XX. (110) On account of this commandment he also adds another proposition of greater importance, in which the exposure of infants is forbidden, which has become a very ordinary piece of wickedness among other nations by reason of their natural inhumanity; (111) for if it is proper to provide for that which is not yet brought forth by reason of the definite periods of time requisite for such a process, so that even that may not suffer any injury by being plotted against, how can it be otherwise than more necessary to take similar care of the child when brought to perfection and born, and sent forth, as it were, into that colony which has been assigned to the human race, for the purpose of having a share of the bounties of nature which she sends forth from the land, and from the water, and from the air, and from the heaven? bestowing on men the sight of the heavenly bodies, and the power and supreme authority over all the things on earth, and supplying all the external senses with abundant supplies of all things, and presenting to the mind as the great king, by means of those outward senses as its body-guards, all the thing which are visible to them, and, without employing their agency, all those things which are appreciable only by reason. (112) Accordingly, let those parents who deprive their children of all these blessings, giving them no share of any one of them from the moment of their birth, know that they are violating the laws of nature, and accusing themselves of the very greatest enormities, of a devotion to pleasure, and a hatred of their species, and murder, and the very worst kind of murder, infanticide; (113) for those men are devoted to pleasure who are not influenced by the wish of propagating children, and of perpetuating their race, when they have connection with women, but who are only like boars or he-goats seeking the enjoyment that arises from such a connection. Again, who can be greater haters of their species than those who are the implacable and ferocious enemies of their own children? Unless, indeed, any one is so foolish as to imagine that these men can be humane to strangers who act in a barbarous manner to those who are united to them by ties of blood. (114) And as for their murders and infanticides they are established by the most undeniable proofs, since some of them slay them with their own hands, and stifle the first breath of their children, and smother it altogether, out of a terribly cruel and unfeeling disposition; others throw them into the depths of a river, or of a sea, after they have attached a weight to them, in order that they may sink to the bottom more speedily because of it. (115) Others, again, carry them out into a desert place to expose them there, as they themselves say, in the hope that they may be saved by some one, but in real truth to load them with still more painful suffering; for there all the beasts which devour human flesh, since there is no one to keep them off, attack them and feast on the delicate banquet of the children, while those who were their only guardians, and who were bound above all other people to protect and save them, their own father and other, have exposed them. And carnivorous birds fly down and lick up the remainder of their bodies, when they are not themselves the first to discover them; for when they discover them themselves they do battle with the beasts of the earth for the whole carcass. (116) And even suppose that some one passing by on his road is moved by a feeling of gentle compassion to take pity on and show mercy to the exposed infants, so as to take them up and give them food, and to show them other portions of the attention that is requisite, what do we think of such a humane action? Do we not look upon it as an express condemnation of the real parents, when those who are in nowise related to them show the tender foresight of parents, but the parents do not display even the kindness of strangers? (117) Therefore, Moses has utterly prohibited the exposure of children, by a tacit prohibition, when he condemns to death, as I have said before, those who are the causes of a miscarriage to a woman whose child conceived within her is already formed. And yet those persons who have investigated the secrets of natural philosophy say that those children which are still within the belly, and while they are still contained in the womb, are a part of their mothers; and the most highly esteemed of the physicians who have examined into the formation of man, scrutinising both what is easily seen and what is kept concealed with great care, by means of anatomy, in order that, if there should be any need of their attention to any case, nothing may be disregarded through ignorance and so become the cause of serious mischief, agree with them and say the same thing. (118) But when the children are brought forth and are separated from that which is produced with them, and are set free and placed by themselves, they then become real living creatures, deficient in nothing which can contribute to the perfection of human nature, so that then, beyond all question, he who slays an infant is a homicide, and the law shows its indignation at such an action; not being guided by the age but by the species of the creature in whom its ordinances are violated. (119) If, indeed, it seemed reasonable to be at all influenced by the age, then I think that a person might very reasonably be even more indignant at those who slay infants. For when full-grown people are killed, there may be ten thousand plausible excuses for assaults upon or quarrels with them; but in the case of mere infants only just launched into human life and shown to the light of day, it is impossible for the greatest liar to invent an accusation against them, as they are wholly void of offence. On which account those ought to be looked upon as the most inhuman and pitiless of all men who entertain plots for the destruction of those infants, and justly does the sacred law detest such criminals and pronounce them worthy of death.