Front Page Titles (by Subject) The Divine-Triad as a Unity - The Ethical Treatises, being the Treatises of the First Ennead
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The Divine-Triad as a Unity - Plotinus, The Ethical Treatises, being the Treatises of the First Ennead [253 AD]
The Ethical Treatises, being the Treatises of the First Ennead, with Porphry’s Life of Plotinus, and the Preller-Ritter Extracts forming a Conspectus of the Plotinian System, translated from Greek by Stephen Mackenna (Boston: Charles T. Branford, 1918).
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The Divine-Triad as a Unity
The Three Hypostases of the Supreme-Being are, of course, quite frequently spoken of collectively as one transcendent Being or one Divine Realm: sometimes, even, where one of the Three is definitely named, the entire context shows that the reference is not to the Hypostasis actually named but to the Triad collectively or to one of the two not named: thus where the All-Soul is specified in a moral connection the reference may really be to The First, to The Good; and where the connection is rather intellectual than moral or merely dynamic, the All-Soul may be used as a comprehensive term for the Godhead with a real reference to the Second Hypostasis, to Divine-Mind.
The Triad, it must never, under any stress, be forgotten, is The Divinity, and each Hypostasis is Divine: the All-Soul, as Jules Simon well remarks, is the expression of the outgoing energy of the Divinity as the Intellectual-Principle is the expression of the Godhead’s self-pent Thought or Vision.
The Divinity is communicated and approached by the channel of any one of the three Hypostases. The Intellectual-Principle has its Act about The First, towards Which it “looks” in eternal “contemplation,” while, of its lavishness, it engenders the Vital-Principle or Soul; similarly the All-Soul ceaselessly “looks” towards the Intellectual-Principle, while, of its lavish energy, it engenders or creates all the lower, down to the lowest form of being in the visible universe. Thus the Divinity is communicated to all things. Now this action within the Divine-Circle is reflected by a parallel action in the lower Kosmos. All “Nature,” even in the lowest, is in ceaseless Contemplation and Aspiration: while every being, until the ultimate possible is reached, tends to engender an image of itself, it tends also to rejoin the next highest, of which it is itself a shadow or lower manifestation: even Matter, all but outcast from the sphere of Being and unable to engender, has the power of receiving form and is, thereby, tending feebly towards Authentic-Existence, towards Soul and Mind, and so is linked, distantly, with the Divine.