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29. Now, to prevent any one from thinking that we have devised what is so impious, we do not call upon him to believe Heraclitus as a witness, nor to receive from his account what he felt about such mysteries. Let him44694469    i.e., the sceptic. ask the whole of Greece what is the meaning of these phalli which ancient custom erects and worships throughout the country, throughout the towns: he will find that the causes are those which we say; or if they are ashamed to declare the truth honestly, of what avail will it be to obscure, to conceal the cause and origin of the rite, while44704470    Cumwanting in the ms.. the accusation holds good against the very act of worship? What say you, O peoples? what, ye nations busied with the services of the temples, and given up to them? Is it to these rites you drive us by flames, banishment, slaughter, and any other kind of punishments, and by fear of cruel torture? Are these the gods whom you bring to us, whom you thrust and impose upon us, like whom you would neither wish yourselves to be, nor any one related to you by blood and friendship?44714471    Lit. “by right of friendship.” Can you declare to your beardless sons, still wearing the dress of boys, the agreements which Liber formed with his lovers? Can you urge your daughters-in-law, nay, even your own wives, to show the modesty of Baubo, and enjoy the chaste pleasures of Ceres? Do you wish your young men to know, hear, and learn what even Jupiter showed himself to more matrons than one? Would you wish your grown-up maidens and still lusty fathers to learn how the same deity sported with his daughter? Do you wish full brothers, already hot with passion, and sisters sprung from the same parents, to hear that he again did not spurn the embraces, the couch of his sister? Should we not then flee far from such gods; and should not our ears be stopped altogether, that the filthiness of so impure a religion may not creep into the mind? For what man is there who has been reared with morals so pure, that the example of the gods does not excite him to similar madness? or who can keep back his desires from his kinsfolk, and those of whom he should stand in awe, when he sees that among the gods above nothing is held sacred in the confusion caused by44724472    Lit., “of.” their lusts? For when it is certain that the first and perfect nature has not been able to restrain its passion within right limits, why should not man give himself up to his desires without distinction, being both borne on headlong by his innate frailty, and aided by the teaching of the holy deities?44734473    Lit., “of holy divinity.” Orelli thinks, and with reason, that Arnobius refers to the words which Terence puts into the mouth of Chærea (Eun., iii. 5, vv. 36–43), who encourages himself to give way to lust by asking, “Shall I, a man, not do this?” when Jove had done as much. [Elucidation III.]


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