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And there is nothing to fear if, in the first place, they preserve for us our gods that are common to both peoples and do not make them to belong to the Egyptians only, and do not include under these names the Nile alone and the land wrhich the Nile waters, and do not assert that the marshes and the lotus are the only work of God's hand, and if they do not deny the great gods to the rest of mankind that possess no Nile nor Buto nor Memphis. But as for Isis, and the gods associated with her, all peoples own them and are [p. 155] familiar with them, although they have learned not so very long ago to call some of them by the names which come from the Egyptians ; yet they have from the beginning understood and honoured the power which belongs to each one of them.

In the second place, and this is a matter of greater importance, they should exercise especial heed and caution lest they unwittingly erase and dissipate things divine1 into winds and streams and sowings and ploughings, developments of the earth and changes of the seasons, as do those who regard wine as Dionysus and flame as Hephaestus. And Cleanthes2 says somewhere that the breath of air which is carried (pheromenon) through the crops and then suffers dissolution (phoneuomenon) is PhersephonĂȘ ; and a certain poet has written with reference to the reapers,3

Then when the sturdy youth come to sever the limbs of Demeter.
The fact is that these persons do not differ at all from those who regard sails and ropes and anchor as a pilot, warp and woof as a weaver, a cup or an honey mixture or barley gruel as a physician. But they create in men fearful atheistic opinions by conferring the names of gods upon natural objects which are senseless and inanimate, and are of necessity destroyed by men when they need to use them.

It is impossible to conceive of these things as being gods in themselves ;

1 Cf. Moralia, 757 b-c.

2 Frag. 547.

3 Cf. The Life and Poetry of Homer, chap. xxiii. in Bernardakis, vol. vii.

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