Friday, October 5, 2012

Caius Sallustius Crispus

classed as one of the Neoplatonists, On the Gods and the World:
It is impious to suppose that the divine is affected for good or ill by human things. The Gods are always good and always do good and never harm, being always in the same state and like themselves. The truth simply is that, when we are good, we are joined to the Gods by our likeness to live according to virtue we cling to the Gods, and when we become evil we make the Gods our enemies - not because they are angered against us, but because our sins prevent the light of the Gods from shining upon us, and put us in communion with spirits of punishment. And if by prayers and sacrifices we find forgiveness of sins, we do not appease or change the Gods, but by what we do and by our turning toward the divine we heal our own badness and so enjoy again the goodness of the Gods. To say that god turns away from the evil is like saying that the sun hides himself from the blind.
One can see clearly that the Gods of Sallustius are coldly impersonal, indistinguishable from universal forces such as gravity. This squares with the charge I have often heard about the Neoplatonists: that they are concerned only with reason and dialectic, and are dismissive of -- even hostile to -- faith, feeling, rhetoric, and mythology. They seem to be unaware that facts do not constitute the whole truth. It's no wonder that Sallustius was of little help to Julian in restoring worship of the old Gods.

I have been unable to locate the original text.

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