IX. (45) And, indeed, this I imagine is evident to every one, that if the earth were to be destroyed, then all land animals of every kind must also perish with it; and if the water were destroyed, all aquatic animals must perish; and in like manner if the air and fire were to be destroyed, all the animals which traverse the air or which are born in the fire must come to an end at the same time. (46) Therefore, on the same principle, if the heaven is destroyed, the sun and moon will also be destroyed, and all the other planets likewise will be destroyed, and all the fixed stars, and all that host of gods visible to the outward senses which was formerly considered so happy; and to imagine this is nothing else than to fancy the gods themselves in a process of destruction, for this is equivalent to considering men immortal. And yet in a comparison between different objects devoid of honour, if you were to consider the matter, you would find it more consistent with probability to look on men as immortal than to believe that the gods are perishable, since it might happen through the grace of God, for it is not improbable that a mortal might receive immortality, but it is impossible for gods to lose their immortality even if the sophistries of mankind should run on to ever such a degree of wicked insanity. (47) And, moreover, those persons who allege conflagrations and regenerations of the world, think and confess that the stars are gods, which nevertheless they are not ashamed to destroy as far as their arguments go; for they are bound to prove them to be either red hot pieces of iron, as some do affirm, who argue about the whole of the heaven as if it were a prison, talking utter nonsense, or else to look upon them as divine and godlike natures, and then to attribute to them that immortality which belongs to gods. But as it is, they have wandered so far from true doctrine, that without being aware of it they have attributed corruptibility and perishableness to providence (and that is the soul of the world) by the inconsistent principles which they advocate. (48) Therefore Chrysippus, the most celebrated philosopher of that sect, in his treatise about Increase, utters some such prodigious assertions as these, and after he has prefaced his doctrines with the assertion that it is impossible for two makers of a species to exist in the same substance, he proceeds, “Let it be granted for the sake of argument and speculation that there is one person entire and sound, and another wanting one foot from his birth, and that the sound man is called Dion and the cripple Theon, and afterwards that Dion also loses one of his feet, then if the question were asked which had been spoiled, it would be more natural to say this of Theon;” but this is the assertion of one who delights in paradox rather than in truth, (49) for how could it be said that he who had suffered no mutilation whatever, namely Theon, was taken off, and that Dion, who had lost a foot, was not injured? Very appropriately, he will reply, for Dion, who had had his foot cut off, falls back upon the original imperfection of Theon, and there cannot be two specific differences in the same subject, therefore it follows of necessity that Dion must remain, and that Theon must be taken off–