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Section XVI

XVI. However, besides what has been here said, any one may use this argument also in corroboration of his opinion, which will certainly convince all those who are not determined to be obstinate beyond all bounds; of those things which in pairs are exactly contrary to one another it is impossible that one thing should be, and that the other should not be; for since there is white it follows as a matter of absolute necessity that there must also be black, and since there is a great there must likewise be a little; since there is an odd there must inevitably be an even; since there is a sweet there must be a bitter; since there is day there must be night; and so on in an infinite number of similar cases; but if a conflagration should take place, then something would ensue which is impossible; for then, of things in a pair, the one will happen and the other will not. Come, now, let us consider the matter thus: if everything is resolved into fire, there is then something light, and rare, and warm; for all these are the especial properties of fire; but there can be nothing heavy, or cold, or thick, which are the opposites of the qualities which I have just enumerated. How then can any one more completely overturn the idea of the universal disorder which would be involved in such a conflagration than by showing that those things which by a law of nature must exist together, are by this process separated from their natural conjunction? And the separation has extended to such a degree, that those who maintain this doctrine attribute eternal durability to the one and deny any existence at all to the other. Again, there is this assertion made by some of those who diligently employ themselves in investigating truth which appears to me to be a sufficiently felicitous one; if the world is destroyed it will either be destroyed by some other efficient cause, or by God; now there is certainly nothing else whatever from which it can receive its destruction, for there is nothing whatever which it does not surround and contain; but that which is surrounded and confined within something else is manifestly inferior in power to that which surrounds and confines it, by which it is therefore mastered; on the other hand, to say that it is destroyed by God is the most impious of all possible assertions; for God is the cause not of disorder, and irregularity, and destruction, but of order, and beautiful regularity, and life, and of every good thing, as is confessed by all those whose opinions are based on truth.

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