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If, then, the most noted of the philosophers, observing the riddle of the Divine in inanimate and incorporeal objects, have not thought it proper to treat any thing with carelessness or disrespect, even more do I think that, in all likelihood, we should welcome those peculiar properties existent in natures which possess the power of perception and have a soul and feeling and character. It is not that we should honour these, but that through these we should honour the Divine, since they are the clearer mirrors of the Divine by their nature also, so that we should regard them as the instrument or device of the God who orders all things. And in general we must hold it true that nothing inanimate is superior to what is animate, ana nothing without the power of perception is superior to that which has that power - no, not even if one should heap together all the gold and emeralds in the world. The Divine is not engendered in colours or in forms or in polished surfaces, but whatsoever things have no share in life, things whose nature does not allow them to share therein, have a portion of less honour than that of the dead. But the nature that lives and sees and has within itself the source of movement and a knowledge of what belongs to it and [p. 181] what belongs to others, has drawn to itself an efflux and portion of beauty from the Intelligence ‘by which the Universe is guided,’ as Heracleitus1 has it. Wherefore the Divine is no worse represented in these animals than in works of bronze and stone which are alike subject to destruction and disfiguration, and by their nature are void of all perception and comprehension. This, then, is what I most approve in the accounts that are given regarding the animals held in honour.
1 Diels, Fragmente der Vorsokratiker, i. 86, Heracleitus, no. b 41.