Sacred Texts  Christianity  Early Church Fathers  Index  Previous  Next 

Chapter XLII.—Types and Forms.

Then said Aquila:  “If anything is expressed from a type and form, it is at once understood that it is from reason, and that it could not be made without mind; since the type itself, which expresses figures and forms, was not made without mind.  For example, if wax be applied to an engraved ring, it takes the stamp and figure from the ring, which undoubtedly is without sense; but then the ring, which expresses the figure, was engraven by the hand of a workman, and it was mind and reason that gave the type to the ring.  So then the bow also is expressed in the air; for the sun, impressing its rays on the clouds in the process of rarefaction, and affixing the type of its circularity to the cloudy moisture, as it were to soft wax, produces the appearance of a bow; and this, as I have said, is effected by the reflection of the sun’s brightness upon the clouds, and reproducing the brightness of its circle from them.  Now this does not always take place, but only when the opportunity is presented by the rarefaction of moistened clouds.  And consequently, when the clouds again are condensed and unite, the form of the bow is dissolved and vanishes.  Finally, the bow never is seen without sun and clouds, just as the image is not produced, unless there be the type, and wax, or some other material.  Nor is it wonderful if God the Creator in the beginning made types, from which forms and species may now be expressed.  But this is similar to that, that in the beginning God created insensible elements, which He might use for forming and developing all other things.  But even those who form statues, first make a mould of clay or wax, and from it the figure of the statue is produced.  And then afterwards a shadow is also produced from the statue, which shadow always bears the form and likeness of the statue.  What shall we say then?  That the insensible statue forms a shadow finished with as diligent care as the statue itself?  Or shall the finishing of the shadow be unhesitatingly ascribed to him who has also fashioned the statue?

Next: Chapter XLIII