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child of that Atlas which lived while Moses was yet young. And yet Lud. Vives upon St. Augustine seems to understand them to be the same with those whom Cicero, Alexandrinus, and the rest have remembered. But that conjecture of theirs, that any Grecian Mercury brought letters into Egypt, hath no ground. For it is manifest (if there be any truth in profane antiquity) that all the knowledge which the Greeks had, was transported out of Egypt, or Phoenicia, and not out of Greece, nor by any Grecian, into Egypt. For they all confess that Cadmus brought letters first into Boeotia, either out of Egypt or out of Phoenicia ; it being true, that between Mercurius, that lived at once with Moses, and Cadmus, there were these descents cast; Crotopus king of the Argives, with whom Moses lived, and in whose time, about his tenth year, Moses died ; after Crotopus, Sthenelus, who reigned eleven years ; after him Danaus fifty years; after him Lynceus; in whose time, and after him in the time of Minos king of Crete, this Cadmus arrived in Bæotia. And therefore it cannot be true, that
any Mercurius about Moses's time, flying out of Greece for the slaughter of Argus, brought literature out of Greece into Egypt. Neither did either of those two Mercuries of Egypt whom St. Augustine remembereth, the one the grandfather, the other the nephew or grandchild, come out of Greece. Eupolemus and Artapanus note, that Moses found out letters, and taught the use of them to the Jews; of whom the Phænicians, their neighbours, received them, and the Greeks of the Phænicians by Cadmus. But this invention was also ascribed to Moses, for the reason before remembered ; that is, because the Jews and the Phænicians had them first from him. For every nation gave unto those men the honour of first inventors, from whom they received the profit. Ficinus makes that Mercury, upon part of whose works he commenteth, to have been four descents after Moses; which he hath out of n Virgil, who calls Atlas, that lived with Moses, the maternal grandfather of the first famous Mercury, whom others, as Diodorus, call the counsellor and instructor of that renowned Isis, wife of Osiris. But • Ficinus giveth no reason for his opinion herein. But that the elder Mercury instructed Isis, Diodorus Siculus affirmeth, and that such an inscription was found on a pillar erected on the tomb of Isis. Lud. Vives, upon the 26th chapter of the eighth book of St. Augustine de Civitate Dei, conceiveth that this Mercury, whose works are extant, was not the first which was entitled Ter Maximus, but his nephew or grandchild. P Sanchoniaton, an ancient Phænician, who lived shortly after Moses, hath other fancies of this Mercury ; affirming that he was the scribe of Saturn, and called by the Phoenicians, Taautus ; and by the Egyptians, Thoot, or Thoyt. It may be, that the many years which he is said to have lived, to wit, 300 years, gave occasion to some 9 writers to find him in one time, and to others in other times. But by those which have collected the grounds of the Egyptian philosophy and divinity, he is found more ancient than Moses, because the inventor of the Egyptian wisdom, wherein it is said that Moses was excellently learned.
11 Virg. 1. 4. RALEGH, HIST. WORLD, VOL. II.
It is true, that although this Mercury, or Hermes, doth in his divinity differ in many particulars from the scriptures, especially in the approving of images, which Moses of all things most detested; yet whosoever shall read him with an even judgment, will rather resolve that these works which are now extant, were by the Greeks and Egyptian priests corrupted, and those fooleries inserted, than that ever they were by the hand of Hermes written, or by his heart and spirit devised.
For there is no man of understanding, and master of his own wits, that hath affirmed in one and the same tract, those things which are directly contrary in doctrine and in nature. For out of doubt (Moses excepted) there was never any man of those elder times that hath attributed more, and in a style more reverend and divine, unto Almighty God, than he hath done. And therefore 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
• Æneid. Ficin. in Præfat. Pæmand. Mercurii Trismegisti.
p Or Sanchoniatho. See Euseb.
de Præp. Evang. 1. 1. c. 6.
q Vives in l. 8. c. 26. Aug. de Civitate Dei.
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 there
* L. I. c. 6. fol. 4.
fore (saith Suidas) called Ter Maximus, quia Trinitate loquutus est: in Trinitate unum esse Deum asserens; “be
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 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 " do not bewail me as a man dead; for I do but return to “ that best and blessed city, to which all her citizens (by 6 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, O voice of the “ Father, which he spake first when he established all the “ world, I beseech thee, by the only begotten Word, con
taining 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, “
phists, poisoners, and enchanters;" by Jerome, sapientes et 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 Papuaxoùs, “workers by drugs.” The Genevan, sorcerers and enchanters; Junius, sapientes, prestigiatores, et magi. Magicians and wise men here by him are taken L. Vives in 1. 8. Aug. de Civitate Dei, c. 26.
"Exod. ix, ul.