IT becomes wise men, dame Clea,1 to go to the Gods for all the good things they would enjoy. Much more ought we, when we would aim at that knowledge of them which our nature can arrive at, to pray that they themselves would bestow it upon us; truth being the greatest good that man can receive, and the goodliest blessing that God can give. Other good things he bestows on men as they want them, they being not his own peculiars nor of any use to himself. For the blessedness of the Deity consists not in silver and gold, nor yet his power in lightnings and thunders, but in knowledge and wisdom. And it was the best thing Homer ever said of Gods, when he pronounced thus:
Both of one line, both of one country boast,
But royal Jove's the eldest and knows most;

where he declares Jupiter's prerogative in wisdom and science to be the more honorable, by terming it the elder. I, for my own part, do believe that the felicity of eternal living which the Gods enjoy lies mainly in this, that nothing escapes their cognizance that passes in the sphere of generation, and that, should we set aside wisdom and the knowledge of true beings,3 immortality itself would not be life, but merely a long time.

[p. 66]

1 This Clea was priestess to Isis and to Apollo Delphicus.

2 Il. XIII. 354.

3 That is, τὰ ὄντα in the Platonic sense, as opposed to τὰ γιγνόμενα. (G.)

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