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‘Now though good fortune makes men more arrogant, overweening and inconsiderate, thoughtless, yet good fortune is attended by one excellent characteristic, viz. that (the fortunate) are pious or lovers of the gods’ (God-fearing, we say), ‘and have a certain religious character, their trust in them being due to the good things they have derived from fortune’; they are in reality due to fortune, but are ascribed by them to the divine grace and favour. Lactantius, Div. Inst. II 1. 8 (quoted by Gaisford), gives a truer account of this matter: Tum (in prosperis rebus) maxime Deus ex memoria hominum elabitur, cum beneficiis eius fruentes honorem dare divinae indulgentiae deberent. At vero si qua necessitas gravis presserit, tunc Deum recordantur. And Lucret. III 53, multoque in rebus acerbis acrius advertunt animos ad religionem. ‘So of the characters which follow the various ages and conditions of life enough has been said; for the opposites of those that have been described, as the character of the poor man, the unsuccessful (unfortunate), and the powerless, may be easily ascertained from their opposites’, i.e. by substituting the opposites of their opposites, the characteristics, viz. of poverty, misfortune, powerlessness, for those of wealth, prosperity, and power.
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