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Chapter LXXX.

Those holy Scriptures, moreover, which bear the name of Moses, introduce the first men as hearing divine voices and oracles, and beholding sometimes the angels of God coming to visit them.40104010    [Cf. Wordsworth, Excursion:  “He sat and talked,” etc., book iv., circa med.]  For it was probable that in the beginning of the world’s existence human nature would be assisted to a greater degree (than afterwards), until progress had been made towards the attainment of understanding and the other virtues, and the invention of the arts, and they should thus be able to maintain life of themselves, and no longer stand in need of superintendents, and of those to guide them who do so with a miraculous manifestation of the means which subserve the will of God.  Now it follows from this, that it is false that “in the beginning men were captured and devoured by wild beasts, while wild beasts were very seldom caught by men.”  And from this, too, it is evident that the following statement of Celsus is untrue, that “in this way God rather subjected men to wild beasts.”  For God did not subject men to wild beasts, but gave wild beasts to be a prey to the understanding of man, and to the arts, which are directed against them, and which are the product of the understanding.  For it was not without the help of God40114011    οὐ γὰρ ἀθεεί. that men desired for themselves the means of protection against wild beasts, and of securing the mastery over them.


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