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Chapter XI.—Argument:  Besides Asserting the Future Conflagration of the Whole World, They Promise Afterwards the Resurrection of Our Bodies:  and to the Righteous an Eternity of Most Blessed Life; To the Unrighteous, of Extreme Punishment.

“And, not content with this wild opinion, they add to it and associate with it old women’s fables:17461746    [1 Tim. iv. 7.]  they say that they will rise again after death, and ashes, and dust; and with I know not what confidence, they believe by turns in one another’s lies:  you would think that they had already lived again.  It is a double evil and a twofold madness to denounce destruction to the heaven and the stars, which we leave just as we find them, and to promise eternity to ourselves, who are dead and extinct—who, as we are born, so also perish!  It is for this cause, doubtless, also that they execrate our funeral piles, and condemn our burials by fire, as if every body, even although it be withdrawn from the flames, were not, nevertheless, resolved into the earth by lapse of years and ages, and as if it mattered not whether wild beasts tore the body to pieces, or seas consumed it, or the ground covered it, or the flames carried it away; since for the carcases every mode of sepulture is a penalty if they feel it; if they feel it not, 179in the very quickness of their destruction there is relief.  Deceived by this error, they promise to themselves, as being good, a blessed and perpetual life after their death; to others, as being unrighteous, eternal punishment.  Many things occur to me to say in addition, if the limits of my discourse did not hasten me.  I have already shown, and take no more pains to prove,17471747    “And I have already shown, without any trouble,” is another reading. that they themselves are unrighteous; although, even if I should allow them to be righteous, yet your agreement also concurs with the opinions of many, that guilt and innocence are attributed by fate.  For whatever we do, as some ascribe it to fate, so you refer it to God:  thus it is according to your sect to believe that men will, not of their own accord, but as elected to will.  Therefore you feign an iniquitous judge, who punishes in men, not their will, but their destiny.  Yet I should be glad to be informed whether or no you rise again with bodies;17481748    Otherwise, “without a body or with.” and if so, with what bodies—whether with the same or with renewed bodies?  Without a body?  Then, as far as I know, there will neither be mind, nor soul, nor life.  With the same body?  But this has already been previously destroyed.  With another body?  Then it is a new man who is born, not the former one restored; and yet so long a time has passed away, innumerable ages have flowed by, and what single individual has returned from the dead either by the fate of Protesilaus, with permission to sojourn even for a few hours, or that we might believe it for an example?  All such figments of an unhealthy belief, and vain sources of comfort, with which deceiving poets have trifled in the sweetness of their verse, have been disgracefully remoulded by you, believing undoubtingly17491749    Otherwise, “too credulous.” on your God.


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