دراسات أبائية

     
   
 

Patrology
علم الباترولوجي
"كتابات الآباء "

THE STROMATA, OR MISCELLANIES: REST OF BOOK VI

 

CHAP. XI.--THE MYSTICAL MEANINGS IN THE PROPORTIONS OF NUMBERS, GEOMETRICAL RATIOS, AND MUSIC.

As then in astronomy we have Abraham as an instance, so also in arithmetic we have the same Abraham. "For, hearing that Lot was taken captive, and having numbered his own servants, born in his house, 318 (<greek>tih</greek>[5])," he defeats a very great number of the enemy.
They say, then, that the character representing 300 is, as to shape, the type of the Lord's sign,[6] and that the Iota and the Eta indicate the Saviour's name; that it was indicated, accordingly, that Abraham's domestics were in salvation, who having fled to the Sign and the Name became lords of the captives, and of the very many unbelieving nations that followed them.
Now the number 300 is, 3 by 100. Ten is allowed to be the perfect number. And 8 is the first cube, which is equality in all the dimensions --length, breadth; depth. "The days of men shall be," it is said, "120 (<greek>rk</greek>) years."[7] And the sum is made up of the numbers from r to 15 added together.[8] And the moon at 15 days is full.
On another principle, 120 is a triangular[9] number, and consists of the equality[10] of the number 64, [which consists of eight of the odd numbers beginning with unity],[12] the addition of which (1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15) in succession generate squares;[12] and of the inequality of the number 56, consisting of seven of the even numbers beginning with 2 (2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14), which produce the numbers that are not squares[13]
Again, according to another way of indicating. the number 120 consists of four numbers--of one triangle, 15; of another, a square, 25; of a third, a pentagon, 35; and of a fourth, a hexagon, 45. The 5 is taken according to the same ratio in each mode. For in triangular numbers, from the unity 5 comes 15; and in squares, 25; and of those in succession, proportionally. Now 25, which is the number 5 from unity, is said to be the symbol of the Levitical tribe. And the number 35 depends also on the arithmetic, geometric, and harmonic scale of doubles--6, 8, 9, 12; the addition of which makes 35. In these days, the Jews say that seven months' children are formed. And the number 45 depends on the scale of triples--6, 9, 12, 18--the addition of which makes 45; and similarly, in these days they say that nine months' children are formed.
Such, then, is the style of the example in arithmetic. And let the testimony of geometry be the tabernacle that was constructed, and the ark that was fashioned,--constructed in most regular proportions, and through divine ideas, by the gift of understanding, which leads us from things of sense to intellectual objects, or rather from these to holy things, and to the holy of holies. For the squares of wood indicate that the square form, producing fight angles, pervades all, and points out security. And the length of the structure was three hundred cubits, and the breadth fifty, and the height thirty; and above, the ark ends in a cubit, narrowing to a cubit from the broad base like a pyramid, the symbol of those who are purified and tested by fire. And this geometrical proportion has a place, for the transport of those holy abodes, whose differences are indicated by the differences of the numbers set down below.
And the numbers introduced are sixfold, as three hundred is six times fifty; and tenfold, as three hundred is ten times thirty; and containing one and two-thirds (<greek>epidimoiroi</greek>), for fifty is one and two-thirds of thirty.
Now there are some who say that three hundred cubits are the symbol of the Lord's sign;[1] and fifty, of hope and of the remission given at Pentecost; and thirty, or as in some, twelve, they say points out the preaching [of the Gospel]; because the LOrd preached in His thirtieth year; and the apostles were twelve. And the structure's terminating in a cubit is the symbol of the advancement of the righteous to oneness and to "the unity of the faith."[2]
And the table which was in the temple was six cubits;[3] and its four feet were about a cubit and a half.
They add, then, the twelve cubits, agreeably to the revolution of the twelve months, in the annual circle, during which the earth produces and matures all things; adapting itself to the four seasons. And the table, in my opinion, exhibits the image of the earth, supported as it is on four feet, summer, autumn, spring, winter, by which the year travels. Wherefore also it is said that the table has "wavy chains;"[4] either because the universe revolves in the circuits of the times, or perhaps it indicated the earth surrounded with ocean's tide.
Further, as an example of music, let us adduce David, playing at once and prophesying, melodiously praising God. Now the Enarmonic s suits best the Dorian harmony, and the Diatonic the Phrygian, as Aristoxenus says. The harmony, therefore, of the Barbarian psaltery, which exhibited gravity of strain, being the most ancient, most certainly became a model for Terpander, for the Dorian harmony, who sings the praise of Zeus thus:--

"O Zeus, of all things the Beginning, Rule, of, all;
O Zeus, I send thee this beginning of hymns."

The lyre, according to its primary signification, may by the psalmist be used figuratively for the Lord; according to its secondary, for those who continually strike the chords of their souls under the direction of the Choir-master, the Lord. And if the people saved be called the lyre, it will be understood to be in consequence of their giving glory musically, through the inspiration of the Word and the knowledge of God, being struck by the Word so as to produce faith. You may take music in another way, as the ecclesiastical symphony at once of the law and the prophets, and the apostles along with the Gospel, and the harmony which obtained in each prophet, in the transitions of the persons.
But, as seems, the most of those who are inscribed with the Name,[6] like the companions of Ulysses, handle the word unskilfully, passing by not the Sirens, but the rhythm and the melody, stopping their ears with ignorance; since they know that, after lending their ears to Hellenic studies, they will never subsequently be able to retrace their steps.
But he who culls what is useful for the advantage of the catechumens, and especially when they are Greeks (and the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof[7]), must not abstain from erudition, like irrational animals; but he must collect as many aids as possible for his hearers. But he must by no means linger over these studies, except solely for the advantage accruing from them; so that, on grasping and obtaining this, he may be able to take his departure home to the true philosophy, which is a strong cable for the soul, providing security from everything.
Music is then to be handled for the sake of the embellishment and composure of manners. For instance, at a banquet we pledge each other while the music is playing;[8] soothing by song the eagerness of our desires, and glorifying God for the copious gift of human enjoyments, for His perpetual supply of the food necessary for the growth of the body and of the soul. But we must reject superfluous music, which enervates men's souls, and leads to variety,--now mournful, and then licentious and voluptuous, and then frenzied and frantic.
The same holds also of astronomy. For treating of the description of the celestial objects, about the form of the universe, and the revolution of the heavens, and the motion of the stars, leading the soul nearer to the creative power, it teaches to quickness in perceiving the seasons of the year, the changes of the air, and the appearance of the stars; since also navigation and husbandry derive from this much benefit, as architecture and building from geometry. This branch of learning, too, makes the soul in the highest degree observant, capable of perceiving the true and detecting the false, of discovering correspondences and proportions, so as to hunt out for similarity in things dissimilar; and conducts us to the discovery of length without breadth, and superficial extent without thickness, and an indivisible point, and transports to intellectual objects from those of sense.
The studies of philosophy, therefore, and philosophy itself, are aids in treating of the truth. For instance, the cloak was once a fleece; then it was shorn, and became warp and woof; and then it was woven. Accordingly the soul must be prepared and variously exercised, if it would become in the highest degree good. For there is the scientific and the practical element in truth; and the latter flows from the speculative; and there is need of great practice, and exercise, and experience.
But in speculation, one element relates to one's neighbours and another to one's self. Wherefore also training ought to be so moulded as to be adapted to both. He, then, who has acquired a competent acquaintance with the subjects which embrace the principles which conduce to scientific knowledge (gnosis), may stop and remain for the future in quiet, directing his actions in l conformity with his theory.
But for the benefit of one's neighbours, in the case of those who have proclivities for writing, and those who set themselves to deliver the word, both is other culture beneficial, and the reading of the Scriptures of the Lord is necessary, in order to the demonstration of what is said, and especially if those who hear are accessions from Hellenic culture.
Such David describes the Church: "The queen stood on thy right hand, enveloped in a golden robe, variegated; "[1] and with Hellenic and superabundant accomplishments, "clothed variegated with gold-fringed garments."[2] And the Truth says by the Lord, "For who had known Thy counsel, hadst Thou not given wisdom, and sent Thy Holy Spirit from the Highest; and so the ways of those on earth were corrected, and men learned Thy decrees, and were saved by wisdom?" For the Gnostic knows things ancient by the Scripture, and conjectures things future: he understands the involutions of words and the solutions of enigmas. He knows beforehand signs and wonders, and the issues of seasons and periods, as we have said already. Seest thou the fountain of instructions that takes its rise from wisdom? But to those who object, What use is there in knowing the causes of the manner of the sun's motion, for example, and the rest of the heavenly bodies, or in having studied the theorems of geometry or logic, and each of the other branches of study?--for these are of no service in the discharge of duties, and the Hellenic philosophy is human wisdom, for it is incapable of teachings the truth--the following remarks are to be made. First, that they stumble in reference to the highest of things--namely, the mind's free choice. "For they," it is said, "who keep holy holy things, shall be made holy; and those who have been taught will find an answer."[4] For the Gnostic alone will do holily, in accordance with reason all that has to be done, as he hath learned through the Lord's teaching, received through men.
Again, on the other hand, we may hear: "For in His hand, that is, in His power and wisdom, are both we and our words, and all wisdom and skill in works; for God loves nothing but the man that dwells with wisdom."[5] And again, they have not read what is said by Solomon; for, treating of the construction of the temple, he says expressly, "And it was Wisdom as artificer that framed it; and Thy providence, O Father, governs throughout."[6] And how irrational, to regard philosophy as inferior to architecture and shipbuilding! And the Lord fed the multitude of those that reclined on the grass opposite to Tiberias with the two fishes and the five barley loaves, indicating the preparatory training of the Greeks and Jews previous to the divine grain, which is the food cultivated by the law. For barley is sooner ripe for the harvest than wheat; and the fishes signified the Hellenic philosophy that was produced and moved in the midst of the Gentile billow, given, as they were, for copious food to those lying on the ground, increasing no more, like the fragments of the loaves, but having partaken of the Lord's blessing, and breathed into them the resurrection of Godhead[1] through the power of the Word. But if you are curious, understand one of the fishes to mean the curriculum of study, and the other the philosophy which supervenes. The gatherings' point out the word of the Lord.

"And the choir of mute fishes rushed to it,"

says the Tragic Muse somewhere.
"I must decrease," said the prophet John,[3] and the Word of the Lord alone, in which the law terminates, "increase." Understand now for me the mystery of the truth, granting pardon if I shrink from advancing further in the treatment of it, by announcing this alone: "All things were made by Him, and without Him was not even one thing."[4] Certainly He is called "the chief corner stone; in whom the whole building, fitly joined together, groweth into an holy temple of God,"[5] according to the divine apostle.
I pass over in silence at present the parable which says in the Gospel: "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who cast a net into the sea and out of the multitude of the fishes caught, makes a selection of the better ones."[6]
And now the wisdom which we possess announces the four virtues[7] in such a way as to show that the sources of them were communicated by the Hebrews to the Greeks. This may be learned from the following: "And if one loves justice, its toils are virtues. For temperance and prudence teach justice and fortitude; and than these there is nothing more useful in life to men."
Above all, this ought to be known, that by nature we are adapted for virtue; not so as to be possessed of it from our birth, but so as to be adapted for acquiring it.

CHAP. XII.--HUMAN NATURE POSSESSES AN ADAPTATION FOR PERFECTION; THE GNOSTIC ALONE ATTAINS IT.

By which consideration s is solved the question propounded to us by the heretics, Whether Adam was created perfect or imperfect? Well, if imperfect, how could the work of a perfect God--above all, that work being man--be imperfect? And if perfect, how did he transgress the commandments? For they shall hear from us that he was not perfect in his creation, but adapted to the reception of virtue. For it is of great importance in regard to virtue to be made fit for its attainment. And it is intended that we should be saved by ourselves. This, then, is the nature of the soul, to move of itself. Then, as we are rational, and philosophy being rational, we have some affinity with it. Now an aptitude is a movement towards virtue, not virtue itself. All, then, as I said, are naturally constituted for the acquisition of virtue.
But one man applies less, one more, to learning and training. Wherefore also some have been competent to attain to perfect virtue, and others have attained to a kind of it. And some, on the other hand, through negligence, although in other respects of good dispositions, have turned to the opposite. Now much more is that knowledge which excels all branches of culture in greatness and in truth, most difficult to acquire, and is attained with much toil. "But, as seems, they know not the mysteries of God. For God created man for immortality, and made him an image of His own nature;"[9] according to which nature of Him who knows all, he who is a Gnostic, and righteous, and holy with prudence, hastes to reach the measure of perfect manhood. For not only are actions and thoughts, but words also, pure in the case of the Gnostic: "Thou hast proved mine heart; Thou hast visited me by night," it is said; "Thou hast subjected me to the fire, and unrighteousness was not found in me: so that my mouth shall not speak the works of men."[10]
And why do I say the works of men? He recognises sin itself, which is not brought forward in order to repentance (for this is common to all believers); but what sin is. Nor does he condemn this or that sin, but simply all sin; nor is it what one has done ill that he brings up, but what ought not to be done. Whence also repentance is twofold: that which is common, on account of having transgressed; and that which, from learning the nature of sin, persuades, in the first instance, to keep from sinning, the result of which is not sinning.
Let them not then say, that he who does wrong and sins transgresses through the agency of demons; for then he would be guiltless. But by choosing the same things as demons, by sinning; being unstable, and light, and fickle in his desires, like a demon, he becomes a demoniac man. Now he who is bad, having become, through evil, sinful by nature, becomes depraved, having what he has chosen; and being sinful, sins also in his actions. And again, the good man does right. Wherefore we call not only the virtues, but also right actions, good. And of things that are good we know that some are desirable for themselves, as knowledge; for we hunt for nothing from it when we have it, but only [seek] that it be with us, and that we be in uninterrupted contemplation, and strive to reach it for its own sake. But other things are desirable for other considerations, such as faith, for escape from punishment, and the advantage arising from reward, which accrue from it. For, in the case of many, fear is the cause of their not sinning; and the promise is the means of pursuing obedience, by which comes salvation. Knowledge, then, desirable as it is for its own sake, is the most perfect good; and consequently the things which follow by means of it are good. And punishment is the cause of correction to him who is punished; and to those who are able to see before them he becomes an example, to prevent them failing into the like.
Let us then receive knowledge, not desiring its results, but embracing itself for the sake of knowing. For the first advantage is the habit of knowledge (<greek>gnpstikh</greek>), which furnishes harmless pleasures and exultation both for the present and the future. And exultation is said to be gladness, being a reflection of the virtue which is according to truth, through a kind of exhilaration and relaxation of soul. And the acts which partake of knowledge are good and fair actions. For abundance in the actions that are according to virtue, is the true riches, and destitution in decorous[1] desires is poverty. For the use and enjoyment of necessaries are not injurious in quality, but in quantity, when in excess. Wherefore the Gnostic circumscribes his desires in reference both to possession and to enjoyment, not exceeding the limit of necessity. Therefore, regarding life in this world as necessary for the increase of science (<greek>episthmh</greek>) and the acquisition of knowledge (<greek>gnpsid</greek>), he will value highest, not living, but living well. He will therefore prefer neither children, nor marriage, nor parents, to love for God, and righteousness in life. To such an one, his wife, after conception, is as a sister, and is judged as if of the same father; then only recollecting her husband, when she looks on the children; as being destined to become a sister in reality after putting off the flesh, which separates and limits the knowledge of those who are spiritual by the peculiar characteristics of the sexes. For souls, themselves by themselves, are equal. Souls are neither male nor female, when they no longer marry nor are given in marriage. And is not woman translated into man, when she is become equally unfeminine, and manly, and perfect? Such, then, was the laughter of Sarah[2] when she received the good news of the birth of a son; not, in my opinion, that she disbelieved the angel, but that she felt ashamed of the intercourse by means of which she was destined to become the mother of a son.
And did not Abraham, when he was in danger on account of Sarah's beauty, with the king of Egypt, properly call her sister, being of the same father, but not of the same mother?[3]
To those, then, who have repented and not firmly believed, God grants their requests through their supplications. But to those who live sinlessly and gnostically, He gives, when they have but merely entertained the thought. For example, to Anna, on her merely conceiving the thought, conception was vouchsafed of the child Samuel.[4] "Ask," says the Scripture, "and I will do. Think, and I will give." For we have heard that God knows the heart, not judging [5] the soul from [external] movement, as we men; nor yet from the event, For it is ridiculous to think so. Nor was it as the architect praises the work when accomplished that God, on making the light and then seeing it, called it good. But He, knowing before He made it what it would be, praised that [which was made, He having potentially made good, from the first by His purpose that had no beginning, what was destined to be good actually. Now that which has future He already said beforehand was good, the phrase concealing the truth by hyperbaton. Therefore the Gnostic prays in thought during every hour, being by love allied to God. And first he will ask forgiveness of sins; and after, that he may sin no more; and further, the power of well-doing and of comprehending the whole creation and administration by the Lord, that, becoming pure in heart through the knowledge, which is by the Son of God, he may be initiated into the beatific vision face to face, having heard the Scripture which says, "Fasting with prayer is a good thing."[6]
Now fastings signify abstinence from all evils whatsoever, both in action and in word, and in thought itself. As appears, then, righteousness is quadrangular;[7] on all sides equal and like in word, in deed, in abstinence from evils, in beneficence, in gnostic perfection; nowhere, and in no respect halting, so that he does not appear unjust and unequal. As one, then, is righteous, so certainly is he a believer. But as he is a believer, he is not yet also righteous--I mean according to the righteousness of progress and perfection, according to which the Gnostic is called righteous.
For instance, on Abraham becoming a believer, it was reckoned to him for righteousness, he having advanced to the greater and more perfect degree of faith. For he who merely abstains from evil conduct is not just, unless he also attain besides beneficence and knowledge; and for this reason some things are to be abstained from, others are to be done. "By the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left,"[1] the apostle says, the righteous man is sent on to the inheritance above,--by some [arms] defended, by others putting forth his might. For the defence of his panoply alone, and abstinence from sins, are not sufficient for perfection, unless he assume in addition the work of righteousness--activity in doing good.
Then our dexterous man and Gnostic is revealed in righteousness already even here, as Moses, glorified in the face of the soul,[2] as we have formerly said, the body bears the stamp of the righteous soul. For as the mordant of the dyeing process, remaining in the wool, produces in it a certain quality and diversity from other wool; so also in the soul the pain is gone, but the good remains; and the sweet is left, but the base is wiped away. For these are two qualities characteristic of each soul, by which is known that which is glorified, and that which is condemned.
And as in the case of Moses, from his righteous conduct, and from his uninterrupted intercourse with God, who spoke to him, a kind of glorified hue settled on his face; so also a divine power of goodness clinging to the righteous soul in contemplation and in prophecy, and in the exercise of the function of governing, impresses on it something, as it were, of intellectual radiance, like the solar ray, as a visible sign of righteousness, uniting the soul with light, through unbroken love, which is God-bearing and God-borne. Thence assimilation to God the Saviour arises to the Gnostic, as far as permitted to human nature, he being made perfect "as the Father who is in heaven."[3]
It is He Himself who says, "Little children, a little while I am still with you."[4] Since also God Himself remains blessed and immortal, neither molested nor molesting another;[5] not in consequence of being by nature good, but in proving Himself actually, both Father and good, continues immutably in the self-same goodness. For what is the use of good that does not act and do good?

CHAP. XIII.--DEGREES OF GLORY IN HEAVEN CORRESPONDING WITH THE DIGNITIES OF THE CHURCH BELOW.

He, then, who has first moderated his passions and trained himself for impassibility, and developed to the beneficence of gnostic perfection, is here equal to the angels. Luminous already, and like the sun shining in the exercise of beneficence, he speeds by righteous knowledge through the love of God to the sacred abode, like as the apostles. Not that they became apostles through being chosen for some distinguished peculiarity of nature, since also Judas was chosen along with them. But they were capable of becoming apostles on being chosen by Him who foresees even ultimate issues. Matthias, accordingly, who was not chosen along with them, on showing himself worthy of becoming an apostle, is substituted for Judas.
Those, then, also now, who have exercised themselves in the Lord's commandments, and lived perfectly and gnostically according to the Gospel, may be enrolled in the chosen body of the apostles. Such an one is in reality a presbyter of the Church, and a true minister (deacon) of the will of God, if he do and teach what is the Lord's; not as being ordained[7] by men, nor regarded righteous because a presbyter, but enrolled in the presbyterate s because righteous. And although here upon earth he be not honoured with the chief seat,[9] he will sit down on the four-and-twenty thrones,[10] judging the people, as John says in the Apocalypse.
For, in truth, the covenant of salvation, reaching down to us from the foundation of the world, through different generations and times, is one, though conceived as different in respect of gift. For it follows that there is one unchangeable gift of salvation given by one God, through one Lord, benefiting in many ways. For which cause the middle wall[11] which separated the Greek from the Jew is taken away, in order that there might be a peculiar people. And so both meet in the one unity of faith; and the selection out of both is one. And the chosen of the chosen are those who by reason of perfect knowledge are called [as the best] from the Church itself, and honoured with the most august glory--the judges and rulers--four-and-twenty (the grace being doubled)equally from Jews and Greeks. Since, according to my opinion, the grades[1] here in the Church, of bishops, presbyters, deacons, are imitations of the angelic glory, and of that economy which, the Scriptures say, awaits those who, following the footsteps of the apostles, have lived in perfection of righteousness according to the Gospel. For these taken up in the clouds, the apostle[2] writes, will first minister [as deacons], then be classed in the presbyterate, by promotion in glory (for glory differs[3] from glory) till they grow into "a perfect man."[4]

CHAP. XIV.--DEGREES OF GLORY IN HEAVEN.

Such, according to David, "rest in the holy hill of God,"[5] in the Church far on high, in which are gathered the philosophers of God, "who are Israelites indeed, who are pure in heart, in whom there is no guile; "[6] who do not remain in the seventh seat, the place of rest, but are promoted, through the active beneficence of the divine likeness, to the heritage of beneficence which is the eighth grade; devoting themselves to the pure vision[7] of insatiable contemplation.
"And other sheep there are also," saith the Lord, "which are not of this fold "[8]--deemed worthy of another fold and mansion, in proportion to their faith. "But My sheep hear My voice,"[9] understanding gnostically the commandments. And this is to be taken in a magnanimous and worthy acceptation, along with also the recompense and accompaniment of works. So that when we hear, "Thy faith hath saved thee,[10] we do not understand Him to say absolutely that those who have believed in any way whatever shall be saved, unless also works follow. But it was to the Jews alone that He spoke this utterance, who kept the law and lived blamelessly, who wanted only faith in the Lord. No one, then, can be a believer and at the same time be licentious; but though he quit the flesh, he must put off the passions, so as to be capable of reaching his own mansion.
Now to know is more than to believe, as to be dignified with the highest honour after being saved is a greater thing than being saved. Accordingly the believer, through great discipline, divesting himself of the passions, passes to the mansion which is better than the former one, viz., to the greatest torment, taking with him the characteristic of repentance from the sins he has committed after baptism. He is tortured then still more--not yet or not quite attaining what he sees others to have acquired. Besides, he is also ashamed of his transgressions. The greatest torments, indeed, are assigned to the believer. For God's righteousness is good, and His goodness is righteous. And though the punishments cease in the course of the completion of the expiation and purification of each one, yet those have very great and permanent grief who[11] are found worthy of the other fold, on account of not being along with those that have been glorified through righteousness.
For instance, Solomon, calling the Gnostic, wise, speaks thus of those who admire the dignity of his mansion: "For they shall see the end of the wise, and to what a degree the Lord has established him."[12] And of his glory they will say, "This was he whom we once held up to derision, and made a byword of reproach; fools that we were! We thought his life madness, and his end dishonourable. How is he reckoned among the sons of God, and his inheritance among the saints ?"[13]
Not only then the believer, but even the heathen, is judged most righteously. For since God knew in virtue of His prescience that he would not believe, He nevertheless, in order that he might receive his own perfection gave him philosophy, but gave it him previous to faith. And He gave the sun, and the moon, and the stars to be worshipped; "which God," the Law says,[14] made for the nations, that they might not become altogether atheistical, and so utterly perish. But they, also in the instance of this commandment, having become devoid of sense, and addicting themselves to graven images, are judged unless they repent; some of them because, though able, they would not believe God; and others because, though willing, they did not take the necessary pains to become believers. There were also, however, those who, from the worship of the heavenly bodies, did not return to the Maker of them. For this was the sway given to the nations to rise up to God, by means of the worship of the heavenly bodies. But those who would not abide by those heavenly bodies assigned to them, but fell away from them to stocks and stones, "were counted," it is said, "as chaff-dust and as a drop from a jar,"[15] beyond salvation, cast away from the body.
As, then, to be simply saved is the result of medium[1] actions, but to be saved tightly and becomingly[2] is right action, so also all action of the Gnostic may be called tight action; that of the simple believer, intermediate action, not yet perfected according to reason, not yet made right according to knowledge; but that of every heathen again is sinful. For it is not simply doing well, but doing actions with a certain aim, and acting according to reason, that the Scriptures exhibit as requisite.[3]
As, then, lyres ought not to be touched by those who are destitute of skill in playing the lyre, nor flutes by those who are unskilled in flute-playing, neither are those to put their hand to affairs who have not knowledge, and know not how to use them in the whole[4] of life.
The struggle for freedom, then, is waged not alone by the athletes of battles in wars, but also in banquets, and in bed, and in the tribunals, by those who are anointed by the word, who are ashamed to become the captives of pleasures.
"I would never part with virtue for unrighteous gain." But plainly, unrighteous gain is pleasure and pain, toil and fear; and, to speak comprehensively, the passions of the soul, the present of which is delightful, the future vexatious. "For what is the profit," it is said, "if you gain the world and lose the soul ?"[5] It is clear, then, that those who do not perform good actions, do not know what is for their own advantage. And if so, neither are they capable of praying aright, so as to receive from God good things; nor, should they receive them, will they be sensible of the boon; nor, should they enjoy them, will they enjoy worthily what they know not; both from their want of knowledge how to use the good things given them, and from their excessive stupidity, being ignorant of the way to avail themselves of the divine gifts.
Now stupidity is the cause of ignorance. And it appears to me that it is the vaunt of a boastful soul, though of one with a good conscience, to exclaim against what happens through circumstances:--

"Therefore let them do what they may;[6]
For it shall be well with me; and Right
Shall be my ally, and I shall not be caught doing evil."

But such a good conscience preserves sanctity towards God and justice towards men; keeping the soul pure with grave thoughts, and pure. words, and just deeds. By thus receiving the Lord's power, the soul studies to be God; regarding nothing bad but ignorance, and action contrary to fight reason. And giving thanks always for all things to God, by righteous heating and divine reading, by true investigation, by holy oblation, by blessed prayer; lauding, hymning, blessing, praising, such a soul is never at any time separated from God.[7] Rightly then is it said, "And they who trust in Him shall underStand the truth, and those faithful in love shall abide by Him."[8] You see what statements Wisdom makes about the Gnostics.
Conformably, therefore, there are various abodes, according to the worth of those who have believed.[9] To the point Solomon says, "For there shall be given to him the choice grace of faith, and a more pleasant lot in the temple of the Lord."[10] For the comparative shows that there are lower parts in the temple of God, which is the whole Church. And the superlative remains to be conceived, where the Lord is. These chosen abodes, which are three, are indicated by the numbers in the Gospel--the thirty, the sixty, the hundred.[11] And the perfect inheritance belongs to those who attain to "a perfect man," according to the image of the Lord. And the likeness is not, as some imagine, that of the human form; for this consideration is impious. Nor is the likeness to the first cause that which consists in virtue. For this utterance is also impious, being that of those who have imagined that virtue in man and in the sovereign God is the same. "Thou hast supposed iniquity,'[1] He says, "[in imagining] that I will be like to thee."[12] But "it is enough for the disciple to become as the Master,"[13] saith the Master. To the likeness of God, then, he that is introduced into adoption and the friendship of God, to the just inheritance of the lords and gods is brought; if he be perfected, according to the Gospel, as the Lord Himself taught.

CHAP. XV.--DIFFERENT DEGREES OF KNOWLEDGE.

The Gnostic, then, is impressed with the closest likeness, that is, with the mind of the Master; which He being possessed of, commanded and recommended to His disciples and to the prudent. Comprehending this, as He who taught wished, and receiving it in its grand sense, he teaches worthily "on the housetops"[14] those capable of being built to a lofty height; and begins the doing of what is spoken, in accordance with the example of life. For He enjoined what is possible. And, in truth, the kingly man and Christian ought to be ruler and leader. For we are commanded to be lords over not only the wild beasts without us, but also over the wild passions within ourselves.
Through the knowledge, then, as appears, of a bad and good life is the Gnostic saved, understanding and executing "more than the scribes and Pharisees."[1] "Exert thyself, and prosper, and reign" writes David, "because of truth, and meekness, and righteousness; and thy right hand shall guide thee marvellously,"[2] that is, the Lord. "Who then is the wise ? and he shall understand these things. Prudent? and he shall know them. For the ways of the LORD are right,"[3] says the prophet, showing that the Gnostic alone is able to understand and explain the things spoken by the Spirit obscurely. "And he who understands in that time shall hold his peace,"[4] says the Scripture, plainly in the way of declaring them to the unworthy. For the Lord says, "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear,"[5] declaring that hearing and understanding belong not to all. To the point David writes: "Dark water is in the clouds of the skies. At the gleam before Him the clouds passed, hail and coals of fire;"[6] showing that the holy words are hidden. He intimates that transparent and resplendent to the Gnostics, like the innocuous hail, they are sent down from God; but that they are dark to the multitude, like extinguished coals out of the fire, which, unless kindled and set on fire, will not give forth fire or light. "The Lord, therefore," it is said, "gives me the tongue of instruction, so as to know in season when it is requisite to speak a word;"[7] not in the way of testimony alone, but also in the way of question and answer. "And the instruction of the Lord opens my mouth."[8] It is the prerogative of the Gnostic, then, to know how to make use of speech, and when, and how, and to whom. And already the apostle, by saying, "After the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ,"[9] makes the asseveration that the Hellenic teaching is elementary, and that of Christ perfect, as we have already intimated before.
"Now the wild olive is inserted into the fatness of the olive,"[10] and is indeed of the same species as the cultivated olives. For the graft uses as soil the tree in which it is engrafted. Now all the plants sprouted forth simultaneously in consequence of the divine order. Wherefore also, though the wild olive be wild, it crowns the Olympic victors. And the elm teaches the vine to be fruitful, by leading it up to a height. Now we see that wild trees attract more nutriment, because they cannot ripen. The wild trees, therefore, have less power of secretion than those that are cultivated. And the cause of their wildness is the want of the power of secretion. The engrafted olive accordingly receives more nutriment from its growing in the wild one; and it gets accustomed, as it were, to secrete the nutriment, becoming thus assimilated'' to the fatness of the cultivated tree.
So also the philosopher, resembling the wild olive, in having much that is undigested, on account of his devotion to the search, his propensity to follow, and his eagerness to seize the fatness of the truth; if he get besides the divine power, through faith, by being transplanted into the good and mild knowledge, like the wild olive, engrafted in the truly fair and merciful Word, he both assimilates the nutriment that is supplied, and becomes a fair and good olive tree. For engrafting makes worthless shoots noble, and compels the barren to be fruitful by the art of culture and by gnostic skill.

Different modes of engrafting illustrative of different kinds of conversion.

They say that engrafting is effected in four modes: one, that in which the graft must be fitted in between the wood and the bark; resembling the way in which we instruct plain people belonging to the Gentiles, who receive the word superficially. Another is, when the wood is cleft, and there is inserted in it the cultivated branch. And this applies to the case of those who have studied philosophy; for on cutting through their dogmas, the acknowledgment of the truth is produced in them. So also in the case of the Jews, by opening up the Old Testament, the new and noble plant of the olive is inserted. The third mode of engrafting applies to rustics and heretics, who are brought by force to the truth. For after smoothing off both suckers with a sharp pruning-hook, till the pith is laid bare, but not wounded, they are bound together. And the fourth is that form of engrafting called budding. For a bud (eye) is cut out of a trunk of a good sort, a circle being drawn round in the bark along with it, of the size of the palm. Then the trunk is stripped, to suit the eye, over an equal circumference. And so the graft is inserted, tied round, and daubed with clay, the bud being kept uninjured and unstained. This is the style of gnostic teaching, which is capable of looking into things themselves. This mode is, in truth, of most service in the case of cultivated trees. And "the engrafting into the good olive" mentioned by the apostle, may be [engrafting into] Christ Himself; the uncultivated and unbelieving nature being transplanted into Christ--that is, in the case of those who believe in Christ. But it is better [to understand it] of the engrafting of each one's faith in the soul itself. For also the Holy Spirit is thus somehow transplanted by distribution, according to the circumscribed capacity of each one, but without being circumscribed.

Knowledge and love.

Now, discoursing on knowledge, Solomon speaks thus: "For wisdom is resplendent and fadeless, and is easily beheld by those who love her. She is beforehand in making herself known to those who desire her. He that rises early for her shall not toil wearily. For to think about her is the perfection of good sense. And he that keeps vigils for her shall quickly be relieved of anxiety. For she goes about, herself seeking those worthy of her (for knowledge belongs not to all); and in all ways she benignly shows herself to them."[2] Now the paths are the conduct of life, and the variety that exists in the covenants. Presently he adds: "And in every thought she meets them,"[3] being variously contemplated, that is, by all discipline. Then he subjoins, adducing love, which perfects by syllogistic reasoning and true propositions, drawing thus a most convincing and true inference, "For the beginning of her is the truest desire of instruction," that is, of knowledge; "prudence is the love of instruction, and love is the keeping of its laws; and attention to its laws is the confirmation of immortality; and immortality causes nearness to God. The desire of wisdom leads, then, to the kingdom."[4]
For he teaches, as I think, that true instruction is desire for knowledge; and the practical exercise of instruction produces love of knowledge. And love is the keeping of the commandments which lead to knowledge. And the keeping of them is the establishment of the commandments, from which immortality results. "And immortality brings us near to God."

True knowledge found in the teaching of Christ alone.

If, then, the love of knowledge produces immortality, and leads the kingly man near to God the King, knowledge ought to be sought till it is found. Now seeking is an effort at grasping, and finds the subject by means of certain signs. And discovery is the end and cessation of inquiry, which has now its object in its gasp. And this is knowledge. And this discovery, properly so called, is knowledge, which is the apprehension of the object of search. And they say that a proof is either the antecedent, or the coincident, or the consequent. The discovery, then, of what is sought respecting God, is the teaching through the Son; and the proof of our Saviour being the very Son of God is the prophecies which preceded His coming, announcing Him; and the testimonies regarding Him which attended His birth in the world; in addition, His powers proclaimed and openly shown after His ascension.
The proof of the truth being with us, is the fact of the Son of God Himself having taught us. For if in every inquiry these universals are found, a person and a subject, that which is truly the truth is shown to be in our hands alone. For the Son of God is the person of the truth which is exhibited; and the subject is the power of faith, which prevails over the opposition of every one whatever, and the assault of the whole world.
But since this is confessedly established by eternal facts and reasons, and each one who thinks that there is no Providence has already been seen to deserve punishment and not contradiction, and is truly an atheist, it is our aim to discover what doing, and in what manner living, we shall reach the knowledge of the sovereign God, and how, honouring the Divinity, we may become authors of our own salvation. Knowing and learning, not from the Sophists, but from God Himself, what is well-pleasing to Him, we endeavour to do what is just and holy. Now it is well-pleasing to Him that we should be saved; and salvation is effected through both well-doing and knowledge, of both of which the Lord is the teacher.
If, then, according to Plato, it is only possible to learn the truth either from God or from the progeny of God, with reason we, selecting testimonies from the divine oracles, boast of learning the truth by the Son of God, prophesied at first, and then explained.

Philosophy and heresies, aids in discovering the truth.

But the things which co-operate in the discovery of truth are not to be rejected. Philosophy, accordingly, which proclaims a Providence, and the recompense of a life of felicity, and the punishment, on the other hand, of a life of misery, teaches theology comprehensively; but it does not preserve accuracy and particular points; for neither respecting the Son of God, nor respecting the economy of Providence, does it treat similarly with us; for it did not know the worship of God.
Wherefore also the heresies of the Barbarian philosophy, although they speak of one God, though they sing the praises of Christ, speak without accuracy, not in accordance with truth; for they discover another God, and receive Christ not as the prophecies deliver. But their false dogmas, while they oppose the conduct that is according to the truth, are against us. For instance, Paul circumcised Timothy because of the Jews who believed, in order that those who had received their training from the law might not revolt from the faith through his breaking such points of the law as were understood more cam ally, knowing right well that circumcision does not justify; for he professed that "all things were for all" by conformity, preserving those of the dogmas that were essential, "that he might gain all."[1] And Daniel, under the king of the Persians, wore "the chain,"[2] though he despised not the afflictions of the people.
The liars, then, in reality are not those who for the sake of the scheme of salvation conform, nor those who err in minute points, but those who are wrong in essentials, and reject the Lord and as far as in them lies deprive the Lord of the true teaching; who do not quote or deliver the Scriptures in a manner worthy of God and of the Lord;[3] for the deposit rendered to God, according to the teaching of the Lord by His apostles, is the understanding and the practice of the godly tradition. "And what ye hear in the ear "--that is, in a hidden manner, and in a mystery (for such things are figuratively said to be spoken in the ear)--"proclaim," He says, "on the housetops," understanding them sublimely, and delivering them in a lofty strain, and according to the canon of the truth explaining the Scriptures; for neither prophecy nor the Saviour Himself announced the divine mysteries simply so as to be easily apprehended by all and sundry, but express them in parables. The apostles accordingly say of the Lord, that "He spake all things in parables, and without a parable spake He nothing unto them;"[4] and if "all things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made,"[5] consequently also prophecy and the law were by Him, and were spoken by Him in parables. "But all things are right," says the Scripture,[6] "before those who understand," that is, those who receive and observe, according to the ecclesiastical rule, the exposition of the Scriptures explained by Him; and the ecclesiastical rule is the concord and harmony of the law and the prophets in the covenant delivered at the coming of the Lord. Knowledge is then followed by practical wisdom, and practical wisdom by self-control: for it may be said that practical wisdom is divine knowledge, and exists in those who are deified; but that self-control is mortal, and subsists in those who philosophize, and are not yet wise. But if virtue is divine, so is also the knowledge of it; while self-control is a sort of imperfect wisdom which aspires after wisdom, and exerts itself laboriously, and is not contemplative. As certainly righteousness, being human, is, as being a common thing, subordinate to holiness, which subsists through the divine righteousness;[7] for the righteousness of the perfect man does not rest on civil contracts, or on the prohibition of law, but flows from his own spontaneous action and his love to God.

Reasons for the meaning of Scripture being veiled.

For many reasons, then, the Scriptures hide the sense. First, that we may become inquisitive, and be ever on the watch for the discovery of the words of salvation. Then it was not suitable for all to understand, so that they might not receive harm in consequence of taking in another sense the things declared for salvation by the Holy Spirit. Wherefore the holy mysteries of the prophecies are veiled in the parables--preserved for chosen men, selected to knowledge in consequence of their faith; for the style of the Scriptures is parabolic. Wherefore also the Lord, who was not of the world, came as one who was of the world to men. For He was clothed with all virtue; and it was His aim to lead man, the foster-child of the world, up to the objects of intellect, and to the most essential truths by knowledge, from one world to another.
Wherefore also He employed metaphorical description; for such is the parable,--a narration based on some subject which is not the principal subject, but similar to the principal subject, and leading him who understands to what is the true and principal thing; or, as some say, a mode of speech presenting with vigour, by means of other circumstances, what is the principal subject.
And now also the whole economy which prophesied of the Lord appears indeed a parable to those who know not the truth, when one speaks and the rest hear that the Son of God--of Him who made the universe--assumed flesh, and was conceived in the virgin's womb (as His material body was produced), and subsequently, as was the case, suffered and rose again, being "to the Jews a stumbling-block, and to the Greeks foolishness," as the apostle says.
But on the Scriptures being opened up, and declaring the truth to those who have ears, they proclaim the very suffering endured by the flesh, which the Lord assumed, to be "the power and wisdom of God." And finally, the parabolic style of Scripture being of the greatest antiquity, as we have shown, abounded most, as was to be expected, in the prophets, in order that the Holy Spirit might show that the philosophers among the Greeks, and the wise men among the Barbarians besides, were ignorant of the future coming of the Lord, and of the mystic teaching that was to be delivered by Him. Rightly then, prophecy, in proclaiming the Lord, in order not to seem to some to blaspheme while speaking what was beyond the ideas of the multitude embodied its declarations in expressions capable of leading to other conceptions. Now all the prophets who foretold the Lord's coming, and the holy mysteries accompanying it, were persecuted and killed. As also the Lord Himself, in explaining the Scriptures to them, and His disciples who preached the word like Him, and subsequently to His life, used parables.[1] Whence also Peter, in his Preaching, speaking of the apostles, says: "But we, unrolling the books of the prophets which we possess, who name Jesus Christ, partly in parables, partly in enigmas, partly expressly and in so many words, find His coming and death, and cross, and all the rest of the tortures which the Jews inflicted on Him, and His resurrection and assumption to heaven previous to the capture[2] of Jerusalem. As it is written, These things are all that He behoves to suffer, and what should be after Him. Recognising them, therefore, we have believed in God in consequence of what is written respecting Him."
And after a little again he draws the inference that the Scriptures owed their origin to the divine providence, asserting as follows: "For we know that God enjoined these things, and we say nothing apart from the Scriptures."
Now the Hebrew dialect, like all the rest, has certain properties, consisting in a mode of speech which exhibits the national character. Dialect is accordingly defined as a style of speech produced by the national character. But prophecy is not marked by those dialects. For in the Hellenic writings, what are called changes of figures purposely produce onscurations, deduced after the style of our prophecies. But this is effected through the voluntary departure from direct speech which takes place in metrical or offhand diction. A figure, then, is a form of speech transferred from what is literal to what is not literal, for the sake of the composition, and on account of a diction useful in speech.
But prophecy does not employ figurative forms in the expressions for the sake of beauty of diction. But from the fact that truth appertains not to all, it is veiled in manifold ways, causing the light to arise only on those who are initiated into knowledge, who seek the truth through love. The proverb, according to the Barbarian philosophy, is called a mode of prophecy, and the parable is so called, and the enigma in addition. Further also, they are called "wisdom;" and again, as something different from it, "instruction and words of prudence," and "turnings of words," and "true righteousness and again, "teaching to direct judgment," and "subtlety to the simple," which is the result of training, "and perception and thought," with which the young catechumen is imbued.[3] "He who bears these prophets, being wise, will be wiser. And the intelligent man will acquire rule, and will understand a parable and a dark saying, the words and enigmas of the wise."[4]
And if it was the case that the Hellenic dialects received their appellation from Hellen, the son of Zeus, surnamed Deucalion, from the chronology which we have already exhibited, it is comparatively easy to perceive by how many generations the dialects that obtained among the Greeks are posterior to the language of the Hebrews.
But as the work advances, we shall in each section, noting the figures of speech mentioned above by the prophet,[5] exhibit the gnostic mode of life, showing it systematically according to the rule of the truth.
Did not the Power also, that appeared to Hermas in the Vision, in the form of the Church, give for transcription the book which she wished to be made known to the elect ? And this, he says, he transcribed to the letter, without finding how to complete the syllables.[6] And this signified that the Scripture is clear to all, when taken according to the bare reading; and that this is the faith which occupies the place of the rudiments. Wherefore also the figurative expression is employed, "reading according to the letter;" while we understand that the gnostic unfolding of the Scriptures, when faith has already reached an advanced state, is likened to reading according to the syllables.
Further, Esaias the prophet is ordered to take "a new book, and write in it"[7] certain things: the Spirit prophesying that through the exposition of the Scriptures there would come afterwards the sacred knowledge, which at that period was still unwritten, because not yet known. For it was spoken from the beginning to those only who understand. Now that the Saviour has taught the apostles, the unwritten rendering' of the written [Scripture] has been handed down also to us, inscribed by the power of God on hearts new, according to the renovation of the book. Thus those of highest repute among the Greeks, dedicate the fruit of the pomegranate to Hermes, who they say is speech, on account of its interpretation. For speech conceals much. Rightly, therefore, Jesus the son of Nave saw Moses, when taken up [to heaven], double,--one Moses with the angels, and one on the mountains, honoured with burial in their ravines. And Jesus saw this spectacle below, being elevated by the Spirit, along also with Caleb. But both do not see similarly But the one descended with greater speed, as if the weight he carried was great; while the other, on descending after him, subsequently related the glory which he beheld, being able to perceive more than the other as having grown purer; the narrative, in my opinion, showing that knowledge is not the privilege of all. Since some look at the body of the Scriptures, the expressions and the names as to the body of Moses; while others see through to the thoughts and what it is signified by the names, seeking the Moses that is with the angels.
Many also of those who called to the Lord said, "Son of David, have mercy on me."[2] A few, too, knew Him as the Son of God; as Peter, whom also He pronounced blessed, "for flesh and blood revealed not the truth to him, but His Father in heaven," 3--showing that the Gnostic recognises the Son of the Omnipotent, not by His flesh conceived in the womb, but by the Father's own power. That it is therefore not only to those who read simply that the acquisition of the truth is so difficult, but that not even to those whose prerogative the knowledge of the truth is, is the contemplation of it vouch-safed all at once, the history of Moses teaches, until, accustomed to gaze, at the Hebrews on the glory of Moses, and the prophets of Israel on the visions of angels, so we also become able to look the splendours of truth in the face.

CHAP. XVI.--GNOSTIC EXPOSITION OF THE DECALOGUE.

Let the Decalogue be set forth cursorily by us as a specimen for gnostic exposition.

The number "ten."

That ten is a sacred number, it is superfluous to say now. And if the tables that were written were the work of God, they will be found to exhibit physical creation. For by the "finger of God" is understood the power of God, by which the creation of heaven and earth is accomplished; of both of which the tables will be understood to be symbols. For the writing and handiwork of God put on the table is the creation of the world.
And the Decalogue, viewed as an image of heaven, embraces sun and moon, stars, clouds, light, wind, water, air, darkness, fire. This is the physical Decalogue of the heaven.
And the representation of the earth contains men, cattle, reptiles, wild beasts; and of the inhabitants of the water, fishes and whales; and again, of the winged tribes, those that are carnivorous, and those that rise mild food; and of plants likewise, both fruit-bearing and barren.
This is the physical Decalogue of the earth.
And the ark which held them[4] will then be the knowledge of divine and human things and wisdom.[5]
And perhaps the two tables themselves may be the prophecy of the two covenants. They were accordingly mystically renewed, as ignorance along with sin abounded. The commandments are written, then, doubly, as appears, for twofold spirits, the ruling and the subject.
"For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh."[6]
And there is a ten in man himself: the five senses, and the power of speech, and that of reproduction; and the eighth is the spiritual principle communicated at his creation; and the ninth the ruling faculty of the soul; and tenth, there is the distinctive characteristic of the Holy Spirit, which comes to him through faith.
Besides, in addition to these ten human parts, the law appear to give its injunctions[7] to sight, and hearing, and Smell, and touch, and taste, and to the organs subservient to these, which are double--the hands and the feet. For such is the formation of man. And the soul is introduced, and previous to it the ruling faculty, by which we re.on, not produced in procreation; so that without it there is made up the number ten, of the faculties by which all the activity of man is carried out. For in order, straightway on man's entering existence, his life begins with sensations. We accordingly assert that rational and ruling power is the cause of the constitution of the living creature; also that this, the irrational part, is animated, and is a part of it. Now the vital force, in which is comprehended the power of nutrition and growth, and generally of motion, is assigned to the carnal spirit, which has great susceptibility of motion, and passes in all directions through the senses and the rest of the body, and through the body is the primary subject of sensations. But the power of choice, in which investigation, and study, and knowledge, reside, belongs to the ruling faculty. But all the faculties are placed in relation to one--the ruling faculty: it is through that man lives, and lives in a certain way.
Through the corporeal spirit, then, man perceives, desires, rejoices, is angry, is nourished, grows. It is by it, too, that thoughts and conceptions advance to actions. And when it masters the desires, the ruling faculty reigns.
The commandment, then, "Thou shalt not lust," says, thou shalt not serve the carnal spirit, but shall rule over it; "For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit,"[1] and excites to disorderly conduct against nature; "and the Spirit against the flesh" exercises sway, in order that the conduct of the man may be according to nature.
Is not man, then, rightly said "to have been made in the image of God?"--not in the form of his [corporeal] structure; but inasmuch as God creates all things by the Word (<greek>logw</greek>and the man who has become a Gnostic performs good actions by the faculty of reason (<greek>tw</greek> <greek>logikp</greek>), properly therefore the two tables are also said to mean the commandments that were given to the twofold spirits,--those communicated before the law to that which was created, and to the ruling faculty; and the movements of the senses are both copied in the mind, and manifested in the activity which proceeds from the body. For apprehension results from both combined. Again, as sensation is related to the world of sense, so is thought to that of intellect. And actions are twofold--those of thought, those of act.

The First Commandment.

The first commandment of the Decalogue shows that there is one only Sovereign God who led the people from the land of Egypt through the desert to their fatherland; that they might apprehend His power, as they were able, by means of the divine works, and withdraw from the idolatry of created things, putting all their hope in the true God.

The Second Commandment.

The second word[3] intimated that men ought not to take and confer the august power of God (which is the name, for this alone were many even yet capable of learning), and transfer His title to things created and vain, which human artificers have made, among which" He that is" is not ranked. For in His uncreated identity, "He that is" is absolutely alone.

The Fourth Commandment.

And the fourth[4] word is that which intimates that the world was created by God, and that He gave us the seventh day as a rest, on account of the trouble that there is in life. For God is incapable of weariness, and suffering, and want. But we who bear flesh need rest. The seventh day, therefore, is proclaimed a rest--abstraction from ills--preparing for the Primal Day,[5] our true rest; which, in truth, is the first creation of light, in which all things are viewed and possessed. From this day the first wisdom and knowledge illuminate us. For the light of truth--a light true, casting no shadow, is the Spirit of God indivisibly divided to all, who are sanctified by faith, holding the place of a luminary, in order to the knowledge of real existences. By following Him, therefore, through our whole life, we become impossible; and this is to rest.[6]
Wherefore Solomon also says, that before heaven, and earth, and all existences, Wisdom had arisen in the Almighty; the participation of which --that which is by power, I mean, not that by essence--teaches a man to know by apprehension things divine and human. Having reached this point, we must mention these things by the way; since the discourse has turned on the seventh and the eighth. For the eighth may possibly turn out to be properly the seventh, and the seventh manifestly the sixth, and the latter properly the Sabbath, and the seventh a day of work. For the creation of the world was concluded in six days. For the motion of the sun from solstice to solstice is completed in six months--in the course of which, at one time the leaves fall, and at another plants bud and seeds come to maturity. And they say that the embryo is perfected exactly in the sixth month, that is, in one hundred and eighty days in addition to the two and a half, as Polybus the physician relates in his book On the Eighth Month, and Aristotle the philosopher in his book On Nature. Hence the Pythagoreans, as I think, reckon six the perfect number, from the creation of the world, according to the prophet, and call it Meseuthys[1] and Marriage, from its being the middle of the even numbers, that is, of ten and two. For it is manifestly at an equal distance from both.
And as marriage generates from male and female, so six is generated from the odd number three, which is called the masculine number, and the even number two, which is considered the feminine. For twice three are six.
Such, again, is the number of the most general motions, according to which all origination takes place--up, down, to the right, to the left, forward, backward. Rightly, then, they reckon the number seven motherless and childless, interpreting the Sabbath, and figuratively expressing the nature of the rest, in which "they neither marry nor are given in marriage any more."[2] For neither by taking from one number and adding to another of those within ten is seven produced; nor when added to any number within the ten does it make up any of them.
And they called eight a cube, counting the fixed sphere along with the seven revolving ones, by which is produced "the great year," as a kind of period of recompense of what has been promised.
Thus the Lord, who ascended the mountain, the fourth,[3] becomes the sixth, and is illuminated all round with spiritual light, by laying bare the power proceeding from Him, as far as those selected to see were able to behold it, by the Seventh, the Voice, proclaimed to be the Son of God; in order that they, persuaded respecting Him, might have rest; while He by His birth, which was indicated by the sixth conspicuously marked, becoming the eighth, might appear to be God in a body of flesh, by displaying His power, being numbered indeed as a man, but being concealed as to who He was. For six is reckoned in the order of numbers, but the succession of the letters acknowledges the character which is not written. In this case, in the numbers themselves, each unit is preserved in its order up to seven and eight. But in the number of the characters, Zeta becomes six and Eta seven.
And the character[4] having somehow slipped into writing, should we follow it out thus, the seven became six, and the eight seven.
Wherefore also man is said to have been made on the sixth day, who became faithful to Him who is the sign (<greek>tp</greek> <greek>epishmw</greek>[5]), so as straightway to receive the rest of the Lord's inheritance. Some such thing also is indicated by the sixth hour in the scheme of salvation, in which man was perfected. Further, of the eight, the intermediates are seven; and of the seven, the intervals are shown to be six. For that is another ground, in which seven glorifies eight, and "the heavens declare to the heavens the glory of God."[6]
The sensible types of these, then, are the sounds we pronounce. Thus the Lord Himself is called "Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end,"[7] " by whom all things were made, and without whom not even one thing was made."[8] God's resting is not, then, as some conceive, that God ceased from doing. For, being good, if He should ever cease from doing good, then would He cease from being God, which it is sacrilege even to say. The resting is, therefore, the ordering that the order of created things should be preserved inviolate, and that each of the creatures should cease from the ancient disorder. For the creations on the different days followed in a most important succession; so that all things brought into existence might have honour from priority, created together in thought, but not being of equal worth. Nor was the creation of each signified by the voice, inasmuch as the creative work is said to have made them at once. For something must needs have been named first. Wherefore those things were announced first, from which came those that were second, all things being originated together from one essence by one power. For the will of God was one, in one identity. And how could creation take place in time, seeing time was born along with things which exist.
And now the whole world of creatures born alive, and things that grow, revolves in sevens. The first-born princes of the angels, who have the greatest power, are seven.[9] The mathematicians also say that the planets, which perform their course around the earth, are seven; by which the Chaldeans think that all which concerns mortal life is effected through sympathy, in consequence of which they also undertake to tell things respecting the future.
And of the fixed stars, the Pleiades are seven. And the Bears, by the help of which agriculture and navigation are carried through, consist of seven stars. And in periods of seven days the moon undergoes its changes. In the first week she becomes half moon; in the second, full moon; and in the third, in her wane, again half moon; and in the fourth she disappears. Further, as Seleucus the mathematician lays down, she has seven phases. First, from being invisible she becomes crescent-shaped, then half moon, then gibbous and full; and in her wane again gibbous, and in like manner half moon and crescent-shaped.

"On a seven-stringed lyre we shall sing new hymns,"

writes a poet of note, teaching us that the ancient lyre was seven-toned. The organs of the senses situated on our face are also seven--two eyes, two passages of hearing, two nostrils, and the seventh the mouth.
And that the changes in the periods of life take place by sevens, the Elegies of Solan teach thus :--

"The child, while still an infant, in seven years,
Produces and puts forth its fence of teeth;
And when God seven years more completes,
He shows of puberty's approach the signs;
And in the third, the beard on growing cheek
With down o'erspreads the bloom of changing skin;
And in the fourth septenniad, at his best
In strength, of manliness he shows the signs;
And in the fifth, of marriage, now mature,
And of posterity, the man bethinks;
Nor does he yet desire vain works to see.
The seventh and eighth septenniads see him now
In mind and speech mature, till fifty years;
And in the ninth he still has vigour left,
But strength and body are for virtue great
Less than of yore; when, seven years more, God brings
To end, then not too soon may he submit to die."

Again, in diseases the seventh day is that of the crisis; and the fourteenth, in which nature struggles against the causes of the diseases. And a myriad such instances are adduced by Hermippus of Berytus, in his book On the Number Seven, regarding it as holy.[1] And the blessed David delivers clearly to those who know the mystic account of seven and eight, praising thus: "Our years were exercised like a spider. The days of our years in them are seventy years; but if in strength, eighty years. And that will be to reign."[2] That, then, we may be taught that the world was originated, and not suppose that God made it in time, prophecy adds: "This is the book of the generation: also of the things in them, when they were created in the day that God made heaven and earth."[3] For the expression "when they were created" intimates an indefinite and dateless production. But the expression "in the day that God made," that is, in and by which God made "all things," and "without which not even one thing was made," points out the activity exerted by the Son. As David says, "This is the day which the Lord hath made; let us be glad and rejoice in it; "[4] that is, in consequence of the knowledge[5] imparted by Him, let us celebrate the divine festival; for the Word that throws light on things hidden, and by whom each created thing came into life and being, is called day.
And, in fine, the Decalogue, by the letter Iota,[6] signifies the blessed name, presenting Jesus, who is the Word.

The Fifth Commandment.

Now the fifth in order is the command on the honour of father and mother. And it clearly announces God as Father and Lord. Wherefore also it calls those who know Him sons and gods. The Creator of the universe is their Lord and Father; and the mother is not, as some say, the essence from which we sprang, nor, as others teach, the Church, but the divine knowledge and wisdom, as Solomon says, when he terms wisdom "the mother of the just," and says that it is desirable for its own sake. And the knowledge of all, again, that is lovely and venerable, proceeds from God through the Son.

The Seventh Commandment.

This is followed by the command respecting adultery. Now it is adultery, if one, abandoning the ecclesiastical and true knowledge, and the persuasion respecting God, accedes to false and incongruous opinion, either by deifying any created object, or by making an idol of anything that exists not, so as to overstep, or rather step from, knowledge. And to the Gnostic false opinion is foreign, as the true belongs to him, and is allied with him. Wherefore the noble apostle calls one of the kinds of fornication, idolatry,[7] in following the prophet, who says: "[My people] hath committed fornication with stock and stone. They have said to the stock, Thou art my father; and to the stone, Thou hast begotten me."[8]

The Sixth Commandment.

Then follows the command about murder. Now murder is a sure destruction. He, then, that wishes to extirpate the true doctrine of God and of immortality, in order to introduce. falsehood, alleging either that the universe is not under Providence, or that the world is uncrested, or affirming anything against true doctrine, is most pernicious.

The Eight Commandment.

And after this is the command respecting theft. As, then, he that steals what is another's, doing great wrong, rightly incurs ills suitable to his deserts; so also does he, who arrogates to himself divine works by the art of the statuary or the painter, and pronounces himself to be the maker of animals and plants. Likewise those, too, who mimic the true philosophy are thieves. Whether one be a husbandman or the father of a child, he is an agent in depositing seeds. But it is God who, ministering the growth and perfection of all things, brings the things produced to what is in accordance with their nature. But the most, in common also with the philosophers, attribute growth and changes to the stars as the primary cause, robbing the Father of the universe, as far as in them lies, of His tireless might.
The Father of the universe, as far as in lies, of His tireless might. e elements, however, and the stars--that is, the administrative powers--are ordained for the accomplishment of what is essential to the administration, and are influenced and moved by what is commanded to them, in the way in which the Word of the Lord leads, since it is the nature of the divine power to work all things secretly. He, accordingly, who alleges that he has conceived or made anything which pertains to creation, will suffer the punishment of his impious audacity.

The Tenth Commandment.[1]

And the tenth is the command respecting all lusts. As, then, he who entertains unbecoming desires is called to account; in the same way he is not allowed to desire things false, or to suppose that, of created objects, those that are animate have power of themselves, and that in-animate things can at all save or hurt. And should one say that an antidote cannot heal or hemlock kill, he is unwittingly deceived. For none of these operates except one makes use of the plant and the drug; just as the axe does not without one to cut with it, or a saw without one sawing with it. And as they do not work by themselves, but have certain physical qualities which accomplish their proper work by the exertion of the artisan; so also, by the universal providence of God, through the medium of secondary causes, the operative power is propagated in succession to individual objects.

CHAP. XVII.--PHILOSOPHY CONVEYS ONLY AN IMPERFECT KNOWLEDGE OF GOD.

But, as appears, the philosophers of the Greeks, while naming God, do not know Him. But their philosophical speculations, according to Empedocles, "as passing over the tongue of the multitude, are poured out of mouths that know little of the whole." For as art changes the light of the sun into fire by passing it through a glass vessel full of water, so also philosophy, catching a spark from the divine Scripture, is visible in a few. Also, as all animals breathe the same air, some in one way, others in another, and to a different purpose; so also a considerable number of people occupy themselves with the truth, or rather with discourse concerning the truth. For they do not say aught respecting God, but expound Him by attributing their own affections to God. For they spend life in seeking the probable, not the true. But truth is not taught by imitation, but by instruction. For it is not that we may seem good[2] that we believe in Christ, as it is not alone for the purpose of being seen, while in the sun, that we pass into the sun. But in the one case for the purpose of being warmed; and in the other, we are compelled to be Christians in order to be excellent and good. For the kingdom belongs pre-eminently to the violent,[3] who, from investigation, and study, and discipline, reap this fruit, that they become kings.
He, then, who imitates opinion shows also preconception. When then one, having got an inkling of the subject, kindles it within in his soul by desire and study, he sets everything in motion afterwards in order to know it. For that which one does not apprehend, neither does he desire it, nor does he embrace the advantage flowing from it. Subsequently, therefore, the Gnostic at last imitates the Lord, as far as allowed to men, having received a sort of quality akin to the Lord Himself, in order to assimilation to God. But those who are not proficient in knowledge cannot judge the truth by rule. It is not therefore possible to share in the gnostic contemplations, unless we empty ourselves of our previous notions. For the truth in regard to every object of intellect and of sense is thus simply universally declared. For instance, we may distinguish the truth of painting from that which is vulgar, and decorous music from licentious. There is, then, also a truth of philosophy as distinct from the other philosophies, and a true beauty as distinct from the spurious. It is not then the partial truths, of which truth is predicated, but the truth itself, that we are to investigate, not seeking to learn names. For what is to be investigated respecting God is not one thing, but ten thousand. There is a difference between declaring God, and declaring things about God. And to speak generally, in everything the accidents are to be distinguished from the essence.
Suffice it for me to say, that the Lord of all is God; and I say the Lord of all absolutely, nothing being left by way of exception.
Since, then, the forms of truth are two--the names and the things--some discourse of names, occupying themselves with the beauties of words: such are the philosophers among the Greeks. But we who are Barbarians have the things. Now it was not in vain that the Lord chose to make use of a mean form of body; so that no one praising the grace and admiring the beauty might turn his back on what was said, and attending to what ought to be abandoned, might be cut off from what is intellectual. We must therefore occupy ourselves not with the expression, but the meaning.
To those, then, who are not gifted[1] with the power of apprehension, and are not inclined to knowledge, the word is not entrusted; since also the ravens imitate human voices, having no understanding of the thing which they say. And intellectual apprehension depends on faith. Thus also Homer said :--

"Father of men and gods,''[2]--

knowing not who the Father is, or how He is Father.
And as to him who has hands it is natural to grasp, and to him who has sound eyes to see the light; so it is the natural prerogative of him who has received faith to apprehend knowledge, if he desires, on "the foundation" laid, to work, and build up "gold, silver, precious stones."[3]
Accordingly he does not profess to wish to participate, but begins to do so. Nor does it belong to him to intend, but to be regal, and illuminated, and gnostic. Nor does it appertain to him to wish to grasp things in name, but in fact.
For God, being good, on account of the principal part of the whole creation, seeing He wishes to save it, was induced to make the rest also; conferring on them at the beginning this first boon, that of existence. For that to be is far better than not to be, will be admitted by every one. Then, according to the capabilities of their nature, each one was and is made, advancing to that which is better.
So there is no absurdity in philosophy having been given by Divine Providence as a preparatory discipline for the perfection which is by Christ; unless philosophy is ashamed at learning from Barbarian knowledge how to advance to truth.[4] But if "the very hairs are numbered, and the most insignificant motions," how shall not philosophy be taken into account ? For to Samson power was given in his hair, in order that he might perceive that the worthless arts that refer to the things in this life, which lie and remain on the ground after the departure of the soul, were not given without divine power.
But it is said Providence, from above, from what is of prime importance, as from the head, reaches to all, "as the ointment," it is said, "which descends to Aaron's beard, and to the skirt of his garment"[5] (that is, of the great High Priest, "by whom all things were made, and without whom not even one thing was made"[6]); not to the ornament of the body; for Philosophy is outside of the People, like raiment.[7] The philosophers, therefore, who, trained to their own peculiar power of perception by the spirit of perception, when they investigate, not a part of philosophy, but philosophy absolutely, testify to the truth in a truth-loving and humble spirit; if in the case of good things said by those even who are of different sentiments they advance to understanding, through the divine administration, and the ineffable Goodness, which always, as far as possible, leads the nature of existences to that which is better. Then, by cultivating the acquaintance not of Greeks alone, but also of Barbarians, from the exercise common to their proper intelligence, they are conducted to Faith. And when they have embraced the foundation of truth, they receive in addition the power of advancing further to investigation. And thence they love to be learners, and aspiring after knowledge, haste to salvation.
Thus Scripture says, that "the spirit of perception" was given to the artificers from God.[8] And this is nothing else than Understanding, a faculty of the soul, capable of studying existences,--of distinguishing and comparing what succeeds as like and unlike,--of enjoining and forbidding, and of conjecturing the future. And it extends not to the arts alone, but even to philosophy itself.
Why, then, is the serpent called wise? Because even in its wiles there may be found a connection, and distinction, and combination, and conjecturing of the future. And so very many crimes are concealed; because the wicked arrange for themselves so as by all means to escape punishment.
And Wisdom being manifold, pervading the whole world, and all human affairs, varies its appellation in each case. When it applies itself to first causes, it is called Understanding (<greek>nohsis</greek>). When, however, it confirms this by demonstrative reasoning, it is termed Knowledge, and Wisdom, and Science. When it is occupied in what pertains to piety, and receives without speculation the primal Word[9] in consequence of the maintenance of the operation in it, it is called Faith. In the sphere of things of sense, establishing that which appears as being truest, it is Right Opinion. In operations, again, performed by skill of hand, it is Art But when, on the other hand, without the study of primary causes, by the observation of similarities, and by transposition, it makes any attempt or combination, it is called Experiment. But belonging to it, and supreme and essential, is the Holy Spirit, which above all he who, in consequence of [divine] guidance, has believed, receives after strong faith. Philosophy, then, partaking of a more exquisite perception, as has been shown from the above statements, participates in Wisdom.
Logical discussion, then, of intellectual subjects, with selection and assent, is called Dialectics; which establishes, by demonstration, allegations respecting truth, and demolishes the doubts brought forward.
Those, then, who assert that philosophy did not come hither from God, all but say that God does not know each particular thing, and that He is not the cause of all good things; if, indeed, each of these belongs to the class of individual things. But nothing that exists could have subsisted at all, had God not willed. And if He willed, then philosophy is from God, He having willed it to be such as it is, for the sake of those who not otherwise than by its means would abstain from what is evil. For God knows all things--not those only which exist, but those also which shall be--and how each thing shall be. And foreseeing the particular movements, "He surveys all things, and hears all things," seeing the soul naked within; and possesses from eternity the idea of each thing individually. And what applies to theatres, and to the parts of each object, in looking at, looking round, and taking in the whole in one view, applies also to God. For in one glance He views all things together, and each thing by itself; but not all things, by way of primary intent.
Now, then, many things in life take their rise in some exercise of human reason, having received the kindling spark from God. For instance, health by medicine, and soundness of body through gymnastics, and wealth by trade, have their origin and existence in consequence of Divine Providence indeed, but in consequence, too, of human co-operation. Understanding also is from God.
But God's will is especially obeyed by the free-will of good men. Since many advantages are common to good and bad men: yet they are nevertheless advantageous only to men of goodness and probity, for whose sake God created them. For it was for the use of good men that the influence which is in God's gifts was originated. Besides, the thoughts of virtuous men are produced through the inspiration[1] of God; the soul being disposed in the way it is, and the divine will being conveyed to human souls, particular divine ministers contributing to such services. For regiments of angels are distributed over the nations and cities.[2] And, perchance, some are assigned to individuals.[3]
The Shepherd, then, cares for each of his sheep; and his closest inspection is given to those who are excellent in their natures, and are capable of being most useful. Such are those fit to lead and teach, in whom the action of Providence is conspicuously seen; whenever either by instruction, or government, or administration, God wishes to benefit. But He wishes at all times. Wherefore He moves those who are adapted to useful exertion in the things which pertain to virtue, and peace, and beneficence. But all that is characterized by virtue proceeds from virtue, and leads back to virtue. And it is given either in order that men may become good, or that those who are so may make use of their natural advantages. For it co-operates both in what is general and what is particular. How absurd, then, is it, to those who attribute disorder and wickedness to the devil, to make him the bestower of philosophy, a virtuous thing ! For he is thus all but made more benignant to the Greeks, in respect of making men good, than the divine providence and mind.
Again, I reckon it is the part of law and of right reason to assign to each one what is appropriate to him, and belongs to him, and falls to him. For as the lyre is only for the harper, and the flute for the flute-player; so good things are the possessions of good men. As the nature of the beneficent is to do good, as it is of the fire to warm, and the light to give light, and a good man will not do evil, or light produce darkness, or fire cold; so, again, vice cannot do aught virtuous. For its activity is to do evil, as that of darkness to dim the eyes.
Philosophy is not, then, the product of vice, since it makes men virtuous; it follows, then, that it is the work of God, whose work it is solely to do good. And all things given by God are given and received well.
Further, if the practice of philosophy does not belong to the wicked, but was accorded to the best of the Greeks, it is clear also from what source it was bestowed--manifestly from Providence, which assigns to each what is befitting in accordance with his deserts."[4]
Rightly, then, to the Jews belonged the Law, and to the Greeks Philosophy, until the Advent; and after that came the universal calling to be a peculiar people of righteousness, through the teaching which flows from faith, brought together by one Lord, the only God of both Greeks and Barbarians, or rather of the whole race of men. We have often called by the name philosophy that portion of truth attained through philosophy, although but partial.[1]
Now, too what is good in the arts as arts,[2] have their beginning from God. For as the doing of anything artistically is embraced in the rules of art, so also acting sagaciously is classed under the head of sagacity (<greek>fronhsis</greek>). Now sagacity is virtue, and it is its function to know other things, but much more especially what belongs to itself. And Wisdom (<greek>Sofia</greek>) being power, is nothing but the knowledge of good things, divine and human.
But "the earth is God's, and the fulness thereof,"[3] says the Scripture, teaching that good things come from God to men; it being through divine power and might that the distribution of them comes to the help of man.
Now the modes of all help and communication from one to another are three. One is, by attending to another, as the master of gymnastics, in training the boy. The second is, by assimilation, as in the case of one who exhorts another to benevolence by practising it before. The one co-operates with the learner, and the other benefits him who receives. The third mode is that by command, when the gymnastic master, no longer training the learner, nor showing in his own person the exercise for the boy to imitate, prescribes the exercise by name to him, as already proficient in it.
The Gnostic, accordingly, having received from God the power to be of service, benefits some by disciplining them, by bestowing attention on them; others, by exhorting them, by assimilation; and others, by training and teaching them, by command. And certainly he himself is equally benefited by the Lord. Thus, then, the benefit that comes from God to men becomes known--angels at the same time lending encouragement.[4] For by angels, whether seen or not, the divine power bestows good things. Such was the mode adopted in the advent of the Lord. And sometimes also the power "breathes" in men's thoughts and reasonings, and "puts in" their hearts "strength" and a keener perception, and furnishes "prowess" and "boldness of alacrity"[5] both for researches and deeds.
But exposed for imitation and assimilation are truly admirable and holy examples of virtue in the actions put on record. Further, the department of action is most conspicuous both in the testaments of the Lord, and in the laws in force among the Greeks, and also in the precepts of philosophy.
And to speak comprehensively, all benefit appertaining to life, in its highest reason, proceeding from the Sovereign God, the Father who is over all, is consummated by the Son, who also on this account "is the Saviour of all men," says the apostle, "but especially of those who believe."[6] But in respect of its immediate reason, it is from those next to each, in accordance with the command and injunction of Him who is nearest the First Cause, that is, the Lord.

CHAP. XVIII.--THE USE OF PHILOSOPHY TO THE GNOSTIC.

Greek philosophy the recreation of the Gnostic.

Now our Gnostic always occupies himself with the things of highest importance. But if at any time he has leisure and time for relaxation from what is of prime consequence, he applies himself to Hellenic philosophy in preference to other recreation, feasting on it as a kind of dessert at supper.[7] Not that he neglects what is superior; but that he takes this in addition, as long as proper, for the reasons I mentioned above. But those who give their mind to the unnecessary and superfluous points of philosophy, and addict themselves to wrangling sophisms alone, abandon what is necessary and most essential, pursuing plainly the shadows of words.
It is well indeed to know all. But the man whose soul is destitute of the ability to reach to acquaintance with many subjects of study, will select the principal and better subjects alone. For real science (<greek>episthmh</greek>, which we affirm the Gnostic alone possesses) is a sure comprehension (<greek>katalhyis</greek>), leading up through true and sure reasons to the knowledge (<greek>gnpsis</greek>) of the cause. And he, who is acquainted with what is true respecting any one subject, becomes of course acquainted with what is false respecting it.

Philosophy necessary.

For truly it appears to me to be a proper point for discussion, Whether we ought to philosophize: for its terms are consistent.
But if we are not to philosophize, what then? (For no one can condemn a thing without first knowing it): the consequence, even in that case, is that we must philosophize.[8] First of all, idols are to be rejected. Such, then, being the case, the Greeks ought by the Law and the Prophets to learn to worship one God only, the only Sovereign; then to be taught by the apostle, "but to us an idol is no, thing in the world,"[1] since nothing among created things can be a likeness of God; and further, to be taught that none of those images which they worship can be similitudes: for the race of souls is not in form such as the Greeks fashion their idols. For souls are invisible; not only those that are rational, but those also of the other animals. And their bodies never become parts of the souls themselves, but organs--partly as seats, partly as vehicles--and in other cases possessions in various ways. But it is not possible to copy accurately even the likenesses of the organs; since, were it so, one might model the sun, as it is seen, and take the likeness of the rainbow in colours.
After abandoning idols, then, they will hear the Scripture, "Unless your righteousness exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees "[2] (who justified themselves in the way of abstinence from what was evil),--so as, along with such, perfection as they evinced, and "the loving of your neighbour," to be able also to do good,you shall not "be kingly."[3]
For intensification of the righteousness which is according to the law shows the Gnostic. So one who is placed in the head, which is that which rules its own body--and who advances to the summit of faith, which is the knowledge (gnosis) itself, for which all the organs of perception exist--will likewise obtain the highest inheritance.
The primacy of knowledge the apostle shows to those capable of reflection, in writing to those Greeks of Corinth, in the following terms: "But having hope, when your faith is increased, that we shall he magnified in you according to our rule abundantly, to preach the Gospel beyond you."[4] He does not mean the extension of his preaching locally: for he says also that in Achaia faith abounded; and it is related also in the Acts of the Apostles that he preached the word in Athens.[5] But he teaches that knowledge (gnosis), which is the perfection of faith, goes beyond catechetical instruction, in accordance with the magnitude of the Lord's teaching and the rule of the Church.[6] Wherefore also he proceeds to add, "And if I am rude in speech, yet I am not in knowledge."[7]

Whence is the knowledge of truth?

But let those who vaunt on account of having apprehended the truth tell us from whom they boast of having heard it. They will not say from God, but will admit that it was from men. And if so, it is either from themselves that they have learned it lately, as some of them arrogantly boast, or from others like them. But human teachers, speaking of God, are not reliable, as men. For he that is man cannot speak worthily the truth concerning God: the feeble and mortal [cannot speak worthily] of the Unoriginated and Incorruptible--the work, of the Workman. Then he who is incapable of speaking what is true respecting himself, is he not much less reliable in what concerns God ? For just as far as man is inferior to God in power, so much feebler is man's speech than Him; although he do not declare God, but only speak about God and the divine word. For human speech is by nature feeble, and incapable of uttering God. I do not say His name. For to name it is common, not to philosophers only, but also to poets. Nor [do I say] His essence; for this is impossible, but the power and the works of God.
Those even who claim God as their teacher, with difficulty attain to a conception of God, grace aiding them to the attainment of their modicum of knowledge; accustomed as they are to contemplate the will [of God] by the will, and the Holy Spirit by the Holy Spirit. "For the Spirit searches the deep things of God. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit."[8]
The only wisdom, therefore, is the God-taught wisdom we possess; on which depend all the sources of wisdom, which make conjectures at the truth.

Intimations of the Teacher's advent

Assuredly of the coming of the Lord, who has taught us, to men, there were a myriad indicators, heralds, preparers, precursors, from the beginning, from the foundation of the world, intimating beforehand by deeds and words, prophesying that He would come, and where, and how, what should be the signs. From afar certainly Law and Prophecy kept Him in view beforehand. And then the precursor pointed Him out as present. After whom the heralds point out by their teaching the virtue of His manifestation.

Universal diffusion of the Gospel a contrast to philosophy.

The philosophers, however, chose to [teach philosophy] to the Greeks alone,[9] and not even to all of them; but Socrates to Plato, and Plato to Xenocrates, Aristotle to Theophrastus, and Zeno to Cleanthes, who persuaded their own followers alone.
But the word of our Teacher remained not in Judea alone, as philosophy did in Greece; but was diffused over the whole world, over every nation, and village, and town, bringing already over to the truth whole houses, and each individual of those who heard it by him himself, and not a few of the philosophers themselves.
And if any one ruler whatever prohibit the Greek philosophy, it vanishes forthwith.[1] But our doctrine on its very first proclamation was prohibited by kings and tyrants together, as well as particular rulers and governors, with all their mercenaries, and in addition by innumerable men, warring against us, and endeavouring as far as they could to exterminate it. But it flourishes the more. For it dies not, as human doctrine dies, nor fades as a fragile gift. For no gift of God is fragile. But it remains unchecked, though prophesied as destined to be persecuted to the end. Thus Plato writes of poetry: "A poet is a light and a sacred thing, and cannot write poetry till he be inspired and lose his senses." And Democritus similarly: "Whatever things a poet writes with divine afflatus, and with a sacred spirit, are very beautiful." And we know what sort of things poets say. And shall no one be amazed at the prophets of God Almighty becoming the organs of the divine voice ?
Having then moulded, as it were, a statue of the Gnostic, we have now shown who he is; indicating in outline, as it were, both the greatness and beauty of his character. What he is as to the study of physical phenomena shall be shown afterwards, when we begin to treat of the creation of the world.

ELUCIDATIONS.

I. (Gentlemen of the Jury, cap. ii. p. 485.)

This strange rendering of <greek>w</greek> <greek>andres</greek> <greek>dikastai</greek>. (which we were taught to translate O judices, in our school-days) occurs three times on this page, and I felt bound to retain it. But why import such an anachronism into the author's work, and the forensic eloquence of the Athenians? Better do violence to idiom, like our English Bible (" men and brethren "), and say, O men and judges. Why not judges ? See Sharon Turner (Anglo-Saxons, i. p. 476) and Freeman (Norman Conquest, v. p. 451).

II. (Aristobulus, cap. iii. p. 487, note 7.)

In addition to the note in loc., it may be well to mention the Stromata (book i. cap. xv. p. 316), as another place where this name occurs. The learned Calmer (Works, tom. ix. p. 121, in his Diet. Critic., has a valuable statement as to the difficulties connected with this name and the probability that there were two so called, who have been confused in the citations and references of authors.

III. (Egyptians, cap. iv. p. 488.)

The paradoxical genius of Warburton ought not to dissuade us from enjoying the amusement and instruction to be found in his Divine Legation. In many respects he reminds me of this great Alexandrian Father, and they are worthy of being studied together, Let me instance, in connection with this subject, the second book, e,g. p. 151, on Metempsychosis (Hurd's Edition, vol. ii. 1811).

IV. (Egyptian Women, book vi. cap. iv. p. 488.)

"Last, about women," says our author; and one would infer least But Rawlinson (Herad., vol. ii. p. 47, ed. New York) has a long and learned note on this subject. "Queens made offerings with the kings, and the monuments show that an order of women were employed in the service of the gods." ... Then he says, "A sort of monastic institution seems to have originated in Egypt at an early time, and to have been imitated afterwards, when the real conventional system was set on foot by the Christians, in the same country." This may be worthy of being borne in mind, when we come to the coenobitic life of the Thebaid, which lies, indeed, beyond the limits of our ante-Nicene researches. But persecution had already driven Christians to the desert; and the ascetic type of piety, with which the age and its necessities imprinted the souls of many devout women, may have led them at a very early period to the "imitation" of which Rawlinson speaks. The "widows" recognised by the ante-Nicene canons, would naturally become the founders of "widows' houses," such as are to be seen among the pious Moravians in our times. (See Bunsen, Hippol., iii. p. 81.)

V. (Philosophy, cap. vii. p. 493.)

In justice to Clement's eulogies of philosophy, we must constantly bear in mind his reiterated definitions. We have here a very important outline of his Christian Eclecticism, which, so far from clashing with St. Paul's scornful references to Gentile wisdom, seems to me in absolute correspondence with his reference to "science falsely so called" (1 Tim. vi. 20). So, when the apostle identifies philosophy with "the rudiments of the world," he adds, "and not after Christ." Now, Clement's eclectic system yokes all true philosophy to the chariot-wheels of the Messiah, as in this instance; making all true science hinge upon "the knowledge of the Son of God." How these chapters shine in contrast even with Plato.

VI. (Numbers, cap. xi. p. 499.)

The marvellous system of numbers which runs through all revelation, and which gives us the name Palmoni (English margin) in a remarkable passage of Daniel (viii. 13), has lately excited fresh interest among the learned in England and America. Doubtless the language of St. John (Rev. xiii. 18), "Here is wisdom," etc., influenced the early Church in what seems to us purely fanciful conjectures and combinations like these. Two unpretending little books have lately struck me as quite in the spirit of the ante-Nicene Fathers: The Number Counted, and the Name Counted, by J. A. Upjohn (Appleton, Wis., 1883).

VII. (The Gnostic, cap. xi. p. 501.)

The Gnostic "conjectures things future," i.e., by the Scriptures. "He shall show you things to come," said the Divine Master, speaking of the Blessed Comforter. To what extent did these ancients, in their esoteric conjectures, anticipate the conversion of the empire, and the evils that were to follow ? This they could not publish; but the inquiry deserves thought, and there are dues for inquirers.

VIII. (Ultimate Issues, cap. xiii. p. 504.)

With reference to the choice of Judas to be an apostle, and like mysteries, this seems to me a bit of calm philosophy, worthy of the childlike faith of the early Christians. I confess great obligations to a neglected American author, with reference to such discussions (see Bledsoe, Theodicy, New York, 1854).

IX. (Enigmas, cap. xv. p. 510.)

We are often troubled by this Oriental tendency to teach by myth and mysteries; but the text here quoted from the Proverbs, goes far to show that it is rooted in human nature, and that God himself has condescended to adopt it. Like every gift of God, it is subject to almost inevitable corruption and abuse.

X. (Omissions, cap. xvi. p. 515.)

The omissions in Clement's Decalogue are worthy of remark, and I can only account for them by supposing a defective text. Kaye might have said more on the subject; but he suggests this as the solution of the difficulty, when he says (p. 201), "As the text now stands, Clement interprets only eight out of the ten."
P.S.--I have foreborne to say anything on "the descent into hell," in my annotations on cap. vi.), for obvious reasons of propriety; but, for an entire system of references to the whole subject, I name Ezra Abbot's Catalogue, appended to Alger's History, etc. (Philadelphia, 1864.)

 

 
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