The Golden Verses of Pythagoras, by Fabre d'Olivet, , at sacred-texts.com
Here, said Hierocles, in terminating his commentaries, is the blissful end of all efforts: here, according to Plato, is the hope which enkindles, which sustains the ardour of him who fights in the career of virtue: here, the inestimable prize which awaits him. b It was the great object of the mysteries, and so to speak, the great work of initiation. c The initiate, said Sophocles, is not only happy during his life, but even after his death he can promise himself an eternal felicity. d His soul purified by virtue, said Pindar, unfolds in those blessed regions where reigns an eternal springtime. e It goes on, said Socrates, attracted by the celestial
element which has the greatest affinity with its nature, to become united with the immortal Gods and to share their glory and their immortality. a This deification was, according to Pythagoras, the work of divine love; it was reserved for him who had acquired truth through his intellectual faculties, virtue through his animistic faculties, and purity through his instinctive faculties. This purity, after the end of his material body, shone forth and made itself known in the form of a luminous body, that the soul had been given during its confinement in its gloomy body; for as I finish these Examinations, I am seizing the only occasion which may still be presented of saying that, this philosopher taught that the soul has a body which is given according to his good or bad nature, by the inner labour of his faculties. He called this body the subtle chariot of the soul, and said that the mortal body is only the gross exterior. He adds, "The care of the soul and its luminous body is, in practicing virtue, in embracing truth and abstaining from all impure things." b
This is the veritable aim of the symbolic abstinences that he prescribes, even as Lysis insinuates moreover quite clearly in the lines which make the subject of my preceding Examination, when he said that it is necessary to abstain from the things which are injurious to the development of the soul and to distinguish clearly these things.
Furthermore, Pythagoras believed that there existed celestial goodness proportionate to each degree of virtue, and that there is for the souls, different ranks according to the luminous body with which they are clothed. The supreme happiness, according to him, belongs only to the soul which has learned how to recover itself, by its intimate union with the intelligence, whose essence, changing its nature, has become entirely spiritual. It is necessary that this soul be raised to the knowledge of universal truths, and that it should have found, as far as it is possible for it, the
[paragraph continues] Principle and the end of all things. Then having attained to this high degree of perfection, being drawn into this immutable region whose ethereal element is no more subjected to the descending movement of generation, it can be united by its knowledge to the Universal All, and reflect in all its being the ineffable light with which the Being of beings, God Himself, fills unceasingly the Immensity.
276:b Hierocl., Aur. Carm., v. 70.
276:c Prod., In Tim., l. v., p. 330
276:d Apud Plutar., De Audiend. Pætis.
276:e Pind., Olymp., iii.; Apud, Plutar., Consol. ad Apoll.
277:a Plat., In Phædon.
277:b Hiérocl., Aur. Carm., v. 68.