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Chapter LXXVII.

In the next place, forgetting that his object is to accuse both Jews and Christians, he quotes against himself an iambic verse of Euripides, which is opposed to his view, and, joining issue with the words, charges them with being an erroneous statement.  His words are as follow:  “But if you will quote the saying of Euripides, that

‘The Sun and Night are to mortals slaves,’40034003    Cf. Eurip., Phœniss., 546.

why should they be so in a greater degree to us than to ants and flies?  For the night is created for them in order that they may rest, and the day that they may see and resume their work.”  Now it is undoubted, that not only have certain of the Jews and Christians declared that the sun and the heavenly bodies40044004    τὰ ἐν οὐρανῷ. are our servants; but he also has said this, who, according to some, is 532the philosopher of the stage,40054005    ὁ κατά τινας Σκηνικὸς φιλόσοφος.  Euripides himself is the person alluded to.  He is called by Athenæus and Clemens Alexandrinus (Strom., v. vol. ii. p. 461), ὁ ἐπὶ τῆς σκηνῆς φιλόσοφος.— De La Rue. and who was a hearer of the lectures on the philosophy of nature delivered by Anaxagoras.  But this man asserts that all things in the world are subject to all rational beings,—one rational nature being taken to represent all, on the principle of a part standing for the whole;40064006    συνεκδοχικῶς. which, again, clearly appears from the verse:—

“The Sun and Night are to mortals slaves.”

Perhaps the tragic poet meant the day when he said the sun, inasmuch as it is the cause of the day,—teaching that those things which most need the day and night are the things which are under the moon, and other things in a less degree than those which are upon the earth.  Day and night, then, are subject to mortals, being created for the sake of rational beings.  And if ants and flies, which labour by day and rest by night, have, besides, the benefit of those things which were created for the sake of men, we must not say that day and night were brought into being for the sake of ants and flies, nor must we suppose that they were created for the sake of nothing, but, agreeably to the design of Providence, were formed for the sake of man.


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