Mas o que é este escapar?
Mas a Semelhança por meio da Virtude implica na Semelhança a algum ser que tenha Virtude? A que Ser Divino, então, nossa Semelhança seria? Ao Ser - não devemos pensar ? - no Qual acima de tudo, tal excelência parece inerente, ou seja à Alma do Mundo e ao Princípio ordenando de dentro dela, o Princípio dotado da sabedoria mais maravilhosa. O que poderia se mais apropriado do que nós, vivendo neste mundo, devêssemos nos tornar Semelhante a seu ordenador?
Mas, no início, nos deparamos com a dúvida se mesmo neste Ser Divino todas as virtudes têm lugar - Equilíbrio-Moral (sophrosyne ), por exemplo; ou Fortitude onde não pode haver nenhum perigo posto que nada é estranho; onde nada pode ser atraente cuja falta poderia induzir o desejo de posse.
Se, de fato, esta aspiração em direção ao Inteligível que está em nossa natureza existe também neste Poder-Ordenador, então não se precisa buscar em outra parte pela fonte da ordem e das virtudes em nós mesmos.
Mas este Poder possui as Virtudes?
Não podemos esperar descobrir Aí o que se denominam as Virtudes Cívicas , a Prudência que pertence à faculdade de raciocínio; a Fortitude que conduz a natureza emocional e apaixonada; a Sophrosyne que consiste em um certo pacto, em um acordo entre a faculdade apaixonada e a razão; ou a Retitude que é a devida aplicação de todas as outras virtudes de modo que cada uma por sua vez deveria comandar ou obedecer.
É a Semelhança, então, alcançada, talvez, não por estas virtudes da ordem social mas por aquelas qualidades maiores conhecidas pelo mesmo nome geral? E se assim é as Virtudes Cívicas não nos dão ajuda em absoluto?
É contra a razão, negar sobremaneira a Semelhança por estas enquanto admitindo-a pelo superior: a tradição pelo menos reconhece certos homens de excelência cívica como divinos, e devemos crer que estes também alcançaram de alguma forma a Semelhança: em ambos os níveis há virtude para nós, embora não a mesma virtude.
Agora, se admitimos que a Semelhança é possível, embora por um uso variado de diferentes virtudes e embora as virtudes cívicas não sejam suficiente, não há razão porque não deveríamos, pelas virtudes peculiares a nosso estado , alcançar a Semelhança a um modelo no qual a virtude não tenha lugar.
Mas o que é concebível?
Se um fogo aquece algo, deve haver um fogo para aquecer este fogo?
Contra a primeira ilustração pode ser retorquido que a fonte do calor já não contém calor, não por uma infusão mas como uma fase essencial de sua natureza, de modo que, se a analogia deve ser sustentada, o argumento faria a Virtude algo comunicado à Alma mas um constituinte essencial do Princípio do qual a Alma alcançando a Semelhança o absorve.
Contra a ilustração retirada do fogo, pode ser aventado que a analogia faria deste Princípio idêntico a virtude, enquanto o sustentamos ser algo superior.
A objeção seria válida se o que a alma toma fosse um e o mesmo com a fonte, mas de fato a virtude é uma coisa, a fonte da virtude totalmente outra. A casa material não é idêntica com a casa concebida no intelecto, e no entanto permanece em sua semelhança: a casa material tem distribuição e ordem enquanto a ideia pura não é constituída por qualquer de tais elementos; distribuição, ordem, simetria não são partes de uma ideia.
Assim conosco: é do Supremo que derivam ordem e distribuição e harmonia , que são virtudes nesta esfera : as Existências Lá, não tendo necessidade de harmonia, ordem e distribuição, nada tem com a virtude; e, no entanto, é por nossa posse da virtude que nos tornamos semelhantes a Elas.
Assim demonstra-se que o princípio que alcançamos a Semelhança pela virtude de modo algum implica na existência da virtude no Supremo. Mas nós temos de não apenas fazer uma demonstração formal: devemos persuadir assim como demonstrar .
 Puisque le mal règne ici-bas et domine inévitablement en ce monde, et puisque l’âme veut fuir le mal, il faut fuir d’ici-bas. Mais quel en est le moyen? C’est, dit Platon , de nous rendre semblables à Dieu. Or nous y réussirons en nous formant à la justice, à la sainteté, à la sagesse, et en général à la vertu .
Si c’est par la vertu qu’a lieu cette assimilation, le Dieu à qui nous voulons nous rendre semblables possède–t–il lui–même la vertu? Mais quel est ce Dieu? Sans doute c’est celui qui semble devoir posséder la vertu au plus haut degré, c’est l’Âme du monde, avec le principe qui gouverne en elle et qui a une sagesse admirable [l’Intelligence suprême]. Habitant ce monde, c’est à ce Dieu que nous devons chercher à ressembler. Et cependant, on peut douter à la première vue que toutes les vertus puissent convenir à ce Dieu, qu’on puisse par exemple lui attribuer la modération dans les désirs ou le courage : le courage, puisqu’il n’a aucun danger à craindre, étant à l’abri de toute atteinte; la modération, puisqu’il ne peut exister aucun objet agréable dont la présence excite ses désirs, dont l’absence excite ses regrets. Mais si Dieu aspire comme nous-mêmes aux choses intelligibles, c’est évidemment de là que nous recevons l’ordre et les vertus.
Dieu possède-t-il donc ces vertus?
Il n’est pas convenable de lui attribuer les vertus qu’on nomme civiles (politikai) : la prudence, qui se rapporte à la partie raisonnable de notre être, le courage, qui se rapporte à la partie irascible, la tempérance, qui consiste dans l’accord et l’harmonie de la partie concupiscible et de la raison, la justice enfin, qui consiste dans l’accomplissement par toutes ces facultés de la fonction propre à chacune d’elles, soit pour commander, soit pour obéir . Mais si ce n’est pas par les vertus civiles que nous pouvons nous rendre semblables à Dieu, n’est-ce pas par des vertus qui sont d’un ordre supérieur et qui portent le même nom? Dans ce cas, les vertus civiles sont-elles complètement inutiles pour atteindre notre but? Non : on ne peut pas dire qu’en les pratiquant on ne ressemble en aucune manière à Dieu: car la renommée proclame divins ceux qui les possèdent. Elles nous donnent donc quelque ressemblance avec Dieu, mais c’est par les vertus d’un ordre supérieur que nous lui devenons complètement semblables.
Il semble que de l’une ou de l’autre façon on est conduit à attribuer à Dieu des vertus, quoique ce ne soient pas des vertus civiles. Si l’on accorde que, bien que Dieu ne possède pas les vertus civiles, nous pouvons lui devenir semblables par d’autres vertus (car il peut en être autrement pour des vertus d’un autre ordre), rien n’empêche que, sans nous assimiler à Dieu par les vertus civiles, nous devenions, par des vertus qui cependant sont nôtres, semblables à l’être qui ne possède pas la vertu. Comment cela peut-il avoir lieu? Le voici : quand un corps est échauffé par la présence de la chaleur, est-il nécessaire que le corps d’où provient la chaleur soit échauffé lui-même par un autre? Si un corps est chaud par l’effet de la présence du feu, faut-il que le feu soit lui-même échauffé par la présence d’un autre feu? On dira peut-être d’abord : il y a de la chaleur dans le feu. mais une chaleur innée; d’où l’on doit conclure par voie d’analogie que la vertu, qui n’est qu’adventice dans l’âme, est innée dans Celui de qui l’âme la tient par imitation [dans Dieu]. A l’argument tiré du feu, on répondra peut-être encore que Dieu possède la vertu, mais une vertu d’une nature supérieure . Cette réponse serait juste, si la vertu à laquelle l’âme participe était identique au principe dont elle la tient ; mais il y a tout au contraire opposition complète : quand nous voyons une maison, la maison sensible n’est pas identique à la maison intelligible, quoiqu’elle lui soit semblable. En effet la maison sensible participe à l’ordre et à la proportion, tandis que l’on ne saurait attribuer à l’idée de cette maison ni ordre, ni proportion, ni symétrie. De même nous tenons de Dieu l’ordre, la proportion, l’harmonie, conditions de la vertu ici-bas, sans que l’Intelligence suprême ait besoin de posséder elle-même ni ordre, ni proportion, ni harmonie. Il n’est donc pas nécessaire qu’elle possède la vertu, quoique ce soit par la vertu que nous lui devenons semblables. Voilà ce que nous avions à dire afin de montrer qu’il n’est pas nécessaire que l’Intelligence divine possède la vertu pour que nous lui devenions semblables par la vertu. Mais il faut persuader cette vérité, sans se contenter de contraindre l’esprit à l’admettre.
VIRTUE THE ROAD TO ESCAPE EVILS.
1. Man must flee from (this world) here below (for two reasons): because it is the nature of the soul to flee from evil, and because inevitable evil prevails and dominates this world here below. What is this flight (and how can we accomplish it)? (Plato), tells us it consists in "being assimilated to divinity." This then can be accomplished by judiciously conforming to justice, and holiness; in short, by virtue.
CAN THESE VIRTUES BE ASCRIBED TO THE DIVINITY?
If then it be by virtue that we are assimilated (to divinity), does this divinity to whom we are trying to achieve assimilation, Himself possess virtue? Besides, what divinity is this? Surely it must be He who must most seem to possess virtue, the world-Soul, together with the principle predominating in her, whose wisdom is most admirable (supreme Intelligence) — for it is quite reasonable that we should be assimilated to Him. Nevertheless, one might, unreflectingly, question whether all virtues might suit this divinity; whether, for instance, moderation in his desires, or courage could be predicated of Him; for, as to courage, nothing can really harm Him, and He therefore has nothing to fear; and as to moderation, no pleasant object whose presence would excite His desires, or whose absence would in Him awaken regrets, could possibly exist. But inasmuch as the divinity, just as we ourselves, aspires to intelligible things, He is evidently the source of our gracious sanity and virtues. So we are forced to ask ourselves, "Does the divinity possess these virtues?"
HOMELY VIRTUES ASSIMILATE US TO DIVINITY ONLY PARTIALLY.
It would not be proper to attribute to Him the homely (or, civil) virtues, such as prudence, which "relates to the rational part of our nature"; courage, which "relates to our irascible part"; temperance, which consists of the harmonious consonance of our desires and our reason last, of justice, which "consists in the accomplishment by all these faculties of the function proper to each of them," "whether to commnd, or to obey," (as said Plato). But if we cannot become assimilated to the divinity by these homely virtues, that process must demand similarly named virtues of a superior order. However, these homely virtues would not be entirely useless to achieve that result, for one cannot say that while practising them one does not at all resemble the divinity as they who practise them are reputed to be godlike. These lower virtues do therefore yield some resemblance to the divinity, but complete assimilation can result only from virtues of a higher order.
THE DIVINE NEED NOT POSSESS THE LOWER VIRTUES BY WHICH WE ARE ASSIMILATED TO HIM.
Virtues, even if they be not homely, are therefore ultimately ascribed (to the divinity). Granting that the divinity does not possess the homely virtues, we may still become assimilated to Him by other virtues for with virtues of another order the case might differ. Therefore, without assimilating ourselves to the divinity by homely virtues we might nevertheless by means of virtues which still are ours, become assimilated to the Being which does not possess virtue.
This may be explained by an illustration. When a body is warmed by the presence of fire, the fire itself need not be heated by the presence of another fire. It might be argued that there was heat in the fire, but a heat that is innate. Reasoning by analogy, the virtue, which in the soul is-only adventitious, is innate in Him from whom the soul derives it by imitation; (in other words, the cause need not necessarily possess the same qualities as the effect).
Our argument from heat might however be questioned, inasmuch as the divinity really does possess virtue, though it be of a higher nature. This observa-vation would be correct, if the virtue in which the soul participates were identical with the principle from which she derives it. But there is a complete opposition ; for when we see a house, the sense-house is not identical with the intelligible House, though possessing resemblance thereto. Indeed, the sense-house participates in order and proportion, though neither order, proportion, nor symmetry could be attributed to the idea of the House. Likewise, we derived from the divinity order, proportion and harmony, which, here below, are conditions of virtue, without thereby implying that the divinity Himself need, possess order, proportion, or harmony. Similarly, it is not necessary that He possess virtue, although we become assimilated to Him thereby.
Such is our demonstration that human assimilation to the divine Intelligence by virtue does not (necessarily imply) (in the divine Intelligence itself) possession of virtue. Mere logical demonstration thereof is not, however, sufficient; we must also convince.
1. Since Evil is here, "haunting this world by necessary law," and it is the Soul’s design to escape from Evil, we must escape hence.
But what is this escape?
"In attaining Likeness to God," we read. And this is explained as "becoming just and holy, living by wisdom," the entire nature grounded in Virtue.
But does not Likeness by way of Virtue imply Likeness to some being that has Virtue? To what Divine Being, then, would our Likeness be? To the Being- must we not think?- in Which, above all, such excellence seems to inhere, that is to the Soul of the Kosmos and to the Principle ruling within it, the Principle endowed with a wisdom most wonderful. What could be more fitting than that we, living in this world, should become Like to its ruler?
But, at the beginning, we are met by the doubt whether even in this Divine-Being all the virtues find place- Moral-Balance [Sophrosyne], for example; or Fortitude where there can be no danger since nothing is alien; where there can be nothing alluring whose lack could induce the desire of possession.
If, indeed, that aspiration towards the Intelligible which is in our nature exists also in this Ruling-Power, then need not look elsewhere for the source of order and of the virtues in ourselves.
But does this Power possess the Virtues?
We cannot expect to find There what are called the Civic Virtues, the Prudence which belongs to the reasoning faculty; the Fortitude which conducts the emotional and passionate nature; the Sophrosyne which consists in a certain pact, in a concord between the passionate faculty and the reason; or Rectitude which is the due application of all the other virtues as each in turn should command or obey.
Is Likeness, then, attained, perhaps, not by these virtues of the social order but by those greater qualities known by the same general name? And if so do the Civic Virtues give us no help at all?
It is against reason, utterly to deny Likeness by these while admitting it by the greater: tradition at least recognizes certain men of the civic excellence as divine, and we must believe that these too had in some sort attained Likeness: on both levels there is virtue for us, though not the same virtue.
Now, if it be admitted that Likeness is possible, though by a varying use of different virtues and though the civic virtues do not suffice, there is no reason why we should not, by virtues peculiar to our state, attain Likeness to a model in which virtue has no place.
But is that conceivable?
When warmth comes in to make anything warm, must there needs be something to warm the source of the warmth?
If a fire is to warm something else, must there be a fire to warm that fire?
Against the first illustration it may be retorted that the source of the warmth does already contain warmth, not by an infusion but as an essential phase of its nature, so that, if the analogy is to hold, the argument would make Virtue something communicated to the Soul but an essential constituent of the Principle from which the Soul attaining Likeness absorbs it.
Against the illustration drawn from the fire, it may be urged that the analogy would make that Principle identical with virtue, whereas we hold it to be something higher.
The objection would be valid if what the soul takes in were one and the same with the source, but in fact virtue is one thing, the source of virtue quite another. The material house is not identical with the house conceived in the intellect, and yet stands in its likeness: the material house has distribution and order while the pure idea is not constituted by any such elements; distribution, order, symmetry are not parts of an idea.
So with us: it is from the Supreme that we derive order and distribution and harmony, which are virtues in this sphere: the Existences There, having no need of harmony, order or distribution, have nothing to do with virtue; and, none the less, it is by our possession of virtue that we become like to Them.
Thus much to show that the principle that we attain Likeness by virtue in no way involves the existence of virtue in the Supreme. But we have not merely to make a formal demonstration: we must persuade as well as demonstrate.
I. Since evils are here, and revolve from necessity about this [terrestrial] place, but the soul wishes to fly from evils, it is requisite to fly from hence. "What therefore is the flight ? To become similar, says Plato, to God. But this will be effected, if we become just and holy, in conjunction with [intellectual] prudence, and in short if we are [truly] virtuous. If therefore we are assimilated through virtue, is it to one who possesses virtue ? But to whom are we assimilated ? To divinity. Are we then assimilated to that nature which appears to possess the virtues in a more eminent degree, and also to the soul of the world, and to the intellect which is the leader in it, in which there is an admirable wisdom? For it is reasonable to suppose that while we are here, we are assimilated to this intellect. Or is it not in the first place dubious, whether all the virtues are present with this intellect, such as temperance and fortitude, since there is nothing which can be dreadful to it ? For nothing externally happens to it, nor does any thing pleasing approach to it, which when not present it may become desirous of possessing, or apprehending. But if it also has an appetite directed to the intelligibles, after which our souls aspire, it is evident that ornament and the virtues are from thence derived to us. Has therefore this intellect these virtues? Or may we not say, it is not reasonable to suppose, that it possesses what are called the political virtues, viz. prudence indeed, about the part that deliberates and consults; fortitude about the irascible part; temperance, in the agreement and concord of the part that desires, with the reasoning power; and justice, in each of these parts performing its proper office, with respect to governing and being governed. Shall we say therefore, that we are not assimilated to divinity according to the political virtues, but according to greater virtues which employ the same appellation ? But if according to others, are we not at all assimilated according to the political virtues ? Or is it not absurd that we should not in any respect be assimilated according to these ? For rumour also says, that these are divine. We must say, therefore, that we are after a manner assimilated by them ; but that the assimilation is according to the greater virtues. In either way, however, it happens that divinity has virtues, though not such as the political.
If, therefore, some one should grant, that though it is not possible to be assimilated according to such virtues as these, since we subsist differently with reference to other virtues, yet nothing hinders but that we by our virtues may be assimilated to that which does not possess virtue. But after what manner ? Thus, if any thing is heated by the presence of heat, it is necessary that also should be hot from whence the heat is derived. And if any thing is hot by the presence of fire, it is necessary that fire itself also should be hot by the presence of heat (For pyros thermou here, I read thermotetos). To the first of these assertions, however, it may be said, that there is heat in fire, but a connascent heat, so that it will follow from analogy, that virtue is indeed adventitious to the soul, but connascent with that nature from whence it is derived by imitation. And with respect to the argument from fire, it may be said that divinity possesses virtue, but that virtue in him is in reality greater than virtue [because it subsists causally]. But if that virtue indeed, of which the soul participates, was the same with that from which it is derived, it would be necessary to speak in this manner. Now, however, the one is different from the other. For neither is the sensible the same with the intelligible house [or with that which is the object of intellectual conception] though it is similar to it. And the sensible house participates of order and ornament; though there is neither order, nor ornament, nor symmetry, in the productive principle of it in the mind . Thus, therefore, we participate from thence [i.e. from divinity] of ornament, order and consent, and these things pertain to virtue, but there consent, ornament and order, are not wanted, and therefore divinity has no need of virtue. We are, however, nevertheless assimilated to what he possesses, through the presence of virtue. And thus much for the purpose of showing, that it is not necessary virtue should be there, though we are assimilated to divinity by virtue. But it is also necessary to introduce persuasion to what has been said, and not to be satisfied with compulsion alone.