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The extracts from this volume, Proclus' Theology of Plato, are:
1 Part of Thomas Taylor's introduction,
2 Book I, chapters xx and xxi,
3 Book II, chapter vii,
4 Book III, chapters iii and iv,
5 Book IV, chapters i-iv,
6 Book V, chapters i-v,
7 Book VI, chapters i and ii; also xv and xvi,
8 Book VII, chapters i and ii.
1 From Taylor's Introduction
I rejoice in the opportunity which is afforded me of presenting the truly philosophic reader, in the present work, with a treasure of Grecian theology; of a theology, which was first mystically and symbolically promulgated by þrpheus, afterwards disseminated enigmatically through images by Pythagoras, and in the last place scientifically unfolded by Plato and his genuine disciples. The peculiarity indeed, of this theology is, that it is no less scientific than sublime; and that by a geometrical series of reasoning originating from the most self-evident truths, it develops all the deified progressions from the ineffable principle of things, and accurately exhibits to our view all the links of that golden chain of which deity is the one extreme, and body the other.
That also which is most admirable and laudable in this theology is, that it produces in the mind properly prepared for its reception the most pure, holy, venerable, and exalted conceptions of the great cause of all. For it celebrates this immense principle as something superior even to being itself; as exempt from the whole of things, of which it is nevertheless ineffably the source, and does not therefore think fit to connumerate it with any triad, or order of beings. Indeed, it even apologises for attempting to give an appropriate name to this principle, which is in reality ineffable, and ascribes the attempt to the imbecility of human nature, which striving intently to behold it, gives the appellation of the most simple of its conceptions to that which is beyond all knowledge and all conception. Hence it denominates it The One, and The Good; by the former of these names indicating its transcendent simplicity, and by the latter its subsistence as the object of desire to all beings. For all things desire good. At the same time however, it asserts that these appellations are in reality nothing more than the parturitions of the soul which standing as it were in the vestibules of the adytum of deity, announce nothing pertaining to the ineffable, but only indicate her spontaneous tendencies towards it, and belong rather to the immediate offspring of the first God, than to the first itself.
Hence, as the result of this most venerable conception of the supreme, when it ventures not only to denominate the ineffable, but also to assert something of its relation to other things, it considers this as pre-eminently its peculiarity, that it is the principle of principles; it being necessary that the characteristic property of principle, after the same manner as other things, should not begin from multitude, but should be collected into one monad as a summit, and which is the principle of all principles. Conformably to this, Proclus, in the second book of this work says, with matchless magnificence of diction: "Let us as it were celebrate the first God, not as establishing the earth and the heavens, nor as giving subsistence to souls, and the generation of all animals; for he produced these indeed, but among the last of things; but prior to these, let us celebrate him as unfolding into light the whole intelligible and intellectual genus of Gods, together with all the supermundane and mundane divinities - as the God of all Gods, the unity of all unities, and beyond the first adyta [the highest order of intelligibles], - as more ineffable than all silence, and more unknown than all essence, - as holy among the holies, and concealed in the intelligible Gods."
The scientific reasoning from which this dogma is deduced is the following: As the principle of all things is The One, it is necessary that the progression of beings should be continued, and that no vacuum should intervene either in incorporeal or corporeal natures. þt is also necessary that every thing which has a natural progression should proceed through similitude. þn consequence of this, it is likewise necessary that every producing principle should generate a number of the same order with itself, viz. nature, a natural number; soul, one that is psychical (i.e. belonging to soul); and intellect, an intellectual number. For if whatever possesses a power of generating, generates similars prior to dissimilars, every cause must deliver its own form and characteristic peculiarity to its progeny; and before it generates that which gives subsistence to progressions far distant and separate from its nature, it must constitute things proximate to itself according to essence, and conjoined with it through similitude. þt is therefore necessary from these premises, since there is one unity the principle of the universe, that this unity should produce from itself, prior to every thing else, a multitude of natures characterised by unity, and a number the most of all things allied to its cause; and these natures are no other than the Gods.
According to this theology therefore, from the immense principle of principles, in which all things causally subsist, absorbed in superessential light, and involved in unfathomable depths, a beauteous progeny of principles proceed, all largely partaking of the ineffable, all stamped with the occult characters of deity, all possessing an overflowing fullness of good. From these dazzling summits, these ineffable blossoms, these divine propagations, being, life, intellect, soul, nature and body depend; monads suspended from unities, deified natures proceeding from deities. Each of these monads too, is the leader of a series which extends from itself to the last of things, and which while it proceeds from, at the same time abides in, and returns to its leader. And all these principles and all their progeny are finally centred and rooted by their summits in the first great all-comprehending one. Thus all beings proceed from, and are comprehended in the first being; all intellects emanate from one first intellect; all souls from one first soul; all natures blossom from one first nature; and all bodies proceed from the vital and luminous body of the world. And lastly, all these great monads are comprehended in the first one, from which both they and all their depending series are unfolded into light. Hence this first one is truly the unity of unities, the monad of monads, the principle of principles, the God of Gods, one and all things, and yet one prior to all.
No objections of any weight, no arguments but such as are sophistical, can be urged against this most sublime theory which is so congenial to the unperverted conceptions of the human mind, that it can only be treated with ridicule and contempt in degraded, barren, and barbarous ages. Ignorance and priestcraft, however, have hitherto conspired to defame those inestimable works, in which this and many other grand and important dogmas can alone be found; and the theology of the Greeks has been attacked with all the insane fury of ecclesiastical zeal, and all the imbecil flashes of mistaken wit, by men whose conceptions on the subject, like those of a man between sleeping and waking, have been turbid and wild, phantastic and confused, preposterous and vain.
2 BOOK I, chapters xx and xxi.
CHAPTER XX In the next place, let us speak concerning the truth which is in the Gods; for this in addition to what has been said is concluded by Socrates, because a divine nature is without falsehood, and is neither the cause of deception or ignorance to us, or to any other beings. We must understand therefore, that divine truth is exempt from the truth which consists in words, so far as this truth is composite, and in a certain respect is mingled with its contrary, and because its subsistence consists of things that are not true. For the first parts do not admit of a truth of this kind, unless some one being persuaded by what Socrates asserts in the Cratylus, should say that these also are after another manner true. Divine truth also is exempt from psychical truth, whether it is surveyed in opinions or in sciences, so far as it is in a certain respect divisible, and is not beings themselves, but is assimilated to and co-harmonized with beings, and as being perfected in motion and mutation falls short of the truth which is always firm, stable and of a principal nature. Divine truth is likewise again exempt from intellectual truth, because though this subsists according to essence, and is said to be and is, beings themselves, through the power of sameness, yet again, through difference, it is separated from the essence of them, and preserves its peculiar hypostasis unconfused with respect to them. The truth therefore of the Gods alone, is the undivided union and all-perfect communion of them. And through this the ineffable knowledge of the Gods, surpasses all knowledge, and all secondary forms of knowledge participate of an appropriate perfection. But this knowledge alone of the Gods contractedly comprehends these secondary forms of knowledge, and all beings according to an ineffable union. And through this the Gods know all things at once, wholes and parts, beings and non-beings, things eternal and things temporal, not in the same manner as intellect by the universal knows a part, and by being, non-being, but they know every thing immediately, such things as are common, and such as are particulars, though you should speak of the most absurd of all things, though you should speak of the infinity of contingencies, or even of matter itself.
If, however, you investigate the mode of the knowledge and truth of the Gods, concerning all things that have a subsistence in any respect whatever, it is ineffable and incomprehensible by the projecting energies of the human intellect; but is alone known to the Gods themselves. And I indeed admire those Platonists that attribute to intellect the knowledge of all things, of individuals, of things preternatural, and in short, of evils, and on this account establish intellectual paradigms of these. But I much more admire those who separate the intellectual peculiarity from divine union. For intellect is the first fabrication and progeny of the Gods. These therefore assign to intellect whole and first causes, and such as are according to nature, and to the Gods a power which is capable of adorning and generating all things. For The One is every where, but whole is not every where. And of The One indeed matter participates and every being; but of intellect and intellectual species and genera, all things do not participate. All things therefore are alone from the Gods, and real truth is with them who know all things unically. For on this account also, in oracles the Gods similarly teach all things, wholes and parts, things eternal, and such as are generated through the whole of time. For being exempt from eternal beings, and from those that exist in time, they contract in themselves the knowledge of each and of all things, according to one united truth. If therefore any falsehood occurs in the oracles of the Gods, we must not say that a thing of this kind originates from the Gods, but from the recipients, or the instruments, or the places, or the times. For all these contribute to the participation of divine knowledge, and when they are appropriately co-adapted to the Gods, they receive a pure illumination of the truth which is established in them. But when they are separated from the Gods through inaptitude, and become discordant with them, then they obscure the truth which proceeds from them. What kind of falsehood therefore can be said to be derived from the Gods, who produce all the species of knowledge? What deception can there be with those who establish in themselves the whole of truth? In the same manner, as it appears to me, the Gods extend good to all things, but always that which is willing and able receives the extended good, as Socrates says in the Phaedrus. And a divine nature indeed is causeless of evil, but that which departs from it, and gravitates downwards, is elongated through itself; thus also, the Gods indeed are always the suppliers of truth, but those natures are illuminated by them, who are lawfully their participants. For the Elean wise man says, that the eye of the soul in the multitude, is not strong enough to look to the truth.
The Athenian guest also celebrates this truth which subsists primarily in the Gods; for he says that truth is the leader to the Gods of every good, and likewise of every good to men. For as the truth which is in souls conjoins them with intellect, and as intellectual truth conducts all the intellectual orders to The One, thus also the truth of the Gods unites the divine unities to the fountain of all good, with which being conjoined, they are filled with all boniform power. For every where the hyparxis of truth has a cause which is collective of multitude into one; since in the Republic also, the light proceeding from The Good and which conjoins intellect with the intelligible, is denominated by Plato truth. This characteristic property therefore, which unites and binds together the natures that fill and the natures that are filled, according to all the orders of the Gods, must be arranged as originating supernally and proceeding as far as to the last of things.
CHAPTER XXI To us however discussing what pertains to every divine nature, what we assert will be known from those commonly received truths adduced in the Phaedrus, and which we have before mentioned. Socrates therefore says that every thing divine is beautiful, wise, and good and he indicates that this triad pervades to all the progressions of the Gods. What therefore is the goodness, what the wisdom, and what the beauty of the Gods? With respect to the goodness of the Gods therefore, we have before observed, that it preserves and gives subsistence to the whole of things, that it every where exists as the summit, as that which fills subordinate natures, and as pre-existing in every order analogous to the first principle of the divine orders. For according to this all the Gods are conjoined with the one cause of all things, and on account of this primarily derive their subsistence as Gods. For in all beings there is not any thing more perfect than the good, and the Gods. To the most excellent of beings therefore, and which are in every respect perfect, the best and most perfect of things is adapted.
3 BOOK II, chapters vii and xi
CHAPTER VII If, however, it be requisite to survey each of the dogmas about it which are scattered in the writings of Plato, and to reduce them to one science of theology, let us consider, if you are willing, prior to other things, what Socrates demonstrates in the 6th book of the Republic, conformably to the before mentioned mode, and how through analogy he teaches us the wonderful transcendency of The Good with respect to all beings, and the summits of the whole of things. þn the first place therefore, he distinguishes beings from each other, and establishing some of them to be intelligibles, but others sensibles, he defines science by the knowledge of beings. But he conjoins sense with sensibles, and giving a twofold division to all things, he places one exempt monad over intelligible multitude, and a second monad over sensible multitude, according to a similitude to the former monad. Of these monads also, he shows that the one is generative of intelligible light, but the other of sensible light. And he evinces that by the intelligible light indeed, all intelligibles are deiform, and boniform, according to participation from the first God; but that by the sensible light, according to the perfection derived from the sun, all sensible natures are solarform, and similar to their one monad. In addition also to what has been said, he suspends the second monad from that which reigns in the intelligible. And thus he extends all things, both the first and the last of beings, I mean intelligibles and sensibles, to The Good. Such a mode of reduction to the first as this, appears to me to be most excellent, and especially adapted to theology; viz. to congregate all the Gods in the world into one union, and suspend them from their proximate monad; but to refer the supermundane Gods to the intellectual kingdom; to suspend the intellectual Gods from intelligible union; and to refer the intelligible Gods themselves, and all beings through these, to that which is first. For as the monad of mundane natures is supermundane, as the monad of supermundane natures is intellectual, and of intellectual natures intelligible, thus also it is necessary that first intelligibles should be suspended from the monad which is above intelligibles and perfected by it, and being filled with deity, should illuminate secondary natures with intelligible light. But it is necessary that intellectual natures which derive the enjoyment of their being from intelligibles, but of good and a uniform hyparxis from the first cause, should connect supermundane natures by intellectual light. And that the genera of the Gods prior to the world, through receiving a pure intellect from the intellectual Gods, but intelligible light from the intelligible Gods, and a unical light from the father of the whole of things, should send into this apparent world the illumination of the light which they possess. þn this account, the sun being the summit of mundane natures, and proceeding from the etherial profundities, imparts to visible natures supernatural perfection, and causes these as much as possible to be similar to the supercelestial worlds. These things therefore we shall afterwards more abundantly discuss.
The present discourse, however, suspends all things after the above mentioned manner from The Good, and the first unity. For if indeed the sun connects every thing sensible, but The Good produces and perfects every thing intelligible, and of these, the second monad [i.e. the sun] is denominated the offspring of The Good and on this account causes that which is sensible to be splendid, and adorns and fills it with good, because it imitates the primogenial cause of itself, - if this be the case, all things will thus participate of the good, and will be extended to this one principle, intelligibles indeed, and the most divine of beings without a medium, but sensibles through their monad [the sun].
Again therefore, and after another manner, Plato narrates to us in this extract from the Republic the analysis to the first principle. For he suspends all the multitudes in the world from the intelligible monads, as for instance, all beautiful things from the beautiful itself, all good things from The Good, and all equal things from the equal itself. And again, he considers some things as intelligibles, but others as sensibles; but the summits of them are uniformly established in intelligibles. Again, from these intelligible forms he thinks fit to ascend still higher, and venerating in a greater degree the goodness which is beyond intelligibles, he apprehends that all intelligibles, and the monads which they contain, subsist and are perfected through it. For as we refer the sensible multitude to a monad unco-ordinated with sensibles, and we think that through this monad the multitude of sensibles derives its subsistence, so it is necessary to refer the intelligible multitude to another cause which is not connumerated with intelligibles, and from which they are allotted their essence and their divine hyparxis.
Let not, however, any one fancy that Plato admits there is the same order of The Good in intelligible forms, as there is prior to intelligibles. But the good indeed, which is co-ordinated with the beautiful, must be considered as essential, and as one of the forms which are in intelligibles. For the first good, which by conjoining the article with the noun we are accustomed to call çàþþàþþþ or The Good, is admitted to be something superessential, and more excellent than all beings both in dignity and power; since Socrates also, when discussing the beautiful and the good, calls the one the beautiful itself and the other the good itself, and thus says he we must denominate all the things which we then very properly considered as many. Again, particularly considering each thing as being one, we denominate each thing that which it is, and thus Socrates leading us from sensible things that are beautiful and good, and in short from things that are participated, subsist in other things, and are multiplied, to the superessential unities of intelligibles and the first essences, from these again, he transfers us to the exempt cause of every thing beautiful and good. For in forms, the beautiful itself is the leader of many beautiful things, and the good itself of many goods, and each form alone gives subsistence to things similar to itself. But the first good is not only the cause of what is good, but similarly of things beautiful, as Plato elsewhere says; and "all things are for its sake, and it is the cause of every thing beautiful."
For again, in addition to what has been said, the good which is in forms is intelligible and known, as Socrates himself teaches; but The Good prior to forms is beyond beings, and is established above all knowledge. And the former is the source of essential perfection; but the latter is the supplier of good to the Gods so far as they are Gods, and is generative of goods which are prior to essences. We must not therefore apprehend that when Socrates calls the first principle The Good, from the name of idea, that he directly calls it the intelligible goodness; but though the first principle is superior to all language and appellation, we permit Socrates to call it the cause of every thing beautiful and good, transferring through the things which are proximately filled by it, appellations to it. For this I think Socrates indicating asserts in all that he says about The Good, that it is beyond knowledge and things that are known, and likewise beyond essence and being, according to its analogy to the sun. And after a certain admirable manner he presents us with an epitome of the negations of The One in the Parmenides. For the assertion that The Good is neither truth, nor essence, nor intellect, nor science, at one and the same time separates it from the superessential unities, and every genus of the Gods, and from the intellectual and intelligible orders, and from every psychical subsistence. But these are the first things, and through the first hypothesis of the Parmenides, these are taken away from the principle of the whole of things.
Moreover, neither when he celebrates The Good the leader of the divine orders, as the most splendid of being, does he denominate it most splendid as participating of light. For the first light proceeds from it to intelligibles and intellect, but he gives it this appellation as the cause of the light which is every where diffused, and as the fountain of every intelligible, or intellectual, or mundane deity. For this light is nothing else than the participation of a divine hyparxis. For as all things become boniform through participating of The Good and are filled with the illumination proceeding from thence, thus also the natures which are primarily beings are deiform; and as it is said, intelligible and intellectual essences become divine through the participation of deity. Looking therefore to all that has been said, we shall preserve the exempt transcendency of The Good with reference to all beings and the divine orders. But again, in each order of beings, we must grant that there is a monad analogous to it, not only in sensibles, as Plato says the sun is, but likewise in supermundane natures, and in the genera of Gods arranged from The Good prior to these. For it is evident that the natures which are nearer to the first cause and which participate of it in a greater degree, possess a greater similitude to it. And as that is the cause of all beings, so these establish monads which are the leaders of more partial orders. And Plato indeed arranges the multitudes under the monads; but extends all the monads to the exempt principle of the whole of things, and establishes them uniformly about it. It is necessary therefore that the theological science should be unfolded conformably to the divine orders, and that our conceptions about it should be transcendent, and unmingled and unconnected with other things. And we should survey indeed all secondary natures, subsisting according to and perfected about it; but we should establish it as transcending all the monads in beings, according to one excess of simplicity, and as unically arranged prior to the whole orders [of Gods.] For as the Gods themselves enact the order which is in them, thus also it is necessary that the truth concerning them, the precedaneous causes of beings, and the second and third progeny of these should be definitely distinguished.
This, therefore, is the one truth concerning the first principle, and which possesses one reason remarkably conformable to the Platonic hypothesis, viz. that this principle subsists prior to the whole orders in the Gods, that it gives subsistence to the boniform essence of the Gods, that it is the fountain of superessential goodness, and that all things posterior to it being extended towards it, are filled with good, after an ineffable manner are united to it, and subsist uniformly about it. For its unical nature is not unprolific, but it is by so much the more generative of other things, as it pre-establishes a union exempt from the things which have a subsistence. Nor does its fecundity tend to multitude and division; but it abides with undefiled purity concealed in inaccessible places. For in the natures also which are posterior to it, we every where see that what is perfect desires to generate, and that what is full hastens to impart to other things its plenitude. In a much greater degree therefore it is necessary that the nature which contains in one all perfections, and which is not a certain good, but good itself, and super-full, (if it be lawful so to speak) should be generative of the whole of things, and give subsistence to them; producing all things by being exempt from all things, and by being imparticipable, similarly generating the first and the last of beings.
You must not, however, suppose that this generation and progression is emitted in consequence of The Good either being moved, or multiplied, or possessing a generative power, or energizing; since all these are secondary to the singleness of the first. For whether The Good is moved, it will not be The Good; since The Good Itself, and which is nothing else, if it were moved would depart from goodness. How, therefore, can that which is the source of goodness to beings, produce other things when deprived of good? Or whether The Good is multiplied through imbecility, there will be a progression of the whole of things through a diminution, but not through an abundance of goodness. For that which in generating departs from its proper transcendency, hastens to adorn inferior natures, not through prolific perfection, but through a diminution and want of its own power. But if The Good produces all things by employing power, there will be a diminution of goodness about it. For it will be two things and not one, viz. it will be good and power. And if indeed it is in want of power, that which is primarily good will be indigent. But if to be The Good Itself is sufficient to the perfection of the things produced, and to the plenitude of all things, why do we assume power as an addition? For additions in the Gods are ablations of transcendent unions. Let The Good therefore alone be prior to power, and prior to energy. For all energy is the progeny of power. Neither, therefore, does The Good energizing give subsistence to all things through energy, nor being in want of power does it fill all things with powers, nor being multiplied do all things participate of good, nor being moved do all beings enjoy the first principle. For The Good precedes all powers, and all energies, and every multitude and motion; since each of these is referred to The Good as to its end. The Good therefore is the most final of all ends, and the centre of all desirable natures. All desirable natures, indeed, impart an end to secondary beings; but that which pre-subsists uncircumscribed by all things is the first good.
CHAPTER XI Let us now therefore, if ever, abandon multiform knowledge, exterminate from ourselves all the variety of life, and in perfect quiet approach near to the cause of all things. For this purpose, let not only opinion and phantasy be at rest, nor the passions alone which impede our anagogic impulse to the first, be at peace; but let the air be still, and the universe itself be still. And let all things extend us with a tranquil power to communion with the ineffable. Let us also, standing there, having transcended the intelligible (if we contain any thing of this kind,) and with nearly closed eyes adoring as it were the rising sun, since it is not lawful for any being whatever intently to behold him - let us survey the sun whence the light of the intelligible Gods proceeds, emerging, as the poets say, from the bosom of the ocean; and again from this divine tranquillity descending into intellect, and from intellect, employing the reasonings of the soul, let us relate to ourselves what the natures are from which, in this progression, we shall consider the first God as exempt. And let us as it were celebrate him, not as establishing the earth and the heavens, nor as giving subsistence to souls, and the generations of all animals; for he produced these indeed, but among the last of things; but, prior to these, let us celebrate him as unfolding into light the whole intelligible and intellectual genus of Gods, together with all the supermundane and mundane divinities - as the God of all Gods, the unity of all unities, and beyond the first adyta, - as more ineffable than all silence, and more unknown than all essence, - as holy among the holies, and concealed in the intelligible Gods. And again after these things descending into a reasoning process from an intellectual hymn, and employing the irreprehensible science of dialectic, let us, following the contemplation of first causes, survey the manner in which the first God is exempt from the whole of things. And let our descent be as far as to this. But opinion and phantasy and sense, prevent us indeed from partaking of the presence of the Gods, and draw us down from þlympian goods to earth-born motions, Titannically divide the intellect that is in us, and divulse us from an establishment in wholes to the images of beings.
4 BOOK III chapters iii and iv
CHAPTER III Again therefore, the mystic doctrine concerning The One must be resumed by us, in order that proceeding from the first principle, we may celebrate the second and third principles of the whole of things. Of all beings therefore, and of the Gods that produce beings, one exempt and imparticipable cause pre-exists, - a cause ineffable indeed by all language, and unknown by all knowledge and incomprehensible, unfolding all things into light from itself, subsisting ineffably prior to, and converting all things to itself, but existing as the best end of all things. This cause therefore, which is truly exempt from all causes, and which gives subsistence unically to all the unities of divine natures, and to all the genera of beings, and their progressions, Socrates in the Republic calls The Good, and through its analogy to the sun reveals its admirable and unknown transcendency with respect to all intelligibles. But again, Parmenides denominates it The One. And through negations demonstrates the exempt and ineffable hyparxis of this one which is the cause of the whole of things. But the discourse in the epistle to Dionysius proceeding through enigmas, celebrates it as that about which all things subsist, and as the cause of all beautiful things. In the Philebus however, Socrates celebrates it as that which gives subsistence to the whole of things, because it is the cause of all deity. For all the Gods derive their existence as Gods from the first God. Whether therefore, it be lawful to denominate it the fountain of deity, or the kingdom of beings, or the unity of all unities, or the goodness which is generative of truth, or an hyparxis exempt from all these things, and beyond all causes, both the paternal and the generative, let it be honoured by us in silence, and prior to silence by union, and of the mystic end may it impart by illumination a portion adapted to our souls.
But let us survey with intellect the biformed principles proceeding from and posterior to it. For what else is it necessary to arrange after the union of the whole theory, than the duad of principles? What the two principles therefore are of the divine orders after the first principle, we shall in the next place survey. For conformably to the theology of our ancestors, Plato also establishes two principles after The One. In the Philebus therefore, Socrates says, that God gives subsistence to bound and infinity, and through these mingling all beings, has produced them, the nature of beings, according to Philolaus subsisting from the connexion of things bounded, and things infinite. If, therefore, all beings subsist from these, it is evident that they themselves have a subsistence prior to beings. And if secondary natures participate of these mingled together, these will subsist unmingled prior to the whole of things. For the progression of the divine orders originates, not from things co-ordinated and which exist in others, but from things exempt, and which are established in themselves. As therefore The One is prior to things united, and as that which is passive to The One, has a second order after the imparticipable union, thus also the two principles of beings, prior to the participation of and commixture with beings, are themselves by themselves the causes of the whole of things. For it is necessary that bound should be prior to things bounded, and infinity prior to infinites, according to the similitude to The One of things which proceed from it. For again, if we should produce beings immediately after The One, we shall no where find the peculiarity of The One subsisting purely. For neither is being the same with The One, but it participates of The One, nor in reality is that which is the first The One; for, as has been frequently said, it is better than The One. Where therefore is that which is most properly and entirely one? Hence there is a certain one prior to being, which gives subsistence to being, and is primarily the cause of it; since that which is prior to it is beyond union, and is a cause without habitude with respect to all things, and imparticipable, being exempt from all things. If however this one is the cause of being, and constitutes it, there will be a power in it generative of being. For every thing which produces, produces according to its own power, which is allotted a subsistence between that which produces and the things produced, and is of the one the progression and as it were extension, but of the other is the pre-arranged generative cause. For being which is produced from these, and which is not The One Itself, but uniform, possesses its progression indeed from The One, through the power which produces and unfolds it into light from The One; but its occult union from the hyparxis of The One. This one therefore which subsists prior to power, and first pre-subsists from the imparticipable and unknown cause of the whole of things, Socrates in the Philebus calls bound, but he denominates the power of it which is generative of being, infinity. But he thus speaks in that dialogue, "God we said has exhibited the bound, and also the infinite of beings."
The first therefore and unical God, is without any addition denominated by him God; because each of the second Gods is participated by being, and has being suspended from its nature. But the first indeed, as being exempt from the whole of beings, is God, defined according to the ineffable itself, the unical alone, and superessential. But the bound and the infinite of beings, unfold into light that unknown and imparticipable cause; bound indeed, being the cause of stable, uniform, and connective deity; but the infinite being the cause of power proceeding to all things and capable of being multiplied, and in short, being the leader of every generative distribution. For all union and wholeness, and communion of beings, and all the divine measures, are suspended from the first bound. But all division, prolific production, and progression into multitude, derive their subsistence from this most principal infinity. Hence, when we say that each of the divine orders abides and at the same time proceeds, we must confess that it stably abides indeed, according to bound, but proceeds according to infinity, and that at one and the same time it has unity and multitude, and we must suspend the former from the principle of bound, but the latter from that of infinity. And in short, of all the opposition in the divine genera, we must refer that which is the more excellent to bound, but that which is subordinate to infinity. For from these two principles all things have their progression into being, even as far as to the last of things. For eternity itself participates at once of bound and infinity; so far indeed, as it is the intelligible measure, it participates of bound; but so far as it is the cause of a never-failing power of existing, it participates of infinity. And intellect, so far indeed as it is uniform, and whole, and so far as it is connective of paradigmatical measures, so far it is the progeny of bound. But again, so far as it produces all things eternally, and subsists conformably to the whole of eternity, supplying all things with existence at once, and always possessing its own power undiminished, so far it is the progeny of infinity. And soul indeed, in consequence of measuring its own life, by restitutions and periods, and introducing a boundary to its own motions, is referred to the cause of bound; but in consequence of having no cessation of motions, but making the end of one period the beginning of the whole of a second vital circulation, it is referred to the order of infinity. The whole of this heaven also, according to the wholeness of itself, its connexion, the order of its periods, and the measures of its restitutions, is bounded. But according to its prolific powers, its various evolutions, and the never-failing revolutions of its orbs, it participates of infinity. Moreover, the whole of generation, in consequence of all its forms being bounded, and always permanent after the same manner, and in consequence of its own circle which imitates the celestial circulation, is similar to bound. But again, in consequence of the variety of the particulars of which it consists, their unceasing mutation, and the intervention of the more and the less in the participations of forms, it is the image of infinity. And in addition to these things, every natural production, according to its form indeed, is similar to bound, but according to its matter, resembles infinity. For these are suspended in the last place from the two principles posterior to The One, and as far as to these the progression of their productive power extends. Each of these also is one, but form is the measure and boundary of matter, and is in a greater degree one. Matter however is all things in capacity, so far as it derives its subsistence from the first power. There, however, power is generative of all things. But the power of matter is imperfect, and is indigent of the hypostasis which is generative of all things according to energy. Very properly therefore is it said by Socrates that all beings are from bound and infinity, and that these two intelligible principles primarily derive their subsistence from God. For that which congregates both of them, and perfects them, and unfolds itself into light through all beings is The One prior to the duad. And union indeed is derived to all things through that which is first; but the division of the two orders of things is generated from these primary causes, and through these is extended to the unknown and ineffable principle. Let it therefore be manifest through these things, what the two principles of beings are, which become proximately apparent from The One, according to the theology of Plato.
CHAPTER IV In the next place let us show what the third thing is which presents itself to the view from these principles. It is every where therefore called that which is mixed, as deriving its subsistence from bound and infinity. But if bound is the bound of beings, and the infinite is the infinite of beings, and beings are the things which have a subsistence from both these, as Socrates himself clearly teaches us, it is evident that the first of things mingled, is the first of beings. This, however, is nothing else than that which is highest in beings, which is being itself, and nothing else than being. My meaning is, that this is evident through those things by which we demonstrate that what is primarily being, is comprehensive of all things intelligibly, and of life and intellect. For we say that life is triadic vitally, and intellect intellectually; and also that these three things being life and intellect are every where. But all things pre-subsist primarily and essentially in being. For there essence, life and intellect subsist, and the summit of beings. Life however is the middle centre of being, which is denominated and is intelligible life. But intellect is the boundary of being, and is intelligible intellect. For in the intelligible there is intellect, and in intellect the intelligible. There however intellect subsists intelligibly, but in intellect, the intelligible subsists intellectually.
And essence indeed is that which is stable in being, and which is woven together with the first principles, and does not depart from The One. But life is that which proceeds from the principles, and is connascent with infinite power. And intellect is that which converts itself to the principles, conjoins the end with the beginning, and produces one intelligible circle. The first of beings therefore is that which is mingled from the first principles, and is triple, one thing which it contains subsisting in it essentially, another vitally, and another intellectually, but all things pre-subsisting in it essentially. I mean however by the first of beings essence. For essence itself is the summit of all beings, and is as it were the monad of the whole of things. In all things therefore, essence is the first. And in each thing that which is essential is the most ancient, as deriving its subsistence from the Vesta of beings. For the intelligible is especially this. Since intellect indeed is that which is gnostic, life is intelligence, and being is intelligible. If however every being is mingled, but essence is being itself, prior to all other things essence is that which subsists as mingled from the two principles proceeding from The One. Hence Socrates indicating how the mode of generation in the two principles differs from that of the mixture says, "that God has exhibited bound and infinity." For they are unities deriving their subsistence from The One, and as it were luminous patefactions from the imparticipable and first union. But with respect to producing a mixture, and mingling through the first principles, by how much to make is subordinate to the unfolding into light, and generation to patefaction, by so much is that which is mixed allotted a progression from The One, inferior to that of the two principles.
That which is mixed therefore, is intelligible essence, and subsists primarily from [the first] God, from whom infinity also and bound are derived. But it subsists secondarily from the principles posterior to the unical God, I mean from bound and infinity. For the fourth cause which is effective of the mixture is again God himself; since if any other cause should be admitted besides this, there will no longer be a fourth cause, but a fifth will be introduced. For the first cause was God, who unfolds into light the two principles. But after him are the two principles bound and infinity. And the mixture is the fourth thing. If therefore the cause of the mixture is different from the first divine cause, this cause will be the fifth and not the fourth thing, as Socrates says it is. Farther still, in addition to these things, if we say that God is especially the supplier of union to beings, and the mixture itself of the principles is a union into the hypostasis of being, God is also certainly the cause of this primarily. Moreover, Socrates in the Republic clearly evinces that The Good is the cause of being and essence to intelligibles, in the same manner as the sun is to visible natures. Is it not therefore necessary, if that which is mixed is primarily being, to refer it to the first God, and to say that it receives its progression from him? If also the demiurgus in the Timaeus, constitutes the essence of the soul itself by itself from an impartible and a partible essence, which is the same thing as to constitute it from bound and infinity; for the soul according to bound is similar to the impartible, but according to infinity, to the partible essence; - if therefore the demiurgus mingles the essence of the soul from these, and again separately, from same and different, and if from these being now pre-existent, he constitutes the whole soul, must we not much more say that the first God is the cause of the first essence? That which is mixed therefore, proceeds, as we have said, from the first God, and does not subsist from the principles alone posterior to The One, but proceeds also from these, and is triadic. And in the first place indeed, it participates from God of ineffable union, and the whole of its subsistence. But from bound, it receives hyparxis, and the uniform, and a stable peculiarity. And from infinity, it receives power, and the occult power which is in itself, of all things. For in short, since it is one and not one, the one is inherent in it according to bound, but the non-one according to infinity. The mixture however of both these, and its wholeness, are derived from the first God. That which is mixed therefore, is a monad, because its participates of The One; and it is biformed, so far as it proceeds from the two principles; but it is a triad, so far as in every mixture, these three things are necessary according to Socrates, viz. beauty, truth, and symmetry. Concerning these things however, we shall speak again. In what manner, however, essence is that which is first mixed, we shall now explain. For this is of all things the most difficult to discover, viz. what that is which is primarily being, as the Elean guest also somewhere says; for it is most dubious how being is not less than non-being.
In what manner therefore essence subsists from bound and infinity must be shown. For if bound and infinity are superessential, essence may appear to have its subsistence from non-essences. How therefore can non-essences produce essence? Or is not this the case in all other things which subsist through the mixture of each other? For that which is produced from things mingled together, is not the same with things that are not mingled. For neither is soul the same with the genera, from which, being mingled together, the father generated it, nor is a happy life the same with the life which is according to intellect, or with the life which is according to pleasure, nor is The One in bodies the same with its elements. Hence it is not wonderful, if that which is primarily being, though it is neither bound nor infinity, subsists from both these, and is mixed, superessential natures themselves not being assumed in the mixture of it, but secondary progressions from them coalescing into the subsistence of essence. Thus therefore being consists of these, as participating of both, possessing indeed the uniform from bound, but the generative, and in short, occult multitude from infinity. For it all things occultly, and on this account, is the cause of all beings; which also the Elean guest, indicating to us, calls being the first power, as subsisting according to the participation of the first power, and participating of hyparxis from bound, and of power from infinity. Afterwards however, the Elean guest defines being to be power, as prolific and generative of all things, and as beings all things uniformly. For power and every where the cause of prolific progressions, and of all multitude; occult power indeed being the cause of occult multitude; but the power which exists in energy, and which unfolds itself into light, being the cause of all-perfect multitude. Through this cause therefore, I think, that every being, and every essence has connascent powers. For it participates of infinity, and derives its hyparxis indeed from bound, but its power from infinity. And being is nothing else than a monad of many powers, and a multiplied hyparxis, and on this account being is one many. The many however subsist occultly and without separation in the first natures; but with separation in secondary natures. For by how much being is nearer to The One, by so much the more does it conceal multitude, and is defined according to union alone. It appears to me also that Plotinus and his followers, frequently indicating these things, produce being from form and intelligible matter, arranging form as analogous to The One, and to hyparxis, but power as analogous to matter. And if indeed they say this, they speak rightly. But if they ascribe a certain formless and indefinite nature to an intelligible essence, they appear to me to wander from the conceptions of Plato on this subject. For the infinite is not the matter of bound, but the power of it, nor is bound the form of the infinite, but the hyparxis of it. But being consists of both these, as not only standing in The One, but receiving a multitude of unities and powers which are mingled into essence.
5 BOOK IV chapters i to
CHAPTER I Let the discussion, therefore, of the intelligible Gods, unfolding the mystic doctrine of Plato concerning them be here terminated by us. But it entirely follows in the next place, that we should consider after the same manner the narration concerning the intellectual Gods. Since, however, of intellectuals some are both intelligible and intellectual, viz. such as according to the Oracle perceiving intellectually are at the same time intellectually perceived; but others are intellectual only; - this being the case, beginning from those that are intellectual and at the same time intelligible, we will in the first place determine what pertains to them in common, from which we shall render the doctrine concerning each order of them more perspicuous. Again, therefore, let us recall to our memory those things which we a little before demonstrated, viz. that there are three total monads which are entirely beyond the Gods that are divided according to parts, viz. essence, life and intellect. And these prior to the partial participate of the superessential unities. Essence, however, is exempt from the rest. Life is allotted the middle order. But intellect converts the end of this triad to the beginning. And all these are indeed intelligibly in essence; but intelligibly and intellectually in life; and intellectually in intellect. And as secondary natures always participate of the natures placed above them, but these prior to participation pre-subsist themselves by themselves; and as in each order there are these three things, the cause of abiding, the cause of proceeding, and the cause of conversion, though intellect is more formalized according to conversion, but life according to progression, and essence according to permanency; - this being the case, it is certainly necessary that the first intellectual Gods being essentialized according to life should conjoin imparticipable intellect, and the intelligible genus of Gods, and that they should uniformly connect the various progressions of secondary, but unfold and expand the stable hyparxis of precedaneous causes. For imparticipable life is a thing of this kind, circumscribing that which is primarily being and intellect, and participating indeed of being, but participated by intellect. But this is the same thing as to assert that intelligence is filled indeed from the intelligible, but fills intellect from itself. For being is the intelligible, but life is intelligence. And being indeed is characterized according to a divine hyparxis; but life according to power; and intellect according to intelligible intellect. For as being is to hyparxis, so is intellect to being. And as intelligible power is to each of the extremes, so is life to the intelligible and to intellect. And as power is generated from the one and hyparxis, but constitutes in conjunction with The One the nature of being, so life proceeds indeed from being, and gives subsistence to a power different from that which is in being. As also The One Itself which exists prior to being, imparts to being from itself a second unity, so likewise life being allotted an hypostasis prior to intellect, generates intellectual life. For true being and the intelligible which precede the rest, supply both life and intellect with union. Imparticipable life, therefore, but which participates of the intelligible monads is the second after being, is generative of imparticipable intellect, and giving completion to this medium, and containing the bond of intelligibles and intellectuals, is illuminated by Gods who are allotted a union secondary to the occult subsistence of intelligibles, but preceding according to cause the separation of intellectual natures. For the unical, indivisible, simple, and primary natures of intelligibles, subsides through the medium of these Gods into multitude and separation, and the inexplicable evolution of the divine orders. Whence also, I think, the Gods who connectedly contain life which is infinite, being the middle of the intelligible and intellectual Gods, and carried in the divisions of themselves as in a vehicle, are called intelligible and at the same time intellectual; being filled indeed, from the first intelligibles, but filling the intellectual Gods. For we call the intelligible Gods intelligible, not as co-ordinate with intellect. For the intelligible which is in intellect is one thing, and that which produces the intellectual Gods another: and we denominate the Gods that subsist according to life intelligible and at the same time intellectual, not as giving completion to intellect, nor as being established according to intellectual intelligence, and imparting to intellect the power of intellectual perception, but to the intelligible the power of being intellectually perceived, but we give them this appellation, as deriving their subsistence from the intelligible monads, but generating all the intellectual hebdomads. And because they are illuminated indeed with intelligible life, but subsist prior to intellectuals, according to a generative cause, we think fit to denominate them in common, connecting their names from the extremes, in the same manner as they also are allotted a peculiarity collective of wholes in the divine orders.
It is evident, therefore, that they subsist according to this medium, and that they are proximate to the intelligible Gods, who are both monadic and triadic. For the intelligible triads, with reference indeed to the highest union and which is exempt from all things, are triads; but with reference to the divided essence of triads, they are monads, unfolding into light from themselves total triads. Since intelligibles, therefore, in their triadic progression, do not depart from a unical hyparxis, the intelligible and at the same time intellectual Gods subsist triadically, exhibiting in themselves the separation of the monads, and through divine difference, proceeding into multitude, and a variety of powers and essences. For the natures which subsist more remote from the one principle [of all things,] are more multiplied than the natures which are prior to them; and are diminished indeed in powers, and the comprehensions of secondary natures, but are divided into more numbers, and such as are more distant from the monad. They likewise relinquish the union which is the cause of primarily efficient natures, and variety is assumed by them in exchange for the occult hyparxis of those primary essences. According to this reasoning, therefore, the intelligible and intellectual separation is greater than the separation which is only intelligible. And of these again, the partial orders are allotted a much greater division, so as to unfold to us a multitude of Gods which cannot be comprehended in the numbers within the decad. Their peculiarities also are indescribable, and inexplicable by our conceptions, and are manifest only to the Gods themselves, and to the causes of them. Such, therefore, are the intelligible and intellectual Gods, and such is the peculiarity which they are allotted, a peculiarity connective of extremes, and which unfolds into light precedaneous, but converts secondary natures. For they intellectually perceive the Gods prior to them, but are objects of intellection to the Gods posterior to them. Hence also Timaeus establishes all-perfect animal to be the most beautiful of intelligibles, because there are intelligibles posterior to it, which it surpasses in beauty, as being superior to them, and because it is the boundary of the first intelligibles, the natures posterior to it subsisting intellectually. According to this reasoning, therefore, the first intellectual Gods are also intelligible; and we do not, deriving these things from a foreign source, ascribe them to Plato, but they are asserted by us in consequence of receiving auxiliaries from him. This, however, will be more manifest through what follows.
CHAPTER II In the next place, therefore, we shall discuss the manner in which the Gods who illuminate the breadth of imparticipable life proceed from the intelligible Gods. Since then the intelligible Gods establish in themselves uniformly things multiplied, occultly such as are divided, and according to a certain admirable transcendency of simplicity, the various genera of beings,- hence the first intellectual Gods, unfolding their indistinct union, and the unknown nature of their hypostasis, and being filled through intelligible power and essential life with the prolific abundance of wholes, are allotted a kingdom which ranks as the second after them. And they always indeed produce, perfect, and connect themselves, but receive from the intelligible Gods an occult generation; from intelligible power indeed, receiving a peculiarity generative of all things; but from intelligible life which pre-exists according to cause in the intelligible, receiving the nature which is spread under them. For life is primarily indeed in intelligibles; but secondarily in intelligibles and intellectuals; and in a third degree in intellectuals; existing indeed according to cause in the first, but according to essence in the second, and according to participation in the last of these. The first intellectual, therefore, proceed from the intelligible Gods, multiplying indeed their union, and their unical powers, unfolding their occult hyparxis, and through prolific, connective, and perfective causes assimilating themselves to the essential, entire, and all-perfect transcendencies of intelligibles. For in intelligibles there were three primarily effective powers; one indeed constituting the essence of wholes; another measuring things which are multiplied; and another being productive of the forms of all generated natures.
And conformably to these, the intelligible and intellectual powers subsist; one indeed, by its very essence producing the life of secondary natures, according to a certain intelligible comprehension; but another being connective of every thing which is divided, and imparting by illumination the intelligible measure to those natures that relinquish the one union [of all things;] and another supplying all things with figure, and form and perfection. The intelligible and intellectual orders of the Gods, therefore, are generated according to all the intelligible causes. From power indeed, being allotted the peculiarity of progression; but from life receiving the portion of being which is suspended from them. For life is conjoined with power; since life is of itself infinite, all motion having infinity consubsistent with its nature, and the power of infinity, is generative of the whole of things. But from the triadic hypostasis of intelligibles, they receive a distribution into first, middle and last. For it is necessary that all things should be detained by a triadic progression, and that this should be the case prior to all [other] things with the intelligible and at the same time intellectual genera of Gods. For because they subsist as the middle of wholes, and give completion to the bond of the first orders, according to their summit indeed, they are assimilated to intelligibles, but according to their extremity, to intellectuals. And they are partly indeed intelligible, and partly intellectual. For everywhere the progressions of the divine genera are effected through continued similitude. And the first of subordinate are united to the ends of pre-existent causes. As however, the first and the last in the middle of wholes are both intelligible and intellectual, it is necessary there should be a connective medium of these, according to which medium the peculiarity of these Gods is principally apparent. For that which is intelligible and at the same time intellectual, in one part indeed is more abundant than, but in another equally communicates with both these. From these things, therefore, the continuity of the progression of the divine orders appears to be admirable. For the extremity of intelligibles indeed was intellectual, yet as in intelligibles. But the summit of intelligibles and at the same time intellectuals, is intelligible indeed, yet it possesses this peculiarity vitally. And again, the end of intelligibles and at the same time intellectuals, is intellectual, but it is vitally so. But the beginning of intellectuals, is intelligible, and presides over the intellectual Gods, yet it has the intelligible intellectually. And thus all the divine genera are allotted an indissoluble connexion and communion, an admirable friendship, and well- ordered diminution, and a transcendency, partly co-ordinate and partly exempt. That which proceeds too, is always in continuity with its producing cause; and secondary natures together with a firm establishment in their causes, make a progression from them. There is likewise one series and alliance of all things; secondary natures always subsisting from those prior to them, through similitude. After what manner, therefore, the intelligible and at the same time intellectual Gods, unfold themselves into light from the intelligible Gods, may through these things be recollected.
CHAPTER III In the next place, let us show how they are divided in their progressions, and what difference the triads of these Gods are allotted with respect to the intelligible triads. These Gods, therefore, are also divided triply, after the above mentioned manner; being conjoined indeed to the intelligible, through their summit; but to the intellectual through their end; and through the middle bond of the extremes, being allotted the peculiarity of each equally, and extending to both the intelligible and intellectual genera of Gods, as the centre of these twofold orders, uniformly containing the communion of wholes. They are likewise divided triply, because in these all things, viz. essence, life, and intellect, are vitally, in the same manner as they are intelligibly in the Gods prior to them, and intellectually in the Gods that derive their subsistence from these. And essence indeed is the intelligible of life; but life is the middle and at the same time the peculiarity of this order; and intellect is the extremity, and that which is proximately carried in intellectuals as in a vehicle. All things therefore subsisting in these Gods, there will be a division of them into first, middle, and last genera. And in the third place, they are divided triply, because it is necessary that life should abide, proceed, and be converted to its principles; since of beings, the first triad was said to establish all things, and prior to other things the second triad. Eternity, therefore, abides stably in the first triad. But the triad posterior to this, is the supplier to wholes [and therefore to all things,] of progression, motion, and life according to energy. And the third triad is the supplier of conversion to the one, and of perfection which convolves all secondary natures to their principles. Hence it is necessary that the intelligible and at the same time intellectual Gods, should primarily participate of these three powers, and should abide indeed in the summit of themselves; but proceeding from thence, and extending themselves to all things, should again be converted to the intelligible place of survey, and conjoin to the beginning of their generation the end of their whole progression.
The intelligible and at the same time intellectual Gods therefore are, as I have said, triply divided. And essence indeed is that which ranks as first in them, but life is the middle, and intellect the extremity of them. Since however, each of these three is perfect, and participates of the intelligible monads, I mean of the essence which is there, of intelligible life, and of intelligible intellect, they are tripled according to the participation of primarily efficient causes. And the intelligible of life indeed possesses essence, intellect, and life intelligibly; but the intelligible and intellectual of it, possesses essence, life and intellect, intelligibly and at the same time intellectually; and the intellectual of it possesses these intellectually and intelligibly. And every where indeed, there is a triad in each of the sections, but in conjunction with an appropriate peculiarity. Hence three intelligible and at the same time intellectual triads present themselves to our view, which are indeed illuminated by the divine unities, but each of them contains an all-various multitude. For since in intelligibles, there was an all-powerful and all-perfect multitude, how is it possible that this multitude should not in a much greater degree, be evolved and multiplied, in the Gods secondary to the intelligible order, according to the prolific cause of them? Each triad therefore comprehends in itself a multitude of powers, and a variety of forms, producing intelligible multitude into energy, and unfolding into light the generative infinity of intelligibles. And we indeed, being impelled from the participants, discover the peculiarity of the participated superessential Gods. But according to the order of things, the intelligible and intellectual monads generate about themselves essences, and all lives, and the intellectual genera. And through these, they unfold the unknown transcendency of themselves preserving by itself the pre-existent cause of the whole of things. There are however, as we have said, three intelligible triads. And there are also three triads posterior to these, which appear to be tripled from them, according to their prolific perfection.
But it is necessary that the peculiarity of the intelligible, and also of the intelligible and at the same time intellectual triad, should be defined according to another mode. For in the intelligible order indeed, each triad had only the third part of being; for it consisted of bound, and infinity, and from both these. But this was essence indeed in the first triad, intelligible life in the second, and intelligible intellect in the third. The natures however prior to these were unities and superessential powers, which give completion to the whole triads. But in the intelligible and at the same time intellectual order, each triad has essence, life and intellect; one indeed intelligibly and at the same time intellectually, but more intelligibly, so far as it is in continuity with the first intelligibles; but another intellectually and intelligibly, but more intellectually, because it is proximately carried in intellectuals; and another according to an equal part, as it comprehends in itself both the peculiarities. Hence the first triad, that we may speak of each, was in intelligibles, bound, infinity, and essence; for essence was that which was primarily mixed. But here the first triad is essence, life and intellect, with appropriate unities. For essence is suspended from the first deity [of this triad,] life from the second, and intellect from the third. And these three superessential monads, unfold the monads of the first triad. But again, the second triad after this, was in the intelligible order, a superessential unity, power, and intelligible and occult life. Here however, essence, life and intellect are all vital, and are suspended from the Gods who contain the one bond of the whole of this order. For as the first unities were allotted a power unific of the middle genera, so the second unities after them, exhibit the connective peculiarity of primarily efficient causes. After these therefore, succeeds the third triad, which in the intelligible order indeed was unity, power, and intelligible intellect; but here it consists of three superessential Gods, who close the termination of the intelligible and at the same time intellectual Gods, and begird all things intellectually, I mean essence, life and intellect. They are likewise the suppliers of divine perfection, imitating the all-perfect intelligible triad, just as the connectedly containing Gods imitate the intelligible measure, and the Gods prior to these, the generative cause of intelligibles. The three intelligible therefore, and at the same time intellectual triads, are thus generated, and are allotted such a difference as this, with respect to the intelligible triads.
CHAPTER IV Again however, returning to Plato, let us accord with him, and exhibit the science which pre-exists with him concerning each of these triads. And in the first place, let us assume what is written in the Phaedrus, and survey from the words themselves of Socrates, how he unfolds to us the whole of the orderly distinction of these triads, and the differences which it contains. In the Phaedrus therefore, there are said to be twelve leaders who preside over the whole [of mundane concerns,] and who conduct all the mundane Gods, and all the herds of daemons, and convert them to the intelligible nature. It is also said that Jupiter is the leader of all these twelve Gods, that he drives a winged chariot, adorns and takes care of all things, and brings all the army of Gods that follow him, first indeed to the place of survey within the heaven, and to the blessed spectacles, and discursive energies of the intelligibles which are there. But in the next place Jupiter brings them to the subcelestial arch which proximately begirds the heaven, and is contained in it, and after this to the heaven itself, and the back of heaven; where also divine souls stand, and being borne along together with the heaven, survey all the essence that is beyond it. Socrates further adds, that prior to the heaven there is what is called the supercelestial place, in which true and real essence, the plain of truth, the kingdom of Adrastia, and the divine choir of virtues subsist, and that souls being nourished through the intellection of these monads, are happily affected, following [in their contemplation] the circulation of the heaven.
These things therefore, are asserted in the Phaedrus, Socrates being clearly inspired by divinity, and discussing mystic concerns. It is necessary however, prior to other things, to consider what the heaven is of which Socrates speaks, and in what order of beings it is established. For having discovered this, we may also survey the subcelestial arch, and the supercelestial place. For each of these is assumed according to habitude towards the heaven; the one indeed being primarily placed above it, but the other being primarily arranged under it.
6 BOOK V, chapters i to v
CHAPTER I In the next place, let us survey another order of Gods, which is called intellectual, being indeed conjoined to the orders prior to it, but terminating the total progressions of the Gods, converting them to their principle, and producing one circle of the primarily-efficient and all-perfect orders. Let us also extend the intellect that is in us to the imparticipable and divine intellect, and distinguish the orders and diminutions of essence that are in it, according to the narration of Plato.
This intellectual hypostasis therefore of the Gods, is suspended indeed from more ancient causes, and is filled from them with total goodness and self-sufficiency. But after these causes, it establishes an illustrious empire over all secondary natures, binding to its dominion all the partial progressions of the Gods. And it is denominated indeed intellectual, because it generates an impartible and divine intellect. But it is filled from intelligibles, not as from those intelligibles which are co- arranged with intellect, nor as with those which are alone divided from intellect by the conception of the mind, but as establishing in itself unically all multitudes, and occultly containing the evolutions of the Gods into light, and the hyparxes of intelligibles. It is likewise allotted the total intellect of intellectuals, the variety of beings, and the multiform orders of divine natures; and it convolves the end of the whole progression [of the Gods] to the one intelligible principle. For intellectuals are converted to intelligibles. And some intellectuals indeed are united and firmly established prior to the divided Gods; but others are multiplied and through conversion are conjoined to primarily-efficient causes. The intellectual Gods however proceed from all the Gods prior to them, receiving indeed unions from The One that is prior to intelligibles; but essences from intelligibles; and being allotted lives all-perfect, connective and generative of divine natures, from the intelligible and at the same time intellectual Gods; but the intellectual peculiarity from themselves. They likewise convert to themselves all the divided orders, but establish themselves in intelligibles, existing wholly through the whole, pure and unknown knowledges, and fervid lives. Besides these things also, they are all-perfect essences, producing all secondary natures through subsisting from themselves, and being neither diminished by their progression, nor receiving an addition by their progeny; but through their own never-failing and infinite powers, being the fathers, causes, and leaders of all things. Nor are they co-divided with their progeny, nor do they depart from themselves in their progressions; but at once, and according to union they govern total multitudes, and all orders, and convolve them to the intelligible, and to occult good.
Whether therefore I may speak of life, it is not proper to think that it is such a life as we surveyed a little before. For that was imparticipable, but this is participated. And that indeed, was generative, but this is vivific. But it is not immanifest that these differ from each other. For the vivific cause indeed, is also evidently generative; but the generative cause is not entirely vivific. For it imparts figure to things unfigured, bound to things indefinite, and perfection to things imperfect. Or whether I may denominate the cause in intellectuals intelligible, it must not immediately be conceived to be such an intelligible, as that of which we have before spoken. For that was imparticipable, and prior to intellectuals, itself pre-existing by itself, and exempt from wholes; not being denominated intelligible, as the plenitude of intellect, but as the prior-cause of it, and the object of desire and love to it, subsisting uniformly unco-ordinated with it. The intelligible however which is now the subject of consideration, is participated, and co-arranged with intellect, is multiform, and contains in itself the divided causes of all things. Or whether we may call the Gods in this order fathers and fabricators, it must be admitted that this paternal and fabricative characteristic, is different from the hyparxis of the intelligible fathers. For they indeed were generative of whole essences; but these pre-exist as the causes of divisible emanations, and of definite productions of form. And they indeed contained in themselves powers fabricative of the divine progressions; but these separate from themselves prolific causes, and are not conjoined to them according to union, but according to a communion subordinate to union. For the marriages which are celebrated by fables, and the concordant conjunction of divine natures, are in the intellectual Gods. But the demiurgic being mingled with the vivific effluxions, every genus of the Gods is unfolded into light, both the supermundane, and the mundane. This, however, will be hereafter discussed.
CHAPTER II Since however, we have, in short, surveyed the peculiarity of the intellectual Gods, it remains that we should deliver an appropriate theory concerning the division of them. For the intellectual order is not one and indivisible, but is allotted progressions more various than those of the more elevated genera. There will therefore be here also three fathers, who divide the whole intellectual essence; one indeed, being arranged according to the intelligible, but another according to life, and another according to intellect. They also imitate the intelligible fathers who divide the intelligible breadth in a threefold manner, and who are allotted a difference of this kind with respect to each other. For one of these intellectual fathers proceeds analogous to the first [intelligible] father, and is intelligible. But another proceeds analogous to the second [intelligible] father, and binds to himself the whole of intellectual life. And other proceeds analogous to the third father, and closes the whole intellectual, in the same manner as he closes the intelligible order.
But these fathers being three, and the first indeed, abiding in himself, but the second proceeding and vivifying all things, and the third glittering with fabricative productions, it is evidently necessary, that the other triple Gods should be conjoined with them; of which, one indeed will be the source to the first intellectual God, of stable purity; but another, of undefiled progression, to the second God; and another of exempt fabrication, to the third. For in the Gods prior to these, the undefiled deities were according to cause, through union without separation, and a sameness collective of powers which are not in want of the communion of these. But in the intellectual Gods, where there is an all-perfect separation, as in total orders, and a greater habitude to secondary natures, unpolluted deity or power is necessary, which has the ratio of sameness, and undeviating subsistence, to the paternal cause, and which is co- divided with the fathers, so that each of the undefiled Gods is conjoined with a peculiar father.
These two triads therefore have presented themselves to our view, one indeed, of the intellectual fathers, but the other of the undefiled Gods. There is however, besides these two, a third other triadic monad, which is the cause of separation to intellectuals, and which subsists together with the above mentioned triads. For the fathers indeed are the suppliers of all essence; but the inflexible Gods, of sameness. But it is evidently fit that there should be also the cause of separation, and that this should be one and at the same time triple, separating the intellectual Gods from the above mentioned orders, from themselves, and from inferior natures. For why are they the leaders of another order, if they are not divided from the first orders? Why are they multiplied, and why do they differ from each others in their kingdoms, unless they are separated? Why also do they transcend the partial [Gods] unless they are also separated from these? The cause of separation therefore, will be for us one and a triple monad. But the paternal and undefiled causes will be each of them a uniform triad. And what is most paradoxical of all, the separative cause is more monadic; but the paternal and also the undefiled cause, are each of them more triadic. For the separative monad indeed, is the cause of separation to the other monads; but the others are the sources of communion and union to it. Hence each of these, being separated, becomes triadic; but the separative monad is monadic, in consequence of being united by these. For all intellectuals pervade through each other, and are in each other, according to a certain admirable communion, imitating the union of intelligibles, through being present and mingled with each other. The sphere also which is there, is the intellectual order, energising in and about itself, and proceeding into itself hebdomadically, being a monad and a hebdomad, the image, if it be lawful so to speak, of the all-perfect intelligible monad, and unfolding its occult union, through progression and separation. This first progression therefore of the intellectual Gods, which is separated by us into a heptad, we have perfectly celebrated.
Other secondary seven hebdomads, however, are to be considered under this, which produce as far as to the last of things, the monads of this heptad. For each monad is the leader of an intellectual hebdomad conjoined with it, and extends this hebdomad from on high, from the summit of Olympus, as far as to the last, and terrestrial orders. I say, for instance, the first paternal monad, indeed, constitutes seven such monads. But the second again constitutes seven vivific monads. And the third, seven demiurgic monads. Each likewise of the undefiled monads constitutes a number equal to that produced by the fathers. And the monad of separation constitutes seven [separative monads]. For all these causes proceed in conjunction with each other. And as the first triad of the fathers subsists together with the undefiled triad, and the divisive monad, after the same manner also, the second triads are allotted seven co-ordinate undefiled triads, and separative monads. Whence, therefore, does so great a number of intellectual Gods present itself to our view? It is evident, indeed, from what has been said. For the first hebdomad, indeed, the cause of the second hebdomads, and which has the relation of a monad to them, and which a little before we denominated an intellectual sphere, subsists according to the intelligible breadth, imitating the paternal nature of it through the paternal triad; but the eternity of its power, through undefiled sameness; and the multitude shining forth in its extremities, through the monad which is divisive of wholes. The remaining hebdomads, however, which are derived from this, proceed according to the intelligible and intellectual genera. For each monad, conformably to the summits of those genera, constitutes a monad co-arranged with the multitude proceeding from it; since every summit is uniform [i.e. has the form of the one,] as we have before demonstrated. But according to the middle and third progressions of those genera, each monad generates two triads. For the separation of them was apparent in the middle and ultimate progressions, as we have before observed. As, therefore, the intelligible, and at the same time, intellectual genera, produced the intelligible breadth, which is of a unical nature, into a triadic multitude, after the same manner also the intellectual monads call forth the intelligible, and at the same time intellectual triads, into intellectual hebdomads. And they constitute indeed the monads which are co- arranged with the hebdomads, according to the summits of the triads; but the two triads, according to the second and third decrements of those triads. Hence every hebdomad has the first monad indeed intelligible; but the second after this, and which is triadic, intelligible and intellectual; and the third triad, which is the next in order, intellectual. All these likewise subsist as in intellectuals. For they are characterised according to the peculiarity of the constitutive monad.
In short, the intellectual powers proceed according to the intelligible orders; but they constitute these seven hebdomads according to the first intellectual orders. For it is indeed necessary that exempt causes should be assimilated to the intelligible Gods; but that co-arranged causes, and which proceed everywhere, should be assimilated to the intelligible, and at the same time, intellectual Gods; since these also are the first that divide the worlds triadically, and pervade as far as to the last of things, connectedly containing and perfecting all things. But the intelligible Gods contain the causes of wholes uniformly, and occultly. You may also say, that the intelligible Gods produce all things uniformly; for numbers subsist in them monadically. But the intelligible and intellectual Gods produce all things triadically. For the monads in these are divided according to number. And what the monad was in the former, the number is in the latter. And the intellectual Gods produce all things hebdomadically. For they evolve the intelligible, and at the same time, intellectual triads, into intellectual hebdomads, and expand their contracted powers into intellectual variety; since they define multitude itself and variety by numbers which are nearest to the monad. For the numbers of the partial are different from the numbers of the total orders in the Gods. And the whole of this intellectual number is indeed more expanded than the natures prior to it, and is divided into more various progressions, yet it does not desert its alliance with the monad. For hebdomadic multitude has an abundant affinity with the nature of the monad; since it is measured according to it, and primarily subsists from it. And the Pythagoreans, when they denominate the heptad light according to intellect, evidently admits its hyparxis to be intellectual, and on this account suspended from the monad. For the unical, which light manifests, is inherent from this in all the divine numbers. And thus much concerning the division of these intellectuals Gods.
CHAPTER III It follows in the next place, that we should adapt the theory of Plato to this order, and show that he does not dissent from any of the theological dogmas concerning it. Since, therefore, we have demonstrated, that the celestial order, which we find in the Cratylus perfectly celebrated, possesses the middle bond of the intellectual, and at the same time, intelligible Gods, but that under this another order of Gods is immediately arranged, as Socrates shows in the Phaedrus, called the subcelestial arch, and which we have considered as not divided from the heaven, - this being the case, what order is it which divides itself from the kingdom of heaven, but is the leader of the intellectual order of the Gods, and is primarily the supplier of intellect, according to the doctrine of Plato, as Socrates says in the Cratylus, except that which the mighty Saturn comprehends? For he calls this God the first and most pure intellect. This God, therefore, is the summit of a divine intellect, and, as he says, the purest part of it; separating himself indeed from the celestial order, but reigning over all the intellectual Gods; because he is full of intellect, but of a pure intellect, and is a God extended to the summit of the intellectual hypostasis. Hence also, he is the father of the mighty Jupiter, and is simply father. For he who is the father of the father of all things, is evidently allotted in a much greater degree the paternal dignity. Saturn, therefore, is the first intellect; but the mighty Jupiter is also an intellect, containing, as Socrates says in the Philebus, a royal soul, and a royal intellect.
And these Gods are two intellects, and intellectual fathers; the one, indeed, being intellectual; but the other intelligible, in intellectuals. For the Saturnian bonds which Socrates mentions in the Cratylus, are unific of the intelligence of Jupiter about the intelligible of his father, and fill the Jovian intellect with the all-perfect intelligence of the Saturnian intellect. And this I think is likewise evident from the analogy of souls to Plato. For as he binds souls about himself, filling them with wisdom and intelligence, thus also Saturn being the object of desire and love to Jupiter, contains him in himself by indissoluble bonds. And these things Socrates indicates in the Cratylus, jesting, and at the same time being serious in what he says. The object of desire therefore, and the intelligible to Jupiter, is Saturn. But the mighty Jupiter himself is a divine and demiurgic intellect. Hence, it is necessary that there should be a third other intellectual cause, generative of life. For Jupiter indeed is the cause of life, as Socrates says, but intellectually and secondarily. But we say that life is every where arranged prior to intellect. Hence, we must say that the queen Rhea, being the mother of Jupiter, but subordinate to the father Saturn, gives completion to this middle, existing as a vivific world, and establishing in herself the causes of the whole of life. These three paternal orders, therefore, have appeared to us in intellectuals: one of them indeed subsisting according to the intelligible power of intellectuals; but another according to divine and intellectual life; and another according to intellectual intellect. For we celebrate the middle deity, herself by herself, as the mother of the demiurgus, and of wholes. When, however, we survey her together with the extremes, we denominate her a paternal cause, as being comprehended in the fathers; and as generating some things together with Saturn, but others in conjunction with Jupiter.
Moreover, Plato following Orpheus, calls the inflexible and undefiled triad of the intellectual Gods Curetic, as is evident from what the Athenian guest says in the Laws, celebrating the armed sports of the Curetes, and their rhythmical dance. For Orpheus represents the Curetes who are three, as the guards of Jupiter. And the sacred laws of the Cretans, and all the Grecian theology, refer a pure and undefiled life and energy to this order. For `to koron', indicates nothing else than the pure and incorruptible. Hence, we have before said, that the mighty Saturn, as being essentially united to the cause of undefiled purity, is a pure intellect. The paternal Gods therefore are three, and the undefiled Gods also are three. Hence it remains that we should survey the seventh monad.
If, therefore, we consider the fabulous exections, both the Saturnian and the Celestial, of which Plato makes mention, and thinks that such like narrations should always be concealed in silence, that the arcane truth of them should be surveyed, and that they are indicative of mystic conceptions, because these things are not fit for young men to hear, - [if we consider these] we may obtain from them what the separative deity is, who accomplishes the divisions, and segregates the Saturnian genera indeed from the Celestial, and the Jovian from the Saturnian, and who separates the whole intellectual order from the natures prior and posterior to it, disjoins the different causes in it from each other, and always imparts to secondary natures, secondary measures of dominion. And let not any one be disturbed, or oppose me on hearing these things. How therefore does Plato reject exections, bonds, and the tragical apparatus of fables? For he thinks that all such particulars will be condemned by the multitude and the stupid, through ignorance of the arcana they contain; but that they will exhibit to the wise certain admirable opinions. Hence, he indeed does not admit such a mode of fiction, but thinks it proper to be persuaded by the ancients who were the offspring of the Gods, and to investigate their arcane conceptions. As therefore he rejects the Saturnian fables, when they are narrated to Euthyprhon, and the auditors of the Republic, yet at the same time admits them in the Cratylus, placing about the mighty Saturn and Plato, other secondary bonds, - thus also, I think he forbids exections to be introduced to those who known only the apparent meaning of what is said, and does not admit that there is illegal conduct in the Gods, and nefarious aggressions of children against their parents, but he opposes, and confutes as much as possible such like opinions. He assents however to their being narrated to those who are able to penetrate into the mystic truth, and investigate the concealed meaning of fables, and admits the separation of wholes, whether [mythologists] are willing to denominate them exections for the purpose of concealment, or in whatever other way they may think fit to call them. For bonds and exections are symbols of communion and separation, and each is the progeny of the same divine mythology. Nor is there any occasion to wonder, if from these things we endeavour to confirm the opinion of Plato; but it is requisite to know how the philosophy of Plato admits all such particulars, and how it rejects them, and in what manner he apprehends they may be the causes of the greatest evils, and of an impious life to those that hear them. The seven intellectual Gods therefore, will through these conceptions appear to have been thought worthy of being mentioned by Plato.
CHAPTER IV It is, however, I think, necessary syllogistically to collect the progression of them according to hebdomads, from images. The demiurgus therefore, [in the Timaeus] fabricates the soul of the universe an image of all the divine orders, in the same manner as he fabricates this sensible world an image of intelligibles. And the first place indeed, he constitutes the whole essence of the soul, and afterwards divides it into numbers, binds it by harmonies, and adorns it with figures, I mean the rectilinear and the circular. After this also, he divides it into one circle and seven circles. Whence therefore, are this monad and hebdomad derived, except from the intellectual Gods? For figure, number and true being, are prior to them. As in the fabrication of the soul, after the subsistence of the psychical figure, the division of the circles according to the monad and hebdomad follows, thus also in the Gods, after intellectual and intelligible figure, the intellectual breadth, and that sphere of the Gods succeed. The multitude therefore of the seven hebdomads subsist from the divine intellectual hebdomad entering into itself. And on this account, the demiurgus thus divides the circles in the soul, because he and every intellectual order, produce an intellectual hebdomad from each monad. I do not however assert, and now contend, that the seven circles are allotted an hyparxis similar to the seven Gods that proceed from the demiurgus, but that the demiurgus dividing the soul according to circles, introduces number to the sections from the intellectual Gods, I mean the monadic and the hebdomadic number. For the monad indeed subsists according to the circle of sameness, but the division, according to the circle of difference. Shortly after however, it will appear that same and different belong to the demiurgic order.
Farther still, after the division of the circles, the demiurgus assumes some things which are symbols of the assimilative, and others which are symbols of the liberated Gods, and through these, he refers the soul to these orders of the Gods. If therefore figure is prior to the intellectual Gods, but the similar and dissimilar are posterior to them, it is evidently necessary that the monadic and at the same time hebdomadic, should be referred to this order, and that the progression from the monad to the hebdomad should pertain to this order. Each therefore of the seven intellectual Gods, is the leader of an intellectual hebdomad, as we may learn from images. There however indeed, the hebdomad is one, and allied to itself. But in souls, the circles differ from each other, according to the divine peculiarities. For they receive number in such a manner as to preserve the proper nature which they are allotted, connectedly containing mundane natures, and convolving the apparent by their own circles. And thus much concerning these particulars, which afford arguments that are not obscure of the arrangement of them by Plato.
CHAPTER V Again however, making another beginning, let us speak about each [of the intellectual Gods,] as much as is sufficient to the present theology. Let Saturn therefore, the first king of the intellectual Gods, be now celebrated by us, who according to Socrates in the Cratylus illuminates the pure and incorruptible nature of intellect, and establishing his own all-perfect power in his own summit of intellectuals, abides in, and at the same time proceeds from his father [Heaven]. He likewise divides intellectual government from the connective, and establishes the transcendency of the other intellectual Gods in connection with his own; but comprehends in himself the intelligible of the demiurgic intellect, and the plenitude of beings. Hence the Saturnian bonds, mystically, and obscurely signify the comprehension of this intelligible, and a union with it. For the intelligible is comprehended in intellect.
As therefore, the intelligible is indeed exempt from intellect, but intellect is said to comprehend it, thus also Jupiter is said to bind his father. And in placing bonds about his father, he at the same time binds himself [to him]. For a bond is the comprehension of the things that are bound. But the truth is as follows: Saturn is indeed an all-perfect intellect; and the mighty Jupiter is likewise an intellect. Each therefore being an intellect, each is also evidently an intelligible. For every intellect is converted to itself; but being converted to it energizes towards itself. Energizing however towards itself, and not towards externals, it is intelligible and at the same time intellectual; being indeed intellectual, so far as it intellectually perceives, but intelligible, so far as it is intellectually perceived. Hence also the Jovian intellect is to itself intellect, and to itself intelligible. And in a similar manner the Saturnian intellect is to itself intelligible, and to itself intellect. But Jupiter indeed is more intellect, and Saturn more intelligible. For the latter is established according to the intellectual summit, but the former according to the intellectual end. And the one indeed is the object of desire, but the other desires. And the one fills, but the other is filled.
Saturn therefore being intellect and intelligible, Jupiter also is in the second place intellect and intelligible. The intellectual however of Saturn is intelligible; but the intelligible of Jupiter is intellectual. Jupiter therefore, being at the same time intellectual and intelligible, intellectually perceives and comprehends himself, and binds the intelligible in himself. But binding this in himself, he is said to bind the intelligible prior to himself, and to comprehend it on all sides. For entering into himself, he proceeds into the intelligible prior to himself, and by the intelligible which is in himself, intellectually perceives that which is prior to himself. And thus the intelligible is not external to intellect. For every intellect possesses that which is in itself without any difference with respect to itself. But again, it intellectually perceives in itself that which is prior to itself. For every thing which is external to intellect, is foreign and adventitious, and pertains to an inferior nature. But that which is pre-established in the order of cause, and which pre-exists as the object of desire, is in the desiring natures themselves. For being converted to, and verging to themselves, they discover the causes of themselves, and all more ancient natures. And by how much more perfect and uniform the conversion of the desiring natures is about the objects of desire, by so much the more are they present with their own desirables. Hence every intellect, by intellectually perceiving itself, intellectually perceives likewise, all the natures prior to itself. And by how much the more it is united to itself, in a so much greater degree it is established in the intelligibles prior to itself. For the cause of any being, and which is the source of essence or of perfection to it, is not external to that being; but that which is subordinate to any being, is external to it, and is not the intelligible. On this account also, each of the divine natures is unconverted to that which is inferior to itself, but is converted to itself, and through itself reverts to that which is more excellent. And the intelligible indeed is not inferior to any intellect; but every intellect energising towards itself, and comprehending the intelligibles prior to itself, intellectually perceives them.
Some intelligibles likewise are such as are conjoined with intellect. But others are such as are proximately participated by it. And others are such as it sees more remotely, and which are more exempt from its nature. On this account, the demiurgic intellect is indeed at the same time intelligible and intellect, but has the intelligible of his father, which he binds as the fable says. He sees however animal itself, which is, according to Timaeus, the most beautiful of all intelligibles. And if the illustrious Amelius, forming such conceptions as these, said that intellect is threefold, one being that which is, another that which has, and another that which sees, he rightly apprehends the conception of Plato, according to my opinion. For it is necessary that the second intellect should not only have the intelligible, but that it should be and have the intelligible; that it should be indeed the intelligible co-ordinate with itself, but have the intelligible prior to itself, so far as it participates of it. And it is necessary that the third intellect should see the intelligible, and should also be and have it; that it should see indeed the first intelligible; but have that which is proximately beyond itself; and that it should be the intelligible which is in itself, and which is conjoined with its own intelligence, and should be inseparable from it.
If therefore, as we said from the beginning, Jupiter intellectually perceives his father Saturn, Saturn is indeed intelligible, but Jupiter is intellect; being one intelligible himself, but participating of another. Hence also Plato does not simply call Saturn intellect, but a pure and incorruptible intellect. For he in the intellectual is intelligible. Since however, he is not simply intelligible, but as in intellectuals, he is intellect, and is himself paternally so, being both father and intellect, and having the paternal intellectually. In intelligibles therefore, intellect is also father; but in intellectuals father is intellect. Hence Saturn is a pure, immaterial and perfect intellect, established above fabrication in the order of the desirable. But possessing such a peculiarity as this, he is full of all intelligibles is at it were exuberant with intellections, and establishes twofold genera of Gods, some indeed in himself, but other posterior to himself. And he leads forth, indeed, the prolific powers of his father Heaven as far as to the last of things; but fills the demiurgic order with generative goods.
7 BOOK VI, chapters i and ii, also xv and xvi
CHAPTER I The hebdomadic aion (eternity) therefore, of the intellectual Gods has been through these things celebrated by us, following the mystic conceptions of Plato. But after this, let us in the next place contemplate the multiform progressions of the ruling orders, and refer the one union of them to the intellectual theory of Parmenides. For this order is woven together in continuity with the demiurgus and father of wholes, proceeds from, is perfected by, and converted to him, according to his perfective power. Hence also, it is necessary to connect the narration about the governors of the universe, with the discussion concerning the demiurgus, and to assimilate words to the things of which they are the interpreters. For all the series of the ruling Gods, are collected into the intellectual fabrication as into a summit, and subsist about it. And as all the fountains are the progeny of the intelligible father, and are filled from him with intelligible union, thus likewise, all the orders of the principles or rulers, are suspended according to nature from the demiurgus, and participate from thence of an intellectual life. And let no one be offended with me on hearing in this place the names of fountain and principle, nor accuse these names, as not at all pertaining to Plato. For, as we have before observed, Plato does not leave unnoticed any one of these mystic names. But in his discussions about souls, when he denominates them the fountains and principles of motion, he at the same time indicates the difference between the peculiarity of fountain, and the peculiarity of principle, and the inferiority of principle with respect to the exempt transcendency of fountain.
He likewise manifests that the self-vital extends to all things as far as to soul, from fountain; but the unbegotten from principle. And this is because the fontal genus indeed of the Gods is self-begotten, and first-effective, and produces other things from itself; but the ruling genus of the Gods, and which has the relation of a principle, though it proceeds from the fountains, and is allotted a more partial order among beings, yet it is expanded above every thing which is generated, and neither is in a certain respect connected with generated natures, nor communicates with a sensible nature. For the mundane Gods, indeed, are in a certain respect generated; whence also, they are denominated generated by Timaeus, and this whole world is likewise called by him a generated god. But the ruling Gods, and who have the relation of principles, are perfectly exempt from generated natures, and are not co-arranged with them. Hence also, the unbegotten is most particularly adapted to them. Those Gods, however, who preside over the liberated dominion being the media between the unbegotten and generated Gods, come into contact indeed with the latter, but do not give completion to the choir of mundane Gods. Hence, they are in a certain respect both generated and unbegotten. The Gods, therefore, who are the summits of super-mundane natures, and the rulers of wholes, are alone allotted an unbegotten subsistence in the orders that proceed from the demiurgus. Hence, likewise, this peculiarity is from thence derived to souls. For, as Plato says, principle is unbegotten. For it is necessary that every thing which is generated should be generated from a principle, but that the principle should not be generated from any thing.
At the same time, therefore, it is manifest through these things, how the [ruling] principles proceed from the Gods prior to them. For they are not allotted a progression from them according to motion, nor in short, according to mutation; but the orders of the ruling Gods subsist by their very being, according to their prolific power, and unenvying and exuberant will; and the self-begotten power of the intellectual Gods, gives to the principles also the first generation from itself. Whether, therefore, some one is willing to adopt these, or other names of the divine orders, we shall consider it as a thing of no consequence. But receiving the peculiarity of them, whatever it may be, according to the rumours of theologists, we shall transfer their mystic tradition to the Platonic narration. For thus we shall make the investigation of what follows conformable to what has been before said, and what we assert will be adapted to the things themselves.
CHAPTER II Again therefore, let us assume the principles of the science concerning these Gods, and demonstrate that the theory pertaining to them is consequent to the first causes. The intelligible Gods therefore, surpass wholes according to supreme transcendency, and primarily participate the union and divine light, in which all the Gods perfectly establish their hypostases. They likewise unically produce all things from themselves, according to the paternal and exuberant will of the communication of good, and pre-establish in themselves occultly the first effective causes of secondary natures. For the whole and common measures of forms pre-subsist in them, and they comprehend according to one cause the uniform genera of being, and prior to these, bound and infinity, from which the superessential orders of the Gods generate all beings.
But in the second rank after these, the intelligible and at the same time intellectual Gods subsist, being divided indeed according to the same number, and preserving the measure of the all-perfect triad in a second order, but producing into multitude the unities of intelligibles, and transferring the unical boundaries of those triads into essential hypostases, and which participate of The One. Instead of powers however, which are whole, without separation, and occult, they are transferred into divided causes, and which proceed far from The One.
Again, in the third rank after the intelligible Gods, those that are called intellectual are arranged at one and the same time indeed, proceeding into an order diminished with respect to that which is prior to it, and changing the number according to which they subsist. For instead of the perfective triads, they are intellectually divided according to hebdomads. And with respect to the hebdomads, the division of them into two triads, is supernally derived from the first triads; but the terminations of them into monads, express the ends of those orders. For every thing which is the peculiarity of difference and multitude, proceeds from thence to all the genera. Again therefore, from these, the multiform orders of the ruling principles are generated, being divided indeed, analogous to all the intelligible Gods, and to those that are prior to these intellectual Gods, viz. to those that are called intelligible and at the same time intellectual. They have however, their proximate and peculiar hypostasis from the one fabrication; but their united generation together with intellectuals, from the third triad of intelligibles. For that all-perfect cause produces also from itself, the whole orders of the Gods. Hence likewise Parmenides denominates it infinite multitude, as unfolding into light all the genera of being, and all the orders of divine natures, and as being sufficient through one all- perfect power to the generation of wholes.
Farther still, we may also assert this of these leading and ruling Gods, that the intellectual monads make their progression according to imparticipable intellect, in the same manner as the Gods prior to them illuminate imparticipable life, and prior to all things, the intelligible Gods constitute about themselves truly existing and intelligible essence. For every God is participated indeed by beings, and on this account falls short of the unity which is imparticipable and exempt from all things. But a different deity proceeds according to a different peculiarity. And some of the Gods indeed, being defined according to the ineffable good itself, comprehend the intelligible causes of wholes. But others produce the vivific powers, and connectedly contain the first genera of the Gods. Others again, unfold into light all the intellectual involutions, and preside over the participants of the unities that produce divided hypostases. Since therefore, the intellectual Gods primarily subsist according to imparticipable intellect, and on this account are denominated intellectual, the orders that first proceed immediately after them, illuminate the summit of participated intellect, and are intellectual indeed, as with reference to the inferior orders, and which are now divided according to providential energies about the world. But they are secondary to the first intellectuals, and are allotted a more partial government; just as the first of intellectuals, are indeed intelligible with respect to the Gods produced from them, but fall short of the union of first intelligibles. As therefore, they unfold into light the first and imparticipable life, which the intelligible monads pre-established in themselves according to cause only, and occultly; (for all the causes of wholes are pre-assumed there according to one ineffable union) after the same manner also, these Gods, shining forth the first of the intellectuals, express the Gods from whom they derive their subsistence, and are intellectual indeed, but produce the pure, uniform, and total hyparxis of the fathers, into a secondary, and multiplied progression, which is divided about themselves, and into a diminution of essence. By first emissions also from the first-effective, and self-subsistent fountains, they shine forth similarly to the intellectual Gods.
Hence also, they bind to themselves the ruling and generative causes of all the partial orders, and which exist prior to these orders both in dignity and power. And in short, they have the same transcendency with respect to the other Gods [subordinate to them], which the intelligible Gods have to those that are produced from them. For the intelligible Gods being expanded above all the intellectual genera, have pre-established the intelligible hyparxis, by itself, unmingled and pure; and these ruling Gods have also established in themselves the supermundane union, and this peculiarity perfectly exempt from mundane natures. And as in the imparticipable and total hypostases, there is indeed, the intelligible genus, itself by itself; there is also the intellectual which is foreign from this; and there is that which is collective of both, which is celebrated as subsisting in the middle, and is denominated intelligible and at the same time intellectual, - thus also, in these partial orders, the peculiarity of the supermundane Gods, pre-exists by itself exempt from the parts of the universe, unco-ordinated with this world, and on all sides comprehending it according to cause.
But the essence of all the mundane Gods is allotted the third order, being proximately carried as in a vehicle in the parts of the world, giving completion to this one and only begotten God, and connectedly-containing the different progressions in it. The government however of the liberated Gods is allotted the middle bond of the extremes, possessing sovereign authority over all [mundane] natures, and in a certain respect communicating with the divisions about the world, but unitedly ascending at the same time into many of its parts, and collecting the divided numbers of the mundane Gods into unical bounds, and more simple causes. Every genus likewise, of the mundane Gods is spread under this liberated order, being on all sides connected, contained, and perfected by it, and filled with the first of goods. If therefore, there is any thing supermundane in the Gods, and if it imparts a certain definite hyparxis of essence to them, and defines a certain peculiarity of powers and a transcendency of order by itself, we must admit that it primarily subsists in the ruling Gods, being derived to them from the intellectual fathers, unmingled with a mundane nature. And this supermundane order indeed is universal, as with reference to all the partible rivers of the Gods, but it is partial, as with reference to the all- perfect, one and whole kingdom of the intellectual Gods. For it is every where necessary that the leading causes of secondary orders, should be in a certain respect assimilated to the terminations of the orders established above them.
And thus the progression of the Gods is one and continued, originating supernally from the intelligible and occult unities, and ending in the last division of a divine cause. For, as in sensibles the most gross and solid bodies, are not immediately connascent with the etherial expanse, but those which are simple and more immaterial than others, are proximately spread under the celestial periods, and of containing bodies, those which are primarily contained, are allotted a greater communion than those which are situated remotely, and are conjoined to them through other media; thus also, in the divine essences prior to the world, the second orders are in continuity with those prior to them. The progressions of beings however, are completed through similitude. But the terminations of the higher orders are united to the beginnings of second orders. And one series and indissoluble order, extends from on high, through the surpassing goodness of the first cause, and his unical power. For because indeed, he is one, he is the supplier of union; but because he is The Good, he constitutes things similar to him, prior to such as are dissimilar. And thus all things are in continuity with each other. For if this continuity were broken, there would not be union. And things dissimilar to each other being placed in a consequent order, that which is more similar to the principle, would not have a more ancient and honourable progression into being. If therefore, we assert these things rightly, it is necessary that the first hypostases of the partial orders should be total, according to an intellectual transcendency which they are allotted in the divided genera of the Gods, and thus that they should causally comprehend all secondary natures, and conjoin them to the Gods prior to themselves. The order of the ruling Gods therefore, is in continuity with the kingdom of the intellectual Gods. Hence also, Parmenides proximately constitutes it from the demiurgic monad. These things however, will afterwards be apparent.
CHAPTER XV Making, however, another beginning, let us discuss the orders that follow successively. Since the partial orders of the Gods, therefore, are divided in a threefold manner, according to the all-perfect measure of the triad, proceeding supernally from the first intelligibles, as far as to the last of things, measuring and defining all things as the Oracles say, - the ruling Gods, indeed, are allotted the first and highest rank [among the partial orders,] making their progression proximately after the intellectual order, elevating secondary natures and conjoining them with the demiurgus of wholes, unfolding all impartible and united intellectual goods to things subordinate, and connecting and containing exemptly, their essence and perfection. But the Gods who give completion to the sensible world are allotted the last order, and close the end of the divine progression. These divide the universe, and obtain perpetual allotments and receptacles in it, and through these weave one and the best polity of the world. Between these mundane Gods, however, who are our rulers and saviours, and the supermundane leaders, those Gods subsist who preside over the separable and at the same time inseparable order of sensibles, and define according to this their proper progression, being at one and the same time exempt from the Gods in the universe, and co-arranged with them. And they are expanded, indeed, above the allotment which is adequate to the divided parts of the world, and supernally ascend into many numbers of the mundane Gods; but they make a progression sub-ordinate to the government which extends to all things and to wholes.
For in short, being the media between the supermundane and mundane Gods, they in a certain respect communicate with both, and have an indissoluble communion with both, being mundane, and at the same time supermundane according to order. And above indeed, they are united by the ruling leaders, but beneath, they are produced into multitude by the junior Gods, as Timaeus says. For they ride on the mundane Gods, and are in an undefiled manner established on their summits; but they are suspended from the supermundane Gods, and subsist about them. They are also more united than the former; but are more multiplied than the latter. And they divide indeed, the whole monads of the supermundane Gods, into perfect numbers; but they collect the multitudes and the numbers of the mundane Gods into united bounds, converting these Gods to their exempt principles, but calling forth the Gods that are above the world into the generation and providential care of sensible natures, and immutably preserving in themselves the middle form of empire. For the middle bonds give completion to all the genera of the Gods. Thus in intelligibles, between the intelligible and occult order, and the paradigmatic triad, and all-perfect multitude, the intelligible centre subsists, being parturient indeed, with multitude and the first (forms,) but vanquished by the uniform comprehension of the first order. Again, in intelligibles and intellectuals, the connective genus extending from the middle to all the extremes, conjoins and binds all their essences, powers and providential energies.
After the same manner therefore, in these orders also, viz. in the kings exempt from, and in those that are co-arranged with the universe, those Gods that emit in themselves uniformly the peculiarities of both these kings, afford a communication to them with each other. Whence also it belongs to them to transport first to second natures, to convert second to first natures, to unite both by an indissoluble connexion, and to guard the whole order in the world. The immutable, therefore, the inflexible, the indissoluble in providential energies, dominion over wholes, the administration of many partible allotments of the Gods at once, and the elevating to supermundane perfection many of their progressions and orders, pertain to these Gods. Hence, we are accustomed to celebrate this genus of Gods as liberated, in consequence of being freed from all division according to parts; as supercelestial, in consequence of proximately establishing itself above the Gods in the heavens; as undefiled, in consequence of not verging to subordinate natures, nor dissolving its exempt transcendency by a providential attention to the world; as elevating, in consequence of extending the mundane Gods to the intellectual and intelligible place of survey; and as perfect, in consequence of illuminating all the celestials with the measures of perfection. Since therefore, this order is in continuity with the assimilative rulers, but is arranged prior to the mundane Gods, it is indeed proper to evince that the theology pertaining to it is suspended from the doctrine concerning the ruling Gods, and at the same time affords from itself the principles of the conceptions about the sensible Gods.
CHAPTER XVI The intelligible king [i.e. Phanes, or in Platonic language animal itself, subsisting at the extremity of the intelligible order] therefore, of all intellectuals, luminously emitting from himself the first causes, and which measure wholes, according to the all-perfect triad in himself, defines all wholes as far as to the last of things, and triples the progressions of the Gods from himself, so as to generate indeed three orders, but refer each of them to one monad, and an intelligible transcendency. On this account he constitutes three collective, three connective, and three perfective causes of all intellectuals; extending the triadic light to all things, and imparting by illumination the perfect in the progressions of its proper offspring, to the beginnings, middles, and ends of all separated natures. But again, the demiurgus and father, imitating his father and grandfather, to the latter of whom he extends his total intelligence, being the same in intellectuals, as he is in intelligibles, and terminating the genus of the intellectual fathers, in the same manner as his grandfather closes the paternal profundity of intelligibles, produces from himself three orders of Gods. And as the total progressions were divided from his grandfather triadically, so the partial progressions are perfected on account of him, according to the triad. Hence, there are also three orders from the demiurgus; but they proceed according to the end adapted to each. And one of them indeed, is supermundane alone; another is mundane; and another is in a certain respect the middle of both. They are likewise allotted the triple proximately from the paternal cause; but each derives the peculiarity of hyparxis from definite principles, and a diminution proceeding according to measures. For they have neither an hypostasis of equal dignity, as mathematical monads have in the triad, nor a disorderly difference of dignity, but they receive the difference of a subordinate essence, and arrangement in their generation from the first causes. And thus, the ruling Gods indeed, are allotted the highest order in the partial progressions, and the exempt cause of the proceeding natures. But the liberated Gods are allotted the second order, being arranged indeed under the ruling, but riding on the mundane Gods. And the mundane Gods are allotted the third order, being elevated through the liberated, but united by the ruling, to the intellectual Gods. In what manner however, the Gods in the world and all the mundane genera participate of the ruling Gods, we have already shown.
But each of the mundane genera enjoy the energy of the liberated governors of the universe, according to a measure adapted to each, and especially such as are able to follow the powers of these Gods. For in the Gods themselves, we may perceive a twofold energy, the one indeed, being co-arranged with the subjects of their providential care, but the other being exempt and separate. According therefore, to the first of these energies, the mundane Gods govern sensibles, and convolve, and convert them to themselves; but according to the other, they follow the liberated Gods, and together with them are elevated to an intelligible nature. And on this account, the Elean guest, makes the periods of the whole world, and of each of the Gods in it to be twofold. For, he says, that the sun, and each of the heavenly bodies, subsist according to both these circulations, viz. the intellectual and the mundane; or, if you are willing so to speak, according to the power which is motive of secondary natures, and the power which ascends in conjunction with the liberated Gods.
Moreover, he says, that our souls, and all the natures that have a life separate from bodies, at one time live according to that elevating progression, and at another according to the mundane; and now indeed we proceed from youth to old age, since we have departed from a flourishing and undefiled life, and are borne to earth, and generation; but then on the contrary, we proceeded from old age to youth. On which account, we were led round to a flourishing, intellectual, and liberated form of energy. Hence also, the corporeal-formed nature [with which we are connected,] was gradually obliterated, and whatever causes us to tend downward, and renders us inseparable from the universe. But an incorporeal, and immaterial nature shone forth, and was filled with the Gods who are the leaders of a life of this kind.
If also, you are willing, we may collect the same thing by a reasoning process, from what is written in the Phaedrus. Socrates, therefore, says in that dialogue, that the soul which is perfect and winged, revolves on high, and governs the whole world; and that this will be the case with our soul, when it arrives at the summit of a happy life. But this is in a much greater degree present with the genera superior to us, and with the Gods themselves. For our souls obtain this end, and this true blessedness, through the Gods. For whence do you think, and from what other causes, is a disencumbered energy, and which has dominion over wholes, imparted to us, and to the genera in the world more excellent than us, but from the liberated Gods? For each of the mundane Gods obtains the administration of its allotment, and of the proper series over which it rules, and which it constitutes about itself, according to the will of the father. For the demiurgus arranges under the several mundane Gods, the herds of daemons, and partial souls, as Timaeus says. But to energize through the whole world, is a supernatural good, and the peculiarity of the exempt government of the supercelestial Gods. Hence, from these this good is imparted to the mundane Gods, and to our souls. Or how can that which is partial extend its proper energy to the whole? And how departing from its own divided peculiarity, can it change its life? For that which directs its energy to the universe, withdraws itself from an energy which is arranged in a part. We must not therefore say, that this divine good is by any means present to mundane natures from any other source than these Gods, who establish their kingdom proximately above the world. As, therefore, the progression to all things through similitude, and the conversion according to similitude to causes, are imparted from the assimilative rulers to the celestial Gods, to the more excellent genera, and to us, thus also, that which is liberated from partial natures, which is disencumbered and which tends spontaneously to many energies, is an impression derived from the liberated rulers. And thus much concerning the providence of these rulers which pervades to all things, and the goods which they impart to subordinate natures. But we shall add to what has been before said, the peculiarity of their essence, according to which they are allotted this order.
8 BOOK VII, chapters i and ii
CHAPTER I The mundane Gods, or those divinities who give completion to the sensible world, are assigned the last order of deific progression, as we are informed by Proclus in the preceding book. They also divide the universe, and obtain perpetual allotments and receptacles in it, and through these weave one and the best polity of the universe. Each of the mundane genera likewise enjoy the energy of the liberated governors of the universe, according to a measure adapted to each, and especially such as are able to follow the powers of these Gods. For in the Gods themselves we may perceive a twofold energy, the one indeed being co-arranged with the subjects of their providential care, but the other being exempt and separate. According, therefore, to the first of these energies, the mundane Gods govern sensibles, and convolve and convert them to themselves; but according to the other, they follow the liberated Gods, and together with them are elevated to an intelligible nature. The mundane Gods also perfectly unfold the psychical peculiarity into light; and receive the illuminations of all the divinities prior to them. Hence too, they rule over the universe imitating the liberated Gods, adorn sublunary natures with forms, and assimilate them to intellectual paradigms, imitating the ruling Gods. They likewise pour forth the whole of the life which is inseparable from body, from the one fountain of souls, establishing it as an image of the life which is separate from a corporeal nature, and unite themselves to this fountain.
Again, the world is said by Plato in the Timaeus to be the image of the eternal, i.e. of the intelligible Gods. For it is filled from them with deity, and the progressions into it of the mundane Gods, are as it were certain rivers and illuminations of the intelligible Gods. These progressions also the world receives, not only according to the celestial part of it, but according to the whole of itself. For in the air, the earth and sea, there are advents of terrestrial, aquatic, and aerial Gods. Hence the world is throughout filled with deity; and on this account is according to the whole of itself the image of the intelligible Gods. Not that it receives indeed these Gods themselves; for images do not receive the exempt essences of the total Gods; but illuminations poured from thence on the secondary orders, to the reception of which they are commensurate.
Farther still, of the mundane Gods, some are the causes of the existence of the world; others animate it; others again harmonize it thus composed of different natures; and others, lastly, guard and preserve it when harmonically arranged. And since these orders are four, and each consists of things first, middle and last, it is necessary that the disposers of these should be twelve. Hence Jupiter, Neptune, and Vulcan, fabricate the world; Ceres, Juno and Diana animate it; Mercury, Venus, and Apollo harmonize it; and lastly, Vesta, Minerva, and Mars, preside over it with a guardian power. But the truth of this may be seen in statues as in enigmas. For Apollo harmonizes the lyre; Pallas is invested with arms; and Venus is naked; since harmony generates beauty, and beauty is not concealed in objects of sensible inspection. Since, however, these Gods primarily possess the world, it is necessary to consider the other mundane Gods as subsisting in these; as Bacchus in Jupiter, Esculapius in Apollo, and the Graces in Venus. We may likewise, behold the spheres with which they are connected; viz. Vesta with earth, Neptune with water, Juno with air, and Vulcan with fire. But the six superior Gods we denominate from general custom. For Apollo and Diana are assumed for the sun and moon; but the orb of Saturn is attributed to Ceres; aether to Pallas; and heaven is common to them all. And thus much concerning the mundane Gods in general, the sources of their progression, their orders, powers, and spheres.
CHAPTER II The division, however, of the mundane Gods is into the celestial and sublunary. And of the celestial, the divinity of the inerratic sphere has the relation of a monad to the divinities of the planets. But the triad under this monad consists of Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars; of which the first is the cause of connected comprehension, the second of symmetry, and the third of division and separation. And again, with respect to the sublunary deities, the moon ranks as a monad, being the cause of all generation and corruption. But the triad under it, consists of the divinities who preside over the elements of air, water and earth. Between these are the planets that revolve with an equal velocity. And of these, the sun indeed unfolds truth into light, Venus beauty, and Mercury the symmetry of reasons or productive principles, conformably to the analogy of the three monads mentioned by Plato in the Philebus, as subsisting in the vestibule of The Good. It may also be said that the moon is the cause of nature to the mortal genera, being the visible image of the fontal nature existing in the goddess Rhea. But the sun is the fabricator of all the senses, because he is the author of seeing and of being seen. Mercury is the cause of the motions of the phantasy; for the sun gives subsistence to the essence of the phantasy, so far as it is the same with sense. But Venus is the cause of the appetites of that irrational part of the soul which is called desire; and Mars, of those irascible motions which are conformable to nature. Jupiter also, is the common cause of all vital, and Saturn of all gnostic powers. For all the irrational forms may be divided into these. The causes, therefore, of these, are antecedently comprehended in the celestial Gods, and in the spheres with which they are connected.
The allotments also of the mundane Gods are conformable to the divisions of the universe. But the universe is divided by demiurgic numbers, viz. by the duad, triad, tetrad, pentad, hebdomad, and dodecad. For after the one fabrication of things by the demiurgus, the division of the universe into two parts, heaven and generation (or the sublunary region), gives subsistence to twofold allotments, the celestial and the sublunary. After this, the triad divides the universe, to which Homer alludes when he says that Neptune is allotted the hoary deep, Jupiter, the extended heavens, and Pluto, the subterranean darkness. But after the triple distribution, the tetradic follows, which gives a fourfold arrangement to the elements in the universe, as the Pythagoreans say, viz. the celestial and the ethereal, above the earth and under the earth. The universe also receives a division into five parts. For the world is one and quintuple, and is appropriately divided by celestial, empyreal, aerial, aquatic and terrestrial figures and presiding Gods. After this follows its division into seven parts. For the heptad beginning supernally from the inerratic sphere, pervades through all the elements. And in the last place is the division of the universe by the dodecad, viz. into the sphere of the fixed stars, the spheres of the seven planets, and the spheres of the four elements.
Moreover, the allotment of angels and daemons is co-suspended from the divine allotments, but has a more various distribution. For one divine allotment comprehends in itself many angelic, and a still greater number of daemoniacal allotments; since every angel rules over many daemons, and every angelic allotment is surrounded with numerous daemoniacal allotments. For what a monad is in the Gods, that a tribe is among daemons. Here, therefore, instead of the triad we must assume three compositions, and instead of the tetrad or dodecad, four or twelve choirs following their respective leaders. And thus we shall always preserve the higher allotments. For as in essences, powers and energies, progressions generate multitude; thus also in allotments, such as are first, have a precedency in power, but are diminished in multitude, as being nearer to the one father of the universe, and the whole and one providence which extends to all things. But secondary allotments, have a diminution of power, but an increase of multitude. And thus much concerning allotments in general.
Since, however, according to a division of the universe into two parts, we have distributed allotments into the celestial and sublunary, there can be no doubt what the former are, and whether they possess an invariable sameness of subsistence. But the sublunary allotments are deservedly a subject of admiration, whether they are said to be perpetual or not. For since all things in generation are continually changing and flowing, how can the allotments of the providential rulers of them be said to be perpetual? For things in generation are not perpetual. But if their allotments are not perpetual, how is it possible to suppose that divine government can subsist differently at different times? For an allotment is neither a certain separate energy of the Gods, so that sublunary natures changing, we might say that it is exempt and remains immutable, nor is it that which is governed alone, so that no absurdity would follow from admitting that an allotment is in a flowing condition, and is conversant with all-various mutations; but it is a providential inspection, and unrestrained government of divinity over sublunary concerns. Such being the doubts with which this subject is attended, the following appears to be the only solution of the difficulty.
We must say then, that it is not proper to consider all the natures that are in generation and generation itself, as alone consisting of things mutable and flowing, but that there is also something immutable in these, and which is naturally adapted to remain perpetually the same. For the interval which receives and comprehends in itself all the parts of the world, and which has an arrangement through all bodies, is immoveable, lest being moved it should require another place, and thus should proceed from one receptacle to another ad infinitum. The etherial vehicles also of divine souls with which they are circularly invested, and which imitate the lives in the heavens, have a perpetual essence, and are eternally suspended from these divine souls themselves, being full of prolific powers, and performing a circular motion, according to a certain secondary revolution of the celestial orbs. And in the third place the wholeness of the elements has a permanent subsistence, though the parts are all-variously corrupted. For it is necessary that every form in the universe should be never failing, in order that the universe may be perfect, and that being generated from an immoveable cause, it may be immoveable in its essence. But every wholeness is a form; or rather it is that which it is said to be through the participation of one all-perfect form.
And here we may see the orderly progression of the nature of bodies. For the interval of the universe is immoveable according to every kind of motion. But the vehicles of divine souls alone receive a mutation according to place; for such a motion as this, is most remote from essential mutation. And the wholeness of the elements admits in its parts the other motions of bodies, but the whole remains perfectly immutable. The celestial allotments also which proximately divide the interval of the universe, co- distribute likewise the heavens themselves. But those in the sublunary region, are primarily indeed allotted the parts which are in the interval of the universe, but afterwards they make a distribution according to the definite vehicles of souls. And in the third place, they remain perpetually the same according to the total parts of generation. The allotments of the Gods therefore do not change, nor do they subsist differently at different times; for they have not their subsistence proximately in that which may be changed.
How therefore do the illuminations of the Gods accede to these? How are the dissolutions of sacred rites effected? And how is the same place at different times under the influence of different spirits? May it not be said, that since the Gods have perpetual allotments, and divide the earth according to divine numbers, similarly to the sections of the heavens, the parts of the earth also are illuminated, so far as they participate of aptitude. But the circulation of the heavenly bodies, through the figures which they possess produce this aptitude; divine illumination at the same time imparting a power more excellent than the nature which is present to these parts of the earth. This aptitude is also effected by nature herself as a whole inserting divine impressions in each of the illuminated parts, through which they spontaneously participate of the Gods. For as these parts depend on the Gods, nature inserts in such of them, as are different, different images of the divinities. Times too co-operate in producing this aptitude, according to which other things also are governed; the proper temperature of the air; and in short, every thing by which we are surrounded contributes to the increase and diminution of this aptitude. When therefore conformably to a concurrence of these many causes, an aptitude to the participation of the Gods is ingenerated in some one of the natures which are disposed to be changed, then a certain divinity is unfolded into light, which prior to this was concealed through the inaptitude of the recipients; possessing indeed his appropriate allotment eternally, and always extending the participation of himself, similarly to illuminations from the sun, but not being always participated by sublunary natures, in consequence of their inaptitude to such participation. For as with respect to partial souls such as ours, which at different times embrace different lives, some of them indeed, choose lives accommodated to their appropriate Gods, but others foreign lives, through oblivion of the divinities to whom they belong; thus also with respect to sacred places, some are adapted to the power which there receives its allotment, but others are suspended from a different order. And on this account, as the Athenian guest in Plato says, some places are more fortunate, but others more unfortunate.
The divine Iamblichus however, doubts how the Gods are said to be allotted certain places according to definite times, as by Plato in the Timaeus, Minerva is said to have been first allotted the guardianship of Athens, and afterwards of Sais. For if their allotment commenced from a certain time, it will also at a certain time cease. For every thing which is measured by time is of this kind. And farther still was the place which at a certain time they are allotted, without a presiding deity prior to this allotment, or was it under the government of other Gods? For if it was without a presiding deity, how is it to be admitted that a certain part of the universe was once entirely destitute of divinity? How can any place remain without the guardianship of superior beings? And, if any place is sufficient to the preservation of itself, how does it afterwards become the allotment of some one of the Gods? But if it should be said that it is afterwards under the government of another God, of whom it becomes this allotment, this also is absurd. For the second God does not divulse the government and allotment of the former, nor do the Gods alternately occupy the places of each other, nor daemons change their allotments. Such being the doubts on this subject, he solves them by saying that the allotments of the Gods remain perpetually unchanged, but that the participants of them, at one time indeed enjoy the beneficent influence of the presiding powers, but at another are deprived of it. He adds that these are the mutations measured by time, which sacred institutes frequently call the birth-day of the Gods.
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