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Section III

III. But the Creator created two different kinds both in the earth, and in the water, and in the air. In the air he placed those animals which fly, and other powers also which cannot by any means, or on any occasion, be comprehended by the outward senses. Thus the company of incorporeal souls is arranged in regular order according to their nature. For it is said that some of them are separated off and assigned to mortal bodies, and that, at certain definite and predetermined periods, they again depart from them. But that others of a more divine nature are utterly regardless of any situation in earth, but are raised to a great height, and placed in the aether itself, being of the purest possible character, which those among the Greeks who have studied philosophy call heroes and daemones, and which Moses, giving them a most felicitous appellation, calls angels, acting as they do the part of ambassadors and messengers, announcing to the subjects all kinds of blessings from their rulers, and acting as servants to the king to whom they are subject; and they, descending into the body as into a river, at one time are carried away by the violence of a most irresistible current and swallowed up, and at other times, being wholly unable to resist the powers of destruction, at first, indeed, raise their heads above the flood, and afterwards sink down again to the place from whence they have started. These, then, are the souls of those who devote themselves to the vigorous study of philosophy respecting divine subjects, from the beginning to the end of their existence studying things which may concern them after the life has left the body, that thus they may enjoy an incorporeal and endless life in the presence of the uncreated and immortal God. But those souls of other men which I have spoken of as being overwhelmed, being such as have disregarded wisdom, giving themselves up to uncertain circumstances, such as depend wholly on chance, of which none have any reference to the soul or to the intellect, but all to the body, which is but a corpse to which we are joined, or to other things even more inanimate and insensible than that; I mean such things as glory, and riches, and power, and honour, and all such other things as through the deceitfulness of false opinions are looked upon as real and living objects by people who do not see what is really beautiful. Therefore, if you look upon souls, and daemones, and angels, as things differing indeed in name, but as meaning in reality one and the same thing, you will thus get rid of the heaviest of all evils, superstition. For as people in general speak of good daemones and bad daemones, in the same manner also do they speak of good and bad souls; and so they speak of some angels as being by their title worthy ambassadors from men to God, and from God to men, being sacred and inviolable guardians on account of their blameless and most excellent service which they have allotted to them. And, again, if you look upon others as unholy and unworthy of any such appellation, you will not err. And the Psalmist himself is a witness in favour of what I have here asserted, where he speaks as follows: "He sent among them the anger of his wrath, by the operation of evil Angels."15161516 Ps 77:49. Again, all animals that swim and zoophytes are allotted to the water, and all terrestrial animals and plants to the land. And the plants he placed with their heads downwards, fixing their heads in the deepest parts of the earth; but the heads of the irrational animals he dragged up from the earth and placed upon a lofty neck, placing the fore-feet beneath them as a kind of pedestal. But man has had a separate formation of a higher character; for in the case of other animals, God has placed their eyes in the side of their heads and bent them down to the ground, on which account they are all inclined downwards to the earth. But the eyes of man, on the other hand, he has raised up, that he might behold the heavens, being not a terrestrial but a celestial plant, as the old saying Is.15171517this is in accordance with the idea of Ovid, who says (as may be Translated)—"and while all other creatures from their birth, / With downcast eyes gaze on their kindred earth, / Man walks erect, and proudly scans the heaven / From which he sprung, to which his hopes are given." But the other class, who affirm that our intellect is a portion of ethereal nature, connect man in a relationship with the air. Accordingly, the great Moses has not spoken of the rational soul as it resembled in its species any created thing, but he has called it the image of the divine and invisible God, looking upon it to be a glorious and carefully wrought image, the seal of God, the character of which is the everlasting Word; for, says he, "God breathed into his face the breath of Life."15181518 Gen 2:7. So that it follows inevitably that he who received it must be made in the image and likeness of him who sent it. On which account he also says that man was created in the image of God, and not in the likeness of any created thing.


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