Imatges de pÓgina
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Much pains must we expend on one alone,

And even then attain it not;-but you
Have the presumption to assert that you
Know many without study.

DEMON.

And with truth.

For in the country whence I come, sciences
Require no learning,-they are known.

CYPRIAN.

Oh, would

I were of that bright country! for in this
The more we study, we the more discover
Our ignorance.

DÆMON.

It is so true that I

Had so much arrogance as to oppose
The chair of the most high Professorship,

And obtained many votes, and though I lost,

The attempt was still more glorious, than the failure

Could be dishonourable: if you believe not,
Let us refer it to dispute respecting

That which you know best, and although I
Know not the opinion you maintain, and though
It be the true one, I will take the contrary.

CYPRIAN.

The offer gives me pleasure. I am now
Debating with myself upon a passage

Of Plinius, and my mind is racked with doubt
To understand and know who is the God

Of whom he speaks.

DÆMON.

It is a passage, if

I recollect it right, couched in these words: "God is one supreme goodness, one pure essence, One substance, and one sense, all sight, all hands.”

CYPRIAN.

'Tis true.

DEMON.

What difficulty find you here?

CYPRIAN.

I do not recognise among the Gods
The God defined by Plinius; if he must
Be supreme goodness, even Jupiter
Is not supremely good; because we see
His deeds are evil, and his attributes

Tainted with mortal weakness; in what manner
Can supreme goodness be consistent with
The passions of humanity?

DÆMON.

The wisdom

Of the old world masked with the names of Gods,

The attributes of Nature and of Man;
A sort of popular philosophy.

CYPRIAN.

This reply will not satisfy me, for
Such awe is due to the high name of God
That ill should never be imputed. Then,
Examining the question with more care,
It follows, that the gods should always will
That which is best, were they supremely good.
How then does one will one thing one another?
And you may not say that I allege

Poetical or philosophic learning:

:

Consider the ambiguous responses

Of their oracular statues; from two shrines
Two armies shall obtain the assurance of
One victory. Is it not indisputable
That two contending wills can never lead
To the same end? And being opposite,
If one be good is not the other evil?
Evil in God is inconceivable;

But supreme goodness fails among the gods
Without their union.

DÆMON.

I deny your major.

These responses are means towards some end
Unfathomed by our intellectual beam.
They are the work of providence, and more
The battle's loss may profit those who lose,
Than victory advantage those who win.

CYPRIAN.

That I admit, and yet that God should not (Falsehood is incompatible with deity)

2 B

Assure the victory; it would be enough
To have permitted the defeat; if God
Be all sight,-God, who beheld the truth,
Would not have given assurance of an end
Never to be accomplished; thus, although
The Deity may according to his attributes
Be well distinguished into persons, yet,
ven in the minutest circumstance,

His essence must be one.

DÆMON.

To attain the end

The affections of the actors in the scene

Must have been thus influenced by his voice.

CYPRIAN.

But for a purpose thus subordinate

He might have employed genii, good or evil,—
A sort of spirits called so by the learned,

Who roam about inspiring good or evil,
And from whose influence and existence we
May well infer our immortality:-
Thus God might easily, without descending
To a gross falsehood in his proper person,
Have moved the affections by this mediation
To the just point.

DEMON.

These trifling contradictions

Do not suffice to impugn the unity

Of the high gods; in things of great importance They still appear unanimous; consider

That glorious fabric-man, his workmanship, Is stamped with one conception.

CYPRIAN.

Who made man

Must have, methinks, the advantage of the others.
If they are equal, might they not have risen
In opposition to the work, and being

All hands, according to our author here,
Have still destroyed even as the other made?
If equal in their power, and only unequal
In opportunity, which of the two

Will remain conqueror?

DEMON.

On impossible

And false hypothesis there can be built
No argument. Say, what do you infer
From this?

CYPRIAN.

That there must be a mighty God

Of supreme goodness and of highest grace,
All sight, all hands, all truth, infallible,

Without an equal and without a rival;

The cause of all things and the effect of nothing,

One power, one will, one substance, and one essence.
And in whatever persons, one or two,

His attributes may be distinguished, one

Sovereign power, one solitary essence,

One cause of all cause.

DEMON.

How can I impugn

So clear a consequence?

CYPRIAN.

Do you regret

[They rise.

My victory?

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