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The Asclepius


1. Asc. [Is Cosmos] good, Thrice-greatest one?

Tris. [’Tis] good, as I will teach thee, O Asclepius.

For just as God is the Apportioner and Steward of good things to all the species, or [more correctly] genera, which are in Cosmos,—that is to say, of Sense, and Soul, and Life,—so Cosmos is the giver and bestower of all things which seem unto [us] mortals good;—that is to say, the alternation of its parts, of seasonable fruits, birth, growth, maturity, and things like these.

And for this cause God doth transcend the height of highest Heaven, extending everywhere, and doth behold all things on every side.

2. Beyond the Heaven starless Space doth stretch, stranger to every thing possessed of body.

The Dispensator who’s between the Heaven and Earth, is Ruler of the Space which we call Zeus [Above].

The Earth and Sea is ruled by Zeus Below; he is the Nourisher of mortal lives, and of fruit-bearing [trees].

It is by reason of the powers of all of these that fruits, and trees, and earth, grow green.

The powers and energies of [all] the other [Gods] will be distributed through all the things that are.

3. Yea, they who rule the earth shall be distributed [through all the lands], and [finally] be gathered in a state,—at top of Egypt’s upper part,—which shall be founded towards the setting sun, and to which all the mortal race shall speed.

Asc. But now, just at this moment, where are they, Thrice-greatest one?

Tris. They’re gathered in a very large community, upon the Libyan Hill. And now enough concerning this hath been declared.

4. [X. M.] But now the question as to deathlessness or as to death must be discussed.

The expectation and the fear of death torture the multitude, who do not know True Reason.

Now death is brought about by dissolution of the body, wearied out with toil, and of the number, when complete, by which the body’s members are arranged into a single engine for the purposes of life. The body dies, when it no longer can support the life-powers of a man.

This, then, is death,—the body’s dissolution, and the disappearance of corporeal sense.

As to this death anxiety is needless. But there’s another [death] which no man can escape, but which the ignorance and unbelief of man think little of.

5. Asc. What is it, O Thrice-greatest one, that men know nothing of, or disbelieve that it can be?

Tris. So, lend thy ear, Asclepius!


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