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52. And yet, lest you should suppose that none but yourselves can make use of conjectures and surmises, we too are able to bring them forward as well,37603760 Lit., “utter the same (conjectures),” easdem, the reading of LB. and Hildebrand, who says that it is so in the ms.; while Crusius asserts that the ms. has idem, which, with Orelli’s punctuation, gives—“we have the same power; since it is common (i.e., a general right) to bring forth what you ask,” i.e., to put similar questions. as your question is appropriate to either side.37613761 i.e., may be retorted upon you. Whence, you say, are men; and what or whence are the souls of these men? Whence, we will ask, are elephants, bulls, stags, mules,37623762 Here, as elsewhere, instead of muli, the ms. reads milvi—“kites.” asses? Whence lions, horses, dogs, wolves, panthers; and what or whence are the souls of these creatures? For it is not credible that from that Platonic cup,37633763 Cf. Plato, Timæus, st. p. 41, already referred to. which Timæus prepares and mixes, either their souls came, or that the locust,37643764 Or, perhaps, “cray-fish,” locusta. mouse, shrew, cockroach, frog, centipede, should be believed to have been quickened and to live, because37653765 The ms. reads quidem—“indeed,” retained by the first four edd., but changed into quia—“because,” by Elmenhorst, LB., and Orelli, while Oehler suggests very happily si quidem—“if indeed,” i.e., because. they have a cause and origin of birth in37663766 Lit., “from.” the elements themselves, if there are in these secret and very little known means37673767 Rationes. for producing the creatures which live in each of them. For we see that some of the wise say that the earth is mother of men, that others join with it water,37683768 Cf. chs. 9 and 10 [p. 416, supra.]. that others add to these breath of air, but that some say that the sun is their framer, and that, having been quickened by his rays, they are filled with the stir of life.37693769 Orelli, retaining this as a distinct sentence, would yet enclose it in brackets, for what purpose does not appear; more especially as the next sentence follows directly from this in logical sequence. What if it is not these, and is something else, another cause, another method, another power, in fine, unheard of and unknown to us by name, which may have fashioned the human race, and connected it with things as established;37703770 Lit., “the constitutions of things.” may it not be that men sprang up in this way, and that the cause of their birth does not go back to the Supreme God? For what reason do we suppose that the great Plato had—a man reverent and scrupulous in his wisdom—when he withdrew the fashioning of man from the highest God, and transferred it to some lesser deities, and when he would not have the souls of men formed37713771 Lit., “did not choose the souls of the human race to be mixtures of the same purity,” noluit, received from the margin of Ursinus by all except the first four edd., which retain the ms. voluit—“did choose,” which is absurd. Arnobius here refers again to the passage in the Timæus, p. 41 sq., but to a different part, with a different purpose. He now refers to the conclusion of the speech of the Supreme God, the first part of which is noticed in ch. 36 (cf. p. 447, n. 20). There the Creator assures the gods He has made of immortality through His grace; now His further invitation that they in turn should form men is alluded to. That they might accomplish this task, the dregs still left in the cup, in which had been mixed the elements of the world’s soul, are diluted and given to form the souls of men, to which they attach mortal bodies. of that pure mixture of which he 454had made the soul of the universe, except that he thought the forming of man unworthy of God, and the fashioning of a feeble being not beseeming His greatness and excellence?
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