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 Although we are not fond of fabulous stories, yet we have expatiated upon these, because they belong to subjects of a theological nature. All discussion respecting the gods requires an examination of ancient opinions, and of fables, since the ancients expressed enigmatically their physical notions concerning the nature of things, and always intermixed fable with their discoveries. It is not easy therefore to solve these enigmas exactly, but if we lay before the reader a multitude of fabulous tales, some consistent with each other, others which are contradictory, we may thus with less difficulty form conjectures about the truth. For example, mythologists probably represented the ministers of the gods, and the gods themselves, as coursing over the mountains, and their enthusiastic behaviour, for the same reason that they considered the gods to be celestial beings, and to exercise a providential care over all things, and especially over signs and presages. Mining, hunting, and a search after things useful for the purposes of life, appeared to have a relation to this coursing over the mountains, but juggling and magic to be connected with enthusiastic behaviour, religious rites, and divination. Of such a nature, and connected in particular with the improvement of the arts of life, were the Dionysiac and Orphic arts. But enough of this subject.
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