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Chapter XIX.—None of These Allegories are Consistent.

“Nor do we find the poetical allegory about any of the gods consistent with itself.  To go no further than the fashioning of the universe, the poets now say that nature was the first cause of the whole creation, now that it was mind.  For, say they, the first moving and mixture of the elements came from nature, but it was the foresight of mind which arranged them in order.  Even when they assert that it was nature which fashioned the universe, being unable absolutely to demonstrate this on account of the traces of design in the work, they in weave the foresight of mind in such a way that they are able to entrap even the wisest.  But we say to them:  If the world arose from self-moved nature, how did it ever take proportion and shape, which cannot come but from a superintending wisdom, and can be comprehended only by knowledge, which alone can trace such things?  If, on the other hand, it is by wisdom that all things subsist and maintain order, how can it be that those things arose from self-moved chance?

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