1. [XIV. M.] Asc. What part of the economy, 4 Thrice-greatest one, does the Heimarmenē, or Fate, then occupy? For do not the celestial Gods rule over generals 5; the terrene occupy particulars?
Tris. That which we call Heimarmenē, Asclepius, is the necessity of all things that are born, 1 bound ever to themselves with interlinked enchainments.
This, then, is either the effector of all things, or it is highest God, or what is made the second God by God Himself,—or else the discipline 2 of all things both in heaven and on earth, established by the laws of the Divine.
2. And so these twain, Fate and Necessity, are bound to one another mutually by inseparable cohesion. 3
The former of them, the Heimarmenē, gives birth to the beginnings of all things; Necessity compels the end of [all] depending from these principals.
On these doth Order follow, that is their warp-and-woof, and Times arrangement for the perfecting of [all] things. For there is naught without the interblend of Order. 4
That Cosmos 1 is made perfect in all things; for Cosmos self is vehicled 2 in Order, or totally consists of Order.
1. So, then, these three, Fate, [and] Necessity, [and] Order, are most immediately effected by Gods Will, who rules the Cosmos by His Law and by His Holy Reason.
From these, accordingly, all willing or not-willing is altogether foreign, according to Gods Will. 3
They are not moved by wrath nor swayed by favour, but are the instruments of the Eternal Reasons self-compulsion, which is [the Reason] of Eternity, 4 that never can be turned aside, or changed, or be destroyed.
2. First, then, is Fate, which, as it were, by casting in the seed, supplies the embryo of all that are to be.
Follows Necessity, whereby they all are forcibly compelled unto their end.
Third, Order [comes], preserving warp-and-woof of [all] the things which Fate and [which] Necessity arrange. 5
This, then, is the Eternity, which neither doth begin nor cease to be, which, fixed by law unchangeable, abides in the unceasing motion of its course.
3. It rises and it sets, by turns, throughout its limbs 1; so that by reason of Times changes it often rises with the very limbs with which it [once] had set.
For [its] sphericity,—its law of revolution, 2—is of this nature, that all things are so straitly joined to their own selves, that no one knoweth what is the beginning of their revolution 3; since they appear for ever all to go before and follow after their own selves.
Good and bad issues, 4 [therefore,] are commingled in all cosmic things.
384:4 Rationis; lit. reason.
385:1 Or borne, quæ geruntur.
385:2 Disciplina = ? gnōsis.
385:4 Cf. J. Laurentius Lydus, De Mensibus, iv. 7 (Wünsch, 70); the rest of the quotation following on what has been already quoted in the note to xix. 3. The Greek is either a very much shortened form or the Latin a very much expanded one, for the former may be translated as follows: “And Fate is also fated Activity (or Energy), or God Himself, or the Order that doth follow that Activity set over all things in the heaven and all things on the earth, together with Necessity. The former (Fate) gives birth to the very beginnings of things, the latter compels the ends also to come into existence. And on them there follow Order and Law, and there is naught thats orderless.” Cf. Ex. i. 15, and Ex. xi. 1.
386:1 Mundus = cosmos, meaning also order in Greek.
386:4 That is, the Æon.
386:5 Fate thus seems to be regarded as the Creator, Order as the Preserver, and Necessity as the Destroyer or Regenerator.
387:1 Membra; that is, parts, presumably constellations.
387:2 Cf. xxxv. 3 below.
387:3 Volubilitatis; that is, their turning into themselves; the symbol of which was the serpent swallowing its tail.
387:4 Eventus et fors.