X. (56) There is, in the history of the law, a record of one man who ventured on this exploit of noble daring, for when he saw some men connecting themselves with foreign women, and by reason of their allurements neglecting all their national customs and laws, and practising fabulous ceremonies, he was seized with a sudden enthusiasm in the presence of the whole multitude; and driving away all those on each side who were collected to see the sight, he slew one man who was so daring as to put himself forward as the leader and chief of this transgression of the law (for the impious deed had been already displayed and made a public exhibition of), and while he was openly performing sacrifices to images and unholy idols, he, I say, without being influenced by any fear, slew him, together with the woman who was with him; the one on account of his inclination to learn those things which it would have been more advantageous for him not to have learnt, and the woman because she was his preceptress in evil. (57) This action being done of a sudden, in the warm impetuosity of the moment, admonished a vast multitude of those who were prepared to commit similar follies; therefore God, having praised this virtuous exploit done in this manner, out of a voluntary and spontaneous zeal, recompensed the doer with two rewards, namely, peace and the priesthood. With the one, because he judged him who had thus voluntarily encountered a contest for the sake of the honour of his God worthy to enjoy a life safe from war; and with the other, because the priesthood is the most fitting honour for a pious man, who professes an eagerness for the service of the Father of all, to serve whom is not only better than all freedom, but even than royal authority. (58) But some men have gone to such a pitch of extravagant madness, that they have left themselves no retreat or way to repentance, but hasten onwards to the slavery and service of images made by hands, confessing it in distinct characters, not written on paper, as is the custom in the case of slaves, but branding the characters deep on their persons with a burning iron, in order that they may remain ineffacebly, for these things are not dimmed or weakened by time.

XI. (59) And the most sacred Moses appears to have preserved the same object and intention in all other cases whatever, being a lover and also a teacher of truth, which he desires to stamp and to impress upon all his disciples, expelling all false opinions, and compelling them to settle far from their minds. (60) At all events, knowing that the act of divination co-operates in no slight degree with the errors of the lives of the multitude, so as to lead them out of the right way, he did not suffer his disciples to use any species of it whatever, but drove all who paid it any observance far from his everlasting constitution, and banished all sacrificers and purifiers, and augurs, and soothsayers, and enchanters, and men who applied themselves to the art of prophesying from sounds; (61) for all these men are but guessers at what is probable and likely, at different times adopting different notions from the same appearances, because the subjects of their art have no stable and constant character, and because the intellect has never devised any accurate test by which those opinions which are approved may be examined. (62) And all these things are but the furniture of impiety. How so? Because he who attends to them, and who allows himself to be influenced by them, disregards the cause of all things, looking upon those things alone as the causes of all things, whether good or evil; and he does not perceive that he is making all the cares of life to depend upon the most unstable supports, upon the motion of birds and feathers in the air, in this and that direction; and upon the paths of reptiles, crawling along the ground, which creep forth out of their holes in quest of food; and even upon entrails, and blood, and dead corpses, which, the moment that they are deprived of life, fall to pieces and become confused; and being deprived of their original nature which belonged to them, are changed, and subjected to a transformation for the worse. (63) For he thinks it right, that the man who is legally enrolled as a citizen of his constitution must be perfect, not indeed in those things in which the multitude is educated, such as divination, and augury, and plausible conjectures, but in the observances due to God, which have nothing doubtful or uncertain about them, but only indubitable and naked truth. (64) And since there is implanted in all men a desire of the knowledge of future events, and as, on account of this desire, they have recourse to sacrifices and to other species of divination, as if by these means they would be able to search out and discover the truth (but these things are, in reality, full of indistinctness and uncertainty, and are continually being convicted by themselves). He, with great energy, forbids his disciples to apply themselves to such sources of knowledge; and he says, that if they are truly pious they shall not be deprived of a proper knowledge of the future; (65) but that some other Prophet{8}{this prophecy, #De 18:18, is always looked upon as one of the most remarkable of the early prophecies of our Saviour.} will appear to them on a sudden, inspired like himself, who will preach and prophesy among them, saying nothing of his own (for he who is truly possessed and inspired, even when he speaks, is unable to comprehend what he is himself saying), but that all the words that he should utter would proceed from him as if another was prompting him; for the prophets are interpreters of God, who is only using their voices as instruments, in order to explain what he chooses. Having now then said this, and other things like this, concerning the proper idea to be entertained of the one real, and true, and living God; he proceeds to express in what manner one ought to pay him the honours that are his Due.{9}{yonge’s translation includes a separate treatise title at this point: On the Monarchy, Book II. Accordingly, his next paragraph begins with roman numeral I (= XII in the Loeb). Yonge’s “treatise” concludes with number XV (= XXVI in the Loeb). The publisher has elected to follow the Loeb numbering.}