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How, from the doctrine that god is the father of mankind, we may proceed to its consequences.

If a person could be persuaded of this principle as he ought, that we are all originally descended from God, and that he is the father of men and gods, I conceive he never would think of himself meanly or ignobly. Suppose Caesar were to adopt you, there would be no bearing your haughty looks; and will you not feel ennobled on knowing yourself to be the son of God? Yet, in fact, we are not ennobled. But having two things united in our composition, a body in common with the brutes, and reason in common with the gods, many incline to this unhappy and mortal kindred, and only some few to that which is happy [p. 1015] and divine. And, as of necessity every one must treat each particular thing according to the notions he forms about it, so those few who suppose that they are made for faith and honor and a wise use of things will never think meanly or ignobly concerning themselves. But with the multitude the case is contrary. "For what am I? A poor contemptible man, with this miserable flesh of mine?" Miserable indeed; but you have likewise something better than this poor flesh. Why, then, overlooking that, do you pine away in attention to this?

By means of this [animal] kindred some of us, deviating towards it, become like wolves, faithless, and crafty, and mischievous; others, like lions, wild and savage and untamed; but most of us foxes, and disgraceful even among brutes. For what else is a slanderous and ill-natured man but a fox, or something yet more wretched and mean? Watch and take heed, then, that you do not sink thus low.


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