Comte de Gabalis , at sacred-texts.com
X"Neither will it be difficult for you to learn the true religion in some measure from that antient Sybil, who, by a very powerful inspiration, instructs you in her oracular responses, and which come nearest to the dodtrine of the prophets.
Of this Sybil it is reported that she was driven out of Babylon: that she was the daughter of Berosus who wrote the history of the Chaldeans: that by some means or other, she came and settled at Cumæ in Campania, six miles from the hot baths at Baiæ, where she delivered her oracles. And when we were at Cumæ, we saw the place, wherein was a prodigious Basilic all cut out of one stone, a stupendous and amazing work. Here this Sybil gave forth her oracles, as the people, from an unquestioned tradition of their forefathers, informed us. In the midst of this Basilic were three cisterns hewn out of the Basilic itself, in which, being filled with water, the Sybil used to bathe: then, slipping on her loose garb, retired into the inmost recess of the Basilic, which also was cut out of the same stone; where sitting on an exalted throne, she delivered her oracles.
Many have made mention of this Sybil, as of an undoubted Oracle, particularly Plato in his Phaedrus: for it seems to me that Plato, meeting with her oracles, ascribed an inspiration to the author. He saw her predictions accomplished, and, struck with admiration,
in his book to Menon, speaks in praise of the prophetess in this punctilious manner: 'If we rightly account those persons divine who are endowed with the gift of prophecy, are not those also inspired and agitated by a divine impulse, and possessed of the God, who declare many things about the most weighty affairs very justly, at the same time not understanding any of those things whereof they then speak.'
It is very clear and evident that Plato in this had an eye to the Sybil's verses: for she had not, like the poets, a power to revise and correct her own works, and thereby adjust them to poetical measures: but she, in the very time of her inspiration, finished her prophecy; and the moment that that inflatus ceased, that moment she forgot all she had said; for which reason the measures of her verses are not all of them entire.
Finally, O Grecians, unless you esteem the deceitful representation of the imaginary gods of these men, as more precious than your own salvation, hearken, as I said before, to what that antient Sybil saith (whose books are preserved throughout the world) of those who are called gods, for she instructs you, by a powerful inspiration, in her oracles that there are no gods, and moreover clearly foretold the coming of our Saviour Jesus Christ, and all those things which he should perform: for the knowledge of these things will be a necessary preparatory induction to the holy scriptures."
ST. JUSTIN, THE PHILOSOPHER AND MARTYR: HIS EXHORTATIONS
[paragraph continues] TO THE GENTILES. TRANSLATED FROM THE GREEK BY THE REV. MR. THOMAS MOSES, ONE OF THE MINISTERS OF ST. PAUL'S CHAPEL IN ABERDEEN. ABERDEEN, 1757. EXTRACTS PAGES 58, 59, 61.
Justin Martyr lived at Neapolis during the reign of Marcus Aurelius, and suffered death for the faith of his Fathers the Philosophers, about 165 A.D. From youth he sought ardently for knowledge of the Truth, and in his own writings gives an account of his receiving the "Salutation of the Sages." He states that his investigation into the various philosophies of the day resulted in conviction that he would find the true path to God through Platonism. He therefore gave himself up to the rigorous mental discipline and meditation which that school enjoined upon its neophytes. During this period "Wishing to be filled with quietness and to shun the paths of men, I used to walk by myself in a field near the sea. One day an old man of gentle and venerable appearance followed me at a little distance. I stopped and turning round fixed my eyes keenly upon him."
"Dost thou know me?" he asked.
I replied that I did not.
"Why then dost thou look so intently at me?"
"Because," I said, "I had not expected to see any man here."
"I am anxious," he replied, "about some absen
members of my family, and I am come to look out whether they would come in sight from any quarter."
A remarkable discussion ensued in which the messenger of the Sages made plain to Justin the futility of an intellectualism unvivified by spirit, such as was manifest in the Stoic, Peripatetic, Pythagorean, and even Platonic philosophies at that period. At last Justin said, as so many other baffled thinkers have done before and since, "Whom then, shall a man take as his Master, or whence shall he derive any instruction if the truth is not with these philosophers?"
"There once lived men called prophets," answered his instruolor, "who were anterior to any of those who are considered philosophers and who were blessed, just, and beloved by God. They were filled with the Divine Spirit and foretold future events which are now atually taking place. And they alone knew and taught the Truth neither regarding nor fearing any man, nor being carried away by personal love of glory but declaring only those things which they saw and heard when filled with the Divine Spirit. Their writings are extant, and whoever reads them will derive much instrution about the first principles and the end of things, together with all that a philosopher ought to know when he believes them. They have not indeed used demonstration in their treatises for they were verily as faithful witnesses of the Truth above all demonstration. . . They glorified God, the Father and
[paragraph continues] Creator of all things and proclaimed His Son, the Christ whom He has sent. Pray therefore above all things that the gates of light may be opened to thee, for these things cannot be perceived or understood by all, but only by him to whom God and His Christ have given understanding."
"When he had thus spoken he went away; and I saw him no more. But straightway a flame was kindled in my Soul, and a love of the Prophets and of the friends of Christ took possession of me; and revolving his words in my mind I found this Philosophy alone to be sound and profitable." FROM "THE DIALOGUES OF ST. JUSTIN MARTYR WITH TRYPHO THE JEW." § 104, § I09. TRANSLATION BASED UPON EDWARD BACKHOUSE, "EARLY CHURCH HISTORY," PAGES 29-31.
In the early Christian Church the word Christ was used as a synonym for the Solar Principle in man. "But if Christ is in you, though your body must die because of sin, yet your Spirit has life because of righteousness." ROMANS viii, 10.