The Golden Verses of Pythagoras, by Fabre d'Olivet, , at sacred-texts.com
Hierocles who, as I have said, has not concealed the difficulty which is contained in these lines, has raised it, by making evident that it depends upon the free will of man, and
by putting a limit upon the evils which he attracts to himself by his own choice. His reasoning coinciding with mine can be reduced to these few words. The sole remedy for evil, whatever may be the cause, is time. Providence, minister of the Most High, employs this remedy; and by means of perfectibility which results from it, brings back all to good. But the aptitude of the maladies for receiving it acts in proportion to this remedy. Time, always the same, and always nihil for the Divinity is, however, shortened or lengthened for men, according as their will coincides with the providential action or differs therefrom. They have only to desire good, and time which fatigues them will be lightened. But what if they desire evil always, will time therefore not be finished? Will the evils therefore have no limit? Is it that the will of man is so inflexible that God may not turn it towards the good? The will of man is free beyond doubt; and its essence, immutable as the Divinity whence it emanates, knows not how to be changed, but nothing is impossible for God. The change which is effected in it, without which its immutability may in no wise be altered, is the miracle of the All-Powerful. It is a result of its own liberty, and if I dare to say it, takes place by the coincidence of two movements, whose impulse is given by Providence; by the first, it shows to the will, goodness; by the second, it puts it in a fitting position to meet this same goodness.