Novatianus De Spectaculis
G. Hartel, ed., S. Thasci Caecili Cypriani Opera Omnia, vol. 3, part 3, appendix, opera spuria (Vienna: Royal Academy of Letters, 1871)  De Spect. is the first work in this collection (p. 134 of the .pdf, p. 3 of the text itself).
Alessandro Saggioro, ed. Novaziano, Gli Spettacoli (Bologna: Centro editoriale dehoniano, 2001)
NOVATIANUS, DE SPECTACULIS
1. Novatianus plebi in evangelio stanti salutem. Ut me satis contristat et animum meum graviter affligit, cum nulla mihi scribendi ad vos porrigitur occasio – detrimentum est enim meum vobiscum non colloqui - , ita nihil mihi tantam laetitiam hilaritatemque restituit quam cum adest rursus occasio. Vobiscum enim me esse arbitror, cum vobis per litteras loquor.
Novatian sends greetings to the flock who are steadfast in the Gospel. Just as it quite saddens me and greatly distresses my mind when no opportunity presents itself of writing to you--for it is my loss not to communicate with you--just so nothing has brought back to me so much joy and happiness as having another opportunity to do so. For when I speak with you through the medium of a letter, I feel that I am with you.
2. Quamquam igitur ita se haec habere quae dico certos vos esse sciam nec quicquam de verborum meorum veritate dubitare, tamen etiam argumentum sinceritatem rei asserit. Nam cum nulla prorsus praeteritur occasio, probatur affectio.
Therefore, although I know that you are sure that what I say is true, and that you have no doubt about the truth of my words, nevertheless the facts also bear out my sincerity. For when absolutely no occasion for writing is passed over, affection is proven.
3. Quamvis ergo certus sim vos non minus esse in vitae actu graves quam in sacramento fideles, tamen, quoniam non desunt vitiorum assertores blandi et indulgentes patroni, qui praestant vitiis auctoritatem et, quod sit deterius, censuram scripturarum caelestium in advocationem criminum convertunt, quasi sine culpa innocens spectaculorum ad remissionem animi appetatur voluptas – nam et eo usque enervatus est ecclesiasticae disciplinae vigor et ita omni langore vitiorum praecipitatur in peius, ut iam non vitiis excusatio, sed auctoritas detur -, placuit paucis vos non nunc instruere, sed instructos admonere, ne quia male sunt iuncta vulnera sanitatis obductae perrumpant cicatricem.
Although I am certain that you are no less serious in the conduct of your lives than you are faithful in the sacrament of religion, because there are some attractive advocates and indulgent patrons of the vices who lend authority to the vices and, what is even worse, twist the solid judgment of scripture into advocacy of crime, as if mere innocent and blameless pleasure, mere mental relaxation were the purpose of the spectacles (for the vigor of priestly discipline has so far weakened and declined due to all sorts of laxity and vice that the vices are no longer merely excused but actually advocated for), I have decided to say a few words now, not to instruct you, since you are well instructed, but to remind you, lest wounds that might not have properly healed break through their covering of scar tissue once more.
4. Nullum enim malum difficilius extinguitur quam quod faciles reditus habet, dum et multitudinis consensu asseritur et excusatione blanditur.
For no evil is extinguished with more difficulty than that which easily returns due to the advocacy permissiveness of the common opinion of the multitude.
1. Non pudet, inquam, non pudet fideles homines et christiani sibi nominis auctoritatem vindicantes superstitiones vanas gentilium cum spectaculis mixtas de scripturis caelestibus vindicare et divinam auctoritatem idolatriae conferre.
Is it not shameful, I say, shameful that men of faith and men who claim for themselves the title of the Christian name defend using heavenly scripture the vain superstitions of the pagans that are part of the spectacles, and lend divine sanction to idolatry?
2. Nam quando id quod in honore alicuius idoli ab ethinicis agitur a fidelibus christianis spectaculo frequentatur, et idolatria gentilis asseritur et in contulmeliam Dei religio vera et divina calcatur. Pudor me tenet praescriptiones eorum in hac causa et patrocinia referre.
For when when a ritual that is being performed in honor of some idol by the pagans is attended at a spectacle by faithful Christians, pagan idolotry is strengthened and the true and divine religion of God is insulted and trod under foot. I am ashamed to describe sophistries and special pleading of those men in this cause.
3. <Ubi>, inquiunt, <scripta sunt ista, ubi prohibita? Alioquin et auriga est Israel Helias et ante arcam David ipse saltavit. Nabla, cinyras, tympana, tibias, citharas, choros legimus. Apostolus quoque dimicans caestus et colluctationis nostrae adverus spiritalia nequitiae proponit certamen. Rursum cum de stadio sumit exempla, coronae quoque collocat praemia. Cur ergo homini christiano fideli non liceat spectare quod licuit divinis litteris scribere?>
"Where," they ask, "are those things written, where are they prohibited? Elijah occasionally rode in a chariot, and David himself danced before the arc. We read of nabla, cinyrae, tympana, citharae, and choirs. And the Apostle Paul as well in his spiritual struggles puts before us the contest of our boxing and wrestling against the spirits of evil. Again, when he takes his examples from the stadium, he also sets up the reward of a crown. Why would it not be permitted for a faithful Christian man to look at what it was permitted to write about in sacred writings?"
Nablium -i, n.: a musical instrument of ten or twelve strings, played with both hands; a kind of harp, of Phœnician origin, i. q. naulium. — Form nablium, Ov. A. A. 3, 327. — Form nablum, Vulg. 1 Chron. 15, 16 sqq.; id. 1 Macc. 13, 51. Cinyra, -ae f.: the lyre, an instrument of ten strings, Vulg. 1 Macc. 4, 54; 13, 51. Tympanum, -i n.: a drum, timbrel, tambour, tambourine. Cithara, -ae f.: the cithara, cithern, guitar, or lute. (Lewis & Short ss.vv.)
4. Hoc in loco non immerito dixerim longe melius fuisse istis nullas litteras nosse quam sic litteras legere. Verba enim et exempla quae ad exortationem evangelicae virtutis posita sunt ad vitiorum patrocinia transferuntur, quoniam non ut spectarentur ista scripta sunt, sed ut animis nostris instantia maior excitaretur in rebus profuturis, dum tanta est apud ethnicos in rebus non profuturis.
In this connection I might justifiably say that it would have been far better for those men to be illiterate than to read in this way. For words and examples that were set down to preach gospel virtue are being twisted to plead the cause of vice, because those things were not written about so that they might be looked at, but so that greater enthusiasm might be excited in our minds in profitable pursuits, while there is such great enthusiasm among the pagans in unprofitable pursuits.
1. Argumentum est ergo excitandae virtutis, non permissio sive libertas spectandi gentilis erroris, ut per hoc animus plus accendatur ad evangelicam virtutem propter divina praemia, cum per omnium laborum et dolorum calamitatem contendatur pervenire ad terrena compendia.
And so the argument is intended to encourage virtue, not to give permission or freedom to look at pagan error; so that through this metaphor the mind might be fired to gospel virtue because of divine rewards, since we strive through all sorts of sufferings and painful calamities to arrive at earthly gains.
2. Nam quod Helias auriga est Israelis non patrocinatur spectandis circensibus; in nullo enim circo cucurrit. Et quod David in conspectu Dei choros egit nihil adiuvat in theatro sedentes christianos fideles; nulla enim obscenis motibus membra distorquens desaltavit Graecae libidinis fabulam. Nabla, cinyrae, tibiae, tympana et citharae Deum cecinerunt, non idolum. Non igitur praescribitur ut spectentur illicita.
For the fact that Elijah rode a chariot in Israel is not an argument for looking at circus races; for he ran in no circus. And the fact that David led dances in the presence of God does nothing to help faithful Christians sitting in the theater; for never did he distort his limbs with obscene motions and dance a salacious Greek story. The nabla, cinyrae, tympana and citharae played for God, not for an idol. Therefore it is not written so that forbidden things might be looked at.
3. Diabolo artifice ex sanctis illicita mutata sunt. Praescribat igitur istis pudor, etiamsi non possunt sanctae litterae. Quaedam enim scriptura magis prohibuit non praecipiendo; verecundiam passa plus interdixit quia tacuit, verita ne, si ad haec usque descenderit, pessime de fidelibus suis sensisset. Nam et plerumque in praeceptis quaedam utilius tacentur.
Thanks to the work of the devil these sacred things were changed into forbidden things. Therefore, let shame set down a rule for those men, even if sacred writings cannot. For certain things scripture prohibited more by not taking account of them; with a feeling of shame it put things out of bounds because it passed them over in silence, afraid that it would have held the faithful in too little esteem if descended all the way to describing these things. For in general when giving out precepts some things are better left unsaid.
4. Admonentur enim saepe dum interdicuntur. Ita etiamsi tacentur, dum <non> divinis litteris scripta sunt, et praeceptorum loco severitas loquitur et ratio docet quae scriptura conticuit.
For often they are encouraged while they are being forbidden. Thus even if there is no mention of them, while they have not been written about in divine scripture, strictness speaks in place of explicit instructions, and reason teaches what scripture passed over in silence.
5. Secum tantummodo unusquisque deliberet et cum persona professionis suae loquatur: nihil umquam indecorum geret. Plus enim ponderis habebit conscientia quae nulli se alteri debebit nisi sibi.
Only let each man deliberate with himself and speak with his own faith as interlocutor: he will never do anything unworthy. For that conscience has more weight that owes itself to no one other than itself.
What has scripture forbidden? It has forbidden to look at that which it prohibited to do. It condemned, I say, all those types of spectacles, since it banished idolatry, the mother of all the games, whence came these abominations of vanity and frivolity.
2. Quod enim spectaculum sine idolo, quis ludus sine sacrificio, quod certamen non consecratum mortuo? Quid inter haec christianus fidelis facit, si idolatriam fugit? Quid contra Deum superstitiones probat quas amat dum spectat?
For what spectacle is there without an idol, what game without a sacrifice, what contest that is not consecrated to a a dead man? What business has a faithful Christian among these things, if he flees idolatry? Why does he approve of superstitions against God, which he loves while he watches?
3. Ceterum sciat haec omnia inventa daemoniorum esse, non Dei. Impudenter in ecclesia daemonia exorcizat quorum voluptates in spectaculis laudat. Et cum semel illi renuntians rescissa sit res omnis in baptismate, dum post Christum ad diaboli spectaculum vadit, Christo tamquam diabolo renuntiat.
But let him know that all these things are the inventions of demons, not of God. Impudently he exorcises in church the very demons whose pleasures he praises at the spectacles. And although in renouncing him everything was forgiven in baptism, once he goes to the spectacle of the devil after knowing Christ, he renounces Christ just as he renounced the devil.
4. Idolatria, ut iam dixit, ludorum omnium mater est, quae ut ad se christiani fideles veniant blanditur illis per oculorum et aurium voluptatem. Romulus Conso quasi consilii deo ob rapiendas Sabinas circenses primus consecravit, ceteri reliquis. Cum urbem fames occupasset, ad advocationem populi acquisiti sunt ludi scenici et Cereri et Libero dicati postmodum reliquisque idolis et mortuis.
Idolatry, as I have just said, is the mother of all the games, who, in order to get faithful Christians to come to her, flatters them through the pleasures of the eyes and the ears. Romulus first consecrated circus games to Consus, a kind of god of strategy, for the purpose of seizing the Sabine women, and the rest are consecrated to various other gods. When a famine had gripped the city, theatrical games were acquired to advocate for the people and were later dedicated to Ceres and Liber and to the other idols and to the dead.
5. Graeca illa certamina vel in cantibus vel fidibus vel in vocibus vel in viribus prasesides suos habent varia daemonia. Et quicquid est aliud quod spectantium aut oculos movet aut delinit aures, si cum sua origine et institutione quaeratur, causam praefert aut idolum aut daemonium aut mortuum. Ita diabolus artifex quia idolatriam per se nudam sciebat horreri, spectaculis miscuit, ut per voluptatem posset amari.
Those Greek contests, either in vocal performance or string instruments or in oratory or in strength have various demons as their presidents. And whatever else there is that either moves the eyes or charms the ears of the spectators, if one looks to its origin and founding, carries the banner of idols or demons or of the dead. So clever an artificer is the devil, because he knew that idolatry by itself, undisguised, would cause revulsion, so me mixed it with spectacles so that it could be loved through providing pleasure.
1. Plura prosequi quid est necesse vel sacrificiorum in ludis genera monstruosa describere? Inter quae nonnumquam et homo fit hostia latrocinio sacerdotis, dum cruor etiam de iugulo calidus exceptus spumanti patera, dum adhuc fervet, et quasi sitienti idolo in faciem iactatus crudeliter propinatur, et inter voluptates spectantium quorundam mors erogatur, ut per cruentum spectaculum saevire discatur, quasi parum sit homini privata sua rabies, nisi illam et publice discat.
Why is it necessary to say more, or to describe the monstrous varieties of sacrifices that take place at the games? Amongst them sometimes even a human being becomes a sacrifice, thanks to the criminality of a priest, while blood taken hot from the throat, received in a foaming bowl, is drunk down while still hot and tossed into the face of idol as though it was thirsty; and amongst the pleasures of the crowd, the death of certain persons is demanded, so that they can learn to be savage through the cruel spectacle, as if it were not enough for each man to have his own savagery at home, unless he also learns it in a public forum.
2. In poenam hominis fera rabida nutritur in deliciis, ut sub spectantium oculis crudelius insaniat. Eruditur artifex bellua, quae clementior fortasse fuisset, si non illam magister crudelior saevire docuisset.
A savage beast is reared as a pet for the purpose of punishing men, so that it might go more cruelly wild before the eyes of the spectators. The beast undergoes careful education, and would perhaps have been more gentle if its master, more cruel than the beast itself, had not taught it to to be savage.
3. Ergo ut taceam quicquid latius idolatria probat, quam vana sunt ipsa certamina, lites in coloribus, contentiones in curribus, favores in honoribus, gaudere quod equus velocior fuerit, maerere quod pigrior, annos pecoris computare, consules nosse, aetates discere, prosapiam designare, avos ipsos atavosque memorare.
And so, to say nothing of the things that idolatry esteems more broadly, how pointless are those contests, the arguments over the chariot teams, the disagreements over charioteers, enthusiasm for their prizes, the joy when a horse is rather swift, the grief when it is too slow, the calculations of the beast's age, the precise knowledge of dates, the learning of ages, the description of lineage, the recitation of grandfathers and even more distant ancestors.
4. Quam hoc totum otiosum negotium, immo quam turpiter ignominiosum! Hunc, inquam, memoriter totam equini generis subolem computantem et sine offensa hunc locum magna velocitate referentem, parentes Christi si perroges, nescit, aut infelicior si scit. Quem si rursus perrogem, quo ad illud spectaculum itinere pervenerit confitebitur per lupanarum, per prostitutarum nuda corpora, per lubricam libidinem, per dedecus publicum, per vulgarem lasciviam, per communem omnium contumeliam.
How utterly superfluous is the whole business, in fact, how foul and disgraceful! This man, I say, who calculates the entire stock of some equine clan with total recall and flawlessly recites this knowledge with the greatest of speed, if you ask him who are the parents of Christ, he has no idea, or is even more unfortunate if he does know. Again, if you ask this man by what road he came to that spectacle, he will confess that it was through the brothel, through the naked bodies of prostitutes, through sleazy lust, through public disgrace, through vulgar sensuality, through the reproaches of all right thinking men.
5. Cui ut non obiciam quod fortasse commisit, vidit tamen quod committendum non fuit et oculos ad idolatriae spectaculum per libidinem duxit, ausus secum sanctum in lupanar ducere, si potuisset, qui festinans ad spectaculum dimissus e dominico et adhuc gerens secum, ut assolet, eucharistiam inter corpora obscena meretricum Christi sanctum corpus infidelis iste circumtulit, plus damnationis meritus de itinere quam de spectaculi voluptate.
But I should not charge him with what he has perhaps not actually committed. Still, he saw what should not have been committed, and led his eyes to the spectacle of idolatry through lust. He would have dared, if had been able, to lead a saint into the brothel, a man who hurried to get to the show having just gotten out of Sunday services, and still bearing within him, as is his custom, the Eucharist; that infidel carried around the holy body of Christ amidst the obscene bodies of whores; he deserves damnation less from the pleasure of the spectacle than from the route he took to get there.
1. Sed ut ad scenae iam sales inverecundos transitum faciam, pudet referre quae dicuntur, pudet etiam accusare quae fiunt, argumentorum strophas, adulterorum fallacias, mulierum impudicitias, scurriles iocos, parasitos sordidos, ipsos quoque patres familias togatos modo stupidos modo obscenos, in omnibus stolidos, certis nominibus inverecundos.
But to pass now to the shameless witticisms of the theater, I am ashamed to describe what is said, ashamed also to indict what is done, the tiresome plot devices, the lies of adulterers, the lewd women, the filthy humor, the distasteful parasites, and also the very heads of households in their togas depicted sometimes as stupid, sometimes as rakes, and all the time as fool and utterly lacking in shame.
2. Et cum nulli hominum aut generi aut professioni ab improbis isto sermone parcatur, ab omnibus tamen ad spectaculum convenitur. Commune dedecus delectat videlicet vel recognoscere vitia vel discere. Concurritur in illud pudoris publici lupanarium, ad obscenitatis magisterium, ne quid secreto minus agatur quam quod in publico discitur. Et inter ipsas leges docetur quicquid legibus interdicitur.
And although no type of man or profession is spared such treatment at the hands of those wicked men, nevertheless everyone goes to the spectacle. No doubt the common shame delights in reviewing its vices--or in learning them. They run to that whorehouse of public shame, to that school of obscenity, lest anything be done less in secret than that which is learned in public (?). And amidst the pomp of the laws they are taught the very thing that the laws forbid.
3. Quid inter haec christianus fidelis facit, cui vitia non licet nec cogitare, quid oblectatur simulacris libidinis, ut in ipsis deposita verecundia audacior fiat ad crimina? Discit et facere dum consuescit videre. Illas tamen, quas infelicitas sua in servitutem prostituit libidinis publicae, occultat locus et dedecus suum de latebris consolantur. Erubescunt videri etiam quae pudorem vediderunt.
What does a faithful Christian, for whom it is not permitted even to think about sinning, do amidst these things? Why does he delight in the images of lust? So that amongst these very things, with his shame having been put off, he might become more bold in crime? While he becomes accustomed to looking, he learns also to do. Nevertheless, those women whose own misfortune has made them into slave prostitutes, serving the public's lusts, are in a private place, and take some consolation for their dishonor in concealment. Even those who have sold their shame blush to be seen in public.
4. At istud publicum monstrum omnibus videntibus geritur et prostitutarum transitur obscenitas. Quaesitum est quomodo adulterium ex oculis admitteretur!
But that public monstrosity is performed in plain view of everybody, surpassing even the obscenity of the prostitutes. At least people attempt to commit their adulteries away from the eyes of men!
On ex oculis, see Hermes 85 (1957) 79, where Scheidweiler expresses puzzlement over the phrase, and suggests et for ex. It seems to me that it must mean ex oculis (hominum), and that the logic demands a connective like "at least." For admitto = commit see L&S IIC.
5. Huic dedecori condignum dedecus superducitur, homo fractus omnibus membris et vir ultra muliebrem mollitiem dissolutus, cui ars sit verba manibus expedire. Et propter unum nescio quem nec virum nec feminam commovetur civitas tota, ut desaltentur fabulosae antiquitatum libidines. Ita amatur quicquid non licet, ut quae etiam aetas absconderat, sub oculis memoria reducat.
To this disgrace is added a worthy follow-up, a human being enfeebled and soft in every limb, a man melted to a state beyond the softness of a woman, whose skill consists in issuing words with his hands. And because of this one individual--man or woman, who knows?--the entire city is excited, so that the lusts of ancient fable might be performed through dance. So strong is love of the forbidden that even what the passage of time had hidden it brings before their eyes by recalling.
1. Non est libidini satis malis suis uti praesentibus, nisi suum de spectaculo faciat in quo etiam aetas superior erraverat. Non licet, inquam, adesse christianis fidelibus, non licet omnino nec illis quos ad delinimenta aurium ad omnes ubique Graecia instructos suis vanis artibus mittit.
Lust is not satisfied with using its own present depravities, but adopts as its own from a stage play the sins of an earlier age. It is forbidden, I say, for faithful Christians to attend. It is also completely forbidden for them to attend performances by those musicians whom Greece has sent all over the world, having instructed them in her vain skills intended to delight the ears.
2. Clangores tubae bellicos alter imitatur raucos, alter lugubres sonos spiritu tibias inflante moderatur, alter cum choris et cum hominis canora voce contendens spiritu suo quem de visceribus suis in superiora corporis nitens hauserat tibiarum foramina modulans. [effuso et] nunc intus recluso ac represso, nunc certis foraminum meatibus emisso atque in aerem profuso, item in articulos sonum frangens, loqui digitis elaborat, ingratus artifici qui linguam dedit.
One man imitates the blaring noise of the war trumpet; another produces a lugubrious sound by blowing into the tibia. A third man vies with choirs and the human singing voice by modulating the openings of the tibia. He employs his breath, which he draws with great effort from the depths of his guts into the upper regions of his body, now keeping it shut up and locked within, now releasing it and pouring it out into the air through the passageways of his instrument. In this way he manages to speak with his fingers by breaking the sound into fragments, showing ingratitude to his maker who endowed him with a tongue.
3. Quid loquar comicas inutiles curas, quid illas magnas tragicae vocis insanias, quid nervos cum clamore commissos? Haec etiam si non essent simulacris dicata, obeunda tamen et spectanda non essent christianis fidelibus, quoniam et si non haberent crimen, habent in se et maximam et parum congruentem fidelibus vanitatem.
Why should I speak of the pointless efforts of comedy, or that massive insanity that is the tragic theater? Why should I mention stringed instruments and their racket? Even if such things are not consecrated to idols, still, faithful Christians ought not to attend and watch them. If they are not sinful, they yet have in them a vanity which is both very great and ill befitting the faithful.
1. Nam illa altera reliquorum dementia est manifesta otiosis hominibus negotiatio: in iniuriam suam pinguescit in sagina corpus, ut robustius aut feriat aut vapulet, et prima victoria est ultra modum humani ventris esurire potuisse; super titulo coronae edacis flagitiosae nundinae: ictibus infelix facies locatur, ut infelicior venter saginetur.
Now that other madness that rest pursue is clearly a business for indolent, shiftless men: they do themselves harm by stuffing their bellies to bulk up, the better to take are receive punches. The first victory for these "athletes" is to be able to eat beyond human endurance. In the name of this prize for gluttony we see a disgraceful market in which a wretched man rents out his face for blows, so that he can all the more wretchedly stuff his belly.
This adopts Hartel's text and punctuation, "super titulo coronae edacis flagitiosae nundinae: ictibus" as opposed to Saggioro's, "sub titulo coronae edacis flagitiosae nundinae ictibus."
2. Quam foeda praeterea ipsa luctamina: vir infra virum iacens amplexibus inhonestis et nexibus implicatur. In tali certamine [stare] viderit quis vincat, pudor victus est. Ecce tibi alter nudus salit, alter orbem aeneum contentis in aerem viribus iactat. Haec gloria est dementiae. Denique remove spectatorem, reddideris vanitatem. Fugienda sunt ista christianis fidelibus, ut iam frequenter diximus, tam vana, tam perniciosa, tam sacrilega spectacula, a quibus et oculi nostri sunt et aures custodiendae.
And furthermore, how disgraceful are the fights themselves: a man lying under a man is tied up in ignoble embraces and holds. In a contest lick that, no matter who wins, decency loses. Look now, one man dances in the nude, another hurls in the air with all his strength a bronze disc. This is the glory of the insane. Take away the spectators, and you expose its emptiness. As I have said repeatedly, faithful Christians much avoid such vain, pernicious, and sacrilegious spectacles. Our eyes and ears must be protected from them.
3. Cito in hoc assuescimus quod audimus, celerius quod videmus. Nam cum mens hominis ad vitia ipsa ducitur, sibi quid faciet, si habuerit exempla? Natura corporis lubrica, quae sponte corruit, quid faciet, si fuerit impulsa? Avocandus est animus ab istis.
We quickly become accustomed to what we hear, and even more quickly to what we see. The human mind on its own tends toward vice. What will happen if it has models to encourage it? The body is by nature slippery, and falls of its own inclination. What will happen if it is given a push? The mind must be called back from such things.
1. Habet christianus spectacula meliora, si velit, habet veras et profuturas voluptates, si se recollegerit. Et ut omittam illa quae nondum contemplari potest, habet istam mundi pulchritudinem quam videat atque miretur: solis ortum aspiciat, rursus occasum mutuis vicibus dies noctesque revocantem, globum lunae temporum cursus incrementis suis detrimentisque signantem, astrorum micantes choros et assidue de summa mobilitate fulgentes.
The Christian has his own, better spectacles, if he wishes. He has his own pleasures that are true and beneficial, if he comes to his senses. To say nothing of those wanders that cannot yet be perceived directly, he has the loveliness of the world to see and marvel at. Let him gaze at the rising sun, then its setting, which in their exchange call back the day and the night. Let him gaze at the globe of the moon that marks the passage of time with its waxing and waning. Let him gaze at the dance of the flashing constellations as they move gracefully on high.
2. anni totius per vices membra divisa et dies ipsos cum noctibus per horarum spatia digestos et terrae molem libratam cum montibus et profusa flumina cum suis fontibus, extensa maria cum suis fluctibus atque littoribus, interim constantem pariter summa conspiratione nexibusque concordiae extensum aerem medium tenuitate sua cuncta vegetantem, nunc imbres contractis nubibus profundentem, nunc serenitatem refecta raritate revocantem, et in omnibus isits incolas proprios, in aere avem, in aquis piscem, in terra hominem.
the seasons of the year in their subdivided cycle, and the days themselves with the nights, divided into the procession of hours, and the balanced mass of the earth with its mountains, and the rushing rivers with their sources, the spreading seas with their waves and shores, and meanwhile the air, ever unchanging and uniform in perfect concord and binding harmony, spread out wide and invigorating all things in its delicacy. Now it pours forth rain from gathered clouds, now it regains its serene clarity. And each of those elements has its own special inhabitants, the birds of the air, the fish of the waters, and on earth, man.
3. Haec, inquam, et alia item opera divina sint christianis fidelibus spectacula. Quod theatrum humanis manibus extructum istis operibus poterit comparari? Magnis licet lapidum molibus extruatur, cristae sunt montium altiores, et auro licet tecta laquearia reluceant, astrorum fulgore vincentur. Numquam humana opera mirabitur quisquis se recognoverit filium Dei. Deicit se de culmine generositatis suae qui admirari aliquid post Deum potest.
These, I say, these and other such divine works are the spectacles for faithful Christians. What theater built by human hands can compare with those works? Is it built up from huge piles of stones? Mountain peaks are higher. Do the ceiling coffers glint with gold? The gleam of the stars is superior. The man who has recognized himself as a son of God will never admire human works. The man who can admire anything apart from God has lowered himself down from the peak of his human nobility.
1. Scripturis, inquam, sacris incumbat christianus fidelis: ibi inveniet condigna fidei spectacula. Videbit instituentem Deum mundum suum et cum ceteris animalibus homines, illam admirabilem fabricam melioremque facientem. Spectabit mundum in delictis suis, iusta naufragia, piorum praemia impioremque supplicia, maria populo siccata et de petra rursus populo maria porrecta. Spectabit de caelo descendentes messes, non ex areis aratro impressas.
Let the faithful Christian consult holy scripture. There he will find the spectacles worthy of faith. He will see God creating and improving the earth, man, and the other animals, the whole amazing fabric of the world. He will see the earth in its sinfulness, well-deserved shipwrecks, the rewards of the just and the punishment of the wicked, the sea made dry for His people, and the sea rising again from the rocks to save the same people. He will see crops fallen from heaven, not from a threshing floor or planted with a plow.
2. Inspiciet flumina transitus siccos refrenatis aquarum agminibus exhibentia. Videbit in quibusdam fidem cum igne luctantem, religione superatas feras et in mansuetudinem conversas. Intuebitur et animas ab ipsa iam morte revocatas, considerabit etiam de sepulcris admirabiles ipsorum consummatorum iam vitas corporum redactas.
He will see rivers providing dry crossings, with the troops of their waters restrained. He will see in certain cases, faith struggling with fire, and beasts overcome by religion and made tame. And he will see souls called back from the point of death, and he will contemplate also bodies of the very dead themselves amazingly restored to life from their tombs.
3. Et in his omnibus iam maius videbit spectaculum, diabolum illum qui totum detriumphaverat mundum sub pedibus Christi iacentem. Quam hoc decorum spectaculum, fratres, quam iocundum, quam necessarium, intueri semper spem suam et oculos aperire ad salutem suam!
And in all these things he will see the greatest spectacle of all, the devil, who had triumphed over the whole world, lying beneath the feet of Christ. What a lovely spectacle, my brothers, how pleasant, how necessary, to gaze always at one's own hope, and to open one's eyes to one's own salvation!
4. Hoc est spectaculum quod videtur etiam luminibus amissis, hoc est spectaculum quod non exhibet praetor aut consul, sed qui est solus et ante omnia et super omnia, immo ex quo omnia, Pater Domini nostri Iesu Christi, cui laus et honor in saecula saeculorum. Opto vos, fratres, bene valere.
This is a spectacle that can be seen by the eyes of the blind, this spectacle is not put on by the praetor or the consul, but by Him who is alone and before all things ad over all tings, nay rather from whom all things come, the father of our lord Jesus Christ, to whom honor and glory for ever and ever. I hope, brothers, that you are well.