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To this Tyndares the Spartan subjoined: It is very fit we should apply that to Plato,
He seemed not sprung from mortal man, but God.1

But, for my part, I am afraid to beget, as well as to be begotten, is repugnant to the incorruptibility of the Deity. For that implies a change and passion; as Alexander imagined, when he said that he knew himself to be mortal as often as he lay with a woman or slept. For sleep is a relaxation of the body, occasioned by the weakness of our nature; and all generation is a corruptive parting with some of our own substance. But yet I take heart again, when I hear Plato call the eternal and unbegotten Deity the father and maker of the world and all other begotten things; not as if he parted with any seed, but as if by his power he implanted a generative principle in matter, which acts upon, forms, and fashions it. Winds passing through [p. 402] a hen will sometimes impregnate her; and it seems no incredible thing, that the Deity, though not after the fashion of a man, but by some other certain communication, fills a mortal creature with some divine conception. Nor is this my sense; but the Egyptians say Apis was conceived by the influence of the moon, and make no question but that an immortal God may have communication with a mortal woman. But on the contrary, they think that no mortal can beget any thing on a goddess, because they believe the goddesses are made of thin air, and subtle heat and moisture.

1 Il. XXIV. 258.

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