The Perfect Sermon, or

The Asclepius


1. It is by Spirit that all species in the Cosmos are [or] moved or ruled,—each one according to its proper nature given it by God.

Matter, or Cosmos, on the other hand, is that which holds all things,—the field of motion, and the that which crowds together all; of which God is the Ruler, distributing unto all cosmic things all that is requisite to each.

It is with Spirit that He fills all things, according to the quality of each one’s nature.

2. [Now,] seeing that the hollow roundness of the Cosmos is borne round into the fashion of a sphere; by reason of its [very] quality or form, it never can be altogether visible unto itself.

So that, however high a place in it thou shouldest choose for looking down below, thou could’st not see from it what is at bottom, because in many places it confronts [the senses], and so is thought to have the quality [of being visible throughout].

For it is solely owing to the forms of species, with images of which it seems insculpted, that it is thought [to be] as though ’twere visible [throughout]; but as a fact ’tis ever to itself invisible.

3. Wherefore, its bottom, or its [lowest] part, if [such a] place there be within a sphere, is called in Greek a-eidēs; since that eidein in Greek means “seeing,”—which “being-seen” the sphere’s beginning lacks.

Hence, too, the species have the name eideai, since they’re of form we cannot see.

Therefore, in that they are deprived of “being-seen,” in Greek they are called Hades; in that they are at bottom of the sphere, they’re called in Latin Inferi.

These, then, are principal and prior, and, as it were, the sources and the heads of all the things which are in them, through them, or from them.

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