The Second Theological Oration.
I. In the former Discourse we laid down clearly with respect to the Theologian, both what sort of character he ought to bear, and on what kind of subject he may philosophize, and when, and to what extent. We saw that he ought to be, as far as may be, pure, in order that light may be apprehended by light; and that he ought to consort with serious men, in order that his word be not fruitless through falling on an unfruitful soil; and that the suitable season is when we have a calm within from the whirl of outward things; so as not like madmen1 A marginal reading noted by the Benedictines gives “sobbing” or “panting,” which is a better sense. to lose our breath; and that the extent to which we may go is that to which we have ourselves advanced, or to which we are advancing. Since then these things are so, and we have broken up for ourselves the fallows of Divinity2 Jerem. iv. 3., so as not to sow upon thorns,3 Matt. xiii. 7. and have made plain the face of the ground,4 Isa. xxviii. 25. being moulded and moulding others by Holy Scripture…let us now enter upon Theological questions, setting at the head thereof the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, of Whom we are to treat; that the Father may be well pleased, and the Son may help us, and the Holy Ghost may inspire us; or rather that one illumination may come upon us from the One God, One in diversity, diverse in Unity, wherein is a marvel.
II. Now when I go up eagerly into the Mount5 Exod. xxiv. 1.—or, to use a truer expression, when I both eagerly long, and at the same time am afraid (the one through my hope and the other through my weakness) to enter within the Cloud, and hold converse with God, for so God commands; if any be an Aaron, let him go up with me, and let him stand near, being ready, if it must be so, to remain outside the Cloud. But if any be a Nadad or an Abihu, or of the Order of the Elders, let him go up indeed, but let him stand afar off, according to the value of his purification. But if any be of the multitude, who are unworthy of this height of contemplation, if he be altogether impure let him not approach at all,6 Ib. xix. 14. for it would be dangerous to him; but if he be at least temporarily purified, let him remain below and listen to the Voice alone, and the trumpet,7 Ib. xix. 16–18. the bare words of piety, and let him see the Mountain smoking and lightening, a terror at once and a marvel to those who cannot get up. But if any is an evil and savage beast, and altogether incapable of taking in the subject matter of Contemplation and Theology, let him not hurtfully and malignantly lurk in his den among the woods, to catch hold of some dogma or saying by a sudden spring, and to tear sound doctrine to pieces by his misrepresentations, but let him stand yet afar off and withdraw from the Mount, or he shall be stoned and crushed, and shall perish miserably in his wickedness. For to those who are like wild beasts true and sound discourses are stones. If he be a leopard let him die with his spots.8 Jer. xiii. 23. If a ravening and roaring lion, seeking what he may devour9 1 Pet. v. 8. of our souls or of our words; or a wild boar, trampling under foot the precious and translucent pearls of the Truth;10 Matt. vii. 6. or an Arabian11 Arabian: So the LXX. renders the word which in A.V.Jer. v. 6, is translated “of the evening,” and in the Vulg. “at evening.” R.V. gives as an alternative, “of the deserts.” and alien wolf, or one keener even than these in tricks of argument; or a fox, that is a treacherous and faithless soul, changing its shape according to circumstances or necessities, feeding on dead or putrid bodies, or on little vineyards12 The LXX. in Cant. xi. 15, admits of this translation as well as of that followed by A.V. when the large ones have escaped them; or any other carnivorous beast, rejected by the Law as unclean for food or enjoyment; our discourse must withdraw from such and be engraved on solid tables of stone, and that on both sides because the Law is partly visible, and partly hidden; the one part belonging to the mass who remain below, the other to the few who press upward into the Mount.
III. What is this that has happened to me, O friends, and initiates, and fellow-lovers of the truth? I was running to lay hold on God, and thus I went up into the Mount, and drew aside the curtain of the Cloud, and entered away from matter and material things, and as far as I could I withdrew within myself. And then when I looked up, I scarce saw the back parts of God;13 Exod. xxxiii. 23. although I was sheltered by the Rock, the Word that was made flesh for us. And when I looked a little closer, I saw, not the First and unmingled Nature, known to Itself—to the Trinity, I mean; not That which abideth within the first14 This veil of the Mercy Seat, spoken of in Exod. xxvi. 31, signifies in Gregory’s sense the denial of contemplation of that Highest Nature. veil, and is hidden by the Cherubim; but only that Nature, which at last even reaches to us. And that is, as far as I can learn, the Majesty, or as holy David calls it, the Glory15 Ps. viii. 1. which is manifested among the creatures, which It has produced and governs. For these are the Back Parts of God, which He leaves behind Him, as tokens of Himself16 The Face of God signifies His Essence and Deity, which were before all worlds: His back parts are Creation and Providence, by which He reveals Himself. like the shadows and reflection of the sun in the water, which shew the sun to our weak eyes, because we cannot look at the sun himself, for by his unmixed light he is too strong for our power of perception. In this way then shalt thou discourse of God; even wert thou a Moses and a god to Pharaoh;17 Exod. iv. 2. even wert thou caught up like Paul to the Third Heaven,18 2 Cor. xii. 2. and hadst heard unspeakable words; even wert thou raised above them both, and exalted to Angelic or Archangelic place and dignity. For though a thing be all heavenly, or above heaven, and far higher in nature and nearer to God than we, yet it is farther distant from God, and from the complete comprehension of His Nature, than it is lifted above our complex and lowly and earthward sinking composition.
IV. Therefore we must begin again thus. It is difficult to conceive God but to define Him in words is an impossibility, as one of the Greek teachers of Divinity19 Plato, Tim., 28 E. taught, not unskilfully, as it appears to me; with the intention that he might be thought to have apprehended Him; in that he says it is a hard thing to do; and yet may escape being convicted of ignorance because of the impossibility of giving expression to the apprehension. But in my opinion it is impossible to express Him, and yet more impossible to conceive Him. For that which may be conceived may perhaps be made clear by language, if not fairly well, at any rate imperfectly, to any one who is not quite deprived of his hearing, or slothful of understanding. But to comprehend the whole of so great a Subject as this is quite impossible and impracticable, not merely to the utterly careless and ignorant, but even to those who are highly exalted, and who love God, and in like manner to every created nature; seeing that the darkness of this world and the thick covering of the flesh is an obstacle to the full understanding of the truth. I do not know whether it is the same with the higher natures and purer Intelligences20 No one doubts, say the Benedictine Editors, that the Angels do see God, and that men, too, will see Him, when they attain to Eternal Bliss. S. Thomas (Summa I. qu. xii. 4) argues that the Angels have cognition of God’s Essence not by nature but by grace: but yet (Ib. qu. lvi. 3) that they have by nature a certain cognition of Him, as represented and as it were mirrored in their own essence; though not the actual vision of His Essence. The Angel, he says again (Ib. qu. lxiv. 1) has a higher cognition of God than man has, on account of the perfection of his intellect; and this cognition remains even in the fallen Angels. which because of their nearness to God, and because they are illumined with all His Light, may possibly see, if not the whole, at any rate more perfectly and distinctly than we do; some perhaps more, some less than others, in proportion to their rank.
V. But enough has been said on this point. As to what concerns us, it is not only the Peace of God21 Phil. iv. 7. which passeth all understanding and knowledge, nor only the things which God hath stored up in promise for the righteous, which “eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor mind conceived”22 Isa. lxiv. 4; 1 Cor. ii. 9. except in a very small degree, nor the accurate knowledge of the Creation. For even of this I would have you know that you have only a shadow when you hear the words, “I will consider the heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the moon and the stars,”23 Ps. viii. 3. and the settled order therein; not as if he were considering them now, but as destined to do so hereafter. But far before them is That nature Which is above them, and out of which they spring, the Incomprehensible and Illimitable—not, I mean, as to the fact of His being, but as to Its nature. For our preaching is not empty, nor our Faith vain,24 1 Cor. xv. 19. nor is this the doctrine we proclaim; for we would not have you take our candid statement as a starting point for a quibbling denial of God, or of arrogance on account of our confession of ignorance. For it is one thing to be persuaded of the existence of a thing, and quite another to know what it is.
VI. Now our very eyes and the Law of Nature teach us that God exists and that He is the Efficient and Maintaining Cause of all things: our eyes, because they fall on visible objects, and see them in beautiful stability and progress, immovably moving and revolving if I may so say; natural Law, because through these visible things and their order, it reasons back to their Author. For how could this Universe have come into being or been put together, unless God had called it into existence, and held it together? For every one who sees a beautifully made lute, and considers the skill with which it has been fitted together and arranged, or who hears its melody, would think of none but the lutemaker, or the luteplayer, and would recur to him in mind, though he might not know him by sight. And thus to us also is manifested That which made and moves and preserves all created things, even though He be not comprehended by the mind. And very wanting in sense is he who will not willingly go thus far in following natural proofs; but not even this which we have fancied or formed, or which reason has sketched for us, proves the existence of a God. But if any one has got even to some extent a comprehension of this, how is God’s Being to be demonstrated? Who ever reached this extremity of wisdom? Who was ever deemed worthy of so great a gift? Who has opened the mouth of his mind and drawn in the Spirit,25 Ps. cxix. 21. so as by Him that searcheth all things, yea the deep thing of God,26 1 Cor. ii. 10. to take in God, and no longer to need progress, since he already possesses the Extreme Object of desire, and That to which all the social life and all the intelligence of the best men press forward?
VII. For what will you conceive the Deity to be, if you rely upon all the approximations of reason? Or to what will reason carry you, O most philosophic of men and best of Theologians, who boast of your familiarity with the Unlimited? Is He a body? How then is He the Infinite and Limitless, and formless, and intangible, and invisible? or are these attributes of a body? What arrogance for such is not the nature of a body! Or will you say that He has a body, but not these attributes? O stupidity, that a Deity should possess nothing more than we do. For how is He an object of worship if He be circumscribed? Or how shall He escape being made of elements, and therefore subject to be resolved into them again, or even altogether dissolved? For every compound is a starting point of strife, and strife of separation, and separation of dissolution. But dissolution is altogether foreign to God and to the First Nature. Therefore there can be no separation, that there may be no dissolution, and no strife that there may be no separation, and no composition that there may be no strife. Thus also there must be no body, that there may be no composition, and so the argument is established by going back from last to first.
VIII. And how shall we preserve the truth that God pervades all things and fills all, as it is written “Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord,”27 Jer. xxiii. 24. and “The Spirit of the Lord filleth the world,”28 Wisd. i. 7. if God partly contains and partly is contained? For either He will occupy an empty Universe, and so all things will have vanished for us, with this result, that we shall have insulted God by making Him a body, and by robbing Him of all things which He has made; or else He will be a body contained in other bodies, which is impossible; or He will be enfolded in them, or contrasted with them, as liquids are mixed, and one divides and is divided by another;—a view which is more absurd and anile than even the atoms of Epicurus29 Epicurus taught that Matter is eternal, and consists of an indefinite number of Atoms or indivisible units, floating about in space, and mutually attracting and repelling each other; and that all that exists is due to some chance meeting and coalition of these atoms. and so this argument concerning the body will fall through, and have no body and no solid basis at all. But if we are to assert that He is immaterial (as for example that Fifth Element which some30 This is a speculation of Aristotle, who imagined a Fifth Element, consisting of formless matter. have imagined), and that He is carried round in the circular movement…let us assume that He is immaterial, and that He is the Fifth Element; and, if they please, let Him be also bodiless in accordance with the independent drift and arrangement of their argument; for I will not at present differ with them on this point; in what respect then will He be one of those things which are in movement and agitation, to say nothing of the insult involved in making the Creator subject to the same movement as the creatures, and Him That carries all (if they will allow even this) one with those whom He carries. Again, what is the force that moves your Fifth Element, and what is it that moves all things, and what moves that, and what is the force that moves that? And so on ad infinitum. And how can He help being altogether contained in space if He be subject to motion? But if they assert that He is something other than this Fifth Element; suppose it is an angelic nature that they attribute to Him, how will they shew that Angels are corporeal, or what sort of bodies they have? And how far in that case could God, to Whom the Angels minister, be superior to the Angels? And if He is above them, there is again brought in an irrational swarm of bodies, and a depth of nonsense, that has no possible basis to stand upon.
IX. And thus we see that God is not a body. For no inspired teacher has yet asserted or admitted such a notion, nor has the sentence of our own Court allowed it. Nothing then remains but to conceive of Him as incorporeal. But this term Incorporeal, though granted, does not yet set before us—or contain within itself His Essence, any more than Unbegotten, or Unoriginate, or Unchanging, or Incorruptible, or any other predicate which is used concerning God or in reference to Him. For what effect is produced upon His Being or Substance31 Petavius (De Trin. IV. ii. 7) notes that ὑπόστασις seems used here of the Essence and Nature common to the Three Persons of the Blessed Trinity. by His having no beginning, and being incapable of change or limitation? Nay, the whole question of His Being is still left for the further consideration and exposition of him who truly has the mind of God and is advanced in contemplation. For just as to say “It is a body,” or “It was begotten,” is not sufficient to present clearly to the mind the various objects of which these predicates are used, but you must also express the subject of which you use them, if you would present the object of your thought clearly and adequately (for every one of these predicates, corporeal, begotten, mortal, may be used of a man, or a cow, or a horse). Just so he who is eagerly pursuing the nature of the Self-existent will not stop at saying what He is not, but must go on beyond what He is not, and say what He is; inasmuch as it is easier to take in some single point than to go on disowning point after point in endless detail, in order, both by the elimination of negatives and the assertion of positives to arrive at a comprehension of this subject.
But a man who states what God is not without going on to say what He is, acts much in the same way as one would who when asked how many twice five make, should answer, “Not two, nor three, nor four, nor five, nor twenty, nor thirty, nor in short any number below ten, nor any multiple of ten;” but would not answer “ten,” nor settle the mind of his questioner upon the firm ground of the answer. For it is much easier, and more concise to shew what a thing is not from what it is, than to demonstrate what it is by stripping it of what it is not. And this surely is evident to every one.
X. Now since we have ascertained that God is incorporeal, let us proceed a little further with our examination. Is He Nowhere or Somewhere. For if He is Nowhere,32 Nowhere is in this passage used in an ambiguous sense. As asserted of God, it means that His being is in no way limited by place: not that He has no existence in place, for He is everywhere, and He transcends all place. Before the creation of the Universe He existed, and He created Place, which therefore cannot be the seat of His Being. then some person of a very inquiring turn of mind might ask, How is it then that He can even exist? For if the non-existent is nowhere, then that which is nowhere is also perhaps non-existent. But if He is Somewhere, He must be either in the Universe, or above the Universe. And if He is in the Universe, then He must be either in some part or in the whole. If in some part, then He will be circumscribed by that part which is less than Himself; but if everywhere, then by one which is further and greater—I mean the Universal, which contains the Particular; if the Universe is to be contained by the Universe, and no place is to be free from circumscription. This follows if He is contained in the Universe. And besides, where was He before the Universe was created, for this is a point of no little difficulty. But if He is above the Universe, is there nothing to distinguish this from the Universe, and where is this above situated? And how could this Transcendence and that which is transcended be distinguished in thought, if there is not a limit to divide and define them? Is it not necessary that there shall be some mean to mark off the Universe from that which is above the Universe? And what could this be but Place, which we have already rejected? For I have not yet brought forward the point that God would be altogether circumscript, if He were even comprehensible in thought: for comprehension is one form of circumscription.
XI. Now, why have I gone into all this, perhaps too minutely for most people to listen to, and in accordance with the present manner of discourse, which despises noble simplicity, and has introduced a crooked and intricate33 v. 1. Affected. The allusion is especially to the ostentatious dialectics and tedious arguments of Aëtius and his followers, Eunomius and others. style? That the tree may be known by its fruits;34 Luke vi. 44. I mean, that the darkness which is at work in such teaching may be known by the obscurity of the arguments. For my purpose in doing so was, not to get credit for myself for astonishing utterances, or excessive wisdom, through tying knots and solving difficulties (this was the great miraculous gift of Daniel),35 cf. Dan. v. 12. but to make clear the point at which my argument has aimed from the first. And what was this? That the Divine Nature cannot be apprehended by human reason, and that we cannot even represent to ourselves all its greatness. And this not out of envy, for envy is far from the Divine Nature, which is passionless, and only good and Lord of all;36 Plato, Tim., 10. especially envy of that which is the most honourable37 v. 1. Most Akin to Himself. Combefis. of all His creatures. For what does the Word prefer to the rational and speaking creatures? Why, even their very existence is a proof of His supreme goodness. Nor yet is this incomprehensibility for the sake of His own glory and honour, Who is full,38 Isa. i. 11. as if His possession of His glory and majesty depended upon the impossibility of approaching Him. For it is utterly sophistical and foreign to the character, I will not say of God, but of any moderately good man, who has any right ideas about himself, to seek his own supremacy by throwing a hindrance in the way of another.
XII. But whether there be other causes for it also, let them see who are nearer God, and are eye witnesses and spectators of His unsearchable judgments;39 Rom. xi. 33. if there are any who are so eminent in virtue, and who walk in the paths of the Infinite, as the saying is. As far, however, as we have attained, who measure with our little measure things hard to be understood, perhaps one reason is to prevent us from too readily throwing away the possession because it was so easily come by. For people cling tightly to that which they acquire with labour; but that which they acquire easily they quickly throw away, because it can be easily recovered. And so it is turned into a blessing, at least to all men who are sensible, that this blessing is not too easy. Or perhaps it is in order that we may not share the fate of Lucifer, who fell, and in consequence of receiving the full light make our necks stiff against the Lord Almighty, and suffer a fall, of all things most pitiable, from the height we had attained. Or perhaps it may be to give a greater reward hereafter for their labour and glorious life to those who have here been purified, and have exercised long patience in respect of that which they desired.
Therefore this darkness of the body has been placed between us and God, like the cloud of old between the Egyptians and the Hebrews;40 Exod. xiv. 20. and this is perhaps what is meant by “He made darkness His secret place,”41 Ps. xviii. 11. namely our dulness, through which few can see even a little. But as to this point, let those discuss it whose business it is; and let them ascend as far as possible in the examination. To us who are (as Jeremiah saith), “prisoners of the earth,”42 Lam. iii. 34. and covered with the denseness of carnal nature, this at all events is known, that as it is impossible for a man to step over his own shadow, however fast he may move (for the shadow will always move on as fast as it is being overtaken) or, as it is impossible for the eye to draw near to visible objects apart from the intervening air and light, or for a fish to glide about outside of the waters; so it is quite impracticable for those who are in the body to be conversant with objects of pure thought apart altogether from bodily objects. For something in our own environment is ever creeping in, even when the mind has most fully detached itself from the visible, and collected itself, and is attempting to apply itself to those invisible things which are akin to itself.
XIII. This will be made clear to you as follows:—Are not Spirit, and Fire, and Light, Love, and Wisdom, and Righteousness, and Mind and Reason, and the like, the names of the First Nature? What then? Can you conceive of Spirit apart from motion and diffusion; or of Fire without its fuel and its upward motion, and its proper colour and form? Or of Light unmingled with air, and loosed from that which is as it were its father and source? And how do you conceive of a mind? Is it not that which is inherent in some person not itself, and are not its movements thoughts, silent or uttered? And Reason…what else can you think it than that which is either silent within ourselves, or else outpoured (for I shrink from saying loosed)? And if you conceive of Wisdom, what is it but the habit of mind which you know as such, and which is concerned with contemplations either divine or human? And Justice and Love, are they not praiseworthy dispositions, the one opposed to injustice, the other to hate, and at one time intensifying themselves, at another relaxed, now taking possession of us, now leaving us alone, and in a word, making us what we are, and changing us as colours do bodies? Or are we rather to leave all these things, and to look at the Deity absolutely, as best we can, collecting a fragmentary perception of It from Its images? What then is this subtile thing, which is of these, and yet is not these, or how can that Unity which is in its Nature uncomposite and incomparable, still be all of these, and each one of them perfectly? Thus our mind faints to transcend corporeal things, and to consort with the Incorporeal, stripped of all clothing of corporeal ideas, as long as it has to look with its inherent weakness at things above its strength. For every rational nature longs for God and for the First Cause, but is unable to grasp Him, for the reasons I have mentioned. Faint therefore with the desire, and as it were restive and impatient of the disability, it tries a second course, either to look at visible things, and out of some of them to make a god…(a poor contrivance, for in what respect and to what extent can that which is seen be higher and more godlike than that which sees, that this should worship that?) or else through the beauty and order of visible things to attain to that which is above sight; but not to suffer the loss of God through the magnificence of visible things.
XIV. From this cause some have made a god of the Sun, others of the Moon, others of the host of Stars, others of heaven itself with all its hosts, to which they have attributed the guiding of the Universe, according to the quality or quantity of their movement. Others again of the Elements, earth, air, water, fire, because of their useful nature, since without them human life cannot possibly exist. Others again have worshipped any chance visible objects, setting up the most beautiful of what they saw as their gods. And there are those who worship pictures and images, at first indeed of their own ancestors—at least, this is the case with the more affectionate and sensual—and honour the departed with memorials; and afterwards even those of strangers are worshipped by men of a later generation separated from them by a long interval; through ignorance of the First Nature, and following the traditional honour as lawful and necessary; for usage when confirmed by time was held to be Law. And I think that some who were courtiers of arbitrary power and extolled bodily strength and admired beauty, made a god in time out of him whom they honoured, perhaps getting hold of some fable to help on their imposture.
XV. And those of them who were most subject to passion deified their passions, or honoured them among their gods; Anger and Blood-thirstiness, Lust and Drunkenness, and every similar wickedness; and made out of this an ignoble and unjust excuse for their own sins. And some they left on earth, and some they hid beneath the earth (this being the only sign of wisdom about them), and some they raised to heaven.43 Referring to the mythical partition of the Universe, which gave heaven to Zeus, the sea to Poseidon, and the infernal regions to Aidoneus. O ridiculous distribution of inheritance! Then they gave to each of these concepts the name of some god or demon, by the authority and private judgment of their error, and set up statues whose costliness is a snare, and thought to honour them with blood and the steam of sacrifices, and sometimes even by most shameful actions, frenzies and manslaughter. For such honours were the fitting due of such gods. And before now men have insulted themselves by worshipping monsters, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things,44 Rom. i. 23. and of the very vilest and most absurd, and have made an offering to them of the glory of God; so that it is not easy to decide whether we ought most to despise the worshippers or the objects of their worship. Probably the worshippers are far the most contemptible, for though they are of a rational nature, and have received grace from God, they have set up the worse as the better. And this was the trick of the Evil One, who abused good to an evil purpose, as in most of his evil deeds. For he laid hold of their desire in its wandering in search of God, in order to distort to himself45 It was a very general belief in the early Church that the gods whom the heathen worshipped were in reality actual evil spirits; and this belief is certainly supported by S. Paul’s argument about εἰδωλόθυτον in 1 Cor. x. 19–21. the power, and steal the desire, leading it by the hand, like a blind man asking a road; and he hurled down and scattered some in one direction and some in another, into one pit of death and destruction.
XVI. This was their course. But reason receiving us in our desire for God, and in our sense of the impossibility of being without a leader and guide, and then making us apply ourselves to things visible and meeting with the things which have been since the beginning, doth not stay its course even here. For it was not the part of Wisdom to grant the sovereignty to things which are, as observation tells us, of equal rank. By these then it leads to that which is above these, and by which being is given to these. For what is it which ordered things in heaven and things in earth, and those which pass through air, and those which live in water; or rather the things which were before these, heaven and earth, air and water? Who mingled these, and who distributed them? What is it that each has in common with the other, and their mutual dependence and agreement? For I commend the man, though he was a heathen, who said, What gave movement to these, and drives their ceaseless and unhindered motion? Is it not the Artificer of them Who implanted reason in them all, in accordance with which the Universe is moved and controlled? Is it not He who made them and brought them into being? For we cannot attribute such a power to the Accidental. For, suppose that its existence is accidental, to what will you let us ascribe its order? And if you like we will grant you this: to what then will you ascribe its preservation and protection in accordance with the terms of its first creation. Do these belong to the Accidental, or to something else? Surely not to the Accidental. And what can this Something Else be but God? Thus reason that proceeds from God, that is implanted in all from the beginning and is the first law in us, and is bound up in all, leads us up to God through visible things. Let us begin again, and reason this out.
XVII. What God is in nature and essence, no man ever yet has discovered or can discover. Whether it will ever be discovered is a question which he who will may examine and decide. In my opinion it will be discovered when that within us which is godlike and divine, I mean our mind and reason, shall have mingled with its Like, and the image shall have ascended to the Archetype, of which it has now the desire. And this I think is the solution of that vexed problem as to “We shall know even as we are known.”46 1 Cor. xiii. 12, but with a reading ἐπιγνώσεσθε, which is not in the New Testament. But in our present life all that comes to us is but a little effluence, and as it were a small effulgence from a great Light. So that if anyone has known God, or has had the testimony of Scripture to his knowledge of God, we are to understand such an one to have possessed a degree of knowledge which gave him the appearance of being more fully enlightened than another who did not enjoy the same degree of illumination; and this relative superiority is spoken of as if it were absolute knowledge, not because it is really such, but by comparison with the power of that other.
XVIII. Thus Enos “hoped to call upon the Name of the Lord.”47 Gen. iv. 26. The verb has by some been taken as passive, and not middle, “hoped that the Name of the Lord would be called upon.” Hope was that for which he is commended; and that, not that he should know God, but that he should call upon him. And Enoch was translated,48 Ib. v. 24, Ecclus. xlix. 14. but it is not yet clear whether it was because he already comprehended the Divine Nature, or in order that he might comprehend it. And Noah’s49 Gen. vi. 8. glory was that he was pleasing to God; he who was entrusted with the saving of the whole world from the waters, or rather of the Seeds of the world, escaped the Deluge in a small Ark. And Abraham, great Patriarch though he was, was justified by faith,50 Ib. xviii. 18. and offered a strange victim,51 Ib. xxviii. 2. the type of the Great Sacrifice. Yet he saw not God as God, but gave Him food as a man.52 Gen. xviii. 2. Elias Cretensis sees in this occurrence a foreshadowing of the Incarnation; and also with many others, a revelation of the Trinity, in that Abraham saw Three and conversed with One. He was approved because he worshipped as far as he comprehended.53 Gen. xxxii. 28. And Jacob dreamed of a lofty ladder and stair of Angels, and in a mystery anointed a pillar54 Ib. ver. 28.—perhaps to signify the Rock that was anointed for our sake—and gave to a place the name of The House of God55 v. l. The Form of God, which would refer to the occasion cited below. The reading is grammatically easier, as an accusative is required; but in that case we might have expected the wrestling with the Angel to have been mentioned first, as the name Penuel was given by Jacob on the day following the night in which he wrestled, and received his own change of name. The Benedictines, while retaining House in text and version, express a preference for Form, because the subject of the argument is the Vision of God. in honour of Him whom he saw; and wrestled with God in human form; whatever this wrestling of God with man may mean…possibly it refers to the comparison of man’s virtue with God’s; and he bore on his body the marks of the wrestling, setting forth the defeat of the created nature; and for a reward of his reverence he received a change of his name; being named, instead of Jacob, Israel—that great and honourable name. Yet neither he nor any one on his behalf, unto this day, of all the Twelve Tribes who were his children, could boast that he comprehended the whole nature or the pure sight of God.
XIX. To Elias neither the strong wind, nor the fire, nor the earthquake, as you learn from the story,56 1 Kings xix. 11, 12. LXX. has a Sound of a Light breeze. but a light breeze adumbrated the Presence of God, and not even this His Nature. And who was this Elias? The man whom a chariot of fire took up to heaven, signifying the superhuman excellency of the righteous man. And are you not amazed at Manoah the Judge of yore, and at Peter the disciple in later days; the one being unable to endure the sight even of one in whom was a representation of God; and saying, “We are undone, O wife, we have seen God;”57 Judg. xiii. 22. speaking as though even a vision of God could not be grasped by human beings, let alone the Nature of God; and the other unable to endure the Presence of Christ in his boat and therefore bidding Him depart;58 Luke v. 8. and this though Peter was more zealous than the others for the knowledge of Christ, and received a blessing for this,59 Matt. xvi. 16, 17. and was entrusted with the greatest gifts. What would you say of Isaiah or Ezekiel, who was an eyewitness of very great mysteries, and of the other Prophets; for one of these saw the Lord of Sabaoth sitting on the Throne of glory,60 Isa. vi. 1 sqq. and encircled and praised and hidden by the sixwinged Seraphim, and was himself purged by the live coal, and equipped for his prophetic office. And the other describes the Cherubic Chariot61 Ezek. i. 4–28. of God, and the Throne upon them, and the Firmament over it, and Him that shewed Himself in the Firmament, and Voices, and Forces, and Deeds.62 v. l. Orders, i.e. of angels. And whether this was an appearance by day, only visible to Saints, or an unerring vision of the night, or an impression on the mind holding converse with the future as if it were the present; or some other ineffable form of prophecy, I cannot say; the God of the Prophets knoweth, and they know who are thus inspired. But neither these of whom I am speaking, nor any of their fellows ever stood before the Council63 This is a quotation from the LXX. of Jer. xxiii. 18, where for ὑποστήματι Aquila has ἀπορρήτῳ, and Symmachus ὁμιλίᾳ, (according to Trommius). ὑπόστημα properly means a Station of troops, and such is the meaning in the other two places where the word occurs in the LXX., viz.:—2 Sam. xxiii. 14, and 1 Chron. xi. 16. The Hebrew word which it represents in this passage is one of frequent use, and means “a Council,” or, in a sense derived from this, Familiar Intercourse. In Job xv. 8 it is rendered in A.V. The Secret of God, where the LXX. has σύνταγμα. The Vulgate in both cases has Concilium Dei; the Benedictines however render it Substance. A.V. has Counsel, and in marg. Secret; while R.V. reads Council, with no marginal alternative. and Essence of God, as it is written, or saw, or proclaimed the Nature of God.
XX. If it had been permitted to Paul to utter what the Third Heaven64 2 Cor. xii. 2. contained, and his own advance, or ascension, or assumption thither, perhaps we should know something more about God’s Nature, if this was the mystery of the rapture. But since it was ineffable, we too will honour it by silence. Thus much we will hear Paul say about it, that we know in part and we prophesy in part.65 1 Cor. xiii. 9. This and the like to this are the confessions of one who is not rude in knowledge,66 2 Cor. xi. 6. who threatens to give proof of Christ speaking in him, the great doctor and champion of the truth. Wherefore he estimates all knowledge on earth only as through a glass darkly,67 1 Cor. xiii. 12. as taking its stand upon little images of the truth. Now, unless I appear to anyone too careful, and over anxious about the examination of this matter, perhaps it was of this and nothing else that the Word Himself intimated that there were things which could not now be borne, but which should be borne and cleared up hereafter,68 John xvi. 12. and which John the Forerunner of the Word and great Voice of the Truth declared even the whole world could not contain.69 S. John xxi. 25. By a curious slip of the tongue S. Gregory here attributes to the Baptist words of the Evangelist.
XXI. The truth then, and the whole Word is full of difficulty and obscurity; and as it were with a small instrument we are undertaking a great work, when with merely human wisdom we pursue the knowledge of the Self-existent, and in company with, or not apart from, the senses, by which we are borne hither and thither, and led into error, we apply ourselves to the search after things which are only to be grasped by the mind, and we are unable by meeting bare realities with bare intellect to approximate somewhat more closely to the truth, and to mould the mind by its concepts.
Now the subject of God is more hard to come at,70 cf. Petav. de Deo, iii., c. 7. in proportion as it is more perfect than any other, and is open to more objections, and the solutions of them are more laborious. For every objection, however small, stops and hinders the course of our argument, and cuts off its further advance, just like men who suddenly check with the rein the horses in full career, and turn them right round by the unexpected shock. Thus Solomon, who was the wisest of all men,71 1 Kings iii. 12. whether before him or in his own time, to whom God gave breadth of heart, and a flood of contemplation, more abundant than the sand, even he, the more he entered into the depth, the more dizzy he became, and declared the furthest point of wisdom to be the discovery of how very far off she was from him.72 Ecc. vii. 23. Paul also tries to arrive at, I will not say the nature of God, for this he knew was utterly impossible, but only the judgments of God; and since he finds no way out, and no halting place in the ascent, and moreover, since the earnest searching of his mind after knowledge does not end in any definite conclusion, because some fresh unattained point is being continually disclosed to him (O marvel, that I have a like experience), he closes his discourse with astonishment, and calls this the riches of God,73 Rom. xi. 23. and the depth, and confesses the unsearchableness of the judgments of God, in almost the very words of David, who at one time calls God’s judgments the great deep whose foundations cannot be reached by measure or sense;74 Ps. xxxvi. 7. and at another says that His knowledge of him and of his own constitution was marvellous,75 Ib. cxxxix. 6. and had attained greater strength than was in his own power or grasp.
XXII. For if, he says, I leave everything else alone, and consider myself and the whole nature and constitution of man, and how we are mingled, and what is our movement, and how the mortal was compounded with the immortal, and how it is that I flow downwards, and yet am borne upwards, and how the soul is circumscribed;76 v. l. And how the soul is carried round. and how it gives life and shares in feelings; and how the mind is at once circumscribed and unlimited,77 v. l. Invisible. abiding in us and yet travelling over the Universe in swift motion and flow; how it is both received and imparted by word, and passes through air, and enters with all things; how it shares in sense, and enshrouds itself away from sense. And even before these questions—what was our first moulding and composition in the workshop of nature, and what is our last formation and completion? What is the desire for and imparting of nourishment, and who brought us spontaneously to those first springs and sources of life? How is the body nourished by food, and the soul by reason? What is the drawing of nature, and the mutual relation between parents and children, that it should be held together by a spell of love? How is it that species are permanent, and are different in their characteristics, although there are so many that their individual marks cannot be described? How is it that the same animal is both mortal and immortal78 Gregory is not here speaking of the immorality of the individual soul, but of that of the Race, which it shares with other animals, and which is effected by continual succession., the one by decease, the other by coming into being? For one departs, and another takes its place, just like the flow of a river, which is never still, yet ever constant. And you might discuss many more points concerning men’s members and parts, and their mutual adaptation both for use and beauty, and how some are connected and others disjoined, some are more excellent and others less comely, some are united and others divided, some contain and others are contained, according to the law and reason of Nature. Much too might be said about voices and ears. How is it that the voice is carried by the vocal organs, and received by the ears, and both are joined by the smiting and resounding of the medium of the air? Much too of the eyes, which have an indescribable communion with visible objects, and which are moved by the will alone, and that together, and are affected exactly as is the mind. For with equal speed the mind is joined to the objects of thought, the eye to those of sight. Much too concerning the other senses, not objects of the research of reason. And much concerning our rest in sleep, and the figments of dreams, and of memory and remembrance; of calculation, and anger, and desire; and in a word, all by which this little world called Man is swayed.
XXIII. Shall I reckon up for you the differences of the other animals, both from us and from each other,—differences of nature, and of production, and of nourishment, and of region, and of temper, and as it were of social life? How is it that some are gregarious and others solitary, some herbivorous and others carnivorous, some fierce and others tame, some fond of man and domesticated, others untamable and free? And some we might call bordering on reason and power of learning, while others are altogether destitute of reason, and incapable of being taught. Some with fuller senses, others with less; some immovable, and some with the power of walking, and some very swift, and some very slow; some surpassing in size or beauty, or in one or other of these respects; others very small or very ugly, or both; some strong, others weak, some apt at self-defence, others timid and crafty79 The Benedictines here insert Some well protected; but it is their own conjecture, and is not found in the Manuscripts. and others again are unguarded. Some are laborious and thrifty, others altogether idle and improvident. And before we come to such points as these, how is it that some are crawling things, and others upright; some attached to one spot, some amphibious; some delight in beauty and others are unadorned; some are married and some single; some temperate and others intemperate; some have numerous offspring and others not; some are long-lived and others have but short lives? It would be a weary discourse to go through all the details.
XXIV. Look also at the fishy tribe gliding through the waters, and as it were flying through the liquid element, and breathing its own air, but in danger when in contact with ours, as we are in the waters; and mark their habits and dispositions, their intercourse and their births, their size and their beauty, and their affection for places, and their wanderings, and their assemblings and departings, and their properties which so nearly resemble those of the animals that dwell on land; in some cases community, in others contrast of properties, both in name and shape. And consider the tribes of birds, and their varieties of form and colour, both of those which are voiceless and of songbirds. What is the reason of their melody, and from whom came it? Who gave to the grasshopper the lute in his breast, and the songs and chirruping on the branches, when they are moved by the sun to make their midday music, and sing among the groves, and escort the wayfarer with their voices? Who wove the song for the swan when he spreads his wings to the breezes, and makes melody of their rustling? For I will not speak of the forced voices, and all the rest that art contrives against the truth. Whence does the peacock, that boastful bird of Media, get his love of beauty and of praise (for he is fully conscious of his own beauty), so that when he sees any one approaching, or when, as they say, he would make a show before his hens, raising his neck and spreading his tail in circle around him, glittering like gold and studded with stars, he makes a spectacle of his beauty to his lovers with pompous strides? Now Holy Scripture admires the cleverness in weaving even of women, saying, Who gave to woman skill in weaving and cleverness in the art of embroidery?80 Job xxxviii. 36. LXX. This belongeth to a living creature that hath reason, and exceedeth in wisdom and maketh way even as far as the things of heaven.
XXV. But I would have you marvel at the natural knowledge even of irrational creatures, and if you can, explain its cause. How is it that birds have for nests rocks and trees and roofs, and adapt them both for safety and beauty, and suitably for the comfort of their nurslings? Whence do bees and spiders get their love of work and art, by which the former plan their honeycombs, and join them together by hexagonal and co-ordinate tubes, and construct the foundation by means of a partition and an alternation of the angles with straight lines; and this, as is the case, in such dusky hives and dark combs; and the latter weave their intricate webs by such light and almost airy threads stretched in divers ways, and this from almost invisible beginnings, to be at once a precious dwelling, and a trap for weaker creatures with a view to enjoyment of food? What Euclid ever imitated these, while pursuing philosophical enquiries with lines that have no real existence, and wearying himself with demonstrations? From what Palamedes came the tactics, and, as the saying is, the movements and configurations of cranes, and the systems of their movement in ranks and their complicated flight? Who were their Phidiæ and Zeuxides, and who were the Parrhasii and Aglaophons who knew how to draw and mould excessively beautiful things? What harmonious Gnossian chorus of Dædalus, wrought for a girl81 The allusion is to a group made by Dædalus for Ariadne, representing a chorus of youths and maidens, which seemed to be moving in musical rhythm. It is described by Homer (Il., xviii., 592 sqq.). to the highest pitch of beauty? What Cretan Labyrinth, hard to get through, hard to unravel, as the poets say, and continually crossing itself through the tricks of its construction? I will not speak of the ants’ storehouses and storekeepers, and of their treasurings of wood in quantities corresponding to the time for which it is wanted, and all the other details which we know are told of their marches and leaders and their good order in their works.
XXVI. If this knowledge has come within your reach and you are familiar with these branches of science, look at the differences of plants also, up to the artistic fashion of the leaves, which is adapted both to give the utmost pleasure to the eye, and to be of the greatest advantage to the fruit. Look too at the variety and lavish abundance of fruits, and most of all at the wondrous beauty of such as are most necessary. And consider the power of roots, and juices, and flowers, and odours, not only so very sweet, but also serviceable as medicines; and the graces and qualities of colours; and again the costly value, and the brilliant transparency of precious stones. Since nature has set before you all things as in an abundant banquet free to all, both the necessaries and the luxuries of life, in order that, if nothing else, you may at any rate know God by His benefits, and by your own sense of want be made wiser than you were. Next, I pray you, traverse the length and breadth of earth, the common mother of all, and the gulfs of the sea bound together with one another and with the land, and the beautiful forests, and the rivers and springs abundant and perennial, not only of waters cold and fit for drinking, and on the surface of the earth; but also such as running beneath the earth, and flowing under caverns, are then forced out by a violent blast, and repelled, and then filled with heat by this violence of strife and repulsion, burst out by little and little wherever they get a chance, and hence supply our need of hot baths in many parts of the earth, and in conjunction with the cold give us a healing which is without cost and spontaneous. Tell me how and whence are these things? What is this great web unwrought by art? These things are no less worthy of admiration, in respect of their mutual relations than when considered separately.
How is it that the earth stands solid and unswerving? On what is it supported? What is it that props it up, and on what does that rest? For indeed even reason has nothing to lean upon, but only the Will of God. And how is it that part of it is drawn up into mountain summits, and part laid down in plains, and this in various and differing ways? And because the variations are individually small, it both supplies our needs more liberally, and is more beautiful by its variety; part being distributed into habitations, and part left uninhabited, namely all the great height of Mountains, and the various clefts of its coast line cut off from it. Is not this the clearest proof of the majestic working of God?
XXVII. And with respect to the Sea even if I did not marvel at its greatness, yet I should have marvelled at its gentleness, in that although loose it stands within its boundaries; and if not at its gentleness, yet surely at its greatness; but since I marvel at both, I will praise the Power that is in both. What collected it? What bounded it? How is it raised and lulled to rest, as though respecting its neighbour earth? How, moreover, does it receive all the rivers, and yet remain the same, through the very superabundance of its immensity, if that term be permissible? How is the boundary of it, though it be an element of such magnitude, only sand? Have your natural philosophers with their knowledge of useless details anything to tell us, those men I mean who are really endeavouring to measure the sea with a wineglass, and such mighty works by their own conceptions? Or shall I give the really scientific explanation of it from Scripture concisely, and yet more satisfactorily and truly than by the longest arguments? “He hath fenced the face of the water with His command.”82 Job xxvi. 10. LXX. This is the chain of fluid nature. And how doth He bring upon it the Nautilus that inhabits the dry land (i.e., man) in a little vessel, and with a little breeze (dost thou not marvel at the sight of this,—is not thy mind astonished?), that earth and sea may be bound together by needs and commerce, and that things so widely separated by nature should be thus brought together into one for man? What are the first fountains of springs? Seek, O man, if you can trace out or find any of these things. And who was it who cleft the plains and the mountains for the rivers, and gave them an unhindered course? And how comes the marvel on the other side, that the Sea never overflows, nor the Rivers cease to flow? And what is the nourishing power of water, and what the difference therein; for some things are irrigated from above, and others drink from their roots, if I may luxuriate a little in my language when speaking of the luxuriant gifts of God.
XXVIII. And now, leaving the earth and the things of earth, soar into the air on the wings of thought, that our argument may advance in due path; and thence I will take you up to heavenly things, and to heaven itself, and things which are above heaven; for to that which is beyond my discourse hesitates to ascend, but still it shall ascend as far as may be. Who poured forth the air, that great and abundant wealth, not measured to men by their rank or fortunes; not restrained by boundaries; not divided out according to people’s ages; but like the distribution of the Manna,83 Exod. xvi. 18. received in sufficiency, and valued for its equality of distribution; the chariot of the winged creation; the seat of the winds; the moderator of the seasons; the quickener of living things, or rather the preserver of natural life in the body; in which bodies have their being, and by which we speak; in which is the light and all that it shines upon, and the sight which flows through it? And mark, if you please, what follows. I cannot give to the air the whole empire of all that is thought to belong to the air. What are the storehouses of the winds?84 Job xxxvii. 9, 10. What are the treasuries of the snow? Who, as Scripture hath said, hath begotten the drops of dew? Out of Whose womb came the ice? and Who bindeth the waters in the clouds, and, fixing part in the clouds (O marvel!) held by His Word though its nature is to flow, poureth out the rest upon the face of the whole earth, and scattereth it abroad in due season, and in just proportions, and neither suffereth the whole substance of moisture to go out free and uncontrolled (for sufficient was the cleansing in the days of Noah; and He who cannot lie is not forgetful of His own covenant);…nor yet restraineth it entirely that we should not again stand in need of an Elias85 1 Kings xviii. 44. to bring the drought to an end. If He shall shut up heaven, it saith, who shall open it? If He open the floodgates, who shall shut them up?86 Job xii. 14. Who can bring an excess or withhold a sufficiency of rain, unless he govern the Universe by his own measures and balances? What scientific laws, pray, can you lay down concerning thunder and lightning, O you who thunder from the earth, and cannot shine with even little sparks of truth? To what vapours from earth will you attribute the creation of cloud, or is it due to some thickening of the air, or pressure or crash of clouds of excessive rarity, so as to make you think the pressure the cause of the lightning, and the crash that which makes the thunder? Or what compression of wind having no outlet will account to you for the lightning by its compression, and for the thunder by its bursting out?
Now if you have in your thought passed through the air and all the things of air, reach with me to heaven and the things of heaven. And let faith lead us rather than reason, if at least you have learnt the feebleness of the latter in matters nearer to you, and have known reason by knowing the things that are beyond reason, so as not to be altogether on the earth or of the earth, because you are ignorant even of your ignorance.
XXIX. Who spread the sky around us, and set the stars in order? Or rather, first, can you tell me, of your own knowledge of the things in heaven, what are the sky and the stars; you who know not what lies at your very feet, and cannot even take the measure of yourself, and yet must busy yourself about what is above your nature, and gape at the illimitable? For, granted that you understand orbits and periods, and waxings and wanings, and settings and risings, and some degrees and minutes, and all the other things which make you so proud of your wonderful knowledge; you have not arrived at comprehension of the realities themselves, but only at an observation of some movement, which, when confirmed by longer practice, and drawing the observations of many individuals into one generalization, and thence deducing a law, has acquired the name of Science (just as the lunar phenomena have become generally known to our sight), being the basis of this knowledge. But if you are very scientific on this subject, and have a just claim to admiration, tell me what is the cause of this order and this movement. How came the sun to be a beacon-fire to the whole world, and to all eyes like the leader of some chorus, concealing all the rest of the stars by his brightness, more completely than some of them conceal others. The proof of this is that they shine against him, but he outshines them and does not even allow it to be perceived that they rose simultaneously with him, fair as a bridegroom, swift and great as a giant87 Ps. xix. 5. for I will not let his praises be sung from any other source than my own Scriptures—so mighty in strength that from one end to the other of the world he embraces all things in his heat, and there is nothing hid from the feeling thereof, but it fills both every eye with light, and every embodied creature with heat; warming, yet not burning, by the gentleness of its temper, and the order of its movement, present to all, and equally embracing all.
XXX. Have you considered the importance of the fact that a heathen writer88 Plato. speaks of the sun as holding the same position among material objects as God does among objects of thought? For the one gives light to the eyes, as the Other does to the mind; and is the most beautiful of the objects of sight, as God is of those of thought. But who gave him motion at first? And what is it which ever moves him in his circuit, though in his nature stable and immovable, truly unwearied, and the giver and sustainer of life, and all the rest of the titles which the poets justly sing of him, and never resting in his course or his benefits? How comes he to be the creator of day when above the earth, and of night when below it? or whatever may be the right expression when one contemplates the sun? What are the mutual aggressions and concessions of day and night, and their regular irregularities—to use a somewhat strange expression? How comes he to be the maker and divider of the seasons, that come and depart in regular order, and as in a dance interweave with each other, or stand apart by a law of love on the one hand, and of order on the other, and mingle little by little, and steal on their neighbour, just as nights and days do, so as not to give us pain by their suddenness. This will be enough about the sun.
Do you know the nature and phenomena of the Moon, and the measures and courses of light, and how it is that the sun bears rule over the day, and the moon presides over the night; and while She gives confidence to wild beasts, He stirs Man up to work, raising or lowering himself as may be most serviceable? Know you the bond of Pleiades, or the fence of Orion89 Job xxxviii. 31. as He who counteth the number of the stars and calleth them all by their names?90 Ps. cxlvii. 4. Know you the differences of the glory91 1 Cor. xv. 41. of each, and the order of their movement, that I should trust you, when by them you weave the web of human concerns, and arm the creature against the Creator?
XXXI. What say you? Shall we pause here, after discussing nothing further than matter and visible things, or, since the Word knows the Tabernacle of Moses to be a figure of the whole creation—I mean the entire system of things visible and invisible—shall we pass the first veil, and stepping beyond the realm of sense, shall we look into the Holy Place, the Intellectual and Celestial creation? But not even this can we see in an incorporeal way, though it is incorporeal, since it is called—or is—Fire and Spirit. For He is said to make His Angels spirits, and His Ministers a flame of fire92 Ps. civ. 4.…though perhaps this “making” means preserving by that Word by which they came into existence. The Angel then is called spirit and fire; Spirit, as being a creature of the intellectual sphere; Fire, as being of a purifying nature; for I know that the same names belong to the First Nature. But, relatively to us at least, we must reckon the Angelic Nature incorporeal, or at any rate as nearly so as possible. Do you see how we get dizzy over this subject, and cannot advance to any point, unless it be as far as this, that we know there are Angels and Archangels, Thrones, Dominions, Princedoms, Powers, Splendours, Ascents, Intelligent Powers or Intelligencies, pure natures and unalloyed, immovable to evil, or scarcely movable; ever circling in chorus round the First Cause (or how should we sing their praises?) illuminated thence with the purest Illumination, or one in one degree and one in another, proportionally to their nature and rank…so conformed to beauty and moulded that they become secondary Lights, and can enlighten others by the overflowings and largesses of the First Light? Ministrants of God’s Will, strong with both inborn and imparted strength, traversing all space, readily present to all at any place through their zeal for ministry and the agility of their nature…different individuals of them embracing different parts of the world, or appointed over different districts of the Universe, as He knoweth who ordered and distributed it all. Combining all things in one, solely with a view to the consent of the Creator of all things; Hymners of the Majesty of the Godhead, eternally contemplating the Eternal Glory, not that God may thereby gain an increase of glory, for nothing can be added to that which is full—to Him, who supplies good to all outside Himself but that there may never be a cessation of blessings to these first natures after God. If we have told these things as they deserve, it is by the grace of the Trinity, and of the one Godhead in Three Persons; but if less perfectly than we have desired, yet even so our discourse has gained its purpose. For this is what we were labouring to shew, that even the secondary natures surpass the power of our intellect; much more then the First and (for I fear to say merely That which is above all), the only Nature.
ΛΟΓΟΣ ΘΕΟΛΟΓΙΚΟΣ ΔΕΥΤΕΡΟΣ ΠΕΡΙ ΘΕΟΛΟΓΙΑΣ
Ἐπειδὴ ἀνεκαθήραμεν τῷ λόγῳ τὸν θεολόγον, οἷόν τε εἶναι χρὴ διελθόντες, καὶ οἷστισι φιλοσοφητέον, καὶ ἡνίκα, καὶ ὅσον: ὅτι ὡς οἷόν τε καθαρόν, ἵνα φωτὶ καταλαμβάνηται φῶς. καὶ τοῖς ἐπιμελεστέροις, ἵνα μὴ ἄγονος ᾖ εἰς ἄγονον χώραν ἐμπίπτων ὁ λόγος: καὶ ὅταν γαλήνην ἔχωμεν ἔνδον ἀπὸ τῆς ἔξω περιφορᾶς, ὥστε μή, καθάπερ οἱ λυττῶντες, τῷ πνεύματι διακόπτεσθαι: καὶ ὅσον ἐχωρήσαμεν, ἢ χωρούμεθα: ἐπειδὴ ταῦτα οὕτω, καὶ ἐνεώσαμεν ἑαυτοῖς θεῖα νεώματα, ὥστε μὴ σπείρειν ἐπ' ἀκάνθαις, καὶ τὸ πρόσωπον τῆς γῆς ὡμαλίσαμεν, τῇ γραφῇ τυπωθέντες τε καὶ τυπώσαντες: φέρε, τοῖς τῆς θεολογίας ἤδη προσβῶμεν λόγοις, προστησάμενοι τοῦ λόγου τὸν πατέρα, καὶ τὸν υἱόν, καὶ τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον, περὶ ὧν ὁ λόγος, ὥστε τὸν μὲν εὐδοκεῖν, τὸν δὲ συνεργεῖν, τὸ δὲ ἐμπνεῖν: μᾶλλον δὲ μίαν ἐκ τῆς μιᾶς θεότητος γενέσθαι τὴν ἔλλαμψιν ἑνικῶς διαιρουμένην, καὶ συναπτομένην διαιρέτως, ὃ καὶ παράδοξον.
Ἀνιόντι δέ μοι προθύμως ἐπὶ τὸ ὄρος, ἢ τό γε ἀληθέστερον εἰπεῖν, προθυμουμένῳ τε ἅμα καὶ ἀγωνιῶντι, τὸ μὲν διὰ τὴν ἐλπίδα, τὸ δὲ διὰ τὴν ἀσθένειαν, ἵνα τῆς νεφέλης εἴσω γένωμαι, καὶ θεῷ συγγένωμαι (τοῦτο γὰρ κελεύει θεός), εἰ μέν τις Ἀαρών, συνανίτω καὶ στηκέτω πλησίον, κἂν ἔξω μένειν τῆς νεφέλης δέῃ, τοῦτο δεχόμενος. εἰ δέ τις Ναδάβ, ἢ Ἀβιοὺδ, ἢ τῆς γερουσίας, ἀνίτω μέν, ἀλλὰ στηκέτω πόρρωθεν, κατὰ τὴν ἀξίαν τῆς καθάρσεως. εἰ δέ τις τῶν πολλῶν καὶ ἀναξίων ὕψους τοιούτου καὶ θεωρίας, εἰ μὲν ἄναγνος πάντῃ, μηδὲ προσίτω, οὐ γὰρ ἀσφαλές: εἰ δὲ πρόσκαιρα γοῦν ἡγνισμένος, κάτω μενέτω, καὶ μόνης ἀκουέτω τῆς φωνῆς καὶ τῆς σάλπιγγος, τῶν ψιλῶν τῆς εὐσεβείας ῥημάτων: καπνιζόμενόν τε τὸ ὄρος βλεπέτω καὶ καταστραπτόμενον, ἀπειλήν τε ὁμοῦ καὶ θαῦμα τοῖς ἀνιέναι μὴ δυναμένοις. εἰ δέ τις θηρίον ἐστὶ πονηρὸν καὶ ἀνήμερον καὶ ἀνεπίδεκτον πάντῃ λόγων θεωρίας καὶ θεολογίας, μὴ ἐμφωλευέτω ταῖς ὕλαις κακούργως καὶ κακοηθῶς, ἵνα τινὸς λάβηται δόγματος ἢ ῥήματος, ἀθρόως προσπηδῆσαν, καὶ σπαράξῃ τοὺς ὑγιαίνοντας λόγους ταῖς ἐπηρείαις, ἀλλ' ἔτι πόρρωθεν στηκέτω, καὶ ἀποχωρείτω τοῦ ὄρους, ἢ λιθοβοληθήσεται, καὶ συντριβήσεται, καὶ ἀπολεῖται κακῶς κακός: λίθοι γὰρ τοῖς θηριώδεσιν οἱ ἀληθεῖς λόγοι καὶ στερροί. εἴτε πάρδαλις εἴη, συναποθνησκέτω τοῖς ποικίλμασιν. εἴτε λέων ἁρπάζων καὶ ὠρυόμενος καὶ ζητῶν ἥντινα βρῶσιν ποιήσεται τῶν ἡμετέρων ψυχῶν ἢ λέξεων: εἴτε σῦς καταπατῶν τοὺς καλούς τε καὶ διαυγεῖς μαργαρίτας τῆς ἀληθείας: εἴτε λύκος Ἀραβικὸς καὶ ἀλλόφυλος, ἢ καὶ τούτων ὀξύτερος τοῖς σοφίσμασιν: εἴτε ἀλώπηξ, δολερά τις ψυχὴ καὶ ἄπιστος, καὶ ἄλλοτε ἄλλη, τοῖς καιροῖς καὶ ταῖς χρείαις συμμορφουμένη, ἣν νεκρὰ τρέφει καὶ ὀδωδότα σώματα, ἢ ἀμπελῶνες μικροί, τῶν μεγάλων διαπεφευγότων: εἴτε τι ἄλλο τῶν ὠμοβόρων, καὶ ἀποβλήτων τῷ νόμῳ, καὶ οὐ καθαρῶν εἰς βρῶσίν τε καὶ ἀπόλαυσιν. βούλεται γὰρ τούτων ἀποχωρήσας ὁ λόγος οὕτω πλαξὶ στερραῖς καὶ λιθίναις ἐγγράφεσθαι, καὶ ταύταις ἀμφοτέρωθεν, διά τε τὸ φαινόμενον τοῦ νόμου καὶ τὸ κρυπτόμενον: τὸ μὲν τοῖς πολλοῖς καὶ κάτω μένουσι, τὸ δὲ τοῖς ὀλίγοις καὶ ἄνω φθάνουσιν.
Τί τοῦτο ἔπαθον, ὦ φίλοι καὶ μύσται καὶ τῆς ἀληθείας συνερασταί; ἔτρεχον μὲν ὡς θεὸν καταληψόμενος, καὶ οὕτως ἀνῆλθον ἐπὶ τὸ ὄρος, καὶ τὴν νεφέλην διέσχον, εἴσω γενόμενος ἀπὸ τῆς ὕλης καὶ τῶν ὑλικῶν, καὶ εἰς ἐμαυτὸν ὡς οἷόν τε συστραφείς. ἐπεὶ δὲ προσέβλεψα, μόλις εἶδον θεοῦ τὰ ὀπίσθια: καὶ τοῦτο τῇ πέτρᾳ σκεπασθείς, τῷ σαρκωθέντι δι' ἡμᾶς θεῷ Λόγῳ: καὶ μικρὸν διακύψας, οὐ τὴν πρώτην τε καὶ ἀκήρατον φύσιν, καὶ ἑαυτῇ, λέγω δὴ τῇ τριάδι, γινωσκομένην, καὶ ὅση τοῦ πρώτου καταπετάσματος εἴσω μένει καὶ ὑπὸ τῶν χερουβὶμ συγκαλύπτεται, ἀλλ' ὅση τελευταία καὶ εἰς ἡμᾶς φθάνουσα. ἡ δέ ἐστιν, ὅσα ἐμὲ γινώσκειν, ἡ ἐν τοῖς κτίσμασι καὶ τοῖς ὑπ' αὐτοῦ προβεβλημένοις καὶ διοικουμένοις μεγαλειότης, ἤ, ὡς ὁ θεῖος Δαβὶδ ὀνομάζει, μεγαλοπρέπεια. ταῦτα γὰρ θεοῦ τὰ ὀπίσθια, ὅσα μετ' ἐκεῖνον ἐκείνου γνωρίσματα, ὥσπερ αἱ καθ' ὑδάτων ἡλίου σκιαὶ καὶ εἰκόνες ταῖς σαθραῖς ὄψεσι παραδεικνῦσαι τὸν ἥλιον, ἐπεὶ μὴ αὐτὸν προσβλέπειν οἶόν τε, τῷ ἀκραιφνεῖ τοῦ φωτὸς νικῶντα τὴν αἴσθησιν. οὕτως οὖν θεολογήσεις, κἂν ᾖς Μωυσῆς καὶ Φαραὼ θεός, κἂν μέχρι τρίτου κατὰ τὸν Παῦλον οὐρανοῦ φθάσῃς, καὶ ἀκούσῃς ἄρρητα ῥήματα: κἂν ὑπὲρ ἐκεῖνον γένῃ, ἀγγελικῆς τινὸς ἢ ἀρχαγγελικῆς στάσεώς τε καὶ τάξεως ἠξιωμένος. κἂν γὰρ οὐράνιον ἅπαν, κἂν ὑπερουράνιόν τι, καὶ πολὺ τὴν φύσιν ὑψηλότερον ἡμῶν ᾖ, καὶ ἐγγυτέρω θεοῦ, πλέον ἀπέχει θεοῦ καὶ τῆς τελείας καταλήψεως, ἢ ὅσον ἡμῶν ὑπεραίρει τοῦ συνθέτου καὶ ταπεινοῦ καὶ κάτω βρίθοντος κράματος.
Ἀρκτέον οὖν οὕτω πάλιν. θεὸν νοῆσαι μὲν χαλεπόν: φράσαι δὲ ἀδύνατον, ὥς τις τῶν παρ' Ἕλλησι θεολόγων ἐφιλοσόφησεν, _ οὐκ ἀτέχνως ἐμοὶ δοκεῖν, ἵνα καὶ κατειληφέναι δόξῃ τῷ χαλεπὸν εἰπεῖν, καὶ διαφύγῃ τῷ ἀνεκφράστῳ τὸν ἔλεγχον. ἀλλὰ φράσαι μὲν ἀδύνατον, ὡς ὁ ἐμὸς λόγος, νοῆσαι δὲ ἀδυνατώτερον. τὸ μὲν γὰρ νοηθὲν τάχα ἂν λόγος δηλώσειεν, εἰ καὶ μὴ μετρίως, ἀλλ' ἀμυδρῶς γε, τῷ μὴ πάντῃ τὰ ὦτα διεφθαρμένῳ καὶ νωθρῷ τὴν διάνοιαν. τὸ δὲ τοσοῦτον πρᾶγμα τῇ διανοίᾳ περιλαβεῖν πάντως ἀδύνατον καὶ ἀμήχανον, μὴ ὅτι τοῖς καταβεβλακευμένοις καὶ κάτω νεύουσιν, ἀλλὰ καὶ τοῖς λίαν ὑψηλοῖς τε καὶ φιλοθέοις, καὶ ὁμοίως πάσῃ γεννητῇ φύσει, καὶ οἷς ὁ ζόφος οὗτος ἐπιπροσθεῖ καὶ τὸ παχὺ τοῦτο σαρκίον πρὸς τὴν τοῦ ἀληθοῦς κατανόησιν. οὐκ οἶδα δέ, εἰ μὴ καὶ ταῖς ἀνωτέρω καὶ νοεραῖς φύσεσιν, αἳ διὰ τὸ πλησίον εἶναι θεοῦ, καὶ ὅλῳ τῷ φωτὶ καταλάμπεσθαι, τυχὸν ἂν καὶ τρανοῖντο, εἰ καὶ μὴ πάντῃ, ἀλλ' ἡμῶν γε τελεώτερόν τε καὶ ἐκτυπώτερον, καὶ ἄλλων ἄλλαι πλεῖον ἢ ἔλαττον, κατὰ τὴν ἀναλογίαν τῆς τάξεως.
Τοῦτο μὲν οὖν ἐνταῦθα κείσθω: τὸ δὲ ἡμέτερον, οὐχ ἡ εἰρήνη τοῦ θεοῦ μόνον ὑπερέχει πάντα νοῦν καὶ κατάληψιν, οὐδὲ ὅσα τοῖς δικαίοις ἐστὶν ἐν ἐπαγγελίαις ἀποκείμενα, τὰ μήτε ὀφθαλμοῖς ὁρατά, μήτε ὠσὶν ἀκουστά, μήτε διανοίᾳ θεωρητά, κατὰ μικρὸν γοῦν, οὐδὲ ἡ τῆς κτίσεως ἀκριβὴς κατανόησις: καὶ γὰρ καὶ ταύτης πείσθητι τὰς σκιὰς ἔχειν μόνον, ὅταν ἀκούσῃς: Ὄψομαι τοὺς οὐρανούς, ἔργα τῶν δακτύλων σου, σελήνην καὶ ἀστέρας, καὶ τὸν ἐν αὐτοῖς πάγιον λόγον: ὡς οὐχὶ νῦν ὁρῶν, ὀψόμενος δὲ ἔστιν ὅτε: ἀλλὰ πολὺ πρὸ τούτων ἡ ὑπὲρ ταῦτα, καὶ ἐξ ἧς ταῦτα, φύσις ἄληπτός τε καὶ ἀπερίληπτος: λέγω δέ, οὐχ ὅτι ἔστιν, ἀλλ' ἥτις ἐστίν. οὐ γὰρ κενὸν τὸ κήρυγμα ἡμῶν, οὐδὲ ματαία ἡ πίστις ἡμῶν, οὐδὲ τοῦτό ἐστιν ὃ δογματίζομεν: μὴ πάλιν τὴν εὐγνωμοσύνην ἡμῶν ἀθείας λάβῃς ἀρχὴν καὶ συκοφαντίας, καὶ κατεπαρθῇς ὡς ὁμολογούντων τὴν ἄγνοιαν. πλεῖστον γὰρ διαφέρει τοῦ εἶναί τι πεπεῖσθαι τὸ τί ποτέ ἐστι τοῦτο εἰδέναι.
Τοῦ μὲν γὰρ εἶναι θεόν, καὶ τὴν πάντων ποιητικήν τε καὶ συνεκτικὴν αἰτίαν, καὶ ὄψις διδάσκαλος, καὶ ὁ φυσικὸς νόμος: ἡ μὲν τοῖς ὁρωμένοις προσβάλλουσα, καὶ πεπηγόσι καλῶς καὶ ὁδεύουσι, καὶ ἀκινήτως, ἵνα οὕτως εἴπω, κινουμένοις καὶ φερομένοις: ὁ δὲ διὰ τῶν ὁρωμένων καὶ τεταγμένων τὸν ἀρχηγὸν τούτων συλλογιζόμενος. πῶς γὰρ ἂν καὶ ὑπέστη τόδε τὸ πᾶν, ἢ συνέστη, μὴ θεοῦ τὰ πάντα καὶ οὐσιώσαντος καὶ συνέχοντος; οὐδὲ γὰρ κιθάραν τις ὁρῶν κάλλιστα ἠσκημένην καὶ τὴν ταύτης εὐαρμοστίαν καὶ εὐταξίαν, ἢ τῆς κιθαρῳδίας αὐτῆς ἀκούων, ἄλλο τι ἢ τὸν τῆς κιθάρας δημιουργὸν καὶ τὸν κιθαρῳδὸν ἐννοήσει, καὶ πρὸς αὐτὸν ἀναδραμεῖται τῇ διανοίᾳ, κἂν ἀγνοῶν τύχῃ ταῖς ὄψεσιν. οὕτω καὶ ἡμῖν τὸ ποιητικὸν δῆλον, καὶ τὸ κινοῦν καὶ τηροῦν τὰ πεποιημένα, κἂν μὴ διανοίᾳ περιλαμβάνηται: καὶ λίαν ἀγνώμων ὁ μὴ μέχρι τούτων προιὼν ἑκουσίως καὶ ταῖς φυσικαῖς ἑπόμενος ἀποδείξεσιν. ἀλλ' οὐδὲ τοῦτο εἶναι θεόν, ὅπερ ἐφαντάσθημεν, ἢ ἀνετυπωσάμεθα, ἢ λόγος ὑπέγραψεν. εἰ δέ τις ἐν περινοίᾳ τούτου ποτὲ κἂν ἐπὶ ποσὸν ἐγένετο, τίς ἡ ἀπόδειξις; τίς οὕτως εἰς ἔσχατον σοφίας ἀφίκετο; τίς τοσούτου χαρίσματος ἠξιώθη ποτέ; τίς οὕτω τὸ στόμα τῆς διανοίας ἤνοιξε καὶ εἵλκυσε πνεῦμα, ἵνα τῷ τὰ πάντα ἐρευνῶντι καὶ γινώσκοντι καὶ τὰ βάθη τοῦ θεοῦ πνεύματι θεὸν καταλάβῃ, καὶ μηκέτι τοῦ πρόσω δέηται, τὸ ἔσχατον ὀρεκτὸν ἔχων ἤδη, καὶ εἰς ὃ πᾶσα σπεύδει καὶ πολιτεία τοῦ ὑψηλοῦ καὶ διάνοια;
Τί γάρ ποτε ὑπολήψῃ τὸ θεῖον, εἴπερ ὅλαις ταῖς λογικαῖς πιστεύεις ἐφόδοις; ἢ πρὸς τί σε ὁ λόγος ἀνάξει βασανιζόμενος, ὦ φιλοσοφώτατε σὺ καὶ θεολογικώτατε καὶ καυχώμενε εἰς τὰ ἄμετρα; πότερον σῶμα; καὶ πῶς τὸ ἄπειρον, καὶ ἀόριστον, καὶ ἀσχημάτιστον, καὶ ἀναφές, καὶ ἀόρατον; ἢ καὶ ταῦτα σώματα; τῆς ἐξουσίας: οὐ γὰρ αὕτη φύσις σωμάτων. ἢ σῶμα μέν, οὐχὶ ταῦτα δέ; τῆς παχύτητος: ἵνα μηδὲν πλέον ἡμῶν ἔχῃ τὸ θεῖον. πῶς γὰρ σεπτόν, εἰ περιγραπτόν; ἢ πῶς φεύξεται τὸ ἐκ στοιχείων συγκεῖσθαι καὶ εἰς αὐτὰ πάλιν ἀναλύεσθαι, ἢ καὶ ὅλως λύεσθαι; σύνθεσις γὰρ ἀρχὴ μάχης: μάχη δὲ διαστάσεως: ἡ δὲ λύσεως: λύσις δὲ ἀλλότριον πάντῃ θεοῦ καὶ τῆς πρώτης φύσεως. οὐκ οὖν διάστασις, ἵνα μὴ λύσις: οὐδὲ μάχη, ἵνα μὴ διάστασις: οὐδὲ σύνθεσις, ἵνα μὴ μάχη: διὰ τοῦτο οὐδὲ σῶμα, ἵνα μὴ σύνθεσις. ἐκ τῶν τελευταίων ἐπὶ τὰ πρῶτα ὁ λόγος ἀνιὼν οὕτως ἵσταται.
Πῶς δὲ καὶ σωθήσεται τὸ διὰ πάντων διήκειν καὶ πληροῦν τὰ πάντα θεόν, κατὰ τό: Οὐχὶ τὸν οὐρανὸν καὶ τὴν γῆν ἐγὼ πληρῶ; λέγει κύριος, καί: Πνεῦμα κυρίου πεπλήρωκε τὴν οἰκουμένην, εἰ τὸ μὲν περιγράφοι, τὸ δὲ περιγράφοιτο; ἢ γὰρ διὰ κενοῦ χωρήσει τοῦ παντός, καὶ τὰ πάντα οἰχήσεται ἡμῖν, ἵν' ὑβρισθῇ θεός, καὶ σῶμα γενόμενος, καὶ οὐκ ἔχων ὅσα πεποίηκεν: ἢ σῶμα ἐν σώμασιν ἔσται, ὅπερ ἀδύνατον: ἢ πλακήσεται καὶ ἀντιπαρατεθήσεται, ὥσπερ ὅσα τῶν ὑγρῶν μίγνυται, καὶ τὸ μὲν τέμνει, ὑπὸ δὲ τοῦ τμηθήσεται, ὃ καὶ τῶν Ἐπικουρείων ἀτόμων ἀτοπώτερόν τε καὶ γραωδέστερον: καὶ οὕτω διαπεσεῖται ἡμῖν, καὶ σῶμα οὐχ ἕξει, οὐδὲ πῆξίν τινα, ὁ περὶ τοῦ σώματος λόγος. εἰ δὲ ἄυλον φήσομεν, εἰ μὲν τὸ πέμπτον, ὥς τισιν ἔδοξε, καὶ τὴν κύκλῳ φορὰν φερόμενον, ἔστω μὲν ἄυλόν τι καὶ πέμπτον σῶμα, εἰ βούλονται δέ, καὶ ἀσώματον, κατὰ τὴν αὐτόνομον αὐτῶν τοῦ λόγου φορὰν καὶ ἀνάπλασιν: οὐδὲν γὰρ νῦν περὶ τούτου διοίσομαι. κατὰ τί δὲ τῶν κινουμένων ἔσται καὶ φερομένων, ἵνα μὴ λέγω τὴν ὕβριν, εἰ τὰ αὐτὰ τοῖς πεποιημένοις ὁ πεποιηκὼς κινηθήσεται, καὶ τοῖς φερομένοις ὁ φέρων, εἴ γε καὶ τοῦτο δώσουσι; τί δὲ τὸ τοῦτο πάλιν κινοῦν; τί δὲ τὸ τὸ πᾶν κινοῦν; κἀκεῖνο τί; καὶ τί πάλιν ἐκεῖνο; καὶ τοῦτο εἰς ἄπειρον. πῶς δὲ οὐκ ἐν τόπῳ πάντως, εἴ γε φερόμενον; εἰ δὲ ἄλλο τι παρὰ τὸ πέμπτον φήσουσιν, εἰ μὲν ἀγγελικόν, πόθεν ὅτι ἄγγελοι σώματα, καὶ τίνα ταῦτα; καὶ πόσον ὑπὲρ ἄγγελον εἴη θεός, οὗ λειτουργὸς ἄγγελος; εἰ δὲ ὑπὲρ ταῦτα, πάλιν εἰσήχθη σωμάτων ἐσμὸς ἀλόγιστος, καὶ φλυαρίας βυθός, οὐδαμοῦ στῆναι δυνάμενος.
Οὕτω μὲν οὖν οὐ σῶμα ἡμῖν ὁ θεός. οὐδὲ γὰρ ἤδη τις τοῦτο τῶν θεοπνεύστων ἢ εἶπεν ἢ παρεδέξατο, οὐδὲ τῆς ἡμετέρας αὐλῆς ὁ λόγος. λείπεται δὴ ἀσώματον ὑπολαμβάνειν. ἀλλ' εἰ ἀσώματον, οὔπω μὲν οὐδὲ τοῦτο τῆς οὐσίας παραστατικόν τε καὶ περιεκτικόν, ὥσπερ οὐδὲ τὸ ἀγέννητον, καὶ τὸ ἄναρχον, καὶ τὸ ἀναλλοίωτον, καὶ τὸ ἄφθαρτον, καὶ ὅσα περὶ θεοῦ ἢ περὶ θεὸν εἶναι λέγεται. τί γὰρ ὄντι αὐτῷ κατὰ τὴν φύσιν καὶ τὴν ὑπόστασιν ὑπάρχει τὸ μὴ ἀρχὴν ἔχειν, μηδὲ ἐξίστασθαι, μηδὲ περατοῦσθαι; ἀλλ' ὅλον τὸ εἶναι περιλαμβάνειν λείπεται προσφιλοσοφεῖν τε καὶ προσεξετάζειν τῷ γε νοῦν θεοῦ ἀληθῶς ἔχοντι καὶ τελεωτέρῳ τὴν θεωρίαν. ὡς γὰρ οὐκ ἀρκεῖ τὸ σῶμα εἰπεῖν, ἢ τὸ γεγεννῆσθαι, πρὸς τὸ καὶ τό, περὶ ὃ ταῦτα, παραστῆσαί τε καὶ δηλῶσαι, ἀλλὰ δεῖ καὶ τὸ ὑποκείμενον τούτοις εἰπεῖν, εἰ μέλλοι τελείως καὶ ἀποχρώντως τὸ νοούμενον παραστήσεσθαι: ἢ γὰρ ἄνθρωπος ἢ βοῦς ἢ ἵππος τοῦτο τὸ ἐνσώματον καὶ γεννώμενον καὶ φθειρόμενον: οὕτως οὐδὲ ἐκεῖ στήσεται μέχρι τοῦ εἰπεῖν ἃ μή ἐστιν ὁ τὴν τοῦ ὄντος πολυπραγμονῶν φύσιν, ἀλλὰ δεῖ, πρὸς τῷ εἰπεῖν ἃ μή ἐστι, καὶ ὅ ἐστιν εἰπεῖν, _ὅσῳ καὶ ῥᾷον ἕν τι περιλαβεῖν, ἢ τὰ πάντα καθ' ἕκαστον ἀπειπεῖν, _ἵνα ἔκ τε τῆς ἀναιρέσεως ὧν οὔκ ἐστι, καὶ τῆς οὗ ἐστὶ θέσεως, περιληφθῇ τὸ νοούμενον. ὁ δὲ ἃ μὲν οὔκ ἐστι λέγων, σιωπῶν δὲ ὅ ἐστι, ποιεῖ παραπλήσιον, ὥσπερ ἂν εἰ τὰ πέντε δὶς ὅσα ἐστὶν ἐρωτώμενος ὅτι μὲν οὐ δύο λέγοι, οὐδὲ τρεῖς, οὐδὲ τέσσαρες, οὐδὲ πέντε, οὐδὲ εἴκοσιν, οὐδὲ τριάκοντα, οὐδέ τινα, ἵνα συνελὼν εἴπω, τῶν ἐντὸς δεκάδος ἢ δεκαδικῶν ἀριθμῶν: ὅτι δὲ εἴη δέκα μὴ λέγοι, μηδὲ ἐρείδοι τὸν νοῦν τοῦ ἐρωτῶντος εἰς τὸ ζητούμενον. πολλῷ γὰρ ῥᾷον καὶ συντομώτερον ἐκ τοῦ ὅ ἐστιν ὅσα οὔκ ἐστι δηλῶσαι, ἢ ἐκ τοῦ ἀνελεῖν ἃ μή ἐστιν ὅ ἐστιν ἐνδείξασθαι. ἢ τοῦτο μὲν παντὶ δῆλον.
Ἐπεὶ δέ ἐστιν ἀσώματον ἡμῖν τὸ θεῖον, μικρόν τι προσεξετάσωμεν: πότερον οὐδαμοῦ τοῦτο, ἢ ἔστιν ὅπου; εἰ μὲν γὰρ οὐδαμοῦ, ζητήσαι τις ἂν τῶν ἄγαν ἐξεταστικῶν, πῶς ἂν καὶ εἴη. εἰ γὰρ τὸ μὴ ὂν οὐδαμοῦ, τὸ μηδαμοῦ τυχὸν οὐδὲ ὄν. εἰ δέ ἐστί που, πάντως ἐπείπερ ἐστὶν ἢ ἐν τῷ παντὶ ἢ ὑπὲρ τὸ πᾶν. ἀλλ' εἰ μὲν ἐν τῷ παντί, ἤ τινι, ἢ πανταχοῦ. καὶ εἰ μὲν ἔν τινι, ὑπ' ἐλάττονος περιγραφήσεται τοῦ τινός, εἰ δὲ πανταχοῦ, ὑπὸ πλείονος καὶ ἄλλου πολλοῦ, λέγω δὲ τὸ περιεχόμενον τοῦ περιέχοντος, εἰ τὸ πᾶν ὑπὸ τοῦ παντὸς μέλλοι περισχεθήσεσθαι, καὶ μηδένα τόπον εἶναι περιγραφῆς ἐλεύθερον. ταῦτα μέν, εἰ ἐν τῷ παντί. καὶ ποῦ πρὶν γενέσθαι τὸ πᾶν; οὐδὲ γὰρ τοῦτο μικρὸν εἰς ἀπορίαν. εἰ δὲ ὑπὲρ τὸ πᾶν, ἆρ' οὐδὲν ἦν τὸ διορίζον αὐτὸ τοῦ παντός; ποῦ δὲ τὸ ὑπὲρ τοῦτο; καὶ πῶς ἐνοήθη τὸ ὑπεραῖρον καὶ ὑπεραιρόμενον, οὐκ ὄντος ὅρου τινὸς τοῦ τέμνοντος ταῦτα καὶ διορίζοντος; ἢ χρὴ πάντως εἶναι τὸ μέσον, καὶ ᾧ περατοῦται τὸ πᾶν καὶ τὸ ὑπὲρ τὸ πᾶν; καὶ τί ἄλλο τοῦτο ἢ τόπος ἐστίν, ὅνπερ ἐφύγομεν; καὶ οὔπω λέγω τὸ περιγραπτὸν πάντως εἶναι τὸ θεῖον, καὶ εἰ διανοίᾳ καταληπτόν: ἓν γὰρ περιγραφῆς εἶδος καὶ ἡ κατάληψις.
Τίνος οὖν ἕνεκεν ταῦτα διῆλθον. καὶ περιεργότερον ἴσως ἢ κατὰ τὰς τῶν πολλῶν ἀκοάς, καὶ κατὰ τὸν νῦν κεκρατηκότα τύπον τῶν λόγων, ὃς τὸ γενναῖον καὶ ἁπλοῦν ἀτιμάσας τὸ σκολιὸν καὶ γριφοειδὲς ἐπεισήγαγεν: ὡς ἐκ τῶν καρπῶν τὸ δένδρον γινώσκεσθαι, λέγω δὲ τὸ ἐνεργοῦν τὰ τοιαῦτα δόγματα σκότος ἐκ τοῦ ζόφου τῶν λεγομένων; οὐ γὰρ ἵνα καὶ αὐτὸς παράδοξα λέγειν δόξω, καὶ περιττὸς φαίνωμαι τὴν σοφίαν, πλέκων συνδέσμους καὶ διαλύων κρατούμενα: τοῦτο δὴ τὸ μέγα θαῦμα τοῦ Δανιήλ: ἀλλ' ἵν' ἐκεῖνο δηλώσαιμι, ὅ μοι λέγειν ὁ λόγος ἀπ' ἀρχῆς ὥρμησεν. τοῦτο δὲ ἦν τί; τὸ μὴ ληπτὸν εἶναι ἀνθρωπίνῃ διανοίᾳ τὸ θεῖον, μηδὲ ὅλον ὅσον ἐστὶ φαντάζεσθαι: καὶ τοῦτο οὔτε διὰ φθόνον, _μακρὰν γὰρ τῆς θείας φύσεως φθόνος, τῆς γε ἀπαθοῦς καὶ μόνης ἀγαθῆς καὶ κυρίας, καὶ μάλιστα τῶν ἑαυτοῦ κτισμάτων περὶ τὸ τιμιώτατον: τί γὰρ Λόγῳ πρὸ τῶν λογικῶν; ἐπεὶ καὶ αὐτὸ τὸ ὑποστῆναι τῆς ἄκρας ἀγαθότητος: _οὔτε εἰς τιμὴν ἑαυτοῦ καὶ δόξαν τοῦ πλήρους, ἵνα τῷ ἀνεφίκτῳ τὸ τίμιον ἔχῃ καὶ τὸ σεβάσμιον. τοῦτο γὰρ πάντως σοφιστικὸν καὶ ἀλλότριον, μὴ ὅτι θεοῦ, ἀλλ' οὐδὲ ἀνθρώπου μετρίως ἐπιεικοῦς, καί τι δεξιὸν ἑαυτῷ συνειδότος, ἐκ τοῦ κωλύειν ἑτέρους τὸ πρωτεῖον πορίζεσθαι.
Ἀλλ' εἰ μὲν καὶ δι' ἄλλας αἰτίας, εἰδεῖεν ἂν οἱ ἐγγυτέρω θεοῦ, καὶ τῶν ἀνεξιχνιάστων αὐτοῦ κριμάτων ἐπόπται καὶ θεωροί, εἴπερ εἰσί τινες τοσοῦτοι τὴν ἀρετήν, καὶ ἐν ἴχνεσιν ἀβύσσου περιπατοῦντες, τὸ δὴ λεγόμενον. ὅσον δ' οὖν ἡμεῖς κατειλήφαμεν, μικροῖς μέτροις μετροῦντες τὰ δυσθεώρητα, τάχα μέν, ἵνα μὴ τῷ ῥᾳδίῳ τῆς κτήσεως ῥᾴστη γένηται καὶ ἡ τοῦ κτηθέντος ἀποβολή: φιλεῖ γὰρ τὸ μὲν πόνῳ κτηθὲν μᾶλλον κρατεῖσθαι, τὸ δὲ ῥᾳδίως κτηθὲν καὶ ἀποπτύεσθαι τάχιστα, ὡς πάλιν ληφθῆναι δυνάμενον: καὶ οὕτως εὐεργεσία καθίσταται τὸ μὴ πρόχειρον τῆς εὐεργεσίας, τοῖς γε νοῦν ἔχουσι. τάχα δέ, ὡς μὴ ταὐτὸν ἡμᾶς τῷ πεσόντι ἑωσφόρῳ πάσχειν, ἐκ τοῦ τὸ φῶς ὅλον χωρῆσαι κατέναντι κυρίου παντοκράτορος τραχηλιᾷν, καὶ πίπτειν ἐκ τῆς ἐπάρσεως πτῶμα πάντων ἐλεεινότατον. τυχὸν δέ, ἴν' ᾖ τι πλέον ἐκεῖθεν ἆθλον φιλοπονίας καὶ λαμπροῦ βίου τοῖς ἐνταῦθα κεκαθαρμένοις καὶ μακροθυμοῦσι πρὸς τὸ ποθούμενον. διὰ τοῦτο μέσος ἡμῶν τε καὶ θεοῦ ὁ σωματικὸς οὗτος ἵσταται γνόφος, ὥσπερ ἡ νεφέλη τὸ πάλαι τῶν Αἰγυπτίων καὶ τῶν Ἑβραίων. καὶ τοῦτό ἐστιν ἴσως, ὃ ἔθετο σκότος ἀποκρυφὴν αὐτοῦ, τὴν ἡμετέραν παχύτητα, δι' ἣν ὀλίγοι καὶ μικρὸν διακύπτουσιν. τοῦτο μὲν οὖν φιλοσοφείτωσαν οἷς ἐπιμελὲς, καὶ ἀνίτωσαν ἐπὶ πλεῖστον τῆς διασκέψεως. ἡμῖν δ' οὖν ἐκεῖνο γνώριμον τοῖς δεσμίοις τῆς γῆς, ὅ φησιν ὁ θεῖος Ἰερεμίας, καὶ τὸ παχὺ τοῦτο σαρκίον περιβεβλημένοις, ὅτι ὥσπερ ἀδύνατον ὑπερβῆναι τὴν ἑαυτοῦ σκιάν, καὶ τῷ λίαν ἐπειγομένῳ, _φθάνει γὰρ ἀεὶ τοσοῦτον, ὅσον καταλαμβάνεται, _ἢ τοῖς ὁρατοῖς πλησιάσαι τὴν ὄψιν δίχα τοῦ ἐν μέσῳ φωτὸς καὶ ἀέρος, ἢ τῶν ὑδάτων ἔξω τὴν νηκτὴν φύσιν διολισθαίνειν, οὕτως ἀμήχανον τοῖς ἐν σώμασι δίχα τῶν σωματικῶν πάντῃ γενέσθαι μετὰ τῶν νοουμένων. ἀεὶ γάρ τι παρεμπεσεῖται τῶν ἡμετέρων, κἂν ὅτι μάλιστα χωρίσας ἑαυτὸν τῶν ὁρωμένων ὁ νοῦς, καὶ καθ' ἑαυτὸν γενόμενος, προσβάλλειν ἐπιχειρῇ τοῖς συγγενέσι καὶ ἀοράτοις. γνώσῃ δὲ οὕτως.
Οὐ πνεῦμα καὶ πῦρ καὶ φῶς, ἀγάπη τε καὶ σοφία καὶ δικαιοσύνη, καὶ νοῦς καὶ λόγος, καὶ τὰ τοιαῦτα, αἱ προσηγορίαι τῆς πρώτης φύσεως; τί οὖν; ἢ πνεῦμα νοήσεις δίχα φορᾶς καὶ χύσεως; ἢ πῦρ ἔξω τῆς ὕλης, καὶ τῆς ἄνω φορᾶς, καὶ τοῦ ἰδίου χρώματός τε καὶ σχήματος; ἢ φῶς οὐκ ἀέρι σύγκρατόν τε καὶ ἀφετὸν τοῦ οἷον γεννῶντός τε καὶ φωτίζοντος; νοῦν δὲ τίνα; μὴ τὸν ἐν ἄλλῳ, καὶ οὗ κινήματα τὰ διανοήματα, ἠρεμοῦντα ἢ προβαλλόμενα; λόγον δὲ τίνα παρὰ τὸν ἡσυχάζοντα ἐν ἡμῖν, ἢ χεόμενον; ὀκνῶ γὰρ εἰπεῖν, λυόμενον. εἰ δὲ καὶ σοφίαν, τίνα παρὰ τὴν ἕξιν, καὶ τὴν ἐν τοῖς θεωρήμασιν, εἴτε θείοις, εἴτε καὶ ἀνθρωπίνοις; δικαιοσύνην τε καὶ ἀγάπην, οὐ διαθέσεις ἐπαινουμένας, καὶ τὴν μὲν τῆς ἀδικίας, τὴν δὲ τοῦ μίσους ἀντίπαλον, ἐπιτεινομένας τε καὶ ἀνιεμένας, προσγινομένας τε καὶ ἀπογινομένας, καὶ ὅλως ποιούσας ἡμᾶς καὶ ἀλλοιούσας, ὥσπερ αἱ χρόαι τὰ σώματα; ἢ δεῖ τούτων ἀποστάντας ἡμᾶς αὐτὸ καθ' ἑαυτὸ τὸ θεῖον ἐκ τούτων ἰδεῖν, ὡς οἷόν τε, μερικήν τινα φαντασίαν ἐκ τῶν εἰκασμάτων συλλεγομένους; τίς οὖν ἡ μηχανὴ ἐκ τούτων τε καὶ μὴ ταῦτα; ἢ πῶς ταῦτα πάντα, καὶ τελείως ἕκαστον, τὸ ἓν τῇ φύσει ἀσύνθετον καὶ ἀνείκαστον; οὕτω κάμνει ἐκβῆναι τὰ σωματικὰ ὁ ἡμέτερος νοῦς, καὶ γυμνοῖς ὁμιλῆσαι τοῖς ἀσωμάτοις, ἕως σκοπεῖ μετὰ τῆς ἰδίας ἀσθενείας τὰ ὑπὲρ δύναμιν. ἐπεὶ ἐφίεται μὲν πᾶσα λογικὴ φύσις θεοῦ καὶ τῆς πρώτης αἰτίας: καταλαβεῖν δὲ ἀδυνατεῖ, δι' ἃς εἶπον αἰτίας. κάμνουσα δὲ τῷ πόθῳ, καὶ οἷον σφαδάζουσα, καὶ τὴν ζημίαν οὐ φέρουσα, δεύτερον ποιεῖται πλοῦν, ἢ πρὸς τὰ ὁρώμενα βλέψαι, καὶ τούτων τι ποιῆσαι θεόν, κακῶς εἰδυῖα, _τί γὰρ τῶν ὁρατῶν τοῦ ὁρῶντος καὶ πόσον ἐστὶν ὑψηλότερόν τε καὶ θεοειδέστερον, ἵν' ᾖ τὸ μὲν προσκυνοῦν, τὸ δὲ προσκυνούμενον; _ἢ διὰ τοῦ κάλλους τῶν ὁρωμένων καὶ τῆς εὐταξίας θεὸν γνωρίσαι, καὶ ὁδηγῷ τῇ ὄψει τῶν ὑπὲρ τὴν ὄψιν χρήσασθαι, ἀλλὰ μὴ ζημιωθῆναι θεὸν διὰ τῆς μεγαλοπρεπείας τῶν ὁρωμένων.
Ἐντεῦθεν οἱ μὲν ἥλιον, οἱ δὲ σελήνην, οἱ δὲ ἀστέρων πλῆθος, οἱ δὲ οὐρανὸν αὐτὸν ἅμα τούτοις, οἷς καὶ τὸ πᾶν ἄγειν δεδώκασι κατὰ τὸ ποιὸν ἢ ποσὸν τῆς κινήσεως: οἱ δὲ τὰ στοιχεῖα, γῆν, ὕδωρ, ἀέρα, πῦρ, διὰ τὸ χρειῶδες, ὧν ἄνευ οὐδὲ συστῆναι δυνατὸν τὸν ἀνθρώπινον βίον: οἱ δὲ ὅ τι τύχοιεν ἕκαστος τῶν ὁρατῶν ἐσεβάσθησαν, ὧν ἑώρων τὰ κάλλιστα θεοὺς προστησάμενοι. εἰσὶ δὲ οἳ καὶ εἰκόνας καὶ πλάσματα, πρῶτα μὲν τῶν οἰκείων, οἵ γε περιπαθέστεροι καὶ σωματικώτεροι, καὶ τιμῶντες τοὺς ἀπελθόντας τοῖς ὑπομνήμασιν: ἔπειτα καὶ τῶν ξένων, οἱ μετ' ἐκείνους καὶ μακρὰν ἀπ' ἐκείνων, ἀγνοίᾳ τῆς πρώτης φύσεως, καὶ ἀκολουθίᾳ τῆς παραδοθείσης τιμῆς, ὡς ἐννόμου καὶ ἀναγκαίας, ἐπειδὴ χρόνῳ τὸ ἔθος βεβαιωθὲν ἐνομίσθη νόμος. οἶμαι δὲ καὶ δυναστείαν τινὲς θεραπεύοντες, καὶ ῥώμην ἐπαινέσαντες, καὶ κάλλος θαυμάσαντες, θεὸν ἐποίησαν τῷ χρόνῳ τὸν τιμώμενον, προσλαβόμενοί τινα καὶ μῦθον τῆς ἐξεπάτης ἐπίκουρον.
Οἱ ἐμπαθέστεροι δὲ αὐτῶν καὶ τὰ πάθη θεοὺς ἐνόμισαν, ἢ θεοῖς ἐτίμησαν, θυμόν, καὶ μιαιφονίαν, καὶ ἀσέλγειαν, καὶ μέθην, καὶ οὐκ οἶδ' ὅ τι ἄλλο τῶν τούτοις παραπλησίων, οὐ καλὴν οὐδὲ δικαίαν ταύτην ἀπολογίαν εὑράμενοι τῶν οἰκείων ἁμαρτημάτων. καὶ τοὺς μὲν ἀφῆκαν κάτω, τοὺς δὲ ὑπὸ γῆν ἔκρυψαν, _τοῦτο συνετῶς μόνον, _τοὺς δὲ ἀνήγαγον εἰς τὸν οὐρανόν. ὢ τῆς γελοίας κληροδοσίας. εἶτα ἑκάστῳ τῶν πλασμάτων ὄνομά τι θεῶν ἢ δαιμόνων ἐπιφημίσαντες, κατὰ τὴν ἐξουσίαν καὶ αὐτονομίαν τῆς πλάνης, καὶ ἀγάλματα ἱδρυσάμενοι, ὧν καὶ τὸ πολυτελὲς δέλεαρ, αἵμασί τε καὶ κνίσσαις, ἔστι δὲ οἵ γε καὶ πράξεσι λίαν αἰσχραῖς, μανίαις τε καὶ ἀνθρωποκτονίαις, τιμᾷν τοῦτο ἐνόμισαν. τοιαύτας γὰρ ἔπρεπεν εἶναι θεῶν τοιούτων καὶ τὰς τιμάς. ἤδη δὲ καὶ κνωδάλοις, καὶ τετραπόδοις, καὶ ἑρπετοῖς, καὶ τούτων τοῖς αἰσχίστοις τε καὶ γελοιοτάτοις, ἑαυτοὺς καθύβρισαν, καὶ τούτοις φέροντες τὴν τοῦ θεοῦ δόξαν προσέθηκαν: ὡς μὴ ῥᾴδιον εἶναι κρῖναι, ποτέρον δεῖ καταφρονεῖν μᾶλλον τῶν προσκυνούντων ἢ τῶν προσκυνουμένων. τάχα δὲ καὶ πολὺ πλέον τῶν λατρευόντων, ὅτι λογικῆς ὄντες φύσεως, καὶ χάριν θεοῦ δεξάμενοι, τὸ χεῖρον ὡς ἄμεινον προεστήσαντο. καὶ τοῦτο τοῦ πονηροῦ τὸ σόφισμα, τῷ καλῷ καταχρησαμένου πρὸς τὸ κακόν, οἷα τὰ πολλὰ τῶν ἐκείνου κακουργημάτων. παραλαβὼν γὰρ αὐτῶν τὸν πόθον πλανώμενον κατὰ θεοῦ ζήτησιν, ἵν' εἰς ἑαυτὸν περισπάσῃ τὸ κράτος, καὶ κλέψῃ τὴν ἔφεσιν, ὥσπερ τυφλὸν χειραγωγῶν ὁδοῦ τινὸς ἐφιέμενον, ἄλλους ἀλλαχοῦ κατεκρήμνισε, καὶ διέσπειρεν εἰς ἕν τι θανάτου καὶ ἀπωλείας βάραθρον.
Οὗτοι μὲν δὴ ταῦτα: ἡμᾶς δὲ ὁ λόγος δεξάμενος ἐφιεμένους θεοῦ, καὶ μὴ ἀνεχομένους τὸ ἀνηγεμόνευτόν τε καὶ ἀκυβέρνητον, εἶτα τοῖς ὁρωμένοις προσβάλλων καὶ τοῖς ἀπαρχῆς ἐντυγχάνων, οὔτε μέχρι τούτων ἔστησεν, _οὐ γὰρ ἦν λόγου δοῦναι τὴν ἡγεμονίαν τοῖς ὁμοτίμοις κατὰ τὴν αἴσθησιν, _καὶ διὰ τούτων ἄγει πρὸς τὸ ὑπὲρ ταῦτα, καὶ δι' οὗ τούτοις τὸ εἶναι περίεστιν. τί γὰρ τὸ τάξαν τὰ οὐράνια καὶ τὰ ἐπίγεια, ὅσα τε δι' ἀέρος καὶ ὅσα καθ' ὕδατος, μᾶλλον δὲ τὰ πρὸ τούτων, οὐρανόν, καὶ γῆν, καὶ ἀέρα, καὶ φύσιν ὕδατος; τίς ταῦτα ἔμιξε καὶ ἐμέρισεν; τίς ἡ κοινωνία τούτων πρὸς ἄλληλα, καὶ συμφυία, καὶ σύμπνοια; ἐπαινῶ γὰρ τὸν εἰρηκότα, κἂν ἀλλότριος ᾖ. τί τὸ ταῦτα κεκινηκὸς καὶ ἄγον τὴν ἄληκτον φορὰν καὶ ἀκώλυτον; ἆρ' οὐχ ὁ τεχνίτης τούτων, καὶ πᾶσι λόγον ἐνθείς, καθ' ὃν τὸ πᾶν φέρεταί τε καὶ διεξάγεται; τίς δὲ ὁ τεχνίτης τούτων; ἆρ' οὐχ ὁ πεποιηκὼς ταῦτα καὶ εἰς τὸ εἶναι παραγαγών; οὐ γὰρ δὴ τῷ αὐτομάτῳ δοτέον τοσαύτην δύναμιν. ἔστω γὰρ τὸ γενέσθαι τοῦ αὐτομάτου. τίνος τὸ τάξαι; καὶ τοῦτο, εἰ δοκεῖ, δῶμεν. τίνος τὸ τηρῆσαι καὶ φυλάξαι καθ' οὓς πρῶτον ὑπέστη λόγους; ἑτέρου τινός, ἢ τοῦ αὐτομάτου; ἑτέρου δηλαδὴ παρὰ τὸ αὐτόματον. τοῦτο δὲ τί ποτε ἄλλο πλὴν θεός; οὕτως ὁ ἐκ θεοῦ λόγος, καὶ πᾶσι σύμφυτος, καὶ πρῶτος ἐν ἡμῖν νόμος, καὶ πᾶσι συνημμένος, ἐπὶ θεὸν ἡμᾶς ἀνήγαγεν ἐκ τῶν ὁρωμένων. καὶ δὴ λέγωμεν ἀρξάμενοι πάλιν.
Θεόν, ὅ τί ποτε μέν ἐστι τὴν φύσιν καὶ τὴν οὐσίαν, οὔτε τις εὗρεν ἀνθρώπων πώποτε, οὔτε μὴ εὕρῃ. ἀλλ' εἰ μὲν εὑρήσει ποτέ, ζητείσθω τοῦτο καὶ φιλοσοφείσθω παρὰ τῶν βουλομένων. εὑρήσει δέ, ὡς ἐμὸς λόγος, ἐπειδὰν τὸ θεοειδὲς τοῦτο καὶ θεῖον, λέγω δὲ τὸν ἡμέτερον νοῦν τε καὶ λόγον, τῷ οἰκείῳ προσμίξῃ, καὶ ἡ εἰκὼν ἀνέλθῃ πρὸς τὸ ἀρχέτυπον, οὗ νῦν ἔχει τὴν ἔφεσιν. καὶ τοῦτο εἶναί μοι δοκεῖ τὸ πάνυ φιλοσοφούμενον, ἐπιγνώσεσθαι ποτε ἡμᾶς, ὅσον ἐγνώσμεθα. τὸ δὲ νῦν εἶναι βραχεῖά τις ἀπορροὴ πᾶν τὸ εἰς ἡμᾶς φθάνον, καὶ οἷον μεγάλου φωτὸς μικρὸν ἀπαύγασμα. ὥστε καὶ εἴ τις ἔγνω θεόν, ἢ ἐγνωκέναι μεμαρτύρηται, τοσοῦτον ἔγνω, ὅσον ἄλλου μὴ τὸ ἴσον ἐλλαμφθέντος φανῆναι φωτοειδέστερος. καὶ τὸ ὑπερβάλλον τέλειον ἐνομίσθη, οὐ τῇ ἀληθείᾳ, τῇ δὲ τοῦ πλησίον δυνάμει παραμετρούμενον.
Διὰ τοῦτο Ἐνὼς μὲν ἤλπισεν ἐπικαλεῖσθαι τὸν κύριον. ἐλπὶς τὸ κατορθούμενον ἦν, καὶ τοῦτο οὐ γνώσεως, ἀλλ' ἐπικλήσεως. Ἐνὼχ δὲ μετετέθη μέν, οὔπω δὲ δῆλον, εἰ θεοῦ φύσιν περιλαβὼν ἢ περιληψόμενος. τοῦ δὲ Νῶε καλὸν ἡ εὐαρέστησις, τοῦ καὶ κόσμον ὅλον ἐξ ὑδάτων διασώσασθαι πιστευθέντος, ἢ κόσμου σπέρματα, ξύλῳ μικρῷ φεύγοντι τὴν ἐπίκλυσιν. Ἀβραὰμ δὲ ἐδικαιώθη μὲν ἐκ πίστεως, ὁ μέγας πατριάρχης, καὶ θύει θυσίαν ξένην καὶ τῆς μεγάλης ἀντίτυπον. θεὸν δὲ οὐχ ὡς θεὸν εἶδεν, ἀλλ' ὡς ἄνθρωπον ἔθρεψε, καὶ ἐπῃνέθη, σεβασθεὶς ὅσον κατέλαβεν. Ἰακὼβ δὲ κλίμακα μὲν ὑψηλὴν ἐφαντάσθη τινά, καὶ ἀγγέλων ἄνοδον, καὶ στήλην ἀλείφει μυστικῶς, ἴσως ἵνα τὸν ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν ἀλειφέντα λίθον παραδηλώσῃ, καὶ Εἶδος Θεοῦ τόπῳ τινὶ προσηγορίαν δίδωσιν εἰς τιμὴν τοῦ ὀφθέντος, καὶ ὡς ἀνθρώπῳ τῷ θεῷ προσπαλαίει, ἥτις ποτέ ἐστιν ἡ πάλη θεοῦ πρὸς ἄνθρωπον, ἢ τάχα τῆς ἀνδρωπίνης ἀρετῆς πρὸς θεὸν ἀντεξέτασις, καὶ σύμβολα τῆς πάλης ἐπὶ τοῦ σώματος φέρει, τὴν ἧτταν παραδεικνύντα τῆς γενητῆς φύσεως, καὶ ἆθλον εὐσεβείας τὴν μεταβολὴν τῆς προσηγορίας λαμβάνει, μετονομασθεὶς ἀντὶ Ἰακὼβ Ἰσραήλ, τοῦτο δὴ τὸ μέγα καὶ τίμιον ὄνομα: ἐκεῖνο δὲ οὔτε αὐτὸς οὔτε τις ὑπὲρ αὐτὸν μέχρι σήμερον ἐκαυχήσατο τῶν δώδεκα φυλῶν, ὧν πατὴρ ἦν, ὅτι θεοῦ φύσιν ἢ ὄψιν ὅλην ἐχώρησεν.
Ἠλίᾳ δὲ οὔτε πνεῦμα βίαιον, οὔτε πῦρ, οὔτε συσσεισμός, ὡς τῆς ἱστορίας ἀκούεις, ἀλλ' ἡ αὔρα τις ὀλίγη τὴν τοῦ θεοῦ παρουσίαν, καὶ ταῦτα οὐ φύσιν, ἐσκιαγράφησεν: Ἠλίᾳ τίνι; ὃν καὶ ἅρμα πυρὸς ἀνάγει πρὸς οὐρανόν, δηλοῦν τοῦ δικαίου τὸ ὑπὲρ ἄνθρωπον. Μανωὲ δὲ τὸν κριτὴν πρότερον, καὶ Πέτρον τὸν μαθητὴν ὕστερον, πῶς οὐ τεθαύμακας; τὸν μὲν οὐδὲ ὄψιν φέροντα τοῦ φαντασθέντος θεοῦ, καὶ διὰ τοῦτο, Ἀπολώλαμεν, ὦ γύναι, λέγοντα, θεὸν ἑωράκαμεν: ὡς οὐ χωρητῆς οὔσης ἀνθρώποις οὐδὲ φαντασίας θείας, μὴ ὅτι γε φύσεως: τὸν δὲ καὶ τὸν φαινόμενον Χριστὸν τῷ πλοίῳ μὴ προσιέμενον, καὶ διὰ τοῦτο ἀποπεμπόμενον. καίτοιγε θερμότερος τῶν ἄλλων εἰς ἐπίγνωσιν Χριστοῦ Πέτρος, καὶ διὰ τοῦτο μακαριζόμενος, καὶ τὰ μέγιστα πιστευόμενος. τί δ' ἂν εἴποις περὶ Ἠσαίου, καὶ Ἰεζεχιὴλ τοῦ τῶν μεγίστων ἐπόπτου, καὶ τῶν λοιπῶν προφητῶν; ὧν ὁ μὲν τὸν Κύριον Σαβαὼθ εἶδε καθήμενον ἐπὶ θρόνου δόξης, καὶ τοῦτον ὑπὸ τῶν ἑξαπτερύγων σεραφὶμ κυκλούμενον καὶ αἰνούμενον καὶ ἀποκρυπτόμενον, ἑαυτόν τε τῷ ἄνθρακι καθαιρόμενον, καὶ πρὸς τὴν προφητείαν καταρτιζόμενον: ὁ δὲ καὶ τὸ ὄχημα τοῦ θεοῦ τὰ χερουβὶμ διαγράφει, καὶ τὸν ὑπὲρ αὐτῶν θρόνον, καὶ τὸ ὑπὲρ αὐτοῦ στερέωμα, καὶ τὸν ἐν τῷ στερεώματι φανταζόμενον, καὶ φωνὰς δή τινας, καὶ ὁρμάς, καὶ πράξεις, καὶ ταῦτα εἴτε φαντασία τις ἦν ἡμερινή, μόνοις θεωρητὴ τοῖς ἁγίοις, εἴτε νυκτὸς ἀψευδὴς ὄψις, εἴτε τοῦ ἡγεμονικοῦ τύπωσις συγγινομένη τοῖς μέλλουσιν ὡς παροῦσιν, εἴτε τι ἄλλο προφητείας εἶδος ἀπόρρητον, οὐκ ἔχω λέγειν: ἀλλ' οἶδεν ὁ τῶν προφητῶν θεός, καὶ οἱ τὰ τοιαῦτα ἐνεργούμενοι. πλὴν οὔτε οὗτοι περὶ ὧν ὁ λόγος, οὔτε τις ἄλλος τῶν κατ' αὐτούς, ἔστη ἐν ὑποστήματι καὶ οὐσίᾳ κυρίου, κατὰ τὸ γεγραμμένον, οὐδὲ θεοῦ φύσιν ἢ εἶδεν ἢ ἐξηγόρευσεν.
Παύλῳ δὲ εἰ μὲν ἔκφορα ἦν ἃ παρέσχεν ὁ τρίτος οὐρανός, καὶ ἡ μέχρις ἐκείνου πρόοδος ἢ ἀνάβασις ἢ ἀνάληψις, τάχα ἄν τι περὶ θεοῦ πλέον ἔγνωμεν, εἴπερ τοῦτο ἦν τὸ τῆς ἁρπαγῆς μυστήριον. ἐπεὶ δὲ ἄρρητα ἦν, καὶ ἡμῖν σιωπῇ τιμάσθω. τοσοῦτον δὲ ἀκούσωμεν αὐτοῦ Παύλου λέγοντος, ὅτι ἐκ μέρους γινώσκομεν, καὶ ἐκ μέρους προφητεύομεν. ταῦτα καὶ τὰ τοιαῦτα ὁμολογεῖ ὁ μὴ ἰδιώτης τὴν γνῶσιν, ὁ δοκιμὴν ἀπειλῶν τοῦ ἐν αὐτῷ λαλοῦντος Χριστοῦ, ὁ μέγας τῆς ἀληθείας προαγωνιστὴς καὶ διδάσκαλος. διὸ καὶ πᾶσαν τὴν κάτω γνῶσιν οὐδὲν ὑπὲρ τὰ ἔσοπτρα καὶ τὰ αἰνίγματα τίθεται, ὡς ἐν μικροῖς τῆς ἀληθείας ἱσταμένην ἰνδάλμασιν. εἰ δὲ μὴ λίαν δοκῶ τισὶ περιττὸς καὶ περίεργος τὰ τοιαῦτα ἐξετάζων, οὐδὲ ἄλλα τινὰ τυχὸν ἢ ταῦτα ἦν, ἃ μὴ δύναται νῦν βασταχθῆναι, ἅπερ ὁ Λόγος αὐτὸς ὑπῃνίσσετο, ὥς ποτε βασταχθησόμενα καὶ τρανωθησόμενα: καὶ ἃ μηδ' ἂν αὐτὸν δυνηθῆναι χωρῆσαι τὸν κάτω κόσμον Ἰωάννης ὁ τοῦ Λόγου πρόδρομος, ἡ μεγάλη τῆς ἀληθείας φωνή, διωρίζετο.
Πᾶσα μὲν οὖν ἀλήθεια καὶ πᾶς λόγος δυστέκμαρτός τε καὶ δυσθεώρητος: καὶ οἷον ὀργάνῳ μικρῷ μεγάλα δημιουργοῦμεν, τῇ ἀνθρωπίνῃ σοφίᾳ τὴν τῶν ὄντων γνῶσιν θηρεύοντες, καὶ τοῖς νοητοῖς προσβάλλοντες μετὰ τῶν αἰσθήσεων, ἢ οὐκ ἄνευ αἰσθήσεων, ὑφ' ὧν περιφερόμεθα καὶ πλανώμεθα, καὶ οὐκ ἔχομεν γυμνῷ τῷ νοὶ γυμνοῖς τοῖς πράγμασιν ἐντυγχάνοντες μᾶλλόν τι προσιέναι τῇ ἀληθείᾳ, καὶ τὸν νοῦν τυποῦσθαι ταῖς καταλήψεσιν. ὁ δὲ περὶ θεοῦ λόγος, ὅσῳ τελεώτερος, τοσούτῳ δυσεφικτότερος, καὶ πλείους τὰς ἀντιλήψεις ἔχων καὶ τὰς λύσεις ἐργωδεστέρας. πᾶν γὰρ τὸ ἐνιστάμενον, κἂν βραχύτατον ᾖ, τὸν τοῦ λόγου δρόμον ἐπέσχε καὶ διεκώλυσε, καὶ τὴν εἰς τὸ πρόσω φορὰν διέκοψεν: ὥσπερ οἱ τοὺς ἵππους τοῖς ῥυτῆρσιν ἀθρόως μεθέλκοντες φερομένους, καὶ τῷ ἀδοκήτῳ τοῦ τιναγμοῦ περιτρέποντες. οὕτω Σολομὼν μέν, ὁ σοφισάμενος περισσὰ ὑπὲρ πάντας τοὺς γενομένους ἔμπροσθεν καὶ καθ' ἑαυτόν, ᾧ τὸ τῆς καρδίας πλάτος δῶρον θεοῦ, καὶ ἡ ψάμμου δαψιλεστέρα χύσις τῆς θεωρίας, ὅσῳ πλέον ἐμβατεύει τοῖς βάθεσι, τοσούτῳ πλέον ἰλιγγιᾷ, καὶ τέλος τι ποιεῖται σοφίας εὑρεῖν ὅσον διέφυγεν. Παῦλος δὲ πειρᾶται μὲν ἐφικέσθαι, οὔπω λέγω τῆς τοῦ θεοῦ φύσεως, τοῦτο γὰρ ᾔδει παντελῶς ἀδύνατον ὄν, ἀλλὰ μόνον τῶν τοῦ θεοῦ κριμάτων: ἐπεὶ δὲ οὐχ εὑρίσκει διέξοδον οὐδὲ στράσιν τῆς ἀναβάσεως, οὐδὲ εἴς τι φανερὸν τελευτᾷ πέρας ἡ πολυπραγμοσύνη τῆς διανοίας, ἀεί τινος ὑποφαινομένου τοῦ λείποντος: ὢ τοῦ θαύματος (ἵνα καὶ αὐτὸς πάθω τὸ ἴσον). ἐκπλήξει περιγράφει τὸν λόγον, καὶ πλοῦτον Θεοῦ καὶ βάθος τὸ τοιοῦτο καλεῖ, καὶ ὁμολογεῖ τῶν τοῦ θεοῦ κριμάτων τὸ ἀκατάληπτον, μονονουχὶ τὰ αὐτὰ τῷ Δαβὶδ φθεγγόμενος, ποτὲ μὲν ἄβυσσον πολλὴν ὀνομάζοντι τὰ τοῦ θεοῦ κρίματα, ἧς οὐκ ἔστι τὴν ἕδραν ἢ μέτρῳ ἢ αἰσθήσει λαβεῖν, ποτὲ δὲ τεθαυμαστῶσθαι τὴν γνῶσιν ἐξ ἑαυτοῦ καὶ τῆς ἑαυτοῦ συστάσεως λέγοντι, κεκραταιῶσθαί τε πλέον ἢ κατὰ τὴν ἑαυτοῦ δύναμιν καὶ περίδραξιν.
Ἵνα γὰρ τἄλλα ἐάσας, φησί, πρὸς ἐμαυτὸν βλέψω, καὶ πᾶσαν τὴν ἀνθρωπίνην φύσιν καὶ σύμπηξιν, τίς ἡ μίξις ἡμῶν; τίς ἡ κίνησις; πῶς τὸ ἀθάνατον τῷ θνητῷ συνεκράθη; πῶς κάτω ῥέω, καὶ ἄνω φέρομαι; πῶς ψυχὴ περιγράφεται; πῶς ζωὴν δίδωσι, καὶ πάθους μεταλαμβάνει; πῶς ὁ νοῦς καὶ περιγραπτὸς καὶ ἀόριστος, ἐν ἡμῖν μένων, καὶ πάντα ἐφοδεύων τάχει φορᾶς καὶ ῥεύσεως; πῶς μεταλαμβάνεται λόγῳ καὶ μεταδίδοται, καὶ δι' ἀέρος χωρεῖ, καὶ μετὰ τῶν πραγμάτων εἰσέρχεται; πῶς αἰσθήσει κοινωνεῖ, καὶ συστέλλεται ἀπὸ τῶν αἰσθήσεων; καὶ ἔτι πρὸ τούτων, τίς ἡ πρώτη πλάσις ἡμῶν καὶ σύστασις ἐν τῷ τῆς φύσεως ἐργαστηρίῳ; καὶ τίς ἡ τελευταία μόρφωσις καὶ τελείωσις; τίς ἡ τῆς τροφῆς ἔφεσις καὶ διάδοσις; καὶ τίς ἤγαγεν ἐπὶ τὰς πρώτας πηγὰς καὶ τοῦ ζῆν ἀφορμὰς αὐτομάτως; πῶς σιτίοις μὲν σῶμα, λόγῳ δὲ ψυχὴ τρέφεται; τίς ἡ τῆς φύσεως ὁλκὴ καὶ πρὸς ἄλληλα σχέσις τοῖς γεννῶσι καὶ τοῖς γεννωμένοις, ἵνα τῷ φίλτρῳ συνέχηται; πῶς ἑστηκότα τε τὰ εἴδη καὶ τοῖς χαρακτῆρσι διεστηκότα, ὧν τοσούτων ὄντων αἱ ἰδιότητες ἀνέφικτοι; πῶς τὸ αὐτὸ ζῶον θνητὸν καὶ ἀθάνατον, τὸ μὲν τῇ μεταστάσει, τὸ δὲ τῇ γεννήσει; τὸ μὲν γὰρ ὑπεξῆλθε, τὸ δὲ ἀντεισῆλθεν, ὥσπερ ἐν ὁλκῷ ποταμοῦ μὴ ἑστῶτος καὶ μένοντος. πολλὰ δ' ἂν ἔτι φιλοσοφήσαις περὶ μελῶν καὶ μερῶν, καὶ τῆς πρὸς ἄλληλα τούτων εὐαρμοστίας, πρὸς χρείαν τε ὁμοῦ καὶ κάλλος συνεστώτων τε καὶ διεστώτων, προεχόντων τε καὶ προεχομένων, ἑνουμένων τε καὶ σχιζομένων, περιεχόντων τε καὶ περιεχομένων, νόμῳ καὶ λόγῳ φύσεως. πολλὰ περὶ φωνῶν καὶ ἀκοῶν: πῶς αἱ μὲν φέρονται διὰ τῶν φωνητικῶν ὀργάνων, αἱ δὲ ὑποδέχονται, διὰ τῆς ἐν μέσῳ τοῦ ἀέρος πληγῆς καὶ τυπώσεως ἀλλήλαις ἐπιμιγνύμεναι. πολλὰ περὶ ὄψεως ἀρρήτως κοινωνούσης τοῖς ὁρατοῖς, καὶ μόνῳ τῷ βούλεσθαι καὶ ὁμοῦ κινουμένης, καὶ ταὐτὸν τῷ νοὶ πασχούσης: μετὰ γὰρ τοῦ ἴσου τάχους ἐκεῖνός τε μίγνυται τοῖς νοουμένοις καὶ αὕτη τοῖς ὁρωμένοις. πολλὰ περὶ τῶν ἄλλων αἰσθήσεων, αἳ παραδοχαί τινές εἰσι τῶν ἔξωθεν, λόγῳ μὴ θεωρούμεναι. πολλὰ περὶ τῆς ἐν ὕπνοις ἀναπαύσεως, καὶ τῆς δι' ὀνειράτων ἀναπλάσεως, μνήμης τε καὶ ἀναμνήσεως, λογισμοῦ τε καὶ θυμοῦ καὶ ἐφέσεως, καὶ συντόμως εἰπεῖν, ὅσοις ὁ μικρὸς οὗτος κόσμος διοικεῖται, ὁ ἄνθρωπος.
Βούλει σοι καὶ τὰς τῶν ἄλλων ζώων διαφορὰς πρός τε ἡμᾶς καὶ πρὸς ἄλληλα, φύσεις τε καὶ γενέσεις καὶ ἀνατροφάς, καὶ χώρας, καὶ ἤθη, καὶ οἷον πολιτείας καταριθμήσωμαι; πῶς τὰ μὲν ἀγελαῖα, τὰ δὲ μοναδικά; τὰ μὲν ποηφάγα, τὰ δὲ σαρκοβόρα; τὰ μὲν θυμοειδῆ, τὰ δὲ ἥμερα; τὰ μὲν φιλάνθρωπα καὶ σύντροφα, τὰ δὲ ἀτίθασσα καὶ ἐλεύθερα; καὶ τὰ μὲν οἷον ἐγγύτερα λόγου τε καὶ μαθήσεως, τὰ δὲ παντελῶς ἄλογα καὶ ἀμαθέστατα; τὰ μὲν πλειόνων αἰσθήσεων, τὰ δὲ ἐλαττόνων; τὰ μὲν ἀκίνητα, τὰ δὲ μεταβατικά; τὰ μὲν ταχύτατα, τὰ δὲ παχύτατα; τὰ μὲν ὑπερβάλλοντα μεγέθει καὶ κάλλει ἢ τῷ ἑτέρῳ τούτων, τὰ δὲ βραχύτατα ἢ δυσειδέστατα ἣ καὶ ἀμφότερα; τὰ μὲν ἄλκιμα, τὰ δὲ ἀσθενῆ; τὰ μὲν ἀμυντικά, τὰ δὲ ὕποπτα καὶ ἐπίβουλα; τὰ μὲν φυλακτά, τὰ δὲ ἀφύλακτα; τὰ μὲν φίλεργα καὶ οἰκονομικά, τὰ δὲ παντάπασιν ἀργὰ καὶ ἀπρονόητα; καὶ ἔτι πρὸ τούτων, πῶς τὰ μὲν ἑρπυστικά, τὰ δὲ ὄρθια; τὰ μὲν φιλόχωρα, τὰ δὲ ἀμφίβια; τὰ μὲν φιλόκαλα, τὰ δὲ ἀκαλλώπιστα; συζυγῆ τε καὶ ἀζυγῆ; σώφρονά τε καὶ ἀκόλαστα; πολύγονά τε καὶ οὐ πολύγονα; μακρόβιά τε καὶ ὀλιγόβια; κάμνοι ἂν ἡμῖν ὁ λόγος τοῖς κατὰ μέρος ἐπεξιών.
Σκέψαι μοι καὶ νηκτὴν φύσιν τῶν ὑδάτων διολισθαίνουσαν, καὶ οἷον ἱπταμένην κατὰ τῆς ὑγρᾶς φύσεως, καὶ τοῦ μὲν ἰδίου σπῶσαν ἀέρος, τῷ ἡμετέρῳ δὲ κινδυνεύουσαν, ὥσπερ καὶ ἡμεῖς ἐν τοῖς ὕδασιν: ἤθη τε καὶ πάθη, καὶ μίξεις καὶ γονάς, καὶ μεγέθη καὶ κάλλη, φιλοχωρίας τε καὶ πλάνας, συνόδους τε καὶ ἀποχωρήσεις, καὶ ἰδιότητας μικροῦ τοῖς ἐπιγείοις παραπλησίας, ἔστι δὲ ὧν καὶ κοινωνίας καὶ ἰδιότητας ἀντιθέτους, ἔν τε εἴδεσι καὶ ὀνόμασιν. σκέψαι μοι καὶ ὀρνέων ἀγέλας, καὶ ποικιλίας ἔν τε σχήμασι καὶ χρώμασι, τῶν τε ἄλλων καὶ τῶν ᾠδικῶν: καὶ τίς τῆς τούτων μελῳδίας ὁ λόγος, καὶ παρὰ τίνος; τίς ὁ δοὺς τέττιγι τὴν ἐπὶ στήθους μαγάδα, καὶ τὰ ἐπὶ τῶν κλάδων ᾄσματά τε καὶ τερετίσματα, ὅταν ἡλίῳ κινῶνται τὰ μεσημβρινὰ μουσουργοῦντες, καὶ καταφωνῶσι τὰ ἄλση, καὶ ὁδοιπόρον ταῖς φωναῖς παραπέμπωσι; τίς ὁ κύκνῳ συνυφαίνων τὴν ᾠδήν, ὅταν ἐκπετάσῃ τὸ πτερὸν ταῖς αὔραις, καὶ ποιῇ μέλος τὸ σύριγμα; ἐῶ γὰρ λέγειν τὰς βιαίους φωνάς, καὶ ὅσα τέχναι σοφίζονται κατὰ τῆς ἀληθείας. πόθεν ταῶς, ὁ ἀλαζὼν ὄρνις καὶ Μηδικός, οὕτω φιλόκαλος καὶ φιλότιμος, ὥστε (καὶ γὰρ αἰσθάνεται τοῦ οἰκείου κάλλους), ὅταν ἴδῃ τινὰ πλησιάζοντα, ἢ ταῖς θηλείαις, ὥς φασι, καλλωπίζηται, τὸν αὐχένα διάρας, καὶ τὸ πτερὸν κυκλοτερῶς περιστήσας τὸ χρυσαυγὲς καὶ κατάστερον, θεατρίζει τὸ κάλλος τοῖς ἐρασταῖς μετὰ σοβαροῦ τοῦ βαδίσματος; ἡ μὲν οὖν θεία γραφὴ καὶ γυναικῶν θαυμάζει σοφίαν τὴν ἐν ὑφάσμασι, Τίς ἔδωκε, λέγουσα, γυναιξὶν ὑφάσματος σοφίαν καὶ ποικιλτικὴν ἐπιστήμην; ζώου λογικοῦ τοῦτο, καὶ περιττοῦ τὴν σοφίαν, καὶ μέχρι τῶν οὐρανίων ὁδεύοντος.
Σὺ δέ μοι θαύμασον καὶ ἀλόγων φυσικὴν σύνεσιν, καὶ τοὺς λόγους παράστησον. πῶς μὲν ὄρνισι καλιαὶ πέτραι τε καὶ δένδρα καὶ ὄροφοι, εἰς ἀσφάλειάν τε ὁμοῦ καὶ κάλλος ἐξησκημέναι, καὶ τοῖς τρεφομένοις ἐπιτηδείως; πόθεν δὲ μελίσσαις τε καὶ ἀράχναις τὸ φιλεργὸν καὶ φιλότεχνον, ἵνα ταῖς μὲν τὰ κηρία πλέκηται καὶ συνέχηται δι' ἑξαγώνων συρίγγων καὶ ἀντιστρόφων, καὶ τὸ ἑδραῖον αὐταῖς διὰ τοῦ μέσου διατειχίσματος καὶ ἀλλαγῆς ἐπιπλεκομένων ταῖς εὐθείαις τῶν γωνιῶν πραγματεύηται, καὶ ταῦτα ἐν ζοφεροῖς οὕτω τοῖς σίμβλοις καὶ ἀοράτοις τοῖς πλάσμασιν: αἱ δὲ διὰ λεπτῶν οὕτω καὶ ἀερίων σχεδὸν τῶν νημάτων πολυειδῶς διατεταμένων πολυπλόκους τοὺς ἱστοὺς ἐξυφαίνωσι, καὶ ταῦτα ἐξ ἀφανῶν τῶν ἀρχῶν, οἴκησίν τε ὁμοῦ τιμίαν, καὶ θήραν τῶν ἀσθενεστέρων εἰς τροφῆς ἀπόλαυσιν; ποῖος Εὐκλείδης ἐμιμήσατο ταῦτα, γραμμαῖς ἐμφιλοσοφῶν ταῖς οὐκ οὔσαις, καὶ κάμνων ἐν ταῖς ἀποδείξεσι; τίνος Παλαμήδους τακτικὰ κινήματά τε καὶ σχήματα γεράνων, ὥς φασι, καὶ ταὐτὰ παιδεύματα κινουμένων ἐν τάξει, καὶ μετὰ ποικίλης τῆς πτήσεως; ποῖοι Φειδίαι καὶ Ζεύξιδες καὶ Πολύγνωτοι, Παρράσιοί τέ τινες καὶ Ἀγλαοφῶντες, κάλλη μεθ' ὑπερβολῆς γράφειν καὶ πλάττειν εἰδότες; τίς Κνώσσιος Δαιδάλου χορὸς ἐναρμόνιος, νύμφῃ πονηθεὶς εἰς κάλλους περιουσίαν, ἢ λαβύρινθος Κρητικὸς δυσδιέξοδος καὶ δυσέλικτος, ποιητικῶς εἰπεῖν, καὶ πολλάκις ἀπαντῶν ἑαυτῷ τοῖς τῆς τέχνης σοφίσμασι; καὶ σιωπῶ μυρμήκων ταμιεῖά τε καὶ ταμίας, καὶ θησαυρισμὸν τροφῆς τῷ καιρῷ σύμμετρον, τἄλλα τε ὅσα περὶ ὁδῶν καὶ περὶ ἡγουμένων καὶ τῆς ἐν τοῖς ἔργοις εὐταξίας ἔγνωμεν ἱστορούμενα.
Εἰ τούτων ἐφικτὸς ὁ λόγος σοι, καὶ τὴν περὶ ταῦτα σύνεσιν ἔγνως, σκέψαι καὶ φυτῶν διαφοράς, μέχρι καὶ τῆς ἐν φύλλοις φιλοτεχνίας πρὸς τὸ ἥδιστόν τε ἅμα ταῖς ὄψεσι καὶ τοῖς καρποῖς χρησιμώτατον. σκέψαι μοι καὶ καρπῶν ποικιλίαν καὶ ἀφθονίαν, καὶ μάλιστα τῶν ἀναγκαιοτάτων τὸ κάλλιστον. καὶ σκέψαι μοι καὶ δυνάμεις ῥιζῶν καὶ χυμῶν καὶ ἀνθέων καὶ ὀδμῶν, οὐχ ἡδίστων μόνον, ἀλλὰ καὶ πρὸς ὑγίειαν ἐπιτηδείων, καὶ χρωμάτων χάριτας καὶ ποιότητας. ἔτι δὲ λίθων πολυτελείας καὶ διαυγείας: ἐπειδή σοι πάντα προὔθηκεν, ὥσπερ ἐν πανδαισίᾳ κοινῇ, ὅσα τε ἀναγκαῖα, καὶ ὅσα πρὸς ἀπόλαυσιν, ἡ φύσις: ἵν', εἰ μή τι ἄλλο, ἐξ ὧν εὐεργετῇ, γνωρίσῃς θεόν, καὶ τῷ δεῖσθαι γένῃ σεαυτοῦ συνετώτερος. ἐντεῦθεν ἔπελθέ μοι γῆς πλάτη καὶ μήκη, τῆς κοινῆς πάντων μητρός, καὶ κόλπους θαλαττίους ἀλλήλοις τε καὶ τῇ γῇ συνδεομένους, καὶ ἀλσῶν κάλλη, καὶ ποταμούς, καὶ πηγὰς δαψιλεῖς τε καὶ ἀενάους, οὐ μόνον ψυχρῶν καὶ ποτίμων ὑδάτων, καὶ τῶν ὑπὲρ γῆς, ἀλλὰ καὶ ὅσαι ὑπὸ γῆν ῥέουσαι, καὶ σήραγγάς τινας ὑποτρέχουσαι, εἶτ' ἐξωθούμεναι βιαίῳ τῷ πνεύματι καὶ ἀντιτυπούμεναι, εἶτ' ἐκπυρούμεναι τῷ σφοδρῷ τῆς πάλης καὶ τῆς ἀντιθέσεως, ὅπη παρείκοι κατὰ μικρὸν ἀναρρήγνυνται, καὶ τὴν τῶν θερμῶν λουτρῶν χρείαν ἐντεῦθεν ἡμῖν χαρίζονται πολλαχοῦ τῆς γῆς, καὶ μετὰ τῆς ἐναντίας δυνάμεως ἰατρείαν ἄμισθον καὶ αὐτόματον. εἰπὲ πῶς καὶ πόθεν ταῦτα. τί τὸ μέγα τοῦτο καὶ ἄτεχνον ὕφασμα. οὐχ ἧττον ἐπαινετὰ τῆς πρὸς ἄλληλα σχέσεως, ἢ καθ' ἕκαστον θεωρούμενα; πῶς γῆ μὲν ἕστηκε παγία καὶ ἀκλινής; ἐπὶ τίνος ὀχουμένη, καὶ τίνος ὄντος τοῦ ὑπερείδοντος; καὶ τίνος ἐκεῖνο πάλιν; οὐδὲ γὰρ ὁ λόγος ἔχει, ἐφ' ὃ ἐρεισθῇ, πλὴν τοῦ θείου θελήματος. καὶ πῶς ἡ μὲν εἰς ὀρῶν κορυφὰς ἀνηγμένη, ἡ δὲ εἰς πεδία καθεζομένη, καὶ τοῦτο πολυειδῶς καὶ ποικίλως, καὶ ταῖς κατ' ὀλίγον ἐναλλαγαῖς μεθισταμένη, πρός τε τὴν χρείαν ἐστὶν ἀφθονωτέρα, καὶ τῷ ποικίλῳ χαριεστέρα; καὶ ἡ μὲν εἰς οἰκήσεις νενεμημένη, ἡ δὲ ἀοίκητος, ὅσην αἱ ὑπερβολαὶ τῶν ὀρῶν ἀποτέμνονται, καὶ ἄλλη πρὸς ἄλλο τι πέρας σχιζομένη καὶ ἀποβαίνουσα, τῆς τοῦ θεοῦ μεγαλουργίας ἐναργέστατόν ἐστι γνώρισμα;
Θαλάττης δέ, εἰ μὲν μὴ τὸ μέγεθος εἶχον θαυμάζειν, ἐθαύμασα ἂν τὸ ἥμερον, καὶ πῶς ἵσταται λελυμένη τῶν ἰδίων ὅρων ἐντός: εἰ δὲ μὴ τὸ ἥμερον, πάντως τὸ μέγεθος. ἐπεὶ δὲ ἀμφότερα, τὴν ἐν ἀμφοτέροις δύναμιν ἐπαινέσομαι. τί τὸ συναγαγόν; τί τὸ δῆσαν; πῶς ἐπαίρεταί τε καὶ ἵσταται, ὥσπερ αἰδουμένη τὴν γείτονα γῆν; πῶς καὶ δέχεται ποταμοὺς πάντας, καὶ ἡ αὐτὴ διαμένει διὰ πλήθους περιουσίαν, ἢ οὐκ οἶδ' ὅτι χρὴ λέγειν; πῶς ψάμμος ὅριον αὐτῇ, τηλικούτῳ στοιχείῳ; ἔχουσί τι λέγειν οἱ φυσικοὶ καὶ σοφοὶ τὰ μάταια, καὶ κυάθῳ μετροῦντες ὄντως τὴν θάλασσαν, τὰ τηλικαῦτα ταῖς ἑαυτῶν ἐπινοίαις; ἢ συντόμως ἐγὼ παρὰ τῆς γραφῆς τοῦτο φιλοσοφήσω καὶ τῶν μακρῶν λόγων πιθανώτερόν τε καὶ ἀληθέστερον; Πρόσταγμα ἐγύρωσεν ἐπὶ πρόσωπον ὕδατος. τοῦτο τῆς ὑγρᾶς φύσεως ὁ δεσμός. πῶς δὲ τὸν χερσαῖον ναυτίλον ἄγει ξύλῳ μικρῷ καὶ πνεύματι, _τοῦτο οὐ θαυμάζεις ὁρῶν; οὐδ' ἐξίσταταί σου ἡ διάνοια; _ἵνα γῆ καὶ θάλασσα δεθῶσι ταῖς χρείαις καὶ ταῖς ἐπιμιξίαις, καὶ εἰς ἓν ἔλθῃ τῷ ἀνθρώπῳ τὰ τοσοῦτον ἀλλήλων διεστηκότα κατὰ τὴν φύσιν; τίνες δὲ πηγῶν αἱ πρῶται πηγαί, ζήτησον, ἄνθρωπε, εἴ τί σοι τούτων ἐξιχνεῦσαι ἢ εὑρεῖν δυνατόν. καὶ τίς ὁ ποταμοῖς σχίσας καὶ πεδία καὶ ὄρη, καὶ δοὺς τὸν δρόμον ἀκώλυτον; καὶ πῶς ἐκ τῶν ἐναντίων τὸ θαῦμα, μήτε θαλάσσης ἐπεξιούσης, μήτε ποταμῶν ἱσταμένων; τίς δὲ ἡ τῶν ὑδάτων τροφή, καὶ τί τὸ ταύτης διάφορον, τῶν μὲν ἄνωθεν ἀρδομένων, τῶν δὲ ταῖς ῥίζαις ποτιζομένων, ἵνα τι καὶ αὐτὸς κατατρυφήσω τοῦ λόγου, θεοῦ τὴν τρυφὴν ἐξηγούμενος;
Ἄγε δὴ γῆν ἀφεὶς καὶ τὰ περὶ γῆν, πρὸς τὸν ἀέρα κουφίσθητι τοῖς τῆς διανοίας πτεροῖς, ἵνα σοι καθ' ὁδὸν ὁ λόγος προίῃ: κἀκεῖθεν ἀνάξω σε πρὸς τὰ οὐράνια, καὶ τὸν οὐρανὸν αὐτόν, καὶ τὰ ὑπὲρ οὐρανόν. καὶ τοῖς ἑξῆς ὀκνεῖ μὲν προσβῆναι ὁ λόγος, προσβήσεται δὲ ὅμως ὁπόσον ἔξεστι. τίς ὁ χέας ἀέρα, τὸν πολὺν τοῦτον πλοῦτον καὶ ἄφθονον, οὐκ ἀξίαις, οὐ τύχαις μετρούμενον, οὐχ ὅροις κρατούμενον, οὐχ ἡλικίαις μεριζόμενον, ἀλλὰ κατὰ τὴν τοῦ μάννα διανομὴν αὐταρκείᾳ περιλαμβανόμενον καὶ ἰσομοιρίᾳ τιμώμενον: τὸ τῆς πτηνῆς φύσεως ὄχημα, τὴν ἀνέμων ἕδραν, τὴν ὡρῶν εὐκαιρίαν, τὴν ζώων ψύχωσιν, μᾶλλον δὲ τῆς ψυχῆς πρὸς τὸ σῶμα συντήρησιν, ἐν ᾧ σώματα, καὶ μεθ' οὗ λόγος, ἐν ᾧ φῶς καὶ τὸ φωτιζόμενον, καὶ ἡ ὄψις ἡ δι' αὐτοῦ ῥέουσα; σκόπει δέ μοι καὶ τὰ ἑξῆς: οὐ γὰρ συγχωροῦμαι τῷ ἀέρι δοῦναι τὴν ἅπασαν: δυναστείαν τῶν τοῦ ἀέρος εἶναι νομιζομένων. τίνα μὲν ἀνέμων ταμιεῖα; τίνες δὲ θησαυροὶ χιόνος; τίς δὲ ὁ τετοκὼς βώλους δρόσου, κατὰ τὸ γεγραμμένον; ἐκ γαστρὸς δὲ τίνος ἐκπορεύεται κρύσταλλος; τίς ὁ δεσμεύων ὕδωρ ἐν νεφέλαις, καὶ τὸ μὲν ἱστὰς ἐπὶ τῶν νεφελῶν_ὢ τοῦ θαύματος_ λόγῳ κρατουμένην φύσιν τὴν ῥέουσαν, τὸ δὲ ἐκχέων ἐπὶ πρόσωπον πάσης τῆς γῆς, καὶ σπείρων καιρίως καὶ ὁμοτίμως, καὶ οὔτε ἀφιεὶς ἅπασαν τὴν ὑγρὰν οὐσίαν ἐλευθέραν καὶ ἄσχετον, _ἀρκεῖ γὰρ ἡ ἐπὶ Νῶε κάθαρσις, καὶ τῆς ἑαυτοῦ διαθήκης οὐκ ἐπιλήσμων ὁ ἀψευδέστατος, _οὔτε ἀνέχων παντάπασιν, ἵνα μὴ πάλιν Ἠλίου τινὸς δεηθῶμεν, τὴν ξηρότητα λύοντος; Ἐὰν κλείσῃ, φησί, τὸν οὐρανόν, τίς ἀνοίξει; ἐὰν δὲ ἀνοίξῃ τοὺς καταράκτας, τίς συνέξει; τίς οἴσει τὴν ἐπ' ἀμφότερα τοῦ ὑετίζοντος ἀμετρίαν, ἐὰν μὴ τοῖς ἑαυτοῦ μέτροις καὶ σταθμοῖς διεξαγάγῃ τὰ σύμπαντα; τί μοι φιλοσοφήσεις περὶ ἀστραπῶν καὶ βροντῶν, ὦ βροντῶν ἀπὸ γῆς σὺ καὶ οὐδὲ μικροῖς σπινθῆρσι τῆς ἀληθείας λαμπόμενε; τίνας ἀτμοὺς ἀπὸ γῆς αἰτιάσῃ νέφους δημιουργούς, ἢ ἀέρος πύκνωσίν τινα, ἢ νεφῶν τῶν μανωτάτων θλίψιν ἢ σύρρηξιν, ἵνα ἡ μὲν θλίψις σοι τὴν ἀστραπήν, ἡ δὲ ῥῆξις τὴν βροντὴν ἀπεργάσηται; ποῖον δὲ πνεῦμα στενοχωρούμενον, εἶτα οὐκ ἔχον διέξοδον, ἵνα ἀστράψῃ θλιβόμενον, καὶ βροντήσῃ ῥηγνύμενον; εἰ τὸν ἀέρα διῆλθες τῷ λογισμῷ, καὶ ὅσα περὶ ἀέρα, ψαῦσον ἤδη σὺν ἐμοὶ καὶ οὐρανοῦ καὶ τῶν οὐρανίων. πίστις δὲ ἀγέτω πλέον ἡμᾶς ἢ λόγος, εἴπερ ἔμαθες τὸ ἀσθενὲς ἐν τοῖς ἐγγυτέρω, καὶ λόγον ἔγνως τὸ γνῶναι τὰ ὑπὲρ λόγον, ἵνα μὴ παντελῶς ἐπίγειος ᾖς ἢ περίγειος, ἀγνοῶν καὶ αὐτὸ τοῦτο, τὴν ἄγνοιαν.
Τίς περιήγαγεν οὐρανόν, ἔταξεν ἀστέρας; μᾶλλον δέ, τί πρὸ τούτων οὐρανὸς καὶ ἀστέρες ἔχοις ἂν εἰπεῖν, ὁ μετέωρος, ὁ τὰ ἐν ποσὶν ἀγνοῶν, καὶ οὐδὲ σεαυτὸν μετρῆσαι δυνάμενος, τὰ δὲ ὑπὲρ τὴν σὴν φύσιν πολυπραγμονῶν, καὶ κεχηνὼς εἰς τὰ ἄμετρα; ἔστω γάρ σε κύκλους καὶ περιόδους καὶ πλησιασμοὺς καὶ ἀποχωρήσεις καταλαμβάνειν, ἐπιτολὰς καὶ ἀνατολάς, καὶ μοίρας τινὰς καὶ λεπτότητας, καὶ ὅσοις σὺ τὴν θαυμασίαν σου ταύτην ἐπιστήμην ἀποσεμνύνεις: οὔπω τοῦτο κατάληψις τῶν ὄντων ἐστίν, ἀλλὰ κινήσεώς τινος ἐπιτήρησις, ἣ πλείονι γυμνασίᾳ βεβαιωθεῖσα, καὶ εἰς ἓν ἀγαγοῦσα τὰ τηρηθέντα πλείοσιν, εἶτα λόγον ἐπινοήσασα, ἐπιστήμη προσηγορεύθη: ὥσπερ τὰ περὶ σελήνην παθήματα γνώριμα γέγονε τοῖς πολλοῖς, τὴν ὄψιν ἀρχὴν λαβόντα τῆς γνώσεως. σὺ δέ, εἰ λίαν ἐπιστήμων εἶ τούτων, καὶ δικαίως ζητεῖς θαυμάζεσθαι, εἰπὲ τίς ἡ τῆς τάξεως αἰτία καὶ τῆς κινήσεως; πόθεν ἥλιος φρυκτωρεῖ πάσῃ τῇ οἰκουμένῃ καὶ πάσαις ὄψεσιν, ὥσπερ χοροῦ τινὸς κορυφαῖος, πλέον τοὺς ἄλλους ἀστέρας ἀποκρύπτων φαιδρότητι ἤ τινες ἐκείνων ἑτέρους; ἀπόδειξις δέ, οἱ μὲν ἀντιλάμπουσιν, ὁ δὲ ὑπερλάμπει, καὶ οὐδὲ ὅτι συνανίσχουσιν ἐᾷ γνωρίζεσθαι, καλὸς ὡς νυμφίος, ταχὺς ὡς γίγας καὶ μέγας: οὐδὲ γὰρ ἀνέχομαι ἄλλοθεν ἢ τοῖς ἐμοῖς τοῦτον ἀποσεμνύνειν: τοσοῦτος τὴν δύναμιν, ὥστε ἀπ' ἄλλων ἄκρων ἄλλα τῇ θερμότητι καταλαμβάνειν, καὶ μηδὲν διαφεύγειν αὐτοῦ τὴν αἴσθησιν, ἀλλὰ πᾶσαν πληροῦσθαι καὶ ὄψιν φωτὸς καὶ σωματικὴν φύσιν θερμότητος: θέροντος, ἀλλ' οὐ φλέγοντος, εὐκρασίας ἡμερότητι καὶ τάξει κινήσεως, ὡς πᾶσι παρόντος, καὶ πάντα ἐπίσης περιλαμβάνοντος.
Ἐκεῖνο δέ σοι πηλίκον, εἰ κατενόησας: Τοῦτο ἐν αἰσθητοῖς ἥλιος, ὅπερ ἐν νοητοῖς θεός, ἔφη τις τῶν ἀλλοτρίων. αὐτὸς γὰρ ὄψιν φωτίζων, ὥσπερ ἐκεῖνος νοῦν: αὐτὸς καὶ τῶν ὁρωμένων ἐστὶ τὸ κάλλιστον, ὥσπερ ἐκεῖνος τῶν νοουμένων. ἀλλὰ τί τὸ κινῆσαν αὐτὸν ἀπ' ἀρχῆς; τί δαὶ τὸ ἀεὶ κινοῦν καὶ περιάγον ἑστῶτα λόγῳ καὶ μὴ κινούμενον, ὄντως ἀκάμαντα, καὶ φερέσβιον, καὶ φυσίζωον, καὶ ὅσα ποιηταῖς ὕμνηται κατὰ λόγον, καὶ μήτε τῆς ἑαυτοῦ φορᾶς ποτὲ μήτε τῶν εὐεργεσιῶν ἱστάμενον; πῶς ἡμέρας δημιουργὸς ὑπὲρ γῆς καὶ νυκτὸς ὑπὸ γῆν; ἢ οὐκ οἶδ' ὅ τι χρὴ λέγειν ἡλίῳ προσβλέψαντα. τίς ἡ τούτων πρόσληψίς τε καὶ ἀνθυφαίρεσις, καὶ ἡ τῆς ἀνισότητος ἰσότης, ἵν' εἴπω τι καὶ παράδοξον; πῶς δὲ ὡρῶν ποιητής τε καὶ μεριστής, εὐτάκτως ἐπιγινομένων τε καὶ ἀπογινομένων, καὶ ὥσπερ ἐν χορῷ συμπλεκομένων ἀλλήλαις καὶ διισταμένων, τὸ μὲν φιλίας νόμῳ, τὸ δὲ εὐταξίας, καὶ κατὰ μικρὸν κιρναμένων, καὶ ταῖς ἐγγύτησι κλεπτομένων ταὐτὸν ἡμέραις τε καὶ νυξίν, ἵνα μὴ τῇ ἀηθείᾳ λυπήσωσιν; ἀλλ' ἴτω μὲν ἡμῖν ἥλιος: σὺ δὲ ἔγνως σελήνης φύσιν, καὶ πάθη, καὶ μέτρα φωτός, καὶ δρόμους, καὶ πῶς ὁ μὲν ἡμέρας ἔχει τὴν δυναστείαν, ἡ δὲ νυκτὸς προκαθέζεται, καὶ ἡ μὲν θηρίοις δίδωσι παρρησίαν, ὁ δὲ ἄνθρωπον ἐπὶ τὸ ἔργον ἀνίστησιν, ἢ ὑψούμενος ἢ ταπεινούμενος πρὸς τὸ χρησιμώτατον; συνῆκας δὲ δεσμὸν Πλειάδος ἢ φραγμὸν Ὠρίωνος, ὡς ὁ ἀριθμῶν πλήθη ἄστρων καὶ πᾶσιν αὐτοῖς ὀνόματα καλῶν, καὶ δόξης ἑκάστου διαφοράν, καὶ τάξιν κινήσεως, ἵνα σοι πιστεύσω διὰ τούτων πλέκοντι τὰ ἡμέτερα καὶ κατὰ τοῦ κτίστου τὴν κτίσιν ὁπλίζοντι;
Τί λέγεις; ἐνταῦθα στησόμεθα τοῦ λόγου μέχρι τῆς ὕλης καὶ τῶν ὁρωμένων; ἢ ἐπειδὴ τοῦ κόσμου παντὸς ἀντίτυπον τὴν Μωυσέως σκηνὴν οἶδεν ὁ λόγος, τοῦ ἐξ ὁρατῶν τε καὶ ἀοράτων λέγω συστήματος, τὸ πρῶτον καταπέτασμα διασχόντες, καὶ ὑπερβάντες τὴν αἴσθησιν, εἰς τὰ ἅγια παρακύψωμεν, τὴν νοητὴν φύσιν καὶ ἐπουράνιον; οὐκ ἔχομεν οὐδὲ ταύτην ἀσωμάτως ἰδεῖν, εἰ καὶ ἀσώματος, πῦρ καὶ πνεῦμα προσαγορευομένην ἢ γινομένην. ποιεῖν γὰρ λέγεται τοὺς ἀγγέλους αὐτοῦ πνεύματα, καὶ τοὺς λειτουργοὺς αὐτοῦ πυρὸς φλόγα: εἰ μὴ ποιεῖν μέν ἐστι τὸ συντηρεῖν τῷ λόγῳ, καθ' ὃν ἐγένοντο. πνεῦμα δὲ ἀκούει καὶ πῦρ: τὸ μὲν ὡς νοητὴ φύσις, τὸ δὲ ὡς καθάρσιος: ἐπεὶ καὶ τῆς πρώτης οὐσίας τὰς αὐτὰς οἶδα κλήσεις. πλὴν ἡμῖν γε ἀσώματος ἔστω, ἢ ὅτι ἐγγύτατα. ὁρᾷς ὅπως ἰλιγγιῶμεν περὶ τὸν λόγον, καὶ οὐκ ἔχομεν οἷ προέλθωμεν, ἢ τοσοῦτον ὅσον εἰδέναι ἀγγέλους τινὰς καὶ ἀρχαγγέλους, θρόνους, κυριότητας, ἀρχάς, ἐξουσίας, λαμπρότητας, ἀναβάσεις, νοερὰς δυνάμεις, ἢ νόας, καθαρὰς φύσεις καὶ ἀκιβδήλους, ἀκινήτους πρὸς τὸ χεῖρον ἢ δυσκινήτους, περὶ τὸ πρῶτον αἴτιον ἀεὶ χορευούσας: ἢ πῶς ἄν τις αὐτὰς ἀνυμνήσειεν, ἐκεῖθεν ἐλλαμπομένας τὴν καθαρωτάτην ἔλλαμψιν, ἢ ἄλλως ἄλλην κατὰ τὴν ἀναλογίαν τῆς φύσεως καὶ τῆς τάξεως: τοσοῦτον τῷ καλῷ μορφουμένας καὶ τυπουμένας, ὥστε ἄλλα γίνεσθαι φῶτα καὶ ἄλλους φωτίζειν δύνασθαι ταῖς τοῦ πρώτου φωτὸς ἐπιρροαῖς τε καὶ διαδόσεσι: λειτουργοὺς θείου θελήματος, δυνατὰς ἰσχύι φυσικῇ τε καὶ ἐπικτήτῳ, πάντα ἐπιπορευομένας, πᾶσι πανταχοῦ παρούσας ἑτοίμως, προθυμίᾳ τε λειτουργίας καὶ κουφότητι φύσεως: ἄλλας ἄλλο τι τῆς οἰκουμένης μέρος διειληφυίας, ἢ ἄλλῳ τινὶ τοῦ παντὸς ἐπιτεταγμένας, ὡς οἶδεν ὁ ταῦτα τάξας καὶ διορίσας: πάντα εἰς ἓν ἀγούσας, πρὸς μίαν σύννευσιν τοῦ τὰ πάντα δημιουργήσαντος: ὑμνῳδοὺς θείας μεγαλειότητος, θεωροὺς δόξης αἰδίου καὶ αἰδίως, οὐχ ἵνα δοξασθῇ θεός, _οὐ γὰρ ἔστιν ὃ προστεθήσεται τῷ πλήρει, τῷ καὶ τοῖς ἄλλοις χορηγῷ τῶν καλῶν, _ἀλλ' ἵνα μὴ λείπῃ τὸ εὐεργετεῖσθαι καὶ ταῖς πρώταις μετὰ θεὸν φύσεσι; ταῦτα εἰ μὲν πρὸς ἀξίαν ὕμνηται, τῆς τριάδος ἡ χάρις, καὶ τῆς μιᾶς ἐν τοῖς τρισὶ θεότητος: εἰ δὲ τῆς ἐπιθυμίας ἐνδεέστερον, ἔχει τὸ νικᾷν καὶ οὕτως ὁ λόγος. τοῦτο γὰρ ἠγωνίζετο παραστῆσαι, ὅτι νοῦ κρείττων καὶ ἡ τῶν δευτέρων φύσις, μὴ ὅτι τῆς πρώτης καὶ μόνης, ὀκνῶ γὰρ εἰπεῖν, ὑπὲρ ἅπαντα.