« PreviousContinue »
mind is like wax, and receives the impressions of appearances through the sensations, by means of which it makes itself master of the body, which of itself would not be able to do, as I have already said.
LX. And those who have previously become the slaves of pleasure immediately receive the wages of this miserable and incurable passion. For the woman having received veheinent pains, partly in her travail, and partly such as are a rapid succession of agonies during the other portions of her life, and especially with reference to the bringing forth and bringing up of her children, to their diseases and their health, to their good or evil fortune, to an extent that utterly deprives her of her freedom and subjects her to the dominion of the man who is her companion, finds it unavoidable to obey all his commands. And the man in his turn endures toils and labours, and continual sweats, in order to the providing of himself with necessaries, and he also bears the deprivation of all those spontaneous good things which the earth was originally taught to produce without requiring the skill of the farmer, and he is subjected to a state in which he lives iu incessant labour, for the purpose of seeking for food and means of subsistence, in order to avoid perishing by hunger.
For I think that as the sun and the moon do continually give light, ever since they were originally commanded to do so at the time of the original creation of the universe, and as they constautly obey the divine injunction, for the sake of no other reason but because evil and disobedience are banished to a distance far from the boundaries of heuven : so in the same way would the fertile and productive regions of the earth yield an immense abundance in the various seasous of the year, without any skill or co-operation on the part of the husbandman. But at present the ever-flowing fountains of the graces of God have been checked, from the time when wicked. ness began to increase faster than the virtues, in order that they might not be supplying men who were unworthy to be benefited by them. Therefore, the race of mankind, if it had met with strict and befitting justice, must have been utterly destroyed, because of its ingratitude to God its benefactor and its Saviour. But God, being merciful by nature, took pity upon them, and moderated their punishment. And he permitted the race to continue to exist, but be no longer gave
them food as he had done before from ready preparedi stores, iest if they were under the domivion of his evils, satiety and idleness, they should become unruly and insolent.
LXI. Such is the life of those who originally were men of innocence and simplicity, and also of those wbo have to prefer vice to virtue, froin whom one ought to keep aloof. And in his beforementioned account of the creation of the world, Moses teaches us also many other things, and especially five most beautiful lessons which are superior to all others. In the first place, for the sake of convicting the atheists, he teaches us that the Deity has a real being and existence.- Now, of the atheists, some have only doubted of the existence of God, stating it to be an uncertain thing ; but others, who are more audacious, have taken courage, and asserted positively that there is no such thing ; but this is affirmed only by men who have darkened the truth with fabulous inventions.
In the second place he teaches us that God is one; having reference here to the assertors of the polytheistic doctrine ; . men who do not blush to transfer that worst of evil constitu. tions, ochlocracy, from earth to heaven.
Thirdly, he teaches, as has been already related, that the world was created; by this lesson' refuting those who think that it is uncreated and eternal, and who thus attribute 10 glory to God.
In the fourth place we learn that the world also which was thus created is one, since also the Creator is one, and he, making his creation to resemble himself in its singleness, employed all existing essence in the creation of the universe. For it would not have been complete if it had not been made and composed of all parts which were likewise whole and complete. For there are some persons who believe that there are many worlds, and some who even fancy that they are boundless in extent, being themselves inexperienced and ignorant of the truth of those things of which it is desirable to have a correct, knowledge.
The fifth lesson that Moses toaches us is, that God exerts his providence for the benefit of the world. For it follows of necessity that the Creator must always care for that which he has created, just as parents do also care for their children. And he who has learnt this not more by hearing it than by his own understanding, and has impressed on his own soul these
marvellous facts which are the subject of so much contentionnamely, that God has a being and existence, and that he who 80 exists is really one, and that he has created the world, and that he has created it one as has been ştated, having made it like to himself in singleness ; and that he exercises a continual care for that which he has created will live a happy and blessed life, stamped with the doctrines of piety and holiness.
THE FIRST BOOK
OF THE TREATISE ON
THE ALLEGORIES OF THE SACRED LAWS,
AFTER THE WORK OF THE SIX DAYS OF CREATION.
I. “ And the heaven and the earth and all their world was completed."* Having previously related the creation of the mind and of sense, Moses now proceeds to describe the perfection which was brought about by them both. And he says that neither the indivisible mind nor the particular sensations received perfection, but only ideas, one the idea of the mind, the other of sensation. And, speaking symbolically, he calls the mind heaven, since the natures which can only be comprehended by the intellect are in heaven. And sensation he calls earth, because it is sensation which has obtained a corporeal and somewhat earthy constitution. The ornaments of the mind are all the incorporeal things, which are perceptible only by the intellect. Those of sensation are the corporeal things, and everything in short which is perceptible by the external senses.
II. " And on the sixth day God finished his work which he had made." It would be a sign of great simplicity to think that the world was created in six days, or indeed at all in time; because all time is only the space of days and nights, and these things the motion of the sun as he passes over the earth and under the earth does necessarily make. But the sun is a portion of heaven, so that one must confess that time
Genesis ii. 1.
is a thing posterior to the world. Therefore it would be cor. rectly said that the world was not created in time, but that time had its existence in consequence of the world. For it is the motion of the heaven that has displayed the nature of time.
When, therefore, Moses says, “God completed his works on the sixth day," we must understand that he is speaking not of a number of days, but that he takes six as a perfect number. Since it is the first number which is equal in its parts, in the half, and the third and sixth parts, and since it is produced by the multiplication of two unequal factors, two and three. And the numbers two and three exceed the incorporeality which exists in the unit; because the number two is an image of matter heing divided into two parts and dissected like matter. And the number three is an image of a solid body, because a solid can be dirided according to a threefold division. Not but what it is also akin to the motions of organic animals. For an organic body is naturally capable of motion in six directions, forward, backwards, upwards, downwards, to the right, ard to the left. And at all events he desires to show that the races of mortal, and also of all the immortal beings, exist according to their appropriate numbers ; measuring mortal beings, as I have said, by the number six, and the blessed and immortal beings by the number seven. First, therefore, having desisted from the creation of mortal creatures on the seventh day, he began the formation of other and more divine beings.
III. For God never ceases from making something or other ; hut, as it is the property of fire to burn, and of snow to chill, so also it is the property of God to be creating. And much more so, in proportion as he himself is to all other beings the authai of their working. Therefore the expression," he caused to rest," is very appropriately employed here, not " he rested." For he makes things to rest which appear to be producing others, but which in reality do not effect anything; but he himself never ceases from creating. On whịch account Moses says, “ He caused to rest the things which he had begun.” For all the things that are made by our arts when completed stand still and remain ; but all those which are accomplished by the knowledge of God are moved at subsequent times. For their ends are the beginnings of other things ; as, for instance, the end of day is the beginning of night. And in the same
Tuy we inust look upon months and years when they come to an end as the beginning of those which are just about to follow them. And so the generation of other things which are destroyed, and the destruction of others which are generated is completed, so that that is true which is said that
And nought that is created wholly dies;
IV. But nature delights in the number seven. For thero are seven planets, going in continual opposition to the daily course of the heaven which always proceeds in the same direction. And likewise the constellation of the Bear is made up of seven stars, which constellation is the cause of communica. tion and unity among men, and not merely of traffic. Again, the periodical changes of the moon, take place according to the number seven, that star having the greatest sympathy with the things on earth. And the changes which the moon works in the air, it perfects chiefly in accordance with its own configurations on each seventh day. At all events, all mortal things, as I have said before, drawing their more divine nature from the heaven, are moved in a manner which tends to their preservation in accordance with this number seven. For who is there who does not know that those infants who are born at the end of the seventh month are likely to live, but those who have taken a longer time, so as to have abided eight months in the womb, are for the most part abortive births ? And they say that man is a reasoning being in his first seven years, by which time he is a competent interpreter of ordinary nouns and verbs, making himself master of the faculty of speaking. And in his second period of seven years, he arrives at the perfection of his nature; and this perfection is the power of generating a being like himself ; for at about the age of fourteen we are able to beget a creature resembling ourselves. Again, the third period of seven years is the termination of his growth ; for up to the age of one and twenty years mun keops on in. creasing in size, and this time is called by many maturity.
Again, the irrational portion of the soul is divisible into envuu nortions; the five senses, and the organ of speech, and the power of generation. Again, the motions of the body are seven; tho six organic motions, and the rotutory motion..