Works by Philo : Table of Contents
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I. (1) “Abraham was ninety and nine years old; and the Lord appeared unto Abraham, and said unto him, I am thy God.”{1}{#ge 17:1.} The number of nine, when added to the number ninety, is very near to a hundred; in which number the self-taught race shone forth, namely Isaac, the most excellent joy of all enjoyments; for he was born when his father was a hundred years old. (2) Moreover the first fruits of the tribe of Levi are given up to the priests; {2}{#nu 18:26.} for they having taken tithes, offer up other tenths from them as from their own fruits, which thus comprise the number of a hundred; for the number ten is the symbol of improvement, and the number a hundred is the symbol of perfection; and he that is in the middle is always striving to reach the extremity, exerting the inborn goodness of his nature, by which he says, that the Lord of the universe has appeared to him. (3) But do not thou think that this appearance presented itself to the eyes of the body, for they see no things but such as are perceptible to the outward senses; but those objects of the outward senses are compounded ones, full of destruction; but the Deity is not a compound object, and is indestructible: but the eye which receives the impression of the divine appearance is the eye of the soul; (4) for besides this, those things which it is only the eyes of the body that see, are only seen by them because they take light as a coadjutor, and light is different, both from the object seen and from the things which see it. But all these things which the soul sees of itself, and through its own power, it sees without the cooperation of any thing or any one else; for the things which the soul does thus comprehend are a light to themselves, (5) and in the same way also we learn the sciences; for the mind, applying its never-closing and never-slumbering eye to their doctrines and speculations, sees them by no spurious light, but by that genuine light which shines forth from itself. (6) When therefore you hear that God has been seen by man, you must consider that this is said without any reference to that light which is perceptible by the external senses, for it is natural that that which is appreciable only by the intellect should be presented to the intellect alone; and the fountain of the purest light is God; so that when God appears to the soul he pours forth his beams without any shade, and beaming with the most radiant brilliancy.