“So are we slain by arrows winged

With our own Feathers,”{12}{from the Myrmidons of Aeschylus. The passage is evidently the original of the stanza in Waller’s Ode to a Lady Singing–“That eagle’s fate and mine are one, / Who on the shaft that made him die, / Espied a feather of his own, / Wherewith he wont to soar so high.”}

as the tragic poet says. For any one, copying the form of this argument and adapting it to the entire world, may prove in the clearest manner that providence itself is liable to corruption. (50) Consider the matter thus: let the world be the subject of our argument, as Dion was just now, for it is perfect, and let the soul of the world take the place of Theon, who was imperfect, since a part is less than the whole; and as the foot was cut off from Dion, so also let everything which resembles a body be cut off from the world; (51) therefore it is necessary to say that the world has not been destroyed though its body has been taken away, just as Dion was not destroyed by having his foot cut off, but the soul of the world it is that has perished, like Theon, who suffered no artificial mutilation, for the world also receded to a lesser substance when all of it that resembled a body was taken away. And the soul was destroyed because there could not be two specific differences affecting the same and since it is imperishable it follows of necessity that the world also must be imperishable.

X. (52) However, time also affords a very great argument in favour of the eternity of the world, for if time is uncreated, then it follows of necessity that the world also must be uncreated. Why so? Because, as the great Plato says, it is days, and nights, and months, and the periods of years which have shown time, and it is surely impossible that time can exist without the motion of the sun, and the rotary progress of the whole heaven. So that it has been defined very felicitously by those who are in the habit of giving definitions of things, that time is the interval of the motion of the world, and since this is a sound definition, then the world must be co-eval with time and also the cause of its existence. (53) And it is the most absurd of all ideas to fancy that there ever was a time when the world did not exist, for its nature is without any beginning and without any end, since these very expressions, “there was,” “when,” “formerly,” all indicate time; and keeping to this view, then, according to the theory of the conflagration […]{13}{there is supposed to be a very large hiatus here.} he at a late period of his life entertained doubts and withheld any positive opinion; for it does not belong to youth, but to old age, to see clearly things of solemn importance which it is desirable to understand, and especially as to matters which it is not the outer sense, which is irrational and deceitful, that determines, but the pure and unalloyed intellect. For that which has no existence is not put in motion, but it has been shown already that time is an interval of the motion of the world. It follows, therefore, of necessity, that each of these things must have subsisted from all eternity, without receiving any beginning of generation, and being in consequence not liable to any corruption. (54) Perhaps some quibbling Stoic will say that time is admitted to be an interval of the motion of the world, but not of that world only which is arranged and adorned by itself, but also of that one which is conceived of in connection with the conflagration which has been spoken of; to whom we must reply, –“My good man, you, misapplying words, call what is disorderliness and a want of arrangement order (kosmos), for if this thing which we see is correctly and appropriately called the world (kosmos), {14}{philo is playing here on the two meanings of the word kosmos, which signified both “order” and “the world.”} being arranged and adorned (kekosmeµmenos) as we see it by man, by the perfection of his skill, then any one would be surely correct in calling the change which is wrought in it by fire a want of order.”