CHAP. VIII. What the Ancient Philosophers have thought concerning the Di∣vine Trinity.
AUstine and Prophyry testifie, that the Platonists held three persons in God, the first of which, they call the father of the world; the second they call the Son and the first mind, and so he is named by Macrobius. The third, the spirit or soul of the world, which Virgil also from Plato's opinion calleth a spirit, when he sings,
Within the Spirit nourisheth, the mind
Diffus'd through th' whole doth in its kind
The lump both act, and agitate—
deliver, that the Son of God, viz.
the first mind or Divine intellect floweth from God the Father, even as a word from the speaker or as light from light; from hence it is that he is called both the word and speech, and splendor of God the Father; for the Divine mind by it self, with one only and uninterrupted act understandeth the chiefest good without any vicissitude, or mediate knowledge; he generat∣eth in himself an Issue and Son, who is the full Intelligence, compleat image of himself, and the perfect pattern of the world, whom our John
name the word or speech; Plato
the Son of God the Father; Orpheus, Pallas
born from Jupiters
brain, that is, wisdom: This is the most abso∣lute image of God the Father, yet by a certain relation, or some intrinsecall absolute thing, as it were begot and distin∣guished from the Father, who saith in Ecclesiasticus,
I have pro∣ceeded from the mouth of the most high, I am the first begot before all creatures: Jamblichus
testifieth this Son to be One and the same God with the Father in Essence, namely calling God, both the Father and Son of himself. Also Mercurius Trismegistus
mentioneth the Son of God in di∣verse places; for he saith my God and Father begat a Mind a work diverse from himself; And elsewhere, unity begets unity, and reflecteth his flagrant love on himself; and in Pimander
(where he seemeth to prophesie of the Covenant of grace to come, and of the mystery of regeneration) saith, the author of Regeneration is the Son of God, the man by the will of the one only God, and also that God is most replenished with the fruitfulness of both sexes. In like manner the Indian
Philoso∣phers affirm, the World to be an Animal, partly Masculine,
and partly Feminine;
also calleth Nature or the Jove
of this world, both the male and female thereof, and that the gods partake of both Sexes. Hence is it, that in his Hymnes he thus salutes Minerva,
You are indeed both man and wo∣man; and Apuleius
in his book of the world, out of the Divini∣ty of Orpheus
produceth this verse of Jupiter,
Jove is both male and female, immortall.Page 363
speaking of Venus
I descend, and the God guiding—
And elsewhere, understanding Juno
Neither was God absent from her praying.
I who prophaned have the Dieties
Of Venus great—
And it is reported that the people of Cacenia
wonderfully ad∣ored the God Moon.
From this compleat intelligence of su∣pream fecundity his love is produced, binding the intelligence with the mind. And by so much the more, by how much it is in∣finitely more intimate to it self, than other off-springs to their parents. This is the third person, viz.
the holy spirit. Jam∣blichus
also brings the oracles of the Chaldeans
placing a fa∣therly power in God, and an Emanation of the intellect from the Father, and a fiery love proceeding from Father and Son, and the same to be God. Hence we read in Plutarch,
that the Gentiles described God to be an intellectuall and fiery spirit, having no form, but transforming himself into whatsoever he pleaseth, equalizing himself to all things; and we read in Deu∣teronomy,
Our God is a consuming fire; of whom also Zoro∣astes
saith, all things were begot of fire alone; so also Heracli∣tus
teacheth; Hence Divine Plato
hath placed Gods habitation in fire, namely understanding the unspeak∣able splendor of God in himself, and love about him∣self; and we read in Homer,
The Heavens to be the Kingdom of Jupiter
when he sings,
Jove darkning clouds and reigning in the skie,Page 364
And the same elsewhere.
The lot of Jove the Heaven is i'th' aire,
is derived according to the Greek Grammer, from Aetho,
which signifies to Burn, and Aer spiritus quass Aethaer,
that is, a burning spirit; And therefore Orpheus
calleth the Heaven Pyripnon,
that is a fiery breathing place; therefore the Father, the Son, and the aimable spirit, which is also fiery, are by the Divines called three Persons; Whom Or∣pheus
also in his adjurations invocateth with these words, Heaven I admire thee, thou wise work of the great God; I adjure thee, O thou word of the Father, which he first spake when he established the whole world by his wisdom. Hesiode
also confesseth the same things under the names of Jupiter Minerva
in his Theogony, declaring the twofold birth of Jupiter
in these words: The first daughter called Tritonia
with gray eyes, having equal power with the Father, & prudent Bule,
that is counsel, which Orpheus
in the forenamed verses pro∣nounceth plurally, because of his twofold Emanation, for he proceedeth both from Jupiter
him∣self in his fourth Book De Civit. Dei
doth testifie that Porphyry
placed three Persons in God; the first he cals the father of the universe, the second, the first mind, and Macrobius
the Son, the third the soul of the world, which Virgil
accor∣ding to Plato's
opinion, calleth a spirit, saying, the spirit with∣in maintains.
Therefore it is God, as Paul
saith, from whom, in whom, by whom are all things: for from the father as from a fountain flow all things, but in the Son as in a pool all things are placed in their Ideas,
and by the Holy Ghost are all things manifested, and every thing distributed to his proper degrees.