The City of God, Volume I

themselves; and this, whether the infamous actions imputed to them were the fictions of poets, or were their actual iniquities commemorated and acted in the theatres. And would that the spectators had judged them worthy only of laughter, and not of imitation! Manifestly it had been a stretch of pride to spare the good name of the leading men and the common citizens, when the very deities did not grudge that their own reputation should be blemished.

that The Devils, In Suffering Either False Or True Crimes To Be Laid To Their Charge, Meant To Do Men A Mischief.

It is alleged, in excuse of this practice, that the stories told of the gods are not true, but false, and mere inventions; but this only makes matters worse, if we form our estimate by the morality our religion teaches; and if we consider the malice of the devils, what more wily and astute artifice could they practise upon men?

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