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The Asclepius


1. In like way must we also talk concerning “Space,”—a term which by itself is void of “sense.”

For Space seems what it is from that of which it is [the space]. For if the qualifying word is cut away, the sense is maimed.

Wherefore we shall [more] rightly say the space of water, space of fire, or [space] of things like these.

For as it is impossible that aught be void; so is Space also in itself not possible to be distinguished what it is.

For if you postulate a space without that [thing] of which it is [the space], it will appear to be void space,—which I do not believe exists in Cosmos.

2. If nothing, then, is void, so also Space by its own self does not show what it is unless you add to it lengths, breadths [and depths],—just as you add the proper marks unto men’s bodies.

These things, then, being thus, Asclepius, and ye who are with [him],—know the Intelligible Cosmos (that is, [the one] which is discerned by contemplation of the mind alone) is bodiless; nor can aught corporal be mingled with its nature,—[by corporal I mean] what can be known by quality, by quantity, and numbers. For there is nothing of this kind in that.

3. This Cosmos, then, which is called Sensible, is the receptacle of all things sensible,—of species, qualities, or bodies.

But not a single one of these can quicken without God. For God is all, and by Him [are] all things, and all [are] of His Will.

For that He is all Goodness, Fitness, Wisdom, unchangeable,—that can be sensed and understood by His own self alone.

Without Him naught hath been, nor is, nor will be.

4. For all things are from Him, in Him, and through Him,—both multitudinous qualities, and mighty quantities, and magnitudes exceeding every means of measurement, and species of all forms;—which things, if thou should’st understand, Asclepius, thou wilt give thanks to God.

And if thou should’st observe it as a whole, thou wilt be taught, by means of the True Reason, that Cosmos in itself is knowable to sense, and that all things in it are wrapped as in a vesture by that Higher Cosmos [spoken of above].


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