Fragment II. From Eusebius, P.E. 8.14.386Ð399

These things then are what may be said on the subject of the world having been created. And the same man also says a great number of very novel and bold things in his treatise on Providence, on the subject of the universe being governed by prudence; first of all putting forward the propositions of the atheists, and then proceeding to reply to each of them in regular order. And I will now proceed to extract some of the arguments which he adduces, even though they may appear somewhat prolix, because they are nevertheless necessary and important, abridging indeed the greater portion of them.

(1) Now he conducts his argument in this way; these are his words.

Do you say then that there is providence in such a vast confusion and disorder of affairs? For, in fact, which of the circumstances and occurrences of human life is regulated by any principle or order? which of them is not full of all kinds of irregularity and destruction? Are you the only person who is ignorant that blessings in complete abundance are heaped upon the most wicked and worthless of mankind? such, for instance, as wealth, a high reputation, honour in the eyes of the multitude, authority? moreover, health, a good condition of the outward senses, beauty, strength, and unimpeded enjoyment of all good things, by means of an abundance of supplies and resources and preparations of every kind, and in consequence of the peaceful good fortune and good condition of the body? But all the lovers and practisers of wisdom and prudence, and every kind of virtue, everyone of them I may almost say, are poor, unknown, inglorious, and in a mean condition.

(2) Having said thus much with respect to the outward circumstances of, and a vast number of other things affecting, these men, he then immediately proceeds to refute the objections of his adversaries by the following arguments.

God is not a tyrant who practises cruelty and violence and all the other acts of insolent authority like an inexorable master, but he is rather a sovereign invested with a humane and lawful authority, and as such he governs all the heaven and the whole world in accordance with justice. (3) And there is no form of address with which a king can more appropriately be saluted than the name of father; for what, in human relationships, parents are to their children, that also sovereigns are to their states, and God towards the world, having adapted these two most beautiful things by the unchangeable laws of nature, by an indissoluble union, namely the authority of the leader with the anxious care of a relation; (4) for as parents are not wholly indifferent to even ill-behaved children, but, having compassion on their unfortunate dispositions, they are careful and anxious for their welfare, looking upon it as an act of relentless and irreconcileable enemies to insult and increase their misfortunes, but as the part of friends and relations to lighten their disasters: (5) and indeed in the excess of their liberality they even give more to such children than to those who have always been well conducted, knowing well that to these last their own moderation is at all times an abundant resource and means of riches, but that the others have no other hope except in their parents, and that if they are disappointed in that they will be destitute of even the necessaries of life.