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The Asclepius


1. So, then, these three, Fate, [and] Necessity, [and] Order, are most immediately effected by God’s Will, who rules the Cosmos by His Law and by His Holy Reason.

From these, accordingly, all willing or not-willing is altogether foreign, according to God’s Will.

They are not moved by wrath nor swayed by favour, but are the instruments of the Eternal Reason’s self-compulsion, which is [the Reason] of Eternity, that never can be turned aside, or changed, or be destroyed.

2. First, then, is Fate, which, as it were, by casting in the seed, supplies the embryo of all that are to be.

Follows Necessity, whereby they all are forcibly compelled unto their end.

Third, Order [comes], preserving warp-and-woof of [all] the things which Fate and [which] Necessity arrange.

This, then, is the Eternity, which neither doth begin nor cease to be, which, fixed by law unchangeable, abides in the unceasing motion of its course.

3. It rises and it sets, by turns, throughout its limbs; so that by reason of Time’s changes it often rises with the very limbs with which it [once] had set.

For [its] sphericity,—its law of revolution,—is of this nature, that all things are so straitly joined to their own selves, that no one knoweth what is the beginning of their revolution; since they appear for ever all to go before and follow after their own selves.

Good and bad issues, [therefore,] are commingled in all cosmic things.

4. [XV. M.] And now it hath been told you on each several point,—as man hath power [to tell], and God hath willed it and permitted it.

This, then, alone remains that we should do,—bless God and give Him praise; and so return to taking thought for body [’s comfort].

For now sufficiently have we been filled with feast of mind by our discourse on sacred things.


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