Wherefore, having seen these things, and moreover also having been admitted to the mysteries, and having everywhere examined the religious rites performed by the effeminate and the pathic, and having found among the Romans their Latiarian Jupiter delighting in human gore and the blood of slaughtered men, and Artemis not far from the great city 498 sanctioning acts of the same kind, and one demon here and another there instigating to the perpetration of evil,—retiring by myself, I sought how I might be able to discover the truth. And, while I was giving my most earnest attention to the matter, I happened to meet with certain barbaric writings, too old to be compared with the opinions of the Greeks, and too divine to be compared with their errors; and I was led to put faith in these by the unpretending cast of the language, the inartificial character of the writers, the foreknowledge displayed of future events, the excellent quality of the precepts, and the declaration of the government of the universe as centred in one Being. 499 And, my soul being taught of God, I discern that the former class of writings lead to condemnation, but that these put an end to the slavery that is in the world, and rescue us from a multiplicity of rulers and ten thousand tyrants, while they give us, not indeed what we had not before received, but what we had received but were prevented by error from retaining.
At Aricia, near Rome.77:499
[A memorable tribute to the light-giving power of the Holy Scriptures. “Barbarian books” (barbaric means something else) they were; but well says Dr. Watts in a paraphrase of Ps. cxix. 96 (and comp. capp. xl., xli., infra),—
“Let all the heathen writers join to form one perfect book,
Great God if once compared with thine, how mean their writings look!”
See his Hymns, p. 238. Ed. Worcester, 1836.]