Iamblichis – The boys in the spring
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Eusapius - Lives of the Philosophers and Sophists
Some time after, they decided to go to Gadara, a place which has warm baths in Syria, inferior only to those at Baiae in Italy, with which no other baths can be compared.
So they set out in the summer season. Now Iamblichus happened to be bathing and the others were bathing with him, and they were using the same insistence, whereupon Iamblichus smiled and said:
"It is irreverent to the gods to give you this demonstration, but for your sakes it shall be done."
There were two hot springs smaller than the others but prettier, and he bade his disciples ask the natives of the place by what names they used to be called in former times. When they had done his bidding they said:
"There is no pretence about it, this spring is called Eros, and the name of the one next to it is Anteros."
He at once touched the water with his hand----he happened to be sitting on the ledge of the spring where the overflow runs off----and uttering a brief summons he called forth a boy from the depth of the spring. He was white-skinned and of medium height, his locks were golden and his back and breast shone; and he exactly resembled one who was bathing or had just bathed.
His disciples were overwhelmed with amazement, but Iamblichus said, "Let us go to the next spring," and he rose and led the way, with a thoughtful air. Then he went through the same performance there also, and summoned another Eros like the first in all respects, except that his hair was darker and fell loose in the sun.
Both the boys embraced Iamblichus and clung to him as though he were genuinely their father. He restored them to their proper places and went away after his bath, reverenced by his pupils.
After this the crowd of his disciples sought no further evidence, but believed everything from the proofs that had been revealed to them, and hung on to him as though by an unbreakable chain. Even more astonishing and marvellous things were related of him, but I wrote down none of these since I thought it a hazardous and sacrilegious thing to introduce a spurious and fluid tradition into a stable and well-founded narrative.
Nay even this I record not without hesitation, as being mere hearsay, except that I follow the lead of men who, though they distrusted other signs, were converted by the experience of the actual revelation. Yet no one of his followers recorded it, as far as I know. And this I say with good reason, since Aedesius himself asserted that he had not written about it, nor had any other ventured to do so."