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37. But this is the state of the case, that as you are exceedingly strong in war and in military power, you think you excel in knowledge of the truth also, and are pious before the gods,42714271    i.e., in their sight or estimation. whose might you have been the first to besmirch with foul imaginings. Here, if your fierceness allows, and madness suffers, we ask you to answer us this: Whether you think that anger finds a place in the divine nature, or that the divine blessedness is far removed from such passions? For if they are subject to passions so furious,42724272    Lit., “conceive these torches.” and are excited by feelings of rage as your imaginings suggest,—for you say that they have often shaken the earth with their roaring,42734273    Lit., “have roared with tremblings of the earth.” and bringing woful misery on men, corrupted with pestilential 489contagion the character of the times,42744274    The ms. reads conru-isse auras temporum, all except the first four edd. inserting p as above. Meursius would also change temp. into ventorum—“the breezes of the winds.” both because their games had been celebrated with too little care, and because their priests were not received with favour, and because some small spaces were desecrated, and because their rites were not duly performed,—it must consequently be understood that they feel no little wrath on account of the opinions which have been mentioned. But if, as follows of necessity, it is admitted that all these miseries with which men have long been overwhelmed flow from such fictions, if the anger of the deities is excited by these causes, you are the occasion of so terrible misfortunes, because you never cease to jar upon the feelings of the gods, and excite them to a fierce desire for vengeance. But if, on the other hand, the gods are not subject to such passions, and do not know at all what it is to be enraged, then indeed there is no ground for saying that they who know not what anger is are angry with us, * and they are free from its presence,42754275    So the ms., reading comptu—tie, according to Hild., followed by LB. and Orelli. and the disorder42764276    Lit., “mixture.” it causes. For it cannot be, in the nature of things, that what is one should become two; and that unity, which is naturally uncompounded, should divide and go apart into separate things.42774277    The words following the asterisk (*) are marked in LB. as spurious or corrupt, or at least as here out of place. Orelli transposes them to ch. 13, as was noticed there, although he regards them as an interpolation. The clause is certainly a very strange one, and has a kind of affected abstractness, which makes it seem out of place; but it must be remembered that similarly confused and perplexing sentences are by no means rare in Arnobius. If the clause is to be retained, as good sense can be made from it here as anywhere else. The general meaning would be: The gods, if angry, are angry with the pagans; but if they are not subject to passion, it would be idle to speak of them as angry with the Christians, seeing that they cannot possibly at once be incapable of feeling anger, and yet at the same time be angry with them. [See cap. 13, note 4, p. 480, supra.]


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