The Asclepius


1. Asc. Who, therefore, will the men be after us?

Tris. They will be led astray by sophists’ cleverness, and turned from True Philosophy,—the Pure and Holy [Love].

For that to worship God with single mind and soul, and reverence the things that He hath made, and to give thanks unto His Will, which is the only thing quite full of Good,—this is Philosophy unsullied by the soul’s rough curiousness.

But of this subject let what has been said so far suffice.

2. [VII. M.] And now let us begin to treat of Spirit and such things.

There was first God and Matter, which we in Greek believe [to be] the Cosmos; and Spirit was with Cosmos, or Spirit was in Cosmos, but not in like way as in God; nor were there things [as yet] from which the Cosmos [comes to birth] in God.

They were not; just for the very reason that they were not, but were as yet in that [condition] whence they have had their birth.

For those things only are not called ingenerable which have not yet been born, but [also] those which lack the fertilizing power of generating, so that from them naught can be born.

And so whatever things there are that have in them the power of generating,—these two are generable, [that is to say,] from which birth can take place, though they be born from their own selves [alone]. For there’s no question that from those born from themselves birth can with ease take place, since from them all are born.

3. God, then, the everlasting, God the eternal, nor can be born, nor could He have been born. That is, That was, That shall be ever. This, therefore, is God’s Nature—all from itself [alone].

But Matter (or the Nature of the Cosmos) and Spirit, although they do not seem to be things born from any source, yet in themselves possess the power of generation and of generating,—the nature of fecundity.

For the beginning [truly] is in [just that] quality of nature which possesses in itself the power and matter both of conception and of birth. This, then, without conception of another, is generable of its own self.

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