a victory for God, that they may be the occasion of triumph to the righteous, and may be subjected to perpetual slavery. About the same time also the prince of the devils, who is the contriver of all evils, shall be bound with chains, and shall be imprisoned during the thousand years of the heavenly rule in which righteousness shall reign in the world, so that he may contrive no evil against the people of God. After His coming the righteous shall be collected from all the earth, and the judgment being completed, the sacred city shall be planted in the middle of the earth, in which God Himself the builder may dwell together with the righteous, bearing rule in it. And the Sibyl marks out this city when she says:-
"And the city which God made this He made more brilliant than the stars, and sun, and moon."
Then that darkness will be taken away from the world with which the heaven will be overspread and darkened, and the moon will receive the brightness of the sun, nor will it be further diminished: but the sun will become seven times brighter than it now is; and the earth will open its fruitfulness, and bring forth most abundant fruits of its own accord; the rocky mountains shall drop with honey; streams of wine shall run down, and rivers flow with milk: in short, the world itself shall rejoice, and all nature exult, being rescued and set free from the dominion of evil and impiety, and guilt and error. Throughout this time beasts shall not be nourished by blood, nor birds by prey; but all things shall be peaceful and tranquil. Lions and calves shall stand together at the manger, the wolf shall not carry off the sheep, the hound shall not hunt for prey; hawks and eagles shall not injure; the infant shall play with serpents. In short, those things shall then come to pass which the poets spoke of as being done in the reign of Saturnus. Whose error arose from this source,-that the prophets bring forward and speak of many future events as already accomplished. For visions were brought before their eyes by the divine Spirit, and they saw these things, as it were, done and completed in their own sight. And when fame had gradually spread abroad their predictions, since those who were uninstructed in the mysteries146 of religion did not know why they were spoken, they thought that all those things were already fulfilled in the ancient ages, which evidently could not be accomplished and fulfilled under the reign of a man.147 But when, after the destruction of impious religions and the suppression of guilt, the earth shall be subject to God,-
"The sailor148 himself also shall renounce the sea, nor shall the naval pine
Barter merchandise; all lands shall produce all things.
The ground shall not endure the harrow, nor the vineyard the pruning hook;
The sturdy ploughman also shall loose the bulls from the yoke.
The plain shall by degrees grow yellow with soft ears of corn,
The blushing grape shall hang on the uncultivated brambles,
And hard oaks shall distil the dewy honey.
Nor shall the wool learn to counterfeit various colours;
But the ram himself in the meadows shall change his fleece,
Now for a sweetly blushing purple, now for saffron dye;
Scarlet of its own accord shall cover the lambs as they feed.
The goats of themselves shall bring back home their udders distended with milk;
Nor shall the herds dread huge lions."149
Which things the poet foretold according to the verses of the Cumaean Sibyl. But the Erythraean thus speaks:-
"But wolves shall not contend with lambs on the mountains, and lynxes shall eat grass with kids; boars shall feed with calves, and with all flocks; and the carnivorous lion shall eat chaff at the manger, and serpents shall sleep with infants deprived of their mothers."
And in another place, speaking of the fruitfulness of all things:-
"And then shall God give great joy to men; for the earth, and the trees, and the numberless flocks of the earth shall give to men the true fruit of the vine, and sweet honey, and white milk, and corn, which is the best of all things to mortals."
And another in the same manner:-
"The sacred land of the pious only will produce all these things, the stream of honey from the rock and from the fountain, and the milk of ambrosia will flow for all the just."
Therefore men will live a most tranquil life, abounding with resources, and will reign together with God; and the kings of the nations shall come from the ends of the earth with gifts and offerings, to adore and honour the great King, whose name shall be renowned and venerated by all the nations which shall be trader heaven, and by the kings who shall rule on earth.
Chapter XXV.-Of the Last Times, and of the City of Rome.
These are the things which are spoken of by the prophets as about to happen hereafter: but I have not considered it necessary to bring forward their testimonies and words, since it would be an endless task; nor would the limits of my book receive so great a multitude of subjects, since so many with one breath speak similar things; and at the same time, lest weariness should be occasioned to the readers if I should heap together things collected and transferred froth all; moreover, that I might confirm those very things which I said, not by my own writings, but in an especial manner by the writings of others, and might show that not only among us, but even with those very persons who revile us, the truth is preserved,150 which they refuse to acknowledge.151 But he who wishes to know these things more accurately may draw from the fountain itself, and he will know more things worthy of admiration than we have comprised in these books. Perhaps some one may now ask when these things of which we have spoken are about to come to pass? I have already shown above, that when six thousand years shall be completed this change must take place, and that the last day of the extreme conclusion is now drawing near. It is permitted us to know respecting the signs, which are spoken by the prophets, for they foretold signs by which the consummation of the times is to be expected by us from day to day, and to be feared. When, however, this amount will be completed, those teach, who have written respecting the times, collecting them from the sacred writings and from various histories, how great is the number of years from the beginning of the world. And although they vary, and the amount of the number as reckoned by them differs considerably, yet all expectation does not exceed the limit of two hundred years. The subject itself declares that the fall and ruin of the world will shortly take place; except that while the city of Rome remains it appears that nothing of this kind is to be feared.152 But when that capital of the world shall have fallen, and shall have begun to be a street,153 which the Sibyls say shall come to pass, who can doubt that the end has now arrived to the affairs of men and the whole world? It is that city, that only, which still sustains all things; and the God of heaven is to be entreated by us and implored-if, indeed, His arrangements and decrees can be delayed-lest, sooner than we think for, that detestable tyrant should come who will trader-take so great a deed, and dig out that eye, by the destruction of which the world itself is about to fall. Now let us return, to set forth the other things which are then about to follow.
Chapter XXVI.-Of the Loosing of the Devil, and of the Second and Greatest Judgement.
We have said, a little before, that it will come to pass at the commencement of the sacred reign, that the prince of the devils will be bound by God. But he also, when the thousand years of the kingdom, that is, seven thousand of the world, shall begin to be ended, will be loosed afresh, and being sent forth from prison, will go forth and assemble all the nations, which shall then be trader the dominion of the righteous, that they may make war against the holy city; and there shall be collected together from all the world an innumerable company of the nations, and shall besiege and surround the city. Then the last anger of God shall come upon the nations, and shall utterly154 destroy them; and first He shall shake the earth most violently, and by its motion the mountains of Syria shall be rent, and the hills shall sink down precipitously, and the walls of all cities shall fall, and God shall cause the sun to stand, so that he set not for three days, and shall set it on fire; and excessive heat and great burning shall descend upon the hostile and impious people, and showers of brimstone, and hailstones, and drops of fire; and their spirits shall melt through the heat, and their bodies shall be bruised by the hail, and they shall smite one another with the sword. The mountains shall be filled with carcases, and the plains shall be covered with bones; but the people of God during those three days shall be concealed under caves of the earth, until the anger of God against the nations and the last judgment shall be ended.
Then the righteous shall go forth from their hiding-places, and shall find all things covered with carcases and bones. But the whole race of the wicked shall utterly perish; and there shall no longer be any nation in this world, but the nation of God alone. Then for seven continuous years the woods shall be untouched, nor shall timber be cut from the mountains, but the arms of the nations shall be burnt; and now there shall be no war, but peace and everlasting rest. But when the thousand years shall be completed, the world shall be renewed by God, and the heavens shall be folded together, and the earth shall be changed, and God shall transform men into the similitude of angels, and they shall be white as snow; and they shall always be employed in the sight of the Almighty, and shall make offerings to their Lord, and serve Him for ever. At the same time shall take place that second and public resurrection155 of all, in which the unrighteous shall be raised to everlasting punishments. These are they who have worshipped the works of their own hands, who have either been ignorant of, or have denied the Lord and Parent of the world. But their lord with his servants shall be seized and condemned to punishment, together with whom all the band of the wicked, in accordance with their deeds, shall be burnt for ever with perpetual fire in the sight of angels and the righteous.
This is the doctrine of the holy prophets which we Christians follow; this is our wisdom, which they who worship frail objects, or maintain an empty philosophy, deride as folly and vanity, because we are not accustomed to defend and assert it in public, since God orders us in quietness and silence to hide His secret, and to keep it within our own conscience; and not to strive with obstinate contention against those who are ignorant of the truth, and who rigorously assail God and His religion not for the sake of learning, but of censuring and jeering. For a mystery ought to be most faithfully concealed and covered, especially by us, who bear the name of faith.156 But they accuse this silence of ours, as though it were the result of an evil conscience; whence also they invent some detestable things respecting those who are holy and blameless, and willingly believe their own inventions.
The address to Constantine is wanting in some mss. and editions, but is inserted in the text by Migne, as found in some important mss., and as in accordance with the style and spirit of Lactantius.
But all fictions have now been hushed, most holy Emperor, since the time when the great God raised thee up for the restoration of the house of justice, and for the protection of the human race; for while thou rulest the Roman state, we worshippers of God are no more regarded as accursed and impious. Since the truth now comes forth157 from obscurity, and is brought into light, we are not censured as unrighteous who endeavour to perform the works of righteousness. No one any longer reproaches us with the name of God. None of us, who are alone of all men religious, is any more called irreligious; since despising the images of the dead, we worship the living and true God. The providence of the supreme Deity has raised thee to the imperial dignity, that thou mightest be able with true piety to rescind the injurious decrees of others, to correct faults, to provide with a fathers's clemency for the safety of men,-in short, to remove the wicked from the state, whom being cast down by pre-eminent piety, God has delivered into your hands, that it might be evident to all in what true majesty consists.
For they who wished to take away the worship of the heavenly and matchless158 God, that they might defend impious superstitions, lie in ruin.159 But thou, who defendest and lovest His name, excelling in virtue and prosperity, enjoyest thy immortal glories with the greatest happiness. They suffer and have suffered the punishment of their guilt. The powerful right hand of God protects thee from all dangers; He bestows on thee a quiet and tranquil reign, with the highest congratulations of all men. And not undeservedly has the Lord and Ruler of the world chosen thee in preference to all others, by whom He might renew His holy religion, since thou alone didst exist of all, who mightest afford a surpassing example of virtue and holiness: in which thou mightest not only equal, but also, which is a very great matter, excel the glory of ancient princes, whom nevertheless fame reckons among the good. They indeed perhaps by nature only resembled the righteous. For he who is ignorant of God, the Ruler of the universe, may attain to a resemblance of righteousness, but he cannot attain to righteousness itself. But thou, both by the innate sanctity of thy character, and by thy acknowledgment of the truth and of God in every action, dost fully perform160 the works of righteousness.161 It was therefore befitting that, in arranging the condition of the human race, the Deity should make use of thy authority and service. Whom we supplicate with daily prayers, that He may especially guard thee whom He has wished to be the guardian of the world: then that He may inspire thee with a disposition by which thou mayest always continue in the love of the divine name. For this is serviceable to all, both to thee for happiness, and to others for repose.
Chapter XXVII.-An Encouragement and Confirmation of the Pious.
Since we have completed the seven courses162 of the work which we undertook, and have advanced to the goal, it remains that we exhort all to undertake wisdom together with true religion, the strength and office of which depends on this, that, despising earthly things, and laying aside the errors by which we were formerly held while we served frail things, and desired frail things, we may be directed to the eternal rewards of the heavenly treasure. And that we may obtain these, the alluring pleasures of the present life must as soon as possible be laid aside, which soothe the souls of men with pernicious sweetness. How great a happiness must it be thought, to be withdrawn from these stains of the earth, and to go to that most just Judge and indulgent Father, who in the place of labours gives rest, in the place of death life, in the place of darkness brightness, and in the place of short and earthly goods, gives those which are eternal and heavenly: with which reward the hardships and miseries which we endure in this world, in accomplishing the works of righteousness, can in no way be compared and equalled. Therefore, if we wish to be wise and happy, not only must those sayings of Terence be reflected upon and proposed to us,
"That we must ever grind at the mill, we must be beaten, and put in fetters; "163
but things much more dreadful than these must be endured, namely, the prison, chains, and tortures: pains must be undergone, in short, death itself must be undertaken and borne, when it is clear to our conscience that that frail pleasure will not be without punishment, nor virtue without a divine reward. All, therefore, ought to endeavour either to direct themselves to the right way as soon as possible, or, having undertaken and exercised virtues, and having patiently performed the labours of this life, to deserve to have God as their comforter. For our Father and Lord, who built and strengthened the heaven, who placed in it the sun, with the other heavenly bodies, who by His power weighed the earth and fenced it with mountains, surrounded it with the sea, and divided it with rivers, and who made and completed out of nothing whatever there is in this workmanship of the world; having observed the errors of men, sent a Guide, who might open to us the way of righteousness: let us all follow Him, let us hear Him, let us obey Him with the greatest devotedness, since He alone, as Lucretius says,164
"Cleansed men's breasts with truth-telling precepts, and fixed a limit to lust and fear, and explained what was the chief good which we all strive to reach, and pointed out the road by which, along a narrow track, we might arrive at it in a straightforward course."
And not only pointed it out, but also went before us in it, that no one might dread the path of virtue on account of its difficulty. Let the way of destruction and deceit, if it is possible, be deserted, in which death is concealed, being covered by the attractions of pleasure.
And the more nearly each one, as his years incline to old age, sees to be the approach of that day in which he must depart from this life, let him reflect how he may leave it in purity, how he may come to the Judge in innocency; not as they do, to whose dark minds the light is denied165 who, when the strength of their body now fails, are admonished in this of the last pressing necessity, that they should with greater eagerness and ardour apply themselves to the satisfying of their lusts. From which abyss let everyone free himself while it is permitted him, while the opportunity is present, and let him turn himself to God with his whole mind, that he may without anxiety await that day, in which God, the Ruler and Lord of the world, shall judge the deeds and thoughts of each. Whatever things are here desired, let him not only neglect, but also avoid them, and let him judge that his soul is of greater value than those deceitful goods, the possession of which is uncertain and transitory; for they take their departure every clay, and they go forth much more quickly than they had entered, and if it is permitted us to enjoy them even to the last, they must still, without doubt, be left to others. We can take nothing with us, except a well and innocently spent life. That man will appear before God with abundant resources, that man will appear in opulence, to whom there shall belong self-restraint, mercy, patience, love, and faith. This is our inheritance, which can neither be taken away from any one, nor transferred to another. And who is there who would wish to provide and acquire for himself these goods?
Let those who are hungry come, that being fed with heavenly food, they may lay aside their lasting hunger; let those who are athirst come, that they may with full mouth draw forth the water of salvation from an ever-flowing fountain.166 By this divine food and drink the blind shall both see, and the deaf hear, and the dumb speak, and the lame walk, and the foolish shall be wise, and the sick shall be strong, and the dead shall come to life again. For whoever by his virtue has trampled upon the corruptions of the earth, the supreme and truthful arbiter will raise him to life and to perpetual light. Let no one trust in riches, no one in badges of authority, no one even in royal power: these things do not make a man immortal. For whosoever shall cast away the conduct becoming a man,167 and, following present things, shall prostrate himself upon the ground, will be punished as a deserter from his Lord, his commander, and his Father. Let us therefore apply ourselves to righteousness, which will alone, as an inseparable companion, lead us to God; and "while a spirit rules these limbs,"168 let us serve God with unwearied service, let us keep our posts and watches, let us boldly engage with the enemy whom we know, that victorious and triumphant over our conquered adversary, we may obtain from the Lord that reward of valour which He Himself has promised.
The Epitome of the Divine Institutes
Addressed to His Brother Pentadius.
The Preface.-The Plan and Purport of the Whole Epitome,1 And of the Institutions.
Although the books of the Divine Institutions which we wrote a long time since to illustrate the truth and religion, may so prepare and mould the minds of the readers, that their length may not produce disgust, nor their copiousness be burthensome; nevertheless you desire, O brother Pentadius, that an epitome of them should be made for you, I suppose for this reason, that I may write something to you, and that your name may be rendered famous by my work, such as it is. I will comply with your desire, although it seems a difficult matter to comprise within the compass of one book those things which have been treated of in seven large volumes.2 For the whole matter becomes less full when so great a multitude of subjects is to be compressed within a narrow space; and it becomes less clear by its very brevity, especially since many arguments and examples, on which the elucidation of the proofs depends, must of necessity be omitted, since their copiousness is so great, that even by themselves they are enough to make up a book. And when these are removed, what can appear useful, what plain? But I will strive as much as the subject permits, both to contract that which is diffuse and to shorten that which is long; in such a manner, however, that in this work, in which truth is to be brought to light, matter may not seem to be wanting for copiousness, nor clearness for understanding it.3
Chapter I.-Of the Divine Providence.
First a question arises: Whether there is any providence which made or governs the world? That there is, no one doubts, since of almost all the philosophers, except the school of Epicurus, there is but one voice and one opinion, that the world could not have been made without a contriver, and that it cannot exist without a ruler. Therefore Epicurus is refuted not only by the most learned men, but also by the testimonies and perceptions of all mortals. For who can doubt respecting a providence, when he sees that the heavens and the earth have been so arranged and that all things have been so regulated, that they might be most befittingly adapted, not only to wonderful beauty and adornment, but also to the use of men, and the convenience of the other living creatures? That, therefore, which exists in accordance with a plan, cannot have had its beginning without a plan: thus4 it is certain that there is a providence.
Chapter II.-That There is But One God, and that There Cannot Be More.
Another question follows: Whether there be one God or more? And this indeed contains much ambiguity. For not only do individuals differ among themselves, but also peoples and nations. But he who shall follow the guidance of reason will understand that there cannot be a Lord except one, nor a Father except one. For if God, who made all things, is also Lord and Father, He must be one only, so that the same may be the head and source of all things. Nor is it possible for the world5 to exist unless all things be referred to one person, unless one hold the rudder, unless one guide the reins, and, as it were, one mind direct all the members of the body. If there are many kings in a swarm of bees, they will perish or be scattered abroad, while
"Discord attacks the kings with great commotion."6
If there are several leaders in a herd, they will contend until one gains the mastery.7 If there are many commanders in an army, the soldiers cannot obey, since different commands are given; nor can unity be maintained by themselves, since each consults his own interests according to his humours.8 Thus, in this commonwealth of the world, unless there were one ruler, who was also its founder, either this mass would be dissolved, or it could not have been put together at all.
Moreover, the whole authority, could not exist in many deities, since they separately maintain their own duties and their own prerogatives. No one, therefore, of them can be called omnipotent, which is the true title of God, since he will be able to accomplish that only which depends upon himself, and will not venture to attempt that which depends upon others. Vulcan will not claim for himself water, nor Neptune fire; nor will Ceres claim acquaintance with the arts, nor Minerva with fruits; nor will Mercury lay claim to arms, nor Mars to the lyre; Jupiter will not claim medicine, nor Aesculapius the thunderbolt: he will more easily endure it when thrown by another, than he will brandish it himself. If, therefore, individuals cannot do all things, they have less strength and less power; but he is to be regarded as God who can accomplish the whole, and not he who can only accomplish the smallest part of the whole.
Chapter III.-The Testimonies of the Poets Concerning the One God.
There is, then, one God, perfect, eternal, incorruptible, incapable of suffering, subject to no circumstance or power, Himself possessing all things, ruling all things, whom the human mind can neither estimate in thought nor mortal tongue describe in speech. For He is too elevated and great to be conceived by the thought, or expressed by the language of man. In short, not to speak of the prophets, the preachers of the one God, poets also, and philosophers, and inspired women,9 utter their testimony to the unity of God. Orpheus speaks of the surpassing God who made the heaven and the sun, with the other heavenly bodies; who made the earth and the seas. Also our own Maro calls the Supreme God at one time a spirit, at another time a mind, and says that it, as though infused into limbs, puts in motion the body of the whole world; also, that God permeates the heights of heaven, the tracts of the sea and lands, and that all living creatures derive their life from Him. Even Ovid was not ignorant that the world was prepared by God, whom he sometimes calls the framer of all things, sometimes the fabricator of the world.10
Chapter IV.-The Testimonies of the Philosophers to the Unity of God.
But let us come to the philosophers, whose authority is regarded as more certain than that of the poets. Plato asserts His monarchy, saying that there is but one God, by whom the world was prepared and completed with wonderful order. Aristotle, his disciple, admits that there is one mind which presides over the world. Antisthenes says that there is one who is God by nature,11 the governor of the whole system. It would be a long task to recount the statements which have been made respecting the Supreme God, either by Thales, or by Pythagoras and Anaximenes before him, or afterwards by the Stoics Cleanthes and Chrysippus and Zeno, or of our countrymen, by Seneca following the Stoics, and by Tullius himself, since all these attempted to define the being of God,12 and affirmed that the world is ruled by Him alone, and that He is not subject to any nature, since all nature derives its origin from Him.
Hermes, who, on account of his virtue and his knowledge of many arts, deserved the name of Trismegistus, who preceded the philosophers in the antiquity of his doctrine, and who is reverenced by the Egyptians as a god, in asserting the majesty of the one God with infinite praises, calls Him Lord and Father. and says that He is without a name because He does not stand in need of a proper name, inasmuch as He is alone, and that He has no parents, since He exists of Himself and by Himself. In writing to his son he thus begins: To understand God is difficult, to describe Him in speech is impossible, even for one to whom it is possible to understand Him; for the perfect cannot be comprehended by the imperfect, nor the invisible by the visible.
Chapter V.-That the Prophetic Women-That Is, the Sibyls-Declare that There is But One God.
It remains to speak of the prophetic women. Varro relates that there were ten Sibyls,-the first of the Persians, the second the Libyan, the third the Delphian, the fourth the Cimmerian, the fifth the Erythraean, the sixth the Samian, the seventh the Cumaean, the eighth the Hellespontian, the ninth the Phrygian, the tenth the Tiburtine, who has the name of Albunea. Of all these, he says that there are three books of the Cumaean alone which contain the fates of the Romans, and are accounted sacred, but that there exist. and are commonly regarded as separate, books of almost all the others, but that they are entitled, as though by one name, Sibylline books, excepting that the Erythraean, who is said to have lived in the times of the Trojan war, placed her name in her book: the writings of the others are mixed together.13
All these Sibyls of whom I have spoken, except the Cumaean, whom none but the Quindecemviri14 are allowed to read, bear witness that there is but one God, the ruler, the maker, the parent, not begotten of any, but sprung from Himself, who was from all ages, and will be to all ages; and therefore is alone worthy of being worshipped, alone of being feared, alone of being reverenced, by all living beings;-whose testimonies I have omitted because I was unable to abridge them; but if you wish to see them, you must have recourse to the books themselves. Now let us follow up the remaining subjects.
Chapter VI.-Since God is Eternal and Immortal, He Does Not Stand in Need of Sex and Succession.
These testimonies, therefore, so many and so great, clearly teach that there is but one government in the world, and one power, the origin of which cannot be imagined, or its force described. They are foolish, therefore, who imagine that the gods were born of marriage, since the sexes themselves, and the intercourse between them, were given to mortals by God for this reason, that every race might be preserved by a succession of offspring. But what need have the immortals either of sex or succession since neither pleasure nor death affects them? Those, therefore, who are reckoned as gods, since it is evident that they were born as men, and that they begat others, were plainly mortals: but they were believed to be gods, because, when they were great and powerful kings, on account of the benefits which they had conferred upon men, they deserved to obtain divine hon-ours after death; and temples and statues being erected to them, their memory was retained and celebrated as that of immortals.
Chapter VII.-Of the Wicked Life and Death of Hercules.
But though almost all nations are persuaded that they are gods, yet their actions, as related both by poets and historians, declare that they were men. Who is ignorant of the times in which Hercules lived, since he both sailed with the Argonauts on their expedition, and having stormed Troy, slew Laomedon, the father of Priam, on account of his perjury? From that time rather more than fifteen hundred years are reckoned. He is said not even to have been born honourably, but to have been sprung from Alcmena by adultery, and to have been himself addicted to the vices of his father. He never abstained from women, or males, and traversed the whole world, not so much for the sake of glory as of lust, nor so much for the slaughter of beasts as for the begetting of children. And though he was unvanquished, yet he was triumphed over by Omphale alone, to whom he gave up his club and lion's skin; and being clothed in a woman's garment, and crouching at a woman's feet, he received his task15 to execute. He afterwards, in a transport of frenzy, killed his little children and his wife Megara. At last, having put on a garment sent by his wife Deianyra, when he was perishing through ulcers, being unable to endure the pain, he constructed for himself a funeral pile on Mount Oeta, and burnt himself alive. Thus it is effected, that although on account of his excellence16 he might have been believed to be a god, nevertheless on account of these things be is believed to have been a man.
Chapter VIII.-Of Aesculapius, Apollo, Mars, Castor and Pollux, and of Mercurius and Bacchus.
Tarquitius relates that Aesculapius was born of doubtful parents, and that on this account he was exposed; and being taken up by hunters, and fed by the teats of a hound, was given to Chiron for instruction. He lived at Epidaurus, and was buried at Cynosurae, as Cicero says,17 when he had been killed by lightning. But Apollo, his father, did not disdain to take charge of another's flock that he might receive a wife;18 and when he had unintentionally killed a boy whom he loved, he inscribed his own lamentations on a flower. Mars, a man of the greatest bravery, was not free from the charge of adultery, since he was made a spectacle, being bound with a chain together with the adulteress.
Castor and Pollux carried off the brides of others, but not with impunity, to whose death and burial Homer bears witness, not with poetical, but simple faith. Mercurius, who was the father of Androgynus by his intrigue with Venus, deserved to be a god, because he invented the lyre and the paloestra. Father Bacchus, after subduing India as a conqueror, having by chance come to Crete, saw Ariadne on the shore, whom Theseus had forced and deserted. Then, being inflamed by love, he united her in marriage to himself, and placed her crown, as the poets say, conspicuously among the stars. The mother of the gods19 herself, while she lived in Phrygia after the banishment and death of her husband, though a widow, and aged, was enamoured of a beautiful youth; and because he was not faithful, she mutilated, and rendered him effeminate: on which account even now she delights in the Galli20 as her priests.
Chapter IX.-Of the Disgraceful Deeds of the Gods.
Whence did Ceres bring forth Proserpine, except from debauchery? Whence did Latona bring forth her twins, except from crime? Venus having been subject to the lusts of gods and men, when she reigned in Cyprus, invented the practice of courtesanship, and commanded women to make traffic of themselves, that she might not alone be infamous. Were the virgins themselves, Minerva and Diana, chaste? Whence, then, did Erichthonius arise? Did Vulcan shed his seed upon the ground, and was man born from that as a fungus? Or why did Diana banish Hippolytus either to a retired place, or give him up to a woman, where he might pass his life in solitude among unknown groves, and having now changed his name, might be called Virbius? What do these things signify but impurity, which the poets do not venture to confess?
Chapter X.-Of Jupiter, and His Licentious Life.
But respecting the king and father of all these, Jupiter, whom they believe to possess the chief power in heaven,-what power21 had he, who banished his father Saturnus from his kingdom, and pursued him with arms when he fled? What self-restraint had he, who indulged every kind of lust? For he made Alcmena and Leda, the wives of great men, infamous through his adultery: he also, captivated with the beauty of a boy, carried him off with violence as he was hunting and meditating manly things, that he might treat him as a woman. Why should I mention his debaucheries of virgins? and how great a multitude of these there was, is shown by the number of his sons. In the case of Thetis alone he was more temperate. For it bad been predicted that the son whom she should bring forth would be more powerful than his father. Therefore he struggled with his love, that one might not be born greater than himself. He knew, therefore, that he was not of perfect virtue, greatness, and power, since he feared that which he himself had done to his father. Why, therefore, is he called best and greatest, since he both contaminated himself with faults, which is the part of one who is unjust and bad, and feared a greater than himself, which is the part of one who is weak and inferior?
Chapter XI.-The Various Emblems Under Which the Poets Veiled the Turpitude of Jupiter.
But some one will say that these things are feigned by the poets. This is not the usage of the poets, to feign in such a manner that you fabricate the whole, but so that you cover the actions themselves with a figure, and, as it were, with a variegated veil. Poetic licence has this limit, not that it may invent the whole, which is the part of one who is false and senseless, but that it may change something consistently with reason. They said that Jupiter changed himself into a shower of gold, that he might deceive Danae. What is a shower of gold? Plainly golden coins, by offering a great quantity of which, and pouring them into her bosom, he corrupted the frailty of her virgin soul by this bribe. Thus also they speak of a shower of iron, when they wish to signify a multitude of javelins. He carried off his catamite upon an eagle. What is the eagle? Truly a legion, since the figure of this animal is the standard of the legion. He carried Europa across the sea on a bull. What is the bull? Clearly a ship, which had its tutelary image22 fashioned in the shape of a bull. So assuredly the daughter of Inachus was not turned into a cow, nor as such did she swim across, but she escaped the anger of Juno in a ship which had the form of a cow. Lastly, when she had been conveyed to Egypt, she became Isis, whose voyage is celebrated on a fixed day, in memory of her flight.
Chapter XII.-The Poets Do Not Invent All Those Things Which Relate to the Gods.
You see, then, that the poets did not invent all things, and that they prefigured some things, that, when they spoke the truth, they might add something like this of divinity to those whom they called gods; as they did also respecting their kingdoms. For when they say that Jupiter had by lot the kingdom of Coelus, they either menu Mount Olympus, on which ancient stories relate that Saturnus, and afterwards Jupiter, dwelt, or a part of the East, which is, as it were, higher, because the light arises thence; but the region of the West is lower, and therefore they say that Pluto obtained the lower regions; but that the sea was given to Neptune, because he had the maritime coast, with all the islands. Many things are thus coloured by the poets; and they who are ignorant of this, censure them as false, but only in word: for in fact they believe them, since they so fashion the images of the gods, that when they make them male and female, and confess that some are married, some parents, and some children, they plainly assent to the poets; for these relations cannot exist without intercourse and the generation of children.
Chapter XIII.-The Actions of Jupiter are Related from the Historian Euhemerus.
But let us leave the poets; let us come to history, which is supported both by the credibility of the facts and by the antiquity of the times. Euhemerus was a Messenian, a very ancient writer, who gave an account of the origin of Jupiter, and his exploits, and all his posterity, gathered from the sacred inscriptions of ancient temples; he also traced out the parents of the other gods, their countries, actions, commands, and deaths, and even their sepulchres. And this history Ennius translated into Latin, whose words are these:-
"As these things are written, so is the origin and kindred of Jupiter and his brothers; after this manner it is handed clown to us in the sacred writing."
The same Euhemerus therefore relates that Jupiter, when he had five times gone round the world, and had distributed governments to his friends and relatives, and had given laws to men, and had wrought many other benefits, being endued with immortal glory and everlasting remembrance, ended his life in Crete, and departed to the gods, and that his sepulchre is in Crete, in the town of Gnossus, and that upon it is engraved in ancient Greek letters Zankronou, which is Jupiter the son of Saturnus. It is plain, therefore, from the things which I have related, that he was a than, and reigned on the earth.
Chapter XIV.-The Actions of Saturnus and Uranus Taken from the Historians.
Let us pass on to former things, that we may discover the origin of the whole error. Saturnus is said to have been born of Coelus and Terra. This is plainly incredible; but there is a certain reason why it is thus related, and he who is ignorant of this rejects it as a fable. That Uranus was the father of Saturnus, both Hermes affirms, and sacred history teaches. When Trismegistus said that there were very few men of perfect learning, he enumerated among them Iris relatives, Uranus, Saturnus. and Mercurius. Euhemerus relates that the same Uranus was the first who reigned on earth, using these words: "In the beginning Coelus first had the chief power on earth: he instituted and prepared that kingdom for himself together with his brothers."23
Chapter XX.-Of the Gods Peculiar to the Romans.
I have spoken of the religious rites which are common to all nations. I will now speak of the gods which the Romans have peculiar to themselves. Who does not know that the wife of Faustulus, the nurse of Romulus and Remus, in honour of whom the Larentinalia were instituted, was a harlot? And for this reason she was called Lupa, and represented in the form of a wild beast. Faula also and Flora were harlots, of whom the one was the mistress of Hercules, as Verrius relates; the other, having acquired great wealth by her person, made the people her heir, and on this account the games called Floralia are celebrated in her honour.
Tatius consecrated the statue of a woman which had been found in the principal sewer, and called it by the name of the goddess Cloacina. The Romans, being besieged by the Gauls, made engines for throwing weapons of the hair of women; and on this account they erected an altar and temple to Venus Calva:24 also to Jupiter Pistor,25 because he had advised them in a dream to make all their corn into bread, and to throw it upon the enemy; and when this had been done, the Gauls, despairing of being able to reduce the Romans by famine, had abandoned the siege. Tullus Hostilius made Fear and Pallor gods. Mind is also worshipped; but if they had possessed it, they would never, I believe, have thought that it ought to be worshipped. Marcellus originated Honour and Virtue.
Chapter XXI.-Of the Sacred Rites of the Roman Gods.
But the senate also instituted other false gods of this kind,-Hope, Faith, Concord, Peace, Chastity, Piety; all of which, since they ought truly to be in the minds of men, they have falsely placed within walls. But although these have no substantial existence outside of man, nevertheless I should prefer that they should be worshipped, rather than Blight or Fever, which ought not to be consecrated, but rather to be execrated; than Fornax, together with her sacred ovens; than Stercutus, who first showed men to enrich the ground with manure; than the goddess Muta, who brought forth the Lares; than Cumina, who presides over the cradles of infants; than Caca, who gave information to Hercules respecting the stealing of his cattle, that he might slay her brother. How many other monstrous and ludicrous fictions there are, respecting which it is grievous to speak! I do not, however, wish to omit notice of Terminus, since it is related that he did not give way even to Jupiter, though he was an unwrought stone. They suppose that he has the custody of the boundaries, and public prayers are offered to him, that he may keep the stone of the Capitol immoveable, and preserve and extend the boundaries of the Roman empire.
Chapter XXII.-Of the Sacred Rites Introduced by Faunus and Numa.
Faunas was the first in Latium who introduced these follies, who both instituted bloody sacrifices to his grandfather Saturnus, and wished that his father Picus should be worshipped as a god, and placed Fatua Fauna his wife and sister among the gods, and named her the good goddess. Then at Rome, Numa, who burthened those rude and rustic then with new superstitions, instituted priesthoods, and distributed the gods into families and nations, that he might call off the fierce spirits of the people from the pursuits of arms. Therefore Lucilius, in deriding the folly of those who are slaves to vain superstitions, introduced these verses:-
"Those bugbears26 the Lamiae, which Faunus and Numa Pompilius and others instituted, at these he trembles; he places everything in this. As infant boys believe that every statue of bronze is a living man, so these imagine that all things reigned are true: they believe that statues of bronze contain a heart. It is a painter's27 gallery; nothing is real, everything fictitious."
Tullius also, writing of the nature of the gods, complains that false and fictitious gods have been introduced, and that from thus source have arisen false opinions, and turbulent errors, and almost old womanly superstitions, which opinion ought in comparison28 with others to be esteemed more weighty, because these things were spoken by one who was both a philosopher and a priest.
Chapter XXIII.-Of the Gods and Sacred Rites of the Barbarians.
We have spoken respecting the gods: now we will speak of the rites and practices of their sacred institutions. A human victim used to be immolated to the Cyprian Jupiter, as Teucer had appointed. Thus also the Tauri used to offer strangers to Diana; the Latian Jupiter also was propitiated with human blood. Also before Saturnus, men of sixty years of age, according to the oracle29 of Apollo, were thrown from a bridge into the Tiber. And the Carthaginians not only offered infants to the same Saturnus; but being conquered by the Sicilians, to make an expiation, they immolated two hundred sons of nobles. And not more mild than these are those offerings which are even now made to the Great Mother and to Bellona, in which the priests make an offering, not with the blood of others, but with their own blood; when, mutilating themselves, they cease to be men, and yet do not pass over to the women; or, cutting their shoulders, they sprinkle the loathsome altars with their own blood. But these things are cruel.
Let us come to those which are mild. The sacred rites of Isis show nothing else than the manner in which she lost and found her little son, who is called Osiris. For first her priests and attendants, having shaved all their limbs, and beating their breasts, howl, lament, and search, imitating the manner ill which his mother was affected; afterwards the boy is found by Cynocephalus. Thus the mournful rites are ended with gladness. The mystery of Ceres also resembles these, in which torches are lighted, and Proserpine is sought for through the night; and when she has been found, the whole rite is finished with congratulations and the throwing about of torches. The people of Lampsacus, offer an ass to Priapus as an appropriate victim.30 Lindus is a town of Rhodes, where sacred rites in honour of Hercules are celebrated with revilings. For when Hercules had taken away his oxen from a ploughman, and had slain them, he avenged his injury by taunts; and afterwards having been himself appointed priest, it was ordained that he himself, and other priests after him, should celebrate sacrifices with the same revilings. But the mystery of the Cretan Jupiter represents the manner in which he was withdrawn from his father, or brought up. The goat is beside him, by the teats of which Amalthea nourished the boy. The sacred rites of the mother of the gods also show the same thing. For because the Corybantes then drowned the cry of the boy by the tinkling of their helmets and the striking of their shields, a representation of this circumstance is now repeated in the sacred rites; but cymbals are beaten instead of helmets, and drums instead of shields, that Saturnus may not hear the cries of the boy.
Chapter XXIV.-Of the Origin of Sacred Rites and Superstitions.
These are the mysteries of the gods. Now let us inquire also into the origin of superstitions, that we may search out by whom and at what times they were instituted. Didymus, in those books which are inscribed Of the Explanation of Pindar, relates that Melisseus was king of the Cretans, whose daughters were Amalthea and Melissa, who nourished Jupiter with goats' milk and honey; that he introduced new rites and ceremonies of sacred things, and was the first who sacrificed to gods, that is, to Vesta, who is called Tellus,-whence the poet says:-
"And the first of the gods,
and afterwards to the mother of the gods. But Euhemerus, in his sacred history, says that Jupiter himself, after that he received the government, erected temples in honour of himself in many places. For in going about the world, as he came to each place he united the chiefs of the people to himself in friendship and the right of hospitality; and that the remembrance of this might be preserved, he ordered that temples should be built to him, and annual festivals be celebrated by those connected with him in a league of hospitality. Thus he spread the worship of himself through all lands. But at what time they lived can easily be inferred. For Thallus writes in his history, that Belus, the king of the Assyrians, whom the Babylonians worship, and who was the contemporary and friend of Saturnus, was three hundred and twenty-two years before the Trojan war, and it is fourteen hundred and seventy years since the taking of Troy. From which it is evident, that it is not more than eighteen hundred years from the time when mankind fell into error by the institution of new forms of divine worship.
Chapter XXV.-Of the Golden Age, of Images, and Prometheus, Who First Fashioned Man.
The poets, therefore, with good reason say that the golden age, which existed in the reign of Saturnus, was changed. For at that time no gods were worshipped, but they knew of one God only. After that they subjected themselves to frail and earthly things, worshipping idols of wood, and brass, and stone, a change took place from the golden age to that of iron. For having lost the knowledge of God, and broken off that one bond of human society, they began to harass one another, to plunder and subdue. But if they would raise their eyes aloft and behold God, who raised them up to the sight of heaven and Himself, they never would bend and prostrate themselves by worshipping earthly things, whose folly Lucretius severely rebukes, saying:31
"And they abase their souls with fear of the gods, and weigh and press them down to the earth."32 Wherefore they tremble, and do not understand how foolish it is to fear those things which you have made, or to hope for any protection from those things which are dumb and insensible, and neither see nor hear the suppliant. What majesty, therefore, or deity can they have, which were in the power of a man, that they should not be made, or that they should be made into some other thing, and are so even now? For they are liable to injury and might be carried off by theft, were it not that they are protected by the law and the guardianship of man. Does he therefore appear to be in possession of his senses, who sacrifices to such deities the choicest victims, consecrates gifts, offers costly garments, as if they who are without motion could use them? With reason, then, did Dionysius the tyrant of Sicily plunder and deride the gods of Greece when he had taken possession of it as conqueror; and after the sacrilegious acts which he had committed, he returned to Sicily with a prosperous voyage, and held the kingdom even to his old age: nor were the injured gods able to punish him.
How much better is it to despise vanities, and to turn to God, to maintain the condition which you have received from God, to maintain your name! For on this account he is called anthropos,33 because he looks upward. But he looks upward who looks up to the true and living God, who is in heaven; who seeks after the Maker and Parent of his soul, not only with his perception and mind, but also with his countenance and eyes raised aloft. But he who enslaves himself to earthly and humble things, plainly prefers to himself that which is below him. For since he himself is the workmanship of God, whereas an image is the workmanship of man, the human workmanship cannot be preferred to the divine; and as God is the parent of man, so is the man of the statue. Therefore he is foolish and senseless who adores that which he himself has made, of which detestable and foolish handicraft Prometheus was the author, who was born from Iapetus the uncle of Jupiter. For when first of all Jupiter, having obtained supreme dominion, wished to establish himself as a god, and to found temples, and was seeking for some one who was able to imitate the human figure, at that time Prometheus lived, who fashioned the image of a man from thick clay with such close resemblance, that the novelty and cleverness of the art was a wonder. At length the men of his own time, and afterwards the poets, handed him down as the maker of a true and living man; and we, as often as we praise wrought statues, say that they live and breathe. And he indeed was the inventor of earthenware images. But posterity, following him, both carved them out of marble, and moulded them out of bronze; then in process of time ornament was added of gold and ivory, so that not only the likenesses, but also the gleam itself, might dazzle the eyes. Thus ensnared by beauty, and forgetful of true majesty, sensible beings considered that insensible objects, rational beings that irrational objects, living beings that lifeless objects, were to be worshipped and reverenced by them.
Chapter XXVI.-Of the Worship of the Elements and Stars.
Now let us refute those also who regard the elements of the world as gods, that is, the heaven, the sun, and the moon; for being ignorant of the Maker of these things, they admire and adore the works themselves. And this error belongs not to the ignorant only, but also to philosophers; since the Stoics are of opinion that all the heavenly bodies are to be considered as among the number of the gods, since they all have fixed and regular motions, by which they most constantly preserve the vicissitudes of the times which succeed them. They do not then possess voluntary motion, since they obey prescribed laws, and plainly not by their own sense, but by the workmanship of the supreme Creator, who so ordered them that they should complete unerring34 courses and fixed circuits, by which they might vary the alternations of days and nights, of summer and winter. But if men admire the effects of these, if they admire their courses, their brightness, their regularity, their beauty, they ought to have understood how much more beautiful, more illustrious, and more powerful than these is the maker and con-trivet Himself, even God. But they estimated the Divinity by objects which fall under the sight of men;35 not knowing that objects which come within the sight cannot be eternal, and that those which are eternal cannot be discerned by mortal eyes.
Chapter XXVII.-Of the Creation, Sin, and Punishment of Man; And of Angels, Both Good and Bad.
One subject remains, and that the last: that, since it usually happens, as we read in histories, that the gods appear to have displayed their majesty by auguries, by dreams, by oracles, and also by the punishments of those who had committed sacrilege, I may show what cause produced this effect, so that no one even now may fall into the same snares into which those of old fell. When God, according to His excellent majesty, had framed the world out of nothing, and had decked the heaven with lights, and had filled the earth and the sea with living creatures, then He formed man out of clay, and fashioned him after the resemblance of His own likeness, and breathed into him that he might live,36 and placed him in a garden37 which He had planted with every kind of fruit-bearing tree, and commanded him not to eat of one tree in which He had placed the knowledge of good and evil, warning him that it would come to pass, that if he did so he would lose his life, but that if he observed the command of God he would remain immortal. Then the serpent, who was one of the servants of God, envying man because he was made immortal, enticed him by stratagem to transgress the command and law of God. And in this manner he did indeed receive the knowledge of good and evil, but he lost the life which God had given him to be for ever.
Therefore He drove out the sinner from the sacred place, and banished him into this world, that he might seek sustenance by labour, that he might according to his deserts undergo difficulties and troubles; and He surrounded the garden itself with a fence of fire, that none of men even till the day of judgment might attempt secretly38 to enter into that place of perpetual blessedness. Then death came upon man according to the sentence of God; and yet his life, though it had begun to be temporary, had as its boundary a thousand years, and that was the extent of human life even to the deluge. For after the flood the life of men was gradually shortened, and was reduced to a hundred and twenty years. But that serpent, who from his deeds received the name of devil, that is, accuser or informer, did not cease to persecute the seed of man, whom he had deceived from the beginning. At length he urged him who was first born in this world, under the impulse of envy, to the murder of his brother, that of the two men who were first born he might destroy the one, and make the other a parricide.39 Nor did he cease upon this from infusing the venom of malice into the breasts of men through each generation, from corrupting and depraving them; in short, from overwhelm-inn them with such crimes, that an instance of justice was now rare, but men lived after the manner of the beasts.
But when God saw this, He sent His angels to instruct the race of men, and to protect them from all evil. He gave these a command to abstain from earthly things, lest, being polluted by any taint, they should be deprived of the honour of angels. But that wily accuser, while they tarried among men, allured these also to pleasures, so that they might defile themselves with women. Then, being condemned by the sentence of God, and cast forth on account of their sins, they lost both the name and substance of angels. Thus, having become ministers of the devil, that they might have a solace of their ruin, they betook themselves to the ruining of men, for whose protection they had come.40
Chapter XXVIII.-Of the Demons, and Their Evil Practices.
These are the demons, of whom the poets often speak in their poems, whom Hesiod calls the guardians of men. For they so persuaded men by their enticements and deceits, that they believed that the same were gods. In fine, Socrates used to give out that he had a demon as the guardian and director of his life from his first childhood and that he could do nothing without his assent and command. They attach themselves, therefore, to individuals, and occupy houses under the name of Genii or Penates. To these temples are built, to these libations are daily offered as to the Lares, to these honour is paid as to the averters of evils. These from the beginning, that they might turn away men from the knowledge of the true God, introduced new superstitions and worship of gods. These taught that the memory of dead kings should be consecrated, temples be built, and images made, not that they might lessen the honour of God, or increase their own, which they lost by sinning, but that they might take away life from men, deprive them of the hope of true light, lest men should arrive at that heavenly reward of immortality from which they fell. They also brought to light astrology, and augury, and divination; and though these things are in themselves false, yet they themselves, the authors of evils, so govern and regulate them that they are believed to be true. They also invented the tricks of the magic art, to deceive the eyes. By their aid it comes to pass, that that which is appears not to be, and that which is not appears to be. They themselves invented necromancies, responses, and oracles, to delude the minds of men with lying divination by means of ambiguous issues. They are present in the temples and at all sacrifices; and by the exhibition of some deceitful prodigies, to the surprise of those who are present, they so deceive men, that they believe that a divine power is present in images and statues. They even enter secretly into bodies. as being slight spirits; and they excite diseases in the vitiated limbs, which when appeased with sacrifices and vows they may again remove. They send dreams either full of terror,41 that they themselves may be invoked, or the issues of which may correspond with the truth, that they may increase the veneration paid to themselves. Sometimes also they put forth something of vengeance against the sacrilegious, that whoever sees it may become more timid and superstitious. Thus by their frauds they have drawn darkness over the human race, that truth might be oppressed, and the name of the supreme and matchless God might be forgotten.
Chapter XXIX.-Of the Patience and Providence of God.
But some one says: Why, then, does the true God permit these things to be done? Why does He not rather remove or destroy the wicked? Why, in truth, did He from the beginning give power42 to the demon, so that there should be one who might corrupt and destroy all things? I will briefly say why He willed that this should be so. I ask whether virtue is a good or an evil. It cannot be denied that it is a good. If virtue is a good, vice, on the contrary, is an evil. If vice is an evil on this account, because it opposes virtue, and virtue is on this account a good, because it overthrows vice, it follows that virtue cannot exist without vice; and if you take away vice, the merits of virtue will be taken away.For there can be no victory without an enemy. Thus it comes to pass, that good cannot exist without an evil.
Chrysippus, a man of active mind, saw this when discussing the subject of providence, and charges those with folly who think that good is caused by God, but say that evil is not thus caused. Aulus Gellius43 has interpreted his sentiment in his books of Attic Nights; thus saying: "They to whom it does not appear that the world was made for the sake of God and men, and that human affairs are governed by providence, think that they use a weighty argument when they thus speak: If there were a providence, there would be no evils. For they say that nothing is less in agreement with providence, than that in this world, on account of which it is said that God made men,44 the power of troubles and evils should be so great. In reply to these things, Chrysippus, when he was arguing, in his fourth book respecting providence, said: Nothing can be more foolish than those who think that good things could have existed, if there were not evils in the same place. For since good things are contrary to evil, they must of necessity be opposed to, each other, and must stand resting, as it were, on mutual and opposite support.45 Thus there is no contrary without another contrary. For how could there be any perception of justice, unless there were injuries? or what else is justice, but the removal of injustice? In like manner, the nature of fortitude cannot be understood. except by placing46 beside it cowardice, or the nature of self-control except by intemperance. Likewise, in what manner would there be prudence, unless there were the contrary, imprudence? On the same principle, he says, why do the foolish men not require this also, that there should be truth and not falsehood? For there exist together good and evil things, prosperity and trouble, pleasure and pain. For the one being bound to the other at opposite poles, as Plato says, if you take away one, you take away both." You see, therefore, that which I have often said, that good and evil are so connected with one another, that the one cannot exist without the other. Therefore God acted with the greatest foresight in placing the subject-matter of virtue in evils which He made for this purpose, that He might establish for us a contest, in which He would crown the victorious with the reward of immortality.47
Chapter XXX.-Of False Wisdom.
I have taught, as I imagine, that the honours paid to gods are not only, impious, but also vain, either because they were men whose memory was consecrated after death; or because the images themselves are insensible and deaf, inasmuch as they are formed of earth, and that it is not right for man, who ought to look up to heavenly things, to subject himself to earthly things; or because the spirits who claim to themselves those acts of religious service are unholy and impure, and on this account, being condemned by the sentence of God, fell to the earth, and that it is not lawful to submit to the power of those to whom you are superior, if you wish to be a follower of the true God. It remains that, as we have spoken of false religion, we should also discuss the subject of false wisdom, which the philosophers profess,-men endued with the greatest learning and eloquence, but far removed from the truth, because they neither know God nor the wisdom of God. And although they are clever and learned, yet, because their wisdom is human, I shall not fear to contend with them, that it may be evident that falsehood can be easily overcome by truth, and earthly things by heavenly.
They thus define the nature of philosophy. Philosophy is the love or pursuit of wisdom. Therefore it is not wisdom itself; for that which loves must be different from that which is loved. If it is the pursuit of wisdom, not even thus is philosophy identical with wisdom. For wisdom is the object itself which is sought, but the pursuit is that which seeks it. Therefore the very definition or meaning of the word plainly shows that philosophy is not wisdom itself. I will say that it48 is not even the pursuit of wisdom, in which wisdom is not comprised. For who can be said to devote himself to the pursuit of that to which he can by no means attain? He who gives himself to the pursuit of medicine, or grammar, or oratory, may be said to be studious of that art which he is learning; but when he has learned, he is now said to be a physician, a grammarian, or an orator. Thus also those who are studious of wisdom, after they had learned it, ought to have been called wise. But since they are called students of wisdom as long as they live, it is manifest that that is not the pursuit, because it is impossible to arrive at the object itself which is sought for in the pursuit, unless by chance they who pursue wisdom even to the end of life are about to be wise in another world. Now every pursuit is connected with some end. That, therefore, is not a right pursuit which has no end.
Chapter XXXI.-Of Knowledge and Supposition.
Moreover, there are two things which appear to fall under the subject of philosophy-knowledge and supposition; and if these are taken away, philosophy altogether falls to the ground. But the chief of the philosophers themselves have taken away both from philosophy. Socrates took away knowledge, Zeno supposition. Let us see whether they were right in doing so. Wisdom is, as Cicero defined it,49 the knowledge of divine and human things. Now if this definition is true, wisdom does not come within the power of man. For who of mortals can assume this to himself, to profess that he knows divine and human things? I say nothing of human affairs; for although they are connected with divine, yet, since they belong to man. let us grant that it is possible for man to know them. Certainly he cannot know divine things by himself, since he is a man; whereas he who knows them must be divine, and therefore God. But man is neither divine nor God. Man, therefore, cannot thoroughly know divine things by himself. No one, therefore, is wise but God, or certainly that man whom God has taught. But they, because they are neither gods. nor taught by God. cannot be wise, that is, acquainted with divine and human things. Knowledge, therefore, is rightly taken away by Socrates and the Academics. Supposition also does not agree with the wise man. For every one supposes that of which he is ignorant. Now, to suppose that you know that of which you are ignorant, is rashness and folly. Supposition, therefore, was rightly taken away by Zeno. If, therefore. there is no knowledge in man, and there ought to be no supposition, philosophy is cut up by the roots.
Chapter XXXII.-Of the Sects of Philosophers, and Their Disagreement.
To this is added, that it50 is not uniform; but being divided into sects, and scattered into many and discordant opinions, it has no fixed state. For since they all separately attack and harass one another, and there is none of them which is not condemned of folly in the judgment of the rest, while the members are plainly at variance with one another, the whole body of philosophy is brought to destruction. Hence the Academy afterwards originated. For when the leading men of that sect saw that philosophy was altogether overthrown by philosophers mutually opposing each other, they undertook war against all, that they might destroy all the arguments of all; while they themselves assert nothing except one thing-that nothing can be known. Thus, having taken away knowledge, they overthrew the ancient philosophy. But they did not even themselves retain the name of philosophers, since they admitted their ignorance, because to be ignorant of all things is not only not the part of a philosopher, but not even of a man. Thus the philosophers, because they have no defence, must destroy one another with mutual wounds, and philosophy itself must altogether consume and put an end to itself by its own arms. But they say it is only natural philosophy which thus gives way. How is it with moral? Does that rest on any firm foundation? Let us see whether philosophers are agreed in this part at any rate, which relates to the condition of life.
Chapter XXXIII.-What is the Chief Good to Be Sought in Life.
What is the chief good must be an object of inquiry, that our whole life and actions may be directed to it. When inquiry is made respecting the chief good of man, it ought to be settled to be of such a kind, first, that it have reference to man alone; in the next place, that it belong peculiarly to the mind; lastly, that it be sought by virtue. Let us see, therefore, whether the chief good which the philosophers mark out be such that it has reference neither to a dumb animal nor to the body, and cannot be attained without virtue.
Aristippus, the founder of the Cyrenaic sect, who thought that bodily pleasure was the chief good, ought to be removed from the number of philosophers, and from the society of men, because he compared himself to a beast. The chief good of Hieronymus is to be without pain, that of Diodorus to cease to be in pain. But the other animals avoid pain; and when they are without pain, or cease to be in pain, are glad. What distinction, then, will be given to man, if his chief good is judged to be common with the beasts? Zeno thought that the chief good was to live agreeably to nature. But this definition is a general one. For all animals live agreeably to nature, and each has its own nature.
Epicurus maintained that it was pleasure of the soul. What is pleasure of the soul but joy, in which the soul for the most part luxuriates, and unbends itself either to sport or to laughter? But this good befalls even dumb animals, which, when they are satisfied with pasture, relax themselves to joy and wantonness. Dinomachus and Callipho approved of honourable pleasure; but they either said the same that Epicurus did, that bodily pleasure is dishonourable; or if they considered bodily pleasures to be partly base and partly honourable, then that is not the chief good which is ascribed to the body. The Peripatetics make up the chief good of goods of the soul, and body, and fortune. The goods of the soul may be approved of; but if they require assistance for the completion of happiness, they are plainly weak. But the goods of the body and of fortune are not in the power of man; nor is that now the chief good which is assigned to the body, or to things placed without us, because this double good extends even to the cattle, which have need of being well, and of a due supply of food. The Stoics are believed to have entertained much better views, who said that virtue was the chief good. But virtue cannot be the chief good, since, if it is the endurance of evils and of labours, it is not happy of itself; but it ought to effect and produce the chief good, because it cannot be attained without the greatest difficulty and labour. But, in truth, Aristotle wandered far from reason, who connected honour with virtue, as though it were possible for virtue at any time to be separated from honour, or to be united with baseness.
Herillus the Pyrrhonist made knowledge the chief good. This indeed belongs to man, and to the soul only, but it may happen to him without virtue. For he is not to be considered happy who has either learnt anything by hearing, or has gained the knowledge of it by a little reading; nor is it a definition of the chief good, because there may be a knowledge either of bad things, or at any rate of things that are useless. And if it is the knowledge of good and useful things which you have acquired by labour, nevertheless it is not the chief good, because knowledge is not sought on its own account, but on account of something else. For the arts are learnt on this account, that they may be to us the means of gaining support, or a source of glory, or even of pleasure; and it is plain that these things cannot be the chief goods. Therefore the philosophers do not observe the rule even in moral philosophy, inasmuch as they are at variance with one another on the main point51 itself, that is, in that discussion by which the life is moulded. For the precepts cannot be equal, or resembling one another, when some train men to pleasure, others to honour, others indeed to nature, others to knowledge; some to the pursuit, others to the avoiding of riches; some to entire insensibility to pain, others to the endurance of evils: in all which, as I have shown before, they turn aside from reason, because they are ignorant of God.
Chapter XXXIV.-That Men are Born to Justice.
Let us now see what is proposed to the wise man as the chief good.52 That men are born to justice is not only taught by the sacred writings, but is sometimes acknowledged even by these same philosophers. Thus Cicero says: "But of all things which fall under the discussion of learned men, nothing assuredly is more excellent than that it should be clearly understood that we are born to justice." This is most true.53 For we are not born to wickedness, since we are a social and sociable animal. The wild beasts are produced to exercise their fierceness; for they are unable to live in any other way than by prey and bloodshed. These, however, although pressed by extreme hunger, nevertheless refrain from animals of their own kind. Birds also do the same, which must feed upon the carcases of others. How much more is it befitting, that man, who is united with man both in the interchange of language and in communion of feeling, should spare man, and love him! For this is justice.
But since wisdom has been given to man alone, that he may understand God, and this alone makes the difference between man and the dumb animals, justice itself is bound up in two duties. He owes the one to God as to a father, the other to man as to a brother; for we are produced by the same God. Therefore it has been deservedly and rightly said, that wisdom is the knowledge of divine and human affairs.For it is right that we should know what we owe to God, and what to man; namely, to God religion, to man affection. But the former belongs to wisdom, the latter to virtue; and justice comprises both. If, therefore, it is evident that man is born to justice, it is necessary that the just man should be subject to evils, that he may exercise the virtue with which he is endued. For virtue is the enduring of evils. He will avoid pleasures as an evil: he will despise riches, because they are frail; and if he has them, he will liberally bestow them, to preserve the wretched: he will not be desirous of honours, because they are short and transitory; he will do injury to no one; if he shall suffer, he will not retaliate; and he will not take vengeance upon one who plunders his property. For he will deem it unlawful to injure a man; and if there shall be any one who would compel him to depart from God, he will not refuse tortures nor death. Thus it will come to pass, that he must necessarily live in poverty and lowliness, and in insults, or even tortures.
Chapter XXXV.-That Immortality is the Chief Good.
What, then, will be the advantage of justice and virtue, if they shall have nothing but evil in life? But if virtue, which despises all earthly goods, most wisely endures all evils, and endures death itself in the discharge of duty, cannot be without a reward, what remains but that immortality alone is its reward? For if a happy life falls to the lot of man, as the philosophers will have it, and in this point alone they do not disagree, therefore also immortality falls to him. For that only is happy which is incorruptible; that only is incorruptible which is eternal. Therefore immortality is the chief good, because it belongs both to man, and to the soul, and to virtue. We are only directed to this; we are born to the attainment of this. Therefore God proposes to us virtue and justice, that we may obtain that eternal reward for our labours. But concerning that immortality54 itself we will speak in the proper place. There remains the philosophy of Logic,55 which contributes nothing to a happy life. For wisdom does not consist in the arrangement of speech, but in the heart and the feeling. But if natural philosophy is superfluous, and this of logic, and the philosophers have erred in moral philosophy, which alone is necessary, because they have been unable in any way to find out the chief good; therefore all philosophy is found to be empty and useless, which was unable to comprehend the nature of man, or to fulfil its duty and office.
Chapter XXXVI.-Of the Philosophers,-Namely, Epicurus and Pythagoras.
Since I have spoken briefly of philosophy, now also I will speak a few things about the philosophers. This is especially the doctrine of Epicurus, that there is no providence. And at the same time he does not deny the existence of gods. In both respects he acts contrary to reason. For if there are gods, it follows that there is a providence. For otherwise we can form no intelligible idea of God, for it is His peculiar province to foresee.56 But Epicurus says He takes no care about anything. Therefore He disregards not only the affairs of men, but also heavenly things. How, therefore, or from what, do you affirm that He exists? For when you have taken away the divine providence and care, it would naturally follow that you should altogether deny the existence of God whereas now you have left Him in name, but in reality you have taken Him away. Whence, then, did the world derive its origin, if God takes no care of anything? There are, he says, minute atoms, which can neither be seen nor touched, and from the fortuitous meeting of these all things arose, and are continually arising. If they are neither seen nor perceived by any part of the body, how could you know of their existence? In the next place, if they exist, with what mind do they meet together to effect anything? If they are smooth, they cannot cohere: if they are hooked and angular, then they are divisible; for hooks and angles project, and can be cut off. But these things are senseless and unprofitable. Why should I mention that he also makes souls capable of extinction? who is refuted not only by all philosophers and general persuasion, but also by the answers of bards, by the predictions of the Sibyls, and lastly, by the divine voices of the prophets themselves; so that it is wonderful that Epicurus alone existed, who should place the condition of man on a level with the flocks and beasts.
What of Pythagoras, who was first called a philosopher, who judged that souls were indeed immortal, but that they passed into other bodies, either of cattle, or of birds, or of beasts? Would it not have been better that they should be destroyed, together with their bodies, than thus to be condemned to pass into the bodies of other animals? Would it not be better not to exist at all, than, after having had the form of a man, to live as a swine or a dog? And the foolish man, to gain credit for his saying, said that he himself had been Euphorbus in the Trojan war, and that, when he had been slain, he passed into other figures of animals, and at last became Pythagoras. O happy man! to whom alone so great a memory was given; or rather unhappy, who, when changed into a sheep, was not permitted to be ignorant of what he was! And would to Heaven that he alone had been thus senseless! He found also some to believe him, and some indeed among the learned,57 to whom the inheritance of folly passed.
Chapter XXXVII.-Of Socrates and His Contradiction.
After him Socrates held the first place in philosophy, who was pronounced most wise even by the oracle, because he confessed that he knew one thing only,-namely, that he knew nothing. And on the authority of this oracle it was right that the natural philosophers should restrain themselves, lest they should either inquire into those things which they could not know, or should think that they knew things which they did not know. Let us, however, see whether Socrates was most wise, as the Pythian god proclaimed. He often made use of this proverb, that that which is above us has also no reference to us. He has now passed beyond the limits of his opinion. For he who said that he knew one thing only, found another thing to speak of, as though he knew it; but that in vain. For God, who is plainly above us, is to be sought for; and religion is to be undertaken, which alone separates us from the brutes, which indeed Socrates not only rejected, but even derided, in swearing by a goose and a dog, as if in truth he could not have sworn by Aesculapius, to whom he had vowed a cock. Behold the sacrifice of a wise man! And because he was unable to offer this in his own person, since he was at the point of death, he entreated his friends to perform the vow after his death, lest forsooth he should be detained as a debtor in the lower regions. He assuredly both pronounced that he knew nothing, and made good his statement.58
Chapter XXXVIII.-Of Plato, Whose Doctrine Approaches More Nearly to the Truth.
His disciple Plato, whom Tully speaks of as the god of philosophers, alone of all so studied philosophy that he approached nearer to the truth; and yet, because he was ignorant of God, he so failed in many things, that no one fell into worse errors, especially because in his books respecting the state he wished all things to be common to all. This is endurable concerning property, though it is unjust. For it ought not to be an injury to any one, if he possesses more than another through his own industry; or to be a profit to any one, if through his own fault he possesses less. But, as I have said, this is capable of being endured in some way. Shall there be a community of wives also, and of children? Shall there be no distinction of blood, or certainty of race? Shall there be neither families, nor relationships, nor affinities, but all things confused and indiscriminate, as in herds of cattle? Shall there be no self-restraint in men, no chastity in women? What conjugal affection can there be in these, between whom on either side there is no sure or peculiar59 love? Who will he dutiful towards a father, when he knows not from whom he was born? Who will love a son, whom he will reckon as not his own?60 Moreover, he opened61 the senate house to women, and en-trusted to them warfare, magistracies, and commands.62 But how great will be the calamity of that city, in which women shall discharge the duties of men! But of this more fully at another opportunity.
Zeno, the master of the Stoics, who praises virtue, judged that pity, which is a very great virtue, should be cut away, as though it were a disease of the mind, whereas it is at the same time dear to God and necessary for men. For who is there who, when placed in any evil, would be unwilling to be pitied, and would not desire the assistance of those who might succour them, which is not called forth so as to render aid, except by the feeling of pity? Although he calls this humanity and piety, he does not change the matter itself, only the name. This is the affection which has been given to man alone, that by mutual assistance we might alleviate our weakness; and he who removes this affection reduces us to the life of the beasts. For his assertion that all faults are equal, proceeds from that inhumanity with which also be assails pity as a disease. For he who makes no difference in faults, either thinks that light offences ought to be visited with severe punishments, which is the part of a cruel judge, or that great offences should be visited with slight punishments, which is the part of a worthless judge. In either case there is injury to the state. For if the greatest crimes are lightly punished, the boldness of the wicked will increase, and go on to deeds of greater daring; and if a punishment of too great severity is inflicted for slight offences, inasmuch as no one can be exempt from fault, many citizens will incur peril, who by correction might become better.
Chapter XXXIX.-Of Various Philosophers, and of the Antipodes.
These things, truly, are of small importance, but they arise from the same falsehood. Xenophanes said that the orb of the moon is eighteen times larger than this earth of ours; and that within its compass is contained another earth, which is inhabited by men and animals of every kind. About the antipodes also one can neither hear nor speak without laughter. It is asserted as something serious, that we should believe that there are men who have their feet opposite to ours. The ravings of Anaxagoras are more tolerable, who said that snow was black. And not only the sayings, but the deeds, of some are ridiculous. Democritus neglected his land which was left to him by his father, and suffered it to become a public pasture. Diogenes with his company of dogs,63 who professes that great and perfect virtue in the contempt of all things, preferred to beg for his support, rather than to seek it by honest labour, or to have any property. Undoubtedly the life of a wise man ought to be to others an example of living. If all should imitate the wisdom of these, how will states exist? But perhaps the same Cynics were able to afford an example of modesty, who lived with their wives in public. I know not how they could defend virtue, who took away modesty.
Nor was Aristippus better than these, who, I believe, that he might please his mistress Lais, instituted the Cyrenaic system, by which he placed the end of the chief good in bodily pleasure, that authority might not be wanting to his faults, or learning to his vices. Are those men of greater fortitude to be more approved, who, that they might be said to have despised death, died by their own hands? Zeno, Empedocles. Chrysippus, Cleanthes, Democritus, and Cato, imitating these, did not know that he who put himself to death is guilty of murder, according to the divine right and law. For it was God who placed us in this abode of flesh: it was He who gave us the temporary habitation of the body, that we should inhabit it as long as He pleased. Therefore it is to be considered impious, to wish to depart from it without the command of God. Therefore violence must not be applied to nature. He knows how to destroy64 His own work. And if any one shall apply impious bands to that work, and shall tear asunder the bonds of the divine workmanship, he endeavours to flee from God, whose sentence no one will be able to escape, whether alive or dead. Therefore they are accursed and impious, whom I have mentioned above, who even taught what are the befitting reasons for voluntary death; so that it was not enough of guilt that they were self-murderers, unless they instructed others also to this wickedness.65
Chapter XL.-Of the Foolishness of the Philosophers.
There are innumerable sayings and doings of the philosophers, by which their foolishness may be shown. Therefore, since we are unable to enumerate them all, a few will be sufficient. It is enough that it is understood that the philosophers were neither teachers of justice, of which they were ignorant, nor of virtue, of which they falsely boast. For what can they teach, who often confess their own ignorance? I omit to mention Socrates, whose opinion is well known. Anaxagoras proclaims that all things are over-spread with darkness. Empedocles says that the paths for finding out the truth of the senses are narrow. Democritus asserts that truth lies sunk in a deep well; and because they nowhere find it, they therefore affirm that no wise man has as yet existed. Since, therefore, human wisdom has no existence (Socrates says in the writings of Plato), let us follow that which is divine, and let us give thanks to God, who has revealed and delivered it to us; and let us congratulate ourselves, that through the divine bounty we possess the truth and wisdom, which, though sought by so many intellects through so many ages, philosophy66 was not able to discover.
Chapter XLI.-Of True Religion and Wisdom.
Now, since we have refuted false religion, which is in the worship of the gods, and false wisdom, which is in the philosophers, let us come to true religion and wisdom. And, indeed, we must speak of them both conjointly, because they are closely connected. For to worship the true God, that and nothing else is wisdom. For that God who is supreme and the Maker of all things, who made man as the image of Himself, on this account conferred on him alone of all animals the gift of reason, that he might pay back honour to Him as his Father and his Lord, and by the exercise of this piety and obedience might gain the reward of immortality. This is a true and divine mystery. But among those,67 because they are not true, there is no agreement. Neither are sacred rites performed in philosophy, nor is philosophy treated of in sacred things; and on this account their religion is false, because it does not possess wisdom; and on this account their wisdom is false, because it does not possess religion. But where both are joined together, there the truth must necessarily be; so that if it is asked what the truth itself is, it may be rightly said to be either wise religion or religious wisdom.
Chapter XLII.-Of Religious Wisdom: the Name of Christ Known to None, Except Himself and His Father.
I will now say what wise religion, or religious wisdom, is. God, in the beginning, before He made the world, from the fountain of His own eternity, and from the divine and everlasting Spirit,68 begat for Himself a Son incorruptible, faithful, corresponding to His Father's excellence and majesty. He is virtue, He is reason, He is the word of God, He is wisdom. With this artificer, as Hermes says, and counsellor, as the Sibyl says, He contrived the excellent and wondrous fabric of this world. In fine, of all the angels, whom the same God formed from His own breath,69 He alone was admitted into a participation of His supreme power, He alone was called God. For all things were through Him, and nothing was without Him. In fine, Plato, not altogether as a philosopher, but as a seer, spoke concerning the first and second God, perhaps following Trismegistus in this, whose words I have translated from the Greek, and subjoined: "The Lord and Maker of all things, whom we have thought to be called God, created70 a second God, who is visible and sensible. But by sensible I mean, not that He Himself receives sensation, but that He causes sensation and sight. When, therefore, He had made this, the first, and one, and only one, He appeared to Him most excellent, and full of all good qualities." The Sibyl also says that God the guide of all was made by God, and another, that
"God the Son of God must be known,"
as those examples which I have brought forward in my books declare. Him the prophets, filled with the inspiration of the Divine Spirit, proclaimed; of whom especially Solomon in the book of Wisdom, and also his father, the writer of divine hymns-both most renowned kings, who preceded the times of the Trojan war by a hundred and eighty years71 -testify that He was born of God. His name is known to none, except to Himself and the Father, as John teaches in the Revelation.72 Hermes says that His name cannot be uttered by mortal mouth. Yet by men He is called by two names-Jesus, which is Saviour, and Christ, which is King. He is called Saviour on this account, because He is the health and safety of all who believe in God through Him. He is called Christ on this account, because He Himself will come from heaven at the end of this dispensation73 to judge the world, and, having raised the dead, to establish for Himself an everlasting kingdom.
Chapter XLIII.-Of the Name of Jesus Christ, and His Twofold Nativity.
But lest by any chance there should be any doubt in your mind why we call Him Jesus Christ, who was born of God before the world, and who was born of man three hundred years ago, I will briefly explain to you the reason. The same person is the son of God and of man. For He was twice born: first of God, in the spirit, before the origin of the world; afterwards in the flesh of man, in the reign of Augustus; and in connection with this fact is an illustrious and great mystery, in which is contained both the salvation of men and the religion of the Supreme God, and all truth. For when first the accursed and impious worship of gods crept in through the treachery of the demons, then the religion of God remained with the Hebrews alone, who, not by any law, but after the manner of their fathers, observed the worship handed down to them by successive generations,74 even until the time when they went forth out of Egypt trader the leadership of Moses, the first of all the prophets, through whom the law was given to them from God; and they were afterwards called Jews. Therefore they served God, being bound by the chains of the taw. But they also, by degrees going astray to profane rites, undertook the worship of strange gods, and, leaving the worship of their father, sacrificed to senseless images. Therefore God sent to them prophets filled with the Divine Spirit, to upbraid them with their sins and proclaim repentance, to threaten them with the vengeance which would follow, and announce that it would come to pass, if they persisted in the same faults, that He would send another as the bearer of a new law; and having removed the ungrateful people from their inheritance, He would assemble to Himself a more faithful people from foreign nations. But they not only persisted in their course, but even slew the messengers themselves. Therefore He condemned them on account of these deeds: nor did He any longer send messengers to a stubborn people; but He sent His own Son, to call all nations to the favour of God. Nor, however, did He shut them out, impious and ungrateful as they were, from the hope of salvation: but He sent Him to them before all others,75 that if they should by chance obey, they might not lose that which they had received; but if they should refuse to receive their God, then, the heirs being removed,76 the Gentiles would come into possession. Therefore the supreme Father ordered Him to descend to the earth, and to put on a human body, that, being subject to the sufferings of the flesh, He might teach virtue and patience not only by words, but also by deeds. Therefore He was born a second time as man, of a virgin, without a father, that, as in His first spiritual birth, being born of God alone, He was made a sacred spirit, so in His second and fleshly birth, being born of a mother only, He might become holy flesh, that through Him the flesh, which had become subject to sin, might be freed from destruction.
Chapter XLIV.-The Twofold Nativity of Christ is Proved from the Prophets.
That these things should thus take place as I have set them forth, the prophets had before predicted. In the writings of Solomon it is thus written:77 "The womb of a virgin was strengthened, and conceived: and a virgin was impregned, and became a mother in great pity." In Isaiah78 it is thus written: "Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and ye shall call His name Immanuel; "which, being interpreted, is God with us.79 For He was with us on the earth, when He assumed flesh; and He was no less God in man, and man in God. That He was both God and man was declared before by the prophets. That He was God, Isaiah80 thus declares: "They shall fall down unto Thee, they shall make supplication unto Thee; since God is in Thee, and we knew it not, even the God of Israel. They shall be ashamed and confounded, all of them who oppose themselves to Thee, and shall go to confusion." Also Jeremiah:81 "This is our God, and there shall none other be compared unto Him; He hath found out all the way of knowledge, and hath given it unto Jacob His servant, and to Israel His beloved. Afterward He was seen upon earth, and dwelt among men." Likewise that He was man, the same Jeremiah82 says: "And He is man, and who knew Him? "Isaiah also thus speaks:83 "And the Lord shall send them a man who shall save them, and with judgment shall He heal them." Also Moses himself in the book of Numbers:84 "There shall come a star out of Jacob, and a man shall arise out of Israel." For this cause, therefore, being God, He took upon Him flesh, that, becoming a mediator85 between God and man, having overcome death, He might by His guidance lead man to God.
Chapter XLV.-The Power and Works of Christ are Proved from the Scriptures.
We have spoken of His nativity; now let us speak of His power and works, which, when He wrought them among men, the Jews, seeing them to be great and wonderful, supposed that they were done by the influence of magic, not knowing that all those things which were done by Him had been foretold by the prophets. He gave strength to the sick, and to those languishing under various diseases, not by any healing remedy, but instantaneously, by the force and power of His word; He restored the weak, He made the lame to walk, He gave sight to the blind, He made the dumb to speak, the deaf to hear; He cleansed the polluted and unclean, He restored their right mind to those who were maddened with the attack of demons, He recalled to life and light those who were dead or now buried. He also fed and satisfied86 five thousand men with five loaves and two fishes. He also walked upon the sea. He also in a tempest commanded the wind to be still, and immediately there was a calm; all which things we find predicted both in the books of the prophets and in the verses of the Sibyls.
When a great multitude resorted to Him on account of these miracles, and, as He truly was, believed Him to be the Son of God, and sent from God, the priests and rulers of the Jews, filled with envy, and at the same time excited with anger, because He reproved their sins and injustice, conspired to put Him to death; and that this would happen, Solomon had foretold a little more than a thousand years before, in the book of Wisdom, using these words:87 "Let us defraud the righteous, for he is unpleasant to us, and upbraideth us with our offences against the law. He maketh his boast that he has the knowledge of God, and he calleth himself the Son of God. He is made to reprove our thoughts: it grieveth us even to look upon him; for his life is not like the life of others, his ways are of another fashion. We are counted by him as triflers; he withdraweth himself from our ways, as from filthiness; he commendeth greatly the latter end of the just, and boasteth that he has God for his father. Let us see, therefore, if his words be true; let us prove what end he shall have; let us examine him with rebukes and torments, that we may know his meekness and prove his patience; let us condemn him to a shameful death. Such things have they imagined, and have gone astray; for their own folly hath blinded them, and they do not understand the mysteries of God."
Therefore, being unmindful of these writings which they read, they incited the people as though against an impious man, so that they seized and led Him to trial, and with impious words demanded His death. But they alleged against Him as a crime this very thing, that He said that He was the Son of God, and that by healing on the Sabbath He broke the law, which He said that He did not break, but fulfilled. And when Pontius Pilate, who then as legate had authority in Syria, perceived that the cause did not belong to the office of the Roman judge, he sent Him to Herod the Tetrarch, and permitted the Jews themselves to be the judges of their own law: who, having received the power of punishing His guilt, sentenced88 Him to the cross, but first scourged and struck him with their hands, put on Him a crown of thorns, spat upon His face, gave Him gall and vinegar to eat and drink; and amidst these things no word was heard to fall from His lips. Then the executioners, having cast lots over His tunic and mantle, suspended Him on the cross, and affixed Him to it, though on the next day they were about to celebrate the Passover, that is, their festival. Which crime was followed by prodigies, that they might understand the impiety which they had committed; for at the same moment in which He expired, there was a great earthquake, and a withdrawing89 of the sun, so that the day was turned into night.
Chapter XLVI.-It is Proved from the Prophets that the Passion and Death of Christ Had Been Foretold.
And the prophets had predicted that all these things would thus come to pass. Isaiah thus speaks:90 "I am not rebellious, nor do I oppose: I gave my back to the scourge, and my cheeks to the hand: I turned not away my face from the foulness of spitting." The same prophet says respecting His silence:91 "I was brought asa sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before its shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth." David also, in the xxxivth Psalm:92 "The abjects were gathered together against me, and they knew me not: they were scattered, yet felt no remorse: they tempted me, and gnashed upon me with their teeth." The same also says respecting food and drink in the lxviiith Psalm:93 "They gave me also gall for my meat, and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink." Also respecting the cross of Christ:94 "And they pierced my hands and my feet, they numbered all my bones: they themselves have looked and stared upon me; they parted my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture." Moses also says in Deuteronomy:95 " And thy life shall hang in doubt before thine eyes, and thou shall fear day and night, and shall have none assurance of thy life." Also in Numbers:96 "God is not in doubt as a man, nor does He suffer threats as the son of man." Also Zechariah says:97 "And they shall look on me whom they pierced." Amos98 thus speaks of the obscuring of the sun: "In that day, saith the Lord, the sun shall go down at noon, and the clear day shall be dark; and I will turn your feasts into mourning, and your songs into lamentation." Jeremiah99 also speaks of the city of Jerusalem, in which He suffered: "Her sun is gone down while it was yet day; she hath been confounded and reviled, and the residue of them will I deliver to the sword." Nor were these things spoken in vain. For after a short time the Emperor Vespasian subdued the Jews, and laid waste their lands with the sword and fire, besieged and reduced them by famine, overthrew Jerusalem, led the captives in triumph, and prohibited the others who were left from ever returning to their native land. And these things were done by God on account of that crucifixion of Christ, as He before declared this to Solomon in their Scriptures, saying,100 "And Israel shall be for perdition and a reproach101 to the people, and this house shall be desolate; and every one that shall pass by shall be astonished, and shall say, Why hath God done these evils to this land, and to this house? And they shall say, Because they forsook the Lord their God, and persecuted their King, who was dearly beloved by God, and crucified Him with great degradation, therefore hath God brought upon them these evils." For what would they not deserve who put to death their Lord, who had come for their salvation?
Chapter XLVII.-Of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Sending of the Apostles, and the Ascension of the Saviour into Heaven.
After these things they took His body down from the cross, and buried it in a tomb. But on the third day, before daybreak, there was an earthquake, and the stone with which they had closed the sepulchre was removed, and He arose. But nothing was found in the sepulchre except the clothes in which the body had been wrapped.102 But that He would rise again on the third day, the prophets had long ago foretold. David, in the xvth Psalm:103 "Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption." Likewise Hosea:104 This my Son is wise, therefore He shall not stay long in the anguish of His sons: and I will ransom Him from the hand of the grave. Where is thy judgment, O death, where is thy sting? "The same again says:105 "After two days He will revive us on the third day."
Therefore, after His resurrection He went into Galilee, and again assembled His disciples, who had fled through fear; and having given them commands which He wished to be observed, and having arranged for the preaching of the Gospel throughout the whole world, He breathed into them the Holy Spirit,106 and gave them the power of working miracles, that they might act for the welfare of men as well by deeds as words; and then at length, on the fortieth day, He returned to His Father, being carried up into a cloud. The prophet Daniel107 had long before shown this, saying, "I saw in the night vision, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days; and they who stood beside Him brought Him near before Him. And there was given Him a kingdom, and glory, and dominion, and all people, tribes, and languages shall serve Him; and His power is an everlasting one, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed." Also David in the cixth Psalm:108 "The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou at my right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool."
Chapter XLVIII.-Of the Disinheriting of the Jews, and the Adoption of the Gentiles.
Since, therefore, He sits at the right hand of God, about to tread down His enemies, who tortured Him, when He shall come to judge the world, it is evident that no hope remains to the Jews, unless, turning themselves to repentance, and being cleansed from the blood with which they polluted themselves, they shall begin to hope in Him whom they denied.109 Therefore Esdras thus speaks:110 "This passover is our Saviour and our refuge. Consider and let it come into your heart, that we have to abase Him in a figure: and after these things we have hoped111 in Him."
Now that the Jews were disinherited, because they rejected Christ, and that we, who are of the Gentiles, were adopted into their place, is proved by the Scriptures. Jeremiah112 thus speaks: "I have forsaken mine house, I have given mine heritage into the hands of her enemies. Mine heritage is become unto me as a lion in the forest; it hath given forth its voice against me: therefore have I hated it." Also Malachi:113 "I have no pleasure in you, saith the Lord, neither will I accept an offering at your hand. For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down thereof, my name shall be great among the Gentiles." Isaiah also thus speaks:114 "I come to gather all nations and tongues: and they shall come and see my glory." The same says in another place,115 speaking in the person of the Father to the Son: "I the Lord have called Thee in righteousness, and will hold Thine hand, and will keep Thee, and give Thee for a covenant of my people, for a light of the Gentiles; to open the eyes of the blind, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison-house."
Chapter XLIX.-That God is One Only.
If therefore the Jews have been rejected by God, as the faith due to the sacred writings shows, and the Gentiles, as we see, brought in, and freed from the darkness of this present life and from the chains of demons, it follows that no other hope is proposed to man, unless he shall follow true religion and true wisdom, which is in Christ, and he who is ignorant of Him is always estranged from the truth and from God. Nor let the Jews, or philosophers, flatter themselves respecting the Supreme God. He who has not acknowledged the Son has been unable to acknowledge the Father.116 This is wisdom, and this is the mystery of the Supreme God.God willed that He should be acknowledged and worshipped through Him.117 On this account He sent the prophets beforehand to announce His coming, that when the things which had been foretold were fulfilled in Him, then He might be believed by men to be both the Son of God and God.
Nor, however, must the opinion be entertained that there are two Coots, for the Father and the Son are one. For since the Father loves the Son, and gives all things to Him, and the Son faithfully obeys the Father, and wills nothing except that which the Father does, it is plain that so close a relationship cannot be separated, so that they should be said to be two in whom there is but one substance, and will, and faith. Therefore the Son is through the Father, and the Father through the Son. One honour is to be given to both, as to one God, and is to be so divided through the worship of the two, that the division itself may be bound by an inseparable bond of union. He will leave nothing to himself, who separates either the Father from the Son, or the Son from the Father.118
Chapter L.-Why God Assumed a Mortal Body, and Suffered Death.
It remains to answer those also, who deem that it was unbecoming and unreasonable that God should be clothed with a mortal body; that He should be in subjection to men; that He should endure insults; that He should even suffer tortures and death. I will speak my sentiments, and I will sum up, as I shall be able, an immense subject in few words. He who teaches anything, ought, as I think, himself to practise what he teaches, that he may compel men to obey. For if he shall not practise them, he will detract from the faith due to his precepts. Therefore there is need of examples, that the precepts which are given may have firmness, and if any one shall prove contumacious, and shall say that they cannot be carried out in practice, the instructor may refute him by actual fact.119 Therefore a system of teaching cannot be perfect, when it is delivered by words only; but it then becomes perfect, when it is completed by deeds.
Since therefore Christ was sent to men as a teacher of virtue, for the perfection of His teaching it was plainly befitting that He should act as well as teach. But if He had not assumed a human body, He would not have been able to practise what He taught,-that is, not to be angry, not to desire riches, not to be inflamed with lust, not to fear pain, to despise death. These things are plainly virtues, but they cannot be done without flesh. Therefore He assumed a body on this account, that, since He taught that the desires of the flesh must be overcome, He might in person first practise it, that no one might allege the frailty of the flesh as an excuse.
Chapter LI.-Of the Death of Christ on the Cross.
I will now speak of the mystery of the cross, lest any one should happen to say, If death must be endured by Him, it should have been not one that was manifestly infamous and dishonourable, but one which had some honour. I know, indeed, that many, while they dislike the name of the cross, shrink from the truth, though there is in it great reasonableness and power, For since He was sent for this purpose, that He might open to the lowest men the way to salvation, He made Himself humble that He might free them. Therefore He underwent that kind of death which is usually inflicted on the humble, that an opportunity of imitation might be given to all. Moreover, since He was about to rise again, it was not allowable that His body should be in any way mutilated, or a bone broken, which happens to those who are beheaded. Therefore the cross was preferred, which reserved the body with the bones uninjured for the resurrection.
To these grounds it was also added, that having undertaken to suffer and to die, it was befitting that He should be lifted up. Thus the cross exalted Him both in fact and in emblem,120 so that His majesty and power became known to all, together with His passion. For in that He extended His hands on the cross, He plainly stretched out His wings towards the east and the west, under which all nations from either side of the world might assemble and repose. But of what great weight this sign is, and what power it has, is evident, since all the host of demons is expelled and put to flight by this sign. And as He Himself before His passion put to confusion demons by His word and command, so now, by the name and sign of the same passion, unclean spirits, having insinuated themselves into the bodies of men, are driven out, when racked and tormented, and confessing themselves to be demons, they yield themselves to God, who harasses them. What therefore can the Greeks expect from their superstitions and with their wisdom, when they see that their gods, whom they do not deny to be demons also, are subdued by men through the cross?
Chapter LII.-The Hope of the Salvation of Men Consists in the Knowledge of the True God, and of the Hatred of the Heathens Against the Christians.
There is therefore but one hope of life for men, one harbour of safety, one refuge of liberty, if, laying aside the errors by which they were held, they open the eyes of their mind and recognise God, in whom alone is the abode of truth; despise earthly things, and those made from the ground esteem as nothing philosophy, which is foolishness with God; and having undertaken e true wisdom, that is, religion, become heirs of immortality. But indeed they are not so much opposed to the truth as to their own safety; and when they hear these things, they abominate them as some inexpiable wickedness. But they do not even endure121 to hear: they think that their ears are polluted with impiety122 if they hear; nor do they now refrain from reproaches, but assail them with the most insulting words; and also, if they have obtained the power, persecute them as public enemies, yea, even as worse than enemies; for enemies, when they have been vanquished, are punished with death or slavery; nor is there any torturing after the laying down of arms, although those deserved to suffer all things who wished so to act, that piety might have place among swords.
Cruelty, combined with innocence, is unheard of, nor is it worthy of the condition of victorious enemies. What is the so powerful cause of this fury? Doubtless, because they cannot contend on the ground of reason, they urge forward their cause by means of violence; and, with the subject not understood, they condemn those as most pernicious persons who have declined to make a stand respecting the fact of their innocence. Nor do they deem it sufficient that those whom they unreasonably hate should die by a speedy and simple death; but they lacerate them with refined tortures, that they may satisfy their hatred, which is not produced by any fault, but by the truth, which is hateful to those who live wickedly, because they take it ill that there are some whom their deeds cannot please. They desire in every way to destroy these, that they may be able to sin without restraint in the absence of any witness.
Chapter LIII.-The Reasons of the Hatred Against the Christians are Examined and Refuted.
But they say that they do these things for the defence of their gods. In the first place, if they are gods, and have any power and influence, they have no need of the defence and protection of men, but they manifestly defend themselves. Or how is man able to hope for aid from them, if they are unable to average even their own injuries? Therefore it is a vain and foolish thing to wish to be avengers of the gods, except that their distrust is more apparent from this. For he who undertakes the protection of the god whom he worships, admits the worthlessness of that god; but if he worships him on this account, because he thinks him powerful, he ought not to wish to defend him, by whom he himself ought to be defended. We therefore act rightly. For when those defenders of false gods, who are rebellious against the true God, persecute His name in us, we resist not either in deed or in word, but with meekness, and silence, and patience, we endure whatever cruelty is able to contrive against us. For we have confidence in God, from whom we expect that retribution will hereafter follow. Nor is this confidence ungrounded, since we have in some cases heard, and in other cases seen, the miserable ends of all those who have dared to commit this crime. Nor has any one had it in his power to insult God with impunity; but he who has been unwilling to learn by word has learned by his own punishment who is the true God.
I should wish to know, when they compel men to sacrifice against their will, what reasoning they have with themselves, or to whom they make that offering. If it is made to the gods, that is not worship, nor an acceptable sacrifice, which is made by those who are displeasing to them, which is extorted by injury, which is enforced by pain. But if it is done to those whom they compel, it is plainly not a benefit, which any one would not receive, he even prefers rather to die. If it is a good to which you call me, why do you invite me with evil? why with blows, and not with words? why not by argument, but by bodily tortures? Whence it is manifest that that is an evil, to which you do not allure me willing, but drag me refusing. What folly is it to wish to consult the good of any one against his will! If any one, under the pressure of evils, attempts to have recourse to death, can you, if you either wrest the sword from his hand, or cut the halter, or drag him away from the precipice, or pour out the poison, boast yourself as the preserver of the man, when be, whom you think that you have preserved, does not thank you, and thinks that you have acted ill towards him, in averting from him the death which be desired, and in not permitting him to reach the end and rest from his labours? For a benefit ought not to be weighed according to the quality of the action, but according to the feelings of him who receives it. Why should you reckon as a benefit that which is an injury to me? Do you wish me to worship your gods, which I consider deadly to myself? If it is a good, I do not envy it. Enjoy your good by yourself. There is no reason why you should wish to succour my error, which I have undertaken by my judgment and inclination. If it is evil, why do you drag me to a participation in evil? Use your own fortune. I prefer to die in the practice of that which is good, than to live in evil.
Chapter LIV.-Of the Freedom of Religion in the Worship of God.
These things may indeed be said with justice.But who will hear, when men of furious and unbridled spirit think that their authority is diminished if there is any freedom in the affairs of men? But it is religion alone in which freedom has placed its dwelling. For it is a matter which is voluntary above all others, nor can necessity be imposed upon any, so as to worship that which he does not wish to worship.123 Some one may perhaps pretend, he cannot wish it. In short, some, through fear of torments, or overcome by tortures, have assented to detestable sacrifices: they never do that voluntarily which they did from necessity; but when the opportunity is again given to them, and liberty restored, they again betake themselves to God, and appease Him with prayers and tears, repenting not of the will, which they had not, but of the necessity which they endured; and pardon is not denied to those who make satisfaction. What then does he accomplish who pollutes the body, since he cannot change the will?
But, in fact, men of weak understanding, if they have induced any man of spirit124 to sacrifice to their gods, with incredible alacrity insolently exult, and rejoice, as though they had sent an enemy under the yoke. But if any one, neither frightened by threats nor by tortures, shall have chosen to prefer his faith to his life, cruelty puts forth all its ingenuity against him, plans dreadful and intolerable things; and because they know that death for the cause of God is glorious, and that this is a victory on our side, if, having overcome the torturers, we lay down our life in behalf of the faith and religion, they also themselves strive to conquer us. They do not put us to death. but they search out new and unheard-of tortures, that the frailty of the flesh may yield to pains, and if it does not yield, they put off further punishment, and apply diligent care to the wounds, that while the scars are yet fresh, a repetition of the torture may inflict more pain; and while they practise this torture125 upon the innocent, they evidently consider themselves pious, and just, and religious (for they are delighted with such sacrifices to their gods), but they term the others impious and desperate. What perversity is this, that he who is punished, though innocent, should be called desperate and impious, and that the torturer, on the other hand, should be called just and pious!
Chapter LV.-The Heathens Charge Justice with Impiety in Following God.
But they say that those are rightly and deservedly punished, who dislike the public rites of religion handed down to them by their ancestors. What if those ancestors were foolish in undertaking vain religious rites, as we have shown before, shall we be prohibited from following true and better things? Why do we deprive ourselves of liberty, and become enslaved to the errors of others, as though bound126 to them? Let it be permitted us to be wise, let it be permitted us to inquire into the truth. But, however, if it pleases them to defend the folly127 of their ancestors, why are the Egyptians suffered to escape, who worship cattle and beasts of every kind as deities? Why are the gods themselves made the subjects of comics128 representations? and why is he honoured who derides them most wittily? Why are philosophers attended to, who either say that there are no gods, or that, if there are any, they take no interest in, and do not regard the affairs of men, or argue that there is no providence at all, which rules the world?
But they alone of all are judged impious who follow God and the truth. And since this is at once justice, and wisdom, they lay to its charge either impiety or folly, and do not perceive what it is which deceives them, when they call evil good, and good evil. Many indeed of the philosophers, and especially Plato and Aristotle, spoke many things about justice, asserting and extolling that virtue with the greatest praise, because it gives to each its due, because it maintains equity in all things; and whereas the other virtues are as it were silent, and shut up within, that it is justice alone which is neither concerned129 for itself only, nor hidden, but altogether shows itself130 abroad, and is ready for conferring a benefit, so as to assist as many as possible: as though in truth justice ought to be in judges only, and those placed in any post of authority, and not in all men.
And yet there is no one of men, not even of the lowest and of beggars, who is not capable of justice. But because they did not know what it was, from what source it proceeded, and what was its mode of operation, they assigned to a few only that highest virtue, that is, the common good of all, and said that it aimed at131 no advantages peculiar to itself, but only the interests of others. And not without reason was Carneades raised up, a man of the greatest talent and penetration, to refute their speech, and overthrow the justice, which had no firm foundation; not because he thought that justice was to be blamed, but that he might show that its defenders brought forward no firm or certain argument respecting justice.
Chapter LVI.-Of Justice, Which is the Worship of the True God.
For if justice is the worship of the true God (for what is so just with respect to equity, so pious with respect to honour, so necessary with respect to safety, as to acknowledge God as a parent, to reverence Him as Lord, and to obey His law or precepts? ), it follows that the philosophers were ignorant of justice, for they neither acknowledged God Himself, nor observed His worship and law; and on this account they might have been refuted by Carneades, whose disputation was to this effect, that there is no natural justice, and therefore that all animals defended their own interests by the guidance of nature itself, and therefore that justice, if it promotes the advantages of others and neglects its own, is to be called foolishness. But if all people who are possessed of power, and the Romans themselves, who are masters of the whole world, were willing to follow justice, and to restore to every one his property which they have seized by force and arms, they will return to cottages and a condition of want. And if they did this, they might indeed be just, but they must of necessity be considered foolish, who proceed to injure themselves for the advantage of others. Then, if any one should find a man who was through a mistake offering for sale gold as mountain-brass, or silver as lead, and necessity should compel him to buy it, will he conceal his knowledge and buy it for a small sum, or will he rather inform the seller of its value? If he shall inform him, he will manifestly be called just; but he will also be foolish, for conferring an advantage upon another, and injuring himself. But it is easy to judge in a case of injury. What if he shall incur danger of his life, so that it shall be necessary for him either to kill another or to die, what will he do? It may happen that, having suffered shipwreck, he may find some feeble person clinging to a plank; or, his army having been defeated, in his flight he may find a wounded man on horseback: will he thrust the one from the plank, the other from his horse, that he himself may be able to escape? If he shall wish to be just, he will not do it; but he will also be judged foolish, who in sparing the life of another shall lose his own. If he shall do it, he will indeed appear wise, because he will provide for his own interests; but he will also be wicked, because he will commit a wrong.
Chapter LVII.-Of Wisdom and Foolishness.
These things indeed are said with acuteness; but we are able very readily to reply to them. For the imitation of names causes it thus to appear. For justice bears a resemblance to foolishness, and yet it is not foolishness; and at the same time malice bears a resemblance to wisdom, and yet it is not wisdom. But as that malice is intelligent and shrewd in preserving its own interests, it is not wisdom, but cunning and craftiness; so likewise justice ought not to be called foolishness, but innocence, because the just man must be wise, and the foolish man unjust. For neither reason nor nature itself permits that he who is just should not be wise, since it is plain that the just man does nothing except that which is right and good, and always avoids that which is perverted132 and evil. But who will be able to distinguish between good and evil, depravity and rectitude, but he who shall be wise? But the fool acts badly, because he is ignorant of what is good and evil. Therefore he does wrong, because he is unable to distinguish between things which are perverted and those which are right. Therefore justice cannot be befitting to the foolish man, nor wisdom to the unjust. He is not then a foolish person who has not thrust off a shipwrecked man from a plank, nor a wounded man from his horse, because he has abstained from injury, which is a sin; and it is the part of the wise man to avoid.
But that he should appear foolish at first sight is caused by this, that they suppose the soul to be extinguished together with the body; and for this reason they refer all advantage to this life. For if there is no existence after death, it is plain that he acts foolishly who spares the life of another to his own loss, or who consults the gain of another more than his own. If death destroys the soul, we must use our endeavours to live for a longer time, and more to our own advantage; but if there remains after death a life of immortality and blessedness, the just and wise man will certainly despise this corporeal existence, with all earthly goods, because he will know what kind of a reward he is about to receive from God. Therefore let us maintain innocency, let us maintain justice, let us undergo the appearance of foolishness, that we may be able to maintain true wisdom. And if it appears to men senseless and foolish to prefer torture and death rather than to sacrifice to gods, and to escape without harm, let us however strive to exhibit faithfulness towards God by all virtue and by all patience. Let not death terrify us, nor pain subdue us, so as to prevent the vigour of our mind and constancy from being preserved unshaken. Let them call us foolish, whilst they themselves are most foolish, and blind and dull, and like sheep; who do not understand that it is a deadly thing to leave the living God, and prostrate themselves in the adoration of earthly objects; who do not know that eternal punishment awaits those who have worshipped senseless images; and that those who have neither refused tortures nor death for the worship and honour of the true God will obtain eternal life. This is the highest faith; this is true wisdom; this is perfect justice. It matters nothing to us what fools may judge, what trifling men may think. We ought to await the judgment of God, that we may hereafter judge those who have passed judgment on us.
Chapter LVIII.-Of the True Worship of God, and Sacrifice.
I have spoken of justice, what was its nature. It follows that I show what is true sacrifice to God, what is the most just manner of worship-ping Him, lest any one should think that victims, or odours, or precious gifts, are desired by God, who, if He is not subject to hunger, and thirst, and cold, and desire of all earthly things, does not therefore make use of all these things which are presented in temples and to gods of earth; but as corporeal offerings are necessary for corporeal beings, so manifestly an incorporeal sacrifice is necessary for an incorporeal being. But God has no need of those things which He has given to man for his use, since all the earth is under His power: He needs not a temple, since the world is His dwelling; He needs not an image, since He is incomprehensible both to the eyes and to the mind; He needs not earthly lights, for He was able to kindle the light of the sun, with the other stars, for the use of man. What then does God require from man but worship of the mind, which is pure and holy? For those things which are made by the hands, or are outside of man, are senseless, frail, and displeasing. This is true sacrifice, which is brought forth not from the chest but from the heart; not that which is offered by the hand, but by the mind. This is the acceptable victim, which the mind sacrifices of itself. For what do victims bestow? What dotes incense? What do garments? What does silver? What gold? What precious stones,-if there is not a pure mind on the part of the worshipper? Therefore it is justice only which God requires. In this is sacrifice; in this the worship of God, respecting which I must now speak, and show in what works justice must necessarily be contained.
Chapter LIX.-Of the Ways of Life, and the First Times of the World.
That there are two ways133 of human life was unknown neither to philosophers nor to poets, but both introduced them in a different manner. The philosophers wished the one to be the way of industry, the other of idleness; but in this respect they were less correct in their statements, that they referred them to the advantages of this life only. The poets spoke better who said that one of them was the way of the just, the other of the unjust; but they err in this, that they say that they are not in this life, but in the shades below. We manifestly speak more correctly, who say that the one is the way of life, the other that of death. And here, however, we say that there are two ways; but the one on the right hand, in which the just walk, does not lead to Elysium, but to heaven, for they become immortal; the other on the left leads to Tartarus,134 for the unjust are sentenced to eternal tortures. Therefore the way of justice, which leads to life, is to be held by us. Now the first duty of justice is to acknowledge God as a parent, and to fear Him as a master, to love Him as a father. For the same Being who begat us, who animated us with vital breath, who nourishes and preserves us, has over us, not only as a father but also as a master, authority to correct us, and the power of life and death; wherefore twofold honour is due to Him from man, that is, love combined with fear. The second duty of justice is to acknowledge man as a brother. For if the same God made us, and produced all men on equal terms to justice and eternal life, it is manifest that we are united by the relationship of brotherhood; and he who does not acknowledge this is unjust. But the origin of this evil, by which the mutual society of men, by which the bond of relationship has been torn asunder, arises from ignorance of the true God. For he who is ignorant of that fountain of bounty can by no means be good. Hence it is that, from the time when a multitude of gods began to be consecrated and worshipped by men, justice, as the poets relate, being put to flight, every compact was destroyed, the fellowship of human justice was destroyed. Then every one, consulting his own interest, reckoned might to be right, injured another, attacked by frauds, deceived135 by treachery, increased his own advantages by the inconvenience of others, did not spare relatives, or children, or parents, prepared poisoned cups for the destruction of men, beset the ways with the sword, infested the seas, gave the rein to his lust, wherever passion led him,-in short, esteemed nothing sacred which his dreadful desire did not violate. When these things were done, then men instituted laws for themselves to promote the public advantage, that they might meanwhile protect themselves from injuries. But the fear of laws did not suppress crimes, but it checked licentiousness. For laws were able to punish offences, they were unable to punish the conscience. Therefore the things which before were done openly began to be done secretly. Justice also was evaded by stealth, since they who themselves presided over the administration of the laws, corrupted by, gifts and rewards, made a traffic of their sentences, either to the escape136 of the evil or to the destruction of the good. To these things were added dissensions, and wars, and mutual depredations; and the laws being crushed, the power of acting with violence was assumed without restraint.
Chapter LX.-Of the Duties of Justice.
When the affairs of men were in this condition, God pitied us, revealed and displayed Himself to us, that in Himself we might learn religion, faith, purity, and mercy; that having laid aside the error of our former life, together with God Himself we might know ourselves, whom impiety had disunited from Him, and we might choose137 the divine law, which unites human affairs with heavenly, the Lord Himself delivering it to us; by which law all the errors with which we have been ensnared, together with vain and impious superstitions, might be taken away. What we owe to man, therefore, is prescribed by that same divine law which teaches that whatever you render to man is rendered to God. But the root of justice, and the entire foundation of equity, is that you should not do that which you would be unwilling to suffer, but should measure the feelings of another by your own. If it is an unpleasant thing to bear an injury, and he who has done it appears unjust, transfer to the person of another that which you feel respecting yourself, and to your own person that which you judge respecting another, and you will understand that you act as unjustly if you injure another as another would if he should injure you. If we consider these things, we shall maintain innocence, in which the first step of justice is, as it were, contained. For the first thing is, not to injure; the next is, to be of service. And as in uncultivated lands, before you begin to sow, the fields must be cleansed by tearing up the thorns and cutting off all the roots of trunks, so vices must first be thrust out from our souls, and then at length virtues must be implanted, from which the fruits of immortality, being engendered by the word of God, may spring up.
Chapter LXI.-Of the Passions.
There are three passions, or, so to speak, three furies, which excite such great perturbations in the souls of men, and sometimes compel them to offend in such a manner, as to permit them to have regard neither for their reputation nor for their personal safety: these are anger, which desires vengeance; love of gain, which longs for riches; lust, which seeks for pleasures. We must above all things resist these vices: these trunks must be rooted up, that virtues may be implanted. The Stoics are of opinion that these passions must be cut off; the Peripatetics think that they must be restrained. Neither of them judge rightly, because they cannot entirely be taken away, since they are implanted by nature, and have a sure and great influence; nor can they be diminished, since, if they are evil, we ought to be without them, even though restrained and used with moderation; if they are good, we ought to use them in their completeness.138 But we say that they ought not to be taken away nor lessened. For they are not evil of themselves, since God has reasonably implanted them in us; but inasmuch as they are plainly good by nature,-for they are given us for the protection of life,-they become evil by their evil use. And as bravery, if you fight in defence of your country, is a good, if against your country, is an evil, so the passions, if you employ them to good purposes, will be virtues, if to evil uses, they will be called vices. Anger therefore has been given by God for the restraining of offences, that is, for controlling the discipline of subjects, that fear may suppress licentiousness and restrain audacity. But they who are ignorant of its limits are angry with their equals, or even with their superiors. Hence they rush to deeds of cruelty, hence they rise to slaughters, hence to wars. The love of gain also has been given that we may desire and seek for the necessaries of life. But they who are unacquainted with its boundaries strive insatiably to heap up riches. Hence poisoning, hence defraudings,139 hence false wills, hence all kinds of frauds have burst forth. Moreover, the passion of lust is implanted and innate in us for the procreation of children; but they who do not fix its limits in the mind use it for pleasure only. Thence arise unlawful loves, thence adulteries and debaucheries, thence all kinds of corruption. These passions, therefore, must be kept within their boundaries and directed into their right course, in which, even though they should be vehement, they cannot incur blame.
Chapter LXII.-Of Restraining the Pleasures of the Senses.
Anger is to be restrained when we suffer an injury, that the evil may be suppressed which is imminent from a contest, and that we may retain two of the greatest virtues, harmlessness and patience. Let the desire of gain be broken when we have that which is enough. For what madness is it to labour in heaping up those things which must pass to others, either by robbery, or theft, or by proscription, or by death? Let lust not go beyond the marriage-bed, but be subservient to the procreation of children. For a too great eagerness for pleasure both produces danger and generates disgrace, and that which is especially to be avoided, leads to eternal death. Nothing is so hateful to God as an unchaste mind and an impure soul. Nor let any one think that he must abstain from this pleasure only, quae capitur ex foeminei corporis copulatione, but also from the other pleasures which arise from the rest of the senses, because they also are of themselves vicious, and it is the part of the same virtue to despise them. The pleasure of the eyes is derived from the beauty of objects, that of the ears from harmonious and pleasant sounds, that of the nostrils from pleasant odour, that of taste from sweet food,-all of which virtue ought strongly to resist, lest, en-snared by these attractions, the soul should be depressed from heavenly to earthly things, from things eternal to things temporal, from life immortal to perpetual punishment. In pleasures of the taste and smell there is this danger, that they are able to draw us to luxury. For he who shall be given up to these things, either will have no property, or, if he shall have any, he will expend it, and afterwards live a life to be abominated. But he who is carried away by hearing (to say nothing respecting songs,140 which often so charm the inmost senses that they even disturb with madness a settled state of the mind by certain elaborately composed speeches and harmonious poems, or skilful disputations) is easily led aside to impious worship. Hence it is that they who are either themselves eloquent, or prefer to read eloquent writings, do not readily believe the sacred writings, because they appear unpolished; they do not seek things that are true, but things that are pleasant; nay, to them those things appear to be most true which soothe the cars. Thus they reject the truth, while they are captivated by the sweetness of the discourse. But the pleasure which has reference to the sight is manifold. For that which is derived from the beauty of precious objects excites avarice, which ought to be far removed from a wise and just man; but that which is received from the appearance of woman hurries a man to another pleasure, of which we have already spoken above.
Chapter LXIII.-That Shows are Most Powerful to Corrupt the Minds.
It remains to speak of public shows, which, since they have a more powerful influence on the corruption of the mind, ought to be avoided by the wise, and to be altogether guarded against, because it is said that they were instituted in celebration of the honours of the gods. For the exhibitions of shows are festivals of Saturnus.The stage belongs to Father Liber; but the Circensian games are supposed to be dedicated to Neptunus: so that now he who takes part in these shows appears to have left the worship of God, and to have passed over to profane rites. But I prefer to speak of the matter itself rather than of its origin. What is so dreadful, what so foul, as the slaughter of man? Therefore our life is protected by the most severe laws; therefore wars are detestable. Yet custom finds how a man may commit homicide without war, and without laws; and this is a pleasure to him, that he has avenged guilt. But if to be present at homicide implies a consciousness of guilt, and the spectator is involved in the same guilt as the perpetrator, then in these slaughters of gladiators, he who is a spectator is no less sprinkled with blood than he who sheds it; nor can he be free from the guilt of bloodshed who wished it to be poured out, or appear not to have slain, who both favoured the slayer and asked a reward for him. What of the stage? Is it more holy,-on which comedy converses on the subject of debaucheries and amours, tragedy of incest and parricide? The immodest gestures also of players, with which they imitate disreputable women, teach the lusts, which they express by dancing. For the pantomime is a school of corruption,141 in which things which are shameful are acted by a figurative representation,142 that the things which are true may be done without shame. These spectacles are viewed by youths, whose dangerous age, which ought to be curbed and governed, is trained by these representations to vices and sins. The circus, in truth, is considered more innocent, but there is greater madness in this, since the minds of the spectators are transported with such great madness, that they not only break out into revilings, but often rise to strifes, and battles, and contentions. Therefore all shows are to be avoided, that we may be able to maintain a tranquil state of mind. We must renounce hurtful pleasures, lest, charmed by pestilential sweetness, we fall into the snares of death.
Chapter LXIV.-The Passions are to Be Subdued, and We Must Abstain from Forbidden Things.
Let virtue alone please us, whose reward is immortal when it has conquered pleasure. But when the passions have been overcome and pleasures subdued labour in suppressing other things is easy to him who is a follower of God and of truth: he will never revile, who shall hope for a blessing from God; he will not commit perjury, lest he should mock God; but he will not even swear, test at any time, either by necessity or through habit, he should fall into perjury. He will speak nothing deceitfully, nothing with dissimulation; he will not refuse that which he has promised, nor will he promise that which he is unable to perform; he will envy no one, since he is content with himself and with his own possessions; nor will he take away from, or wish ill to another, upon whom, perhaps, the benefits of God are more plenteously143 bestowed. He will not steal, nor will he covet anything at all belonging to another. He will not give his money to usury, for that is to seek after gain from the evils of others; nor, however, will he refuse to lend, if necessity shall compel any one to borrow. He must not be harsh towards a son, nor towards a slave: he must remember that he himself has a Father and a Master. He will so act towards these as he will wish that others should act towards him. He will not receive excessive gifts from those who have less resources than himself; for it is not just that the estates of the wealthy should be increased by the losses of the wretched.
It is an old precept not to kill, which ought not to be taken in this light, as though we axe commanded to abstain only from homicide, which is punished even by public laws. But by the intervention of this command, it will not be permitted us to apply peril of death by word, nor to put to death or expose an infant, nor to condemn one's self by a voluntary death. We are likewise commanded not to commit adultery; but by this precept we are not only prohibited from polluting the marriage of another, which is condemned even by the common law of nations, but even to abstain from those who prostitute their persons. For the law of God is above all laws; it forbids even those things which are esteemed lawful, that it may fulfil justice. It is a part of the same law not to utter false witness, and this also itself has a wider meaning. For if false witness by falsehood is injurious to him against whom it is spoken, and deceives him in whose presence it is spoken, we must therefore never speak falsely, because falsehood always deceives or injures. Therefore he is not a just man who, even without inflicting injury, speaks in idle discourse. Nor indeed is it lawful for him to flatter, for flattery is pernicious and deceitful; but he will everywhere guard the truth. And although this may for the present be unpleasant, nevertheless, when its advantage and usefulness shall appear, it will not produce hatred, as the poet says,144 but gratitude.
Chapter LXV.-Precepts About Those Things Which are Commanded, and of Pity.
I have spoken of those things which are forbidden; I will now briefly say what things are commanded. Closely connected with harmlessness is pity. For the former does not inflict injury, the latter works good; the former begins justice, the latter completes it. For since the nature of men is more feeble than that of the other animals, which God has provided with means of inflicting violence, and with defences for repelling it, He has given to us the affection of pity, that we might place the whole protection of our life in mutual aid. For if we are created by one God, and descended from one man, and are thus connected by the law of consanguinity, we ought on this account to love every man; and therefore we are bound not only to abstain from the infliction of injury, but not even to avenge it when inflicted on us, that there may be in us complete harmlessness. And on this account God commands us to pray always even for our enemies. Therefore we ought to be an animal fitted for companionship and society, that we may mutually protect ourselves by giving and receiving assistance. For our frailty is liable to many accidents and inconveniences. Expect that that which you see has happened to another may happen to you also. Thus you will at length be excited to render aid, if you shall assume the mind of him who, being placed in evils, implores your aid. If any one is in need of food, let us bestow it; if any one meets us who is naked, let us clothe him; if any one suffers injury from one who is more powerful than himself, let us rescue him. Let our house be open to strangers, or to those who are in need of shelter. Let cur de-fence not be wanting to wards, or our protection to the defenceless.145 To ransom captives is a great work of pity, and also to visit and comfort the sick who are in poverty. If the helpless or strangers die, we should not permit them to lie unburied. These are the works, these the duties, of pity; and if any one undertakes these, he will offer unto God a true and acceptable sacrifice. This victim is more adapted for an offering to God, who is not appeased with the blood of a sheep, but with the piety of man, whom God, because He is just, follows up with His own law, and with His own condition. He shows mercy to him whom He sees to be merciful; He is inexorable to him whom He sees to be harsh to those who entreat him. Therefore, that we may be able to do all these things, which are pleasing to God, money is to be despised, and to be transferred to heavenly treasures, where neither thief can break through, nor rust corrupt, nor tyrant take away, but it may be preserved for us under the guardianship of God to our eternal wealth.
Chapter LXVI.-Of Faith in Religion, and of Fortitude.
Faith also is a great part of justice; and this ought especially to be preserved by us, who bear the name of faith, especially in religion, because God is before and to be preferred to man. And if it is a glorious thing to undergo death in behalf of friends, of parents, and of children, that is, in behalf of man, and if he who has done this obtains lasting memory and praise, how much more so in behalf of God, who is able to bestow eternal life in return for temporal death? Therefore, when a necessity of this kind happens. that we are compelled to turn aside from God, and to pass over to the rites of the heathens, no fear, no terror should turn us aside from guarding the faith delivered to us. Let God be before our eyes, in our heart, by whose inward help we may overcome the pain of our flesh, and the torments applied to our body. Then let us think of nothing else but the rewards of an immortal life. And thus, even though our limbs should be torn in pieces, or burnt, we shall easily endure all things which the madness of tyrannical cruelty shall contrive against us. Lastly, let us strive to undergo death itself, not unwillingly or timidly, but willingly and undauntedly, as those who know what glory we are about to bare in the presence of God, having triumphed over the world and coming to the things promised us; with what good things and how great blessedness we shall be compensated for these brief evils of punishments, and the injuries of this life. But if the opportunity of this glory shall be wanting, faith will have its reward even in peace.
Therefore let it be observed in all the duties of life, let it be observed in marriage. For it is not sufficient if you abstain from another's bed, or from the brothel. Let him who has a wife seek nothing further, but, content with her alone, let him guard the mysteries of the marriage-bed. chaste and undefiled. For he is equally an adulterer in the sight of God and impure, who, having thrown off the yoke, wantons in strange pleasure either with a free woman or a slave. But as a woman is bound by the bonds of chastity not to desire any other man, so let the husband be bound by the same law, since God has joined together the husband and the wife in the union of one body. On this account He has commanded that the wife shall not be put away unless convicted of adultery, and that the bond of the conjugal compact shall never be dissolved, unless unfaithfulness have broken it.146 This also is added for the completion of chastity, that there should be an absence not only of the offence, but even of the thought. For it is evident that the mind is polluted by the desire, though unaccomplished; and so that a just man ought neither to do, nor to wish to do, that which is unjust. Therefore the conscience must be cleansed; for God, who cannot be deceived, inspects it. The breast must be cleared from every stain, that it may be a temple of God, which is enlightened not by the gleam of gold or ivory, but by the brightness of faith and purity.
Chapter LXVII.-Of Repentance, the Immortality of the Soul, and of Providence.
But it is true all these things are difficult to man, nor does the condition of his frailty permit that any one should be without blemish. Therefore the last remedy is this, that we have recourse to repentance, which has not the least place among the virtues, because it is a correction of oneself; that when we have happened to fail either in deed or in word, we may immediately come to a better mind, and confess that we have offended, and entreat pardon from God, which according to His mercy He will not deny, except to those who persist in their error. Great is the aid, great the solace of repentance. That is the healing of wounds and offences, that hope, that the harbour of safety; and he who takes away this cuts off from himself the way of salvation, because no one can be so just that repentance is never necessary for him. But we, even though there is no offence of ours, yet ought to confess to God, and to entreat pardon for our faults, and to give thanks even in evils. Let us always offer this obedience to our Lord. For humility is dear and lovely in the sight of God; for since, He rather receives the sinner who confesses his fault, than the just man who is haughty, how much more will He receive the just man who confesses, and exalt him in His heavenly kingdom in proportion to his humility! These are the things which the worshipper of God ought to hold forth; these are the victims, this the sacrifice, which is acceptable; this is true worship, when a man offers upon the altar of God the pledges of his own mind. That supreme Majesty rejoices in such a worshipper as this, as it takes him as a son and bestows upon him the befitting reward of immortality, concerning which I must now speak, and refute the persuasion of those who think that the soul is destroyed together with the body. For inasmuch as they neither knew God nor were able to perceive the mystery of the world, they did not even comprehend the nature of man and of the soul. For how could they see the consequences, who did not hold the main point?147 Therefore, in denying the existence of a providence, they plainly denied the existence of God, who is the fountain and source of all things. It followed that they should either affirm that those things which exist have always existed, or were produced of their own accord, or arose from a meeting together of minute seeds.
It cannot be said that that which exists, and is visible, always existed; for it cannot exist of itself without some beginning. But nothing can be produced of its own accord, because there is no nature without one who generates it. But how could there be original148 seeds, since both the seeds arise from objects,149 and, in their turn, objects from seeds? Therefore there is no seed which has not origin. Thus it came to pass, that when they supposed that the world was produced by no providence, they did not suppose that even man was produced by any plan.150 But if no plan was made use of in the creation of man, therefore the soul cannot be immortal. But others, on the other hand, thought there was but one God, and that the world was made by Him, and made for the sake of men, and that souls are immortal. But though they entertained true sentiments, nevertheless they did not perceive the causes, or reasons, or issues of this divine work and design, so as to complete the whole mystery of the truth, and to comprise it within some limit. But that which they were not able to do, because they did not hold the truth in its integrity,151 must be done by us, who know it on the announcement of God.
Chapter LXVIII.-Of the World, Man, and the Providence of God.
Let us therefore consider what was the plan of making this so great and so immense a work. God made the world, as Plato thought, but he does not show why He made it. Because He is good, he says, and envying no one, He made the things which arc good. But we see that there are both good and evil things in the system of nature. Some perverse person may stand forth, such as that atheist Theodorus was, and answer Plato: Nay, because He is evil, He made the things which are evil. How will he refute him? If God made the things which are good, whence have such great evils burst forth, which, for the most part, even prevail over those which are good? They were contained, he says, in the matter. If there were evil, therefore there were also good things; so that either God made nothing, or if He made only good things, the evil things which were not made are more eternal than the good things which had a beginning. Therefore the things which at one time began will have an end, and those which always existed will be permanent. Therefore evils are preferable. But if they cannot be preferable, they cannot indeed be more eternal. Therefore they either always existed, and God has been inactive,152 or they both flowed from one source. For it is more in accordance with reason that God made all things, than that He made nothing.
Therefore, according to the sentiments of Plato, the same God is both good, because He made good things, and evil, because He made evil things. And if this cannot be so, it is evident that the world was not made by God on this account, because He is good. For He comprised all things, both good and evil; nor did He make anything for its own sake, but on account of something else. A house is built not for this purpose only, that there may be a house, but that it may receive and shelter an inhabitant. Likewise a ship is built not for this purpose, that it may appear only to be a ship, but that men may be able to sail in it. Vessels also are made, not only that the vessels may exist, but that they may receive things which are necessary for use. Thus also God must have made the world for some use. The Stoics say that it was made for the sake of then; and rightly so. For men enjoy all these good things which the world contains in itself. But they do not explain why men themselves were made, or what advantage Providence, the Maker of all things, has in them.
Plato also affirms that souls are immortal, but why, or in what manner, or at what time, or by whose instrumentality they attain to immortality, or what is the nature of that great mystery, why those who are about to become immortal are previously born mortal, and then, having completed the course153 of their temporal life, and having laid aside the covering154 of their frail bodies, are transferred to that eternal blessedness,-of all this he has no comprehension. Finally, he did not explain the judgment of God, nor the distinction between the just and the unjust, but supposed that the souls which have plunged themselves into crimes are condemned thus far, that they may be reproduced in the lower animals, and thus atone for their offences, until they again return to the forms of men, and that this is always taking place, and that there is no end of this transmigration. In my opinion, he introduces some sport resembling a dream, in which there appears to be neither plan, nor government of God, nor any design.
Chapter LXIX.-That the World Was Made on Account of Man, and Man on Account of God.
I will now say what is that chief155 point which not even those who spoke the truth were able to connect together, bringing into one view causes and reasons. The world was made by God, that men might be born; again, men are born, that they may acknowledge God as a Father, in whom is wisdom; they acknowledge Him, that they may worship Him, in whom is justice; they worship Him, that they may receive the reward of immortality; they receive immortality, that they may serve God for ever. Do you see how closely connected the first are with the middle, and the middle with the last? Let us look into them separately, and see whether they are consistent156 with each other. God made the world on account of man. He who does not see this, does not differ ranch from a beast. Who but man looks up to the heaven? who views with admiration the sun, who the stars, who all the works of God? Who inhabits the earth? who receives the fruit from it? Who has in his power the fishes, who the winged creatures, who the quadrupeds, except man? Therefore God made all things on account of man, because all things have turned out for the use of man.
The philosophers saw this, but they did not see the consequence, that He made man himself on His own account. For it was befitting, and pious, and necessary, that since He contrived such great works for the sake of man, when He gave him so much honour, and so much power, that he should bear rule in the world, man should both acknowledge God, the Author of such great benefits, who made the world itself on his account, and should pay Him the worship and honour due to Him. Here Plato erred; here he lost the truth which he had at first laid hold of, when he was silent concerning the worship of that God whom he confessed to be the framer and parent of all things, and did not understand that man is bound to God by the ties of piety, whence religion itself receives its name, and that this is the only thing on account of which souls become immortal. He perceived, however, that they are eternal, but he did not descend by the regular gradations to that opinion. For the middle arguments being taken away, he rather fell into the truth, as though by some abrupt precipice; nor did he advance further, since he had found the truth by accident, and not by reason. Therefore God is to be worshipped, that by means of religion, which is also justice, man may receive from God immortality, nor is there any other reward of a pious mind; and if this is invisible, it cannot be presented by the invisible God with any reward but that which is invisible.
Chapter LXX.-The Immortality of the Soul is Confirmed.
It may in truth be collected from many arguments that souls are eternal. Plato says that that which always moves by itself, and has no beginning of motion, also has no end; but that the soul of man always moves by itself, and because it is flexible for reflection, subtle for discovery, easy of perception, adapted to learning, and because it retains the past, comprehends the present, foresees the future, and embraces the knowledge of many subjects and arts, that it is immortal, since it contains nothing which is mixed with the contagion of earthly weight. Moreover, the eternity of the soul is understood from virtue and pleasure. Pleasure is common to all animals, virtue belongs only to man; the former is vicious, the latter is honourable; the former is in accordance with nature, the latter is opposed to nature, unless the soul is immortal. For in defence of faith and justice, virtue neither fears want, nor is alarmed at exile, nor dreads imprisonment, nor shrinks from pain, nor refuses death; and because these things are contrary to nature, either virtue is foolishness, if it stands in the way of advantages, and is injurious to life; or if it is not foolishness, then the soul is immortal, and despises present goods, because other things are preferable which it attains after the dissolution of the body. But that is the greatest proof of immortality, that man alone has the knowledge of God. In the dumb animals there is no notion157 of religion, because they are earthly and bent down to the earth. Man is upright, and beholds the heaven for this purpose, that he may seek God. Therefore he cannot be other than immortal, who longs for the immortal. He cannot be liable to dissolution, who is connected158 with God both in countenance and mind. Finally, man alone makes use of the heavenly element, which is fire, For if light is through fire, and life through light, it is evident that he who has the use of fire is not mortal, since this is closely connected, this is intimately related to Him without whom neither light nor life can exist.
But why do we infer from arguments that souls are eternal, when we have divine testimonies? For the sacred writings and the voices of the prophets teach this. And if this appears to any one insufficient, let him read the poems of the Sibyls, let him also weigh the answers of the Milesian Apollo, that he may understand that Democritus, and Epicurus, and Dicae archus raved, who alone of all mortals denied that which is evident. Having proved the immortality of the soul, it remains to teach by whom, and to whom, and in what manner, and at what time, it is given. Since fixed and divinely appointed times have begun to be filled up, a destruction and consummation of all things must of necessity take place, that the world may be renewed by God. But that time is at hand, as far as may be collected from the number of years, and from the signs which are foretold by the prophets. But since the things which have been spoken concerning the end of the world and the conclusion of the times are innumerable, those very things which are spoken are to be laid down without adornment, since it would be a boundless task to bring forward the testimonies. If any one wishes for them, or does not place full confidence in us, let him approach to the very shrine of the heavenly letters, and being more fully instructed through their trustworthiness, let him perceive that the philosophers have erred, who thought either that this world was eternal, or that there would be numberless thousands of years from the time when it was prepared. For six thousand years have not yet been completed, and when this number shall be made up, then at length all evil will be taken away, that justice alone may reign. And how this will come to pass, I will explain in few words.
Chapter LXXI.-Of the Last Times.
These things are said by the prophets, but as seers, to be about to happen. When the last end shall begin to approach to the world, wickedness will increase; all kinds of vices and frauds will become frequent; justice will perish; faith, peace, mercy, modesty, truth, will have no existence; violence and daring will abound; no one will have anything, unless it is acquired by the hand, and defended by the hand. If there shall be any good men, they will be esteemed as a prey and a laughing-stock. No one will exhibit filial affection to parents, no one will pity an infant or an old man; avarice and lust will corrupt all things. There will be slaughter and bloodshed. There will be wars, and those not only between foreign and neighbouring states, but also intestine wars. States will carry on wars among themselves, every sex and age will handle arms. The dignity of government will not be preserved, nor military discipline; but after the manner of robbery, there will be depredation and devastation. Kingly power will be multiplied, and ten men will occupy, portion out, and devour the world. There will arise another by far more powerful and wicked, who, having destroyed three, will obtain Asia, and having reduced and subdued the others under his own power, will harass all the earth. He will appoint new laws, abrogate old ones; he will make the state his own, and will change the name and seat of the government.
Then there will be a dreadful and detestable time, in which no one would choose to live. In fine, such will be the condition of things, that lamentation will follow the living, and congratulation the dead. Cities and towns will be destroyed, at one time by fire and the sword, at another by repeated earthquakes; now by inundation of waters, now by pestilence and famine. The earth will produce nothing, being barren either through excessive cold or heat. All water will be partly changed into blood, partly vitiated by bitterness, so that none of it can be useful for food, or wholesome for drinking. To these evils will also be added prodigies from heaven, that nothing may be wanting to men for causing fear. Comets will frequently appear. The sun will be overshadowed with perpetual paleness. The moon will be stained with blood, nor will it repair the losses of its light taken away. All the stars will fall, nor will the seasons preserve their regularity, winter and summer being confused. Then both the year, and the month, and the day will be shortened. And Trismegistus has declared that this is the old age and decline of the world. And when this shall have come, it must be known that the time is at hand in which God will return to change the world. But in the midst of these evils there will arise an impious king, hostile not only to mankind, but also to God. He will trample upon, torment, harass and put to death those who have been spared by that former tyrant. Then there will be ever-flowing tears, perpetual wailings and lamentations, and useless prayers to God; there will be no rest from fear, no sleep for a respite. The day will always increase disaster, the night alarm. Thus the world will be reduced almost to solitude, certainly to fewness of men. Then also the impious man will persecute the just and those who are dedicated to God, and will give orders that he himself shall be worshipped as God. For he will say that he is Christ, though he will be His adversary.159 That he may be believed, he will receive the power of doing wonders, so that fire may descend from heaven, the sun retire from his course, and the image which he shall have set up may speak. And by these prodigies he shall entice many to worship him, and to receive his sign in their hand or forehead. And he who shall not worship him and receive his sign will die with refined tortures. Thus he will destroy nearly two parts, the third will flee into desolate solitudes. But he, frantic and raging with implacable anger, will lead an army and besiege the mountain to which the righteous shall have fled. And when they shall see themselves besieged, they will implore the aid of God with a loud voice, and God shall hear them, and shall send to them a deliverer.
Chapter LXXII.-Of Christ Descending from Heaven to the General Judgment, and of the Millenarian Reign.160
Then the heaven shall be opened in a tempest,161 and Christ shall descend with great power, and there shall go before Him a fiery brightness and a countless host of angels, and all that multitude of the wicked shall be destroyed, and torrents of blood shall flow, and the leader himself shall escape, and having often renewed his army, shall for the fourth time engage in battle, in which, being taken, with all the other tyrants, he shall be delivered up to be burnt. But the prince also of the demons himself, the author and contriver of evils, being bound with fiery chains, shall be imprisoned, that the world may receive peace, and the earth, harassed through so many years, may rest. Therefore peace being made, and every evil suppressed, that righteous King and Conqueror will institute a great judgment on the earth respecting the living and the dead, and will deliver all the nations into subjection to the righteous who are alive, and will raise the righteous dead to eternal life, and will Himself reign with them on the earth, and will build the holy city, and this kingdom of the righteous shall be for a thousand years. Throughout that time the stars shall be more brilliant, and the brightness of the sun shall be increased, and the moon shall not be subjectto decrease. Then the rain of blessing shall descend from God at morning and evening, and the earth shall bring forth all her fruit without the labour of men. Honey shall drop from rocks, fountains of milk and wine shall abound. The beasts shall lay aside their ferocity and become mild, the wolf shall roam among the flocks without doing harm, the calf shall feed with the lion, the dove shall be united with the hawk, the serpent shall have no poison; no animal shall live by bloodshed. For God shall supply to all abundant and harmless162 food. But when the thousand years shall be fulfilled, and the prince of the demons loosed, the nations will rebel against the righteous, and an innumerable multitude will come to storm the city of the saints. Then the last judgment of God will come to pass against the nations. For He will shake the earth froth its foundations, and the cities shall be overthrown, and He shall rain upon the wicked fire with brimstone and hail, and they shall be on fire, and slay each other. But the righteous shall for a little space be concealed under the earth, until the destruction of the nations is accomplished, and after the third day they shall come forth, and see the plains covered with carcases. Then there shall be an earthquake, and the mountains shall be rent, and valleys shall sink down to a profound depth, and into this the bodies of the dead shall be heaped together, and its name shall be called Polyandrion.163 After these things God will renew the world, and transform the righteous into the forms of angels, that, being presented with the garment of immortality, they may serve God for ever; and this will be the kingdom of God, which shall have no end. Then also the wicked shall rise again, not to life but to punishment; for God shall raise these also, when the second resurrection takes place, that, being condemned to eternal torments and delivered to eternal fires, they may suffer the punishments which they deserve for their crimes.
Chapter LXXIII.-The Hope of Safety is in the Religion and Worship of God.
Wherefore, since all these things arc true and certain, in harmony with the predicted announcement of the prophets, since Trismegistus and Hystaspes and the Sibyls have foretold the same things, it cannot be doubted that all hope of life and salvation is placed in the religion of God alone. Therefore, unless a man shall have received Christ, whom God has sent, and is about to send for our redemption, unless he shall have known the Supreme God through Christ, unless he shall have kept His commandments and law, he will fall into those punishments of which we have spoken. Therefore frail things must be despised, that we may gain those which are substantial; earthly things must be scorned, that we may be honoured with heavenly things; temporal things must be shunned, that we may reach those which are eternal. Let every one train himself to justice, mould himself to self-restraint, prepare himself for the contest, equip himself for virtue, that if by any chance an adversary shall wage war, he may be driven from that which is upright and good by no force, no terror, and no tortures, may give164 himself up to no senseless fictions, but in his uprightness acknowledge the true and only God, may cast away pleasures, by the attractions of which the lofty soul is depressed to the earth, may hold fast innocency, may be of service to as many as possible, may gain for himself incorruptible treasures by good works, that he may be able, with God for his judge, to gain for the merits of his virtue either the crown of faith, or the reward of immortality.
Princes and kings, p. 13.
How memorable the histories, moreover, of Nebuchadnezzar165 and his decrees; of Darius166 and his also; but especially of Cyrus and his great monumental edict!167 The beautiful narratives of the Queen of Sheba and of the Persian consort of Queen Esther (probably Xerxes) are also manifestations of the ways of Providence in giving light to the heathen world through that "nation of priests" in Israel.
But Lactantius, who uses the Sibyls so freely, should not have omitted to show what Sibylline oracles God drew forth from "the princes of this world" also, by the illumination of the pharos which he established in Sion, "to be a light to lighten the Gentiles" until the great Epiphany should rise upon them in "the dayspring from on high."
I extract from a paradoxical but most entertaining author, whom I have often quoted, certain extracts from Philo, which I translate from his note in the Soirees. Thus:-
"Agrippa," says Philo,168 "having visited Jerusalem in Herod's time, was enchanted by the religion of the Jews, and could never cease to speak of it.... Augustus ordered that every day, at his own expense, and under the legal forms, a bull and two lambs should be offered in holocaust to the Most High God on the altar at Jerusalem, though he knew that it contained no image, whether exposed or within the veil; for this great prince, surpassed by none in the philosophic spirit, felt the actual necessity in this world of an altar dedicated to a God invisible." Philo also says:-
"Your great-grandmother Julia169 also made superb presents to the temple; and although women very reluctantly detach themselves from images, and rarely conceive of anything apart from sensation, this lady, nevertheless, greatly superior to her sex in culture and in natural endowments, arrived at that point in which she preferred to contemplate such things in the mind rather than in sensible objects, regarding these as mere shadows of the realities."
In the same discourse, wasting words on Caligula, Philo reminds him that Augustus "not only admired, nay, rather, he adored (eqau/mace kai\ prose/kunei, k.t.l.), this custom of employing no sort of image to represent, materially, a nature invisible in itself." Poor De Maistre, who quotes this testimony against images from Philo with intense appreciation, will yet sophisticate himself and others into the very contrary in behalf of his one predominant idea of (prosku/nhsij) canine self-abasement to the decrees of the Vatican. On this account I am forced to consider him a sophist as well as a fanatic; but I delight to render justice to his genius, for, wherever he talks and reasons as a Christian merely, he fascinates and instructs me. He never conceived of "Catholicity," and lived under the delusion of the Decretals, a disciple of the Jesuits.
Therefore they were neglected for many ages, p. 116.
The explicit statements of Lactantius, and his profuse quotations from the Sibyllina, persuade me that these curious fragments deserve a degree of scientific attention which they have not yet received. The Fathers all cite them, when it must have exposed them to scorn and overwhelming refutation had their quotations not been found in the Sibylline books of their adversaries. The influence of the Jewish religion upon the Gentiles under the Babylonian and Medo-Persian monarchies must have been considerable, but after Alexander's time it was vastly increased. Many versions of select prophets were doubtless produced in Greek before the authorized Septuagint. These were soon embedded in the Sibyls' books; and I cannot think the interpolations of early Christians were all frauds, by any means. Their numerous marginal annotations crept into other copies; and very likely, in the time of our author, they were inextricably confused with the text in the greater part of the "editions," so to speak, then current with booksellers. But in vol. viii. we shall have occasion to recur again to this interesting inquiry.
We made proclamation before him as children, p. 117.
"Sicut pueri." This is not according to the Septuagint, w9j paidi/on. It is not the Vulgate, of course; but its radical difference with that raises interesting inquiries: Is it a specimen of one of many African or old Italic versions? Does our author endeavour to translate from the Septuagint? May he not have had in hand a copy of Isaiah from among those which preceded the Septuagint?
The Septuagint reading finds its key in cap. lii. 7, and in the tenth verse, where the "Arm of the Lord" ("His Holy Arm") is introduced as the personal Loges Incarnate. The thirteenth and fourteenth verses predict the amazing sequel, and its practical and blessed results; and then begins cap. liii., "Who hath believed" our message. To whom is "the Arm of the Lord" revealed? "Going before Him (i.e., as heralds), we have proclaimed Him as a child, and, as it were, a root in a thirsty land; He has no form nor glory," etc. In other words, "We have prophesied of Him who is elsewhere predicted ("unto us a child is born ") as one who from His childhood is as a rush without water,-prematurely withered,-a man of sorrows, and the Carpenter's Son."
It does not hint, therefore, the "obscurity" of the Messiah's birth, but rather what Irenaeus insists upon, i.e., His (premature) old age; the worn and stricken appearance of senility in comparative youth.170 This is just what the messengers (Isa. lii. 7) had said in their proclamation (Isa. lii. 14) just before: "His visage was so marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men."
There was darkness, etc., pp. 122, 240.
In former instances, where thought has turned to Phlegon the Trallian,171 I have failed to refer to an author whose excess of candour sometimes gives away more than is called for, in questions on which adversaries have contrived to fasten undue importance, in order to elicit indiscreet defences. But it is due to my readers that I should refer them to a most learned work, to be found in public libraries only, by my revered friend and instructor Dr. Jarvis. The sixth chapter (part ii.) of his Chronological Introduction to Church History172 is devoted to this matter, and I can do no better than give the summary of its contents as follows:-
"Who Phlegon was; his work lost; extracts from it by Julius Africanus and Eusebius; their works, containing these extracts, lost; all we know is from versions and later writers; collation of extracts as given by the Armenian version of the Chronicon of Eusebius, St. Jerome's Latin version, the Chronographia of Syncellus, and the Chronicon Paschale; extract by Syncellus from Julius Africanus; remarks upon it; testimony of Origen concerning Phlegon's account; of John Philoponus (St. Maximus) Malala; summary of the whole; account of Phlegon's testimony; not noticed by the learned and voluminous writers of the fourth and fifth centuries when they speak of the darkness, etc.; Dr. Lardner's judgment173 adopted."
Lardner's view, it will be observed, is thus sustained by an independent and most competent critic. This decision puts honour on the early writers: he thinks they were unwilling to claim a corroboration from evidence about which they were not well assured.
Divine and ethnic oracles, p. 210, note 2; p. 112, note 9.
The whole subject of ethnic oracles needs fresh study and illustration. Nothing would be more fascinating in theological inquiry, and Divine Inspiration might be richly illustrated by it, as anatomical science is clarified by "comparative anatomy." I commend this subject to men of faith, learning, and intellectual vigour. Notably, let it be observed: (1) That Balaam's ass is instanced by St. Peter as miraculously enabled to rebuke the madness of his master; and the same Apostle shortly before gives us the law as to divine inspiration in contrast.174 (2) Balaam himself, as mechanically as the beast he rode,175 had his own mouth opened (see Num. xxiv. 16-19). (3) The wicked Caiaphas in like manner (St. John xi. 51, 52) spoke prophetically, "not of himself." (4) St. Paul (Acts xvii. 28) quotes a heathen oracle very much as does our author.176 Now, in view of the boldness with which the early Christians follow the example of the Apostle in quoting the Orphicaand Sibyllina, I cannot imagine that these citations were not honestly believed by them to be oracles of a certain sort, by which God permitted the heathen to be enlightened.177 Observe our author's moderate but most pregnant remark about such inspiration (on p. 170, supra, note 8), "almost with a divine voice;" then (on p. 192) compare other almost inspired words of poor Tully (at178 ), and of Seneca also.179
Finally, and to close the subject, the reader will readily forgive me for introducing the following citations from the "Warburton Lecture" of Dr. Edersheim, on Prophecy and History180 in Relation to the Messiah. Discussing the pseudepigraphic writings (in Lecture Eleventh), he says as follows:181 -
"The Sibylline oracles, in Greek hexameters, consist, in their present form, of twelve books. They are full of interpolations, the really ancient portions forming part of the first two books and the largest part of book third (verses 97-807). These sections are deeply imbued with the Messianic spirit.182 They date from about the year 140 before our era, while another small portion of the same book is supposed to date from the year 32 b.c.
"As regards the promise of the Messiah, we turn in the first place, and with special interest, to the Sibylline Oracles. In the third book of these (such portions as I shall quote date from about 140 b.c.) the Messiah is described as `the King sent from heaven, who would judge every man in blood and splendour of fire.' And the Vision of Messianic times opens with a reference to `the King whom God will send from the Sun, 'where we cannot fail to perceive a reference to the Seventy-second Psalm,183 especially as we remember that the Greek of the Seventy, which must have been present to the Hellenist Sibyl, fully adapted the Messianic application of the passage to a premundane Messiah. We also think of the picture drawn in the prophecies of Isaiah. According to the Sibylline books, King Messiah was not only to come, but He was to be specifically sent of God. He is supermundane, a King and a Judge184 of superhuman glory and splendour. And, indeed, that a superhuman kingdom, such as the Sibylline oracles paint, should have a superhuman king, seems only a natural and necessary inference.... If, as certain modern critics contend, the book of Daniel is not authentic,185 but dates from Maccabean times, ...it may well be asked to what king the Sibylline oracles point, for they certainly date from that period; and what is the relationship between the (supposed Maccabean) prophecies of the book of Daniel and the certainly Messianic anticipations of the undoubted literature of that period? "
Dr. Edersheim gives us the reference in the margin, to which I would call attention, as directing to the whole pseudepigraphic literature.186 But who can wonder, after what we thus learn, that Constantine187 was so profoundly impressed with Virgil's Pollio? In spite of all that has been said,188 I cannot but see Isaiah in its entire spirit.
A Treatise on the Anger of God
Addressed to Donatus.1
Chapter I.-Of Divine and Human Wisdom.
I Have often observed, Donatus, that many persons hold this opinion, which some philosophers also have maintained, that God is not subject to anger; since the divine nature is either altogether beneficent, and that it is inconsistent with His surpassing and excellent power to do injury to any one; or, at any rate, He takes no notice of us at all, so that no advantage comes to us from His goodness, and no evil from His ill-will. But the error of these men, because it is very great, and tends to overthrow the condition of human life, must be refuted by us, lest you yourself also should be deceived, being incited by the authority of men who deem themselves wise. Nor, however, are we so arrogant as to boast that the truth is comprehended by our intellect; but we follow the teaching of God, who alone is able to know and to reveal secret things. But the philosophers, being destitute of this teaching, have imagined that the nature of things can be ascertained by conjecture. But this is impossible; because the mind of man, enclosed in the dark abode of the body, is far removed from the perception of truth: and in this the divine nature differs from the human, that ignorance is the property of the human, knowledge of the divine nature. On which account we have need of some light to dispel the darkness by which the reflection of man is overspread, since, while we live in mortal flesh, we are unable to divine by our senses. But the light of the human mind is God, and he who has known and admitted Him into his breast will acknowledge the mystery of the truth with an enlightened heart; but when God and heavenly instruction are removed, all things are full of errors. And Socrates, though he was the most learned of all the philosophers, yet, that he might prove the ignorance of the others, who thought that they possessed something, rightly said that he knew nothing, except one thing-that he knew nothing. For he understood that that learning had nothing certain, nothing true in itself; nor, as some imagine, did he pretend2 to learning that he might refute others, but he saw the truth in some measure. And he testified even on his trial (as is related by Plato) that there was no human wisdom. He so despised, derided, and cast aside the learning in which the philosophers then boasted, that he professed that very thing as the greatest learning, that he had learnt that he knew nothing. If, therefore, there is no human wisdom, as Socrates taught, as Plato handed down, it is evident that the knowledge of the truth is divine, and belongs to no other than to God. Therefore God must be known, in whom alone is the truth. He is the Parent of the world, and the Framer of all things; who is not seen with the eyes, and is scarcely distinguished by the mind; whose religion is accustomed to be attacked in many ways by those who have neither been able to attain true wisdom, nor to comprehend the system of the great and heavenly secret.
Chapter II.-Of the Truth and Its Steps, and of God.
For since there are many steps by which the ascent is made to the abode of truth, it is not easy for any one to reach the summit. For when the eyes are darkened by the brightness of the truth, they who are unable to maintain a firm step fall back to the level ground.3 Now the first step is to understand false religions, and to throw aside the impious worship of gods which are made by the hand of man. But the second step is to perceive with the mind that there is but one Supreme God, whose power and providence made the world from the beginning, and afterwards continues to govern it. The third step is to know His Servant and Messenger,4 whom He sent as His ambassador to the earth, by whose teaching being freed from the error in which we were held entangled, and formed to the worship of the true God, we might learn righteousness. From all of these steps, as I have said, there is a rapid and easy gliding to a downfall,5 unless the feet are firmly planted with unshaken stedfastness.
We see those shaken off from the first step, who, though they understand things which are false, do not, however, discover that which is true; and though they despised earthly and frail images, do not betake themselves to the worship of God, of whom they are ignorant. But viewing with admiration the elements of the universe, they worship the heaven, the earth, the sea, the sun, the moon, and the other heavenly bodies.
But we have already reproved their ignorance in the second book of the Divine Institutes.6 But we say that those fall from the second step, who, though they understand that there is but one Supreme God, nevertheless, ensnared by the philosophers, and captivated by false arguments, entertain opinions concerning that excellent majesty far removed from the truth; who either deny that God has any figure, or think that He is moved by no affection, because every affection is a sign of weakness, which has no existence in God. But they are precipitated from the third step, who, though they know the Ambassador of God, who is also the Builder of the divine and immortal temple,7 either do not receive Him, or receive Him otherwise than faith demands; whom we have partly refuted in the fourth book of the above-named work.8 And we will hereafter refute more carefully, when we shall begin to reply to all the sects, which, while they dispute,9 have destroyed the truth.
But now we will argue against those who, falling from the second step, entertain wrong sentiments respecting the Supreme God. For some say that He neither does a kindness to any one, nor becomes angry, but in security and quietness enjoys the advantages of His own immortality. Others, indeed, take away anger, but leave to God kindness; for they think that a nature excelling in the greatest virtue, while it ought not to be malevolent, ought also to be benevolent. Thus all the philosophers are agreed on the subject of anger, but are at variance respecting kindness. But, that my speech may descend in order to the proposed subject, a division of this kind must be made and followed by me, since anger and kindness are different, and opposed to one another. Either anger must be attributed to God, and kindness taken from Him; or both alike must be taken from Him; or anger must be taken away, and kindness attributed to Him; or neither must be taken away. The nature of the case admits of nothing else besides these; so that the truth, which is sought for, must necessarily be found in some one of these. Let us consider them separately, that reason and arrangement may conduct us to the hiding-place of truth.
Chapter III.-Of the Good and Evil Things in Human Affairs, and of Their Author.
First, no one ever said this respecting God, that He is only subject to anger, and is not influenced by kindness. For it is unsuitable to God, that He should be endowed with a power of this kind, by which He may injure and do harm, but be unable to profit and to do good. What means, therefore, what hope of safety, is proposed to men, if God is the author of evils only? For if this is so, that venerable majesty will now be drawn out, not to the power of the judge, to whom it is permitted to preserve and set at liberty, but to the office of the torturer and executioner. But whereas we see that there are not only evils in human affairs, but also goods, it is plain that if God is the author of evils, there must be another who does things contrary to God, and gives to us good things. If there is such a one, by what name must he be called? Why is he who injures us more known to us than He who benefits us? But if this can be nothing besides God, it is absurd and vain to suppose that the divine power, than which nothing is greater or better, is able to injure, but unable to benefit; and accordingly no one has ever existed who ventured to assert this, because it is neither reasonable nor in any way credible. And because this is agreed upon, let us pass on and seek after the truth elsewhere.
Chapter IV.-Of God and His Affections, and the Censure of Epicurus.
That which follows is concerning the school of Epicurus; that as there is no anger in God, so indeed there is no kindness. For when Epicurus thought that it was inconsistent with God to injure and to inflict harm, which for the most part arises from the affection of anger, he took away from Him beneficence also, since he saw that it followed that if God has anger, He must also have kindness. Therefore, lest he should concede to Him a vice, he deprived Him also of virtue.10 From this, he says, He is happy and uncorrupted, because He cares about nothing, and neither takes trouble Himself nor occasions it to another. Therefore He is not God, if He is neither moved, which is peculiar to a living being, nor does anything impossible for man, which is peculiar to God, if He has no will at all, no action, in short, no administration, which is worthy of God. And what greater, what more worthy administration can be attributed to God, than the government of the world, and especially of the human race, to which all earthly things are subject?
What happiness, then, can there be in God, if He is always inactive, being at rest and unmoveable? if He is deaf to those who pray to Him, and blind to His worshippers? What is so worthy of God, and so befitting to Him, as providence? But if He cares for nothing, and foresees nothing, He has lost all His divinity. What else does he say, who takes from God all power and all substance, except that there is no God at all? In short, Marcus Tullius relates that it was said by Posidonius,11 that Epicurus understood that there were no gods, but that he said those things which he spoke respecting the gods for the sake of driving away odium; and so that he leaves the gods in words, but takes them away in reality, since he gives them no motion, no office. But if this is so, what can be more deceitful than him? And this ought to be foreign to the character of a wise and weighty man. But if he understood one thing and spoke another, what else is he to be called than a deceiver, double-tongued, wicked, and moreover foolish? But Epicurus was not so crafty as to say those things with the desire of deceiving, when he consigned these things also by his writings to everlasting remembrance; but he erred through ignorance of the truth. For, being led from the beginning by the probability12 of a single opinion, he necessarily fell into those things which followed. For the first opinion was, that anger was not consistent with the character of God. And when this appeared to him to be true and unassailable,13 he was unable to refuse the consequences; because one affection being removed, necessity itself compelled him to remove from God the other affections also. Thus, he who is not subject to anger is plainly uninfluenced by kindness, which is the opposite feeling to anger. Now, if there is neither anger nor kindness in Him, it is manifest that there is neither fear, nor joy, nor grief, nor pity. For all the affections have one system, one motion,14 which cannot he the case with God. But if there is no affection in God, because whatever is subject to affections is weak, it follows that there is in Him neither the care of anything, nor providence.
The disputation of the wise man15 extends thus far: he was silent as to the other things which follow; namely, that because there is in Him neither care nor providence, therefore there is no reflection nor any perception in Him, by which it is effected that He has no existence at all. Thus, when he had gradually descended, he remained on the last step, because he now saw the precipice. But what does it avail to have remained silent, and concealed the danger? Necessity compelled him even against his will to fall. For he said that which he did not mean, because he so arranged his argument that he necessarily came to that point which he wished to avoid. You see, therefore, to what point he comes, when anger is removed and taken away from God. In short, either no one believes that, or a very few, and they the guilty and the wicked, who hope for impunity for their sins. But if this also is found to be false, that there is neither anger nor kindness in God, let us come to that which is put in the third place.
Chapter V.-The Opinion of the Stoics Concerning God; Of His Anger and Kindness.
The Stoics and some others are supposed to have entertained much better sentiments respecting the divine nature, who say that there is kindness in God, but not anger. A very pleasing and popular speech, that God is not subject to such littleness of mind as to imagine that He is injured by any one, since it is impossible for Him to be injured; so that that serene and holy majesty is excited, disturbed, and maddened, which is the part of human frailty. For they say that anger is a commotion and perturbation of the mind, which is inconsistent with God. Since, when it fails upon the mind of any one, as a violent tempest it excites such waves that it changes the condition of the mind, the eyes gleam, the countenance trembles, the tongue stammers, the teeth chatter, the countenance is alternately stained now with redness spread over it, now with white paleness. But if anger is unbecoming to a man, provided he be of wisdom and authority, how much more is so foul a change unbecoming to God! And if man, when he has authority and power, inflicts widespread injury through anger, sheds blood, overthrows cities, destroys communities, reduces provinces to desolation, bow much more is it to be believed that God, since He has power over the whole human race, and over the universe itself, would have been about to destroy all things if He were angry.
Therefore they think that so great and so pernicious an evil ought to be absent from Him. And if anger and excitement are absent from Him, because it is disfiguring and injurious, and He inflicts injury on no one, they think that nothing else remains, except that He is mild calm, propitious, beneficent, the preserver. For thus at length He may be called the common Father of all, and the best and greatest, which His divine and heavenly nature demands. For if among men it appears praiseworthy to do good rather than to injure, to restore to life16 rather than to kill, to save rather than to destroy, and innocence is not undeservedly numbered among the virtues,-and he who does these things is loved, esteemed, honoured, and celebrated with all blessings and vows,-in short, on account of his deserts and benefits is judged to be most like to God; how much more right is it that God Himself, who excels in divine and perfect virtues, and who is removed from all earthly taint, should conciliate17 the whole race of man by divine and heavenly benefits! Those things are spoken speciously and in a popular manner, and they allure many to believe them but they who entertain these sentiments approach nearer indeed to the truth, but they partly fail, not sufficiently considering the nature of the case. For if God is not angry with the impious and the unrighteous, it is clear that He does not love the pious and the righteous. Therefore the error of those is more consistent who take away at once both anger and kindness. For in opposite matters it is necessary to be moved to both sides or to neither. Thus, he who loves the good also hates the wicked, and he who does not hate the wicked does not love the good; because the loving of the good arises from the hatred of the wicked, and the hating of the wicked has its rise from the love of the good. There is no one who loves life without a hatred of death, nor who is desirous of light, but he who avoids darkness. These things are so connected by nature, that the one cannot exist without the other.
If any master has in his household a good and a bad servant, it is evident that he does not hate them both, or confer upon both benefits and honours; for if he does this, he is both unjust and foolish. But he addresses the one who is good with friendly words, and honours him and sets him over his house and household, and all his affairs; but punishes the bad one with reproaches, with stripes, with nakedness, with hunger, with thirst, with fetters: so that the latter may be an example to others to keep them from sinning, and the former to conciliate them; so that fear may restrain some, and honour may excite others. He, therefore, who loves also hates, and he who hates also loves; for there are those who ought to be loved, and there are those who ought to be hated. And as he who loves confers good things on those whom he loves, so he who hates inflicts evils upon those whom he hates; which argument, because it is true, can in no way be refuted. Therefore the opinion of those is vain and false, who, when they attribute the one to God, take away the other, not less than the opinion of those who take away both. But the latter,18 as we have shown, in part do not err, but retain that which is the better of the two; whereas the former,19 led on by the accurate method of their reasoning, fall into the greatest error, because they have assumed premises which are altogether false. For they ought not to have reasoned thus: Because God is not liable to anger, therefore He is not moved by kindness; but in this manner: Because God is moved by kindness, therefore He is also liable to anger. For if it had been certain and undoubted that God is not liable to anger, then the other point would necessarily be arrived at. But since the question as to whether God is angry is more open to doubt, while it is almost perfectly plain that He is kind, it is absurd to wish to subvert that which is certain by means of an uncertainty, since it is easier to confirm uncertain things by means of those which are certain.
Chapter VI.-That God is Angry.
These are the opinions entertained by the philosophers respecting God. But if we have discovered that these things which have been spoken are false, there remains that one last resource, in which alone the truth can be found, which has never been embraced by philosophers, nor at any time defended: that it follows that God is angry, since He is moved by kindness. This opinion is to be maintained and asserted by us; for20 this is the sum and turning-point on which the whole of piety and religion depend: and no honour can be due to God, if He affords nothing to His worshippers; and no fear, if He is not angry with him who does not worship Him.21
Chapter VII.-Of Man, and the Brute Animals, and Religion.
Though philosophers have often turned aside from reason through their ignorance of the truth, and have fallen into inextricable errors (for that is wont to happen to these which happens to a traveller ignorant of the way, and not confessing that he is ignorant,-namely, that he wanders about, while he is ashamed to inquire from those whom he meets), no philosopher, however, has ever made the assertion that there is no difference between man and the brutes. Nor has any one at all, provided that he wished to appear wise, reduced a rational animal to the level of the mute and irrational; which some ignorant persons do, resembling the brutes themselves, who, wishing to give themselves up to the indulgence of their appetite and pleasure, say that they are born on the same principle as all living animals, which it is impious for man to say. For who is so unlearned as not to know, who is so void of understanding as not to perceive, that there is something divine in man? I do not as yet come to the excellences of the soul and of the intellect, by which there is a manifest affinity between man and God. Does not the position of the body itself, and the fashion of the countenance, declare that we are not on a level with the dumb creation? Their nature is prostrated to the ground and to their pasture, and has nothing in common with the heaven, which they do not look upon. But man, with his erect position, with his elevated countenance raised to the contemplation of the universe, compares his features with God, and reason recognises reason.22
And on this account there is no animal, as Cicero says,23 except man, which has any knowledge of God. For he alone is furnished with wisdom, so that he alone understands religion; and this is the chief or only difference between man and the dumb animals. For the other things which appear to be peculiar to man, even if there are not such in the dumb animals, nevertheless may appear to be similar. Speech is peculiar to man; yet even in these there is a certain resemblance to speech. For they both distinguish one another by their voices; and when they are angry, they send forth a sound resembling altercation; and when they see one another after an interval of time, they show the office of congratulation by their voice. To us, indeed, their voices appear uncouth,24 as ours perhaps do to them; but to themselves, who understand one another, they are words. In short, in every affection they utter distinct expressions of voice25 by which they may show their state of mind. Laughter also is peculiar to man; and yet we see certain indications of joy in other animals, when they use passionate gestures26 with a view to sports, hang down27 their ears, contract their mouth, smooth their forehead, relax their eyes to sportiveness. What is so peculiar to man as reason and the foreseeing of the future? But there are animals which open several outlets in different directions from their lairs, that if any danger comes upon them, an escape may be open for them shut in; but they would not do this unless they possessed intelligence and reflection. Others are provident for the future, as
"Ants, when they plunder a great heap of corn, mindful of the winter, and lay it up in their dwelling; "28
"As bees, which alone know a country and fixed abodes; and mindful of the winter which is to come, they practise labour in the summer, and lay up their gains as a common stock."29
It would be a long task if I should wish to trace out the things most resembling the skill of man, which are accustomed to be done by the separate tribes of animals. But if, in the case of all these things which are wont to be ascribed to man, there is found to be some resemblance even in the dumb animals, it is evident that religion is the only thing of which no trace can be found in the dumb animals, nor any indication. For justice is peculiar to religion, and to this no other animal attains. For man alone bears rule; the other animals are subjected30 to him. But the worship of God is ascribed to justice; and he who does not embrace this, being far removed from the nature of man, will live the life of the brutes under the form of man. But since we differ from the other animals almost in this respect alone, that we alone of all perceive the divine might and power, while in the others there is no understanding of God, it is surely impossible that in this respect either the dumb animals should have more wisdom, or human nature should be unwise, since all living creatures, and the whole system of nature, are subject to man on account of his wisdom. Wherefore if reason, if the force of man in this respect, excels and surpasses the rest of living creatures, inasmuch as he alone is capable of the knowledge of God, it is evident that religion can in no way be overthrown.
Chapter VIII.-Of Religion.
But religion is overthrown if we believe Epicurus speaking thus:-
"For the nature of gods must ever in itself of necessity enjoy immortality together with supreme repose, far removed and withdrawn from our concerns; since, exempt from every pain, exempt from all dangers, strong in its own resources, not wanting aught of us, it is neither gained by favours nor moved by anger."31
Now, when he says these things, does he think that any worship is to be paid to God, or does he entirely overthrow religion? For if God confers nothing good on any one, if He repays the obedience of His worshipper with no favour, what is so senseless, what so foolish, as to build temples, to offer sacrifices, to present gifts, to diminish our property, that we may obtain nothing?32 But (it will be said) it is right that an excellent nature should be honoured. What honour can be due to a being who pays no regard to us, and is ungrateful? Can we be bound in any manner to him who has nothing in common with us? "Farewell to God," says Cicero,33 "if He is such as to be influenced by no favour, and by no affection of men. For why should I say 'may He be propitious? ' for He can be propitious to no one." What can be spoken more contemptible with respect to God? Farewell to Him, he says, that is, let Him depart and retire, since He is able to profit no one. But if God takes no trouble, nor occasions trouble to another, why then should we not commit crimes as often as it shall be in our power to escape the notice of men34 and to cheat the public laws? Wherever we shall obtain a favourable opportunity of escaping notice, let us take advantage of the occasion: let us take away the property of others, either without bloodshed or even with blood, if there is nothing else besides the laws to be reverenced.
While Epicurus entertains these sentiments, he altogether destroys religion; and when this is taken away, confusion and perturbation of life will follow. But if religion cannot be taken away without destroying our hold of wisdom, by which we are separated from the brutes, and of justice, by which the public life may be more secure, how can religion itself be maintained or guarded without fear? For that which is not feared is despised, and that which is despised is plainly not reverenced. Thus it comes to pass that religion, and majesty, and honour exist together with fear; but there is no fear where no one is angry. Whether, therefore, you take away from God kindness, or anger, or both, religion must be taken away, without which the life of men is full of folly, of wickedness, and enormity. For conscience greatly curbs men, if we believe that we are living in the sight of God; if we imagine not only that the actions which we perform are seen from above, but also that our thoughts and our words are heard by God. But it is profitable to believe this, as some imagine, not for the sake of the truth, but of utility, since laws cannot punish conscience unless some terror from above hangs over to restrain offences. Therefore religion is altogether false, and there is no divinity; but all things are made up by skilful men, in order that they may live more uprightly and innocently. This is a great question, and foreign to the subject which we have proposed; but because it necessarily occurs, it ought to be handled, however briefly.
Chapter IX.-Of the Providence of God, and of Opinions Opposed to It.
When the philosophers of former times had agreed in their opinions respecting providence, and there was no doubt but that the world was set in order by God and reason, and was governed by reason, Protagoras, in the times of Socrates, was the first of all who said that it was not clear to him whether there was any divinity or not. And this disputation of his was judged so impious, and so contrary to the truth and to religion, that the Athenians both banished him from their territories, and burnt in a public assembly those books of his in which these statements were contained. But there is no need to speak respecting his opinions, because he pronounced nothing certain. After these things Socrates and his disciple Plato, and those who flowed forth from the school of Plato like rivulets into different directions, namely, the Stoics and Peripatetics, were of the same opinion as those who went before them.35
Afterwards Epicurus said that there was indeed a God, because it was necessary that there should be in the world some being of surpassing excellence, distinction, and blessedness; yet that there was no providence, and thus that the world itself was ordered by no plan, nor art, nor workmanship, but that the universe was made up of certain minute and indivisible seeds. But I do not see what can be said more repugnant to the truth. For if there is a God, as God He is manifestly provident; nor can divinity be attributed to Him in any other way than if He retains the past, and knows the present, and foresees the future. Therefore, in taking away providence, he also denied the existence of God.But when he openly acknowledged the existence of God, at the same time he also admitted His providence for the one cannot exist at all, orbe understood, without the other. But in those later times in which philosophy had now lost its vigour,36 there lived a certain Diagoras of Melos,37 who altogether denied the existence of God, and on account of this sentiment was called atheist;38 also Theodorus39 of Cyrene: both of whom, because they were unable to discover anything new, all things having already been said and found out, preferred even, in opposition to the truth, to deny that in which all preceding philosophers had agreed without any ambiguity. These are they who attacked providence, which had been asserted and defended through so many ages by so many intellects. What then? Shall we refute those trifling and inactive philosophers by reason, or by the authority of distinguished men, or rather by both? But we must hasten onwards, lest our speech should wander too far from our subject.
Chapter X.-Of the Origin of the World, and the Nature of Affairs, and the Providence of God.
They who do not admit that the world was made by divine providence, either say that it is composed of first principles coming together at random, or that it suddenly came into existence by nature, but hold, as Straton40 does, that nature has in itself the power of production and of diminution, but that it has neither sensibility nor figure, so that we may understand that all things were produced spontaneously, without any artificer or author. Each opinion is vain and impossible. But this happens to those who are ignorant of the truth, that they devise anything, rather than perceive that which the nature of the subject41 requires. First of all, with respect to those minute seeds, by the meeting together of which they say that the whole world came into existence,42 I ask where or whence they are. Who has seen them at any time? Who has perceived them? Who has heard them? Had none but Leucippus43 eyes? Had he alone a mind, who assuredly alone of all men was blind and senseless, since he spoke those things which no sick man could have uttered in his ravings,44 or one asleep in his dreams?
The ancient philosophers argued that all things were made up of four elements.45 He would not admit this, lest he should appear to tread in the footsteps of others; but he held that there were other first principles of the elements themselves, which can neither be seen, nor touched, nor be perceived by any part of the body. They are so minute, he says, that there is no edge of a sword so flue that they can be cut and divided by it. From which circumstance he gave them the name of atoms. But it occurred to him, that if they all had one and the same nature, they could not make up different objects of so great a variety as we see to be present in the world. He said, therefore, that there were smooth and rough ones, and round, and angular, and hooked. How much better had it been to be silent, than to have a tongue for such miserable and empty uses! And, indeed, I fear lest he who thinks these things worthy of refutation, should appear no less to rave. Let us, however, reply as to one who says something.46 If they are soft47 and round, it is plain that they cannot lay hold of one another, so as to make some body; as, though any one should wish to bind together millet into one combination,48 the very softness of the grains would not permit them to come together into a mass. If they are rough, and angular, and hooked, so that they may be able to cohere, then they are divisible, and capable of being cut; for hooks and angles must project,49 so that they may possibly be cut off.
Therefore that which is able to be cut off and torn away, will be able both to be seen and held. "These," he says, "flutter about with restless motions through empty space, and are carried hither and thither, just as we see little particles of dust in the sun when it has introduced its rays and light through a window. From these there arise trees and herbs, and all fruits of the earth; from these, animals, and water, and fire, and all things are produced, and are again resolved into the same elements." This can be borne as long as the inquiry is respecting small matters. Even the world itself was made up of these. He has reached to the full extent of perfect madness: it seems impossible that anything further should be said, and yet he found something to add. "Since everything," he says, "is infinite, and nothing can be empty, it follows of necessity that there are innumerable worlds." What force of atoms had been so great, that masses so incalculable should be collected from such minute elements? And first of all I ask, What is the nature or origin of those seeds? For if all things are from them, whence shall we say that they themselves are? What nature supplied such an abundance of matter for the making of innumerable worlds? But let us grant that he raved with impunity concerning worlds; let us speak respecting this in which we are, and which we see. He says that all things are made from minute bodies which are incapable of division.
If this were so, no object would ever need the seed of its own kind. Birds would be born without eggs, or eggs without bringing forth; likewise the rest of the living creatures without coition: trees and the productions of the earth would not have their own seeds, which we daily handle and sow. Why does a corn-field arise from grain, and again grain from a corn-field? In short, if the meeting together and collecting of atoms would effect all things, all things would grow together in the air, since atoms flutter about through empty space. Why cannot the herb, why cannot the tree or grain, arise or be increased without earth, without roots, without moisture, without seed? From which it is evident that nothing is made up from atoms, since everything has its own peculiar and fixed nature, its own seed, its own law given from the beginning. Finally, Lucretius, as though forgetful of atoms,50 which he was maintaining, in order that he might refute those who say that all things are produced from nothing, employed these arguments, which might have weighed against himself. For he thus spoke:-
"If things came from nothing, any kind might be born of anything; nothing would require seed."51
Likewise afterwards:-
"We must admit, therefore, that nothing can come from nothing, since things require seed before they can severally be born, and be brought out into the buxom fields of air."52
Who would imagine that he had brain when he said these things, and did not see that they were contrary to one another? For that nothing is made by means of atoms, is apparent from this, that everything has a definite53 seed, unless by chance we shall believe that the nature both of fire and water is derived from atoms. Why should I say, that if materials of the greatest hardness are struck together with a violent blow, fire is struck out? Are atoms concealed in the steel, or in the flint? Who shut them in? Or why do they not leap forth spontaneously? Or how could the seeds of fire remain in a material of the greatest coldness?
I leave the subject of the flint and steel. If you hold in the sun an orb of crystal filled with water, fire is kindled from the light which is reflected from the water, even in the most severe cold. Must we then believe that fire is contained in the water? And yet fire cannot be kindled from the sun even in summer. If you shall breathe upon wax, or if a light vapour shall touch anything-either the hard surface54 of marble or a plate of metal-water is gradually condensed by means of the most minute drops. Also from the exhalation of the earth or sea mist is formed, which either, being dispersed, moistens whatever it has covered, or being collected, is carried aloft by the wind to high mountains, and compressed into cloud, and sends down great rains. Where, then, do we say that fluids are produced? Is it in the vapour? Or in the exhalation? Or in the wind? But nothing can be formed in that which is neither touched nor seen. Why should I speak of animals, in whose bodies we see nothing formed without plan, without arrangement, without utility, without beauty, so that the most skilful and careful marking out55 of all the parts and members repels the idea of accident and chance? But let us suppose it possible that the limbs, and bones, and nerves, and blood should be made up of atoms. What of the senses, the reflection, the memory, the mind, the natural capacity: from what seeds can they be compacted?56 He says, From the most minute. There are therefore others of greater size. How, then, are they indivisible?
In the next place, if the things which are not seen are formed from invisible seeds, it follows that those which are seen are from visible seeds. Why, then, does no one see them? But whether any one regards the invisible parts which are in man, or the parts which can be touched, and which are visible, who does not see that both parts exist in accordance with design?57 How, then, can bodies which meet together without design effect anything reasonable?58 For we see that there is nothing in the whole world which has not in itself very great and wonderful design. And since this is above the sense and capacity of man, to what can it be more rightly attributed than to the divine providence? If a statue, the resemblance of man, is made by the exercise of design and art, shall we suppose that man himself is made up of fragments which come together at random? And what resemblance to the truth is there in the thing produced,59 when the greatest and most surpassing skill60 can imitate nothing more than the mere outline and extreme lineaments61 of the body? Was the skill of man able to give to his production any motion or sensibility? I say nothing of the exercise of the sight, of hearing, and of smelling, and the wonderful uses of the other members, either those which are in sight or those which are hidden from view. What artificer could have fabricated either the heart of man, or the voice, or his very wisdom? Does any man of sound mind, therefore, think that that which man cannot do by reason and judgement, may be accomplished by a meeting together of atoms everywhere adhering to each other? You see into what foolish ravings they have fallen, while they are unwilling to assign to God the making and the care of all things
Let us, however, concede to them that the things which are earthly are made froth atoms: are the things also which are heavenly? They say that the gods are without contamination, eternal, and blessed; and they grant to them alone an exemption, so that they do not appear to be made up of a meeting together of atoms. For if the gods also had been made up of these, they would be liable to be dispersed, the seeds at length being resolved, and returning to their own nature. Therefore, if there is something which the atoms could not produce, why may we not judge in the same way of the others? But I ask why the gods did not build for themselves a dwelling-place before those first elements produced the world? It is manifest that, unless the atoms had come together and made the heaven, the gods would still be suspended through the midst of empty space. By what counsel, then, by what plan, did the atoms from a confused mass collect themselves, so that from some the earth below was formed into a globe, and the heaven stretched out above, adorned with so great a variety of constellations that nothing can be conceived more embellished? Can he, therefore, who sees such and so great objects, imagine that they were made without any design, without any providence, without any divine intelligence, but that such great and wonderful things arose out of fine and minute atoms? Does it not resemble a prodigy, that there should be any human being who might say these things, or that there should be those who might believe them-as Democritus, who was his hearer, or Epicurus, to whom all folly flowed forth from the fountain of Leucippus? But, as others say, the world was made by Nature, which is without perception and figure.62 But this is much more absurd. If Nature made the world, it must have made it by judgment and intelligence; for it is lie that makes something who has either the inclination to make it, or knowledge. If nature is without perception and figure, how can that be made by it which has both perception and figure, unless by chance any one thinks that the fabric of animals, which is so delicate, could have been formed and animated by that which is without perception, or that that figure of heaven, which is prepared with such foresight for the uses of living beings, suddenly came into existence by some accident or other, without a builder, without an artificer?63
"If there is anything," says Chrysippus, "which effects those things which man, though he is endowed with reason, cannot do, that assuredly is greater, and stronger, and wiser than man." But man cannot make heavenly things; therefore that which shall produce or has produced these things surpasses man in art, in design, in skill, and in power. Who, therefore, can it be but God? But Nature, which they suppose to be, as it were, the mother of all things, if it has not a mind, will effect nothing, will contrive nothing; for where there is no reflection there is neither motion nor efficacy. But if it uses counsel for the commencement of anything, reason for its arrangement, art for its accomplishment, energy for its consummation, and power to govern and control, why should it be called Nature rather than God? Or if a concourse of atoms, or Nature without mind, made those things which we see, I ask why it was able to make the heaven, but unable to make a city or a house?64 Why it made mountains of marble, but did not make columns and statues? But ought not atoms to have come together to effect these things, since they leave no position untried? For concerning Nature, which has no mind, it is no wonder that it forgot to do these things. What, then, is the case? It is plain that God, when He commenced this work of the world,-than which nothing can be better arranged with respect to order, nor more befitting as to utility, nor more adorned as to beauty, nor greater as to bulk,-Himself made the things which could not be made by man; and among these also man himself, to whom He gave a portion of His own wisdom, and furnished him with reason, as much as earthly frailty was capable of receiving, that he might make for himself the things which were necessary for his own uses.
But if in the commonwealth of this world, so to speak, there is no providence which rules, no God who administers, no sense at all prevails in this nature of things. From what source therefore will it be believed that the human mind, with its skill and its intelligence, had its origin? For if the body of man was made from the ground, from which circumstance man received his name;65 it follows that the soul, which has intelligence, and is the ruler of the body, which the limbs obey as a king and commander, which can neither be looked upon nor comprehended, could not have come to man except from a wise nature. But as mind and soul govern everybody, so also does God govern the world. For it is not probable that lesser and humble things bear rule, but that greater and highest things do not bear rule. In short, Marcus Cicero, in his Tusculan Disputations,66 and in his Consolation, says: "No origin of souls can be found on earth. For there is nothing, he says, mixed and compound67 in souls, or which may appear to be produced and made up from the earth; nothing moist or airy,68 or of the nature of fire. For in these natures there is nothing which has the force of memory, of mind and reflection, which both retains the past and foresees the future, and is able to comprise the present; which things alone are divine. For no source will ever be found from which they are able to come to man, unless it be from God." Since, therefore, with the exception of two or three vain calumniators, it is agreed upon that the world is governed by providence, as also it was made, and there is no one who ventures to prefer the opinion of Diagoras and Theodorus, or the empty fiction of Leucippus, or the levity of Democritus and Epicurus, either to the authority of those seven ancient men who were called wise,69 or to that of Pythagoras or of Socrates or Plato, and the other philosophers who judged that there is a providence; therefore that opinion also is false, by which they think that religion was instituted by wise men for the sake of terror and fear, in order that ignorant men might abstain from sins.
But if this is true, it follows that we are derided by the wise men of old. But if they invented religion for the sake of deceiving us, and moreover of deceiving the whole human race, therefore they were not wise, because falsehood is not consistent with the character of the wise man. But grant that they were wise; what great success in falsehood was it, that they were able to deceive not only the unlearned, but Plato also, and Socrates, and so easily to delude Pythagoras, Zeno, and Aristotle, the chiefs of the greatest sects? There is therefore a divine providence, as those men whom I have named perceived, by the energy and power of which all things which we see were both made and are governed. For so vast a system of things70 such arrangement and such regularity in preserving the settled orders and times, could neither at first have arisen without a provident artificer, or have existed so many ages without a powerful inhabitant, or have been perpetually governed without a skilful and intelligent71 ruler; and reason itself declares this. For whatever exists which has reason, must have arisen from reason. Now reason is the part of an intelligent and wise nature; but a wise and intelligent nature can be nothing else than God. Now the world, since it has reason, by which it is both governed and kept together, was therefore made by God. But if God is the maker and ruler of the world, then religion is rightly and truly established; for honour and worship are due to the author and common parent of all things.
Chapter XI.-Of God, and that the One God, and by Whose Providence the World is Governed and Exists.
Since it is agreed upon concerning providence, it follows that we show whether it is to be believed that it belongs to many, or rather to one only. We have sufficiently taught, as I think, in our Institutions, that there cannot be many gods; because, if the divine energy and power be distributed among several, it must necessarily be diminished. But that which is lessened is plainly mortal; but if He is not mortal, He can neither be lessened nor divided. Therefore there is but one God, in whom complete energy and power can neither be lessened nor increased. But if there are many, while they separately have something of power and authority, the sum itself decreases; nor will they separately be able to have the whole, which they have in corn-moN with others: so much will be wanting to each as the others shall possess. There cannot therefore be many rulers in this world, nor many masters in one house, nor many pilots in one ship, nor many leaders in one herd or flock, nor many queens in one swarm. But there could not have been many suns in heaven, as there are not several souls in one body; so entirely does the whole of nature agree in unity.But if the world
"Is nourished by a soul,
A spirit whose celestial flame
Glows in each member of the frame,
And stirs the mighty whole,"72
it is evident from the testimony of the poet, that there is one God who inhabits the world, since the whole body cannot be inhabited and governed except by one mind. Therefore all divine power must be in one person, by whose will and command all things are ruled; and therefore He is so great, that He cannot be described in words by man, or estimated by the senses. From what source, therefore, did the opinion or persuasion73 respecting many gods come to men? Without doubt, all those who are worshipped as gods were men, and were also the earliest and greatest kings; but who is ignorant that they were invested with divine honours after death, either on account of the virtue by which they had profited the race of men, or that they obtained immortal memory on account of the benefits and inventions by which they had adorned human life? And not only men, but women also. And this, both the most ancient writers of Greece, whom they call theologi,74 and also Roman writers following and imitating the Greeks, teach; of whom especially Euhemerus and our Ennius, whopoint out the birthdays, marriages, offspring, governments, exploits, deaths, and tombs75 of all of them. And Tullius, following them, in his third book, On the Nature of the Gods, destroyed the public religions; but neither he himself nor any other person was able to introduce the true one, of which he was ignorant. And thus he himself testified that that which was false was evident; that the truth, however, lay concealed. "Would to heaven," he says, "that I could as easily discover true things as refute those that are false!"76 And this he proclaimed not with dissimulation as an Academic, but truly and in accordance with the feeling of his mind, because the truth cannot be uprooted from human perceptions: that which the foresight of man was able to attain to, he attained to, that he might expose false things. For whatever is fictitious and false, because it is supported by no reason, is easily destroyed. There is therefore one God, the source and origin of all things, as Plato both felt and taught in the Timoeus, whose majesty he declares to be so great, that it can neither be comprehended by the mind nor be expressed by the tongue.
Hermes bears the same testimony, whom Cicero asserts77 to be reckoned by the Egyptians among the number of the gods. I speak of him who, on account of his excellence and knowledge of many arts, was called Trismegistus; and he was far more ancient not only than Plato, but than Pythagoras, and those seven wise men.78 In Xenophon,79 Socrates, as he discourses, says that "the form of God ought not to be inquired about: "and Plato, in his Book of Laws,80 says: "What God is, ought not to be the subject of inquiry, because it can neither be found out nor related." Pythagoras also admits that there is but one God, saying that there is an incorporeal mind, which, being diffused and stretched through all nature, gives vital perception to all living creatures; but Antisthenes, in his Physics, said that there was but one natural God, although the nations and cities have gods of their own people. Aristotle, with his followers the Peripatetics, and Zeno with his followers the Stoics, say nearly the same things. Truly it would be a long task to follow up the opinions of all separately, who, although they used different names, nevertheless agreed in one power which governed the world. But, however, though philosophers and poets, and those, in short, who worship the gods, often acknowledge the Supreme God, yet no one ever inquired into, no one discussed, the subject of His worship and honours; with that persuasion, in truth, with which, always believing Him to be bounteous and incorruptible, they think81 that He is neither angry with any one, nor stands in need of any worship. Thus there can be no religion where there is no fear.82
Chapter XII.-Of Religion and the Fear of God.
Now, since we have replied to the impious and detestable wisdom,83 or rather senselessness of some, let us return to our proposed subject. We have said that, if religion is taken away, neither wisdom nor justice can be retained: wisdom, because the understanding of the divine nature, in which we differ from the brutes, is found in man alone; justice, because unless God, who cannot be deceived, shall restrain our desires, we shall live wickedly and impiously. Therefore, that our actions should be viewed by God, pertains not only to the usefulness of common life, but even to the truth; because, if religion and justice are taken away, having lost our reason, we either descend to the senselessness84 of the herds; or to the savageness of the beasts, yea, even more so, since the beasts spare animals of their own kind. What will be more savage, what more unmerciful, than man, if, the fear of a superior being taken away, he shall be able either to escape the notice of or to despise the might of the laws? It is therefore the fear of God alone which guards the mutual society of men, by which life itself is sustained, protected, and governed. But that fear is taken away if man is persuaded that God is without anger; for that He is moved and indignant when unjust actions are done, not only the common advantage, but even reason itself, and truth, persuade us. We must again return to the former subjects, that, as we have taught that the world was made by God, we may teach why it was made.
Chapter XIII.-Of the Advantage and Use of the World and of the Seasons.
If any one considers the whole government of the world, he will certainly understand how true is the opinion of the Stoics, who say that the world was made on our account. For all the things of which the world is composed, and which it produces from itself, are adapted to the use of man. Man, accordingly, uses fire for the purpose of warmth and light, and of softening his food, and for the working of iron; he uses springs for drinking, and for baths; he uses rivers for irrigating the fields, and assigning boundaries to countries; he uses the earth for receiving a variety of fruits, the hills for planting vineyards, the mountains for the use of trees and firewood,85 the plains for crops of grain; he uses the sea not only for commerce, and for receiving supplies from distant countries, but also for abundance of every kind of fish. But if he makes use of these elements to which he is nearest, there is no doubt that he uses the hear-en also, since the offices even of heavenly things are regulated for the fertility of the earth from which we live. The sun, with its ceaseless courses and unequal intervals,86 completes its annual circles, and either at his rising draws forth the day for labour, or at his setting brings on the night for repose; and at one time by his departure farther towards the south, at another time by his approach nearer towards the north, he causes the vicissitudes of winter and summer, so that both by the moistures and frosts of winter the earth becomes enriched for fruitfulness, and by the heats of summer either the produce of grass87 is hardened by maturity, or that which is in moist places, being seethed and heated, becomes ripened. The moon also, which governs the time of night, regulates her monthly courses by the alternate loss and recovery of light,88 and by the brightness of her shining illumines the nights obscure with gloomy darkness, so that journeys in the summer heat, and expeditions, and works, may be performed without labour and inconvenience; since
"By night the light stubble, by night
The dry meadows are better mown."89
The other heavenly bodies also, either at their rising or setting, supply favourable times90 by their fixed positions.91 Moreover, they also afford guidance to ships, that they may not wander through the boundless deep with uncertain course, since the pilot duly observing them arrives at the harbour of the shore at which he aims.92 Clouds are attracted by the breath of the winds, that the fields of sown grain may be watered with showers, that the vines may abound with produce, and the trees with fruits. And these things are exhibited by a succession of changes throughout the year, that nothing may at any time be wanting by which the life of men is sustained. But93 (it is said) the same earth nourishes the other living creatures, and by the produce of the same even the dumb animals are fed. Has not God laboured also for the sake of the dumb animals? By no means; because they are void of reason. On the contrary, we understand that even these themselves in the same manner were made by God for the use of man, partly for food, partly for clothing, partly to assist him in his work; so that it is manifest that the divine providence wished to furnish and adorn the life of men with an abundance of objects and resources, and on this account He both filled the air with birds, and the sea with fishes, and the earth with quadrupeds. But the Academics, arguing against the Stoics, are accustomed to ask why, if God made all things for the sake of men, many things are found even opposed, and hostile, and injurious to us, as well in the sea as on the land. And the Stoics, without any regard to the truth, most foolishly repelled this. For they say that there are many things among natural productions,94 and reckoned among animals, the utility of which hitherto95 escapes notice, but that this is discovered in process of the times, as necessity and use have already discovered many things which were unknown in former ages. What utility, then, can be discovered in mice, in beetles, in serpents, which are troublesome and pernicious to man? Is it that some medicine lies concealed in them? If there is any, it will at some time be found out, namely, as a remedy against evils, whereas they complain that it is altogether evil. They say that the viper, when burnt and reduced to ashes, is a remedy for the bite of the same beast. How much better had it been that it should not exist at all, than that a remedy should be required against it drawn from itself?
They might then have answered with more conciseness and truth after this manner. When God had formed man as it were His own image, that which was the completion of His workmanship, He breathed wisdom into him alone, so that he might bring all things into subjection to his own authority and government, and make use of all the advantages of the world. And yet He set before him both good and evil things, inasmuch as He gave to him wisdom, the whole nature of which is employed in discerning things evil and good: for no one can choose better things, and know what is good, unless he at the same time knows to reject and avoid the things which are evil.96 They are both mutually connected with each other, so that, the one being taken away, the other must also be taken away. Therefore, good and evil things being set before it, then at length wisdom discharges its office, and desires the good for usefulness, but rejects the evil for safety. Therefore, as innumerable good things have been given which it might enjoy, so also have evils, against which it might guard. For if there is no evil, no danger-nothing, in short, which can injure man-all the material of wisdom is taken away, and will be unnecessary for man. For if only good things are placed in sight, what need is there of reflection, of understanding, of knowledge, of reason? since, wherever he shall extend his hand, that is befitting and adapted to nature; so that if any one should wish to place a most exquisite dinner before infants, who as yet have no taste, it is plain that each will desire that to which either impulse, or hunger, or even accident, shall attract them; and whatever they shall take, it will be useful and salutary to them. What injury will it therefore be for them always to remain as they are, and always to be infants and unacquainted with affairs? But if you add a mixture either of bitter things, or things useless, or even poisonous, they are plainly deceived through their ignorance of good and evil, unless wisdom is added to them, by which they may have the rejection of evil things and the choice of good things. You see, therefore, that we have greater need of wisdom on account of evils; and unless these things had been proposed to us, we should not be a rational animal. But if this account is true, which the Stoics were in no manner able to see, that argument also of Epicurus is done away. God, he says, either wishes to take away evils, and is unable; or He is able, and is unwilling; or He is neither willing nor able, or He is both willing and able. If He is willing and is unable, He is feeble, which is not in accordance with the character of God; if He is able and unwilling, He is envious, which is equally at variance with God; if He is neither willing nor able, He is both envious and feeble, and therefore not God; if He is both willing and able, which alone is suitable to God, from what source then are evils? or why does He not remove them? I know that many of the philosophers, who defend providence, are accustomed to be disturbed by this argument, and are almost driven against their will to admit that God takes no interest in anything, which Epicurus especially aims at; but having examined the matter, we easily do away with this formidable argument. For God is able to do whatever He wishes, and there is no weakness or envy in God. He is able, therefore, to take away evils; but He does not wish to do so, and yet He is not on that account envious. For on this account He does not take them away, because He at the same time gives wisdom, as I have shown; and there is more of goodness and pleasure in wisdom than of annoyance in evils. For wisdom causes us even to know God, and by that knowledge to attain to immortality, which is the chief good. Therefore, unless we first know evil, we shall be unable to know good. But Epicurus did not see this, nor did any other, that if evils are taken away, wisdom is in like manner taken away; and that no traces of virtue remain in man, the nature of which consists in enduring and overcoming the bitterness of evils. And thus, for the sake of a slight gain97 in the taking away of evils, we should be deprived of a good, which is very great, and true, and peculiar to us. It is plain, therefore, that all things are proposed for the sake of man, as well evils as also goods.
Chapter XIV.-Why God Made Man.
It follows that I show for what purpose God made man himself. As He contrived the world for the sake of man, so He formed man himself t on His own account, as it were a priest of a divine temple, a spectator of His works and of heavenly objects. For he is the only being who, since he is intelligent and capable of reason, is able to understand God, to admire His works, and perceive His energy and power; for on this account he is furnished with judgment, intelligence, and prudence. On this account he alone, beyond the other living creatures, has been made with an upright body and attitude, so that he seems to have been raised up for the contemplation of his Parent.98 On this account he alone has received language, and a tongue the interpreter of his thought, that he may be able to declare the majesty of his Lord. Lastly, for this cause all things were placed under his control, that he himself might be under the control of God, their Maker and Creator. If God, therefore, designed man to be a worship per of Himself, and on this account gave him so much honour, that he might rule over all things; it is plainly most just that he should worship Him99 who bestowed upon him such great gifts, and love man, who is united with us in the participation of the divine justice. For it is not right that a worshipper of God should he injured by a worshipper of God. From which it is understood that man was made for the sake of religion and justice. And of this matter Marcus Tullius is a witness in his books respecting the Laws, since he thus speaks:100 "But of all things concerning which learned men dispute, nothing is of greater consequence than that it should be altogether understood that we are born to justice." And if this is most true, it follows that God will have all men to be just, that is, to have God and man as objects of their affection; to honour God in truth as a Father, and to love man as a brother: for in these two things the whole of justice is comprised. But he who either fails to acknowledge God or acts injuriously to man, lives unjustly and contrary to his nature, and in this manner disturbs the divine institution and law.
Chapter XV.-Whence Sins Extended to Man.
Here perhaps some one may ask, Whence sins extended to man, or what perversion distorted the rule of the divine institution to worse things, so that, though he was born to justice, he nevertheless performs unjust works. I have already in a former place explained, that God at the same time set before him good and evil, and that He loves the good, and hates the evil which is contrary to this; but that He permitted the evil on this account, that the good also might shine forth, since, as I have often taught, we understand that the one cannot exist without the other; in short, that the world itself is made up of two elements opposing and connected with one another, of fire and moisture, and that light could not have been made unless there has also been darkness, since there cannot be a higher place without a lower, nor a rising without a setting, nor warmth without cold, nor softness without hardness. Thus also we are composed of two substances equally opposed to one another-soul and body: the one of which is assigned to the heaven, because it is slight and not to be handled; the other to the earth, because it is capable of being laid hold of: the one is firm101 and eternal, the other frail and mortal. Therefore good clings to the one, and evil to the other: light, life, and justice to the one; darkness, death, and injustice to the other. Hence there arose among men the corruption of their nature, so that it was necessary that a law should be established, by which vices might be prohibited, and the duties of virtue be en-joined. Since, therefore, there are good and evil things in the affairs of men, the nature of which I have set forth, it must be that God is moved to both sides, both to favour when He sees that just things are done, and to anger when He perceives unjust things.
But Epicurus opposes us, and says: "If there is in God the affection of joy leading Him to favour, and of hatred influencing Him to anger, He must of necessity have both fear, and inclination, and desire, and the other affections which belong to human weakness." It does not follow that he who is angry must fear, or that he who feels joy must grieve; in short, they who are liable to anger are less timid, and they who are of a joyful temperament are less affected with grief. What need is there to speak of the affections of humanity, to which our nature yields? Let us weigh the divine necessity; for I am unwilling to speak of nature, since it is believed that our God was never born. The affection of fear has a subject-matter in man, but it has none in God. Man, inasmuch as he is liable to many accidents and dangers, fears lest any greater violence should arise which may strike, despoil, lacerate, dash down, and destroy him. But God, who is liable neither to want, nor injury, nor pain, nor death, can by no means fear, because there is nothing which can offer violence to Him. Also the reason and cause of desire is manifest in man. For, inasmuch as he was made frail and mortal, it was necessary that another and different sex should be made, by union with which offspring might be produced to continue the perpetuity of his race. But this desire has no place in God, because frailty and death are far removed from Him; nor is there with Him any female in whose union He is able to rejoice; nor does He stand in need of succession, since He will live for ever. The same things may be said respecting envy and passion, to which, from sure and manifest causes, man is liable, but to which God is by no means liable. But, in truth, favour and anger and pity have their substance102 in God, and that greatest and matchless power employs them for the preservation of the world.
Chapter XVI.-Of God, and His Anger and Affections.
Some one will ask what this substance is. First of all, when evils befall them, men in their dejected state for the most part have recourse to God: they appease and entreat Him, believing that He is able to repel injuries from them. He has therefore an occasion of exercising pity; for He is not so unmerciful and a despiser of men as to refuse aid to those who are in distress. Very many, also, who are persuaded that justice is pleasing to God, both worship Him who is Lord and Parent of all, and with continual prayers and repeated vows offer gifts and sacrifices, follow up His name with praises, striving to gain His favour by just and good works. There is therefore a reason, on account of which God may and ought to favour them. For if there is nothing so befitting God as beneficence, and nothing so unsuited to His character as to be ungrateful, it is necessary that He should make some return for the services of those who are excellent, and who lead a holy life, that He may not be liable to the charge of ingratitude which is worthy of blame103 even in the case of a man. But, on the contrary, others are daring104 and wicked, who pollute all things with their lusts, harass with slaughters, practise fraud, plunder, commit perjury, neither spare relatives nor parents, neglect the laws, and even God Himself. Anger, therefore, has a befitting occasion105 in God.
For it is not right that, when He sees such things, He should not be moved, and arise to take vengeance upon the wicked, and destroy the pestilent and guilty, so as to promote the interests of all good men. Thus even in anger itself there is also contained a showing of kindness.106 Therefore the arguments are found to be empty and false, either of those who, when they will not admit that God is angry, will have it that He shows kindness, because this, indeed, cannot take place without anger; or of those who think that there is no emotion of the mind in God. And because there are some affections to which God is not liable, as desire, fear, avarice, grief, and envy, they have said that He is entirely free from all affection. For He is not liable to these, because they are vicious affections; but as to those which belong to virtue,-that is, anger towards the wicked, regard towards the good, pity towards the afflicted,-inasmuch as they are worthy of the divine power, He has affections of His own,107 both just and true. And if He is not possessed of them, the life of man will be thrown into confusion, and the condition of things will come to such disturbance that the laws will be despised and overpowered, and audacity alone reign, so that no one can at length be in safety unless he who excels108 in strength. Thus all the earth will be laid waste, as it were, by a common robbery. But now, since the wicked expect punishment, and the good hope for favour, and the afflicted look for aid, there is place for virtues, and crimes are more rare. But109 it is said, ofttimes the wicked are more prosperous, and the good more wretched, and the just are harassed with impunity by the unjust. We will hereafter consider why these things happen. In the meantime let us explain respecting anger, whether there be any in God; whether He takes no notice at all, and is unmoved at those things which are done with impiety.
Chapter XVII.-Of God, His Care and Anger.
God, says Epicurus, regards nothing; therefore He has no power. For he who has power must of necessity regard affairs. For if He has power, and does not use it, what so great cause is there that, I will not say our race, but even the universe itself, should be contemptible in His sight? On this account he says He is pure110 and happy, because He is always at rest.111 To whom, then, has the administration of so great affairs been entrusted,112 if these things which we see to be governed by the highest judgment are neglected by God? or how can he who lives and perceives be at rest? For rest belongs either to sleep or to death. But sleep has not rest. For when we are asleep, the body indeed is at rest, but the soul is restless and agitated: it forms for itself images which it may behold, so that it exercises its natural power of motion by a variety of visions, and calls itself away from false things, until the limbs are satiated, and receive vigour from rest. Therefore eternal rest belongs to death alone. Now if death does not affect God, it follows that God is never at rest. But in what can the action of God consist, but in the administration of the world? But if God carries on the care of the world, it follows that He cares for the life of men, and takes notice of the acts of individuals, and He earnestly desires that they should be wise and good. This is the will of God, this the divine law; and he who follows and observes this is beloved by God. It is necessary that He should be moved with anger against the man who has broken or despised this eternal and divine law. If, he says, God does harm to any one, therefore He is not good. They are deceived by no slight error who defame all censure, whether human or divine, with the name of bitterness and malice, thinking that He ought to be called injurious113 who visits the injurious with punishment. But if this is so, it follows that we have injurious laws, which enact punishment for offenders, and injurious judges who inflict capital punishments on those convicted of crime. But if the law is just which awards to the transgressor his due, and if the judge is called upright and good when he punishes crimes,-for he guards the safety of good men who punishes the evil,-it follows that God, when He opposes the evil, is not injurious; but he himself is injurious who either injures an innocent man, or spares an injurious person that he may injure many.
I would gladly ask from those who represent God as immoveable,114 if any one had property, a house, a household115 of slaves, and his slaves, despising the forbearance of their master, should attack all things, and themselves take the enjoyment of his goods, if his household should honour them, while the master was despised by all, insulted, and deserted: could he be a wise man who should not avenge the insults, but permit those over whom he had power to have the enjoyment of his property? Can such forbearance be found in any one? If, indeed, it is to be called forbearance, and not rather a kind of insensible stupor. But it is easy to endure contempt. What if those things were done which are spoken of by Cicero?116 "For I ask, if any head of a family,117 when his children had been put to death by a slave, his wife slain and his house set on fire, should not exact most severe punishment from that slave, whether he would appear to be kind and merciful, or inhuman and most cruel? "But if to pardon deeds of this kind is the part of cruelty rather than of kindness,118 it is not therefore the part of goodness in God not to be moved at those things which are done unjustly. For the world is, as it were, the house of God, and men, as it were, His slaves; and if His name is a mockery to them, what kind or amount of forbearance is it to give119 up His own honours, to see wicked and unjust things done, and not to be indignant, which is peculiar and natural to Him who is displeased with sins! To be angry, therefore, is the part of reason: for thus faults are removed, and licentiousness is curbed; and this is plainly in accordance with justice and wisdom.
But the Stoics did not see that there is a distinction between right and wrong, that there is a just and also an unjust anger; and because they did not find a remedy for the matter, they wished altogether to remove it. But the Peripatetics said that it was not to be cut out, but moderated; to whom we have made a sufficient reply in the sixth book of the Institutions.120 Now, that the philosophers were ignorant of the nature of anger, is plain from their definitions, which Seneca enumerated in the books which he composed on the subject of anger. "Anger is," he says, "the desire of avenging an injury." Others, as Posidonius says, describe it as the desire of punishing him by whom you think that you have been unfairly injured. Some have thus defined it: "Anger is an incitement of the mind to injure him who either has committed an injury, or who has wished to do so." The definition of Aristotle does not differ greatly from ours;121 for he says that "anger is the desire of requiting pain." This is the unjust anger, con-coming which we spoke before, which is contained even in the dumb animals; but it is to be restrained in man, lest he should rush to some very great evil through rage. This cannot exist in God, because He cannot be injured;122 but it is found in man, inasmuch as he is frail. For the inflicting123 of injury inflames124 anguish, and anguish produces a desire of revenge. Where, then, is that just anger against offenders? For this is evidently not the desire of revenge, inasmuch as no injury precedes. I do not speak of those who sin against the laws; for although a judge may be angry with these without incurring blame, let us, however, suppose that he ought to be of a sedate mind when he sentences the guilty to punishment, because he is the executor125 of the laws, not of his own spirit or power; for so they wish it who endeavour to extirpate anger. But I speak of those in particular who are in our own power, as slaves, children, wives, and pupils; for when we see these offend, we are incited to restrain them.
For it cannot fail to be, that he who is just and good is displeased with things which are bad, and that he who is displeased with evil is moved when he sees it practised. Therefore we arise to take vengeance, not because we have been injured, but that discipline may be preserved, morals may be corrected, and licentiousness be suppressed. This is just anger; and as it is necessary in man for the correction of wickedness, so manifestly is it necessary in God, from whom an example comes to man. For as we ought to restrain those who are subject to our power, so also ought God to restrain the of-fences of all. And in order that He may do this, He must be angry; because it is natural for one who is good to be moved and incited at the fault of another. Therefore they ought to have given this definition: Anger is an emotion of the mind arousing itself for the restraining of faults.126 For the definition given by Cicero, "Anger is the desire of taking vengeance," does not differ much from those already mentioned.127 But that anger which we may call either fury or rage ought not to exist even in man, because it is altogether vicious; but the anger which relates to the correction of vices ought not to be taken away from man; nor can it be taken away from God, because it is both serviceable for the affairs of men, and necessary.
Chapter XVIII.-Of the Punishment of Faults, that It Cannot Take Place Without Anger.
What need is there, they say, of anger, since faults can be corrected without this affection? But there is no one who can calmly see any one committing an offence. This may perhaps be possible in him who presides over the laws, because the deed is not committed before his eyes, but it is brought before him as a doubtful matter from another quarter. Nor can any wickedness be so manifest, that there is no place for a de-fence; and therefore it is possible that a judge may not be moved against him who may possibly be found to be innocent; and when the detected crime shall have come to light, he now no longer uses his own opinion, but that of the laws. It may be granted that he does that which he does without anger; for he has that which he may follow. We, undoubtedly, when an offence is committed by our household at home, whether we see or perceive it, must be indignant; for the very sight of a sin is unbecoming. For he who is altogether unmoved either approves of faults, which is more disgraceful and unjust, or avoids the trouble of reproving them, which a tranquil spirit and a quiet mind despises and refuses, unless anger shall have aroused and incited it. But when any one is moved, and yet through unseasonable leniency grants pardon more frequently than is necessary, or at all times, he evidently both destroys the life of those whose audacity he is fostering for greater crimes, and furnishes himself with a perpetual source of annoyances. Therefore the restraining of one's anger in the case of sins is faulty.
Archytas of Tarentum is praised, who, when he had found everything ruined128 on his estate, rebuking the fault of his bailiff, said, "Wretch, I would have beaten you to death if I had not been angry." They consider this to be a singular example of forbearance; but influenced by authority, they do not see how foolishly he spoke and acted. For if (as Plato says) no prudent man punishes because there is an offence, but to prevent the occurrence of an offence, it is evident how evil an example this wise man put forth. For if slaves shall perceive that their master uses violence when he is not angry, and abstains from violence129 when he is angry, it is evident that they will not commit slight offences, lest they should be beaten; but will commit the greatest offences, that they may arouse the anger of the perverse man, and escape with impunity. But I should praise him if, when he was enraged, he had given space to his anger, that the excitement of his mind might calm down through the interval of time, and his chastisement might be confined within moderate limits. Therefore, on account of the magnitude of the anger, punishment ought not to have been inflicted, but to have been delayed, lest it should inflict130 upon the offender pain greater than is just, or occasion an outburst of fury in the punisher. But now, how is it equitable or wise, that any one should be punished on account of a slight offence, and should be unpunished on account of a very great one? But if he had learned the nature and causes of things, he never would have professed so unsuitable a forbearance, that a wicked slave should rejoice that his master has been angry with him. For as God has furnished the human body with many and various senses which are necessary for the use of life, so also He has assigned to the soul various affections by which the course of life might be regulated; and as He has given desire for the sake of producing offspring, so has He given anger for the sake of restraining faults.
But they who are ignorant of the ends of good and evil things, as they employ sensual desire for the purposes of corruption and pleasure, in the same manner make use of anger and passion for the inflicting of injury, while they are angry with those whom they regard with hatred. Therefore they are angry even with those who commit no offence, even with their equals, or even with their superiors. Hence they daily rush to monstrous131 deeds; hence tragedies often arise. Therefore Archytas would be deserving of praise, if, when he had been enraged against any citizen or equal who injured him, he had curbed himself, and by forbearance mitigated the impetuosity of his fury. This self-restraint is glorious, by which any great evil which impends is restrained; but it is a fault not to check the faults of slaves and children; for through their escaping without punishment they will proceed to greater evil. In this case anger is not to be restrained; but even if it is in a state of inactivity,132 it must be aroused. But that which we say respecting man, we also say respecting God, who made man like to Himself. I omit making mention of the figure of God, because the Stoics say that God has no form, and another great subject will arise if we should wish to refute them. I only speak respecting the soul. If it belongs133 to God to reflect, to be wise, to understand, to foresee. to excel, and of all animals man alone has these qualities, it follows that he was made after the likeness of God; but on this account he goes on to vice, because, being mingled with frailty derived from earth, he is unable to preserve pure and uncontaminated that which he has received from God, unless he is imbued with the precepts of justice by the same God.
Chapter XIX.-Of the Soul and Body, and of Providence.
But since he is made up, as we have said, of two parts, soul and body, the virtues are contained in the one, and vices in the other, and they mutually oppose each other. For the good properties of the soul, which consist in restraining lusts, are contrary to the body; and the good properties of the body, which consist in every kind of pleasure, are hostile to the soul. But if the virtue of the soul shall have resisted the desires, and suppressed them, he will be truly like to God. From which it is evident that the soul of man, which is capable of divine virtue, is not mortal. But there is this distinction, that since virtue is attended with bitterness, and the attraction of pleasure is sweet, great numbers are overcome and are drawn aside to the pleasantness; but they who have given themselves up to the body and earthly things are pressed to the earth, and are unable to attain to the favour of the divine bounty, because they have polluted themselves with the defilements of vices. But they who, following God, and in obedience to Him, have despised the desires of the body, and, preferring virtue to pleasures, have preserved innocence and righteousness, these God recognises as like to Himself.
Since, therefore, He has laid down a most holy law, and wishes all men to be innocent and beneficent, is it possible that He should not be angry when He sees that His law is despised, that virtue is rejected, and pleasure made the object of pursuit? But if He is the governor of the world, as He might to be, He surely does not despise that which is even of the greatest importance in the whole world. If He has fore-sight, as it is befitting that God should have, it is plain that He consults the interests of the human race, in order that our life may be more abundantly supplied, and better, and safer. If He is the Father and God of all, He is undoubtedly delighted with the virtues of men, and provoked by their vices. Therefore He loves the just, and hates the wicked. There is no need (one says) of hatred; for He once for all has fixed a reward for the good, and punishment for the wicked. But if any one lives justly and innocently, and at the same time neither worships God nor has any regard for Him, as Aristides, and Timon,134 and others of the philosophers, will he escape135 with impunity, because, though he has obeyed the law of God, he has nevertheless despised God Himself? There is therefore something on account of which God may be angry with one rebelling against Him, as it were, in reliance upon His integrity. If He can be angry with this man on account of his pride, why not more so with the sinner, who has despised the law together with the Lawgiver? The judge cannot pardon offences, because he is subject to the will of another. But God can pardon, because He is Himself the arbitrator136 and judge of His own law; and when He laid down this, He did not surely deprive Himself of all power, but He has the liberty of bestowing pardon.
Chapter XX.-Of Offences, and the Mercy of God.
If He is able to pardon, He is therefore able also to be angry. Why, then, some one will say, does it often occur, that they who sin are prosperous, and they who live piously are wretched? Because fugitives and disinherited137 persons live without restraint, and they who are under the discipline of a father or master live in a more strict and frugal manner. For virtue is proved and fixed138 by means of ills; vices by means of pleasure. Nor, however, ought he who sins to hope for lasting impunity, because there is no lasting happiness.
"But, in truth, the last day is always to be looked for by man and no one ought to be called happy before his death and last funeral rites,"139
as the not inelegant poet says. It is the end which proves happiness, and no one is able to escape the judgment of God, either when alive or after death. For He has the power both to cast down the living from on high, and to punish the dead with eternal torments. Nay, he says, if God is angry, He ought to have inflicted vengeance at once, and to have punished every one according to his desert. But (it is replied) if He had done this, no one would survive. For there is no one who offends in no respect, and there are many things which excite to the commission of sin-age, intemperance, want, opportunity, reward. To such an extent is the frailty of the flesh with which we are clothed liable to sin, that unless God were indulgent to this necessity, perhaps too few would live. On this account He is most patient, and restrains His anger. For because there is in Him perfect virtue, it follows of necessity that His patience also is perfect, which is itself also a virtue. How many men, from having been sinners, have afterwards become righteous; from being injurious, have become good; from being wicked, have become temperate! How many who were in early life base, and condemned by the judgment of all, afterwards have turned out praiseworthy? But it is plain that this could not happen if punishment followed every offence.
The public laws condemn those who are manifestly guilty; but there are great numbers whose offences are concealed, great numbers who restrain the accuser either by entreaties or by reward, great numbers who elude justice by favour or influence. But if the divine censure should condemn all those who escape the punishment of men, there would be few or even no men on the earth. In short, even that one reason for destroying the human race might have been a just one, that men, despising the living God, pay divine honour to earthly and frail images, as though they were of heaven, adoring works made by human hands. And though God their Creator made them of elevated countenance and upright figure, and raised them to the contemplation of the heaven and the knowledge of God, they have preferred, like cattle, to bend themselves to the earth.140 For he is low, and curved, and bent downward, who, turning away from the sight of heaven and God his Father, worships things of the earth, which he ought to have trodden upon, that is, things made and fashioned from earth. Therefore, amidst such great impiety and such great sins of men, the forbearance of God attains this object, that men, condemning the errors of their past life, correct themselves. In short, there are many who are just and good; and these, having laid aside the worship of earthly things, acknowledge the majesty of the one and only God. But though the forbearance of God is very great and most useful; yet, although late, He punishes the guilty, and does not suffer them to proceed further, when He sees that they are incorrigible.
Chapter XXI.-Of the Anger of God and Man.
There remains one question, and that the last. For some one will perhaps say, that God is so far from being angry, that in His precepts He even forbids man to be angry. I might say that the anger of man ought to be curbed, because he is often angry unjustly; and he has immediate emotion, because he is only for a time.141 Therefore, lest those things should be done which the low, and those of moderate station, and great kings do in their anger, his rage ought to have been moderated and suppressed, lest, being out of his mind,142 he should commit some inexpiable crime. But God is not angry for a short time,143 because He is eternal and of perfect virtue, and He is never angry unless deservedly. But, however, the matter is not so; for if He should altogether prohibit anger, He Himself would have been in some measure the censurer of His own workmanship, since He from the beginning had inserted anger in the liver144 of man, since it is believed that the cause of this emotion is contained in the moisture of the gall. Therefore He does not altogether prohibit anger, because that affection is necessarily given, but He forbids us to persevere in anger. For the anger of mortals ought to be mortal; for if it is lasting, enmity is strengthened to lasting destruction. Then, again, when He enjoined us to be angry, and yet not to sin,145 it is plain that He did not tear up anger by the roots, but restrained it, that in every correction we might preserve moderation and justice. Therefore He who commands us to be angry is manifestly Himself angry; He who enjoins us to be quickly appeased is manifestly Himself easy to be appeased: for He has enjoined those things which are just and useful for the interests of society.146
But because I had said that the anger of God is not for a time147 only, as is the case with man, who becomes inflamed with an immediate148 excitement, and on account of his frailty is unable easily to govern himself, we ought to understand that because God is eternal, His anger also remains to eternity; but, on the other hand, that because He is endued with the greatest excellence, He controls His anger, and is not ruled by it, but that He regulates it according to His will. And it is plain that this is not opposed to that which has just been said. For if His anger had been altogether immortal, there would be no place after a fault for satisfaction or kind feeling, though He Himself commands men to be reconciled before the setting of the sun.149 But the divine anger remains for ever against those who ever sin. Therefore God is appeased not by incense or a victim, not by costly offerings, which things are all corruptible, but by a reformation of the morals: and he who ceases to sin renders the anger of God mortal. For this reason He does not immediately150 punish every one who is guilty, that man may have the opportunity of coming to a right mind,151 and correcting himself.
Chapter XXII.-Of Sins, and the Verses of the Sibyls Respecting Them Recited.
This is what I had to say, most beloved Donatus, respecting the anger of God, that you might know how to refute those who represent God as being without emotions.152 It only remains that, after the practice of Cicero, I should use an epilogue by way of peroration. As he did in the Tusculan Disputations,153 when discoursing on the subject of death, so we in this work ought to bring forward divine testimonies, which may be believed, to refute the persuasion of those who, believing that God is without anger, destroy all religion, without which, as we have shown, we are either equal to the brutes in savageness, or to the cattle in foolishness; for it is in religion only-that is, in the knowledge of the Supreme God-that wisdom consists. All the prophets, being filled with the Divine Spirit, speak nothing else than of the favour of God towards the righteous, and His anger against the ungodly. And their testimony is indeed sufficient for us; but because it is not believed by those who make a display of wisdom by their hair and dress,154 it was necessary to refute them by reason and arguments. For they act so preposterously,155 that human things give authority to divine things, whereas divine things ought rather to give authority to human. But let us now leave these things, lest we should produce no effect upon them, and the subject should be indefinitely drawn out. Let us therefore seek those testimonies which they can either believe, or at any rate not oppose.
Authors of great number and weight have made mention of the Sibyls; of the Greeks, Aristo the Chian, and Apollodorus the Erythraean; of our writers, Varro and Fenestella.All these relate that the Erythraean Sibyl was distinguished and noble beyond the rest. Apollodorus, indeed, boasts of her as his own citizen and countrywoman. But Fenestella also relates that ambassadors were sent by the senate to Erythrae, that the verses of this Sibyl might be conveyed to Rome, and that the consuls Curio and Octavius might take care that they should be placed in the Capitol, which had then been restored under the care of Quintus Catulus. In her writings, verses of this kind are found respecting the Supreme God and Maker of the world:-
"The incorruptible and eternal Maker who dwells in the heaven, holding forth good to the good, a much greater reward, but stirring up anger and rage against the evil and unjust."
Again, in another place, enumerating the deeds by which God is especially moved to anger, she introduced these things:-
"Avoid unlawful services, and serve the living God. Abstain from adultery and impurity; bring up a pure generation of children; do not kill: for the Immortal will be angry with every one who may sin."
Therefore He is angry with sinners.
Chapter XXIII.-Of the Anger of God and the Punishment of Sins, and a Recital of the Verses of the Sibyls Respecting It; And, Moreover, a Reproof and Exhortation.
But because it is related by most learned men that there have been many Sibyls, the testimony of one may not be sufficient to confirm the truth, as we purpose to do. The volumes, indeed, of the Cumaean Sibyl, in which are written the fates of the Romans are kept secret; but the writings of all the others are, for the most part, not prohibited from being in common use. And of these another, denouncing the anger of God against all nations on account of the impiety of men, thus began:-
"Since great anger is coming upon a disobedient world, I disclose the commands of God to the last age, prophesying to all men from city to city."
Another Sibyl also said, that the deluge was caused by the indignation of God against the unrighteous in a former age, that the wickedness of the human race might be extinguished:-
"From the time when, the God of heaven being enraged against the cities themselves and all men, a deluge having burst forth, the sea covered the earth."
In like manner she foretold a conflagration about to take place hereafter, in which the impiety of men should again be destroyed:-
" And at some time, God no longer soothing His anger, but increasing it, and destroying the race of men, and laying waste the whole of it by fire."
From which mention is thus made concerning Jupiter by Ovid:156 -
"He remembers also that it is fated that the time shall come in which the sea, the earth, and the palace of heaven, being caught by fire, shall be burnt, and the curiously wrought framework of the world157 be in danger."
And this must come to pass at the time when the honour and worship of the Supreme shall have perished among men. The same Sibyl, however, testifying that He was appeased by reformation158 of conduct and self-improvement, added these things :-
"But, ye mortals, in pity159 turn yourselves now, and do not lead the great God to every kind of auger."
And also a little later:-
"He will not destroy, but will again restrain His anger, if you all practise valuable piety in your minds."
Then another Sibyl declares that the Father of heavenly and earthly things ought to be loved, lest His indignation should arise, to the destruction of men:-
"Lest by chance the immortal God should be angry, and destroy the whole race of men, their life and shameless race, it is befitting that we love the wise, ever-living God the Father."
From these things it is evident that the arguments of the philosophers are vain, who imagine that God is without anger, and among His other praises reckon that which is most useless, detracting from Him that which is most salutary for human affairs, by which majesty itself exists. For this earthly, kingdom and government, unless guarded by fear, is broken down. Take away anger from a king, and he will not only cease to be obeyed, but he will even be cast down headlong from his height. Yea, rather take away this affection from any person of low degree, and who will not plunder him? Who will not deride him? Who will not treat him with injury? Thus he will be able to have neither clothing, nor an abode, nor food, since others will deprive him of whatever he has; much less can we suppose that the majesty of the heavenly government can exist without anger and fear. The Milesian Apollo being consulted concerning the religion of the Jews, inserted these things in his answer:-
"God, the King and Father of all, before whom the earth trembles, and the heaven and sea, and whom the recesses of Tartarus and the demons dread."
If He is so mild, as the philosophers will have it, how is it that not only the demons and ministers of such great power, but even the heaven and earth, and the whole system of the universe, tremble at His presence? For if no one submits to the service of another except by compulsion, it follows that all government exists by fear, and fear by anger. For if any one is not aroused against one who is unwilling to obey, it will not be possible for him to be compelled to obedience. Let any one consult his own feelings; he will at once understand that no one can be subdued to the command of another without anger and chastisement. Therefore, where there shall be no anger, there will be no authority. But God has authority; therefore also He must have anger, in which authority consists. Therefore let no one, induced by the empty prating160 of the philosophers, train himself to the contempt of God, which is the greatest impiety. We all are bound both to love Him, because He is our Father; and to reverence Him, because He is our Lord: both to pay Him honour, because He is bounteous; and to fear Him, because He is severe: each character in Him is worthy of reverence.161 Who can preserve his piety, and yet fail to love the parent of his life? or who can with impunity despise Him who, as ruler of all things, has true and everlasting power over all? If you consider Him in the character of Father, He supplies to us our entrance to the light which we enjoy: through Him we live, through Him we have entered into the abode162 of this world. If you contemplate Him as God, it is. He who nourishes us with innumerable re sources: it is He who sustains us, we dwell in His house, we are His household;163 and if we are less obedient than was befitting, and less attentive to our duty164 than the endless merits of our Master and Parent demanded: nevertheless it is of great avail to our obtaining pardon, if we retain the worship and knowledge of Him; if, laying aside low and earthly affairs and goods, we meditate upon heavenly and divine things which are everlasting. And that we may be able to do this, God must be followed by us, God must be adored and loved; since there is in Him the substance165 of things, the principle166 of the virtues, and the source of all that is good.For what is greater in power than God, or more perfect in reason, or brighter in clearness? And since He begat us to wisdom, and produced us to righteousness, it is not allowable for man to forsake God, who is the giver of intelligence and life and to serve earthly and frail things, or, intent upon seeking temporal goods, to turn aside from innocence and piety. Vicious and deadly pleasures do not render a man happy; nor does opulence, which is the inciter of lusts; nor empty ambition; nor frail honours, by which the human soul, being ensnared and enslaved to the body, is condemned167 to eternal death: but innocence and righteousness alone, the lawful and due reward of which is immortality, which God from the beginning appointed for holy and uncorrupted minds, which keep themselves pure and uncontaminated from vices, and from every earthly impurity. Of this heavenly and eternal reward they cannot be partakers, who have polluted their conscience by deeds ofviolence, frauds, rapine, and deceits; and who, by injuries inflicted upon men, by impious actions, have branded themselves168 with indelible stains. Accordingly it is befitting that all who wish deservedly to be called wise, who wish to be called men, should despise frail things, should trample upon earthly things, and should look down upon base169 things, that they may be able to be united in a most blissful relationship with God.
Let impiety and discords be removed; let turbulent and deadly dissensions be allayed,170 by which human societies and the divine union of the public league are broken in upon, divided, and dispersed; as far as we can, let "us aim at being good and bounteous: if we have a supply of wealth and resources, let it not be devoted to the pleasure of a single person, but bestowed on the welfare of many. For pleasure is as short lived as the body to which it does service. But justice and kindness are as immortal as the mind and soul, which by good works attain to the likeness of God. Let God be consecrated by us, not in temples, but in our heart. All things which are made by the hand are destructible.171 Let us cleanse this temple, which is defiled not by smoke or dust, but by evil thoughts which is lighted not by blazing tapers172 but by the brightness and light of wisdom. And if we believe that God is always present in this temple, to whose divinity the secrets of the heart are open, we shall so live as always to have Him propitious, and never to fear His anger.
Note by the American Editor
It is worth while to direct attention to (book vi. cap. 2) what our author has said of "true worship," just now, when the most violent and persistent efforts are made to sensualize Christian worship, and to explain away the testimony of the Ante-Nicene Fathers on this important subject. The argument of our author, in its entire drift, is as applicable to our own times as to his; and, deeply as I value beauty in the public worship of God, I cannot, as a Nicene Catholic, do less than adopt the universal sentiment of the early Fathers as to the limits of decoration.
On the Workmanship of God, or the Formation of Man
A Treatise Addressed to His Pupil Demetrianus.
Chapter I.-The Introduction, and Exhortation to Demetrianus.1
How disturbed I am, and in the greatest necessities, you will be able to judge from this little book which I have written to you, Demetrianus, almost in unadorned words, as the mediocrity of my talent permitted, that you might know my daily pursuit, and that I might not be wanting to you, even now an instructor, but of a more honourable subject and of a better system. For if you afforded yourself a ready hearer in literature, which did nothing else than form the style, how much more teachable ought you to be in these true studies, which have reference even to the life! And I now profess to you, that I am hindered by no necessity of circumstance or time from composing something by which the philosophers of our sect2 which we uphold may become better instructed and more learned for the future, although they now have a bad reputation, and are commonly reproved, as living otherwise than is befitting for wise men, and as concealing their vices under the covering of a name; whereas they ought either to have remedied them, or to have altogether avoided them, that they might render the name of wisdom happy and uncorrupted, their life itself agreeing with their precepts. I, however, shrink from no labour that I may at once instruct ourselves and others. For I am not able to forget myself, and especially at that time when it is most necessary for me to remember; as also you do not forget yourself, as I hope and wish. For although the necessity of the state may turn you aside from true and just works, yet it is impossible that a mind conscious of rectitude should not from time to time look to the heaven.
I indeed rejoice that all things which are esteemed blessings turn out prosperously to you, but only on condition of their changing nothing of your state of mind. For I fear lest custom and the pleasantness of these subjects should, as usually happens, creep by degrees into your mind. Therefore I advise you,
"And repeating it, will again and again advise you,"3
not to believe that you have these enjoyments of the earth as great or true blessings, since they are not only deceitful because they are doubtful, but also treacherous because they are pleasant. For you know how crafty that wrestler and adversary of ours is, and also often violent, as we now see that he is. He employs all these things which are able to entice as snares, and with such subtilty that they escape the notice of the eyes of the mind, so that they cannot be avoided by the foresight of man. Therefore it is the highest prudence to advance step by step, since he occupies the passes on both sides, and secretly places stumbling-blocks for our feet. Accordingly I advise you, either to disregard, if you are able according to your virtue, your prosperity in which you live, or not to admire it greatly. Remember your true parent, and in what4 city you have given your name, and of what rank you have been. You understand assuredly what I say. For I do not charge you with pride, of which there is not even a suspicion in your case; but the things which I say are to be referred to the mind, not to the body, the whole system of which has been arranged on this account, that it may be in subjection to the soul as to a master, and may be ruled by its will. For it is in a certain manner an earthen vessel in which the soul, that is, the true man himself, is contained, and that vessel indeed not made by Prometheus, as the poets say, but by that supreme Creator and Artificer of the world, God, whose divine providence and most perfect excellence it is neither possible to comprehend by the perception, nor to express in word.
I will attempt, however, since mention has been made of the body and soul, to explain the nature of each, as far as the weakness of my understanding sees through; and I think that this duty is especially to be undertaken on this account, because Marcus Tullius, a man of remarkable talent, in his fourth book on the Republic, when he had attempted to do this, concluded a subject of wide extent within narrow limits, lightly selecting the chief points. And that there might be no excuse, because he had not followed up this subject, he testified that neither inclination nor attention had been wanting to him. For in his first book concerning the Laws, when he was concisely summing up the same subject, he thus spoke: "Scipio, as it appears to me, has sufficiently expressed this subject in those books which you have read." Afterwards, however, in his second book concerning the Nature of the Gods, he endeavoured to follow up the same subject more extensively. But since he did not express it sufficiently even there, I will approach this office, and will take upon myself boldly to explain that which a man of the greatest eloquence has almost left untouched. Perhaps you may blame me for attempting to discuss something in matters of obscurity, when you see that there have been men of such rashness who are commonly called philosophers, that they scrutinized those things which God willed to be abstruse and hidden, and investigated the nature of things in heaven and on earth, which are far removed from us, and cannot be examined5 by the eyes, nor touched by the hand, nor perceived by the senses; and yet they so dispute concerning the nature of these things, as to wish that the things, which they bring forward may appear to be proved and known. What reason is there, I pray, why any one should think it an invidious thing in us, if we wish to look into and contemplate the system of our body,6 which is not altogether obscure, because from the very offices of the limbs, and the uses of the several parts, it is permitted us to understand with what great power of providence each part has been made?
Chapter II.-Of the Production of the Beasts and of Man.
For our Creator and Parent, God, has given to man perception and reason, that it might be evident from this that we are descended from Him, because He Himself is intelligence, He Himself is perception and reason. Since He did not give that power of reason to the other animals, He provided beforehand in what manner their life might be more safe. For He clothed them all with their own natural hair,7 in order that they might more easily be able to endure the severity of frosts and colds. Moreover, He has appointed to every kind its own peculiar defence for the repelling of attacks from without; so that they may either oppose the stronger animals with natural weapons, or the feebler ones may withdraw themselves from danger by the swiftness of their flight, or those which require at once both strength and swiftness may protect themselves by craft, or guard themselves in hiding-places.8 And so others of them either poise themselves aloft with light plumage, or are supported by hoofs,9 or are furnished with horns; some have arms in their mouth-namely, their teeth10 -or hooked talons on their feet; and none of them is destitute of a defence for its own protection.
But if any fall as a prey to the greater animals, that their race might not utterly perish, they have either been banished to that region where the greater ones cannot exist, or they have received a more abundant fruitfulness in production, that food might be supplied from them to the beasts which are nourished by blood, and yet their very multitude might survive the slaughter inflicted upon them, so as to preserve the race.11 But He made man-reason being granted to him, and the power of perceiving and speaking being given to him-destitute of those things which are given to the other animals, because wisdom was able to supply those things which the condition of nature had denied to him. He made him naked and defenceless, because he could be armed by his talent, and clothed by his reason.12 But it cannot be expressed how wonderfully the absence of those things which are given to the brutes contributes to the beauty of man. For if He had given to man the teeth of wild beasts, or horns, or claws, or hoofs, or a tail, or hairs of various colour, who cannot perceive how misshapen an animal he would be, as the dumb animals, if they were made naked and defenceless? For if you take from these the natural clothing of their body, or those things by which they are armed of themselves, they can be neither beautiful nor safe, so that they appear wonderfully furnished if you think of utility, and wonderfully adorned if you think of appearance: in such a wonderful manner is utility combined with beauty.
But with reference to man, whom He formed an eternal and immortal being, He did not arm him, as the others, without, but within; nor did He place his protection in the body, but in the soul: since it would have been superfluous, when He had given him that which was of the greatest value, to cover him with bodily defences, especially when they hindered the beauty of the human body. On which account I am accustomed to wonder at the senselessness of the philosophers who follow Epicurus, who blame the works of nature, that they may show that the world is prepared and governed by no providence;13 but they ascribe the origin of all things to indivisible and solid bodies, from the fortuitous meetings of which they say that all things are and were produced. I pass by the things relating to the work itself with which they find fault, in which matter they are ridiculously mad; I assume that which belongs to the subject of which we are now treating.
Chapter III.-Of the Condition of the Beasts and Man.
They complain that man is born in a more feeble and frail condition than that in which the other animals are born: for that these, as soon as they are produced from the womb, immediately raise themselves on their feet, and express their joy by running to and fro, and are at once fit for enduring the air, inasmuch as they have come forth to the light protected by natural coverings; but man, on the contrary, being naked and defenceless, is cast forth, and driven, as it were, from a shipwreck, to the miseries of this life; who is neither able to move himself from the place where he has been born,14 nor to seek the nourishment of milk, nor to endure the injury of time. Therefore they say that Nature is not the mother of the human race, but a stepmother, who has dealt so liberally with the dumb creation, but has so produced man, that, without resources, and without strength, and destitute of all aid, he can do nothing else than give tokens15 of the state of his frailty by wailing and lamentations; "as well he may, whose destiny it is to go through in life so many ills."16
And when they say these things they are believed to be very wise, because every one without consideration is displeased with his own condition; but I contend that they are never more foolish than when they say these things.17 For when I consider the condition of things, I understand that nothing ought to have been otherwise than it is-not to say could have been otherwise, for God is able to do all things: but it must be, that that most provident majesty made that which was better and more right.
I should like, therefore, to ask those censurers of the divine works, what they think to be wanting in man, on account of his being born in a more feeble condition. Do they think that men are, on this account, brought up worse? Or that they advance the less to the greatest strength of age? Or that weakness is a hindrance to their growth or safety, since reason bestows18 the things which are wanting? But, they say, the bringing up of man costs the greatest labours: in truth, the condition of the brute creation is better, because all these, when they have brought forth their young, have no care except for their own food; from which it is effected that, their teats being spontaneously distended, the nourishment of milk is supplied to their offspring, and that they seek this nourishment by the compulsion of nature, without any trouble on the part of the mothers. How is it with birds, which have a different nature? do they not undergo the greatest labours in bringing up their young, so that they sometimes appear to have something of human intelligence? For they either build their nests of mud, or construct them with twigs and leaves, and they sit upon the eggs without taking food; and since it has not been given to them to nourish their young from their own bodies, they convey to them food, and spend whole days in going to and fro in this manner; but by night they defend, cherish, and protect them. What more can men do? unless it be this only, that they do not drive away their young when grown up, but retain them bound by perpetual relationship and the bond of affection. Why should I say that the offspring of birds is much more fragile than that of man? Inasmuch as they do not bring forth the animal itself from the body of the mother, but that which, being warmed by the nourishment and heat of the body of the mother, produces the animal; and this, even when animated by breath, being unfledged and tender, is not only without the power of flying, but even of walking. Would he not, therefore, be most senseless, if any one should think that nature has dealt badly with birds, first, because they are twice born, and then because they are so weak, that they have to be nourished by food sought with labour by their parents? But they select the stronger, and pass by the more feeble animals.
I ask, therefore, from those who prefer the condition of the beasts to their own, what they would choose if God should give them the choice: would they prefer the wisdom of man together with his weakness, or the strength of the beasts together with their nature? In truth, they are not so much like the beasts as not to prefer even a much more fragile condition, provided that it be human, to that strength of theirs unattended with reason. But, in truth, prudent men neither desire the reason of man together with frailty, nor the strength of the dumb animals without reason. Therefore it is nothing so repugnant or contradictory,19 that either reason or the condition of nature should of necessity prepare each animal. If it is furnished with natural protection, reason is superfluous. For what will it contrive?20 What will it do? Or what will it plan? Or in what will it display that light of the intellect, when Nature of its own accord grants those things which are able to be the result of reason? But if it be endued with reason, what need will there be of defences for the body, when reason once granted is able to supply the office of nature? And this has such power for the adorning and protection of man, that nothing greater or better can be given by God. Finally, since man is possessed of a body which is not great, and of slight strength, and of infirm health, nevertheless, since he has received that which is of greater value, he is better equipped than the other animals, and more adorned. For though he is born frail and feeble, yet he is safe from all the dumb animals, and all those which are born with greater strength, though they are able to bear patiently the inclemency of the sky, yet are unable to be safe from man. Thus it comes to pass that reason bestows more on man than nature does on the dumb animals; since, in their case, neither greatness of strength nor firmness of body can prevent them from being oppressed by us, or from being made subject to our power.
Can any one, then, when he sees that even elephants,21 with their vast bodies and strength, are subservient to man, complain respecting God, the Maker of all things, because he has received moderate strength, and a small body; and not estimate according to their deserts the divine benefits towards himself, which is the part of an ungrateful man, or (to speak more truly) of a madman? Plato, I believe, that he might refute these ungrateful men, gave thanks to nature that he was born a man.22 How much better and more soundly did he act, who perceived that the condition of man was better, than they did who would have preferred that they had been born beasts! For if God should happen to change them into those animals whose condition they prefer to their own, they would now immediately desire to return to their previous state, and o would with great outcries eagerly demand their former condition, because strength and firmness of body are not of such consequence that you should be without the office of the tongue; or the free course of birds through the air, that you should be without the hands. For the hands o are of greater service than the lightness and use n of the wings; the tongue is of greater service y than the strength of the whole body. What h madness is it, therefore, to prefer those things which, if they were given, you would refuse to receive!
Chapter IV.-Of the Weakness of Man.
They also complain that man is liable to diseases, and to untimely death. They are indignant, it appears, that they are not born gods.By no means, they say; but we show from this, that man was made with no foresight, which ought to have been otherwise. What if I shall show, that this very thing was foreseen with great reason, that he might be able to be harassed by diseases, and that his life might often be cut short in the midst of its course? For, since God had known that the animal which He had made, of its own accord passed to death, that it might be capable of receiving death itself, which is the dissolution of nature, He gave to it frailty, which might find an approach for death in order to the dissolution of the animal. For if it had been of such strength that disease and sickness could not approach it, not even could death, since death is the consequence of diseases. But how could a premature death be absent from him, for whom a mature death had been appointed? Assuredly they wish that no man should die, unless when he has completed his hundredth year. How can they maintain their consistency in so great an opposition of circumstances? For, in order that no one may be capable of dying before a hundred years, something of the strength which is immortal must be given to him; and when this is granted, the condition of death must necessarily be excluded. But of what kind can that be, which can render a man firm and impregnable against diseases and attacks from without? For, inasmuch as he is composed of bones, and nerves, and flesh, and blood, which of these can be so firm as to repel frailty and death? That man, therefore, may not be liable to dissolution before that time which they think ought to have been appointed for him, of what material will they assign to him a body? All things which can be seen and touched are frail. It remains that they seek something from heaven, since there is nothing on earth which is not weak. Since, therefore, man had to be so formed by God, that he should at some time be mortal, the matter itself required that he should be made with a frail and earthly body. It is necessary, therefore, that he should at some time receive death, since he is possessed of a body; for everybody is liable to dissolution and to death. Therefore they are most foolish who complain of premature death, since the condition of nature makes a place for it. Thus it will follow that he is subject also to diseases; for nature does not admit that infirmity can be absent from that body which is at some time to undergo dissolution. But let us suppose it to be possible, as they wish, that man is not born under those conditions by which he is subject to disease or death, unless, having completed the course of his life, he shall have arrived at the extremity of old age. They do not, therefore, see what would be the consequence if it were so arranged, that it would be plainly impossible to die at another time; but if any one can be deprived of nourishment by another, it will be possible for him to die. Therefore the case requires that man, who cannot die before an appointed day, should have no need of the nourishment of food, because it may be taken from him; but if he shall have no need of food, he will now not be a man, but will become a god. Therefore, as I have already said, they who complain of the frailty of man, make this complaint especially, that they were not born immortal and everlasting. No one ought to die unless he is old. On this account, in truth, he ought to die, because he is not God. But mortality cannot be united with immortality: for if a man is mortal in old age, he cannot be immortal in youth; neither is the condition of death foreign to him who is at some time about to die; nor is there any immortality to which a limit is appointed. Thus it comes to pass, that the exclusion of immortality for ever, and the reception of mortality for a time, place man in such a condition that he is at some time mortal.
Therefore the necessity is in all points suitable,23 that he ought not to have been otherwise than he is, and that it was impossible. But they do not see the order of consequences, because they have once committed an error in the main point itself. For the divine providence having been excluded from the affairs of men, it necessarily followed that all things were produced of their own accord. Hence they invented the notion of those blows and fortuitous meetings together of minute seeds, because they did not see the origin of things. And when they had thrown themselves into this difficulty, necessity now compelled them to think that souls were born together with bodies, and in like manner were extinguished together with bodies; for they had made the assumption, that nothing was made by the divine mind. And they were unable to prove this in any other way, than by showing that there were some things in which the system of providence appeared to be at fault.24 Therefore they blamed those things in which providence wonderfully expressed its divinity, as those things which I have related concerning diseases and premature death; whereas they ought to have considered, these things being assumed, what would be the necessary consequences (but those things which I have spoken are the consequences) if he were not liable to diseases, and did not require a dwelling, nor clothing. For why should he fear the winds, or rains, or colds, the power of which consists in this, that they bring diseases? For on this account he has received wisdom, that he may guard his frailty against things that would injure him. The necessary consequence is, that since he is liable to diseases for the sake of retaining his wisdom, he must also be liable to death; because he to whom death does not come, must of necessity be firm. But infirmity has in itself the condition of death; but where there shall be firmness, neither can old age have any place, nor death, which follows old age.
Moreover, if death were appointed for a fixed age, man would become most arrogant, and would be destitute of all humanity. For almost all the rights of humanity, by which we are united with one another, arise from fear and the consciousness of frailty. In short, all the more feeble and timid animals herd together, that, since they are unable to protect themselves by strength, they may protect themselves by their multitude; but the stronger animals seek solitudes, since they trust in their force and strength.25 If man also, in the same manner, had sufficient strength for the repelling of dangers, and did not stand in need of the assistance of any other, what society would there be? Or what system? What humanity? Or what would be more harsh than man? What more brutal? What more savage? But since he is feeble, and not able to live by himself apart from man, he desires society, that his life, passed in intercourse with others, may become both more adorned and more safe. You see, therefore, that the whole reason of man centres most of all in this, that he is born naked and fragile, that he is attacked by diseases, that he is punished by premature death. And if these things should be taken away from man, reason also, and wisdom, must necessarily be taken away. But I am discussing too long respecting things which are manifest, since it is clear that nothing ever was made, or could have been made, without providence. And if I should now wish to discuss respecting all its works in order, the subject would be infinite. But I have purposed to speak so much concerning the body of man only, that I may show in it the power of divine providence, how great it has been in those things only which are easy of comprehension and open; for those things which relate to the soul can neither be subjected to the eyes, nor comprehended. Now we speak concerning the vessel itself of man, which we see.
Chapter V.-Of the Figures and Limbs of Animals.
In the beginning, when God was forming the animals, He did not wish to conglobate26 and collect them into a round shape, that they might be able easily to put themselves in motion for walking, and to turn themselves in any direction; but from the highest part of the body He lengthened out the head. He also carried out to a greater length some of the limbs, which are called feet, that, being fixed on the ground with alternate motions, they might lead forward the animal wherever his inclination had borne him, or the necessity of seeking food had called him. Moreover, He made four limbs standing out from the very vessel of the body: two behind, which are in all animals-the feet; also two close to the head and neck, which supply various uses to animals. For in cattle and wild beasts they are feet like the hinder ones; but in man they are hands, which are produced not for walking, but for acting and controlling.27 There is also a third class, in which those former limbs are neither feet nor hands; but wings, which, having feathers arranged in order, supply the use of flying.28 Thus one formation has different forms and uses; and that He might firmly hold together the density itself of the body, by binding together greater and small bones, He compacted a kind of keel, which we call the spine; and He did not think fit to form it of one continued bone, lest the animal should not have the power of walking and bending itself. From its middle part, as it were, He has extended in a different direction transverse and fiat bones, by which, being slightly curved, and almost drawn together to themselves as into a circle, the inward organs29 may be covered, that those parts which needed to be soft and less strong might be protected by the encircling of a solid framework.30 Bat at the end of that joining together which we have said to resemble the keel of a ship, He placed the head, in which might be the government of the whole living creature; and this name was given to it, as indeed Varro writes to Cicero, because from this the senses and the nerves take their beginning.
But those parts, which we have said to be lengthened out from the body, either for the sake of walking, or of acting, or of flying, He would have to consist of bones, neither too long, for the sake of rapidity of motion, nor too short, for the sake of firmness, but of a few, and those large. For either they are two as in man, or four as in a quadruped. And these He did not make solid, lest in walking sluggishness and weight should retard; but He made them hollow, and full of marrow within, to preserve the vigour of the body. And again, He did not make them equally extended to the end; but He conglobated their extremities with coarse knots, that they might be able more easily to be bound with sinews, and to be turned more easily, from which they are called joints.31 These knots He made firmly solid, and covered with a soft kind of covering, which is called cartilage; for this purpose, that they might be bent without galling or any sense of pain. He did not, however, form these after one fashion. For He made some simple and round into an orb, in those joints at least in which it was befitting that the limbs should move in all directions, as in the shoulders, since it is necessary that the hands should move and be twisted about in any direction; but others He made broad, and equal, and round towards one part, and that plainly in those places where only it was necessary for the limbs to be bent, as in the knees, and in the elbows, and in the hands themselves. For as it was at the same time pleasant to the sight, and useful, that the hands should move in every direction from that position from which they spring; so assuredly, if this same thing should happen to the elbows, a motion of that kind would be at once superfluous and unbecoming. For then the hand, having lost the dignity which it now has, through its excessive flexibility,32 would appear like the trunk of an elephant; and man would be altogether snake-handed,33 -an instance of which has been wonderfully effected in that monstrous beast. For God, who wished to display His providence and power by a wonderful variety of many things, inasmuch as He had not extended the head of that animal to such a length that he might be able to touch the earth with his mouth, which would have been horrible and hideous, and because He bad so armed the mouth itself with extended tusks, that even if he touched the earth the tusks would still deprive him of the power of feeding, He lengthened out between these from the top of the forehead a soft and flexible limb, by which he might be able to grasp and lay hold of anything, lest the prominent magnitude of the tusks, or the shortness of the neck, should interfere with the arrangement for taking food.
Chapter VI.-Of the Error of Epicurus, and of the Limbs and Their Use.
I cannot here be prevented from again showing the folly of Epicurus. For all the ravings of Lucretius34 belong to him, who, in order that he might show that animals are not produced by any contrivance of the divine mind, but, as he is wont to say, by chance, said that in the beginning of the world innumerable other animals of wonderful form and magnitude were produced; but that they were unable to be permanent, because either the power of taking food, or the method of uniting and generating, had failed them. It is evident that, in order to make a place for his atoms flying about through the boundless and empty space, he wished to exclude the divine providence. But when he saw that a wonderful system of providence is contained in all things which breathe, what vanity was it (O mischievous one!) to say that there had been animals of immense size, in which the system of production ceased!
Since, therefore, all things which we see are produced with reference to a plan-for nothing but a plan35 can effect this very condition of being born-it is manifest that nothing could have been born without a plan. For it was previously foreseen in the formation of everything, how it should use the service of the limbs for the necessaries of life; and how the offspring, being produced from the union of bodies, might preserve all living creatures by their several species. For if a skilful architect, when he designs to construct some great building, first of all considers what will be the effect36 of the complete building, and previously ascertains by measurement what situation is suitable for a light weight, in what place a massive part of the structure will stand, what will be the intervals between the columns, what or where will be the descents and outlets of the falling waters and the reservoirs,-he first, I say, foresees these things, that he may begin together with the very foundations whatever things are necessary for the work when now completed,-why should any one suppose that, in the contrivance of animals, God did not foresee what things were necessary for living, before giving life itself? For it is manifest that life could not exist, unless those things by which it exists were previously arranged.37
Therefore Epicurus saw in the bodies of animals the skill of a divine plan; but that he might carry into effect that which he had before imprudently assumed, he added another absurdity agreeing with the former. For he said that the eyes were not produced for seeing, nor the ears for hearing, nor the feet for walking, since these members were produced before there was the exercise of seeing, hearing, and walking; but that all the offices of these members arose from hem after their production.38 I fear lest the refutation of such extravagant and ridiculous stories should appear to be no less foolish; but it pleases me to be foolish, since we are dealing with a foolish man, lest he should think himself too clever.39 What do you say, Epicurus? Were not the eyes produced for seeing? Why, then, do they see? Their use, he says, afterwards showed itself. Therefore they were produced for the sake of seeing, since they can do nothing else but see. Likewise, in the case of the other limbs, use itself shows for what purpose they were produced. For it is plain that this use could have no existence, unless all the limbs had been made with such arrangement and foresight, that they might be able to have their use.
For what if you should say, that birds were not made to fly, nor wild beasts to rage, nor fishes to swim, nor men to be wise, when it is evident that living creatures are subject to that natural disposition and office to which each was created? But it is evident that he who has lost the main point itself of the truth must always be in error. For if all things are produced not by providence, but by a fortuitous meeting together of atoms, why does it never happen by chance, that those first principles meet together in such a way as to make an animal of such a kind, that it might rather hear with its nostrils, smell with its eyes, and see40 with its ears? For if the first principles leave no kind of position untried, monstrous productions of this kind ought daily to have been brought forth, in which the arrangement of the limbs might be distorted,41 and the use far different from that which prevails. But since all the races of animals, and all the limbs, observe their own laws and arrangements, and the uses assigned to them, it is plain that nothing is made by chance, since a perpetual arrangement of the divine plan is preserved. But we will refute Epicurus at another time. Now let us discuss the subject of providence, as we have begun.
Chapter VII.-Of All the Parts of the Body.
God therefore connected and bound together the parts which strengthen42 the body, which we call bones, being knotted and joined to one another by sinews, which the mind might make use of, as bands,43 if it should wish to hasten forward or to lag behind; and, indeed, without any labour or effort, but with a very slight inclination, it might moderate and guide the mass of the whole body. But He covered these with the inward organs,44 as was befitting to each place, that the parts which were solid might be enclosed and concealed. Also He mixed with the inward organs, veins as streams divided through the whole body, through which the moisture and the blood, running in different directions, might be-dew all the limbs with the vital juices; and He fashioned these inward organs after that manner which was befitting to each kind and situation, and covered them with skin drawn over them, which He either adorned with beauty only, or covered with thick hair, or fenced with scales, or adorned with brilliant feathers. But that is a wonderful contrivance of God, that one arrangement and one state exhibits innumerable varieties of animals. For in almost all things which breathe there is the same connection and arrangement of the limbs. For first of all is the head, and annexed to this the neck; also the breast adjoined to the neck, and the shoulders projecting from it, the belly adhering to the breast; also the organs of generation subjoined to the belly; in the last place, the thighs and feet. Nor do the limbs only keep their own course and position in all, but also the parts of the limbs. For in the head itself alone the ears occupy a fixed position the eyes a fixed position likewise the nostrils, the mouth also, and in itthe teeth and tongue. And though all these things are the same in all animals, yet there is an infinite and manifold diversity of the things formed; because those things of which I have spoken, being either more drawn out or more contracted, are comprehended by lineaments differing in various ways. What! is not that divine, that in so great a multitude of living creatures each animal is most excellent in its own class and species?-so that if any part should be taken from one to another, the necessary result would be, that nothing would be more embarrassed for use, nothing more unshapely to look upon; as if you should give a prolonged neck to an elephant, or a short neck to a camel; or if you should attach feet or hair to serpents, in which the length of the body equally stretched out required nothing else, except that being marked as to their backs with spots, and supporting themselves by their smooth scales, with winding courses they should glide into slippery tracts. But in quadrupeds the same designer lengthened out the arrangement of the spine, which is drawn out from the top of the head to a greater length on the outside of the body, and pointed it into a tail, that the parts of the body which are offensive might either be covered on account of their unsightliness, or be protected on account of their tenderness, so that by its motion certain minute and injurious animals might be driven away from the body; and if you should take away this member, the animal would be imperfect and weak. But where there is reason and the hand, that is not so necessary as a covering of hair. To such an extent are all things most befittingly arranged, each in its own class, that nothing can be conceived more unbecoming than a quadruped which is naked, or a man that is covered.
But, however, though nakedness itself on the part of man tends in a wonderful manner to beauty, yet it was not adapted to his head; for what great deformity there would be in this, is evident from baldness. Therefore He clothed the head with hair; and because it was about to be on the top, He added it as an ornament, as it were, to the highest summit of the building. And this ornament is not collected into a circle, or rounded into the figure of a cap, lest it should be unsightly by leaving some parts bare; but it is freely poured forth in some places, and with drawn in others, according to the comeliness of each place. Therefore, the forehead entrenched by a circumference, and the hair put forth from the temples before the ears, and the uppermost parts of these being surrounded after the manner of a crown, and all the back part of the head covered, display an appearance of wonderful comeliness. Then the nature of the beard contributes in an incredible degree to distinguish the maturity of bodies, or to the distinction of sex, or to the beauty of manliness and strength; so that it appears that the system of the whole work would not have been in agreement, if anything had been made otherwise than it is.
Chapter VIII.-Of the Parts of Man: the Eyes and Ears.
Now I will show the plan of the whole man, and will explain the uses and habits of the several members which are exposed to view in the body, or concealed. When, therefore, God had determined of all the animals to make man alone heavenly, and all the rest earthly, He raised him erect45 to the contemplation of the heaven, and made him a biped, doubtless that he might look to the same quarter from which he derives his origin; but He depressed the others to the earth, that, inasmuch as they have no expectation of immortality, being cast down with their whole body to the ground, they might be subservient to their appetite and food. And thus the right reason and elevated position of man alone, and his countenance, shared with and closely resembling God his Father, bespeak his origin and Maker.46 His mind, nearly divine, because it has obtained the rule not only over the animals which are on the earth, but even over his own body, being situated in the highest part, the head, as in a lofty citadel, looks out upon and observes all things. He formed this its palace, not drawn out and extended, as in the case of the dumb animals, but like an orb and a globe, because all47 roundness belongs to a perfect plan and figure. Therefore the mind and that divine fire is covered with it,48 as with a vault;49 and when He had covered its highest top with a natural garment, He alike furnished and adorned the front part which is called the, face, with the necessary services of the members.
And first, He closed the orbs of the eyes with concave apertures, from which boring50 ' Varro thought that the forehead51 derived its name; and He would have these to be neither less nor more than two, because no number is more perfect as to appearance than that of two: as also He made the ears two, the doubleness52 of which bears with it an incredible degree of beauty, both because each part is adorned with a resemblance, and that voices coming from both sides53 may more easily be collected. For the form itself is fashioned after a wonderful manner: because He would not have their apertures to be naked and uncovered, which would have been less becoming and less useful; since the voice might fly beyond the narrow space of simple caverns, and be scattered, did not the apertures themselves confine it, received through hollow windings and kept back from reverberation, like those small vessels, by the application of which narrow-mouthed vessels are accustomed to be filled.
These ears, then, which have their name from the drinking54 in of voices, from which Virgil says,55
"And with these ears I drank in his voice; "
or because the Greeks call the voice itself au0dh/n, from hearing,-the ears (aures) were named as though audes by the change of a letter,-God would not form of soft skins, which, hanging down and flaccid, might take away beauty; nor of hard and solid bones, lest, being stiff and immoveable, they should be inconvenient for use. But He designed that which might be between these, that a softer cartilage might bind them, and that they might have at once a befitting and flexible firmness. In these the office of bearing only is placed, as that of seeing is in the eyes, the acuteness of which is especially inexplicable and wonderful; for He covered their orbs, presenting the similitude of gems in that part with which they had to see, with transparent membranes, that the images of objects placed opposite them, being refracted56 as in a mirror, might penetrate to the innermost perception. Through these membranes, therefore, that faculty which is called the mind sees those things which are without; lest you should happen to think that we see either by the striking57 of the images, as the philosophers discuss, since the office of seeing ought to be in that which sees, not in that which is seen; or in the tension of the air together with the eyesight; or in the outpouring of the rays: since, if it were so, we should see the ray towards which we turn with our eyes, until the air, being extended together with the eyesight, or the rays being poured out, should arrive at the object which was to be seen.
But since we see at the same moment of time, and for the most part, while engaged on other business, we nevertheless behold all things which are placed opposite to us, it is more true and evident that it is the mind which, through the eves, sees those things which are placed opposite to it, as though through windows covered with pellucid crystal or transparent stone;58 and therefore the mind and inclination are often known from the eyes. For the refutation of which Lucretius59 employed a very senseless argument. For if the mind, he says, sees through the eye, it would see better if the eyes were torn out and dug up, inasmuch as doors being torn up together with the door-posts let in more light than if they were covered. Truly his eyes, or rather those of Epicurus who taught him, ought to have been dug out, that they might not see, that the torn-out orbs, and the burst fibres of the eyes, and the blood flowing through the veins, and the flesh increasing from wounds, and the scars drawn over at last can admit no light; unless by chance he would have it that eyes are produced resembling cars, so that we should see not so much with eyes as with apertures, than which there can be nothing more unsightly or more useless. For how little should we be able to see, if from the innermost recesses of the head the mind should pay attention through Slight fissures of caverns; as, if any one should wish to look through a stalk of hemlock. he would see no more than the capability of the stalk itself admitted! For sight, therefore, it was rather needful that the members should be collected together into an orb, that the sight might be spread in breadth and the parts which adjoined them in the front of the face, that they might freely behold all things. Therefore the unspeakable power of the divine providence made two orbs most resembling each other, and so bound them together that they might be able not only to be altogether turned, but to be moved and directed with moderation.60 And He willed that the orbs themselves should be full of a pure and clear moisture, in the middle part of which sparks of lights might be kept shut up, which we call the pupils, in which, being pure and delicate, are contained the faculty and method of seeing. The mind therefore directs itself through these orbs that it may see, and the sight of both the eyes is mingled and joined together in a wonderful manner.
Chapter IX.-Of the Senses and Their Power.
It pleases me in this place to censure the folly of those who, while they wish to show that the senses are false, collect many instances in which the eyes are deceived; and among them this also, that all things appear double to the mad and intoxicated, as though the cause of that error were obscure. For it happens on this account, because there are two eyes. But hear how it happens. The sight of the eyes consists in the exertion of the soul. Therefore, since the mind, as has been above said, uses the eyes as windows, this happens not only to those who are intoxicated or mad, but even to those who are of sound mind, and sober. For if you place any object too near, it will appear double, for there is a certain interval and space in which the sight of the eyes meets together. Likewise, if you call the soul back as if to reflection, and relax the exertion of the mind, then the sight of each eye is drawn asunder, and they each begin to see separately.
If you, again, exert the mind and direct the eyesight, whatever appeared double unites into one. What wonder, therefore, if the mind, impaired by poison and the powerful influence of wine, cannot direct itself to seeing, as the feet cannot to walking when they are weak through the numbness of the sinews, or if the force of madness raging against the brain disunites the agreement of the eyes? Which is so true, that in the case of one-eyed61 men, if they become either mad or intoxicated, it can by no means happen that they see any object double. Wherefore, if the reason is evident why the eyes are deceived, it is clear that the senses are not false: for they either are not deceived if they are pure and sound; or if they are deceived, yet the mind is not deceived which recognises their error.
Chapter X.-Of the Outer Limbs of Man, and Their Use.
But let us return to the works of God. That the eyes, therefore, might be better protected from injury, He concealed them with the coverings of the eyelashes,62 from which Varro thinks that the eyes63 derived their name. For even the eyelids themselves, in which there is the power of rapid motion, and to which throbbing64 gives their name, being protected by hairs standing in order, afford a most becoming fence to the eyes; the continual motion of which, meeting with incomprehensible rapidity, does not impede the course of the sight, and relieves the eyes.65 For the pupil-that is, the transparent membrane-which ought not to be drained and to become dry, unless it is cleansed by continual moisture so that it shines clearly, loses its power.66 Why should I speak of the summits of the eyebrows themselves, furnished with short hair? Do they not, as it were by mounds, both afford protection to the eyes. so that nothing may fall into them from above,67 and at the same time ornament? And the nose, arising from the confines of these, and stretched out, as it were, with an equal ridge, at once serves to separate and to protect the two eyes. Below also, a not unbecoming swelling of the cheeks, gently rising after the similitude of hills, makes the eyes safer on every side; and it has been provided by the great Artificer, that if there shall happen to be a more violent blow, it may be repelled by the projecting parts. But the upper part of the nose as far as the middle has been made solid; but the lower part has been made with a softened cartilage annexed to it, that it may be pliant68 to the use of the fingers. Moreover, in this, though a single member, three offices are placed: one, that of drawing the breath; the second, that of smelling; the third, that the secretions of the brain may escape through its caverns. And in how wonderful, how divine a manner did God contrive these also, so that the very cavity of the nose should not deform the beauty of the face: which would certainly have been the case if one single aperture only were open. But He enclosed and divided that, as though by a wall drawn through the middle, and made it most beautiful by the very circumstance of its being double.69 From which we understand of how much weight the twofold number, made firm by one simple connection, is to the perfection of things.
For though the body is one, yet the whole could not be made up of single members, unless it were that there should be parts on the right hand or on the left. Therefore, as the two feet and also hands not only avail to some utility and practice either of walking or of doing something, but also bestow an admirable character and comeliness; so in the head, which is, as it were, the crown of the divine work, the hearing has been divided by the great Artificer into two ears, and the sight into two eyes, and the smelling into two nostrils, because the brain, in which is contained the system of the sensation, although it is one, yet is divided into two parts by the intervening membrane. But the heart also, which appears to be the abode of wisdom, although it is one, yet has two recesses within, in which are contained the living fountains of blood, divided by an intervening barrier: that as in the world itself the chief control, being twofold from simple matter, or simple from a twofold matter, governs and keeps together the whole; so in the body, all the parts, being constructed of two, might present an inseparable unity. Also how useful and how becoming is the appearance and the opening of the mouth transversely cannot be expressed; the use of which consists in two offices, that of taking food and speaking.
The tongue enclosed within, which by its motions divides the voice into words, and is the interpreter of the mind, cannot, however, by itself alone fulfil the office of speaking, unless it strikes its edge against the palate, unless aided by striking against the teeth or by the compression of the lips. The teeth, however, contribute more to speaking: for infants do not begin to speak before they have teeth; and old men, when they have lost their teeth, so lisp that they appear to have returned afresh to infancy. But these things relate to man alone, or to birds, in which the tongue, being pointed and vibrating with fixed motions, expresses innumerable in-flexions of songs and various kinds of sounds. It has, moreover, another office also, which it exercises in all, and this alone in the dumb animals, that it collects the food when bruised and ground by the teeth, and by its force presses it down when collected into bails, and transmits it to the belly. Accordingly, Varro thinks that the name of tongue was given to it from binding70 the food. It also assists the beasts in drinking: for with the tongue stretched out and hollowed they draw water; and when they have taken it in the hollow71 of the tongue, lest by slowness and delay it should flow away, they dash72 it against the palate with swift rapidity. This, therefore, is covered by the concave part of the palate as by a shell,73 and God has surrounded it with the enclosure of the teeth as with a wall.
But He has adorned the teeth themselves, which are arranged in order in a wonderful manner, lest, being bare and exposed,74 they should be a terror rather than an ornament, with soft gums, which are so named from producing teeth, and then with the coverings of the lips; and the hardness of the teeth, as in a millstone, is greater and rougher than in the other bones, that they might be sufficient for bruising the food and pasture. But how befittingly has He divided75 the lips themselves, which as it were before were united! the upper of which, under the very middle of the nostrils, He has marked with a kind of slight cavity, as with a valley: He has gracefully spread out76 the lower for the sake of beauty. For, as far as relates to the receiving of flavour, he is deceived, whoever he is, who thinks that this sense resides in the palate; for it is the tongue by which flavours are perceived, and not the whole of it: for the parts of it which are more tender on either side, draw in the flavour with the most delicate perceptions. And though nothing is diminished from that which is eaten or drunk, yet the flavour in an indescribable manner penetrates to the sense, in the same way in which the taking of the smell detracts nothing from any material.
And how beautiful the other parts are can scarcely be expressed. The chin, gently drawn down from the cheeks, and the lower part of it so closed that the lightly imprinted division appears to mark its extreme point: the neck stiff and well rounded: the shoulders let down as though by gentle ridges from the neck: the fore-arms77 powerful, and braced78 by sinews for firmness: the great strength of the upper-arms79 standing out with remarkable muscles: the useful and becoming bending of the elbows. What shall I say of the hands, the ministers of reason and wisdom? Which the most skilful Creator made with a flat and moderately concave bend, that if anything was to be held, it might conveniently rest upon them, and terminated them in the fingers; in which it is difficult to explain whether the appearance or the usefulness is greater. For the perfection and completeness of their number, and the comeliness of their order and gradation, and the flexible bending of the equal joints, and the round form of the nails, comprising and strengthening the tips of the fingers with concave coverings, lest the softness of the flesh should yield in holding any object, afford great adornment. But this is convenient for use, in wonderful ways, that one separated from the rest rises together with the hand itself, and is enlarged80 in a different direction, which, offering itself as though to meet the others, possesses all the power of holding and doing either alone, or in a special manner, as the guide and director of them all; from which also it received the name of thumb,81 because it prevails among the others by force and power. It has two joints standing out, not as the others, three; but one is annexed by flesh to the hand for the sake of beauty: for if it had been with three joints, and itself separate, the foul and unbecoming appearance would have deprived the hand of all grace.
Again, the breadth of the breast, being elevated, and exposed to the eyes, displays a wonderful dignity of its condition; of which this is the cause, that God appears to have made man only, as it were, reclining with his face upward: for scarcely any other animal is able to lie upon its back. But He appears to have formed the dumb animals as though lying on one side, and to have pressed them to the earth. For this reason He gave them a narrow breast, and removed from sight, and prostrate82 towards the earth. But He made that of man open and erect, because, being full of reason given from heaven, it was not befitting that it should be humble or unbecoming. The nipples also gently rising, and crowned with darker and small orbs, add something of beauty; being given to females for the nourishment of their young, to males for grace only, that the breast might not appear misshapen, and, as it were, mutilated. Below this is placed the fiat surface of the belly, about the middle of which the navel distinguishes by a not unbecoming mark, being made for this purpose, that through it the young, while it is in the womb, may be nourished.
Chapter XI.-Of the Intestines in Man, and Their Use.
It necessarily follows that I should begin to speak of the inward parts also, to which has been assigned not beauty, because they are concealed from view, but incredible utility, since it was necessary that this earthly body should be nourished with some moisture from food and drink, as the earth itself is by showers and frosts. The most provident Artificer placed in the middle of it a receptacle for articles of food, by means of which, when digested and liquefied, it might distribute the vital juices to all the members. But since man is composed of body and soul, that receptacle of which I have spoken above affords nourishment only to the body; to the soul, in truth, He has given another abode. For He has made a kind of intestines soft and thin,83 which we call the lungs, into which the breath might pass by an alternate interchange;84 and He did not form this after the fashion of the uterus, lest the breath should all at once be poured forth, or at once inflate it. And on this account He did not make it a full intestine,85 but capable of being inflated, and admitting the air, so that it might gradually receive the breath; while the vital air is spread through that thinness, and might again gradually give it back, while it spreads itself forth from it: for the very alternation of blowing and breathing,86 and the process of respiration, support life in the body.
Since, therefore, there are in man two receptacles,-one of the air which nourishes the soul,87 the other of the food which nourishes the body,-there must be two tubes88 through the neck for food, and for breath, the upper of which leads from the mouth to the belly, the lower from the nostrils to the lungs. And the plan and nature of these are different: for the passage which is from the mouth has been made soft, and which when closed always adheres89 to itself, as the month itself; since drink and food, being corporeal, make for themselves a space for passage, by moving aside and opening the gullet. The breath, on the other hand, which is incorporeal and thin, because it was unable to make for itself a space, has received an open way, which is called the windpipe. This is composed of flexible and soft bones, as though of rings fitted together after the manner of a hemlock stalk,90 and adhering together; and this passage is always open. For the breath can have no cessation in passing; because it, which is always passing to and fro, is checked as by a kind of obstacle through means of a portion of a member usefully sent down from the brain, and which is called the uvula, lest, drawn by pestilential air, it should come with impetuosity and spoil the slightness91 of its abode, or bring the whole violence of the injury upon the inner receptacles. And on this account also the nostrils are slightly open, which are therefore so named, because either smell or breath does not cease to flow92 through these, which are, as it were, the doors of this tube. Yet this breathing-tube lies open93 not only to the nostrils, but also to the mouth in the extreme regions of the palate, where the risings of94 the jaws, looking towards the uvula, begin to raise themselves into a swelling. And the reason of this arrangement is not obscure: for we should not have the power of speaking if the windpipe were open to the nostrils only, as the path of the gullet is to the mouth only; nor could the breath proceeding from it cause the voice, without the service of the tongue.
Therefore the divine skill opened a way for the voice from that breathing-tube, so that the tongue might be able to discharge its office, and by its strokes divide into words the even95 course of the voice itself. And this passage, if by any means it is intercepted, must necessarily cause dumbness. For he is assuredly mistaken, whoever thinks that there is any other cause why men are dumb. For they are not tongue-tied, as is commonly believed; but they pour forth that vocal breath through the nostrils, as though bellowing,96 because there is either no passage at all for the voice to the mouth, or it is not so open as to be able to send forth the full voice. And this generally comes to pass by nature; sometimes also it happens by accident that this entrance is blocked up and does not transmit the voice to the tongue, and thus makes those who can speak dumb. And when this happens, the hearing also must necessarily be blocked up; so that because it cannot emit the voice, it is also incapable of admitting it. Therefore this passage has been opened for the purpose of speaking. It also affords this advantage, that in frequenting the bath,97 because the nostrils are not able to endure the heat, the hot air is taken in by the mouth; also, if phlegm contracted by cold shall have happened to stop up the breathing pores of the nostrils, we may be able to draw the air through the mouth, lest, if the passage98 should be obstructed, the breath should be stifled.But the food being received into the stomach, and mixed with the moisture of the drink, when it has now been digested by the heat, its juice, being in an indescribable manner diffused through the limbs, bedews and invigorates the whole body.
The manifold coils also of the intestines, and their length rolled together on themselves, and yet fastened with one band, are a wonderful work of God. For when the stomach has sent forth from itself the food softened, it is gradually thrust forth through those windings of the intestines, so that whatever of the moisture by which the body is nourished is in them, is divided to all the members. And yet, lest in any place it should happen to adhere and remain fixed, which might have taken place on account of the turnings of the coils,99 which often turn back to themselves, and which could not have happened without injury, He has spread over100 these from within a thicker juice, that the secretions of the belly might more easily work their way through the slippery substance to their outlets. It is also a most skilful arrangement, that the bladder, which birds do not use, though it is separated from the intestines, and has no tube by which it may draw the urine from them, is nevertheless filled and distended with moisture. And it is not difficult to see how this comes to pass. For the parts of the intestines which receive the food and drink from the belly are more open than the other coils, and much more delicate. These entwine themselves around and encompass the bladder; and when the meat and the drink have arrived at these parts in a mixed state, the excrement becomes more solid, and passes through, but all the moisture is strained through those tender parts,101 and the bladder, the membrane of which is equally fine and delicate, absorbs and collects it, so as to send it forth where nature has opened an outlet.
Chapter XII.-De Utero, Et Conceptione Atque Sexibus.102
De utero quoque et conceptione, quoniam de internis loquimur, dici necesse est, ne quid prae terisse videamur; quae quamquam in operto latent, sensum tamen atque intelligentiam latere non possunt. Vena in maribus, quae seminium continet, duplex est, paulo interior, quam illud humoris obscoeni receptaculum. Sicut enim renes duo sunt, itemque testes, ita et venae seminales duae, in una tamen compage cohae rentes; quod videmus in corporibus animalium, cum interfecta103 patefiunt. Sed illa dexterior masculinum continet semen, sinisterior foemininum; et omnino in toto corpore pars dextra masculina est, sinistra veto foeminina. Ipsum semen quidam putant ex medullis tantum, quidam ex omni corpore ad venam genitalem confluere, ibique concrescere. Sed hoc, humana mens, quomodo fiat, non potest comprehendere. Item in foeminis uterus in duas se dividit partes, quae in diversum diffussae ac reflexae, circumplicantur, sicut arietis cornua. Quae pars in dextram retorquetur, masculina est; quae in sinistram, foeminina.
Conceptum igitur Varro et Aristoteles sic fieri arbitrantur. Aiunt non tantum maribus inesse semen, verum etiam foeminis, et inde plerumque matribus similes procreari; sed earum semensanguinem esse purgatum, quod si recte cum virili mixture sit, utraque concreta et simul co-agulata informari: et primum quidem cor hominis effingi, quod in eo sit et vita omnis et sapientia; denique totum opus quadragesimo die consummari. Ex abortionibus hae c fortasse collecta sunt. In avium tamen foetibus primurn oculos fingi dubium non est, quod in ovis sae pe deprehendimus. Unde fieri non posse arbitror quin fictio a capite sumat exordium.
Similitudines autem in corporibus filiorum sic fieri putant. Cum semina inter se permixta coalescunt, si virile superaverit, patri similem provenire, seu marem, seu foeminam; si muliebre prae valuerit, progeniem cujusque sexus ad imaginem respondere maternam. Id autem prae valet e duobus, quod fuerit uberius; alterum enim quodammodo amplectitur et includit: hinc plerumque fled, ut unius tantum lineamenta prae tendat. Si vero aequa fuerit ex pari semente permixtio, figuras quoque misceri, ut soboles illa communis aut neutrum referre videatur, quia totum ex altero non habet; aut utrumque, quia partem de singulis mutuata est. Nam in cor-poribus animalium videmus aut confundi parentum colores, ac fieri tertium neutri generantium simile; aut utriusque sic exprimi, ut discoloribus membris per omne corpus concors mixtura varietur. Dispares quoque naturae hoc modo fieri putantur. Cum forte in lae vam uteri partem masculinae stirpis semen inciderit, marem quidem gigni opinatio est; sed quia sit in foeminina parte conceptus, aliquid in se habere foemineum, supra quam decus virile patiatur; vel formam insignem, vel nimium candorem, vel cor-poris levitatem, vel artus delicatos, vel staturam brevem, vel vocem gracilem, vel animum imbecillum, vel ex his plura. Item, si partem in dextram semen foeminini sexus influxerit, foeminam quidem procreari; sed quoniam in masculina parte concepta sit, habere in se aliquid virilita-tis, ultra quam sexus; ratio permittat; aut valida membra, aut immoderatam Iongitudinem, aut fuscum colorem, aut hispidam faciem, aut vulture indecorum, aut vocem robustam, aut animum audacem, aut ex his plura.
Si vero masculinum in dexteram, foemininum in sinistram pervenerit, utrosque foetus recte provenire; ut et foeminis per omnia naturae suae decus constet, et maribus tam mente, quam corpore robur virile servetur. Istud vero ipsum quam mirabile institutum Dei, quod ad conservationem generum singulorum, duos sexus maris ac foeminae machinatus est; quibus inter se per voluptatis illecebras copulatis, successiva soboles pareretur, ne omne genus viventium conditio mortalitatis extingueret. Sed plus roboris maribus attributum est, quo facilius ad patientiam jugi maritalis foeminae cogerentur. Vir itaque nominatus est, quod major in eo vis est, quire in foemina; et hinc virtus nomen accepit. Item mulier (ut Varro interpretatur) a mollitie, immutata et detracta littera, velut mollier; cui suscepto foetu, cum partus appropinquare jam coepit, turgescentes mammae dulcibus succis distenduntur, et ad nutrimenta nascentis fontibus lacteis foecundum pectus exuberat. Nec enim decebat aliud quam ut sapiens animal a corde alimoniam duceret. Idque ipsum solertissime comparatum est, ut candens ac pinguis humor teneritudinem novi corporis irrigaret, donec ad capiendos fortiores cibos, et dentibus instruatur, et viribus roboretur. Sed redeamus ad propositum, ut cae tera, quae supersunt, breviter explicemus.
Chapter XIII.-Of the Lower Members.
Poteram nunc ego ipsorum quoque genitalium membrorum mirificam rationem tibi exponere, nisi me pudor ab hujusmodi sermone revocaret: itaque a nobis indumento verecundiae, quae sunt pudenda velentur. Quod ad hanc rem attinet, queri satis est, homines impios ac profanos summum nefas admittere, qui divinum et admirabile Dei opus, ad propagandam successionem inexcogitabili ratione provisum et effectum, vel ad turpissimos quae stus, vel ad obscoenae libidinis pudenda opera convertunt, ut jam nihil aliud ex re sanctissima petant, quam inanem et sterilem voluptatem.
How is it with respect to the other parts of the body? Are they without order and beauty? The flesh rounded off into the nates, how adapted to the office of sitting! and this also more firm than in the other limbs, lest by the pressure of the bulk of the body it should give way to the bones. Also the length of the thighs drawn out, and strengthened by broader muscles, in order that it might more easily sustain the weight of the body; and as this is gradually contracted, it is bounded104 by the knees, the comely joints105 of which supply a bend which is most adapted for walking and sitting. Also the legs not drawn out in an equal manner, lest an unbecoming figure should deform the feet; but they are at once strengthened and adorned by well-turned106 calves gently standing out and gradually diminishing.
But in the soles of the feet there is the same plan as in the hands, but yet very different: for since these are, as it were, the foundations of the whole body,107 the admirable Artificer has not made them of a round appearance, lest man should be unable to stand, or should need other feet for standing, as is the case with quadrupeds; but He has formed them of a longer and more extended shape, that they might make the body firm by their flatness,108 from which circumstance their name was given to them. The toes are of the same number with the fingers, for the sake of appearance rather than utility; and on this account they are both joined together, and short, and put together by gradations; and that which is the greatest of these, since it was not befitting that it should be separated from the others, as in the hand, has been so arranged in order, that it appears to differ from the others in magnitude and the small space which intervenes. This beautiful union109 of them strengthens the pressure of the feet with no slight aid; for we cannot be excited to running, unless, our toes being pressed against the ground, and resting upon the soil, we take an impetus and a spring. I appear to have explained all things of which the plan is capable of being understood. I now come to those things which are either doubtful or obscure.
Chapter XIV.-Of the Unknown Purpose of Some of the Intestines.
It is evident that there are many things in the body, the force and purpose of which no one can perceive but He who made them. Can any one suppose that he is able to relate what is the advantage, and what the effect, of that slight transparent membrane by which the stomach is netted over and covered? What the twofold resemblance of the kidneys which Varro says are so named because streams of foul moisture arise from these; which is far from being the case, because, rising on either side of the spine, they are united, and are separated from the intestines. What is the use of the spleen? What of the liver? Organs which appear as it were to be made up110 of disordered blood. What of the very bitter moisture of the gall? What of the heart? unless we shall happen to think that they ought to be believed, who think that the affection of anger is placed in the gall, that of fear in the heart, of joy in the spleen. But they will have it that the office of the liver is, by its embrace and heat, to digest the food in the stomach; some think that the desires of the amorous passions are contained in the liver.
First of all, the acuteness of the human sense is unable to perceive these things, because their offices lie concealed; nor, when laid open, do they show their uses. For, if it were so, perhaps the more gentle animals would either have no gall at all, or less than the wild beasts; the more timid ones would have more heart, the more lustful would have more liver, the more playful more spleen. As, therefore, we perceive that we bear with our ears, that we see with our eyes, that we smell with our nostrils; so assuredly we should perceive that we are angry with the gall, that we desire with the liver, that we rejoice with the spleen. Since, therefore, we do not at all perceive from what part those affections come, it is possible that they may come from another source, and that those organs may have a different effect to that which we suppose. We cannot prove, however, that they who discuss these things speak falsely. But I think that all things which relate to the motions of the mind and soul, are of so obscure and profound a nature, that it is beyond the power of man to see through them clearly. This, however, ought to be sure and undoubted, that so many objects and so many organs have one and the same office-to retain the soul in the body. But what office is particularly assigned to each, who can know, except the Designer, to whom alone His own work is known?
Chapter XV.-Of the Voice.
But what account can we give of the voice? Grammarians, indeed, and philosophers, define the voice to be air struck by the breath; from which words111 derive their name: which is plainly false. For the voice is not produced outside of the mouth, but within, and therefore that opinion is more probable, that the breath, being compressed, when it has struck against the obstacle presented by the throat, forces out the sound of the voice: as when we send down the breath into an open hemlock stalk, having applied it to the lips, and the breath, reverberating from the hollow of the stalk, and rolled back from the bottom, while it returns112 to that descending through meeting with itself, striving for an outlet, produces a sound; and the wind, rebounding by itself, is animated into vocal breath. Now, whether this is true, God, who is the designer, may see. For the voice appears to arise not from the mouth, but from the innermost breast. In fine, even when the mouth is closed, a sound such as is possible is emitted from the nostrils. Moreover, also, the voice is not affected by that greatest breath with which we gasp, but with a light and not compressed breath, as often as we wish. It has not therefore been comprehended in what manner it takes place, or what it is altogether. And do not imagine that I am now failing into the opinion of the Academy, for all things are not incomprehensible. For as it must be confessed that many things are unknown, since God has willed that they should exceed the understanding of man; so, however, it must be acknowledged that there are many which may both be perceived by the senses and comprehended by the reason. But we shall devote an entire treatise to the refutation of the philosophers. Let us therefore finish the course over which we are now running.
Chapter XVI.-Of the Mind and Its Seat.
That the nature of the mind is also incomprehensible, who can be ignorant, but he who is altogether destitute of mind, since it is not known in what place the mind is situated, or of what nature it is? Therefore various things have been discussed by philosophers concerning its nature and place. But I will not conceal what my own sentiments are: not that I should affirm that it is so-for in a doubtful matter it is the part of a foolish person to do this; but that when I have set forth the difficulty of the matter, you may understand how great is the magnitude off the divine works. Some would have it, that the seat of the mind is in the breast. But if this is so, how wonderful is it, that a faculty which is situated in an obscure and dark habitation should be employed in so great a light of reason and intelligence; then that the senses from every part of the body come together to it, so that it appears to be present in any quarter of the limbs! Others have said that its seat is in the brain and, indeed, they have used probable arguments, saying that it was doubtless befitting that that which had the government of the whole body should especially have its abode in the highest place, as though in the citadel of the body; and that nothing should be in a more elevated position than that which governs the whole by reason, : just as the Lord Himself, and Ruler of the universe, is in the highest place. Then they say, that the organs which are the ministers of each sense, that is, of hearing, and seeing, and smelling, are situated in the head, and that the channels of all these lead not to the breast, but to the brain: otherwise we must be more slow in the exercise of our senses, until the power of sensation by a long course should descend through the neck even to the breast. These, in truth, do not greatly err, or perchance not at all. For the mind, which exercises control over the body, appears to be placed in the highest part, the head, as God is in heaven; but when it is engaged in any reflection, it appears to pass to the breast, and, as it were, to withdraw to some secret recess, that it may elicit and draw forth counsel, as it were, from a hidden treasury. And therefore, when we are intent upon reflection, and when the mind, being occupied, has withdrawn itself to the inner depth,113 we are accustomed neither to hear the things which sound about us, nor to see the things which stand in our way. But whether this is the case, it is assuredly a matter of admiration how this takes place, since there is no passage from the brain to the breast. But if it is not so, nevertheless it is no less a matter of admiration that, by some divine plan or other, it is caused that it appears to be so. Can any fail to admire that that living and heavenly faculty which is called the mind or the soul, is of such volubility114 that it does not rest even then when it is asleep; of such rapidity, that it surveys the whole heaven at one moment of time; and, if it wills, flies over seas, traverses lands and cities,-in short, places in its own sight all things which it pleases, however far and widely they are removed?
And does any one wonder if the divine mind of God, being extended115 through all parts of the universe, runs to and fro, and rules all things, governs all things, being everywhere present, everywhere diffused; when the strength and power of the human mind, though enclosed within a mortal body, is so great, that it can in no way be restrained even by the barriers of this heavy and slothful body, to which it is bound, froth bestowing upon itself, in its impatience of rest, the power of wandering without restraint? Whether, therefore, the mind has its dwelling in the head or in the breast, can any one comprehend what power of reason effects, that that incomprehensible faculty either remains fixed in the marrow of the brain, or in that blood divided into two parts116 which is enclosed in the heart; and not infer from this very circumstance how great is the power of God, because the soul does not see itself, or of what nature or where it is; and if it did see, yet it would not be able to perceive in what manner an incorporeal substance is united with one which is corporeal? Or if the mind has no fixed locality, but runs here and there scattered through the whole body,-which is possible, and was asserted by Xenocrates, the disciple of Plato,-then, inasmuch as intelligence is present in every part of the body, it cannot be understood what that mind is, or what its qualities are, since its nature is so subtle and refined, that, though infused into solid organs by a living and, as it were, ardent perception, it is mingled with all the members.
But take care that you never think it probable, as Aristoxenus said, that the mind has no existence, but that the power of perception exists from the constitution of the body and the construction of the organs, as harmony does in the case of the lyre. For musicians call the stretching and sounding of the strings to entire strains, without any striking of notes in agreement with them, harmony. They will have it, therefore, that the soul in man exists in a manner like that by which harmonious modulation exists on the lyre; namely, that the firm uniting of the separate parts of the body and the vigour of all the limbs agreeing together, makes that perceptible motion, and adjusts117 the mind, as well-stretched things produce harmonious sound. And as, in the lyre, when anything has been interrupted or relaxed, the whole method of the strain is disturbed and destroyed; so in the body, when any part of the limbs receives an injury, the whole are weakened, and all being corrupted and thrown into confusion, the power of perception is destroyed: and this is called death. But he, if he had possessed any mind, would never have transferred harmony from the lyre to man. For the lyre cannot of its own accord send forth a sound, so that there can be in this any comparison and resemblance to a living person; but the soul both reflects and is moved of its own accord. But if there were in us anything resembling harmony, it would be moved by a blow from without, as the strings of the lyre are by the hands; whereas without the handling of the artificer, and the stroke of the fingers, they lie mute and motionless. But doubtless he118 ought to have beaten by the hand, that he might at length observe; for his mind, badly compacted From his members, was in a state of torpor.
Chapter XVII.-Of the Soul, and the Opinion of Philosophers Concerning It.
It remains to speak of the soul, although its system and nature cannot be perceived. Nor, therefore, do we fail to understand that the soul. is immortal, since whatever is vigorous and is in motion by itself at all times, and cannot be seen or touched, must he eternal. But what the soul is, is not yet agreed upon by philosophers, and perhaps will never be agreed upon. For some have said that it is blood, others that it is fire, others wind, from which it has received its name of anima, or animus, because in Greek the wind is called anemos119 and yet none of these appears to have spoken anything. For if the soul appears to be extinguished when the blood is poured forth through a wound, or is exhausted by the heat of fevers, it does not therefore follow that the system of the soul is to be placed in the material of the blood; as though a question should arise as to the nature of the light which we make use of, and the answer should be given that it is oil, for when that is consumed the light is extinguished: since they are plainly different, but the one is the nourishment of the other. Therefore the soul appears to be like light, since it is not itself blood, but is nourished by the moisture of the blood, as light is by oil.
But they who have supposed it to be fire made use of this argument, that when the soul is present the body is warm, but on its departure the body grows cold. But fire is both without perception and is seen, and burns when touched. But the soul is both endowed with perception and cannot be seen, and does not burn. From which it is evident that the soul is something like God. But they who suppose that it is wind are deceived by this, because we appear to live by drawing breath from the air. Varro gives this definition: "The soul is air conceived in the mouth, warmed in the lungs, heated in the heart, diffused into the body." These things are most plainly false. For I say that the nature of things of this kind is not so obscure, that we do not even understand what cannot be true. If any one should say to me that the heaven is of brass, or crystal, or, as Empedocles says, that it is frozen air, must I at once assent because I do not know of what material the heaven is? For as I know not this, I know that. Therefore the soul is not air conceived in the mouth, because the soul is produced much before air can be conceived in the mouth. For it is not introduced into the body after birth, as it appears to some philosophers, but immediately alter conception, when the divine necessity has formed the offspring in the womb; for it so lives within the bowels of its mother, that it is increased in growth, and delights to bound with repeated beatings. In short, there must be a miscarriage if the living young within shall die. The other parts of the definition have reference to this, that during those nine months in which we were in the womb we appear to have been dead. None, therefore. of these three opinions is true. We cannot, however, say that they who held these sentiments were false to such an extent that they said nothing at all; for we live at once by the blood, and heat, and breath. But since the soul exists in the body by the union of all these, they did not express what it was in its own proper sense;120 for as it cannot be seen, so it cannot be expressed.
Chapter XVIII.-Of the Soul and the Mind, and Their Affections.
There follows another, and in itself an inexplicable inquiry: Whether the soul and the mind are the same, or there be one faculty by which we live, and another by which we perceive and have discernment.121 There are not wanting arguments on either side. For they who say that they are one faculty make use of this argument, that we cannot live without perception, nor perceive without life, and therefore that that which is incapable of separation cannot be different; but that whatever it is, it has the office of living and the method of perception. On which account two122 Epicurean poets speak of the mind and the soul indifferently. But they who say that they are different argue in this way: That the mind is one thing, and the soul another, may be understood from this, that the mind may be extinguished while the soul is uninjured, which is accustomed to happen in the case of the insane; also, that the soul is put to rest123 by death, the mind by sleep, and indeed in such a manner that it is not only ignorant of what is taking place,124 or where it is, but it is even deceived by the contemplation of false objects. And how this takes place cannot accurately be perceived; why it takes place can be perceived. For we can by no means rest unless the mind is kept occupied by the similitudes125 of visions. But the mind lies hid, oppressed with sleep, as fire buried126 by ashes drawn over it; but if you stir it a little it again blazes, and, as it were, wakes up.127 Therefore it is called away by images,128 until the limbs, bedewed with sleep, are invigorated; for the body while the perception is awake, although it lies motionless, yet is not at rest, because the perception burns in it, and vibrates as a flame, and keeps all the limbs bound to itself.But when the mind is transferred from its application to the contemplation of images, then at length the whole body is resolved into rest. But the mind is transferred from dark thought, when, under the influence of darkness, it has begun to be alone with itself. While it is intent upon those things concerning which it is reflecting, sleep suddenly creeps on, and the thought itself imperceptibly turns aside to the nearest appearances:129 thus it begins also to see those things which it had placed before its eyes. Then it proceeds further, and finds diversions130 for itself, that it may not interrupt the most healthy repose of the body. For as the mind is diverted in the day by true sights, so that it does not sleep; so is it diverted in the night by false sights, so that it is not aroused. For if it perceives no images, it will follow of necessity either that it is awake, or that it is asleep in perpetual death. Therefore the system of dreaming has been given by God for the sake of sleeping; and, indeed, it has been given to all animals in common; but this especially to man, that when God gave this system on account of rest, He left to Himself the power of teaching man future events by means of the dream.131 For narratives often testify that there have been dreams which have had an immediate and a remarkable accomplishment,132 and the answers of our prophets have been after the character of a dream.133 On which account they are not always true, nor always false, as Virgil testified,134 who supposed that there were two gates for the passage of dreams. But those which are false are seen for the sake of sleeping; those which are true are sent by God, that by this revelation we may learn impending goods or evils.
Chapter XIX.-Of the Soul, and It Given by God.
A question also may arise respecting this, whether the soul is produced from the father, or rather from the mother, or indeed from both. But I think that this judgment is to be formed as though in a doubtful matter.135 For nothing is true of these three opinions, because souls are produced neither from both nor from either. For a body may be produced from a body, since something is contributed from both; but a soul cannot be produced from souls, because nothing can depart from a slight and incomprehensible subject. Therefore the manner of the production of souls belongs entirely to God alone.
"In fine, we are all sprung from a heavenly seed, all all have that same Father."
as Lucretius136 says. For nothing but what is mortal can be generated from mortals. Nor ought he to be deemed a father who in no way perceives that he has transmitted or breathed a soul from his own; nor, if he perceives it, comprehends in his mind when or in what manner that effect is produced.
From this it is evident that souls are not given by parents, but by one and the same God and Father of all, who alone has the law and method of their birth, since He alone produces them. For the part of the earthly parent is nothing more than with a sense of pleasure to emit the moisture of the body, in which is the material of birth, or to receive it; and to this work man's power is limited,137 nor has he any further power. Therefore men wish for the birth of sons, because they do not themselves bring it about. Everything beyond this is the work of God,-namely, the conception itself, and the moulding of the body, and the breathing in of life, and the bringing forth in safety, and whatever afterwards contributes to the preservation of man: it is His gift that we breathe, that we live, and are vigorous. For, besides that we owe it to His bounty that we are safe in body, and that He supplies us with nourishment from various sources, He also gives to man wisdom, which no earthly father can by any means give; and therefore it often happens that foolish sons are born from wise parents, and wise sons from foolish parents, which some persons attribute to fate and the stars. But this is not now the time to discuss the subject of fate. It is sufficient to say this, that even if the stars hold together the efficacy of all things, it is nevertheless certain that all things are done by God, who both made and set in order the stars themselves. They are therefore senseless who detract this power from God, and assign it to His work.
He would have it, therefore, to be in our own power, whether we use or do not use this divine and excellent gift of God. For, having granted this, He bound man himself by the mystery138 of virtue, by which he might be able to gain life. For great is the power, great the reason, great the mysterious purpose of man; and if any one shall not abandon this, nor betray his fidelity and devotedness, he must be happy: he, in short, to sum up the matter in few words, must of necessity resemble God. For he is in error whosoever judges of139 man by his flesh. For this worthless body140 with which we are clothed is the receptacle of man.141 For man himself, can neither be touched, nor looked upon, nor grasped, because he lies hidden within this body, which is seen. And if he shall be more luxurious and delicate in this life than its nature demands, if he shall despise virtue, and give himself to the pursuit of fleshly lusts, he will fall and be pressed down to the earth; but if (as his duty is) he shall readily and constantly maintain his position, which is right for him, and he has rightly obtained,142 -if he shall not be enslaved to the earth, which he ought to trample upon and overcome, he will gain eternal life.
Chapter XX.-Of Himself and the Truth.
These things I have written to you, Demetrianus, for the present in few words, and perhaps with more obscurity than was befitting, in accordance with the necessity of circumstances and the time, with which you ought to be content, since you are about to receive more and better things if God shall favour us. Then, accordingly, I will exhort you with greater clearness and truth to the learning of true philosophy. For I have determined to commit to writing as many things as I shall be able, which have reference to the condition of a happy life; and that indeed against the philosophers, since they are pernicious and weighty for the disturbing of the truth. For the force of their eloquence is incredible, and their subtlety in argument and disputation may easily deceive any one; and these we will refute partly by our own weapons, but partly by weapons borrowed from their mutual wrangling, so that it may be evident that they rather introduced error than removed it.
Perhaps you may wonder that I venture to undertake so great a deed. Shall we then suffer the truth to be extinguished or crushed? I, in truth, would more willingly fail even under this burthen. For if Marcus Tullius, the unparalleled example of eloquence itself, was often vanquished by men void of learning and eloquence,-who, however, were striving for that which was true,-why should we despair that the truth itself will by its own peculiar force and clearness avail against deceitful and captious eloquence? They indeed are wont to profess themselves advocates of the truth; but who can defend that which he has not learned, or make clear to others that which he himself does not know? I seem to promise a great thing; but there is need of the favour of Heaven, that ability and time may be given us for following our purpose. But if life is to be wished for by a wise man, assuredly I should wish to live for no other reason than that I may effect something which may be worthy of life, and which may be useful to my readers, if not for eloquence, because there is in me but a slight stream of eloquence, at any rate for living, which is especially needful. And when I have accomplished this, I shall think that I have lived enough, and that I have discharged the duty of a man, if my labour shall have freed some men from errors, and have directed them to the path which leads to heaven.
General Note by the American Editor.
Just here I economize a little spare room to note the cynical Gibbon's ideas about Lactantius and his works. He quotes him freely, and recognises his Ciceronian Latinity, and even the elegance of his rhetoric, and the spirit and eloquence with which he can garnish the "dismal tale" of coming judgments, based on the Apocalypse. But then, again143 he speaks of him as an "obscure rhetorician," and affects a doubt as to his sources of information, notably in doubting the conversation between Galerius and Diocletian which forced the latter to abdicate. This is before he decides to attribute the work on the Deaths of Persecutors to somebody else, or, rather, to quote its author ambiguously as Cae cilius. And here we may insert what he says on this subject, as follows:-
"It is certain that this ...was composed and published while Licinius, sovereign of the East, still preserved the friendship of Constantine and of the Christians. Every reader of taste must perceive that the style is of a very different and inferior character to that of Lactantius; and such, indeed, is the judgment of Le Clerc144 and Lardner.145 Three arguments (from the title of the book and from the names of Donatus and Cae cilius) are produced by the advocates of Lactantius.146 Each of these proofs is, singly, weak and defective; but their concurrence has great weight. I have often fluctuated, and shall tamely147 follow the Colbert ms.in calling the author, whoever he was, Caecilius."
After this the critic adheres to this ambiguity. I have no wish to argue otherwise. Quite as important are his notes on the Institutes. He states the probable conjecture of two original editions,-the one under Diocletian, and the other under Licinius. Then he says:148 -
"I am almost convinced that Lactantius dedicated his Institutions to the sovereign of Gaul at a time when Galerius, Maximin, and even Licinius, persecuted the Christians; that is, between the years a.d.306 and a.d.311."
On the dubious passages149 he remarks:150 -
"The first and most important of these is, indeed, wanting in twenty-eight mss., but is found in nineteen. If we weigh the comparative value of those mss., one, ...in the King of France's library,151 may be alleged in its favour. But the passage is omitted in the correct ms.of Bologna, which the Pere de Montfaucon152 ascribes to the sixth or seventh century. The taste of most of the editors153 has felt the genuine style of Lactantius."
Do not many indications point to the natural suggestion of a third original edition, issued after the conversion of Constantine? Or the questionable passages may be the interpolations of Lactantius himself.
Of the Manner in Which the Persecutors Died.
Addressed to Donatus.1
Chapter I.
The Lord has heard those supplications which you, my best beloved Donatus,2 pour forth in His presence all the day long, and the supplications of the rest of our brethren, who by a glorious confession have obtained an everlasting crown, the reward of their faith. Behold, all the adversaries are destroyed, and tranquillity having been re-established throughout the Roman empire, the late oppressed Church arises again, and the temple of God, overthrown by the hands of the wicked, is built with more glory than before. For God has raised up princes to rescind the impious and sanguinary edicts of the tyrants and provide for the welfare of mankind; so that now the cloud of past times is dispelled, and peace and serenity gladden all hearts. And after the, furious whirlwind and black tempest, the heavens are now become calm, and the wished-for light has shone forth; and now God, the hearer of prayer, by His divine aid has lifted His prostrate and afflicted servants from the ground, has brought to an end the united devices of the wicked, and wiped off the tears from the faces of those who mourned. They who insulted over the Divinity, lie low; they who cast down the holy temple, are fallen with more tremendous ruin; and the tormentors of just men have poured out their guilty souls amidst plagues inflicted by Heaven, and amidst deserved tortures.For God delayed to punish them, that, by great and marvellous examples, He might teach posterity that He alone is God, and that with fit vengeance He executes judgment on the proud, the impious, and the persecutors.3
Of the end of those men I have thought good to publish a narrative, that all who are afar off, and all who shall arise hereafter, may learn how the Almighty manifested His power and sovereign greatness in rooting out and utterly destroying the enemies of His name. And this will become evident, when I relate who were the persecutors of the Church from the time of its first constitution, and what were the punishments by which the divine Judge, in His severity, took vengeance on them.
Chapter II.
In the latter days of the Emperor Tiberius, in the consulship of Ruberius Geminus and Fufius Geminus, and on the tenth of the kalends of April,4 as I find it written, Jesus Christ was crucified by the Jews.5 After He bad risen again on the third day, He gathered together His apostles, whom fear, at the time of His being laid hold on, had put to flight; and while He sojourned with them forty days, He opened their hearts, interpreted to them the Scripture, which hitherto had been wrapped up in obscurity, ordained and fitted them for the preaching of His word and doctrine, and regulated all things concerning the institutions of the New Testament; and this having been accomplished, a cloud and whirlwind enveloped Him, and caught Him up from the sight of men unto heaven.
His apostles were at that time eleven in number, to whom were added Matthias, in the room of the traitor Judas, and afterwards Paul. Then were they dispersed throughout all the earth to preach the Gospel, as the Lord their Master had commanded them; and during twenty-five years, and until the beginning of the reign of the Emperor Nero, they occupied themselves in laying the foundations of the Church in every province and city.And while Nero reigned, the Apostle Peter came to Rome, and, through the power of God committed unto him, wrought certain miracles, and, by turning many to the true religion, built up a faithful and stedfast temple unto the Lord. When Nero heard of those things, and observed that not only in Rome, but in every other place, a great multitude revolted daily from the worship of idols, and, condemning their old ways, went over to the new religion, he, an execrable and pernicious tyrant, sprung forward to raze the heavenly temple and destroy the true faith. He it was who first persecuted the servants of God; he crucified Peter, and slew Paul:6 nor did he escape with impunity; for God looked on the affliction of His people; and therefore the tyrant, bereaved of authority, and precipitated from the height of empire, suddenly disappeared, and even the burial-place of that noxious wild beast was nowhere to be seen. This has led some persons of extravagant imagination to suppose that, having been conveyed to a distant region, he is still reserved alive; and to him they apply the Sibylline verses concerning
"The fugitive, who slew his own mother, being to come from the uttermost boundaries of the earth; "
as if he who was the first should also be the last persecutor, and thus prove the forerunner of Antichrist! But we ought not to believe those who, affirming that the two prophets Enoch and Elias have been translated into some remote place that they might attend our Lord when He shall come to judgment,7 also fancy that Nero is to appear hereafter as the forerunner of the devil, when he shall come to lay waste the earth and overthrow mankind.
Chapter III.
After an interval of some years from the death of Nero, there arose another tyrant no less wicked (Domitian), who, although his government was exceedingly odious, for a very long time oppressed his subjects, and reigned in security, until at length he stretched forth his impious hands against the Lord. Having been instigated by evil demons to persecute the righteous people, he was then delivered into the power of his enemies, and suffered due punishment. To be murdered in his own palace was not vengeance ample enough: the very memory of his name was erased. For although he had erected many admirable edifices, and rebuilt the Capitol, and left other distinguished marks of his magnificence, yet the senate did so persecute his name, as to leave no remains of his statues, or traces of the inscriptions put up in honour of him; and by most solemn and severe decrees it branded him, even after death, with perpetual infamy. Thus, the commands of the tyrant having been rescinded, the Church was not only restored to her former state, but she shone forth with additional splendour, and became more and more flourishing. And in the times that followed, while many well-deserving princes guided the helm of the Roman empire, the Church suffered no violent assaults from her enemies, and she extended her hands unto the east and unto the west, insomuch that now there was not any the most remote corner of the earth to which the divine religion had not penetrated, or any nation of manners so barbarous that did not, by being converted to the worship of God, become mild and gentle.8
Chapter IV.
This long peace,9 however, was afterwards interrupted. Decius appeared in the world, an accursed wild beast, to afflict the Church,-and who but a bad man would persecute religion? It seems as if he had been raised to sovereign eminence, at once to rage against God, and at once to fall; for, having undertaken an expedition against the Carpi, who had then possessed themselves of Dacia and Moefia, he was suddenly surrounded by the barbarians, and slain, together with great part of his army; nor could he be honoured with the rites of sepulture, but, stripped and naked, he lay to be devoured by wild beasts and birds,10 -a fit end for the enemy of God.
Chapter V.
And presently Valerian also, in a mood alike frantic, lifted up his impious hands to assault God, and, although his time was short, shed much righteous blood. But God punished him in a new and extraordinary manner, that it might be a lesson to future ages that the adversaries of Heaven always receive the just recompense of their iniquities. He, having been made prisoner by the Persians, lost not only that power which he had exercised without moderation, but also the liberty of which be had deprived others; and he wasted the remainder of his days in the vilest condition of slavery: for Sapores, the king of the Persians, who had made him prisoner, whenever he chose to get into his carriage or to mount on horseback, commanded the Roman to stoop and present his back; then, setting his foot on the shoulders of Valerian, he said, with a smile of reproach, "This is true, and not what the Romans delineate on board or plaster." Valerian lived for a considerable time under the well-merited insults of his conqueror; so that the Roman name remained long the scoff and derision of the barbarians: and this also was added to the severity of his punishment, that although he had an emperor for his son, he found no one to revenge his captivity and most abject and servile state; neither indeed was he ever demanded back Afterward, when he had finished this shameful life under so great dishonour, he was flayed, and his skin, stripped from the flesh, was dyed with vermilion, and placed in the temple of the gods of the barbarians, that the remembrance of a triumph so signal might be perpetuated, and that this spectacle might always be exhibited to our ambassadors, as an admonition to the Romans, that, beholding the spoils of their captived emperor in a Persian temple, they should not place too great confidence in their own strength.
Now since God so punished the sacrilegious, is it not strange that any one should afterward have dared to do, or even to devise, aught against the majesty of the one God, who governs and supports all things?
Chapter VI.
Aurelian might have recollected the fate of the captived emperor, yet, being of a nature outrageous and headstrong, he forgot both his sin and its punishment, and by deeds of cruelty irritated the divine wrath. He was not, however, permitted to accomplish what he had devised; for just as he began to give a loose to his rage, he was slain. His bloody edicts had not yet reached the more distant provinces, when he himself lay all bloody on the earth at Caenophrurium in Thrace, assassinated by his familiar friends, who had taken up groundless suspicions against him.
Examples of such a nature, and so numerous, ought to have deterred succeeding tyrants; nevertheless they were not only not dismayed, but, in their misdeeds against God, became more bold and presumptuous.
Chapter VII.
While Diocletian, that author of ill, and deviser of misery, was ruining all things, he could not withhold his insults, not even against God. This man, by avarice partly, and partly by timid counsels, overturned the Roman empire. For he made choice of three persons to share the government with him; and thus, the empire having been quartered, armies were multiplied, and each of the four princes strove to maintain a much more considerable military force than any sole emperor had done in times past.11 There began to be fewer men who paid taxes than there were who received wages; so that the means of the husbandmen being exhausted by enormous impositions, the farms were abandoned, cultivated grounds became woodland, and universal dismay prevailed. Besides, the provinces were divided into minute portions, and many presidents and a multitude of inferior officers lay heavy on each territory, and almost on each city. There were also many stewards of different degrees, and deputies of presidents. Very few civil causes came before them: but there were condemnations daily, and forfeitures frequently inflicted; taxes on numberless commodities, and those not only often repeated, but perpetual, and, in exacting them, intolerable wrongs.
Whatever was laid on for the maintenance of the soldiery might have been endured; but Diocletian, through his insatiable avarice, would never allow the sums of money in his treasury to be diminished: he was constantly heaping together extraordinary aids and free gifts, that his original hoards might remain untouched and inviolable. He also, when by various extortions he had made all things exceedingly dear, attempted by an ordinance to limit their prices. Then much blood was shed for the veriest trifles; men were afraid to expose aught to sale, and the scarcity became more excessive and grievous than ever, until, in the end, the ordinance, after having proved destructive to multitudes, was from mere necessity abrogated. To this there were added a certain endless passion for building, and on that account, endless exactions from the provinces for furnishing wages to labourers and artificers, and supplying carriages and whatever else was requisite to the works which he projected. Here public halls, there a circus, here a mint, and there a workhouse for making implements of war; in one place a habitation for his empress, and in another for his daughter. Presently great part of the city was quitted, and all men removed with their wives and children, as from a town taken by enemies; and when those buildings were completed, to the destruction of whole provinces, he said, "They are not right, let them be done on another plan." Then they were to be pulled down, or altered, to undergo perhaps a future demolition. By such folly was he continually endeavouring to equal Nicomedia with the city Rome in magnificence.
I omit mentioning how many perished on account of their possessions or wealth; for such evils were exceedingly frequent, and through their frequency appeared almost lawful. But this was peculiar to him, that whenever he saw a field remarkably well cultivated, or a house of uncommon elegance, a false accusation and a capital punishment were straightway prepared against the proprietor; so that it seemed as if Diocletian could not be guilty of rapine without also shedding blood.
Chapter VIII.
What was the character of his brother in empire, Maximian, called Herculius? Not unlike to that of Diocletian; and, indeed, to render their friendship so close and faithful as it was, there must have been in them a sameness of inclinations and purposes, a corresponding will and unanimity in judgment. Herein alone they were different, that Diocletian was more avaricious and less resolute, and that Maximian, with less avarice, had a bolder spirit, prone not to good, but to evil. For while he possessed Italy, itself the chief seat of empire, and while other very opulent provinces, such as Africa and Spain, were near at hand, he took little care to preserve those treasures which he had such fair opportunities of amassing. Whenever he stood in need of more, the richest senators were presently charged, by suborned evidences, as guilty of aspiring to the empire; so that the chief luminaries of the senate were daily extinguished. And thus the treasury, delighting in blood, overflowed with ill-gotten wealth.
Add to all this the incontinency of that pestilent wretch, not only in debauching males, which is hateful and abominable, but also in the violation of the daughters of the principal men of the state; for wherever he journeyed, virgins were suddenly torn from the presence of their parents. In such enormities he placed his supreme delight, and to indulge to the utmost his lust and flagitious desires was in his judgment the felicity of his reign.
I pass over Constantius, a prince unlike the others, and worthy to have had the sole government of the empire.
Chapter IX.
But the other Maximian (Galerius), chosen by Diocletian for his son-in-law, was worse, not only than those two princes whom our own times have experienced, but worse than all the bad princes of former days. In this wild beast there dwelt a native barbarity and a savageness foreign to Roman blood; and no wonder, for his mother was born beyond the Danube, and it was an inroad of the Carpi that obliged her to cross over and take refuge in New Dacia. The form of Galerius corresponded with his manners. Of stature tall, full of flesh, and swollen to a horrible bulk of corpulency; by his speech, gestures, and looks, he made himself a terror to all that came near him. His father-in-law, too, dreaded him excessively. The cause was this. Narseus, king of the Persians, emulating the example set him by his grandfather Sapores, assembled a great army, and aimed at becoming master of the eastern provinces of the Roman empire. Diocletian, apt to be low-spirited and timorous in every commotion, and fearing a fate like that of Valerian, would not in person encounter Narseus; but he sent Galerius by the way of Armenia, while he himself halted in the eastern provinces, and anxiously watched the event. It is a custom amongst the barbarians to take everything that belongs to them into the field. Galerius laid an ambush for them, and easily overthrew men embarrassed with the multitude of their followers and with their baggage. Having put Narseus to flight, and returned with much spoil, his own pride and Diocletian's fears were greatly increased. For after this victory he rose to such a pitch of haughtiness as to reject the appellation of Caesar;12 and when he heard that appellation in letters addressed to him, he cried out, with a stern look and terrible voice, "How long am I to be Caesar? "Then he began to act extravagantly, insomuch that, as if he had been a second Romulus, he wished to pass for and to be called the offspring of Mars; and that he might appear the issue of a divinity, he was willing that his mother Romula should be dishonoured with the name of adulteress. But, not to confound the chronological order of events, I delay the recital of his actions; for indeed afterwards, when Galerius got the title of emperor, his father-in-law having been divested of the imperial purple, he became altogether outrageous, and of unbounded arrogance.
While by such a conduct, and with such associates, Diocles-for that was the name of Diocletian before he attained sovereignty-occupied himself in subverting the commonweal, there was no evil which his crimes did not deserve: nevertheless he reigned most prosperously, as long as he forbore to defile his hands with the blood of the just; and what cause he had for persecuting them, I come now to explain.
Chapter X.
Diocletian, as being of a timorous disposition, was a searcher into futurity, and during his abode in the East he began to slay victims, that from their livers he might obtain a prognostic of events; and while he sacrificed, some attendants of his, who were Christians, stood by, and they put the immortal sign on their foreheads. At this the demons were chased away, and the holy rites interrupted. The soothsayers trembled, unable to investigate the wonted marks on the entrails of the victims. They frequently repeated the sacrifices, as if the former had been unpropitious; but the victims, slain from time to time, afforded no tokens for divination. At length Tages, the chief of the soothsayers,13 either from guess or from his own observation, said, "There are profane persons here, who obstruct the rites." Then Diocletian, in furious passion, ordered not only all who were assisting at the holy ceremonies, but also all who resided within the palace, to sacrifice, and, in case of their refusal, to be scourged. And further, by letters to the commanding officers, he enjoined that all soldiers should be forced to the like impiety, under pain of being dismissed the service. Thus far his rage proceeded; but at that season he did nothing more against the law and religion of God. After an interval of some time he went to winter in Bithynia; and presently Galerius Caesar came thither, inflamed with furious resentment, and purposing to excite the inconsiderate old man to carry on that persecution which he had begun against the Christians. I have learned that the cause of his fury was as follows.
Chapter XI.
The mother of Galerius, a woman exceedingly superstitious, was a votary of the gods of the mountains. Being of such a character, she made sacrifices almost every day, and she feasted her servants on the meat offered to idols: but the Christians of her family would not partake of those entertainments; and while she feasted with the Gentiles, they continued in fasting and prayer. On this account she conceived ill-will against the Christians, and by woman-like complaints instigated her son, no less superstitious than herself, to destroy them. So, during the whole winter, Diocletian and Galerius held councils together, at which no one else assisted; and it was the universal opinion that their conferences respected the most momentous affairs of the empire. The old man long opposed the fury of Galerius, and showed how pernicious it would be to raise disturbances throughout the world and to shed so much blood; that the Christians were wont with eagerness to meet death; and that it would be enough for him to exclude persons of that religion from the court14 and the army. Yet he could not restrain the madness of that obstinate man. He resolved, therefore, to take the opinion of his friends. Now this was a circumstance in the bad disposition of Diocletian, that whenever he determined to do good, he did it without advice, that the praise might be all his own; but whenever he determined to do ill, which he was sensible would be blamed, he called in many advisers, that his own fault might be imputed to other men: and therefore a few civil magistrates, and a few military commanders, were admitted to give their counsel; and the question was put to them according to priority of rank. Some, through personal ill-will towards the Christians, were of opinion that they ought to be cut off, as enemies of the gods and adversaries of the established religious ceremonies. Others thought differently, but, having understood the will of Galerius, they, either from dread of displeasing or from a desire of gratifying him, concurred in the opinion given against the Christians. Yet not even then could the emperor be prevailed upon to yield his assent. He determined above all to consult his gods; and to that end he despatched a soothsayer to inquire of Apollo at Miletus, whose answer wa such as might be expected from an enemy of the divine religion. So Diocletian was drawn over from his purpose. But although he could struggle no longer against his friends, and against Caesar and Apollo, yet still he attempted to observe such moderation as to command the business to be carried through without bloodshed; whereas Galerius would have had all persons burnt alive who refused to sacrifice.
Chapter XII.
A fit and auspicious day was sought out for the accomplishment of this undertaking; and the festival of the god Terminus, celebrated on the sevens of the kalends of March,15 was chosen, in preference to all others, to terminate, as it were, the Christian religion.
"That day, the harbinger of death, arose,
First cause of ill, and long enduring woes; "
of woes which befell not only the Christians, but the whole earth. When that day dawned, in the eighth consulship of Diocletian and seventh of Maximian, suddenly, while it was yet hardly light, the prefect, together with chief commanders, tribunes, and officers of the treasury, came to the church in Nicomedia, and the gates having been forced open, they searched everywhere for an image of the Divinity. The books of the Holy Scriptures were found, and they were committed to the flames; the utensils and furniture of the church were abandoned to pillage: all was rapine, confusion, tumult. That church, situated on rising ground, was within view of the palace; and Diocletian and Galerius stood, as if on a watch-tower, disputing long whether it ought to be set on fire. The sentiment of Diocletian prevailed, who dreaded lest, so great a fire being once kindled, some part of the city might he burnt; for there were many and large buildings that surrounded the church. Then the Pretorian Guards came in battle array, with axes and other iron instruments, and having been let loose everywhere, they in a few hours levelled that very lofty edifice with the ground.16
Chapter XIII.
Next day an edict was published, depriving the Christians of all honours and dignities; ordaining also that, without any distinction of rank or degree, they should be subjected to tortures, and that every suit at law should be received against them; while, on the other hand, they were debarred from being plaintiffs in questions of wrong, adultery, or theft; and, finally, that they should neither be capable of freedom, nor have right of suffrage. A certain person tore down this edict, and cut it in pieces, improperly indeed, but with high spirit, saying in scorn, "These are the triumphs of Goths and Sarmatians." Having been instantly seized and brought to judgment, he was not only tortured, but burnt alive, in the forms of law; and having displayed admirable patience under sufferings, he was consumed to ashes.
Chapter XIV.
But Galerius, not satisfied with the tenor of the edict, sought in another way to gain on the emperor. That he might urge him to excess of cruelty in persecution, he employed private emissaries to set the palace on fire; and some part of it having been burnt, the blame was laid on the Christians as public enemies; and the very appellation of Christian grew odious17 on account of that fire. It was said that the Christians, in concert with the eunuchs, had plotted to destroy the princes; and that both of the princes had well-nigh been burnt alive in their own palace. Diocletian, shrewd and intelligent as he always chose to appear, suspected nothing of the contrivance, but, inflamed with anger, immediately commanded that all his own domestics should be tortured to force a confession of the plot. He sat on his tribunal, and saw innocent men tormented by fire to make discovery. All magistrates, and all who had superintendency in the imperial palace, obtained special commissions to administer the torture; and they strove with each other who should be first in bringing to light the conspiracy. No circumstances, however, of the fact were detected anywhere; for no one applied the torture to any domestics of Galerius. He himself was ever with Diocletian, constantly urging him, and never allowing the passions of the inconsiderate old man to cool.Then, after an interval of fifteen days, he attempted a second fire; but that was perceived quickly, and extinguished. Still, however, its author remained unknown. On that very day, Galerius, who in the middle of winter bad prepared for his departure, suddenly hurried out of the city, protesting that he fled to escape being burnt alive.
Chapter XV.
And now Diocletian raged, not only against his own domestics, but indiscriminately against all; and he began by forcing his daughter Valeria and his wife Prisca to be polluted by sacrificing. Eunuchs, once the most powerful, and who had chief authority at court and with the emperor, were slain. Presbyters and other officers of the Church were seized, without evidence by witnesses or confession, condemned, and together with their families led to execution. In burning alive, no distinction of sex or age was regarded; and because of their great multitude, they were not burnt one after another, but a herd of them were encircled with the same fire; and servants, having millstones tied about their necks, were cast into the sea. Nor was the persecution less grievous on the rest of the people of God; for the judges, dispersed through all the temples, sought to compel every one to sacrifice. The prisons were crowded; tortures, hitherto unheard of, were invented; and lest justice should be inadvertently administered to a Christian, altars were placed in the courts of justice, hard by the tribunal, that every litigant might offer incense before his cause could be heard. Thus judges were no otherwise approached than divinities. Mandates also had gone to Maximian Herculius and Constantius, requiring their concurrence in the execution of the edicts; for in matters even of such mighty importance their opinion was never once asked. Herculius, a person of no merciful temper, yielded ready obedience, and enforced the edicts throughout his dominions of Italy. Constantius, on the other hand, lest he should have seemed to dissent from the injunctions of his superiors, permitted the demolition of churches,-mere walls, and capable of being built up again,-but he preserved entire that true temple of God, which is the human body.18
Chapter XVI.
Thus was all the earth afflicted; and from east to west, except in the territories of Gaul, three ravenous wild beasts continued to rage.
"Had I a hundred mouths, a hundred tongues,
A voice of brass, and adamantine lungs,
Not half the dreadful scene could I disclose,"
or recount the punishments inflicted by the rulers in every province on religious and innocent men.
But what need of a particular recital of those things, especially to you, my best beloved Donatus,19 who above all others was exposed to the storm of that violent persecution? For when you had fallen into the hands of the prefect Flaccinian, no puny murderer, and afterwards of Hierocles, who from a deputy became president of Bithynia, the author and adviser of the persecution, and last of all into the hands of his successor Priscillian, you displayed to mankind a pattern of invincible magnanimity. Having been nine times exposed to racks and diversified torments, nine times by a glorious profession of your faith you foiled the adversary; in nine combats you subdued the devil and his chosen soldiers; and by nine victories you triumphed, over this world and its terrors. How pleasing the spectacle to God, when He beheld you a conqueror, yoking in your chariot not white horses, nor enormous elephants, but those very men who had led captive the nations! After this sort to lord it over the lords of the earth is triumph indeed! Now, by your valour were they conquered, when you set at defiance their flagitious edicts, and, through stedfast faith and the fortitude of your soul, you routed all the vain terrors of tyrannical authority. Against you neither scourges, nor iron claws, nor fire, nor sword, nor various kinds of torture, availed aught; and no violence could bereave you of your fidelity and persevering resolution. This it is to be a disciple of God, and this it is to be a soldier of Christ; a soldier whom no enemy can dislodge, or wolf snatch, from the heavenly camp; no artifice ensnare, or pain of body subdue, or torments overthrow. At length, after those nine glorious combats, in which the devil was vanquished by you, he dared not to enter the lists again with one whom, by repeated trials, he had found unconquerable; and he abstained from challenging you any more, lest you should have laid hold on the garland of victory already stretched out to you; an unfading garland, which, although you have not at present received it, is laid up in the kingdom of the Lord for your virtue and deserts. But let us now return to the course of our narrative.
Chapter XVII.
The wicked plan having been carried into execution, Diocletian, whom prosperity had now abandoned, set out instantly for Rome, there to celebrate the commencement of the twentieth year of his reign. That solemnity was performed on the twelfth of the kalends of December;20 and suddenly the emperor, unable to bear the Roman freedom of speech, peevishly and impatiently burst away from the city. The kalends of January21 approached, at which day the consulship, for the ninth time, was to be offered to him; yet, rather than continue thirteen days longer in Rome, he chose that his first appearance as consul should be at Ravenna. Having, however, begun his journey in winter, amidst intense cold and incessant rains, he contracted a slight but lingering disease: it harassed him without intermission, so that he was obliged for the most part to be carried in a litter. Then, at the close of summer, he made a circuit along the banks of the Danube, and so came to Nicomedia. His disease had now become more grievous and oppressing; yet he caused himself to be brought out, in order to dedicate that circus which, at the conclusion of the twentieth year of his reign, he had erected. Immediately he grew so languid and feeble, that prayers for his life were put up to all the gods. Then suddenly, on the ides of December,22 there was heard in the palace sorrow, and weeping, and lamentation, and the courtiers ran to and fro; there was silence throughout the city, and a report went of the death, and even of the burial, of Diocletian: but early on the morrow it was suddenly rumoured that he still lived. At this the countenance of his domestics and courtiers changed from melancholy to gay. Nevertheless there were who suspected his death to be kept secret until the arrival of Galerius Caesar, lest in the meanwhile the soldiery should attempt some change in the government; and this suspicion grew so universal, that no one would believe the emperor alive, until, on the kalends of March,23 he appeared in public, but so wan, his illness having lasted almost a year, as hardly to be known again. The fit of stupor, resembling death, happened on the ides of December; and although he in some measure recovered, yet he never attained to perfect health again, for he became disordered in his judgment, being at certain times insane and at others of sound mind.
Chapter XVIII.
Within a few days Galerius Caesar arrived, not to congratulate his father-in-law on the re-establishment of his health, but to force him to resign the empire. Already he had urged Maximian Herculius to the like purpose, and by the alarm of civil wars terrified the old man into compliance; and he now assailed Diocletian. At first, in gentle and friendly terms, he said that age and growing infirmities disabled Diocletian for the charge of the commonweal, and that he had need to give himself some repose after his labours. Galerius, in confirmation of his argument, produced the example of Nerva, who laid the weight of empire on Trajan.
But Diocletian made answer, that it was unfit for one who had held a rank, eminent above all others and conspicuous, to sink into the obscurity of a low station; neither indeed was it safe, because in the course of so long a reign he must unavoidably have made many enemies. That the case of Nerva was very different: he, after having reigned a single year, felt himself, either from age or from inexperience in business, unequal to affairs so momentous, and therefore threw aside the helm of government, and returned to that private life in which he had already grown old. But Diocletian added, that if Galerius wished for the title of emperor, there was nothing to hinder its being conferred on him and Constantius, as well as on Maximian Herculius.
Galerius, whose imagination already grasped at the whole empire, saw that little but an unsubstantial name would accrue to him from this proposal, and therefore replied that the settlement made by Diocletian himself ought to be inviolable; a settlement which provided that there should be two of higher rank vested with supreme power, and two others of inferior, to assist them. Easily might concord be preserved between two equals, never amongst four;24 that he, if Diocletian would not resign, must consult his own interests, so as to remain no longer in an inferior rank, and the last of that rank; that for fifteen years past he had been confined, as an exile, to Illyricum and the banks of the Danube, perpetually struggling against barbarous nations, while others, at their ease, governed dominions more extensive than his, and better civilized.
Diocletian already knew, by letters from Maximian Herculius, all that Galerius had spoken at their conference, and also that he was augmenting his army; and now, on hearing his discourse, the spiritless old man burst into tears, and said, "Be it as you will."
It remained to choose Caesars by common consent. "But," said Galerius, "why ask the advice of Maximian and Constantius, since they must needs acquiesce in whatever we do? "-"Certainly they will," replied Diocletian, "for we must elect their sons."
Now Maximian Herculius had a son, Maxentius, married to the daughter of Galerius, a man of bad and mischievous dispositions, and so proud and stubborn withal, that he would never pay the wonted obeisance either to his father or father-in-law, and on that account he was hated by them both. Constantius also had a son, Constantine, a young man of very great worth, and well meriting the high station of Caesar. The distinguished comeliness of his figure, his strict attention to all military duties, his virtuous demeanour and singular affability, had endeared him to the troops, and made him the choice of every individual. He was then at court, having long before been created by Diocletian a tribune of the first order.
"What is to be done? "said Galerius, "for that Maxentius deserves not the office. He who, while yet a private man, has treated me with contumely, how will he act when once he obtains power? "-"But Constantine is amiable, and will so rule as hereafter, in the opinion of mankind, to surpass the mild virtues of his father."-"Be it so, if my inclinations and judgment are to be disregarded. Men ought to be appointed who are at my disposal, who will dread me, and never do anything unless by my orders."-"Whom then shall we appoint? "-"Severus."-"How! that dancer, that habitual drunkard, who turns night into day, and day into night? "-"He deserves the office, for he has approved himself a faithful paymaster and purveyor of the army; and, indeed, I have already despatched him to receive the purple from the hands of Maximian."-"Well, I consent; but whom else do you suggest? "-"Him," said Galerius, pointing out Daia, a young man, half-barbarian. Now Galerius had lately bestowed part of his own name on that youth, and called him Maximin, in like manner as Diocletian formerly bestowed on Galerius the name of Maximian, for the omen's sake, because Maximian Herculius had served him with unshaken fidelity.-"Who is that you present? "-"A kinsman of mine."-"Alas!" said Diocletian, heaving a deep sigh, "you do not propose men fit for the charge of public affairs!"-"I have tried them."-"Then do you look to it, who are about to assume the administration of the empire: as for me, while I continued emperor, long and diligent have been my labours in providing for the security of the commonweal; and now, should anything disastrous ensue, the blame will not be mine."
Chapter XIX.
Matters having been thus concerted, Diocletian and Galerius went in procession to publish the nomination of Caesars. Every one looked at Constantine; for there was no doubt that the choice would fall on him. The troops present, as well as the chief soldiers of the other legions, who had been summoned to the solemnity, fixed their eyes on Constantine, exulted in the hope of his approaching election, and occupied themselves in prayers for his prosperity. Near three miles from Nicomedia there is an eminence, on the summit of which Galerius formerly received the purple; and there a pillar, with the statue of Jupiter, was placed. Thither the procession went. An assembly of the soldiers was called. Diocletian, with tears, harangued them, and said that he was become infirm, that he needed repose after his fatigues, and that he would resign the empire into hands more vigorous and able, and at the same time appoint new Caesars. The spectators, with the utmost earnestness, waited for the nomination. Suddenly he declared that the Caesars were Severus and Maximin. The amazement was universal. Constantine stood near in public view, and men began to question amongst themselves whether his name too had not been changed into Maximin; when, in the sight of all, Galerius, stretching back his hand, put Constantine aside, and drew Daia forward, and, having divested him of the garb of a private person, set him in the most conspicuous place. All men wondered who he could be, and from whence he came; but none ventured to interpose or move objections, so confounded were their minds at the strange and unlooked-for event. Diocletian took off his purple robe, put it on Daia, and resumed his own original name of Diocles. He descended from the tribunal, and passed through Nicomedia in a chariot; and then this old emperor, like a veteran soldier freed from military service, was dismissed into his own country; while Daia, lately taken from the tending of cattle in forests to serve as a common soldier, immediately made one of the lifeguard, presently a tribune, and next day Caesar, obtained authority to trample under foot and oppress the empire of the East; a person ignorant alike of war and of civil affairs, and from a herdsman become a leader of armies.
Chapter XX.
Galerius having effected the expulsion of the two old men, began to consider himself alone as the sovereign of the Roman empire. Necessity had required the appointment of Constantius to the first rank; but Galerius made small account of one who was of an easy temper, and of health declining and precarious. He looked for the speedy death of Constantius. And although that prince should recover, it seemed not difficult to force him to put off the imperial purple; for what else could he do, if pressed by his three colleagues to abdicate? Galerius had Licinius ever about his person, his old and intimate acquaintance, and his earliest companion in arms, whose counsels he used in the management of all affairs; yet he would not nominate Licinius to the dignity of Caesar, with the title of son, for he purposed to nominate him, in the room of Constantius, to the dignity of emperor, with the title of brother, while he himself might hold sovereign authority, and rule over the whole globe with unbounded licence. After that, he meant to have solemnized the vicennial festival; to have conferred on his son Candidianus, then a boy of nine years of age, the office of Caesar; and, in conclusion, to have resigned, as Diocletian had done. And thus, Licinius and Severus being emperors, and Maximin and Candidianus in the next station of Caesars, he fancied that, environed as it were by an impregnable wall, he should lead an old age. of security and peace. Such were his projects; but God, whom he had made his adversary, frustrated all those imaginations.
Chapter XXI.
Having thus attained to the highest power, he bent his mind to afflict that empire into which he had opened his way. It is the manner and practice of the Persians for the people to yield themselves slaves to their kings, and for the kings to treat their people as slaves. This flagitious man, from the time of his victories over the Persians, was not ashamed incessantly to extol such an institution, and he resolved to establish it in the Roman dominions; and because he could not do this by an express law, he so acted, in imitation of the Persian kings, as to bereave men of their liberties. He first of all degraded those whom he meant to punish; and then not only were inferior magistrates put to the torture by him, but also the chief men in cities, and persons of the most eminent rank, and this too in matters of little moment, and in civil questions. Crucifixion was the punishment ready prepared in capital cases; and for lesser crimes, fetters. Matrons of honourable station were dragged into workhouses; and when any man was to be scourged, there were four posts fixed in the ground, and to them he was tied, after a manner unknown in the chastisement of slaves. What shall I say of his apartment for sport, and of his favourite diversions? He kept bears, most resembling himself in fierceness and bulk, whom he had collected together during the course of his reign. As often as he chose to indulge his humour, he ordered some particular bear to be brought in, and men were thrown to that savage animal, rather to be swallowed up than devoured; and when their limbs were torn asunder, he laughed with excessive complacency: nor did he ever sup without being spectator of the effusion of human blood. Men of private station were condemned to be burnt alive; and he began this mode of execution by edicts against the Christians, commanding that, after torture and condemnation, they should be burnt at a slow fire. They were fixed to a stake, and first a moderate flame was applied to the soles of their feet, until the muscles, contracted by burning, were torn from the bones; then torches, lighted and put out again, were directed to all the members of their bodies, so that no part had any exemption. Meanwhile cold water was continually poured on their faces, and their mouths moistened, lest, by reason of their jaws being parched, they should expire. At length they did expire, when, after many hours, the violent heat had consumed their skin and penetrated into their intestines. The dead carcases were laid on a funeral pile, and wholly burnt; their bones were gathered, ground to powder, and thrown into the river, or into the sea.
Chapter XXII.
And now that cruelty, which he had learned in torturing the Christians, became habitual, and he exercised it against all men indiscriminately.25 He was not wont to inflict the slighter sorts of punishment, as to banish, to imprison, or to send criminals to work in the mines; but to burn, to crucify, to expose to wild beasts, were things done daily, and without hesitation. For smaller offences, those of his own household and his stewards were chastised with lances, instead of rods; and, in great offences, to be beheaded was an indulgence shown to very few; and it seemed as a favour, on account of old services, when one was permitted to die in the easiest manner. But these were slight evils in the government of Galerius, when compared with what follows. For eloquence was extinguished, pleaders cut off, and the learned in the laws either exiled or slain. Useful letters came to be viewed in the same light as magical and forbidden arts; and all who possessed them were trampled upon and execrated, as if they had been hostile to government, and public enemies. Law was dissolved, and unbounded licence permitted to judges,-to judges chosen from amongst the soldiery, rude and illiterate men, and let loose upon the provinces, without assessors to guide or control them.
Chapter XXIII.
But that which gave rise to public and universal calamity, was the tax imposed at once on each province and city. Surveyors having been spread abroad, and occupied in a general and severe scrutiny, horrible scenes were exhibited, like the outrages of victorious enemies, and the wretched state of captives. Each spot of ground was measured, vines and fruit-trees numbered, lists taken of animals of every kind, and a capitation-roll made up. In cities, the common people, whether residing within or without the walls, were assembled, the market-places filled with crowds of families, all attended with their children and slaves, the noise of torture and scourges resounded, sons were hung on the rack to force discovery of the effects of their fathers, the most trusty slaves compelled by pain to bear witness against their masters, and wives to bear witness against their husbands, In default of all other evidence, men were tortured to speak against themselves; and no sooner did agony oblige them to acknowledge what they had not, but those imaginary effects were noted down in the lists. Neither youth, nor old age, nor sickness, afforded any exemption. The diseased and the infirm were carried in; the age of each was estimated; and, that the capitation-tax might be enlarged, years were added to the young and struck off from the old. General lamentation and sorrow prevailed. Whatever, by the laws of war, conquerors had done to the conquered, the like did this man presume to perpetrate against Romans and the subjects of Rome, because his forefathers had been made liable to a like tax imposed by the victorious Trajan, as a penalty on the Dacians for their frequent rebellions. After this, money was levied for each head, as if a price had been paid for liberty to exist; yet full trust was not reposed on the same set of surveyors, but others and others still were sent round to make further discoveries; and thus the tributes were redoubled, not because the new surveyors made any fresh discoveries, but because they added at pleasure to the former rates, lest they should seem to have been employed to no purpose. Meanwhile the number of animals decreased, and men died; nevertheless taxes were paid even for the dead, so that no one could either live or cease to live without being subject to impositions. There remained mendicants alone, from whom nothing could be exacted, and whom their misery and wretchedness secured from ill-treatment. But this pious man had compassion on them, and determining that they should remain no longer in indigence, he caused them all to be assembled, put on board vessels, and sunk in the sea. So merciful was he in making provision that under his administration no man should want! And thus, while he took effectual measures that none, under the reigned pretext of poverty, should elude the tax, he put to death a multitude of real wretches, in violation of every law of humanity.
Chapter XXIV.
Already the judgment of God approached him, and that season ensued in which his fortunes began to droop and to waste away. While occupied in the manner that I have described above, he did not set himself to subvert or expel Constantius, but waited for his death, not imagining, however, that it was so nigh. Constantius, having become exceedingly ill, wrote to Galerius, and requested that his son Constantine might be sent to see him. He had made a like request long before, but in vain; for Galerius meant nothing less than to grant it. On the contrary, he laid repeated snares for the life of that young man, because he durst not use open violence, lest he should stir up civil wars against himself, and incur that which he most dreaded, the hate and resentment of the army. Under pretence of manly exercise and recreation, he made him combat with wild beasts: but this device was frustrated; for the power of God protected Constantine, and in the very moment of jeopardy rescued him from the hands of Galerius. At length, Galerius, when he could no longer avoid complying with the request of Constantius, one evening gave Constantine a warrant to depart, and commanded him to set out next morning with the imperial despatches. Galerius meant either to find some pretext for detaining Constantine, or to forward orders to Severus for arresting him on the road. Constantine discerned his purpose; and therefore, after supper, when the emperor was gone to rest, he hasted away, carried off from the principal stages all the horses maintained at the public expense, and escaped. Next day the emperor, having purposely remained in his bed-chamber until noon, ordered Constantine to be called into his presence; but he learnt that Constantine had set out immediately after supper. Outrageous with passion, he ordered horses to be made ready, that Constantine might be pursued and dragged back; and hearing that all the horses had been carried off from the great road, he could hardly refrain from tears. Meanwhile Constantine, journeying with incredible rapidity, reached his father, who was already about to expire. Constantius recommended his son to the soldiers, delivered the sovereign authority into his hands, and then died, as his wish had long been, in peace and quiet.
Constantine Augustus, having assumed the government, made it his first care to restore the Christians to the exercise of their worship and to their God; and so began his administration by reinstating26 the holy religion.
Chapter XXV.
Some few days after, the portrait of Constantine, adorned with laurels, was brought to the pernicious wild beast, that, by receiving that symbol, he might acknowledge Constantine in the quality of emperor. He hesitated long whether to receive it or not, and he was about to commit both the portrait and its bearer to the flames, but his confidants dissuaded him from a resolution so frantic. They admonished him of the danger, and they represented that, if Constantine came with an armed force, all the soldiers, against whose inclination obscure or unknown Caesars had been created, would acknowledge him, and crowd eagerly to his standard. So Galerius, although with the utmost unwillingness, accepted the portrait, and sent the imperial purple to Constantine, that he might seem of his own accord to have received that prince into partnership of power with him. And now his plans were deranged, and he could not, as he intended formerly, admit Licinius, without exceeding the limited number of emperors. But this he devised, that Severus, who was more advanced in life, should be named emperor, and that Constantine, instead of the title of emperor, to which he had been named, should receive that of Caesar in common with Maximin Daia, and so be degraded from the second place to the fourth.
Chapter XXVI.
Things seemed to be arranged in some measure to the satisfaction of Galerius, when another alarm was brought, that his son-in-law Maxentius had been declared emperor at Rome. The cause was this: Galerius having resolved by permanent taxes to devour the empire, soared to such extravagance in folly, as not to allow an exemption from that thraldom even to the Roman people. Tax-gatherers therefore were appointed to go to Rome, and make out lists of the citizens. Much about the same time Galerius had reduced the Pretorian Guards. There remained at Rome a few soldiers of that body, who, profiting of the opportunity, put some magistrates to death, and, with the acquiescence of the tumultuary populace, clothed Maxentius in the imperial purple. Galerius, on receiving this news, was disturbed at the strangeness of the event, but not much dismayed. He hated Maxentius, and he could not bestow on him the dignity of Caesar already enjoyed by two (Daia and Constantine); besides, he thought it enough for him to have once bestowed that dignity against his inclination. So he sent for Severus, exhorted him to regain his dominion and sovereignty, and he put under his command that army which Maximian Herculius had formerly commanded, that he might attack Maxentius at Rome. There the soldiers of Maximian had been oftentimes received with every sort of luxurious accommodation, so that they were not only interested to preserve the city, but they also longed to fix their residence in it.
Maxentius well knew the enormity of his own offences; and although he had as it were an hereditary claim to the services of his father's army, and might have hoped to draw it over to himself, yet he reflected that this consideration might occur to Galerius also, and induce him to leave Severus in Illyricum, and march in person with his own army against Rome. Under such apprehensions, Maxentius sought to protect himself from the danger that hung over him. To his father, who since his abdication resided in Campania, he sent the purple, and saluted him again Augustus. Maximian, given to change, eagerly resumed that purple of which he had unwillingly divested himself. Meanwhile Severus marched on, and with his troops approached the walls of the city. Presently the soldiers raised up their ensigns, abandoned Severus, and yielded themselves to Maxentius, against whom they had come. What remained but flight for Severus, thus deserted? He was encountered by Maximian, who had resumed the imperial dignity. On this he took refuge in Ravenna, and shut himself up there with a few soldiers. But perceiving that he was about to be delivered up, he voluntarily surrendered himself, and restored the purple to him from whom he had received it; and after this he obtained no other grace but that of an easy death, for he was compelled to open his veins, and in that gentle manner expired.
Chapter XXVII.
But Maximian, who knew the outrageous temper of Galerius, began to consider that, fired with rage on hearing of the death of Severus, he would march into Italy, and that possibly he might be joined by Data, and so bring into the field forces too powerful to be resisted. Having therefore fortified Rome, and made diligent provision for a defensive war, Maximian went into Gaul, that he might give his younger daughter Fausta in marriage to Constantine, and thus win over that prince to his interest. Meantime Galerius assembled his troops, invaded Italy, and advanced towards Rome, resolving to extinguish the senate and put the whole people to the sword. But he found everything shut and fortified against him. There was no hope of carrying the place by storm, and to besiege it was an arduous undertaking; for Galerius had not brought with him an army sufficient to invest the walls. Probably, having never seen Rome, he imagined it to be little superior in size to those cities with which be was acquainted. But some of his legions, detesting the wicked enterprise of a father against his son-in-law, and of Romans against Rome, renounced his authority, and carried over their ensigns to the enemy. Already had his remaining soldiers begun to waver, when Galerius, dreading a fate like that of Severus, and having his haughty spirit broken and humiliated, threw himself at the feet of his soldiers, and continued to beseech them that he might not be delivered to the foe, until, by the promise of mighty largesses, he prevailed on them. Then he retreated from Rome, and fled in great disorder. Easily might he have been cut off in his flight, had any one pursued him even with a small body of troops. He was aware of his danger, and allowed his soldiers to disperse themselves, and to plunder and destroy far and wide, that, if there were any pursuers, they might be deprived of all means of subsistence in a mined country. So the parts of Italy through which that pestilent band took its course were wasted, all things pillaged, matrons forced, virgins violated, parents and husbands compelled by torture to disclose where they had concealed their goods, and their wives and daughters; flocks and herds of cattle were driven off like spoils taken from barbarians. And thus did he, once a Roman emperor, but now the ravager of Italy, retire into his own territories, after having afflicted all men indiscriminately with the calamities of war. Long ago, indeed, and at the very time of his obtaining sovereign power, he had avowed himself the enemy of the Roman name; and he proposed that the empire should be called, not the Roman, but the Dacian empire.
Chapter XXVIII.
After the flight of Galerius, Maximian, having returned from Gaul, held authority in common with his son; but more obedience was yielded to the young man than to the old: for Maxentius had most power, and had been longest in possession of it; and it was to him that Maximian owed on this occasion the imperial dignity. The old man was impatient at being denied the exercise of uncontrolled sovereignty, and envied his son with a childish spirit of rivalry; and therefore he began to consider how he might expel Maxentius and resume his ancient dominion. This appeared easy, because the soldiers who deserted Severus had originally served in his own army. He called an assembly of the people of Rome, and of the soldiers, as if he had been to make an harangue on the calamitous situation of public affairs. After having spoken much on that subject, he stretched his hands towards his son, charged him as author of all ills and prime cause of the calamities of the state, and then tore the purple from his shoulders. Maxentius, thus stripped, leaped headlong from the tribunal, and was received into the arms of the soldiers. Their rage and clamour confounded the unnatural old man, and, like another Tarquin the Proud, he was driven from Rome.
Chapter XXIX.
Then Maximian returned into Gaul; and after having made some stay in those quarters, he went to Galerius, the enemy of his son, that they might confer together, as he pretended, about the settlement of the commonweal; but his true purpose was, under colour of reconciliation, to find an opportunity of murdering Galerius, and of seizing his share of the empire, instead of his own, from which he had been everywhere excluded.
Diocles was at the court of Galerius when Maximian arrived; for Galerius, meaning now to invest Licinius with the ensigns of supreme power in the room of Severus, had lately sent for Diocles to be present at the solemnity. So it was performed in presence both of him and of Maximian; and thus there were six who ruled the empire at one and the same time.27
Now the designs of Maximian having been frustrated, he took flight, as he had done twice before, and returned into Gaul, with a heart full of wickedness, and intending by treacherous devices to overreach Constantine, who was not only his own son-in-law, but also the child of his son-in-law; and that he might the more successfully deceive, he laid aside the imperial purple. The Franks had taken up arms. Maximian advised the unsuspecting Constantine not to lead all his troops against them, and he said that a few soldiers would suffice to subdue those barbarians. He gave this advice that an army might be left for him to win over to himself, and that Constantine, by reason of his scanty forces, might be overpowered. The young prince believed the advice to be judicious, because given by an aged and experienced commander; and he followed it, because given by a father-in-law.He marched, leaving the most considerable part of his forces behind. Maximian waited a few days; and as soon as, by his calculation, Constantine had entered the territory of the barbarians, he suddenly resumed the imperial purple, seized the public treasures, after his wont made ample donatives to the soldiery, and feigned that such disasters had befallen Constantine as soon after befell himself. Constantine was presently informed of those events, and, by marches astonishingly rapid, he flew back with his army. Maximian, not yet prepared to oppose him, was overpowered at unawares, and the soldiers returned to their duty. Maximian had possessed himself of Marseilles (he fled thither), and shut the gates. Constantine drew nigh, and seeing Maximian on the walls, addressed him in no harsh or hostile language, and demanded what he meant, and what it was that he wanted, and why he had acted in a way so peculiarly unbecoming him. But Maximian from the walls incessantly uttered abuse and curses against Constantine. Then, of a sudden, the gates on the opposite side having been unbarred, the besiegers were admitted into the city. The rebel emperor, and unnatural parent and a perfidious father-in-law, was dragged into the presence of Constantine, heard a recital made of his crimes, was divested of his imperial robe, and, after this reprimand, obtained his life.
Chapter XXX.
Maximian, having thus forfeited the respect due to an emperor and a father-in-law, grew impatient at his abased condition, and, emboldened by impunity, formed new plots against Constantine. He addressed himself to his daughter Fausta, and, as well by entreaties as by the soothing of flattery, solicited her to betray her husband. He promised to obtain for her a more honourable alliance than that with Constantine; and he requested her to allow the bed-chamber of the emperor to be left open, and to be slightly guarded. Fausta undertook to do whatever he asked, and instantly revealed the whole to her husband. A plan was laid for detecting Maximian in the very execution of his crime. They placed a base eunuch to be murdered instead of the emperor. At the dead of night Maximian arose, and perceived all things to be favourable for his insidious purpose. There were few soldiers on guard, and these too at some distance from the bed-chamber. However, to prevent suspicion, he accosted them, and said that he had had a dream which he wished to communicate to his son-in-law. He went in armed, slew the eunuch, sprung forth exultingly, and avowed the murder. At that moment Constantine showed himself on the opposite side with a band of soldiers; the dead body was brought out of the bed-chamber; the murderer, taken in the fact, all aghast,
"Stood like a stone, silent and motionless; "
while Constantine upbraided him for his impiety and enormous guilt. At last Maximian obtained leave that the manner of his death should be at his own choice, and he strangled himself.
Thus that mightiest sovereign of Rome-who ruled so long with exceeding glory, and who celebrated his twentieth anniversary-thus that most haughty man had his neck broken, and ended his detestable life by a death base and ignominious.
Chapter XXXI.
From Maximian, God, the avenger of religion and of His people, turned his eyes to Galerius, the author of the accursed persecution, that in his punishment also He might manifest the power of His majesty. Galerius, too, was purposing to celebrate his twentieth anniversary; and as, under that pretext, he had, by new taxes payable in gold and silver, oppressed the provinces, so now, that he might recompense them by celebrating. the promised festival, he used the like pretext for repeating his oppressions. Who can relate in fit terms the methods used to harass mankind in levying the tax, and especially with regard to corn and the other fruits of the earth? The officers, or rather the executioners, of all the different magistrates, seized on each individual, and would never let go their hold. No man knew to whom he ought to make payment first. There was no dispensation given to those who had nothing; and they were required, under pain of being variously tortured, instantly to pay, notwithstanding their inability.Many guards were set round, no breathing time was granted, or, at any season of the year, the least respite from exactions. Different magistrates, or the officers of different magistrates, frequently contended for the right of levying the tax from the same persons. No threshing-floor without a tax-gatherer, no vintage without a watch, and nought left for the sustenance of the husbandman! That food should be snatched from the mouths of those who had earned it by toil, was grievous: the hope, however, of being afterwards relieved, might have made that grievance supportable; but it was necessary for every one who appeared at the anniversary festival to provide robes of various kinds, and gold and silver besides. And one might have said," How shall I furnish myself with those things, O tyrant void of understanding, if you carry off the whole fruits of my ground, and violently seize its expected produce? "Thus, throughout the dominions of Galerius, men were spoiled of their goods, and all was raked together into the imperial treasury, that the emperor might be enabled to perform his vow of celebrating a festival which he was doomed never to celebrate.
Chapter XXXII.
Maximin Daia was incensed at the nomination of Licinius to the dignity of emperor, and he would no longer be called Caesar, or allow himself to be ranked as third in authority. Galerius, by repeated messages, besought Daia to yield, and to acquiesce in his arrangement, to give place to age, and to reverence the grey hairs of Licinius. But Daia became more and more insolent. He urged that, as it was he who first assumed the purple, so, by possession, he had right to priority in rank; and he set at nought the entreaties and the injunctions of Galerius. That brute animal was stung to the quick, and bellowed when the mean creature whom he had made Caesar, in expectation of his thorough obsequiousness, forgot the great favour conferred on him, and impiously withstood the requests and will of his benefactor. Galerius at length, overcome by the obstinacy of Daia, abolished the subordinate title of Caesar, gave to himself and Licinius that of the Augusti, and to Daia and Constantine that of sons of the Augusti. Daia, some time after, in a letter to Galerius, took occasion to observe, that at the last general muster he had been saluted by his army under the title of Augustus. Galerius, vexed and grieved at this, commanded that all the four should have the appellation of emperor.28
Chapter XXXIII.
And now, when Galerius was in the eighteenth year of his reign, God struck him with an incurable plague. A malignant ulcer formed itself low down in his secret parts, and spread by degrees. The physicians attempted to eradicate it, and healed up the place affected. But the sore, after having been skinned over, broke out again; a vein burst, and the blood flowed in such quantity as to endanger his life. The blood, however, was stopped, although with difficulty. The physicians had to undertake their operations anew, and at length they cicatrized the wound. In consequence of some slight motion of his body, Galerius received a hurt, and the blood streamed more abundantly than before. He grew emaciated, pallid, and feeble, and the bleeding then stanched. The ulcer began to be insensible to the remedies applied, and a gangrene seized all the neighbouring parts. It diffused itself the wider the more the corrupted flesh was cut away, and everything employed as the means of cure served but to aggravate the disease.
"The masters of the healing art withdrew."
Then famous physicians were brought in from all quarters; but no human means had any success. Apollo and Aesculapius were besought importunately for remedies: Apollo did prescribe, and the distemper augmented. Already approaching to its deadly crisis, it had occupied the lower regions of his body: his bowels came out, and his whole seat putrefied. The luckless physicians, although without hope of overcoming the malady, ceased not to apply fomentations and administer medicines. The humours having been repelled, the distemper attacked his intestines, and worms were generated in his body. The stench was so foul as to pervade not only the palace, but even the whole city; and no wonder, for by that time the passages from his bladder and bowels, having been devoured by the worms, became indiscriminate, and his body, with intolerable anguish, was dissolved into one mass of corruption.29
"Stung to the soul, he bellowed with the pain,
So roars the wounded bull."-Pitt.
They applied warm flesh of animals to the chief seat of the disease, that the warmth might draw out those minute worms; and accordingly, when the dressings were removed, there issued forth an innumerable swarm: nevertheless the prolific disease had hatched swarms much more abundant to prey upon and consume his intestines. Already, through a complication of distempers, the different parts of his body had lost their natural form: the superior part was dry, meagre, and haggard, and his ghastly-looking skin had settled itself deep amongst his bones while the inferior, distended like bladders, re rained no appearance of joints. These things happened in the course of a complete year; and at length, overcome by calamities, he was obliged to acknowledge God, and he cried aloud, in the intervals of raging pain, that he would re-edify the Church which he had demolished, and make atonement for his misdeeds; and when he was near his end, he published an edict of the tenor following:-
Chapter XXXIV.
"Amongst our other regulations for the permanent advantage of the commonweal, we have hitherto studied to reduce all things to a conformity with the ancient laws and public discipline of the Romans.
"It has been our aim in an especial manner, that the Christians also, who had abandoned the religion of their forefathers, should return to right opinions. For such wilfulness and folly had, we know not how, taken possession of them, that instead of observing those ancient institutions, which possibly their own forefathers had established, they, through caprice, made laws to themselves, and drew together into different societies many men of widely different persuasions.
"After the publication of our edict, ordaining the Christians to betake themselves to the observance of the ancient institutions, many of them were subdued through the fear of danger, and moreover many of them were exposed to jeopardy; nevertheless, because great numbers still persist in their opinions, and because we have perceived that at present they neither pay reverence and due adoration to the gods, nor yet worship their own God, therefore we, from our wonted clemency in bestowing pardon on all, have judged it fit to extend our indulgence to those men, and to permit them again to be Christians, and to establish the places of their religious assemblies; yet so as that they offend not against good order.
"By another mandate we purpose to signify unto magistrates how they ought herein to demean themselves.
"Wherefore it will be the duty of the Christians, in consequence of this our toleration, to pray to their God for our welfare, and for that of the public, and for their own; that the commonweal may continue safe in every quarter, and that they themselves may live securely in their habitations."
Chapter XXXV.
This edict was promulgated at Nicomedia on the day preceding the kalends of May,30 in the eighth consulship of Galerius, and the second of Maximin Daia. Then the prison-gates having been thrown open, you, my best beloved Donatus,31 together with the other confessors for the faith, were set at liberty from a jail, which had been your residence for six years. Galerius, however, did not, by publication of this edict, obtain the divine forgiveness. In a few days after he was consumed by the horrible disease that had brought on an universal putrefaction. Dying, he recommended his wife and son to Licinius, and delivered them over into his hands. This event was known at Nicomedia before the end of the month.32 His vicennial anniversary was to have been celebrated on the ensuing kalends of March.33
Chapter XXXVI.
Daia, on receiving this news, hasted with relays of horses from the East, to seize the dominions of Galerius, and, while Licinius lingered in Europe, to arrogate to himself all the country as far as the narrow seas of Chalcedon. On his entry into Bithynia, he, with the view of acquiring immediate popularity, abolished Galerius' tax, to the great joy of all. Dissension arose between the two emperors, and almost an open war. They stood on the opposite shores with their armies. Peace, however, and amity were established under certain conditions. Licinius and Daia met on the narrow sees, concluded a treaty, and in token of friendship joined hands. Then Daia, believing all things to be in security, returned (to Nicomedia), and was in his new dominions what he had been in Syria and Egypt. First of all, he took away the toleration and general protection granted by Galerius to the Christians, and, for this end, he secretly procured addresses from different cities, requesting that no Christian church might be built within their walls; and thus he meant to make that which was his own choice appear as if extorted from him by importunity. In compliance with those addresses, he introduced a new mode of government in things respecting religion, and for each city he created a high priest, chosen from among the persons of most distinction. The office of those men was to make daily sacrifices to all their gods, and, with the aid of the former priests, to prevent the Christians from erecting churches, or from worshipping God either publicly or in private; and he authorized them to compel the Christians to sacrifice to idols, and, on their refusal, to bring them before the civil magistrate; and, as if this had not been enough, in every province he established a superintendent priest, one of chief eminence in the state; and he commanded that all those priests newly instituted should appear in white habits, that being the most honourable distinction of dress.34 And as to the Christians, he purposed to follow the course that he had followed in the East, and, affecting the show of clemency, he forbade the slaying of God's servants, but he gave command that they should be mutilated. So the confessors for the faith had their ears and nostrils slit, their hands and feet lopped off, and their eyes dug out of the sockets.
Chapter XXXVII.
While occupied in this plan, he received letters from Constantine which deterred him from proceeding in its execution, so for a time he dissembled his purpose; nevertheless any Christian that fell within his power was privily thrown into the sea. Neither did he cease from his custom of sacrificing every day in the palace. It was also an invention of his to cause all animals used for food to be slaughtered, not by cooks, but by priests at the altars.; so that nothing was ever served up, unless foretasted, consecrated, and sprinkled with wine, according to the rites of paganism; and whoever was invited to an entertainment must needs have returned from it impure and defiled. In all things else he resembled his preceptor Galerius. For if aught chanced to have been left untouched by Diocles and Maximian, that did Daia greedily and shamelessly carry off. And now the granaries, of each individual were shut, and all warehouses sealed up, and taxes, not yet due, were levied by anticipation. Hence famine, from neglect of cultivation, and the prices of all things enhanced beyond measure. Herds and flocks were driven from their pasture for the daily sacrifice. By gorging his soldiers with the flesh of sacrifices, he so corrupted them, that they disdained their wonted pittance in corn, and wantonly threw it away. Meanwhile Daia recompensed his bodyguards, who were very numerous, with costly raiment and gold medals, made donatives in silver to the common soldiers and recruits, and bestowed every sort of largess on the barbarians who served in his army. As to grants of the property of living persons, which he made to his favourites whenever they chose to ask what belonged to another, I know not whether the same thanks might not be due to him that are given to merciful robbers, who spoil without murdering.
Chapter XXXVIII.
But that which distinguished his character, and in which he transcended all former emperors, was his desire of debauching women. What else can I call it but a blind and headstrong passion? Yet such epithets feebly express my indignation in reciting his enormities. The magnitude of the guilt overpowers my tongue, and makes it unequal to its office. Eunuchs and panders made search everywhere, and no sooner was any comely face discovered, than husbands and parents were obliged to withdraw. Matrons of quality and virgins were stripped of their robes, and all their limbs were inspected, lest any part should be unworthy of the bed of the emperor. Whenever a woman resisted, death by drowning was inflicted on her; as if, under the reign of this adulterer, chastity had been treason. Some men there were, who, beholding the violation of wives whom for virtue and fidelity they affectionately loved, could not endure their anguish of mind, and so killed themselves. While this monster ruled, it was singular deformity alone which could shield the honour of any female from his savage desires. At length he introduced a custom prohibiting marriage unless with the imperial permission; and he made this an instrument to serve the purposes of his lewdness. After having debauched freeborn maidens, he gave them for wives to his slaves. His conflicts also imitated the example of the emperor, and violated with impunity the beds of their dependants. For who was there to punish such offences? As for the daughters of men of middle rank, any who were inclined took them by force. Ladies of quality, who could not be taken by force, were petitioned for, and obtained from the emperor by way of free gift. Nor could a father oppose this; for the imperial warrant having been once signed, he had no alternative but to die, or to receive some barbarian as his son-in-law. For hardly was there any person in the lifeguard except of those people, who, having been driven from their habitations by the Goths in the twentieth year of Diocletian, yielded themselves to Galerius and entered into his service. It was ill for humankind, that men who had fled from the bondage of barbarians should thus come to lord it over the Romans. Environed by such guards, Daia oppressed and insulted the Eastern empire.
Chapter XXXIX.
Now Daia, in gratifying his libidinous desires, made his own will the standard of right; and therefore he would not refrain from soliciting the widow of Galerius, the Empress Valeria, to whom he had lately given the appellation of mother. After the death of her husband, she had repaired to Daia, because she imagined that she might live with more security in his dominions than elsewhere, especially as he was a married man; but the flagitious creature became instantly inflamed with a passion for her. Valeria was still in weeds, the time of her mourning not being yet expired. He sent a message to her proposing marriage, and offering, on her compliance, to put away his wife. She frankly returned an answer such as she alone could dare to do: first, that she would not treat of marriage while she was in weeds, and while the ashes of Galerius, her husband, and, by adoption, the father of Daia, were yet warm; next, that he acted impiously, in proposing to divorce a faithful wife to make room for another, whom in her turn he would also cast off; and, lastly, that it was indecent, unexampled, and unlawful for a woman of her title and dignity to engage a second time in wedlock.35 This bold answer having been reported to Daia, presently his desires changed into rage and furious resentment. He pronounced sentence of forfeiture against the princess, seized her goods, removed her attendants, tortured her eunuchs to death, and banished her and her mother Prisca: but he appointed no particular place for her residence while in banishment; and hence he insultingly expelled her from every abode that she took in the course of her wanderings; and, to complete all, he condemned the ladies who enjoyed most of her friendship and confidence to die on a false accusation of adultery.
Chapter XL.
There was a certain matron of high rank who already had grandchildren by more than one son. Her Valeria loved like a second mother, and Daia suspected that her advice had produced that refusal which Valeria gave to his matrimonial offers; and therefore he charged the president Eratineus to have her put to death in a way that might injure her fame. To her two others, equally noble, were added. One of them, who had a daughter a Vestal virgin at Rome, maintained an intercourse by stealth with the banished Valeria. The other, married to a senator, was; intimately connected with the empress. Excellent beauty and virtue proved the cause of their death. They were dragged to the tribunal, not of an upright judge, but of a robber. Neither indeed was there any accuser, until a certain Jew, one charged with other offences, was induced, through hope of pardon, to give false evidence against the innocent. The equitable and vigilant magistrate conducted him out of the city under a guard, lest the populace should have stoned him. This tragedy was acted at Nicaela. The Jew was ordered to the torture till he should speak as he had been instructed, while the torturers by blows prevented the women from speaking in their own defence. The innocent were condemned to die. Then there arose wailing and lamentation, not only of the senator, who attended on his well-deserving consort, but amongst the spectators also, whom this proceeding, scandalous and unheard of, had brought together; and, to prevent the multitude from violently rescuing the condemned persons out of the hands of the executioners, military commanders followed with light infantry and archers. And thus, under a guard of armed soldiers, they were led to punishment. Their domestics having been forced to flee, they would have remained without burial, had not the compassion of friends interred them by stealth. Nor was the promise of pardon made good to the feigned adulterer, for he was fixed to a gibbet, and then he disclosed the whole secret contrivance; and with his last breath he protested to all the beholders that the women died innocent.
Chapter XLI.
But the empress, an exile in some desert region of Syria, secretly informed her father Diocletian of the calamity that had befallen her. He despatched messengers to Daia, requesting that his daughter might be sent to him. He could not prevail. Again and again he entreated; yet she was not sent. At length he employed a relation of his, a military man high in power and authority, to implore Daia by the remembrance of past favours. This messenger, equally unsuccessful in his negotiation as the others. reported to Diocletian that his prayers were vain.
Chapter XLII.
At this time, by command of Constantine, the statues of Maximian Herculius were thrown down, and his portraits removed; and, as the two old emperors were generally delineated in one piece, the portraits of both were removed at the same time. Thus Diocletian lived to see a disgrace which no former emperor had ever seen, and, trader the double load of vexation of spirit and bodily maladies, he resolved to die. Tossing to and fro, with his soul agitated by grief, he could neither eat nor take rest. He sighed, groaned, and wept often, and incessantly threw himself into various postures, now on his couch, and now on the ground. So he, who for twenty years was the most prosperous of emperors, having been cast down into the obscurity of a private station, treated in the most contumelious manner, and compelled to abhor life, became incapable of receiving nourishment, and, worn out with anguish of mind, expired.
Chapter XLIII.
Of the adversaries of God there still remained one, whose overthrow and end I am now to relate.
Daia had entertained jealousy and ill-will against Licinius from the time that the preference was given to him by Galerius; and those sentiments still subsisted, notwithstanding the treaty of peace lately concluded between them. When Daia heard that the sister of Constantine was betrothed to Licinius, he apprehended that the two emperors, by contracting this affinity, meant to league against him; so he privily sent ambassadors to Rome, desiring a friendly alliance with Maxentius: he also wrote to him in terms of cordiality. The ambassadors were received courteously, friendship established, and in token of it the effigies of Maxentius and Daia were placed together in public view. Maxentius willingly embraced this, as if it had been an aid from heaven; for he had already declared war against Constantine, as if to revenge the death of his father Maximian. From this appearance of filial piety a suspicion arose, that the detestable old man had but feigned a quarrel with his son that he might have an opportunity to destroy his rivals in power, and so make way for himself and his son to possess the whole empire. This conjecture, however, had no foundation; for his true purpose was to have destroyed his son and the others, and then to have reinstated himself and Diocletian in sovereign authority.
Chapter XLIV.
And now a civil war broke out between Constantine and Maxentius. Although Maxentius kept himself within Rome, because the soothsayers had foretold that if he went out of it he should perish, yet he conducted the military operations by able generals. In forces he exceeded his adversary; for he had not only his father's army, which deserted from Severus, but also his own, which he had lately drawn together out of Mauritania and Italy. They fought, and the troops of Maxentius prevailed. At length Constantine, with steady courage and a mind prepared for every event, led his whole forces to the neighbourhood of Rome, and encamped them opposite to the Milvian bridge. The anniversary of the reign of Maxentius approached, that is, the sixth of the kalends of November,36 and the fifth year of his reign was drawing to an end.
Constantine was directed in a dream to cause the heavenly sign to be delineated on the shields of his soldiers, and so to proceed to battle. He did as he had been commanded, and he marked on their shields the letter X, with a perpendicular line drawn through it and turned round thus at the top, being the cipher of Christ. Having this sign ( ), his troops stood to arms. The enemies advanced, but without their emperor, and they crossed the bridge. The armies met, and fought with the utmost exertions of valour, and firmly maintained their ground. In the meantime a sedition arose at Rome, and Maxentius was reviled as one who had abandoned all concern for the safety of the commonweal; and suddenly, while he exhibited the Circensian games on the anniversary of his reign, the people cried with one voice, "Constantine cannot be overcome!" Dismayed at this, Maxentius burst from the assembly, and having called some senators together, ordered the Sibylline books to be searched. In them it was found that:-
"On the same day the enemy of the Romans should perish."
Led by this response to the hopes of victory, he went to the field. The bridge in his rear was broken down. At sight of that the battle grew hotter. The hand of the Lord prevailed, and the forces of Maxentius were routed. He fled towards the broken bridge; but the multitude pressing on him, he was driven headlong into the Tiber.
This destructive war being ended, Constantine was acknowledged as emperor, with great rejoicings, by the senate and people of Rome. And now he came to know the perfidy of Daia; for he found the letters written to Maxentius, and saw the statues and portraits of the two associates which had been set up together. The senate, in reward of the valour of Constantine, decreed to him the title of Maximus (the Greatest), a title which Daia had always arrogated to himself. Daia, when he heard that Constantine was victorious and Rome freed, expressed as much sorrow as if he himself had been vanquished; but afterwards, when he heard of the decree of the senate, he grew outrageous, avowed enmity towards Constantine, and made his title of the Greatest a theme of abuse and raillery.
Chapter XLV.
Constantine having settled all things at Rome, went to Milan about the beginning of winter. Thither also Licinius came to receive his wife Constantia. When Daia understood that they were busied in solemnizing the nuptials, he moved out of Syria in the depth of a severe winter, and by forced marches he came into Bithynia with an army much impaired; for he lost all his beasts of burden, of whatever kind, in consequence of excessive rains and snow, miry ways, cold and fatigue. Their carcases, scattered about the roads, seemed an emblem of the calamities of the impending war, and the presage of a like destruction that awaited the soldiers. Daia did not halt in his own territories; but immediately crossed the Thracian Bosphorus, and in a hostile manner approached the gates of Byzantium. There was a garrison in the city, established by Licinius to check any invasion that Daia might make. At first Daia attempted to entice the soldiers by the promise of donatives, and then to intimidate them by assault and storm. Yet neither promises nor force availed aught. After eleven days had elapsed, within which time Licinius might have learned the state of the garrison, the soldiers surrendered, not through treachery, but because they were too weak to make a longer resistance. Then Daia moved on to Heraclea (otherwise called Perinthus), and by delays of the like nature before that place lost some days. And now Licinius by expeditious marches had reached Adrianople, but with forces not numerous. Then Daia, having taken Perinthus by capitulation, and remained there for a short space, moved forwards eighteen miles to the first station. Here his progress was stopped; for Licinius had already occupied the second station, at the distance also of eighteen miles. Licinius, having assembled what forces he could from the neighbouring quarters, advanced towards Daia rather indeed to retard his operations than with any purpose of fighting, or hope of victory: for Daia had an army of seventy thousand men, while he himself had scarce thirty thousand; for his soldiers being dispersed in various regions, there was not time, on that sudden emergency, to collect all Of them together.
Chapter XLVI.
The armies thus approaching each other, seemed on the eve of a battle. Then Daia made this vow to Jupiter, that if he obtained victory he would extinguish and utterly efface the name of the Christians. And on the following night an angel of the Lord seemed to stand before Licinius while he was asleep, admonishing him to arise immediately, and with his whole army to put up a prayer to the Supreme God, and assuring him that by so doing he should obtain victory. Licinius fancied that, hearing this, he arose, and that his monitor, who was nigh him, directed how be should pray, and in what words. Awaking from sleep, he sent for one of his secretaries, and dictated these words exactly as he had heard them:-
"Supreme God, we beseech Thee; Holy God, we beseech Thee; unto Thee we commend all right; unto Thee we commend our safety; unto Thee we commend our empire. By Thee we live, by Thee we are victorious and happy. Supreme Holy God, hear our prayers; to Thee we stretch forth our arms. Hear, Holy Supreme God."
Many copies were made of these words, and distributed amongst the principal commanders, who were to teach them to the soldiers under their charge. At this all men took fresh courage, in the confidence that victory bad been announced to them from heaven. Licinius resolved to give battle on the kalends of May;37 for precisely eight years before Daia had received the dignity of Caesar, and Licinius chose that day in hopes that Daia might be vanquished on the anniversary of his reign, as Maxentius had been on his. Daia, however, purposed to give battle earlier, to fight on the day before those kalends,38 and to triumph on the anniversary of his reign. Accounts came that Daia was in motion; the soldiers of Licinius armed themselves; and advanced. A barren and open plain, called Campus Serenus, lay between the two armies. They were now in sight of one another. The soldiers of Licinius placed their shields on the ground, took off their helmets, and, following the example of their leaders, stretched forth their hands towards heaven. Then the emperor uttered the prayer, and they all repeated it after him. The host, doomed to speedy destruction, heard the murmur of the prayers of their adversaries. And now, the ceremony having been thrice performed, the soldiers of Licinius became full of courage, buckled on their helmets again, and resumed their shields. The two emperors advanced to a conference: but Daia could not be brought to peace; for he held Licinius in contempt, and imagined that the soldiers would presently abandon an emperor parsimonious in his donatives, and enter into the service of one liberal even to profusion. And indeed it was on this notion that he began the war. He looked for the voluntary surrender of the armies of Licinius; and, thus reinforced, he meant forthwith to have attacked Constantine.
Chapter XLVII.
So the two armies drew nigh; the trumpets ave the signal; the military ensigns advanced; the troops of Licinius charged. But the enemies, panic-struck, could neither draw their swords nor yet throw their javelins. Daia went about, and, alternately by entreaties and promises, attempted to seduce the soldiers of Licinius. But he was not hearkened to in any quarter, and they drove him back. Then were the troops of Daia slaughtered, none making resistance; and such numerous legions, and forces so mighty, were mowed down by an inferior enemy. No one called to mind his reputation, or former valour, or the honourable rewards which had been conferred on him. The Supreme God did so place their necks under the sword of their foes, that they seemed to have entered the field, not as combatants, but as men devoted to death. After great numbers had fallen, Daia perceived that everything went contrary to his hopes; and therefore he threw aside the purple, and having put on the habit of a slave, hasted across the Thracian Bosphorus. One half of his army perished in battle, and the rest either surrendered to the victor or fled; for now that the emperor himself had deserted, there seemed to be no shame in desertion Before the expiration of the kalends of May, Daia arrived at Nicomedia, although distant one hundred and sixty miles from the field of battle. So in the space of one day and two nights he performed that journey. Having hurried away with his children and wife, and a few officers of his court, he went towards Syria; but having been joined by some troops from those quarters, and having collected together a part of his fugitive forces, he halted in Cappadocia, and then he resumed the imperial garb.
Chapter XLVIII.
Not many days after the victory, Licinius, having received part of the soldiers of Daia into his service, and properly distributed them, transported his army into Bithynia, and having made his entry into Nicomedia, he returned thanks to God, through whose aid he had overcome; and on the ides of June,39 while he and Constantine were consuls for the third time, he commanded the following edict for the restoration of the Church, directed to the president of the province, to be promulgated:-
"When we, Constantine and Licinius, emperors, had an interview at Milan, and conferred together with respect to the good and security of the commonweal, it seemed to us that, amongst those things that are profitable to mankind in general, the reverence paid to the Divinity merited our first and chief attention, and that it was proper that the Christians and all others should have liberty to follow that mode of religion which to each of them appeared best; so that that God, who is seated in heaven, might be benign and propitious to us, and to every one under our government. And therefore we judged it a salutary measure, and one highly consonant to right reason, that no man should be denied leave of attaching himself to the rites of the Christians, or to whatever other religion his mind directed him, that thus the supreme Divinity, to whose worship we freely devote ourselves, might continue to vouchsafe His favour and beneficence to us. And accordingly we give you to know that, without regard to any provisos in our former orders to you concerning the Christians, all who choose that religion are to be permitted, freely and absolutely, to remain in it, and not to be disturbed any ways, or molested. And we thought fit to be thus special in the things committed to your charge, that you might understand that the indulgence which we have granted in matters of religion to the Christians is ample and unconditional; and perceive at the same tithe that the open and free exercise of their respective religions is granted to all others, as well as to the Christians. For it befits the well-ordered state and the tranquillity of our times that each individual be allowed, according to his own choice, to worship the Divinity; and we mean not to derogate aught from the honour due to any religion or its votaries. Moreover, with respect to the Christians, we formerly gave certain orders concerning the places appropriated for their religious assemblies; but now we will that all persons who have purchased such places, either from our exchequer or from any one else, do restore them to the Christians, without money demanded or price claimed, and that this be performed peremptorily and unambiguously; and we will also, that they who have obtained any right to such places by form of gift do forthwith restore them to the Christians: reserving always to such persons, who have either purchased for a price, or gratuitously acquired them, to make application to the judge of the district, if they look on themselves as entitled to any equivalent from our beneficence.
"All those places are, by your intervention, to be immediately restored to the Christians. And because it appears that, besides the places appropriated to religious worship, the Christians did possess other places, which belonged not to individuals, but to their society in general, that is, to their churches, we comprehend all such within the regulation aforesaid, and we will that you cause them all to be restored to the society or churches, and that without hesitation or controversy: Provided always, that the persons making restitution without a price paid shall be at liberty to seek indemnification from our bounty. In furthering all which things for the behoof of the Christians, you are to use your utmost diligence, to the end that our orders be speedily obeyed, and our gracious purpose in securing the public tranquillity promoted. So shall that divine favour which, in affairs of the mightiest importance, we have already experienced, continue to give success to us, and in our successes make the commonweal happy. And that the tenor of this our gracious ordinance may be made known unto all, we will that you cause it by your authority to be published everywhere."
Licinius having issued this ordinance, made an harangue, in which he exhorted the Christians to rebuild their religious edifices. And thus, from the overthrow of the Church until its restoration, there was a space of ten years and about four months.
Chapter XLIX.
While Licinius pursued with his army, the fugitive tyrant retreated, and again occupied the passes of mount Taurus; and there, by erecting parapets and towers, attempted to stop the march of Licinius. But the victorious troops, by an attack made on the right, broke through all obstacles, and Daia at length fled to Tarsus. There, being hard pressed both by sea and land, he despaired of finding any place for refuge; and in the anguish and dismay of his mind, he sought death as the only remedy of those calamities that God had heaped on him. But first he gorged himself with food, and large draughts of wine, as those are wont who believe that they eat and drink for the last time; and so he swallowed poison. However, the force of the poison, repelled by his full stomach, could not immediately operate, but it produced a grievous disease, resembling the pestilence; and his life was prolonged only that his sufferings might be more severe. And now the poison began to rage, and to burn up everything within him, so that he was driven to distraction with the intolerable pain; and during a fit of frenzy, which lasted four days, he gathered handfuls of earth, and greedily devoured it. Having undergone various and excruciating torments, he dashed his forehead against the wall, and his eyes started out of their sockets. And now, become blind, he imagined that he saw God, with His servants arrayed in white robes, sitting in judgment on him. He roared out as men on the rack are wont, and exclaimed that not he, but others, were guilty. In the end, as if he had been racked into confession, he acknowledged his own guilt, and lamentably implored Christ to have mercy uponhim. Then, amidst groans, like those of one burnt alive, did he breathe out his guilty soul in the most horrible kind of death.
Chapter L.
Thus did God subdue all those who persecuted His name, so that neither root nor branch of for Licinius, as soon as he was established in sovereign authority, commanded that Valeria should be put to death. Daia, although exasperated against her, never ventured to do this, not even after his discomfiture and flight, and when he knew that his end approached. Licinius commanded that Candidianus also should be put to death. He was the son of Galerius by a concubine, and Valeria, having no children, had adopted him. On the news of the death of Daia, she came in disguise to the court of Licinius, anxious to observe what might befall Candidianus. The youth, presenting himself at Nicomedia, had an outward show of honour paid to him, and, while he suspected no harm, was killed. Hearing of this catastrophe, Valeria immediately fled. The Emperor Severus left a son, Severianus, arrived at man's estate, who accompanied Daia in his flight from the field of battle. Licinius caused him to be condemned and executed, under the pretence that, on the death of Daia, he had intentions of assuming the imperial purple. Long before this time, Candidianus and Severianus, apprehending evil from Licinius, had chosen to remain with Daia; while Valeria favoured Licinius, and was willing to bestow on him that which she had denied to Daia, all rights accruing to her as the widow of Galerius. Licinius also put to death Maximus, the son of Daia, a boy eight years old, and a daughter of Daia, who was seven years old, and had been betrothed to Candidianus. But before their death, their mother had been thrown into the Orontes, in which river she herself had frequently commanded chaste women to be drowned. So, by the unerring and just judgment of God, all the implores received according to the deeds that they had done.
Chapter LI.
Valeria, too, who for fifteen months had wandered under a mean garb from province to province, was at length discovered in Thessalonica, was apprehended, together with her mother Prisca, and suffered capital punishment. Both the ladies were conducted to execution; a fall from grandeur which moved the pity of the multitude of beholders that the strange sight had gathered together. They were beheaded, and their bodies cast into the sea. Thus the chaste demeanour of Valeria, and the high rank of her and her mother, proved fatal to both of them.40
Chapter LII.
I relate all those things on the authority of well-informed persons; and I thought it proper to commit them to writing exactly as they happened, lest the memory of events so important should perish, and lest any future historian of the persecutors should corrupt the truth, either by suppressing their offences against God, or the judgment of God against them. To His everlasting mercy ought we to render thanks, that, having at length looked on the earth, He deigned to collect again and to restore His flock, partly laid waste by ravenous wolves, and partly scattered abroad, and to extirpate those noxious wild beasts who had trod down its pastures, and destroyed its resting-places.41 Where now are the surnames of the Jovii and the Herculii, once so glorious and renowned amongst the nations; surnames insolently assumed at first by Diocles and Maximian, and afterwards transferred to their successors? The Lord has blotted them out and erased them from the earth. Let us therefore with exultation celebrate the triumphs of God, and oftentimes with praises make mention of His victory; let us in our prayers, by night and by day, beseech Him to confirm for ever that peace which, after a warfare of ten years, He has bestowed on His own: and do you, above all others, my best beloved Donatus, who so well deserve to be heard, implore the Lord that it would please Him propitiously and mercifully to continue His pity towards His servants, to protect His people from the machinations and assaults of the devil, and to guard the now flourishing churches in perpetual felicity.
Fragments of Lactantius
I. Fear, love, joy, sadness, lust, eager desire, anger, pity, emulation, admiration,-these motions or affections of the mind exist from the beginning of man's creation by the Lord; and they were usefully and advantageously introduced into human nature, that by governing himself by these with method, and in accordance with reason, man may be able, by acting manfully, to exercise those good qualities, by means of which he would justly have deserved to receive from the Lord eternal life. For these affections of the mind being restrained within their proper limits, that is, being rightly employed, produce at present good qualities, and in the future eternal rewards. But when they advance1 beyond their boundaries, that is, when they turn aside to an evil course, then vices and iniquities come forth, and produce everlasting punishments.2
II. Within our memory, also, Lactantius speaks of metres,-the pentameter (he says) and the tetrameter.3
III. Firmianus, writing to Probus on the metres of comedies, thus speaks: "For as to the question which you proposed concerning the metres of comedies, I also know that many are of opinion that the plays of Terence in particular have not the metre of Greek comedy,-that is, of Menander, Philemon, and Diphilus, which consist of trimeter verses; for our ancient writers of comedies, in the modulation of their plays, preferred to follow Eupolis, Cratinus, and Aristophanes, as has been before said." That there is a measure-that is, metre4 -in the plays of Terence and Piautus, and of the other comic and tragic writers, let these declare: Cicero, Scaurus, and Firmianus.5
IV. We will bring forward the sentiments of our Lactantius, which he expressed in words in his third volume to Probus on this subject. The Gauls, he says, were from ancient times called Galatians, from the whiteness of their body; and thus the Sibyl terms them. And this is what the poet intended to signify when he said,-
"Gold collars deck their milk-white necks,"6
when he might have used the word white. It is plain that from this the province was called Galatia, in which, on their arrival in it, the Gauls united themselves with Greeks, from which circumstance that region was called Gallograecia, and afterwards Galatia. And it is no wonder if he said this concerning the Galatians, and related that a people of the West, having passed over so great a distance in the middle of the earth, settled in a region of the East.7
The Phoenix
By an Uncertain Author. Attributed to Lactantius.1
There is a happy spot, retired2 in the first East, where the great gate of the eternal pole lies open. It is not, however, situated near to his rising in summer or in winter, but where the sun pours the day from his vernal chariot. There a plain spreads its open tracts; nor does any mound rise, nor hollow valley open3 itself. But through twice six ells that place rises above the mountains, whose tops are thought to be lofty among us. Here is the grove of the sun; a wood stands planted with many a tree, blooming with the honour of perpetual foliage. When the pole had blazed with the fires of Phaethon, that place was uninjured by the flames; and when the deluge had immersed the world in waves, it rose above the waters of Deucalion. No enfeebling diseases, no sickly old age, nor cruel death, nor harsh fear, approaches hither, nor dreadful crime, nor mad desire of riches, nor Mars, nor fury, burning with the love of slaughter.4 Bitter grief is absent, and want clothed in rags, and sleepless cares, and violent hunger. No tempest rages there, nor dreadful violence of the wind; nor does the hoar-frost cover the earth with cold dew. No cloud extends its fleecy5 covering above the plains, nor does the turbid moisture of water fall from on high; but there is a fountain in the middle, which they call by the name of "living; "6 it is clear, gentle, and abounding with sweet waters, which, bursting forth once during the space of each7 month, twelve times irrigates all the grove with waters. Here a species of tree, rising with lofty stem, bears mellow fruits not about to fall on the ground. This grove, these woods, a single8 bird, the phoenix, inhabits,-single, but it lives reproduced by its own death. It obeys and submits9 to Phoebus, a remarkable attendant. Its parent nature has given it to possess this office. When at its first rising the saffron morn grows red, when it puts to flight the stars with its rosy light, thrice and four times she plunges her body into the sacred waves, thrice and four times she sips water from the living stream.10 She is raised aloft, and takes her seat on the highest top of the lofty tree, which alone looks down upon the whole grove; and turning herself to the fresh risings of the nascent Phoebus, she awaits his rays and rising beam. And when the sun has thrown back the threshold of the shining gate, and the light gleam11 of the first light has shone forth, she begins to pour strains of sacred song, and to hail12 the new light with wondrous voice, which neither the notes of the nightingale13 nor the flute of the Muses can equal with Cyrrhaean14 strains. But neither is it thought that the dying swan can imitate it, nor the tuneful strings of the lyre of Mercury. After that Phoebus has brought back his horses to the open heaven,15 and continually advancing, has displayed16 his whole orb; she applauds with thrice-repeated flapping of her wings, and having thrice adored the fire-bearing head, is silent. And she also distinguishes the swift hours by sounds not liable to error by day and night: an overseer17 of the groves, a venerable priestess of the wood, and alone admitted to thy secrets, O Phoebus. And when she has now accomplished the thousand years of her life, and length of days has rendered her burdensome,18 in order that she may renew the age which has glided by, the fates pressing19 her, she flees from the beloved couch of the accustomed grove. And when she has left the sacred places, through a desire of being born20 again, then she seeks this world, where death reigns. Full of years, she directs her swift flight into Syria, to which Venus herself has given the name of Phoenice;21 and through trackless deserts she seeks the retired groves in the place, where a remote wood lies concealed through the glens. Then she chooses a lofty palm, with top reaching to the heavens, which has the pleasing22 name of phoenix from the bird, and where23 no hurtful living creature can break through, or slimy serpent, or any bird of prey. Then Aeolus shuts in the winds in hanging caverns, lest they should injure the bright24 air with their blasts, or lest a cloud collected by the south wind through the empty sky should remove the rays of the sun, and be a hindrance25 to the bird. Afterwards she builds for herself either a nest or a tomb, for she perishes that she may live; yet she produces herself. Hence she collects juices and odours, which the Assyrian gathers from the rich wood, which the wealthy Arabian gathers; which either the Pygmaean26 nations, or India crops, or the Sabaean land produces from its soft bosom. Hence she heaps together cinnamon and the odour of the far-scented amomum, and balsams with mixed leaves. Neither the twig of the mild cassia nor of the fragrant acanthus is absent, nor the tears and rich drop of frankincense. To these she adds tender ears27 of flourishing spikenard, and joins the too pleasing pastures28 of myrrh. Immediately she places her body about to be changed on the strewed nest, and her quiet limbs on such29 a couch. Then with her mouth she scatters juices around and upon her limbs, about to die with her own funeral rites. Then amidst various odours she yields up30 her life, nor fears the faith of so great a deposit. In the meantime her body, destroyed by death, which proves the source of life,31 is hot, and the heat itself produces a flame; and it conceives fire afar off from the light of heaven: it blazes, and is dissolved into burnt ashes. And these ashes collected in death it fuses,32 as it were, into a mass, and has an effect33 resembling seed. From this an animal is said to arise without limbs, but the worm is said to be of a milky colour. And it suddenly increases vastly with an imperfectly formed34 body, and collects itself into the appearance of a well-rounded egg. After this it is formed again, such as its figure was before, and the phoenix, having burst her shell,35 shoots forth, even as caterpillars36 in the fields, when they are fastened by a thread to a stone, are wont to be changed into a butterfly. No food is appointed for her in our world, nor does any one make it his business to feed her while unfledged. She sips the delicate37 ambrosial dews of heavenly nectar which have fallen from the star-bearing pole. She gathers these; with these the bird is nourished in the midst of odours, until she bears a natural form. But when she begins to flourish with early youth, she flies forth now about to return to her native abode. Previously, however, she encloses in an ointment of balsam, and in myrrh and dissolved38 frankincense, all the remains of her own body, and the bones or ashes, and relics39 of herself, and with pious mouth brings it into a round form,40 and carrying this with her feet, she goes to the rising of the sun, and tarrying at the altar, she draws it forth in the sacred temple. She shows and presents herself an object of admiration to the beholder; such great beauty is there, such great honour abounds. In the first place, her colour is like the brilliancy41 of that which the seeds of the pomegranate when ripe take under the smooth rind;42 such colour as is contained in the leaves which the poppy produces in the fields, when Flora spreads her garments beneath the blushing sky. Her shoulders and beautiful breasts shine with this covering; with this her head, with this her neck, and the upper parts of her back shine. And her tail is extended, varied with yellow metal, in the spots of which mingled purple blushes. Between her wings there is a bright43 mark above, as44 Tris on high is wont to paint a cloud from above. She gleams resplendent with a mingling of the green emerald, and a shining beak45 of pure horn opens itself. Her eyes are large;46 you might believe that they were two jacinths;47 from the middle of which a bright flame shines. An irradiated crown is fitted48 to the whole of head, resembling on high the glory of the head of Phoebus.49 Scales cover her thighs spangled with yellow metal, but a rosy50 colour paints her claws with honour. Her form is seen to blend the figure of the peacock with that of the painted bird of Phasis.51 The winged creature which is produced in the lands of the Arabians, whether it be beast or bird, can scarcely equal her magnitude.52 She is not, however, slow, as birds which through the greatness of their body have sluggish motions, and a very heavy53 weight. But she is light and swift, full of royal beauty. Such she always shows herself54 in the sight of men. Egypt comes hither to such a wondrous55 sight, and the exulting crowd salutes the rare bird. Immediately they carve her image on the consecrated marble, and mark both the occurrence and the day with a new title. Birds of every kind assemble together; none is mindful of prey, none of fear. Attended by a chorus of birds, she flies through the heaven, and a crowd accompanies her, exulting in the pious duty. But when she has arrived at the regions of pure ether, she presently returns;56 afterwards she is concealed in her own regions. But oh, bird of happy lot and fate,57 to whom the god himself granted to be born from herself! Whether it be female, or male, or neither, or both, happy she, who enters into58 no compacts of Venus. Death is Venus to her; her only pleasure is in death: that she may be born, she desires previously to die. She is an offspring to herself, her own father and heir, her own nurse, and always a foster-child to herself. She is herself indeed, but not the same, since she is herself, and not herself, having gained eternal life by the blessing of death.
A Poem on the Passion of the Lord
Formerly Ascribed to Lactantius.
Whoever you are who approach, and are entering the precincts1 of the middle of the temple, stop a little and look upon me, who, though innocent, suffered for your crime; lay me up in your mind, keep me in your breast. I am He who, pitying the bitter misfortunes of men, came hither as a messenger2 of offered peace, and as a full atonement3 for the fault of men.4 Here the brightest light from above is restored to the earth; here is the merciful image of safety; here I am a rest to you, the right way, the true redemption, the banner5 of God, and a memorable sign of fate. It was on account of you and your life that I entered the Virgin's womb, was made man, and suffered a dreadful death; nor did I find rest anywhere in the regions of the earth, but everywhere threats, everywhere labours. First of all a wretched dwelling6 in the land of Judged was a shelter for me at my birth, and for my mother with me: here first, amidst the outstretched sluggish cattle, dry grass gave me a bed in a narrow stall. I passed my earliest years in the Pharian7 regions, being an exile in the reign of Herod; and after my return to Judaea I spent the rest of my years, always engaged8 in fastings, and the extremity of poverty itself, and the lowest circumstances; always by healthful admonitions applying the minds of men to the pursuit of genial uprightness, uniting with wholesome teaching many evident miracles: on which account impious Jerusalem, harassed by the raging cares of envy and cruel hatred, and blinded by madness, dared to seek for me, though innocent, by deadly punishment, a cruel death on the dreadful cross. And if you yourself wish to discriminate these things more fully,9 and if it delights you to go through all my groans, and to experience griefs with me, put together10 the designs and plots, and the impious price of my innocent blood; and the pretended kisses of a disciple,11 and the insults and strivings of the cruel multitude; and, moreover, the blows, and tongues prepared12 for accusations. Picture to your mind both the witnesses, and the accursed13 judgment of the blinded Pilate, and the immense cross pressing my shoulders and wearied back, and my painful steps to a dreadful death. Now survey me from head to foot, deserted as I am, and lifted up afar from my beloved mother. Behold and see my locks clotted with blood, and my blood-stained neck under my very hair, and my head drained14 with cruel thorns, and pouring down like rain15 from all sides a stream16 of blood over my divine face. Survey my compressed and sightless eyes, and my afflicted cheeks; see my parched tongue poisoned with gall, and my countenance pale with death. Behold my hands pierced with nails, and my arms drawn out, and the great wound in my side; see the blood streaming from it, and my perforated17 feet, and blood-stained limbs. Bend your knee, and with lamentation adore the venerable wood of the cross, and with lowly countenance stooping18 to the earth, which is wet with innocent blood, sprinkle it with rising tears, and at times19 bear me and my admonitions in your devoted heart. Follow the footsteps of my life, and while you look upon my torments and cruel death, remembering my innumerable pangs of body and soul, learn to endure hardships,20 and to watch over your own safety. These memorials,21 if at any time you find pleasure in thinking over them, if in your mind there is any confidence to bear anything like my sufferings),22 if the piety due, and gratitude worthy of my labours shall arise, will be incitements23 to true virtue, and they will be shields against the snares of an enemy, aroused24 by which you will be safe, and as a conqueror bear off the palm in every contest. If these memorials shall turn away your senses, which are devoted to a perishable25 world, from the fleeting shadow of earthly beauty, the result will be, that you will not venture,26 enticed by empty hope, to trust the frail27 enjoyments of fickle fortune, and to place your hope in the fleeting years of life. But, truly, if you thus regard this perishable world,28 and through your love of a better country deprive yourself29 of earthly riches and the enjoyment of present things,30 the prayers of the pious will bring you up31 in sacred habits, and in the hope of a happy life, amidst severe punishments, will cherish you with heavenly dew, and feed you with the sweetness of the promised good. Until the great favour of God shall recall your happy32 soul to the heavenly regions,33 your body being left after the fates of death. Then freed from all labour, then joyfully beholding the angelic choirs, and the blessed companies of saints in perpetual bliss, it shall reign with me in the happy abode of perpetual peace.

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