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“However, it is worth our while to discuss these matters at greater length and to learn about them at another time ; but for the present let us recall to our minds what we have learned in brief: that the body makes use of many instruments1 and that the soul makes use of this very body and its members ; moreover, the soul is created to be the instrument of God, and the virtue of an instrument is to conform as exactly as possible to the purpose of the agent that employs it by using all the powers which Nature has bestowed upon it, and to produce, presented in itself, the purpose of the very design ; but to present this, not in the form in which it was existent in its creator, uncontaminated, unaffected, and faultless, but combined with much that is alien to this. For pure design cannot be seen by us, and when it is made manifest in another guise and through another medium, it becomes contaminated with the nature of this medium. Wax, for example, and gold and silver I [p. 315] leave out of account, as well as other kinds of material,2 which, when moulded, take on the particular form of the likeness which is being modelled ; and yet each one of them adds to the thing portrayed a distinguishing characteristic which comes from its own substance ; and so also the numberless distortions in the reflected images of one single form seen in mirrors both plane and concave and convex. Indeed, if we contemplate the shining constellations, there is nothing that shows greater similarity in form, or which, as an instrument, is by nature more obedient in use than the moon. Receiving as it does from the sun its brilliant light and intense heat, it sends them away to us, not in the state in which they arrived, but, after being merged with it, they change their colour and also acquire a different potency. The heat is gone, and the light becomes faint because of weakness.

“I imagine that you are familiar with the saying found in Heraeleitus3 to the effect that the Lord whose prophetic shrine is at Delphi neither tells nor conceals, but indicates. Add to these words, which are so well said, the thought that the god of this place employs the prophetic priestess for men's ears just as the sun employs the moon for men's eyes. For he makes known and reveals his own thoughts, but he makes them known through the associated medium of a mortal body and a soul that is unable to keep quietior, as it yields itself to the One that [p. 317] moves it, to remain of itself unmoved and tranquil, but, as though tossed amid billows and enmeshed in the stirrings and emotions within itself, it makes itself more and more restless.

“For, as the eddies exercise no sure control over the bodies carried round and round in them, but, since the bodies are carried round and round by a compelling force, while they naturally tend to sink, there results from the two a confused and erratic circular movement, so, in like manner, what is called inspiration seems to be a combination of two impulses, the soul being simultaneously impelled through one of these by some external influence, and through the other by its own nature. Wherefore it is not possible to deal with inanimate and stationary bodies in a way contrary to their nature by bringing force to bear upon them, nor to make a cylinder in motion behave in the manner of a sphere or a cube, nor a lyre like a flute, nor a trumpet like a harp. No, the use of each thing artistically is apparently no other than its natural use. And as for the animate, endowed with power to move of itself and with its share of initiative and reason, could anyone treat it in a manner other than in keeping with the condition, faculty, or nature, already pre-existent in it, as, for example, trying to arouse to music a mind unmusical, or to letters the unlettered, or to eloquence one with no observation or training in speeches ? That is something which no one could assert.

1 Cf. Moralia, 163 e.

2 Obviously what is left is marble, the less plastic material.

3 Diels, Frag. der Vorsokratiker, i. p. 86, Heracleitus, no. b 93.

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