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The Seven Books Of Arnobius Against The Heathen by Arnobius

24 No one, says my opponent, makes supplication to the tutelar deitiesà

No one, says my opponent, makes supplication to the tutelar deities, and they therefore withhold their usual favours and help. Cannot the gods, then, do good, except they receive incense and consecrated offerings? and do they quit and renounce their posts, unless they see their altars anointed with the blood of cattle? And yet I thought but now that the kindness of the gods was of their own free will, and that the unlooked-for gifts of benevolence flowed unsought from them. Is, then, the King of the universe solicited by any libation or sacrifice to grant to the races of men all the comforts of life? Does the Deity not impart the sun's fertilizing warmth, and the season of night, the winds, the rains, the fruits, to all alike, -- the good and the bad, the unjust and the just, the free-born and the slave, the poor and the rich? For this belongs to the true and mighty God, to show kindness, unasked, to that which is weary and feeble, and always encompassed by misery, of many kinds. For to grant your prayers on the offering of sacrifices, is not to bring help to those who ask it, but to sell the riches of their beneficence. We men trifle, and are foolish in so great a matter; and, forgetting what God is, and the majesty of His name, associate with the tutelar deities whatever meanness or baseness our morbid credulity can invent.
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