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The Asclepius


1. Now when they came forth from the holy place, they turned their faces towards the south when they began their prayers to God.

For when the sun is setting, should anyone desire to pray to God, he ought to turn him thitherwards; so also at the rising of the same, unto that spot which lies beneath the sun.

As they were just beginning to recite the prayer, Asclepius did whisper:

[Asc.] Let us suggest to father, Tat,—what he did bid us do,—that we should say our prayer to God with added incense and with unguents.

Whom when Thrice-greatest heard, he grew distressed and said:

2. [Tris.] Nay, nay, Asclepius; speak more propitious words! For this is like to profanation of [our] sacred rites,—when thou dost pray to God, to offer incense and the rest.

For naught is there of which He stands in need, in that He is all things, or all are in Him.

But let us worship, pouring forth our thanks. For this is the best incense in God’s sight,—when thanks are given to Him by men.

3. [We give] Thee grace, Thou highest [and] most excellent! For by Thy Grace we have received the so great Light of Thy own Gnosis.

O holy Name, fit [Name] to be adored, O Name unique, by which the Only God is to be blest through worship of [our] Sire,—[of Thee] who deignest to afford to all a Father’s piety, and care, and love, and whatsoever virtue is more sweet [than these], endowing [us] with sense, [and] reason, [and] intelligence;—with sense that we may feel Thee; with reason that we may track Thee out from the appearances of things; with means of recognition that we may joy in knowing Thee.

4. Saved by Thy Power divine, let us rejoice that Thou hast shown Thyself to us in all Thy Fullness. Let us rejoice that Thou hast deigned to consecrate us, [still] entombed in bodies, to Eternity.

For this is the sole festival of praise worthy of man,—to know Thy Majesty.

We have known Thee; yea, by the Single Sense of our intelligence, we have perceived Thy Light supreme,—O Thou true Life of life, O Fecund Womb that giveth birth to every nature!

5. We have known Thee, O Thou completely filled with the Conception from Thyself of Universal Nature!

We have known Thee, O Thou Eternal Constancy!

For in the whole of this our prayer in worship of Thy Good, this favour only of Thy Goodness do we crave;—that Thou wilt keep us constant in our Love of knowing Thee, and let us ne’er be cut off from this kind of Life.

With this desire we [now] betake us to [our] pure and fleshless meal.


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