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is fitting for one who has no connection with another to stand at a distance, and to be separated from hini, but he who is connected with him should stand near to him. And to stand, and to have an unchangeable mind comes very near to the power of God, since the Divinity is unchangeable, but that which is created is intrinsically and essentially changeable. Therefore, if any one, restraining the changeableness natural to all created things by his love of knowledge, has been able to put such violence on any thing as to cuuse it to stand firm, let him be sure that he has come near to the happiness of the Deity.
But God very appropriately assigns to the cherubim and to the flaming sword a city or abode in front of Paradise, not as to enemies about to oppose and to fight him, but rather as to near connections and friends, in order that in consequence of a continued sight and contemplation of one another, the two powers might conceive an affection for one anotlier, the allbounteous God inspiring them with a winged and heavenly love.
VII. But we must now consider what the figurative allusions are which are enigmatically expressed in the mention of the cherubim and of the flaming sword which turned every way. May we not say that Moses here introduces under a figure an intimation of the revolutions of the whole heaven? For the spheres in heaven received a motion in opposite directions to one another, the one sphere receiving a fixed motion towards the right hand, but the sphere of the other side receiving a wandering motion towards the left. But that outermost circle of what are called the fixed stars is one sphere, which also proceeds in a fixed periodical revolution from east to west. But the interior circle of the seven planets, whose course is at the same time compulsory and voluntary, has two motions, which are to a certain degree contrary to one another. And one of these motions is involuntary, like that of the planets. For they appear every day proceeding onwards from the east to the west.
But their peculiar and voluntary motion is from west to east, according to which last motion we find that the periods of the seven planets have received their exact measure of time, moving on in an equal course, as the Sun, and Lucifer, and what is called Stilbon. For these three planets are of equal speod; but some of the others are unequal in point of
time, but preserve a certain sort of relative proportion to one another and to the other three which have been mentioned.
Accordingly, by one of the cherubim is understood the extreme outermost circumference of the entire heaven, in which the fixed stars celebrate their truly divine dance, which always proceeds on similar principles and is always the same, without erer leaving the order which the Father, who created them, appointed for them in the world.
But the other of the cherubim is the inner sphere which is contained within that previously mentioned, which God origin. ally divided in two parts, and created seven orbits, bearing a certnin definite proportion to one another, and he adapted each of the planets to one of these ; and then, having placed each of these stars in its proper orbit, like a driver in a chariot, he did not entrust the reins to any one of them, fearing that some inharmonious sort of management might be the result, but he made them all to depend upon himself, thinking that, by that arraugement, the character of their motion would be rendered most harmonious. For every thing which exists in combination with God is deserving of praise; but every thing which exists without him is faulty.
VIII. This, then, is one of the systems, acccording to which what is said of the cherubim may be understood allegorically. But we must suppose that the sword, consisting of flame and always turning in every direction, intimates their motion and the everlasting agitation of the entire heaven. And may we nut say, according to another way of understanding this alle. gory, that the two cherubim are meant as symbols of each of the hemispheres ? For they say that they stand face to face, inclining towards the mercy-seat ; since the two hemispheres are also exactly opposite to one another, and incline towards the earth which is the centre of the whole universe, by which, also, they are kept apart from one another.
But the only one of all the parts of the world that stands firmly was most appropriately named Vesta* by the ancients, in order that there might be an excellently arranged revolution of the two hemispheres around some object firmly fixed in the middle. And the flaming sword is a symbol of the sun ; fur as he is a collection of an immense body of flame; he is
* In Greek• orin, as starding (dorioa.)
the swiftest of all existing things, to such a degree that in one day he revolves round the whole world.
IX. I have also, on one occasion, heard a more ingenious train of reasoning from my own soul, which was accustomed frequently to be seized with a certain divine inspiration, even concerning matters which it could not explain even to itself ; which now, if I am able to remember it accurately, I will relate. It told me that in the one living and true God there were two supremo and primary powers—goodness and authority; and that by his goodness he had created every thing, and by his authority he governed all that he had created ; and that the third thing which was between the two, and had the effect of bringing them together was reason, for that it was owing to reason that God was both a ruler and good.
Now, of this ruling authority and of this goodness, being two distinct powers,
the cherubim were the symbols, but of reason the flaming sword was the symbol. For reason is a thing capable of rapid motion and impetuous, and especially the reason of the Creator of all things is so, inasmuch as it was before everything and passed by everything, and was conceived before everything, and appears in everything. And do thou, O my mind, receive the impression of each of these cherubims unadulterated, that thus becoming thoroughly instructed about the ruling authority of the Creator of all things and about his goodness, thou mayest receive a happy inheritance; for immediately thou shalt understand the conjunction and combination of these imperishable powers, and learn in what respects God is good, his majesty arising from his sovereign power being all the time conspicuous; and in what be is powerful, his goodness, being equally the object of attention, that in this way thou mayest attain to the virtues which are engendered by these conceptions, namely, a love and a reverential awe of God, neither being uplifted to arrogance by any prosperity which may befull thee, having regard always to the greatness of the sovereignty of thy King; nor abjectly giving up hope of better things in the hour of unexpected misfortune, having regard, then, to the mercifulness of thy great and bounteous God. And let the flaming sword teach thee that these things might be followed by a prompt and fiery reason combined with action, which never ceases being in motion with rapidity and
energy to the selection of good objects, and the avoidance of all such as are evil.
X. Do you not see that even the wise Abraham, when he began to measure everything with a reference to God, and to leave nothing to the creature, took an imitation of the flaming sword, namely, "fire and a sword,”* being eager to slay and to burn that mortal creature which was born of him, that so being raised on high it might soar up to God, the intellect being thus disentangled from the body.
Moses also represents Balaam, who is the symbol of a vain people, stripped of his arms, as a runaway and deserter, well knowing the war which it becomes the soul to carry on for the sake of knowledge ; for he says to his ass, who is here a symbol of the irrational designs of life which every foolish man entertains, that “If I had had a sword, I should ere now have slain thee.”+ And great thanks are due to the Maker of all things, because he, knowing the struggles and resistance of folly, did not give to it the power of language, which would have been like giving a sword to a madman, in order that it might have no power to work great and iniquitous destruction among all whom it should meet with. But the reproaches which Balaam utters are in some degree expressed by all those who are not purified, but are always talking foolishly, devoting themselves to the life of a merchant, or of a farmer, or to some other business, the object of which is to provide the things necessary for life. As long, indeed, as everything goes on prosperously with respect to each individual, he mounts his animal joyfully and rides on cheerfully, and holding the reins firmly he will by no means consent to let them go. And if any one advises him to dismount and to set bounds to his appetites, because of his inability to kno'v what will befall him hereafter, he reproaches him with jealousy and envy, saying that he does not address him in this way out of good will. But when any unexpected misfortune overtakes him, he then looks upon those who have given him warning as good prophets and men able, above all others, to foresee the future, and lays the blame of his distress on what is absolutely the cause of no evil whatever, on agriculture, on commerce, or on any other pursuit which he may have thought fit to select for the purpose of making money. Genesis xxii. 6.
† Numbers xxii. 29.
XI. But these pursuits, although they are destitute of the organs of speech, will, nevertheless, through the medium of actions, utter a language clearer than any speech which proceeds from the tongue, and will say, “O you sycophant and false accuser, are not we the pursuits which
upon holding your head high, as you might have mounted upon a beast' of burden? And have we, by any insolence or obstinacy of ours, caused you any suffering? Behold reason armed and standing in opposition to God, by whom all good and all bad fortune is brought to its accomplishment. Do you not see it ? Why, then, do you reproach us now, when you formerly had no fault to find with us, while
affairs were proceeding prosperously? For we are the same as we were before, having changed nothing of our nature, not the slightest jot. But you are now applying tests which have no soundness in them, and in consequence are unreasonably violent against us ; for if you had understood from the beginning that it is not the pursuits which you follow that are the causes of your participation in good or in evil, but rather the divine reason, which is the helmsman and governor of the universe, then you would more easily have borne the events which have befallen you, ceasing to bring false accusations against us, and to attribute to us effects which we are unable to produce.
If therefore this reason now again, putting an end to that strife, and dispersing the sad and desponding ideas which arise from it, should promise you tranquillity of life, you will then again, with cheerfulness and joy, give us your right hand though we shall be like what we are
But we are neither puffed up by your friendly favour, nor do we think it of great importance if you are angry with us; for we know that we are not the causes of either good or evil fortune, not even if
believe that we are, unless indeed you attribute to the sea the cause of sailors making favourable voyages, or of the shipwrecks which at times befall them, and not rather to the variations of the winds, which blow at one time gontly, and at another with the most violent impetuosily; for as all water is by its own nature tranquil, accordingly, when a favourable gale blows upon the stern of a ship, every rope is bent, and the ship is in full sail, conveying the mariners to the harbour ; but when on a sudden the wind changes to the opposite direction, and blows against the head of the vessel, it