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The Seven Books Of Arnobius Against The Heathen by Arnobius

6 And yet let no one think that we are perversely determined not to submit toà

And yet let no one think that we are perversely determined not to submit to the other deities, whoever they are! For we lift up pious minds, and stretch forth our hands in prayer, and do not refuse to draw near whithersoever you may have summoned us; if only we learn who those divine beings are whom you press upon us, and with whom it may be right to share the reverence which we show to the king and prince who is over all. It is Saturn, my opponent says, and Janus, Minerva, Juno, Apollo, Venus, Triptolemus, Hercules, Æsculapius, and all the others, to whom the reverence of antiquity dedicated magnificent temples in almost every city. You might, perhaps, have been able to attract us to the worship of these deities you mention, had you not been yourselves the first, with foul and unseemly fancies, to devise such tales about them as not merely to stain their honour, but, by the natures assigned to them, to prove that they did not exist at all. For, in the first place, we cannot be led to believe this, -- that that immortal and supreme nature has been divided by sexes, and that there are some male, others female. But this point, indeed, has been long ago fully treated of by men of ardent genius, both in Latin and Greek; and Tullius, the most eloquent among the Romans, without dreading the vexatiousness of a charge of impiety, has above all, with greater piety, declared -- boldly, firmly, and frankly -- what he thought of such a fancy; and if you would proceed to receive from him opinions written with true discernment, instead of merely brilliant sentences, this case would have been concluded; nor would it require at our weak hands a second pleading, as it is termed.
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