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[854a] the general infirmity of human nature, I will state the law about temple-robbing, and all other crimes of a like kind which are hard, if not impossible, to cure. And, in accordance with our rule as already approved,1 we must prefix to all such laws preludes as brief as possible. By way of argument and admonition one might address in the following terms the man whom an evil desire urges by day and wakes up at night, driving him to rob some sacred object— [854b] “My good man, the evil force that now moves you and prompts you to go temple-robbing is neither of human origin nor of divine, but it is some impulse bred of old in men from ancient wrongs unexpiated, which courses round wreaking ruin; and it you must guard against with all your strength. How you must thus guard, now learn. When there comes upon you any such intention, betake yourself to the rites of guilt-averting, betake yourself as suppliant to the shrines of the curse-lifting deities, betake yourself to the company of the men who are reputed virtuous; and thus learn, partly from others, [854c] partly by self-instruction, that every man is bound to honor what is noble and just; but the company of evil men shun wholly, and turn not back. And if it be so that by thus acting your disease grows less, well; but if not, then deem death the more noble way, and quit yourself of life.” As we chant this prelude to those who purpose all these unholy deeds, destructive of civic life, the law itself we must leave unvoiced2 for him who obeys; but for him who disobeys we must suffer the law, following on the prelude, to utter aloud this chant: [854d] “Whosoever is caught robbing a temple, if he be a foreigner or a slave, his curse shall be branded on his forehead and on his hands, and he shall be scourged with so many stripes as the judges decree, and he shall be cast out naked beyond the borders of the country; for, after paying this penalty, he might perchance be disciplined into a better life. For no penalty that is legally imposed aims at evil, but it effects, as a rule, one or other of two results,— [854e] it makes the person who suffers it either better or less bad.3 But if any citizen is ever convicted of such an act,—that is, of committing some great and infamous wrong against gods, parents, or State—the judge shall regard him as already incurable, reckoning that, in spite of all the training and nurture he has had from infancy, he has not refrained from the worst iniquity. For him the penalty is death, the least of evils; and, moreover,

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