The Asclepius


1. The Reason of a thesis such as this, O [my] Asclepius, I would that thou should’st grasp, not only with the keen attention of thy soul, but also with its living power [as well].

For ’tis a Reason that most men cannot believe; the Perfect and the True are to be grasped by the more holy minds. Hence, then, will I begin.

2. [VI. M.] The Lord of the Eternity is the first God; the second’s Cosmos; man is the third.

God is the Maker of the Cosmos and of all the things therein; at the same time He ruleth all, with man himself, [who is] the ruler of the compound thing; the whole of which man taking on himself, doth make of it the proper care of his own love, in order that the two of them, himself and Cosmos, may be an ornament each unto other; so that from this divine compost of man, “World” seems most fitly called “Cosmos” in Greek.

3. He knows himself; he knows the World as well. So that he recollects, indeed, what is convenient to his own parts. He calls to mind what he must use, that they may be of service to himself; giving the greatest praise and thanks to God, His Image reverencing,—not ignorant that he is, too, God’s image the second [one]; for that there are two images of God—Cosmos and man.

4. So that it comes to pass that, since man’s is a single structure,—in that part [of him] which doth consist of Soul, and Sense, of Spirit, and of Reason, he’s divine; so that he seems to have the power to mount from as it were the higher elements into the Heaven.

But in his cosmic part, which is composed of fire, and water, and of air, he stayeth mortal on the Earth,—lest he should leave all things committed to his care forsaken and bereft.

Thus human kind is made in one part deathless, and in the other part subject to death while in a body.

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