CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA
THE STROMATA, OR MISCELLANIES, BOOKS IV-V.
[Printed by the editors in Latin because it deals somewhat explicitly with the licentious teachings of Gnosticism.]
THE STROMATA, OR MISCELLANIES.
CHAP. I.--ORDER OF CONTENTS.
It will follow, I think, that I should treat of martyrdom, and of who the perfect man is. With these points shall be included what follows in accordance with the demands of the points to be spoken about, and how both bond and free must equally philosophize, whether male or female in sex. And in the sequel, after finishing what is to be said on faith and inquiry, we shall set forth the department of symbols; so that, on cursorily concluding the discourse on ethics, we shall exhibit the advantage which has accrued to the Greeks from the barbarian philosophy. After which sketch, the brief explanation of the Scriptures both against the Greeks and against the Jews will be presented, and whatever points we were unable to embrace in the previous Miscellanies (through having respect necessarily to the multitude of matters), in accordance with the commencement of the poem, purposing to finish them in one commentary. In addition to these points, afterwards on completing the sketch, as far as we can in accordance with what we propose, we must give an account of the physical doctrines of the Greeks and of the barbarians, respecting elementary principles, as far as their opinions have reached us, and argue against the principal views excogitated by the philosophers.
It will naturally fall after these, after a cursory view of theology, to discuss the opinions handed down respecting prophecy; so that, having demonstrated that the Scriptures which we believe are valid from their omnipotent authority, we shall be able to go over them consecutively, and to show thence to all the heresies one God and Omnipotent Lord to be truly preached by the law and the prophets, and besides by the blessed Gospel. Many contradictions against the heterodox await us while we attempt, in writing, to do away with the force of the allegations made by them, and to persuade them against their will, proving by the Scriptures themselves.
On completing, then, the whole of what we propose in the commentaries, on which, if the Spirit will, we ministering to the urgent need, (for it is exceedingly necessary, before coming to the truth, to embrace what ought to be said by way of preface), shall address ourselves to the true gnostic science of nature, receiving initiation into the minor mysteries before the greater; so that nothing may be in the way of the truly divine declaration of sacred things, the subjects requiring preliminary detail and statement being cleared away, and sketched beforehand. The science of nature, then, or rather observation, as contained in the gnostic tradition according to the rule of the truth, depends on the discussion concerning cosmogony, ascending thence to the department of theology. Whence, then, we shall begin our account of what is handed down, with the creation as related by the prophets, introducing also the tenets of the heterodox, and endeavouring as far as we can to confute them. But it shall be written if God will, and as He inspires; and now we must proceed to what we proposed, and complete the discourse on ethics.
CHAP. II.--THE MEANING OF THE NAME STROMATA OR MISCELLANIES.
Let these notes of ours, as we have often said for the sake of those that consult them carelessly and unskilfully, be of varied character--and as the name itself indicates, patched together--passing constantly from one thing to another, and in the series of discussions hinting at one thing and demonstrating another. "For those who seek for gold," says Heraclitus, "dig much earth and find little gold." But those who are of the truly golden race, in mining for what is allied to them, will find the much in little. For the word will find one to understand it. The Miscellanies of notes contribute, then, to the recollection and expression of truth in the case of him who is able to investigate with reason. And you must prosecute, in addition to these, other labours and researches; since, in the case of people who are setting out on a road with which they are unacquainted, it is sufficient merely to point out the direction. After this they must walk and find out the rest for themselves. As, they say, when a certain slave once asked at the oracle what he should do to please his master, the Pythian priestess replied, "You will find if you seek." It is truly a difficult matter, then, as turns out, to find out latent good; since
"Before virtue is placed exertion, And long and steep is the way to it, And rough at first; but when the summit is reached, Then is it easy, though difficult [before]."
"For narrow," in truth, "and strait is the way" of the Lord. And it is to the "violent that the kingdom of God belongs."'
Whence, "Seek, and ye shall find," holding on by the truly royal road, and not deviating. As we might expect, then, the generative power of the seeds of the doctrines comprehended in this treatise is great in small space, as the "universal herbage of the field,"(2) as Scripture saith. Thus the Miscellanies of notes have their proper title, wonderfully like that ancient oblation culled from all sorts of things of which Sophocles writes:--
"For there was a sheep's fleece, and there was a vine, And a libation, and grapes well stored; And there was mixed with it fruit of all kinds, And the fat of the olive, and the most curious Wax-formed work of the yellow bee."
Just so our Stromata, according to the husbandman of the comic poet Timocles, produce "figs, olives, dried figs, honey, as from an all-fruitful field;" on account of which exuberance he adds:--
"Thou speakest of a harvest-wreath not of husbandry."
For the Athenians were wont to cry:--
"The harvest-wreath bears figs and fat loaves, And honey in a cup, and olive oil to anoint you."
We must then often, as in winnowing sieves, shake and toss up this the great mixture of seeds, in order to separate the wheat.
CHAP. III.--THE TRUE EXCELLENCE OF MAN.
The most of men have a disposition unstable and heedless, like the nature of storms. "Want of faith has done many good things, and faith evil things." And Epicharmus says, "Don't forget to exercise incredulity; for it is the sinews of the soul." Now, to disbelieve truth brings death, as to believe, life; and again, to believe the lie and to disbelieve the truth hutries to destruction. The same is the case with self-restraint and licentiousness. To restrain one's self from doing good is the work of vice; but to keep from wrong is the beginning of salvation. So the Sabbath, by abstinence from evils, seems to indicate self-restraint. And what, I ask, is it in which man differs from beasts, and the angels of God, on the other hand, are wiser than he? "Thou madest him a little lower than the angels."(3) For some do not interpret this Scripture of the Lord, although He also bore flesh, but of the perfect man and the gnostic, inferior in comparison with the angels in time, and by reason of the vesture [of the body]. I call then wisdom nothing but science, since life differs not from life. For to live is common to the mortal nature, that is to man, with that to which has been vouchsafed immortality; as also the faculty of contemplation and of self-restraint, one of the two being more excellent. On this ground Pythagoras seems to me to have said that God alone is wise, since also the apostle writes in the Epistle to the Romans, "For the obedience of the faith among all nations, being made known to the only wise God through Jesus Christ;"(4) and that he himself was a philosopher, on account of his friendship with God. Accordingly it is said, "God talked with Moses as a friend with a friend." s That, then, which is true being clear to God, forthwith generates truth. And the gnostic loves the truth. "Go," it is said, "to the ant, thou sluggard, and be the disciple of the bee;" thus speaks Solomon.(6) For if there is one function belonging to the peculiar nature of each creature, alike of the ox, and horse, and dog, what shall we say is the peculiar function of man? He is like, it appears to me, the Centaur, a Thessalian figment, compounded of a rational and irrational part, of soul and body. Well, the body tills the ground, and hastes to it; but the soul is raised to God: trained in the true philosophy, it speeds to its kindred above, turning away from the lusts of the body, and besides these, from toil and fear, although we have shown that patience and fear belong to the good man. For if "by the law is the knowledge of sin,"(7) as those allege who disparage the law, and "till the law sin was in the world;"(8) yet "without the law sin was dead,"(9) we oppose them. For when you take away the cause of fear, sin, you have taken away fear; and much more, punishment, when you have taken away that which gives rise to lust. "For the law is not made for the just man," says the Scripture. Well, then, says Heraclitus, "They would not have known the name of Justice if these things had not been." And Socrates says, "that the law was not made for the sake of the good." But the cavillers did not know even this, as the apostle says, "that he who loveth his brother worketh not evil;" for this, "Thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not steal; and if there be any other commandment, it is comprehended in the word, Thou shall love thy neighbour as thyself." So also is it said, "Thou shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." And "if he that loveth his neighbour worketh no evil," and if "every commandment is comprehended in this, the loving our neighbour," the commandments, by menacing with fear, work love, not hatred. Wherefore the law is productive of the emotion of fear. "So that the law is holy," and in truth "spiritual," according to the apostle. We must, then, as is fit, in investigating the nature of the body and the essence of the soul, apprehend the end of each, and not regard death as an evil. "For when ye were the servants of sin," says the apostle, "ye were free from righteousness. What fruit had ye then in those things in which ye are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now, being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death: but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord." The assertion, then, may be hazarded, that it has been shown that death is the fellowship of the soul in a state of sin with the body; and life the separation from sin. And many are the stakes and ditches of lust which impede us, and the pits of wrath and anger which must be overleaped, and all the machinations we must avoid of those who plot against us,--who would no longer see the knowledge of God "through a glass."
"The half of virtue the far-seeing Zeus takes From man, when he reduces him to a state of slavery."
As slaves the Scripture views those "under sin" and "sold to sin," the lovers of pleasure and of the body; and beasts rather than men, "those who have become like to cattle, horses, neighing after their neighbours' wives." The licentious is "the lustful ass," the covetous is the "savage wolf," and the deceiver is "a serpent." The severance, therefore, of the soul from the body, made a life-long study, produces in the philosopher gnostic alacrity, so that he is easily able to bear natural death, which is the dissolution of the chains which bind the soul to the body. "For the world is crucified to me, and I to the world," the [apostle] says; "and now I live, though in the flesh, as having my conversation in heaven."
CHAP. IV.--THE PRAISES OF MARTYRDOM.
Whence, as is reasonable, the gnostic, when Galled, obeys easily, and gives up his body to him who asks; and, previously divesting himself of the affections of this carcase, not insulting the tempter, but rather, in my opinion, training him and convincing him,--
"From what honour and what extent of wealth fallen,"
as says Empedocles, here for the future he walks with mortals. He, in truth, bears witness to himself that he is faithful and loyal towards God; and to the tempter, that he in vain envied him who is faithful through love; and to the Lord, of the inspired persuasion in reference to His doctrine, from which he will not depart through fear of death; further, he confirms also the truth of preaching by his deed, showing that God to whom he hastes is powerful. You will wonder at his love, which he conspicuously shows with thankfulness, in being united to what is allied to him, and besides by his precious blood, shaming the unbelievers. He then avoids denying Christ through fear by reason of the command; nor does he sell his faith in the hope of the gifts prepared, but in love to the Lord he will most gladly depart from this life; perhaps giving thanks both to him who afforded the cause of his departure hence, and to him who laid the plot against him, for receiving an honourable reason which he himself furnished not, for showing what he is, to him by his patience, and to the Lord in love, by which even before his birth he was manifested to the Lord, who knew the martyr's choice. With good courage, then, he goes to the Lord, his friend, for whom he voluntarily gave his body, and, as his judges hoped, his soul, hearing from our Saviour the words of poetry, "Dear brother," by reason of the similarity of his life. We call martyrdom perfection, not because the man comes to the end of his life as others, but because he has exhibited the perfect work of love. And the ancients laud the death of those among the Greeks who died in war, not that they advised people to die a violent death, but because he who ends his life in war is released without the dread of dying, severed from the body without experiencing previous suffering or being enfeebled in his soul, as the people that suffer in diseases. For they depart in a state of effeminacy and desiring to live; and therefore they do not yield up the soul pure, but bearing with it their lusts like weights of lead; all but those who have been conspicuous in virtue. Some die in battle with their lusts, these being in no respect different from what they would have been if they had wasted away by disease.
If the confession to God is martyrdom, each soul which has lived purely in the knowledge of God, which has obeyed the commandments, is a witness both by life and word, in whatever way it may be released from the body,-- shedding faith as blood along its whole life till its departure. For instance, the Lord says in the Gospel, "Whosoever shall leave father, or mother, or brethren," and so forth, "for the sake of the Gospel and my name," he is blessed; not indicating simple martyrdom, but the gnostic martyrdom, as of the man who has conducted himself according to the rule of the Gospel, in love to the Lord (for the knowledge of the Name and the understanding of the Gospel point out the gnosis, but not the bare appellation), so as to leave his worldly kindred, and wealth, and every possession, in order to lead a life free from passion. "Mother" figuratively means Country and sustenance; "fathers" are the laws of civil polity: which must be contemned thankfully by the high-souled just man; for the sake of being the friend of God, and of obtaining the right hand in the holy place, as the Apostles have done.
Then Heraclitus says, "Gods and men honour those slain in battle;" and Plato in the fifth book of the Republic writes, "Of those who die in military service, whoever dies after winning renown, shall we not say that he is chief of the golden race? Most assuredly." But the golden race is with the gods, who are in heaven, in the fixed sphere, who chiefly hold command in the providence exercised towards men. Now some of the heretics who have misunderstood the Lord, have at once an impious and cowardly love of life; saying that the true martyrdom is the knowledge of the only true God (which we also admit), and that the man is a self-murderer and a suicide who makes confession by death; and adducing other similar sophisms of cowardice. To these we shall reply at the proper time; for they differ with us in regard to first principles. Now we, too, say that those who have rushed on death (for there are some, not belonging to us, but sharing the name merely, who are in haste to give themselves up, the poor wretches dying through hatred to the Creator)--these, we say, banish themselves without being martyrs, even though they are punished publicly. For they do not preserve the characteristic mark of believing martyrdom, inasmuch as they have not known the only true God, but give themselves up to a vain death, as the Gymnosophists of the Indians to useless fire.
But since these falsely named calumniate the body, let them learn that the harmonious mechanism of the body contributes to the understanding which leads to goodness of nature. Wherefore in the third book of the Republic, Plato, whom they appeal to loudly as an authority that disparages generation, says, "that for the sake of harmony of soul, care must be taken for the body," by which, he who announces the proclamation of the truth, finds it possible to live, and to live well. For it is by the path of life and health that we learn gnosis. But is he who cannot advance to the height without being occupied with necessary things, and through them doing what tends to knowledge, not to choose to live well? In living, then, living well is secured. And he who in the body has devoted himself to a good life, is being sent on to the state of immortality.
CHAP. V.--ON CONTEMPT FOR PAIN, POVERTY, AND OTHER EXTERNAL THINGS.
Fit objects for admiration are the Stoics, who say that the soul is not affected by the body, either to vice by disease, or to virtue by health; but both these things, they say, are indifferent. And indeed Job, through exceeding continence, and excellence of faith, when from rich he became poor, from being held in honour dishonoured, from being comely unsightly, and sick from being healthy, is depicted as a good example, putting the Tempter to shame, blessing his Creator; bearing what came second, as the first, and most clearly teaching that it is possible for the gnostic to make an excellent use of all circumstances, And that ancient achievements are proposed as images for our correction, the apostle shows, when he says, "So that my bonds in Christ are become manifest in all the palace, and to all the rest; and several of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word of God without fear,"-- since martyrs' testimonies are examples 'of conversion gloriously sanctified. "For what things the Scripture speaks were written for our instruction, that we, through patience and the consolation of the Scriptures, might have the hope of consolation." When pain is present, the soul appears to decline from it, and to deem release from present pain a precious thing. At that moment it slackens from studies, when the other virtues also are neglected. And yet we do not say that it is virtue itself which suffers, for virtue is not affected by disease. But he who is partaker of both, of virtue and the disease, is afflicted by the pressure of the latter; and if he who has not yet attained the habit of self-command be not a high-souled man, he is distraught; and the inability to endure it is found equivalent to fleeing from it.
The same holds good also in the case of poverty. For it compels the soul to desist from necessary things, I mean contemplation and from pure sinlessness, forcing him, who has not wholly dedicated himself to God in love, to occupy himself about provisions; as, again, health and abundance of necessaries keep the soul free and unimpeded, and capable of making a good use of what is at hand. "For," says the apostle, "such shall have trouble in the flesh. But I spare you. For I would have you without anxiety, in order to decorum and assiduity for the Lord, without distraction."
These things, then, are to be abstained from, not for their own sakes, but for the sake of the body; and care for the body is exercised for the sake of the Soul, to which it has reference. For on this account it is necessary for the man who lives as a gnostic to know what is suitable. Since the fact that pleasure is not a good thing is admitted from the fact that certain pleasures are evil, by this reason good appears evil, and evil good. And then, if we choose some pleasures and shun others, it is not every pleasure that is a good thing.
Similarly, also, the same rule holds with pains, some of which we endure, and others we shun. But choice and avoidance are exercised according to knowledge; so that it is not pleasure that is the good thing, but knowledge by which we shall choose a pleasure at a certain time, and of a certain kind. Now the martyr chooses the pleasure that exists in prospect through the present pain. If pain is conceived as existing in thirst, and pleasure in drinking, the pain that has preceded becomes the efficient cause of pleasure. But evil cannot be the efficient cause of good. Neither, then, is the one thing nor the other evil. Simonides accordingly (as also Aristotle) writes, "that to be in good health is the best thing, and the second best thing is to be handsome, and the third best thing is to be rich without cheating."
And Theognis of Megara says:--
"You must, to escape poverty, throw Yourself, O Cyrnus down from The steep rocks into the deep sea."
On the other hand, Antiphanes, the comic poet, says, "Plutus (Wealth), when it has taken hold of those who see better than others, makes them blind." Now by the poets he is proclaimed as blind from his birth:--
"And brought him forth blind who saw not the sun."
Says the Chalcidian Euphorion:--
"Riches, then, and extravagant luxuries, Were for men the worst training for manliness."
Wrote Euripides in Alexander:--
"And it is said, Penury has attained wisdom through misfortune; But much wealth will capture not Sparta alone, but every city."
"It is not then the only coin that mortals have, that which is white silver or golden, but virtue too," as Sophocles says.
CHAP. VI.--SOME POINTS IN THE BEATITUDES.
Our holy Saviour applied poverty and riches, and the like, both to spiritual things and objects of sense. For when He said, "Blessed are they that are persecuted for righteousness' sake," He clearly taught us in every circumstance to seek for the martyr who, if poor for righteousness' sake, witnesses that the righteousness which he loves is a good thing; and if he "hunger and thirst for righteousness' sake," testifies that righteousness is the best thing. Likewise he, that weeps and mourns for righteousness' sake, testifies to the best law that it is beautiful. As, then, "those that are persecuted," so also "those that hunger and thirst" for righteousness' sake, are called "blessed" by Him who approves of the true desire, which not even famine can put a stop to. And if "they hunger after righteousness itself," they are blessed. "And blessed are the poor," whether "in spirit" or in circumstances--that is, if for righteousness' sake. It is not the poor simply, but those that have wished to become poor for righteousness' sake, that He pronounces blessed--those who have despised the honours of this world in order to attain "the good;" likewise also those who, through chastity, have become comely in person and character, and those who are of noble birth, and honourable, having through righteousness attained to adoption, and therefore "have received power to become the sons of God," and "to tread on serpents and scorpions," and to rule over demons and "the host of the adversary." And, in fine, the Lord's disciplines draws the soul away gladly from the body, even if it wrench itself away in its removal. "For he that loveth his life shall lose it, and he that loseth his life shall find it," if we only join that which is mortal of us with the immortality of God. It is the will of God[that we should attain] the knowledge of God, which is the communication of immortality. He therefore, who, in accordance with the word of repentance, knows his life to be sinful will lose it--losing it from sin, from which it is wrenched; but losing it, will find it, according to the obedience which lives again to faith, but dies to sin. This, then, is what it is "to find one's life," "to know one's self."
The conversion, however, which leads to divine things, the Stoics say, is affected by a change, the soul being changed to wisdom. And Plato: "On the soul taking a turn to what is better, and a change from a kind of nocturnal day." Now the philosophers also allow the good man an exit from life in accordance with reason, in the case of one depriving him of active exertion, so that the hope of action is no longer left him. And the judge who compels us to deny Him whom we love, I regard as showing who is and who is not the friend of God. In that case there is not left ground for even examining what one prefers--the menaces of man or the love of God. And abstinence from vicious acts is found, somehow, [to result in] the diminution and extinction of vicious propensities, their energy being destroyed by inaction. And this is the import of "Sell what thou hast, and give to the poor, and come, follow Me"--that is, follow what is said by the Lord. Some say that by what "thou hast" He designated the things in the soul, of a nature not akin to it, though how these are bestowed on the poor they are not able to say. For God dispenses to all according to desert, His distribution being righteous. Despising, therefore, the possessions which God apportions to thee in thy magnificence, comply with what is spoken by me; haste to the ascent of the Spirit, being not only justified by abstinence from what is evil, but in addition also perfected, by Christlike beneficence. In this instance He convicted the man, who boasted that he had fulfilled the injunctions of the law, of not loving his neighbour; and it is by beneficence that the love which, according to the gnostic ascending scale, is Lord of the Sabbath, proclaims itself. We must then, according to my view, have recourse to the word of salvation neither from fear of punishment nor promise of a gift, but on account of the good itself. Such, as do so, stand on the right hand of the sanctuary; but those who think that by the gift of what is perishable they shall receive in exchange what belongs to immortality are in the parable of the two brothers called "hirelings." And is there not some light thrown here on the expression "in the likeness and image," in the fact that some live according to the likeness of Christ, while those who stand on the left hand live according to their image? There are then two things proceeding from the truth, one root lying beneath both,--the choice being, however, not equal, or rather the difference that is in the choice not being equal. To choose by way of imitation differs, as appears to me, from the choice of him who chooses according to knowledge, as that which is set on fire differs from that which is illuminated. Israel, then, is the light of the likeness which is according to the Scripture. But the image is another thing. What means the parable of Lazarus, by showing the image of the rich and poor? And what the saying, "No man can serve two masters, God and Mammon?"--the Lord so terming the love of money. For instance, the covetous, who were invited, responded not to the invitation to the supper, not because of their possessing property, but of their inordinate affection to what they possessed. "The foxes," then, have holes. He called those evil and earthly men who are occupied about the wealth which is mined and dug from the ground, foxes. Thus also, in reference to Herod: "Go, tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and perform cures to-day and to-morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected." For He applied the name "fowls of the air" to those who were distinct from the other birds--those really pure, those that have the power of flying to the knowledge of the heavenly Word. For not riches only, but also honour, and marriage, and poverty, have ten thousand cares for him who is unfit for them. And those cares He indicated in the parable of the fourfold seed, when He said that "the seed of the word which fell unto the thorns" and hedges was choked by them, and could not bring forth fruit. It is therefore necessary to learn how to make use of every occurrence, so as by a good life, according to knowledge, to be trained for the state of eternal life. For it said, "I saw the wicked exalted and towering as the cedars of Lebanon; and I passed," says the Scripture, "and, lo, he was not; and I sought him, and his place was not found. Keep innocence, and look on uprightness: for there is a remnant to the man of peace." Such will he be who believes unfeignedly with his whole heart, and is tranquil in his whole soul. "For the different people honour me with their lips, but their heart is far from the Lord." "They bless with their mouth, but they curse in their heart." "They loved Him with their mouth, and lied to Him with their tongue; but their heart was not right with Him, and they were not faithful to His covenant." Wherefore "let the false lips become speechless, and let the Lord destroy the boastful tongue: those who say, We shall magnify our tongue, and our lips are our own; who is Lord over us? For the affliction of the poor and the groaning of the needy now will I arise, saith the Lord; I will set him in safety; I will speak out in his case." For it is to the humble that Christ belongs, who do not exalt themselves against His flock. "Lay not up for yourselves, therefore, treasures on the earth, where moth and rust destroy, and thieves break through and steal," says the Lord, in reproach perchance of the covetous, and perchance also of those who are simply anxious and full of cares, and those too who indulge their bodies. For amours, and diseases, and evil thoughts "break through" the mind and the whole man. But our true "treasure" is where what is allied to our mind is, since it bestows the communicative power of righteousness, showing that we must assign to the habit of our old conversation what we have acquired by it, and have recourse to God, beseeching mercy. He is, in truth, "the bag that waxeth not old," the provisions of eternal life, "the treasure that faileth not in heaven." "For I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy," saith the Lord. And they say those things to those who wish to be poor for righteousness' sake. For they have heard in the commandment that "the broad and wide way leadeth to destruction, and many there are who go in by it." It is not of anything else that the assertion is made, but of profligacy, and love of women, and love of glory, and ambition, and similar passions. For so He says, "Fool, this night shall thy soul be required of thee; and whose shall those things be which thou hast prepared?" And the commandment is expressed in these very words, "Take heed, therefore, of covetousness. For a man's life does not consist in the abundance of those things which he possesses. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" "Wherefore I say, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for your body, what ye shall put on. For your life is more than meat, and your body than raiment." And again, "For your Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things." "But seek first the kingdom of heaven, and its righteousness," for these are the great things, and the things which are small and appertain to this life "shall be added to you." Does He not plainly then exhort us to follow the gnostic life, and enjoin us to seek the truth in word and deed? Therefore Christ, who trains the soul, reckons one rich, not by his gifts, but by his choice. It is said, therefore, that Zaccheus, or, according to some, Matthew, the chief of the publicans, on hearing that the Lord had deigned to come to him, said, "Lord, and if I have taken anything by false accusation, I restore him fourfold;" on which the Saviour said, "The Son of man, on coming to-day, has found that which was lost." Again, on seeing the rich cast into the treasury according to their wealth, and the widow two mites, He said "that the widow had cast in more than they all," for "they had contributed of their abundance, but she of her destitution." And because He brought all things to bear on the discipline of the soul, He said, "Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth." And the meek are those who have quelled the battle of unbelief in the soul, the battle of wrath, and lust, and the other forms that are subject to them. And He praises those meek by choice, not by necessity. For there are with the Lord both rewards and" many mansions," corresponding to men's lives. "Whosoever shall receive," says He, "a prophet in the name of a prophet, shall receive a prophet's reward; and whosoever shall receive a righteous man in the name of a righteous man, shall receive a righteous man's reward; and whoso shall receive one of the least of these my disciples, shall not lose his reward." And again, the differences of virtue according to merit, and the noble rewards, He indicated by the hours unequal in number; and in addition, by the equal reward given to each of the labourers--that is, salvation, which is meant by the penny--He indicated the equality of justice; and the difference of those called He intimated, by those who worked for unequal portions of time. They shall work, therefore, in accordance with the appropriate mansions of which they have been deemed worthy as rewards, being fellow-workers in the ineffable administration and service. "Those, then," says Plato, "who seem called to a holy life, are those who, freed and released from those earthly localities as from prisons, have reached the pure dwelling-place on high." In clearer terms again he expresses the same thing: "Those who by philosophy have been sufficiently purged from those things, live without bodies entirely for all time. Although they are enveloped in certain shapes; in the case of some, of air, and others, of fire." He adds further: "And they reach abodes fairer than those, which it is not easy, nor is there sufficient time now to describe." Whence with reason, "blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted;" for they who have repented of their former evil life shall attain to "the calling" (klh^sin</greek>), for this is the meaning of being comforted (paraklhthh^nai). And there are two styles of penitents. That which is more common is fear on account of what is done; but the other which is more special, the shame which the spirit feels in itself arising from conscience. Whether then, here or elsewhere (for no place is devoid of the beneficence of God), He again says, "Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy." And mercy is not, as some of the philosophers have imagined, pain on account of others' calamities, but rather something good, as the prophets say. For it is said, "I will have mercy, and not sacrifice." And He means by the merciful, not only those who do acts of mercy, but those who wish to do them, though they be not able; who do as far as purpose is concerned. For sometimes we wish by the gift of money or by personal effort to do mercy, as to assist one in want, or help one who is sick, or stand by one who is in any emergency; and are not able either from poverty, or disease, or old age (for this also is natural disease), to carry out our purpose, in reference to the things to which we are impelled, being unable to conduct them to the end we wished. Those, who have entertained the wish whose purpose is equal, share in the same honour with those who have the ability, although others have the advantage in point of resources. And since there are two paths of reaching the perfection of salvation, works and knowledge, He called the "pure in heart blessed, for they shall see God." And if we really look to the truth of the matter, knowledge is the purification of the leading faculty of the soul, and is a good activity. Some things accordingly are good in themselves, and others by participation in what is good, as we say good actions are good. But without things intermediate which hold the place of material, neither good nor bad actions are constituted, such I mean as life, and health, and other necessary things or circumstantials. Pure then as respects corporeal lusts, and pure in respect of holy thoughts, he means those are, who attain to the knowledge of God, when the chief faculty of the soul has nothing spurious to stand in the way of its power. When, therefore, he who partakes gnostically of this holy quality devotes himself to contemplation, communing in purity with the divine, he enters more nearly into the state of impassible identity, so as no longer to have science and possess knowledge, but to be science and knowledge.
"Blessed, then, are the peacemakers," who have subdued and tamed the law which wars against the disposition of the mind, the menaces of anger, and the baits of lust, and the other passions which war against the reason; who, having lived in the knowledge both of good works and true reason, shall be reinstated in adoption, Which is dearer. It follows that the perfect peacemaking is that which keeps unchanged in all circumstances what is peaceful; calls Providence holy and good; and has its being in the knowledge of divine and human affairs, by which it deems the opposites that are in the world to be the fairest harmony of creation. They also are peacemakers, who teach those who war against the stratagems of sin to have recourse to faith and peace. And it is the sum of all virtue, in my opinion, when the Lord teaches us that for love to God we must gnostically despise death. "Blessed are they," says He, "who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for they shall be called the sons of God;" or, as some of those who transpose the Gospels say, "Blessed are they who are persecuted by righteousness, for they shall be perfect." And, "Blessed are they who are persecuted for my sake; for they shall have a place where they shall not be persecuted." And, "Blessed are ye when men shall hate you, when they shall separate you, when they shall cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake;" if we do not detest our persecutors, and undergo punishments at their hands, not hating them under the idea that we have been put to trial more tardily than we looked for; but knowing this also, that every instance of trial is an occasion for testifying.
CHAP. VII.--THE BLESSEDNESS OF THE MARTYR.
Then he who has lied and shown himself unfaithful, and revolted to the devil's army, in what evil do we think him to be? He belies, therefore, the Lord, or rather he is cheated of his own hope who believes not God; and he believes not who does not what He has commanded.
And what? Does not he, who denies the Lord, deny himself? For does he not rob his Master of His authority, who deprives himself of his relation to Him? He, then, who denies the Saviour, denies life; for "the light was life." He does not term those men of little faith, but faithless and hypocrites, who have the name inscribed on them, but deny that they are really believers. But the faithful is called both servant and friend. So that if one loves himself, he loves the Lord, and confesses to salvation that he may save his soul. Though you die for your neighbour out of love, and regard the Saviour as our neighbour (for God who saves is said to be nigh in respect to what is saved); you do so, choosing death on account of life, and suffering for your own sake rather than his. And is it not for this that he is called brother? he who, suffering out of love to God, suffered for his own salvation; while he, on the other hand, who dies for his own salvation, endures for love to the Lord. For he being life, in what he suffered wished to suffer that we might live by his suffering.
"Why call ye me Lord, Lord," He says, "and do not the things which I say?" For "the people that loveth with their lips, but have their heart far away from the Lord," is another people, and trust in another, and have willingly sold themselves to another; but those who perform the commandments of the Lord, in every action "testify," by doing what He wishes, and consistently naming the Lord's name; and "testifying" by deed to Him in whom they trust, that they are those "who have crucified the flesh, with the affections and lusts." "If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit." s "He that soweth to his flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit, shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting."
But to those miserable men, witness to the Lord by blood seems a most violent death, not knowing that such a gate of death is the beginning of the true life; and they will understand neither the honours after death, which belong to those who have lived holily, nor the punishments of those who have lived unrighteously and impurely? I do not say only from our Scriptures (for almost all the commandments indicate them); but they will not even hear their own discourses. For the Pythagorean Theano writes, "Life were indeed a feast to the wicked, who, having done evil, then die; were not the soul immortal, death would be a godsend." And Plato in the Phaedo, "For if death were release from everything," and so forth. We are not then to think according to the Telephus of Aeschylus, "that a single path leads to Hades." The ways are many, and the sins that lead thither. Such deeply erring ones as the unfaithful are, Aristophanes properly makes the subjects of comedy. "Come," he says, "ye men of obscure life, ye that are like the race of leaves, feeble, wax figures, shadowy tribes, evanescent, fleeting, ephemeral." And Epicharmus, "This nature of men is inflated skins." And the Saviour has said to us, "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God," explains the apostle: "for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed, can be. And they that are in the flesh cannot please God." And in further explanation continues, that no one may, like Marcion regard the creature as evil. "But if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness." And again: "For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory which shall be revealed in us. If we suffer with Him, that we also may be glorified together as joint-heirs of Christ. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are called according to the purpose. For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren. And whom He did predestinate, them He also called; and whom He called, them He also justified; and whom He justified, them He also glorified."
You see that martyrdom for love's sake is taught. And should you wish to be a martyr for the recompense of advantages, you shall hear again. "For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it." "But if we also suffer for righteousness' sake," says Peter, "blessed are we. Be not afraid of their fear, neither be troubled. But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to him that asks a reason of the hope that is in you, but with meekness and fear, having a good conscience; so that in reference to that for which you are spoken against, they may be ashamed who calumniate your good conversation in Christ. For it is better to suffer for well-doing. if the will of God, than for evil-doing." But if one should captiously say, And how is it possible for feeble flesh to resist the energies and spirits of the Powers? well, let him know this, that, confiding in the Almighty and the Lord, we war against the principalities of darkness, and against death. "Whilst thou art yet speaking," He says, "Lo, here am I." See the invincible Helper who shields us. "Think it not strange, therefore, concerning the burning sent for your trial, as though some strange thing happened to you; But, as you are partaken in the sufferings of Christ, rejoice; that at the revelation of His glory ye may rejoice exultant. If ye be reproached in the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the Spirit of glory and of God resteth on you." As it is written, "Because for Thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors, through Him that loved us."
"What you wish to ascertain from my mind, You shall not ascertain, not were you to apply Horrid saws from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet, Not were you to load me with chains,"
says a woman acting manfully in the tragedy. And Antigone, contemning the proclamation of Creon, says boldly:--
"It was not Zeus who uttered this proclamation."
But it is God that makes proclamation to us, and He must be believed. "For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Wherefore the Scripture saith, "Whosoever believeth on Him shah not be put to shame." Accordingly Simonides justly writes, "It is said that virtue dwells among all but inaccessible rocks, but that she speedily traverses a pure place. Nor is she visible to the eyes of all mortals. He who is not penetrated by heart- vexing sweat will not scale the summit of manliness." And Pindar says:--
"But the anxious thoughts of youths, revolving with toils, Will find glory: and in time their deeds Will in resplendent ether splendid shine."
AEschylus, too, having grasped this thought, says:--
"To him who toils is due, As product of his toil, glory from the gods."
"For great Fates attain great destinies," according to Heraclitus:--
"And what slave is there, who is careless of death?"
"For God hath not given us the spirit of bondage again to fear; but of power, and love, and of a sound mind. Be not therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, or of me his prisoner," he writes to Timothy. Such shall he be "who cleaves to that which is good," according to the apostle, "who hates evil, having love unfeigned; for he that loveth another fulfilleth the law." If, then, this God, to whom we bear witness, be as He is, the God of hope, we acknowledge our hope, speeding on to hope, "saturated with goodness, filled with all knowledge."
The Indian sages say to Alexander of Macedon: "You transport men's bodies from place to place. But you shall not force our souls to do what we do not wish. Fire is to men the greatest torture, this we despise." Hence Heraclitus preferred one thing, glory, to all else; and professes "that he allows the crowd to stuff themselves to satiety like cattle."
"For on account of the body are many toils, For it we have invented a roofed house, And discovered how to dig up silver, and sow the land, And all the rest which we know by names."
To the multitude, then, this vain labour is desirable. But to us the apostle says, "Now we know this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin." Does not the apostle then plainly add the following, to show the contempt for faith in the case of the multitude? "For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as appointed to death: we are made a spectacle to the world, and to angels, and to men. Up to this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are beaten, and are feeble, and labour, working with our hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure; being defamed, we entreat; we are become as it were the offscourings of the world." Such also are the words of Plato in the Republic: "The just man, though stretched on the rack, though his eyes are dug out, will be happy." The Gnostic will never then have the chief end placed in life, but in being always happy and blessed, and a kingly friend of God. Although visited with ignominy and exile, and confiscation, and above all, death, he will never be wrenched from his freedom, and signal love to God. "The charity which bears all things, endures all things," is assured that Divine Providence orders all things well. "I exhort you," therefore it is said, "Be followers of me." The first step to salvation is the instruction accompanied with fear, in consequence of which we abstain from what is wrong; and the second is hope, by reason of which we desire the best things; but love, as is fitting, perfects, by training now according to knowledge. For the Greeks, I know not how, attributing events to unreasoning necessity, own that they yield to them unwillingly. Accordingly Euripides says:--
"What I declare, receive from me, madam: No mortal exists who has not toil; He buries children, and begets others, And he himself dies, And thus mortals are afflicted."
Then he adds: --
"We must bear those things which are inevitable according to nature, and go through them: Not one of the things which are necessary is formidable for mortals."
And for those who are aiming at perfection there is proposed the rational gnosis, the foundation of which is "the sacred Triad." "Faith, hope, love; but the greatest of these is love." Truly, "all things are lawful, but all things are not expedient," says the apostle: "all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not." And, "Let no one seek his own advantage, but also that of his neighbour," so as to be able at once to do and to teach, building and building up. For that "the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof," is admitted; but the conscience of the weak is supported. "Conscience, I say, not his own, but that of the other; for why is my liberty judged of by another conscience? For if I by grace am partaker, why am I evil spoken of l for that for which I give thanks? Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh; for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the demolition of fortifications, demolishing thoughts, and every high thing which exalteth itself against the knowledge of Christ." Equipped with these weapons, the Gnostic says: O Lord, give opportunity, and receive demonstration; let this dread event pass; I contemn dangers for the love I bear to Thee.
"Because alone of human things Virtue receives not a recompense from without, But has itself as the reward of its toils."
"Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness, meekness, long-suffering. And above all these, love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God reign in your hearts, to which also ye are called in one body; and be thankful," ye who, while still in the body, like the just men of old, enjoy impassibility and tranquillity of soul.
CHAP. VIII.--WOMEN AS WELL AS MEN, SLAVES AS WELL AS FREEMEN, CANDIDATES FOR THE MARTYR'S CROWN.
Since, then, not only the Aesopians, and Macedonians, and the Lacedaemonians endured when subjected to torture, as Eratosthenes says in his work, On Things Good and Evil; but also Zeno of Elea, when subjected to compulsion to divulge a secret, held out against the tortures, and confessed nothing; who, when expiring, bit out his tongue and spat it at the tyrant, whom some term Nearchus, and some Demulus. Theodotus the Pythagorean acted also similarly, and Paulus the friend of Lacydes, as Timotheus of Pergamus says in his work on The Fortitude of Philosophers, and Achaicus in The Ethics. Posthumus also, the Roman, when captured by Peucetion, did not divulge a single secret; but putting his hand on the fire, held it to it as if to a piece of brass, without moving a muscle of his face. I omit the case of Anaxarchus, who exclaimed, "Pound away at the sack which holds Anaxarchus, for it is not Anaxarchus you are pounding," when by the tyrant's orders he was being pounded with iron pestles. Neither, then, the hope of happiness nor the love of God takes what befalls ill, but remains free, although thrown among the wildest beasts or into the all-devouring fire; though racked with a tyrant's tortures. Depending as it does on the divine favour, it ascends aloft unenslaved, surrendering the body to those who can touch it alone. A barbarous nation, not cumbered with philosophy, select, it is said, annually an ambassador to the hero Zamolxis. Zamolxis was one of the disciples of Pythagoras. The one, then, who is judged of the most sterling worth is put to death, to the distress of those who have practised philosophy, but have not been selected, at being reckoned unworthy of a happy service.
So the Church is full of those, as well chaste women as men, who all their life have contemplated the death which rouses up to Christ? For the individual whose life is framed as ours is, may philosophize without Learning, whether barbarian, whether Greek, whether slave--whether an old man, or a boy, or a woman. For self-control is common to all human beings who have made choice of it. And we admit that the same nature exists in every race, and the same virtue. As far as respects human nature, the woman does not possess one nature, and the man exhibit another, but the same: so also with virtue. If, consequently, a self-restraint and righteousness, and whatever qualities are regarded as following them, is the virtue of the male, it belongs to the male alone to be virtuous, and to the woman to be licentious and unjust. But it is offensive even to say this. Accordingly woman is to practise self-restraint and righteousness, and every other virtue, as well as man, both bond and free; since it is a fit consequence that the same nature possesses one and the same virtue. We do not say that woman's nature is the same as man's, as she is woman. For undoubtedly it stands to reason that some difference should exist between each of them, in virtue of which one is male and the other female. Pregnancy and parturition, accordingly, we say belong to woman, as she is woman, and not as she is a human being. But if there were no difference between man and woman, both would do and suffer the same things. As then there is sameness, as far as respects the soul, she will attain to the same virtue; but as there is difference as respects the peculiar construction of the body, she is destined for child-bearing and housekeeping. "For I would have you know," says the apostle, "that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man: for the man is not of the woman, but the woman of the man. I For neither is the woman without the man, nor the man without the woman, in the Lord." For as we say that the man ought to be conti-nent, and superior to pleasures; so also we reckon that the woman should be continent and practised in fighting against pleasures. "But I say, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh," counsels the apostolic command; "for the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh. These, then, are contrary" (not as good to evil, but as fighting advantageously), he adds therefore, so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are, fornication uncleanness, profligacy, idolatry, witchcrafts, enmities, strifes, jealousies, wrath, contentions, dissensions, heresies, envyings, drunkenness, revellings, and such like; of which I tell you before, as I have also said before, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, temperance, goodness, faith, meekness." He calls sinners, as I think, "flesh," and the righteous "spirit." Further, manliness is to be assumed in order to produce confidence and forbearance, so as "to him that strikes on the one cheek, to give to him the other; and to him that takes away the cloak, to yield to him the coat also," strongly, restraining anger. For we do not train our women like Amazons to manliness in war; since we wish the men even to be peaceable. I hear that the Sarmatian women practise war no less than the men; and the women of the Sacae besides, who shoot backwards, feigning flight as well as the men. I am aware, too, that the women near Iberia practise manly work and toil, not refraining from their tasks even though near their delivery; but even in the very struggle of her pains, the woman, on being delivered, taking up the infant, carries it home. Further, the females no less than the males manage the house, and hunt, and keep the flocks:--
"Cressa the hound ran keenly in the stag's track."
Women are therefore to philosophize equally with men, though the males are preferable at everything, unless they have become effeminate To the whole human race, then, discipline and virtue are a necessity, if they would pursue after happiness. And how recklessly Euripides writes sometimes this and sometimes that! On one occasion, "For every wife is inferior to her husband, though the most excellent one marry her that is of fair fame." And on another:--
"For the chaste is her husband's slave, While she that is unchaste in her folly despises her consort. . . . . For nothing is better and more excellent, Than when as husband and wife ye keep house, Harmonious in your sentiments."
The ruling power is therefore the head. And if "the Lord is head of the man, and the man is head of the woman," the man, "being the image and glory of God, is lord of the woman." Wherefore also in the Epistle to the Ephesians it is written, "Subjecting ),ourselves one to another in the fear of God. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is the head of the Church; and He is the Saviour of the body. Husbands, love your wives, as also Christ loved the Church. So also ought men to love their wives as their own bodies: he that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh." And in that to the Colossians it is said, "Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands, as is fit in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them. Children, obey your parents in all things; for this is well pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged. Servants, be obedient in all things to those who are your masters according to the flesh; not with eye-service, as men-pleasers; but with singleness of heart, fearing the Lord. And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as serving the Lord and not men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. For the wrongdoer shall receive the Wrong, which he hath done; and there is no respect of persons. Masters, render to your servants justice and equity; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bond, free: but Christ is all, and in all." And the earthly Church is the image of the heavenly, as we pray also "that the will of God may be done upon the earth as in heaven." "Putting on, therefore, bowels of mercy, gentleness, humbleness, meekness, long-suffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if one have a quarrel against any man; as also Christ hath forgiven us, so also let us. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which ye are called in one body; and be thankful." For there is no obstacle to adducing frequently the same Scripture in order to put Marcion to the blush, if perchance he be persuaded and converted; by learning that the faithful ought to be grateful to God the Creator, who hath called us, and who preached the Gospel in the body. From these considerations the unity of the faith is clear, and it is shown who is the perfect man; so that though some are reluctant, and offer as much resistance as they can, though menaced with punishments at the hand of husband or master, both the domestic and the wife will philosophize. Moreover, the free, though threatened with death at a tyrant's hands, and brought before the tribunals, and all his substances imperilled, will by no means abandon piety; nor will the wife who dwells with a wicked husband, or the son if he has a bad father, or the domestic if he has a bad master, ever fail in holding nobly to virtue. But as it is noble for a man to die for virtue, and for liberty, and for himself, so also is it for a woman. For this is not peculiar to the nature of males, but to the nature of the good. Accordingly, both the old man, the young, and the servant will live faithfully, and if need be die; which will be to be made alive by death. So we know that both children, and women, and servants have often, against their fathers', and masters', and husbands' will, reached the highest degree of excellence. Wherefore those who are determined to live piously ought none the less to exhibit alacrity, when some seem to exercise compulsion on them; but much more, I think, does it become them to show eagerness, and to strive with uncommon vigour, lest, being overcome, they abandon the best and most indispensable counsels. For it does not, I think, admit of comparison, whether it be better to be a follower of the Almighty than to choose the darkness of demons. For the things which are done by us on account of others we are to do always, endeavouring to have respect to those for whose sake it is proper that they be done, regarding the gratification rendered in their case, as what is to be our rule; but the things which are done for our own sake rather than that of others, are to be done with equal earnestness, whether they are like to please certain people or not. If some indifferent things have obtained such honour as to appear worthy of adoption, though against the will of some; much more is virtue to be regarded by us as worth contending for, looking the while to nothing but what can be rightly done, whether it seem good to others or not. Well then, Epicurus, writing to Menoeceus, says, "Let not him who is young delay philosophizing, and let not the old man grow weary of philosophizing; for no one is either not of age or past age for attending to the health of his soul. And he who says that the time for philosophizing is not come or is past, is like the man who says that the time for happiness is not come or has gone. So that young s as well as old ought to philosophize: the one, in order that, while growing old, he may grow young in good things out of favour accruing from what is past; and the other, that he may be at once young and old, from want of fear for the future."
CHAP. IX.--CHRIST'S SAYINGS RESPECTING MARTYRDOM.
On martyrdom the Lord hath spoken explicitly, and what is written in different places we bring together. "But I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess in Me before men, the Son of man also shall confess before the angels of God; but whosoever shall deny Me before men, him will I deny before the angels." "Whosoever shall be ashamed of Me or of My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him shall the Son of man also be ashamed when He cometh in the glory of His Father with His angels. Whosoever therefore shall confess in Me before men, him will I also confess before my Father in heaven. "And when they bring you before synagogues, and rulers, and powers, think not: beforehand how ye shall make your defence, or what ye shall say. For the Holy Spirit shall teach you in the same hour what ye must say." In explanation of this passage, Heracleon, the most distinguished of the school of Valentinians, says expressly, "that there is a confession by faith and conduct, and one with the voice. The confession that is made with the voice, and before the authorities, is what the most reckon the only confession. Not soundly: and hypocrites also can confess with this confession. But neither will this utterance be found to be spoken universally; for all the saved have confessed with the confession made by the voice, and departed. Of whom are Matthew, Philip, Thomas, Levi, and many others. And confession by the lip is not universal, but partial. But that which He specifies now is universal, that which is by deeds and actions corresponding to faith in Him. This confession is followed by that which is partial, that before the authorities, if necessary, and reason dictate. For he will confess rightly with his voice who has first confessed by his disposition. And he has well used, with regard to those who confess, the expression 'in Me,' and applied to those who deny the expression 'Me.' For those, though they confess Him with the voice, yet deny Him, not confessing Him in their conduct. But those alone confess 'in Him,' who live in the confession and conduct according to Him, in which He also confesses, who is contained in them and held by them. Wherefore 'He never can deny Himself.' And those deny Him who are not in Him. For He said not, 'Whosoever shall deny' in Me, but 'Me.' For no one who is in Him will ever deny Him. And the expression 'before men ' applies both to the saved and the heathen similarly by conduct before the one, and by voice before the other. Wherefore they never can deny Him. But those deny Him who are not in Him." So far Heracleon. And in other things he seems to be of the same sentiments with us in this section; but he has not adverted to this, that if some have not by conduct and in their life "confessed Christ before men," they are manifested to have believed with the heart; by confessing Him with the mouth at the tribunals, and not denying Him when tortured to the death. And the disposition being confessed, and especially not being changed by death at any time, cuts away all passions which were engendered by corporeal desire. For there is, so to speak, at the close of life a sudden repentance in action, and a true confession toward Christ, in the testimony of the voice. But if the Spirit of the Father testifies in us, how can we be any more hypocrites, who are said to bear testimony with the voice alone? But it will be given to some, if expedient, to make a defence, that by their witness and confession all may be benefited--those in the Church being confirmed, and those of the heathen who have devoted themselves to the search after salvation wondering and being led to the faith; and the rest seized with amazement. So that confession is by all means necessary. For it is in our power. But to make a defence for our faith is not universally necessary. For that does not depend on us. "But he that endureth to the end shall be saved." For who of those who are wise would not choose to reign in God, and even to serve? So some "confess that they know God," according to the apostle; "but in works they deny Him, being abominable and disobedient, and to every good work reprobate." And these, though they confess nothing but this, will have done at the end one good work. Their witness, then, appears to be the cleansing away of sins with glory. For instance, the Shepherd says: "You will escape the energy of the wild beast, if your heart become pure and blameless." Also the Lord Himself says: "Satan hath desired to sift you; but I have prayed." Alone, therefore, the Lord, for the purification of the men who plotted against Him and disbelieved Him, "drank the cup;" in imitation of whom the apostles, that they might be in reality Gnostics, and perfect, suffered for the Churches which they founded. So, then, also the Gnostics who tread in the footsteps of the apostles ought to be sinless, and, out of love to the Lord, to love also their brother; so that, if occasion call, enduring without stumbling, afflictions for the Church, "they may drink the cup." Those who witness in their life by deed, and at the tribunal by word, whether entertaining hope or surmising fear, are better than those who confess salvation by their mouth alone. But if one ascend also to love, he is a really blessed and true martyr, having confessed perfectly both to the commandments and to God, by the Lord; whom having loved, he acknowledged a brother, giving himself up wholly for God, resigning pleasantly and lovingly the man when asked, like a deposit.
CHAP. X.--THOSE WHO OFFERED THEMSELVES FOR MARTYRDOM REPROVED.
When, again, He says, "When they persecute you in this city, flee ye to the other," He does not advise flight, as if persecution were an evil thing; nor does He enjoin them by flight to avoid death, as if in dread of it, but wishes us neither to be the authors nor abettors of any evil to any one, either to ourselves or the persecutor and murderer. For He, in a way, bids us take care of ourselves. But he who disobeys is rash and foolhardy. If he who kills a man of God sins against God, he also who presents himself before the judgment-seat becomes guilty of his death. And such is also the case with him who does not avoid persecution, but out of daring presents himself for capture. Such a one, as far as in him lies, becomes an accomplice in the crime of the persecutor. And if he also uses provocation, he is wholly guilty, challenging the wild beast. And similarly, if he afford any cause for conflict or punishment, or retribution or enmity, he gives occasion for persecution. Wherefore, then, we are enjoined not to cling to anything that belongs to this life; but "to him that takes our cloak to give our coat," not only that we may continue destitute of inordinate affection, but that we may not by retaliating make our persecutors savage against ourselves, and stir them up to blaspheme the name.
CHAP.XI.--THE OBJECTION, WHY DO YOU SUFFER IF GOD CARES FOR YOU, ANSWERED.
But, say they, if God cares for you, why are you persecuted and put to death? Has He delivered you to this? No, we do not suppose that the Lord wishes us to be involved in calamities, but that He foretold prophetically what would happen--that we should be persecuted for His name's sake, slaughtered, and impaled. So that it was not that He wished us to be persecuted, but He intimated beforehand what we shall suffer by the prediction of what would take place, training us to endurance, to which He promised the inheritance, although we are punished not alone, but along with many. But those, it is said, being malefactors, are righteously punished. Accordingly, they unwillingly bear testimony to our righteousness, we being unjustly punished for righteousness' sake. But the injustice of the judge does not affect the providence of God. For the judge must be master of his own opinion--not pulled by strings, like inanimate machines, set in motion only by external causes. Accordingly he is judged in respect to his judgment, as we also, in accordance with our choice of things desirable, and our endurance. Although we do not wrong, yet the judge looks on us as doing wrong, for he neither knows nor wishes to know about us, but is influenced by unwarranted prejudice; wherefore also he is judged. Accordingly they persecute us, not from the supposition that we are wrong-doers. but imagining that by the very fact of our being Christians we sin against life in so conducting ourselves, and exhorting others to adopt the like life.
But why are you not helped when persecuted? say they. What wrong is done us, as far as we are concerned, in being released by death to go to the Lord, and so undergoing a change of life, as if a change from one time of life to another? Did we think rightly, we should feel obliged to those who have afforded the means for speedy departure, if it is for love that we bear witness; and if not, we should appear to the multitude to be base men. Had they also known the truth, all would have bounded on to the way, and there would have been no choice. But our faith, being the light of the world, reproves unbelief. "Should Anytus and Melitus kill me, they will not hurt me in the least; for I do not think it right for the better to be hurt by the worse," [says Socrates]. So that each one of us may with confidence say, "The Lord is my helper; I will not fear: what shall man do to me?" "For the souls of the righteous are in the hand of the Lord, and no plague shall touch them."
CHAP. XII.--BASILIDES' IDEA OF MARTYRDOM REFUTED.
Basilides, in the twenty-third book of the Exegetics, respecting those that are punished by martyrdom, expresses himself in the following language: "For I say this, Whosoever fall under the afflictions mentioned, in consequence of unconsciously transgressing in other matters, are brought to this good end by the kindness of Him who brings them, but accused on other grounds; so that they may not suffer as condemned for what are owned to be iniquities, nor reproached as the adulterer or the murderer, but because they are Christians; which will console them, so that they do not appear to suffer. And if one who has not sinned at all incur suffering--a rare case--yet even he will not suffer aught through the machinations of power, but will suffer as the child which seems not to have sinned would suffer." Then further on he adds: "As, then, the child which has not sinned before, or committed actual sin in itself, but has that which committed sin, when subjected to suffering, gets good, reaping the advantage of many difficulties; so also, although a perfect man may not have sinned in act, while he endures afflictions, he suffers similarly with the child. Having within him the sinful principle, but not embracing the opportunity of committing sin, he does not sin; so that he is not to be reckoned as not having sinned. For as he who wishes to commit adultery is an adulterer, although he does not succeed in committing adultery; and he that wishes to commit murder is a murderer, although he is unable to kill; so also, if I see the man without sin, whom I specify, suffering, though he have done nothing bad, I should call him bad, on account of his wishing to sin. For I will affirm anything rather than call Providence evil." Then, in continuation, he says expressly concerning the Lord, as concerning man: "If then, passing from all these observations, you were to proceed to put me to shame by saying, perchance impersonating certain parties, This man has then sinned; for this man has suffered;--if you permit, I will say, He has not sinned; but was like a child suffering. If you were to insist more urgently, I would say, That the man you name is man, but that God is righteous: ' For no one is pure,' as one said, ' from pollution.' " But the hypothesis of Basilides says that the soul, having sinned before in another life, endures punishment in this--the elect soul with honour by martyrdom, the other purged by appropriate punishment. How can this be true, when the confessing and suffering punishment or not depends on ourselves? For in the case of the man who shall deny, Providence, as held by Basilides, is done away with. I will ask him, then, in the case of a confessor who has been arrested, whether he will confess and be punished in virtue of Providence or not? For in the case of denying he will not be punished. But if, for the sake of escaping and evading the necessity of punishing such an one, he shall say that the destruction of those who shall deny is of Providence, he will be a martyr against his will. And how any more is it the case, that there is laid up in heaven the very glorious recompense to him who has witnessed, for his witnessing? If Providence did not permit the sinner to get the length of sinning, it is unjust in both cases; both in not rescuing the man who is dragged to punishment for righteousness' sake, and in having rescued him who wished to do wrong, he having done it as far as volition was concerned, but [Providence] having prevented the deed, and unjustly favoured the sinner. And how impious, in deifying the devil, and in daring to call the Lord a sinful man! For the devil tempting us, knowing what we are, but not knowing if we will hold out, but wishing to dislodge us from the faith, attempts also to bring us into subjection to himself. Which is all that is allowed to him, partly from the necessity of saving us, who have taken occasion from the commandment, from ourselves; partly for the confusion of him who has tempted and failed; for the confirmation of the members of the Church, and the conscience of those who admire the constancy [displayed]. But if martyrdom be retribution by way of punishment, then also faith and doctrine, on account of which martyrdom comes, are co-operators in punishment--than which, what other absurdity could be greater? But with reference to these dogmas, whether the soul is changed to another body, also of the devil, at the proper time mention will be made. But at present, to what has been already said, let us add the following: Where any more is faith in the retribution of sins committed before martyrdom takes place? And where is love to God, which is persecuted and endures for the truth? And where is the praise of him who has confessed, or the censure of him who has denied? And for what use is right conduct, the mortification of the lusts, and the hating of no creature? But if, as Basilides himself says, we suppose one part of the declared will of God to be the loving of all things because all things bear a relation to the Whole, and another "not to lust after anything," and a third "not to hate anything," by the will of God these also will be punishments, which it were impious to think. For neither did the Lord suffer by the will of the Father, nor are those who are persecuted by the will of God; since either of two things is the case: either persecution in consequence of the will of God is a good thing, or those who decree and afflict are guiltless. But nothing is without the will of the Lord of the universe. It remains to say that such things happen without the prevention of God; for this alone saves both the providence and the goodness of God. We must not therefore think that He actively produces afflictions (far be it that we should think this!); but we must be persuaded that He does not prevent those that cause them, but overrules for good the crimes of His enemies: "I will therefore," He says, "destroy the wall, and it shall be for treading under foot." Providence being a disciplinary art; in the case of others for each individual's sins, and in the case of the Lord and His apostles for ours. To this point says the divine apostle: "For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye abstain from fornication: that each one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; not in the lust of concupiscence, as the Gentiles who know not the Lord: that none of you should overreach or take advantage of his brother in any matter; because the Lord is the avenger in respect of all such, as we also told you before, and testified. For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but to holiness. Wherefore he that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given His Holy Spirit to you." Wherefore the Lord was not prohibited from this sanctification of ours. if, then, one of them were to say, in reply, that the martyr is punished for sins committed before this embodying, and that he will again reap the fruit of his conduct in this life, for that such are the arrangements of the [divine administration], we shall ask him if the retribution takes place by Providence. For if it be not of the divine administration, the economy of expiations is gone, and their hypothesis falls to the ground; but if expiations are by Providence, punishments are by Providence too. But Providence, although it begins, so to speak, to move with the Ruler, yet is implanted in substances along with their origin by the God of the universe. Such being the case, they must confess either that punish-merit is not just, and those who condemn and persecute the martyrs do right, or that persecutions even are wrought by the will of God. Labour and fear are not, then, as they say, incident to affairs as rust to iron, but come upon the soul through its own will. And on these points there is much to say, which will be reserved for future consideration, taking them up in due course.
CHAP. XIII.--VALENTINIAN'S VAGARIES ABOUT THE ABOLITION OF DEATH REFUTED.
Valentinian, in a homily, writes in these words: "Ye are originally immortal, and children of eternal life, and ye would have death distributed to you, that ye may spend and lavish it, and that death may die in you and by you; for when we dissolve the world, and are not yourselves dissolved, ye have dominion over creation and all corruption." For he also, similarly with Basilides, supposes a class saved by nature, and that this different race has come hither to us from above for the abolition of death, and that the origin of death is the work of the Creator of the world. Wherefore also he so expounds that Scripture, "No man shall see the face of God, and live," as if He were the cause of death. Respecting this God, he makes those allusions when writing in these expressions: "As much as the image is inferior to the living face, so much is the world inferior to the living AEon. What is, then, the cause of the image? The majesty of the face, which exhibits the figure to the painter, to be honoured by his name; for the form is not found exactly to the life, but the name supplies what is wanting in the effigy. The invisibility of God co-operates also in order to the faith of that which has been fashioned." For the Creator, called God and Father, he designated as "Painter," and "Wisdom," whose image that which is formed is, to the glory of the invisible One; since the things which proceed from a pair are complements, and those which proceed from one are images. But since what is seen is no part of Him, the soul comes from what is intermediate, which is different; and this is the inspiration of the different spirit, and generally what is breathed into the soul, which is the image of the spirit. And in general, what is said of the Creator, who was made according to the image, they say was foretold by a sensible image in the book of Genesis respecting the origin of man; and the likeness they transfer to themselves, teaching that the addition of the different spirit was made; unknown to the Creator. When, then, we treat of the unity of the God who is proclaimed in the law, the prophets, and the Gospel, we shall also discuss this; for the topic is supreme. But we must advance to that which is urgent. If for the purpose of doing away with death the peculiar race has come, it is not Christ who has abolished death, unless He also is said to be of the same essence with them. And if He abolished it to this end, that it might not touch the peculiar race, it is not these, the rivals of the Creator, who breathe into the image of their intermediate spirit the life from above--in accordance with the principle of their dogma--that abolish death. But should they say that this takes place by His mother, or should they say that they, along with Christ, war against death, let them own their secret dogma that they have the hardihood to assail the divine power of the Creator, by setting to rights His creation, as if they were superior, endeavouring to save the vital image which He was not able to rescue from corruption. Then the Lord would be superior to God the Creator; for the son would never contend with the father, especially among the gods. But the point that the Creator of all things, the omnipotent Lord, is the Father of the Son, we have deferred till the discussion of these points, in which we have undertaken to dispute against the heresies, showing that He alone is the God proclaimed by Him.
But the apostle, writing to us with reference to the endurance of afflictions, says, "And this is of God, that it is given to you on behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake; having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me. If there is therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any communion of spirit, if any bowels and mercies, fulfil ye my joy, that ye may be of the same mind, having the same love, unanimous, thinking one thing. And if he is offered on the sacrifice and service of faith, joying and rejoicing" with the Philippians, to whom the apostle speaks, calling them "fellow-partakers of joy," how does he say that they are of one soul, and having a soul? Likewise, also, writing respecting Timothy and himself, he says, "For I have no one like-souled, who will nobly care for your state. For all seek their own, not the-things which are Jesus Christ's."
Let not the above-mentioned people, then, call us, by way of reproach, "natural men" (psuchikoi'), nor the Phrygians either; for these now call those who do not apply themselves to the new prophecy "natural men" (psuchikoi'), with whom we shall discuss in our remarks on "Prophecy." The perfect man ought therefore to practise love, and thence to haste to the divine friendship, fulfilling the commandments from love. And loving one's enemies does not mean loving wickedness, or impiety, or adultery, or theft; but the thief, the impious, the adulterer, not as far as he sins, and in respect of the actions by which he stains the name of man, but as he is a man, and the work of God. Assuredly sin is an activity, not an existence: and therefore it is not a work of God. Now sinners are called enemies of God--enemies, that is, of the commands which they do not obey, as those who obey become friends, the one named so from their fellowship, the others from their estrangement, which is the result of free choice; for there is neither enmity nor sin without the enemy and the sinner. And the command "to covet nothing," not as if the things to be desired did not belong to us, does not teach us not to entertain desire, as those suppose who teach that the Creator is different from the first God, not as if creation was loathsome and bad (for such opinions are impious). But we say that the things of the world are not our own, not as if they were monstrous, not as if they did not belong to God, the Lord of the universe, but because we do not continue among them for ever; being, in respect of possession, not ours, and passing from one to another in succession; but belonging to us, for whom they were made in respect of use, so long as it is necessary to continue with them. In accordance, therefore, with natural appetite, things disallowed are to be used rightly, avoiding all excess and inordinate affection.
CHAP. XIV.--THE LOVE OF ALL, EVEN OF OUR ENEMIES.
How great also is benignity! "Love your enemies," it is said, "bless them who curse you, and pray for them who despitefully use you," and the like; to which it is added, "that ye may be the children of your Father who is in heaven," in allusion to resemblance to God. Again, it is said, "Agree with thine adversary quickly, whilst thou art in the way with him." The adversary is not the body, as some would have it, but the devil, and those assimilated to him, who walks along with us in the person of men, who emulate his deeds in this earthly life. It is inevitable, then, that those who confess themselves to belong to Christ, but find themselves in the midst of the devil's works, suffer the most hostile treatment. For it is written, "Lost he deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officers of Satan's kingdom." "For I am persuaded that neither death," through the assault of persecutors, "nor life" in this world, "nor angels," the apostate ones, " nor powers" (and Satan's power is the life which he chose, for such are the powers and principalities of darkness belonging to him), "nor things present," amid which we exist during the time of life, as the hope entertained by the soldier, and the merchant's gain, "nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature," in consequence of the energy proper to a man,--opposes the faith of him who acts according to free choice. "Creature" is synonymous with activity, being our work, and such activity "shall not be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." You have got a compendious account of the gnostic martyr.
CHAP. XV.--ON AVOIDING OFFENCE.
"We know that we all have knowledge"--common knowledge in common things, and the knowledge that there is one God. For he was writing to believers; whence he adds, "But knowledge (gnosis) is not in all," being communicated to few. And there are those who say that the knowledge about things sacrificed to idols is not promulgated among all, "lest our liberty prove a stumbling-block to the weak. For by thy knowledge he that is weak is destroyed. " Should they say, "Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, ought that to be bought?" adding, by way of interrogation, "asking no questions," as if equivalent to "asking questions," they give a ridiculous interpretation. For the apostle says, "All other things buy out of the shambles, asking no questions," with the exception of the things mentioned in the Catholic epistle of all the apostles, "with the consent of the Holy Ghost," which is written in the Acts of the Apostles, and conveyed to the faithful by the hands of Paul himself. For they intimated "that they must of necessity abstain from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication, from which keeping themselves, they should do well." It is a different matter, then, which is expressed by the apostle: "Have we not power to eat and to drink? Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as the rest of the apostles, as the brethren of the Lord and Cephas? But we have not used this power," he says, "but bear all things, lest we should occasion hindrance to the Gospel of Christ;" namely, by bearing about burdens, when it was necessary to be untrammelled for all things; or to become an example to those who wish to exercise temperance, not encouraging each other to eat greedily of what is set before us, and not to consort inconsiderately with woman. And especially is it incumbent on those entrusted with such a dispensation to exhibit to disciples a pure example. "For though I be free from all men, I have made myself servant to all," it is said, "that I might gain all. And every one that striveth for mastery is temperate in all things." "But the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof." For conscience' sake, then, we are to abstain from what we ought to abstain. "Conscience, I say, not his own," for it is endued with knowledge, "but that of the other," lest he be trained badly, and by imitating in ignorance what he knows not, he become a despiser instead of a strong-minded man. "For why is my liberty judged of by another conscience? For if I by grace am a partaker, why am I evil spoken of for that for which I give thanks? Whatever ye do, do all to the glory of God "--what you are commanded to do by the rule of faith.
CHAP. XVI.--PASSAGES OF SCRIPTURE RESPECTING THE CONSTANCY, PATIENCE, AND LOVE OF THE MARTYRS.
"With the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Wherefore the Scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed; that is, the word of faith which we preach: for if thou confess the word with thy mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in thy heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." There is clearly described the perfect righteousness, fulfilled both in practice and contemplation. Wherefore we are "to bless those who persecute us. Bless, and curse not." " For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of a good conscience, that in holiness and sincerity we know God" by this inconsiderable instance exhibiting the work of love, that "not in fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world." So far the apostle respecting knowledge; and in the second Epistle to the Corinthians he calls the common "teaching of faith" the savour of knowledge. "For unto this day the same veil remains on many in the reading of the Old Testament," not being uncovered by turning to the Lord. Wherefore also to those capable of perceiving he showed resurrection, that of the life still in the flesh, creeping on its belly. Whence also he applied the name "brood of vipers" to the voluptuous, who serve the belly and the pudenda, and cut off one another's heads for the sake of worldly pleasures. "Little children, let us not love in word, or in tongue," says John, teaching them to be perfect, "but in deed and in truth; hereby shall we know that we are of the truth." And if "God be love," piety also is love: "there is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear." "This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments." And again, to him who desires to become a Gnostic, it is written, "But be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in love, in faith, in purity." For perfection in faith differs, I think, from ordinary faith. And the divine apostle furnishes the rule for the Gnostic in these words, writing as follows: "For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to lack. I can do all things through Him who strengtheneth me." And also when discussing with others in order to put them, to shame, he does not shrink from saying, "But call to mind the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions; partly, whilst ye were made a gazing-stock, both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used. For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took with joy the spoiling of your goods, knowing that you have a better and enduring substance. Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after doing the will of God, ye may obtain the promise. For yet a little while, and He that cometh will come, and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith: and if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them that draw back unto perdition, but of them that believe to the saving of the soul." He then brings forward a swarm of divine examples. For was it not "by faith," he says, this endurance, that they acted nobly who "had trial of mockeries and scourgings, and, moreover, of bonds and imprisonments? They were stoned, they were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheep-skins and goat-skins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented, of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts, in mountains, in dens, and caves of the earth. And all having received a good report, through faith, received not the promise of God" (what is expressed by a parasiopesis is left to be understood, viz., "alone "). He adds accordingly, "God having provided some better thing for us (for He was good), that they should not without us be made perfect. Wherefore also, having encompassing us such a cloud," holy and transparent, "of witnesses, laying aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, let us run with patience the race set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith." Since, then, he specifies one salvation in Christ of the righteous, and of us he has expressed the former unambiguously, and saying nothing less respecting Moses, adds, "Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt: for he had respect to the recompense of the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible." The divine Wisdom says of the martyrs, "They seemed in the eyes of the foolish to die, and their departure was reckoned a calamity, and their migration from us an affliction. But they are in peace. For though in the sight of men they were punished, their hope was full of immortality." He then adds, teaching martyrdom to be a glorious purification, "And being chastened a little, they shall be benefited much; because God proved them," that is, suffered them to be tried, to put them to the proof, and to put to shame the author of their trial, "and found them worthy of Himself," plainly to be called sons. "As gold in the furnace He proved them, and as a whole burned-offering of sacrifice He accepted them. And in the time of their visitation they will shine forth, even as sparks run along the stubble. They shall judge the nations, and rule over the peoples, and the Lord shall reign over them forever."
CHAP. XVII.--PASSAGES FROM CLEMENT'S EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS ON MARTYRDOM.
Moreover, in the Epistle to the Corinthians, the Apostle Clement also, drawing a picture of the Gnostic, says: "For who that has sojourned among you has not proved your perfect and firm faith? and has not admired your sound and gentle piety? and has not celebrated the munificent style of your hospitality? and has not felicitated your complete and sure knowledge? For ye did all things impartially, and walked in the ordinances of God;" and so forth.
Then more clearly: "Let us fix our eyes on those who have yielded perfect service to His magnificent glory. Let us take Enoch, who, being by his obedience found righteous, was translated; and Noah, who, having believed, was saved; and Abraham, who for his faith and hospitality was called the friend of God, and was the father of Isaac." "For hospitality and piety, Lot was saved from Sodom." "For faith and hospitality, Rahab the harlot was saved." "From patience and faith they walked about in goat- skins, and sheep-skins, and folds of camels' hair, proclaiming the kingdom of Christ. We name His prophets Elias, and Eliseus, and Ezekiel, and John."
"For Abraham, who for his free faith was called ' the friend of God,' was not elated by glory, but modestly said, 'I am dust and ashes.' And of Job it is thus written: ' Job was just and blameless, true and pious, abstaining from all evil.'" He it was who overcame the tempter by patience, and at once testified and was testified to by God; who keeps hold of humility, and says, "No one is pure from defilement, not even if his life were but for one day." "Moses, 'the servant who was faithful in all his house,' said to Him who uttered the oracles from the bush,' Who am I, that Thou sendest me? I am slow of speech, and of a stammering tongue,' to minister the voice of God in human speech. And again: ' I am smoke from a pot.'" "For God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble."
"David too, of whom the Lord, testifying, says, 'I found a man after my own heart, David the son of Jesse. With my holy oil I anointed him.' But he also says to God, 'Pity me, O God, according to Thy mercy; and according to the multitude of Thy tender mercies, blot out my transgression. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgression, and my sin is ever before me.' " Then, alluding to sin which is not subject to the law, in the exercise of the moderation of true knowledge, he adds, "Against Thee only have I sinned, and done evil in Thy sight." For the Scripture somewhere says, "The Spirit of the Lord is a lamp, searching the recesses of the belly." And the more of a Gnostic a man becomes by doing right, the nearer is the illuminating Spirit to him. "Thus the Lord draws near to the righteous, and none of the thoughts and reasonings of which we are the authors escape Him--I mean the Lord Jesus," the scrutinizer by His omnipotent will of our heart, "whose blood was consecrated for us. Let us therefore respect those who are over us, and reverence the elders; let us honour the young, and let us teach the discipline of God." For blessed is he who shah do and teach the Lord's commands worthily; and he is of a magnanimous mind, and of a mind contemplative of truth. "Let us direct our wives to what is good; let them exhibit," says he, "the lovable disposition of chastity; let them show the guileless will of their meekness; let them manifest the gentleness of their tongue by silence; let them give their love not according to their inclinations, but equal love in sanctity to all i that fear God. Let our children share in the discipline that is in Christ; let them learn what humility avails before God; what is the power of holy love before God, how lovely and great is the fear of the Lord, saving all that walk in it holily; with a pure heart: for He is the Searcher of the thoughts and sentiments, whose breath is in us, and when He wills He will take it away."
"Now all those things are confirmed by the faith that is in Christ. 'Come, ye children,' says the Lord, ' hearken to me, and I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Who is the man that desireth life, that loveth to see good days?' Then He subjoins the gnostic mystery of the numbers seven and eight. 'Stop thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile. Depart from evil, and do good. Seek peace, and pursue it.' For in these words He alludes to knowledge (gnosis), with abstinence from evil and the doing of what is good, teaching that it is to be perfected by word and deed. ' The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are to their prayer. But the face of God is against those thai do evil, to root out their memory from the earth. The righteous cried, and the Lord heard, and delivered him out of all his distresses.' ' Many are the stripes of sinners; but those who hope in the Lord, mercy shall compass about.'" "A multitude of mercy," he nobly says, "surrounds him that trusts in the Lord."
For it is written in the Epistle to the Corinthians, "Through Jesus Christ our foolish and darkened mind springs up to the light. By Him the Sovereign Lord wished us to taste the knowledge that is immortal." And, showing more expressly the peculiar nature of knowledge, he added: "These things, then, being clear to us, looking into the depths of divine knowledge, we ought to do all things in order which the Sovereign Lord commanded us to perform at the appointed seasons. Let the wise man, then, show his wisdom not in words only, but in good deeds. Let the humble not testify to himself, but allow testimony to be borne to him by another. Let not him who is pure in the flesh boast, knowing that it is another who furnishes him with continence. Ye see, brethren, that the more we are subjected to peril, the more knowledge are we counted worthy of."
CHAP. XVIII.--ON LOVE, AND THE REPRESSING OF OUR DESIRES.
"The decorous tendency of our philanthropy, therefore," according to Clement, "seeks the common good;" whether by suffering martyrdom, or by teaching by deed and word,--the latter being twofold, unwritten and written. This is love, to love God and our neighbour. "This conducts to the height which is unutterable. ' Love covers a multitude of sins. Love beareth all things, suffereth all things.' Love joins us to God, does all things in concord. In love, all the chosen of God were perfected. Apart from love, nothing is well pleasing to God." "Of its perfection there is no unfolding," it is said. "Who is fit to be found in it, except those whom. God counts worthy ?" To the point the Apostle Paul speaks, "If I give my body, and have not love, I am sounding brass, and a tinkling cymbal." If it is not from a disposition determined by gnostic love that I shall testify, he means; but if through fear and expected reward, moving my lips in order to testify to the Lord that I shall confess the Lord, I am a common man, sounding the Lord's name, not knowing Him. "For there is the people that loveth with the lips; and there is another which gives the body to be burned." "And if I give all my goods in alms," he says, not according to the principle of loving communication, but on account of recompense, either from him who has received the benefit, or the Lord who has promised; "and if I have all faith so as to remove mountains," and cast away obscuring passions, and be not faithful to the Lord from love, "I am nothing," as in comparison of him who testifies as a Gnostic, and the crowd, and being reckoned nothing better.
"Now all the generations from Adam to this day are gone. But they who have been perfected in love, through the grace of God, hold the place of the godly, who shall be manifested at the visitation of the kingdom of Christ." Love permits not to sin; but if it fall into any such case, by reason of the interference of the: adversary, in imitation of David, it will sing: "I will confess unto the Lord, and it will please Him above a young bullock that has horns and hoofs. Let the poor see it, and be glad." For he says, "Sacrifice to God a sacrifice of praise, and pay to the Lord thy vows; and call upon me in the day of trouble, and I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me." "For the sacrifice of God is a broken spirit."
"God," then, being good, "is love," it is said. Whose "love worketh no ill to his neighhour," neither injuring nor revenging ever, but, in a word, doing good to all according to the image of God. "Love is," then, "the fulfilling of the law; " like as Christ, that is the presence of the Lord who loves us; and our loving teaching of, and discipline according to Christ. By love, then, the commands not to commit adultery, and not to covet one's neighbour's wife, are fulfilled,[these sins being] formerly prohibited by fear.
The same work, then, presents a difference, according as it is done by fear, or accomplished by love, and is wrought by faith or by knowledge. Rightly, therefore, their rewards are different. To the Gnostic "are prepared what eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor hath entered into the heart of man;" but to him who has exercised simple faith He testifies a hundredfold in return for what he has left,--a promise which has turned out to fall within human comprehension. Come to this point, I recollect one who called himself a Gnostic. For, expounding the words, "But i say unto you, he that looketh on a woman to lust after, hath committed adultery," he thought that it was not bare desire that was condemned; but if through the desire the act that results from it proceeding beyond the desire is accomplished in it. For dream employs phantasy and the body. Accordingly, the historians relate the following decision, of Bocchoris the just. A youth, falling in love with a courtezan, persuades the girl, for a stipulated reward, to come to him next day. But his desire being unexpectedly satiated, by laying hold of the girl in a dream, by anticipation, when the object of his love came according to stipulation, he prohibited her from coming in. But she, on learning what had taken place, demanded the reward, saying that in this way she had sated the lover's desire. They came accordingly to the judge. He, ordering the youth to hold out the purse containing the reward in the sun, bade the courtezan take hold of the shadow; facetiously bidding him pay the image of a reward for the image of an embrace.
Accordingly one dreams, the soul assenting to the vision. But he dreams waking, who looks so as to lust; not only, as that Gnostic said, if along with the sight of the woman he imagine in his mind intercourse, for this is already the act of lust, as lust; but if one looks on beauty of person (the Word says), and the flesh seem to him in the way of lust to be fair, looking on cam ally and sinfully, he is judged because he admired. For, on the other hand, he who in chaste love looks on beauty, thinks not that the flesh is beautiful, but the spirit, admiring, as I judge, the body as an image, by whose beauty he transports himself to the Artist, and to the true beauty; exhibiting the sacred symbol, the bright impress of righteousness to the angels that wait on the ascension; I mean the unction of acceptance, the quality of disposition which resides in the soul that is gladdened by the communication of the Holy Spirit. This glory, which Shone forth on the face of Moses, the people could not look on. Wherefore he took a veil for the glory, to those who looked cam ally. For those, who demand toll, detain those who bring in any worldly things, who are burdened with their own passions. But him that is free of all things which are subject to duty, and is full of knowledge, and of the righteousness of works, they pass on with their good wishes, blessing the man with his work. "And his life shall not fall away"--the leaf of the living tree that is nourished "by the water-courses." Now the righteous is likened to fruit-bearing trees, and not only to such as are of the nature of tall-growing ones. And in the sacrificial oblations, according to the law, there were those who looked for blemishes in the sacrifices. They who are skilled in such matters distinguish propension (o'rexis) from lust (epithumi'a); and assign the latter, as being irrational, to pleasures and licentiousness; and propension, as being a rational movement, they assign to the necessities of nature.
CHAP. XIX.--WOMEN AS WELL AS MEN CAPABLE OF PERFECTION.
In this perfection it is possible for man and woman equally to share. It is not only Moses, then, that heard from God, "I have spoken to thee once, and twice, saying, I have seen this people, and lo, it is stiff- necked. Suffer me to exterminate them, and blot out their name from under heaven; and I will make thee into a great and wonderful nation much greater than this;" who answers not regarding himself, but the common salvation: "By no means, O Lord; forgive this people their sin, or blot me out of the book of the living." How great was his perfection, in wishing to die together with the people, rather than be saved alone !
But Judith too, who became perfect among women, in the siege of the city, at the entreaty of the elders went forth into the strangers' camp, despising all danger for her country's sake, giving herself into the enemy's hand in faith in God; and straightway she obtained the reward of her faith,--though a woman, prevailing over the enemy of her faith, and gaining possession of the head of Holofernes. And again, Esther perfect by faith, who rescued Israel from the power of the king and the satrap's cruelty: a woman alone, afflicted with fastings, held back ten thousand armed hands, annulling by her faith the tyrant's decree; him indeed she appeased, Haman she restrained, and Israel she preserved scathless by her perfect prayer to God. I pass over in silence Susanna and the sister of Moses, since the latter was the prophet's associate in commanding the host, being superior to all the women among the Hebrews who were in repute for their wisdom; and the former in her surpassing modesty, going even to death condemned by licentious admirers, remained the unwavering martyr of chastity.
Dion, too, the philosopher, tells that a certain woman Lysidica, through excess of modesty, bathed in her clothes; and that Philotera, when she was to enter the bath, gradually drew back her tunic as the water covered the naked parts; and then rising by degrees, put it on. And did not Lesena of Attica manfully bear the torture? She being privy to the conspiracy of Harmodius and Aristogeiton against Hipparchus, uttered not a word, though severely tortured. And they say that the Argolic women, under the guidance of Telesilla the poetess, turned to flight the doughty Spartans by merely showing themselves; and that she produced in them fearlessness of death. Similarly speaks he who composed the Danais respecting the daughters of Danaus:--
"And then the daughters of Danaus swiftly armed themselves, Before the fair-flowing river, majestic Nile,"
and so forth.
And the rest of the poets sing of Atalanta's swiftness in the chase, of Anticlea's love for children, of Alcestis's love for her husband, of the courage of Makaeria and of the Hyacinthides. What shall I say? Did not Theano the Pythagorean make such progress in philosophy, that to him who looked intently at her, and said, "Your arm is beautiful," she answered "Yes, but it is not public." Characterized by the same propriety, there is also reported the following reply. When asked when a woman after being with her husband attends the Thesmophoria, said, "From her own husband at once, from a stranger never." Themisto too, of Lampsacus, the daughter of Zoilus, the wife of Leontes of Lampsacus, studied the Epicurean philosophy, as Myia the daughter of Theano the Pythagorean, and Arignote, who wrote the history of Dionysius.
And the daughters of Diodorus, who was called Kronus, all became dialecticians, as Philo the dialectician says in the Mrenexenus, whose names are mentioned as follows--Menexene, Argia, Theognis, Artemesia, Pantaclea. I also recollect a female Cynic,--she was called Hipparchia, a Maronite, the wife of Crates,--in whose case the so-called dog-wedding was celebrated in the Pcecile. Arete of Cyrene, too, the daughter of Aristippus, educated her son Aristippus, who was surnamed Mother-taught. Lastheneia of Arcis, and Axiothea of Phlius, studied philosophy with Plato. Besides, Aspasia of Miletus, of whom the writers of comedy write much, was trained by Socrates in philosophy, by Pericles in rhetoric. I omit, on account of the length of the discourse, the rest; enumerating neither the poetesses Corinna, Telesilla, Myia, and Sappho; nor the painters, as Irene the daughter of Cratinus, and Anaxandra the daughter of Nealces, according to the account ofDidymus in the Symposiaci. The daughter of Cleobulus, the sage and monarch of the Lindii, was not ashamed to wash the feet of her father's guests. Also the wife of Abraham, the blessed Sarah, in her own person prepared the cakes baked in the ashes for the angels; and princely maidens among the Hebrews fed sheep. Whence also the Nausicaa of Homer went to the washing-tubs.
The wise woman, then, win first choose to persuade her husband to be her associate in what is conducive to happiness. And should that be found impracticable, let her by herself earnestly aim at virtue, gaining her husband's consent in everything, so as never to do anything against his will, with exception of what is reckoned as contributing to virtue and salvation. But if one keeps from such a mode of life either wife or maid- servant, whose heart is set on it; what such a person in that case plainly does is nothing else than determine to drive her away from righteousness and sobriety, and to choose to make his own house wicked and licentious.
It is not then possible that man or woman can be conversant with anything whatever, without the advantage of education, and application, and training; and virtue, we have said, depends not on others, but on ourselves above all. Other things one can repress, by waging war against them; but with what depends on one's self, this is entirely out of the question, even with the most strenuous persistence. For the gift is one conferred by God, and not in the power of any other. Whence licentiousness should be regarded as the evil of no other one than of him who is guilty of licentiousness; and temperance, on the other hand, as the good of him who is able to practise it.
CHAP. XX.--A GOOD WIFE.
The woman who, with propriety, loves her husband, Euripides describes, while admonishing,--
"That when her husband says aught, She ought to regard him as speaking well if she say nothing; And if she will say anything, to do her endeavour to gratify her husband."
And again he subjoins the like :--
"And that the wife should sweetly look sad with her husband, Should aught evil befall him, And have in common a share of sorrow and joy."
Then, describing her as gentle and kind even in misfortunes, he adds:--
"And I, when you are ill, will, sharing your sickness bear it; And I will bear my share in your misfortunes."
"Nothing is bitter to me, For with friends one ought to be happy, For what else is friendship but this?"
The marriage, then, that is consummated according to the word, is sanctified, if the union be under subjection to God, and be conducted "with a true heart, in full assurance of faith, having hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and the body washed with pure water, and holding the confession of hope; for He is faithful that promised." And the happiness of marriage ought never to be estimated either by wealth or beauty, but by virtue.
"Beauty," says the tragedy,--
"Helps no wife with her husband; But virtue has helped many; for every good wife Who is attached to her husband knows how to pracise sobriety."
Then, as giving admonitions, he says :--
"First, then, this is incumbent on her who is endowed with mind, That even if her husband be ugly, he must appear good-looking; For it is for the mind, not the eye, to judge."
And so forth.
For with perfect propriety Scripture has said that woman is given by God as "an help" to man. It is evident, then, in my opinion, that she will charge herself with remedying, by good sense and persuasion, each of the annoyances that originate with her husband in domestic economy. And if he do not yield, then she will endeavour, as far as possible for human nature, to lead a sinless life; whether it be necessary to die, in accordance with reason, or to live; considering that God is her helper and associate in such a course of conduct, her true defender and Saviour both for the present and for the future; making Him the leader and guide of all her actions, reckoning sobriety and righteousness her work, and making the favour of God her end. Gracefully, therefore, the apostle says in the Epistle to Titus, "that the elder women should be of godly behaviour, should not be slanderers, not enslaved to much wine; that they should counsel the young women to be lovers of their husbands, lovers of their children, discreet, chaste, housekeepers, good, subject to their own husbands; that the word of God be not blasphemed." But rather, he says, "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: looking diligently, lest there be any fornicator or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel surrendered his birth-right; and lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled." And then, as putting the finishing stroke to the question about marriage, he adds: "Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge." And one aim and one end, as far as regards perfection, being demonstrated to belong to the man and the woman, Peter in his Epistle says, "Though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations; that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than that of gold which perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise, and honour, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ; whom, having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable, and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith, the salvation of your souls." Wherefore also Paul rejoices for Christ's sake that he was "in labours, more abundantly, in stripes above measure, in deaths oft."
CHAP. XXI.--DESCRIPTION OF THE PERFECT MAN, OR GNOSTIC.
Here I find perfection apprehended variously in relation to Him who excels in every virtue. Accordingly one is perfected as pious, and as patient, and as continent, and as a worker, and as a martyr, and as a Gnostic. But I know no one of men perfect in all things at once, while still human, though according to the mere letter of the law, except Him alone who for us clothed Himself with humanity. Who then is perfect? He who professes abstinence from what is bad. Well, this is the way to the Gospel and to well-doing. But gnostic perfection in the case of the legal man is the acceptance of the Gospel, that he that is after the law may be perfect. For so he, who was after the law, Moses, foretold that it was necessary to hear in order that we might, according to the apostle, receive Christ, the fulness of the law. But now in the Gospel the Gnostic attains proficiency not only by making use of the law as a step, but by understanding and comprehending it, as the Lord who gave the Covenants delivered it to the apostles. And if he conduct himself rightly (as assuredly it is impossible to attain knowledge (gnosis) by bad conduct); and if, further, having made an eminently right confession, he become a martyr out of love, obtaining considerable renown as among men; not even thus will he be called perfect in the flesh beforehand; since it is the close of life which claims this appellation, when the gnostic martyr has first shown the perfect work, and rightly exhibited it, and having thankfully shed his blood, has yielded up the ghost: blessed then will he be, and truly proclaimed perfect, "that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us," as the apostle says. Only let us preserve free-will and love: "troubled on every side, yet not distressed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed." For those who strive after perfection, according to the same apostle, must "give no offence in anything, but in everything approve themselves not to men, but to God." And, as a consequence, also they ought to yield to men; for it is reasonable, on account of abusive calumnies: Here is the specification: "in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings, in pureness, in knowledge, in long-suffering, in kindness, in the Holy Ghost, in love unfeigned, in the word of truth, in the power of God," that we may be the temples of God, purified "from all filthiness of the flesh and of the spirit." "And I," He says, "will receive you; and I will be to you for a Father, and ye shall be to Me for sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." "Let us then," he says, "perfect holiness in the fear of God." For though fear beget pain, "I rejoice," he says, "not that ye were made sorry, but that ye showed susceptibility to repentance. For ye sorrowed after a godly sort, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance unto salvation not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world worketh death. For this same thing that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what earnestness it wrought in you; yea, what clearing of yourselves; yea, what compunction; yea, what fear; yea, what desire; yea, what zeal; yea, revenge! In all things ye have showed yourselves clear in the matter." Such are the preparatory exercises of gnostic discipline. And since the omnipotent God Himself "gave some apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ; " we are then to strive to reach manhood as befits the Gnostic, and to be as perfect as we can while still abiding in the flesh, making it our study with perfect concord here to concur with the will of God, to the restoration of what is the truly perfect nobleness and relationship, to the fulness of Christ, that which perfectly depends on our perfection.
And now we perceive where, and how, and when the divine apostle mentions the perfect man, and how he shows the differences of the perfect. And again, on the other hand: "The manifestation of the Spirit is given for our profit. For to one is given the word of wisdom by the Spirit; to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith through the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing through the same Spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discernment of spirits; to another diversities of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: and all these worketh the one and the same Spirit, distributing to each one according as He wills."' Such being the case, the prophets are perfect in prophecy, the righteous in righteousness, and the martyrs in confession, and others in preaching, not that they are not sharers in the common virtues, but are proficient in those to which they are appointed. For what man in his senses would say that a prophet was not righteous? For what? did not righteous men like Abraham prophesy ?
"For to one God has given warlike deeds, To another the accomplishment of the dance, To another the lyre and song,"
says Homer. "But each has his own proper gift of God "--one in one way, another in another. But the apostles were perfected in all. You will find, then, if you choose, in their acts and writings, knowledge, life, preaching, righteousness, purity, prophecy. We must know, then, that if Paul is young in respect to time--having flourished immediately after the Lord's ascension--yet his writings depend on the Old Testament, breathing and speaking of them. For faith in Christ and the knowledge of the Gospel are the explanation and fulfilment of the law; and therefore it was said to the Hebrews, "If ye believe not, neither shall you understand;" that is, unless you believe what is prophesied in the law, and oracularly delivered by the law, you will not understand the Old Testament, which He by His coming expounded.
CHAP. XXII.--THE TRUE GNOSTIC DOES GOOD, NOT FROM FEAR OF PUNISHMENT OR HOPE OF REWARD, BUT ONLY FOR THE SAKE OF GOOD ITSELF.
The man of understanding and perspicacity is, then, a Gnostic. And his business is not abstinence from what is evil (for this is a step to the highest perfection), or the doing of good out of fear. For it is written, "Whither shall I flee, and where shall I hide myself from Thy presence? If I ascend into heaven, Thou art there; if I go away to the uttermost parts of the sea, there is Thy right hand; if I go down into the depths, there is Thy Spirit." Nor any more is he to do so from hope of promised recompense. For it is said, "Behold the Lord, and His reward is before His face, to give to every one according to his works; what eye hath not seen, and ear hath not heard, and hath not entered into the heart of man what God hath prepared for them that love Him." But only the doing of good out of love, and for the sake of its own excellence, is to be the Gnostic's choice. Now, in the person of God it is said to the Lord, "Ask of Me, and I will give the heathen for Thine inheritance;" teaching Him to ask a truly regal request--that is, the salvation of men without price, that we may inherit and possess the Lord. For, on the contrary, to desire knowledge about God for any practical purpose, that this may be done, or that may not be done, is not proper to the Gnostic; but the knowledge itself suffices as the reason for contemplation. For I will dare aver that it is not because he wishes to be saved that he, who devotes himself to knowledge for the sake of the divine science itself, chooses knowledge. For the exertion of the intellect by exercise is prolonged to a perpetual exertion. And the perpetual exertion of the intellect is the essence of an intelligent being, which results from an uninterrupted process of admixture, and remains eternal contemplation, a living substance. Could we, then, suppose any one proposing to the Gnostic whether he would choose the knowledge of God or everlasting salvation; and if these, which are entirely identical, were separable, he would without the least hesitation choose the knowledge of God, deeming that property of faith, which from love ascends to knowledge, desirable, for its own sake. This, then, is the perfect man's first form of doing good, when it is done not for any advantage in what pertains to him, but because he judges it right to do good; and the energy being vigorously exerted in all things, in the very act becomes good; not, good in some things, and not good in others; but consisting in the habit of doing good, neither for glory, nor, as the philosophers say, for reputation, nor from reward either from men or God; but so as to pass life after the image and likeness of the Lord.
And if, in doing good, he be met with anything adverse, he will let the recompense pass without resentment as if it were good, he being just and good "to the just and the unjust." To such the Lord says, "Be ye, as your Father is perfect."
To him the flesh is dead; but he himself lives alone, having consecrated the sepulchre into a holy temple to the Lord, having turned towards God the old sinful soul.
Such an one is no longer continent, but has reached a state of passionlessness, waiting to put on the divine image. "If thou doest alms," it is said, "let no one know it; and if thou fastest, anoint thyself, that God alone may know," and not a single human being. Not even he himself who shows mercy ought to know that he does show mercy; for in this way he will be sometimes merciful, sometimes not. And when he shall do good by habit, he will imitate the nature of good, and his disposition will be his nature and his practice. There is no necessity for removing those who are raised on high, but there is necessity for those who are walking to reach the requisite goal, by passing over the whole of the narrow way. For this is to be drawn by the Father, to become worthy to receive the power of grace from God, so as to run without hindrance. And if some hate the elect, such an one knows their ignorance, and pities their minds for its folly.
As is right, then, knowledge itself loves and teaches the ignorant, and instructs the whole creation to honour God Almighty. And if such an one teaches to love God, he will not hold virtue as a thing to be lost in any case, either awake or in a dream, or in any vision; since the habit never goes out of itself by falling from being a habit. Whether, then, knowledge be said to be habit or disposition; on account of diverse sentiments never obtaining access, the guiding faculty, remaining unaltered, admits no alteration of appearances by framing in dreams visionary conceptions out of its movements by day. Wherefore also the Lord enjoins "to watch," so that our soul may never be perturbed with passion, even in dreams; but also to keep the life of the night pure and stainless, as if spent in the day. For assimilation to God, as far as we can, is preserving the mind in its relation to the same things. And this is the relation of mind as mind.
But the variety of disposition arises from inordinate affection to material things. And for this reason, as they appear to me, to have called night Euphrone; since then the soul, released from the perceptions of sense, turns in on itself, and has a truer hold of intelligence (phro'nhsis). Wherefore the mysteries are for the most part celebrated by night, indicating the withdrawal of the soul from the body, which takes place by night. "Let us not then sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep, sleep in the night; and they that are drunken, are drunken in the night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as an helmet the hope of salvation." And as to what, again, they say of sleep, the very same things are to be understood of death. For each exhibits the departure of the soul, the one more, the other less; as we may also get this in Heraclitus: "Man touches night in himself, when dead and his light quenched; and alive, when he sleeps he touches the dead; and awake, when he shuts his eyes, he touches the sleeper." "For blessed are those that have seen the Lord," according to the apostle; "for it is high time to awake out of sleep. For now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and put on the armour of light." By day and light he designates figuratively the Son, and by the armour of light metaphorically the promises.
So it is said that we ought to go washed to sacrifices and prayers, clean and bright; and that this external adornment and purification are practised for a sign. Now purity is to think holy thoughts. Further, there is the image of baptism, which also was handed down to the poets from Moses as follows:--
"And she having drawn water, and wearing on her body clean clothes."
It is Penelope that is going to prayer:--
"And Telemachus, Having washed his hands in the hoary sea, prayed to Athene."
It was a custom of the Jews to wash frequently after being in bed. It was then well said,--
"Be pure, not by washing of water, but in the mind."
For sanctity, as I conceive it, is perfect pureness of mind, and deeds, and thoughts, and words too, and in its last degree sinlessness in dreams.
And sufficient purification to a man, I reckon, is thorough and sure repentance. If, condemning ourselves for our former actions, we go forward, after these things taking thought, and divesting our mind both of the things which please us through the senses, and of our former transgressions.
If, then, we are to give the etymology of episth'mh, knowledge, its signification is to be derived from sta'sis, placing; for our soul, which was formerly borne, now in one way, now in another, it settles in objects. Similarly faith is to be explained etymologically, as the settling (sta'sis) of our soul respecting that which is.
But we desire to learn about the man who is always and in all things righteous; who, neither dreading the penalty proceeding from the law, nor fearing to entertain hatred of evil in the case of those who live with him and who prosecute the injured, nor dreading danger at the hands of those who do wrong, remains righteous. For he who, on account of these considerations, abstains from anything wrong, is not voluntarily kind, but is good from fear. Even Epicurus says, that the man who in his estimation was wise, "would not do wrong to any one for the sake of gain; for he could not persuade himself that he would escape detection." So that, if he knew he would not be detected, he would, according to him, do evil. And such are the doctrines of darkness. If, too, one shall abstain from doing wrong from hope of the recompense given by God on account of righteous deeds, he is not on this supposition spontaneously good. For as fear makes that man just, so reward makes this one; or rather, makes him appear to be just. But with the hope after death--a good hope to the good, to the bad the reverse- -not only they who follow after Barbarian wisdom, but also the Pythagoreans, are acquainted. For the latter also proposed hope as an end to those who philosophize. Whereas Socrates also, in the Phaedo, says "that good souls depart hence with a good hope;" and again, denouncing the wicked, he sets against this the assertion, "For they live with an evil hope." With him Heraclitus manifestly agrees in his dissertations concerning men: "There awaits man after death what they neither hope nor think." Divinely, therefore, Paul writes expressly, "Tribulation worketh, patience, and patience experience, and experience hope; and hope maketh not ashamed." For the patience is on account of the hope in the future. Now hope is synonymous with the recompense and restitution of hope; which maketh not ashamed, not being any more vilified.
But he who obeys the mere call, as he is called, neither for fear, nor for enjoyments, is on his way to knowledge (gnw^sis). For he does not consider whether any extrinsic lucrative gain or enjoyment follows to him; but drawn by the love of Him who is the true object of love, and led to what is requisite, practises piety. So that not even were we to suppose him to receive from God leave to do things forbidden with impunity; not even if he were to get the promise that he would receive as a reward the good things of the blessed; but besides, not even if he could persuade himself that God would be hoodwinked with reference to what he does (which is impossible), would he ever wish to do aught contrary to right reason, having once made choice of what is truly good and worthy of choice on its own account, and therefore to be loved. For it is not in the food of the belly, that we have heard good to be situated. But he has heard that "meat will not commend us," nor marriage, nor abstinence from marriage in ignorance; but virtuous gnostic conduct. For the dog, which is an irrational animal, may be said to be continent, dreading as it does the uplifted stick, and therefore keeping away from the meat. But let the predicted promise be taken away, and the threatened dread cancelled, and the impending danger removed, and the disposition of such people will be revealed.
CHAP. XXIII.--THE SAME SUBJECT CONTINUED.
For it is not suitable to the nature of the thing itself, that they should apprehend in the truly gnostic manner the truth, that all things which were created for our use are good; as, for example, marriage and procreation, when used in moderation; and that it is better than good to i become free of passion, and virtuous by assimilation to the divine. But in the case of external things, agreeable or disagreeable, from some they abstain, from others not. But in those things from which they abstain from disgust, they plainly find fault with the creature and the Creator; and though in appearance they walk faithfully, the opinion they maintain is impious. That command, "Thou shall not lust," needs neither the necessity arising from fear, which compels to keep from things that are pleasant; nor the reward, which by promise persuades to restrain the impulses of passion.
And those who obey God through the promise, caught by the bait of pleasure, choose obedience not for the sake of the commandment, but for the sake of the promise. Nor will turning away from objects of sense, as a matter of necessary consequence, produce attachment to intellectual objects. On the contrary, the attachment to intellectual objects naturally becomes to the Gnostic an influence which draws away from the objects of sense; inasmuch as he, in virtue of the selection of what is good, has chosen what is good according to knowledge (gnwstikw^s), admiring generation, and by sanctifying the Creator sanctifying assimilation to the divine. But I shall free myself from lust, let him say, O Lord, for the sake of alliance with Thee. For the economy of creation is good, and all things are well administered: nothing happens without a cause. I must be in what is Thine, O Omnipotent One. And if I am there, I am near Thee. And I would be free of fear that I may be able to draw near to Thee, and to be satisfied with little, practising Thy just choice between things good and things like.
Right mystically and sacredly the apostle, teaching us the choice which is truly gracious, not in the way of rejection of other things as bad, but so as to do things better than what is good, has spoken, saying, "So he that giveth his virgin in marriage doeth well; and he that giveth her not doeth better; as far as respects seemliness and undistracted attendance on the Lord."
Now we know that things which are difficult are not essential; but that things which are essential have been graciously made easy of attainment by God. Wherefore Democritus well says, that "nature and instruction" are like each other. And we have briefly assigned the cause. For instruction harmonizes man, and by harmonizing makes him natural; and it is no matter whether one was made such as he is by nature, or transformed by time and education. The Lord has furnished both; that which is by creation, and that which is by creating again and renewal through the covenant. And that is preferable which is advantageous to what is superior; but what is superior to everything is mind. So, then, what is really good is seen to be most pleasant, and of itself produces the fruit which is desired--tranquillity of soul. "And he who hears Me," it is said, "shall rest in peace, confident, and shall be calm without fear of any evil." "Rely with all thy heart and thy mind on God."
On this wise it is possible for the Gnostic already to have become God. "I said, Ye are gods, and sons of the highest." And Empedocles says that the souls of the wise become gods, writing as follows:--
"At last prophets, minstrels, and physicians, And the foremost among mortal men, approach; Whence spring gods supreme in honours."
Man, then, genetically considered, is formed in accordance with the idea of the connate spirit. For he is not created formless and shapeless in the workshop of nature, where mystically the production of man is accomplished, both art and essence being common. But the individual man is stamped according to the impression produced in the soul by the objects of his choice. Thus we say that Adam was perfect, as far as respects his formation; for none of the distinctive characteristics of the idea and form of man were wanting to him; but in the act of coming into being he received perfection. And he was justified by obedience; this was reaching manhood, as far as depended on him. And the cause lay in his choosing, and especially in his choosing what was forbidden. God was not the cause.
For production is twofold--of things procreated, and of things that grow. And manliness in man, who is subject to perturbation, as they say, makes him who partakes of it essentially fearless and invincible; and anger is the mind's satellite in patience, and endurance, and the like; and self- constraint and salutary sense are set over desire. But God is impassible, free of anger, destitute of desire. And He is not free of fear, in the sense of avoiding what is terrible; or temperate, in the sense of having command of desires. For neither can the nature of God fall in with anything terrible, nor does God flee fear; just as He will not feel desire, so as to rule over desires. Accordingly that Pythagorean saying was mystically uttered respecting us, "that man ought to become one;" for the high priest himself is one, God being one in the immutable state of the perpetual flow or good things. Now the Saviour has taken away wrath in and with lust, wrath being lust of vengeance. For universally liability to feeling belongs to every kind of desire; and man, when deified purely into a passionless state, becomes a unit. As, then, those, who at sea are held by an anchor, pull at the anchor, but do not drag it to them, but drag themselves to the anchor; so those who, according to the gnostic life, draw God towards them, imperceptibly bring themselves to God: for he who reverences God, reverences himself. In the contemplative life, then, one in worshipping God attends to himself, and through his own spotless purification beholds the holy God holily; for self-control, being present, surveying and contemplating itself uninterruptedly, is as far as possible assimilated to God.
CHAP. XXIV.--THE REASON AND END OF DIVINE PUNISHMENTS.
Now that is in our power, of which equally with its opposite we are masters,--as, say to philosophize or not, to believe or disbelieve. In consequence, then, of our being equally masters of each of the opposites, what depends on us is found possible. Now the commandments may be done or not done by us, who, as is reasonable, are liable to praise and blame. And those, again, who are punished on account of sins committed by them, are punished for them alone; for what is done is past, and what is done can never be undone. The sins committed before faith are accordingly forgiven by the Lord, not that they may be undone, but as if they had not been done. "But not all," says Basilides, "but only sins involuntary and in ignorance, are forgiven;" as would be the case were it a man, and not God, that conferred such a boon. To such an one Scripture says, "Thou thoughtest that I would be like thee." But if we are punished for voluntary sins, we are punished not that the sins which are done may be undone, but because they were done. But punishment does not avail to him who has sinned, to undo his sin, but that he may sin no more, and that no one else fall into the like. Therefore the good God corrects for these three causes: First, that he who is corrected may become better than his former self; then that those who are capable of being saved by examples may be driven back, being admonished; and thirdly, that he who is injured may not be readily despised, and be apt to receive injury. And there are two methods of correction--the instructive and the punitive, which we have called the disciplinary. It ought to be known, then, that those who fall into sin after baptism are those who are subjected to discipline; for the deeds done before are remitted, and those done after are purged. It is in reference to the unbelieving that it is said, "that they are reckoned as the chaff which the wind drives from the face of the earth, and the drop which falls from a vessel."
CHAP. XXV.--TRUE PERFECTION CONSISTS IN THE KNOWLEDGE AND LOVE OF GOD.
"Happy he who possesses the culture of knowledge, and is not moved to the injury of the citizens or to wrong actions, but contemplates the undecaying order of immortal nature, how and in what way and manner it subsists. To such the practice of base deeds attaches not," Rightly, then, Plato says, "that the man who devotes himself to the contemplation of ideas will live as a god among men; now the mind is the place of ideas, and God is mind." He says that be who contemplates the unseen God lives as a god among men. And in the Sophist, Socrates calls the stranger of Elea, who was a dialectician, "god:" "Such are the gods who, like stranger guests, frequent cities. For when the soul, rising above the sphere of generation, is by itself apart, and dwells amidst ideas," like the Coryphaeus in Theaetetus, now become as an angel, it will be with Christ, being rapt in contemplation, ever keeping in view the will of God; in reality
"Alone wise, while these flit like shadows."
"For the dead bury their dead." Whence Jeremiah says: "I will fill it with the earth-born dead whom mine anger has smitten."
God, then, being not a subject for demonstration, cannot be the object of science. But the Son is wisdom, and knowledge, and truth, and all else that has affinity thereto. He is also susceptible of demonstration and of description. And all the powers of the Spirit, becoming collectively one thing, terminate in the same point--that is, in the Son. But He is incapable of being declared, in respect of the idea of each one of His powers. And the Son is neither simply one thing as one thing, nor many things as parts, but one thing as all things; whence also He is all things. For He is the circle of all powers rolled and united into one unity. Wherefore the Word is called the Alpha and the Omega, of whom alone the end becomes beginning, and ends again at the original beginning without any break. Wherefore also to believe in Him, and by Him, is to become a unit, being indissolubly united in Him; and to disbelieve is to be separated, disjoined, divided.
"Wherefore thus saith the Lord, Every alien son is uncircumcised in heart, and uncircumcised in flesh" (that is, unclean in body and soul): "there shall not enter one of the strangers into the midst of the house of Israel, but the Lerites." He calls those that would not believe, but would disbelieve, strangers. Only those who live purely being true priests of God. Wherefore, of all the circumcised tribes, those anointed to be high priests, and kings, and prophets, were reckoned more holy. Whence He commands them not to touch dead bodies, or approach the dead; not that the body was polluted, but that sin and disobedience were incarnate, and embodied, and dead, and therefore abominable. It was only, then, when a father and mother, a son and daughter died, that the priest was allowed to enter, because these were related only by flesh and seed, to whom the priest was indebted for the immediate cause of his entrance into life. And they purify themselves seven days, the period in which Creation was consummated. For on the seventh day the rest is celebrated; and on the eighth he brings a propitiation, as is written in Ezekiel, according to which propitiation the promise is to be received. And the perfect propitiation, I take it, is that propitious faith in the Gospel which is by the law and the prophets, and the purity which shows itself in universal obedience, with the abandonment of the things of the world; in order to that grateful surrender of the tabernacle, which results from the enjoyment of the soul. Whether, then, the time be that which through the seven periods enumerated returns to the chiefest rest, or the seven heavens, which some reckon one above the other; or whether also the fixed sphere which borders on the intellectual world be called the eighth, the expression denotes that the Gnostic ought to rise out of the sphere of creation and of sin. After these seven days, sacrifices are offered for sins. For there is still fear of change, and it touches the seventh circle. The righteous Job says: "Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return there;" not naked of possessions, for that were a trivial and common thing; but, as a just man, he departs naked of evil and sin, and of the unsightly shape which follows those who have led bad lives. For this was what was said, "Unless ye be converted, and become as children," pure in flesh, holy in soul by abstinence from evil deeds; showing that He would have us to be such as also He generated us from our mother--the water. For the intent of one generation succeeding another is to immortalize by progress. "But the lamp of the wicked shall be put out." That purity in body and soul which the Gnostic partakes of, the all-wise Moses indicated, by employing repetition in describing the incorruptibility of body and of soul in the person of Rebecca, thus: "Now the virgin was fair, and man had not known her." And Rebecca, interpreted, means "glory of God;" and the glory of God is immortality. This is in reality righteousness, not to desire other things, but to be entirely the consecrated temple of the Lord. Righteousness is peace of life and a well- conditioned state, to which the Lord dismissed her when He said, "Depart into peace." For Salem is, by interpretation, peace; of which our Saviour is enrolled King, as Moses says, Melchizedek king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who gave bread and wine, furnishing consecrated food for a type of the Eucharist. And Melchizedek is interpreted "righteous king;" and the name is a synonym for righteousness and peace. Basilides however, supposes that Righteousness and her daughter Peace dwell stationed in the eighth sphere.
But we must pass from physics to ethics, which are clearer; for the discourse concerning these will follow after the treatise in hand. The Saviour Himself, then, plainly initiates us into the mysteries, according to the words of the tragedy:--
"Seeing those who see, he also gives the orgies."
And if you ask,
"These orgies, what is their nature ?"
You will hear again:--
"It is forbidden to mortals uninitiated in the Bacchic rites to know."
And if any one will inquire curiously what they are, let him hear:--
"It is not lawful for thee to hear, but they are worth knowing; The rites of the God detest him who practises impiety."
Now God, who is without beginning, is the perfect beginning of the universe, and the producer of the beginning. As, then, He is being, He is the first principle of the department of action, as He is good, of morals; as He is mind, on the other hand, He is the first principle of reasoning and of judgment. Whence also He alone is Teacher, who is the only Son of the Most High Father, the Instructor of men.
CHAP. XXVI.--HOW THE PERFECT MAN TREATS THE BODY AND THE THINGS OF THE WORLD.
Those, then, who run down created existence and vilify the body are wrong; not considering that the frame of man was formed erect for the contemplation of heaven, and that the organization of the senses tends to knowledge; and that the members and parts are arranged for good, not for pleasure. Whence this abode becomes receptive of the soul which is most precious to God; and is dignified with the Holy Spirit through the sanctification of soul and body, perfected with the perfection of the Saviour. And the succession of the three virtues is found in the Gnostic, who morally, physically, and logically occupies himself with God. For wisdom is the knowledge of things divine and human; and righteousness is the concord of the parts of the soul; and holiness is the service of God. But if one were to say that he disparaged the flesh, and generation on account of it, by quoting Isaiah, who says, "All flesh is grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass: the grass is withered, and the flower has fallen; but the word of the Lord endureth for ever; " let him hear the Spirit interpreting the matter in question by Jeremiah, "And I scattered them like dry sticks, that are made to fly by the wind into the desert. This is the lot and portion of your disobedience, saith the Lord. As thou hast forgotten Me, and hast trusted in lies, so will I discover thy hinder parts to thy face; and thy disgrace shall be seen, thy adultery, and thy neighing," and so on. For "the flower of grass," and "walking after the flesh," and "being carnal," according to the apostle, are those who are in their sins. The soul of man is confessedly the better part of man, and the body the inferior. But neither is the soul good by nature, nor, on the other hand, is the body bad by nature. Nor is that which is not good straightway bad. For there are things which occupy a middle place, and among them are things to be preferred, and things to be rejected. The constitution of man, then, which has its place among things of sense, was necessarily composed of things diverse, but not opposite--body and soul.
Always therefore the good actions, as better, attach to the better and ruling spirit; and voluptuous and sinful actions are attributed to the worse, the sinful one.
Now the soul of the wise man and Gnostic, as sojourning in the body, conducts itself towards it gravely and respectfully, not with inordinate affections, as about to leave the tabernacle if the time of departure summon. "I am a stranger in the earth, and a sojourner with you," it is said. And hence Basilides says, that he apprehends that the election are strangers to the world, being supramundane by nature. But this is not the case. For all things are of one God. And no one is a stranger to the world by nature, their essence being one, and God one. But the elect man dwells as a sojourner, knowing all things to be possessed and disposed of; and he makes use of the things which the Pythagoreans make out to be the threefold good things. The body, too, as one sent on a distant pilgrimage, uses inns and dwellings by the way, having care of the things of the world, of the places where he halts; but leaving his dwelling-place and property without excessive emotion; readily following him that leads him away from life; by no means and on no occasion turning back; giving thanks for his sojourn, and blessing [God] for his departure, embracing the mansion that is in heaven "For we know, that, if the earthly house of our tabernacle be dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: if so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we walk by faith, not by sight," as the apostle says; "and we are willing rather to be absent from the body, and present with God." The rather is in comparison. And comparison obtains in the case of things that fall under resemblance; as the more valiant man is more valiant among the valiant, and most valiant among cowards. Whence he adds, "Wherefore we strive, whether present or absent, to be accepted with Him," that is, God, whose work and creation are all things, both the world and things supramundane. I admire Epicharmus, who clearly says:--
"Endowed with pious mind, you will not, in dying, Suffer aught evil. The spirit will dwell in heaven above;"
and the minstrel who sings:--
"The souls of the wicked flit about below the skies on earth, In murderous pains beneath inevitable yokes of evils; But those of the pious dwell in the heavens, Hymning in songs the Great, the Blessed One."
The soul is not then sent down from heaven to what is worse. For God works all things up to what is better. But the soul which has chosen the best life--the life that is from God and righteousness--exchanges earth for heaven. With reason therefore, Job, who had attained to knowledge, said, "Now I know that thou canst do all things; and nothing is impossible to Thee. For who tells me of what I know not, great and wonderful things with which I was unacquainted? And I felt myself vile, considering myself to be earth and ashes." For he who, being in a state of ignorance, is sinful, "is earth and ashes; "while he who is in a state of knowledge, being assimilated as far as possible to God, is already spiritual, and so elect. And that Scripture calls the senseless and disobedient "earth," will be made clear by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, in reference to Joachim and his brethren "Earth, earth, hear the word of the Lord; Write this man, as man excommunicated." And another prophet says again, "Hear, O heaven; and give ear, O earth," calling understanding "ear," and the soul of the Gnostic, that of the man who has applied himself to the contemplation of heaven and divine things, and in this way has become an Israelite, "heaven." For again he calls him who has made ignorance and hardness of heart his choice, "earth."And the expression" give ear" he derives from the "organs of hearing, the ears," attributing carnal things to those who cleave to the things of sense. Such are they of whom Micah the prophet says, "Hear the word of the Lord, ye peoples who dwell with pangs." And Abraham said, "By no means. The Lord is He who judgeth the earth; " "since he that believeth not, is," according to the utterance of the Saviour, "condemned already." And there is written in the Kings the judgment and sentence of the Lord, which stands thus: "The Lord hears the righteous, but the wicked He saveth not, because they do not desire to know God." For the Almighty will not accomplish what is absurd. What do the heresies say to this utterance, seeing Scripture proclaims the Almighty God to be good, and not the author of evil and wrong, if indeed ignorance arises from one not knowing? But God does nothing absurd. "For this God," it is said, "is our God, and there is none to save besides Him." "For there is no unrighteousness with God," according to the apostle. And clearly yet the prophet teaches the will of God, and the gnostic proficiency, in these words: "And now, Israel, what doth the Lord God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, and walk in all His ways, and love Him, and serve Him alone?" He asks of thee, who hast the power of choosing salvation. What is it, then, that the Pythagoreans mean when they bid us "pray with the voice"? As seems to me, not that they thought the Divinity could not hear those who speak silently, but because they wished prayers tO be right, which no one would be ashamed to make in the knowledge of many. We shall, however, treat of prayer in due course by and by. But we ought to have works that cry aloud, as becoming "those who walk in the day." "Let thy works shine," and behold a man and his works before his face. "For behold God and His works." For the gnostic must, as far as is possible, imitate God. And the poets call the elect in their pages godlike and gods, and equal to the gods, and equal in sagacity to Zeus, and having counsels like the gods, and resembling the gods,-- nibbling, as seems to me, at the expression, "in the image and likeness."
Euripides accordingly says, "Golden wings are round my back, and I am shod with the winged sandals of the Sirens; and I shall go aloft into the wide ether, to hold convene with Zeus."
But I shall pray the Spirit of Christ to wing me to my Jerusalem. For the Stoics say that heaven is properly a city, but places here on earth are not cities; for they are called so, but are not. For a city is an important thing, and the people a decorous body, and a multitude of men regulated by law as the church by the word--a city on earth impregnable--free from tyranny; a product of the divine will on earth as in heaven. Images of this city the poets create with their pen. For the Hyperboreans, and the Arimaspian cities, and the Elysian plains, are commonwealths of just men. And we know Plato's city placed as a pattern in heaven.
THE STROMATA, OR MISCELLANIES
CHAP. I.--ON FAITH
Of the Gnostic so much has been cursorily, as it were, written. We proceed now to the sequel, and must again contemplate faith; for there are some that draw the distinction, that faith has reference to the Son, and knowledge to the Spirit. But it has escaped their notice that, in order to believe truly in the Son, we must believe that He is the Son, and that He came, and how, and for what, and respecting His passion; and we must know who is the Son of God. Now neither is knowledge without faith, nor faith without knowledge. Nor is the Father without the Son; for the Son is with the Father. And the Son is the true teacher respecting the Father; and that we may believe in the Son, we must know the Father, with whom also is the Son. Again, in order that we may know the Father, we must believe in the Son, that it is the Son of God who teaches; for from faith to knowledge by the Son is the Father. And the knowledge of the Son and Father, which is according to the gnostic rule--that which in reality is gnostic--is the attainment and comprehension of the truth by the truth.
We, then, are those who are believers in what is not believed, and who are Gnostics as to what is unknown; that is, Gnostics as to what is unknown and disbelieved by all, but believed and known by a few; and Gnostics, not describing actions by speech, but Gnostics in the exercise of contemplation. Happy is he who speaks in! the ears of the hearing. Now faith is the ear of the soul. And such the Lord intimates faith to be, when He says, "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear;" so that by believing he may comprehend what He says, as He says it. Homer, too, the oldest of the poets, using the word "hear" instead of" perceive"--the specific for the generic term--writes:--
"Him most they heard."
For, in fine, the agreement and harmony of the faith of both contribute to one end--salvation. We have in the apostle an unerring witness: "For I desire to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, in order that ye may be strengthened; that is, that I may be comforted in you, by the mutual faith of you and me." And further on again he adds, "The righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith." The apostle, then, manifestly announces a twofold faith, or rather one which admits of growth and perfection; for the common faith lies beneath as a foundation. To those, therefore, who desire to be healed, and are moved by faith, He added, "Thy faith hath saved thee." But that which is excellently built upon is consummated in the believer, and is again perfected by the faith which results from instruction and the word, in order to the performance of the commandments. Such were the apostles, in whose case it is said that "faith removed mountains and transplanted trees." Whence, perceiving the greatness of its power, they asked "that faith might be added to them;" a faith which salutarily bites the soil "like a grain of mustard," and grows magnificently in it, to such a degree that the reasons of things sublime rest on it. For if one by nature knows God, as Basilides thinks, who calls intelligence of a superior order at once faith and kingship, and a creation worthy of the essence of the Creator; and explains that near Him exists not power, but essence and nature and substance; and says that faith is not the rational assent of the soul exercising free-will, but an undefined beauty, belonging immediately to the creature;--the precepts both of the Old and of the New Testament are, then, superfluous, if one is saved by nature, as Valentinus would have it, and is a believer and an elect man by nature, as Basilides thinks; and nature would have been able, one time or other, to have shone forth, apart from the Saviour's appearance. But were they to say that the visit of the Saviour was necessary, then the properties of nature are gone from them, the elect being saved by instruction, and purification, and the doing of good works. Abraham, accordingly, who through hearing believed the voice, which promised under the oak in Mamre," I will give this land to thee, and to thy seed," was either elect or not. But if he was not, how did he straightway believe, as it were naturally? And if he was elect, their hypothesis is done away with, inasmuch as even previous to the coming of the Lord an election was found, and that saved: "For it was reckoned to him for righteousness." For if any one, following Marcion, should dare to say that the Creator (<greek>Dhmiourgon</greek>) saved the man that believed on him, even before the advent of the Lord, (the' election being saved with their own proper salvation); the power of the good Being will be eclipsed; inasmuch as late only, and subsequent to the Creator spoken of by them in words of be good men, it made the attempt to save, and by instruction, and in imitation of him. But if, being such, the good Being save, according to them; neither is it his own that he saves, nor is it with the consent of him who formed the creation that he essays salvation, but by force or fraud. And how can he any more be good, acting thus, and being posterior? But if the locality is different, and the dwelling-place of the Omnipotent is remote from the dwelling-place of the good God; yet the will of him who saves, having been the first to begin, is not inferior to that of the good God. From what has been previously proved, those who believe not are proved senseless: "For their paths are perverted, and they know not peace," saith the prophet. "But foolish and unlearned questions" the divine Paul exhorted to "avoid, because they gender strifes." And Aeschylus exclaims:--
"In what profits not, labour not in vain."
For that investigation, which accords with faith, which builds, on the foundation of faith, the august knowledge of the truth, we know to be the best. Now we know that neither things which are clear are made subjects of investigation, such as if it is day, while it is day; nor things unknown, and never destined to become clear, as whether the stars are even or odd in number; nor things convertible; and those are so which can be said equally by those who take the opposite side, as if what is in the womb is a living creature or not. A fourth mode is, when, from either side of those, there is advanced an unanswerable and irrefragable argument. If, then, the ground of inquiry, according to all of these modes, is removed, faith is established. For we advance to them the unanswerable consideration, that it is God who speaks and comes to our help in writing, respecting each one of the points regarding which I investigate. Who, then, is so impious as to disbelieve God, and to demand proofs from God as from men? Again, some questions demand the evidence of the senses,  as if one were to ask whether the fire be warm, or the snow white; and some admonition and rebuke, as the question if you ought to honour your parents. And there are those that deserve punishment, as to ask proofs of the existence of Providence. There being then a Providence, it were impious to think that the whole of prophecy and the economy in reference to a Saviour did not take place in accordance with Providence. And perchance one should not even attempt to demonstrate such points, the divine Providence being evident from the sight of all its skilful and wise works which. are seen, some of which take place in order, and some appear in order. And He who communicated to us being and life, has communicated to us also reason, wishing us to live rationally and rightly. For the Word of the Father of the universe is not the uttered word (lo'gos prophoriko's), but the wisdom and most manifest kindness of God, and His power too, which is almighty and truly divine, and not incapable of being conceived by those who do not confess--the all-potent will. But since some are unbelieving, and some are disputations, all do not attain to the perfection of the good. For neither is it possible to attain it without the exercise of free choice; nor does the whole depend on our own purpose; as, for example, what is defined to happen. "For by grace we are saved:" not, indeed, without good works; but we must, by being formed for what is good, acquire an inclination for it. And we must possess the healthy mind which is fixed on the pursuit of the good; in order to which we have the greatest need of divine grace, and of right teaching, and of holy susceptibility, and of the drawing of the Father to Him. For, bound in this earthly body, we apprehend the objects of sense by means of the body; but we grasp intellectual objects by means of the logical faculty itself. But if one expect to apprehend all things by the senses, he has fallen far from the truth. Spiritually, therefore, the apostle writes respecting the knowledge of God, "For now we see as through a glass, but then face to face." For the vision of the truth is given but to few. Accordingly, Plato says in the Epinomis, "I do not say that it is possible for all to be blessed and happy; only a few. Whilst we live, I pronounce this to be the case. But there is a good hope that after death I shall attain all." To the same effect is what we find in Moses: "No man shall see My face, and live." For it is evident that no one during the period of life has been able to apprehend God clearly. But" the pure in heart shall see God," when they arrive at the final perfection. For since the soul became too enfeebled for the apprehension of realities, we needed a divine teacher. The Saviour is sent down--a teacher and leader in the acquisition of the good--the secret and sacred token of the great Providence. "Where, then, is the scribe? where is the searcher of this world? Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?" it is said. And again, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent," plainly of those wise in their own eyes, and disputatious. Excellently therefore Jeremiah says, "Thus saith the Lord, Stand in the ways, and ask for the eternal paths,"what is the good way, and walk in it, and ye shall find expiation for your souls." Ask, he says, and inquire of those who know, without contention and dispute. And on learning the way of truth, let us walk on the right way, without turning till we attain to what we desire: It was therefore with reason that the king of the Romans (his name was Numa), being a Pythagorean, first of all men, erected a temple to Faith and Peace. "And to Abraham, on believing, righteousness was reckoned." He, prosecuting the lofty philosophy of aerial phenomena, and the sublime philosophy of the movements in the heavens, was called Abram, which is interpreted "sublime father." But afterwards, on looking up to heaven, whether it was that he saw the Son in the spirit, as some explain, or a glorious angel, or in any other way recognised God to be superior to the creation, and all the order in it, he receives in addition the Alpha, the knowledge of the one and only God, and is called Abraam, having, instead of a natural philosopher, become wise, and a lover of God. For it is interpreted, "elect father of sound." For by sound is the uttered word: the mind is its father; and the mind of the good man is elect. I cannot forbear praising exceedingly the poet of Agrigentum, who celebrates faith as follows:--
"Friends, I know, then, that there is truth in the myths Which I will relate. But very difficult to men, And irksome to the mind, is the attempt of faith."
Wherefore also the apostle exhorts, "that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men," who profess to persuade, "but in the power of God," which alone without proofs, by mere faith, is able to save. "For the most approved of those that are reputable knows how to keep watch. And justice will apprehend the forger and witnesses of lies," says the Ephesian. For he, having derived his knowledge from the barbarian philosophy, is acquainted with the purification by fire of those who have led bad lives, which the Stoics afterwards called the Conflagration (ekpu'rwsis), in which also they teach that each will arise exactly as he was, so treating of the resurrection; while Plato says as follows, that the earth at certain periods is purified by fire and water: "There have been many destructions of men in many ways; and there shall be very great ones by fire and water; and others briefer by innumerable causes." And after a little he adds: "And, in truth, there is a change of the objects which revolve about earth and heaven; and in the course of long periods there is the destruction of the objects on earth by a great conflagration." Then he subjoins respecting the deluge: "But when, again, the gods deluge the earth to purify it with water, those on the mountains herdsmen and shepherds, are saved; those in your cities are carried down by the rivers into the sea." And we showed in the first Miscellany that the philosophers of the Greeks are called thieves, inasmuch as they have taken without acknowledgment their principal dogmas from Moses and the prophets. To which also we shall add, that the angels who had obtained the superior rank, having sunk into pleasures, told to the women the secrets which had come to their knowledge; while the rest of the angels concealed them, or rather, kept them against the coming of the Lord. Thence emanated the doctrine of providence, and the revelation of high things; and prophecy having already been imparted to the philosophers of the Greeks, the treatment of dogma arose among the philosophers, sometimes true when they hit the mark, and sometimes erroneous, when they comprehended not the secret of the prophetic allegory. And this it is proposed briefly to indicate in running over the points requiring mention. Faith, then, we say, we are to show must not be inert and alone, but accompanied with investigation. For I do not say that we are not to inquire at all. For "Search, and thou shalt find," it is said.
"What is sought may be captured, But what is neglected escapes,"
according to Sophocles.
The like also says Menander the comic poet:--
"All things sought, The wisest say, need anxious thought.
But we ought to direct the visual faculty of the soul aright to discovery, and to clear away obstacles; and to cast clean away contention, and envy, and strife, destined to perish miserably from among men.
For very beautifully does Timon of Phlius write:--
"And Strife, the Plague of Mortals, stalks vainly shrieking, The sister of Murderous Quarrel and Discord, Which rolls blindly over all things. But then It sets its head towards men, and casts them on hope."
Then a little below he adds:--
"For who hath set these to fight in deadly strife? A rabble keeping pace with Echo; for, enraged at those silent, It raised an evil disease against men, and many perished;"
Of the speech which denies what is false, and of the dilemma, of that which is concealed, of the Sorites, and of the Crocodilean, of that which is open, and of ambiguities and sophisms. To inquire, then, respecting God, if it tend not to strife, but to discovery, is salutary. For it is written in David, "The poor eat, and shall be filled; and they shall praise the Lord that seek Him. Your heart shall live for ever." For they who seek Him after the true search, praising the Lord, shall be filled with the gift that comes from God, that is, knowledge. And their soul shall live; for the soul is figuratively termed the heart, which ministers life: for by the Son is the Father known.
We ought not to surrender our ears to all who speak and write rashly. For cups also, which are taken hold of by many by the ears, are dirtied, and lose the ears; and besides, when they fall they are broken. In the same way also, those, who have polluted the pure hearing of faith by many trifles, at last becoming deaf to the truth, become useless and fall to the earth. It is not, then, without reason that we commanded boys to kiss their relations, holding them by the ears; indicating this, that the feeling of love is engendered by hearing. And "God," who is known to those who love, "is love," as "God," who by instruction is communicated to the faithful, "is faithful; " and we must be allied to Him by divine love: so that by like we may see like, hearing the word of truth guilelessly and purely, as children who obey us. And this was what he, whoever he was, indicated who wrote on the entrance to the temple at Epidaurus the inscription:--
"Pure he must be who goes within The incense-perfumed fane."
And purity is "to think holy thoughts." "Except ye become as these little children, ye shall not enter," it is said, "into the kingdom of heaven." For there the temple of God is seen established on three foundations-- faith, hope, and love.
CHAP. II.--ON HOPE.
Respecting faith we have adduced sufficient testimonies of writings among the Greeks. But in order not to exceed bounds, through eagerness to collect a very great many also respecting hope and love, suffice it merely to say that in the Crito Socrates, who prefers a good life and death to life itself, thinks that we have hope of another life after death.
Also in the Phaedrus he says, "That only when in a separate state can the soul become partaker of the wisdom which is true, and surpasses human power; and when, having reached the end of hope by philosophic love, desire shall waft it to heaven, then," says he, "does it receive the commencement of another, an immortal life." And in the Symposium he says, "That there is instilled into all the natural love of generating what is like, and in men of generating men alone, and in the good man of the generation of the counterpart of himself. But it is impossible for the good man to do this without possessing the perfect virtues, in which he will train the youth who have recourse to him." And as he says in the Theaetetus, "He will beget and finish men. For some procreate by the body, others by the soul;" since also with the barbarian philosophers to teach and enlighten is called to regenerate; and "I have begotten you in Jesus Christ," says the good apostle somewhere.
Empedocles, too, enumerates friendship among the elements, conceiving it as a combining love:--
"Which do you look at with your mind; and don't sit gaping with your eyes."
Parmenides, too, in his poem, alluding to hope, speaks thus:--
"Yet look with the mind certainly on what is absent as present, For it will not sever that which is from the grasp it has of that which is Not, even if scattered in every direction over the world or combined."
CHAP. III.--THE OBJECTS OF FAITH AND HOPE PERCEIVED BY THE MIND ALONE.
For he who hopes, as he who believes, sees intellectual objects and future things with the mind. If, then, we affirm that aught is just, and affirm it to be good, and we also say that truth is something, yet we have never seen any of such objects with our eyes, but with our mind alone. Now the Word of God says, "I am the truth." The Word is then to be contemplated by the mind. "Do you aver," it was said, "that there are any true philosophers?" "Yes," said I, "those who love to contemplate the truth." In the Phaedrus also, Plato, speaking of the truth, shows it as an idea. Now an idea is a conception of God; and this the barbarians have termed the Word of God. The words are as follow: "For one must then dare to speak the truth, especially in speaking of the truth. For the essence of the soul, being colourless, formless, and intangible, is visible only to God, its guide." Now the Word issuing forth was the cause of creation; then also he generated himself, "when the Word had become flesh," that He might be seen. The righteous man will seek the discovery that flows from love, to which if he haste he prospers. For it is said, "To him that knocketh, it shall be opened: ask, and it shall be given to you." "For the violent that storm the kingdom " are not so in disputations speeches; but by continuance in a right life and unceasing prayers, are said "to take it by force," wiping away the blots left by their previous sins.
"You may obtain wickedness, even in great abundance? And him who toils God helps; For the gifts of the Muses, hard to win, Lie not before you, for any one to bear away."
The knowledge of ignorance is, then, the first lesson in walking according to the Word. An ignorant man has sought, and having sought, he finds the teacher; and finding has believed, and believing has hoped; and henceforward having loved, is assimilated to what was loved--en-deavouring to be what he first loved. Such is the method Socrates shows Alcibiades, who thus questions: "Do you not think that I shall know about what is right otherwise?" "Yes, if you have found out." "But you don't think I have found out?" "Certainly, if you have sought." "Then you don't think that I have sought?" "Yes, if you think you do not know." So with the lamps of the wise virgins, lighted at night in the great darkness of ignorance, which the Scripture signified by "night." Wise souls, pure as virgins, understanding themselves to be situated amidst the ignorance of the world, kindle the light, and rouse the mind, and illumine the darkness, and dispel ignorance, and seek truth, and await the appearance of the Teacher.
"The mob, then," said I, "cannot become a philosopher."
"Many rod-bearers there are, but few Bacchi," according to Plato. "For many are called, but few chosen." "Knowledge is not in all," says the apostle. "And pray that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith." And the Poetics of Cleanthes, the Stoic, writes to the following effect:--
"Look not to glory, wishing to be suddenly wise, And fear not the undiscerning and rash opinon of the many; For the multitude has not an intelligent, or wise, or right judgment, And it is in few men that you will find this."
And more sententiously the comic poet briefly says:--
"It is a shame to judge of what is right by much noise."
For they heard, I think, that excellent wisdom, which says to us, "Watch your opportunity in the midst of the foolish, and in the midst of the intelligent continue." And again, "The wise will conceal sense." For the many demand demonstration as a pledge of truth, not satisfied with the bare salvation by faith.
"But it is strongly incumbent to disbelieve the dominant wicked, And as is enjoined by the assurance of our muse, Know by dissecting the utterance within your breast."
"For this is habitual to the wicked," says Empedocles, "to wish to overbear what is true by disbelieving it." And that our tenets are probable and worthy of belief, the Greeks shall know, the point being more thoroughly investigated in what follows. For we are taught what is like by what is like. For says Solomon, "Answer a fool according to his folly." Wherefore also, to those that ask the wisdom that is with us, we are to hold out things suitable, that with the greatest possible ease they may, through their own ideas, be likely to arrive at faith in the truth. For "I became all things to all men, that I might gain all men." Since also "the rain" of the divine grace is sent down "on the just and the unjust." "Is He the God of the Jews only, and not also of the Gentiles? Yes, also of the Gentiles: if indeed He is one God," exclaims the noble apostle.
CHAP. IV.--DIVINE THINGS WRAPPED UP IN FIGURES BOTH IN THE SACRED AND IN HEATHEN WRITERS.
But since they will believe neither in what is good justly nor in knowledge unto salvation, we ourselves reckoning what they claim as belonging to us, because all things are God's; and especially since what is good proceeded from us to the Greeks, let us handle those things as they are capable of hearing. For intelligence or rectitude this great crowd estimates not by truth, but by what they are delighted with. And they will be pleased not more with other things than with what is like themselves. For he who is still blind and dumb, not having understanding, or the undazzled and keen vision of the contemplative soul, which the Saviour confers, like the uninitiated at the mysteries, or the unmusical at dances, not being yet pure and worthy of the pure truth, but still discordant and disordered and material, must stand outside of the divine choir. "For we compare spiritual things with spiritual." Wherefore, in accordance with the method of concealment, the truly sacred Word truly divine and most necessary for us, deposited in the shrine of truth, was by the Egyptians indicated by what were called among them adyta, and by the Hebrews by the veil. Only the consecrated--that is, those devoted to God, circumcised in the desire of the passions for the sake of love to that which is alone divine--were allowed access to them. For Plato also thought it not lawful for "the impure to touch the pure."
Thence the prophecies and oracles are spoken in enigmas, and the mysteries are not exhibited incontinently to all and sundry, but only after certain purifications and previous instructions.
"For the Muse was not then Greedy of gain or mercenary; Nor were Terpsichore's sweet, Honey-toned, silvery soft-voiced Strains made merchandise of."
Now those instructed among the Egyptians learned first of all that style of the Egyptian letters which is called Epistolographic; and second, the Hieratic, which the sacred scribes practise; and finally, and last of all, the Hieroglyphic, of which one kind which is by the first elements is literal (Kyriologic), and the other Symbolic. Of the Symbolic, one kind speaks literally by imitation, and another writes as it were figuratively; and another is quite allegorical, using certain enigmas.
Wishing to express Sun in writing, they make a circle; and Moon, a figure like the Moon, like its proper shape. But in using the figurative style, by transposing and transferring, by changing and by transforming in many ways as suits them, they draw characters. In relating the praises of the kings in theological myths, they write in anaglyphs. Let the following stand as a specimen of the third species--the Enigmatic. For the rest of the stars, on account of their oblique course, they have figured like the bodies of serpents; but the sun, like that of a beetle, because it makes a round figure of ox-dung, and rolls it before its face. And they say that this creature lives six months under ground, and the other division of the year above ground, and emits its seed into the ball, and brings forth; and that there is not a female beetle. All then, in a word, who have spoken of divine things, both Barbarians and Greeks, have veiled the first principles of things, and delivered the truth in enigmas, and symbols, and allegories, and metaphors, and such like tropes. Such also are the oracles among the Greeks. And the Pythian Apollo is called Loxias. Also the maxims of those among the Greeks called wise men, in a few sayings indicate the unfolding of matter of considerable importance. Such certainly is that maxim, "Spare Time:" either because life is short, and we ought not to expend this time in vain; or, on the other hand, it bids you spare your personal expenses; so that, though you live many years, necessaries may not fail you. Similarly also the maxim "Know thyself" shows many things; both that thou art mortal, and that thou wast born a human being; and also that, in comparison with the other excellences of life, thou art of no account, because thou sayest that thou art rich or renowned; or, on the other hand, that, being rich or renowned, you are not honoured on account of your advantages alone. And it says, Know for what thou wert born, and whose image thou art; and what is thy essence, and what thy creation, and what thy relation to God, and the like. And the Spirit says by Isaiah the prophet, "I will give thee treasures, hidden, dark." Now wisdom, hard to hunt, is the treasures of God and unfailing riches. But those, taught in theology by those prophets, the poets, philosophize much by way of a hidden sense. I mean Orpheus, Linus, Musaeus, Homer, and Hesiod, and those in this fashion wise. The persuasive style of poetry is for them a veil for the many. Dreams and signs are all more or less obscure to men, not from jealousy (for it were wrong to conceive of God as subject to passions), but in order that research, introducing to the understanding of enigmas, may haste to the discovery of truth. Thus Sophocles the tragic poet somewhere says:--
"And God I know to be such an one, Ever the revealer of enigmas to the wise, But to the perverse bad, although a teacher in few words,"--
putting bad instead of simple. Expressly then respecting all our Scripture, as if spoken in a parable, it is written in the Psalms, "Hear, O My people, My law: incline your ear to the words of My mouth. I will open My mouth in parables, I will utter My problems from the beginning." Similarly speaks the noble apostle to the following effect: "Howbeit we speak wisdom among those that are perfect; yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought. But we speak the wisdom of God hidden in a mystery; which none of the princes of this world knew. For had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory."
The philosophers did not exert themselves in contemning the appearance of the Lord. It therefore follows that it is the opinion of the wise among the Jews which the apostle inveighs against it. Wherefore he adds, "But we preach, as it is written, what eye hath not seen, and ear hath not heard, and hath not entered into the heart of man, what God hath prepared for them that love Him. For God hath revealed it to us by the Spirit. For the Spirit searcheth all things, even the deep things of God." For he recognises the spiritual man and the Gnostic as the disciple of the Holy Spirit dispensed by God, which is the mind of Christ. "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit, for they are foolishness to him." Now the apostle, in contradistinction to gnostic perfection, calls the common faith the foundation, and sometimes milk, writing on this wise: "Brethren, I could not speak to you as to spiritual, but as to carnal, to babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, not with meat: for ye were not able. Neither yet are ye now able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envy and strife, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? " Which things are the choice of those men who are sinners. But those who abstain from these things give their thoughts to divine things, and partake of gnostic food. "According to the grace," it is said, "given to me as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation. And another buildeth on it gold and silver, precious stones." Such is the gnostic superstructure on the foundation of faith in Christ Jesus. But "the stubble, and the wood, and the hay," are the additions of heresies. "But the fire shall try every man's work, of what sort it is." In allusion to the gnostic edifice also in the Epistle to the Romans, he says, "For I desire to see you, that I may impart unto you a spiritual gift, that ye may be established." It was impossible that gifts of this sort could be written without disguise.
CHAP. V.--ON THE SYMBOLS OF PYTHAGORAS.
Now the Pythagorean symbols were connected with the Barbarian philosophy in the most recondite way. For instance, the Samian counsels "not to have a swallow in the house ;" that is, not to receive a loquacious, whispering, garrulous man, who cannot contain what has been communicated to him. "For the swallow, and the turtle, and the sparrows of the field, know the times of their entrance," says the Scripture; and one ought never to dwell with trifles. And the turtle-dove murmuring shows the thankless slander of fault-finding, and is rightly expelled the house.
"Don't mutter against me, sitting by one in one place, another in another."
The swallow too, which suggests the fable of Pandion, seeing it is right to detest the incidents reported of it, some of which we hear Tereus suffered, and some of which he inflicted. It pursues also the musical grasshoppers, whence he who is a persecutor of the word ought to be driven away.
"By sceptre-bearing Here, whose eye surveys Olympus, I have a rusty closet for tongues,"
says Poetry. Aeschylus also says:--
"But, I, too, have a key as a guard on my tongue."
Again Pythagoras commanded, "When the pot is lifted off the fire, not to leave its mark in the ashes, but to scatter them;" and "people on getting up from bed, to shake the bed-clothes." For he intimated that it was necessary not only to efface the mark, but not to leave even a trace of anger; and that on its ceasing to boil, it was to be composed, and all memory of injury to be wiped out. "And let not the sun," says the Scripture, "go down upon your wrath." And he that said, "Thou shall not desire," took away all memory of wrong; for wrath is found to be the impulse of concupiscence in a mild soul, especially seeking irrational revenge. In the same way "the bed is ordered to be shaken up," so that there may be no recollection of effusion in sleep, or sleep in the day- time; nor, besides, of pleasure during the night. And he intimated that the vision of the dark ought to be dissipated speedily by the light of truth. "Be angry, and sin not," says David, teaching us that we ought not to assent to the impression, and not to follow it up by action, and so confirm wrath.
Again, "Don't sail on land" is a Pythagorean saw, and shows that taxes and similar contracts, being troublesome and fluctuating, ought to be declined. Wherefore also the Word says that the tax-gatherers shall be saved with difficulty.
And again, "Don't wear a ring, nor engrave on it the images of the gods," enjoins Pythagoras; as Moses ages before enacted expressly, that neither a graven, nor molten, nor moulded, nor painted likeness should be made; so that we may not cleave to things of sense, but pass to intellectual objects: for familiarity with the sight disparages the reverence of what is divine; and to worship that which is immaterial by matter, is to dishonour it by sense. Wherefore the wisest of the Egyptian priests decided that the temple of Athene should be hypaethral, just as the Hebrews constructed the temple without an image. And some, in worshipping God, make a representation of heaven containing the stars; and so worship, although Scripture says, "Let of Eurysus the Pythagorean, which is as follows, who in his book On Fortune, having said that the "Creator, on making man, took Himself as an exemplar," added, "And the body is like the other things, as being made of the same material, and fashioned by the best workman, who wrought it, taking Himself as the archetype." And, in fine, Pythagoras and his followers, with Plato also, and most of the other philosophers, were best acquainted with the Lawgiver, as may be concluded from their doctrine. And by a happy utterance of divination, not without divine help, concurring in certain prophetic declarations, and, seizing the truth in portions and aspects, in terms not obscure, and not going beyond the explanation of the things, they honoured it on as pertaining the appearance of relation with the truth. Whence the Hellenic philosophy is like the torch of wick which men kindle, artificially stealing the light from the sun. But on the proclamation of the Word all that holy light shone forth. Then in houses by night the stolen light is useful; but by day the fire blazes, and all the night is illuminated by such a sun of intellectual light.
Now Pythagoras made an epitome of the statements on righteousness in Moses, when he said, "Do not step over the balance;" that is, do not transgress equality in distribution, honouring justice so.
"Which friends to friends for ever, binds, To cities, cities--to allies, allies, For equality is what is right for men; But less to greater ever hostile grows, And days of hate begin,"
as is said with poetic grace.
Wherefore the Lord says, "Take My yoke, for it is gentle and light." And on the disciples, striving for the pre-eminence, He enjoins equality with simplicity, saying "that they must become as little children." Likewise also the apostle writes, that "no one in Christ is bond or free, or Greek or Jew. For the creation in Christ Jesus is new, is equality, free of strife--not grasping--just." For envy, and jealousy, and bitterness, stand without the divine choir.
Thus also those skilled in the mysteries forbid "to eat the heart;" teaching that we ought not to gnaw and consume the soul by idleness and by vexation, on account of things which happen against one's wishes. Wretched, accordingly, was the man whom Homer also says, wandering alone, "ate his own heart." But again, seeing the Gospel supposes two ways--the apostles, too, similarly with all the prophets--and seeing they call that one "narrow and confined" which is circumscribed according to the commandments and prohibitions, and the opposite one, which leads to perdition, "broad and roomy," open to pleasures and wrath, and say, "Blessed is the man who walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, and standeth not in the way of sinners." Hence also comes the fable of Prodicus of Ceus about Virtue and Vice. And Pythagoras shrinks not from prohibiting to walk on the public thoroughfares, enjoining the necessity of not following the sentiments of the many, which are crude and inconsistent. And Aristocritus, in the first book of his Positions against Heracliodorus, mentions a letter to this effect: "Atoeeas king of the Scythians to the people of Byzantium: Do not impair my revenues in case my mares drink your water;" for the Barbarian indicated symbolically that he would make war on them. Likewise also the poet Euphorion introduces Nestor saying,--
"We have not yet wet the Achaean steeds in Simois." Therefore also the Egyptians place Sphinxes before their temples, to signify that the doctrine respecting God is enigmatical and obscure; perhaps also that we ought both to love and fear the Divine Being: to love Him as gentle and benign to the pious; to fear Him as inexorably just to the impious; for the sphinx shows the image of a wild beast and of a man together.
CHAP. VI.--THE MYSTIC MEANING OF THE TABERNACLE AND ITS FURNITURE.
It were tedious to go over all the Prophets and the Law, specifying what is spoken in enigmas; for almost the whole Scripture gives its utterances in this way. It may suffice, I think, for any one possessed of intelligence, for the proof of the point in hand, to select a few examples.
Now concealment is evinced in the reference of the seven circuits around the temple, which are made mention of among the Hebrews; and the equipment on the robe, indicating by the various symbols, which had reference to visible objects, the agreement which from heaven reaches down to earth. And the covering and the veil were variegated with blue, and purple, and scarlet, and linen. And so it was suggested that the nature of the elements contained the revelation of God. For purple is from water, linen from the earth; blue, being dark, is like the air, as scarlet is like fire.
In the midst of the covering and veil, where the priests were allowed to enter, was situated the altar of incense, the symbol of the earth placed in the middle of this universe; and from it came the fumes of incense. And that place intermediate between the inner veil, where the high priest alone, on prescribed days, was permitted to enter, and the external court which surrounded it--free to all the Hebrews--was, they say, the middlemost point of heaven and earth. But others say it was the symbol of the intellectual world, and that of sense. The coveting, then, the barrier of popular unbelief, was stretched in front of the five pillars, keeping back those in the surrounding space.
So very mystically the five loaves are broken by the Saviour, and fill the crowd of the listeners. For great is the crowd that keep to the things of sense, as if they were the only things in existence. "Cast your eyes round, and see," says Plato, "that none of the uninitiated listen." Such are they who think that nothing else exists, but what they can hold tight with their hands; but do not admit as in the department of existence, actions and processes of generation, and the whole of the unseen. For such are those who keep by the five senses. But the knowledge of God is a thing inaccessible to the ears and like organs of this kind of people. Hence the Son is said to be the Father's face, being the revealer of the Father's character to the five senses by clothing Himself with flesh. "But if we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit." "For we walk by faith, not by sight," the noble apostle says. Within the veil, then, is concealed the sacerdotal service; and it keeps those engaged in it far from those without.
Again, there is the veil of the entrance into the holy of holies. Four pillars there are, the sign of the sacred tetrad of the ancient covenants. Further, the mystic name of four letters which was affixed to those alone to whom the adytum was accessible, is called Jave, which is interpreted, "Who is and shall be." The name of God, too, among the Greeks contains four letters.
Now the Lord, having come alone into the intellectual world, enters by His sufferings, introduced into the knowledge of the Ineffable, ascending above every name which is known by sound. The lamp, too, was placed to the south of the altar of incense; and by it were shown the motions of the seven planets, that perform their revolutions towards the south. For three branches rose on either side of the tamp, and lights on them; since also the sun, like the lamp, set in the midst of all the planets, dispenses with a kind of divine music the light to those above and to those below.
The golden lamp conveys another enigma as a symbol of Christ, not in respect of form alone, but in his casting light, "at sundry times and divers manners," on those who believe on Him and hope, and who see by means of the ministry of the First-born. And they say that the seven eyes of the Lord "are the seven spirits resting on the rod that springs from the root of Jesse."
North of the altar of incense was placed a table, on which there was "the exhibition of the loaves;" for the most nourishing of the winds are those of the north. And thus are signified certain seats of churches conspiring so as to form one body and one assemblage.
And the things recorded of the sacred ark signify the properties of the world of thought, which is hidden and closed to the many.
And those golden figures, each of them with six wings, signify either the two bears, as some will have it, or rather the two hemispheres. And the name cherubim meant "much knowledge." But both together have twelve wings, and by the zodiac and time, which moves on it, point out the world of sense. It is of them, I think, that Tragedy, discoursing of Nature, says:- -
"Unwearied Time circles full in perennial flow, Producing itself. And the twin-bears On the swift wandering motions of their wings, Keep the Atlantean pole."
And Atlas, the unsuffering pole, may mean the fixed sphere, or better perhaps, motionless eternity. But I think it better to regard the ark, so called from the Hebrew word Thebotha, as signifying something else. It is interpreted, one instead of one in all places. Whether, then, it is the eighth region and the world of thought, or God, all-embracing, and without shape, and invisible, that is indicated, we may for the present defer saying. But it signifies the repose which dwells with the adoring spirits, which are meant by the cherubim.
For He who prohibited the making of a graven image, would never Himself have made an image in the likeness of holy things. Nor is there at all any composite thing, and creature endowed with sensation, of the sort in heaven. But the face is a symbol of the rational soul, and the wings are the lofty ministers and energies of powers fight and left; and the voice is delightsome glory in ceaseless contemplation. Let it suffice that the mystic interpretation has advanced so far.
Now the high priest's robe is the symbol of the world of sense. The seven planets are represented by the five stones and the two carbuncles, for Saturn and the Moon. The former is southern, and moist, and earthy, and heavy; the latter aerial, whence she is called by some Artemis, as if Aerotomos (cutting the air); and the air is cloudy. And cooperating as they did in the production of things here below, those that by Divine Providence are set over the planets are rightly represented as placed on the breast and shoulders; and by them was the work of creation, the first week. And the breast is the seat of the heart and soul.
Differently, the stones might be the various phases of salvation; some occupying the upper, some the lower parts of the entire body saved. The three hundred and sixty bells, suspended from the robe, is the space of a year, "the acceptable year of the Lord," proclaiming and resounding the stupendous manifestation of the Saviour. Further, the broad gold mitre indicates the regal power of the Lord, "since the Head of the Church" is the Savour. The mitre that is on it[i.e., the head] is, then, a sign of most princely rule; and otherwise we have heard it said, "The Head of Christ is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." Moreover, there was the breastplate, comprising the ephod, which is the symbol of work, and the oracle logi'on; and this indicated the Word lo'gos by which it was framed, and is the symbol of heaven, made by the Word, and subjected to Christ, the Head of all things, inasmuch as it moves in the same way, and in a like manner. The luminous emerald stones, therefore, in the ephod, signify the sun and moon, the helpers of nature. The shoulder, I take it, is the commencement of the hand.
The twelve stones, set in four rows on the breast, describe for us the circle of the zodiac, in the four changes of the year. It was otherwise requisite that the law and the prophets should be placed beneath the Lord's head, because in both Testaments mention is made of the righteous. For were we to say that the apostles were at once prophets and righteous, we should say well, "since one and the self-same Holy Spirit works in all." And as the Lord is above the whole world, yea, above the world of thought, so the name engraven on the plate has been regarded to signify, above all rule and authority; and it was inscribed with reference both to the written commandments and the manifestation to sense. And it is the name of God that is expressed; since, as the Son sees the goodness of the Father, God the Saviour works, being called the first principle of all things, which was imaged forth from the invisible God first, and before the ages, and which fashioned all things which came into being after itself. Nay more, the oracles exhibits the prophecy which by the Word cries and preaches, and the judgment that is to come; since it is the same Word which prophesies, and judges, and discriminates all things.
And they say that the robe prophesied the ministry in the flesh, by which He was seen in closer relation to the world. So the high priest, putting off his consecrated robe (the universe, and the creation in the universe, were consecrated by Him assenting that, what was made, was good), washes himself, and puts on the other tunic--a holy-of holies one, so to speak--which is to accompany him into the adytum; exhibiting, as seems to me, the Levite and Gnostic, as the chief of other priests (those bathed in water, and clothed in faith alone, and expecting their own individual abode), himself distinguishing the objects of the intellect from the things of sense, rising above other priests, hasting to the entrance to the world of ideas, to wash himself from the things here below, not in water, as formerly one was cleansed on being enrolled in the tribe of Levi. But purified already by the gnostic Word in his whole heart, and thoroughly regulated, and having improved that mode of life received from the priest to the highest pitch, being quite sanctified both in word and life, and having put on the bright array of glory, and received the ineffable inheritance of that spiritual and perfect man, "which eye hath not seen and ear hath not heard, and it hath not entered into the heart of man;" and having become son and friend, he is now replenished with insatiable contemplation face to face. For there is nothing like hearing the Word Himself, who by means of the Scripture inspires fuller intelligence. For so it is said, "And he shall put off the linen robe, which he had put on when he entered into the holy place; and shall lay it aside there, and wash his body in water in the holy place, and put on his robe." But in one way, as I think, the Lord puts off and puts on by descending into the region of sense; and in another, he who through Him has believed puts off and puts on, as the apostle intimated, the consecrated stole. Thence, after the image of the Lord. the worthiest were chosen from the sacred tribes to be high priests, and those elected to the kingly office and to prophecy were anointed.
CHAP. VII.--THE EGYPTIAN SYMBOLS AND ENIGMAS OF SACRED THINGS.
Whence also the Egyptians did not entrust the mysteries they possessed to all and sundry, and did not divulge the knowledge of divine things to the profane; but only to those destined to ascend the throne, and those of the priests that were judged the worthiest, from their nurture, culture, and birth. Similar, then, to the Hebrew enigmas in respect to concealment, are those of the Egyptians also. Of the Egyptians, some show the sun on a ship, others on a crocodile. And they signify hereby, that the sun, making a passage through the delicious and moist air, generates time; which is symbolized by the crocodile in some other sacerdotal account. Further, at Diospolis in Egypt, on the temple called Pylon, there was figured a boy as the symbol of production, and an old man as that of decay. A hawk, on the other hand, was the symbol of God, as a fish of hate; and, according to a different symbolism, the crocodile; of impudence. The whole symbol, then, when put together, appears to teach this: "Oh ye who are born and die, God hates impudence."
And there are those who fashion ears and eyes of costly material, and consecrate them, dedicating them in the temples to the gods--by this plainly indicating that God sees and hears all things. Besides, the lion is with them the symbol of strength and prowess, as the ox clearly is of the earth itself, and husbandry and food, and the horse of fortitude and confidence; while, on the other hand, the sphinx, of strength combined with intelligence--as it had a body entirely that of a lion, and the face of a man. Similarly to these, to indicate intelligence, and memory, and power, and art, a man is sculptured in the temples. And in what is called among them the Komasiae of the gods, they carry about golden images--two dogs, one hawk, and one ibis; and the four figures of the images they call four letters. For the dogs are symbols of the two hemispheres, which, as it were, go round and keep watch; the hawk, of the sun, for it is fiery and destructive (so they attribute pestilential diseases to the sun); the ibis, of the moon, likening the shady parts to that which is dark in plumage, and the luminous to the light. And some will have it that by the dogs are meant the tropics, which guard and watch the sun's passage to the south and north. The hawk signifies the equinoctial line, which is high and parched with heat, as the ibis the ecliptic. For the ibis seems, above other animals, to have furnished to the Egyptians the first rudiments of the invention of number and measure, as the oblique line did of circles.
CHAP. VIII.--THE USE OF THE SYMBOLIC STYLE BY POETS AND PHILOSOPHERS.
But it was not only the most highly intellectual of the Egyptians, but also such of other barbarians as prosecuted philosophy, that affected the symbolical style. They say, then, that Idanthuris king of the Scythians, as Pherecydes of Syros relates, sent to Darius, on his passing the Ister in threat of war, a symbol, instead of a letter, consisting of a mouse, a frog, a bird, a javelin, a plough. And there being a doubt in reference to them, as was to be expected, Orontopagas the Chiliarch said that they were to resign the kingdom; taking dwellings to be meant by the mouse, waters by the frog, air by the bird, land by the plough, arms by the javelin. But Xiphodres interpreted the contrary; for he said, "If we do not take our flight like birds, or like mice get below the earth, or like frogs beneath the water, we shall not escape their arrows; for we are not lords of the territory."
It is said that Anacharsis the Scythian, while asleep, covered the pudenda with his left hand, and his mouth with his fight, to intimate that both ought to be mastered, but that it was a greater thing to master the tongue than voluptuousness.
And why should I linger over the barbarians, when I can adduce the Greeks as exceedingly addicted to the use of the method of concealment? Androcydes the Pythagorean says the far-famed so-called Ephesian letters were of the class of symbols. For he said that a'skion (shadowless) meant darkness, for it has no shadow; and kata'skion (shadowy) light, since it casts with its rays the shadow; and li'x if is the earth, according to an ancient appellation; and tetra's is the year, in reference to the seasons; and damnameneu's is the sun, which overpowers (dama'zwn); and ta` ai'sia is the true voice. And then the symbol intimates that divine things have been arranged in harmonious order--darkness to light, the sun to the year, and the earth to nature's processes of production of every sort. Also Dionysius Thrax, the grammarian, in his book, Respecting the Exposition of the Symbolical Signification in Circles, says expressly, "Some signified actions not by words only, but also by symbols: by words, as is the case of what are called the Delphic maxims, 'Nothing in excess,' 'Know thyself,' and the like; and by symbols, as the wheel that is turned in the temples of the gods, derived from the Egyptians, and the branches that are given to the worshippers. For the Thracian Orpheus says:--
"Whatever works of branches are a care to men on earth, Not one has one fate in the mind, but all things Revolve around; and it is not lawful to stand at one point, But each one keeps an equal part of the race as they began."
The branches either stand as the symbol of the first food, or they are that the multitude may know that fruits spring and grow universally, remaining a very long time; but that the duration of life allotted to themselves is brief. And it is on this account that they will have it that the branches are given; and perhaps also that they may know, that as these, on the other hand, are burned, so also they themselves speedily leave this life, and will become fuel for fire.
Very useful, then, is the mode of symbolic interpretation for many purposes; and it is helpful to the right theology, and to piety, and to the display of intelligence, and the practice of brevity, and the exhibition of wisdom. "For the use of symbolical speech is characteristic of the wise man," appositely remarks the grammarian Didymus, "and the explanation of what is signified by it." And indeed the most elementary instruction of children embraces the interpretation of the four elements; for it is said that the Phrygians call water Bedu, as also Orpheus says:--
"And bright water is poured down, the Bedu of the nymphs."
Dion Thytes also seems to write similarly:--
"And taking Bedu, pour it on your hands, and turn to divination."
On the other hand, the comic poet, Philydeus, understands by Bedu the air, as being (Biodoros) life-giver, in the following lines :--
"I pray that I may inhale the salutary Bedu, Which is the most essential part of health; Inhale the pure, the unsullied air."
In the same opinion also concurs Neanthes of Cyzicum, who writes that the Macedonian priests invoke Bedu, which they interpret to mean the air, to be propitious to them and to their children. And Zaps some have ignorantly taken for fire (from ze'sin,boiling); for so the sea is called, as Euphorion, in his reply to Theoridas:--
"And Zaps, destroyer of ships, wrecked it on the rocks."
And Dionysius Iambus similarly:--
"Briny Zaps moans about the maddened deep."
Similarly Cratinus the younger, the comic poet:--
"Zaps casts forth shrimps and little fishes."
And Simmias of Rhodes:--
"Parent of the Ignetes and the Telchines briny Zaps was born."
And chthw'n is the earth kexhume'nh spread forth to bigness. And Plectron, according to some, is the sky (po'los), according to others, it is the air, which strikes (plh'ssonta) and moves to nature and increase, and which fills all things. But these have not read Cleanthes the philosopher, who expressly calls Plectron the sun; for darting his beams in the east, as if striking the world, he leads the light to its harmonious course. And from the sun it signifies also the rest of the stars, the Sphinx is not the comprehension of the universe, and the revolution of the world, according to the poet Aratus; but perhaps it is the spiritual tone which pervades and holds together the universe. But it is better to regard it as the ether, which holds together and presses all things; as also Empedocles says:--
"But come now, first will I speak of the Sun, the first principle of all things, From which all, that we look upon, has sprung, Both earth, and billowy deep, and humid air; Titan and Ether too, which binds all things around."
And Apollodorus of Corcyra says that these lines were recited by Branchus the seer, when purifying the Milesians from plague; for he, sprinkling the multitude with branches of laurel, led off the hymn somehow as follows :--
"Sing Boys Hecaergus and Hecaerga."
And the people accompanied him, saying, "Bedu, Zaps, Chthon, Plectron, Sphinx, Cnaxzbi, Chthyptes, Phlegmos, Drops." Callimachus relates the story in iambics. Cnaxzbi is, by derivation, the plague, from its gnawing (knai'ein) and destroying (diaphthei'rein), and thu^psai is to consume with a thunderbolt. Thespis the tragic poet says that something else was signified by these, writing thus: "Lo, I offer to thee a libation of white Cnaxzbi, having pressed it from the yellow nurses. Lo, to thee, O two- horned Pan, mixing Chthyptes cheese with red honey, I place it on thy sacred altars. Lo, to thee I pour as a libation the sparkling gleam of Bromius."He signifies, as I think, the soul's first milk-like nutriment of the four-and-twenty elements, after which solidified milk comes as food. And last, he teaches of the blood of the vine of the Word, the sparkling wine, the perfecting gladness of instruction. And Drops is the operating Word, which, beginning with elementary training, and advancing to the growth of the man, inflames and illumines man up to the measure of maturity. The third is said to be a writing copy for children--ma'rptes, sphi'gx, klw'ps, zunchthhdo'n. And it signifies, in my opinion, that by the arrangement of the elements and of the world, we must advance to the knowledge of what is more perfect, since eternal salvation is attained by force and toil; for ma'rpsai is to grasp. And the harmony of the world is meant by the Sphinx; and zunchthh'don</greek> means difficulty; and klw'ps means at once the secret knowledge of the Lord and day. Well! does not Epigenes, in his book on the Poetry of Orpheus, in exhibiting the peculiarities found in Orpheus, say that by " the curved rods" (kerai'si) is meant "ploughs;"and by the warp (sth'mosi), the furrows; and the woof (mi'tos) is a figurative expression for the seed; and that the tears of Zeus signify a shower; and that the "parts" (moi^rai) are, again, the phases of the moon, the thirtieth day, and the fifteenth, and the new moon, and that Orpheus accordingly calls them "white-robed," as being parts of the light? Again, that the Spring is called "flowery," from its nature; and Night "still," on account of rest; and the Moon" Gorgonian," on account of the face in it; and that the time in which it is necessary to sow is called Aphrodite by the "Theologian."  In the same way, too, the Pythagoreans figuratively called the planets the "dogs of Persephone;" and to the sea they applied the metaphorical appellation of "the tears of Kronus." Myriads on myriads of enigmatical utterances by both poets and philosophers are to be found; and there are also whole books which present the mind of the writer veiled, as that of Heraclitus On Nature, who on this very account is called "Obscure." Similar to this book is the Theology of Pherecydes of Syrup; for Euphorion the poet, and the Causes of Callimachus, and the Alexandra of Lycophron, and the like, are proposed as an exercise in exposition to all the grammarians.
It is, then, proper that the Barbarian philosophy, on which it is our business to speak, should prophecy also obscurely and by symbols, as was evinced. Such are the injunctions of Moses: "These common things, the sow, the hawk, the eagle, and the raven, are not to be eaten." For the sow is the emblem of voluptuous and unclean lust of food, and lecherous and filthy licentiousness in venery, always prurient, and material, and lying in the mire, and fattening for slaughter and destruction.
Again, he commands to eat that which parts the hoof and ruminates; "intimating," says Barnabas, "that we ought to cleave to those who fear the Lord, and meditate in their heart on that portion of the word which they have received, to those who speak and keep the Lord's statutes, to those to whom meditation is a work of gladness, and who ruminate on the word of the Lord. And what is the parted hoof? That the righteous walks in this world, and expects the holy eternity to come." Then he adds, "See how well Moses enacted. But whence could they understand or comprehend these things? We who have rightly understood speak the commandments as the Lord wished; wherefore He circumcised our ears and hearts, that we may comprehend these things. And when he says, 'Thou shalt not eat the eagle, the hawk, the kite, and the crow; he says,' Thou shalt not adhere to or become like those men who know not how to procure for themselves subsistence by toil and sweat, but live by plunder, and lawlessly.' For the eagle indicates robbery, the hawk injustice, and the raven greed. It is also written,' With the innocent man thou wilt be innocent, and with the chosen choice, and with the perverse thou shall pervert.' It is incumbent on us to cleave to the saints, because they that cleave to them shall be sanctified."
Thence Theognis writes:--
"For from the good you will learn good things; But if you mix with the bad, you will destroy any mind you may have."
And when, again, it is said in the ode, "For He hath triumphed gloriously: the home and his rider hath He cast into the sea;" the manylimbed and brutal affection, lust, with the rider mounted, who gives the reins to pleasures, "He has cast into the sea," throwing them away into the disorders of the world. Thus also Plato, in his book On the Soul, says that the charioteer and the horse that ran off--the irrational part, which is divided in two, into anger and concupiscence--fall down; and so the myth intimates that it was through the licentiousness of the steeds that Phaethon was thrown out. Also in the case of Joseph: the brothers having envied this young man, who by his knowledge was possessed of uncommon foresight, stripped off the coat of many colours, and took and threw him into a pit (the pit was empty, it had no water), rejecting the good man's varied knowledge, springing from his love of instruction; or, in the exercise of the bare faith, which is according to the law, they threw him into the pit empty of water, selling him into Egypt, which was destitute of the divine word. And the pit was destitute of knowledge; into which being thrown and stript of his knowledge, he that had become unconsciously wise, stript of knowledge, seemed like his brethren. Otherwise interpreted, the coat of many colours is lust, which takes its way into a yawning pit. "And if one open up or hew out a pit," it is said, "and do not cover it, and there fall in there a calf or ass, the owner of the pit shall pay the price in money, and give it to his neighbour; and the dead body shall be his. Here add that prophecy: "The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib: but Israel hath not understood Me." In order, then, that none of those, who have fallen in with the knowledge taught by thee, may become incapable of holding the truth, and disobey and fall away, it is said, Be thou sure in the treatment of the word, and shut up the living spring in the depth from those who approach irrationally, but reach drink to those that thirst for truth. Conceal it, then, from those who are unfit to receive the depth of knowledge, and so cover the pit. The owner of the pit, then, the Gnostic, shall himself be punished, incurring the blame of the others stumbling, and of being overwhelmed by the greatness of the word, he himself being of small capacity; or transferring the worker into the region of speculation, and on that account dislodging him from off-hand faith. "And will pay money," rendering a reckoning, and submitting his accounts to the "omnipotent Will."
This, then, is the type of "the law and the prophets which were until John; " while he, though speaking more perspicuously as no longer prophesying, but pointing out as now present, Him, who was proclaimed symbolically from the beginning, nevertheless said, "I am not worthy to loose the latchet of the Lord's shoe." For he confesses that he is not worthy to baptize so great a Power; for it behooves those, who purify others, to free the soul from the body and its sins, as the foot from the thong. Perhaps also this signified the final exertion of the Saviour's power toward us--the immediate, I mean--that by His presence, concealed in the enigma of prophecy, inasmuch as he, by pointing out to sight Him that had been prophesied of, and indicating the Presence which had come, walking forth into the light, loosed the latchet of the oracles of the[old] economy, by unveiling the meaning of the symbols.
And the observances practised by the Romans in the case of wills have a place here; those balances and small coins to denote justice, and freeing of slaves, and rubbing of the ears. For these observances are, that things may be transacted with justice; and those for the dispensing of honour; and the last, that he who happens to be near, as if a burden were imposed on him, should stand and hear and take the post of mediator.
CHAP. IX.--REASONS FOR VEILING THE TRUTH IN SYMBOLS.
But, as appears, I have, in my eagerness to establish my point, insensibly gone beyond what is requisite. For life would fail me to adduce the multitude of those who philosophize in a symbolical manner. For the sake, then, of memory and brevity, and of attracting to the truth, such are the Scriptures of the Barbarian philosophy.
For only to those who often approach them, and have given them a trial by faith and in their whole life, will they supply the real philosophy and the true theology. They also wish us to require an interpreter and guide. For so they considered, that, receiving truth at the hands of those who knew it well, we would be more earnest and less liable to deception, and those worthy of them would profit. Besides, all things that shine through a veil show the truth grander and more imposing; as fruits shining through water, and figures through veils, which give added reflections to them. For, in addition to the fact that things unconcealed are perceived in one way, the rays of light shining round reveal defects. Since, then, we may draw several meanings, as we do from what is expressed in veiled form, such being the case, the ignorant and unlearned man fails. But the Gnostior apprehends. Now, then, it is not wished that all things should be exposed indiscriminately to all and sundry, or the benefits of wisdom communicated to those who have not even in a dream been purified in soul, (for it is not allowed to hand to every chance comer what has been procured with such laborious efforts); nor are the mysteries of the word to be expounded to the profane.
They say, then, that Hipparchus the Pythagorean, being guilty of writing the tenets of Pythagoras in plain language, was expelled from the school, and a pillar raised for him as if he had been dead. Wherefore also in the Barbarian philosophy they call those dead who have fallen away from the dogmas, and have placed the mind in subjection to carnal passions. "For what fellowship hath righteousness and iniquity?" according to the divine apostle. "Or what communion hath light with darkness? or what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what portion hath the believer with the unbeliever?" For the honours of the Olympians and of mortals lie apart. "Wherefore also go forth from the midst of them, and be separated, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be to you for a Father, and ye shall be my sons and daughters."
It was not only the Pythagoreans and Plato then, that concealed many things; but the Epicureans too say that they have things that may not be uttered, and do not allow all to peruse those writings. The Stoics also say that by the first Zeno things were written which they do not readily allow disciples to read, without their first giving proof whether or not they are genuine philosophers. And the disciples of Aristotle say that some of their treatises are esoteric, and others common and exoteric. Further, those who instituted the mysteries, being philosophers, buried their doctrines in myths, so as not to be obvious to all. Did they then, by veiling human opinions, prevent the ignorant from handling them; and was it not more beneficial for the holy and blessed contemplation of realities to be concealed? But it was not only the tenets of the Barbarian philosophy, or the Pythagorean myths. But even those myths in Plato (in the Republic, that of Hero the Armenian; and in the Gorgias, that of Aeacus and Rhadamanthus; and in the Phoedo, that of Tartarus; and in the Protagoras, that of Prometheus and Epimetheus; and besides these, that of the war between the Atlantini and the Athenians in the Atlanticum) r are to be expounded allegorically, not absolutely n in all their expressions, but in those which express the general sense. And these we shall find indicated by symbols under the veil of allegory. Also the association of Pythagoras, and the twofold intercourse with the associates which designates the majority, hearers (akousmatikoi'), and the others that have a genuine attachment to philosophy, disciples (mathhmatikoi'), yet signified that something was spoken to the multitude, and something concealed from them. Perchance, too, the twofold species of the Peripatetic teaching--that called probable, and that called knowable--came very near the distinction between opinion on the one hand, and glory and truth on the other.
"To win the flowers of fair renown from men, Be not induced to speak aught more than right."
The Ionic muses accordingly expressly say, "That the majority of people, wise in their own estimation, follow minstrels and make use of laws, knowing that many are bad, few good; but that the best pursue glory: for the best make choice of the everlasting glory of men above all. But the multitude cram themselves like brutes, measuring happiness by the belly and the pudenda, and the basest things in us." And the great Parmenides of Elea is introduced describing thus the teaching of the two ways:--
"The one is the dauntless heart of convincing truth; The other is in the opinions of men, in whom is no true faith."
CHAP. X.--THE OPINION OF THE APOSTLES ON VEILING THE MYSTERIES OF THE FAITH.
Rightly, therefore, the divine apostle says, "By revelation the mystery was made known to me (as I wrote before in brief, in accordance with which, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it is now revealed to His holy apostles and prophets." For there is an instruction of the perfect, of which, writing to the Colossians, he says, "We cease not to pray for you, and beseech that ye may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that ye may walk worthy of the Lord to all pleasing; being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might according to the glory of His power." And again he says, "According to the disposition of the grace of God which is given me, that ye may fulfil the word of God; the mystery which has been hid from ages and generations, which now is manifested to His saints: to whom God wished to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the nations." So that, on the one hand, then, are the mysteries which were hid till the time of the apostles, and were delivered by them as they received from the Lord, and, concealed in the Old Testament, were manifested to the saints. And, on the other hand, there is "the riches of the glory of the mystery in the Gentiles," which is faith and hope in Christ; which in another place he has called the "foundation." And again, as if in eagerness to divulge this knowledge, he thus writes: "Warning every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man (the whole man) perfect in Christ;" not every man simply, since no one would be unbelieving. Nor does he call every man who believes in Christ perfect; but he says all the man, as if he said the whole man, as if purified in body and soul. For that the knowledge does not appertain to all, he expressly adds: "Being knit together in love, and unto all the riches of the full assurance of knowledge, to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God in Christ, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and of knowledge." "Continue in prayer, watching therein with thanksgiving." And thanksgiving has place not for the soul and spiritual blessings alone, but also for the body, and for the good things of the body. And he still more clearly reveals that knowledge belongs not to all, by adding: "Praying at the same time for you, that God would open to us a door to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am bound; that I may make it known as I ought to speak." For there were certainly, among the Hebrews, some things delivered unwritten. "For when ye ought to be teachers for the time," it is said, as if they had grown old in the Old Testament, "ye have again need that one teach you which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of solid food. For every one that par-taketh of milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness; for he is a babe, being instructed with the first lessons. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, who by reason of use have their senses exercised so as to distinguish between good and evil. Wherefore, leaving the first principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on to perfection."
Barnabas, too, who in person preached the word along with the apostle in the ministry of the Gentiles, says, "I write to you most simply, that ye may understand." Then below, exhibiting already a clearer trace of gnostic tradition, he says, "What says the other prophet Moses to them? Lo, thus saith the Lord God, Enter ye into the good land which the Lord God sware, the God of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob; and ye received for an inheritance that land, flowing with milk and honey. What says knowledge? Learn, hope, it says, in Jesus, who is to be manifested to you in the flesh. For man is the suffering land; for from the face of the ground was the formation of Adam. What, then, does it say in reference to the good land, flowing with milk and honey? Blessed be our Lord, brethren, who has put into our hearts wisdom, and the understanding of His secrets. For the prophet says, "Who shall understand the Lord's parable but the wise and understanding, and he that loves his Lord?" It is but for few to comprehend these things. For it is not in the way of envy that the Lord announced in a Gospel, "My mystery is to me, and to the sons of my house;" placing the election in safety, and beyond anxiety; so that the things pertaining to what it has chosen and taken may be above the reach of envy. For he who has not the knowledge of good is wicked: for there is one good, the Father; and to be ignorant of the Father is death, as to know Him is eternal life, through participation in the power of the incorrupt One. And to be incorruptible is to participate in divinity; but revolt from the knowledge of God brings corruption. Again the prophet says: "And I will give thee treasures, concealed, dark, unseen; that they may know that I am the LORD." Similarly David sings: "For, lo, Thou hast loved truth; the obscure and hidden things of wisdom hast Thou showed me." "Day utters speech to day" (what is clearly written), "and night to night proclaims knowledge" (which is hidden in a mystic veil); "and there are no words or utterances whose voices shall not be heard" by God, who said, "Shall one do what is secret, and I shall not see him?"
Wherefore instruction, which reveals hidden things, is called illumination, as it is the teacher only who uncovers the lid of the ark, contrary to what the poets say, that "Zeus stops up the jar of good things, but opens that of evil." "For I know," says the apostle, "that when I come to you, I shall come in the fulness of the blessing of Christ;" designating the spiritual gift, and the gnostic communication, which being present he desires to impart to them present as "the fulness of Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery sealed in the ages of eternity, but now manifested by the prophetic Scriptures, according to the command of the eternal God, made known to all the nations, in order to the obedience of faith," that is, those of the nations who believe that it is. But only to a few of them is shown what those things are which are contained in the mystery. Rightly then, Plato, in the Epistles, treating of God, says: "We must speak in enigmas that should the tablet come by any mischance on its leaves either by sea or land, he who reads may remain ignorant." For the God of the universe, who is above all speech, all conception, all thought, can never be committed to writing, being inexpressible even by His own power. And this too Plato showed, by saying: "Considering, then, these things, take care lest some time or other you repent on account of the present things, departing in a manner unworthy. The greatest safeguard is not to write, but learn; for it is utterly impossible that what is written will not vanish."
Akin to this is what the holy Apostle Paul says, preserving the prophetic and truly ancient secret from which the teachings that were good were derived by the Greeks: "Howbeit we speak wisdom among them who are perfect; but not the wisdom of this world, or of the princes of this world, that come to nought; but we speak the wisdom of God hidden in a mystery." Then proceeding, he thus inculcates the caution against the divulging of his words to the multitude in the following terms: "And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual, but as to carnal, even to babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, not with meat: for ye were not yet able; neither are ye now able. For ye are yet carnal."
If, then, "the milk" is said by the apostle to belong to the babes, and "meat" to be the food of the full-grown, milk will be understood to be catechetical instruction--the first food, as it were, of the soul. And meat is the mystic contemplation; for this is the flesh and the blood of the Word, that is, the comprehension of the divine power and essence. "Taste and see that the Lord is Christ," it is said. For so He imparts of Himself to those who partake of such food in a more spiritual manner; when now the soul nourishes itself, according to the truth-loving Plato. For the knowledge of the divine essence is the meat and drink of the divine Word. Wherefore also Plato says, in the second book of the Republic, "It is those that sacrifice not a sow, but some great and difficult sacrifice," who ought to inquire respecting God. And the apostle writes, "Christ our passover was sacrificed for us;"--a sacrifice hard to procure, in truth, the Son of God consecrated for us.
CHAP, XI.--ABSTRACTION FROM MATERIAL THINGS NECESSARY IN ORDER TO ATTAIN TO THE TRUE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD.
Now the sacrifice which is acceptable to God is unswerving abstraction from the body and its passions. This is the really true piety. And is not, on this account, philosophy rightly called by Socrates the practice of Death? For he who neither employs his eyes in the exercise of thought, nor draws aught from his other senses, but with pure mind itself applies to objects, practises the true philosophy. This is, then, the import of the silence of five years prescribed by Pythagoras, which he enjoined on his disciples; that, abstracting themselves from the objects of sense, they might with the mind alone contemplate the Deity. It was from Moses that the chief of the Greeks drew these philosophical tenets. For he commands holocausts to be skinned and divided into parts. For the gnostic soul must be consecrated to the light, stript of the integuments of matter, devoid of the frivolousness of the body and of all the passions, which are acquired through vain and lying opinions, and divested of the lusts of the flesh. But the most of men, clothed with what is perishable, like cockles, and rolled all round in a ball in their excesses, like hedgehogs, entertain the same ideas of the blessed and incorruptible God as of themselves. But it has escaped their notice, though they be near us, that God has bestowed on us ten thousand things in which He does not share: birth, being Himself unborn; food, He wanting nothing; and growth, He being always equal; and long life and immortality, He being immortal and incapable of growing old. Wherefore let no one imagine that hands, and feet, and mouth, and eyes, and going in and coming out, and resentments and threats, are said by the Hebrews to be attributes of God. By no means; but that certain of these appellations are used more sacredly in an allegorical sense, which, as the discourse proceeds, we shall explain at the proper time.
"Wisdom of all medicines is the Panacea, writes Callimachus in the Epigrams. "And one becomes wise from another, both in past times and at present," says Bacchylides in the Paans; "for it is not very easy to find the portals of unutterable words." Beautifully, therefore, Isocrates writes in the Panathenaic, baring put the question, "Who, then, are well trained?" adds, "First, those who manage well the things which occur each day, whose opinion jumps with opportunity, and is able for the most part to hit on what is beneficial; then those who behave becomingly and rightly to those who approach them, who take lightly and easily annoyances and molestations offered by others, but conduct themselves as far as possible, to those with whom they have intercourse, with consummate care and moderation; further, those who have the command of their pleasures, and are not too much overcome by misfortunes, but conduct themselves in the midst of them with manliness, and in a way worthy of the nature which we share; fourth--and this is the greatest--those who are not corrupted by prosperity, and are not put beside themselves, or made haughty, but continue in the class of sensible people." Then he puts on the top-stone of the discourse: "Those who have the disposition of their soul well suited not to one only of these things, but to them all--those I assert to be wise and perfect men, and to possess all the virtues."
Do you see how the Greeks deify the gnostic life (though not knowing how to become acquainted with it)? And what knowledge it is, they know not even in a dream. If, then, it is agreed among us that knowledge is the food of reason, "blessed truly are they," according to the Scripture, "who hunger and thirst after truth: for they shall be filled" with everlasting food. In the most wonderful harmony with these words, Euripides, the philosopher of the drama, is found in the following words,--making allusion, I know not how, at once to the Father and the Son:--
"To thee, the Lord of all, I bring Cakes and libations too, O Zeus, Or Hades would'st thou choose be called; Do thou accept my offering of all fruits, Rare, full, poured forth."
For a whole burnt-offering and rare sacrifice for us is Christ. And that unwittingly he mentions the Saviour, he will make plain, as he adds:--
"For thou who, 'midst the heavenly gods, Jove's sceptre sway'st, dost also share The rule of those on earth."
Then he says expressly:--
"Send light to human souls that fain would know Whence conflicts spring, and what the root of ills, And of the blessed gods to whom due rites Of sacrifice we needs must pay, that so We may from troubles find repose."
It is not then without reason that in the mysteries that obtain among the Greeks, lustrations hold the first place; as also the layer among the Barbarians. After these are the minor mysteries, which have some foundation of instruction and of preliminary preparation for what is to come after; and the great mysteries, in which nothing remains to be learned of the universe, but only to contemplate and comprehend nature and things.
We shall understand the mode of purification by confession, and that of contemplation by analysis, advancing by analysis to the first notion, beginning with the properties underlying it; abstracting from the body its physical properties, taking away the dimension of depth, then that of breadth, and then that of length. For the point which remains is a unit, so to speak, having position; from which if we abstract position, there is the conception of unity.
If, then, abstracting all that belongs to bodies and things called incorporeal, we cast ourselves into the greatness of Christ, and thence advance into immensity by holiness, we may reach somehow to the conception of the Almighty, knowing not what He is, but what He is not. And form and motion, or standing, or a throne, or place, or right hand or left, are not at all to be conceived as belonging to the Father of the universe, although it is so written. But what each of these means will be shown in its proper place. The First Cause is not then in space, but above both space, and time, and name, and conception.
Wherefore also Moses says, " Show Thyself to me,"--intimating most clearly that God is not capable of being taught by man, or expressed in speech, but to be known only by His own power. For inquiry was obscure and dim; but the grace of knowledge is from Him by the Son. Most clearly Solomon shall testify to us, speaking thus: "The prudence of man is not in me: but God giveth me wisdom, and I know holy things." Now Moses, describing allegorically the divine prudence, called it the tree of life planted in Paradise; which Paradise may be the world in which all things proceeding from creation grow. In it also the Word blossomed and bore fruit, being "made flesh," and gave life to those "who had tasted of His graciousness;" since it was not without the wood of the tree that He came to our knowledge. For our life was hung on it, in order that we might believe. And Solomon again says: "She is a tree of immortality to those who take hold of her." "Behold, I set before thy face life and death, to love the LORD thy God, and to walk in His ways, and hear His voice, and trust in life. But if ye transgress the statutes and the judgments which I have given you, ye shall be destroyed with destruction. For this is life, and the length of thy days, to love the LORD thy God."
Again: "Abraham, when he came to the place which God told him of on the third day, looking up, saw the place afar off." For the first day is that which is constituted by the sight of good things; and the second is the soul's best desire; on the third, the mind perceives spiritual things, the eyes of the understanding being opened by the Teacher who rose on the third day. The three days may be the mystery of the seal, in which God. is really believed. It is consequently afar off that he sees the place. For the region of God is hard to attain; which Plato called the region of ideas, having learned from Moses that it was a place which contained all things universally. But it is seen by Abraham afar off, rightly, because of his being in the realms of generation, and he is forthwith initiated by the angel. Thence says the apostle: "Now we see as through a glass, but then face to face," by those sole pure and incorporeal applications of the intellect. In reasoning, it is possible to divine respecting God, if one attempt without any of the senses, by reason, to reach what is individual; and do not quit the sphere of existences, till, rising up to the things which transcend it, he apprehends by the intellect itself that which is good, moving in the very confines of the world of thought, according to Plato.
Again, Moses, not allowing altars and temples to be constructed in many places, but raising one temple of God, announced that the world was only- begotten, as Basilides says, and that God is one, as does not as yet appear to Basilides. And since the gnostic Moses does not circumscribe within space Him that cannot be circumscribed, he set up no image in the temple to be worshipped; showing that God was invisible, and incapable of being circumscribed; and somehow leading the Hebrews to the conception of God by the honour for His name in the temple. Further, the Word, prohibiting the constructing of temples and all sacrifices, intimates that the Almighty is not contained in anything, by what He says: "What house will ye build to Me? saith the LORD. Heaven is my throne," and so on. Similarly respecting sacrifices: "I do not desire the blood of bulls and the fat of lambs," and what the Holy Spirit by the prophet in the sequel forbids.
Most excellently, therefore, Euripides accords with these, when he writes:--
"What house constructed by the workmen's hands, With folds of walls, can clothe the shape divine?"
And of sacrifices he thus speaks:--
"For God needs nought, if He is truly God. These of the minstrels are the wretched myths."
"For it was not from need that God made the world; that He might reap honours from men and the other gods and demons, winning a kind of revenue from creation, and from us, fumes, and from the gods and demons, their proper ministries," says Plato. Most instructively, therefore, says Paul in the Acts of the Apostles: "The God that made the world, and all things in it, being the Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; neither is worshipped by men's hands, as if He needed anything; seeing that it is He Himself that giveth to all breath, and life, and all things." And Zeno, the founder of the Stoic sect, says in this book of the Republic, "that we ought to make neither temples nor images; for that no work is worthy of the gods." And he was not afraid to write in these very words: "There will be no need to build temples. For a temple is not worth much, and ought not to be regarded as holy. For nothing is worth much, and holy, which is the work of builders and mechanics." Rightly, therefore, Plato too, recognising the world as God's temple, pointed out to the citizens a spot in the city where their idols were to be laid up. "Let not, then, any one again," he says, "consecrate temples to the gods. For gold and silver in other states, in the case of private individuals and in the temples, is an invidious possession; and ivory, a body which has abandoned the life, is not a sacred votive offering; and steel and brass are the instruments of wars; but whatever one wishes to dedicate, let it be wood of one tree, as also stone for common temples." Rightly, then, in the great Epistle he says: "For it is not capable of expression, like other branches of study. But as the result of great intimacy with this subject, and living with it, a sudden light, like that kindled by a coruscating fire, arising in the soul, feeds itself." Are not these statements like those of Zephaniah the prophet? "And the Spirit of the Lord took me, and brought me up to the fifth heaven, and I beheld angels called Lords; and their diadem was set on in the Holy Spirit; and each of them had a throne sevenfold brighter than the light of the rising sun; and they dwelt in temples of salvation, and hymned the ineffable, Most High God."
CHAP. XII.--GOD CANNOT BE EMBRACED IN WORDS OR BY THE MIND.
"For both is it a difficult task to discover the Father and Maker of this universe; and having found Him, it is impossible to declare Him to all. For this is by no means capable of expression, like the other subjects of instruction," says the truth-loving Plato. For he that had heard right well that the all-wise Moses, ascending the mount for holy contemplation, to the summit of intellectual objects, necessarily commands that the whole people do not accompany him. And when the Scripture says, "Moses entered into the thick darkness where God was," this shows to those capable of understanding, that God is invisible and beyond expression by words, And "the darkness "--which is, in truth, the unbelief and ignorance of the multitude-- obstructs the gleam of truth. And again Orpheus, the theologian, aided from this quarter, says:--
"One is perfect in himself, and all things are made the progeny of one,"
or, "are born;" for so also is it written. He adds:--
"Him No one of mortals has seen, but He sees all."
And he adds more clearly:--
"Him see I not, for round about, a cloud Has settled; for in mortal eyes are small, And mortal pupils--only flesh and bones grow there."
To these statements the apostle will testify: "I know a man in Christ, caught up into the third heaven, and thence into Paradise, who heard unutterable words which it is not lawful for a man to speak,"--intimating thus the impossibility of expressing God, and indicating that what is divine is unutterable by human power; if, indeed, he begins to speak above the third heaven, as it is lawful to initiate the elect souls in the mysteries there. For I know what is in Plato (for the examples from the barbarian philosophy, which are many, are suggested now by the composition which, in accordance with promises previously given, waits the suitable time). For doubting, in Timaoeus, whether we ought to regard several worlds as to be understood by many heavens, or this one, he makes no distinction in the names, calling the world and heaven by the same name. But the words of the statement are as follows: "Whether, then, have we rightly spoken of one heaven, or of many and infinite? It were more correct to say one, if indeed it was created according to the model." Further, in the Epistle of the Romans to the Corinthians it is written, "An ocean illimitable by men and the worlds after it." Consequently, therefore, the noble apostle exclaims, "Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God !"
And was it not this which the prophet meant, when he ordered unleavened cakes to be made, intimating that the truly sacred mystic word, respecting the unbegotten and His powers, ought to be concealed? In confirmation of these things, in the Epistle to the Corinthians the apostle plainly says: "Howbeit we speak wisdom among those who are perfect, but not the wisdom of this world, or of the princes of this world, that come to nought. But we speak the wisdom of God hidden in a mystery." And again in another place he says: "To the acknowledgment of the mystery of God in Christ, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." These things the Saviour Himself seals when He says: "To you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven." And again the Gospel says that the Saviour spake to the apostles the word in a mystery. For prophecy says of Him: "He will open His mouth in parables, and will utter things kept secret from the foundation of the world." And now, by the parable of the leaven, the Lord shows concealment; for He says, "The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened." For the tripartite soul is saved by obedience, through the spiritual power hidden in it by faith; or because the power of the word which is given to us, being strong and powerful, draws to itself secretly and invisibly every one who receives it, and keeps it within himself, and brings his whole system into unity.
Accordingly Solon has written most wisely respecting God thus:--
"It is most difficult to apprehend the mind's invisible measure Which alone holds the boundaries of all things."
For "the divine," says the poet of Agrigenturn,--
"Is not capable of being approached with our eyes, Or grasped with our hands; but the highway Of persuasion, highest oŁ all, leads to men's minds."
And John the apostle says: "No man hath seen God at any time. The only- begotten God, who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him,"--calling invisibility and ineffableness the bosom of God. Hence some have called it the Depth, as containing and embosoming all things, inaccessible and boundless.
This discourse respecting God is most difficult to handle. For since the first principle of everything is difficult to find out, the absolutely first and oldest principle, which is the cause of all other things being and having been, is difficult to exhibit. For bow can that be expressed which is neither genus, nor difference, nor species, nor individual, nor number; nay more, is neither an event, nor that to which an event happens? No one can rightly express Him wholly. For on account of His greatness He is ranked as the All, and is the Father of the universe. Nor are any parts to be predicated of Him. For the One is indivisible; wherefore also it is infinite, not considered with reference to inscrutability, but with reference to its being without dimensions, and not having a limit. And therefore it is without form and name. And if we name it, we do not do so properly, terming it either the One, or the Good, or Mind, or Absolute Being, or Father, or God, or Creator or Lord. We speak not as supplying His name; but for want, we use good names, in order that the mind may have these as points of support, so as not to err in other respects. For each one by itself does not express God; but all together are indicative of the power of the Omnipotent. For predicates are expressed either from what belongs to things themselves, or from their mutual relation. But none of these are admissible in reference to God. Nor any more is He apprehended by the science of demonstration. For it depends on primary and better known principles. But there is nothing antecedent to the Unbegotten.
It remains that we understand, then, the Unknown, by divine grace, and by the word alone that proceeds from Him; as Luke in the Acts of the Apostles relates that Paul said, "Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For in walking about, and beholding the objects of your worship, I found an altar on which was inscribed, To the Unknown God. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, Him declare I unto you."
CHAP. XIII.--THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD A DIVINE GIFT, ACCORDING TO THE PHILOSOPHERS.
Everything, then, which falls under a name, is originated, whether they will or not. Whether, then, the Father Himself draws to Himself everyone who has led a pure life, and has reached the conception of the blessed and incorruptible nature; or whether the free-will which is in us, by reaching the knowledge of the good, leaps and bounds over the barriers, as the gymnasts say; yet it is not without eminent grace that the soul is winged, and soars, and is raised above the higher spheres, laying aside all that is heavy, and surrendering itself to its kindred element.
Plato, too, in Meno, says that virtue is God-given, as the following expressions show: "From this argument then, O Meno, virtue is shown to come to those, in whom it is found, by divine providence." Does it not then appear that "the gnostic disposition" which has come to all is enigmatically called "divine providence?" And he adds more explicitly: "If, then, in this whole treatise we have investigated well, it results that virtue is neither by nature, nor is it taught, but is produced by divine providence, not without intelligence, in those in whom it is found." Wisdom which is God-given, as being the power of the Father, rouses indeed our free-will, and admits faith, and repays the application of the elect with its crowning fellowship.
And now I will adduce Plato himself, who clearly deems it fit to believe the children of God. For, discoursing on gods that are visible and born, in Timaoeus, he says: "But to speak of the other demons, and to know their birth, is too much for us. But we must credit those who have formerly spoken, they being the offspring of the gods, as they said, and knowing well their progenitors, although they speak without probable and necessary proofs." I do not think it possible that clearer testimony could be borne by the Greeks, that our Saviour, and those anointed to prophesy (the latter being called the sons of God, and the Lord being His own Son), are the true witnesses respecting divine things. Wherefore also they ought to be believed, being inspired, he added. And were one to say in a more tragic vein, that we ought not to believe,
"For it was not Zeus that told me these things,"
yet let him know that it was God Himself that promulgated the Scriptures by His Son. And he, who announces what is his own, is to be believed. "No one," says the Lord, "hath known the Father but the Son, and he to whom the Son shall reveal Him." This, then, is to be believed, according to Plato, though it is announced and spoken "without probable and necessary proofs," but in the Old and New Testament. "For except ye believe," says the Lord, "ye shall die in your sins." And again: "He that believeth hath everlasting life." "Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him." For trusting is more than faith. For when one has believed that the Son of God is our teacher, he trusts that his teaching is true. And as "instruction," according to Empedocles, "makes the mind grow," so trust in the Lord makes faith grow.
We say, then, that it is characteristic of the same persons to vilify philosophy, and run down faith, and to praise iniquity and felicitate a libidinous life. But now faith, if it is the voluntary assent of the soul, is still the doer of good things, the foundation of right conduct; and if Aristotle defines strictly when he teaches that poiei^n is applied to the irrational creatures and to inanimate things, while pra'ttein is applicable to men only, let him correct those who say that God is the maker (poihth's) of the universe. And what is done (prakto'n), he says, is as good or as necessary. To do wrong, then, is not good, for no one does wrong except for some other thing; and nothing that is necessary is voluntary. To do wrong, then, is voluntary, so that it is not necessary. But the good differ especially from the bad in inclinations and good desires. For all depravity of soul is accompanied with want of restraint; and he who acts from passion, acts from want of restraint and from depravity.
I cannot help admiring in every particular that divine utterance: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not in by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth." Then the Lord says in explanation, "I am the door of the sheep."  Men must then be saved by learning the truth through Christ, even if they attain philosophy. For now that is clearly shown "which was not made known to other ages, which is now revealed to the sons of men." For there was always a natural manifestation of the one Almighty God, among all right-thinking men; and the most, who had not quite divested themselves of shame with respect to the truth, apprehended the eternal beneficence in divine providence. In fine, then, Xenocrates the Chalcedonian was not quite without hope that the notion of the Divinity existed even in the irrational creatures. And Democritus, though against his will, will make this avowal by the consequences of his dogmas; for he represents the same images as issuing, from the divine essence, on men and on the irrational animals.  Far from destitute of a divine idea is man, who, it is written in Genesis, partook of inspiration, being endowed with a purer essence than the other animate creatures. Hence the Pythagoreans say that mind comes to man by divine providence, as Plato and Aristotle avow; but we assert that the Holy Spirit inspires him who has believed. The Platonists hold that mind is an effluence of divine dispensation in the soul, and they place the soul in the body. For it is expressly said by Joel, one of the twelve prophets, "And it shall come to pass after these things, I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy."  But it is not as a portion of God that the Spirit is in each of us. But how this dispensation takes place, and what the Holy Spirit is, shall be shown by us in the books on prophecy, and in those on the soul. But "incredulity is good at concealing the depths of knowledge," according to Heraclitus; "for incredulity escapes from ignorance."
CHAP. XIV.--GREEK PLAGIARISM FROM THE HEBREWS.
Let us add in completion what follows, and exhibit now with greater clearness the plagiarism of the Greeks from the Barbarian philosophy.
Now the Stoics say that God, like the soul, is essentially body and spirit.. You will find all this explicitly in their writings. Do not consider at present their allegories as the gnostic truth presents them; whether they show one thing and mean another, like the dexterous athletes, Well, they say that God pervades all being; while we call Him solely Maker, and Maker by the Word. They were misled by what is said in the book of Wisdom: "He pervades and passes through all by reason of His purity; "  since they did not understand that this was said of Wisdom, which was the first of the creation of God.
So be it, they say. But the philosophers, the Stoics, and Plato, and Pythagoras, nay more, Aristotle the Peripatetic, suppose the existence of matter among the first principles; and not one first principle. Let them then know that what is called matter by them, is said by them to be without quality, and without form, and more daringly said by Plato to be non- existence. And does he not say very mystically, knowing that the true and real first cause is one, in these very words: "Now, then, let our opinion be so. As to the first principle or principles of the universe, or what opinion we ought to entertain about all these points, we are not now to speak, for no other cause than on account of its being difficult to explain our sentiments in accordance with the present form of discourse." But undoubtedly that prophetic expression, "Now the earth was invisible and formless," supplied them with the ground of material essence.
And the introduction of "chance" was hence suggested to Epicurus, who misapprehended the statement, "Vanity of vanities, and all is vanity." And it occurred to Aristotle to extend Providence as far as the moon from this psalm: "Lord, Thy mercy is in the heavens; and Thy truth reacheth to the clouds."  For the explanation of the prophetic mysteries had not yet been revealed previous to the advent of the Lord.
Punishments after death, on the other hand, and penal retribution by fire, were pilfered from the Barbarian philosophy both by all the poetic Muses and by the Hellenic philosophy. Plato, accordingly, in the last book of the Republic, says in these express terms: "Then these men fierce and fiery to look on, standing by, and hearing the sound, seized and took some aside and binding Aridaeus and the rest hand, foot, and head, and throwing them down, and flaying them, dragged them along the way, tearing their flesh with thorns." For the fiery men are meant to signify the angels, who seize and punish the wicked. "Who maketh," it is said, "His angels spirits; His ministers flaming fire."  It follows from this that the soul is immortal. For what is tortured or corrected being in a state of sensation lives, though said to suffer. Well! Did not Plato know of the rivers of fire and the depth of the earth, and Tartarus, called by the Barbarians Gehenna, naming, as he does prophetically,  Cocytus, and Acheron, and Pyriphlegethon, and introducing such corrective tortures for discipline? But indicating "the angels" as the Scripture says, "of the little ones, and of the least, which see God," and also the oversight reaching to us exercised by the tutelary angels? he shrinks not from writing, "That when all the souls have selected their several lives, according as it has fallen to their lot, they advance in order to Lachesis; and she sends along with each one, as his guide in life, and the joint accomplisher of his purposes, the demon which he has chosen." Perhaps also the demon of Socrates suggested to him something similar.
Nay, the philosophers. having so heard from Moses, taught that the world was created.  And so Plato expressly said, "Whether was it that the world had no beginning of its existence, or derived its beginning from some beginning? For being visible, it is tangible; and being tangible, it has a body." Again, when he says, "It is a difficult task to find the Maker and Father of this universe," he not only showed that the universe was created, but points out that it was generated by him as a son, and that he is called its father, as deriving its being from him alone, and springing from non-existence. The Stoics, too, hold the tenet that the world was created.
And that the devil so spoken of by the Barbarian philosophy, the prince of the demons, is a wicked spirit, Plato asserts in the tenth book of the Laws, in these words: "Must we not say that spirit which pervades the things that are moved on all sides, pervades also heaven? Well, what? One or more? Several, say I, in reply for you. Let us not suppose fewer than two--that which is beneficent, and that which is able to accomplish the opposite." Similarly in the Phoedrus he writes as follows: "Now there are other evils. But some demon has mingled pleasure with the most things at present." Further, in the tenth book of the Laws, he expressly emits that apostolic sentiment,  "Our contest is not with flesh and blood, but principalities, with powers, with the spiritual things of those which are in heaven;" writing thus: "For since we are agreed that heaven is full of many good beings; but it is also full of the opposite of these, and more of these; and as we assert such a contest is deathless, and requiring marvellous watchfulness."
Again the Barbarian philosophy knows the world of thought and the world of sense--the former archetypal, and the latter the image of that which is called the model; and assigns the former to the Monad, as being perceived by the mind, and the world of sense to the number six. For six is called by the Pythagoreans marriage, as being the genital number; and he places in the Monad the invisible heaven and the holy earth, and intellectual light. For "in the beginning," it is said, "God made the heaven and the earth; and the earth was invisible." And it is added, "And God said, Let there be light; and there was light."  And in the material cosmogony He creates a solid heaven (and what is solid is capable of being perceived by sense), and a visible earth, and a light that is seen. Does not Plato hence appear to have left the ideas of living creatures in the intellectual world, and to make intellectual objects into sensible species according to their genera? Rightly then Moses says, that the body which Plato calls "the earthly tabernacle" was formed of the ground, but that the rational soul was breathed by God into man's face. For there, they say, the ruling faculty is situated; interpreting the access by the senses into the first man as the addition of the soul.
Wherefore also man is said "to have been made in [God's] image and likeness." For the image of God is the divine and royal Word, the impassible man; and the image of the image is the human mind. And if you wish to apprehend the likeness by another name, you will find it named in Moses, a divine correspondence. For he says, "Walk after the Lord your God, and keep His commandments."  And I reckon all the virtuous, servants and followers of God. Hence the Stoics say that the end of philosophy is to live agreeable to nature; and Plato, likeness to God, as we have shown in the second Miscellany. And Zeno the Stoic, borrowing from Plato, and he from the Barbarian philosophy, says that all the good are friends of one another. For Socrates says in the Phoedrus, "that it has not been ordained that the bad should be a friend to the bad, nor the good be not a friend to the good;" as also he showed sufficiently in the Lysis, that friendship is never preserved in wickedness and vice. And the Athenian stranger similarly says, "that there is conduct pleasing and conformable to God, based on one ancient ground-principle, That like loves like, provided it be within measure. But things beyond measure are congenial neither to what is within nor what is beyond measure. Now it is the case that God is the measure to us of all things." Then proceeding, Plato  adds: "For every good man is like every other good man; and so being like to God, he is liked by every good man and by God." At this point I have just recollected the following. In the end of the Timoeus he says: "You must necessarily assimilate that which perceives to that which is perceived, according to its original nature; and it is by so assimilating it that you attain to the end of the highest life proposed by the gods to men,  for the present or the future time." For those have equal power with these. He, who seeks, will not stop till he find; and having found, he will wonder; and wondering, he will reign; and reigning, he will rest. And what? Were not also those expressions of Thales derived from these? The fact that God is glorified for ever, and that He is expressly called by us the Searcher of hearts, he interprets. For Thales being asked, What is the divinity? said, What has neither beginning nor end. And on another asking, "If a man could elude the knowledge of the Divine Being while doing aught?" said, "How could he who cannot do so while thinking?"
Further, the Barbarian philosophy recognises good as alone excellent, and virtue as sufficient for happiness, when it says, "Behold, I have set before your eyes good and evil, life and death that ye may choose life."  For it calls good, "life," and the choice of it excellent, and the choice of the opposite "evil." And the end of good and of life is to become a lover of God: "For this is thy life and length of days," to love that which tends to the truth. And these points are yet clearer. For the Saviour, in enjoining to love God and our neighbour, says, "that on these two commandments hang the whole law and the prophets." Such are the tenets promulgated by the Stoics; and before these, by Socrates, in the Phoedrus, who prays, "O Pan, and ye other gods, give me to be beautiful within." And in the Theoetetus he says expressly, "For he that speaks well (<greek>kalws</greek>) is both beautiful and good." And in the Protagoras he avers to the companions of Protagoras that he has met with one more beautiful than Alcibiades, if indeed that which is wisest is most beautiful. For he said that virtue was the soul's beauty, and, on the contrary, that vice was the soul's deformity. Accordingly, Antipatrus the Stoic, who composed three books on the point, "That, according to Plato, only the beautiful is good," shows that, according to him, virtue is sufficient for happiness; and adduces several other dogmas agreeing with the Stoics. And by Aristobulus, who lived in the time of Ptolemy Philadelphus, who is mentioned by the composer of the epitome of the books of the Maccabees, there were abundant books to show that the Peripatetic philosophy was derived from the law of Moses and from the other prophets. Let such be the case.
Plato plainly calls us brethren, as being of one God and one teacher, in the following words: "For ye who are in the state are entirely brethren (as we shall say to them, continuing our story). But the God who formed you, mixed gold in the composition of those of you who are fit to rule, at your birth, wherefore you are most highly honoured; and silver in the case of those who are helpers; and steel and brass in the case of farmers and other workers." Whence, of necessity, some embrace and love those things to which knowledge pertains; and others matters of opinion. Perchance he prophesies of that elect nature which is bent on knowledge; if by the supposition he makes of three natures he does not describe three politics, as some supposed: that of the Jews, the silver; that of the Greeks, the third; and that of the Christians, with whom has been mingled the regal gold, the Holy Spirit, the golden. 
And exhibiting the Christian life, he writes in the Theoetetus in these words: "Let us now speak of the highest principles. For why should we speak of those who make an abuse of philosophy? These know neither the way to the forum, nor know they the court or the senate-house, or any other public assembly of the state. As for laws and decrees spoken or written, they neither see nor hear them. But party feelings of political associations and public meetings, and revels with musicians [occupy them]; but they never even dream of taking part in affairs. Has any one conducted himself either well or ill in the state, or has aught evil descended to a man from his forefathers?--it escapes their attention as much as do the sands of the sea. And the man does not even know that he does not know all these things; but in reality his body alone is situated and dwells in the state,  while the man himself flies, according to Pindar, beneath the earth and above the sky, astronomizing, and exploring all nature on all sides.
Again, with the Lord's saying, "Let your yea be yea, and your nay nay," may be compared the following: "But to admit a falsehood, and destroy a truth, is in nowise lawful." With the prohibition, also, against swearing agrees the saying in the tenth book of the Laws: "Let praise and an oath in everything be absent."
And in general, Pythagoras, and Socrates, and Plato say that they hear God's voice while closely contemplating the fabric of the universe, made and preserved unceasingly by God. For they heard Moses say, "He said, and it was done," describing the word of God as an act.
And founding on the formation of man from the dust, the philosophers constantly term the body earthy. Homer, too, does not hesitate to put the following as an imprecation:--
"But may you all become earth and water."
As Esaias says, "And trample them down as clay." And Callimachus clearly writes:--
"That was the year in which Birds, fishes, quadrupeds, Spoke like Prometheus' clay."
And the same again:--
"If thee Prometheus formed, And thou art not of other clay."
Hesiod says of Pandora:--
"And bade Hephaestus, famed, with all his speed, Knead earth with water, and man's voice and mind Infuse."
The Stoics, accordingly, define nature to be artificial fire, advancing systematically to generation. And God and His Word are by Scripture figuratively termed fire and light. But how? Does not Homer himself, is not Homer himself, paraphrasing the retreat of the water from the land, and the clear uncovering of the dry land, when he says of Tethys and Oceanus:--
"For now for a long time they abstain from Each other's bed and love? "
Again, power in all things is by the most intellectual among the Greeks ascribed to God; Epicharmus--he was a Pythagorean--saying:--
"Nothing escapes the divine. This it behoves thee to know. He is our observer. To God nought is impossible."
And the lyric poet:--
"And God from gloomy night Can raise unstained light, And can in darksome gloom obscure The day's refulgence pure."
He alone who is able to make night during the period of day is God.
In the Phoenomena Aratus writes thus:--
"With Zeus let us begin; whom let us ne'er, Being men, leave unexpressed. All full of Zeus, The streets, and throngs of men, and full the sea, And shores, and everywhere we Zeus enjoy."
"For we also are His offspring; . . . ."
that is, by creation.
"Who, bland to men, Propitious signs displays, and to their tasks Arouses. For these signs in heaven He fixed, The constellations spread, and crowned the year With stars; to show to men the seasons' tasks, That all things may proceed in order sure. Him ever first, Him last too, they adore: Hail Father, marvel great--great boon to men."
And before him, Homer, framing the world in accordance with Moses on the Vulcan-wrought shield, says:--
"On it he fashioned earth, and sky, and sea, And all the signs with which the heaven is crowned." 
For the Zeus celebrated in poems and prose compositions leads the mind up to God. And already, so to speak, Democritus writes, "that a few men are in the light, who stretch out their hands to that place which we Greeks now call the air. Zeus speaks all, and he hears all, and distributes and takes away, and he is king of all." And more mystically the Boeotian Pindar, being a Pythagorean, says:--
"One is the race of gods and men, And of one mother both have breath;"
that is, of matter: and names the one creator of these things, whom he calls Father, chief artificer, who furnishes the means of advancement on to divinity, according to merit.
For I pass over Plato; he plainly, in the Epistle to Erastus and Coriscus, is seen to exhibit the Father and Son somehow or other from the Hebrew Scriptures, exhorting in these words: "In invoking by oath, with not illiterate gravity, and with culture, the sister of gravity, God the author of all, and invoking Him by oath as the Lord, the Father of the Leader, and author; whom if ye study with a truly philosophical spirit, ye shall know." And the address in the Timoeus calls the creator, Father, speaking thus: "Ye gods of gods, of whom I am Father; and the Creator of your works." So that when he says, "Around the king of all, all things are, and because of Him are all things; and he [or that] is the cause of all good things; and around the second are the things second in order; and around the third, the third," I understand nothing else than the Holy Trinity to be meant; for the third is the Holy Spirit, and the Son is the second, by whom all things were made according to the will of the Father. 
And the same, in the tenth book of the Republic, mentions Eros the son of Armenius, who is Zoroaster. Zoroaster, then, writes: "These were composed by Zoroaster, the son of Armenius, a Pamphylian by birth: having died in battle, and been in Hades, I learned them of the gods." This Zoroaster, Plato says, having been placed on the funeral pyre, rose again to life in twelve days. He alludes perchance to the resurrection, or perchance to the fact that the path for souls to ascension lies through the twelve signs of the zodiac; and he himself says, that the descending pathway to birth is the same. In the same way we are to understand the twelve labours of Hercules, after which the soul obtains release from this entire world.
I do not pass over Empedocles, who speaks thus physically of the renewal of all things, as consisting in a transmutation into the essence of fire, which is to take place. And most plainly of the same opinion is Heraclitus of Ephesus, who considered that there was a world everlasting, and recognised one perishable--that is, in its arrangement, not being different from the former, viewed in a certain aspect. But that he knew the imperishable world which consists of the universal essence to be everlastingly of a certain nature, he makes clear by speaking thus: "The same world of all things, neither any of the gods, nor any one of men, made. But there was, and is, and will be ever-living fire, kindled according to measure,  and quenched according to measure." And that he taught it to be generated and perishable, is shown by what follows: "There are transmutations of fire,--first, the sea; and of the sea the half is land, the half fiery vapour." For he says that these are the effects of power. For fire is by the Word of God, which governs all things, changed by the air into moisture, which is, as it were, the germ of cosmical change; and this he calls sea. And out of it again is produced earth, and sky, and all that they contain. How, again, they are restored and ignited, he shows clearly in these words: "The sea is diffused and measured according to the same rule which subsisted before it became earth." Similarly also respecting the other elements, the same is to be understood. The most renowned of the Stoics teach similar doctrines with him, in treating of the conflagration and the government of the world, and both the world and man properly so called, and of the continuance of our souls.
Plato, again, in the seventh book of the Republic, has called "the day here nocturnal," as I suppose, on account of "the world-rulers of this darkness; "  and the descent of the soul into the body, sleep and death, similarly with Heraclitus. And was not this announced, oracularly, of the Saviour, by the Spirit, saying by David, "I slept, and slumbered; I awoke: for the LORD will sustain me? "  For He not only figuratively calls the resurrection of Christ rising from sleep; but to the descent of the Lord into the flesh he also applies the figurative term sleep. The Saviour Himself enjoins, "Watch; "  as much as to say, "Study how to live, and endeavour to separate the soul from the body."
And the Lord's day Plato prophetically speaks of in the tenth book of the Republic, in these words: "And when seven days have passed to each of them in the meadow, on the eighth they are to set out and arrive in four days."  By the meadow is to be understood the fixed sphere, as being a mild and genial spot, and the locality of the pious; and by the seven days each motion of the seven planets, and the whole practical art which speeds to the end of rest. But after the wandering orbs the journey leads to heaven, that is, to the eighth motion and day. And he says that souls are gone on the fourth day, pointing out the passage through the four elements. But the seventh day is recognised as sacred, not by the Hebrews only, but also by the Greeks; according to which the whole world of all animals and plants revolve. Hesiod says of it:--
"The first, and fourth, and seventh day were held sacred."
"And on the seventh the sun's resplendent orb."
"And on the seventh then came the sacred day."
"The seventh was sacred."
"It was the seventh day, and all things were accomplished."
"And on the seventh morn we leave the stream of Acheron."
Callimachus the poet also writes:--
"It was the seventh morn, and they had all things done."
"Among good days is the seventh day, and the seventh race."
"The seventh is among the prime, and the seventh is perfect."
"Now all the seven were made in starry heaven, In circles shining as the years appear."
The Elegies of Solon, too, intensely deify the seventh day.
And how? Is it not similar to Scripture when it says, "Let us remove the righteous man from us, because he is troublesome to us?"  when Plato, all but predicting the economy of salvation, says in the second book of the Republic as follows: "Thus he who is constituted just shall be scourged, shall be stretched on the rack, shall be bound, have his eyes put out; and at last, having suffered all evils, shall be crucified." 
And the Socratic Antisthenes, paraphrasing that prophetic utterance, "To whom have ye likened me? saith the Lord,"  says that "God is like no one; wherefore no one can come to the knowledge of Him from an image."
Xenophon too, the Athenian, utters these similar sentiments in the following words: "He who shakes all things, and is Himself immoveable, is manifestly one great and powerful. But what He is in form, appears not. No more does the sun, who wishes to shine in all directions, deem it right to permit any one to look on himself. But if one gaze on him audaciously, he loses his eyesight."
"What flesh can see with eyes the Heavenly, True, Immortal God, whose dwelling is the poles? Not even before the bright beams of the sun Are men, as being mortal, fit to stand,"--
the Sibyl had said before. Rightly, then, Xenophanes of Colophon, teaching that God is one and incorporeal, adds:--
"One God there is 'midst gods and men supreme; In form, in mind, unlike to mortal men."
"But men have the idea that gods are born, And wear their clothes, and have both voice and shape."
"But had the oxen or the lions hands, Or could with hands depict a work like men, Were beasts to draw the semblance of the gods, The horses would them like to horses sketch, To oxen, oxen, and their bodies make Of such a shape as to themselves belongs."
Let us hear, then, the lyric poet Bacchylides speaking of the divine:--
"Who to diseases dire  never succumb, And blameless are; in nought resembling men."
And also Cleanthes, the Stoic, who writes thus in a poem on the Deity: - -
"If you ask what is the nature of the good, listen-- That which is regular, just, holy, pious, Self-governing, useful, fair, fitting, Grave, independent, always beneficial, That feels no fear or grief, profitable, painless, Helpful, pleasant, safe, friendly, Held in esteem, agreeing with itself: honourable, Humble, careful, meek, zealous, Perennial, blameless, ever-during."
And the same, tacitly vilifying the idolatry of the multitude, adds:--
"Base is every one who looks to opinion, With the view of deriving any good from it."
We are not, then, to think of God according to the opinion of the multitude.
"For I do not think that secretly, Imitating the guise of a scoundrel, He would go to thy bed as a man,"
says Amphion to Antiope. And Sophocles plainly writes:--
"His mother Zeus espoused, Not in the likeness of gold, nor covered With swan's plumage, as the Pleuronian girl He impregnated; but an out and out man."
He further proceeds, and adds:--
"And quick the adulterer stood on the bridal steps."
Then he details still more plainly the licentiousness of the fabled Zeus:--
"But he nor food nor cleansing water touched, But heart-stung went to bed, and that whole night Wantoned."
But let these be resigned to the follies of the theatre.
Heraclitus plainly says: "But of the word which is eternal men are not able to understand, both before they have heard it, and on first hearing it." And the lyrist Melanippides says in song:--
"Hear me, O Father, Wonder of men, Ruler of the ever-living soul."
And Parmenides the great, as Plato says in the Sophist writes of God thus:- -
"Very much, since unborn and indestructible He is, Whole, only-begotten, and immoveable, and unoriginated."
Hesiod also says:--
"For He of the immortals all is King and Lord. With God  none else in might may strive."
Nay more, Tragedy, drawing away from idols, teaches to look up to heaven. Sophocles, as Hecataeus, who composed the histories in the work about Abraham and the Egyptians, says, exclaims plainly on the stage:--
"One in very truth, God is One, Who made the heaven and the far-stretching earth, The Deep's blue billow, and the might of winds. But of us mortals, many erring far In heart, as solace for our woes, have raised Images of gods--of stone, or else of brass, Or figures wrought of gold or ivory; And sacrifices and vain festivals To these appointing, deem ourselves devout."
And Euripides on the stage, in tragedy, says:--
"Dost thou this lofty, boundless Ether see, Which holds the earth around in the embrace Of humid arms? This reckon Zeus, And this regard as God."
And in the drama of Pirithous, the same writes those lines in tragic vein:- -
"Thee, self-sprung, who on Ether's wheel Hast universal nature spun, Around whom Light and dusky spangled Night, The countless host of stars, too, ceaseless dance."
For there he says that the creative mind is self-sprung. What follows applies to the universe, in which are the opposites of light and darkness.
AEschylus also, the son of Euphorion, says with very great solemnity of God:--
"Ether is Zeus, Zeus earth, and Zeus the heaven; The universe is Zeus, and all above."
I am aware that Plato assents to Heraclitus, who writes: "The one thing that is wise alone will not be expressed, and means the name of Zeus." And again, "Law is to obey the will of one." And if you wish to adduce that saying, "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear," you will find it expressed by the Ephesian to the following effect: "Those that hear without understanding are like the deaf. The proverb witnesses against them, that when present they are absent."
But do you want to hear from the Greeks expressly of one first principle? Timaeus the Locrian, in the work on Nature, shall testify in the following words: "There is one first principle of all things unoriginated. For were it originated, it would be no longer the first principle; but the first principle would be that froth which it originated." For this true opinion was derived from what follows: "Hear," it is said, "0 Israel; the LORD thy God is one, and Him only shalt thou serve."
"Lo He all sure and all unerring is,"
says the Sibyl.
Homer also manifestly mentions the Father and the Son by a happy hit of divination in the following words:--
"If outis, alone as thou art, offers thee violence, And there is no escaping disease sent by Zeus, For the Cyclopes heed not Aegis-bearing Zeus."
And before him Orpheus said, speaking of the in hand:--
"Son of great Zeus, Father of Aegis-bearing Zeus."
And Xenocrates the Chalcedonian, who mentions the supreme Zeus and the inferior Zeus, leaves an indication of the Father and the Son. Homer, while representing the gods as subject to human passions, appears to know the Divine Being, whom Epicurus does not so revere. He says accordingly:--
"Why, son of Peleus, mortal as thou art, With swift feet me pursuest, a god Immortal? Hast thou not yet known That I am a god?"
For he shows that the Divinity cannot be captured by a mortal, or apprehended either with feet, or hands, or eyes, or by the body at all. "To whom have ye likened the Lord? or to what likeness have ye likened Him?" says the Scripture. Has not the artificer made the image? or the goldsmith, melting the gold, has gilded it, and what follows.
The comic poet Epicharmus speaks in the Republic clearly of the Word in the following terms:--
"The life of men needs calculation and number alone, And we live by number and calculation, for these save mortals."
He then adds expressly:--
"Reason governs mortals, and alone preserves manners."
"There is in man reasoning; and there is a divine Reason. Reason is implanted in man to provide for life and sustenance, But divine Reason attends the arts in the case of all, Teaching them always what it is advantageous to do. For it was not man that discovered art, but God brought it; And the Reason of man derives its origin from the divine Reason."
The Spirit also cries by Isaiah: "Wherefore the multitude of sacrifices? saith the LORD. I am full of holocausts of rams, and the fat of lambs and the blood of bulls I wish not;" and a little after adds: "Wash you, and be clean. Put away wickedness from your souls," and so forth.
Menander, the comic poet, writes in these very words:--
"If one by offering sacrifice, a crowd Of bulls or kids, O Pamphilus, by Zeus. Or such like things; by making works of art, Garments of gold or purple, images Of ivory or emerald, deems by these God can be made propitious, he does err, And has an empty mind. For the man must prove A man of worth, who neither maids deflowers, Nor an adulterer is, nor steals, nor kills For love of worldly wealth, O Pamphilus. Nay, covet not a needle's thread. For God Thee sees, being near beside thee."...
"I am a God at hand," it is said by Jeremiah, "and not a God afar off. Shall a man do aught in secret places, and I shall not see him ?"
And again Menunder, paraphrasing that Scripture, "Sacrifice a sacrifice of righteousness, and trust in the Lord," thus writes:--
"And not a needle even that is Another's ever covet, dearest friend; For God in righteous works delights, and so Permits him to increase his worldly wealth, Who toils, and ploughs the land both night and day. But sacrifice to God, and righteous be, Shining not in bright robes, but in thy heart; And when thou hear'st the thunder, do not flee, Being conscious to thyself of nought amiss, Good sir, for thee God ever present sees."
"Whilst thou art yet speaking," says the Scripture, "I will say, Lo, here I am." 
Again Diphilus, the comic poet, discourses as, follows on the judgment:--
"Think'st thou, O Niceratus, that the dead, Who in all kinds of luxury in life have shared, Escape the Deity, as if forgot? There is an eye of justice, which sees all. For two ways, as we deem, to Hades lead-- One for the good, the other for the bad. But if the earth hides both for ever, then Go plunder, steal, rob, and be turbulent. But err not. For in Hades judgment is, Which God the Lord of all will execute, Whose name too dreadful is for me to name, Who gives to sinners length of earthly life. If any mortal thinks, that day by day, While doing ill, he eludes the gods keen sight, His thoughts are evil; and when justice has The leisure, he shall then detected be So thinking. Look, whoe'er you be that say That there is not a God. There is, there is. If one, by nature evil, evil does, Let him redeem the time; for such as he Shall by and by due punishment receive."
And with this agrees the tragedy in the following lines:--
"For there shall come, shall come that point of time, When Ether, golden-eyed, shall ope its store Of treasured fire; and the devouring flame, Raging, shall burn all things on earth below, And all above."...
And after a little he adds:--
"And when the whole world fades, And vanished all the abyss of ocean's waves, And earth of trees is bare; and wrapt in flames, The air no more begets the winged tribes; Then He who all destroyed, shall all restore."
We shall find expressions similar to these also in the Orphic hymns, written as follows: --
"For having hidden all, brought them again To gladsome light, forth from his sacred heart, Solicitous."
And if we live throughout holily and righteously, we are happy here, and shall be happier after our departure hence; not possessing happiness for a time, but enabled to rest in eternity.
"At the same hearth and table as the rest Of the immortal gods, we sit all free Of human ills, unharmed,"
says the philosophic poetry of Empedocles. And so, according to the Greeks, none is so great as to be above judgment, none so insignificant as to escape its notice.
And the same Orpheus speaks thus:--
"But to the word divine, looking, attend, Keeping aright the heart's receptacle Of intellect, and tread the straight path well, And only to the world's immortal King Direct thy gaze."
And again, respecting God, saying that He was invisible, and that He was known to but one, a Chaldean by race--meaning either by this Abraham or his son--he speaks as follows:--
"But one a scion of Chaldean race; For he the sun's path knew right well, And how the motion of the sphere about The earth proceeds, in circle moving Equally around its axis, how the winds Their chariot guide o'er air and sea."
Then, as if paraphrasing the expression, "Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool," he adds :--
"But in great heaven, He is seated firm Upon a throne of gold, and neath His feet The earth. His right hand round the ocean's bound He stretches; and the hills' foundations shake To the centre at His wrath, nor can endure His mighty strength. He all celestial is, And all things finishes upon the earth. He the Beginning, Middle is, and End. But Thee I dare not speak. In limbs And mind I tremble. He rules from on high."
And so forth. For in these he indicates these prophetic utterances: "If Thou openest the heaven, trembling shall seize the mountains from Thy presence; and they shall melt, as wax melteth before the fire;" and in Isaiah, "Who hath measured the heaven with a span, and the whole earth with His fist ?Again, when it is said :--
"Ruler of Ether, Hades, Sea, and Land, Who with Thy bolts Olympus' strong-built home Dost shake. Whom demons dread, and whom the throng Of gods do fear. Whom, too, the Fates obey, Relentless though they be. O deathless One, Our mother's Sire I whose wrath makes all things reel; Who mov'st the winds, and shroud'st in clouds the world, Broad Ether cleaving with Thy lightning gleams,-- Thine is the order 'mongat the stars, which run As Thine unchangeable behests direct. Before Thy burning throne the angels wait, Much-working, charged to do all things, for men. Thy young Spring shines, all prank'd with purple flowers; Thy Winter with its chilling clouds assails; Three Autumn noisy Bacchus distributes."
Then he adds, naming expressly the Almighty God:--
"Deathless Immortal, capable of being To the immortals only uttered! Come, Greatest of gods, with strong Necessity. Dread, invincible, great, deathless One, Whom Ether crowns."...
By the expression "Sire of our Mother" (mhtropa'twr) he not only intimates creation out of nothing, but gives occasion to those who introduce emissions of imagining a consort of the Deity. And he paraphrases those prophetic Scriptures-- that in Isaiah, "I am He that fixes the thunder, and creates the wind; whose hands have rounded the host of heaven;" and that in Moses, "Behold, behold that I am He, and there is no god beside me: I will kill, and I will make to live; I will smite, and I will heal: and there is none that shall deliver out of my hands."
"And He, from good, to mortals planteth ill, And cruel war, and tearful woes,"
according to Orpheus.
Such also are the words of the Parian Archilochus.
"O Zeus, thine is the power of heaven, and thou Inflict'st on men things violent and wrong."
Again let the Thracian Orpheus sing to us:--
"His right hand all around to ocean's bound He stretches; and beneath His feet is earth."
These are plainly derived from the following: "The Lord will save the inhabited cities, and grasp the whole land in His hand like a nest; " "It is the Lord that made the earth by His power," as saith Jeremiah, "and set up the earth by His wisdom." Further, in addition to these, Phocylides, who calls the angels demons, explains in the following words that some of them are good, and others bad (for we also have learned that some are apostate):--
"Demons there are--some here, some there--set over men; Some, on rnan's entrance [into life], to ward off ill."
Rightly, then, also Philemon, the comic poet demolishes idolatry in these words:--
"Fortune is no divinity to us: There's no such god. But what befalls by chance And of itself to each, is Fortune called."
And Sophocles the tragedian says:--
"Not even the gods have all things as they choose, Excepting Zeus; for he beginning is and end."
And Orpheus: --
"One Might, the great, the flaming heaven, was One Deity. All things one Being were; in whom All these revolve fire, water, and the earth."
And so forth.
Pindar, the lyric poet, as if in Bacchic frenzy, plainly says:--
"What is God? The All."
"God, who makes all mortals."
And when he says,--
"How little, being a man, dost thou expect Wisdom for man? 'Tis hard for mortal mind The counsels of the gods to scan; and thou Wast of a mortal mother born,"
he drew the thought from the following: "Who hath known the mind of the LORD, or who was His counsellor?" Hesiod, too, agrees with what is said above, in what he writes:--
"No prophet, sprung of men that dwell on earth, Can know the mind of Aegis-bearing Zeus."
Similarly, then, Solon the Athenian, in the Elegies, following Hesiod, writes :--
"The immortal's mind to men is quite unknown."
Again Moses, having prophesied that the woman would bring forth in trouble and pain, on account of transgression, a poet not undistinguished writes:--
"Never by day From toil and woe shall they have rest, nor yet By night from groans. Sad cares the gods to men Shall give."
Further, when Homer says,--
"The Sire himself the golden balance held,"
he intimates that God is just.
And Menander, the comic poet, in exhibiting God, says:--
"To each man, on his birth, there is assigned A tutelary Demon, as his life's good guide. For that the Demon evil is, and harms A good life, is not to be thought."
Then he adds:--
"A'panta d' agatho`n ei^nai to`n Theo'n,"
meaning either "that every one good is God," or, what is preferable, "that God in all things is good."
Again, Aeschylus the tragedian, setting forth the power of God, does not shrink from calling Him the Highest, in these words:--
"Place God apart from mortals; and think not That He is,, like thyself, corporeal. Thou know st Him not. Now He appears as fire, Dread force; as water now; and now as gloom; And in the beasts is dimly shadowed forth, In wind, and cloud, in lightning, thunder, rain; And minister to Him the seas and rocks, Each fountain and the water's floods and streams. The mountains tremble, and the earth, the vast Abyss of sea, and towering height of hills, When on them looks the Sovereign's awful eye: Almighty is the glory of the Most High God. "
Does he not seem to you to paraphrase that text, "At the presence of the Lord the earth trembles?" In addition to these, the most prophetic Apollo is compelled--thus testifying to the glory of God--to say of Athene, when the Medes made war against Greece, that she besought and supplicated Zeus for Attica. The oracle is as follows:--
"Pallas cannot Olympian Zeus propitiate, Although with many words and sage advice she prays; But he will give to the devouring fire many temples of the immortals, Who now stand shaking with terror, and bathed in sweat; "
and so forth.
Thearidas, in his book On Nature, writes: "There was then one really true beginning [first principle] of all that exists--one. For that Being in the beginning is one and alone."
"Nor is there any other except the Great King,"
says Orpheus. In accordance with whom, the comic poet Diphilus says very sententiously, the
"Father of all, To Him alone incessant reverence pay, The inventor and the author of such blessings."
Rightly therefore Plato "accustoms the best natures to attain to that study which formerly we said was the highest, both to see the good and to accomplish that ascent. And this, as appears, is not the throwing of the potsherds; but the turning round of the soul from a nocturnal day to that which is a true return to that which really is, which we shall assert to be the true philosophy." Such as are partakers of this he judges to belong to the golden race, when he says: "Ye are all brethren; and those who are of the golden race are most capable of judging most accurately in every respect."
The Father, then, and Maker of all things is apprehended by all things, agreeably to all, by innate power and without teaching,--things inanimate, sympathizing with the animate creation; and of living beings some are. already immoral, working in the light of day. But of those that are still mortal, some are in fear, and carried still in their mother's womb; and others regulate themselves by their own independent reason. And of men all are Greeks and Barbarians. But no race anywhere of tillers of the soil, or nomads, and not even of dwellers in cities, can live, without being imbued with the faith of a superior being. Wherefore every eastern nation, and every nation touching the western shore; or the north, and each one towards the south,--all have one and the same preconception respecting Him who hath appointed government; since the most universal of His operations equally pervade all. Much more did the philosophers among the Greeks, devoted to investigation, starting from the Barbarian philosophy, attribute providence to the "Invisible, and sole, and most powerful, and most skilful and supreme cause of all things most beautiful; "--not knowing the inferences from these truths, unless instructed by us, and not even how God is to be known naturally; but only, as we have already often said, by a true periphrasis." Rightly therefore the apostle says, "Is He the God of the Jews only, and not also of the Greeks? "--not only saying prophetically that of the Greeks believing Greeks would know God; but also intimating that in power the Lord is the God of all, and truly Universal King. For they know neither what He is, nor how He is Lord, and Father, and Maker, nor the rest of the system of the truth, without being taught by it. Thus also the prophetic utterances have the same force as the apostolic word. For Isaiah says, "If ye say, We trust in the LORD our God: now make an alliance with my Lord the king of the Assyrians." And he adds: "And now, was it without the LORD that we came up to this land to make war against it?" And Jonah, himself a prophet, intimates the same thing in what he says: "And the shipmaster came to him, and said to him, Why dost thou snore? Rise, call on thy God, that He may save us, and that we may not perish."' For the expression "thy God" he makes as if to one who knew Him by way of knowledge; and the expression, "that God may save us," revealed the consciousness in the minds of heathens who had applied their mind to the Ruler of all, but had not yet believed. And again the same: "And he said to them, I am the servant of the LORD; and I fear the LORD, the God of heaven." And again the same: "And he said, Let us by no means perish for the life of this man." And Malachi the prophet plainly exhibits God saying, "I will not accept sacrifice at your hands. For from the rising of the sun to its going down, My name is glorified among the Gentiles; and in every place sacrifice is offered to Me." And again: "Because I am a great King, saith the LORD omnipotent; and My name is manifest among the nations." What name? The Son declaring the Father among the Greeks who have believed.
Plato in what follows gives an exhibition of free-will: "Virtue owns not a master; and in proportion as each one honours or dishonours it, in that proportion he will be a partaker of it. The blame lies in the exercise of free choice." But God is blameless. For He is never the author of evil.
"O warlike Trojans," says the lyric poet, -- "High ruling Zeus, who beholds all things, Is not the cause of great woes to mortals; But it is in the power of all men to find Justice, holy, pure, Companion of order, And of wise Themis The sons of the blessed are ye In finding her as your associate."
And Pindar expressly introduces also Zeus Soter, the consort of Themis, proclaiming him King, Saviour, Just, in the following lines:--
"First, prudent Themis, of celestial birth, On golden steeds, by Ocean's rock, The Fates brought to the stair sublime, The shining entrance of Olympus, Of Saviour Zeus for aye to be the spouse, And she, the Hours, gold-diademed, fair-fruited, good, brought forth.''
He, then, who is not obedient to the truth, and is puffed up with human teaching, is wretched and miserable, according to Euripides:--
"Who these things seeing, yet apprehends not God, But mouthing lofty themes, casts far Perverse deceits; stubborn in which, the tongue Its shafts discharges, about things unseen, Devoid of sense."
Let him who wishes, then, approaching to the true instruction, learn from Parmenides the Eleatic, who promises:--
"Ethereal nature, then, and all the signs In Ether thou shall know, and the effects, All viewless, of the sacred Sun's clear torch And whence produced. The round-eyed Moon's Revolving influences and nature thou Shall learn; and the ensphering heaven shall know; Whence sprung; and how Necessity took it And chained so as to keep the starry bounds."
And Metrodorus, though an Epicurean, spoke thus, divinely inspired: "Remember, O Menestratus, that, being a mortal endowed with a circumscribed life, thou hast in thy soul ascended, till thou hast seen endless time, and the infinity of things; and what is to be, and what has been;" when with the blessed choir, according to Plato, we shall gaze on the blessed sight and vision; we following with Zeus, and others with other deities, if we may be permitted so to say, to receive initiation into the most blessed mystery: which we shall celebrate, ourselves being perfect and untroubled by the ills which awaited us at the end of our time; and introduced to the knowledge of perfect and tranquil visions, and contemplating them in pure sunlight; we ourselves pure, and now no longer distinguished by that, which, when carrying it about, we call the body, being bound to it like an oyster to its shell.
The Pythagoreans call heaven the Antichthon[the opposite Earth]. And in this land, it is said by Jeremiah, "I will place thee among the children, and give thee the chosen land as inheritance of God Omnipotent; " and they who herit it shall reign over the earth. Myriads on myriads of examples rush on my mind which might adduce. But for the sake of symmetry the discourse must now stop, in order that we may not exemplify the saying of Agatho the tragedian:--
"Treating our by-work as work, And doing our work as by-work."
It having been, then, as I think, clearly shown in what way it is to be understood that the Greeks were called thieves by the Lord, I willingly leave the dogmas of the philosophers. For were we 'to go over their sayings, we should gather together directly such a quantity of notes, in showing that the whole of the Hellenic wisdom was derived from the Barbarian philosophy. But this speculation, we shall, nevertheless, again touch on, as necessity requires, when we collect the opinions current among the Greeks respecting first principles.
But from what has been said, it tacitly devolves on us to consider in what way the Hellenic books are to be perused by the man who is able to pass through the billows in them. Therefore
"Happy is he who possesses the wealth of the divine mind,"
as appears according to Empedocles,
"But wretched he, who cares for dark opinion about the Gods."
He divinely showed knowledge and ignorance to be the boundaries of happiness and misery. "For it behoves philosophers to be acquainted with very many things," according to Heraclitus; and truly must
"He, who seeks to be good, err in many things."
It is then, now clear to us, from what has been said, that the beneficence of God is eternal, and that, from an unbeginning principle, equal natural righteousness reached all, according to the worth of each several race,--never having had a beginning. For God did not make a beginning of being Lord and Good, being always what He is. Nor will He ever cease to do good, although He bring all things to an end. And each one of us is a partaker of His beneficence, as far as He wills. For the difference of the elect is made by the intervention of a choice worthy of the soul, and by exercise.
Thus, then, let our fifth Miscellany of gnostic notes in accordance with the true philosophy be brought to a close.
Electronic Format and Graphics Copyright © by The Kolbe Foundation August 14, 1999
Represented by The Ewing Law Center and Guardian Angel Legal Services