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Chapter XXXVIII.

The belief, then, in Antinous, 35573557     [See vol. ii. p. 185, and the stinging reference of Justin, vol. i. p. 172, this series.] or any other such person, whether among the Egyptians or the Greeks, is, so to speak, unfortunate; while the belief in Jesus would seem to be either a fortunate one, or the result of thorough investigation, having the appearance of the former to the multitude, and of the latter to exceedingly few. 35583558     περι δὲ τοῦ ᾽Ιησοῦ ἤτοι δόξασα ἂν εἶναι εὐτυχὴς, ἢ καὶ βεβασανισμένως ἐξητασμένη, δοκοῦσα μὲν εὐτυχὴς παρὰ τοῖς πολλοῖς, βεβασανισμένως δὲ ἐξητασμένη παρὰ πάνυ ὀλιγωτάτοιβ.   And when I speak of a certain belief being, as the multitude would call it, unfortunate, I in such a case refer the cause to God, who knows the reasons of the various fates allotted to each one who enters human life.  The Greeks, moreover, will admit that even amongst those who are considered to be most largely endowed with wisdom, good fortune has had much to do, as in the choice of teachers of one kind rather than another, and in meeting with a better class of instructors (there being teachers who taught the most opposite doctrines), and in being brought up in better circumstances; for the bringing up of many has been amid surroundings of such a kind, that they were prevented from ever receiving any idea of better things, but constantly passed their life, from their earliest youth, either as the favourites of licentious men or of tyrants, or in some other wretched condition which forbade the soul to look upwards.  And the causes of these varied fortunes, according to all probability, are to be found in the reasons of providence, though it is not easy for men to ascertain these; but I have said what I have done by way of digression from the main body of my subject, on account of the proverb, that “such is the power of faith, because it seizes that which first presents itself.” 35593559     τοσοῦτον ποιεῖ πίστις, ὁποία δὴ προκατασχοῦσα.   For it was necessary, owing to the different methods of education, to speak of the differences of belief among men, some of whom are more, others less fortunate in their belief; and 480from this to proceed to show that what is termed good or bad fortune would appear to contribute even in the case of the most talented, to their appearing to be more fully endowed with reason and to give their assent on grounds of reason to the majority of human opinions.  But enough on these points.


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