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The Asclepius


1. Asc. And of what nature, O Thrice-greatest one, may be the quality of those who are considered terrene Gods?

Tris. It doth consist, Asclepius, of plants, and stones, and spices, which contain the nature of [their own] divinity.

And for this cause they are delighted with repeated sacrifice, with hymns, and lauds, and sweetest sounds, tuned to the key of Heaven’s harmonious song.

2. So that what is of heavenly nature, being drawn down into the images by means of heavenly use and practices, may be enabled to endure with joy the nature of mankind, and sojourn with it for long periods of time.

Thus is it that man is the maker of the Gods.

3. But do not, O Asclepius, I pray thee, think the doings of the terrene Gods are the result of chance.

The heavenly Gods dwell in the heights of Heaven, each filling up and watching o’er the rank he hath received; whereas these Gods of ours, each in its way,—by looking after certain things, foretelling others by oracles and prophecy, foreseeing others, and duly helping them along,—act as allies of men, as though they were our relatives and friends.


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