According to the manner of the Eclectics, however, he mingled with his Platonism many doctrines derived from other schools, and those of Pythagoras in particular, to such an extent, that Clemens, of Alexandria, calls him a Pythagorean not recollecting that Aristotle tells us, that the Academy harmonized in very many points with the philosophy of Cortona. In many points, again, especially in the supremacy which he assigns to virtue, he betrays an inclination to the principles of the Stoics. The attempt to reconcile the heathen philosophy with the Bible was not altogether new. As early as the time of Ptolemy Lagus, many Jews had been settled in Alexandria; and, at the period when Philo flourished, they are supposed to have formed half the population of that city-the splendid library of which opened to the learned men of their nation those stores of Greek wisdom and eloquence with which they were previously unacquainted; and as they could not fail to be struck with the truth of many of the principles which they found laid down in those works, it was not unnatural that, being also formerly convinced of the divine origin of their own scriptures, they should endeavour to reconcile two systems, both of which appeared in so great a degree to rest on the same foundation. The truth of their own books they knew to proceed from divine revelation; that of the Greek philosophers they looked upon as an efflux more or less remote from that revelation, and the pride of human intellect led them to endeavour to display their superior penetration by discerning a hidden sense in their own scriptures, which should contain the germ of the Greek philosophy.
Of all the writers of this school the most eminent was Philo, and his works are highly interesting as showing us the manner in which the Sophists of his age and national sought to appropriate the Greek philosophy by an allegorical interpretation of the works of Moses, which they thus represented as containing all the principles which the Greeks subsequently expanded into the precise doctrines of their several sects. Accordingly, he represents Jehovah as a single uncompounded Being; unchangeable, eternal, incomprehensible, the knowledge of whom is to be looked upon as the ultimate object of all human efforts. He teaches that visible phenomena are to lead men over to the invisible world, and that the contemplation of the world so wonderfully and beautifully made proves a wise and intelligent Cause and creator of it. Having adopted, however, the Epicurean doctrine, that nothing can be produced out of nothing, he also assumed the existence of a mass of lifeless matter, passive and primeval, destitute of quality and form, but containing within itself the four primary elements; and of this mass, he looked upon the Spirit of God as the divider and fashioner into distinct shape.