Sallustius

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Souls that have lived in virtue are in general happy, and when separated from the irrational part of their nature, and made clean from all matter, have communion with the gods and join them in the governing of the whole world.

Sallustius or Sallust (Σαλούστιος) was a 4th-century Latin writer, a friend of the Roman Emperor Julian. He wrote the treatise On the Gods and the Cosmos, which owes much to the work of Iamblichus of Chalcis, who synthesized Platonism with Pythagoreanism and theurgy, as well as to Julian's own philosophical writings. Though uncertainty remains, and some have identifed him with the praetorian prefect of Gaul, Flavius Sallustius, he is widely thought to have been Saturninius Secundus Salutius, praetorian prefect of the Orient in 361, who declined the army's offer to become Emperor after the death of Julian, after which Jovian accepted the position.

Quotes[edit]

On the Gods and the Cosmos[edit]

Those who wish to hear about the Gods should have been well guided from childhood, and not habituated to foolish beliefs.
This section was begun using the Gilbert Murray translation, with the Thomas Taylor translation as an alternate - On the Gods and the World as translated by Gilbert Murray - On the Gods and the World as translated by Thomas Taylor
Whatever suffers change does so for the worse or the better; if for the worse, it is made bad; if for the better, it must have been bad at first.
The essences of the Gods never came into existence (for that which always is never comes into existence; and that exists for ever which possesses primary force and by nature suffers nothing): neither do they consist of bodies; for even in bodies the powers are incorporeal.
One may call the world a myth, in which bodies and things are visible, but souls and minds hidden.
Is not that perhaps a thing worthy of admiration… that by means of the visible absurdity the soul may immediately feel that the words are veils and believe the truth to be a mystery?
May these explanations of the myths find favour in the eyes of the Gods themselves and the souls of those who wrote the myths.
Of the Gods some are of the world, cosmic, and some above the world, hypercosmic. … Of the hypercosmic Gods some create essence, some mind, and some soul.
There is a certain force, less primary than being but more primary than the soul, which draws its existence from being and completes the soul as the sun completes the eyes.
While the soul uses the body as an instrument, it is not in it…
The Gods being good and making all things, there is no positive evil, it only comes by absence of good; just as darkness itself does not exist, but only comes about by absence of light.
The soul sins … because, while aiming at good, it makes mistakes about the good, because it is not primary essence. And we see many things done by the Gods to prevent it from making mistakes and to heal it when it has made them.
The divine itself is without needs, and the worship is paid for our own benefit. The providence of the Gods reaches everywhere and needs only some congruity for its reception.
Everything destroyed is either resolved into the elements from which it came, or else vanishes into not-being.
The whole world cannot enjoy the providence of the Gods equally, but some parts may partake of it eternally, some at certain times, some in the primal manner, some in the secondary.
It is the natural duty of souls to do their work in the body; are we to suppose that when once they leave the body they spend all eternity in idleness?
  • Those who wish to hear about the Gods should have been well guided from childhood, and not habituated to foolish beliefs. They should also be in disposition good and sensible, that they may properly attend to the teaching.
    They ought also to know the common conceptions. Common conceptions are those to which all men agree as soon as they are asked; for instance, that all god [here and elsewhere, = godhood, divine nature] is good, free from passion, free from change. For whatever suffers change does so for the worse or the better; if for the worse, it is made bad; if for the better, it must have been bad at first.
    • I. What the disciple should be; and concerning Common Conceptions, as translated by Gilbert Murray
    • Variant translation:
    • It is requisite that those who are willing to hear concerning the gods should have been well informed from their childhood, and not nourished with foolish opinions. It is likewise necessary that they should be naturally prudent and good, that they may receive, and properly understand, the discourses which they hear. The knowledge likewise of common conceptions is necessary; but common conceptions are such things as all men, when interrogated, acknowledge to be indubitably certain; such as, that every god is good, without passivity, and free from all mutation; for every thing which is changed, is either changed into something better or into something worse: and if into something worse, it will become depraved, but if into something better, it must have been evil in the beginning.
      • I. What the Requisites are which an Auditor concerning the Gods ought to possess: and of common Conceptions, as translated by Thomas Taylor
  • The essences of the Gods never came into existence (for that which always is never comes into existence; and that exists for ever which possesses primary force and by nature suffers nothing): neither do they consist of bodies; for even in bodies the powers are incorporeal. Neither are they contained by space; for that is a property of bodies. Neither are they separate from the first cause nor from one another, just as thoughts are not separate from mind nor acts of knowledge from the soul.
    • II. That God is unchanging, unbegotten, eternal, incorporeal, and not in space.
    • Variant translation:
    • The essences of the gods are neither generated; for eternal natures are without generation; and those beings are eternal who possess a first power, and are naturally void of passivity. Nor are their essences composed from bodies; for even the powers of bodies are incorporeal: nor are they comprehended in place; for this is the property of bodies: nor are they separated from the first cause, or from each other; in the same manner as intellections are not separated from intellect, nor sciences from the soul.
      • II. That a God is immutable, without Generation, eternal, incorporeal, and has no Subsistence in Place, as translated by Thomas Taylor
  • There is this first benefit from myths, that we have to search and do not have our minds idle.
    That the myths are divine can be seen from those who have used them. Myths have been used by inspired poets, by the best of philosophers, by those who established the mysteries, and by the Gods themselves in oracles. But why the myths are divine it is the duty of philosophy to inquire. Since all existing things rejoice in that which is like them and reject that which is unlike, the stories about the Gods ought to be like the Gods, so that they may both be worthy of the divine essence and make the Gods well disposed to those who speak of them: which could only be done by means of myths.
    • III. Concerning myths; that they are divine, and why.
  • Now the myths represent the Gods themselves and the goodness of the Gods — subject always to the distinction of the speakable and the unspeakable, the revealed and the unrevealed, that which is clear and that which is hidden: since, just as the Gods have made the goods of sense common to all, but those of intellect only to the wise, so the myths state the existence of Gods to all, but who and what they are only to those who can understand.
    • III. Concerning myths; that they are divine, and why.
  • One may call the world a myth, in which bodies and things are visible, but souls and minds hidden. Besides, to wish to teach the whole truth about the Gods to all produces contempt in the foolish, because they cannot understand, and lack of zeal in the good, whereas to conceal the truth by myths prevents the contempt of the foolish, and compels the good to practice philosophy.
    • III. Concerning myths; that they are divine, and why.
  • Is not that perhaps a thing worthy of admiration… that by means of the visible absurdity the soul may immediately feel that the words are veils and believe the truth to be a mystery?
    • III. Concerning myths; that they are divine, and why.
  • Of myths some are theological, some physical, some psychic, and again some material, and some mixed from these last two. The theological are those myths which use no bodily form but contemplate the very essence of the Gods: e.g., Kronos swallowing his children. Since god is intellectual, and all intellect returns into itself, this myth expresses in allegory the essence of god.
    Myths may be regarded physically when they express the activities of the Gods in the world: e.g., people before now have regarded Kronos as time, and calling the divisions of time his sons say that the sons are swallowed by the father.
    The psychic way is to regard the activities of the soul itself; the soul's acts of thought, though they pass on to other objects, nevertheless remain inside their begetters.
    The material and last is that which the Egyptians have mostly used, owing to their ignorance, believing material objects actually to be Gods, and so calling them: e.g., they call the earth Isis, moisture Osiris, heat Typhon, or again, water Kronos, the fruits of the earth Adonis, and wine Dionysus.
    To say that these objects are sacred to the Gods, like various herbs and stones and animals, is possible to sensible men, but to say that they are Gods is the notion of madmen — except, perhaps, in the sense in which both the orb of the sun and the ray which comes from the orb are colloquially called "the sun".
    • IV. That the species of myth are five, with examples of each.
  • The mixed kind of myth may be seen in many instances: for example they say that in a banquet of the Gods Discord threw down a golden apple; the Goddesses contended for it, and were sent by Zeus to Paris to be judged. Paris saw Aphrodite to be beautiful and gave her the apple. Here the banquet signifies the hypercosmic powers of the Gods; that is why they are all together. The golden apple is the world, which being formed out of opposites, is naturally said to be "thrown by Discord." The different Gods bestow different gifts upon the world, and are thus said to "contend for the apple." And the soul which lives according to sense — for that is what Paris is — not seeing the other powers in the world but only beauty, declares that the apple belongs to Aphrodite.
    • IV. That the species of myth are five, with examples of each.
  • Theological myths suit philosophers, physical and psychic suit poets, mixed suit religious initiations, since every initiation aims at uniting us with the world and the Gods.
    • IV. That the species of myth are five, with examples of each.
  • Now these things never happened, but always are. And mind sees all things at once, but reason (or speech) expresses some first and others after. Thus, as the myth is in accord with the cosmos, we for that reason keep a festival imitating the cosmos, for how could we attain higher order?
    • IV. That the species of myth are five, with examples of each.
    • A number of sources paraphrase the first sentence (referring to the myth of Attis) as "Myths are things which never happened, but always are." (see for example the introduction to Carl Sagan's The Dragons of Eden).
  • May these explanations of the myths find favour in the eyes of the Gods themselves and the souls of those who wrote the myths.
    • IV. That the species of myth are five, with examples of each.
  • Next in order comes knowledge of the first cause and the subsequent orders of the Gods, then the nature of the world, the essence of intellect and of soul, then providence, fate, and fortune, then to see virtue and formed from them, and from what possible source evil came into the world.
    Each of these subjects needs many long discussions; but there is perhaps no harm in stating them briefly, so that a disciple may not be completely ignorant about them.
    It is proper to the first cause to be one — for unity precedes multitude — and to surpass all things in power and goodness. Consequently all things must partake of it. For owing to its power nothing else can hinder it, and owing to its goodness it will not hold itself apart.
    If the first cause were soul, all things would possess soul. If it were mind, all things would possess mind. If it were being, all things would partake of being. And seeing this quality in all things, some men have thought that it was being. Now if things simply were, without being good, this argument would be true, but if things that are are because of their goodness, and partake in the good, the first thing must needs be both beyond-being and good. It is strong evidence of this that noble souls despise being for the sake of the good, when they face death for their country or friends or for the sake of virtue. — After this inexpressible power come the orders of the Gods.
    • V. On the First Cause
  • Of the Gods some are of the world, cosmic, and some above the world, hypercosmic. By the cosmic I mean those who make the cosmos. Of the hypercosmic Gods some create essence, some mind, and some soul.
    • VI. On Gods Cosmic and Hypercosmic.
  • Of the cosmic Gods some make the world be, others animate it, others harmonize it, consisting as it does of different elements; the fourth class keep it when harmonized.
    • VI. On Gods Cosmic and Hypercosmic.
  • The cosmos itself must of necessity be indestructible and uncreated. Indestructible because, suppose it destroyed: the only possibility is to make one better than this or worse or the same or a chaos. If worse, the power which out of the better makes the worse must be bad. If better, the maker who did not make the better at first must be imperfect in power. If the same, there will be no use in making it; if a chaos... it is impious even to hear such a thing suggested. These reasons would suffice to show that the world is also uncreated: for if not destroyed, neither is it created. Everything that is created is subject to destruction.
    • VII. On the Nature of the World and its Eternity.
  • Of the bodies in the cosmos, some imitate mind and move in orbits; some imitate soul and move in a straight line, fire and air upward, earth and water downward.
    • VII. On the Nature of the World and its Eternity.
  • There is a certain force, less primary than being but more primary than the soul, which draws its existence from being and completes the soul as the sun completes the eyes. Of souls some are rational and immortal, some irrational and mortal. The former are derived from the first Gods, the latter from the secondary.
    • VIII. On Mind and Soul, and that the latter is immortal.
  • First, we must consider what soul is. It is, then, that by which the animate differs from the inanimate. The difference lies in motion, sensation, imagination, intelligence. Soul therefore, when irrational, is the life of sense and imagination; when rational, it is the life which controls sense and imagination and uses reason. The irrational soul depends on the affections of the body; it feels desire and anger irrationally. The rational soul both, with the help of reason, despises the body, and, fighting against the irrational soul, produces either virtue or vice, according as it is victorious or defeated.
    • VIII. On Mind and Soul, and that the latter is immortal.
  • While the body is young and fine, the soul blunders, but as the body grows old it attains its highest power. Again, every good soul uses mind; but no body can produce mind: for how should that which is without mind produce mind? Again, while the soul uses the body as an instrument, it is not in it; just as the engineer is not in his engines (although many engines move without being touched by any one).
    • VIII. On Mind and Soul, and that the latter is immortal.
  • It is impossible that there should be so much providence in the last details, and none in the first principles. Then the arts of prophecy and of healing, which are part of the cosmos, come of the good providence of the Gods.
    • IX. On Providence, Fate, and Fortune.
  • All this care for the world, we must believe, is taken by the Gods without any act of will or labor. As bodies which possess some power produce their effects by merely existing: e.g. the sun gives light and heat by merely existing; so, and far more so, the providence of the Gods acts without effort to itself and for the good of the objects of its forethought. This solves the problems of the Epicureans, who argue that what is divine neither has trouble itself nor gives trouble to others.
    • IX. On Providence, Fate, and Fortune.
  • To believe that human things, especially their material constitution, are ordered not only by celestial beings but by the celestial bodies is a reasonable and true belief. Reason shows that health and sickness, good fortune and bad fortune, arise according to our deserts from that source. But to attribute men's acts of injustice and lust to fate, is to make ourselves good and the Gods bad. Unless by chance a man meant by such a statement that in general all things are for the good of the world and for those who are in a natural state, but that bad education or weakness of nature changes the goods of Fate for the worse. Just as it happens that the Sun, which is good for all, may be injurious to persons with ophthalmia or fever.
    • IX. On Providence, Fate, and Fortune.
  • The fact that the stars predict high or low rank for the father of the person whose horoscope is taken, teaches that they do not always make things happen but sometimes only indicate things. For how could things which preceded the birth depend upon the birth?
    • IX. On Providence, Fate, and Fortune.
  • That power of the Gods which orders for the good things which are not uniform, and which happen contrary to expectation, is commonly called Fortune, and it is for this reason that the Goddess is especially worshipped in public by cities; for every city consists of elements which are not uniform.
    • IX. On Providence, Fate, and Fortune.
  • If fortune makes a wicked man prosperous and a good man poor, there is no need to wonder. For the wicked regard wealth as everything, the good as nothing. And the good fortune of the bad cannot take away their badness, while virtue alone will be enough for the good.
    • IX. On Providence, Fate, and Fortune.
  • The doctrine of virtue and vice depends on that of the soul. When the irrational soul enters into the body and immediately produces fight and desire, the rational soul, put in authority over all these, makes the soul tripartite, composed of reason, fight, and desire. Virtue in the region of reason is wisdom, in the region of fight is courage, in the region of desire is temperance; the virtue of the whole soul is righteousness. It is for reason to judge what is right, for fight in obedience to reason to despise things that appear terrible, for desire to pursue not the apparently desirable, but, that which is with reason desirable. When these things are so, we have a righteous life; for righteousness in matters of property is but a small part of virtue. And thus we shall find all four virtues in properly trained men, but among the untrained one may be brave and unjust, another temperate and stupid, another prudent and unprincipled. Indeed, these qualities should not be called virtues when they are devoid of reason and imperfect and found in irrational beings. Vice should be regarded as consisting of the opposite elements. In reason it is folly, in fight, cowardice, in desire, intemperance, in the whole soul, unrighteousness.
    The virtues are produced by the right social organization and by good rearing and education, the vices by the opposite.
    • X. Concerning Virtue and Vice.
  • Where all things are done according to reason and the best man in the nation rules, it is a kingdom; where more than one rule according to reason and fight, it is an aristocracy; where the government is according to desire and offices depend on money, that constitution is called a timocracy. The contraries are: to kingdom, tyranny, for kingdom does all things with the guidance of reason and tyranny nothing; to aristocracy, oligarchy, when not the best people but a few of the worst are rulers; to timocracy, democracy, when not the rich but the common folk possess the whole power.
    • XI. Concerning right and wrong Social Organization.
  • The Gods being good and making all things, there is no positive evil, it only comes by absence of good; just as darkness itself does not exist, but only comes about by absence of light.
    • XII. The origin of evil things; and that there is no positive evil.
  • If evil exists it must exist either in Gods or minds or souls or bodies. It does not exist in any God, for all god is good. If anyone speaks of a "bad mind" he means a mind without mind. If of a bad soul, he will make the soul inferior to body, for no body in itself is evil. If he says that evil is made up of soul and body together, it is absurd that separately they should not be evil, but joined should create evil.
    • XII. The origin of evil things; and that there is no positive evil.
  • Suppose it is said that there are evil spirits: — if they have their power from the Gods, they cannot be evil; if from elsewhere, the Gods do not make all things. If they do not make all things, then either they wish to or cannot, or they can and do not wish; neither of which is consistent with the idea of god. We may see, therefore, from these arguments, that there is no positive evil in the world.
    It is in the activities of men that the evils appear, and that not of all men nor always.
    • XII. The origin of evil things; and that there is no positive evil.
  • The soul sins therefore because, while aiming at good, it makes mistakes about the good, because it is not primary essence. And we see many things done by the Gods to prevent it from making mistakes and to heal it when it has made them. Arts and sciences, curses and prayers, sacrifices and initiations, laws and constitutions, judgments and punishments, all came into existence for the sake of preventing souls from sinning; and when they are gone forth from the body, Gods and spirits of purification cleanse them of their sins.
    • XII. The origin of evil things; and that there is no positive evil.
  • Everything made is made either by art or by a physical process or according to some power. Now in art or nature the maker must needs be prior to the made: but the maker, according to power, constitutes the made absolutely together with itself, since its power is inseparable from it; as the sun makes light, fire makes heat, snow makes cold.
    Now if the Gods make the world by art, they do not make it be, they make it be such as it is. For all art makes the form of the object. What therefore makes it to be?
    • XIII. How things eternal are said to be made.
  • Those who believe in the destruction of the world, either deny the existence of the Gods, or, while admitting it, deny God's power.
    Therefore he who makes all things by his own power makes all things subsist together with himself.
    And since his power is the greatest power he must needs be the maker not only of men and animals, but of Gods, men, and spirits. And the further removed the first God is from our nature, the more powers there must be between us and him. For all things that are very far apart have many intermediate points between them.
    • XIII. How things eternal are said to be made.
  • If any one thinks the doctrine of the unchangeableness of the Gods is reasonable and true, and then wonders how it is that they rejoice in the good and reject the bad, are angry with sinners and become propitious when appeased, the answer is as follows: God does not rejoice — for that which rejoices also grieves; nor is he angered — for to be angered is a passion; nor is he appeased by gifts — if he were, he would be conquered by pleasure.
    It is impious to suppose that the divine is affected for good or ill by human things. The Gods are always good and always do good and never harm, being always in the same state and like themselves. The truth simply is that, when we are good, we are joined to the Gods by our likeness to live according to virtue we cling to the Gods, and when we become evil we make the Gods our enemies — not because they are angered against us, but because our sins prevent the light of the Gods from shining upon us, and put us in communion with spirits of punishment. And if by prayers and sacrifices we find forgiveness of sins, we do not appease or change the Gods, but by what we do and by our turning toward the divine we heal our own badness and so enjoy again the goodness of the Gods. To say that God turns away from the evil is like saying that the sun hides himself from the blind.
    • XIV. In what sense, though the Gods never change, they are said to be made angry and appeased.
  • The divine itself is without needs, and the worship is paid for our own benefit. The providence of the Gods reaches everywhere and needs only some congruity for its reception. All congruity comes about by representation and likeness; for which reason the temples are made in representation of heaven, the altar of earth, the images of life (that is why they are made like living things), the prayers of the element of though, the mystic letters of the unspeakable celestial forces, the herbs and stones of matter, and the sacrificial animals of the irrational life in us.
    From all these things the Gods gain nothing; what gain could there be to God? It is we who gain some communion with them.
    • XV. Why we give worship to the Gods when they need nothing.
  • Since we have received everything from the Gods, and it is right to pay the giver some tithe of his gifts, we pay such a tithe of possessions in votive offering, of bodies in gifts of (hair and) adornment, and of life in sacrifices.
    • XVI. Concerning sacrifices and other worships, that we benefit man by them, but not the Gods.
  • Everything that is destroyed is either destroyed by itself or by something else. If the world is destroyed by itself, fire must needs burn of itself and water dry itself. If by something else, it must be either by a body or by something incorporeal. By something incorporeal is impossible; for incorporeal things preserve bodies — nature, for instance, and soul — and nothing is destroyed by a cause whose nature is to preserve it. If it is destroyed by some body, it must be either by those which exist or by others. … But if the world is to be destroyed by other bodies than these it is impossible to say where such bodies are or whence they are to arise.
    • XVII. That the World is by nature Eternal.
  • If when matter is destroyed other matter takes its place, the new matter must come either from something that is or from something that is not. If from that-which-is, as long as that-which-is always remains, matter always remains. But if that-which-is is destroyed, such a theory means that not the world only but everything in the universe is destroyed.
    If again matter comes from that-which-is-not: in the first place, it is impossible for anything to come from that which is not; but suppose it to happen, and that matter did arise from that which is not; then, as long as there are things which are not, matter will exist. For I presume there can never be an end of things which are not.
    • XVII. That the World is by nature Eternal.
  • Everything destroyed is either resolved into the elements from which it came, or else vanishes into not-being. If things are resolved into the elements from which they came, then there will be others: else how did they come into being at all?
    • XVII. That the World is by nature Eternal.
  • Again, if the world is destroyed, it must needs either be destroyed according to nature or against nature. Against nature is impossible, for that which is against nature is not stronger than nature. If according to nature, there must be another nature which changes the nature of the world: which does not appear.
    • XVII. That the World is by nature Eternal.
  • The elements, though they can be changed, cannot be destroyed. Again, everything destructible is changed by time and grows old. But the world through all these years has remained utterly unchanged.
    • XVII. That the World is by nature Eternal.
  • Nor need the fact that rejections of god have taken place in certain parts of the earth and will often take place hereafter, disturb the mind of the wise: both because these things do not affect the Gods, just as we saw that worship did not benefit them; and because the soul, being of middle essence, cannot be always right; and because the whole world cannot enjoy the providence of the Gods equally, but some parts may partake of it eternally, some at certain times, some in the primal manner, some in the secondary.
    • XVIII. Why there are rejections of God, and that God is not injured.
  • It is not unlikely, too, that the rejection of God is a kind of punishment: we may well believe that those who knew the Gods and neglected them in one life may in another life be deprived of the knowledge of them altogether. Also those who have worshipped their own kings as gods have deserved as their punishment to lose all knowledge of God.
    • XVIII. Why there are rejections of God, and that God is not injured.
  • It is not only spirits who punish the evil, the soul brings itself to judgment: and also it is not right for those who endure for ever to attain everything in a short time: and also, there is need of human virtue. If punishment followed instantly upon sin, men would act justly from fear and have no virtue.
    • XIX. Why sinners are not punished at once.
  • Souls are punished when they have gone forth from the body, some wandering among us, some going to hot or cold places of the earth, some harassed by spirits. Under all circumstances they suffer with the irrational part of their nature, with which they also sinned. For its sake there subsists that shadowy body which is seen about graves, especially the graves of evil livers.
    • XIX. Why sinners are not punished at once.
  • If the transmigration of a soul takes place into a rational being, it simply becomes the soul of that body. But if the soul migrates into a brute beast, it follows the body outside, as a guardian spirit follows a man. For there could never be a rational soul in an irrational being.
    • XX. On Transmigration of Souls, and how Souls are said to migrate into brute beasts.
  • It is the natural duty of souls to do their work in the body; are we to suppose that when once they leave the body they spend all eternity in idleness? Again, if the souls did not again enter into bodies, they must either be infinite in number or God must constantly be making new ones. But there is nothing infinite in the world; for in a finite whole there cannot be an infinite part. Neither can others be made; for everything in which something new goes on being created, must be imperfect. And the world, being made by a perfect author, ought naturally to be perfect.
    • XX. On Transmigration of Souls, and how Souls are said to migrate into brute beasts.
  • Souls that have lived in virtue are in general happy, and when separated from the irrational part of their nature, and made clean from all matter, have communion with the gods and join them in the governing of the whole world. Yet even if none of this happiness fell to their lot, virtue itself, and the joy and glory of virtue, and the life that is subject to no grief and no master are enough to make happy those who have set themselves to live according to virtue and have achieved it.
    • XXI. That the Good are happy, both living and dead.

Quotes about Sallustius[edit]

  • Thus much, my dear Sallust, upon the threefold operation of the deity have I ventured to write for you, in about three nights' space, having gone over the subject in my memory as far as it was possible: since what I had previously written to you "upon the Saturnalia" did not prove entirely labour thrown away. But on the same subject you will obtain more complete and more abstruse information by consulting the works upon it composed by the divine Iamblichus: you will find there the extreme limit of human wisdom attained. May the mighty Sun grant me to attain to no less knowledge of himself, and to teach it publicly to all, and privately to such as are worthy to receive it: and as long as the god grants this to us, let us consult in common his well-beloved Iamblichus; out of whose abundance a few things, that have come into my mind, I have here set down. That no other person will treat of this subject more perfectly than he has done, I am well aware; not even though he should expend much additional labour in making new discoveries in the research; for in all probability he will go astray from the most correct conception of the nature of the god.

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