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The Asclepius


1. Asc. And these deserve [still] greater punishments, Thrice-greatest one?

Tris. [Assuredly;] for those condemned by laws of man do lose their life by violence, so that [all] men may see they have not yielded up their soul to pay the debt of nature, but have received the penalty of their deserts.

Upon the other hand, the righteous man finds his defence in serving God and deepest piety. For God doth guard such men from every ill.

2. Yea, He who is the Sire of all, [our] Lord, and who alone is all, doth love to show Himself to all.

It is not by the place where he may be, nor by the quality which he may have, nor by the greatness which he may possess, but by the mind’s intelligence alone, that He doth shed His light on man,—[on him] who shakes the clouds of Error from his soul, and sights the brilliancy of Truth, mingling himself with the All-sense of the Divine Intelligence; through love of which he wins his freedom from that part of him o’er which Death rules, and has the seed of the assurance of his future Deathlessness implanted in him.

3. This, then, is how the good will differ from the bad. Each several one will shine in piety, in sanctity, in prudence, in worship, and in service of [our] God, and see True Reason, as though [he looked at it] with [corporal] eyes; and each will by the confidence of his belief excel all other men, as by its light the Sun the other stars.

For that it is not so much by the greatness of his light as by his holiness and his divinity, the Sun himself lights up the other stars.

Yea, [my] Asclepius, thou should’st regard him as the second God, ruling all things, and giving light to all things living in the Cosmos, whether ensouled or unensouled.

For if the Cosmos is a living thing, and if it has been, and it is, and will be ever-living,—naught in the Cosmos is subject to death.

For of an ever-living thing, it is [the same] of every part which is; [that is,] that ’tis [as ever-living] as it is [itself]; and in the World itself [which is] for everyone, and at the self-same time an ever-living thing of life,—in it there is no place for death.

5. And so he should be the full store of life and deathlessness; if that it needs must be that he should live for ever.

And so the Sun, just as the Cosmos, lasts for aye. So is he, too, for ever ruler of [all] vital powers, or of [our] whole vitality; he is their ruler, or the one who gives them out.

God, then, is the eternal ruler of all living things, or vital functions, that are in the World. He is the everlasting giver-forth of Life itself.

Once for all [time] He hath bestowed Life on all vital powers; He further doth preserve them by a law that lasts for evermore, as I will [now] explain.


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