‘Good and kindly, singularly gentle and engaging : thus the oracle presents him, and so in fact we found him. Sleeplessly alert – Apollo tells- pure soul, ever striving towards the divine which he loved with all his being, he laboured strenuously to free himself and rise above the bitter waves of this blood-drenched life: and this is why to Plotinus- God-like and lifting himself often, by the ways of meditation and by the methods Plato teaches in the Banquet, to the first and all-transcendent God- that God appeared, the God throned above the Intellectual-Principle and all the Intellectual-Sphere.
“There was shown to Plotinus the Term ever near”: For the Term, the one end, of his life was to become Uniate, to approach to the God over all: and four times, during the period I passed with him he achieved this Term, by no mere latent fitness but by the ineffable Act.
To this God, I also declare, I Porphyry, that in my sixty-eighth year I too was once admitted and entered into Union.
We are told that often when he was leaving the way, the Gods set him on the true path again, pouring down before him a dense shaft of light; here we are to understand that in his writing he was overlooked and guided by the divine powers.
“In this sleepless vision within and without” -the oracle says,- “your eyes have beheld sights many and fair not vouchsafed to all that take the philosophic path”: contemplation in man may sometimes be more than human, but compare it with the True-Knowing of the Gods and, wonderful though it be, it can never plunge into the depths their divine vision fathoms.
Thus far the Oracle recounts what Plotinus accomplished and to what heights he attained while still in the body: emancipated from the body, we are told how he entered the celestial circle where all is friend-ship, tender delight, happiness and loving union with God, where Minos and Rhadamanthus and Aeacus, the son of God, are enthroned as judges of souls -not, however, to hold him to judgement but as welcoming him to their consort to which are bidden spirits pleasing to the Gods- Plato, Pythagoras and all the people of the Choir of Immortal Love, there where the blessed spirits have their birth-home and live in days made happy by the Gods……’ (Translated by Stephen Mackenna)
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