The First Book.

O my Son, write this first Book, both for Humanity’s sake,  and for Piety towards God.

For there can be no Religion more true or just, than to know the  things that are; and to acknowledge thanks for all things, to him that  made them, which thing I shall not cease continually to do.

What then should a man do, O Father, to lead his life well, seeing  there is nothing here true ?

Be Pious and Religious, O my Son, for he that doth so, is the best  and highest Philosopher; and with− out

Philosophy, it is impossible  ever to attain to the height and exactness of Piety or Religion.

But he that shall learn and study the things that are, and how they  are ordered and governed, and by whom and for what cause, or to what  end, will acknowledge thanks to the Workman as to a good Father, an excellent Nurse and a faithful Steward, and he that gives thanks shall  be Pious or Religious, and he that is Religious shall know both where  the truth is, and what it is, and learning that, he will be yet more  and more Religious.

For never, O Son, shall or can that Soul which while it is in the  Body lightens and lifts up itself to know and comprehend that which is  Good and True, slide back to the contrary; for it is infinitely  enamoured thereof. and forgetteth all Evils; and when it hath learned  and known its Father and progenitor it can no more Apostatize or depart  from that Good.

And let this, O Son, be the end of Religion and Piety; whereunto  when thou art once arrived, thou shalt both live well, and die  blessedly, whilst thy Soul is not ignorant whether it must return and  fly back again.

For this only, O Son, is the way to the Truth, which our  Progenitors travelled in; and by which, making their Journey, they at  length attained to the Good. It is a Venerable way, and plain, but hard  and difficult for the Soul to go in that is in the Body.

For first must it war against its own self, and after much Strife  and Dissention it must be overcome of one part; for the Contention is  of one against two, whilst it flies away and they strive to hold and  detain it.

But the victory of both is not like; for the one hasteth to that  which is Good, but the other is a neighbour to the things that are  Evil; and that which is Good, desireth to be set at Liberty; but the  things that are Evil, love Bondage and Slavery.

And if the two parts be overcome, they become quiet, and are  content to accept of it as their Ruler; but if the one be overcome of  the two, it is by them led and carried to be punished by its being and  continuance here.

This is, O Son, the Guide in the way that leads thither for thou  must first forsake the Body before thy end, and get the victory in this  Contention and Strifeful life, and when thou hast overcome. return.

But now, O my Son, I will by Heads run through the things that are:  understand thou what I say, and remember what thou hearest.

All things that are, are moved; only that which is not, is  unmovable. Every Body is changeable.

Not every Body is dissolvable. Some Bodies are dissolvable. Every living thing is not mortal. Not every living thing is immortal.

That which may be dissolved is also corruptible. That which abides always is unchangeable.

That which is unchangeable is eternal.

That which is always made is always corrupted.

That which is made but once, is never corrupted, neither becomes  any other thing. First, God; Secondly, the World; Thirdly, Man.

The World for Man, Man for God.

Of the Soul, that part which is Sensible is mortal, but that which  is Reasonable is immortal. Every essence is immortal.

Every essence is unchangeable. Every thing that is, is double.

None of the things that are stand still.

Not all things are moved by a Soul, but every thing that is, is  moved by a Soul. Every thing that suffers is Sensible, every thing that is Sensible  suffereth. Every thing that is sad rejoiceth also, and is a mortal living  Creature.

Not every thing that joyeth is also sad, but is an eternal living  thing. Not every Body is sick; every Body that is sick is dissolvable.

The Mind in God.

Reasoning (or disputing or discoursing) in Man, Reason in the Mind.

The Mind is void of suffering. No thing in a Body true.

All that is incorporeal, is void of Lying. Every thing that is made is corruptible.

Nothing good upon Earth, nothing evil in Heaven. God is good, Man is evil.

Good is voluntary, or of its own accord. Evil is involuntary or against its will.

The Gods choose good things, as good things.

Time is a Divine thing. Law is Humane.

Malice is the nourishment of the World. Time is the Corruption of Man. Whatsoever is in Heaven is unalterable. All upon Earth is alterable.

Nothing in Heaven is servanted, nothing upon Earth free. Nothing unknown in Heaven, nothing known upon Earth.

The things upon Earth communicate not with those in Heaven.

All things in Heaven are unblameable, all things upon Earth are  subject to Reprehension. That which is immortal, is not mortal: that which is mortal is not  immortal.

That which is sown, is not always begotten; but that which is  begotten always, is sown.

Of a dissolvable Body, there are two Times, one from sowing to  generation, one from generation to death. Of an everlasting Body, the time is only from the Generation.

Dissolvable Bodies are increased and diminished,

Dissolvable matter is altered into contraries; to wit, Corruption  and Generation, but Eternal matter into its self, and its like.

The Generation of Man is Corruption, the Corruption of Man is the  beginning of Generation. That which off−springs or begetteth another, is itself an offspring  or begotten by another.

Of things that are, some are in Bodies, some in their Ideas. Whatsoever things belong to operation or working, are in a Body. That which is immortal, partakes not of that which is mortal.

That which is mortal, cometh not into a Body immortal, but that  which is immortal, cometh into that which is mortal.

Operations or Workings are not carried upwards, but descend  downwards.

Things upon Earth do nothing advantage those in Heaven, but all  things in Heaven do profit and advantage the things upon Earth.

Heaven is capable and a fit receptacle of everlasting Bodies, the  Earth of corruptible Bodies. The Earth is brutish, the Heaven is reasonable or rational.

Those things that are in Heaven are subjected or placed under it,  but the things on Earth, are placed upon it. Heaven is the first Element.

Providence is Divine Order.

Necessity is the Minister or Servant of Providence.

Fortune is the carriage or effect of that which is without Order;  the Idol of operation, a lying fantasy or opinion.

What is God? The immutable or unalterable Good. What is Man? An unchangeable Evil.

If thou perfectly remember these Heads, thou canst not forget those  things which in more words I have largely expounded unto thee; for  these are the Contents or Abridgment of them.

Avoid all Conversation with the multitude or common People, for I  would not have thee subject to Envy, much less to be ridiculous unto  the many.

For the like always takes to itself that which is like, but the  unlike never agrees with the unlike: such Discourses as these have very  few Auditors, and peradventure very few will have, but they have  something peculiar unto themselves.

They do rather sharpen and whet evil men to their maliciousness,  therefore it behoveth to avoid the multitude and take heed of them as  not understanding the virtue and power of the things that are said.

How dost Thou mean, O Father?

Thus, O Son, the whole Nature and Composition of those living  things called Men, is very prone to Maliciousness, and is very  familiar, and as it were nourished with it, and therefore is delighted  with it. Now this wight if it shall come to learn or know, that the  world was once made, and all things are done according to Providence and Necessity, Destiny, or Fate, bearing Rule over all: Will he not be  much worse than himself, despising the whole because it was made. And  if he may lay the cause of evil upon Fate or Destiny, he will never  abstain from any evil work.

Wherefore we must look warily to such kind of people, that being in  ignorance, they may be less evil for fear of that which is hidden and  kept secret.