then raises a heavy swell and great disturbance in the water, and upsets the ship; and the sea, which was in no respect the cause of what has happened is blamed for it, though it notoriously is either calm or stormy according to the gentleness or violence of the winds."

· By all these considerations I think it has been abundantly shown, that nature has made reason the most powerful coadjutor of man, and has made him, who is able to make a proper use of it, happy and truly rational ; but bim who has not this faculty, she has rendered irrational and unhappy.



XII. “And Adam knew his wife, and she conceived and brought forth Cain; and she said I have gotten a man by means of the Lord; and he caused her also to bring forth Abel bis brother."* Those men, to whose virtue the Jewish legislator bears testimony, he does not represent as knowing their wives, such as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and if there are any others of like zeal with them ; for since we say, that woman is to be understood symbolically as the outward sense, and since knowledge consists in alienation from the outward sense and from the body, it is plain that the lovers of wisdom must repudinte the outward sense rather thau choose it, and is not this quite natural ? for they who live with these men are in name indeed wives, but in fact virtues. Sarah is princess and guide, Rebecca is perseverance in what is good ; Leah again is virtue, fainting and weary at the long continu. ance of exertion, which every foolish man declines, and avoids, and repudiates; and Zipporah, the wife of Moses, is virtue, mjunting up from earth to heaven, and arriving at a just comprehension of the divine and blessed virtues which exist there, and she is called a biid.,

But that we may describe the conception and the parturition of virtues, let the superstitious either stop their ears, or else let them depart; for we are about to teach those initiated per. sons who are worthy of the knowledge of the most sacred mys.

• Gen, sis iv. 1.

teries, the whole nature of such divine and secret ordi. nances. And those who are thus worthy are they who, with al! modesty, practise genuine piety, of that sort which scorns to disguise itself under any false colours. But we will not act the part of hierophant or expounder of sacred mysteries to those who are afflicted with the incurable disease of pride of language and quibbling expressions, and juggling tricks of manners, and who measure sanctity and holiness by no other standard.

XIII. But we must begin our explanation of these myste. ries in this way. A husband unites with his wife, and the male human being with the female human being in a union which tends to the generation of children, in strict accordance with and obedience to nature. But it is not lawful for virtues, which are the parents of many perfect things, to associate with a mortal husband. But they, without having received the power of generation from any other being, will never be able by themselves alone to conceive any thing. Who, then, is it who sows good seed in them, except the Father of the universe, the uncreated God, he who is the parent of all things? This, therefore, is the being who sows, and presently he bestows his own offspring, which he himself did sow; for God creates nothing for himself

, inasmuch as he is in need of nothing, but he creates every thing for him who is able to take it.

And I will bring forward as a competent witness in proof of what I have said, the most holy Moses.* For he introduces Sarah as conceiving a son when God beheld her by himself; but he represents her as bringing forth her son, not to him who beheld her then, but to him who was eager to attain to wisdom, and his name is called Abraham. And he teaches the same lesson more plainly in the case of Leah, where he says that “God opened her womb." + But to open the womb is the especial business of the husband. And she having conceived, brought forth, not to God, for he alone is sufficient and all-abundant for himself, but to him who underwent labour for the sake of that which is good, namely, for Jacob; so that in this instance virtue received the divine seed from the great Cause of all things, but brought forth her offspring to one of her lovers, who deserved to be preferred to all her other suitors. I

Genesis xxi. 1. of Genesis xxix. 13. # Genesis xxv. 21.

Again, when the all-wise Isaac addressed his supplications to God, Rebecca, who is perseverance, became pregnant by the agency of him who received the supplication ; but Moses, who received Zipporah,* that is to say, winged and sublime virtue, without any supplication or entreaty on his part, found that she conceived by no mortal man.

XIV. Now I bid ye, initiated men, who are purified, as to your ears, to receive these things, as mysteries which are really sacred, in your inmost souls ; and reveal them not to any one who is of the number of the uninitiated, but guard themi as a sacred treasure, laging them up in your own hearts, not in a storehouse in which are gold and silver, perishable substances, but in that treasure-house in which the most excellent of all the possessions in the world does lie, the knowledge namely of the great first Cause, and of virtue, and in the third place, of the generation of them both. And if ever you meet with any one who has been properly initiated, cling to that man affectionately and adhere to him, that if he has learnt any moru recent mystery he may not conceal it, from you before you have learnt to comprehend it thoroughly. For I myself, having been initiated in the great mysteries by Moses, the friend of God, nevertheless, when subsequently I beheld Jeremiah the prophet, and learnt that he was not only initiated ivto the sacred mysteries, but was also a competent hierophant or expounder of them, did not hesitate to become his pupil. And he, like a man very much under the influence of inspiration,.uttered an oracle in the character of God, speaking in this manner to most peaceful virtue: “Hast thou not called me as thy house, and thy father, and the husband of thy virginity ?"+ showing by this expression most manifestly that God is both a house, the incorporeal abode of incorporeal ideas, and the Father of all things, inasmuch as it is he who has created them; and the husband of wisdom, sowing for the race of mankind the seed of happiness in good and virgin soily For it is fitting for God to converse with an unpolluted and untouched and pure nature, in truth and reality virgin, in a different manner from that in which we converse with such. For the association of men, with a view to the procreation of children, makes virgins women. But when God begins to associate with the soul, he makes that which was previously • Exodus il. 21.

† Jeromiah lil. 4.

woman now again virgin. Since banishing and destroying all the degenerate appetites unbecoming a human being, by which it had been made effeminate, he introduces in their stead genuine, and perfect, and unadulterated virtues; therefore, he will not converse with Sarah before all the babits, such as other women have, have left her, and till she has returned into the class of pure virgins.

XV. But it is, perhaps, possible that in some cases a virgin soul may be polluted by intemperate passions, and so become impure. On which account the sacred oracle has been cautious, calling God the husband, not of a virgin, for a virgin is subject w change and to mortality, but of virginity; of an idea, that is to say, which is always existing in the same principles and in the same manner. For as all things endowed with distinctive qualities are by nature liable to origination and to destruction, so those archetypal powers, which are the makers of those par. ticular things, have received an imperishable inheritance in their turn. Therefore is it seemly that the uncreated and unchangeable God should ever sow the ideas of immortal and virgin virtues in a woman who is transformed into the appear. ance of virginity? Why, then, O soul, since it is right for you to dwell as a virgin in the house of God, and to cleave to wisdom, do you stand aloof from these things, and rather embrace the outward sense, which makes you effeminate and pollutes you? Therefore, you shall bring forth an offspring altogether polluted and altogether destructive, the fratricidal and accursed Cuin, a possession not to be sought after ; for the nano Cain being interpreted means possession.

XVI. And one may wonder at the kind of narration which the Jewish lawgiver frequently employs in many instances, where he departs from the usual style. For after giving the history of those parents of the human race who were created out of the earth, he begins to relate the story of the first born of human parents, concerning whom he says absolutely nothing, as if he had already frequently mentioned his name, and were not now bringing it forward for the first time. Accordingly, he simply says that “ she brought forth Cain." What sort of being was he, O writer; and what have you ever said about him before of either great or small importance? And yet you are not ignorant of the importance of a proper application of

• Genesis xviii. ll.


For before this time, as you proceed in your history, you show this, when speaking in reference to the same persou you say, “And Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and brought forth a son, and she called his name Seth."* Therefore it was much more necessary in the case of the firstborn, who was the beginning of the generation of men from one another, to display the nature of him who was thus conceived and born, in the first place showing that he was a male child, and secondly mentioning his peculiar name, Cain. Since, therefore, it was not owing to inexperience or to ignorance of according to what persons he ought to give names, that he appears to have discarded his usual practice in the case of Cain, we must now consider on what account he thus named those who were born of our first parents, rather mentioning the name in an incidental way than actually giving it. And the cause, as it appears to me, according to the best conjecture that I can form, is this.

XVII. All the rest of the human race gives names to things which are different from the things themselves, so that the thing which we see is one thing, but the name which we give it is another ; but in the history of Moses the names which he affixes to things are the most conspicuous energies of the things themselves, so that the thing itself is at once of necessity its name, and is in no respect different from the name which is imposed on it. And you may learn this more clearly from the previous example which I have inentioned. When the mind which is in us, and let it be called Adam, meet. ing with the outward sense, according to which all living creatures appear to exist (and that is called Eve), baving conceived a desire for connection, is associated with this outward sense, that one conceives as in a net, and hunts after the external object of outward sense naturally. For by means of the eyes it arrives at a conception of colour, by the ears it conceives sound, by the nostrils it arrives at a conception of smells, of flavours by the organs of taste, and of all substance by those of touch ; and having thus conceived it becomes preg. nant, and immediately it is in labour, and brings forth the greatest of all the evils of the soul, namely, vain opinion, for it conceives an opinion that everything that it has seen, that it has heard, that it has tasted, that it has smelled, or that it has

# Genesis iv, 26.

« VorigeDoorgaan »