Dee followed this teaching; he regarded mathematics as innate, or at least as exactly analogous to the faculties of the mind (290), and while asserting that a structure according with them was to be discovered in material things, which known, would give great power over the phenomena, he believed that this was less important than considering these last merely as examples of mathematical relationships which in turn were not limited, in extent, kind or significance by their material exemplification; and hence it is not surprising that Dee should seek religious meanings in the propositions of mathematics. He considered man, as many did in the sixteenth century, as being in the phrase Sir Thomas Browne probably found in Plotinus, "the great amphibian," (291) but the worlds man could move in were less "divided and distinguished than intimately conjoined. From Roger Bacon Dee imbibed much of his scientific attitude, and he followed too his insistence (the religious foundations of Bacon's thought, appear strikingly in his treatment of what Dee termed Archemaistry, and similarly regarded) that all knowledge was to be interpreted spiritually, or at least to be connected intrinsically with religious truth, since "Nichil enim est necessarium Christiano nisi propter anime salutem."(292) "Humane Artes" writes Nashe - one of Dee's apologists - "are the steppes and degrees Christ hath prescribed and assigned us to climbe up to heaven of Artes by which is divinity."(293) Moreover that very same Platonism which fostered and gave strength to the new science also denied the validity of a separation between religious and scientific knowledge. It asserted the correspondence of the hierarchies of existence and value. However mystical in content, neo-Platonic texts refused - as for instance the writings of the Pseudo Dionysius - to admit an opposition or even distinction between Reason and Faith. Again, the Timaeus overtly treats largely of physical questions, but it is impossible to separate those from the moral, or spiritual worlds which this cosmogony is designed to parallel. Thus in the Renaissance the least particular it was held was a manifestation of general law and through it something of universal significance might be perceived. But since such laws were separated from and set over and above material things exemplifying them, they appeared themselves, therefore, to be a revelation of the mind and purposes of God (294). Platonism thus was able to re-establish unity between the natural world and spiritual values which "Naturalism" frequently aimed at, but by employing the mediating concept of law, especially insofar as mathematics were employed in interpreting this, it largely avoided that fatal confusion that characterised purely "Naturalist" systems and encouraged scientific activity of an historically valuable kind. But not only did Platonic writings in general enter naturally into close connection with Christian teachings and appear more obviously compatible with them than those of Aristotelians; Averroes for instance denounced the system of Avicenna particularly for making too many concessions to the Motakallimin (orthodox theologians), but these "concessions" are Platonic elements in his thought, which happened also to be intrinsic parts of Mohammedanism, as they were also of Christianity, and which in turn contributed to Avicenna's popularity in the west; but Platonism had always traditionally been explicitly looked upon as chiefly religious in import, and sometimes acknowledged as almost a revelation. It is frequently represented as the final stage of thought preceding full acceptance of Christianity in the accounts of philosophical progress towards conversion in the early church. St. Hilary's affirmation "Perfecta scientia Deum scire" was also regarded as the argument of Platonism, for it was thus frequently summarised by even the pagan philosophers. Diogenes Laertius giving an account of what Plato meant by wisdom, says it is "the science which is concerned with God and the soul as separate from the body, and especially by wisdom he means philosophy, which is a craving for divine wisdom."(295) Justin Martyr, recounting his journeys through the schools, ending in Christianity, found its approximation among the Platonists, whom he joined in the hope of being taught by them how to see God, face to face, "for such is the end of the Philosophy of Plato."(296) It is an interpretation frequently advanced by Christian Platonists, even when chiefly preoccupied with science, in the sixteenth century. Thus Tymme, a translator of Dee, declares in the preface appended to his translation of Duchesne's Chemistry "Plato sayth, that Philosophy is the imitating of God, so far forth as man is able, that we may knowe God more and more, untill we behold him face to face in the kingdom of heaven. So that the scope of Philosophy, is to seeke to glorifye God in his wonderfull workes."(297) Again the Greek fathers had appealed to the Works of Plato (the 2nd, 6th and 18th epistles for instance) as anticipations of Christian doctrines, Augustine finds only two important dogmas omitted from Platonism, the incarnation - "the Logos made flesh that I found not there" - and the resurrection of the body (298). Plato and the Pythagoreans, claimed Clement, give evidence of real inspiration, and their utterances can be accepted like those of the prophets as true doctrines of God (299). Roger Bacon declares, on the authority of Augustine, that Plato, from his account of Creation must have read Genesis (300) and later, dealing with Moral Philosophy, solemnly recounts the legend that "in the tomb of Plato a statement written in golden letters was found on his breast containing these words: I believe in Christ who will be born of a Virgin, will suffer for the human race and will rise again on the third day."(301) The works of non-Christian neo-Platonists, since they interpreted Plato in a semi-religious fashion also, influenced, or were found wholly acceptable to the Church as philosophical elucidations of its own dogma. Thus Proclus "more than anyone else provided theologians with an intellectual framework for its view of the World, and Christian mystics with a defence of the way of negation."(302) Similarly in the Renaissance de Mornay in his work on The Trueness of the Christian Religion draws heavily on Plato, his followers and the hermetic texts in his demonstration, but remarks after a lengthy exposition of the views of Plotinus "The Aristotelians have no voyce here because they stand all in commenting upon Aristotle, who gave himself more to the liberall Artes and the searching of Nature, than to looking up to God the maker of all thinges."(303)

In the sixteenth century religion and the philosophical groundwork of the new science were still closely intertwined. If metaphysics and experimental investigations were set on independent and perhaps divergent paths, it was hardly as yet apparent. Later ages might find more freedom and advantage in an attitude of mind reminiscent of that which defended the Averroist "double truth," and might separate Religion and Science (Boyle in the Christian Virtuoso is already attempting to delimit the spheres of legitimate speculation within each) into two independent, corporate, systems of knowledge, so that these no longer touched and merged at every point, and if they were not entirely inaccessible, one from the other, the transition could be acceptably effected only along a limited number, and particular types of thoroughfares. The seventeenth century scientific legatees of the Renaissance, secure in the possession of a now unquestioned method that presented "facts" in a manageable and uniform fashion, could confidently declare with Myson, and feel this to be the key to the material progress, and continuous advance in knowledge, stretching ahead, of which they felt clear promise, that man "should not investigate facts by the light of arguments but arguments by the light of facts, for the facts were not put together to fit the arguments but the arguments to fit the facts."(304) They could, now that the philosophical battle to establish the validity and importance of mathematics for natural sciences was won, proclaim the result, which was no longer questioned to be obvious to mere inspection, and might even, for example, affirm with satisfaction as an adequate account of its basis, an empirical origin and justification for geometry (305). It became quite common in this age to claim to value mathematics only insofar as it was of direct utility, now that its applications had proved so extensively successful, or even to denigrate it as a pure science compared with the mechanics to which it had itself given birth (306). But in the preceding centuries, though the belief in a unified tradition of generally comprehensive truth which the presence of a single universal in the world had seemed to provide was failing, yet the feeling which such a tradition had fostered, that some coherent framework existed that would do full justice to all the powers of man's soul as well as adequately "explaining" all natural phenomena, still dominated thought. Though the solutions were not to be identified with any previously fully enunciated doctrine, there still remained the exhilarating faith that man was capable of creating, or discovering such a general synthesis. Dee's mathematical Platonism was an endeavour towards such an ideal. Certainty and Truth were to be found in an intellectual world, attainable by reason, if unknown to the sense. The position that man's mind was granted in the general scheme of things seemed to imply the reasonableness of nature, and the safe use of intelligibility as a valid criterion of reality (307). But the nature of God and of the soul were intrinsically bound up in this picture, for the sixteenth century was not hardy enough, or so blinded by success, to be able to be merely content with the unqualified mathematical materialism, inherent in its method, with its unsatisfactory almost contradictory consequences, which dismissing too much of the world as "unreal" or as "appearance" still eft these aspects of it (irrelevant of course to its more immediate purposes as they were) as an intolerable problem from any other standpoint (308). For though to thinkers such as Dee, these qualitative aspects of the world derived, in one sense, their reality from abstract elements of a different order from themselves, figuring in intellectual analysis, yet they were also effects on the soul, itself supremely real, and to Dee indeed something subsisting properly above the purely "intellectual" realm, and were therefore not irrelevant "accidents" but possessed of meaning and value. Thus it has been said of the impression the Timaeus produced on this age, "It was precisely this fusion of the rational-mathematical, the aesthetic and religious elements in the contemplation of the universe, this glorification of the Cosmos, that appealed to the philosophers of the Renaissance."(309) Mechanism and the search for metaphysical truths or religious devotion went hand in hand connected by a neo-Platonic evaluation of the significance of numerical harmonies.(310) The end held out by this philosophy, conceived as identical with that of science or religion, was a vision "of the rational beauty of the Universe," (311) which in its all-inclusiveness had a place for every type of speculation and experience - mystical, logical, empirical - authorising and guiding each; and the full acceptance of which, as an exhaustive account of reality, would not threaten to stunt man, intellectually, morally or spiritually, and would admit as totally true nothing less than what was entirely adequate to satisfy the maximum potentialities of man in all the various aspects of his complex, though essentially unified nature.