XLIX. (140) The first man, therefore, appears to me to have been such both in his body and in his soul, being very far superior to all those who live in the present day, and to all those who have gone before us. For our generation has been from men: but he was created by God. And in the same proportion as the one Author of being is superior to the other, so too is the being that is produced. For as that which is in its prime is superior to that the beauty of which is gone by, whether it be an animal, or a plant, or fruit, or anything else whatever of the productions of nature; so also the first man who was ever formed appears to have been the height of perfection of our entire race, and subsequent generations appear never to have reached an equal state of perfection, but to have at all times been inferior both in their appearance and in their power, and to have been constantly degenerating, (141) which same thing I have also seen to be the case in the instance of the sculptors’ and painters’ art. For the imitations always fall short of the original models. And those works which are painted or fashioned from models must be much more inferior, as being still further removed from the original. And the stone which is called the magnet is subject to a similar deterioration. For any iron ring which touches it is held by it as firmly as possible, but another which only touches that ring is held less firmly. And the third ring hangs from the second, and the fourth from the third, and the fifth from the fourth, and so on one from another in a long chain, being all held together by one attractive power, but still they are not all supported in the same degree. For those which are suspended at a distance from the original attraction, are held more loosely, because the attractive power is weakened, and is no longer able to bind them in an equal degree. And the race of mankind appears to be subject to an influence of the same kind, since in men the faculties and distinctive qualities of both body and soul are less vivid and strongly marked in each succeeding generation. (142) And we shall be only saying what is the plain truth, if we call the original founder of our race not only the first man, but also the first citizen of the world. For the world was his house and his city, while he had as yet no structure made by hands and wrought out of the materials of wood and stone. And in this world he lived as in his own country, in all safety, removed from any fear, inasmuch as he had been thought worthy of the dominion over all earthly things; and had everything that was mortal crouching before him, and taught to obey him as their master, or else constrained to do so by superior force, and living himself surrounded by all the joys which peace can bestow without a struggle and without reproach.