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Chapter LXXVI.

After this, Celsus, desirous of maintaining that Providence created the products of the earth, not more on our account than on that of the most savage animals, thus proceeds:  “We indeed by labour and suffering earn a scanty and toilsome subsistence,39993999    μόλις καὶ ἐπιπόνως. while all things are produced for them without their sowing and ploughing.”  He does not observe that God, wishing to exercise the human understanding in all countries (that it might not remain idle and unacquainted with the arts), created man a being full of wants,40004000    ἐπιδεῆ. in order that by virtue of his very needy condition he might be compelled to be the inventor of arts, some of which minister to his subsistence, and others to his protection.  For it was better that those who would not have sought out divine things, nor engaged in the study of philosophy, should be placed in a condition of want, in order that they might employ their understanding in the invention of the arts, than that they should altogether neglect the cultivation of their minds, because their condition was one of abundance.  The want of the necessaries of human life led to the invention on the one hand of the art of husbandry, on the other to that of the cultivation of the vine; again, to the art of gardening, and the arts of carpentry and smithwork, by means of which were formed the tools required for the arts which minister to the support of life.  The want of covering, again, introduced the art of weaving, which followed that of wool-carding and spinning; and again, that of house-building:  and thus the intelligence of men ascended even to the art of architecture.  The want of necessaries caused the products also of other places to be conveyed, by means of the arts of sailing and pilotage,40014001    διὰ ναυτικῆς καὶ κυβερνητικῆς. to those who were without them; so that even on that account one might admire the Providence which made the rational being subject to want in a far higher degree than the irrational animals, and yet all with a view to his advantage.  For the irrational animals have their food provided for them, because there is not in them even an impulse40024002    ἀφορμήν. towards the invention of the arts.  They have, besides, a natural covering; for they are provided either with hair, or wings, or scales, or shells.  Let the above, then, be our answer to the assertions of Celsus, when he says that “we indeed by labour and suffering earn a scanty and toilsome subsistence, while all things are produced for them without their sowing and ploughing.”


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