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Elucidations.

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I.

(Editions, p. 171.)

For an interesting account of the bibliographical history of this work, see Dupin.  It passed for the Eight Book of Arnobius until a.d. 1560, and was first printed in its true character at Heidelberg in that year, with a learned preface by Balduinus, who restored it to its true author.

II.

(The neighing of horses, note 1, p. 183.)

It strikes me as singular that the Edinburgh edition, which gives a note to each of the instances that follow, should have left me to supply this reference to the case of Darius Hystaspes.  The story is told, as will be remembered by all who have ever read it, by Herodotus, and is certainly one of the most extraordinary in history, when one reflects that a horse elected a great monarch, and one whose life not a little affected the fortunes of mankind.  A knavish groom was indeed the engineer of this election, as often, in such events, the secret springs of history are hidden; but, if the story is not wholly a fable, the coincidence of thunder in the heavens is most noteworthy.  It seemed to signify the overruling of Providence, and the power of God to turn the folly, not less than the wrath, of men, to God’s praise.  See Herod., book iii. cap. lxxxvi.

III.

(From nothing, p. 194.)

From this chapter, if not from others, it had been rashly affirmed that our author imagined that the soul perishes with the body, and is to be renewed out of nothing.  The argument is wholly ad hominem, and asserts nothing from the author’s own point of view, as I understand it.  He gives what is “sufficient for his argument,” and professes nothing more.  He was not a clergyman, nor is his work a sermon to the faithful.  He defies any one to deny, that, if God could form man out of nothing, He can make him anew out of nothing.  The residue of the argument is a brilliant assertion of the imperishability of matter, in terms which might satisfy modern science; and the implication is, that the soul no more perishes to the sight of God than does the body vaporized and reserved in the custody of the elements.

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