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Chapter XX.—Pythagoras’ Cosmogony; Similar to that of Empedocles.

The Pythagoreans therefore declare their opinion concerning the continuance of the world in some such manner as this:—

“For heretofore it was and will be; never, I ween,

Of both of these will void the age eternal be.”

“Of these;” but what are they? Discord and Love. Now, in their system, Love forms the world incorruptible (and) eternal, as they suppose. For substance and the world are one. Discord, however, separates and puts asunder, and evinces numerous attempts by subdividing to form the world. It is just as if one severs into small parts, and divides arithmetically, the myriad into thousands, and hundreds, and tens; and drachmæ into oboli and small farthings. In this manner, he says, Discord severs the substance of the world into animals, plants, metals and things similar to these. And the fabricator of the generation of all things produced is, according to them, Discord; whereas Love, on the other hand, manages and provides for the universe in such a manner that it enjoys permanence. And conducting together657657    Or, συνάγει, leads together. into unity the divided and scattered parts of the universe, and leading them forth from their (separate) mode of existence, (Love) unites and adds to the universe, in order that it may enjoy permanence; and it thus constitutes one system. They will not therefore cease,—neither Discord dividing the world, nor Love attaching to the world the divided parts. Of some such description as this, so it appears, is the distribution of the world according to Pythagoras. But Pythagoras says that the stars are fragments from the sun, and that the souls658658    The Abbe Cruice considers that the writer of The Refutation did not agree with Pythagoras’ opinion regarding the soul,—a fact that negatives the authorship of Origen, who assented to the Pythagorean psychology. The question concerning the pre-existence of the soul is stated in a passage often quoted, viz., St. Jerome’s Letter to Marcellina (Ep. 82). of animals are conveyed from the stars; and that these are mortal when they are in the body, just as if buried, as it were, in a tomb: whereas that they rise (out of this world) and become immortal, when we are separated from our bodies.  Whence Plato, being asked by some one, “What is philosophy?” replied, “It is a separation of soul from body.”

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