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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. II:
On Christian Doctrine: Chapter 30

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 30.—What the Mechanical Arts Contribute to Exegetics.

47.  Further, as to the remaining arts, whether those by which something is made which, when the effort of the workman is over, remains as a result of his work, as, for example, a house, a bench, a dish, and other things of that kind; or those which, so to speak, assist God in His operations, as medicine, and agriculture, and navigation; or those whose sole result is an action, as dancing, and racing, and wrestling;—in all these arts experience teaches us to infer the future from the past.  For no man who is skilled in any of these arts moves his limbs in any operation without connecting the memory of the past with the expectation of the future.  Now of these arts a very superficial and cursory knowledge is to be acquired, not with a view to practising them (unless some duty compel us, a matter on which I do not touch at present), but with a view to forming a judgment about them, that we may not be wholly ignorant of what Scripture means to convey when it employs figures of speech derived from these arts.

Next: Chapter 31

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