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[19] In the next place, I knew that the most learned and the wisest men have both said many things and have left behind them many written books concerning the divine power of the immortal gods. And although I see that those books are written with a godlike eloquence, still they are such that our ancestors appear to have taught those things to the writers, and not to have learnt of them. In truth, who is there so senseless as either, when he looks up to heaven, not to feel that there are gods, or to think that those things are done by chance which are done with such wisdom, that scarcely any one by any amount of skill can comprehend their order and necessary dependence on each other? or, when he has arrived at the knowledge that there are gods, not to understand that all this mighty empire has been originated, and increased, and preserved by their divine authority? Let us, O conscript fathers, think as highly of ourselves as we please; and yet it is not in numbers that we are superior to the Spaniards, nor in personal strength to the Gauls, nor in cunning to the Carthaginians, nor in arts to the Greeks, nor in the natural acuteness which seems to be implanted in the people of this land and country, to the Italian and Latin tribes; but it is in and by means of piety and religion, and this especial wisdom of perceiving that all things are governed and managed by the divine power of the immortal gods, that we have been and are superior to all other countries and nations.

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