Do RC's Know about the. Emperor Julian's Oration to the Rising Sun?

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  1 Do    Roman Catholic  s  K  n  ow  …?   The  EMPEROR JULIAN'S ORATION to the  SOVEREIGN SUN  2 IT appears to me that the present oration very properly belongs to all --who breathe or creep on earth,  1   who participate of being, of a rational soul, and of intellect; but I consider it as particularly belonging to myself; for I am an attendant of the sovereign Sun: and of the truth of this, indeed, I possess most accurate assurances, one of which it may be lawful for me, without envy, to relate.A vehement love for the splendors of this god took possession  p. 40  of me from my youth; in consequence of which, while I was a boy, my rational part was ravishedwith astonishment as often as I surveyed his etherial light; nor was I alone desirous of stedfastly beholding his diurnal splendors, but likewise at night, when the heavens were clear and serene, Iwas accustomed to walk abroad, and, neglecting every other concern, to gaze on the beauty of the celestial regions with rapturous delight: indeed I was so lost in attentive vision, that I wasequally unconscious of another's discourse, and of my own conduct on such occasions. Hence Iappeared to be too studious of their contemplation, and too curious in such employments; and, inconsequence of this, though I was yet short of the perfection of manhood, I was suspected bysome to be skilled in astronimical divination; but, indeed, no book of this kind was as yet in my possession, and I was entirely ignorant of its meaning and use. But why do I relate such trifling particulars, when I have things of far greater moment to declare, if I should tell my conceptionsof the gods at that period of life. However, let the darkness of childhood be consigned to theshades of oblivion. But that the celestial light, with which I was  p. 41  every way environed, so excited and exalted me to its contemplation, that I observed by myself the contrary course of the moon to that of the universe, before I met with any who philosophizedon these subjects, may easily be credited from the indications which I have previously related.Indeed I admire the felicity of the man on whom divinity bestows a body united from sacred and prophetic seed, that he may disclose the treasuries of wisdom; but, at the same time, I will notdespise the condition allotted me by the benefit of this deity; I mean, that I rank among those towhom the dominion and empire of the earth at the present period belong.It is, indeed, my opinion, that the sun (if we may credit the wise) is the common father of allmankind; for as it is very properly said, man and the sun generate man   1 .But this deitydisseminates souls into the earth not from himself alone, but from other divinities; and theseevince by their lives the end of their propagation. And his destiny will indeed be most illustrious,who, prior to his third progeny, and from a long series of   p. 42    3 ancestors, has been addicted to the service of this deity: nor is this to be despised, if some one,knowing himself to be naturally a servant of this god, alone among all, or with a few of mankind,delivers himself to the cultivation of his lord.Let us then, to the best of our ability, celebrate his festival, which the royal city rendersillustrious by its annual sacrifices and solemn rites. But I am well aware how difficult it is toconceive the nature of the unapparent sun, if we may conjecture from the excellence of theapparent god; and to declare this to others, can perhaps be accomplished by no one withoutderrogating from the dignity of the subject; for I am fully convinced that no one can attain to, thedignity of his nature: however, to possess a mediocrity in celebrating his majesty, appears to bethe summit of human attainments. But may Mercury, the ruling deity of discourse, together withthe Muses, and their leader, Apollo, be present in this undertaking; for this oration pertains toApollo; and may they enable me so to speak of the immortal gods, that the credibility of mynarration may be grateful and acceptable to their divinities. What mode of celebration then shallwe  p. 43  adopt? Shall we, if we speak of his nature and srcin, of his power and energies, as well manifestas occult, and besides this, of the communication of good which he largely distributes to everyworld, shall we, I say, by this means, frame an encomium, not perfectly abhorrent from the god?Let us therefore begin our oration from hence.That divine and all-beautiful world, then, which, from the supreme arch of the heavens, to theextremity of the earth, is contained by the immutable providence of the deity, existed frometernity without any generation, and will be eternal through all the following periods of time; nor is it guarded by any other substance, than by the proximate investiture of the fifth body  1 ,thesummit of which is the solar ray, situated, as it were, in the second degree from the intelligibleworld: but it is more antiently comprehended by the king and moderator of all things, aboutwhom the universe subsists. This cause therefore, whether it is lawful to call him that which issuperior to intellect; or the idea of the things which are, (but whom I  p. 44  should call the intelligible whole;) or  the one   1 ,since the one appears to be the most antient of allthings; or that which Plato is accustomed to denominate the good  ; this uniform cause, then, of the universe, who is to all beings the administrator of beauty, perfection, union, andimmeasurable power, according to a primary nature abiding in himself, produced from himself asa medium between the middle intellectual and demiurgic causes, that mighty divinity the sun perfectly similar to himself. And this was the opinion of the divine Plato , when he says  2 : Thisis what I called the son of the good, which the good generated, analogous to itself: that as this inthe intelligible place is to intellect and the objects of intelligence, so is that  in the visible place to  4 sight and the objects of sight. Hence it appears to me, that light has the same proportion to thatwhich is visible, as truth to that which is intelligible, But this intelligible universe, as it, is the progeny of the idea of the first and greatest good, eternally abiding about his stable essence,obtains the supremacy among the intellectual gods; and is the, source of the same perfection tothese, as  p. 45   the good  to the intelligible gods. But according to my opinion, good is to intelligibles the causeof beauty, essence, perfection, and union; comprehending and illuminating their nature by its boniform power: the sun therefore distributes the same excellences to the intellectual gods, of whom he is appointed the sovereign ruler by the ordination of  the good  . At the same time, it must be observed, that these gods are coexistent with this intellectual sun; by means of which, as itappears to me, from exerting a boniform cause among the intellectual gods, he administers allthings according to the invariable rectitude of intellect.But besides this, the third divine principle, I mean the apparent and splendid orbicular sun, is thecause of well-being to sensible natures; and whatever we have asserted as flowing from themighty intellectual sun among the intellectual gods, the same perfections the apparent suncommunicates to apparent forms; and the truth of this will be clearly evinced by contemplatinginvisible natures, from the objects of sensible inspection. Let us then begin the contemplation.And, in the first place, is not light  1  the incorporeal  p. 46  and divine form of that which is diaphanous in energy? But whatever that which is diaphanousmay be, which is subjected to all the elements, and is their proximate form, it is certain that it isneither corporeal nor mixt, nor does it display any of the peculiar qualities of body. Hence youcannot affirm that heat is one of its properties, nor its contrary cold; you can neither ascribe to ithardness nor softness, nor any other tangible difference; nor attribute taste or smell as peculiarities of its essence: for a nature of this kind, which is called forth into energy by theinterposition of light, is alone subject to the power of sight. But light is the form of a diaphanousessence, which resembles that common matter, the subject of bodies, through which it is everywhere diffused; and rays are the summit, and as it were, flower of light, which is an incorporeal nature. But according to the opinion of the Phœnicians, who are skilled in divine science and wisdom, the universally-diffused splendor   p. 47  of light is the sincere energy of an intellect perfectly pure; and this doctrine will be foundagreeable to reason, when we consider, that since light is incorporeal, its fountain cannot be body, but the sincere energy of intellect, illuminating in its proper habitation the middle region of 
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