O TRISMEGISTOS, what is the part taken in the order of things by Destiny or Fate? If the heavenly Gods rule the universe, and the mundane deities control special events, where is the part of Destiny?
O Asclepios, Destiny is the necessity which compels all things that happen, the chain which binds together all events. It is thus the cause of things, the supreme deity, or rather the second God created by God, that is the law of all things in heaven and earth established upon divine ordinances. Destiny and Necessity are bound together indissolubly: Destiny produces the beginning of all things, Necessity enforces the effect which ensues from these beginnings. And hence arises Order--that is, the sequence and disposition of things accomplished in Time; for nothing is performed without Order. And thus the world is perfected; for the world is founded on Order, and in Order the universe consists. Therefore these three, Destiny (which is Fate), Necessity, and Order, depend absolutely on the will of God Who governs the world by His divine law and reason. These three principles have no will in themselves; inflexible and inaccessible to favour as to anger, they are but the instruments of the eternal Reason, which is immutable, invariable, unalterable, indissoluble. First comes Destiny, containing, like newly-sown soil, the germs of future events. Necessity follows, urging them to their consummation. Lastly, Order maintains the fabric of things established by Destiny and Necessity. For all this is an ever-lasting sequence without beginning or end, sustained by its immutable law in the continuity of eternity. It rises and falls alternately, and as time rolls onward, that which had disappeared, again rises uppermost. For such is the condition of the circular movement; all things are interchained in such wise that neither beginning nor end can be distinguished, and they appear to precede and follow each other unceasingly. But as for accident and chance, they pervade all mundane affairs.
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