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2. Who are the true gods? you say. To answer you in common and simple language, we do not know;47714771    On this Heraldus [most ignorantly] remarks, that it shows conclusively how slight was the acquaintance with Christianity possessed by Arnobius, when he could not say who were the true gods. [The Edin. editor clears up the cases as follows:] This, however, is to forget that Arnobius is not declaring his own opinions here, but meeting his adversaries on their own ground. He knows who the true God is—the source and fountain of all being, and framer of the universe (ii. 2), and if there are any lesser powers called gods, what their relation to Him must be (iii. 2, 3); but he does not know any such gods himself, and is continually reminding the heathen that they know these gods just as little. (Cf. the very next sentence.) for how can we know who those are whom we have never seen? We have been accustomed to hear from you that an infinite number47724772    Lit., “as many as possible.” are gods, and are reckoned among47734773    Lit., “in the series of.” the deities; but if these exist47744774    Lit., “are.” anywhere, and are true gods, as Terentius47754775    i.e., M. Terentius Varro, mentioned in the last chapter. believes, it follows as a consequence, that they correspond to their name; that is, that they are such as we all see that they should be, and that they are worthy to be called by this name; nay, more,—to make an end without many words,—that they are such as is the Lord of the universe, and the King omnipotent Himself, whom we have knowledge and understanding enough to speak of as the true God when we are led to mention His name. For one god differs from another in nothing as respects his divinity;47764776    Lit., “in that in which he is a god.” nor can that which is one in kind be less or more in its parts while its own qualities remain unchanged.47774777    Lit., “uniformity of quality being preserved.” Now, as this is certain, it follows that they should never have been begotten, but should be immortal, seeking nothing from without, and not drawing any earthly pleasures from the resources of matter.


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