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36. But, says my opponent, the deities are not inimical to you, because you worship the omnipotent God; but because you both allege that one born as men are, and put to death on the cross, which is a disgraceful punishment even for worthless men, was God, and because you believe that He still lives, and because you worship Him in daily supplications. If it is agreeable to you, my friends, state clearly what deities those are who believe that the worship of Christ by us has a tendency to injure them? Is it Janus, the founder of the Janiculum, and Saturn, the author of the Saturnian state? Is it Fauna Fatua,32993299 So Ursinus, followed by most edd., for the reading of the ms. Fenta Fatua, cf. v. 18. A later writer has corrected the ms. Fanda, which, Rigaltius says, an old gloss renders “mother.” the wife of Faunus, who is called the Good Goddess, but who is better and more deserving of praise in the drinking of wine? Is it those gods Indigetes who swim in the river, and live in the channels of the Numicius, in company with frogs and little fishes? Is it Æsculapius and father Bacchus, the former born of Coronis, and the other dashed by lightning from his mother’s womb? Is it Mercury, son of Maia, and what is more divine, Maia the beautiful? Is it the bow-bearing deities Diana and Apollo, who were companions of their mother’s wanderings, and who were scarcely safe in floating islands? Is it Venus, daughter of Dione, paramour of a man of Trojan family, and the prostituter of her secret charms? Is it Ceres, born in Sicilian territory, and Proserpine, surprised while gathering flowers? Is it the Theban or the Phœnician Hercules,—the latter buried in Spanish territory, the other burned by fire on Mount Œta? Is it the brothers Castor and Pollux, sons of Tyndareus,—the one accustomed to tame horses, the other an excellent boxer, and unconquerable with the untanned gauntlet? Is it the Titans and the Bocchores of the Moors, and the Syrian33003300 So restored by Salmasius for Dioscuri, and understood by him as meaning Dea Syria, i.e., Venus, because it is said that a large egg having been found by the fish in the Euphrates, was pushed up by them to the dry land, when a dove came down, and sat upon it until the goddess came forth. Such was the form of the legend according to Nigidius; but Eratosthenes spoke of both Venus and Cupid as being produced in this manner. The Syrian deities were therefore Venus, Cupid, and perhaps Adonis. It should be remembered, however, that the Syrians paid reverence to pigeons and fish as gods (Xen., Anab., i. 4, 9), and that these may therefore be meant. deities, the offspring of eggs? Is it Apis, born in the Peloponnese, and in Egypt called Serapis? Is it Isis, tanned by Ethiopian suns, lamenting her lost son and husband torn limb from limb? Passing on, we omit the royal offspring of Ops, which your writers have in their books set forth for your instruction, telling you both who they are, and of what character. Do these, then, hear with offended ears that Christ is worshipped, and that He is accepted by us and regarded as a divine person? And being forgetful of the grade and state in which they recently were, are they unwilling to share with another that which has been granted to themselves? Is this the justice of the heavenly deities? Is this the righteous judgment of the gods? Is not this a kind of malice and of greed? is it not a species of base envy, to wish their own fortunes only to rise,—those of others to be lowered, and to be trodden down in despised lowliness?
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