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18. What then? Do the gods remain always in such substances, and do they not go away to any place, even though summoned by the most momentous affairs? or do they have free passage, when they please to go any whither, and to leave their own seats and images? If they are under the necessity of remaining, what can be more wretched than they, what more unfortunate than if hooks and leaden bonds hold them fast in this wise on their pedestals? but if we allow that they prefer these images to heaven and the starry seats, they have lost their divine power.47144714    It will be seen that these words fit into the indirect argument of Arnobius very well, although transposed in LB. to the end of last chapter, and considered a gloss by Orelli and Hildebrand. “See the consequences,” Arnobius says, “of supposing that the gods do not quit these images: not merely are they in a wretched case, but they must further lose their power as divinities.” Meursius, with, more reason, transposes the clause to the end of the next sentence, which would be justifiable if necessary. But if, on the contrary, when they choose, they fly forth, and are perfectly free to leave the statues empty, the images will then at some time cease to be gods, and it will be doubtful when sacrifices should be offered,—when it is right and fitting to withhold them. Oftentimes we see that by artists these images are at one time made small, and reduced to the size of the hand, at another raised to an immense height, and built up to a wonderful size. In this way, then, it follows that we should understand that the gods contract themselves in47154715    Perhaps “into,” as Arnobius sometimes uses the abl. after in instead of the acc. little statuettes, and are compressed till they become like47164716    Lit., “compressed to the similitude of.” a strange body; or, again, that they stretch themselves out to a great length, and extend to immensity in images of vast bulk. So, then, if this is the case, in sitting statues also the gods should be said to be seated, and in standing ones to stand, to be running in those stretching forward to run, to be hurling javelins in those represented as casting them, to fit and fashion themselves to their countenances, and to make themselves like47174717    Lit., “to adapt their similitude to.” the other characteristics of the body formed by the artist.


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