Chapter III.—The Old Man Does Not Believe in God or Providence.
“The old man began to speak as follows: When I saw you after you had bathed in the sea retire into the secret place, I went up and secretly watched what might be your object in entering into a secret place, and when I saw you pray, I retired; 1195 but taking pity on you, I waited that I might speak with you when you came out, and prevail on you not to be led astray. For there is neither God nor providence; but all things are subject to Genesis. 1196 Of this I am fully assured in consequence of what I have myself endured, having for a long time made a careful study of the science. 1197 Do not therefore be deceived, my child. For whether you pray or not, you must endure what is assigned to you by Genesis. For if prayers could have p. 306 done anything or any good, I myself should now be in better circumstances. And now, unless my needy garments mislead you, you will not refuse to believe what I say. I was once in affluent circumstances; I sacrificed much to the gods, I gave liberally to the needy; and yet, though I prayed and acted piously, I was not able to escape my destiny. And I said: What are the calamities you have endured? And he answered: I need not tell you now; perhaps at the end you shall learn who I am, and who are my parents, and into what straitened circumstances I have fallen. But at present I wish you to become fully assured that everything is subject to Genesis.
Wieseler thinks that the reading should be: “I did not retire.”305:1196
Genesis is destiny determined by the stars which rule at each mans birth. [Comp. iv. 12. In Recognitions, viii. 2, the long discussion with the old man begins in the same way.—R.]305:1197
μάθημα, mathematical science specially, which was closely connected with astrology. [Comp. Recognitions, x. 11–12.—R.]