V. (28) But not only are wealth, and glory, and all other such things, mere phantoms and unsubstantial images, but also all the other deceits which the inventors of fables have devised, puffing themselves up by reason of their ingenuity, while they have been raising a fortification of false opinion in opposition to the truth, bringing in God as if by some theatrical machine, in order to prevent the everlasting and only true existing God from being consigned to oblivion, are so likewise. But such men have adapted their falsehood to melodies, and rhythm, and metres, with a reference to what is persuasive, thinking that by these means they should easily cajole all who read their works. (29) Not but what they have also joined to themselves the arts of statuary and painting as copartners in their system of deceit, in order that, bringing over the spectators by well-fabricated appearances of colours, and forms, and distinctive qualities, and having won over by their allurements those principal outward senses of sight and hearing, the one by the exquisite beauty of lifeless forms, and the other by a poetical harmony of numbers–they may ravish the unstable soul and render it feeble, and deprive it of any settled foundation. (30) On this account, Moses, being well aware that pride had by that time advanced to a very high pitch of power, and that it was well guarded by the greater part of mankind, and that too not from compulsion but of their own accord, and fearing lest those men who are admirers of uncorrupted and genuine piety may be carried away as by a torrent, stamped a deep impression on the minds of men, engraving piety on them, in order that the impression he thus made might not become confused or weakened, so as at last to become wholly effaced by time. And he is constantly prophesying and telling his people that there is one God, the creator and maker of the universe; and at other time he teaches them that he is the Lord of all created things, since all that is firm, and solid, and really stable and sure, is by nature so framed as to be connected with him alone. (31) And it is said in the scriptures that, “Those that are attached to the living God do all Live.”{6}{#de 4:4.} Is not this, then, a thrice happy life, a thrice blessed existence, to be contented with performing due service to the most venerable Cause of all things, and not to think fit to serve his subordinate ministers and door-keepers in preference to the King himself? And this life is an immortal one, and is recorded as one of great duration in the pillars of nature. And it is inevitably necessary that these writings should last to all eternity with the world itself.

VI. (32) But the Father and Ruler of the universe is a being whose character it is difficult to arrive at by conjecture and hard to comprehend; but still we must not on that account shrink from an investigation of it. Now, in the investigations which are made into the nature of God, there are two things of the greatest importance, about which the intellect of the man who devotes himself to philosophy in a genuine spirit is perplexed. One is, whether there is any Deity at all? this question arises from the atheism (which is the greatest of all vices) of those men who study philosophy. The other question is, supposing there to be a God, what he is as to his essence? Now the former question it is not very difficult to determine; but the second is not only difficult, but perhaps impossible. We must, however, consider both these matters. (33) It has invariably happened that the works which they have made have been, in some degree, the proofs of the character of the workmen; for who is there who, when he looks upon statues or pictures, does not at once form an idea of the statuary or painter himself? And who, when he beholds a garment, or a ship, or a house, does not in a moment conceive a notion of the weaver, or shipbuilder, or architect, who has made them? And if any one comes into a well-ordered city, in which all parts of the constitution are exceedingly well arranged and regulated, what other idea will he entertain but that this city is governed by wise and virtuous rulers? (34) He, therefore, who comes into that which is truly the greatest of cities, namely, this world, and who beholds all the land, both the mountain and the champaign district full of animals, and plants, and the streams of rivers, both overflowing and depending on the wintry floods, and the steady flow of the sea, and the admirable temperature of the air, and the varieties and regular revolutions of the seasons of the year; and then too the sun and moon, the rulers of day and night, and the revolutions and regular motions of all the other planets and fixed stars, and of the whole heaven; would he not naturally, or I should rather say, of necessity, conceive a notion of the Father, and creator, and governor of all this system; (35) for there is no artificial work whatever which exists of its own accord? And the world is the most artificial and skilfully made of all works, as if it had been put together by some one who was altogether accomplished and most perfect in knowledge. It is in this way that we have received an idea of the existence of God.