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if those his two treatises, now among us, the one converted by Apuleius, the other by that learned Ficinus, had been found in all things like themselves, I think it had not been perilous to have thought with Eupolemus, that this Hermes was Moses himself; and that the ' Egyptian theology hereafter written, was devised by the first and more ancient Mercury, which others have thought to have been Joseph the son of Jacob; whom, after the exposition of Pharaoh's dreams, they called Saphanet Phane, which is as much as to say, absconditorum repertor, “ a finder out of hidden
things.” But these are over-venturous opinions; for what this man was, it is known to God. Envy and aged time hath partly defaced and partly worn out the certain knowledge of him; of whom, whosoever he were, Lactantius writeth in this sort : s Hic scripsit libros, et quidem multos, ad cognitionem divinarum rerum pertinentes, in quibus majestatem summi ac singularis Dei asserit, iisdemque nominibus appellat, quibus nos Deum et Patrem; “He “ hath written many books belonging to, or expressing the
knowledge of divine things, in which he affirmeth the “ majesty of the most high and one God, calling him by the
same names of God and Father as we do.” The same father also feareth not to number him among the sibyls and prophets. And so contrary are these his acknowledgments to those idolatrous fictions of the Egyptians and Grecians, that for myself I am persuaded, that whatsoever is found in him contrary thereunto was by corruption inserted. For thus much himself confesseth: Deus omnium Dominus et Pater, fons et vita, potentia et lux, et mens, et spiritus ; et omnia in ipso, et sub ipso sunt. Verbum enim ex ejus esse prodiens, perfectissimum existens, et generator et opifex, &c. “ God," saith he, “ the Lord and Father of all things, “ the fountain, and life, and power, and light, and mind, “ and spirit; and all things are in him and under him. For “ his word out of himself proceeding, being most perfect, “ and generative, and operative, falling upon fruitful nature, “ made it also fruitful and producing.” And he was therefore (saith Suidas) called Ter Maximus, quia Trinitate loquutus est: in Trinitate unum esse Deum asserens ; " be
• L. I. C. 6. fol. 4.
cause he spake of the Trinity, affirming, that there is one “ God in Trinity." Hic ruinam, saith · Ficinus, prævidit priscæ religionis, hic ortum novæ fidei, hic adventum Christi, hic futurum judicium, resurrectionem sæculi, beatorum gloriam, supplicia peccatorum ;
“ This Mercury “ foresaw the ruin of the old or superstitious religion, and “ the birth of the new faith; and of the coming of Christ, “ the future judgment, the resurrection, the glory of the “ blessed, and the torment or affliction of the wicked or 66 damned.”
To this I will only add his two last speeches reported by Calcidius the Platonist, and by Volateran out of Suidas: Hactenus fili pulsus a patria, vixi peregrinus et exul, nunc incolumis repeto: cumque post paulum a vobis corporeis vinculis absolutus discessero, videtote ne me quasi mortuum lugeatis : nam ad illam optimam beatamque civitatem regredior ; ad quam universi cives mortis conditione venturi sunt. Ibi namque solus Deus est summus princeps : qui cives suos replet suavitate mirifica ; ad quam hæc, quam multi vitam existimant, mors est potius dicenda
quam vita; “ Hitherto, O son, being driven from my country, I have “ lived a stranger and banished man, but now I am repair“ing homeward again in safety. And when I shall, after a “ few days, (or in a short time,) by being loosed from these “ bonds of flesh and blood, depart from you, see that ye 66 do not bewail me as a man dead; for I do but return to 6 that best and blessed city, to which all her citizens (by o the condition of death) shall repair. Therein is the only “God, the most high and chief Prince, who filleth or feed" eth his citizens with a sweetness more than marvellous ; “ in regard whereof this being, which others call a life, is “ rather to be accounted a death than a life." The other, and that which seemeth to be his last, is thus converted by others, agreeing in sense, but not in words, with Suidas: 0 cælum magni Dei sapiens opus, teque 0 vox Patris, quam
" In Præf. Mercur. Trismeg.
ille primam emisit, quando universum constituit mundum, adjuro per unigenitum ejus Verbum et Spiritum cuncta comprehendentem, miseremini mei ; “ I adjure thee, O hea
ven, thou wise work of the great God, and thee, O voice “ of the Father, which he first uttered when he framed the “ whole world by his only begotten Word and Spirit, com
prehending all things, have mercy upon me.”
But Suidas hath his invocation in these words: Obtestor te cælum magni Dei sapiens opus, obtestor te vocem Patris quam loquutus est primum cum omnem mundum firmavit, obtestor te per unigenitum Sermonem omnia continentem, propitius, propitius esto ; “I beseech thee, O heaven, wise “ work of the great God, I beseech thee, 0 voice of the “Father, which he spake first when he established all the
world, I beseech thee, by the only begotten Word, containing all things, be favourable, be favourable.”
SECT. VII. Of Jannes and Jambres, and some other that lived about those
times. THERE were also in this age both Æsculapius, which after his death became the god of physicians, being the brother of Mercurius, as u Vives thinks in his commentary upon Augustine de Civitate Dei, 1. 8. and also those two notorious sorcerers, Jannes and Jambres, who in that impious art excelled all that ever have been heard of to this day: and yet Moses himself doth not charge them with any familiarity with devils or ill spirits, words indeed that seldom came out of his mouth; however, by the Septuagint they are called sophistæ or venefici and incantatores, "SO
phists, poisoners, and enchanters;" by Jerome, sapientes and malefici, "wise men and evil-doers;" and so by Vatablus, who also useth the word magi. The Greek itself seems to attribute somewhat of what they did to natural magic, calling them v papuaxons, “ workers by drugs." The Genevan, sorcerers and enchanters; Junius, sapientes, prestigiatores, and magi. Magicians and wise men here by him are taken u L. Vives in I. 8. Aug. de Civitate Dei, c. 26.
Exod. ix. 11.
in one sense; and prestigiators are such as dazzle men's eyes, and make them seem to see what they see not, as false colours and false shapes. But as some virtues and some vices are so nicely distinguished, and so resembling each other as they are often confounded, and the one taken for the other, (religion and superstition having one face and countenance, so did the works and workings of Moses and of Pharaoh's sorcerers appear in outward show, and to the beholders of common capacities, to be one and the same art and gift of knowledge. For the Devil changeth himself into an angel of light, and imitateth in all he can the ways and workings of the Most High. And yet, on the contrary, every work which surmounteth the wisdom of most men, is not to be condemned as performed by the help or ministry of ill spirits. For the properties and powers which God hath given to natural things are such, as where he also bestoweth the knowledge to understand their hidden and best virtues, many things by them are brought to pass which seem altogether impossible, and above nature or art; which two speculations, of works of nature and of miracle, the Cabalists distinguished by these names; opus de beresith, and opus de mercana ; the one they call sapientiam naturæ, “ the wis66 dom of nature;” the other, sapientiam divinitatis, " the “ wisdom of divinity:" the one Jacob practised in breeding the pied lambs in Mesopotamia ; the other Moses exercised in his miracles wrought in Egypt, having received from God the knowledge of the one in the highest perfection, to wit, the knowledge of nature; of the other, so far as it pleased God to proportion him; both which he used to his glory that gave them; assuming to himself nothing at all, either in the least or most. Also St. Augustine noteth, that from the time that Moses left Egypt to the death of Joshua, divers other famous men lived in the world, who after their deaths, for their eminent virtues and inventions, were numbered among the gods; as Dionysius, otherwise Liber Pater, who taught the Grecians the use of the vine in Attica: at which time also there were instituted musical plays to Apollo Delphicus, thereby to regain his favour, who brought barrenness and scarcity upon that part of Greece, because they resisted not the attempts of Danaus, who spoiled his temple and set it on fire: so did Ericthonius institute the like games to Minerva, wherein the victor was rewarded with a present of oil, in memory of her that first pressed it out of the olive.
In this age also Xanthus ravished Europa, and begat on her Radamanthus, Sarpedon, and Minos, which three are also given to Jupiter by other historians. To these * St. Augustine addeth Hercules, the same to whom the twelve labours are ascribed, native of Tyrinthia, a city of Peloponnesus, (or, as others say, only nursed and brought up there,) who came into Italy, and destroyed many monsters there ; being neither that Hercules, which Eusebius surnameth Delphin, famous in Phænicia; nor that Hercules, according to Philostratus, which came to Gades, whom he calleth an Egyptian: Manifestum fit, non Thebanum Herculem, sed Ægyptium ad Gades pervenisse, et ibi finem statuisse terræ, (saith Philostratus, 1. 2.) It is manifest that it was the Egyptian Hercules, and not the Theban, which travelled as far as the straits of Gades, and there determined the bounds of the earth. In this time also, while Moses wandered in the deserts, Dardanus built Dardania.
But whosoever they were, or how worthy soever they were, that lived in the days and age of Moses, there was never any man, that was no more than man, by whom it pleased God to work greater things, whom he favoured more; to whom (according to the appearing of an infinite God) he so often appeared ; never any man more familiar and conversant with angels; never any more learned both in divine and human knowledge; never a greater prophet in Israel. He was the first that received and delivered the law of God entire; the first that left to posterity by letters the truth and power of one infinite God, his creating out of nothing the world universal, and all the creatures therein ; that taught the detestation of idolatry, and the punishment, vengeance, and eradication which followed it.
* Lib. De Civitate Dei, c. 12.