The Asclepius


1. Asc. Rightly and truly, O Thrice-greatest one, thou speakest. This is the prize for those who piously subordinate their lives to God and live to help the world.

Tris. [To those], however, who have lived in other fashion impiously,—[to them] both is return to Heaven denied, and there’s appointed them migration into other bodies unworthy of a holy soul and base; so that, as this discourse of ours will show, souls in their life on earth run risk of losing hope of future immortality.

2. But [all of this] doth seem to some beyond belief; a tale to others; to others [yet again], perchance, a subject for their mirth.

For in this life in body, it is a pleasant thing—the pleasure that one gets from one’s possessions. ’Tis for this cause that spite, in envy of its [hope of] immortality, doth clap the soul in prison, as they say, and keep it down, so that it stays in that part of itself in which it’s mortal, nor suffers it to know the part of its divinity.

3. For I will tell thee, as though it were prophetic-ly, that no one after us shall have the Single Love, the Love of wisdom-loving, which consists in Gnosis of Divinity alone,—[the practice of] perpetual contemplation and of holy piety. For that the many do confound philosophy with multifarious reasoning.

Asc. Why is it, then, the many make philosophy so hard to grasp; or wherefore is it they confound this thing with multifarious reasoning?

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