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 Greeks and Barbarians alike testify to the existence of oracles and oracular responses in all parts of the earth

Post by Guest » Mon Mar 23, 2020 11:44 pm

Greeks and Barbarians alike testify to the existence of oracles and oracular responses in all parts of the earth, and they say that they were revealed by the foresight of the Creator for the use and profit of men, so that there need be no essential difference between Hebrew prophecy and the oracles of the other nations. For as the Supreme God gave oracles to the Hebrews through their prophets, and suggested what was to their advantage, so also He gave them to the other nations through their local oracles. For He was not only the God of the Jews, but of the rest of mankind as well; and He cared not more for these than those, but His Providence was over all alike, just as He has given the sun ungrudgingly for all, and not for the Hebrews only, and the supply of needs according to the seasons, and a like bodily constitution for all, and one mode of birth, and one kind of rational soul. And, thus, they say he provided ungrudgingly for all men the science of foretelling the future, to some by prophets, to some by oracles, to some by the flight of birds, or by inspecting entrails, or by dreams, or omens contained in word or sound, or by some other sign. For these they say were bestowed on all men by the Providence of God, so that the prophets of the Hebrews should not seem to have an advantage over the rest of the world.

This, then, is their contention. Mine will meet it in this manner. If any argument could prove that the gods, or divine powers, or good daemons really presided over the oracles named, or over the omens from birds, or any of those referred to, I should have to yield to what was stated, that the Supreme God had given these things as well as the Hebrew prophecy to those who used them, for their good. But if by complete demonstration, and by the confessions of the Greeks themselves already given, that they were daemons, and not good ones but the source of all harm and vice, how can they be the prophets of God? And my argument in The Preparation For The Gospel has convicted them of worthlessness, from the human sacrifices connected with their rites from ancient days in every place and city and country, from their deceiving their questioners through ignorance of the future, through the many falsehoods in which they have been convicted, sometimes directly, sometimes through the ambiguity of the oracles given, by which they have been proved over and over again to have involved their suppliants in a host of evils. And they have been before shewn to be a vile and unclean crowd from their delight in the low and lustful odes sung about them, the hymns, and recitals of myths, the improper and harmful stories, which they were convicted of having stamped as the truth, though they knew that they told against them.

And the final proof of their weak nature is shewn by their extinction and ceasing to give responses as of old: an extinction which can only be dated from the appearance of our Saviour Jesus Christ. For from the time when the word of Gospel teaching began to pervade all nations, from that time the oracles began to fail, and the deaths of daemons are recorded. All these reasons and many others like them were used then in that part of The Preparation Of The Gospel, which is concerned in proving the wickedness of the daemons.

- Eusebius Of Caesarea, Demonstration Of The Gospel, Book V, Opening.

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