The Asclepius


1. But now I’ll finish for you what I have begun. For I was speaking at the start of union with the Gods, by which men only consciously enjoy the Gods’ regard,—I mean whatever men have won such rapture that they have obtained a share of that Divine Sense of intelligence which is the most Divine of Senses, found in God and in man’s reason.

Asc. Are not the senses of all men, Thrice-greatest one, the same?

Tris. Nay, [my] Asclepius, all have not won true reason; but wildly rushing in pursuit of [reason’s] counterfeit, they never see the thing itself, and are deceived. And this breeds evil in their minds, and [thus] transforms the best of animals into the nature of a beast and manners of the brutes.

2. But as to Sense and all things similar, I will set forth the whole discourse when [I explain] concerning Spirit.

For man is the sole animal that is twofold. One part of him is simple: the [man] “essential,” as say the Greeks, but which we call the “form of the Divine Similitude.”

He also is fourfold: that which the Greeks call “hylic,” [but] which we call “cosmic”; of which is made the corporal part, in which is vestured what we just have said is the divine in man,—in which the godhead of the Mind alone, together with its kin, that is the Pure Mind’s senses, findeth home and rest, its self with its own self, as though shut in the body’s walls.

3. [IV. M.] Asc. What, then, Thrice-greatest one, has caused it that man should be planted in the world, and should not pass his life in highest happiness in that part [of the universe] where there is God?

[Tris.] Rightly thou questionest, O [my] Asclepius! And we pray God that He bestow on us the power of setting forth this reason; since everything depends upon His Will, and specially those things that are set forth about the Highest Whole, the Reason that’s the object of our present argument. Hear, then, Asclepius!

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