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    Philip Mornay, Lord of Plesie-Marlie. A Woorke concerning the trewness of the Christian Religion, written in French: Against Atheists, Epicures, Paynims, Jewes, Mahumetists, and other Infidels. London: John Charlewood & George Robinson for Thomas Cadman, 1587. Krown & Spellman retail: $1250. First edition in English. 4to. (lacks *1-4), 2*8, 3*2, A-2Q8, 2R4. (20 of 28), 480, 491-641, (1)p. Decorated initials. Modern antique paneled calf, title in gilt on black label at head of spine. C6 & Q7 with small clean tears to outer margin, no affect, repaired. 2K1 inner margin tear, no affect. Last leaf with outer corner tear, no affect. Few leaves with underscoring. Some light damp stains at outer margins. Old owner's signatures to first blank. Original end leaves from a contemporary (Juvenal) book rebound within. Lacks title page, supplied in fine facsimile. Lacks prelims *1-*4, (Epistle to Lord Robert Earle), but does have the more important dedication to King Henry IV. Text complete. Scarce. From the Krown & Spellman Collection.

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    "The best edition of this work." - [Lowndes].

         "Philip de Mornay, lord of Plessis Marly, an illustrious French protestant, was born November 5, 1549. He was descended from an ancient and noble family, which had produced many great and eminent men. His father was strongly attached to the Roman Catholic religion; but his mother was secretly an Huguenot, and endeavored to inspire her son insensibly with her own opinions. His father died when he was young, and his mother, making open prosession of the protestant religion, set up a lecture in her house; which, together with diligently perusing the New Testament, completely confirmed Philip in her own religious sentiments... His zeal for the protestant religion exposed him to many dangers: both he and his mother very narrowly escaped the massacre at Paris... On the course of his travels, he studied the civil law at Heidelberg in German, and Padua in Italy... IN 1576, was wounded and made a prisoner; but soon obtaining his liberty, he went to the court of the king of Navarre, afterwards Henry IV of France, who received him graciously; sent him his ambassadour to Queen Elizabeth; made him one of his council; and upon all occasions paid the greatest deference to his judgement. He, on his part, rendered the king important services, and in 1590, was made his counsellor of state... After the king abjured the protestant religion, he reproached his apostasy, withdrew himself gradually from court, and devoted his time to literary pursuits... The capital work, however, by which Du Plessis distinguished himself, is his "Defense of the Truth of the Christian Religion," in which he employs the weapons of reson and learning with great force and skill against atheists, epicureans, heathens, Jews, mahometans and other infidels, as he tells us in the titel. The book was dedicated to Henry IV and translated by himself into Latin. "As a Frenchman, says he in his preface, I have endeavored to serve my own country first; and as a christian, the universal church of Christ next." - [Adams, The Truth And Excellence of the Christian Religion Exhibited. 1804].

         "... in Philippe Du Plessis Mornay we have a Protestant author who is making a large use of Hermeticism in his "De la verite de la religion christienne", published at Antwerp by Plantin in 1581 witha dedication to the King of Navarre. In this dedication Mornay says that "in these miserable times" he is undertaking a work for religion through studying the world as a "shadow of the splendour of God", and man as made in the image of God. In this latter part of the century, in a Europe devastated by the awful wars and persecutions arising from the conflict between Reformation and Catholic reaction, Mornay is an example of how men were turning to the hermetic religion of the world to take them above these conflicts, and as a possible way of escape from the agonies inflicted by fanatical use of force by both sides... Mornay refers in the margin as sources for these sentiments both to the Pimander.., and to the Asclepius... In other passages he discusses the Hermetic "Son of God" as the Word and quotes the Hermetic account of creation, comparing it with Genesis. And he draws from Pico della Mirandola mystical meditations of the Nothing in all religious teachings... Mornay has added, as the same, the Egyptian (that is Hermetic) teaching on the darkness above reason, the No Name above the Names. He has a good deal more on Cabal, mentioning the Zohar of which he evidently has some knowledge. Mornay is making familiar synthesis between Hermeticism and Cabala, but it is emphatically not Magia and practical Cabal of which he is speaking. The synthesis is entirely mystical and theological. He states most emphatically later on that Cabal is not magic, that Moses was not a magician, and that all magic is wrong and vain... And Du Plessis Mornay was known to Sidney (Sir Philip) as a friend and was undoubtedly his favorite theologian, as evidenced by the fact that Sidney began to translate into English this very work from which we have been quoting. His death prevented him from completing the translation, which was carried on by Arthur Golding, who published it in 1587 as "A Woorke concerning the trewness of the Christian Religion". - [Yates, Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition, Vol.II]. STC 18149. Lowndes 1616. ESTC S112896. USTC 510819.

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    April, 2015
    23rd Thursday
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