the holes of the entire earth; and he commanded dry land to appear, that liquid which had any sweetness in it being left in it to secure its durability. For this sweet liquid, in due proportions, is as a sort of glue for the different substances, preventing the earth from being utterly dried up, and so becoming unproductive and barren, and causing it, like a mother, to furnish not only one kind of nourishment, namely moat, but both sorts at once, so as to supply its offspring with both meat and drink; wherefore he filled it with veins, resembling breasts, which, being provided with openings, were destined to pour forth springs and rivers. And in the same way he extended the invisible irrigations of dex pervading every portion of arable and deep-soiled land, to contribute to the most liberal and plenteous supply of fruits. Having arranged these things, he gave them names, calling the dry, “ land," and the water which was separated from it he called “sea."

XII. After this he began to adorn the land, for he bade it bring forth grass, and boar corn, producing every kind of herb, and plains clothed with verdure, and everything which was calculated to be fodder for cattle, or food for men. Moreover he commanded every kind of tree to spring up, omitting no kind, either of those which are wild or of those which are called cultivated. And simultaneously with their first production he loaded them all with fruit, in a manner different from that which exists at present; for now the different fruits are produced in turn, at different seasons, and not all together at one time; for who is there who does not know that Arst of all comes the sowing and the planting; and, in the second

growth of what has been sown and planted, in some cases the plants extending their roots downwards like foundations, and in others raising themselves upwards to a height and displaying long stalks ? · After that come the buds, and the putting forth of leaves, and then after everything else comes the production of fruit. And again, the fruit when first produced is not perfect, but it contains in itself all kinds of change, with reference both to its quantity in regard of magnitude, and to its qualities in its multiform appearance : for the fruit is produced at first like indivisible grains, which are hardly visible from their diminutive size, and which one might correctly enough pronounce to be the first things por.

place, the

ceptible by the external senses ; and afterwards by little and litile, from the nourishment conveyed in channels, which waters the tree, and from the wholesome effect of the breezes, which blow air at the same time cold and gentle, the fruit is gradually vivified, and nursed up, and increased, advancing onward to its perfect size ; and with its change of magnitude it changes also its qualities, as if it were diversified with varying colours by pictorial science.

XIII. But in the first creation of the universe, as I have said already, God produced the whole race of trees out of the earth in full perfection, having their fruit not incomplete but in a state of entire ripeness, to be ready for the immediate and undelayed use and enjoyment of the animals which were about immediately to be born. Accordingly he commanded the earth to produce these things. And the earth, as though it had for a long time been pregnant and travailing, produced erery sort of seed, and every sort of tree, and also of fruit, in unspoakable abundance; and not only were these produced fruits to be food for living animals, but enough also to serve as a preparation for the continuous production of similar fruits hereafter; covering substances consisting of seed, in which are the principles of all plants undistinguishable and invisible, but destined hereafter to become manifest and visible in the periodical maturity of the fruit. For God thought fit to endue nature with a long duration, making the races that he was creating immortal, and giving them a participation in eternity. On which account he led on and hastened the beginning towards the end, and caused the end to turn backwards to the beginning: for from plants comes fruit, as the end might come from the beginning; and from the fruit comes the seed, which again contains the plant within itself, so that a fresh beginning may come from the end.

XIV. And on the fourth day, after he had embellished the earth, he diversified and adorned the heaven : not giving the precedence to the inferior nature by arranging the heaven subsequently to the earth, or thinking that which was the more excellent and the more divine worthy only of the second place, but acting thus for the more manifest demonstration of the power of his dominion. For he foreknew with respect to men who were not yet born, what sort of beings they would be as to their opinions, forming conjectures on what was

likely and probable, of which the greater part would be reason. able, though falling short of the character of unadulterated truth; and trusting rather to visible phenomena than to God, and admiring sophistry rather than wisdom. And again he knew that surveying the periods of the sun and moon, to which are owing the summers and winters, and the alternations of spring and autumn, they would conceive the revolutions of the stars in heaven to be the causes of all the things which every year should be produced and generated on the earth, accordingly that no one might venture either through shanno less impudence or inordinate ignorance to attribute to any created thing the primary causes of things, he said: “Let them run over in their minds the first creation of the universe, when, before the sun or the moon existed, the earth brought forth all kinds of plants and all kinds of fruits : and seeing

his in their minds let them hope that it will again also bring forth such, according to the appointment of the Father, when it shall seem good to him, without his having need of the aid of any

of the sons of men beneath the heavens, to whom he has given powers, though not absolute ones." For as a chario teer holding the reins, or a helmsman with his hand upon the rudder, he guides everything as he pleases, in accordance with law and justice, needing no one else as his assistant; for all things are possible to God.

XV. This is the cause why the earth bore fruit and berbs before God proceeded to adorn the heaven. And next the heaven was embellished in the perfect number four, and if any one were to pronounce this number the origin and source of the all-perfect decade he would not err. For what the decade is in actuality, that the number four, as it seems, is in potentiality, at all events if the numerals from the unit to four* are placed together in order, they will make ten, which is the limit of the number of immensity, around which the pumbers wheel and turn as around a goal.

Moreover the number four also comprehends the principlos of the harmonious concords in music, that in fours, and in

* By addition, that is 1



fifths, and the diapason, and besides this the double diapason from which sounds the most perfect system of harmony is produced. For the ratio of the sounds in fourths is as four to three ; and in fifths as three to two; and in the diapason that ratio is doubled : and in the double diapason it is increased fourfold, all which ratios the number four comprehends. At all events the first, or the epistritus, is the ratio of four to three ; the second, or the hemiolius, is that of three to two : the twofold ratio is that of two to one, or four to two: and the fourfold ratio is that of four to one.

XVI. There is also another power of the number four which is a most wonderful one to speak of and to contemplate. For it was this number that first displayed the nature of the solid cube, the numbers before four being assigned only to incorpo real things. For it is according to the unit that that thing is reckoned which is spoken of in geometry as a point: and a line is spoken of according to the number two, because it is arranged by nature from a point; and a line is length without breadth. But when breadth is added to it, it becomes a superficies, which is arranged according to the number three. And a superficies, when compared with the nature of a solid cube, wants one thing, namely depth, and when this one thing is allded to the three, it becomes four. On which account it has happened that this number is a thing of great importance, inasmuch as from an incorporeal substance perceptible only by intellect, it has led us on to a comprehension of a body divisible in a threefold manner, and which by its own nature is first perceived by the external senses. And he who does not comprehend what is here said may learn to understand it from a game which is very common. Those who play with nuts are accustomed when they have placed three nuts on the floor, to place one mure on the top of them producing a figure like a pyramid. Accordingly the triangle stands on the door, arranged up to the number three, and the nut which is placed upon it makes up four in number, and in figure it produces a pyramid, being now a solid body.

And in addition to this there is this point also of which we should not be ignorant, the number four is the first number which is a square, being equal on all sides, the measure of justice and equality. And that it is the only number the nature of which is such that it is produced by the same numbers

whether in combination, or in power. In combination when two and two are added together; and again in powor when we speak of twice two;" and in this it displays an exceedingly beautiful kind of harmony, which is not the lot of any other uumber.

If we examine the number six which is composed of two threes, if these two numbers are multiplied it is not the number six that is produced, but a different one, the number nine. And the number four has many other powers also, which we must subsequently show more accurately in a separate essay appropriated to it. At present it is sufficient to add this that it was the foundation of the creation of the whole heaven and the whole world. For the four elements, out of which this universe was made, flowed from the number four as from a fountain. And in addition to the four elements the seasons of the year are also four, which are the causes of the generation of animals and plants, the year being divided into the

quadruple division of winter, and spring, and summer, and autumn.

XVII. The aforesaid number therefore being accounted worthy of such pre eminence in nature, the Creator of necessity adorned the beaven by the number four, namely by that most beautiful and most godlike ornament the light-giving stars. And knowing that of all existing things light is the most excellent, he made it the instrument of the best of all the senses, sight. For what the mind is in the soul, that the eye is in the body. For each of them sees, the one beholding those existing things which are perceptible only to the intellect, and the other those which are perceptible to the external senses.

But the mind is in need of knowledge in order to distinguish incorporeal things, and the eyes have need of light in order to be able to perceive bodies, and light is also the

cause of many other good things to men, and particularly of the greatest, namely philosophy. For the sight being sent upwards by light aud beholding the nature of the stars and their harmonious movement, and the well-ordered-revolutions of the fixed stars, and of the planets, some always revolving in the saine manner and coming to the same places, and others having double periods in an anomalous and somewhat contrary manner, beholding also, the harmonious dances of all these bodies arranged according to the laws of perfect music, causes au ineffable

* Thus 2+2=4, or 2x 24.

« VorigeDoorgaan »