« Prev Chapter LXXIII. Next »

73. But are we alone in this position?38963896    The ms. reads unintelligibly vertitur solæ; for which LB., followed by the later edd. reads, as above, vertimur soli. What! have you not introduced into the number of your gods the Egyptian deities named Serapis and Isis, since the consulship of Piso and Gabinius?38973897    Dr. Schmitz (Smith’s Dict., 3. v. Isis) speaks of these consuls as heading the revolt against the decree of the senate, that the statues of Isis and Serapis should be removed from the Capitol. The words of Tertullian (quoting Varro as his authority) are very distinct: “The consul Gabinius…gave more weight to the decision of the senate than the popular impulse, and forbade their altars (i.e., those of Serapis, Isis, Arpocrates, and Anubis) to be set up” (ad Nationes, i. 10, cf. Apol., 6). What! did you not begin both to know and be acquainted with, and to worship with remarkable honours, the Phrygian mother—who, it is said, was first set up as a goddess by Midas or Dardanus—when Hannibal, the Carthaginian, was plundering Italy and aiming at the empire of the world?38983898    Cf. vii. 49. Are not the sacred rites of mother Ceres, which were adopted but a little while ago, called Græca because they were unknown to you, their name bearing witness to their novelty? Is it not said38993899    Lit., “contained.” in the writings of the learned, that the rituals of Numa Pompilius do not contain the name of Apollo? Now it is clear and manifest from this, that he, too, was unknown to you, but that at some time afterwards he began to be known also. If any one, therefore, should ask you why you have so lately begun to worship those deities whom we mentioned just now, it is certain that you will reply, either because we were till lately not aware that they were gods, or because we have now been warned by the seers, or because, in very trying circumstances, we have been preserved by their favour and help. But if you think that this is well said by you, you must consider that, on our part, a similar reply has been made. Our religion has sprung up just now; for now He has arrived who was sent to declare it to us, to bring us to its truth; to show what God is; to summon us from mere conjectures, to His worship.

« Prev Chapter LXXIII. Next »
Please login or register to save highlights and make annotations
Corrections disabled for this book
Proofing disabled for this book
Printer-friendly version


| Define | Popups: Login | Register | Prev Next | Help |