37. We worship one who was born a
man. What then? do you worship no one who was born a man?
Do you not worship one and another, aye, deities innumerable?
Nay, have you not taken from the number of mortals all those whom you
now have in your temples; and have you not set them in heaven, and
among the constellations? For if, perchance, it has escaped you
that they once partook of human destiny, and of the state common to all
men, search the most ancient literature, and range through the writings
of those who, living nearest to the days of antiquity, set forth all
things with undisguised truth and without flattery: you will
learn in detail from what fathers, from what mothers they were each
sprung, in what district they were born, of what tribe; what they made,
what they did, what they endured, how they employed themselves, what
fortunes they experienced of 423an
adverse or of a favourable kind in discharging their functions.
But if, while you know that they were born in the womb, and that they
lived on the produce of the earth, you nevertheless upbraid us with the
worship of one born like ourselves, you act with great injustice, in
regarding that as worthy of condemnation in us which you yourselves
habitually do; or what you allow to be lawful for you, you are
unwilling to be in like manner lawful for others.