Previous PageTable Of ContentsNext Page

Porphyry, Sententiae: Auxiliaries to the perception of intelligible nature.  Select works of Porphyry (1823) pp.169-199.

Auxiliaries to the Perception of Intelligible Natures

[Translated by Thomas Taylor]


1. Every body is in place; but nothing essentially incorporeal, or any thing of this kind, has any locality.

2. Things essentially incorporeal, because they are more excellent than all body and place, are every where, not with interval, but impartibly.

3. Things essentially incorporeal are not locally present with bodies but are present with them when they please; by verging towards them so far as they are naturally adapted so to verge. They are not, however, present with them locally, but through habitude, proximity, and alliance.

4. Things essentially incorporeal, are not present with bodies, by hypostasis and essence; for they are not mingled with bodies. But they impart a certain power which is proximate to bodies, through verging towards them. For tendency constitutes a certain secondary power proximate to bodies.

5. Soul, indeed, is a certain medium between an impartible essence, and an essence which is divisible about bodies. But intellect is an impartible essence alone. And qualities and material forms are divisible about bodies.

6. Not everything 1 which acts on another, effects that which it does effect by approximation and contact; but those natures which effect any thing by approximation and contact, use approximation accidentally. |170 

7. The soul is bound to the body by a conversion to the corporeal passions; and again liberated by becoming impassive to the body.

8. That which nature binds, nature also dissolves: and that which the soul binds, the soul likewise dissolves. Nature, indeed, bound the body to the soul; but the soul binds herself to the body. Nature, therefore, liberates the body from the soul; but the soul liberates herself from the body.

9. Hence there is a twofold death; the one, indeed, universally known, in which the body is liberated from the soul; but the other peculiar to philosophers, in which the soul is liberated from the body. Nor does the one 2 entirely follow the other.

10. We do not understand similarly in all things, but in a manner adapted to the essence of each. For intellectual objects we understand intellectually; but those that pertain to soul rationally. We apprehend plants spermatically; but bodies idolically (i.e., as images); and that which is above all these, super-intellectually and super-essentially. 3

11. Incorporeal hypostases, in descending, are distributed into parts, and multiplied about individuals with a diminution of power; but when they ascend by their energies beyond bodies, they become united, and proceed into a simultaneous subsistence, through exuberance of power. |171 

12. The homonymous is not in bodies only, but life also is among the number of things which have a multifarious subsistence. For the life of a plant is different from that of an animated being; the life of an intellectual essence differs from that of the nature which is beyond intellect; and the psychical differs from the intellectual life. For these natures live, though nothing which proceeds from them possesses a life similar to them.

13. Everything which generates by its very essence, generates that which is inferior to itself 4; and every thing generated is naturally converted to its generator. Of generating natures, however, some are not at all converted to the beings which they generate; but others are partly converted to them, and partly not; and others are only converted to their progeny, but are not converted to themselves.

14. Everything generated, possesses from that which is different from itself the cause of its generation, since nothing is produced without a cause. Such generated natures, however, as have their existence through composition, these are on this account corruptible. But such as, being simple and incomposite, possess their existence in a simplicity of hypostasis, these being indissoluble, are indeed, incorruptible; yet they are said to be generated, not as if they were composites, but as being suspended from a certain cause. Bodies, therefore, are in a twofold respect generated; as being suspended from a certain producing cause; and as being composites. But soul and intellect are only generated as being suspended from a cause, and not as composites. Hence bodies are generated, dissoluble and corruptible; but soul and intellect are unbegotten, as being without composition, and on this account indissoluble and incorruptible; yet they are generated so far as they are suspended from a cause.

15. Intellect is not the principle of all things; for intellect is many things; but, prior to the many, it is necessary that there should be The One. It is evident, however, that intellect is many things. For it always understands its conceptions, which are not one, but many; and which are not any thing else than itself. If, therefore, it is the same with its conceptions, but they are many, intellect also will be many things. But |172 that it is the same with intelligibles (or the objects of its intellection), may thus be demonstrated. For, if there is any thing which intellect surveys, it will either survey this thing as contained in itself, or as placed in something else. And that intellect, indeed, contemplates or surveys, is evident. For in conjunction with intellection, or intellectual perception, it will be intellect; but if you deprive it of intellection, you will destroy its essence. It is necessary, therefore, that, directing our attention to the properties of knowledge, we should investigate the perception of intellect. All the gnostic powers, then, which we contain, are universally sense, imagination, and intellect.5 The power, however, which employs sense, surveys by projecting itself to externals, not being united to the objects which it surveys, but only receiving an impression of them by exerting its energies upon them. When, therefore, the eye sees a visible object, it is impossible that it should become the same with that which it perceives: for it would not see if there was not an interval between it and the object of its perception. And, after the same manner, that which is touched, if it was the same with that by which it is touched, would perish. From which it is evident that sense, and that which employs sense, must always tend to an external object, in order to apprehend something sensible. In like manner also, the phantasy, or imagination, always tends to something external, and by this extension of itself, gives subsistence to, or prepares an image; its extension to what is external, indicating that the object of its perception is a resemblance of something external. And such, indeed, is the apprehension of these two powers; neither of which verging to, and being collected into itself, perceives either a sensible or insensible form.

In intellect, however, the apprehension of its objects does not subsist after this manner, but is effected by converging to, and surveying itself. For by departing from itself, in order to survey its own energies and become the eye of them, and the sight of essences, it will not understand any thing. Hence, as sense is to that which is sensible, so is intellect to that which is intelligible. Sense, however, by extending itself to |173 externals, finds that which is sensible situated in matter; but intellect surveys the intelligible, by being collected into itself, and not extended outwardly.6 On this account some are of the opinion that the hypostasis of intellect differs from that of phantasy only in name. For the phantasy, in the rational animal, appeared to them to be intelligence. As these men, however, suspended all things from matter and a corporeal nature, it follows that they should also suspend from these intellect. But our intellect surveys both bodies and other essences. Hence it apprehends them situated somewhere. But as the proper objects of intellect have a subsistence out of matter, they will be no where [locally.]7 It is evident, therefore, that intellectual natures are to be conjoined with intelligence. But if intellectual natures are in intellect, it follows that intellect, when it understands intelligibles, surveys both the intelligible and itself; and that proceeding into itself, it perceives intellectually, because it proceeds into intelligibles. If, however, intellect understands many things, and not one thing only, intellect also will necessarily be many. But The One subsists prior to the many; so that it is necessary that The One should be prior to intellect.

16. Memory is not the conservation of imaginations, but the power of calling forth de novo those conceptions which had previously occupied the attention of the mind.8

17. Soul, indeed, contains the reasons (or forms) of all things, but energizes according to them, either being called forth to this energy by something else, or converting itself to them inwardly. And when called forth by something else, it introduces, as it were, the senses to externals, but when it enters into itself, it becomes occupied with intellectual |174 conceptions. Hence some one may say, that neither the senses, nor intellectual perceptions, are without the phantasy; so that, as in the animal, the senses are not without the passive affection of the sensitive organs, in like manner intellections are not without the phantasy. Perhaps, however, it may be said, in answer to this, that, as an impression in the sensitive organ is the concomitant of the sensitive animal, so analogously a phantasm is the concomitant of the intellection of the soul in man, considered as an animal.9

18. Soul is an essence without magnitude, immaterial, incorruptible, possessing its existence in life, and having life from itself.

19. The passivity of bodies is different from that of incorporeal natures. For the passivity of bodies is attended with mutation; but the adaptations and passions of the soul are energies; yet they are by no means similar to the calefactions and frigefactions of bodies. Hence, if the passivity of bodies is accompanied by mutation, it must be said that all incorporeal natures are impassive. For the essences which are separated from matter and bodies, are what they are in energy. But those things which approximate to matter and bodies, are themselves, indeed, impassive; but the natures in which they are surveyed are passive. For when the animal perceives sensibly, the soul (i.e. the rational soul) appears to be similar to separate harmony,10 of itself |175 moving the chords adapted to harmony; but the body is similar to the inseparable harmony in the chords (i.e. to the harmony which cannot exist separate from the chords). But the animal is the cause of the motion because it is an animated being. It is, however, analogous to a musician, because it is harmonic; but the bodies which are struck through sensitive passion, are analogous to the harmonized chords of a musical instrument. For in this instance also, separate harmony is not passively affected, but the chords. And the musician, indeed, moves according to the harmony which is in him; yet the chords would not be musically moved, even though the musician wished that they should, unless harmony ordered this to take place.

20. Incorporeal natures are not denominated like bodies, according to a participation in common of one and the same genus; but they derive their appellation from a mere privation with respect to bodies. Hence, nothing hinders some of them from having a subsistence as beings, but others as non-beings; some of them, from being prior to, and others posterior to bodies; some, from being separate, and others inseparable from bodies; some, from having a subsistence by themselves, but others from being indigent of things different from themselves, to their existence; some, from being the same through energies and self-motive lives, but others from subsisting together with lives, and energies of a certain quality. For they subsist according to a negation of the things which they are not, and not according to the affirmation of the things which they are.

21. The properties of matter, according to the ancients, are the following: It is incorporeal; for it is different from bodies. It is without life; for it is neither intellect nor soul, nor vital from itself (i.e. essentially). It is also formless, variable, infinite, and powerless. Hence, it is neither being, nor yet non-being; that is, it is not non-being like motion, but it is true non-being, the image and phantasm of bulk, because it is that which bulk primarily contains. It is likewise powerless, and the desire of subsistence, has stability, but not in permanency, and always appears in itself to be contrary. Hence, it is both small and great, more and less, deficient and exceeding. It is always becoming to be, or rising into existence; abides not, and yet is unable to |176 fly away; and is the defect of all being. Hence in whatever it announces itself to be, it deceives; and though it should appear to be great, it is nevertheless small. For it resembles a flying mockery, eluding all pursuit, and vanishing into non-entity. For its flight is not in place, but is effected by its desertion of real being. Hence, also, the images which are in it are in an image more unreal than themselves; just as in a mirror, where the thing represented is in one place and the representation of it in another. It likewise appears to be full, yet contains nothing, though it seems to possess all things.11

22. All passions subsist about the same thing as that about which corruption subsists; for the reception of passion is the path to corruption. And the thing that is the subject of passivity, is also the subject of corruption. Nothing incorporeal, however, is corrupted. But some of them either exist, or do not exist; so that they are not at all passive. For that which is passive, ought not to be a thing of this kind, but such as may be changed in quality, and corrupted by the properties of the things that enter into it, and cause it to be passive. For the change in quality of that which is inherent, is not causally effected. Neither, therefore, does matter suffer; for it is of itself without quality. Nor do the forms which enter into and depart from it, suffer; but the passion subsists about the composite from matter and form, the very being of which consists in the union of the two. For this, in the contrary powers and qualities of the things which enter and produce passion, is seen to be the subject of them. On which account, also, those things, the life of which is externally derived, and does not subsist from themselves, are capable of suffering both the participation and the privation of life. But those beings whose existence consists in an impassive life, must necessarily possess a permanent life; just as a privation of life, so far as it is a privation of it, is attended with impassivity. As, therefore, to be changed and to suffer pertain to the composite from matter and form, and this is body, but matter is exempt from this; thus also, to live and to die, and to suffer through the participation of life and death, is beheld in the composite from soul and body. Nevertheless, this does not happen to the soul, because it is not a thing which consists of life and the privation of life, but consists of life alone. And it possesses this, because its essence is simple, and the reason (or form) of the soul is self-motive.12  |177

23. An intellectual Essence is so similar in its parts, that the same 13 things exist both in a partial and an all-perfect intellect. In a universal intellect, however, partial natures subsist universally; but in a partial intellect, both universals and particulars subsist partially.

24. Of that essence, the existence of which is in life, and the passions of which are lives, the death also consists in a certain life, and not in a total privation of life; because, neither is the deprivation of life in this essence a passion, or a path which entirely leads to a non-vital subsistence.

25. In incorporeal lives, the progressions are effected while the lives themselves remain firm and stable, nothing pertaining to them being corrupted, or changed into the hypostasis of things subordinate to them. Hence, neither are the things to which they give subsistence produced with a certain corruption or mutation. Nor do these incorporeal lives subsist like generation, which participates of corruption and mutation. Hence, they are unbegotten and incorruptible, and on this account are unfolded into light without generation and incorruptibly.

26. Of that nature which is beyond intellect, many things are asserted through intellection, but it is surveyed by a cessation of intellectual energy better than with it 14; just as with respect to one who is asleep, many things are asserted of him while he is in that state by those who are awake; but the proper knowledge and apprehension of his dormant condition, is only to be obtained through sleep. For the similar is known by the similar; because all knowledge is an assimilation to the object of knowledge.

27. With respect to that which is non-being, we either produce it, being ourselves separated from real being, or we have a preconception of it, as adhering to being. Hence, if we are separated from being, we have not an antecedent conception of the non-being which is above being, but our knowledge in this case is only that of a false passion, such as that which |178 happens to a man when he departs from himself. For as a man may himself, and through himself, be truly elevated to the non-being which is above being, so, by departing from being, he is led to the non-being which is a falling off from being.

28. The hypostasis of body is no impediment whatever to that which is essentially incorporeal, so as to prevent it from being where, and in such a way, as it wishes to be. For as that which is without bulk is incomprehensible by body, and does not at all pertain to it, so that which has bulk cannot impede or obscure an incorporeal nature, but lies before it like a non-entity. Nor does that which is incorporeal pervade locally when it wishes to pass from one thing to another; for place is consubsistent with bulk. Nor is it compressed by bodies. For that which in any way whatever is connected with bulk, may be compressed, and effect a transition locally; but that which is entirely without bulk and without magnitude, cannot be restrained by that which has bulk, and does not participate of local motion. Hence, by a certain disposition, it is found to be there, where it is inclined to be, being with respect to place every where and yet no where.15 By a certain disposition, therefore, it is either above the heavens, or is contained in a certain part of the world. When, however, it is contained in a certain part of the world, it is not visible to the eyes, but the presence of it becomes manifest from its works.

29. It is necessary that an incorporeal nature, if it is contained in body, should not be enclosed in it like a wild beast in a den; (for no body is able thus to enclose and comprehend it), nor is it contained in body in the same way as a bladder contains something liquid, or wind; but it is requisite that it should give subsistence to certain powers which verge to what is external, through its union with body; by which powers, when it descends, it becomes complicated with body. Its conjunction, therefore, with body, is effected through an ineffable extension. Hence, nothing else binds it, but itself binds itself to body. Neither, therefore, is it liberated from the body, when the body is (mortally) wounded and corrupted, but it liberates itself, by turning itself from an adhering affection to the body. |179 

30. None of the hypostases which rank as wholes, and are perfect, is converted to its own progeny; but all perfect hypostases are elevated to their generators as far as to the mundane body (or the body of the world). For this body, being perfect, is elevated to its soul, which is intellectual: and on this account it is moved in a circle. But the soul of this body is elevated to intellect; and intellect to the first principle of all things. All beings, therefore, proceed to this principle as much as possible, beginning from the last of things. The elevation, however, to that which is first, is either proximate or remote. Hence, these natures may not only be said to aspire after the highest God, but also to enjoy him to the utmost of their power. But in partial 16 hypostases, and which are able to verge to many things, there is also a desire of being converted to their progeny. Hence, likewise, in these there is error, in these there is reprehensible incredulity. These, therefore, matter injures, because they are capable of being converted to it, being at the same time able to be converted to divinity. Hence, perfection gives subsistence to secondary from primary natures, preserving them converted to the first of things; but imperfection converts primary 17 to posterior natures, and causes them to love the beings which have departed from Divinity prior to themselves.

31. God is every where because he is no where: and this is also true of intellect and soul: for each of these is every where because each is no where. But God indeed is every where and no where, and no where with respect to all things which are posterior to him; and he 18 alone is such as he is, and such as he wills himself to be. intellect is in God, but is every where and no where, with respect to the natures posterior to it. And soul is in God and intellect, and is every where and no where, in |180 (or with respect to) body.19 But body is in soul, and in intellect,20 and in God. And as all beings and non-beings are from and in God, hence, he is neither beings nor non-beings, nor subsists in them. For if, indeed, he was alone every where, he would be all things and in all, but since he is also no where, all things are produced through him, and are contained in him because he is every where. They are, however, different from him because he is no where. Thus, likewise, intellect being every where and no where is the cause of souls, and of the natures posterior to souls; yet intellect is not soul, nor the natures posterior to soul, nor subsists in them; because it is not only every where, but is also no where, with respect to the natures posterior to it. And soul is neither body, nor in body, but is the cause of body; because being every where, it is also no where with respect to body. And this progression of things in the universe extends as far as to that which is neither able to be at once every where, nor at once no where, but partially participates of each of these.21

32. The soul does not exist on the earth (when it is conversant with terrene natures), in the same manner as bodies accede to the earth; but a subsistence of the soul on the earth, signifies its presiding over terrene bodies. Thus, also, the soul is said to be in Hades, when it presides over its image,22 which is naturally adapted to be in place, but possesses its hypostasis in darkness. So that if Hades is a subterranean dark place, the soul, though not divulsed from being, will exist in Hades, by attracting to itself its image. For when the soul departs from the solid body, the spirit accompanies it which it had collected from the starry spheres. But as from its adhering affection to the body, it exerts a partial reason, through which it possesses an habitude to a body of a certain quality, in |181 performing the energies of life; - hence, from this adhesion to body, the form of the phantasy is impressed in the spirit, and thus the image is attracted by the soul. The soul, however, is said to be in Hades, because the spirit obtains a formless and obscure nature. And as a heavy and moist spirit pervades as far as to subterranean places, hence the soul is said to proceed under the earth. Not that this essence of the soul changes one place for another, and subsists in place, but it receives the habitudes of bodies which are naturally adapted to change their places, and to be allotted a subsistence in place; such-like bodies receiving it according to aptitudes, from being disposed after a certain manner towards it. For the soul, conformably to the manner in which it is disposed, finds an appropriate body. Hence, when it is disposed in a purer manner, it has a connascent body which approximates to an etherial nature, and this is an etherial body. But when it proceeds from reason to the energies of the phantasy, then its connascent body is of a solar-form nature. And when it becomes effeminate and vehemently excited by corporeal form, then it is connected with a lunar-form body. When, however, it falls into bodies which consist of humid vapours, then a perfect ignorance of real being follows, together with darkness and infancy.

Moreover, in its egress from the body, if it still possesses a spirit turbid from humid exhalations, it then attracts to itself a shadow, and becomes heavy; a spirit of this kind naturally striving to penetrate into the recesses of the earth, unless a certain other cause draws it in a contrary direction. As, therefore, the soul, when surrounded with this testaceous and terrene vestment, necessarily lives on the earth; so likewise when it attracts a moist spirit, it is necessarily surrounded with the image. But it attracts moisture when it continually endeavours to associate with nature, whose operations are effected in moisture, and which are rather under than upon the earth. When, however, the soul earnestly endeavours to depart from nature, then she becomes a dry splendour, without a shadow and without a cloud, or mist. For moisture gives subsistence to a mist in the air; but dryness constitutes a dry splendour from exhalation.

33. The things which are truly predicated of a sensible and material nature, are these: that it has, in every respect, a diffused and dispersed subsistence; that it is mutable; that it has existence in difference; that it is a composite; that it subsists by itself (as the subject or recipient of other things); that it is beheld in place, and in bulk: and other properties similar to these are asserted of it. But the following particulars are predicated of truly existing Being, and which |182 itself subsists from itself; viz. that it is always established in itself; that it has an existence perpetually similar and the same; that it is essen-tialized in sameness; that it is immutable according to essence, is uncompounded, is neither dissoluble, nor in place, nor is dispersed into bulk; and is neither generated, nor capable of being destroyed: and other properties are asserted of it similar to these. To which predications adhering, we should neither ourselves assert any thing repugnant to them, concerning the different nature of sensible and truly-existing beings, nor assent to those who do.  |183


34. There is one kind of virtues pertaining to the political character, and another to the man who tends to contemplation, and who on this account is called theoretic, and is now a beholder (of intellectual and intelligible natures). And there are also other virtues pertaining to intellect, so far as it is intellect, and separate from soul. The virtues indeed of the political character, and which consist in the moderation of the passions, are characterized by following and being obedient to the reasoning about that which is becoming in actions. Hence, looking to an innoxious converse with neighbours, these virtues are denominated, from the aggregation of fellowship, political. And here prudence indeed subsists about the reasoning part; fortitude about the irascible part; temperance in the consent and symphony of the epithymetic 23 with the reasoning part; and justice, in each of these performing its proper employment with respect to governing and being governed. But the virtues of him who proceeds to the contemplative life, consist in a departure from terrestrial concerns. Hence, also, they are called purifications, being surveyed in the refraining from corporeal actions, and avoiding sympathies with the body. For these are the virtues of the soul elevating itself to true being. The political virtues therefore adorn the mortal man, and are the forerunners of purifications. For it is necessary that he who is adorned by the cathartic virtues, should abstain from doing any thing precedaneously in conjunction with body. Hence, in these purifications, not to opine with body, but to energize alone, gives subsistence to prudence; which derives its perfection through energizing intellectually with purity. But not to be similarly passive with the body, constitutes temperance. Not to fear a departure from body, as into something void, and non-entity, gives subsistence to fortitude. But when reason and intellect are the leaders, and there is no resistance (from the irrational part), justice is produced. The disposition therefore, according to the political virtues, is surveyed in the moderation of the passions; having for its end to live as man conformable to nature. But the disposition, according to the theoretic virtues, is beheld in apathy,24 the end of which is a similitude to God. |184 

Since, however, of purification, one kind consists in purifying, but another pertains to those that are purified, the cathartic virtues are surveyed according to both these significations of purification. For the end of purification is to become pure. But since purification, and the being purified are an ablation of everything foreign, the good resulting from them will be different from that which purifies; so, that if that which is purified was good prior to the impurity with which it is defiled, purification is sufficient. That, however, which remains after purification, is good, and not purification. The nature of the soul also was not good (prior to purification), but is that which is able to partake of good, and is boniform. For if this were not the case, it would not have become situated in evil. The good, therefore of the soul consists in being united to its generator, but its evil in an association with things subordinate to itself. Its evil also is twofold; the one arising from an association with terrestrial natures, but the other from doing this with an excess of the passions. Hence, all the political virtues which liberate the soul from one evil may be denominated virtues, and are honourable. But the cathartic are more honourable, and liberate it from evil, so far as it is soul. It is necessary, therefore, that the soul, when purified, should associate with its generator. Hence, the virtue of it, after its conversion, consists in a scientific knowledge of (true) being; but this will not be the case, unless conversion precedes.

There is, therefore, another genus of virtues after the cathartic and political, and which are the virtues of the soul energizing intellectually. And here, indeed, wisdom and prudence consist in the contemplation of those things which intellect possesses. But justice consists in performing what is appropriate in conformity to, and energizing according to intellect. Temperance is an inward conversion of the soul to intellect. And fortitude is apathy, according to a similitude of that to which the soul looks, and which is naturally impassive. These virtues also, in the same manner as the others, alternately follow each other.

The fourth species of the virtues is that of the paradigms subsisting in intellect: which are more excellent than the psychical virtues, and exist as the paradigms of these; the virtues of the soul being the similitudes of them. And intellect indeed is that in which all things subsist at once as paradigms. Here, therefore, prudence is science; but intellect that knows (all things) is wisdom. Temperance is that which is converted to itself. The proper work of intellect, is the performance of its appropriate duty |185 (and this is justice)25. But fortitude is sameness and the abiding with purity in itself, through an abundance of power. There are therefore four genera of virtues; of which, indeed, some pertain to intellect, concur with the essence of it, and are paradigmatic. Others pertain to soul now looking to intellect, and being filled from it. Others belong to the soul of man, purifying itself, and becoming purified from the body and the irrational passions. And others are the virtues of the soul of man, adorning the man, through giving measure and bound to the irrational nature, and producing moderation in the passions. And he indeed who has the greater virtues, has also necessarily the less; but the contrary is not true, that he who has the less, has also the greater virtues. Nor will he who possesses the greater, energize precedaneously according to the less, but only so far as the necessities of the mortal nature require. The scope also, of the virtues is as we have said, generically different in the different virtues. For the scope of the political virtues, is to give measure to the passions in their practical energies according to nature. But the scope of the cathartic virtues, is entirely to obliterate the remembrance of the passions; and the scope of the rest subsists analogously to what has been before said. Hence he who energizes according to the practical virtues, is a worthy man; but he who energizes according to the cathartic virtues, is an angelic man, or is also a good daemon. He who energizes according to the intellectual virtues alone, is a God; but he who energizes according to the paradigmatic virtues, is the father of the Gods. We, therefore, ought especially to pay attention to the cathartic virtues, since we may obtain these in the present life. But through these, the ascent is to the more honourable virtues. Hence, it is requisite to survey to what degree purification may be extended; for it is a separation from body, and from the passive motion of the irrational part. But how this may be effected, and to what extent, must now be unfolded.

In the first place, indeed, it is necessary that he who intends to acquire this purification, should, as the foundation and basis of it, know himself to be a soul bound in a foreign thing, and in a different essence. In the second place, as that which is raised from this foundation, he should collect himself from the body, and as it were from different places, so as to be disposed in a manner perfectly impassive with respect to the |186 body. For he who energizes uninterruptedly according to sense, though he may not do this with an adhering affection and the enjoyment resulting from pleasure, yet, at the same time, his attention is dissipated about the body, in consequence of becoming through sense 26 in contact with it. But we are addicted to the pleasures or pains of sensibles; in conjunction with a promptitude, and converging sympathy; from which disposition it is requisite to be purified. This, however, will he effected by admitting necessary pleasures, and the sensations of them, merely as remedies, or as a liberation from pain,27 in order that (the rational part) may not be impeded (in its energies). Pain also must be taken away. But if this is not possible, it must be mildly diminished. And it will be diminished, if the soul is not co-passive with it. Anger, likewise, must as much as possible be taken away; and must by no means be premeditated. But if it cannot be entirely removed, deliberate choice must not be mingled with it, but the unpremeditated motion must be the impulse of the irrational part. That however which is unpremeditated is imbecile and small. All fear likewise must be expelled. For he who is adapted to this purification will fear nothing. Here, however, if it should take place, it will be unpremeditated. Anger therefore and fear must be used for the purpose of admonition. But the desire of everything base must be exterminated. Such a one also, so far as he is a cathartic philosopher, will not desire meats and drinks (except so far as they are necessary). Neither must there be the unpremeditated in natural venereal connexions; but if this should take place, it must only be as far as to that precipitate imagination which energizes in sleep. In short, the intellectual soul itself of the purified man must be liberated from all these (corporeal propensities). He must likewise endeavour, that what is moved to the irrational nature of corporeal passions, may be moved without sympathy, and without animadversion; so that the motions themselves may be immediately dissolved through their vicinity to the reasoning power. This, however, will not take place while the purification is proceeding to its perfection; but will happen to those in whom reason rules without opposition. Hence, in these, the inferior part will so venerate reason that it will be indignant if it is at all moved, in consequence of not being quiet when its master is present, and will |187 reprove itself for its imbecility. These, however, are yet only moderations of the passions, but at length terminate in apathy. For when co-passivity is entirely exterminated, then apathy is present with him who is purified from this passivity. For passion becomes moved when reason imparts excitation, through verging (to the irrational nature).

35. Everything which is situated somewhere, is there situated according to its own nature, and not preternaturally. For body, therefore, which subsists in matter and bulk, to be somewhere is to be in place. Hence, for the body of the world, which is material and has bulk, to be every where is to be extended with interval, and to subsist in the place of interval. But a subsistence in place is not at all present with the intelligible world, nor, in short, with that which is immaterial, and essentially incorporeal, because it is without bulk, and without interval; so that the ubiquity of an incorporeal nature is not local. Hence, neither will one part of it be here, but another there; for if this were the case, it would not be out of place, nor without interval; but wherever it is, the whole of it is there. Nor is it indeed in this, but not in another place; for thus it would be comprehended by one place, but separated from another. Nor is it remote from this thing, but near to that; in the same manner as remoteness and nearness are asserted of things which are adapted to be in place, according to the measures of intervals. Hence, the sensible is present, indeed, with the intelligible world, according to interval, but (a truly) incorporeal nature is present with the world impartibly, and unaccompanied by interval. The impartible, likewise, when it is in that which has interval, is wholly in every part of it, being one and the same in number (in every part of it). That which is impartible, therefore, and without multitude, becomes extended into magnitude, and multiplied, when intimately connected with that which is naturally multitudinous, and endued with magnitude; and thus the latter receives the former in such a way as it is adapted to receive it, and not such as the former truly is. But that which is partible and multitudinous, is received by that which is naturally impartible and without multitude, impartibly and non-multitudinously, and after this manner is present with it; i.e., the impartible is present impartibly, without plurality, and without a subsistence in place, conformably to its own nature, with that which is partible, and which is naturally multitudinous, and exists in place. But that which is partible, multiplied, and in place, is present with the impartible essence, partibly, multitudinously, and locally. Hence, it is necessary, in the survey of these natures, to preserve and not confound the peculiarities of each; |188 or rather, we should not imagine or opine of that which is incorporeal, such properties as pertain to bodies, or any thing of the like kind. For no one would ascribe to bodies the peculiarities of a genuinely incorporeal essence. For all of us are familiar with bodies; but the knowledge of incorporeal natures is attainable by us with great difficulty; because, through not being able to behold them intuitively, we are involved in doubt about their nature; and this takes place as long as we are under the dominion of imagination.

Thus, therefore, you should say, - if that which is in place, is out of, or has departed from itself, through having proceeded into bulk, that which is intelligible is not in place, and is in itself, because it has not proceeded into corporeal extension. Hence, if the former is an image, the latter is an archetype. And the former, indeed, derives its being through the intelligible; but the latter subsists in (and through) itself. For every (physical) image is the image of intellect. It is also requisite that, calling to mind the peculiarities of both these, we should not wonder at the discrepance which takes place in their congress with each other; if, in short, it is proper on this occasion to use the word congress. For we are not now surveying the congress of bodies, but of things which are entirely distinct from each other, according to peculiarity of hypostasis. Hence, also, this congress is different from everything which is usually surveyed in things essentially the same. Neither, therefore, is it temperament, or mixture, or conjunction, or apposition, but subsists in a way different from all these; appearing, indeed, in all the mutual participations of consubstantial natures, in whatever way this may be effected; but transcending everything that falls under the apprehension of sense. Hence, an intelligible essence is wholly present without interval, with all the parts of that which has interval, though they should happen to be infinite in number. Nor is it present distributed into parts, giving a part to a part; nor being multiplied, does it multitudinously impart itself to multitude; but it is wholly present with the parts of that which is extended into bulk, and with each individual of the multitude, and all the bulk impartibly, and without plurality, and as numerically one. But it pertains to those natures to enjoy it partibly, and in a distributed manner, whose power is dissipated into different parts. And to these it frequently happens, that through a defect of their own nature, they counterfeit an intelligible essence; so that doubts arise respecting that essence, which appears to have passed from its own nature into theirs.

36. Truly-existing being is neither great nor small, for magnitude and parvitude are properly the peculiarities of bulk. But true being |189 transcends both magnitude and parvitude; and is above the greatest, and above the least; and is numerically one and the same, though it is found to be simultaneously participated by everything that is greatest, and everything that is least. You must not, therefore, conceive of it as something which is greatest; as you will then be dubious how, being that which is greatest, it is present with the smallest masses without being diminished or contracted. Nor must you conceive of it as something which is least; since you will thus again be dubious how, being that which is least, it is present with the greatest masses without being multiplied or increased, or without receiving addition. But at one and the same time receiving into the greatest magnitude that which transcends the greatest bulk, and into the least magnitude that which transcends the least,28 you will be able to conceive how the same thing, abiding in itself, may be simultaneously seen in any causal magnitude, and in infinite multitudes and corporeal masses. For according to its own peculiarity, it is present with the magnitude of the world impartibly and without magnitude. It also antecedes the bulk of the world, and comprehends every part of it in its own impartibility; just as, vice versa, the world, by its multitude of parts, is multifariously present, as far as it is able, with truly existing being, yet cannot comprehend it, neither with the whole of its bulk, nor the whole of its power; but meets with it in all its parts as that which is infinite, and cannot be passed beyond; and this both in other respects, and because truly-existing being is entirely free from all corporeal extension.

37. That which is greater in bulk, is less in power when compared, not with things of a similar kind, but with those that are of a different species, or of a different essence. For bulk is, as it were, the departure of a thing from itself, and a division of power into the smallest parts. Hence, that which transcends in power, is foreign from all bulk. For power proceeding into itself, is filled with itself, and, by corroborating itself, obtains its proper strength; on which account, body proceeding into bulk through a diminution of power, is as much remote from truly |190 incorporeal being, as that which truly exists is from being exhausted by bulk; for the latter abides in the magnitude of the same power, through an exemption from bulk. As, therefore, truly existing being is, with reference to a corporeal mass, without magnitude and without bulk; thus also, that which is corporeal is, with reference to truly-existing being, imbecile and powerless. For that which is greatest by magnitude of power, is exempt from all bulk; so that the world existing every where, and, as it is said, meeting with real being which is truly every where, is not able to comprehend the magnitude of its power. It meets, however, with true being, which is not partibly present with it, but is present without magnitude, and without any definite limitation. The presence, therefore, of truly-existing being with the world, is not local, but assimilative, so far as it is possible for body to be assimilated to that which is incorporeal, and for that which is incorporeal to be surveyed in a body assimilated to it. Hence, an incorporeal nature is not present with body so far as it is not possible for that which is material to be assimilated to a perfectly immaterial nature; and it is present, so far as a corporeal can be assimilated to an incorporeal essence. Nevertheless, this is not effected through reception; since, if it were, each would be corrupted. For the material, indeed, in receiving the immaterial nature, would be corrupted, through being changed into it; and the immaterial essence would become material. Assimilations, therefore, and participations of powers, and the deficiency of power, proceed from things which are thus different in essence from each other, into each other. The world, therefore, is very far from possessing the power of real being; and real being is very remote from the imbecility of a material nature. But that which subsists between these, assimilating and being assimilated, and conjoining the extremes to each other, becomes the cause of deception about the extremes, in consequence of applying, through the assimilation, the one to the other.

38. Truly-existing being is said to be many things, not by a subsistence in different places, nor in the measures of bulk, nor by coacervation, nor by the circumscriptions or comprehensions 29 of divisible parts, but by a difference which is immaterial, without bulk, and without plurality, and which is divided according to multitude. Hence, also, it is one; not as one body, nor as one place; nor as one bulk; nor as one which is in |191 many things; because it is different so far as it is one, and its difference is both divided and united. For its difference is not externally acquired, nor adscititious, nor obtained through the participation of something else, but it is many things from itself. For, remaining one, it energizes with all energies, because, through sameness, it constitutes all difference; not being surveyed in the difference of one thing with respect to another, as is the case in bodies. For, on the contrary, in these, unity subsists in difference; because diversity has in them a precedaneous existence; but the unity which they contain is externally and adscititiously derived. For in truly-existing being, indeed, unity, and sameness precede; but difference is generated from this unity, being energetic. Hence, true being is multiplied in impartiality; but body is united in multitude and bulk. The former also is established in itself subsisting in itself according to unity; but the latter is never in itself, because it receives its hypostasis in an extension of existence. The former, therefore, is an all-energetic one; but the latter is a united multitude. Hence, it is requisite to explore how the former is one and different; and again, how the latter is multitude and one. Nor must we transfer the peculiarities of the one to those which pertain to the other.

39. It is not proper to think that the multitude of souls was generated on account of the multitude of bodies; but it is necessary to admit that, prior to bodies, there were many souls, and one soul (the cause of the many). Nor does the one and whole soul prevent the subsistence in it of many souls; nor do the multitude of souls distribute by division the one soul into themselves. For they are distinct from, but are not abscinded from the soul, which ranks as a whole; nor do they distribute into minute parts this whole soul into themselves. They are also present with each other without confusion; nor do they produce the whole soul by coacervation. For they are not separated from each other by any boundaries; nor, again, are they confused with each other; just as neither are many sciences confused in one soul (by which they are possessed). For these sciences do not subsist in the soul like bodies, as things of a different essence from it; but they are certain energies of the soul. For the nature of soul possesses an infinite power. Everything also that occurs in it is soul; and all souls are (in a certain respect) one; and again, the soul which ranks as a whole is different from all the rest. For as bodies, though divided to infinity, do not end in that which is incorporeal, but alone receive a difference of segments according to bulk; thus also soul, being a vital form, may be conceived to consist of forms ad infinitum. For it possesses specific differences, and the whole of it subsists together with or without these. For if there is in the soul that |192 which is, as it were, a part divided from the rest of the parts, yet, at the same time that there is difference, the sameness remains. If, however, in bodies, in which difference predominates over sameness, nothing incorporeal when it accedes cuts off the union, but all the parts remain essentially united, and are divided by qualities and other forms; what ought we to assert and conceive of a specific incorporeal life, in which sameness is more prevalent than difference; to which nothing foreign to form is subjected, and from which the union of bodies is derived? Nor does body, when it becomes connected with soul, cut off its union, though it is an impediment to its energies in many respects. But the sameness of soul produces and discovers all things through itself, through its specific energy, which proceeds to infinity; since any part of it whatever is capable of effecting all things, when it is liberated and purified from a conjunction with bodies; just as any part of seed possesses the power of the whole seed. As, however, seed, when it is united with matter, predominates over it, according to each of the productive principles which the seeds contain; and all the seed, its power being collected into one, possesses the whole of its power in each of the parts; thus also, in the immaterial soul, that which may be conceived as a part, has the power of the whole soul. But that part of it which verges to matter is vanquished, indeed, by the form to which it verges, and yet is adapted to associate with immaterial form, though it is connected with matter, when withdrawing itself from a material nature, it is converted to itself. Since, however, through verging to matter, it becomes in want of all things, and suffers an emptiness of its proper power; but when it is elevated to intellect, is found to possess a plenitude of all its powers; hence those who first obtained a knowledge of this plenitude of the soul, very properly indicated its emptiness by calling it poverty, and its fullness by denominating it satiety. |193 


40. The ancients, wishing to exhibit to us the peculiarity of incorporeal being, so far as this can be effected by words, when they assert that it is one, immediately add, that it is likewise all things; by which they signified that it is not some one 30 of the things which are known by the senses. Since, however, we suspect that this incorporeal one is different from sensibles, in consequence of not perceiving this total one, which is all things according to one, in a sensible nature, and which is so because this one is all things; - hence the ancients added, that it is one so far as one; in order that we might understand that what is all things in truly existing being, is something uncompounded, and that we might withdraw ourselves from the conception of a coacervation. When likewise they say that it is every where, they add that it is no where. When also they assert that it is in all things, they add, that it is no where in everything. Thus, too, when they say, that it is in all things, and in every divisible nature which is adapted to receive it, they add, that it is a whole in a whole. And, in short, they render it manifest to us, through contrary peculiarities; at one and the same time assuming these, in order that we may exterminate from the apprehension of it, the fictitious conceptions which are derived from bodies, and which obscure the cognoscible peculiarities of real being.

41. When you have assumed an eternal essence, infinite in itself according to power, and begin to perceive intellectually an hypostasis unwearied, untamed, and never-failing, but transcending in the most pure and genuine life, and full from itself; and which is likewise established in itself, satisfied with, and seeking nothing but itself: - to this essence, if you add a subsistence in place, or a relation to a certain thing, at the same time that you (appear to) diminish it, by ascribing to it, an indigence of place, or a relative condition of being, you do not (in reality) diminish this essence, but you separate yourself from the perception of it, by receiving as a veil the phantasy which runs under your conjectural apprehension of it. For you cannot pass beyond, or |194 stop, or render more perfect, or effect the least change in a thing of this kind, because it is impossible for it to be in the smallest degree deficient. For it is much more never-failing than any perpetually flowing fountain can be conceived to be. If, however, you are unable to keep pace with it, and to become assimilated to the intelligible All, you should not investigate any thing pertaining to real being; or, if you do, you will deviate from the path that leads to it, and will look to something else. But if you investigate nothing else, being established in yourself and your own essence, you will be assimilated to the intelligible Universe, and will not adhere to any thing posterior to it. Neither, therefore, should you say, I am of a great magnitude. For omitting this greatness, you will become universal; though you were universal prior to this. But, together with the universal, something else was present with you, and you became less by the addition; because the addition was not from truly-existing being. For to that you cannot add any thing. When, therefore, any thing is added from non-being, a place is afforded to Poverty as an associate, accompanied by an indigence of all things. Hence, dismissing non-being, you will then become sufficient to yourself.31 For he will not return properly to himself who does not dismiss things of a more vile and abject nature, and who opines himself to be something naturally small, and not to be such as he truly is. For thus he, at one and the same time, departs both from himself, and from truly-existing being. When, also, any one is present with that which is present in himself, then he is present with true being, which is every where. But when you withdraw from yourself, then, likewise, you recede from real being; - of such great consequence is it for a man to be present with that which is present with himself, (i.e., with his rational part), and to be absent from that which is external to him.

If, however, true being is present with us, but non-being is absent, and real being is not present with us in conjunction with other things (of a nature foreign to it); it does not accede in order that it may be present, but we depart from it, when it is not present (with things of a different nature). And why should this be considered as wonderful? For you when present are not absent from yourself, and yet you are not present with yourself, though present. And you are both present with and absent from yourself when you survey other things, and omit to behold yourself. If, therefore, you are thus present, and yet not (in reality) |195 present with yourself, and on this account are ignorant of yourself, and in a greater degree discover all things, though remote from your essence, than yourself, with which you are naturally present, why should you wonder if that which is not present is remote from you who are remote from it, because you have become remote from yourself? For, by how much the more you are (truly) present with yourself, though it is present, and inseparably conjoined with you, by so much the more will you be present with real being, which is so essentially united to you, that it is as impossible for it to be divulsed from you, as for you to be separated from yourself. So that it is universally possible to know what is present with real being, and what is absent from it, though it is every where present, and again is also no where. For those who are able to proceed into their own essence intellectually, and to obtain a knowledge of it, will, in the knowledge itself, and the Science accompanying this knowledge, be able to recover or regain themselves, through the union of that which knows with that which is known. And with those, who are present with themselves, truly-existing being will also be present. But from such as abandon the proper being of themselves to other things, - from these, as they are absent from themselves, true being will also be absent. If, however, we are naturally adapted to be established in the same essence, to be rich from ourselves, and not to descend to that which we are not; in so doing becoming in want of ourselves, and thus again associating with Poverty, though Porus 32 or Plenty is present:-and if we are cut off from real being, from which we are not separated either by place, or essence, nor by any thing else, through our conversion to non-being, we suffer as a just punishment of our abandonment of true being, a departure from, and ignorance of ourselves. And again, by a proper attention to we recover ourselves, and become united to Divinity. It is, therefore, rightly said, that the soul is confined in body as in a prison, and is there detained in chains like a fugitive slave.33 We should, however, (earnestly) endeavour to be liberated from our bonds. For, through being converted to these |196 sensible objects, we desert ourselves, though we are of a divine origin, and are, as Empedocles says,

"Heaven's exiles, straying from the orb of light."

So that every depraved life is full of servitude; and on this account is without from God and unjust, the spirit in it being full of impiety, and consequently of injustice. And thus again, it is rightly said, that justice is to be found in the performance of that which is the province of him who performs it. The image also of true justice consists in distributing to each of those with whom we live, that which is due to the desert of each.

42. That which possesses its existence in another (i.e., in something different from itself), and is not essentialized in itself, separably from another, if it should be converted to itself, in order to know itself, without that in which it is essentialized, withdrawing itself from it, would be corrupted by this knowledge, in consequence of separating itself from its essence. But that which is able to know itself without the subject in which it exists, and is able to withdraw itself from this subject without the destruction of itself, cannot be essentialized in that, from which it is capable of converting itself to itself without being corrupted, and of knowing itself by its own energies. Hence, if sight, and every sensitive power, neither perceives itself, nor apprehends or preserves itself by separating itself from body; but intellect, when it separates itself from body, then especially perceives intellectually, is converted to itself, and is not corrupted; - it is evident that the sensitive powers obtain the power of energizing through the body; but that intellect possesses its energies and its essence not in body, but in itself.

43. Incorporeal natures are properly denominated and conceived to be what they are, according to a privation of body; just as, according to the ancients, matter, and the form which is in matter, and also natures and (physical) powers, are apprehended by an abstraction from matter. And after the same manner, place, time, and the boundaries of things are apprehended. For all such things are denominated according to a privation of body. There are likewise other things which are said to be incorporeal improperly, not according to a privation of body, but, in |197 short, because they are not naturally adapted to generate body.34 Hence those of the former signification subsist in bodies; but those of the second are perfectly separated from bodies, and from those incorporeal natures which subsist about bodies. For bodies, indeed, are in place, and boundaries are in body. But intellect, and intellectual reason, neither subsist in place nor in body; nor proximately give existence to bodies, nor subsist together with bodies, or with those incorporeal natures which are denominated according to a privation of bodies. Neither, therefore, if a certain incorporeal vacuum should be conceived to exist, would it be possible for intellect to be in a vacuum. For a vacuum may be the recipient of body; but it is impossible that it should be the recipient of Intellect, and afford a place for its energy. Since, however, the genus of an incorporeal nature appears to be twofold, one of these the followers of Zeno do not at all admit, but they adopt the other; and perceiving that the former is not such as the latter, they entirely subvert it, though they ought rather to conceive that it is of another genus, and not to fancy that, because it is not the latter, it has no existence.

44. Intellect and the intelligible are one thing, and sense and that which is sensible another. And the intelligible, indeed, is conjoined with intellect, but that which is sensible with sense. Neither, however, can sense by itself apprehend itself. * * * But the intelligible, which is conjoined with intellect, and intellect, which is conjoined with the intelligible, by no means fall under the perception of sense. Intellect, however, is intelligible to intellect. But if intellect is the intelligible object of intellect, intellect will be its own intelligible object. If, therefore, intellect is an intellectual and not a sensible object, it will be intelligible. But if it is intelligible to intellect and not to sense, it will also be intelligent. The same thing, therefore, will be that which is intelligent, or intellectually perceives, and which is intellectually perceived, or is intelligible; and this will be true of the whole with respect to the whole; but not as he who rubs, and he who is rubbed. |198 Intellect, therefore, does not intellectually perceive by one part, and is intellectually perceived by another: for it is impartible, and the whole is an intelligible object of the whole. It is likewise wholly intellect, having nothing in itself which can be conceived to be deprived of intelligence. Hence one part of it does not intellectually perceive, but not another part of it.35 For so far as it does not intellectually perceive, it will be unintelligent. Neither, therefore, departing from this thing, does it pass on to that. For of that from which it departs, it has no intellectual perception. But if there is no transition in its intellections, it intellectually perceives all things at once.

If, therefore, it understands all things at once, and not this thing now but, another afterwards, it understands all things instantaneously and always. * * * 36

Hence, if all things are instantaneously perceived by it, its perceptions have nothing to do with the past and the future, but subsist in an indivisible untemporal now; so that the simultaneous, both according to multitude, and according to temporal interval, is present with intellect. Hence, too, all things subsist in it according to one, and in one, without interval, and without time. But if this be the case, there is nothing discursive or transitive in its intellections, and consequently they are without motion. Hence, they are energies according to one, subsisting in one, and without increase or mutation, or any transition. If, however, the multitude subsists according to one, and the energy is collected together at once, and without time, an essence of this kind must necessarily always subsist in (an intelligible) one. But this is eternity. Hence, eternity is present with intellect. That nature, however, which does not perceive intellectually according to one, and in one, but transitively, and with motion, so that in understanding it leaves one thing and apprehends another, divides and proceeds discursively, - this nature (which is soul) subsists in conjunction with time. For with a motion of this kind, the future and the past are consubsistent. But soul, changing its conceptions, passes from one thing to another; not that the prior conceptions depart, and the posterior |199 accede in their place, but there is, as it were, a transition of the former, though they remain in the soul, and the latter accede, as if from some other place. They do not, however, accede in reality from another place; but they appear to do so in consequence of the self-motion of the soul, and through her eye being directed to a survey of the different forms which she contains, and which have the relation of parts to her whole essence. For she resembles a fountain not flowing outwardly, but circularly scattering its streams into itself. With the motion, therefore, of soul, time is consubsistent; but eternity is consubsistent with the permanency of intellect in itself.37 It is not, however, divided from intellect in the same manner as time is from soul; because in intellect the consubsistent essences are united. But that which is perpetually moved is the source of a false opinion of eternity, through the immeasurable extent of its motion producing a conception of eternity. And that which abides (in one) is falsely conceived to be the same with that which is (perpetually) moved. For that which is perpetually moved, evolves the time of itself in the same manner as the now of itself, and multiplies it, according to a temporal progression. Hence, some have apprehended that time is to be surveyed in permanency no less than in motion; and that eternity, as we have said, is infinite time; just as if each of these imparted its own properties to the other; time, which is always moved, adumbrating eternity by the perpetuity of itself, and the sameness of its motion; and eternity, through being established in sameness of energy, becoming similar to time, by the permanency of itself arising from energy. In sensibles, however, the time of one thing is distinct from that of another. Thus, for instance, there is one time of the sun, and another of the moon, one time of the morning star, and another of each of the planets. Hence, also, there is a different year of different planets. The year, likewise, which comprehends these times, terminates as in a summit in the motion of the soul (of the universe,) according to the imitation of which the celestial orbs are moved. The motion of this soul, however, being of a different nature from that of the planets, the time of the former also is different from that of the latter. For the latter subsists with interval, and is distinguished from the former by local motions and transitions.

[Footnotes moved to the end and numbered]

1. * In the original Ου το ποιουν εις αλλο, πελασει και αφῃ ποιει, α ποιει, κ.τ.λ. But it is evident from the sense of the whole passage, that, for Ου το ποιουν we should read Ου παν το ποιουν, κ.τ.λ.

2. * The article ο is wanting here in the original before ετερος.

3. + Knowledge subsists conformably to the nature by which it is possessed, and not conformably to the thing known. Hence it is either better than, or co-ordinate with, or inferior to the object of knowledge. Thus the rational soul has a knowledge of sensibles, which is superior to sensibles; but it knows itself with a co-ordinate knowledge; and its knowledge of Divinity is inferior to the object of knowledge. Porphyry, therefore, is not correct in what he here says. This dogma respecting the conformity of knowledge to that which knows, rather than to the thing known, originated from the divine Iamblichus, as we are informed by Ammonius in his commentary on Aristotle's treatise De Interpretatione, and is adopted by Proclus (In Parmenid.). Boetius likewise employs it in his reasoning in lib. V about the prescience of Divinity. None of his commentators, however, have noticed the source from whence it was derived.

4. * Because here the generator is that primarily which the thing generated is secondarily. See my translation of Proclus' Theological Elements.

5. * Porphyry here summarily comprehends the rational gnostic powers of the soul in intellect, because, being rational, they are expansions of intellect properly so called. But these powers, beginning from the lowest, are opinion, dianoia, and the summit of dianoia, which summit is the intellect of the human soul, and is that power, by the light of which we perceive the truth of axioms, it being intuitive perception. Dianoia is the discursive energy of reason; or it is that power which reasons scientifically, deriving the principles of its reasoning from intellect. And opinion is that power which knows that a thing is, but is ignorant of the cause of it, or why it is.

6. * In the original, ει δε μη εζω εκτεινομενος but for ει δε μη, it appears to me to be obviously necessary to read ουδε μη.

7. + In the original, εζω δε οντων υλης, ουδαμον αν ειν ταυτα; which Holstenius, wholly mistaking the meaning, most erroneously translates: "At si extra materiam sint, neutiquam id fieri poterit." Farther on, Porphyry asserts that God, intellect, and soul, are nowhere, according to corporeal locality.

8.  In the original, η μνημη ουκ εστι φαντασιων σωτηρια, αλλα των μελετηθεντων προβαλλεσθαι εκ νεας προβληματα. But for προβληματα, I read προλημματα. This power, by which Porphyry characterizes memory, is of a stable nature. And hence memory is stability of knowledge, in the same manner as immortality is stability of life and eternity stability of being.

9. * See the notes on the 3rd book of my translation of Aristotle's treatise on the soul, and also my translation of Plotinus on Felicity. "The phantasy," says Olympiodorus (in Platonis Phaed.), "is an impediment to our intellectual conceptions; and hence, when we are agitated by the inspiring influence of divinity, if the phantasy intervenes, the enthusiastic energy ceases: for enthusiasm and the phantasy are contrary to each other. Should it be asked, whether the soul is able to energize without the phantasy? We reply that its perception of universals proves that it is able. It has perceptions, therefore, independent of the phantasy; at the same time, however, the phantasy attends it in its energies, just as a storm pursues him who sails on the sea."

10. + The analogy of the soul to harmony, is more accurately unfolded as follows, by Olympiodorus, in his commentary on the Phaedo of Plato, than it is in this place by Porphyry: "Harmony has a triple subsistence. For it is either harmony itself, or it is that which is first harmonized, and which is such according to the whole of itself; or it is that which is secondarily harmonized, and which partially participates of harmony. The first of these must be assigned to intellect, the second to soul, and the third to body. This last, too, is corruptible, because it subsists in a subject; but the other two are incorruptible, because they are neither composites, nor dependent on a subject. Hence the rational soul is analogous to a musician, but the animated body to harmonized chords; for the former has a subsistence separate, but the latter inseparable from the musical instrument."

11. * What Porphyry here says about matter is derived from the treatise of Plotinus On the Impassivity of Incorporeal Natures, to my translation of which I refer the reader.

12. + See my translation of the before mentioned treatise of Plotinus.

13. * For τα οντα here, I read τα αυτα.

14. + Hence it is beautifully said in the Clavis of Hermes Trismegistus, "that the knowledge of the good (or the supreme principle of things), is a divine silence, and the quiescence of all the senses." See also on this subject, a most admirable extract from Damascius, περι αρχων, at the end of the third volume of my Plato.

15. * For that which is truly incorporeal, is every where virtually, i.e., in power and efficacy, but is no where locally.

16. * For μερισταις here, I read μερικαις. For Porphyry is here speaking of essences which are opposed to such as rank as wholes, as is evident from the whole of this paragraph.

17. + The primary natures of which Porphyry is now speaking, are rational partial souls, such as ours; for the natures superior to these, are never converted to beings posterior to themselves.

18.  For αυτου, isthic, I read, αυτος.

19. * In the original, και ψυχη εν νῳ τε και θεῳ πανταχου, και ουδαμον εν σωματι, but it appears to be necessary to read, και ψυχη εν νῳ τε και θεῳ, και πανταχου ουδαμον εν σοματι.

20. + και εν νῳ is omitted in the original, but ought to be inserted, as is evident from the version of Holstenius.

21.  Sect. 31. The irrational life is a thing of this kind, which is partly separable and partly inseparable from body. Hence, so far as it is inseparable from body, it partakes of the every where; but, so far as it is separable, of the no where.

22.  i.e.: The animal spirit, or pneumatic soul, in which the rational soul suffers her punishments in Hades.

23. * i.e. That part of the Soul which is the source of all-various desires.

24. + This philosophic apathy is not, as is stupidly supposed by most of the present day, insensibility, but a perfect subjugation of the passions to reason.

25. * The words και δικαιοσυνη are omitted in the original. But it is evident from the treatise of Plotinus On the Virtues, that they ought to be inserted. For what Porphyry says in this Section about the virtues, is derived from that treatise.

26. * Instead of κατ̕ αυτην, here, it is necessary to read κατ αισθησιν.

27. + Conformably to this, as we have before observed, Aristotle says in the 7th Book of his Nicomachean Ethics, "that corporeal pleasures are remedies against pain, and that they fill up the indigence of nature, but perfect no energy of the rational soul."

28. * In the original, αλλα το εχβεβηκος τον μεγιστον ογκον, εις το μεγιστον, και τον ελαχιστον εις το ελαχιστον, αμα λαβων, κ.τ.λ. This Holstenius most erroneously translates, "verum id quod maximam molem intervallo maximo, et minimam minimo excedit simul sumens, &c." For a truly incorporeal nature, such as that of which Porphyry is now speaking, has nothing to do with interval, and therefore does not by interval surpass either the greatest or the least corporeal mass; but is received transcendently by the greatest and the least magnitude.

29. * For διαληψεσιν, here, I read καταληψεσιν, and Holstenius also has in this place comprehensionibus.

30. * In the original, καθο εν τι των κατ̕ αισθησιν συνεγνωσμενων; but it appears to me to be necessary after καθο, to insert the words ουκ εστιν. For incorporeal being is not like some one of the things which are known by the senses, because no one of these is one, and, at the same time, all things. Holstenius did not perceive the necessity of this emendation, as is evident from his version of the passage.

31. * Immediately after this something is wanting in the original (as is from the asterisks), which, as it appears to me, no conjecture can appropriately supply.

32. * In the original και δια τουτων παλιν τῃ πενιᾳ συνειναι καιπερ παροντος αυτου. But for αυτου, I read πορον; as it appears to me that Porphyry is here alluding to what is said by Diotima in the Banquet of Plato concerning the parents of Love, viz., that they are Poverty and Porus or plenty.

33. + See the Phaedo of Plato. But something is here wanting in the original, as is evident not only from the asterisks, but from the want of connection in the words themselves.

34. * i.e.: - They are not adapted to be the immediate causes of body, because they are perfectly separated from it. The original is ηδη δε ην αλλα καταχρησ ικως λεγομευα ασωματα, ουκατα σ ερησιν σωματος, κατα δε ολως μη πεφυκεναι γεννᾳν σωμα. Holstenius, not understanding what is here said by Porphyry, translates the words κατα δε ολως μη πεφυκεναι γεννᾳν σωμα "sed quod nullum omnino corpus generare possunt." For Porphyry, as is evident from what immediately follows, is here speaking of natures which are perfectly separated from bodies and which are therefore not naturally adapted to be the immediate generators of them, not through any deficiency, but through transcendency of power.

35. * In the original διο ουχι τοδε μεν εαυτου νοει, τοδε δε ου νοει which Holstenius erroneously translates "Ideoque non quidem unam sui partem intelligit, alteram vero non intelligit." For Porphyry is not here speaking of intellect surveying its parts, but of its being wholly intellective . This is evident from what immediately follows.

36. + The asterisks in the original denote something is wanting. Nevertheless, what immediately follows them, is evidently connected with what immediately precedes.

37. * See the fourth book of my translation of Proclus, on the Timaeus of Plato, in which the nature of time and eternity is most admirably unfolded. See also my translation of Plotinus on Eternity and Time. In these works, what both these divine men have said of eternity, and what the former has said of time, contains, as it appears to me, the ne plus ultra of philosophical investigation on these most abstruse subjects.

Previous PageTable Of ContentsNext Page

This text was transcribed by Roger Pearse, Ipswich, UK, 2007. All material on this page is in the public domain - copy freely.

Greek text is rendered using unicode.

Early Church Fathers - Additional Texts