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The Seven Books Of Arnobius Against The Heathen by Arnobius

15 Lo, if some one were to place before you copper in the lumpà

Lo, if some one were to place before you copper in the lump, and not formed into any works of art, masses of unwrought silver, and gold not fashioned into shape, wood, stones, and bones, with all the other materials of which statues and images of deities usually consist, -- nay, more, if some one were to place before you the faces of battered gods, images melted down and broken, and were also to bid you slay victims to the bits and fragments, and give sacred and divine honours to masses without form, -- we ask you to say to us, whether you would do this, or refuse to obey. Perhaps you will say, why? Because there is no man so stupidly blind that he will class among the gods silver, copper, gold, gypsum, ivory, potter's clay, and say that these very things have, and possess in themselves, divine power. What reason is there, then, that all these bodies should want the power of deity and the rank of celestials if they remain untouched and unwrought, but should forthwith become gods, and be classed and numbered among the inhabitants of heaven if they receive the forms of men, ears, noses, cheeks, lips, eyes, and eyebrows? Does the fashioning add any newness to these bodies, so that from this addition you are compelled to believe that something divine and majestic has been united to them? Does it change copper into gold, or compel worthless earthenware to become silver? Does it cause things which but a little before were without feeling, to live and breathe? If they had any natural properties previously, all these they retain when built up in the bodily forms of statues. What stupidity it is -- for I refuse to call it blindness -- to suppose that the natures of things are changed by the kind of form into which they are forced, and that that receives divinity from the appearance given to it, which in its original body has been inert, and unreasoning, and unmoved by feeling!
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