The Spectator, Volume 2. eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,123 pages of information about The Spectator, Volume 2..

I shall, however, so far explain my self to the Reader, as to let him know that the Letters, C, L, and X, are Cabalistical, and carry more in them than it is proper for the World to be acquainted with.  Those who are versed in the Philosophy of Pythagoras, and swear by the Tetrachtys, [4] that is, the Number Four, will know very well that the Number Ten, which is signified by the Letter X, (and which has so much perplexed the Town) has in it many particular Powers; that it is called by Platonick Writers the Complete Number; that One, Two, Three and Four put together make up the Number Ten; and that Ten is all.  But these are not Mysteries for ordinary Readers to be let into.  A Man must have spent many Years in hard Study before he can arrive at the Knowledge of them.

We had a Rabbinical Divine in England, who was Chaplain to the Earl of Essex in Queen Elizabeth’s Time, that had an admirable Head for Secrets of this Nature.  Upon his taking the Doctor of Divinity’s Degree, he preached before the University of Cambridge, upon the First Verse of the First Chapter of the First Book of Chronicles, in which, says he, you have the three following Words,

  Adam, Sheth, Enosh.

He divided this short Text into many Parts, and by discovering several Mysteries in each Word, made a most Learned and Elaborate Discourse.  The Name of this profound Preacher was Doctor Alabaster, of whom the Reader may find a more particular Account in Doctor Fullers Book of English Worthies. [5] This Instance will, I hope, convince my Readers that there may be a great deal of fine Writing in the Capital Letters which bring up the Rear of my Paper, and give them some Satisfaction in that Particular.  But as for the full Explication of these Matters, I must refer them to Time, which discovers all things.


[Footnote 1:  Diogenes Laertius, Bk.  V. ch.  I.]

[Footnote 2:  Quae Genus and As in Praesenti were the first words in collections of rules then and until recently familiar as part of the standard Latin Grammar, Lilly’s, to which Erasmus and Colet contributed, and of which Wolsey wrote the original Preface.]

[Footnote 3:  Abraxas, which in Greek letters represents 365, the number of the deities supposed by the Basilidians to be subordinate to the All Ruling One, was a mystical name for the supreme God, and was engraved as a charm on stones together with the figure of a human body (Cadaver), with cats head and reptiles feet.  From this the name Abracadabra may have arisen, with a sense of power in it as a charm.  Serenus Sammonicus, a celebrated physician who lived about A.D. 210, who had, it is said, a library of 62,000 volumes, and was killed at a banquet by order of Caracalla, said in an extant Latin poem upon Medicine and Remedies, that fevers were cured by binding to the body the word Abracadabra written in this fashion: 

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The Spectator, Volume 2. from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.