The Perfect Sermon, or

The Asclepius


1. But this can only be averred of a few men endowed with pious minds. Still, of the rest, the vicious folk, we ought to say no word, for fear a very sacred sermon should be spoiled by thinking of them.

[IX. M.] And since our sermon treats of the relationship and intercourse of men and Gods,—learn, Asclepius, the power and strength of man!

[Our] Lord and Father, or what is Highest God,—as He’s Creator of the Gods in Heaven, so man’s the maker of the gods who, in the temples, suffer man’s approach, and who not only have light poured on them, but who send forth [their] light [on all]; not only does a man go forward towards the God[s], but also he confirms the Gods [on earth].

Art thou surprised, Asclepius; nay is it not that even thou dost not believe?

2. Asc. I am amazed, Thrice-greatest one; but willingly I give assent to [all] thy words. I judge that man most blest who hath attained so great felicity.

Tris. And rightly so; [for] he deserves our wonder, in that he is the greatest of them all.

As for the genus of the Gods in Heaven,—’tis plain from the commixture of them all, that it has been made pregnant from the fairest part of nature, and that the only signs [by which they are discerned] are, as it were, before all else their heads.

3. Whereas the species of the gods which humankind constructs is fashioned out of either nature,—out of that nature which is more ancient and far more divine, and out of that which is in men; that is, out of the stuff of which they have been made and are configured, not only in their heads alone, but also in each limb and their whole frame.

And so mankind, in imaging Divinity, stays mindful of the nature and the source of its own self.

So that, just as [our] Sire and Lord did make the Gods æonian, that they might be like Him; so hath mankind configured its own gods according to the likeness of the look of its own self.

Previous | Index | Next