4. A aporia nasce sobretudo porque nossa apreensão do Uno não se faz nem por meio da ciência nem por meio da intelecção , como é o caso para os outros inteligíveis, mas que ela resulta de uma presença que é superior à ciência. Ora, a alma faz a experiência de sua falta de unidade , e ela não é mais totalmente una, quando ela adquire a ciência de algo; pois a ciência é um discurso, e o discurso é múltiplo. Logo ela abandona a unidade e cai no número e na multiplicidade. É preciso então se lançar além da ciência e não sair de nenhuma maneira da unidade; é preciso também se afastar da ciência e de seus objetos, como de todo outro objeto de contemplação , mesmo do belo. Pois tudo que é belo é posterior ao Uno e vem dele, como toda a luz do dia vem do sol. Eis porque Platão diz que não se pode nem «falar» nem «escrever » a respeito dele, mas que, se falamos e escrevemos, é para conduzir a ele e para despertar à contemplação a partir dos discursos, como se indicássemos o caminho àquele que quer alcançar à contemplação. Pois o ensinamento não pode indicar senão a via e o caminho; a contemplação ela mesma, é àquele que quer contemplar que cabe doravante de pô-la em obra. Mas se alguém não alcançou à contemplação, se sua alma não tomou consciência do esplendor de lá, se não experimentou nem fez nele mesmo uma experiência semelhante à paixão amorosa do amante que, em olhando o objeto de seu amor, encontra seu repouso nele, porque recebeu uma luz verdadeira que ilumina de todas as partes a alma inteira, o que se explica porque ele disto se aproximou, mesmo se é ainda retido na sua subida por um peso que faz obstáculo à contemplação, pois não sobe só, mas porta ainda com ele o que o separa do Uno e ele ainda não se reuniu em uma unidade (certamente, o Uno não está ausente de nada e é ausente de todas as coisas, de sorte que, presente , não está presente, salvo naqueles que podem e que são preparados a recebê-lo de maneira a se ajustar a ele, e, por assim dizer, a tocá-lo e a abraçá-lo em virtude da semelhança que têm com ele, quer dizer do poder que cada um possui e que é do mesmo gênero que esse que vem dele; quando se encontra na condição que se estava quando se é vindo dele, pode-se doravante o ver, da maneria pela qual, por natureza, ele pode ser contemplado); se aquele que quer contemplar não está portanto ainda lá, mas que permanece no exterior, seja pelas razões precedentes seja por causa da insuficiência do raciocínio que o guia e lhe dá confiança , é preciso que se tome a si mesmo por isso, e que se tente permanecer só, em se afastando de todas as coisas; quanto ao que não se crê ainda porque se negligencia nossos discursos, que se considere o que segue.
4. The main part of the difficulty is that awareness of this Principle comes neither by knowing nor by the Intellection that discovers the Intellectual Beings but by a presence overpassing all knowledge. In knowing, soul or mind abandons its unity; it cannot remain a simplex : knowing is taking account of things; that accounting is multiple; the mind, thus plunging into number and multiplicity, departs from unity.
Our way then takes us beyond knowing; there may be no wandering from unity; knowing and knowable must all be left aside; every object of thought, even the highest, we must pass by, for all that is good is later than This and derives from This as from the sun all the light of the day.
«Not to be told; not to be written»: in our writing and telling we are but urging towards it: out of discussion we call to vision: to those desiring to see, we point the path; our teaching is of the road and the travelling; the seeing must be the very act of one that has made this choice.
There are those that have not attained to see. The soul has not come to know the splendour There; it has not felt and clutched to itself that love-passion of vision known to lover come to rest where he loves. Or struck perhaps by that authentic light, all the soul lit by the nearness gained, we have gone weighted from beneath; the vision is frustrate; we should go without burden and we go carrying that which can but keep us back; we are not yet made over into unity.
From none is that Principle absent and yet from all: present, it remains absent save to those fit to receive, disciplined into some accordance, able to touch it closely by their likeness and by that kindred power within themselves through which, remaining as it was when it came to them from the Supreme, they are enabled to see in so far as God may at all be seen.
Failure to attain may be due to such impediment or to lack of the guiding thought that establishes trust; impediment we must charge against ourselves and strive by entire renunciation to become emancipate; where there is distrust for lack of convincing reason, further considerations may be applied:
 La cause principale de notre incertitude, c’est que la compréhension (σύνεσις) que nous avons de l’Un ne nous vient ni par la connaissance scientifique, ni par la pensée,comme la connaissance des autres choses intelligibles, mais par une présence (παρουσία ) qui esτ supérieure à la science (10). Lorsque l’âme acquiert la connaissance scientifique d’un objet, elle s’éloigne de l’Un et elle cesse d’être tout à fait une : car la science implique la raison discursive, et la raison discursive implique multiplicité. L’âme, dans ce cas, s’écarte de l’Un et tombe dans le nombre et la multiplicité. Il faut donc [pour atteindre l’Un] s’élever au-dessus de la science, ne jamais s’éloigner de ce qui est essentiellement un; il faut par conséquent renoncera la science, aux objets de la science et à tout autre spectacle [que celui de l’Un], même à celui du Beau : car le Beau est postérieur à l’Un et vient de lui, comme la lumière du jour vient du soleil. C’est pourquoi Platon dit de Lui qu’il est ineffable et indescriptible (11). Cependant nous parlons de lui, nous écrivons sur lui, mais c’est pour exciter notre âme par nos discussions et la diriger vers ce spectacle divin, 544 comme on montre la route à celui qui désire aller voir un objet. L’enseignement en effet va bien jusqu’à nous montrer le chemin et nous guider dans la route ; mais obtenir la vision [de Dieu], c’est l’œuvre propre de celui qui a désiré l’obtenir.
Si votre âme ne parvient pas à jouir de ce spectacle, si elle n’a pas l’intuition de la lumière divine, si elle reste froide et n’éprouve pas en elle-même un ravissement analogue à celui de l’amant qui contemple l’objet aimé et qui se repose en son sein, ravissement qu’éprouvé celui qui a vu la lumière véritable et dont l’âme a été inondée de clarté en s’approchant de cette lumière (12), c’est que vous avez tenté de vous élever à Dieu sans vous être débarrassé des entraves qui devaient vous arrêter dans votre marche et vous empêcher de contempler ; c’est que vous ne vous êtes pas élevé seul, mais que vous aviez retenu avec vous quelque chose qui vous séparait de Lui ; ou plutôt, c’est que vous n’étiez pas encore réduit à l’unité (εἰς ἓν συναχθείς). Car Lui, il n’est absent d’aucun être, et cependant il est absent de tous, en sorte qu’il est présent [à tous] sans être présent [à tous]. Il est présent pour ceux-là seuls qui peuvent le recevoir et qui y sont préparés, qui sont capables de se mettre en harmonie avec lui, de l’atteindre et de le toucher en quelque sorte en vertu de la conformité qu’ils ont avec lui, en vertu également d’une puissance innée analogue à celle 545 qui découle de lui, quand leur âme enfin se trouve dans l’état où elle était après avoir communiqué avec lui : alors ils peuvent le voir autant qu’il est visible de sa nature. Je le répète donc : si vous ne vous êtes pas déjà élevé jusque-là, c’est que vous en êtes encore éloigné soit par les obstacles dont nous avons parlé plus haut (13), soit par le défaut d’un enseignement qui vous ait appris la route à suivre et qui vous ait donné la foi aux choses divines. Dans tous les cas, vous ne devez vous en prendre qu’à vous-même; vous n’avez pour être seul qu’à vous détacher de tout. Quant au manque de foi dans les raisonnements que l’on fait sur ce point, on y remédiera par les réflexions suivantes.
WE CANNOT COMPREHEND UNITY, WHICH WE APPROACH ONLY BY A PRESENCE.
4. The principal cause of our uncertainty is that our comprehension of the One comes to us neither by scientific knowledge, nor by thought, as the knowledge of other intelligible things, but by a presence which is superior to science. When the soul acquires the scientific knowledge of something, she withdraws from unity and ceases being entirely one; for science implies discursive reason and discursive reason implies manifoldness. (To attain Unity) we must therefore rise above science, and never withdraw from what is essentially One; we must therefore renounce science, the objects of science, and every other right (except that of the One); even to that of beauty; for beauty is posterior to unity, and is derived therefrom, as the day-light comes from the sun. That is why Plato says of (Unity) that it is unspeakable and undescribable. Nevertheless we speak of it, we write about it, but only to excite our souls by our discussions, and to direct them towards this divine spectacle, just as one might point out the road to somebody who desired to see some object. Instruction, indeed, goes as far as showing the road, and guiding us in the way; but to obtain the vision (of the divinity), is the work suitable to him who has desired to obtain it.
THOSE WHO SEE GOD WITHOUT EMOTION HAVE FAILED TO RID THEMSELVES OF PHYSICAL HINDRANCES, AND HAVE NOT BECOME UNIFIED.
If your soul does not succeed in enjoying this spectacle, if she does not have the intuition of the divine light, if she remains cold and does not, within herself, feel a rapture such as that of a lover who sees the beloved object, and who rests within it, a rapture felt by him who has seen the true light, and whose soul has been overwhelmed with brilliance on approaching this light, then you have tried to rise to the divinity without having freed yourself from the hindrances which arrest your progress, and hinder your contemplation. You did not rise alone, and you retained within yourself something that separated you from Him; or rather, you were not yet unified. Though He be absent from all beings, He is absent from none, so that He is present (to all) without being present (to them). He is present only for those who are able to receive Him, and who are prepared for Him, and who are capable of harmonizing themselves with Him, to reach Him, and as it were to touch Him by virtue of the conformity they have with Him, and also by virtue of an innate power analogous to that which flows from Him, when at last their souls find themselves in the state where they were after having communicated with Him; then they can see Him so far as his nature is visible. I repeat: if you have not yet risen so far, the conclusion must be that you are still at a distance from Him, either by the obstacles of which we spoke above, or by the lack of such instruction as would have taught you the road to follow, and which would have imbued you with faith in things divine. In any case, you have no fault to find with any but yourself; for, to be alone, all you need to do is to detach yourself from everything. Lack of faith in arguments about it may be remedied by the following considerations.
IV. In this affair, however, a doubt especially arises, because the perception of the highest God is not effected by science, nor by intelligence, like other intelligibles, but by the presence of him, which is a mode of knowledge superior to that of science. But the soul suffers an apostasy from the one, and is not entirely one when it receives scientific knowledge. For science is reason, and reason is multitudinous. The soul, therefore, in this case, deviates from the one, and falls into number and multitude. Hence it is necessary to run above science, and in no respect to depart from a subsistence which is profoundly one; but it is requisite to abandon science, the objects of science, every other thing, and every beautiful spectacle. For every thing beautiful is posterior to the supreme, and is derived from him, in the same manner as all diurnal light is derived from the sun. Hence Plato says, he is neither effable, nor to be described by writing. We speak however, and write about him, extending ourselves to him, and exciting others by a reasoning process to the vision of him; pointing out, as it were, the way to him who wishes to behold something [of his ineffable nature]. For doctrine extends as far as to the way and the progression to him. But the vision of him is now the work of one who is solicitous to perceive him. He, however, will not arrive at the vision of him, and will not be affected by the survey, nor will have in himself as it were an amatory passion from the view, (which passion causes the lover to rest in the object of his love) nor receive from it a true light, which surrounds the whole soul with its splendour, in consequence of becoming nearer to it; he, I say, will not behold this light, who attempts to ascend to the vision of the supreme while he is drawn downwards by those things which are an impediment to the vision. He will likewise not ascend by himself alone, but will be accompanied by that which will divulse him from the one, or rather he will not be himself collected into one. For the one is not absent from any thing, and yet is separated from all things; so that it is present, and yet not present with them. But it is present with those things that are able, and are prepared to receive it, so that they become congruous, and as it were pass into contact with it, through similitude and a certain inherent power allied to that which is imparted by the one. When, therefore, the soul is disposed in such a way as she was when she came from the one, then she is able to perceive it, as far as it is naturally capable of being seen. He, therefore, who has not yet arrived thither, but either on account of the above-mentioned obstacle is deprived of this vision, or through the want of reason which may conduct him to it, and impart faith respecting it; such a one may consider himself as the cause of his disappointment through these impediments, and should endeavour by separating himself from all things to be alone. But with respect to arguments in the belief of which he is deficient, he should conceive as follows: