صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

Book II. now. I suppose there is a certain Power of an
Vimmense and ineffable Light, whose Greatness is

to be esteem'd Incomprehensible; which Power
the Creator of the World himself is ignorant of,
as was the Legislator Moses, and your Master

L. Then Peter said, Don't you think it a piece
of Madness for any one to pretend to assert, that
there is another God besides the God of the Uni-
verse: And then to say, I suppose there is a certain
Power? And before a Man is sure of what he
says, to pretend to assure others of it? Is any
body so rash as to give credit to your Words,
while he sees you your self doubtful about them?
and to admit that there is any Power unknown
to God the Creator, and to Moses, and to the
Prophets, and to the Law, and to Jesus Our
Malter? Which Power is, it seems, so good,
that it is not willing to be known to any but to
One alone, to you, one of such a Character ?
Besides, if this Power be new, how is it that it
does not give us some new Sense, besides those
Five which we have already ? that by the help
of this Sense, thus newly bestow'd on us, we
inay comprehend and understand this new Power?
Or, if it cannot bestow such an one, how has it
bestow'd any such thing on you? Or, if it has
reveal'd any thing to you, why not also to us?
But if you have of your self perceiv’d, what the
very Prophets themselves were not able to per-
ceive and understand, Come on, tell us now
what every one of us has in his Thoughts. For
if so powerful a Spirit be in you, that you know
what is above the Heavens, even when it is un-
known to all, and to all incomprehensible, you
certainly do much more easily know the Thoughts
of Men, which are upon the Earth. But it
you are not able to know our Thoughts who


stand here, how can you say that you know Book II.. what is known to none ?

LI. Believe me, you would never have known what Light is, unless you had receiv'd from the Light both the Sense and Perception of Seeing; and so of the rest. Now when you have got this Way the Notion, you invent, in the way of dreaming, somewhat greater and more sublime; but only by an hint taken from your five Senfes, to the Bestower whereof you are ungrateful. But assure your self, that while you are unable to find out some new Sense over and above those Five, the use of which we all enjoy, you can never aflert a new God. Then said simon, While all Sensations possible belong to one of the five Senses, that Power which is superior to all things cannot add any new one. Then said Peter, That is false; for there is a sixth Sense, that of Prescience : for the other five Senses are capable only of Knowledg, but the Sixth of Foreknowledg; which Sense the Prophets had. How therefore can you know a God unknown to all, when you have not been vouchsaf'd the Prophetick Sense, which is that of Foreknowledg? Then Simon began to say, That neither did any one of the Angels, or of the Demons, or of the Jeros, nor indeed any Creature which sublifted by the Power of God the Creator, know this Power; which was incomprehensible by, and superior to them all, even to that God that made the World. For how could the Law of the Creator himself discover to me that Power, which the Creator himself never knew ; while it was unacquainted with what it hould discover ?

LII. Then Peter said, I wonder how you can learn more out of the Law than the Law could teach, or knew ; and how you pretend to draw


H 3

Book II. Arguments out of the Law for your Assertions, W when you affirm, that neither does the Law

know what you say, nor he that gave the Law; that is, the Creator of the World. I do also wonder how you, who alone know these things, stand here with us, and are confin'd within the Limits of this small Court. Then Simon perceiving Peter, and all the people to laugh, said, Peter, Do you laugh, when we are discoursing of Things of such great Moment and Conse. quence? Then said Peter, Be not in a Passion, Simon; for we do nothing contrary to our promise: 'we neither shut our Ears, as you said we would ; nor are we running away upon the first hearing you talk of your Ineffables. No, we keep our places still; for indeed you have not spoken things so much as probable, which might in some small degree have affected us. At least we expect that you should explain to us this Notion, How you have attain'd the Knowledg of that God from the Law, which it knows nothing of; and whom he that made the Law is ignorant of. Then said Simon, If you will leave off laughing, I will prove it by plain Reasons. Peter reply'd, To be sure I will leave off, that I may learn from you how you have attain'd the knowledg of that from the Law, which the Law is a stranger to, and which the God of the Law himself is ignorant of.

LIII. Then said Simon, Hearken; 'Tis manifest to all, and certainly known, tho after an ineffable manner, that there is One God, the Best of all Beings; from whom every Thing that is, deriv'd its Original; and that all Beings that are after him are subject to him, as to their Governor, and One Superior to them all. When therefore I perceiv'd that this God that created the World, in the manner describd in the Law,


was in many things an infirm Being, while yet Book II. Infirmity is far remov'd from a perfect God; and I withal observd that this God was not perfect, I was forc'd to allow that there was another who was perfect. For, as I said, according to the account of the written Law, this God appears to be infirm in many things: and first because the Man whom he formed was not able to remain in that state which he desir'd; and because he is not a good God, who gave a Law to the first Man, that he might eat indeed of all the Trees of Paradise, but should not touch the Tree of Knowledg ; bút that if he touched it he should die. For why should he forbid him to eat in order to know what was good, and what was evil; that when he knew them he might avoid the evil, and chuse the good? Yet would he not grant this liberty, And because, contrary to that Command, he did tast of it, and thence understood what was good and what evil; and learn'd out of reverence to cover his secret Parts, as perceiving it undecent to stand before his Creator with his secret Parts uncovered, he condemns him to die, who had given honour to God; and curses the Serpent, who had shew'd him what to do. Now certainly, if Man was to be hurt on this account, why did He at all put the cause of his Hurt in Paradise? but if it was a good thing which he put in Paradise, 'tis not the part of a good Being to forbid that which is good.:

LIV. So then, whereas he that made Man and the World, in the manner defcrib'd in the Law, must be Imperfect,this gives us to understand that there is another who is Perfect. For of necessity there must be One Being superior to all the rest, on whose account every Creature keeps its own order. When therefore I knew that there must needs be one that is more benign and more powH4


Book II. erful than that imperfect God who gave the Law;

and I understood by the comparison with an imperfect Being, that there was one perfect, I gather'd from the Scripture the existence of that God of whom the Scripture did not speak. And by this means, O Peter, was I able to learn that from the Law which the Law knew nothing of. And indeed, tho the Law had afforded no indications whence it might have been collected that the God who created the World was imperfe&t, I was able, even from the Evils that are done in this World, and not corrected, to gather that either its Creator was not all-powerful, who did not correct what was done amiss; I mean if he were not able to correct them; or that if he were able, and would not take the Evils away, he is an evil Being himself. But if he neither could nor would, he was neither powerful nor good. And hence are we forc'd to gather that there is another God, better, and more powerful than all other Beings. Now if you have any thing to reply to this reasoning, let us know it immediately.

LV. Peter answered, O Simon; such Opinions, which reflect upon God, use to be advanc'd by such as read the Law, not as deliver'd by their Masters, but setting up for their own Teachers: and they suppose that they can understand the Law without the exposition of any one that has learn’d it from a Máster. But for the present, to follow the written Law according to your interpretation of it, since you affirm that the Creator of the World is thereby shew'd not to be powerful, and not to be good, how can you avoid seeing that that Power of yours, which you say is superior to all Beings, is liable and expos’d to the very same reproaches ? For in the Tame manner may it be said of it, that since it


« السابقةمتابعة »