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[102] “What significance, then,” someone will say, 1 “do we attach to an oath? It is not that we fear the wrath of Jove, is it? Not at all; it is the universally accepted view of all philosophers that God is never angry, never hurtful. This is the doctrine not only of those2 who teach that God is Himself free from troubling cares and that He imposes no trouble upon others, but also of those3 who believe that God is ever working and ever directing His world. Furthermore, suppose Jupiter had been [p. 381] wroth, what greater injury could He have inflicted upon Regulus than Regulus brought upon himself? Religious scruple, therefore, had no such preponderance as to outweigh so great expediency.”

“Or was he afraid that his act would be morally4 wrong? As to that, first of all, the proverb says, 'Of evils choose the least.' Did that moral wrong, then, really involve as great an evil as did that awful torture? And secondly, there are the lines of Accius: Thyestes. 'Hast thou broke thy faith?'

Atreus. 'None have I giv'n; none give I ever to the faithless.'

Although this sentiment is put into the mouth of a wicked king, still it is illuminating in its correctness.”

1 Arguments against Regulus's fidelity to his oath: (1) he had no need to fear God's wrath,

2 The Epicureans.

3 The Stoics.

4 (2) “Of two evils choose the less,”

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