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And the nature of the season gives us suspicion that this tetrical sort of service was occasioned by the absenting of the several sorts of fruits at that time of the year; which yet the ancients did not believe to be Gods, but such gifts of the Gods as were both great and necessary in order to preserve them from a savage and bestial life. And at what time they saw both the fruits that came from trees wholly to disappear and fail, and those also which themselves had sown to be yet but starved and poor, they taking up fresh mould in their hands and laying it about their roots, and committing them a second time to the ground with uncertain hopes of their ever coming to perfection or arriving to maturity, did herein many things that might well resemble people at funerals and mourning for the dead. Moreover, as we use to say of one that hath bought the books of Plato, that he hath bought Plato, and of one that hath taken upon him to act the compositions of Menander, that he hath acted Menander; in like manner they did not stick to call the gifts and creatures of the Gods by the names of the Gods themselves, paying this honor and veneration to them for their necessary use. But those of after times receiving this practice unskilfully and ignorantly, applying the accidents of fruits, and the accesses and recesses of things necessary to human life, unto the Gods, did not only call them the generations and deaths of the Gods, but also believed them such, and so filled themselves with abundance of absurd, wicked, and distempered notions; and this, although they had the absurdity of such a monstrous opinion before their very eyes. And therefore Xenophanes the Colophonian might not only put the Egyptians in mind, if they believed those [p. 128] they worshipped to be Gods, not to lament for them, and if they lamented for them, not to believe them to be Gods; but also that it would be extremely ridiculous at one and the same time to lament for the fruits of the earth, and to pray them to appear again and make themselves ripe, that so they may be over again consumed and lamented for.

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load focus English (Frank Cole Babbitt, 1936)
load focus Greek (Gregorius N. Bernardakis, 1889)
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