But Perhaps those Seem to You Weak-Minded and Silly...
But perhaps those seem to you weak-minded and silly, who even now are uniting all over the world, and joining together to assent with that readiness of belief at which you mock. [3429] What then? Do you alone, imbued [3430] with the true power of wisdom and understanding, see something wholly different [3431] and profound? Do you alone perceive that all these things are trifles? you alone, that those things are mere words and childish absurdities which we declare are about to come to us from the supreme Ruler? Whence, pray, has so much wisdom been given to you? whence so much subtlety and wit? Or from what scientific training have you been able to gain so much wisdom, to derive so much foresight? Because you are skilled in declining verbs and nouns by cases and tenses, and [3432] in avoiding barbarous words and expressions; because you have learned either to express yourselves in [3433] harmonious, and orderly, and fitly-disposed language, or to know when it is rude and unpolished; [3434] because you have stamped on your memory the Fornix of Lucilius, [3435] and Marsyas of Pomponius; because you know what the issues to be proposed in lawsuits are, how many kinds of cases there are, how many ways of pleading, what the genus is, what the species, by what methods an opposite is distinguished from a contrary, -- do you therefore think that you know what is false, what true, what can or cannot be done, what is the nature of the lowest and highest? Have the well-known words never rung in [3436] your ears, that the wisdom of man is foolishness with God?

[3429] Lit., "to the assent of that credulity."

[3430] So the ms., reading conditi vi mera, for which Orelli would read with Oudendorp, conditæ--"by the pure force of recondite wisdom." The ms., however, is supported by the similar phrase in the beginning of chap. 8, where tincti is used.

[3431] So the ms., reading aliud, for which Stewechius, adopting a suggestion of Canterus, conjectures, altius et profundius--"something deeper and more profound." Others propose readings further removed from the text; while Obbarius, retaining the ms. reading, explains it as "not common."

[3432] Lit., "because you are," etc.

[3433] Lit., "either yourselves to utter," etc.

[3434] Incomptus, for which Heraldus would read inconditus, as in opposition to "harmonious." This is, however, unnecessary, as the clause is evidently opposed to the whole of the preceding one.

[3435] No trace of either of these works has come down to us, and therefore, though there has been abundance of conjecture, we can reach no satisfactory conclusion about them. It seems most natural to suppose the former to be probably part of the lost satires of Lucilius, which had dealt with obscene matters, and the author of the latter to be the Atellane poet of Bononia. As to this there has been some discussion; but, in our utter ignorance of the work itself, it is as well to allow that we must remain ignorant of its author also. The scope of both works is suggested clearly enough by their titles--the statue of Marsyas in the forum overlooking nightly licentious orgies; and their mention seems intended to suggest a covert argument against the heathen, in the implied indecency of the knowledge on which they prided themselves. For Fornicem Lucilianum (ms. Lucialinum) Meursius reads Cæcilianum.

[3436] Lit., "Has that thing published never struck," etc. There is clearly a reference to 1 Corinthians 3:19, "the wisdom of this world." The argument breaks off here, and is taken up from a different point in the next sentence, which is included, however, in this chapter by Orelli.

5 what say you o
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