Saved from Atomism!

Claudian, Against Rufinus 1.1-24

Often my doubtful mind was drawn in two directions by the thought of whether the gods cared for the earth or whether there was no divine director and all mortal things flowed on as if by chance. For when I sought the laws of the world and the prescribed limits of the sea and the wanderings of the year and the interchange of night and day, then I thought that all things were established by the plan of a god who ordered crops to come forth at various times, ordered the moon to burn with an alien fire and for the sun to be filled with its own; who stretched the shores to the waves and balanced the earth on the middle of its axis. But when I saw human affairs wrapped in such darkness and the wicked flourishing for so long while the pious were vexed, and while religion was once again shaken and in decline, I began to follow the path of another school (not by my own will) which affirms that the seeds of things move through a vacuum and that fortune is not ruled by any art, and which thinks, in an ambiguous way, either that there are no gods or that their do not care for us. But finally, the punishment of Rufinus resolved this mental tumult and absolved the gods. No longer do I complain that the unjust gave reached the heights of the world: they are raised high so that they can rush headlong with a greater fall.

Saepe mihi dubiam traxit sententia mentem,
curarent superi terras an nullus inesset
rector et incerto fluerent mortalia casu.
nam cum dispositi quaesissem foedera mundi
praescriptosque mari fines annique meatus
et lucis noctisque uices, tunc omnia rebar
consilio firmata dei, qui lege moueri
sidera, qui fruges diuerso tempore nasci,
qui uariam Phoeben alieno iusserit igni
conpleri Solemque suo, porrexerit undis
litora, tellurem medio librauerit axe.
sed cum res hominum tanta caligine uolui
aspicerem laetosque diu florere nocentes
uexarique pios, rursus labefacta cadebat
religio causaeque uiam non sponte sequebar
alterius, uacuo quae currere semina motu
adfirmat magnumque nouas per inane figuras
fortuna non arte regi, quae numina sensu
ambiguo uel nulla putat uel nescia nostri.
abstulit hunc tandem Rufini poena tumultum
absoluitque deos. iam non ad culmina rerum
iniustos creuisse queror; tolluntur in altum
ut lapsu grauiore ruant.

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