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Chapter VIII.—The Same Rule Holds with Regard to Colours.  God’s Creatures Generally Not to Be Used, Except for the Purposes to Which He Has Appointed Them.

Similarly, too, do even the servants122122    Or, “slaves.” of those barbarians cause the glory to fade from the colours of our garments (by wearing the like); nay, even their party-walls use slightingly, to supply the place of painting, the Tyrian and the violet-coloured and the grand royal hangings, which you laboriously undo and metamorphose.  Purple with them is more paltry than red ochre; (and justly,) for what legitimate honour can garments derive from adulteration with illegitimate colours?  That which He Himself has not produced is not pleasing to God, unless He was unable to order sheep to be born with purple and sky-blue fleeces!  If He was able, then plainly He was unwilling:  what God willed not, of course ought not to be fashioned.  Those things, then, are not the best by nature which are not from God, the Author of nature.  Thus they are understood to be from the devil, from the corrupter of nature:  for there is no other whose they can be, if they are not God’s; because what are not God’s must necessarily be His rival’s.123123    Comp. de Pæn., c. v. med.  But, beside the devil and his angels, other rival of God there is none.  Again, if the material substances are of God, it does not immediately follow that such ways of enjoying them among men (are so too).  It is matter for inquiry not only whence come conchs,124124    Comp. c. vi. above. but what sphere of embellishment is assigned them, and where it is that they exhibit their beauty.  For all those profane pleasures of worldly125125    Sæcularium. shows—as we have already published a volume of their own about them126126    i.e., the treatise de Spectaculis.—(ay, and) even idolatry itself, derive their material causes from the creatures127127    Rebus. of God.  Yet a Christian ought not to attach himself128128    “Affici”—a rare use rather of “afficere,” but found in Cic. to the frenzies of the racecourse, or the atrocities of the arena, or the turpitudes of the stage, simply because God has given to man the horse, and the panther, and the power of speech:  just as a Christian cannot commit idolatry with impunity either, because the incense, and the wine, and the fire which feeds129129    Or perhaps “is fed” thereby; for the word is “vescitur.” (thereon), and the animals which are made the victims, are God’s workmanship;130130    “Conditio”—a rare use again. since even the material thing which is adored is God’s (creature).  Thus then, too, with regard to their active use, does the origin of the material substances, which descends from God, excuse (that use) as foreign to God, as guilty forsooth of worldly131131    Sæcularis. glory!


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