Saturday, July 03, 2010

In Reason and in the Desire of Inquiry

While, then, we consider these things night and day, and sharpen our understanding, which is the eye of the mind, taking care that it be not ever dulled, that is, while we live in philosophy; we, I say, in so doing, have great hope that, if, on the one hand, this sentiment and wisdom of ours is mortal and perishable, we shall still, when we have discharged our human offices, have a pleasant setting, and a not painful extinction, and as it were a rest from life: or if, on the other, as ancient philosophers thought—and those, too, the greatest and far the most celebrated—we have souls eternal and divine, then must we needs think, that the more these shall have always kept in their own proper course, i.e. in reason and in the desire of inquiry, and the less they shall have mixed and entangled themselves in the vices and errors of men, the more easy ascent and return they will have to heaven....Wherefore, to end my discourse at last, if we wish either for a tranquil extinction, after living in the pursuit of these subjects, or if to migrate without delay from this present home to another in no little measure better, we must bestow all our labor and care upon these pursuits.

Cicero's Hortensius, again, this time as quoted in De Trinitate XIV.26. Augustine apparently quotes the Hortensius eleven times; I am told that five of these are fairly extended passages. Two of them I've quoted here, while a third from the De Trinitate is on its way. I'm interested in where the other two (or perhaps one, because the third passage I'll be putting up is quoted in two different places, and I don't know if it counts as two or as one) are, if anyone knows them off the top of their heads or has the locations within easy reach of their fingertips. Otherwise, I'll be searching for them, to put them up to.

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