"There was once a time when by devoting myself to philosophy and to contemplation of the world and its parts I achieved the enjoyment of that Mind which is truly beautiful, desirable, and blessed; for I lived in constant communion with sacred utterances and teaching, in which I greedily and insatiably rejoiced. No base or worldly thoughts occurred to me, nor did I grovel for glory, wealth or bodily comfort, but I seemed ever to be borne aloft in the heights in a rapture of the soul, and to accompany sun, moon, and all heaven and the universe in their revolutions. Then, ah, then peering downwards from the ethereal heights and directing the eye of my intelligence as from a watchtower, I regarded the untold spectacle of all earthly things, and reckoned myself happy at having forcibly escaped the calamities of mortal life."
Philo of Alexandria (Philo Judaeus) - circa time of Christ
Quoted in "The Evolution of God" by R. Wright, 2009, Little, Brown and Company, New York.