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38. But in the meantime let us grant, in submission to your ideas, that Christ was one of us—similar in mind, soul, body, weakness, and condition; is He not worthy to be called and to be esteemed God by us, in consideration of His bounties, so numerous as they are? For if you have placed in the assembly33013301 So all edd., except those of Hildebrand and Oehler, for the ms. censum—“list.” of the gods Liber, because he discovered the use of wine; Ceres, because she discovered the use of bread; Æsculapius, because he discovered the use of herbs; Minerva, because she produced the olive; Triptolemus, because he invented the plough; Hercules, because he overpowered and restrained wild beasts and robbers, and water-serpents of many heads,—with how great distinctions is He to be honoured by us, who, by instilling His truth into our hearts, has freed us from great errors; who, when we were straying everywhere, as if blind and without a guide, withdrew us from precipitous and devious paths, and set our feet on more smooth places; who has pointed out what is especially profitable and salutary for the human race; who has shown us what God is,33023302 That is, that God is a Spirit. [Note our author’s spirit of faith in Christ.] who He is, how great and how good; who has permitted and taught us to conceive and to understand, as far as our limited capacity can, His profound and inexpressible depths; who, in His great kindness, has caused it to be known by what founder, by what Creator, this world was established and made; who has explained the nature of its origin33033303 Orelli would refer these words to God; he thinks that with those immediately following they may be understood of God’s spiritual nature,—an idea which he therefore supposes Arnobius to assert had never been grasped by the heathen. and essential substance, never before imagined in the conceptions of any; whence generative warmth is added to the rays of the sun; why the moon, always uninjured33043304 So Gelenius, followed by Orelli and others, for the corrupt reading of the ms., idem ne quis; but possibly both this and the preceding clause have crept into the text from the margin, as in construction they differ from the rest of the sentence, both that which precedes, and that which follows. in her motions, is believed to alternate her light and her obscurity from intelligent causes;33053305 The phrase animalibus causis is regarded by commentators as equal to animatis causis, and refers to the doctrine of the Stoics, that in the sun, moon, stars, etc., there was an intelligent nature, or a certain impulse of mind, which directed their movements. what is the origin of animals, what rules regulate seeds; who designed man himself, who fashioned him, or from what kind of material did He compact the very build of bodies; what the perceptions are; what the soul, and whether it flew to us of its own accord, or whether it was generated and brought into existence with our bodies themselves; whether it sojourns with us, partaking of death, or whether it is gifted with an endless immortality; what condition awaits us when we shall have separated from our bodies relaxed in death; whether we shall retain our perceptions,33063306 Lit. “shall see”—visuri, the reading of the ms.; changed in the first ed. and others to victuri—“shall live.” or have no recollection of our former sensations or of past memories;33073307 Some have suggested a different construction of these words—memoriam nullam nostri sensus et recordationis habituri, thus—“have no memory of ourselves and senses of recollection;” but that adopted above is simpler, and does not force the words as this seems to do. who has restrained33083308 The ms. and 1st and 2d Roman edd. read, qui constringit—“who restrains.” our arrogance, and has caused our necks, uplifted with pride, to acknowledge the measure of their weakness; who hath shown that we are creatures imperfectly formed, that we trust in vain expectations, that we understand nothing thoroughly, that we know nothing, and that we do not see those things which are placed before our eyes; who has guided us from false superstitions to the true religion,—a blessing which exceeds and transcends all His other gifts; who has raised our thoughts to heaven from brutish statues formed of the vilest clay, and has caused us to hold converse in thanksgiving and prayer with the Lord of the universe.
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