It always has been and will be quite vain to produce Empty talk or ring the changes on senseless topics; Any wise man will want to put vanities well aside, Since only serious thoughts please a sensible man; While it pleases a fool to waste all his time On vanities, a wise man acts wisely. A weak man will want to live in senseless vices, And living badly is death to the robust man; Only the love of virtue frees a man flourishing In virtue from vices and makes him spurn vanities; Thus a man strong in virtue avoids vanity And banishes it utterly from all his concerns.
[1.] Let us proceed to the second topic: it ought to seem remarkable to any sensible person that there should be one and only one God, especially since venerable Antiquity, for which supreme reverence was long since decreed in perpetuity, established for itself and devoutly worshipped innumerable multitudes of gods; on the other hand, not a few of the wisest natural philosophers remained in legitimate doubt concerning the substances of God or gods. So a certain natural philosopher Ibn Dāūd, a man who was once preeminent among the best, could say in earnest: “If God exists, let Him be; if He does not exist, let me be.” By speaking conditionally, he made it clear that he was less than perfectly certain about the existence of the supreme Deity.
[2.] Antiquity is always to be revered greatly: reverence was and is legally decreed for it as if by perpetual edict. The ancients strove to show the highest reverence for their innumerable gods, but they especially consecrated the secret spiritual prerogative of veneration to their chosen gods, little caring (as far as I can tell) that an overabundant multitude is rarely in the habit of accommodating itself to virtue. Perhaps they also failed to take heed of how frequently the parity of numerous joint possessors incites ruinous squabbles.